Saturday, September 24, 2022

Hyborean War - Arrived

So, Reality Simulations Inc. is still running.

The other day I received a packet containing:

- Info sheet and setup page and map for Hyborean War

- Info sheet and setup page for Forgotten Realms (yes, that Forgotten Realms)

- Info sheet and setup page for Duel 2

It looks good.

Honestly, though, I have to wonder - are the turn costs really $7, $9, and $11 for Hyborean War? That might have been what they were back in the day, too.

All in all it looks good. I'm not up to play right now, but I'm keep to keep an eye on it.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Random Links for 9/23/2022

Fun stuff for Friday!

Warning: Your fun may vary.

- An analysis of AD&D attribute generation methods and the character classes.

Compleat Character Creation Catalog: AD&D

- News flash! Fun is fun. Fun and Challenges

- Next solo game will be Conan and the Queen of the Black Coast. I think I need a brief break from the Picts - especially since I'd like to try my divergent path in Beyond Thunder River, as well.

- My Blackbirds RPG stuff shipped. Or got a shipping label, either way.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

GURPS Conan: Beyond Thunder River playthrough session 4

I will play through GURPS Conan: Beyond Thunder River in short sessions until I've completed it. Again, here is another 30-odd minute block of gaming. It's not that long, but there is a lot of page flipping if you haven't copied any stats or maps ahead of time.

I will run Conan of Cimmeria as written up in that supplement, as a 40-year old, 521-point character. I am using the 1st edition GURPS rules from my original boxed set, as written.

Session 1
Session 2
Session 3

Plot Words:

I pick up where I finished - we'd just killed three Turtle clan Pict braves. Having won the fight, I can decide if I want to return to the fort, or continue the scouting mission. I choose the latter.

We've determined the Picts are massing to take out the fort . . . and so I can either go back to the fort immediately, risking a daytime crossing, or wait until dusk (630 pm).


Two issues here - one, it's around midnight already on Thursday, so immediately isn't a daylight crossing. Two, we didn't even take a crack at Zogar Sog and I'm not allowed to do so. Sigh. Make it three - we need to swim. Didn't we conceal boats like, I dunno, in this same hex?

The only option that actually makes sense here is "Wait until dusk" and use those parameters for the crossing. So I do that - we swim (actually, it doesn't say anything about "we" - maybe this series of numbers assumes I'd lost my scouts . . . and the errata says nothing on this.

Swimming is at +3 (intentionally entered the water) and minus twice encumbrance (Conan's is Light, so -1 x 2 = -2). Net roll is 15. 11, made it by 4. The scouts have a 14, +3, and no encumbrance. So six rolls turn up as 10, 12, 11, 6, 5, 10. We all make it. We add +1 hour to the current time, making it 1 am.

Ironically, the next decision point will let me swim the river back and try for Gwawela village and Zogar Sog. I'll put a pin in this . . . might be a fun "alternate ending" attempt. But I start for the fort.

Lots of page flips later, it's 3 am and I need to roll for a random encounter. 6 or higher gets it, -2 for plot for Valorous, so I literally can't have an encounter. I roll a 4-2 = 2.

Another travel entry - now it's 5 am and we're adjacent to the fort, with no encounter (1 -2 = -1, encounter on a 6+). We enter.

The entry is a "if you're written your letter home, and blah blah blah put your clothes on the lower peg" one. It's 5 am Friday morning and I have no relevant plot words. I'm conducted to Valannus, the fort commander. He asks if Zogar Sog is alive. I say yes, because for some reason I didn't take a shot at him because "continue the mission" wasn't on the list. Valannus concludes Zogar Sog's magic is too powerful, the fort is doomed. I need to make an IQ roll. Conan has a 12, and I roll a 10.

. . . and proceed to explain to Valannus stuff I saw in Gwawela, including a traitor!

EXCEPT I didn't even get there, because the entries didn't let me. So that's kind of b.s.

I make an executive decision to go with the "failed" IQ roll entry because the success assumes I did something I did not.

Valannus offers me a chance to leave the fort and take word to Velitrium. I reject it and stay to fight, because I'm playing Conan the Cimmerian, not Harry Flashman.* I get put in charge of the blockhouse and reserve troops. The Picts come at sundown, and get repelled . . . at least initially. One of my plot words dictates the name entry.

I'm confident we'll win . . . but is Julian alive? I don't know, so I flip to the appropriate page. The east wall collapses, and Picts rush in!

I lead the counterattack, and have to roll Tactics, with a -2 due to one of my plot words. Conan has a 13, -2, for an 11. I roll an 11.

We retake the lost positions, but more Picts surge in and manage to kill Valannus, who dies "beneath a torrent of Picts." That's not good. I can launch another attack, or flee the fort. Conan is no dummy - time to flee the fort. Especially because the entry for "launch another attack" is the same as failing that Tactics roll . . . so why choose to have failed the previous roll, effectively?

I bust out from the Picts easily, since they're too busy killing the wounded and burning the fort. I roll and escape with 9 Gundermen and 1 Bossonian archer. Each is down 1d HT (but none will be below 1/2 HT.) I'll make those 10 rolls if it matters. It's 8 pm.

We hurry down the road, cross Scalp Creek, and start to warn everyone the Picts are coming. The Picts burn farms as they advance, spreading the warning of their own advance.

The Picts make it to Velitrium, but they're repelled in hard fighting. Canojohara is lost. Conan gets to make the "whim of circumstance" speech.

I get XP:

I never reached Gwawela, so I get 1 xp. Seems like that's it. Conan got 4 xp in the original story.


* Not for nothing, but playing this with a Flashman like character would be pretty funny, especially if you deliberately made the cowardly choices but steered your guy to maximum danger each time. Ol' Flashy would need a decision path that leads to fighting a companion who discovers his cowardice, and get to seduce a fierce and beautiful Pictish woman!

Had I failed that Tactics roll, Conan would die in a fruitless counterattack against the Picts, no further rolls. Success lets you win enough to escape. Save or die, right there from back in '88!

I'm disappointed at the issues with the options - being literally unable to get to Gwawela due to a random encounter, and then being able to reveal a traitor I didn't know about, is a problem. I've played this before and didn't have that occur. This is actually the first time I've lost the fort in any playthrough - it's about time!

I'm well set up for Moon of Blood, which I believe is the battle of Velitrium. But I think I will do that "alternate ending" and just skip to the map-maneuvering section and go to Gwawela. It feels like a big miss, never seeing the Pict fort or Zogar Sog. So that before Moon of Blood.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

GURPS Conan: Beyond Thunder River playthrough session 3

I will play through GURPS Conan: Beyond Thunder River in short sessions until I've completed it. I did this one last night, but set it to post in the morning. I may do a double if I have time to play later.

I will run Conan of Cimmeria as written up in that supplement, as a 40-year old, 521-point character. I am using the 1st edition GURPS rules from my original boxed set, as written.

Session 1
Session 2

Plot Words:

I lead my 6 scouts out of the fort to find and kill Zogar Sog. My current time is set to 10 pm Thursday - it was 9 pm last time I was asked to advance time.

There is an outdoor map, and I will follow along with it to get to the village.

We row south, with the current. We advance one hex, time is now 10:30 pm, and I have to roll 1d: 6, which sends me to a different entry.

Picts! Quick Contest of Skills, my Stealth-16 vs. a hostile Stealth-14. For every person with Boating (Canoe)-12 or better, I add 1 (max +4). Everyone in my group has a 13, so that's 20 vs. 14. I roll a 10, so made it by 10. The Picts(?) made it exactly. A canoe crammed full of Pict braves in war paint slides by as we hide in the shadows in the shallows.

We continue south, making the time 11 pm. I roll a 1, no encounter.

Again south, making it 11:30 pm. I roll a 5, no encounter.

We disembark on the Pict side and tie off the boat and head in . . . and unluckily encounter three Picts. e can try to escape, flee along the river bank, out-stalk them, or boldly attack them. We try the stalk. They know someone is around, but not where we are exactly. I roll their tribe and it is 2, Turtle. It's my Stealth-16 vs. Stealth-11, hoping to win by 4+. I roll a 13, making it by 3. The Turtles make it by 2. Uh-oh. They spot us!

It's a tabletop battle, Conan and six scouts vs. three Turtle braves. We're quite spread out, actually, and have some bushes and trees on the map.

Turn order will be: Conan, scouts, Picts, based on Speed.

Turn 1
I throw my axe at the Pict to my left, over the bushes. He's 4 hexes away, my axe has PB 2, Inc 2 and is -1 for one range increment. I have a 14 and aim for the body. 10, a hit. The Pict will Dodge and Retreat with an 8. He rolls a 13 and is hit. Damage is 3d+3 for 12 +3 = 15 cutting, so 22 cutting, and he drops, automatically unconscious. I Fast-Draw my sword with a 12 and succeed.
The scouts go. I'm assuming half of them have bows drawn and half have melee weapons, and put them behind Conan in a loose line. Scout A, C, and E have bows, B, D, F have Axes.
Scout A steps and looses his bow at the Pict ahead. The short bow has PB 5, Inc ST/2 (so, 6). He's 5 away, so it's Point Blank for a +4 to hit and +1 damage. He has Bow-15, +4 = 19, -3 to aim for the vitals for a net 16. I roll a 9 and hit! The Pict has Dodge 8 with Retreat, and rolls an 11. He's hit for 1d-1, +1 = 1d impaling. 6, tripled to 18! He's down.
Scout B moves up to the Pict on the right and slightly past, to keep an open lane for archery.
Scout C steps and looses his bow at the Pict on the right. Range is 8, so that's one Inc for a -1, giving him a 14. I roll a 4. The dice dislike the Picts tonight. He hits the body for 6, -1, = 5 impaling, doubles to 10. The Pict goes from HT 11 to 1, and has to roll for knockdown and stunning. He has an 11, and rolls a 10. He's still standing, but automatically Stunned.
Scout D moves offline. Scout E looses an arrow at the stunned Pict. Range is 10, still one Inc past PB, for a 14. He rolls a 10 and hits. The Pict had Dodge 5, -4 for stunning. He rolls a 9 and fails. The arrow hits body and does 1, -1 = 0, min 1, impaling. The Pict takes 1 x 2 = 2 damage, goes to -1 HT, and drops unconscious automatically.

Fight is over. The Picts didn't even make it a whole second!

I end it here as it's getting late.


Oddly, the scouts have Shortsword skill, and in the short story I believe they carried, basically, falchions, but they don't have them here. Oh well.

I did Conan's ranged attack wrong before - I forget to count Increments after Point Blank. I counted them including Point Blank, which is wrong.

I'm unsure if you can attempt to Fast-Draw at the end of your turn. I have to look that up and check.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Welcome Back Durak

Yesterday was 666 days after Durak, the Lord of Spite, was defeated and banished in Felltower.

So, he's back!

Time to crack open a few delvers and celebrate with a song!

"Welcome back
Your defeat was your ticket out
Welcome back
To that same old place that you terrorized

Well, the names have all changed
Since you last appeared
But those souls have remained
And they’re all a-feared

Who'd have thought they'd lead ya (Who'd have thought they'd lead ya)
Here where we fear ya (Here where we fear ya)

Yeah we flee him a lot cause he's got us on the spot, welcome back,
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back."

(John Sebastian, with Jon Lay and Peter Dell'Orto)

Monday, September 19, 2022

Hyborean War

Way back in the day, I played a lot of PBM games. Among them were Supernova II, Legends, Feudal Lords, Midgard, and others with names I've forgotten. I paid a good bit of money on turns and rules and printouts and even more on long-distance phone calls to fellow players. One I wanted to play, but never actually took the plunge, was Hyborian War.

I loved the map for Hyborian War. I found it more attactive than the maps in the Conan books - especially those that superimposed the outlines of Europe over it - and in the GURPS Conan book. I decided to see if anyone had it up online, because somehow I'd lost my copy.

Wikipedia says it's still going. There are webpages talking about it . . . but the publisher's website looks like a late-90s Geocities site. It had a contact section and I asked to have a rulebook mailed to me. What the heck. I have my doubts this is still a thing, because I can't really find very recent posts. Plus people are still doing mailed-in PBMs?

But maybe it is.

We'll see if anything ever arrives.

But I can still find the map here:

And this nifty fan map, too.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Felltower Update

Since we're back to Felltower, I used my pre-game prep time today to do the following:

- Updated the map and key.

- Added more rumors and random events to the rumor table.

- Confirmed our next game date - in a couple of weeks as I'll be away a bit - and plan (B-Team). If we can resolve the A-Team's situation, we'll do that. If not, I'm thinking of what's a good deadline to set to just declare what happens so the dungeon isn't locked down forever.

No Conan today, I think, as I have a lot to do - but time tomorrow for the Conajahara to deal with the Picts!
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