Tuesday, March 21, 2023

More notes from Session 182

Sunday was Session 182 of DF Felltower.

Here are a few more notes on the session.

- I forgot to list two fine quotes:

"I hit him in the hit points!" - Sigur, while attacking the demon grunts.

"Welcome to the floor!" - Kel's player, when Sigur critically missed and fell down.

The second was my non-counting vote for MVP.

- I really do wonder, whenever I'm lugging an umbrella and a backpack and a door key and a phone to my house, how exactly people quickly grab up 4-5 swords and swords, a bunch of assorted potions, some carefully packed delicates, and an unconscious friend and then proceed to get around places with their weapons out and ready without penalties. Heroic fantasy, indeed.

- I said after the session that had Desmond licked up the potion that spilled to see what it was, I'd have given him 1 xp. He didn't. This is not a standing offer. It would only have been awesome had it been without thought of xp benefit.

It was a Potion of Giant's Strength. Too bad that one broke, eh? The last one I handed out - thanks to a sunk cost fallacy - basically got Vryce, Gort, and others killed.

- I rarely allow a second delve on a day, but this was a case where it made sense. I'll allow it if it makes sense again . . . but it rarely is easier and better than "return to town."

- It was nice to see Hidden Lore get used. Too bad it was used so late - it would have saved some wasted time trying to find the weak point. Demon grunts don't have them . . . just some strong points and then everywhere else.

Monday, March 20, 2023

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Session 182, Brotherhood Complex 4, Part II - Demon Grunts & Torturers

Today we continued our delve from last time.

Real Date: 3/19/2023
Game Date: 3/5/2023

Ambassador Durinn, dwarf cleric (~265 points)
Belmek Battlebeard, dwarf barbarian (~260 points)
Desmond MacDougall, human wizard (~290 points)
Kel Blackwall, half-elf scout (250 points)
Sigur Hondguthann, human holy warrior (250 points)

We picked up mid-fight. But first, we had to do some quick fixing as Durinn had cast Great Healing last session but misread the casting time; so we went back and swapped it to Major Healing. He got back a big pile of energy and Sigur was back down to less HP. That done . . . we started.

The PCs were in rough shape - Sigur wounded and grappled for 9 CP, Belmek with 38 CP per opponent from 4 opponents, and six demon grunts still up.

The demon grunts on Belmek continued to grind away at him - they'd established maximum CP on him, each holding on with both hands. They used their claw hands to grind away, All-Out Attack (Strong), to try to get past his net 12 DR. Over time, they'd wear him down to death checks as the other PCs got on with saving him.

They began to concentrate their attacks, trying to pile all of their damage on one demon grunt at a time. This worked well. The demon grunts were too single-minded to let off what they were doing to respond effectively. They just worked their way around, destroying one demon grunt at a time. They managed to destroy one, freeing Sigur, and then put one down to the ground, letting Sigur move out of the doorway to engage from the side. Durinn stepped forward, only to have to fend off grapples and kicks from the fallen demon grunt.

They found that leg shots worked reasonably well to put them down, but that didn't stop them from fighting - often effectively - while lying down. Meanwhile Desmond remembered to use Hidden Lore (Demons) and was able to report that these demons were just strong, dull, single-minded, and had no brains, no vitals, and no necks - and no special vulnerabilities. With that in mind, they concentrated on cutting off legs and then focusing on just taking out their HP. The demon grunts on Belmek refused to let go. They kept injuring him, as Durinn kept healing him, trying to failing to keep pace. But Acid Balls from Desmond, arrows from Kel, and axe chops from Sigur eventually cut them all down.

The enemy defeated, the PCs immediately started healing the wounded and trying to secure the room. They soon found there were 5 doors to block, not enough free PCs to block them, and a hallway leading out of the room. So they couldn't really block everything. They gave that up.

Once most of the wounded were healed sufficiently, they began to search the room while keeping wary. This slowed them down. The room was full of junk. Junk, junk, junk. A rotted boot and the heel of its missing boot, empty chests, a spear with the butt and half the tip broken off, broken jars, a smashed lantern, more crumpled up wads of old clothes that needed mending before they went rotten, and more. They pried open a big iron-bound crate, but found it empty. They found several fragile glass jars . . . and Durinn unrolled some cotton-like material to wrap them in . . . only to drop two potions already wrapped inside the roll to the floor. One shattered, the other bounced off the floor. Desmond refused to taste the spilled potion to see what it was.

They also found a broken shortsword - most of it missing - with gems in the hilt, and a platinum-wire wrapped longsword - with the center bit of the blade missing. Oh, and burned papers, a book spine with the words worn off, and even more junk. (I described it as an attic full of old junk.)

All of this done, they decided to get out of the dungeon. Most of them were healed up enough to move, so they did so - but they had no more ability to heal anyone that day and were largely out of potions.

With some work, they were able to retrace their steps. They naturally blundered into the evil runes again, after arguing over where to turn.

Outside of the dungeon, they decided to camp out for a day a safe distance away, and come back the day after - they'd be able to take advantage of the damage they'd done, before the cone-hatted guys could muster up reinforcements. If they headed back to Stericksburg, they could re-potion up . . . but might need them even more. So they went back in the next day.

Second Delve:

This time the entrance was deserted. They were able to find the stairs down to the third level without too much trouble, and went back to the junk room. They'd search it more "on the way home." They checked the corridor out, and saw it went pretty far . . . and then decided on the doors. They forced all four open. Three led to hallways, all alike, and one to a dead end. They took one of the corridors and followed it along, based on their sense of where things "should" go. Sadly, the hallway looped around and back and around, taking them in a direct they weren't thinking it would go.

At the end of the hallway there was an intersection and, ahead, a door. They chose the door. Belmek forced it, and beyond it was an odd-shaped room full of torture devices. An old man was strapped to a chair, badly beaten. Standing to either side of him were robed cultists, only with leather hoods, in the style of an executioner's hood.

At the sight of the PCs, one yelled, "Kill him!" and ran out of sight. The other readied a sword as Belmek charged him, pausing only to ready his axe in the middle as he failed a Fast-Draw roll. The torturer stabbed the old man in the heart, and he went limp with a tired groan.

The other PCs moved in - Sigur in the front, Durrin up the middle, and Desmond to the left and Kel to the right. Kel shot an arrow at the torturer and was mystified that he somehow dodged. Sigur took a shuriken to the face, but it did minimum damage - and he was able to resist the poison on it.

Unfortunately, there were four, not two, torturers. Two stood invisibly to either side of the door, out of immediate danger of PCs moving into them. One grappled Desmond from behind, left arm around his neck and shoulder. Another threw a garrote around Kel's neck from behind.

The one behind Desmond began to stab him over and over in the vitals, aiming for Chinks in Armor. Kel was choked by the garrote. Desmond tried to dodge or break free but was helpless to do so. He was able to resist the Bladeblack poison on the blade, but was still hurt by it. Kel tried to ready his bow and shoot over his shoulder at the cultist but, despite a few tries, kept failing. Sigur turned away from helping Belmek to get the torturer on Kel.

Belmek closed with the torturer but was hit with a Fear spell, and failed to resist. That gave him a -3 to rolls against any of the hooded torturers. The one who yelled - the master torturer, had ducked out of a door.

Belmek kept after the torturer, who kept moving away, stabbing at at his right eye, and wounded him - but rolled minimum damage. Belmek was blinded in one eye, but he was able to shrug off the poison, mostly, but was still hurt - like on Desmond, the poison was Bladeblack.

Meanwhile, the master torturer, who'd ducked out of the room, ducked back in . . . invisible. He began to work his way around Belmek's back, as the torturer in front kept Belmek's attention. But somehow, no matter how he moved, Belmek took steps that just wouldn't expose his back. He fought in a cagey fashion, keeping his front to both of them.

BECAUSE THE MASTER TORTURER WAS ONLY INVISIBLE ON MY END and all the players could see him the whole time. (I only found this out when the master torturer managed to get within a 2-step reach of Belmek's back and used Committed Attack to get there, and before I could reveal him, the players bemoaned that the guy got behind Belmek somehow. I literally was the only person who didn't know he was visible . . . despite using a Potion of Invisibility. See below for more.)

Belmek was stabbed in the vitals from behind and hurt badly. He managed to strike down the torturer in front of him. He turned on the master torturer but was hit with Death Vision. He failed to resist and was stunned, but managed to recover before he could be hit. But he was hit anyway, took a massive brain hit as his left eye was destroyed, and dropped unconscious.

The master torturer moved towards the rest of the fight.

But in the meantime, Durinn tried to help Desmond. But Desmond was knocked out by a heavy stab to the vitals. Sigur managed to get his axe around the garrote wielder's arm and pull him off. That torturer drew his shortsword and stabbed Kel and knocked him out.

Sigur kept after that torturer, but couldn't land a good blow. Durinn cast Awaken several times and was able to wake Desmond up, but the torturer kept stabbing him - he was too clever to leave a knocked out wizard near the cleric who keeps healing said wizard. Desmond went right back out. Sigur fell down trying to take out his foe, who backed away and left his back to Durinn - who kept trying to heal Desmond. Sigur fell down on a critical miss, then rolled over to the torturer and tried take his leg out - and hit! But he rolled minimum damage . . . just short of enough to cripple the leg. Durinn kicked him the groin from behind, wounding him, but short of a major wound and not enough to stun him. It did send him Reeling, and the torturer hobbled off. They let him go.

The one on Desmond dropped him and readied a knife in his off hand. Sigur dropped his axe, and stood up, and readied his long spear and stabbed the torturer. He wounded him badly, in the vitals, but eventually the torturer fell unconscious.

Sigur turned and lengthened his grip on the spear. The master torturer saw this, saw he was now on his own, not rushing to make a two-on-two into a three-on-one. He escaped as well.

One Kel was awakened, he got up and walked around putting 5-6 arrows in the vitals of the fallen. They checked the old man, and found him dead.

They healed up a little, had someone - Durinn I believe - pick up Belmek, and headed out. They ran back to the entrance.


They got lost several times - once on the third level, for a few minutes. After that, on the second level, for maybe 20 minutes or more of real time. Even with a map . . . they just got turned around.

They did finally make it back and out of the dungeon. They healed up the wounded and headed back to town.


- F-ing VTT. I marked the Master Torturer invisible. He showed invisible to me. I marked off his Potion of Invisibility. And he manuevered very carefully to get behind Belmek. And couldn't. BECAUSE HE WAS ONLY INVISIBLE TO ME. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!


I had problems with Fog of War leaving exploration visible behind them - it took some work of turning things off and then on again in a certain order to fix this. I ended up with identical settings to how I started but different results.

I also found that any notes put down are visible even if the area they're written on is not visible. Not good. I deleted those. I need map objects, badly.

- I need to figure out how to paint hexes with terrain. No one - not one player - nor I, to be fair - remembered that ever hex in the room with the demon grunts was bad footing. They just moved around, attacked without a -2, defended without a -1, and so on. I remembered after.

- I'm always amused by the confident pronouncements of the players when they aren't based on reality. "We're so dead." "I already hit that guy before." "THAT guy took 12 corrosion damage." "They can't move that quickly." Etc. I trust my notes - and the VTT - more than "I'm sure I hit that guy." Well, you're sure, but he has full HP. Some other guy they think they didn't hit has more. Or they extrapolate the wrong info. "I did X and he's still up" but did X to hit location with Y DR, not to the one with Z DR, and Y and Z do not equal, so neither do the injuries. I don't provide a lot, to be fair, but I'm glad I'm not using their notes to run my game.

- The annoyance of the Repair spell is that I needed to know the value of most of the broken stuff in case people want to bring it back to town, buy steel/cotton/leather/whatever, and have it cast to fix the broken stuff they found if the cost of doing so is less than the price they could get it to fetch. Ah, brave delvers in mail and plate and wielding magic doing junkyard repairs for low-margin profit. I'd do away with Repair or limit it severely if I could.

- the broken potion? Potion of Giant Strength from DFT3: Artifacts of Felltower. The danger in the place is high, but you're not going to find a dinky minor healing potion or some coppers as loot.

- the found potions were Super Hero's Brew and Eternal Rest. Nothing else was of special value. XP was 4 for loot, 1 for exploration (lots of empty hallways is not 10+ significant areas), and MVP was Sigur for kicking ass the whole session.

- Belmek's lost eye took so much damage he'll need Regeneration. They can do that with a start date of 3/19 even though we won't be able to resolve that for a few days. No, not the in-game date of 3/10 or whenever, time lost due to split sessions is time lost.

- Here is Doug's summary.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Felltower pre-summary

Full writeup tomorrow. But for now:

- the PCs finished their fight with the demons, and didn't all die.

- loot was looted.

- the PCs took a break near the dungeon, and came back in.

- they blundered into an encounter - and then blundered, and blundered, and blundered.

- things went pretty bad for the PCs but they managed to get out . . . while getting lost.

Full summary tomorrow.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Felltower - er Brotherhood Complex - tomorrow

Game tomorrow!

Will the PCs all die horrible deaths?

Will they finish off the demons that rip at their very souls? Or at least establish lots of Control Points on them?

Will there be any money out of this?

Tune in tomorrow to see!

Friday, March 17, 2023

Random Links for 3/17/2023

A few links for Friday, of things that I like:

- Painted squiqs. I don't know what they are, either, except that walking hungry mouths are useful foes for a DF game. I tend to make my flying but to each their own.

- James Mal on the reasons his campaign has lasted so long.

- Dave Arneson's time keeping in game. Ah, the old, "we got your character killed while you were away." Been there, done that.

- Doug's Kickstarter could use some love.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

GURPS with more complex Retreat

I posted about getting rid of Retreat. What if you want more options?

Here are some ideas, mostly in brief. I haven't playtested any of them. I have no intention of adding any of them to DF Felltower.

Retreat without Movement - Allow for a +1/+3 defenses, but you don't move a hex back. You simply sway, give up a few inches, etc. without a full step back. This can entirely replace, or supplement, Retreat.

Followup Step - If a foe Retreats from you, you may add an extra Step to fill in the opening they create, even if you've already used up your Step or all other movement. (This prevents the 2-man shuffle, where PC A Retreats and then PC B steps into that opening using a Wait or just regular turn order.)

Retreat Upon Threat - You can Retreat even if your foe misses - as long as they attacked you.

GURPS Martial Arts has rules for forward slips already.

I think these all make for even more decision-based paralysis, but they're potential ways to expand Retreat if you feel it is good to do so.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Video Game Update - Pathfinder: Kingmaker

I've been busy most of this week, but I was able to get in a tiny bit of Pathfinder: Kingmaker this week.

I am stalled out on Lawful Evil Monk Molly's playthrough. I'm at "final dungeon" time. There are numerous state changes - navigate within one dungeon but transit between versions of it. Cool, but a little tiresome at times.

I got quite a bit done with Lawful Good Paladin Holgar Carlson. I'm mopping up some side missions before going for the Stag Lord. This one I'm aiming for the best possible ending for the game - there is a way to pull off an unlikely romance and potentially change the whole game. That's the plan. I'm using two different walkthroughs to make sure I don't miss anything, but playing with my own flair to it because of experience with two prior playthroughs.

Both are backburnered because I have real work to do so it's maybe 30-60 minutes of playthrough while I need a break from something else.

Still fun. Next up will be a try at a non-RPG gangster building game. Maybe it'll be fun.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

No, seriously, don't buy me things not on my wish list

Weird gripe, I know . . . but I received a gift order from DriveThruRPG a day or so ago.

I didn't want either item. They weren't the usual "gift" of a free item, from the writer or publisher of the item. They were for-real paid RPG supplements, for games I'd never play, from someone I didn't know.

I contacted DriveThruRPG and asked them to refund it and take it away. They did so, very quickly and efficiently.

I have no idea what was up with this. I don't know the gifter. I didn't get a message, just the "thanks for your order!" I wasn't charged for these, either, that I can tell. It was just a flat-out gift from someone I don't know for something I don't want - heck, one was for the Aliens RPG. I don't like "Aliens."

What the heck is it with this? I mean really.

I just don't know.

Monday, March 13, 2023

GURPS combat without Retreat

After a few decades of playing with the current GURPS iteration of Dodge (1 hex away from a foe, +1 Parry and Block, +3 to Dodge or specific Parry types), I know one thing:

If I was designing a hex-based combat system from scratch, I wouldn't include Retreat.

My reasoning has come up on this blog a lot. Suffice it to say that I don't like that it:

- imposes multiple calculations on your best defense choice (a decision-based pause)
- imposes a decision based on movement on the map
- forces map-based combat even when it is inappopriate to the game as a whole for fear of losing that bonus
- encourages people to design characters around a specific situational bonus and then play based on making that bonus come up

And there are other reasons as well.

What if Retreat was gone? What would happen?

Setting aside, here, the lamentations of the players, whose paper men will absolutely unfairly die if this is removed. That's the first thing that would happen, followed by the second - "I wouldn't have gotten hit here if we were using Retreat."

- All defenses would be base defenses. PCs and NPCs alike would lose out on a +1 to +3 (or more, in some special cases) on defenses. This would make Dodge-based defenders a little more vulnerable, and Block-and-Parry based defenders a little less vulnerable than that.

- You'd lose out on "attack and fly out" as the standard attack method. You wouldn't have Step and Attack, followed a Retreat before your turn. This would make two-hex-reach fighting still viable but not trivial. You'd have to back up, not assume you can move up and then move back.

- You'd have to consciously maneuver to keep out of close combat. You couldn't depend on a Retreat to take you out of it, followed by an Attack and Step on your own turn to open up space. You could still keep out of close combat, but not assume that if someone steps into CC as part of a Step and Attack that you could easily establish the need for 2 steps to get into close combat with you again.

- Keeping formation would be easier, because no one will be falling back for a transitory defensive benefit.

- You'd need to do something to allow for Dodge & Drop / Diving for Cover to deal with explosions. This could be as simple as just saying you can do that as part of a Dodge, but it doesn't give an additional bonus.

- It would make a spell like Blink have special extra effects - it lets you move as part of your defense!

- It would clear up questions like, if I've been Feinted, can I Retreat because I thought it was an attack? (This is usually done because the step, not the bonus, is what someone seeks.)

- It would make Theatre of the Mind/mapless combat an option because suddenly "I can fight safely at Reach 2 on a map" or "I need to know if I can Retreat" or "I move to where I can Retreat" aren't an issue.

Optionally, you could allow for a retreat as a FP-costing Extra Effort in Combat option, if you play with those.

Overal, I think this would be a big change but that the net positives would outweight the negatives. I know I'd never even have close to a majority agreeing to do it in DF Felltower, but if I was designing a combat system from scratch, this wouldn't be in it as written. Even the old-school 1st edition GURPS +1 to any defense opens up more decision-making and counting once you have multiple defenses and/or want to have mapless combat.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

DF Felltower & monster slogs

Some monsters in DF Felltower - and in DF in genral - take a bit of killing.

Why is that? Why are there so many monsters you have to slog through?

In my experience, there are a few ways a monster can be tough:

- Offensive firepower

- Defensive prowess

- Damage absorption

In a little more detail:

- Offensive firepower means they can harm PCs. This can take a lot of forms, but generally is high damage (as PCs in DF Felltower tend to high DR . . . 8+ DR is common and 12+ DR is not rare at all.)

- Defensive prowess means the opponent has good Parry, Block, or Dodge.

- Damage absorption means the opponent is hard to hit, hard to hurt, or can repair or ignore hurts.

I find I need to make monsters either a glass cannon (high damage, low defenses), or hard to kill. There isn't really anything else to do to keep them worth spending the time on. Low damage, low defenses = fodder at best. Low damage, hard to kill = time killer. High damage, easy to kill = brief encounter, especially since actually landing a hit on PCs is hard. PCs, conversely, strongly emphasize reducing enemy defenses or swamping them. High damage, hard to kill = slog. The foes can take out PCs, but also need grinding to wipe out.

As a GM looking to make fights a challenge, not just an excuse to hand out XP and loot, means I need either the glass cannons or the slog foes to threaten PCs. I don't love this, but it seems to be how it goes. Every time I've used the other two quadrants of the diagram, it's just taken time and cost the PCs nothing . . . maybe a few FP they recover in a few minutes of game time as if the encounter never happened. The drive for PCs to make themselves incredibly hard to land a blow on - high defenses - and hard to hurt - high DR - and hard to deal with otherwise (high HP, HT, and Hard to Kill and Hard to Subdue and Fit and high Will) - means the only threats are those who can hit really hard and stick around when hit back.

I think that just means the style of a game centered on combat-as-challeneg pushes toward a slog.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Vague musings on simplified healing spells

I've thought about this in the past for GURPS DF. What if we simplified healing spells down to these?

Minor Healing - 1 HP per 1 energy. Limited to PI.
Major Healing - 2 HP per 1 energy. Limited to PI.
Great Healing - 100% of HP loss for 20 energy.
Stabilize Injury - Stabilizes a Mortal Wound for 10 energy.

And that's it. No Lend Vitality, no bandaging effect on Stop Bleeding, bleeding is a rare effect anyway so why do we have a spell for it. You wouldn't even need to limit Great Healing to once per day; just inflict -3 cumulative for multiple castings.

You can also make this even simpler:

Healing - 2 HP per 1 energy.
Great Healing - 100% of HP loss for 20 energy.
Restoration or Great Healing will stabilize a Mortal Wound.

And done. You can't heal as often, since you have a -3 cumulative on Healing spells, but you aren't limited on how big of a spell you can cast. Great Healing is a better deal on badly wounded victims, especially ones who are dying.

It would greatly simplify the whole thing . . . less to track, encourages whacking big spell casts instead of dinking away with the most cost-efficient combo, and you don't have to spend a lot of time thinking about what spell to cast or learning the ropes of a multiple-casting system.

It might work.

Friday, March 10, 2023

Random Thoughts & Links for 3/10/2023

Just a few things today.

- I picked up the DCC Lankhmar boxed set, finally. I passed on the Kickstarter but the final product looked good enough for the price, and I had some gift cards to burn. So I did so. I'll take a serious look at it after I finish two work projects.

- I haven't really had any time to do game prep or updates or much this week - it started busy-ish and got busy-er. Even so, I did manage to check on the stuff I needed to double check from last session. I always like to review what happened and how we resolved it so I can do so better next time.

- I put up a card for Doug's latest Kickstarter. I don't play OSE but if you do, take a look at his new product for it.

- A fun look at Otzi the Ice Man as an adventurer.

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Revised Magic for DF Felltower - Stop Bleeding clarifications

"Ah, the life of an adventuring cleric. I remember it well. A perpetual stuggle to maintain the hit point totals of four or five nigh-suicidal tomb robbers determined to deplete them at all costs. Like bailing out a sinking ship with a thimble, most days."

Minister Malack, Cleric of Nergal, OOTS #735

The main role of a DF Cleric in DF Felltower is healing. Oh sure, we've had the occasional, "I'm the fighting kind of cleric!" idea come along, but fighting clerics who can't heal are better off as Holy Warriors. You need to do the thing your template does that no one else does, or else you're not really pull your weight.

Anyway, healing. There are four basic ways to quickly heal up a delver in DF:

- Healing spells (Minor Healing, Major Healing, Great Healing)
- Potions
- Bandaging (which only heals 1 HP of injury)
- First Aid

Additionally, there is a stopgap:

- Lend Vitality can temporarily heal, for 1 hour, at a much higher than usual cost (1 energy per 1 HP, no reduction for skill, no multiplier for higher HP.)
And there is a swap:

- Share Vitality lets you take another's wounds on yourself. Always a toughie for a caster, because healing yourself is really hard. Proportionally harder the more injured you are.

But back to First Aid.

First Aid - There are two ways to do First Aid - using the skill, or using Stop Bleeding. Per Magic p. 91, it heals 1 HP, and per DFRPG Spells, p. 39 it acts as "bandaging," but as it heals 1d-3 HP (min 1) in DFRPG, it means first aid.

Several clarifying points on Stop Bleeding in play:

- using it replaces First Aid usage for a newly injured character, as written in DFRPG Spells.
- because "newly injured" means new injury, and we don't track individual injuries, you must have been fully healed before a second Stop Bleeding spell will have any effect.
- it is affected by the multiple for higher HP.
- it is a healing spell for purposes of use on yourself, as written in DFRPG Spells.

I think that's all of the questions that have come up so far.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Notes on Session 181

Here are some followup notes on DF Session 181.

- the changes to Higher Purpose, as I mentioned, were good ones. The per-die bonus to damage made a significant jump. Instead of holy warrior just parrying really well against evil, Sigur was able to be a significant damage engine.

- I clarified that using knowledge skills to figure things out about foes - Hidden Lore, etc. - is a Concentrate action. It's not a freebie.

- Turns out that Durinn's player made a spell casting time mistake. He threw a Great Healing spell in combat, which, with a base 1 minute casting time, is not a thing. It's easily fixed, though, because this is an ongoing fight. We'll change Sigur from fully healed to just getting 8 HP back for Major Healing, and restore the difference in FP/energy used by Durinn.

One player suggested that, well, it must just have been a miracle. Yeah, maybe, if the fight was over. But it's ongoing and fixable.

This does poke yet another hole in my policy of letting players resolve their own actions without much oversight by me. We had a scout who didn't know the rolls needed for Heroic Archer, a spell miscast due to a big error in casting time, and I need to check out Stop Bleeding again to see if it was resolved as intended, too. I suspect there is a loophole in there that might need closing.

I'm fine with trusting my players but if people just end up kinda winging and going off of inaccurate memories of their abilities, someone needs to check it and that will fall to me. I'd been hoping not but I think I need to drop "No rules lookups" and double-check everything again for a while. Cast a spell? I'll check the casting time. Use a move? I'll go read the move. I'm not sure I have much choice . . . and leaving this one as a miracle that cannot be explained is just rewarding rules errors and punishing rules adherence. That's just not fun for me - why have the rules in the first place?

And it's worth noting that my players generally vote in favor of more detailed, not less abstract, rules. So it's not a secret push to make everything more abstract. It's just errors.

- I need to have firmer times down for some actions. In a multi-encounter dungeon where the PCs loot each foe as they go, times for things like stripping armor, skinning monsters, tying off looted weapons to carry them without a DX penalty for loose gear, etc. are useful and important. We can't just say, "It's done in non-combat time." Even then, people with a mix of 2, 5, and 10 minute FP recovery times and multiple energy sources coming back means that "It takes a couple minutes" is not helpful. Even "It takes 4-5 minutes" is the difference between a few FP points of recovery. Suddenly, a Vancian magic system makes so much sense for this kind of game.

- Why are character point totals approximate?

My GCA 4 died, and reinstalling it isn't working. I just can't modify equipment or advantages or anything without a crash. I should upgrade to GCA5, but it's not a simple task to import the PCs. It seems like I'll need to rebuild them from from scratch.

Meanwhile, almost all of my players use GCS. One or two still use GCA4. So I either need to upgrade to GCA5 and rebuild everyone, or swap to GCS and rebuild the GCA4 guys, or give up having an authoritative copy of any PC. I went with the last. I just don't have the interest in spending the little mental energy I have to get on top of this. I'll just have to trust my players to make sure they do their guys right. Considering the rules thing above, I'm not sure this is a great idea, but it's all I have time for.

- Oh, yeah, we're keeping the new guy. He was pretty good.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

GURPS Combat Action Bundle of Holding

There is a new Bundle of Holding up for GURPS that includes two of my books:

GURPS Martial Arts
GURPS Martial Arts: Gladiators

Click here for the Bundle.

Monday, March 6, 2023

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Session 181, Brotherhood Complex 4, Part I

Date: 3/5/2023

Ambassador Durinn, dwarf cleric (~265 points)
Belmek Battlebeard, dwarf barbarian (~260 points)
Desmond MacDougall, human wizard (~290 points)
Kel Blackwall, half-elf scout (250 points)
Sigur Hondguthann, human holy warrior (250 points)

Desmond brought some youngster he met at church and brought him along to adventure with them. Kaylee, still out with a healing broken leg, sent along her brother, Kel, a scout.

They all hiked off to the valley where the cultists have their complex.

Kel checked for traps and found none, so they headed in and past the massive doors.

The headed down the stairs, checking for traps as they went, and moved with their scout in the lead. He looked around the corner at the bottom of the stairs and saw, in the fringes of some torchlight ahead, a shield-toting cone-hatted cultist. He took careful aim . . . and the cultists ducked around the corner. (Carrying your own light source makes it impossible to sneak on targets looking your way, really.)

The PCs rushed up as they heard someone call out that they should sound the alarm. The reached an intersection and ran into an ambush by three cultists with crossbows - two left, one right. Belmek blocked one from the right but was hit from the left, and the bodkin point left a mark. Desmond put Missile Shield on Kel. Kel shot the cultists to the right, wounding him, but then moved left.

Belmek rushed left, backed by Kel, who followed while shooting. The two cultists dropped their crossbows and readied shields and swords. Belmek followed them, hurling an axe, but it his foe's half-ready shield. The two cultists fought Belmek and Kel, backed by Desmond and Durinn, and quickly cut them down.

Meanwhile, Sigur moved to the right. His foe was quite a ways down the hallway, so even at a full rush - Move 3 - it was taking a while to get to the cultist. His foe backed off slowly, and then eventually took off, leaving Sigur behind.

They PCs dragged the bodies off to the "barracks" and stripped them of coinage, crossbows, quarrels, quivers, and (cheap) swords. They moved on from there. Accompanied by a lot of squabbling over which way to go and how, they headed towards where they were ambushed last time. They eventually reached a door and forced it open, and found an empty small room. They carefully searched and tapped the walls but didn't find any secret doors.

They found and forced a second door open, and found the same. Again, a search found nothing. They noted that the cultists weren't really using the complex that thoroughly.

They passed the last ambush area, and went through an open door to a larger, roughly six-sided room. In the center of the floor was a 6' x 3' six-fingered hand print in black. They avoided that and forced open a door to the right . . . but then Sigur noted that doors that opened easily probably were used more often. They found one of the other doors was like that, and opened it. Someone suggested that the stuck doors were probably the way to go - Sigur again, I think - because those areas were less likely to be looted. Durinn surmised that the complex probably had loot the cultists didn't find, and that would likely be behind stuck doors.

All that said, they went through the easily-opened door. They moved along, mapping now, taking their time and forcing doors as they found them. Soon enough, though, they rushed forward into a hallway to a door . . . and took crossbow bolts from their left. Three cultists stood around on the fringes of a flickering circle of torchlight. Kel was narrowly missed by one bolt but two hit Sigur, causing a minor leg wound and a major body wound. He dropped, stunned and knocked down.

They rushed forward, led by Belmek. Kel and Desmond enaged with arrows and ice daggers, respectively. In short order, Belmek caught one of the cultists and cut him down. The others started to run. The party pursued, Belmek slowing as the cultists got away because he didn't want to go running off into the darkness alone. But then Kel caught up, and shot down the cultists one by one. The first was shot down fairly close to the fight encounter. The second was run down much further down a hallway.

They dragged the bodies back and took their crossbows, quivers, quarrels, and coins. One had mail, though, so they dragged him aside. They forced open a nearby door, hoping to find a place for Sigur to change into the cultist's superior suit of armor. They found stairs down. Desmond declared stairs a bad place to change, so they moved into a new area and forced another door open. They found a small room with a door on the far end. They just stayed there for the 10 minutes it took from someone to strip the cultist, Sigur to take his armor off, and then mail himself up from head to toe. Well, almost - he took the mail coif but didn't put it on, sticking with his segmented helmet, because of encumbrance. They left his old mix of mail and leather (Guard's armor from Delvers to Grow).

They headed downstairs. They made their way around some corridors, poking at the dead end they found in one, finding nothing. Eventually they reached a door and forced it open.

Beyond it was a junk-filled room with bits of more junk underfoot (I said, think of an attic - all hexes Bad Footing.) In it were a handful of hooded green-skinned humanoids with big crab claw left hands. Belmek threw his crowbar (and missed), fast-drew his axe, and ran in. (He didn't realize he was shieldless - I'm not sure why, since you can't reasonably force a door with a crowbar with a shield readied, not without a penalty he did not take.) Sigur followed.

The hooded figures were identified quickly by Sigur as demons - and Truly Evil! He moved to block the door. Belmek, however, was quickly surrounded and grappled. The Demon Grunts clamp down with their claw hand, hold on, and grind away. It took only a few moments for Belmek to be grappled by 3-4 of them and rendered helpless.

Sigur blocked the door, as Durinn put Protection from Evil 5 on him. He slashed at a demon and connected with the neck, inflicting a massive wound - which the demon largely ignored despite the splash of black-green ichor and torn flesh. It grappled at him and he defended. He slashed it another time, but then two managed to grapple him in quick succession. He cut the hand off of one that did so, as Desmond put Shield 5 on him. Sigur slashed another again, with help from Kel and Desmond (mostly Kel - see below) and it POOOFED! away in a cloud of greenish, sulphurous smoke. But another stepped up and critically hit him and grappled, rendering Sigur helpless.

Kel and Desmond supported from behind, each picking a demon and attacking it. Desmond threw Acid Ball after Acid Ball, hoping to kill the demons or wear down their DR with corrosion attacks. Kel shot another in the vitals over and over, or at least where vitals would be if it was a human (aka, -3 for a maybe.) It didn't seem bothered overly - they'd get hurt but not reach to the injuries. So he switched from his Cornucopia arrows to cutting arrows he'd brought along. They didn't provoke any better of a reaction, and his damage was insufficient to cripple an arm and his position behind Sigur made it impossible to target a grappling claw directly.

Durinn put Protection from Evil 5 on Belmek, who was being ground apart by the claws, which helped considerably. He also cast Lend Vitality and Stop Bleeding on him, too, to keep him up.

Sigur was helpless, so he decided to pray to the Good God to help free him. He has a 7, and rolled an 8. Nope. Meanwhile he was being badly mauled - his DR (4) plus his protection spell (5) adds up to a nice 9 DR, but the enemy would routinely exceeding that. He was making death checks.

Durinn prayed a moment later, asking for the Good God to free Sigur from the demons grappling him and also heal him if possible. He had an 8 and rolled an 8. One of the demons - the one with the most CP - let go. The other held one.

But that was enough for Sigur to cut down another demon, getting himself mostly free of grapples - only one is holding on for 9 or 10 CP. Durinn followed with a Great Healing spell, fully healing the horribly mauled Sigur to full HP.

We had to stop there for time - there are six of these demon grunts left. One missing a claw, another badly hurt, four more with no injuries at all. The PCs decided they need to gang up, but we didn't have real world time to resolve that.


- point totals will be approximate, now. More on that another day.

- So Douglas Cole played today, remotely. He blogged about it. I'll read that after this posts. He fits in well, but I knew we gamed well together because we've gamed together before.

- We just ruled it took 10 minutes to un-armor and re-armor. There are no guidelines handy for that in DFRPG, or elsewhere, really. Luckily Doug wears mail in real life and said that seemed reasonable. I'm pretty sure his guy spent 2 character points on the cash for his armor and then promptly replaced it with a foe's armor. It helped once against some bolts, though.

-Sigur had a tough time in some fights, running off the wrong way with Move 3 which didn't make it easy to get back into the fray. This is a dungeon which rewards mobility in the hallway fights. There are a lot of hallway fights.

- Amusingly after the big first fight, the alarm being raised, and then loud inter-player bickering as they moved along, someone said, "Let's move quietly to this door." Uhm, why?

- A VTT is very useful for lighting penalties. Since we go the lighting down, I haven't had to tell anyone to apply darkness penalties for shots. They just do it. Before? I could tell them every turn and they often forget them by the next person's action rolled around.

- Demon Grunts are a homebrew monster of mine based on an old mini. They're not clever or especially versitile but they're terrible foes if they get you with their claws and establish a lot of CP. Guess what? They did that. It's kind of ironic fun to inflict piles of Control Points on Doug's character. It's also interesting that the most common way to deal with CP are Spasm spells, killing the grappler, or cutting off the limb or extremity grappling the person. Attacking to reduce CP is a distant last place, only slightly ahead of - maybe tied with - just hoping the opponent lets go. Attacking to break free when already grappled, and then reducing CP, isn't easy, unless you put some real effort into improving your unarmed grappling skill . . . so I get it. Self-fulfilling prophecies are the most accurate in my experience.

- the fight will likely be a little less of a slog next time, as they PCs have hit on the novel tactic of piling damage on these foes one opponent at a time instead of trying to work individual targets down. Should work.

- Our change to Higher Purpose worked fine. +3 per die made Sigur much more effective.

- MVP was Ambassador Durinn for his healing spells and Protection from Evil spells.

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Felltower Pre-Summary

Game today!

- We didn't finish the session - it was late and a fight was running long. We'll pick up there next time.

- Five entered the Brotherhood Complex.

- Guards were found and slain.

- More guards were found and slain.

- Armor was changed.

- And demons were encountered on a deeper level . . . and are mauling the PCs even as the PCs maul them back.

- And surprise reveal! The new player is Doug Cole.

Session summary tomorrow.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

March Fourth Sales

There are a few March Fourth aka Gygax Day sales going on:

Warehouse 23 has a sale on GURPS, TFT, and other stuff.

Goodman Games has a sale and free stuff.

DriveThruRPG has a sale, too.

If anyone has others, put them in the comments and I'll link them here.

Friday, March 3, 2023

Random Thoughts & Links for 3/3/2023

A few quick notes for Friday:

- I stalled out on Pathfinder: Kingmaker as I just don't have any free time to do anything not writing or prepping for a work-related thing. I'll finish up my Team Evil game pretty soon. It's been amusing - I've executed a lot of people just because I could - but it's not been quite as fun as it could be. Some weird choices had to be made - I actually had to choose a Chaotic Good option to side with my evil undead buddy vs. her foes, a NG option to start a fight with a foe I needed dead . . . sometimes the game is a bit weird that way. I need a generic Lawful Evil "I'm the damn queen and you're in my domain and the law says opposing me is death" option. Heh. But that'll be for later in the month when I have time.

- I made some writing headway and then got socked with a surprise deadline on something else.

- I think we've settled on all of our DF Felltower rules changes, including how to implement the ones we're going with. Even down to the weapon talent - see Thursday's post.

- More Traveller adventuring!

- DF Felltower is Sunday. I'm excited for the New Player Reveal!

I did go ahead and tell my players but you guys have to wait.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

DF Felltower merged weapon skills

After a vote - where my favorite option lost! - we ended up merging weapon skills in DF Felltower.

Shortsword and Broadsword merge into one skill (Broadsword)
Staff, Spear, and Polearm merge into one skill (Polearm)
Kusari, Whip, and Flail merge into one skill (Flail)


Knife Throwing and Shuriken merge into Knife Throwing. Shuriken get a -1 to hit without a Perk (Shuriken Thrower) to remove it.

Otherwise unchanged.

This option will likely include 10-point weapon talents. These have not yet been defined. It's quite likely it'll basically be Master of Arms from Delvers to Grow, without the reaction bonus.

This will retroactively affect existing characters, who will have points in affected skills merged. Useless overages will be saved towards a new level, to avoid the usual "Can I buy a new skill with it?" annoyances.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Writing, writing, writing

Well, outlining, opining, and noting.

I spent a good chunk of time today doing those three things for a writing project.

So did my co-author on the project, and we came up with some cool stuff. We did a high-level look at some things, which naturally meant we got right into the nitty-gritty on things as creativity took us for a spin.

Fun stuff. I like to collaboratively work with a good co-author . . . it really does make 1 + 1 = 3 if you do it right.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

DF Felltower: No Treasure Changes

During our changes vote for Felltower, I proposed this rather big change:

Are you in favor of the changes to the monetary system (magic 10x more expensive, loot 10x more)?

Details here & below:
10x Loot in Felltower

Effects on Play & Rules

- Starting Wealth and Trading Points for Money are unchanged.

- Findable loot will be approximately 10x as much as before.

- Jewelry, gem, luxury good, and coin values will not change unless they are permanent or temporary magic items.

- Permanent and temporary magic items, items that convey spells (scrolls), spellstones, potions, etc. cost, and are worth, 10x listed or $200/point of energy.

- Potions sold in town are sold at $1,000 per as their base value (subject to Wealth sale percentages) regardless of the potion.

- Power Item recharging is $50/point.

- Spells cast by NPCs cost $200 per point, or 10x list cost (so $150,000 for Resurrection, or $10,000 for Remove Curse, $1,600 for Analyze Magic).

- Loot Thresholds for XP are 10x higher.

- Upkeep costs are unchanged.


This should make magic items more scarce, since comparable (or nearly so) mundane items are cheaper.

Orichalcum is still restricted for purchase. You can't just order any. That's a Felltower feature.

Because it's mid-game and would require a big change, I wasn't going to implement it without a unanimous vote in favor.

It fell one vote short. It's too bad. I think it would make for a good switch for a future campaign, but without full support of the current players it wasn't going to implement well here.

Monday, February 27, 2023

New DF Felltower player - teasing hint post!

We've added a new player to our DF Felltower roster.

It's a tryout, as usual. Our rules are simple - anyone can suggest a tryout. The GM gets to agree or disagree. Anyone is allowed to veto the player (so far, never an issue).

Once we play, after the session, if everyone who played agrees we should keep the player . . . we keep the player. This was trivial in person - when Vic started, about halfway through the game one of the vets said something like, "You'll get used to this the more you play" and a relative newcomer agreed. It was a clear fit.

So this could be a one-shot. Also, people have tried our game and decided it wasn't for them - it's why you haven't seen Naila River appear in play. Some people decided it was for them and then added 1d2+1 kids to their marriage, or moved away, or got a crushingly busy new job, or all three (Honus's player, for example.)

It's kept our game in harmony. We've even had a few suggestions veto'd by the person who brought up. "Hey, I know a guy . . ." turns into "I'm not sure I want to spend 9 hours with him on a Sunday" turns into "maybe not."

But I like this guy's odds because a) I've gamed with him, b) several other of my players have gamed with him (seperate from me, I think), and c) he seems to know GURPS pretty well and d) has played DF before.

I'll do a reveal Sunday (if I write the summary then) or Monday (probably) after our next game. Unless it goes badly, and we'll forever refer to the Unknown Player who Didn't Make the Cut. We'll see!

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Revised GURPS Magic: Great Haste (for DF Felltower)

After some discussion and a vote, we had a (nearly) unanimous vote in favor of this change.

The only vote that wasn't "yes" was an "other" vote expressing concern that I'd increased the Casting Time to 3 seconds from 2 seconds. That just goes to show how people get used a specific power level - it's always been 3 seconds . . . it's just that most casters have a 20 in it in DF Felltower, and thus cut the time like so: 3/2 = 1.5, round up to 2.

Either way, even one No vote wasn't going to veto this change. We were going with a simple majority for these and this is how we ended up.

Great Haste (Revised)

- 3 seconds, 5 energy to cast; 10 second duration (unchanged)
- Subject's Move (or Step, for Step & . . . actions) is doubled
- Subject gains Extra Attack 1 (on Attack actions) or Extra Concentrate 1 (on Step and Concentrate)
- Subject gains +2 to Active Defenses
- Subject loses 2 FP after 10 seconds, unless subject is the caster.


We'll give this a go, and if it turns out to suck, we'll dump it. It is more complex than the original spell, and I expect it will cost time every turn for a while as people say, "I used to get a bazillion attacks and that would be useful here as I do this, and this, and this, and this, and this, then this, and then had a second turn, but now I can't, so I'll do this and this instead." But I think it's a better rule for us in the long run.

I think the drop in FP costs means it's more likely to get used over and over, which is fine, without the usual Lend Energy dance in the middle of a fight. Bad enough after a fight. It also answers the stupid "Can I use Great Haste as an attack?" concept, where you cast Great Haste on a foe, keep away, then throw it again and again - essentially, a cheap way to inflict a non-resistable 5 FP loss on the foe. You can still do that, but even a normal human will take 5 castings and 1 minute of castings by a 20 skill caster to drop to zero. It becomes a non-issue.

This will affect Frenzy, the magical axe in DFT3, when and if the PCs finally figure out where I stashed it in Felltower.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Revised Higher Purpose for Felltower

One concern we've long had in DF Felltower is that Holy Warriors are basically out-done in offensive combat vs. their chosen foes by, well, basically every template with Weapon Master. That is, Barbarians, Knight, Swashbuckler, Scout, Martial Artist. Defensively, that +3 for 3 levels is pretty sweet, but "I'm harder to be hit by my chosen foe!" isn't really that exciting, especially if your chosen foe recognizes this and just ignores you.

So I put a few questions to a vote, and the results were unanimous - everyone liked a modified version of Higher Purpose.

Here is what we are going with, going forward, in DF Felltower.

Higher Purpose (Slay Truly Evil)
10/level, maximum 3 levels

Gives +1 per level to all rolls directly against anything Truly Evil, as normal Higher Pupose would. Gives +1 per die to damage rolls (including CP) against the same.


This will cover a lot of ground - Demons, Elder Things, and a large swath of Undead plus some oddball things in between.

One of my players asked if you can still get Slay Undead or Slay Demons. I'm going to say no. Slay Undead is largely redundant - only mindless undead aren't covered by Truly Evil. Slay Demons is completely redundant. We could do (Slay Truly Evil) and (Slay Undead) with different coverages, but I'm reluctant to deal with potential overlap and costing issues.

Unholy Warriors get (Slay servitors of Good) for 10/level, and that covers Truly Good plus any who directly serve said Good (lookout clerics and holy warriors!)

There are no "whatabout" exceptions here. It's 3/level even if somewhere else allows higher levels, Holy Warriors can't get Weapon Master, so the only issues should be with multi-profession folks (Lenses), and we can deal with that then. I'm not sure I'd love +5 per die to damage but what the hell, it'll be 50+ points for a limited target selection with a specific weapon type. In this type of game, is that really a problem? I think no.

Holy Warriors will use the current template but swap 5 points out of their Advantages pool to cover this.

We'll allow retroactive respec'ing of Holy Warriors already made (should just be Sir Bunny Wigglesworth right now) to allow them to convert their existing (Slay Undead) and (Slay Demons) to (Slay Truly Evil) on a point-cost basis. So if you have Higher Purpose (Slay Undead) 2 for [10] and Higher Purpose (Slay Demons) 1 for [5] you have 1 level of Higher Purpose (Slay Truly Evil) for [10] and 5 points saved towards a second level.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Short posting break

Folks, I'm away Wednesday-Friday-ish, so I'll probably be back to posting this weekend. Sorry for the break! Gives you time to catch up on other people's posts and my old nonsense.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

New monsters I need to stat

These minis are pretty horrifying, and really would make good encounters in a demi-plane off of Felltower.

Or just in Felltower.

Crab Link

and this one

Gross! I love them.

Now, to stat them up!

Monday, February 20, 2023

Pathfinder bundle

Pathfinder 2e has a big Humble Bundle:

Click here if you're interested - it's $28 for a 25-book bundle, or $5 for a much smaller bundle of just the basics.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Next Felltower in 2 Weeks

No real Felltower news this work, nor work on the dungeon.

Next game is likely in two weeks - 3/5 - so I'm leaving it all to lay until just before next session.

I'm finalizing my thoughts on Holy Warriors and Higher Purpose, though.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Pathfinder: Kingmaker concept transfer to tabletop

I'm replaying Pathfinder: Kingmaker on two concurrent playthroughs - Molly the Lawful Evil monk, Holgar Carlson the Lawful Good Paladin - to experience the story and the options from two more paths than Otto the Lawful Neutral fighter experienced. One of those reasons is that you get to simultaneously deal with ruling a land and adventuring in that land.

Ruling a territory is often called an "endgame" for D&D and D&D-inspired games. You adventure a bunch, then you grab some money and found a kingdom (OOTS spoiler alert!), and that's that. Or, in the style of very old play, you keep playing but also deal with the upkeep of your kingdom, and delve in dungeons to earn the funds and power that'll help you keep your kingdom intact and growing.

In Pathfinder: Kingmaker, you get the kingdom right away. You need to adventure to keep the kingdom up, and keep the kingdom up to benefit your adventuring. You pretty much rule a kingdom from like, 3rd or 4th level onward.

I think this is a nice campaign approach. The trick is, alternating kingdom-level decisions with adventuring decisions. You need to alternate choices you make for the kingdom - which cost in-game but not out-of-game time and in-game resources - with actual adventuring, which costs you in-game time (delaying kingdom decisions, sometimes) and potentially earns you in-game resources.

This would need some work, but having downtime between delves where you have to decide what the kingdom should do, solve some problems as a ruler would, and make decisions about the direction of the land you rule. Those will also drive adventures, where you have to solve some problems with the sword, the gun, or face-to-face roleplaying diplomacy.

This way you get the effect of rule, but don't get bogged down in the micromanagement of a kingdom and keep those players who'd rather just smite things involved. Yet you tie it all together with the higher-level kingdom stuff.

I'd need to think of how to do this well, but the basic framework for it has existed since back in the day - Gangbusters! is a good example of a place for this, especially criminals. I think this would be a good way forward for our Gamma World game, if we ever play it again. I'd have to think how I'd run this as a GM and see if we can't give it a go someday.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Friday Random Links & Notes 2/17/2023

The usual random bits.

- James Mal's Top 10 non-D&D games. GURPS isn't one of them, but he's written a GURPS Traveller book and Traveller is #1, so maybe that explains that.

Part I
Part II

I like a lot of those on that list. I especially agree on Gangbusters!, which is really only hampered by being class-and-level. It's really hard to deal with having to give reporters levels and such things. It would have been better entirely skill focused but in general TSR didn't do without classes and levels back in those days.

- Doug asked me a question about my Q&D grappling rules that provoked a "huh, I hadn't thought of that." Now I have to think of that. And figure out what to do or not do about that. Damn questions!

- Orc minis! I like my orcs green, but I like these orcs.

- I always liked the catoblepas. I used one, once, to great amusement. So I like this tactics article for them.

- In Pathfinder notes, I'm still Team Evil, specifically and aggressively Lawful Evil. So imagine my surprise when being Lawful and Evil caused me to have a conflict with a LE potential ally, who rejected me as weak and unfit as a ruler. This is the Lixia / Hellknights quest line, for people who've played. Very annoying. I went out of my way to try to nuture this alliance but apparantly if you choose anything but the exact right answer at the right time for the right conversations, you are just 1 calorie, not evil enough. Aggravating.

I killed them off for this, of course. What did they think, annoying the evil Queen Molly? I kill people just for the XP, even when they don't annoy me. I'm to blame for my actions but seriously, they could have thought this through.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

GURPS First Edition, Reviewed

I wasn't aware of this, but stumbled across it in one of those instances where an algorithm was correct, but way late, in what I'd like.

Roleplay Rescue: GURPS First Edition

It's not a really in-depth review, but still. This is the GURPS system I started with - basically Man-to-Man with the rest of the system included as well. We played without magic in a fantasy game world until GURPS Fantasy came along with skill-based magic. Fun stuff - we played for years with 1st edition, and then later used GURPS Update to sort-of jump to 3rd edition. So any look at this original set, which set me off down a road of editions of the game and eventually a sideline writing for the system, is a look I want to highlight.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Missing a Leiber Book, Huh

I was going through my books and dug out all of my Leiber Fafhrd & the Grey Mouser stuff, because, mostly, I was re-reading old Glen Cook stuff and he mentioned Leiber a lot.

Here is what I have:

I disliked Knight & Knave of Swords so much I don't own a copy. But I also seem to be missing The Swords of Lankhmar. I'm not sure why; I'm sure I owned all seven (two duplicate others) at one point.

I think it's time to fix this! It's not my favorite, but it's sad to see it missing from my collection and not handy to read from when the mood strikes me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Last Wills for PCs?

Back in the day, our character sheets for AD&D were from TSR. Most of them had a little section on the back for a "Last Will."

We used them then, even though we had a pretty low-lethality game compared to how I do things now. In campaigns, it was rare for a PC to die. In our early games, it was more common, but I never saw a will successfully used to transfer anything to a new guy. Playing much of my very early days (and more here) in elementary school was not conducive to such play.

I'm curious how people have had this work out in their games. I don't use it in DF, mostly because I game with actual lawyers and managers who do long-term risk mitigation strategies in play already. My head hurts considering how they'd angle this. And it would be one more thing to keep track of. But color me curious . . . who wills the wills?

Monday, February 13, 2023

Notes to Self for DF Felltower

Just some notes to self from last session:

- several PCs took damage from corrosion from Desmond's Acid Ball spell. We need to deal with armor repairs for anyone who took 5+ points as that reduces DR.

- we still haven't had the two other regulars vote in our rule change poll. I'm going to ask them by voice next time, and a week later just make changes based on the existing votes. At the moment that means it is looking like Great Haste gets a bit nerfed but easier to adjudicate, and Feints may change . . . and weapon skills migh not. We'll see.

- I need to go through the map to make sure there aren't any wall gaps like last time.

- I need to make sure people are buying replacement rations. They did it the first two sessions, but I suspect people decided "that must be part of upkeep." Not the case for distance travel (which also encourages staying in Felltower, which is part of the point.)

I wanted to get these down here so I could remember them better than if I email them off to the group.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

DF Felltower & the Brotherhood Complex

Just a few notes on DF Felltower & the Brotherhood Complex.

- it's known to be days away from Felltower and Stericksburg. That said, rumors say that there is an entrance from the Brotherhood Complex to Felltower dungeon itself.

- it's peopled by the cone-hatted cultists, who call themselves the Brotherhood. Presumably this is the Black Brotherhood, who dwelled in the dungeons that are now known as Felltower dungeon back in the day. They may or may not be direct-line descendents, spiritually or literally, of the Black Brotherhood. This may or may not matter, but either way, they clearly intend to be taken as such.

- it's not known how they connect, exactly, to the six-fingered vampires, aka the Gith, who they do and do not resemble. Do, in their choice of cone hats and veiled faces and evil acts, and do not, in their lack of a sixth finger, their tendency away from gold-and-costume jeweled armor and slender weapons, and their lack of use of servitor races.

- the Brotherhood Complex, as it is known, boasts a tapestry that shows the Black Brotherhood's fortress complex atop Felltower mountain in its old glory.

So far, that seems to be the overlap.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

This and That Game Prep

Very little gaming today, or gaming things to write about.

I pretty much:

- did a little work on a project proposal

- played some Pathfinder: Kingmaker, which clearly had an upgrade since I last played it. I don't recall my town ever changing its in-game appearance when I upgraded to a capital. Or having a "library" showing all of the backers of the Kickstarter.

- did some VTT updates. I really need to get a printer, or at least a scanner, and use it to start putting sections of upcoming adventures into the VTT.

- read a short story that I want to discuss eventually as "gameable fiction."

And that's about it. Slow day.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Random Thoughts & Links for 2/10/2023

Here are some links and thoughts for Friday.

- I enjoyed these two looks at a boardgame of the Battle of Poltava. I've long been very interested in Russian history, especially the reign of Peter I, first emperor of Russia.

Battle Of Poltava

Battle of Poltava 1709

Both give a good look at how to use game design and rules to channel a game down a specific path. Historically, the Swedes wanted to bypass some Russian redoubts and assault the Russian main force . . . but units misunderstood their orders and tried to assault them, throwing the plan off and - eventually - helping the Russians to achieve victory. The rules of this game force you to play out that misunderstanding, yet don't essentially force you to lose.

- I love these posts. I especially love how unfair the stats are. You need +1 weapons to hit Iuz, but he can create an Anti-Magic Shell at will which will make your weapons no longer magical . . . so you can't hit him. It's only a fair-ish fight if he decides he wants one, and only as long as he wants it to be.

Let's Fight Iuz

- The March Harrier campaign has begun. And much like - okay, exactly like - my two Traveller campaigns, they feature Vargr and the party almost immediately thumbs their collective noses at local authorities and culture and resorts to crime. My experience with Traveller is this:

"We're running a merchant campaign."
"Okay, we casually resort to crime in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . go!"

March Harrier Session 1
March Harrier Session 2

- I like weird henchmen. d4 Caltrops aids in this.

D100 Henchmen Foibles

- Little things I didn't know. I was re-reading a Glen Cook short story compilation. In it is a short story set in the Dread Empire that he wrote while staying with Fritz Leiber, while Leiber was writing "Swords Against Death." I quoted from The Bazaar of the Bizarre from that collection a week ago. He mentioned them featuring each other's characters in their stories. So is it possible that Zindahjira, the Silent One - described by Aristithorn of Necromnos as "Biggest windbag in the trade" - is Ningauble of the Seven Eyes under a different name? A thin thread . . . I'd be curious to ask Glen Cook that.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

DF's Last Resort: Praying to God

"Pray to God."
"Praying to God!"
- Spaceballs: The Movie

In GURPS Dungeon Fantasy, you can pray to your (or the) god(s) for help. It's a roll, and you can sacrifice character points - unspent xp, as we call them - on a bonus, at a 1:1 for a +1.

What's it do?

Per DFRPG Exploits, p. 90, or GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 2: Dungeons, p. 15:

Success means a fortuitous coincidence saves the supplicant; e.g., the hero’s pack snags, stopping a fall. Critical success means a miracle; e.g., teleportation to safety by the delver’s god.

That's pretty thin guidance. Success seems to undo a single bad roll. Critical success gives you extreme benefits. There is no other listed guidance in any DF supplement that I know of.

Here is what I actually do in DF Felltower.

- I allow any success to provide an actual miracle. The Good God intervenes in a noticeable way. Healing a combatant, causing a magical effect that disrupts the enemy, or allowing a success with an inappropriate skill to succeed in helping in a situation (such as healing a Mortal Wound with First Aid.)

Note - per the rules as written, this is very generous.

- I allow critical success to basically reverse the problem at hand, and quite possibly tilt it in your favor. This can be healing all friendly combatants, mentally stunning all enemies, whisking the PCs to safety, etc.

This seems more in line with how it's written.

Note that in no case does the rule state, or imply, that spending xp automatically ramps up the effect. You can spend 10 xp and all it might get you is your backpack snagging you so you don't fall into the lava stream below.

Even so, there are issues I stumble over:

- What do the PCs wants? The players tend to ask a pretty broad, vague request that I have to decide on. Even so, specific doesn't help, because then it tends to be a little too specific. "Good God, please heal Kaylee's arm and help us win this fight" - what the hell kind of prayer of desperation is that? It's basically leading the GM and making it a mechanistic roll. "I have a 7 or less to get the Good God to heal Kaylee's arm, and on a critical we get massive healing!"

- Does the prayer actually solve the problem? The problem with the Last Ditch is that things are already really bad when you ask, so a simple coincidence isn't really going to do so much. And a solution may not be a helpful solution. PCs might not be ready, physically, to take advantage of a divine lull in attacks. The players, mentally, might not be ready to react quickly to a narrowly created opportunity.

It feels like success should give you some real concrete game-changing benefit . . . but it's hard to time that. It's hard to ask at the right moment and get the right roll. If it doesn't, are you really benefitting? Or are you just asking for help and secretly praying (a prayer within a prayer) to get a 3 and have your diety save you completely, like a Wish?

I don't have a lot of answers here. I have no issue with how I've run it so far . . . except a disatisfaction with the results. As often as the PCs pray, they are more often just delaying disaster to later in the session. And, possibly, just hoping for a 3 so they can escape completely from a bad situation.

It's been an interesting part of the game but less impactful than I would have thought it would be.

Thoughts (and prayers!) welcome in the comments as always.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Pathfinder: Kingmaker update

I've played a bit of Pathfinder: Kingmaker with my evil guy, Baroness (soon to be Queen) Molly.

I'm 13th level now, mostly monk (I think Rogue 4, Monk 9) going bare-handed. It's not a bad build, although the damage isn't quite what it would be with a good weapon.

Playing Team Evil has been enjoyable. I've managed to get an evil bad guy to be my advisor (we're using each other), annoy my neighbors, and get some powers I'd missed by playing neutral-to-good.

On the other hand, being evil has its costs. I ruthlessly executed someone who could have been useful. Lost out on a craftsman by being evil to him when he showed up being annoying. And I wasn't sufficiently evil enough with one of my companions to push him to the "bad" ending for his character. Oh well.

I hit a bit of a snag at the moment - a mission to do that will take a lot of time, and I just don't love my mix of potential companions. I really enjoy two of them as personalities - Jaethal and Harrim. But I find them vastly inferior as actual companions. Jaethal the undead Inquisitor is a second-rate fighter and second-rate ranged fighter, and tends to get mauled. So she's around for Perception checks and Arcane rolls. Sadly, Linzi the happy and annoying Bard is better for that. Harrim is just not a good cleric for some reason, and if you make him a Mystic Theurge he's not much better.

I literally make every part myself, Ekun (ranged and survival), Nok Nok (stealth, trickery, and general murderous mayhem), and then I need a buff character, and a healer, and a skill monkey, and need one of them to be any required PCs. Oh well.

Still, Team Evil has been enjoyable overall and a useful distraction when I need a little time away from non-gaming endeavors.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Battle of Five Armies in Minis - now $5K off list price!

I posted about this mini set in 10/2020.

The Battle of Five Armies, for TSR's Battlesystem, in 15mm minis.

At the time it was $12,995. It's now at the low, low price of $7,955!

"Complete Contents of this breathtaking display include:

1200+ Skillfully Painted Orc & Goblin Infantry
90+ Skillfully Painted Orc & Goblin Cavalry
700+ Skillfully Painted Dwarf Infantry
250+ Skillfully Painted Human Infantry
90+ Skillfully Painted Human Cavalry
140+ Skillfully Painted Elven Infantry
30+ Skillfully Painted Elven Cavalry
6 Custom-Painted Giant Eagles
17 Additional Custom-Painted Figures to Represent Named Characters
Over 250 Pieces of Painted Foam & Latex Terrain, Some Custom Molded
17 pages of GenCon Registration Paperwork
14 GenCon Prize Vouchers
6 Pre-Addressed GenCon Correspondence Envelopes
19 Pages of Handwritten Scenario Notes"

Pretty awesome. And on sale!

Monday, February 6, 2023

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Session 180, Brotherhood Complex 3, Part II

Date: 2/6/2023
Game Date: 1/29/2023 left Stericksburg, delved on 2/1/2023.

Ambassador Durinn, dwarf cleric (264 points)
Belmek Battlebeard, dwarf barbarian (255 points)
Desmond MacDougall, human wizard (285 points)
Kaylee, half-elf knight (250 points)
Lenjamin Gundry of Cornwood, human knight (250 points)

We picked up where we left off - in close combat between a dozen or so cone-hatted cultists and the PCs.

The usual confused brawl resulted.

The cone-hatted cultists pinned all except Desmond up agains the corner point of the intersection. Desmond was a half-dozen yards away confronted by two cultists, one wounded and one unharmed. Kaylee, with a crippled arm, brawled with Brother Cedric (flail) and Brother Alester (knife, after losing his halberd when his arm was crippled) along with another cultist. Durinn stood next to him, facing one cultist. Lenny next to him, at the point of the corner, facing 2-3 cultists while trailing a halberd out of his vitals. Belmek was facing three cultists, all lightly wounded.

(I'll deal with the fight in sections to make the summary readable and writeable.)

Desmond fought with his cultist foes, desperately parrying and retreating, trying to cast spells to take them out - he used Tanglefoot on one, but couldn't take advantage from the man going down to get further away. He used Terror later, to try and scare them, but didn't make the roll by much and they resisted. He managed to strike one in the groin during the fight, but not hard enough to really matter. Meanwhile, they used All-Out Attack (Double) to pound on him. His Magescale deflected most of the blows, but not all - and a few Blink spells off of HP - leaving him wounded. Eventually, one (the unwounded one) got a shot in and rolled "hand." Desmond doesn't have much DR there, and - whack! - his hand was severed. He lost the ability to use his staff effectively. Even after that, though, it took a number of seconds to run him down and strike him down. They managed to crippled both of his feet and cut him more, sending him to below -1xHP. He rolled a death check and failed by 2. Mortally wounded! One hit him a few more times before his buddy noted that Desmond was a goner. (I had them roll Per - one rolled a 17. The other made it.)

His foes ran back to the fight - one quickly, the other slowly.

In the center brawl, Kaylee was steadily getting beating down. Prone, and unarmed, she scabbled for a potion and then for a knife. This took time, as she was underfoot of Brother Cedric with his flail. Meanwhile, Brother Alester kept kicking at her, mostly ineffectually but every once in a while doing 1 injury through her armor. The other cultist just banged away with his sword, hitting Kaylee over and over, sometimes getting through armor and sometimes not. He switched to All-Out Attack (Double) and then later (Strong) to bang through her armor while she was unable to strike him effectively. Kaylee tried to get up but fell a couple of times from critically missed Dodges. It got ugly, quickly. Soon her right hand was also crippled, too.

Durinn fended off the cultist on him while getting off healing spells . . . sometimes. He managed to heal up Lenny a lot, Belmek (I think), and Kaylee once as well. But he was low on power and getting hurt. The cultist on him managed to land a blow and cripple his right arm - his shield arm. His defenses compromised, he still managed to parry (!) and dodge Brother Cedric's flail. But then another blow came through and hit one of his legs - cutting it clean off. His HP were negative and he was rolling each turn to stay awake. In desperation, he prayed for help from the Good God, sacrificing 1 xp to get a +1 . . . a net 8 or less. He prayed and asked for any aid from the Good God, especially for Kaylee to get back into the action (more or less.) He rolled an 8! The Good God bathed Kaylee in light, and she was fully healed, and her crippling injuries were gone!

Lenny, meanwhile, anchoring Durinn's side, was hampered badly by the halberd in him. He fought well, and eventually managed to cut down one of the two cultists facing him, wounding him enough that he eventually dropped unconscious. The other kept him busy most of the rest of the fight, but he made sure no one could double up on Durinn or get to Belmek's flank.

Belmek kept fighting with three foes. He systematically worked them over with Rapid Strike, often Deceptive -1, and eventually managed to cut them down, one by one. It took a while - they defended well, and often, and mostly stayed up while wounded. One kept standing and fighting while heavily negative until he finally just dropped unconscious after desperately trying to kill Belmek with a gaping chest wound from an axe.

Around now, the healed Kaylee was - unfortunately - beaten right back down to negative HP. Brother Alester started to slash away with his knife, wounding her little by little. The sword-armed cultists hammered at her as she got up. Brother Cedric pounded her back down with his flail. She managed to fall on her back, and reach over with All-Out Attack (Long) and grapple Brother Cedric's left leg. She kept trying to improve her grip - first 7 CP, and then 14 CP! Despite repeated strikes - one on the neck from a sword and a big gash in her back - she held on. Durinn passed out around now, and Lenny started to take shot at Cedric, who parried with his flail. Belmek started to come around to help. Brother Cedric tried to break free, but couldn't.

Kaylee passed out soon after, letting Cedric go. Brother Alester moved over to engage the rushing Belmek, slamming him but failing to knock him down. Belmek cut him down in a short exchange of blows - a knife doesn't match an axe. Lenny and Belmek managed to cut down Brother Cedric next. As this happened, one of the two cultists who defeated Desmond. The other said, "Hold them off, I'll get the others!" and ran off.

About 5-6 seconds later, Belmek and Lenny cut down the last of the enemy. Lenny had Belmek pull out the halberd, and then went around stabbing everyone not a party member in an eye with his sword. Lenny asked if they should chase the guy running away. Belmek said no.

Belmek grabbed Desmond and Kaylee and put the flail and knife in his backpack - the flail chain-first with the handle sticking out. Lenny grabbed Durinn and his leg, and the dueling halberd. They hiked north, collecting the crowbar they dropped earlier.

Then they blundered into an evil runes trap - Lenny and Durinn were able to resist the effects, however, thanks to a poor roll on behalf of the runes (made it by 0 vs. HT.) They backed out and went around another way. They hauled out the map, saw where they were, and headed out.

Once out, they kept hoofing it. They got to their camp. They fed Durinn potions until he woke up. Then the group policed it up as best they could, and then hiked off even further so Durinn could heal Kaylee and then use Suspended Animation on Desmond.

After some further patching up, they headed still further out, and then home. They weren't hassled by any cultists, but it's not clear if the cultists couldn't, or didn't, or their caution getting away was the difference.

They made it back to town. Their loot was the knife (normal), a dwarven duelling halberd, and a flail. None magical or with other prefixes.


- I expected this fight to take 1-2 hours of real time, get finished off, and then they'd delve more. Nope. Despite a lot of Critical Failures by the NPCs early on, the PCs just couldn't get on top of the fight. It turned into a slog.

- We went with 1 CP per # of weapon weight. I said, for simplicity that's -5 for offensive, -3 for defense. My players said, okay, perfect, so that's -3 on this one defense because a -5 to an odd-numbered skill is only -2, but -3 on this other one because you have an even numbered skill. You know, we'll just use -3 for simplicity = no one actually listens. Next time I'm saying -1 per 2# of weapon weight, rounded up, halved penalty to defense, rounded up. For ST 20+ halve the penalties first.
- Rolls vs. Stunning & Knockdown are pretty reliably nothing. Most of the time, even a crippled limb doesn't stun anyone. All of the PCs are HT 12+, with 13-14 net HT rolls, plus HPT for the fighter-types. NPCs are usually 10-12, often 11-12, so less than 1 in 3 cripples or major wounds result in stunning. And most of the stunned just miss one second. We play without the automatic knockdown off of it, and automatic weapon dropping (mostly because of player preference back in the day), so it's not a big deal most of the time. Probably should be more so.

- Prayers came up again. They're intentionally vague, which makes it harder for the players, but specifics are too transactional. Durinn prayed for help, especially for Kaylee. He made it, and, having been accused of a lack of generosity on prayers in the past, I fully healed up Kaylee. It didn't turn out to be that useful. Kaylee was on her way out of the fight. She ended up staying in the fight longer, but only absorbed some blows that might have gone elsewhere. I opined after the fight that I gave them what they asked for but probably making Lenny fully combat effective would have been more useful - healing him or just getting that halberd out of him. It's always a quandary for PCs, though - do you bail out failure, or reinforce success? Which makes more sense? Which makes more sense given that you don't want your friend's paper man to die? But, prayers - I'll do a post on them soon.

- We had the usual see-saw flow from "These guys are going to murder us!" vs. "These guy suck." I should point out, in fairness, that Belmek's player (who also ran Gerry and Vryce) is pretty even keel. It's everyone else, mostly, who cringes when someone hits a PC but then smack-talks on critical failures by NPCs. Heh.

- I still hate Retreat. I still hate all of the "is this a hex I can Retreat to?" questions. If I was following Marie Kondo's advice I would chuck out Retreat for not bringing me joy.

- Situation awareness in RPGs got called out in the comments on my turn-based post. Deservedly so. When Belmek wiped out his last opponent, Desmond yelled to him to come help. I said, "You can't see him." Desmond's player pointed out that yes, on the battle map, he could ju-u-u-u-st see the edge of Belmek's icon. Nevermind Desmond was in constant frantic combat for his life, with two adult males in front of him intent on, and attemping to commit the act of, murder. Yet he could see well enough to know Belmek was clear of foes and could run over and help him? Also, people would ask, "Is this the guy . . . ?" Answer: I don't know. You probably can't keep track realistically and I sure can't without making a lot of paper notes to match the in-VTT tracking.

- The PCs managed to get a little bit of loot out thanks to those three weapons. Only the halberd - a $600 weapon - was really worth the trouble, but they need every penny - it took like 6-7 Major Healing potions to get Durinn up. I think some of the players wanted the conscious guys to drag away the plate-armored guys, or strip off some of their armor, or grab swords or something, but I routinely ask people who are unconscious to let the conscious guys decide. Nothing breaks my suspension of disbelief more than the players of dead and knocked out PCs planning, helping, and opining on what to do. I mean, c'mon. I know it's a game, but why not let the conscious guys have to decide what to do without knocked-out people suddenly providing advice or requests or suggestions of who to check and which potions to feed to who in which order? Everyone went along with it, quickly, but I wanted to explain why I do it that way.

- XP was 2 xp for loot ($59 each is more than 20% of loot threshold for 250-299 point guys), 1 xp exploration. MVP was Belmek. Kaylee got some votes for keeping folks occupied and then grappling Brother Cedric, but ultimately Belmek cleaning up his end of the fight and then cleaning up the rest of the fight was the vote-getter.

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Game pre-summary

We finished up a delve today in DF Felltower. I'd expected it to be a short fight followed by adventuring, but the fight went badly for both sides for a while, and ended up taking up the session.

I'll post a full summary tomorrow, but suffice it to say, the PCs managed to eke out a victory and limp home in terrible shape, and left behind a very large swatch of (unlooted) casualties in the process.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Game Prep Saturday

Game prep.

- I reviewed, again, the surprise rules from DFRPG. I'm going to use them. PCs using light sources, talking (and talking about in-game things is in-game, so you're talking in the dungeon), etc. aren't sneaking. So this is mostly NPCs trying to surprise PCs. A number of rules really favor PCs - healing and FP recovery for two - so I'm not worried. I do expect the usual complaints but the spectre encounter really felt kinda lame when it should have been a really rough go due to deliberately chosen ideal conditions for an ambush.

- Updated a few modules on the VTT and ensured everything in the setup looks good to go. It is.

- Reviewed the dungeon ahead. I think I have everything set up as it should be. We'll see!

- Normally I'd do some reviewing of character sheets, but I no longer keep updated ones for the PCs. GCA4 isn't really playing well with my computer anymore. I don't have the time to convert every PC and custom data piece for GCA5. And my players seem to mostly prefer GCS so they keep their own character records, generally. I can't keep my own files updated and converting to GCS just means I'm duplicating work. So I gave up on that.

- I did some thinking ahead. I figure there are 3-5 more sessions worth of things to do in this complex. So I fully expect 5-10 more sessions, increasingly empty delves. Heh. Hopefully not. But after this . . . Felltower itself awaits.

- I played some video games to clear my head of game.
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