Tuesday, March 29, 2016

the Alchemist

this is just a preview

STATS: choose one set
Grace+1 Might=0 Moxie+1 Insight+2 Magic-2
Grace+1 Might+1 Moxie=0 Insight+2 Magic-2
Grace-1 Might+1 Moxie=0 Insight+2 Magic=0
Grace+2 Might=0 Moxie-1 Insight+2 Magic-2

You start with 2 extra dialects.
You are literate.

MOVES you start with Make Do and then choose one more
Make do: when you don't have access to your Alchemy Bag or its all out of stock you can still make a Healing potion, you need to spend 2 Gold for supplies in a town or spend time foraging in the wilderness. Roll+Insight on the Alchemy Bag move.

Arcane Alchemy: when you spend time with a magical object and your Alchemy Bag, the Oracle will tell you what the magical object does.

Barber surgeon: when you attempt to save the life of a critically wounded person (4+ Damage), roll+Insight. You can spend Stock from your Alchemy Bag to assist the roll 1-for-1, as much Stock as you want. On a hit, you prevent their current injuries from worsening by stabilizing them, and choose 2 (on a 10+) or 1 (on a 7-9):
• the pain, incense, and salves make them babble the truth. Ask them what secret they spill and increase your Bond with them by +1 (for NPCs, you simply learn a secret).
• their body is eager to be healed. Heal them of 1 Damage.
• their damage is not as bad as you first believed. Heal them of 1 Damage.
• their course of recovery teaches you something about your own skills. You get 1 xp.
• they owe you for your time, attention, and spent trappings, and you’re going to hold them to it. Tell them to add a +debt to you.
On a miss, they're not stabilized and they take 1 Damage AP right now.

Developed Immunity: you cannot be poisoned, and can detect the presence of a poison by smelling or tasting it.

Expert opinion: when you try to detect magic, you can roll+Insight instead of roll+Magic.

In the Nick of Time: whenever someone you have a Bond with is in trouble (your call), you may decrease your Bond with them by -1 (to a minimum of 0) to have you already be there, with the proper tools and knowledge, with or without any clear explanation why.

Of All Trades: you never have to make Unskilled rolls if you don't want to

Opening Doors: whenever someone you have a Bond with dies, you get +1 Magic (max +3).

Your Alchemy Bag has all kinds of crap in it: scissors, rags, tape, needles, clamps, gloves, oils, wipes, alcohol, herbs, salves, leeches, maggots, phials, tonics, potions, splints, bandages, razors, pliers, charms, crystals, poultices, narcotics, incense, salts, powders, ointments, hooks, horsehair, screws, brazier, mortar & pestle, flint & steel, several dozen alembics, flasks, dishes, retorts, measuring devices, a scale, and braces. It is big enough to fill your saddlebags and satchel. When you use it, spend its stock; you can spend 0–3 of its stock per use. You can resupply it for 1 Gold per 2-stock if your circumstances let you trade for medical supplies. It begins play holding 6-stock.
Only characters with an Insight of +2 or higher can use an Alchemy Bag, otherwise they are rolling Unskilled.
To use it you need to spend time near an open flame (either from a fireplace or campfire): roll+stock spent and choose an elixir to brew.

On a hit, you will brew the elixir, but the Oracle will choose 1 (on a 10+) or 2 (on a 7–9):
• while mixing chemicals the fumes threaten to overwhelm you; you’re acting perilously
• during the later stages your mixture compresses; spend 1-stock more.
• the potion needs to settle for 24 hours before it can be of any use
• the potion needs constant attention (stirring or cooking) for 36 hours or else it spoils
• the potion is not as potent as it could be; add weak
• the potion requires one more special ingredient before it's complete; almost always an organ from an animal, but could also be something more prosaic
On a miss, the potion does not cohere and both your time and stock are wasted.

You can brew simple concoctions to speed the recovery of someone whose Damage has stabilized: don’t roll but spend 1-stock. They spend their Damage in days miserable and immobile, but heal completely by the end.

Alchemy Bags can cost anywhere between 2 to 10 Gold to build from scratch.

acid: used to burn through an object, if thrown onto an enemy can cause 3 Damage
antitoxin: counters effects of poison
clairaudience: drinker can hear sound from another distant location (ingested, duration)
clairvoyance: drinker can see into another distant place (ingested, duration)
ESP: drinker can hear the thoughts of those they look at (ingested, duration)
fire resistance: drinker does not take Damage from heat or flame (touch, duration)
glue: when applied to two objects will hold them fast until a solvent is applied
healing: will stabilize Damage and heal 1 Damage or heals 2 Damage (ingested, instant)
invisibility: makes user invisible to sight (ingested/touch, duration)
love: falls in love with the next person they see or hear, your choice (ingested, permanent)
luck: next roll+Grace hits at 10+ (ingested, duration)
persuasiveness: next roll+Moxie hits at 10+ (ingested, duration)
poison, paralytic: target becomes insensate and immobile (one dose, applied, instant)
poison, sleep: causes target to fall asleep (one dose, applied, instant)
poison, toxic: causes 3 Damage to target (one dose, applied/ingested, instant)
smoke oil: produces a large cloud of smoke that lingers if there is now wind, attempts to Sneak in the area of the smoke become Adept
sweet water: when added to another liquid, purifies it and turns it into water, adding this to potions ruins them (touch, instant)
water breathing: drinker can breathe water as if it were air (ingested, duration)

+instant: takes effect immediately
+permanent: makes a permenent change to the drinker
+duration: Oracle moves trigger expiration, player gets a warning before the effect is about to expire
+weak: potion could expire at any time, or has a lesser effect (e.g. healing potion only heals 1 Damage, love potion gets duration, luck potion hits at 7-9, etc.)
+applied: as in, applied to a weapon
+ingested: must be consumed to be of use
+touch: effect is triggered upon contact

When another PC asks for a potion and you give it to them for free, you get +1 Bond with them.
When you successfully make a potion and then sell it to an NPC, you get 1 Experience.

EQUIPMENT: you get
• Alchemy Bag
• a horse
• 1 practical weapon
• 1 Gold
• fashion suitable to your role, including at your option a piece worth 1 Armor (you detail)


• hammer (Damage:2 hand)
• handaxe (Damage:2 hand messy)
• mace (Damage:3 hand)
• quarterstaff (Damage:2 hand reach)
• sap (Damage:2 hand ko )

Tell everyone to mark you at a Bond of 0.
Whatever numbers they tell, give it -1 because you try not to get too attached.
Additionally, you may ask "Which of you is a close friend and has seen everything that I've seen?" add +2 to whoever says they are (instead of -1).

Friday, March 25, 2016

faeries, elementals, and golems

Golems are animated pieces of matter, propelled by a spirit that is controlled by a wizard who created the golem.
Elementals are spirits attuned to a particular element who take the form of that element when they are summoned.
Faeries are corporeal spirits who are attuned to the land, the air, or the forest.
But what if they were all the same type of creature?

So, elemental planes don't exist, and neither do faeries or the fey court, but somebody could certainly create a golem and they would need to enslave a spirit in order for that golem to animate.

spirits of wind and air

The spirits are everywhere. They are literally made of air, and formed from each exhaled breath of the sleeping god, whose name has been forgotten and whose tomb has never been located. Each spirit is born of a god's dream, and so each spirit is different, but all share the same qualities. They are naturally invisible, formless, virtually immortal, and can travel great distances very quickly.

These spirits hover around people who show great magical prowess. They are still connected with the sleeping god, and they believe they are spies for him, so they send him messages about what is happening in the world and who is doing what, and his dreams catch these messages which causes him to exhale more spirits.

The spirits of wind and air are small, but usually travel together in large packs. They can work together to draw air out of the lungs of anyone they see as an obstacle. They are fearless, for the most part, but if someone does manage to inflict harm upon them they immediately turn tail and flee, while remembering to inform their sleeping god of the one who was able to hurt them.

spirits of form
These spirits are just like the ones made of air, but they choose to possess the living or take form out of inanimate matter. The most common spirits of this nature are the Dirt Pugs, small dogs that appear to be made of rock and mud. Some of the more complex and knowledgeable spirits can take on elaborate forms, and lay intricate plans. If the form they take is destroyed then the spirit still exists, though possibly weaker and will take some time assembling a new body. If a possessing spirit loses its host to death, then it can simply move to a new host.

spirit, enslaved
A skilled magical practitioner can summon one of these spirits and forcibly house it within an object. When a magician creates a golem or similar construct using one of these spirits as its animus, these spirits become slaves to the will of the magician. They serve their magicians fearlessly, but fight relentlessly to free themselves of their prisons.

Monday, March 7, 2016

backstory: The town of Waker Field is run by a blind child prophetess named Matilda, or rather, by the cult that worships her.

action: Quarantine was being chased by three gang members, the Foxgloves, and one Foxglove blindfired at the player from around a corner, the Quarantine rolled an 8 on Act Under Fire. I offered him three options:

• blindfire hits you, but you can pop a shot off at the guy’s hand too

• blindfire doesn’t hit you, but you’re still exposed

• blindfire doesn’t hit you, but it hits an innocent bystander instead

He chose the third option, and in my notes I wrote “who is the bystander?”

consequence: The innocent bystander was Matilda’s father. Now the Quarantine can’t figure out why the cult hates him and considers him a public menace, the drug dealer he works for is suddenly fighting off the Foxglove gang as well as being pressured by the cult to give up the Quarantine.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

How to Not Die

This is, word for word, an email I sent to one of my players after several sessions ended in Total Party Kills. A couple of their characters were very close to dying during this particular adventure and all of it could have been prevented with the advice below.

You're searching an ancient wizard's tower on the fringes of the desert, far from civilization and unable to recruit additional help. This tower has harpies and lizardmen and a manticore and possibly other even more dangerous encounters waiting to be discovered, enemies so dangerous that a group of inexperienced adventurers like yourself will likely all die attempting to explore the place. What can you possibly do to avoid dying horribly?

Be knowledgeable.
Always talk with the locals. Sometimes the local bartender knows a tale or two about previous explorers of that dangerous tower. If the bartender doesn't know then maybe the farmers on the edge of town know somebody who got close to the place. Maybe there's a hermit camping at the oasis just half a day away from the tower. Always find the people living nearby and ask them what they know. If they don't know anything then maybe it's written down. Check with a sage and see if they have a scroll or a book that describes the tower. Visit a cartographer and ask to see a map of the region, maybe there's a clue written onto the map he shows you, or maybe he knows a thing or two himself. Even if what you learn isn't entirely accurate, knowing an obviously false rumor can still improve your chances of survival.

Be quiet.
Walk to the edge of town, find a nice secluded spot, sit down on the grass and close your eyes. Yes, I'm telling YOU to do this, not your character. Depending on how you interpreted "edge of town" you can either hear cars whizzing past or you can hear the faint echo of motors traveling along asphalt. Even if you're sitting at home, simply close your eyes and listen, you might be astonished at what you can hear within the ambient noise of your neighborhood. Sound travels, and the faster you move the farther the sound reaches. Now back to your character. Whenever you think there might be wild animals, dangerous locals, or monsters nearby then you should focus on being silent. Rampaging through that wizard's tower, smashing cupboards and flipping over tables with no regard for who or what might hear you can lead to you getting yourself killed, and anybody else who decided to follow you too. All creatures are attracted to sound and very often they will search out noises made by careless adventurers like yourself. On the flip side, you should be trying to listen for the sounds of nearby monsters whenever you can. This allows you to take careless enemies by surprise or even allows you to avoid a monster you'd rather not face altogether.

Be cautious.
Exploring that wizard's tower slowly will allow you to explore it cautiously. Search everything, there might be secret doors along the walls, those chests may have false bottoms, and there might be a monster lurking on the ceiling of that room you're about to enter. Utilizing these secrets can also help you secure the treasures of this wizard's tower, if you find a closet that can only be opened by pressing two different tiles on the opposing wall then securing your valuables in that closet allows you to safeguard them for a later return. If you must make camp while you're exploring, do so from a distance. A secure vantage point that allows you to scout the tower from a distance before you even enter is best. Spend a day there and then you can learn if there's regular traffic, perhaps those lizardmen only come out at night, maybe they never venture farther than the first floor of the tower, and maybe they use a signal to let their brethren know they're coming back from a hunt. Spying on the enemy falls back onto the first rule and helps you to be better prepared. If you can hide a secure camp near your target that means you also have a good place to retreat to if the need arises.

Be safe.
Follow these rules, in the order presented, and you will greatly enhance your chances of survival. And if you don't think you can defeat a particular creature, then run away. Come back with friends, return with an army if you have to, but make sure you survive first. The treasure can wait if you can't carry it all in one trip.