Sunday, August 28, 2016

Resurrection, For or Against?

Resurrection, for or against?  It is an honest question.  I'm looking to see how others handle it in their games.   I'm looking to get ideas to rift off of.  I have my own idea about how to handle it for my particular campaign world, but I'm looking to add others.  Because like most campaigns there are different cultures with different beliefs.  

My Immediate Opinion 
I'll state right now that I am not a fan of resurrection.  Can't say I've ever been a fan of it even back in my pre-pubescent days of gaming.  Those who've read this blog for a while or know me personally, know I don't like many of the healing options in game let alone allowing the ultimate trump card.  I prefer a gritty, dark campaign world where the gods are generally indifferent unless there is something to be gained.

Rarity of Resurrection
The Resurrection spell is always one of a short list of the highest level cleric spells.  In most games that means it's a 7th level spell.  
  • AD&D you need to be a 16th level cleric with an 18 Wisdom to cast resurrection. 
  • Swords & Wizardry a cleric must be 17th level.  
  • Pathfinder a cleric must be 17th level.  
These are just a few examples of the game system requirements to cast resurrection.  So finding a cleric of that level I imagine in most game world would be extremely rare.  Add in the variable that this high level cleric would give two shits about the death of some dumb ass adventure who crawled in a hole full of monsters and ended up dead.  But say the cleric is available and does give two shits.

Details of Resurrection
Here are a few examples of using the resurrection spell.
  • AD&D for each level of the cleric the target can be dead for 10 years.  So the minimum level to cast it is 16th so a person can be dead for 160 years and be brought back.  The cleric must rest one day for every level of the person brought back to life. 
  • Swords & Wizardry no effect on the cleric.  Allows the resurrected person act normal immediately.  
  • Pathfinder uses the same time limit at AD&D for how long a person can be dead.  The subject gains one permanent negative level.  If the target is 1st level, it takes 2 points of Constitution drain.  
I believe somewhere it is stated or 'understood' that a someone who dies of old age cannot be resurrected.  Otherwise the range of a resurrection spell is vast.  A cleric could conceivably enter a tomb of a long dead hero and bring him or her back.  I wonder what the effect on a powerful undead creature would be?  Liches, vampires are for all purposes dead.  If a resurrection spell was cast on a lich wonder what would happen.  Interesting.  

What about the gods?
I guess part of my problem with resurrection is how often is used as a Get Out of Death card.  Drag your dead hero to the temple in the middle of the city and fork over the gold and wa-la, your boy is tap dancing on the tavern tables before nightfall. 

Because I tend to run a low magic, full of mud and shit, disease and corpses, the gods themselves while there, tend to be indifferent.  As long as temples are tended to, rites are completed and they are respects (or feared, they are no picky) they don't meddle.

List of Questions
What I am curious about is do you allow resurrection in your campaign?  Why or why not?

What are the gods attitude towards resurrection?

Is there any special tasks/requirements/sacrifices that need to be made to resurrection someone?

And always remember...

Friday, August 19, 2016

And Now Back to the Talking Badger

I was having a minor domino effect of electronic device failures which put a halt to my game time for about a month.  I started to develop facial tics.  Luckily, last night I was able to get back into gaming. Back into +Ken H's mega dungeon, Monteport.  With my trusty partner in crime +Chris C. we continued our adventure.

We left off with my guy Septimus, shooting a very big guy in plate armor doing a single point of damage.  Why did I shoot a very big guy in plate armor?  The telepathic badger they had in shackles told me to do it.  I couldn't think of one good reason why I shouldn't listen to the badger.  Ken ended it there as a cliffhanger.

So we start with initiative.  I roll a 1.  Glad I haven't lost my touch.  They go first.  Do some minor damage.  Our turn.  Mage sleeps them, fight over.  One guy got away.  He put on an invisibility ring and took off.  We didn't pursue him.  Monteport is not the kind of place you just run through.

We free the badger who can now talk once the shackles are off.  He's a fey creature.  Very polite. Lots of information.  He asked to be excused when we dispatched the opposing party of adventurers.  The badger did not like violence.  We then found out his name, which I've forgotten.

He told us about a trade festival that the other fey, ran by the goblins, have every few years.  It seemed like a great opportunity for us since our mission here was to establish trade and make money.  The badger told us about the rules of which we would have to abide and where it was located.  Location is difficult in a mega-dungeon, there is a lot of space between places.  The badger agreed to show us where it was being held.

This is where Monteport flexes its creative strength.  We met with a NPC we'd encounter in the previous adventuring party.  We'd established a history with this NPC.  And of course, time has not stood still, events have changed things.  While much of it was familiar we needed to learn it again in the context of the current situation.  Lots of fun.

We talked a lot about different aspects of the political make-up of the dungeon and what factions are trying to do what.  Our current boogie man is a batch of twisted dwarves who are demon worshipers who are buying people/creatures to sacrifice.  Monteport has no shortage of demons.  And out big boogie man from our previous campaign in Monteport might not be as dead as we thought he might be.

An excellent game session.  Good to be rolling dice again...even I keep rolling 1s.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Norker Land, Band of Bandits and Crypt Hill Creeping Out the Door

Here's a picture of my night's work.  I printed them out the other day and spent the night laminating, trimming and cutting.  These trio are from my Micro-Adventures Patreon.  You can head over and grab free, PDF copies of all three.  My patrons will receive their copies in the next few days.

These all are included in my Sandbox project.  Where I am placing them on a bigger over all map, hoping to create a gamable hex crawl.


Starting Your Adventure in Shackles

Recently I found the Gaming and BS RPG Podcast.  They just released their 100th episode.  So I am a little late to the game.  I was listening to episode 98 OK to Fail, and they briefly discussed the decision whether to start an adventure or campaign with the party imprisoned.  I thought about the times I used this element in a game.

First off, I think it's a valid situation in a role-playing game.  Some folks dislike it, but I think it provides an interesting element to the normal fully armored, fully geared hero.  Improvisation is key to success.  Escape plans hardly ever work as planned.  For me, that's the fun in it.  And really, the only requirement for any game is to keep it fun and interesting...or is that two requirements?

The first time is a bit blurry.  We are talking late 80's.  I was one of a DMing tag team with +Rob Conley.  The party was captured by slavers.  I don't remember the details of their capture, but I'm sure it was due to some meathead plan they concocted.  They ended up on a slaver ship and that's where the session ended.

The next week was my turn to DM.  I was asking myself, how the hell do I make being shackled in one place, on a boat, interesting?  I've never been a fan of waterborne adventures.

My answer was to create a micro-culture on the ship.  I wrote about it a few years ago, Sea Adventures and Micro-Cultures.  Basically it boils down to making the situation interesting.  Even though it was a confined setting there was a lot of mental exploration for the players trying to understand how life worked on a slave ship.

The second time, I started the campaign with the party shackled to a wall, prisoners of a vampire medusa.  Counter productive, I know, but there it was none the less.  The party did a wonderful job of coming up with a plan to escape.  For this adventure the players had no idea who their kidnappers were.  I kept the identity of the big bad monster hidden.  I hinted at what it might be, but because of the dual nature of the creature the signals were difficult to interpret and scared the shit out of the players.  So in this case I used more of an old time horror element where the monster is always just off screen until the climax.

And the last one where imprisonment started the adventure was for something I wrote of Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day a few years back.  Screams Without Faces (you can click on the link to get a free copy) starts with...

- You're naked
- Shackled to a dead guy
- On the other side of the room is a guy cutting the face off a corpse
- Your foot bumps a severed arm
- Go!

So the entire adventure is breaking out a prison with some weirdness thrown in. My intent was to make the adventure surreal, not filled with nameless guards, keys or a place of punishment.  This imprisonment is twisted and bizarre.  It keeps the player off balance a bit because the expectations of a prison are not within at all.

So in the few instances where I've imprisoned players they've been fun because I did a little extra work to make the experience interesting.  But I also had the players that were willing to go for the ride.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Excellence One-Page at a Time

If you don't know who +Christian Walker is, he's the dude who is responsible for the zine rush in the OSR and related games.  He has also been putting out a fantastic little one-page zine, the tolling of the great black bell and a blog site of the same name.  Christian introduces each entry with a short video which is always a pleasure.

The man's passion for his gaming is fucking contagious.  Not only was a responsible for the zine rush, shortly after he started the tolling of the great black bell, there was a flurry of other one-page zines hitting the internet.  He has the effect.  So beware.  He's kinda like those housing flipping shows that make remodeling easy and look fantastic and the next night you find a hammer in your hand demoing a wall.  If you watch Christian talk about his zines or guitar playing, I think I saw him playing a violin a couple of times, and he's been building his own housing for his miniatures.  He infects you with the curiosity to give it try.  You have been warned.

He's on issue 17 where you find yourself on level 5 of a spire.  You might find a death metal band in a photo shoot.

If you get a chance, get copies of these wonderful things.  Christian preaches about the virtue of getting wonderful things in the mail.  I am a believe and a convert.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Death in the Scent of Saffron

Zig didn't say much.  He stood in the corner of warehouse watching the few workers carry in crates and roll in barrels.  They never saw him even though he made no effort to hide.  He was a fixture like the six support beams that supports the loft above their heads, on up to the mansard roof.  Zig stood and waited. Patience was always one of his best skills.  The last barrel rolled in and stacked on its side, two wooden wedges to hold it into place to complete the three tier pyramid.  The double doors swung closed and banged shut.  Then the muffled sound of the bolt being secured and the click of the lock.

And Zig breathed in the silence.  Now all he needed to do was chose.  Which of these good would be leaving with him tonight.  He favored the wine, but the shipment was from Torq from across the Solten Sea.  While considered an excellent wine by most, it did not travel well in the hot underbellies of the ships and often soured in route.

There were casks of cinnamon brandy.  Its weight was well worth the pay off.  But there were only two casks and his friend, Yarrimir, ordered it special for his daughter's wedding.  Zig was pleased to see it was stored properly and untapped.

It was the aromatic small crates that caught Zig's eye.  A dark, sweet scent permeated the area.  While Zig couldn't read the foreign letters on the crate he recognized their meaning.  Saffron.  A king's ransom could be contained in the smallest of crates.  Lady Eleanor was always in the market for exotic things.  She paid well and did not ask questions.  Zig's favorite kind of customer.

He hefted the small crate, two of the foreign looking letters glowed and his jaw trembled.  Before he could utter a sound Zig fell to his knees, his gaunt corpse exsanguinated before it hit the floor.

In the morning the workers opened the doors to flood the warehouse with light.  A harsh white wave of light washed over Zig's dark clothing.  One of the worker's with a clef lip lifted the clothes and dust poured out of them.  He tossed the clothes into an empty barrel then grabbed a broom to sweep the dust out into the street.