Monday, May 31, 2010
1.) Streamlining social combat and removing a few options for faster flow.
2.) Increasing the frequency of "Roll then make decisions", this speeds up gameplay and still allows for meaningful choice since there is a counter roll that decides success.
3.) Increase the number of combat tricks. I was worried this would seem a lame "Spells for warriors", but it is proving to be a big hit.
4.) Increase the use of "lucky numbers", its got potential but it isn't in use enough.
Silas has his level 1 dog gain some combat tricks from the combat master while Angus the dwarf has the black knight's armour refitted to give himself a suit of mail, he also barters a keg of beer and some of his own training with the King's champion to learn some combat tricks. After a week (to allow some healing rolls) they decide not to push their luck and head south to stay with Bear in his hall.
The elven warriors offer to train some new and useful techniques to Angus for his help in rescuing them, while the local wolf pack (friends of the druidess) teach a new combat trick to Silas' dog. Angus then avoids healing an spends a week training in the woods trying to learn "Riposte" and recreate it from seeing it used against him. He fails an intelligence check and gets the whole table to sing "Eye of the Tiger" to earn a re-roll (for having an appropriate montage) which he then passes.
This is when things get interesting; they decide to follow the halfings back to "Candyland" in the north woods. The hire two mules and load up with enough food to get them back (bread and onions). In the woods they get the rarest of all random encounters available here.
The dwarf Angus is on watch, after a few hours he hears some humming, a slight laughter, and decides to wake Giuseppe. An important thing to note in my world is that dwarf's are colourblind to everything except gold, silver and gems. Giuseppe wakes up and instantly see's that the whole area is full of psycadellic shifting colours, also that Angus has the words "I suck" in shifting red and green letters on his armour. Angus can see none of this. Using the detect magic spell "View Veil" Giuseppe finds the pixie causing this and smoozes his way into being taught a spell "Debigulate" (Shrink). Much better than it could have turned out.
Heading to Candyland, the princess, halflings and animals stay outside while the rest of the party crawl through a hole in a bush and come out into a massive open field. A giant white tower stands in the center of the area, surrounded by one winding river of milk and one of honey. Gingerbread houses and a gingerbread windmill make up the town. Sneaking into town they see it is full of the halflings, all noticeably rotund. A brief conversation has one halfling pause from skipping to smile, light up the crazy eyes and declare how happy he is.
Moving into a restaurant they see a halfling snap and start freaking out about how he can't take it and just wants real food. The other halflings smile and say "Time for an uh-oh" before streaming out of the restraunt to the main square. The humans hide while the dwarf follows the halfings into the main square. Two cupids fly into the building and subdue the halfling before dragging him to the main square where they impale him (Vlad the impaler style) onto a giant peppermint stick and sing while the halfings dance around him as he screams in a scene befitting Don Hertzfeld. One halfling falls over and pukes, only to be riddled with arrows by the cupid's as doves land on the impaled halfling and pluck out his eyes.
Deciding this is F'ed the party tries to sneak out the way they came, but a nat20 on the guard's check means they are spotted by a cupid. A sling rock to the head knocks out the cupid while the mage Giuseppe casts Fog Bank and they escape to the Windmill with its wafers turning in the light breeze. Inside as the two giant cookie wheels turn they see a halfing dead in the corner, having chewed out his own wrists. Looking at the fields they see halfing sized teddy bears leading a trio of snarling well-manicured attack poodles.
They sneak accross the river of milk and into the town where they kidnap a halfing and have him talk. He willingly talks, hoping for help for his people. They went into the woods to build a new town after their orchards flooded, in there a little girl of the village had found a shrine and wished for them all to live in a land of milk and honey. At first things went well, but after it was declared that "Happiness is Mandatory" things went downhill and the white witch torments them. Originally the halfing planned to create a diversion by "snapping" and having the guards kill him, but using their large number of throwing and backup weapons they instead take a cue from WWII Russia and lead a mob of frothing halflings to storm the front gate of the tower while Angus breaks in the back gate and Silas climbs up to a balcony.
Giuseppe uses his magic to kill the cupids with a bee swarm, using the river of honey as a massive spell component. The teddy bears and waves of halflings armed with throwing knives, a spork, rapier and crowbar mill about the front gate. The teddy bears fight back, wearing pots on their head, using pot lids as shields and wielding spiked wifflebats. Meanwhile Angus breaks into the back of the tower with his universal lockpick (sledgehammer) and comes face to face with an even larger group of teddybears, lead by a massive ogre sized teddy bear with a big yellow bow. Staring into the eyes of this beast he see's the depths of hell itself. His hammer would be useless, he can't get to the spiral staircase nor find any way to use the chandeliers to his advantage.
Thus he does the only logical thing, he challenges the giant teddy bear to a one on one wrestling match. This takes a few rounds as he is thouroughly unable to harm the teddy bear, and is merely buying time and creating a diversion.
Silas the gypsy rolled a natural 20 to climb the tower (which on closer inspection is not white stone but actual blocks of ivory) and broke into the white witches bedroom. The white witch meanwhile exits the other balcony and with the sound of delightful harps, fires a rainbow at Giuseppe down below. Giuseppe bravely shoves halflings in the way as he dodges for a saving throw. This is so awesome i give him a re-roll as the halflings explode and stumble around a mangled mess of blood and intenstines before falling over. Other halflings grab their sharpened bones as weapons and enter the fray. The next round Giuseppe calls forth a fog cloud to shield them as another rainbow blasts into the crowd. Unable to see whats going on Giuseppe hears the baying of dogs and the galloping of hooves and guesses there is a unicorn here somewhere. He casts a wall of thorns inside the fog to break their charge while the white witch casts "Fireworks" inside the melee, igniting her own teddy bears and slaughtering a great number of halflings. Giuseppe moves to pick the lock and enter the tower as the sound of yelping dogs and smashing brambles lets him know the thorns worked.
Meanwhile after a brief staredown, Angus grapples and rides the Teddy Bear for several rounds as it smashes around. Silas loots the room (taking amongst other things a locked, heart covered diary he surmises is the witches spell book), he then sneaks into the hall and decides to do a running jump over the internal stairwell, smash down the door and roll into an attack on the white witch. Knowing if he fails he'll plummet to his doom he takes the shot, and wins! As initiative starts for the attack he loses initiative and suffers the effect of a charm. He stops his rolling attack and goes downstairs to see whats going on.
Giuseppe opens the gates and the halflings storm in, Giuseppe casts a wall of thorns behind them to keep the unicorn out. Seeing his opportunity, Angus leaps from the top of the bear onto a chandelier, making a few incredibly difficult checks he manages to throw a candle into the bears bow and ignite it, before scaling the chandelier to the top of the tower.
Silas storms down to face Giuseppe who fails to cast sleep, and is instead stabbed and with the roll of a lucky number, kicked over the staircase.
Reaching the top of the tower the witch tries the same spell on the dwarf. Angus saving throw he decided was to say "F*&* you bitch", resulting in a very hard (-10) "crazy enough to work" saving throw, which on a 19, worked. His attack was a natural 20, which did max damage (doubling due to blunt weapons rolling exploding dice on a critical) and triggering his "Batter Up!" combat trick that allows a knockdown attempt as well, pushing her over the tower after taking 40 damage.
Clapping was heard all around as candyland faded, leaving behind only looted items (including 2 injured dogs stuck in a wall of thorns) and the cause of the problem.
A copper monkey idol with its paw outstretched. One finger on the paw now closed in, two remained. The halflings and the rest of the party left as Silas and Giuseppe greedily decided to make a wish.
With a wish they have up to 12 words, two of which are "I Wish". Half as many words are tacked onto the end (round up) to twist or completely alter the meaning. They decided to go short.
Giuseppe said "I wish for gold" the idol tacked on "That's stolen". He ended with the kings Treasury box of 720 gold. As he greedily decided this was acceptable (And transferred containers), Silas decided and went with "I wish for strength", the idol tacked on "of character" and changed his morality to Good.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Carrying forward from last weeks game the party split in two to gain help for their lost and trapped friend, Silas the gypsy. Half the party went south to the tiny Hamlet of smithwald to gain the help of its Lord, the aptly named "The Bear", last of the Pagan knights. The other returned to the main town of Corroc to fetch the wizard and halfling minion.
Upon returning to the shrine they discovered someone had come, and taken the baby but none of their items. Shrugging for now they went into the earth.
Then we did a bit of a rewind and worked out what had happened to Silas. A few hours early he falls into a dark area. Using flint and steel he lights a few sparks and pulls a root of the wall. The tinder dry root of the JuJu tree went up quickly and he realised it was a fire hazard. Using it as a torch he realised that the zombies were after him. After fumbling and dropping his sling he ran. Looping around he ended up in a dead end at a jail cell containing two zombies. He deftly picked the lock, and then went into the cell and locked it behind him. Drawing his saber he slew the two zombies easily, but found they launched deadly spores upon death. He saw some puffball mushrooms in the corner of the cell, but decided to wait it out as his torch died, slowly singing a song to drown out the groans.
Angus the dwarf shoved hot coals down the quicksand/hole/portal and then jumped through. His excellent darkvision gave him enough info to see around. Giuseppe and Bear followed soon after, bringing cedar tinder and torches. Angus saw a goblin scamper off with a sling, but couldn't catch him so let him go. They followed the singing of Silas and saw the twenty or so goblins.
Giuseppe used the roots of the tree and some fresh cut raspberry branches as spell components to cast a wall of thorns and split the zombies in half so the party could get to Silas, being too cramped for his sledgehammer Angus switched to a torch, while Bear hacked with an axe. Giuseppe used a large amount of mana on a powerful bee swarm that damaged many of the zombies, causing them to explode into spores. Silas unlocked himself and hacked into the fray.
Retreating back to the rope they saw the zombies cut off had doubled back and brought friends. Giuseppe used his last mana for a second wall of thorns and they escaped up the rope as they heard baying coming from the last open path, and spotted a spectral dog heading their way.
Investigating the alter and the tree the party discovered the altar held warnings that below was a gate to hell and that the tree was a corrupted "tree of life", a druidic holy tree. Returning to the druid grove they realised the groves elven guardians were missing, presumably in the hole and the druidess was caring for the baby. The party agreed to help the elves restore the tree in exchange for as much healing as the druidess could manage (not enough to fully heal the dwarf, but almost). They also got information and what is going on.
The caverns are full of a sentient demonic fungus, the fungus has within it many prized treasures who's sole purpose is to draw in treasure seekers. The fungus then infects the unwary and turns them into zombies, who unless burned will return to life. The party then returns underground.
They head to the supposed heart of the tree (ignoring the option to loot for items in the fungus infected chambers), and on the way encounter a trio of goblins hacking up and eating fungal zombies. Electing to talk to the goblins it turns out they are immune to the fungus (and an enemy of it for that reason). They hire the goblin archers to fire a volley of arrows in the first round of combat for a bag of apples.
Upon reaching the heart of the tree they see a Myconoid with burning coals for eyes, the goblin arrows do nothing. It doesn't even dodge, it just absorbs them, the goblins immediatly flee. The halfling hireling fires a flaming arrow, it misses but the myconid does dodge. Using this fact Giuseppe takes his prize possession, a crystal decanter of whisky (the only spirits in the whole area) and passes it to Angus the dwarf, with a single tear they throw it to the ground at the myconids feet, mixing with the burning arrow and creating a flaming mess (with the tinder roots).
Looking around the rest of the party see's two dismembered elves and two tortured elves. Silas and Bear head down and start dragging them from the flames. The myconoid casts sleep, everyone but the halfling makes their save. Giuseppe uses the mana from his familiar to cast bee swarm, but is instantly countered (The problem of using a "public" spell). The next round Giuseppe is knocked down and unconcious for a potent bolt spell (Acid Blast) with a failed dodge while Silas and Angus throw their torches and both get natural 20's and maximum damage. This kills the evil myconoid as the two torches hit directly in the eyes.
Moving to the center of the room Angus discovers amidst the tangled roots a glowing green gem that whispers for him to kill. Using his trusty spork he pries it free and passes a magic save, the tree instantly begins to heal and regrow. They bypass the now lifeless zombies and escape to the surface.
Bear departs and returns the injured elves. The party decides to curry Bear's favour and use their new political capital to remove the priest in Corroc and convert it back to a Pagan town. They first stop at Farmer MacDonald's farm (the wealthiest Yeoman) and through social combat get Marylin MacDonald (his oldest daughter) to confess to an affair with the priest. Anastasia then barters for the right to sell Marylin's right to marriage and hire her as a servant, bartering down to a mere three gold and the right to execute the priest in town.
Riding into corroc they immediately accuse the priest of being in cahoots with the demon cult and bring up his affair. Through social conflict they get the townsfolks support, start a riot and execute the priest. Silas sneaks into the church and loots its antique bible and research books while Angus and Giuseppe loot the inn of its beer and wine. They then decide to head to the king's keep as the town riots.
Thus ends session 1.
Angus gained a trademark item, Giuseppe got a lucky item and Anastasia gained two henchmen (personal items). Fate and XP were gained by all.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
One thing about hit points is they are vague, while luck points are not. A hit point is either physical damage or stamina or fate or training or morale, and the problem comes when they are merged and two parties have disagreements over how it should. Luck points create a clear distinction which allows for many new gaming opportunities.
Because a luck point is explicitly luck it allows for (should you wish it), transferability. In my experience this is the favoured trait among players. Luck points can be transferred downstream and end a lot of bad RPG tropes. When I say downstream I mean that a knight could use his luck points to keep his horse alive (instead of mounted combat lasting exactly 1 round at higher levels), but a squire could not use his luck points to keep the knight alive. This becomes exceedingly useful in naval games as well, where the 10th level PC captain is actually better in ship to ship combat than a 1st level PC captain thanks to luck points.
This leads me to point 2, scalability. Because the captain would have no rule benefits if his luck points didn't scale to deal with cannon fire, so if a cannon does "4 hull damage" or what have you, then the Captain can use 4 luck points to have the shot "narrowly miss" the ship or fail to cause any real damage, just as he could use 4 luck points to avoid a well placed dagger thrust on himself personally.
This then deals with the ability to By-Pass luck points. Now bypassing should be a rare and not in any way random event. The most common way to bypass is to simply burn through all of the luck points and deal physical damage. But certain rare elements (say a Destiny point in piecemeal, though perhaps something like a prophecy or magic spell in your game if you used the mechanic) do allow it, as does willful player choice. A player who tackles a figure in the darkness and finds out its a man in spiked armour takes luck damage, a player who chooses to tackle a man plainly wearing spiked armour after being warned, would bypass luck points.
Once you are through the luck points you can use whichever system you like, a death and dismemberment table, a simple "1 hit and you are dead", in my case I use "Body Points" to represent physical damage, this allows for a downward spiral as taking damage gives you universal penalties. It also means luck can heal in a few days but physical damage can take months. For example in my current game there is a dwarf who has healed to 24 luck points, but has taken so much body damage that he is at -5 to all die rolls (Attack, damage, etc) he makes.
Why is all of this better than HP:
Its explicit what luck points are
It ends a lot of RPG tropes (killing the horse, HP > 0 = ready to rock, Ships = Shipwreck misspelled).
It allows new options (transferring luck, deciding between lost luck and body point, etc)
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
They met with the Knight (Sir Liam) who turned out to be a dandy wannabe Frenchman with blue velvet suit, high heels and wigs. Despondent over being stuck in this backwater burg with money and nothing to spend it on. "Princess" Anastasia (being french) was an instant hit and she claimed the right of hospitality for a healing break. Giuseppe (who's player was absent this week) used the time to heal while Silas the Gypsy and Angus the Dwarf returned to the swamp to gather some of the larger furniture, the troll/earth elementals stone hands, and explore a little more. During the course of the week they found a goblin egg (fresh) and surmised the goblins from the forest were quickly moving into the swamp now that the "troll" was dead.
Anastasia accumulated a "favour" by donating the luxury item that was the candy from the troll hoard (itself from a candy village supposedly in the north woods) and tried in vain to explore the manor for secret passages. She knew they were there but could not find them. Deciding against staying longer (and having won his support as they wished) they packed up and headed to see the local "king", Michael Connolly IV.
They found the king's castle was an old Roman keep of simple design, overgrown with ivy and surrounded by a small town and a wooden palisade. The town was smaller than Corroc (the main town in the region) but much nicer with cobblestone roads and many wood and stone cottages. The two boasted a weapon-smith, armourer and blacksmith, so Silas the Gypsy put in an order for Studded leather armour and some small weapon purchases, while Angus the dwarf wanted a sledgehammer made from the two stone troll fists. I found that idea awesome. This would take a few weeks to make, so Anastasia took the local king up on the right of hospitality, claiming to be looking for a prospective husband. As the king and several of the local knights were single, this was seen as a welcome omen, especially given the news of a recent treasure stockpile from the local bog, and now news of a troll slaying.
Investigating the castle they discovered one of the walls was shoddily repaired with cobblestones and gypsum, and the king seemed very interested to know if Angus had any traditional dwarven skills, taking the hint of why Ivy was allowed to hide the walls, Angus indicated he was in fact a "master mason" and endeared himself. Silas spoke with the kennel master and borrowed some studded leather barding for his dog while Anastasia explored the castle and discovered a local knight errant was lain up from a battle. Prying further they discovered why, and why no game was provided at dinner. The royal preserve had been infested by a dangerous monster, a green and black tiger known now as the "Keltic Tiger". The Errant Sir Frodrick had rode out with mail, lance, squire and a full set of hounds and returned barely alive on an injured horse. The intrigued them, but the full moon was nearing and they wished to search for the cult in the south wood.
So south they went, Angus picking up the leather armour he ordered, and they used the powerful tracking talents of Silas to locate the cults shrine, a charred grove in the woods, a giant blackened dead tree overlooking a smooth stone slab in a field of ash. Investigating before nightfall they decided it was a shrine to Baphomet the corrupter, and very old. Silas hid in the tree with his sling, sabre and some knives. Angus, Anastasia (borrowing Giuseppe's rapier) and Silas dog hid in the treeline. They waited as robed cultists stood chanting (4) and 2 naked dancers in leather masks created a bonfire at the base of the slab. From the north came a knight in black mail and full helm, leading a horse, a red robed priest and 2 dagger wielding strongmen carrying a palanquin chair, seated on it being a large black furred goat-man. This is when tragedy struck and the knight spotted Angus and charged, followed by the Goat-man (the whispered "Black Goat of the Woods"..queue groans). Angus (level 2) went toe to toe with the Black Knight (level 5) and the black goat, while Silas dropped a cultist and Anastasia and the dog continued to hide.
Angus scored a good hit, but also suffered a hefty blow (despite having the range advantage), so the next round Silas sicked the dog on the black goat, while Anastasia used wit and a thrown dagger to take out the priest and silas continued to rain death as the cultists began climbing the tree). The dog rolled a great attack, and decided to attempt an overbear (Accruing risky penalties), the black goat fumbled the defense and was tackled, now stuck in a grapple with a dog savagely lashing into its throat. Angus fumbled and lodged his troll-hammer into a tree, taking more damage, and then had to draw his backup weapon... his original iron sledgehammer (we laughed when he said he was carrying both). This continue for a few rounds, with Anastasia stuck in a sword fight with two knife wielding cultists, the dog managed to rip the Black Goat to bits (with Silas contributing his luck points to keep it alive) while Silas swung through the branches slaying the cultists as they managed to climb up in a trickle.
Angus was in bad shaped, he burned all of his fate points for more luck, and still kept taking critical after critical, on the verge of death he decided he'd try to move to the high ground, all he needed to do was win initiative, his d12 against the knights d8. He failed and the knight stabbed in him the back, and it looked like curtains. Anastasia pointed out that she was technically his employer, and he was a lower level (2 to her 3) so she could use her luck points on him, so she burned through all 10 and left him 1 body point above death. He then took the high ground and swing with a -5 universal penalty, and on his first good roll he got a natural 20, then came damage, a 1. Putting aside his giant scowl he remembered he was a specialist, and thus re-rolled damage for an 8, plus his high strength he managed to do enough damage to down the knight. Anastasia however was nearly pummeled to death (only having 5 body points) and used up all 3 of her fate points on more luck points fighting these mooks, managing to drop one. After missing with his thrown hammer, Angus tried plan b. His last item, a starting item of his choice, a spork.
The thrown spork killed the strongman who was busy wailing on the princess with a critical hit.
They tended to the wooden, stabilized the priest and as many cultists as possible for (show)trial and captured the knight's horse, before deciding to sleep while Silas guarded. Silas then decided to dig around the base of the altar for buried treasure. The party awoke to find Silas missing, and discovered quicksand around the altar that seemed almost sentient as it writhed and moved.
Beaten and near dead, and now missing a key party member (with the mage back in town) they debate what to do.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Combat tricks represent the different actions a trained warrior is capable of reflexively executing. These actions are voluntary options that become available when certain trigger conditions appear, the warrior then gains the option to use the trick. For example, the ‘quick sweep’ trick requires the warrior be knocked prone. If the warrior is knocked prone, the warrior may use the ‘quick sweep’ trick immediately.
The most common trigger condition is difficulty. Difficulty represents the level of training a warrior must have attained to use the trick. This is based upon the warriors base combat modifier, and any universal modifiers for injuries or encumbrance. If this value is higher than the difficulty, the trick can be used.
Learning new combat tricks
The most common method of learning new techniques is through training. If a warrior is taught a technique by a mentor it takes 1 day of practice per point of difficulty for the combat trick. The most common barrier to training is trust. Combat techniques are dangerous weapons in the wrong hands and even amoral warriors must worry about spending so much time with a stranger who may poison them in closer quarters (as everyone needs to sleep). This will lead warriors to attempt to recover ancient training manuals or scrolls.
If a warrior finds a combat trick or maneuver in an ancient (or modern) text or scroll he can attempt to recreate it from instruction. The warrior must spend 1 (cumulative) day practicing per difficulty of the trick. At the end of that time the warrior may make an intelligence check to attempt to learn the trick. If the warrior fails, they must begin the procedure anew.
A warrior may also choose to recreate a maneuver they have seen in action. This takes a base time of 1 season per difficulty of the trick. If the warrior trains in a secluded area, this is reduced to 1 week per difficulty point of the trick. If the warrior trains in an area full of distractions (like a city) this time is doubled to two seasons per difficulty point. At the end of this period, an intelligence check must be made, if it is failed the warrior must begin again. Having proper training grounds will give a re-roll to the intelligence check.
The Dragon Scroll
Please select a combat trick from the drop down list.
Effect: The warrior makes a hard (-5) attack roll against the target, if this connects the target must make a health check or be knocked unconcious.
Limitations: The target must be surprised, unaware or somehow unable to defend against the attack.
Crazy Weapon Tricks!
Difficulty: 3 per dot size of weapon
Effect: The warrior pulls off a crazy maneuver resulting in a flurry of damage. This maneuver is so frickin rad I cannot describe it. The warrior must describe it, with sound effects. You may roll the damage die again, if it is less than the previous damage roll you may add it to the damage total and roll yet again. Continue until you fail to roll less than your previous roll. A warrior with a dagger could thus roll a 4, followed by a 3,2 and 1 if he were lucky.
Limitations: The warrior must be specialized with the weapon and have just struck the target. Each version of this trick only works for one weapon. Thus 'Crazy weapon tricks!' for a scimitar would not apply to a broadsword, they are two seperate tricks.
Effect: The warrior's unarmed attack gains the 'devastating' tag.
Limitations: The warrior's unarmed attacks cannot currently have a conflicting tag (such as 'vicious')
Effect: The warrior may make a comparative strength check with the target. If the warrior wins the target suffers a strength die of additional damage.
Limitations: The warrior must have just scored a critical hit in a grapple.
Effect: The warrior's unarmed attacks are considered slashing attacks; This will increase the die size by one category.
Limitations: The warrior may not hold any items in their hands when using this trick and must pretend to speak in dubbing.
Effect: The warrior's unarmed attack gains the 'vicious' tag.
Limitations: The warrior's unarmed attacks cannot currently have a conflicting tag (such as 'devastating')
Effect: The warrior's unarmed attacks gain the 'defensive' tag. This will allow a parry attempt.
Limitations: The warrior must not be wielding a weapon in either hand.
Throw the Gun!
Effect: The warrior throws an empty firearm at the target; If this connects the warrior rolls a luck die and costs the target that many luck points.
Limitations: The warrior must have fired the weapon until it was empty at the target. More than half of the shots must have connected(not dodged or blocked) and have dealt no damage to the target. The fire must have been completely ineffective.
Difficulty: 2 cumulative per previous attack
Effect: The warrior may make a free unarmed attack with a -2 penalty per previous attack.
Limitations: The warrior must have a free hand and must have hit with their previous attack. The warrior may not have been struck since their previous attack.
Effect: The warrior may make an immediate standard attack upon his opponent. If this attack connects it grants the warrior +1 awesomeness per point of damage dealt.
Limitations: The warrior must have just disarmed his opponent and successfully grabbed the weapon in a free hand. The free attack is with the opponent's weapon.
Difficulty: 2(cumulative) per previous parry
Effect: The warrior may make an extra parry against an attack coming from any angle.
Limitations: If the attack is coming from an angle the warrior could not normally parry, only a +1 bonus is applied(including magic). The warrior still cannot parry with or against a weapon that disallows a parry.
Effect: The warrior may make a hard (-5)agility check to throw an opponent prone behind him.
Limitations: The warrior must have just succeeded with an unarmed parry to a charging opponent. The opponent cannot have a larger size modifier than the warrior.
Effect: If the warrior can pass an agility check, the warrior may make a free and immediate 'knock down' trip attack against their opponent.
Limitations: The warrior must have just been knocked prone by their opponent.
Effect: The warrior charges at their opponent and leaps into the air to chest height, most likely gaining the high ground benefit.
Limitations: The warrior must announce this trick before rolling initiative, the warrior cannot make a defense roll before their attack. If the warrior suffers a critical hit the warrior is knocked prone.
Effect: The warrior may parry with a pole weapon as if it had the defensive tag.
Limitations: The warrior must be wielding a pole weapon in two hands.
Sword and Buckler
Effect: The warrior may wield a 'hand and a half' weapon in two hands for an attack, and still hold and block with a small shield.
Limitations: The warrior must have one initiative against any opponents attacking the warrior.
Effect: The warrior may make an immediate 'knock down' attack against his opponent. The warrior may add their shield's dot size to their attack roll.
Limitations: The warrior's opponent must have just scored an epic failure in an attack against the warrior.
Effect: The warrior may make an immediate attack with his or her off-hand.
Limitations: The warrior's opponent must have just been knocked 'off balance' by the warrior.
Effect: The warrior may make an immediate standard or knock-down attack with their shield.
Limitations: The warrior must have just rolled an epic success on a defense roll while blocking with a small or medium shield, or blocked by a margin of 5 or more with a small shield.
Effect: The warrior may attempt to block an attack against an ally adjacent to the warrior.
Limitations: The warrior must be holding a large shield.
Effect: The warrior deals a strength die of shock damage.
Limitations: The warrior must have just connected with a grapple attack on either an epic success or a lucky number. This does not count as the opportunity attack.
Effect: The warrior may cancel their current attack, and instead launch a power attack. They do not suffer any of the normal penalties for a power attack.
Limitations: The target must have just suffered an epic failure on a defense roll against the warrior's attack.
Effect: The warrior may launch a free attack against their opponent.
Limitations: The warrior must have just scored an epic success or succeed by 5 or more with a defense roll against the opponent, while using a parry.
Effect: The warrior deals a strength die of shock damage to an opponent, allowing for a re-roll to choose the higher result.
Limitations: The warrior must have just scored an epic success on a defense roll versus a charging opponent with an equal or lesser size modifier.
Effect: The warrior may launch a free 'headbutt' attack. If this attack connects it deals 1d4 shock damage to both the warrior and the target. If either combatant is wearing a helmet they suffer 1 less damage. If either combatant is wearing a metal helmet their opponent suffers regular damage, not shock damage.
Limitations: The warrior must have just been struck with a grapple attack by a humanoid of the same size modifier.
Effect: The warrior may make a free attack on an opponent. If this attack connects it deals a strength die of damage.
Limitations: The warrior must have just knocked their opponent prone in front of them.
Effect: The warrior may throw their opponent a number of feet equal to the warrior's strength score, this can take the form of an attack against another target.
Limitations: The warrior must have just struck their opponent with a grapple attack that rolled a lucky number. This does not count as the opportunity attack. The opponent may not have a larger size modifier than the warrior.
Effect: The warrior may cancel their regular attack, and instead declare a pommel strike before any attacks are rolled. The warrior re-rolls their initiative with a speed of 8.
Limitations: The pommel strike will only deal a d2 blunt or piercing damage and has a range of 1. The weapon must be a swung weapon and cannot be a flail or pole weapon.
Coup de Grace
Effect: The warrior may convert a hit into a critical hit automatically.
Limitations: The warrior's target must be prone.
Difficulty: 2 per additional arrow
Effect: The warrior fires multiple arrows from a bow at once. No other players are permitted to complain about the physics of this maneuver.
Limitations: The warrior must be wielding a bow. The warrior rolls one attack roll for each arrow, but all attacks use the worst roll. No single target can be the target of more arrows than its size modifier, to minimum of 1.
Trail of Carnage
Difficulty: 2 per previous attack roll from the initial shot
Effect: The warrior bolt, bullet or arrow from the warrior travels through the first opponent’s body and slams into a target directly behind. The warrior makes a fresh attack roll against the new target.
Limitations: The warrior must be using a ‘high powered’ weapon and have just slain the first target. The attack against the next target will be resolved with a damage die one lower than the previous attack. Thus this will eventually fizzle out to a d2 and then nothing.
Effect: The warrior fires a bolt, arrow or thrown weapon into the path of (or perhaps directly into) the targets feet, causing an additional knockdown attempt as they risk tripping. This does not require an additional attack roll.
Limitations: The warrior must be using a weapon that has ammunition capable of tripping over; a firearm for example would not work unless body point damage is dealt. The attack roll must have been a lucky number, note that this does not count as the opportunity attack.
Effect: The warrior may grab both ends of a flail they are wielding and parry incoming attacks with the weapons chain. The flail gains the ‘defensive’ tag.
Limitations: The warrior must be wielding a flail that does not have the ‘vicious’ tag and must have a free hand.
Effect: The warrior may make a free disarm attack against an opponent.
Limitations: The warrior must have a higher initiative than the target and just successfully avoided an attack with the roll of a lucky number, while using a cape or cloak to block. This does not count as the opportunity attack.
Effect: The warrior may add the effect of a 'Knock Down' to their attack in addition to regular damage.
Limitations: The warrior must have just hit an opponent with a two handed blunt weapon, on either an epic success or a power attack.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
The gist is to either A) have a medusa and a vampire teamed up or my personal favourite B) have a vampire pretending to be a medusa.
In the case of B the vampire's castle would be conspicuously festooned with very well made marble statues of warriors and common folk with a look of abject terror on their face. All of the mirrors would have been smashed to pieces, with many small breed pet snakes roaming loose. The crumbling Gothic castle would have much neoclassical add-ons and ancient antiquities. Portraits of individuals in classic swords and sandals attire, columns, Greek phrases over the archways.
The vampire herself would either have a wig of live snakes, dead snakes or a magical glamour/illusion depending on the level of magic in the world. Clues could (and should) be available in the journals that the vampire was enthralled by the ancient era in life and views hiding from the sun as an analogy for the medusa having to hide from the world.
In either A or B the gamist situation has players looking in vain into a mirror to avoid being turned to stone, and being unable to see or strike at the "medusa" unless they risk a glance and realise it is not a medusa at all.
Unfortunately I just can't see a place to put such an encounter for the time being.
Also: The updated piecemeal exe and text files have been released.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Some are fairly quick add ins (a few new combat tricks) as content. Others deal with the success of a previous idea and making its mechanic more integral. In this case the mechanic is deciding the nature of an attack after the roll (but before the defense roll), this adds quick and easy tactics to the roll. Shield blocking, Power attacks and wild attacks will all use this mechanic now (fully removing the last of the old combat system).
Social combat is getting a bit of a trim down and some inclusion of the same mechanic. The rules for possession are getting an update, instead of a normal "debate" they now represent attacks directly on the vices of the characters, abstracted to a number of "soul points" and the ability to use luck points. This really gives something for bard characters to do in dungeons.
Expect the updated version (and text dump that goes with it) very soon.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
So, being all settled in from Disney World it was back to session 2. We left the party camped out on top of a giant burial mound/cairn in the bog, starting excavations when they heard moaning coming out of the swamp. We also added in a new player, a dwarven warrior whom we decided would take the role of one of the labourers. The warrior was thus armed with just an iron sledgehammer. Unable to determine the numbers, the local wizard/thief Guiseppe decides to somersault off his horse and land at the hill edge, shining his lantern into the darkness in a bit to impress the "princess" Anastasia. He fumbles and rolls down the hill, face to face with 8 "bog people" warriors, large wicker shields, iron javelins and crude iron cleavers.
Anastasia tries to rally the labourers into a defense force but fails, a point punctuated by a volley of bog people javelins that slay 4 of them. Silas the gypsy misses with a sling bullet. The new dwarf "Angus" gets a plan I hadn't thought off, pointing out its a cairn that it must therefore have large stones requiring all of these labourers to move, Angus makes a strength check (bolstered by his skill "Heavy Lifting" and rolls a boulder down the hill at the advancing column. The rock crushes and destroys all but one of the bog people and severely injures Guiseppe, digging deep into his body points and giving a bad penalty. Anastasia then manages to remove a "gently used" javelin and throw it back, injuring the bog person, while Guiseppe manages to dodge a blow. Silas makes a running leap and attempts a terribly dangerous leap attack to the bog person at the bottom of the hill. Silas makes the brutal strength and agility checks but misses the attack. The dwarf decides to slowly climb down while Guiseppe gets a lucky shot, dealing repeating damage to the undead and felling it.
The bog people were from a bronze age culture but they are armed with recent (and crude) weapons from bog iron. Silas follows their tracks and concludes they came from deeper into the bog and not from within the mound. Digging down through the roof, the dwarf is tied off and smashes into the mounds main hall. Finding it branches two ways he goes left and finds it runs to a well preserved sealed wooden door, going back the other way he finds it leads to a rotted out and crumbling door. The princess and the gypsy decide to come down and help out while Guiseppe stays up top. Breaking down the door with the ultimate thief tool (a sledgehammer) they use the wreckage to set off some traps. They move into a mass burial chamber of a handful of people adorned in simple silver jewellery which they promptly loot en Mass. Then they feel sleepy and must deal with a possession attempt from the angry ghosts, this used social combat mechanics.
As they had no real background yet I used the order of the "d30" random background generator for each of the "social attacks" to ask a background question, the answer being the defense statement against the ghosts attack. This quickly fleshed out some background as it turns out that Angus the dwarf wants his old job back because it monotonous but safe, even if it did give him a scar due to a work accident. Silas it turns out had a facial scar as well, from a beating his brother gave him when he failed to keep his sister safe and alive, thus he is disowned. Anastasia it was revealed was the daughter of a wealthy merchant and had beaten her rival in a great con.
Despite her mechanical advantage Anastasia continually got beaten buy her ghost and nearly lost her soul, thankfully Silas was able to defeat his ghost (and command it into the ether) and help Anastasia drive off her ghost.
Taking their silver jewelry they motioned for Guiseppe to come down and broke down the wall to the other chamber. Angus saw a skeletal figure holding a mud caked sword sitting in a large throne made of antlers, atop a stone slap, surrounded by clay pots and headed closer to investigate. Guiseppe decided to throw a stone at the sword from his sling (sensing an undead trap). It kind of worked. A spectral king stood up from the throne (leaving the corpse behind) wearing the physical crown and grabbed the sword, approaching Silas.
Anastasia attempted to parlay in ancient Greek but it was too late, Angus however seemed to have been bypassed, and decided to look in a pot. They were full of gold. A battle ensued with the ghost. Silas was unable to harm the ghost and when smashing the body failed to do anything Angus joined in to discover smashing the crown did nothing as well. Giuseppe set fire to the corpse and decided to retreat to the hole they dug, knowing the undead were damaged by the sun. Thankfully the king had fumbled and lost a round of combat. Unable to follow them into the light the king waited in the shadows. The labourers then dug the roof out from over top of the throne chamber and drop in a bonfire or two. By the time they clambered down there the king had fled through an escape passage with his sword, leaving the party with a whopping 290 gold coins (local exchange equivalent to $870,000).
Returning to town they discovered that as news of their wealth spread money grubbers came out of the woodwork. Deciding to try and find some spells for Giuseppe they hired the local hunter for a whopping 15 gold coins (price gouging) to take them to a druid circle in the southern woods. Here they found an idyllic glade and they offered some rare fungus and the spells found on the wooden log as an offering.
Entering the glade they found it empty, save for three standing stones each inscribed with a spell. View the Veil (detect magic), Bee Swarm (cone of effect spell) and Wall of Thorns (barrier spell). They also found a tree covered with many different types of fruit (peach, pear, apple, gooseberry) and a spring of clear water. Calling out to the woods (being unable to spot anyone hiding) revealed a robed woman who asked what they wanted.
A short (and botched) conversation later she told them to leave, had two elven guards step out and suggested they not return, but if they seek to find more secrets in the woods that there is an evil cult in the woods to the west, who meet on the full moon.
The party headed south to the village of Smithwald (8 houses, a smithy and a fest hall) and the princess got lodging with the local pagan knight, Sir Darnan "the bear" and agreed to have the priest disgraced in exchange for support and a token parcel of land. Finally they decided to head to the estate of Sir Liam, the remaining knight in the region (beyond the king and his household knights). Cutting through the applemarsh swamp they decided to try and hunt down the troll they heard rumours was harassing the area and with the help of their dog, they tracked it to its cave.
Using a brilliant trap of lamp oil, a wall of thorns and a caber toss they decided to ambush the troll as it arose for the night. When the troll awoke however, they discovered it was an earth elemental, as it turns out quite a nasty one. The creature was a bearded man 12 feet tall and covered in moss and roots.. Still, they set it on fire, hit it with a caber (read thrown tree) and finally had the dwarf leap from on high and crack it between the shoulders with an iron sledgehammer to slay it. Its corpse turned to stone and crumbled.
In its lair they found halfling (leprechaun) skeletons, old furniture, a bag of candy, an Iron bastard sword and some malnourished halfings in cages. The halfling's had left a white witches enchanted land to the north and tried to return home, only to find it flooded and be ambushed by the troll. Anastasia asked the import question in light of recent events "Do you have any plow experience?". Who else was going to work their new land?
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I'd suggest you give it a read. No article of my own today as I'm still recouping from a trip to Disneyworld.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
The party thus far:
Anastasia the Con woman: Posing as a French Princess, 2 part bard and 1 part rogue.
Silas the Gypsy: 2 part rogue, 1 part warrior. Knack with a sling and with a trained German Shepherd.
Giuseppe the Sicilian: 2 part wizard, 1 part rogue. The only one with a horse and a pile of coin.
So they started by assigning relationship tags to each other. Giuseppe and Silas tagged each other as "Like Family" and decided they had grown up together. Anastasia tagged Silas as owing a "life debt" (deciding he had sprung her from jail) and Silas tagged Anastasia as someone he feels protective of, while Giuseppe tagged Anastasia that he had a romantic interest in her (she had no such return feelings).
And so they wind up in Corroc a backwater of the backwater Celtic village, converted to the faith of St. Heimlech in the last generation or so. The town had 500 or less people in it (no census) and was run by the "King" Michael the 4th in his run down keep a half days travel to the north. The entire kingdom had under a thousand people in it. This place was so backwater that the exchange rate on metal coins was about 10x normal, but supplies to buy would be extremely limited.
Corroc is a sleepy little town, a recently built modern inn, only a few years old, a stone church and very little else. A large number of houses clustered behind a thin wooden wall with a stone base for farming the surrounding area. A lumber camp a few hours away in the south wood. To the west is the most noticeable attraction, once a lake now a drying bog. A river has shifted for unknown reasons, and loch connelly is drying out into a bog, and revealing clues of ruins from long dead barrow kings. Money to be had.
The party moved into the inn, the "princess" demanding the local lord fun her room as a visiting noble, the innkeeper obliges, Silas loses at gambling (despite being a seasoned gambler) to two old farmers and has Giuseppe bail him out. Giuseppe bets double or nothing and uses his sleep spell (And all of his mana) to have them pass out, he then cheats on the roll and screams victory. The men ashamed at having passed out from a few drinks pay up.
Getting the lay of the land, and weirded out by rumours of the walking dead in the bog eating the last knight who came through (who may have just gotten drunk and wandered off), they decide to follow local talk of standing stones in the east in a sandy scrub land. They head south around the bog (extending their trip to a few days). On the way there they find a hastily constructed and abandoned shack near the old dry riverbed and investigate.
Using knowledge of prospecting Anastasia notices digging in the riverbed, using knowledge of herbalism, Giuseppe notices that work was done to brew some kind of fungal broth, and some of it had been burnt and stained the rocks. Examining the digging in the riverbed Giuseppe finds that fungus has been farmed and harvest there, a psychotropic fungus. He decides to take the remaining fungus and spoil next year's harvest, hoping to find use as a spell component.
Moving on they enter the scrub land, nothing but hills, rocks, sandy soil, thorn and juniper bushes. They see one tall birch tree and notice a corpse at its base. After using a handful of forensic skills Giuseppe decides it was a religious sacrifice and they enter on their guard, still hunting the standing stones. They head to the tallest hill and look around, Silas rolls a nat20 and spots a triangle of giant round stones overgrown. Sneaking down he notices it is a triangle of many small stones between the three, with a stone slap and some recently disturbed dust. Deciding its safe he calls for the other two.
Investigating the area they find two logs cut in half and inscribed with symbols below the dust. Examining the logs with translate magic Giuseppe discovers it is a fog spell. Investigating the area they decide its a cult to a nature spirit Khornunnous, a Deity of primal wrath and nature's fury. They find evidence of human sacrifice including a pit with a half dozen bodies, and a handful of copper and rotting clothing. Silas also finds a knife carved from a human bone and decides to keep it. Noting the age of the freshest body in the pit they decide they were last here three days ago, during the full moon and won't likely be back for a month. They decide to further explore the scrub land. They find another dry river bed, now overgrown with shrubs and weeds and decide to follow it south. Eventually they notice several acres of flat land amongst the hills. They camp and spent the rest of the day exploring the area, while hunting for a groundhog Silas sees the outline of a stone foundation. Digging at where the storm cellar would be with a cut sapling and their hands they find an air pocket, and decide to return with labourers.
Heading back to Corroc they are awoken by the dog to something in the darkness. Giuseppe shines his lantern through the darkness and spots a darting humanoid figure. Catching it again he sees it is a feral creature, grey skin, no hair, yellow eyes, pointy ears and pointier teeth. Deciding it must be one of the ghouls the "king" has put a bounty on they try to lure it closer, it responds with the throw of a crude fire hardened wood javelin, several others fly into the camp. Silas lets fly with a sling stone and knocks it dead with a critical hit, the ghouls make their morale check with an 18. Not wanting to sick his dog on an unknown number of ghouls they scan the darkness as javelins keep flying in. Anastasia hides behind the horse while Giuseppe shines his lantern around like a spotlight and Silas scans for a target, dodging javelins as they go. Anastasia decides to throw a piece of burning wood into the field like a flair, and rolls an 18, her lucky number. Deciding the opportunity attack will be potentially hitting a ghoul, she rolls the attack but narrowly misses. Still, the attack lights one up for next rounds attack. Silas cracks its skull and sends it down while Giuseppe manages to light up another one, the ghouls roll a second 18 for morale. This round Anastasia throws a piece of burning log and hits the ghoul, reducing it to 1 body point above KO and hideous penalties (-5), while Silas manages to spot and kill another ghoul. They finish off the injured ghouls and capture the burned ghoul as it tries to crawl away.
Giuseppe takes the ghoul ears and rides back, using the bounty to hire labourers. Anastasia starts trying to interpret the Ghouls language to interrogate it, knowing it will take a few days. When Giuseppe returns with men they head to the ruin site and dig up several building, finding a few copper trinkets and some silver cutlery, as well as a silver ring signifying the governor of a merchant house from ages past, thus deciding this must have been a stopping point for trade to a wealthier city, which they surmise is in the bog.
Anastasia has been able to interrogate the Ghoul as to where its people are "So they can avoid there" and promises food and the ghouls freedom, passing the lie check and having won the social combat the Ghoul explains where its people live in the north west of the bog. Anastasia then kills the ghoul and removes its ears for the bounty. Giuseppe decides to remove the ghouls eyes as spell components.
The party then returns to Corroc and decides they need to research any records on the bog, the most likely place is the church records. The church demands a tithe of 3 gold (they would be penniless if they paid) or help rooting out a local cult to "dark pagan gods who refuse the teachings of St. Heimlech". The priest needs a noble to dispense justice and wants the "princess" to act as judge. The party agrees to help with the cult and weighs between actually trying to find a cult or just calling some friendless loner a witch before going with plan C, robbing the church on the dark moonless night.
The church has three entry points the barred main double doors, the locked side door that leads directly to the priests cramped bedroom or the bell tower. Silas climbs the bell tower (being the only one with climb walls) and lowers a rope for the other two to climb up. Looking at the door into the church Giuseppe checks to see if the hinges are rusty and they are. None of them has oil but Giuseppe remembers the ghoul eyes and squishes them into the hinges, and sure enough it works. Not wanting to risky the creaky stairs Silas tries to lower himself by the rope, but rolls a 2 on a strength check. Not wanting to wake the altar boys asleep on the pews he uses his fate for a re-roll, and gets another 2. Flump, he wakes one of the altar boys. Giuseppe steps in and casts sleep on the alter boy, and then goes down the stair, avoiding waking anyone. They sneak to the alter and unlock the door to the basement, forgetting to check the hinges it squeaks..baited breath but no one wakes. Giuseppe lights his lantern from a candle and heads to the basement, closing the door behind them.
The dank basement had a deep stone hall or a wooden door to their right, first checking for sounds of movement, Silas picks the lock and enters the wooden door. They find a cramped library with a giant ornate bible (easily worth 40 or 50 gold) and several history texts on the side wall. Flipping through them Giuseppe notices one book on ancient history mentions several burial mounds of ancient princes in the bog, on a dog eared page. This leads them to believe one of the other adventurers in the last few years may have gone looking for it.
Then they decide to head down the stone corridor, and notice skeletons in burial chambers inset into the walls clutching crucifixes and wearing rotted white robes. Silas nicks six gold wedding rings off the corpses. Moving to the end of the hall they find two stone sarcophagi and weigh whether or not they can silently loot them.
Anastasia has been keeping watch in the bell tower and notices a light shine from one of the town houses as a curtain opens, and a figure rolls out and begin walking to the church. Unsure what to do she pulls up the rope and watches the figure move up to the church, and then readies a throwing knife..the figure walks to the priests room, drunkenly fumbles with keys and then slams the door.
Hearing a door slam, the two thieves decide to bail and carefully sneak back out. Hearing the drunken singing of the priest as he gets ready for bed they manage to sneak out and leave through the bell tower, Anastasia and Giuseppe climbing down the rope before Silas unties it and climbs down. The next day Anastasia finds out the room the priest was in belonged to the daughter of the wealth Yeoman farmer. Keeping that information for latter the party rehires their labourers , 9 of them, and heads to the bog to dig up a mound.
Night one of the digging, moans come from the surrounding bog...
Thus ending the session.