Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Free RPG Day Report

I have posted the tale of adventure and woe wrought by my players during my Free RPG Day demo on Gaming Report:


Please feel free to comment on your own Free RPG Day experiences there, as well.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Free RPG Day Demos at Chimera Hobbies

Free RPG Day is one week from today!

I will be running Castles & Crusades demos at Chimera Hobbies in Appleton, Wisconsin, starting at 10:00 am and running through 5:00 pm.

No experience necessary. Characters will be provided. You can jump in any time, though in the unlikely event that more than eight people are interested at once, you might have to wait, as eight is the limit at the table.

Monday, June 11, 2007

No preview... but here's a little something else.

Sorry about no Tell Qa preview this weekend; I've been working on my Warlands Campaign, set in the Known Realms from Goodman Games.

Yes, I run in other campaign settings, not just the Wilderlands. If I both worked on and played in the Wilderlands, it might get tiresome.

So anyway, I've been fiddling with the Castles & Crusades classes a bit, making them fit more my concept of what they should be. I think C&C tried too much to be like First Edition AD&D; there were some good changes made in the system in 3E (though overall, I think they, too, went way too far).

So in addition to mapping and working up adventure ideas, I've been adding my own bits to the classes. Here are a few examples of new abilities from the Fighter and Barbarian classes...

SEIZE INITIATIVE (Dexterity): At 2nd level a fighter can try to seize the initiative against an opponent with whom he is currently engaged in melee combat. The fighter (or the side the fighter is on) must have lost initiative, and the attempt to seize initiative must take place before the fighter’s target takes its action. The fighter may make a dexterity check (plus bonus to hit from weapon specialization or due to having a magical weapon, if any) against a CL equal to the BtH of the opponent (plus the bonus to hit from weapon specialization or due to having a magical weapon, if any). If successful, the fighter may make one melee attack against that opponent before the opponent may act during his round. If the fighter slays his opponent with that attack, the opponent does not get its own attack or action. Combat then continues in the regular initiative order, and the fighter loses his normal attack later that round, even if he had multiple attacks. A fighter may try to seize the initiative once per day per two levels, i.e., once at 2nd level, three times at 6th, five times at 10th, etc.

SIXTH SENSE (Wisdom): A barbarian has a sixth sense that enables him to detect danger. Any time the barbarian is surprised, or is ambushed, especially through use of the rogue or assassin’s stealth ability, through the use of magic such as invisibility, or through a trap, mechanical or otherwise, the barbarian may make a sixth sense check. The CL is usually equal to the level or hit dice of the attacking being. If the sixth sense roll succeeds, the surprise is negated to the extent that the roll succeeded, on a point-per-point basis. In the case of simple surprise, the barbarian is not surprised, and may act as per normal initiative. In the case of a back attack, sneak attack, or surprise attack due to class or race ability the bonuses to hit and damage are reduced by one point per point of success (but to no less than 0). In the case of a magic spell or trap, the barbarian may add the surplus of his sixth sense check to his saving throw; if the spell or trap normally does not allow a saving throw, he gets a saving throw anyway, but without any bonuses from this ability.

All of these are works in progress. As every class will be getting something new (like Arcane Lore for wizards, adjustments to the Backstab ability for thieves (yes, thieves, not rogues, dammit), and other things), the XP charts won't be changing much. One of the things I will do, though, is flatten out the advancement. I've always hated XP charts that are all over the place with odd jumps here and there.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Tell Qa Preview: Interpreting Location Listings

I thought I might give you all a bit of information on how locations are listed in the Tell Qa book, which is how ideally most other villages, towns, and cities will be listed in later AGP products.

First of all, all locations dealing with the defenses of the settlement are lumped together in one group, at the beginning of the booklet. This includes all moats, walls, towers, bastions, guards, constables, etc. Individual towers and locations will either be named or have an alphabetical code (A, B, C, AA, etc.), and include the number of guards present and (in products with more room than Tell Qa) how the guards will react, and possibly some personal details on the guards or other inhabitants. For example, due to a shortage of guards, the towers in Tell qa are actually rented out to nobles, gentry, or adventurers; in the event of an attack, of course, the militia and other military types would be allowed complete access to the towers, but in general, the towers in Tell Qa are large, fancy townhouses of the rich and powerful (who often have their own guards).

For example, here is the Tower of the Mountain Rider:

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Tower (K) is known as the Tower of the Mountain Rider, and is the residence of Krunk Pak (CN male Elphan caveman 10th level ranger, SL Military 8), the “Mountain Rider,” once a leader among the Elphan cavemen allies of the empire and a renowned adventurer and guide. He longs to return to the wilds, but unfortunately, he was cursed by a wizard, and whenever he leaves the environs of the town, a huge demon appears and immediately attacks him. So he is stuck in the town, staring over the walls, mourning the freedom he has lost. He seeks a way for the curse to be lifted, but no wizard or priest of the town has been able to help him.

Had there been more room in the product, the listing would also have indicated what kind of treasure he possesses, who his servants and guards are, and other elements of his life and how he might interact with player characters.

Here's an example of another entry, the fur shop:

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46. FURS (H-6): Granny Giorsal (NE female Tharbrian 5th level barbarian, SL Merchant 5, Str 14, Con 16, Int 14, Cha 7) sells pelts her grandsons, Casidhe (NE 5th level ranger), Aonghus (CE 4th level barbarian), Feraghus (CE 3rd level rogue), and Sluaghan (CN 2nd level bard), a stinking, despicable bunch, buy out of a hovel in the ferry hamlet across the river. The brothers also do some trapping themselves, of furred creatures and otherwise; their oldest brother Kearn the Bastard was caught bloody-handed after having his way with and then killing a washer girl once, and so the four despise the lawmen that had him beheaded; Granny never liked him, as she was the one that named him Bastard, legitimate though he was. Pelts: beaver 3 gp, buffalo 1 gp, muskrat 2 gp, wolf 3 gp, fox 5 gp, ape 10 gp. Blankets: beaver 150 gp, buffalo 5 gp, wolf 50 gp, ape 50 gp, muskrat 100 gp, fox 500 gp.

You will note that the entry title consists of the entry number, a generic name, and an alphanumeric code in parenthesis. The specific name of the shop is included in the description. The number of course is also found on the map, usually with the type of the shop if not also the name of the shop; in the case of the fur shop, there's no real name for the establishment, it's just the fur shop. Shops are listed in the booklet in alphabetical order by type, i.e., all Taverns are listed together, even if one is named "Adam's Tavern" and the other "Zoe's Bar." This way, if the Judge needs to find a Tavern, he just needs to go to the section that lists all the taverns, and not have to worry about hunting down a dozen different taversn spread throughout the booklet. If he finds the tavern on the map, he has the number of the listing, and can look it up in numeric order. Finally, if the Judge finds the listing in the booklet, he will also know where to find it on the map, as there is an alphanumeric grid on the map, referenced in parenthesis. In the case of the fur shop above, all the Judge needs to do is find where grid sections "H" and "6" intersect in order to find the shop on the map.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Tell Qa Preview: Temple Rune Ki

75. TEMPLE RUNE KI (B-4): This temple is dedicated to Shang Ta, the lawful neutral god of the sky, air, law, ritual, and meditation, who is revered by monks, philosophers, hermits, and those seeking something unusual and exotic. His is an ephemeral faith, dedicated to contemplation on unanswerable mysteries of reality and the illusion of life; the philosophy can be best summed up as “Do the best you can and hope for the best.” Grand Lama Xuthaanos the Somnolent (LN male Shardan 10th level cleric of Shang Ta, SL Gentry 13) spends most of his time in a meditative stupor, as do his 7th level Lama, two 3rd level Baunge, two 2nd level Adepts, and 12 1st level Mendicant Brothers; the temple Guru, Eoscma Douurn (LG male Smyrian 5th level cleric of Shang Ta/3rd level Mycretian, SL Gentry 8) follows the more ascetic forms preferred by the Somnolent Order, and is the only priest who is not regularly blessed out on tithweed juice. Eoscma is a good friend of Milos, the Captain of the Guard and Veliik Tocsmek, the Disciple who leads the monkish strike teams. The temple is guarded by a half-dozen Initiates, while the “meditating” priests are served by a dozen slaves. Weekly ceremonies are replete with chanting, the drinking of tithweed juice, the ringing of gongs, weaving of tithweed mists, the discussion of visions, and indecipherable sermons which often dissolve in the Grand Lama frothing at the mouth and haranguing the fellowship in tongues. Daily meditation, usually accompanied by the inhaling of tithweed mist and the chanting of prayers from the holy texts, is required in order to “lighten one’s soul” in order to enable it to “float unto Shang Ta who is one with the Celestial Dream.” Contrary to rumors, the huge green stone statue of a dragon that dominates the central hall is made of cheap stone, not jade, though the huge pearl in its right claw is real, and worth 50,000 gp. If the pearl is ever lifted from the claw, a magic mouth appears and loudly screams invectives at the thief. The temple and its priests are not very active in society, though the dozen Mendicant Brothers of the faith often go out to beg for donations; they can be quite a bother in the markets and streets, and can be recognized by their saffron robes, blue-stained lips and teeth, black and silver Rune Ki Staffs, and simple wooden beggars’ bowls.

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