Meditations on Recent Mail, S&W Appreciation Day goodies and critical failure expectations

Yesterday I got a bundle of booklets I had privately  printed from All of these, as with all of my print projects there, are PDF’s I have rightfully purchased, and have kept private, and have only printed for personal use. Lately, Lulu has gotten kind of sketchy about what it will print, based on page size and image quality and what not.  I tried to have Zak Sabbath’s free PDF of DIY Palace of the Silver Princess in this bundle, because the coupon was good, and I really liked the tone of it, but it was rejected due to sizing issues.

I know, it is kinda crappy for an artist to use generic covers for these things, but the majority of my GURPS Dungeon Fantasy printed books were originally ordered to be printed from my kindle, and I had trouble uploading images, and just wanted to hold the damn books. If I ever do a hardcover compilation, I will surely do something about that. As you can see I was amateurish about printing out Labyrinth Lords , the logo of a camera on the back covers because I didn’t bother to add a picture is regrettable, But I actually printed out the game so that I can play Kabuki Kaiser‘s Ruins of the Undercity with its preferred ruleset.IMG_20160316_072104[1]

(A couple of other recent Lulu purchases)

Meanwhile, I have been looking over some of the goodies I acquired over this weekend’s Swords and Wizardry Appreciation Day. As a patron of OSQ, I got a sneak peek at an article for a WhiteStar character class, the Untrained Initiate, a variant Star Knight that emulates A masterless Jedi finding their way to the Force.

I also paid a little for some PWYW items. As someone who feels it when folks download the sample and don’t buy the product from drivethru, I make a point of paying more than the average buyer.  One item was the nice collection of adventures for  level 4-6 adventurers, the Dungeons of Fel’Valashar, which has a really nice feel to it, containing four separate one page dungeon lairs containing some non standard denizens and have generally a fresh and well thought out feel to them.  The other Item I picked up was the LotR themed offering from Barrel Rider Games, The Hero’s Journey Fantasy Roleplaying. One thing that impressed me about this little book, that I have only just skimmed, is the relative low power of the characters.  Anyone, at any level, could die under a volley of arrows or after two or three bad rounds of combat. This makes the character durability roughly like  GURPS characters in their general lack of ridiculous hit points. I like the feel of this very much. I recommend picking up both of these, they are really quite good at the price.


Now, back to Northport.  I really, really wish some of that game could be played face to face; some  confusion could be settled, and the time it takes to get simple things accomplished could be greatly speeded up. Seriously, the game has gone on for almost three years, and effectively three weeks game time have elapsed.

It took the better part of a week for one of the thieves to perform a break in ( They were stealing a Jugga trophy from the Orcish Televodnica (Dojo) to use as a bribe to get access to the missing young lovers who were being watched over by a retired Hobgoblin Qwik who who is high on the spectrum.  Pallido has Single Minded, Eidetic memory and Shyness, along with Obsession:Jugga), and almost three weeks to plan the break in. Actual tabletop time would have been about twenty minutes to roll through.

My treasure hunters, meanwhile, defeated a supercolossal Earth Elemental (DR 7, ST 78 or so, from the Forum’s Bestiary)by softening its feet and slaying (easily with trick archery , a -10 to hit just doesn’t hold up against even the 125pt Archer build from DF 15) it’s master (an apprentice elementalist with a magica item)and then using the Artifact level earth elemental control rod (Forces contests of will to be resolved with will and not ST of elemental ) to force it into submission. This became a serious point of contention, as use of such a device was blasphemy to the party’s modified cleric, who worships Grom.  In the end, they decided to release the elemental after healing it, and sending it off holding a set of magical tracking coins.

The coins were important plot items, as one of their hirelings, a Seasoned Guard named Snorri Roslovich (named for James Rosloff) was revealed as a traitor when he (along with the party’s mule were crushed by the stumbling elemental.  He turned a new leaf after being healed, and revealed that he had been leaving coins marked with Mystic Mark on them for their rivals to use Seeker on.  So far they have determined that their rivals consist of at least Kalvo Tvasi, the Veteran Agent that they had stolen the treasure map from,], and Monorith, a katana wielding Were lion who was one of the original characters playing in Northport back in 2002, and whoever has been casting seeker…

Along their journey they have met bandits and scared them off with tales of a lich and his army, that turned out to be at least partly true. They also fought Gnolls, but lately have seen signs of the gnolls being fought and possibly killed by Monorith, but also having fought the lion, and not left bodies behind.  Without their Mule, getting back with the treasure they hope to find may be a bit difficult, likewise fleeing from all of these enemies.

They finally arrived at the X on their map, and found a well amidst the ruins of some earthworks and a centuries gone wizards tower.  The priest of Grom decided to use his ridiculously high skill at Shape Earth to dig a tunnel to the base of the well, but the low sanctity in the area, along with the penalty for shaping worked stone, led to a failure that got his foot stuck in a hole. He tried to fix it, and blew a critical failure.

Previous catastrophes he has been involved in, such as trying to create food out of shrubbery, have lead to the spontaneous creation of hostile plant creatures, so when he critted the Earth to Stone roll, he assumed that he had some kind of enemy to fight.  I had the entire area around the well collapsed into a sinkhole, revealing the terrain to be full of gravel, loose shale, and bone fragments.  The last time I played an earthshaping character, in a supers game on, I had to make architecture or engineering rolls to carve tunnels that would not fall. Engineering for non Artificers in DF is kinda scant, but precisely the skill that is needed for modifying ancient earthworks without falling into pits, so IQ-6 until he next spends some points after visiting a sage.

Myh other (wuxia) group has finally gotten through a crowd of Horde Ninjas while escorting a Wu-jen through the undercity to deliver him to their Omo. The progressive lethality of the ninja’s tactics only was matched by their sheer fragility in the face of the party’s 17 ST yakuza’s Tetsubo and the ferocity of their catfolk Ninja, along with the assorted spellcasters and the mixed martial arts enthusiast (he is built up from the skirmisher template but has no real chi abilities, and a little magic.) They are a pretty effective group, but I would like to see how they fare against a few worthies.



2 thoughts on “Meditations on Recent Mail, S&W Appreciation Day goodies and critical failure expectations

  1. Does Roll20 or the other tabletop simulators not work for you? I’d be delighted to play, but PBEM (as you observe) is too slow for me. Unfortunately, I only have weekends to play, so anything during the week would interfere with work.

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