Sunday, November 20, 2016

Where the hell did our horses go?

I made up a house rule on the spot today that I want to share. When the alligator struck, I had the horses make Fright Checks, which is common. Both wound up fleeing: Ash's riding horse right away, and the pony after a few seconds. After the fight, to round them up, I had Ash make an Animal Handling (Equines) roll. He missed by 6, so I ruled that he spent the next three hours looking for the horses.

So, here's the rule: if your mounts or pet dogs run away in a wide-open wilderness (not a dungeon), make the appropriate Animal Handling roll. Apply the penalty from the Speed/Range table for long range, reading "yards" as "animals." Thus, a lone horse gets a +2 bonus, the two horses got no bonus or penalty, and three horses gets a -1 penalty, and so on. If you succeed, you get them back with little fuss. If you don't, you get them back after a half-hour for every point by which you missed the roll.

This not only speeds play, as I don't want to game out every time the horses bolt and run (which is pretty much all the time, as neither is combat-trained), but encourages folks to spend points on seemingly useless skills like Animal Handling.

Game log 20 November 2016: Back into the swamp

Dramatis personae

Caleb, wizard
Mayhem, barbarian
Kim, thief
Ash, squire
Kôštē, cleric (NPC)
Villûdē, guide (NPC)

Quid occurrit

After leaving camp outside Vēristés Castle for the night of 3 Brugés, the gang set forth to the swamp. After trekking for a few hours in good weather, they reached the swamp, and there they chopped down a few trees and made a raft.

Late afternoon, Caleb spotted a big flyer in the sky. No sooner did he see it did that flyer fly towards Mayhem and try to stick its proboscis into Mayhem's armor. Ash and Mayhem smacked the flyer, which Caleb realized was a giant assassin bug, to death with one smack each. Kim was less helpful: she took a shot and hit Kôštē instead. Caleb bound the wounds of the cleric, who scowled at Kim.

That night, they camped in the swamp. In the middle of the night, Villûdē saw an onlooker: an alligator. She sounded the hue and cry, and the alligator made for the horses. Everyone streamed out of the tent, and saw the alligator, which flickered oddly. Villûdē turned white when she saw the alligator up close, while the flickering alligator so shook Ash that he ever after will have trouble sleeping in the swamp.

Kim and Mayhem, however, had no issue with the alligator, and both hit it hard enough that it fled into the swamp instead of chasing after the fleeing horses. Ash, already having trouble sleeping, spent three hours getting the horses back.

Ash slept on the raft much of the morning. Not long after he woke up, Villûdē hit a spot of land with the raft. Not at all odd, but before she could push away, many rat swarms started coming onto the raft, which had hit their nest. Kim, Ash, and Mayhem hacked away at them, while Caleb cast Create Acid to scald the lot of them. That afternoon, they spotted the alligator again, no longer flickering, but it swam away.

They made camp on a patch of land, and it rained that night. Not too long before daybreak, Kim spotted thirteen orcs coming for the camp. She yelled for the others, and aimed for the orcs. Once the others were out of the tent, the orc bowmen took their shots at the heroes, and Kim took an arrow to her chest. Not knowing what else to do, she dropped to the ground, dropped her bow, and played dead.

Six orcs came to the tent. Two of them tried to steal the pony, which gave them all kinds of trouble. Two of them went to the back of the tent and felled Caleb, who was trying to get a Blast Ball ready. The orcs then started to drag away Caleb.

Mayhem, seeing the orcs drag Caleb, ran over to them, and started hacking at them. Two of the bigger orc bowmen took shots at Mayhem, and one hurt Mayhem enough to maybe make him mad. He kept his cool, but chose to lose it to help his friend.

Ash, meanwhile, held off the orcs by the tent. The bowmen, after a few seconds of watching Mayhem and Ash take out their fellows, dropped their bows and rushed forward to help. (They also didn't have many good targets. The orcs who were still standing blocked the heroes, and they didn't want to shoot the horses, which would be tough to ride away dead, as well as drag away and eat back at their camp.)

Villûdē took a blow from an orc twice, but Kôštē stepped forward and healed her both times. She kept parrying the blows of the orc until first his sword broke, then the straps on his shield. At this time, Villûdē and Kôštē struck the orc, felling him. They did a high-five. "Girl power!"

Mayhem kept moving through the orcs, shrugging off their blows. Ash took down two orcs himself, and held against their leader. Still, the orcs kept coming. Kim had crawled away, as no orcs were near her, but then stood up after a few seconds and shot the orc leader from behind, though did not wound him at all. However, Ash wounded the leader so much that he chose to break off the strike, bidding the others to flee.

Res aliae

We chatted a bit about future character upgrades. I told them what skills were on the 250-point versions of their templates, and suggested social skills for them since they're mostly lacking them (Kim has Streetwise). John, who plays Ash and Kim, learned in the fray that Ash needs High Pain Threshold, though he should also use his Luck some as well.

We got John using Deceptive Attack with Ash for the first time, though just a point, while Chris hit upon the combination of All-Out Attack (Determined) and Deceptive Attack 4 (Mayhem has Two-Handed Axe/Mace-20). As the orcs had good defenses (11 for Parry and Block), this let him move through them with ease. I'll try to think of some easy attack options for Ash; Kim will be trickier.

Monday, November 14, 2016

A list of monsters

I made a list of monsters that Dungeon Fantasy needs as a page on my site for reasons that no longer make any sense to me (I was feeling a little sheepish telling others what I'd like to see in a product), so I'm making a blog post to link to it.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Game log 6 November 2016: Time to level up and get dirty again

Dramatis personae

Caleb, wizard
Mayhem, barbarian
Ash, squire
Kim, thief
Kôštē, cleric (NPC)
Villûdē, guide (NPC)

Quid occurrit

They went back to Mīstássun. On the way, they ran into three men with spears. One of them, who wore stud piercings in his ears, yelled at them to stop. “Doncha know about the toll?"

Caleb said, “There never has been a toll before."

The man with the stud earrings said, “We are collecting tolls in the name of the Queen!"

Caleb asked, “Where are your papers of commission?"

“Papers? We don’t need no steenkin’ papers!"

And then the fight started. The goons yelled, “Make it easy on yourselves!” as they came near.

Caleb said, “We are … on our pockets!"

Kim said, “In your wet dreams!"

The heroic murderhoboes had a field day on the not-so-heroic murderhoboes. Mayhem took out two, and Ash took out one. Kim broke her sword trying to stop one from hitting Caleb. They looted the bodies, and Kôštē bound their wounds.

On the bodies, they found 3 gold pieces, 140 silver pennies, and 147 copper farthings, as well as a bit of amber. More interesting though less lucrative were papers saying that the three men were members of the Reapers mercenary outfit: Permónos, who wore the stud earrings, Prēssīvós, a buck-toothed man, and Dībrátor, who had a hook for a hand. Kim knew the Reapers were mercenary band that camped outside of town and whose leader hung out at the Scarlet Harlot tavern.

Once in town, they sold the bit of amber, and Kim bought a new sword. They spent the next week training and hanging around the bars, keeping their ears open. They heard tales of a dragon living in an odd church in the Eldalîvā Woods in the west, and about the Armor of the Ape in an old tower in the Dumenrôn Swamp to the south. Caleb pored over old books, and found that the dragon Hiszgorr the Poisonous lived in the north of the woods, and tales an odd beast with a flailed tail roamed near a tower in the swamp. Not wanting to fight a dragon, they chose the swamp, though this time wanting to keep away from the ibathene.

Caleb found that no one knew anything about his doppelgänger. Not only that, nobody remembered anything about his doppelgänger, or that he had ever been there.

They made sure to tell the powers that be about the Reapers’ strike. Nabbrášus the mine owner shrugged her shoulders. The Town Watchman at the courthouse said that since the strike happened outside the town walls, there was nothing he could do. The man at the castle with the County took the papers, and thanked them for letting the County know.

Before leaving, they went to see Villûdē at the Wild Cats tavern. She wasn’t having a good night, trying to have the crowd give her money for her tales of the swamp, but they wouldn’t hear of it. “If you saw the ibathene, why are you still alive!” Dodging rotten tomatoes, they went up to Villûdē, and asked her if she wanted to guide them again. Wiping a tomato from her arm, she agreed.

Villûdē had not only heard of the beast with the flail tail, but had seen it, and said it was the santer. She didn’t know about the tower, but said the santer was in the eastern swamp, north of the ibathene and south of the nagas’ island. Caleb, however, thought it best to go at the swamp from the east, taking the road most of the way. Also, he thought it wise to meet the lord of Vēristés Castle, on the eastern road. Friends couldn’t hurt.

Because everybody needs a little ELP.
Thus, they set out on 31 Smôs, two days before the full moon. They took three days to reach the village of Agêdūnon, the last settlement before Vēristés Castle. From Agêdūnon, they set forth, but at midday, saw a tawny blur in the sky coming towards them. As it came nearer, they saw it had leathery bat-wings, the mug of a man, the body of a lion, and the tail of a scorpion.

A manticore. They weren’t too far from the spot in the woods where they fought another manticore a few months ago. It sprayed its tail spikes from afar but missed, while the heroes lobbed their volley. Caleb hit it hard with Stroke of Lightning, and it thought better of the strike and flew away.

As the night fell, they made it to Vēristés Castle. There, nine guards told the
m to hand over their weapons and come inside. After some dithering, they handed over their weapons. “Down with the Queen! Down with Ažbrátōr! Down with Nemmagós!” they shouted to the puzzled gang, and led it inside.

Inside, Lord Kaggrétōr, a man with sharp looks and light brown hair, made them all shout “Down with Ažbrátōr! Down with Nemmagós!” before signing a badly-written screed against the Queen. Most signed with an X, Kim with a squiggle, and Caleb signed, “Praidīvós of Mīstássun.” Kaggrétōr then asked them why the Queen hated him, why she tried to take away his castle, and, if they ever saw Count Gostálios, if they could put in a good word for him so the two could meet to talk.

With that, he threw them out, and tossed their weapons at them. They made camp, not having bought the parts for a raft from the castle.

Res aliae

As the manticore came in, with Chris's head in the way.
We spent a lot of time leveling up. At my behest, the players spent points and money into Carousing, and got two good rumors out of the deal. Being such a shifty crew, having skills in drinking at taverns seemed to fit.

After asking for world details, which brought out the note I had with my original rolls for the world four years ago with the idea that the local tree was a “palm” and the local game was a “reindeer,” Chris (Caleb/Mayhem) thought it a good idea to meet with the nobility, and saw Vēristés Castle near the swamp. Hey, it seemed like a good idea at the time, and I’m always happy to play a loopy NPC.

We somewhat formalized the idea that there were main characters—Caleb and Kim—and more muscle ones—Mayhem and Ash. Mostly, that’s how things have been playing, as when they parley, they use the smarter characters for obvious reasons.