Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The Land of a Thousand Towers: 20 Campaign Questions – Jeff Rients style.

Jeff Rients did these 20 campaign questions to help set the stage for players without revealing too much. Brendan (Untimately) did another 20.  Gus of Dungeon of Signs gave answers for ASE to both sets of questions which I have copied across here for my players (since I'm using so much of his stuff) but I have included some answers of mine in italics.

Gus’ = normal, mine = italics.

Jeff's 20 Questions

1.             Where can we go to buy standard equipment?
All roads lead to Denethix and pretty much anything can be obtained there.  Most towns will have most standard gear, and Lugosi is known for some of the best artisans in the land.

2.             Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended?
Probably in Denethix to have that sort of work done casually.  .

3.             Who is the mightiest wizard in the land? 
The founder of Denethix, Feretha of course!  You’re new around here right?

4.             Who is the greatest warrior in the land?
Depends who you ask and what game you’re asking about Jimmy.  Captain Tyro of the fist has a deadly reputation for skill and prowess.  The barbarians up north are pretty tough, and the Gauchos of the plains have a reputation for being meaner than cut snakes.  I hear some wizard from down south wears golden armour and has a golden sword and is undefeated too.  Still, history has a few notable meat axes such as Torpo the Cannibal which make a statement like ‘greatest warrior’ hard to pin down, and when you also consider Moktars, Pug Uglies and the like, well, there’s plenty of ‘ard b’stards out there.

5.             Who is the richest person in the land?
Well the mysterious bee riding Wizard from the South Hexamacht the Apigamon appears to have an inexhaustible supply of rubies, diamonds and emeralds – that has to count for something. Otherwise some of the merchants, manufacturers and bureaucrats of Denethix are pretty wealthy.  Anyone with shares in the Bank Inviolable is likely to be sitting pretty sweet too.

6.             Where can we go to get some magical healing? 
 The Priests and Priestesses of the Orbital Gods can show you the power divine mercy if tithe a sufficient amount of coin. They sure are greedy those gods. Also the Temple of Science might be able to provide “healing” in the form of skin grafting, implants and prosthesis and such.

7.             What is the deal with my cleric's religion?

The Church of the Orbital Gods is vast – pick a deity, it likely exists – the weirder the better. There's a table I can roll on for you as well. Monstcrom, the god of dooms and felines is a personal favorite. Of course whatever petty satellite borne deity you pick, know that the others all get a piece of you as well and may/will make demands of your cleric. 

8.             Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath?  

Poison and disease the Scientists might be able to handle the rest you'll need to seek the aid of the orbital gods. Lost super-science or a friendly wizard might be a help as well.  You were getting sick of that character anyway, right.

I pronounce thee Most Sci-En-Tiffic.

7.             Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?

What? You're a magic user – you know that magic is an addiction that leads to megalomaniacal insanity right? No.

8.             Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?

Denethix is just bubbling over with skilled craftsmen and experts. More than a few skilled artisans have packed up and moved to Lugosi to get out of the scum pit that is Denethix as well.

9.             Where can I hire mercenaries?
Several bars along the streets of Lesser Men, Industrious Efforts and the Alien tend to have desperate sell swords or cater to wandering antisocial types.

Anywhere you can find them.  There may be agents in Denethix who can help you.  Have you considered slaves?

10.          Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law?
Magic isn't illegal, but you know it's a dangerous addiction, heck even a variegated eye-leech fiend knows that. The law doesn't take kindly to people starting trouble, agitating among the lower classes or bad mouthing their betters.

11.          Which way to the nearest tavern?
Any which way. Every major street in Denethix and the outlaying villages has at least one tavern of some sort. If you want to go anywhere other than Bella’s Bar and Grille, right?

12.          What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous?
It's not so much monsters as Wizards. Kill a mad Wizard and you'll be famous.  Rumor has it that a few travellers have been carried off by ‘crystal jaguars’ to the south, and well, there was that Vampire that quite publicly slaughtered all those people at the festival of fangs recently in Lugosi.

Yeah, this IS the Vampire in question. I ain't messing with it!

15.          Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?
The Nomads of the Lanthanide Wastes have risen up under the serpent khan and are threatening the valuable Certopsian Trade. The Fist is recruiting.  Psssst, hey, you  wanna get involved in a secret war?....

16.          How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes?
It's best to sell yourself into slavery first – there are short term indentures for arena fighting, but really it's against the law to do it as a free person – the pit fighters just won't have that sort of unseemly thing. 

17.          Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?
Yes, The Scientists, The Church of the Starry Wisdom (might have heard of them!), Society of the Luminous Spark, League of Flesh Debtholders (did a spot of work for them), various ‘criminal’ organizations (oh dear, you might not have a whole lot of choice about this one after ‘you know what’).

18.           What is there to eat around here? Sure theres several tables – from humble Mold cake to decadent dinosaur filets of various kinds covered in gold leaf. I”m telling ya, the eyeballs in tomato sauce at Bellas is worth the trip.

19.          Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?
Anything from the pre collapse era will fetch a good price, but nothing really legendary. It's about volume not uniqueness – the world is very old, unique junk that was once fancy is everywhere.
Listen to your rumours players, you might even consider taking notes.  There is that great ‘treasure rumors’ table of Gus’ too.  I might have rolled on that a couple of times.

20.          Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure?
Where you least expect it – or within the Anomalous Subsurface Environment. What’s Type ‘H’ treasure?

Brendan's 20 Questions

1.             Ability scores generation method?
4D6, drop lowest, swap two results.  Or 3D6 in order if you’re hardcore and want to impress the DM.  If bonuses add up to less than zero then re-roll (unless you don't want to re-roll of course).

2.             How are death and dying handled?
‘Often’.  At 0hp make a saving throw verses death or die.  If you survive you are on 0hp and effectively useless until you get medical attention.  If you go to -6 then you carry some sort of permanent effects (negotiated), and at -10 you are dead and don’t get a saving throw.

3.             What about raising the dead?
You mean like the church of Furter do with their reanimated Remeberated Dead*?  No, oh I see, well  the tales tell of the ancients having that sort of ability.  Maybe the church, but I would expect such a miracle to require a large sacrifice – a alge sacrifice of the golden kind.

4.             How are replacement PCs handled?
We have had henchmen become PCs and new PCs roll up, whatever you prefer, but if you roll a new one your new character gets half of the xp your old one had.  If your new character dies in the first session, you do not divide xp in half again.

5.             Initiative: individual, group, or something else?
We go round the table in order and get statements of intent.  One roll on D6 for the whole group and we go round the table again to act.
In a one on one situation dex modifiers apply.  If you are in an open field and you have a knife, and the dude has a polearm, the dude will go first in the first round, then roll initiative.

6.             Are there critical hits and fumbles? How do they work?
A natural 20 is maximum damage.  A natural 01 is an auto-miss, plus roll D6 – getting another 1 is really bad here.

7.             Do I get any benefits for wearing a helmet?
You look snazzy and will get bonuses to certain saves.  It’s working for us so far so how about we wing it!

Denethix extreme sports require helmets.

8.             Can I hurt my friends if I fire into melee or do something similarly silly?
Silly actions may have unwelcome results.  If your mates were in a brawl, would you fire a gun into the melee?  Oh really?  Roll d20 then, and don’t miss. Definitely DON’T fumble!

9.             Will we need to run from some encounters, or will we be able to kill everything?
Yeah, might have learned this the hard way. Run you little meatbags, mwah ha ha ha... 

10.          Level-draining monsters: yes or no?
Yes, but I will try to foreshadow just how really really bad for you health said creature or situation is.  Like how even the really tough NPCs ran like little girls when the Vampire appeared.

11.          Are there going to be cases where a failed save results in PC death?
Frequently, what else is a saving throw for – they can be minimized by player knowledge.  Exactly what Gus said.  Repeat after me...

Save or die!  Found this here.I think it's about video game thingies.

12.          How strictly are encumbrance & resources tracked?
Going forward I think I need to put a stop to the ‘one of everything’ approach and like the LotFP approach.  Or spare us all the book-keeping and just buy a frikken Donkey already.

13.          What's required when my PC gains a level? Training? Do I get new spells automatically? Can it happen in the middle of an adventure, or do I have to wait for down time?
Usually you will need to be ‘rested’ to gain a level, so for now that means in town between adventures.  I”m prepared to be flexible if this is a downer on fun, but it stands for now.  You get your new level spell when you spend the proper amount of time and money researching it.

14.          What do I get experience for?
Completing larger goals, exploration, treasure and killing monsters (in that order).  And some DM fiat based on table time and generally slack attitude to detailed book keeping.

15.          How are traps located? Description, dice rolling, or some combination?
By listening closely to descriptions, actively thinking, and searching when you suspect there may be a trap.  If you do the right things you’ll detect the trap.  You did read the primer right?

16.          Are retainers encouraged and how does morale work?
Retainers are proving essential to survival.. Remember those two guys carried off by ghouls?  They could have been youRemember when Cybella ordered Jon-O-Tan to go into the scary ass tomb first, well that called for morale roll, and we have already had one henchman (the uber-statted Valgerd T1) quit as a result of his bosses anti-social behaviour (Yes the T1 was lawful).

17.          How do I identify magic items?
Well the Scientists might be able to tell you something about it.  Oh, and that cute young thing Dawn said she had ways.

18.          Can I buy magic items? Oh, come on: how about just potions?
Seriously, do you see anyone advertising that they are a wizard around here? The DM does have a nice table of ‘magic’ stuff for PCs to waste their money on; does that count?

19.          Can I create magic items? When and how?
Sure – on an ad hoc basis if you invest time, money and magical components.

20.          What about splitting the party?
Sending the thief out in front is one thing, spending half the game session listening to your friends have fun is another.
              What about good and evil?

It’s hard for me to picture objective/absolute  good or evil in this setting, however protection from evil may be useful against multi-dimensional beings and the like.

*These guys featured in the adventure The Obelisk of Forgotten Memories available at Dungeon of Signs.  Download it, it's as good as any d&d adventure I've read.  To my players, just don't click the link.  Really, it's better that way.

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