Sunday, 24 January 2016

The One-Eyed Birdkeeper and the Scuttling Corpse


Another giant spider, but this one only woke from its gorged stupor after the Adventurers had made a lot of noise planning to lure out the cultists from one of the room deeper in the complex. How did they know that there were cultists down that tunnel? Well, they persuaded Midweek One-Eye to give them an idea of the layout of the first few chambers of this cave complex.

3. The One-Eyed Birdkeeper
An one-eyed old man wearing a wide-brimmed hat sits in the corner of this chamber, bird droppings caking his hat, cloak and long beard. He offers the Adventurers a genial welcome.

He struggles to remember his name. Or anything much for that matter. He thinks his name might be MIDWEEK ONE-EYE, and he seems to think that he swapped his eye for something magical, though, patting down his cloak, he can't seem to find it anymore. If pushed, he seems to think that he came into this forest to keep an eye on things, and he will tap his nose theatrically as he says so. 

His ravens (see 3a) bring him food; mice, voles and the like. He will crunch through one of these noisily, and will offer the Adventurers a snack. Adventurers eating a small mammal raw will recover 1 STAMINA, but it is absolutely vile. Midweek will say that the birds also bring back other bits and bobs, and invites the Adventurers to take a look 

There are two exits from this chamber, both on the 'east' wall. The first slopes down to the entrance chamber  (2), the second slopes up into a sunlit chamber noisy with the caws of ravens.

Midweek is actually a powerful ancestor-spirit (practically a demi-god) of the Vynheimers. He is able to see through the eyes of his ravens, and even to shapechange himself but is loath to intercede - it should the through the heroism of Humanity that they are saved from evil. When he does use his powers, he will still do his best to seem like a befuddled old man. In fact, he might actually be that befuddled.

3a. The Ravens’ Nest
This open cave is home to innumerable ravens. They have collected a pile of trash, but among the bits of wood, leather, bone, shiny stones, etc. there is the off glitter of gold. In an Adventurer wishes to search this trash pile, roll 2d6. On a roll of 8+, the Adventurers have found 1d6GP, but on the roll of a double the Adventurers have enraged the ravens who inflict 1d3 points of STAMINA damage before they calm.

Midweek actually transformed himself into a raven to explore the caves on behalf of the Adventurers. However, after transforming back into an old man he didn't seem to realise that he had explored the caves himself, appearing to take his description of the layout from the (silent) raven resting on his shoulder.

2. The Scuttling Corpse

Inside the cave entrance there are more be-webbed corpses. One appears to sprout giant, articulated arachnid legs and scuttle towards the adventurers. It appears as if the corpse is riding the spider, jerking like a puppet-jockey on its back. The first 4 points of STAMINA damage involve chopping away the corpse. Only then will the Adventurers strike the GIANT SPIDER.

GIANT SPIDER
SKILL 7 STAMINA⑧⑦⑥⑤④③②①             
Weapon
1
2
3
4
5
6
7+
Bite
2
3
3
3
4
4
5
Giant Spiders can make 2 Attacks.
Armour
1
2
3
4
5
6
7+
Bristly Hair
0
0
0
1
1
1
2

There are three exits from this chamber. To the ‘west’ a tunnel slopes upwards, from which the Adventurers can hear the caws of birds. To the ‘northwest’ there is a roughly level tunnel that appears to wind somewhat, but from which can be seen the flicker of what might be firelight. To the 'northeast' there is a tunnel that slopes downwards into darkness, from which the chanting can be heard.

The Adventurers made short work of this disturbing sight, but having taken a long time loudly discussing their plan of action, any hope of a stealthy approach have evaporated.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Choices & Consequences - a go read someone else post


There are some things that you *know* that you ought to do (which you might even have written about), but that you don't always put into practice. One of these things, for me, is making explicit to the players choices and consequences that are the axis upon which an RPG turns. The game is not about rolling dice or CharOp or any of that jazz, but about making choices as your character and playing out the consequences


Friday, 22 January 2016

The Cave of the Spider God


13. The Cave of the Spider God

The Cave of the Spider God is an obscene sight. The stone face of the cliff has been carved and crudely painted so that the mouth of the cave appears to be an egg laid by a spider drawn from a child’s nightmare. The cocooned, dessicated husks of men and beasts litter the ground. As the Adventurers approach one of these cocoons will burst and tens of immature GIANT SPIDERS will vomit forth from their first feast, scuttling away into the undergrowth.

A chanting can be heard coming from within. 

The working map. The numbers don't match the locations on my working document, because I like making things difficult.

The Adventurers explored the forest a little further, pushing to the Shiver Water in the south before following the well-trodden path from the 'hatchery'. There they found the entrance to the Cave of the Spider God.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

The Hatchery

After defeating Jorus Eyebiter and his wretches, the Adventurers freed Aevaron the Wild-Elf. As we began session 2 of the Frostholm Campaign, Aevaron became a PC, played by E (my sister), and was fleshed out as a Shaman (using Priestly Magic) of Galana. Bjorn was retconned as Rhoda Red-Tress, and was played by (A), my mother. Her sex change appears to be incomplete, as my mother's sketch of her character appears to have a beard. With Klimt Bluestone and Snaggletooth, played by my wife and my brother, we now have a fair sized AFF2e party.

The Adventurers pushed deeper into the forest... 

12. The Hatchery

The forest floor falls away into a broad shallow sinkhole. This area of the forest is damp and dark, with the leaf litter a boggy mulch crawling his worms and centipedes. The sinkhole grows gradually more and more cobwebbed as the Adventurers move towards the centre, beginning with the think, glistening filaments of ordinary forest spiders until the trees are draped with the rope-like webs of GIANT SPIDERS. In the middle of this depression there are many tens of Giant Spider eggs, and hanging from the trees are the missing woodsmen, wrapped in thick spider silk cocoons. They will be the first warm dinner for the newly hatched Spiders.

As they approach the hatchery, the Adventurers will hear a tuneless signing in a curiously small but deep voice. This is the lullaby of the SPIDER-MAN, a grotesque hybrid – the head of a man and the body of a spider – just a foot or so in size. He is GAVRON, a worshipper of Arhallogen whose hate of Humanity only grew after he received Arhallogen’s curse. He will be furious if he spots the Adventurers intruding, screaming obscenities and making terrible threats. If the Adventurers attack he will attempt to scuttle away, singing a keening song in a forbidden tongue. This song will attract 1d6+2 Giant Spiders, who will defend the eggs at Gavron’s (barely) musical direction.

GAVRON THE SPIDER-MAN
SKILL 7 STAMINA⑤④③②①             
Gravron will only cause one point of STAMINA damage on a successful attack, but opponents must TEST THEIR LUCK or die from his venomous bite.

GIANT SPIDER
SKILL 7 STAMINA⑧⑦⑥⑤④③②①
Weapon
1
2
3
4
5
6
7+
Bite
2
3
3
3
4
4
5
Giant Spiders can make 2 Attacks.

Armour
1
2
3
4
5
6
7+
Bristly Hair
0
0
0
1
1
1
2

While the Adventurers were discussing their course of action, Snaggletooth and Rhoda decided to take ACTION!, charging the cluster of eggs and hacking away with their axes. There they disturbed Gavron the Spider-Man, who scuttled, screaming and cursing, into the trees chased by Snaggletooth. While the Adventurers debated whether they could get at Gavron, he summoned four Giant Spiders with his song. Aevaron invoked Galana to have the trees seize one, and the party chopped and skewered the Spiders in pretty short order. Snaggletooth took the head of a Giant Spider, with the idea that from it a hat could be fashioned... 

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Inadvertent solo roleplay...


GM (me): "Bjorn [NPC] says to Plokki [also an NPC], 'What are those two so scared of?'"


J (my brother, player of Snaggletooth), smiling: "Well done. Are you going to have a conversation with yourself now?"

I must remember that the safest option is to revert to reported speech when having NPCs interact.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

The Giant’s Hearth


The Adventurers, having set the broken, blubbering Leif and Jurgon free, 'persuaded' Plokki to tell them about recent changes in the forest. In particular, he said that hunters who had travelled by way of The Giant's Hearth had disappeared. The Adventurers forced Plokki to lead them through the forest. As they neared the Hearth they could here screaming. After discussing press-ganging Plokki into armed service, they thought better of giving him a spear and turning their backs, and set him free to do as he will. Creeping round the stones, they saw...   

6. The Giant’s Hearth

The Giant’s Hearth, as it is known to the woodsmen of Skara, is a series of concentric circles of cyclopean blackened stones. Many of the stones have tumbled. Before the shadow of evil was laid over the forest, hunters would make camp here and use the monument to forgotten gods or kings as a landmark and waypoint.

The Hearth is now the camp of a small warband of ahumans. The three diseased WRETCHES were humans but recently, but they have been corrupted by JORUS EYEBITER, a CHAOS WARRIOR sworn to the service of Hmurresh, Lord of the Flies. They are torturing a WILD ELF, staked to the ground, more for their pleasure than the ostensive purpose – locating, and infecting, the hidden wild elf settlement. The wild elf, AEVARON, is of iron resolve, and will never betray his people.

Jorus is frustrated. The wretches that make up his warband are poor companions, and a certainly ill-suited to his purposes; seeking glory and power in the service of Hmurresh, especially in frustrating the plots of Arhallogen. If given the opportunity, Jorus will attempt to recruit the adventurers, arguing, in his buzzing, insectile voice, that they share a common enemy.

JORUS EYEBITER, CHAOS WARRIOR

SKILL 10 STAMINA ⑩⑨⑧⑦⑥⑤④③②①
Weapon
1
2
3
4
5
6
7+
Morning Star
1
2
2
3
4
4
5

Armour
1
2
3
4
5
6
7+
Spiked Plate
1
1
2
2
3
3
4

WRETCHES
SKILL 6 STAMINA ⑥⑤④③②①
Weapon
1
2
3
4
5
6
7+
Seax
1
2
2
3
3
3
4


Aevaron is a wild elf, his body covered in spiralling tattoos and dressed in scraps of leather and carved wooden jewellery. He is traumatised and badly wounded, but will not accept help travelling back to his village, as to do so would as surely betray the location of his people to outsiders as if he had told Jorus. 

In AFF2e outnumbering is a *big* advantage, giving +1 bonuses to Attack Strength to opponents for each extra opponent facing an individual. Whereas, in many systems, it might makes sense to take out the big enemy first, in AFF2e cutting away the minions not only strips the enemies of any bonuses, it will also grant the Adventurers bonuses as they begin to outnumber the most dangerous opponent. With this in mind, Snaggletooth and Klimt made short work of the wretches as Bjorn kept Jorus busy in single combat, before they were all able to close in on the doomed Chaos Warrior. Jorus attempted to recruit the Adventurers to his war against Arhallogen, but his bargaining was futile.

Friday, 15 January 2016

The Hunter's Camp


After recruiting Bjorn, the Adventurers crossed the Shiver Water and entered the Forest of Skara. Climbing King Harald's Crown, an eerie, lifeless mound of dead earth rising above the treeline also known as Bald Man's Head, they surveyed the forest. One of the things the Adventurers could see was, not too distant, a column of smoke climbing out of the canopy.

7. The Hunter’s Camp

Three HUNTERS – Plokki, Jurgon, and Leif, are camped here. They are small, wiry hard men, well on the way to getting drunk. They are sat around a campfire drinking a fierce liquor from a stoneware jug as a few birds roast over the fire.

They laugh, high-pitched, desperate laughs. They are drinking because they are scared, and they are ashamed of what they have done (see 7a). Any close interaction will reveal that they have bloody hands and stained tunics. If challenged, they will claim that this is a result of hunting, though they have only a few small birds on the fire. Jurgon and Leif are ready to break and confess, but Plokki is adamant that they have done what must be done.

HUNTERS
SKILL 6 STAMINA ⑥⑤④③②①
Weapon
1
2
3
4
5
6
7+
Spear
2
2
3
3
3
4
5
Short Bow
1
2
2
3
3
3
4

7a. Sacrifice to the Beast Lords.

In order to propitiate whatever gods are responsible for the crawling sickness and infestation of spider-kind in the forest, the hunters have sacrificed their comrade Grum. A few hundred metres along a narrow trail running deeper into the forest the Adventurers will find his body stretched out on a crude wooden frame. Grum’s head has been replaced by that of a boar. In poor light it might look as if this is some kind of is a man-beast, but this is not Marrangha, just a crude sacrifice. Some distance away, in the undergrowth, lies the body of a boar, Grum’s head stuffed into its hollowed abdomen.  

Among other things, I wanted to give the players another choice to make, which may have longer term consequences for their characters. The Adventurers discovered the bloody ritual, but let the three hunters go.