Thursday, March 28, 2019
So that does contain a big hint - yeah, my latest GURPS project is getting finished up. Yes, it's DF related. Yes, I pulled stuff from my game for it (like every book after DF12). I've got to go work on that now, so I can't dilly-dally with more posts about the ringed Earth and the vaults of the Autonomists or Felltower. We're not gaming this weekend, so expect a summary in a week and a half when we play DF again.
I should be back posting early to mid next week, unless I have something I can quickly pop up here.
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
The Princess, the cruise ship we'd investigated a few sessions back in Muskegeon - was repaired by members of the Army of the Bear in return for our alliance. They also chased out the teleporting cats.
We wanted an alliance, but it turned out we may have sold it cheap. Our plan was to commandeer the Princess and take it south to our base of operations, and use it as a home base for freed members of the 20th Homeland.
It turns out that it has a pretty firm permanent flight plan, which goes around to places we dare not go - like the glassy disk that was Chicago - and places within the Purists lands. We can't seem to easily force it move off of those lines. Sigh. We'll find a way eventually - we really do need some place to put the members of the 20th Homeland when we can free them and feed them.
But one thing it can do is go into a low orbit . . . and it has numerous viewscopes on the sides for observation, and we have some high-end telescopes (including a TL10 spyglass that Hillbilly carries.)
From orbit, the view was really impressive.
We could see much of the same that we could see from a lower orbit by Warbot aka Softie. In addition, we could see the glassy disk that was Chicago. Interestingly, the weather we experience - the colored snows, the constant cloud cover - is a teardrop shape of weather emanating from that glassy disk. Outside of it, the weather is much more normal. Why we don't move out like the original 20th Homeland guys from Van Buren bunker did I don't know.
(We forgot to ask about the outlines of North America. I bet they're gnawed down a bit.)
Looking up, the view was stellar.
First, Earth has a ring. A big, Saturn-like ring.
And a moon, of course. The moon is broken into several large pieces and a myriad of smaller ones, around a spherical core. Is the core of the moon solid, or is it that there is a central base station that survived when the moon did not?
Additionally, the surface is studded with structures - it was clearly extensively built up and populated.
In addition, there is a smaller, smooth and spherical "moon" near the other. It's clearly man-made. We couldn't make out any detail on it.
So, I'm not the only person to make the moon a playable area.
Also, it's nice that the weather isn't nasty everywhere. That doesn't help us, though, as it just makes the grass seem greener outside the current campaign area.
We'll have to find a way to get to the moon, and find a way to get the Princes reprogrammed to free flight so we can bring it south. That'll be a big pain, but there we go, more long-term things to do while we adventure.
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
We'd tried to crack the vault when we first found it, with no luck. Later, Caveman and Hillbilly schemed up a way to get the Army of the Bear to crack the vault for us.
They accepted our offer, and tasked their metal-shaping officer, Washagami, to come and do it for us. Washimgami found the weakness in the vault and then it was just a matter of time to get the door removed.
We expected safety deposit boxes and domars.
What we got was something much less and yet much more valuable.
The vault itself was made out of Permium, a very long lasting metal that's not quite up to the level of duralloy, but still good.
Inside stood a defunct Security 'Bot (like the one at the Power Station). It was red and white. On its chest was a logo - a chevron in a circle surrounded by alternating inward and outward pointing arrows. It stood in a room decorated with propaganda posters for a group called the Autonomists and lined with shelves. It wasn't a bank vault, or hadn't been in a while - it was a "time capsule" of some kind.
On the shelves were dozens of holo bibles - but personalized ones, with people's names, images, family genealogy, etc. for the owners. Many were of relatives to each other.
Reading through those - they were sort of like diaries - we found that 20-30 years before the 3-day war was referred to at the time as the "Shadow Years." There was a United Earth Government, which by dint of strict policies and top-down control had united the earth and basically ended poverty, starvation, poor education, etc. But they'd done so in a heavy-handed manner. The Autonomists opposed them, mostly peacefully at first. But they clashed with a group called the League of Free Men, who supported the UEG.
They started with peaceful debate and ended with terrorist attacks against each other with WMDs, killing thousands.
Such explained why the Princess, for example, was a cruise ship with a death bot on it. And why we've got utopian powers but very strict rules, very well armed police, warbots with domestic patrol areas, etc. It was a utopia on the edge.
In short, it was the extremely chilling intro to 1st edition Gamma World.
This place we'd found was time capsule to the Autonomists. We also found some heirlooms, like class rings, watches, commemorative coin sets of domars encased in lucite (800 domars worth, if we need to cut them out with Hoopslayer), a desk globe hologram with chevron markers showing areas of importance to the Autonomists (including a massive project on Grand Island, which is very close to us and now on our list of "to do" places!), and some stock certificates (valueless, maybe - Hillbilly wants to barter them to the Restorationists.)
Interestingly, there was a publicity still of the guy Barbie has been dreaming about, modified to be a shooting target. Clearly, that was a League of Free Men or UEG guy. And Barbie jumped forward in time. Was the UEG or League of Free Men looking to develop time travel, either forward or backward? We debated putting the image on a board and having it pop up to surprise Barbie. He'd just shoot it to pieces, though, and spoil all of the fun.
This was extremely valuable. First, it means my meta-knowledge (like how I've nearly memorized the intro to GW 1st edition) is now in-game knowledge. Second, it tells us a lot about the past in a way that points to things to do in the future. Third, we have some information which may allow us to predict what we'll find elsewhere - Grand Island and other places - and be less surprised by the odd mix of "peaceful utopia" and "security hell" that we've encountered. Maybe that's not so odd - flawed utopia is a whole theme - but it's not exactly what we expected and didn't have a reason why it should be so.
Now we know.
Monday, March 25, 2019
Days 142 since departure from the bunker.
"Hillbilly" - medical specialist
"Love Handles" - demo/EOD
"Oinker" - demo/EOD
Present but on Security Detail:
"Barbie" - demo/EOD
"Short Bus" - computer programmer
"Caveman" - demo/EOD
"Fatbox" - demo/EOD
"Momma's Boy" - computer programmer
"Princess" - cryptographer/sniper
We picked up where we left off last session, trying to drag a suit of broken power armor out of the LEONIDAS.
We managed to get Love Handles to the "ground level." As he waited for Hillbilly - who'd then haul up the armor while Barbie guarded our rear - a nearby "door" jumped off and attacked - it was a mimic! A big mimic. It scraped along the corridor - aha, the scouring is the mimics moving around.
Love Handles backed up, shooting it with his M16 with some effect from armor-piercing ammunition. As it passed the shaft up, Hillbilly climbed up and came at it from behind with Hoopslayer. It grabbed at Love Handles and tried to crush him . . . and another "door" came at him from behind. Soon Love Handles was caught between two mimics. The big one turned its back on him as the smaller one sought to crush him. He managed to fend it off for a bit) and break free a couple times, but took a lot of crushing. Hillbilly slashed at his and dodged most of its attacks, but eventually was grabbed and crushed a bit while he slashed the mimic. In the meantime, Barbie climbed up part of the way and tried to shoot the mimic one-handed while hanging from the rings, but missed. When he had a chance he jumped up and fired at the mimic normally. Love Handles let go of his M16 and tried to cut the mimic that held him with the shortsword he claimed off of the rebel Little Thieves general, but even a solid All-Out Attack (Strong) did nothing to it. He dropped that and tried to fish out more ammo to reload his gun.
Bullets kept hurting them, but not as much as Hoopslayer did. Hillbilly and Hoopslayer managed to damage big mimic a lot, plus Barbie's bullets (and Love Handles before them) as well - and it died. With that, Hillbilly slashed at the smaller mimic that had grappled Love Handles. It eventually died, too.
Love Handles had been heavily injured, so it took a red pen to set him right. But from there we managed to get the power armor onto the surface and then into Softie, our Warbot. We hauled the smaller mimic corpse up there, too, for later study . . . somehow.
Barbie stayed behind to guard with Warbot (his player was out sick today) and Hillbilly and Love Handles headed in, intent on bring up the rest of the gear. We did that, going down into the hold and bringing up the armored suits - one damaged, one intact - and the force shield generator.Short Bus and Oinker helped, and then volunteered to stay with Barbie (their players were out.)
(We had a brief debate about if Barbie would loan Love Handles his M14, since the M16 that Love Handles was using (borrowed from Fatbox) didn't have a lot of penetrating power against the mimics. Would Barbie part with his personal firearm and stand guard with an M16? We all voted that no, that seemed really unlikely. So we didn't have that happen.)
Love Handles and Hillbilly went into the ship to explore the rest and loot the various chests we couldn't open until we'd found the cards (which we did mid-late last session.)
What followed was a slow grind (in game terms - fun exploration in reality) of moving room to room, kicking down doors, fighting mimics - who mimicked some doors and a folding screen in another room - and looting. After a level of clearing, Oinker joined the team as we needed more firepower (and his player had arrived home from a trip.)
We found some weapons that we armed ourselves with, including four M12 10mm pistols - three with normal rounds, one with AP - a trio of P90-like bullpup SMGs with 4x40mm semi-AP ammo, and two over-under double-barrel break-breach launchers called Aeromil ESA-11s. Love Handles used one of the last against a mimic. The first round he tried was one of 10 "BB" rounds - it turned out to be a beanbag. Harmless. The second was ES - Electro-shock - and it stunned a mimic that was quickly carved up into metal ribbons by Hillbilly and Hoopslayer, the MVW - Most Valuable Weapon.
Killing the mimics took a while - we ended up killing around 9-10 total including two last session and the two killed at the beginning of this one. Love Handles burned through a few magazines worth of 5.56 mm AP, Hillbilly pumped out some 7.62 mm but mostly fought with Hoopslayer. Oinker shot off a lot of 7.62 mm rounds, too.
We took a lot of damage across the various fights as we explored. Hillbilly was severely crushed - Love Handles even worse at one point, and Oinker was squeezed nearly to death at one point. It was rough going. We used up a number of red pens to heal, a pink pen on Love Handles to knit a broken arm . . . and one of the purple injector pens we found on the ship and on the Purists.
Hillbilly's theory was, hey, it's red (healing) plus blue (fatigue-away). This was not the case. Hillbilly stuck it into Love Handles. LH felt elated, with increased strength, senses, alertness, and vigor. He was raring to go kill more mimics, and couldn't patiently do anything at all. He wasn't healed so it took more pens to heal him up.
We kept moving systematically around the ship, looting the aforementioned weapons, two lower-body-only exoskeletons and one neuro-cap like cap (both put on by Oinker), lots of clothing, a couple of blood transfusion units, 2L bottles of some Midwestern soda called Faygo, around 60 meal bars (1500 kcals each, and ravenously hungry LH downed five of them and a bottle of soda, while Oinker and Hillbilly each ate one), some liquor, many TL9 medical kits (with TL10 and TL^10 being the cutting edge of stuff we've found so far), two diagnostic hoops - hula-hoop like devices that swing over a body and give a bonus to Diagnosis, more purple pens, some of the other pens, and some ID cards. We also found two "landmine" looking flat domes with buttons around the edges, but we haven't fooled around with them at all.
In the end we killed off all of the mimics and took everything we found. We also discovered three more dead Purists - one killed by knife wounds, another by gun shots, and a third by a smashed skull from something blunt. We took their chips (different from ours, the medical hoops revealed) and their bodies to the surface.
We last checked the Jetsons car we'd found. Hillbilly tried to get in but the handprint recognition panel (as he'd guessed it was) didn't recognize him. We ended up having Warbot blow open the rusted iris door and towed out the car. (At least, we said we'd do this, I can't recall if we handwaved it or the GM missed it and we left it behind, which is also possible.)
Finally we buried the Purists with some simple markers out by the ship. Respect to the fallen, misguided or not.
Once that was all done, we resolved some postscripts - stuff we'd had time to do but the GM didn't have time to write up. We did that after, instead of before, this expedition. One note, though - LH didn't sleep for days. He's been jittery and wired, and alcohol didn't slow him down. The medical hoops showed a foreign chemical acting on his system.
We need to be very careful with those purple pens.
I'll post about the two post scripts during the week - the bank vault, and the Princess - and the view from near-orbit on the latter.
The mimics were really tough. Fast, strong, good HT, high HP, lots of DR (probably in the 5-6d range). With better lightning, we probably could have spotted and engaged them further out, but maybe not. We were in tight corridors and narrow bulkheads. At least we didn't have any more of those Octoshrooms to deal with.
So often in Gamma Terra we're stuck in situations where only a very few of us can engage, so having only 2-3 troopers didn't really make it harder to clear out the mimics.
We cleaned up on this expedition - we took a lot of gear home, we got some new very high-tech items including operational power armor, learned of a sneaky way into the Purist lands (maybe not - they clearly know of it too and used it to get to the LEONIDAS), and learned even more in the postscripts. This was a tremendously successful trip. We expended some resources doing so, and many more red pens than we found, so we're paying out in irreplaceable resources. We'll have to figure out a non-pen way of dealing with injury. We're too quick to just pop them in and move on, not rest and recover. Maybe the medikits and neurosurgery kit will help.
Hillbilly has 15 points as of this session, and will have 20 as of next. +1 DX? +1 IQ? Both make a lot of sense. I'll decide right after I roll for leveling up since it'll be 20 sessions and we've been doing that every five. It's a really tough call - improved IQ would give Hillbilly +1 to his IQ-based skills, +1 to general comprehension rolls (useful for identifying odd tech), +1 Will, +1 Per. But +1 DX would push a number of his skills from the 14-16 range to the 15-17 range, improve three skills I rely on a lot (Knife, Wrestling, Guns), and generally make him better at what he's become - the main melee combatant. IQ has the slight edge here. I could just directly up his skills, but I'm right at the point of diminishing returns on that. Still, dumping 5-10 points in my medical skills would be immensely useful. Lots to consider, here.
Sunday, March 24, 2019
- a lot more mimics were found, fought, and turned into piles of metal or metal twists.
- much loot was found, including a lot of purple injector pens, 10mm handguns, 40mm launchers, half-exoskeletons, medipacks galore, and more ID cards, advanced medical analysis tools (hula hoops) - and even some food and liquor!
- even more mimics were fought.
- we found out what the purple pens did.
- we hauled off a bubble car.
. . . and we buried the fallen Purists we found.
After the main session, we handled the postscripts of looting the bank vault . . . and taking control of the Princess. We couldn't use the Princess for what we wanted (a mobile shelter) but it was useful nonetheless.
Saturday, March 23, 2019
Last session, we found a teleporter, power armor, mimics, new ID cards, dead purists and some of their skull-rank-chips, a flying car, and some other tech.
This next session, we have to find a way to haul it all back home. And salvage a mimic or two. And whatever those squid-shroom "Octoshrooms" are.
I can't wait. It's been a bad year for getting off gaming sessions, and despite a short crew we'll get off a game session tomorrow.
Friday, March 22, 2019
The Troll Wars. Every decade or so, the Cold Fens begins to seethe with trolls in the hundreds, even thousands. They swarm out into the surrounding lands. The "troll wars" that result kill countless trolls but take an enormous toll on the kingdoms around the fens. Recently discovered writings have been discovered claiming this is due to an ancient temple to a "troll god" deep within the fens. If this temple can be cleared, exorcised, and expunged, the troll wars may finally end. Unfortunately, the trolls have already begun to mass in force. A group of intrepid delvers could sneak in and clear the temple and claim a rich reward. But if the trolls don't get them, perhaps the cold, stinking, disease-ridden fens will.
I'll add this to the Adventure Seeds post shortly.
Thursday, March 21, 2019
I'm in for the print book of Monsters 2 + the PDF.
I'm in for the PDF of Norovorn and the expanded grappling book, both in PDF.
Both campaigns have funded, but both can use a bit more help . . . and it's a great chance to get in on things you may have missed (like the DFRPG boxed set) or to support a writer-and-artist friendly company that makes excellent products.
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
I really like the art of Wayne Reynolds. It reminds me - favorably - of Jeff Dee's superhero-like D&D delvers. They were also posed in some mid-action scene fighting horrid monsters - and Wayne Reynold's stuff is the same.
His goblins, though, feel like the signature monster of Pathfinder even more than, say, his famous black dragon.
I have a bunch of the minis that I use for Doomchildren. I'd cheerfully use them as goblins, Pathfinder style, as well.
Because of this description of them.
"Everyone loves kobolds." I don't. I do like grinning cute death machines. Especially ones that remind me of the Goblins Sappers from Warcraft 2. "Kabooom!" WR's goblins are close cousins to those guys. I don't even like singing in games (or fantasy novels) but I like that song.
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
All of the DFRPG Monsters Adventure Seeds
Right now, we're up to 11 creatures with adventure seeds. Two of them each have one additional adventure seed link from me and from Matt.
I'm curious how much people like these seeds. Is there call for more of them? Is this something Matt and I should look into? Or are inspiring little vignettes just not that exciting after a while?
Monday, March 18, 2019
Great stuff. And he's got a favorite from the Fiend Folio up there, too - one of the sources of inspiration for the bugbear in DFM1.
Sunday, March 17, 2019
Because of that, perks like Lesser Lichdom* are more widely available.
The perk is pretty specific - healing won't save you. You're already dead. I suppose if someone had a 300-carat gem spellstone of Resurrection I'd allow for that to work.**
The question is, what about wishes?
I've been known to pass out rings with wishes in them. Old school, ask-and-get one-second time to use wishes.
What if someone dies, has Lesser Lichdom, and uses a wish to undo the effects of dying?
On one level, it bothers me. It's a 1-point perk meant to get you 2-7 seconds of pre-death vengeance. If said vengeance (or running out of a trapped area, or stepping into a gate, or whatever) makes it easier for you to be brought back with Resurrection, fine. It's a valid use.
But having some extra time to get out of dying in the first place seems a bit . . . disappointing. It's not really the spirit of the "my goodness, he's still coming" or "I'll get you back for killing me" intent of the perk.
On the other hand, it's a wish. I don't hand them out like candy. You can't get them easily. They have great effects.
I think I'd allow a person operating in that limited window to use a Wish. You'd have to word it properly, but you could even undo that death check. It's no more or less than using a wish as an ersatz Resurrection anyway.
I'd be less generous in allow a broad-scale "I wish we were all safe and also I wasn't dying" or "I wish we were all healed fully" type wishes, though. You're dead. It's going to take a good chunk of what a wish can do - maybe all of it - to fit that. And wishes that ask for too much don't always take effect at all.
* And its Barbarian equivalent, Not Done Killing (Barbarians, p. 18)
** But they won't. They just won't.
Saturday, March 16, 2019
If you read Dragon Magazine back in the early to mid 80s like I did, you'll remember the ads for Mercenaries Spies & Private Eyes.
It always seemed like a cool game, although we generally played Gangbusters or Top Secret. I wanted to check it out for a long time.
There is a Kickstarter for it out now, all of $6 for the PDF and $18 + S&H for the book plus the PDF. It's a good deal if nostalgia (or desire for a non-GURPS Cliffhangers game, I suppose) is pulling at you.
Mercenaries Spies & Private Eyes
Friday, March 15, 2019
31 Reasons Why You Want to Pick Up Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game
It's a good list, and I can't disagree with any of it.
Thursday, March 14, 2019
"If you like or ever liked GURPS, and you want to see it go on to do new and interesting things, please support this campaign! It is a litmus of sorts:
△ If it funds, that will send us the message that we should support the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game and consider future campaigns for big, interesting GURPS books (in the traditional printed sense) and/or GURPS-based products (such as this one).
△ If it doesn't fund, we'll have to ponder whether there's enough interest in GURPS to keep it around as anything other than a series of PDFs once or twice a month."
So, not much on the line with the Monsters 2 Kickstarter except the possible future of GURPS.
For me, I could live with GURPS running on life support for a while. But eventually it would get hard - we'd be surviving on limited support materials, lack of resources for errata and updates, and fewer and fewer of my own ideas would hit print. It wouldn't be as fun as a living, thriving game. That's where DFRPG came from, and DF before that.
It's far better to have a living, breathing game line in my opinion. It's no small thing, this $40K ask for a Kickstarter. It's asking, how much support does GURPS have? Right now less than 1000 people are in on it. Even that few would be enough to fund it . . . but it feels like such a small number who need to turn up. I hope it will get there. GURPS has been too good to be relegated even further back on the stove of SJG products. I hope you agree and get the book. Plus, Sean makes great monsters.
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Draug Adventure Seeds, Supplemental
Draug Race. Some say the draug live only for vengeance. But some live only for competition. No living man has ever completed the legendary Muspelheim 500, a treacherous 500 yard race down a rocky mountain with lakes of lava on either side, bottomless ravines, and forests of twisted, dead trees. A team of delvers brave enough to chance the race - even win it - would gain immense fame. To win, they must beat a variety of racing teams of monstrous and undead types, including the mysterious draug, Lord X. The draugr racing team consists of a chariot pulled by four skeletal horses (treat as draft horses, p. B459, but with -2 ST, +1 DX, +1 Basic Speed, and Enchanced Move 1.5 (Ground Speed 18)) crewed by the draug racer lord and his bow-armed draug henchman, who won't hesitate to fire arrows from his Cornucopia quiver at other racers. Plot twist: Little do the delvers know it, but the draug racer is actually the long-lost older brother of one of the delvers, whose mysterious disappearance prompted said delver to adventure!
Now go back the Monsters 2 Kickstarter, eh?
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
This is a well-earned success by Doug; I've said it before and I will say it again - he puts out high quality material and treats those he works with - and writes for - well.
I'm very happy to have come home to this particular piece of Kickstarter news. And the DFRPG Monsters Kickstarter is only $10K from funding, and $55K from the max-length book stretch goal. If need be, I'll kick in some extra for some extra monsters when the end comes.
Monday, March 11, 2019
It fixes two issues which I've have come up in game (as well as some others.)
One of them is the accidental flipping of the jump distance. In one place the books correctly state it's Move/2 or Jumping/4; in another, it says Move/4 or Jumping/2. It's the former, obviously, or anyone with a single point in Jumping suddenly jumps 6+ yards (it's DF, everyone is DX 12 or higher). But it's nice to see that fixed up.
The second is the regeneration rates of monsters such as trolls. Since regeneration rates are multiplied just like healing rates are for high HP, the rates listed for trolls, ice wyrms, etc. are off. They list the base rate, not the final rate. Those, too, are fixed.
Some other typos got cleared up, but I haven't spotted them yet. Presumably they didn't engender much confusion - they do not seem to have at my table.
Sunday, March 10, 2019
Actually, it's both.
The world that Felltower is on is very much like our own, and its climate and location is very much like northern NJ because that's where I'm situated. If I was running it remotely from Japan, it would have been a heck of a lot snowier in the winter and hotter and more humid in the summer.
Because of this, in general, the players can rely on real-world facts and real-world impressions of the world to determine how things are in the area in and around Felltower.
The moon, however, may be slightly different.
A long while back the PCs heard this rumor:
"There used to be a guy who swore he went down in the dungeons and through a magic door and came out on the moon and spat down on Stericksburg. He’s gone, now."
This either says something about this guy, or it says something about the moon and the physics of the atmosphere in the world of Felltower.
Either way, the moon is a potential adventuring location. I've designed it as such. It may be accessible through a "magic door," or by one of the gates that the moon phase is said to affect, or by direct flight (by Flight spells or otherwise), or by other means. But it's a place the PCs can go.
This is unapologetically thanks to Gary Gygax and his Up on a Soapbox columns from Dragon magazine. He had an NPC bamboozle a PC out of a lot of money for a moonshot catapult. As a result, the player gave up on the moon and no one went . . . and Gary had apparently stocked it up for adventure. Oh well.
It's also inspired by Wallace & Gromit, old bad movies that MST3K riffed on, H.P. Lovecraft's writings, and The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle. It might not be as silly as all four of those, but they did play into my desire to put a PC on the moon by the end of this campaign and return some of the survivors home safely.
I'm not sure I'll ever get to use my moon location, or how my PCs will get there, but it's a potential adventuring location. Because, why not?
Saturday, March 9, 2019
as-Sharak Adventure Seeds (by Matt Riggsby, for a monster created by Sean Punch for DF2)
Fire With Fire. As-Sharak are cursed to kill those among the living who share their lust for power. While they are ruthless in their violent pursuits, there are those who perceive some morality in it, viewing the demons' victims as getting their just desserts. A quintet of as-Sharak – one of each type – have become proactive, venturing from their lair to destroy not only those who come to loot it but also those who might plan to do so. This category includes the heroes, certainly, but also many wannabe Dark Lords – and the as-Sharak have been killing a lot of them. If the delvers move against the as-Sharak, then along with facing monsters, they will be up against an order of holy warriors who see the fiends as useful scourges against other evils.
Look Who's Back. Fires are burning down houses belonging to Wizards' Guild members around town. Signs point to a powerful demon lurking underground. How long before it becomes apparent that the monster is an as-Sharak who used to be master of the Guild, who blames his former associates for the curse that befell him and is seeking revenge?
Additional as-Sharak seed from Matt Riggsby.
Bronze Spider Adventure Seeds (by Peter Dell'Orto, for a monster created by Sean Punch for DFM1)
Dungeon Repairachnids. Bronze spiders make great additions to megadungeons or other locations adventurers will visit repeatedly. Their presence can explain knocked-down doors being repaired, traps being reset, new passages appearing (or blockages closing passages), scratches and chalk marks being removed, and so on. Delvers hate anything that resets traps and fixes doors, so they’ll probably try to exterminate the spiders. Such actions are likely to attract the attention of whoever – or whatever – set the monsters their task in the first place.
Secret Of The Clockwork Spiders. Finding the clockwork world where bronze spiders originated could be the culmination of a series of delves deep into the Earth. The secret to their construction would be extremely valuable. So would much of the techno-magical gear certain to be found there. Such a realm would have more than just bronze spiders – golems of bronze, metallic animals, and ornithopter-like bronze insects would guard their clockwork god and its worshippers.
Crushroom Adventure Spores (by Peter Dell'Orto, for a monster created by Sean Punch for DF2)
King Of The Crushrooms. Legends persist of sapient crushrooms. Mycologists, alchemists, druids, and wizards speak of the fabled Crushroom King, who leads a colony of “civilized” crushrooms. Making contact with the Crushroom King could bring fame and fortune. But the supposed location of the colony is deep within a huge series of caverns, past forests of fungi, spore clouds, and ordinary (nonsapient) crushrooms. Even if the Crushroom King exists, it’s unclear how to communicate with it or what such a being would want. Still, legends portray it as having great wealth, magical mushrooms, and spells for affecting fungi.
Capturing A Crushroom. The secrets of ambulatory fungus hold a lot of promise for magical research by local alchemists. Druids might also covet a captured crushroom, as a natural guard for a grove. Capturing a live, healthy crushroom (no nearly dead specimens wanted, please) would bring at least $3,000 from either group. The obstacles are steep: Crushrooms are neither small, nor easy to capture, nor rational beings delvers can bargain with – and they’re strong. Still, it is a big reward.
Demon from Between the Stars Adventure Seeds (by Matt Riggsby, for a monster created by Sean Punch for DFM1)
Between Stars. The stars are not right; the past few nights, they’ve been downright wrong. Cracks are opening into the Deep Night Between the Stars from which the Demons come. If the heroes don’t want to face ever-increasing waves of Demons and even worse Elder Things, they must step through a gap in the darkness and into a realm where the stars are only distant silver motes. The places between the stars are silent, very cold (Exploits, p. 70), and full of danger, but the adventurers have to find a way to ignite a new star, pushing back the darkness for a while.
Lords Of Night. Refugees are fleeing their villages. The night, they say, is taking their livestock, their families, and everything else. And there’s a pattern. Vicious shadows are clearing a ring around a remote-but-legendary shrine, cutting it off from the outside world. A number of highly intelligent Demons from Between the Stars are preparing to assault the temple and destroy a center of power that can be used against them. The only path to beating them is through them.
Doomchild Adventure Seeds (by Peter Dell'Orto, for a monster created by Sean Punch for DF2)
Doomchildren Gate. Shockingly small bands of doomchildren have launched suicidal raids on the border fort near an old dungeon. The doomchildren have been destroyed each time, but where are they coming from? The local ruler wants that question answered and the doomchildren plague ended. Deep within the dungeon, perhaps a megadungeon, is a long-sealed gate to the realm of the demons (Hell?). It’s leaking – slightly – allowing doomchildren through a handful at a time, and must be resealed. If the delvers aren’t careful, attempts to close the gate could actually open it wide, allowing a larger force of demons to pass through. Alternatively, the gate might need closing from the other side, allowing bold heroes to travel to the demon realm itself for some real adventure.
Children Of The Doomed. The presence of doomchildren usually means the presence of demons, demon-worshippers, or foolish wizards who dared too much (and died in the process). This time it means all three. A wizard friendly to the PCs accidentally summoned a pack of doomchildren along with the peshkali she intended to conjure. The peshkali and doomchildren killed her and are loose. Only the heroes can clear her house of demons. Plot twist: The peshkali is downright maternal toward “her” doomchildren.
Draug Adventure Seeds (by Peter Dell'Orto, for a monster written up by Peter Dell'Orto for DFM1)
The Lord’s Bodyguards. Buried within a local dungeon is a dead lord and his bodyguards, all equipped with excellent armor and weapons, all with rich grave goods – and all victims of a great curse that has made them draugr. One was the beloved ancestor of a powerful and wealthy family; they’d like him laid to rest (read: destroyed) and his grave goods retrieved, and they’re willing pay triple the value for them, intact. What should be a simple kill-and-loot mission has three complications: First, there are 33 draugr, all used to fighting cooperatively. Second, the grave goods are the bodyguards’ delicate gold jewelry, which is vulnerable to fire. And third (which the family doesn’t know), thanks to the curse, Turning doesn’t work within the confines of their hall of crypts. Delvers will need to be very tough – or very clever – to succeed.
Draug Challenge. A draug haunting a barrow nearby is known for challenging warriors to single combat. A group of delvers could defeat it, but a local lord has put up his magic sword as a reward to any warrior who can destroy the thing single-handed.
Gargoyle Adventure Seeds (by Matt Riggsby, for a monster created by Sean Punch for DFRPG Monsters)
Getting The Words Right. Architects will tell you that gargoyles should be called “grotesques,” as proper gargoyles are defined by the presence of a spout. Architects should shut up. Someone is responsible for new strains of gargoyles: Some can spray a strong jet of water; treat as the Water Jet spell (Spells, p. 71) at an effective skill 15, along with Innate Attack (Breath)-15; others spit acid, doing 1d-3 corrosion damage (see Exploits, p. 65, for further effects) per die of knockback. Surely alkahest-spitting gargoyles are not far behind! Are gargoyles selectively breeding themselves to acquire greater powers? Have they appealed to a gargoyle god for blessings? Is a wizard doing it?
Undercover Gargoyle. Gargoyles can’t convincingly disguise themselves as flesh-and-blood mortals, but some bright ones have figured out how to conceal themselves as statues, pillars, and so on. In fancier rooms, including temples and palaces, they can hide in plain sight (Quick Contest of Vision vs. Camouflage-12 to spot) to strike when least expected. But don’t smash the Grand Temple’s new statue of the Great God Zorg!
Lich Adventure Seeds (by Peter Dell'Orto, for a monster created by Sean Punch for DFM1)
The Lich’s Bargain. No lich is truly good, but they aren’t all inherently hostile to all delvers. The typical lich desires magical power and knowledge, and some will trade riches, knowledge, or even assistance to get it. Approaching such a lich is tricky – liches rarely lack lethal defenses – but potentially rewarding.
The Master Of Lost Lore. The Wizards’ Guild needs the details of a particularly important magical ritual, which are in a unique book possessed by an especially evil and powerful lich. The monster is protected by veritable army of skeletons, zombies, demons, and spheres of madness, and a pack of hellhounds – all deep within a trap-filled dungeon. The Guild is offering a rich reward to delvers who return the book, and a bonus if they destroy the lich; what they neglect to mention is that the lich is actually the Guild’s former leader. The lore sought is that of how to become a lich . . . and the current guildmaster is getting on in years. If the PCs are bold enough to talk to the lich first and discuss their mission, it will counteroffer a reward for the assassination of the master of the Wizards’ Guild!
Rock Mite Adventure Seeds (by Matt Riggsby, for a monster created by Peter Dell'Orto for DFM1)
The Underminer! Rock mites are said to be living tools, drones used by a hidden civilization. Many tools can be weaponized. Properly organized, rock mites constitute a strategic threat, and someone may have figured out how to control them. Like an army of sappers, they can undermine not just the walls of settlements on the surface, but entire towns. When bits and pieces of the heroes’ town start falling into holes in the ground, they need to stop the whole thing from going under. The PCs must work to bring back not a key hostage or two, but an entire temple that has sunk beneath the earth.
Mine Tailings. Rumor has it there’s a population of rock mites that doesn’t just eat rock, but leaves behind metal. A scholar wants the heroes to track down colonies of rock mites and confirm the report. They’ll have to get up close to a lot of rock mites, gather samples of their bodies and the rubble they leave behind, and hope that the ones they’re looking for don’t leave behind toxic wastes.
Spirit Guardian Adventure Seeds (by Matt Riggsby for a monster created by Sean Punch for DFRPG Monsters)
The Spirit Moves. Spirit guardians can be formidable, but at least they’re limited to one place. Usually. A spirit guardian attached to a forest may find its domain expanding when the forest grows. And when the forest is controlled by a mad druid with the power to make the trees march, the spirit guardian goes with them. If a group of delvers could just get to the druid, they could stop the moving forest’s weird rampage, but every step of the way, the quest is complicated by a spirit trying to push them out. And things could get really bad when the forest rolls up the slopes of an extinct volcano and the spirit’s attempts to pummel them start to do cutting damage (from the jagged shards of obsidian whipped up from the ground) rather than crushing.
Troll Adventure Seeds (by Peter Dell'Orto, for a monster written up by Peter Dell'Orto for DFM1)
The Troll Wizard. Delvers attempting to exterminate a local troll infestation have come back from the fens reporting a fireproof troll that tossed around spells when attacked! A troll wizard holds great potential as a source of both danger and reward – trolls like loot, and a troll wizard would certainly have some in its lair. Of course, the troll might not be an actual wizard, but a cleric of some unusual trollish god (or even a friendly god). Worse, a troll druid would be very difficult to deal with in a wilderness setting. A spellcasting troll might make a good noncombat encounter, if it isn’t hungry and the adventurers are brave enough to speak instead of attack.
The Giant Troll. A rare few trolls grow to giant size – start with the stats for a giant and add a troll’s traits. Such a monster makes a great guardian for a MacGuffin, a powerful magical weapon, or a rare bit of treasure. And it’s certain to have at least a couple dozen normal-sized trolls nearby as flunkies!
Werewolf Adventure Seeds (by Matt Riggsby, for a monster written by Sean Punch for DFRPG Monsters)
Pack Hunting. The cunning of werewolves isn’t limited to moderately intelligent hunting tactics. A particularly clever pack are moving in the direction of becoming super-predators, taking over and cultivating the upper levels of a dungeon in order to draw in wealthy and powerful delvers. In human form, they’re spreading word that there’s a lot of treasure to be found, and salting the neighborhood with a bit of recovered loot. In wolf form, they lurk throughout the dungeon’s upper levels, keeping an eye on anyone who enters and sometimes rounding up herds of the less-intelligent monsters found there, hoping to overwhelm adventurers without exposing themselves to danger. They’ll try to push particularly tough treasure-hunters to deeper levels. If the delvers and more formidable monsters found on ever-deeper levels don’t kill one another, the pack can move in to finish off the weakened survivors and take both sides’ loot!
These are all in support of the DFRPG Monsters 2 Kickstarter.
I'll update this post as more are posted up, so eventually when the Kickstarter is all funded up and the books are out, we don't need to look all over the place for those posted adventure seeds. All of these were work for hire by SJG, and belong to them.
Friday, March 8, 2019
Thursday, March 7, 2019
First, they put up some adventure seeds by none other than Matt Riggsby:
Demon from Between the Stars Adventure Seeds
Had Matt not chosen them before me, I'd totally have included the Twinned Temple as a Demon From Between the Stars adventure seed. But you have to step aside when Matt Riggsby has an idea; it's bound to be better.
Second, Doug had a post about his Kickstarter and the DFRPG one. I'm linking to it because, if you want to support the Kickstarters and the DFRPG, it's important that you take a look. I'm a lot of things, but a social media-posting, forum-reading, gamer-recruiting type I am not. If you are, step up and help out if this is your bag.
Thursday is Back the DFRPG Kickstarters Day
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Here is some of what I wrote:
Bronze Spider Adventure Seeds
It's all part of the DFRPG Monsters Kickstarter campaign.
(Note - See, the Llama always knows of what he speaks!)
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Short version: It's for a second Monster book for DFRPG, plus a reprint. You can order PDF, print, or both of the Monsters 2 book and the DFRPG boxed set.
Long version: For the long version, go check out the campaign.
I'm in for one copy of DFRPG Monsters 2; I may go for a second copy. I'm not sure I need a third boxed set, but I'll keep my options open and talk to my players about what books we need more of.
Monday, March 4, 2019
Gary Grigsby's War in the East
It tracks down to the man, the gun, and the afv.
You have to deal with supply. Command radius. Chains of command. Conversion of rails from German to Soviet gauge. Positioning of air forces.
Units are tracked for morale, fatigue, equipment. You can break them down into regiment sized formations or build them back up.
All of this put together by one of the masters of computer wargaming, Gary Grigsby. He hooked me in hard with Kamfgruppe back when I was a teen.
Even a four-part three-turn playthrough of a very small scenario - the encirclement of the Russian forces north of the Pripet marshes and the taking of Minsk - involves more than an hour with someone sliding through the UI and decisions like a pro.
Imagine taking the whole of Operation Barbarossa from June 22nd, 1941 until completion.
I'd be in heaven . . . if I had that kind of time. I really don't, these days. Not that I had $80 to spend on a game when I was younger, but man, I'd have been consumed with this game in my teens or college days. These days? No. But this is the game that I want.
This is the wargame I probably need:
Drive on Moscow
Turn-based, but phases turns back and forth. You have to pick and choose what you run.
Units are based on abstract strength levels.
Control is by zones, not hexes.
Air power is abstracted.
The whole thing seems like it would take less time than a single turn of War in the East.
This is what I have time for.
I may end up getting it, next time it's on sale (and after I've finished my current project.) But it's not, deep down, what I want. It's what I have time for.
There is a metaphor or a deeper meaning or something in here, but really, it's also just as I say - what I want I don't have time for.
Sunday, March 3, 2019
Oh well. So I did something I haven't done in a while - finish some minis!
Here are six more orcs of Felltower:
They're 90% done, have been given a magic wash of brown and acrylic floor cleaner. Next up is a final coat of white onto the shields, which I want to look freshly painted. Then it's matte sealer when the weather turns warmer and less humid.
They're part of sets from Black Tree Minis. There are two others like them, but armed with some wide-bladed swords that I just don't like very much. So they're on the workbench getting weapon swaps.
For now, these white skull shielded orcs will fill in the places in the ranks of the slain in Felltower. Or bulk out their numbers, either way.
* We have enough locals for a game, but with the snow slated to come early-ish, no one wanted to risk it.
Saturday, March 2, 2019
Gold Box Spells and Their Uses
It's an interesting look at some AD&D spells and how they work in CRPGs. Some spells just suck in any game - Burning Hands has never not been a waste, for example. Others are overpowered everywhere - Fireball and Sleep, for example. On Sleep, he's got this great quote:
"If magic was real, "Sleep" and "Hold" would be outlawed by the Geneva Convention."
The lists only go for the spells in the Gold Box games* and thus doesn't have every spell or every level. But it has the real gems of AD&D, and this description of Fireball is priceless and accurate:
"Fireball. Perhaps the most useful spell in the game, or at least the one I like the most. Does 1d6 per damage for every level of the caster, and over an enormous 37-square area indoors. When I face a large group of enemies all bunched together, I get tingles. Enemies often make saving throws for half-damage, but even then it can disrupt every enemy spellcaster and soften them up spectacularly. It never gets old."
Yeah. It never gets old.
* Of which I only ever played Pool of Radiance, twice through.
Friday, March 1, 2019
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This is just amusing. In case you wondered if kicks can, in fact, work in armor . . . yeah. Yeah they can. Both an armored kicker and an armored target. It's a good combo, too, using the threat of the blade as an opener to allow a shin kick to the head. That in turn provides the cascade of openings necessary for everything that follows.
One thing games don't model that well, generally - including GURPS - is the impact damage of attacks. That headgear provides a lot of DR against blades, axes, etc., but armor is necessarily good for cushioning the brain from impact. I suppose you could D&D-type games, with AC, do this better - if you can land the blow effectively despite the armor, you do and effects ensue. A middle ground like Rolemaster - you might stop a crit but not stop a blow and still take concussion damage - might work better here. It's an interesting issue. So often we think "kick in armor" and might picture a booted foot trying a front kick on a steel breastplate. Then you see a shin kick to the head where the rigidity of the armor is no boon for the victim and see what a kick can do sometimes.
Fun, fun stuff. I'm not likely to watch matches of that sport. But I will look for highlights sometimes. That's one right there.