Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Adventures at the Western Sea; Rurouni DM's Numenera campaign

I know its been a while since my last post, I've had quite a busy week but as of last Friday and Saturday I was finally able to run the start of my new Numenera Campaign. Now with a firmer grasp on the game's setting and mechanics, I've written up a basic outline of what I hope will be a Living Campaign where in case that I manage to run the game continuously the story grows and the players actions affect my setting.

Adventures at the Western Sea

The past week I've been reading on Numenera's Setting Chapter and one place particulary sparked my interest The Sea Kingdom of Ghan, one of the nations of the Steadfast. Just some information to my readers, Ghan is a nation known for its coastal trading ships with an aptly named capital city called The City of Bridges, politically Ghan is relatively peaceful with no interest in accumulating power or challenging stronger nations such as Navarene, however like any good leader King Laird doesn't want to look weak in the eyes of his possible enemies, thus protects protects his borders with a watchful Eye. The Sea Kingdom of Ghan also has a relatively large fleet of ships, called The Merchant Fleet, with more than 200 vessels of varying sizes. Back in our during the colonial/exploration during the early 1500's it was common superstition that leaving port with a woman on board or more women than men; depending on which version, calls bad luck to descend upon a ship, in the 9th world however the people believe in the opposite wherin having more men
than women on the ship calls for badluck. Sternmen as sailors are now called are mostly comprised by female to drive off that bad luck.

Ghan itself will likely only have a few scenes on my possible campaigns; I'm expecting its appearance to happen sometime around the third session, so I haven't actually planned any encounters that might occur in any city or the region proper. The main point of my campaign will be the Naval adventures and discovery. You see one of my major influences in picking this setting is the 2012 anime "Suisei no Gargantia" as much as I'd like to tell you about it it'd be too long to discuss the entire show but just to give you an idea the show is set on a Waterworld like earth with many humans living aboard massive ships often times clamped together with other ships forming living growing fleets, most of the anime's people survive by riding mechs underwater to salvage goods from an earth long past. Sounds exactly like numenera right? So the first sessions I planned focused on that living on a ship in search of ancient technology.

Now initially I only expected one group to run this campaign for but last Friday a customer;JV, at my local hobby club requested a tutorial for an RPG session; he initially wanted to learn D&D which I would have gladly run but the only people in the club at that time was me and the shop's manager Jose(you've read about him before in the previous play reports) so we recommended he try Numenera. Once he finished his character he and Jose became guinea pigs for my new campaign, this won't be an official play report post so I'll try to keep the exact details of the adventures short but do expect an official report in the following days for the other group since they had a more complete encounter and battle, also do note I am an Action oriented DM who follows the rule of cool, don't expect much intrigue or at least just the basics.

Image from Suisei no Gargantia, perfect setting inspiration for the City of Bridges
So the campaign begins with all the players hired by one of the science vessels from the Merchant fleet needing mercenaries to protect them from pirates who frequently raid lone ships out at sea. The science vessel's original purpose is to ferry Aeon Priests to a recently discovered ruin(an off-shore platform)  located a few days west of The City of Bridges. The ship is one of the relatively larger ships of the  merchant fleet carrying  hundreds of crewmen and big enough to carry two numenera weapons on both sides.  The first few days of travel goes relatively smooth with the players simply lounging about the ship this doesn't last long however as they are attacked by a large black wooden galleon with tattered sails; unknown to the players however is that the Wooden ship is a fake and that its real form is a relatively small(compared to their own) sized submarine. The entire ship is rocked by an underwater blast from an unknown Numenera Weapon(Torpedos). As the players and crewmen scatter to their battle positions they see the a few of the pirates skating on the water using what seems to be a pair of numenera boots.

I did mention that most sailors are female right. I have an excuse to use this image.
I initially set a few ways for players to win this encounter; either by killing the pirates that board their ship fast enough; depending on the number of players somewhere between 8 to 12 rounds or to kill half of the pirates before they board using the ship's onboard cannons. The final way to win the scenario is to drive off the enemy ship by destroying its fake hull. All of the pirates are level 2 bandits, and attacking the fake hull is a level 4 task if the players use their own weapons or cyphers and a level 2 task if they use the ship's onboard cannons, it also has 20 hitpoints and 3 Armor.

If the players manage to successfully fend off the pirates they simply back off and cut their losses; and will likely attack again but in greater number.

and this image

Should the players fail to drive off the pirates before a signifiant amount of time passes, the submarine rams into the players' ship unloading more pirates and eventually the pirate captain; the players don't know her name yet but for you readers a spoiler - Pirate Captain Tenryuu, an extremely beautiful but fierce pirate captain. Should this scenario happen the pirates retreat after the players eliminate a majority of them and/or reduce Tentryuu to 15 or less hitpoints; however in the process they steal a strange box from the ship's cargo hold.The box's importance won't be apparent to the players yet until they arrive at the ruins.

Regardless of the outcome the science vessel continues on to the ruins suffering albiet moderate damage but nothing the Sternmen can't handle.

I'd like to tell you more but I haven't completely finished writing up the next chapter of this campaign but it will likely involve the ruins having somewhere between 5-8 major "buildings" each dedicated to a specific purpose, the players have to find out what the rooms do in order to understand it and maybe retrieve a valuable numenera artifact.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Thoughts on Social Interaction

Thoughts on Social Interaction

So last week I was able to play a Numenera Game under Jay and you can check his blog for the play report along with Raymz, who's made his own review on Numenera. Now with the lessons I've learned from running the Beale of Boregal(check my previous post), I've gained afresh new perspective regarding Social Interaction in RPG's as a player thanks to Jay.

So in the game I played a Clever Jack who Leads, expecting that in Numenera a Face Role with a several trained interaction skills would be more useful than a Face Role who's specialized in one single interaction skill. Also known as "Jack D. Delver" more often referred to as


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I was dead wrong, mainly because I was thinking in the lines of D&D, why? Here's what I think about it:

If you're familiar with the mechanics of Numenera you'll know that a player will always roll against a difficulty level and he can have a number of skills and assets that can reduce that difficulty value up to a maximum of -3, then once the final difficulty value is set the player rolls a d20
; and in D&D players have a dice bonus or penalty (and in the case of 5E advantage dice if any) against a \static mental defense value(For 4/5E) or a roll off(3.5/Pathfinder) and hope for the best.

At that point both games look similar but when you actually play the games you'll notice the big disparity in them. Let's use a typical tier 1 numenera social encounter and a Level 1-5 D&D social encounter as a guide.

Social Interaction in D&D

In D&D between the levels 1-5; you'll often be squared off against weaker enemies such as goblins,
kobolds,bandits, orc raiders and cultists and several other mobs, by mid arc you'll be facing against
liutenants, shamans, high priests and by the end of the arc youll be facing against warchiefs, possessed priests and what not. Each of these enemies usually have will saves ranging from 11-15 on average, if the encounter is designed hard it can be as high as 16-17. Now depending on what type of action and skill a Face character has be it, Bluff, Diplomacy or Interrogation, he more often than not has skill bonus somewhere ranging between +2 to +5(remember level 1-5 D&D characters). If you look at the math average mooks have 12-15 will save, so if you factor in the +2 to +5 bonus meaning a Face will likely only need 10 or so on the d20 which gives him a 50/50 shot at succeeding in bluffing, negotiating or interrogating a nameless mook, and about a 30-40% chance against its superiors. That's not taking into account bonuses or penalties for player actions such as offering a bribe, or threats of violence.

When you do take into account player roleplaying, like as mentioned threats of violence which
from my experience a DM often gives somewhere around +/-2 to +/-4 bonus or penalty in D&D3.5/Pathfinder or a simple Advantage/Disadvantage for 5E then the math either greatly increases or decreases. Even then the game grants you a wider berth for success or failure percentages.

In my personal opinion depending on how a player and DM interact with regards to social interaction the game typically skews to the favor of the player, but not always.

As an example I once ran a Pathfinder game for a couple of college friends which they needed to find
an orc encampment to stop them from raiding the player's current village. Now they were playing a party of anti-heroes and the party consisted of a Blackguard, a Rogue/Ranger hybrid and a Monk at that point if I recall correctly they were level 3. The major interaction situation they had was after defeating an orc defense line deep in the mountains they decided to keep one of the orcs alive hoping to get the guy to tell them where their main base was. Now orcs have a -1 will Save in pathfinder so on a take 10 tha'ts 9 will defense but I wanted a noble savage type of orc culture in that game so I beefed his will up to +2(or 12 static). Now my players tied this orc up asked him "nicely" first and used diplomacy, they rolled poorly causing the orc to say stuff like "what proof do i have that you'll let me go after I tell you" which resulted in the blackguard verbally threatening him by and using interrogate; now as I said these are noble savages who don't take kindly to threats so I gave the orc a bonus of +4 for that roll and we had a roll off, too bad for my player since I rolled higher than him and had the orc say, "Then you better just kill me cause you'll get nothing from me!" This is where their "fun" began. Remember they're anti-heroes and chose to torture the poor orc instead, and I gradually increased his will for each form of torture they did and they did a lot; they stabbed him in the gut, beat his face to a pulp, and eventually cut off his legs, each increasing the difficulty of the roll however by the time they cut off his leg the orc's "will hp" as I like to call it dropped to 0 which meant he was back to his base will save and when they threatened to cut out his eyes; which they rolled off to check if he finally cracked, he did (since his will save was back to -1) but he asked for an honorable warriors death in return.

Do note that the players had roughly a 50% chance at the start to succeed if they had rolled
successfully the wouldn't have had to do all that torture but their ridiculous anti-hero antics gradually
reduced that chance, until I decided it was time for the orc to crack.

Social Interaction in Numenera

Now with Numenera a GM isn't limited to static values and roll offs, each socially inclined NPC like
thieves and bandits start off around level 2 and 3 meaning you need to roll somewhere between 6 and 9 to succeed doing anything to the generic mooks but with Numenera's beautiful Cypher System a Face character would often have the ability to reduce the difficulty without spending effort to -2 which means that he automatically passes that test.

Easy(ier) right? That's what I initially thought as well but what about situations where you interact with an NPC whose difficulty you don't know? Remember this is Numenera a GM can arbitrarily place a difficulty for a task depending on how easy or how hard it is for a player to accomplish the task. In my game with Jay I had to deal with a very experienced information broker who probably had a base difficulty of 6, a fanatical cultist with secrets again with a difficulty of 6 and a cultist sentry with probably a difficulty of 4. So these guys would have needed 12(difficulty 4) and
18(difficulty 6). My character only had Trained for most of my interaction related skills which reduces the difficulty of all actions by 1, so I would have needed 9 and 15 to succeed.

Again accounting for the actions(stupid often times) I took while negotiating into account such as.
Pointing my crossbow at an experienced information broker, threatening to shove a grenade down said information broker's throat, attempting to bluff my way by showing a GPS tracker artifact to a guard of a cult that worships numenera and plenty of other shenanigans. I probably rose the difficulty of my interrogate tests somewhere between 1 to 3, which greatly reduced my chances to succeed seeing as instead of rolling dice between 12-18 i now had to roll somewhere between 15 and 21.

Now I'm not complaining about the difficulty I mean this is role-playing and actions have consequences; and these weren't your average everyday mooks, but what I am comparing is with D&D and other RPG's you have the ability to better increase your chances  with re-rolls and high dice bonuses to get better chances to succeed which in my experience happens most of the time. However with Numenera, the most common resource you have to increase your chances of success are your skills, assets and effort and sometimes situational +1 or +2 bonuses. Normally these resources would have been enough but for social interactions more often than not you don't have access to an asset. Though there are chances you can have assets for social interactions such as evidence when trying to prove a crime or money to bribe but most common social interactions don't grant access to such assets which leaves a face character with an average of -2 difficulty bonus; most of the time thats all he needs to succeed especially when dealing with mooks but
when dealing with tougher social challenges, he often lacks enough resources to reduce the difficulty
with the tests.

Let's look back at my recent game, difficulty 6 negotiator, thats 18 to pass, I am trained in intimidate
bringing it down to 5 so thats 15 to pass thats already roughly a 25-30% chance to succeed on the d20. I displayed threats of violence in conjunction with my interrogate increased that to 7, again intimidate training brings that back to 18, should I have spent effort I would have brought that back down to 15, sadly I rolled a 17 and failed that roll. Again to reiterate I'm not complaining such is the nature of the game but sometimes like in real life you want to have that one thing that you think might have changed things.

Final Thoughts

I'm basically comparing apples and oranges, rather pointing out major differences in the way the two
games handle social interaction it's not a which game is better kind of deal it's more of explaining
my experience in both games. Numenera's system is beautifully crafted to keep the story flowing, enables a DM to stick to an NPC's principle and role. If a DM decides that his NPC will never break in a social interaction he can set a difficulty and leave it at that; the only way to make the task easier is to roleplay it in a favorable manner or present evidence to reduce the difficulty and hope for the best.

In D&D however sometimes a good role can easily bypass a 15 Will Save when the Face has a +5 bonus in 4/5E, or And the case of a roll-off with 3.5/Pathfinder a player simply needs to roll higher than the DM; Which can; at times, cause an unreasonable break in the NPC's personality.

Again no matter how I word it I'm comparing apples and oranges, both games would require different mindsets when playing both games, but as a DM with the new tricks I've learned this session I plan to improve my gameplay hopefully to be more engaging whatever system I use.

Saturday, February 7, 2015


Numenera Playtest

A few weeks ago I was able to run a quick playtest for Monte Cook's brainchild; Numenera. To acclimate ourselves to the system, a couple of friends and I decided to try the first Corebook Adventure - The Beale of Boregal.

During the course of play we ran across a few rules inquiries, since it was my first time running the game I didn't have the basic rules memorized which resulted in a few play errors.

GM Intrusion - Initially I thought any player can refuse a GM intrusion but it turns out as one of the
players stated they need to spend 1 XP to actually refuse the XP, what I was doing was they simply reject the intrusion and gain the 2XP to divide.

Effort, Edge and Ability Use - We had a short discussion on the uses of Effort, Edge and Ability uses.
The situation was the player used Thrust and Effort to increase the damage by 3 on the same action, we were discussing on how much was the total might cost of the action. I was saying he only needed to spend 2 points of Might since He can use Edge to reduce the cost of Thrust(1) and Effort(3) by 2 since I thought they were two separate instances of edge use. However according to the rules you can only apply Edge once So the cost should have been 3 in either form of application.

However with all the errors in the first playtest do note it was more for a learning experience than an
actual campaign(unless the players want it to be). Also I can always use "Im the GM rule" to make an
excuse for myself.

Well on to the Meat of the Playtest Report.

The Players

Jose - Malachore A Mystical/Mechanical Nano who fuses Flesh and Steel

DJ - Zurt Namir A Hardy glaive who Rages

The Story

The adventure begins as the pair of adventurers undertake the pilgrimage of the Wandering Walk. At a segment of the pilgrimage called The Fifth Stretch Malachore and zurt join up with the other Peregrines at the Mouth Cairns Camp, one of the few locations considered safe along the Wander. These cairns are made up of small hollows tucked behind a shadow of a hulking metalic sculpture each marked by a short round wall made up of the jaws of dead peregrines. In the camp the pair mingle with the pilgrims telling stories and listening to rumors mainly about the recent attacks on the pilgrims taht have passed this section of The Wander. Various theorys fly about from common bandits to the mysterious Slaytongue. The night passes by uneventfully once the stories of the recent deaths died down and the pair slept safe and sound. The next morning as they waken from the hustle and bustle of people preparing for the days journey, as Malachore and zurt prepare for the journey themselves the sound of thundering hooves in the distance begins to gather everyones attention. The pilgrims frantically search the area for the sound fearing an army of bandits; fuelled by the previous nights stories, as they attempt to identify the sound. One of the pilgrims makes out a single creature in the distance; she identifies it as a scutimorph, coming across the desert sands from the direction of its natural habitat; the false woods, heading for the camp at a staggering pace, carrying at least two riders. More rumors begin to fly among the pilgrims as the hear the news, the prevalent shock comes from the apparent reason that no-one rides
these creatures.

Eventually the creature arrives with its passengers, a young man clearly injured from a fight and a young girl clutching her head clearly distraught. Neither passenger bear the marks of a Peregrine. Malachore and zurt notice the strange connection between the girl and the giant insectoid creature and investigate the two newcomers. The boy introduces himself as Patel and learn that the girl is his sister Seria. The boy relays that their family is under attack by creatures called pallones, and are in dire need of help. Patel begs the two adventurers to take his sister to a Cylion Basin and she is in desperate need of protection, while he returns to his family and help them fend off the pallones. zurt discusses that they should help Patel defend his village first before bringing the girl to Cylion Basin while Malachore asserts that the girl is probably in dire need of help from her condition and she might not make the trip if they take too long, he says it would be best to split up one of them to help defend the village and the other to take the girl. As Seria hears this suggestion she immediately interrupts and says she can take care of herself she would rather have the two adventurers help defend her family while she heads to Cylion Basin alone.

Malachore insists that she wont make it in her condition; hiding the fact that he knows she controls the scutimorph, and tells Patel to take Zurt as he is a more capable fighter, to head to the village as they're wasting time. Patel simply nods and thanks the two warriors and leads the way to his village. Left with no choice Seria agrees to Malachore becoming her escort and mentally commands the scutimorph to pick them both up and head for Cylion Basin.

By early afternoon zurt and Patel Arrive at the False Woods, which from afar looks like an actual
cultivated forest, with each tree appearing to be the same height and diameter. However the False Woods prove aptly named as they finally enter it; each "tree" is apparently a strange ancient synth tubes with a strange living mesh at the top. zurt finally notices the "bark" as scutimorphs wrapped around the tubular structures. Patel warns the glaive to be careful around the scutimorphs as they tend to be agressive when their territories are encroached upon but will not attack if left alone. Irony however strikes a few minutes later as the two enter the deeper parts of the forest; a scutimorph suddenly drops from its tube and begins to attack the pair. Patel immediately notices the creatures strange behavior saying that this has never happened before.

zurt tells Patel to be ready to defend himself as the giant insectoid begins to lunge at him with its
enourmous mandibles. Zurt deftly dodges the attacks with his combat expertise; not to mention his trusty shield, and retaliates with his broadsword, he easily hits the giant centipede like creature however the blow barely manages to crush the scutimorphs thick chitinous armor. Patel follows suit in desperation striking with his short sword however he encounters the same problem as Zurt. The scutimorphs hide seems to shine with a slick coating of a strange substance after being struck twice by the two humans. It lets out a shriek of anger and attacks the glaive once more but Zurts shield proves a formidable defense. Zurt attempts to strike back again but his sword slides off the beasts hide; it seems like the strange substance on its body created an even more natural defense for it. Patel strikes again in desperation but somehow the beasts slick body now becomes sticky causing him to lose his grip on his sword. The scutimorph strikes back again but the stalemate continues, like a battle between the strongest shield and the strongest spear. Zurt uses all of his abilities to strike once more this time crushing one of the insect's plates but as the chitin cracks under the onslaught a large volume of the strange fluid bursts from it trapping Zurt's weapon. Noticing the futile effort of the battle Zurt orders Patel to fall back, the boy releases his grip on his sword and shouts follow me the village can't be far these beasts don't stray too far from their trees! Zurt nods in acknowledgement as he gathers his strength to pull out his blade from the scutimorph's back and just in time as well, a quick glimpse at his surroundings enables him to notice the rest of the herd begin to take notice of the battle, some uncoiling from their trees. The two men quickly run away from the battle and the creatures return to their trees.

On the way to the village Patel recalls the strange actions of the scutimorph repeating that not once
have they been attacked by these beasts for no reason. Zurt notices that the boy is hiding something
but doesn't pressure him, maybe he'll get clearer answers when he reaches the village.

The two men arrive by the village near sundown. They see several of the townspeople attempting to salvage any damaged goods they had, repairing broken walls, preparing weapons and defenses should they be attacked once more. Zurt notices that these villagers aren't trained for war but are handy with spears he assumes they probably hunt often but the damage on the village seems to be from an attacker they aren't used to. Before the glaive could ask the boy on what they should do next he notices the villagers take arms and he readies himself thinking maybe these villagers are wary of strangers but on a second look Zurt observes that their hostility isn't aimed at him but rather strange translucent disc like creatures floating just a few feet above them. Patel runs to a nearby spear; probably left on the ground from the last battle, and screams, "ITS THE PALLONES! THEY'RE BACK! PLEASE SIR ZURT HELP US!" as he strikes a nearby pallone. The warrior draws his broadsword once more hoping to help his employer; however a disc like creature stands in his way separating him from Patel; left with no option he duels against this creature readying his shield for defense. He strikes landing a clean blow on the flat alien creature, wounding it badly but not enough to kill it. The pallone begins to spin like a circular saw and heads for Zurt's neck but his wall like shield prevents the beast from severing his neck as he feels the pallone gouge deep lines on his shield.

Zurt sees Patel's duel ongoing through his peripheral vision; he notices the boy is more capable with
a spear than a sword; deftly dodging the pallones blade-like edges and striking them on their softer bodies. Zurt strikes his opponent once more immediately killing it, the creature falls like a feather to the ground. The glaive takes this opportunity to head to Patel to provide backup, on his way he sees a third creature break away from a larger group attacking the villagers flying rapidly to their location. Patel's concentration wavers causing him to miss and get hit by a pallone's flyby in turn. Zurt jumps by Patel's side weapons ready and attacks the wounded creature but his form isn't stable and misses the gelatinous mass entirely. The same pallone suddenly rolls itself into a cylinder and flys through the gaps in Zurt's defenses and unfurls itself causing a deep gash at the Glaive's side. Not even flinching from the pain the Hardy Glaive quickly spins and swings his broadsword striking the flying disc on its back cleaving it in two.

The third pallone arrives and attacks Patel while Zurt is preoccupied, wounding the boy gravely. In anger the young man strikes back and trips as he is suddenly thrown off balance. Two more pallone break from the herd as they see an easier target lying on the ground. The glaive knows if the boy can't stand on his feet he will die and quickly stands over him like a tower maintaining his sight on the enemies. Once the pallone moved in closer he strikes like an angry cobra hitting the creature on its sword like edge. He sees the two other pallone almost nearby; he knows he'll end up dead too if he doesn't finish it quickly. Strikes once more at the nearby assailant finally killing it this time. He then runs to the approaching attackers hoping to draw their attention away from Patel. His threatening taunt works; a little bit too well as another pallone breaks from the pack and heads his way. Two of them now circle around the glaive like a pair of vultures each attacking in turn, Zurt's defense manages to block one but the other attacks his blind side, red blood begins to stain his clothes and he drops his broadsword as he winces in pain. Luckily, Patel's Spear was nearby, he rolls for it quickly grabbing the spear and stabs one of the pallone's belly. He draws forth most of his energy in this attack instantly killing the creature. Two remain in his vicinity and both fly by hoping to land killing blows on the glaive. But he deftly dodges both with his shield.

Gracefully swinging the spear Zurt continually attacks the remaining two pallones, and after a few minutes of battle he finally kills the remaining two exhausting himself in the process. He regains his composure ready for a next set of attackers but as he looks towards the rest of the villagers he lets out a sigh of relief seeing that the remaining creatures are either dead or beggining to flee. Patel finally wakens as the battle ended and thanks the warrior for saving his life. Zurt is told to wait as Patel calls for his family. The Glaive is quickly introduced to Patel's mother and grandfather, they offer him food and a place to stay for the night as thanks, Zurt also learns of the true nature of the attack; people have been blaming Seria for the recent series of events due to her mysterious power to control the scutimorphs. The family believes Seria has nothing to do with them they cite the recent attack as an example, if it were indeed their youngest then the pallones wouldn't have attacked the town. The grandfather fears a more sinister reason is at work; he recalls that right before the pallones attacked a few days ago Seria started to deal with a sudden headache and she feels it comes from the west near The Embered Peaks, their grandfather believes that its possible there is a Numenera that is either broken or being used for evil means is the cause of all this. Zurt takes note of his new found knowledge, for some reason maybe honor, he feels as if its his duty to solve the mystery of Embered Peaks. Once he finishes helping the town reorganize itself he retreats into Patel's family home enjoys a hot meal and bath and sleeps.

Meanwhile Seria and Malachore's travel to the town of Cylion Basin passed by mostly uneventfully, would be bandits probably deterred by the massive scutimorph mount. They safely arrive at the Cylion Basin, somewhat like a tourist town attracting many travelers because of its mysterious 6 colored basins which are said to heal various ailments. Immediately upon arriving the pair are bombarded by several merchants and peddlers selling their various wares, however Malachore simply stonewalls the merchants as they look for the store they need. At the far end of the main boulevard they find a store marked by a sign with an actual brain; which is likely not human, nailed to it. In here they meet an old woman; with several shards of metal and synth portruding in semi circles around her eyes, the base of her nose and the corners of her mouth; she asks them to come inside saying she knows what they seek. She introduces herself as Darvin, a specialist in illnesses of the brain. She asks for the pair's story while examining Seria.

Darvin says she can help the young girl but is in need of materials for the remedy; however she cannot get the materials on her own due to a pack of Broken Hounds who've suddenly taken residence in the towns synth garden. A known community resource, many other doctors have been unable to replenish their supplies of precious medicinal materials due to these invaders. The old woman tells Malachore it's dangerous to fight these beasts but should he decide to rid the town of these pests they will likely reward him should he manage to return.

Malachore accepts the task and asks the woman what she needs for the medicine. She gives the Nano a sheet of paper listing the materials she needs along with accompanying pictures to help him identify them. After a short trek to the garden Malachore finds the pack of hounds lazily wandering about the garden grounds. He walks closer gathering the strange dog-like creatures with heads like an avian's skull. What seems to be the Alpha hound rises from its resting spot and lets loose a strange growl that seems to be a mix of chirping and guttural noises alerting its 5 other pack mates. Malachore
decides that maybe intimidation might be a good way to end this without a fight and slams the ground
with a force of energy. Though impressive his taunts do nothing but raise the hound's aggression as they begin to charge at the young man. Malachores reflexes prove essential as he manages to step back a few feet and perform an esoteric attack striking the beasts mind with his mental projection. One of the beasts slow down obviously in pain from the human's attack, but shortly resumes its charge. The 6 beasts then work in concert to attack the lone human however his metallic arms and armor negate most of the damage. The young man continues pounding the enemy hounds with his mental projections finally leaving one of them a brainless husk. The beasts continue their relentless assault regardless of losing one of their pack, they lunge at the Nano from various directions, each biting and scratching at him. Malachore notices that the beasts primitive weapons barely deal any damage against his tougher armor and fights on, straining his mental abilities to their fullest. A few short minutes of this dance however causes a second broken hound to whine in pain with its strange mix of dog bark and birdcall marking its death.

The rest of the hounds notice that they can do nothing against their superior opponent; the alpha breaks off and issues what seems to be a cry for retreat causing the rest to flee. They run far away from thenano eventually heading to the horizon far from sight. Malachore takes a minute to catch his breath then explores the beautiful artificial garden filled with both organic, artificial an biomechanical ingredients for various medicinal purposes. After finding the ingredients that Darvin needed he decides to take a few ingredients for himself as well; hoping to maybe create an salve to numb the phantom pain of his old limbs.

He returns to town bearing the news of the Hounds defeat and is greeted with cheer and admiration, but he returns to Davrams shop immediately. She thanks him and tells him that the girl will be cured by the next day. The old crone also grants them free lodging for the night, and a hot meal as well. She thinks of herself as chartiable as she sees Malachores wounds and damaged parts and offers to heal them free of charge in thanks for fending off the hounds with a few potions to boot.


The game took longer than I had initially assumed mainly because we were still acclimating to the rulesespecially coming from a mostly D&D oriented environment but overall I found the game a blessing to DM'sNot much to say for now as it was a quick session just to learn the basics of the game but stay tuned formore

I was fortunate enough to play under Philgamer last Friday and was able to learn more about the pros
and cons(though very minimal mostly nitpicking) of Numenera; I'll post that in a few days once I collate the stories from the other players  for now check out Raymz' review on numenera on his blog!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Mapping the Redbrand Hideout Areas 3-6

So I haven't been able to post as much as I'd like to this past week mainly because we had relatives over and they're using my room to sleep in while i got stuck with my "workshop" and I usually don't like to do things in the workshop if I'm sleeping there(all the mess and all that). I also haven't finished my Numenera playtest writeup since I got busy with work and my Only War session got cancelled yesterday since one of my players went on vacation with a lack of internet. So here I am doing the Red Brand Hideout again.

Since my Numenera playtest writeup is still in the works I decided to do something quick which is doing these 3D tiles for the redbrand hideout.

If you've read  my previous articles on making the tiles it follows pretty much the same process, basically draw your tile on the foam, cut it out, paint it black dry brush gray to your taste. I don't have a picture of the tiles setup to look like the actual map since I finished these right before dinner time and had to clean up either way they're only 95% done without some basing techniques which I'll get to later

However what I'd like to talk about is the pit trap on Area 3, I didn't want to make a long 2x8 tile since I wanted to place the pit trap without making it hard for myself. So what I did was instead of making a long 2x8 tile I made a 2x4, a 2x2(which becomes the trap) and a 3x3 tile segment(which is now part of the last 2x4 section of area 4.

I needed to do this since when I want to place the trap I didn't want it to be an obvious trap tile like the legit tiles from WoTC since it becomes placed on top of your regular floor tiles. I wanted to make a functional 2x2 tile which I think ill be able to reuse often since It can function as a connector to rooms or as its intended purpose of a trap tile.

To make the pit effect I simply created a gradiation of gray and black starting with the black from the center then dark gray to the edges with the lightest gray. Now when I use it in the game should the players fail the test i simply flip the tile over to show its a pit trap. I wouldn't worry about my players knowing that the tile is an obvious tile trap becase in the long run when you use it often enough as a floor tile they'll forget that you can use it as a trap when you need to.

I also wanted to show a different polishing technique by using cement sand, regular sand or fine gravel to add more life into the tiles like with the moss but sadly I lost my bottle of white glue and wasn't able to do it. The logic for using the sand is to add a bit of aged texture on the insides of the dungeon since the moss would only work if the flooring and walls were regularly exposed to rain or other wet sources(like fountains) which is ideal for the dungeon entrance areas. The sand effect however would give more of an inside corridor feel since the sand would likely come from the ceiling or eroded dungeon walls. 

Once i get a new bottle of glue I'll make a quick update along with the completed layout of areas 3-6 if my table has space for areas 1-2 and the secret corridors I'll show it too.

My next likely projects would be Areas 7,9,10 and 11 since those rooms would be easier but I'm likely going to be only making a post on how i make the stairs rather than the entire rooms themselves since I think i can resuse the current tiles I've made right now to make them. Area 8 however would be my last since im still thinking of how to make the cavern effects with square tiles. After that I'll make a wilderness tile using basing techniques I've learned from minature wargaming.