Sunday, February 28, 2010

Expedition to Stonehell: Session 2

The second session of my OSRIC game went very well. While creating characters was a pain the first week, the game plays very well. I only went with the OSRIC rules for now with the optional shield rules and entourage system in place. I did not add in weapon speed or weapon v. AC. Combat moved fast, by my count we got in six different combat encounters.

We started the session off with the characters getting off the boat from The City State of the Invincible Overlord in Magnus Aquila, the colony city. They didn't hang out in town very long because the place was a mud-ridden, depressing dump. They hired two torchbearers and a boat and headed for the dungeon.

That's right, there were 4 players, each with a primary PC and a favored henchman, and two torchbearers. If you are keeping score at home that makes a party of 10 characters, and we managed to get done 6 combats in about 5 hours of playing.

When they arrived at the Stonehell canyon they dove right into exploring. They decided to not go through the gateway and went around through the hole in the curtain wall. They did a quick survey of the valley and they decided to explore the gate house starting from the north entrance.

They made quick work of the goblins in this section (room 2 and 3 if you are playing along at home) without even taking damage. They then ventured into the Former Magic User's Quarters (#4). The dwarf fighter was caught alone by the giant centipedes and surrounded. I had decided to give the centipedes paralytic poison instead of death poison before the game started and I am glad I did. Even with paralytic poison they came whithin a hair of a TPK. The mages used two sleep spells to put everyone, other party members included, in the room to sleep. The mages and the torchbearers then ran around and coup de grace'd the centipedes. Thanks to their quick thinking they managed to avoid any deaths. They uncovered a secret door and found a magic umbrella and cloak.

Having narrowly escaped death they decided to barricade themselves in the cleared North Watch Post (#2) and rest. During the night a Green Slime oozed its way through an arrow slit and attacked. Oil splattering, torch throwing hijinx ensued and the dwarf fighter had to throw himself into the fire in order to avoid loosing his leg to green slime.

Recovered, the party decided to push on to the second floor. Here they encountered a flight of steps leading up to the roof and a wine cask and satchel with a nasty looking wasp nest suspended above them (#11). They decided to head up to the roof. The ranger volunteered to scout the roof for them and headed south towards the hole he could see.

As he approached the hole the roof gave way beneath him and he fell through. When he hit the floor below (#9) it too broke and he fell back to the first floor. He found himself in a room with several ghostly adventurers (#5). After a few tense moments he decided they were harmless and the others pulled him up to the second floor (#9) with a rope. They joined him by descending the stairs.

With the party reformed, they dealt with the goblins in The Upper Gallery (#10) and the stirges to the south (#8), getting a nice gem as a reward. They descended a spiral staircase and checked the remaining areas, finsing nothing of interest.

The party decided to head back to the wasp room and get the satchel. They wanted to have Hans, the torchbearer, retrieve the satchel for them, but he refused to do it for less than 5 gold. The ranger retrieved it and got badly stung. While retrieving the satchel he noticed that the cask had its seals intact. There was some very old wine in there. They decided to find a way to retrieve the cask later.

All told the session was a lot of fun. The players seemed to enjoy the style of the game and the faster paced combat. I am VERY happy with my decision to not include a thief class. I think it paid dividends in the very first game in the way they played. For the most part I stuck with the roll 1d6 to resolve everything except for a few things directly derived from attributes. I am using roll-under-the-score ability checks.

By my calculations they should gain a level every 4 or 5 adventures. This may accelerate slightly when they are in the dungeon proper because there seems to be more loot down there for XP. I am giving XP for magic items based on the values suggested in Unearthed Arcana.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Fear the Con

Fear the Boot is having its annual convention on March 12-13 in St. Louis. I attended the first one and had a blast, they have expanded it since then. Sadly law school will keep me away again this year. If you are looking for an affordable con and can make it to the St. Louis area, this is a great choice. The last time I went the size of the con was great, enough people that there was alot going on but few enough that you got to meet almost everybody.

You can check it out here: Fear the Con 3

Saturday, February 20, 2010

So Many Doors

Over at Aeons & Augauries, JDJarvis posted a bunch of symbols of different door types. What, you aks, would I want with all those door symbols? The main thing I want with all those door symbols is to figure out how they would mechanically differentiate themselves in game. This is another one of those great blog posts that gets me thinking, it doesn't give me any answers, just a launching point for an evening of RPG related thought.

This got me rereading godog's From Kuroth's Quill #01 that dealt with special doors, stairs and sublevels. And this got me excited about getting back to work on my changes to Stonehell (after loosing play time to the snowpocolypse we should be back on track next week, I hope). So what would I do to make these doors different?

Pivot Hinge: Have to choose between a one handed weapon attack or your shield bonus while standing in the doorway. There is no enough room for both or for a two handed attack.

Flapped Hinge: Surprise penalty while entering room. If no one holds it open it shuts.

Slides Down: Can be lowered part of the way to provide cover

Flimsy Door: Can be charged through

Decrepit Door: 1 in 6 chance of mold if bashed. 1 in 6 chance lock is rusted shut.

Chained Door: First bash attempt only breaks door open. It opens part way before being stopped by the chain. A second, esier, attempt is required.

Slotted Door: Piercing attacks are possible through the slot. -1 to attack roll

These are just the ones that came to me off the top of my head, some of the doors are just stronger or weaker. Others will have more complicated in game effects.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Iron Tyrants Website

Iron Tyrants is a mech mini game by David (I may accidently also call him Adam from time to time) and Luke at the Podgecast. I was lucky to get a chance to play it at Gen Con last year and now their website is up as launch draws closer.

First, David and Luke are great guys. I went to Gen Con with them last year and Luke was one of the people I roomed with. The guys a roomed with were a fun multiplier for the whole event. If the quality of the person making the game matters to you, they check that box.

Second, I think that podcasts, and especially shows like The Podgecast and Fear the Boot, are one of the best things the RPG world has going right now (the old school revolution and Fantasy Flight Games being the others). This is a game being made with that same "do it yourself" spirit that makes podcasting and the OSR so important.

Third, it was a fun game 6 months ago. I imagine that as playtesting has progressed it has only gotten better. It moves fast and the overdrive mechanic allows you to make gonzo, go-for-broke, damn the torpedoes full speed ahead, gambles. There is a real risk vs reward mechanism to the game.

Fourth, and this is just in case David reads this, it is shockingly well balanced despite the fact that no mathematical method was used to balance it.

Anyway I suggest you check out the Iron Tyrant's website

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Labyrinth Lord AEC

Just finished reading through it. If only this had arrived a few weeks ago, I could have avoided a ridiculously long character creation session in OSRIC. Oh well. Looks like I am not the only one who has had these problems.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Rogue Trader: Session 1

Last weekend I was fortunate to be a player in an excellent Rogue Trader game. I played the Seneschal on a ship owned by a crazy, spoiled Rogue Trader with a Napolean Complex. It was my job to translate his vague instructions into commands that could actually be used to run the ship. We also had a dead world warrior and a navigator along.

Our first mission was to recover a city building artifact to pay off the Rogue Trader's charter. We set off to meet our contact to get the co-ordinates. We met him deep in the bowels of the space stations machinery. As he was passing off the data some kind of mechanical bird swooped down to steal the crystal. We made quick work of the bird and its psycher owner. While our fearless leader was standing on the cooling body of our foe making odd proclomations we tracked the psycher back to another Rogue Trader named Garren Fel, who was trying to jump our claim on the city building McGuffin.

As we prepped the ship for the journey the navigator approached me with some interesting news, our ship had been part of a space hulk at one point. She also felt that there was something "wrong" with the ship. I decided that this was not information that the captain needed to perform his duty and went to tell him that we were ready to go.

When I arrived on the bridge I was shocked to find the barely clothed captain glistening in the middle of the room. He had ordered "the men" to cover him with butter. He had also ordered "the men" to cover the floor with butter, or at least that is what they told me when I woke up in sick bay after my fall.

At this point I instituted a policy change on the ship. I created a group of fairly useless men and labeled them "the men". This way when the captain asked me to give "the men" a stupid order I could literally follow his instructions without causing too much harm.

Soon after we started our journey the navigator informed me that another ship was following us. The captain gave the order that we were to find a space monster and trick them into following us into danger. The navigator was able to find an Orc warship that we bribed into attacking the following ship. The captain proved surprisingly good at talking to orcs.

Once in system we decide to investigate a planet that has an area our sensors cannot scan. Jace, the dead worlder, and I landed outside the dead zone and hoofed it in with 150 of the ship's troops. We soon found ourselves in a maze. I took a small force to scout ahead and promptly got totally lost. Jace managed to find me just in time for our unit to run into a force of 600 orcs.

A short while later we stood on the smoking bodies of the orcs with only 7 or our force still alive. We proceeded to the middle of the dead zone where I communed with a force called the Star Mirror. The Star Mirror downloaded every event of the last 400 years into my brain in a matter of seconds. This had two results, I learned when the city builder entered the system and where it went when it left, and I went a little crazy.

I could now commune with the solar system whenever I wanted, but doing so warped me a little more each time. I used my new found abilities to determine exactly when and where the ship following us (Gerran Fel) would enter the system. As they jumped in I communed with the Star Mirror to guide a shot right to their bridge. I also started spouting nonsense about being a god. The captain knocked me out with a blow to the head.

Needless to say, we brutalized them and took their stuff.

We then jumped to the co-ordinates that the Star Mirror gave me for the McGuffin-bearing ship. As soon as we jumped in system we were faced with a bunch of planets carved to look like giant elder god heads. We set course for the one planet not carved up.

We hit the ground in three groups to retrieve the city building device. Two of the groups went after proof that we had found a long lost fleet. The main group went after the McGuffin. We fought off the deranged mechanical guardians and made off with "acceptable losses". In other words only about 30 of the several hundred men sent to the surface returned.

I really enjoyed this Rogue Trader adventure, and I am looking forward to more.

Expedition to Stonehell: Session 1

Two weeks ago we had our first OSRIC game session. The players created characters to take on Stonehell dungoen. Since we are using David Bowman's Entourage system from Fight On! #2 I had each player create two PCs one of which will be their main character and the other will be their Loyal Henchman.

I pretty much want to leave the world open for the players to create as much as possible so I was happy to see them start filling in the racial details as we made characters (female dwarves have beards!). It has been a long time since I had a group make up 1st Edition Characters and I forgot what a pain it was. Character creation requires a total of 8 die rolls (6 stats, hit points, starting gold) for most characters, but it still takes almost as long as 3.5 until people get familiar with the system. The problem is the race/class combos and the non-universal stat bonuses. Not only do the stat bonuses vary from stat to stat, they also vary from class to class! AAAAARRRGGG!

This problem was made worse by the fact that I allowed them to assign their stats after rolling. I wanted them to be able to play characters they liked, but the random attribure bonuses means they have to flip around the book forever to figure it out.

Once we internalize all of that character creation will fly by, but I forgot how much pointless chart checking there was. The OSRIC layout makes this much better, but you still have players making race/class combos that are not allowed (for no reason anyone can figure out) if you aren't on top of them. 3.5 characters take forever to make because of the number of choices, in 1st Edition it takes forever because nothing makes any sense. You just have to memorize it all.

I knew I should have used Labyrinth Lord instead.

So we didn't get any gaming in, just character creation.

This Saturday:
Welcome to Stonehell