Friday, April 17, 2015

Spelljamming Post Mortum 2 the return of Captain Sabido

See part 1 here

Week 2
Captain Sabido awakens to find his "Co-Pilots" gone. Being quick thinking and morally ambiguous he purchases a fighter and a magic user (two new players who wanted to learn how to play) from the bat winged Neogi slaver to act as "Co-Pilots". "Co-piloting" the Reasonable Fear involves being strapped in a chair while the ship slowly drains your life force away. By the way none of the "space  drow" will ever sit in that chair. Captain Sabido takes off and starts to shadow the manticore riders which are shadowing the "Pride of Hasauphut". Captain Sabido catches up with the manticore riders as they lurk outside the red mist (the magics that allow manticores to fly through the ether are not red mist proof). The manticore riders demand to see his papers that give him the right to fly through githyanki space (just between you and me are no papers that give you right to fly through githyanki space, matter fact if there even is a githyanki space this ain't it). Captain Sabido ask how much to purchase such papers, this is answered with how much you got? They finally settle for 500 gp and the rest when he gets back and let him proceed into the red mist without a fight. He comes into view of the "Pride of Hasauphut" just as the other players emerge from the ship. After the reunoin it is suggested that the extra "space drow" spacesuits (left over from the "space drow" that didn't volunteer for Captain Sabidos crew by laying their weapons down fast enough) might just be the thing for traveling the red mist. Captain Sabido being that kind of captain volunteers most of his remain "space drow" to go check out the third level. The space suits are indeed effective against the red mist, but the comm link soon crackles with "its a trap" follow by "oh my god their killing us" (Never send NPCs to do the PCs job). So the PCs suit up and head in, they bring the last remaining "space drow" after failing miserably to figure out how run the light mech and its laser cannon themselves. They penetrate to the point they see the lead "space drow" sliced in half by bladey things and the rest dead from strange puncture wounds. The wounds make more sense once the phase spiders attack. The mech proves surprisingly ineffective after the phase spider phases the the armor plate to bite the drow in the cockpit. The party slays two phase spiders drives the third one off. Captain Sabido decides to leave the paralyzed drow in the mech cockpit with a dismissive "Oh, he'll be fine just let him sleep it off". They  move on and find a strange contraption of silver hoops which on closer examination appears to be some sort of star chart. They encounter encounter a blue slaad sitting on a pile of space marine, although he willing to talk he seems to want do it while murdering people. He injects Captain Sabido with blue slaad eggs before succumbing to the parties ministrations. Unfortunately the "angel" cleric seems to have left his cure disease in his other pants. No worries just hang on at half your hit point with no healing until tomorrow. The party presses onwards. They encounter a antechamber filled with seven suits of power armor in their charging stations. Opening the doors they enter a large hall which has at the far end the 20x20 cube that is the ships power source. Next to the cube is a woman in a green slinky dress (green slaad) and an automaton with a shield (shield guardian). Strewn through out the room are dead space marines. Once the party is entirely in the room the woman in the green dress gives a shout and the space marines begin to rise. The arcane members of the party respond with two quick fireballs. Although this fixes the space marine problem, the party is appalled both that the woman in green dress seems unscathed by the fireballs and that she throws on of her own. Captain Sabido  pulls out his trademark spell and casts them into the black void of outer space. Neither the woman in the green dress (being a fiend from limbo) or the automation (being not alive) seem to be bothered much by the black void of space, but it does block their line of sight until they move out of it. Eventually after the shield guardian crumbles away in the hand to hand which ensues, the woman in the green dress also succumbs and reveals her true toad like nature. The party triumphs disconnects the power plant and tries to figure out how to  move its several ton mass out of here. No problem the'll get the mech. Well the mech is right where they left it, but the mech pilot has disappeared (leaving him alone with the phase spider,even if they did scare it off for a while, was not the best of plans). However, it turns out that Captain Sabido knows how to run a mech after all. The party exits the space hulk with seven suits of space marine armor, a new power supply, and a star chart. The bicycle messenger claims dibs on the star chart and places it in his cabin on the "Pride of Hasauphut". When the power plant appears to big to fit through the hatch of the "Reasonable Fear" Captain Sabido sells it to the Captain of the "Pride of Hasauphut" for 5000 gp. Both ships power up and prepare to head out. The "Pride of Hasauphut" explodes...

More next time

Bonus space video just because its my blog:

Monday, April 13, 2015

Spelljammer Post Mortum

Alright back from the multiverse to blog some more. The Planescape game I blogged about in my last post has drawn to a close (only planned to run for the month of March to begin with) and has seemed quite successful. Due to pressing time constraints (never should have signed up for that on-line college course) preparation for the Planescape game consisted of a half hour of bookmarking monsters in the monster manual on the weekend and 15 minutes of picking out battle maps before the game started. Loot was rolled up randomly after each encounter. For the finale she-who-must-be obeyed helped out by spend several hours on the weekend gluing together custom battle maps from the Skeleton Key Dungeon Tiles I printed out.

Captain Sabido blasts off planet Farmville in a shiny metal spherical spell jammer known as the "Resonable Fear" with a crew of  six "space drow" and the two PCs crazy enough to ride with him (the bard and the druid). The players were less enthused with the "Reasonable Fear" once they figured out what the co-pilots chair which faced backwards had no control panel and wrist restraints really did.

Week 1
The Reasonable Fear docks at the nearest space bar the "Rock of Fred" a smallish asteroid with a giant neon sign that says "EATS" run by a blue hippo. Also parked at the asteriod a nineteenth century sailing ship with red sails stayed like bat wings, two manticores,  a bicycle with arcane symbols woven into the spokes, and a Mississippi Paddle wheeler made entirely of brass labeled named the "Pride of Hasauphut". Inside the bar are two githyanki, several dwarves with funny hats, a 19th century Marine with two flintlock pistols and a muzzle loader, a man claiming to be the angel of light, and a bicycle messenger. After some short negotiations the two crew who flew in with Captian Sabido, the Marine and the "angel" sign on with the "Pride of Hasauphut" as mercenaries to travel to the Moon of brass and help drive the "Darkness" from the ruined cities there and check out a wrecked spaceship along the way. The bicycle messenger rents a cabin to spell him between message jaunts. Captain Sabido is left in his inebriated state to fly the "Reasonable Fear" on his own (after making bold statements about how exited he was to be playing Spelljamer, the player who controlled the captain failed to show for the game). A sharp eyed PC notices the githyanki saddling up and following the paddle wheeler at a distance short after the "Pride of Hasauphut" pulls out. Two day out in deep space the githyanki are joined by two more. Four days out they encounter a zone of red mist, the dwarf captain orders everyone inside. Traveling through the red mist (the githyanki don't follow) they enter a clear area within the mist were floats half of a ruined space ship decorated like a Gothic cathedral but with a skull motif as well. Three decks are wide open for entrance, the party enters the top one, the dwarfs refuse to leave the ship but offer the party hazard pay. The party battles a swarm of shadows in the ships corridors, and reaches the bridge only to activate the automata which guard it. They salvage the bridge for electronics and realize the power is still on they try to descend through a ladder in an access way to the third level but discover the third level is shrouded in red mist. The bard, after watching the bottom his boot dissolve, wisely decided to climb back up. They return to a stairway they passed on the way to the bridge and descend to the second deck. They reach what appears to be the main galley only to encounter two red slaad. After a tough fight (somehow those fire spells didn't work as well as they were supposed to) they gather the loot and head back to the "Pride of Hasauphut" to rest up.

Week 2 next time

Saturday, February 28, 2015

We're Jamming

So by some weird twist of fate I find that I will be spending this weekend preparing a fifth edition spell jamming campaign. The Wednesday night group at the Friendly Local Game Store has been enjoying the clean spare lines of fifth edition by gooping it up with weird gonzo stuff. Unfortunately it is my turn in the DM rotation. One of the stipulations of my time in the chair that characters get to transfer from the old campaign, and yes they get to keep the evil eleven space suits, boltcasters, medium size mecha, and the Death Jammer the space gorilla (player character) stole. So we're jamming and I have the weekend to figure out spelljamming rules for fifth edition. I should be able to steal ideas and encounters from the Void below the World campaign I ran for fourth edition, but it is both a different level and system. I'll be using two guiding principles: 1) If tech is magic then magic is tech (i.e it may look like an evil elven space suit, but stats are like the adamantite armor in the DMG) 2) When in doubt make stuff up (this invokes the awesome power of the DM's imagination and keeps the game moving, because nothings worse than watching the DM spend a half an hour riffling through pages of rules and notes). Time to put on my DM hat, saddle up and see where this bucking bronco of a campaign takes us. Luckily this is not my first time in the chute, and  given the inherent gonzoness of the Fabulous Unknown City and Farmville campaigns my fellow DMs ran before me, very little will seem out of line.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Hot pink sands of Athas

As I mentioned previously, my son has become quite interested in the defunct online computer game "Dark Sun Crimson Sands". Unfortunately the ability to resurrect a client/server game who's last server shut down in 1999 has proved a bit challenging. I did find a copy of the files and was able to get the splash screen to materialize for a brief second before the "unable to connect" brought things to an abrupt end. I know the graphics and visuals are hidden in the .GFF files, but finding something capable of reading those .GFF has proved challenging. I am pretty sure they are not the genomic file format used for DNA. The generic file format used by Bioware for the Witcher and Knights of the Old Republic seems closer, but all the third party GFF reader gives me is a structure number. My hex code byte reader gives me little snips of text surrounded by gibberish. I am sure there are pictures in there somewhere, but have yet to find a binary code reader that can reconstruct images (assuming that they are either uncompressed, or compressed with a common format like .bmp or .gif). However desperation has led me to a unique and interesting approach. As it so happens "Wake of the Ravager" also uses GFF files and it was pretty easy to guess that the files labeled rgn01, rgn02, etc were the map files. I copied over the rgn files from Crimson Sands to a copy of "Wake of the Ravager" and voila a game with just enough difference for my son to declare it "Crimson Sands" and move to the next project. Screen shot below:

P.S. My son has great faith in me, but after all I am a rocket scientist

Monday, December 29, 2014

Kickstarter End-of-Year report

A little status check on the kickstarters I am backing. Awesome kudos to Revelry in Torth from kickstarter to .pdf in two months. Slumbering Ursine Dunes was also impressive, but a few stretch add-in still remain. 50 sHAdes of VORpal worries me as $5 I'll never see again as I have had only one update since the campaigns end. However, it is not overdue like  Arcanis, Lusus Naturae, or even The Lost Lands: Swords of Air. I am glad I made this list, because it actually send me searching for the missing World of Calidar Drivethrurpg link, which has been hiding in my junk mail folder since September.

Dementalism: Lots of Snazzy New Stuff
Legendary Games Pathfinder Books in Print
Razor Coast
Revisiting my Legions of the Petal Throne Art
Midgard Bestiary for 4th Edition
Scarlet Heroes
Rappan Athuk
Orbis Terrarum RPG
Domains at War: Battles, Campaigns, and Mass Combat
Bethorm: the Plane of Tekumel RPG
Adventures in the East Mark - The Red Box
Dragon Kings
World of Calidar
Revelry in Torth
Wield: A Little Game about Ancient Powers

Almost Complete The Original Online Megadungeon! (everything but the pathfinder conversion)
Slumbering Ursine Dunes (a few bonus things still to come)
Fantasy Hero Complete

Subscription Ongoing
Adventure Quarterly: A Pathfinder Periodical
Throne of Night, a Pathfinder RPG Adventure Path (a little behind, but good things are promised)
Arcanis: The Cradle of Empires - The First City Sourcebook (Chapter One received)

Draft in hand
Ryuutama - Natural Fantasy Role-Playing Game
Five Moons RPG by Sean K Reynolds
What's O.L.D. Is N.E.W. - Two Crunchy Roleplaying Games!
Saga of the Splintered Realm

Still waiting
The Lost Lands: Sword of Air
Lusus Naturae: A Gruesome Old-School Bestiary
Quests of Doom - Pathfinder and Swords & Wizardry Modules
Southlands: New Fantasy Options for Pathfinder RPG
13th Age in Glorantha
Rhune: Dawn of Twilight (Expanded Primer & Adventures)
Death & Taxes: A Complete Role-Playing Box Set Adventure
50 sHAdes of VORpal


Friday, November 28, 2014

Beyonder as far as I've gotten

Been meaning to write this review for awhile. Beyonder from Flying Nightbear games is not your usual fantasy heart breaker having a number of unique and different approaches. It has six primary attributes but not the standard instead we get emotion; mental; body; physic; spirit; and shadow. It also has two secondary attributes Stillness and Wyrd. It has ten races but only humans and dwarves are the stock ones. Character classes are linked to the primary attributes, but are not standard either. For example there are no fighters but the body channeling Soman are pretty close. I have been working my way through chapter by chapter, but I have stalled out on descriptions of all the powers for all the classes. Heart of the game, but very soporific as massed wall of reading (as far as I got: FNB don't feel bad I had a similar problem with the 5e Dungeon Masters guide). Although I am impressed with the presentation,art and ideas  of this game a final verdict with will depend on actually playing this and seeing how the various powers work out. I would have done the breaking of the book into chapters differently. Quick chapter by chapter walkthrough below:

After a paragraph of introduction to roleplaying provides an overview of how the game works. Important box text at the end on which part to skip to get started quickly.

Chapter 2 THE WORLD, ITS WORKINGS, AND ITS INHABITANTS (I'd have split this chapter)
Lots of nice world settling info which I skipped to stick with the crunch

Ten races:
The corba like crawn
The yoda like dwaheelies
Heola, sorta like high elves
Ishirs sorta like goliaths
Kamaris fun loving tree people
Ushen like warcraft tauren
Weylan gnomish trickster cat people
Zweyjen fish people, but not evil

Most of race ideas are not ones I have seen before.

All energy wielders. Six classes (referred to as guilds) each linked to a specific attribute, Sorecerers who channel all energies and priests. No fighters, but the body channeling Soman are pretty close.


Lots of history (also skipped)

Two methods of character creation
Method 1:
Play a pick-a-path adventure. Fun for the first time, but sure to get old after awhile
Method 2:
Direct choice
- Pick a race
- Pick a size (really?)
- Pick a gender
- Choose Energy Affinities using point buy system
- Pick a starting organization
- Add some extra talents
- Choose a guild (actually character class)
- Get some stuff
- Calculate a defense rating
- Choose a homeland

Uses essence sorta like experience but spread across a number of things. Essence can be used to master a power, learn a new power from an NPC, invent a new power, increase a talent (like skills) , or buy barriers (like class levels). Detailed descriptions of the barriers and their associated benefits follow. There is a discussion on wealth I didn't quite understand. Apparently finding treasure does not increase your wealth rating. You are allowed to buy stuff with your weatlh, some examples are given ,but the big shopping list is missing. The chapter ends a with a list of talents and their descriptions.

Chapter 6 CORE MECHANICS (seems to traditional these days to bury this in the middle of the book, rather than right up front where I'd like it).
Most actions are checks against talents. There are various timings for various actions (not as clean as 4es free, minor, move, and standard, One is allowed to do Stunts which are special actions requiring extra level of success and causing fatigue.

Chapter 7 COMBAT
Very similar to core mechanics

Countering powers (basically dispel)

Chapter 9 ITEMS
Standard Stuff yada-yada. Energentic items: recreate guild powers in item form, needs a mystic to create

The usual yada-yada.

Chapter 11 POWERS
Descriptions of all the powers for all the guilds. Heart of the game, but very soporific as massed wall of reading (as far as I got).

There are two appendices and  a glossary after chapter 11

I am very intrigued with many of the concepts in Beyonder, but I will have to find a group willing to play the game before I can assess it fully. Right now my game group seems quite content with 5e. Please also note that although I have had the .pdf since June the website is still mumbling about getting the print books out. So you dead tree affectionatos may have to wait a bit.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Con on the Cob Mapping it Old School

My time at Con-on-the-Cobb was less than I wanted due my work schedule. However I did get to play Dwimmermount on Thursday and prowl the dealers room on Saturday. A little different mix at the con. Games were free, but I didn't spot pathfinder, 4e or 5e games in the program. Have to ask Andy what went down (Andy's going to tell me next time run my own). Con didn't lack for games though. Now for the details. First up Dwimmermount.

Signed up for Dwimmermount with Tim S. (Gothridge Manor) and Ken H. (the Rusty Battle Axe). I was worried it was going to be full given that Tim advertised it on his blog but it was just us three. GM was Jim Yoder (Random Encounter Ohio [Nice Pic of us on his con report]). I chose to play an elf ( I was a bit appalled at his 3 hit points but this was Old School so I rolled with it). After a brief time in town to pick up a war dog (when you only got 3 hit point you need something between you and the monsters)  and a torch bearer, we headed through the red doors of Dwimmermount. We played it Old School without battle mat or mini's, Although it was obvious that Jim was a bit new to this style we got through it with very little "here hand me the map" and only one "oh by the way there's six orcs in this room also". Here's the map I drew:

Saturday was shopping. Picked up print copies of Labyrinth Lord and the Advanced Edition Companion from the Goblinoid Game booth. Talked to another booth with a lot of Dungeon Crawl Classic including a good collection of the "Crawl!" zine, but since i am not into DCC right now I bought Goodman games Glitterdoom and the Fey Sisters Fate both labeled as "Fifth Edition Fantasy". Although this seems a clever way around the lack of third party license for it might be a tough sell in court (in general things that are similar enough to trademarked items to be easily confused with the trademark are considered infringements as well). At least I've got mine.

Also on Saturday tried to interest the son in the playdo monster making contest, and ended up making monsters. Although I had lots of fun I am not quitting my day job to be a professional sculptor
anytime soon. Some pictures below.

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