Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Games Night: OD&D/Yoon-Suin

Last night we had another trip to Yoon-Suin, ably DMed by noisms. Patrick, Whimsy and I headed for the dungeon with three retainers to soak up some of the damage. We were cautious at first; we had arrived at the entrance to the dungeon in the late afternoon, and so our plan was just to have a quick explore so that we could get the lay of the land, see what the entrance was like, get a feel for the place.

Then we met the hostiles.

noisms described them as humanoid, grey-skinned, red eyes, dressed in rags and with long, lank hair: there were a lot of them, and they attacked in groups, armed with spears, clubs and slings. There were three or four skirmishes in all; they tried to flank us several times, but we were always able to stay one step ahead of them, more or less.

In the end, we killed all of them, but not without paying a price: we lost Patrick's character Damodar.

Damodar was awesome. He was always stood at the front of a fight, always keen to jump in; his INT stat was low, but Patrick played that really well by having Damodar ask naive-sounding-but-clever questions. Being the only fighter in a party of magic-users meant that he had to be the guy at the front; plate mail can only do so much, and Patrick effectively played the odds all night: hit after hit from slings, spears and clubs didn't connect, until they finally did.

Luckily, once we had killed all of the creatures in that party, we were able to "rescue" a 1st level cleric that Patrick was frantically rolling up. Damodar and one of the retainers were buried just outside the entrance of the dungeon, and the next day we decided to head back to Silaish Vo to lick our wounds and rethink our strategy.

It's my first time playing a magic-user, and I hadn't realised just how restricted options were in terms of combat: as a 1st Level I have only one spell as well, and none of my options are offensive in nature. I just about killed some of the grey-skins with my staff, and I had wits enough to make flame-bombs from flasks of oil. I'm hoping that I can level up (safely) over the next session, and possibly start the path towards offensive capabilities.

Having more than three hit points would also be handy.

Monday, 16 July 2012

A quick note on Ammo Maths

Some time ago I wrote about a curious little thought that I had had when writing out an ammo mechanic for the zombie game that I will get around to one of these days. I duly set about working on some all powerful equation that would calculate everything. This is what (some) mathematicians do, I did it quite often during my PhD: you reach to try and prove everything, building up from small cases until you have it all.
Except that that doesn't happen all too often in my experience. Instead, you find that the particular case you are looking in to has no easy way of stating it, and in particular, no nice way of explaining it to someone. You can talk in generalities, but often you are glossing over details. You don't find the "beauty" that you are looking for.

That's what happened to me while I was looking for my formula for the "Ammo Maths" problem. It dawned on me during one of those times I have been working on the problem that I was going about it all the wrong way. Sure, the formula(s), when complete, would have some novelty value or interest. But they, in themselves, weren't the interesting thing. In the first case, it would be great to know the answers to the two questions I asked originally.

But more importantly, it would be better to have a meaningful answer to the general case. There is no point in presenting a formula really. Who would use it? Instead, I'm working on typesetting the tables that (may) accompany the mechanic. They could be useful to GMs or players so that they have some idea about just how many shots they might get off. Having a narrative mechanic is a way of avoiding counting bullets and shells, but it would still be good for people to have some idea of just how high up the food chain they are.

So that's what I'm checking at the moment, what the numbers say and tell us, and then I will typeset it (which takes a little time as my HTML for tables is hopeless; I'll be copying and pasting over from word processor instead).

Friday, 13 July 2012

Games Night: OD&D in Yoon-Suin

It was games night on Tuesday, and me, Patrick and the Whimsybomb-man met up with noisms at the Scythe to continue our adventures in a setting that noisms has been toiling away on for years. Yoon-Suin is a strange place, humans and demi-humans live side-by-side in the city of Silaish Vo, it seems corruption is everywhere and magic is loose and free.

Patrick and W's PCs are a human fighter and a human magic-user; I am a Slugman Magic-user (look here for noisms' pictures of slugmen) - in this setting that essentially gives me a caste-style bonus, as slugmen are more highborn than humans. This comes out in the way that I roleplay him a little as Hugh Laurie in Blackadder.

Yoon-Suin is very fresh as a setting. What do I mean? We don't know what the world is like. noisms has it all on paper and in his head. There are no orcs and goblins that are a bit Lords of the Rings-ish. So far we've fought humans, moths and been really careful around scorpions. The small creatures are really scary and deadly from what we've seen. We captured an immortal man-beast, the Old King aka the Mad Eunuch, and took him to the Guild of Sages. We found a man made of clay, and ran away as quickly as possible when we got the distinct feeling that the DM was telling us we were extremely outclassed.

The Eastern feel to the setting is also really great. Silaish Vo in description reminds me of a mix of Mos Eisley, Hong Kong, perpetual street markets, and bizarrely it makes me think of William Gibson's work, but I can't put my finger on why...

This is the first campaign I've played using OD&D too. Great so far, reall enjoying it. At first it was mildly frustrating that as a magic-user the only weapons I am allowed are daggers and staffs. Now I'm starting to think more tactically - in fact, while this might be my character's first adventure, he has probably had to deal with miscreants and adventurous incidents in the past in order to get to Level 1. So he must have come up against this, being in a position where he has a spell and a knife and that's it. And he survived.

Maybe thinking about that I can figure out how to continue to keep him alive...

Next Games Night: more Yoon-Suin!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

A Village

(back from work trips and holiday! Normal rate of posting should resume in the next week)

Bexam is a small village on a major trade route to the west of civilisation. A wide stream trickles past not ten feet from the stone walls around it, and the road runs through the middle, with unguarded gates to the north-east and south-west. Many of the town's 80-or-so inhabitants are expert hunters. The forest nearby, Xam, is overflowing with small animals, which a good portion of the village's families are expert at hunting and skinning.

Bexam is a strange place, so small, and yet rich in so many ways: Argun, the village's headman oversees a prosperous little domain, the furs keep a good standard of living - although one that is earned through hard work. Bexam is also home to a master baker (Crumb) who, as well as selling to the village's inhabitants, is sought after by many larger towns nearby. He refuses to move though, and spends most nights baking and in conversation with hallucinations of his dead wife.

Aric and Cira are twin brothers, now estranged, who serve opposing minor deities in shrines within the village's borders. They each try to sway the villagers to their respective godlings, with little success. Most villagers instead seek advice from Dorse, a hermit who lives alone and sees visions of the town's ancestors.

Dorse and Crumb are both dependent on "Bexam Blue", an addictive moss that grows in secluded parts of the forest. Bexam Blue is a strange organism: it keeps the person who consumes it in excellent health, and has remarkable restorative properties for people suffering from all kinds of diseases and afflictions. A side-effect is that regular users, like the hermit and the baker of Bexam, see (true) visions of the dead at night. If consumed regularly (at least once a day) for five days, someone will have to fight to remain unaddicted to it.

A few villagers secretly harvest the moss and sell it to traders and magicians. Argun disagrees with this, but turns a blind eye so that the village continues to be prosperous.

(rolled from noisms' Random Village Generator)