Morale Check

RPG Miscellany

Monthly Archives: August 2011

Österhüssen

Name: Österhüssen “the steadfast” or “the loyal”

Alignment: Good

Portfolio: Friendship, loyalty, steadfastness, resoluteness

Symbol: A figure with weapon drawn back to a stone wall

Favored Weapon: Mace

Typical worshippers: Adventurers, those who rely on others for survival, or those facing great challenges or overwhelming odds from which they refuse to back down.

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Group 1 session 4

(I wrote this session report before the one for session 3 so its in the old very long winded format, I won’t be writing session reports this way anymore, unless of course there is some huge public outcry about the change and I really don’t see that happening ;))

I continue trying new things (rules variations) to see what works and what doesn’t for this group. For combat I returned to spell casters having to declare if they are casting a spell, not which spell or targets, before the initiative dice are rolled.

We had a few deaths last session. This seems to be the norm, 1 or 2 deaths. I’m not sure if this has something to do with the players playing two characters a piece, I don’t think it does, I think its just a learning curve thing for the most part.

With the new characters added our roster is now: Benedictor (Cleric 1), Brann (Dwarf 2), Olish (Cleric 1), Spencer (Elf 1), Gutta (Cleric 1), Utta (Thief 2), Madge (Fighter 2), Danasi (Magic-User 1). Spencer and Danasi being the two new characters this session.

Spencer arrived as a traveller staying in the inn. Just another Elf out looking for adventure.

Danasi arrive looking for Lea the elf who died in the groups last adventure. Danasi and Lea studied magic under the same mentor and developed a relationship until Lea was subjected to a curse that sapped her beauty and being ashamed of her new looks ran away. Danasi had arrived seeking out Lea to inform her that the warlock that had placed the curse on her had been captured and if she returned with him the curse would be lifted. Crushed to find his love deceased Danasi joined the party with nothing else to live for.

In the months before the current adventure presented itself the Magic-Users of the group took to teaching each other spells and copying spells from some scrolls they had found. Spencer experimented with a wand given to him by members of the party and discovered that it appeared to be a fire extinguisher spraying white foam in a 15′ cone. Utta was contacted by the local thieves guild as he owed them money for bringing lost treasures back into their domain to the tune of 1% of the value of the recovered loot. Utta paid up and vowed to have as little as possible to do with the guild.

The adventure began when in the middle of the night a messenger arrive at the inn door where the party stays. Goodwife Jopa, the local healer, asked for “the dwarf”, Brann, to come to her hut. Being suspicious the entire party geared up and headed out. Arriving at the hut Brann was surprised to find his cousin Derri Bronzebeard, mortally wounded and on deaths door. Olish aided Jopa in patching him up as well as could be and Derri opened his eyes and spoke. Derri told a grave tale of an uprising of goblinoids and other beasts that surged forth from the underdark and destroyed the ancestral home of the Bronzebeards and all that dwelled there and that he (Derri) and Brann were the only two remaining. He went on to say that he managed to grab the pieces of the legendary axe of Arnauf Bronzebeard, along with a map, before he escaped. If Brann could use the map to find the forge where Arnauf’s axe was created the axe could be reforged into a weapon Brann could use to take back Bronzebeard hall.

Gathering supplies the party saddled up and rode out the next morning on the week long journey that would take them to Kor’Barrack, the once great dwarf city of the west, somewhere in which resided the great forge where Arnaufs axe was created.

The partys path took them overland through the Blackwald forest wherein they came across the ruins of a watchtower (this is the Blackwald Morlock Den adventure I previously posted). Investigating they found a clan of morlocks had taken up residence. Initial contact with the morlocks showed them to be willing to talk and Brann was able to roughly communicate. The morlocks told them how three goblins had moved in nearby and had been hurting and killing the morlocks and forcing them to hunt and do chores for them. So much of the morlocks time was spent doing what the goblins asked they were not able to take care of their own. When the party agreed to help the morlock chieftain showed them to a pool of water deeper in the ruins where the goblins would appear whenever they wanted something.

With some experimentation the party discovered that drinking the water would teleport them to an identical pool where the hobgoblins resided. The hobgoblins, knowing the powers of the pool, put up quite a fight by using it to their advantage. It made for an interesting and frustrating fight with hobgoblins and characters teleporting between rooms and running about. In the end the party triumphed with some new bumps and bruises but no real damage. The party managed to take possession of a magical short sword +1 that had been wielded by one of the hobgoblins (Dags’ short sword of the hills). While the main danger in the ruins, the hobgoblins, had been dealt with the party still walked out one member short when in a room, filled with various fungi and lichens, Spencer decided to take a drink from a small pool filled with dirty water and small white tadpoles (WHY? I wish I knew…), needless to say the water was poisonous and he failed his save vs. poison.

A day and a half later the party emerged from the Blackwald and could now see the mountain range to the south where they would find Kor’Barrack.

The following day as they climbed a hill they could hear sounds of battle from the other side. Cresting the hill they came upon a ten neanderthals waging a losing battle against two ogres. The party immediately went into action. Madge leapt from her horse while drawing her two-handed sword and began running towards the ogres while the rest of the party drew ranged weapons. The ranged weapons peppered one of the ogres while it tried to make its way towards them batting neanderthals from his path but Utta managed to drop it with a well placed shot between the eyes just before the ogre made it into melee range. In the meantime Madge joined the ranks of the remaining neanderthals and together they brought down the remaining ogre. In the aftermath of the fighting the remaining six neanderthals thanked the party profusely and invited them back to their homes for a feast in thanks. The party graciously accepted and spent the night comfortably among new friends.

The next day they reached the foot of the mountains the party had a run in with a giant Roc, being suitably scared and impressed  the party realized they are still the low men on the totem pole.

Entering Kor’Barrack the party was greeted by a statue of a crying elf woman. Tthey proceed down the entrance tunnel. Off an alcove to the south burst five fire bats, awash in flame. The party readied their weapons as the bats swoop low but Danasi, armed with the fire extinguisher wand (taken from Spencer when he died) speaks the command word and sprays white foam all over the party and the five bats, killing the bats. Coming to the end of the tunnel the party is struck by waves of heat coming of a lake of lava that stretches as far as the eye can see. The wearing of metal armor became unbearable at this point. Across the lake the party spotted what appeared to be a boat launch with a boat floating in the lava!

Continuing on they enter a room with a large central pillar, once covered in dwarf runes it has been defaced and made impossible to read. Danasi makes a note to memorize the Read Languages spell tomorrow so he can investigate further.

Next up the party entered a room filled with crumbling and collapsing support columns occupied by a group of seven gaunt yellow flaky skinned goblinoid looking creatures. Before the creatures can react Danasi catches them all in a Sleep spell and the party exterminates them while they sleep. The strange creatures (known as Yggril) have an altar at the back of the room. Upon inspection the altar is built upon an old chest. Opening the chest the party finds a box with a plain gold ring and a vial of smoky oily liquid.

As the party continued on they entered what was once a hall of heroes filled, the statues had all been toppled and smashed and rocks littered the area. As the party made their way through the room they were ambushed by a group of four fire beetles. The fighting was tense (the players rolling extremely poorly) and they were very close to losing Brann in the fighting but the party triumphed.

In the next room the party found a broken magic circle inscribed on the floor. Inside the circle were the remains of a few day old camp fire and some discarded rations. A fire beetle, unaware of the parties approach, was nibbling at the rations. Launching a surprise attack the party (continuing their streak of bad luck) missed with five ranged attacks! The enraged beetle went on to take a chunk out of Madge before being put down. On the floor in the next room they found the body of a gnome laying next to the body of a fire beetle. In the gnomes pack was a vague map of Kor’Barrack with two rooms marked; one, the room with the pillar covered in dwarf runes, and the other in a section of they had yet to explore.  Deciding it was time for a rest the party retreated to the where they slew the Yggril and camped for the night.

Returning to where they left off they had two options: a decrepit stone bridge leading over a lake of lava or a side passage. Not liking the look of the bridge they chose the side passage.

At the end of the passage was a stuck stone door which Madge was able to force open. With the door open Utta searched and found a trap in the room but could not determine how to disable it.Throwing the gnomes body in the room triggered the trap! Iron bars in an X shape fell from the ceiling splitting the room into four pieces, in each of the four sections a door opened. From the south a group of orcs poked their heads out, one threw a javelin and the party returned fire wounding him before he ducked back inside. Seconds later the blast of a horn sounded from the south room and shortly thereafter three giant lava geckos entered from the north room. The iron bars retreated into the ceiling and the orcs ran out and mounted the lizards. Madge tried to reclose the stuck door but failed and one pair of orc and lizard moved forward to engage. The lizard wreaked havoc on the party but Danasi came through with a sleep spell that knocked out the three orcs while the rest of the party managed to kill the closes lizard (again Danasi used the wand as a weapon on the fire lizards). With their orc masters asleep the two remaining lizards turned on them and began eating them. The party quickly pushed the dead lizard out of the way and Madge was able to slam the door closed.

Once again the party retreated the room where they slew the Yggril. This time they required two days of rest to recover. In the intermediate day Danasi cast Read Languages and spent a few hours studying the rune covered pillar where he was able to discover an incantation that would allow him entrance to some locked doors deeper in the dungeon.

After resting up the party decided to head in a different direction. Looping around the lake they found another room filled with Yggril. These ones, while they took notice of the party, ignored them and continued on with their work collecting and piling stones in piles of various sizes. The party descended a set of stairs which took them to the boat launch where the Yggrill had an assembly line going loading and piling stones in the boat. Curious the party watched. After thirty minutes of rock stacking the Yggril launched the boat and began navigating the lake of lava while dropping stones over the edge of the boat. Minutes later a huge red worm 20′ in diameter and hundreds of feet long rose from the lava. The worm made its way up and down the lake before disappearing below the surface once again. The party wasted no time in getting as far away from the lake of lava as possible.

Their exploration took them to a section of the dungeon that looked like what was referenced on the gnomes map. Finding a door locked and apparently barred Danasi speaks the incantation and the door opens! One of the rooms in this area has had a cave in and there is a gaping hole in the ceiling. Madge is curious and looks up into the hole (as I knew someone would :)) and is not surprised when a green slime falls out of the darkness onto her face. Danasi acts quickly and uses his fire extinguishing wand to douse Madge in foam and slays the green slime (who would have known this wand would turn out to be so useful?). Using the gnomes map the party is able to locate a secret door which leads to the great forge where Arnaufs axe can be reforged!

Having found the forge I asked the group what they wanted to do next session:

  • skip ahead a month to the axe being reforged and continue on the way to Bronzebear hall or
  • have Brann be occupied while he forges the axe and the remainder of the party can explore the rest of Kor’Barrack
They decided to explore the rest of Kor’Barrack while they wait for Brann. I am happy with that because it means the material I created won’t go to waste AND it means that they must have enjoyed what I created, so yay!

This session was very enjoyable. We played for about 4 and a half hours and I continue to be impressed and surprised by just how much gets done in that amount of time compared to 3.5 or 4th edition games. This was the first LL session I have run that used entirely my own material (not counting the maps I used which Dyson Logos created) and I think it went very well. Once again everyone is looking forward to the next session.

I need to work on my prep time versus play time. My time in to time out ratio is close to 1:1 meaning for every hour I spend preparing I get an hour of game time. To me this means I prepare to much. I have pages and pages of detailed room descriptions and its to much. I need to work on my improvisation so I can get my ratio closer to 1:2. I’d be happy with that.

I need to find a way to make these damn session reports shorter. What is peoples opinions, do you like this much detail (even though I am still leaving much out)? Who the hell is even going to read this?

Group 1 session 3

We added another player to our game this session. An experienced role player (from my other group, Group 2, so there goes my idea of running the same material for each group, oh well). My intention is to add a little experience for the newbies to draw from and at the same expose the experienced (and perhaps jaded) role player to what gaming with people new to the hobby is like.

The new guy rolled up two new characters which brought our roster to: Benedictor (Cleric 1), Brann (Dwarf 1), Olish (Cleric 1), Fick (Thief 1), Gutta (Cleric 1), Utta (Thief 1), Madge (Fighter 1), Lea (Elf 1)

Please note that for this adventure I ran Shadowbrook Manor (it’s very good, pick it up) so there will be some SPOILERS below. Do not read this if there is a chance you might play it.

This takes place two months after the last adventure when the players investigated the wizards tower. Olish and Fick are the new characters. They arrived in town recently looking for help in the recovery of a tome. This tome was leant to the wizard Tazimak many years ago by the great library of Veeran. The book, titled The Hyperion Cantos, somehow slipped through the cracks. It has been requested recently by a Magic-User and the fact that it is missing has been discovered. A reward to the tune of 500gp has been offered. Looking for help Olish and Fick have teamed up with some other adventurers to find the book.

I am going to try a new format for this session. The last few have been way to long.

  • The party inquires around town and discovers the location of Shadowbrook Manor and that 50 years ago something happened there and Tazimaks apprentice left the area quickly.
  • At the manors front doors Brann uses the knocker medusa head knocker and with a loud echoing boom the doors swing open.
  • While investigating the parlor small fireballs begin hurling from the fireplace at the characters.
  • Fick stealthily enters the library where he triggers an attack from a Banshee, he is rescued by his friends and survives.
  • Opening a door marked with magic runes the party finds a black void on the other side. Throwing a torch in Gutta curiously wonders why she is now short a torch, odd.
  • During their exploration the party comes across a door that they cannot seem to approach, it is always 20′ away from them. None of their experiments seem to be able to bring them any closer.
  • In the great hall Olish plucks a harp which causes the party to go mad and attack each other. Before they are able to destroy the harp Lea has slain Fick. Not being particularly fond of Fick the party takes his things and disposes of his body in the void. Ficks existence is wiped from the universe.
  • In a guest bedroom the party finds a magical mechanical songbird. Casting speak with animals Gutta learns it is repeating a series of numbers.
  • In a trophy filled with stuffed monsters the party is attacked by an albino ape. What is it with the apes they wonder?
  • In the art gallery Lea removes a painting from the wall and discovers a safe behind it. Using the combination discovered from the bird and Uttas open locks skills the party is able to open and loot the safe. (This room is a fantastic little easter egg for anyone thats familiar with older D&D modules)
  • The wizards laboratory holds a disembodied brain who mentally assaults the party. Once they realize where the attacks are originating they make short work of the brain.
  • The party finds a desk that contains some scrolls and the book they came for “The Hyperion Cantos”. After resting Lea uses the read magic spell to decipher them. One of them is cursed and Lea loses her soul to a cursed scroll. Leas player is very disappointed, the party removes her body from the house for later proper burial. For now Olish and Gutta say some prayers for her.
  • Investigating the manor grounds the party is set upon by an enraged ghoul caretaker (earlier Olish had cut pieces of a topiary on the manor grounds and the ghoulish caretaker discovered the vandalism). Having had enough of the strange place the party heads back to town.

As usual we had a few deaths. The death of Lea was particularly hard as she had been a member of the party and she lost her life to a random cursed scroll. Not much to be done about that, its the price one pays as an adventurer.

Before the session I prepared outlines of the manor thinking it would make mapping easier for the players. It didn’t. Mapping this was a real nightmare for some reason. I think for the next session I will attempt to do away with player mapping and see how it goes.

Everyone had a great time, they really liked this module with all the odd things going on it kept them on their toes. My recommendation to people preparing to run this adventure is spend time going over the encounters in the encounter table and make sure you have a good idea about how they will all play out.

Definetly going to keep writing my session reports in this format.

Labyrinth Lord ascending AC

Both of the groups that I have been running Labyrinth Lord for have had trouble adjusting to the descending AC , and combat lookup table/thac0 system. To be honest after having played d20 for so long I find myself having trouble adapting as well. And so I went and converted Labyrinth Lord to an ascending AC system.

On another note but somewhat related I have decided that I don’t like using a screen while running my game. Switching to ascending AC gets rid of the problem of having to lookup attack values on a table but the issue of having to look up saving throws remains. I came up with a simple formula to approximate saving throws. In writing this post another, just as simple, idea for calculating saving throws came to me and I have added it to the document.

Word version: LL ascending AC update
PDF Version: LL ascending AC update

Slow posting lately

I have a bunch of posts sitting in my head waiting to get out but I haven’t had time, to many projects on the go 🙂

RPG related items that I am working on are an update to Labyrinth Lord to switch it to an ascending AC, attack bonus, system a la the d20 system. I am going full out and updating all related pages in the Labyrinth Lord PDF itself so I can print them out and have the updates fit seamlessly. I’d like to post this stuff when its done but I need to look into whether or not that is possible.

Along with the above I am working on a “new” character sheet using this sheet (free as of the time I posted this) as a base. Again, once it’s done I’d like to post it but I’ll have to get in contact with its creator first.

I also have a couple maps I have drawn that I need to scan and post.

And lastly, not RPG related, I am working on building a radio control car that communicates via bluetooth so I can drive it with my phone.

Oh and I am preparing for my next game session which is two weeks away yet so I have some time for that!