Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A week in the life of Erebor

Some 10 days have come and gone since King Thorin III decided to retake Khazad-dum. Here is a summary of publicly known event that have taken place since. 

April 4th FA 15

The council of Erebor was called. Thorin III, King under the moutains announced that he planned to lead a large contingent of soldiers and their families to Khazad-dum and reclaim the mountainhome. The King was caught off-guard by the resistance put up by his advisors. Drolf, hero of the Batte of the Five Armies sided with the King but relented. Bain, former chancellor and prime minister managed to convince Thorin III to remain in Khazad-dum while the Emerald Unit was to establish a foothold into the ancient complex. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Experience for Session 9 of the Palantir Campaign

An interesting session for the Palantir Campaign. Here is the experience allowance for the PC and NPCs.

Everyone get 1 pt Area Knowledge (North), or can used this point as free. In addition:

Saturday, April 27, 2013

031 - Piling up orcs at the gates of Mandos

After deciding to come back to Annuminas to mine the Royal Library once more, the Palantir Commission decided to do a proper reconnaissance of the ruined city.

Mandos, out of time

The place is Mandos, or rather it should be. It is dark in here: the hall is large and majestic. Wrug and Jugag are looking at each other, flabergasted.

"What just happened here?", asked Wrug. Jugag shaked his shoulder. "It began when Buomug rang the alert, I think..."

It indeed began like this. Buomug was standing on a ladder, overlooking Annuminas when he spotted a number of figures on foot along the banks of Lake Evendim. Vabugbu, then in charge of the camp, called all to their weapons. "I bet that these are the troll slayers", Vabugbu exclaimed. The orcs in the camp began to fret, cursed and ran around in circles. The strangers in the distance were standing there, barely in sight at about 300 meters. Vabugbu hatched a plan to intimidate them by giving them the impression that the camp had a lot more defenders than it had. They began chanting and making war cries. They soon started to feel silly, but Vabugbu was adamant that the ruse had to work. They rattled their spears against the palisade, peeking in between its lumber in an attempt to find out if the their subterfuge was working. It looked like it worked for a few minutes: the strangers were no longer in sight.

Out of the darkness, Ougigoth advanced and continued the story. "Then, this stupid hobbit started to gesticulate to the South-West. Anyone remembers?". The others nodded. "I remember Vabugbu round up four others to hunt down the twerp. I think that Vabugbu called the hobbit 'supper' as he left the enclave." Meat on the menu! Smeguh and Mudagog headed to the North wall when popped in front of them two men armored in chainmails and great helms. Both very young, one of them on the pudgy side.

"Then all went black for me. T'was like a tingle... then nothing", said Mudagog that had been listening from a distance. Ougigoth shook his head: "I thought that you decided to play dead, stupid grunt!". Our sergeant  Smeguh braced for impact when the knight charged. Smeguh's spear was pushed aside by the knight's shield. "The first thing that I knew, Smeguh was flying backward into the snow with a deep gash in his leg. The squire then charged at me, broke my arm with his longsword. By the time that the squire had me skewered through the stomach, the knight with a swan helm was finishing off Smeguh".

"Yeah... that's how it happened, and it sucked.", added Smeguh. "The squire finished you off too, Mudagog, while you were sleeping like a baby."

The orcs present looked at their feet, dejected.

Wrug and Jugag were still scratching their heads. "We arrived here first. What on earth happened to us?"
Raghat, who was the archer under Jugag stepped from the shadow to fill in the story. He recalled first some arrows flying and hitting Knagud, and a tall man in chainmail charging at the squad to his right. Then, out of nowhere, an elderly dwarf wearing spectacles leaped from behind the barrack, and in a heroic charge and rapid strike managed to take in a single sweep of his warhammer both Wrug's throat and Jugag's skull. Raghat tried to avenge his friends with a point blank shot on the dwarf, but the plate on his leg deflected the arrow with a spark. Raghat then remembered the dwarf, a mad look in his eyes, pulling his hammer from Jugag's skull. From behind, a knight with a swan wings helm was charging. Raghat drew his sword but never managed a blow before the dwarf dispatched him to Mandos.

"Yeah, that arrow was for me alright...", added Knagud. "I hate hobbits." Knagud was the archer for his squad. Rhaged and Ruthag charged to meet a tall man in a chainmail. I saw two orcs fly in the air to my right when an arrow lodged itself into my torso. A hobbit lass shot the arrow from atop a pile of lumber. She was too far, so I shot back but at the soldier instead. His shield got in the way. The man was caughing and wheezing, but kept on charging. Ruthag got struck in the leg, flew a yard backward and landed in the snow, unconscious. Rhaged gave him a run for his money, or at least tried but never made it pass the hero's shield. By the time that Rhaged was struck down, Knagud had turned around and was running for the cover of the south palisade. He dropped his bow, and as he attempted to draw his sword, an arrow pierced his right arm and severed an artery. Knagud's arm went limp but onward he carried. "I hate hobbits.", exclaimed Knagud. Another arrow hit him in the left arm and shattered his elbow. Knagud was leaving behind a trail of red body fluid in the snow as he escaped the hobbit-lass' flurry of arrows [Irina rolled two natural 3 criticals in a row, a 1/40000 event].

"I was running along the south wall, and towards the river when I saw... another stupid hobbit. I hate hobbits.", Knagud was dumbfounded. The hobbit halted, meticulously put away his blowpipe, drew his sword and charged at Knagud. Knagud, an arrow in his chest and both arms crippled had run out of options. The hobbit-lad struck him in the leg, severing another major artery (really?). Knagud, now bleeding from both ends, stood in front of the hobbit-lad, struggling to remain conscious. The hobbit attempted to strike again but failed. One of the hobbit-lass' arrow finally struck Knagud's leg and threw him over the edge.

"My last memory of Arda is a sharp pain in my leg and a hobbit, covered in my own blood, striking me in the neck. I really hate hobbits.", the place remained silent. "There are better ways to go, certainly.", added Ougigoth sympathetically.

"I saw you fall, Knagud", said Vabugbu, "It wasn't pretty".

"I saw you go, Vabugbu, and it was worst if that's possible.", exclaimed Sinsbog. Before the bloodshed began, Vabugbu took the five of us along the south wall and across the river to find that gesticulating hobbit. We could follow his footsteps in the snow. Unfortunately, the little pest had hidden atop a wall and shot Vabugbu with a poison dart. Vabugbu was in terrible pain, but we kept on looking for the hobbit. When we found his track back in the snow, it led back to the enclave.

When we arrived to the river, Knagud was bleeding all over the hobbit. Before he was even lying down, the hobbit-lad was on the run under the cover of arrows raining from another hobbit some 60 yards away. One arrow was dodged by Vabugbu, grazed Buomug behind and lodged itself in Fubguh's abdomen. "Fubguh never saw that arrow coming".  The five orcs charged onward to realize that they were met by a single, elderly dwarf. What the orcs thought would be an overrun played out quite differently.

"The dwarf braced his hammer and rammed into Vabugbu. Our leader got impaled by the blunt end of the weapon as the dwarf kept on going, and rammed into poor Fubguh.  Fubguh was already reeling from his arrow wound.", said Sinsbog. The dwarf hit Fubguh so hard that he flew some 9 feet backward, lifeless. Buomug, Sinsbog and Xomath the archer then jumped on the dwarf but couldn't penetrate his armor.

"It got weird then, I think.", added Buomug. "I got hit once or twice by arrows and one of these poison darts. I could hear a man wheezing behind me, but when I managed to turn around it was too late: his broadsword went through my pelvis and I was thrown backward."

"Ah... this is what happened", added Sinsbog. "Buomug got knocked-back at my feet, I tripped on his lifeless body and my spear flew up in the air [He got a critical fail on his dodge against Halin]. This spear was right at my feet, and as I tried to pick it up, the chainmail soldier hit me in the groin! "

All orcs in the hall owled in dissaproval. What kind of sick RPG let this happen to a fine orc like Sinsbog? "Did he target this shot?", asked a few. "No, I think that it just came out of the random hit location table.", answered Sinsbog.

"I'd rather be a red-box goblin", stated Knagud.

An awkward silence filled the afterlife's hall for a minute.

"Anyone know what happened to Xomath? He is not here with us..."

November 18th FA 15

Arnadil had rushed after Halin against the last five orcs. The exchange looked more like a bowling strike as Halin smashed into the charge and then got rushed by the remaining orcs. By the time that the last two spear-wielding orcs were slain, Halin had pulled his hammer from Vabugbu's chest and was about to go after the orc archer. The last standing orc considered to aim at the dwarf's face: his only exposed body part, but rather hit in his steel breastplate. He then dropped his bow and surrendered: "I won't hurt you, stop!".

Arnadil asked the archer how many more orcs there was around. The archer begged for mercy, answered that there were over 50 orcs, plus trolls, plus Northmen. Arnadil asked him what they were doing in Annuminas. The orc replied that the master would be pissed when he'd learn about this: that there were building a stronghold, a home. The archer was so upset that he began vomiting. Arnadil lost his patience and started punching the orc to quiet him. Sir Galdor joined in to subdue the orc. Soon, he was lying down, unconscious. He was bleeding profusely from an arrow wound. Irina proposed to tend his wound as he could provide more information later on.

"Treat this filth", ordered Arnadil. Irina treated the orc's wound that she create herself half a minute earlier. Way to boost your First-aid skill, hobbit-lass!

By then, Session 9 had run over by 1 hour already. Time to fold until the next one!

GMing notes: This combat pretty much went the way I wanted it to go, using my brand new cinematic orcs. I think that the orcs will need to be buffed a little, but they are meant to require a larger numerical advantage before they become a credible threat. Listening to the recording to the session to make better notes, about half of it are busts of laughter and giggles: good enough.

030 - Rebooting Annuminas

Getting fancy with the adventuring gears.
This encounter covers three small bits. A playtest of the probabilistic rules on learning and researching. Some roleplaying around the dining table and a rather abstracted travel overland back to Annuminas. The meat of Session 9 is in the next encounter.

Two weeks in the Shire...

The last two weeks had been fun for the company. Shirefolks still raved about Irina and her friends slaying the wargs in Westfarthing. Arnadil and Sir Galdor were sorry to have missed the encounter with the winter drake. Irina sent the best of her day straining her upper body with a borrowed bow a little too heavy for herself. She religiously practiced for days on end on strength training in hope to be able to shoot well with a more powerful bow [Playtest report #1]. Arnadil looked for a mentor in Bywater to teach him about the North. He found a great storyteller called Tom Herder, but poor old Tom turned out to be a better storyteller than an actual teacher [Playtest report #2]. Finbert begged the grumpy Halin to spar with him at wrestling. Halin, unenthusiastic eventually obliged [Playtest report #3].  Sir Galdor spent the best of his time at the Green Dragon, playing dice and making a bit of silver (10 celebins). Kasper dissapeared in his room at the Green Dragon for most of the time. Spending some time with Araliniel on the Treatise, and reading. 

The GURPS cinematic Middle-Earth Orcs


Orcs were created by Morgoth by torturing and mutilating first borns (elves) during the first age. Their biology is mysterious, and certainly non-traditional. They can only multiply in large nests that are created by powerful wizards, and requiring the bodies of living elves to seed. Their birth is more akin to a cystic process than what we understand to be childbirth. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Notable sources of Information in the Palantir Campaign

I didn't write three posts on books and knowledge without having the intention to subject at least one of my campaign to playtesting this. Here are some stat block for important sources of information in the Palantir Campaign. May these be helpful in the session(s) to come.

For an explanation on the meaning to these stat block, refer to the post on mining for knowledge and learning from sources.

Mining Knowledge in GURPS : Part III. Learning and skill advancement

The previous post looked into extracting information from sources. It also proposed a way to create sources of information such that their content can be generated on the fly. This post is looking into turning information into knowledge. In GURPS' terms: using information to learn and advance skills to higher levels. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mining Knowledge in GURPS : Part II. Designing sources of information

In this post, I propose a way to generate the content of sources of information such as books, libraries and collective knowledge within crowds. The GM can plant any information in such source, the rest is randomly generated only as needed.  

Topic Plan

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mining Knowledge in GURPS : Part 1. Character knowledge

This post is the first part of three on character knowledge, mining for, and designing sources of knowledge. The emphasis of this post is on character knowledge: the skill-based abstracted knowledge that players can invoke to fill in details in an adventure. As a GM, I used these as potential monkey wrench as I leave it up to dice to determine how much PCs really know before they walk into something. 

Experience for Session 8

Session 8 was a one-off, but nonetheless part of the Palantir campaign. Kudos to Lucas (Nimrodel) for his good roleplaying! 

First of all, all four are earning the trait:

  • Reputation +1 (Shire) : Warg slayers.


  • Finbert
    • 2 pts in either 
      • Blowpipe
      • Hiking
      • Tracking
      • Carousing
      • Perception
      • FP
  • Halin
    • 2 pts in either
      • Hiking
      • Two-handed Hammer/Axe
      • Tracking
      • Perception
      • FP
  • Irina
    • 2 pts in either
      • Hiking
      • Tracking
      • First-Aid
      • Bow
      • Carousing
      • ST (because you are explicitly emphasizing this trait).
      • Perception
      • HT or FP
  • Nimrodel
    • 2 pts in either
      • Observation
      • Tracking
      • Interrogation
      • Perception

Monday, April 22, 2013

029 - The proverbial lost sheep(s).

November 16th, FA 15

The following morning, the company woke up in the Slapfoot Inn to a small gathering of hobbits in he dining area. Most noticeably, the Mayor of Michel Delving was present. Samwise Gamgee, one of the most famous living hobbits was surrounded by half a dozen of nosy geesers. They were waiting for the company to rise from their slumber. 

A breakfast was served. Sam was concerned that these wargs were bad news for the Shire. The company asked to talk to him in private. Sam dismissed the other hobbits. 

Finbert proceeded to explain to Sam that there was much more to yesterday than a bad snow storm and a trio of wargs. They told the story plainly to him. Sam was visibly disturbed. He expressed concerns for the Shire and its denizens. The company discussed on possible ways to find more about the drake (possibly named Farathu). Ideas of baiting him with treasure were proposed. But to what end?  Where to? ... and what IF the drake bit the bait?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

028 - The last word of a warg.

November 15 FA 15 (1:30PM)

In the previous encounter, the company ran into a skirmish between three wargs and a winter drake hatchling. The company decided to evacuate the farm stead before taking on the pursuits of the dark creatures. Unfortunately, this delay in tracking the beasts meant that the snow slowly started to accumulate along the path. Luckily, the wargs left deep grooves into the snow, and the drake left in his wake countless splintered trees. The going was difficult for the hobbits and the dwarf, but simple for Nimrodel as elves are unencumbered by frost and snow. By the time that they reached a clearing and found the bruised carcass of one of the wargs, the three small folks were starting to bleed Fatigue points due to the strain of walking, and exposure to the cold. 

027 - You mean, dragons are for real?

November 15th, FA 15

Only Halin, Irina and Finbert were sitting at a table of the Slapfoot, the premier inn in Michel Delving. The company was celebrating Finbert's and Arnadil's recovery from the foray in Annuminas with a trip to the capital of the Shire. As the snow storm worsten, Galdor and Arnadil decided to return to Bywater so as not to miss the dice contest. The three remaining company members were promised to sample Wesfarthing Honey Ale on the following day. They met Nimrodel, a Noldor elf from Rivendell on his way home from Grey haven. The mounting storm convinced him to stop by the Slapfoot Inn and sample the rustic charms of the Shire. Nimrodel and the company got acquainted and engaged in small talk. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Making rangers out of dwarves

This post is a playtest for the ideas posted here about reconciling adventure-based advancement and GURPS skill learning. I didn't want all the dwarves to spend 200 hours working and all get a skill point at the same time. 

Here is the setup: Khazek Strongmoss, son of Erek is tasked to bring to operational readiness a guard-size unit of rangers. The quirk you may ask? The recruits are dwarves. The other quirk is that Khazek is a wet-nosed member of the Royal Family with no teaching experience. The timeline mostly impose an on the job training. How can a simulation geek GM should handle this situation? I could narrate and wave hands, or I can roll a bunch of dice. Guess what I chose? Let's specify that all that dice rolling was done using a script, no physical dice were harmed in testing this scenario.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Reconciliation of adventure rewards and the GURPS skill learning system

I've posted a few times on the topic of learning and skill acquisition in GURPS. There seems to me that there is a drastic disconnect between getting a point at the end of a session and placing it in a skill, and having to learn for 200 hours in order to accomplish the same. Learning is learning, I propose here a records -keeping free way to handle abstracted learning which is compatible with the possible fast-pace of adventuring-based learning.

My motivation here is for the campaign Reclaming Khazad-Dum, where a large number of NPCs will have to learn vital skills, and time is sensitive. It can be applied in all other situation where PCs want to improve an abstracted manner.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Rise of the Gold Attack.

The Gold Attack of the Emerald unit began to respond to the call of the drums on the morning of April 7th, 15th year of the 4th Age (FA). Farin, son of Balin was named by the King as Attack-Lord of the Gold.  Farin engaged the growing Gold Attack members both professionally and socially. Farin just can't help but to party, maybe a bit more that he'd care to admit. However, there is nothing undwarvenlike to it. Getting a fine group of 343 dwarves to share war stories and brotherhood turned out to be for Farin a date with his Destiny. Farin, first of all, asserted his leadership over the growing posse with flying colors (rolled 9 vs Leadership-14). Asking the average dwarf of the Gold who was the coolest member of the royal family (other than the King), and you'll get a resounding "Farin".  Farin spent quite a bit of time brainstorming over ales. Each dwarf present was allowed to contribute to the discussion in a relaxed atmosphere Farin described his recollection of Khazad-dum. Plans are drawn, laughter echos in the halls as the members of the Gold were plotting their march to the heart of the mountain.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Finbert brews poison from dried herbs!

This post is a play-by-post for Finbert, one of the hobbit in the Palantir Commission campaign, who decided to use his down time to improve upon his recipe for a contact poison that he already invented. One bug of the original invention is that is can only be prepared from fresh material... and right  now we're in the dead of winter.

GURPS invention process for Finbert's oily sting from dried material

Finbert has decided to try to make his "Oily sting" poison from dry material. All attempts so far have failed. However, after months of travelling and brooding about, he decides to see whether he can tackle this problem. We are going to use GURPS new invention rules to determine whether this is working.

GMing a GURPS wargame/intrigue/dungeon crawl into hell.

... and here I mean that the PCs are going to Hell, not the players...

Here is the setup

I wanted a campaign with more PCs influencing a large scale project such as the reclaiming of Khazad-dum by the dwarves of Middle-earth. I spent years running modern-day wargames, using NATO compliant maps and formatted communications. I think that I've got a strong stomach: adding fantasy to a crunchy wargame can only be fun. Who needs a finicky MLRS battery when you can cast Terror upon your enemies by beating a drum? Although a JLENS deployed over the Area of Operation would come handy to any TL4 armed force.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Abstracted Gameplay post-Session 7

There are a number of possible options after the last session. I'd like to hear back from each one of you on what your character is going to be up to.

The Treatise

It may take weeks before any headway is made on deciphering the treatise. We are now in mid-November as well and winter is very rough this year. Your characters have thus quite a bit of time to go on personal pursuits. This time will mostly be abstracted, so feel free to do whatever you think your PC wants to do. Do you want to remain in the Shire? Head to Tharbad to take on Commander Ciril's offer for lodging? Do you want to learn something in particular? 

Experience for Session 7

Experience time again. I recommend buying a level of fearlessness (2pt per level), which gives +1 to fright checks. This is much cheaper than 5 pt to get an additional level in Will.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

026 - Down time at the Green Dragon

...you can drink 'em by the flagon...

October 30th to November 15th FA 15

Once that Linluile returned to Lake Evendim, the company hurried back to the Shire while daylight still held. They arrived in Longcleeve by nightfall where they spent the night at the farmer's stead where they left their cart. Two days later, they arrived at Bywater where they spent a few night at Finbert's family hole in the ground. Over the next few days, they sampled the pleasures of the Green Dragon Inn. 

025 - A maiar awakened

Oct 30th FA 15

After sealing the vault behind and hoping that the angry librarian wraith would not chase after them to "scan the book", the company decided to follow up on Araliniel's oracle and descend to the lake to seek a "Stone coming out of the water". Arnadil, accutely aware of the company's precarious condition, used his Sense Foes once more and also concluded that the ruins of Annuminas were a very dangerous place to roam around. 

024 - Don't mess with the librarians

October 30th FA 15

The instructions from the High Seer was to seek a book called the "Treatise on Shrouding Palantirs". All that the company had to go with was that the book was to be found in the Seer section of the Royal Library. This was not much of a clue. Arnadil, closed his eyes and uttered a few words. His ability to sense enemity was to come handy in this dark place. He sensed that the company was in a clear and imminent danger: that something really bad was lurking in the other wing of the vault. However, he couldn't said anymore than that. They didn't know about the Stone knights, but they knew that a few librarians had been walled in the vault when the Witch King assaulted Annuminas. These librarians were left behind to tend the library for the centuries to come, until the King of Arthedain would come back to free them from their oath. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

It is the players' turn to prep for Session 7!

Tomorrow's session is a go. As I was prepping about it, I thought that I'd raise a few issues to wet your appetite and make you think about this session. 

1 ) Finding a Book: There is one book about Palantirs somewhere in the Seer section of the Royal Library. The book is a Treatise on Shrouding Palantirs, and was written by an advisor to the King of Arnor. The Royal Library's search engine is down. Finding this is indeed akin to a needle in a haystack. I'll be playing around with rules on collaborative skill checks here: the PC will have to be used parsimoniously. The locks of all rooms are enchanted, what's up with that.

Approximating GURPS Mass Combat Troop Strength (TS) for Dwarven units

In this post, I'm trying to approximate Troop Strength (TS) for dwarves for the purpose of Mass Combat. It should be 2 according to GURPS Mass Combat p.17, but yet again it should also be 2 for orcs if we follow these rules as written (maybe less due to training and equipment). Let's see: this post is both a thinking aloud post, and way to communicate to the campaign's player how dwarves and orcs compare, and a chance to get shot down by my thoughtful readers. The punchline is 6:1 assuming parity of number and an infinite and unrestricted terrain that +Peter V. Dell'Orto doesn't love at all (and neither do I, but that is material for another post). 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

K00 - From Aglarond to Erebor

Khazek had just returned to the Glittering Halls from his trip accompanying some craftsdwarves who were to deliver a new Mithril and steel gate to King Elessar in Minas Tirith. While he enjoyed being out on the road, Khazek did not prefer the lands of Gondor. Too many roads, too much farmland. The years following the War of the Ring had been good years to Gondor. He was happy for this, but he prefered to be somewhere else. If he had to travel in the lands of Man, let it be Rohan at least. The rolling hills and forests of the land of the Horselords was much more to his liking. Plenty of places to be and enjoy the day.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

K03 - The viceroy of Khazad-dum

April 5th FA 15

The evening wore off and all dwarves present in the council returned to their own dwellings. The King has yet to make further announcement, and is not expected to rouse from his quarters until late into the afternoon on the following day of April 6. The King hinted that he would let an Unit-sized expeditionary force leave. However, that he intended to follow once that a foothold was secured. The issue of leadership has not been even broached at this point.

In the morning, the armorers of Erebor held a fitting for the members of the Royal council. This was an occasion for all to informally meet, declare their positions and attempt to posture for the upcoming day.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Informal game theory and GURPS Social engagements

This post looks at tactics for social engagements using the second draft of the rules.  People playing in an engagement won't go to this length to understand their options: they should focus on having fun. However,  a little head-scratching is in order before the next playtest.

Test Case 1 : Minimal example
In this minimalistic example, two characters are seeking consensus on a policy issue. PC has the initiative.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

K01 - An old bear and a young buck

April 4th FA 15, Erebor.

Things were busy in Erebor, the Kingdom under the Lonely Mountain.  The King, Thorin III, had been persuaded that now was the time for Dwarves to return to Khazad Dum.  Peace reigned across Middle Earth, Durin’s Bane was vanquished, and Thorin was looking for new conquests.  

Khazek walked the ramparts on the western spur, looking down on the road that led from the main gate southward to Dale and the Long Lake.  He often walked out here - surrounded by his kin, yet out under the sky he loved so much.

K02 - The council of April 4th FA 15

This is the play report of the campaign's sendoff and first social combat playtest. The issues are stake were previously described, and the outcome essentially decides what kind of campaign will be run: from dungeon crawl all the way to Dwarf fortress GURPS sandbox. My note taking was really bad, and it was my first G+/Roll20 game as a GM. Another post of the social combat mechanics will follow.

It was as fine day of spring in Erebor. The King had convened this council many months ago. It exceptionally included new faces from Aglarond and from Iron Hills. In pure dwarven tradition, the pre-council feast had seen plenty of food and ale flow over and under the large stone table. All players checked for inebriation: the King himself was tipsy as well as Khazek. Even Farin, a compulsive carouser, managed to succeed both of his check and let the good times rolls without embarrassing himself [tipsy folks get -1 IQ, which is a big deal in social combat].

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Ravens of Erebor

The ravens of Erebor have once enjoyed a special relationship with the dwarves under the mountain. First of all, they can speak Westron at the accented level. They live freely, but are strongly motivated by the promise of getting rewards from their dwarven mate. They will pay close attention to what their mate tells them, and make the best possible effort to find bits of information that will get them a shiny reward. Once trained, however, they are treated as free agents: they will cater to the most generous and consistent dwarven mate with no particular sense of loyalty.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Lasting impacts of Session 6

There are two kind of lasting effects for this session affecting the Palantir Campaign's PCs. First, there is experience, that's a given. There are also other kinds of lasting effects to take care of.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Issues at stake for the Royal Council of April 4

Here is the draft tactical map for the council of April 4th. The outcome of this council will determine the flavor of the campaign. The issues are tricky, this post aims to explain its implications.

023 - The bracelet of the King

Oct 30th FA 15

The dust literally settled in the round hall of the Royal Library of Annuminas. Arnadil and Finbert lay on the floor. Arnadil's armor bore the brunt of the blows, but Finbert was not so lucky. Irina managed to contain the bleeding on his buttock, but his chest kept on bleeding for a few more minutes. Irina also tended to Kasper's wounded arm. Halin will need to either fix his boot, or replace it altogether. Had the steel plates not be there, he would have lost his foot.

Goldo Stonesigner, son of Timor

Life in the Blue Mountains

Goldo, son of Timor was born some 220 years ago in the ancient halls of the blue mountains. His lineage connected to the Firebeards: an ancient clan which went into decline in the first age. Goldo is a master architect and and engineer. He was, for most of his life, the chief architect of the rebuilt dwarf fortress of Nogrod. His achievements as a builder were passed on all the way to Erebor.