04 September 2017

Beneath the Spire: Part Who Is Even Counting



Sister Belica, her ward Cedric, and Claus von Germanwords (not really his name), spent a few days in Ft. Inevitable shopping. A courier in the employ of Guffen & Sons Mercantile Company checking in on them, reminding them that he would like them to continue delving beneath the Spire, informing them that weird crystal they sold him back in session 3 is a Star Stone, and noting that he has heard rumors of a mysterious floating demon head off the coast. During the time, Ruth the really good dog was snoozing at Robert the Large's Inn.

Our heroes bravely ventured to the Underspire, still ruled by Tony Danza the Goblin Queen. Tony has continued in her growth into womanity, having outgrown her very pretty pink dress, and a set of antlers. She informs the party that a golden wizard and his melted face henchman came up from below trying to extort her. She also demanded minor tribute to descend to the lower levels, a tribute of fine human foods and pretty clothes. 

Descending to the second level, which appears to have been some kind of horrifying laboratory as that is where they met the mutant goblins and the goblin juicer. After a brief discussion they go the other direction down a hallway of statues. Sadly, despite all caution, Sister Belica met her demise, tripping a trap that involved a statue incinerating her to ashes. Cedric, upon witnessing his caretaker's brilliant death ascends to a slightly higher state of being, and the Underspire Bugbears let out a wail of despair so loud our heroes heard it. There was a lovely memorial service involving several immolated deer and cheese, a roasted venison fondue of sorts. Ruth also was awoken by the death of Sister Belica and joined in the memorial.

They returned to the fort slightly disheartened to properly dispose of the sack of ashes. Ruth decides to visit Abby the Witch, and giver of treats. It being in the evening Abby was irritated. Cedric let slip the rumor of the demon head, which further irritate her as Guffen had not shared such knowledge with her. She offered the party a job with a letter of introduction and funds to fire a ship to investigate the demon head, which included mapping it and possibly recovering a device that fits within a headache inducing shape in an ironbox. Sadly, the floating head did not dispense guns.


The ship that was available for hire in the port town of Mosswater had a most fortutious name, The Vgly Rotten Bastyrd, which aside from her crusty old man vomiting depiction of Poseidon as her figurehead, was clean and ship shape ship. The bos'n strongly resembles the figurehead, and her captain is a very Elmore/Easely-esque woman by the name of Ariana who took an almost immediate liking to Claus (it was him pulling out the huge sack of coins from his codpiece followed by her looking at his hands).

The Captain of the Vgly Rotten Bastyrd
More like Caldwell-esque
Also check out John Lakey

There were some pirates that trailed the Vgly Rotten Bastyrd, staying just at the horizon, and laying anchor when they reached the demon head. 
Stretching for several miles beneath the head was a field of salt water lotus and bees. Lots and lots of bees. The demon head itself was floating a few hundred feet in the air. Claus asks the Cap'n if they could retrofit the ships harpoon to fire straight up, which works, so they could harpoon the head, which also works, so they could tow the head back, which almost works. They then fire a grappling hook into the mouth of the demon, which works, and after making smoke bundles to allow them to deal with the BEES enter the head through its mouth. 

As Claus was clever enough to think up using smoke to the deal with the bees I declared them solving the BEE puzzle, so it was mostly just trudging through honey and honeycombs. Cedric, being impulsive, consumes some of the honey and spend the rest of the excursion HIIIIIIIIIIIIIGH. Due to Cedric's expanded consciousness, he has some minor adventures with the stone at the top of the tower. 

They discover a hidden room with half a dozen mechanical statues, similar in design to Clanky albeit less robust, in better repair, and red, and a woman clad in skin-tight sliver encased in glass. After discovering that no one knew Spanish, the party was a standstill while fog drained from the glass and smoke filled the room. Claus then decides to trace his best recollection of the shape of the thing they were looking for out of pitch, having left the box on the ship. Fortunately he made his save keeping his mind from exploding as he successfully reproduced a good enough 2d representation of a 7d object to show the machines what they were looking for. Unfortunately, the pitch ignited, started expanding, and caused the glass encasing the woman to shatter. In her last moments she handed Claus the object they were searching for. The party was able to safely leave the head and were able to watch it slowly sink into the sea.

20 August 2017

Beneath the Spire: Once more under the spire they go

Sister Belica, her ward Cedric the goblin, and Ruth the Really Good Dog engaged some minor sleuthing, investigating who has been "correcting" the various bills on the town post. Along they way they discover the joys of fried cheese, fried assorted mechanically separated meats, and just how much cheese a goblin can eat. The fried food stuffs being provided by the mysterious Abby, an associate of the mysterious noble from Shardheim. It turns out Abby is interested in the unique green metal that Clanky the construct is made of and will pay quite handsomely for it, 100 silver per pound. As part of the deal, Sister Belica instead insisted that all proceeds go towards renovations of the rundown cemetery chapel, whose sole member is Father Thomas Bodette, a shabby and rundown drunk. Along the way they are introduced to Klaus von Swarzwald, a German mercenary of suitably outrage dress.

They discovered the gifting the goblin Tony Danza, ruler of the Underspire Bugbear Goblins, human foods other than cheese had transformed her into a young girl. This lead to the purchasing of a very pretty dress and Meal de Joi from the Golden Arches, Robert the Large's rival eatery.

They convinced one of the goblins to pick the lock of the massive iron doors of the Underspire Keep discovering a long bridge of glass leading to a ring of glass or jade megaliths, having to defeat a glass monster on the bridge, during which fight Klaus almost died several times, but thanks to the bravery of Ruth shielding him with her body, and the expert marksmanship and the grace of God and St Jancis, not a single life was lost.

We left our adventurers with them wondering how to monetize their discovery, for while not wanting for lucre they could always do with more. And with the mystery of whom Abby is, as her apparent allergy to religion and skeletal housekeeping staff indicate less than holy associations.

08 August 2017

Beneath the Spire: A sidetrek

I've been extremely lax in sharing play reports or the like. No I'm not going to summarize the first 5 or so sessions of my current campaign.

This is a brief recap of last Sunday's session.

Sister Belica and her young ward the goblin Cedric being the only ones to survive the first Expedition Beneath Robert the Large's Eatery and Hostel, was able to negotiate the use of the fallen fighter and hopeful financier Vijalka's numerous hunting dogs to reconnoiter the last suspected location of Vijalka the fighter, Aravar the magic-user, and Hathgar the dwarf.
Upon discovering a scene of what could only be the final battle of the three erstwhile troubleshooters, Sister Belica et al were ambushed by nearly 20 giant spiders. Fortunately one of the dogs was a Very Good Dog and was able to drag Sister Belica to safety after succumbing to the spiders' venom. Sadly, that was one of two of the only dogs to survive out of an initial seven.

20 July 2017

Oil Surge Relay: A first draft



OIL SURGE RELAY
RULES FOR ROLEPLAYING TRANSFORMING ROBOTS FROM SPACE IN A GENERIC OLD SCHOOL FANTASY GAME

This is explicitly and specifically about playing transforming robots that have a humanoid or animaloid primary mode and at least one alternative mode in the context of the swords and sorcery, elfs and haflings, noun-crawling fantasy roleplaying games of the OSR. 

You play a robot from a distant and ancient species or group of related species, if species can even be the correct term for a technological lifeform that may or may not use sexual reproduction. At some temporally distance time, 65 million years or more, but really any long ass time ago works, you and/or your group of robots crashed on the planet and subsequently took a eon long nap. You may or may not be the only one awake, and may or may not have a rival faction out for your cogs and eletrolytics. All of that is for the Referee and you to decide. But in any case, your access to energy and advanced facilities is limited.

All robots start out at roughly human size, and due lack of mass displacement, their initial alt-mode is the same size, therefore not being hugely suitable for carting around more than 2 passenger (more like 1).

You roll your ability scores the same way your rules want you to.

Roll or pick for alt-mode:


  1.  A giant head. You are actually a Master, and as such your spark cannot be housed in a larger body, or undergo mass displacement, but you can co-opt a larger mechanical body by using your alt-mode, after severing its head. You can also eventually construct a transector, a headless body that you can control while in your alt-mode. Your transector can also have an alt-mode, and this can be a head. Watch Transformers: Headmasters
  2. A giant weapon. You might be different type of Master or you might be a normal robot. While you cannot hijack another robot by jacking into its neck, you can be wielded as a weapon by such robots, or be used as mounted weapon by vehicles. If you attain mass-displacement you can apply it to your alt-mode to make it a weapon for human sized creatures.
  3. A wheeled vehicle. The number of wheels, or whether they are tracks, is up to you.
  4. A winged vehicle. You are either a rotary-wing aircraft or a fixed-wing aircraft. Rotary-wing craft can hover but are slower than fixed-wing.
  5. A watercraft. You know, a boat, like the size of a canoe.
  6. A piece of technical/scientific equipment. Like a telescope or smelter.
  7. An organic creature. Yes your alt-mode is actually a person, or a human-sized animal. You are what is known as a Pretender. While in your alt-mode are treated as a normal creature.
  8. An animal. You are some kind of animal, but it is obvious that you are a machine. Yes you can chose your primary mode and alt-mode to be animals, and you can make your animal mode your primary mode with your alt-mode being your humanoid mode.

Transforming takes a full round. 
You're made of metal; thus your base AC is that of chainmail (in LotFP that's 16); and your unarmed strikes do 1d4 damage. 
You do not start off with integrated weapons. 
Getting armor made for your primary mode costs 3-5 times the base cost, and it will get irreparably destroyed when you transform.

You don't eat normal food, do not need to breathe, and cannot be poisoned. You do need high energy density substance to sustain yourself. As radioisotopes and other exotic substances will be hard if not impossible to find in the standard fantasy setting, you're probably fucked. Work with your Referee on how to sustain yourself. Suggestions are, spending a full-day every week collecting the life-giving rays of the sun, consuming your mass in coal or charcoal or lantern oil daily, eating the heart of a dragon, implanting the heart of a dragon within yourself, drinking the blood of an angel, demon, or other extranormal creature, eating golems and other animated objects. All of this is ignored if you're a Pretender, in which case you must eat twice the food a normal person does daily.

All of those wonderful things from your favorite transforming robot shows and comics? You get none of that starting out, other than transforming in something decently cool and being a fucking robot. Those cool things include things like: flying outside of alt-mode, integrated weapons, energy swords, combining with other robots, turning into a city, changing size when you transform etc. Other than your size, these are not tied to your level. All that leveling does is give you more of what you get for leveling in your system (in LotFPs that's your hit dice/points, saving throws, and maybe something else like a small number of skills).  

In order to get those cool other things, you need to find raw materials, a computer and repair/manufacturing facility, and/or the components that do what you want, and in the case of mass displacement, a total rebuild, or gaining additional alt-modes, more hit dice.

You can add a level of mass displacement every 2 hit dice. You can add an additional alt-mode every 3 levels. You can increase your primary mode's size one level every 4 hit dice, which also effects the size of your alt-modes unless you have mass displacement for each one. Instead of improve your base size, you can get a transector or load-bearer armor, which is effectively increasing your primary mode's size while still leaving you free to roam in human-sized areas. Each of these improvements cost an amount of silver/gold/credits equal to the experience points needed to the second highest level earned. This might seem expensive, but you are effectively buying built-in magic items with the treasure you used to level.

Just because you are from a highly technologically advance species does not mean you are skilled technician. You cannot "hack" computers, perform "surgery" on yourself or other mechanical things, or other things that rightfully belong under the purview of professionals. If it's the kind of thing you, the player would consulate a professional for it's not something your space robot can innately do. They can however, do a lot of things that a member of a technological species could reasonably be expected to: operate a personal conveyance, operate computers, use weapons, perform first aid etc.

Summary:
You have d10s for hit dice. Use the Elf experience point table, and the Fighter Saving Throws. If you're playing LotFP, you have the same combat options as Fighters, Dwarfs, and Elfs, and have similar senses to Elfs (1-in-6 chance of being surprised and 2-in-6 improving Search). Your base AC is chainmail (16 in LotFP) and your unarmored attacks do damage similar to light weapons, 1d4.

Mechappendix Novum:
And Machine-Bonded Class for Old School RPGs
Allandaros of Legacy of Bieth's Mega Robot (Megaman)
James M. Spahn's Novomachina from the White Star Companion


12 July 2017

Elemental Skyships Part III: Fire





Fire elementals are used to power Elemental Skyships because as all educated alchemists and magi know, Fire is one of the most rarefied of elements second only to Aether. And as all know this means Fire desires to ascend from the Earth and Water and even the Air. The binding process allows the soarwood, which is already almost lighter than Air, to actively float. Almost all elementals bound to an Elemental vessel have 15 or greater hit dice.

The Fire Elemental in the Engine is (roll 1d6)

1. Pure Fire and RAGE only magic or pure force of personality will subdue it your will.

2. A hot and attractive masculine or feminine figure (50% either) and will willingly 'serve' for life in exchange for marriage and/or sexual favors. Will after a year or so give birth to a humanoid of the same race as the other parent with elemental blood. (Like I didn't even make that up) 
Melissa A. Benson ©WotC

3. A large demonic being that can be paid or otherwise engaged as a hireling or henchmen. Easily insulted as it considers itself a noble being. Can cast spells as elf even while in the form of the Fire Ring

4. A horned serpent person who will begrudgingly serve.
Tony DiTerlizzi ©WOTC

5. A small bearded man-faced dragon who will not only serve willingly but will also occasionally give advice, for small fees. Treat as a sage or something once a month.

6. A loud and foul mouthed but endearingly cute head-sized ball of flame. Can be placated with sweets and other foodstuffs.

14 June 2017

Thoughts on some of the Magic announcements



Announcments for the next year or so of Magic.
As was already revealed, Atlazan is now Ixalan. Ixalan does have a Mesoamerican theme. It also has dinosaurs, two I have seen are feathered theropods, so very yes, and it has pirates. It appears that a gorgon/medusa planeswalker is going to be the primary antagonist and she is dressed as a pirate. The only D&D product relating to Mesoamerica is the reprint of The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan in Tales from the Yawning Portal. I haven't seen any Egyptian flavored D&D products coming out, but I'm not as plugged into the D&D side of things.
Shrug

Edit: So it turns out Tomb of Annihilation takes place on some island/continent with jungles and dinosaurs and pirates? Yo, WotC, stop fucking with the bullshit everything is in the Realms shit. I have no idea what Chult is. Assholes.