2017. június 25., vasárnap

[Actual Play] Barbarians of the Dead Wastes #2 [LotFP]

(c) Philippe Druillet

This week we resumed our barbaric sword & sorcery game.

The Fighter (Max) and the Magic-User (Hiram) rested a bit, bandaged their NPC friend, the Specialist (Ludwig), then decided to venture deeper. The next level of the tower was partially "flooded" with earth through the windows (as the tower sank into the ground). When the PCs passed by, tendrils burst from the window openings and paralyzed the Magic-User. The Fighter cut him free with his ax (true barbarian style), then they ran into a tunnel through a collapsed part of the wall.

They ended up in a small cave system, formed by collapsed buildings, rocks, etc., the ruins of a sunken ancient city. Most of these tunnels were now inhabited by fungi and yellow fluorescent slugs. They found the skeleton of a humanoid, albeit with the head of a crocodile, squashed under a fallen block of stone. They took the skull, because why not. Further down they found a small room, which used to be the crocodile-creature's sleeping place. A different tunnel took the players to a cavern with a subterranean lake. On the other side of the lake they saw the facade of a magnificent building.

Unwilling to enter the water, the Magic-User used Spider Climb to cross the ceiling and fix a rope to the facade. I described the effect of the spell as something akin to the "spiderwalk" scene from The Exorcist. The Magic-User's contorted body creeped out the Fighter big time.

Magic is weird.

Behind the facade they found an ancient archive, with racks full of baked clay tablets.

The shimmering stroboscopic figures from sessions #1 started to appear again, this time for longer periods. Then the players entered a big hall, which had an altar of sorts, with a big pulsating crystal in the middle. Standing next to this crystal, the ephemeral (almost holographic?) people could maintain their visibility in this world...

These ghastly figures turned out to be the last echoes of the ancient city, kept "alive" by the crystal's force. They communicated telepathically with the PCs, and were bent on keeping them underground, to ease their isolation... They launched a nerve-wrecking mental assault, when the characters tried to remove the crystal. In the end, they managed to come to terms, and the Magic-User vowed to re-create the crystal altar somewhere else, before it gets destroyed under the ruins of the ancient city. 

The players will now return to their hometown. To be continued.

(c) Doug Kovacs

2017. június 17., szombat

[Actual Play] Barbarians of the Dead Wastes #1 [LotFP]

(c) Kevin Hou

Just a quick report...

Played with two friends - one of the with some experience, the other totally new to RPGs. We share a love of Conan, horrors & experimental metal so we settled upon a sword & sorcery type game.

I rolled up some pre-gen characters for them. They picked a Fighter and a Magic-User. The pre-gen Specialist was brought in as an NPC, to round out the party. To make introductions quicker, and to be able to show as varied an experience as possible, we agreed that the characters already know each other, and that they are adventurers / treasure hunters. They live in a city called Agad, which is situated right next to the Dead Wastes, an ever-changing land of sand, rocks, monsters and ruins.

They ventured into the Wastes after hearing a rumor about a recent storm clearing out a patch of volcanic sand and revealing an ancient ruin. They found the ruin, which turned out to be (at least its visible part) a hemisphere buried in the ground. Unfortunately, their rivals, a small group of adventurers led by Tarsus the Rat got their first. We spent some time making up a story about Tarsus, who used to work together with the players, then betrayed them. The players hid behind a rock and decided to let the Rat enter the ruin first. Then they followed into the building a bit later. The structure turned out to be the top tier of a huge tower, an ancient structure, which had either sunk into the ground, or was buried by sandstorms.

(c) SolFar

The players explored the first room, found some artifacts, then eventually encountered the rival party. One thing led to another, and it all turned into a bloody and quite deadly fight, with all the rivals dead, the Specialist reduced to 0, and the Fighter and M-U both reduced to just 1 HP. During the combat scene, all characters experienced something weird: shining humanoid figures blinking in and out of existence in the peripheral vision...

We stopped here. It was a fun session, something we will continue next week.

2017. június 6., kedd

2017. június 5., hétfő

Dark Magic in New Orleans: Death on the Bayou

Long time, no post... But that's how it usually goes.

I'm always on the look-out for swampy RPG stuff, and came across an interesting piece, Dark Magic in New Orleans: Death on the Bayou, by Randy Richards, published in Dungeon (#71). It's an adventure for Mask of the Red Death, the 1890s century Ravenloft / Gothic Earth setting.

The players are thrown into the murky waters of voodoo, alligators, and ritual murders.

Marie Laveau

The usual suspects are present: the adventure's background draws heavily on historical Voodoo practitioners such as Marie Laveau and Doctor John, who also seems to be channeling Dr. Curt Connors / Lizard from Spiderman... albeit he relies on dark magic, not science.

I even found an Actual play of this on youtube, by people who can be familiar from the Fantastic Dimensions roster. Ran using LotFP.

2017. február 7., kedd

[Actual Play] A Field in Lorraine #1 [LotFP]

Recently I've ran a short session of LotFP, using ideas from A Field in Lorraine as the setting. It wasn't a spectacular session, because most players were tired after work, but we still wanted to get together and play a bit.

The characters are traumatized mercenaries in the Thirty Years' War, who are heading back home. There's a weaponsmith/engineer who was buried in a tunnel for some time (Specialist), a soldier who was burnt by quicklime (Fighter), and a mercenary who dabbles in the black arts and killed off his own platoon by summoning a demon he couldn't control (Magic-User).

The players first encountered a ruined village. One of the houses was inhabited by a lone woman, who kept everything in order and cooked meals for the characters - but it turned out that she thought that they were her long-lost husband and children. I wanted to include this small scene to emphasize the inhumane and sanity-wrecking nature of the setting.

Then the characters met two noblemen and their entourage, who turned out to be high officials of the Church, sent to investigate the case of mass stigmatization in a near-by village. The players traveled together with them to that village, then stayed at the inn for the night. The village had the heavy odor of chemicals hanging above it: the players soon learned that its source was the tannery. The locals were all discussing the miracle: the Five Sacred Wounds have appeared on the bodies of several villagers.

In the inn they were approached secretly by a local merchant (and owner of the aforementioned tannery). He said that he was afraid that the clergymen, who are also infamous witch hunters, will investigate the miracles, and then go after the rich people of the village, accusing them and their families. He said that this took place in many other places beforehand. The players agreed to move to his house and act as bodyguards while the witch hunters are in town. The next day they followed around the witch hunters a bit, while they visited the houses of stigmatized people.

We finished at this point, the session serving basically as an introduction. The tone was set as I wanted, but, of course, the lack of action is always a bad thing... Something you always have to keep in mind when GMing!

2017. január 21., szombat


There is this tendency, that I tend to play video games mostly during times when I'm SWAMPED with tons of IRL stuff and work... They are a great way to relax and to procrastinate. To write tabletop RPG-related stuff or to play, you need to be able to concentrate more; while computer games can be played for full effect even when tired.

Lately, I've been playing a game called Betrayer.

It's a first-person action/RPG hybrid, set in 17th century Colonial Virginia...

The whole game is presented in grayscale, with red accents. It seems kinda gimmicky, but it really adds to the whole atmosphere. There is an option to colorize the graphics, but I prefer the original b&w world (you can tune the dark & light balance, contrast, so it's not as heavy on the eyes as you would expect).

You fight using period weapons: bows, crossbows, pistols and muskets - these last two deal high damage, but reload times are very long, a nice realistic touch. Usually you only get to fire each gun once per combat...

You slowly work your way through the game world, fighting possessed Spaniards and flaming Savage Braves (this game is 'colonial' in many ways...), investigate clues scattered around the map, try to learn what kind of evil possesses the land. Sometimes you have to enter into the shadow worlds, a dark parallel dimension, which allows you to interact with the flipside of this horrorshow. In this mode, you can cleanse objects and chat with the spirits of the deceased.

Quite an engaging game, overall, so I really recommend it.