Friday, December 14, 2018

Bravo Retainers of Haven

Bravos are catch-all term to describe and small group of upper class hooligans who feel the need to prove their status by bullying their inferiors, spending far too much on their appearance and equipment, and get into conflict with other bravos over (real or imagined) slights against their honor. The bravos aren't a formal gang or organization by any means - in fact if they actually organized they might be a force to be reckoned with.

Bravos are difficult to deal with at the best of times, but as adventurers, the PCs have a slight advantage.  The bravos are generally impressed with members of the Guild of Defenestration because they actually go into the Underworld and survive! They are even more impressed with freelancers who ignore the "shackles of society" and do their own thing. If a PC is able to convince a bravo to join their crew as a retainer, they get a valuable ally.

Some Rules: Bravos are difficult teenagers and as such social interactions are rolled with Disadvantage. Adventurers are somewhat respected and get to add half their level to reaction rolls when dealing with Bravos.  As freelancers who buck the system, the PCs do not have Disadvantage when interacting with them ... until they act like "the man". Once a Bravo Retainer is part of the party, the party gains Advantage for all future Bravo encounters as the Bravos all want to one-up each other.

Bravo Stats
Roll as regular henchmen, but Attack and Defense must each be at least +1. Also roll once on the Boon and once on the Bane tables.

Always has a loaded pistol hidden upon their person
Always intoxicated on (d4)
1. Booze 2. Cocaine 3. Weed 4. Vengeance
Knows all sorts of folks; advantage on social interactions in the Bravos' district while they are with the crew
Has a mean streak that will be their eventual very public and very profane downfall
Has  KO of +8 - the guy just won't go down! 
Overconfident in a way that the players have never seen - the bravo will eventually assume they are in charge of the party
Secretly an amateur alchemist; attempts to identify potions are made with Advantage
has a pack of enemies that are out to get them - and all associates (the party) as well
family heirloom is a magic weapon that the bravo took out of the case in the family home
Universally despised by the noble houses because they are, in short, an insufferable asshole
accomplished warrior; the bravo has at least one warrior initial ability
has a secret agenda that involves tricking the party into a dangerous situation to trade their lives to make up for past mistakes

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Guild of Defenestration and Dungeoneering Chapters

The GDD membership roster is always in flux because it is a dangerous job. Folks die in the Underworld, retire from adventuring, or just quit and go do something less fatal. At the same time new recruits are always coming in with the promise of riches, a sense of duty to protect the city, or they literally have nothing else to do or lose.

As of this moment, in-game there are 36 GDD chapters active in Haven.

 Name (Chapter)  HQ 
 The Dragonborn (119)  Copper & Brass 
 Bloody Syndicate (172)  Tanners District 
 Ox Horn Crew (237)  Riverbend 
 GDD Chapter 264  Bentworth 
 The White Dragons (273)  Mirebranch 
 Geoff's Ghost Brigade (302)  Pease Park 
 Dungeon Ravagers (313)  Ars Magus 
 Redcaps (324)  Bentworth 
 GDD Chapter 330  Richardtown 
 Gloomriders (359)  Tumbledowns 
 Order of Flame and Ice (407)  Richardtown 
 GDD Chapter 453  Iron Hill 
 Rembrant's Ravagers (466)  Iron Hill 
 The Wild Ones (482)  Shady Thicket 
 Golden Wolf Pack (488)  Grinders District 
 GDD Chapter 501  New Hope Village 
 GDD Chapter 511  Grinders District 
 Orchid Club (523)  Elmgate 
 Untamed Brotherhood (566)  Archeron Point 
 Ogre's Doom (588)  Mirebranch 
 Unbridled Passion (594)  Quail Point 
 GDD Chapter 635  Old Town 
 Knives of Light (637)  Kilsea Jawn 
 Gentlemen of Success (638)  North Gate 
 Pistoleers (645)  Windward 
 The Angels of Hope (656)  Archeron Point 
 GDD Chapter 695  Temple Plaza 
 The Night Runners (719)  Smouldering Wharf 
 Spider Company (731)  Tigertown 
 Brunwick's Badgers (737)  Watcher's Hill 
 Maxi's Cobra Squad (845)  Grinders District 
 Forsaken Sisterhood (872)  Tumbledowns 
 Freedom Front (902)  Pease Park 
 Exquisite Philosophers (938)  North Gate 
PC Crew
 Needle and Thread and Blood (950)  Watcher's Hill 
 Jade Thorns (972)  Temple Plaza 

Reputation and Standing
Chapters with a -1 Reputation (new chapters) often haven't chosen a name yet and just go by their guild chapter number. As the chapters clear dungeons and make a name for themselves they grow in reputation. Currently the chapters with the highest reputations are:

  • The Golden Wolfpack (488): What a crew! Everyone knows the Wolfpack. This crew is lead by Master Silas, a powerful if somewhat reclusive wizard. They take on the toughest dungeons that crop up and have quite the reputation for community service, actually serving as local watch in the Grinders.  Dirk and Dudley, a twin brothers, are accomplished Explorers act as the public face of the Wolkpack. They are well liked.
  • The Night Runners (719): The Night Runners are generally known as bastards and have a powerful if bad reputation. But for all their dubious practices, they are effective. 
  • Jade Thorns (972): The Jade Thorns have close ties with the Church, led by a high level templar named Jadus (her personal reputation is stellar). Unfortunately, they had a major loss in their recent expedition and have only two surviving members. They are recruiting.
  • Brunwick's Badgers (737): Brunwick is tough and tenacious as so is the rest of his crew. Their current claim to fame is the head of an actual dragon they recovered from the depths. These folks are all about glaives and rifles - they are big game hunters almost more than dungeoneers.
  • Gentlemen of Success (638): The renowned explorer Theresa Flutter and her husband Killington, a scoundrel of no small water, are a well respected crew that, above all else, are known as civilized and courteous to all. They also have influence and ties to several of the noble houses.
Month-to-Month GDD Chapter Rules
Each month, roll 2d6 for the guild chapters to see what is going on with them.
  • 2: Something Awful
  • 3 - 4: Disastrous Delve
  • 5 - 6: Lose Members
  • 7: Business as Usual
  • 8 - 9: Gain Members
  • 10 - 11: Successful Delve
  • 12: Something Amazing
Business As Usual
No changes of any significance

Gain Members
The group gains 1d2 1st level NPCs of a random character class (1d10).
  • 1 - 3: Warrior
  • 4 - 5: Scoundrel
  • 6 - 7: Explorer
  • 8: Templar
  • 9: Paladin
  • 10: Wizard
Lose Members
The group loses 1d3 random members through the usual reasons - dungeon death, retirement, or just leaving to do something else.

Successful Delve
1d3 random members gain a level. Roll 1d10+the crew's Reputation. On a result of 1-5 the chapter's Reputation increases by 1 point.

Disastrous Delve
They went in a Hole and things went very poorly. Each member has a 50% chance of being killed in the dungeon. Those that survive have a 1 in 6 chance of gaining a level.

Something Awful & Something Special
Perhaps I'll make a specific table for these things, but they are open-ended events meant to be major changes for the chapters. Something Awful might be a TPK, whereas Something Special could be finding a major artifact or a serious change in standing.

Much like the gang rules, these are meant to keep things dynamic. Ignore results that are boring or would take things in a direction that is completely bunk ... or don't! Breaking the campaign is one of the most interesting and fun things a GM can do.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Adventures and a Gang War

Adventures in Fantasy
We've had 3 sessions since last I updated - one complete adventure run by Eric and another just getting started.  A summary for your amusement.

A Terrible Time with Alexander
In the Crossed Rapiers the crew was relaxing and listening to a band ,,, but something was wrong. Turned out it was a monster that dilated time and mind controlled everyone and was sucking out everyone's brains. We couldn't have that and laid waste ... until the thing escaped. But we couldn't escape the tavern! Found ANOTHER dungeon entrance in the place and started exploring.

Turns out we were the targets of something awful. Children of the Mater - tentacled monstrosities that (maybe) controlled time and illusions. We wandered around a dungeon that turned out to only have a few rooms, but they were all from different times. Took us quite a while and some clever adventuring to get that sorted out.  Luckily, we also found a central location and a strange device and a TON of clues ... about us ... and a journal

Turns out that changing the settings on the strange device opened a portal. We were able to figure out the (sort of) binary code and align that to the journal entries and start exploring. This got VERY weird. In the end, it was determined that we had written the journal ... which was very disturbing as we figured it out after Tiger Mott (my wizard) had started and it explicitly listed several of our own deaths. It was exceptions (as was the journal which was an actual prop).

In the end we figured out that the Children had imprisoned the Master, a fellow who was once a human named Alexander and now some sort of demi-god. Freeing him was pretty epic. As was the crazy skull mast Tiger Mott picked up. ALso his magic went awry and he is now made of porcelain. Also he had a temporary familiar that also wanted to kill him.

Most notably, this was the first Sorrow in Haven adventure run by someone that wasn't me! And it all worked out GREAT! I was quite pleased.

Gangs and Other Fun
The newest adventure the crew is a bit tricky write about as the players are in the midst of sorting out what the fuck is actually going on. Here is what they have figured out for sure - the Black Leg Gang is in some sort of turf war with the Serpent's Eyes. In the middle of this GDD Chapter 111 (the Dungeon Kings) has gone missing, presumed dead. There is a tie-in between the BLG and 111 as apparently 111 was in a dungeon and found a "cypher" to open an Ageless Vault (which probably contains mad loot and powerful magics) the Serpent's Eyes have discovered. Everyone is racing for opening that bad boy. Also, the Hammers are hunting down some demons, a mercenary band is also missing and possible possessed, and a group templar are involved asking a lot of strange questions. Oh - and the major crime family of Haven is involved somehow as well. All of this in a single session? Just wait until things really get rolling!

Real Life Adventures
They are done! I've completed the first printing and binding of Sorrow in Haven. I hand bound 16 copies of the book. Which was an arduous task. And this is a serious binding - end papers, sewing, hardcovers, and all the good times. We'll be playing with this as the rules for some time as V2 is under way. I'm pretty sure the print copies of v2 (or any more v1 copies) are going to be sent out or print on demand. I'm quite proud of myself, but my hands hurt. but the book is gorgeous! I'll post up some images later this weekend.

Gang Wars
This really works for any faction-on-faction conflict. In this case I wrote it up specifically for the gang war between the Black Leg Gang and the Serpent's Eyes. I actually used a form of this for the noble houses as well.

For each gang, determine
  • Number of Members: a gang has 2d6+6 members; the 2d6 explodes like an Amazing Roll (roll 12 and add another d6, repeat each time a 6 is rolled).
  • Resources: how much the gang has to work with, roll 2d6+6 and assign the action modifier like it is a primary attribute (+0 to +3)
  • Influence: how much sway do they have, roll 2d6+6 and assign the action modifier like it is a primary attribute (+0 to +3) 
in this scenario, we've got:
  • Black Leg Gang (16 members (+2), resources+1, influence +0)
  • Serpent's Eyes (13 members (+1), resources +1, influence +2)
Then each day (or whatever time period) roll 1d6 to see what shenanigans are afoot in their conflict and 1d6 to randomly determine which gang is "rolling":

  1. Plotting and Scheming
  2. Fighting in the streets
  3. Shift of Influence
  4. Shift of Resources
  5. Outside Interference
  6. Major Event - roll again and double it!
Plotting and Scheming
The gang is making plans for a future event, getting things in order, gathering information, recruiting, or leveraging contacts.
  • Action Roll: 2d6+nothing (vs target 7)
  • Legendary Failure: The plans are discovered, roll again for the other side with Advantage
  • Critical Failure: this plan sucks ... gain Advantage on the next Activities roll
  • Failure: Plans didn't work out ... maybe next time
  • Success: excellent plotting, sir! ... gain Advantage on the next Activities roll
  • Critical Success: excellent scheming ... gain Advantage on the next Activities roll and immediately make an Activities roll
  • Legendary Success: this is going to hurt ... gain Advantage on the next Activities roll and immediately choose which Activity to engage in
Fighting in the Streets
All out brawling, ambushes, or sneaky murdering. In any case, someone is going to die.
  • Action Roll: both gangs make a 2d6+members roll, attackers gain +1
  • Legendary Failure: massive losses ... 1d6 attacking gang members died 
  • Critical Failure: serious losses ... attacking gang loses 1d4 members
  • Failure: losses ... attacking gang loses 1d2 members, the enemy loses 1 less
  • Success: good brawl ... attacking gang loses 1d3-1 fellows, but opposing gang loses 1 more than that
  • Critical Success: definitive victory ... attacking gang loses nothing, opponents lose 1d4
  • Legendary Success: slaughter ... opponents lose 1d6 members
Shift of Influence / Resources
The population is taking a stand, bribes are payed, or the law is getting involved. Resources work the same way, just replace resources with influence.
  • Action Roll: both gangs make a 2d6+influence
  • Legendary Failure: gang loses 1 influence, opponent picks it up
  • Critical Failure: lose 1 influence
  • Failure: Nothing changes ... 
  • Success: gang gains 1 influence
  • Critical Success: gang steals 1 influence from opponent
  • Legendary Success: gang steals 1 influence from opponent and gains 1 additional influence
Outside Interference
Another group gets involved, for good or for ill (roll 1d6).
  1. Gain 1d4 members from recruitment
  2. Gain 1 influence through propaganda
  3. Gain 1 resource via clever management
  4. Lose 1 resource brought on by local resistance
  5. Lose 1 influence caused by a bad reputation
  6. Lose 1d4 members because they are incarcerated or just leave
Major Event
Something big just happened ... really big. Roll again on the Activities table but double the results. This event can stack up meaning a single event can wipe out a gang or put them in a position to crush their opponent.

An Example of All This Jazz
Day 1: The Black Leg Gang starts a street scrap with the Serpent's Eyes. They win the fight but lose 1 member, the Eyes lose 2.

Day 2: The Eyes retaliate in a major way, attempting to ambush the Legs, but they fail! The Eyes lose 2 more members as only one member of the Legs is taken out of action.

Day 3: There is an outside influence on the Eyes - their bad reputation causes them to lose 1 influence.

Day 4: The Legs, seeing an opportunity, attempt to shift influence their way. They manage to convince some of the locals that the Eyes are the problem and gain 1 influence.

Day 5: The Eyes start plotting and scheming, they need to get back in top! They have a good plan it seems, let's see how it all pans out.

Day 6: The Legs continue their assault on the influence of the Eyes, but they critically fail as the Eyes plan comes to fruition and they lose the influence they so recently gained.

So after 1 week (my game week only has 6 days)
  • Black Leg Gang
    • From: 16 members (+2), resources+1, influence +0
    • To: 14 members(+1), resources +1, influence +0
  • Serpent's Eyes
    • From: 13 members (+1), resources +1, influence +2
    • To: 10 members (+0), resources +1, influence +1
How Does It All End? Who Wins?
No idea ... these tables are just to get things moving and keep the action in the background interesting. If one group gets too powerful or too weak perhaps I'll just decide. If we look at the total modifiers Legs +3 to +2 and Eyes +4 to +2, we could say the the Legs are winning as they lost 1 less total modifier point than the Eyes? One could argue they are both losing, but the Eyes are losing more.

What about 3 or More Gangs?
When you roll to see who is making the activity roll, also choose a random target. Want to mix things up even more?  Have each gang make an activity roll each day to see what is happening. The possibilities, as they say, are endless.

In any case, the players' crew is going to get involved and they are going to really make things happen. The point of this is to keep things dynamic and happening so as they players get involved they aren't dealing with "scenes" or a stagnant situation which only they can resolve. The PCs act in a living world and this helps give a little old gang fight a spark of life.