Sunday, November 16, 2014

We Have Daemons, Now What?

 Now that I have Daemons that I like, or at least think I like, the next step related to using them in a game is to figure out how to use them and in what situations to use them.

The adventure I have in my head is a situation where a party has to go to a structure and retrieve something.  A quest more or less.  What the party doesn't know is that the structure in question is possessed by demons.

What Daemons Are

I would say that daemons are spiritual creatures that reside in the Astral Plane.  I think that in most cases, greater daemons prefer possessing a person because they get more out of it.  If deamons eat or "consume" anything, it would be the pain and suffering of people and maybe even animals..  That could be the driving force that motivates daemons to persistently enter the Material Plane so as to get the "food" they need from us.

I think in most cases, a greater daemon would get more food by possessing a structure and feeding off of the fear, pain and suffering of the entire group of people within.  More people terrorized means more food.

Possessing a person might provide less quantity but perhaps a higher quality of sustenance for them.  So, a greater daemon who has not fed for a long while might possess a structure first in order to get enough sustenance to build their energy.  After that has been accomplished, the greater daemon might prefer to possess people in order to satisfy it's "sweet tooth" or craving, so to speak.

Lesser daemons get what they can get.  While having the same cravings as a greater daemon, they do not have the strength to be choosy.  If they are lucky enough to possess a weak person, hey, they hit the lottery.  Lesser daemons are more likely to possess animals and small structures.  It might require more than one to possess a larger, multi-level structure where the larger structures are easily possessed by greater daemons.

What Daemons Do

What's the difference between a structure being possessed and being haunted?  A house that is haunted is said to have a ghost or phantoms, etc lurking within that are doing whatever they can to keep people away and preserve the solitude.

A house that is possessed is literally the new body for a Daemon .  Think "Amityville Horror".  The house itself moves it's parts on its own.  While a ghost haunting might be in the same room with a person and slam a door or a window the people are in, the possessed house can slam any door or window or all the doors and windows simultaneously.

That's because the ghost has to move to each door or window to shut it but to the Daemon possessing the house, opening the doors and windows is the same as you or I flexing our fingers.

Ok so now we have a possessed structure in which at least one daemon has taken possession of.  Is it a lesser daemon or a greater daemon?  Could be either.  Which is more likely?  I'd say in this particular case, it is a greater daemon. 

I am fairly certain that daemons of any sort do not possess the faculties to even feel "fear" or to be afraid of any other creature.  They are not afraid of deities or devils or Planars or anything really.  It's not even that lesser daemons are afraid of greater daemons. They just know their place in the order of daemons.

There are likely innumerable lesser daemons but a limited number of greater daemons.  Greater daemons are named when they reach their full strength and have been identified by sentient beings they have encountered and named by.  Usually by those in temples and churches that regularly battle daemons and follow or track their activities.

Daemons, especially greater daemons, never forget losing a battle or who they lost to.  They are sore losers who will track down and re-challenge the person who defeated them again and again until they finally defeat them.  Such defeat is usually not a good thing for that person who will be made to suffer for as long and as painfully as the daemon is able to make possible.


Clerics and paladins who specialize in exorcising or defeating daemons should beware they are likely gaining lifetime enemies who will perpetually pursue them in doing so.

For GM's/DMs, an exorcism initiated by a Cleric essentially casting an Exorcism spell.  The Exorcism spell, for those unfamiliar with it, is not foolproof.  It is begun with a base chance of success, which is left somewhat arbitrary in the books.  I would suggest though that once a daemon has effectively possessed a person, an animal or a structure, it has the upper hand in staying so established.  I also think that the morale of the victim should be checked and a modifier based on that be included.  The lower the morale of the victim, the bigger the modifier to reduce that base chance of the exorcism spell succeeding.  If we say that a lesser daemon is possessing, the minimum, un-modified base chance of success a Cleric has would be 50%.  Modifiers based on victim morale, cleric morale, differences between the Cleric and the daemon's levels will then affect that base chance.  If a greater daemon is the possessor, I would suggest a lower unmodified base chance between 30 and 50% is warranted.  If the Cleric rolls within their modified chance, they have succeed.  if the Cleric rolls above the modified chance, the spell is not broken, but the demon then takes a turn to attack.  It goes back and forth like this until the Cleric is interrupted in the exorcism somehow.  The Cleric can take damage during the process and can be made unconscious or killed if they lose the requisite HP, thus also ending the exorcism.

The level and HP of the Cleric or Paladin performing an Exorcism should determine (according to the Player's decision) how often they attempt to cast Exorcism.  Do they have enough HP left to do it more than once a day?  Is there a second Cleric present to assist and heal the exorcist if need be?  Lots of things for Players to consider before beginning an exorcism.

Daemons gain or improve their health every round by 1-4 HP which is the physical/mental/spiritual damage they inflict on the possessed.  That is if they are possessing a person or animal.  If they possess a structure, they can only gain HP back at the rate of 4 hp/day with no people inside or taking 1-4 HP from each person they cause direct damage to.

Surviving a deamon possession is no picnic and the GM is encouraged to check the Insanity/mental Illness tables after they are freed from possession.  Don't forget that from all the physical damage inflicted during the possession, there will be great chance of diseases and maladies due to open sores, cuts, scrapes, scratches, impalements, broken bones, etc....

Anyone witnessing said events of someone else being possessed may warrant a check to the insanity table as well.

Clerics losing an exorcism face being possessed themselves.  They might be killed outright or driven insane (check the table).  Daemons will always try to possess a losing Cleric to punish them and savor every drop of misery by torturing the cleric mentally.

The Faith score mentioned in the Demons/Daemons post before this could easily be affected by morale and morale of the cleric should be checked regularly during the exorcism.  Daemons are relentless even in the face of losing so morale doesn't really affect them.  They are essentially insane to begin with.

The Faith score of the possessed should also be checked regularly and can impact the outcome.  Someone with a high morale due to seeing a cleric arrive to help could give the daemon a lower chance on their attack roll due to the increased resistance of the victim.  Consequently, a low morale check could make it easier for the daemon and give a bonus to the attack roll.

Anything Other Than An Exorcism

Because daemons can possess structures and animals as well, an exorcism may not be what is warranted.  This is where Paladins make excellent adversaries to daemons.  Devising ways to destroy structures and kill possessed animals in a way that ends the daemon's time in the Material Plane is right up their alley.

Paladins can carry Holy Swords and use them to their full potential.  Using a Holy Sword on an animal that is possessed or a re-animated corpse (a sort of a ghast for all intents and purposes) kills the animal or ghast and removes any possibility for the daemon to "jump" to another body.

The one area in which a Paladin can be out-matched is when an exorcism is requested or demanded.  A very high level Paladin actually can perform an exorcism as at higher levels, they can cast Cleric spells. For example. It takes a 15th level Paladin to be able to cast a 4th level Cleric spell, which "Exorcism" is.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Demons, Daemons

I have decided that I don't like AD&D 1E or OSRIC Demons.  Well, I mean, they are fine for what they are.  I just want my demons to be more "demon-ey"

By that I guess I am thinking about an adventure I want to write that involves a house and a person who are haunted/possessed by Demons.  As Demons go by AD&D 1E/OSRIC standards, that's just not working.

When I think of Demon possession, I think automatically of "The Exorcist".  Even a little bit of movies like "The Exorcism of Emily Rose".  I want my demons like the ones that possessed "The Amityville Horror".

So, from here I am creating my own Daemons. Yes, they are the ultimate Chaotic Evil same as the others. One difference is that there are only two types of Daemons.  Lesser Daemons and Greater Daemons.

Lesser Daemons are 8HD monsters that really have no physical body manifestation in the Astral Plane where they are found.  If they take any type of physical form in the Material Plane, it will be that of a large or over-sized animal such as a pig/hog, hyena, etc...  Only on a roll of 1 to 3 when rolling 3d6 will a Lesser Daemon take it's own physical form in the Material Plane.  If it is summoned to the Material Plane by an evil Cleric or some such individual, it will have a 50% chance of taking possession of an inanimate object or a 10% chance taking possession of a mortal being.

(roll1d100)  1-50 possesses object (nearby structure; ie mausoleum, house, etc...), 51-90 animal possession, 91to 00 possesses mortal within 100 yards of summoning or so named person within that area.

If unable to take possession of an object, animal or a person within 1d10 rounds of summoning, there is a 90% chance the Lesser Daemon will return to the Astral Plane and a 10% chance they will try to possess the summoner.

If a character has a Faith score of 15 or higher (WIS and INT combined then divided by 2) they reduce the odds of being possessed by 15% each attempt.

If a character is of Good alignment and has a selected deity and are in the good graces of said deity, they can petition the deity for intercession (immediate casting of the demon to the Astral Realm) once per attempt at possession.  If all conditions are met for intercession, there is 50% chance of successful intercession.  If not all conditions are met (not in good graces, etc...) then only a 20% chance of success.

Greater (Named) Daemons are 10HD monsters that really have no physical body manifestation in the Astral Plane where they are found.  If they take any type of physical form in the Material Plane, it will be that of a large humanoid, usually wearing a cover, robe, cowl, etc...  Only on a roll of 1 to 6 when rolling 3d6 will a Greater Daemon take it's own physical form in the Material Plane.  If it is summoned to the Material Plane by an evil Cleric or some such individual, it will have a 25% chance of taking possession of an inanimate object or a 50% chance taking possession of a mortal being.

(roll1d100)  1-35 possesses object (nearby structure ie. mausoleum, house, etc...), 36-50 animal possession, 51to 00 possesses mortal within 100 yards of summoning or so named person within that area.

If unable to take possession of an object, animal or a person within 1d10 rounds of summoning, there is a 50% chance the Greater Daemon will return to the Astral Plane and a 50% chance they will try to possess the summoner.

If a character has a Faith score of 15 or higher (WIS and INT combined then divided by 2) they reduce the odds of being possessed by 15% each attempt.

If a character is of Good alignment and has a selected deity and are in the good graces of said deity, they can petition the deity for intercession (immediate casting of the demon to the Astral Realm) once per attempt at possession (the GM should ask the PC to roll percentile die or GM can roll themselves).  If all conditions are met for intercession, there is 76% chance of successful intercession.  If not all conditions are met (not in good graces, etc...) then only a 15% chance of success.

A character that becomes possessed by a Demon takes 1d4 damage per round of being possessed until they die.

In the case of the possessed  dying during the process of possession, there is a 50% that the Daemon will continue to animate the corpse, which then functions as a 4hd Ghast.  Upon destruction of the animated Ghast, the Lesser Daemon is cast back to the Astral Plane and the Greater Daemon will have one final attempt to possess the nearest object, animal or person with a 25% chance of success.

The act of possession by a Daemon in an animal or person is to insert their own Astral Presence into the body of the possessed and take control of the possessed's mind entirely while the possessed is fully aware of what is happening but unable to stop it once it has become a successful possession.

Only deity intercession or a successful exorcism by a Good Cleric can end a Daemonic possession.  This causes the Daemon's Astral presence to be cast from the mind and body of the possessed and back to the Astral Plane.

Characters with a device or spell to see into the Astral Plane will be able to see the Daemons for what they are and to see that a character is being possessed.

During an established possession, a PC will act as a conduit and the Daemon's abilities will be able to be carried out while in the possessed.  The body of the possessed will attain the HD of the Daemon while being possessed (thus allowing the possessed to be tortured longer and giving the Daemon more time to carry out the possession)

A Paladin with a Holy Sword (+10 vs Chaotic Evil), upon killing an animal or person that is possessed will immediately send the Daemon back to the Astral Plane with no chance to animate the corpse.

 Lesser Daemon

Frequency: Common
No. Encountered: 1d3 or 1d6 (in the Astral Plane)
Size: Large
Move:120 ft;
Armour Class: 0 (character assumes same AC while possessed)
Hit Dice: 8
Attacks:2 claws/1 bite (while in animal form taken or character possessed)
Damage: 1d8/1d8/1d6
Special Attacks: See below
Special Defences: See below
Magic Resistance: 50%
Lair Probability: 5%
Intelligence: Low
Alignment: Chaotic evil
Level/XP: 7/1,275 +10/hp

they can cause darkness, but only in a 5 ft radius. They also possess the following special abilities which they may use at will: detect invisibility (objects only, otherwise as per the 2nd level magic user spell), gate in another Lesser Daemon (10% chance of success), or telekinesis (as the 5th level magic user spell, up to 200 lbs).

Greater Daemon

 No. Encountered: 1 or 1d6 (in the Astral Plane)
Size: Large
Move: 90 ft
Armour Class: -4
Hit Dice: 10
Attacks: 2 claws/1 bite (in robed form or while in possession of a character)
Damage: 2d6/2d6/1d4+1
Special Attacks: See below
Special Defences: See below
Magic Resistance: 60%
Lair Probability: 15%
Intelligence: High
Alignment: Chaotic evil
Level/XP: 8/2,400 + 14/hp

At will, they can cause darkness in a 10 ft radius. Additionally, they may use the following abilities at will, one at a time: Cause fear (as the 4th level magic user spell), levitate (as the 2nd level magic user spell), pyrotechnics (as the 2nd level magic user spell ), polymorph self (as the 4th level magic user spell), telekinesis (as the 5th level magic user spell, up to 400 lbs), gate (as the 9th level magic user spell) another Lesser or Greater Daemon (30% chance of success).

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Playing the Deux Ex Machina Card

In our game, there have come times when something comes out of the blue (we like to keep things really random in our game which can lead to some nasty, unexpected surprises)  and it looks like a TPK might be inevitable.

Now, I play this game for what it is.  It's a game, people play it to have fun.  Because of that, sometimes it's just not in the best interest of the game to allow that random TPK to happen.  Now, some people out there might cry out about DM fiat and other such things but whatever.   Play your game your way, we'll play our way.

 What we've begun to do is allow the DM to play a DEM (Deux Ex Machina) card in certain situations to allow the game to go on.  It's not just a DM decision though, In a situation where it's fairly obvious that a random roll has brought about something that just will not end well, the DM can tell the players that this is an opportunity for a DEM.

The Players are the ones who actually decide on whether to play the DEM card or not though.  It is the Players decision because to play a DEM Card will cost the players a certain number of XP, like 5,000 XP or more, at the end of the game, for each DEM Card played.

This way, the game can go on if the players decide it would be more fun to continue onward or to just let things happen as they will, risking almost certain TPK.  Only the DM can offer to play the DEM card though, the players cannot ask for it.  The players can only vote to take it or not when it is offered and whatever they choose, the DM will go with.

Doing it that way allows the DM to keep things from getting out of hand because of poor playing on the players parts.

So far, we like it and in the last few weeks, it really hasn't been used very often at all despite them knowing it can be used.  It has actually been turned down a couple of times.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Playing with Magic Users again

I still find Vancian magic too clumsy and, in my opinion, incompetent.  However, I am still working out a system that works better for my table.  I have been testing this in my game and so far, I like it and the Players seem to like it as well.

What we are doing is allowing MU's to cast any spells within their ability to cast as determined by the tables in the PH and as long as they have the spell in their spell book.  Kind of like free-casting in that way.

However, their ability to cast spells cost them Hit Points from their current total.  ach spell costs as many points as what level spell it is.  Thus a 3rd level spell reduces the MU's current total by 3 and so on.

By doing this, it seems the players have really gotten an greater appreciation of the value of magic items such as wands, rings, staves, rods, and scrolls as those items do not incur a HP loss when used.

I've also noticed that the players now also tend to put more thought into what spells they cast and when they cast them a lot more.  It seems most tend to favor casting defensive and utility spells from their own strength and favor using magic items for casting offensive and some utility spells if the have them.

It's a pretty simple change that seems to make things more interesting for my players with MU's.  The MU still uses only a d4 for gaining HP at each new level so it encourages conservative spell casting.

I have made one concession on the issue of XP and HP gained when they level up.  I have a spell that can be cast by them or on their behalf by a Master who is training them to level up that allows them to auto max the HP gained at level up at a cost of a certain amount of XP.  (Right now we're using 1,000 XP as the cost but no one has gotten to try it yet.  We'll see how and if it needs to be adjusted when we get to that part.)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Trying a diffferent way to handle Clerics and Druids

One of the things I think of most often when it comes to handling Clerics and Druids is that as part of their class, they have an obligation to a higher authority for the use of their powers.  I've never really been thrilled with the BtB handling based on how the Player RP's the character.  Too much room for interpretation.

Here's something we are trying with some interest and success so far.

Clerics and Druids have a list of 4 tasks that is given at the creation of each new Cleric or Druid PC.  Essentially, these are the things the deity expects their devotee to do daily to stay in the deity's good graces.  the DM and Player can come up with any 4 tasks they like based on the deity, the alignment of the PC and deity, etc...

What it boils down to is that as long as the PC performs the 4 tasks as expected the day before, they are in the deity's "Best" graces and their spells automatically work as expected to maximum effect.

If the Cleric/Druid in question only performs 3/4 tasks then they have a 15% chance of spell failure and the spells that do work do so in the expected manner as randomly rolled for results as usual.

If the Cleric/Druid in question only performs 2/4 tasks then they have a 30% chance of spell failure and the spells that do work do so in the expected manner as randomly rolled for results as usual.

If the Cleric/Druid in question only performs 1/4 tasks then they have a 45% chance of spell failure and the spells that do work do so in the expected manner as randomly rolled for results as usual.

If the Cleric/Druid in question performs none of the tasks then they have an 60% chance of spell failure and they are in the deity's "Worst" graces and their spells work as expected to their minimum effect.

Clerics and Druids can use atonement much as they do BtB or immediately step up to their tasks and complete them es expected to get on the deity's good graces the next day.

I find as a DM that the tasks are easy to keep up with as the Player is required to announce when they are performing each task and if they do not then the DM assumes it did not happen and make a note of it.

This has really increased the roleplaying of Clerics and Druids in our game to make sure that they are earning the spells that they are given by their deity.

Try it out and let me know how of if it works at your table.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Healing another way

I've been tossing around another way to handling healing in the game.  we've played it a bit and it seems to work pretty well and folks are liking it.

The idea goes this way...

When being healed by a Cleric or another person, they have a base chance to automatically give maximum hit points from the spell.  I've been using a 10% chance of auto max hit points restored.  However, for each level of the healer, there is a 3% bonus applied to the base chance.

The way I work it is like this.  Using percentile dice, the Cleric or Druid or whoever has to roll a 90 or better to get auto max HP restored per the spell.  For each level of the Cleric, for example, say 1 4th level Cleric, they gain a bonus of 3%/level for a total bonus of an additional 12% applied to the base.

This means that the 4th level cleric can roll a 78 or higher to give auto max HP.

For use of a wand, staff, scroll, etc... the spell is cast as a given level spell caster and thus has the bonus applicable to that level.  If the spell caster rolls less than the required number, then random rolling on the applicable die as usual is the result.

When it comes to healing by resting, I am using a percentage based on range of HP lost in the 24 hours previous as an indication of severity of the damage.  For example, A fighter with say, 50 HP total loses 50% of their HP in a battle within the 24 hours before rest.  That means they lost 25 HP and are at 25 HP left.  Normally, using a base of 10% again or rolling a 90 or above, the fighter can auto max potential HP to be gained from rest.

However, in the situation of having lost 25 to 50 percent of their total HP, that gives them a 3% penalty for auto max healing during rest.  this means that for 1-25% they lose 3% and for 25 to 50 they lost another 3% meaning we subtract a total of 6% from the original 10% base chance.  That Fighter now must roll a 96 or higher to get an auto max HP restore per die   Anything below a 96 means they have to roll randlomly as usual and take what they get.

It might seem more complicated written all out here but in reality it's actually pretty simple and adds some extra excitement to the game, at least, we think so.

Try it, let me know if it works for you.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Psionics, doing it different

I'm not sure how many of you folks use psionics in your games.  I don't.  Looking over the BtB description of it just looks like an dull edged blade of a headache.  I figured the game doesn't need psionics and have been content to leave it at that.

Then I discovered a book series by Larry Correia called the "Grimnoire Chronicles" and I was instantly inspired.  Here were people that had seemingly magical abilities but without having been trained as wizards, etc...  Literally, they were just "born that way".  Over the course of their lives, they had to teach themselves how to master their abilities and discipline themselves with little to no help from anyone else.

There were, eventually, organizations of these magic wielders that one might turn to for help.  Many of those people not born with magic were often afraid and distrustful of those who were.

The abilities each individual had fell into a type or class of power.  Each along the same lines, such as a "Healer" whose abilities were limited to helping (or hurting) the body.  There were people who could "Jump" from one point in space to another instantly.  One type who could affect the gravity or cellular cohesion of themselves or others and make themselves lighter, heavier, denser, etc....

The point is, they never seemed to have a variety of abilities, just those geared toward a specific field or purpose.  This was interesting, exciting to me.  I began looking through the psionic appendix in the 1E Players Handbook again and was interested to note how many of the abilities listed therein would fall into similarly directed Classes of  abilities.

Since then, I have been working up a system partially based on what I got out of the "Grimnoire Chronicles" and from 1E.  There are similarities to both obviously, then again, there are some noticeable differences as well.

I'm still working on the system.  I want to try to keep it relatively simple or at least easy to figure out in terms of handling and adjudication.  There is no separate point strength system.  It costs the PC Hit Points to power each effort.  I want to allow the Player a feeling of power and ability but keep them disciplined and careful about each time they go to use that power.

It's an experiment and a fun one at that.  To me, doing psionics this way is a lot more fun than the BtB system in 1E.  If you want to see how it's written up and how it's going along, you can look it over at my wiki site, "WikiMage".  Friendly, rational discussion is welcome here or on G+.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Quick Perusal of 5e Basic PDF

I saw some recent reviews of the 5e Basic PDF yesterday so I thought I would finally take a look at it, seeing as it's a free download and all.

I saw a couple of interesting things in it.  Not enough to make me want to play it.  One thing struck me as I "flipped" through it.  It assumes a lot of influence over character creation and details.

They make it clear you are playing in "their"world.  That was all I need to see to know I want to have nothing at all to do with it.

All throughout the character creation section they insert references to WotC owned gaming content such as Dragonlance and other generalized specifics.  the racial descriptions also make much reference to WotC provided content. 

I bring this up in contrast to say 1E books which leave much of the background and behavior, etc.. up to the Player and DM.

I get the notion that they are influencing the reader to think of it as playing a character the way they intend it to be played as opposed to how the DM and Player might creatively decide.

In short, they provide too many details.   It's more like playing a "Choose Your Own Ending" story where the Player is simply running a mostly pre-defined gamepiece and choosing from their offerings as opposed to self, DM or group determined details.

Like I said, it's like they are making it known in advance, we are playing in their world, not our own.

I am far too much of a home brewer to go along with that.  It's an instant turn off to read that in the PDF.

Some well known things are conspicuously missing.  They don't have gnomes listed as a PC racial option. Nor do they list Orc or the half breeds either.

Others out there might like this, I have no doubt of that.  As for me, it comes off as stifling individual creativity and seems opposed to home brewing. 

I'll stick with my 1E/OSRIC thank you very much.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The new game, pt 2

Well, so far, things have gone poorly.

Duri, the "chosen one" and his three henchmen were only able to attract two heroes to aid him on this quest.

Lots of random stuff in this game.   Duri and the two new heroes, Valdir the elf Thief and Caesar the Human Fighter, are the only 8th level PCs with Duri's henchmen being a 6th level Cleric, a 4th level MU and a 2nd lvl Thief.

They set out on the road with the dwarves walking, the Human riding a horse and the Elf driving a horse and cart.  The dwarves were insulted when offered by the Elf to be put in back of the wagon, claiming they were not some bags of luggage to be bandied about. (especially by an Elf).

About 2 hours down the road, from the West side of the road, a group of 8 ogres attacked the party.  The party prevailed with the dwarf henchmen needing only little attention from the Cleric.

They continued to travel for about 4 more hours when a group of 20 berserkers (human) came running at them from the direction of the town ahead of the party (that they are heading to to learn more from the Temple of Jormungadr).

Duri's party again won the day with some good bit of aid needed by the henchmen and chose to camp before entering town.

That night, during the Elf's watch, a pack of 15 werewolves attacked the camp.  Daleen, the dwarf MU panicked and ran from the area, pursued by 6 of the werewolves.

Things did not go well for the party with everyone slain except for Duri and Caesar.  They were left at low and meager hit points themselves.  They now need to find another Cleric who can help them before they become werewolves themselves.

The two survivors finally made their way to an Inn just outside of town that seemed safe and they could get some much needed rest.

After a couple of good nights rest, they two convened in the main room of the Inn and conspired to find a way into the town.  They had learned by generously tipping the innkeeper that the novitiates and other members of the Temple of Jormungadr in the town were all wound up about a company of dwarves coming toward the town and that the Temple Masters had sent ogres, berserkers and werewolves after the dwarves already, trying to kill them.

Not realizing these two were all that were left of the dwarves the Temple was seeking, the innkeeper was pressed into unwittingly assisting the duo into getting an Orc novitiate drunk and abducted him, tying him to a chair to interrogate him.

They dealt with the Orc in a gruesome manner, but not more gruesome than he would have treated them. and began to execute their plan to have Caesar use a polymorph-self potion and enter the temple disguised as the Orc novitiate, learn what he can and get out again. 

We wait now to see where this leads Duri and Caesar.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Getting Back In The Game

It's been awhile.  Due to some rainy days recently, the bee activity has slowed down for me and we are going to play a game this weekend.

It's just the two of us, my son and I, but that's OK, we have enough imagination between us for at least 6 people.

Just for chits and giggles, we decided to run a quick game that is fairly random at heart.

Using 4d6, lose the lowest die, in a row to generate stats, then determine class then determine class randomly based on stats and choosing race, etc.. randomly as well, we are building a small but capable party.  The only thing not random is that all new characters will be 8th level.

Using a random adventure generator I made up, I determined that this is a quest.

Here's the set up...

Thor's hammer Mjolnir has been stolen somehow by Jormungadr the serpent and hidden in a far off temple in a land called Paludem.  There, a group of special Lizard Men keep guard over the hammer.

To start things off, Tyr, the god of Law and War has sent a Valkrye to Norland, a land in the North of Terra Ursa where my gaming takes place.  The Valkrye is a messenger form Tyr to a chosen hero from the people of Norland who are followers of the Norse deities.

The Chosen One in this case is the Captain of the  Courthouse Guard which is specifically dedicated to Tyr and his guidance.  Duri, the dwarf is told to assemble a team of heroes to take with him to find and retrieve the great hammer of Thor.  He must return it to the Great Temple of Tyr back in Norland so that Tyr can return it to Thor who has somehow become unable to travel himself to this Plane due to Jormungadr's malicious plan.

If Duri can find, retrieve and return the hammer before Thor is permanently harmed, Tyr can help Thor to defeat the plot and be returned to health and power.  If not, Thor may not succeed and Jormungadr may finally succeed in causing Ragnarok to start prematurely.  The team has 90 days (game time) to return the hammer.

The team will be made up of our newly created PC's who will assist Duri in his task.  They do not know where the hammer is hidden but will come upon clues and even some help if they work things right.  If so, they will eventually travel far to the South to Paludem to the Temple of Set (who is collaborating with Jormungadr) and steal or fight their way through hundreds of Lizard Men and many To Be Determined enemies that have been assigned the task of securing and protecting the hammer from Thor and his allies.

Can this team get it done and save the world in time?  We shall soon see.

Friday, February 14, 2014

To use XP or not to use XP, Why do we care?

I just read an article someone posted a link to in a G+ community.  The blog post was talking about doing away with XP progression.

The person who linked to it found it interesting while disagreeing with it at the same time.   I read it and can't say that I agree or disagree with it really. 

The blog post author thinks XP is stupid, troublesome and doesn't really reflect credible reasons to affect level progression.

I say that it really depends on the DM/GM and how they run their game.

For example, what's the intended/desired result of playing the game?   I wrote a post some time ago called "How do you 'Win' AD&D" or something like that.

For players, it's obvious in how you "lose" the game, your character dies.  Game over for that PC.

In that post,  I talked about tying game points to how many "kills" a PC makes in a game adventure.  It doesn't have to be kills, it could be anything the DM has the PC's doing the most in a given session.  Stealing or "recovering" a certain number of things, pieces of gold found and collected by each individual PC, and so on.  The DM is limited only by their imagination in how to get points available to PC's so that Players can accumulate and tally points then "win" a game.

Of course, there are other ways for Players to "Win" a game adventure or session.  Each PC could be in competition with the others in accomplishing a certain ask or mission.  First one to succeed wins.  They get to be listed as "Player of the Week" or something on their groups website or whatever.  Maybe everyone pitches in five buck at the beginning and winner takes the pot at the end.  Who knows really.

What I'm getting to is that depending on what the DM/GM sees as the final objective of the game, how the game is "won" and ends, so to speak, is perhaps the biggest determiner of whether or not XP is needed or desired in their game.

For example, if whoever is the highest level at the end "Wins" then XP for the purpose of level will be very important.

If whoever has the most gold and treasure at the end "Wins", then XP really isn't necessary.  A DM can pretty much determine, based on the challenges placed in the game, what levels the PC's need to be at to even have a chance and start them off appropriately as they decide.  XP not needed, especially if the game is jutst a one shot.

If the DM decides that he/she really wants to make sure Players have a good grasp of how the game is played and that the Players are plying with skill and creativity before pulling out "the works" as they would like to, then using XP for level progression might make sense to gauge how the Players are doing as they handle their PC's from one adventure to the next.

Perhaps once the Players are playing at a level of play that is satisfactory to the DM, then XP can be cut out and the DM can just throw what they want at the Players and the Players can decide which characters they want to play with at the proclaimed level the adventure runs at and level up to that point as necessary.  No good reason not to if the DM and the Players are all good with it.

The only time XP is really truly "necessary" is when the game is being played in a competitive format such as at a convention or something.  Players accumulate XP and level a PC as they make their way from one gaming table to the next higher one as they win and ascend till they get to the last, championship table.

Last PC/Player standing wins.

Ultimately, my point is, XP is not stupid or useless or great or awesome or whatever.  It simply is what it is as each individual DM's game world calls for it.

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Liars Blade

This blade is enchanted to act as a sort of "lie detector". If the blade is used to draw blood from a specific person (only one person at a time) and the blood is not cleaned off of the blade, the knife will glow like a black light when the person who was cut tells a lie if they stand within 20 feet of the knife. if they are telling the truth, the blade will glow a bright white color.

Once the blood is cleaned from the blade, the knife, which looks like a small dagger, will no longer detect the last person's truthfulness.

This knife is used by those referred to as "Lord High Executioner" in my game world in the land of Rarshan. The LHE will conduct interviews with suspects and cut them lightly, then stick the knife into the desktop so everyone can see the results of the blade. The blade is never wrong.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Another Glance at the Ranger

I know in an earlier post on Rangers, I likened them to the ultimate Druid henchmen,  I still tend to hold that overall view of them.

However, reading a few posts on forums and in RPG communities lately, I notice how stuck folks get on the text used in the Class description and the tendency people have to liken the Ranger to a Tolkien Aragorn type character.

In all honesty,  I don't see that in the 1E Class description.  What I do get from the book description is a specialist fighter type who is supposed to be an uber-badass with greater minimum set of "natural" abilities as evidenced by the min requirements for certain ability scores over those of a "regular" fighter.

I tend to think not so much of a "woodlands" Ranger but an Army Ranger instead.  Someone who is trained toward taking down a particular set or class of "target" opponents.  in the case of the 1E Ranger, that would be those creatures identified as "Giant" Class.

I think some of the confusion comes from the the reference to outdoor skills like tracking and "woodcraft" as well as having the ability to cast Druid (and MU) spells at a higher level.

Think of the Army Ranger type though.  Not only do they excel at kicking Giant Class ass, but they are trained to be more of a "guerilla" tactics fighter, using the environment around them to get one up on opponents who may not operate or typically have been trained to fight in such a manner.

In that light, tracking and "woodcraft" skills make perfect sense considering that type's need to function and be resourceful in that type of operating environment.

No, I don't see Aragorn in the book Class description.  I see instead a specialty fighter who is more of a "guerilla" fighter than a conventionally trained soldier type.

Look at the description of a Fighter and I get more of an impression of a Roman soldier, taught how to use conventional weapons of war such as swords, spears, lances, etc... against others more or less like themselves.

Back to the Ranger Class description.  and with that comparison, I see even moreso that "Army Ranger/guerilla" distinction.

As a matter of fact,  I see the use of spells at higher levels part and parcel of the specialist who is trained to take down the biggest baddies out there.  The ones where "conventional" weapons and fighting abilities may not be enough to get it done against such monstrosities.  Those spells help them take on the even bigger dogs of those types of creatures.

As a matter of fact,  I am enjoying seeing the Ranger in such light that I now seriously considering moving away from my Druid Henchman view and adopting this one all out.