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September 17, 2018 0 comments

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Quest against the Darkmaster (PbP)

I did develop a Star Wizard of Fey Culture so either him or a Leshak Shaman (apprentice to the one Gyantwaka has mentioned) would show up, unless you think Shaman better I will go with the wizard. Shaman is nice for healing focus etc. but Leofred has healing spell lore and Gyantwaka has 50% in the skill and all his herbs.  Not up to stopping bad bleeding but the Star Wizard would eventually (he's 1st level presumably) be able to cauterize .

  • If Star Wizard, he has the Enchantment Lore and has whipped up his Staff for its casting bonus (I like a system that gives a mechanical reason for wizards being iconic but doesn't force it if you want something different).  His name Ultan Mistwalker (ul'TAWRN) and his Wealth Level is 3 - maybe he's the one who gives Gwenhild a breastplate. He could actually afford to buy elven fare as well.
  • "Mistwalker" is used by members of a particular sector/order of illusionists that he belongs to (Keeper of Hidden Lore background, minor)
  • His Fey background items would be Reviving Cordial, Lute (he has a good Songs and Tales skill and when telling would be using it) and Healer's Kit (he has a bit of skill).  He would buy a second Reviving Cordial (Fare 2, he's WL3)
  • From his Fey background his peculiar trait is that though his magic is illusion, he cannot himself lie and is given to speaking unpleasant truths (he can deceive in all manner of ways but he cannot speak an untruth at best he can remain silent which if someone knows of this nature is revealing) - that is his Nature.
  • His Motivation is "I will prove that without an elf this quest cannot succeed", his Allegiance is the negative sort "I will destroy the transformed (elves transformed into orcs)" (if we are going with that origin per Kal's report etc.)
  • I have to figure out what else he would kit out with at WL3 (not a problem I have considered before!) - for example he could have a companion animal (trained wardog or hunting hawk, gamist the first makes sense but the second feels more right so if okay Hunting Hawk, am I imagining you had done something about such animals at one time or should I go look at my MERP stuff?), three daggers (he would throw one in a pinch), then some clothes and utility gear.  Alas he would feel it necessary to leave his lackey behind to tend his home and garden.
  • PS, he actually has 35 hp as I reviewed his stat allocation (using a standard array option).

Gwenhild is very grateful for the gift of the breastplate and promises she will honour it.

If we say the Elven Fare is 1/2 the encumbrance then instead of each carrying 1 week, each carries 2 and the pony has 2 weeks for each.

Gyantwaka's herb roll, looking for more mending Oelthar of same type same season, and finds another dose.  That means he has three doses @ of mending and bleeding treatment herbs.  I think 3 doses of a given herb is the most he would usually carry without a specific reason (harvesting more than you need is a bad thing).

  • Normal Success: d100 = 70 + Nature 60 + Healing Hands 10 +Woodcrafty 15 + Strider 10 +10 in Herbarium -30 Conservable, Woods 0 modifier = 145

We're about ready to set off I think, just to discover if there are any elven hunters etc. who have advice about the woods to the west.  If it was 1 week to establish where the quest goes, say two days to prepare and discuss route, which would make departure the 13th Day of 3rd Moon of Summer (about 5 weeks after the first council on 4th day of 2nd month).

A regular order of march would be Gyantwaka scouting ahead, perhaps a hawk also flying about from time to time, Leofred leading the pony and Gwenhild with Ultan, her slightly behind and guarding him against harm.

 

I suppose I should set out how Ultan comes to be in the Fellowship.  His personal belief that such an important task cannot be accomplished without a Star Elf leads him to petition the court to join it and he is granted that petition.  Perhaps also when they were asking about knowledge of woods etc., someone with a +80 Songs & Tales comes forward... roll of 75+80+20 for taking time (he had at least a day) for result of 175 exactly assuming knowing about nearby woods is standard (lay of land of a known area or region), so a Superior Success (and no I did not fiddle that!).

Rangers of the west make tale of Loedhel, an ancient Elf who dwells in the center of the wild, an Elf who perpetually meditates with one of the oldest beings in Arda — a lichen that has outlived the trees of the Western Wood. It is believed that Loedhel is aware of everything that occurs in the wood — at least within a sphere of influence. But no trouble comes to any who respect the wood — particularly the lichen that grows on stock and stone.

Roll for Hazard — 02!

All PCs get +1 Drive for undertaking The Quest of Hammerfall.

Hunting Hawk, am I imagining you had done something about such animals at one time

Yep, though you pointed out that Athelstane’s sheet has stats for a Rouncey, which are not like mine. But I haven’t compared them yet.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1yCMcQqRF5c5jMpXWP9xIOad2WJ1Qzc9R_sX4Np4AlBc/edit

I wonder what you have in mind for Trained in an animal. I propose that you can give it direction with time, situation, and an appropriate Nature roll.

I have your marching order. Any last preparations you want to make before you encounter your Hazard? On the very first day of travel!

[OOC, re "trained" what you have there in that document is fine re control but stats a bit off for flying critter, I think an owner would likely have a bonus or easier time with their regular animal, the Hawk would be trained to come back and give a particular motion or cry depending on "I see two legged types", "I see normal predator animals", "I see outlandish/bizarre things I don't know what that is".  He could of course be trained to 'harass' a target interfering with spellcasting etc. but Ultan "likes his little hawk friend, Kekek" and wouldn't risk it that way though it might loyally go after anyone/thing physically attacking Ultan "his big friend". Ultan has +80 Charisma - he would have shopped for a hawk responsive to such, perhaps one raised to be a trained animal (I think you have that in the document) so with his regular animal likely has pretty good control.]

  • Adding in terms of Ultan liking his little hawk, this is just an example of his views about all lesser creatures - just because they're lesser that doesn't mean they don't have value and shouldn't be cared for, though of course it also means one shouldn't get too emotionally invested.

[OCC I assume PCs don't know what 'is rolled' for hazards {or if that was chance for hazard if using 20% per day or the table to determine general type or the table that determines hazard using the "at least one per week/region" approach - you don't have to reveal which approach is used and probably should not} but a standard detail of travel would be Gyantwaka likely using Wandering to see what the weather holds, his outcome d100 50 +45 = 95, partial success on this occasion]

[Drive, nice, Leofred is already at 5 though, Gwenhild is not treated as a PC - correct?  No fiddling with Fate for her.]

[I assume the details above are what Superior Success gives which is fine]

Other than appropriate clothes including good travel cloaks and whatever a Partial success gives, I don't believe they will have other ideas in mind.

[Back to stats, I think a flyer is faster than the standard creature there, a Gorcrow is 21 for example]

[Ah found it, MERP hawk from Lost Realm of Cardolan (the one whose cover artwork a certain VsD picture looks just a bit like), level 2 creature, Hits 25, DB 50, At 45 medium claw primary, secondary small beak 25 - the MERP to VsD conversion notes posted suggest those stats would translate pretty straight subject to eyeballing comparisons etc, e.g., if Common, Small base hp 10, 2 ranks in Body Skill suggest more HP20, Primary Attack 3 ranks + 4 = Attack +35, which seems a trend of "tone down" or "really in VsD it's level 3, which would be bang on hp, and attack, the decision of which then determining other skills, saves etc].

OCC I assume PCs don't know what 'is rolled' for hazards {or if that was chance for hazard if using 20% per day

Yep, my revealed roll was the 20% chance. I wanted to reveal it because I was so surprised and pleased.

a standard detail of travel would be Gyantwaka likely using Wandering to see what the weather holds, his outcome d100 50 +45 = 95, partial success on this occasion]

The day is partially cloudy but otherwise bright above the boughs beneath which the fellowship journeys.

Ah found it, MERP hawk from Lost Realm of Cardolan (the one whose cover artwork a certain VsD picture looks just a bit like), level 2 creature, Hits 25, DB 50, At 45 medium claw primary, secondary small beak 25 - the MERP to VsD conversion notes posted suggest those stats would translate pretty straight subject to eyeballing comparisons etc, e.g., if Common, Small base hp 10, 2 ranks in Body Skill suggest more HP20, Primary Attack 3 ranks + 4 = Attack +35, which seems a trend of "tone down" or "really in VsD it's level 3, which would be bang on hp, and attack, the decision of which then determining other skills, saves etc].

Ah, yes. McBride’s painting for Cardolan (reused for Arnor, I believe) was some of my most favorite artwork in childhood. I love the epic battle and the look of the stones on the heath.

It’s fine by me what stats you use, but I don’t believe the unofficial MERP conversion is particularly useful. I can’t remember, now, what bothered me about it, but it did seem to be a 1:1 conversion, which actually shouldn’t work for VsD.

I suppose I should ask: what “commands” or direction has Ultan given Kekek? I assume Kekek flies overhead, though he would be flying above the tree canopy, most of the time? Or is the common obstruction to sight not worth it?

Re Kekek/Hawk, one thing to be would be peg crebain in MERP vs Hawks in MERP and see where that goes.  The MERP conversion guides does suggest DB = DEF etc. but also just rebuilding if desired.  For horses etc. in Keltia I took the 'baselines' of the fully statted warhorse and partially statted rouncy and then used MERP differentials for others to build out from there rather than "just convert".  Personally though of course as Player "I like a level 3 little buddy", hawks being level 2 creatures makes more sense to me as "honest Player and future GM" and I would build that out if you like (meaning level 2 common creature stats but a good speed as they Fly. They likely have a kin-bonus good Perception for strictly visual stuff.

We've never established how old Ultan is (given elves are immortal), I'm thinking a young 78ish who has not travelled much but heard stories (thus his high S&T skill) and otherwise raised hawks (Kekek is the 6th or so generation of his line) etc.

I'm thinking in woods that Kekek would only be tasked flying about if there was a reason to think something was out there as otherwise it's too much effort for the hawk to maneuver constantly under the canopy.  So in such area, as in urban ones, he travels along with Ultan, perched on staff at time.

We're going to have quite a few hazards at 20% per day (about 3.5 a week, so over 10 in the trip).  I admit the one per week/region (so 6 or so) seems likely enough unless they are woven into the 'drama/plot' a bit.  But as long as it's XP that's fine.

I realized the other thing we never settled was the task of what to do with hammer once obtained.

 

 

We're going to have quite a few hazards at 20% per day (about 3.5 a week, so over 10 in the trip).  I admit the one per week/region (so 6 or so) seems likely enough unless they are woven into the 'drama/plot' a bit.  But as long as it's XP that's fine.

Yeah, we’ll see. I’m quite fond of random rolls myself. And Wandering Monsters tables. Makes it feel more like a “game,” with a semblance of a simulation of chaotic “reality,” than a script of encounters wholly deriving from my own preferences.

The other thing about VsD Hazards is that they need not always be a “big deal.” You dealt with that Dire Bear pretty handily. Another one I rolled was an obstacle, which proved to be a mere textual detail in the adventure.

I realized the other thing we never settled was the task of what to do with hammer once obtained.

Good point! This might become relevant. Do you want to back this up a bit, back to the Council? I think there was some talk about destroying the hammer. Presumably Logi cast it into the Void because not even he could destroy it, though consulting with Dwarves certainly could be of some benefit. There are Hill-Dwarves en route…

I like the "Forge of the Giants" myself but if consulting dwarves perhaps the "hill dwarves" to the west are descended from refugees who fled Logi's original kingdom when it was destroyed?

Mentioning dire bear, they will have some normal rations "handy" on the pony. I do think that was skin of teeth and could easily have been "I'll hold it off" (sacrifice myself) and the rest of you run for it" (Leofred was going to do that) - as to randomness generally I use that to stop from being predictable and to spark more creativity (my regular gaming group has gamed with me for 33 years in some cases) but within limits.  That's me, this is your game which is fine.

For the Hawk I suggest:

Hawk (normal),

Level2 Common
MR23 F
ATNA
DEF+40
TSR+10
WSR+10
HPs20
Att 1+35 Small Beak
Att 2+10 Small Claws
Special--
CTCut
Rog+20
Adv+40
Lor+0

Kin bonus +20 to perception, (so +40), Can Dive (equivalent of a Charge) for movement and Full Attack without penalty.

Arrived at using VsD creation rules and then applying benchmarking to creatures in VsD Bestiary and in MERP (gorcrow in both, hawk in MERP)

Level 2, Common - Small (Base HP 10), 2 ranks (+10hp), 20 hit points, Primary Attack up to 3 base (it’s a predator so 3) +2/level so total 7 ranks, +35, Primary Skill 4 ranks, Secondary 2 ranks

Its Skills are same as level 2 adders just flipped Rog/Adv, Adv higher as that’s Hunting which is its survival, Perception is Rog and its bonus effectively gives it the same as if is was a Adv skill

Saves +10 level bonus

Its combined DEF+ATT raging is 75, compared to level 2 Orc 65, level 1 Gorcrow 75, level 1 redcap 65, level 2 Boggart 50 – though these have better HPs

Using MERP-differentials as guide, both animals are in Lost Realm of Cardolan (yes great evocative image), Gorcrow is level 1 (as in VsD) and Hawk Level 2 (as proposed), hawk as 5 more hp (25 not 20), but 5 weaker DB, and hawk has better attacks and is faster.  Above Hawk has -10 DB +5 HP, also better attacks and is faster.

Criticals are cut because its claws and beak are more 'slashing' weapon vs normal sized creatures and that table seems to better reflect it than Beast table (whose outcomes would be a bit over the top) - at best take off an ear, not slash open throat to bleed out on the Superficial outcome.

Oh and if it makes you feel better about your conversions and Athelstane's Rouncery, I've found something I don't like about it (the VsD Rouncy partial stats).  Using MERP differentials for horses, one thing is that in MERP lighter horses have better DB (DEF) presumably because they are nimbler etc. (warhorses would have some barding to help them out).  SO if the bestiary warhorse is DEF +20, I would give a riding horse DEF +30 (with the lighter warhorse +25).  A palfrey is essentially "a really good quality riding horse" so the same DEF its quality being hit points (health) and ride bonus.

Oh and if it makes you feel better about your conversions and Athelstane's Rouncery, I've found something I don't like about it (the VsD Rouncy partial stats).  Using MERP differentials for horses, one thing is that in MERP lighter horses have better DB (DEF) presumably because they are nimbler etc. (warhorses would have some barding to help them out).  SO if the bestiary warhorse is DEF +20, I would give a riding horse DEF +30 (with the lighter warhorse +25).  A palfrey is essentially "a really good quality riding horse" so the same DEF its quality being hit points (health) and ride bonus.

[No worries! Overall, NPC generation in this game kind of bothers me, not that it’s much better in MERP — or even in D&D, for that matter. My first difficulty is with “levels.” For a PC, one goes up levels with “experience.” So how much “experience” does a static stat block for a Rouncey have compared to a Hawk to a Bear to an anything else? I think, with creatures, “level” means something different, which is… Strength? Power? According to what measure?

[I am frustrated because the Quick Opponent Generation guide is very helpful, but, when checked to the stats of already-built creatures, seldom approximate. So the designers used a different method for constructing their bestiary, and we don’t know it.]

By late afternoon, the fellowship is well into the wood. It comes to an area where the canopy overhead lets in shafts of the rosy setting sun, in which glittering pollen and spores drift. The air here is close and moist and still, and the normal forest sounds are muted and distant. Adding to the sense of this “shushing” is a deep and thick carpet of moss that covers many hills, hillocks, lumps and undulations.

[OCC what is the Fellowship's understanding re Hammer's fate/their mission - return for study, return for the Cloud Giant's Forge mission etc., just in case s direct skip to that became important, or chatting up dwarves]

Backing just to entering forest, Gyantwaka will remind others to "behave as if guests of the wood", and upon entering the woods speaks in his own language softly, much as he will each morning, a common Leshak prayer.

I come among you standing ones as one of your moving kindred. Please accept myself and my companions and know that we take only what we need and defend you and your kindred as you need.

[‘standing ones’ is trees and ‘moving kindred’ are the animals that live in forests and depend on their bounty to survive, contributing to it in their own way – to the Leshak and in their language all natural phenomenon are treated as animate and related, as being ‘the world choosing to be this or that for a moment’ except for monstrosities such as undead and things such as forged iron which the Leshak cannot abide - oh and that something made of forged iron and to forge iron - this hammer - is a dreadful mistake and danger to world and its peoples is hardly a shock to a Leshak].

Gyantwaka will hold up the travelers and look about - silence in a forest usually means something (Perception check - unusual amounts of spores or anything else).  In any event he is inclined to lead everyone around the moss - traipsing over it could damage it.

  • If relevant his Perception check is 215 before any modifiers (d100 = 96, open ends +39 to roll of 135 + Skill 80), sufficient for success up to and including Insane level (-70) and Superior Success up to an including Extremely Hard (-40).

{BTW I agree about animals etc. in bestiary not aligning with the suggestion, which is one reason I benchmark to them as part of process}