Wednesday, October 5, 2011

ConstantCon Update

Firstly, a thanks to John for setting up the unified ConstantCon site.

Two administrative notes: Firstly, Legacy of the Bieth honors the FLAILSNAILS Conventions for importing PCs.

Secondly, I'm going to resume running ConstantCon games near the end of October - I had been hoping to get back in sooner, but I am super-strapped for time. If I do manage to kick real life in the teeth and get free time, I will post an update and/or start an impromptu game.

Setting developments: The last expedition to return from the Bieth ruins near Sanctuary reported that they found carvings depicting the Bieth. This is the first known depiction of the species.

Friday, August 19, 2011

EDIT EDIT EDIT - the following post has been superseded by later developments. See here for current chargen rules: http://lotbieth.blogspot.com/2012/08/character-generation-legacy-of-bieth.html - EDIT EDIT EDIT

These are the character generation rules for Legacy of the Bieth games. This is largely the same as Zak's char creation rules (here) but with my own tweaks.

1. There are methods of character generation, disaggregated by associated bragging rights, choose whichever you want...

A) ("First character" rules): Roll 4d6 and drop the lowest die, and assign to the 6 stats.
B) ("Veteran" rules): Roll 3d6 for each stat, assign as you please.
C) ("Badass" rules): Roll 3d6, in order.

2. Available species: Human (+1 to stat of choice), Half-elf (no stat modifier, 30% resistance to sleep and charm, 60' infravision), Elf (+1 Dex, -1 Con, 90% resistance to sleep and charm, 60' infravision), Dwarf (+1 Con, -1 Cha, 60' infravision, increased carrying capability), Hobgoblin (+1 Str, -1 Wis, 60' infravision).

If you want to get crazy with it, any other thing you want so long as it's humanoid, its bonuses and penalties balance and you can convince me it's cool before gametime. Exception: no halflings or gnomes, except if you're bringing a FLAILSNAILS character in from another campaign.

3. We use the Lamentations of the Flame Princess system for a lot of the mechanics, starting with the stats. Like if you have a 12 or 13 in a stat, you're +1 to things associated with that stat, if you have an 8 or 9, that's -1, 6 or 7 is -2, etc. Write the number next to the stat. That same link will tell you where your base melee mod, damage mod, missile mod, ac mod, save mod and con mod are. Or just ask me and I can hook you up.

4. Classes available are Ranger, Paladin, Cleric, Druid, Thief, Wizard, and Fighter. Feel free to reskin them. Once you pick a class, write down the attack bonus and save mods for your class from OSRIC. I am theoretically open to other classes like Assassin and Illusionist and whatnot but we need to figure out how they work using LotFP's skill system. Talk with me about it.

5. You do not start at first level with maximum hit points. If your con penalty is such that you'd get 0 or fewer hit points, take d4.

6. Thieves assign skill points as per LotFP's rules.

7. Get the trappings for your profession as listed below.

Fighter: Chainmail, hand weapon and shield OR two-handed weapon, light weapon, 3 torches.
Mage: Utilitarian garb OR snazzy robe, staff OR freaky dagger, 20% chance of Bieth artifact (ask me for details)
Cleric: Chainmail, hand weapon and shield OR staff, holy symbol.
Thief: Leather armor, hand weapon, 3 light weapons, rope, grappling hook, backpack.
Ranger: Studded leather armor, hand weapon OR polearm, shortbow, light weapon.
Paladin: Chainmail, hand weapon and shield OR two-handed weapon.
Druid: Leather armor, hand weapon OR staff, light weapon.

8. Figure out what extra equipment you want, note it down within reason. No upgrading beyond banded mail, max of 25 items, and DM gets to review equipment selection before play.

9. Clerics and Druids: Choose or create a deity for your character to worship. Possible gods include:
  • Vorn: Grim grey god of iron and rain
  • Tricaria: horned goddess of mutation and healing
  • Gor: bullheaded god of law
  • The Great Mother: goddess of healing and protection, rival of Tricaria
  • Cult of the White Web: Creepy spider cult
  • Theltrys: spear maiden of law and justice
  • St Xygag: Righteous stiff-necked smiters of evil
  • ...or invent one of your own.
After and only after you have chosen your path, the DM will reveal special spells available to those of your order.

10. If you got spells, note duration, area of effect, etc. They can be from any system you want so long as you're comfortable with me tweaking them. I may use AD&D or LotFP versions of spells, it's idiosyncratic, if my interpretation of a spell totally harshes your buzz we will discuss it before play starts and come to an agreement.

11. You may import old characters from any D&D-derivative (S&W, LL, C&C, 4e, Rolemaster, Tekumel, WFRP, LOTFP, DCC, Harn, Gurps, Pendragon, etc.) into the campaign if you have them, if they were 3rd level (equivalent) or less, and if their stats can be intelligibly rendered in D&D format as a character of the appropriate level for the adventure I'm running. Strip them back to stats and hp, figure out the bonuses and penalties, and transfer them over. Consult me about anything weird or high-powered, we'll negotiate about it.

12. You may want to roll up a backup character or two. When life meant little, death sometimes had its price...

Monday, August 1, 2011

ConstantCon, Gaming Session #2

So as my last post suggested, I'm going to be running games in Legacy of the Bieth over Google+ now.

This was the description I gave of the game at D&DWPS:

The setting aims for one part standard D&D tropes, one part spaghetti western, and one part post-apocalypse rebuilding. "When life meant little, death sometimes had its price. That was when the bounty killers appeared." Feel free to contact me at allandaros at gmail dot com.
That's what I aspire to. It takes some work - I'm improving my skills as a DM and my skills as a world creator as the progress goes on. Whether it's things like taking out the cool path magic system I had first tried (cool, flavorful, but far too fiddly) or realizing that I needed to give starting characters hooks to let the world feel full and explorable, the game is an ongoing process.

That's where the fun comes in, after all.

I'm planning on running another session of Legacy of the Bieth over Google+ on Saturday, August 13, at 9 PM EST / 1 AM GMT. The hangout will start at 8:30 to allow folks time to get in. If you see this and are interested, ping me an email at allandaros at gmail dot com and I'll add you in on Google+.

For character creation and basic setting info, you can check here and make a 3rd level AD&D character (until I get my act together and put my custom ruleset together from LotFP and ACKS and AD&D and whatnot). If you don't feel like reading the setting intro, just show up with the bare bones for a D&D character - the traditional six stats (rolled on 4d6 drop lowest), a race, a class, and a name.

I'm looking forward to seeing folks then!

Map of the Northern Borderlands

So this is the current map for the ongoing Legacy of the Bieth campaigns, whether they be face-to-face, play-by-email, or over Google+'s Hangouts features (see ConstantCon 2011 Starts Now! for further details).

A few details for folks: Sanctuary, the border town where the game starts off for most characters, is smack-dab in the middle of the map at 14, 14. The town to the southeast of Sanctuary at 16, 19 is the village of Kwannom. Vornheim, the main city of the region, is at 8, 20. The other major city in the region is the seaport of Lithquil at 7, 2. (Gee, I wonder where that name came from...)



Legacy of the Bieth Hexmap

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dungeons and Dominion (or campaign setting idea generation)

This is a little trick I came up with when trying to come up with cool bits to work into my D&D homebrew setting, but it can work with most any fantasy setting.

First, a little background. If you're not interested, skip over it and get to the bolded part.

There's a Twitter game I play called Echo Bazaar. In Echo Bazaar (or #ebz as it is sometimes abbreviated) a lot of the various NPCs you encounter are not named, but given suitable epithets. An adjective, and then a title. To wit: a Retiring Blackmailer, a Winsome Orphan, a One-Eyed Bishop, a Wry Functionary, and so forth.

A few weeks ago, I was trying to come up with some tidbits to make my homebrew campaign setting more interesting and alive. I was looking through the Roleplaying Tips magazine, and came across the Idea Seeds method by Mike Bourke.

The gist of the Idea Seeds method is to list a bunch of nouns, say 12, which are to show up in your campaign ("goblin, king, mercenary"). Assign each one an adjective ("heroic goblin, sad king, grizzled mercenary"), use the noun-adjective in a sentence ("the heroic goblin slew the evil dragon"), and...well, it goes on from there.

The noun-adjective thing reminded me of Echo Bazaar, and how powerful those two-word descriptors can be.

And then I had my moment of inspiration. The card game Dominion is themed around a medieval low-fantasy setting. I could use that to generate even the nouns...

So Here's How To Do It

Go to a Dominion set generator (I like this guy) and generate a set of 10 cards. Use all the expansions you want.

This will give you a set of 10 cards. You don't care about anything except the names. Arrange them in 5 pairs of two.

For example, I just got:
Vineyard and Upgrade
Secret Chamber and Tactician
Shanty Town and Royal Seal
Alchemist and Venture
Lookout and Minion


Right. Now, grab a random adjective generator. I like this guy, because Exalted names have awesome punchy adjectives. Generate a list of ten adjectives, and assign them in order to your nouns. (Yes, you could do it out of order, picking and choosing, but then that is NO FUN.)

In the example, I would get:
Secret Vineyard and Crimson Upgrade
Savage Secret Chamber and Stalwart Tactician
Bounteous Shanty Town and Grey Royal Seal
Ebon Alchemist and White Venture
Exaltant Lookout and Sagacious Minion


Now assign temporal states to the examples, alternating between current and past.

(now) Secret Vineyard and Crimson Upgrade
(past) Savage Secret Chamber and Stalwart Tactician
(now) Bounteous Shanty Town and Grey Royal Seal
(past) Ebon Alchemist and White Venture
(now) Exaltant Lookout and Sagacious Minion


The pairs are (or were) interacting, somehow, in your setting. Figure out where, and put it in!

In some cases, this may come up with stuff which just feels stupid ("Savage Secret Chamber" sounds pretty dumb, even though Stalwart Tactician sounds awesome). I recommend tossing the pair out entirely, if one is mediocre. The good thing about this method is that it is pretty quick, so generating multiple sets of 10 doesn't take very long at all.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Stranger Storm Playtest

I finally got some gaming in! I was in this Skype game testing out the upcoming LotFP module "A Stranger Storm," and it was awesome.

(Yeah, I totally should have thought more about the title of this blog, since LotFP reads fairly similar to LotBieth, and I'm pretty sure Jim's got precedence in his blog creation.)

Anyway!

A Stranger Storm sounds like it's going to be a really nice intro module for DMs. It's certainly a departure from the sandboxy modules like Keep on the Borderlands, a bit more linear, with clearly defined choice moments. In retrospect, a reskinned version of the adventure might actually fit well into something like Dark Heresy! But that said, it helps the DM construct a campaign built around a very fundamental idea which I really approve of - the actions of the PCs matter. Like the earlier "Death Frost Doom," this is an adventure which leads to consequences. Perhaps not as...severe as those which can show up in DFD, but major and significant nonetheless.

There's more I could say, but there's another group of players who still need to playtest the adventure, so I shall be circumspect.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Conversions!

OK. First a few magic items, converted over from a few places.

Earthdawn
Targeting Eye
"A targeting eye is a magically treated piece of quartz hollowed out, filled with a gel worm and nourishing fluid, then attached to an eye patch. When worn, the worm burrows into the wearer's eye, destroying it. Though the fluid in the gem makes this process relatively painless, the wearer" loses one HP permanently. When making a missile attack or sufficiently similar action, the wearer may take a +4 penalty to initiative to gain a +1 bonus to their attack roll. "A targeting eye cannot be removed, and the damage point can never be healed." -quoted text p. 259, Earthdawn rulebook (1e?). Italics mine.

Blood Pebbles
"Blood-pebble armor is a form of living, elemental armor. Hundreds of small elemental stones are embedded in the wearer's skin, drawing power from the magic in his blood. A character wearing this armor takes 4 Damage Points," (loss of 4 HP, easy enough) "which cannot be healed as long as the character wears the blood pebbles. Implanting or removing blood-pebble armor requires eight hours of work by a trained Weaponsmith." (Or a nasty Bieth laboratory, which could likely do it much quicker. Magical AIs are wondrous useful things!) Blood-pebble armor provides AC 5, improves all saves by +1, and allows for a saving throw vs. magic missile spells. -quoted text p. 255, Earthdawn rulebook. Italics mine.


OK. Next, taking James Raggi's spell lists for LotFP Grindhouse as a starting point, let's bring in some cool things from Warhammer Fantasy. These spells are taken in concept from the WFRP 2e supplement "Realms of Sorcery"; I will cite the page number and quote direct text. I place these in the context of Raggi's spell lists, and may note suggested spells they can replace. Some of these replaced spells (Mending, Unseen Servant) I suggest can be replaced, because they really ought to be finger-wavey fiats for a wizard. Magic should be cool and scary! The replacement is not mandatory, but if you like being able to roll a die to randomly select spell lists, then this works.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Realms of Sorcery
The Beast Broken (p 138)
Level 1 M-U Spell (replaces Mending)
Duration: Permanent
Range: 36'
"You break the wild spirit of a single animal (that can be domesticated) within 12 yards. These animals include horses, dogs, and some birds of prey. It does not include normally wild animals like wolves, bears, snakes, and so on...On a failed test" (aka failed save vs spell) "it remains docile towards Humans, Elves, Dwarfs, and Halflings forever, though it is still likely to be afraid - and rightly so - of creatures like Greenskins, Skaven, and those tainted by Chaos." Replace Humans, Elves, etc. with 'PC races,' unless you want to make it specific - a bit of anti-Dwarf prejudice? - and similarly, broaden the Greenskins et. al. to just include inhuman beings. This spell functions as a poor man's 'Charm Animal,' but adds a significant deal of flavor to the abilities of an M-U, permanently dominating the mind of an animal and exerting arcane influence over Nature. Druids ought to flip out if they find an animal that has been mentally gelded in this fashion.

Signs in the Stars (p. 151)
Level 3 M-U Spell (replacing Invisibility 10' Radius)
Duration: 1 month/level
"You...write a subtle message in the stars. The message is not detailed and can only serve to communicate complex ideas if you and the one you intend to receive the message have discussed the signs you intend to send in advance." Anyone with significant knowledge of astronomy or astrology can observe the sky and see that someone has cast this spell; however, "without knowledge of what you intend to communicate...the meaning cannot be easily divined."

I'd like to convert some of the rituals included (particularly The Impossible March of the Damned Soldier, p. 168). I also plan to convert the demonic bargains options available to the Demonologist into retroclone/similar format.

NPCs:

This is less for posting new and creative ideas and more to force me to start fleshing out NPCs within the LotB setting. Right now, it's an extremely basic sandbox with a few sparse NPCs, and that needs to change. Sanctuary is an interesting place, but just telling the folks that it's interesting won't cut it!

So.

Murdach (hob m F2): Murdach is a travelling peddler and sometime fence, usually roving between Sanctuary, Kwannom, and points south.. He seeks to circumvent the taxes on the Bieth relic trade. Murdach is a bulky ruddy-skinned hobgoblin, carrying a curved sword at his side and a large smile on his face. His left eye is glazed over and his left ear is forked - courtesy of a wild magic zone that he and his partner Feihong traveled through to escape Ungern's riders back in the day.

Friendly and garrulous, Murdach nevertheless deflects discussion of any shady wares away ("Artifacts? Nonsense! But if you want wondrous items, observe this beautiful teapot..."). It will take a bit of coaxing (and likely a roll on Zak S's Gygaxian Democracy Social Interaction Table) before he can start to show the Real Goods. Feihong (h m Lvl 0) is Murdach's partner, a thin man dressed in green wearing a box cap. As Murdach rattles on, Feihong will quietly and solemnly display their wares. He hardly ever speaks - not from any desire to keep a mysterious demeanor, but because he has been cursed to spit out a small creature (snake, frog) each time he gives voice. It's pretty awkward all around, but it makes him a good partner for Murdach. While the hobgoblin babbles and distracts, Feihong inspects their potential trading partners.