Sunday, June 30, 2019

Felltower - What Next?

We're either a week out from another delve in Felltower, or a month or more out. There is a scheduling-related gap coming up so we'll see if we're exploring the badlands of Michigan or the crew is heading into the depths of Felltower.

Let's assume it's the latter.

If so, we've got some research that's been discussed:

- How to deal with or bypass the "evil door" that guards the Black Library.

- Sending a PC with Streetwise into the slums to try to find the hidden entrance to Felltower that rumor places there.

Researching the lenses has come up, but still, they haven't found much of any clues about how to use them and little has come back from asking about it before.

With the orcs having been dealt a serious blow, it's likely the PCs will stop attacking the orcs directly for a time. "Finishing off" the orcs will be tough - there are many, many more of them - but another attack might be a good way to try to penetrate through to even more important folks (at least as one player opined.)

With them out of the way, the PCs can do some deeper delving. The problem still remains that the PCs are relatively weak for the areas left unexplored, and the areas best known to hold treasure are also those best known to hold monsters capable of wiping out the group - the beholder, the huge dragon, the draugr, the Lord of Spite, possibly the deeper giant fantastic staircase (GFS) . . . .

Several gates are unknown, several more leads places that are known but no one is yet ready to try and unravel - the "air gate," the "fire gate," the "jester gate," the "jungle gate."

So as I see it, there are three broad groups of options:

- clear out a known "danger pocket" or deal with a known enigma

- go through a gate to unknown dangers

- explore deeper (the staircase, some of the paths leading past the "Lord of Spite's Apartment Complex."

That is at least how I'd group them - old, unknown puzzle, new paths.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

War in the East / War in the West sale

Just FYI, the monster wargame that has been occupying a lot of my brainspace recently is on sale at Steam for 70% off. Since each game is normally $80, this is an excellent deal. It beats what I paid with a stick. I highly recommend either or both games if you're a real old-school chit-and-hex turn-based wargame fan.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

The Meeposian Brothers

As requested, here are the Meeposian Brothers, straight out of GCA:



Document





Name: Demitrios, Antonios, Leonatios of Meepos

Race: Human

 


Attributes [110]


ST 13 [30]

DX 13 [60]

IQ 10

HT 12 [20]

 

HP 13

Will 10

Per 10

FP 12

 

Basic Lift 34

Damage 1d/2d-1

 

Basic Speed 6 [-5]

Basic Move 7 [5]

 

Ground Move 7

Water Move 1

 


Social Background


TL: 3 [0]

Cultural Familiarities:

Languages: Common (Native) [0].

 


Advantages [20]


Combat Reflexes [15]

Enhanced Block (1) [5]

 


Perks [2]


Sacrificial Block [1]

Shield Wall Training [1]

 


Disadvantages [-40]


Chummy [-5]

Code of Honor (Soldier's) [-10]

Code of Honor (Stays Bought) [-5]

No Sense of Humor [-10]

Overconfidence (12 or less) [-5]

Sense of Duty (Adventuring companions) [-5]

 


Quirks [-2]


Never operate seperately [-1]

Worship the Saint of Fishes, St. Pesci [-1]

 


Packages [0]


Squire (Dungeon Fantasy) [0]

 


Skills [35]


Armoury/TL3 (Body Armor) IQ/A - IQ+0 10 [2]

Brawling DX/E - DX+0 13 [1]

Carousing HT/E - HT+0 12 [1]

Climbing DX/A - DX-1 12 [1]

Connoisseur (Weapons) IQ/A - IQ+0 10 [2]

Fast-Draw (Shortsword) DX/E - DX+1 14 [1]

includes: +1 from 'Combat Reflexes'

Gambling IQ/A - IQ-1 9 [1]

Gesture IQ/E - IQ+0 10 [1]

Heraldry IQ/A - IQ-1 9 [1]

Knife DX/E - DX+0 13 [1]

Leadership IQ/A - IQ-1 9 [1]

Shield (Shield) DX/E - DX+2 15 [4]

Shortsword DX/A - DX+1 14 [4]

Spear DX/A - DX+2 15 [8]

Stealth DX/A - DX-1 12 [1]

Sumo Wrestling DX/A - DX-1 12 [1]

Tactics IQ/H - IQ-1 9 [2]

Thrown Weapon (Spear) DX/E - DX+1 14 [2]

 

Stats [110]
Ads [20]
Disads [-40]
Quirks [-2]
Skills [35]
= Total [125]
 

 


Hand Weapons


1  Large Shield  LC:4  $190  Wgt:18.75 

    Bash  Dam:1d cr  Reach:1  Parry:No  ST:  Skill:ST:DX-4, SK:Shield (Buckler)-2, SK:Shield (Force)-2, SK:Shield (Shield)  Notes:[2,4] 

    Rush  Dam:slam+3 cr  Reach:1  Parry:No  ST:  Skill:ST:DX-4, SK:Shield (Buckler)-2, SK:Shield (Force)-2, SK:Shield (Shield)  Notes:[2,4] 

1  Shortsword  LC:4|4  $400  Wgt:2 

    Swing  Dam:2d-1 cut  Reach:1  Parry:11  ST:8  Skill:SK:Sword!, SK:Shortsword, ST:DX-5, SK:Broadsword-2, SK:Force Sword-4, SK:Jitte/Sai-3, SK:Knife-4, SK:Saber-4, SK:Smallsword-4, SK:Tonfa-3 

    Thrust  Dam:1d+1 imp  Reach:1  Parry:11  ST:8  Skill:SK:Sword!, SK:Shortsword, ST:DX-5, SK:Broadsword-2, SK:Force Sword-4, SK:Jitte/Sai-3, SK:Knife-4, SK:Saber-4, SK:Smallsword-4, SK:Tonfa-3 

1  Spear  LC:4|4|4  $200  Wgt:4 

    1H  Dam:1d+2 imp  Reach:1*  Parry:12  ST:10  Skill:SK:Spear, ST:DX-5, SK:Polearm-4, SK:Staff-2  Notes:[1] 

    2H  Dam:1d+3 imp  Reach:1, 2*  Parry:12  ST:9†  Skill:SK:Spear, ST:DX-5, SK:Polearm-4, SK:Staff-2  Notes:two hands 

 


Ranged Weapons


1  Spear  LC:4|4|4  Dam:1d+3 imp  Acc:2  Range:13 / 20 

    RoF:1  Shots:T(1)  ST:9  Bulk:-6  Rcl:-  $200  Wgt:4 

 


Armor & Possessions


1  Boots  $80  Wgt:3  Location:feet 

1  Gauntlets  $108  Wgt:1.5  Location:hands 

1  Leather Helm  $25  Wgt:.5  Location:skull, face 

1  Legionary Helmet  $165  Wgt:4.5  Location:skull, face 

1  Ordinary Clothes (Status +0)  $0  Wgt:2  Location: 

1  Scale Armor  $495  Wgt:26.25  Location:torso, groin 

1  Scale Leggings  $295  Wgt:15.75  Location:legs 

1  Scale Sleeves  $233  Wgt:10.5  Location:arms 

 




Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Rulings from DF Session 118

We had few rules questions come up in DF Session 118.

- Regeneration works very quickly on eyes in Felltower. No one asked, but I think some of the players probably expected that a solid eye hit would mean an eye would be crippled - blinded - for a long time. But crippling injuries generally heal when all of the HP lost to it come back; we don't track individual wounds but I felt that full regeneration of all damage inflicted on a creature is excessive and beyond the spirit of the rules. And it's not injury that is the issue - should a 5 damage hit to the eye on a human (20 injury) take 20 HP of healing to recover, but a 10-HP hit on a HP 5 Troll (with No Brain) take much less healing? That seems odd - what's behind the eye shouldn't determine how long it takes to heal the eye. So I decided it came back as soon as enough HP to heal a lost eye was healed. For a troll, this could be a few seconds.

I suppose I could rule that damage in excess of twice what is needed to cripple the eye destroys it, ala Dismemberment, but that would just about every hit to the eye destroys it even in a non-DF game. That seems excessive. There are lots of ways to damage and blind an eye with a blow to the eye socket that doesn't destroy the eyeball.

- We still struggle with a logical and consistent and loophole-limited ruling on light sources and Invisibility. That's a whole post on its own. Suffice it to say I didn't let someone "partially uncover" a lightstone while invisible, so it only shows in one direction.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Real-Life Juggers

Once again, we take another step closer to playing Deathball!



If you didn't realize it from that article Sean and I wrote way back when for Pyramid, I really like the movie "Blood of Heroes" aka "Salute to the Juggers." Sean Punch introduced it to me. It has some of my favorite things in it - Rutger Hauer, post-apocalyptic sports, Joan Chen, weird death sports, and more (like Vincent D'Onofrio and Delroy Lindo.) Is it a shock in a world with calcio fiorentino that people play the sport of the Juggers?

Special thanks to Tom Pluck for finding this and sending it to me.

Monday, June 24, 2019

GURPS DF Session 118, Felltower 90 - Into the Orc Hole IV

Players were thin on the ground today, so a very short-staffed group debated three things: a gate, the crystal lenses, and the orcs. Having no good ideas on the gate and the lenses, despite a long brainstorming session, they went with the orcs for a third consecutive attack.

Date: Sunday, June 23rd, 2019

Weather: Hot, clear, sunny.

Characters:
Ulf Sigurdson, human cleric (250 points)
     Antonios, Demitios, and Leonitus of Meepos, human spearmen (?? points)
Galen Longtread, human scout (409 points)
Gerald Tarrant, human necromancer (355 points)
     5 Skeletons (~35 points)
     Skull Spirit (?? points)
Wyatt Sorrell, human swashbuckler (265 points)
Red Raggi, human berserker (?? points, NPC)
Orcish Bob, not-orcish orc brute (approximately 125 points, NPC)


The group gathered in town, after a long debate session about what to do. They scrambled and found Raggi, Orcish Bob, and the Meeposian Brothers. They bought a rope ladder, Wyatt managed to find an Agility potion - and Ulf was given a Minor Healing potion while panhandling! With some other assorted gear, they headed up to the top of the mountain. They avoided the "Giant Cave" entrance, formerly known as the "Dragon Cave" entrance, because there is a giant and a pack of dire wolves there.

Instead they went down the trapdoor entrance - a skeleton opened it and was not zapped. They'd heard a rumor that orichalcum armor will block that black energy, but Wyatt claimed the guy spreading the rumor was clearly a blacksmith selling orchalcum armor.

They made their way down into the dungeon, then to level 2, and then towards the orcs. The spelled-up Galen and sent him ahead to scout as they got close.

He found a barricade blocking a T-hallway right where they'd previously had a big to-do brawl with the orcs and an Earth College-expert caster. It was 6' high and fronted with oil and caltrops covered with some odd black sticky stuff. Galen cleared them aside and peered through narrow eyeslits and saw nothing behind it. He came back and reported to the group. Then he went back, hopped the barricade, and saw two crossbows strapped to stools, set with rope triggers going to the left and right up the direction the party meant to go. He snuck up there and saw orcs - three to the right, one to the left, mostly being lazy but one on guard with the crossbow rope trigger around his wrist. The solitary one in the back was just resting.

So Galen shot down two of the guys on the right, dropping his usual Invisibility. One fell and triggered a crossbow harmlessly.The next second he shot down the orc in front of him and spun to put down the other. (Actually, I realized after he can't do that in one second - Double-Shot required he be able to see both targets, as he's firing two arrows off of the bow at the same time, so loosing two arrows 180 degrees away from each other doesn't cut it.)

The group came up and cleared the rest of the caltrops, put Silence up and had the skeletons chop apart the barricade. Wyatt wanted Raggi to do it but he didn't want to and gestured at the skeletons. As soon as there was space Gerry slipped through and cast Zombie on one of the orcs.

They made their way, again with Galen scouting, over to the orc hole. There, they used Silence on the hole and went kicking down doors to make sure no one was in the rooms nearest the hole. They didn't find anyone, although one door was jammed and Raggi couldn't kick it down, and Wyatt couldn't turn the handle to open it either.

They nailed in pitons and dropped a rope and climbed down.

Again, Galen went ahead to scout, and ran into no opposition. He checked for secret doors to see where rear attackers could come from, but found nothing. Gerry followed when Galen reported back and they used the usual Invisibility, Dark Vision, See Invisible, now No-Smell, and Levitation to check the cliff-face exit. There was the fishing net again, hung with bells and noisemakers. Behind it were six armed goblins relaxing after a dice game, and six flasks. All were back by the far end.

So after some discussion they got ready to basically rush the cliff, send Ulf up there to put Silence and hand a portable ladder from the cliff. To make sure no goblins could escape, Gerry came up with Galen - far back this time - and used Great Haste. Galen shot down four of the goblins in one second, and as the other two jumped up in surprise he shot them twice each. They all dropped, clearly dead.

They began their plan. As they did, though, two dark-skinned and well-armed orcs came running up. Galen shot at both of them, nailing one in the vitals with a 4, and missing the other - clearly Missile Shield! He shot both of them again, and missed both - so both had Missile Shield, but he managed to shoot through it.

The orcs taunted them from the top, as Ulf pushed away to avoid getting stabbed in the face by one spear-armed orc. The other, sword-armed orc basically waited for a chance to fight. Galen kept loosing arrows and missing. Wyatt climbed up the cliff face to fight the orcs and allow Ulf back up. But then Galen shot one of the orcs with another 4! Shortly after, he got yet another 4. The skull spirit was sent into the action as well. Soon both orcs were downed and the PCs managed to slice through the net, noisily. Meanwhile, they heard the noises of orcs organizing in the big cave beyond the cliff face area.

They managed to get their forces to the top - and Wyatt tossed the six bottles by the goblins, not wanting to get nailed somehow from behind with oil flasks they'd left. He chucked them into the water. (This led to some discussion of stashing zombies all over the dungeon for later use. I restrained from pointing out this would require them to move there, thus becoming dungeon monsters.)

They formed up quickly and moved into the cave, Wyatt quaffing his potion as he went (and getting +5 to DX.)

They confronted a loose formation of 21 brute orcs backed by seven two-headed ogres - three really big ones and four "smaller" ogre-sized ones. (Wyatt consistently refers to these as ettins, which is clearly what they call two-headed ogres where he's from.) Also were eight orc archers, one big brute one and the rest normal warriors. Well, Galen was confronted with that - Gerry had cut down his buffing spells so only Galen had Dark Vision.

The PCs began to advance, the main combatants - Raggi, Wyatt, and Orcish Bob - in the lead, with Galen and the orc zombie behind, and then the Meeposian brothers backed by Ulf, then Gerry backed by his skull spirit and skeletons.

They advanced in more-or-less methodically, with Galen shooting down orcs - and finding these brutes tough and often staying up after two shots to the vitals, or blocking with their shields. The orcs launched arrows as well from the darkness and hit PCs, but mostly the arrows plunked off. Wyatt took one but shrugged off the venom on it, as did one of the Meeposian brothers (who Ulf then healed.)

The PCs kept moving into the fray, fighting the orcs - who then pulled back, steadily, at the command of something back in the darkness (one of the big two-headed ogres, according to Galen). The PCs kept pressing, and soon Raggi was wounded and went berserk. A couple of orcs disobeyed orders and tried to attack Raggi while he was vulnerable and wounded him, but they soon went down. Wyatt killed an orc or two as Orcish Bob mostly moved to keep his flanks covered. Ulf held his paralyzation wand and cast healing on Raggi after a hard initial hit.

Galen systematically shot down all of the archers, basically from right to left, after a single shot at an ogre showed it to be Missile Shielded. The orcs continued to pull back, leaving the flank open to the ogres. The PCs moved up, Raggi taking steady damage as he killed and wounded orcs. Meanwhile the Meeposian brothers had been advancing slowly - 1 yard per second - formed-up. But at the urging of Wyatt and Ulf, they rushed up a bit. At this time, Raggi critically missed on a swing and dropped his axe. Orcish Bob took a terrific hit at this point, too, and dropped, badly wounded and stunned. The zombie and Wyatt moved to protect him.

Then one of the ogres yelled to the surviving orcs - many were already down - "Now! Surround them!" Galen couldn't understand what the ogres said to one another but caught that and relayed it to the group. The orcs surged forward, the four "regular" two-headed ogres threw eight spears at Raggi (many hit, hurting him badly and leaving him at negative HP) . . . and suddenly two trolls attacked from their right flank. One clawed Ulf twice and bit him in the neck, dropping him straight to heavily negative HP and knocking him out. Another attacked the Meeposian brothers, biting Antonious in the neck and clawing Demetrios and Leonidas in the neck - the attacks ended Invisibility. In a second, the orc/ogre and now troll counterattack put the PCs in a bad situation.

The troll on Ulf ripped at his neck a bit and mortally wounded him, then dropped him to concentrate on the skeletons that Gerry commanded to charge it. Their solid defenses kept it busy. The one on the Meeposian brothers mauled Antonious and dropped him unconscious but it passed its Bloodlust check and moved on to better targets - the other brothers stabbed it repeatedly and hurt it. Galen loosed arrows into the fray and blinded the troll that had mauled Ulf and wounded the other. But with regeneration, the trolls weren't terribly worried.

The ogres advanced. Raggi had no weapon, but had a nearby foe - a two-headed ogre. He rushed it and grappled its right-side head and started to punch it. It couldn't effectively fight back until it dropped its axe and punched back, the club-armed left hand trying to swat Raggi. An orc ran up and started to hit Raggi in the back with his axe. He was heavily armored on the torso so it didn't hurt much, but by now he was at -96 HP and only 24 injury from automatic death.

Gerry ordered the skeletons and skull spirit after the trolls and put Great Haste on himself and then Galen, and then put Haste on himself so he could move up closer to Wyatt. Galen started to seriously massacre orcs at this point, even past the heavy damage he did to them so far.

Orcish Bob passed out at this point, and he was stabbed by an orc who called him "traitor!" according to Galen. But Galen shot that orc down. The orc zombie fell, and the remaining orcs rushed the PCs. Galen shot one and wounded it, so two skeletons deployed to fight him.

Waytt moved up after the ogres, and stabbed one four times - once in each eye. His heavily Deceptive attacks got through and the ogre dropped. The others closed in, including the big brute one.

The trolls kept fighting, but didn't make much headway against the skeletons. One went down after several more hits and more of Galen's arrows, which he plunked into the body - his experience in the Troll Wars told him there weren't any vulnerable points on a troll. Once it went down, Gerry ran up and spiked down an Alchemist's Fire on the downed troll.

One of the ogres rushed the Meeposian brothers and quickly killed Demetrios. The troll took down Leonidas (he'd die, too) and the ogre smashed down one of the skeletons with a 3 for a max-damage club hit. Galen shot into the orcs and killed the one hacking at Raggi, then one that tried to close in with Wyatt, and then finished another one. Other orcs collapsed from their arrow wounds, too, leaving no more orcs.

The second troll was soon down, and two skeletons hacked at it to keep it down. Meanwhile, Wyatt had fought most of the other ogres. He blinded all of them, including the big guy and the two spellcasters, and put one head lolling on the one fighting Raggi. But he saw they were regenerating and the ogre casters had put Great Haste on themselves. So he focused on them for a bit, eventually stabbing them all in the eyes with more attacks, all at a higher Deceptive, than they could defend against. Soon they were all dead, including the one on Raggi.

Galen had no more targets, so he dropped his bow and rushed around behind the ogre (he's Base Move 12) and stabbed it through the chinks in his armor, wounding it. Wyatt (and Raggi) rushed it. Galen stabbed it again, but then Wyatt got around it and killed it. Raggi didn't snap out of berserk at first, but a default Leadership roll by Gerry did the trick.

He collapsed unconscious.

The PCs spent a few minutes on finishing the trolls (with another Alchemist's Fire and wooden weapons and arrows as fuel) and checked the wounded ogres and orcs to see who was dead and who Gerry could drain FP from. They bandaged up the wounded and looted everyone of the obvious loot - swords, purses, etc. and searched the ogre cave. The ogres were loaded, and one of the wizard-types wore a plainly magical corselet - which shrank down when they took it from him.

After maybe 10 minutes of this, they headed out, leaving the battlefield behind. They had enough skeletons to haul their wounded teammates, with help from Galen and Wyatt, and eventually made it back to safety.

Ulf held on through several HT checks and made it back to town, where he could be healed. Orcish Bob recovered with some church healing as well, and so did Antonios. Leonidas and Demetrios, however, had died, and Antonios announced his plan to return to Meepos with their remains. Raggi was fine, eventually, presumably, as he always is. The armor turned out to be a Mythic Corselet. The PCs gave a fine spear one of the ogre's threw to Antonios in thanks and offered (but were rebuffed) when they offered to pay extra to help him get his brother's corpses home.

The divided up the loot and we ended there.

Notes:

We forgot to make Ulf's roll against HT loss or horrible scarring. We'll do that next time!

The orcs, again, tried some new tactics. They aren't great engineers but they do vicious fighting well. They sacrificed six goblins as part of a "defense in depth" plan that left pickets to trip an alarm on an attack while their main force was out of the range of damage. Waiting orcs just kept watch on the goblins, to see if they'd die. They did, and thus they knew to organize for a fight.

The final fight against the orcs was excellent. The PCs used excellent tactics, and only really got mauled because the orcs/ogres used clever tactics and magic back. Had Gerry had See Invisible up, they could have forstalled those as well. Even after that, they recovered well and didn't fall apart and kept fighting soundly. The orc/ogres used revised tactics based on what worked poorly for them last time - Missile Shield extensively, Great Haste on the casters, Invisible fighters instead of relying on a crowd to shield the big guys plus hasted trolls.

What's interesting to me is that the final fight was basically the second fight the PCs faced - and retreated from - way back when. The orcs weren't quite as well equipped, but had better odds against the PCs than the previous time. This time, the players committed to the fight - not once did anyone even bring up trying to cut and run. It was win, period. And they did that. Wyatt also was very good about staying close to his buddies, and helped keep Raggi (and fallen Orcish Bob) from getting mobbed and potentially killed until he was needed to attack ogres, and sometimes even then.

The orcs clearly suffered an appalling defeat here. It remains to be seen what happens next with them. Wyatt opined that if he was the orc king, he'd find somewhere else to settle. Ulf said he's heard the orc king's body is buried somewhere in Felltower, so it was likely they'd stick around anyway.

MVP was a tough call. Galen was the runaway favorite early, with his 3 (!) 4s rolled against a foe with Missile Shield. Based on a ruling I liked back in Roleplayer magazine. It's happened, rarely. It's never happened twice in one fight, nevermind by the same person. Galen did it three times - including on his first shot. But then Wyatt killed every single one of the two-headed ogres - which one them the battle and was the whole point of the attacks on the orcs. In the end, Galen's once-in-a-lifetime triple was the winner. We've played with that rule since the someething like the late 80s/early 90s and I've never seen that happen before.

I'm not sure of the exact loot, it's being done by email, but it was plenty. Wyatt claimed the Mythic Corselet. He immediately asked about getting Lighten on it but sadly, it's not something you can add additional enchantments to. He's stuck with all 35 lbs. of it. It's really a better deal for an SM+1 type stuck with heavy armor, but Wyatt wants more DR and this gives plenty.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Felltower brief pre-summary

Late-running session of Felltower today.

Very short version: some casualties, but a great victory against the orcs yielded excellent loot.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Felltower tomorrow

Although we'd prepped and planned for Gamma Terra tomorrow, real-world issues took out the prep time for our Gamma Terra GM.

So I'm running a delve into Felltower tomorrow.

It looks to be a thin crowd:

Galen
Gerry
Ulf
Wyatt

and possibly Hayden the Ebon Page.

With such a thin group, expect to see a lot of last-minute grubbing for hirelings. What the group will do isn't clear. They'll be light on firepower for dealing the orcs a third (and decisive?) blow, but that may still get tried. The long list of undone stuff might get get whittled down. Or maybe they'll just randomly wander around for a few hours and then attempt something crazy in a panic with only an hour left to play and no loot found!

You know, one of those.

Friday, June 21, 2019

DFT3 - First Review & what I like the best

The Blind Mapmaker did a nice brief review of my latest book, DFT3.

It's extremely valuable to an author to get feedback, positive or negative. We rarely get as much as we'd like. Or at least, I don't.

Reading it over made me think of what I like the most about my own books:

- I like re-reading my edited words to hear how my writing could sound if I was just better at it. This gives me a lot of pleasure, but also helps me write better the next time.

- Picking the quotes - and then getting to read them in the final book. I think I found some excellent ones for this book - Poul Anderson, Gary Gygax, Glen Cook, Hugh Cook, J.R.R. Tolkien, Michael Moorcock, and Alexei Pehov. The first thing I do when I get one of my own books back is go through and read the quotes. It's also the first thing I do when I get someone else's book. It tells me so much about the author and the feel the book is going for. Basically, it's a "who are your influences?"

- and I like reading over all of the credits - the people who helped me, the staff that made the book happen, and seeing my friend's names in print for all of their hapless dead PCs who played through the material I put down into the book.

Those three things make me happy.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Treasures 3: Artifacts of Felltower

My recent, much hinted-at GURPS DF title has been released:




GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Treasures 3: Artifacts of Felltower
by Peter V. Dell'Orto
17 pages
$5.00

I had a mish-mash of items ready to publish as a Treasures book a while back. At the time, SJG didn't want it - it was too close to the release of DFT2. A couple years went by, and I whittled it down to some better ones and added some new ones . . . but the only theme I had was "stuff from my Felltower campaign." Steve Jackson Games did want that, actually.

So this is the first official GURPS book featuring Felltower, and some of its amazing artifacts - Sigurd's Sword, Shieldslayer, the infamous Ring of Pro (Deadly Ring), oddments like potions of Giant Strength, Stubborn Rings, and more.

It's only $5 and you can find out the stats I use for my Felltower game for many items found in the game, and some not yet found. You'll actually have inside knowledge of what's to come and what is out there. How can you resist?

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Rules Weight - Video Games vs. Tabletop RPG

I've been playing War in the East a little at a time, and thinking about system/game mastery.

War in the East not only rewards system/game mastery, it demands it. You need to coordinate multi-level headquarters structures in order to maintain supply. You need to place those along rail lines (and convert the gauge of those lines), find appropriate places to put them to convey supplies up to the front line units, and safeguard them against enemy troops. You can't just assume a specific distance - if weather, terrain, or conditions lower the effective range of the HQ, you can be out of supply. And not just a HQ, but that unit's specific HQ (as far as I can tell.)

That assumes they have supplies - cities have supply dumps. Trucks and trains can bring them up - but are subject to attrition (wear and tear, as well as partisans and air attacks). You need to insure that there is fuel, general "supplies," and ammunition.

Mess any of that up, and your razor-sharp spear tip of armor and motorized infantry divisions will run out of fuel, or ammo, and be stuck when they could be rolling forward. Push a little too hard this turn and you can suffer immensely.

To do all of this well takes a close reading of the rules, and lots of practice. Even with that practice, it's easy to mess it up.

It is what people who don't actually know much about GURPS think GURPS is like.

For a massive video game that models the Eastern front down to the man and the individual vehicle, including esoterica such as local labor recruitment, administrative costs of firing commanders and moving units to another HQ, and so on . . . this feels right. I'm fine with this.

But I do get why some people prefer games with rules light enough to not really need to bother. I don't mind - in fact I generally prefer - a medium-weight system for tabletop gaming.

I really don't want to dig into too much minutia. I'd like to be able to if I have to, but mostly, I want some easy but consistent answers and rules with verisimilitude.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Hillbilly's XP decision - IQ or DX?

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.

I wrote that last session of Gamma Terra.

Next session is #20, and I'm not sure if I get to "level up" with a random increase or not.

If so, obviously I'll roll that first and see what I get.

But once that's done, unless I got some game-changing result, I'm going with +1 IQ.

As I've thought about this, I feel like I'll regret the "missing" point of DX less than the "missing" points of IQ, Will, Per, and one level of every IQ-based skill. I really want my Will and Per up, and I almost bought them up directly. I think we need better IQ-based skill rolls. And I have been without those breakpoint levels of my DX-based skills for a while. So I'm not sure I'll miss them.

Although +2 ST is really tempting, too . . . nah, not yet. IQ. Unless that roll comes up with something really decision-changing (like +1 IQ) I will go with getting Hillbilly a bit smarter. It's too useful at this juncture not to.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Yet Another Keep on the Borderlands game summary

This isn't my Keep on the Borderlands summary, although I've got a number of those.

This is over at 1000 Foot General
, with a group of inexperienced gamers figuring out how to deal with the challenge of unforgiving rules and potentially being outnumbered as well as out-powered as they get rolling. Here is their second session.

I'm hoping that there will be more of those summaries, complete with pictures.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Felltower: Orcs & Losses

In the past two sessions, the orcs have sustained some heavy casualties:

In Into the Orc Hole II, the PCs killed about a dozen orcs, mostly big "brute" orcs, along with four goblins, two devil wolves, and two half-ogres.

In Into the Orc Hole III, the PCs killed about 50 orcs, most regular orc warriors but one orc sergeant and one spellcaster.

Given that Galen's estimate is that maybe 300 orcs warriors are up in the valley north of Felltower, this is about 15-20% casualties. All dead, only a handful wounded and escaped. Unachimba asked how many forces/tribes could survive suddenly losing 10% of their number?

It's a good question.

Is that it for the orcs?

Losing 15% of your numbers in a couple of weeks is quite a serious amount of damage. But will that stop the orcs? The real question is, are casualties the orc's center of gravity? If so, then it's likely the orcs will back off, retreat from the dungeon entirely, or attempt some non-conflict way to resolve their goals.

But what if they aren't, ala - just to choose some easy examples - the Soviets in WWII, the Chinese in the Korean War, or the Romans during the Punic Wars? What if losses and casualties are just seen as a combination of the price of doing business, the cost of poor tactics, or a renewable resource? What if the orcs see combat casualties the way the PCs see money - something you spend in battle (via potions, paut, consumables) and then forget about?

Then the orcs aren't done. Even with a lot of casualties, if they don't see casualties as a big deal, it's not a big deal. They reproduce like mad and they have a totally callous attitude about death (theirs and others).

The PCs really haven't figured out what the orcs want. During their friendly phase the orcs weren't very good about explaining what they wanted. It's clear the grunt-level orcs don't really know the details beyond a fuzzy level, and those who know aren't talking. And aren't interesting in having the PCs accomplish it for them.

Ultimately, casualties can determine the outcome of the PCs vs. the orcs - the PCs can inflict so many casualties that it has to matter, even if the orcs aren't concerned by any individual or small group loss. But unless casualties in and of themselves are something the orcs are concerned about, it's probably not enough.

A big question remains - do the PCs feel satisfied with having given the orcs a good hard drubbing, or do they push the issue, risking casualties and poor loot (the orcs are low on swords, and high on low-grade-metal mail and axes) in order to push the orcs past recovery?

We'll see next session.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Review: Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game: Monsters 2

I read the new DFRPG book, Monsters 2, cover to cover. What did I think?



Written by Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch
Published by Steve Jackson Games 2019
53 pages
$20

The latest DFRPG release is Monsters 2, which was Kickstarted a few months back. The book is a sequel to DFRPG Monsters, which was included in the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game boxed set.

The book contains 24 new monsters - new to GURPS DFRPG stats - plus many have multiple variations. These include some staple beings: giants, angels, striges (aka stirges or strix), chimera, killer trees. They also include some unique additions - blood-draining undead, demonic dragons, elemental humanoids (and elemental blends), killer plants, things that dwell between dimensions, and so on. They're written up by Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch, who writes monsters that seem tough and mean to me, and I pride myself on playing on hard mode.

All of them get complete game stats, blurbs on how best to use those stats (tactically, but also to spark adventures), and writeups of what the stats mean when you use the monsters. Each monster comes with a full-color high-quality illustration, some adventure seeds, and enough information to back up their abilities with concrete in-game rulings.

Although some of the monsters already have had GURPS stats - giants and strix, for two examples - the DF/DFRPG level stats and excellent advice on how to use them is especially useful.

Overall: I'm impressed by what's included, and many of these monsters will see immediate use in my own Felltower campaign. Having only 24 monsters - admittedly some with multiple variations - is a bit disappointing. The two-page layout gives a lot of meat to the monsters but costs in overall quantity of monsters.

Recommended.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Miscellaneous Notes from 6/10/19 DF

Just a few more notes from last game.

- We haven't actually needed our "combat coordinator" since the first couple of times we used one. Interesting. People have been much better about keeping their place in the order and keeping others (and myself) on track with who is next.

- I'm terrible at remembering turn-delayed effects. So are my players. Poisons that affect a PC the turn after due to SM+1? Often forgotten. Guys taking arrows to the face and never having to remove them? Yes, usually. I get that sometimes those arrows don't penetrate DR enough to cause injury, but if it's because of special Barbarian Shirtless Savage DR or because it got through armor but not through skin, it's still sticking out of you. I forget penalties to knockdown and stunning, too, even though those don't change.

- Skull Spirits used to be, in 3e, total killers. In 4e, especially at DF power levels, they're pretty much annoyances unless you deploy them in groups.

- My players are these guys.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Rulings from DF Session 117

Here are some things that came up in DF Session 117:

- Invisibility and Zombie/Mass Zombie - I ruled those spells end Invisibility. I think it's a tough edge-case call, but when I ruled it did our resident necromancer-running PC agreed right away. That's generally a good sign. As fun as NPCs who raise the dead while hidden can be, it seems like it's more than just sneaking or stealing.

- Market Glut. If the PCs keep selling piles of low-value (or even high-value) gear, the market is sure to have enough after a while. I ruled that's the case with the endless stream of axes, spears, and other low-value weapons the PCs have been cashing in. Meanwhile the high-value items are still high-value. There are only so many okay-quality axes, spears, and low-quality suits of mail people want to buy.

- Mass Zombie works on corpse piles made as a "final resting place." Seems fair.

That's about it for rulings during the game.

Monday, June 10, 2019

GURPS DF Session 117, Felltower 89 - Into the Orc Hole III

The PCs raided the orcs last session, but weren't satisfied with the damage they inflicted. They decided to pile on.

Date: Sunday, June 9th, 2019

Weather: Hot, clear, sunny.

Characters:
Aldwyn, human knight (274 points)
Bruce "the Mild" McTavish, Jr., human barbarian (267 points)
Crogar, human barbarian (254 points)
Ulf Sigurdson, human cleric (250 points)
Galen Longtread, human scout (409 points)
Gerald Tarrant, human necromancer (332 points)
     5 Skeletons (~25 points)
     Skull Spirit (?? points)
Wyatt Sorrell, human swashbuckler (261 points)
Red Raggi, human berserker (?? points, NPC)

The group gathered in town, planning to raid the orcs a second time. They looked around for Orcish Bob (and anyone else) but found no one. They decided to look for Raggi and luckily found him. They gathered rumors, hearing that the big sphere that destroyed their Wizard Eye was a Bronze Beholder (like a bronze spider!), that the cone-hatted cultists have been seen in Arras, the big city to the west, and that a plague of trolls has been threatening the Cold Fens and the nearby town of Swampsedge. Wyatt got his foot stomped hard during a bar brawl (18 on Carousing), and decided that bar wasn't the best place to go drinking. Raggi disagreed - the "Brawl and Brew" is one of his favorite places!

Ulf started to plan a complex plan, but it depended on having a scroll of No Smell. So Ulf went shopping but couldn't find one - in fact, thanks to a terrible roll, no one in town makes those. Oh well, they'll need to learn it themselves or special order it from out of town. That killed that plan.

So they just set out with fairly mundane gear and off to the dungeon. The plan was, as usual, to go through the "dragon cave" to bypass the orc-held pillboxes at the front entrance and the locked spiral staircase door. All of the other entrances known have been blocked off.

When they reached the dragon cave, though, they found it wasn't abandoned anymore. It smelled of smoke, and there was a pile of discarded bones, skin, and other bits off to one side. Galen sneaked up and found it included a number of deer and a medium-sized owlbear (based on the beak and feathers.) He checked for tracks and found that a giant-sized humanoid - with big, wide feet - and between 12-18 dire wolves had been around.

Mild Bruce said it was clearly a hill giant and a pack of dire wolves. So they sent Galen ahead to scout as they moved up. Galen moved into the cave, Invisible and with Dark Vision. He went into the cave and found it empty of occupants but with clear signs of a pack of dire wolves and a giant. He found a big club leaning against a wall near a cookfire from the night before, chewed up bones (and dire wolf scat) in the corners, and a pile of mixed-sized roundish boulders. It stank of urine and wet dog. He searched a bag near the fire and found some wool cloak with half a wheel of hard cheese wrapped in it (he took that), an axe-head turned scraper, some gold and silver coins, some loose caltrops, and some other knickknacks. He took the valuables and the cheese and left.

They group came back in and quickly moved into the cave. They debated destroying - or stealing - the club to disarm the giant but realized it wouldn't do that. They followed their usual path deeper into the dungeon and eventually up to the second level. There, Galen found the room at the top of the stairs was guarded by two orcs near the door, on semi-alert, but at the top of the stairs was a greased area with one pack of caltrops scattered over three hexes, just enough to possibly catch the unwary. He hopped over the grease and shot both orcs dead, turning visible in the process.

The PCs moved up and looted the bodies, which Gerry proceeded to Zombie. Galen checked the hallways and saw orc barricades on either end, near the next turn-off. He heard the sounds of stealthy movement. After a few minutes - spellcasting and looting - the group advanced. Galen, Bruce, and Wyatt went left to cover them, the remainder of the group went right. They stormed the barricades and found nothing. The orcs had pulled back.

So the group moved to the right and explored a room (it had been used for stores, but was now empty.) They then headed to the "pillboxes." Galen and Wyatt covered the left one, while Crogar and Aldwyn climbed up to the right one. Crogar pushed open the trap door and took two arrows, one to the face and one the arm. He shrugged them off (Barbarian DR and Shirtless Savage DR) and managed to resist the poison, as well. He climbed up as the orcs dropped their bows and readied weapons. He moved into melee with them. Aldwyn climbed up
after and engaged the orcs as well. Crogar swung a powerful blow but went for a random location and lopped off an orc's arm and forced them back as Aldwyn climbed up. In short order they carved up the orcs.

They looted them but didn't Zombie them. They headed toward the orc hole, with Galen scouting.

Near the treasure vault statue room they found another barricade, and past it was a big pool of oil with a trail of oil leading away. Galen jumped that and was shot at by two orc archers and two orcs tossed Molotvian Cocktails at him. They all missed as he dove aside, shooting down one of the archers as he did so, but the cocktails ignited a good section of the room and lit the pool of oil on fire.

The PCs either jumped the oil (most) or ran through it (zombies, skeletons, Aldwyn). Galen shot down two more of the orcs. The last one just charged, yelling a battlecry, unwilling to die shot in the back. Galen shot him down in the front.

They looted them and moved forward to the "orc hole" and checked the side passage - nothing. So they began to climb down, Galen in the lead.

The orcs tried a two-pronged attack. Galen ran into an orc with a spear, backed by another, around a corner. Despite bad footing, a bad angle, and trying use a composite bow in tight quarters vs. a waiting foe, Galen killed the orcs. He killed both of them one at a time - shooting one in the arm and leg as he came around a corner, knocking him out from his wounds. Moments, later, as the last of the humans entered the pit, six orcs who'd concealed themselves in rooms near the orc hole tried to rush the skeletons. Gerry dropped down Darkness on the skeletons, who held off the orcs - one wounded an orc, and one particular skeleton crippled an orc's hand, knocked down and stunned another, and wounded a third. The -4 for attacking into the dark hexes confounded the orcs. Meanwhile the zombie orcs and Raggi climbed up. Raggi backed off until Gerry told him the darkness wouldn't affect him once in it, so he ran in and attacked the orcs. He quickly finished off all except the broken-hand orc who had limped away. Raggi laughed at him and went back down into the orc hole.

At the bottom of the hole, the PCs found the same room as last time. This time, though, the orcs had hung a heavy fishing net over the cave mouth exiting the room. So now a climb would reach a net, and cutting it would be a laborious process of sawing and slicing.

At the foot of the cliff were 9 dead orcs and 2 dead goblins, naked and rotting. So they decided that simply had to Mass Zombie them. They used Levitation to put Galen up where he could see. There were three orcs waiting back near the exit from the "balcony" - two with bows nocked but not held ready, one with a mace and shield in front.

They spent a few minutes on Mass Zombie and got the dead to rise. But as Aldwyn tried to arm them with captured orc weaponry, rot grubs burst out of one and four got into him, slithering between his gloves and arm armor! He yelled and dropped the weapons and Ulf leaped into action with Cleansing. That expelled the grubs in the nick of time (I'd rolled a 4 for the number of seconds before they did more injury). They stomped grubs and backed off from the dead. Gerry told them to arm themselves and they did.

(Amusingly, that's all they ever were used for, although they had big plans to send them at the orcs to inflict the rot grubs on their enemies.)

They used Levitation to get Ulf up the cliff to the edge and Silence so he could hammer in spikes without the orcs hearing (they said "alerting" them, but they were clearly alert). They'd had Galen tied one rope to both with a line between them.

They sent the orc zombies climbing up to cut the net with their axe and scimitar. As they did, though, the orc archers shot at their hands. The sawing wasn't going well, either, as the net was strong, the weapons not especially sharp, and one-handed cutting of a net not an ideal way to cut it down. Galen shot at the orcs at this point, dropping his Invisibility. He missed - they all had Missile Shield! They send shafts back at him, but missed because of his Missile Shield. They crit-fished each other a few times to no avail.*

Aldwyn and Mild Bruce climbed up, as did Wyatt, trying to get to the net. They cut at it as the orcs shot arrows at them which they mostly Dodged. Wyatt yelled to have the zombies climb up and hang from the net as he climbed up. The zombies did so, and pulled it partly down and made it easier to cut. Aldwyn and Mild Bruce forced their way through the netting and attacked the orcs, followed by Wyatt and then Crogar. They fought a sharp melee with some injuries on both sides until Wyatt closed in and killed two of the orcs after someone else killed the third; somewhere in here Mild Bruce broke his greatsword (!) and borrowed one of Wyatt's longswords, and Aldwyn took an axe to the face after a rash advance. But it didn't last long for the three orcs. Wyatt moved up into the larger cave and then backed off when he saw a couple dozen orcs.

The PCs tried to stop and reorganize but the orcs pressed forward as they did so. So they counter-advanced and a melee ensued. First it was tight - Raggi in the middle, Mild Bruce and Aldwyn on the flanks. They planned to advanced into a "bulge" to get five fighters vs. five orcs. Raggi had a "better idea," which was to continuously All-Out Attack (Great Cleave) on the advance (he has a Rules Exemption to allow that). He generally decapitated or incapacitated two orcs per turn this way, and forced himself into the advance mass of more than two dozen orc warriors.

The PCs followed, killing as they could. Crogar announced he was going kill "two of them." He ended up needing to kill a few more than that.

The fight was a straight-up melee. Raggi got hit and hurt many times - his lack of defenses and moderate armor didn't help sufficiently. But out of what turned out to be 30 orcs, he killed probably half of them, perhaps more. Galen shot down several, the other fighters killed a few apiece - especially when they stopped piling multiple attacks on one foe even when said attack was a fatal one (a neck slash, an eye stab.)

Back the orcs was a wizard and a subchief. Galen shot at them but, no, Missile Shield. So as the wizard was casting a spell Ulf zapped him with his Wand of Holding and paralyzed him. A moment later, Galen rolled a 4 and shot right through the subchief's Missile Shield and killed the orc. This was as the last of the orcs was cut down.

(It being late in the real world and) the party being exhausted, they set up to guard as Gerry cast Mass Zombie on all of the orcs still with heads on. They rose, and helped carry the gear of the slain to the surface.

They returned to the surface via the trapdoor exit to avoid the giant, who presumably is going to be unhappy about being robbed. They sold the orc mail (for only 20%, it's junky) and weapons (getting a mere 10% for non-sword weapons) - there is a bit of a glut on the market, and the orcs keep their weapons well and their armor poorly. But even so, axes and spears just aren't in that much demand.

* I allow 3 or 4 to penetrate Missile Shield, per a very old Roleplayer Q&A answer. It's not canonical but it's fun, as you can see later on this session.

Notes:

In a rare "no, not that" move, I veto'ed Mild Bruce living partway up the mountain when he camps out between sessions. That makes for a little too much chance to a) claim free knowledge ("I live there, what did I see or hear?") and b) kills off too many potential avenues for new adventures - raids on the slums, strange noises and sightings, disappearing hunters, etc. because Mild Bruce should just be there as it happens.

Amusingly, to me anyway, Aldwyn purchased Hard to Kill 1 and Hard to Subdue 1. I suggested he just get HT 10, but he had 6 points and said "I don't have 10 points." I suggested he wait, but nope. He earned 4 points this time. Guys buying Hard to Kill and Hard to Subdue andFit was one of the reasons I wrote the patching and "over patching" series. In my opinion you end up with a lot of "special case" rolls, a lot of questions ("Does my ____ apply here?"), and less overall benefit for similar cost. But my players almost all disagree with me here.

Although the orcs fought back hard, they didn't have their A team to oppose the players and it showed. Few injuries, except for Raggi getting carved up a bit, and lots of casualties. The PCs, for their part, pressed the attack. Even so it was a slow press - a stop to make Zombies, heal, drain FP, regain FP, loot, etc. and even Mass Zombie for several minutes. The orcs were as ready as they could be. I found it odd that they were really concerned about "alerting" the orcs long after the orcs launched multiple attacks on them, and clearly had observed earlier attacks and pulled back. They didn't alert the main force by horns, but the orcs they encountered were all ready for them. Add on the fact that the final battle started around 6 pm, because of the very slow movement up to that point, and they couldn't exploit their attack further. Too bad, because they killed 51 orcs (2 guards, 2 pillbox occupants, four ambushers, five more ambushers, three orcs in the tunnel, three guards, thirty orc warriors, a subchief, and a wizard), which even given a few hundred orcs is a very serious loss. Another hard push - had they had the time for it - could have been decisive. But in any case they gave the orcs a drubbing. Mostly losses in personnel they can afford (schlubby orc warriors) but still losses.

I'm pretty ruthless in play - Aldwyn took an axe when I rolled a hit, he tried to Dodge because he had done committed attack, and was hit. I rolled damage. Someone pointed out, hey, you could have parried with your other sword. Yes, he could have, and he would have made the parry. I said, "You already Dodged." Sorry, the game moves on. We can't retcon turns and decisions based on "I would have" or we'll never finish.

XP was 4 xp each for loot - they each took home just shy of 1000, and coughed up extra to Galen to hit his 1000 threshold - and 0 for exploration. They voted Ulf MVP for the paralyzing shot on the orc wizard. Raggi and Galen were in contention but they didn't want to "waste" the point on Raggi (how times have changed) and Galen lost out to Ulf.

Also, kudos to our host's neighbors, who pretty much started staining their deck when we started playing and worked straight through until we pretty much finished up 9 hours later. That's work ethic.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Felltower pre-summary for 6/9

We played Felltower today.

- we had 7 players

- Raggi joined the delve

- the PCs attacked the orcs

- lots of orcs were slain

- loot was taken

- and rot grubs!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

DF Felltower, 2019 Orc Raid Part II coming up

Tomorrow we're playing Felltower, and the players decided that waiting 12-15 months or so between attacks on the orcs wasn't really conducive to taking advantage of the effects of the prior raids.

That said, the players also realize that the orcs may be on high alert since the attack was so recent.

So it's going to be a battle between prepared delvers, ready to follow up on the damage they caused last raid, against prepared orcs, ready to deal with a raid that happen oh so recently from the same delvers.

Out of game, this means a battle between the wiles of the players and the power of their PCs, versus the numbers (but lesser power), wiles of the orcs through the GM's perception of the same, and the limited options of the orcs based on their racial preferences and tendencies. Man for man, the PCs outmatch the orcs. But the orcs have many more "men" than the PCs, and the PCs are casualty-averse despite (or perhaps because of) the sheer amount of casualties that Felltower demands. The PCs have more of a range of resources, but the orcs have more of the specific resources.

So this is going to be potentially an interesting session.

Plus I get to deploy ever more of my painted orcs! Hurrah!

Friday, June 7, 2019

DFRPG Monsters 2 Arrived, DFT3 art, and more

A few notes:

- I finally received my PDF of DFRPG Monsters 2. I'm beginning to read it and I like what I see so far. I haven't skimmed it, I'm finding I feel like reading it in order from Angel all the way to the end.

- I approved some preliminary art for DFT3. When I say "approved" I mean I was asked to take a look and offer comments and whatnot. I liked them - they're what I asked for and they depict a couple of items nearby in the book "in use."

- Speaking of DFT3, Kromm says it's a possible June release.

- Felltower this Sunday. Just a heads-up. It sounds like the orcs are getting a second visit.

- I've gotten a little more War in the East played. It's a vast game. Even a mini scenario like Road to Minsk takes me some hours to play. I'm running units past command or supply, failing to properly coordinate my attacks and my airpower, and making some poor attack decisions. I doubt I'm truly making effective use of the rail net, air power, and severing enemy logistics (although I obviously know the basics - surround units in a Kessel, screen the escapes, and never miss a chance to overrun an HQ or air base.) But I'm learning how to play. And it's maddeningly easy to get wrapped up in how many Soviet units you've crushed, prisoners you took, AFVs you disabled, etc. - much like the actual Axis forces did. I have to keep the goal the goal - defeat the enemy by seizing the victory squares in my scenario, with cutting off and crushing enemy forces being a way to do that.

Right now, I can't imagine how it is to play the Soviets in 1941. You get a real feel for why they'd hurl units to their deaths to buy some time or just hurt the Germans. I'll get there - probably by trying a late-war scenario later on and working backwards to trying to defend the motherland.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

DFRPG Monsters 2 - Still Not Yet

I still didn't get my DFRPG Monsters 2.

I emailed SJG directly this afternoon.

I did finally get a red banner on Kickstarter asking for a survey, which I hadn't seen before - and a I just got an email a short time ago asking for the same. I submitted my email and got a response.

So I guess tomorrow I'll get the book? I won't have time to look at it until late - tomorrow is a very busy work day. So is Saturday. And Sunday is Felltower. So don't expect to see any of the exciting new monsters in the dungeons just yet. I won't even have time to read them all nevermind start stocking them.

Since I didn't have DFRPG Monsters 2 to read, I did some more practice with War in the East. It's a monster - I have no idea how I'd do Barbarossa without OKH handy to help me - but I'm getting the hang of it a bit.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Marcher Lords PCs - an inspirational random background table

I really enjoy a good random table for generating interesting PC/NPC backgrounds. Not that I use them all that often - and I can feel constrained by the choices (cough, cough, 5e products) - but a good ones does tend to spark ideas.

This is a good one, one that I stumbled across while following links clicked on a whim while looking at blogs linked off of blogs that I like:

March Lord PCs

The results on the table really do make me think of fun characters to run and/or evoke some of the interesting minis I own and I'd like to see used. This makes me want to sit down and make some NPCs.

I've only briefly perused the older posts, but as one visually calls on Zhang Zhimou's "Hero" - a truly awe-inspiring piece of film art I once forced Sean Punch to watch before we outlined GURPS Martial Arts - it's likely I'll read more of what this person writes.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Gerry and the Skeletons

Gerry's player and I have known for a while that the pricing on his skeletons had become a bit wonky within GCA.

I spent a fair bit of time today adding in the necessary bits to GCA from DF9 to allow for proper pricing of Gerry's skeletal Ally Group. Not enough, as it killed 25%-and-up valued Allies, but I can add that back in when I have a little time again (and when it matters.)

Sadly this means some of the points he recently earned are likely needed to keep the group as-is, rather than upgrade them.

Currently he has an Ally Group (Built on 10% [0.4], Minion (+0%), Constantly Available (x4), Group Size 5 (x5) [8].

I gave him some options, some of which are:

- spend points to upgrade the whole group - going to 10 points for Group Size 6-10 would allow for 10 skeletons, or going to Built on 20% for 0.8 per would cost 8 more points but give them each another 30-35 points to improve their characteristics.

- downsize and upgrade the group - keep the point total the same (or increase it) and reduce the number of skeletons to allow for better ones. Instead of 8 points for 5 skeletons at 10% he could have 1 skeleton at 50% of his value. Or 2 at 25%.

- any combination of the above.

It's really accounting issues from GCA not having the right GDF file at the time we made him, and my own errors trying to end-run around it, that caused the cost issue. But it's high time we redressed that and also gave him a firm set of ideas for a path to upgrade.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

St. Timothy Strong-Arm (of Felltower)

Here is a new addition to the various Saints of the Good God, since I'm off to see a show today and don't have much time to write.

St. Timothy Strong-Arm. Patron of musicians. Miracles include making rancid things good, creating brotherhood out of disparate types, and inspiring crowds to frenzied pits of wild gyrations.

There, I feel better now.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

More Darklands

18 months ago, roughly, I blogged about making a concerted effort to finish Darklands.

I did not, in fact, finish it. I got distracted by a new job, and did not put enough time in it.

Now the CRPG Addict is playing it.

It's a bit of a slog where I am now - clunky combat after clunky combat. When I complete that, it seems like I've yet another series of clunky combats to finish it out. I'd like to do so, though - I like the game enough. It's just a bit of a slog now.

I'm interested to see how the CRPG Addict handles the game, though. He and I have some different tastes and a different level of work put into game. Yet it's always fun seeing someone else get through a nice game world like that in Darklands.
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