Tuesday 15 October 2013

Rappan Athuk - Session Two

Session 2 (October 10, 2013)

(Back to Session 1)

The present party:
  • Azureus (Magic-User 1)
  • Erik (Fighter 1)
  • Ozborn (Cleric of the Sun God 1) and Milkiway (archer)
  • Starbucks (Fighter 1), and Starbucks Junior (light infantry)
The major events were the following:
  • The party returned to the mausoleum where they left an animate corpse wearing a ring. Long story short, said undead lost his ring and his head, as well.
  • Entering the main mausoleum the party figured out the puzzle to enter Rappan Athuk; unfortunately, members of the adventuring party refused to share the secret. The only thing they mentioned was a fight with two skeletons black as coal.
  • The party, due to sheer luck, successfully avoided a dangerous trap; they also marked its place with white chalk.
  • They encountered a bunch of ratlings, who shared some useful information with the party: (1) the northern half of the first level, as the party suspected, is the territory of the infamous Dung Monster, (2) the western corridor leads to the second level, home to a group of ogres, and (3) the river supposedly leads to a temple of sorts.
  • The ratlings also offered some vials of poison in exchange for eliminating Ambro, the leader of the ogres.
  • The party encountered the Dung Monster; reasoning with it seemed to be less than fruitful (all it cared about was food), and eventually they had to run away.
It was a much less fruitful delve than the first one; the party only recovered 247gp worth of treasure (compared to 3170gp for the last time). Nevertheless, they have explored most of the first main level and have a rough idea what else is about to come. Furthermore, the rumours and quests also helped in certain situations, which is exactly why I devised them in the first place.

(Next session)

Wednesday 9 October 2013

Rappan Athuk - Recruiting Henchmen

It may be wise for a party of adventurers to hire additional muscle; henchmen are zero-level NPCs who fight alongside the PCs. Their statistics are the following: HP (1d6), AC (determined by armour), and Morale (7 + employer's CHA modifier).

There is a limit of how many henchmen may follow one particular player character (the modifiers are cumulative):
  • the base limit is 2
  • +1 if CHA modifier is positive
  • -1 if CHA modifier is negative
  • +1 if 4th level or higher
  • +1 if 8th level or higher
It is generally true that seeing luxury lures more brave and foolish people than poverty; the players are able to manipulate the number and quality of possible henchmen by spending gold between sessions as shown below (note, these amounts must be spent in addition to other purchases as they represent drinking festivals, victory feasts, luxurious wakes, and oh-my-god-we're-alive orgies).
  • Zero GP: 3d6; each 5 is a light infantry and each 6 is a light archer
  • 100 GP: 3d8; as above, plus each 7 is a heavy infantry and each 8 is a crossbowman
  • 200 GP: 3d10; as above, plus each 9 is a barbarian and each 10 is a swordsman
  • 500 GP: 3d12; as above, plus each 11-12 is a special henchmen rolled on an upcoming table
The number of dice rolled may also be increased by spending the initial cost multiple times or 50gp for the base option (for instance, for 400gp players may choose 4d10 or 6d8), but no more than 10 dice can be rolled.

Below you find the base statistics, equipment, and hiring cost of the different henchmen types:
  • light infantry, 10 GP (leather, spear)
  • archer, 15 GP (leather, short bow, 2 quivers, dagger)
  • heavy infantry, 20 GP (chain, spear)
  • crossbowman, 30 GP (chain, light crossbow, 2 quivers, dagger)
  • barbarian, 40 GP (leather, great axe)
  • swordsman, 50 GP (chain, shield, sword)
After surviving the first expedition, henchmen earn a name and the ability to advance as they survive further expeditions. After each session, their master has the option of paying them an extra 100 GP, for which one of the following bonuses may be chosen (each may only be taken once): (1) +1 to damage rolls, (2-3) increase HD by one, (4) improve AC by 1 point, and (5-6) increase morale by 1 point.

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Underworld Lore - Magical Gems

The following magical gems were written for a community project of Gorgonmilk.

Amber Stones of Lahrissima

It is believed that upon defeating and imprisoning Lahrissima, the Mistress of Dormant Hatred and Familial Murder, the thirteen gemstones used to fuel her powers were extracted from her body and sold to anonymous collectors; no one knows, however, where they are now, and only a few would realise how immense power they are capable of holding.

Each of these gems grant an extra spell per day (without limiting of which level the spell must be) as long as they are in the possession of a Magic-User. If such a gem is surgically installed to the body of a female spell caster, she may choose a single spell of level 3 or less and gains the ability to cast that spell 3 times per day, in addition to memorised spells. The operation, however, is not without risks; a failed Save vs. Death results in the following (roll 1d4):
  1. The caster's body starts to rot slowly; her STR, DEX, and CON scores are drained 1 point per week permanently, unless she regularly tastes the flesh of children.
  2. The caster's skin, nails, and teeth become amber-coloured, her fingers grow unnaturally long, and her touch petrifies food and water.
  3. The caster's menstrual blood, as if some strange ooze, escapes during the night and finds shelter somewhere away from the sunlight (abandoned well, sewers, dungeons, etc.), where it slowly grows into a Lesser Blood Elemental.
  4. The caster dies; her body immediately rises as an Amber Wraith (it is also the standard outcome of the surgery with male patients).

Cyclamen Orb of Inhuman Voracity

Skeletons enhanced with such a gem are capable of detecting life forms from 120'; they also gain an extra bite attack, dealing 1d6 damage. A living creature carrying an Orb feels insatiable hunger all the time, which ultimately results in the consumption of completely inedible materials and objects (roll a Save vs. Spells to resist such a strong urge for 1d4 days). The upside is that the character also gains the extra bite attack and the ability to detect life within 120'.

Eye of Chaotic Power

One into whose eye socket this gem of swirling colours is implanted has access to a random ability, changing each time the creature makes a successful attack or suffers the effects of one (roll 1d6):
  1. see invisible creatures and objects
  2. petrifying gaze (saving throw negates)
  3. darkvision (120')
  4. mistake friends for enemies and vice versa
  5. gain the ability to shoot heat rays from eyes that deal 2d6 fire damage (Save vs. Wands for half damage)
  6. confusing gaze (Save vs. Wands or as per Confuse)

Seeds of the Eternal Forest

Skeletons enhanced with these brown oval seeds are very territorial in nature and furiously defend their surroundings (+2 to-hit and damage); it also appears that their bones are covered in brownish bark (AC improved by 2), which is very much like a living tree (double damage from axes and fire). When one of these seeds touches the ground, a Guardian of the Eternal Forest grows there within 1d3 exploration turns.

Friday 4 October 2013

Rappan Athuk - Session One

Session 1 (October 3, 2013)

Due to sickness on my part, we could only start the campaign this week. Three players were present for the first session, during which they talked to dead guys, killed an undead knight, and looted some nifty items.

Thursday 3 October 2013

Workday Ramblings - Rules and Rulings in RPGs

This post is my long response to a comment on a blog post; I also thought about many things during writing it so it became somewhat incoherent and it does not have that nice structure I crave for. Nevertheless, I though it deserved its own post.

Over Monsters and Manuals, there is a post dealing with how different it is to enter the role-playing hobby to entering some sports game (i.e. to become familiar with the rules and how they are played). I am actually not that interested in the main discussion but in something Lucky said in the comments:
Where the analogy breaks down for me is that in sports, the devil is in the details. The rules are not an abstraction in sports the way they are in RPGs, where you're trying to collect a multitude of things into a smaller set of rules. In sports, those things ARE the game. The challenge and enjoyment of sports is in trying to accomplish a simple goal under a complex set of dos and don'ts. At least for me, RPGs are about trying to accomplish (sometimes) complex goals under a simple set of rules. In sports, it pays to know all the rules, because you're bound by them. In RPGs, both the DM and the players can hand wave to their hearts content.

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Fate and Doom

In the sixth issue of the Minotaur, Igor A. Rivendell introduced the Fate/Doom mechanics to Mazes & Minotaurs (for which boxes later appeared on the Vikings & Valkyries character sheet designed by Rubén Navarro, rising to a sort of "semi-official" status - at least, that is how I see it). Below I first describe the original mechanics, point out some aspects it covers and others it does not, and finally introduce my own, not yet playtested, version of the rule. It was designed with Vikings & Valkyries in mind, but with minimal tweaking it should be applicable to most D&D-esque systems.

(I would like to thank my Vikings & Valkyries group for reading and commenting on this sub-system, Gábor Palkó and Kapitány, and especially ZeroDivide for his keen insights. Thank you guys!)