Posts Tagged With: kitbash

Long time no see…

Yeah, life did get pretty crazy there for a bit. I don’t think it has really gotten any less crazy, but at this point I’m starting to acclimate…

The AD&D game is on hold, after the switch to the new setting we had a great time starting the Slaver series, pretty much trouncing through A1. But due to the chaos I was basically burned out and when my spouse was ready to take over running a “Cybertraveller” (Cyberpunk 2020 and Traveller mashup) game we had an extra bit of chaos thrown into the works and we had to cancel that plus pretty much all formal group gaming.

For the last few weeks my son and I have been playing in our shared Dark Heresy game. Itself a bit of mashup because it has been combined with the rest of the FFE WH40K games. It is just my son and myself because my spouse and our friends really don’t have much of a desire to play in it’s the dark future setting.

This Friday past we (my son and I) went to see Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and I was struck by how much the vaguely steampunk setting would work in a low-tech Dark Heresy setting. The witches in the film are excellent examples of Chaos-taint, and the steampunk-esque weapons certainly had a WH40K feel to them.

And that had me thinking.

Why couldn’t the setting of 41st millennium be re-imagined? It doesn’t have to actually be so unrelentingly god-awful and dark, that’s a function of how the Imperium works – and there are certainly plenty of examples of how there is definite scalability to that even in the official universe. So I’ve starting think about how everything could stay the same but at the same time be massively different…

I have a couple of very interesting ideas, and much of it involves delving into the apocrypha of the WH40K setting – not hard because I was playing 40K back in the days of the original Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader rules. So I’m going to be using this space to talk about this alternative setting, which has it’s start in bright hope of the Great Crusade, before the dark days of the Horus Heresy and the slow descent of the Imperium into madness and chaos…

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Fight! (1e)

I was kind of struggling for a title for a post about initiative.

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away – some of us dropped that gawd-awful initiative system from 1E and went to a d10 system – but not the almost as bad stupid one from 2E. So when I started up running AD&D again I went back to “good version” – and I actually tweaked it again because I thought about it fixed a couple of problems in the continual drive towards “simpler and more evocative” – and I have some serious thanks for KB, who contributed some of the rules for two-weapon fighting from games he’s played previously.

Here it is, in all of it’s simplicity – NOTE: There are four “phases” of a combat round: Declaration, Pre-Rounds, The (Main) Round, and Post-Rounds and characters all roll individually – monsters I tend to roll in easy to figure out groups and only try to keep track of special NPC’s (leaders, spellcasters, etc) individually.

  • Declaration: Players must declare attacks, spellcasting, movement, modes of attack, parrying, other actions, etc. and then roll Initiative.
  • Pre-Rounds: This is a for the “faster than fast” – Specialized Archers Opportunity Attacks, Weapons of Quickness, the first attack for creatures under a Haste spell, etc. These attacks or actions are simultaneous.
  • The (Main) Round: This is a time frame of one minute made up of 10 segments of 6 seconds apiece. All normal combat and spell-casting occurs during this phase, and Initiative is rolled to determine when actions occur. Other actions, unless determined by the DM, occurring on or start occurring on rolled Initiative. In the event of simultaneous Initiatives, another d10 is rolled (no modifiers) and lowest roll goes first – a tie results in truly simultaneous actions.
  • Post-Rounds: This is the time frame, when “slow” things occur. Some of unwieldy Great Weapons attack in Post-rounds, some Zombies attack in Post-Rounds, people trying to move and attack without charging into combat tend to attack in Post-Rounds. These acts or attacks are simultaneous.

For Movement:

Any character may move one of four ways:

  1. Charge into physical combat with a target with a Full Move on their Initiative (1d10, modified for Dexterity)
  2. Take a Half-Move and attack as normal in Post-Rounds.
  3. Take up to a Full Move on their Initiative but they may not engage with any target voluntarily.
  4. May take a Quarter-Move, Opportunity move by sacrificing an attack.
    • Example 1: Dexterity 16 (-1 Initiative): The character decides to Charge into combat, the players rolls a 2 on the d10, so the character charges and attacks on Segment 1 after a Full Move.
    • Example 2: Dexterity 18 (-3 Initiative): The character is Invisible and decides to try and sneak around the target for an even more effective Backstab attack. The player rolls a 5, and takes a Half-Move on Segment 2, and then is allowed an attack in Post-Rounds.

For Psionics:

Psionic Attacks and Defences occur during the (Main) Phase, only a single attack may be made unless the character wishes to “trance out” in which case they may attack every segment (as long as Psionic Attack Strength lasts). Attacks on tranced characters may attempt for surprise with a bonus of +6 to the roll.

Psionic Minor Disciplines, Major Sciences, and Grand Arts take effect in Pre-Rounds – unless contingent upon other effects (e.g. Energy Control).

For Melee and Missile Combat:

If using a single weapon, roll 1d10, use the standard Initiative modifiers for Dexterity (and anything else), but modify down, towards 1. You cannot modify to go before 1. All attacks occur in that segment.

    • Example: Dexterity 18 (-3 to Initiative). Players rolls a 7 on the d10, that character attacks in Segment 4.

If using dual weapons, roll a 1d6 for the primary weapon, and use the standard Initiative modifiers for Dexterity (and anything else), but again modifying down towards 1 (and again, you are unable to modify below 1). Then roll a 1d4 and add it initiative for the primary weapon – that is the Initiative for the secondary weapon. All attacks for each weapon occur in the segment in which it attacks.

    • Example: Dexterity 17 (-2 to Initiative). Player rolls a 4 on the d6, the primary weapon attacks in Segment 2. The character rolls a 1 on the d4 and the secondary weapon attacks on Segment 3.

For Spellcasters:

Subtract the casting time (in segments) of the Spell from 10. Roll 1d10 and modify as if  in Melee combat. If the resulting number is lower, the spell-casting starts in that segment – otherwise the spell goes off at the end of segment ten and starts in the original segment.. If damaged during spell-casting the spell is ruined, it is lost if a saving throw vs. spell is failed.

    • Example: Dexterity 12 (no modifier). The spellcaster is casting a 3 segment spell, and the player rolls a 5 on the d10. Since a 5 is lower than a (10-3) 7, the spellcaster starts casting in Segment 5, and the spell goes off at the end of Segment 7.

All in all, a pretty simple and unified system.

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A Giant Among Elves… (4 Sessions so far)

And yes, Tier is – a seven foot tall, five inch (or so) tall Grey Elf.

There is a story behind that actually. Way back in Session #6 there was an Obelisk, and it ended up sending three characters off. Tier ended up in the Shadowlands, what somebody inventing the Shadowfell must have plundered from my brain while I slept – except mine is far, far cooler. In that session he gained a point of Constitution, but also four inches (taking him to a solid 6’6″) in the process.

In any case, Tier ended up captured by slavers, and after being run through his paces at the local ludus and earning the sobriquet “Cries for Blood” he was purchased by the master sh’dai swordsman known as Darkness at Noon, the Dueling Hawk of the mysterious lilim called Gyrmawlkyn, the Lord of Hali, Master of Carcosa, and Bearer of the Dread Sword of the Hyades. Taken back to Carcosa, he trained for a short period of time with both Darkness at Noon and the albino mage called Ice and after ten successive (and obviously successful) bouts was granted an audience with the odd creature who owned him.

Tier had been informed previously that the Lord of Hali had a habit of training gladiators and then sending them to the great Arena at Khazan where they would have the opportunity to fight for their freedom. His reasons for this are unknown, but it seems to play into his political machinations in the Halls of the Ebon Council and his rivalry with the dread Leo’trahh, Grand Maestra of Death, and Demi-Empress of Khazan and it’s environs. Upon his audience, Tier was granted the choice to stay in the service of the Lord of Hali or the opportunity to travel to the blood-stained city of Khazan and fight there for his freedom. Tier chose to travel to Khazan, and was told that in the event that he won his freedom he was welcome to return as he wished to take service or merely to guest for a time. Taking both his leave and a selection of advice from Darkness at Noon, Tier then traveled to Khazan and entered the Arena.

Now, understand that I have essentially a direct AD&D analog to the T&T module, rolling the same tables and having the same events and odd possibilities for non-combat resolution of various of the rolled encounters. It also gives the ability to purchase enchantments and spells for his weapons at a high cost – as well as needing to pay for healing. This certainly proved incredibly valuable for Tier, because his first two encounters were possibly the two worst in the game. All he has to do is win three battles and he’s free – and at that point gets the chance to sign up for seven more in order to try to win an audience with Leo’trahh.

The first battle was with the with a shoggoth. Yes, a Shoggoth. In T&T, this is a crazy gawd-awful creature – in AD&D it’s darn near as bad (I happen to have the good edition of Deities and Demigods) and when I combine some of the elements from Call of Cthulhu it’s certainly one of the nastiest things you can run into. But the module give the player a small chance to win the fight without even having to engage in combat, a successful Intelligence check and Luck check grant the player not only the knowledge that shoggoth’s enjoy piccolo music but the presence of a piccolo on hand! So there is one shoggoth dancing ponderously on the sands of the arena to the great amusement of the crowd – and Tier winds his first fight.

Needless to say, the odds were far against Tier this fight and he got a roll on the “Special Magical Weapon” table instead of getting a monetary award. It is worth saying that Arena of Khazan was kind of notorious for having some incredibly overpowered magical weapons as potential rewards off of this table – and when I say overpowered I mean that these would likely be considered very unbalanced artifacts in many settings. T&T was far more four-color than most games though, and I’ve always liked them. Heck, I recognize a couple of them from SD’s world – so I know how some people managed get ahold of them!

In any case, Tier was granted a “Great Kris” for his valor and luck – it is a +3 Elven Shortsword that grants the wielder immunity to 1st- through 3rd-level spells. Powerful, but not massively so compared to some of the things I could have rolled up…

So then we are on to round number two, and what does my son roll up?

A Balrog.

It’s kind of a toss-up if a shoggoth or a balrog is worse in T&T, but imagine a cross between a Type VI and a Fire Giant and you pretty much have it in a nutshell. Now, in the module, the Balrog is so sure of itself that it just stands there and lets the character strike first – actually challenges them to. Tier is no idiot, he takes his chance and runs up to the damn thing and lashes out with sword and dagger (being a two-weapon fighter). This thing has 90HP, and through a combination of pre-bought spells boosting his weapons and two fantastic rolls (I swear, his dice are blessed at times) he nails the thing for 66HP of damage – and then in the following round beat the things initiative and do the 24HP of damage needed to drop it.

If I had false teeth I would have dropped them in my lap, he’s a 4/4 Fighter/Mage with 32 HP and he just killed a roughly 20HD creature.

The crowd goes wild, and off he trots up to claim his reward – which is another roll on the Special Magic Item table. This is where I really had to sort of adapt something, so the “Bottle of Warrior Juice” (which doubles the characters Strength and Constitution in T&T) became the “Elixir of Ares” and there a 50/50 chance that it will give the player 1-3 levels in a Fighter class or grant them a +1 to Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution. Tier, of course, rolls the attribute bonus and given his already existing stats now has a Strength of 19, a Dexterity of 18, and a Constitution of 19.

But… I rule that this also increases his height by 1d12 inches – and he rolls a 11.

So now we have a 7’5″ tall elf.

I wish I could say that his third fight was as exciting. There was a beautiful elvish mage of some sort in a silver robe with a silvery-grey staff, after spurning the opportunity to either spare her or throw himself at her mercy – she let loose three salvos of five Magic Missiles apiece and Tier was done for (somebody forgot about his Great Kris)…

Luckily he had reserved some cash for this event and he was saved from being monster-chow, but having lost that fight, he still had to win one more before he was free.

It was a kobold.


So, with his hard-won equipment and prizes, plus a paltry 100sp tossed to him for winning his “fight” with the kobold, Tier has been released into freedom in the great city of Khazan, on the borders of the Shadowlands and Great Realm of the Dead. He’s not exactly sure how to get home, or what would happen to him when he managed to get there, but he has his freedom and a rather high level of notoriety!

We’ll see what he does next – this was kind of perfect set of crazy events for a 14-year old. Hopefully he can maintain his run of luck!


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Barrow Downs – Session #2

So, last weekend we wrapped up the first adventure and module of the campaign, Scourge of the Howling Horde, the 3E introductory module that I adapted for the game. My friends SS (Smor) and C (Jezebel) were back up for the holiday weekend and while my son MR (Tier) was visiting his mother we decided to finish the adventure off anyways since I wanted a bit more practice before starting the campaign”formally” with the regular gaming group.

They broke it.

Ok, they didn’t exactly break it – certainly my House Rules make things a fair amount more survivable – but they managed to come up with an entirely reasonable idea that is never mentioned as a potential method of players “solving” the module. Namely, after sneaking into the guard room (essentially the first encounter area past the front gate) they set up a redoubt, blew a horn and essentially let the goblins come to them rather than trying to sneak around and encounter things piecemeal.


Jezebel was posted with her longbow (specialized) behind the table opposite the open door. Frater Nikolai and Smor stood on either side of the doorway with drawn weapons ready to attack creatures as they came through, and Illya was a “flying guard” waiting out of sight to engage anything that survived all of that – or run out and act as bait with his superior movement if needed. They sent the Mikus and Astrin (who had already done their jobs by taking out all of the guards at the front gate and in the guard room) to watch the front gate, along with Brother Kyril to keep him out of trouble, and make sure nothing snuck up on the group – the plan being that if anything attacked from that end, they could immediately fall back and hole up in the guard room with the others (supported by the Brother Kyril the Healer).

So the party took the narrow, twisty passages and used them to their advantage – the goblins would be forced to come down a short tunnel essentially one at a time, and the hope was that the goblins would just come running without much thought and be slaughtered as easily as they were the last time.

That isn’t quite what happened.

First, there were Redcaps here (e.g. Hobgoblins, the goblin elite) and they are way smarter (or at least battle-wise) than your average goblin. The first guy who responded (a subchief) took one look at a half-elf with a longbow at the far end of the corridor in what was supposed to be a guard room and called for help, essentially rousing the entire place (which, in truth, wasn’t that much in the way of goblins anyways). Now the party realized that the initial part of the plan had failed somewhat but – and here is the important point – they stuck with the plan.

It was a solid plan, they had great cover, good position, and while it might get kind of dicey they were certainly in a better place than anywhere else they might be (like running away through the hills while the goblins chased them). So after awhile (several rounds), and some maneuvering by the goblins, they send four normal goblins charging down corridor and into the room. Two are essentially cut down by Smor and Frater Nikolai as they run through the door after a short exchange of blows, and then the next two manage to burst into the room. As Illya moves to engage them, Smor throws his axes at them (missing), Jezebel stays behind the table, and a couple of Redcaps take up position at the far end of the narrow corridor (all of 40′ away from her and 30′ away from the door and the waiting barbarian and cleric) and they start lobbing arrows at each other – and the goblin shaman starts casting a spell which ends up going off in the following round (the goblins consistently rolled horrible initiative).

The following round there is another flurry of arrows, the two goblins in the room don’t have a chance to do much, Smor and Frater Nikolai stay where they are at trusting Illya to do his thing (and afraid of a rush from the Redcaps which are way tougher than regular goblins), and then the Sleep spell the shaman has cast goes off. Now I interpret this as such, Smor is a 1+ HD creature, Illya is a 2+ HD creature (2 HD as a Monk), Jezabel is a 2+ HD creature (2 HD for Ranger), and Frater Nikolai (who has been doing most of the damage to the goblins so far rather than the barbarian) is a 1+ HD creature – plus there are the two goblins running around. The goblin shaman rolls like crap – and drops his own two goblins in there, plus Frater Nikolai (not enough rolled to take down Smor as well, I said it was crappy).

This sparked a bit of heroics – Snor watches the cleric and the two goblins drop and assumes it is magic and immediately charges the redcaps with their shortbows at the end of the corridor. Illya runs over to Frater Nikolai to check on him and starts trying to wake him up, while Jezebel runs out and starts killing the two sleeping goblins. The next couple of rounds have Smor swinging at goblins with his war axe in a little tint corridor and missing, the goblins swing at him and missing, the shaman rolling horrible initiative and starting to cast a spell at Smor who sees it starting to happen and retreats back down the corridor – where Illya has managed to wake Frater Nikolai and Jezebel has killed the two goblins and gotten back behind the table.

Meanwhile, back at the front gate…

Ok, so the big scary monster for the “end of the module” has been roused because of the alarm, snuck out of it’s lair and is finally managed to creep it’s way to the front gate. In the module it’s a Very Young Black Dragon – I don’t have dragons like that, but I do have “Swamp Drakes” (all the same fun, minus the wings) and hit point and hit dices wise it looks like it should be a Sub-Adult (18HP). More than old enough to Detect the three people with Hide in Shadows abilities who are trying to hide (only one of which who succeeded, but they’re all first level…) so she pokes her head down into the entry crevasse and we roll for Surprise – nobody is “surprised” but damn they sure are terrified!

That is one of those great DM moments, where the reveal of the big monster occurs and there is a collective OMFG from the entire table! The irony that it was going to encounter the weakest warriors in, plus the primary healer of, the group was not lost on the players…

In any case, Mikus and Brother Kyril go before the Swamp Drake – Mikus throws a couple throwing knives and actually manages to score a hit, rolling decent damage, Brother Kyril hopes he survives this, the Swamp Drake breathes and on a random chance targets Brother Kyril instead of Astrin – this was probably a mistake on it’s part, but it’s a reasonable choice based on what it knows. Mikus and Brother Kyril both blow their saves and go down – Brother Kyril immediately starting to heal both from his “Last Gasp” (as a Healer) and his psionic cell adjustment (which will drain him down to 0 Psi Strength trying to heal him if need be) and then Astrin unloads a full salvo of five rounds from her Darter at it, scoring another four hits (short range is quite nice with Darters). The Swamp Drake survives this round and turns to look at Astrin…

Who wins initiative and unloads another five rounds into it – hitting with two, and doing the final 5 HP of damage needed to kill it. The swamp drake slides to the ground with an audible thump – whereupon Astrin pulls out a big dagger and works at making sure it’s dead. Brother Kyril manages to get to Mikus before he expires, and Mikus eventually gets up and makes a point of kicking the crap out of the dead drake – doing his bit to make sure is dead as well.

Back to guardroom…

At this point there is a Mexican Standoff. The party doesn’t want to rush the Redcaps, and the Redcaps have run out of cannon-fodder goblins to send in (The party killed like 11 goblins the previous day saving the wagons, and they’ve now killed another ten here – two at the gate, four in the guardroom, and the four that were sent in). The module notes that the goblin shaman is willing to parley, and really wants to get rid of the Swamp Drake that has set up shop and is terrorizing the goblins into attacking the nearby townspeople and local travel at a far greater and faster rate than they ever would otherwise (thus staying below the radar and not having, well, groups of adventurers coming through and trying their best to slaughter all of them) so after a couple of rounds, with visions of Pirates of the Carribbean running through my head, “Parley..?” comes floating down the corridor to the group along with the one wounded Redcap kicked back into view waving a vaguely white-ish piece of cloth (all the while trying to get back out of sight of the half-elf with the bow unsuccessfully as they keep pushing him back into view)

After a short discussion in which the barbarian just wants to keep killing greenskins, Frater Nikolai agrees and the Shaman walks out (pushing the wounded Redcap with the “flag”) in front of him. A short negotiation occurs, in which I evidently roleplay the shaman brilliantly, because I speak with such a thick and incoherent accent that all the *players* can initially decipher is “drake” “kill” and “peace” after my somewhat rambling explanation of what is going on and what the goblins want. After some more negotiation, which the barbarian almost blows by starting to wander off and “investigate” before he’s reined back in, the party agrees to kill the drake in exchange for all of it’s treasure and a promise that the goblins will stop attacking the village (which is what they were hired to insure).

The group sends Illya out to get the rest of the party – and there is much amusing banter as he discovers them sitting around the corpse of the Swamp Drake, resting post-combat and healing. The goblins, amazed but happy, keep up their end of the bargain, the party spends a day or so packing up the drake’s hoard, and they return to town with much fanfare.

I considered the module broken for a couple of reasons – one, the way it was organized made just this sort of thing possible. The goblins really had no back door, and the drake was really pretty wimpy (possibly wimpier than it would have been in 3E, but I didn’t want to totally out-class the group). Two, the group managed to totally avoid any of the trick/trap encounters and the ensuing whittling down of the groups capabilities (1E is all about resource management…)

Now, on the other hand, by doing things the way they did they also missed out on essentially all of the magical items and a useful non-mangical/non-cash items. These were either in the trick-trap areas, or they were being carried and used by the important Redcaps or the Shaman. So while party made some money, they only walked out with an unknown magic ring and an unknown magic cloak, plus about 225sp (silver standard, a merc makes about 30sp a month here and a broad sword costs about the same). So while it was lucrative, it could have been much, much more rewarding.

I decided to go back to my old way of doing XP, which is a combination of regular AD&D XP rewards for killing creatures, plus the Palladium RPG chart for good ideas, role-playing, and useful actions. This tends to make the first couple of levels go pretty quick for groups that are interesting in any type of role-playing or planning (which this one was). That said, Frater Nikolai jumped to 3rd level, Illya to 2nd level, Mikus to 3rd level, and Astrin to 2/2/2 level. Brother Kyril didn’t do much talking or doing, so he’s plugging along at 1st, and Tier is still at 2/1 level from the pre-game stuff that we have done. Steve and Cami aren’t going to be regular players, so I let them bump up to 2nd level – this would have been close anyways for Smor (he really did some key things and Steve was instrumental in planning the assault) but Jezebel got a real break, she was really about half-way through her levels. But I figure the next time they come up and play, the rest of the group will be either far past them and the timeline will be such that it is not unreasonable to assume that they’d managed to advance that bit. This also let both of them feel like they accomplished something. All-in-all, everyone enjoyed themselves a great deal, and that is what was important.

But all of that advancement has had me thinking of level training. Now the costs in the DMG are absolutely crazy (1500xLVLx1to4!?!?!?!) and I know that I had people go up levels relatively easily. But I’m torn on the idea of training costs… I think I had Fighters and Thieves train at the “attack matrix breaks” (3rd, etc. for Fighters, and 5th, etc, for Thieves), and then had Clerics and Mages train when they gained new spell levels – but I’ll be damned if I can remember what I charged for it. Quite honestly, in the latter stages of AD&D in my campaign the player-characters tended to be working for other people or organizations and I’m sort of thinking that training costs were rolled into the rewards for doing their jobs.

That might make for a nice intro into the next game – Frater Nikolai may have been sent off to help some area as a way of paying for his last bit of training…



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More Session #1 Thoughts

So, one of the most salient parts of the first session was a short combat with goblins and given that it was the first real combat for AD&D that I’ve run in years and I was both amazed at how quick and easy it was. The two things that really, really stood out was that surprise was deadly.

The group was up against five goblins that had surrounded a couple of wagons. I outfitted the goblin, weapon-wise, with what I remembered from my old game. I made a mistake in giving them the AC listed in the module (AC 8), I didn’t remember until Monday or so that I had shifted things down to about AC5 or AC6 “back in the day” but I’m not sure if this would have mattered.

A free round of action by virtue of the character’s surprising the goblins essentially decimated them – the combination of melee, missile weapons, and a Sleep spell that took out two of them. I actually ended up adding another six goblins because it was so anti-climactic and the band took them out in short order as well.

Now in part, this was due to some lucky rolls on the part of the party, they pretty much won out on initiative rolls the following two rounds. I use individual initiative rolls for characters, group initiative for non-leader monsters, and this can really swing a battle one way or the other when one side starts out with an advantage.

It also did an excellent job of confirming (again) the value of superior distance weapons. Between a longbow and two darters, the party far outclassed the goblin with their shortbows, and they had already managed to get their tanks into melee combat to pin folks down and do some damage of their own. It was a quick and bloody fight, and the most damage the party took was from fumbled arrow by Jezebel that caught Tier in the back as he tried to engage the goblins in melee.

That was the other bit of the rules that was interesting – criticals and fumbles. There were a couple of criticals (one of which was minimum damage and ended up doing the least amount of damage during the combat), and a couple of fumbles. As might be reasonable against goblins, the fumbles were much more memorable. An arrow in the back of a comrade, a darter that misfired, and a darter than jammed (thus turning into a very expensive paperweight). Goblins are so little that a critical is almost a waste. At 4HP (I always run with average HP, rounded up) one good hit will kill them in any case and even a couple of light hits will probably take one out. It’s going to be interesting to see how other combat plays out as we see some bigger humanoids, or combat with creatures – this is matching up to dim memories of characters romping through the “normal stuff” and then sweating blood when the supernatural creatures or the evil spell-casters came out play…


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Barrow Downs Campaign… – Session #1

Sounds kind of like a Tolkien-esque game, but really I just think it’s a nice riff off of the first module I’m running the group through, Scourge of the Howling Horde, where the little village is named “Barrow’s Edge” and I have a handful of beginner modules that would fit in pretty well I think.

Plus, of all the things that I can do quickly and easily, whipping up random tombs and barrows to loot is pretty damn easy. My biggest problem is that I long ago determined that in a world that had actual undead, who in the hell would actually bury them? The standard cultural custom for humans is to actually burn them – though I did end up positing a couple of millennia “barring” of undead in “the Heartlands” so perhaps this custom died out at some point as being un-needed.

Kind of makes a nice adventure point if “the old ways” are now so abhorrent that it would be a horrific sin of some sort to burn your dead… Hmmm… I’ll have to keep this in mind for the eventual character death…

So the group consists of six PCs and two NPCs:

Mikis (CN Human Thief) – From “the City”, he’s here because “he needed a vacation” – fast. The reasons for his much-needed vacation have been left for future development. He’s a bit mercenary, and a bit self-centered, but he is well aware that having a group around like this is good for staying alive.

Smor Bjornssen, son of Bjorn Tharlssen, son of Tharl Svenssen, son of Sven Arekssen (LN Human Barbarian) – From the Northern Marches, he’s the son of a Jarl and he and his brothers have been sent off to learn how to lead men by following leaders! Honorable to perhaps a fault, he’s quite suspicious of anything that smacks of magic, like the Fey…

Jezebel (NG Half-Elf Ranger/Druid) – Somewhat local, Jezebel could be described a supermodel not just with hips and tits, but a winning personality as well. She’s kind of socially clueless, buts wants to be helpful, and really wants minions, errr… companions! She has never forgiven her mother for not just sleeping with a human, but then giving her to humans to be raised. She travels with her two animal companions (via an Animal Friendship spell), a pair of hawks named Muerte and Vita.

Halass’n’tiernen aka “Tier” (NG Grey Elf Fighter/Mage) – The son of the heads of the Burning Blade mercenary company, Tier has been sent out to make his way before (hopefully) returning someday to take over. Grey Elves are semi-outcasts of elvish society, living primarily in the Mortal Realms, and are reputed to have lost much of their inherent faerie magic.

Frater Nikolai (LG Human Cleric + Fighter) – A nobleman’s son who originally trained as a warrior, Frater Nikolai is a Lightbringer, one of the priests of the Society of Light, a religion based on working with and for angels to the greater good of everyone. Devout and devoted to the Society, he’s travels with two other members of the Society, though somewhat unusual ones…

Novice Illya (LG High Man Monk/Psionicist) – One of the fabled Warrior-Monks of Endorn Monastery, Illya has left the monastery on an unknown mission and has joined with this small community of the Light in order to protect them and work towards the greater good. One of the legendary scions of Ryl Shantor, Illya has been trained in the psychic arts as well as the skills and talents of a warrior-monk, making him a formidable foe indeed.

Brother Kyril (NG High Man Healer/Psionicist + Thief) – A devout pacifist and member of the Universal Brotherhood of Life, an ancient fellowship that was among the founders of the Society of Light. Brother Kyril is also a scion of Ryl Shantor and a healer of no small skill. What is surprising is that he has forgotten little of his origins in the lowest of classes and his life on the street as a pickpocket in the City.

“Astrin” (?? Grey Elf Fighter?/Mage?/Rogue) – Also known as “the Elf Bitch” by Jazabel who is quite jealous of her significantly greater beauty. Astrin is a bit of mystery, she seems to a friend of Tier’s, though they met rather recently, and Mikis and Brother Kyril have confirmed that she’s “a friend of the Family” but she also seems to have been a rather recent arrival to the City before the campagn started and she has a bit of a foreign accent. She has the bearing of a noble, and seems quite accustomed to her creature comforts, though for anyone could guess it’s an act designed merely to get under the skin of Jezabel.

The group made thier way to the small town of Barrow’s Edge, where there was word that adventurers were needed. Rescuing a gnomish merchant by the name of Stenna Silvercoin from a group of eleven goblins that had attacked her wagons, she offered them credit at her store if they would accompany her safely to the very town that they were headed towards. Upon arriving they were offered (and accepted) the princely sum of 500 “coins of the realm”(1) if they could ensure that the local goblins stopping attacking and bother the small town of 100 souls.

After wandering the town for a bit, the group has decided to leave the next morning to go back to the site of the goblin attack and try to track the goblins back to their lair…



(1) Yeah, I started this game trying to run with AD&D’s GP standard, and I’ve already decided after a short perusal of the crazy pricing of things that I’m going to go with the silver standard price list I’ve been using for years now. Since a mercenary makes 30 silver a month using that standard, 500 silver is still pretty good – better than 500 GP the original module offered… When staying at the inn for a week costs the same as a longsword (~15gp) assuming that they aren’t drinking any alcohol, you know something is wrong with the local economy…

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