Jul 23, 2014

Juggler Class and some Thoughts on Trade

I'm working on an adventure for a group of jugglers and drew this up this morning.

Juggler (Draft 2)
HD 1d4
Light Armor
Light Melee Weapons

Juggle: The juggler can simultaneously hold (juggle) items of size value equal to 3 + Dex mod, where Small = 1; Medium = 2; Large = 3
Juggled items can be thrown. Items can be caught into the juggling pattern so long as this is within the maximum total size value of the juggler.
Juggling requires both hands.
If the juggler takes damage, he must make a Dex check to continue juggling.
Throw: The juggler can use items or melee weapons as projectiles, as though making a normal ranged attack. Melee weapons do their normal damage.
The juggler can also throw an item to an ally. If the ally is not occupied, she catches the item. If the ally is occupied, catching requires a Dex check.
Catch: Jugglers always catch thrown items.

Weapon Notes:
A thrown torch has 25% chance of igniting the enemy, who then burns for 1d4 damage per round until the flame is extinguished.
A metal juggling ball (like a small cannon ball) can be thrown for 1d4 damage, and is a small item.
Standard club is small item, 1d4 damage. Heavy club is medium, 1d6 damage.

Just a few notes for my own purposes, preliminary to the development of some more complex tables for commerce in cities.
- Termine Bay: Inexpensive standard goods, obscure church items can be bought from the temple if you have connections, many more exotic items in transit but you have to buy them off merchants who are already shipping them
- Riverstadt: Lots of blackmarket trade. This is the place to get illegal items, but it will cost you.
- Marsheville: Has everything, but proximity to the emperor means taxes are collected more strictly, which drives prices up. Moderate blackmarket trade
- Halfhill: Has tech. Too bad it is almost impossible to get into the city, and most of the good stuff is proprietary of Count Ferdinand. Still, there are smugglers...
- Mesa: It's hard to get much of anything out here, but they have a healthy market for textiles and other such dry handicrafts.
- Sudenport: All sorts of great stuff. They sell things on the street that are illegal in the empire. A weak sense of law leaves scams common and quality control nonexistent.

Jul 17, 2014

On the Uniform of the Battle Mages

Those in Hommund who are convicted of magic use in Hommund are faced with a choice: execution or enlistment. It is no wonder their ranks swelled so quickly.The Battle Mage Corps is the only force authorized in the use of magic within the range of Rohan's empire. Where they walk the streets in blue coats and shining helms, the townsfolk usher their children inside and watch the passing breathlessly.

Some wonder why the Mages are not more heavily armored. Surely they could be better protected, they could be even more untouchable.
There are two answers to this question.

The first is the reason of practicality. In the interest of breeding an army overnight, it was not practical in the early days of the empire to commission fitted suits of armor for thousands of men. Magic-users, too, are accustomed to long hours of study. While the Mages are trained in competent swordsmanship, both for self-defense and fitness, many more hours are spent studying tomes and memorizing spells. With a light uniform, the fit Mages are free to march for hours and still have a calm, even pulse and a clear head to recall every word of incantation.
To suit up in plate is to acknowledge a change in environment between the tower and the streets. This is going to war. But magic is above all a mind game, and it is important that the Battle Mages be untouched by any stress of a battleground environment, where the mind dulls and slows and becomes subject to urgent gut responses. No, the Battle Mages study in their uniform, in something manageable for constant wear, and they learn to associate it with the comfort of the school, and they will have it like a blanket of safety out on the street.
Likewise with the pervasive use of the uniform. Every Battle Mage must wear it, and so breed the feeling of brotherhood that comes with the identical appearance and close association. So you can see that the Mage's uniform is designed to encourage a feeling of calm, safety, and brotherhood in the face of danger, so that it does not in fact appear to the Mage as danger, and his mind is left unfettered to manage his spells with removed efficiency.
Just as the garb inculcates a feeling of unity between the Mages, the heavy beaked helm forms a separation between the Mage and his surroundings. Inside the helm, outside sounds are dulled, everything is clearly outside the self, and one's identity is definitively anonymous. Those familiar with the psychological effects of masks will see where this is headed. A Mage who cannot be identified by others cannot be held accountable for his cruelty, and uniformity of the Corps encourages the mentality of us-and-them, as does the training of the Mages. They have a power all but their brothers lack, they are superior, they study and are smarter, they are above the peasants and commoners, they are special. They are told this day after day until the townsfolk seem but insects. The thick helm blocks out distracting sounds and the pleas of commoners, anything that might distract from the magical cants that resound in the metal case.

The second answer is more terrifying, and is all that the city-goers know: the Battle Mages do not wear armor because they do not need it. They are nightmares, they are wizards with charms and curses in their defense. There is no use in striking them, there is no use in fighting back.
The best one can do is to stay out of their way.

Oct 25, 2013

RPG Person Profile

I'm currently running (at home):
An old-school DnD format of my own invention.

Tabletop RPGs I'm currently playing (at home) include:
ODnD dungeons in a FLAILSNAILS-esue fashion with a group of friends.

I'm currently running (online):
The "Hommund 99" campaign in Old School DnD
via Skype and roll20.net

Tabletop RPGs I'm currently playing (online) include:
Just the game I'm running.

I would especially like to play/run:
Old School DnD
Cyberpunk 2020

...but would also try:
Call of Cthulu
Anything that isn't very plainly idiotic or published by WotC

I live in:
Florida, USA

2 or 3 well-known RPG products other people made that I like:
Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantast Rollplaying
The D&D Rules Cyclopedia

2 or 3 novels I like:
Frank Herbert's Dune (the whole series, really. Especially Dune Messiah)
Zak Smith's We Did Porn
Craig Thompson's Blankets

2 or 3 movies I like:
God Bless America
Scott Pilgrim Vs The World 

Best place to find me on-line:

I will read almost anything on tabletop RPGs if it's:

I really do not want to hear about:
Products published by WotC,
Problems that should not be problems because people should have common sense.

I think dead orc babies are ( circle one: funny / problematic / ....well, ok, it's complicated because....)
Something that appears in my games for the purpose of realism. Some players care and some don't, but it's worth it for those players who get another level to think about from it, and it doesn't bother the rest.

Game I'm in are like (link to something)
Then this:
Which leads to this:
Or sometimes this:
There's also some of this:
Though I'm not sure what that is...

Oct 22, 2013

Game Summary - Session 6

Having received a letter from a friend in the Adventurers' Guild, the players decided to take up a mission in Termin Bay. They journeyed back down the river and asked around. In the tavern, they met a barman who refused to believe the stories, and a suspiciously helpful fellow named Blake.
Blake volunteered to aid the search, and after a surreptitious Detect Danger spell, they agreed to allow his company.
Journeying into the forest at night, they were unable to find the rumored lair of the hag (or ghost, or who-knows-what), and set up camp, keeping watch on the forest and on their new companion.
In the morning, Blake awakens early to "get breakfast". Roderick follows him only to find that the traveler has truly gone out merely for eggs and firewood.
After breakfast, the group returns to town to meet up with newly arrived companions, and again embarks on the search. After some time, they arrive upon a dilapidated hovel. Investigation yields naught but maggots and stagnant water, but the shed behind the shack is more interesting. There, a large hole underneath sinks into the ground. As adventurers, they obviously descend.
Inside, the path is blocked. Clause swiftly kicks down the barricade, triggering a rain of jagged rocks rigged to fall. Unconscious, Clause is left with Blake by the entrance of the dungeon.
The group presses on through dug-out tunnels, soon finding another pit. Again, they descend.
The dirt gives way to stone, and torches burn in hewn halls. They find stalactites dripping a viscous fluid green and vile. A room nearly filled with it causes them to turn back, and they come upon a great atrium filled with tents, lit by torches. The laughter of children and patter of small feet echoes, and soon the source approaches:
Dozens of small children.
The kids flee at the sight of the adventurers, shouting.
The party examines the tents and adjacent camping rooms for a few minutes, before the children return with a band of teenagers.
"What are you doing here?"
There is much shouting and argument. The adventurers try to ask questions as the teens insist that the group leaves. There are threats: the children claim to be protected by some strange power, but will not name it.
In the end, the adventurers decide to leave. They recover Clause and inform Blake. Back in Termin Bay, the party informs the local guards of the children and their lair. Staying the night in the inn, the group sets out for Riverstadt in the morning. Blake agrees to join the team until the end of the season, when he must return to Lockewood.

In Riverstadt, the party pays a visit to the local Adventurers' Guild. Their next job: An expedition into the mountains of the Northwest to aid in the establishment of a new base.

The day is the 51st of Winter, Year 99 after the War

Oct 12, 2013

Game Summary - Session 5

31st of Winter, Year 99 after the war;

As the players sailed downstream out of Riverstadt, harsh winds and heavy snowfall beset the party. The fields are covered in snow and when the sun sets before they reach the bay, the adventurers lift the boat from the river and camp in the forest.
The blizzard continues the next day when they reach Termin Bay. The town seems empty, with most building snowed in. They return their kidnapped hirer to her sister's home, digging out the door to let her in, and decide to waste no time in paddling upstream in the blizzard to return to Riverstadt.
The blizzard lasts another day, and the party is forced again to flip the boat on the shore, and hikes for hours in the snow to find the shelter of the forest where they can make a fire. Illness affects a couple members of the group. In the morning they hike back to the boat. Snow is still falling, but the blizzard has stopped. The dig out the boat and continue, and the journey up river takes three days in all.
Upon their return, they inquire among the Revelation about a place to fence their stolen jewelery. The Revelation does not deal in foreign goods, but a man says he can arrange a meeting with a former contact the next day.
The party goes to the Red Raven tavern and meets a man to whom they are able to sell the stolen goods. The man tells them that, if they wish for connections who can give them more jobs, he may have a mission. They should decide and return the next day.
Of course they do, and are told that there will be a ball among the elite from Riverstadt and Marsheville in a few days. The Diebenstadt has a lock-breaking device they would like to have field tested, and some documents are located in the building that they would be willing to buy. They will have to acquire suitable outfits, and can gain entry with forged invitations.
The party gears up, and has a tailor make suits to suit them, at their price range, and in a few days they go to the party.
Entering, they attempt to mingle with the upper strata. Eko bothers some noblemen and eventually descends on a young lady who criticizes his cheap suit. The party banters for a moment with the frustrated heiress before she leaves in a huff. A young man approaches, angered that the adventurers have been antagonizing his lady friend. They persist in insulting the man, and before long Eko throws the first punch.
Roderick and Jean slink away (Clause is hidden on the street outside with the hounds) as Eko thrashes the young nobleman. Exiting the ballroom, Roderick and Jean alert the guards to the fight, who go rushing in to end it. The hall is undefended as the two sneak down the hall toward the document room.
Meanwhile Eko puts up a good fight, now taking on the nobleman's two friends, and knocking one out in swift order while blocking and dodging blows. One guard tackles the other nobleman, and the second guard fails to restrain Eko.
Roderick and Jean use the device to break the lock into an office where they gather up documents from a desk and a large chest, which also contains a sum of coins and a signet ring.
Eko tries to stomp another guard on the ground, but the guard manages to rise and draw a dagger. Eko takes his first hit of the night when the blade cuts through his side. Still conscious, he feigns a faint and falls. More guards are called to drag the men out and cover abandoned posts just as Roderick and Jean reenter the ballroom.
Four guards drag out the combatants, bound or unconscious, to the street outside. The party inside rumbles with shocked murmurings and fainting maidens.
Roderick and Jean hurry off down the street. The guards try to awaken the pummeled young men. When he suspects they will imprison Eko, Clause releases the dogs on the guards. One guard falls straightaway. Clause reaches the combat as the guards begin to fight off their canine assailants.
When one guard slays a dog, Eko can feign unconsciousness no longer, and joins the fight. Eko falls. Roderick and Jean, watching from a distance, try to sneak up on the fight. All the guards are down save one, who backs up to the wall. Seemingly of higher rank, he is a capable combatant, but has lost his weapon in the fray.
Jean is forced to come to Eko's aid. Roderick attempts a sneak attack, but is seen, and the guard takes him out. Finally, with all other fighters lying on the ground around them, Clause manages the fatal blow, splitting the last guard's skull.
Jean and Clause flee with their fallen comrades over their shoulders, back to The Revelation.
The next morning Morgan, leader of the Revelation, asks them to leave, to not endanger the gang by fleeing here after their crimes. Clause expresses his displeasure with the operation, and Jean says goodbye.
They reach the Red Raven, but their contact does not arrive. They decide to stay at the inn across the way while the others recover, and keep an eye on the Red Raven.
Their contact arrives on the third day. He says some among the Diebenstadt disapprove of their more obsequious methods, while others could make use of their talents. The decision has been to allow them membership to the coalition of thieves, but some will not do business with them. If they will adopt a more covert strategy, more doors may open.
They are paid for their mission, and given the name of their contact: Derek the Raven ("it's a long joke"). Codes are passed for contact purposes, and Derek is interested in the signet ring. He says he will return in a couple days with an offer.

The day is the 43rd of Winter, Year 99 after the War.