Monday, September 15, 2014

Unrelated Awesome

I just ran across this web comic.  I normally don't give a fig for web comics, but this is brilliant.  My Monday morning is already in shambles because of reading it.

I found out about it because I'm supporting the Goblin Quest Kickstarter.  You should get in on this - it looks outstanding.

Pass it on.

Also, I'm re-reading all the classic HPLovecraft.  My game is going to get seriously dark.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Session Report: The Aldsburg Chronicles [A1] which the players create new PCs as a group and decide the Undercity is bad news...

Rebooting Aldsburg
While there were some good moments in the new campaign one of the things that kept coming up was party in-fighting about the morality of actions.  In my heavy metal gritty pulp adventure setting this is really really boring for me to run and, honestly, taking away from the tone of badass adventurers looking for lost treasure, causing social mayhem, and generally being "adventury".  So while we were grilling before the game on Sunday, I proposed that we shelf the existing characters (low level anyway) and as a group come up with a new party.  There was a bit of grumbling, but everyone agreed.  Phew.

Group Party and Character Creation
What our game looked like except we had more beer and were louder.
Image from
While we were enjoying excellent food grilled by J. and a fantastic tomato feta basil salad made by my kick-ass wife I asked the players to figure out what kind of party they would like.  Don't worry about character classes or what they want to play specifically, but what kind of game they want to have - starting with the tone and style of party.  A lot of italics there, but I also stressed that this is going to help drive the overall game experience for these guys.  After some false starts, they got into it.  Way into it.  My only guidelines were that I don't want to run a game for evil characters (I don't find that particularly fun) and they need to work within the existing Aldsburg Campaign.

The group decided they were going to be some "underworld businessmen"A little smuggling, some light racketeering, perhaps offer a bit of protection to a group of working ladies of the "seamstress guild", adventuring for profit, maybe some simple mercenary work.  The group is definitely not evil (a bit morally ambiguous and that is fine) and has some specific types of activities that they get into.

Everyone then proceeded to roll dice and create characters.

As the character were made, I started asking players about other player's characters.  Everyone got to declare a "Damn True Fact" about someone else.  E for example declared that J's character (Alois) was unable to not purchase fruit when he come across it - the guy just loves fruit.  B declared the M's character was stolen from his real parents who later killed his "adoptive" parents but then abandoned him because he was already "raised broken".   It was fantastic.  I made notes as we went and handed out some small bonuses based on what the players said about the other characters - small bumps to skills, that sort of thing.  We also set up the relationships this way.  It was pretty awesome.  And, most importantly, in the end we had a cohesive party.

HackMaster is a tough game and I have no problems letting PCs get in way over their heads and die off.  When new characters come on board,  they are going to come into an established group of characters and the player can work within that framework.  This should smooth things out and make the game move along at a good clip.

Also the four players ended up making a party that contains 1 cleric, 1 fighter, 1 mage, and 1 thief.  Gawds Bless the Old School.

Player Generated Rumors!
One thing I've been wanting to do for a while (and started this campaign) was to have players generate rumors about what is going on and base adventures on that.  A lot more of me winging it, which is tough, but I love it.  More importantly, though, it brings in more thoughts and plots and we now have 5 people (4 players and 1 GM) generating things afoot in the city rather than just me.  In the end these are rumors and may have nothing to do with the truth, but it gets things moving.

Players have the ability to go on the type of adventure they want and everyone is more into it.  And and and it makes the city feel more alive and dynamic, which is fucking great.  If you want to read them check out my previous post.

A Brief Adventure to find Loot
It turns out that investigating an abandoned bakery that is haunted and no one has ever returned from and finding piles of gold and jewels is beyond tempting to a bunch of adventurers.  Top Notch.

The post is getting long, so a few highlights.

  • Someone fell through a rotting floor.
  • Everyone went through the hole.
  • They found a temple to the dark daemon-god Axterlix (an aspect of the most fearsome and vile Demogorgon).
  • A worshiper (identified later as Larissa, companion of the adventurer mage Titus Crow) was found speared to the wall.
  • After some puttering two monstrous beast men were encountered and fought.  Apparently they are "orcs".
  • Secret door, stairs into the undercity.
  • Fought some weird skeletons attached to wires and metal rods that went into the ceiling.
  • Some wandering revealed a portcullis the party could not open.
  • More orcs on the way and seeing the skeletons being rebuilt (and it was getting real-life late) the party bailed.
Good session - I really liked the way the group character building went.  Also, the rumors the players are coming up with are kicking ass!  Sweet Zombie Jesus I love it when a campaign comes together.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Rumors from Aldsburg

These are generated from the players in my group from the game on September 7, 2014.  I'm writing them up and just adding a bit of detail where appropriate, but all credit goes to the players!

(1) In the shantytown outside of the tower there is a particular hovel (looks like all the others) that is offering up high end drugs.  I heard that some nobles are even wandering down to slum a bit and partake in these rare treats.  Sounds like a prime target for some robbery.

(2) The Red Shield mercenaries have been taking over territory from the Magnolia Street Runners.  The interesting part is that Cid, one of the leaders of the MSR Council, is apparently thinking about defecting and might need some protection.  Could be very lucrative.

(3) Some adventurer named Henderson has been hanging about at the Red Spot yammering about exploring the Undercity by an entrance on Dexter Street.  He said he saw some small green freaks that were wielding blades of steel.  Actual Steel!  Steel weapons are worth a pretty penny and, perhaps more-so, would be an awesome status symbol.

(4) Old Brighound sais that Clarissa's Praetoria were cracking down on the religious types in Wormwood Scrub.  Wouldn't matter too much but a mutual mate of Brighound and me got roughed up and I sort of owe him a favor.  Also, what the hell doesn't Clariss's guard care about the fanatics in Wormwood?

(5) Murders most foul!  One thing for sure is that there have been more murders recently - and weird ones at that.  People waking up next to their dead husband or parents finding all of their children with their throats cut.  Some folks say that Footpads of Kane (Kane being a dark god of Murder) are aligned with the freaking ratmen in the Undercity.  This is bad.

(6) Found scrawled in many places around the city written by many hands: "Death is Coming".  That is freaky if it isn't just a damn prank.

(7) Over in the Tumbledowns someone has been bum rushing the itinerants - busting in on them in the middle of the night, beating them, dragging them into the street, shitting and pissing on them, and stealing what little they have.  Who would do that?  We could make some good contacts if we helped out, I'm sure.

(8) Abandoned/Haunted Bakery - haunted, none have returned.  Gold and jewels.  Hella Yea!  Like 20 years ago there was a free halfling family living there and then one night the wife took an axe and went all bloodbath murder-hobo on her wife and two kids!  Even after she was hung they say that the ghosts of her husband and kids still attack any who enter.  Also, they were rich as hell - hence the gold and jewels.  Rich pissed off ghosts.

(9) There have been some nasty rumors that a cult worshiping one of the Old Gods and is trying to summon demons to do their bidding.  Fucking wizards are no good!  We can't let some demons start causing trouble in our town.  Hell No!  We should find this cult and kick their asses and smash their stuff and take all of their loot.  You know - for the good of Lions Teeth Tower and All of Aldsburg.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Enemies of Man: The Chain Roach [EoM_5]

First up, the original idea is from this awesome blog.  Something really struck me about how absolutely horrible these things would be.  I thought I'd HackMaster it up a bit because damn right the Chain Roach is going to show up in Eradu (likely deep in the Undercity of Aldsburg or possibly rampage in the streets of the Aldsburg Warrens.  Who even knows anymore!).

The Chain Roach [Hacked]
When roaches are swarming over the corpse of some fallen being slick with the oiled resedue of magic (a gobbet of quivering flesh from the Patchwork or that 5th level mage you loved so much) there is the occasional shard of shadow for the Patchwork that binds the things together.

They grow immense (for roaches at least) and are connected to each other ass-to-mouth in descending size.  They slither along like centipedes but their true nature is much more foul.
image stolen from some blog
where it was uncredited
HP: 10+4d6
Size: Small / 20#
Tenacity: Fearless
Intelligence: non
Fatigue: n/a
Move: walk 15/run 25
Save: P+5 M+0 D+2

Init: -2
Speed: 10
Atk: +5
Damage: disgust & disease
Def: +0
DR: 4 (10 Crushing)

Number Appearing: 1-6
Chance in Lair: 0%
Frequency: Rare
Alignment: Non
Vision: poor
Awareness: vibration
Habitat:  filthy underground
Diet: every damn thing
Ogranization: Swarm
Climate: all but arctic

Yield: Nothing
XP: 67
A successful "attack" by a roach chain means the damnable thing has climbed onto you searching for whatever morsels it can find.  Character must make a saving throw vs Poison (vs d20p+max chain roach HP) or be frozen with disgust.

An attempt every 5 seconds can be made to throw the thing off with a successful Feat of Strength (vs d20p + (max roach HP/5)).  Any physical attacks against a roach chain climbing on someone will hit the character 50% of the time (no matter if the chain roach is hit or not, including attacks from the character being climbed on).  A character can make an unarmed attack (-4 to hit) to grab it giving them a +5 to their FoS to rip the damn thing off.

Worse than all that, the things are diseased. Roll 1d6 to determine what kind.

1-3: Black Rash
4-5: Flesh Rot
6: Plague

Starting with the first second a character is crawled on and every 10 second thereafter they are exposed to whatever nasty bug the nasty bugs are carrying.  There is a (max roach HP)% chance of being exposed - use the specific disease for communicability and severity rolls. 

They live in underground filth.  Sewers, dungeon, that sort of thing.  Rumors that some swamps have them is unverified, but we wou;dn't be surprised.  Giant Roach Chain?  Nasty. 

These are creatures of the Underworld.  They eat and grow until they die.  Rumors of Scarf Roaches double the size (20+8d6 HP) that have strange scraps of metal as part of their weirdness have been reported as well.  These fuckers actually do damage 1d3 per hit ignoring DR.  Each wound increases the chance of disease exposure by 10%.