Sunday, June 25, 2017

Castles and Crusades Sessions 1 and 2

I've started a monthly Castles and Crusades game with some other adults; I am the Castle Keeper, my wife and two other couples are playing.

For those familiar, I am combining two old-school modules... T1 and B2. Hommlet has become the Forgotten Realms city of Highcastle, in the High Dale, between Cormyr and Sembia, with the Keep on the Borderlands being the now-completed Keep of Rufus and Burne. The Thunder Way, which runs near Highcastle, is noted for connecting not much with nowhere in particular, with another route that gets you there faster and safer, and without going through the mountains, which are frequently closed to traffic through the winter. However, it is a pilgrimage site, being the location of the Dancing Place (aka the Caves of the Unknown on the B2 map), where several deities manifested a few centuries ago, leading to the formation of the Harpers. The part of the Hidden Vale, a (former) settlement of rock gnomes, is being played by the Caves of Chaos.

(These are all things that the party already knows, or would know if they asked; other aspects of what's going on are, obviously, being kept a bit secret for now).

Player Characters:
Gnome Wizard, Junior, who seems to have a bit of a death wish
Dwarven Druid, Nags, with an ant animal companion
Human Monk, Neb, who likes to hit things
Human Rogue, Nickles, always trying new things
Half-Elf Ranger, no name yet, who likes to drink

Session 1:

The party arrived as part of a trade caravan, the first of the year. Exploring the town, they found there is significant tension between the local druidic circle and the "new" temple of Helm; Rufus and Burne brought the worship of Helm in about a decade ago, and while it's somewhat caught on, their proselytizing and relative inflexibility and hostility to ecumenicism has chilled relations. There's also a local priest of Oghma, studying in the library of Rufus, and amiably making friends while he's there.
A lot was setting up the game, of course, and making characters, but the party did manage to expose a cheat in the Inn, getting him kicked out, and recruit a couple more people (Zert, who knew the caravan master, and Spugnoir, who desperately wanted to get out of town after having been stuck for the winter). While travelling out of town with the caravan, the party was attacked by a dozen hobgoblins, who they routed (along with some great help from Spugnoir's Sleep spell), and backtracked to the Hidden Vale.

Session 2:

Exploring the Hidden Vale, they first entered one of the goblin caves, fighting a neat little battle and learning from their prisoners that the gnomes have been gone for months, and that the cave next door is where the goblins have been putting a lot of their treasure. The party withdrew, giving their injured monk a chance to heal a bit. They decided to try the cave next door. The thief sets a snare, then goes in... and wakes the ogre. She retreats, and the slowly waking ogre looks up again... and sees a dwarf druid. She takes a pot shot at him, falling back. The monk steps forward and gives him a shot in the nuts, and falls back a touch, as the thief falls from above, backstabbing on her way down. Adam Ant chews on his foot, and he's angry.. so he smashes the HELL out of the Monk... 12 out of the 13 points he currently has. He tosses the monk back, but gets torn down by the rest of the party (eventually getting caught in a snare, one leg caught in the air). They quickly search the cave, finding a cache of cash, some cheese, and a keg of brandy... and a wall made out of unmortared brick, leading into the goblin caves. Opening a few bricks, they see the goblins have set up their table as a barricade, and are watching them. One takes off running, and the dwarf wings him, but he gets away. The monk, moderately healed by goodberries, Kool-aid Man's his way through the wall, then smashes into the table, killing all five remaining goblins with the table itself (REALLY horrible saving throws).
The party retreats to the ogre cave as more goblins head down from deeper in the caves... and then tosses a doctored keg of brandy onto the fire the goblins were cooking on, leading to a jet of flame soaking the goblin horde... not enough to kill them, but definitely sending them all into retreat. The goblins head back to the common room and begin to argue, sides forming as it's argued as to whether the chief is still a fit leader after that debacle... 11 goblins dead in two attacks, the ogre apparently gone, and then everyone else bathed in fire.
The party listens, and retreats to the ogre cave, and then hears the march of boots out of the other hallway... things are about to get interesting in the Hidden Vale.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

True Atlantean Nomad Iconic Framework

True Atlantean Nomad Iconic Framework
There are True Atlanteans and then there are True Atlanteans. The most young True Atlanteans aren’t that much different from standard humans… trained in the use of Tattoo Magic and the basics of using Stone Pyramids, of course, and with centuries ahead of them instead of mere decades, but, nonetheless, not too much different.
Then there are the Nomads. Many True Atlanteans set off on a time of wandering, learning the breadth and beauty of the Megaverse with their own eyes, their own senses. They seek far vistas and learn strange languages, relying on their wits and skills (and more than a bit of magic) to get from place to place.
The True Atlantean Nomad is old; at least a century, usually more. They’ve been around the Megaverse and seen a number of crazy things, and come out of it with a deeper curiousity and desire to see even more. They’ve also come out of it with a few enemies, a bit of paranoia about vampires, and a strong sense of self-preservation.

The Nomad Hero’s Journey
Nomads have two rolls on the Experience and Wisdom table, and three rolls on any other table (though few choose Cybernetics).

Nomad Bonuses and Abilities
All Nomads are True Atlanteans, and so have their abilities; Tattoo Magic, a basic understanding of Stone Magic, and the great dislike of Vampires and the Splugorth and their minions. For convenience, these are listed among a Nomad’s abilities and Drawbacks.

*Better Kind of Person: Nomads begin with plus one die type to Vigor, Spirit, and Smarts. They also begin with the Strong Willed and Nerves of Steel Edges.
*Great Experience: Nomads have been everywhere and seen everything. They begin with 20 experience points and the associated advances. They begin as a Seasoned rank character.
*Immune to Transformation: Nomads cannot be transformed by any means.
*Knowledgeable: Nomads begin with Knowledge (Arcana), Knowledge (Megaverse), and Knowledge (History) at d6, as well as the traditional Atlantean skill of Stone Magic at d6. They also posses a d6 in Fighting and Shooting.
*Magical Dabbler: Nomads are able to make use of Ley Line Sense and Ley Line Phasing, like the Ley Line Walker Iconic Framework. They may take any Arcane Background not forbidden to them, but they do not receive it for free.
*Megaversal Traveller: Nomads are good at finding friends in all sorts of places; they begin with a +2 to Charisma and the I Know a Guy Edge.
*Tattooed Heritage. As True Atlanteans, Nomads have the Arcane Background: Tattoo Magic, and the Tattoo Magic skill at d6. They begin with the Smite tattoo (which will also create a sword) and the Protection from Vampires tattoo (which functions as Warrior’s Gift, but granting +4 to traits rolls and armor against vampires). They also begin with the Speak Language tattoo, and two additional Power Tattoos, either or both of which may be substituted for Minor tattoos. They begin with 5 PPE, plus one for every tattoo they possess (so, between 10-12 PPE). As with all tattoo users, they have +1 to Armor and Toughness for every 3 tattoos.
*Vampire Sense: Due to wide experience, Nomads can tell a Vampire just by looking at them; they may use Notice to ferret out any vampires within Line of Sight.

Nomad Complications
Being a Nomad doesn’t come with a huge number of drawbacks that don’t also come from being a True Atlantean.

*Enemies: True Atlanteans are well-known through the Megaverse, partially due to the actions of Nomads. They have a -4 to Charisma when dealing with Vampires, Splugorth, or their minions.
*Lack of Focus: Nomads are not men of magic, nor are they warriors. They may not take the Master of Magic Edge, nor any professional edges with Fighting, Shooting, or Arcane Backgrounds as requirements.

Nomad Starting Gear

Ley Line Walker Light Armor or ED-5 “Plastic-Man” Light Security Armor, Wilk’s 227 Pulse Laser Pistol, Techno-Wizard Specialized Tool Kit, NG-S2 Survival Pack, 2d4 × 1,000 credits.