Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Blazing Sands campaign diary #1: Pretty racist


We've just concluded the first session of the new Pathfinder campaign I'm running called Blazing Sands. You can find background information here, but it's in the style of Arabian Nights.

The action kicked off with our heroes: Amir (Human Lore Warden), Younis (Elf Arcane Illusionist) and Razeem (Human Shaman) were on patrol in the spice district of the Grand Bazaar, when they came across a group of thugs racially attacking an orcish merchant. Words didn't seem to be working - the thugs were headstrong - so it came to a short scuffle which ended with two unconscious, one dead and two best up and surrendering.

After being carted back to the cells the PCs reported to Harun, the Sultan. Shortly after, an old man in rags burst in carrying a sandstone tablet with strange text on it. The man changed his visage to be Vizier Shar, who had been given the tablet by a desperate man who was apparently murdered by a dark spirit moments later. Younis determined that the stone was probably a couple of centuries old, but decided to find a scholar of ancient history for more information, taking a charcoal rubbing rather than the actual stone. At the Al Bidar college they found Daniel, who excitedly revealed it was written in Minean, a language not spoken for 3000 years. He said he needed a few days to translate.

The PCs continued their patrol, focusing on the meat district where the orcs often gathered. After some investigation, they found rumours that thugs had been attacking orcs, elves and halflings because they were emboldened by the apparent revel group The Black Viper.

On returning to the palace, they met with the jailer Maxima, a bloke built like a bear, who had been brutally interrogating the arrested thugs. He revealed a possible location of a Black Viper meeting place - Rhazza's opium den. They went and decided to disguise as civilians, and Younis as a human using illusion. The plan was to go in and act like racists in order to attract the attention of any Black Viper members. After insulting Rhazza, the half elf, they bought a room in the den and waited, the shaman sending out his scorpion, Anubis (who I gave a Birmingham accent, much to the dislike of the player) to scope the place out. Younis started to stumble into rooms, throwing around slurs like 'filthblood' to try and guage reactions from the humans there. This didn't exactly work out, as the session ended with Rhazza and a retinue of guards appearing in the tent.


Monday, 19 February 2018

The state of Quill in 2018


Quill: a letter-writing roleplaying game for a single player had a great 2017, winning an Indie RPG Award for best free game and growing with new supplements and contracts for translations.

I wanted to give a state of play for the game and what's coming in the future. 

Official supplements

- Quill: Love Letters - exactly what it says on the tin. Scenarios themed around love.

- Quill: Shadow and Ink - a Lovecraftian campaign about an evil family legacy. 

- Quill: White Box - brings Quill into a fantasy world. Create a class and go on adventures.

Third party supplements

- Quill: Coal and Parchment - based on Derek Kamal's Homes universe. 

- Quill Quest: The Warlord's Downfall - a campaign where you must recruit adventurers to save your kingdom. Written by Tim Snider of Cryptworld fame.

The future

For the time being, I'm not planning any new supplements until maybe Q4 due to another gaming obligation, but that's not to say that Quill will be dormant. There will be a printed German version out potentially this year, and I'll be creating an official printed English version. 

There's a really interesting project going on behind the scenes designed for an educational setting based on US political history, but I'll say no more on that for the moment. 

Thanks to everyone who has downloaded and donated to Quill. I never thought that it would become as popular as it has done, with the original game a platinum seller on Drivethrurpg.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Quill: White Box - Mesmerist


Mesmerist are masters of mind magic, able to change their appearance at will. They cast spells to charm and enchant others to come around to their way of thinking. When it comes to writing letters, they are able to pour some of their charm magic into the ink for a favourable response.

Penmanship: Poor
Language: Average
Heart: Good

Class Ability


Mesmerise: For one paragraph you gain +3 on all rolls. 

Quill: White Box is a new ruleset for use with the Quill solo letter-writing roleplaying game, allowing the player to take on the role of an adventurer in a fantasy realm. 

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Iron Maiden: Guardians of the Shatterverse (USR hack)


This isn't official, just me noodling around in the Maiden-verse. You'll need the USR rules to play. I'll specifically be using the rules in Tequendria, which is essentially USR 3.0 due to the focus on balance and progression. Players of Legacy of the Beast will recognise a few similarities, but I wanted to alter the story.

Guardians of the Shatterverse

The setting

In the Iron Maiden RPG players take on an aspect of Eddie, Iron Maiden's perennial ghoulish mascot, as they travel the multiverse hunting down evil in all its forms. Time and Space has been fractured by an evil force called The Gloam an the universe is now called the Shatterverse. The Gloam's dark tendrils have woven their way into the shards of the Shatterverse, poisoning time and space. However, there are those powerful enough to stand against the Gloam and travel through the Shatterverse - they are the Eternals. Eddie is an Eternal who, when the universe was fractured, split into his individual aspects from all space and time. Oh, Eddie can be female too.

Now the Aspects of Eddie are coming together to defeat the Gloam and remake the universe once more.

Each shard represents a time and place in the history of the world. These include:

- The battlefields of WW1
- Ancient Egypt
- Medieval Britain
- Ancient Rome
- Cyberpunk future

But you can basically set it anywhere you want.

Character classes (Aspects of Eddie)

The Pharoah
When the lifegiver dies all around is laid waste. And in my last hour I'm a slave to the power of death. The Pharoah is the mighty ruler of Egypt, with the power of the gods themselves.

Starting specialisms: Born ruler (Ego 2), Tactics (Wits 2), Religious (Wits 2)
Equipment: Rod (melee d6), robes, ankh
Special ability: Mighty leader - once per day the Pharoah can boost the spirits of allies within 50ft. Each ally gain +2 to all attack rolls for 1d6 minutes.

The Trooper
You fire your musket but I'll run you through. The Trooper is a hardened soldier of the Crimean War.

Starting specialisms: Survival (Wits 2), Athletic (Action 2), Riding (Action 2)
Equipment: Musket with bayonet (ranged and melee d6), uniform, Union Flag.

Special ability: War cry - Once per combat the Trooper gains a +2 to damage for one round.

The Cyborg
Caught somewhere in time, the cyborg hails from the far future.

Starting specialisms: Technology (Wits 2), Translation (Wits 2), Piloting (Action 2)
Equipment: Laser pistol (ranged d6+1), lifeform scanner, Communicator

Special ability: Scanner - the cyborg can use its scanner to detect a number of sentient lifeforms within 100ft, even through walls and floors.

The Reaper
Cloaked in black and carrying a scythe, the Reaper is your one way ticket to the underworld.

Starting specialisms: Terrifying (Ego 2), Stealthy (Action 2), Persuasive (Ego 2)
Equipment: Scythe (melee d6), black cloak

Special ability: Dance of Death - once per combat The Reaper forces one target to dance for one round. They take a -2 to defence and cannot move from their spot.

The Shaman
Holding the heart of his latest sacrifice, the shaman divines his powers from the spirit realm.

Starting specialisms: Herbalist (Wits 2), Magic lore (Wits 2), Entrance (Ego 2)
Equipment: Skull staff (melee d6), Book of Souls, herbs

Special ability: Talk with Spirits - once per day the shaman can talk with a spirit for 5 minutes to heal yourself and up to four allies 2d6 hits.

Equipment

You'll be dealing with futuristic weapons along with medieval ones, so like anything USR I've not gone for realism. Small weapons are d6 damage, medium d6+1, large d8 and special weapons have d8+1. Being able to use certain weapons depends on your Action. D6 action can use small or medium, d8 action can use small, medium and large and d10 can use all including special. Armour comes in similar flavours: light is +1, medium +2 and heavy +3. Shields are +1.

Wait a minute, damage is assigned to weapons?

Yep, better download Tequendria. Winners of combat roll their damage die now. Half level is added to attacks too. Nifty.

Scream for me tokens

At character creation players get 3 Scream for Me tokens. These replenish when they level up. Spend a token to do one of the following:

- gain 2d6+2 Hits
- automatically hit in your next attack
- if an enemy damaged you, negate the damage

When using them, you can optionally do a Bruce Dickinson scream.

Shatterverse travel

Eddies can travel between worlds (shards). It takes 10 minutes to create a portal and the name of the shard must be spoken into the portal in order to activate it. Some names are known and others are secret. Travel is immediate. Some quests in the game will require players trying to uncover the name of the next shard.

The nature of The Gloam

The Gloam is evil incarnate. It is a primordial entity that was once part of the Eternals, but was cast away into the abyss at the beginning of time. It has emerged from the darkness to seek it's vengeance on the Eternals by remaking the universe in its own way.

The Gloam creates evil beings and can even possess the good.











Friday, 16 February 2018

Campaign diary: introduction to Bal Jala


I'm back in the GM seat after about a year, about to kick off a new Pathfinder campaign based on Arabian fantasy. Unlike my previous long games, this one's designed to last around two months - so one concentrated adventure with PCs beginning at level six.

Bal Jala is, of course, the jewel of the Sumerland. A ridiculously lavish and architecturally brilliant city of white stone and golden minarets sitting beneath an azure sky and by the river Kish. Because I'm cribbing heavily from Al-Qadim, the streets are awash with all kinds of races (no dwarves though - too hot). Elves, orcs, goblins and humans, among others, live and work side-by-side in relative harmony. The city is governed by the Sultan Harun, a recent instatement as far as sultans go after the passing of his father Abir seven years ago. Harun, a wiry middle-aged man with a kind demeanour and a relaxed style of ruling, has proven popular among the majority of Bal Jalans for his progressive taxation laws and re-opening of spice trade routes with the Ivory City to the north. The last day of Mihla has even come to be known as Yawm Harun, or Harun’s Day. 

Of course, not all in the sultanate support Harun’s methods. Rebel groups have cropped up in and around the city - most of whom are disorganised thugs who like to cause problems for the Sultan’s Wasi, the city guard. However there have been signs that some are becoming a more organised menace following the murders of two prominent nobles - an elf and an orc. Harun has ordered further investigations into these and similar crimes, discovering the organisation’s name: The Black Viper.

Harun is advised by his most trusted Vizier Shar, who was his father’s right-hand man in the past. Shar isn’t one to be meddled with, being a shrewd politician from a line of great scholars. He is, however, a supporter of Harun and lover of his city, even going so far as disguising himself as a common peasant to mingle with the people in the marketplace, embracing the experience of ordinary folk. 

So that's an intro to Bal Jala and my new campaign. I'll be updating weekly to talk a bit about what's happened in that week's session. 



Thursday, 15 February 2018

Feats for In Darkest Warrens


When creating your character, you may choose one of the following feats, taking note of any prerequisites. At level 3 you can select another feat.

Sticky fingers
When attempting to pick a pocket, gain +2 to the roll.

Disguise
You can disguise yourself as another humanoid race or another gender. Once per day you can test Person to disguise yourself. If you are successful, you can disguise yourself for up to 7 hours. If you are disguising yourself as another race the test is difficult.

Master appraiser
You know the estimated value of an item by studying it for 10 minutes.

Trapfinder
Gain +1 to rolls when trying to search for traps.

Advanced trapfinder
Prerequisite: Trapfinder
Gain +2 to rolls when trying to search for traps.

Animal tamer
You have an affinity with animals. You gain +1 to rolls when trying to calm a wild animal. 

Adept caster
Prerequisite: magic user
Gain an extra use of one of your spells per day.

Shadow walker
When you blend into the shadows you become almost invisible. When moving in shadow you are counted as invisible. Attacks against you have a 50% chance of failing. Once you attack from shadow you can be seen until you move to another location within shadow.

Inspiring
You can spend 3 minutes per day giving an inspirational speech relating to one attribute. For the next hour, those witnessing the speech gain +1 to all tests involving that attribute.

Dual weilder
You do not receive a penalty for using a second melee weapon.

Bloodlust
You may take a -1 to attack and +1 to wound damage.

Treasure hunter
The value of treasure you find is increased by 10%

Armour proficiency
Gain an extra +1 wound benefit to armour.

Advanced armour proficiency
Prerequisite: armour proficiency
Gain an extra +2 wound benefit to armour.

Knowing the winds
You intrinsically know what the weather will be like in the next 24 hours.

Poison immunity
You do not receive adverse effects from poison.

Tinkerer
You are able to fix objects with the right materials. Test Mind to try to fix an object. Every test counts as a day of attempting to fix the object and it can be attempted multiple times. You require materials of a value equal to 25% of the object's market value.

Streetwise
When trying to gather information in a town or city, gain +1 to the roll.