Monday, March 21, 2022

Lonesome Wanderings, Session 4

 In which Badger:

-Explores south of Kebi village to discover the Tomb of the Blinkers
-Enters the tomb and avoids a giant cobra guarding a set of stairs deeper into the dungeon.
-Meets and negotiates with some kobolds, providing them rations and oil for safe passage.
-Steals some gems from the kobolds treasure and flees before they realize what's what.
-Fights some skeletons, leading most of them into a pit trap and handily defeating the rest.
-Returns and befriends the giant cobra by feeding it rats, and trains it to respond to a whistle signal.
-Gets confronted by the previously encountered kobolds who tell him to return their treasure and leave, only to intimidate them with his new cobra friend.
-Decides to explore more of the first level of the dungeon with the cobra whom he names Slitherly.
-Falls into a pit trap set up by the wily kobolds, unintentionally descending into the second level of the dungeon with Slitherly.

Current Level: 3

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Lonesome Wanderings, Session 3

 In which Badger: 

-Discovers a stirge nest northwest of Kebi village before being forced to run from a horde of striges.
-Heads east to find an oasis with some camels.
-Has one of the camels steal his two handed sword and proceeds to chase after it.
-Discovers a band of lizardmen training camels to steal items from desert travelers.
-Gets beat up by the lizardmen and barely flees.
-Punches a wolf and a stirge who try to attack him.
-Discovers his retainer Spindle abandoned him while he was asleep.
-Heads back to town and swears to get his revenge on the lizardmen.

Current Level: 3

Monday, March 7, 2022

Lonesome Wanderings, Session 2

In which Badger:

-Returns to the kobold cave from the first session to clear out the skeletons and the slime.
-Encounters some kobolds trapped by skeletons and convinces them to help him fight.
-Sacrifices said kobolds in the fight with the skeleton while fleeing to take care of the slime.
-Get's surprised by cave wolves which he lures to the slime thus creating many more slimes.
-Flees the slimes barely escaping with his life, albeit with a big scar and damaged joints from spending too long in cold, damp caves.
-Returns to the cave with a load of torches and burns down the slimes, clearing the caves.
-Hires Spindle the Dwarven Cleric, a retainer with a 15% share who is "gifted" heavy chainmail armor (certainly not intended to slow the retainer down so Badger can flee, of course).

Current level: 2

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Lonesome Wanderings, Session 1

In which I give a short summary of the tales of my newest solo adventurer, Badger the Level 1 Fighter. For anyone interested, the system is Basic Fantasy and I'm using the Hexcrawl Procedures supplement and the What do the Monsters Want reaction tables this time around.

In this session, Badger: 

-Discovers a giant scorpion fighting a giant crab.
-Leads the Pink Turban Bandits to his home village Kebi and is promptly driven out.
-Leads the bandits to their deaths in a kobold built trap, save for Blaxton the sole survivor of the ordeal.
-Loses his weapons and armor to a surprise attack from a green slime.
-Convinces the Tungsten Raiders and the Polyester Problem Solvers, two adventuring parties, to help fight some kobolds in their lair to loot their treasure (subsequently leading the parties to their deaths).
-Gratuitously pushes various adventurers into kobold and skeleton bands to stave them off, while running away with his ill gotten loot.
-Returns back to Kebi as the sole survivor of an expedition and uses his loot to buy back his weapons and armor - returning to pretty much where he started albeit with a little more experience.

Badger levels up to Level 2 at the end of this session.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Oracular Stats

So I stumbled down a rabbit hole the other day ended up on an old reddit post that got me thinking about solo oracles, such as the commonly used "yes/no/and/but" and "percentile chance" systems. Could the stats of a d20 game be converted into their own oracle without the use of an external one? And how much information could be eked out from a single roll? Any information offloaded onto an oracle reduces the creative load on the player. I decided to try and mash together ideas from Flesh of the Tarrasque with the above post to see if I could make a preliminary draft of something along the lines of oracular stats.

To start, take six d20s, preferably physical, but digital tabletops with visual representations could work. Roll the handful of you have onto the table - these are your adventure or world stats (depending on if you're running a story or a sandbox). Leaving the dice where they land, first record the values (range of 1-20) then write next to them relevant modifiers (-3 to +3, extending the end ranges if necessary). These represent the basic stats of your adventure or world. 

For example say you roll: Str 18, Dex 12, Con 3, Int 19, Wis 5, Cha 10 (pictured below).

That could be interpreted on a kingdom with strong military (Str) and sorcerous (Int) factions battling it out at the expense of the populace (Wis), which is ravaged with sickness from said warfare (Con). The mediocre political leaders could be easily manipulated by these powers (Cha), but nonetheless are relatively "flexible" and progressive with policies despite their ineffectiveness (Dex).

Next, look at the dice from left to right - this is your temporal axis. Whether a larger entity or NPC, this indicates the order in which the events in the entity's life - and thus, its stats - developed. For example, in the above roll the first this to develop would be a military presence, hence implying this was originally a military splinter group from another kingdom who took charge. Soon after the sickness emerged and  the sorcerers showed themselves from the shadows, which resulted in all out civil war. The political leaders in the community finally took action, trying to implement progressive policies but it was too late - the kingdom closed itself off from the rest of the world and the leaders became mere puppets of the military and sorcerous factions, which brings us to present day.

Finally, look at the stats from top to bottom gives an indication of importance of the factor in the setting or NPCs life. Continuing on with the example above, it is the sickness that dominates the mind of an average citizen within the kingdom, followed by the civil war and progressive policies being middle, while the societies leaders are seen as ineffectual and are often the last thing a citizen would care about.

The importance of the modifiers comes when creating entities within the larger superstructure, with these nested entities stats being affected by the stats of the level above. For example, a city or a noble within the kingdom would naturally be affected by the external circumstances surrounding them, hence applying the modifiers to their own stats rolls. You could nest these stats infinitely based on the level of granularity you could go to.

Once you've created and recorded some basic facts about elements in a given entity, then comes actual play where the stats start to serve as oracles for the player. For any question, first ask the question, choose the stat most relevant to the question, check to see if any stats would override that stat to apply a modifier, then roll a d20. Any roll equal to or below the stat means the answer of the question should be interpreted as trying to achieve the aims of that stat. For example, a character with a higher strength would be more likely to attack someone than one with weaker stats. But if his charisma is higher than his strength, it is possible he may take a charismatic approach before a strong one, hence the modifier being applied. 

For one off NPCs or larger entities, you could simply use the superstructure. For example, simply roll on the kingdom stats to see how your average Joe/Jane would react to something instead of rolling every stat for them anew. Of course the answer of every question should be interpreted with the context of the question, and based on the stats of other entities. 

Here are some example questions that could be asked for the strength stat:

-Does the man attack (man str 12)? Roll 18, No. 

-How solid is the city wall the dragon is trying to burn (city str 10)? Roll 9, the wall holds against multiple attacks from the beast, giving you time to run.

-What does the letter from the Assassin's Guild say (guild cha 5, overridden by wis 15 -> modifier of +1)? 6, it states that despite the slights made against them as long as the noble doesn't show his face in guild territory again, bygones will be bygones.

Admittedly this limited to classic d20 stats. Maybe it could be mapped onto other systems as well? Most games I've found have a stats basis of some form, its just a matter of expanding those stats to a larger scope. Or maybe the dice needed and the eventual nesting of stats will become more cumbersome than its worth. Who knows?

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Voices from the Coast - Alwin

Dearest Linn, 
I've had a miserable couple of weeks. As you know, work hasn't been plentiful here in the Lothrheim countryside. I had to get a contract with the Péridot Firm. I know what you're thinking. Didn't I know what happened to Father? Didn't I know better than to gain employ as a Cutter? But I didn't have a choice. I was desperate.
The bank sent me and a group of Cutters out on a job to go unearth some ancient ruin. I can't remember the details exactly. Or rather, my contract says I can't. They might get their hands on this letter, so I can't say too much. We managed to make our way up to the town of Hamburg, as far north as you can get before encountering the River Sten and the northern border. Once we'd arrived in the town, I knew something was off. 
You see, most of these coastal towns are bustling hubs. There's always people out and about, even late into the night. We'd been resting up in those types of places whenever we had the chance, better than in somewhere in that Aveth forsaken countryside. But when we came to Hamburg - it was dead silent.
When we walked into that town, we all knew at once what our job was going to be. Only one thing could create this feeling of dread in a coastal village. Plague.  This was last night. This morning, we've already seen our first deserters being carted off. If I hadn't been so tired yesterday, I would have been with them. 
The expedition supervisor gave us instructions on the task a little while back. We're going to enter the ruin to the southwest of the hamlet later today, clear out undesirables, and retrieve the assets. Failure would result in termination and collection of payment for the services rendered on this expedition. We all knew what this meant - we were Grue fodder. We were given a short period to rest up and get affairs in order if we need to and...shit, they're calling for us to line up. 
Yours,
Alwin
The small hamlet of Hamburg sits along the shore of the Holm Sea, and hearing children running through the streets of the lively little fishing village, it is hard to imagine the desolate scene described by one Alwin. I had acquired the letter from the local church, written documentation being scant in the best of times, and have reproduced it here for your perusal.

However, the strangest part of the ordeal was not the acquisition of the letter, but subsequent events upon further investigation of the document.  I had reached out to the Péridot Firm that had apparently been in charge of the expedition, only to receive notice that such an expedition had never been carried out. Furthermore, visits to the church resulted in assurances that such an event had never indeed happened, and the letter was nothing more than fictional fancy.

I would have written off the letter as a piece of fantastic fiction had I not received a summons by one Josef of Hamburg. Josef was one of the few in the village who had been alive at the time of the aforementioned expedition, an elder by even Academy standards. Upon visiting his homestead, he had pressed upon me a note given to him years ago by whom he claimed was the same Alwin I had been investigating, and that I must not let "them" get away with it. The note seemed to be a simple note of appreciation, written as if talking to a child clearly enamored, with an autograph at the bottom to boot. He remained silent to further questioning, and I eventually gave up and left the man to his worries.

I was not able to get away from my nagging curiosity, however, and having both letter and note in hand, contacted a colleague in the graphology division back in Firlund. I further contacted some other colleagues of mine, noted historians of Lothrheim, to see if I could piece together anything from their researches as well. What came of my inquiries seemed to raise more questions than it answered, but I will outline for you the highlights. Firstly, the handwriting between the letter and the note did indeed match, confirming the existence of one Alwin, or at least, the confirmation of an elaborate hoax by one individual. 

The second piece of information was that which I received from my colleagues in the history department. During the period the aforementioned letter was written, there had indeed been a well documented outbreak of the Plague in Lothrheim, like the many which had been seen across the Coast since the emergence of the disease. Tucked away in the mass of papers documenting this outbreak was reports from one Ebarim Zeef, an Academy magus tracking strange magical tremors giving off signatures that defied conventional understanding of magical law. These readings were understandably written off as a case of faulty detection of magic by administration and subsequent tests yielded roughly normal results. It was easy to see how it would have been brushed off without a second thought, and I wouldn't have looked into it either if not for the timing and location of the reports. The unusual tremors had occurred only within the reported time period of the Lothrheim plague outbreak and that too at a specific location - coordinates pointing to a location in the wilderness southwest of the village of Hamburg.

Of course, perhaps I am an old man reading far too deeply into something that may not exist, in which case, forgive me dear reader. As I often tell my students, I will leave it up to you to come to your own conclusions, for better or for worse.

-Dr. Arvis Trilf, Professor of Anthropology, Royal Academy of Firlund



Description: Untrained Journeyman.
Motivations: Associate Pride, Overthrow the Poor, Weaken Valor.
Bearing: Hostile, speaks of judgement in relation to his family.
Focus: Afflicting Illness.

Stats: 
-Randomly determined. 1-2=Poor. 3-4=Average. 5-6=Good.
-Penmanship: Poor.
-Language: Average.
-Heart: Poor.

Ink Pot:
1. bank/Péridot Firm (+1/+1)
2. northern/Firlish (+0/+0)
3. god/Aveth (+1/+1)
4. sickness/Plague (+1/+1)
5. monsters/Grues (+1/+0)

Total: 7, tepid reception with negative and positive consequences.

Well, I finally got around to playing a session and it was pretty entertaining. I'm not usually one for long form writing games but using UNE and Quill mixed with the Coast as a setting gave the experience some focus. Especially rolling the primary focus of the scenario as an "afflicting illness" immediately brought to mind the Plague, a defining part of the games I've played in the Coast (and considering when I'm playing this game, somewhat timely as well). Adding context to the letter outside of that turned out to be just as fun of a creative writing exercise, using the final result to roughly interpret how much information Arvis uncovered in his investigation. I'll probably be returning to the Coast at some point, though I may see if I can expand from Quill since I've gotten my hands on a gamut of journal and long form writing games that I want to test out at some point.

Monday, May 18, 2020

AQUTGL v2

So I decided to spice up the barest outlines of the thing I'd made earlier this month, with a dash of inspiration from here added on for good measure. So here we are, AQUTGL v2 in all its glory.