Monday, August 3, 2015

Some Viziers

Viziers. Ministers, functionaries, political flunkies and advisors. In my campaign city I think they're probably the functional unit of governance and administration. Also the nonfunctional element. Some of them might be good quest-givers, others might make good nemeses, yet more might just add color every time the party runs up against the law or the civil administration of your fantasy city. All will send you on pointless and probably painful errands.

Power, corruption and lies For each vizier, roll d6 twice: The first represents how powerful the vizier is, the second how powerful they purport to be. Such a scale looks something like this:
1. Just a humble civil servant (important only in their own mind)
2. Can help or hinder (No real power other than a stranglehold on some bureaucratic choke point)
3. Influential (lots of soft but little hard power)
4. Mover and Shaker
5. Controls a substantial sect, institution, or force
6. Wields near-despotic power(You could also just do a scale of 1-10 with d10s)
I'd assume they're all almost all corrupt if the price is right.

d20 Personality Traits. This vizier is:
1. Friendly, hyperintelligent, specialist in contact medicines/poisons. Impossible to know if they're angry with you until they poison you.
2. Spends nights dressed in plainclothes wandering the streets of the city exploring and carousing with the locals. May find himself in trouble, and will reward assistance handsomely once he returns to his palace
3. Eccentric, officiates constantly-changing sumptuary laws with extreme punctilio.
4. Cruel and imperious. Enjoys the suffering of others. Requires respectful treatment.
5. Obscure and ineffable. Speaks in dreamlike meanderings and riddles. Will eagerly trade for bizarre and seemingly useless items. Never provides and direct solutions or assistance.
6. Bureaucratic with gusto. Knows every bit of paperwork and procedure in the realm. Refuses to take or allow shortcuts to bureaucracy, will always take or advise the most paperwork fraught paths.
7. Missing. Their excellency has not been seen in some years, but is probably still around. Obscure hints and traces abound that the vizier actually does exist, but nothing provable.
8. Hapless, harried demeanor. Constantly operating one step ahead of a monumental cascade of failure. Receptive to assistance. Will destroy or bring ruin to most everything they touch or gets involved in.
9. Profligate. Money is no object, budgets no concern. Will spend freely on allies as well as directing substantial sums against enemies.
10. Monstrous. Is actually a monster, probably a large one with lots of HD. Maybe a gelatinous cube or something, even. Intelligence is not increased simply because of political station. Other advisors are sure that there is a good reason for this appointment but cannot or will not identify it; the upshot is that there are probably consequences for killing it.
11. Trigger Happy. Shoot first, ask questions later, violence is the best answer to any particularly nuanced political problem or diplomatic issue.
12. An incorporeal cloud of woody smelling smoke that communicates through seemingly inscrutable telepathy. You seem to be the only ones who don't understand, which is embarrassing, assuming you didn't already disperse his/her/its excellency which is a grievous breach of protocol.
13. A djinn, largely unconcerned with mortal affairs but bound to the work at hand via someone with a lamp. Will look for opportunities to bind others to drudgery, looks favorably on sanctioned shirking.
14. A child. While ministerial positions are generally not hereditary, either clerical error, prophecy or similar SNAFU has placed a child in charge of a portion of the political apparatus. Small chance that the child is actually fit for the position. Regardless, will be capricious and whimsical in both deed and judgment.
15. A perennial schemer seeking to supplant, assassinate and ruin the careers or rivals. Driven by ruthless self-interest and a desire to increase personal standing and power.
16. A philanderer and lecher, either more concerned with the pleasures of the flesh than good governance, or firmly convinced that the body and body politic are united by their carnal appetites.
17. A ghul, litch or other undead, reanimated for service or chosen because of their long institutional memory. Archivist and antiquarian in nature, they will constantly lament nostalgically about the good old days.
18. Filibustering bloviator. Wants to be listened to interminably. If Silence or similar spells are cast on him he either hulks out, explodes or both.
19. A blackmailer of some skill and completely paranoid, driven to believe that others are obsessed with spying and blackmail as they are.
20. Fair, efficient, entirely reasonable. They can't all be weirdos. This is likely such a bizarre anomaly that this vizier will not be trusted.

d12 This vizier is in charge of:
1. The ministry of animals smaller than breadboxes
2. Brain freeze, funny bone injuries and other peculiar and fleeting pains.
3. Smells. Ensuring the proper balance of smells in the city, taxation of odors based on how pleasant they are.
4. Transformation, mutation and other morphological affairs
5. Bridges and other non-earthbound means of conveyance
6. Parties lasting longer than three days
7. Ropes, tentacles, noodles, vines and similar objects
8. Pugilism, duels and other organized fights
9. Joke religions which should nonetheless be taken seriously
10. Some wheels*
11. Non-representational art
12. Poems that bring the audience to tears

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Dice Drop the Block

I usually run a very hasty and sketchily drawn city using the rules from Vornheim for sketching streets and then just generally hand-waving or rolling for individual buildings and the like as the players ask questions or as the scene dictates. However, a recent scenario had the Party preparing for an Italian Job style heist in the middle of a crowded district, so I wanted to figure out a way to somewhat quickly generate a few city blocks with terrain and maybe a few other doodads.

Here's what I came up with, two dice drops: the first to determine the buildings/streets, the second to figure out connections, feature and terrain. Larger dice lead to larger buildings and more varied terrain. I think it still needs work but maybe it'd be useful

First Drop - Buildings are centered on dice. For overlaps, assume tiered or wedding cake style buildings.
Dice size - Number of Stories
Dice number - Building Footprint
Draw streets in between buildings. Streets and alleyways can cut through buildings (arcades, passageways, etc) at your discretion.

Second Drop -
Dice number - Complications and Terrain Features (getting up, down and around)
1 - Bridge
2 - Balcony
3 - Stairs
4 - Ladder
5 - Residence
6 - Residence
7 - Shop
8 - Shop
9 - Entrance to Sewers/Below
10 - Alleyway or (Secret) passage
11 - Market
12 - Random Crowd
13 - Elevator, pulleys or other instant conveyance from street to roof
14 - Courtyard/Garden
15 - Spire/Minaret (d6 stories taller than adjacent building)
16 - Pile of garbage/waste (sentient at your discretion)
17 - Thieves’ trap
18 - Police/Guards
19 - Fountain
20 - Special (flammable or explosive goods, something mechanically salient)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

New 5e Character Race: Totem Pole Trench

You are two to three children in a trenchcoat and a fedora.

Ability Score Increase: +2 Dexterity (it takes a lot of skill to pull this off), +1 Charisma (you're not fooling anyone yet somehow you are). Your lowest score has to be strength.
Age: You are several children. You may use individual age or combined age where advantageous.
Alignment: You're probably chaotic
Size: between 6-8' tall depending on how many of you there are in there.
Speed: 25' on tiny legs
Languages: You start off knowing two languages, but can learn languages twice as fast as grown-ups. You're not very good at reading and writing but you get an A for effort.

Safety First: Because you are children you are not allowed to play with knives. You cannot use bladed weapons or any weapon with the "heavy" characteristic
Convincing Disguise: You get to double your proficiency bonus when making deception, disguise and persuasion checks.
Some assembly required: When standing up from prone make a DC 20 DEX save. Failure means you comically tumble back down to the ground.
Mysterious resilience: Opponents who attack you will be baffled when a seemingly lethal blow fails to cause damage. They do not know that this is because they are attacking several children hiding under a trenchcoat. You gain the "Lucky" feat even if you are not using feats.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Odd Cairo

Islam Chipsy / EEK - all of it always on repeat
and whatever you can hear from the passing vespas on the street below.

The idea for the game started when it seemed like we wouldn’t have enough players for regular campaign play, and one newcomer who’d never played an RPG before in his life. With little time to prep, I figured why not run something in a gonzo version of Cairo, an idea I’d been playing around with. Evan Calder Williams has a great post about the concept of Salvagepunk, which I immediately found an affinity with. The nice thing about this of course is that Cairo is already gonzo, and in the past few years we all had a chance to see the actually existing beautiful and terrifying breakdown of law and order, so I just took existing elements of the city and turned them up to 11 with a bit of Mad Max scavenger logic thrown in, jotting some notes. Since we were skirting close to some sensitive issues and memories, and dealing with violence in a setting where we’ve all experience a lot of traumatic violence in real life, I turned it towards the cartoonish/comical, but presumably gluttons for punishment could make this as grimdark as they’d want.

So the party boats that roam the nile blasting music and lights turned into partying pirates. At dusk, huge flocks of fighting pigeons are directed by rooftop conductors fighting strange wars. Young men with architecturally impossible haircuts challenge passers by to sartorial combat. The cell networks inexplicably work but nobody has any credit so scratch cards are the primary currency. The upper class ladies at the Gezeira sporting club would of course make for a perfect matriarchal cult waiting for the cthulhu like return of a STRONG HAND to lead the country back to its golden era. They basically are already. Fuel’s already short and the electricity cuts anyway so all of this was pretty easy to sell without having to posit any extreme catastrophe. The city is already a city of salvage.

When I told the players at the table that we were playing in a post apocalyptic Cairo they said “Oh, so just a normal day, then”. This was as great a response I could ask for because I could also rely on their knowledge of the city’s geography, resources, and social makeup, I’d just have to tell them what’s changed. This allowed for tons of strangeness and surprise, as they wandered through a half-familiar city but completely unsure of what to expect of it.

I ran it using Into the Odd, which is a godsend to the unprepared DM, with a very slightly modified starting kit. Players asked questions throughout, and in thinking of their own post apocalyptic fantasies of the city incidentally contributed to my seat of the pants planning. I used google maps to wing the distances and some of the streets when it needed to be granular, but of course a bridge here might be destroyed and a street there might be an impassable car graveyard, etc. Again, the beauty of using the existing city as template gave me an idea of the types of encounters to be had in different places without having to draw up tables.

The party (A labourer, a petty ponzi-schemer, and an antiquarian-cum-thief) assembled at Gezeira Sporting Club, Cairo’s most elite social space now turned into a doomsday cult of aunties repeating perverse ritualized versions of their normal petty formality, hiring the party (despite the fact that they were not as elegant as the ladies would have hoped for) to retrieve a beautiful chinoiserie tea set that they believed could be used to summon the avatar of Sisi (the long passed president himself merely a cipher for energies from a plane of petty autocracy) and return the country to its imagined nostalgic glory. The tea set was rumoured to have reappeared in the Japanese Gardens in Helwan, a southeastern suburb. The party had an idea where the neighborhood was but had never been to the gardens (neither in game nor meatspace) and the Tantes, god forbid, would never leave their island to go out to such poor places, so they’d be asking directions (always a comedy of errors in Cairo).

The Tantes promising enough phone credit to substantially enrich our poor friends, they took off. thinking they could grab a boat from a nearby jetty and sail their way down the Nile. When they came to the bridge they found a bunch of peacocking youth engaged in a strange pantomime ritual recalling the selfies of yore, and at least one who was more machine than man belting out autotuned raps. The kids insisted on taking “pictures” with the party, who argued their way out of the bizarre ritual and made way to the dock.

They found a boat (an old metro car with a cannon, using this table), barely seaworthy but cheap to hire, and negotiated with the captain to take them downriver. Floating along they thought to go to the Giza Zoo (no stranger to mayhem) and potentially find an elephant because why not storm through the city on an elephant. The elephants unfortunately were skeletons at this point, but they did find some angry tigers, or maybe they were overgrown mutant street cats; some quick moves with a bell brought out the inner kitten in them long enough to deliver a fatal surprise shot on one and scare off the other. The party butchered the poor beast, taking the meat and the antiquarian donning the bloody pelt as a cloak. On the way out they recruited a confused camel, who they unfortunately had to just as quickly say goodbye to as the boat wouldn’t take the extra weight.

Moving further downriver, they started to hear the tinny beats of mahraganat tunes and sputtering of a diesel motor. The captain and crew stiffened up knowing that a party boat was gaining on them. The players rallied the boatmen, and decided to lay an ambush, hiding behind the pier of a bridge and taking on the party pirates in close quarters, using a khamaseen-in-a-can arcanum to help them board. Bloody combat ensued and both crews quickly lost their nerve as the PCs commandeered the party boat in the melee. The angered metro-boat captain fired a couple cannon shots as the party sped off, but they bounced harmlessly across the hull.

Running low on fuel, they steered towards another dock attached to a fancy cafe full of people eating enormous “mixed” grills, where they were brusquely asked for their reservations. As two PCs argued with the waiter who seemed increasingly intent on having them for lunch, another snuck off to a nearby gas station and traded some phone credit they’d found on the pirates for a jerry can of fuel. Shaking loose from the maitre d’, they made it to Helwan, only to realize (much to my surprise as well) that the Japanese gardens were deep in the neighborhood, a couple hours’ walk.

Marching through the neighborhood they heard stone rumblings and kept seeing strange movements in the buildings. They’d known that Helwan used to have medicinal hot springs, replaced by concrete factories long ago; it seems the springs had been bubbling back up and perhaps doing something to the stone, and just as they found the gardens a huge golem-like creature made of rebar and cement charged at them, a few very lucky shots reduced the thing to rubble, and they scaled the fence and started crawling through.

Inside the gardens it seemed that a monastery had formed, with eclectic bearded monks involved in strange meditations (they were perhaps some other sorts of religious types at one point, but had borrowed from the gardens’ architecture and decor and developed a half-understood cargo-cult buddhism). Sneaking around they found a tea ceremony going on using the very elegant chinoiserie set, which the monks invited the party to, explaining to them that the ceremony was their way of reigning in the dark powers of the tea set. This didn’t dissuade the party, who sought to feed the monks poisoned tiger meat, but when hospitality insisted the guests dine first they fell back on smoke bombs, sand storms and bedlam. Some amazing rolls allowed them to grab the tea set without breaking it (which would have been BAD NEWS) and escape over the walls, dodging poisoned darts until they were in the clear. Discussing the matter at one of their cousins’ houses nearby, they decided that maybe they didn’t want the aunties to have the teaset after all, earning them a new enemy and a horrible burden.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Pen is Mightier: Calligrapher Class

{This is a draft and likely highly unstable/unbalanced, but here it is}

Race: Calligraphers can be of any literate race. However for systems where race and class are the same, assume that the long years of study and peculiar discipline required to become a competent calligrapher outweigh racial attributes.

Hit Points: Calligraphers accumulate hit points as wizards/magic users

Armor Proficiencies: None
Weapon Proficiencies: Daggers, darts, slings, bows, staffs, light crossbows.
Saving Throws: Intelligence, Wisdom

Skills: Two from: Arcana/Research, Religion, Persuasion, Insight, Perception

You know two extra languages.

Starting Equipment - An ornate dagger (penknife), inkwell, inks parchment or paper and pens. Robes. Anything else you'll have to write up, you're a scholar not an adventurer.

General Abilities - 

  • The calligrapher spends a turn writing out the name of a simple object, crafting it in such a shape as to also reflect the form of the thing. The word then 'becomes' the object, "dagger" acts as a dagger, "torch" acts as a lit torch. At any given time, the calligrapher may create a number of such objects equal to half their level. Writing out a new object in excess of this number causes the earliest written to dissolve into a spatter of ink.
  • While they cannot produce magical scrolls themselves, calligraphers can transcribe scrolls produced by sorcerers. Turning the often-illegible and sloppy script of the sorcerer into a thing of beauty and contemplation enhances the power of such scrolls. Doing so, which takes the same amount of time and money as originally creating the scroll, allows the inscribed spell to be cast at its original level + calligrapher level. The act of transcription renders the original scroll a worthless scrap of paper.
  • The calligrapher can write a message coded by the very intricacy of its script. This message can only be read by its intended target(s) or by a very difficult decoding process.

--The calligrapher may create a creature crafted entirely of words. The process takes a week of writing and embellishing the text, and the result can be any creature up to the calligrapher's level in HD (or 1/2 level in 5e CR). The cost of the inks and papers is the HD of the creature x100gp (or whatever currency you use). The creature is obedient and intelligent, and while it cannot speak can communicate with the calligrapher through changing the sinuous lines of text in its body. At any point in time, the calligrapher can spend an exploration turn changing the creature back into written words and vice-versa. 
A level one calligrapher begins with such a creature which may be a cat, hawk, owl, poisonous snake, or similar small animal.

--At level five, you can spend considerable contemplation on the cosmological significance of the two letters and craft a lam-alif, لا, or "NO" that acts weapon dealing d10 damage and gives +1 to AC. The lam-alif allows you to cast remove curse or remove a negative status effect once per day.

--The calligrapher additionally has a number of spell-like things they can do. Calligraphers start off knowing 3 random scripts and add one at random every odd level. They can use a number of scripts per day equal to their level:*
  • Create a glyph that can temporarily paralyze, entrance or cause psychic damage (d6 per level) to a creature reading it.
  • Create a maze with words that can trap a creature for d4 hours: 1: Creature dies inside, 2: Creature comes back with d6 damage done to it, chastised 3-5: Comes back unharmed and confused, 6: Comes back angry.
    Parastou Forouhar
  • Write out a message that takes the shape of a carrier pigeon or similar bird. When completed the message takes flight and flies to its intended recipient. You get five words per calligrapher level 
  • You can write a message in such a way that even people who do not read the language it is written in or the illiterate can understand it. At higher levels (?) the message will translate their words into a form legible to you.
  • You take an object and create a calligraphic depiction/description of it. The object disappears and is held in the written words on paper. You can spend a turn contemplating the words to return the object to its material form, however if the parchment/paper is destroyed while the object is contained within it, the object is lost.
  • You gain knowledge of the author of a message by their writing, at higher levels the face itself appears to you as a series of letters allowing you to read minds.
  • You are briefly connected to the cosmological Tablet and the Pen, the instruments on which destiny is recorded. While you cannot change what is written, you can gain a precognition of your next encounter, or can use it to save against the next attack that would damage you or another target. Potency increases with level 
*This is definitely a bastardized version of Brendan S's spells without levels from Wonder and Wickedness. You could probably use these as a magic specialization within that system if you think this is a dumb class but maybe some of the magic is okay.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What the jinn wants

Maybe you come across a Jinn, and it wants something from you, either in exchange for something you want or just because it is a capricious spirit and messing with banu Adam or other mortals is an irresistible delight. In any case it definitely wants something from you. So when that happens you roll a d12, and they want:

1. Money (not that they need it. More so that you don't have it, or because they like its sound, or because they're into numismatics)
2. A story
3. Your life (either they kill you or this is a "trading places" type thing)
4. Your beloved 
5. A random item you have
6. A random item you don't have
7. Nothing (nothing)
8. "Nothing" (something)
9. To make a friend
10. To see where this goes; curiosity
11. One of your precious memories
12. To help you to further their own agenda. You'll have a valuable ally, but probably end up with another jinn, afreet, prince or someone else powerful as an enemy as you've been used to get their goat.

Three impossibilities

Here, a fourth impossible is added, political reform in the Arab world
A very old Arabic proverb notes that "there are three impossible creatures: the ghoul, the phoenix, and the faithful friend"

The plain fact of the matter is that any adventurer can confirm to you the existence of ghouls and phoenixes. Most any bestiary or monstrous manual, furthermore, will provide you with sufficient documentation of these two creatures; however, the same volume is conspicuously silent regarding the existence and nature of a faithful friend. The possibility that a 'faithful friend' is in this case a metonym for some other fantastic creature or familiar is a commonly held belief, although such a creature has yet to be identified.

Alternately, others believe that a strong act of loyalty or faithfulness by a friend will itself create a phoenix and a ghoul, for if one of a triplet of impossibles is to exist, then the rest must surely follow.

A further minority within this group additionally believe that the ghoul so created can only be killed by the combined effort of the two friends, and upon its death the phoenix will irrupt, reborn from the fiend's body.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

1001 Nights Story Mechanic

[I have no idea if/how this would work (open to comments and critique) but I think I'm going to implement it in my current game.]

Reading through the Thousand and One Nights and other old Arabic weirdness to purge my fantasy grammar of some of its lazier pseudo-european tropes got me thinking:

The structure and world of the 1001 Nights is one wherein stories serve as a didactic medium, but also almost as currency, as a medium of exchange and as tools. The framing narrative is one of Scheherazade stringing together story after story to save her own life and that of other potential brides-to-be after her. Within her tellings, characters at risk of death will tell a story as a parable to warn their would-be killers from their intended actions, travelers will tell stories in exchange for room and board. 

If story functions as a mechanic here, and a good story can change one's fate, improve one's lot or turn the tables on a situation gone wrong (likewise a bad story or one whose meaning is adversely interpreted often leads to bad ends), why can't we make this a game mechanic?

Start your campaign off like Scheherazade's framing narrative: "Here is a tale of adventure" wherein PCs are doing whatever they're doing (sure, let it even be about the heroes who entered the dungeon and slew the dragon - that doesn't matter at all). 

The first time the party comes to an impasse with a monster (even the usually unintelligent monsters should be suddenly sapient when the possibility of a good story is at hand) or an NPC, or in any situation of interaction they wish to get something more (free room and board in a storm), avoid a bad outcome (tax collectors taking their last silver) they say "You would do to me as the hyena-men sought to do to Prince Sameh" or "This reminds me of the story of the falconers"

At this point, you break and take an Inception -esque dive a layer deeper into the narrative. Roll up new characters (Hyena men or Prince Sameh and Retinue, depending on preference in the above example) and play out the one-shot, mini-sandbox or full-fledged-campaign of interactions/combats/intrigue at this narrative level until it seems some arc has played out. Depending on how this concludes (do the Hyena men kill the xenophobic Prince Sameh, or does Sameh play off the hyenas' hubris and outwit them) changes the "moral" of the story; this in turn will impact the events in the higher-order narrative. 

PCs will be driven to create a good story, but also one which would have a moral or ending that would grant them a suitable resolution in the higher-order narrative. They finish their story, and the listener, pleased or persuaded by its outcome or moral, resolves the situation to the Party's favor.

If the PCs are in a lower-order narrative and find themselves in a dilemma, they can again interject with the offer of a story to help themselves. One story deeper, now, not a problem. 

If there's a TPK or a similarly horrible outcome for the PCs, they find that (barring some real rhetorical flourish) they've probably just told a tale that will seal their death warrant or make them an enemy in the higher-order world.

There is no limit to how deep one goes into the narrative structure, nor any obligation to how far one comes back up. Recalling consistent details by the time one makes it back to a higher-order story is probably difficult, and probably not entirely necessary. The 1001 Nights and similar collections of stories often contain unfinished tales, loose ends and even, to quote the preface of a new translation, a bit of "narrative incompetence". The important thing is that all of the crazy stories you tell about your games are now stories within your games. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Another play report, the riot continues

A huge black egg, more spider or spore-like than avian, somewhere dark: a basement, maybe a sewer or alleyway. The egg splits open and the perfect blackness of its interior is intruded upon. Omarion Derulo, sloughing off strange embryonic fluid and cursing under his breath, is not pleased to leave the blackness. His lord has cast him out of the blindness, to what end?

As the crowd crashed euphorically past the broken line of riot police, the party held back to heal their wounds. The cleric was pulled off by Herbert to recover further, the former in no condition to fight on and the latter nursing his friend and a bottle of the old aqua vita. Bodies were looted and gear pilfered. Tiro the Skilos, having done his good deed for the day in helping Tirias back to his feet, decided to set things straight by decapitating one of the fallen riot police and carrying the head around with him for…reasons. The others alternated between looting and arson, Guark and Kerouac even getting their fortunes read by a soothsayer looking to keep her shop from being burned down. It was then they met Omarion Derulo, disoriented but happy to join the mayhem.

Seeking out the mob again they found Guark, having fought his way to them solo and a bit roughed up for it, but brimming with rage and hunger. Oops--our intrepid team took a wrong turn down the wrong alley; there they were stopped and confronted by a party of brave and noble adventurers sent to stop the insurrectionists bringing terror to the city. A beautiful elven wizard and her fiancé the bold fighter; the fighter’s sworn brother-at-arms and their dwarven cleric sworn to the great god, Western Civilization. The noble heroes stood their ground against our roguish bunch, but quickly Omarion Derulo set the tone by impaling the wizard on Clarissa, his faithful glaive. Her lover screamed in anguish, striking down Derulo in turn. A bloody melee ensued, with Tirias and Tiro firing volleys of arrows into the fray, as Kerouac, despite having used much of his energies in the last battle, let George the Land Octopus run rampant amongst the would-be-do-gooders to electrifying effect. Guark, unleashing his primal anger, turned the cleric into mush with the most fearsome greataxe strike we’ve seen to date.

A hard fought battle against the goody-two-shoes won, bodies were looted. Tiro having used his decapitated head as a projectile weapon, decided to make himself a new one from the self-righteous cleric, pinning, through his eye, a draft law held by the dwarf planning to ban dancing and alcohol among the poor. This would surely liven things up with the mob. 

Kerouac ducked into a corner to rest a bit and replenish his arcane artillery, leaving the rest of the gang to turn the corner and rejoin the mob just in time to run into a mean looking group of baltageyya, complete with sticks and home made one-shot shotguns. Omarion Derulo gets his divine smite on, blinding at least one of the thugs, but is dropped unconscious yet again. The man’s eagerness to battle is complemented only by his ability to attract blows it would seem.

As the baltageyya fall, defeated, our heroes roil forwards with the mob, at the foot of the tower that they must breach. Guark, however, while consuming another body of his enemies, finds himself confronted by a gaunt apparition. Guark is now cursed with a dark, insatiable hunger for the flesh of intelligent beings, but in consuming them can temporarily gain some of their abilities.

Rules for a homemade birdshot gun

Though gunpowder is still relatively novel, and proper firearms are downright exotic, some enterprising sorts have taken to creating homemade, single shot projectile weapons out of piping, ball bearings and other readily available materials. The resulting weapons are a favorite of thugs and other unsavory types.
Ammunition, Light, Loading
Damage varies with range: 
30’-60’ feet: d6 (disadvantage to hit)
15’-30': d8
15 foot cone: d8, multiple targets

Ammunition may be homemade with training and the requisite supplies.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Riot riot riot

The dark scheming of the cabal of wealthy aristocrats seemed to be coming to a head, and our party decided that where infiltration had failed to secure a copy of the plans, perhaps a bit of a distraction would provide enough cover for their sabotage attempts.

Assembling in the tavern-cum-hangout of the radical movement known to some as the duck-rabbits Tirias, Herbert Fiddlesticks, and Kerouac (now with a new familiar, George the land octopus) tried to recruit some new allies to their cause.  Tiro the Skiro, whose reputation as a folk hero and killer of bad guys was just about balanced out by his nihilism, decided that it seemed fun to join in the mayhem, anything to watch the city burn. Also joining them was a mysterious and tricksy cleric, sworn to a strange god of mischief and going by many names; his motivations, too, were unclear. 

Decided on a rough plan, Tiro and Herbert began to raise rabble in the taverns on that block, singing songs of insurrection and reminding people of their day to day horrors, telling them that today would be the day they take a stand! Tirias, Kerouac and our cleric (did he say his name was Ali Gomaa?) decided to take to the sewers and see if they could slink their way to the rendezvous point. This subterranean group quickly encountered a group of sewer mutants; a hasty bolt of radiant energy from the trickster cleric killed on of the mutants, sending the others wailing asking why would you kill our friend like that he was only asking you a simple question? 

OK so they weren’t bad sewer mutants, just misunderstood sewer mutants. Feeling bad about themselves, the rogues returned topside in time to find a huge mob facing off against a line of riot police at the border of Crystal Hall. Tiro, nihilist that he is, fired the first shot, taking out the mage in the group with a well-placed arrow, and chaos ensued as rocks and bottles few, nets were fired, and crackling lighting batons met with Tirias’ steel. Herbert threw himself with abandon into the line of police, blasting magical thunder about him, while Kerouac and the Padre fired bolt after bolt of magical flame. Holy crap it was a big fight, oh right and the cops had huge fucking wolves too!

As the line of police broke and the mob began to advance, Our cleric lay unconscious as Tirias struggled silently at death’s door. The others begged Tiro to help stabilize him, while the rogue simply watched the elf’s life slipping away, finally, right before the ranger expired, Tiro tossed over a health potion and brought the ranger back. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Another quick session recap

Attendance was low this week, and with the poor wizard without a spellbook for several sessions now it seemed a good time to run a side quest to obtain a new one. That took the shape of the Tower of the Stargazer, which turned out to be fairly easy to run without much prep.

The failed infiltration of the tower holding plans for the human-sacrifice powered alchemical factory (see last time) seems to have had repercussions - surveillance and city watch have increased, and the ban on weapons in public areas is being strictly enforced. Fortunately, however, the attack doesn’t seem to have been traced back to your group, so nothing worse yet. 

Kerouac mourning the death of his faithful hawk George the Hawk, still needed to recover his spell book or acquire a new one. He thought he would follow the rumours from last time and explore the mysterious tower surrounded by continuous lightning. Aided by a voluntaristic Tirias and a few hired fighters from the Protection Committee looking to split the loot for the resistance, they advanced to the tower narrowly avoiding being struck by lightning. In the tower, they treaded lightly afraid to trigger any arcane or horrible traps, and encountered Uravulon Calcaides, a mage apparently trapped in his own circle of protection for several decades. Once the latter began making some obscene threats were he not released, the group deferred letting him out and continued to explore, facing some further hazards (and avoiding others) in the tower until they found a spell book (yay finally) and a whole shit town of loot (~1500 gold or something)

All in all a successful side quest, nobody died, although several people almost did, including at least one overenthusiastic fighter.