Saturday, 4 November 2017

Palace of the Silver Princess Season 2

With the change to Winter time, the kids and I are picking-up our Swords and Wizardry campaign again where we left off half a year ago. Not only that, but one of our neighbor's kids just got into Magic Cards, so he jumped at the chance to join our DnD game when I mentioned it. So the party as it currently stands:

  1. Princessa- Human Fighter with a bastard sword, ring mail and a shot bow. Watch out for this one!
  2. Melech Yisrael- Elf Fighter/Magic User. He carries a scimitar and longbow along with his spellbook
  3. Lavi- Dwarven Fighter/Thief with leather armor,  magic longsword, and light crossbow
  4. Minion- a chaotic Elven thief with a two handed sword who has joined the party for obscure reasons

Gulluvia

Gulluvia City
The party begin in the house of Mooncow the Artificer, a Jeweler(and his daughter) who they had previously saved from the goblins.

The three veteran members wanted to head straight for the Palace of the Silver Princess, while Minion wanted to know where he could earn large quantities of coin. They managed to convince him and the party headed out.

But before they could escape the city, a roving Goblin patrol, led by a huge Bugbear, overpowered them(despite Melech's excellent shooting and successful charming of one of the goblins). They woke up in a house that had been modified as a holding cell.

Together, the party members managed to break the lock and Minion found his sword in a pile of equipment and backstabbed the Orc guard into the netherworld. The party managed to find all their equipment, but gave up on recovering their mounts from among the goblin camp laying siege to the castle in Gulluvia. Instead, the party snuck down an alley and made for the nearest exit from the city, killing a couple wandering Goblins on their way out.

Overland

Kingdom
The party shunned the main road and took the less used path to N'Sau. They avoided fairy trickery at night and chased a bear. After two days' brisk hiking, they arrived at the village. After buying some supplies, they headed North.

While heading through the forest, the party was held up by a band of bandit archers hiding in the trees. Minion managed to sweet-talk them into accepting 10GP and leaving the party alone.


The Palace

Arriving at the palace, the party climbed back up the tower and started searching rooms. They found a room full of spare short-swords but were discovered by an angry looking bugbear. The Thieves jumped to attack him. They dispatched the beasie, but Minion was left wounded and unconscious, so they decided to bunker down in an unoccupied room and heal-up.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Norwegian Metal Campaign

Mythic Norway

While wasting time reading about Black Metal bands on Wikipedia, I couldn't help noticing what great stage names some of these guys have. Building a Norwegian Black Metal band lineup looks sort of like an adventuring party, doesn't it?

    • Fafnir- vocalist
    • Shagrath- guitarist/vocalist
    • Silenoz- guitar/songwriter
    • ICS Vortex- bass guitar
    • Winter- keyboard
    • Hellhammer- drums
"Hellhammer" is a great name for a metal drummer, isn't it? This really makes me want to run a campaign where where the party are a Dark Metal band questing through mythic Norway. What might that look like?

Soundtrack

This is easy. Play some Black Metal music from youtube to set the tone. Burzum, Emperor, and Darkthrone are a good place to start.

The Hook

A strange cultic symbol
The adventure hook is simple. The party is a black metal band. Their last gig got a little too intense. It was a show in the old Cathedral of Nidarosdomen in Trondheim. Suddenly, in the middle of the show, there was a dark flash and some sort of gateway or portal opened up and sucked you in! But to where? It looks like the Norwegian countryside, but, somehow...darker. And there is a strange cultic symbol nearby.

Game System

Pick an old school DnD of your choice.

Character Creation

This should be fun. The party is a band. Have the players create their character,


  1. Pick a really metal name
  2. choose musical specialty
  3. Starting level 3 is good
    1. Since there are no starting weapons, PCs will need to be a bit resilient...
  4. Alignment: choose between Pure Black Evil and Nihilistic Neutral
  5. Choose a class. Some of you may soon discover you've gained strange cultic ability. Choose between Viking, Anti-Cleric, and Witch/Wizard)
    1. Regarding spells, I need to go through the list and find the most metal spell list possible...
    2. DCC Spellburn and Ritual rules would be a good fit
  6. Equipment
    1. your instruments(not too helpful since Mythic Norway doesn't have electricity)
    2. your clothes(probably count as leather, studded, or padded armor?)


Adventure

As DM, you really want to sell the mystery of where they are and how they might get back. Point out how bummed they must feel unable to play their instruments. Have them run into places/people they know, but that are different. Tease them with hints at a way back to the normal world.

As for setting, have strange, run-down castles, haunted forests, bleak snow-covered peaks.

Encounters can include:

  • Huge dumb Trolls
  • Rowdy Vikings
  • Cattle-riding Huldra
  • Pale alluring Nattmara Werewolves
  • Depressive, man-eating Mermaids
  • Ship devouring Krakens
  • Cryptic Witches
  • Hungry Fossegrimen
  • Black-Metal Nøkken
  • Plague-ridden Pesta
  • Forlorn Draugen
  • Cattle-tending Wights
  • Greedy Svartálfar and Female Elves
  • Fanden- the devil himself

Friday, 13 October 2017

ICON Tel Aviv 2017

So, for the second year in a row I had the opportunity to attend the ICON festival for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Role Play in Tel Aviv. It's a yearly 3 day convention held during the Sukkot holiday next to the beautiful Sarona neighborhood(full of parks and restaurants) with fun for all ages. So, what does ICON have to offer?

Sarona

The festival is held next to the Sarona neighborhood of Tel Aviv. This was great for when we wanted to get lunch, and give the kids a break in the playground.

Cosplay

My boysencounter Pikachu!
There's a good deal of Cosplay going on during the festival. It's fun to check out the costumes and take photos with 'celebs'.







Booths

Admission to the booths area is free. The booths are hugely entertaining, with topics including board games, role playing, war games, posters, original art, occult art, 3D printing, toys, comics, and books. There is also a large 2nd hand section. I was especially impressed by the large number of Warhammer 40k hobbyists.








Sword Fighting

The sword-fighting area is also a blast. My boys had a lot of fun there. There are also staged fights between 'serious' cosplayers.






Kids Zone

The kids zone in the Tel Aviv Cinematech campus included:
  • Cardboard castles/mazes
  • Stop-Motion photography area
  • Arts and crafts area
It kept my brood busy for about a couple hours.

Board Game Area

The board games tent costs 10NIS admission. It's a place to try out all the latest board games. I was amazed at all the games being run that I've never heard of. I'm looking forward to trying out this tent one of these years, but I didn't leave myself a couple hours free for this, so it didn't happen...

Convention Schedule

Let's not forget the convention schedule. The first thing I'll point out it that you should sign-up early. This is the second year that I tried signing-up too late and everything was full. What does surprise me is that I don't see any role playing games being run. Are those in the board game section? It seems to be all lectures, films, or fantasy art/writing workshops. Strange...

Well, that's ICON 2017, or at least my take on it. We were there a good 6 hours and had a blast!






Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Supply and Demand in Minos and Airam


So here's another rule extension to our Star Wars/Cyberpunk 2020 mashup, thanks to West End Games' "Galaxy Guide 6: Tramp Freighters", published in 1994.

Chapter Four of the guide contains rules for inter-planet trade in commodities. Planets are categorized by technology level, and commodities by type. Given these two variables, the guide provides a chart with the relative availability of buyers/sellers and market price.

Finding a Seller/Buyer


To find a buyer/seller for a particular type of goods, make a Social skill check based on the availability in the chart. The five levels of availability line up nicely with CP2020's skill check difficulty levels:


  • VH- 10+
  • H- 15+
  • M- 20+
  • L- 25+
  • VL- 30+


For black market good, make a Streetwise skill check instead.

Market Price

The market price is similarly looked up in the table. I'd like to add a random factor though, so roll 1d100-50 and add/subtract that percentage to the price.

Bargaining

Additionally, PCs may be able to bargain their way to a better price. Make a Difficult skill check in Persuasion/Fast Talk. Failure results in a 5% worse price, success yields a 5% better price.

Trying Again

If players aren't satisfied with the price, they can leave the deal and try to find another buyer/seller, but that will take even more time and the availability check will be at +2. Also note that less populous planets or those with well organized cartels may not have another buyer/seller available.

So that's it. I'm looking forward to trying out these rules in next session...

Monday, 15 May 2017

Critical Miss in Hyperspace



Traveling through hyperspace ain't like dusting crops, boy! Without precise calculations we could fly right through a star, or bounce too close to a supernova and that'd end your trip real quick, wouldn't it.

So, we've already played five game sessions of Star Wars 2020 with the basic space rules I posted previously. Those included travel times and fuel costs of hyperspace travel.

That's fine for when everything goes as planned. But things going as planned is boring. Now let's spice things up with some new rules inspired from Galaxy Guide 6: Tramp Freighters

CP2020 Skill Checks

Hyperdrive Mishaps


When making a jump, the PC should make a skill check for their Hyperdrive Tech skill i.e. 1d10+Tech+Hyperdrive Tech at the appropriate difficulty:

  • jumping on known hyperlanes within a sector, make an Easy roll
  • jumping between sectors on known hyperlanes, Average roll
  • under stress or preoccupied, bump up the roll by one level
  • jumping within the sector or between adjacent sectors with no known hyperlane, bump up the roll by one level
  • if they are trying to jump from within another ship while a Rathtar tries to devour their ship, make a Very Difficult roll
  • Hyperdrive Types
  • if they are trying to jump into a planet's gravity well to avoid the planetary shields, make a Nearly Impossible roll 


Hyperdrive Modifiers

The more advanced the hyperdrive, the harder it is to operate. As such, add a modifier to the roll needed:
  • x4 -2
  • x3 -1
  • x2 +0
  • x1 +1
  • x1/2 +2
Mishaps Table


Mishap Severity



If the player misses their check, a mishap occurs. First determine mishap severity

  • Minor Mishaps: Check missed by <=5
  • Moderate Mishaps: Check missed by <=10
  • Catastrophic Mishaps: Check missed by <=15
  • Fatal Mishap: Check missed by >15

Roll 1d6 on the appropriate chart to determine what mishap occurs. Unless you got a Fatal Mishap that is. In that case you flew your ship straight through a star or something similar!

Playtest


Well, we'll have to give these rules a playtest next game session. I'll let you know how it goes! Hopefully without too many fatalities!








Monday, 1 May 2017

How do You Get From Airam to Minos Cluster?

Airam Sector
At the end of Session 5 of our Star Wars/Cyberpunk 2020 mashup, the party expressed the desire to follow up on the lead to Darakin University, on Dorcin, Dorkin System, Minos Cluster. This raises a simple question: how do you get from Airam Sector to Minos Cluster Sector?

With 40 years of Star Wars lore collected and organized on the Internet, one might assume this is an easy question to answer. But one would be wrong. I couldn't find any discussion or map that answers this question fully. There are a number of reasons for this:

  1. Most of the star wars galaxy maps are at a high level, including only major Hyperlanes
  2. Nav Computer at SW Combine calculates distances, but doesn't specify Hyperlanes at all
  3. Airam Sector appears in the Tie Fighter series of Computer games, as well as the Knights of the Old Republic. Neither of these required players to jump between systems so details how to do so seem non-existent
Outer Rim
So now it's time to solve this problem the way any good DM solves problems: by making stuff up!

Galactic Map


From the Outer Rim Map, we see that
  • Minos connects to Elrood and the Rimma Trade Route at one end
  • Minos connects to Kathol at the other end
  • Airam isn't shown as connecting to anything, so we'll need to remedy that
So since Airam's Hinda System has strong political connections to Eriadu(Seswenna Sector), let's put a minor hyperlane there. Specifically:
  1. Hinda(Airam)
  2. Besberra(Cegul)
  3. Rutan(Atravis)
  4. Hydian Way to Seswenna
Minos Cluster
From Seswenna one can then take the Rimma Trade Route all the way to Minos. But that is a rather roundabout way to get from Airam to Minos. Is there a more direct route? For that matter, do the Ugor and Squib both use this route out of the sector for their galactic salvage operations? The Ugor might, being in the adjacent system, but for the Squib it seems a bit out of the way...

Minos Sector Map


Now let's have a look at 19th Level's Minos Cluster Map. I like this as a starting point because he already did a his homework on the Cluster. We see the Cluster has two connections
  • Elrood Sector
  • Kathol- an even remote system

So if there is a more direct route, it is probably going to be via Elrood or Tantra...
Elrood Sector

Elrood Map


Here's a map of Elrood Sector from Operation Elrood. As you can see, the Coyn Route(Rimma Trade Route) passes through the system. There seems to be a lot of asteroids and clouds in the system that would interfere with off-route Hyperspace travel.

As such, it is unlikely there would be a direct route to Airam Sector


A New Hope


So we seem to be stuck. There is only one way out of Airam Sector and it's surrounded by Ugor and Ex-Imperials and it's not really clear how the Squib run their salvage operation. Bummer...

Ah, but then I saw the first line in Wookiepedia describing the Squib Homeworld:
Skor II was a planet in the Squab system and the homeworld of the Squibs. It was located in the Outer Rim Territories just west of the Rimma Trade Route.
Rimma Trade Route
So it seems that Skor II is specifically known for it's proximity to Rimma. So now I can feel justified about inventing a new hyperlane between Airam and Minos.  Specifically, we'll say that the Squib have a route from Squab/Skor System in Airam to Yelsain System in Minos Cluster. Problem solved!

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Star Wars 2020 Session 5- Slain Knights and Broken Steeds

Hey, we got together for another session of Star Wars 2020! So here's what happened...

The Party

First, the party got to add two skill points, due to their past successes.
  • Pigman- a Gammorian beater/scavenger/heavy machine user/starship pilot(Avraham)
  • Art- Ithorian tech Rock gardener, healing(Avi)
  • Lucky- a Gran with many natural talents, good at dodging, explosives, stock market, interstellar navigation, leadership, pharmaceuticals(Lauren)
  • The Wookie- a wookie turret gunner, butt kicker(Joshua)
  • Roy- NPC scavenger from Nocto II(NPC)
  • Snortbert- Gammorian who swore fealty to The Wookie(NPC)

Dead Knight

In session 4, the party was left with a decapitated Knight of Ren and his super rad stealth ship. They started by investigating the ship:
  • An encrypted data cube was found near the pilot's seat. The party didn't know how to decrypt it
  • The party removed the Stealth Generator from the ship and stored it on their shuttle
  • The ship had multiple registrations that it could toggle between, like a smuggler's ship
  • The Ship's Nav Computer had way more locations than the party's shuttle does. In fact, it has many systems all over the galaxy. You can view them here: http://www.swcombine.com/navcomp/ (compare with http://geoawesomeness.com/top-galaxy-maps-ever-best-collection-star-wars-maps/)
  • The party managed to unlock the Ship's Log. It showed that as the party was boarding the ship, it beamed a message to a location on Myloc IV(in Habeen territory)
  • The Ship's log also showed the Ship's route over the past few months:
    Airam Sector
  1. Ilum(Unknown regions)
  2. The Redoubt
  3. Utegetu Nebula
  4. Rago
  5. Ansion
  6. (Ansion to Coruscant)
  7. Coruscant
  8. Perlemian Trade Roune(Coruscant to Brentaal)
  9. Brentaal IV
  10. Hydian Way(Brentaal IV to Eriadu)
  11. Hydian Way(Eriadu to Rutan)
  12. Rutan(Atravis Sector)
  13. Besberra(Cegul sector)
  14. Hinda(entered Airam sector)
  15. Myloc
  16. Nodgra
  17. Myloc
  18. Hinda
  19. Paradise
  20. Nocto
  21. Klaatu
  22. Aiquin4
  23. Klaatu
  24. Nodgra
  25. Myloc

Myloc IV

The party gave the Knight a Burial in Space and landed at the Nharwaak spaceport. There were plenty of Nharwaaks(here since the days of the Zygerrian Empire) and their slaves. The party worked out a shady deal with a local ship dealer. They gave him this shady ship in exchange for a shady(semi-illegal) 1/2 speed hyperdrive! They sold their hyperdrive and were 10,000 credits in the money!

They heard a rumor in a bar about the Nharwaak leader:
"President Tolmaak has a basement collection of Empire military paraphernalia"
Art creeped out the bar patron with the rumor, talking about bombing the president or looking for a data cube hacker. When the man fled, he force jumped to catch him, but rolled a 1, landing squarely on the terrified drunkard, who began to yell. Art left before security could arrive.

The party visited the Presidential Palace to attempt to sell their extra 4 Stormtrooper Armors. They told the concierge that they were art dealers and she made them an appointment for the next day with a member of the presidential staff.

Habeen Territory

In the meantime, the party jetted over to Habeen territory where the Knight had sent a message. They found a remote farm, looking to have fallen into disuse. They captured a spy, and killed another(narrowly missing being on the wrong end of a thermal detonator). They weren't able to get much info out of the First Order fanatic, but his communications equipment had the message from the Knight.
"This is Miro Sen. I'm being boarded. Will be in touch after I dispatch the pirate scum."
 They also found that the spies had been in touch with someone in the Habeen capital, as well as with starships registered to Nodgra System.

As they left, squib scavengers landed and began to loot the place.

Armor

Back in Narwaak territory, the party had an embarrassing interview with the Presidential Staff, who assured them there was no truth in the rumor. They were escorted out by security.

A merchant who heard about the episode offered to buy the armor. The party even got him to show them to a computer expert. When he failed to decrypt the cube, he brought them to an encryption expert who succeed eventually. The party now had Miro Sen's missions from Master Snoke himself:

  • Imperial Survivors in Nodgra- help them take over sector, bringing Airam into First Order
  • Hinda- helping smuggle in arms from Eriadu Tarkins. Make sure they are keeping up their end of the bargain
  • Ilay Squib- try to enlist them
  • Habeen- try to enlist them
  • Nharwaak- crush or subjugate them
  • Ugor- try to enlist them with promises of salvage rights
  • Squib- crush or subjugate them
  • Yoberra- find them and report on them. Can they be used to our advantage? An academic knows how to reach them(Emiel Skoff, Darakin University, Dorcin, Dorkin System, Minos Cluster)