Saturday, March 21, 2020

Game log 8 February 2020: Rob the rich because they have money

Dramatis personae

Jiro, swordswoman
Felcanis, cleric
Horace, magic-abusing nerd
Lucdalen, magic-abusing self-hating elf
Kurt, hobbit henchman of Lucdalen

Quid occurrit

Yengrátōr, the barkeep at the Scarlet Harlot, offers Jiro 2,000 copper farthings to help pay for their adventure. In return, he asks for a one-fifth share of the loot. He says he isn’t interested in the sword, but wants a cut of everything else. Jiro thinks this sounds like a good deal. Yengrátōr also asks Lucdalen to not have his “friends” show up again.

Felcanis is about to come back to the Scarlet Harlot, but Bašêr, the high priest of Saundīvós, says, “I’m having an issue casting spells, so you might want to back off for a day.” Felcanis asks him with what he needs help, and Bašêr says, “There’s an old man with a mustache who needs some healing, so if you can help him out.” This man has a gash from a farming instrument, which Felcanis heals by casting Major Healing on him. Afterwards, she goes back to the Scarlet Harlot.

From there, they start stocking up gear. Horace buys Blasphemies & Excommunications by The Grand Heresiarch of Ažbrátōr for 4 copper. The bookseller tries to sell him a map of the Eldalîva Woods, but he balks at the 50 copper price. However, when Lucdalen comes in, the bookseller makes her sale to him. Ca-ching! Sadly, the Curious Cairn of the Collector isn’t on the map.

Horace, however, is able to remember a small passage from his many studies about the Curious Cairn of the Collector being the home to a religious cult pre-Undead Plague that had a big indoor garden. Lucdalen hires a hobbit henchman whose name is Kurt.

The next day, they set forth. On the road to the southeastern villages, they run into ten armed folks in tattered armor. The heroes cast spells to get ready: Great Haste on Jiro, Flaming Weapon and Shield on Horace, starting Invisibility.

The shifty-looking folks greet them with “Oh, hello there!” After Kurt greets them back, one in a nasty wig asks, “Do you have any good loot on you? We’ll help you out for some good loot.”

Horace, unhappy about the 2,000 copper loan, says, “Well, considering that they’re in debt for two grand, they’re not likely to help you out much.” The bandits ask what they got for the money, and Kurt blabs about the quest into the woods. The bandits ask to join, and after some stalling, Kurt gives up and charges them.

It was a short battle before the bandits give up. Kurt has tackled one and head-butted him into unconsciousness before they tell their awful secret: “We just got robbed ourselves!”

Res aliae

The bandits gave in partly owing to good Reaction rolls, and partly owing to time.

Our next game will be tomorrow, online. I expect half the game to be fiddling with Roll20, which I mostly know as a player. Since it sounds like COVID19 restrictions are going to be with us for a few months, I suppose I get baptism by fire as a Roll20 GM.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Game log for 26 January 2020: Elves without Weird Jimmy

Dramatis personae

Lucdalen, self-hating high elf wizard (Brandon)
Horace, wizard seeking to know everything (Roman)
Felcanis, elf cleric of Saundīvós, god of light (John)
Jiro, slightly wolfen swordswoman (Sophia)
Kokichi, elf thief (Imogen)

Quid occurrit

The game opens in the Scarlet Harlot tavern in Mīštássun, the one town in the dale. Lucdalen, a wayward high elf, hears a young woman talking loudly about how much she hates elves. He goes up to talk to her and buy her a drink, though keeping his hood up.

Meanwhile, Jiro, a young swordswoman with wolf ears, sits with her friend, the elf thief Kokichi, and hears another barfellow say that the sword of the elf hero Otórno is in the Curious Cairn of the Collector in the Eldalîvā Woods to the southeast.

Horace, a wizard and overall seeker of knowledge, also overhears this, but thought little of it, and instead leaves of the bar lest he hear any more of Êvā babbling. He sits under a tree and read one of his books, and in it, finds that there is a mural in the Curious Cairn of the Collector that will kill whoever touches it.

Likewise Felcanis, an elven cleric of Saundīvós, the god of light, leaves after hearing this, and goes to church a few buildings away. There, he listens to the sermon of another cleric, hoping for tales that might be handy, but hears nothing. However, a voice in his head says so that he may learn the ultimate light spell, he needs to open up the woods to light.

Lucdalen buys Êvā another drink, and she starts to think he’s getting fresh with her. She gets mad and calls Lucdalen an elf. Such a barb so bothers Lucdalen that he slaps Êvā, who then runs screaming out of the Scarlet Harlot.

Horace sees Êvā run past, and a few minutes later sees three high elves hastening towards the Scarlet Harlot. They go inside, and they step before Lucdalen and tell him to pull down his hood. He does so, showing his clipped ears, and also casts the Terror spell on them. One elf starts retching while another stands in fear.

The third, however, comes towards Lucdalen with his spear. Jiro sees this and starts to move behind the elves. Kokichi also sees this, and walks up behind the stunned elf and swipes his bow, with everyone else looking at the elves about to fight.

Horace goes up to the window and looks through, and sees that everyone inside is still an idiot. He casts the Aura spell on Lucdalen, sees that he is indeed a talented wizard, then hastens away. “Note to self: I don’t think I’ll be frequenting THIS establishment again.”

Lucdalen runs from the elf with the spear while the stunned elf snaps aware and also starts chasing Lucdalen. Lucdalen ducks through a back curtain into the kitchen, and runs through it. The two elves run after him, though the bartender tries to tackle one, and yells at the elves not to come back after they get away. Jiro, seeing an opening, grabs the beer Lucdalen had bought for Êvā, and starts drinking.

The elves chase Lucdalen through the town streets. He tries to kip up onto a roof when they  reach him, and they try to tackle each other. Lucdalen does grab one elf as he tried to grab him and tossed him into his friend, though his friend gets out of the way. As the elves come back from that toss, Lucdalen grabs the spear of the one still standing then smacks the elf getting off the ground with the side of it. After the first elf does not get his spear back, he tries grabbing Lucdalen, but does not do so, after which Lucdalen pokes him in the trunk. The elf still holding his spear tries stabbing Lucdalen, who Blinks away.

Lucdalen starts to run again, and this time, he loses the elves. He makes it back to the Scarlet Harlot, as does Felcanis, who heard the ado from the tavern while he was in church.

Res aliae

We rebooted with lower-point characters. This suits the style of Brandon and Roman, who drive most of the action. Mayhem might be back from time-to-time, if Steph ever pulls himself back to the table. Kokichi's player is a friend of my daughter's who may or may not be around again. If so, she may have another character; Brandon had made the character to have handy.

Also fitting with their style is something I had used a bit over the last few games, whose logs are not online—Mythic Game Master Emulator. I had originally planned on using it for non-dungeon things way back in 2014, but I never got around to asking for the things needed from the players—threads and NPCs relating to the characters—since I quickly gathered the group wasn't going to be into heavily random-yet-role-playing-driven adventures. This well fits Brandon and Roman as well as John, though their style leave the focus on single characters at times. They're still going into dungeons, but they'll also revel a bit in their above-ground lives.

For those who know how Mythic works, I split the scene when Êvā fled the tavern, with the Chaos Factor going up to 6 with it, but Lucdalen handling the elves lowered it back to 5. I had a few yes/no questions, namely whether the back door to the tavern was locked.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving! Here is the monsters and treasure list

I've been a lazy rotter on keeping up my game logs. I've been playing and I have four sessions worth of notes to type up, but my excuse is … grad school. Now, one of those sessions was in July and I haven't had a busy semester, but that's the excuse I'm using, as lame as it is. I'll have to come up with a new excuse once I've graduated.

The sessions have been a little different, a lot of weird town and road adventures (using the Mythic Game Master Emulator as something of a Ouija board) with Roman retiring Xóran and playing his information broker Aramis for a session, until he got caught breaking into a house and doomed to death. Oops.

But that's not about all this. This is about usable content for the rest of you. I present the latest version of my big monsters and treasure list. It's so big I'm doing it as a PDF; yes, Emily, if you want it, I can send you the latest revision for the sortable list.

EDIT: Oh, bloody hell, here's the damn Excel file.

Anyways, the details:

Monster. While this should be obvious, I tried to add every version I could of the mix-and-match monsters (dragons, slimes). This means there are many entries.

Page. A legend. I hope I got all the sources I've used.

Class. This is the monster class, like Animal or Mundane. I have the Terrible classes from the "Dire and Terrible Monsters" article in Pyramid #3/50: Dungeon Fantasy IV. I think I should have those as Dire instead, though I transcribed as the article has it, as it convention for librarians. I added (Swarm) to those monsters that are swarms after the conventional class, usually Animal.

IQ: Duh. I use this as a guideline for assigning treasure.

# App. That's "Number Appearing." You roll this number of dice to see how many the players encounter. I changed a few monsters to have more appearing to make sure that the encounter is at least a small challenge for 125-point characters and at least a footnote for 250-point characters. For those monsters that have lairs (see next entry), one-fifth of them are the average squad outside the lair, so divide the number in-lair by 16.5 to get the number of dice you need to roll for those encounters. Twofold a squad (so, two-fifths) will be out of their lair if your players run into them while they are active.

Lair. If this is N/A, then the monster doesn't make a lair and all are appearing. If this is always, then you've hit the lair and all are appearing. If this is a die with a minus, like 1d-3, then you roll one six-sided die and subtract 3. If the number is negative, you've stumbled upon their lair. If this number is zero, you've hit a squad of them, and the lair is in the same 5-or-6-mile hex. If this number is positive, you've hit a squad of them, and the lair is that many 5-or-6-mile hexes away. If you're not using outdoor hexes (boo) or a different size hex, fivefold that positive number is how many miles away their lair is.

$. How much the monsters' treasure is worth in GURPS $, minimum zero. This is treasure in the lair and does not count pocket change.

Items. How many magic items the monsters have in their lair. Minimum zero, of course. Does not include gear of leaders.

Strategy. Raider, Hoarder, or Incidental. See earlier versions of this for details. Gleefully swiped from Adventurer Conqueror King.

Change. Pocket change an individual monster has in GURPS $, minimum zero.

SM. Size Modifier.

HSM. Horizontal Size Modifier. That's the size of the monster when you take morphology traits like Horizontal and No Legs (Sessile) into account. See "Combat Writ Large" in Pyramid #3/77: Combat for more detail. Also handy if you have a specific room size in mind to know how much clearance Clarence the Dragon needs.

Hexes. Number of hexes the monster takes up. See "Combat Writ Large" in Pyramid #3/77: Combat for more detail.

Skill. Effective skill while grappling. See Fantastic Dungeon Grappling for more detail.

Damage. Damage in control points for grappling. See Fantastic Dungeon Grappling for more detail.

CM. Control Maximum, which is like hit points for grappling. Again, see Fantastic Dungeon Grappling for more detail.

OR. Offensive Rating. See "It's a Threat!" in Pyramid #3/77: Combat for more detail.

PR. Protective Rating. See "It's a Threat!" in Pyramid #3/77: Combat for more detail.

CER. Combat Effectiveness Rating. See "It's a Threat!" in Pyramid #3/77: Combat for more detail. Yes, I really figured all these. I'm sure I made loads of mistakes, though I did go through many of them twice.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Game log 23 June 2019: If the Tiger Mom irks you, wait until you meet these cats

Dramatis personae

Xoran, fox-man ("rúskwē") swordsman
Mayhem, pint-sized barbarian
Josiah, a wandering minstrel he
Ash, knight
Nikotsu, mercenary
Caleb, wizard
Maquia, huntress cleric
Kôštē, NPC cleric

Quid occurrit

After the ordeal, the heroes start to heal up. Ash pours his healing potion down the throat of Kôštē, while Nikotsu goes into Kôštē’s pouches and grabs one of Kôštē’s potions and also pours this down Kôštē’s throat. Maquia casts Major Healing on Kôštē, which at last wakes her up, giving them two healers to try to heal Caleb.

Alas, once healer cancels out the other when Maquia fumbles on her Major Healing spell after Kôštē cast hers. This sends Caleb to the brink of death for a minute or so while Kôštē and Maquia each cast Minor Healing on him, then pour a potion down his throat. Mayhem tries looking for healing herbs but can find none, but at least the other spells had stopped Caleb from drooling blood.

After about an hour, everyone but Caleb is awake and mulling around, Josiah and Ash go into the lean-to hut next to the Abbey, and find twelve bedrolls in use and three smoking jackets. There are other bedrolls not in use, which they gather were once those of the dead bandits who are stacked on the other side of the Abbey. The humans’ bodies have big purple buboes all over them. They shows the bodies to Maquia, who recalls that the death god Ažbrátōr had cursed the Abbey to give a sickness to anyone who dared to go inside.

That is enough for Xóran, who hates Ažbrátōr. “I’m going in; it’s my duty.” He starts to walk inside the Abbey, and says, “If I go in there and I get cursed and the curse doesn’t get lifted I’m going to kill each and every one of you.” Josiah goes with him, and when they walk inside, purple buboes start to show up on Xóran’s body. Josiah itches a little, but no buboes show up on him.

The two keep walking to the middle of the Abbey, and see a big bronze font in the middle, with a pillar on each of four corners, making a square with the round font in the middle. Above the font, they see a big canvas which old nails hold to the rafters as it sags downwards. Both start to go near the font, and as they do, hot oil shoots out at them. Both get out of the way, and see there is no oil in the font.

Josiah climbs up a pillar. He takes out a nail and the corner falls, and he can see the glow of the painting on the canvas. Xóran calls out, “Hurry up, I’m turning into a frickin' blueberry here!” Josiah goes up the next pillar, and pulls out another nail, making the painting fall down. A bunch of gold coins falls into the font, as does a silver bracelet and a burlap sack. Josiah goes up the third pillar and again takes out a nail, but when he does this to a fourth, he leans too far forward and hot oil shoots on him. He grimaces, but doesn’t fall, and undoes the last nail.

When Josiah gets down, Xóran says that while he may not live much longer, he will now call Josiah by name as he has earned his respect. They bring the loot to the door, and, after trying to push over the font and finding himself unable to do so, Xóran asks Ash to bring him a dead rabbit. Ash quickly finds and kills a rabbit, and tosses it inside. Xóran cuts open the rabbit’s body and cuts it up, and throws the bits and blood all over the font. He then walks back to the doorway and lets Maquia try to cast Cure Disease on him.

Somehow, the buboes go away. Xóran walks outside and breathes the fresh air, glad to be still alive. Xóran opens the sack, but when the others try, they cannot open it. Again, Xóran opens it, thinking it only opens for him.

Ash, Josiah, Mayhem, and Xóran light fire to the Abbey, and as they start to walk away, they see two rakshasas and six bandits watching them. Xóran says, “Sorry, was this yours? I guess we lit it on fire.”

One rakshasa laughs. “Thank you stupid fools for getting our treasure for us!”

Xóran scowls. “Great. Well, if you want your treasure then I guess you had better come and take it.”
Taking on two rakshasas and six bandits.
That's Xoran out in front:
"Bring it on."

So begins the fight. First one rakshasa breathes fire, but everyone gets out of the way. Everyone else moves to engage until the other rakshasa breathes water, freezing Ash and knocking down Maquia. Xóran and Josiah start to fight the fire-breathing rakshasa, and Xóran tells Nikotsu and Mayhem to “Brace the left flank!” Josiah’s blow hits the rakshasa while Nikotsu starts to fight a bandit.

The rakshasa scoffs at his wounds and smacks Josiah, but doesn’t live long enough to enjoy his cut, as Xóran kills that rakshasa with his magic sword to the skull before stunning a nearby bandit with his roar. Josiah wounds two bandits with fast blows before Kôštē casts Minor Healing on Josiah. Two other bandits and Nikotsu trade misses, while the last bandit smacks Ash in the face, dropping him to the ground.

The still-living rakshasa misses Nikotsu. Mayhem plants axe into bandit’s skull: “My great axe is ready to talk to you!” The bandits miss Josiah and Nikotsu and a third bandit’s blow doesn’t get through Mayhem’s armor. Nikotsu takes out bandit with a sword blow. Kôštē casts an especially blessed Major Healing on Josiah, bringing him back to full health.
Xoran and Josiah flank the rakshasa.

The rakshasa and Nikotsu trade misses, but Josiah takes out one bandit, making the other bandits flee. However, Kôštē thumps a bandit in the back with her staff as he runs past. Yet again do the rakshasa and Nikotsu trade misses while everyone else starts moving into position to help take out the rakshasa.
Xoran killed the first rakshasa with his magic sword.
Josiah cleans up the right flank; Xoran charges the left flank.
Only Xoran's sword can kill the last rakshasa.

Xóran gets near the rakshasa who tries to hit him, but Xóran whacks him instead. Mayhem tries to get in on the fun, but hits his own leg with his axe, making him go nuts. Nikotsu, however, does get a hit on the rakshasa, which smacks down Mayhem trying to hit him from the ground.

Bandits running
The rakshasa's three remaining bandits bolt and run.
This creature is as good as dead
That’s the last deed of the rakshasa, as Xoran’s magic sword finds its mark in its fur. Mayhem snaps out of his berserk rage, while Kôštē gets off another especially blessed Major Healing, this time on Mayhem.

Res aliae

We were a little short today, as Steph (Mayhem) is working in the summer and Hannah (Nikotsu) had the flu (which we later found out was an ear infection). So Sophia (Maquia) handled Nikotsu in combat while Roman (Xóran) and John (Ash/Caleb) handled Mayhem. Sophie will likely handle Mayhem until Steph comes back, as Maquia in a fight mostly heals and shoots.

Oh goodness, were the critical hits and misses fun. Maquia’s botched Major Healing spell let to a miss by 1 on an HT roll, making us break out the moral wound rules until Brandon (Josiah) just had Kôštē try to heal Caleb again, which fixed the damage. Mayhem of course smacked his own leg, but Kôštē (Brandon was running her) had two straight critical successes on Major Healing spells.

Xóran defiling the font didn’t do anything that anyone could see, but was entertaining enough to earn him a couple extra CP. He took a few pictures. I'm including them, with his captions lightly edited for grammar and stuff.

Hue and Cry

Because I realized I had need for something like this, both through play and through chatting with someone outside my group, here are rules for handling reinforcements when you fight part of a group of monsters inside their lair.

Hue and Cry: Not all monsters will be in their lair at all times. While this makes it easier to fight a small group, the others may show up and fight later! When fighting some monsters in their indoor lair, make a Per or Per-based Observation roll for the monsters; add any bonuses for Acute Hearing or similar Hearing-based traits. On a success, a number of monsters equal to one plus the margin of success will show up in a minute, and they will be aware there is fighting. Any not showing up in this group will show up in 1d hours, and will be unaware there is a fight. On a critical success, that number of monsters will show up in 3d seconds, with any not coming in this group will show up in a minute; all will be aware there is fighting. On a failure, all of the monsters will show up in 1d hours, unaware of anything amiss.

Outdoors, folks are usually farther away, leading to a lower chance of someone being around to hear the fight. Faster monsters wander farther than slower ones. Thus, take the lowest encumbered Move of the monsters, not including any bonuses for Enhanced Move, and look it up in yards on the Speed/Range Table (p. B550). Apply twofold this as a penalty to any Hearing-based rolls as above; don't apply a bonus for Move less than 2.

Roll Per or Per-based Observation as for indoors, with the penalty above for distance. On a success, half of any monsters out wandering will show up in 1d/2 hours (keep fractions), and will be aware there is trouble. The other half will show up in 1d hours, unaware of anything amiss. On a critical success, half the monsters will show up in 3d minutes, and the other half will show up in 1d/2 hours (keep fractions), all aware of the fight. On a failure, nobody will be aware of the fight; half will show up in 1d hours, as will the other half (roll separately for each half). Divide any times for monsters who are aware of trouble and using Enhanced Move to fight by one plus the level of Enhanced Move.

Signaling: Any monsters outdoors may try to signal their fellows out wandering. Use the rules for Signaling on p. 28 of GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 16: Wilderness Adventures. Assume that each half of those monsters are 1d times Move/2 miles away; roll separately for each half.

Either indoors or outdoors, if the delvers start fighting any reinforcements, make another Per or Per-based Observation roll for anyone else still not in the room or lair. Handle as above, except this goes for all monsters that would show up as reinforcements, not half or margin of success plus one. This keeps the GM from having to roll for smaller and smaller groups!

The upshot of all this is that players never should be sure they have cleared the room or lair, which is as it should be.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Game log 9 June 2019: We want violence, we want guts, we want your team by the nuts!

Dramatis personae

Xoran, fox-man ("rúskwē") swordsman
Mayhem, pint-sized barbarian
Josiah, a wandering minstrel he
Ash, knight
Nikotsu, mercenary
Caleb, wizard
Maquia, huntress cleric
Kôštē, NPC cleric

Quid occurrit

It is easy going from camp near the river. On the second day, they see the man who told them about the slave rebellion a few months earlier, but they doesn’t go near him nor he near them. On the fourth day, they make it a mile or so from the ogres’ old cave, and Mayhem finds a trail going to the west, which they follow the next morning.

About the middle of that morning, they see a cross of sticks near the trail, and Maquia looks and spots an old building with overgrown vines all over it. This, they guess, is the Abbey of the Respectful Warrior. They walk the last half-mile, then make a scouting group of Xóran, Josiah, Mayhem, and Nikotsu.

From a ways away, they see three goons wearing tattered crimson sashes—one woman and two men. Josiah roughs up his looks and walks up to the woman, telling her that he is trying to get to town from his farm, and that he is lost and has coins. The woman says that Josiah has indeed had a bad time, but, “You know town is a long ways away, right?” She then asks him for the rest of his money and waves the other two goons to come up to them. “Let’s relieve him of the rest of his stuff.” 

Xóran hears this, and shoots the woman in the chest. She falls, and yells, “Help!” Josiah pulls out his sword and tries hitting the two other goons, but doesn’t hit. Nikotsu, however, does with the arrow she lets loose into a goon, dropping him. The goon rushes forward (Josiah’s bastard sword makes it easier for him to hit them than for them to hit him), and Mayhem and Nikotsu also rush forward. Josiah easily takes out the other goon, with him passing out in Josiah’s arms after he cuts off the goon’s leg.

The other heroes dash to link up to their fellows. Mayhem makes the sound of a dragon, thinking that there are more foes in the lean-to and hoping to buy some time. However, little Mayhem cannot make the big blot-out-the-sky shadow of a dragon, and three more goons in tattered crimson sashes burst out, along with a tiger walking on two legs: a rakshasa. Maquia tells Xóran that only magic weapons or spells could kill the rakshasa, so Xóran turns his eyes and magic sword towards it.

The rakshasa, however, leans forward and out of its mouth comes a mighty wind. Kôštē, Caleb, and Ash all are unable to get out of the way, with Caleb falling over. Josiah blocks the wind from hitting him with the passed out, one-legged bandit who is bleeding to death. The wind blows off the poor bandit’s skin and flesh, leaving him a bunch of bloody bones.

Everyone standing then moves to fight other than Maquia. Caleb casts an Exploding Fireball through his pain, Kôštē heals Caleb through her pain, and Maquia heals Kôštē.

Josiah gets the first blow, hitting the rakshasa while everyone else is still getting ready. Kôštē heals Caleb, who starts to stand while holding a big ball of fire in his hand. Even Maquia moves forward, hoping to get near enough to cast Might on Xóran without failing. The tiger-man, however, gets a hit on Xóran that the fox-man never sees coming and into a chink in his armor, and he falls, seeing his own blood on the ground.

Xóran, however, is able to see through his daze, and his non-magical sword hits the cat on its rump. Josiah also smacks the rakshasa on the leg, which doesn’t bother it as much as it would have a man. The bandits and Ash make it to the fray, trading misses, but Nikotsu reaches over with her big sword and cuts a bandit. Kôštē again heals Caleb, who now is standing.

Xóran misses the rakshasa from the ground and the rakshasa misses Ash with its sword. Mayhem, however, cuts the head off of one bandit, while the other two bandits miss Josiah and Nikotsu. Josiah drops his shield and tries to hit one of the two living bandits but fails, as does Nikotsu. Ash hits the rakshasa, though its wounds still don’t bother it much.

And now Caleb leans back to throw his Explosive Fireball. Which he drops at his feet.


Both Caleb and Kôštē take the full blast and Kôštē passes out. The ground under Caleb opens up into a 10-foot pit, into which Caleb falls.

Maquia, however, doesn’t stop, but steps nearer the fray and casts Major Healing on Xóran, healing him from a few yards away. The rakshasa tries to hit Ash, who parries, while Xóran stabs it twice with his magic sword through the lung, making it fall dead onto Ash's shield. Mayhem and Josiah try to take out the bandits but miss. One bandit misses Mayhem, but the second cuts Xóran on his neck. Both Ash's and Nikotsu's swords don’t land on bandits, Caleb passes out while trying to sit up, and Maquia's spell fizzles while trying to heal Xóran. A bandit's shield again blocks Mayhem's axe, but that is his last deed, as both Josiah and Ash fell them both.

Res aliae

Going through the log, I see that we didn't have folks stunned after failing major wound checks. This helped the players a bit, mostly Xóran, though he passed the HT roll on the blow to his neck right before killing the rakshasa.

Caleb's critical failure on trying to lob his spell was the highlight of the afternoon. At first, I was being kind and didn't think dropping his spell would do anything, but one or both of Roman (Xóran) or Brandon (Josiah) said that should totally be nasty, and you know what? They were right. Then one of the same two guys said that was Caleb's Weirdness Magnet going off and I pointed out that it wasn't, so had the ground open up under Caleb to have his Weirdness Magnet go off. The moral of this tale is that other players are nastier than the GM, who mostly cares about keeping the fight moving.

I think it was Roman or Steph (Mayhem) who said that this session was gorier than usual. My 11-year-old wasn’t bothered, and was proud of the crit she scored playing her sister’s fighter shooting the goon. As for me, I deemed the extra gore “perfect.”

Getting to the Abbey went quickly, as I had prerolled a whole bunch of random encounter checks. As I excel at this kind of prep instead of running at the table, this was a good idea.

My youngest daughter ran both Maquia and Nikotsu, the latter for her sister. She was bored as is her wont.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Game notes for 17 March 2019, 14 April 2019, and 28 April 2019: The Trifecta

Dramatis personae

Xoran, fox-man ("rúskwē") swordsman
Mayhem, pint-sized barbarian
Josiah, a wandering minstrel he
Ash, knight
Nikotsu, mercenary
Caleb, wizard
Maquia, huntress cleric
Kôštē, NPC cleric

Quid occurrit

Maquia, a cleric, and Nikotsu, a swordswoman, chance upon Josiah’s farm, having heard about the ogre and his sword. Josiah doesn’t have any armor. Maquia recognizes the goo tree. There they go into the mine and down the lit-up tunnels and find the heroes. Ash hears them as he’s on point, turns off some torches, and he and Xóran get ready.

They go back to Fort Rénnutēs. Josiah has to ask his father if he can go and take his armor. His father says sure, but he isn’t his son. Instead, Josiah came to him as a baby, and his adoptive father has some old mail armor for him. Ash tries fitting the cheap heavy mail for Josiah. Then they set forth for town, and it takes seven days. Not much happened other than Caleb twisting his ankle, but Maquia sets his wounds.

They spend a week in town. Nikotsu sells their booty, leaving with enough to live well, while the others listen for leads on work. Josiah hears of a big dungeon in Dībités Rock in the woods, Ash hears of bandits and demons at the Abbey of the Respectful Warrior in the hills (not far from where they had fought the ogres, as it happens), and Mayhem hears of a dragon to the north of the woods who sits on a bow that never misses. The gang chooses to go for the dragon, with Maquia staying behind after slapping Xóran once she learns of his wariness towards blondes.

They set forth on the road both north and west, and run into seventeen giant bees, all of whom they either kill off or send flying away. Caleb gets a meal off a bee’s flesh, while Mayhem gets a dose of bee poison. Caleb talks about going after the bees instead of the dragon, but nobody else is interested. As Xóran says, they’re not going to try to kill the dragon, but instead want to take its hoard.

The next day, they go into the woods, after Maquia, having forgiven Xóran, shows up. They go into the woods, and see husks of white rope. Mayhem and Xóran, among others, know this to be the webbing of giant spiders, so stick to the north of there. The land slopes downward, and they reach a watery spot with caves and broken tree limbs on the ground. Xóran smells something odd, but they keep going, and Caleb doesn’t see anything in the caves.

That night, they make camp, and while on watch, Maquia spots two man-sized lizards that look like wingless dragons—tarakks. She slips behind a tree, and warns the others. Xóran slips into the night, and the heroes take on the tarakks. Aside from Nikotsu taking a breath of fire, they win unhurt, and Xóran takes their flesh for food.

Mayhem is easily able to find their tracks, and thus comes up with the idea of tracking them back to their lair. The heroes easily find the lair, a burrow on a hill, and again beat the tarakks, this time four of them. Xóran slips into their burrow after getting an Armor spell from Caleb, and finds the tarakks’ loot: copper, silver, and a gold button.

That night, they again talk about what to do next. Caleb keeps babbling on about the bees, and Maquia says that they should give in just so Caleb would shut up about them. Xóran, Mayhem, and Nikotsu want to go after the werewolf, and want to get back to town to get silvered weapons, as Caleb says that’s the only good way to hit them. Either way, they think that they don’t need to take on the dragon now, as they have loot and the dragon would be suicide.

They set forth back to town. They keep away from a herd of bison in the hilly land, but while camping, Xóran and Nikotsu see four jackals skulking around their camp. Again, they make short work of them, then keep going for town the next day, staying out of the woods after they see three giant spiders in there, watching them from their webs but not springing out for them.

That evening they make it to Ābûsun. While walking into the market village, the Town Watch stops them, and tells them that they must get sleeping space and drinks at the taverns or leave the village. Much of the village is in the trees, but they stay at the Feral Daughter, a tavern on the ground. There, they listen for chatter, and Xóran hears about goblins having an uprising at the mines, and Ash about kobolds hitting Kerváron.

Old news.

An elf smoking a nasty herb does beckon Xóran to him. He and Nikotsu come to listen to him. “We don’t see many rúskwi around here,” he tells Xóran, “though Ābûsun is a little more noble, a little more elvish.”

Nikotsu rolls her eyes. “Get to the point.”

The elf smiles at her. “Young lady, your race is always so impatient.” With that, Nikotsu walks away and gets a drink, and Xóran takes the chance and beckons Josiah to bring the white-haired elf, whose name is Alinéllo, a drink. “Anyways, there is an old village which a gang of orcs, the Vile Hand, now have. What you might want to know is that a sword that was well-known in my youth called Grân might be there, and strapping youths like you might want it. You’re better folks than those damn orcs, that’s for sure.” After finding out that Alinéllo is 408-years-young, Xóran gives him silver buckle for the information.

They make it to Mīštássun the next day, and now choose to go to the Abbey of the Respectful Warrior and fight the bandits there for their loot. They follow the river into the hills, and see another campfire to the northwest while camping. However, they stay near the river, and later the next day smoke out a bunch of rattlesnake swarms.

Res aliae

Three logs in one. I'm a lazy rotter, though I did have some school projects going on. Alright, most of that was in May. My excuses suck ass.

Nikotsu and Maquia are two new PCs whose players are not new to me: they're my daughters, aged 13 and 11. Sophie, my younger daughter, did have some issues with how Xóran didn't like blondes after his bad time with the lich (Maquia is a blonde), and stormed off for the last part of the first session, already bored to tears. Amazingly, she came back. She's also played Nikotsu a little bit in combat on 14 April (the tarakks) to cover for her sister Hannah, who was elsewhere, as she'll be this session (mom and grandpa want a fishing partner).

Josiah is the new character of Brandon, who played the late Uruk.

I do have some plans for blog posts besides game logs. Namely, now that some of the Kickstarter Backers have Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 2, some of the monsters I had developed for possible publication now have Kromm versions, and if nothing else I'll share my own work.

Friday, March 8, 2019

And another Kickstarter

And there's a second GURPS-related Kickstarter going on right now: Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 2. If funded, it also will bring another printing of the boxed set. And my players get more monsters to kill them pretty artwork!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Game log: 3 March 2019: Day of the Triffids

Dramatis personae

Mayhem, short barbarian
Caleb, wizard
Xóran, fox-man swordsman
Ash, squire
Kôštē, cleric (NPC)

Quid occurrit

Kôštē healed Mayhem as the others buried Uruk. Xóran, out of grudging respect, insisted that they bury Uruk with full gear, other than his arrows (which Xóran took) and food (which the others took).

Once they filled the grave in the cave with the draugr, they wandered through the dungeon a bit more. They went back to the room from which they had turned back before, and went through it, taking care to stay away from the basin on the side. They left the room, and Mayhem took care to light the torches in the crude sconces along the tunnel. Once they went down a tunnel without any sconces, and found it to be a dead end. The ogres, while mostly being stupid, didn't waste sconces on dead ends.

They at last made it to a door. Caleb listened at it and, having heard nothing, let the others open the door. Once they did so, they found the bodies of eleven dead ogre women and their five dead children. That wasn't as grim as what else they say: six nine-foot-high green plants walking on three legs. They had no arms but instead three branches, while atop each plant was a funnel with a long lash. The plants were eating the dead ogres with their funnels, and these jerked up when the door opened.

And I really got hot
When I saw Janette Scott
Fight a triffid that
spits poison and kills
These plants were, of course, triffids.

Mayhem, of course, charged into the room. Caleb charged an Explosive Fireball, while the nearest triffid lashed its stinger at Ash, who shot it as he got out of the way of its lash. Another one's lash slapped Mayhem's side, but it didn't hurt him through his armor and tough skin. The others lumbered nearer.

Into the room dashed Xóran to smack a triffid, though it stayed up. Mayhem likewise put his axe into a triffid that didn't fall from the blow. Ash dropped his bow and pulled out his sword, while Caleb kept charging his spell. Three triffids struck at Mayhem, though only the one on his flank harmed him, while two more struck at Ash, not harming him. The last one got nearer to Ash.

Xóran swung both his swords at a triffid, taking it down. He screamed for the others to "help Mayhem" as Mayhem swung his axe and lost his balance, leaving himself an easy target for a triffid. Ash smashed his shield into a triffid. This did nothing, but Caleb's Explosive Fireball burnt one to a crisp, burned another, and made the air near Ash and Xóran hot. The one by Ash moved away, while the three on Mayhem each took a smack at him. Two of them hurt him a bit through his armor, while one got its stinger on Mayhem's eye. Mayhem winced from the burning feeling, but somehow kept his sight.

Xóran moved to help Mayhem, who pulled himself upright again after his bad swing. Caleb started casting Flaming Weapon, Ash charged towards the fleeing triffid and traded misses with it, and the three triffids kept trying to hurt Mayhem though didn't. Xóran made it to the triffid smacking Mayhem's side and cut it badly, while Mayhem took down one of the triffids before his face. Ash and the triffid again traded misses, while Caleb got off his Flaming Weapon spell, making Xóran's magic longsword burn with fire. The triffids fighting Mayhem and Xóran tried to smack their eyes but missed.

The fire on Xóran's sword helped him hurt the triffid fighting him, but it was the other sword that ended it. Mayhem moved away towards the doorway. Ash slashed the triffid he was fighting, while Caleb, now weary, fired up a small Fireball. Kôštē the cleric moved from the hallway to the doorway, waiting for Mayhem, and the triffids missed their foes.

Again Xóran charged with his sword at a triffid, but this time, he dropped it. Mayhem stepped back, and Ash lost his sword when the triffid's stinger smacked it out of the way. Caleb lobbed his weak Fireball at the triffid but, still weary, missed. One triffid's stinger grazed Ash's eyes but he kept his sight, though lost his grip on his shield. Xóran parried the stinger of the other triffid, and Kôštē cast Major Healing on Mayhem for the second time that day.

Xóran, now down only to his magic sword, hit a triffid, while Mayhem moved back to help him. Ash gripped his shield anew, while Caleb lit up another small Fireball. One of the two triffids caught its stinger on Ash's shield, but the other hit Xóran in the eye, and its poison blinded him. Kôštē leaned forward and cast Lend Energy to give Caleb a boost.

Although blinded, Xóran fought onward, though his sword work now was like Chris Davis at bat. Mayhem rushed forward to help him, but also missed. Caleb dumped more might into his Fireball, and the triffid pushed back on Ash's shield bash. The shield likewise blocked the triffid's stinger, but Mayhem was unable to get himself between Xóran and the other triffid, and the stinger smacked Xóran, and its poison this time got into the wound.

Xóran staggered around, and Mayhem at last got his axe into the triffid, bringing it down. The other triffid pushed back on Ash's shield, but that was its last deed—Caleb's Fireball struck true, killing the triffid.

The gang sat around for a few days and healed up, eating triffid oil, until Xóran's sight came back.

Res aliae

Steph, who normally plays Mayhem, was gone this week, so Roman, who plays Xóran, also played Mayhem. Brandon, who played the late Uruk, didn't have his new character ready, so he played Caleb, who is usually the one grandfathered-in "extra" character. (Chris played him, as well as Mayhem. He's easy for almost anyone to handle, and for me, the characters let a little bit of Chris still live on in the game.)

The triffid was a monster that I wrote from the John Wyndham book, and it shows why we playtest these things. As I had written it, when it hit the Eyes, it also did damage. This is not only not how it worked in the book, but it's superfluous. It did 11 points crushing to the Eyes, which I realized was a killing blow, not a blinding blow. When you're dead, you're automatically blind, so the roll to resist blindness was silly. While I don't want to coddle my players, this isn't what I was trying to have it do, so I had the damage instead lower the chance to resist blindness, by 1 for every 5 points of "damage." So, rolling 11 on 2d+1 meant that Mayhem resisted at HT-2. Which he made, while the blow that blinded Xóran was a mere 4 on the damage dice, giving him no penalty. Weird how that works out.

Thankfully, it is now back to exploring and travel again. Since we play short sessions and are slow to get going—really slow today since Brandon was late—we seem to have sessions of combat, sessions of exploring, and sessions of roleplaying.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Citadel at Norðvorn Kickstarter

We played Rifts last Sunday and it seems Jerry Bostock, my Jethro Tull-inspired crazy, may be about to make his last stroke, but that's not the reason for this post.

To make a long-story short, Douglas Cole, the one guy with a Dungeon Fantasy Role-Playing Game license, fellow Minneapolitean, and generally hoopy frood who knows where his towel is, has another Kickstarter for his Norse-themed Dungeon Fantasy: Citadel at Norðvorn. Back it.