Wednesday, 7 October 2015

White Box Hangouts 3: "This Is Not An Adventure, it's A Pub Crawl"

I am the god of hellfire and I bring you...

 It was dark and smoky in the House of Mercenaries, Sellspears and Blades for hire. Dramatis Personae: Silvie, an acrobat, and Alvis, a mystic. Refusing to enter the sewers at any cost, the PCs decided to investigate what happened to Dek's missing beer delivery. Especially as it came from an old mercenary buddy of his from back in the day, Gorm, who had retired from the killing business and set up the Black Cow Brewery in the Canal district.

In heavy snow, the ruin of a brewery was found to be still smoking, clocks were examined and granary proprietors questioned, a trip to the Bleak Elephant public house yielded no trace of Gorm but beer was drunk out of horns, an eavesdropper was discovered and chased through back alleys, he was subdued by skilful flail work, a recipe for scones and information were extracted from him, the Alleyway Brotherhood were implicated, further investigation took place, the PCs were menaced by a small but vicious dog, a trip to the Pig and Barrel was proposed, a loud religious song and dance was performed, a wall was surreptitiously vaulted, incautious running caused a heavily burned floor to cave in, acrobatics saved the day but no one was around to see, Gorm was recovered from the smoking ruins of his brewery, there was planning, the mothman was seen flitting between rooftops but he spoke to no one, there was reconnaissance, mulled wine was deemed to be too expensive, a map was drawn in ale, the Battle of Five Dials was fought, a flask of oil was hurled into the canal (non intentionally,) surprise was not gained but initiative was, sling stones careered wildly out of the darkness, mystic powers were used, Marius the duelist proved to be a fearsome ally, Alvis took a club to the head and had a brief nap, there was "friendly fire" only with clubs, the Alleyway Brotherhood was warned off but only after a large woman urinated directly into a thief's face, victory was celebrated, heavy drinking was deemed to be the best thing for a serious head injury, a weird ebony and silver animal skull was recovered, silver looted from thieves was shared fairly with NPCs! Dek and Gorm were grateful and promised favours and the waiving of the fee on any future House jobs.

Another enjoyable session. Thanks to Eric and Paul who were exemplary players.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Need Meatshields? Roll d20.

Who's in at the House of Sellspears, Mercenaries and Blades for Hire: 

1 Rolv, the spear slayer, ringmail. Spear. Javelin. Also known as Centipede Bane following his last hiring but he's trying to keep that one quiet.

2 Martina, the laconic scout, she doesn't talk much. Leather, bow, shorts word, dagger.

3 Voltag the Rotund, an axeman and big eater. Battleaxe, chainmail.

4 Devian, the Quarterstaff. He has one, he looks like one. Leather armour. 

5 Oric of the deer hook knives, ringmail, deer hook knives (1d4+1). Tells long winded and extremely dull stories.

6 Asha the tall, Greatswordswoman, she is a ladette, ring mail.

7 Nimble Jim, scout and bowman, he has very long fingers. Leather, bow, hand axe.

8 Marius, the Latin duellist, wears chain. Sword. Hot tempered. 

9 Kadua, the Unwashed. She has a flail but when she swings it she kicks up. Filthy hide armour. Unpopular. 

10 Beric the Undeniably Old, has very thin sword from years of sharpening, chain mail.

11 Egrin, the posh mercenary slumming it with the adventurers. Plate. Sword and shield.

12 Big Pete, he's little. Classic mercenary humour. Has small man syndrome. Longsword. Chain.

13 Lott the Humble, he isn't. Ringmail. Spear.

14 Sadie the "shoot it with my crossbow" solution. Ringmail. Hand axe.

15 Basil the Quixotic Ninja. Leather, nunchucks, shuriken, delusions.

16 Zen, the knife thrower. Looks sharp, has lots of knives. Leather armour. And a really big knife, short sword sized.

17 Trent the ridiculously heavily armed. Tackleberry. Chainmail. Halberd. Sword. Shield. Battle axe. Crossbow, heavy (naturally.)

18 Ekred the sarcastic. A mace, great, that's really useful. Ringmail, because chain would be too much protection.

19 Yuli the overenthusiastic, club and shield. Exuberance.

20 Gunnar the Bearskin, axe and sword 10hp, no armour.

The spares, substitute as appropriate following the inevitable demise of any of the above.

Camp Al he has a rapier and wears leather at all times.

Veena, the cup. She's always drunk. Perhaps a flail is not the best choice of weapon in the circumstances. Ringmail.

Ill Phil, he has many ailments. He also has a mace and shield and leather armour.

The City of Pallid Masks - Actual Play

The City of Pallid Masks

With seven (count them, SEVEN, players,) most of them new to the old school, this was the first session of a foray into my reskinned version of B4 The Lost City.

Following the horrific snow storm that engulfed their caravan the PCs found themselves exploring a strange black ziggurat that towered above the rubble of a ruined city. It was topped by three giant statues. Statues of three forgotten gods.

A dead man/ape hybrid, with fearsome tusks, was blocking open a secret door into the structure. A crossbow bolt in it's chest from a triggered trap....

After much explanation that in Swords and Wizardry (Complete) 1st level mages really do only get one spell and some misfortune around traps, proper old school play started to kick in. Ten foot poles. Doors smashed of their hinges with hammers. That sort of thing.

An encounter with a lizard wolf put the frighteners on them after one fighter nearly died but in finding the Sacred Band of Gerrain they learned of the existence of the under city, the names of the three gods and their followers and the new, dark god who had caused the downfall of the civilisation that surrounded them. Its people had turned to drug use and human sacrifice, descending into a narcotic fuelled unreality. The Sacred Band stated they were searching for the sword of their god, "Remorse" which they believed had been taken by the Magi of Usamigaras, the elephant headed deity of medicine and sorcery, and was somewhere within the pyramid.

Two of the party's fighters and their ranger joined the Sacred Band and were gifted with their ivory masks and anointed with their oily musk (sounds weirder than it is,) swearing to uphold the ways of Gerrain and find the sword so they could defeat the new god from the Outer Dark, Oth Talos.

Could it be that one of the party's mages accidentally partook of the dream some found on a dead native? He certainly started to behave weirdly enough.

On their way to the next lower level of the pyramid they encountered more locals, this time dressed as birds who squawked at them and bid them fly away with them, cursing them for land locked fools when they refused. Off they sped, flapping their arms.

Eventually they found some stairs down and, with some trepidation, headed deeper into the ziggurat...

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Character Creation Guide for White Box Hangouts in the Grim North

It occurs to me that a character generation guide for my White Box hangouts game, which is going really well (thanks for asking,) would probably be useful.

So, for those who do not wish to spend the first five minutes of the hangout on character generation (always an option)....

For stats roll 3d6 in order. Average range is 7-14 above or below that is +/-1. Strength bonus only applies to fighters.

Class choices:

Fighter, by the book

Magic User, the same

Mystic, a reskinned cleric. Is a seeker of enlightenment in the mortal world not a worshipper of a specific deity or pantheon, more akin to a zen Buddhist.  Uses cleric advancement tables for XP, hp, attack bonus and saves. May use blunt weapons only and wear up to chain mail and use a shield. Has psychic powers that reflect the cleric spell list except that a mystic does not need to memorise spells in a Vancian fashion. He or she may select from the list of mystic powers they are trained in according to their available power slots. At first level they have one first level power slot. They may not turn undead.

Thief, uses James Spahn's Whitebox Companion as a template. Thievery is initially 2 in 6 for most tasks but 4 in 6 for climb walls.

Ranger, as Whitebox Companion

Bard, (if you must) as Whitebox Companion

Acrobat, as White box companion 2

Barbarian, as White box companion 2

Duelist, as Whitebox companion 2 except bonus while wielding a sword is +1

All characters start with max hit points at 1st level, so 6. Or, if a fighter, ranger, barbarian or duelist it's 7.

Race choices: None. Humans are the only PC race in this setting


Starting characters may choose

Appropriate weaponry, the carriage of more than two weapons and a dagger is considered inappropriate

Appropriate armour, although no starting PC may possess plate mail

One of these equipment bundles


Backpack, large sack, lantern, 2 flasks of oil, tinderbox, 12 iron spikes, small hammer, water skin, normal rations, 5 silver pennies


Backpack, 2 large sacks, 6 torches, 3 oil flasks, tinderbox, 10' pole, 50' rope, water skin, normal rations, mirror


Backpack, 4 small sacks, thieves tools or holy water, 12 iron spikes, 50' rope, water skin, normal rations

Characters desperate for further equipment items can explain their rationale to the GM in the hangout and are subject to a case by case ruling. (Although so far this has not been an issue.)

The setting uses a silver standard where the main currency is silver pennies.

This document will almost certainly be subject to major revisions at a later date.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

White Box Hangouts Game Session 2: "Comedy Side Quest"

With only two PCs this week, Tam Tenfingers and Pahn McDohl, the exploration of the upper floor of the Creepy old Von Keinlin place was deferred in favour of "a comedy side quest." 

Pretty accurate representation of the figurine itself

In the dark and smoky confines of the House of Mercenaries, Sellspears and Blades for Hire, the guys partook of the "cans only" bar and chatted to some barbarians. This resulted in a trip to the Stilt District, drinking stout in the Broken Hare with another barbarian mercenary, learning the Von Keinlin's were up to their necks in the intrigue and violence of Aeternian politics, back to the HoMS&BFH to meet their prospective new employer, being exposed to poor haggling and worse tradecraft, agreeing to meet a man in the Night Gardens while wearing a yellow ribbon and speaking the phrase "The swallow flies at moonlight," expecting to hear "but only under the Bridge of Deepest Sighs" in return, being hired to steal back a demon figurine made of clay with dubious value as a family heirloom, crossing the Paupers' Bridge to the North bank of the Skarrion, a recce of the Green Beaver public house where Barniman's golden ale was served and prize fighting the entertainment, confusion arising over the exact definition of a "Docker Boy," an exchange of information and secrecy for silver, being mistaken for minstrels, tangling with the Blackthorn Boys, the Disciples of the Forbidden Ark and the slightly inebriated Night Watch all at the same time in a four way bar room brawl, a fake headbut, a surreptitious pat down, tables and beers going everywhere, a partially successful WWE style cross body tackle, figurines rolling about on the floor and being repeatedly snatched out of people's hands, slow motion dives, boots put in to downed opponents, a rugby tackle and a suplex, a mid fight bribe, the deliberate smashing of a clay demon figurine and then spitting on it, loud complaining about said smashing, and finally making a run for it while everyone else was still arguing, getting clean away.