Sunday, June 30, 2019

Hey Dave! this is Dark Souls

My brother asked me to explain Dark Souls to him, I told him I'd make a video explaining the basics - here it is:

Monday, June 17, 2019

some Hot Springs Island bullshit

I never explained who the players' characters are:

Zora is a Chaotic Human Fighter, she signed up as a mercenary with the Martell Company to spy on their operations and she wants to find some precious elven relics before she tries to leave the island

Allmah is a Neutral Human Thief, she was sentenced to work for the Martell Company to pay for her crimes back in the city (a 9 year sentence), she and Zora kept each other alive during the war and Zora helped her escape her chains when their ship wrecked upon the island, she hopes she can leave the island with enough wealth to never work another day in her life

Diera is a Good Human Magic-User, she signed up as a mercenary with the Martell Company because her cousin, Zora, had as well, she she hopes to find powerful magic on the island which she can claim for her own use

One of our "heroes," Zora, decided she wanted to burn down the glade of pine trees swarming with bees. She snuck off in the morning with her Lava Rug to burn the glade down and immediately stumbled across a nest of vyderac seekers and swarmers. She used the Lava Rug to roll over the swarmers and it protected her from the seekers well enough, but she still got bit through her boots and the seeker dust made her hands go numb, causing her to drop the rug as soon as she made it to the glade. She soon learned the bees will extinguish fires fairly quickly, and they can overwhelm vyderac seekers. After reconnecting with the others, they decided to move their camp closer to the glade.

During the hours of traveling back and forth between the shoreline and the glade, Allmah crossed paths with an earth imp named Gode, who seemed very curious as to why humans have returned to the island. She answered all of his questions and explained about the Martell Company and the lizardmen and salamanders she had encountered. Gode corrected her, "Well, actually, those are the Goa and they're very unfriendly." and "Well, actually, those are the Fuegonauts and they're really stupid."

Zora insisted on exploring around the glade and they found a ruined hilltop that Gode was reluctant to approach. He claimed there were more elementals like him living there and they were cheats and liars. Zora ignored his prattling and walked down the only stairwell amongst the ruins to find a gambling den filled with steam and fire creatures, all drinking and gambling, and being super annoyed that another earth imp, Gode, had arrived. The bartender bet each of the humans one gold bar that they wouldn't be able to get the earth elementals to leave, and Zora took the bet. She talked to the other earth imp, Grine, for a very short period of time before he agreed to follow her. As they left the gambling den, they found there were already steam imps at the top of the stairs with gold bars. This was not so much a bet as it was a payoff. The steam imps helped construct a ship for the humans to sail of the island and then returned to the den, asking the humans not to return with their two "friends."

They moved the second ship, a very simple but large rowboat, closer to their pirate skiff along the shore, then proceeded back into the jungle where they found a copper arch standing in a pond of white lilies. Allmah swam through the pond and found an ornate golden box with a strip of perfectly preserved and tattooed skin inside - nobody could read the runes etched into it. Diera proceeded to study the archway, and they were soon approached by lizardmen who held their hands up peacefully. Some tense conversation led to an understanding that these were Arva, "good lizard people" as Diera put it, and they wanted to know what the arch did. When Diera concluded her study, she shared her knowledge with them: a teleportation gate that required a chime to operate.

"I bet that chime is in the gambling den!" said Zora. The party returned to camp resolved to explore the gambling den, and at the very least attempt to steal the elemental core that dominated the archway over the bar.

Some DMing note:
At first the players thought that Gode was cute, but I emphasized that his questions are tedious, never stop, and are potentially hazardous. "So your hair just gets longer every day? Can you feel it? How can you not feel your hair? are there other parts of your body you can't feel? Does it hurt when I poke you like this? How about here? How about like this?"

Describing the gambling hall, the House of Tranquility, was difficult but I think I pulled it off well enough for the players to understand that this place is part of an elemental society built upon elven ruins. One of Diera's INT checks revealed that these imps weren't summoned, they came here on their own - now she's wondering if there are portals to find on the island. When I described the gray core in the bar, table talk immediately turned to "how can we steal this thing?!" and it became a focal point for returning to the den.

While reading the description of the Arva I realized that their motivation of not wanting "any non-Arva to know who or what their leader is" was not going to work. There didn't seem to be any other way for me to have the players hear the name 'Damadar Deodan' so I ignored this motivation and had them be very open about it, even bragging about how powerful he was. I also really like the character of Damadar Deodan so I placed him in hex 19-03, because why the hell not? It gives the Arva a place to congregate to after they explore, and it's close enough to the bathhouse that Damadar might ask some adventurers to go find the source of power the Arva sense there.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Kamutra, the Umbral Drake

Kamutra was once an ancient dragon, obsessed with extending his own life he explored every possible avenue to fins the secret to immortality. He imprisoned his own kind and discovered ways of inflicting magics and curses, documenting the effects they had. Kamutra pursued the only method he knew to extend his own life, by consuming the blood of his fellow dragons, though this had despoiled his body and he found himself growing more despondent with each passing year.

Kamutra was fortunate to cross paths with and befriend Sanglorious'es child, Aspehnen, and they discovered the two shared a connection within dreams, able to converse whenever both were asleep. With the help of Aspehnen and her brother Verlamm, Kamutra developed advanced magics and skills within dreams, researching a way to transpose his physical form into dreams in order to become truly immortal. There was only one catch: in order to live forever Kamutra would have to ensure that there were always dreamers.

After toiling for an age, Kamutra finally achieved his goal of immortality through the creation of dreamwalkers. However, the transposition did not come without a price. As the dragon retreated into dreams, his desires and passion became muted and insubstantial, his mind became as mercurial and unfocused as a dream. Kamutra would probably have tried to escape, but he had so committed himself to traversing dreams that in the end he became one. Eternally trapped within dreams, Kamutra flew far and wide across dreams to teach the art of dreamwalking to any who might dream deeply enough to catch his attention.


Prime Requisite: Charisma (minimum 9, opt.)
Hit Dice: d6
Weapons: Any
Armor: Any
Saves: as Fighter

Dream Magic
Spells must be selected when the character first enters sleep. The maximum number of spells active is equal to the Dreamwalker's charisma modifier (minimum of 1). Spells have effects upon waking the next morning.

connect to others through dreams

Effect: The Dreamwalker can link to a number of PCs and NPCs dreams equal to their level, these connections must be made with people the Dreamwalker has at least met face to face. While awake, the Dreamwalker can recall knowledge of or have communicated with the PC or NPC. This knowledge can be used to receive bonuses for skill checks, or supplant the character's knowledge with information they might not have access to in the waking world. For example, linking to a priest from a secluded monastery might bestow knowledge of the layout inside the monastery.

acquire skill in waking world from dreams

Effect: The Dreamwalker can learn a skill, at the maximum for their level, for use in the waking world. The knowledge of this skill is lost upon entering sleep again, unless the Dreamwalker continues to use this spell to acquire the same skill.

Armor of Sleep
dream-realized armor in the waking world

Effect: In the waking world, the Dreamwalker's body manifests a shadowy armor that pushes away enemies and protects the Dreamwalker from harm. Any damage received is reduced by a number of points equal to the Dreamwalker's level, to a minimum of 1 damage.

Umbral Ally
summons dream ally into waking world

Effect: Upon waking, the Dreamwalker has a shadowy ally that follows them obediently and without question or hesitation. The ally has half the HP of the Dreamwalker (round down), but otherwise has the same stats for combat purposes. The ally disappears if their HP are reduced to zero or when the Dreamwalker sleeps again.

Dreamed Weapon
conjures dream weapon into waking world

Effect: The Dreamwalker awake with a shadowy, wispy weapon of their choosing. It cannot be broken and leave their hand unless the Dreamwalker wills it. As soon as the weapon is put down it begins to fade into nothing (in 1d6+1 rounds) unless the Dreamwalker picks it back up.

Mass of Nightmares
surrounds dreamer with nightmares pulled from dreams, can be used as weapons or armor

Effect: Upon waking a number of Nightmares equal to their level hovers around the Dreamwalker's head, these wispy orbs of darkness can only be seen by someone who gets within 15 feet of the Dreamwalker, otherwise it appears as if an aura of darkness surround the Dreamwalker, though actual light around them is unaffected. Each Nightmare has 1d6 HP, and the Dreamwalker can dispatch one as a weapon to inflict damage equal to it's HP. A single Nightmare can be sacrificed to bestow Disadvantage to an attack against the Dreamwalker.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Hot Pirate Island

The players in this game are all women. I feel like I should point that out before I mention that the first thing they did in the second session is seduce the last surviving pirate into having a lesbian orgy with them. It feels like not a lot happened in this session, but there WAS quite a bit of character development. Its difficult to remember in-game conversations, but they definitely spent a lot of time discussing what they wanted to do and what their goals are. My players also don't have a lot of experience with rules so I'm sort of keeping the nuts and bolts rules secret but just offering a lot of options and trying to make "Yes, you can (do that) if you (do this) first" statements. I'm essentially using an Apocalypse World 'success/partial success/miss' kind of roll for everything, but the players always roll a d20.

They had dumped the bodies of the dead pirates into the water of the cove, and the blood attracted some salamanders - Fuegonauts. The salamanders attempted to capture them, but the magic-user in the group, Diera Fireflame, cast a spell called Song of the Poisonous Memory. Diera Fireflame has been having bad luck with her magic, she keeps failing to cast a spell and the magic twists and warps into ways she doesn't intend. So far she has inadvertently and unintentionally possessed a magic club, sent a charm spell backwards in time to convince a hive of bees that she's their queen, turned her eyes into black inky portals to the Abyss (she can still see with them), turned all insects within 100 feet into geniuses, and that's just what I can remember. She finally cast a spell successfully, and infected the salamander brains with brain aneurysms, causing them all to die instantly. Later, she would do the same to a swarm of giant centipedes.

They spent a few days resting, brewing poison, identifying magic items, and converting the pirate cove into a base of operations, then sailed around the southern tip of the island in search of elven ruins. Their surly and rude warrior, Zora Lieng, had come to the island in search of elven relics and their new ex-pirate lover indicated that ancient elven ruins could be found in that direction. After landing on a centipede-infested beach, they made camp and explored for a few hours, finding a grove of trees with massive beehives. Zora has decided to destroy the trees, but it's getting late and so they returned to camp.

1st-level spell
Song of the Poisonous Memory
range: 30 feet
Wisdom saving throw negates
failure = target takes 2d6 damage, damage ignores armor and cannot be reduced in any way, only affects creatures with brains
1st-level spell, cast at higher level to affect more targets (each level adds +1 target)
if rolling for spell, a critical success turns the spell into an area effect (a DCC spell might also increase damage or be able to affect non-brained creatures with a high enough roll!)

Saturday, June 1, 2019

June 2019 - writing is editing

My job has been exhausting and I have ended up having less time for my hobbies. I only play video games about once a week, and I don't even check my email until the end of the week. I've also run into the problem of constantly trying to reschedule my own tabletop gaming due to everyone's conflicting work schedules. I don't really know how to simplify some of these complications, and I'm inclined not to think too hard about them. My job pays well, and when I'm asked to do extra work I jump at the chance, for now.

I have been writing scant new material, but I have been rewriting a few things I posted on this blog over the years. I guess the correct word is editing. I should have called this blog Rough Draft, because I usually just spout off a bunch of ideas or nonsense that I come up with and I only check to make sure it's coherent before I hit the publish button. Lately I've been going through old posts about Kosranon and editing them.

For example, I looked at this:
The Masadhi are an oddly private race of grotesquely misshapen mystics who feel compelled to constantly travel from one place to another. They are revered for their insights by most of the other cultures they come into contact with.

and it became this:
The Masadhi are a race of grotesque nomadic mystics, revered by most others for their prophetic insights.

There were unnecessary words, and I end up keeping the description while leaving more open to personal interpretation.

The edit of that first sentence looks like this:
The Masadhi are an oddly private race of grotesquely misshapen mystics who feel compelled to constantly travel from one place to another (replace with nomadic). They are revered for their (+prophetic) insights by most of the other cultures they come into contact with.

Stephen King says that he cuts about 10% of everything he writes, and I'm definitely no Stephen King because I'm cutting about half of my words.

Aos talks about self-publishing here and I have to admit that right now, I have no art budget. I've been handwaving it in my head that I will start commissioning art when I have a finished draft that I'm comfortable publishing but I'm also not saving money for it. I have bills to pay and debts to eliminate before I can consider putting any of my money aside. I set up a patreon page before they hiked their pricing, but I don't know if I even want to use patreon. For now I'm just focusing on writing and drawing maps when I have the time and energy to do so.