Friday, May 31, 2013

Coins Hound Gargoyle

The cultists of the dog cult arena learned from the three witches how to create coins hound gargoyles. The cult use those monstrosity to track down unpaid debt and stolen gold. 

To create a coin hound you must use melted gold, silver and copper coins to forge a dog mask. 
The required runes must be carved inside the mask and fill with the stone dust of a medusa's victim.
Once the dog mask is bolted on the head of a avaricious person it will petrify and transform the victim into a gargoyle. 

To control the coins hounds, a till box must be attach to it collar. Coins owned by the victim must be placed inside the box each time the gargoyle hunt. If the till box is smashed open, the gargoyle will panic and will try desperately to recover it coins. Removing or smashing away the dog mask will break the enchantment and turn the gargoyle into inanimate stone. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

What I use and don't use from the city kit.

We played our 12th session in Vornheim, let check what parts of the city kit I use and I don't use.
  • The cover & back cover tables: I love the idea of having a book fill with tables from one cover to the other. I was looking to use those tables, but I ended up nearly never using them. I simply just use my encounter tables or the regular combat system instead of consulting the covers tables. I should maybe try to run a session only with the cover tables just to see how it go.
  • The inner Vornheim map: I like the map (especially the non color inverted version). I tried to print it on a legal sized paper (8,5x14). But the map still felt too small. At first I thought of using it to record visited locations, but we ended up mapping our own map instead. 
  • Around Vornheim map: this map is great! but confusing! :D I used some of the background for inspiration, but I din't actually use the map. For now my setting around Vornheim is not yet defined, I guess I will start to establish stuff once the group start getting out of Vornheim. That said, I found the comment about city and it neighbors very interesting and I keep it in mind.
  • The Palace Massive & Eminent Cathedral: I have some trails pointing toward those two locations and the players know about them, but they still have to decide to visit them. Both drawing made me want to drawn my own buildings!   
  • In Vornheim: I love this open, take what you want, description of the city. A lot of what is described in those pages gave me ideas to work on. Some of those elements are playing a important part in the campaign. Right now the church of Vorn, the snake readers, the three witches and the three demons are playing a important role. The mage character was even starting to learn spell from the crow headed demon. Strangely the medusa and the wyvern have still to get the attention of the group. 
  • Superstitions: I made a "witness a superstition" table. I use it like a rumor table. Sometime I also use superstition as a inspiration for a scenario or for the content of a location room. My taking is that most of those superstitions come from real magic rituals that have the same effect and that the three witches can teach those rituals. So just placing a frog in a bowl wont protect your life, but doing it with the ritual will do. 
  • House of the Medusa: some trails lead to the house, but the group have still to explore them.
  • Immortal Zoo of Ping Feng: some trails lead to the zoo, but the group have still to explore them.
  • Library of Zorlac: some trails lead to the library, but the group have still to explore them.
  • Player commentaries: it was sweet to read, they certainly had a indirect influence on how I run the campaign. 
  • Typical Tower: I printed the plan and I used the tower as my first adventuring location, it was a haunted tower where cultists of the three witches created shadow ink and printed shadow books that can only be read with dark lamps. The tower plan also inspired me to create my own towers. But I don't stack that much services buildings in my towers. 
  • Neighborhood generation: at first I tried to use those pages in a very procedural way, but I scrapped this and I simply used them to drawn a general map of the city. It very intuitive. The neighborhood wealth level are apparent. I also turned many of the landmarks into adventure locations (but not all of them). 
  • Moving vs Crawling: just moving around felt too vague. Now we crawl all the time! We map everything and it work great. 
  • Floorplan Shortcut: I use them sometime, but I could use them more. Often I just drawn stuff on the fly. 
  • The Law: I love this table! Great comment about how to use the law in a city crawl. But up to date the characters have not been confronted by the law! 
  • Contacts: I turned the contact points into a LotFP d6 skill and it work nice. Making and using contact is a important part of our gameplay. 
  • Rules for chases: I used it once. It was ok. But I forget it all the time and I don't take the time to read it back when a chase suddenly come up. 
  • Item cost shortcut: at first I used it a lot, I liked how I ended up coming with elaborate names for luxury goods. But now I rarely use it and I just check up the price in the book, it kind of quicker. But I often tell myself that I should use the item cost shortcut instead since it more colorful. 
  • Rules for libraries: the group found some books, I mentioned the rules, but the group sold their books instead of using of them. They also still have to visit a library. 
  • Notes on Open-Ended city adventures: the campaign is mainly about exploring adventuring locations set in the city. But the consequences of the characters actions slowly start to have more retroactive impact. Beside this I try to keep in mind the advices from this short section. 
  • Further Reading: sweet but I admit I din't use this section. 
  • God's chess: interesting, but we don't plan to use this section. 
  • Aristocrats table: I generated some interesting aristocrats. It a great table. 
  • Books table: I used it to generate a few books. 
  • City NPCs table: I like it and I use it often. 
  • Shopkeepers table: I used it a few time, but most of the time I just improvise the shopkeepers. 
  • Contact answers table: we use it.
  • Asking directions table: we use it rarely, the group prefer to explore the map or to use their streetwise skill.
  • Connections between NPCs table: at first I handed up each player a table to note their contact on it. I thought it was neat to let them choose were to place their contacts on the table and to roll their relations. But the players rarely ask their contacts about other contacts so we used a new sheet for nearly every new contact and we ended up with a lot of sheets with only one contact noted on them. So we dropped the contact connection sheet and now we just note contacts on a sheet of paper. But I really liked the idea. 
  • Encounters table: I like it! I dissected and assimilated it into my own encounter tables. 
  • Fortunes table: I used it once for a "fortune trap" written on a adventure location's wall. But the fortune was never activated and we kind of forgot about the table.
  • I search the body table: used it once I think. I should use it more. 
  • Legal situation table: Din't use it, but the table is "active". I am waiting for the group to get in trouble  with the law. I really like the idea. 
  • Magic effect table: nice table, I used it a few time. 
  • Tavern & Games table: we regularly use it. But the group rarely play the games. 
  • Late edition conversion table: I don't use it. 
  • Building table page: we use it every session, very useful. I like the colors comments. At first we rolled on the box table, but the dice always ended up in the middle and too rarely on the edge. Now we use the % table to get more variety in the results.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Owl warrior

Leftover elements from other drawings put together: a owl and some magic eggs on a well.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Gaming & blog activities updates

  • Not much time to draw or post lately. But I want to try to draw backgrounds in my illustrations. I also want to try inking my drawings to add shadows. Oh and I want to try to draw player characters. 
  • Our Vornheim campaign is still running. Last session was very interesting, the dice indirectly shaped the events of the campaign. I want to post game reports, but I find it hard to write gaming reports, especially in English. Tonight we are playing our 11th session. The group have to deal with the dog cult arena. 
  • I wanted to try to illustrate a hex of Hexenbracken a day. But I was not able to let myself to just drawn, no... I had to try to draw "perfect" drawings and I ended up looking for reference material on the internet and what was supposed to be a casual activity became complicated and I choked at the first hex trying to draw those 3 crocodiles! 
  • My mega dungeon forest project is on hold. I tried to start drawing the map and I blocked. Again I think I am trying too much to be procedural and I don't trust myself to just improvise. But I should! I think that I am generally not bad at improvising (when I let myself to). 
  • I am reading books about speleology. One of the book was by a french speleologist that explored caves in the 1910. His tale about exploring a cavern complex with only candles fascinated me. Now I want to write and play a natural caves dungeons. But I wonder how to make the speleology and the natural obstacles interesting without using skill rolls (or at least without only or over using skill rolls).
  • I won't be GMing a second campaign. Since I knew that my friend Dominic wished to run a campaign, I asked him if he would like to run Dungeon of the Unknown in the Isle of the Unknown. So this is nice, I am a player again. Since it Lamentations of the Flame Princess, I am hoping to roll a mage. 
  • I will try Ragnarok at the Roludothon, our local micro gaming convention (organized by Roludo, our Montreal based gaming forum)
  • I want to finish the cloud dungeon map that I started with How to Host a Dungeon

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Helms of Transfiguration

In a room there is three helms of transfiguration.
Do they grant wisdom and visions? Do they talk and cast cleric spells?
Or maybe they store and trade experiences, personality and appearance?
But what happen if you wear the damaged helm?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My next campaign.

The GM of my second group had to leave because of family duty. I enjoyed being a player again and it was super interesting to try Dungeon Crawl Classic and to to venture into Stonehell for three sessions. Being a player I noticed some stuff that I will discuss about in a future post.

My second group want to continue dungeon delving so I will take the role of the GM and I will referee a second campaign.

This time I want to run a campaign inspired from the manuscript of Storming the Wizard Tower. I want to focus the campaign on a village as a "natural group" and the dark influence of it near dungeon. I will use the Storming the Wizard Tower setup to start my prep. I also want to make random tables to determine who from your relations in the community are potential adventurer replacement. I will also try some house rules like the stress rules. I will award Xp for Gold & Goals.

So overall I have a good idea of how I want to organize things, but I posted a email to the group to let the players choose the setting.

My suggestions:

  1. A village of vikings near the Barrowmaze or Death Frost Doom.
  2. Peasants living near a classic vampire castle like Ravenloft. 
  3. Halfling cheese maker village near natural caves used to keep their cheese. (Wheel of Evil)
  4. Dwarf settlers who have to reclaim a ancient dwarven fortress. 
  5. A tribe of savannah hunters living near a lost city. 
  6. A tribe of eskuit living near the ruins of a frozen city in the Weird New World. 
  7. The crew of a ship exploring the Weird New World in search of a legendary lost city.
The idea is to combine a local community and a adventure location.  

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The power of symmetry

Mirror copy paste a sketch book drawing over itself and you end up with something nice looking.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My city encounters

I check for encounters for each new streets pattern that the group map.
When the group travel between two known location I check once by neighborhood.

Chance of encounters:
  • Day: 1 on d6
  • Night: 2 on d6
  • Festival: +1 chance of encounter

If there is a encounter, I roll to on my encounter type table:
  • 1-3 Street event (happen in the largest street)  
  • 4-5 Trouble (happen in the smallest street) 
  • 6 Weird / Supernatural (GM choose the street) 

Night: +1 on roll

Street events involve a crowd of people that block a street (d20):
  1. Religious procession of Vorn / Tittivilla
  2. Marriage / Funeral
  3. Public judgement / execution
  4. Public contestation / debate / scandal / humiliation 
  5. Cultist / Priest preaching
  6. Nobles celebrating / parading exotic slow pets
  7. Street Crier / Artist attracting a large crowd 
  8. Ambassador / city officials / military procession
  9. Caravan stuck / Large cattle delivery  
  10. Street auction / market 
  11. Constructions 
  12. Crowd watching a accident or fight on a bridge
  13. Fire!
  14. Stone or ice sheet fall
  15. Street closed for Investigation / Plague
  16. -  20.  Special / unique event (a other table) 
The Neighborhood wealth determine the type of trouble (d6):
  • Wealthy: 1-4 Law or Nobles, 5-6 Crime or vermin 
  • Middle: 1-3 Law or Nobles, 4-6 Crime or vermin
  • Poor: 1-2 Law or Nobles, 3-6 Crime or vermin
Trouble involve a pool of HD equal to the group size + 1d6.

For the weird/supernatural stuff I roll on a table of unique encounters.

The encounter distance is the street length in map unit in d6 (x 10').
So a 3 square length street give a 3d6 x 10' encounter distance.

The group can always choose to take a alternate route to try to avoid a encounter.
This way encounters often push the group into unexplored parts of the city.

Oh also when there is a fight I check to see if the city guard intervene after each 6 rounds.
(with a cumulative +1 chance by test)

Neighborhood wealth:
  • Rich: 1 on d6
  • Middle: 1 on d8  
  • Poor: 1 on d10
  • Large street: +2 chance
  • Night or alleyway: +1 die step

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The night at the inn

To keep with the concept that Vornheim is like a mega-dungeon, when the group pass the night in a inn I check for encounters.

The chance of having a encounter depend of the quality of the inn:
  • Luxury: 3 on 6 (+1 to reaction bonus) 
  • Secure: 1 on 6
  • Standard: 2 on 6
  • Poor: 2 on 6 (-1 to reaction bonus)
  • Piss poor: 3 on 6 (-2 to reaction bonus)
(Carousing add +1 to the chance of having a encounter) 

Next I roll a d6 to determine the nature of the encounter:
  • 1 Witness something weird or supernatural.
  • 2-3 Get in trouble.
  • 4-5 Ear a interesting rumor or superstition.
  • 6 Meet someone that could be a interesting contact or ally.
And I improvise from there. 

I also roll on the same table when the group pass through a large crowd of people in the city.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Swarm of Psychomycosis Megaspores

I tried to illustrate the Psychomycosis Megaspores from False Machine.
I imagine them more as lone stalkers, but I guess that sometime you can encounter swarm of those beautiful horrors.
I also imagine a assassin cult secretly planting a megaspore into a target household.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Bird Knight

I din't had anything game related in head, so I drew a bird knight.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Bat Goblinoids Underground Dwellers

I don't really know what they do, but I have drawn those bat like goblinoids. Well they seem to love rings.