Monday, September 23, 2013

048 - Knock knock, who is there?

The Lossoth warriors of Arthon

Nilppi of Arthon, Lossoth Warrior overjoyed to join
the demon slayers from the south
After talking with the Arthedain chieftain in Arthon, Thannolf headed to the Lossoth area of the village. He was received with suspicion by the lossoth leader. His attitude changed radically when Thannolf's identity as one of the demon slayer was clarified. 

To Thannolf's greatest surprise, the Lossoth of Arthon did not appear to be great fans of Mulkan and its antics. Thannolf was treated with a large meal and hours of interesting conversations. The Lossoth leader offered the service of one of his top warrior, a middle-aged man called Nilppi. Thannolf tried to learn more about the Numarii dwarves and their relationship to the Winter drake. Unfortunately, nothing new came out of this interview. Thannolf and Nilppi took leaves of the chief and returned south to Kalt to link with the rest of the company. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

K13 - The Botanical Educations of Dwarves

This session was all combat, it started one that has yet to be finished. Here is the update so we all remember how the last session ended. The session started with this scene:

The orc sarge was excitedly shouting at the Green Wizard. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Notes on Technical Grappling

Here are some notes on grappling according to +Douglas Cole Technical Grappling supplement. I may have to alter these if I'm grossly wrong, but I think that it distill the contribution well enough.

Note 1) Your wrestling ST is now increased a bit by your skill level. This is called your "trained ST". Trained ST implies that highly skilled folks fight at a higher effective ST, which I think is great. Lifting ST and Arm ST also apply. 

Note 2) When grappling, you inflict trained ST thrust damage in control point. Consider it like an affliction. Each 2 CP counts as a -1 to ST and DX action involving the grappled body part. This is called active control. This replaces the flat -4 for grappling from the basic set. 

Note 3) CP can otherwise be used to penalize your opponent in grappling related contests: force posture, shove, etc. they can also be used to break free and offset location penalties. Finally, they must be used if you try to inflict pain or more damage. 

Note  4) Most wrestling actions, including break free are considered to be attacks.

Note 5) Your effective ST changes with the number of limbs that you use. This makes sense. 

Note 6) Disarming is now an attempt to reduce someone passive Grip to 0. It is now possible to unready a weapon as a consolation prize. Grappling a blade is also a possibly dangerous operation...

Note 7) Impaling weapons that are left stuck inside an opponent provide as many CPs as the damage of the blow. Shoving, forcing posture change and inflicting more pain are allowed follow on moves. That is a great use of such weapon to force a rapid end to a fight.

There is a lot more, but I think that this stuff can be applied without disturbing ongoing games and possibly adding awesome where it makes sense. Combat going south often end in a wrestling matches, and these new rules turns the process into interesting tactical challenges. 

A cheat sheet of techniques would be awesome here. I may work out an example combat if I have time.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Character Awards for Reclaiming Khazad-dum

  • Khazek Strongmoss
    • 1pt Staff
    • 1pt Bow
    • 2 pts (free) Achievement 
  • Vadek Rock
    • 1 pt Main weapons (hatchet right?)
    • 1 pt Slam ( DX or Brawling or Sheild)
    • 2 pts (free) Achievement 
  • Drolf, Attack-Lord
    • 1 pt Main weapon (Two-handed Mace right?)
    • 1 pt Main Weapon ( Feint )
    • 1 pt Tactics or Leadership
    • 1 pt (free) Achievement
  • Kalin Stronghold
    • 1 pt Main Weapon (Poleaxe)
    • 3 pts Lifting ST 1 ( increases your basic lift... running in this really heavy armor is getting you some nicely chiseled calves)
  • Donarik 
    • 1 pt Main Weapon
    • 1 pt Bow
  • Gimvar
    • 1 pt Main Weapon

Friday, September 6, 2013

How I designed Chapter 2 of the Palantir Campaign

This post presents an image export of my core mindmap for chapter 2 of our Palantir Campaign. I absolutely loved creating the adventure using the iPad version on MindJet (which is free).  During gameplay, I would collapse most nodes except these that I needed. 

Here is a link to a full size map. The graphics below is "a little" useless.

Zoom a lot on the full size image to read the labels... sorry about that.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

047 - A journey up the Lhûn valley

The Gulf of Lhun

The Swan had entered the gulf of Lhun two days earlier and was making good progress against the current. A small elf-made craft approached the large Gondorian hulk as the harbor of Gray Haven got in sight. The elves on deck were neither friendly nor hostile, but made the whole crew uneasy. The ship attached itself and pushed a gangway up to the Swan's deck. An austere looking elf introduced himself as Alumnim, dockmaster of Mithlond, and informed the crew that Gondor was not allowed to sail passed this point.  

There was a pile-up in the leadership of the Swan as Arnadil, Galdor and the ship's captain all felt that they should address this edict. However, Arnadil had the key document: a letter from King Elessar. Arnadil introduced himself the best that he could in Sindarin, and managed to convince Alumnim to let the Swan enter the port under a number of restrictive conditions.

The Swan sailed into the harbor. On both sides were arrayed a number of ships being built to take more elves to the undying land. The Swan moored itself to a pole off the shore and a few of the crew members made it to shore with a rowboat.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

046 - The legend of Sir Galdor

This post refers to play that occurred in a more abstract way in between Chapter 2 and 3. Some was played by post, some was done at the table. Some really neat gameplay took place in this session: I skimped on the technical details but the Social Engineering book saw a lot of page flicking. 

Session 18

  • Part I - The Legend of Sir Galdor
  • Part II - A journey up the Lhûn valley

Arnadil wrote a masterpiece

With his hip badly mangled, Arnadil had to find a way to kill time while sitting down. Arnadil began gathering notes about the commission's journey. He really got into it an began writing prose from his notes almost right away. His keen intellect allowed him to learn fast, and by the time that the Raven had touched the docks in Osgiliath, Arnadil had a manuscript that read like a professional piece from a chronicler. Little did he knew at this point that his manuscript would play a key role in thwarting Sir Galdor's takeover bid on the commission!

Meanwhile, and after his hip got better, Arnadil also spent a good amount of time teaching swordplay to the hobbits. He learned a lot about teaching while his companion got to refine their rough skills a little bit. 

Thannolf the sailor man (toot! toot!)

On the way back from Forochel, Thannolf busied himself to become the first mate of the Raven. He wanted to get the pay boost, and definitely had some time to burn off in between drinking binges. He applied himself to the craft of seafaring. Using his empathy, and a good dose of acting at the right moment, he won the respect of the crew and the affection of Vacros, the captain of the Raven. This got him to the position of second mate with a small pay increase. An unintended secondary effect of this effort was that it became clear to him that the Palantir commission had been deceived by the crew all along: The Raven was indeed on lease from Dol-Amroth, but Vacros had assembled the crew specifically to take the commission to Forochel in hope to sail away with the Palantirs and fence them to a mysterious high bidder. With the Winter Drake involved, Vacros cut his loss and dropped the plan.

Vacros, knowing Thannolf all too well at that time, bribed the northmen into keeping this secret for long enough to avoid trouble with the other commission members. Thannolf added his celebins to his (ethically muddled) stash and decided to take the secret to his grave. 

Finbert's lost treasure is really lost 

Finbert was very sore that his purse had disappeared at the Imenstone, unlike all other commission members. He suspected Thannolf, whom he distrusted because of his insatiable greed and criminal past. Over the length of the trip, he tried to take advantage of Thannolf's compulsive carousing to interrogate him while he was drunk. However, Finbert got more often than not drunk happy faster than the young northmen [Carousing contest won by Thannolf.] Furthermore, Thannolf's empathy allowed him to get cued that the hobbit was on his tail and caused him to remain guarded. Overall, Finbert's attempt to pull information from Thannolf was unsuccessful [resolved as an influence check as the gameplay was abstracted]. To make things worst, Thannolf's Fortune telling allowed him to read through Finbert very well. The northmen took advantage of this. He ended up having a little fun at the expense of the hobbit. Finbert stopped drinking, which was hard for him as he is fond of food and drink. But Thannolf was already cued and kept his guard up. 

When Finbert arrived in Minas Tirith, he sought employment Public Houses. Surprisingly, what got him the job came from an unexpected place: Finbert was the companion of the now famous Sir Galdor of Dol-Amroth, champion in the North.

The Legend of Sir Galdor, Hero in the North

A buzz came upon Mina's Tirith in the early days of July. A minstrel name Petron proposed a new epic saga put to music which told the story of Sir Galdor, knight of Dol-Amroth. According to the epic song, Sir Galdor met with Linluile, patron said of Annuminas, struck down a demon in the north and confronted a winter drake. He was accompanied by valiant hobbits, a legendary dwarf warrior and a rabble of other who played no large parts in the tale (other than giving up too fast when facing the drake). This tale spread like wildfire through the city, and rubbed the party members as both offensive and inaccurate. 

Arnadil invited the nobility and the gentry to a ball in his Mina's Tirith home. Petron may have wrapped his fingers around the crowds in public houses, but Arnadil intended to make truth prevail for the upper crust of Gondor. Arnadil's invitation made the rounds in the City Watch mess halls, and throughout the King's court [Propaganda check success]. Arnadil passed his manuscript to Irina who started to put keys parts to songs [Signing check success with MoS 3]. The evening was well attended, except for the notable absence of Sir Galdor himself. Irina's music moved the crowds and a few good laugh were shared on Petron's version of the company's adventures. Although at a great expense, Arnadil's ball had the effect of setting the records straight at least on the 7th level of the city. Irina couldn't outperform Petron on the public house circuit, but the ball had a deep impact on how the coming week developed.

The news that Prince Imrahil of Dol-Amroth had pledged a navy ship and a small force of horsemen and pikemen shook the company at first. The word on the street was that Sir Galdor was to lead the new expedition. The company learned from Kasper (still Sir Galdor's squire), that Mildred Imrahil, the grand-son of the prince, had joined Galdor as a page. Some company members expressed the concerns that the legend of Sir Galdor was drifting from a bad joke into a potential disaster. However, the Lord Chancellor made clear to Arnadil that King Elessar had never specified who should lead the company, nor that anyone could impose a leader no matter how generous the pledge may be. It was thus decided that Sir Galdor and his new pet would be given the command of the slow soldiers while the rest of the company would rush ahead and hopefully solve the problem before the circus hit the town.

Another point of note is that Sir Galdor wasn't capable of coming up with all this on his own: a force was seeking fracture lines within the company for its own purpose.

Khareo's Tale #6 - The back streets of Lorthalen

Hired sword wanted

The Lothal sisters weighed their options. They figured out that they would need some brawn to assist if they were to leave town. They posted ads around the city markets [ successful influence check with local merchants, +1 for advertising ].  Mary tried to skimp on salary, but eventually settled to offer 35 silver crowns per month plus a vitality amulet. A number of candidates knocked at the door [ Propaganda-10, +1 city size, +1 advertising, -1 failed use of "common sense/IQ" as supporting skill, +1 increased wage, +1 Charisma, +1 Status, +1 Wealth. Target:15. Success by 1 ]. A bankrupted bakers who had been convicted for fraud and desperate for work, a scary looking father of four looking for a better paid job, and a retired Navy officer with area knowledge in the Golden Archipelago. The sisters settled for Horatio Mar, the more expensive retired navy officer. They scoured the dock area for a ship heading for Lorthalen. They settled with a captain to depart on the following day against 4 silver coins each and the pledge to share the workload with the crew.

The trip was difficult but interesting. They learned much about seafaring and made friends among the sailors.