Wednesday, 26 November 2014

5e Orc and Goblin PCs verses the Ratmen. Why we don't split the party.

We're playing +Patrick Stuart 's Savages in an underdarksetting.  The adventure is the excellent 2014 One Page Dungeon 'The Long Fall' by +Matthew Adams . 

So when we left the PCs last time, they had received orders from local cunning-orc Crime Boss Gutrippa Jizza to find those responsible for banditry along Furry Fungus Way,  "Do em in, and bring back the Furry Fungus".  The PCs had tracked the bandits to a cavern near Snot Grotto and are about to enter a well they believe contains the lair of the ratmen.

Our antiheroes.

Krak Zappa:     Creepy Goblin Shaman,    Dungeon Background.  

Dream Killa:     Cunning Orc Fighter,         Dreams background. 
Shaggy Shiv:   Tricksy Goblin Thief.         Underdark background. A very hairy goblin.
John Smith:      Brutal Orc Hunter.             Man Society background

Shaggy Shiv.  A very hairy goblin.  Lvl 2 Thief with 20 freaken hit points!  My work. 
Could this be where Bugbears come from?
So they head down the well.  Shaggy Shiv in the lead.  As they brush the chain a bell can be heard below.  Arriving at a landing, Shaggy knocks on a door that soon opens revealing a robed ratman who says "Yessss?"

Shaggy:  "We're here to see the boss about the furry fungus."
Ratman Cultist:  Bossss in other roomss, comes in, waits here, I get bossss"

"Yesssss?   Ahhh, Bosssss in other roomss.  Comes in, waits here.  I get Bosssss....."
Image 'Skaven Warcry' by GuiltyOne on deviantart.
The ratman leaves through an exit on the opposite side of the room and Shaggy goes in, Krak Zappa the shaman enters behind him.  (Meanwhile back at the gaming table the dungeon master is grinning and rolling d6s as they enter. I am a firm believer that grinning at just the right time scares the shiz out of players and so exploit this to great effect.  They know that sometimes I am bluffing and that sometimes I am not.  I love watching them squirm, and that is d&d as good as it gets in my mind when that happens)

By the time the third character crosses the entrance the dungeon master has finally rolled a 1 or 2 on a d6, and a pit trap opens below Dream Killa revealing a chute.  In the first of two titular 'long falls' the party's big-hitter plummets into a chain net further down the well, directly above two other entrances, through one of which a great tangle of cobwebs can be seen (uh-oh indeed!).

Back in the entrance room, DK's fall is the ratmen's cue to begin dropping flasks of oil and flaming torches though the murder-holes in the ceiling of the reception area, right on top of Shaggy and Krak who are burnt by the flames.

At this point John Smith shows us that any orc that has lived with humans can never fully be trusted and beats a hasty retreat back up the chain.  I calculate that this will take three rounds to get to the top, fix the player with a withering stare*, and return to the others.

Dream Killa decides he's not swinging in the breeze, takes out his hand axe and starts chipping away at where the chain net attaches to the well wall above one of the doorways below.

Shaggy charges though the entrance into the next room.  Krak is not so quick and gets burnt again as more oil follows the previous.

Shaggy moves though the next chamber which contains fungus growths, up a ladder and engages the two ratmen above and dispatches them easily.  In an adjacent chamber Shaggy finds an animated cauldron, squatting over a fire and singing "nom nom nom, I like food, nom nom nom, get in my belly".

Below Dream Killa loosens enough of the chain fastenings and gets down to the landing with the cobwebs.  He goes in.  There are two ratmen with maces who throw stones.  After a brief fight they are defeated, but Deam Killa fails to spot another pit which they were trying to lure him over and takes more damage from spikes as he falls in.  He gets out  only to notice why there are so many webs, two person sized spiders coming down and biting him.  He is trussed up in a coccoon and left for later.

Krak Zappa decides he is going below to join up with Dream Killa.  When he gets down the well to the landing, he turns and sees another doorway on the opposite side of the well.  Standing there is a ratman with a funky necklace who hisses at him "Jump!" Krak Zappa, Goblin Shaman, fails his save verses magic and jumps off the ledge and into the well where he takes a lot of damage and begins making death saving throws.  In his hazy state he only just notices the small-car-sized spider with psychedelic eyes pick him up and carry him to it's lair for lunch.

So it's six rounds now and John Smith shows his face again, just in time to notice a returning hunting party of ten ratmen coming over he lip of the well above.  He and Shaggy Shiv end up at the bottom of the well looking for a way out, where one is found, a door in fact,but a door to who knows where?

Krak Zappa  RIP:  Creepy Goblin Shaman, Dungeon Background.  (Now eaten by psychedelic spider)
Dream Killa  RIP:  Cunning Orc Fighter, Dreams background. (Wrapped in spider silk for later and not rescued).

Shaggy Shiv:  Tricksy Goblin Thief.  Underdark background. A very hairy goblin.
John Smith:  Brutal Orc Hunter.  Man Society background.  Of dubious orchisness.

*I believe if John Smith hadn't run, then Dream Killa and Krak Zappa would likely still be with us.  As for the recipient of said withering stare, he's a mate so no harm was done.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Playing SAVAGES in the Underdark. Our first 5e.

We have been testing a bit of 5e using +Patrick Stuart 's Savages Rules, which I made up into little A5 booklets with pictures for the team and handed out.  They go really well with the neat A5 5e booklets that were on G+ a while ago but I forget who put them up.

What?  You mean we can play Orcs and Goblins?"
Players are often easily pleased.

The setting was made up very quickly. We will play a city game based on relationships between NPCs/PCs and factions.  The PCs will have a home dungeon.  They will go on missions to suit the episodic nature of this 'filler' game.

To generate the NPCs and their relationships I am using +Jeff Russell 's Middenheim hack, the 'Vornheimed Middenheim'.  I am using Vornheim too.  I can't wait for the suckers to meet Eshrigel.

The location is a massive underdark city with a planescape feel.  Inhabitants are mostly Goblin, Orc, Drow and Human.  Slavery is fully part of life and your ability to stay 'free' is largely a matter of who your friends are, and your ability to enforce your freedom.  

Most of the surface world is contested by any one of a number of demon armies in service to several competing demon lords.  

Picture 1.  Demon Armies war for the surface.  Some are led by Demon Lords and Princes directly, others by powerful Warlocks who regardless of their race are widely reviled as traitors.

Many surface dwellers have headed below as refugees, many of whom have joined gangs or formed gangs of their own, or else become slaves.  On the surface, the fey Goblin Kingdom is largely untouched, and it is rumored the ranks at the Citadel of the Goblin King have recently been swelled with child-refugees.  

Player Characters:

Krak Zappa:  Creepy Goblin Shaman, Dungeon Background.  
Dream Killa:  Cunning Orc Fighter, Dreams background. 
Shaggy Shiv:  Tricksy Goblin Thief.  Underdark background.
John Smith:  Brutal Orc Hunter.  Man Society background.

Last session we generated the home dungeon using the dungeon poker rules Patrick gave us here.  More about the results of that another time maybe. Once the Dungeon was finished and before the DM could set them on a mission, the PCs set about murdering the dungeon boss. Then when NPCs arrived to give them the adventure theymurdered them too.  Then the DM said that's all folks.

Session Two:  The dead NPCs' boss and 'friends' arrive with an offer the PCs can't refuse.

So six orcs and two bugbears led by local crime boss cunning-orc Gutrippa Jizza turn up to set things right and make certain the PCs understand their place in the pecking order.  

Picture 2.  These guys turn up looking pissed.  Hmmm, six orcs and two bugbears verses the PCs - two orcs and two goblins.   Yeah, I'd listen to what they had to say too.

Realising that murdering and looting the messengers last session wasn't such a good idea now they all agree "We certainly do understand our place in the pecking order".  They are informed that in addition to the task which is still required of them, they now owe double, for murdering GJ's henchman. Gutripper informs them to satisfy the first favour they owe they must find out who or what has been intercepting the furry fungus shipments along Furry Fungus Way, do the culprits in, and return with the furry fungus.

Picture 3.  Gutrippa Jizza - Not a happy Gang-star.
The PCs head to Snot Grotto, a creepy goblin ghetto just off Furry Fungus Way where they are informed that a gang of rat men are operating out of an old well in an adjacent cavern.  Not being a threat to Snot Grotto the locals haven't seen any reason to do anything about it.

The PCs foolishly head straight down the well.  Okay that's actually a bit unfair mostly because they did do some investigation, they did look around a little, they discovered a chimney which comes out of the ground nearby and that muffled repetitive singing can be heard down the chimney ("nom nom nom, I like stew, nom nom nom, get in my belly").  John Smith found ratmen tracks leading to and from the well.  Then, assuming that today I am a much nicer DM than history would seem to attest, they head straight down the well.

Why do players behave like this? 

Next Post, the hijinx down the well and and one long scramble to not all totally die in The Log Fall, a very fun one page dungeon from Matthew Adams, found in the pay what you want 2014 One Page Dungeon Compendium available here.  Seriously players reading this, when in the heavily trapped lair of guerrilla tactic fighters don't split the party.     Just don't okay.  We'll see why next time.

I found the pictures here:
Picture 1:
Picture 2.
Picture 3.  paperspencils.com2012-02-orc11

Monday, 25 August 2014

Building The Viper - Oberon Martell 5e Background

Oh yes, I am very smooth.
There was a discussion about how to build The Viper on G+ today with +Nathan Panke +Anthony Emmel +Erik Westmarch +Scott Corbeil and +Axel Castilla .  

I think in he Oberon Martell is a high level fighter,with a high dexterity and charisma, and a preference for finesse weapons.  In 5e advancement he would take dueling first,and two handed style next.  In my game he would be about six or seventh level,but that's lab lord with level ten as a cap.  I digress, here's my background.


(Specifically Oberon Martell, The Viper).

Skills:  Poisoner's Kit. Riding.

Feature:  Treat a spear as a finesse weapon* when not wearing heavy armour**. by

treating it as finesse weapon you simulate his fighting style in the show without needing

any additional mechanics or benefit.

You are big and slow, I will kill you.

Personality:  Passionate. 

I am a Prince of Dorn after all 

Ideal:  To experience all of life's pleasures.  "Excess leads to the palace of wisdom"  

And he said "hey baby, take a walk on the wild side".

Bond:  To avenge his murdered relatives

Of course someone has to die my friend

Flaw:  Hubris (overconfident).  "Is that all you've got?" (or perhaps arrogance)

Hmmmm,heavy armour and a big STR and CON please.

*using the spear one-handed with duelling (3-8, i.e. d6+2) will do the same 

damage as two handed (3-8, i.e. d8 reroll 1s and 2s) so it won't break things here.

**Should this include medium too?

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Wasteland Western Goth: Music for Warlocks to do Warlocky stuff.

Would you pay life's pleasure to see me?

Falling from ecstasy... changelings.

Does it hurt that I want you to remain?

...let it spill from my mouth, sweet nectar for a thousand young...

...we dream of a million elixirs...

...Ktulu calls.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Gorgonmilk has the best music in the OSR

Greg Gorgonmilk has the best music of any RPG blog I have found.  You should go over there and tell him.  It's mostly dark electronic and here's a taste:

Land of 1000 Towers session write ups (aka A.S.E. All Watched Over by Insane Machines in Space) will return soon.

Thursday, 3 July 2014


(Or Orange, Yellow, Green, ... you get it.)


Those lucky guys and gals in red who have clawed their way up from the black-clad masses are a plucky bunch, and very good at hunting down commie mutant traitors.  Your best friend the computer wants you and all your above average fellow citizens to root out threats to the community and eliminate them. Problem is you are a commie, a mutant, and a traitor, and this has recently gotten you deeper into the poo than a transhyperdiabetic in a fresh vat of pink-fun.  Oh Dear.  Time to ditch friend computer’s ‘protection’ and take your chances on the unknown surface...

The PCs picked up an orange troublefixer very early in the game as a henchman.  One Jon-O-Tan.  Table needs a couple of entries but here you go.

HIT POINTS:                  As Thieves (1D6 per level)
ATTACK:                        Thieves
ARMOUR:                       Light
WEAPONS:                     Any
EXPERIENCE POINTS: As Dwarf (we’ll see how this goes)


THIEF SKILLS: Move Silently, Slight of Hand, Hear Noise. (All at same chance as ‘Hear Noise’ for a thief of the same level)

MUTANT POWER: One Power at first level, and at every fourth level, i.e. two at fourth, three powers at level eight.  I am thinking these will be once per day for the sake of simplicity.  

Roll D2X on the Mutant Power Table below. It is compulsory to roll, you may not choose.  A player may wish to describe physical changes that relate to their powers but this is optional.

I have used the mutant power tables I found at Save Vs Total Party Kill and added a few categories myself. My additions in italics from ‘21’ onward.

SERVICE GROUP TRAINING:  Which branch of the communities infrastructure were you drafted to and what did you do?  Roll D8  on the Service Group Table below. (it is compulsory to roll, you do not get to choose, are you saying friend computer is wrong?)

SECRET SOCIETY.  I am largely glossing over this one as it is unlikely to affect play.  Sierra Club perhaps?

MANDATORY BONUS DUTY: It’s your lucky day citizen, friend computer has chosen you..blah blah blah, that means nothing now, but they did issue you with this neat... Roll D6 on the Mandatory Bonus Duty Table below. (it is compulsory to roll, you do not get to choose, are you saying friend computer is wrong?)

STARTING EQUIPMENT:  Red/Orange Coveralls (as leather)Laser Pistol.  D6 damage.  6 shots per screw on disposable barrel. 1D4-1 barrels. 50% Red/Orange rubber truncheon 1D4 non-lethal. Today’s happy pill, and a foil wrapped, ‘Protien Satisifier TM’, Treasonous Surface-Party 1-pager.

QUIRK/HINDRANCE: These guys aren't entirely comfortable in wide open spaces with no roof.  No need to screw the player but good for a few roleplaying giggles.


SERVICE GROUP TRAINING TABLE:  Roll D8  (it is compulsory to roll, you do not get to choose, are you saying friend computer is wrong?)

Roll D8
Armed Forces
Able to wear medium armour
Use Computers or Repair/Program Robot
Housing and Mind Control
+1 reaction adjustment (if reasonable)
Internal Security
Pick any group’s benefit or Pick Locks
Power Services
Understand Electricity (sort of)
Production, Logistics & Commissariat
Count as carrying one less item
Research & Development
Choose one item – don’t be a dick
Technical Services
Understand Technology (as Scientist)

MANDATORY BONUS DUTY TABLE: Roll D6 (it is compulsory to roll, you do not get to choose, are you saying friend computer is wrong?)

Roll D6
Team Leader
Nothing, if you’re as good as your last clone you have everything you need. (awesome enough already)
Loyalty Officer
Stun Laser Barrel Sv Vs Paralyze 2-5rounds
Hygiene Officer
Wet wipes, Spray, 2x each +2 sv vs poison or disease
Comms and Recording
Two way radio set or Video Recorder (tape)
Happiness Officer
Book of Jokes and vial of ‘perky pills’ (sic, it’s Valium)
Equipment Guy
Mechanical, Electrical, or Electronic Tool Kit

MUTANT POWER TABLE (it is compulsory to roll, you do not get to choose, are you saying friend computer is wrong?)

Ego Impression
Mind Control
Charm Person:MU1
Mind Link
Mind Wipe
Project Sound
Auditory Illusion:ILL2
Project Anxiety
Thought Insinuation
Remote Viewing
Arcane Eye:MU4
Monstrous Mind Control
Charm Monster:MU4
Manipulate Emotions
Mind Blast
Hypnotic Pattern
Hypnotic Pattern:ILL2
Project Fear
Project Nightmare
Phantasmal Killer:ILL4
Bio Roid-Rage
Dimension Door:MU4
Machine Empathy*
Charm Machines (as Charm Monster):MU4
Playin’ Opossum
Feign Death:MU3
The Poly-Phasic Shuffle
Shape of the Beast
Polymorph Self:MU4
Natural Weapon
Lvl 1-3 D6, lvl 4-7 D8, lvl 8+ D10
Extra Limb
Smaller a bit atrophied from being hidden for so long, +1 AC, can hold a small weapon
Cause & Cure Light Wounds: CL1

Credits.  The picture was found here:         All references to the Paranoia RPG, and the product-identity material associated therewith in the post above are not my property.  I own the Paranoia RPG and wanted to bring my two favourite games together.  This is a fan homage only and is not meant to infringe any rights or imply any ownership, and I will remove this if the owners of the IP wish, however, I believe leaving it up will be more fun.