Monday, May 28, 2012

Project Rumeria

I am tired of closed RPG worlds.  I want a world I can use to do anything I want.  I want a world that people can add to, customize, reuse, and release content for without worries of being sued.  Enter Project Rumeria.

Project Rumeria is my new project to create an RPG game world.  It is my intention to release Project Rumeria under a Creative Commons license.

The new game world is being designed from the ground up to have a self consistent physical, historical, and cultural base.  Expect all sorts of fantasy realms, kingdoms, city-state, steam punk empires, and magical foundations.

More to come.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Night Pathfinder Pirates: Not the Wormwood

I just really like the backstory of the Wormwood Mutiny, and though it isn't the campaign I was to run, the first book is an excellent resource to introduce players to pirating.  I take my own artistic license to GMing it though.

So the group starts out in the Cutlass tavern in Luskan.  Jacen, a human rogue, and Kyte, a maenad magus, have arrived in Luskan looking to join a sea-faring crew after escaping as slavers in the Blinded City, the city of the followers of the four gods Myrkul, Bane, Bhaal, and Cyric that is found in the Anauroch Dessert.  Vladyr Stormwalker, a dwarven druid, has come to the tavern, as well, looking for a home on the sea.  A half-giant fighter name Durgen who thinks he's a dwarf is also present with a siege weapon strapped to his back, wanting to find a crew to join.  Sheena, a human ninja, also awaits for a chance to hit the waves.

At the appropriate time, Captain Johnston of the Wormwood, calls the sailors-to-be out to test for their positions on the Wormwood.  All find positions, though some are disappointed to join as swabs.  They are told to meet on the docks at sunrise.

Some of the new crew enjoys too much ale.  Others get jumped.  They all awake on a new ship at sea, shanghaid for a different crew.

Durgen's climbing skills earn him a spot as a rigger.  Sheena becomes the cook's mate.  The other 3 take on swab jobs.

Jacen talks up a man, Jake, held in the brig, trying to find a way off the ship, ever fighting his captivity.  He is saddened to watch the man later be keelhauled and fed to the sharks.

The ground finds a friend from the bar who offers them an idea to get some of their stuff back.

Sheena checks the galley and finds a weapon and some supplies.

The crew make enemies quickly amongst the crew.  Five men, led by a former slaver, first pick a fight with them in the crews quarters at night.  Later 4 of them start a fist fight under direction from the boatswain Scourge.  The characters successfully hold off the attack, but each get 3 lashes each for being late to their work.

Next week we will see what day 3 holds aboard their ship.

---

General impressions thus far:

  • The character group is overpowered for first level, probably because they have good stats and there are 5 of them.  I need to keep that in mind in future encounters.
  • Wormwood Mutiny book is hard to use at the game table.  Too much information is too scattered.  I desperately need to add tabs to the book to get around more quickly.
  • It is hard to roleplay someone else's characters.  I don't get them, and it takes to much info for me to get them.  I guess I think differently that the usual GMs when I consider what is important to roleplaying a character.
  • The players are taking their time in understanding the importance of making friends on the ship.  Jacen is working at that, but the others aren't.
  • Pathfinder Pirates is going to be a much heavier NPC campaign than I've ever tried before.  I need to build up a good deck of NPCs with stat blocks for moving ahead.
  • If the PCs get their own ship, they are going to need a lot of people to run it besides their 6 characters. What approach is best -- having a ton of NPCs, using magic to eliminate the need for the extra crew, giving the players extra PCs (maybe light PCs?), or something else?
  • There are a lot of rules the group (including me) don't have down yet.  Still working on that.
  • Still don't have my setup ready to go.  I didn't have enough room on the table for what I needed as a GM tonight.  Laptop needs to be more effective.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Karma for Coin

Hmmm... an idea...

Ability to turn in one Karma point for 100 x 1d100 in gold.

d100 -> 1 = 100 gp

d100 -> 100 = 10000 gp

Expected value: 5025 gp

Hmmm.  How lucky do you feel with that d100.

And no, you can't use a karma point to reroll the gold roll for a karma point.

'Raise dead', for reference, costs 5000 gp, which is mostly what players use their karma point for.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Cheap(er) Miniatures for Role Playing Games

I am always on the lookout for inexpensive miniatures for my Pathfinder games.  In particular, with my Pathfinder Pirates campaign starting I am looking not only for the typical 1" = 5ft 25mm miniatures, but also for the 1" = 30ft scale miniatures for ship battles, where minis might represent a sea creature.

Several good new additions have greatly grown my collection of animals and creatures.

First is anwo.com, where I found a great source for 1" animal miniatures.  The scale is slightly off, because all of the miniature creatures are 1 inch, but for most things it is ok.  The creatures do not have bases and are made of a rubbery material which makes them very durable, but in some cases, almost impossible to stand up.  I'll probably end up super-gluing them to some washers for bases.  The price is very good at only $0.49 each, but the shipping makes it worth your while to buy them in large lots.

Second is Safari Limited.  Their toobs are a great source for small sea creatures, dragons(1, 2), and all sorts of things.  In addition, they carry a great collection of larger dragons.  You can, of course, order these online, but I also was able to find them at my local craft store at similar prices.

I occasionally have a need for large dragons to represent great wyrms.  These dragons are hard to find in official form, and when you do find them, they are terribly expensive.  To substitute, I found some ornamental dragons that fill in quite nicely.  Stealstreet (also on amazon) has a number of dragon statues under $30 that work nicely for great wyrms.  A quick search for "Tom Wood Dragons" will also turn up a lot sources for similar size dragons with good detail for less cost.

Announcing Monday Night Pathfinder Pirates

I have been wanting to start a different sort of campaign for a while, something a little off the beaten path of traditional dungeon delves and overland adventuring.  Psionics Unleashed and the Ultimate Combat and Ultimate Magic books have been on my radar and my players' radars for a while.  With the release of Skull and Shackles and all of the related material, I finally found my new environment.

Pathfinder Pirates on Mondays is going to be a more advanced, open, and yet casual RPG session for me.  I've opened up the books to include Ultimate Combat, Ultimate Magic, Psionics Unleashed, all the pirates resources from Paizo, and player's test for Advanced Race Guide.  In addition, I found a resource over the weekend called "Armada: Expanded See Combat and Rules Sourcebook."

The game will be emerging guns, no lawful alignments, and is going to take place primarily aboard ship and seas. I chose the Sword Coast as a setting, since it is familiar, since I can cross-over material from my Friday and Monday games, and since it has relevant material, like the pirate city of Luskan.  The game will also include good possibilities for PKs, so I've warned the players to have a second character ready to go.  The players are really excited about the new character options.

My big excitement over this game is two-fold:

  • Ship battles are going to be epic.  I've starting collecting ships and sea monsters from the Pirates Constructible Card Game, as well as from other sources, which I'll discuss later in another post.
  • I am using a new streamlined GM kit.  I'm replacing my GM notebook and all hardback source books with a laptop.  I am using a pirate ship flip mat, a set of pirate ship card tiles, a set of general purpose card tiles, and a medium wet-erase map for all maps (no paper or auxillary maps).  I have 3 clear hard deck boxes to hold the ship and sea monster cards, that are stored flat as cards.  Minis will be light and fit in one small clear parts-style compartmented box and in a tube (more details in a later post).  Pens and dice fit in the minis box.  The few Skull and Shackles sourcebooks are small.  As a result, my whole GM kit fits in my normal-sized backpack!  This is a huge change over my Friday game which fits in a ginormous duffle bag so large that it has wheels!
So far I have 5 players for the Monday game after two initial weeks of building characters and running some test scenarios.  At last check we have a male Dwarven Druid stormcaster, a male Human Rogue with aspirations of captaining his own ship, a female Magus caster most likely to have an attitude problem, a male Half-giant fighter with a knack for siege weapons, and a female Ninja.

The ship battle test last week was a big eye opener.  The druid captained one ship with the half-giant assisting, and the ninja captained the second with the magus along.  The ninja and magus had a faster and more heavily armed ship, and thus were in pursuit.  Unfortunately, the ninja had almost no sailing skill, and the druid beat him soundly in almost every roll.  As a result, the druid's ship quickly positioned itself, took some potshots, and left the ninja's ship 'in irons' with some superior strategy.

The groups started boarding and we stopped there, since it probably isn't real constructive to let your PCs battle it out versus each other.  Already, the magus and druid don't seem to be getting along.

The big take-away I gave the players was that the sailing skill was important, since they likely will capture other ships, and someone has to sail them.  Clearly, the ninja, was not the man for that job.

Another cool thing I wanted to mention was the ability to combine third party product rules to get something better.  For example, Armada has a amphibious feat for certain races, and Psionics has the sea-faring Maenad race.  It seemed obvious to allow the Maenad race to take on the amphibious feat at first level.  This amphibious feat combined with the diving bell from Armada all gives the ability for PCs to engage in underwater adventures.  Awesome feature from Armada.  I can't wait to find other cool combinations when working these third party products in.  Armada was also a great resource for expanding ship types, which seem very limited from Skull and Shackles Player's Guide (which is free, so I am not complaining).

One disappointment to date: I haven't found a good source for cannons.  Ballistas and catapults are ok, but cannons seem like a must.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Friday Night Pathfinder: Northward to Daggerford

The Shadowrunner, having escaped the army attacking Candlekeep, headed north towards Baldur's gate and then onward past Dragonspear Castle to Daggerford.  A stop in Baldur's Gate got them stocked up for the journey.  Along the way they had some interesting adventures.

They met Bimley, lead human in a caravan of 3 caravan wagons packed with potion bottles.  He haggled with them for quite a while, trying to coax them into buy various vintages of potions... invisibility potions, barkskin potions (which the crew bought 10 of), and potions of gnomish contraptions.  The rogue, of course, attempted to talk the seller into trying an invisibility potion, but Bimley was too keen for such an obvious breach of seller's etiquette.  Instead he called forth a tall lanky elf from his crew name who attested, "It makes you turn invisible."

The also happened across a wagon of stone headed for Baldur's Gate for routine repairs.

Traveling along the road they also happened upon 4 crystalline cubes.  The party routed around them, but Ally, the gnome, just couldn't leave them alone, After firing an arrow at them, and checking them out, Zirul got talked into touching one with his lance and then his finger.  Upon the touch of skin, the cube 'popped' and there was a naked male gnome that didn't seem to know anything, even his own name!  Ally quickly poked the other 3 cubes, releasing an additional male and two female gnomes, all with similar memory problems.  The crew gave them clothing and bought them along on their horses.

The party distances themselves from the cubes as Zirul approaches the cube to touch it.


One of the gnomes fell off of Zirul's horse, cutting herself.  Zirul watched in amazement as her cut instantly healed.  Felix saw it too and asked Zirul for money to keep quiet about it.  Later the gnome behind Zirul started chanting.  The party stopped as the gnome refused to respond and continued chanting in an unknown language.  River jumped from her horse and barely kept one of the gnomes from stealing it.  Soon all the gnomes were chanting and their eyes turned glowing read.  Then with a pop, they disappeared.

Daggerford greeted them with a general lack of wanted posters.  Felix drank wine outside the tavern until he passed out on the tiger, while Yuri, the winter wolf, kept watch over the horses.  Corrail was away hunting for food, when a stranger grabbed Ally up and stuffed her in a bag.  Zirul and River pursued, with River getting a hand on the stranger before he got out of the tavern.  The kidnapper was able to steal a horse and get underway, with a tiger, winter wolf, and horse carrying River and Zirul, in pursuit.  The group of them knocked him from the horse, and surrounded him, beating him senseless until he gave up and the gnome was released.

Interrogations were left for next week, as the GM became ill and decided to call the game a half an hour early.  Next week the party hopes to finish their trip to Secomber which will take another 4 days.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Friday Night Pathfinder: Baldur's Gate and Candlekeep

The Shadowrunners left off outside the gates of Baldur's Gate.  A minister exited the gate and put up a new wanted poster with pictures of the Human Bard "Don the Magnificent", the Elvan Ranger Corrail, the Gnome Sorceress Ally, and Felix the Half-elf Druid / Rogue.  A Paladin Roday is also metnioned as an accessory to their crime.  The posters states "Wanted: Dead or Alive".

The wanted quickly shuffle away.  River, the female instantiation of Rodar, walked up and checked out the poster.  The bard quickly shaves his mustache using a dagger and shuffles his appearance.  The Human Half-elf Cleric Zirul takes up the tiger, after talking to Corrail, and heads into the city to look for reasons for this poster.  Don has to talk his way through a quick interrogation by the guard.  After gathering loot, he heads into the city with Zirul and River.

The Elfsong tavern greats the crew with table and table of drunken locals.  Zirul approaches the table of guards and claims to be a bounty hunter.  He asks about the crimes of the wanted.  One not so drunk guard calls him out, knowing that bounty hunters do not delve into the stories of why their prey are wanted.  Zirul heads to the bar and after bribing the bartender with buying a round for the house, he learns that word was sent through the Alliance for these criminals from Innsbruck.

The crew gets some new supplies and Don disappears to the docks district.  He looks at the one ship in harbor damage from fire from above and strikes it up to a dragon attack.  No sign of the Cthulu worshippers he is looking for.  He trips across a sewer cover with an intricate carving.  He tries to climb down in and a guard stops him.

"You can't go in there. You need a permit to go in there."  There is a brief discussion and after a reminder from the GM, Don recites a verse of Cthulu lore and the guards tells him to come back after midnight.  The guards walks away cursing about permits, covering for Don and his unorthodox religion.

After dark Don returns to find a Cthululian sacrifice underway.  He participates in it until sunrise we he catches back up with Zirul and River.

Don negotiates nearly 2000 gold pieces for the bows and spears from the loot.  No one witnesses his negotiation and there is much ado as he returns claiming to have gotten only a few measley coins.  The party sees through his bluff and he finally agrees to split 1500 gp, "including some from his own pockets", with the rest of the party.

While in the city, the rogue sits outside the gate, portraying a beggar, showing his thieves guild coin in hopes that someone will recognize it and point him in the right direction.  Instead a large kobold-halfling army arrives from the direction of Corm Orp with a familiar winged kobold in the lead.

The guards of Baldur's Gate are alarmed, but the kobold only asks first the rogue and then the guards directions to Candlekeep and then marches on their merry way.

The group decides to go to Candlekeep and buy horses from the journey.  The bard finds instead a war camel in white.  The group arrives to a quiet Candlekeep under normal circumstance.

Upon entry they find the castle and go into the library.  The monks greet them amongst the shelves and shelves of books.  The group heads towards the tower but is stopped by the priest.  The name of ELminster does not open the way for them and the priest locks the door which they cannot pick.

Finally Ally realizes that Marqua is the name she needs to give and they are given a key to the tower.  Elminster's letter gives them directions:

  • Corrail is told to gather his allies in Waterdeep.
  • Zirul is given a magical book that gives him +2 to riding.

  • Don is given a single word in Cthulian that translates to "Palarandusk", the name of a gold dragon in the sword mountains.

  • Ally is told to gather allies and head to the sword mountains.
  • Felix is told to finish his mission (in Secomber).
  • River is pointed to a chest across the room that contains a magical double-ended sword.
As the finish the letter and digging through the room filled with books of Psion, the group hears trumpets and, looking out the window, see that the army has arrived.  Candlekeep is quickly under attack.  The priets urge the party to hide in the dungeon of the castle, but instead the group flees the castle, dodging siege weapon fire, grbars their mounts and heads to the closed gate.

They cannot leave, but luck strikes and a section of outer wall is destroyed, leaving them a gap.

The group flees to face the lines of the army.  The group gives their name to the commander as River contemplates taking on the whole army of hundreds herself.  The line parts and they are allowed to escape.