Wednesday, July 31, 2019

GURPS: What I Did Wrong

This is a followup to Doug Cole's post on the subject of GURPS Rules you've run incorrectly.

Here are a couple that I ran wrong accidentally:

Eyes Give 2 Ablative DR - Eyes are crippled on injury to them exceeding HP/10. In 3e, it was a flat 2 HP. We ran it that damage to the eye had to get past these 2 HP before doing any multiple for the Brain (3e) / Skull (4e) hit location.

The problem is, that's not what the rules say. You don't have to cripple the eye to inflict damage to the brain. It says clearly, that injury over HP/10 blinds the eye . . . and "Otherwise, treat as skull, without the extra DR!" (The skull has 2 DR.)

So we'd, say, have a victim shot in the eye with an arrow for 3 HP of damage, knock off 2 HP to "cripple the eye" and then have 1 HP of damage get the x4 injury multiplier and do 4 HP of injury. Total injury - 4 HP and you're blinded in one eye. But "treat as skull" means you just get that x4 multiplier on the damage . . . and if this exceeds HP/10, the eye is blinded. So this 3 HP of damage becomes 12 HP of injury, and the eye is crippled along the way.


Conscious Checks Immediately - this one we did for a long time, in fact until recently. If you suffered enough injury to potentially lose consciousness, we'd roll that immediately. Actually, you roll that on your turn, not on the turn of the person inflicting the injury.

Because of this, torso shots for high-damage fighters was the way to go. You didn't want to waste any damage and it was often instantly incapacitating. You could knock a foe down and out and know right away you'd done enough - no one else would waste attacks on that foe.

Changing it back to the rules as written and intended had an interesting effect. You are better off aiming for a hit location that comes with a high chance for knockdown and stunning, since that could knock a foe down or even out cold - both immediately.

Those are two that come to me off-hand. I know for certain I did others wrong, either accidentally or as house rules.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Trogdor the Game - Inside Look

I had some time today to open up Trogdor - "A cooperative game of Burnination, Majesty, and Consumate V's" and give the pieces a look and the rules a read.

First, the images:

The bits are all very nice.

The box is, like every game I've gotten recently, provided with a spacer because the components are too small for the box. I'm not sure why not just a thinner box. Shelf space is at a premium for me and this takes up a lot.

The playing pieces are well made, solid, heavy enough without being overly so, and attractive. Mostly - the guards are kind of bland, but whatever, they're bland in the video game, too. The extra "original" variations of Trogdor are nice - the original "Draw an S for . . . dragon" one, the snake-y Coach Z version, Strong Sad's chiaroscuro shaded version, and Strong Mad's one as well. The DAGRON one by Strong Mad is backed by the "Taster's Choice" version by Homsar, so you really get one more. Plus the "final" version of Trogdor.

The tiles and cards are also attractive and solid.

The rules are well explained (as far as I can see without a playthrough) and very well illustrated.

I plan to give this a go as soon as possible - solo if I can't find the time with my gaming group to play it. I'm reasonably satisfied with my purchase. It looks like a lot of fun.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Trogdor the Burninator - The Game!

I'll open this up tomorrow and try to do an unboxing/quick review. But for now, the answer to "What's in the box (on my stoop)?" was:

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Felltower Pages Updated

Before I head out for a longer break, I took the time to update the main Felltower campaign page, the encountered monsters post, and added a link to my new book to the Felltower page.

I'm looking forward to getting back to dungeoneering after my break!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Dungeon Fantasy Treasures 3 Sales so far

This is just a quick thank you to the - ta-dah - 94 people who purchased DFT3 during June.

Hopefully that's just the start of a longer tail of sales - DF12: Ninja sold 12 copies and DF15 a few more, so it's not like it's a one-and-done.

I'd have been happier cracking the 100 mark, of course, but every sale counts and I appreciate them all. I'll see what I can do about getting another book rolling soon. If DFT3 can sustain sales for a bit, I may have more Felltower-related material to put together. So much of what I have is cobbled-together notes that spring from immediate need and play, so the dungeon itself is more than a bit difficult to produce. But monsters, items, NPCs, perhaps dungeon sections, rules variations - I have plenty of those to offer up. Let's see how this one sells before I settle on doing any of that.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Elfmaid's Mercenary Missions

I'm just blogging this so I don't lose track of it:

d100 Mercenary Missions

It's a fun read and I think I can use some of those as adventure fodder. They'd make great random missions for a fantasy minis wargame, too.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Session 119, Felltower 91 - Into the Orc Hole V

Date: July 7th, 2019

Weather: Hot, sunny, moderately humid.

Crogar, human barbarian (268 points)
Galen Longtread, human scout (409 points)
Gerald Tarrant, human necromancer (355 points)
     5 Skeletons (~35 points)
     6 Skull Spirits (?? points)
Hayden the Ebon Page, human knight (307 points)
Ulf Sigurdson, human cleric (250 points)
Red Raggi, human berserker (?? points, NPC)
Orcish Bob, not-orcish orc brute (approximately 125 points, NPC)

The group gathered in town for another delve. Given the short handed crew, the lack of a Scry Gate scroll (it's on order, and will come in two more weeks), and desire to put paid to the orcs, they settled on dealing with the orcs. So they decided to go down the orc hole again, for a fourth straight session.

With that in mind, they found Raggi and recruited Orcish Bob, both of whom are always down for combat.

They gathered some rumors, including one about the orcs despising hobgoblins and "all of their allies." What allies? The PCs weren't sure. They also heard of a giant staircase up that goes to a "heavenly realm."

They purchased a portable ladder (since Wyatt has the one from last time), some assorted basic gear such as rope, mallets, spikes, etc. and headed out. They moved up to the castle and had Galen scout it out while Invisible. He found no signs of recent occupation. Meanwhile Gerry pulled out a skull to summon a Skull Spirit. He did, and rolled a 3. I thought of some good options . . . and told him a 1 or 6 was special. 1. Okay, roll again I said. 6. He ended up with six skull spirits. They'd have to act like a Mass Zombie grouping, not get individual commands, but it was still a great addition to the group. They rested a bit, then headed into the castle. They opened up the trap door and headed down.

From there they made their way, unmolested, to the orc hole. They kept an eye on that and checked the six doors they dealt with last time. The "stuck" door was still stuck, so Ulf put Silence on the area around the door and Crogar chopped it down. Beyond it were just abandoned orc beds, like the other rooms.

From there, they went down the orc hole in the usual fashon - Silence to nail in a rope ladder, Galen and Gerry Invisible going down first, the group once it was determined what the situation was. There were no guards on the "cliff" but the fishnet was there, repaired crudely.

They climbed up and cut it down, again under Silence, while Galen scouted ahead and determined the four-cave complex was empty and not recently used for living space. Hayden sliced up the net into knotted ropes, "so the sea turtles don't get caught in them" and tossed the bits in the pond ("Where the sea turtles live.")

The group scouted out and mapped the caverns, crudely. Then they formed up and headed up the "orc tunnel."

It was about a mile in that Galen, scouting ahead, found a barricade across the 9" wide tunnel. Beyond it was a 6-7 yard circular cave, with two goblins (preparing some kind of stew over embers), and seven orcs with bows, axes, and clubs. He pulled back and explained what he saw. They contrived a plan to get Galen up there, then Ulf would sneak up and cast Silence to allow them to be slain without alerting anyone.

Sadly, Ulf's terrible Stealth roll meant the orcs must have heard him; when Galen arrived four orcs were waiting on the far end tunnel - the goblins and other three were gone. When Ulf arrived, Galen shot two orcs once each in the right eye. They dropped, dead. The other two shot him as he became visible. One arrow bounced off his armor, another barely penetrated (but he resisted the poison.)

He shot them in the vitals and dropped one and wounded the other. Then he shot that one twice more and killed them, then shot the other four more times "to make sure." The other PCs rushed up.

Raggi kicked down the barricade and the checked the pot - maybe stew, maybe poison for arrows. They decided to pursue the others who clearly fled. They did so cautiously, though, with Galen scouting ahead and waiting at bends for them so they didn't lose track of each other or put him out of help's reach. They found a watering hole along the way (and some dropped arrows), fed by trickling water from the rock above.

They kept going - eventually another two miles, hearing more and more howling and yowling and growls ahead as they kept going. Finally they found the exit - a tunnel mouth out to the bright sunlight of the day. Highlighted in the light were about a dozen devil wolves. The group decided Galen should shoot a couple and lure the rest into the tunnel where they could be killed. So they set up, and Galen shot and killed two. But the wolves retreated instead - the PCs couldn't determine why (they failed the relevant PER rolls I made for them to detect anything.)

The PCs advanced to see outside. They saw a wooden palisade, about 15-20' high, embedded in a solid stone embankment - clearly Earth to Stone was used if not Shape Stone. The palisade had many orcs on it, and two sturdy gates to the left and the right. Beyond them, separate from the palisade, were two covered towers with movable shutters and a tarp covering them - clearing artillery platforms. Orcs in the scores - maybe hundreds - were organizing and they heard owlbears and ogres, too. And goblins, of course.

The group had planned to attack but decided to talk, instead. After some discussion of what they wanted, of course.

They seemed to have settled on "we want the orcs to leave us alone and let us go anywhere we want freely, and we'll ignore them in turn." Some suggested that the rumors of an "orc king" in Felltower meant they wanted the bones of that king, and the PCs could find it for them for a suitable reward.

So they sent Galen out to negotiate. Galen clearly was respected by the orcs, if not feared - probably feared. They accompanied him with the six skull spirits.

He walked out, bow away, but with Missile Shield on. Ten orcs launched arrows at him, then another ten. All missed. He called for a parley.

After some back and forth, the orc chieftan himself climbed down to talk, accompanied by five well-equipped orcs (guards? subchiefs?) and a standard bearer with a head mounted on a pole. The chief worse decorated armor and carried a bastard sword. The stood about 10 yards apart and yelled to each other.

Galen basically told the orc they were bored of killing orcs and wanted free access, but also asked what the orcs sought in the dungeon. The orc chieftan said that wasn't for non-orcs (using the blanket, very insulting term in orcish for "non-orcs" that basically indicates sub-orcish scum.) Galen mentioned the "orc king" and the orc chieftan looked momentarily surprised before putting his fierce negotiation face back on.

Galen and the orc couldn't come to terms. Galen said if they didn't agree they'd keep killing orcs, and the orc chieftan's response was, basically, "So what?" The orcs clearly wanted to explore Grak Yorl ("the Boneyards") and didn't care about casualties taken doing so. Once it was clear the PCs had nothing else to say, they both went silent and the orc chieftan climbed back up. As he was vaulting the battlements, Galen said, "We have the orc king's bones." The orc chieftan stopped dead and turned, and said, "Show me."

Galen couldn't, of course, and remained silent. The orc chieftan left. Galen pulled back and the group discussed what to do.

They decided to leave a strongly worded note in Common and drafted one. Then Ulf wrote it out and Galen shot it into the palisade wall with one of the captured orc arrows.

The message said:

To the Leader of the Orcs: We have no desire to kill any more of your orcs beyond the scores that we have already slain. We will not invade and destroy you, or even kill any more orcs, if you tell your troops to stop annoying us with their feeble attacks as we explore Grak Yorl. Leave as alone, and you may well see the bones of your king.
—Galen and his Warband

They trudged back the three miles to the caves, and climbed out of the orc hole. They took the time to loot the dead orcs, finally, and cast Mass Zombie on them, set up the barricade, and order them to kill anyone who came.

From there, they headed to the crystal lenses/mirrors they'd found back in session 35. Only Raggi had been there before. The others had heard of/read about them.

They proceeded to spend a lot of time experimenting with the mirrors and the repelling doors. They put Bravery on a willing Crogar and then convinced him to to walk backwards toward the doors. He went flying onto his face for 4d-4. They tried sending a skeleton, and it was flung back (for 2d-2 and it survived.)

They tried casting Dispel Magic on the doors from an Ethereal Body Gerry, but it didn't work - nor did Lockmaster. They tried Crogar rushing it after another spell and he went flying and landed on his neck.

They tried casting spells on things beheld in the mirrors to see if it amplified spells. It did not do that. But a Sunbolt shot in a way to ricochet off of all of them into the door was clearly amplified, and it scorched the previously undamaged doors. They couldn't make a large enough spell to matter, though, and decided blowing the doors off wasn't the solution.

They spend a good hour or so there (maybe more like 2) experimenting before they finally called it quits and headed back home. Luckily, nothing molested them the whole time.


For all of the non-combat action, and non-action at the end (due in party to very uncooperative wandering monsters dice) this was a very interesting session. Generally I feel a bit bad when the PCs try to find treasure and just can't eke any out. This one, I don't feel badly at all - no one even remotely tried. They briefly discussed killing the giant, but decided they'd already robbed him so he wouldn't have any loot. Red Raggi and Orcish Bob voted for that but didn't have the numbers to carry it.

The fortifications really slammed the PCs to a halt. I had mentioned way, way back when Galen scouted that the orcs had heavily fortified a cave entrance to the south that seemed to potentially reach into Felltower. Yes, yes they had. Clearly it was a good idea because the PCs weren't sure what to do and talked instead of killed because of the walls.

Shame of a waste of a massively successful Skull Spirit casting. All they did was- aid? hinder? do nothing for? pick one - some diplomatic talk.

The diplomacy was actually pretty amusing. The lack of a "face" character - even someone who is potentially likable but also talkative - hurts a bit here. You literally had two killers - Galen and the orc chieftan - possessed of no other agenda than "leave us alone so we can explore the dungeon as we please" and both with Callous and Bloodlust - talking about a non-aggression pact. So it ended exactly how you'd expect. "We'll keep killing your orcs." "Okay, you do that." It didn't help that the PCs had nothing to give and nothing to demand other than ignoring one another and a bit of "stay out of Felltower."

Loot was 31 sp each. That's a big drag on Bob's and Raggi's availability. From their perspective the PCs didn't even really try to get loot.

MVP was Crogar, as decided by a random die roll. XP was 1 for exploration.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Felltower pre-summary

Interesting session today.

- the PCs went into Felltower, down the orc hole, and all the way to the far end of the tunnel!

- negotiations with the orcs ensued;

- a note was left;

- and the lenses/mirrors/doors were toyed with extensively.

Close to no loot, which bodes ill for getting hirelings next time, but it was a fun session to run.

Also, Excited Utterances and Unwanted Stabbings were extensively discussed.

Summary sometime tomorrow.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Felltower and then a break

Tomorrow we're doing one more delve into Felltower, as our GT GM hasn't had much time to prepare.

After that, I'll get in some posts - probably scattered for the next week - and then I'll be posting irregularly at best for the rest of the month. I'll be away from my computer and a bit off of my usual timezone so it'll be difficult to keep up posting.

So look for the usual post-session barrage of posts for the next week, possibly some real excitement in the form of a spectacular session, and then a bit of a lull for a while.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Thoughts on Loot & Gear

Mailanka has expanded on his post about loot and gear, and I recommend reading it.

I like the idea of abstract wealth for many games - it takes the day-to-day financing out of the game and makes it about choosing stuff, accessing stuff, and doing stuff - not about the nitty gritty of detailed equipment tracking.

Oddly enough, then, the game I play in - GT - and the one I run - DF - are all about nitty gritty details like coin weight, bullet counts, gear shopping, and so on.

Like Mailanka says in his post, some games are about that directly. Counting rounds after the apocalypse is part of the fun.

Looting orcs for every last coin and searching the stomachs of giant frogs for swallowed gemstones is classic fantasy gaming.

The detail is a strong and important aspect of play. James Bond doesn't fret about where he gets gas for his car but Mad Max sure does. Conan squanders jewels in the fleshpots of the south, but PCs in games want to hoard every coin until they have enough for . . . whatever. Magics swords, potions, castles, henchmen - they cost, and a few gp here or there can add up.

This is why I track equipment so closely in DF and why we do so in GT.

It's also why we track the details of gear so closely. It is, again, part of the fun and the challenge.

It's really something well-supported in the game system and part of the genre.

If I ever do get around to running a modern game, I'll use abstract wealth. It's just easier to roll and see if you can buy, or just have, some random stuff than have people tracking dollars and cents and going on to check and see how much one of those costs. As easy as that is, and as convenient, tracking it all is likely to take away from the game.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Passage-Coin Skeletons

Thanks to The Renaissance Troll for posting up a look at a new(ish) boxed set of skeleton minis.

The minis themselves are Greek-themed, making them great for Jason and the Argonauts moments. But it's the description that makes this worth posting about:


They are the shades of the men of Sparta, Athens, Thebes, and Macedon. When a Necromancer plunders the coins meant for Charon, she can reanimate their remains and bind them to her will. Only by removing the skull from the body, or destroying the coins, may the warriors break their curse and return to the grave.

Wow. Those are some awesome skeletons. No just whacking these guys with a club and moving on. You've got to decapitate them . . . or destroy the coins the Necromancer used to summon them up.

This is a great way to make skeletons interesting. Get rid of the decapitation thing - it's too easy for PCs to just whack them down and cut off the head and move on. Make it all about the coins. Which, clearly, need not be on or anywhere near the skeletons.

Unkillable 2 (Achilles' Heel: Destruction of personal passage coin) is a good way to represent that. So is Unkillable 3 if you like skeletons that fall to dust which whisks off without a breeze to re-form back at their master's lair.

With that in hand, you have a Necromancer with some seemingly frail and fragile minions, but actually ones which will keep coming back no matter what you do to them, until you break up those coins. Which she presumably needs to keep close by to command them. Or you can defeat the necromancer, and claim the skeleton-coins for yourself. Will you lay the suffering souls to rest or abuse them yourself?

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Large figure storage?

Can anyone recommend good large figure storage cases?

I'm thinking from Reaper Bones giant-sized to Reaper big dragon sized.

Right now, my solution has been padded desk drawers and hope. But I don't have a good way to transport the figures, or really store them for anything like movement.

I've used GW cases (they're pretty good for small ones) and Feldherr (not bad, but they've suffered some breakage from fairly day-to-day use), and Chessex (ugh.) I'd curious what other people use to transport big, heavy, and delicate minis.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Book update, articles I like, and notes on DFT3

A few linky things today:

- GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Treasures 3: Artifacts of Felltower has been updated. As far as I can tell, it's just a fix to an error that crept into the initial draft, and remained unnoticed - setting the start of my DF game to 2001 (incorrect) instead of 2011 (correct.)

- I like this look at gear by Mailanka, very much.

- In one of the reviews of DFT3, Weapon Sets got a call out. But it noted there is only one weapon set in the book. That's not exactly true. There is another set - the relationship between two of the magical weapons (on pages 6 and 7) is another set. It's not called out as one, but the two weapons have complimentary effects on a bearer using both, and one special power of one weapon applies to the other if they're used together. That's not the case with any other weapons also used with that particular item (on page 7). That's also an example of a set. I should have called it out more specifically, but you can't think of everything ahead of time.
I'm being deliberately vague because my players read this blog and not all of them - hopefully none of them - have read the book.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Attacking the Fleeing, Yet Again

"but Josiah takes out one bandit, making the other bandits flee. However, Kôštē thumps a bandit in the back with her staff as he runs past."
- from GURPShexytime

Okay, then, so it's not just my PCs who try to kill all fleeing foes before they can get away?

To be fair, this group doesn't try to run down the fleeing bandits, albeit probably because they've got an active threat in front of them.

But this is the kind of decision that can come back to haunt you. If you never take prisoners and never let a routed foe escape, then you've taught everyone to resist to the last. Some groups will break anyway, but notoriously brave ones (like the orcs in my campaign) will learn that it's win or die and go into battle knowing that and act accordingly.

This keeps making me think I should give this rule a go.
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