Friday, July 29, 2016

A new adventure in time for Gen Con, potentially free!

So currently I have some works on offer with a Bundle of Holding   that ends in a little over 75 hours as of the time of posting this.

It is currently the third most popular bundle of holding of all time.   But I am nothing if not competitive.   If this bundle of holding can climb its way to the number 2 spot by reaching $28, 564 I will release a free adventure in time for GenCon this year.   At the average bundle price,  this is about 160-175 new bundle purchases.

Plus, it helps a charity.

With a free adventure its like getting free money*!

*note that it is actually in no way like getting free money.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A rival expedition in the land of Xan Than Du

Session 1 of the Google+ game

A newly arrived expedition of British Explorers arrived in Guam-yaiv,  staying with a friendly British merchant. This is a rival expedition to the home group, which you had seen in previous posts.

Their founding members were the devout aristocrat Lord Dingleberry, a superstitious opium addict named Cecil Fernsby, and Arizona Jones, a British emigrant to Texas, fresh from the Mexican-American war and eager to return to his home country as a member of the Royal Explorers Society.

As they took their first trip to the local bazaar to purchase initial supplies and perhaps name their expedition,  they engaged with small talk among the merchants to learn some rumours,  seeing if anything would hook their interest.

One thing that did was a local commotion as French soldiers ransacked the market looking for someone in a hurry.  As soon as they passed they heard  a muffled plea "Aidez-moi" as some rough men hauled a figure wrapped in a blanked away, disappearing into the back alleys.

Rushing to action before the hook expired they chased the group into the alley, except for Cecil who climbed onto a roof to gain an aerial view.  They tracked the kidnappers to a shady opium den in an alley, guarded by a stern looking doorman who was keeping away the beggars.

While Joe attempted to converse with the angry guard Cecil attempted to stealthily drop a brick on his head.  Unfortunately the beggar turned out to be a second guard and leaped to his feet with a throwing dagger in hand.   Lord Dingleberry was amazingly quick on his feet and interrupted this by calmly pistol whipped the beggar in the temple,  knocking the beggar unconscious and sadly getting blood onto his shoes.

The split second commotion seemed to give the guard enough were with all to expect an attack,  but he was too slow and the brick still struck him and knocked him out like a light.    Angry at the blood ruining his shoes,  Lord Dingleberry kicked the peasant beggar to death while the party decided to kill the guard and take his key to the opium den.

The party descended into the compound and found a room of impoverished addicts,  but spying a still valuable signet ring on one of them,  Joe snuck in and grappled with the unfortunate soul.  To contain the struggle he ended up needing to bludgeon the victim to unconsciousness with a series of punches.

They bypassed the latrine and continued deeper into the compound where they found a room full of clerks and a single guard.  They were counting coins and sorting great heaps of opium.    The party burst into the room and decapitated the guard before demanding the clerks surrender.  The shower of arterial blood really added to the weight to the argument for surrender and so the clerks did.  A great haul of gold coins and opium was quickly thrown into a sack while light zither music emanated from the VIP room further in.

Cecil did some quick math and realized that this opium den could never hope to turn a profit given the few patrons it could hold at full capacity and the number of guards and staff it housed.  They interrogated the clerks as to the location of the kidnapped Frenchwoman and ascertained that she was being held in the lavatory they had passed earlier.

Backtracking to the lavatory they had passed earlier,  one of the clerks attempted to make an escape when they approached the door.  He was quickly struck with a knife in the back and left to bleed out on the floor.   The party discovered secure tie on points hidden in the ground near the latrine and discovered that midway down the pit (about 20 feet) was a secret chamber.

Cecil descended and nearly fell 40 feet into a mound of fetid waste,  but managed to hold his grip and enter the secret passage.  It opened into a room with a large amount of climbing supplies including a rope and grapnel tied onto the wall.  Cecil throw the grapnel back up so that the party, including their 4 hostage clerks, could descend.

Moving through this secret underground structure they found a series of blue stone arches.  The clerks intentionally set of some sort of tripwire, causing the arches to hum loudly and give away their position.  None of the clerks were able to escape the volley of loud gunfire and sword strokes.

The party continue deeper into the complex, finding a storage room full of millet, water casks, and an unusual round sarcophagus.  As they began to investigate,  crossbow bolts whizzed into the room from a hidden archer somewhere in the darkness down the hall.  Lord Dingleberry attempted to abscond with the sarcophagus but it began to shake and a large serpent quickly escaped from it.  As Joe dropped his candle and bolted down the hallway to find this hidden archer,  a female face appeared in the darkness and began to whisper to Cecil.  Lord Dingleberry could barely contain his horror as he saw that this female head was sitting atop the body of a great serpent.  He fired his pistol at point blank range and managed to slay the beast in a great torrent of black tar as its body aged a thousand years an a few seconds and crumbled to dust.

Cecil and Lord Dingleberry raced down the hall after Joe to find him grappling with an armoured warrior with a bizarre serpentine dagger.    The three of them combined were able to quickly dispatch the guard and steal his valuable silk and mail armour.   Injured and certain of more guards alerted to their gunfire they bravely rushed towards the sound of running water, hoping to find the kidnapped Frenchwoman.

And on a great stone slab, surrounded by fresh coals that warmed the air,   was a great snake finishing its meal,  two feet in European ladies shoes sticking from its mouth.  Joe aimed and with great luck was able to shoot the snake dead in a single shot so it could not escape into the water.  Whats more,  the shot didn't also kill the Frenchwoman, in fact it barely destroyed a single calf of hers.    Using his medical skills from the Texas Navy,   Joe was able to revive the woman despite the long odds.

The party retreated quickly and alerted the French garrison who stormed the location, finding it hastily abandoned and encountering only some resistance from a few stragglers.

The party gained great favour among the French garrison for saving a captain's daughter,   but also incurred great ire among the locals for thwarting this blow to the occupiers.

Foes Vanquished:
1 Beggar
1 Bouncer
1 Washed Up Opium Addict
1 Guard
5 Clerks
1 Temple Guard
1 Ancient Serpent Woman
1 Blessed Python

Treasure Recovered:
Treasured Family Heirloom Ring
Opium Den Treasury (39 gold, 491 silver)
Opium Den Supply  (13 small pouches)
Ancient Round Sarcophagus
Suit of Brass and Silk Mail with Serpent Emblems
95% of Mademoiselle

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Down Time Activities in the lands of Xan Than Du

My current game is set to run with an assumed week in between games. This allows for some healing,  but also a time to generate new adventure hooks, or gain new skills.  The following downtime activities are available.

Tranquil Relaxation
Required Standard of living:   Medium or greater
The character spends his days contemplating philosophy, painting, or sipping tea and/or gin on the veranda.   Devoid of conflict the character heals a point of stress.

Required Standard of Living:  Low or Medium
The character gets involved in games of cards, liquor or other intoxicants, and engages in trivial pass times.  They regain luck as if their standard of living was one level higher.

Required Standard of Living:  Any
The character pores through library records, or hunts down leads in seedy establishments, or whatever is appropriate for the rough topic being sought. If researching,  an intelligence check with an arbitrary penalty for difficult determines success or failure towards gaining information towards a single question.  For investigation, a charisma check is similarly made.  

Martial Training
Required Standard of Living:  Any
The character seeks out a trainer to further their martial prowess (ie, combat tricks).  You have to find new teachers beyond the fencing instructor at the lodge,   Jean Dumas.

Jean Dumas requires not more than 3 infamy with the French and a High Standard of living in Guam-yaiv,  he knows fencing related combat tricks.

Skill Training
Required Standard of Living:  Any
The character spends the week practicing a new skill.  They may make an intelligence check,  if they do they earn 1/12th of a skill.  When they have 12 successes towards a skill, they learn the new skill.

Charitable Work
Required Standard of Living:  Medium or Less
The character helps the poor and needy, and perhaps throws in some religious conversions. They heal luck at one rate worse than normal but also gain 1 piety and reduce the negative effects of infamy by 1 for the following week (then people forget the deeds you have done).

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Buy this stuff so I can get money, also a charity or something

I am in a bundle of holding for Lamentations of the Flame Princess products.

You can get The Pale Lady and Thulian echoes in the starter collection, and Scenic Dunnsmouth if you spring for the bonus collection.  I think you also get some lesser known products as well,  but who cares about that?

Buy my stuff!

Also help out a good cause.

Monday, July 11, 2016

A temporary reversal of fortunes in the lands of Xan Than Du

Once more the party ventured towards to secret tomb found by the shady Kojata.

A Stage Magician seeking more real magic, A British Cavalry Officer, and their newest member,  a British Naval Officer who bought his commission and has no field experience.  The naval officer brought with him a dromedary re-directed from its original destination in Australia and a loyal cabin boy holding a massive brown bess he couldn't effectively use.

Loading up with vast amounts of water and cheap millet they trekked forward to the secret tomb.  On the way there they stumbled upon a crumbling adobe structure recently uncovered from the sand. It was small, no more than two little rooms.  Investigating they saw it was an ancient morgue or mausoleum,  holding middle class cadavers temporarily.  They looted it and recovered a gold tooth, some polished stones, and some ancient animal bones.

Continuing on they saw armed desert nomads ahead,  they saw them with enough time that they could take a circuitous route to avoid them, albeit arriving later at the tomb. At dusk.

They went into the tomb and all was quiet.  The sound of gunfire and then a gust of wind emerged from the tomb's shaft before they returned carrying a fat purse of coins, a gleaming bronze sword, and an 8 foot long bronze statue of a cobra.  Kojata was pleased they seemed to understand treasure meant shiny, although there was more bronze and less gold than he'd hoped.

Returning to Guam-yaiv they saw the nomads had camped at the ancient morgue.  The wind was kicking up, and the party had gotten too close before spotting them.  One of the nomads had a rifled musket and opened fire,  thankfully his gun misfired.  The wind then seemed to kick up and hide the party, allowing them to easily escape.  The stage magician claimed credit.

Taking their gains (and giving Kojata his share) they ordered fancy fire arms (a revolver and air rifle) and luxuriated around the colonial quarter for a few weeks to recover some terrible mental strain they had encountered in that tomb.  The revolver arrived in port,  but the air rifle was still on order when they set forth again, this time at night.

The trip was uneventful,  but as they traveled they seemed to pick up a larger and larger pack of jackals following just out of shooting distance.   When they reached the tomb, Kojata demanded an extra hand to guard the animals (in this case the cabin boy).

Once more the party descended into the tomb and emerged in silence some time later,  the naval officer incapacitated and bleeding.  Their treasure,  a small piece of string, the remnant of a seal they had cut.

Kojata was not amused by this seeming backslide in their ability to identify treasure and avoid death.

They decided to pack up and head out,  but as soon as they did so the jackals whom had been hiding swarmed over a dune to attack, over a dozen.  In a barrage of gunfire several were felled, but still they advanced.  In a swirling melee they managed to badly injure the cabin boy before their morale broke from the vast amount of lead filling the air.    The party took a few dead jackals as "bounty" and headed into the desert to return to Guam-yaiv.

Along the way they encountered nomads,  but cautiously approached them.  The nomads traded a jar of dried locusts for a dead jackal.  Apparently locusts were starting to appear in the area in great numbers.  Nodding and eager to take their incapacitated companion (who also was their linguist) back to Guam-yaiv they left.  They passed by the mausoleum and saw some sort of holy man mediating on its roof.

Curious, the cavalry officer road up and attempted to converse.  He seemed unable, so he offered a dead jackal.  The holy man looked but unimpressed but also resigned to politely give thanks.  He left a dyed thumb print on the cavalry officer's head and waved them on.   They continued to Guam-yaiv,  but spied an unusual sight.  Some sort of offering of a fresh papaya on a rock in the middle of the desert.  Not wanting to investigate and take risk, the cavalry officer shot it from a distance with a musket and they returned to town.

Kojata is not sure if they are messing with him with their treasure selections.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

"Its faster to travel by (hex)Map, so lets do that"

This is a break from my Xan Than Du related posts,  but it is an idea that I was mulling on relating to travel in hexcrawl games where dying of malaria in the jungle isn't the point.  In games where there is an available map and you aren't traveling into the complete unknown.

There will be encounter tables that are challenging for low level parties (or suicidal)  but ho-hum for higher level parties or large convoys.  No real insight there.  It is often boring and time consuming to roll through those encounters once you are well beyond them having a threat.  The time consuming part especially as life intrudes more and more on your time available for gaming with age.

A Hit Die number for each hex.   Pass this HD number in your party and you "travel by map" right through the hex.  Nothing in there will bother you and they will generally stay away from your party.

This could be small for roads that have only the odd highwayman (a Hit Die value of 5 or 6)  or it could be huge if you are going near an enemy army (a Hit Die value of 10,000).

Events could also raise those numbers (secretly or openly).   If a city is sacked and the countryside if full of extra bandits the number might go from 5 to 20.  If a monster moves into a forest but hasn't yet been publicly exposed the number might go up by say double its HD (you'd need enough of an edge its no real worry).

For higher level hex crawls this has the effect of opening up more of the map without spending 2 hours of game time arriving,  while also ensuring low level characters have to have serious worry about crossing the dark woods to make it to the city  without the protection of a caravan or some such.

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Markets at Guam-yaiv

This is a utility post for games set in Xan Than Du,  both my home game and the G+ game I will soon be running as a rival party.  Let me know on G+ if you want in.

Your presence changes prices by 5% per point.  Each point of infamy to the French increases price in the Colonial quarter but decreases price in the Bazaar and vice versa for infamy with the locals.

The Colonial Quarter:

Combat Gear

Pith Helmet  

3 silver  
 counts as a helmet



20 silver  
medium, slashing, versatile, defensive


20 silver  
medium, piercing, light, defensive


5 silver  
large, pole, piercing

Brown Bess or eqv.

50 silver  
large, devastating, armour piercing, complicated, loud*

Trade Gun (carbine)              

30 silver  
medium, devastating, armour piercing, complicated, loud*

Pepperbox Pistol

50 silver  
small, experimental, armour piercing, can't reload in combat, repeating, loud*

Cookson Repeater

100 silver,  special order (?d4 weeks)
large, armour piercing, complicated, ineffective, repeating, loud*,
7 shot magazine

Air Rifle                              

 250 silver,  special order (?d4 weeks)
large, armour piercing, repeating
20 shot magazine


Spare Air Tank                               50 silver
Pump                                              75 silver

Colt Revolver                        

250 silver,  special order (?d6 weeks)
small, armour piercing, repeating, loud*, accurate**
6 shot magazine

Colt Revolver Carbine

350 silver, ,  special order (?d6 weeks)
medium, armour piercing, repeating, loud*, accurate**
6 shot magazine

Needle Gun


500 silver,  special order (?d6 weeks)
large, armour piercing, repeating, loud*, accurate**
5 shot magazine


100 silver,  special order (?d2 weeks)
large, armour piercing, long range, complicated, loud*, accurate**

Lefaucheux Shotgun

300 silver,  special order (?d2 weeks)

large, minor, burst, loud*, accurate**

Paper Shells

2 copper a shell


1 copper a cartridge


1 silver for 100 charges in flask



 Rifled Bullets

2 copper a bullet

Exploratory and Stealth Gear

Oil Lantern


10 silver

 Whale Oil

1 silver

Deerstalker Cloak

3 silver


2 silver

Heavy Tools (Sledgehammer, Lumber Axe, Shovel, or Pickaxe)

4 silver

Hemp Rope

1 silver


2 silver

Iron Spikes

1 silver


Tinned Rations (Biscuits, Beans, or Corned Beef)

1 silver for a day
1 dot.

Sack of Potatoes

25 copper for 12 days
4 dots

Wheel of Cheese

4 silver a  4 days
2 dots

Cooking Pot/Pan

3 silver


2 silver


3 silver

India Pale Ale

5 silver
4 dots

French Champagne

10 silver
1 dot


20 silver
1 dot

Trade Whisky

2 silver
1 dot

Tin Canteen

2 silver
1 days water


1 silver

Pack Harness

2 silver



200 silver


50 silver


5 silver


10 silver

The Bazaar:

Combat Gear


30 silver
Medium, Slashing, Defensive, Exotic


25 silver
Medium, Blunt, Devastating, Vicious, Defensive

Brass Buckler

10 silver
small, buckler

Bamboo Tower Shield

1 silver
large, tower

Leather Cap

2 silver

Leather Armour

7 silver

Brass Helmet 
      10 silver
Brass and Silk Mail

200 silver

Mail Armour, Sophisticated, Ornamental


20 silver
Small, devastating, armour piercing, complicated, loud


40 silver
Large, devastating, experimental, armour piercing, complicated, loud*


2 silver for horn with 100 charges

Repeating Crossbow


10 silver
Medium, piercing, repeating, ineffective


1 silver for 6 bolts



50 silver
Medium, Piercing


2 silver for leather quiver with 12 arrows


10 silver
Large, slashing, pole weapon


5 silver
Small, piercing, vicious

Exploratory and Stealth Gear


3 copper


1 silver


1 silver


2 silver

Hemp Rope

1 silver

Silk Rope

100 silver


2 silver

Dark Cloak

2 silver


Sack of Millet

14 copper for  14 days (requires extra water)
4 dots

Charred Bushmeat

3 copper for a day
1 dot

Local Fruit

2 copper for a day
2 dots

Sorghum Bread

12 copper 3 days
2 dots

Dried Fruit

1 silver a day
1 dot

Smoked Fish

5 copper a day
1 dot

Bottle Gourd

With Water:    2 copper and holds 1 days water
With Foul Brew:  5 copper
1 dot


With Water:    5 copper and holds 1 days water
With Pomegranate Wine:  1 silver
1 dot

Clay Jug with cork stoppers

With Water:          1 silver and holds 6 days water
With Foul Brew:   3 silver
4 dots



75 silver  (triple for war trained)

Water Buffalo

40 silver


75 silver  (triple for war trained)

New Tags for Firearms:

Loud:  when fired the weapon causes 1d6 suspicion but its damage die size is 1 greater.
Accurate:  Based on the throwing tag,  the weapon gains +2 to hit targets in other areas but -2 to hit if used in melee.

Special rule for firearms in a semi-modern setting:  When shooting a target not in or near cover,  the defender does not get to add a combat modifier to their defense roll.