Thursday, December 22, 2016

Running the Point Crawl

With my players out of Dungeon Titanicus and now experiencing the Dreadful Wilderness, I've moved to a new chapter of the Dawn of Eradu game, and it isn't going quite as smoothly as I'd like.

The Game is great - the party encountered the Cornelius the Harvester, a corpulent sorcerer who lives in his cybernetic chariot that is the top of a WWII tank that fires a pulse of magical energy and the whole thing is mobile due to slaves carrying it around.  They ran afoul of the Royals, a gang of cannibal savages with Southie Boston accents and wearing beat up old imperial armor. There was some exploration and some combat - a lot of combat - and magical shenanigans.  In the end, Cornelius was killed, the Royals made temporary peace with the party, Mr. Creasy Silo lost a leg to an inter-planar rift, and Zigfried blew his arms off with unstable dynamite.

The issue I'm having, however, is the Point-Crawl.  I've always run my wilderness exploration as hex maps, but as an experiment I thought I'd go with point-crawl maps. It seemed to fit the style of the game better, but it is really difficult to switch gears.  The "which direction is it" conversation is getting old because no matter how many times I tell them it doesn't matter, they keep asking.  And their map looks like a technical diagram grid because they don't want to draw symbols because "I can't draw".

I'm just not feeling it. Somehow this is harder than a hex crawl or even a "normal" map. Maybe I don't have the feel for it or perhaps I'm not conveying the concept correctly. Maybe we are too focused on the map itself rather than the adventure?  Treating the wilderness like a giant dungeon?

The Regional Map
I'm not showing this one just yet.  It covers the regions or major regions the game takes place. From the mountains where the sun rises each morning to the sweet scented sea, there are plenty of regions to explore that are all connected up. Each region sets a tone with both terrain, danger, types of things encountered, and so on.  The Marsh of Mists is very different than the Rudworm foothills.

Area Map
Each region has several areas - this is a map of one of the regions. There are the "day-to-day" travel points.  Players will know when they are no longer in the forest because there aren't trees, but they don't necessarily know they are in a new region.  Areas, however, are connected in specific ways (the old road, follow the river, etc.). The Area has a main feature that defines it and the players can explore more as they see fit.

The bold outlined locations are references to other Area Maps. The red outlined locations  are dungeons/exploration sites.

Location Maps
Each Area has several locations, most of which are entirely optional. This location map shows the locations of the sample area above.  Ignore the color coding ... I'm still working on that.

The locations are the fine detail of the point-crawl maps.  They are the "closed mine", "ruined tower", "weird rock that looks like a dong", or "gorgon lair". If players want to explore in more detail, there are options and things to make life interesting.

Site Maps
If the party is deep into exploring a site I may have a site map ready to go. This is pretty much the same as the location map but at a finer scale. This is only for places where I feel like running a detailed exploration adventure. Or maybe a chase situation could come up.  At this level of detail I have features listed for each site. For example. The XXX site may have 3 features

  1. Weird Old Tree that talks and wants to drink beer
  2. Trampled area, evidence of a forst troll
  3. Cave of the forest troll

They aren't anywhere in particular - they are just "in there". If the party isn't poking around the Location, they aren't going to run into the specific sites and surely not the features.

As I've written this up I think I might be organizing too much. I'm doing what I used to do with eorld maps, which is "big picture then refine" but maybe I'm refining too much?  The Area Map is awesome and feels like a point crawl.  The Location and Site maps are after much fiddling to make them tight and look less organic.  Maybe that is the issue?  Maybe my remapping for things to make them tidy is translating to my players not getting the feel? I'm going to keep at it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Gifts of the Dark Lords

There are plenty of Dark Lords and Chaos Godlings and Wyrd Thyngs from Between Space that characters can get involved with. Some of them grant boons.  Here are some random boons to get things started. One of my buddies asked for this for his game - I can't wait to hear how his players get themselves into trouble.

Dark Boons
Roll 1d8. Or roll 1d6 and +1 per sacrifice of some sort.

  1. Insect Vision - Gain the ability to see otherworldly colors and in the darkness, but eyes are gross gigantic bee eyes which freak normal people out and animals hate you.
  2. Arcane Gift- cast one extra spell per day, but voice alerts the Holy Daemon Hunters who listen for such vile sounds with huge brass ear trumpets. It will take a while for them to find you...
  3. Dark insight - ask the GM one question per session, but limbs become gnarled (movement/DEX penalty)
  4. Breath of Satan - exhale a cloud of stinging darkness once per day, but always stink of rotting meat (+1 encounter rolls)
  5. Demon Strength - minimum 1/2 max damage, but filled with uncontrollable rage (WIS check to overcome)
  6. Blight - touch causes 1d6 rotting damage ... but it is on ALL THE TIME. clothes and wood rots too but not as fast
  7. Dark Assistance - summon a dark familiar that gives permanent +1 to something, -1 to 2 other things, such as +1 to attack, but -1 to INT and WIS checks
  8. Blood Storm - spend 1d4 hit points to cause blood to erupt from the ground causing all enemies HPd4 damage (rolled a 3, then lose 3 HP but all opponents take 3d4 HP damage), blood damage cannot be healed by clerics or normal rest - only through vile ritual.

Badass Crowns
Roll 1d6 and wear your crown like you own it - because you do. Forever.

  1. Crown of the Xaos Mage - made of broken bone fragments that is surrounded by a nimbus of flame. Wearing it grants double effect from spells, but control over those spells (targeting, duration, etc.) is weakened.
  2. Crown of Aszor Mhauve - A metal circlet with thin delicate antenna adorning it. Wearing it allows the bearer to command war.bots, but at the cost of her humanity. Each command drains some part of their person, eventually they become a flesh robot and the crown only works on humans.
  3. Sludge Crown - A classic crown of gold that slowly melts the person's flesh. They are still fully functional, but have no form, which allows them to be able to slip through cracks under doors and whatnot.  The bearer can also communicate with and command slimes and oozes.  The crown "melts" with the person but reappears solid if they die.
  4. Undead Lord - a crown made of skeletal hands of babies and children. Wearing it makes you evil (even looking at it makes you suspect). It also allows you to command undead equal to or below your level. More powerful undead will either work for your favor or try to kill you and take thr crown or both.  Vampire politics ... worst hell ever.
  5. Ice Baby Crown - a tiny crown that gives you ice wizard powers and reverses your aging at double rate. eventually you'll turn back into a baby. Imagine a toddler wizard having a full-tilt temper tantrum.  Glaciation and another ice age are coming ...
  6. Crown of the Stone King - wearing it turns you to stone - mobile intelligent stone!  Your flesh is stone, so things that don't damage stone can't damage you. This also means that spells designed to heal flesh don't heal you - nor does rest; damage to you is permanent. You become incredibly strong to the point that delicate tasks take great concentration (WIS and DEX checks).