Friday, September 29, 2017

Rain: Season 1, Episode 1, Part 3

So. Runequest combat. Not as much of a fan as I thought. The action point economy is nice in that you can outmaneuver your opponent by simply being able to do more per round and possibly baiting out parries or evasions. The special maneuvers are a nice touch, but I think there is definitely an order of operations that can be followed to maximize and game the system.

However, that being said, this was actually pretty boring. Each “round” every character had three action points. Basically, you get two or three exchanges per round, which is effectively three rounds of D&D combat rolled into one. This combat took just as long as it would in a D&D system. The difference is the parry and evasion mechanic made many of the characters’s efforts feel worthless. D&D: you hit, you damage. Runequest: you hit, they parry, and… nothing. For quite some time.

Finally, rabble and underlings as suggested in Mythras are not at all like minions in D&D. That was my mistake in thinking one character could take three rabble. Nope. The action point economy effectively controlled what options my characters could use. You’ll notice that rabble and underlings have ONE-FIFTH the hit points of a standard creature, and they very nearly kill one of the characters. Good thing I had a reset button to bypass the encounter and consider how to handle future combat.

Be that as it may, should I continue playing a Runequest based system, I’ll likely use Chaosium’s or Open Quest’s hit point pool versus the hit points per location found in Mythras aside from specific attacks or killing blows. I’ll probably keep the Special Effects, though. Anyway, on to part 3...

Rain waited patiently while Shiventai gathered what few pieces of equipment she had laying around. They brought a handful of coins with them should they visit a town for supplies. Together, they concealed her hoard the best they could before leaving.

From the height of the lair, they could see Thorndyke just a few hours walk from where they stood. A column of black smoke rose north west from the village. The two shared a glance then made their way toward the billowing smoke. By the time they reached the burning home, most of the fire had already consumed what fuel was available. There were patches of dark earth where a fight had taken place, furrows dug into the ground where something had been dragged into the trees.

[Player roll Shiv stealth: 41]
[Player roll Rain stealth: 29]
[Player roll Rain perception: 15]

Heading north, the pair wove their way between trees as cautiously as they could. Gruff whispers came from further ahead. The two crept forward, and Rain could make out shapes lurking in the shadows. The shadows were squat, short and there were six of them. Two ahead and two each pulling unconscious bodies back toward the mouth of a cave.

Rain turned to Shiventai, holding up three fingers then pulling out his crossbow and unsheathing his falchion. Shiventai nodded, reaching into a pouch at her belt and prying out something clenched in her fist. Her fingers glowed from the light emanating from the concealed object behind her shield. He nodded in return then took aim at one of the creatures ahead.

[Surprise Round]
[GM Goblin Rabble (6): 3 hp]
[Player roll with Aim: 71, 1 damage, chooses Impale to location 6 (Abdomen)]

Shiventai pulled her sword free of its scabbard then threw a small round jewel into their midst. An enchantment placed upon it lit the small patch where the things stood. Tiny red eyes turned toward the light. Green skin with large sharp ears and hairless heads looked around, grunting in some dark language. The crossbow released its bolt with a soft clack. The projectile embedded itself into the goblin's side who shouted in pain and turned to the tunnels, fleeing.

[Round 1]
[GM roll: Timer: 1]
[Player roll: Rain initiative: 18]
[Player roll: Shiv initiative: 19]
[GM roll: goblin initiative: 14]
[Player roll: Shiv attack: 71]
[Player roll: Rain attack: 97]

Shiventai charged forward from the underbrush and swung her bastard sword in an immense arc; the slash missed its target, whipping through the air above its head. Rain didn’t fare much better as he broke from the trees and swung the falchion down at the nearest goblin. The goblins sneered and muttered in their low guttural tongue as they pulled makeshift weapons free from their belts.

[GM roll: goblin attack on Rain: 71, 19]
[Player roll: Rain uses Artful Dodger: 49]
[GM roll: goblin attack on Shiv: 54, 44, 79]
[Player roll: Shiv parry: 02, chooses Overextend Opponent]

Two of the goblins moved towards Rain, rusted blades dull in the light provided by the glowing gem. The first swung its large knife at Rain, but the attack swept empty air. The second goblin pressed forward, forcing Rain to sidestep and skip backward to avoid the flailing blade.

The remaining three closed on Shiv. Two of them slashed at her with their club and knife, but she merely danced aside. The third goblin thrust with its short sword. Shiv parried the attack with a graceful sweep of her sword. The shift in momentum twisted the goblin to one side.

[Player roll: Rain attack: 36]
[GM roll: goblin parry: 37]
[Player roll: Shiv attack: 91]

Rain recovered and bounced forward, his falchion traced a path toward a goblin’s throat. The creature brought up its knife turned sword and beat against the elf’s sword, pushing it wide. Shiv’s attack completed her parry, twisting her wrist to spin the sword and cut with its false edge. The target of her attack had already moved away.

[GM roll: goblin attack on Rain: 21, 69]
[Player roll: Rain parry: 41]
[GM roll: goblin attack on Shiv: 12, 10]
[Player roll: Shiv parry: 01, chooses Overextend Opponent, 77]

The pair of goblins on Rain took turns swinging at him. The first attacker came close, its sword cutting the air toward his thigh. Rain used his falchion to brush it aside as the second goblin’s swing sliced where he had been standing.

The first goblin to charge against Shiventai met with her shield. The sword struck against it with a heavy thud; she took the opportunity to press forward, knocking the goblin off balance. The second goblin seize the opportunity to stab at her left leg. Had it not been for the scale armor, it would have been a vicious wound for another. A small streak of red welled up near her knee.

[GM roll: goblin attack on Rain: 35]
[GM roll: goblin attack on Shiv: 20, 47]

Only one of the goblins could attack Rain. It sliced feebly at the elf, the blade cut a small furrow in the leather armor he wore. The two goblins that could attack Shiventai came around either side of her. The first thrust with the large knife which bit between the scales and left a small wound. The second struck against the scale armor but failed to cause any harm.

[Round 2]
[GM Orc Underling: 5 hp]
[GM roll: orc initiative: 20]
[Player roll: Rain attack: 27]
[GM roll: goblin parry: 17]
[Player roll: Shiv attack: 25]
[GM roll: goblin parry: 19]
[GM roll: goblin attack on Rain: 30, 88]
[Player roll: Rain uses Artful Dodger: 45]
[GM roll: goblin attack on Shiv: 30, 96]
[Player roll: Shiv parry: 41]

A taller monstrosity emerged from the cave mouth. It had murky green skin and heavily muscled. One hand held a battle axe that swung freely while it surveyed the field with cold eyes. The thing barked incomprehensible statements at the smaller green creatures.

Rain saw the larger creature approach and attempted to dispatch one of the goblins in front of him. His falchion cut at the goblin’s arm but the creature ducked and pushed the blade aside. Shiv’s bastard sword struck at another arm, but this goblin was also inspired by the presence of the orc and deflected the attack upward and over its head.

One of the goblins aimed a cut at Rain’s unprotected head. Rain deftly ducked under the blade which passed a hair’s width over his head. Another of the goblins managed another strike at Shiventai’s side. Shiv stopped the blade with her own.

[GM roll: orc attack on Shiv: 20, chooses Disarm Opponent, 1 damage to chest]
[Player roll: Shiv parry: 87, 88 vs. Disarm]
[Player roll: Rain attack: 46]
[GM roll: goblin parry: 44]
[Player roll: Shiv attack: 73]
[GM roll: goblin attack on Shiv: 23, 09, 28, 1 damage to right leg]]
[GM roll: goblin attack on Rain: 09, 09, 5 damage to abdomen]
[Player roll: Rain parry: 25]

The orc roared and charged at Shiventai, the more heavily armored of the two opponents. His battle axe cleaved into her, causing a light wound on her shoulder. The force of the blow sent her bastard sword a couple feet into the trees.

Rain assaulted the goblin in front of him, swiping his blade toward the goblin’s leg. The goblin leapt forward, the falchion skimming the air beneath its boots and thrust its sword into Rain’s stomach. A wound opened in Rain’s side, and the elf grunted from the impact. The next goblin mirrored the strike to his abdomen, which the elf managed to parry in time.

Shiv was surrounded and weaponless. She attempted to use her shield to bash at the nearest goblin barring her way to the sword but fell short. Two of the goblins scored hits but failed to penetrate the layer of scales she wore, while the third sliced lightly into her right leg.

[GM roll: orc attack on Shiv: 08, chooses Bleed, 5 damage to left arm]
[Player roll: Shiv Endurance: 80]
[GM roll: goblin attack on Rain: 51, 95, 3 damage to chest]
[GM roll: goblin attack on Shiv: 17, 74]

The swarm engulfed the pair of warriors. The orc’s battle axe savagely cut into Shiv’s left arm and opening another trail of blood. The successful strike from the goblin failed to pierce the scale armor. Rain had trouble dealing with the two on him, as he was not as armored or trained in front line combat. Another blade struck home and opened a wound in his chest.

[GM roll: orc attack on Shiv: 36]
[GM roll: goblin attack on Shiv: 55]

The strikes began to slow for a moment, the orc scored another hit, but that was warded by Shiventai’s scale armor. Shiv looked from her opponents toward Rain and saw he was not faring well. A decision had to be made…

[Round 3]
[GM roll: orc attack on Shiv: 27]
[Player roll: Shiv parry: 20]
[Player roll: Rain attack: 50, 3 damage to left leg]
[GM roll: goblin parry: 92]
[GM roll: goblin Willpower: 78, 92, 25, 29]
[GM roll: goblin attack on Shiv: 57, 01]

The orc hacked at Shiventai, taking advantage of her disarmed state. Her shield rose and intercepted the attack. Rain slashed into a goblin’s leg, where it fell to the ground and immediately fell unconscious from shock. Then, Shiv knew that something had to be done; they were heavily outnumbered and losing ground. The shapeshifting magic melted away, her gold leaf scale armor faded into the wind as she returned to her natural draconic form.

Of the four remaining goblins, one of them stood in awe and edged away from her. It turned and screamed in terror, causing the remaining goblin engaged with Rain to also shout and flee. The pair ran into the cave mouth, their shouts amplified by the tunnel. The stalwart remainders swung their short blades into Shiv’s flank but fell harmlessly against her scales.

[GM roll: orc attack on Shiv: 35]
[Player roll: Rain attack on orc: 50]
[GM roll: orc parry: 49]
[Player roll: Shiv attack on orc: 30, 12 damage]

The orc shouted with reckless glee, seeing an opportunity to test itself against a powerful enemy. The battle axe rose and crashed down on Shiventai’s leg. Her scales once again deflecting the sharp edge. Rain charged forward and thrust his falchion at the orc who twisted and parried the strike with the haft of his axe. Shiv lifted her leg and stomped on the orc. It burst as it got shoved into the rocky earth, blood exploded beneath her claw and left a pool to stain the ground.

The other goblins turned and fled...

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Rain: Season 1, Episode 1, Part 2

Imagine my surprise when I realized overland movement and encounters weren't detailed in either Mythras or Classic Fantasy. Not what I expected for a “return to the golden age of roleplaying … between the late 1970s to 1980s.” I just read that wilderness adventures would be available in the Unearthed Companion supplement late 2017 or early 2018. That's more a return to 1981, when the Basic and Expert sets were around. In 1974, original Dungeons and Dragons (and each edition of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons) had those rules in the base game.

-drums fingers-

Deal breaker? Not exactly. That's what house ruling is for (or buying another supplement), but it leads me to wonder if missing a third of the game, you know, getting from A to B, may be why it isn't as popular as D&D. I’d have to rummage through decades of Runequest rules to find out.

Be that as it may, I'll use Underworld and Wilderness Adventures from the original Dungeons and Dragons to keep it in theme to pre-1980 rules. It does beg the question why not just play D&D… I'll kick Mythras around a little longer to see what I think.

Following the silver standard, I adjusted the treasure amount by a factor of 10. And, now, I have an NPC to build...

Season 1, Episode 1, Part 2: The Beginning (One OK Rock with live action Kenshin)

It was two days travel going north to Thorndyke, a fishing community between the hills that border the Synnorian Valley and the Strait of Alaron. Rain gathered his meager belongings, the two most precious being his falchion and hand crossbow.

He had stumbled across the hand crossbow while exploring a cave and meant to sell it. The kind merchant in Corwell had informed him just how rare a thing like that was. Ruairidh had taken a liking to Rain when he was growing up. Rain would stop by frequently to see what new wares he had traded for from Waterdeep or Baldur’s Gate. The merchant never asked questions of where some of the things Rain sold him came from, either.

The cusped falchion was a gift from Nogai, a sailor from Thay. They had met in Ruairidh’s shop a handful of years back. The two engaged in conversation about the lands beyond Moonshae; that was when Rain explained his trouble with mastering the longsword. After that, each month, the two met for practice. He wondered if he would run into Nogai on his next trip.

[GM roll for lost, day 1 (1 in 6): 6]
[GM roll for encounter (4 in 6): 1]
[GM roll for lost, day 2 (1 in 6): 4]
[GM roll for encounter (4 in 6): 5]
[GM roll for encounter type: 8, Dragon]
[Player: W. T. F.]
[GM roll for dragon type: 6, Gold]
[Player: -wipes brow- Ok. Wait. This changes everything!]
[GM roll for surprise, Rain: 1]
[GM roll for surprise, dragon:  2]
[GM roll for sight distance: 30 yards]

The first day away from Chrysalis was uneventful. Rain was familiar with the nearby terrain and had visited the Strait of Alaron frequently. The second day, he had been following the base of the rocky mountains, when his ears heard the clatter of large rocks being sent down the cliff face. Cautiously, he pressed himself against the rocks and inched closer to see.

[Player roll for Stealth: 55]
[GM roll for Perception: 73]

As Rain came around a bend, he saw a nearby cave. Deep gouges were rent into the edge of the cliff.

“Don't be yourself. Don't be yourself. Don't… Aravae is going to be pissed,” he muttered to himself.

Rain eased closer and peeked around the corner. A large golden reptilian head faced him. Long whiskers curled gracefully against the cave’s floor and sharp gleaming fangs bared. Rain swallowed. The gold head lifted up toward the ceiling; Rain craned his neck to follow.

“What are you doing in my lair?” it asked, a rumbling whisper that wasn't as quiet to his ears.

Rain smiled faintly and came fully into view. “I heard falling rocks,” he swallowed again, “So I just wanted to… you know, see what caused it?”

“Ah,” it said, bringing its face close to the elf’s. “You're an elf.” The dragon's breath caused his green cloak to billow. “I meant to study you.”

It sounded like he wasn't going to be eaten. Not yet, at least. “Study?” he said, sounding more like a squeak compared to the draconic bass.

“It's why I moved here. I just brought the last of my things from my old home.”

[GM roll for treasure: 13,500 sp, 1,100 ep, 8,000 gp, 900 pp, 35 gems, 24 pieces of art, 4 maps, 2 rank 1 magnitude 5 scrolls, magnitude 2 potion of vigor, bastard sword +1]

Rain’s eyes flicked away to peer past the dragon. There was an immense pile of coins behind it, gems were strewn about, and a scattering of random items seemed haphazardly mixed into the pile. He glanced at the immense gold form and back at the treasure hoard. Don't be yo-

“Can I take a look? I collect odds and ends,” he said hastily.

The dragon huffed. Rain wasn't sure if that was yes or no, but he walked slowly into the cave. The coins didn't interest him so much as the strange items laying around. There were things he couldn't find anywhere in the Moonshae.

“Is that comb…”

“Made of jade? Yes,” a woman’s voice interrupted.

He turned and was again surprised. Where the dragon had been, a female elf stood. Her likeness reminded him of Aravae with her gold hair and eyes, but the similarities ended there. She wore a suit of golden armor made of scales and held herself as if she was waiting for an opportunity to pounce. Coiled, contained and focused.

“How do I look?” she asked, her voice emulated the melody of Elvish.

Rain remained quiet and tried not to compare her against the other elves in Chrysalis. This was a dragon. He was very capable of not angering a dragon.

“Would I pass well enough to mingle with your people?”

His eyes slid away and focused on the jade comb. “Yes. You’d… You'll fit right in. What should we call you?”

“My name is Shiventai. Would that work?”

Rain thought about all the things Aravae would say when she found out he was giving advice to a dragon. “It could, if you tell them you just arrived.” He cleared his throat and turned back around. “I'm Rain.”

“Rain isn't Elvish.”

“No, but it's what people call me.”

“Well, Rain, what were you doing before you trespassed into my home?”

Rain grew serious, reminded of his mission. “There's a fishing village, Thorndyke.”

“The little place I flew over north of here?”

“That's the one. They've been having some kind of trouble, and it sounds like they're being harassed by goblins or orcs at night. I was sent by Genna to find where they were coming from.”

Shiventai arched one delicate eyebrow. “A mission from the Druid of Myrloch. I'm either impressed or intrigued. Emotions are still a strange thing.”

Why was everyone so surprised by this? he wondered.

The dragon turned elf walked toward her hoard, brushing scale armor against Rain’s lighter leather, and reached down to pull a bastard sword free. “Where do we start?”

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Rain: Season 1, Episode 1, Part 1

For Rain, I am running Mythras (formerly Runequest 6, and the free Mythras Imperative) with the Classic Fantasy supplement (preview here). Classic Fantasy brings pre-3rd edition D&D to the d100 system; 3rd through 5th might take a little thought without Feats. The setting uses the 1st edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Set with FR2 Moonshae. The adventures are created with the Dungeon Master's Design Kit, while the dungeon is made with the Judges Guild Ready Ref Sheets. I will also be experimenting with breaking up the episodes so each scene will be one post. Might make it more palatable with bite size pieces. At the end of the post, I'll include Rain’s character sheet.

Unfortunately, I could not find any resources on what Genna Moonsinger looked like, not having read Darkwalker on Moonshae. Only that she’s old, wrinkly and stout. So, I have to make up my own version of her.

I have read that Mythras has flavorful but lethal combat. Let's see how long Rain survives...

Explore a New Area
Old Friend: Genna Moonsinger
Classic Dungeon
Aravae Daewynn, Genna Moonsinger
Agent Provocateur
Daughter with the Heart of Gold
The A-B-C Quest
Prevented Deed with Throne Room Duel as secondary

Season 1, Episode 1, Part 1: True (Amaranthe)

A figure stood apart from the tangle of others in the main square. He was the same height as a human male, but his lithe form seemed fragile and thin by comparison. His bronze head was topped by short black hair with matching eyes. Even without the pointed ears, he was already marked as an elf. Some might call him a high elf, but he was one of the Llewyrr, native to Gwynneth and the Moonshae.

He wore simple clothes when he wasn't out hunting, dark trousers and a summer green shirt. Calf high dark leather boots covered his feet, soft soled so he could move quietly. He didn't have much use for accessories, aside from the ever present dagger at the small of his back. The elf turned his gaze south.

From his vantage point, he could see the tree line where the Grove of Meditation began. He looked through the passers by and felt a small pang of shame. He barely had any magical reserve, not enough to master the most basic cantrip. The Grove is where elves went to commune and grow their arcane abilities.

Behind him, the silver and crystal city of Chrysalis dominated the valley. Aside from the elves, very few were permitted to marvel at its ingenuity. Towers that touched the clouds constructed of crystal and glass. An immense wall, almost transparent, surrounded the city on all sides. That was not their only defense.

North, beyond Chrysalis, were the horse farms. These bred the white chargers the Sisters of Synnoria rode into battle. Another pang of shame pulled at him. He was trained in the martial arts, as all elves were, but he was considered too weak for the front lines. The guilt washed away with a moment of pride. Still, he had made his own way. If that was the path the Goddess set him on, so be it.

“Lost?” someone asked behind his elbow.

The elf turned and was briefly surprised to find a short human woman standing behind him. Genna Moonsinger smiled. She stood up to his shoulder with chestnut hair and brown, earthy eyes. She wore cloth in shades of wood, splashes of green and yellow peeked from between their folds. A Druid, her task was to guard the Moonwell, the magical waters that could heal wounds. Small wonder she could sneak up on him.

“Just thinking,” he replied.

“Dwelling is not thinking, Nalmyraen. Too much time, I think.”

“I'm an elf, Genna,” Rain said, pointing at an ear. “I have nothing but time.”

Genna chuckled, a warm and inviting sound. “True.” She cleared her throat, becoming more businesslike. “Speaking of too much time, the Earth Mother has a task that needs doing, and I think you're just the one to do it.”

Rain smiled, at first thinking this was a joke, “And that would be?”

“There's been trouble brewing near Thorndyke. They think it comes from the north, about a day. We would like you to investigate the validity of their claims.”

He shrugged. “Three days to get there then, just to see if they're lying about their problems?”

“Yes. I would rather you find nothing than get too involved. See what you can see then come back. Alright?”

“No promises,” Rain said with a grin.

Genna scowled. “That's what I'm afraid of. Still…,” she turned and headed back toward Myrloch where her grove and the Moonwell waited.

“What'd the Druid want?” a quiet voice asked as they watched the retreating form of Genna.

Rain smiled at the familiar voice. He turned to see Aravae coming up behind him. She was about his height and light to his dark. Her blonde hair was pulled tight into a tail wrapped by a sapphire ribbon. She must have been sparring because her torso was covered by a silver breastplate, the rest of her was clad in mud colored leathers save the white cloak of the Sisters of Synnoria. A longsword swayed at her hip as she approached. Aravae’s gold eyes turned from Genna and fixated on Rain.

“An assignment. Apparently from the Goddess.”

Her brows arched upward, not exactly mocking but amused. “Sounds important. Sooooo, why you?” she asked and elbowed him playfully.

Rain scowled. “I don't know. Maybe because I'm quieter than you folk crashing about in plate?”

Aravae feigned indignation. The silence stretched for several heartbeats. He watched her from the corner of his eye. She was thinking. Coming to a conclusion, Aravae unfastened her cloak and handed it to Rain.

“I have a cloak,” Rain said matter of factly.

“Of course you do. This is just in case your's gets torn,” Aravae pinned him with her eyes and grew serious. “And don't do anything dumb.”

“Male, you mean.”

Aravae laughed brightly. “Because men are dumb,” she said, adding a nod of finality. “And rare for us. Which makes you,” she poked him pointedly, “rarest of all. You are male, don't fight alongside us and don't have any magical aptitude to speak of.”

He had gotten into many fights over the latter two, but Aravae had a disarming smile. He knew she was joking. They'd grown up together, and Rain was closer to her than any other of their generation.

“Fine,” he said, his turn to feign indignation. “I'll try not to by myself.”

Rank 1: Apprentice

STR 09
CON 13
SIZ 15
DEX 16
INT 15
POW 06
CHA 14

Damage Bonus: +0
Initiative Bonus: 16
Action Points: 3
Armor Points: 3 (except head)
Healing Rate: 3
Luck Points: 2
Move: 20

Age: 114
Height: 5’10” Weight: 130

Athletics: 50
Boating: 22
Brawn: 24
Combat Style (Thief): 50
Conceal: 32
Customs: 70
Dance: 30
Deceit: 54
Drive: 22
Endurance: 26
Evade: 57
First Aid: 31
Influence: 48
Insight: 41
Language (Common): 69
Language (Elvish): 69
Locale: 40
Perception: 46
Ride: 22
Sing: 20
Stealth: 51
Swim: 22
Unarmed: 25
Willpower: 32

Commerce: 39
Courtesy: 39
Lockpicking: 42
Mechanisms: 41
Sleight: 55
Survival: 29

Loyalty to the Earth Mother: 51
Neutral (independent, respectful of nature): 42


backpack, dagger (1d4+1, bleed, impale), falchion (1d6+2, bleed), flint and tinder, hand crossbow (1d4, impale), lockpick, rations (14), rope, set of undecorated clothes (2), studded leather armor, thieves tools, waterskin, 20 silver