Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Felltower issues to resolve - language costs

I think I've settled on how I want to do language costs for Felltower:

I'm planning on Option 2:

1 point Broken
2 points Accented
3 points Fluent

Written rolled into spoken.

One exception: the Elder Tongue is still broken into spoken and written. It's a gateway to a lot of valuable setting information and access to potential power.

Conventiently this means GCA and GCS point costs are correct - you just need to put down only spoken and we'll know it is also written literacy.

Monday, October 2, 2023

Game Inspiration: The Misenchanted Sword

Thinking more on cursed and semi-cursed magic items, here is one book I found inspirational:

The Misenchanted Sword by Lawrence Watt-Evens

The plot is pretty much soldier stumbled across a hermit, who enchants him a magical sword that makes him unbeatable in combat. It has some downsides - he can't get rid of the sword, for one, and it is only undefeatable from when drawn until it kills someone. Then you have to sheath it and pull it back out before you use it again. Oh, and it has limited uses - not a small number, but a finite number of kills.

As books go, it's not the best book ever. But it's a good one, and the ideas in it are top-notch. There are demon-imbued enemy warriors, practical uses for a swordsman who can't lose (he gets pulled aside for special missions, no front line service for this guy), and lots of little details that make it feel like the consequences make sense.

The sword itself is really a lot like the kind of thing I'll hand out. You want it, but then again you kind of don't, but you'll use it, and your character will be different for it. It's not just a better weapon, it's a different experience. That's the kind of thing I am looking for.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Why all the semi-cursed items in Felltower?

Felltower has had a fair number of cursed items, and a number of items that aren't fully free of downsides.

The cursed items are mostly downside, maybe all downside. Any positive effect is just there to convince you to keep the item or use it long enough to suffer the bad effects.

The semi-cursed items are the ones that are largely upsides, but with a noticeable downside. The major magic weapons of Felltower are like this:

Gram helps you kill dragons, but makes you want to go kill them.

Frenzy is a great axe, but it drives you berserk.

And so on.

Why so many?

Out of Game: Because I like them. I grew up with them in my tabletop games - AD&D - and my computer games - Wizardry, noteably. I feel like they add a nice spice of challenge and concern - magic isn't always just a free benefit. And I was heavily influenced by White Plume Mountain and its trio of weapons with nasty downsides. You want them . . . but they'll change your PC or just change your whole PC's life. Nobody with Blackrazor gets to sleep soundly through the night, trusting and trusted by his or her friends. And I take it as a challenge to make an item so good you'll accept the downsides to get the upsides.

In Game: Because wizards are jerks, and magic is hard to control. The first means they set out to make cursed items out of ill humor, general malice, for vengeance, or for some subterfuge. The second means that even when they don't, sometimes that's what you get.

So in my games, you'll get cursed stuff popping up. Rather frequently.

Friday, September 29, 2023

Friday Roundup 9/29/23

Links and comments for Friday 9/29/23

- Greyhawk map definitions

What's the meaning of those names on the Greyhawk map?

- A look at Oasis of the White Palm

- "They drain magic items, permanently. It's totally unfair, it's great." - Spoken like GM.

- Next Felltower Adjacent is in a week and a day. Still can't spend Handsome's points, but I'm leaning toward more skill and one of the advantages I listed. Still not sure which, they're all good choices.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Things still to resolve for Felltower

Here are some issues we discussed but never followed all the way through on. I should get to these before we resume play, perhaps.

- shield damage

- weapon talents

- recosting languages

- DB limits

I'm not saying these all will get done, but I should get on some of them, at least. They've all been discussed here to some extent but never fully resolved into a codified set of rules we'll play under.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Felltower: Power Casting

After a quick discussion Sunday, here is a ruling for Power Casting:

Power Casting

As written; one level maximum. A caster with this and 6 levels of casting talent can cast this particular spell as if they had 7 levels of casting talent. This can allow for 21d missile spells, Shield +7, and so on.

I figure, Felltower can always use more magical firepower, so why not?

Monday, September 25, 2023

Felltower Adjacent - Session 5 - Scaring & Murdering Hobgoblins

We played in Vic's Felltower adjacent game on Sunday. I don't have a complete character list, but I should get one and add it.

We started off in the dungeon, having wiped out the undead last time. We headed down to the side second level, called Sir Leonhard's level.

At the bottom of the stairs was a short hall leading to a partly-dug-out level with lots of butte-like raised areas. We tricked a hobgoblin into wandering up to us with promises of food voiced by Urbaine on Splug's provided Goblinian words. We killed him in a Silence area and then rushed forward. We spotted a few more hobgoblins, a couple of dire wolves, and a trio of dwarves. We started killing everything but the dwarves. One said, "Now's our chance, get them!" - we dubbed him Ray, and his buddies Peter and Egon.

We made short work of the enemy, mostly because the hobgoblins insisted on running and the wolves on charging. Thor butchered one wolf with his new magic sword Green Acres, aka Puppyslayer, and Patience jumped next to one off a plateau and smashed it to burger with his two-handed flail. Handsome shot the others in the back.

We moved into the next room, and killed four hobgoblins there. One asked for a passphrase, so Handsome tried to shoot him in the vitals. He blocked and then dodged, before someone else cut him down. We moved into another area and found a caged gladiator ape. Handsome shot it and wounded it badly.

Thor rushed the ape and killed it in its cage, as hobgoblins rushed us from left and right from side doors. Urbaine the bard demolished a few with a Concussion spell at 5d, and the dwarves held the others off. We gave chase to the right.

Handsome shot poorly (shooting on the run with quick shots at targets he couldn't see until the end of his 7 move added up to a -14 or so) and didn't hit them, and as they reached a couple of doors and shouted for help a 17 broke Handsome's bowstring.

The fighters rushed up, led by Hannari, our dwarf martial artist. A dozen hobgoblins or so rushed out, backed by a warchief with an ugly mustache and a powerful hobgoblins wizard (see notes below). Handsome took Splug's bow and plinked away with the little cupid-sized thing, doing a little damage here and there and dropping one or two hobgoblins. But it really cramped his effectiveness.

Thor dropped his sword on a critical failure but bull-rushed the wizard, and missed thanks to Shield. He ended up stranded on the other side of the fight, getting cut up. Hannari tossed an Alchemist's Fire to annoy the hobgoblins, and we fought them to a standstill and started to cut them down as the chief ran up and got knocked down.

Then, just to ruin their chances of getting any of us, Urbaine hit them with Panic and all but the wizard were afraid. As they started to run Hannari and others cut the chief up, Pesistance ran down and killed the wizard, and Handsome shot some poor slob in the back. Then it was over - Urbaine cancelled the spell and demanded they surrender or die.

They surrendered, with their wizard and chief already dead.

We looted them and sent them on their way with only their underwear (Urbaine insisted this was the done thing.)

We stopped there as we had one more place to clear - their boss, downstairs somewhere.


- Sir Leon Hard is totally an adult film star name.

- These were all D&D4 hobgoblins, not Felltower ones (which are resistant to magic) or DFRPG ones. They're remarkably tactically inept and lack unit cohesion, so they sure as hell aren't 1st edition AD&D hobgoblins, who looked like samurai and acted like soldiers.

- I couldn't afford a spare longbow, and I just didn't think to keep one of the goblin bows as a backup. Or to buy a spare bow. Oh well, I paid for it this session. Dropping from a ST 15 longbow to a ST 11 shortbow meant a serious drop in the killing power of my shots. When we get back to town I'll drop everything I have on the best composite bow or longbow I can, and move my old bow to backup status.

- For once Handsome didn't threaten to kill Splug, because someone paid points for him. I did gripe that we found three brave and intelligent dwarves and no one wants them for allies. No, they want the cowardly and semi-useful goblin.

- The rules differences are interesting. I don't run GURPS or DFRPG exactly as written, so there are some differences that have spillover effects. For example, we allow potions to take effect immediately upon being applied/drunk. But we also make you roll for unconsciousness at the beginning of each turn, if on that turn you attempt something besides Do Nothing. GURPS as written makes you roll next time. So if you're within a healing potion of positive HP you can avoid this roll by drinking the potion. Allowing the one benefit - faster potion effects - is a big upside if you play with the less-harsh rules as written on consciousness rolls. Oh, and I don't allow a parry against slams, but GURPS as written does. I use different fear rules. That sort of stuff. It'll be interesting when we swap to Felltower and people have to adjust back to how I play the game.
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