Monday, July 16, 2018

Lamentations of the Serpent Kings 2: And so begins the player deaths.

And now it's time to run Lamentations of the Flame Princess, using Tomb of the Serpent Kings as a campaign kickoff!

Setting: The world is dominated by the ever present and indomitable Great Cities, and those not living in them soak up the spaces around them, living out an attempted feudalism in a world that is leaving them behind. The campaign centers around a noble family trying to create their own niche by sailing around the Great City of Vornheim and settling in some unexplored lands to the south. The party are adventurers looking for money and will take work in helping to break the land to the will of the 'civilized' races.

Ash, Specialist.  Aron's Brother.
Aron, Specialist. Ash's Brother.
Sir Shoosalaw, a gun-toting Kenku. Apparently some kind of Owl-furry. 
Fronk. Forest person(ranger).
Francesca: An anatomist. Enjoys grafting limbs to people. 

A new party member appears??

As Ash and Fronk sat there eating in stunned silence, Sir Shoosalaw stood up and walked into the forest surrounding the ruined city, never to be seen again. He did not leave his pack behind. Ash laid down and decided to rest and recuperate his ears.
The other two sat around wondering what to do, when they heard the disturbing sound of flesh being expertly sliced and torn. Rushing to investigate, they wheeled around a corner of a building to find a terrifying looking woman, calmly dissecting a human body, that of the bandits the party killed and left to rot. 

The meeting was awkward, Francesca was not a talker. She wrote on a slate and had poor charisma, but she offered scientific healing, which did not appeal to the two. Aron suggested she take a look at Fronk's cursed ring-finger. (Unfortunately, the DM did not remember to write that upon finding a cursed ring in the Tomb, Fronk immediately put it on, causing his fingernails to bifurcate). 
Francesca was more than eager to help! A quick amputation and a grafting of the dead hand of the bandit leader would give him a new hand and a new, curse-free lease on life!

Fronk declined. Yes, seeing that Francesca wanted to collect specimens, and was some kind of a """doctor""", it was decided that this madwoman might be good adventuring company, and so the party decided to adventure back into the tomb.  

First Floor: Explored

As the party explored and walked through the areas again, they found shards of bone and shattered rock, but eventually reached the room where the death-skeletons burst out of: Thankfully, there were no extra death skeletons here! They found their dog, though. Poor thing was dea- why is Francesca cutting it open why is Fronk stabbing it in the eye

After determining that skeleton rules don't work the same as zombie rules, a thing that's really more "Romero" than LotFP, Francesca and the party searched the coffins where the skeletons came from and threw the dog's body in one, and waited to see if that something. It did not. After determining that, the party decided to head to the south, and look at the statue of the snake-god. They also noticed large cracks in the floor, and Francesca was very...very intrigued. With some clever sleuthing, a mirror and reflected light, Francesca was able to determine that there was a passageway through those cracks. But...without excavation equipment, what the fuck is the party to do? Fronk decided to take some of the bandit's smashed up wagons and made a few dozen torches using the clothing on the bandits. Fuck it. Francesca took one of the bandit's severed arms and demonstrated her ability to graft limbs onto people, giving herself a third arm. This process was so alien and fucking disturbing(and then devastating, because it actually worked) that the two gained sanity effects. Aron would never sleep again, merely get sleep paralysis and hallucinate while Fronk gained the ability to 'smell' psychic powers.

Tie some rope around the statue and yank, of course. Nobody's really weak, and I liked the idea, even though I'd be much happier if they left, came back with pickaxes but it didn't seem like that was the case, so I ruled that they widened a crack large enough to allow a full body sized person into the roo- Francesca threw a kidney into it and they sat around waiting for something horrible to eat it.

Smart. Veeeeeeeeery smart. Nothing ate the kidney after a time, so the party headed down into the dungeon.

The Second Floor...

As the party carefully walked through the hallway, they came across a pair of statu- Francesca, with her recovered kidney, tosses said kidney at the statue.

Nothing happens. 

-es. Recovering the kidney again, the party inspected the statues, bringing the lantern light closer to reveal a whole mess of statues, six in all, lining the walls. One of the statues, the one now marred in kidney juices, is very off its stand. It isn't where it's supposed to be. The party tried hitting it, stabbing it, pushing it, and pushing it managed to move it to the side, allowing them to pass through into a small abandoned guardroom. There's not much in the way of...anything...there, just some rotting furniture and a "silver icon" which the DM hastily described as a Chinese tael of silver. That's exotic enough because 2/3 players had no idea what the fuck it was. Good enough!

The room didn't have much else. There was a naginata on the far wall, and the party fucked around for a good half an hour real life time trying to determine if removing it from the wall would get them all melted by acid or something. Nope! There's nothing dangerous here. Eventually Aron took it and carried it with him. 

The party continued back into the hallway of snake-men statues and walked into a large open area:

This room was empty, but foreboding. Francesca, with kidney in hand, tied from string around it, and then lowered it(carefully!) into the pond in the centre of the room.

A mummy hand leapt out and wrapped around her throat. Surprise! 
Rolling initiative, the party won through and began to try and figure out how to get this monster off her neck. Attacking wouldn't work, because if they missed, there's only one spot where the sword would go - Francesca's neck, and she wasn't keen on that while she was being choked. Fronk attempted to pull it off, but failed to muster the strength(he also accidentally clicked the "intelligence" button and got a 2, so I ruled that he kind of was just stunned). Aaron was able to pull the creature off and wrap his hand around the thing's wrist with an iron grip.

On the monster's turn, another mummy's hand leaped out of the water and wrapped itself around Fronk's neck. This one strangled the life out of him, and dropped the ranger to the ground. On the second round, Francesca attempted really hard to kill the thing, but she missed and in the hand leapt onto her chest and clawed her down to -1.
Aron managed to stab the creature in his hand for a mere 1 hp of damage, but it chopped the creature up. The other hand clawed at Aron's legs, doing 2 damage and dropping his health in half. Oh fuck. Aron stepped back, and brought his halberd onto the creature as hard as he possibly could, screaming the whole while. It was a hit, and with a simple snikt, the hand was cleaved in two.

Aron desperately tried to give amateur medical care by attempting bushcraft rolls(???) and the jostling and shaking of the character caused the wounds to worsen, and both Francesca and Fronk died. 
(DM's note: I actually lowered the amount of damage the mummy hands do to 1d4 across the board and gave them 1 HD instead of two. As you can see, they're really quite a brutal enemy at level 1! Death and Dying rules in LotFP state that you still live if you're undisturbed for 1d6 hours, and then you awaken. Shaking a corpse and doing CPR you're not trained to do is very unhelpful, and so I ruled that clumsily fucking around with the body would actually harm the PC.)

Aron stripped their bodies, covered them in a blanket from his bedrolls, and then got the fuck out of dodge. He took the cursed ring off of Fronk's finger, too. 

Ha ha, I'm just kidding, Aron decided to go through the far door and down the stairs, triggering a trap and sliding down towards a pit of spikes. Thankfully, Aron got a natural 20 on his save, so I ruled he didn't take any damage. Aron made a note of where the horrible, death-inducing step was and rolled to use his stealth skill, 'sneaking' on an open platform around a statue in the center.
(DM's note: Yeah, I don't think you could really sneak on a place with zero cover or even walls, but I decided to give them a chance).
After noticing the statue and realizing it was starting to move its head and notice he was there, Aron got up and sprinted out of the room, up the stairs, hopped the trap stair, and ta-da! The fuck out of dodge he climbed. 

Enter Rick and Elsie

Aron climbed out of the tomb and stumbled back to where his brother was still recovering, taking a quick ten minute rest. While he did so, a pair of bored adventurers wandered into sight. An elderly wizard and a walking hunk of iron, no wait, that was an extremely heavily armored halfling. 

They introduced themselves as Rick and Elsie, Rick being the wizard and Elsie being the halfling. They were bored adventurers, and once they described who they were, Aron offered up the magical ring he'd pilfered from poor Fronk. As Rick didn't have "read magic" prepared for the day, he decided to try casting it anyway. 

And misfired.

And then rolled to cast a level 9 spell. 

And cast imprisonment. 

He was told to pick a target by the DM, and after some consideration, he chose to cast it on nothing, and so the spell failed. (DM's note: I like the misfire system, but I don't generally like the idea of randomly asploding people's characters because someone else fucked up unless they fucked up in a monumentally idiotic way.)
Aron no longer wanted to know exactly what the magical ring's inscriptions read. But, he did invite these clearly dangerous adventurers into an adventuring pact with him. 
"Sounds retarded. I'm in." said Elsie. The party took a small rest for Aron to heal himself, and then they marched into the dungeon, the brave little halfling making up their vanguard. 

She leaped down through the ground with a clang, which was answered by the roar of the basilisk in room 39, roaring and screaming loudly and angrily, and rattling its chain. Good work! Undeterred, the party discussed for a few minutes whether to go deal with the maybe living statue, or start kicking down the doors to all of these rooms. 

They took to room 15 first, finding a bunch of scrolls(rick pocketed these, not quite wanting to try casting Read Magic again just yet) and a golden and emerald idol, which Aron yoinked. 

Room 16 was mostly empty. And half finished. Without anything good to find, the party moved to room 17 and, seeing a bunch of clay statues, decided to smash them all open. This triggered a roar from the Basilisk again, but nearer, and the party determined the sound was coming from inside the hou- from a secret passage one of the statues sat over. As they debated going through it, a small and unfriendly party of fungus goblins(which Elsie decided were gnomes) arrived. Only three, and not ready to fight, they studied the strange creatures traipsing around their lands. Rick managed to get some particulars of the Goblin Language down with a successful languages check and 20 minutes of listening to them chitter, and they were so "honored" by this, they offered to make him king. The party was far, far too suspicious to take them up on that offer, so the goblins withdrew, not annoyed with them, but not friendly with them either. Indifferent. 


Easy goblin fight avoided, the party ventured down through the secret passage and entered the Basilisks lair. A large chain coiled around the room and ended up spiraling into the darkness, so Rick lit a torch and threw it across the room. The basilisk was smart enough to know what they were doing, and hid from them, and then rolled to sneak up on Rick. I gave it a 2 in 6 chance, due to the large clanking chain, and it failed its roll. Rick heard it, and threw up his hands to defend himself. The basilisk fixed him with a mighty stare and petrified him on the spot. Aron managed to shoot it with a crossbow, but then he decided it wasn't a smart call and they both booked back through the secret entrance. The basilisk was unable to follow and distracted by its prey: Rick's statue. Bye Rick! 

Enter Orik

The pair resumed exploring the dungeon. They opened the door to 2, and Aron walked in and triggered a lighting bolt trap, taking 1d6 damage and surviving with the a single hit point.
(Yes, it's supposed to do 4d6, but I feel this early in the dungeon, it should be a slap that can kill you, not a guaranteed greasing)
After testing multiple times, the party decided it was safe, and Aron stole the electrum plate for his own selling.  They investigated the Spell Scroll inside the coffin after opening it carefully.
"Let's give it to the wiz-oh."

 Elsie wanted to hide it, Aron snatched it up as all good adventurers do. While they updated their inventories, another presence in the Tomb alerted them, and they whirled around to find a grinning armored Dwarf with a paper crown on his head. He introduced himself as Orik, king of the Gnomes(what gives you the impression they're gnomes people?) and offered to join them as a happy, kill-happy adventurer. They agreed that maybe a dwarf wouldn't be so bad to have in the party, and so they went. 

The party opened up room 13, noted it was collapsed and they didn't feel like spending precious lamp oil slowly picking away at it, and marked it as a "later" on their notes. They proceeded to room 14. 

I don't know why they forgot that this is tomb of dangerous shit, but Elsie opened up the coffin with such speed I almost gave her a suprise round. 

It was a black pudding, quivering and bubbling with various rotting bones inside of its body, a mummification by magic gone awry.
"NO! IT'S A SKELETON JELLY!" shouted Elsie. Elsie was not right, but eh, close enough. The thing lunged at her and slapped uselessly against her armor, while Orik found that slashing at goo isn't quite as effective as he thought it would be. 
Ellie backed up and blocked the entrance of the room with her body, while Aron struggled to make a quick molotov cocktail with her turn. The second round consisted of Ellie again heroically being hard to kill, and then the two, frantically working on an explosive device, hucked it at the pudding, setting it on fire and doing double damage to it. The damage was only 2d4, because I have no idea how much being set on fire would do, and since the pudding is only permanently killed by fire(and because there was 6 minutes left before the session ended) the creature took double damage and burnt up in a crisp. 

Wrapping Up

The party debated on next steps, but decided that heading back to Castle Barlo to collect earnings and earn some favor with that family was the best, and so they packed up their shit, and made the journey back to Castle Barlo and the Barlo settlement. They were fine. No encounters. Lucky lucky. 

The Barlo Lord, Kevan, acting in his father's place, was overjoyed to get 94 gp of stuff, and with a quick conversion, the party gained some experience. Aron was close to leveling, but it was just out of his grasp. The poor lad. 

The Barlo Lord was quite curious about this tomb, and asked them to risk their lives to bring him more treasure, and we would reward them with lands and titles if they could help the family's diminished coffers(diminished from the establishment of the Barlo settlement and a costly war). They agreed, and questioned his MajorDomo/court wizard how much a basilisk would be worth. The man remarked that it might sell for good money in Vornheim. Elsie wanted to know if there was some kind of knockout herbs or gas that they could buy. The man shrugged and said he could look into ordering some.

Elsie really wants to capture herself a Basilisk. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

OSR: LotFP: Blood in the Chocolate

And so it came to be that a new person, completely new to RPGs was interested in finally trying out this "DnD" thing. Being the responsible dice fetishist, dungeon master and all around sink-or-swimmer, I pulled my LotFP books off the shelf, and rolled a dice to determine which of the system's modules to use to teach her true DnD. I could choose from so many, The God That Crawls, Death Frost Doom, Blood in the Chocolate, The Tower of the Stargazer, along with a few choice selections from DCC's rapidly expanding(heh) catalog, but when choosing, the dice must roll, and Blood in the Chocolate was to be young N's first step into her hopefully lifelong obsession with tabletop roleplaying games.

To clarify, my IRL group is running Starfinder right now, but I thought a good 'tutorial' would be the simpler LotFP over throwing her face-first into the deep end of a system like THAT. Choose your race. Then your background. Here's eight pages of feats, pick a good one! Now equipment! Are you having fun yet? I also threw in a few houserules, the "cleave" for fighters from ACKS, because killing a couple pygmies every round is fun, and Luca can also cleave. And carries two loaded guns. We also used the Vaginas are Magic! system. 

So let's begin!

Player Characters:
Natalia: Elf. Skilled with a bow(16 dex). Knew how to cast Sleep.
Rynn: Amazon Warrior, courtesy of Zak S's Frostbitten and Mutilated(VOTE NOW!). Exceptionally strong(18 str). Has a pet wolf and a hired guard.
Bastion: Magic-User. Had 3 guards and spoke with a family-guy esque rich person accent. Knew Magic Missile, Summon, Charm Person and Enlarge.
Unnamed Fighter, hereby dubbed Joe: Decently strong(16) and very taciturn. Only here for the killings and the golds.

Player Start

The PCs had been promised one thing: gold, and lots of it, if only they could carefully and sneakily raid Lucia's chocolate factory and return with chocolate liqueur, samples of various sweets, non-mundane ingredients, her chocolate recipe, and a working map of the factory. If some unfortunate accident lead to Lucia's death and the factory could be ceded over to these french businessmen...who knows? But nobody is outright going to say that's what they want.

The party managed to sneak up to the dock in a small boat and land there, under the cover of night. Not very successfully, but the first thing they tried to do was just...walk...? past the guard towers? There are two guard towers guarding the entrance to Lucia's factory and they just decided to walk past them casually. Three heavily armed adventurers, four hirelings, also armed, and a wolf.



So they were immediately shouted at by the two guards and told to halt and stop moving, with the guards demanding to know their business. Natalya thought about this for a second, and then used all 15 of her intelligence to decide to attack, drawing her bow and thwip-ing an arrow right at the guard in tower 1's face. Annnnnnnnnnnd she missed. The guard, so shocked at such a ridiculous and brazen move, fired and also missed, and it was time for initiative.

Thankfully, the party rolled ahead of the guards, and once again proving the value of the "five minute workday", Bastion cast Charm person on the guard in tower one, who promptly began loading his gun to shoot his co-worker, failing the save to refuse the order. Then Joe and Rynn stormed, grunting, up the ladder to tower two's guard and slashed that fucker to death.

Bastion, basking in his new slave friend, ordered him to go up to the second guard's corpse and retrieve the gun, so he awkwardly shoved past Rynn and Joe and returned the gun and ammo to Bastion.

Gunfire and murder! But will it wake up the employees in the guard's bunkhouse? The answer was, regrettably, yes. Not a problem, though!  Mostly because Natalya, noticing a group of approaching guards arming themselves and getting ready to raise an alarm, cast Sleep and dropped the lot.

Feeling very proud of themselves, Karl Weiss approached the party. armed and pointing right at the magic-user. He wasn't happy with them, and demanded they explain themselves lest he blow the magic user's head off. Bastion attempted to get his charmed friend to explain to Karl they were new hires, but that neither explained the blood oozing off of guard tower 2's top or the pile of unconscious men.

"Fuck it." Bastion's player remarked to me with a smirk. "charm person."

He did not make the save, and the spell misfired.

A roll to see what spell level he cast, and a roll to see what spell he rolled, and he rolled Animate Dead. The dead guard lurched with a painful moan to life and stumbled off of the platform, still-bleeding wounds and all.

"Oh my god." said Karl Weiss, a humble dock supervisor.
"Now listen here, sir.' Bastion said. "We are a powerful and deadly team of adventurers, come to take this factory from Lucia Castillo and if you don't want to be my slave in life or death, you're going back to fucking bed. There may be a way for you to keep your job after this is...all done."
Karl's a smart one. He looked at the animated corpse, and the wildly enthusiastic other guard who was totally fine with this horror unfolding in front of him, nodded, dropped his weapon, and went back to his office. Rolling on the "undead traits" chart in the DCCRPG rulebook, I ruled that the creature was immune to mundane weaponry.

With that, the party triumphantly marched through the factory doors. angrily smashed through the factory doors. Exploration was minimal, and in the Entrance room, once the lacquered and painted hands were discovered to not be made of gold, the party moved into the northern room, also known as the meeting room. Lucia Castillo was actually on their heels, and would have reached them if they took the rest they wanted to here, but did not.
Discovering in the next room a large tray of her chocolates, the party decided to eat them. All of the characters survived the perils of addiction(just kidding, Rynn got addicted to chocolate), and, stuffing wrapped chocolates in their sacks for re-sale value, the party continued on to the western door, entering a hallway and carefully closing the door behind them. The party wandered to the south and entered to the north in the Chocolate Room, where a couple of the slower ones tuned in that...wait a minute? This some willy wonka shit??

Yes, the gigantic river of flowing chocolate in the room should probably have given that away by now...
Regardless! Rynn attempted to have some chocolate soup, but found it burnt her tongue, and that meant she needed to eat twice as much chocolate(and make twice as many rolls to see if the trace magic in the stuff mutated her) due to this.

The party searched the room and found nothing of great value. But, they did discover a boat was behind the waterfall. They also discovered the chocolate was magic because zombieguard took some damage crossing through it.

The party thought long and hard about exactly how to get across, and then used one of the beehives in the room to make a kind of...wooden umbrella. This took some time, but not much noise, and the bees only attacked the zombie for disturbing it. At this point, Lucia was inside liquor flow. Finally, the party moved carefully under the chocolate waterfall and rode that boat!

Rynn's player mentioned the dreaded words that must not be said, and the party was forced to save against being thrown from the boat into the deadly hot chocolate. And in what is a rare occurrence, everyone saved and three of the four players rolled 20's. So fuck me, right?

Arriving at the doors to the inventing room and the boiler room, the party moved carefully to the inventing room and peeked inside. They found the blueberry person squishing device and poor Hilda, a thief who had been transformed by a poison.
"let's not ask a single question about what is going on in this place." agreed the group.

It's fine. A-anyone can play rpgs, right?

She was squeezed of her juices and left sobbing on the floor. Then Joe and Rynn looked at the prison and discovered the two children aside.
Sympathy was immediately given to the children, and again not asking any questions, Joe and Rynn smashed the cage with their equipment(big fucking hammers). The twenty minutes of non-stop pounding alerted Lucia to something, but she didn't know where, and was too far away to pinpoint the exact sound. She stepped outside, found the sleeping guards, realized she was under attack, and began to hoof it around the factory, looking for the culprits, greedily rushing to the old-growth tree, wanting to protect her most precious prize. Natalya ignored all of this, burned herself nearly to death on one of the cauldrons, caught the brittle throat disease, and managed to figured that drinking hot water might melt it. It certainly worked, but she did almost die, now rocking a single hitpoint. It's pretty lucky of her.

The children freed, Rynn gave them both a big hug and contracted the blueberry disease. Good job, idiot! Both children contracted one, the chocolate frenzy for the girl and the rock candy skin for the boy. Rynn, not wanting to deal with annoying children, chained both of them to the wall, and then noticed that her skin was turning a dark blue.

"Oh!" says Hilda, offering information. The party was uninterested.

They stepped into the boiler room. In here, the party finally discovered the nature of the factory workers: shrunken, hideous little pygmy warriors with heads like cocoa beans, they turned on the party and attacked them. Luckily, the party won initiative and simply retreated: fuck that. The zombie was sent in, and promptly killed half the creatures in the room, whom had great difficulty hurting a creature like this, eventually riddling it with blowgun darts that killed it. Slowly...

Yet, as the zombie fell, Joe stepped in and cut a pygmy in half, then turned and cleaved into another.
It was too much for the little bastards, and the DM called a morale roll. The pygmys lost, and began to run screaming throughout the boiler room, while Rynn and Joe and Rynn's wolf blocked the exits and killed every single pygmy inside. After the battle, Rynn swelled into a giant blueberry, and was quickly rolled to the juicing machine, Hilda still kneeling there and gathering her thoughts. Joe picked her up and made sure the DM knew he was lifting her over his head and throwing her against a wall. Because that was a really smart thing to do. Rynn survived her juicing, and was now a purple skinned amazon who would need blueberry juicing treatments for the rest of her life.

With this, the party decided to take the stairs up to the storage room, and began to pick through the storage, finding the corpse of an unlucky thief. Also: that unlucky thief's functional map of the factory! 500 sp baby! The party happily celebrated their good luck, and then they attempted to climb the long stairs up to Lucia's room. They found her door lock, and deciding they didn't want to risk it at all, they, after a helpful suggestion from the DM, finally decided to talk to poor Hilda, who had been there all of this time.

For some reason, they decided to go full aggressive on her, Rynn slamming her against the wall and holding her by the throat, angrily demanding answers. Hilda gave them some hints, implying that the song 'Greensleeves' might have some importance. Joe stepped forward and gutted Hilda.

For no reason.

Joe's player wanted to see if she had good stuff on her, apparently.

"But she was naked!"

"Well shit, I don't know. She was annoying."

With that, the party went back to Lucia's Room. There were nice fineries- Bastion ordered his charmed guard and his three hirelings to shit in her bed. No reason, just fuck Lucia. I mean, if that's what needs to be done.....?

During this display of scatological rebellion, Natalya realized that there was a woman watching from the other side of a large mirror. She was tall, looked like an english aristocrat and had large fangs.
She was generally very amused, being a shitty evil vampire that has no real attachment to Lucia, just mostly enjoying her company and gossiping and such.

"Can I be a vampire?" asked Natalya.
The queen was somewhat taken aback. She planned to agree to do so, only to kill the young girl, but then decided to test the player character's nature.
"Only if you bring me a child for my own...usage." retorted the queen. It was expected that no, not in any circumstance would someone from not-Voivodja would actually agree to doing that, but Natalya was already dashing down the stairs in a frenzy to bring the two gibbeted children back up. The rest of the party was completely fine with this, and the DM silently crossed the players off from his personal "people I can trust as godparents" list.
With the children handed over in cages, the queen, somewhat taken aback to meet an elf as insane and evil as she was, decided she would do it, and with a 'woop woop' from her player, Natalya became a Voivodjan vampire.

They also looted the safe, but, despite having all that they needed....they decided to keep on going, and murder Lucia.

Rynn sent her wolf a-scouting looking for Lucia's current location, and after 20 minutes, it reported back.
Lucia was about 20 minutes from walking into the packaging room. The party devised a plan: using the rubber hosing, they would create a tripline with Bastion's guards holding it taught, and taunt Lucia into rushing into the room like a blind, insane or brain-damaged orc.
With Lucia rapidly approaching the packaging room, Bastion banged on the door.

The expectation: Lucia draws her pistols and charges screaming into the room.

The reality: Lucia orders the thirty pygmys in the room to investigate while she moves to flank the PCs. While Joe and Rynn engage the pygmys, Lucia enters, and immediately fires at one of Bastion's guards, who promptly dies. Cleave! She fires again, gutshotting the other. He lives, so Lucia drops her guns, draws her rapier and sprints the fuck away, with Rynn giving chase.

While Joe, Bastion and the Vampire tear up the Pygmys(they make morale checks the second Natalya tears one of them in half and drinks the blood, and fail), Rynn chases after Lucia, who attempts to shout at her to get answers. Rynn don't give a fuck.
Lucia manages to make it into the room with the Old Growth Tree, and one barked command later, Rynn walks face first into the Chieftess's sleep spell.

Captured, the rest of the party decides to track Rynn down. Following the wolf, they discover Lucia conversing with the Chieftess, telling her to send runners to spread the word about intruders. Bastion decides to sneak around, through the the turbine room and roastery and mill to get to the area behind Lucia. He makes the stealth rolls, and proudly casts charm person. And miscasts, filling the area with weird lights, damaging everyone present and healing himself nothing. Good work, idiot!

Joe sees Rynn is about to get...something'd by the mosquito- things buzzing around the tree. He rushes to help, while the rest of the characters rush pell-mell into the Pygmy village and begin slaughtering them en-masse.

Lucia turns to stab Bastion and his 5 hp to death, but she fumbles. Bastion attempts to cast charm person again, succeeds, but Lucia saves easily. And now she's pissed. Then Rynn's wolf leaps onto her and does max damage to her, hurting her badly. The Voivodjan vampire follows, charms her, and then begins to feed.

The pygmys, understandably confused about what in the holy fuck just killed their mistress, decide to attempt some worship. Natalya is really, really okay with this, and they take the factory for themselves. Joe saves Rynn from the mosquito, nearly dying in the process.

The world gets much...worse due to these events. Rynn never leaves the factory again, needing to be juiced often enough, and spends her time killing mercs and rogues sent to rob them, and Joe wanders away, showing up occasionally to get his 'cut' of the factory's profits, until he's eventually killed by Natalya for being an annoyance. Bastion becomes insanely wealthy, but disappears into Voivodja one day, seeking the secrets of that strange land.

Natalya expands her chocolate empire for some decades until a bunch of adventuring clerics and paladins break in and destroy her.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Lamentations of the Serpent Kings 1: Them ghouls?

And then it was time to run a new campaign, this being a LotFP adventure using Skerple's excellent "Tomb of the Serpent Kings" as a basis for the campaign's start.

Setting: The world is dominated by the ever present and indomitable Great Cities, and those not living in them soak up the spaces around them, living out an attempted feudalism in a world that is leaving them behind. The campaign centers around a noble family trying to create their own niche by sailing around the Great City of Vornheim and settling in some unexplored lands to the south. The party are adventurers looking for money and will take work in helping to break the land to the will of the 'civilized' races.

Ash, Specialist.  Aron's Brother.
Aron, Specialist. Ash's Brother.
Sir Shoosalaw, a gun-toting Kenku. Apparently some kind of Owl-furry.
Fronk. Forest person(ranger).

Yes, You all meet in a Tavern. 

The party's campaign opened in a tavern. Reverie was cut short by a Kenku wearing an owl's mask walking into the establishment and hooting loudly and aggressively. The specialist siblings decided this was not something worth pursuing and decided to look into the latest contract at the Lord Barlo's castle. A short jaunt to the castle, the players were observed by a man from a secret society...secretly. They didn't find out about it.

Arriving at the castle and handing over their weapons, the party all went in at once and spoke to the Noble's son, Kevan Barlo. Kevan was a chubby man with a reddish beard. He spoke to the party of the problem. Someone was attacking caravans and leaving behind mutilated corpses. Fronk elected to investigate one of the corpses. which had been stored carefully in the family's mausoleum in the back. No relation, was a good place to put bodies for adventurers.

They were taken to the mausoleum by the family's majordomo, who presented them with the corpse. The body was fairly well preserved, being only two days dead, and stored in a colder area. They found the strange bite marks which seemed to have been made by some kind of animal, but not one he'd ever seen. Like a wolf, but the canines were doubled up. Fronk investigated further, and found pieces had been torn from its flesh in random order, and none of them were a killing blow. Stripping the corpse he also discovered a small bullet hole in the man's chest, directly to the heart. Going through the man's belonging, Shoosalaw discovered a piece of chocolate, which, when unwrapped, filled the air with the delicious and nearly irresistible scene of peppermint and chocolate. None of the party knew what chocolate was, and the only thing the majordomo said was that the Barlos forbade those in their employ of partaking in this devilish confection.

Returning to the Lord Barlo, they presented their findings and were rewarded for giving over useful information. With some bartering, the Lord was eventually persuaded to hand over 100 silver pieces each to the group, and told them that double this would be their reward if they could find the bandits and creatures doing this and put a stop to it.

Let's Go Shopping!

Directed to the local General Store, the party was introduced to Hank, a black-bearded, friendly and greedy shopkeeper. The party used their ill-gotten silver to buy and trade for more supplies, things such as friendly animals, more torch fuels, rope, shovels, etc were purchased. Hank was friendly man, who offered no angry judgement or such to the Kenku hopping around his store. All colors and creeds are welcome at Hank-Co! He also attempted to peddle Lucia De Castillo's chocolate to them like a pusher and dropped some hints for them. If you want to use Blood in the Chocolate, it's best you start dropping hints as soon as possible. Hopefully the party makes the journey(both perilous and strange!) to the factory at some point. 

Pushing off the store owner's attempts to get them hooked on the sweet stuff, the party stepped out and headed for the gates of town, but ran into a group of adventurers in the midst of carousing. They were invited to join, but declined.

With this, the party headed into the wilderness. There was very little in the way of monstrous encounters and they arrived at the attack site where the most recent body was found, and...proceeded to do very badly at searching. Eventually, some kind of cosmic master took pity on them and directed them to a path- Fronk suddenly passed a bushcraft roll and thank god they discovered covered tracks. Following these covers with a series of quality bushcraft rolls, they followed a forested trail that goes alongside the caravan route to Dunnsmouth. The party managed to find some buried weapons here: high quality flintlocks, shot, and powder, carefully stored and easily recoverable should anyone need it. For why?

But then, them ghouls.

The party was ambushed by a trio of white skinned, crawling, almost naked but save for pants man crawling at them awkwardly on hands and good, shrieking and howling and clawing. What could the party do to stop THIS? The answer: shoot them. Shoosalaw pulled out his gun and fired a blast aimed at the man, but the shot went wide. Not willing to be outdone, Fronk decided to open fire as well, and his bow struck a ghoul in the shoulder. Being a real and actual undead, blood began to gush from the wound and the creature collapsed, screaming loudly, causing the other two ghouls to retreat.

Wait a fucking second.

Undead that...bleed? Ghouls may run away, as lore indicates they're crafty....but bleeding? Shoosalaw reloaded his gun and got a shot off into the kneecap of another, hobbling him. The only remaining uninjured ghoul dashed away, pulled a horse for him and the shoulder-injured guy out of a small hidden area where they'd been stashed, and they rode off, bullets and quarrels and arrows following them.

Now it was time to interrogate this ghoul. Oops, the ghoul tried to sleight-of-hand shoot Shooasalaw, so there's a bunch of broken fingers, and a confiscated gun. The 'ghoul' was unhelpful, spitting false teeth at them and revealing makeup making his skin whiter. It seems that the bandits had a simple con: pretend to be undead monsters and startle villagers. Kill them, make it look like the bodies were partially eaten, and then abscond with the booty. He was rather unhelpful, and so was dragged back to Castle Barlo for the chance to spit in Kevan Barlo's face and then be promptly hung from his neck until he died.

The Lord thanked them for their deeds, and gave them a place to stay, with food and lodging for the night.

During the night, a member of the Lord's guard sneaked in and stole Shoosalaw's mint chocolate, consuming it whole, before crawling out.

Shoosalaw woke up at 6 am and, discovering that his shit was stolen, woke up the rest of the party screaming and squawking loudly, flapping aggressively. Sadly, there was nothing to be done, and an apology was offered by the Lord, who promised him he would hang whoever stole it, as his position on Lucia De Castillo's poison is very clear..

Follow that blood trail!

Following the trail left by the fleeing ghouls, the party advanced with a bloodhound they purchased from Hank-Co. They were led directly north into an abandoned stone city, one with missing roofs. Nothing could be scavenged, and their looting caused them to be noticed by the bandits making camp there.
The DM had a non-violent encounter planned, was hoping to drop some plot hooks when Fronk said "nah" and simply shot his bow at the leader, who drew his rapier and charged, while his two henchmen pulled out pistols and began to fire. Shoosalaw found he couldn't hit the broadside of a barn, but Ash was more than capable of leaping from his hiding place(him being the only one who succeeded in his stealth check) and garroting the leader, who promptly failed his paralyze save. Aaron managed to fell one of the henchmen with a crossbow, and then began to strangle the other, while Fronk attempted to stab the leader while he was paralyzed. He...snapped his sword in half instead, and spent the next two turns trying to pluck the leader's rapier from his hand, eventually succeeding.

Bandit leader managed to finally pull himself free, drew a pistol and aimed it at Ash. Then he rolled a 2 and missed embarassingly, before getting a quick poke to the heart from Fronk.

Shoosalaw, finally reloading his pistol, scurried over to the other guard while he was struggling with Ash's garroting and blew the top of his skull off.  The party high-fived themselves about this, crowing loudly about how this "hardcore DnD" wasn't so hard at all!

The bandit's camp was based around the entrance to a building, and the party took to looking for their loot pile, disappointingly only finding things like wine bottles(worth 100 silver each) and a draft of...well, basically Baileys but with Lucia De Castillo's effects on it. There was also a gunpowder barrel, but with that all looked over and dealt with, the party took a long breather and then entered this building they were using.

And with that, the party entered the Tomb of the Serpent Kings.

The first four rooms were quick - they had been warned there were tricks and traps by the DM, and so one of them used his pole to smash the four different snake statues and loot everything. The door...they were very, very careful adventurers, sadly. They managed to scan the door and discover the trap, and, despite knowing how it would trigger, they put and serious effort into devising a way to break the hammer.

Trap destroyed, doors open, they sent their only dog into it. Who died in the dark very quickly. They heard the rattle of approaching footsteps, and Ash set himself out to block the door with his body. For some reason the thief with 6 hp thought that was a swell idea. Not that Ranger with 8. Nope.

The skeletons entered the torchlight, moving rapidly and clawing at the adventurers. A single slash to the chest made Ash realize he wanted to live, and fuck this. The others were already sprinting down the hallway screaming at the top of their lungs.

Retreating carefully, Ash drew his blade and blocked the entrance of the building, while Aron dumped lantern oil underfoot where the skeletons would have to run. They set the corridor on fire, as three skeletons came charging at them, being burnt to little effectiveness as they crossed the barrier.

Fronk took a stance to block them and took two hits, losing 7 hp in total. He began to reconsider while Aron picked up the gunpowder barrel, heaved it at the bony bastards and shot it with his gun, causing the skeletons to explode into chunks of charred and shattered bone. Fronk survived, making a run for it when he saw what Aron was doing.

The party sat around the bandit's abandoned campfire by the entrance to the Tomb eating Shoosalaw's cheese wheel in stunned silence.
Fronk said that in all his years of adventuring, skeletons had never been scary before.

end of session 1.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

A short update: I really should probably start updating this thing more

A big apology to the few that liked reading my books and funny tales about DnD adventures. Unfortunately, life got in the way, I got sick, I built a new computer, Kingdom Come: Deliverance came's been a busy few months. I just haven't had the motivation to much more than play tabletop RPGs, and this was compounded by the fact that our constantly falling dollar means I won't be attending Gen Con Indy this year, because I just can't justify the cost. I hope next year....or the year after.

Other factors pushed me away, a bit. There's a lot of drama in the RPG community, especially the OSR, and I similarly got tired of running into Trump supporting weirdos who liked to explain to me why The Last Jedi was a singular attack on the institutions of masculinity or whiteness or whatever. And no, it wasn't better when left wingers did the same. Shut the fuck up about Star Wars already, Christ. It's everywhere and won't go away.  That's my general opinion on it.

Been reading a lot. I hope to actually finish 52 books this year, and I'm currently writing up a review for Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition for RPG Codex. Hopefully that works out.

More content is a-coming soon.

- The Dice Must Roll

Friday, January 12, 2018

Factions my players have managed to piss off since November:

Factions and important people my players have pissed off:
The Dukes of Hell
The Vornheim City Watch
The Spider Gang(Deceased)
Ningauble of the Seven Eyes
Thieves Guild of Vornheim
Saspasia, City Father of Vornheim
The House of Barlo

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Update: I did not die.

Hello, good friends! I do apologize for going "dark" these last few weeks. Be assured that more play reports are coming, but they will be coming in bigger pieces and have more detail. We're all on the DCC now. It's been going great, but I have been nicer than necessary. Lots of things in the workings, including the channel which will finally have some content in it. I hope all of you enjoy the 2018 future of the Dice Must Roll!

Monday, November 6, 2017

NaCaCrMo II: The Lockbards

For Eastmount campaigns, one of the most important things to provide the party with is a small political situation they can ignore, make worse, resolve or "win" by murdering both sides.

Before we go too far, it's important to hit one point here: Dungeon Crawl Classics is not the system you want to use for political intrigue, so what's presented is meant to be very simple and provide PCs with easy options.

Rules of Thumb for DCC Political Intrigue

DCC is a system designed for adventure, and the majority of political favors should involve quick, bombastic forays into unknown places. Going to a masquerade ball and talking to people is boring. Going to a magical masquerade ball which involves shape-shifting the PCs into various monsters is more interesting. How do wizards party? Maybe the party goes wrong. Maybe the guests are shunted into various realms, or maybe they're trapped in Elfland and need a timely rescue from the Party That Never Ends. Take your regular intrigue locations, which are things like, towers late at night, prisons that hold political and important prisoners, parties, courts, weddings, funerals...any social situation you can imagine happening among nobility, really and make them more interesting. A bunch of nobles standing around whispering to each other....less interesting. Players can earn favors and prestige in the two Courts by doing adventures for them. You're burying a long time friend of the family, surprise, they're going to try being a lich. You're at a feast, suddenly the guests have shrunk down to food size and your "dungeon" is the table, the walls the sweets and pies and cakes and meats that you were going to eat...and that's when the brownies(not the food, the little goblin things) attack!

Players aren't great, in my opinion, of knowing when people are lying unless it's obviously telegraphed. If a cleric seems like a pious and virtuous cleric of Emir, then you're going to need to find the torture dungeon and a written confession for the players to catch on. I think it's just a thing in media, people were utterly shocked and surprised when Cersei...did not do the honorable thing and leave town just because Ned told her to, were even more surprised when Littlefinger betrayed Ned etc. Sometimes this can lead people to feeling cheated, or maybe that the DM is actively trying to fuck with them instead of creating a fun RPG adventure. So generally, keep all of your information true, and keep character personalities distinct.

Untrustworthy characters should present their non-trustworthiness at all times. They should be unlikable, treat the party with disdain and insults(be careful) and usually untouchable because the fallout for killing them should be ample. Lord Barfbag is practically a traitor, but until you can prove he's a traitor then he's not going anywhere, because he has the most Knights that the baron needs to keep his lands safe. Trustworthy characters should be honorable, likable and generally in difficult situations.

The characters you intend to have the party help or work with should be down on their luck at the moment. Count Lionheart isn't going to need your help if he has incredibly thick coffers brimming with gold, an army of loyal knights and two court mages who will instantly resurrect him if he dies. Give that to his foes, and give him one aged(elder!) Knight, average amounts of money and a mine that has recently been abandoned due to sabotage, and you've got a character the party can help.

If the party wants to help the "bad guys", that's fine, don't panic. Just telegraph it in different ways. If they really want to kill Count Lionheart so Lord Barfbag can extend his fief, make sure you telegraph it to the party as clear as day that this person is a traitor and will likely fuck them over as soon as possible. If they still go through with it, then allow them to, but if they ask you why, oh why they're being arrested and Lord Barfbag is feigning a lack of knowledge of their activities and orders, then make sure you made it clear that this was guaranteed to happen. If Littlefinger tells Player Character to totally run up to Joffrey and stab him to death in front of hundreds of witnesses, and he does it, then he shouldn't be surprised after being warned by Varys, Littlefinger, Maester Pycelle, Jaime, Littlefinger, and Littlefinger that Littlefinger would absolutely fuck him over for it.

Well, enough of that, onto the two factions!

The Lockbards

The Lockbards are a family of people that are unusually adept in the magical arts. They like to have themselves referred to as a family of wizards, but that's not true.

Lockbard Lands

Lockbard lands are generally much safer than Barlo lands, with encounters happening in the wilderness in their borders only on a six, and never in their home city or any of the villages. Lockbard villages are all overseen by a single wizard hoping to be allowed into the family's "inner circle" and be allowed to investigate the magical fonts the family has managed to locate. To that end, much of the family's military and policing forces are made of magical constructs, summoned and bonded demons, and reanimated undead. When entering a Lockbard village, roll on the following table to determine how the peace is kept:

Peacekeeping Actions:
1. Calming and mystical music soothes those who feel aggression. All PCs and NPCs get +2 to attempts to charm, barter, counter-barter, or any kind of positive social activity, but take -5 to any attack rolls, attempts to threaten or otherwise verbally or physically harm another living person. Village wizard is a lazy bardic type, more interested in his lyre than his job.
2. The Dead Walk...and they pick up trash, deliver your mail, lay down stone for nicer roads, the works. Causing a ruckus causes 1d30 (1)skeletons/(2)zombies/(3)revenants to appear and attempt to subdue the party. Village wizard is a gaunt, pale man who reeks of the grave and is constantly in a state of irritation at being distracted from his important work. May simply be trying to raise an undead army without suspicion.
3. The Really Big Guy. There is a man who has been chosen to serve as the village's sheriff. He's been grown to Giant size, and has gained hit dice to compensate. His only action is to promptly pick up PCs and throw them as high as he can in the air, causing 10d6 fall damage in two combat rounds if the PC has no option to slow his descent.(If they're not wearing heavy armor and they describe flattening themselves out, make it 9d6. For effort.)
4. Golems. Large constructs made of (1) Metal (2) Wood (3) Earth (4) Flesh. Depending on what type, the Village wizard is either a muscle wizard blacksmith type, a dabbler in druid arts, a mole-person, or an exceptionally terrifying person that refuses to explain where he got the flesh for the golems from.
5. Bound demons. Devils, imps, etc are constantly flitting around, in ashamed supplication. They will constantly be promising riches and wealth if only they could be freed, and will wreak havoc on the players if actually done so by removing their slave collars. Wizard is a demonologist who takes them far less seriously than he should.

The Lockbards only have one major city, and it's known as Lockbard Towers. That's because the entire family lives inside of a small hex and they all have their own magically constructed towers that they live in relative enjoyment with.

The Fonts of Power

There are four fonts of power in the Lockbard lands that give the Lockbards their magical prowess. Some of these are either historical sites of grave and divine importance, others are just magical mutations of plants that make a potion master hyperventilate once they realize the value of these.
All four of these locations, for hexcrawling purposes, are assumed to be hidden in a small glade. It is simply not possible to find these or make it past the ample sentries the Lockbards put up without their explicit permission, unless the party is so powerful that nothing can keep them away.  Besides the obvious value these locations provide, they also are God-Blind, meaning patrons, gods, and others will not be able to see and have opinions on the PC's activity.
 These are keyed in the map location, but a quick overview of them is thus:

1. The God Grave.
Long ago, a god seems to have died and been buried here. The grave site itself is a rather simple mausoleum, but the body inside seems to have some kind of magical or divine purpose. The Church has not investigated the "god" and his body yet, but the Lockbards have found that the blood of the god still flows freshly and heals wounds, and the hair can be strung into bowstrings that fire arrows that shatter armor, and more.

2. The Shifting Crystals.
There seems to be an odd configuration of crystals that constantly move and change shape to something else. These crystals provide a powerful amount of bonuses to spell casting if chipped off of the larger structures, but timing must be observed, the crystals shift every 7 minutes on the dot. If the crystals shift so that they're impaling you, you will be absorbed into the structure. If the crystals shift so that they're completely engulfing you, then you must make a DC 20 fort save or promptly expire. Surviving means your mind is opened to a new realm of possibilities, and you can choose to instantly learn a spell of the Judge's choosing, but if attempted more than once a month, the DC goes up by five each time.

3. The Mushroom Field
It's a small place, less than a quarter of a mile long, but there are thousands of mushrooms of various shapes and sizes. While not good for edible adventuring, the mushrooms are innately valuable, and can be used as materials for godly sacrifices or crafting magical artifacts and potions. These typically kill everyone that tries to eat them, but throwing them at people can usually have some fun effects!

4. Teaching wall
Inside a cave, there is a large wall that lights up with what seems like a large human face. It talks to anyone who enters, trading knowledge of spells and ancient, lost information in exchange for information on the outside world. It is bored easily, and gets very angry if its repeatedly fed wrong information or the same information.

Lockbard Riches
The Lockbards are not wealthy in terms of gold, killing and looting all of the family would only yield around 1400 gold pieces. Their wealth comes from their crafty nature as adventurers seeking magical knowledge and artifacts.

Lockbard Family Members

Genevieve Lockbard
Genevieve is the current family matriarch. She's quite young for the role, but already a highly skilled sorceress at age 19. It was her that managed to make the family as powerful in influence as they are now, and that is due to her uncanny ability to locate the current magical fonts that bring the family lands.

What her family doesn't know is that Genevieve is actually getting all of her knowledge not from proper observation and study of planetary bodies as she claims, but she has made a pact with a dark god of Chaos - one of the Yemani, Duvan.

Kasric Lockbard
Kasric is not a wizard. He is the oldest Lockbard, uncle to Genevieve and the rightful heir to the fief and family title, but his lack of magical prowess has made him something of an outcast - there wasn't even discussion about who would inherit the land and title. Oddly enough, this has not made him either bitter or resentful, as Kasric has spent most of his mundane life trying to keep his Brother's experiment side effects from wreaking too much havoc to want anything to do with running a family of wizards.

Simon and Samuel Lockbard

Simon and Samuel are the youngest of the Lockbards, younger cousins to Genevieve and deeply resentful of her magical prowess, her wealth, her title, and everything else that comes with it. They are accomplished wizards in their own right, but they lack ambition, merely content to make themselves wealthy and live the life of playboy nobles. That being said, they scheme and sharpen daggers in the dark and listen to whispers from strange creatures that promise them many things.

Lockbards on the Barlos:

When the campaign begins, the Lockbards are currently unhappy with the Barlos on the outside. The Barlo Patriarch offered his son in exchange for a chance to join the houses. A unified Lockbard/Barlo Family might even be able to stand up to Vornheim, maybe establish their own Kingdom and to hell with the Empire, and Genevieve had met them a few times. Two of his three boys are strapping, muscular, red-haired lads with combat skill and social graces. She agreed to the terms of the marriage, as they weren't too terrible. Then, she met her husband to be. The Baron sent his youngest son - a club-footed, halfwit that couldn't speak. This enraged Genevieve, and only further when the Baron insulted her and her family for breaking the agreement. While the family seems united, Kasric has absolutely no interest in the situation, having seen far more insulting actions in his long life as a noble, and the twins are secretly delighted to see their dear cousin slighted so.