Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Dragon Warriors: Role Playing Consequences




Legend is a world with consequences. That's part of the appeal. One of, in fact the main reason we play Dragon Warriors  is love of the setting. It's that authentic dark age/early medieval feel (excepting the beliefs of folklore and myth are probably true.) So, maintaining belief in the power of the church and the integrity of the feudal system are important. The player characters might be the protagonists but the social order reigns supreme. It's something that doesn't normally sit well with our modern mindset. Equality, or the struggle towards it is a huge part of our world. In the fantasy world of Legend there is no equality. In fact the laws of the land exist to ensure that. Supposedly feudal obligations work both ways but it's never the peasants feasting on venison and quaffing fine wines in the high castle. Of course the player characters exist outside of this structure as lordless wanderers, vagabonds and barbarians. Players don't like to kowtow to NPCs, this is one of the earliest things we learn as a GM. However if you fail to show the proper respect to the duke, well, he's going to do something about it. This is dangerous ground. Most PCs will fight to the death rather than submit to capture. It's not great roleplaying but very few people sign up for an RPG to feel powerless. 

And so this brings us to the central tension of our last session of Dragon Warriors. Rolof the Mercanian, had occasion to affront a member of the local gentry. He manhandled him out of the bed of the village alewife and threw him out into the dirt in just his small clothes. Now Rolof knew this man to be Sir Grathan, lord of the manor from the next village, but he was on a roll of sorts and didn't listen to the warnings of his compatriots. However the following morning Sir Grathan returns, this time armed and armoured, and with six men at arms in tow. They seize Rolof, who acquiesces without a fight, and drag him outside. The villagers are roused in the process. Although their friend Father Caedric attempts to intercede on his behalf, the affronted knight will have none of it. He passes sentence, considering himself to be merciful he will only slit Rolof's nose. This does not go down well with the players. Rolof refuses to have his nose slit and begins to try and fight his way free. His companions join him, even though they don't fancy the odds and there are murmurs of TPK...

It's swords drawn. Things have escalated quickly and at the spilling of blood, well, that'll be the point of no return. The tension is palpable. However, in a remarkable change of heart Rolof agreed to submit to the punishment. His nose was slit, he was permanently disfigured, but everyone lives to fight another day. 

Role playing was the winner overall.



It doesn’t end there though, as Rolof privately swears vengeance on Sir Grathan. When he learns later that his enemy has a long standing feud with another knight of equal status, he decides to seek this individual out and offer his services...

Monday, 6 March 2017

Carcosa, Generating Your Character

For those who are unsure, or bad at Google, Carcosa is a weird-horror science-fantasy setting. It's a hexcrawl that incorporates Cthulhu mythos elements, alien technology, dinosaurs and other weirdness run using Lamentations of the Flame Princess rules.

Create character as normal using Lamentations of the Flame Princess rules.

Classes are fighter, specialist and sorcerer. Fighter and specialist are as per the rulebook, sorcerer is a a bit different.

A sorcerer progresses as a fighter but at a much slower rate and has slightly better saving throws at first level. The sorcerer has the ability to use ritual magic to summon, bind, entrap, torture or banish various Lovecraftian enitities. These rituals are lengthy and often profane. With the exception of banishment all require human sacrifice as a bare minimum. A 1st level sorcerer starts play with no known rituals and must seek knowledge of them through adventuring.

Specifics

All characters may start with the weapon of their choice and six other items of equipment (which may include a knife or dagger.) black powder firearms do not exist on Carcosa and no PC may start with any space alien tech.

Characters may originate as any of the colours of man, and can choose or determine this randomly.

Black
Blue
Bone
Brown
Dolm
Green
Jale
Orange
Purple
Red
Ulfire
White
Yellow

All the colours are vivid and pronounced. I.e. green is like grass, white as if bleached.

Jale and Ulfire are described thusly:

"Just as blue is delicate and mysterious, yellow clear and unsubtle, and red sanguine and passionate, so he felt ulfire to be wild and painful [and] jale [to be] dreamlike, feverish, and voluptuous." A Voyage to Arcturus.

Bone men have transparent flesh meaning their skeletons are always visible.

Dolm is mixture of Ulfire and blue

Psionics will be a GM roll because I've messed with the percentages and can't be bothered to type them out.

All characters bear a strange tattoo on the inside of their left wrist that depicts five serpents each swallowing their own tail, arranged in a circular pattern of interlocking rings.

Each character exhibits what they believe to be artificially induced amnesia. They have memories of a happy childhood growing up in a village with their own people, which they consider suspicious. They also have sketchy memories of being held prisoner in an underground complex they know only as "the Facility." They cannot remember who their captors were, only that experiments were conducted on them. They do not remember any release or escape only that they found themselves wandering the wastes of Carcosa occasionally meeting another individual who had the same tattoo and shattered memories.

(Essentially this is a conceit to allow a drop in style of play. Drop in players and the new characters following inevitable PC deaths can immediately band together over this common experience and it also means that PCs require no prior knowledge of Carcosa as a setting)

Optional traits (pinched from this guy) Roll d20 to differentiate your character from the norm (no pressure):

1. Pierced lips, eyebrows, ears and nostrils. (+1 cha)
2. Ritual Scarification (acid, cuts, burning or insect bites). (-1 con)
3. Lips removed or nose removed (-1 cha)
4. Dyed hair.
5. Painted face/teeth or body.
6. Elaborate hairstyle or beard.
7. Filed Teeth (bite for 1-4 dam)
8. Entirely hairless
9. Elaborate birthmark denoting favour/ill favour of the gods (50% chance of either -1 or +1 to all saves)
10. Battle scar (start with 200 xp)
11. Feathered headdress
12. Missing finger (-1 dex)
13. Wears ornate mask at all times if possible
14. Slave brand or scarification from shackles
15. Cannibal
16. Receives Visions (+1 wis)
17. Strange tribal superstition (must eat at least 1 pound of dirt each day, eats hearts of enemies, makes fetishes of enemy remains etc.)
18. Equipment is elaborately scrimshawed (150% original value to the right buyer)
19. Golden or diamond teeth (start with additional 3d6 * 10 gp, but has to be removed)
20. Emanciated ghoul-like physique (+1 dex, -1 str).


Recommended reading if you wish more information about the setting: SorceryGeneral review of setting