Wednesday, August 30, 2023

And contract signed!

Woohoo! I signed a contract with SJG for another SECRET PROJECT. Could it have anything to do with GURPS? Eh, of course it does. I don't write a whole lot of anything else. Or anything else at all, really, for SJG.

Doug is involved, so you know it's the long awaited GURPS Martial Arts: Dungeon Fantasy: Nordland: Technical Viking Monster Grappling. It will cover such topics as arm bars vs. oozes, chokes vs. creatures with No Neck, Shield Wall grappling, long boat wrestling, monster mashing, and, of course, rules for both gi and no gi dragon slaying. It'll be full of umlauts!

Oh wait, maybe that's the next next project. I forget. Either way, we're writing something. Signatures have been signed.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Panzer Blitz playthrough video - how I'll learn

Here is how I'll learn to play Panzer Blitz:

Seems like a good way to go. Watch and play along. 40 minutes seems long but it's less time than I'd expect to spend on turn 1 by myself fumbling through the rulebooks.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Felltower prep underway

I've hit a little bit of a quiet time, post-travels and before the Autumn rush, so it's time to begin prepping Felltower again.

We're not done with Vic's side campaign yet, of course, so I have plenty of time before we'll use the setting again. But it will be nice to get back to a world with the Lord of Spite and norkers instead of Orcus and kobolds.

I don't expect to pull out any new side areas this time. Currently active are:

- the Caves of Chaos, which may or may not have gotten some population back. Without the organizing influence of the evil priests, though, it's leaning towards "not." At least not as densely packed with hostiles and loot as before.

- the Cold Fens. All that remains there are trolls, a dragon and its lair, and the giants. Not a good "beginning" area.

- the Lost City of D'Abo. Probably more to do there, but getting there means Felltower or a limited trip centered around the Buyya Daud sect's pilgrimage.

- Felltower itself.

Felltower has undergone some changes since the last TPK. Time has passed and some things have moved in, and moved out. It should be ready for a group again soon, although 250-point guys will have a bit of trouble finding "easy" loot. It'll still be moderate threat low reward if you try to skim loot off the upper levels, which were heavily plundered by all of the previous groups. You'll need to push down to mid-to-high threat areas for high reward. I'm not sure who is up for that, but that's what is there for the taking. The survivors will be rich, as they say.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Panzer Blitz rules - thank goodness for the internet

A ways back, I purchased Panzer Blitz off of eBay. I didn't read the auction really closely, clearly. It was complete, all components included . . . except the rules of play.

Thanks to this site, I was able to get them:

Imaginative Strategist

I'm not 100% certain about their authorization to publish the rules . . . but I'd like to give a scenario or two a go, and while I do have Panzer Leader I know the rules aren't exactly the same. I have to see if it has the same "safety in numbers" issue vs. artillery that Panzer Leader has.

Friday, August 25, 2023

Random links for Friday 8/25/23

Getting back into the swing of thing, albeit slowly.

- a look at Supplement 7: Traders & Gunboats.

- Bruce Heard has consequences for loot based on how you got it. I like this concept as a way to introduce adventure hooks!

- Fun griping about X2 The Curse of Xanathon. I like the idea of the module, but not the execution. And yes, I've run it twice. No one finished it.

- On my travels I blew through the following Glen Cook books, in order: The Darkwar trilogy (Doomstalker, Warlock, Ceremony), then The Swordbearer, then A Matter of Time, the The Dragon Never Sleeps, then started into the Dread Empire books. So far I'm through A Shadow of All Night Falling, October's Baby, and All Darkness Met, and I'm starting into The Fire in his Hands. After those I'll read Heirs of Babylon, but I don't have that in epub so I couldn't read it on vacation.

Monday, August 14, 2023

DFRPG Felltower Adjacent - Session 3

I missed a session of Felltower Adjacent, run by Vic, as I'm abroad and time-shifted too far out of sync to play. Vic was able to provide a summary, and allowed me to post it.

For our previous session, click here.

Session 3 Summary:

The party met up with Werner Hiszog to find out what he had discovered while they trained, learned new spells, etc. Werner told them as follows:

“My books and scrolls tell me that it was built by the old empire, as I suspected. Not to watch for marauders, though. No. It was built over the site of a rift to the Shadowfell, a place of darkness and shadows!”

“Not all of the Shadowfell is evil, but this rift apparently connects to an unholy sanctuary of Orcus, the demon lord of the undead. Skeletons, ghouls, and stranger, fouler creatures crawled through the opening into the light of day. The empire destroyed the undead and then sealed the rift and built a keep over the location to watch over it and contain its threat. I thought that was the end of the story. Now, I’m not so sure.”

“The villagers think goblins lair in the ruin, so they avoid the area. If goblins have taken over the ruins, they haven’t bothered the farms or village.”

“The people of Summerstead avoid Shadowfell Keep. Some leave it alone because all ancient ruins have a disturbing feeling about them, a feeling composed of lingering memories and unknown mysteries. Some say the place is haunted. Others fear the rumors of goblinoids using the place as a lair. Whatever the reason behind its solitude, one fact is clear. Within two short decades after the collapse of the Old Empire, Shadowfell Keep was abandoned and left to fall apart and decay. It was on a grisly night about eighty years ago that the commander of the keep garrison, Sir Leonhard, put into motion the events that led to the keep’s downfall.”

“Perhaps the Shadow Rift’s malign influence is too strong to resist. Maybe Sir Leonhard was an insane monster driven by demons we may never understand. Whatever the case, at the stroke of midnight on that fateful day, Sir Leonhard began to systematically slaughter every resident of the keep. His own wife and children were first to fall to his blade, then his trusted advisors, and finally many of the soldiers under his command. Sir Leonhard was too skilled for any one soldier to defeat, yet eventually the garrison managed to respond with an organized defense. Although many brave soldiers died, they managed to drive the mad knight into the passages beneath the keep and finally dispatch him.”

“The keep became notorious for a time. As one of the last bastions of the fallen empire, there was no one to order it back into service. So, it was abandoned, feared for a time, and eventually, more or less forgotten. An earthquake a few years later collapsed the upper towers and walls, and turned the place into a ruin of tumbled stone.”

“Rumors persist of great treasures buried beneath the keep, yet few have dared explore the passages over the years. Sir Leonhard’s ghost is said to roam the corridors beneath the ruins, wailing in grief over the tragedy of his life. The people of Summerstead avoid the place, and the mere mention of Shadowfell Keep is considered bad luck by many of the farmers and villagers.”

They also asked about Orcus, and he indicated that their discovery “does not bode well! If servants of Orcus are active in the area, they are likely interested in nothing less than re-opening the rift! This is terrible! If death cultists unseal the rift, a tide of undead could descend on Summerstead. Today, we have no empire to call for aid. They would overwhelm us and establish a kingdom of death in this world. We need help to eliminate this threat.”

The party gathered supplies; Persistence spoke to Ludolf Schmidt to see if he had any good small knives. He did, and Persistence purchased an Ornate+2 belt knife (Damascus steel pattern) for a whopping $75. Urbain purchased a map of the area, and Duncan used it to navigate them to the keep (they got a little lost). A little before noon they found an old keep, mostly destroyed…almost completely destroyed. It was very overgrown, surrounded by a moat that had some planks spanning it, but which itself was in disrepair (in some areas, rubble and soil had fallen into the moat, and it was not uniformly deep or filled with water). Very wary of traps, the party moved up carefully, but Duncan made himself invisible, then cast Walk on Air to move about 25 feet in the air to scout out the area. He saw nothing. They crossed the makeshift “bridge” (which buckled but held when Persistence crossed last) and scouted around the ruins. After several good scrounging rolls, they found an area where shrubbery had been cleverly placed on top of a trap door. They lifted it, and found stairs leading down. They headed down, lightstones out.

When they got downstairs, they saw a 30 x 30 room with exits on all sides, with four pillars surrounding a center area, and lanterns hanging from them. As they entered the room, Persistence heard a bow twang and managed to dodge an arrow, but Thor did not, and got shot with a bodkin point. They saw two goblins behind the far pillars, and Thor charged…right into a cleverly concealed pit. Bam…he took some damage, but not too much. Persistence, seeing this, carefully ran around the pit. Urbain moved to help Thor out, and both Chop and Duncan (invisibly) moved into the room as well. Within a few seconds, they got flanked by some additional goblin sharpshooters, but in the end, it didn’t matter much. Persistence and Thor are deadly to anything that doesn’t defend. Within seconds, there were four dead goblins, and one badly wounded one. Urbain healed that one and interrogated him. He told them that there were maybe two dozen goblins on this level, and a hobgoblin in the torture room to the upper left. The group left him in a corner and told him that if he made any noise, they’d kill him.

The party next went west/left, found a latrine, then a storeroom. They saw two other doors to the north and to the northeast. Thor easily opened the one east, and heard a voice call out (from around a corner) in an unknown language. He closed the door (mostly) but left it a crack open, saying nothing. Then his curiosity and impulsiveness got the better of him as Urbain and Duncan were plotting out what to do next, and he opened the door to the North. Standing there, at the back of a large room, were four or five goblins, as well as a large hobgoblin wearing a leather mask, fairly armored, who yelled, in common, “Who are you? What is the password?” Thor replied, “The password is decapitation,” and the Hobgoblin roared, “To arms! The fight was on. The goblins eventually got their bows ready enough so that by the time the party got close, they could fire. Nobody was horribly wounded (the front-line guys took some damage). Persistence badly wounded the Hobgoblin Torturer (who had a red-hot poker and a shield) and kept pressing him—the hobgoblin never got stunned, but got knocked back several times and couldn’t really do much. As the rest of the group wiped out the goblins, Persistence finally got the hobgoblin down to -5x/hp, and dead. As that happened, two goblins came from the south, surprised to find a battle just finishing. They turned to run, but Thor ran them down, slamming them and finishing them off before they could get reinforcements.

He and Persistence checked to make sure there were no more goblins coming from that direction, and peered behind some curtains to find several closed doors, and waited a few seconds…nothing came. In the meantime, the rest of the party found a goblin prisoner and a dead human prisoner in the cells to the west of the torture room. The goblin, Splug, was badly beaten, bruised, scarred, and now only had one eye. He begged to be let out, promising to find them loot. Splug (who refers to himself in the third person) revealed that he was imprisoned because he wasn’t a stupid goblin worshipping Orcus…but had been caught cheating in gambling games and lying, and was imprisoned for that. After Urbain and Duncan questioned him, they made a deal to let him out, and would give him some of the loot. He went into the torture room, rammed the poker into what was left of the hobgoblin’s face, spit on him, and then kitted himself out in some of his dead former allies’ gear. One of the conscious goblins who was slumped in the corner said something to him, they argued, and Splug brained him with the poker. The party very much enjoyed Splug’s spunk. He asked if they had killed the guards—yes. He asked if they killed Balgron? Who? A big fat goblin, did they kill him? No. Hahahaha, he grinned…he would take them to Balgron.

Splug then took them down several hallways, moving slowly and cautiously. He took them down a set of stairs, where they could hear sounds of pickaxes. He told them to be quiet and then opened a secret door. They piled in and closed the door, and Splug led them back up stairs. He listened at the wall and nodded, and then opened another secret door. They quietly entered a room that was cordoned off by curtains, and where an extremely obese goblin slept on a bed, snoring. Splug got a wicked look, pulled out his long knife, and slit the fat goblin’s throat, holding his mouth after he did it. Balgron thrashed a bit, but died (with Persistence holding him down as well). They heard a sound from behind the curtain, asking, “Balgron,” but Urbain mimicked snoring, and then cast Sound to perpetuate it. They heard footsteps walking away. The group found a key on Balgron and opened the chest, finding various coinage in sacks (about eight pounds of copper and a pound of silver) as well as a wand and some healing potions (one of which Persistence downed).

Thor’s curiosity got the better of him, and he poked his head outside of the curtain. A goblin was walking, looking the other way, and when he turned around, Thor charged him. Urbain cast a Silence spell, and Thor flattened and then sliced open the goblin while it was still quiet. Another goblin had just left that room to the west, walking around a corner. They stalked him, and he opened a door to another room when he saw the light from their light stones, turned around, and yelped. What happened next was a meat grinder where several goblins trapped in a room to the north ran into Persistence and Thor, with Chop there as well. The front-liners each put down two goblins, with Chop knocking one out as well. Meanwhile, to the south, Urbain and Splug waited (with Duncan waiting invisibly with a 6d lightning). When the door opened, Urbain stabbed a surprised goblin in the eye, and who dropped, and Splug shot (but missed) another one, ducking behind a curtain. Then four more goblins poured out and surrounded Urbain. He cast Panic and succeeded against all of them. Duncan fried one for 20 hp of electric burning damage, and the other three ran. One ran into a waiting Splug, who backstabbed him, another got killed by Urbain (with a rapier stab to the vitals as he fled), and the third got hamstrung by Splug, and the rest of the group then dispatched them all.

Not wanting to go all the way back to town, they policed up all the loot and made a “base camp” not too far away from the ruins, from a vantage point where they could look down on them. They would wait for Handsome and Hannari there, if they showed up.


Forgot that bucklers can’t be used to slam. Well, I guess he was just slamming them down with his body, with the shield absorbing the blow.

We had quite a few critical failures that were pretty amusing. One that would have been pretty good (Urbain breaking his rapier) got retconned because he had actually killed the goblin before he would have made his second attack. That would have been pretty funny.

There were no major tactical mistakes, because the group was confident they only were facing goblins. Some potentially bad decisions were nullified by luck, but also by timely spellcasting. Splitting the party—they got away with it (this time). But also: they steamrolled the goblins with good movement, before the goblins could raise a general alarm. Bad hearing checks (and quite a few sleeping goblins, including the leader) benefitted them greatly. Overall, there was tension, and things could have gone badly for them had the goblins gotten some breaks…but no. They had dreadful dodge rolls for most of the day, Persistence basically made it so that they could only dodge (no chance blocking with small shields, almost zero chance parrying), and even when they blocked—Thor splintered a shield. They weren’t skilled enough to shoot for vitals, but did get some decent shots in using bodkin points. What they really needed was a vitals shot here or there. Alas.

There was some talk of taking Splug on as an ally. They could—he is actually 126 points. Whether or not his disadvantages could cause problems in the future remains to be seen. Fun nonetheless.

Related: Loot

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Random Links for 8/9/2023

I'm away from the blog, travelling, but here is some of what's attracted my attention when I've browsed my blog links.

- Gary Gygax bench, with a very early D&D themed map.

- Horse carry weights in early D&D versions.

- Megadungeon podcast. I haven't listened yet but I'll queue it up and see how it is.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...