Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pahvelorn - New PC's and Henchmen

Pahvelorn, the Pits of waste and despair...

The session before last (A lovely romp through hill, dale, and cliffhanging barrow) another PC was lost. Ogam the reluctant magic-user plummeted to his death trying to leap over the corner of a spiked pit.  Ogam is the 3rd of a line of magic users replaced by their hench-people to meet his fate within the maze of Phavelorn.  Margo died to the fists of a disgruntled skeleton in the Necromancer's villa.  His henchman Higgans (a man of a truly evil aspect, but solidly competent) died from a swarm of skeletal rats in the the Cursed Shrine outside the pit, and now Ogam, who was originally hired to carry a lantern and was just coming into his own as a caster, plummeted to his death fleeing giant ceramic ant automatons in the forgotten crypt of an imprisoned sorcerer.

Ogam was replaced by the most dubious mage yet, a twelve year old sorceress who was "rescued" from an evil and insane wizard who's main hobby was transforming men into shaggy beast monsters. Eraria is a former street urchin, with some magical facility who quickly and without hesitation switched sides when her master was killed.   It is not in doubt that she is a black-hearted occultist, but she knows a good amount of magic and currently has the libraries of the four other dead wizards that have been part of the party as well as a wealth of scrolls and codex's recovered from the ruins.

Eraria, evil tween sorceress
Eraria is perhaps judged too harshly above, as it's not as if she's ever had a chance to be good, or seen anything positive come out of it.  One can only hope that the exposure to the party will change her for the better.  Even the rat worshiping mercenary attitude of Beni Profane would be an improvement on the insane demon pacting philosophies of Louvritar the Bleak Eyed, Eraria's former master.  Such change seems unlikely though, as Eraria is perhaps the most intelligent of the party and seems set in her ways already, having taken on an orphan named Genk as an apprentice to lead down the path of dark sorcery.

Another recent addition to the Phavelorn party is "Donkeyteeth" an orphan recruited by Beni to act as his "apprentice" in the honorable trade of rat catching, the dubious trade of tomb vandalism and the unwholesome trade of putting poison arrows through the eyes of anything questionable, human, beast or entity.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Drunk in Denethix - ASE Carousing Table

Oh the hijinx you'll have!

Memories are blurry
Below is the carousing table I'll be using for Denethix.  Rules are standard, pay your gold and roll a save vs. poison.  If you succeed you gain XP equal to the GP spent and roll on the table below for consequences with a +1 bonus for every point you made your save by.  If you fail just roll on the table and don't ask about XP.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Price of Knowledge - Carousing for ASE Scientists

Experimentation – ASE Scientist Carousing Table
Scientists are one of the more ridiculous classes in Anomalous Subsurface Environment, and one of the most flavorful.  Below is a carousing table for scientist, who may alternatively decide to spend money “Experimenting” rather than simply getting smashed on fermented caterpillars, chasing around nightclub performers and brawling.

"Welcome to the Temple of Science! - Consider this Bath of Gamma Rays a Bath of Honor!"
Below is a ranked table – the Scientist must roll on it regardless of the success of her save vs. poison.  Should the Scientist make the save however she will automatically gain XP equal to the money invested (as opposed to simply losing the money invested with no gain) and may add the number of points he or she made the save by to the roll (the results tend to be better that way).

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Map Experiment

This map experiment was thought up and arranged by Apis Furioso of Pilgrim's Guide to The Zeitgeist, and several other Tabletop blogosphere notables produced the room descriptions.  I drew the map and edited stuff to fit. Thanks to everyone involved - all cliches and typos are my doing.

Feast Hall of Len the Voracious
Gus L – Map and Editing

Seven contributors have given some info about a different room for a map, below are the keyed rooms that they created and I drew a map up for, minor editing has been done to place the rooms in a more sensible manner and to follow a general theme based on the rooms provided.  Level is not really a consideration for this locale as it is more atmospheric than challenging, perhaps a place to find a clue to greater things or simply a way to introduce a terrible demon to your game.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

2012 - Best moments.


Yes this is a best of post, but hold on a moment before you sigh and wander - it's a best of post of things that I've experienced playing games in the past year.  I think there's tricks, traps and monster ideas in here worthy of stealing or adapting to almost any setting.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Killing a PC....Death in Old School D&D Games

So last night was the first time I've killed a PC in  Google + game while acting as a GM, it's a strange thing but it got me thinking about character death, lethality and GMing.  Contrary to popular opinion I don't think there should be a great deal of character death in an old school game of D&D.  I think endless character deaths are boring, and each one should ideally have an effect of future play both in how the player's approach adventuring and the overall story of the party.

So the death went down like this:  Huxley Chuff was a 2nd level ASE cleric devoted to the "God of Lost Things", he was a great character and his player is quite game for whatever sort of in world shenanigans I throw at his PC's.  He's one of those players that actually thinks about the game world and schemes up faction interactions and uses the lore.  This is great to see as a GM, so needless to say I felt a little bad about Huxley's death.  I don't feel terrible though because the player had several opportunities to avoid it by not taking a risk for an obvious reward.

Huxley, while exploring a trapped chamber knowingly activated some guardian statutes and lost initiative while alone in the room.  One of the statutes rolled really good and pulped him despite his magic shield.  The other stepped into the hall and crushed the party illusionist, and smashed a henchman. 

I allow a saving throw vs. death for getting killed in battle (unless it's a spectacular sort of getting killed) and for most traps.  These not quite dead deaths result in penalties to the characters - usually one point permanent stat loss with a gruesome story attached.

For example - Huxley had previously taken a goblin boss's saber to the gut, but made his saving throw vs. death.  I gave him a permanently weakened lung and a loss of one point of CON as a result.  The previously mentioned illusionist survived her statute smashing but eneded up with a badly broken arm and a permanent loss of one STR point.  Another character has suffered turning purple from poison and developing a speach impediment (-1 CHR).

This gets me to what I've learned about handling high lethality games.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Firearms Fumbles

Firearms are something I end up using in my games, and I think a lot of folks do on G+.  As such I've made up a special d30 fumble table.  My intent is for firearm fumbles to occur more often, while muscle powered weapons will receive a "save vs. fumble".  I think the table below offers a nice selection of bad things, for the inconvenient to the lethal.  I may create a "wands and ray guns" fumble table as well in the future.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Pahvelorn - These Ziggurats Contain no Gold, Only Death!

The band hadn’t had a good score since Illum Zugot where the priest king had been willing to pay to have the ancient barrows around his city cleansed, and the barrows themselves had been full  of wealth. Still it was again into the pit of Pahvelorn, an giant chasm, ripped from the earth.
The adventurers had already come down though the buried city, dispatched an incompetent necromancer, who’d been more irksome than dangerous, and entered one of the stone barrows beneath the city.  Three stone sentries containing buried magicians and unspeakable guardians.  They’d imagined this one would be better than the first which had cost the party it’s most puissant wizard, Beni Profane's a kindred spirit amongst the pious clerics and sinister warlocks that made up the group.  Satyvati, an easygoing hedonist was an easygoing hedonist, like Beni, but had been pulped by a stone guardian statute standing watch over the desiccated remains of some kind of trapped sorcerer form bygone ages.
Statuary had tried that previously on this delve as well, but luckily the party's strong arms were up to the challenge and two stone warriors had been pounded to fragments before they could do much harm.  In a room beyond the statute, beautiful murals on a rather punitive religious theme dominated.  The paintings were well done, but Beni didn’t appreciate them, both because they were antithetical to his own animism, and because the frescos were firmly attached to the wall.  Ten minutes of careful work only removed the figure of one saint, which despite it’s beauty really did not make up for the risk of animated statuary. 

Big Ants

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Random Character and Impressions of Rappan Athuk

Character made using random generator (4D6 - worst D6) and random appearance table to quickly generate a 4th level character.  The appearance I rolled was female, youth, threadbare clothing, bald. 

The below character is the result.

Percian was sent into Rappan Athuk with a group of similar delvers heavy on fighters and clerics.  She survived and did some good - both taking risks faced with an interesting flame puzzle and acting true to her nature by sacrificing gnolls to Blibdoolpoolp

Percian Icthisus
4th Level Fighter

STR 15
INT 10
WIS 11
DEX 17 +3
CON 16 +2
CHR 6 -1

HP: 31 AC -1 THACO 16/15 ranged
Alignment: Neutral/Neutral Evil

Equipment: Kraken Shell Plate Armor (AC 2) +1, +1 seaweed shrouded trident (2-9/2-12)+1, 4 hand axes (1D6), 5 vials unholy water, 6 torches, flint steel.  30' rope (dried kelp), 1 week dried fish, mirror, sack of sea shells, weighted net. Unholy silver and pearl chalice (100 GP)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Setting Ideas

So I occasionally get ideas for settings, places where I'd love to run an adventure or two, do a little world-building or just think about a bit.  Below are a few that have got me amused lately.

1) Mystical Realms of Tropeliche - Really bad high fantasy played for laughs.  Every place,NPc and Monster would have ridiculous names.  There would be dwarfs that were all beards and axes (literally a dwarf is a beard, somehow holding an axe and a mug of 'strong brew', also very susceptible to fire and mange). There would be dragons everywhere, underfoot even, little vicious things all with names like "Flameterrior the Nightmare of Fire".  Into this mess where every damn day some doe eyed elven queen is asking a random strong jawed goatherd to take up a quest for "The Lost Sword of Pointedness, forged for the Great King Thronin Wharmer the Metaphorical in the ages before Mu sank beneath the waves" and bearded wizards are entrusting every hedge dwelling half-goblin with a dangerous journey into the heart of the "Dread Lands of Evil" come the players - who are of course Little Brown Book 3D6 in order hoodlums who only gain XP from gold.  Gold gotten however really. Mostly what I need for this is some ridiclous naming tables as the rest of the content has written  itself.  Things like "Orc Bandits are raiding the Villagers' swimming hole" and "Unwashed villagers are Swimming in the Orc Refugees only source of fresh water".

This, but with Mutants
2)  Zanzibar Green - Total 70's dystopia.   Paternalistic social science in the distant past and technological abundance created a society with so much wealth and so little work that people were simply warehoused in sealed self sufficient arcologies.  Of course several hundred years of ennui and an existence without challenge has resulted in complete disaster.  Primitive thugs living in crumbling pastel colored modernist tower blocks and feed off eachother for a change from perfectly balanced nutra-meals, dispensed at your whim (in five flavors!).  Everyone beautiful (except the mutants), everyone healthy and everyone reduced to such uselessness that they mostly stopped breeding or bothering to interact with each other.

The characters would all be young delinquents, trying to find something interesting, a way out or a functional society that exists among the scattered enclaves of lotus eaters, fascistic pocket states, nests of cannibal mutants and kill crazy muckers.  equipment would be junk mostly, no weapons in the arcology of course, so spears and bows ground down from parkland trees run wild would be high technology. Idea is real simple dungeon crawl D&D, but with a Logan's Run (except more desolate) veneer. 

3) Regressive Conflict - Starting something like a military sci-fi campaign and ending as a dungeon crawl amongst the slagged ruins of future earth - done as a series of one shots.  The party starts out as a squad of high tech soldiers in space armor and what not, newly awake from stasis and entering the front lines of an interstellar war.  Lasers flash and such.  If they survive the first battle/adventure they go back into cold sleep.  When the adventurers awake the ship has moved on, but there's no resupply in Eisensteinian space.  The stores are depleted, the weapons not as good.  Slowly the tech winds down or is replaced by random junk the party has scavenged on alien worlds.  The enemy sometimes suffers the same fate, but sometimes the party (now armed with swords and a single laser rifle that works 1/2 the time) is asked to raid a technological alien enclave for ship parts by a ship AI that is slowly going mad to further a war that may be over for 1,000 years due to time dilation effects.  Ultimately it becomes a quasi swords and sorcery thing, but the characters are the same Stars Without Numbers party, now playing low fantasy pirates.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Letter from my Wayward Son, A Father's Warning About Life on the Frontier - Wampus County Play Report

I read my son's erratic letters with increasing dismay
Dear readers,  I write this short editorial with grave concern and much sadness, but I must out of my sense of public duty.  While the material contained within is but a domestic drama, and the tale of the sad loss of another beloved child to the pernicious influence of sorcery and the rude wilderness, I must share it with you, not out of a desire for sympathy or aid, but to ring a clarion call of warning to other parents who may find their children considering a journey to the Eastern wilds, that land without comforts or mores, known as Wampus County.

My son, who must remain nameless with the distant hope that some shred or vestige of his soul, mind and body may recovered from the wilderness, graduated from a respectable thaumaturgical institute of higher learning two years ago.  While not the most puissant of warlock, 'Chauncy' was a young man with possibility before him, educated and prepared for a life of gentlemanly contemplation.  However due to unforeseen circumstances and youthful abandon Chauncy wasted his inheritance (a bequest from his dear Mother's family - I myself would never have supported such youthful folly) but like youth everywhere resolved with the innocence of inexperience to find a new fortune in the great lands to the East.  At first, duped by those peddlers of stories and false promises about the wealth of the frontier, I supported this venture and sent the young man on his way, hopeful that if nothing else he would learn that whatever it lacks in excitement, the life of an associate sorcerer-jobber makes up for with respectability, safety and a lack of excitement.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Pleasure Gardens of the Bruised Enormity - Map

The Bruised Enormity is the name given to a hedonistic creature that resides in the mountains between the Livid Fens and the Lower Certopsian Plains.  Some regard the creature as a Wizard of the normal megalomanical sort, though it is unclear if it holds any villages in thrall, or rules much of a domain beyond its own pleasure garden.  It is obvious that the Entity has access to potent Super-Science and dangerous magics both from the danger posed by its protectors and its otherworldly appearance.  The Entity is a protean mass of bruised looking flesh that speak telepathically and trundles slowly along on a series of stump like legs.  The enormous creature is served by a loyal staff of equally strange and varied creatures as it lolls about in the pools of its mountain side pleasure gardens.  From beautiful languid odalisque to hulking multi-armed guards the servitors of the enormity appear strangely alike, their flesh marked with the same flushed and purple tone as their master.

The Enormity is not actively hostile, seemingly content to bide its time and remain neutral in the struggles all around it.  It is no weakling however, and besides its battalions of mutated and freakish soldiers it possesses many allies and trades in intelligence among the various factions South of Denethix.

The Pleasure Gardens of the Bruised Enormity