Monday, August 19, 2019

Twenty Years

It was a really great moment to be able to celebrate twenty years of the Lords of Hack. Thanks to everyone who came out to play!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Game Postponed

My mother-in-law passed away this morning, so I think it's best to postpone our game a week.   Next game will be Sunday, March 17.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Characters on WIki

I've got the basic information about each of your characters listed on the Thranconia Hack wiki.   If you wanted to, you could either send the rest of your important character info (Ability Scores, Hp, Xp, gold, important gear, and the like) to me and I could keep it all there, in case you forgot your character sheet.   Or, you could take a picture or scan of your character sheet and keep it uploaded on your character's page (email Andrew for clearances and/or instructions).   I suppose you could even email me you character sheet picture or scan and I could upload it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Post Game Thoughts

I was well pleased about how the Fate Chips worked in play on Sunday.   We had used them before in the Wilderlands campaign, but I was re-convinced about their usefulness.   It gives everybody some more options (healing, re-rolls of saves which everyone did, and re-rolls of hits and max damage which nobody did this time) but imposes a price for the option.   You gain more XP for relying on natural results from which you learn, not on the powers of Fate, which teaches you nothing.

Without the Death Save and the Fate Chips, we probably would have gone through 6 sets of characters each.   I'm old school, but not that old school.

The chips also speed the XP progression along.   If we were using monster XP, it would take forever. to get to level 2.   2-3 sessions is good pace,  1 is too short, 5 is far too long.

   I do like it to be numerically based, however.   Advancement by numbers and the different speeds of the various classes and multi-classes are important choices to make, and having to choose whether to use Fate chips and to lunge for more treasure adds more player decisions, which is always desirable.

I'm also waffling about Encumbrance.   It is always a huge pain in the ass.   I don't really want to have people count pounds etc.   On the other hand, there has to be some limit to carrying stuff.   You really can't be hauling an anvil, a cask of wine, and 27 handaxes.   I don't know what the solution is.
Maybe the 1 item per STR point, a backpack with 6 things counts as 1 item, and clothes, pouches, and things that weigh less than a pound don't count, like we used in 5e might be okay.  I guess we could use that as a default in case something happens to the wheelbarrow guy you're planning to hire.

I'm going to be interested to see how some stuff plays out.  You are going to have to start balancing times vs. money.   Bob is going to want to make scrolls soon,  Dave probably healing potions and perhaps scrolls too.   But, they take time, which causes the Maintenance fees to come due.   Choices and decisions.

You also should pay more attention to your beer supply and consumption.   You didn't drink at all during the first expedition.

Friday, February 22, 2019

The Magic Sword Question

In alignment with Original D&D (1974) and Holmes' Basic (1977), Blueholme gives magic swords bonuses "to hit" but usually no bonus to damage, unless it's against a special enemy,  Other magic weapons DO get damage bonus.

+2 sword:   +2 to hit, that's it.

+2 axe:  +2 to hit and damage

+1/+2 vs trolls sword:  +1 to hit against everyone, +2 to hit and damage vs. trolls.

I keep going back and forth as to whether just to give swords a regular damage bonus like later versions of D&D and like other weapons.  It's not like there are a bunch of other damage bonuses floating around out there.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Campaign Documents

At the Thranconia Hack wiki the House Rules and Gear Book documents have been available.  I've just uploaded the Character Sheet,  Henchmen Sheet and a Real Estate Record sheet (see Bob's Townhouse pictured above).

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Language Choices for Characters

Thranconia Campaign Language Selection:

Common Tongue:  all PC’s and members of henchmen deck automatically speak this language.  It is the language of the Realm, and all human Realm-dwellers can be assumed to speak it.  NPC’s of species available to PC’s (dwarves, goblins etc) cannot be assumed to speak it.

Native Languages:  if a PC is a non-human, he/she will speak their species native tongue in addition to the Common Tongue. 

BONUS LANGUAGES:  for each point of Intelligence over 10, a PC may choose 1 additional language from the list below.

Angelic:  language spoken by Angels, Lammasu and other celestial creatures.
Cyclopian:  language spoken by the Cyclopians
Demonic:  language spoken by Demons, hell hounds and other infernal creatures.
Dwarfish: language of the Dwarves
Elvish:  language of the Elves
Elder Common:  form of the Common Tongue used at the foundation of the Realm 2000 years ago.   The Book of the Law is written in this dialect as are many important pieces of lore.
Feline:  language of the Feline cat-people.
The Forest Tongue:  language used by Satyrs, Centaurs, Pixies, Sprites, Unicorns etc.
Gigantic:  Spoken by Trolls and Giants.
Glyphic: a language spoken by the desert dwellers of olden times, often seen in inscriptions and books of lore, by still spoken by Lamia, Djinni, Efreeti and Sphinxes. 
Gnomish:  language of the Gnomes
Goblin:  language of Goblins, Hobgoblins and Bugbears
Kobold: language of the kobolds
Northern Tongue:  language used by the Berserker tribes of the north, as well as Frost Giants.
Orcish:  language of Orcs, Orkin, Half-orcs, Ettins and Ogres
Sea Speech:  language used by Merfolk, Nixies and Deep Ones
Swampish:  language spoken by Lizardmen, Dagonites and Troglodytes

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Off and Running

Above:  Lothar of the Hill People (foreground),  Sparkles the Talking Pig (background).

Sometimes a campaign pre-synopsis doesn't survive contact with the created characters.  While the overall setting and adventure ideas are still roughly in line,  I couldn't see a Satyr assassin, Cat-man wizard and Berserker fighter-cleric of Crom fitting into the household of Lord Oscar of Valdburg.   In fact, I couldn't see how they knew each other at all.   Therefore, they met on the road, saved a magic pig and found a treasure map.

Instead of having a home/HQ at Valdburg, it turns out that Bob's wizard owns a town house in Passburg, which will now serve as home base.  Now, Crossroads Tavern was the most detailed town I had prepared, but Marlon can't go back there and Bob lives in Passburg, so I need to flesh out Passburg instead.

The map originally led to a very old D&D module B1--In Search of the Unknown.  However, I decided that it was as much trouble to fully prepare the module and understand it than it would be just to make a new dungeon, so I'm doing that instead.  I'll keep the lore the same, but change the map etc.

I also need to have Sparkles the Talking Pig become a regular campaign thing.  Haven't worked that out yet, but am thinking.

Monday, February 4, 2019

New Campaign Coming this Sunday!

For our local lurkers looking for a time to jump back in, now's the time.

I'm going to start the "Thranconia Hack" D&D campaign.

Check out the Wiki for background and rules:   Thranconia Hack Wiki

Check out this particular page to download the House Rules and Gear Book documents:
Thranconia Reference Documents

The rules set is called "Blueholme Journeymann" available as a print on demand from Lulu:
Blueholme Rules

It is a modern clone of Eric Holmes's Basic D&D set from 1977, which is a clarified version of the Original D&D 1974 rules set, limited to levels 1-3 and with some idiosyncratic features.   Blueholme journeyman clarifies a few things and expands the system to level 20.

I've made some modifications to the rules set for the campaign==mostly revamping the weapons data, which was the least useful part of the Holmes game.   I've also folded in a few things from our own past D&D campaigns that we've found useful or fun--such as Awesome Pies,  Fate Chips in place of monster XP, Shield Sacrifice, Cleaves etc.

Maintenance:  I've simplified the maintenance system extensively from our past practices.  Basically, you pay 50gp per level per month to make sure you have food, clothing, shelter and well-maintained equipment, and that's the end of it (which is slightly more than Blueholme for the first 2-3 levels, then less).   (Underlings have a lesser fee that varies based on usefulness).

My plans are to have a variation from session to session whether you'll have a quest, or several leads to follow, or must plot your own activities.

Basic Synopsis:   All players begin as inhabitants of Castle Valdburg, in the Crossroads Region.  This is in an area of 'The Wilds"  in a valley between the Dukedom of Thranconia and Principality of Algart (both part of the The Realm, a world-wide kingdom of Man).  There is a Pine Forest to the North of the Valley, and a large desert to the south.   The independent town of Crossroads Tavern lines nearby.   There are 4 other Castles nearby Valdburg, none of which is really friendly to the others.

Castle Valburg is ruled by Lord Oscar of Longmeadow, a 75-year old knight who was exiled from Thranconia when his friend the last duke died.   The Duke's wife, a shrill, suspicious hag, disposed of all her dead husband's friends.   Lord Oscar has no sons, but a multitude of nephews, grand-nephews and 2nd-cousins of various sorts all who hope to succeed the old man.

The players begin in Oscar's service, but where things lead is unknown.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Battle for the Gnome King's Gold, part 2

Picture 4:  Blue Army crossbow men swarm the Red Army 2-handed weapon men.   Also pictured (on horse) is the Blue Hero, Sir Bluford of Handiopolis (Dex 5, Cha 6) who's helping as best he can, bless his heart.

Picture 5:  tangled melee between the Red Army light cavalry and the Blue Army halberd and light spear men.

Picture 6:  Overhead shot of set-up, showing all terrain features and initial troop positions (and treasure tokens)

The Battle for the Gnome King's Gold January 27

Marlon, leading the Red Army, did battle with Jason, leading the Blue Army to recover the 9 tokens representing the lost gold of the Gnome King.   While Jason scored some notable tactical successes, such as killing the Red Wizard and charming the Red Hero, Marlon emerged victorious when he got 5 of the treasure tokens off board to safety.

Picture 1)  Blue Knights melee with the Red Billmen
Picture 2)  Red Knights Advance between the central hill and a grove of trees.
Picture 3) The Red Knights close in on the Blue Wizard

Monday, January 14, 2019

After Action Report: Janu 13

Marlon, Bob and Dave did board game night on Sunday.

We played 2 cooperative board games:

"Agents of Smersh", which we've played before, but which we flailed around blindly trying to remember how the rules actually worked.   About half way through we got it all under control and managed to win relatively easily.

"Escape from 100 Million BC" where we crashed our time machine and had to search the prehistoric wasteland for missing pieces, and rescue castaways (including Daniel Boone, The Mona Lisa lady and Teddy Roosevelt) who had been sucked into time vortexes, and send them back.  We very narrowly won that one, but returned to a modern Earth that had been covered by flood waters due to all the paradoxes we caused.

Bob also showed us some of the products of his new 3-D printer, which were pretty swell.   I was looking at "Thingiverse" and thought that making a bunch of dungeon tiles might be a good use for the thing.   We'd then have a light-weight but modular way of setting up dungeon games.   I saw a couple types that might be perfect.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

New Campaign and Upcoming Schedule

Game Schedule: after I get Annie back to school this coming Sunday, all my conflicts should be wrapped up.   The game schedule should be as follows.

NEW CAMPAIGN:  I am going to start the Blueholme, Old-School D&D campaign on Sunday, February 10.   I've sort of lost all track of where the 5e campaign was going and what was happening and why.   I need a little more time to get a pack of adventures ready and so forth.

Next Games:

Sunday January 13:  Don't know exactly what we're doing.   Give me a shout out if someone has a board game or two they'd like to do, or if you have something you'd really like to do for 5e.  If no one has any suggestions, I'll try to have a 5e dungeon ready of some sort

Sunday January 27:  I'd like to do a big battle using lots of miniatures and the Blueholme rules, just to see how the chainmail weapons rules mesh with the D&D to hit system, and mostly because I like doing big battles with lots of miniatures.

Sunday February 10:  New Campaign Begins:  character creation (fast!) and first adventure.

If you want to look at the current state of rules and setting for the Thranconia (Blueholme) Campaign: check out the wiki:

Thranconia Hack