Thursday, September 17, 2020

Dungeon Fantasy Castle Whiterock log for 24 August 2020: Do NOT talk to swords!

Who are these yahoos?

Ibizaber (aka Zaber) the Clever, Gorgeous, and Besotted, most beloved person in Cillamar
Garreth, strongest person in all Cillamar
Seépravir (aka Seep), possibly the mightiest and definitely the shiftiest wizard in Cillamar
Polly Daze, the incredibly cute deadly archer
Stonemaul, our new drinking buddy, a dwarven cleric of Danethar

What did they do?

Well, that was one helluva week. It was just me against the bars. I think I managed to get thrown out of each and every bar in Cillamar at least once in the last week, which seemed really long. Garreth once found me on the street and woke me up with a bucket of water. It was great; I romanced every barmaid in town. I might have succeeded with one or two; memory is really hazy, since at least three whacked me with trays and mugs.

Fun has to come to an end sometime, and I staggered into the Slumbering Drake somehow at the end of the week. Garreth and I were having beers with Seep and Polly; Polly was drinking that carrot stuff again. I haven’t had the heart to tell her it’s not really alcoholic; she just looks so cute when she thinks she’s drunk. But she has a weird look in her eyes nowadays; something with her and Seep. Makes me wonder … Elias went off somewhere, and I really don’t wonder in his case.

Anyways, there we were, drinking beer and mead and some of that mushroom wine, and along comes a dwarf armored up to the wazoo. He said he was named Stonemaul and sat down for a drink. Turns out he is a cleric of Danethar, and doesn’t seem to be as … what’s the word I want to use? … lame as Durkerle was. Drinks well, which you’d expect since he’s a dwarf, knows how to cast Bless, and he has a … katana. Just to mess with us.

Oh, speaking of weapons … I mean literally, speaking of weapons. Garreth keeps talking to his sword. At first I thought he had found some shrooms down in the dungeon and asked him for some, but he insisted that he didn’t have any, and was totally clean. Yeah, you keep telling me that, Big G, but then you keep talking to your sword. So forgive me if I’m skeptical. Anyways, he said it speaks back to his head and wants him to kill dragons.

Man, I need to get my best friend back on the sauce before he gets us both killed. I need a beer just to think about all this.

But in spite of my better judgment or because I’m always worried about not having beer money I went with him and the others and Maul (as he’s called for short, or shorter in his case) back to Whiterock. We quickly went back to the keep we sacked last week, and started along the causeway. Polly wanted us to check out the big bugs that flew up from pit as we assaulted the temple, so we stepped off the causeway, and started flying down.

That creepy feeling came over me almost as soon as I stepped off the causeway. The stench got nastier, and we heard a constant buzz. We saw four wasps as big as hobbits, and before I could slip up to one and stick my knife in its eye, Polly stabbed one and shot another one. I did get my knife in one’s eye, killing it, however, and Maul flew into another, slamming it into the wall. Garreth then drew close and apparently the sword didn’t tell him to be nice to giant wasps as he killed one. I managed to stab another one, and Maul stepped back from it, letting Polly pepper it to death with arrows.

Garreth pointed down asked me to check out a ledge a few yards below us. I flew down to it, and hovered above it; the ledge had all kinds of nasty slime on it. There were also big beetles on it, and we knew from the week before that they breathe fire. Stonemaul downed a Strength potion, then started to pray to make himself a runt, blunt, fighting … uh, I’m not going there.

What other stuff is going on?

We stopped right before fighting the beetles. We had some initial issues getting started, being the first session of a continuation game.

In this game, I'm not the game master. Thus, I'm writing in-character as Ibizaber the Sloshed.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Game log for 5 July 2020 and 16 July 2020: Born on the Fifth of July

Another log with minimal literary value. Lucdalen is an elf-in-denial wizard/thief, Kurt is a hobbit fighter, Felcanis is an elf cleric of the god of light, and Bill is a mule.

The PCs shrug after Horace storms off, and keep resting.

Four giant vipers show up, no surprise, Kurt yells at them, and they slither away.

After resting, they check out the door to the east. They follow the hallway beyond eastward, and see a dead naga body. Lucdalen remembers the warning of the living nagini, so they keep away. They check out a door beyond the dead naga body, see that behind it is a bathroom, and walk back to the garden.

They walk into the garden, and see the body of a dead rat, with its eyes agape and eyes gone. From there, they go over the bridge, then back through the door on the other side of the bridge.

They then go back through the room with the Parkay Blades, then into the next room, where there are puddles of clear liquid on the floor and a sign nearby in the Old Erstokkese tongue. Nobody knows that one, but since Mannish comes from it, they think it says something like “Water no body.”

Next room, they go into a room with smashed glass cases and a trapdoor in the floor which Lucdalen spots before Felcanis steps on it. Lucdalen and Kurt also see oak doors in the wall, but Felcanis cannot. Lucdalen picks the lock of the supposed door, then he and Kurt go into a room with murals on the walls, an altar on the other side of the room, and rotting pews in the middle. After a few minutes there, they come back out, to a befuddled Felcanis.

They go to the north, and into an old privy, with a pouch on the floor. They see that it is magic, and has a sweet, pungent smell coming from it. Lucdalen touches it to pick it up, and suddenly seven little demons with spears show up.

There’s a short battle. They take down Lucdalen fast, getting stabbed after he botches the Iron Arm spell, but Kurt takes them out while going nuts, while Felcanis does get a smash before falling. She does get up, and keeps fighting, and helps take them out before healing Lucdalen.

From there, they go back into the hallway, then go around a corner, smelling cooking meat. Lucdalen casts Invisibility, and everyone creeps inside, sees an ogre eating bull meat. After the some bickering, another ogre, Mek, comes from back room to join the first ogre, Grak. After some bickering about how long to cook bull meat and how much pepper it needs, Grak and Mek see Kurt and Felcanis and want to eat them.

Ogre fight: Grak and Mek come to make appetizers of Kurt and Felcanis, but Lucdalen stabs Mek from Invisibility. Grak smashes Kurt on the neck with his maul, then Felcanis heals Kurt. Lucdalen casts Choke on Mek but he resists, after which all spells mysteriously all stop working, including Continual Light. Right after this happens, Lucdalen gets off Iron Arm to block a blow from Mek, and Grak misses turning Kurt into steak tartare by smashing him in the head. Felcanis casts Continual Sunlight in a small area, solving their light problems. Then Lucdalen gets Mek’s maul to Explode. This cripples Mek’s arm, and fragments hit Kurt, Grak, and the mule. Lucdalen passes out from casting. Kurt chops up the two ogres, with Mek’s last words being, “Fast food.”

Felcanis heals the mule, and they let Lucdalen rest. A group of armed folks come into the room. The leader, a woman in plate, introduces herself as Paílē, and she chats with Kurt. She mentiones that they had been in a crashed metal boat in Bérelos Peaks, and the wizard of the group, Gēršūnús, says he got a device there that shoots fire when he touches part of it. All go into the back room, and before going inside, Paílē makes an offer: if they find a sword in there, she gets it, otherwise Kurt and friends get the loot. In the back room, they see eight cots and a trunk. It turns out there’s no sword in the trunk but coins, gems, a chain, and some small jars of makeup. Kurt gives Paílē about a fifth of the loot, and she and her friends go on their way. After Paílē gives Kurt a peck on the forehead, she and her friends go on their way.

Lucdalen casts Share Energy, and Felcanis uses it to heal everyone. Then they eat dinner.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Game log 7 June and 21 June 2020: Asses of Fire

A short log for two sessions, needing to get it done:

1. The heroes go back through the runes, turn north, see three giant flies, two with wounds. They fight them, beating two; one flies away.
2. Horace and Jiro go off to rest in the garden. Kurt and Lucdalen see a strongbox, open it, and find 188 silver, silver ring, 7 magical arrows, 1 scroll of Magelock.
3. Two giant flies come in from the east; the heroes win the battle. Horace and Jiro come back afterwards.
4. The heroes turn north and force loose that door. Horace casts Glass Wall, and sees beyond door is big summoning triangle.
5. An ogre (“Gik”) comes from the south, asks for Kurt or the mule for food. Everyone braces to fight; Gik walks away, hungry.
6. Party walks south, convinced the summoning triangle won’t summon anything good for it. They talk about the runes, and choose to avoid them.
7. Back to in the room, they find three flies. They brace for a fight, and win handily. In the fight, Felcanis surges with energy and lets it out, burning everyone, including the mule.
8. They rest after the fight. A giant viper shows up while they are resting, and the gang beats it in the hallway.
9. Horace decided he wants the viper poison. Lucdalen gets the poison out of the viper’s fangs, but has no way of storing it. After a chat, Horace hands Lucdalen a minor healing potion. Lucdalen drinks Horace’s minor healing potion and uses the vial to stow the giant venom poison, then pockets the vial.
10. Horace gets mad that Lucdalen has kept the poison. After some angry words, Horace drops the staff and storms off, Jiro following.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Game log 24 May 2020: Good things happen when you're polite

Dramatis personae

Horace, wizard scholar
Felcanis, elf cleric
Jiro, swordswoman
Lucdalen, elf-hating elf wizard/thief
Kurt, hobbit fighter

Quid occurrit

They rest, and Horace reads some of his book. He finds the passage: “Trákkē bore with her a staff, her power item, that shed a light that only wizards could see.” Thus, Horace casts Seeker for this staff, and finds it is to the east. So the group goes back to the garden. Lucdalen casts Displace Spell to circumvent the magic door, and it works after a few tries.

Once in the garden, Lucdalen inspects the creek then rests. Horace and Lucdalen see stairs beyond the bridge, but rubble blocks them. Horace crosses the bridge and inspects a pine tree, which has cones that are cylindrical with a blunted tip at the end. He looks in his book, and finds the passage: “The wizard caretakers of the Garden in the Cairn were the Collectors, who bred trees to have odd properties, like odd leaves, odd hues, odd ways of reproduction, odd smells, odd tastes. The goddess Rōrpermónē did smile upon these attempts to make her creations more hardy, and did send a guardian.” Horace then inspects a white willow, which shocks him. Felcanis heals him with Stop Bleeding, Lucdalen casts Share Energy, then Felcanis uses the extra FP to cast Major Healing on Horace.

Now on the other side of the garden, they see a door, and Horace sees magic trap on door. Lucdalen opens it with Wizard Hand and uses his Wizard Hand to open later doors. He also uses it to trigger Evil Runes, and these dispel his Wizard Hand. Lucdalen uses Displace Spell to get through the magic trap on the door. He casts another Wizard Hand to open the other doors they see to their left. Horace casts Glass Wall to see into the room with the Evil Runes, and sees a summoning circle. Lucdalen uses Displace Spell to handle a patch of the Evil Runes. He then goes to work, one patch at a time. While Lucdalen works, Horace and Jiro go to the left and see two giant flies. They choose to wait to fight the flies until Lucdalen is done, so go back.

While he works, four flies come in through the door on the other side of the room with the runes. After a moment, they see Lucdalen, who readies his spear to stop thrust. The flies buzz nearby, but stay clear of the spear. Horace casts Haste 2 on Jiro, who then whips out her sword. Felcanis fires up Sunbolt, and Kurt tries to jump into the air to grab a fly. The fly gets out of the way and Kurt falls a few inches short of some runes. Jiro rushes towards a fly but misses. Lucdalen starts casting Mass Sleep. The flies bite at Jiro and Kurt, but Jiro parries and Kurt’s armor soaks up the bite. Jiro again swings at a fly and hits air, but her second swing hits one. Kurt gets out his mace and smashes one. Felcanis lobs a Sunbolt and misses Kurt and a fly, but hits another one in the leg. That’s enough for the flies and they pull back. The heroes can’t chase them because that means stepping on the Evil Runes.

Lucdalen finishes making a path through the Evil Runes after some rest. While he casts, Horace reads, “Rōripermónē loved the garden, and blessed it after the cult left. Some other plants moved themselves into the garden as well, and enjoyed the eternal light.”

The gang goes through path, and comes into room with a naga inside. Horace and the naga chat, as he thinks staff is behind her. The naga hisses at them but speaks: “Come closer, Children. Rōripermónē welcomes you to her garden, as you've already passed through. I am Ímvā, guardian of the garden, now living in the home of the Collector. So many of you today! Are you with the other Children? Need you a curse removed as they did?” Lucdalen says he is a Child of the Spider, while Horace guesses the naga is the Guardian, and asks Lucdalen to ask her about the staff. Ímvā says, “Really. Son, you're not going to impress me with that. You should be like your friend, quaking and quivering and sweating and going on about the staff.” Lucdalen says he’s suffered exile, which is worse than death, but Ímvā says, “Relax, Child. If I had wanted you dead, you'd be dead already. Didn't your friends say something about me?” Lucdalen says Ímvā is hiding Horace’s staff. Ímvā says, “Oh, no, it's not his staff, but it has been here for centuries. Funny, your friends didn't bother to ask me about it, just wanted to get their friend turned back into flesh.” Lucdalen insists the staff is Horace’s, but Ímvā will have none of it, while Horace tries to flatter her. Horace casts Aura, and finds Ímvā’s is a golden aura. They keep chatting, and find that Rōripermónē sent Ímvā to watch over the Garden, and that she doesn’t like the ogres. She also says, “I figure I'll do this for a few more millennia, then go on to do a stint in Kelestia or Oerth. My sister is in Kelestia. Last I hear she was scaring some peasants.” Her other sister, she says, lies dead in the rooms to her right, but don’t touch her body because she called a dying curse. Horace asks where the staff is and says that if she lets him take it, he’ll leave, and amazingly, she agrees. Horace walks around the corner and takes the staff. Ímvā says, “There you go, Child. You just asked and it was yours. Is that really so hard for folks to understand? Nobody bothers to be polite. Last time anyone was polite and asked was on Krynn and that nice boy with the hourglass eyes.” She also lets them know there are more ogres and a medusa. They then head off.

Res aliae

I'll leave off with the observation that the difference between a TPK and a magic item is often a good reaction roll. There's a little more to it than that, of course. It also helps when the naga is sent by a goddess and not a narcissist living in a swamp, though those naga were a little weaker than she.

Dungeoncrawl procedures

Not long ago there was a post on the Alexandrian about the lack of dungeon keying guidelines nowadays. Fast forward to this week when I was chatting with someone on Discord about scenario structures, which led me to try looking for procedures for certain scenarios, which led me to an older post on the Alexandrian with a summary the dungeoncrawling procedures from the original Dungeons & Dragons. Somehow, I had missed this post before, or hadn’t paid it much heed, but this time, I was in the mood to fully port these procedures to GURPS Dungeon Fantasy. So, this is it, with commentary below:

  1. You can move a number of yards equal to twenty times your encumbered Move each turn. A turn is about 10 minutes long. Alternately, a party can move one room each turn.
  2. Non-movement activities also take up a turn or some fraction of a turn. Searching a 10-foot section of wall takes 1 turn. Secret passages are found a Search roll at penalty, average -5; roll 2d-2 if you need a random number.
  3. The party must rest 1 turn in 6. If a flight/pursuit has taken place, it must rest for 2 turns in 6. If they do not rest, the characters are down 1+Encumbrance level FP until resting.
  4. Wandering Monsters: These show up on a 6 or less on a roll of 3d each turn; 7 is a clue if moving.
  5. Monsters: When encountered, roll 3d on Reaction Table. Poor or worse is a negative reaction (fight); Neutral is an uncertain reaction (wary); Good or better is a positive reaction (welcoming). Apply appropriate modifiers.
    • Monsters sighted at 4d yards, or edge of the room.
    • Surprise: Per check. If failed, must make a DX check to keep from dropping a held item. Monsters are sighted at 2d yards instead of 4d.
    • One side can try to avoid the encounter unless it is surprised and within 7 yards of a non-surprised side. Flight is a simple comparison of encumbered Move scores. Handle this in blocks of 15 seconds (since that's the threshold for a HT check); if the fleeing side gets a lead of 30 yards, the other side stops chasing it. If the PCs turn a corner or go up stairs or go through a door, there is a 2 in 6 chance the monsters keep pursuing. If the PCs go through secret door, there is a 1 in 6 chance the monsters keep pursuing. (See Running Away! (Exploits, p. 22) to handle obstacles for each side.) Burning oil keeps many monsters from pursuing; handle this as a Reaction roll: Bestial monsters will stop pursuit on a Neutral or better reaction, others stop on a Good or better reaction. Dropping edible items will force monsters who lack Doesn’t Eat or Drink to make a Will check or stop pursuit (Gluttony modifies check per Fright Check modifier); Bestial grants -5 to this check. Dropping treasure also forces a Reaction roll (Greedy modifies check per Fright Check modifier) to stop pursuit; monsters will stop pursuit on a Neutral or better reaction unless the monster is Bestial, in which case it will ignore treasure.
  6. Other activities:
    • Many doors must be forced open with Forced Entry at a penalty; roll 1d-1 if you don't know it. Failure means that you get the door open, but the GM makes another wandering monster check. Up to three characters can force a door simultaneously (each trained helper grants +1 to Forced Entry), but forcing a door means you can’t immediately react to what’s on the other side.
    • Most traps are sprung 2 in 6; roll for each delver.
    • Listening at doors (Hearing at -6) detects monsters behind closed doors. Monsters with Doesn’t Breathe advantage do not make enough sound to detect in this way.

Some comments:

  1. The rates I give let PCs move a little farther in a turn than in D&D; the D&D rates translate to sixteen times Move for unencumbered movement. There are a few reasons for this. First is that it’s easier to multiply by twenty in your head. Another is that Dungeon Fantasy characters are much more likely to be slightly encumbered than D&D characters; almost no starting character is unencumbered without dropping all gear or having the Lighten spell always on. Countering this is that base Move for most Dungeon Fantasy characters is slightly higher than normal (Move 6 is average). A third reason is that the D&D rate is really slow, or 4.8 inches a second unencumbered. I get that this is abstracting searching and being on your guard as well, but still, you’re talking about the slowest you go.
    • A handy coincidence for the 10-minute turn is that FP recovery rates are keyed to 10 minutes base. You can just say that a resting character gets back 1 FP in a rest, or 2 FP with Fit or Recover Energy-15, or 5 FP with Recover Energy-20.
  2. I think we can assume that the movement rates above assume some general searching already. Again, D&D characters move 240 feet every 10 minutes. Unencumbered. If all they’re doing is moving, they're turtles. Characters in plate armor are moving half that.
  3. The idea for this being the penalty comes from Travel Fatigue on p. 24 of GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 16: Wilderness Adventures. Having said that, I’m not wholly sure we need this; spellcasters are going to want to rest often in this system anyways. Anyways, OD&D doesn't list a penalty for not resting; Tom Moldvay's Basic D&D set has -1 to hit and damage. If we do want to go this route, docking FP is the way to go since this greatly weakens spellcasters and fits with how things otherwise work in GURPS.
  4. Right now, wandering monsters in Dungeon Fantasy are mostly 9 or less on 3d every hour, or a 38% chance. Checking wandering monsters every turn keeps characters on their toes (and keeps the spellcasters from resting) and it’s easier to remember if you’re always doing it. Regardless, a 6 or less every 10 minutes translates to a 44% chance an hour, which is in line with the current rate. The chance of a clue is my addition; I’m keen on clues. Regardless, I pre-roll these, and just go down the list each turn.
  5. This is a lot, but I’ll start with reactions. Not all monsters will fight. Granted, the reaction modifiers in Dungeon Fantasy make fight more likely than in D&D, but there always needs to be a chance. My own game's last session had an encounter which went well due to a good reaction roll. It would have been either a TPK or PCs skedaddle out of the dungeon had it not. Like wandering monsters, I preroll these.
    • Sighted: This is a literal translation of D&D distances.
    • Surprise: A Perception check works well for Dungeon Fantasy, and the rules (Surprise Attacks, Exploits, pp. 26-27) support this. This also lets me just halve the roll for the encounter distance.
    • Avoid: I’ve done some fretting about how to handle running and you can convince me that there’s a better way. A more comprehensive system is on pp. 31-35 of GURPS Action 2: Exploits. Archon Shiva has another system and more thoughts on this. Regardless, I fixed the likelihood that going through doors or around corners stops the chase; Justin Alexander just transcribed things from The Underworld and Wilderness Adventures wrong or was writing it fast. (I think he was going from memory, and the exact rates aren’t important in the article or change its point.) I’m not wholly sold that I’m handling dropping treasure perfectly, but I like the basic idea: you can get away if you get rid of a precious resource. I’m sure bigger monsters need more food or smarter monsters need more treasure, but I don’t feel like working about that now. 
      • Note on handling Greedy and Gluttony: Phobias in GURPS have modifiers to Fright Checks based on self-control roll. Apply this as-is (negative) to an attribute check or the inverse (positive) to a Reaction roll. Thus, a monster with Gluttony (9) will be at -3 to the Will check to keep from stopping to eat.
  6. Other things:
    1. Doors: I got rid of the auto-shutting doors of OD&D; that’s just too weird for too little benefit. If you want them, just use the OD&D rules for wedging open the door.
    2. Traps: One benefit of being familiar with early OD&D (my knowledge comes from running Caverns of Thracia) is the idea that PCs do not auto-spring traps. The die roll abstracts the room and keeps you from having to suddenly force PCs to start showing you where they are on a map.
    3. Listening: I did like being forced to think about how to handle listening at doors, and what that means. That’s part of the reason for this exercise. Thus, listening at the door means trying to see if there's a monster given non-obvious activity (I'm sure that if the monsters are covering Camel songs the PCs don't need a Hearing roll). Since undead don’t make a sound, that leads me to think that there’s something about the characteristics of being undead that avoids sound, and that led me to using Doesn’t Breathe for this.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

19 April and 2 May 2020: Rats! Fatigue!

Dramatis personae

Horace, wizard
Felcanis, elf cleric
Jiro, swordswoman
Lucdalen, elf-hating elf wizard/thief
Kurt, hobbit fighter

Quid occurrit

The party makes it to the door, and Horace remembers something about a second front door behind the first in his reading about the Cairn. Lucdalen casts Detect Magic and finds no magic on the door, but finds some kind of non-magical trap near the top. As the door is locked, Lucdalen casts Mage Hand and tries to pick the lock with it, but fails. So, he shrugs and casts Lockmaster. Problem solved, but … no second door. Suspicious, Horace casts See Secrets and finds the second door at the ceiling, right behind the first, and going to slam down on anyone who walks through the first door. Lucdalen, however, disables the trap.

The group plans to rest a bit after its wizards have cast spells, but Felcanis casts Lend Energy to help speed the resting.

Speeding this up to skip the rest is good because once they step inside, they see some scurrying on the floor from four giant rats, amazed to see light from the door (though some comes from the east). While Jiro hangs back, Kurt runs up to a rat and grabs it, trying to get a new mount. Horace casts Armor 2 on Lucdalen, while Felcanis tries to run up to a rat and smack it with her mace, and misses. Kurt and the rat keep up their wrestling match, while Horace casts Shield 1 on Jiro. The other three rats back away, while the rat with Kurt tries to bite him, and doesn’t do anything from the hobbit-hold. Jiro at last runs up to Kurt’s rat, and sticks her sword into him (the rat has a big set of rat balls). The rat stays awake, but Lucdalen ends his life with Steal Vitality.

After this, the group rests for a half hour, and nothing shows up in that time. They choose to go through a door to their west, which Lucdalen doesn’t think has any traps. Kurt goes into the room, which is empty with no other ways out, and walks around, looking for stuff. Instead, once he tries to go out, he steps on a floor tile which triggers a trap, which unleashes a rain of darts on his left hand and left leg. However, owing to his armor, these darts only go “ping ping ping” instead of hurting him. Lucdalen goes inside to see what he missed, and finds that the trap is out of darts. He also finds that there are some cheesecloth wrappers and crumbs that someone threw into a corner, and these wrappers do not have the layer of dust that the rest of the room has all over it. Horace again casts See Secrets, and finds none in this room.

Then the group goes down a short flight of stairs to the east into the lighted area. They see that this lighted area is a big garden, with Continual Sunlight or something akin all over the ceiling and raising the mana of the area. There’s a stream to their east, running from the outside (they saw a stream outside, so this is presumably the same one) and a bridge going over it, and on that bridge are two ogres. The ogres, whose call each other Grog and Ugh, are grousing about not killing a rat and going hungry, and do not see the heroes. Jiro moves hand over hand alongside the bridge, trying to sneak up on the ogres, but Kurt throws his axe at them, missing them and letting them know he’s there. The ogres, hungry, move to fight Kurt. Felcanis casts Shield 3 on herself, while Lucdalen also starts casting a spell. Felcanis’s spell leads Ugh to say that he doesn’t like “magic woman” because she is “like big snake woman!” while Grog says he doesn’t like either the magic woman or the big snake woman. Horace casts a small Fireball, which burns bright in his hand, while Felcanis fires up a Sunbolt. Kurt throws another axe, which hits Ugh in the leg, and when Grog and Ugh try to rush Kurt and smack his head with their mauls, Ugh’s maul handle breaks. Horace lobs his little Fireball which whizzes past Kurt and the ogres, while Felcanis’s Sunbolt goes past Grog and hits Ugh. Not a good day for Ugh, since he also didn’t kill a rat earlier, by his own admission. Lucdalen gets off his Sleep spell on Grog, who passes out, then Kurt swings his pick into Ugh’s innards, taking him down.

After resting a bit, Horace checks out the nearest tree. It’s an alder tree whose catkins have black-and-blue stripes, which are not normal. Kurt sees some more giant rats beyond the tree, and throws his axe at them, missing them. Kurt then goes to get back his axe, and two of the rats bite into his armor when he does so. The rats swarm around Kurt, and three try to bite but somehow do not hit him (two miss critically, as it happens; I figure the chance of all three rats missing is 1-in-1,260). Kurt whips out another axe and tries to hit a rat but slips and falls, then misses with his mace and axe again while on the ground. Lucdalen steps behind a rat and stabs it from behind with his spear. That rat starts to back off a bit and the others try to bit Kurt in the chinks in his armor, but get nowhere. Horace, bored, casts a small Fireball, while Kurt at last hits a rat with his axe and mace. Lucdalen misses with his spear and Horace hits a wounded rat with his Fireball, which passes out while the others panic and flee from the fire.

After some rest, Horace looks at another tree, which has oddly long-and-pointed cones. This puzzles him, though he does recall that the goddess Rōripermónē sent a servitor to watch over the garden.

Lucdalen spots a door and unlocks it. Horace thinks the room might be part of a temple of tome farming-oriented sect, and recalls that the room has a 1-yard wide hole in the ground with a metal spinner at the top and a big fan blade at the bottom. Maybe they churned butter in it. Anyways, they try to go into the room, and Kurt feels a magical hand keeping him from going inside, though Lucdalen has no problems. Lucdalen and Horace feel some kind of weird magic with the door. Lucdalen casts Suspend Magic on the doorway, which lets Kurt and the others go through the door.

All this spell casting makes the gang rest. As it does so, a man-sized viper slithers through the door. Kurt tries to grab it, but misses, and the snake backs off. The gang keeps resting.

Lucdalen sends a Wizard Eye through an ajar door to the north and sees a big slab floating three feet above the ground. After telling this to Horace, Horace peeks and sees the slab, and thinks the slab is made of pure magic, and it’s at the height of a big banquet table. Lucdalen sends the Wizard Eye into another room, and sees many puddles of a clear liquid as well as a wooden sign in a strange tongue by the door.

Res aliae

This was two sessions worth, which is a grind since the group is spellcaster-heavy. Using the fatigue rules as-written and making sure random encounters happen while characters are resting is a way to make sure those spellcasters don't overcome everything, and Lucdalen and Horace are both built to bypass challenges. Fatigue is also a hassle to track for those who aren't used to handling a spellcaster.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Game log 5 April 2020: Thrown to the wolves

Dramatis personae

Horace, wizard
Felcanis, elf cleric
Jiro, swordswoman
Lucdalen, elf-hating elf wizard
Kurt, hobbit fighter

Quid occurrit

Felcanis has trouble getting back to sleep after the fight. Still, the next morning, the gang sets out, looking for the dungeon. Not long after setting out, they see some shapes moving in the trees—five wolves. The wolves look hungry, and the mule looks well-fed.

It pretty much goes like you’d expect. The wolves run for the mule, but the thick woods slow them down, letting the characters make mincemeat of them. The highlight is Kurt instead of killing a wolf, instead he announces, “I’m going to mount this beast.” Mercifully, that just means trying to subdue the wolf, and making friends with it. Kurt does subdue the wolf, though after the wolf doesn’t like Kurt, they kill it, too.

After that, they gut the wolves and take their meat, then start looking for the dungeon. The next day, they let Felcanis sleep, and while she sleeps, Horace and Lucdalen keep bickering, then move on a little bit until they set up camp again. The night goes well, and not long after dawn, they find a stream leading to a big set of doors.

Res aliae

While I prefer text, we do use voice as well because John (Felcanis) doesn’t type well. Unfortunately, Roll20 voice crapped out on me, which led to me making a Discord call in the middle of the game. Having voice open might have made clear that some of the bickering was purely in-character, so we’re going to try Discord for that tomorrow.

The travel, however, went well, and even though it looks like a minor fight (and it was), the wolf fight went well, too. Kurt trying to take down and get on a wolf gave Fantastic Dungeon Grappling a workout, which it handled well.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Game log for 22 March 2020: Virtual travel

Dramatis personae

Horace, wizard
Felcanis, elf cleric
Jiro, swordswoman
Lucdalen, elf-hating elf wizard
Kurt, hobbit fighter

Quid occurrit

They make it to the Magog tavern in Ōndrûnkš. There, Jiro buys a book from a peddler with one ear called Traces of the East, which is about the elves of the east of the Eldalîvā Woods. (Odd place, but the peddler is there having a drink.) She finds nothing special in the book, then she lets Horace read it.

Horace finds out that the book does have a few remarks about the Curious Cairn of the Collector:

“The evil sect near the western edge of the woods has a big library. Alas, it has only one spell book, and even that book, The Revealed Great Exploits of the Engineer: For Which He Was Burnt, has only two spells in its selection, as an add-on: Mind over Matter and Vision of Doom.” As Horace knows nothing about these spells, this makes him interested.

Nothing happens at night, and the next night they spend in a peasant hovel in Bóllā, the last village before the woods. The next morning, they set forth into the woods.

The first day of the trip is unremarkable, though they don’t get far as nobody knows much about trips through the woods. Indeed, they were lucky that Kurt chose to buy a compass from a peasant in Bóllā.

That night, a thin snake comes to the camp when Lucdalen is on watch, though when they at last spot it, it flees, with Jiro and Kurt uselessly trying to hit it in the dark.

Res aliae

Not much of a session in the logs, but the players did have a lot of roleplaying banter in the tavern. The big after-action discussion was about travel, which folks had a hard time following in Roll20.  Part of the issue was that this was the first wilderness trip with the new characters, and the new characters do not include wilderness stud Mayhem. Mayhem has points in three Survival skills, and knows them at a level of about 18, and generally gets more wilderness awesome from there. Anyways, I did make sure to spell things out for them, which somehow are more understandable in person.

Roll20 worked alright. Right now I'm fiddling with maps; if/when they make it to the dungeon (it's never assured to get there), I'll have to have maps, and I'll have to split things so that they're loadable.  They're not quite at the level I'd like, but I have to have something. It's different to prep these things than to worry about Weirdness Magnet.

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.