Sunday, June 17, 2018

NGR Play Example: The Dungeon

In this scenario the party is exploring the abandoned sewers under an abandoned city in the moors. It is rumoured to be full of the living dead who guard the fabled gem "The Eye of the Sea".



GM: So you all descend the rickety ladder through the hole to what was surely once the basement of an inn.  Dirt and rubble pile up against a wooden door to the north.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I am surprised a wooden door is still standing, surely rain pouring in through the hole would have rotted it over the years.

GM:  This brings up my next point actually,  its night outside so there isn't really any light streaming in through the hole above you.  What is everyone carrying for light as it will otherwise be pitch black, a darkness level of 10.

Guy (Sir Vancierge):  Well I'll start by rummaging through my backpack to get a candle and then light it with my flint in steel.

GM: Are you just setting it on the ground or carrying it?

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I'll sheath my sword and carry it for now.

GM: Ok you have a light source, and the room itself only has 9 darkness. Anyone else lighting anything?

Chuck (Abraham): I'll have my lantern in hand, but I won't light it yet.

Kim (Thaugo): I'll dig out my torch and pack my javelin.

GM: The javelin is a pole weapon, you can't cram it in a backpack,

Kim (Thaugo): Right... I'll pack my club I guess. I can still hit people with a torch right?

GM: Yep, it will have the devastating tag because it is on fire though. That will increase the damage die one step and give a -2 penalty to hit.

Kim (Thaugo): Only if I light it though right? otherwise its just a club?

GM: Yep, its a sturdy block of wood with some pine tar and cloth on it. Its not a movie torch.

Kim (Thaugo):  Well I light it with the candle, that will give the room 3 more light at least.

GM: 6 more, you are size 2 and its a torch to your scale.

Kim (Thaugo):  So the room is fairly bright to everyone else then, only 3 darkness.

GM: Right, so that means there are deep shadows and a lot of flickering with a red glow.  You are holding a light source though so you don't suffer those kinds of penalties.

Tom (Jack): I look around the room for anything shiny or valuable.

GM:  Make a Perception attribute check with a -3 penalty for the darkness.

Tom (Jack): I am still calm, so my dX roll is 10. With the -3 darkness penalty I fail as I don't feel like becoming On Edge or Reckless and rolling dice.

Kim (Thaugo): I look around as well.  I do not suffer the -3 penalty because I am actually carrying a light source right?

GM: Correct

Kim (Thaugo): In that case I pass. I am still calm and have a perception of 10 so I pass.

GM: In the muck you see the glint of a glass bottle.

Kim (Thaugo): I pick it up

GM: Ok, so in an explosion you...

Kim (Thaugo): Oh come on

GM: I am just fucking with you, its just a bottle.  It is sealed with lead and appears to contain salt.

Kim (Thaugo): Weird.  I keep it. That means I am also no longer underencumbered.

GM: Oh, and Sir Vancierge was examining the door right?

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Ya, sure

GM: It does appear to be heavily rotted and termite infested.  You figure you could probably break it open pretty easily.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): How difficult?

GM: Oh, easy to do it. But you might end up making a bunch of noise.  You could make a strength check, and if you pass you cause 1 suspicion but if you fail you cause 1d6 suspicion.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I am still calm, so I succeed in my strength check.

GM: There is a slight snap noise that echoes as you break a few less rotted pieces of wood.  You cause 1 point of suspicion unless someone wants to pay a luck point to reduce it to 0.

Kim (Thaugo): I only have 4 luck so I won't, but someone should.

Tom (Jack): Its just 1 suspicion.

Kim (Thaugo): I am size 2, so it would be 2 suspicion to me.  I only have 6 agility so my oafish bumbling will quickly cause us to trigger a random encounter.

GM: Correct.  In dungeons a build up of suspicion is used to determine when you cause some of the denizens to investigate all the ruckus.  I know you all know this, but I feel compelled to repeat it again.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): I will spend luck to remove the suspicion then. Anyone nearby can spend luck to reduce suspicion if its an area effect like this.  Do I have to spend 2 luck because Thaugo is size 2?

GM: No, the person spending the luck pays it at their rate.  If Thaugo was spending the luck, they would have to pay 2 to reduce all of the suspicion.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): I go through the door to the north.

GM: Cadmus, you have entered the door to the north. You are now by yourself, standing in a dark room. The pungent stench of mildew emanates from the wet dungeon walls.

Tom (Jack): Where are the cheetos?

GM: They are right beside you.

Kim (Thaugo): We have cheetos?

Chuck (Abraham): No, they are doing a stupid bit. Don't encourage them.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): Is that actually the room?

GM: Yes, but light does come in from behind you, half of what was in your room. Rounded down that means 3 light to counteract the 10 darkness.  You can see vague outlines of things. Maybe furniture or something?  Make a perception check with a -7 penalty for the darkness.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): I am still calm because we haven't started a conflict. Should I start rolling anyway or just fail guys?

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Save being calm in case we have traps. I come in with my candle.

GM: Ok, its only 6 darkness.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I look around. Because I have a light source I am just going to look at things.

GM: Moving up close with your candle you see this appears to be an old store room. There are a lot of crates and barrels..

Tom (Jack): So overpriced garbage that suburbanites love?

GM: crates and barrels which appear to still be mostly intact, though some seem to have rot from water dripping from the ceiling. There is a door to the east.

Chuck (Abraham): I gently quietly poke around with a dagger, seeing if there is anything shiny or valuable within them. I am investigating using my "Resale Appraisal" skill.

GM: There is a pair of porcelain plates still intact in the mess. Their probably worth a pretty penny

Julia (Brother Cadmus): They're

GM: Right, They're probably worth a pretty penny

Chuck (Abraham): They are fragile, so I assume they are a dot each?

GM: Right

Chuck (Abraham): I am over encumbered then.

Kim (Thaugo): I could carry them

Julia (Brother Cadmus): Same here

Chuck (Abraham): That's cool, I got it

Julia (Brother Cadmus): Don't be a dingus, I won't keep them. You can have them back when we leave the dungeon, I promise.

Chuck (Abraham): Fine, jeez.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I open the door to the east

GM:  The light from behind you spills out past you to reveal a long sewer tunnel heading north and south into the darkness.  Your room has a candle and a giant torch, so 7 light.  Half of that spills into a hallway and will cause suspicion.

Kim (Thaugo): I haven't actually entered the store room yet so my giant torch is still in the first room with me.  Remember how you said its 6 darkness with the distant light of my torch and Vancierge's candle?

GM: Ok, then only half of the 4 light spills in, so 2 suspicion.

Chuck (Abraham): I'll pay it this time, but put out that torch before we move into that hall. We can relight it later.

Kim (Thaugo): Fine, I put out the torch.

GM: It gets incredibly dark. The only light you can see is the flickering candle that Sir Vancierge is holding in the next room. You can't see in front of you very well and you may stumble into things. Make an agility check to quietly make it into the next room where there is some light.

Kim (Thaugo): I cast Owl Eyes to see in the dark

GM: Isn't that in your grimoire? You can't read that in the dark

Kim (Thaugo): Can I cast the spell THEN put out the torch?

GM: Sure, but remember that you put out the torch quickly to cut down on light seeping into the hall. Your book is packed in your backpack and may take a while to dig out. How much longer do you want to be beaming torchlight into the hall?

Kim (Thaugo): Ok, first I bless myself. This gives me a +1 universal bonus.  Then I move calmly move into the next room.  My dX roll is 10, I add my 6 agility, my +1 bonus for bless, a +1 bonus to an agility check for having a free hand, and +2 from my stealth

GM: Why would you add your stealth modifier?

Kim (Thaugo): I have parkour and this is literally an attribute check about moving so I get to add my stealth.

GM: Fair enough, you deftly avoid crashing into any of the junk as you navigate towards the faint light.

Kim (Thaugo): Getting near Sir Vancierge's candle NOW I dig out the masters grimoire and cast Owl Eyes. Actually first I put down my torch and club so I am underencumbered and THEN I cast it.  It has a cost of 1 so I pay 1 mana, and its difficulty is 1 per power level. I have 2 occult, I am blessed and being under encumbered I get +1 to casting rolls, so I cast it at power level three.  I am calm so my dX roll is 10, I add +2 for my occult, +1 for bless, and a +1 bonus for being underencumbered but subtract 3 for the difficulty of the spell at power level three.  My target number to beat is 10 so I succeed.

GM: Unless something hiding nearby was trying to counter it, which they are not.

Kim (Thaugo):  So I only suffer half the normal darkness penalties.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Lead by flickering candlelight I quickly scan north and south for any doors or side exits. I want to minimize time in the tunnels to avoid racking up more suspicion.

GM: There looks like there are two doors to the north, one on each side, and one on the west wall to the south.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I dart down to the door by the south, I assume everyone is following me?

GM: Is anyone not following him? speak now? Anyone? Bueller, Bueller?  Ok.  You reach the door to the south, the sewer itself is fairly dry, but there is a rot smell and a fair amount of leaves in the center channel. The door is closer, do you want to spend time to try to open it quietly or just force it open? Oh, and you guys take 1 suspicion from the candle going down the hall.

Tom (Jack): Didn't we already take suspicion from bringing light through into the hall?

GM: Yes, but then you delayed a while until Thaugo could catch up, rummage through and find a book in their pack and then cast a spell.

Tom (Jack): I pay the 1 luck.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I try and open the door first

GM: It opens easily

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I duck inside

GM: Everyone not following? Speak now? No? Ok.  So Sir Vancierge ducks into the room and sees the vague outlines of a horrid scene with his lone candle, though Thaugo can see it much clearer. A trio of gaunt humanoid figures with disturbingly long fingers and over-sized yellow eyes are chewing bits of skin and hair off a desiccated human corpse. They hiss angrily at you. Roll for initiative.

Kim (Thaugo): I speak infernal, couldn't I maybe talk to them?

GM: Maybe, but roll for initiative. You don't know what they are going to do.

Kim (Thaugo): 4
Chuck (Abraham): 5
Guy (Sir Vancierge): 1
Julia (Brother Cadmus): 2
Tom (Jack): 6
GM: They are on 3. Sir Vancierge is up first.
Kim (Thaugo): Wait, they are still all clustered around the desiccated corpse right?
GM: Yes?
Kim (Thaugo): Then I interrupt everyone before they can move to cast Flaming Orb on them. They are clustered so I should be able to hit 3 of them with a power level 2 spell. They look like undead so they should take double damage from fire. I can't quite cast it that high though normally. So I'll become reckless and roll a d20. I'll have +4 to the casting roll and -6 from the difficulty with a target to beat of 10. I get a 14 on the d20 for a total result of 12. I cast the spell at power level 2, which lets me hit 3 targets who are clustered together for a repeating d6 of damage each. I add +1 because I am blessed so the first one takes 5 damage, the second one times 6 damage and the third one I roll a 6, which repeats and lets me roll a 4. With a +1 bonus for bless that one takes 11 damage.

GM: They don't have any milestones so they can't make saving throws.  You are correct that they are undead so they do take double damage, all of them are incinerated and they don't even have time to scream.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Rock on! High five!

GM: One of their corpses is still on fire,

GM Rolls some d6's

GM: As is the desiccated corpse they were clustered around which goes up like tinder.  You also see in the better light the room is full of desiccated corpses.  The flaming explosion itself created 2 light, and the corpses are each proving 1d6 more as the room is catching on fire.  As an inferno it will create, lets say 20 light.

Tom (Jack): But we aren't in a hallway right?

GM: No, but you didn't have time to close the door. Which on the one hand will let you flee back out before taking damage, but on the other hand it lets light slip out into the hallway.  Rolling 2d6 the corpses on fire are creating 5 light, plus the 2 from the explosion, plus the 1 from the candle is 8.  So 4 light spills into the hallway for 4 suspicion.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): I say we just trigger the encounter and ditch out of the this room, we'll try and hide back in the store room since it should take whatever comes looking for us awhile to find us.

GM: Anyone spending luck to avoid suspicion? No?  Ok, you all take 4 except Thaugo who takes 8.

Kim (Thaugo): I have 8 suspicion and 6 agility. I trigger an encounter and reset my suspicion to 0. Everyone else loses up to 6 suspicion, which I think will clear it for everyone.

The GM rolls some dice and notes the random encounter, a vengeful wraith

GM: Since everyone has an action left I assume you are all moving  out the door back into the sewer tunnel?

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Yes, I am also using my second action to close the door behind me to prevent more light from streaming into the tunnel.  Everyone can interrupt me to move past me before hand if initiative matters.

GM: Since Thaugo interrupted everyone it doesn't matter, everyone has actions left to leave before you close the door.

Chuck (Abraham): And we learned a valuable lesson about using fiery explosions to solve problems when attempting stealth.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): Speak for yourself, I aint learned shit.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Lets head North to the door on the east.

GM: Unless you say otherwise, everyone is following. Take 1 suspicion from light through the tunnel.

Kim (Thaugo): We already got one encounter incoming? Should we pay luck to keep from getting a second?

GM: Some of the results on the encounter table might be null, you don't know for certain something is incoming.

Chuck (Abraham): Lets save our luck for combat at this point.

GM: Fair enough, as you see a dark vaguely humanoid shape approaching from behind. It has gotten very close to you, roll initiative as it enters your area.

Kim (Thaugo): Whats it look like?

GM: Its really dark

Kim (Thaugo): I cast Owl Eyes on myself remember

GM: Hasn't that run out yet?

Kim (Thaugo): No, it lasts like 15 minutes. We ran into one room, immediately exploded it and haven't even made it to a second room yet.

GM: Its a wizened looking human clutching funerary robes close to his, or maybe her, body.

Kim (Thaugo): Is it transparent, or corporeal?

GM: It doesn't seem that solid.

Tom (Jack): Oh great its going to possess us, we've got one flickering candle so we are going to get driven mad in the dark. The 9 darkness is a 9 penalty to our resistance rolls.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Not me, I got a candle

Kim (Thaugo): I got night vision until my spell conks out

Chuck (Abraham): I have the exorcist power and a lot of luck

Julia (Brother Cadmus): I have 500 piety and am in a state of grace so can't be possessed.

Tom (Jack): Fuck.



Coming soon, I've got a proof in hand.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

NGR Play Example: Conflict

In this scene the party is confronting a Sidhe princess who has gained mental domination over a merchant that owes Abraham and Jack a large amount of money.



GM: So the Princess sits upon a throne of lashed together elk antlers in the center of the standing stones. Andre the merchant, as well as an octogenarian  noble in a scale shirt and gold crown, stand at her sides with glassy eyes. She gazes at Sir Vancierge...

Chuck (Abraham): Woah woah woah,  how can she know exactly which direction we are coming from.

GM: Well she could have just ensured she is facing you as you approach...

Chuck (Abraham): And she turned the entire throne to face us? I mean, it doesn't sound very stable so it can't be easy to just turn.

GM: Ok, so which direction are you approaching from?

Chuck (Abraham): Well, we are probably sneaking up from multiple angles since we knew she would be here at midnight.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I am not, I am just boldly marching up to face her.

Chuck (Abraham): What? Why?

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Just trust me on this

GM:  So which direction is everyone facing.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I come at whichever direction she is facing on her throne

GM: She is facing due east, the sun would have set behind her.

Chuck (Abraham): Then I would try to sneak around from the West.

Tom (Jack): I also try to sneak around from the West.

Kim (Thaugo): I try to sneak from the North.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): I try to sneak from the West too.

GM: Ok, so these stones are in an open grove in an otherwise dense forest.  You can approach to the edge of the treeline without any real risk. That is two areas away.  It is a full moon so the darkness is 2.

Guy (Sir Vancierge):  This could go south at any second.

GM: So initiative then

Guy (Sir Vancierge):  I roll my Agility die for my initiative, I get an 3 on my d8 and am therefore defending myself by default. I also plan to use my Faerie Lore skill to grant a +1 bonus, giving me a 4.

GM: Just to be clear, how the Faerie Lore going to help? I can think of several ways.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I plan to bargain with her and launch an appeal to her honour.

GM: Ok, Everyone else?

Tom (Jack): I choose to roll my Intelligence die for my initiative, I get a 5 on my d12 but am therefore not defending myself by default.

Chuck (Abraham): I have the Quick-Witted Rogue power so I roll both my Intelligence and Agility die and choose which one I want. I get a 7 on the Agility die and a 1 on the Intelligence die. I choose the 7 and am therefore defending myself by default.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): I roll my Agility die for my initiative and get a 4 on the d8. I am blessed which gives me a +1, so my initiative is 5 and I am defending myself by default.

Kim (Thaugo): Neither die is great anyway, so I will play it safe and roll my Agility Die. I get a 1 on my Agility die, my initiative is 1 and I am therefore defending myself by default.

GM:  The Princess rolled her Agility die for initiative and got a 6 on a d10. The merchant rolled his agility die and scored a 2 on a d6, while the knight rolled his agility die and scored a 3 on the d6. There are no ties.  Initiative 1 is up first, Kim?

Kim (Thaugo):  So I am using both actions to take two move actions to reach the standing stones.

GM: You will move at the end of the round, but until then you are still in your area.  You also won't have an action left to defend yourself from attacks, appeals, or attempts to spot you.

Kim (Thaugo): I have the Parkour Rogue power so I can defend myself as a free action when I take a move action.

GM: And thank god free means it doesn't take any of your two actions as it costs zero actions instead of some weird method where you have different arbitrary categories of things you can do in a round.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): Yes, we get it. You don't like the Wednesday night game system.

GM: Ok, so next goes the Merchant.  He is going to keep watch to try and make a detection roll North.

Kim (Thaugo): At this point there isn't any indication where we are coming from,  wouldn't he just be scanning a random direction since there aren't 4 guards?

GM: I suppose so, I'll roll which direction he is peering towards the treeline. I rolled a d4 and got a 3. Never Eat Shredded Wheat, so he is gazing to the treeline at the South.  He is calm so his..

Everyone: We don't care, no one is there

GM: Maybe there is, maybe there is a third party in the south also trying to help out?  So he is calm, his dX roll is 10.  It is a detection roll, so he adds his stealth modifier of +1, and subtracts the darkness of 2 and the distance of 2 areas.  His detection roll is 10+1-2-2 for a total of 7.  He does not spot anyone.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Am I next?

GM: Sorry, next is the elderly knight.  He is keeping watch in a random direction. I roll a d4 and got a 3. He is gazing West.  He is also calm,  so his dX roll is 10.  His stealth modifier is -1, the darkness is 2, and it is 2 areas to the treeline.  His total detection roll score is 5.  Everyone at the west needs to make an evade check.

Chuck (Abraham):  I am calm so I have a dX roll of 10.  I add my stealth modifier of +5 and a +1 bonus for a dark cloak.  My evade check is 16, which is higher than 5 so I avoid detection.

GM: And to confirm, you don't have a lantern lit right, you can't hide with a light source.

Chuck (Abraham): Ya, I thought about it but decided against putting a glowing beacon in my hand when attempting a stealth mission.

GM: Fair enough, jeez. Everyone else?

Tom (Jack): I will interrupt that action to defend myself as I am not doing it by default and my initiative is higher than the elderly knight.

GM: Oh right, the Princess should probably interrupt to try and spot you first.

Chuck (Abraham): But she still really has no idea that this particular direction has anything going on, wouldn't it be random?

GM: I suppose, she'll wait to see what happens.

Tom (Jack):  So I am still calm, my dX roll is a 10.  My stealth modifier is +2, but my breastplate gives me -2.  My total Evade check score is 10. That is greater than 5 so I avoid detection.

Julia (Brother Cadmus):  I am zealous so I have to immediately become reckless in a conflict.  So I am rolling a d20 for my dX. I roll a 2 and have a stealth modifier of +1 for a total of 3.  This would mean I suffer a hit, so I shall use my available second action on a do-over by Remaining Perfectly Still.  I roll another d20 and score a 1.  This is a worse result so I keep the 2. I still suffer a hit, which gives the Elderly Knight a success. I also tried and failed a do-over and suffer a penalty. In this case the Elderly Knight scores an additional success.

GM: The Elderly Knight uses the first success to score a repeating Perception Die of Suspicion against you, and the second success will be to double the result.  I roll a d4 for his Perception Die and get a 2. He doubles the result to 4.  You suffer 4 suspicion.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): Is it worth it for me to spend luck to negate this guys?

Chuck (Abraham): Did anyone remember to bring missile weapons so we can pepper him with shots?

Tom (Jack): I did.

Chuck (Abraham): Then the rest of us can't stay hidden forever anyway, and its open ground to the standing stones and we can't be hidden if they look at us before we reach them.  Don't waste luck points.

Julia (Brother Cadmus):  Ok, I accrue the suspicion.

GM: I feel compelled to explain how that will impact you in great detail for some reason.  When those accrued points of suspicion equal you Agility score you will be found.  When they reach half your Agility score you will be unable to do anything beyond hide without being found.  You also suffer a penalty to all evade checks equal to how much suspicion you have accrued.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): Of course, and it is perfectly normal for us to explain these common mechanics in such detail.

GM: Guy?

Guy (Sir Vancierge):  I am spending one action moving forward and the other talking to the princess, making an appeal to ask her to release the merchant.

GM: You really think she will just give him up?

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I think she will stubbornly refuse despite me proving the error of her ways, but that will mean she can't use any fate points in the battle.

GM: Fair enough, but if she wins you will be in the same position.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Ok, I make an appeal to her and call out. "Fair princess, show your mercy upon the lesser creatures and free our friend".  I am still calm, so my dX roll is 10. I add my entire presence modifier of +4, and we are two areas away so that is a penalty of -2 for a total score of 12.

GM: The Princess is still calm, so her dX roll is 10. She adds her presence modifier of +6  and a +1 bonus for sitting in the throne, for a total score of 17.

Chuck (Abraham): The throne gives a bonus?

GM: I figure its similar to ceremonial clothing, it has a regal nature.

Chuck (Abraham): Isn't it a pile of antlers?

GM: In the shadows of standing stones it seems cooler than it would it broad daylight.

Chuck (Abraham): So would we get a bonus for a throne?

GM: If you were sitting in one I suppose, be hard to move about though.

Chuck (Abraham): How much are palanquin chairs?

GM: Not important right now, who is next?

Julia (Brother Cadmus): I would be next but I spent one of my two actions defending myself and the other "Remaining perfectly still" as a do-over action.

GM: Jack is also in 5, but you two are on the same side so it doesn't matter who goes next.

Tom (Jack): I have already used one action defending myself. I am not sure what the princess is going to do so I should hold my action.

GM: There is no such thing as holding your action.  You can only hold off on acting until you initiative count, initiative is crucially important in conflicts.

Tom (Jack): How could I forget such a basic concept, I use my action to load my bow.

GM: The princess is next.  Sir Vancierge isn't defending himself and she is still calm so it would be an automatic critical hit if she went after him in some manner,  but as Cadmus has 4 suspicion there is rustling in the bushes and she might be leery of treachery.

Chuck (Abraham): Lots of options, what is she doing since she can't hold her action either.

GM: She is haughty and arrogant, who would dare try to ambush her? She sneers at Sir Vancierge. "He trespassed in my domain, even among your mortal nobility is that not a crime for commoners to do?".  She is calm so her dX roll is 10, she adds her presence modifier of 6 and a +1 bonus for the throne she is sitting in. She takes a penalty of 2 for the distance.  Her total is 15.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I did not spend an action to defend myself this round, so I have no defence. That makes it a critical hit.

GM: She has two successes.  As I didn't specify what she was doing, the default for an appeal is an intelligence die of influence.  Her second success shall be to double the result.  Her intelligence die is a d8.  She rolls a 4 on the d8, and adds a bonus of +1 for her skill "mortal meddling" to make the total of 5.  She then doubles the total result and scores 10 influence.  This builds up against your will.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I do not spend any luck points to reduce the amount of influence I take.  I have 12 will so I am not yet discredited in her eyes.

GM: I think Abraham is the last to go.

Chuck (Abraham):  I have already used one action defending myself, my next will be to move one area closer to the standing stones.

GM:   At this point movements happen.  Thaugo moves to the standing stones.  Abraham moves to the open ground to the west of the standing stones, and Sir Vancierge moves to the open field just east of the standing stones. Its the now the next round. Initiatives everyone.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I rolled my Agility die and got an 3.

Chuck (Abraham): I rolled by my Agility die and my Intelligence die because I am Quick-Witted. I rolled a 3 on the d8 and a 3 on the d4. So I will use my Agility die result of 3.

Tom (Jack): I am rolling my Intelligence die. I roll a d12 and get a 2, which is quite bad as I won't be defending myself automatically.

Kim (Thaugo): I roll my Agility die and get a 4.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): I roll my Agility die and get an 8. I am blessed which gives me a further +1, for an initiative result of 9.

GM:  The merchant rolls a d6 and goes on 6. The Elderly Knight rolls a d6 and goes on 2.  The Sidhe Princess rolls a d8 and goes on 1.  Jack and The Elderly Knight need to roll off.  The Elderly Knight rolls a d6 and gets a 2. He is on 2-2.

Tom (Jack): I roll a d6 and get a 1. Crap. I am on 2-1, and will have to go before the Elderly Knight.


 GM: The princess has the lowest initiative and is going first regardless. She is going to demand Sir Vancierge grovel and depart.  She is calm so..

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I interrupt her to throw my sword at her since I am now only one area away which is throwing distance.

GM:  The sword has the defensive tag, you specifically can't throw it effectively.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Ok, I throw my crowbar then.

GM: That is in your backpack, you'd have to use an action to try and draw it.  Backpacks take ?d4 actions to find the right item. So you would roll a d4 and only manage to grab the crowbar in your rummaging if you roll a 4, that could take several rounds if you are unlucky.

Kim (Thaugo): I interrupt to cast the miracle "Bless" on Sir Vancierge.  Can I pay for it using his own Piety points instead of using my own?

GM: He is part of the Holy Church while your patron is a malevolent demon of the abyss, so no. If you want to bless him with your infernal patron's magic you'll have to cash in your own piety.

Kim (Thaugo): Ok, its just 1 piety anyway.  Guy, Vanny Boy now gets a +1 bonus to every die roll.

Guy (Sir Vancierge):  Ok, I spend my first action trying to get the crowbar. I roll a d4 and get a 1, so I don't get it.

Kim (Thaugo): Spend a fate, since once her appeal goes off you will be discredited and unable to use them after you stubbornly refuse to grovel and flee.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I spend a fate point to re-roll. I get a 3. I guess its time to burn more.

Kim (Thaugo): Wouldn't the +1 bonus from the fate make that a 4, I am pretty sure it does.

GM: Uh.. does it?

Kim (Thaugo):  Yes.  Yes it does.  Unless you are going to look up a rule in play and not only be scorned but give us bonus awesomeness at the end of the night.

GM: Fuck it, I guess it does.  You grab the crowbar. That means you had to drop either your sword or shield to hold it though.

Note.  It doesn't work that way since ?d4 doesn't mean roll a 4 or more, its roll the maximum result. But there ARE specific rules against looking up rules. 

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I drop my sword.  I use my second action as part of the interrupt to hurl the damn thing at her head. I am still calm so my dX roll is 10. I add my combat modifier of +4 and a +1 bonus for the crowbar being a blunt weapon. I also subtract -1 for the distance for 14.

GM: You also subtract 2 for the darkness.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Ok, so 12.

GM: The Elderly Knight will block to take the defence for her as a free action since he has Guard.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): He can't, he has lower initiative than me.

GM: Damn, ok the Merchant could do it and spend an action...

Tom(Jack): Phew

GM: Oh wait, no that doesn't make sense as they know there is noise over there.  Fuck it, the attack is 12 right?

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Yes.

GM: Ok, so she is calm and her dX roll is 10, and her combat is +2 so she is fine.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Isn't she prone? Because she is sitting on the throne?

GM: Well she isn't prone really...

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Well I should at least get the high ground bonus then, but I thought that was prone.

GM: Ya, that's reasonable because you could knock her prone from her chair.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): So that should be a 14 for the attack, and don't give me the "no bonuses after the roll" since Prone should have given her a penalty to her defence instead of a bonus to my attack.

GM: Fair,  so with 14 she will have to roll because her defence would be 12 if she stays calm.  She will become reckless and roll a d20 since an iron crowbar could mess her up.  She rolls a d20 and gets a 13. She adds 2 for her combat modifier and ducks as the crowbar zips by her head.  She is going to cast..

Guy (Sir Vancierge): This was all an interruption remember? She was about to launch an appeal. She can't change her action now.

GM: Oh right.  Well you aren't defending yourself and so she'll auto crit and deal those last two points of influence.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I might spend luck, she could also roll a 1 and fumble since she isn't calm anymore.

GM: Fair enough, ok I roll a 13 and..

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Ya its fine, I become discredited.  I am not going to leave or grovel so I choose stubborn refusal.  I heal luck at the worst possible rate and can't use fates this encounter as I believe in my heart of hearts I am in the wrong even if I won't admit it.  She made a good point with the appealing to my social class.

GM: Ok,  next is Jack.

Tom (Jack): First I defend myself.

GM: The Elderly knight is interrupting to try and scan the treeline to the west.

Chuck (Abraham): Since he will spot me in the open, I interrupt to throw my silver dagger at him.

GM: Go for it.

Chuck (Abraham): I am not a great fighter, and its dark so I probably won't hit calm as he has a shield right?

GM: Yep.

Chuck (Abraham): So I will become reckless and roll a d20. I get a 13, which is my lucky number. Rolling your lucky number on an attack while reckless gives me an opportunity attack. But first I will finish my main attack.  I rolled a 13 and add my combat modifier of +2 but subtract the range penalty of 1 for one area. My attack total is 14.

GM: The Elderly Knight is calm and has a dX score of 10.  His combat modifier is +1 and his medium shield gives him +2 more.  His mail shirt gives him a -1 penalty which makes his total 12.  You hit him, but it is not a critical hit. He is wearing a golden crown that counts as a helmet so you would need to beat his defence by 8 to score a critical hit.   A mail shirt is only partial armour and would be bypassed on a critical hit, but as you did not score a critical hit it will protect him.

Chuck (Abraham): I roll a d4 damage and score a 3. I have low strength and suffer a -1 damage penalty to 2. I do 2 points of damage.

GM: His mail shirt absorbs 3 points. Technically you threw a silver dagger and this is a steel shirt so if we bring materials into play it would stop more..

Chuck (Abraham): Do we need to worry about material

GM: Maybe you should stop trying to use a silver dagger as a standard weapon if you don't want it to come up. Doesn't matter for right now anyway.

Chuck (Abraham): Ok, I also get an opportunity attack though.  This is any attack that isn't with my main weapon.  This is a ranged attack though so my options seem limited.  Maybe the impact of the dagger hitting his mail shirt caused him to stumble backwards towards the throne, bumping into it and potentially knocking the Princess prone?

GM: Ok, roll for it as a standard Knockdown attack.

Chuck (Abraham): I rolled a 3 on the d20, so I doubt that is a hit.

GM: The Princess is reckless, so maybe.

Chuck (Abraham): Oh right, its not against the Elderly Knight.  So I add 2 for a total of 5.

GM: I rolled a 15 on the d20 for the Princess. Her throne is jostled and she glares at the Elderly Knight, but nothing more happens.  Then the Elderly Knight completes his action.  He automatically spots Abraham since you are standing in the middle of open ground.

Chuck (Abraham): I am not wasting an action defending myself against that.

GM: And being still calm, he still scores a 5 onto a detection roll to spot both Cadmus and Jack.

Tom (Jack): He interrupted me defending myself so I can't do anything except take a hit.

GM: Correct, he beat you by 5 so that would be a critical hit

Tom (Jack): You said the crown counts as a helmet, meaning he'd need to beat my defence of 0 by 8 to score a critical on a detection roll.

GM: Oh, my bad. You are right, just a regular hit.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): I do not defend myself and so also suffer a hit.

GM: Ok for Jack he rolls an exploding perception die and rolls a 3 on the d4.  You suffer 3.

Tom (Jack): I plan to stay hidden and snipe so I pay 3 luck points to reduce that suspicion to 0.

GM: For Cadmus it is a critical hit since you had a total score -4 right?

Julia (Brother Cadmus): Yes. Wait .. no. I have the Zealous Trait. The bonus it gives me to counteract always being reckless in a conflict is I ignore penalties for accruing points. He just scores a regular hit, the same as against Jack.

GM: He rolls an exploding perception die and will double the result. He rolls a 4 on the d4. This means he can roll again. He rolls a 4 on the second d4.  He rolls a THIRD d4 and gets a 2. He has caused 10 suspicion.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): I have now suffered 14, which is higher than my Agility score so I am spotted.

GM: So the elderly knight peers westward and see's Abraham standing in the field and spots the crazed Flagellant standing in the tree line, who luckily shields Jack from view. Next the merchant will try to spot Jack before he hides..

Tom (Jack): Woah, you have to announce and resolve all of your interruptions at once. You can't wait for a lower initiative interruption to resolve before interrupting yourself.

GM: Oh, that is right.  So no need for him to decide an action now.  You successfully begin defending yourself.

Tom (Jack): My second action is to shoot at the Elderly Knight. I am calm so my dX..

GM: You spent luck points, you have to move to at least On Edge.

Tom (Jack): Right. So I roll 3d6 for my dX and get 1,2, and 4.  7 is my lucky number but lucky numbers only count when you are reckless. I add my combat modifier of +2 and take away 2 for the darkness and 2 for the range. My total is 5.

GM: The Elderly Knight is still calm, so his defence is still 12 meaning you miss. Next up is Thaugo on a 4.

Chuck (Abraham): I am next actually since I haven't yet used an action to defend myself.  Andre has a rapier right?

GM: Yes, but it is still sheathed.

Chuck (Abraham): Ok, I spend my action moving into the standing stones.

GM: Ok, you will arrive at the end of the round. Now it is Thaugo.

Kim (Thaugo): I try and shove the Elderly Knight into the standing stones. I'll make it a knockdown attack. I am using my hands so that is a +1 for a blunt attack and my combat modifier is +0, and there is a -2 darkness penalty.  I will become reckless and roll a d20.

GM: Just a reminder, attacking in melee will expose you, you won't be hidden.

Kim (Thaugo): Yep, so I roll a d20 and get a 13. I add +1 for blunt , +0 for my combat modifier, and -2 for the darkness for a total of 12.  This is a knock-down attack primarily so he cannot use his shield for defence as a side effect of that type of attack.

GM: He uses the quickdraw combat trick to draw his sword for 0 actions.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I watch him do that, I have the Combat Tricks power so I can try and learn that later.

GM: Yes yes, but that is a downtime activity.  For right now this lets him parry and gain +1 on his defence. That would make his defence 11 if he stayed calm. But he will become reckless and roll a d20. He gets a natural 20 which is an epic success and automatically defends.

Kim (Thaugo): Aww

GM: Worse, he has the Riposte combat trick.  When he gets a natural 20 or a lucky number on his defence roll while parrying he can make a free attack with his sword.  He rolls a d20 for the attack and rolls an 8.  He has a combat modifier of +1 and his sword gives a +1 bonus when attacking for a total of 10.

Kim (Thaugo): I am reckless and roll a d20. I roll a 2 and add my combat modifier of +0 as well as a +1 to my defence for being underencumbered for a total of 3. He beat my defence roll by 5 and I am not wearing a helmet so that is a critical hit.

Tom (Jack): Leather armour counts as having a leather cap by default. Unless you specifically removed it at some point, that means he'd need to beat you by 6 to score a critical hit.

GM: Ok, so not a critical then?

Kim (Thaugo): Oh, its definitely a critical. No way is Thaugo messing up his hair with some stupid hat.

GM: Make note, +2 awesomeness to you at the end of the night.  The Elderly Knight slashes with the sword for d8 damage with a -1 penalty for strength.  He has two successes since it is a critical hit and will decide to use the second success to automatically do max damage on the d8. He thus scores 8 damage, -1 for low strength for a total of 7 damage to Thaugo.

Kim (Thaugo):  Thaugo is size 2, so that is halved to 3 damage since any partial is ignored.  Thaugo's armour then absorbs another point, lowering damage to 2.  I spend 2 luck points.

GM: Next up is the merchant.  He hasn't had to defend himself and Cadmus is too far away..

Julia (Brother Cadmus): Maybe I will cast a miracle on him, I could interrupt after all.

GM: Ok, fair enough.  First action is to draw his rapier and his

Julia (Brother Cadmus): I interrupt to start running two areas towards the stones.

GM:...O...K? you don't move until the end of the round.

Julia (Brother Cadmus) I know, but the order is important.  I start moving then he draws his rapier.

GM: Fine, then he throws his rapier at Abraham who isn't defending himself

Chuck (Abraham): A rapier is a defensive weapon, just like Sir Vancierge's sword you can't effectively throw it.

GM: Oh shit, ok so then he..

Julia (Brother Cadmus): He already announced he was drawing it and I already interrupted so that has been resolved.

GM: Ugg

Julia and Chuck high five

GM: Fine his second action is to move east into the same area as Sir Vancierge.  It is the end of the round so movements happen. Abraham and Cadmus move into the standing stones and Andre the merchant moves east to face Sir Vancierge.   Everyone roll initiative.

At this point the group stops noting the math for how Initiative is calculated, figuring everyone should have gotten the idea from the last two rounds.


Chuck (Abraham): 2 on Agility
Guy (Sir Vancierge): 7 on Agility
Tom (Jack): 12 on Intelligence
Kim (Thaugo): 4 on Agility
Julia (Brother Cadmus): 2 on Agility
GM: The Merchant Andre is on 5, The Elderly Knight is on 6, and the Sidhe Princess is on 3.  Chuck or Julia, one of you goes first.

Chuck (Abraham): I'll go first.  I clutch my holy symbol and exorcise the unclean Sidhe.

GM: You have the exorcist power, you don't need a holy symbol to do that

Chuck (Abraham): Yes, but it gives me +1 to my faith when brandished and its an iron holy symbol against a faerie folk, that will do double damage.

GM: Fair enough, what are you saying?

Chuck (Abraham): "By the saints above, you must retreat back under the earthen mounds!" , that way I can add my digging skill with damage. I roll a d20 and..

GM: Why the pause

Chuck (Abraham): Fuck, a 1 on the d20. Epic failure. I assume my holy symbol bursts into flame?

GM: Quite the opposite, as you brandish the iron symbol she cackles "You have no power here!".  You can see your breath linger in the now frigid air. The cross becomes deathly cold and frost coats both it and your hand causing frostbite.  You suffer a repeating d4 of damage.

Chuck (Abraham):  I roll a 3 on the d4.  I spend 3 luck points to reduce that to 0 damage.

GM: Julia? Brother Cadmus is next.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): That crowbar is still on the ground right?

GM: I suppose so

Julia (Brother Cadmus): And its Iron right?

GM: Yes

Julia (Brother Cadmus): I drop my club and pick it up

GM: This is a swirling melee at this point, so you'll have to make an Agility check to grab it.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): Yep, I roll a d20 for my dX and get a 13.  I add my entire..

GM: We already did the Attribute check explanation.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): I get a 27, I grab it.

GM: Are you defending yourself as your second action?

Julia (Brother Cadmus): Nope, I am going to brain the Princess.

GM: Ok give me a second, a whole bunch of interrupts are probably going to happen here.   Ok, first up the Princess interrupts you to attempt to mentally possess Cadmus. That is just an appeal except it causes stress, potentially causing mental domination in her case.  She is doing this on a 3. Is anyone interrupting her?

Kim (Thaugo): Thaugo is interrupting her to bash head in with a spiked club on 4.

GM:  Ok, Andre the Merchant is interrupting you to stab Sir Vancierge

Guy (Sir Vancierge): That needs to be an interruption?

GM: It will force you to spend actions you can't use to throw something else with your own interruption.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Fair enough, I will interrupt to plead with Andre to fight the mental control of the princess on a 7.

GM:  Ok, lets now resolve this in reverse initiative order.  Sir Vancierge is up first.

Guy (Sir Vancierge):  Ok, I make an appeal against Andre by shouting "Fight it Andre, I know you are still in there". I could be calm but as a princess she probably has the leadership power like I do which would let the Merchant use her presence on his resistance roll and I know hers is high.  So I will become reckless and roll a d20 for my dX. I roll a natural 20 which is an epic success. The modifiers really don't matter since only another epic success could defend against it.

GM: Andre becomes reckless and rolls a d20 and rolls a 14.  Technically he could add +6 to his presence because she does have the Leadership power, but it won't help.  You score a critical hit, so you .. hrm.. how would that work since he is mentally dominated.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I was thinking like a knockdown check but for his brain?

GM: Yes, you can use those successes that way but he'll make will checks to avoid falling over gripping his head instead of agility.

Chuck (Abraham): Is that a rule

GM: Its a ruling, so lets go with it.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): If he's fighting it, wouldn't be opposite? Andre has to fail a will check to not grab his head?

GM: Fair enough, but remember he is a slimy weasel so he has low will.  He rolls a d20 for his attribute check and gets 12. He adds his 7 will and fails.  This is a critical success though,  so your second success improves it up to off balance as he gets a headache trying to remember who he really is.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Cool

GM: Continuing the chain of interruptions, he then attacks you with an extra -2 penalty for being off balance. He rolls a d20 and gets 11.  He adds +1 for his combat modifier and +1 for the rapier being a light weapon for a total of 13.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Doesn't he get -2 for darkness?

GM: Oh right, so 11.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I roll a d20 and get a 10, which is my lucky number.  I have combat modifier of +4, with -1 for chainmail, +1 for parrying with a sword, and +2 for my shield.  My total is 16 and so I defend myself. I also rolled my lucky number on the defence while parrying so I get a free attack with my sword because I too have the riposte combat trick.

GM: Ok

Guy (Sir Vancierge): So I roll a d20 and get a 12. I am attacking with the flat of my sword to make it a blunt weapon to try and deal stun damage.

GM: Its not meant for that, it'll add the crude and ineffective tags to the attack and lose any good ones a sword gives.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Sure,so a 12 and I add my combat modifier of +4, +1 for a blunt weapon and -1 for a crude weapon.  Oh and -2 for darkness for a total of 14.

GM: Andre rolls a d20 and gets a 9. He gets +1 for parrying with the rapier and +1 for his combat modifier which is 11, meaning you score a hit but not a critical hit. A stun attack deals 1 point of stun on a non-critical hit.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): He is also off balance,  so he would have a 9. And as he is not wearing a helmet that means it IS a critical hit.  Stun deals a strength die of stun damage on a critical hit. I also have an additional success which I will use on a knockdown.

GM: Ok, go for it.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): So I roll a 6 on my d8 and I am using my Fencing skill to add +1 since this is sword play that is causing the stun, for a total of 7 stun.

GM: The Princess is his leader so she can spend her luck points on him. She will spend 2 luck points to lower the amount of stun he took to 5, so he is not knocked unconscious as he has 10 strength and will pass out if he takes more than 5 stun and/or damage.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Next he needs to make an agility check because he was struck.

GM: He rolls a d20 and gets a 13. He adds his 10 agility for a total of 23. He suffers a -2 penalty for being off balance and a -5 penalty for the 5 points of stun for a total of 16. He fails and becomes off-balance. He is already off-balance so he becomes prone instead.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): My stomp combat trick allows me to make a free stomp attack on anyone who goes prone in front of me.

GM: The combo begins

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I roll a d20 and get 9. I add my combat modifier of +4, +1 for blunt attack of my foot, and +2 for the high ground advantage since he is prone and has no nearby allies. I subtract -2 for darkness for a total of 14.

GM: Andre rolls a d20 and gets a 19.  He adds +1 for his combat modifier and +1 for parrying. He subtracts 5 for being prone and 5 more for stun.  This makes his total 11, which is a hit.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): The stomp combat trick does a strength die of damage. I roll a d8 and get a 3. I don't want to kill him so I don't add any skills.

GM: No more luck is being wasted on him, you stomp on his gut and break a few ribs. He passes out. Next in the interruption chain is Thaugo.

Kim (Thaugo): I noticed you've been forgetting the +1 bonus to everything because I blessed you.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Oh shit, thats right.

GM: Too late now though, Kim?

Kim (Thaugo): I make an attack with my club.  I roll a d20 and get a 12. I add my combat modifier of +0. The club has a total modifier of +0. +1 for being blunt but -1 as a vicious weapon due to the spike. My total is 12.

GM: Because he has a higher initiative than you, the elderly knight is using a block action to defend in the place of the princess. This costs 0 actions because he has the Guard warrior power.

Kim (Thaugo): Isn't that an interruption?

GM: No, its part and parcel of how block actions work. They are declared after the attack roll but before the defence roll.

Tom (Jack): But the block itself can be interrupted right?

GM: Yes

Tom (Jack): Then I interrupt the block action with both of my own to reload and fire at the Elderly Knight.

GM: Ok, roll it.

Tom (Jack): I roll 3d6 and get 14. I add my combat modifier of +2, but -2 for distance and -2 for darkness for a total of 12.

GM: The Elderly Knight rolls a defence and gets a 5 on the d20. He adds +1 for his combat modifier, +2 for his shield, and -1 for his armour. He cannot parry an arrow so his total is 7.  He has a helmet so though you beat his defence by 5 it isn't a critical hit as you would need to beat his defence by 8 with a helmet.

Tom (Jack): I roll a repeating d6 for damage and can add my perception bonus of +1 to damage since it is a missile weapon. I roll a 2 and add +1 for my perception bonus doing 3 damage. That seems low so I use a fate point to re-roll. I roll a 6 on the d6 which lets it explode and add another d6. I roll a 1 on the second d6.  I don't like that so I am spending a second fate on that 1, I re-roll and get a 5.  My damage total is 6+5+1 for 12 damage.

GM:  His armour absorbs 3 points, but that is still 9 which would drop him.  Thaugo would potentially crush the Princesses brain so she is spending her last 6 luck to stop him from dying by reducing the damage he takes from 9 to 3.  He is injured, but not enough to collapse.  He then takes a defence roll against Thaugo's attack of 12.  He rolls a d20 and gets a 10. He has +1 for parrying, +2 for a shield, +1 for his combat modifier, -1 for armour and now -3 for injuries. His total is 10 which is a hit.

Kim (Thaugo): Thaugo deals 1d6 +4 damage. I roll a 2 so that is 6 damage.

GM: You can't add a larger bonus to the die than what you rolled. You rolled a 2 so you can only add +2 for a total of 4.  His armour absorbs 3 points, and he has 8 strength so even with the extra point he is still technically standing.

Kim (Thaugo): You forget that Thaugo is size 2. That 4 damage becomes 8.

GM: Oh right, shit. So the Elderly knight is paste. He is goes flying into the nearest standing stone with a noise like he was a bag of wet dirt.

Kim (Thaugo): Sklorp

GM: The Princess is next.  She goes all Cate Blanchett and screams in a booming voice "You dare stand against the ancient court of the Sidhe?".  She rolls a d20 and gets a 17, with her bonuses that is a 24 so she is going to make this a statement by spending her second action. On a hit this will therefore score an extra success.  She has the oration bard power which means that everyone within earshot is affected by this.  That is 24 for everyone in the stones, 23 for Sir Vancierge at one area away and 22 for Jack at two areas away.  Jack and Cadmus aren't defending themselves so they are critically hit automatically.

Tom (Jack): Fuckity fuck fuck fuck

GM:  This means 3 successes against them.  The first success will be to do an intelligence die of stress, so 1d10. The second will be to make the d10 result count as a maximum result of 10. And the third will be to double result to 20.  You both take 20 stress.

Tom (Jack): Ok, I have 13 luck left. So I spend that to lower the amount I take to 7. I only have 4 will because I am a mercurial coward so I will still go insane and fall under her spell. I spent 2 of my 3 fates re-rolling damage so I am down to 1 fate. To not be driven mad I need to roll a 4 or more on a d8 if I spend it to gain more luck points.

GM: Drumroll everyone, is this the end of Untouchable Jack?

Tom (Jack): I roll a d8 and get ... an 8! Ha! I actually have 1 luck point left over if I pay to reduce the stress to 0.  I am unstoppable.

GM: Boo, ok Cadmus.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): I am in a state of grace, I can't be mentally possessed. I have True Belief in my heart. Specifically the True Belief priest power and a stockpile of 500 piety.

GM: You would go insane instead.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): I suppose, I have 20 will so I only NEED to spend 1 luck.  But I'll spend my 9 luck points and take 11 stress. I will cash in a fate point for 1d6 more luck points as well. I roll a d6 and get 5. So I take 6 stress. I cash in one more fate point for 1d6 more luck points and get 3. I use them to lower my stress to 3 and that seems like a reasonable amount to take.

GM: Ok, Sir Vancierge?

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I roll a d20 for my resistance roll and get a 5. My presence is +4 so that is still a critical hit.

GM: You'll take 20 too.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I have 14 luck, so I will spend it all and take 6 stress.  I will spend a fate to gain d6 luck..

GM: You can't. Earlier you chose "Stubborn Refusal" when you were convinced of the error of your ways from her appeal and that prevents you from using fate points in this.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Well, I am halfway to being mindcontrolled then.

GM: Thaugo?

Kim (Thaugo): I roll a d20 and get an 19.  Unfortunately my presence is -1 giving me a total of 18 so that is still a critical hit.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I have the Leadership bard power, you can use my presence of +4 on the resistance roll.

Kim (Thaugo): In that case I have a 23, which is a hit but not a critical hit.

GM: Being a statement that is still a two successes. She will do 10 stress.

Kim (Thaugo): My will is 16 so I just take the whole hit.

GM: Not spending any luck?

Kim (Thaugo): I only have 2 left, and I have the Eccentric wizard power, so that 10 stress is going to be +10 to spell casting and counterspells due to the insight my madness will give me into the arcane.

GM: Ok, that leaves Abraham.

Chuck (Abraham):  Ok I roll the d20 and get 14. I add our dear leader's presence of +4 for a total of 18 which is still a critical hit unfortunately.

GM: That is 20 stress.

Chuck (Abraham): The Exorcism priest ability lets me spend luck on a 2:1 ratio against psychic assaults, spiritual possessions, and supernatural terror. I assume this qualifies?

GM: Pretty much textbook case.

Chuck (Abraham): I spend 10 of my remaining 12 luck to avoid taking any stress.

GM: Ok, that leaves Cadmus.

Julia (Brother Cadmus):  Ok, I make an attack against the Princess.  I roll a d20 and add my combat bonus of +3, +1 for being blessed, and hrm... whats a crowbar do?

GM: How are you using it? Blunt or are you gouging?

Julia (Brother Cadmus): Oh, definitely using it to sink teeth into her skull.

GM: Then its piercing, and devastating. Its also not meant for this and has no weapon grips so its crude and unsuitable.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): So an extra -2 and -2 for darkness? +0 total?

GM: Seems right, its medium so it would do d8 repeating damage.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): Here goes,  I roll a d20 and get a 5. I am spending a fate point. I get a 7 this time. I am spending another fate point.  I get an 17. So my total is ..wait, +2 for high ground so 19.

GM: High ground?

Julia (Brother Cadmus): She hasn't actually ever spent an action to get out of the damn throne.

GM: Wait didn't she.. No, shit she didn't.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): So 19.

GM: Well she rolls a d20 for defence and gets 4, with +2 for combat. She is using her fate to re-roll and gets an 8, for a total of 10.  So she is using her last fate for 12. Her score is therefore 14. Shit.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): So thanks to her not getting out of her throne I get a critical hit.

GM: Doubling the damage?

Julia (Brother Cadmus): Nope, I am taking maximum on the first die.  So I get an 8, and roll another d8 to get...a second 8! I roll again and get a 4!

GM: And the other option?

Julia (Brother Cadmus): What

GM: Its unsuitable, you roll damage twice and pick the worst result. So one option was 8,8 and 4 the other is ?

Julia (Brother Cadmus): Aww, fine.  The automatic 8 on the first, and 2 on the next d8.  10 with a bonus of +1 for me being blessed and +3 for me having Fervour and her being a faith enemy, what with her wicked adherence to the Sidhe courts. That is a total of 14.

GM: Ok, she has 10 luck so she takes 4 points of actual injury...

Julia (Brother Cadmus): Its also an iron crowbar, as a Sidhe that deals double damage right? so 28?

GM: So Brother Cadmus rolls to the ground and grabs the crowbar, springing to his feet as the world goes to hell about him and sinks it into the temple of the Sidhe princess.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): I pull her corpse out of her throne by yanking on the crowbar and then kick the damn thing over.

GM: Oh wait, Thaugo forgot to apply the -2 darkness penalty to the resistance roll against ..

Kim (Thaugo): Too late now.







Friday, June 1, 2018

NGR Play Example: Attribute Score checks

In this scene the party is exploring a demonic temple built into the caves under a volcano.



GM:  So your path further up this tunnel is blocked by a massive stone disc that is sealing the passage.

Chuck (Abraham): Like how massive? Could it be shoved?

GM: Its huge, its an impossible task.

Chuck (Abraham):  As in -20 on a check,  or its like three hundred tonnes?

GM: Probably -20 on the check,  its like 10 feet tall but you aren't sure how thick it is. You haven't actually touched it yet.

Chuck (Abraham): Ok I give it a little shove

GM:  You have Detect Traps so making your Perception check

Chuck (Abraham): Ah fuck,  well I am still calm at least so my dX roll is a flat 10, plus my entire perception score of 16, and the Detect Traps power also lets me add my entire Stealth modifier of +5, for a grand total of 31.  My target number is 20 so I easily pass.

The entire table seems to not find it weird that Chuck is for some reason explaining the math of a very basic attribute check despite being an experienced player with a third level character.

GM: So you go to shove the door but your keen senses warn you something is off about the door, shoving it open might be dangerous.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Its uphill from us right?

GM: Yes

Guy(Sir Vancierge): Its probably that its so heavy that if we start moving it, it will become un-nested from its groove and fall on us.  Everyone who isn't shoving should just stay out of the way and the person shoving it just needs to be ready to jump out of the way.

Julia (Brother Cadmus):  Feel free to give it a shove then

Guy(Sir Vancierge):  Ok, I am going to dig the crowbar out of my backpack

GM:  There is no rush and we aren't explaining containers in this post so you just dig it out of your backpack.

Guy(Sir Vancierge): What odd phrasing,  but ok so I use the crowbar to give me an edge and set to work.  I have a +2 bonus from the crowbar and can I get the bonus from my siegecraft skill?

GM: Why would that give you a bonus?

Guy (Sir Vancierge):  Well this stone disk is meant to keep us out, and physically dismantling stone barriers is part of siege operations.

GM: That really seems more like what a sapper does than general siegecraft but whatever, take your +2.

Guy (Sir Vancierge):  So for me it will be dX +12 for strength, +2 for crowbar , +2 more for a skill... with a -20 I don't think I have a shot really.  Even if I became Reckless and rolled a d20 I kinda got crap odds.

Kim (Thaugo):   Well I have 20 strength,  so even without your crowbar I could do it.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): You'd still need a natural 20 though, but I could give you my crowbar for slightly better odds.

Kim (Thaugo):  You forget, I am wodewose and am size 2.  That doubles the result of my strength check.  I am not just incredibly strong compared to you, I am incredibly strong for a ten foot tall person.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Oh by all means, you try then.

Kim (Thaugo):  So I am still calm, so my dX roll is still 10.  My strength is +20 and the difficulty is -20 for a total of 10.  But as I am size 2 my total is doubled to 20, which is the target number for success.

GM: So the body builder giant calmly starts to slide the disc out of the way..

Kim (Thaugo): You may all applaud my greatness at your earliest convenience

GM: And then the spray of scalding water shoots out from the crack

Kim (Thaugo): I stop and move away

Everyone else (interrupting): We start booking it

GM: It isn't enough to do real damage to you with the fine spray, but you can hear it start to crack the disk.

Kim (Thaugo): I book it back down the tunnel too

GM: So you race away, and a few second later you hear cracking and the sound of an oncoming torrent of water.

Tom (Jack): Lets leap over that chasm at the junction so it diverts the water.

GM: Are you all going with Jack?

Everyone else: Ya

GM: Ok, the distance isn't great but it will require a strength check to make the short span.

Tom (Jack): Ok, I am still calm,  so if I have a dX roll of 10, and add 8 strength I will fail.  Can I add my Fencing skill for a +2?  Since fencing involves footwork.

GM: No, you are grasping at straws.

Tom (Jack): Fine,  I'll become on edge and roll 3d6.  I get 4,6, and 1 and add 8, which would be 19 and a fail.  So I take a fate point and re-roll that 1, getting a 3.  That brings me up to 21 which is a pass.

Julia (Brother Cadmus):  I calmly leap across. A dX roll of 10 + 11 Strength, +1 for being blessed is 22, and a pass.

Tom (Jack):  Aren't you zealous? Don't you always have to roll a d20?

Julia (Brother Cadmus): I have to become reckless for conflicts,  we haven't had one yet this adventure so I haven't had to stop being calm.

Guy(Sir Vancierge):  I have 12 strength so I can also calmly leap across (10+12 = 22).

Chuck (Abraham): Well, it looks like I am rolling as none of my skills will help.  I become On Edge and roll 3d6.  I get 4, 5, and 2 which is 11. I add my 9 Strength and get 20 exactly so I pass.

Kim (Thaugo): I calmly leap over,  10+20 times 2 is 60, so I think I pass:

GM: Just barely, such a low margin of success.

Kim (Thaugo): Thaugo leads a life of danger.

GM: Now comes the landing.  The opposing ledge is narrow and sharp stalactites await you if you miss.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Stalagmites you mean

GM: Ok, you get to roll first.  Agility check.

Guy (Sir Vancierge):  Ok,  I have 12 agility, I am calm so 10+12 is 22 and a pass.

GM: Aren't you wearing armour and a shield?  Chainmail is a -3 penalty to agility checks and a medium shield is a -2.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Ah shit, oh! but I had my crowbar out. Meaning I would have had to have put my shield away since a crowbar takes 2 hands to use.

GM (glaring skeptically):  Uh huh, fine.  That is still a -3 from chainmail meaning you fail if you don't roll.

Guy (Sir Vancierge):  Ok,  I also become On Edge and roll 3d6,  getting 3,2, and 2 which is 7 + 12 for Agility, -3 for Armour penalties, that is a fail.  So how much damage will the Stalagmites do?

GM: You'll be dropping onto them from 10 feet, and they are large spikes, so a repeating d8.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I trust my armour,  lets see what happens.

GM: I rolled a 5 on a d8, so you take 5 damage.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I my chainmail reduces that by 3, so I take 2 damage. I spend two luck points to reduce it to 0 damage.

GM: Ok, who is up next?

Julia (Brother Cadmus): I am still calm so my dX roll is 10,  I add 13 for my agility, +1 for being blessed, and +1 for being below half encumbrance.  I get a 25 and pass.

Tom (Jack):  My agility is 13, I have -2 for my armour so I'll pass.

GM: You already moved to be On Edge, so you have to keep rolling.

Tom (Jack): Oh, I must have forgotten.  Ok I get 3,3, and 4. I add +13 for my agility and -2 for my armour, so I'd fail..oh but I can add +1 ..

GM: Nope, no more additions or recalculations.  Your bonuses are before the roll. You fail.

Tom (Jack): Fair enough,  but I didn't critically fail so my breastplate will still absorb damage despite being partial armour.

GM: Sure, but we aren't going to waste characters explaining that more.  The stalagmites do 2 points of damage.

Tom (Jack): So my armour reduces it to 0.

Chuck (Abraham): I guess I am next, I have an agility of 14, I am On Edge so I roll 3d6 and get 4,5, and 1.  10 + 14 is equal to or greater than 20 so I pass.

Kim (Thaugo):  My turn I guess.  My agility is poor so I would fail with a calm dX roll because 10+6 is only 16.  However I think my climbing skill should give a bonus.

GM: How so?

Kim (Thaugo): Well climbing through caves, as I did grow up in one, will involve dropping onto narrow edges just like this one.

GM:  Fair enough, so with that +2 you'd still need to roll.

Kim (Thaugo):  I also have +1 for being under-encumbered and another +1 for having my hands free as I drop my club and torch mid-air.

GM: You'll lose them you know?

Kim (Thaugo): They aren't valuable. So I pass then.

GM: Not quite since you are size 2 and the ledge difficulty , just like the difficulty of the disk, was in comparison to the size 1 people in the group.   Just as you doubled your strength result with the leap, you need to halve the result of your agility check.

Kim (Thaugo): Aw shit.  Ok, so I am going to need to roll and roll well.  Time to get reckless and roll a d20.  I get a 14, +10 is 24.  Halved is 12.  I fail badly.

GM: Thaugo is just too big to land on that crowded ledge and you slide off into the pointy rocks. I rolled an 8 on the first die, which repeats to get a 4 on the second.  You take 12 points of damage.

Kim (Thaugo):  Holy shitballs that hurts. I am size 2 however, so that is only 6 points of damage.  My armour also reduces that by one point to 5.  I cash in all 4 luck points to reduce it further.  Hey guys, should I cash in my last fate point for 1d4 more luck?

Julia (Brother Cadmus): You are a cleric..

GM: Priest, we aren't your Wednesday night group

Julia (Brother Cadmus): You are a priest with the miracles power,  save your fate and heal yourself.

Kim (Thaugo):  Ok, I take the 1 point of physical damage then.

GM: Ok, a stalagmite gouges your shoulder and you have a painful wound.  Remember that damage will be a -1 on all your future dX rolls until its healed.

Kim (Thaugo): I know, but did we escape the water?

GM: Yes, a split second later it gushes over the lip of the chasm on the far side and pours down to form a torrential river.


 See what all the negative hype is about!
Rated 1 Star!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

NGR: The Brave Knight

This post is one a small series showing some sample characters, who I will reference in actual play examples.

Sir Vancierge is from a noble family of good breeding and poor finances.  His early life was spent sheltered from the reality of his families debt,  but after his first tournament victory he was informed of the true severity when the trophy had to be sold immediately.  He is now forced to take increasingly more dangerous assignments to gather wealth.



NGR: The Sorcerer's Apprentice

This post is one a small series showing some sample characters, who I will reference in actual play examples.

Thaugo was a young wodewose when an evil wizard slew his clan and moved into their cave. Thaugo was kept as a servant to do menial tasks.  The wizard was not as careful with his demonic dealings as he should have been.  One of them taught Thaugo the infernal tongue and how to read.  Thaugo then planned his rebellion, shoving his master off a cliff when he was weakened from a battle with another wizard.



NGR: The Scoundrel

This post is one a small series showing some sample characters, who I will reference in actual play examples.

"Jack" (if that is his real name, and it almost certainly isn't) is a wandering ne'er do well that seeks above all else, to avoid having to take any responsibility for anything.  He began his life as a travelling adventurer when he decided to avoid paying rent by squatting in a city merchant's country home.  Locals started asking questions, one thing lead to another... yadda yadda yadda, and he's on the run for selling the merchant's home to a foreign Duke to serve as a safe house for his spymaster.  But why let real estate fraud, treason, and stealing a murderous noble's gold trouble you?



NGR: The Flagellant

This post is one a small series showing some sample characters, who I will reference in actual play examples.

Brother Cadmus was an anti-authoritarian friar who uncovered the secret of an isolated community's farming success.  He was able to secure proof of their continued adherence to the old ways and was able to burn their secret Pagan shrine to the ground and then contact the authorities to ensure the locals were returned to the fold (until they all starved to death in a famine the following year).



NGR: The Grave Digger

This post is one a small series showing some sample characters, who I will reference in actual play examples.

Abraham is a grave digger who soon became a grave robber.  His call to adventure occurred when he came into competition for a freshly buried noblewoman's grave with a hungry ghoul.  The experience gave Abraham a healthy respect for the supernatural and he became an ardent student of the various religious rites he would need to protect himself from otherworldy threats.



Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Unlocking downtime activities via adventures



So I've been running two competing groups through a bronze age kingdom building game for the last six months. There have been various tweaks I've made to it through play testing, all in terms of the "downtime" activities.

One of the big conceits of the game is that each game session represents one season of time, the level of magic is tied to the seasons which has big implications on what people do (As well as the need for things like planting and harvest). The big initial design decision is that wars (largely ritualistic battles) and livestock raids happen in the summer.

Livestock raids (basically cattle rustling) is an important part of the setting and going through a livestock raid is important to the feel of the game.  Its also fun pretty much exactly once.  It gets old pretty fast. The solution that arose is to make it a seasonal downtime activity with some abstracted mechanics.  That loses some of the charm and feel, its a little too "gamey" and mechanical.

To that end, the idea of "unlocking" downtime activities through an adventure was born.  Livestock raids as a downtime action would require first successfully completing such a raid in game.  In a Caribbean game you might say  you can't pirate raid merchants as a downtime action until you've done that successfully in a game session.  Boar hunting, patrolling for goblins, running cargo along a trade route, and competing in a jousting tournament are all the sorts of activities this would be ideal for.

Part of the mechanics of the downtime activity should be an element of risk.  For livestock raids I have it deal an exploding die of damage.  It COULD kill you, its probably unlikely after a certain point but it isn't impossible.  The rewards are also something I link to class.  Rogues are better at stealth,  so rogues get a bonus on the livestock raid downtime action.  In a tournament you might give warriors a mechanical bonus.

This also has a benefit in player driven games of giving them clear objectives and goals.  If they complete a livestock raid they gain a permanent option.  The reward of the individual adventure need not be huge, as the simple fact that a recurring option is available IS the reward.

Just something to chew on when setting up your own campaign.


I swear this is still upcoming

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Thoughts on the Ghoul Prince (published DIY RPG)

I now have one published adventure written for the DCC ruleset.


Its got snazzy art from the ever talented Alex Mayo and maps from fellow Canuck Dyson Logos.  But other than have DCC stats and features,  whats its deal?

Its got a psychotic slasher villain as the main antagonist, straight from the eighties.   Slasher villains don't normally work in an RPG about well armed lunatics with supernatural powers and a penchant for fighting wraiths and dragons.  I don't think a machete and an inside out mask of a sci-fi celebrity would really be enough of a threat to stop an adventuring party of non-camp counselors.

The feel of the slasher is there though, with diegetic abilities which strongly encourage using different tactics for the party to defeat (or avoid) this antagonist. If nothing else it will be a breath of fresh air as the party tries new things.

The larger change with this adventure is how it is written.  With most things that I write, you may have noticed I am usually experimenting with some concept or element of the adventure.  This adventure sprang out of my adventure convert-o-tronica concept of making ready to use location based adventure that can easily fit into any campaign.  The Ghoul Prince follows that relentlessly.   I show the core elements of the adventure, the moving pieces that set the stage for potential climactic battles, gruesome deaths, or fabulous schemes while everything else is a skeletal frame.   I then also give three different "skins" that smoothly fit over that frame and instructions on how to make your own.

I don't want to imply that the skeletal frame is somehow bare or requires the GM to write half the adventure themselves, they don't.  The skins really do cleanly fit over top,  I could have just taken one of the skins, applied it and published it that way and it would be perfectly cromulent.   But I did want to show a little bit of whats under the hood of an adventure when you structure it as a game component first and then make sure the 'fiction' lines up with it. A big pet peeve of mine with adventures is when they are incredibly imaginative and full of great ideas,  but that they aren't actually fun to interact with at the actual game table where 4-6 people will be spending several blocks of time, each multiple hours in length.

The Ghoul Prince is available HERE

Reviews, good or bad, help creators both spread awareness and improve their future work so don't hesitate to do so.

Monday, April 23, 2018

What does Neoclassical Geek Revival do better than other games





I get asked this question often and its a fair question. First the waffling bit of this post. I have generally grown to dislike the term "better" as better requires an end goal.  To be better requires a specific set of goals and not everyone likes the same thing in an RPG.  Is a flat d6 for damage better than varied dice of different types?  It depends on what you want the game to do.  But I do have specific goals in mind so lets dump that valid and reasonable chain of logic.

The second bit of waffling is that NGR is a very different game than OSR games in very subtle ways. It has a bit of uncanny valley going on with retro-clones where it is similar but also just slightly different so that things pan out very differently as each of the small differences compounds.  That is also a boring if reasonable line of discussion that doesn't suit the elevator pitch style answer people are looking for.

There are two major ones which I will say I like unequivocally better:  Stealth mechanics and Priest magic (miracles).

In OSR games stealth is binary.  You are hiding or you are found.  It also tends to be something one or two party members do while the others twiddle their thumbs and wait for the "Stealth bit" to end.   I have found that over the last decade and change (jeez this is getting to be an old system) explaining stealth has gotten easier.  Stealth has an accrual of "stealth damage" (called suspicion) that builds up until people are caught.  Being a rogue makes you better at stealth in the way a warrior is better at fighting, but everyone can be stealthy in the same way everyone can fight.  The reason this has gotten easier is this is vaguely an analogue to the way Bethseda games handle stealth so its become easier for people to intuitively grasp.  Accruing suspicion is the little eyeball icon getting bigger.  There are a myriad of other small changes that make this even better, since it ties into other factors.  For example this is also how random encounters are triggered.  As dungeons are much more dangerous this also makes stealth just as important (and often more so) than combat.  "Hitpoints" in NGR as "Luck points", and the same pool that you use to keep from being skewered in combat is the same pool you use to keep from being spotted or triggering random encounters. Bringing a lot of light with you will reduce penalties in combat, but also cause more suspicion every time you go into a hallway (meaning potentially more combats if you aren't careful).  You will often have tense resource draining conflicts through a dungeon without ever getting into a fight.  Because you are desperately trying not to.   NGR naturally ends up with way more heists than OSR games in my experience.


The second thing I believe NGR does better than OSR games is priestly magic.  Priests do not use Vancian magic.   They have their full assortment of spells available to them at any time and as often as they would like.  They do not have any spells for free.

To use these spells priests have to expend a resource called "piety", its basically a reward system from your god.  How much do they want to help you out.  You don't have any sort of daily pool to allocate, it isn't a renewable resource in that way.  Every point of piety you have to spend on miracles (priest magic) you have to earn.

Kill an abomination? take some piety. 
Bury the dead? take some piety. 
Destroy an enemy temple? take some piety.
Make a bargain with a demon? lose some piety.
Etc etc.

But priests never use spells frivolously. You don't waste spells because its the end of the day and you'll re-memorize them tomorrow.  Using that heal today means that is one less heal you can use in the future. It also forces players of priests to really act the part.  It takes player lead action to acquire the favour of your god if you want their help in the future.


Going back to the concept of uncanny valley for a moment.  NGR is not a retro-clone, not even remotely.  It does not have the same DNA as TSR D&D,  but it works towards a similar purpose of low fantasy adventure.  Of grappling hooks, crowbars, and battle axes being brought to bear on crumbling ruins and untamed wilds populated by monsters and men, explored on the scale of normal people without super powers.  To that end most adventures written for one will work for the other, what changes is how they pan out. NGR features a lot of schemes, stealth, and shenanigans with combat being avoided unless the fight is either an overwhelming ambush or desperate bid for survival since fighting is dangerous.


City of Tears is a desert themed NGR dungeon crawl,  coming soon!