Gencon 2018!

I headed down to Gencon on nearly a whim and it was pretty good. This means that I haven’t missed a Gencon since 1992.  That’s a LOT of Gencons.   This year I was trying to take a break after the insanity of the 50th anniversary last summer and all that, but broke down with both desire and some peer pressure from Matt.

Matt said it was his favorite Gencon ever as he got to game a lot and didn’t have to waste time on taking FAR too much time going out to eat, which is a massive timesink when you add it up.  Going to the RAM for lunch will take at least 2-3 hours minimum and then you are spun back into the Con drunk.

I only went on Saturday for reals and after wandering the hall a bit (trying not to buy anything this year), I got over to the CUBICLE 7 booth and had a chat with none other than Graeme Davis of WFRP fame who was showing off a binder with pages from 4th edition.  Mr. Davis, along with others, wrote the Enemy Within, Shadows over Boganhoffen, Rough Night at Three Feathers and many other great modules for one of the most important RPG’s ever.  WFRP 4 is going to be a merger of 1st and 2nd edition WFRP with nothing from Fantasy Flight’s 3rd edition (no funky dice or chits all over the place or cards for actions).  In addition, he has been tasked with writing the 4th edition Enemy Within in which, he said, would be surprises that help if players have played the 1st edition campaign as well as doing it closer to the original 1E edition.  Davis also co-wrote the 3rd edition version of the Enemy Within for Fantasy Flight.  Talking to Mr. Davis about this subject made the failed BIRD ride from downtown Milwaukee and drive down to Indy the night before totally worth it– the rest of the con was GRAVY.

After that WFRP fangasm, we got in another game of Rising Sun and I pulled out a win, which was the third in the row with different clans (the Fox, Butterfly and Turtle clans respectively).  I don’t usually win Blood Rage, though I love it, so I’m not sure how it’s happening with Rising Sun except via simple experience.  It’s becoming a favorite of the group.

I got in a game of Runequest (the new version from Chaosium) that was OK, the pre-gen character sheets were in the same format as the Free RPG day ones and they really sucked.  Please just list the fucking spells instead of saying “all common rune spells” so that the players, some who are totally new to RQ, have to go look them up in the book that they don’t have.  Another issue with RQ as a CON game is that it expects and demands vast knowledge of the Glorantha background, which, IMO is something to be slowly revealed over the course of a long campaign.  People aren’t going to know all the gods of the Glorantha pantheon– so don’t do CON scenarios that expect players to have that knowledge at all.   The scenario was a typical Glorantha one, with some Broo and some chaos getting all over the place and having to be cleaned up, but had a lot of stuff about the Lightbringers and Orlanthi stuff which all had to be explained in detail.  It was pretty good, but I just do not think Glorantha-based Runequest is much of a CON game.  System wise I miss the Mythras special effects in combat–they copied RQ6’s excellent Passions system: why didn’t they copy it’s superlative combat system as well?  The new RQ Glorantha book looks beautiful though, so should be picked up at some point.  They only had 200 at the CON for sale and I think they sold out pretty quick.

After RQ, I ran DCC for the gang in a very large hall of people and had to talk really loudly. I had to run down to the business center in the hotel in order to print off random characters for the game at the cost of 8$.  I need to remember to bring a huge stack of characters EVERYWHERE I go.   The session was pretty much proof that you can run DCC anywhere under very severe conditions.  I did Frozen in Time which is take on Expedition to the Barrier Peaks except all DCC.  We got fairly far into the module until people started to fall asleep on account of the hour and the drink.  That may be one to finish off.

Other than wandering the dealer hall a bit on Sunday and pestering Tom Babbey at his art booth, buying the obligatory DCC modules, that was pretty much my GENCON.

Some pictures.

I don’t know what these guys are supposed to be but Matt does.
Matt got this lady to do this for reasons I don’t know. He said it was some sort of explosion woman?
The guys playing the almost the best RPG.
The gaming halls were totally packed most of the time.
Rising Sun, pointing.

Rim the World

RimWorld is one nasty time sucker!  I’ve had a week off here and have played about 20 hours or so — all good times and solid frustrations.

The game is an ARPG/ survival game like we’ve seen so many times with many, many bad games in the genre–  but this one channels the most Dwarf Fortress stuff without the horrifying graphics and insurmountable commands, while being no where near as complex on the back end.  For example, when you do stuff in a space in Dwarf Fortress, that stuff stays there FOREVER until changed by some other agent in the game.  In Rim World, if you leave your colony for some reason, it disappears and re-randomizes the hex you used to be in.  So you can’t watch the deterioration of your bases after you leave them.

You start the game with either three or one colonists with various skills and abilities and you need to grow food, hunt, protect yourselves, tame animals and find some way to survive the winter, fallout, massive raids of mechanoids and natives. Typically, like Dwarf Fortress, this is a cascade of failure after about 4-5 hours of play in each game.  The way to play the game properly is to have a single save file so that you can’t go back to earlier games and try to avoid the RNG or bad decisions– but the game allows you to wuss out and have tons of saves.

How I start the game is this: land on the planet, pick up weapons and medicine, make a couple sleeping spots, then find a room that’s already built on the map and inhabit it.  Next I find where the “ancient evil” room is on the map and immediately open it up and see what’s in there.  Most of the time this leads to quick destruction, but sometimes it not only gives the colonists a solid flame proof building, but cyrocaskets and some tech weapons to boot.   This way you can either start off strong, or get wiped out and start a new game, which you will probably be doing eventually anyways.

Combat is a frantic, pausable affair where you try to position your colonists in the best possible places to take on attackers in real time.  I haven’t gotten very high tech weapons yet, but that’s because I play hardcore for the most part, and haven’t survived!  There are quite a few different guns and weapons in the game, and it escalates into quite an arms race with your neighbors and raiders as the game goes on.

All in all, highly recommended.  The heart of the RNG in this one is in the right place for sure.

LotFP – Lay of Remy Pardue part two

Sprint 1619, Northern France. We last left our heroes in St. Omer, with one of Remy’s wives (Lucienne) and child (of another wife) they had named ‘Timmy’ casing a two story  inn where Remy was supposedly hiding out. (first part of the adventure is here).

PC’s
Aleric the Pious (cleric) – played by mouth
Fred Fucher (specialist) – played by maat
Titus Sphnchta (magic user) – played by maat the younger (the only character that speaks French in the group)

Out the first session
Jaques Van Dam (fighter) – played by steve
Richard Quigley (fighter) – played by john

Aleric, Fred and Titus made it to the inn along with the boy and Lucienne, while Jaques and Richard must have eaten something wrong earlier in the day and had to stop.  The three noticed immediately that there was a man in the doorway watching the street quite intently.  Frederic Fucher did some successful sneaking into the stables at the back of the inn and watched another man come out the back door bringing a shit bucket to the loo out back, then he staid there awhile.

Meanwhile, Titus charmed the man in the doorway and told him there was a package of money at the postal office across town and he needed to get it and bring it back to Remy, which he went off to do. Then he and Aleric snuck into the inn and heard some people playing lansquenet in an upstairs room. Along with the chatter over the cards, they overheard a conversation about some money coming in and the words: “that man is worth a lot of money.” The cleric and wizard, with the fighters lagging behind  decided to hide in the stables with Fred and discuss what to do next.

Luckily both of the fighters joined them in the stables after successful constitutionals, what with the door now unguarded and all. The decide to whack the guy in the loo, which they did, but very noisily with screaming and hacking and such. This alerted a man named Arsene who guarded the back door to the inn and would have let Hector, the man in the loo, back into the inn had he survived. Instead, he loaded his crossbow and waited. The group then barged through the front door and opened the door to the kitchen from the common room and quickly shut it, seeing Arsene there waiting by the rear door with a crossbow. Aresene, thinking it was a single man invading the inn, bowled into the common room from the kitchen and was noisily brought down by the fighters.

Knowing at this point surprise was not on their side, the group headed upstairs and posted watch on the outside back door  (Fred Fucher) and on the hallway/balcony on the second floor (Aleric).
“go through the front door to get the guy in the backdoor”

They busted into the room Remy and two of his men (Thibaud and Andriet) were waiting in, who had drawn weapons over their abandoned card game. Andriet threw a knife at them but missed, and the characters asked to parlay and Remy, trapped in a room with an unknown number of assailants outside,  decided to do so. They asked for the original map and explained that while it was rude of him to steal the possessions and money from the characters, it was a very bad mistake to steal the map that he had. After some cajoling, Remy produced the map and tossed it across the room, firing a pistol and leaping from the nearby window in the same moment– the pistol missed, but the ground didn’t, and Remy was knocked out by the fall, unlucky for him. Andriet, being a violent sort, attacked with knives, but got covered in lantern oil and then had his skull split with an axe. Thibaud decided to run, and climbed up a ladder into a loft above the room. After making sure Remy was taken care of, the fighters went up the loft and there was more parlaying with Thibaud who was just a hireling. He left them his sword and money and they let him run off into the streets of St. Omer. They noticed a well-appointed chest in the loft after he left. Could this be where Remy hid all of their stuff? Fred Fucher then opened the accidentally stolen map and noted that it was part of Africa, and Matt told the players (not the characters) that he knew what that was all about..

Meanwhile the fighters up stairs opened the well appointed chest and it did not contain anything that they had expected. A tendril of black ooze or something shot out of it into Jacques Van Dam’s mouth and pushed it’s way down his throat. As he gagged on the black mass, Richard began hacking at it with his axe, and after several blows, severed the tendril and it retracted into the chest, which snapped shut. Jacques flailed on the floor as the mass dissipated down his throat and into his stomach and bowels.

DCC – Funnel with scratch off 0-level character sheets

Last weekend I finished running a funnel with the DCC scratch off character sheets. This will be a bit of a review of the sheets and a bit of a review of the new, brutal, way you can handle characters in the funnel if you have these sheets.

First, the sheets are aesthetically pleasing, but they are not made with the best scratch off stuff. I don’t play the lottery or any of that parasitic shit, but I’ve scratched off some stuff in my time and it was better than the sheets– the stuff was challenging to get off without scratching the crap out of the paper underneath.

Secondly, the size of the type in the scratch off areas made it difficult to read the text, especially for the lucky signs and some of the equipment.

Last, I think these should have been a quad of four character sheets and not just one. There is a lot of space on the sheet wasted and frankly 0-level characters aren’t worth a full sheet of paper in the first place!

We followed the suggestion that came with the pack of ’emergent’ stats, that is: when you have to use a stat on a character, you scratch it off the sheet and reveal it. Only when you use a stat do you get to see what it is and what the bonuses are.

While this was fun, a couple of the players felt like they were bit upside the ass by it when their front character turned out to have a 16+ in some stat and they didn’t know and doomed the poor fellow to some trap.  Make sure if you do this that you have ample opportunity for tests (PER especially doesn’t come up often).

That said, my funnel turned out not to be a very dangerous one, and with careful play (in most instances), the players came out with multiple characters.

Overall, it was fun to use the scratch off sheets, but they could be better and there were some complaints about reading the entries at times.

Info on Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition

I’m keen on the new Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay developed by Cubicle 7, having played 1st extensively and 2nd edition a few sessions.  In my middle years, I see many, many flaws in both 1st and 2nd’s system, but the game had some high quality short adventures and, of course, the Enemy Within Campaign which I never got to run players through because they— became like chaos itself, spiked off into random directions mostly due to crimes, and I had to start giving them chaos attributes until we quit playing halfway through college.  Others had similar experiences.  It could be that the nihilism inherent in the late 80’s that seeped entire into the Warhammer world view made players inherently nihilistic as well, or maybe Slaanesh is just that attractive…

That brings me to 3rd edition WFRP and… my worry that any of the things in 3rd edition make it into 4th.  3rd was the prototype for the much refined Star Wars RPG from Fantasy Flight, yet it was a total mess and completely unmanageable at the table.  I played it once as a player and was astounded at the number of chits and cards and stuff, as well as how long it took to finish a small combat with beastmen.  In Mythras or D&D the fight would have taken 30 minutes of combat time, where 3rd WFRP took well over an hour.  Yet, 3rd edition had quite a few excellent adventures (Witches Song and the new Enemy Within for starters).

Here is a published list of features so far:

The d100 system used will be broadly familiar, but a new implementation designed to offer three ways of resolving actions:
1 – a decision based on the characters’ abilities

2 – a simple pass/fail test

3 – a more nuanced dramatic test giving a range of outcomes and success levels

  1. GMs are encouraged to tailor their use of these to suit their group’s preferences.
  2. The combat system has been designed to be quick, dynamic and exciting, with something happening as the result of every roll.
  3. Careers remain an important feature. Dom waxed eloquent about how careers help immerse characters in the world, and give them something to fight for. He also talked about how that was reinforced in the new edition by Ambitions – personal goals that characters work towards.
  4. You can initially play a Human, Dwarf, Halfling or Elf, and that range will grow through future expansions.
  5. Dom did also talk about our ambitious plans for expansions. An expeditionary approach to Lustria was mentioned, as was his excitement about Dark Elf politics and how he always wanted to go to Ulthuan.

Influence from 3rd aside, what I worry most about here is that WFRP 4e will be a ‘story game,’ leaning far towards something like FATE than anything my players and myself would ever want, but let’s see how this shakes out.   There is always the option of running WFRP with Mythras, which can’t be beat system wise.

LotFP – the Lay of Remy Pardue

While Rol20 13th Age is in hiatus, I decided to bust out a LotFP adventure I have been working on and we’ve pulled a handful of sessions off.

PC’s
Aleric the Pious (cleric) – played by mouth
Fred Fucher (specialist) – played by maat
Jaques Van Dam (fighter) – played by steve
Richard Quigley (fighter) – played by john
Titus Sphnchta (magic user) – played by maat the younger (the only character that speaks French in the group)

Spring 1619, London. The adventure begins with the two fighters and the cleric being hired to find a strange cube rumored to be at a monastery in southern France by a representative of the new Lord of Manchester who wishes to gift the thing to a friend. They are given a map in a water-tight tube to the monastery, ample supplies and petty cash to spend on the way as well as a ride to the continent via a river boat that can make the crossing captained by one Remy Pardue. They were warned not to go to Paris (as the country had just been in a small civil war between the Queen of France and the heir apparent).

The group met the boat captain and his crew on the Thames the next morning. All went swimmingly until the boat was moored at Ramsgate after a day coming down the Thames. The group stayed at an inn and the next morning the boat, Remy and his crew and the map, and all of their supplies and monies were gone. They punched out the barkeep (who told them Remy was a bit sketchy) until he told them to check another, seedier, inn on the wharf for news of Remy. Just then Titus and Fred Fucher arrived with a message from the Lord of Manchester (or rather, his man), that they were given the wrong map and to send the original map back post haste. Of course, they didn’t have the original map any more…

Checking the seedy Inn (the Dried Boar), they found one of his crew, Giles Jegou, who our of guilt, could not go along with the theft and became summarily drunk instead. He told the group that they might find Remy at his mother’s house west of Saint-Omer, otherwise he had no idea where he was off to.

With help from the bartender, they got passage across the channel that day and walked to Saint Omer from the coast, not quite penniless, but certainly not in style.

Saint Omer was having a market day and the town was crowded with merchants and shoppers, even early in the morning when they arrived. After some inquiry and paying of bridge tolls, they found the farm of the Pardue’s and approached. Two of the characters waited in a flowering apple orchard overlooking the main house and the other three went straight there. They found an old woman cracking nuts on the stoop, a young woman with long black hair hanging laundry on a line (mostly diapers) and another woman with long black hair carrying a swaddled baby. The old woman was Remy’s mother and she spoke the English, though with a rougher burr native to Bristol and such unsavory places. Somewhere in the house another baby was crying.

Titus told her they had something for Remy and were trying to find him. She told them the price to find him was the same whether giving or receiving. She brought out a gaggle of children of many ages from inside and around the house and that they must pick one to take with them as their ward, since the farm was poor and there were constantly new mouths to feed as Remy brought his impregnated wives to the house with or without other by-blows.

They selected the eldest boy (11) and she told them that they could name him as well if they wanted (they named him Timmy). Then she told them that Remy had been at the house just yesterday and had gone on about finding a crew quickly and he had an opportunity that would make him rich. She said he then went to Paris and they should not have trouble finding him on the way there if they hurry (!?).

The party left the farm with the child in tow and went north to the nearest livery stable to purchase some horses. They had very little money and asked the stable master if there was anything they could do to procure some horses. With the chaos in the country those days horses were not easy to come by, and he offered them a few horses if they burned one of his competitors stables down without hurting any of the animals. After some debate, they agreed and got directions.

On the road south, near again to the Pardue farm, they came upon one of the women from the house (Lucienne), one of Remy’s ‘wives’ who told them that the old hag was lying and if they took her with them, she would tell them where Remy really was and take them there. They again reluctantly agreed (“Should we still burn the stables down?”) and Lucienne took them into Saint Omer in front of the Hotel D’Ville, a three story Inn with a brewery and stables.

Losing stuff with ideas in it !

Well, I found my notebook with my FASERIP BPRD notes in it in my daughter’s room after a few weeks of looking and even starting over in another notebook! I have a lot of notebooks and they have random ideas in them all over the place. I realize that most of them are places of dead roads that nothing will come out of except the fervent act of creation itself in the moment and that’s just dandy, but sometimes I have stuff written down that I aim to do things with, like finish a LotFP module the cartography of which ALSO was in the lost notebook! (one demand I have of my non work notebooks is that they are all graph paper). So now I need to finish off the maps and get this thing done.

Another issue is playtesting. I’ve had the thing read over by a few people and it’s been playtested once in 5E, but I haven’t done it, mainly because my roll20 group does not generally like the character thresher that is LotFP. It’s something I gotta do. It’s not a long adventure: 3-4 set pieces and some ‘connective tissue’ between if the characters take the bait.

This points to an organizational issue of keeping everything straight paper wise when you run and play 5-6 different RPG’s in a given year (13th Age, Into the Odd, lotFP, Mythras, FASERIP and Dungeon Crawl Classics in 2017). What I’ve started doing after my ‘trapper keeper’ idea sorta failed (it got filled with stuff from all sorts of games and it’s a fuckin mess) is get one of those zipper folders and put all of the crap for that game you are running inside. It has to be totally self contained except for the rulebook (which shit for most games you don’t even need if you’ve played enough), but if you have a small rulebook like the LotFP or Into the Odd books, throw it in there too. So, that’s all character sheets, the module, any previous module the characters have run through (trust me on that one, you’ll need it),  and all session notes. The key is to have EVERYTHING there, even if you have to throw a 95% empty notebook in there (what are they? 2$?), it’s worth it so you can grab and go even if it has been years since the last time you’ve run it.

Zipper thingy with the Kid’s campaign modules and notes, cat.

Garycon 2018

Always a fun, mellow con where you can get food and drink no problem, from where ever you are in the Hotel.  We showed up on Saturday only and hit the board game library and then commenced to playing DCC until my kids nearly fell asleep at the table.   This is one Convention where you can just basically show up and fairly easily get into games.

This con is getting … bigger.  We’ll have to see how long it remains at the Grand Geneva which itself is huge– I think it would not be as unique or fun if it moved.  Hopefully it stays a smallish/medium con in the next few years and doesn’t approach the monstrosity that Gencon has become.  However, if you want to experience what GENCON was like in the early years– Gary Con is definitely it.

The GM’s view running People of the PIT!

The Golden Sword – A Guardian Heroes inspired adventure for 13th Age

We had a weekend-long 13th Age session this past weekend with randomly rotating GM’s and character level ups between each session.  I got to go first and had a bit of time to prep before the session.  Some of the GM’s did not know when they would be up, which is admirable. I wasn’t admirable.

I had a  WFRP-like plot set up and written into a pocketmod the week before, but then a bunch of kids were at the house and they were playing Guardian Heroes and I STOLE THE BEGINNING COMPLETELY for the first session …and would do it again.

I built the following adventure based closer to Feng Shui style than to any standard D20 dungeon crawl, which I think 13th Age fits perfectly.   The adventure consists of three fights with connective tissue in between (read as the INTENTION of railroading if not railroading during the session itself).

I used a trick to start the session off that I read in some 13th Age book or module somewhere, where a dark elf pays the characters for their memories… this is to cut down on all the “this is how I know X character” bullshit that bogs down the first sessions!

Dramatis Personae

Sauvanne the Red
Baron Arceneaux
Cantacuzene the Sorcerer
Rolfia of the blackguards
Zul the Advisor
Aarwon the inkeeper
Blavot Couvier, sergeant of the blackguards
Golden Swordsman

Battle 1 – Inn and Streets

The characters are sitting at a table at an inn (The Unicorn and Badger on Harlot’s Chase in the town of Mudfair are the names I used) and a beautiful dark elf is handing them a sack of silver and jewels and says she would like to pay them for their memories.  The characters will likely say stuff like “mine aren’t that interesting” or “it will cost you more than that,” but of course she means the memories that she has already purchased and in fact they can’t remember anything for the last few weeks except that they have an affinity for the other characters with no memory exactly of why.

She then snuffs a bit and looks around and say’s ‘oh it’s time to go’ and disappears into ash. The characters then smell smoke and have a chance to look around themselves.  They are on the second floor of an Inn and on the table along with the silver the dark elf just left them, is an open stack of gems and gold coins as well as a well-appointed golden sword.

[Characters stole a bunch of stuff including the golden sword from a nearby temple (Zeliel, God of Coins!) and are celebrating after delivering what they were requested to steal to their employers; the sword was INCIDENTALLY stolen.]

Suddenly, a woman in ornate crimson armor (Sauvanne) bursts into the inn and points to the sword and warns the characters that they are about to be attacked and ‘don’t let them get the sword!’ Guards start flowing in to the building and it is set on fire. Characters can run or fight but the building burns around them and becomes increasingly dangerous. The woman fights with the characters vs the guards and suggests a retreating withdrawal.  She will help to pick up any characters that drop to zero, but won’t stay long in the burning building because that would be stupid.

Four guards will scale the walls or come up the inn stairs into the second floor room each turn.

Archers will stay outside ready to shoot anyone they see that isn’t another guard.  They have pushed bales of burning hay to the sides of the Inn as well as setting fire to a few on the first floor.  Bolgar Mangstein and Chamas Mazor lead the group of guards tasked to get the sword.  The named characters will not engage until after escalation 3 and will go into the building until escalation 5 after which they will wait outside for the building to burn down or the characters to jump out.  The Sword is a big deal and all the named characters will take risks to get it, but these two won’t fight to the death.

Stats and Mechanics

After escalation 3, everyone in the inn takes 5 ongoing damage with no save.  After escalation 6+, everyone in the inn takes 10 ongoing damage and must save AFTER they leave the inn as well or continue to take damage.

There are 12 guards and 6 archers plus two named characters.   This would be an easy fight for first level characters, except for the burning building.

Town Archers Town Guard
Mook     Level 1     Archer Mook     Level 1     Troop
Initiative +5 Initiative +5
HP 5          AC 13      PD 10      MD 10 HP 7          AC 14      PD 13      MD 13
R: Crossboiws +9 v AC (1 enemy engaged ) – 4 Damage M: Short Swords +9 v AC (1 enemy engaged ) – 4  Damage
     Hit Natural 16+ – Reduce the escalation die by 1.
Bolgar Mangstein Chamas Mazor
 Level 3     Leader   Level 2     Caster
Initiative +5 Initiative +5
HP 45          AC 16      PD 12      MD 12 HP 25          AC 16      PD 14      MD 14
M: Huge Mace +9 v AC (1d2 enemies engaged), 8 Damage R: Spirit Blaster +10 v MD (1d3 unengaged enemies), 4 Damage
     Special: If escalation die is even, can repeat this attack one additional time      Hit Natural 16+ – Creature pops free and can move as a free action.
     Miss – Gain +2 bonus to next attack      Miss Odds – Gain +2 bonus to next attack

Connective Tissue 1

Allow a short rest when the characters escape from the Inn.  If they get captured, you’ll have to wing it from there.

Assuming the characters escape, the lady introduces herself (Sauvanne) and explains what they accidentally did by stealing the sword: set off a hunt based on a known prophecy about the local baron and the true power behind the barony: the sorcerer Cantacuzene involving the sword.

If they aren’t too hurt and the inn fight wasn’t too long, on the streets/ running away from the inn they can be confronted by more guards. Just a few should work fine here and if needed one of the surviving named characters from the first fight. This should be easily overcome.

They run (force this part) to the nearby grave yard which is ancient and larger than the village itself.  It has ancient barrows upon which gravestones and mausoleums have been built.  Sauvanne will suggest this as very few people frequent the graveyard…

I had many guard parties to be avoided in the town as well as knights riding winged mechanoid wasps searching through the town from the sky.

Battle 2 -Graveyard

While Sauvanne is convinced the graveyard is safe to hole up in for awhile, but the group is confronted by Rolfia, the head of the Black Order of the baron’s guard.  She calls Sauvanne a traitor and says that she is going to let them play with one of her toys first if they won’t hand over the sword to her.  The toy is a 12 foot tall mechanoid that cannot really be damaged by the characters. The characters fight around a large barrow.

The core thing here is that the mechanoid should only be superficially damaged from the character’s weapons and spells.  First level 13th Age characters can do some amazing shytte, and there are a lot of different classes to deal with (like the chaos mage) but you should be able to make it believable that the mechanoid isn’t really damaged, though they are doing damage to it.   The critical point is when someone tries to use the golden sword on the mechanoid, stuff happens.  As soon as the sword is swung, the barrow nearby bursts open and a warrior in golden armor (very dead looking) appears, and the sword throws it’s current wielder into the nearby grave stones (4 damage) and teleports to his hand. The golden warrior crushes the mechanoid immediately.  The head of the black order and her guards run away in fear as the dead rise from their graves around them (influenced by the presence of the golden warrior, but not controlled or any concern of his).

The characters are then attacked by the golden swordsman, but make sure they aren’t hit–if they tell him to STOP, he stops and they learn they can issue commands to him. Have Sauvanne do this and be attacked if you have a lot of damaged characters after the mechanoid battle.

Stats

Don’t bother statting the mechanoid except Init +5, Attack +5, Damage 15.  This won’t hit often but when it does– ouch.  It’s a story element (players won’t know this and that’s OK).  It will go for the sword and try to wrestle it away if possible.  If they attack Rolfia, see below.

Connecting tissue 2

Sauvanne can say “That sword… This golden warrior must have wielded it long ago. Legend has it that the sword possesses the power to wipe the darkness. I had no idea it would summon the golden warrior. The Baron has been desperately seeking this sword and now I know why they are afraid of it. This warrior has the power to end the Sorcerer Cantacuzene’s reign over the Barony, forever.”

I did not plan to involve all of you… But when the Baron Arceneaux discovered I was going to revolt, I did not think he would use so many troops.
I cannot fight this battle alone. Do not be fooled by Baron Arceneaux or his family. Whoever has the sword will be captured and executed! From now on, all of you will be targets as well. We must leave here immediately!

The dead start to rise out of their graves within a radius of the Golden Warrior.  Any that get close to him he destroys, but it is a constant threat until the characters leave the graveyard (for the final battle).

Sauvanne suggests they go to a nearby village (Crowyard) as it is friendly to the rebels against the Baron Arceneaux and the Sorcerer.  The characters may want to hide in a nearby woods or go kick some ass at the Baron’s keep.

Battle 3 – Baron’s Keep, Woods or Village (Crowyard).

They can raid the Baron’s keep, or go to a nearby village friendly to rebels against the Barony (the Arceneaux’s), or head to the woods to hide among the rebels there.  Whichever place they decide to go, the fight is the same, though you will need to make up the getting there part on your own and frame the fight.  My players went to the keep and snuck in.  The keep I used had an access tunnel beneath it for supplies and was otherwise unguarded.

Depending on what they do, they are likely attacked, or must fight through, more guards and the Baron’s adviser (Zul) who traps them with magic in an ‘arena’ with a giant summoned troll via three witches in mauve robes.

Stats

 

Blue Ogre thing Witches
Large     Level 3     Wrecker Normal     Level 1     Caster
Initiative +5 Initiative +5
HP 126          AC 16      PD 12      MD 12 HP 19          AC 18      PD 13      MD 13
M: Meaty Fist +10 v AC (1 enemy engaged with monster), 23 Pummelling Damage R: Lightning fork +6 v AC (1d3 nearby enemies), 3 Lightning damage
 Hit Evens – Target is weakened      Special: Witch can pop free from target. If engaged with any other enemies in addition to target, can immediately roll to disengage with +2 bonus.
     R: Floor Tile Toss +10 v PD (2d3 nearby or faraway enemies), 6 Crushing damage    Miss – Disengages from any engaged enemies
 Limited Use: Escalation die 3+       Natural 16+ – Ogre heals 5 HP
  Miss Natural -5 – Gain +2 bonus to next successful attack (can stack)

Zul, when captured, can give information as to where the Baron is or Cantacuzene the Sorcerer…Connective Tissue 3 really depends where the characters have this fight. If they are in the Crowyard village or in the woods, they should go to the keep to finish the job. If they are already at the keep, then the second wave of antagonists should show up after Zul’s ogre and witches are defeated.

Battle 4 – Confront the Sorcerer

This is a fight that has a pre-determined outcome.  The characters will attack either the Baron to get to the sorcerer or find the sorcerer.  They will fight minions and either the Baron, Zul or any of the named characters that survived the first fights.  The setting for this could be anywhere but inside the keep is probably best.

While the characters are fighting, the Sorcerer Cantacuzene shows up and the Golden Warrior gets super pissed off and those two battle, destroying each other, and the sword in the process.  In our session, the final battle was in the keep and it started to collapse–the characters ran away and the whole thing came down on top of the golden warrior and the sorcerer.  After the Sorcerer is destroyed, the other named characters will snap out of it and be sorry for what they’ve done as they were geased by the sorcerer…  FIN!

Stats

House Archers House Guards
Mook     Level 1     Archer Mook     Level 1     Troop
Initiative +5 Initiative +5
HP 5          AC 19      PD 15      MD 11 HP 5          AC 17      PD 15      MD 11
R: Arrow +6 v AC  – 4 Damage M: Short Sword +9 v AC (1 enemy engaged ) – 4 Flavor Damage
 Hit Evens – Choose one ally. The next non-critical hit against that ally this battle is a miss instead.
Zul Rolfia
Normal     Level 2     Caster Normal     Level 3     Leader
Initiative +5 Initiative +5
HP 36          AC 13      PD 11      MD 11 HP 63          AC 16      PD 14      MD 10
R: Magic Missiles +8 v MD (1d2 enemies engaged with monster), 5  Damage M: Big Mace+9 v AC (2 attacks), 6  Damage
Hit Fives – Target is confused      Hit Natural 18+ – Attack is a critical hit!
Miss Evens – Increase damage of next successful attack by 25%      Miss Fives – Gain +2 bonus to next attack
 Natural -5 – The target sees odd colors at the corners of its vision until it has taken a full heal-up (–2 penalty to skill checks to see things).      Natural 16+ – Target can’t use recoveries until its next turn.
C: Sonic Deluge +10 v MD (1d3 enemies in group), 4 Fire
 Hit Evens – The creature teleports the target next to one of its nearby allies that it can see, who engages it as a free action. It can’t teleport the target to a location that causes it direct damage (so can’t drop it into traps or lava).    Limited Use: When escalation die even Nastier Special – Blood Frenzy: Make a note of the escalation die when Rolfia becomes staggered. She gains a bonus to her melee attacks and damage equal to that escalation die value for the rest of the battle.

 

Baron Arceneaux
Normal     Level 2     Spoiler
Initiative +5
HP 25          AC 18      PD 14      MD 14
M: Heavy Axe +10 v AC (1 enemy engaged), 7 Damage
 Hit Odds – Attack is a critical hit!
     Miss Natural -5 – Gain +2 bonus to next attack

Favorite RPG module of 2017

I didn’t run a lot of modules this year or pre published adventures but my favorite that I did run was a zero level funnel for DCC called FT0: PRINCE CHARMING, REANIMATOR.

I ran this with a mixed group of kids and adults and they all loved it.  Some of the then drunk adults even composed and recorded a song: Chuck Schick and the Shield of Truth, even though I think the shield is actually a sword.

The adventure revolves around Prince Charming (who is an asshole) acquiring another bride of a certain type, that is– a beautiful girl who has recently died that he then brings back to life with his reanimator serum.  Since this is a funnel, the horde of PC’s are tasked with bringing the bride back to the prince from the very dangerous castle that she sleeps in.  Things go horribly wrong, as they are supposed to in any funnel game, and only a few characters made it out alive.  My son made the mistake (in his opinion) of making one of his 4 pack of characters a female and naturally that was the character that survived to first level.  While he continues to complain, he is playing in the follow up Adventure, F1: Creeping Beauties of the Wood.

A great little adventure, with kids or not.