Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Death and Rebirth

So, after two months and not nearly as many games as you'd think we've switched systems and worlds away from Numenera. Happened mostly because we didn't play for more than a month and during that time I started doing a ridiculous amount of overtime at work which killed my momentum and inspiration for the game. Honestly it was hard for my to build up inspiration for the setting as well. I felt like I was constantly struggling to make things weird enough for the Ninth World setting and yet keep it familiar enough for play to still happen. The other wall I ran into conceptually was the fact that it was an explicit rule set out in the core book and in a couple of the head designer's blogs was the fact that you weren't supposed to connect it to the modern world at all. I know it's my game and I can just change what I want to but having it said explicitly made me struggle with it. Silly I know but there you go. Anyway, on to the new game.

Now, as of about two weeks ago, I'm running a sandbox Warhammer Fantasy game. The catch is that we're using Runequest 6 for the game. So far we've had two games, one was character creation and the second was finishing up characters and starting the first adventure. I'm starting them off with the adventure in the core WFRP 2e book because of the group two of my players are pretty much completely unfamiliar with it and the other two are only passingly familiar with it. Both of them are fairly conversant in 40k though so I'm hoping it'll translate over to some degree.

Everyone's characters are complete as it stands, though one of my players went out of town for a couple games so I need to finalize things with him. The characters are currently:

Orzad, a dwarven machinist and engineer obsessed with clockwork and automata. He was "suggested" to join the army to help deal with the Chaos incursion that became known as the Storm of Chaos as a battle engineer. Is a good shot with his rifle and is near constantly fiddling with it and other bits of machinery. Technically a member of the dwarven gentry he's lost much of his influence since his departure. Still one of the richest and best equipped members of the party.

Hannah, a high born priestess of Shallya. Doesn't quite get the whole adventuring thing and is still carrying some baggage from her birth in terms of how she expects people to act and react to her. A passable combatant and the second best off member of the party what she really offers is the social graces and the miracles of Shallya she can call upon. Is currently on a pilgrimage to learn humility and got caught up helping refugees from the Storm.

Torendil, an elven commoner and apprentice magus. Is currently a student of Aqushy, or the Bright Wind of magic, the use of which is used to burn things mostly in a variety of fun and interesting ways. Has little to nothing in the way interpersonal skills and is about as arrogant as it's possible for an elf to get. In fact even other asur have taken offense to his attitude and it was his teacher who sent him on a mission to "prove his mastery of magic" in the human dominated Empire which he took up with great relish to show the humans a thing or two. Hopefully his magic is enough to keep him alive because his skill at arms is very poor.

The last character still needs to be fleshed out some, he doesn't even have a name currently. All I really know is that he's a former slave who killed his master and is now travelling to seek his honorable death as a dwarven slayer.

And now I have to head off to work, I'll pick this back up later (maybe tonight but probably tomorrow). At the point I'll go into how I've been having them make their characters and go a little into what subsystems we're using from Runequest and what I'm porting over from Warhammer.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Boss Fight

[Quick write-up so it's here, I might expand on it later.]

We had the second game a few days ago. We began with them breaking camp and returning to the road after a brief discussion on if they should do that or circumvent it and cut through the woods to the Pit. They decided that they'd already slaughtered a dozen or so margr (one with a hunting horn) so they figured if they hadn't been attacked in their sleep they'd be fine for now. As they entered the woods Wemm and Mag spotted a couple of scouts. When they did Mag started shouting at them and they ran much to the chagrin of the others. When they knew they'd been spotted they ran off, presumably to warn the rest.

The group was then ambushed at the edge of the woods by a group of four margr, two regular hunters and a pair of mutants. They dealt with theses quickly, though one of the mutants had 4 mental armor so when Xavier hit it with a mental Onslaught it just shrugged it off and stabbed Wemm which made them pause for a minute. The noise of combat also drew the attention of the chieftain and his remaining lieutenant (both mutants as well) and the five remaining warriors at their encampment. As they were discussing what to do next a volley of 8 inch long, barbed quills flew by Vash's head. Which a yelp from him and a bellow from the chieftain combat ensued. Charging at the group were the margr chief (a brute standing head and shoulders above the rest of it's kin, so about 9' tall, covered in heavy armor and bristling with the above mentioned quills), his lieutenant (who was covered in armadillo plates instead of fur), and the five normal warriors. In a turn of events I hadn't forseen Mag threw a cypher which randomly rearranged the molecules of whatever it caught within it's blast radius. The chief and lieutenant were too fast but the five normals were alternately liquefied, vitrified, turned inside out, turned into a pile of maggots and I think there was just physically shredded as well; all randomly and not all at once. After this, decidedly not pretty, turn of events the two mutants attacked. Wemm was forced to pick up a staff (actually a spear he broke the head off of), his first weapon of the game even! It was a little desperate for a minute but they managed to kill those as well.

In the aftermath of the fight Vash, with the help of Mag and Xavier, dissected the chieftain to find a cypher had grown inside it's brain. Presumably a side effect of whatever had caused it to mutate the cypher could be taken as a pill to increase intelligence.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Margr Pit Tribe

Game's tomorrow night and I figured I should get some more game planning out of the way. I decided earlier in the week that the margr tribe that the group has been hunting down has been mutated by an artifact they discovered at some previous point. The tribe's leader and his three lieutenants have gotten mutations from the tables in the core book from this.

The tribe has set up their camp a respectful distance from the Pit's western entrance/path. In the camp are a grouping of tents, enough for about 40 margr, and some slave pens holding 18 people. Most of them are a traveling merchant caravan one of the tribe's raiding parties ambushed a week back, killing all 10 of the guards in the attack. Since then another 5 of their number have been butchered for meals along with all of the group's aneen. Five of the living captives are a group of prospectors that the tribe captured coming out of the Pit. They're kept in a slightly better pen (there's a roof for example) and are given a slightly higher quality of gruel. This is because they've managed to pass themselves off as priests from the Pit and showed the margr chieftain how to operate the artifact/show reverence to the god of the Pit. The merchants offer the PCs 250 shins (but will go up to 500, all they have assuming the group raids the chieftain's tent) for an escort back to town. The prospectors will give the group half their haul of cyphers (up to 3/4) for the same thing.

If the group goes back they'll be created by the headman, the clave's high priest and an Angucan knight. All are greatful to see the group return to town and the knight offers to take news of their actions back to the baron and the deacon.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Stuff from Jeff's Gameblog

[Author's note: I started this yesterday about noon, it's harder to come up with this stuff than I thought it'd be. Honestly I figured I'd just be copying from the corebook in Numenera but I actually had to come up with a decent amount of content. I still need to come up with the answers to the last two questions as well but it's getting on towards work so I'll have to think of them later.]

So there's a series of questions on an OSR blog, Jeff's Gameblog, wrote up a series of questions designed to help define the immediate play area for a sandbox game. The first part of this entry is so I can answer these questions, I'll be handing out the answers to my players.

  • What is the deal with my cleric's religion?     You're probably an Amber Priest, a member of the Order of Truth. They're centered in the kingdom of Navarene and are led by the Amber Pope. Their primary tenants are the furthering of civilization through the study of the past worlds and the technology they left behind. While not truly a religion they have found that the people of the Steadfast are more willing to receive their teachings if they cover it religious trappings, even going so far as to establish days of reverence and rituals in the last couple of generations to reinforce this viewpoint. Recently the current Amber Pope, Durranet VI, has called for a crusade against the Gaians of the north who worship various machine intelligences and natural phenomenon as spirits and gods. There is a splinter faction of Amber Priests who view the solidification of the Order of Truth as a religious organization a dangerous straying from their true path and have forsook the Order and the Amber Pope though they keep the title of Amber Priest. These anti-papists have seperated themselves from the Order and tend to keep to themselves.
  • Where can we go to buy standard equipment?     Most villages will have basic supplies that you can purchase (food, normal clothing, even some very basic weapons and armor) though to get access to the full equipment list you'll have to head to one of the larger towns. To really try to purchase and not just find things like cyphers or artifacts you'll have to go to a major city. I'll be putting out a larger equipment list soon, it'll be from either 2nd edition D&D or Warhammer so there'll be a lack of weird stuff but it'll work for the "normal" stuff.
  • Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended?     Best chance for custom work like that is to head to Stirthal and inquire at the markets there though Thriest is closer and the markets are expansive as well. 
  • Who is the mightiest wizard in the land?     The matter of the most powerful nano is a some debate. There are two main competitors for the title in Malevich are Saduka the Red who dwells in a shapestone tower near an inactive floating relic at the eastern end of the Voil Chasm. Very secretive, Saduka keeps to himself though strange lights and noises seen from a distance at the relic have convinced the locals that he is consorting with spirits or possibly even demons. The other is Quanon, a being that dwells within the Chasm under Stirthal. Though he may have been human at some point in the past now he can only tenuously hold that distinction having enhanced himself with so many biomechanical parts as to barely even be humanoid any longer.
  • Who is the greatest warrior in the land?     Polele the Bandit King is the greatest warrior in Malevich, a veteran of the wars common in the kingdom before Yorvic's father managed to solidify his claims to the kingdom.
  • Who is the richest person in the land?     Though King Yorvic (and thus his regent, Ellabon) arguably own everything within the kingdom and is thus the richest person in the land 
  • Where can we go to get some magical healing?     Though almost any local clave will have a trained chirurgeon magical healing is not common. Despite this healing elixers from Guran and Qi can be bought in most major towns and all large cities. There are also rumors that Saduka the Red can heal the wounded and it's a well known fact that the Aulifex can do the same at his tower in Kordech.
  • Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curses, death?     Poison and disease can be healed by most trained chirurgeons. Curses are harder to remove from their targets though the monestary outside of Neverlost can do so and it's said that the Aulifex and Quanon can do so, for a price. Bringing back the dead however is just not possible, but of course there are rumors of it happening.
  • Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?     The Order of Truth is the most widespread organization with these kinds of resources. There are a number of nanos who are part of the Order, this combined with their mission has given them a wide knowledge base on esoteries and numenera. The Sarracenians are another group though they are specifically concerned with the study and worship of plants and plant like creatures. Many find this odd though it has given them a unique insight into natural processes and many of their members are accomplished healers. Additionally the Gaians, though opposed by the Order of Truth, have a unique perspective on esoteries and numenera that can give them access to knowledge otherwise forgotten or overlooked by others.
  • Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?     Quanon is a well known expert in the previous aeons and the numenera that they left behind along with being able to repair and recharge almost anything. He'll gladly sell his services for shins though it doesn't come cheap, he is much more willing to trade for numenera. Counselor Rashik, the overseer of Thriest, is also a well known man of learning. He's currently putting most of his effort into turning Thriest into a center of learning and his own knowledge is broad.
  • Where can I hire mercenaries?     Mercenaries are actually very common in Malevich because of the near constant state of warfare that was common in the kingdom until recently. Most towns have a few mercs hanging around looking for work. If you need more then that getting in touch with Polele would be the best bet as he has access to a large pool of former soldiers at his disposal.
  • Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law?     Most places allow travelers to wear weapons when passing through villages and town even if only grudgingly, recognizing that the wilderness outside civilization is rarely safe or easy to travel through. Even the major cities in Malevich allow individuals to carry most weapons though they usually require peace bonding of some kind.
  • Which way to the nearest tavern?     Caluec has a small roadhouse since it serves as something of a travel hub for the area. Marqash has a both a tavern and an inn for serve the travelers and soldiers stationed there. Omm lacks a tavern though it does have a roadhouse that serves as one for locals and travelers that're doing more than just passing through. Nulb has a sizable tavern as well. The major cities all have various taverns, inns, bars and roadhouses befitting their nature as major hubs of travel and commerce. 
  • What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous?     Margr are always a problem and many nobles have bounties set on their heads though killing a few won't really earn you any significant recognition. Getting a name for yourself as an abhuman killer would require a truly amazing number of them to be slain by your hand. 
  • Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?     The recently declared crusade on the Gaians in the north is looking for new soldiers and accomplished warriors like the PCs might stand to make a name for themselves in they so wished. Also there are always tensions and border skirmishes brewing along the borders in Malevich, the barons vieing for control over more land and better territory.
  • How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes?     Yep those are around but the closest one is going to be in Stirthal, Thriest, Neverlost or even father to another city; the smaller towns that're more local can't support that kind of thing.
  • Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?     Indeed there are, the Convergance is the big one. They're a somewhat dark mirror of the Order of Truth, searching out numenera and the secrets of the past in order to directly benefit themselves and hopefully rule the world one day. The other is the Jagged Dream, a loosely organized group that wants to plunge the entire Ninth World into war and flames.
  • What is there to eat around here?     Most of the villages herd kescke, large ruminants with long shaggy fur and a curling  plate-like horn growing from their forehead, for their meat, fur and milk. One of the most common crops grown is manoic or manoic root which is used for everything from brewing alcohol to being dried and used as a thickener in soups stews and other foods. The dried flour is also used in the production of bread, cakes and noodles. A few kinds of gourds are also grown. In trade cities a wider variety of fruits,vegetables  and meats are available.
  • Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?      Yup, I'll let you know when I think of them...
  • Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure?     See the previous answer.
  • Wednesday, February 26, 2014

    Links for Game

    Quick post while I'm writing another, apparently I'm good about a blog if I actually have a subject to focus on... :-P A friend of mine, actually the one that introduced me to Numenera, sent me a couple of reference links.

    The first is a write up of each of the kingdoms in the Steadfast. It's a good basic write-up, about a paragraph for each one. Doesn't give a lot of information on each of the kingdoms but it is a good basic overview.
    Kingdoms of the Steadfast

    The next is a rules overview, like the write up of the kingdoms it doesn't go very in depth though I do feel like it's the stronger of the two articles. Honestly I think you could run the game just with this, you wouldn't be able to make any characters but all the rules for actual game play seem to be here.
    Numenera Rules Overview

    There we go, next update will probably be soon. Just more setting building.

    First Game

    Ran my first game of Numenera Saturday night. It went well for the most part. The only real problem was the fact that so many nat 1's were rolled. It seriously threw off the difficulty and dangerousness of the fight. Anyway, let me start at the beginning.

    I have four players:
    Xavier Van Ark, a Mystical Nano who Works Miracles,
    Wemm Lee, a Charming Jack who Wields Two Weapons at Once (actually doesn't, but anyway),
    Mageneus, an Intelligent Jack who Talks to Machines, and
    Vash, a Learned Nano who Rides the Lighting.

    All the characters looked finished so I had everyone roll on the "Random Power Origins" table and give me a few things about their background.
    Xavier rolled "Natural Mutation" for the origin of his miraculous powers of healing, because of them he joined a monastery outside of Neverlost as an acolyte. He began wandering when he met Wemm in Neverlost, he is accompanied by his friend Vash whom he met studying at the monastery. He is also currently searching for an artifact or oddity that he can gift to the Order of Truth to join as a full member.
    Wemm rolled "Abduction by a Machine Intelligence that Experimented on You", this machine intelligence downloaded an extensive knowledge of martial arts into his brain and altered him in such a way as to make him a natural leader. Though before this he was peasant in the City of Bridges he is now wandering the Steadfast (and possibly into the Beyond) looking to start his own fighting order using unarmed combat instead of the heavy arms and armor so commonly used. He has started training Mag in his fighting style, though she's only picked up the very basics.
    Mageneus (Mag for short) is a bit of a special case as the player really wanted to play a clone created by aliens (extraterrestrials). So when she rolled "Followed by a Cloud of Nanites" as the origin of her power we decided that her creators, in addition to leaving out some basic human interaction protocols and instilling in her a drive to build (or repair perhaps?) a starship, implanted her with a device that attracts the local nanites. This also explains how she uses her floating skill, it being something that she picks up from the datasphere via he friendly nanite cloud. She is part of the group by dint of luck, when she was dropped back onto the world she was greviously wounded but was happened upon by Xavier who used his powers to heal her. She now views him as a messianic figure who must be brought back to her creators in her starship, though he doesn't know that...
    Vash is arguably the most mysterious of the bunch, having to roll twice on the origin table he got "Unexpected Viral Reconstruction of your Body" and "Implant or Mutation that that Provides Knowledge from the Datasphere", to combine them we decided that the viral reconstruction changed him in such a way as to plug his brain into the datasphere. This new connection drove him to the monastery from the Cloudcrystal Skyfields to learn with the monks there where he met Xavier and they became close friends.

    Our intrepid band of adventurers were headed somewhere, we didn't specify where, when came upon a small farming village. Xavier immediately went to the clave to speak with the local head priest. Wemm went to speak with the village headman. Vash headed to the tavern to secure lodgings and food. Mag went into a small general store to look at wares and see if they could restock some supplies. When Mag walked into the store, she slapped her hand down on the terminal the store owner was using and it promptly exploded/caught on fire. (This was the first 1 rolled of the night.) The shop keeper pulled out a crossbow and was marching Mag out of his shop when Wemm came down with the headman to see what the hell was going on. Wemm talked the guy down, Vash and Mag fixed his terminal and Xavier helped organize the bucket brigade to keep the rest of the town from burning down. When everything was under control Wemm found out about some missing prospectors and sightings of margr near a set of ruins called "The Pit" locally. They headed out to look for the prospectors and try to drive out the margr.

    While walking to towards the Pit, a 3 day journey, the party was ambushed by a hunting party of margr. It went very well both in and out of game. Combat actions were decided on quickly, turns went fast and smooth. The whole thing went very well. Vash's player did roll a nat 1 for his initiative roll, leading him over a nearby hill and away from the rest of the party but into another three margr. He killed one with a cypher of injectable explosive and other party members killed the other two but not before I used a GM Intrusion (XP went to Vash and Wemm) to give one of the margr a hunting horn which it used to signal others nearby.

    The hunting horn led them into another ambush which went much for them. Together they rolled no less then ten nat 1s in this fight which really put them on the bad end of the fight and stretched my ability to come up with GM Intrusions that would make the fight interesting and challenging and not just a death trap. It worked out in the end though this fight took about an hour versus the ten minutes or so the first fight took. Vash also used both his other cyphers (something that took him slightly out of phase and a crystal that dilated time around him, both items boosted his defense). The plus side is none of the margr ran or sounded horns so their hoping that the rest of the tribe won't notice they've slaughted about a third of it before they can find their den and scare them off...or something. Currently the group has camped out in the lee of a hill about an hour's hobble/walk from the path and though everyone else is fully healed Xavier really got the crap beaten out of him (he got debilitated, ie- two of his pools reduced to zero) and he's still injured somewhat. Despite how poorly this fight went they're hopeful about how the rest of the trip will go, banking on not rolling up so many free GM Intrusions next game.

    Friday, February 21, 2014

    Reading the Rules, Part I

    I'm currently reading through the rules, which is good since my game starts tomorrow. So far so good, though some of the first stuff they talk about seems to be where they hid the normal "This is how you play an rpg" bullshit that I thought they'd done without. So far the only rpg book that just assumes that if you just blew $60 or more on a game book you may just know what an rpg actually is has been RuneQuest 6. Oh well. Once you get to the actual rules is when it gets good.

    Everything (and I do mean everything- the guy trying to shank you for your last copper, trying to jump from rooftop to rooftop, even debating philosophy with an antediluvian machine intelligence) has a difficulty level from 1 to 10. Various things like training, equipment and special powers can adjust the difficulty, usually by 1 at a time. If the difficulty is reduced to less than 1 it's considered a routine task and doesn't need to be rolled for, if not then the resulting number is multiplied by 3 and that is the number rolled against. Something to note is that the players roll everything. The DM doesn't roll anything at all, just assigns difficulty levels to things and adjudicates if and how the level is modified. So far so good.

    So it appears that some rolls have special effects. a 17-20 are all beneficial with a 19 giving you a "Minor Effect" and 20 netting you a "Major Effect". Rolling a 1 gives a free "GM Intrusion", which apparently lets me manipulate the story. I'm not sure how I feel about this to be honest since manipulating the story and setting are what I'm supposed to be doing as the GM. I'll have to think about this more. [Edit: It appears that the GM Intrusions are specifically supposed to be altering the game in a meta-gamey, pseudo-adversarial way. I'm more okay with them now.] A description of Major & Minor Effects and the kinds of things you can do with them. Apparently if the player wants to do something very unlikely then I can call for a roll to confirm the effect.

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014


    Wewt! I actually went out and bought the core rulebook and the bestiary for Numenera today while I was out running errands. So in between grabbing lunch with my mother and setting up an eye appointment (my first one in almost 14 years) I stopped by the FLGS and grabbed some books about a version of the Earth 1 billion years in the future. I haven't had time to go through them much, or even take the core book out of the shrink wrap, but I'm hoping to read them over with dinner. Speaking of which I think I smell something burning, ttfn.

    Sunday, February 16, 2014

    A Slight Change

    Small change of plans. Last night one of the players in my Shadowrun group came to game (or rather when I showed up for game, since we play a his place) had bought the Numenera core book. So now, instead of planning out a RuneQuest game I'm going to start setting up for a Numenera game based around the same concepts and ideas. First up is going to be my translating and Numenera-izing "Keep on the Borderlands".

    Friday, February 14, 2014

    Introduction..Thing, I Guess?

    I guess this is where I write something about myself then? Nothing terribly interesting I'm afraid. I'm a gamer in my mid-20's with horrible organizational issues that's hoping that using a blog to write about his game planning will help keep him organized and on track. I'm going to try to write here at least once per week, hopefully more then that, to get my mind and plans in order.

    Anyway, I'm going to be using this place to map out and discuss (mostly with myself probably) my RuneQuest 6 game. Currently it's in the very early planning stages so most of it's pretty vague but I'm going to be using a homebrew world I've been working on in one form or another for years called Myganos. The basic premise of the world is that there's a largish empire (Turin) that's doing a Roman Empire impression currently. It has been expanding constantly for the last several generations and looked to be set up to continue for the foreseeable future but then one of their border provinces rebelled. The ensuing civil war broke the momentum of expansion Turin had and inspired other uprisings. Which, while individually minor, caused enough problems that the wars haven't stopped since. There are numerous smaller kingdoms, city-states and countries surrounding Turin waiting to see how the wars end while rival empires sharpen carving knives to slice up whatever is left when the dust settles.

    This'll only matter peripherally though because the game itself is going to take place in the far northern reaches of the empire and going to concern the goings on of various ne'er-do-wells, vagabonds and cutthroats that usually make up adventuring parties. It does however inform the kind of situation the PCs are from, whether they hail from the Empire, one of it's rival kingdoms or one of the many tribes that have thus far escaped assimilation. It also goes to explain why there are places of darkness like this that exist since the Empire did at one time assign "specialists" to deal with such things.

    I think that's enough for now. Mostly because I can't seem to get my mind to concentrate properly on the task at hand (it took me almost 2 hours to write this post). I'll post again in a few days.