Since I started playing Dungeons & Dragons back there in 1987 I've had many characters. With some of them I played long-term campaigns and with others just a few sessions. With time I started playing other games than D&D. This blog is dedicated to all of them and the hours of fun we've had together. Here they are along with other musings...
Grappling attacks are made against an opponent using the standard modifiers applicable to melee combat, including attribute and magical bonuses if any. If a grapple attack is successful, the opponent is now considered held. A successful grapple attack automatically results in 1 point of damage (regardless the number of attackers) to the target.
Also multiple opponents may attempt to grapple one opponent. For each additional grappler, add a +1 to attack roll of the main attacker. If the grapple attack is successful, then all grapplers are said to have a hold on the target. Always consider the main attacker the one with the highest level. In the round following a successful grapple, the grappler(s) may attempt to force them prone with a successful attack. The multiple opponents bonus also applies.
A held combatant may attempt to free himself in the next round by rolling a successful attack roll. They suffer a -1 penalty per grappler having a hold. If they are prone, they additionally suffer the normal -4 to the attack. A held combatant may not perform any other combat action or movement than attempt to free himself.
Since size matters in grappling attacks or freeing attempts, you may want to also consider these modifiers:
If an attacker is Small, they have +0 versus other Small, -2 versus Medium, -4 versus Large.
If an attacker is Medium, they have +2 versus Small, +0 versus Medium, -2 versus Large
If an attacker is Large, they have +4 versus Small, +2 versus Medium, +0 versus Large
Remember that any penalty is applied ONCE to a single die roll, and that bonuses are always cumulative.
Finally, I'd like to thank Michael "Chicagowiz" Shorten, whose own house rules were the base for this ones.
Last Friday on G+ hangout, we begun JoetheLawyer's Lamentations of the Flame Princess campaign set in a harsh and gritty world.
"You live on an island in the northern ocean. The island is divided in two, with the ocean flowing between the two halves. Most of the island rises from the ocean with no beach. The only sections of the island that actually has a beach is the area where the island is split in half. That gap between islands is perhaps 20-40 feet wide, and is full of jagged rocks. At high tide, the fishing boats are sent out, and at low tide nets are set to trap fish. At high tide again, the fishing boats come back in what whatever haul they were able to land. The island itself is in the far north, between the main island of your clan, and the islands of the hobgoblins. Still, it has some level of protection from long ship raids because no long ship is ever able to navigate the rocks or high cliffs to land. They have to anchor and send in shallow boats at high tide in that narrow strip of land between the islands to even begin to attack you. And there are lookouts to prevent such a thing. Also of note, there are several hot springs on the island. One large one in the village, a common meeting place for villagers after a hard days work, and two others across the island. Other than occasional seals, walrus, and birds of various type, there is no wildlife on the island.
Your culture is best described as Viking/Scandinavian in style. Your religious worship is defined by the clan you live in. Your clan is the Clan of the Polar Bear. The other two clans are the Winter Wolf and the Snow Leopard. You fight each other of the typical stuff- wine, women and possessions. Most often though you fight your ancestral enemies, the hobgoblins. Sometimes with other clans, sometimes alone. The hobgoblins occupy the largest island in the area, and always have, since before the time of the old gods betrayal. They are typically stronger, better sailors, and build better ships than your people. Typical ships are long ships.
The only other thing your island produces are strong clay pots and jugs. They aren't ornamental or anything, but they are strong due to the rich veins of earth from which such items can be made. The only problem is that the island has to import much wood, as it is small, and mostly deforested. Driftwood is often used. Sometimes you are able to get coal in trade."
The characters (all human) are:
Annar Svearson, a male Fighter played by Frotz.
Signy Bjornsdottr, a female Shaman of the Polar Bear played by Sarah.
Hrok, a male Magic User and "Shitty" his summoned shit monster played by Chris.
Antii Durniksson, a male Specialist played by me.
On the fist session, we finished up the characters and got acquainted with the rules and each other. There was an attack by the hobgoblins to a merchant ship arriving to the village, in which we had the chance to test the combat mechanics. Signy's roar imbued everyone in battle with the spirit of the polar bear, and so, Annar made his name as a fighter by killing several hobs, but Antti almost died in the struggle. Even though both ships were lost, we saved many from the merchant ship, defeated the hobgoblins and captured several, for future sacrifices in the hands of the shaman and magic-user.
Then we explored some ruins that were exposed after an earthquake, in which we found what was left of a magic users's laboratory, bedchambers and library. We encountered some flame-eyed skeletons in what looked like a summoning chamber (lead-covered ). "Shitty" died here so Hrok had to summon another being. I thought this would be the end of our characters, but the dices aligned and he managed to control the creature. We survived the first session.
On Tuesday night we ventured into "The Core", a megadungeon set inside a (dormant?) volcano created by +Chris Kusel.
On the first foray it was just Finloss, a half elven fighter/thief level 1/1 (AD&D ), and his henchmen Orion, a 1st level human enchanter (3.5e). Since Chris was using Castle & Crusades plus some D&D/Hackmaster tweaks, it was not a problem the characters were from different editions.
As far as we know, there are two possible entrances to "The Core", a main entrance through a temple and a "backdoor" through a lava chute. We decided to take the last one. This natural chute went down and deep into the mountain, until it became clear it has been worked out. Doors and side corridors appeared. Ignoring a door on the left of the main tunnel, we took a side corridor to the right until we reached a door. Finloss listened and heard voices on the other side. Anticipating trouble Orion casted Mage Armor on himself. Then Finloss yanked the door open and surprised 3 humans playing cards and drinking around a table. Orion casted Sleep and they fell into a deep slumber. They were quickly stripped of armor, weapons and other possessions, then tied and gagged. They are bore a symbol resembling fangs which identified a demonic cult responsible for several attacks and disappearances in the surrounding area. That was enough reason to slain them in their sleep.
A door led to another room which contained the beds and trunks of the guards. We rummaged through their belongings taking any valuable. Another door opened into a more lavishly furnished room. A stand with a book and a padlocked trunk stood out. Finloss easyly opened the lock but suspecting the trunk trapped, opened it carefully and a dart shot from inside, missing him. In the trunk he found a couple of potions, a silver circlet wrappend in cloth, and a pouch of coins. Orion inspected the book which resulted to be a spellbook! We grabbed all these things and before leaving spiked a door that exited the room with a dagger. We took the bundles with armor and weapons from the guards and quickly left the place.
On our way out we encountered some strange red round creatures, two feet wide, several eyes, a pair of appendages they used to crawl, and a maw full of pointy teeth. When they closed to melee Orion casted Burning Hands and they exploded damaging both Finloss and Orion. The pair of adventurers now badly wounded rushed out of the dungeons praying they didn't encounter anyone on their way back to town.
They reached the nearby town safely, and spent several days healing their wounds, and selling and inspecting their loot. The spellbook had wizard spells Sleep, Identify, Tenser Floating Disc, Jump and MagicMissile. The next day he casted Identify on the circlet, which resulted to be a Circlet of Persuasion. The potions were of Cure Light Wounds and Invisibility. After that they were ready for a second incursion.
This time they were joined by a redheaded elven 4th level fighter named Etan. The trio went again into the dungeons through the "backdoor" entrance. They went to the same place they've been on the previous foray. Finloss listened at the door and heard voices. Orion sent his rat under the door but it came back scurrying, so the party left and went back to the main tunnel.
The tunnel widened like a funnel with corridors that opened left and right. They checked the first on the left. It went straight and led to two sets of double doors. Theone on the right were of polished metal with no hinges or handles. The one on the left were wooden and richly carved. These opened into a huge domed amphitheater. We descended the terraces and upon reaching what would be the stage level Finloss found a secret door. He crawled into a tight space and came behind the curtain into a place full of ropes, pulleys and counterweights and two one-way secret doors opened back into the amphitheater.
On the stage there were two doors one on each side. Etan listened at one and heard nothing. Finloss listened at the other and heard some rustles. The party prepared to open it, Etan at the front with shield and sword, Finloss from second rank with his spear and Orion behind ready after casting Mage Armor on himself. Inside of what used to be a dressing room, there were four masked humanoids that slowly advanced towards the door. They all fell under Etan's sword, Finloss's spear and Orion's Magic Missile and Ray of Frost. Nothing of value there, but in the other dressing there were some jewels (ring, earrings and bracelet) to be found, and hidden among the clothes a spear engraved with runes. The group left and decided to inspect the metal doors that, when pushed sideways open easily. The room was also metallic and on one wall there was a triangular indentation.
Back in the main corridor, the party explored the next passage on the left. It led to an octagonal room with a big diamond in the center. Everyone smelled trap and left the diamond alone, but searched the room finding two secret doors. Exploring one of them, they found a corridor that had two doors at the end. One room was empty, but in the other 6 skeletons were guarding 3 teak wood trunks, so combat ensued. The undead were soon but a pile of bones, and the party dragged the trunks full of silver to the main passage.
They were at it when up ahead, a couple of hobgoblins emerged from the wall! They commanded the party to surrender but Etan ignored and tauntingly turned her back on them. The hobs took the bait and charged. Etan turned and fired a couple of arrows at them. On fell on the spot and the other, wounded, turned to flee. Another arrow flew and the creature fell. Upon inspection the group found they were carrying a sealed bag with coins. The seal bore the fangs of the cult. It was then that Finloss came with a plan: impersonate the hobgoblins and take the bag to the guards to catch them off-guard.
So they did, and when the guards opened, Orion casted Sleep on them. This time all fell except one, so Etan fired an arrow at him, hitting, and Finloss charged with his spear, missing. The guard took his mace and attacked Finloss hitting him really hard. Etan interposed between them and attacked the guard, almost killing him. He surrendered, so they bound and gagged him. They then stripped all of weapons, armor and possessions, and killed the sleeping guards. Finloss drank the Potion of Cure Light Wounds, and the group left dragging the trunks behind.
Once in town they delivered the prisoner, a cleric of the cult, to the authorities and claimed the reward. Inspecting all the loot, the bracelet and spear were magic, a Bracelet of Shadows (+2 AC) and a Spear of Pinning.
Gaming as Women is running an experiment on G+ about how we got into role playing games.
1) What's the first RPG you ever played?
It was AD&D 1e in 1987.
2) How did you get involved in that game?
At that time I was in highschool and some classmates were already going through the Temple of Elemental Evil. Some of the guys weren't able to play at that time and they asked another friend and I if we wanted to join the game. Since then I never stopped playing.
3) What about your first game made you want to play again?
By then I was already into fantasy, reading Lord of the Rings books, and the game allowed me to actually play in a similar setting, taking imagination to another level. But above all, it was another chance to hang out and have fun with friends, and also meet new people.
"If the eight virtues of Honesty, Compassion, Valor, Justice, Sacrifice, Honor, Spirituality, and Humility mean anything to you, then today's announcement that BioWare is launching a revamped version of Ultima IV probably means something to you as well.
Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar promises to be a "lovingly restored" version of the 1985 original that will be free to play on the PC and iPad, with cross-platform support allowing for cooperative play between the two platforms. Players will take over for a fighter or a mage on a quest retold with what the press release calls "trademark BioWare storytelling." We suppose this means a lot of dialogue choices, most of which lead to the same point via a slightly different route.
Development is being handled by BioWare Mythic, the team behind Dark Age of Camelot, but EA's Paul Barnett told Massivelythe game is not an MMO. He compared the title to single-player and small-group RPGs like Baldur's Gate and Dragon Age, instead. As for monetization, the team plans to primarily sell vanity items like "golden galleons" and "bigger hot air balloons" to make up for giving away the basic game. "We don't keep poking you for cash; we just leave you alone," he said, no doubt to the relief of many.
What follows is Greg Chrstopher's recap as posted in G+:
"[Alex] avoided a TPK last night. [His] character survived by going back to town with a cough. "
"First, they tried to go aggro on the ghouls again. This resulted in Gerardo being shot at point blank range by two guys with shotguns. He survived only by the grace of metal armor. But he was captured, along with Gabriel, and the door was closed again. Gabriel was offered a deal to go south and kill some farmers, if he did that they would release Gerardo after he healed up from his wounds (they treated him).
So they went south, pretended to be nice to the farmers, got a warm meal, and then had a whispered conversation on the porch about killing all the farmers. They didn't realize one of the farmer's kids was under the porch until he tossed a grenade up there.
Ray grabbed the grenade but couldn't throw it in time. He was reduced to a bloody mess with 1 hp. Gabriel opened the door into the house, unloaded a full clip and hit only... 1 dude. For 4 damage, which was stopped by armor. So.... Gabriel took a barrage of fire from 8 people and was critically wounded. Then Jason, sensing he was about to die, threw Ray's broken body over his shoulder and ran to the end of the porch. The chief farmer came around the corner with a shotgun and dropped him, killing Ray with the splash damage.
Then, standing over the two wounded PCs, he said....
"Bobby, go fire up the woodchipper".
And then the session ended.
Well, it ended after I described Gerardo getting a fighter jet that the ghouls had in their base up and running, but he crashed it into the ground. There is an inside joke there, but I have written enough here for now :)"
"Returning from the jousting fields of Harflur, Nick the Pike again joined Kellan and Gimli in cleaning out the caves and corridors under Castle Zagyg. Much of the time was spent mapping out areas that had been previously skipped, and most of these areas had recently been cleaned out. The adventurers that the group had chased into the elves’ cave seem to have survived. Finding a back entrance into the elves’ cave Kellan and Gimli checked what the elves had in stock. It turns out it was some fairly impressive items, including one that I don’t even want to mention. According to the elves most of the items had been traded in/sold to the by the other adventurers! The party was in utter shock and disbelief that the other adventurers would sell such a potent item…
After a relatively uneventful day spent mapping out empty corridors, they returned to the castle via the canyon path. The sounds of battle caught their ears as they approached the gate. The goblins standing guard yelled out that adventurers had broken into the castle! Opening the gate the party rushed in to see a gnome illusionist, a human wizard, two plate armored fighters, and a plate armored cleric. Kellan cast Fear, causing one of the fighters to flee, while Nick tossed his Javelin of Lightening, dropping the gnome and injuring the cleric. Kip shot an arrow, hitting the wizard. Gimli poisoned his war hammer.
In return the wizard dropped a massive fireball on the party, killing the goblins and men-at-arms, and seriously injuring the party. The cleric attempted to blind Kellan, but he shrugged darkness off. The remaining fighter positioned himself between the party and his spellcasters. Nick and Gimli charged at the fighter who fended off their blows. Kellan blinded the enemy fighter while Kip slipped around stabbing the wizard.
Again seizing the initiative, the enemy cleric blinded Kellan, and the wizard held Gimli. Kip skewered the wizard, while Kellan conjured a goblin hero to attempt to rally the terrified goblin defenders of the castle. Unfortunately the fact that Kellan was blind caused the phantasmal goblin to alternately float several inches above the ground, or sink knee deep into it. Nick pushed past the blinded fighter, sinking his ax deep into the cleric who dropped his mace and fell to his knees in surrender. The fighter and cleric were stripped, bound, and interrogated.
The captured adventurers told the party that they returned their treasure to the town, hence their lack of gold. It was decided that the blind fighter would be escorted back to the town to get ransom for the cleric and for the removal of the blindness. When after 3 days the fighter did not return, the cleric was executed and given to the remaining goblins."
Last Tuesday (July 3rd) night we continued playtesting +Greg Chistopher's RUST RPG.
A tiny UAV appeared near the antenna, so Alex and I decided to follow it. It went south across Highway 40 and into some hills. It reached a small valley where it met a robot and it perched to its shoulder, then walked away until they came to what looked like a storage door on the side of a hill. The door opened and the robot entered. As the door came down we ran for it, but Alex fell behind. I entered just as the door closed behind me. Pitch black. Just the sound of the robot walking ahead. I lit a flashlight pointing down.
"What's that light?", says a voice in the dark.
I turned it down and moved to the side following the door. Footsteps approach. The sound of a lever being pulled and the door starts to open. On the outside Alex moves closer to the side of the door pistol ready. Two ghouls (like in Fallout), one with a shotgun and one with a pistol, point their weapons at me.
"Who are you? What are you doing here?", the ghoul with the shotgun asks.
"Nothing, just exploring. I followed the robot", I answer holding my hands up.
"He looks suspicious, let's take it to Ames. Got any gun?", say the other ghoul.
I slowly got my pistol out and throw it outside. BLAM! BLAM BLAM! The ghoul with the shotgun gets shot in the head and drops dead. BLAM! BLAM BLAM! The other ghoul goes down heavily wounded. I pull out my combat knife and put it on his throat.
"Drop your weapon or you are dead!", I say to the wounded ghoul.
The sound of a lever being pulled and the door starts to shut. BLAM! A shot hits near me as I roll outside. The door shuts down.
We've pissed the ghouls. Next time we'll send the guy with the fireman's axe.
Before continuing exploring the caves below Castle Zagyg, Gimli has to get a new armor, so he ordered a chain mail suit from the pirate city of Freeport. After it arrived, the party went to the see the elven traders to see what other magic items they had. Kellan and Carma bought Gimli a shield (+1) and a ring of protection (+1). Now with the dwarf properly set, the party with a group of goblins went tot clear a bat cave under one of the towers. Before the cleansing we scrapped a couple of buckets of a strange phosphorescent lichen from the walls. A net was set on the entrance to trap any fleeing bats and fire grenades thrown into the cavern ceiling. We didn't want all the guano on the floor to catch fire and explode.
Maybe it was the smoke, the smell of burnt bats or the commotion that attracted an ogre to investigate. As the goblins fled, Carma, Kip and Gimli charged at the ogre while Kellan, Grimclaw and Celmar casted spells at it. The ogre seemed to resist every spell and landed a vicious hit on Kip! Finally we managed to hit the ogre enough to make him flee, only to face an owl bear. While he two beasts fought each other we and our goblin minions threw arrows, spears, javelins and bolts at them. The owl bear killed the ogre and we killed the owl bear.
We then went off to find the ogre's lair. It was one of the many caves in the ravine surrounding the castle. This one was blocked by a heavy portcullis and led to a dungeon that connected to the orc compound we've previously explored. It's good to tie lose ends.
And at the end of the session Gimli reached level 3!
Continuing with task of clearing the caves, the party went to get rid of some snakes that were holed up in a nearby cave with a pond. As soon as we entered the cave snakes came out of the walls into the pond and begun swimming towards us. We retreated and poured the content of some alchemical grenades in the water, and set in on fire. The smoke made the snakes come out of the cave but the goblins hacked them down. We took the bodies of the snakes to the goblin shaman who managed to extract 3 doses of venom from them.
We told the goblin shaman about the grey ooze that lurked behind a secret door in his shrine. He didn't know about it, so we invited him to come along with us since we were going to kill it. Last time fire and cold didn't harmed it, so this time we took salt and goblin moonshine. Upon arrival to the place we threw that at it, but it didn't worked. It was then when Corkin took out his wand (some kind of laser gun actually, from another FLAILSNAILS game) and shot at the thing making a hole in it! He shot it again an the ooze melted away.
(At this point Corkin left)
We continued exploring the passage and it ended in a cavern with a pool of water. There were some strange mushrooms and an unconscious rat beside them. We threw the rat into the water and some snails crawled out of the water. A goblin delicatessen since they feasted on them. A sinkhole could be seen at the bottom of it about 40' down. A corridor with some stairs going up was opposite to us across the pool. We sent some goblins across and up the stairs. Soon we heard horrible cries of pain and we hurried to the spot. A couple of goblins we covered in a green slime that was eating them alive. Kellan used his wand of cold on one and Gimli threw a couple of fire grenades to the other, killing both goblins and slime. Up the stairs we found the corpses of some gnolls and following the corridor we came outside to the ravine.
Then we came back to the pool and Kellan casted invisibility to Gimli. Gimli stripped of his armor and dived for the sinkhole. A short underwater tunnel led to another cave with an iron door. He carefully opened it and some stairs going down led to an archway with runes. He closed the door and went back to inform. Soon all the party was in this new cavern. After donning his armor Gimli went exploring ahead and as soon as he reached the archway all the party was teleported to an unknown place!
The party was in a corridor in front of a door. We opened the door and we found... an armory! We took everything we could, the goblins armed themselves to their teeth and we wet exploring. At some point we killed some spiders, found a golden ring, some gnomish whiskey and half a dozen potions. Then Kellan drank a potion of treasure finding and we begun following his directions. We explored for a log time until we found 4 dwarves and 6 gnomes in a chapel to the dwarven god of gold, gems, greed, avarice, cunning and treachery. Gimli was so excited to see his kin that forgot he was invisible and ran to hug the leader. This surprised the dwarves and gnomes who drew their weapons. The spell broke and Gimli apologized for his behavior. The dwarves offered food and drink and asked for news from outside since they lived there and guarded the passage to other parts of the castle. After that Gimli made an offering to the god and on his way back noticed a secret door. It was the door that led to the treasure they were looking for! At that point the atmosphere was thick with distrust so we left.
Only to came the following day with almost two dozen goblins and attacked the dwarves and gnomes. We opened with a volley of fire grenades and javelins before charging into melee. A huge fight followed with several dead goblins, as well as all the gnomes, and all the dwarves except two. Kellan wanted to kill them but Gimli opposed, so we looted the treasure and the bodies, tied up he prisoners and left.
Gimli got a plate mail (+1), a shield (+2) and a war hammer (+2), and also loads of gold and XPs that took him right to level 5!