Author Topic: [Actual Play] Into the Moathouse!, a Gygaxian Earthdawn Sandbox  (Read 5715 times)

Telarus

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[Reposting this from the Earthdawn forums for your gaming entertainment]

Hi everybody. I'm still working on a few projects including the Atlas and the Maptool Framework when I have time... but all of this Earthdawn "flash" if you will has created a demand around the house that I run a game.  ;)

I'm starting with 2 Players, my girlfriend Liv and her son, who is 11, so there's going to be some seriously surreal humor to offset the darkness of the Horrors. I'd like to use this thread to share some background and their adventures, and as a reminder to keep notes on the optional rules I'm using to see how they are working.

For this game I'm dropping the classic 1st ed D&D supplement T1-Hommlet/T1-4-The Temple of Elemental Evil (I have a copy of both) into Barsaive. I'm testing how well the old D&D loot and magic item tropes fit into the ED system, and I'm also seriously stress testing my Mass Combat system. If I get a smooth conversion process going, I can see quick conversions of many favorite modules to run through with tricked out Adepts. So...


I've made up a Kingdom on the eastern edges of the Tylon Mts which has land routes to Kratas and a river route to the Servos Jungle river system. This is a very medieval feeling feudal society which during the Scourge developed a similar church/royalty/military structure as captured in the Greyhawk setting(midieval-ish Europe).

'Clerics' are not a Discipline, but a social and church title of rank. The Church of St. Colbert of the Cudgel (lol) developed as a Living Legend Cult around a Hero who bravely saved multiple Kaers and Citadels during the Scourge, and brings together followers of different Passions into a quasi-military religious organization. It is made of a blend of Questors of Floranus, Garlen, and Mynbrujie and their followers. St. Colbert is considered an incarnation of Floranus, and the son of the 'Old Religion' depictions of Mynbrujie and Garlen.

Previous to the Scourge, this kingdom's major religious organization was an old order of Druids who revered Jaspree and Rashamon. The other Passions were represented by individual Questors, small cults and monastic orders (precursors to the Church, who built temples around the kingdom).

The Druids and the Nobility rejected the Theran offer of the Rites of Protection and Passage when they showed up, having devised their own plan to shelter the Kingdom through the Scourge (some say the old Druids openly conversed with Dragons and Fae Royalty... although no-one says this in the presence of a Druid).

The Kingdom raised stone megaliths and markers, huge stone circles surrounding major cities to become Citadels, smaller ones in town centers and around and within the Kaers under construction. Mores lines of standing stones then marked out town borders, major roads and crossroads. The Druids began to weave an immense Pattern across the land of their forefathers, carving shapes and glyphs into hillsides and cliffs to change the path of ley lines and the mana flow in the land. Finally, Stones were erected to define the borders of the Kingdom and the duchies, etc, etc within. Druid agents and their Adept companions raced across the land, conversing with Named Spirits, Elementals, and Magical Beings who made the Kingdom their home.

Then they revealed their Keystone, The Charter (nod to the Sabriel books). This magical contract was inscribed upon a megalith 3 stories high and erected in the center of the Capitol, behind the 7 rings of megaliths which made up the city's magical defenses. The elite of the aforementioned Magical Beings who pledges themselves to the Kingdom performed a Blood Magic Ritual along with the Druid leadership to bind this new Charter to the land. A major Named Earth Elemental and a whole Brotherhood of Obsidimen merge themselves with the Charter Stone to end the ritual.

The Kingdom then retreated into their Kaers and Citadels, content that the Charter would keep the land near the roads and around the old town centers from falling totally to the corruption, even though the wild places and vast stretches of the Kingdom without protective megaliths would suffer the worst. Because each Kaer and Citadel served as a major node in the Charter's protective network (and because the other stone circles served as minor nodes), it was designed to move energy in alternate paths if a minor node fails. This worked well during the beginning of the scourge, keeping Horror manifestation to a minimum (our Kingdom did not have nearly the Invae problem of other kingdoms within the protected territories). When Stone Circles fell, the Roads were clear and protected enough that the Druids could actually venture out of the Kaers and Citadels to re-take the area and repair them or raise new stones.


And then the Passions went MAD. The Druid Leadership was broken when Rashamon turned to Raggok. The smaller Stone Circles across the Kindgom began to fall in greater numbers. The outer layers of barriers protecting the Citadels began to fail, allowing the physical Horrors and constructs to gain access. The fractured Druids and the scattered Adepts and Questors could not help their people.

There was madness and despair until St. Colbert emerged, banding the larger of the remaining Orders together, altering the Charter into a new Named Spirit, and striking a deal with it to save the Kingdom. By having the Spirit reduce the mana used to keep the roads open, he saved the Citadels and Kaers from further incursion. To keep communication (and a sense of community) going, he devised a system of large Living Crystals to send and receive messages (and to preach to the population). An enterprising young Illusionist Questor of Floranus also figured out how to broadcast recreations of Colbert fighting off the Horrors in the Capitol. This rallied the Namegivers and helped forge the Church into the power it is today. After these major events the Charter Spirit wasn't seen again, and the Kingdom weather the remaining Scourge as best they could, loosing only a few Kaers.

When the game starts, major trade and mercantile business with anyone outside of the towns and cities "under the protection of St. Colbert" (i.e. the Kingdom) has been forbidden by order of the Church until very recently (earlier this year). In fact, rumors have it that foreigners have not ever been allowed to enter some of the major cities which served as Citadels during the Scourge. The kingdom's Kaers and major Cities haven't been open very long compared to the rest of Barsaive, with outlying towns having been re-settled only 10-15 years ago. These towns have begun trading with peddlers and traveling traders, spreading rumors of the Kingdom's strange situation.

It appears the Charter is still functioning, major swaths of agricultural lands were recovered quickly in the first few years after the Kaers opened, but lately it seems to be weakening. Farmland goes fallow and the gnarled woods encroach upon pasture-lands. Malicious Fae and other Monsters have been attacking the Towns and Cities, and disrupting food and trade shipments within the Kingdom. Rumors of a deadly blight "eating" the northern lands of the Kingdom has everyone worried.

Zoom in:

The Town of Hommlet is set on the south Edge of the Kingdom. Nearby is the corrupt river-port-slum of Nulb (not under the Charter), and the ruins of an evil Temple which sheltered corrupt Namegivers and Mad Questors during the Scourge. Also in the untamed areas near Hommlet are an Unseelie Faerie Court, and a number of Free Fae Holds (at war with each other). Rumors also have it that Queen Alachia is furious with the noble Elven Houses of the Kingdom for joining the Charter when it was failing during the Scourge and had to be re-formed by Colbert. People claim that Blood Elves are behind the recent rise in bandit attacks.


Whew! OK, next post, brief PC Bios.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2011, 05:50:48 am by Telarus »
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Re: [Actual Play] Into the Moathouse!, a Gygaxian Earthdawn Sandbox
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2011, 03:58:33 am »
Lux V'strimon is a young female t'skrang from Lake Ban. An odd youngling, Lux developed a sky-lust early in life, spending hours sketching airships when not swinging from ropes and climbing netting. Now an Initiate Air Sailor, Lux has been sent by the young Shivalahala V'strimon to investigate a possible trade route to the newly opened Kingdom (which I have yet to pin a Name down for... ::) ...let's go with Greyhawk for now.. I know, I know.. but I might use the Greyhawk city maps for the Capitol if the players get there, so there we go... this is how you do a mash-up sandbox).

Because the trade route would have to leave the Servos river system when the major river neared Nulb and the Temple (not to mention the other dangers of the Servos in that area), the young Prophetess is hoping that Lux will devise a viable trade route and investigate trading compacts with the new regional power. Lux has been gifted a Rapier and Dagger, each forged +1. She has chosen Parry as her optional 1st Circle slot, and has taken Second Weapon, Unarmed Combat, Diplomacy, Haggle, Airship Design, V'Strimon History, Swimming, Craft Weapon, and Dance as her Skill choices. Her House outfits her with a canoe, rations, and a pack animal (a medium sized bird similar to a Chocobo... dang, where did I see those, it said wild ones are mistaken for Crackbills).

Sorrel Jadefist, Initiate Obsidiman Elementalist is a young obsidiman who hails from the Ayodhya Liferock. Sorrel left on his quest to become an Elementalist Adept just a few years before the Therans landed their behemoth upon his Liferock. He has been studying with a Journeyman Elementalist, a Dwarf who lives in Daiche (near Kratas) and helping his master study the flora and fauna, and magical natural elements of the Tylon Mountains. Upon graduation from apprentice to Initiate, his master has charged him with investigating the strange magic that the Kingdom used to weather the scourge (he also wants to know if the Charter magic might be useful against the Therains to aid his Brotherhood). He was gifted a exotic set of Jade Stone Disk Armor (Phys 3, Mystic 2, Init -3) by his mentor for protection during the journey. He chose Spell Matrix as the optional 1st Circle slot, and has Sculpting, Creature Lore, Wild Animal Lore, Botany, Animal Bond, Animal Handling, Animal Training, and Wilderness Survival as skills. He knows the following spells: Earthblend, Earthdarts, Flame Weapon, Heat Food, Moon Glow, Plant Talk, Purify Water.

-----------------------

Session 1, Part 1 - On the Road!

[Aggressive scene frame] - The PCs meet on the road to Hommlet. As they travel north, they begin to get to know each other, giving each other the basic outline of their own goal. As it grows dark Sorrel makes a Wilderness Survival check to find a suitable place to camp. The woods grow thick against the road here, but he find a large "traveler's pine" which will serve as shelter and windbreak for their fire. As they make camp they give each other more details about their travels.

Lux had been canoeing through the murky Servos swamps for a few days, heading west towards Greyhawk, avoiding most river traffic. There definitely isn't a clear water route to this side of the Servos from Lake Ban, so she has been considering her Sivalahala's advice about looking for waypoints for an air route as she and her pack-bird drag her canoe from river to river. One night, when parleying with a few t'skrang crawfish trappers she learns that the area upriver from here, between her and her destination, is crawling with bandits and unsavory types, based out of a port-slum Named Nulb. She also learns that there is an old pre-Scourge road a few day's travel to the west which runs north/south. Stowing her canoe, she hiked to the road where she met Sorrel.

Sorrel tells Lux that he hails from Ayodhya and they begin to warm to each other (the Ayodhya Brotherhood and the t'skrang of Lake Ban, House V'strimon, are longtime allies). Sorrel had been walking north along this road for many days, surprised at how few other travelers he has seen on a road which seems in such good repair. He has only run across a peddler with a cart, and trader with a line of pack animals, both heading towards Hommlet at a pace he couldn't match. He's glad to find a traveling companion.

At this moment, both PCs hear a high-pitched wailing or keening coming from deeper into the woods. Lux scrambles up the traveler's pine to peer deeper into the tangled forest (Climbing check, Perception check) while Sorrel secures the camp area (Perception check). The undergrowth cuts out a few hexes into the forest from the road's edge, leaving clear area below the tall tree canopy. Lux sees what looks like a ball or orb of wicker or brambles hanging from a tree, slowly swaying, which seems to be producing the odd wailing tune.

Lux jumped down from the pine to grab her rapier and they both set off into the woods to investigate. Walking cautiously towards the hanging bundle, they peer upwards to see a tiny pair of hands gripping the tangled wicker. Sorrel steps on a large fallen branch while staring upwards (failed his Dex roll), and the wailing stops suddenly. Then a light Namegiver's voice calls down to them for help, "Hey! Hey! Get me outta here! Quick, before they come back!"

Curious, Lux begins to climb the tree, looking for a good place to get near the rope holding the trap above the forest floor. As she gets closer she can see a pair of feminine Namgiver eyes peering out. Suddenly, I call for Perception Checks, which both PCs fail.

*Surprise Round!* The 2 Kobolds lurking in the area leap from cover onto Sorrel's face biting and scratching. [Aside: I ran these Kobolds as a Size 2 Unit... so they would only be able to divide attacks among 2 targets for base damage step, or one target for base+3 damage step.] The Kobolds fail their attack, trying to claw and bite through the obsidiman's thick rock-like skin while hanging onto their precarious perches.

*Round 1* [Init: Lux, Kobolds, Sorrel] Lux leaps from the tree, rolls to her feet next to Sorrel. "Hold Still!" she barks and lashes out with the tip of her rapier at the growling Kobold on her friend's face. Armor Defeating hit! (Shes' glad she didn't miss.) Damage causes a Wound, so she rolls Bonus Dice, getting a 5. This indicates that the hit is serious enough to drop the Unit member (GM note: this is my custom Mass Combat system in action.. if you Wound a Unit, you get to do an additional 1d6 Damage, and if you roll a 5 or 6, you cause a fatality or drop a Unit member in some fashion... Wound Dice can 'explode' on a 6 allowing you to roll the d6 again.. but this bonus damage will not cause further Wounds).

The Kobold flies from Sorrel's face sliced neatly into two pieces. The remaining Kobold screams and flees. Sorrels advances into the darkening woods after it, beginning to weave a thread for Earth Darts, but Lux restrains him. "There may very well be many more traps out there," she says. They investigate the corpse of the Kobold, finding it hard to locate in the dim light among the leaf litter and fallen branches. Eventually Sorrel finds half of the creature, which has turned into gnarled wood in the rough shape of the faerie, showing signs of dry-rot. There is no blood or bodily fluids in the clearing. The PCs are unnerved.

They then assist the Windling lass out of the trap. She introduces herself as Trina, a Windling Thief Adept. Grateful for the rescue, she spends time getting to know the two heroes, and explaining the situation in the area from her point of view. The people of Hommlet (mostly humans, with a minority of dwarfs, elves and orks) do not trust Trina's Windling tribe. They call the Windlings "Faeries" and run them out of town whenever they see one. Trina supposes that is because Windlings don't grow uncomfortable and get the urge to leave while on Charter-protected land as 'other' Fae do, which unnerves the town's population. She laments that very few Fae in the area are willing to trade with her tribe (She spits and curses the "Unseelie"), and they have been forced to forage into risky parts of the gnarled woods to find enough to keep all the mouths fed.

They organize a watch schedule (just in case the Kobold returns with friends), and settle in for the night. The next morning , Trina decides to accompany Lux and Sorrel to Hommlet, hoping that she won't stand out as much amongst such 'odd' company (she is quite impressed by the Obsidiman's presence, and hopes that his being there will draw attention away from the prejudice against her tribe). The small band sets off along the road once more.

Next: Session 1, Part 2 - Little Jasmine Hudson...
« Last Edit: July 09, 2011, 09:20:16 am by Telarus »
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Re: [Actual Play] Into the Moathouse!, a Gygaxian Earthdawn Sandbox
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2011, 08:05:40 am »
Here is the rough statblock I used for the pair of Kobolds in the opening scene:

Starving Kobold Minions (Unit, Size 2)
Dex:6 Str:3 Tou:2 Per:5 Wil:6 Cha:4

Init:6 Actions:1(Unit) Mov:7
Attack(2):8
Damage -
Biting and Scratching(1): 4 (2 targets), 6 (1 target)
Phys Def:9 Spell Def:7 Soc Def:6
Phys Armor:1 Mystic Armor:0
Wound Threshold: 4 Knockdown: 3
Unc*: 20 Death: N/A

Karma: None - mook swarm
Legend Award: 1st Circle

Powers: Sneaky-Sneaky(2): 8, Traps!(3):9

*Mass Combat Unit rules apply.
*Note on Unc Rating: Unit Unconsciousness is calculated as (UnitSize+3)*Wound Threshold.

A Note on Kobolds:

Kobolds come in 2 flavors. Named Kobold Spirits are old spirits who have the ability to Manifest just as any other Spirit may. Kobold Minions are kobold spirits who do not have the ability to manifest, submitting themselves to the Master Kobold in order to have a chance at playing on the physical plane. The Master Kobold may use a ritual to Manifest these Minions into wood which has been shaped by Namegiver hands (anything will do really, including mine beams, old furniture, etc, etc). These minions erupt out of the wooden item, consuming it as they Manifest. Kobold Minions are not living in the traditional sense. They cannot survive on the physical plane for more than a week unless they consume the mana from an object touched or crafted by Namegiver hands (usually crumbling it to dust over the course of a few weeks), or the lives of small animals such as birds, rodents, and lizards. Kills over a half-hour old do not provide nourishment to Kobolds. If sufficiently starving, the Unit looses 1 member per week of malnourishment.

These spirits are not 'dead', but have simply re-joined the chorus of cranky kobolds in astral space with which the Master must put up with until he can re-Manifest them. Slain kobolds must wait until after the next new moon to be eligible for re-Manifestation.

A captured Namegiver in the hands of a gang of Kobolds is usually well treated until 'accidents' begin to pile up without medical treatment or the Kobolds forget to provide suitable food and water for their 'guest'. Children are warned not to wander out of sight with many "boogey" stories, and while Bugbears and Goblins might be said to eat their prey, it is claimed that Kobolds enslave Namegivers they can dominate into producing art or crafting objects over and over until exhaustion.

Crafty Kobold Masters then use this stockpile of 'edibles' to grow their tribe and territory. Kobold Masters (I'll probably research a mythological Name for them) have also been known to cast Shaman spells, acquire basic weapons like spears for their minions, and teach their tribes the art of Trap Making.
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Re: [Actual Play] Into the Moathouse!, a Gygaxian Earthdawn Sandbox
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2011, 11:00:34 am »
Session 1, Part 2 - Little Jasmine Hudson

The PCs and the Windling Trina approach Hommlet from the southern road. (South road exit on this map). The area south of the map is a patch of forest (about 10 min walk thick), with some good pasture lands lying further south. The party has seen a few flocks of sheep at a distance during the walk north, usually watched over by a silhouette of a Namegiver and a pair of dogs from a nearby rise. As they walk through this last patch of forest, the party chats with one another, asking Trina what they might expect from the people of Hommlet.

Trina stand up and bristles on the Obsidiman's craggy shoulder. "Well, first of all, I never stole the Miller Goodwife's necklace. That was just an excuse to run us out of town!"

A sudden ruckus from ahead cuts her off, mid indignation. There is howling, shouting, screaming, the noises of things breaking, more howling and shouting... combat. The party starts out on the south road 3 hexes into the trees (ED 1 hex = 2 yds), i.e. just off the map. It is still mid afternoon, and the bright sun is making it hard to make out details through the trees. Lux sprints ahead to the edge of the tree line, leaping up to a trunk to gain a better vantage. Sorrel says put while Trina flies up to Lux's position. Running across the fields from the farm-house closest to the player's position is a strange parade.

At the head, a furry goblinoid as tall as a Troll ("A Bugbear!" whispers Trina) is in the lead.  Clutched in one mitt is a large tree branch wielded as a club. The other fuzzy claw holds a child's crib tight to the Fae's shoulder. The beast looks back at his pursuit, then back to the forest, leaps a short rock wall dividing crop fields and starts running southeast (diagonally away from the road) through an open grass field studded with standing stones. A swarm of 4 Bogles (an Unseelie Goblin breed) boils over the wall behind him. They are skwaking and fighting over their loot as they run: 3 loaves of bread, a bucketful of fish, a footstool, a large cured ham, and a large wooden and silver serving platter.

Two human lads in their 20's wielding axes stumble out of the side door to the farmhouse and begin running after the faeries. Meanwhile, the goblins are gaining on the slower moving Bugbear, who is halfway to the trees. Lux estimates that they'll all make the tree-line far before the humans catch them, in about 45 seconds. "Tell Sorrel" she hisses, and then runs into the forest to the right of the road. Shadowing the Fae's progress across the field, but keeping the treeline between then, she gets into position in 2 rounds(and makes a Good success on a Dex role modified by partial cover vs the bugbear's Per step). Sorrel has used the first round to run into the trees as well, the second round he slows down and gets closer to the field. Hiding partially behind a large tree trunk, he begins to pull mana into a thread for the Earthdarts spell. Pebbles on the ground begin to float up, growing into crystalline needle-sharp shards. Trina uses the rest of her Movement to close the gap between her and Lux. The baby's cries echoes above the goblins fighting amongst each other. In the background a woman is wailing.

*Surprise Round* Having determined Surprise last round while the PCs had time to position themselves, Lux waits until the Bugbear is within 4 hexes of the treeline before sprinting out to meet it. Calling a Tail Attack (a t'skrang character bonus extra attack, but taking -2 to all rolls that round), she adds an Attack to Knockdown combat option. Trina (having as high Dex as Lux) streaks out of the trees calling, "I've got the Baby!!!!!" A little Gm fiat later(hey, Trina's an NPC) and the Bugbear goes tumbling, the crib flying, arching, falling.. until the small girl is plucked out of the air by the plucky Windling. Hovering in the path of the oncoming Bogle swarm.

Lux has leaped upon her opponent's chest and driven her rapier and dagger deep into the Fae's matted furry hide (11+9 damage not enough to Wound the Bugbear w/ WT 12 ...which made the knockdown attack a super effective tactic). Sorrel emerges from behind his tree, a cloud of crystalline glittery death buzzing around his stone hands. He gestures towards the Bogle swarm (here's another neat thing about my Mass Combat system... I totally skipped trying to figure out or track which Bogle he aimed at.. doesn't matter, as you'll see).

The Earthdarts slam into the still tiffing goblins (12 damage, a Wound!). Sorrel rolls bonus Damage, a 6, exploding die! Another 6! And then a 1.

25 Damage (over half the swarm's Unc Rating!!!). One Bogle is outright dead, another has caught a face and right leg full of shrapnel and isn't going anywhere. The Bogles turn on the Elementalist screaming.

*Next Round* [Init: Lux, Sorrel, Bugbear (all @ init 7), Goblins]
 Lux places her rapier tip on the Bugbear's throat, growling out a warning against moving. The Bugbear is furious at the loss of it's prize and swats at Lux from the ground with it's tree branch club. Lux stabs the bugbear two more times (lots of Karma use from the players all around in this fight), driving her rapier into it's throat and her dagger into it's shoulder (7+6 damage). Trina flies the baby at a sprint towards the two human lads still rushing towards the scene of combat. Sorrel begins to weave a thread to recast Earthdarts as the Goblins continue to run at him (but as he stayed back away from Lux's position on point, they actually have to run further to get to him than to Lux). The round ends with more pebbles vibrating around Sorrel's hands and the goblins just out of melee reach.

*Next Round* [Init: Lux, Bugbear, Goblins, Sorrel]
Lux finishes off her mark with more quick bladework. The Goblins jump all over Sorrel, trying to knock him down (no dice), and Sorrel blasts another Goblin into a pulpy, crystal studded pile of goo. Meanwhile one of the humans have caught up to the limping Bogle and made short work of it's skull with his axe while the other has taken the startled baby from the Windling's arms.

*Next Round*
The remaining Bogle breaks to run for the trees, Sorrel tries to stab it with his trispear but misses. Trina flies back to Sorrel, sees the Bogle go and flies after it. The PCs turn to greet the wary but grateful human boys approaching them. (end combat)

The Hudson Lads (as they introduce themselves as sons of Mathilde Hudson) thank Lux and Sorrel for saving little Jasmine, and during the short conversation there is a sharp cry from the woods as the Goblin meets Trina's blade. Lux finds a few Silver in the Bugbear's ratty hide armor. The corpses begin to reek of alcoholic vapors, and the Bogle corpses are breaking down into translucent globs. Trina returns from the woods, cleaning and sheathing her windling short-sword, she lands on Sorrel's backpack and sits down, trying to be inconspicuous.

The Hudson family (the matron, her 2 son's wives, and their 7 other children) cautiously begin to approach the PCs. Jasmine's mother rushes to take her from on of the Lads, and curious children begin to poke and prod at Lux's tail and the Obsidiman's stoney flesh. Jasmine's father shows the PCs to the local inn, the Welcome Wench and explains to Ostler Gundigoot, the innkeeper what has occurred. Ostler set the 'heroes' up in fine rooms and the evening ends as Lux relaxes in a hot bath ("The first hot bath in WEEKSSSSssssssss!"), and Sorrel scribing in his journal. One of the porter boys (a young lad who stares at the Elementalist with eyes the size of saucers) knocks, and delivers a small pouch containing 40 silver pieces as a reward from the Hudson family.

Next up... Interlude 1 - Getting to know Hommlet
« Last Edit: July 09, 2011, 06:58:08 am by Telarus »
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Re: [Actual Play] Into the Moathouse!, a Gygaxian Earthdawn Sandbox
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2011, 11:05:43 am »
Interlude 1 - Getting to know Hommlet

This was 1 days worth of activity roleplayed in bits and pieces over this week. I'll just cover the bullet points.

  • Lux and Sorrel wake and have breakfast at the Inn. Waiting for them (and paying for their breakfast) is the local Druid, a bearded Elf named Jaroo Ashstaff (Circle 4 Shaman, Questor of Jaspree). The druid thanks them for saving his neighbor, Mathidle's, little grand-daughter.
  • Jaroo explains about the Charter and how Fae and other creatures have been more brave about entering town, able to stay for longer before the Chater drives them out. Sorrel asks about the Charter and gets the 'cliffnotes' of how the Charter functions. He asks to see the Megalith circle here in town.
  • Jaroo gets a sparkle in his eye, and says that maybe they can come to an arraignment. He asks after Lux's reasons for traveling to Hommlet. She's pretty straight forward about her intentions to scope the area for trading compacts. Jaroo indicates that he might be able to help with that, as a member of the town Council. He mentions there is a Trader's Establishment just across the river, but asks that Lux not mention her intentions to the proprietors until she and Jaroo have a chance to speak with the Council. She agrees.
  • Jaroo gets down to business, pulling a large tiger's eye gem from his robes. He says that he has been hearing disturbing reports of bandit activity in an old ruined castle a few leagues down-river (between Hommlet and the port-slum of Nulb, which he mentions is not under the Charter). With recent attacks on the town increasing, he's concerned that it might be more than simple bandits with a campfire. He is willing to pay the PCs with one gem now, and another upon their return with information. He mentions that he will pay a bonus if they can find or bring evidence of a specific Sigil (a Flaming Eye).
  • The PCs discuss it (with Trina piping in every once in a while), and agree to do this errand for Jaroo.
  • Lux heads to investigate the Trader's Establishment and visit the money-changer. She scopes out the Trader's, sensing that they are overcharging for certain things, and haggling for a horse for a while until one of the traders asks to see her money at which point she politely bows out. At the moneychanger's she manages to bargain well for the gem (Haggle success!) coming away with 300 silver.
  • Sorrel asks after the leader of the town's militia and is directed to the southeast-most farmhouse. He goes to the Megalith circle (in the grove of trees the Druid's house is in) and sketches the magical patterns for a while, taking notes. He then goes to the militia captain's house, where he asks the older man's permission to ask around town for volunteers to go with them to check out the Moathouse. The old man considers this for a while (and, being of the Old Faith is impressed by the appearance of an Obsidiman offering to aid the town), agrees upon the condition that the PCs provide new gear for the volunteers. He tells Sorrel to see his son Elmo, who actually just left to go to the inn to see the "rock man".
  • Sorrel finds Elmo in the Inn's yard, and they strike up a conversation. A very friendly Elmo agrees to accompany the party for 1 share of the loot "and if they buy Elmo a big Axe", and he also agrees to go around town to see if anyone else will volunteer. He recommends that Sorrel talk to Rufus at the Tower for the service of some men-at-arms if he is worried about what they might find at the Moathouse. Sorrel meets briefly with Rufus, who offers a Squad of Burne's Badgers for 20% of their loot or 1sp per man per day, whichever is greater (either a squad of 3 Spearmen - ringmail, shields, spears, longswords; or 4 Crossbowmen - leather, crossbows, shortswords). Sorrel decides he must consult with his party before making that decision, and tells Rufus he will return later in the day.
  • Sorrel returns to the Inn, waiting in the common room for Elmo. Elmo returns an hour later, with a pair of Ork twins (a male and a female) who live on the western edge of town, explaining that everyone else in town has business or work to attend to and cannot leave for even a day. The Urok Twins (Kartan, and Kenna) are a size 2 Unit (mooks, no Karma), that are excellent hunters and trappers, and proficient with quarterstaves and slings, bows, or crossbows.
  • Sorrel and Lux discuss Rufu's offer and decide on the Crossbow Squad. Sorrel walks back to the tower to inform Rufus of the decision, while Lux asks everyone to meet them back here at the Inn the next morning, at 10 bells, to gear up for the journey. The party has a little more than 340 silver in current funds.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2011, 11:10:25 am by Telarus »
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Re: [Actual Play] Into the Moathouse!, a Gygaxian Earthdawn Sandbox
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2011, 12:01:49 am »
Ok, so I've posted this in 3 places (RPG.net, here, and the Earthdawn forums on redbrick-limited.com).


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Re: [Actual Play] Into the Moathouse!, a Gygaxian Earthdawn Sandbox
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2011, 08:47:37 am »
I think I'll do a little fictional write-up for the session we just played through, but the basics, and some screenshots from MapTool are posted to my Google+ account, here:

https://plus.google.com/101970356578425854637/posts/jpAkFtc9rx2

That should be set to publicly viewable, let me know if you can't see it.
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Re: [Actual Play] Into the Moathouse!, a Gygaxian Earthdawn Sandbox
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2011, 11:50:40 am »
I was going to read it but it's kinda long so I didn't, yet? Is there a summary? :)
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Re: [Actual Play] Into the Moathouse!, a Gygaxian Earthdawn Sandbox
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2011, 06:16:35 pm »
You can skip most of the first post. The last section of the first post after "Zoom In" describes the direct area they are adventuring in, and the rest of the posts are the Session Notes.
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Re: [Actual Play] Into the Moathouse!, a Gygaxian Earthdawn Sandbox
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2011, 11:16:32 am »
Picking up the narrative from the end of the Interlude...

Session 2, Part 1 - The Party ventures forth!

Lux is up bright and early on the morning of the departure (note to self, 3rd day in the village after 2 days on the road). She and Sorrel had decided to sleep in the 'common beds' (a room with a few bunks, mostly pallets) on the 2nd floor of the Welcome Wench last night (in order to afford to stable and secure their possessions), and had spent part of the evening listening to trader's stories.

She counts out the party funds and heads up to Davl's General Store, getting to know the two weaselly humans who run the place (overweight, slothful Rannos Davl, and fussy twitchy Gremag, his business partner) . Setting aside her instincts to have nothing to do with these men for a moment, Lux starts bargaining for the party's needed gear. She purchases a large 1-handed axe (in the Scythan style) for Elmo, 2 light crossbows and 30 bolts for the Ork twins, 15 days worth of rations & water to divide among the party if they need, and a climbing kit (6yds rope, 3yds light chain, a grappling hook, and 2 pitons). She knows that the merchants are overcharging her for these items, but aren't asking for as much as they could milk out of her. It seems Rannos is curious about this new T'skrang in town and doesn't want to chase her off right away.

She also picks up a Dungeon Cart (25% OFF!) which she will use her pack-bird to pull. The party is left with about 120 silver.

Returning to the Inn, she meets the Orks and gives them their new crossbows, instantly winning a smile from both. She takes the Cart to the Inn's stable and for a few copper rents some tack to secure the bird to the cart (carry capacity now 500lbs).

Sorrel and Trina are in the Inn's common room, talking with the innkeeper, Ostler. Sorrel is explaining how he and Lux saved Trina from Kobolds, while the Windling slices an apple up with her sword and eats it, deferring to the Obsidiman. Lux comes in, telling the Ork twins to wait outside for Burne's Badgers to show up.

As the talk at the bar changes to their impeding departure with her arrival, Lux notices a few travelers mixed in with the morning breakfast crowd perk up and pay attention, while trying to seem otherwise engaged. [GM note - used the Deceit/Insight rules, Lux got a Good success against the various characters Gygax has staying at the Inn, except the dude in the corner with his face in shadow. She couldn't see who it was or if he was listening.]

Lux stands as she notices the others listening in on the logistics. At this point Sorrel notices and also stands. He openly offers a place in the party for anyone interested in going. A pair of odd thugs (an ork wearing a long thin warbraid down his back and his human companion) mumble into their drinks. A young human lad clad in 'tatty clerics robes' also shies away from directly answering. The figure sitting away from the fire grunts, and another tough near the fire coughs and stands (Lux recognizes him as the human guard on duty in Davl's Store yesterday..but not this morning). The guardsman uses the moment to return to the bar to refill his mug, commenting to Oslter that he 'hopes to hear some interesting stories when the lizard and the rock-man get back'.

Lux scowls and herds the party outside. They meet up with the arriving Crossbowmen, and the party sets off east through town, past the newly dug trenches of the castle work-site, until they see the small track leading away from the main road which Jaroo described. At one point this may have even been a serviceable one-lane road, with bits here and there showing sign of ancient paving stones. A few hundred yards along, as the track follows the river downstream, it grows thick and choked with tall grasses and scrubby brush. At times small tree thickets and stands of bamboo-like reeds block the way.

Lux calls for the crossbomen to brings out their short-swords and help her clear a path wide enough for the Cart to be pulled through. It is slow going, doubly so as they stop to clean and inspect their weapons for damage. Nearly fours hours (and half their water supply) later, and they approach the Moathouse. The thickly overgrown track has sunk to a muddy rut, and the sounds of insects and large amphibian ululation fills the swamp.

Almost before I can finish reading the boxed text description of the old mouldering fortress (a forks splits off the road you've been following to the north, towards the old rotting drawbridge, etc, etc), Sorrel is rolling Wild Animal Knowledge to ask for the most dangerous wildlife in the area. He rolled really well, so I point out the usual suspects, poisonous snakes, bobcat, large otters, JubJubs and other carnivorous amphibians, lizards & large crocodiles. He quickly proceeds to arrange the party's marching order, using the Crossbowmen to guard the left flank, the Orks to guard the right and manage the Bird & Cart, and the 4 Adepts (Lux, Sorrel, Trina.... and Elmo, who turns out to be a 2nd Circle Axemaster) front and center. He leads the party & cart off the track they've been following onto a raised section that leads north towards the keep.

By this point, I've been rolling Frog Dex (modifying for cover) and calling for Perception checks from Lux and Trina (I let the players run all the party's Adepts during combat). They both spot large carnivorous frogs in the swampy marsh to either side of the raised road.

*1st Round* [Basic side vs side, bid highest Initiative. Frogs lost, declared a charge.] Trina spots a swarm of young Giant Frogs on the left of the road, beginning to hop towards the party. She flies over to the crossbowmen to point them out and then buzzes further left towards a few trees, aiming to get around and behind the frogs. Sorrel steps over towards the now panicky Bird, and rolls a crazy 26! on his Animal Handling skill (crazy bonus dice). This pretty much negates the gygaxian trap at the beginning of this encounter (a 50% chance of mounts and pack animals panicking, and then a 50/50 chance of them bolting into the swamp, or bucking their riders/handlers when the Frogs attack). Darn, I really wanted to use that =P

Sorrel calls the Orks to come to assist with the pack-Bird and turns to absorb the action. Lux and Elmo have drawn their steel and are charging down the right embankment into the marshgrass at a huge, bloated amphibian (larger than their cart) hopping towards them. Another full grown, adult Giant Frog is behind the first, and two more younglings approach from further to the right, in the shallow scummy  riverwater. As the combat started at such long range, the Crossbowmen are the only ones to attack this round, pelting the first 2 approaching frog younglings with bolts. The others have Run to get close enough to the adult Frogs to start in melee range next round.

*Round 2* [sorry, don't have Init notes this time] Lux gets in close to the large Frog first, dodging a snapping elastic tongue strike from the Frog that otherwise would have pulled her into it's waiting jaw. She lashes out with Rapier and Dagger, taking the strain for a Second Weapon attack and burning a Karma on her primary. Elmo similarly wades in with his flashing Axe (which resembles, but isn't the axe which Lux bought for him...*?*).

The combat is really over before I know it. Sorrel's Earthdarts and the Crossbowmen (and the 1 ork)'s bolts take care of the young frogs before they could get to within 1 hex of their target (young frogs have a reduced tongue attack). Lux, Elmo, and Trina (once she got a sneak attack in, she realized that Sorrel and the humans had the small ones covered) make short work of the 2 adult Giant Frogs. (Trina and Lux's high Dex and Aviod Blow skills keeping them from being froggy lunch.)

As the young Frogs fall, and the first adult Frog is killed, the party turns it's focused attention to the 2nd adult Frog. It takes 2 Wounds immediately and flees. Sorrel, having woven up an Earthdarts thread, but watching his 1st target splash away into the river (doubling it's Mov), turns to the remaining fleeing frog youngling in range, and blasts it into pate. The NPC's re-group at the cart, as Sorrel begins butchering the fallen Frogs (Frog Legs!). Trina spots a large gem in the entrails of the adult frog, convincing Lux to fish it out with her rapier-tip.

The scene ends (break/intermission) as I roll Dex for the 2 T'skrang bandits who are watching from the Moathouse courtyard's arrow-slits. Unfortunately, one of them botches, and the party hears rocks shifting and falling on stone from the direction of the ruined Gates.


Pics: [Battle End Overview (notice the fleeing lone frog survivor)] [NPC Units guard the Cart] [The PCs]

Next Up - Session 2, Part 2 - Into the Moathouse!
OR -= How do we get an 800lb living statue across a waterlogged, rotting drawbridge?=-

« Last Edit: July 19, 2011, 12:19:34 pm by Telarus »
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