Category Archives: Adventures in Gaming

Sometimes we get together and play an RPG.

The Lair of Lennok the Wanderer Part I

So I’m running my Dungeon Crawl Classics thru a little home brew dungeon. I figured the fun way to post about is in a simple serialized form. So as the party gets thru various parts, I’ll rant about it. It’s part session summary, part adventure write up. And sure I’m running with DCC but I know you’re smart and easily changed it over to whatever system happens to be your flavor of the day. And when this is all done, I’ll scan the map including my hand scribbled notes.
The Quest/Hook: One of the PC’s decided they wanted to get Patron Bond for a specific patron (Hecate from Angels, Demons & Beings in Between) Well. Sounds like a quest to me. The character goes on a week long vision quest and learns that they need to go to The Big City and find the person to teach the character the spell (which they do). The NPC agrees but there’s a catch. A child with the gift of Second Sight was born in remote village and someone has kidnapped the child. The party’s quest. Find the child and return her to the mentor (not the child’s parents). They agree and it’s off to the village and a little detective work. They finally track down where they need to go. A mysterious ring of stones deep in the swamp.
Getting into the Damned Place: Never said this was going to be easy. The only things within the ring of stones are two statues which animate into living beings as soon as the characters enter the ring. One is a dark robed figure. And the other a lithe elfin maid. The robed figure is the Guardian of Fate. The maid, the Guardian of Free Will. This turns in a roleplaying puzzle.
First, the guardians do not acknowledge the other’s existence. Such as Free Will saying, “Fate doesn’t exist.” Or Fate saying, “Free Will is an illusion.” Let the banter begin. Finally, the player characters will ask a question that will put them on the path to the solution. More than likely, “How do we find the girl?” or “How do we get into the dungeon?” or something like that. Free Will will answer with something like “You have to choose to find the gir.” Fate would say, “You have to accept your Fate.” Get it? To open the portal to the dungeon, each character must choose Fate or Free Will. For DCC here’s the side effects for making the choice. For Fate, the character’s Luck is increased by one and one random ability score is reduced by one. For Free Will, the character permanently loses one point of Luck but gains a point in any other ability score of their choosing.
Into the Hallway of Death: For most old school players, this shouldn’t be too much. But some of my players aren’t used to it so things got pretty tough for them.
Trap 1: Your standard pressure plate triggered flame jets. (DC: 12 REF Save or take 1d6 and be on fire!)
Trap 2: Pit Trap with illusionary floor: This was immediately after the Flame Jets. (Falling in causes 1d6 spikes to pierce that character each doing 1d4 damage) Plus any fools who are fire who happen to run forward….
Trap 3: At the end of the hall, standard poisoned arrow trap. (+3 To hit, Damage: 1d6+ DC: 10 Fort Save or be at -1 to all rolls for 2d6 hours.
The First Room: Or I should say guard room. Guardian Golem: Init: +1; Attack: +3 for d8 Damage; AC: 15; HP: 24; +2 All Saves; Special: Immune to Charm, 1/2 damage from non-magical attacks. Laser Idols (guarding the only other exit): +0 To Hit and does 2d3 damage when any one approaches within 5 feet of them. The only way to disarm them, it take out their ruby eyes (each worth 50 GP).
The Necromancy Lab: Wander further into the dungeon and they what is obviously a Necromancy Lab. Important Safety Tip: When you find three sealed coffins. Open no more than one at a time. Opening more could cause a TPK which nearly happened.
Coffin 1: The Elf Wight: Init +2, Attack: +3 doing d8+1 Damage; AC: 15; HP 18; Saves: R +4, F+3, W +4; Special: Undead Traits. Loot: Shield, Suit of Elvin Chainmail, The Necro Blade: When the wielder kills a living being with the sword roll 2d6 and heal that much unless doubles are rolled then the aforementioned living being is turned into zombie (not under anybody’s control). When the wielder successfully attacks an opponent, he may opt to turn a normal hit into a Critical Hit. The only cost is to permanently lose 1d3 HP and one point of Personality as the sword consumes the life force and soul of the wielder.
Coffin 2: Banshee: Init +3, Atk: +2 1d3 Stamina Drain; AC: 12, HP: 14, Saves: W +6, F +3, R +4, Special: Fly at 40′, Undead Traits, Cause Fear: DC: 12 Will Save or flee in terror for 1d6 rounds and make another DC: 10 Will save to keep from dropping whatever the character has in hand. On a roll of a Natural 1 on the first save make a DC: 10 Fort Save or die from fear. If successful then character still has some sort physical effect. Yes, this did happen and we know have an elf with white hair. Loot: Necklace (150 GP), Cursed Ring (I haven’t quite decided on the curse yet..)
Coffin 3: Bag of Skulls: 12 Skulls each with the following stats: Init: +2, Attack: +1 for 1d3 damage, AC 11, HP: 3, Saves: R +2, F +1, W +1; Special: Undead Traits, Fly at 30′. Sorry no loot here unless you count a large sack.
Note: The PC’s opened coffins 1 and 2 at the same time after having an easy time dealing with the Bag of Skulls.
And that’s as far as they got.
Till Next Time. Kill Monsters, Take their stuff, and HAVE FUN!

Meet The Band & Malloc Gets A New Fan Girl

The Dungeon Crawl Classics game is steaming ahead and it’s time to meet the band and hear about some of their misadventures. The last session, we were missing two players so more on their characters later but here’s the roll call for the one’s who braved Madazkan’s Court (Sunken City)!
Bill The Fighter who probably isn’t going to have a long life considering he has 2 HP and a crappy Luck score.
Jade/Jace The Witch (from Tales of the Fallen Empire. First on the whole Jade/Jace thing. For Mercurial Magic for Flaming Hands, Gender Bender was rolled. Look it up. Now I did do a couple of tweaks on the class. First, The Witch gets a Lay On Hands ability very similar to a Cleric’s. But it’s based on the phases of the moon. I’m lazy and really didn’t want to keep track of that. Also, I really enjoy embracing some of the crazy randomness of DCC. So the Lay On Hands table has 5 columns. Good. Roll 1d5 each time it’s attempted. The column may shift based on any powerful ambient magic in the area for good or ill. Also, the class has an ability called Temptress. Add your Personality Modifier to any social checks. Uh, I’d do that any way so it’s not much of a class ability. So what the heck. Add Level.
Kinder The Halfling (Don’t blame me. Let the player name their character how ever) and probably one the unluckiest Halflings around.
Nelson the Clumsy Elf. The one elf in the world, you don’t want to hand a bow to.
I won’t go into a long blow by blow rant on the session, only the good parts. And yes before you say anything, I ignored some rules here and there. But it was all for the fun of it.
Let’s start with poor Nelson who needs to get some armor so his AC gets up to 10.
“I don’t want to get near the monster. Can I use my 10 foot pole as a weapon sort of like a spear.”
“Sure why not? It’s blunt so it does 1d3.”
“Cool. I crit.” And every encounter after that Nelson crit’ed at least once with his 10 foot pole.
Now on to Kinder the Halfling. The party just made 1st level. They haven’t had a chance to go to town to buy any gear. The only pair of weapons they had were a couple of Long Swords. I don’t care that the swords are as long as the Halfling is tall. Just the visual of the psychotic little Cuisinart made me chuckle. So what the heck. After Bill the Fighter spends most of his time unconscious.
Now for the highlight of the session. And yes SPOILERS AHEAD. STOP READING NOW. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

It’s the final encounter in Madazkan’s Court. It’s more a trap than a monster. But somehow, the party got it into their heads that it was more of a monster. They kept attacking and throwing spells at the statue for absolutely no effect. Jade The Witch gets desperate and realizes with a good enough roll Charm Person could work on a “monster”. And the DCC Dice Gods said, “Nope! Spell Misfire!” The result. Caster falls in love with the target of the spell. Add into this the player rolled well on Mercurial Magic. First, everyone within 10 feet gets a little healing. It kept Bill alive. Second, all looking at the caster must make a Will Save or be entranced by the caster for 1d3 rounds. The only one to make that save was poor Bill who was being pulled into the maw of the statue. So while the Witch was putting her moves onto Malloc, Nelson the Elf and Kinder the Halfling watched. Yeah, there were a lot of jokes…

Returning to Zoong!

Starting off the New Year by returning to Zoong. OK so Zoong has evolved into my DCC/OSR setting. It’s what I ran last time and it’s what I’m running again. Most of the players will be the same so they’ll be know a few things already about the world and a few things there.
This time around I decided on a couple of things. First, we’re starting of with Sunken City and it would be easy to have Escape from the Shrouded Fen sitting in the wings. I also have In the Prison of the Squid Sorcerer close at hand. This time around, I want to run shorter adventures and give the players more time to just get into trouble on their own.
I’ve also thought about classes. Of course, there will be the standards from the core book. But the players have asked about others too. So from the wonderfully fun-dark-grim Hubris, the Druid, Blood Witch, Shadow Dancer, and Half Demon. Then from Crawl! No 6, the Ranger, Paladin, and Bard. And my own Barbarian which I just redid to make it a little simpler. If somebody really, really wants something then I’ll worry about then. It’s same thing for gods and patrons. There’s a plethora out there and I ain’t afraid to mix things up.
There’s a few other little things I’m going to throw in there but that’s for a later post. And here’s the new Easier Barbarian. Barbarian EZ Final DCC
Time to roll dice, kill monsters, take their stuff, and have fun!

A Simple Little Swords & Wizardry Character Sheet

I has the wild urge to make a very small character sheet for Swords & Wizardry. My main inspiration was the 0 level sheets from DCC. So roughly index card sized, four sheets per page, and as flexible as possible (Just put in whatever is right for the character under the “Notes” part). I also designed around may own personal tastes. I’m one of those weirdos who likes ascending AC so no little To-Hit Chart. May you find it useful.
Swords and WizardY Index Card Sheet

Savage Space Opera Meet The Band

Well that Savage Worlds Space Opera game got off the ground last week. (No pun intended.) Here’s what the players came up with: And sorry the silly GM left his notes laying about so I forgot most of the PC’s names.
Tyler Titanic AKA TyTi: That’s the ship. I went ahead and gave them light freighter that in no way has ever been used for smuggling.
The no nonsense bounty hunter and pilot with a few enemies and a few connections.
The beautiful Katana-Wielding Rebel (or Terrorist depending on your point of view) who likes to blow things up.
A deep space salvage expert who also happens to really good ar gunnery and probably not a pirate.
The ray gunslinging guy who sounds like Batman.
The crazy SPACE GOBLIN! engineer. And yes it is spelled SPACE GOBLIN!
And Nut who is not Groot.
The party got hired to find out why a supply ship has gone missing on its run to a remote gas mining outpost orbiting a gas giant. I hate doing whole sessions write ups but here’s the highlights of the session. As a GM I kit bashed a couple of Savage One Sheets for the adventure (Routine Extermination for FEAR Agent and Ghost in the Machine for Last Parsec) and I’ll try to keep this spoiler free.
The group miscalculated their hyperjump and ends up running out of food four days before they get to their destination. So yeah the party is in deep space and no food.
The stations is overrun with rogue killer robots and the crew (except for some blood and a finger that the SPACE GOBLIN! ate) were missing. They blast their way thru a bunch of bots with no problem until they get to the main processing chamber. There they find a huge bot, building more bots and doing something else but they just aren’t sure what. This fight is pretty bloody for the player characters with about half the party having at least one wound. The Rebel Bomb Maker (who is not a Terrorist) decides to throw a bomb this goes very badly and doesn’t even detonate and lands way off target (Read way too close to the PC’s). The bomb does go off when they finish off the big bot which explodes on it’s own thus causing the bomb to go off. This rips a huge hole in the floor and half the party gets banged up even more and starts falling down the umbilical used by the miners skim gas from the planet’s upper atmosphere. And that’s where we ended the session.

Savage Worlds Whiff and Ping Revisited

This post appeared years ago on the old blog. Most of the thoughts still apply and since I’m starting up a little Savage Worlds game, I thought it would be good to bring it back.
This time I want to rant a little about Whiff & Ping. For those not up on the local gamer jargon, Whiff & Ping is easy to explain. Whiff: I swing, I “miss”. Ping: I swing, I hit, it bounces off my opponents thick scaly hide. Pretty much not matter what your system of choice is you’ve felt at least a little bit of this. In D&D, in it’s many forms, you’ve got high AC’s, Spell Resistance, Energy Resistance, Damage Resistance, Evasion, the lucky Saving Throw and the list goes on. In GURPS, you’ve got your Active Defense, Damage Reduction and a host of resistance rolls. In World of Darkness, you’ve got a one die pool mechanic, sometimes known as the “Roll a Pile of Dice and Nothing Happens” System. The danger of Whiff & Ping exist in pretty much every game.
At first glance, it might appear that Savage Worlds combat can suffer from Whiff & Ping Syndrome and in a way it does. In Savage Worlds, you have two defensive stats, Parry and Toughness. Parry is basically your target number to hit. Toughness is basically the target number to damage. Simple. Right? Anyway, some Big Bads can get some pretty high numbers. So it can be pretty hard for your buff fighter with a d8 in Fighting and shells out 2d8 in damage can hit the dragon but he’s going to have a hard time hurting it.
But here’s the deal. A lot of games out there basically use attrition damage systems (At least, that’s what I’m calling it here.) Let me explain. Most damage systems rely on a slow whittling away of Hit Points, Life Points, Wound Levels or whatever. Now, there’s nothing wrong with this. In a way, it’s kind of neat. It builds tension in the fight scene whether the players realize it or not. They slowly see their life getting chipped away bit by bit. When they hit an opponent, even it’s for the tiniest amount of damage it’s a reward. It builds the excitement and the players gain some sense of accomplishment. Our gaming brains have been wired to look at combat and damage in this light. Savage Worlds is more about the constant danger that the rug will be yanked out from underneath you at any moment. A couple of good hits and the right dice mojo will end a fight.
The act of hitting and not damaging an opponent equates to failure in most gamer’s minds. And nobody likes to fail. Even if you land that solid blow, you still might not hurt the guy. I’m going to use an extreme and overly simplified example here. Let’s say that we have an encounter with your standard D&D adventuring party of four versus a big nasty red dragon with 100 HP. On average due to various conditions each of our heroes does 5 HP a round to the dragon. It would take about five rounds with a total of 20 attacks to finally take down the dragon. In Savage Worlds, a similar encounter would run pretty much the same way. Twenty or so attacks until someone finally rams a sword through the beast’s eye. There will probably be a couple of Shaken results and maybe a Wound. Now, I know some of the math fetishists out there will want me to run some sort of simulation and work out all the probabilities. That ain’t happenin’.
Now it’s time to talk about the Whiff factor. This one is really simple. If you’re having problems hitting an opponent, read the Combat Survival Guide. If you are still having problems, you need to figure out if your GM is cranking up things too high. Finally, gauge your character to your oppoents. You might think your character is a bad ass but according the GM’s encounters, you’re a mook. Just talk things out, folk.
Just like any other game, it’s real easy to outclass the player characters if GM’s aren’t careful. The key here is just like every other game is to know the player characters and their capabilities and then design encounters that will challenge them. There’s no real magic bullet to balance an encounter and it doesn’t matter what game system you are using.

DCC Aftermath

No, not the post apocalyptic game by FGU. I see how you could think that since Mutant Crawl Classics is just around the corner. Nope. This is a little rant about about the my recent running of DCC. Now most of the things I’m to talk about are going to be old hat to folks who have plenty of DCC play time under their belt. Hopefully, this might help someone new to the game to get the most fun out it. I’d also like to throw out a big thank you to all cool folks of the G+ Dungeon Crawl Classics Community. One way to judge a game is by the communities that form around it.
Let’s talk about the little things you should have. As the judge, you’ll need the rule book (of course duh). Just to keep you sanity go ahead and pick up the Reference Book over on Lulu. That thing is soo handy. Do you “need” the funky dice? Not really. You can use the normal polyhedrals or the Crawler’s Companion (more on that later). Plus a spare printer cartridge to print out character sheets, spell tables and whatever else you’ll think you will need. Other than that just use whatever normal mini’s, maps, and what have you that you would in any other game.
For players, the list is almost identical. However, if the players don’t want to invest in a rule book(even the PDf). They don’t want to get funky dice. Then encourage, bribe, and shake your finger at them like an angry nanny to get them to use the Crawler’s Companion. Hey if they’re going to look at their smart phones, at least let be something related to the game you are playing.
Now this is, what I think, is the most important thing. The mindset. As player be prepared to have characters die. Don’t fear it. Don’t whine. Embrace it. Your character will (probably) not be a perfect hero with wonderful stats. Your character will not be min-maxed to the perfect (insert whatever class here). And just because of all those things, still have a connection with the character.
As a judge, you should be used to player characters coming and basically flipping the table when it comes to your laid plans and plots. Guess what? In DCC, the game will do that too. Don’t avoid it. Jump right in and change the world and the plot as the dice may land. Adapt and be creative on the spot. I know that ain’t easy and chances are you just might make a silly on the spot decision. Don’t worry. Roll with it. Also don’t feel bad about killing characters. It happens. Also, try to beat into the player’s head that they can use Luck. Really, my players hung on to their Luck like it was gold. Heck, the dwarf died because he chose to take his chances with damage rather than burning some Luck. Really, a first level character’s chances of surviving a 100 foot fall are pretty damned slim. A few points of Luck would have totally avoided that.
Now, I said I’d talk more about Crawler’s Companion. And here’s that rant. Use every freaking tool you can from Purple Sorcerer Games. From the Companion. To the Zero Level Character generator. Have your players (or do it yourself) print out a Grimoire. You’ll be thankful. And as I said. Get the Reference Book and put some bookmarks in it for those special pages. Or even buy the PDF and the core book and print out those pages you need and create your own. There’s a lot charts and tables for DCC, keep the ones you need handy and keep the game moving.
To sum it up. Be prepared. And be prepared to improvise.
While our little group is going for a change of pace and doing a Savage Worlds Space Opera game. I’m already coming up with some ideas for that Mutant Crawl Classics game. So stay tuned for a few rants on both of those.