Saturday, March 25, 2017

Into the City of the Frog

The continuing adventures of my Tuesday night game.

The collector show the party his gemstone gate in the basement. Using the gemstone gate the party teleports to a location the collector assures them is near the City of the Frogs where the last remaining artifact, the sphere, is hidden. After stepping through they enter a 20x20 room with no obvious exits, and lament the fact that no asked the collector for the correct gem stone combination to return to his lair. A quick search reveals a secret door to the north. The door opens into an ancient frog man tomb (please note my frogmen are much closer to the eldritch las pistol wielding slann  of  old warhammer fantasy, than the obnoxious but not very powerful bullywugs of D&D). After defeating the mummy within they solve a devious puzzle to open a secret trap door in the two step pyramid. This of lead to five foot hall ending in another secret door which entered into 30 wide vaulted tunnel associated with the great underground road. There was also a drow hit squad waiting for them. Clever use by the Druid of a wall of ice from the staff of cold he borrowed from she-who-must-be-obeyed (she-who-must-be-obeyed is on break until we find another Tuesday sitter) cut down the range advantage and the fighter made short work of the assassins in melee. Following the road north lead to its end in a pair of double doors.

Opening the double doors leads to a six chamber room complex with no apparent further exits until umber hulks Kool-Aid man through the walls (or maybe its Kool-Aid man umber hulks through the walls, umber hulks have been a D&D staple since 1976, I was bit surprised some of my players has not seen this before). Its pretty touch and go (the tank kept staring into those googly umber hulk eyes) until the sound of a flute is heard in the distance and one of the two umber hulks wanders off. They dispatch the remaining umber hulk,and begin to follow a trail of broken walls left by the umber hulk which wandered. They cross a long corridor only to hear the bwang of a ballista being fired leading them to hurry across before it reloads. After following the broken walls parallel to the long corridor, they catch up with the umber hulk and a small blue kobold with a flute who have just  broken through the wall to attack the frog man ballista crew, A wild three way melee ensues. However, while the melee between the party the frog men and the umber hulk continues, the kobold slips past to the double doors and the end of the long corridor that the ballista crew guards. The kobold sets up a tripod holding a small red gem, picks the lock on the double doors and slps into the chamber beyond.
More later....

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Game of the North Review

Note this is a friend of mines fantasy heartbreaker, so I may not be unbiased. I am also reviewing the deluxe Lulu print edition so it may not be same as the drivethrurpg .pdf (although the table of contents in sample file seems the same). The game is very old school in including a number of random roll charts. The game back story and name derive from travelers from the southern continent exploring a newly discovered northern continent. The book is illustrated with out-of-copyright clip-art. The author has graciously placed the work in the public domain. Things I liked best about it are its sense of whimsy, its random roll-up charts, and the experience point buy system. The parallelism between character, party, stronghold, and god attributes is intriguing. Things I like least are the free form negotiation for spells and the subdividing of the chapters.  I would have also liked a bigger map of the northern continent. Take a look! The drivethrurpg .pdf is only five bucks. Check out the Book of Ten Trillion Things as well. Chapter by chapter review bellow:

Act one Origins
This is a series of random roll-up charts to generate facts about your place of origin followed by a series of questions to answer about how you feel about your country of origin.

Acts Two Creation
This starts with the basic statistics (the standard six) number of dice you roll is determined by your race nominally 3d6. If you roll more than 3 dice you just keep the best 3. Stat descriptions are pretty standard although bonus cap out at +3 and there are no entries above 18. Next are race descriptions the standard lot plus orcs and goblins. Each race has experience point buy numbers to activate racial abilities. Next are adventuring skills everyone gets to pick seven of these. Mixed amongst the standard fare are a few intriguing ones including eat anything, overlooked, whistling, and my favorite atavism (the ability to build items out random trash and have them function as normal items). Alignment follows choices are chaos, law, neutrality, evil, and good. Astrological signs are next. Every One has five signs one sun sign and four moon signs. Experience is required to open each of the signs. The effect of the signs is undisclosed, but left to GM discretions. There is a long section of languages which is an interesting read, but kind of campaign specific. Wealth is based on a silver piece standard. Starting gear is based on random roll up charts. Although the charts themselves produce some interesting results, I am a bit concerned that random nature may leave some characters rather handicapped.

Act Two part b Rules System
This is a new section in the tab system but no new act heading. Attack is a d20 roll versus armor class. Damage is based on weapon rating from none (1d4) to heavy (1d10). Confidence is a charisma save. Defend determines armor class. Encumbrance is based on constitution, 1 equipment point per point of constitution. Impairments include blindness, deafness, lameness, fear, poison, unconscious, defeated. Mostly standard stuff ,but defeated allows you to accept permanent lameness, deaf or blinded instead of being killed. Initiative is based on your dexterity plus a d6. Influence determines your ability to persuade NPCs 2d6 plus charisma. Leadership determines how many henchmen you can have and their loyalty. Maneuvers introduced here but covered later, no more maneuvers than hit dice. Reactions base attitude of encounters to players, like Influence also 2 dice but ranges from 2d4 to 2d12 dependant how much they like you to begin with (I’d have lumped it with influence and used a d20). Spellcasting more later, note that’s spells take a full round to cast and don’t happen until the beginning of your turn after you cast them. Survival, how long you can last without food, water or sleep con based. Travel and speed, table by race speed in hexes per day. Visibility normal value is two hexes, obstruction of vision adds to ac, determines awareness, unaware characters when attacked must make a death save. More on maneuvers here, a negotiate with GM system ( I hate that).

Act Two part c Magic
This is a also new section in the tab system without a new act heading. Five types of magic prayers, shamanism, wizardry, tinkering, and glammers. Access is restricted by race. Dwarves and Halfings don’t get anything. Each section has base spells plus level modifiers and some samples. Glammer bas spells include:  Phantasms, and Compulsions. Prayer base spells include: Supplications, Invocations, and Benedictions. Shamanism includes: Shaping and Callings. Tinkering includes: Augments, Endowments, and Inventions. Wizardry includes: Transformations, Cures, Curses, Summoning, Animations, Motion, Perceptions, and Imbuements. Some alternates to the main magic include dwarfsmithings and whistling.

Act Three In the Party
A bunch of reputations and traits based on the overall party. Party reputation is gained in Glory, Reputation, Secrecy, Influence, Membership, and Devotion. Party reputation and alignment allow it to gain traits which provide some advantage in the game. Badges, Banners, Codes, Emblems, Initiations, Mystery, and Rites may be purchased to gain special features.

Intermission Followers and allies.
The usual stuff.

Act Four the stronghold
Build a base. Bases have the following: Diplomacy, Fortification, Reconnaissance, Development, Might, Justice. A good list of hirelings is here as well.

Act Five Apotheosis
Ascent to Godhood. God attributes include Compassion, Patience, Grace, Authority, Wrath, and Peace. Once you are a God you must act indirectly through other characters
Coda Alternate Character types
A bunch of Character archetypes (best for NPCs and Quick Characters). Rules for monster adventurers including Vampire, Werewolf, Zombie, and Elementals. A series of monster abilities similar to adventurer skills.

The book ends with a bunch of character sheets.

Friday, March 3, 2017

GMs day sale at Drivetrhurpg

Having successfully procrastinated my February post of my November games into March, I figured what better thing to do than procrastinate further. My fellow blogger Tenkar pointed out the sale at Drivethrurpg and mentioned the over 900 Old School Renaissance (OSR)  products on sale (Use the link at Tenkar's Tavern to help a fellow gamer out). I, of course, had to check it out. Using the keyword OSR and sorting by price I discovered a cache of free and pay what you want products (if its already free, is it realy on sale?). Although I own a great deal these I was able to add 73 more to my collection (that's even with skipping character sheets, pod casts and foreign language products) before Drivethru suggested I checkout before my shopping cart exploded. Will have to download them tomorrow. My "to read" stack gets even larger. I am mastering the art of "Tsundoku" (it's Japanese look it up) although she-who-must-be-obeyed insists that the bulk of my stacks remain virtual.

P.S. Might even get around to looking at the OSR products which cost money but are cheaper.
P.P.S. had to finagle Tenkar's link to get to drivethurrpg instead rpgnow (I like red better than blue). Not sure my spending exactly $0.00  put much in the tip jar anyways.
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