OSE play session with the gang 10/17

Dramatis Personae:

Abbyee Softpaws, cleric 3;

Lance, fighter 2;

Aria Silverwind, elf 2;

Drucila, magic user 1

Hildegard of the Rolling Downs, halfling?

Janosh, cleric? Deceased

Calvin, thief? Deceased

Ludwig, magic user? Deceased

Derek the Axe, dwarf? Deceased

Owlbear Deceased 

Skeletons, 2 Deceased, 2 turned

Coffer Corpse, deceased

Giant rats, eaten or cowardly

continuing from last week

While in town, there was discussion about manufacturing spell scrolls, which I like to use the Holmes Basic suggestion of allowing Magic users of any level to create them, at a cost in materials of 1d6x100 gp per spell level, but they decided to hold off on both that and the more expensive spell research option.

After resting in town, and requipping their disposables, and upgrading Lance the fighter’s armor to plate, they headed back to the brigands’ tower.

The night before they arrived, there was a screeching  sound while Aria was on watch. Naturally, she woke the others and went out ascouting. Eventually she came upon a football  sized owl pellet. She returned and told the others, who agreed that whatever it was should be hunted down.

I used the secret doors mechanic for tracking, and after getting a little lost, they were able to track it to… the brigands tower.

They geared up, and for some reason, decided against having the fighter use the high damage polearm and had him charge in with a light club and shield. Aria, not knowing its HD, cast sleep at it. Lance pasted it, but was struck badly. Abbyee immediately cured a few points of his damage. Lance attacked it again, the owlbear whiffed, and Aria grabbed her sword while Drucila prepped a molotov cocktail.

Lance, Abbyee, and Aria all hit, and Drucila set it on fire,finishing it.

After surveying the area, and finding two bodies, a crushed dwarf (Derek of the Axe) and a gutted cleric (Janosh), from whose remains they recovered 16 gp, 8 sp and 8 cp, all evenly divided, along with a mace (given to Lance as an upgrade to his club) and a fine looking dwarven axe, engraved with an interlace pattern (snatched up by Aria). Suspecting more missing adventurers, they gutted the owlbear, and happily found only the remains of giant rats.

Keeping with their standard anti-undead procedures of performing proper burials, they buried the hapless dwarf and cleric, and looked for a place to dump the body of the owlbear so as not to attract scavengers. 

When they had last approached this area, it had been raining and dark, on the return they were occupied  with prisoners, so this was their first opportunity to really get the lay of the land.

The former brigands’ lair was situated on a hill with a sheer cliff like drop down to a rocky beach beside a river that flowed south back to town. Aria used her rope and grapple to descend, and spotted two cave-like openings, one about 15 feet up, the other at ground level. Once on the shore, she became interested in a log sunk into the water a few feet from the shore that she soon surmised was a mooring post.

Carefully, without entering the caves, she ascended and reported the area as safe to dump the body without poisoning the river.

They did, and could smell roasting meat all night while they stayed on the upper floor of the tower, sleeping to refresh spells, with the usual guards posted.

For their location (and precautions) there were no random encounters that night, but some of Abbyee’s spells went to heal Lance, who had been hurting. They descended to the ground level and then through the trap door, with the elf leading.

At the foot of those stairs, she was surprised bya skeleton, and stabbed for a small amount of damage, and was able to fire an arrow at it. 

Much planning vs weapon types vs undead gad been going on, but my players have played so many systems that they didn’t know what applied here.

From immediately behind Aria, Abbyee turned the skeleton, which ran off.

They proceeded to the dungeon, where they found another skeleton attempting to stab someone in a cell.

Aria blasted it to smithereens with a magic missile, and they discovered  the famished halfling Hildegard  barricaded within, having spiked the cell door shut.  After giving her a ration, and hearing that there had been 5 in her party, of which three were now accounted for, and that everything had gone south when Calvin had opened the box (a sarcophagus with an effigy on it) and four of the other coffhad opened as well. They asked what she wanted to do,which was to return home to the Rolling Downs, but balked at giving her arrows… and cast sleep on her to make sure that she didn’t do them any harm from behind.  Again, they did not investigate the jail cell with the hanging skeleton, except to notice that it was wired together. 

They descended to the level of the crypts, and posted a guard while Aria investigated a nearby wine cellar/storeroom. Therein she was attacked by the same skeleton that had met previously, and after another light injury, she cut it down with the axe, releasing a little black smoke when she did so. This attracted the attention of 6 giant rats that were nibbling on the stripped corpse of Hildegard’s companion Ludwig. The rats advanced, but failed a morale check upon seeing the party, and retreated.

At this point, a coffer corpse,the nominal boss monster, stepped out of the room, and resisted Abbyee’s attempt to turn it,and proceeded to choke her. Drucila molotov’ed it, scoring low enough damage  as to not invoke its special feature, and then Lance smashed it with his mace. Abbyee, freed from the downed creature, then advanced into the room, stepping over it,and she then turned two skeletons that were advancing from within.… The coffer corpse then arose again like the antagonist of a slasher movie, causing Lance to flee the burning, walking corpse. (The others made their saves) It snatched up Aria by the throat,who chopped at it for real damage, accompanied by the hissing and whispers of black vapor as it was struck, but not enough to put it down for good. Next round she cut it down , but they decided to retreat at this point

Minimal treasure was acquired, due to the strategic withdrawal, but they only returned upstairs and haven’t left yet.

Xp so far was 175 for the owlbear, 30 for the CC, 20 for the skeletons with the ‘rescue’ of Hildegard TBD. So far not enough for Drucila  to advance.

The entirely of their encounters dealt with a restock of the area, using a selection of wandering monsters from the outside area (the owlbear) and a standard table result for a party of adventurers, and added in what the results would be of a few interactions; the thief opened the coffer corpse’s tomb, which released it to choke out the thief, and activated the skeletons, some of which were turned, once the coffer corpse rose again they failed their saves and fled. Two of them ran to the main floor, and died at the hands of the owlbear. The halfling barricaded herself, and the magic user fled to the storeroom to be eaten by rats. (Who stripped him is a question for another time).

  I frequently use captured or otherwise imprisoned npcs as a means of providing in-story means of providing backup characters in case of near tpk.

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owlbear fight by Jim Roslof
coffer corpse by Russ Nicholson

Actual play with old friends using OSE

Players:

OSE Play recap with the old group we used google meet, and haven’t seen eachother in over 15 years!

Stanley, playing Abbyee Southpaw, a Lawful cleric 3 of the spider goddess from Petty Gods, and Lance, a fighter 2

James, playing Aria Silverwind, an elf 2 with sleep and magic missile

            And Drucila , a human magic user1 with protection from evil.

We started the main party with 4200xp and retainers at 2100. Characters were rolled with 4d6, dropping lowest, and arranging stats by preference, max hp for first level. Only one character, Lance, bought up a stat by reducing another.

Starting money was the base rolls only.

Two days from town and during a rainstorm, they came upon a brigands lair while the brigands were hunting, and sought shelter within.

After a quick survey of the area to rule out hostiles, they set a fire in the fireplace and began to search, enough to realize that the ruined tower with its collapsed roof and leaky upper story had been very recently inhabited.

One such sign was a bit of graffiti that matched a heraldric shield device of a group that had beenpart of an army that had laid siege to their town a few months before.

 Checking through the arrow slits on the damp upper level, they determined that the glow of the fireplace could be seen from the entrance due to the front doors and most of the furnishings having been used as firewood.

They also saw several lanterns approaching…

The elf was also able to spot a secret trapdoor due to rain water draining around its edges.

Lance, brute that he is, was able to rip it clean from its hinges, which left it obvious where they went, as if the barricade of the empty doorway and roaring fire weren’t enough of an indication that they had been playing goldilocks, which factored in their decision not to parley with the larged armed party approaching. 

Down they went, Aria scouting ahead and finding a door below that led to two more doors.

A quick check of the left showed a row of cells,and to the right a staircase further down.

They decided to head deeper in, and kicked in the next door into… a crypt. They all froze, and decided immediately not to mess with any of the 4 plain sarcophagi or the two with carved effigies, and prepared defensive spells to deal with the brigands they could hear approaching. 

Lance’s primary weapon was a polearm, due to poor starting cash rolls, and he carried a sword and club as backup… with 18 ST it was quite effective. 

Dulcinea cast pro vs evil on herself, and Abbyee cast it on Lance.

First order of business when the door was yanked open by ten spearmen in leather and shield was to cast sleep. 13 HD affected, and only three saved. Lance charged out and brained one, followed by Abbyee with her mace, and Aria with her bow and a natural 20. They quickly stripped and bound the captives, and prepared to politely interrogate them. This was facilitated by Lance bashing another who tried to pull a knife on them.

After a fistful of super low reaction rolls, I got a 12 and the beans, such as they were, were spilled, after a Samuel L. Jackson monologue from the others.

They moved their encampment upstairs after gagging the prisoners and deciding wisely not to sleep in the crypt (Abbyee has an 18 wisdom).

While they got a fistful of copper from each, along with weapons and armor, a better search in the morning revealed 200gp and 160gp worth of furs from a trader the brigands had robbed, along with a freshly killed deer. They paused to properly bury the dead to avoid creating some species of revenant, and frogmarched them in to town with their gear slung behind them.

I used 25% as the base rate of sale on used cheap goods, so they made an additional 133gp and received xp for defeating the foes as well.

A great deal of listening, great open doors rolls, and a lack of interest in stretching themselves too thin. Real ease of use of THAC0; Stan was my first DM back in 1982.

Lets see how this tower restocks itself next week!

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Demons and Patrons in Basic Era Games

I am working on converting both my adventure Beneath the Fallen Tower and the Redoubt of Hades from GURPS (because I don’t have a license) to BFRPG (in particul;ar my publisher’s variant Odysseys and Overlords) and OSE.  BFRPG is very easy to pick up; it was designed as a quick and cheap starter game that anyone could immediately pick up and play. Old School Essentials is an elegant and accurate re-framing of B/X D&D. A circumstance I have discovered is that while my games feature a lot of summonable creatures, infernal, celestial, and elder entities, BX has no such thing.

Literally, in addition to the menagerie a couple of the druids are porting in, the Necromancers accompanied by the spirits of their ancestors, and the earth priest with his pet elemental, there is a character with elder thing power investiture from an otherworldly sorcerer that keeps rolling insanely good reaction rolls, a wildly talented bureaucrat who summoned a celestial demonslayer, and another player who has a hellhound, demonic servant,  and ‘Spirtitual adviser’. It is a lot.

Neither old school game system has any spells for summoning,  which makes things less of a headache for the DM, and generally kept these editions from triggering Satanic Panic responses, but they do have devices for summoning elementals and both djinn and efreet. Therefore, I propose items for summoning other extradimensional entities, perhaps graded for the HD of what they summon, 1d12 HD, with lemures, larvae, or manes at the low end, and a demon lordling at the high end, and an extra chance for getting something higher level.

   Brazier of Extraplanar Summoning

brazier

This iron or bronze brazier, incised with runes and chased with enamels or silver inlay , is inscribed with the name of a being from a nearby dimension. Any item of this type is good for summoning that singular being, for a period of up to one hour, and can be used no more than 6 times per owner.  For any given brazier, roll 1d12, and on a roll of 12, roll an additional d8. The total number rolled is the HD of the creature that can be  summoned by performing a ritual with the brazier as the central feature, involving candles and diagrams on the floor. The creature summoned may be of any alignment, and this can be determined by random die roll.  The summonee must perform a service for the summoner, but may make a save vs spells (minus the summoner’s wisdom bonus, if any) to resist. Braziers are worth 1000 GP per HD summonable.

Now, you can find game stats for any sort of extradimensional being in most advanced rulebooks, and in a variety of blogs ( such as Hereticwerks  where I got the Ymid from), but if you want to keep B/X formatting, I can recommend New Big Dragon’s Fifty Fiends (available on Drivethrurpg for only a buck!)

And for that matter, you can get a bunch of neat pictures of demons from me too!

(Or from Jeremy Hart )

And now that demons are in play, what about patrons? DCC did this excellently, but here I have

20 answers to the question: What does your warlock’s patron want in exchange for power?

1 to spread chaos! Go out there and blow shit up!

2 to be entertained.  They are bored, and find your actions interesting…until they don’t.

3 to be amused. They find the supplicant ridiculous, even pathetic. 

4 to annoy a rival, by showing them up with their own fancy minions.

5 to annoy a rival, by encouraging the destruction of their (equally) nefarious plan.

6 to spread their own influence; use of their powers tags an area with their signature,  the entity with the most tags wins something, as if our world was a boardgame to them.

7 to manifest themselves in our world; the more their power is used, the greater their ability to enter our plane.

8 to void excess energy that is causing them etheric indigestion. 

9 to silence your yapping. You are annoying, but not yet worth the bother of destroying.

10 to alleviate the irritation of the sense of debt; the entity cannot tolerate supplication without response; it itches.

11 to appease their sense of vanity. They desire worship.

12 to appease their curiosity. Whatever will the minion do with a little power.

13 to appease their hunger. Blood and Souls!

14 to appease their hunger. Only creatures empowered by and flavored like them can fulfill their hideous appetites

15 to appease their unnatural lust. Only creatures empowered and flavored like them can fulfill their hideous appetites.

16 to better observe our plane. Buying a pair of eyes is cheaper than actually manifesting.

17 to relieve their aching loneliness. Being immortal makes it hard to keep friends.

18 to pay a gambling debt. The being is making the pact because of an unfortunate forfeiture on a wager.

19 to pay back a favor. The summoning and binding spells are vestiges of an ancient promise made to someone who liberated the being from imprisonment, and then forgot that they were still active.

20 to be left alone. Power is cast out to deflect contact.

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