Thursday, 4 April 2019

A Tale Of... Session Report 14

More XP bait dangled before the players. They nibbled at it, saving me some effort in typing up events. And so follows a modified Discord chat describing the party's first foray into The Stygian Library:


CAST:

Alexander Bucciarati (lvl 2 rogue)
A man with a boat and a mission. He tells everyone about one but not the other.

Giro Beanna (lvl 2 barbarian)
A huge mischia player made even angrier by the loss of his mother to a magical beast attack. Carries a wooden chest on his back.

Salazar Caltata (lvl 2 rogue)
The scrawny fourth son of a nobleman. Good at hiding in a crowd. A snitch and a sneak.

Vero Anzano (lvl 2 ranger)
An old hunter with a mysterious past. Swamped under an enormous bear cloak.

APOLOGIES FROM:

Arabella Volhollen (lvl 2 fighter)
An archer with societal ambitions. Highly suspicious of and condescending towards pretty much everybody.

Manius (level 2 barbarian)
Alexander's crewman, a large former pit fighter with all the wits of one.



IN THEIR (SLIGHTLY EDITED) OWN WORDS:

Giro:Well [I] got gummed by a flying book and got dumber.

Alexander: We went and bought supplies for the trip into the library, Salazar finally got into the black market, then we entered the library. We found an index that gave us various clues about the location of the garden and we then set off deeper into the library. Along the way we met a ghost who had died with his companions in the library - he told us that the librarians took ghosts to use for some purpose and that he was hiding from them. After that we met a skeletal historian doing research; he gave a little more insight into various things. We then ended up splitting off with all of the present players going off and getting attacked by flying books that sapped intelligence scores

Giro:Also the index gave a few people some clues on their own endeavors, of which afaik the only ones that are known by the whole group being Giro looking into raising the dead
And we found out about the various types of Librarians Orders of Librarians:
Red - look after Library itself
Yellow - Look after the books
Black - Maintain the doorways/layout of the library
White - Shepharding of souls
Grey - Experimenting on souls
And we found a skeleton man who liked researching tactics - Anaxarqxus.

Vero: And we found out that the layout of the library changes, despite the efforts of the black order. [I] also got [my] intellect leeched by one of the books so now [I'm] as smart as Giro. But [I] also found a magical glass eye that detects... something? So that's nice.

Salazar: And that something is around [me]. On top of all this, Alexander won't show me what he is after, Giro wants to revive his dead mother, we are trying to find out about the garden, there are killer bees somewhere and Giro kicked down a door that is going to end up hurting us. Also Zoriane is being a bitch like normal and magical man is loving it.

Vero: The flying books were glowing as well.

Salazar: Books chained to the walls as well.

Giro: I figure the aura around Salazar is probably the magic from his big boy rich man jacket.
And [I] found a spellbook and stashed it in [my] bag.





Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Sheets and Slots


Okay, character sheet v2.

The 'Big Six' attributes which, while not necessarily what I want to go with long term, allow for much easier conversions of other OSR-based games and modules. The thick border boxes are for the main attribute values, the thinner border boxes are to provide easy reference to attribute values reduced by injuries and other conditions.

I really like the simplicity of slot-based inventories, and there are some great ideas on embellishing the slot system (Knave's spells are as much a weigh-able item as regular weapons, and Michael Bacon's conditions also take up slots). I want to go the distance with them, and so pretty much everything takes up a slot: equipment, spells, special abilities, conditions, injuries, illnesses, etc. Inventory slots become Burden slots and represent how much a character can literally and / or figuratively bear. 

To offset the fact that the slots will very quickly fill up, the number of slots is equal to the highest attribute, so a character might be able to plough on under the weight of physical and mental burden through physical endurance (CON), strength of will (WIS), bloody-minded optimism (CHA), or however a player wants to describe it. If an attribute drops through injury, the next highest 'takes over', so it's in a character's interest to be well rounded! It also means that a character won't be penalised too much from not having a high attribute that they otherwise won't be looking to use.



Not going to win any beauty prizes, but at least I've got a new placeholder in the heartbreaker folder...

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

A Tale Of... Session Report 13

CAST:

Alexander Bucciarati (lvl 2 rogue)
A man with a boat and a mission. He tells everyone about one but not the other.

Arabella Volhollen (lvl 2 fighter)
An archer with societal ambitions. Highly suspicious of and condescending towards pretty much everybody.

Giro Beanna (lvl 2 barbarian)
A huge mischia player made even angrier by the loss of his mother to a magical beast attack. Carries a wooden chest on his back.

Manius (level 2 barbarian)
Alexander's crewman, a large former pit fighter with all the wits of one.

Salazar Caltata (lvl 2 rogue)
The scrawny fourth son of a nobleman. Good at hiding in a crowd. A snitch and a sneak.


APOLOGIES FROM:

Vero Anzano (lvl 2 ranger)

An old hunter with a mysterious past. Swamped under an enormous bear cloak.


The report that follows comes from Giro's player:

"The group that put a bounty on Zorriani and us is the Urrizmendi family. They've got some strong enforcer guy called Laurentzi chasing after us which is why they had their other lackeys fuck up our boat, so he could catch up. Salazar disguised himself and knocked out all 5 lackeys with a little bit of deception and a handful of sleeping potion-infused beers. We took the bodies upriver and hung them on some trees to serve as a warning to Laurentzi and other enforcers that we mean business. 
"We went back to Artisar and he told us about a magical Library that holds all knowledge that ever has been or will be written down, he says it's dangerous but time travels differently in there so while we'd likely spend days or weeks in there by the time we come out no time will have passed at all. He wants us to head inside and look for info on 'The Garden of Yin', he thinks it might be linked to the overgrowth we saw at the tower that had the Belu in it. During all of this, Vero went out to the woods for some 'alone time'.  
"We left off last session preparing food and other supplies, we haven't head inside yet."

I'm happy to keep that report as the record. Leaves me more time to convert the bestiary from The Stygian Library into 5e statblocks!

Monday, 25 March 2019

Magical Ripples

My heartbreaker magic system is currently a corruption of the GLOG dice pool. All characters have a Magic Chance Die size ranging from d4 to d12. The die size represents the level of control a character has over the figurative magical streams running through the world. However, characters can only cast spells if they have an arcane focus of some kind (wands, gems, etc) which grants them a number of Magic Chance Dice to play around with. Casting a spell at level 3 requires rolling 3 MCd.

Unless otherwise noted, the spell always goes off.

Every time a 1-3 is rolled, the magic die is downgraded to the next smallest die size. If the same number comes up on multiple dice, consult the table below. [Level] refers to the level at which the spell was cast. [You] refers to a 50% chance that the spell affects a random party member instead.


Magical Ripple / Splash
MCd
Doubles
Trebles
Quadruples
Quintuples
1
You cast a random spell at the target instead of the original spell.
The spell is twice as effective but you forget the spell. You must learn it again to be able to cast it.
You have lit a magical beacon - the number of unnatural creatures in this world will now increase substantially.
You explode.
2
A level [Level] monster pops into existence 10 x [Level] ft away.
Every Full Rest, [You] must make an INT test with difficulty = [Level]. On a failure, [you] transform into a domestic animal appropriate to [your] character for a day.
All trace of [you] is removed from the annals of history. Your party members must each pass an INT test - only those who pass have any memory of [you].
You and one other member of the party explode.
3
[You] and one random NPC take [Level]d6 magical damage.
[Your] attributes are mirrored. Swap STR with CHA, DEX with WIS and CON with INT.
[You] are immediately transported into the Gardens of Ynn or the Stygian Library. You must escape alone, or the party must rescue you.
You and all bar one of the party explode.
4
[Your] eyes turns a random colour.
[Level] NPCs from your past are instantly turned to stone.
An identical (but morally opposite) copy of [you] appears.
Everyone in the room explodes.
5
[Your] sweat corrodes metal.
[You] can regenerate lost limbs within a day, and have advantage on rolls to recover from injury. You take double damage from fire.
[Your] physical appearance switches with that of a random NPC.
Everyone in five miles explodes.
6
[You] age 5 x [Level] years.
[You] learn a new random spell.
All plant life within 10 x [Level] miles of you withers and dies.
Anyone the PCs have met explodes.
7
[You] get 5 x [Level] years younger.
Heavy snow falls in a two-mile radius for [Level] weeks.
The party finds themselves in a tiny pocket dimension.
The nation explodes.
8
[You] change gender.
All the metal [you] are carrying merges together to form a golem of level [Level]. This mindless construct is bound to [your] service. its size is dependent on the quantity of metal.
All ageing in a 10 mile radius around you halts for a year.
The continent explodes.
9
[Your] feet become hands.
[Your] hand vanishes. You can still feel and control it, but cannot see it.
Magic disappears from the world for a week.
The world explodes.
10 
11 
12
A character from the nearest book or picture comes to life.
You are suddenly aware of the location of a long-forgotten castle, and know the secret to getting in.
The earth in a 10 mile radius around you sinks 10 miles.
The universe explodes.

A new one forms in the aftermath.




Monday, 11 March 2019

Inane Aphorisms

I am not the quickest thinker, nor the deepest. Generally this has not hampered me too much in life - and there have been times when being able to entirely clear one's mind of thoughts has been a wonderful safety mechanism.

It does not make for easy controlling of wise and intelligent characters, both NPC and otherwise. Fortunately my latest character for a new 5e campaign rolled a 6 for their intelligence, so I can resort to playing the fool. This will not do as a GM of another campaign, though.

I want to have a saying for every occasion. The relevance to the occasion need not be immediately obvious - and as anyone who has spent any time reading Literature (or, Fancy Books Which Value Vagueness Over Readability), the more less clear the sentence, the better it is regarded by the Right Sort.

I'm also playing around with random generators, leaning towards Inspiration Pad Pro because you can use it offline on your phone, but I wanted to give HTML buttons a go since some many other bloggers seem to have mastered it (and surely if lots of people use it, it must be good).





Trying it out now, I feel I may have to get a bit more specific with the table entries. At the moment there's just a single {noun} list which I splurged, so there's just a bit too much randomness.

Not perfect, but a simple click further to generate another quick phrase will be a handy crutch for some Wise One improv.

The generator is not quite as flexible as the Inspiration Pad Pro app (which also has a function to insert the right articles for vowel-beginning nouns), and I don't think I can insert tables into inline sublists, but if I can get to grips with it I think it will prove more visually accessible on a screen. I must toy further.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

A Tale Of... Session Report 12


Various parties and holidays had us a few players down this week. A refreshing change to not have to worry about spreading the limelight out fairly, and it meant one player ended up typing up their session summary to keep the absent players updated, which I've used below.

CAST:

Arabella Volhollen (lvl 2 fighter)
An archer with societal ambitions. Highly suspicious of and condescending towards pretty much everybody.

Giro Beanna (lvl 2 barbarian)
A huge mischia player made even angrier by the loss of his mother to a magical beast attack. Carries a wooden chest on his back.

Vero Anzano (lvl 2 ranger)
An old hunter with a mysterious past. Swamped under an enormous bear cloak.

APOLOGIES FROM:


Alexander Bucciarati (lvl 2 rogue) - A man with a boat and a mission. He tells everyone about one but not the other.

Manius (level 2 barbarian) - Alexander's crewman, a large former pit fighter with all the wits of one.

Salazar Caltata (lvl 2 rogue) - The scrawny fourth son of a nobleman. Good at hiding in a crowd. A snitch an

SESSION:
  • We decided to scope out the Star & For [where they'd followed the snooper earlier].
  • We met a guy with some personal connections to the town/behind the scenes called Artizar.
  • Apparently it's representatives of a higher-up family [the Urrizmendi family] that have a bounty on Zoriane, and by extension us for helping her.
  • Artizar promised more help if we can help him clear out an old human outpost which may be inhabited by monsters now.
  • We interrogated those [dock] night guards. They didn't see anything, not by being bribed or in on it, but by gross incompetence and uh...lady friends.
  • We went to the outpost tower, finding it inhabited by an ogre type creature called a Belu.
  • Killed the Belu via beartraps and Vero just happened to use some magic.

ADDENDUM
...because some things may come in handy later on in the campaign...

Artizar seemed to have put two and two together from various incoming bits of intel, and seemed to know an awful lot about the party.

As they approached the tower Vero, by way of his Gloomy Foreboding, was suddenly reminded of the aftermath of the monster attack all those weeks ago, where Salazar spotted a brick wall with the faint marking - or rather, absence of dust - showing the word YNN.

The tower itself was very overgrown, far more so than just a few month's worth of growing.

Vero cast a Control Plants spell in full view of Arabella and Giro to get some vines to coil up the belu's legs.

The fight with the belu, which had approached the party at the top of the tower entirely unaggressively, was more than just 'via beartraps' - the characters tried resetting and sliding beartraps under the creatures feet, tipping the massive creature through a hole in the floor (though it was too big even for Giro to do so), buckling its legs from behind, roping it down with ivy, darting just out of reach firing arrows, and finally some good ol' spine bashing with a large mace.

Taking into account the journey to and from the tower, this session covered a week's worth of adventuring.

Friday, 8 March 2019

A Tale Of... Session Report 11


Mostly an RP session this time round, and a very quick summary of events.

CAST:

Alexander Bucciarati (lvl 2 rogue)
A man with a boat and a mission. He tells everyone about one but not the other.

Arabella Volhollen (lvl 2 fighter)
An archer with societal ambitions. Highly suspicious of and condescending towards pretty much everybody.

Giro Beanna (lvl 2 barbarian)
A huge mischia player made even angrier by the loss of his mother to a magical beast attack. Carries a wooden chest on his back.

Manius (level 2 barbarian)
Alexander's crewman, a large former pit fighter with all the wits of one.

Salazar Caltata (lvl 2 rogue)
The scrawny fourth son of a nobleman. Good at hiding in a crowd. A snitch and a sneak.

Vero Anzano (lvl 2 ranger)
An old hunter with a mysterious past. Swamped under an enormous bear cloak.

SESSION:

With little further trouble, our party of heroes made their way into Loidatz. 

  • Arabella found a very favourable deal with Markel, a rich merchant passing through on his way back to Drosas.
  • Manius got staggeringly drunk and would feel quite a bit weak for the next week.
  • Salazar reported the shipwreck to the Council, or at least left a message with a clerk to pass on to the Council.
  • The party found that their boat had been sabotaged the night before. The dockmaster apologised profusely and would pay for our heroes' board and lodging until the Rolling Stoned could be repaired.
  • As the group discussed their options in the Crimson Whale, Vero and Alexander spotted someone watching them from outside the inn window. They fled as the team filed out. The tracks led through the back alleys of the residential district eventually to the Star & Fork - a tavern near the Council Forum.