Thursday, July 31, 2014

Goblins. Again.

2 am, August 8 by Kingdom Reckoning

The sounds of struggle continue to your north but it seems as if the number of combatants is narrowing. Battle cries in a deep voice mingle with shouts and yips of smaller creatures.

From the east, a volley of arrows flies. Thor is hit twice, taking 7 points of damage and two fly over Twiggy's head. Rayla is also hit once for 2 points of damage. 

You grip your weapons, pluck the strings of your bows and begin to chant the first few words of your spells, preparing for the battle to come when a brilliant flash of lightning splits the sky and crashes into the tree where Twiggy was perched. The light momentarily blinds you and the immediate crash of thunder is enough to rattle your teeth. The tree cracks and begins to burn.

There are still no visible threats. It is the party's turn. (We're in initiative order so please restrict yourselves to the normal move/action or two moves.

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Clearing in the Woods

Evening, August 8 by Kingdom Reckoning

After the encounter with the halflings and the mad dwarf, the party makes its way swiftly around the horn of the mountains and into the forest. Travel slows considerably once the forest deepens and at times you must dismount your horses to get through the dense brush. On the evening of the 8th day on the trail you come across a clearing in the woods with a small stream flowing through it. It seems familiar to some of you...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Outside the Dungeon

Early morning, July 31 by Kingdom Reckoning

You exit the dungeon after a short rest in one of the vestibules on the stairs out of the place. Twiggy's password again works to open the ground up and you exit into the fresh air, feeling happy to be in the wide world again.

You begin to make your way north and east, back toward the mountains, with your original plan of skirting North and rounding the range back to Bremel. Kumo and Draymun and Tom all spread out in front of the party, looking for a trail, looking for water, looking for civilization, looking for the horses. You trudge 10 miles through sand up to your ankles and scrub brush that cuts at your hands. By 5 pm the party is exhausted and you begin looking for a decent place to camp but before you decide on a spot, you see at a distance of 200 feet, a group of horses and riders, back lit by the setting sun.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Beginning the Delve

Afternoon, July 30 by Kingdom Reckoning

In response to Shade's question as he hurries underground, the giant responds, "Kotas." Then says, in what sounds like a rehearsed chant, "my work is finished, I return to the ground to await the pilgrims." The outlines of the spell begin to shine through the skin on his forehead and as you pass into the darkness underground, you hear the clatter of bones. 

The earth seals behind you.

The stairs are steep, obviously made for longer legs than any in the group have so the going is slow. The ceiling is vaulted and it's far enough above your head that you have to squint in the torchlight to see it, easily 15-20 feet. At regular intervals there is a landing, lined with columns like the staircase, with walls set with basins and alcoves. The alcoves must be there for illumination but contain no lamps, the basins are empty.

The stairs go on for quite a long time. Your knees grow tired from stepping, stepping, stepping down farther than is comfortable with every step. Your back hurts from the weight of your pack, bouncing on your back. Your eyes are sore from squinting and you can hear the pounding of your heart in your ears.

Finally, at a depth that Rayla estimates as 600 feet below the earth, you see that the stairs open up into a large doorway which in turn opens up into a room lined with columns. It is still dark, and even those with darkvision can see nothing beyond the torches but more columns.

The room is quiet and dark as a tomb, you stand 10-15 feet back up the stairs, near the same level as the top of the entrance to the great room. What do you do?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tracking the Horses

Noon, August 30 670 by Kingdom Reckoning

Tom leads the party southwest in the direction that the horses bolted but after two hours he loses their tracks in the sparse grass and loose sand that makes up the dunes in this barren area of land. He casts about for a time, moving east and west several hundred yards to try to pick up the trail again, but to no avail. 

He does, however, stumble upon something interesting: a humanoid skull, as high as a man's thighs, covered in a pattern of runes. In a single eye socket in the middle of the head, is a yellow gem.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rat Swarm (Round 4) A New Threat Approaches

Early Morning, August 30 670 by Kingdom Reckoning

Draymun's warhammer crashes in among the rats and the rest scatter in fear.

You lose 4 days worth of rations and two of your tents are destroyed. Your other gear looks to be intact.

20 feet away from Twiggy's position, two shapes appear out of the ground. They're hard to see in the dim light thrown by Shade's lantern, but they are large and the light plays across a shiny carapace of some sort.

(Twiggy's initiative vs. the new creature's: 9+2 vs. 13+0)

They scuttle forward into the light:

Acid drips from their clacking mandibles and they are nearly the size of your horses. One scuttles up to Twiggy and rears up to bite him. The other makes it's way to Shade and attempts to grab him.

(Attack against Twiggy: Natural 20, confirmation roll: 12+5 = 17 which is a hit. 3+3+2+4+8 = 20 points of damage as well as 1 point of acid damage. I believe that's enough to knock Twiggy out.)

Twiggy slides, unconscious, from his horse and the horses he had gathered up scatter in fear, bolting as far as they can in every direction.

(Attack against Shade: 8+5 = 13 which is a hit. 6+6+4 = 16 damage and Shade is grabbed)

Shade is grappled and his lantern is in danger of being flung from his hands, but he manages to hold on to it for this round. (Successful Reflex save.)

It is the party's turn.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Fighting the Swarm (Round 2)

Early Morning, August 30 670 by Kingdom Reckoning

I rule that since Tom is still standing on the ground at the head of the onslaught (and his Dex is higher than Thorvald's) that the party will go on his initiative.

Party Roll: 10+4 = 14
Swarms Roll: 6+5 = 11

The party may take another turn.

Twiggy's Inspire Courage begins this round so you all add 1 to your hit and damage. Note that Twiggy can only take one additional action this round since he started singing.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Fighting the Swarm

Early Morning, August 30 670 by Kingdom Reckoning

(You're welcome for not posting a picture of a real swarm of rats.)

Draymun's desperate gambit is successful and a large part of the swarm is engulfed in the thick saw grass that springs up at the druid's chant.

But some of the rats still dodge through the thickening growth and fall upon Tom and Draymun. It is a decidedly uncomfortable feeling to be standing amidst a sea of rats as they pass over your feet, scurry up your clothing and bump into you.

Then they begin to bite with their rotted teeth and the pain starts. Dozens of pricks like the tip of a dagger piercing your skin.

Tom takes 6 damage, Draymun takes 2 and you both must make a Constitution save. You each can make an opportunity attack as well.

You hear the rest of the rats coming toward you and some are veering off toward the tents.

It's the party's turn.

(Draymun's Entangle goes off and the swarm must make an immediate save. In reality you are facing 3 swarms so there are three saves. One makes it and moves toward the camp, the other two fail and are immediately stopped.

The swarms win initiative.

The swarm that saved initially must make another save and it fails and thus moves half, but still makes it to the front line of Tom and Draymun.

The two swarms that didn't save at first must also make additional saves. This time they both succeed and can move normally, ending their turn just short of camp.)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Past Awaits

December 17, morning in the year 670 by Kingdom reckoning

At the end of the month the party says it's goodbyes to new friends and acquaintances and goodbye to hot meals and warm beds and you pack your gear for the new adventure that awaits you.

It's cold, bitter cold, as the party makes its way to the site where the entrance to the mysterious dungeon once stood. You're not surprised when you discover that there is nothing there but trees and frost covered grass. Draymun is sure this is the correct spot though.

(OOC: Questions for the Party

1. Who goes? NPC's included.
2. Do you take horses? The wagon?
3. If not, who cares for the horses and where does he/she go?
4. How do you set the dials on the device?
5. Do you leave word with anyone?

As you are aware, there is a possibility for catastrophic circumstances. The things you have with you may very well be the only possessions you have from here on out. I trust you will make the preparations on your blogs for this and stick with them.


Monday, February 24, 2014

OOC: Back in Bremel

After the epic battle with Minx and her Lieutenants and the fine roleplaying, there will be no trouble recovering whatever loot you wish and making your way back to town. We will return to play in Bremel.

I am planning to allow the party a month in town to take care of any outstanding tasks such as: research/identification of magical items, scribing of scrolls, crafting, pursuing professions, looking for hirelings, looking for rumors, carousing.

Everyone please tell me what you wish to do and ask any relevant questions in the comments. If you don't post in a couple of days, I'll assume you don't have any urgent plans and will go with the group.

Recall my rules for carousing/research:

You can carouse for xp. Roll a d6 and pay the result times 100 gp for ale, food and pleasant company. Gain that as experience points and then make a Fort save to see if you made any enemies or got anyone pregnant in your inebriated state.

You can do magical research for xp. Roll a d6 and pay the result times 100 gp for supplies, books and lab rentals. Gain that amount as experience points and make a Will save to see if you accidentally summoned a demon or burnt yourself with acid.

Specifically, I'm looking for decisions on:

What to do with the gold; do you smelt it or do you retain it in it's stamped state? Do you keep it and how much, if any, do you return to the Rawley Estate?

What do you do with the "unholy" symbol of the Dark One.

What do you do with Minx's head? On this point, Alis urges Thorvald to at least put the head in a sack as it is greatly unsettling to him.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New House Rules

I'm always considering ways to make gaming, and especially online play-by-post gaming, easier. During our hiatus I've had a couple of ideas that I think would make our work here easier and give us more time to do what we came here to do: play!

1. Initiative by side. I'm becoming disenfranchised with the granularity of initiative. It's quite obvious to me that requiring every player to roll initiative increases the "time count" of our play exponentially but if I thought it helped the game in any way, I'd still be loathe to remove it. However, I'm beginning to be of the opinion that requiring individual initiative increases the granularity of combat in a negative way. That is, having everyone go on their individual turn actually makes it seem like combat is flowing more slowly than I think the narrative supports. I see combat happening all at once. Every round takes 6-10 seconds, but the thief is stabbing at the same time as the ranger is shooting his crossbow at the same time the minotaur is swinging his cudgel at the fighter.

Therefore I propose this change: each side in the conflict makes an initiative roll at the beginning of every combat round and each side goes in that order. If a player character wishes to defer, they will take their turn at the end of the round. Under most circumstances the roll for the party will be done by the character initiating combat or the character who is in the lead, using the best judgement of the Dungeon Master.

This has the added benefit of allowing the player characters a better chance to plan their tactics as a group without removing the verisimilitude of "the fray," combat being a chaotic sort of affair.

2. Simplified Ranges. The fact of the matter is that Pathfinder, even my simplified Pathfinder rules, may not be the best candidate for an online game. The amount of "crunchy" rules makes for difficult situations when the game we're playing is inherently more unsure than one played at a table. There will always be the danger of a disconnect between player and DM expectations, but that danger is amplified by the distance, and the time it takes for a single turn, in an online game. Mapping helps alleviate some of this disconnect, but the lack of reliable technology that allows player characters to move their own pieces on a real board limits the benefit. In most cases I think I'd prefer to spend my time writing up descriptions and running combat than updating a map once a round.

Therefore I propose this change: during combat, ranges will be simplified in such a way that positioning can be done clearly but without the benefit of a map. The ranges will be defined as Melee, Near, Far and Distant. Under ordinary circumstances, it will take a single move action to go from Melee to Near, from Near to Far and vice versa. Distant range will require a character to spend his entire turn from Far, as he must run to get to a Distant range. The dungeon master will do his best to adjudicate movement to the benefit of the player.

Thrown weapons are effective at Near ranges, ordinary weapons are effective at Near and Far ranges and longbows and crossbows are effective at Distant ranges.

The ranges break down as follows:

Weapon Examples
Dagger, Spear, Blowgun
Javelin, Sling, Shortbow
Longbow, Crossbow

3. Supplies. Book-keeping is embraced by some and reviled by others. At the table, a player might jot a few notes down on his character sheet and move on, trusting that the information will be there when he needs it. In an online enviornment where a single combat may take weeks in real time, that becomes a problem. I have, in the past, stated some rulings about food being taken on journeys. I want to strive to codify that in a way that allows the efficient management of food, ammunition and lodging. For this I am looking for suggestions. My current thinking is that food and drink for journeys be made a requirement, but available to be bought in "parcels" that reduces the book keeping of listing bread, cheese and mead on a character sheet. For ammunition, I'm also considering a "parcel" system that requires a roll after every combat to see if you've used up your ammo in that parcel. For lodging, I'd like to use a tiered system where you can choose to pay for basic or luxurious lodging and have some mechanical benefit for choosing the better lodging.