Thursday, September 30, 2010

[D&D] How did I handle poison?

Party encountered an imp. I knew what imps look like and knew that they aren't that tough opponents, but when I described the imp and opened MM and checked it's stats I noticed that damn, it poisons.

In the middle of action I didn't have time to read about poison, so I figured it out myself. So, this is how it worked (gotta read it from rules though):

When imp hits it deals 1D4 damage + poison effect. I forgot to ask player to roll fortitude save, so she was autopoisoned. Every now and then when I see fit (few rounds or something) I ask player to make a fortitude save.
If she successes two fort-saves in a row, she is cured from the poison.
If she fails two fort-saves in a row, she gets 1 point of damage.

I have no clue how poison actually works, but I quess this imp was unique. I don't know if poison only affects predefined time or untill cured, or succesfull saving throw, but this imp was unique with his poison.

Oh, and the sting itches and burns. When another save roll is near, it always burns more.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

[Mutants & Masterminds] Let's create a character step-by-step

Why did I suddenly want to create a super hero? I watched Iron Man 2 last night, and it was an awesome movie. We roleplayers are lucky. Usually when you watch a movie, and it ends, that's it. But we roleplayers can obtain NPC's, plots, ideas, settings... anything for further use.
So anyways, Iron Man 2 was a cool super hero movie, and I started to think how would it be to play Iron Man. Luckily I just got my copy of Mutants & Masterminds RPG so heck, I could try it out.
So I thought, I will create ironman-ish character for it.
There is one problem though. I am not familiar with the game. I know that it uses modified D20 system (similar to True20 who knows) and I have heard that the game is really awesome and... well, that's it. Anyways, I decided to create a character for it.
One problem might be all those super powers. How to make character good enough when you don't know how the rules work. This is also an experiment. I basically test how easy it is to create a character without previous knowledge of game mechanics.
But enough blabber, let's start.

First Step - What Does The Character Look Like?
I first thought I'd create ironman-ish character, but decided not to. It's quite boring actually. It can fly, take lots of damage and shoot energy. And that's it. So I decided to create character concept from the scratch.
For illustration and inspiration I used HeroMachine 2,5 to picture the character. I did not have any idea what I would like to create, so I just checked all the options and came up with this:

There are few things I should concider when statting the character.
  1. His right hand produces electricity
  2. He uses x-bow
  3. He has some mental powers
  4. He can fly
So, now we know how he does look like, and what he can do. Let's start exploring the Mutants & Masterminds RPG rulebook.

Creating The Character For M&M When Never Read The Book
 Finding character creation steps was easy enough. Almost at the beginning. Let's see.

0. Choose Concept And Origin
So first I should think about what kind of super hero I want to do. What are his powers etc. Well I already did that checklist based on the picture, so yeah, I have something in my mind. Let's move on. I skip step 1. as it is to check my concept with Gamemaster.

2. Determine Power Level
So, power level range is usually from 5th to 15th, but generally it is 10th. So, 10th it will be then.

3. Allocate Power Points 
Now I have to refer to later chapters to do that. Okay, let's flip pages forward. There is chapter called "Power Level - Superhero basics" what can be translated to "character creation". So let's see. There is table 1-1 about Power levels, and 10th power level is written in bold (as it is the default). So, I get 150 power points. Cool! Now, what do I do with them... Let's read on.

Table 1-2 shows what different things cost. Ability cores cost 1 per point, Attack bonus 3 per +1, Defence 2 per +1 and so on. I also have to remember, that those Power points are used also to buy Power ranks (super powers I quess) and Feats. But you can get points from weaknesses, 10 per one.

Luckily abilities are familiar from D&D, so I don't have to give time to figure out what they mean. So I just start pointing them. Starting Power value for abilities is 10. And extra costs 1 per point. So let's start putting it this way (if I make mistakes, I will correct it during this character creation):
I wonder if different special abilities use different attributes? Well, that is easily fixed later.

STR: 12
DEX: 18
CON: 14
INT: 14
WIS: 14
CHA: 14

Points spent to abilities: 34. So I have 116 to go. Next I will take attack and defence bonuses. (Not sure are melee and ranged attack bonuses different but I buy them separate).

Melee attack bonus: +1 (3 points)
Ranged attack bonus +2 (6 points).

107 to spend now. Let's take a look at skills. My maximum rank for skills is 13. That's well enough for me. So, I first pick up skills I suppose I'd need, and after it point them.

Acrobatics: 4
Diplomacy: 3
Disable Device: 3 +1
Handle Animal: 4
Hide: 6 +1
Jump: 4
Listen: 5
Read Lips: 3
Repair: 3 +1
Spot: 4 +1

I think all skills are good for super heroes. There aren't any useless ones. I spent total of 40 skill points, so now I have 67 points left. Maximum to skills was 13, and my best is 6. I am now concerned, that aren't I good enough?

Next in the list are feats. Each feat costs 2 points, so luckily they aren't that expensive and I suppose I can get good package of them. So, let's select. This part needs a bit of reading so I know how these feats work. Luckily descriptions are short so it doesn't take lots of time to figure out how they work.

Accurate Attack
Aerial Combat
Far Shot
Move-By Attack
Precise Shot
All-Around Sight

That's 16 points to feats, so 51 left for super powers. Let's take a look. Luckily there is an over-view table for powers, so I don't necessarily need to go them all through inividually. Table includes power's name, cost per rank and short description how it works.

Armor 5 points rank: 5
Datalink 4 points rank: 2
Energy Blast 4 points rank: 2

Regeneration 2 points rank: 1

Now I got 36 points to buy devices.

Crossbow 6 points

After my crossbow I still have 30 points to spend. I did not find wings, so I decided they are just a prop, and buy new Super power, flight. I take 10 ranks to it so now I have 10 points to spend. With those 10 points left I buy 1 to both melee and ranged attack bonus costing total of 6 points. Last 4 points I use to skill ranks (I add them to skills as +x).

I suppose I am done now. Not sure did I do the character correctly, but I created it as I flipped through the book. I also don't have any idea how good my character is. I did not buy weaknesses at this point.
So, I made a Mutants & Masterminds character without ever reading the book. It took me around 30 minutes.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Inventory time & New books

I did inventory of my rpg's both books and printed PDF's. I didn't count PDF's in my harddrive, as I should clear them out to see what there is. Even I cannot know what bits lurk beneath the surface of this plastic cover.

Anyways, currenlty I have 73 books on my bookshelf. It's not that much, but I am quite pleased. Well, there allways could be more, but I am getting there.
I am also quite pleased on the collection I have. There are games I play regularly (well, in cycles but still) like Vampire: the Masquerade and Fading Suns. There are few books I have tried once or more often, but most of the books are those I haven't never played or even read!
One thing I am happy with are my horror RPG's. World of Darkness, Kult, UA, AFMBE, CoC and so on. I am a real horror fanatic (in books, novels, music, movies, games, you name it) so those are the ones I am proud of.
Then there are games I will propably never play. Well, you never know. I thought I'd never play D&D but meh, here I am! But Earthdawn I suspect a lot, even though I've heard lots of good about it. And CPv3 I will propably not even read!

Supplements I don't appreciate that much. Well, For Vampire: the Masquerade yes, as that is mah fabulously favourite game liek evah! And well, old World of Darkness in general, Bring Them Books To Me!
Usually though I just need core book(s) to get rough idea of the game and the rest I color myself. There are few supplements though In other game lines also.
Adventures and campaigns I prefer self tailored, so Earthdawn campaigns which I own two pieces are worthless. Well, another of them provides new character "class", but as I don't play the game...
Kult sourcebooks though are gold. Really, really good read. Even if you aren't roleplayer, they are good read for your horror dose. Yes, they are written as a game, but I am not the only one saying that Kult additional material is gold. Wish I had more.
GURPS, is there anything else (interesting) than sourcebooks? Oh GURPS has also basic rules? Who cares. Seriously, I don't like GURPS (and this is not right time, place or mood to explain why) but some of the GURPS sourcematerial is pure gold! And it is easy to use with any game. Usually GURPS stuff is written that way. There is more information than rules crunch. Me like.

New Books And Bye Bye Old Books

I had a hard decision to make. Hunter: the Vigil, H:tR ST Screen, Witch Finders and Mage: the Awakening were games I barely read. I like World of Darkness, but don't like the new one. I don't know why.
And as I got Hunter: the Reckoning already, I thought I'd sell my Vigil away. Also I started to make a deal about Mage: the Ascension, so bye bye Awakening.
Luckily I got my Hunter stuff and Mage sold. Some extra money to buy new games! What did I get then:

I lost my new Hunter, but had already old Hunter. So isn't it logical that I lost new Mage and got old Mage? Yes! I am so darn happy that I finally got my Mage: the Ascension. It's second edition. I've been told it's the best.
Storyteller's screens I don't need at all, and Witch Finders was not interesting (nWoD-boo-hoo) so what did I get instead? Ghouls: Fatal Addiction (for old WoD) and Children of the Night. Ghouls seems to be really good book and adds a new dimension to game. You can actually play rich ghoul character now, so it's not all about Vamps anymore. How cool is that? And the art! Yeah, I love it. It's twisted and genuine Vampire style. Pervert but beautiful. WTF but WOW.
Children of the Night is a hard one. I don't like ready made material (cities, adventures, also NPC's) so I won't propably use this book in my games. But it is interesting to see what kind of vampires the developers of the game intended them to be. As they state in the very beginning of this book (yes, I popped it open right away) that there is no wrong way to play Vampire. So, I wanna see their way how they indended to do NPC's. And in the beginning there is really good guideline making your own NPC's and their power levels. Art is cool also. Too photoshopped over real photos, but still, it's cool.

And last but not least (well, after World of Darkness stuff, yes, least) Mutants & Masterminds. Looks like a comic. Looks like a simple system. I only have hard good about this. So, really curious for this. And it's only 196 or so pages long, so not mission impossible to read.

What will (my girfriend allow me) I get next?

Monday, September 20, 2010

[Movie] Evil Aliens could be AFMBE'd

Evil Aliens is indie splatter/humour/horror movie. I have seen splatter movies more entertaining and absurd than this, so I was a bit disappointed when there was not that much crazy bloody action than splatters usually involve.
As it's an indie movie, special effects and acting was how you would except it to be. In imdb discussion area director was both mocked to be as bad as Uwe Boll but also praised as a rising star.

I think movie was worth watching, but not great. I thought for a splatter it could have been more gory and less boring. There was not that many gory scenes after all.

Anyways, let's go to the part, about:

With What Game I Could Run This?

First in my mind came All Flesh Must Be Eaten. Even though AFMBE is all about zombies, you can do different kind of horror-monster genres with it. There is this zombie creation section for Zombie Masters (later referred as ZM) what is basically ment to create different kind of zombies, but witty ZM can easily use it to create all kinds of critters from horny human eating monsters (Feast series) to well, aliens that kill you (Evil Aliens).
By watching the movie yourself you can create stats for alien as you see fit, but I will present one template here later.

Deadworld: Evil Aliens

So, what kind of "Deadworld" is evil aliens? Very simple. Remote place where aliens will land and you will fight them to survive or be killed. Really straightforward and simple. Aliens could be thread for bigger city, continent or whole world, but in this movie it is kept local. So this campaign setting (or survival adventure) is also kept local in small scale.
It's all about survival. Kill or to be killed. Or try to escape or be killed. Lot's of action.

Characters: How Did They End Up There After All?

There is this tv program about paranormal activities, UFOs and other strange things. They hear a rumor about this remote island where a woman is argued to be impregnated by aliens. This story would be a kick for the show what would be shut down without anything interesting to come.
So, show hires a crew to do the shoot. They don't necessarily believe in paranormal things, but make money from it. So crew members (players) could be something like this:
  • Camera man
  • Microphone holder/Recorder
  • Actors (to reconstruct happenings)
  • Anchorman/Presenter
  • UFO specialist
You could fill some spots with NPC's (to kill before player characters of course).

In my opinion characters should be created as norms not to make them too powerful. After all, they are normal people doing a hoax tv-show.

NPC Cast

In the movie NPC's were the inpregnanted girl and his three twisted crazy and dumb brothers. Stat sister and two brothers as normsbut make one of the brothers as a survivor. His weapons will be hunting bow and machete. He is tough one, only fighter who can handle weapons well, but (as a good NPC should) you could kill him to make player characters more... insecure.

Location And What There Is

Location is distand island like said before. It could be near England coast, or you can make it another remote location. Points are, that:
  • It should be hard to get out (in the movie reason was tide)
  • There should be some ancient mystical stuff (in the movie ancient stone pillars)
  • There should be no more people present or accessible than player characters and NPC's presented earlier
At the island there is said stone pillars (where the abduction and fertilization happened), some fields for cows (aliens like to mutilate livestock doesn't they) and the mansion of brothers and sister.

Okay, There Are Aliens, How Do You Introduce Them?

Let players do their filming session and interviewing impregnentated sister and his brothers (bonus points for ZM if they don't speak the language player characters do). Let them investigate the place and act the events and film it. Only supernatural thing is that the stones have energy field (electromagnetic, ley-line, something else UFO-blabber). One to spot this energy should be UFOlogist of the crew. So let his equipment beep or something.
Also notable thing is the formation of the rocks, but if player characters don't notice it, it doesn't kill the idea. They will later figure out what they are all about anyways.

So, they have interviewed the residents, victim, filmed their stuff and are ready to go. Nothing happened. But, when they are leaving the place suddenly earth shakes and their car shuts down (this is when aliens land to the stone pillars, but obviously player characters don't know it).
When they try to figure out what's wrong with the car (even with repair skill, car doesn't work. There seems to be no reason why it suddenly died) some of them should spot that cows are restless. If they investigate (or if don't make them see the following) they find the reason for it. There are aliens mutilating cows! Make two of them.
Characters can flee or fight, but don't make this first fight too tough if they decide so. You could make aliens a bit more dangerous if they flee before fight, so players won't know how tough they are.

If they flee or "scare" aliens off, they might continue to figure out the condition of their vehicle. It won't work no matter what. So, they have one option to go back to the mansion. You should point out that it is impossible to carry all their equipment with hands and it is too long way to main land to walk. And you can make it dangerous (movement in the fields, weird noises, what ever). Try to push characters back to mansion.

How Fight To Survival Begins?

Characters are back to mansion. It is up to players what they do there. Do they try to call for help (no phones and you might say that mobile phones doesn't work as car isn't working). There is no internet connection. If there is car within the residense, it is not working also. Make characters feel stuck.
Will they tell to locals what happened there? If they will, brothers are angry about someone (-thing) killing their cows and will arm themselves and go take a look to the fields. All or some of the player characters could follow them.
Try to make it so, that brothers get to know somehow that their cows were mutilated.

This might be a split-party, if some will go to fields with brothers and some will stay. You can make this not to be boring to other part of the party. Make movie cuts. Play both in turns, don't play both of theirs full scene alltogether. This makes tension and prevents some players to be bored out of action.

So, if party is separated (or not) there are two scenes following. I mark them as A and B now.

A: Staying At The Mansion
Pregnant-for-aliens-sister has a seizure like condition. She looses her conscious for a moment. If characters approach her, she wakes up and goes all violent. Player characters propably tie her up or stuck her in one of the rooms or if not, the seizure is over and this sister wants to rest alone, as she is not feeling well. So, if characters don't take sister to room, she want's to go there herself.

B: At The Fields
Those characters who follow the brothers back to fields to investigate, should be encountered by several aliens. Kill two norm brothers hastily, but leave the survivor one alive. There is two options: Characters and survivor brother can fight the aliens (and hopefully kill them) or flee back. Both are acceptable. But did they fight aliens or not, they should go back to the mansion after this first bloody encounter. Maybe brother wants to check her sister, or more likely characters would like to get  back for plan. If they try their vehicle, it still doesn't work.

Back At The Mansion
If when sister went to the room (by force or volunteerily) she has escaped through the window. If she was left alone, this is easy part. If she was guarded, she just jumped through the window. Before her escape, she did rip her human skin off and underneath it was alien-human hybrid. If someone is seeing this, make it fast and gore.
Point is, when everyone is together, sister escapes.
If characters go outside, they cannot find her.

What Now?
 Now you can start to present aliens. Don't push too much of them at the same time, you don't want to kill characters (yet). But make it so, that there are many of them. Characters don't know how many actually. For ZM you don't keep count of them. There is always N+1 of them present at this point.
But generally fighting aliens and surviving starts to be hardcore here.

Those stone pillars were the place where UFO landed. You might want to make one character to wake up at some point if they stay night in the mansion to see an UFO flying by. They might go investigating those stone pillars, but they don't find aliens there. Inside is their pet though, what is agressive and characters are forced to flee or kill it. But generally, let characters investigate the UFO if they will. If this happens before cow mutilation, they can get some cool material to their tv-show. If they find it after cow mutilation, they know there are aliens.
Control panel of UFO is giant brain. Basically you rub it to make it move. Rub foward, it rises, rub to the left, it steers left. Characters might want to fly it, but touching the brain very first time makes the vessel just to shake. If they continue rubbing the brain, they might actually fly it.
To fly UFO, use Perception + Sleight of Hands and difficulty should be Heroic.
If character(s) get UFO airborne, every manouver they try to do with it is new Perception + Sleight of Hands roll now in difficulty Very Difficult.

Trying To Escape
Make characters wait tide to get out. They might later get their vehicle working, but let them wait several hours the tide. If they barricade themselves into the mansion, make aliens attack it. They might survive pretty well there, but at some point they might want to try to escape the island (running short of food and water might be a good reason).

This is also the point where characters might start to die. It is up to you as ZM do you want to "kill" characters, or do you want them to survive.
How the characters survive then? Stay alive long enough for the tide so they can drive off. They might try to swim away, but it should be extremely difficult. What ever the case is, they will realize, that they cannot stay there forever.

More Aliens
UFO what landed to rocks was actually just a smaller ship, and at some point (when characters feel too "comfortable") they see how a bigger UFO lands to the rocks. More aliens, yey!

Benefices Watching The Movie
Movie was fun to watch, even though I have seen better ones. But for this kind of Deadworld (or campaign setting) you surely get more ideas out of it. Like exploding liquid dung, getting alien sex and other.

Statting The NPC's
Actually, only NPC what needs stats would be the brother survivor, as other brothers are killed and sister is turned into an alien. Here I present characteristics for brother survivor. Let's call him... Earl. Reason why Earl is survivor instead of norm, is basically that there is one character involved capable of fighting aliens better. Characters are norms for the reason of... well... making surviving more interesting and making the horror greater.

Earl, Surviving Brother Of Three

Str: 4; Dex: 5; Con: 4; Int: 2; Per: 3; Wil: 2

Life Points: 42
Endurance Points: 23
Speed: 18
Essence Pool: 20

Hard to Kill, 3 points; Nerves of Steel, 3 points; Situation Awareness, 2 points

Addiction: Moonshine, 1 points; Charisma, 2 points, Humorless, 1 points; Reckless, 2 points

Brawling: 2
Craft - Carpenter: 2
Dodge: 2
Driving - Car: 2
Driving - Truck: 3
Driving - Farming Vehicles: 4
First Aid: 2
Guns - Rifle: 1
Guns - Shotgun: 1
Hand Weapon - Club: 1
Hand Weapon - Axe: 1
Hand Weapon - Sword (machete): 4
Hand Weapon - Bow: 5
Intimidation: 3
Mechanic: 2
Notice: 3
Tracking: 3

Machete (as short sword/huge knife).
Bow with 20 arrows.

*As you see, I did not spend all Qualities and Drawback points character creation allows. He is just a NPC afterall.

Equipment You Can Use As Weapons Found In The Mansion And It's Area
There are few real weapons, but improvised weapons are more common. Characters can find or use these:
  • Small knifes (found in kitchen for example)
  • Staffs (use your imagination)
  • Pitchforks (as spears, found at field and storage)
  • Small club/stick (improvised wooden objects for hitting aliens)
  • Chainsaw (found at one of the dead brother's body at fields)
  • Broken bottle (at house)
  • Long/Composite bow (with survivor brother)
  • Short sword/large knife (machete, with survivor brother)
  • Shotgun (birdshot, at house near the door has 50 ammo)
  • 5.56 Civilian rifle (at house in the gun cabinet, has 15 ammo)
Ofcourse, if players have really good idea for improvised weapon, let them use it.

Aliens As Stats
For first, I have to admit I am not good at this area. Never played AFMBE more than three sessions, so I don't know how to make a balanced zombie... umh alien. But here are some suggestions you could use:

  • They fight hand-to-hand similarly to martial arts using nasty knifes. They are quite agile.
  • Their weak spot is their head. If their helmet is crushed or breathing tube is cut, they die because Earth air is not suitable for them. Basically they take damage like humans do, so their weak spot is all. You can just kill them faster by bashing their head. Power: +0
  • Getting Around: They are as fast as humans are, so life like. Power +3. Also add climbing, as they are not zombies, and can manouver more versatile. Power +2.
  • Strength: Dead Joe Average gives strength of 2, but I'd like to push it to 3. So let's make it Power +3.
  • Senses: I don't see that they are more perceptional than human in the movie, so let's make it like the living worth of Power +1. Not sure how it is in the movie, but they have a helmet after all, so I'd give them also infravision. Power: Perception x2.
  • I have no idea how often they need to feed, but let's make it daily. Power +0 here.
  • Intelligence: They got language, they can communicate with eachother (and with humans if they knew alien linguistics), so Power +1. Tool use, they fly a frikkin' UFO, so level 3 it is with Power +9. As they are intelligent beings, they naturally also have long-term memory. Power +5. Problem solving, Power +15.
  • Spread the love. In the movie they could make females pregnant and have intercourse with male to get pregnant, so I will adapt bury the body in this case. Power -2.
Stats are the following:
For sister who turns into alien, use Basic Zombie stats found in rulebook. For genuine aliens, use this template:

Str: 3; Dex: 3; Con: 2; Int: 3, Per: 3; Wil: 2

Actually, I leave the rest of statting for more experienced Zombie Masters, so if You want to stat these, leave a comment including their stats!

Final Notes
It is ofcourse best for you, if you as ZM see the movie first. But I quess you can wrap something up from this draft even without seeing the movie. Just use your crayons of imagination and you are good to go.
This is not too detailed, but gives basically everything to start the action and leaves the surviving from the island open. There are various things characters can do, so it's kind of freeform to play.
There are few "trigger scenes" like cow mutilation, leaving the island the first time, sister turning into alien (for example) but after those are introduced into the play, rest is in the hands of the players.

New series of posts: "Movies to RPG's"

Usually, when I see a movie I think how I could use it as a rpg setting or adventure seed, or whole adventure itself. I haven't written down these ideas, but decided to do so. I watch movies quite a lot (well, sometimes none, sometimes loads of depending on the mood and other things).

I decided to narrow this "series" of posts to only movies I own as DVD. Otherwise it would be bigger scale, if I'd think a way to use a movie in a rpg setting for every movie I see.

So, movies I own and watch as DVD, ideas how I would use them as rpg setting, adventure or something else, will be found under new label "Movies to RPGs".

That label will contain:
  • A small review about a DVD I own and watched recently
  • Ideas how I would use it as RPG material
  • Tools for GM's to use it (stats, plots etc.)
Basically it could go under GM Tools label also, but as they are based on movies, I will separate them.

It's a Darkmantle!

So, we watched those two D&D movies, and I have to say, that they sucked so bad that I almost ripped my eyes out. That's 'nuf said of those abominations.

So, into the game. LuvMina found the bad behaving apprentice's lair at the sewers, she and her NPC companion killed 10 rats and got ready to open the door in next session. NPC thief had no problem lockpicking the door open so they entered the room.

Room contained a table, bookshelf, bedroll and three cases of mushrooms (my random mushroom table what we rolled after examination). But the ceiling of the room looked really dark and shadowy.

I had trouble figuring out what kind of monster there was captured as a guardian, so when I flipped back and forth Monster Manual and found Darkmantle, I grinned. Same monsters were in the movie (so I had good visual image how they will be) and they are CR 1 encounters. Darkmantle there will be!

Ten rats were a trouble, so I decided only to put one Darkmantle against level 1 wizard and level 2 rogue. My player knew what there was lurking at the ceiling, before her character saw the monster dropping down. First attack for Darkmantle, and a miss. Slowly it began to hover back onto the ceiling to drop again, so heroes had their attacks. LuvMina missed her Magic missile, and rogue had no more luck with throwing a dagger. So Darkmantle did a new attack (I rolled D6 to see which of them it would attack. As rogue was last to attack, it was 1-4 against 5-6 to him with D6). Darkmantle attacked again and covered the rogue under it's blanket-like body.

I am not sure how Darkmantle's attacks work, but I figured out that first attack is simple melee attack what deals damage, and after it Darkmantle does damage every turn IF its victim cannot shrug the monster off. So in first attack round when rogue was hit I dealt damage as shown on the MM stats but Darkmantle did not last to another round, as LuvMina shot it with her Frost and rogue stabbed it inside (I gave -5 to attack roll though) and the Darkmantle died.

When LuvMina's player realised that the opponent will be Darkmantle, she was wery concerned how many of those there is, and even if only one attacked, she really thought there will be more. Even though the monster was killed the second round, I liked the mood, that player (and the character) was really concerned about their survival. So I quess that one Darkmantle did a good job. It did not kill anyone, dealed some damage to rogue and was easy to kill (after those rats). Still, there was fright about other similar beings lurking on the ceiling.

So, Darkmantle was a succesful monster. Worth a "ding" (in mmorpg we yelled "DING" in guild chat when leveled up). They found some documents and grabbed two kinds of mushrooms (third was result 4 in size, huuuge one but character did not bother to slice a piece of it. Actually she wasn't interested in the mushrooms at all).

Back to mage's guild and report the mission. We ended the game when character was rewarded the ring.

Next session she will learn what is the magical effect behind the ring. +1 to spear attacks. Player has whined about how her character sucks in spear, so I give this +1 ring to spear attacks to her, so she is only at -1 melee bonus after it).

Oh, and the halfling rogue did sneak into mage's guild to see and hear what LuvMina is doing there reporting her quest. My halfling rogue is like a kender from Dragonlance. Sneaky, stealing, annoying, blabbering and likes magic alot!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cool post from Greyhawk Grognard: The Megadungeon Industry

That's a good read and I already commented it, but liked to point that out again (and from my blog I can find it again ;) )

That is cool idea, that around a dungeon becomes economy. Sleeping small farming village developes to a trading center for merchants buying and re-selling dungeon-goods.

Basically thinking more about that post it feels like that little farming village doesn't have resources or money to buy items adventurers gain. But rumours go fast for good business opportunity and maybe some merchants see that this village is a good business. They come by to see what goods are actually sold and when characters start to sell items they find for these merchants and merchants send items further for re-selling them, word goes further again.

Soon, like in post, local tavern is expanded for new visitors, local food resources are grown to satisfy the needs of hungry and thirsty customers and this way small farming village gets it's selling rate higher. They don't anymore produce items and goods and food for themselves, but need to expand their resources. Farmers need more cattle and fields, tavern needs more space and blacksmith needs to do other things than those daily products and tools.

So thanks to that dungeon and adventurers taking the challenge, forgotten small, maybe poor, little village grows to a city. Maybe some of the cities where characters visit are grown this way bigger. City has been lucky that there is a dungeon nearby what has developed their economy.

Thinking about adventuring character group, they can be the ones who start to develope one small village first to meet their needs, and later others. Maybe when characters are gone, this small village continues its growing and dungeon lures more adventurers.

World lives even if characters don't see it. It's like the question: "If no one is hearing, does a tree falling over at a forest make a noise?" Yes it does. And yes, gameworld does live wether characters see it or not.
Interesting thing is, that if characters revisit that village later, they could see how it's changed and grown for a town.

In that blogpost from Greyhawk Grognard I also like the idea of specialists where the quoted example from the movie Jaws shows it well.

That post is gold. Good thinking, nice to read. Take a look at it.

[D&D] Rats are menace

First mission for LuvMina. There is one mage's guild apprentise who doesn't go the way guild wants. And now he's disappeared. And who goes to investigate? Character of course. Character takes his NPC friend halfling thief Francis with him and they go to sewers where the map Luv gained shows this evil apprentice's lair is.

First fighting encounter! Rats, I thought, as it is a sewer. I checked that rats are 1/4 CR so there will be... um, 10 of them. Sounds good. They do 1D3-4 damage (I had no idea what that means... are damage dice exploding? Whether they are or not I have already decided so. But they were rats guarding the lair so I decided if they hit they do 1 HP damage).

What did I learn. I have always laughed at computer games (Morrowind, I am watching you) where you have to save at the beginning of the game before entering the cellar with rat problem. Rats do kill characters in computer games, and that is silly imo. So I thought, it cannot be the case in roleplaying games. How wrong I was.

Rat's didn't kill the characters. Halfling thief level 2 dropped from 9 HP to 4 and LuvMina had 2 points of damage total before she used Mage Armor spell. After that, rats didn't hit her anymore. Fight was furious. LuvMina has -2 to melee attacks so she didn't hit with her spear. I whispered her, that her character is a spell caster not a fighter, and response was that she won't waste her spells on some rats (I thought those will be character's last words).

But they managed to kill all 10 rats. Wounded, but did it. Luckily halfling has 4 healing potions worth of D8 HP (emergency kit of DM, as I am beginner in Dungeons & Dragons and not sure how hard some opponents are, those can fix the aftermath) and they both used them.
Rat guardians killed, reinforced door waiting to be lockpicked.

Next time some monster (gotta look MM) what is guarding bad apperentice's lair. Mushrooms (check my previous post) and turning quest back.

Those rats were worth of 375 experience points for first level sorceress LuvMina. Way to go. Only few exp to level up.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mushrooms your player shouldn't taste, but they propably will - Random mushie chart!

Mushroom Size 1D4

1 - Small (size of finger tip)
2 - Medium (fits in palm)
3 - Big (need two hands to carry)
4- Gigantic (must cut pieces of it)

Mushroom Shape 1D4
1 - Round
2 - Flat top
3 - Tube
4- Sponge

Mushroom Color 1D10
1 -Red
2- Yellow
3 - Blue
4- Orange
5 - Purple
6 - Green
7 - Black
8 - White
9 - Transparent
10 - Multi-coloured, roll 2 times again

Mushroom Effect 1D20 + 1D10
2 - Nauseatic [-2 to all saving throws]
3 - Trippy-hippy [+2 Wis, +2 Initiative, -2 Int]
4 - Shrinking [reduce size one step]
5- Growing [more size one step]
6 - Bellyknots [Con -1, Cha -2]
7 - Poisoning [-1 HP/round]
8 - Healing [+1D8 HP]
9 - Change colour [roll colour table to see character's new colour]
10 - Hairless [hair falls off, -1 Cha]
11 - Slippery skin [+2 AC in melee, -2 in attempt of grapple etc. for enemies]
12 - Dragon barf [1D6 Fireball damage, ranged touch attack, 1D3 barfs]
13 - Good odour [+1 Cha]
14 - Bad odour [-1 Cha]
15 - Nimble [+2 Dex]
16 - Tiredness [-2 Int, Wis and Initiative]
17 - Sharpen senses [+2 Alertness, Wis and Initiative]
18 - Rubbery [+2 Agi]
19- Sloooow moootion [-5 Agi]
20 - Weakness [-5 Str]
21 - Sickness [-5 Con]
22 - Might [+5 Str and Con]
23 - Magical wisdom [learn 1 random spell]
24 - Mutated knuckles [+1 hand to hand DMG]
25 - Paralyze
26 - Turn to stone
27 - Mute
28 - Shrinks consumer's head [Int, Wis, and Cha -2]
29 - Roll twice again
30 - Roll thrice again

Duration of Effect A 1D6
1- Rounds
2 - Minutes
3 - Hours
4 - Days
5 - Weeks
6 - Months

Duration of Effect B: Roll D6 to see how many DoE A's effect take. Note: Reroll 6's.

Note: These effects are ment for D&D game, but witty GM can easily modify effects to suit his favourite game.

NOTE 2: Would be cool to have 100 random mushroom effects! 71 to go. You can post more and I'd like effects to be for D&D 3. in this list. 

Many faces of vampires

Vampires. Stalkers of the night, feared by commoners but romanticed by poets. Monstrous bloodsuckers, beautiful seducers or elegant lords. What do they live from, where does their condition come from and what are their motives?

A Diceace

Vampirism is a condition that is spreading through a bite. Folklores are right. You get bitten by a vampire, you turn into one. There is no magic, mystery or curses, just a dicease that catches when diceaseds saliva catches your blood.
What does this condition do to you? When people have urge to eat something, they have a shortage of some nutrient. Vampire dicease is killing hemoglobine what makes your body to want fresh blood to cover the loss. Animal's blood will do ok, but best source to replace bloodcells vampire dicease is eating away is to get human blood.
These vampires don't have pointy fangs, but they use other means to get blood using sharp tools for it. They may get a trusted person(s) to donate them blood, or they might have to seduce their victim. Unlucky one's must take it by force.
This dicease is a hard one in middle-ages. You cannot tell about it, as it might be viewed as curse and blashemy. If you told it, you would be quaranteed in fright of contagious dicease.
You are a loner with your illness and you must hunt your pray. Even if it is taking the blood against another's will or not. After all, it would be suspicious if you did buy big amounts of animal blood from butcher.

Also see:


Curse of Cain, curse of being evil, corpse will walk and drink blood as a blasphemous act for Christ's blood. Cursed vampires are driven by their instinct, if you can call it that. They do it, because they are doomed to do it. Is it god what created this monster, or was hell already full. Or was the vampire so evil person when living, that he came back to continue his terror?
Best way to prevent evil person to come back from the grave every night to pray on human blood is to hit a stake through his heart, chop his head off and stuck his mouth with garlic. But if you didn't prepare the body right and it is now a vampire, you better find it's lair before it is too late.

Evil will

Betrayed. Hated. Despised. He will come back for a revenge. He is terror who stalks night taking his revenge bite by bite. Or maybe a witch did her spells and when he died evil granted him an eternal life as a blood sucking thing beyond grave. No blood is enough, no suffering is satisfying.


Usually vampires drink blood to noursih themselves. Blood is the essence of life, what keeps vampire's unliving body functioning. Blood must be living from a living person. Animal blood can do for a short time, but older you are, less you get from soulless blood of animal kingom. You need blood from a being you once yourself was.
At some point hunger has grown so great, you cannot resist to take a sip or two, but start to drink people dry. Then rumours start to roam. To survive, you must be intelligent, witty, cunning. If you live long enough, you start to build your own reign of terror. You are a rumour for outsiders of your village, but for villagers, you are a nightmare. Maybe people start to be too scared against your power you have built to try to kill you. Maybe people even offer you sacrifices of travelling men to offer blood to satisfy your hunger so you will leave them alone for another night. But your power has a cost, your reputation stretches wide.
Those who aren't intelligent, witty and cunning enough are doomed to be slain again. This time for good.


Not all vampires lust for blood. Some take your life essence feeding your very soul. You don't necessarily know you have been feed, you just feel a bit down, your moral is low. You are tired. You cannot spot psychic vampires as they look the same. They even might have aura that comforts you. But that aura is just a discuise, they are not pleasant persons with high empathy, they use it to get your trust, and drain your essence.


Sexual vampires, or incubus (for male) and succubus (for female) get their power from lust. You hardly can be loved by a sexual vampire, because only thing they are after is your body. They use you, even if you willingly give yourself to them. You are a source for their energy, maybe a toy. But never a lover. You give them energy by making love, they drain you. You might even fall in love with them, but they have several victims. If you don't get rid of incubus or succubus, they will destroy you. You feel used, dirty, maybe even envious and it will destroy you.

Class in society

Vampires who maintain some intelligence, can even go by as a human. They might look human, more or less strange or twisted in a funny way you sense but don't see. Some of them who aren't intelligent enough to cover themselves but are only after their hunger are more revealing and short aged than those with higher wits and influence. Vampires what are not more then rabid beasts are easily spotten, as they usually don't try to hide themselves.
For a vampire, blood or else where they get their power and nutrition from is all what matters. Everything else comes second. They are predators with eternal hunger. They might play with you, build social network and enjoy balls, or even build their castle but behind that all is a monster. It might be conscious choise or subconscious instinct to use these matters to cover their true nature.

Vampire can be a beggar in the street, as in poors district it is easy to hunt. No one in authority or status will miss your victims. Or you might take your higher class life back, or use your cunning powers to rise high. It doesn't matter do you live in sewers or castle, you hunt and people you associate with are your pray.

Vampire might enjoy his solitary life, or being a center of attention.

How to give flesh for vampires?

In White Wolf's Vampire Storytelling games vampires drink blood. They have their own undead society what is described as clans and sects or covenants. But when creating your character, give a second and a third think for their no longer mortal life amongst the people. To freshen up Vampire: the Masquerade or Requiem, decide that your character can be sexual or psychic vampire instead of blood drinker. It makes things a bit different. It could be a great flaw for (oWoD) clan Ventrue.

In fantasy games vampires are usually monsters player characters slay like any monster in Monster Manual (or similar). Make vampires more than just stats and that evil dude at place X you need to slay for a quest. Make vampires scary predators in the streets, or horrible beasts at countryside. Or a count, cunning and influentic.

Use your imagination. Vampires might be a bit boring, but make them interesting.

I'd like to have your ideas of different kind of vampires in comments!

LotFP: RPG: The Village Elder: A Quest-Giving NPC For Your Nex...

LotFP: RPG: The Village Elder: A Quest-Giving NPC For Your Nex...: "(PCs hear rumors of missing young people in a close-by farming village… sounds like an adventure hook! Traveling to the town, they are direc..."

So good read. This is how NPC's should react to questing characters.

[DnD] Oh, it was too easy

LuvMina has now hook for adventuring. She want's to be a part of mages guild, but she needs to proof herself to be qualified as she actually is sorceress. So, quests to do.

First quest was simple. One apprantise of mages guild was sent to a mission but he forgot to return a book to guild's library he had. So LuvMina had to obtain it back. To apprentice's home she went and examined house of two rooms from outside and decided that she tried to make her way in from backdoor, as there was a lock on front door.
Back door was closed inside with a hook so she took a stick from a planting and slided it in from door crack and started to jerk the hook off. She did observe her surroundings in case of anyone seeing. I didn't tell her what the DC is but asked her to roll and based on the roll I told her how likely she thinks no one is seeing. This way if she did score lower result she wasn't so sure, but more higher the score was more higher the notice rate. After that roll I rolled 1D6 and decided that results 1-3 there is no one and with results 4-6 someone could see. LuvMina was quite sure no one's watching (but she failed the roll) but my die result told there's no one. Second try she got in.

I decided that apprentice has 0-level spells and went them through and I was a bit disappointed. No warding spells. Backroom was bedroom/working room and book wasn't there. Second room LuvMina got result of 21 and her familiar snake 19 (as she told her familiar to search for the book also) so she found it. Back out, placing hook back and returning the book.

50 experience points for this, as it was too damn easy. And she got also 10gp what I awarded also as 10 exp o 60 exp total for this piece of cake.

Next time some action, or I'll be damned as Dungeon Master. She has to get rid of some monsters or critters, I just have to figure out why. Or the reason is that she is told to do so to gain reputation but why and where are those monsters. City is a big one, so maybe there is some aberrant apprentice's summoning tests gone wrong at secret laboratory, and LuvMina is told to clean it up.

Also halfling Francis who's place LuvMina is now staying at is investigating that beggar thing, but LuvMina still isn't interested in it at all. Bugger.

Monday, September 13, 2010

[D&D] How to give missions to player?

Storytelling games... well they are different. You don't necessarily do quests in those. I mean, while I write this I am watching Elder Scrolls: Oblivion gameplay from cloned TV screen and in computer games you run here and there, talk to people and you can find missions and quests everywhere. Someone has serious rat problem at their wine cellar, someone lost his wedding ring, someone is concerned about those orcs making a camp near the city border...

There is always something to do. Hard part is, that I and my player must get rid of this WoD-ish mindset and tune our mind into fantasy-roleplay-adventuring. If you go to pub, there is always this cloaked guy who has something interesting to say.
There are always raiding bandits or orcs troubling some city.
City well, yeah, poisoned.
Monsters in sewers? Yes, kill them and find out who is behind. And kill him too.
Seal of earth-thingie. And a rumour of a door with earth-thingie. Find the cave and the door inside. Combine. Profit (after killing monsters).
There is attempt of assasination to duke/king/merchant/cow and you must solve it/prevent it/commit it.

Or you couldn't give a shite about any of those quests and find new ones.

And play reporting from my D&D campaign.
Last time LuvMina and his halfling friend found out secret loot of guy who discuises as a beggar for reason unknown. Halfling Francis want's to know why is he doing that, but Luv is not interested.
Bummer. There could have some investigation thingies (actually, man wanted to get into thieves' guild and he had to steal x amount of gold to get in as an apprentice) but playercharacter doesn't care about it.
Ok, I remember that hey, she has now enough gold to do familiar and off she goes buing supplies. (insert here long conversation and lots of googling about how that familiar summoning/making actually goes. PHB only tells you buy 100gp worth of stuffz and spend a day doing it and you get it. We wanted to know what does familiar need. How does it manifests or comes by.) She went to Wizards street, bought snake scales, strange powders and stuff and found the Guild of Wizards. Decided to go and see what's it about.
Okay, now Luv wants to join a guild. But she is sorceress, not a wizard. But one fellow at guild told, that maybe LuvMina could join as an apprentice but she wouldn't benefit from her membership alot (she don't learn spells from reading and cram up on them and will propably not fit in). But she wants to see wizards and to belong in somewhere and become an adventurer (that's the reason she left home in the first hand anyways).
Okay, she meets the guy next day. But before it, some familiar summoning.
Mixing stuff and chanting and things all magical and snake squirms in.

This evening in game is that next day. We start game when LuvMina meets the dude from wizards' guild. And I am SO pleased. Perfect reason to give quests to character.
"So, you want to join our guild?"
"You have to prove yourself."
"First [insert quest here] then we'll see again."

Continue that patter few times, 1-2 levels worth of experience. If you don't have a plot by then...

My way to play D&D and Answering onlinedm for previous posts comment

onlinedm said... It's been a while since I played 3rd Edition, but I don't think gold counts as experience points in that edition as it did in earlier editions. Gold is one bucket, which is used to buy stuff. Experience is another bucket, which is used to level up.

From looking at the table on page 166 of the 3rd Edition Dungeon Master's Guide, it looks like a CR1 monster/trap/situation is worth 300 XP, so that should probably be LuvMina's total right now (plus whatever she might have earned from catching Francis the thief). Yes, that puts her 30% of the way to gaining a level, but that's because this is an encounter above her level. A CR1 challenge is EL1 for a party of four characters. For a one-character party, a CR1 challenge is a higher encounter level, so she SHOULD get more than a "normal" encounter worth of XP.

As for treasure, that's in addition to XP as explained on pages 169-170 of the Dungeon Master's Guide.

It sounds like LuvMina is doing great!

@onlinedm: Actually she's at 500 xp now, because she had previous xp also.
But I calculated that that encounter was CR1 (okay, not sure how to calculate those, but I _decided_ it's CR1) what is worth of 300xp divided between party members. There was also NPC, so it was 150 xp per character (NPC or player). I added that gold there also what they looted for extra flavour. So basically I think dealing with NPC and tracking him and stuff was worth of 150 for character and It lasted for 2 sessions. As the gold they looted was additional, I decided to give additional reward for that.
That is true, that gold is for stuff and exp is for character, but if you think it a bit wider, with gold you buy stuff what makes your character better. So as with experience points you get stuff what makes your character better.
But to use some stuff, you need experience points to be able to use them if they are depending on your level.
So if you think this way, both gold and experience influence each other so I think I give some exp from gold.
Well, actually I just decided to award experience from loot, but meh, I tried to think some (il)logical reason for it.

And there is another point. Maybe Luv's character advancement is faster that a party would do, but party has fun having several players co-operating and having generally fun together. As Luv's player is single player, she gets only fun in what happens in game, not telling jokes with friends and being nervous about critical situations when rolling D20.

And I gotta say, that I haven't read DMG or BHP fully yet :D I just... well, say we play D&D because I got D&D book closest from me when we play, and we use D20.
I know I bend rules and make them so much simplier than indended (what I might post next).

But thank you for comments. Actually my last D20 experience was with True20 and in that game (Blue Rose) you don't give experience points but decide when character levels up. I did not like it, as I like to "award" players. That way players know when and what good they or their characters did instead of giving levels or other benefices automatically. It is encouraging to player to see him/herself when he/she does well.

Another thing with experience points will be multi-class. I know that in some conditions you gain 20% or something less experience if your level gap between your multi-classes is higher than x... or something. I quess I wont use that rule. I don't know does it make multi-classed characters too good to gain experience points as fast as others, but I think that 20% is not that significant difference to use. I mean, basically you gain level 1/5 slower. It's not that big difference that I think I have to keep account on it.
And multi-class has it's own flaws. You multi-class to wizard-fighter. You aren't as good fighter as others of your level and not as good wizard as others... if you would use single build for your character. If you know how to hit a bit better with melee weapons but aren't as good as sorcering...

I know that maybe best balance in experience points and rules would be going with book. I know also if you fix or change one thing, it could affect something else straight away or later. Still, this is my first D&D run and I like to keep things simple. After all, I come from World of Darkness or Storytelling. I think that my D&D is more of storytelling and doing neat fantasy stuff than actually rules crunching.

And I am not sure do I play by-the-rules or not, as I haven't yet read them all.

But here are basics how I run D&D 3rd edition:
  • You use bonuses and attributes and skills as in rules. Roll D20 and add/decrease modifiers against DC what is determined by situation or when hitting AC of enemy.
  • I use exploding dice (roll again and add to result if you score highest number of a die) for the reason, that if you are really, really lucky you can kill or wound bigger mob with smaller weapon. You just hit really well. I know that there is critical hits for that but meh, you can hit your opponent exceptionally well (critical hit) but also the weapon can cut or crush or what ever in really good spot. And meh, player(s) love it when they score exploding die. And are afraid of it.
  • In spell casting, if it is not touch attack or ranged touch attack you don't roll dice. You put sleep spell and it automatically hits opponent. It only needs to take effect, what is saving throw for your enemy. So you only roll dice to hit spell if you need to hit (shoot rays, poke). Not sure how this works, but as I see it fun and cinematic way to do magic, I don't read how it really works. And DC for saving throw is 10 + spell casters level + umm... (this I check from the book).
  • No encumbrance. Well, you can carry reasonable amount of stuff with you. I don't count your basic items and weaponry as your encumbrance. They are kinda part of character. But loot is calculated. You cannot carry that golden statue of 10 feet, or ten bags of diamonds. Common sense in normal equipment, encumbrance when carrying "extra"
  • No miniatyres, or battle grid. So no AAO. Character might get a free attack when I think situation is suitable (long run to character, preparing to swing a sword and if character has stood still he actually might get extra attack; enemy runs past character without a purpose to hit him can be a free attack). Other rules or feats or actions what might need to use miniatyres and grid are decided is it possible. Maybe even using dice (ie. there are 6 orcs and wizard casts area of effect spell on them. I roll D6 how many of the orcs are in the area or something like that).
  • And last but not least... if I don't remember or cannot find it in less than minute, I use my imagination to handle it. Well, this is the situations I don't know how they work or don't want to houserule everything. Player knows that and I always tell her (or always have told every player) that "sorry, don't remember how it works and don't want to delay this action packed adrenaline flowing situation by reading the book and trying to find it). It's D20 game, so D20 I use with something else from character sheet or out of my head.
I don't know how wrong I do play or how not D&D this game is I am running. But I take my D&D books next to me, mainly roll D20 and think that I actually play D&D so it's D&D then?
But take me into your D&D group and I think me playing with you is... n00b partykiller.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

[DnD] Half-way there to lvl up, what happened and thoughts about DnD

Yesterday was a serious experience bomb for character. I quess. Don't know how fast does character gain lower levels, or how much experience points should an individual get after a session. Player was happy though, and that's what matters.

LuvMina (the character) had 35 experience points from sessions one and two. He agreed to halflings deal. There's that beggar with lots of money. He does beg and has gained great wealth from it. But he is also extremely stingy. That's why he is still a beggar, but a wealthy one.

As that rich beggar doesn't need gold as he just stacks it, Francis has thought that he could share that gold with him. Francis thinks though, that he isn't willing to share his gold with him that easily, so he's asking LuvMina to help him. This way he could pay his dept of 1 goldpiece wasted for ale and he promises that LuvMina get's her share of 200gp.

Off they go to streets where Francis knows beggar is. They find him and start following. Beggar is not suspicious, so following check is DC15. Both success (well, tell me if halfling thief with 4 ranks on sneak can like _ever_ fail sneaking or hiding?) After a corner of the house they have lost sight of him, but Luv's eyes spot rags and quarterstaff that beggar was using. So they now are following different looking guy who they haven't yet seen.

They decide to split up and meet later. LuvMina starts her search and finds by ragged shoe-kind-of-things the right guy and continues following. Guy gets out of the slum to moderate area and on his way he has dropped one piece of his tattered cloth every once and now until he looks like a normal folk.
So, he is normal person, living in a small one room house where is no lock but guard dog instead.

LuvMina isn't wondering about beggar that much (I suppose, that he is member or wants to be a member of thieves guild. Yes, he wants to join thieves guild but must collect x amount of gold first to qualify) but hurries to go and tell Francis what she discovered.

Okay, plan. Only way inside is dog. But it is propably guard dog (there's money inside, no lock as they are clumsy, hard to obtain and damn expensive). LuvMina knows sleep spell but doesn't want to use it. Francis wants to see some spell action (actually me as DM wanna see player using spells, so she understands how they work and what they do). Anyways, they get inside, guard dog is just little white poodle with BIG barking noise, LuvMina casts sleep-spell. Dog falls asleep and luckily Francis' will save is a success. They tie up the dog and put it in a sack.

Yes, simple room. Searching and halfling's eyes (I rolled 20 yey) spot hidden door under a rug. Listen check and they hear something moving below the floow. Player asks can they open the hidden door and I say yes. Player says her character crack the door and cast speel inside. *Thumb* the thief goes and they loot his place. As LuvMina is just level 1 sleep spells effect is 1 minute. Hurrying they gather bags (total of 5) and rush out. That poor thief has no even idea what just happened.

I decided that that thiefing stuff (well, whole session) was CR1 encounter, but as there was 2 characters encounter itself was worth of 150 exp for LuvMina. She got around 300 of gold (random treasure table, no items).
I quess 1 gold equals 1 xp... or is it already concidered in CR1 xp (CR1 monster has 300 gold is 300 experiences worth). Well, what ever, this time she had around 450 experience points. And second session she didn't get any experience points as some "find that thief and rob him" adventure was unfinished.

Anyways. Again was fun and I hope that my player learns to actually do stuff. We have played games about storytelling, not that much action. And if you just sit there hands pocketed in D&D, nothing's gonna happen. And if you just say "I roll to hit" it's both boring _and_ you cannot survive all encounters like that. Or kill everything you see.

That sleep spell using was great. Also sorcerers are cool.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

[DnD] Spells into cards

Okay, character being magic-user he obviously needs spell list. There is not that much space to write down details of spells, and it is slow to use PHB to find spell descriptions. So, what to do?

I downloaded Magic Set Editor (get it HERE). Basically it is used to build custom trading card game cards (ie. Magic: the Gathering) but with a bit of imagination, it can be used in various different ways.

I used it to build card for every spell character knows. It is easy to flip cards on your computer screen (or hands if you print them). I wrote down spell effect and necessary information of them. Easy to use and they look cool!

I put here two examples. Unfortunately they are for my own use only because I use copyrighted pictures.

Sleep spells picture from Magic: the Gathering cards, Mage Armor picture from some mmorpg.

Edit: In cards there is typo. - should be before word level, not after. I have fixed it, but in those images I uploaded the mistake is still visible. Also in Sleep spell it should indicate 2D4 HD creatures.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Francis Fanfingers - Halfling thief

I haven't generated my own character yet for D&D, so here it comes. This is actually NPC, but I'll roll him up for laughs.
I decided, that he will be level 2 so I can also see that how gaining a level affects a character, so I can prepare in advance when my player does so.
I first make 1st level character. Then add his second level modifications on top of that.

Name: Francis Fanflingers
Race: Halfling
Class: Rogue
Level: 2
Experience points: 1000

Aligment: Chaotic Good

Strength: 6 (-2)
Dexterity: 17 (+3)
Constitution: 12 (+1)
Intelligence: 15 (+2)
Wisdom: 13 (+1)
Charisma: 13 (+1)

ARMOR CLASS: 10 + DEX 3 + Size 1 + Armor 2 = 16

Attack bonus melee: Base +1 / STR -2 / Racial trait +1 = 0
Attack bonus ranged: Base +1 / DEX + 3 / Racial trait +1 = 5

Fortitude: 0 + 1 con = 1
Reflex: 3 + 3 dex + 1 race = 7
Will: 0 + 1 race + 1 wis = 2

WEAPON AND ARMOR PROFICIENCY: Crossbow, Dagger, Dart, Light Mace, Sap, Shortbow, Short sword


Armor: Leather +2 AC
Light crossbow (18, crit 19-20/x2, 80ft., piercing)
Dagger (1D4, crit 19-20/x2, piercing)
Sap (1D6 subdual damage, crit x2, bludgeoning)
Gear: Backpack with waterskin, Trail ration x1, Bedroll, Sack, Flint & Steel, Thieve's tools, Hooded lantern, 3 Pints of oil, Crossbow bolts x10
Wealth: 19 gp

Move Silently - Dex +3 / Ranks 4
Hide - Dex +3 / Ranks 4
Open Locks - Dex +3 / Ranks 4
Search - Int +2 / Ranks 4
Pick Pockets - Dex +3 / Ranks 4
Bluff - Cha +1 / Ranks 4
Use Magic Device - Cha +1 / Ranks 4
Climb - Dex +3 / Ranks 4
Listen - Wis +1 / Ranks 4

Sneak attack +1D6

- Small. +1 AC. +1 attack rolls. +4 hide.
- Speed 20ft
- +2 climb, jump, move silently, listen
- +1 saving throws
- +2 saving against fear (stacks with +1 saving bonus)
- +1 missile bonus


Francis, he lives in a big city. Well, he calls it "opportunity". As city is crowded and main market place of the area, there are always new faces, new stories to be heard and old stories to be told (if someone wants to listen). And of course plenty of pockets to pick.
Every day for Francis is a new adventure. "How could I get on top of that building?" "How much gold can I scrap today to spend in tavern?" "What is that traveller's story?"

--EDIT-- Added saving rolls and forgotten bonuses from lvl 2. --EDIT--

[D&D] How will I award experience points

Even though the story and adventure are important in game not to forget the actual fact, that roleplaying games are one way to socialize and have fun with friends, you cannot forget that players need awards from the play. As rpgs are set in imaginary world with imaginary characters doing imaginary quests, also awards should be imaginary. Of course characters can find better equipment but also get better doing stuff.

That is where experience points come along. You perform tasks, and get better to perform more difficult tasks. You kill small monsters enough to get to kill those bigger ones.

So, what are my plans and to come ways to give experience points?

Killing monsters and antagonists

I think this is the most obvious way to gain experience. I will use experience chart provided in DMG to handle this. One thing I noticed, that when you are at certain level, you cannot "grind" experience anymore from lower level monster. This is great rule in two ways.
First, no grinding. Players are gently forced to find adventures and challenges suitable to their character's skills and capability, not to stuck in game to perform same trick again and again.
Secondly it makes perfect sense. When you have killed those low level monsters enough, you actually cannot learn new tricks from then anymore. Or in game terms gain experience and level up.

One thing I was thinking if there is bigger level difference in a party, how would be experience be shared. I don't know what rules say, because haven't read those that well yet. But I figured out that if there are monsters worth of 400 experience points total and there is a party of four, the amount of experience is equally shared for those who participate in that partiular encounter. If higher level characters aren't legible for that experience, it is then wasted in their part. So, lower level gets 100 xp, others none.

But what if one is lower level and others are higher level encountering higher level monster(s)? Higher level characters get their share of experience normally and if lower level character participates in battle somehow, I could award him 25 bonus experience points. For surviving the encounter and for learning something extra watching how higher level characters did perform. Also this will give a bit extra to fold the level gap.


Yes, there are rules how much you get experience points from traps, so traps must be really common in D&D. Not sure how that rule works yet, but traps got their challenge rating or something I suppose. Reading DMG will help alot in this topic.

Completing a quest or an adventure

Character(s) might have a mission to retrieve some ring from somewhere. Ofcourse they get experience points from killing what ever has that ring, but when they return it and complete the quest I can give them bonus of 25 experience points. If quest was really challenging or long, I could give 50 on top of that.


I don't like to favour those extrovert players who speak in their character's voice or swing their pen when their character attacks. It is great if players do involve in character acting, but it is unfair. In my experience there was in our group one guy who was shyer than others. He did play well, but was a bit more quiet. It was his personality. So it would be unfair to not to give that kind of player experience, if he is not as loud or doesn't stick out from the group.
But when I give bonus experience (25 propably) is when character acts really well. Individual experience for doing something, other's didn't. I cannot judge player's personality on game table and reward or not to reward him experience points.

Experience points worth more than one level in a single giving

This is a bit troubling issue. You might get so much experience points that you could gain several levels at once. Well, if I recall right, rules probhit this but leave you hanging like 1 experience points from next level you could have otherwise gained.
I always imagine it like this: You have killed a dragon, and get experience enough to rise two levels and some extra on top of that. But you can only rise one level and are hanging just one experience points from that second level you could have gained. So why not kill a pigeon to get that other level?
I was thinking, that even if you are just 10 experience points from leveling up and kill what ever what would give you two levels, you only level up once having just enough experience points for that.
So, basically if every level would be worth of 100 experience points. You have now 0. You get 250 experience points, you rise one level and are at 100 exp now. Those 150 are wasted. You don't get to 199 experience points just below next level up.
It might be stupid to gain only that 10 experience points from saving the world, but you gained a new level, and your character has to get used to what he has learned now. And you must play that next level of experience collecting as normal. It would be cheating skipping the levels otherwise.

But what if you kill a monster, gain a level and get extra on top of that but not enough to level up again? Well, level up, and that's it. After leveling what is left from experience points is wasted.
Let's use same example of level after every 100 experience points. You are at 90, kill monster worth of 50. You get total of 100 and gain a new level and those 40 what would get you to 140 are wasted. So you get a level, and start collecting experience points from 100 to next level. From the beginning of your current new level.

Final thoughts

I honestly don't know how this works really in game. I know something about experience points, but those are my thoughts how I will handle them. I don't know did I just re-write DMG experience rules, or are those totally something different. If they are same or similar, good for me as I am playing by the rules. If they are totally different, screw it, it's called a house rule.

How do I see halflings in D&D?

Image of halfling in Player's book isn't like Tolkien's hobbit. D&D halfling are small and thin, not small and clumsy looking. I know how kender are in Dragonlance, so I thought that my halflings would be like kender. They actually look alike. Halflings also got mildly pointed ears.

So, my halflings are not pipe smoking lazy mega-eaters, but sly and cunning, talkative and funloving adventurous persons. But hey, isn't that their description already?

I know that hobbit is different "race" than halfling are, but I have always imagined, that halfling are non-copyright-violating version of hobbits. Gotta have those small idiots around eh? Well, I see that halfling are less annoying and stupid than hobbits.

1 points for halflings, 0 points for hobbits. Kill hobbits with fire!

Dungeon Master's Desktop + First (second but reseted) gaming session

So, here is basically what DM needs. I don't have combat grid and minis, so they don't count.

  1. Rulebooks. As you can see, my D&D books are for third edition. I also own Forgotten Realms Campaign setting, but thought that as we play we develope our own sandbox world (too lazy to read yet another book as I gotta finish reading Player's Handbook and DM's Guide).
  2. Some dice. I got D3, several of D4, D6, D8, D10, D12 and D20. I got also lots of D10s for World of Darkness games, but they are separated. Watching my dice cup I realized that I most definately need more dice!
  3. Paper, pens, ruler for notes.
  4. Laptop. Can find pictures with google to show player who is a bit D&D and fantasy noob (she is a vampire afterall) and we play via msn to record every. single. word. to describe the situation, mood or character conversations.
  5. Cola drink.
About session

Everything started when LuvMina (yes, that's the way how her sorceress' name is spelled) walked towards the great city of Lankhemaar. Walking towards it she noticed a farmer in trouble. His cartwheel was busted by a rock and all his pumpkins all over. And his ass (animal, not butt) was eating grass smirking. LuvMina decided to help him (non-combat encounter + quest).
LuvMina got to city, but found it big and confusing. Luckily halfling* decided to help her find the way to carpenter... for 2 sp. I rolled opposite (or competive or something) check for halflings thieving and LuvMina's spot.

- This is the part I am not sure how rules work, but I figured it out that if:
 -LuvMina successes but halfling fails LuvMina detects that attempt of thievery
 -Halfling successes but LuvMina fails halfling can snatch her purse/money pouch
 -Both success, then highest number wins (no tie in this situation that halfling can get her pouch but  - - - LuvMina spots it. That would be if LuvMina won the contest)
- Both fail and nothing happens, but halfling could try later again. 

Halfling (now named Francis Fanfingers) succeeded to snatch her purse (with result 20). So halfling got 2sp for taking LuvMina to carpenter and also got her purse. Nice deal! When they got to carpenter, LuvMina asked Francis to wait for her outside, but Francis insisted that he has something to do quickly, but he will be back. Detect motive roll for LuvMina wich she succeeded so LuvMina found that really, really, extremely suspicious. Still, she left Francis and went inside to do some cartwheel buying.
When paying, she noticed that her purse is lost! Damn you halfling! She asked from carpenter, does he know that halfling named Francis Fanfingers and I rolled D20 to determine, has carpenter heard rumours or knows him. 20! Yep, he is not allowed in carpenter's shop because he is a thief. Carpenter also knew two possible places Francis could be hanging out. So there LuvMina goes.
Tavern called Two Cocks Tavern (Kahden Kukon Kievari in finnish) was the place she first checked out and she could hear the noises of laughter and fun-having behind the door already. There halfling was ordering rounds for everyone with LuvMina's money.
LuvMina takes halfling to address him and even present town guard asks what's that all about. Halfling doesn't want to deal with guards (well, he is a thief) so she whispers to LuvMina that if they could sort it out somehow. LuvMina agrees.

That was our first session. No combat, little quest helping farmer with his broken cart (totally optional, he was there with his pumpkins and trouble just for mood. Idea was that everyone was ignoring that poor sod. But character's, they are opportunists and try to do everything you describe). Few dice rolling and LOTS of fun.

As much as I have hated D&D/D20 (previous rants here) I have to admit I loved it! It was fun. No vampires with plans and angst, no spacetravel from trouble to trouble. A bit more computer gamish adventuring what is not so serious still being genre realistic.

And big inspiration for D&D is now blog Playing D&D with Porn Stars. Great read, and Zak has so many good ideas. Very creative DM he is.

Also I am going to try out his city creation idea with writing down numbers as streets and areas and stuff. That sounds fun.

So, today second session of D&D! What kind of deal halfling has for LuvMina to pay his dept of lost money he spent in tavern? Does farmer get his cartwheel before he dies in old age waiting? What happens next?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

DnD + Perfect World... well screw that!

Okay, I was really excited on doing my DnD campaign on mmorpg Perfect World, but screw that. Don't get me wrong, but there is too much in a world to handle.

I decided, that our hero sorceress Luv Mina who wanted to see world did not go to some lame camp at the middle of nowhere, but instead went to a city.

If you have lived your whole life in a small town or inn and everytime you saw those heroes wanted to be something, and when finally you leave home wouldn't you go to a place where actually is happening something? Answer is: Yes.

So, city it is. Forget Perfect World. City shall be named... well, I think I bash my head on the keyboard on that and twist the result a bit to get something intelligent and readable.

But how to make the city then? Using this:

It'll be fun, I can prepare it in advance or randomly generate it during playing.

What is good in city there could be many different encounters, sewer systems go as dungeons, mansions, cults... and you can always get out and find that lovely countryside dungeon to raid.

So, onwards to new start with DnD!

So, I need a reason for going into a dungeon

I already have a world map and knowledge and image of different locations, as has my player. We did launch our Dungeons & Dragons game yesterday, a bit like introduction.

Character arrived to town what is actually now made of four barricated tent supplements. At the south from these four tent compounds what are now called: Sumer Camp. Sumer Camp is located to the west for human capital Sword city in the Victory plains.

Before Sumer Camp, there was Sumer City. But it was raided by hobgoblins and people living there had to flee. They bledged help from King of Sword City, but king was not interested in sending army to protect that farther side. And there is a river separating Sumer City, so it has almost no value for Sword City.
Residents of Sumer City decided to fight back the hobgoblins who had taken their city and made it their own. But citizens of Sumer City couldn't attack, but they are strong enough for defence.
That is how Sumer Camp was found next to the city they had lost for horde of hobgoblins. They don't want to move away, are powerful enough to defend their camps and wait for a good opportunity to take their City back.

A: Sumer Camp tents are above each other. Northest is where common people live. Second north is guarded mediocre and there are some services as blacksmith, tavern and so on. Below that is military camp what mainly guards the Sumer City's borders. Just below Sumer Camps military camp is their main camp where the Chief of Sumer City/Camp lives.
Every tent is fortified with long logs cutted from the forest near to the south west.
B: Outside camp. This is temporary camp for travellers. It is quite safe, as hobgoblins mainly roam at behind Sumer City walls and at north west part of Victory Plains.

C: Sumer City. Northern of two cities is one where Chief had his moderate mansion as commoners did live. Souther is Sumer City's old military base now heavily guarded with hobgoblins who have no courage yet to attack Sumer Camp.

D: To the east from Sumer Camp is a hill where is old guard tower. It is manned by few Sumer guards. The view from the hill is good for every direction, and on the top of guard tower is a bell what is gonged in the sight of danger.

E: Old Sumer City fields and windmills. They aren't currently used because of hobgoblins which doesn't hesitate to attack workers and Sumer Camp cannot afford any of it's guards for the people in the fields.

Sumer Camp Services

Sumer Camp Guards

Sumer Camp Duke

Guard Tower


North-East of Victory Plains

Hobgoblins of Sumer City


Labeling these jars of posts

I got sick of my labeling. What I have learned after (re-)launced my campaign blog (in finnish here) that you must have some kind of a plan about how you want to label your post, or you end up having a horrible mess!

That's where this blog ended. So I deleted every single label and will do all the work again. Now with a plan.

I decided to think what kind of labels I want to use to make things clear.

  1. NAME OF THE GAME: This label is quite obvious. If I talk about certain game in my post, I will label what game I talk about
  2. GENRE: For those interested in certain genre, I will use common stripped genres like horror, scifi, fantasy etc.
  3. CHARACTERS: Player characters or NPCs will be easily found from here. It could be a bit too tricky to label characters in certain type or game... but could do that. It would look like: Characters - D&D, Characters V:tM. Yeah, more labels but if you are interested in WoD characters it doesn't help that you see every character in every game or genre.
  4. WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT: Campaign idea, rules thinking, own project, about miniatyres or gaming in general, GM Tools?
I might add some additional labels, but I think that is the core. Now, the work starts! I wonder how much experience I gain for this quest.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

DnD character Luv Mina - short motivational story

Okay, now we got clear image of what we will play with DnD. Perfect World (previous posts). I think we will make the adventure from the scrap. Won't detail world too much but will use the knowledge of mmorpg and colour the rest ourselves.

We had discussion just few minutes ago about this campaign and agreed about it. I was keen to start right away. It's a bit late, so not much time to play but just to... open the cork for this game.

I asked my player (Countess Samael) to write a small text about Luv Mina so we have some idea where she is coming and where she is going. She is a bit tired and wasn't that interested into doing it. So I asked her to put few sentences together so we can start.

And here is introduction to Luv. I suppose he will write her character more detailed later though.

(Originally this text was written in finnish, poor translation here is by me.)

I was born in poor family at Eremites Village. My elf father worked at the village as blacksmith and supported our family with his slight income. As the only child I was my parents wanted to give me the most experience rich childhood, so my mother went to Pengchang Inn to work as a sort of guide and I was with her.
Penchang Inn is a large fortified inn with services like stables, blacksmith and leatherworker of it's own with small fields inside it's walls what also leads travellers to humans main city, Sword City.

Pay wasn't that good, but I had a change to see all those different travellers from ordinary people to real warriors. Many shiny armors both from scales of dragon to ones made of leather. Most valiant of those warriors rode past the inn with their large horses and watching them ignited a spark inside me.

My parents couldn't offer me that all I would have wanted and even though my father was an elf, he was not that respected amongst his kind so he couldn't have better work at his home town.

When I grew older, I started to spend time more and more with my mother at Pengcheng Inn and it's surroundings and I learned I possess powers my parents dont. I could cast spells. My days went fast secretly practising and learning to control my skills.

Later I started to work and earn small income what I used to buy myself a spear, crossbow and other supplies. I had seen adventurers so often and wanted so much to be one of them. My parents didn't know about me leaving as I didn't tell it for them. I just left a note, where I told my lust to see the world. I guess I broke their hearts but I had to follow my heart.

So, one night I left with my equipment to see the world my first goal to reach Sumer Camp across the river. Maybe there I could find something for young sorceress.

D&D character and campaign planning - World map

As in previous posts I have planned, my DnD campaign will be loosely set in mmorpg Perfect World. Here is awesome map of the area I will use:

I will do modifications to map. Point areas where what race lives, what city belongs to whom, point out places of interest et cetera. But that is base for our campaign.

Source for map: