We started Lamentations of the Flame Princess up about 8 months ago as a break from 13th Age (which had been going on for a couple years there). I didn’t mean it to go that long, but Remy Pardue wasn’t as quick to be manhandled and burned and what happened after led to a bunch of…complications. This in addition to the normal adult scheduling problems that don’t allow any room for RPG’s at all without a ton of effort and planning made for something that should have taken a month or so take many months.
That said, I had a good time running LotFP, and we are going to continue the campaign with the same characters (the ones that survived that is) but with Mythras rather than LotFP.
The players (including myself) wanted something still low fantasy, with more meat to the characters and a better system for skills/ combat, experience etc. So why not go with the absolute best solution to all of those things: Mythras.
As I convert characters, I noticed that there is now a Roll20 characters sheet for Mythras games! This makes it a lot easier to play and even has a ton of fancy rolling mechanisms that will make my (easy) job of running the game easier.
One of the things I love about Mythras is that despite it’s apparent complexity, except for the magic systems and a few edge cases, I can run the game without the book at all. My only complaint about the complexity is that it’s difficult to change the GRADE of tasks because of the maths, and by difficult it’s really about combating an important tool for all GM’s to have: laziness. Post running Exalted 2E, I’ve pushed myself hard to re-acquire the trait that I had as a childe and teenage GM: laazzzzzziness. Don’t stress over the fucking super details, it’s just not worth it as long as you can cobble it all together in the session and then take good notes afterwards.
So Mythras here we come. In addition to Loz and Pete (the RQ6 /Mythras guys), I want to give a shout out to this guy: hkokko, who is responsible for a ton of content and templates on the Mythras encounter generator, which has and will make my life so much easier.
I signed up for FOUR Runequest/Mythras games at Gencon this year and made it to three of them. The first one we had a big group in and it was very good, probably the best RQ session I’ve had.
The scenario had the Roman 8th Legion which disappeared in England actually make it to the New world and set up a Roman style camp city in the Algonquin lands. The players played either First people or some of the Romans (all pre-generated). A mysterious attack on an Algonquin chieftain brings the two groups together– for a time. This was an excellent short adventure with mystery, exploration, traps and a brutal combat to cap it off. There was good use of passions as well, something I need to work on in my own RQ games. Dice-wise we were rolling criticals ALL day long– and my character, an Algonquin brave, was able to take down one of the mid-bosses with a single arrow shot! All in all, since this one was with friends, a good GM and the historical-weird stuff that is totally in my wheel house, I was super pleased with this game. I don’t want to go too deep into what happened as I assume the GM will publish this adventure somewhere.
The second game was also good, but I didn’t have any of my friends there so wasn’t too great, plus the were some very silly social justice warrior comments made due to the fact that playing a game with characters in 1100’s England is not the same as playing characters in a game set in the post 1995 world. This game was set in an era of the very early middle ages with iron-fisted feudal lords, miserable peasantry, xenophobia on a level incomprehensible to modern man for fucksakes! In this scenario, which had the same GM as the Algonquin-Roman game, we were to free King Stephen from the clutches of Geoffrey of Anjou after his capture at the battle of Lincoln. While this was also a historical scenario, it was very tough to get into at first since I was fairly unfamiliar with this conflict (the Anarchy is the official name) and there were a lot of names to remember. Also the problem, getting into a castle and into that castles dungeon, was quite difficult and could (remember this is Runequest!) have gone very badly for the characters at many points. Luckily and due to some smart play by our priest, we were able to bluff our way into the castle as workmen (workwomen in my character’s case) with a lot of help from the faculty staff and free the king in the end. The highpoint was giving some knights a laxative and then slaughtering them in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay fashion as they charged out of the loo in their long shirts. Rule to remember RQ/Mythras fans: ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET.
I was able to note a couple tweaks from RQ6 to Mythras that I definitely think make it a better game on top of already the best game. You can do a few new things with Luck Points than you could before, such as reversing the numbers on your rolled die or giving your character an extra action point (!).
The last game I made it to was CLASSIC FANTASY, which is a Mythras/RQ take on old school fantasy gaming. We had pre-gen characters again of your standard classes from Basic D&D. I played the wizard and other than roleplaying or providing tactical ideas, I pretty much only fired off my Magic Missile in combat. The scenario was interesting, but the GM did not drop us into the slaughter straight away (a staple of Old school games) but had a lengthy campaign-starting intro description that he actually repeated TWICE for us as there was a player that showed up late.
In old school fashion, the game was a dungeon crawl with some interesting traps and tricks scattered about and, of course, constant combat. We probably got into six fights during the session (I could only stay for 3 hours of it though), so many that we were a bit fight-numb. However, this was the first time I had play RQ with miniatures on a grid, like Pathfinder. It seemed to work well, with very little confusion about where everyone is. However, this turns a dynamic, imagination game into a tactical miniatures game where the focus is solely on the board and pieces in front of the players. If I was going to run a Classic Fantasy game, I would eschew the use of minis and especially a grid unless truly necessary. I use a map with miniatures in 13th Age all the time for fights, but it’s a gridless game with very loose (yet mechanically integrated) distances. Counting off spaces when you are playing Space Hulk or Advanced Heroquest (and you could lump 4E D&D into this board game group) is fine, but in and RPG? It’s just not necessary and is pretty annoying.
The Magic system in Classic Fantasy is just what you would expect– RQ mechanics on top of the standard Sleep, Magic missile, Cloud Kill, etc. I really had only magic missile, as noted earlier, and fired it off quite a bit, but mostly missed my casting rolls. Due to the class and level system being applied to RQ in Classic Fantasy, characters start a bit weaker than your standard RQ characters. A fighter in RQ is going to to have a 60%+ in his main combat skill, sometimes even into the high 70’s. Magic users in standard RQ will have a high casting value for Sorcery or Theism– they will fail from time to time, but it will be rare– usually their skill will come in to play when in opposition to something else. Classic Fantasy characters, at least the pregens we had, had 40’s and 50’s for their skills, so there was a lot of whiffing. While in close combat a whiff can mean death as the opponent can parry and get a special effect, casting spells or shooting arrow whiffing isn’t too fun when it’s close to 50%. When both sides have sub 50% skill at fighting, it can make for a long fight if special effects aren’t used.
Since there were so many combats, some vs monsters and odd things, there was some hand waving around the special effects. As a GM and player of RQ: don’t do this. Special effects are an integral part of the game, and it’s one of those things that makes RQ/Mythras D100 far better than Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Special effects make combat go quickly and make your rolls, especially in close combat with actual weapons matter every time you touch the dice.
Lesson from this last game for GMs: when you sit down to run a CON RPG game– time is fleeting so GREASE UP AND GET FUCKING. This isn’t your home campaign! Any dithering will be seen of as terrible. Throw the characters immediately into a situation and get them making choices, don’t wait, don’t explain much, just start PLAY. In my Lamentations game, after character creation, the players were at the base of the Tower of the Stargazer within minutes and the first roll for death was just a few minutes after that. Go go go. Players aren’t there to SHOP or listen to back story!
To show off the combat system for those who had not experienced it yet (and Matt, who has), I decided to put together a little player vs player gladiatorial combat action using Runequest 6 based on this article. I rolled about 15 Gladiators for RQ, priced them based on their stats (mostly looking at AP, Combat Style, Damage mod, Evade and Endurance) and had the players buy them with 1000 sectartiis. Most gladiators were about 300s, but a few hardcore guys were more. The only requirement was that they had at least 3 fighters for 3 rounds of that day’s games. The winner of each round would receive $$ and if any gladiators were killed, the owner of the killer would have to pay up, just like in real life.
If they had $$ left over after buying fighters, they could buy luck points for 50s. These could be used at any time for any gladiator to force a reroll on another player, or reroll the dice themselves. Once used for the day, they were gone.
I did use miniatures for this fight to keep things clear. Everyone was close together and there were no ranged weapons, so it made it easy. We had three players for these events, again with 3 gladiators each and a few luck points between them.
When Animals Attack
The first round was a fight with a bear, naturally (I recommend all new players and GM’s start with an animal combat of some kind, like a hunt or bear attack). The players threw in one gladiator each and they went to town. The combatants were:
Beaire the Nasty, a Thracian (note, these guys have big shields, but only a hooked DAGGER)
Nesset the Ugly, a Provocator (huge shield, shortsword)
Tecocia the Reaver, a Retiarius (the net and trident dudes)
There was some early confusion as to what the bear would do with the net being thrown onto him, but I made the call since he didn’t know what it was, he wouldn’t parry. Needless to say, the bear didn’t spend a lot of time parrying, and mostly spent his time attacking.
Nesset was able to impale with his short sword, but it did not hinder the bear’s skills at all (based on a size chart of weapon to creature/person size). As a group, they were able to fend off the bear for a bit, long enough for Tecocia to net it so it had difficulty attacking and then impale it with the trident (which did quite a bit of damage). Unfortunately, the poor Retiarius decided not to parry a blow from the bear and had his leg torn off for his trouble. The remaining two gladiators were able to hack the bear down with the trident still sticking out of him, and survive unscathed to the cheering of the crowd. While it seems forgone conclusion, things could have gone terribly, terribly wrong for the gladiators. Without the retiarius, I think they would have been bloodied meat in the sand mostly because the Thracian and Provocator use their weapon special effects to good use vs humans, but not so much vs the brawn monster that is a bear.
The second event was the individual fights between gladiators. The players put forth their champions and lots were drawn to determine the fighters. I stepped in because we had only three players in order to give a fight to the odd man.
The combatants in the first fight were
Coprica – Murmillo (Large shield, short sword, Heavy head armor)
Pepominili – Hoplomachus (Short spear, tiny shield and a dagger)
This went back and forth and really caused us to look in the rulebook a lot for being prone, tripping, different weapon lengths and a few other rules since the spear and the short sword were two weapon lengths apart. While I love the RQ6 book, not everything you need for a rule is in the same place, so there’s hunting and pecking. Also in this fight we ran into some trouble with players taking a long time to pick special effects– the android app would have helped here, but no one had an android, so we had to use sheets of paper and my homemade GM screen.
This was a reach fight. The Hoplomachus was able to keep the Murmillo at bay for most of the fight, despite his small shield he was able to defend mostly by backing away. There was a big difference in combat style % here, with the Hoplomachus at 82%!
Eventually due to sheer luck, Coprica kept getting hit in his unarmoured arm (among MANY armored places) and passed out from the shock and blood loss for a win for Papamillia the Hoplomachus.
The second fight was the fastest RQ6 fight I’ve ever experienced. The combatants were:
Nesset the Ugly (the Provocator from the first animal fight)
Necnipro the Doomed (a Dimachaerus, which has only leg armor and two short swords !???)
I figured this would be a chance to see how the FLURRY special effect worked since that’s what the Dimachaerus’s come with, but, Nesset engaged and attacked… and fumbled his attack roll! Necnipro succeeded with her parry giving two special effects (and access to the attacker fumble special effects) which were Compel Surrender and Force Failure. This means the combatant would normally get a willpower roll to resist the compel surrender, but the second effect, only usable when someone fumbles, forced the failure. Nesset, while unhurt, was booed by the crowed and probably died of shame in his heart moments later.
The final battle was a free for all melee with four fighters and would be a long slough to the end.
The combatants (in order of strike rank):
Misuae (I just kept calling him Mouse) – another Retiarius again with a net and trident
Necnipro the Doomed (Dimachaerus fresh of her 2 second win over Nesset the ugly!) – two short swords
Ecaubus the Monstrous (a huge Gual/Sartar with a broadsword and big shield, but no other armor).
Posttastis the Blood Drinker (Provocator, again, big shield, shortsword and armor)
Misuae charged Postastis (here on out, called mouse and potatoes) and while the Retiarius got in some shots without parries from the Provocator, his armor saved him multiple times (warding location with that fuckn big shield helped too). Mouse was just unable to close the distance for long versus that trident and even hit himself in the leg with his shield at one point. Eventually though, the Provocator was able to strike the spear arm of the Retiarius and forced him to drop his trident. Mouse carried on with only his net until…
Necnipro and Ecaubus had the exact same strike rank in this fight, and this was odd since if one declared and attack, the other parried and… could attack again? We didn’t have time to look into the rules much for this but a few times both gladiators simply attacked without parrying at the same time. In one exchange, Necnipro got a bleeder on Ecaubus and nearly severed one of her arms. She stayed in the fight and impaled Necnipro with her broadsword. Necnipro in a display of bravery, pulled the broadsword out of her abdomen, made her endurance roll and fought on, twice forcing Ecaubus to check willpower or surrender (who made very good dice rolls to stay in the fight). Nearly bled out, Ecaubus had the last laugh and took Necnipro (remember, armourless except her legs) out of action.
The Gaul (Ecaubus) then ran and attacked the Retiarius who had regained his trident from the bloody sand and was warding off Mouse again. We were not sure whether or not the longer weapon (trident) could hold off the broad sword and deemed not because one was L and one was M. Ecaubus got a special effect and compelled Mouse to surrender. Even while bleeding out (she was at formidable skill difficulty at this point) Ecaubus the Monstrous was able to hit the Provocator and that was the end of it– until the owner of the Provocator remembered a luck point and using this, was able to keep the fight going and force surrender on Ecaubus the Monstrous who would have probably collapsed moments later from bleeding…
So that was that. There was a lot of discussion about the nature of opposed rolls, which means that if both parties succeed, whoever gets highest without going over their skill wins the contest (an ideal roll would be 95% [corrected from 98%, which is an auto failure] if you had 100% skill). This is one of the subtle yet awesome things about RQ6 to keep the game moving and not have ‘nothing happen.’ Granted attacks/parries are not opposed rolls, so there can be times when, if both opponents have the same weapon size, that they bounce off each other in the attack-parry sequence. However, shortly something will happen when a failure, critical or fumble comes along.
There were a lot of new rules I had not had to deal with in the Vikinthulhu campaign yet, so we had to look up a lot. Things in the heat of the moment could not always be made clear. Issues we had specifically were around:
Arise (special effect) and getting up from prone, and what the effects of being prone are.
Charging – it costs an AP to charge…but you don’t get to attack as I understand it with that AP? strange!
Flurry (special effect) seems pointless? I don’t get this special effect. (only unarmed and two weapon guys can have it, so no big deal).
The use of NETS and tripping and immobilizing
Overall a good time and great practice for me as a GM. The special effect selection slowed everything down more than I would have liked, but this could be helped with a better organized cheat sheet that shows normal special effects, critical ones and ones only on fumbles. A sheet specific to each player with just the special effects they can use based on their weapon-set would be cool to make. OR if that special effect app was either web-based or on IOS would help
What is it? Classic Fantasy is a mod of Mythras (formerly Runequest 6) focusing on old school dungeon crawls with miniature-based combat. So you have your solid Runequest 6 combat with special effects and weapon builds that actually mean something in battle with the added framework to play crawls, another magic system (akin to Olde schoole D&D) and the monsters to go with it.
RQ is not a dungeon crawl fight to fight to fight game, so Classic Fantasy has allowances for healing up between fights easier (and spells for that to boot)
Use of mini’s is a big change. RQ likely works fine with miniatures (I’ve never played it that way) but this has rules for movement, hexes and squares, etc.
Race and class character creation a bit more streamlined than the concept, culture, class style of normal RQ. All the race and class stuff is what you’d expect from D&D.
This marks the first Mythras branded product from Design Mechanism (the RQ6 guys) and it’s pretty great. Granted, it’s more complex than D&D, but anyone that has played any D20 recently and remembers the long, drawn out fights with attacks to no specific location (I was in one such fight today in 5E) may want to look a this as a salve for that type of combatboredom. In addition, having a new magic system for RQ is nothing to sneeze at either.
I got to play Star Wars: Edge of Empire Saturday with Matt and run by Dan at this benefit thing. We could pay $$ for rerolls or the game’s version of bennies so it was good.
I have a fucking sore spot for Fantasy Flights ‘special dice and cards’ style of RPG/board game after they fucked up Warhammer Fantasy 3rd Edition with one of the most complicated RPG’s that it could have only come out in 2009. I wanted to like it, bought a bunch of stuff in the fire sale but it was VERY difficult to learn, VERY difficult to play/GM and covered the table in crap. The core dice mechanic wasn’t terrible though, it was everything else surrounding that which had the suck.
Secondly, while I like the new film a lot, I’m not a big star wars GAME fan. Yes Xwing vs Tie fighter was awesome but I pretty much stick to the movies and that’s it. There’s just not much there that’s gameable to me. Two factions, one is on the run, the other one is cool for the movies, but otherwise boring.
Naturally when Edge of Empire came out I scoffed at it since it was a version of WFRP3. However, having played, it’s not that bad. Gone are all the stupid cards for attacks, and though the character sheet is about 4 pages of crap long, it played fast.
What’s more, while it uses some elements of those lame-ass story games like FATE and Dungeon World, it can be played entirely ignoring that type of stuff on the dice, and use those sides for entirely mechanical effect. It has some blammo sides to the dice (triumphs) but their effect is completely dictated by the GM, it’s basically a reason for GM fiat to hurt or help the players. This is without any mechanics if you want, unlike FATE which piles every fucking thing about everything in the game world into ‘aspects’ that are really just wholly mechanical +2’s. So if your group has realized that the FATE-style games are a total waste of time like ours has, you can roll and not care about that stuff.
We played with minis, but it was very abstract, like Numenera, 13th Age, etc. That is very good. No nurpling around with goddamn squares and five foot steps and all that 3.5 bullshit.
So, I have a plan, that may or may not happen. I want to run a 1 v 1 JEDI fight using Edge of Empire, the Star Wars West End D6 game from the 90’s and … Design Mechanism’s free Mod for Runequest 6 and see which is the most fun. I know where my hypothesis would tell me, but let’s see what happens. Volunteers?
Ah so long 2015, it was a good year for gaming. Not the best ever, but very good. This is going to be a long post. I think this blog is now 5 years old as well, wow.
Board Games and such
The first best is Blood Rage. I can’t get enough of the game and having it only a short time, I’ve already played it 11 times and will pretty much play any time. While the set up time is a bit long and the boxing back up time is ridiculous, Blood Rage has been worth playing every single time we’ve busted it out. I sleeved all the cards and now store it in a huge pelican case. While I won’t knee-jerk everything that CMON comes out with, Blood Rage was a design and artistic triumph of board games. I wish I had bought it at Gencon AND gotten my kickstarter stuff later because we lost a couple months there waiting for the boats to come in from China. It was a long wait.
I’m tired of worker placement games. I think during a game of Keyflower this year my eyes went blurry and it wasn’t from drink but from the ‘oh shit I’ve played this same thing before with different rules.’ While some of the new stuff looks and plays great, like Caverna, Tiny Epic Galaxies and Euphoria– I’m just real tired of that type of game. Sure, Caylus is one of my favorites, but I don’t remember when the last time was I brought that out to play. There’s just too many of these games and people keep buying them.
Dead of Winter was my second favorite game this year. Excellent psuedo co-op game that plays very smooth and is easy to teach, even to non-hardcore gamers. While the premise with these zombies has been done to death here in 2016 now, Plaid Hat did a fine job with this one. Co-op games are usually crap, but because everyone has their own goals to fulfill to win, it doesn’t fall into the pandemic trap where one player ACTUALLY plays the game while everyone else just sits there.
The new Epic Spell Wars was cool, but it hasn’t hit the table much. I got in one game of Moongha Invaders, and it was good, but Blood Rage pretty much hammered everything else to the side.
Arcadia Quest was played quite a bit, and while it’s not my favorite game, it has a certain appeal to it for the DOTA in all of us. I’m definitely interested in playing more (but not too much).
Talisman is still going strong, but we’re not. I’ve played only twice with the Woodlands and there are more expansions out than number of plays for our group. While Netherealm was awesome, Deep Realms was too difficult to figure out and I haven’t even purchased the Harbinger expansion yet. I am happy they are coming out with a new main board expansion though; that may be very cool and I’ve always hated a few bits of art on the 4th Edition main board (which Fantasy Flight did not produce originally). One of these days we are going to do a series on how to play Talisman, i.e.: which expansions to use and which to leave out. It’s a great game, but it’s over the top now to play with all expansions (not including dragons) that we keep buying.
My favorite this year went along with my splurge purchase of a 3DS XL. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is completely amazing and hellaciously addicting. It’s a shame it’s only on handhelds. It has a message in the beginning to take breaks from playing it for a reason. I’ve played mostly single player, but I have gotten in on some 4 player monster hunting and it’s great fun.
I’m still playing Darkest Dungeon, even though I just haven’t gotten it yet in terms of how to ‘win.’ I’m getting used to losing a lot of guys and on top of that, running away a lot more. Other than that, I haven’t gotten very far at all sadly, but I keep playing– and playing. It’s great!
Fallout 4 is more Fallout. It’s not a ‘holy shit WOW’ type of game like Skyrim, but there’s a lot going on and it’s been pretty compelling so far. I meant to play it more during holiday, but I didn’t get too much time in. Being able to make gun modifications is a pretty addicting part of the game, though I’m not totally sold on the Minecraft stuff yet.
Other than Fallout and Darkest Dungeon, I played a shitload of Dungeon of the Endless in 2015, which is amazing and beautiful in all ways. Rebel Galaxy has gotten some solid play, which is also good Privateer style fun.
My biggest disappointment was probably the much hyped Endless Legend. Absolutely GORGEOUS art style and aesthetic, even the UI is great, but I hated the gameplay. I’m just not a CIV-style person. Others will love this game.
I guess if I was to pick a runner up game of 2015 it would be Far Cry 3. I know it did not come out last year, but 2015 is when I got around to it. Great shooter, one of the best I remember and a redemption of the franchise after Far Cry 2.
There are a lot of video games out worth playing. Far, far, far too many to even scratch the surface to discuss. I would be like talking about TV shows you’ve seen– there’s just that many out.
When AT-43 was tanking and everything was on sale everywhere, I had just had a kid, so there was no way I could take advantage of it. That said, this year I spent some cash on it and got a large UNA army and filled some gaps in my Red Blok and Therian armies. I got to play once, but this is one I want to expose people to more since I have all the shit and it really is a great game.
Age of Sigmar was a catastrophe. It killed my desire to play Warhammer 8th Edition (for now) which is sad since I was closing in on finishing painting my minotaurs as the capstone to my beastmen army. 8th did not get enough play this past year, and that’s got to change.
We did get some Necromunda in recently, but I think 2015 was not the best year for miniature games and especially sad to see the death of what I think is one of the best rulesets for big midieval style battles- 8th edition Warhammer
This was the year of Runequest 6. Despite some trainwreck sessions I’ve had with the game, I am pretty much convinced that Runequest 6 is the best fantasy RPG for the style of play I want in a serious campaign. While Lamentations and 13th Age are fantastic and will absolutely get played, Runequest 6 just has so much going for it and so many possibilities in a campaign setting. If you have the 6th Edition books, hang on to them as it’s going to pull a Marvel Heroic Roleplaying next Spring and will start to get rarer and rarer. Hopefully I’ll be able to get this together in 2016.
13th Age is my Roll20 game, and we have yet to scratch the surface. On Roll20 it’s a TON of prep though, so when there are weeks when people can’t get it together (myself included), it’s demoralizing.
Feng Shui 2, though I’ve only run 1 session so far, is excellent. Something to bust out for a couple session runs from time to time. I’m not happy the architects are out of the setting, but as a GM, that’s easily rectumfied…
And lastly I need to mention another game I really liked running this year: Into the Odd. Extremely rules light and heavy on the weird. The character generation alone is inspirational and takes 2 minutes. I’ve got this shitty print out of the rulebook that’s stapled and is coming apart from abuse so I need to get a real copy someday. I went so far as to support the author on Patreon so yeah, love it.
I got all the 5E books, liked the DM’s guide but the PBH is just too huge to use as a rules reference. I have not yet PLAYED 5E which I hope to change in 2016. It’s not my D20 of choice, but it’s good and with the OGL now out, it will be deluged with content.
Combine a hot day with people that have never played together with a lot of beer, smart phones with more important stuff than reality on them, Jack Daniels and incessant gas and you have an evening that is not conducive to any type of roleplaying whatsoever. About 1/3rd of the way through I was thinking about how I could double Henderson the entire fucking thing and throw in the towel. However, we made it through that session and after a couple of months, we got together again in a larger room with less farting and most importantly, non of the DEVIL’s OWN whiskey. Before I got there, I was thinking of any reason to not do it, which has never happened to me with an RPG session on a weekend (Week night sessions can get fucked from work). Could I have a flat tire? Could I get lost and just say I couldn’t find the place? What if I actually ate at Mcdonalds and got the drizzlin shits? Alas I showed up and while not the smoothest session, we got through it and may do it again and I even left it at a bit of a cliffhanger.
During the the first full group session, the characters, after fighting off an ambush of picts, came upon a ruined village with a lot of dead villagers about. The searched around and found a few living villagers scared out of their wits while the rest of their caravan buried the remains of the rest. They were not killed by the Picts as the bodies were torn and partially devoured. As night fell, the party split off from the main group holed up in the trading post, one group to hide in an empty house and a lone person, the Pictish THEIST: Brinna, to sleep in the chapel. Well the THING was on the roof of the chapel the whole time, resting from it’s gorge earlier that day and observing. It started to stalk the theist and pounced on her, destroying her leg and knocking her unconscious. That was the end of the whisky-fart session. One dead and three to go with a likely TPK on the horizon.
The session last night started with a new character joining the party (a Danish scout) which unfortunately didn’t work out well at all for the group. They couldn’t keep up their suspension of disbelief and it all pretty much broke down with complaining that he couldn’t get in on the action (a scout does scouting). I just would rather not have characters simply appear in the midst or step out of the woods and say “Hi, I’m now your best friend,” so whatever. While I don’t care about this in Lamentations (since it’s usually a meatgrinder style of play) in RQ character building has a bit more importance from the outset.
After some shenanigans the group actually were able to take down the THING without anyone being killed, mostly thanks to some good perception rolls. They had to hack it to fucking pieces due to very, very high physical stats and endurance, evade, etc., but once it got a major wound to the head, the fight was a forgone conclusion. I tried to have it break off and run away, but the dice didn’t fall that way. The coup de grace was from the Byzantine sorcery smacking it on the head with his quarterstaff for a stun location special effect. After that, they went to tear it to pieces and got a rather nasty surprise that is a hook into new problems…
Needless to say, what started as a straight Viking game has descended naturally into Vikingthulu, which, with a Byzantine sorcerer and a Pictish follower of Arawn (god of the dead) in the party, I was like fuck it we’re going weird from time to time.
I’m new to Runequest, so there were a few things of note in how I handled stuff, and a few rules clarifications I need to figure out for next time I run it.
Passions: I need to work with these more. At first I thought these were a stick to beat the players into doing stuff, a bit like alignment, and that certainly could happen, but I have yet to tell the players that they can use their passions to augment their skills. In some of the published adventures, NPC’s fighters have passions like “love to fight 75%” and this I do not like at all and think it’s a bit beardy if a player character did something like that. “Raging bloodlust” would be fine because it could be used in different ways.
Prone, Leap, general statuses within combat – I was not totally sure how Leap worked– knocked prone vs free ‘natural weapon’ attack with no parry or evade allowed so I just did both! Being prone SUCKS, but you can still attack and parry, just at what penalty? You’re really going to be hurting if you don’t have any friends around. There are a few other statuses that I am not sure on. RQ is not codified like 13th Age or D&D 5 with conditions (confused, dazed, hampered, stuck, vulnerable..) that have very specific effects to them, it’s more loose in that regard. For instance what happens when you take a major wound to the head? What happens when you take a stunning blow to the head (via the special effect)?
Ranged weapons, like nearly all other games, suck to use because of their reload times. As an archer, you are sitting outside of battle picking off stragglers while the fighters get all the fun stuff with hacking off arms (and getting eviscerated themselves of course). This is smart, but with 3 action points per shot (I think) it can get pretty boring in fights.