Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Paint and Build Night

Lords of Hack is officially back in business.
We will have a Painting and Building night, January 3, 2016,  4pm-10pm in the usual place

Dave N

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Best Epilogue Procedure

I think the best way to culminate/collate the Epilogues, in addition to just printing them out together, is to update the above map with all of the changes and developments noted in the various entries.   The other regions in the greater province are largely unchanged, but the Badlands is a whole new world.

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Fate of Tiberius

Tiberius Epilogue

Tiberius triumphant return from the battle of Mago’s Tomb was met with troubling news.  While the Hydra Legion has been successful at keeping order in the countryside, the Beastmen of the city of Hamatar have been chafing at subjugation under Tiberius.  Upon seeing the Skull Collectors facing an external threat they seized the opportunity to rise up in open rebellion.  Large bands of bugbears turned bandit and began attacking the tax collectors and merchants of the realm.

In a fury, Tiberius gathered his forces and set out to make an example of the beastmen.  Intending to turn the city into a pile of rubble as a warning to other beastmen that may harbor thoughts of rebelling, Tiberius marched upon the city with the Hydra Legion;  Murderface and Fan Club; and Manfred, Beavis, and Dead Eye Hayes.  Using his carpet, spells, and the newly acquired Rod of Deception to cloak their movements, Tiberius hunted down and destroyed a number of marauding bands outside the city.  After a week of skirmishes, the bugbears withdrew back into the city.  Tiberius then proceeded to lay siege to the city.  Purple Worms rampaged through the city, undermining foundations and collapsing buildings.  Eventually Tiberius led a strike against the leadership of the beastman revolt.  When the leaders fell, the rest of the rebels scattered.  The city was razed to the ground and the survivors either fled the realm or were hunted down.  Hundreds were taken prisoner and sold into slavery, many ending up in Yoesville.

After quelling the rebellion, Tiberius returned to Fort Hydra.  He invested heavily in improving the city, domain, and his personal tower.  Fort Hydra’s control expanded south and east into the unclaimed territory between Gatavia.   Over time, he used a series of Wall of Stone spells and Permanent Illusion spells to create the Hall of Wonders.  The Hall of Wonders is an outdoor garden/museum where citizens can go to view illusions of the fantastic creatures that the Skull Collectors have faced and defeated in battle.  With the Hall of Wonders complete, Tiberius withdrew into magical research.  Using his newly created library and workshop of legendary proportions, he started performing more and more radical magical experiments.  He researched several new power summoning spells to place fantastic creatures under his control, and created several rituals, including wish.  Constructs of various kinds with strange abilities began to emerge from his workshop, fighting alongside the Hydra Legion.  He also created several powerful magical artifacts of his own design, bestowing several upon Helpful Bill and the other Skull Collectors.  It was during one of these experiments that a strange green glow enveloped Tiberius’ tower.  Those looking at the tower could see it within as additional colors began to swirl around it.  With a loud sound like the ringing of a giant bell, the tower vanished.  Some say that the tower imploded, killing all within.  Others say it was transported to a distant time or place.  Divinations gave little information about what occurred, except to say that Tiberius would eventually return.  As years and generations passed the story became little more than a legend with most believing that Tiberius would never return. 

After crushing the Bugbear Rebellion, Sister Helena left Tiberius’ service and established a fortified Abbey to the south of Fort Hydra on the southeastern corner of Gatava, pledging to defend the tenants of the Neutral faith.  The small village of Sister’s Blade arose around the Abbey.  She trained the Sisterhood of Juno, a group of Bladedancers that would help defend the tenants of the neutral faith. 

Helpful Bill remained in Tiberius’ service, helping to rule over the beastmen in the Realm and serving as Tiberius’ second in command in the Hydra Legion.  As a reward for long term service, Tiberius formally made him the first Knight of Valdar, bestowing the title of Sir Bill, General of the Hydra Legion.  Sir Bill led the Hydra Legion for many years, personally training many of the new recruits and keeping the peace.  It was a common sight to see him riding into battle on the back of a Hydra that he summoned using the enchanted Hydra figurine that Tiberius created for him; and flanked by two golems in the shape of hydras, controlled by an amulet that he wore.  Following Tiberius’ disappearance, Sir Bill assumed full command of the Hydra Legion and became ruler over Fort Hydra.  He would marry one of Tiberius’ former apprentices, Valinia, and pass the realm down to his son Helpful Bill the Second upon his death.

The epilogue of Murderface

The shocking secret of Portchester having traded dwarves to the Old Ones in return for peace during the founding of the city caused immense anger to spread far and wide in the dwarven territories, and nowhere was this anger better personified with than Murderface Jack.

Murderface Jack personally began scouring the Badlands, ruthlessly slaughtering anyone wearing a symbol of Bor, or identifying as being from Portchester.  At least at first.  Murderface’s rage rapidly expanded beyond just hating Bor or Portchester, and quickly expanded to the nearly genocidal hatred of humans.  Villages discovered to have a worshipper of Bor were put to the sword and entire caravans traveling to or from Portchester were wiped out to the last soul.  The followers of Woden soon began following suit, and the rest of the Skull Coalition were forced to take action before any more innocents were slain.

Badaxe Jack, ever a shrewd dwarf, used every ounce of his religious and secular authority to set Murderface to a task:  war with Portchester.  Calling upon diplomatic ties with the forces of the elf woods, and taking advantage of Murderface’s recent rampages emptying the northern end of the Badlands of any humans (with the exception of a few small towns), Badaxe swiftly tripled the territory he directly controlled, creating a massive increase in the dwarf population of the Badlands. 

Meanwhile, Murderface was set to task expanding both Badaxe Jack’s army, as well as his personal army, The Sons of Woden.   Now based in The Tower Graf, The Sons of Woden utilized Skull Mountain as a training area.  One-Axe Jack and Two-Axe Jack used Murderface’s ring as a recruitment tool, gaining even more raw recruits to be turned into berserkers.

Murderface’s rage was occupied, but now he felt a great emptiness.  Killing weak humans was not the future that Murderface pictured for himself.  One night Murderface received a dream of Woden himself.  In the dream Woden ordered Murderface to sail out of the Badlands, never staying in one place for any longer than a month, until Woden orders otherwise.

And so Murderface made ready to leave.  He declared that One-Axe and Two-Axe Jack would be the new leaders of the Sons of Woden, to operate using the lessons learned during their time with Murderface, under the direction of Badaxe Jack and with the divine council of Fancy Jill.  The names of One-Axe and Two-Axe grew to become the titles of the nominal leaders of the Sons of Woden. 

Leaving a vast fortune in treasure and magic to the Sons of Woden, Murderface made off, stopping only long enough in Portchester to topple the bell tower at the church of Bor and scrawl obscenities on the roof of their chapel in the blood of its defenders.

Where Murderface went from there is the matter of stories to his friends and horror stories to his enemies.  But it is believed that he will return to the Badlands for his greatest, and final, battle.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Masked Archer's Epilogue

The Temple of Mars Ultor and the Rise of the House of Nixon

Having recovered the lost Tome of the Mamertine Apocalypse, The Masked Archer of the Apocalypse put forth great efforts to rebuild the Temple and a headquarters for the revived Protectores. With this band of loyal spies and assassins, The Masked Archer turned his efforts toward driving every last Therk from the Badlands, and then to harass them in their homeland.

Meanwhile, the Masked Archer's henchman Mysterious Clive was granted the honor to examine the Tome of the Mamertine Apocalypse. Although he found many amazing and useful secrets of the ages, he had one piece of horrible news for the Masked Archer: the magic that the Old Ones must have used to break all the Augurs' Towers at once was irreversible, the demonic forces released could never be contained by similar towers again. Clive eventually leaves the service of the Masked Archer to establish his own research tower at Hod.

From this time onwards, the Masked Archer spent some token time protecting the temples of the Ardean gods, and some time bothering the Therks, but more and more he was consumed in hunting down and massacring the Old Ones wherever they might be found. He was a constantly pitching an alliance with Portchester and even Dengwur against the Old Ones. He became so obsessed that he was eventually expelled from the Royal Court of Gatavia and simply lurked in the Temple of Mars, only venturing forth to slaughter Old Ones from the shadows.

The only one to profit from the growing isolation of the Masked Archer was Trusty Nixon. Nixon at first began to manage the day-to-day affairs of the Protectores, making a tidy profit doing so. One day, he resigned the post in favor of a true believer called the Shadow Blade of the Apocalypse and took his sizeable fortune across the river to the east and established a mighty fortress at the site of an old Therkish outpost. Swearing loyalty to the King of Gatavia, Nixon became known as Earl Nixon the Warden of the East March and founded grand noble house.

Rinaldo's Story

a man we once trusted as a brother who had forced us down a path as outlaws now lays dead, as Rinaldo watches the smoke and flame billow from punchy's pyre he cannot help but wonder if he was a chaotic agent from the beginning, as the flames begin to die down word was received of a rebellion in tiberios domains dispatching manfred, beavis and dead eye hayes to quell the uprising
Rinaldo sets his sights on securing his domain
while spending time in the library researching the harvest ritual he met a young and aspiring venturer by the name of Ronald Frump, who he hired to administer the town of the diggers

this village was soon re-organised into the Diggers Excavation Company, hiring some of the greatest architectural and engineering minds in the province
Hearing of the death of King Amicus concerned Rinaldo greatly though at times he disagreed with the king he never disagreed with the gods who placed him upon the throne

as Rinaldo completes his harvest ritual, the diggers, the warlock keep the death troopers and remaining massacre men that have sworn fealty to Rinaldo all enjoy the benefits sewn
 and as Manfred Beavis and Hayes return from the rebellion rinaldo places them each in charge of a small domain
Manfred and his massacre men
Deadeye hayes and her death troopers
Mighty beavis see's to the warlock keep
each domain see's its population growing quickly as word spreads of food and farm work in abundance
for 2 weeks of every month Rinaldo calls upon his most trusted henchman to conduct small guerrilla raids against dengwur and the old ones, to ensure that they keep fighting  each other and keeping the south eastern flank of the badlands secure

Friday, September 25, 2015

Tiberius Epilogue

I'm going to write a more detailed epilogue eventually, but I had a question for the other Skull Collectors.

I was rolling dice to advance my domain and it turns out that while the Hydra Legion has managed to beat most of the beastmen from the old wormcult domain into submission, the ones in the city are turning bandit and going rebellious.  Would any of the other Skull Collectors be willing to help me raze the rebel city to the ground as an example?  I'd offer 1 month upkeep (12000 gold) to each full member of the SC's and full rights to plunder whatever you can carry from the city.

While this type of thing technically could maybe be a session, killing 3 HD creatures isn't really that much of a challenge for us anymore.  Some of my summoned creatures could tear through dozens of them.  I was planning on just writing up the conclusion by building units and looking at the DoW mechanics for the battle.  Probably variations of lost Hydra Legion soldiers and families will be the result.

Amicus' Ending

Some say it was a curse sent from beyond death by Archbishop Wardrick or Lucius Bastardo himself. Others say it was clearly the work of almighty Dengwur himself. In any case, following the battle of Mago's Tomb and the revelation that the "Exalted Master" was in fact the former Skull Collector Brother Punchy Amicus' heart was heavy. He was saddled with a powerful malaise that sapped his energy and made his breath rattle in his lungs. Pontifex Amicus knew he had little time left on the face of Baldgarth.

Using the Spade of Colossal Excavation, Amicus crafted a tomb for himself in the fallen city of Noviodunm for himself. It would be there that he stores away the artifacts of his rule. The Gauntlets of Ogre power he created for himself from the hide of Spunky the Cyclops. The Girdle of Giant Strength he won from the "Exalted Master" following his defeat. His protective holy vestments, his sacred tobacco and pipe, his mighty shield and chain armor all wrested from dungeons across the Badlands all found their way into the tomb. Finally, Amicus shut himself in and hid his mighty crown and the fabled Rod of Castor within the complex and never returned.

Some say Amicus was greedy and went to his death with all his equipment rather than leave it to an heir or companion. Others believe that Amicus used the Rod of Castor to preserve his spirit just as Dengwur himself had once done. The clergy of Jupiter left behind in Amicus' absence have created a tome that details how Amicus is to be awakened in the case of Dengwur's return, but the author is unknown and its content is suspect. In future generations, this tome would be known as Amicus' Treatise and it outlines the appropriate liturgy to be used by the faithful of Jupiter.

The old city of Noviodunum would never be reclaimed. The island's inhabitants spread out across the island, making the domain a bastion to the neutral gods. A modest cathedral to Jupiter was built on the west edge of the island, and Max Bemis would be given rulership over the island domain. The fallen city of Noviodunum would become the haven of the Crab Gods, and loose groups of mighty crab warriors would guard its borders tenaciously. Every now and again, someone would meet a southern warrior woman in emerald who stops by and asks for a favor or some sort of magical component. Those who have read Amicus' Treatise would know her as the heroine of the Rod of Castor.

Louis Impetuous, wielder of the Spade of Colossal Excavation would make a name for himself as a defensive-minded military leader. An abbey of bladedancers devoted to the goddess of Juno would appear to the East. Octavia, Amicus' bride once known as the Hag of Hod once more disappeared into her forest domain, leaving the rule of the locals to Mayor Clovis of Yoesville.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Stage is set for Session 50

For the last month, rumors have been flying through the taverns of the Badlands that a new threat has arisen, calling for the overthrow of the Skull Collectors.
Rumors have come and gone, but in the last few days the Masked Archer of the Apocalypse has reported to his fellow Collectors that this threat calls himself the EXALTED MASTER and has gathered an army, including hiring Milton's Massacre Men.   The army has begun to move toward Diggers, and Rinaldo, in return has gathered what Skull Collectors and sallied to meet them.

Messengers have arranged that the Collectors will meet with the Herald of the Exalted Master at the Crypt of Pomponius Mago, halfway between Diggers and Milton's.

Behold: the area around the Crypt

Behold!  2 Bands of Milton's Massacre Men enter the field,  some spearmen and a hardy band of mighty knights.

 Behold!  The Herald of the Exalted Master and his lackeys surmount the Crypt of Pomponius Mago

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Traveller files update

I have added the character generation charts to the Traveller Wiki documents page for the Fulton Campaign:

See here;

Fulton Galactic Documents

Monday, September 7, 2015

Next Time, the #50 Finale

A well done to Jason for last night's game!

Next time is session #50, and the grand finale for Gatavia campaign #3.

So how do we want to do it and what does everyone need to see happen?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Traveller Preparations of Note

I have re-purposed the old Traveller-Rhylanor campaign wiki to accommodate the Fulton Galactic campaign as well. Lords of Hack Traveller Wiki

I have posted several entries and documents at the wiki that may be of interest.

There is a PDF of the Fulton Galactic Sky Mall (gear book) and the Fulton Galactic House Rules; both on the Fulton Document Page  

UPDATE:   I've added a few new things:  character sheet, quick reference sheets for personal and space combat, and some new links on the start page.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

What's Next? Who's on First?

So, we've finished session 47.   Looks like we have 3 to go.  Where do we stand?

My Thoughts:

Session 48:  August 23:  Judge:  Dave;  Crush the Warlock Keep and maybe Therk outpost.

Session 49:  September 6:  Judge: Jason:  Village Primal

Session 50:  September 20:  Judge: Andrew:   Fight Dengwur

Although,  September 6th might be Labor Day weekend.  That's not a problem for me, but I don't know about the rest of ye.   If it is a problem we can make session 49 on the 13th, and Session 50 on the 27th.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Campaign Idea for Traveller: Fulton Galactic

Here's my synopsis about what my proposed Traveller game might be like:


BEGINNING DATE: Day 128, Year 1113 of the Third Imperium (purely coincidentally the day after the Rhylanor Express Campaign ended)

BACKGROUND: The Armistice ending the Fifth Frontier War was signed three years ago. Finally, since the peace seems to be holding, all of the war-time economic restrictions and controls have been lifted. Civilian assets that were commandeered are being returned; restricted areas are being reopened; and pent-up civilian demand is causing a trade boom.
During the war, the Imperial Navy had sent various fleet elements into District 268, a subsector of the Spinward Marches which did not actually have membership in the Imperium. Since District 268 is adjacent to the hostile Sword Worlds Confederation, it was felt that it was urgently necessary to keep it under firm Naval control. Now the non-imperial local world governments have arranged the end to the “protective custody” and the Navy has withdrawn.
Wartime necessity also caused the Imperium to restrict crossings into and from the Trojan Reaches Sector to the Rimward. This sector, also known as the Outrim Void, is a collection of independent systems, pocket empires and, at the far-end, colonies of the reptilian aliens known as the Slaan (sometimes incorrectly spelled Aslan). Now, once again trade and exploration vessels are permitted to cross the border to these non-imperial planets to seek their fortune.

THE SET-UP: Fulton Galactic Inc. is a small imperial corporation which focused in “trade and consultation” with extra-imperial worlds. Some called them “busy-bodies” or “know-it-alls” or “pirates” or “con-men” or sometimes “angels of mercy” or even “saviors.” However, at the beginning of the War, their main trade station in District 268 was attacked and devastated by Sword Worlds' commerce raiders. The station was then commandeered by the Imperial Navy and the surviving shareholders, directors and agents were forbidden to investigate or take stock. The company went into Emergency War-time Receivership and ceased to do business.
Now that Duke Norris has lifted all of the Wartime Economic Decrees and The Delphine of Glisten has put into place the Reconstruction and Reparations Act of 1113, the surviving shareholding partners and their heirs have a chance to recover the assets of the company.

Each player character will have to come up with a back-story, matching his age and career that makes him the recipient of one of the voting shares of Fulton Galactic on his way to District 268 to recover his property and seek fame and fortune on the frontier.  It will be up to the players to decide which of the various opportunities to follow up and whether to develop the revived Fulton Galactic as a trade group, criminal enterprise, mercenary contractor, security company, exploratory service or some combination of all of them.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Session 46 Action Shot

Action shot of giant-sized Murderface leaping over the back wall using boots of Levitation to smash a horde of gargoyles

Thursday, July 23, 2015

What's The Plan?

I'm on board to host a lightning round next game. I'll award 2000XP per PC for each week we get through. Over that time, I hope to allow the situation in Gatavia start to unravel as we build up to Dengwur's big plan.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Sister Helena leaves Amicus' Service

Since the Skull Collectors' trip to Jotunheim, Sister Helena - Blessed of Juno has leveled. In preparation for taking her to the next level, she needed a morale check to stay with Amicus which was a failure of epic proportions. Consequently, Helena has left Amicus' employ. I'm going to take the liberty of saying that she doesn't leave Gatavia immediately with all her loot and stuff. Maybe she at least stays civil with King Amicus. I want to say she still believes in what the Skull Collectors are doing, she is just sick of being in Amicus' shadow and wants to perhaps set to work building an cloister for her order. She did have a vision that one time she died, after all!

Would anyone else like to take a shot at recruiting her? She is now an 8th level Bladedancer, flush with a whole lot of cash and blinged up with some magic swords. Alternately, we could offer her as a character to a new player who joins us at the table. Failing that, I'll leave her to become another NPC in the Gatavia area.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Session 45 - Action Shots

The Skull Collectors storm Archbishop Wardrick's retreat.

Pay no attention to the demons!

Seriously! They are just here because I have no where else for them.

The first level.

The second level.

The first and second level.

The Skull Collectors enter the dungeon level.

The Skull Collectors fight their way down the stairs to the lower level.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Treasure Haul from Last Night: The Retirement of Hackamaam

Turning everything into cash,  Whang, Murderface, Rinaldo and Masked Archer each get 14,652 gp  from the Bishop assault.

We have a nice pile of magic treasure,  including The Golden Spurtle of Angus McTavish!  I have them all carded up and stapled together to be distributed next time.   I put the monster parts on a card (40,000gp equivalent of Elf hands, useful for making magic bows and arrows).   I'm assuming they have no cash value.

Oh, I also put our prisoner, Kneivel Rampage's, card in the draw deck, because I'm sure someone will want to take him home.

Also, Hackamaam is retiring.    Both of her legs were lamed in the battle, requiring crutches to walk around.   Tried "Restore Life and Limb" but ended up with the legs being restored by something on the Reincarnation table, so now she has wee little pixie legs and has decided to take her treasure pile and very slowly drink herself to death in the country.

The Aftermath of the Attack on Bishop Wardrick's Workshop

Sorry we went so late last night. I really just misjudged when the first act ended and completely lost track of time.

By process of elimination (I have all the treasure you didn't manage to take) this should be the complete treasure list:

40,000 gp in monster parts suitable for creating magical bows, bolts, and arrows

2,000 Gold in bars
5 wrought silver trinkets (200 gp)

2,000 Gold in bars
1 chalcedony (275 gp)
1 chalcedony (375 gp)
1 pearl (250 gp)

2,000 Gold in bars
1 topaz (500 gp)
1 tourmaline (500 gp)

2,000 Gold in bars
1 ivory jewelry (800 gp)
1 Agate (125 gp)
3 Fine wood jewelry (100 gp)

2,000 Gold in bars
1 Garnet (250 gp)
3 jasper (250 gp)

2,000 Gold in bars
1 jasper (500 gp)
4 jet (100 gp)

1 opal jewelry (3,000 gp)

1 moonstone jewelry (1,000 gp)
3 pearl (250 gp)
1 amethyst (100 gp)

2,000 Gold in bars
1 Garnet (250 gp)
3 jasper (250 gp)

2,000 Gold in bars
3 sardonyx (500 gp)

2,000 Gold in bars
5 spinel (200 gp)

1,000 Gold in bars
4 topaz (500 gp)

2,000 Gold in bars
1 wrought silver jewelry (1500 gp)

3,000 Gold in bars

2,000 Gold in bars
5 chalcedony (250 gp)

1,000 Gold in bars
15 Fine wood jewelry (100 gp)

2,000 Gold in bars
1 Garnet (250 gp)
3 jasper (250 gp)

1,000 Gold coins
15 Fine ivory jewelry (100 gp)
1 draw from the magic deck

1,000 Gold coins
1 Garnet (250 gp)
3 jasper (250 gp)
1 Jet (300 gp)
1 draw from the magic deck

1,000 Gold coins
2 Garnet (350 gp)
1 draw from the magic deck

3 wrought silver jewelry (300 gp)
1 draw from the magic deck

5 fine wood jewelery (250)
1 draw from the magic deck

2,000 Gold coins
1 draw from the magic deck

2 draws from the magic deck

1,000 Gold coins
1 Garnet (250 gp)
3 jasper (250 gp)
1 draw from the magic deck

2,000 Gold in bars
3 chalcedony (250 gp) 
1 draw from the magic deck

4 sets of garnet and diamond earrings (100gp)
4 sets of garnet and diamond bracelets (300gp) 
1 draw from the magic deck

1 diamond-studded decorative trident (2000gp) 
1 draw from the magic deck

1 gold Ardean ship model (500gp)
1 set of navigational maps Baldgath (500gp) 
2 draws from the magic deck

Here is a list of everything you guys killed in the battle. Any equipment you could salvage on the way out I also put on this list:

12 5th level clerics  (12x +1 mace)
4 6th level clerics   (4x +1 mace)
2 8th level clerics   (1x +1 mace, 1x  +2 chain, 1x  +3 shield)
1 13th level cleric   (1x +3 plate,1x  +2 shield, 1x  gauntlets of ogre power,1x  Ring of Spell Turning - 10 charges,1x  Wings of Flying,  Hammer of the Dwarven Lords, Crest of Wayneduke)

3 8th level magi (1x wand of magic missiles, 20 charges)
5 angels  (2250xp)
1 archangel  

6 2nd level fighters
8 5th level fighters  (80x +1 arrows)
3 8th level fighters  (2x +1 greatsword,1x +1 plate,1x +1 arbalest, 20x +1 bolts)

10 4th level paladins (10x +1 sword, 10x +1 shield)
2 9th level paladins  (1x +1 sword, 1x +1 shield, 1x +3 sword, 1x +1 plate armor)

8 Blink Dogs (135xp)
2 Lammasu (1900xp)

12 5th level vaultguard  (12x +1 dwarven plate, 12x +1 spear)

20 ghost knights (1100xp)

The final monster experience total was: 71984 which works out to 5200xp per PC and 2600 per henchman.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Workshop's reopened

My personal game blog "Dr Skull's Workshop" (see the blogroll to the right of this page) is back in operation after a 5 month X-COM related coma.  

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Mortal Wounds

I've been thinking that the Mortal Wounds and Tampering with Mortality tables in ACKS were good in theory, but end up being a pain in the schwartz in practice.   It also seems to me that once one PC cleric gets to 7th level, all the risk goes out of the game (except for level-draining undead).  Basically there are no permanent consequences short of a TPK.  Conversely it kind of sucks that there's no way to get a wounded character back into the action while the melee is still going on.

I though that maybe something closer to AD&D1 might be better.  (I'm not talking about the current campaign by the way, just future theoreticals).

How about something like this:
  •   When someone is brought to between 0 and negative 3 hit points, he's totally messed up, all he can do is crawl at 1/3 his normal combat speed or drink a potion, or activate a magic item that has a single command word.   If he is healed to 1 hit points he's back in the game.
  • If someone goes to negative 4 hit points he's unconscious and bleeding out, losing 1 hit point per round until treated or he reaches negative 10 plus his level, at which point he dies.  If magical healing is used before death, and enough hit points are healed to get him to 1 hit point or more, he's back in the game.
  • Instead of the various wound effects and so forth, how about any time you go to -4 or less, and are saved, you lose 1 point of an ability score at random.  There should be no magic work-around for this.  However, maybe adding an ability score increase at levels, 3, 6, 9 and 12 would mollify it a bit.
  • If you are raised from the dead by restore Life and Limb, you should lose 1 point of Constitution and save vs. death or loose a second.  (Thus Reincarnation becomes really appealing to the frequently bechopped.)
  • Use the Hackmaster reincarnation table instead of the ACKS one.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Augury Magic - Compare and Contrast

I've done some research on the spells we regularly use to predict the future and speak with the gods. I thought I would share my findings here:

An augury can tell the caster whether a particular action will bring good or bad results in the immediate future. It has a 75%-ish chance of answering a yes or no question correctly. Good for questions like, "Would putting this salve on the lizard man's wounds be a good thing?". It is a second level divine spell.

A divination is a 4th level divine spell in ACKS. A divination spell can provide the caster with a useful piece of advice in reply to a question concerning a specific goal, event, or activity that is to occur within one week. The advice can be as simple as a short phrase, or it might take the form of a cryptic rhyme or omen. It should always be cast with the phrase "Oh elders fleet and strong and wise...". Good for questions like, "What could happen if I escort these completely random folks out into the Badlands without support." If the caster doesn’t act on the information, the conditions may change so that the information is no longer useful. The base chance of a successful divination is 60%+ level of the spellcaster, but that could be altered depending on whether the question is posed in the form of a proper rhyming couplet or whether it serves the plot or not. Also, if it is awesome.

The most powerful of the three divination spells, it is a 5th level divine spell. This spell puts the caster in contact with the great powers he serves, who will answer three yes-or-no questions. The being contacted may or may not be omniscient, and further, though the being is technically allied with the caster, it may still not answer questions clearly or completely. The ritual to cast this spell takes 1 turn to complete, and may be performed but once per week. Once a year, possibly upon the patron deity’s feast day, the divine spellcaster may ask twice the normal number of questions.

Contact other Plane
Although most augury magic is the wheelhouse of divine magic, this one exception is available to arcane casters. It is a 5th level spell, so it is more costly than the divine spells. The caster sends his mind to another plane of existence in order to receive advice and information from powers there. The powers reply in a language the caster understands, but they resent such contact and give only brief answers to questions. All questions are answered with “yes,” “no,” “maybe,” “never,” “irrelevant,” or some other one-word answer. The caster must concentrate on maintaining the spell in order to ask questions at the rate of one per round. A question is answered by the power during the same round. The caster must choose how many questions to ask before the spell is cast. The number of questions to be asked determines the power and proximity of the contacted being. The more questions asked, the further away the contacted plane is and the more powerful the being is.

  • Augury is good for a single, immediate good/bad call
  • Divination is appropriate for getting a nebulous rhyming or allegorical answer to a vague question
  • Commune is good for three concrete yes-or-no answers. It is particularly powerful on festival days.
  • Contact Other Plane is like calling up a demon and asking stuff. All questions are answered with “yes,” “no,” “maybe,” “never,” “irrelevant,” or some other one-word answer.
  • Wednesday, June 17, 2015

    Where Are We?

    In an effort to answer the question, "Where in Baldgarth are we?" I did a little reverse-continuity snooping. If your ship can go 15 knots (which is generous for a longboat, but we do have the services of a mighty weather-controlling Shaman) from our province of Gatavia (marked as the red dot) we can cover 12.6 200-mile province sized squares in seven days. That means that from the length of our trip we could be at one of the following places:

  • Frost Island - An isolated island scouted by Northron Sailors (#4)
  • Jotunheim - An ancient island of Giants and Frost (#1)
  • The Cape of Drakkar - The Ancestral Home of the Northrons (#2)
  • Drell - A bare, rocky, kingdom of Neanderthals (#5)
  • One of the Haunted Islands - A series of mysterious islands filled with danger, magic, and treasure (#9)

    It makes most sense that we landed at the coast of Jotunheim because of the direction of travel and the description of the place we landed. We have seen a whole lot of giants and frost there. However, that might mean that the cloud giant fortress was sitting just off the coast and that our travel took us over the island of Ulban (#8). That shouldn't be much of a problem though, since this island is mostly a battle ground itself not unlike Gatavia.
  • Thursday, June 4, 2015

    Hackamore's Family in Cavano

    While the Skull Collectors were dealing with the island of Noviodunum, The Masked Archer was shadowing his best henchman Hackamore as he travelled to Cavano to check on the news that he was the long lost son of a famous merchant there. Since Dave gets a reward no matter what happens (he gets a GM share of our treasure and XP for the adventure), and the result is only interesting in that it throws off some plot points we can work with for the future. To that end, I've decided to use the Mythic GM emulator to determine the outcome of this thread. Please enjoy!

  • Hackamore travels to Cavano with The Masked Archer trailing him incognito. Is Hackamore *actually* the lost son of the Leech merchant family, and the new heir to the Leech family fortune as Caravan Master Cassius (pictured) tells him?
    Odds: Unlikely Roll: 86 "NO"

  • If the purpose of luring Hackamore to Cavano wasn't to give him gifts, was it to leverage his association with the Skull Collectors for some nefarious purpose?
    Odds: Somewhat Likely Roll:02 "EXCEPTIONAL YES"

  • Lots of people harbor grudges against the Skull Collectors. Is this a trap to try and capture one of the Skull Collectors for ransom?
    Odds: 50/50 Roll: 63 "NO"

  • Cavano might also have a lot of enemies themselves. Is this an attempt to get the Skull Collectors to do something for them?
    Odds: 50/50 Roll: 48 "YES"

  • Is it something that the Skull Collectors might want to do anyway, like a mission to invade a dungeon or topple a dictator for money?
    Odds: 50/50 Roll: 24 "YES"

  • Why didn't they just send an emissary to the Skull Collectors directly? Why be so sneaky? Does this adventure or mission go against the wishes of one or more of the other Skull Collectors?
    Odds: Very Likely Roll: 32 "YES"

  • Chances are that king Amicus wouldn't approve of this freelancing. Would this job attack the interests of the neutral faith?
    Odds: Likely Roll: 21 "YES"

  • Is the mission to sneak into the quarters of the local priest of Jupiter and have him die messily in order to "teach him a lesson" for opposing House Leech's interests?
    Odds: Unlikely Roll: 51 "NO"

  • Is the mission to break into the newfound tomb of one of Saturn's greatest heroes and make off with an ancient artifact that has been lost since the dawn of the empire?

    Odds: Unlikely Roll: 05 "EXCEPTIONAL YES"

  • Does Cassius realize that the Masked Archer is shadowing Hackamore, particularly since they nabbed him specifically for this purpose with an "EXCEPTIONAL YES"?
    Odds: Likely Roll: 29 "YES"

  • Does Cassius charm and hold Hackamore hostage until The Masked Archer delivers the artifact to them?
    Odds: Very Likely Roll: 31 "YES"

    So here are the only questions left, and I'll leave Dave to answer them in-game:
  • What was the artifact that was stolen and recovered for the House Leech?
  • How will Hackamore break the charm that Cassius have on him?
  • What are the resources of House Leech? What is Cassius? Does he have henchmen?
  • Why did Cassius need the artifact of Saturn?
  • Monday, June 1, 2015

    New Spell: Summon Crab Gods

    Amicus wants to create a new spell. I've got a question, though. Are Crab Gods 10HD monsters? How many "special abilities" would you rule they have? All I remember is that they have a metric buttload of armor and some mid-level magic resistance.

    The Sinister Jug

    Does anyone recall what we decided to do with the jug? It is obviously very important. The last I remember Gorna decided to take it and use his divinations to discern the contents.

    Session 42 - Action Shots

    I was totally tickled by being able to alter the spell on the wall just by carving a new word into it.

    Wednesday, April 29, 2015

    Session 40 Action Shots - Kinevil Rampage

    Kinevil Rampage does it again! He got quite a haul from our heroes last game. Please find some action shots as well as all the loot acquired from the Skull Collectors. Please note that our next game will be in *three* weeks due to Mother's Day.