30 November 2009

Game Thoughts: Resource Management and Logistics

Although I've never really fully incorporated encumbrance rules in a game or ever been terribly strict with my timekeeping or been very precise when it comes to movement speed (or ever known anyone else who was) I've always wanted to be. Those just seem like the kind of things a good game master should trouble about. It's rules like these where the game is it's most game-ish. With limitation of course - There's no reason to make a big deal out of that new magic sword you just found encumbering you or hauling away a mountainous pile of gold after the whole dungeon has been cleared out. But if there are still bands of gnolls prowling the corridors - that's another story. Same thing with light sources. There's nothing terribly fun about rolling dice to see if you get the campfire lit but if you are two miles underground and your last torch burns out while you're in the middle of fighting off some beasties, well that is fun. Or, rather, it might be fun provided the encounter ends well for the party. It's fun to me anyway but I've a cruel streak.

The same thing with encumbrance and provisioning. Delving into a mega dungeon should be a major undertaking. Troubling about pack animals and hiring porters or men at arms for the journey (despite being a big headache for the DM trying to track initiative and effects) should add depth to an underdark adventure. You would have the added enjoyment of managing your gold, your henchmen, and put a deal more thought into such an expedition than your average dungeon crawl. Again, it seems it would potentially add a great deal of fun to the game if you had a mule to sacrifice to a pack of hungry wolves to enable your escape or to eat yourself if you got trapped on level 3 or to haul away some great golden idol or to trouble about provender for the mule after three days underground.

All the same I wouldn't want to turn the game into hours of accounting and inventory and collecting rents but nevertheless I am going to start trying to be accurate with my timekeeping and light source radii and mileage per terrain type, &c. So I guess this is my warning of sorts. Make sure you have enough food if you want to try and journey over that mountain range because I don't want to spring starvation on you unannounced.

Of course all of the above depends upon me to actually provide the kind of scenarios/campaign where this kind of thing would even matter and hopefully make it fun at the same time.

20 November 2009

Have you seen this man?

You will.

New Houserules

Just as a heads up - as of tonight I will be using fumbles on a natural one and save or dies.


19 November 2009

The Railroad

Forgive me for taking liberties but in order to maximize Matt's play time I'm going to railroad you into a new quest: 

Whilst the PC's were away Douven got wind of another interesting location in the Winterhaven area from Valthrun. Of course the normally tight lipped Valthrun didn't give much information and what was given was inadvertent and vague but Douven was able to read enough between the lines to formulate another crazy theory. With what limited information he actually got from Valthrun Douven surmised that what was on top of the mountain that Valthrun called the "abominable mountain" must somehow be linked to his dragon burial site putting himself one step closer to solving the mystery of the Jormungandr, the last of the 7 great dragons of old. This was about as much as could be gathered from the note that was found in his room. Apparently he slipped away at the beginning of the celebration feast and it was the next afternoon before it was discovered so he has about a day's lead on the PC's. Douven is a lot of trouble, but Axis wants his money and he didn't come all this way not to get paid so he implored and pressed the rest of the party into yet another quest to save Douven.

Valthrun explains that this mountain was once the location of another mysterious death cult that claimed perhaps thousands of victims and that it was surpressed about 100 years ago. Since then the mountain has been forsaken and forbidden by penalty of law. He also says that about 50 years ago a band of adventuring dwarves had made their way up the mountain. The authorities waited at the bottom of the trail for days to arrest them but they never descended. One of the dwarves was a cleric and he wore a very nice HOLY SYMBOL and that a fellow would do well to have one of those things around his neck.

And furthermore at the conclusion of the banquet a snow storm has blown in. It's very early in the spring yet and such things aren't unheard of but it seems like a particularly ill harbinger of things to come.

If anyone has anything they'd like to sell or buy while they are in town please do it by email post before tomorrow night. Otherwise you'll be ready to set out at 7 on Friday. There are a couple of local youths who have been impressed by the party's valour and your success in the keep that are requesting to accompany you as porters on the journey up the mountain. You'll probably need them to haul all that cult gold back ... or your corpses.

07 November 2009

What happened next...

was this:

After slaying the evil death priest Kalarel our adventurers took turns urinating on his corpse and then Bronn dragged the body to the other side of the room and threw it down the shaft on top of the wights. Cael then defecated into the pit. Bronn, Macon, Oskar, and Silas then went back into the rooms that were skipped and slayed a gelatinous cube and a dozen more hobgoblins and brought back two untapped kegs of very fine beer from the hobgoblin's stores. A good time was had by all. Keegan even left his crypt to come down to the cathedral of shadows to have a few rounds with the chaps. Then Cael got down to business. After thumbing through Kalarel's ritual book he decided on a course of action which consisted of chanting an ancient drawven exorcism rite that drove the thing in the portal back into shadowfell. With the assistance of Maro he then ritually cleansed and purified the altar from which Kalarel had carried on most of his infernal work. The bodies of the sacrificial victims that were found were blessed and given a proper burial. The party then found the good stuff from the kobold's raiding in Kalarel's coffers -- 981 gp, 260 sp, some very fine silver goblets, a painted portrait of a very stuffy looking noblewoman, and ritual scrolls for Traveler's Feast, Make Whole, Comprehend Language, and Water Walk to be exact as well as a magic dagger (which gives a +2 to hit and to damage rolls as well as dealing an extra 1d6 damage on a crit) and every PC also gained another 400 xp for completing the quest.

The villagers of Winterhaven were eagerly awaiting news of the outcome of the party's success or failure. Lord Padraig and the town guard had actually mobilized and defeated some undead who were rising from their graves in the church yard. When the PCs returned to town with their loot in tow there was a banquet held in their honour by Lord Padraig in which the whole village was invited and Macon finally got his steak. And it is from this banquet that we will probably begin our next adventure in two weeks.