Thursday, May 31, 2012

Old School+

The last couple of days, I have been looking at the Adventurer Conqueror King System (ACKS) and Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG (DCC). Both look interesting. As some of my players indicated that LotFP maybe a bit too bland in the way of character options, both of these games look more promising.

While DCC doesn't allow for too much character choice, it looks like the Mighty Deeds of Arms and the Luck mechanic promise an interesting game play. I also like how DCC captures the feel of Sword & Sorcery almost perfectly. Actually, I think DCC delivers mechanically on the flavor LotFP tries to achieve.

ACKS is intriguing in other ways. Here, you get more options for building your characters with Proficiencies as well as interesting options for high-level play. Places were LotFP is notably lacking.

What I find odd are the character sheets compared to the books. Where ACKS has a fairly modern layout, its character sheet shines! It reminds me of the Fighting Fantasy books. It gets you in the right mindset. On the other hand, the DCC character sheet is bland and uninspiring, while the rule book reads very interestingly and has brilliant retro-style layout that just inspires your imagination.I really really wish that DCC would have an equally atmospheric character sheet...

Oh yes, and I learned that all three games (LotFP, DCC and ACKS) are considered old school+ games. RPGs that take the basic old school sensibilities and add some modern flavor to them instead of being another retro-clone that tries to exactly mirror the source material.

Maybe I will do some re-imagining of the Lands Beyond the Drowning Woods to conform to DCC. The flavor of the rules fits the flavor of the campaign setting. I could easily see the Weird Warlock as a patron in the DCC-Style. A mighty wizard who has left mortality behind. I think the gods already match-up pretty well to the style of DCC. I just need to give them some stats.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It was just an illusion... dinner at Grunwald Lodge

Warhammer FRP 3rd editon was supposed to be an interlude on this blog. But since then, our GM has promised us an extra advance for writing about the events at the Grunwald Lodge. Well, for experience I am up to almost anything...

Our heroes at the Grunwald Lodge still have some small amount of time to kill before dinner. Volcifar, the wizard's apprentice, was planning on burning a book, but got side-tracked by an open door. The room belonging to our host, Lord Aschaffenberg, was accessible and deserted. So, Volcifar decided to take a sneak peak. He shouldn't have. Inside the room, he found a secret passage leading to a small torture chamber. I'll spare the reader the gorey details. Suffice to say, that Volcifar found a dead witch hunter. Obviously tortured to am agonizing death. After overcoming his revulsion, Volcifar searched the pockets of the witch hunter. There, he found a small book with a coded page. He tore the coded page out of the book, and also took the badge of office of the witch hunter. Then he went looking for his friends, the chaotic book still with him.

Lutz and Finubaryel meanwhile went to the hospital to see if they could do anything for the injured guards. They couldn't, Dr. Sieger turned them away.

Athelas went into the garden to do some fancy sword training stuff. Afterwards, she went to the kitchen and talked to the cook. From her she learned that tonight goose and venison would be served as the main dish, with a surprise for desert.

On her way back to her room, Finubaryel observed two guards conversing and found a small piece paper. The piece of paper warned to eat the venison. Only the goose would be good. Apparently, someone was planning on poisoning our food. But who? The group still thought Lord Aschaffenberg was behind all this.

Again, the group gathered and brought forth their evidence. As they talked, discussed and tried to decode the page, the servants came calling for dinner. With some serious misgivings, they decided to go downstairs. But before Volcifar left, he deposited the chaotic book about summoning beast men under the bed of Athelas. He had noticed earlier that Lutz' and his room had been searched.

At the dinner table, Volcifar got a good look at Gregor Pierceson. Something about him was odd. Maybe his eyepatch hid a mutation. He noticed that Volcifar was looking at him and tried to intimidate him. But Volcifar gave him a mean look and he shut up.

After that stare-down, the main dish was served. It was (unsurprisingly) goose and venison. Lord Aschaffenberg ate the vension, which screwed all the theories the group had. Volcifar pretended not to be hungry, while the others ate goose.

Volcifar inspected the dinner and the room using Magic Sight. Behind a curtain, he noticed a strong glow of magic. Pretending to be ill, he asked Finubaryel to accompany him outside of the room. There they talked. He told her about the strong magic, and they went back to dinner

Finubaryel decided to look behind the tapestry. What she saw there, drove her nearly mad. She reeled, and ran outside the main hall. There she composed herself. But before going back, she noticed beastmen shapes in the garden. It looked like an attack. But how did they get into the compound? She resolutely went back into the hall and warned about the impending attack.

All hell broke loose. Everybody was running around, and at least half of the common folk seemed to have some sort of plan in mind. Something sinister. Various members of the group chased the suspected cultists through the manor and down into a secret passage the group had discovered earlier. There seemed to be some sort of summoning chamber. Gregor Pierceson took the demonic picture from behind the tapestry and carried it into the summoning chamber. He was followed and attacked by Lutz, yet no attacks seemed to harm Gregor.

During the fight, it turned out that he had indeed chaos mutations. One was a hungry mouth behind his eye patch and another big claws he could grow. (Why do the NPCs always end up with the useful mutations?) It all soon became a big jumbled battle between the group, the beastmen, the chaos cultists and the loyal servants of Lord Aschaffenberg.

Sometime during that battle, Finubaryel literally vanished into the demonic picture. There she was assaulted by voices from the past, and shadows that wanted to tear her from the path into the warp. But suddenly, a glowing elf in flowing white garments told her to hold steady (maybe Teclis, the grand elven wizard). In the end, she emerged from the picture and onto the roof, where Volcifar, Athelas and Lutz stood. They were still entranced by the illusion spell that Gregor had cast. Now, the evil cultmaster was performing a dark ritual to summon forth a demon from the picture.

Finubaryel tried to tackle Gregor from the roof, but failed miserably. Still, it was enough to free the others from their trance.

That was the cliffhanger ending of the last time we played...

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Warhammer FRPG interlude at the Grunwald Lodge

In May we re-started our Warhammer FRPG 3rd edition campaign. Here is what happened at the Grunwald Lodge:

Previously, we had decided to explore the Grunwald Lodge before going to dinner. We wanted to find out, if anything strange going on at the hunting lodge. Our party consists of:
  • Finubaryel Dusterhain, a high elven bounty huntress
  • Athelas, a wild elven wardancer
  • Lutz, a smuggler from the Reiklands
  • Volcifar, a wizard's apprentice from the Grey Order
 Athelas, Lutz and I decided to go to the smithy, while Finubaryel went to the hospital inside the lodge. The smithy was strangely empty and cold. Apparently, there either was no smith or he wasn't doing his work. Lutz looked over a locked chest, but found a trap and didn't really decide to open it.

As we found out later, the dwarven smith was in the hospital. He was ill. But he told Finubaryel a story about a dream visitation of a high elven wizard who commanded him to forge a warhammer. He had finished that piece of work, but then was confined to the hospital due to a strange illness.

At the hospital we also found Astrid & Helmut, two guards suffering from infected bites inflicted by beast men attacks. The resident doctor seemed to be using some new form of treatment. Instead of cauterizing the wounds, he used ointments. That seemed a bit suspicious to us. Almost, as if he didn't want the guards to heal.

Also at the hospital was the gardener who seemed to suffer from some "mild sort" of pestilence. He was kept isolated while he was slowly dying. Still, Volcifar donned something called "Shallya's garments" and went to see him. But except for making us more suspicious, the gardener didn't provide any helpful insights. The strange garments were burned by the nurse, after Volcifar returned them.

At the same time, without knowing about the story of the warhammer, Athelas visited the small Sigmar shrine. There she found a strange warhammer mounted on the wall and decided to take the heavy weapon with her. Just like elven wardancers always do...? Then she went back to the house.

Lutz had separated from the group and gotten a bit curious about the library and a hooded stranger going there. It turned out to be the librarian, and he was meeting someone else. As far as Volcifar was told, Gregor Pierceson, who was the personal attendant of the vanished Andreas Aschaffenberg. Pierceson was wearing an eye patch and looked rather like a grizzled old veteran. After the two had left the library, Lutz went in to search it. He made a rather disconcerting discovery. Two books with obvious chaotic markings, one about the nature of demons (De Naturae Demonae) and the other about chaos beasts.

After our various explorations, we met again. This time in the boys' room, shared by Lutz and Volcifar. We talked about our various discoveries. Then, Volcifar decided to go to the library and recover the chaotic books and burn them. But when he came to the library, he only found one book, the one about chaos beasts. The other volume was missing. The wizard's apprentice risked a quick look inside the book and found a small ritual about summoning beast men. Growing highly suspicious, he left the library to return to the upstairs room. The book was securely wrapped in his cloak. Only he did not notice the dark shadow following him...

Note: This was the end of the second game session at Grunwald Lodge. The next session followed one week later. I was planning on covering the events of that evening of gaming in the same post. But my gamemaster decided to sidetrack me with Diablo 3 and a the preparations for a multi-player session. :( So the follow-up post will be a bit delayed.