Friday, September 30, 2016

A Rose By Any Other Name

(I probably use that quote all too often as a justification!)

Story-gaming is so embedded in my life now that it kind of happens regardless of what else is going on - except at times of extreme stress such as trying to escape the orbit of Rome airport with a incomprehensible GPS device to get to a hidden villa on the outskirts of Florence after two thirteen hours flights from Auckland to Rome via Shanghai, for which not even the stiff-upper-lip approach served very well!) Normal driving, sightseeing, gallery browsing and so on does not seem to halt the semi-creative flow.

Many of the games we play have little to do with Trollworld but they are all deeply inspired by Ken's genius for simple game mechanics and his determination that freedom outweighs the rulebook, but not without a framework to experiment from (a constitutional American!).

Exploring 5th Edition D&D with Charlie is an interesting process but for all its merits in my eyes compared to earlier versions (not that I studied them closely!), I can't help but nudge it along Trollworld lines. Clerics become another class of wizards for instance and my monsters fail to behave according to the script; when I read that Constitution is hardy ever used for DCs, I think "Really?" and find that it is just not true. Substituting 'Perception' for 'Wisdom' just about gets me past my horror of not having 'Luck' to turn to - but I find myself backing that up with lots of 'Charisma' rolls so that the whole thing seems credible.

Making it all vaguely credible, humourous and fluid - there's the challenge!

By the way, I think I discovered the resting place of the Holy Hand Grenade...

Monday, September 26, 2016

D&D 5th Edition Live in Florence

Charlie has been keen to explore alignments and likes rules much better than me so I have had to invest in a few d20s!

My take on the 5th edition is that it has rocketed over on the direction of T&T! I'll expand on that later.

As we are in Italy, we are playing a game in which the PCs have been transported to Roma by Pan - who requires them to disgrace the mainstream Roman pantheon. So far Neptune and Mercury have fallen - aediles have announced their falseness to the plebs.

The three characters are:

  • An orc vigile named Vaticanus who gets frightfully upset when he breaks a law
  • An orc bailiff named Tusca Knee who is frightfully dim with sudden outbreaks of inspiration
  • A harpy improbably named Popeonarope who is claiming to be a unicorn in human form named Tent
Here is a picture from a wall in Florence which appears to show Vaticanus chasing a thief, unaware that Popeonarope (in duck form) is chasing him:

And here is a picture of Tusca (outside the Uffizi Gallery) having the life choked out of him by a door guard (custodis ianuae):

Bean Stalk - Final Play Test

OK, nearly time to let go. I did the proofreading with a trial copy of Ginger so now let's have Ardenstone create me some dungeon fodder!

#1 - Slitzvar, human warrior - takes nasty fall straightaway, CON down to 1, retires from the field.

#2 - Fulcrum, dwarf warrior - with massive STR of 34 he shoots up to the half way point and... gets to the top where he has to fight a lima bean... which confounds him and he takes 6 hits... then repeats the pain with a further loss of 9 CON,,, but then he pulls himslef together and fights back, pulping it with disdain (CON now 11) - he is on a cloud that he can stand on and finds a smoking glass bowl with a ring inside... he tries for the ring with his dagger but fails to get it so he moves on to another cloud... where he has to face another lima bean - he resists its weird confusion attack and hammers it to mush... he sees another smoking bowl with a ring inside and this time does manage to retrieve it... and gains a magic item that will enable him to open locks...

OK, enough! Don't want to spoil it. This solo starts with a 14 page, 5200 word story about the remote village of Mucklepuddle Marsh so there is quite a backdrop to the 100 paragraphs of action.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Online Games and Making Bacon

I thought I'd try making pannacotta as I'm in Italy...

(No animals were hurt in the making of this photo.)

My involvement in a 5.5. game on Trollbridge has come to the end with the death of my wizard Khloemar. I'm not too sorry as it proved really hard terrain in terms of character advantage and (for me) never rolling a dice in anger (the GM did this) left a distinct lack of association. Charlie's PC, Winip, also died -rather famously, I think, hurling vomit at a demoness with his CON on 1 after a nasty fall). In fact, 4 of the party of 6 died in the Darksmoke Dungeon, making it one of the most bloodthirsty games I've participated in for many a year, Ken's Fellowship of the Vine game included.

In another ongoing game, one on a fairly grand scale and driven by the GM's narrative, my humble warrior woman has risen to become a member of the aristocracy in a Lerotah'h-less Khazan. Here is the latest:

Brevail surreptitiously casts, "Huge Bonus to Charisma and Ignore Fear of Public Speaking" on Lil.

","begins LIl, clearly out of her depth.
Then a serene smile passes over her face and an inner radiance shines forth that she, perhaps, is unaware of.
"Your Graces, my friends and I are deeply honoured by your kindness in coming here today. We are humble people who have tried our best to make the most of the good fortune bestowed on us by Higher Powers and to share this bounty with those whose paths cross ours. We pay you the utmost respect and aim to treat all those who offer respect to us and others with no less generosity and compassion.
We have no history of managing our good fortune and beg leave to request that your advisors assist us in discharging our affairs appropriately.
We intend to shirk no burden fate brings our way and we pledge our lives to righting wrongs and defending truth, liberty and justice."
With that, Lil looks nervously about, tempted to apologise for her temerity in speaking.

 One Thousand hands applaud, 500 voices shout, Hip, hip, Hugh ray.

Lady Ulstar rises, “Lady Ovthaphalli, you and your friends have in the short time you have lived in Khazan, have shown a dedication to the common good. Whatever the need might be you have, without promise of reward or safety, done what was necessary to help other citizens of Khazan. Your efforts enable the human families of Khazan to obtain the way and means to rebuild our neighborhoods, resolved a conflict between Uruks and Goblins. Cleared the names of two visitors to our city, and rescued Te Ro-Zen, Sun Te Quan, and Sun Tu Rhee from imprisonment. Khazan now has a very profitable trade with the Amazon Nation and the raiding of their lands by pirates has stopped. When the mad man and his giant destroyed the Digs and the Wizard’s Quarters of our fair city, drove many of our productive citizens from Khazan under a threat of death if they remained, who have since returned to strengthen Khazan one again, it was your actions that reopened the gates of Khazan to these kin, who now serve as honored members of our City Council and sit her at this table provided by you.  When our sister city of Khosht was attacked, you and your friends raised the banner, encouraged others to meet the need of Khosht and with minimum fighting broke the siege, destroyed the violent leaders of the Uruks, and made peace with the Uruks, who have returned to Khazan. In the process, discovered the long lost Holy Forge of the Dwarves. Without asking for a reward, immediately returned the control to the Council of Dwarven Elders, whose leader, Her Royal Majesty Queen Brrgrd has graced our city with her presence this evening and who I now recognize and yield the floor to her, Your Highness, we await your pleasure.”

Queen Brrgrd rises to speak, “I have traveled here for the singular purpose of acknowledging the great debt the Dwarf-kin owe to The Four Adventurers, Lady Lil, Brevail Amandil, The Red Warrior, and Utento the Vicious. Who lead Captain Tul Dar, now Elder Tul Dar, to the Uruk infested cave on the north coast of the Dwarven Sea, liberated the cave and restored the Holy Forge to the rightful owners, The Dwarf Elders. We, the Dwarf Elders, recently presented them with tokens of our appreciation, and in recognition of their great deeds tonight We sincerely acknowledge their honesty, loyalty, and service to the Dwarf Nation by Our presentation to each of them of the Medallion of Eternal Fidelity between the Dwarf Nation and each of them, Prince Dorval, please present the Honorees with their Medallions.”

 The Prince Doral stands and walks to Lil, He opens a small velvet covered box and withdraws a fine gold chain with a star-diamond pendant. He slips the chain over her head and adjusts how it hangs, he then slips a matching award on Brevail, Red and Utento. (Brevail detects magic radiating for the star-diamond pendant.)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

New Solo - Bean Stalk

Here are the covers to my new solo. Not ready to release yet as I am in play test mode.