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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Holystone - Lucky Lara's

Lucky Lara’s

Lucky Lara’s is a gambling hall and tavern on the border of The Triangle and South Harbor. It is run by a retired adventurer named Lara Deepburrow (Halfling T7). The building interior is extravagant, and is decorated like a very gaudy temple to Luna. The serving girls are dressed scantily, and have bits of Lunar regalia included in their costumes. Lunar clerics view the establishment with amusement.

There is a large open area with tables and a floor-length bar. There are also smaller rooms for nobles or wealthy merchants to play against each other. 

Lara’s is busy every night of the week. It contains a mix of young nobles, commoners hoping to get lucky and desperate souls out of the Triangle. 

Lara keeps a large staff of waitresses, bartenders, and guards. There are no prostitutes working in the hall. Lara does not approve of them. Rumor is she had been forced into prostitution in her youth.

Lara’s old adventuring partner, Arthos (Dwarf F6) is in charge of security, and wanders the hall dressed in chainmail and carrying an axe. He is friendly with the regulars, but makes no bones about keeping an eye on any newcomers who look like trouble. Both Lara and Arthos are Knights of the Rose, and visiting nobles treat them with respect.

Nobles bring their own guards, who keep the riff-raff away from the private rooms. Arthos talks with them, and makes sure they don’t cause any unnecessary issues with the commoners.

The city watch also checks in every night, in an effort to keep the peace and maybe make a little coin on the side. Lara makes sure they get a free drink before they go. 

Adventure Hooks

1. Lara’s old pimp is a powerful man in the Triangle. She will happily hire adventurers to find him and kill him. The man is well protected by guards and traps. She doesn’t want it leading back to her, though, as then the Triangle gangs would cause trouble.

2. One of the dealers was using magic to cheat the tables and has pocketed a valuable item used as collateral by a noble. The noble has returned with money to buy his item back, but the dealer and the item have vanished. Lara wants the crook and the item recovered. She is worried that her reputation could be damaged, and that she might lose customers.

3. An old enemy of Lara and Arthos is in town. Nevin the Black (C9 of Orcus) attacks the hall on a night when the PCs are there. He has a cadre that includes wights, zombies, and skeletons. 

4. A group of adventurers show up, looking for Lara. Apparently she is wanted in a neighboring city for stealing some valuable items from its ruler. She may or may not be guilty.

5. Gang members from the Triangle start a brawl with the PCs in the hall. The guards jump in, not discriminating about who started the fight.

6. Ratmen have infiltrated the basement. They plan on using poison to kill as many people as possible. The PCs find out about it not long before the attack happens, and must race to save everyone.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Science Fiction Roleplaying - Great time for it!

Just an observation that those who like science fiction roleplaying have it made for the last couple years. For most of the 90's and early 2000's, there wasn't much of anything easily available, other than second-hand copies of Traveller and fringe games like Fading Suns.

Now there's Mongoose Traveller, with it's supplements, and then there's all the Warhammer 40k lines. Both are very popular, and selling quite well. I am willing to bet the 40k rpgs have been a gateway drug for the mini gamers.

I didn't expect Mongoose Traveller to be nearly as well done as it is. I am really glad that they did such a great job with it. I wonder how many old-school gamers have picked up these books and restarted gaming. I'm betting at least a few guys have. If nothing else, for the nostalgia trip. And the game is good enough that I wouldn't be surprised if it continues chugging along for years. Though the way the treadmill is running, sooner or later the sales will stop and Mongoose will either dump the game with no warning or have a new edition, that would likely screw stuff up. I personally would love it if Traveller became an evergreen product. Unfortunately, there are no successful rpg lines that don't change editions every few years. Too much looking at quarterly profits to allow it.

I also like Dark Heresy, though I think it was  a mistake for the game to not be about full Inquisitors right off the bat. You can do it with the Ascension book now, so I bet they realized their mistake. I like Rogue Trader as well. It feels like running a standard Traveller campaign in the 40k universe, which is perfectly awesome to me. I haven't picked up Deathwatch yet. I'm waiting for the second printing to kill errata. It does look cool. 40k's biggest problem at the moment is their refusal to publish a big "Races" book. They've covered Chaos very well, and touched on some of the other races in various supplements. But I'd love to have a book with Eldar, Necrons, Dark Eldar, Orks, Tyranids, and all the rest, along with entries for all the major Army List types.I also think it would be a HUGE seller for FFG, so it's really odd that they haven't done it. Maybe it's some crap coming from Games Workshop preventing this. I wouldn't be surprised.

In any case, I think having the choice of either of these game just shows that scifi gamers have it made nowadays.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Holystone - Adventuring Company Charters

Adventuring Company Charters

Adventurers can get sanctioned by the Count, by applying for and receiving a charter. The city guard has an office at the prison to take care of this. 

Prospective adventurers must pay a fee of 500 gold pieces for the charter. The charter must be renewed every year, for the same fee. They must prove their intentions to benefit the city, as well. Many adventuring groups acquire a noble patron to smooth over this process. Some groups have a noble in the party, which will almost guarantee approval. 

Groups that are predominately thieves, or that have evil clerics or mages in them, will not be given a charter, unless they avoid detection. This rule is absolute. A city guard mage will cast detect alignment on the whole group as insurance for this. 

Adventuring companies must maintain an up-to-date listing of members and hirelings at the city guard office. Members not on the list are not protected by the charter, and have none of the rights included with it.

Benefits of an Adventuring Company Charter

The members of the group may go about the city armed and armored. 

The group may be required to go on specific missions for the city, and will be bound to secrecy on delicate or potentially unpopular missions.

The group will be treated as honorary city guardsmen. They are honor-bound to report any criminal activities they encounter, and may arrest or kill groups such as cultists or necromancers. They do not have the right to do basic everyday law enforcement, such as tax collection.

The group may have a small company of hirelings in their employ, including mercenaries and spellcasters.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Holystone - Taxes

The City Guard has a team of tax collectors, usually stationed at the various gates. Taxes at the gates must be paid in coin. Taxes on other things may be paid in coin, services, or goods.

The Count has a mint set up in South Point. It is heavily guarded by both soldiers and mages, with a permanent garrison.

The following is a list of the standard taxes:

High Road Gate: 1 sp per person, 2 sp per mount or wagon or carriage
Low Road Gate: 1 cp per person, 1 sp per mount or wagon or carriage
North Ward Gate: 1 sp per person, 5 cp per mount or wagon or carriage
Cliffside to Hilltown Gate: 1 cp per person, 1 sp per mount. No wagons or carriages.
Stall in the Markets: 5 sp per day
Merchant or Craft Store: 5 gp per month
House within City: varies: 1 sp per month for poor housing, 25 gp per month for a manor
Stable: 1 cp per mount per day (in addition to the stable’s fees)
Ship Dockage: 5 gp per day
Boat Dockage: 2 cp per day
Money Changing: 10% of value (includes old or foreign coins)
Treasure: 10% of value (includes all magical items and jewelry and gems imported by adventurers)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Free RPG Day was a flub

I checked out the comic/game store near me, no free rpg's. They have had them the last few years. Blah.

I did pick up some freebies from Vigilance Press over at RPGNow. If you like Icons, Bash, or Mutants & Masterminds, they have a supplement for you free.

Friday, June 17, 2011

"Godwin" is facetious crap

Anytime anyone on a forum starts spouting fascist bullshit, you aren't allowed to call him on it without someone crying "Godwin!". This is a ridiculous meme that has completely infiltrated most, if not all, of the internet. It allows fascist ideas to be promulgated everywhere, and if anyone tries to compare what is being said or done to historical fascist activities that are exact mimics of the current crap being spouted, they are immediately dismissed out of hand.

If I was a nazi, I'd LOVE this. Hell, I'd be calling "Godwin!" all the time. It desensitizes people to what is actually being said, so they allow the same fascist crap to be repeated ad nauseum on sites that should damn well know better (RPGNet Tangency is really big on this, for example). Of course, the nazi wannabes say, "I'm not a fascist! No way! I'm a socialist! We're the good guys!". And then he continues with the same fascist rhetoric that's been in use since the 1920's.

Another prime example is the recent fight on some OSR blogs where someone claims to represent all of rpg gamers, and saying games like Lamentations of the Flame Princess should not be allowed to be published because they are morally bad, thanks to some pretty nasty art scenes in the books. It's the same kind of puritanical crap that has caused so many of our freedoms to be removed on a daily basis. Don't allow this kind of rhetoric to stand unchallenged!

People, you need to wake up and confront fascism in all it's forms, and not run away afraid just because of the word Godwin.

“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power” - Benito Mussolini

If you really want to learn a ruleset

Try and write a supplement for it. You'll be cross-checking all kinds of things that you otherwise would not think of. Instead of just reading from page 1 to 180 or whatever, you'll be flipping through the index, trying to find that one bit of information that is important for your current encounter, spell, or character ability that you want to add in.

I have found this situation really makes me focus more, and I actually learn the rules better overall. You don't need to publish your supplement, just have it for home games. But, by the time you have finished writing it, you will have a much firmer grasp of the ruleset than you did before.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dungeon Crawl Classics Character Generator

Got this link to a great DCC Character Generator from A Paladin in Citadel. I'm still not completely sold on the game, but this generator definitely helps Goodman's cause. It makes a letter-sized, one-page pdf with 4 small character sheets on it. Each is a random 0-level character. I think it will be incredibly useful for players and GMs.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

D&D Fencing

Why it doesn't work to go into a dungeon with a rapier or epee.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Holystone - The Phantom Cryer

The Phantom Cryer
The Phantom Cryer is a ghost that manifests during heavy fog. It appears in the Docks, the Wharf, and Fishtown, always at a crossroads.

The Cryer looks like a boy in a heavy coat. He waves pamphlets in the air, and shouts out the news. The news is always from Highsun, around 30 years ago. He is believed to have died at that time, though no one knows the cause. A couple investigations of the time show several newsboys going missing, but no criminal was ever found.

While he has scared many of the locals once they realize who he is, the Cryer does not attack the city folk. Some of the taverns place bets about where he will appear whenever it gets foggy out.

There have been stories of the Phantom Cryer coming to the aid of newsboys who are being attacked in some way. Apparently, he appears between the newsboy and his attackers, and begins to howl. In every case, the attackers have run away in fear.

If adventurers say that they are going to hunt down the Phantom Cryer, the locals will do what they can to prevent it. They view the phantom as one of their own, and do not want him destroyed.

Local clerics have attempted to communicate with the Phantom Cryer. While they have had no real success, they have determined that he is not malevolent.

The Phantom Cryer
Armor Class: 19
Hit Dice: 3*
No. of Attacks: 1 howl
Damage: 1d4
Movement: 30’
No. Appearing: 1
Save As: Magic-User 3
Morale: 9
Treasure Type: none
XP: 175

The Phantom Cryer can only be hit by magical weapons. He can be turned as a ghoul. Three times per day he can howl in a 30’ cone. Anyone caught in the cone must Save vs. Spells or run away in fear for one turn.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Holystone - Witch Hunters

Witch Hunters

Witch hunters make their living rousting out mages and accusing them of various crimes. They often catch demon cultists, necromancers, and other evil mages. However, they will happily catch a hedge wizard that is healing the locals, if they are in a bad mood. They operate legally in the city.

Witch hunters kill the mages they capture, often after a big show trial. They perform the execution in a public place, and either burn the witch at the stake or behead them. 

Clerics of Luna, the goddess of magic, do not like witch hunters at all. They might use them to find cultists, but that’s the extent of their relationship. If a witch hunter gets too sloppy, killing off relatively harmless mages, the Lunar clerics will send for the Silent Sisters and have the witch hunter eliminated.

Witch hunters tend to be either Fighters or Thieves. They almost always have a number of followers, including warriors, thieves, and some laborers or craftsmen.
A witch hunter generally sends in a spy or two to all of the surrounding villages or city districts. These people keep an eye out for any magical activities. If they see anything flagrant, they will report back to their master. A few days later, he will arrive with a contingent of followers and attempt to capture and try the identified mage. 

Witch hunters have been known to fight each other. If they feel their territory is being impinged upon, they will accuse the other hunter of witchcraft and attempt to capture and kill him. This often leads to small skirmishes between each group of followers, with many killed. 

Not all witch hunters are in it for the fame and rewards. Some actually are trying to do good, being very careful to only capture real cultists. They are in the minority, though. A successful witch hunter becomes something of a hero to the uneducated, and can expect free lodging and gifts in most locales.

Local Witch Hunters

Aric the Magehound (T7) – Aric has a villa in the North Ward. He is retired. He was very successful at his work, but he was also very meticulous about only going after evil mages. He is a minor celebrity within the city.

Zeke Strongprow (F4) – Zeke has a residence in South Harbor. He has spies throughout the lower portion of the city, and considers it to be his territory. He is definitely in it for the money. The Silent Sisters may be dispatched to end him soon.

Sara Goodfellow (T4) – Sara lives in Tent City. She watches over it and the surrounding farmlands. She tries to do good work, but has eliminated a few relatively harmless mages when she was low on funds.

Torrence (F3) – Torrence lives in The Triangle, and he has had some success killing evil mages. He has also eliminated some non-mages for the gangs, using his profession as a cover for murder. Zeke would love to kill him, but the local gangs protect Torrence.

There are no witch hunters active in the Lord’s City. If they tried to work there, the local nobles would kill them.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Holystone - Silent Sisters

The Silent Sisters

The Silent Sisters are a branch of Luna’s Church. They operate as assassins and spies, removing enemies of their goddess. They have a cloister in the Merchant Quarter, disguised as an herbalist shop. Rosemary the Gardener (C3) works the front of the herbalist shop. She is a normal cleric who can talk with customers. Her “helpers” are Sisters. 

The Lunar Priestess uses the Sisters to remove demon cultists, witch hunters, and other enemies. They also spy on the locals, looking for signs of demon worship, thieves who steal holy items, and similar folk.

Silent Sisters have their tongues removed at an early age, and communicate through a secret sign language known only to themselves and select Lunar clerics. They are classed as thieves, and use twin daggers on their missions. 

For day-to-day wear, they dress as normal citizens or Lunar clerics, depending upon her cover story. On missions, they wear dark leather armor and masks. Due to her divine faith, if a Sister is killed in action, she cannot be summoned back to be questioned by a Speak with Dead spell. She can be resurrected by a Lunar cleric, if it is warranted.

No one in the city knows about the Silent Sisters other than Lunar clerics directly working with them. Even low level Lunar clerics don’t know about their existence. A cloister is located in every major city with a Church.