Sunday, November 29, 2015

Back this Kickstarter: Lairs & Encounters (for ACKS) by Autarch

No, no game today; it's not our week. Instead, my daughter is cleaning the living room looking for a Pokemon library book she lost, and taking her own sweet time. But back this Kickstarter. Back it now:

For those who don't know, Adventurer, Conquerer, King System (ACKS) is like B/X D&D, though with a wonky attack system (I prefer 3e-style DCs for all that stuff, and yes, I have played ACKS as written). Whatever. The real kicker is that the authors (mostly Alex Macris) have gone out of their way to make a very cohesive system for campaigns, especially for hex crawls and setting up domains. Any game inspired by B/X (which is my favorite OSR D&D, though I use liberal amounts of AD&D as well) or an akin system can use this.

It's at about 70% and still has a month to go, so it will fund, barring a true disaster, so get in to preorder.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Game log for 22 November 2015

Dramatis personae

Kim, a thief
Mayhem, a barbarian
Caleb, a wizard
Yémos, a cleric
Anêr, a swordsman
Kúflaug, an orc 

Quid occurrit 

Evening of 7 Párūs, in the Blind Arrow

Caleb kept coughing while it rained that night. A squat woman at the table next to them pointed out the gang, then whispered about something; nobody bothered to find out what.

The next morning, the barkeep, a woman with big hoop earrings, bade Caleb to get out of the Blind Arrow after hearing him cough. He went to the northeast statue, and found that it was stone and chipped. It was of the child Yémos, one of the founders of the village back in 2164.

A well-dressed elf with a blue Mohawk came up to Caleb, and asked if he was going out to work. After Caleb coughed, he elf shook his head. He said his name was Téreru, and he wanted to know why Caleb and friends were there. Caleb said he was only passing through, and wanted to know what books the elf had. The elf didn't know too many, but said that Denôma the sorceress, a hedge wizard, might have good books on magic, as Téreru was only a dabbler.

Kim went out to look for chocolate, but only could find wine. She looked at the southwestern statue, and found it was of stone and moist from dew, and of the poet Eldrêdos, who also founded the village back in 2164, 688 years ago.

Yémos looked at the statue in the northwestern corner, and found it was of another village founder, Dīdótē the bard. Moss was all over it.

Mayhem went fishing in the village well, and Kúflaug went with him.

That night, a man with a splotchy birthmark on his face came up to the gang, and asked in a whisper if anyone knew of a healer or a cleric. He pointed to a big gash on his neck, and said it was from a "mishap." Yémos first dressed his wound, then cast Minor Healing on it, healing much of the damage. The man, who said his name was Kaússōl, was thankful.

Caleb's cough got a little better. Was it the booze? Regardless, Yémos healed him too, and Caleb at last breathed easy.

The next morning, the ground had mostly dried up, so everyone chose to head out after tying up loose ends. First, they looked at the last statue in the southeast corner. It was of Vídē the scholar, who helped found the village, and bird guano covered it. Then, Caleb went looking for Denôma the sorceress. He found her home easily enough, but nobody was home.

Not long after leaving Térrivīš, they went saw a big gang of folks, which was going north to Térrivīš and its oxen were dragging wagons with cages of apes. The heroes gave this crew a wide berth.

The heroes went south with no bother, and camped along the road that night. Early in the evening, Anêr heard a rustling in the grass. Not far away he could dimly make out the shapes of men. Anêr yelled the alarm, and the others started to awaken. After a few seconds, there was a barrage of arrows flying at them, and one hit Anêr in the leg. He pulled out the arrow and came out to meet their foes, who were seven bandits.

As the two sides came nearer to each other, Caleb lobbed a Blast Ball at two in the back. It was one of the biggest blasts he had ever cast (he had a critical success on the casting roll, so it was maximum damage, 18 on 3d). This killed one of the bowmen, and singed two others.

From there, it was the heroes cutting down bandits. One of the bandits rushed behind Kúflaug and stabbed him in the back, but Caleb zapped him with a Sunbolt. Anêr took out two, as did Mayhem. The last two ran, but Mayhem killed one as he fled.

They looted the bodies, and found 7 farthings, 26 pennies, and 8 gold pieces ($271). The next morning, they walked to the village of Drūkûros, and Kim sold the gear for 220 pennies ($880). They bought lunch, and more rations.

Res aliae

Two character points.

We thought Eric was going to join us, but something came up. May he have enjoyed it. He tends to lead the group when hexcrawling, so he is great to have around.

There was a revision in my disease rules that makes it easier to heal if you get bed rest, but harder to heal if you go adventuring. That's why Caleb stayed in the Blind Arrow, but the barkeep didn't have a good reaction roll.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Game log for 8 November 2015

The characters

Kim, thief (John)
Yémos, cleric (John, temporarily)
Mayhem, barbarian (Chris)
Caleb, wizard (Chris)
Anêr, swashbuckler (NPC)
Kúflaug, Orc slave (NPC)

The events

Getting back to the 4th of Párūs, Kim doesn't get the deal she wanted for the cult's items, as the merchant only offered her 40 silver pennies and 10 copper farthings ($130), but she did peddle the weird armor for 92 gold pieces ($1,840). The group chose to first spend that at the Wishing Well tavern over by the West Gate of town.

On that rainy night, they heard a well-coifed woman over at the next table babbling loudly how she didn't think the Lady Lummenólē was all that bad. Kim thought a bit, and remembered that Lummenólē was the Lady of the village and a cleric of Lutōdîvē, the goddess of love. Yémos let Kim know that the followers of Lutōdîvē were a bunch of perverts. Kim shrugged and went on to picking the pockets of the patrons, getting 15 farthings that night.

The next day, they awoke to Caleb coughing. Yémos tried to diagnose what it was, but only could dodge phlegm. They asked the barkeep, who said that there were two clerics in town: Ōrrášus, cleric of Bagóbros near the tavern, and Lady Lummenólē, who lived in Castle Rēláistis, in the southeastern corner of town. Lummenólē was the mightier cleric, but Ōrrášus was nearer and more likely to see Caleb.

So, they walked out into the rain to the Church of Bagóbros, god of crafts and wealth. There they saw Ōrrášus, a tall, pudgy man wearing a dark brown wig. Caleb asked him for help, but Ōrrášus only stared, blinked, then told Caleb not to cough on him. Caleb asked again, and Ōrrášus told him he'd take a look, for a donation, so Caleb handed over 10 farthings. Ōrrášus rolled his eyes, but did look at Caleb, asking him to cough and looking down his throat. Ōrrášus said that it wasn't deadly, but that Caleb should get a few days rest.

So they went back to the Wishing Well, though not after a wagon drove past them and splashed mud and water onto Kúflaug. Caleb rested at a table in the tavern, while Anêr watched Caleb. Mayhem and Kúflaug went fishing down by the docks, and Mayhem got one trout. Yémos and Kim went looking for nuts and berries outside town.

Caleb didn't get any better that night, and the barkeep asked Caleb to say he got his illness from the Pink Moose tavern, lest anyone think Caleb got his illness from the Wishing Well. Kim had seen enough, and he and Yémos take Caleb by the arm to see the Lady Lummenólē. Outside the tavern, a gaggle of pilgrims called loudly for help going to the church of Rōripermónē, the farming goddess, in Órkōn Wall, about five miles away. Kim and Yémos, however, kept dragging Caleb.

After about an hour's walk around the village, they reached Castle Rēláistis, decked out in flowers. Kim holds back a sneeze from the lovage among the flowers, and they ask the two guards before the gate to see the Lady Lummenólē. Again, their first try to get in didn't work, nor did Caleb's coughing, but the guards also opened the doors for 10 farthings. They bade Caleb, Kim, and Yémos to hand over their weapons, and told Caleb to keep away from them.

They walked upstairs as the guards also bade, and waited outside a door, hearing the grunts, screams, and moans of orcs and a woman. After many minutes, two orcs walked out, and asked the gang, "Are you next?" The heroes walked into the room, and met Lady Lummenólē, a slim middle-aged woman, beautiful albeit with silver-grey hair, and wearing little clothing.

She gave Caleb the same diagnosis as did Ōrrášus--more rest--then asked where Caleb had been. He told her he had been at the mines, and no, he had fought no zombies, only skeletons, hobgoblins, and lizard men. She perked up upon hearing about hobgoblins and lizard men, and asked if he had brought back any of the latter.

She had her cook give the heroes a meal of beef stew, then they went on their way back to the Wishing Well, to meet the others who had went fishing again. Caleb kept coughing, and by now his chest was hurting. Yémos cast a Detect Poison spell on Caleb to be sure, but found nothing. They went to bed on the tavern's cots with the rain pouring.

The next morning, Caleb still was in pain, so Yémos cast Major Healing to ease his pain. With that, the gang set out, keen on keeping Caleb away from the smelting in Rēláistis. They chose to head south, to the wooded village of Térrivīš.

In the woods, about midday, the gang met an arrow at each one of them, with both Anêr and Kúflaug taking one to their chests. From out of the trees came nine bandits, with three of them holding back to reload their bows. The archers fled after one of Caleb's Blast Balls, which downed two thieves, and Anêr's sword downed a third. The other three bandits held fast, and fell at the hands of the heroes. Yémos, feeling for them, bound the wounds of the downed bandits, though he couldn't save one. All stripped the six bandits of their goods and wealth, and kept going to Térrivīš.

In Térriviš, a wooded village with a statue at each corner, the heroes unloaded the gear of the bandits and got 957 farthings and 193 pennies ($1,729) for all of it. Then, they went to the Blind Arrow tavern for the night.


I had rolled for the bandits in the d30 Sandbox Companion, and came up with a number of bandits equal to the size of the party +3, with a level of average party level -2. I applied the latter to the skill levels on the templates in the back of Mirror of the Fire Demon, so wound up with many unskilled goons. I forgot to apply woods cover to their skill for their first shot, but that would have been cancelled out by their Accuracy bonus, which I also forgot to apply; big whoop.

But the real takeaway was just how much treasure they had. According to the d30 Sandbox Companion, I came up with 2,000 cp, 2,000 sp, 500 ep, 6,000 gp, 500 pp, and 12 gems. Even lobbing off a third for the guys who fled, it was still high. I think it's based on Treasure Type A, which is a lot (12,000 gp or so), but meant to be for a whole gang of bandits, which is 20d10 bandits in the Monster Manual. (I'm working on a bunch of posts that will touch on bandits in AD&D, incidentally, so for once, I can remember the Treasure Type of bandits and brigands off the top of my head.) So even lowered from there, the players were amazed, so we all agreed that the loot included what they would get from selling their gear, which I ruled Kim would make sure to do due to the last two blog posts becoming house rules.

That's the lesser issue from the session. The bigger one is that I gave a PC an illnesses. The players have had warning for the last three months or so that I want to try this out, so it was only a matter of enough game time passing before they found out who got sick. The players know what it is, too: histoplasmosis, aka spelunker's lung. It's a bother that someone can get if he goes into caves wherein dwell many bats that shit on the cave floor. Given that description, I'm amazed that I've never seen this in a gaming product before. I found it while researching a Pyramid article on illnesses, and picked it as a test case.

I'm pleased with how it went down. It took awhile for the players to realize that the weather was giving Caleb penalties, and after a few game days I broke down and told them I was applying Rēláistis's Hygiene modifier of -2 to Caleb's rolls since it was low owing to all the smelting that happened there. It led to exploring and roleplaying, but didn't give too much of a problem, since even Minor Healing can heal the HP loss. Caleb still needs to roll for a bit, however, but hopefully the fresh air will help now.