Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ghouls to the left, ghouls to the right and a first level fighter stuck in the middle.

The MOG campaign is going hard on the PCs, yet another PC death in the last session. The ghouls are proving to be a real problem, so much of a problem there is currently a 30 silver shekel bounty per ghoul head, the PCs just couldn't stay away.

Uttley Tuttle (A human fighter with unimpressive scores) joined seven veteran adventurers and two hirelings. The first foray of the night against the ghouls went fairly well with six heads taken and bounties claimed, even if Beeko the pygmy had to be carried away after being paralyzed. Another adventuring party was met but no hostilities resulted (good reaction roll). The second foray did not go as well with the party fleeing a mob of a few dozen ghouls before returning hours later for more punishment.

The previous weeks recon was rewarding and gave the party optional access to raid the ghouls and got them into deep trouble. The party heard a voice coming from the dining hall , this attracted the parties attention drawing them into a battle with 15 odd ghouls waiting in ambush behind overturned tables. A fighting withdrawal to an adjacent tunnel proved useful but the fight was still hard with one adventurer dropped from wounds (but not slain) and two paralyzed, before the fight ended just in time to notice the howls of a ghoul mob drawing closer to them from the nearby corridors. The two paralyzed adventurers were rescued by the pair of zealots in the party but poor Uttley Tuttle was left behind under a pile of butchered ghouls while the party took flight.


The megadungeon is being cruel and unforgiving with 2 PC deaths in the past two sessions.

Multiple expeditions and  building up familiarity with the dungeon is paying off (sorta).

The players did use some tactics with two fighters with shields holding off the ghouls in a tight corridor while a pair of pygmies stabbed at them from between the warriors legs.

The treasure yield has been low and the players realize they have to go in deeper to find the goods, one player wondered if they might not do better robbing other dungeoneers, the same fellow also wondered if it might be possible to make a deal with the ghouls to guide others into ambushes  and split the loot from the victims guided to their doom.

The players noticed the ghouls were acting odd and might be guided by some outsider or more powerful entity... hmmmm, I wonder?

Curiously the party has a few black-powder firearms but didn't blast any off as they didn't want to make too much noise.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

"Danger, Morlocks"

The other night we had a short turnout for the the MOG campaign just 2 players showed to delve into the edge of the undercity. Five went in and four returned.

Darren the Hunter, Grim the Assassin, Corrianne the Zealot and Bite-Me the Zealot (yeah "bite-me"..sigh) along with the henchman Brukk went scouting out the area they had met ghouls in the past and easily discovered entrance deeper into the tunnels thanks to a trapdoor revealed by an obvious blood-trail.

The ghoul haunted halls on this (sub)level were much narrower then the halls in the level above.  On the periphery of this region there was a curious circular chamber sporting a well of sorts with a metal ladder descending into even deeper into the depths with a warning sign that read "Danger Morlocks", the party noted the draft being pulled into the well but chose to leave exploring this route to a future expedition. Amusingly neither of the two players knew what a Morlock was... one is 17 the other 45, both players hassled me for what a morlock was and I repeated time and again, if you guys don't know what a morlock is your character sure as heck don't.

Journeying past the sign and well the party followed their noses and the scent of rotting flesh deep into the ghoul territory looking for a larder and discovered a dining hall.  There was but a single ghoul in the hall snacking on a human femur digging the marrow out of the bone and the cruel creature was quickly dispatched. The party went exploring the twisting tunnels near the dining hall discovering a ladder up , Grim was sent along to discover more with stealth and found a chamber of four ghouls that chased him back to the dining hall where battle was joined by all.  Darrren fell quickly (but was not slain), Grim was paralyzed by the many scrapes he suffered and would have been carried along but alas he couldn't be as the party hat to beat a retreat as a goodly sized mod of over a dozen ghouls was descending on the dining hall.

Thanks to the ladder discovered leading out of the ghoul tunnels the party found themselves up and away barricaded behind a stout door for near to half a dozen hours while the pack baying and crashing against the door diminished. The few persistent ghouls were beaten and the party made haste to the public gate while a growing mod of ghouls gave chase.


One more PC death and a route to tunnels occupied by morlocks.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Initiative as Advantage

Initiative and it's role in combat resolution in RPGs is curious. By example: let's say you are using a fixed initiative either rolled at the beginning of the fight or as a standard fixed score and you find your character has the lowest initiative the truth of it is you aren't going last in round 1 you are going first in round 2. Order really doesn't matter too much after the first round with any sort of fixed initiative.

Do you used phased rounds where everyone moves... the lower initiative folk get to move after the fast folk, this is a huge tactical advantage unless of course you use zone of control rules that trap folks in place when in reach of an opponent. If you are using zones of control, why does the winner of the round get trapped in place before the lower initiative foe can act? So what advantage is a high initiative score?

Real combat is about controlling (by limiting) your opponents options, a touch towards reality is addressing what initiative actually does for your combats. Initiative as advantage makes some sense and works in this context. Combatants with higher initiative should get a wider range of options or possibly more actions then those with lower initiative.

There's a host of ways this advantage can be addressed. In my MOG campaign having a higher initiative gives a combatant a chance to strike before the opponent (initiative is rolled for each side each round so it isn't fixed), what weapons one can use well depends on ones initiative score (as it's really advantage) compared to weapon used (I use a weapon speed score), if one is able to make multiple strikes they need to have a high initiative to pull it off (no picky math beyond comparing to weapon speed and initiative score for me).

Initiative should be more then who goes first, it can also define advantage (number of actions, actions allowed by example) and initiative can mean more then who gets to declare actions 1st or last in round one.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

No range modifiers, smaller dice.

In my current campaign I'm using a different dice mechanic for ranged combat; I'm not using range penalties I'm using smaller dice. A short inside normal (or short) range is rolled on 1d20.,a shot at moderate range is rolled on 1d16,  a shot at long range is rolled on 1d12. 

No math needed. No addition or subtraction mistakes in a fight and because different dice are rolled a shot feels different at short, moderate, and long range.

Goings on in Mog

I Haven't posted about game play in my MOG campaign lately so here we go.

The party had found their way to the gates to The Lost River Kingdom. The gates are guarded by a town run by molemen who have made a lucrative trade guarding the gate and licensing the right to others to sell gear and service to miners and explorers. It costs two bronze groats to pass into the gates and enter The Lost River Kingdom, it costs 2 silver shekels to get back in.

The party has found comfortable  shelter in the Hall of Toads a barracks style boarding house run by the blue skinned Verus who charges a simple 10 silver shillings a week for stabling and boarding.
Some gold chains were bought by Maurice the mutant jeweler who seemed to take a liking to Vaelock an Corrianne.

The party, has made three forays into the very edge of The Lost River Kingdom (and the greater undercity which it is part of). Death has been a constant threat and while some loot has been gathered the offerings have so far been pretty meager close to the gates.

In the first expedition not much harm came to the adventurers and not much loot was gained in the graffiti strwen and well gleaned halls near the gates. Some rodents of unusual size, quick growing fungus and a gang of dungeon bandits offered limited challenge.

On the second expedition while delving into an area dominated by graffiti featuring snakes and ladders e Slendara the Amazon was slain by a poisoned spear wielded by the leader of a group of bandits that the party tangled with multiple times in a twisty and trapped section of corridors. The bandit leader escaped by use of smoke pellets and knowledge of secret passages the party has yet to find. Despite the loss the party was able to rout the remainder of the bandits but gained little for it.
Delving just slightly further in the tunnels found the party doing battle with a small pack of ghouls they beat in a clumsy fight before exiting back through the gates.

While resting in the Hall of Toads Triborn the Magician finally decided to tamper with tone of the metallic headbands the party retrieved from a flying saucer weeks back. Putting the headband on had granted one of the party members limited knowledge of super-science and a greater intelligence. Alas oor Triborn gained no ready boons as he found him self paralyzed and was witnessed to being drawn up into the sky by a beam of blue light; he hadn't stopped to consider his fellow had tried the original headband on while they were exploring the inside of the flying saucer.

After resting and regaining courage the party decided they would explore the section of tunnels they had done battle with the ghouls earlier. This short foray was almost the ruin of the party as the ten adventures and 2 hirelings were almost overwhelmed by the initial onslaught of the ghouls who quickly  paralyzed front line fighter before moving on to do battle with the soft squishy middle of the party. Melvin the hireling fighter thinks less of his master Nervon after seeing the imp begin to flee before regaining courage and staying with the fight. At the end of the fight the party was victorious but Gremlin, Beekom Sheo, Rrric and Darren had all been paralyzed by ghouls (which curiously didn't' attempt to feed on the hapless vicitms). Corrianne was able to revive the paralyzed while suffering only a little fatigue but the party felt it wise to retreat to civilization to recover from their wounds.

PC loses so far:
Triborn abducted by the flying saucer men (might not bee dead but he'll be gone for decades at best).
Slendara the Amazon stabbed by a poisoned spear held by a lieutenant of a dungeon gang.
Beck the Cyclops Fighter slain by a vampire.

Foes slain so far:
12 Giant Albino Rodents
10 Green Glowing Skeletons
at least 30 Boglings.
26 Ghouls
2 Trolde
1 Medusa
1 Vampire
2 Saucer men
4 Giant Forest Sloths
12 Red shark-toothed Amazons.
2 Bog Bears
1 Sword Wraith2
3 Bandits
8 Ruffians

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Visual Dungeon

A visual dungeon challenge?

There ya go, 20 minutes and a session of monster hacking treasure seeking.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Idea- Giant Exploding Encounter/Stocking Tables

While I've been guilty of it in the past I dislike nested charts during game play, if I'm going to roll I want to roll and be done with it. This can cause a bit of repetition on a chart with onlty say 1-6 results, a roll of 2 always being 3 orcs in chainmail looking for a goblin slacking off get's a little tedious. A possible Solution, giant exploding tables.

Use 1d100, 1d1000 or even 1d10000  for the body of the table, each entry is a specific encounter with all the details spelled out, exact # of critters, loot and gear carried and even loose motivation. The low side of the chart gets the most common and frequent entries, the high side the least common and odd-ball entries.

Don't just roll the d100/d1000/d10,000 straight out however. Roll a magnitude die first , lower rolls weigh results toward the more common (lower numbers) end of the table  and higher numbers give a chance of the odd stuff coming up.

By example let's say you've got a d10,000 under-city encounter table set up with several hundred specific encounters  with entries 1 and 2 something like 3 rats scurry in the corner or  pair of moleman scouts and 9999 is The Holy See of The Purple King and his body guard of 50 Sword Saints and 10,000 is Buthakap the Lich-King and his 3 vampire brides delivering gifts to the unworthy while riding upon lobotomized beholders.  A 1 in 10,000 chance might be a little too likely for the big more extreme events while the rats and moleman scouts will hardly ever bee seen in the are common. This is where the magnitude die comes in: roll a d6 (or some other die) and on a say a 1 or 2 roll but a d10 on the main encounter table on a 3 roll a d30, on a 4 roll 1d100, on a 5 a d1000, on a 6 a D10,000. The lower end of the table becomes fairly likely with the bottom more common ten happening a more then 33% of the time, the top end will only come up 0.0016667% of the time.

One could of course use other dice ranges to play with the concept. A table with 100 entries with a magnitude die can for example still end up limiting the top entries to only come up a 1 in 2000 times if say a d100 is only rolled if the magnitude die a 1d20 and one only rolls a d100 on the chart when a 20 comes up.

Just an idea for now, no giant tables to publish just yet. What do you think oh kind and wise reader?