Wednesday, January 31, 2018

On Moonlit Wings: Valtyr #1

I’m interrupting my interlude. On Moonlit Wings came out on the 31st, and, as I downloaded that and a couple other titles, I realized that I have nearly a thousand digital role playing books. That does not include physical books or sources other than RPGNow. I think I’m going to do a few playthroughs and reviews before I move on to my other monstrosity.

On Moonlit Wings is an alternative take on M20 Adamantine Edition, which is a Microlite version of 5E. It’s twice the size of the original; a whole 36 pages with OGL included. What sets this apart from other versions is the inclusion of Hope, Despair and Madness, a Dread Track and using a Candle. It appears there’s a Candlelight RPG in the works.

Briefly, Hope takes the place of Inspiration. The Dread Track is a tool that, when full, gives characters Despair, and monsters get more powerful the further along the track progresses. Despair and Madness has mechanical uses, but if Madness overtakes a character’s mental faculties, the character is retired. The Candle is another tool that signals if a character’s actions are resolved as normal or if they’re rolling at Disadvantage. Some actions will relight the candle; other actions will extinguish it.

Character creation includes a fourth ability score (Might, Agility, Intellect and Personality instead of Strength, Dexterity and Mind) and uses an ability array instead of rolling. You decide on your character’s Heritage (Race in other titles), choose a Class (the four core with six advanced classes), then choose a Background.

Resolution is similar to what you would find in M20; the same goes for magic. If you’ve played any of the Microlite titles before, you’ll be familiar with it. On Moonlit Wings defaults to using a magic point pool with optional rules for Blood Magic and Ritual Magic.

The one thing I don’t like, and this is true with M20 Adamantine Edition, are the armor costs. Getting a +2 bonus to armor, if read as written, costs 100 gold. That seems incredibly expensive, but I suppose it also depends on how you want to run the game.

All in all, On Moonlit Wings, is worth the $5 cost of entry. I’ve enjoyed most of Gallant Knight Games’ micro-RPGs, the Tinyd6 series, and For Coin and Blood. I expect I’ll be reviewing those soon after this.

On to character creation and an actual playthrough…

I’m going to use The Northern Reaches for this character; it’s a Basic D&D supplement that I’ve never got around to using. This character will be an M20 take on a runecaster, using the words and forms instead of a spell list.

Valtyr Rorikson, Human Cleric and Viking
+2 Might
+1 Agility
+2 Intellect
+0 Personality

HP: 10
MP: 10
AC: 17

Proficiencies: Communication, Physical; Intellect saves; medium armor and shields

Class abilities: Divine spellcasting; channel divinity

Spells: Cantrips - Frost Shards (60’, 1d10, Magic attack), Light; The Four Actions - enhance; The Five Realms - body, energy

Equipment: scale armor (+4 AC), shield (+2 AC), holy symbol, mace (1d6), 15gp and fast pack C

That out of the way, it’s time to create an adventure to test him on. Going back to the Dungeon World Adventure Builder with the Aladdin Technique (thanks again to Sophia Brandt for compiling all these solo resources), I roll some Story Cubes and come up with:

“I am exploring [a temple] that lies [within a profane tower] seeking the [origins of a ruinous cult]. I am here to [find the sagas of Njordr] guarded by [gnolls] and [undead]. How far has their infectious beliefs spread?”

Finally, inspired by Five Room Dungeons and Castle Gargantua, I devised a small board on a 3”x5” index card instead of using a random content generator. As the average roll of a d6 is 3.5, an average adventure will last five rooms. Rolling above average shortens the adventure; below average lengthens the adventure. Instead of having to land on the final spot with an exact roll, this session will end once the character reaches the final room.

To start:

Option A: monster
Option B: trap
Option A - 1, Option B - 5

Unexpected. I suppose that’s why it’s a trap. Opening Sly Flourish’s Random Trap Generator, gets me:

02 - invisible swinging axes with crushing walls triggered by magic sensing spheres.

Well. I guess we’re falling for that one; can’t justify finding that simply by walking by, so…

A day’s journey south following the Otofjord River from Whitehart, Valtyr steps amongst the rocks that litter the Hardanger Mountains. The warmth of the Whitehart Valley gives way to the pressing cold coming from the cliffs. The sky is overcast, threatening snow, as Valtyr reaches his destination.

Built encased within the mountain side, a tower of rock seems carved and constructed into the cliff face. Facing opposite the valley, it has been inconvenient for all but the most adventurous to enter. A set of double doors stretches open, easily twice the height of a northlander. Snow covers the first few feet into the wide corridor, leaving the barest hint of corpses rotting along the side of the hall.

Valtyr walks cautiously up to the double doors, studiously eyeing the bodies.

Most of the bodies are decrepit, left there exposed to the elements for an unknown period of time. Belongings seem to have been stripped, just scraps of clothing left behind. The remains share similar features: broken ribs or arms, torsos that show the telltale gashes and tears of battle.

Valtyr looks closer at the bodies. Are they all human?

Yes. There’s a soft click accompanied by a whirr. Another echoes the first, and a third answers the other two. Roll Agility + Physical to reduce incoming damage.

DC 15, major trap
Agility + Physical
Player rolls save: 17; DM rolls damage: 14 (7)
Valtyr has 3 HP remaining.

Valtyr creeps closer to the threshold; the whirring intensifies followed by a razor sharp slash across his shoulder. The viking leaps forward and hears the rushing air of another unseen blade passing by. When he lands, the stone floor gives a minute amount. One of the walls falls free and collapses toward him. Valtyr manages to almost entirely avoid the falling stone; a large section crashes into his leg, nearly breaking it. When he moves to get to his feet, another invisible blade swings down and cuts a long furrow into his arm. The whirring slows and comes to a stop with an audible click.

First, Valtyr winced at the first slash, followed by a loud grunt when the wall fell on him. The last wound made him grit his teeth and rise up angrily.

“What kind of raven starving churl traps the front door?!” he shouts.

He was fortunate he survived. Valtyr eyed the corpses from the other side of the door. He’d made it further than that lot. The cleric had precious few resources at his disposal, but healing himself was the wisest course of action. Trembling fingers used his life’s blood as ink, tracing uruz and berkana across his thigh, again on his chest, and once more on his shoulder. Valtyr used the runes as a focus, asking for healing from Eir.

Player rolls healing: 14
Valtyr has 10 HP remaining and 7 MP left.

Fully healed, Valtyr is left in a silent hall as wide as five people, and the corridor stretches back into darkness…

That’s the end of the first scene. I’ll roll on the 3x5 to see what unfortunate event happens next. As a side note, I always thought the B rune was berkano, not berkana. Language is always evolving, I guess.

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