Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Necromancer's lair - Oolong the Scarlet Hero 5

Continuation form here.

Here is the map of the second level of the dungeon.
Oolong tried to descend down to the pit as quiet as possible, but it was too hard even for her. Her presence was noticed.
Upon entering room 27 (a place used for the creation of the undead), she met the necromancer again, this time accompanied by 2 zombies and 6 skeletons.
Necromancer casts Assuming the Flesh of Mists (or simple to say invisibility) and runs away, confident that his minions will eliminate our hero.
But here, Oolong learned how to use the wizards stuff acquired earlier. The Sovereign Sign against Evil spell from the staff allows her to stop the battle whenever she gets wounded, bandage her wounds and than continue the fight. Of course, this tactic works only against unnatural creatures such as undead or Red Tide spawn, and can not be used against natural foes like humans or animals, since they are unaffected by the spell (so it is of no use against cultists in the garden, sigh).
But even with the help from the staff, this was difficult fight, and Oolong won it by loosing 2 points of health that can't be recovered until she rests for a day.
Necromancer left nothing to chance, so he left some more minions behind. So, crossroads (28) were home for 2 zombies and one skeleton, in stalactite maze (29) Oolong met additional 3 zombies, and finally, in dining hall (30) 3 zombies and 3 skeletons.
After eliminating all undead, Oolong continued to explore. North from the dining room she stepped into underground river, with strong current. Thanks to her dexterity and Superb Balance trait, she saved from falling into the waters.
South from the dining room were necromancer's quarters, but they were empty. Necromancer was nowhere to be found.
Further south Oolong found stairs down, into the third level of the dungeon. She decided to leave them for later.
Room 35 was a store room connected with the dining room. Some food was available on the shelves, but it smelled so horribly that Oolong decided better not to touch it.
Final room on this level (36) was another caved in cave. And once again, Oolong noticed something behind the rocks. She puled it out, avoiding the falling stones (successful save) and it turned out to be a peace of precious jewelry 500gp worth.

Finally, Oolong returned to level 1 and into wizard's home to rest and return to the full strength. She is now ready to explore level 3.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Cultists and Necromancers - Oolong the Scarlet Hero part 4

Part 3 is here.

As you can see from the map, Oolong entered the more populated part of the dungeon.

After leaving the Wizard, Oolong returned to the bathroom. Taking western doors from there, Oolong found herself within the underground garden. But she had no chance to marvel it's beauty, since she was immediately attacked by 3 twisted cultists with 2HD each. Oolong's first attack missed, with only the fray die doing one HD of damage. Cultists seem to be experience fighters and Oolong was hit for 3 points of damage. She decided to run away from garden, and in the process she was hit again, taking 2 more points of damage and barely keeping alive with 1 health remaining. She run all the way to wizard's lair (luckily no wandering monsters appeared), where she rested for a day and recovered to full strength.
Oolong decided to ask wizard if he can give her some healing potion. Well, he can sell here some, but here in the underground it is hard to find ingredients, so the price will be doubled - 2000 gp. Well, Oollong treasure is around 200 gp,  so no potions for her.
Recovered, our hero returned to the bathroom. No matter what wonders the garden has to offer, she is not going back in there for now. So, she took north west passage and found the cistern. Obviously, water from the cistern was filling baths, and than used water was directed towards plants in the garden. Surroundings of the cistern was populated by 4 dog sized chimeras, but our hero dispatched them easily. In their lair she found 20 gp and one peace of cheap jewelry.
Road east took Oolong to the pit ledge. There, she found 4HD necromancer and 2 zombies "enjoying some privacy" (I do not even want to think about implications of that encounter twist roll).
Combat round 1:
Oolong attacks zombies, to lower the treat. One hit with attack and one with fray die, so one zombie is down. Necromancer and remaining zombie hit our hero for 1 damage each.
Combat round 2:
Necromancer decides to cast a spell. Oolong tries to attack him in order to stop casting but misses. Fray die damages zombie for 1HD. Zombie misses, necromancer casts The River Reed Bridge, spell that allows him to walk over the vertical surfaces.
Combat round 3:
Oolong concentrates attack on the Necromancer, hitting him for 2 HD. Fray die misses. Zombie hits our hero for 1 damage. Necromancer starts running down the pit. He will disappear into the darkness bellow soon...
Combat round 3: Oolong tries to hit necromancer one more time but misses. Fray die kills second zombie, Necromancer runs away.
Oolong bandaged her wounds, and returned to 5 health out of 6 maximum.

Oolong thought for a while if she should immediately follow the necromancer down, but decided not to do it, uncertain what horrors may await for her there. So, she decided to investigate the current level of the dungeon first.
Passage to the east took her to another library, but this too was destroyed by fire. Passage North east led down into the flooded cavern, so another dead end. To the north west, there was a narrow pocket in the wall. Ooloong thought she saw something glitter inside, but once she entered the pocket it turns out that it was just a reflection from her lantern upon the wet wall. But our hero realized that she is stacked between the rocks. She needed to make successful save or be trapped, but since this is dexterity chalange, she managed to pull herself back easily.
With nothing more to explore on this level (except for the garden, but she will not be going there again yet), Oolong returned to wizard's home to recover to full strength before descending into darkness of the deeper underground, on the necromancer's trail... 

Continue here.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

1st British Division

We interrupt regular RPG program to bring you some wargaming news...

On the brinks of my Scarlet Heroes campaign (Oolong is having some hard time recently, she needed to run for her life, but you will read about it soon), I'm also finding some time to paint my 6mm Napoleonic armies and to play some boardgames from current Board Game Geek Solitaire contest.

Therefore, I finally managed to finish First British division for Peninsula War in accordance with the Musket and Shakos rules in 6mm.

So here is the British division in all it's might:

First, let me introduce the officers one more time..
The Divisional commander is Wellington himself.
 From left to right: Sir John Moor, Sir Stapleton Cotton, Lord Wellington and Picton with umbrella

The first infantry brigade is commanded by Sir John Moor, and consists of one Rep 3 battalion of Spanish Guerrilla, one Rep 4 battalion of line infantry and one Rep 5 battalion of Highlanders.
The Second infantry brigade is commanded by Sir Thomas Picton, and consists of one Rep 4 battalion of line infantry, Rep 5 First Foot Guard battalion and one Rep 4 battalion of light infantry that might be armed with muskets or rifles.
The light cavalry brigade is commanded by Sir Stapleton Cotton and consists of one regiment of Rep 5 Hussars and one regiment of Rep 4 Light Dragoons.
Division is supported by one battery of field artillery.
Corps Asset consists of 2 x 6 figure light infantry independent skirmish units from the 95th Rifles (Rep 5).
Models used for this division are mix coming from Baccus and Adler range.
Finally, here is one more look at complete division:

Monday, August 4, 2014

Enters the Wizard - Oolong The Scarlet Hero part 3

Continued from here.
Crossroads offered exits to west, north west and north east.
Oolong decided to take western tunnel first. She found herself inside the small shrine. Who knows to what gods this shrine was initially devoted. Now, it was a place to worship dark purposes of Red Tide. Oolong used her knife to destroy Red Tide symbols in the shrine. Act that made no difference, since it looks like all the cultist that once visited the place turned into spawns long ago. But Oolong, following her natural Shou hatred for Red Tide felt good doing this, and maybe it will bring her some good karma in the future.

Next room used to be the library, but it was affected by fire some time ago. Nothing useful could be found here. Oolong offered the point of karma earned in shrine to all goods possible, just to be sure that Book of Teas was not kept in this library...

Moving further north west, Oolong entered a cavern that caved, so that only a small part of it was available. Cave had no visible exits other the one our hero came in, so she turned to leave, when light beam from her lantern reflected on something.
She picked up the strange object resembling a man sized walking stick.  The strange symbol was carved at its top. Oolong recognized the symbol as a potent sign against evil, so she took the staff.
(I stumbled upon the feature. It was "something stolen by the inhabitants of the dungeon". Is it The Book of Teas? No. It is something leading to "reconsideration of dungeon's real nature". Ask Rory's Story Cubes: Gift + Travel. So traveler's friend, or walking stick!
Wisdom test - hard + scholar trait (1), successful -  it is a Wizard's staff. Once a day it can cast - RSC: Push + Monster - The Sovereign Sign Against Evil as if it's owner is a level 1 magic user with prepared spell)
Oolong backtracked to the unholy shrine, and moved north east. There was another crossroads, but this one was empty. Moving further east, she entered a room that once served as vault, but looked like it was already plundered. Detailed search reviled just 1 gp and one peace of cheap jewelry, probably something nobody else wanted.
Oolong returned to the crossroads (room 14) and continued north west first into the empty Servant's room and than into the empty bathroom. Bathroom had 4 exits in total, so our hero decided to return to previous crossroads to check the last remaining tunnel before going further north.
(She is again in room 14. Test showed no encounter with wondering monsters).
The corridor she took stretched forward as twisted tunnel. Oolong could feel some movement in the tunnel ahead, so she held her sword at ready. Than a ghoul and a hungry ghost leaped at her from around the corner falling straight to her short sword.
(In total, there are 3 ghouls and 1 ghost, but fight is happening in the narrow tunnel so Oolong will again face only 2 enemies at the time. In round 1 I rolled great, making 4 points of damage, but there were only 3 HD to distribute it. Sometimes this rule works against the hero).
Before she could take her sword out of dead enemies, two more ghouls were upon her. She felt the chill of the death as one of them scratched her skin with its claw.
(Rolling in round 2 was terrible. Oolong missed her attack, and managed to do just 1HD damage with fray die. Two ghouls rolled 6 attacks, but only one hit my hero, for 1 point of damage. She managed to save from ghoul paralyses rolling modified 13, just the number it was needed.)
Than, Oolong got herself together and dispatched both remaining undead with one powerful blow.
(Attack hit for two points, fray die for one, just enough. Phew.)
Oolong bandaged her wound, and moved on, stepping into narrow crevasse. Suddenly, magically written letters appeared in front of her: "State your name and business!" "I am Oolong, looking for the Book of Teas" she replied. "You may continue" stated the sign and than it disappeared, opening the way in front of her. (This was another feature).
A man with a beard and a funny hat waited for Oolong at the exit from crevasse. "Welcome", said he, "I am Darjeeling, a wizard. I see that you found my staff. Well, keep it, it will be more useful to you than it was to me. Welcome to my humble home. And before you ask, yes, I am the one responsible for the strange behavior of the nature outside. I might even tell you about it some day" (and that will be occasion to test Bold waylays again :) )

Does he have the Book of Teas? NO. Does hi know where can it be found? YES. In Room 49, once I reach that far :)
Does he have any task for Oolong? YES. What? RSC: Strange + Insect.

"Once you find the Book of Teas, maybe you can do me a small favor. I need one special insect brought to me, so that I can perform some experiments. If you do that I will gladly award you by teaching you to perform some basic magic" said Darjeeling.
"Is the creature alive?"
"It is now, but it does not have to be when you bring it in here, if you know what I mean", replied wizard.
"Can you tell me more about it?" - charisma test hard, successful. For description of the creature 4RSC: House, Forest, Flashlight, Eye.
"Well, it is a big and mean nocturnal creature. It resides in the magical forest outside my lair. You can attract it by light." (It will be 4HD insect, Armor 3, attacks 2 stings + 2, 2 bites +2, damage D6 each. No poison, phew at least something good. Move 40', flying. Morale 12).

For meeting with wizard, Oolong earned another XP.

Continue to part 4

Friday, August 1, 2014

Dungeons of Red Tide - Oolong's adventure part 2

Continuation from the previous post.

From here, starts what Scarlet Heroes rules does the best - old school dungeon crawling.

Upon entering into the Dungeons of Red Tea Tide, Oolong found herself surrounded by complete darkens. She lit her lantern, and started exploring the dungeon entry chamber. It was a cave that prehistoric people used as a settlement, which she could detect by a crude drawings on the wall, representing a hunt scene.
The cave was otherwise empty. Lone staircase leading deeper into the depths of the earth seemed to be the only other exit.
Oolong carefully descended.
The next cave was in the dark, but she could sense some movement ahead.
Slowly entering into the next chamber she could see that cave was divided into two by steal bars, and that one  half of it was used as a prison cell. 11 villagers were locked in the prison.

Are there any guards? YES BUT....

5 Hungry Ghosts were guarding prisoners. They were so concentrated on the villagers behind bars, that they didn't notice Oolong although she entered the chamber openly. So, the hero grabbed the opportunity and charged Ghosts with her short sword, finding them totally unprepared for the attack (surprise attack rules). Some of the villagers were later telling that she disintegrated all ghosts with one powerful stroke of her short sword. Considering the dark in the cave, no one can be sure what really happened...

Than Oolong opened prison bars and released the villagers, telling them to be careful of the enchanted forest outside.
Departed ghost left some small treasure for their slayer - 19gp and some cheap jewelry.
There was only one corridor leading out of the prison, and it took Oolong to the cave with no other visible exits.  There she found another 60gp in the secret pocket on the wall. Searching further, she found a mechanism that opened a secret door leading further into the darkness (successful wisdom test with help from her dungeon explorer trait) .

When she enters the next room, Oolong could hear a sound of running water. A small waterfall give birth to the shallow underground spring. But she had no time to marvel underground beauty, since two Stretched Ones and one Creeper were rushing towards her. Her sword was ready and she jumped in the direction of  the bigger deformed creatures, killing them both with one stroke. But the small Red Tide spawn evaded her sword and scared her forearm. Oolong turned around and stabbed her sword deep into the spawn's body.
(In round 1, Oolong was first. Attack aimed at Stretched Ones hit and made 2 HD damage, killing them both. But the fray die rolled 1, so the Creeper was missed. Creeper attack resulted in hit, making 2 points of damage, and leaving hero in dangerous situation with just 1 point left. Luckily, in round 2, fray die was enough to eliminate the creature).

Oolong bandaged her wound and moved on, following the stream. Soon it ended with underground pool. Apart from running water and her own breathing, Oolong could hear no other sound.
Cave with pool connected to other, bigger hall, that was also completely empty. Looking around, Oolong detected only couple of coins on the ground so she picked them up for luck.

The only visible exit from the big hall was a corridor leading north west. Oolong followed it carefully, until it reached crossroads.
Crossroads were guarded by one Red Tide Abomination (4HD) one Red Tide Warrior (1HD) and two Red Tide Drones (1HD).
(Here I got custom monsters. I rolled 1 boss, 1 elite and 2 minions. Lucky for Oolong, no special features  were rolled on the monsters)
Oolong prepared her bow, peaking from the corridor. Her well aimed arrow pierced through the warrior and into abominations body. Than, Oolong retreated back to the corridor.
(No surprise attack, since she came forth with the light. So Oolong went first, attacked Abomination, and hit for 2 HD. Fray die was aimed at elite, and hit, killing it. For the enemy action in first round I rolled "do nothing" so Oolong retreated to the corridor, where she will face two enemies at the time, due to the limited space. Enemies will enter corridor in order of initiative)
Two drones rushed into the corridor. Oolong killed one with fray die, but missed second and it hit our hero for one point of damage. That open a space for Abomination to approach in the next round. Luckily, heroes always have initiative, so Oolong was able to attack. Fray die eliminated last minion, and her attack hit Abomination for 2HD, killing it.

For killing Red Tide Abomination Oolong deserved another XP, and that makes her a level 2 rogue. 
Her health points are updated to 6, and she gets two trait points. One is distributed into Resist Red Tide (3), she will need it. To remember her encounter with the cave doors, second one is dedicated to Resist poison (1) trait.

Continue here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Oolong, the Scarlet Hero

And so I decided to start a Scarlet Heroes campaign....
First thing, I had to roll a hero.
Applying statistics as rolled, I got: Str 8 (-1), Dex 17 (+2), Con 10 (0), Int 12 (0), Wis 13 (+1) and Cha 12 (0).
With low strength, I decided to make my hero a female. She has high dexterity, so I will make her a thief (or better to say rogue). I want her to be a little exotic, so Shou blooded she is.
I would also like to make her some kind of Lara Croft, so her specialty will be Dungeon explorer (3), with other traits set on Resist red tide (2), Scholar (1), Long distance runner (1) and Superb balance (1).
After some shopping and throwing away all unneeded things in order not to encumber her too much (with -1 strength she can carry only 40 lb) Oolong  the rogue went into adventure carrying a bow and quiver with 20 arrows, a short sword, a dagger, a leather armor, lantern with flask of oil, some rope, healing pack and some scribe tools to write down her adventures. She also packed preserved rations for couple of days, she might need them in the dungeon.

For the first adventure, I decided to test The Aladdin Technique. What I want to play now could be described as:
Oolong searches [cursed] [wilderness] for [entrance] into Red Tide infested [dungeon] looking for [a book] of interest to some [scholars].
After some Rory's Story Cubes rolling, i got:
1. Word cursed to be changed to something connected with camera - so Picturesque.
2. Entrance will be trapped (bottle of poison)
3. Twist - Magic and Temple.

Therefore, new adventure seed is:
Oolong searches picturesque wilderness for trapped entrance into Red Tide infested dungeon, looking for a book of interest to some scholars. But is there some magic involved that keeps Red Tide inside the dungeon, and beautiful and peaceful nature outside?

At first, I wanted to start with wilderness adventure from Scarlet Heroes book, but what kind of old school adventure could my hero experience in picturesque nature?
Therefore, I decided to playtest a new solo tool called Bold by Zack Best from Conjecture Games (not yet publicly available, still in playtest phase). Bold uses series of tables to create links called Waylays. 3 such Waylays connected can answer a question what happen in some period of time, for example since Oolong left her home till the moment she found the entrance into dungeon.

First waylay represents exposition. I got environmental waylay connected with Adept the Wild.
Wilderness  is beautiful and peaceful. Streams are running, birds singing... But to Oolong it seems too quiet. Where are predators to hunt, men or shou cutting woods for the winter?

Second waylay explores Impassioned Accusations overcome by Avoidance.
Deep in her hearth Oolong starts accusing herself for disturbing such beautiful nature, for getting its water dirty by drinking from streams, stealing food from wild beasts by eating fruits... But she also understands that such self accusations are not natural, they have to be work of some magic surrounding the area.
Difficult wisdom check - successful. 
Aware that nature is somehow magical and that it influences her psyche, Oolong decides to stay away from surroundings and to eat and drink only rations she brought with her.

Third Waylay is climax. It is Apparently Otherworldly overcome by Act of Nature.
Suddenly, as if by miracle, forest path opened in front of Oolong. Just as if the strange force ruling this area respected her decision of avoidance and is now guiding her towards her goal. Finally, path ended and Oolong found herself in front of the entrance to the underground. It seems that it was a natural cave once, but that it was long time ago adjusted into settlement for intelligent beings. The double doors were closing the cave, and Oolong, scholar that she is, could read that the doors are poisoned, and that they should be opened very carefully.
Intelligence test to safely open the door, hard - failed.
Save against poison +1 - constitution - failed.
Defying death - Oolong loses one hit point and is left with 3.
Although feeling week from the effects of poison in her body, Oolong entered the underground, and found herself in the darkness as the heavy doors closed behind her.

For finding the dungeon, Oolong receives 1 XP.

What happened next? Find out here!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Alladin Technique

Inspired by Daniel from Puzzled Vikings, I just started playing Scarlet Heroes campaign.

One of the tools I am using in this campaign is The Aladdin Technique by John Fiore.
What is The Aladdin Technique?
Well, I do not want to invent hot water, so I will just share original post by John from G+ solo RPG group:

"The "Aladdin" Technique - an easy way to spontaneously spice up RPG encounter ideas, solo or otherwise

STEP 1: Write an encounter set-up in a single sentence. Bracket-off each key element, action word/phrase, and descriptor, but not any references to the PCs. (I aim for six items.)

So, in an opera-themed fantasy world, I’ve currently got two PCs on a treasure hunt in cold-hearted Princess Turandot’s exotic kingdom. I wrote the following encounter set-up:
Orsini and Guglio try to [break into] an [old] [tomb] while [being pursued by] [Turandot’s] [warriors].

STEP 2 - Al: Randomly select one element or descriptor and alter it with inspirational help from a random idea generator like Mythic or Story Cubes.

I had 6 elements and descriptors in my set-up sentence. I rolled a d6 and got a 2 for the [old] descriptor. I rolled a Story Cube and got an image of waves. So, I altered my sentence into:
Orsini and Guglio try to [break into] a [submerged] [tomb] while [being pursued by] [Turandot’s] [warriors].

STEP 3 - Add: Randomly select one element or descriptor and add a word or phrase immediately before or after it with inspirational help from a random idea generator.

I rolled a d6 again and got a 5 for the [Turandot’s] descriptor. I rolled a Story Cube and got an image of a person dancing. So, my sentence became:
Orsini and Guglio try to [break into] a [submerged] [tomb] while [being pursued by] [Turandot’s] [capoeira] [warriors].
A weirdly satisfying development!

STEP 4 - In: Create intrigue by following the encounter set-up sentence with an ambiguous question devised via inspirational help from a random idea generator.

I rolled a Story Cube and got an image of an apple. That gave me the final version of the encounter concept:

Orsini and Guglio try to break into a submerged tomb while being pursued by Turandot’s capoeira warriors. But what is the nature of the strange fruit growing out of the water surrounding the tomb?

And that’s it! In four steps, the encounter has been embellished in ways the player(s) could never have expected!"