31 January 2013

Dungeon World - Session 3

Our third session of Dungeon World is complete and it was our best yet. The party returned to Sandover Ruins and cleared out the rubble blocking their path deeper into the dungeon. I adapted Dyson's recent ziggurat dungeon to fit with the established game lore. This went over very easily as we had already determined that the ruins were part of a temple to an old, forgotten deity. I kept the traps, replaced any and all undead with lantern goblins and updated the stats for DW as needed.

Things started off with a bang, with the PCs discovering the remains of a would-be looter. They took the coins and sword off the bones, to my delight, and I got to mark two of them down for future Endure moves to fend off the poison whenever I decided it would kick in. It kicked in a few minutes later and like the good GM I am, I laughed maniacally as one of them got a 6- on their Endure. The traps didn't stop there, when the party next came upon a room full of statues they argued about entering for a while and were promptly attacked by the reanimated bones of the robber they had just looted. He was powered by the mysterious lantern goblin flames, but the group made short work of him in any case. Unluckily for them, the battle took them into the statue room and nobody said their morning prayers which meant they now had several alabaster figures coming at them from behind.

I decided to up the danger factor in the statue room and gave the statues high enough armor that the group would have a difficult time defeating them in a fair fight. It was a good thing the cleric is anything but a fair fighter, while the rest of the party kept the busts busy he puzzled out a way to deactivate them by forcing the symbol of the forgotten deity (a rising sun) to set. In other words, he covered the symbol up with some extra clothing he had in his bags. Of course, there was no easy way to keep that holy symbol covered as it was carved into a stone wall. Someone had to stand holding the fabric in front of the carvings. Normally this would not have been too much of a problem, but the halfling decided to go and trigger another one of Dyson's traps and unleash some knockout gas into the room. I was saddened that the character holding up clothing was unaffected by the gas; you can't win them all, I guess. My spirits soon recovered when that same halfling decided to loot a bunch of cursed gems and distribute them among the party.

Eventually the party made it out of the statue room and continued to explore. They made their way through a couple of rooms uneventfully before discovering the anointment chamber. It was here that the bard decided to anoint himself, everyone else was too fearful of traps at this point to touch the glowing liquid. This is important because the trap that was about to be set off could have been avoided if they had been a little braver. I know I am making it sound like the group went stomping through the dungeon setting off every single trap and, to a certain extent, that is true. I should probably mention that the Cleric did keep being made aware of danger thanks to some great Discern Realities rolls and a few hints from his deity, unfortunately he was having a very difficult time convincing the rest of the party to tread as carefully.

Anyways, next on the list was the magnum opus of the dungeon's traps: a mosaic that, when stepped upon by one that was unanointed, would summon a wall of flame, blind everyone and conjure an invisible stalker do what it does best. This created a dangerous little fight that took a sizable chunk of life off the fighter. I'll say this for Dyson, he certainly isn't lacking in ideas for cruel ways to whittle an adventuring party down to size. However, in this case the party carried on without losing any members. The characters searched the room thoroughly, but for some reason avoided opening the black stone sarcophagus in the middle of the chamber. I wonder why? In any case, they found the secret entrance Area 6 (secret tomb) and the Bard managed to sweet talk the apparition of Rhissel that appeared into giving them an amulet and a stack of gold. Things took an unusual turn here because the Bard decided that he might be interested converting to Rhissel's faith and, even more surprising, the Cleric encouraged this! Why, you ask? It turns out that the deity the Cleric worships is the last of the old gods and despite his deity's differences with Rhissel, it is in his god's interests to assist another old god return to power. I smelled campaign fodder in that explanation and you can be sure that I will be building upon it as we progress.

With the visitation of Rhissel's apparition gone, the party decided they had seen all there was to see and they returned to the surface. A visit with the Sandovers later and they had collected their reward for clearing out the remaining monsters and were well on their way to drunk at the local tavern. We ended the session and went through all of the end of game tasks, such as assigning XP and having tangential conversations.

Sadly, this session also marked the death of the planned Deck of Fate campaign. Since that campaign hinged on the PCs getting involved in a race to collect the pieces of Fate's deck while fending off various interests, it pretty much fell apart when the Wizard character ran off in the night along with the macguffin and the player in control of it. I could have salvaged the campaign, but the players happily latched onto the idea of forgotten gods awakening and I am just as happy to indulge them with a campaign built around that idea.

27 January 2013

Goblin Name Generator

A while ago, when I was feeling ambitious, I decided to try branching out of computer hardware and into a little programming. I got through a couple of beginner-level Python courses before getting sidetracked by other things. This weekend I got it into my head to try making a name/word generator that I could put on the web. Of course, getting Python on the web is beyond my meager skills so I ended up taking a crack at javascript.

The result of my javascript experimentation is this: a goblin name generator. I seeded it by going through Paizo's Goblins of Golarion and hacking the goblin names/tribes into pieces by syllable. This means that the names that pop out of this generator ought to be lore friendly for Pathfinder/Golarion games. Even if you don't play Pathfinder I think you will find the names are goblin-y enough for your needs.

Some things that I would have liked to include in this generator, but was unable to puzzle out: male/female toggle and batch generation of names.

10 January 2013

The Deck of Fate: DW Session Report #2

We sat down for our second of Dungeon World a little while ago, but due to a very busy December I have just now gotten around to writing about it. For this session we were short both of our new players. One couldn't make it due to an exam, the other just never showed up. We didn't let being without both Wizard and Cleric get us down. The remaining players were happy to don their adventuring boots and leave the warm glow of The Sideways Stallion.

It was a role play heavy session, which is a nice contrast to the straight up dungeon crawl we had last week. Things started out with Bard trying to find some leather armor in the no-horse town of Sandover. After his brush with death in the ruins to the north he was determined to get a little protection. There is no armor shop in Sandover, so our hero had to make do with the local leatherworker. It was here that Bard learned he didn't have enough cold, hard coin to get some leather armor made for himself. He bartered away his pipeleaf for a heavy leather apron with a number of alterations to make it more armor-like.

The rest of the adventuring day was spent chatting up locals and putting on an impromptu performance in the town square. The Bard worked up a great tune and the Halfling got into the spirit of things with some tumbling, when he wasn't busy chatting up locals going about their business. Their performance caught the eye Jaim Sandover, youngest son of the area's ruling lord and the party earned themselves a dinner invitation to Sandover Manor.

That evening the party met the rest of the Sandover clan and, for reasons I can not explain, they all had cheesy southern accents. Dinner was short and sweet, with a little bit of role playing before we got into the meat of things: a request from Lord Sandover for the party to return to Sandover Ruins and delve deeper. It turns out that the local ruins have long been the lifeblood of Sandover, supplying the town artifacts and metals that are its primary trade. The recent monster infestation has changed that and Lord Sandover, being an example of a responsible feudal lord, was keen to get things back in order. This exchange between the players and Lord Sandover ended up being interesting to me (mechanically) as it marked the first time that the Bard used his various social Moves. It was a bit clumsy at first as we read over how things work, but it was not a bad experience at all.

Dinner closed with the party striking up a deal to clean out the ruins so long as some locals acted as guides and porters while they make their way through the ruins. We decided to end the session at the entrance of Sandover Ruins in hopes that we would have a full group again in the new year after holiday madness leaves.

As I said above, this was a nice counter to our first game of Dungeon World as it focused on a completely different side of the game. While the night could easily have become a wash out we were able to soldier on and have a good time and I think it is a testament to DW's good design that it doesn't require a full party of four to get things done. Speaking of design, the Halfling Fighter's player told me that he thought a Paladin was much more appropriate for the character he had in mind and that he was disappointed that it wasn't an option. I'm pleased to say that it is now (and so is my player). Thanks to Dungeon World being nice and open I was able to go onto Github, grab the Paladin Playbook and add some additional options to it. The whole process didn't take me longer than twenty minutes, but it does require a copy of Adobe InDesign. The good news is you can get a 30 day free trial to work your homebrewing magic if you don't have it at your disposal.

Our third session of Dungeon World is scheduled for next week and after a month without any role playing I'm  itching for a chance to roll some dice.


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