Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Leveling Up & A New House Rule

There are a few key points associated with gaining XP and leveling up that I wanted to go over.

Fighting or otherwise defeating monsters will return immediate XP, so if the party is stuck in the wilderness, they can still level up. Discovered copper, silver, electrum, gold, or platinum gives XP as soon as civilization is reached; any town, keep, or sufficiently large camp counts. Non-magical treasure becomes XP the moment it's sold (or, if sold outside of civilization, as soon as civilization is reached). Magical treasure is a bit different; if ever used in any way, it may not be converted to XP when sold. If unused, then whatever price it sells for will become XP, as normal treasure. Note, however, that "used" includes hiring a sage or sparring with a weapon or armor to discover its properties; selling magical items for XP, therefore, comes with no little risk, as you have no idea if you are getting ripped off or not. Was that magical sword you sold for 5000 gp actually just a basic Sword +1, or was it a Luck Sword with three wishes? You're more likely to get a better offer from a shopkeeper in a bigger market.

For the most part, characters will level up as soon as they hit a city and redeem their XP, or sooner if they got enough XP from fighting monsters. New general and class proficiencies can be applied at any time apart from combat - that is, immediately, or held until a need arises, which means a familiar could suddenly appear, or a character could suddenly remember she knows how to track. Clerics and other prayerful spellcasters gain immediate access to any new spells, as do spellcasters with inherited spells. Mages, Warlocks, and other such studious magic users, however, must find new spells. There are three ways for a mage to add new spells to his repertoire:

  • Studying for a week at a mage college; this will teach any number of spells, up to the total the mage can cast in a day. Adding an additional 1st level spell takes a week; added a brand-new level 2 spell, as well as 2 from high Int, will take 3 weeks.
  • Finding a scroll or spellbook the caster can read; the mage can copy the spell into his own spellbook for free, though it takes a week. Scrolls are used up, but not spellbooks.
  • Researching a spell (new or not); this takes money and time - a library worth 4,000 gp, plus 2,000 gp per spell level researched, an additional 1,000 gp per spell level cost, and 2 weeks per spell level.

I realize this puts even more hardships on mages; so, I have decided to add a house rule: mages, and any similar classes, may use crossbows. This includes mages, warlocks, and librarians. However, they can only fire every-other round; between firing, they must re-wind their crossbow, which takes longer since they are not as skilled as others.

Monday, September 26, 2016

A Fine Week for Sailing

The Party:

  • Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster
    • Flit, the bat familiar
    • Clench, the Wardog War-Badger
  • Caranthir, Human Leader of Men (sorry for the misspelling!)
    • Rhea Trueheart, Elvish Nightblade
    • Lucille "Luce" Burwood
  • Gróin of Norston, Dwarven Sapper
  • James Morthor, Warlock
    • Doggan, Tiny-Sized Dragon familiar
    • #1 Human fighter
    • #2 Human fighter
    • Alice, human child
  • Llarm Paphyra, Elvish Polydoctorate (more misspelling!)
    • The metal man, level [variable] construct


Cliffport! As soon as the party arrived, they quickly scattered to find supplies, a ship, henchmen, and items. The warlock wandered over to look at the market; while he was unsuccessful in locating anything interesting to purchase, he did in fact uncover a secret; perhaps his quest for knowledge had been divined? Whatever the reason, he was given an envelope, upon which was written "Knowledge". On the reverse, the wax seal seemed to be an irregular circle with a bump in the middle. After carefully checking for magic (none on the outside, but there did seem to be a tiny magical mark inside - perhaps a watermark?), the warlock opened the letter, uncovering what appeared to be a page, torn from a book, upon which was written a poem, and some sort of map on the edge. Initial eyeballing didn't manage to match up with anything near the location of Falach a'Bhaile, the mysterious Gnomish city. Apart from the dwarven sapper, Morthor decided not to show the map to anyone just yet.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Magical Items II

As previously noted, incredibly heroic actions can sometimes imbue weapons, armor, or other items with magical power, granting bonuses or abilities to their users. Other magical items have been upgraded by less fantastic (though still magical) means; +1 shields, swords of life-drinking, and all manner of scrolls and potions are available, at a price, enchanted by mages and their hard-working assistants. Finally, some items are called from the ether by a Wish or a Miracle, often with a sole purpose in mind: slaying a dragon, capturing a demon, or driving back some monstrous force.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Story Flow

In the previous adventure I ran, keeping track of loose ends was easy - they were built right in. I'd written a story, given the players the illusion of control, and allowed the story to play out around them. Apart from a few tweaks here and there ("Oh, they spoke with him, not her - I'll just switch who shows up later."), I could nearly have posted a write-up before the session. Like a producer of a television show, I knew what was going to happen long before the audience - the players - ever did. Don't misunderstand me; it wasn't a carnival ride on rigid rails, with obvious pop-up adventures and a slowly-clanking plot that leads you to an inevitable climax. The players could choose where they went, what they did, and how they affected the world. It was, however, scripted; the Big Bad Guy had zero chance of showing up until the very end, and the players had 100% chance of finding information about him, in one way or another. Events were triggered by specific actions, and information was designed to be found. Like the plot from a well-designed video game, there were countless options, but they all ushered the players into the next episode. Which may or may not have been the episode I had originally planned to use, but it was there. It was a story on rails - well-crafted rails, judging by how much my players enjoyed it, but rails nonetheless. Not any better or worse than any other kind of adventure, on the whole, but certainly different.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Makin' Money Mashin' Mooks

6637/5/28 to 6637/6/24

As the elven polydoctorate needed two weeks of bedrest, the various members of the party looked for some more henchmen. Rig took the initiative to go looking for some help to hopefully capture some hippogriff eggs; after a couple weeks of advertising, he hired a lieutenant, an artillerist, 12 bowmen, 12 crossbowmen, turning away the dwarves, the mounted troops, and the very hopeful slingers. Meanwhile, everyone boarded at the OU (pronounced "Oh, You!"), run by a charming gnome. The warlock hired two human fighters, whose names I forgot to write down, which likely won't matter because the warlock is very hard on the hired help.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Mor-Thir's Demand Modifiers

Now, demand modifiers don't mean everything. In the grand scheme of things, they're important, but for day-to-day player business, it's only a rough guideline. Prices are only marginally based on demand modifiers; that's why they're called modifiers, and not setters. However, in the hopes that this may come in useful to someone, here is a huge table that I spent far too much time in creating! And as a note, it's really hard to get a huge table like this to look even halfway right, so... sorry if it is totally messed up. Maybe try Opera or Chrome?

Sunday, September 11, 2016

In which there is tragedy and loss.

6637/5/6 to 6637/5/27

Before the Bardbarian tour packed up and headed to Wallace, Rid decided to scout out the area; he picked up a bunch of rare books for a pretty good deal, and found a very smart baby ape to train, and a giant shrew to add to his menagerie. Being able to speak with shrews and other animals makes training much easier for gnomes. Rig’s player was also excited to learn that the internet has shrew miniatures, but added forebodingly: “Tragically, I believe that Murphy's Law states that any time you purchase over ten dollars worth of Armored Battle Shrews, the party will experience a TPK before they arrive in the mail.”

Additionally, two more elves joined the party: an elvish enchanter name James Morthor (and his daughter, Alice, who is only 9), and an elvish polydoctorate, Larma Paphyra. That puts the party at:

  • Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster
    • Flit, the bat Flappy Shriek-Badger bat familiar
    • Shrew Dobbs, the Shrew Twitchy Screaming Grass-Badger
    • Clench, the Wardog War-Badger
  • Loronthir, Human Leader of Men
    • Rhea Trueheart, Elvish Nightblade
    • Luce Burwood, Human Fighter
  • Gróin of Norston, Dwarven Sapper
  • James Morthor, Elvish Enchanter
    • Doggan, Micro-Sized Dragon familiar
  • Larma Paphyra, Elvish Polydoctorate

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Week 1: Fighting? What Fighting?

Satyrday, 6637/4/28

Introducing the Party

Three adventurers happened to meet at the Low Bridge in Riverbend; the first, a gnomish beastmaster, was in Riverbend to buy a war badger. In this case, said badger was a dog. The second, a charismatic leader, fresh out of military school, was looking for work. The third, a dwarven sapper, was in town to see Diamond John, a well-known bard, at the first concert of the Beyond The Wall: Bardbarian! Tour.