Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Playtesting we go

We playtested the basics of a new combat system I want to use in a fantasy campaign I hope to have up and running this summer and for the next few years. I'm grabbing stuff from a wide variety of D&D related RPGs and throwing together in a houserules doc.

The players were all happy to get to have more input into the game we will be playing. I'm a chronic rules tinkerer and we'll be going though a month or two of play-test sessions before we get to the campaign proper and hopefully have ironed out things we like and don't like.

Here's a one of the characters I handed out last night (from a random shuffle):
Sir Edmund Level 6 Knight
STR: 14 HP: 37
Battle Dice: 7(8)
Armor: Plate&Shield Move-4
Weapons: +3 t.h. Dagger 1d4/1d4 ws 4
+7 t.h. Sword 1d8+1/1d8 ws 5

Plenty of stuff not included on the sheet that will turn up later, we only played with the stats and rules we wanted to test which were the bare-bones of the combat system.

Initiative: determines order of action from highest score to lowest score. The initiative score is rolled for the next 5 rounds of action and re-rolled for the 5 after that and so on.
Initiative is reduced by 1 if you are wounded in a round (1 time or 100,still just 1 point lost to initiative).
Drawing a weapon in combat reduces initiative by weapon speed.
Initiative can go negative, if it does so that number is taken off of attack rolls, saving throw chances and damage rolls. (the sample character above has no initiative modifier listed)

Attack Rolls: compare weapon with armor on chart and roll 1d20+ attack bonus. If attack roll is exactly number needed to hit then there is a chance weapon was knocked out of hand or lodged in foe following hit. (The sample character is +3 to hit with a dagger and +7 to hit with a sword).

Battle Dice: measure how well one could fight in a round. Battle dice are spent on damage and defense as the player wishes with the following noted. (the sample character above has 7 battle dice or as many as 8 when defending)

Battle dice used for damage must be announced before the attack roll is made and defenders can use whatever battle dice they are able for defense.

One attack roll is made for a number of adjacent opponents and damage dice are split up as whole dice (before they are rolled) against each foe as the attacker wishes.

For missile combat each battle die only counted as half a die for damage.

Battle dice can be put into a damage pool or parry pool as the player sees fit. Allies and the player may draw battle dice out of one pool in a later turn at a 2 to 1 rate. No more dice may be drawn then the PC has levels.

one may not defend out of order (before initiative score comes up) unless:
- they have a shield
- they are armed with a pole-arm or spear vs a shorter arm

Parrying/Defending against ranged weapons.
-A shield is needed to parry missile weapons cast by device (bows)
-ranged weapons may be defended against at medium or long range if without shield should one not be engaged in HtH and able to move.
-Firearms may not be parried without use of magic or special ability (except as noted above)

Saving Throws and special abilities
Were 4d6 rolled under an ability score to make saves and other checks most of the time. Easier stuff was just 3 dice, harder stuff more dice.


The party consisted of - 2 Knights, 1 Archer, 1 Templar (fighting cleric here), 1 Mercenary (armed with arquebus). The party was joined by a Rake armed with 2 pistols and a sword for 1/2 the dragon fight and the Chaos Knight fight.

I put the party through a gauntlet of dungeon combats.

1st was 5 PCs level 4 to 7 vs 10 Hobgoblins hp:8 battledice- 3 (usually 2 attack 1 defense) +1 t.h. 1d8/1d8 armor- chain
The fight was quick once the players caught onto being able to attack multiple foes. Missile fire was telling but not dominating.

2nd was a big fight. 10 Hobgoblins as above. 5 goblins hp:5 battledice- 1 +0 t.h shortbows 1d6 armor leather. and an evil wizard 6th level 20 hp, armor - none and simple spells.
This fight took longer as the hobgoblins were able to gang up on a few of the PCs who hesistated and dealt with the goblins and evil wizard at range. The evil wizard badly wounded one PC with a magical bolt but was himself dispatched with archery in just 2 rounds.

3rd fight was with a Dragon. Hp: 90 Battle Dice- 15 +9 t.h. 1d8/1d8 armor as plate and shield
The dragon was a little tough to deal with as no blows were landed agaisnt it on the 1st two rounds until the players opted for overwhelming attacks and weak defense against the tough foe, all told only 5 successful blows were needed to slay the dragon. The dragon did badly wound 3 PCs but none were slain. Party joined by ally 1/2 way through fight.

4th fight was against 6 Chaos Knights Hp: 18 Battle Dice: 5 +5t.h. 1d8/d8 Armor: plate
This fight went quickly, quicker then I thought. 1 Pc wounded badly in the dragon fight was slain. but the Pcs made quick work of the chaos knights thanks to gaining advantage with good initiative rolls allowing them to make attacks agaisnt the knights who were unable to parry out of order against the PCs onslaught.
(I was surprised how quickly this fight went in favor of the PCs as they were badly wounded but the impact of the high initiative rolls was very telling)


The players took to it all pretty well once they got used to splitting battle dice for damage and defense and dumping dice into the pools. The Damage pool and parry pool were a useful tactic that allowed for a wide range of picky cooperative tactics to be abstracted.
4 fights in 2.5 hours using miniatures, me explaining the rules and a brand new combat mechanic was pretty good in my opinion. Having a range of choice to make each round that could aid the whole party made everyone very active during the combat and made them seem to go even faster then they did.
The templar had a modest number of spells (2 blesses and 4 CLW) which gave the party an edge but wasn't overwhelming.

Weak foes proved to be a threat as the PCs tended to not focus as much on defense against them. Luck won the day in the final fight showing the advantage of a high initiative .

Initiative as a score for 5 rounds proved to work pretty well. One of the players keyed his tactics to it very quickly accepting the loss of initiative on one round knowing a re-roll was coming,

The largest complaint was against the 2 to 1 trade-off for ranged attacks. I am considering having the damage dice rolled keyed to range bracket. 1-1 at short, 2-1 at medium, 3-1 at long range.

Another complaint was asking players what effect DEX had on combat (I rolled all mods into the weapons scores on the sample PC sheets). It was being used for initiative modifier and ranged combat to hit mod, given the impact of high initiative on combats of the night I might just keep the mods as is, might allow those of DEX 15+ to parry out of order regardless of arms or shield.

Next week we play with a party of magic-users (maybe 1 or 2 fighters tossed in for variation).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Expanded Reaction Tables

A few reaction Tables to spice up your campaigns.

Cowardly Creatures
12.....Berserk Escape, will fight to open avenue of escape
10,11..Fling and Flee, will launch missile attack and flee
9......Posture, will try to look tough and spook away others
5........Squeal, yell for help (roll for wandering monster check or alert nearest group)
3,4....Bribe, will offer bribe to other party to avoid conflict

Hostile Creatures
7.......Maneuver for attack, move into favorable positions (roll again)
6.......Challenge, champion or individual offers to fight someone in other party.
5.......Posture, will try to look tough and spook away others
3-4.....Demand Tribute, will demand funds to allow passage or escape
2.......Allow Passage, let's PCs on their way

Urban Ruffians, Drunken Dandies and Gangs
11...Fighting Withdrawal
9....Demand Tribute
8....Pester, will follow posturing and insulting party
6....Insult/Mislead, will offer insult or maybe mislead if asked directions
5....Allow Passage
4....unconcerned, doesn't care will ignore PCs

10-12....Raises Alarm and Attacks
8-9......Raises Alarm
7........Raises Alarm and Flees
5-6......Challenges, Blocks passage demands information
4........Demands Bribe
3........Looks Other Way, ignore PCs and try to avoid conflict
2........Allows Passage, let's PCs past guard point

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

In the Service of The Quintus (Mutant Future play)

The party escaped the tunnels "beneath" the ziggurat after much difficulty upon discovering their map was rather flawed. The party had decided to offer allegiance and services to the Quintus and found themselves slightly rebuffed for the moment. The meeting with the Quintus was brief, he gladly accepted The Gamma Plasma Stone from the flatulent Desperados had them given purple headbands so they could travel safely in his territory and sent them on their way free to do as they wished with the notice "we may call upon you for aid in the future".

The party licking it's wounds returned to Fresh Pond and wisely avoided letting the locals in on what occurred out in the cinders. With the means they gains from a moderate bit of loot the party added A battle conditioned bloat to it's train of beasts and some fresh supplies.

The Quintus did not wait long before tasking his new found quislings with a mission. Through a gnarled acolyte concealed as a beggar they were tasked to travel to "Pleasant Valley Tech" and slip a disk given to them into the Master Control Computer secreted there.

The party easily hired boats to carry them and steeds across the river and spent a surprisingly pleasant evening in The Groves before moving on. One of the bloats was intoxicated by fungal miasma leaving the Groves but quick action on part of the party kept that from getting out of hand.

Outside the general location of Pleasant Valley Tech the party discovered a multi-layered ring of defenses. Mines, trip lines attached to explosives and nano-cameras that went unnoticed for a goodly amount of time. Passing through the killing field with surprising luck (only one Jackalope killed) the party came to a huge fence with a caged over top, traveling along that they found another section with a top that wasn't fenced over.
The party cut their way into the fenced area and discovered it to be populated by red bisons and packs of mini-Rex. A large and bothersome pack of the mini-rex predators were dodged at one point by the party dumping chunks of the jackalope that ran afoul of mines earlier. scouting revealed another fence between them and their goal.

After testing and a haphazard laser shot the party discovered the field past the fence and between their goal and them was occupied by a vast number of silvery sunflowers that retained and reflected light energy. The party waited until night and cut their way through the fence again and snuck across thanks to Craniax and his ability to manipulate light.

Past the sunflower field the party found a ditch with dirty water surrounding a hill which held a large wall with a faced built to look like ruined buildings from the distance. The faced proved easy to climb unfortunately for the party they discovered the security cameras just moments before three flying defense robots engaged the party. The defense robots undaunted by manipulation of visible light hammered the party. The newest member of the party, the android who served as an idol in the tunnels beneath the black ziggurat, was blown into hundreds of pieces in the first seconds of the engagement. Craniax and his ziggurat were grazed by shrapnel, the assassin android engaged one of the defense bots in flight with his katanna. Bobo and Craniax ran to the bloats and were guarded by the beasts bulk as they were hammered with autogun fire from tow of the defense bots overhead. They scurried into a culvert draining into the ditch as the assassin android lost his sword fight to auto cannon in the sky above them. Only 3 of the party survived hidden in the large pipe with the spidery a red dawg and a single jackalope.

Moving up the pipe Craniax and Bobo with the spidery snuck about the campus of the ancient college while invisible. With patience and luck they gained access to the information center.
Exploring the information center and dodging a defense bot the trio found their way to a poorly secured security monitoring station and manged to coax the spidery into incapacitating two guards with it's paralytic bite and captured a pair of dart guns before Craniax began to delve into the secrets of the computers there...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Teleportation Foiling Spells

Here now are a number of Teleport foiling spells written for use with Labyrinth Lord or any related game.

Teleport Alarm
Level: 4
Duration: 1 day per caster level
Range: 0
Teleport Alarm will issue an audible alarm that will alert any nearby that a teleporter has entered the area of effect. The caster will know the alarm has gone off regardless of distance from the area alarmed. Those nearby can hear the alarm up to 120 feet away.
The area monitored by the alarm is a 90' radius sphere. Those arriving by teleport can hear the alarm as well. The alarm remains in place for full duration of the spell.

Teleport Delay
Level: 4
Duration: 1 hour per caster level
Range: 0
Teleport Delay will cause any teleporters attempting to enter the 90' sphere area of effect to have their arrival or departure delayed by 2-20 rounds. The caster can bypass the delay.

Teleport Doom
Level: 7
Duration: 1 hour per caster level
Range: 0
Teleport Doom will cause any teleporters attempting to enter the 60' sphere area of effect to cause a detonation of magical energy that will inflict 1d6 per level of caster to all within 20'. The spell ends when it takes effect on an incoming teleporter.

Teleport Flash

Level: 5
Duration: 1 hour per caster level
Range: 0
Teleport Flash will issue cause any teleporters that arrive in the area of effect to emit a bright flash of light. Those arriving by teleport in the area of effect must save vs spells or be blinded by the flash for 2-12 rounds. The caster will be aware when teleporters arrive in the 60' sphere area of effect of this spell.
The teleport flash spell will end if anyone teleports into the area of effect during the spells duration.

Teleport Guardian
Level: 6
Duration: 1 hour per caster level
Range: 0
Teleport Guardian will summon a monster to fight anyone arriving in the area of effect of this spell via teleport. Monsters summoned as per Summon Monster III. Area of effect is a 90' sphere.

Teleport Harrier

Level: 5
Duration: 1 round per level
Range: 60'
Teleport Harrier allows the caster to cast spells at the destination of ay teleportation that has left the area of effect of this spell during the past 4 turns as if it was inside the spells normal range for a number of rounds equal t the casters level.

Teleport Scramble
Level: 7
Duration: 1 day per caster level
Range: 0
Teleport Scramble will send anyone attempting to teleport into the area of effect in a random direction away (40-240' away) from their planned point of arrival should they fail a save vs death.
The caster of this spell can place a single word key that allows the area to be safely teleported to. If one teleports into the area of the spell without speaking the key word they will of course run afoul of the spell. Area of effect is a 120' sphere.

Teleport Tether

Level: 6
Duration: 1 hour per caster level
Range: 0
Teleport Tether places a fearsome ward in it's area of effect. Anyone attempting to teleport out of the area of effect must make a save vs spells or be teleported back to the area of this spell 2-5 rounds later with success regardless of how far away they teleported. The area warded by this spell is a sphere 60' in diameter. The caster of this spell may themselves teleport out of the are of effect without running foul of it's effects.

Teleport Trace
Level: 3
Duration: instant
Range: 60'
Teleport Trace allows the caster to know the destination of any beings that have teleported out of the area of effect during the past 8 turns.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Memories of Spell Points and D&D.

A few days back I read an commented on this post regarding spell point systems. I freely admit to using them myself in games past, one of my longest running AD&D campaigns actually used a spell point system.

Here is my recollection of it(can't find the whole system in old notes).

spell memorization- you still had to memorize the spells you wanted to use ahead of time. I now we fiddled with many versions but may have rested on a total number of spells equal to caster level plus number of known languages in spells that could be prepared at one time. One still couldn't access a spell of a given level until their class would normally permit.

I called spell points Manna. Every class had some Manna points. One had to have a Manna score of 1 or more to use magic items. Potions,Magic armor and weapons simply didn't work for folks with 0 Manna. Some magical items used up manna points per use.

Manna Dice by class: MU/Illusionist- 1d10, Druid/Cleric- 1d8, Ranger/Paladin- 1d6, everyone else 1d4. Spell casting classes got a bonus equivalent to Con for hp when calculating MP. As this was AD&D at the time single class MU's got the higher bonuses as fighters did with HP.

Spell Casting- 1d8 MP were used per spell level when a spell was cast in moderately favorable conditions. Improved conditions reduced the size of the dice, bad ones increased the size og the dice. If one ended up with a spell trying to use more Manna then the spell caster has they took the difference in damage, the spell failed and there was a chance of a more serious magical mishap with a chance equal to extra MP x Spell level trying to be cast.

There were a few extra spells that dealt with the Manna Points, spells that would lend, steal or blast away MP, spells that would tap into, trap and seal Ley lines and magical fonts. We had magical storage devices the ever popular potion of rejuvenation that restored hp and mp.

This system ultimately resulted in high level MUs that used darn few high level spells, Fly, Fireball, Haste and Lightning Bolt were very popular. Some of the more esoteric low level spells did see a little more use (Grease was oddly popular) but in general folks geared in on the 3rd and 4th level boom-zap spells and magic system manipulating spells.

The camapign that used this system lasted for about 8 years(with the magic system being more or less intact the last 3) so in a way it was a success but it also required a lot more book keeping.

Swapping out spells

I've been digging into D&D, retrogames and other old RPG spell lists lately and I must admit I've been wondering lately how different a game of D&D/retro-clone would look with this spell list:

Level 1
Detect Magic
Drop Weapon
Magic Fist
Slow Movement

Level 2
Dark Vision
Detect Life
Summon Wolf

Level 3
Detect Enemies
Far Vision
Shock Shield
Speed Movement
Summon Warrior

Imagine the players reaction to a whole new spell list and a whole new set of tactics to discover.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Troublesome Spells

Throughout my D&D Dming "career" I've come to find the following spells annoying and troublesome for a variety of reasons:

Charm Person, Magic Missile, Sleep ,Lightning Bolt, Fireball, Invisibility and Raise Dead.

Not a huge list really is it? Some of these spells are too powerful for RP scale dungeon adventures in my honest opinion, some are world changers and some are used to death.

Charm Person: This one has been discussed to death in RPG land (so of course I have to talk about it here) folks are always in favor of gimping (or nerfing) this spell. Folks claim it wouldn't compel someone to do something they usually wouldn't or risk their lives. Really? Come on folks this is a game where people defy death 5 times before lunch with drinking buddies they met in the local tavern, seems to me there are a lot of dangerous things the victim if a charm person spell would be willing to do. Not to mention the earliest versions of the spell clearly put the victim under total control of the MU.
One problem problem with Charm person is it's duration, it's lasts too long. In it's original version it lasted until dispelled. Greyhawk added a new save based on the recipients intelligence score which gives those of higher IQ a greater chance of freeing themselves by lucky save, but it still has the potential of lasting forever.
So total control and last almost forever, it's too powerful. Don't screw up the spell bump it up to 2nd or 3rd level.

Magic Missile: once upon a time this spell didn't even exist in D&D. In greyhawk where the spell was introduced the spell did 2-7 points of damage. and there was an additional 2 missile every 5 levels the MU has attained. No mention however as to whether or not a hit roll or saving throw is required. In the holmes edit of basic the spell requires a hit roll. In AD&D no hit roll is required , it has been downgraded to 2-5 points of damage and for every 2 levels over 1st an extra missile. Auto hits? At 1st level? A 1st level spell that hits almost any monster really. No hit roll, no no like.
I say require a hit roll, damage 1d6+1 and a new missile every 3 levels (2 at 3rd, 4 and 6th) or possibly bump it up to 2nd level and retain the auto hit.

Sleep: in it's original version this spell put mobs of critters to sleep, with a different range effected by HD. But seemingly allowed a save. In greyhawk the sleep spell has no save. Why wouldn't a MU pick this spell? In AD&D an area of effect is enforced but it still impacts a lo of critters. we find out the targets can be kicked ans slapped (wounding will wake one up but one can be killed outright will sleeping under influence of this spell) awake however, still no save.

Clearly by now I'm not a fan of no-save spells. Allow a save otherwise it's a party killer that also encourages too many elves in a campaign. No auto killing unless one spends a whole round adjacent to foe killing a single foe. Run up to attack and it's a damage roll and they begin waking up. I also recommend letting this spell work on just 2-16 total HD of foes regardless of HD and if a single high level target is the target of this spell let it function. Bump it up to 2 nd level if doing so however.

Invisibility: lasts too long and is simply too good for a second level spell. Bump it up to 3rd because there are certainly situations where I'd give up on a 3rd level spell for invisibility and when judging new spells and considering spell level that's always a power gauge.

Lightning bolt: Originally a pretty gimpy area of effect but it's doubling back feature was pretty cool. However, does the doubling back require targets to make another save? In AD&D the spell range and effect is alterable by caster to be 1/2" wide or 1" wide. I've seen the "bounce" used to make billiard ball style lighting bolts down corridors, been guilty of allowing it myself.

So no billiard ball shots but to require the bounce back towards caster. Someone in the area of the bolt ht twice has to make two saves. If either fails they take damage as normal. Anyone in metal armor saves at -4, because it's a cool twiddly bit that adds reason to use this spell instead of fireball.

Fireball: originally "A missile which springs from the finger of the Magic-User. It explodes
with a burst radius of 2" . In a confined space the Fire Ball will generally conform to the shape of the space", in AD&D it was a dungeon nuking volume of roughly 33,000 cubic feet . Note however in AD&D "The magicuser points his or her finger and speaks the range (distance and height) at which the fireball is to burst. A streak flashes from the pointing digit and, unless it impacts upon a material body prior to attaining the prescribed range, flowers into the fireball"

Argghhh...33,000 cubic feet, that's annoying as all get-out! It's 33 10' cubes, that's a huge area in a dungeon. No one ever seems to note the chance of the spell detonating early on an impact however.

Fireball screams out for a hit roll, treat it like a grenade like missile. It also begs to be free of the 33,000 cubic feet area of effect. Stick with a radius and leave it at that. If it's a powerful enough fireball to burn through doors and expand to full area (in distance only not cubic volume) of effect let it do so otherwise stay away from the expanding dungeon nuke.

Raise Dead: oh boy, this one should be a biggie and it should have social consequences. There should be a physical and social taint on those who receive this spell, longer it takes to raise someone the more obvious they were once dead, impose a CHA penalty of -1 for each day between death and being raised (maybe be kind and give a 3 day safe period). Do you really want to exist as an unworldly/undead looking thing even if not truly dead? This will cut down on royalty and nobles staying in power thanks to having high level clerics on hand and not totally disrupt society.
Some folks have cool raise dead complications tables that may be worth using, do some searching.

Just a few rants and a few ideas for dealing with spells I see used too much or in an annoying fashion.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

ashes to ashes...?

I wouldn't be posting this right now if I hadn't read this over at grognardia. It surprised the heck out of me to see it. It also reminded me that we are all rembered for our deeds not matter how great or small by someone somewhere and we will be remembered by them and our actions will live beyond us.

Jerry Mapes was a friend an online friend, we never met in person, it was a little surprising to discover we had formed a friendship but we did, he let me know it. We'd discuss religion, theology, character and a little bit of gaming.

He passed shortly after Dave Arneson did and a coupe days after Jerry died so did my Aunt Shell. Each person touched my life, in ways people wouldn't' automatically expect and a year later folks are still thinking of them and their lives and deeds are still influencing us.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Siege as dungeon adventure

Last night I had a cool dream. I was part of a force trying to lay siege and overwhelm a darned big castle. Problem was our force while able to challenge the castle defenses wasn't large enough to overwhelm so it quickly broke down into commando raids and even worse as morale slipped some members of the invading and defending forces started thinking for themselves and taking up key locations and charging tolls for forces to pass through instead of having to fight their way through.
So lot's of conflict and confusion, lot's of potential violence and loot waiting to be claimed.

Sounds like a dungeon adventure doesn't it?

I've got to try this one. PCs as mercenaries employed as part of the besieging force. The PCs primary motivations are likely to be political allegiance and acquisition of wealth. after contact with residents who knows what complexity will get added to the PC motivations.

The defending force and location a town or city defended by extensive fantasy world castle-works; Inside the castle we have the castle lord and his henchmen, the traditional defending force, citizenry pressed to defense and many factions (guilds, thieves gangs, secret brotherhoods, temples,cults,schools) doing all they can to survive the siege. Beneath the city we can have sewers and burial catacombs, possibly older tunnels beneath and subterranean escape routes.

Most of this could be played like a dungeon but with a difference the defenders should be organized to some extent; after encounters there should be increased probability of ever larger and more competent reaction forces engaging the PCs.

As probes and raids occur along with the fatigue of war relations between friendly and hostile forces should develop. It might actually be possible to keep a villain alive for more then an encounter after exposing them to the PCs thanks to shifting tides of battle. Mercanaries and occupants will maneuver for ways to keep wealth and limb after the siege.

So politics, scouting, battle and pillage all in a contained environment with loose time limits imposed by morale,external politics and supplies.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Hello from the temperate rain forest

Hello to everyone out there in the blogoverse. The past few days we've been dealing with rain and flooding in my part of the real world. It sure has been damp.
The road 300-400 yards from my house is over-washed by a river; my older kids wanted to go take a look at it so I said "sure, but stay out of the water"....10 minutes later I stroll down my walk to peek at the kids and sure enough they have their shoes off and are playing about in the shallowest edge of the flooding... arggghhhh. I walked down and fetch the kids and reminded them I had said stay out of the water and let them know why: the flood water could be full of pollution, nearby homes had their septic systems overflowed, there could be parasites in the water and sure the water was slow and shallow where they were but that didn't mean the road wasn't under-washed and do you really think folks who had their homes destroyed want to come by and see you playing here?. Sure I might have done exactly the same thing as a young teen but I'd have managed to not get caught until I got home with wet feet.
A few days earlier I was at my parents home the next state over and helping them get their basement pumped out. The wife has a 10 minute drive to work that has taken her about a half hour since the rains because of the road closures due to flooding.
Yesterday at mid-day I was on a paved hiking/bike trail that had a number of small dead fish on it, they had been washed 1/4 mile down the trail away from the pond the trail passes. The pond itself was alive with wildlife there were snakes, huge tadpoles, fish and crayfish all within feet of me at one point; floods stir up the beasties (including a bat flying along the trail at mid day). I also noticed the hiking trail which is an old paved over rail line had an underpass cut in one section, currently there was a run off stream going under the road about 30 feet down from the top but years past a number of disused country roads lined by old rock walls joined at an intersection before the route went under the bridge (must explore that in the future).

Of course being the RPGer that I am I couldn't help but note a lot of this stuff for future game sessions.