Thursday, June 28, 2012

Monday Night Pathfinder Pirates: The Mutiny

The entire saga of Monday Night Pathfinder Pirates has been a building of tension.  Since the party of 6 were first dragged aboard the Carrion Crow, the PCs have been targeted for abuse by Mister Plugg and Scourge.  This week the group spent some final last time making preparations by trying to befriend the crew.  Shifts continued as normal, but this day found Sarith, the Magus, on the wrong side of the dice rolls and head into the bloody hour tied to the main mast.

Jacen saw it coming, shirked his duties, talked to some folks, and with the help of the half-giant who think he is a dwarf (siege weapon expert, fighter, cleric named Durgen), rigged some explosives.

The bloody hour began and the crew was all placed on deck.  6 PCs took position.  I slowly counted out the NPCs into two piles -- those that had been substantially influenced as to assist in the mutiny and those who were loyal to Scourge and Plugg.  Jacen then called Scourge and Plugg out, pouring over the reasons why Scourge and Plugg weren't going to be any good for any of the pirates.  His speech covered 3 main points that I had previously noted for motivation, and with the positive reaction of the crowd, more crossed to his side.  The battle was to begin with Scourge and Plugg and their 4 loyalists.

The battle lasted only a couple of rounds.  The 6 players worked together rolling dice and pushing the mutineers to an easy victory.  Enlarge Person was cast on the half-giant.  The druid covered the deck with obscuring mist.  Knives and weapons clashed and clanged.  Even Fishguts, the cook, got a blade in edgewise.  Scourge and Plugg were killed, as was one other loyalist.  Each were given burial at sea.  The mutineers presented Jacen with the Captain's hat and cutlass.  Jacen showed mercy to the loyalists remaining, tossing the cat-o-nine tails overboard that represented the harsh punishment of Mister Plugg.

Next came a long celebration.  Jacen worked the crowds to keep morale high and minimize new mutineers vying for power.  Dwarven fire ale flowed freely as Durgen lead a party that lasted well into the next day.  Jacen, as new captain, started assigning positions to the crew.

  • Captain Jacen (Human Rogue)
  • First Mate Kyte (Maenad Magus)
  • Ship Mage Sarith (Half-elf Magus)
  • Boatswain and Master Gunner Durgen (Half-giant fighter / cleric)
  • Healer Sandara Quinn (Besmarian Cleric)
  • Carpenter / Surgeon Druid
  • Master at Arms Shivikah (Fighter / Former Slaver)
  • Cook Ambrose "Fishguts" Kroop
  • Cook's Mater Sheena (Half-Elf Ninja)
  • Gunner Crew for the Second Ballista
  • (More updates next time)
Jacen also took to the duty of assigning quarters and figuring out the next step in their journey.  It appears the Bonny Kate is now headed to Luskan to let a couple of people off (Conchobhar who is leaving to check out  his merchant operation, Aretta who is a former loyalist leaving the ship).

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Friday Night Pathfinder: Wandering Around

The Shadowrunners started the week off with a full group in combat with a Bebelith.  Don the magnificent talked to the Bebilith and then called forth the Contract Devil in hopes that the Bebelith would find him more appetizing.  Instead, the Devil and Bebelith strike a contract, returning the Bebelith to its home place and ridding the party of the Contract Devil's possible future appearance.

In the room, the party found odds and ends junk.

During the start of the battle, Zirule, the cleric, was possessed by his diety, who has a major beef with Asmodeus for affecting his cleric through the foolish Gnome's wish.  Zirule's eyes glowed blue, his weapon glowed with blue flame, and he got stronger.  In the future, any encounters with serious evil alignment will probably call this diety power in Zirule.

The party went back from where they came.  They found a Vampire, and later a pair of glass golems.  They found a library full of books and scrolls.

Eventually they opened a rooms of 4 statues, each with jeweled eyes.  With the complete set appraised at 32000 gp, the rogue couldn't resist.  The rest of the party shut him in with the statues, and he remove the diamond eyes from the statue of Mystra, the only statue that seemed to have no aura of magic.

The rogue gained the two diamonds, but now has the curse / blessing that he is completely immune to all forms of magic until the curse is lifted.  This includes magical items, potions, and even healing spells.

The party moved on to a cavern where they encountered a Giant Anaconda.  River sliced and flambeed it quickly, crit-ing twice in a single round.  The tunnel leading out of the area was too long and too dangerous to attempt, so the party moved back to the cavern with the bebelith.  There they found a pair of caverns with dragon tracks back and forth and a third tunnel from which a seemingly familiar moaning was coming from.  The party moved towards the moaning.

---

So the main character for the next sequence will be out for a couple of weeks, so the Friday night party has agreed to beta test Lilliput -- my 6 page RPG.  We shall see how it goes.

JInitTracker 2nd Version

So here is version 2 of JINitTracker.  There is now a special circle token for keeping track of round.  A similar triangular token is used to keep track of turn.  The init scale has been aligned and ruled.  Icons now have pointers built in to point to the scale.  Alt-Click now toggles between 3 status indicators -- P for Prone, single slash for dying, and X for dead.

So here combat has just begun (round 1).  River has taken her turn.  Zirule is prone and is currently delaying.  It is Corrail's turn.  There is a dead goblin enemy.  There is an enemy dragon.  There is also a neutral NPC guard who is dying.  Because the tokens are moved to cover the green scale, the red scale gives the approximate initiative of each player (within nonoverlapping).

Ctrl-double-click on the background now not only piles the character tokens at the bottom for quit initiative sorting, but it also sends the round token and the turn tokens back to their home positions.

I'll be using this on Monday and see if there is anything else I need to add.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dual-Screen Initiative Tracker: JInitTracker

I've been slowly putting together a GM toolset for dual-monitor.  I currently run a 12" dual-core Atom Asus laptop with a 22" USB AOC Monitor.  Screenmonkey seems to be my favorite tool at the moment for displaying stuff like maps on the dual monitor set up.  The big thing I don't like is the various initiative trackers I've found thus far.  They all look like spreadsheets and seem to want to track everything.  I wanted something more like my combat pad, so I wrote a little Java app I call JInitTracker.

I coded this in two nights with crappy Java code in Eclipse.   Most of the underlying code is AWT.  I haven't even gotten around to double-buffering to eliminate flicker yet.  So here it is:

  • It starts with a single circle token you can drag around to indicate round.
  • Double-click on the background to add one of the rectangular name tokens.
  • Double-click on the token to change its text.  It pops up a text entry dialogue.
  • Ctrl-click on a token to change it's type (which currently changes the border color from blue (ally) to red (enemy / hostile) to green (neutral / calm) ).
  • Drag a token off the screen to delete it.
  • Double-click with ctrl to move all name tokens to the bottom of the window in a stack (suitable for a starting place for moving tokens into place for initiative).
  • It automatically notes when you are running dual screen and starts a clone version on the second screen.
  • The clone does not respond to controls, but just mirrors the master display.
  • The clone is always on top, so for my setup, it shows over ScreenMonkey.
  • I run it at about 300 wide by 500 tall.  We'll see if this is readable at my game table.
I consider this an alpha version, though I'm not really a big Java programmer, and I'm not sure I want to release this thing because of 'support' issues.

I'm thinking I may want to add a few 'overlays' to indicate status -- in particular Dying (maybe a slash across the name token), Dead (X across the name token), and Prone (maybe a small square in the top right corner with a P or a down arrow?).  Typically I don't run into many other things I need to indicate.  It seems like indicators I could easily toggle through using an Alt-Click.

I still have yet to set the background and token images as even resources in the jar.  Right now they are just png files hanging around that I made with Gimp.

I guess I'll try it out and see what happens.  It will be interesting to see if there is any public interest for it on this blog too.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday Night Pathfinder Pirates: The Bonny Kate

This weeks occurrences:
  • Boarding practice ended with Kyte in the drink before being rushed onto the ship.
  • The Carrion Crow with the party intact chased down the Bonny Kate, a merchant class vessel.
  • The party successfully boarded the Bonny Kate and killed 9 crew and an officer in a fierce battle.  The party got to do some intersting things:
    • Jumping over sailors to flank them.
    • Using Wind Blast to knock down an officer and send a crewman hurdling off the ship into shark infested waters
    • Using stomp through a hammer to knock 6 enemy sailors prone.
    • Several nice blasts of magic missile.
    • Swinging across a deck on rigging to attack an enemy.
    • Save the captain's life from a sneak attack.
  • The party was well rewarded with loot and rum.  The party used their time wisely both aboard the Crow and as new crew aboard the new Bonny Kate.
    • The half-giant spent some of his last hours aboard the Carrion Crow with Grok, his half-orc companion, and enjoyed some drinking and entertaining with his comrades.
    • Sheena and Jacen spent time talking to crewman trying to gain allies.
    • Jacen found romance with Sandara, while Sarith found romance with Sly Lonegan.
    • Kyte had a major blow up over her misunderstood feeling toward Jacen.
    • The half-giant found his new calling as a cleric.
  • The beating of one of the swabs aboard the new ship underlined the true danger of having former First Mate Mister Plugg as the new captain, and the bitter Scourge as the new First Mate.
  • The party also realized that thought the ship was supposed to be headed to Waterdeep, it was actually heading to a Squib north of Luskan.
  • Rumblings of a mutiny were starting among the PCs.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Friday Night Pathfinder: The Contract Devil

The shadowrunners, down 1 cleric, were discussing contract options with a contract devil when last we left them.  The bard, Don the Magnificent, attempted to outwit the devil, but instead simply scared the group away from making a deal.  Under need to meet his quota for his god Asmodeus, the devil decide to kill the party.  The party, outmatched and fearful for their lives, stopped the devil, and Ally, the gnome sorceress, offered her soul up in trade for the 3 wishes.  Her wishes were written down to ensure clarity, reviewed by the group, and then reviewed and granted by the devil:

  • I wish all negative opinions and bounties were lifted from my friends and I, and were not replaced by any bounty ever.
  • I wish all red wizards and Shardosferin the dragon, and only them, to be dead and never to be risen.
The devil interpreted the second wish as two wishes (one for red wizards and one for Shardosferin, and granted it and with completion of the wishes, sealed the deal.
---

Wish interpretation in this case is carried out by the devil who then casts the spells.  

SPOILERS ALERT:  In this case the following things happened:
  • Since the word 'negative' is subject to interpretation, the devil assumed all opinions were included in the first wish.  Bounty can be interpreted as money offered for capture or money paid for capture, so the party lost not only the money offered for their capture, but also all future ability to gain a bounty.  
    • If they are paid a bounty, it will float away from their hands and pockets equivalent to "were lifted and not be replaced".
    • Since all opinions of them are gone, no one will remember them and they do not remember each other.
    • Their friends fall in the same category and similarly they will not remember them.  The list of friends was interpreted loosely by the devil and is quite long.
    • All wanted posters of them are gone.
    • Poor Don the Magnificent, however, is still wanted since he was mistaken as Lord Rutherford (or was he?) and the wish did not affect Lord Rutherford's bounty?
  • Red is a color, a very exact color.  Shardosferin the dragon (not all dragons named Shardosferin) implies a single dragon named Shardosferin.
    • As a result, the party finds two dead exactly-red colored tiefling wizards in the next room in addition to a small wyrmling with a collar with the name Shardosferin.
    • This wish obviously did not affect the Red Wizards of Thay nor the Great Quake Wyrm of the Shadowplane Shardosferin that they intended it to. 
END SPOILERS
---

So the party gets to know each other again.  Luckily Ally is able to calm the tiger and the party moves forward into the next room, rogue in front, searching for traps.  They find a tomb which finally gives away the purpose of the area they are in -- it is an old 'funeral home / mortuary'.  They find the bodies of two red wizards and a small wyrmling in addition to 6 tombs.

Each tomb is searched and gives the searcher a good stack of gold. 

The party continues into the next room, climbing up to meet a Bebelith -- a giant spider-like devil that likes chewing on flesh.

At this point, I award XP (3000 for the city, and 10000 for the contract demon) and end our adventure to prevent a TPK.  The party has an APL of 7 with a +2 for being a party of 6 and can take the bebelith.  However, the party has a bard that can't really fight, they have no cleric this week, leaving their CR level closer to 7 or even 6.  A CR 10 Bebelith will likely peel the armor off the fighter, their only tank, and kill her quickly, leaving the party either to 1) fight and die or 2) retreat and lose the fighter to true death.  Neither are fun, and the 10000 XP associated with the Bebelith combined with the need to get past it make this a pivotal fight and plot point.  Next week the party with the extra XP will be APL 8, which should allow them to have a good fighter versus the bebeilith with or without the cleric.  Someone still could die, but at least it will be a 'fairish' fight.

---

UPDATE:

Something about this bothered me a bit, and it took me a while to realized it.  Awarding 10,000 XP to each player for the Contract Devil wouldn't be the norm.  Typically defeating a creature results in the XP being split between the players.  However, in this case, the wishes represented a grave danger that affected all of the players.  Each individual player will have to overcome the outcome of the wish, and so I stand by my decision to award the XP to all of them individually.

SPOILER ALERT:

The biggest impact to all of the group is that they have effectively lost all of their contacts.  This is a huge problem for the group as they progress through the campaign with allies and enemies aligning for some serious battles.  Will their families remember them?  Will Elminster remember them?  Will Shardosferin remember them?  Will the Shadow Thieves remember the rogue and his mission?  Will the druid get his animal companion back?  There are a lot of issues to play out, and not even I know what it will ultimately result in.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Monday Night Pathfinder Pirates: Friends, Enemies, and Things In-between

  • Group went crabbing, fought off two reef claws.
  • Jaycen beat Owlbear in a fist fight for sport, but showed mercy when Owlbear was down.
  • Kyte got the crap beat out of her after surprising the half-giant and his friend Grok during their interlude.
  • Many friends and enemies were made.
  • The group was practicing boarding as it was called out that there were sails on the horizon.

Friday Night Pathfinder: Secomber Adventures and the Western Ruins

  • Ally gets turned in by Jaycoff the junk salesman and she outruns the guard out of the city.
  • Ally and Felix sit in the bushes and drink till they pass out.
  • Ally and Felic hide in a caravan to get back into the city.
  • Ally and Felix steal a wagon and have to abandon it and nearly get caught.
  • Riiver and Corrail visit Don as he his broken out and dressed as a woman to escape.
  • Gnomes hide Don in Jaycoffs.
  • Don learns that Lord's assets arebing liquidated so he can escape.
  • Don tries to build a rune and fires a lightning bolt which draws attention of Corrail and River.  They scare off gnomes and reunite with Don.
  • Party gets back together.
  • Visit to Max
  • Trip to cellar in western ruins.





Thursday, June 7, 2012

Lilliput RPG Version 0.2

I updated the Lilliput RPG 5 sheet packet to version 0.2 tonight.  It appeared during 1st level play that the game was too easy.  I ran the combat numbers (expected damage, expected survival in rounds, probability of hit) and with only a couple of minor changes, I was able to balance combat over all 20 levels.

In general, it looks like magic will play a much larger role above level 15 or so.  I added a level 5 arcane attack spell to lessen the effect of spell block on arcane casters by giving them attacks over several levels.

I also added a 'sneak attack' mechanic by allowing any stealthy creature to automatically hit on its first attack.  This should give the rogue and related classes some more combat oomph.

I am changing Charisma to Chi, since it is the basis for number of spells per day.  Chi would better reflect the dual meaning of outgoing energy (charisma) and personal energy (mana).  Chi is defined as "vital energy or spirit".

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Lilliput RPG

So, to test Roll20, I wanted a really light RPG.  I looked a lot of them over, but none of them captured everything I wanted in a D&D 3.5 / Pathfinder kind of way, so I am writing my own.  I've picked the name Lilliput (because of its diminutive nature) and because it doesn't seem to be taken.

My goal write now if to have the whole RPG in 5 pages:

  1. Character Sheet (1 page)
  2. Spells List (1 Page)
  3. Rules (1 Page)
  4. Bestiary (1 Page)
  5. All Items and Equipment (1 Page)
So far I've dropped feats and skils, generalized all weapons into 4 classes, and converted all classes, races, and templates to operate only on attributes.  I eliminated 1 attribute (con).  I also made most forulas for spells, init, movement, attacks, damage be uniform, based on attributes, and fit them onto the character sheet.

I have still got a lot of things up in the air, like what to do about backstab, and how to integrate perform.

I hope to have a beta for testing by the weekend.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Online Gaming

I am beta testing Roll20 now.  This should be a lot of fun.

I'm thinking I need to either pull together or write a 'light' RPG to try it out with.  Something with less mechanics.

Any suggestions?

Monday Night Pathfinder Pirates: Making Friends the Easy and Hard Ways

New Player this week playing Sarith -- another magus -- this one is a male human.

The other magus, Kyte, was absent this week.

---

This week started off with the group recovering in the hold from 'the bloody hour' which got them all whipped by Mister Plugg.  He enjoyed it.

The crew started trying to make friends this week:

  • Jacen talked to Sandara, and Sadara offered to watch over Kyte who was recovering from the whipping.
  • Jacen managed to start a sing-along with Rosie who played the fiddle.
  • Jacen had a good chat with 'Fishguts', the cook.  Fishguts left him alone just long enough for him to grab a short sword.
  • Sheena was able to get her katana back from Cut-Throat Grok by claiming it was cursed.
  • Sheena was also able to snag a lock to lock up her katana.
  • Durgen, the half-giant who thinks he is a dwarf, tried to talk Cut-Throat Grok into giving him his hammer back.  Instead, he ended up seducing her.
  • Durgen met up with Cut-Throat at night in the quartermaster's closet on the main deck.  She passed out drunk.  He checked out one of the chests, but didn't take anything, and ended up passing out too.  The were luckily found in the monring by Caulky, the captain's cabin girl, who simple stated, "I don't want to know." and walked away.
  • Jacen managed a nice talk with 'Ratline', a halfling.
  • Sarith chatted up one of the crewwoman, who seemed to take a liking to him.
  • Various other conversations produced odds and ends information.  The Druid did some listening and got some info.
  • The group of newcomers got sent to the bilges to hunt down some dire rats in the bilge water.  They killed them easily and ended the session searching the water for items.
---

A few GM notes:
  • I truly hate the organization of the Wormwood mutiny module.  I can never find anything during gameplay.
  • I hate when the module gives a page reference in the core rulebook.  Obviously, this is useless for using the PRD online.
  • I hate the search feature on the PRD -- it is mostly useless too.
  • I need to remember to bring the core books for a couple of more weeks.
  • The base for the combat tracker is too light and it falls off the table.  Not good.
  • The new NPC cards are awesome.  With 29 NPCs on the ship, having a card for each with a picture for the players, and a stat block and notes on the back for me is awesome.
  • Since school is out, we'll now be playing 4 hours a week -- 6 to 10 on Mondays.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Friday Night Pathfinder: Best Session Ever

So Yuri, the Tiger, Zirul, and Ally caught the man who took off with Ally the Gnome in a sack.

"You stole me," Ally cried as they interrogated him.  They dragged him off to a nearby abandoned cabin as the rest of the party caught up to them.

The group tried to intimidate, bluff, and get information out of the man, but fearing his own death, he was mostly uncooperative.  He finally called on Zirul, noting he was a cleric, to give his word that he would be released, and exchange, he would give up the location of a treasure.  After learning that the man was a bounty hunter, Zirule released him with treasure map in hand.

The group gathered up their horses and camel and headed for Secomber.  Along the path, at night, four horsemen on barded horses stopped them.  A knight on a huge warhorse appeared before them and ordered Lord Rutherford to stand down and be arrested, pointing all the while at Don the Magnificent.  He went with them, and the knight warned the party to not follow too closely.

The group got underway, following the knights to near Secomber.  Felix and Zirul and the animals split off to follow the treasure map.  In a cave, in a chest, they found a wand, which Zirul quickly identified as the Wand of Mustache.  Casting the wand on someone (a level 3 spell from the wand with 50 charges) results in them having a larger dark handlbar mustache for 24 hours.  By the time they hit the road for Secomber, Felix, ZIrul, the Tiger and Winter Wolf all had mustaches.

Ally went ahead with Corrail to Secomber and found her way to her home.  There her father, reacting to the wanted posters for her, slammed the door in her face.  Ally went and visited her Aunt Sarah, who lived in a sparsely furnished home nearby.  Aunt Sarah was going insane and babbled on.

Ally then went on to the candleshop where her mother worked.  Her mother greeted her happily and they talked.  Her mom suggested that Ally find her sister, who was working for her father somewhere on the third hill (one of the 3 hills that make up Secomber).

Felix and Zirul arrive in Secomber.  Felix sets up performing on the caravan trade route and then later by the weapons store.  Zirul joins Ally.  Corrail heads to the local court to check on what has happened to Don.

Don was placed in a cell in the jail in a cell by himself.  A man in robes and a fancy hat arrives to act as council for 'Lord Rutherford'.  Don bluffs his way through it and settles on a strategy of claiming a Red Wizard had forced him to betray the city by allowing Ogres and Trolls access to attack the city.  Corrail arrives just as he tells him that his friends will find the Red Wizard (Barto is the name Don pulls from his memories.)   Corrail gets the message to look for the Red Wizards.

Corrail rejoins Ally and the others as they head to Aunt Sarah's to sleep.  Felix buys weapons and heads to the Singing Sprite to looks for info on the local thieves guild.  His coin gets him access to a rear room where he verifies his mission, finds that Dirk is still in Innsbruck.  They offer supplies, but nothing he needs.  They have no info to offer on the Red Wizards other than they probably aren't in the open in red robes and that the wizards are a society of matriarchs, so he's probably looking for a bald woman.

---

The wand of mustache turned out to be hilarious and useful, providing silly mustaches for everyone and thus disguises in the new town.