Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Rageburg Domain Notes
  • 540 Families
  • Neutrally Aligned
  • Worships Northron Gods
  • 68 square miles (~4.6 mile radius around Rageburg itself)
  • Market Class VI*

    The Stronghold
    Rageburg was built on an ancient Ardean guardpost abandoned as the Empire fell. It consists of a large round tower 30' in diameter, with an abandoned dungeon level that are said to be "haunted". It is said that this was once one of the Ardean Augur's Towers. Surrounding the tower is an earthen rampart topped with 20' high stone walls in a state of disrepair. Rageburgers aren't very handy, apparently.

    The Garrison
    The garrison of Rageburg consists of:
  • 30 Light Infantry (non-berserking scout types)
  • 60 Berserkers (BR as heavy infantry, but in chain and two-handed weapon)
  • 30 Bowmen
  • 15 Light Cavalry

    They live in barracks just outside the stronghold and wander the countryside protecting the populace.

    The Guild
    There is a criminal guild operating in Rageburg acting as a trading house. It has been a public "secret" that anyone who wants to do business in Rageburg must make an offering to the Medusa's Glance Trading Company "or else". Furthermore, in order to control a monopoly on hard goods in Rageburg, Medusa's Glance won't let anyone else come and trade for iron or wood. That makes creating metal armor or weapons twice the cost and raises the cost of any construction by 2.5 times the cost it would normally be.
  • The Big Game

    What's the plan for next game? I'm happy to continue to judge lightning round weeks. I promise to do a better job of balancing fights, though. I made a mistake and had *way* too many were-pigs at the last scrap. I've also got plans for preparing some new NPC bad guys to choose from including:

  • Kinevil Rampage and the "Law Friends"
  • "The Cyclone" and his agent
  • Khan Shaka and his goons
  • Griggle the Wormpriest
  • Gaius Antonius Octavius
    ...and more!

    We've still got pushbacks we can resolve, and Dengwur should soon start to go back to war with the Old Ones. We should discuss what is up and where we are going.

    What does everyone's character want to do next game?
  • Monday, January 19, 2015

    Hail Hydra

    The attack on the Hydra Legion as they build up their stronghold in the ashes of Edge was a short skirmish. It lasted only one "battle round" before the bugbears fled, and was a pretty even exchange. I divided the troops into platoons of 30 men each and cavalry lances of 15 riders. I rounded the light and heavy infantry together as "light infantry" and rounded the berserkers up to an even three platoons. The bowmen were one shy of two platoons, so I figured the lone crossbowman made a perfect two platoons. All the remaining cavalry just totalled over fifteen, which made a single lance. The forces and associated battle ratings were:

    The Hydra Legion
  • 3 Platoons of Berserkers -- BR 3 (3*1)
  • 2 Platoons of Light Infantry -- BR 3 (3*1)
  • 2 Platoons of Bowmen -- BR 3 (3*1.5)
  • 1 Lance of Light Cavalry -- BR 3.5 (1*3.5)

    Vanec's Raiders
  • 4 Platoons of Bugbear Infantry -- BR 24 (4*6)
  • 4 Platoons of Goblin Infantry -- BR 2 (4*0.5)
  • 2 Platoons of Goblin Archers -- BR 1 (2*0.5)
  • 4 Platoons of Hobgoblin Infantry -- BR 4 (4*1)

    The Hydra Legion gets 4 hits, but the Bugbears get 5. The Berserkers and two platoons of light infantry are lost, as well as 4 platoons of goblin infantry, 2 platoons of goblin archers, and a platoon of hobgoblin infantry. The bugbears withdraw and Hydra decides not to pursue into the forest for fear of a trap.

    After the battle, 50% of each unit that was destroyed are crippled or dead while the other 50% are lightly wounded. The victorious army's wounded troops return to their unit in one week. The defeated army's wounded troops become prisoners.

    So of the 84 berserkers, 42 will return in a week (assuming they aren't just summoned constructs, which I'm betting they are). Of the infantry, 26 light infantry are dead, with the remainder returning to duty in a week. Of the 17 heavy infantry, 8 are slain and the remainder will return in a week. No Hydra bowmen or cavalry were lost.

    The spoils of war for defeating the raiders is equal to a month's wages for each defeated unit. That comes to 540gp total. Of the raiders, a full 90 goblins survived with wounds, as well as 15 hobgoblins. Each slave is worth 40gp if sold into slavery. I'm quite sure that the Clockwork Horrors would pay that price in gems for slave labor if it were offered, but that's up to Jason. Alternately, some or all of these prisoners may be kept as slave laborers (see page 250-251 of the main rulebook).

    The men of the Hydra Legion expect at least 50% of these proceeds to go to them on a pro rata basis in relation to their wages. Each gp they earn equals an XP they earn. Track troop XP on a unit-by-unit basis. Troops become 1st level fighters after earning 100gp. Troops do not earn XP for fighting, only the spoils of war.

    However, Tiberio himself as overall leader of the force earns XP equal to 50% of the units defeated. He would have to split the remaining 50% with any sub-commanders he employs, but since Helpful Bill was not available he gets all the XP. Goblins at 5XP each earn him (120*5 + 60*5) 900XP. The Hobgoblins at 15XP each earn him (30*15) 450XP for a total of 1350XP.

  • Friday, January 16, 2015

    New Plans

    Since the Clockwork Horror threat has been addressed (for now), I'll be taking over as GM this week. I figure we'll do the weekly lightning rounds as we had done before with a push back card revealed every other week or so (GM's choice).

    Amicus plans to use the time to create magic items, probably starting with magic leather armor so if anyone happens to have some magic leather already he could *really* use that as a sample to create a recipe. Failing that, he will crank out potions of extra-healing by the gallon. If anyone has any requests, post your requests here and I'll create a schedule. Amicus will probably stop adventuring until the majority of the other PCs have reached 9th level as well.

    Thursday, January 15, 2015

    News from Yoesville

    Fellow Skull Collectors,
    I have news to share. From my recovery bed I was visited by an emissary of the Clockwork Horrors. It is my understanding that these beings may have attacked the lawfuls in the domain of Yoesville in error, and are interested in making peace. In my opinion, a simple misunderstanding that we could perhaps put to rest. Moreover, these beings are offering us significant riches (1,000 gp gems) in return for simple items such as:
  • A wagon load of iron and/or copper (condition unimportant…i.e. scrap, workable items, etc) of at least 100 stone
  • Ten restrained willing/unwilling beings designate as slaves, race and physical condition irrelevant, as long as they are alive
  • Each barrel of military oil
  • Eight barrels of lamp oil
  • Each wagon and team of draft animals to pull it
  • Each four stones weight of silver

    I am negotiating on giving them a one-mile allowance of land, and working out an understanding that they would not leave this one mile radius - including through the air or underground.

    In exchange, we will be able to trade these simple items for a 1,000gp gem each. I posit that each of us loads up a wagon full of these materials and delivers them to the newcomers. I plan to travel there myself in order to confirm that we are paid as the offer goes and are not double-crossed. If all goes as planned, we should be able to stand down against the horrors.

    For those who think it folly to leave such beings alive and perhaps help their cause, remember that we can scarcely afford to fight yet another battle. Having these beings to our West can only help fend off any incursion of the Wormcult who now roam the Elfwood freely. As a matter of fact, any spies might themselves get understandably worried at our mustering all these items so near the edge of their newly acquired territory!

    Please share your thoughts! I am personally in favor of collecting profit as long as the horrors themselves live and let live. If their trade is merely a ruse, we crush them immediately. Do the Skull Collectors stand together on this matter?

    Publius Fulminator Amicus, Prelate of Noviodunum
  • Monday, January 12, 2015

    New Rules

    I wanted to build some unique buildings recently, so I came across and adapted these construction rules. Clovis also hopes to do some improvements to the trails and roads, and I wanted to create a metric for that work. Give them a look, and if we all agree that they are valid we can use these in conjunction with the values you can find in the ACKS books.

    I also hope to get Amicus creating magic items, starting with a recipe for Potions of Extra Healing. However, there are no rules for making an item that allows you to use several "charges" at once, and a Potion of Extra Healing is unique in that all three charges may be used at once. It would be awesome, for example, to fire several fireballs from a Wand of Fireballs simultaneously. For the time being, I'm just going to make it as a magic item with three 1st level spell "charges". However, perhaps we could come up with some rules for items that might use several "charges" at once.

    One more rule tweak I've got. Amicus may use Divine Power wrested from worship in his domain in place of special components like monster parts. However, there is no gp -> xp conversion and a 1:1 ratio seems incorrect. For example, I believe a whole lot of goblin parts would be cheap compared to dragon scales, even with the same XP worth of parts. I'm going to propose a formula that the gp -> xp conversion rate like this:

    gp value = (xp of monster * HD of monster) / 20

    For example, that makes troll blood for healing potions worth 204gp (680XP * 6 /20) in Divine Power. I would venture to say that this formula would be a good metric for arcane spell casters who need special components and haven't built their own dungeon to harvest monster parts from yet.

    Any concerns?

    Friday, January 9, 2015

    Noviodunum Domain

    Once Amicus wakes from death, he immediately makes plans for settling the island of Noviodunum. His plan is to build a temporary stronghold along the Western side just across the river Patronus from the Yoesville bridge. That way, he can carry forays out into the island to drive off any remaining undead legions. The stronghold itself will be known as "The Foothold". It is made primarily of earthworks built using the Spade of Colossal Excavation, along with a wooden palisade and towers and a series of basic barracks. A large stone building will act as Amicus' first fortified church on the island until the undead threat is removed completely.

    The work should take 18 days. I'm thinking that with Yoesville so close we'll call the island "borderlands" for stronghold value and settling families purposes. There will be 187 families settling in and around "The Foothold" in 48 days - approximately October 20th, 1431.

    For a garrison, Amicus is gaining 180 followers. They have excellent morale (+4) and will work for free as long as they are fed and garrisoned. They will also completely be there by October 20th.
  • 30 Heavy Cavalry
  • 30 Medium Cavalry
  • 30 Bowmen
  • 30 Slingers
  • 20 Light Infantry
  • 40 Heavy Infantry

    Finally, Amicus gains the services of a number of clerics. He nets only one follower - Ganeus Tiberia, a second level cleric of Jupiter who arrives soon after construction starts.

    Amicus expects to start creating magic items for the other Skull Collectors over the next few months in exchange for their support. He hopes to bolster the Skull Collectors' might while seeing to the security of his flock at the same time.

  • Thursday, January 8, 2015

    Steak on a Stick

    Mayor Clovis' new restaurant "Steak on a Stick" has opened in Yoesville and is doing brisk business. It features some rare and ancient recipes that require spices from the South, but many are saying just how much they love the specially spiced steaks. Even skeptical patrons come out with a dozen or more steaks on sticks.

    "Steak on a Stick" is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is prepared to offer franchise opportunities to anyone interested.

    Wednesday, January 7, 2015

    The Ecology of the Clockwork Horror

    The Ecology of the Clockwork Horror
    Being a study of the Clockwork Horror

    By Gear Jack, Dwarven Artificer esq., BFC, BSC, SSC
    As Commissioned by Pontifex Amicus, Patriarch of Yoesville

    I, Gear Jack, was approached by representatives of Patriarch Amicus concerning automaton, and automaton remains, recovered by the infamous Skull Collectors during a recent scouting action.  Patriarch Amicus asked the Skull Collectors to save a village in his domain that was under attack by (according to a cavalry officer) ‘spiders’, yet was unable to accompany the Skull Collectors while recovering from recent injuries. 

    The Skull Collectors lured, and ambushed, a party of these ‘metal spiders’ (henceforth referred to as Clockwork Horrors), and managed to capture one apparently made of copper (henceforth all horrors shall be referred to by the material constructed of) intact, and several sets of non-functional remains of both copper and steel horrors.

    Patriarch Amicus, in his great wisdom, knowing he was unable to actually accompany the Skull Collectors back into the field, decided it would be in everyone’s best interest if there was a more in-depth study of these machines, so the world at large (and the Skull Collectors in particular) might figure out a more straightforward way of dealing with the clockwork horrors in the future.

    Physically, the clockwork horrors all resemble something quite like mechanical spiders, with the exception that they only have four legs, and two limbs beside the head.  While the bodies are only about two feet in diameter, while the legs give them an overall diameter of four feet.  In the front of the body is a crystal that allows the horror to see, while on the sides of the lens are two depressions which act as ears.  The functional copper horror I studied seem to communicate in a series of rapid clicks and whirs that I was unable to copy or understand.  Each horror also has, what I believe to be, a set of serial numbers above the eye.  The copper horrors I observed appear to have been numbers 37-47.  While the steel horrors have the markings of being numbers 25, 30, and 45-47.

    The body of the clockwork horror is a highly durable shell, which is stuffed with an incredibly compact, diverse collection of sturdily constructed interacting mechanisms.  I found what I believe to be a brain inside the head-like appendage where crystal eye is located, with attachments running to eyes, ears, and to the machines in the main body cavity.  In addition, at least in the copper and steel horrors I was able to study, there is a large cavity inside the body where the ammunition for the dart/bolt throwers are stored. It appears that, due to the size and shape of the missiles versus the size of the ammunition storage, that the copper horror could hold 40 darts and the silver horror could hold up to 20 bolts.  I found a slot on the outside of the horror’s shell where additional ammunition could be loaded, and I theorize it would be possible for the clockwork horrors to be equipped with additional outside storage for missiles.

    The clockwork horrors legs are highly functional, allowing them to move at roughly the same speed as a human.  The legs are durable enough for them to bear considerable amounts of encumbrance (most likely at least the weight of a person).  In addition the clockwork horror’s feet are durable enough to allow them to climb wood, or even stone, walls.

    The clockwork horrors arm-like appendages are a terrifying example of interchangeability, form, and function.  The copper horror’s right limb is a claw-like manipulator, whose talons can flatten out to allow the claw to spin at high speeds, allowing the machine to cut into wood or flesh at a slow rate, or even stone or metal at a much, much slower rate.  The copper horror’s left limb is a hollow tube, with a surprisingly strong spring inside, which allows the horror to fire its dart with the same range and piercing ability as a much larger, heavier hurled weapon.  The steel horror’s right limb is an actual buzz-saw blade (or large, serrated grinding mechanism on at least one example) on a pneumatically telescoping limb, allowing them to cut through flesh and wood with ease, and stone and metal at a disturbing rate.  The steel horror’s left limb is an arbalest-like mechanism with disturbing range and power for something that size.

    Something that I discovered examining the non-functional horrors, and observed in the working horror, is the grease the machines use, which not only keeps the internal workings running, but apparently allows the limbs to move and the weapons to move at such a high speed.  It smells especially foul, and applying some of it into test animals resulted in the subject’s death.  Examining the grease thoroughly through alchemy and some magical divination, have led me to find that the grease is made from organic sources.  I found evidence of snake venom, giant hornet poison, contents from the inside of various animals spleens and intestines, and other poisonous or diseased things, all of which is supported in a grease made from the rendered fat from humans, elves, goblins, orcs, trolls, and a variety of other living creatures.  To put it simply, the grease is slightly toxic, and pretty much coats any basic weapon the clockwork horrors use.

    The only truly positive thing I can say about these clockwork horrors, is that because of their all-metal construction, their bodies are worth considerable amounts of money just for metal content alone.  The copper horrors contain about 50gp worth of copper, and the steel horrors are worth, easily, 100gp each.

    I cannot comment on the intelligence of the copper horror that was captured, as I was never able to communicate with it, but it did spend a great deal of time trying work it’s way out of it’s cage (which, being rendered limbless, it could not do), all the while clicking loudly (which I believe was it trying to broadcast an S.O.S.).  The methodical way that it examined (and tested) the cage, the area surrounding the cage, myself, and my assistants leads me to believe that it was probably fairly intelligent.

    As for weaknesses, I found the machine to have a very slight magical aura.  A dispel magic spell (targeted on the horror itself) caused the machine to be paralyzed for a short period of time (1 round per level of the caster) before recovering.  The machine appears to be immune to any kind of spell that affects a living mind (like charming, hypnotize, or fear) or a living body (like poison, cure/cause wounds, or polymorph other).  In addition, electrical damage appears to have no effect on them, as well.

    To summarize:  Based on what I have observed from the nonfunctioning wrecks I was allowed to study, as well as the information gathered from talking to the Skull Collectors themselves, it is my opinion that clockwork horrors are an incredibly organized, terrifyingly dangerous, worryingly industrious, and spookily dangerous pack of mechanical monstrosities.  I am of two minds when it comes to the clockwork horror.  The part of me who is a machinist would give half my beard to have several of these machines to study.  I could basically devote my life, as well as the lives of my children, my grandchildren, and my great-grandchildren studying one of these things without working out how they work in their entirety.  However, the more rational part of my mind realizes that these things are ungodly dangerous.  I believe that even leaving the tiniest part of these machines intact could be hazardous to the future.

    There is one more thing I really, truly believe:  The person who actually created the Clockwork Horrors is either a mad genius or a pathetic whacko.

    Battle of Dorylaeum: Thursday Night

    Reminder that the miniatures battle (Battle of Dorylaeum from the First Crusade) will be held on Thursday evening, January 8th, from 6:30pm to no later than 9:30pm.    Let me know if you're coming.

    Saturday, January 3, 2015

    Gamer Artwork

    I found this interesting blog post about the original authors of DND drawing their own pictures. It makes me feel better about us doing our own art.

    Bandits Disband

    Now that Clovis the Venturer has taken control of Yoesville, things are much better. The bandits have given up and the population is back to normal. Also, Clovis is making more money and has moved all the Hydra forces to Diggers. That means that he can still pay the Thunderbolt Legion and get a hefty profit from his domain as well as his new restaurant...Steak on a Stick. This is a fancy new restaurant in Yoesville that uses the recipes discovered in the magic item deck. Stop by and get a Steak on a Stick today!