Simplified Stunt Tables for Fantasy AGE

I’ve observed that combat encounters in Fantasy AGE sometimes slow down due to players (fine, me too) taking a while to pick their stunts.

I noticed that the stunt descriptions are on the lengthy side. My thinking was that if I condensed the wording of the descriptions, the reader would just read through the table faster. This is specially handy if you had to reread the table as you are racked with indecision.

Here is my attempt at simplifying the Combat Stunts and Spell Stunts tables. I cut out the fluff and I tried to keep the mechanical rule of the stunts the same.

COMBAT STUNTS

SPELL STUNTS

Here is a downloadable PDF of the above two tables.

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My Tiny Frontiers House Rules v3 (2019)

Earlier this month, I’ve written My Tiny Frontiers House Rules v2 in preparation for revisiting The Fellowship Crew campaign at work. In that version, I’ve added variable damage by translating each point of damage and HP as 1d6 as well as PC levels where there are fixed benefits to be gained each time the PC goes up in level. This was based on feedback from my players after having played the game for half a year.

Although I thought this was a clever way to do variable damage, it unnecessarily complicated Tiny D6 which seemed backward to me. Rules as written (RAW), person-to-person attacks all do 1 point of damage. I like this because it’s super straight-forward and it cuts down on the number of rolls in combat (no need to roll for damage).

I want to keep the number of dice rolls in combat down and but at the same time offer a variance in damage than leans toward the low end of a given range.

Here is version 3 now with a different variable damage optional rule. I also tweaked the rest of the house rules while I was at it.

Variable Damage

Damage is equal to the number of successes (usually a die with 5 or 6) in the attack test. Meaning that damage will range from 1 to 3 with 1 being the more likely result and 3 least likely.

For example, attacking with a non-proficient weapon can only do 1 damage as you only roll 1d6 to attack with it. On the other hand, attacking with a mastered weapon allows for the possibility of doing 3 damage if all 3d6 used in the attack test succeeded.

Given the probability curve on the dice rolls, doing 1 point of damage is still the most likely damage outcome in a given attack. Assuming a successful normal attack test with 2d6, the chances of getting only one success for 1 point of damage is at 80% while the chances of getting two successes for 2 points of damage is only at 20%.

  • Do not use this Variable Damage rules with the Armor and Damage optional rules in the book.
  • Do not use this Variable Damage rule for Starship combat. 

Critical Hit

Use RAW except…

  • Only achievable with rolling all 6 on three dice, as in rolling a Test with Advantage or due to Weapon Mastery.
  • Deal an extra +1 damage.

Critical Fail

Use RAW. For the penalty, choose one of the following and provide a narrative for the chosen effect…

  • Roller will have Disadvantage on the next Test.
  • An enemy will get Advantage on a Test against the roller.

Healing

Use Medical Savant Trait as RAW except…

  • It requires a Medkit (starts with 6 Depletion Points). Make a Depletion Roll after each use.
  • It can only be performed on somebody else.
  • It costs 2 actions.

“Healing” or repairing an Autoborg requires someone with an Engineer Trait and a repair kit instead (starts with 6 DP).

  • It costs 2 actions.
  • If the Autoborg is repairing itself, the Test is at Disadvantage.

A stim pack is single use only and can be used by anyone. It can be administered to oneself. Roll an effectiveness test at disadvantage. It restores 2 HP on success but only 1 HP on failure. No one can have a dose of stim packs more than 3x a day. For each additional dose after the third time, roll a Save Test at disadvantage or suffer 4 damage instead.

Psionic Powers

  • On a failed Test when using psionic powers, make a Save Test at disadvantage. On a failed Save Test, lose 1 HP due to psychic feedback.
  • On a critical failed Test, automatically lose 1 HP (no Save Test).

PC Advancement

The concept of PC level is introduced to give players an increased perception of experience progression. The amount of experience points (XP) required to level up increases as the PC goes up in level (see table below). PCs gain a new benefit for each level gained.

Level/XP Table:

Level XP Benefit
1 0 Start PC by the book.
2 5 Add +1 to max HP.
3 15 Choose a 5th Trait.
4 25 Choose a new Weapon Group or new Weapon Specialisation.
5 40 Add +1 to max HP.
6 60 Choose a 6th Trait.
7 80 Choose a new Weapon Group or new Weapon Specialisation.
8 100 Add +1 to max HP.
9 125 Choose a 7th Trait.
10 150 Add +1 to max HP.
11+ +30
  • Swap an old Trait with a new Trait
  • OR choose a new Weapon Group / new Weapon Specialisation
  • OR add +1 to max HP.

Special Weapons

  • Stun grenades – Deal no damage. On a hit, the target plus 2 adjacent targets make a Save Test or be stunned. Attacks on stunned characters are done with Advantage. Stunned characters also can’t move. Stunned characters must make a successful Save Test to shrug off the effects of being stunned.
  • Flame throwers – On a hit, deal damage as normal and the target makes a Save Test or be on fire. The target takes an on-going 1 point of damage at the start of his/her turn. To put out the fire, use 1 action and make a successful Save Test with Disadvantage.
  • Grenades and Rocket launchers – On a hit, deal damage as normal. The main target and up to 2 adjacent targets make a Save Test. Targets who fail get are knocked back 10 feet and are prone.

My Basic Fantasy RPG House Rules v3 (2019)

These days, I want to run the game to be more rules as written. I’d also want to stick to the optional rules provided in the core book or the official BFRPG supplements as much as possible.

If I want options outside of the core rules, I can just say that I’m using options X, Y and Z from so and so supplement book from the BFRPG site. And most of it has been playtested too. Why reinvent the wheel, as it were.

In saying that, there are a few house rules I’ve established that I’d like to keep around such as the Fighter special skills.

Fighter

Pick a new fighter trait or increase the rank of an existing trait at levels 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, and 19.

  • Heavy hitter:Rank 1: Do +2 melee damage but get -1 to initiative.
    • Rank 2: Do +2 melee damage but no initiative penalty.
  • Weapon Mastery (chose weapon):
    • Rank 1: Gain +1 to hit and +1 damage with a chosen weapon type (chose upon picking this option)
    • Rank 2: For the same weapon in Rank 1, gain +2 to hit and +1 damage.
    • Rank 3: For the same weapon in Rank 2, gain +2 to hit and +1 damage and increase attack rate (the original rate of fire of 1 per 2 rounds becomes 1 per round; 1 per round becomes 2 per round; and 2 per round becomes 3 per round).
  • Swashbuckler:Rank 1: Gain +1 AC when wearing chain mail, lighter armor or no armor.
    • Rank 2: Gain +2 AC when wearing chain mail, lighter armor or no armor. Also gain an AC bonus equal to your Strength modifier.
    • Rank 3: Gain +3 AC when wearing chain mail, lighter armor or no armor. Also gain an AC bonus equal to your Strength modifier and any attack bonuses due to held weapon’s magical attack bonuses.

Magic-user

  • Arcane Blast: This is a bolt of raw magic. To avoid getting hit, the target rolls a save vs. magic wands with a penalty equal to the caster’s Intelligence modifier. The bolt has a range of 30 feet and does 1d3 magic damage. Since it is pure magic, it will affect creatures which are only affected by magical weapons, but does not affect inanimate objects.
  • Cast Cantrips (Minor Magic): Magic-users are allowed to cast everyday magic at will. This is usable once per round if no other action taken. This ability is for non-combat use only. Attempting something abusive fails automatically. Abusive uses include pickpocket attempts, combat effects, etc.
  • Read Magic: Can be cast at will. No spell slot is required and it’s automatically known.
  • Liberal Casting: The caster can prepare as many spells as they have spell slots for. The caster are then limited to casting from these prepared spells. They can only cast a prepared specific-levelled spell if they still have the slots available for it. For example, a level 2 magic-user can cast 2 level 2 spells and have prepared sleep and shield. Per day, the magic-user can cast sleep once and shield once OR cast sleep twice OR cast shield twice.
  • Spell Bonus based on Intelligence:13 to 15: +1 first level spell
    • 16 to 18: +2 first level spells
  • Preparing spells from memory: In case the magic-user has no access to their spellbook, they can try to prepare spells from memory. It requires an Intelligence ability roll with the spell level as a penalty on the die roll. On a failure, the magic-user loses that spell level slot equivalent to the level of the spell being prepared.

Cleric

  • Cure Minor Wounds: Heals 1 hit point. This is usable once per round if no other action is taken. When used, roll 1d6. If the result is 1, the cleric can’t cast any more Cure Minor Wounds until a full night’s rest.
  • Liberal Casting: The caster can prepare as many spells as they have spell slots for. The caster are then limited to casting from these prepared spells. They can only cast a prepared specific-levelled spell if they still have the slots available for it. For example, a level 3 cleric can cast 2 level 2 spells and have prepared light and remove fear. Per day, the cleric can cast light once and remove fear once OR cast light twice OR cast remove fear twice.
  • Spell Bonus based on Wisdom:13 to 15: +1 first level spell
    • 16 to 18: +2 first leve spells

Thief

Note: I’ve added the 1d20 roll bonuses in brackets in case I’m using the 1d20 roll for thief skills where each nearest 5% is equal to a +1 on a 1d20.

  • Racial bonus to skills:Dwarf:+5% (+1): pick pockets, remove traps, listen
      • -10% (-2): climb
    • Elf:-5% (-1): open locks, remove traps
      • +5% (+1): move silently, hide, listen
    • Halfling:+5% (+1): pick pockets, move silently, hide, listen
      • -15% (-3): climb
  • Ability score bonus (+5% per +1 modifier):Dexterity:  open locks, pick pockets, move silently
    • Intelligence: remove traps, hide
    • Wisdom: listen
    • Strength: climb

General

  • Critical Hit: On a natural 20, double the number of damage dice to roll. For example, rolling a critical hit on attacking with a pole arm +1 does 2d10+1 damage instead of just 1d10+1.
  • Death and Dying:Use Negative Hit Points option on page 152. Instead of stopping at 0 HP, keep track of the negative score. At the end of each round, the character loses an additional 1 HP. If the character’s HP drops lower than the negative value of their Constitution score, the character is dead.
    • Stabilise: Another character may spend a round to stabilize the fallen character to bring them back to 0 HP and stop them from further losing 1 HP per round. Getting damaged again after that will resume the loss of 1 HP per round.
    • Recovery: Magical healing, rest with 8 hour sleep (+1 HP) or full all-day bedrest (+2 HP) can bring stabilised characters back to more than 0 HP. When the character has at least 1 HP, they regain consciousness.
    • Spellcasters who drop to 0 HP loses all their unused spell slots and won’t be able to cast spells if they regain consciousness.
  • Save vs Poisons: Instead of instant death where a “save or die” poison is indicated, the victim must make a save vs. Poison or suffer 1d6 damage per round for 10 rounds, starting the round following the exposure to the poison. Even a first level character might survive with a combination of luck and healing magic.
  • Other instant death effects: Instead of a character just dying instantly, take damage equal to as many d6’s as the character has hit dice. For example, Sam, a level 5 fighter, is hit with a disintegrate spell and failed his saving throw. He will take 5d6 damage. If he goes to 0 HP, the character is disintegrated as per the spell.
  • Ability Checks:
    • Ability Roll optional rule method:Use the Ability Rolls optional rule on page 153 as is. Get +5 bonus for an easier task. Get -5 penalty for a harder task.
    • Traditional 1-X in 1d6 Roll method:
      • Continue using the 1-X in 1d6 roll method where it’s mentioned in the rules (for example, open doors or find secret door).
      • Also use it for checks where leveling up shouldn’t increase the chances for success.
      • For harder tasks, step up the die needed from d6 to d8 to d10 to d12 to d20.
    • If a monster ever needs to do a check, use its Saving Throw vs Death Ray.
    • If opposed check is needed, use the Ability Roll rule and the character with the highest successful roll plus modifiers wins. A natural 20 roll is not an automatic win here. For example, strength check vs strength check in an arm wrestling match.
    • List of a few checks the have come up a few times in the past:
      • Acrobatics check: Ability Roll (DEX)
      • Climbing check: Ability Roll (STR)
      • Endurance check: 1+X in 1d6 (CON)
      • Lifting check: 1+X in 1d6 (STR)
      • Lore check: Ability Roll (INT)
      • Navigation (don’t get lost) check: Ability Roll (WIS)
      • Notice (Surprise [not]) check: 2+X in 1d6 (WIS, elf+1)
      • Persuasion check: Use Reaction Roll table (CHA)
      • Pushing check: 1+X in 1d6 (STR)
      • Research check: 1+X in 1d6 (STR)
      • Search check: 1+X in 1d6 (INT)
      • Sneaky check: none. Target does surprise check instead.
      • Tracking check: Ability Roll (WIS)
      • Wake up check: 1+X in 1d6 (WIS)

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Ability Checks in my Basic Fantasy RPG campaign

There are two types of “skill” checks in BFRPG: the X in 1d6 roll and the Ability Roll optional rule.

  • (Note: there’s a TL:DR version at the very bottom of this post.)

X in 1d6 Roll

The X in 1d6 roll is used in the traditional dungeoneering checks such as open stuck doors, find secret doors, find traps, and so on. The general rule is that a check is successful on a roll of 1 on a 1d6, modified by the relevant ability modifier and racial bonuses.

For example, finding secret doors requires a roll of 1 on 1d6 for humans to succeed but it’s a roll of 1 to 2 on 1d6 for elves. And if the character has a +2 INT modifier, that’s 1-3 on 1d6 for humans and 1-4 on 1d6 for elves. Another example is opening doors. If it’s a stuck door, roll 1 on 1d6 but if it’s a locked door, roll 1 on 1d10 instead.

This could easily apply to other tasks where the base chance is against a 1d6 modified by the relevant ability modifier. And if the task is a lot harder, switch to the next bigger die with 1d20 as the highest difficulty to succeed.

Here is the probability of succeeding the roll as a percentage and as a roll of equal or over a target 1d20 number.

Ability Roll Optional Rule

The other method is the ability roll optional rule on page 153 of the core book. It’s a roll equal and over a target number sub system that’s modified by your character’s relevant ability modifier.

This one seems like a variation on the Saving Throw rule where you have to roll equal or greater than the number to succeed. It also reminds me of the D&D 5e ability check system where there is an assigned Difficulty Class (DC) target number that you need to beat with a 1d20 modified by your ability modifier and what’s called a proficiency bonus.

In 5e, an easy task’s DC is 10, a medium task’s is 15 and a hard task’s is 20 (and so on). And the proficiency bonus slowly goes from +2 to +6 as you level up from 1 to 20. Your ability scores are modified too so that you ability modifier also goes up as you level up.

Imagine that your level 1 5e character is attempting to do a hard task at DC 20. With a starting proficiency bonus if +2, the adjusted DC is 18. 5e ability modifiers are bigger than BFRPG so the effective DC is going to be closer to the BFRPG starting Target number of 17.

The combined increasing of the proficiency bonus and ability modifiers in 5e effectively lowers the hard task DC 20 with each level increase. This is similar to the lowering of the Ability Roll Target number of -1 every other level.

I had always been tempted to adopt the 5e ability check but I don’t have to anymore. It’s basically the Ability Roll rule at a default DC 20. If it’s not too hard, I’ll just give the PC a +5 bonus making it an effective DC 15. Any more than that and I’ll probably just let the PC succeed automatically (unless there is some danger happening, of course).

Unified Task Resolution

In my game then, I’m going to use the Ability Rolls optional rule exclusively. I’ll even do this for Thief Skill checks where I’ll convert the percentage chance of success in terms of a X in 1d20 roll.

For example, a level 1 thief has a 25% chance to Open Locks and it’s basically the same as rolling 16 and over on a 1d20. Note that this is already pre-calculated in the Roll Over, Roll Under & Roll and Add supplement on the BFRPG website.

The formula is easy enough: get the percentage target number and round it up to the closest whole number that’s divisible by 5. Divide this number by 5 then subtract it from 21 and that’s your target 1d20 number.

For example, a level 2 thief has a Listen of 34%. Round it to 35. Dividing it by 5 gets you 7. And 21 minus 7 is 14. To listen, the thief needs to roll 7 and above on a 1d20.

As for the dungeoneering checks, they can be Ability Rolls modified by the relevant ability modifier. For every 1 point racial bonus that would’ve applied to the X in 1d6 roll, translate that to a +2 bonus.

For example, a level 1 elf magic-user with INT 15 looking for secret doors will get a total bonus of +3 (racial bonus +2 and INT modifier +1). The effective Target number is now 14 (TN 17-3). A human with the same intelligence would have an effective Target number of 16. And if the secret door is relatively easier to spot, I’d also apply a +5 bonus which will bring down the effective Target number by another 5 points.

I’ll give this a go in my next session and see how the players like a unified system.

TL:DR version

1) Use the Ability Roll optional rule on page 153 as is. It already assumes that the task is hard. If the task is easier than hard, get a +5 bonus.
2) For existing X in 1d6 rolls, I can use Ability rolls instead. Characters with a racial bonus to the old roll gets a +2 bonus in the Ability roll.
3) For thief skills, I can use the table in the Roll Over, Roll Under & Roll and Add supplement on the BFRPG website to convert to 1d20 rolls. Or just keep as pecerntile if it’s easier.

Vieja Escuela List of Spells

VE_spell_list 190613-135913.png

About four months ago, Eneko Palencia posted on the Vieja Escuela MeWe group a PDF of Lista de Conjuros. It’s a pretty cool 2-page supplement for use with the original Spanish Vieja Escuela: JDR. However, if you don’t read Spanish, you won’t be able to use it with the English version of the game Vieja Escuela: the role-playing game.

To make it available for use at my table who are English speakers, I made a fan-translation of the supplement. I also tried to make the spell names match the names they would have been given in D&D, for consistency’s sake, and then sorted it alphabetically based on the English version of the spell names.

You can get my English translation of it here:

EDIT:

I have just learned that the original Spanish list of spells had already been translated by Juan Mejia before. And it looks more official. Here is his English-translation for the List of Spells: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1F8-m5WCBIRYKvTb_1XcD-9DS6WkM_Wky

My Tiny Frontiers House Rules v2

I ran the Tiny D6 game Tiny Frontiers Revised (affiliate link) for my friends from work for about 12 one-hour sessions before I had to put the campaign in indefinite hiatus. We had fun with it and I really like how easy it was to GM the game and prep for it. So I’m foreseeing that I will run a Tiny D6 game again in the future, maybe even a new campaign.

The feedback I got from my friends was that the one point damage from any weapon felt predictable and that they miss the feel of levelling up. I hope the house rules here would help in that. I’ve also included house rules I used in my old campaign here.

When I resume our Tiny D6 game, I’ll be using these house rules.


img_1217

Hit Points and Damage

Generally speaking, when Hit Point (HP) is mentioned in the rules as written (RAW), treat it as 1d6 HP per 1 RAW HP. For example, an adversary with 6 RAW HP will now have 6d6 HP.

Generally speaking, when a point of Damage is mentioned in the RAW, treat it as 1d6 Damage per 1 RAW Damage. For example, striking with a sword will do 1d6 damage instead of 1 RAW damage.

What this does is that on average, the relationship between Hit Points and damage remains the same (1 RAW damage takes out 1 RAW HP, average 1d6 damage of 4 takes our average 1d6 HP of 4).

Weapon Damage

  • Unarmed attacks deal 1d6-1 damage (minimum 1 damage).
  • Light weapons deal 1d6 damage.
  • Heavy weapons deal 1d6+1 damage.

If using Armor and Damage optional rules, a point of RAW damage reduction is still a point of damage reduction. Do not convert to 1d6 damage reduction.

Critical Hit

Use RAW except…

  • Only achievable with rolling all 6 on all three dice, as in rolling a Test with Advantage.
  • Roll an extra 1d6 Damage instead or just 1 RAW damage.

Critical Fail

Use RAW. For the penalty, choose one of the following and provide a narrative for the chosen effect…

  • Roller will have Disadvantage on the next Test.
  • An enemy will get Advantage on a Test against the roller.

Healing

Use Medical Savant Trait as RAW except…

  • It requires a Medkit (starts with 6 Depletion Points). Make a Depletion Roll after each use.
  • It can only be performed on somebody else.
  • It costs 2 actions.

“Healing” or repairing an Autoborg requires someone with an Engineer Trait and a repair kit instead (starts with 6 DP).

  • It costs 2 actions.
  • If the Autoborg is repairing itself, the Test is at Disadvantage.

A stim pack is single use only and can be used by anyone. It can be administered to oneself and it restores 2d6 Hit Points with no Test required. No one can take stim packs more than 3x a day. On additional takes after the third, roll a Save Test at disadvantage or suffer 5d6 damage instead.

Psionic Powers

  • On a failed Test when using psionic powers, make a Save Test at disadvantage. On a failed Save Test, lose 1d6 HP
  • On a critical failed Test, automatically lose 1d6 HP.

PC Advancement

The concept of PC level is introduced to give players an increased perception of experience progression. The amount of experience points (XP) required to level up increases as the PC goes up in level (see table below). PCs gain a new benefit for each level gained.

A starting PC at level 1 will have 2 HP per 1 RAW HP. For example, a human with 6 RAW HP will now have 12 HP.

Level/XP Table:

Level XP Benefit
1 0 Starts with 2 HP per 1 RAW HP. For example, a human with 6 RAW HP has 12 HP.
2 5 Change to 3 HP per 1 RAW HP. For example, a human with 6 RAW HP has 18 HP.
3 15 Choose a 5th Trait.
4 25 Choose a new Weapon Group or new Weapon Specialisation.
5 40 Change to 4 HP per 1 RAW HP. For example, a human with 6 RAW HP has 24 HP.
6 60 Choose a 6th Trait.
7 80 Choose a new Weapon Group or new Weapon Specialisation.
8 100 Change to 5 HP per 1 RAW HP. For example, a human with 6 RAW HP has 30 HP.
9 125 Choose a 7th Trait.
10 150 Change to 6 HP per 1 RAW HP. For example, a human with 6 RAW HP has 36 HP.
11+ +20 Swap a Trait OR Swap a weapon specialisation OR gain 1d6 additional HP.

 

Special Weapons

  • Stun grenades – Deal no damage. On a hit, the target plus 4 adjacent targets make a Save Test or be stunned. Attacks on stunned characters are done with Advantage. Stunned characters can’t move. Stunned characters get a Save Test at the beginning of their subsequent turns. If they pass, they are no longer stunned. If they fail, they continue to be stunned.
  • Flame throwers – On a hit, deal 1d6+1 damage and the target makes a Save Test or be on fire. When on fire, the target takes an on-going 1d6 damage at the beginning of their turns. To put out the fire, use 1 action and make a successful Save Test with Disadvantage.
  • Grenades and Rocket launchers – On a hit, deal 1d6+1 damage. The main targlet and up to 4 adjacent targets make a Save Test. Targets who fail get an additional 1d6 damage and are knocked back 10 feet and are prone.

The Dragonslayers – Session 8, part 2: Into Caldon’s Crypt

Player Characters:

  • Beka– elf fighter, level 5
  • Chichi– halfling thief, level 6
  • Elrond– elf magic-user, level 5
  • Gambit– elf fighter, level 5
  • Goldmoon– human cleric, level 5
  • Pedro– human fighter, level 5

Continued from The Dragonslayers – Session 8, part 1: The Dragonslayers are Back in Town posted on 29/05/2019.

The Dragonslayers found themselves outside a small chapel in the middle of a freezing snowing landscape. They wrapped themselves tightly in their winter blankets to protect themselves from the howling icy wind.

image-37

They walked toward the building ahead and opened it’s iron bar gates. Patches of snow and ice covered the worn stone floor. On the north end of the room was a staircase going underground.

The party descended the stairs into a pitch black hall. Beka, Chichi, Elrond and Gambit had no trouble looking around the large chamber as they could see in darkness but the humans Pedro and Goldmoon could not see anything. Those with dark vision saw a black liquid gushing from a demonic fountain in the middle of the room. Behind it on the far end of the room was a sarcophagus. The cobweb-filled room had a high vaulted ceiling supported by pillars on the west side of the room. The pillars on the east side had already collapsed into a stony rubble on the floor.

They started to look around whilst Elrond cast light spell on of the skulls on the floor to allow the humans to see around them. However, after casting the spell, the bones around them rose up as skeletons and zombies and attacked them.

The monsters were quickly dispatched though when Goldmoon beseeched the Creator to turn the undead away. The heroes took the opportunity to destroy many skeletons and zombies that run past them as the undead tried fleeing towards the south stairs. They were able to destroy the skeleton with the magically lit skull before it could flee. They got to keep their light source at least.

With the undead dealt with, they party turned east toward the collapsed pillars and the rubble. They wanted to check the two doors at that end. As they approached the area, more rubble fell from the ceiling, falling above Beka. As they dug her out of the rubble, they also found a sack underneath that contained 1,600 copper coins, 800 electrum coins and 2 shiny green stones.

After dusting themselves, they opened the northern door first and entered the narrow corridor behind it. Chichi who was walking ahead of the party triggered a hidden pit trap. The floor under her swung open. She fell into the pit and on to solid rock at the bottom of the pit which was about 60 feet deep. Thankfully, she survived the fall. The others offered to help her climb up but she refused. She used her grappling hook and rope to climb back out of the pit.

To avoid further accidents, they unfurled the flying carpet, activated it (“Fly, carpet, fly!”) and used that to safely carry people back and forth across the open pit.

Across the pit was a door of polished bone. They opened it and saw a small cramped room with a bloodied altar at the end. Beetles scuttled around their feet as they stepped in. The layers of bones were attached to the walls for decoration. On the altar was a wax idol in the shape of a black dragon. It seemed to be whispering to them.

Pedro picked up the black dragon idol. Suddenly, he felt a jolt of pain surged from the idol to his hand and to his body. He fell back, severely weakened. He also noticed that the protection amulet that Leena gave him at Stonescar had vanished. He quickly looked at his backpack to check if he was still carrying the Book of Making. He breathed a sigh of relief when he found it was still there.

After recovering from the shock, Pedro looked underneath the black dragon idol and saw an iron key with a skeleton etched on it and a small scarab amulet (Scarab of Protection with 5 charges) hidden inside.

Once they were satisfied that there wasn’t anything else that’s important in the room, they all went back through the corridor from where they came and existed to the area around the collapsed pillar. They then felt a rush of wind from behind them.

Two incorporeal beings floated toward them. Beka was the last one to exit the corridor. The party yelled at Beka to quickly shut the door behind her and waited for the wraiths to open it. Instead, they just passed through the doors like it was nothing. Pedro then asked Beka why did she even close the door. Beka balked at the suggestion this was somehow her fault. Regardless, battle ensued. Armed with magic weapons, it didn’t take long for the heroes to defeat the two wraiths.

After that, the group opened the east door and a strong odour of dried parchment and embalming fluid wafted from next room. Inside was an antechamber where a rusty suit of armour stood by the south wall and a stone sarcophagus with an imprint of a hand leaned against the north wall. At the southeast end of the room was a wide flight of broad stone steps that ascended into the darkness beyond.

They investigated the hand imprint on the north wall first. They noticed that the sarcophagus was attached to the wall itself. They all tried to remove the heavy lid but couldn’t budge it. Chichi, the smallest party member, tried to slide the lid off and succeeded! They found that there was a passage through the back of the sarcophagus leading to a narrow hallway behind the wall.

At the end of the corridor was a door with a keyhole. Pedro handed the iron skeleton key that they got from the other room to Chichi. She inserted it into the keyhole and turned it. First there was a click overhead and then immediately followed by a blast of noxious bone dust that sprayed from the the holes in the ceiling. Everyone was able to hold their breath or cover their faces just in time except for Beka. She dropped to her knees as she felt her chest tighten, making it harder to breathe. It took a minute for her to start breathing normally again.

Once the dust had settled, Gambit noticed that the door was already ajar and it wasn’t even locked. She pushed it open and saw a small chamber inside. On the walls were murals of a cloaked sorcerer with outstretched hands facing the skeletons crawling out of the darkness. On the floor were two ornate wrought iron chests.

They checked for traps and found none so they opened them. Inside were 5,400 silver coins, 1,600 copper coins, 1,200 electrum coins, 4,900 gold coins, a pair of obsidian skull earrings (valued at around 1,200 gold) which Gambit wore right away, a scroll of protection from undead, a magic dagger which Chichi grabbed, and a magic ornate mace which Goldmoon kept.

As the chamber looked easy to secure, the party spent the remainder of the night there to rest and tend to their wounds. Several uneventful hours later, they packed up and went back out to the antechamber.

The ascending staircase looked very suspicious to them so they searched around the room for possible secret doors first and found the stone blocks on the south wall near the west door were crumbly and loose. They slammed against the wall and it tumbled to the floor revealing a sloping corridor that went upwards.

At the end of the corridor was another wall with loose masonry blocks. Again they slammed it and the wall crumbled. Behind it was a wide sepulchre that was bathed in a sinister red glow. The red light came from a brazier that sat in the clawed hands of a sorcerer statue in the middle of the room. Around it were four sarcophagi. Hanging from the ceiling at the southeast corner was a dusty brass gong.

Standing by the statue was a skeletal armoured figure. It’s armour was entirely pitch black except for the painted red skull on its heavy shield. It turned to them and spoke in a raspy gravelly voice, “I am Vetula! I am the guardian of the tomb of Caldon. You shall pay for your intrusion with your soul!” Goldmoon identified the creature as an undead called a wight.

Vetula turned away from the heroes and started walking toward the gong with a serrated axe in hand. Elrond immediately cast a web spell at the wight and anchored him to the two nearby sarcophagi. Trapped and angry, it kept yelling at them repeatedly, “I am Vetula!”

Entangled in the web, the wight made for an easy target. The heroes surrounded it and started to bash it. However, short time later, the two south-most sarcophagi burst open and two incorporeal shadow hounds leapt out.

Beka and Goldmoon focused on the helpless Vetula while Chichi and Gambit attacked the shadow hounds. All the while, Elrond was providing support at the back by casting offensive ranged spells. The severely encumbered Pedro tried to get to the fight as fast as he could but it was slow going for him to get there from the antechamber.

In the middle of the fight, one of the hounds kicked the gong on the southeast corner. The sound reverberated through the chamber and the sorcerer statue started to move. It dropped the brazier on the ground and started attacking the heroes around it.

Soon, Vetula was vanquished as well as the shadow hounds. The only remaining threat was the living stone statue but they made quick work of it. Gambit finished it off with an arrow to its chest. Lava spilled out of its mouth, eyes and chest, then crumpled to the ground.

They searched the brazier on the floor and found a brass key with a skeleton etched on it. Pedro picked up the brass skeleton key and placed it in his backpack where he also kept the iron skeleton key he found from the black dragon idol.

End of session.

The Dragonslayers – Session 8, part 1: The Dragonslayers are Back in Town

Player Characters:

  • Beka– elf fighter, level 5
  • Chichi– halfling thief, level 6
  • Elrond– elf magic-user, level 5
  • Gambit– elf fighter, level 5
  • Goldmoon– human cleric, level 5
  • Pedro– human fighter, level 5

The Dragonslayers stayed at the town of Stonescar for three days to help the town get back on its feet. In the meantime, Elrond took that time to learn a new spell: fireball.

After a few more days on they road, they finally returned to Erstone. They passed  through the town gate as the sun was setting. The townsfolk were happy to see their heroes returned. The party took this moment to ask the people what they thought of Kheldratus. Those they asked regard him as the not-so-friendly town wizard but the people were comforted by the fact that they have one of the Four Wardens living close by, just in case.

Their first real stop was Old Patrick’s Pawnshop to reunite Old Patrick with his granddaughter Anna who had survived the clickers in Stonescar. As gratitude, he offered them a magical egg-sized stone covered with runes which he didn’t know how to use. He hoped that the heroes would still find it useful.

Elrond analysed the runes and quickly determined that it’s a Stone Commanding Earth Elementals. To summon an earth elemental, the holder of the stone would need to hold it above their head and speak the words: “rokke rokke seeyelo!

Afterwards, the heroes split up. Some went to visit Duncan the blacksmith to get supplies whilst the rest visited the local church to see Father Jess to ask for some healing.

At the blacksmith, Chichi finally got her dragon scale studded leather armour which she had custom-made the last time they were in town. It gave her enhanced protection without hindering her movement at all. Gambit purchased some bear traps and Pedro bought a superior plate mail armour. The armour was one of Duncan’s most-prized work. He wouldn’t have parted with it if it were just any buyer other than one of the famed Dragonslayers whom he owed a debt of gratitude.

Meanwhile at the local Holy Mercy Church, Father Jess was aligning the candles near the entrance when Goldmoon, Beka and Elrond walked in. The priest greeted Sister Goldmoon a good evening and gently reminded her that the church always needed more good people to service the town. In the same breath, he acknowledged that perhaps the Creator had given her a different calling, to be out there to reveal the power of the Creator through her.

They asked if the church had any healing potions that they could purchase. The cleric said they only had 10 healing potions left. They were still waiting for a fresh batch to arrive from the abbey. Knowing the dangers ahead, the heroes bought all the available potions and went on their way.

The heroes reunited at the steps of the church after sundown. Beka and Pedro swapped armours inside the church whilst the rest waited outside. Then they noticed hooded figures in green cloaks and badges just as they turned their backs on the party and walked hurriedly away. Gambit followed them to the north of town and saw them disappear into the forest outside of the town wall.

Suddenly, loud booming sounds came from the west of town. The townsfolk looked visibly shaken by the distant explosions. The heroes went past the western wall of town and determined that the noise came from around where Kheldratus’ Tower should be.

They continued walking west to investigate. A bright light flashed in the night sky and a loud crack followed it. They came up to the tower and saw that it was scorched and smoking. Just outside on the ground was Ivar, Kheldratus’ apprentice, dead with one hand on a fireplace poker and a ring on the other. His eyes were still but wide open and blood streamed out from it, as well as from his nose and ears.

Chichi quickly hid in the shadow and silently circled around the tower to see if what did this to Ivar was still around. She came upon a creature in purple robes with what looked like a huge squid for a head lurking behind the tower, observing them.

Although the thief was completely silent, the squid-headed creature still sensed her presence and turned to her direction. Chichi was taken aback for a moment but then ran toward it, dagger in hand.

The creature put its fingers to its temples and gazed intently at her. Chichi felt a sudden chill and her head started to pound. Her nose started to bleed but she was otherwise unhurt. Not fully knowing what she was up against, she decided to fall back and warn the others instead.

They all ran inside the tower, pulled Ivar’s corpse inside and then closed the tower door. Inside, it no longer looked bigger than the outside, not like the last time they were there. It’s as if the tower lost all its magic. The walls were also charred black in many places and the tapestries that once hung on the walls were now burnt to ash.

Gambit set down a few traps near the door and then they waited for the creature to enter the tower. The creature outside did not even try to enter the tower. After several minutes more of waiting, they decided to just go upstairs and see if there was anything in the tower that they could salvage.

Meanwhile, Elrond wore the ring they found on Ivar’s finger. The pearl on the ring lit a bright white then a ghostly image of Kheldratus projected from the ring. The ghostly Kheldratus spoke a speech that seemed to have been pre-recorded. He told Elrond and those around him that if they were seeing him through the ring, then he must be dead. He proceeded to explain the situation.

”A while back, Maros, the Warden of the North, was obsessed in learning about a dimension that he referred to as the Shadow Realm. He believed that it was an alternate dimension to ours and that artefacts of our world would also exist in the Shadow Realm but perhaps more easily accessible.

”I had warned Maros that opening a portal to the Shadow Realm would be unpredictable and could be very dangerous. The Warden of the North ignored my advice and continued in his efforts.

”Through research and experimentation, Maros was eventually successful in linking our world with the Shadow Realm but at a cost. The connection he created had caused a permanent rift between our two dimensions, allowing the evil creatures from that realm an equally easy access to our world. I fear it had also killed the Warden of the North in the process.

”With Maros dead, I spent days working out a way to mend the rift. In the end, I believe that our only chance is to recover the Book of Making. I’m hoping that inside it is the answer.”

Kheldratus asked the ring holder to find the Book of Making and open it. Apparently, the message had been recorded before Kheldratus had sent the Dragonslayers to retrieve the Book of Making. The ghostly figure also added that once the book was in their possession, they will need to follow steps to safely open it.

”The first step would be to open the lock which had been placed there by a powerful sorcerer named Caldon over a thousand years ago. The only way to safely open the lock is through a key that Caldon always kept with him. I suspect that it would be buried with Caldon in his crypt.

”To get there quickly, use the fireplace in the study. There would be green dust in a container near it. Throw the dust into the fireplace and speak out loud the destination – in this case it’s “To Caldon the Sorcerer”. The fireplace would burn with green fire. It won’t harm you. Step into the fireplace and you will be magically transported to Caldon’s crypt.

”To instantly return to the tower, you will need to bring the poker next to the fireplace. When you want to return, slam the poker against solid rock three times and speak out loud, ‘Back to the Tower’, and you shall be teleported back to my tower.”

The ghostly Kheldratus said that he would tell them more once they have retrieved the book and have unlocked it.

He then disappeared back into the ring. At that point, they realised that Ivar was holding the poker so they took it with them.

Before leaving for Caldon’s crypt, they surveyed the tower one last time. They noticed that there were some items that haven’t been burnt: 30 iron flasks of healing potions, a pair of elven boots, a flying carpet and a case of scrolls containing a dispel magic scroll, a haste scroll and a wizard eye scroll. Gambit donned the boots whilst Elrond kept the scrolls.

Elrond also noticed that the carpet had magic runes written at its fringes. To activate it, they must say “fly carpet fly“. To deactivate it, they must say “land carpet land“.

After sorting out magic items they found, they took a pinch of green dust and hurled it into the fireplace as they yelled, “To Caldon the sorcerer!” It burst into cool green flames. Pedro was the first to walk into the fire. He suddenly found himself sliding in a dark wormhole for a minute and then he fell on snow-covered ground.

Wherever this place was, it was a clearing with a small chapel in the middle surrounded by snowy evergreen trees. Pedro had to unpack the winter blanket that he always had with him and wrapped it around himself to keep warm. Soon, the rest of the party started appearing behind him. They also wrapped themselves in their winter blankets. They’ve arrived.

End of session 8, part 1.

If you are interested in reading the previous session reports, here is the list of previous sessions: https://regardingthegame.wordpress.com/session-reports-recaps/the-dragonslayers-sessions/

Session recap continues at The Dragonslayers – Session 8, part 2: Into Caldon’s Crypt.

The Fellowship – S2E02: No money, no ride

After getting a new shuttle, Sonic, Ducky and Luke were reunited with the rest of the crew aboard the Fellowship. It’s time to get back to the job of earning money.

They had a few options open to them. Their agent, Scott Marasu, had another job for them but they have to return to Station 789 where they are wanted for destruction of private property. There is also the Green Ekis shuttle with its scheduled job to go to Jara, the sixth planet of the Rhegane System, to rescue 100 people from one of the mining colony settlements there.

In the end, they decided to take on the rescue job but only if they get paid to do it. They went down to the planet hoping to bargain with Max Fülenwider‘s contact Bafto the Invex on the ground.

Unfortunately, they don’t have money to speak of. Bafto promised that his cousin Ali in the planet Cronit would be able to pay them if they rescue everybody. Turned out that the people to be rescued were families with young children.

There was a lot of discussion amongst the crew as to what they should do. There was a suggestion of separating the children from the parents to ensure that Bafto would pay up after all of it was over. There was even some suggestion of abusing the families to ensure that they don’t cause trouble.

This did not sit well with me at all. It even disgusted me. It made me regret a little bit putting the characters into a situation where they were given a choice to take this job with a possibility of not being paid. I didn’t expect it to go down this dark path.

They soon found out that Bafto was missing. When they looked for him, they found that he didn’t want to leave without his wife and child who were detained by imperial soldiers just as they were planning to go.

Additional discussion ensued as to whether they should just leave Bafto behind. If they do, then Ali wouldn’t likely pay them. They also considered forcefully taking Bafto with them but that probably wouldn’t go well neither.

In the end, Luke and Juana decided to go in and try to rescue Bafto‘s family regardless of the dangers ahead.

End of campaign.

This was the final session of the Fellowship campaign using Tiny Frontiers. I didn’t like how this session turned out. I was starting to burn out as a GM and then this happened. I came to realise that I couldn’t run a game for player characters who were mostly evil.

I’m the type of GM who wants to be a fan of his/her player characters. I can’t be a fan of the protagonists if they act like they are the antagonists of the story. So I decided to retire this campaign. Maybe I’ll come back to this campaign again in the future but it’s unlikely.