Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Mulling over the next options for DF

We're still rebuilding our DF game after the big disaster. We played Gamma Terra in the meantime, which was good because it gave me a lot more time to prep for game and a lot more time for people to make characters.


We are looking at an expanded wilderness component. Right now it's a discussion of two options:

Mostly wilderness, with lairs and a mini-dungeon to seek out - a hexcrawl.


Mostly dungeon (a ruins), with a wilderness component.

In either case, I'm handing the players the map. Possibly just the outline of the map for the hexcrawl (so it's more exploration heavy) or maybe the full map (so it's a known area, but finding the mini-dungeon in this known area is the challenge.) If it's the ruins I have a map in mind - I'll flat-out steal it from a published adventure, so I don't have to draw it myself, but at least partly populate it with stuff unrelated to the source material.

For the "mostly dungeon" one, it'll share a lot with Cold Fens (wilderness is a "moat" around a mostly linear dungeon) and the Caves of Chaos (ditto, but with a less linear dungeon.)


It's a tossup between a few:

- a lost island, with "town" being a ship and its crew.

- part of the drier, more tangled-woods section of the Cold Fens, with town being a caravan working its way around the edges while the PCs make forays in looking for something.

- a jungle wilderness with "camp" being a ship on the river doing some of its own business (trading, mapping, harvesting weird plants, whatever) while the PCs have time for a few forays into the jungle.

So, Survival (Jungle), (Island/Beach), or (Woodlands) would be the way to go. No one will need water-based skills except maybe Boating (it's come up in every campaign I've ever run.)


For sure, the next group will have Gerald "Gerry" Tarrant, necromancer and zombie booster.

Under discussion for the others are:

- An axe-and-shield Knight (or a Scout, or an Assassin - all the same player - all looked solid at first pass.)

- A dwarf swashbuckler with a dwarven bastard sword (haven't seen him yet, I'm curious how he'll come out.) I have a mini that might do for now, if I swap out for a larger sword. Depends on if he has a shield or not.

- A Savage Warrior with Shirtless Savage and Berserker, with a morningstar. He's going for Berserk (Battle Rage; Enraged) so he can defend but also not waste time not being berserk. He'll get Beefcake Protection ASAP and Naked Rage if you lives that long.

- A druid. This will be interesting, because he's aiming to be dungeon-useful later as well as wilderness-useful now.

- A wizard. Probably air-centered, since fire didn't cut it last time.

No one has seriously mentioned a cleric yet - "Evil Cleric" was bounced around but they can't heal anyone, so that's not as useful for support.

We also have some other characters who could get involved - Bern the artificer, Galoob the thief, Christoph the scout (one player's retired character), and Dave the knight.

Personally I think the group can benefit from a more front-line heavy approach, and I think a Scout would help immensely in the outdoors and also solve a good part of their "we can't fight the orcs, they have bows!" concerns in Felltower. Bow damage isn't terribly high, and thr/impaling is a weak attack versus supernatural types . . . but the ability to put damage onto any foe in a melee is really helpful.

But it's tough to adventure without reliable supporting types, too. And there won't be any NPCs around this time to start with - there will be someone back in "town" to recharge power items and heal, but not to come adventure with them.


  1. Specialty arrows can help the scout diversify damage type. Pretty sure I saw those in previous reports, do you allow them normally? And... do you allow variant cornucopia quivers/pouches? Or does this fall under "experienced munchkins know it, but novices dont, so not allowed at start"?

    Will be interested in the druid. Given Fell-towers -3 average to all spells and Druid powers... buffing is not going to be a big focus I would imagine. Allies could be good (Bears and gorillas can use weapons and potentially wear armor, boars and stags get strikers...) and suffer less for the dungeon skill penalty if "summoned" out in the wild. Herbal Lore canonically allows "brewing" your own healing potions for 50% off, that might help with the lack of support a little? Will be fascinated to see how it works out.

    1. I allow the specialty arrows, and Cornucopia quivers (how I wish those were $2,000 each, not $100, but anyway). A wise scout will start with one or two, and grab bodkins and cutting arrows, too.

    2. What about the druid points that Chandley raised? I don't know enough about them, but the summoning, allies with armor, and herbal lore potions? Or does that not fit your DF theme?

      Would love to make a scout for my occasional drop-in and let Galoob marinate for a bit if everyone is starting over.

    3. Druids get the usual powers. No change there. Allies are okay but come with risks to them - combatant types especially.

    4. Interesting question. Peter do you allow celestial animals? A boar with Earth 1/Nature 1 (and 25 points in something else I guess) for example? Im going to _guess_ no... but that kind of thing certainly can help extend animal ally lives.

      Otherwise, a Nature 1/Earth 1/Life 1 servitor (without the nature _lens_, that is just a death sentence) is survivable and could patch a lot of holes in a clericless team.

    5. Not for a druid. Celestial animals = holy servitors = Clerical ally, not a Druidic ally. So it wouldn't help the druid.

      Plus most of those lenses really seem to favor a pantheistic system, so if a cleric or holy warrior wanted a celestial ally, I'd have to cull the list before I let them build one. Few are out of the box appropriate for the main religion of the game.

    6. Fair enough. And that makes sense (especially the "cut the options down to match the Good God" bit). Though now I want a Dwarf Cleric who rides around on an Earth Pig (born...) or a Volcano Goat (their like mountain goats laddie, but angrier). Because it would be funny mostly.

  2. A hybrid approach of the hexcrawl and the megadungeon is possible. In this, you have lots of shallow dungeons near the base and a megadungeon deep in the wilderness. The little dungeons give the characters stores of gear and ways to get character points before tackling the big one. Somebody wants a better sword? Give it to a monster in a little dungeon, and make him work for it. The downside is that once you get to the big one, you will have sessions wherein you have to end in the dungeon or at least in the wilderness, since there's no way you can get back to base in time.

    1. Sure - but since the megadungeon is a half-day's march from a large-ish city, the PCs would have little or no reason not to base out of there. More resources, plenty of NPC backup for hire, access to their other PCs if they hit a hard nut they want to crack, etc. So it's kind of late to develop that, without either flattening Stericksburg with an Orc Nuke, or making a new megadungeon. I'm way to lazy to start over!

    2. Well, I was talking about making another out in the middle of the Isle of Dread (or wherever). Obviously not a megadungeon with that comment, but something bigger than the shallow delves, like 4-6 levels, with a goal in it that would help in Felltower if they finish it (gain its powers, bring it back, destroy it, so on).

    3. Well, I'm hoping for 5-6 sessions on the side trip and then back to Felltower, which says I can't have a 6 level dungeon. They never even got through six levels of Felltower in a few dozen delves.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I populated the area around Northport with ruined and abandoned villages due to an outbreak of plague forty years earlier. If 6our caravan is passing along an old route, you could use semi inhabited ruins along the road as mini delves.

  4. I populated the area around Northport with ruined and abandoned villages due to an outbreak of plague forty years earlier. If 6our caravan is passing along an old route, you could use semi inhabited ruins along the road as mini delves.

  5. I'd vote (I dont get a franchise here, but...) for the island with a visiting ship. Really drive out any temptation to try to make it to bigger civilization to go shopping. Also reduce the "nibbling around the edges" issue, as you can impose a vague time-urgency to everything. When the ship leaves, they leave, or take up residence :).

    1. Ooh, that's a good one: a time constraint. The caravan adds that too.

  6. No cleric? That sounds dangerous. Especially if Town lacks unlimited healing potions.

    One of the most important pre-campaign meta-games is Convincing Someone Else To Play The Cleric. (What kind of cleric? I don't care, as long as you have Minor Healing-16, Major Healing-16, and First Aid-16. Tell you what, I'll even worship your god of choice. Hell, I'll tithe 1%. Just play a cleric. Please. Me? No, I suck at playing clerics. You don't want me to be the cleric; I'll get killed and then you won't have a healer.)

    One thing we loved about (non-DF) GURPS was that mages could cast healing spells, so nobody had to be the cleric. In one of our games, I think 4/5 of the PCs were mages, and they all had Minor Healing.

  7. If no one wants to run a Cleric, suggest a Hireling Cleric.

    Someone should run a Scout. From the games I've run and the game play I've seen/read (Westmarches), the ability to attack enemy spell casters (with Meteoric Arrows) at the back of the mooks is priceless.

    1. No hirelings! If someone wants to pay for an Ally, well . . . they probably won't do that. But I'm not covering their holes for them.

      Scouts have been less successful wizard killers in my games. Probably because most wizards depend on shields, not Missile Shield, to stop attacks.


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