Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Starting 2012

So, it's time we were thinking about getting the campaign started again.  I am going to be around for the rest of this week, with three days off for New Years, so a good day to start again might be around Tuesday to Wednesday next week.  Probably we can count on a day of questions and catching up, before the party starts off to Leer to re-equip.

I'll be putting up some new maps covering the change in location the party has experienced, if only to make clear how one gets to Munster from Engelke, presuming the party would want to go there.

Regarding the cards, and the use of cards.  I trust the party will take note of the links on the previous to seeing what all the cards are, as actions will create additional cards for players.  When it comes to playing the cards themselves, there will probably be some troubles arising from the internet.  I found I was able to teach people pretty quickly how to use them while face-to-face, but things may not be so evident without my smiling face showing how it's done.

I would recommend roleplaying the action cards when they are used.  For example, if Ahmet were to use his persuade card, he might do so by saying, "We would look upon it kindly if you could step aside and let us enter the town, despite our appearance; I assure you we will look much better once we have found an inn and partaken in a bath and a shave.  We are upstanding citizens, believe me when I tell you this; we simply had some bad luck with a manure wagon."

Or some similar presentation.  It really is quite easy once you have the idea what persuasion is, or jesting or boasting or lying.

I would encourage people to suggest other cards that could be added; for example, there is no 'threaten' card, which might be created by exchanging some other card suggesting the player has a threatening appearance (a survivor-type card, or perhaps the Once Convicted card), or which implies having developed a sense of what it takes to threaten people (a Hardened Adventurer card, or Fortitude).  I haven't decided ... though I'd probably make a decision if someone indicated they would want such a card.  In truth, it would work pretty much the same as 'Boast,' but obtained by trading in something other than what Boast requires.

Let me know if there's something else we want to consider before starting.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Conflict Card Distribution

Here are the card groups for each player.  Take note that you can see copies of ALL the cards here, so if there's any you think you should have, or which you want to trade for (lie, beg, seduce or boast), let me know.

The pickings are lean for three of the characters because you fellas truly raped your interactive stats for strength, constitution and dexterity.  Just so you know.

Ahmet's Cards:

Andrej's Cards:

Nine-toes' Cards:

Silvius' Cards:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It Hasn't Ended Yet in Engelke

Monday & Early Tuesday, August 25 & 26, 1650

Weather: Pleasant temperatures continue, with cloudy skies now, no rainfall and a moderate breeze.

The plundering of the town continues apace.  Distant cries, shouts, the clashing of weapons, the screaming of women and so on seeps in from outside, as a good deal of the wealth of Engelke is extracted in exchange for a population boost nine months from now, rich with genetic diversity ... not that anyone in the party knows about that.

Watchman #3, who identifies himself as Joost, approaches Silvius and Nine-toes, who happen to be standing together.  "Pardon me sirs, but Klaas and I;" Joost refers to the fellow resting in the corner, who nods when you look at him, "have been talking about how we owe you our lives.  We're very sorry about what happened, and we don't wish to go to prison.  We would like very much to serve you, carry for you, fetch for you, act as your shield men ... when Klaas is better, of course.  We wouldn't need much.  A bit of food perhaps, a bit of pay - half pay, sirs, if you can see yourself parting with 9 g.p. a month for a pair of pole men."

As Silvius and Nine-toes consider this, there are six men who appear at the front door of the stable.  They are dressed as the other pirates, save one - a priest dressed in robes associated with the Spanish catholic church ... dark, crimson red, with a wide high collar and a prominent silver cross and greenstone rosary.

"M'Lady," cries the priest upon seeing Madam.  "You've been hurt!"  She's been sitting, holding the handkerchief to her side all this time, not doing much more.  Now the priest begins to make signs for casting a spell, while the other five pirates move aggressively towards the party.

Before anything can happen, however, the Madam calls a halt to it.  "These are our friends!" she shouts.  Her men freeze.  "No one in this Inn is to be harmed, do you hear me?"

The pirates all stand down, and the party takes their hands off their weapons.
"You asked me a question?" smiles Madam at Andrej. 


This is an interjection in the campaign to ask a question.  In the last comments section Andrej the cleric 'hinted' about incorporating the use of my Imech into this campaign.  I am willing to do so, if people would like to give it a try, but I feel that it should be unanimous.  It isn't difficult to learn, though admittedly I haven't tried to teach it to a party online.

The offline party had fun with it, but were not really the type to embrace it wholly.  But its really up to you.  Let me know, and if you agree, we can give it a try.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Stable

This is the post intended for the event between the party and the town watchmen who have just entered with the expectation of seizing the party's horsemen.

The scene would look like this:

This is intended as a bare bones map; it doesn't include details about the street, or of the inside of the tavern beyond just the front area.  On this map, Ahmet is the brown man with the pick, mounted on the horse.  The orange is Silvius, whose just come in and is readying his horse.  The green is Nine-toes.  The blue is Andrej, readying the cart.  The white is Emmanuel.  The yellow is the bartender, holding his maul.
The pink and purple are the guard; three of them, in pink, are armed with glaives.  The others are armed with spears.

This is going to get a bit crazy online, but we'll try going slowly to see how it goes.  I ask the players to please be patient.

A few points:

1) We will have to determine everyone's movement.  You can work this out for yourselves from this table.  Nine-toes is a bit special - he moves 6 due to being a monk.
2) Please have a close look at this table.  It will tell you how to 'spend' your movement.  Remember that to attack, you must spare yourself two full movement points to do so.  Also, you may want to choose your final orientation at the end of your move - this costs NO movement.
3) I am thinking at this moment that the best way to do this is to create a post on your blog, where you can post your movement.  All you need to do is download the image, draw on it using Paint or any other program to show where you intend to go, describe here what you're doing, and then post the picture onto your blog.  I will collect your movements off your pages and pull them together onto the main table.  I'll show the enemies movements and update the table as we go.  If you want records of the combat, you'll have to save them yourselves.
This probably sounds a bit difficult and crazy.  I am curious as to how difficult it really is.  I know there are ways online to do this as an automatic feed, but I don't know how to use them at this time, and at any rate I wouldn't be able to access any such programs during the day.  If everyone is game, we can give this a try.
Alternately, if three of you vote against this idea, then I'll run the combat in the tried and true D&D way ... following your descriptions as best I can and updating the table from those descriptions.  It is up to you if you want to play this tactically or not.  HOWEVER, if we do play by description only, then the players will have to accept my judgement for where you wind up at the end of each round.  I can only do the best I can.
Let me know what your movements are in any case.  Tell me what you think and we can get started.  The announcement was made with the last post.  The party, at the moment, has initiative (the watchmen are giving it to you).
Other notes:  There is a door at the back of the stable which is closed and behind Andrej, which leads to an open area surrounded by a solid wooden slat fence five feet high.  There is a side door into the Inn from there, which leads to the Inn's mess area.  The fire appears on the map somewhat exaggerated for effect.  I'll answer any other questions as we go.  Oh, the last horse in the corner is Vorhein's horse.


Here is the current picture, showing only the combat portion for easier viewing.  Numbers have been added for soldiers, to aid in designating your targets.

For Movement, we can also try this:

Emmanuel's Movement

The idea here is that the hexes are numbered for the direction that you move - and that each movement is designated by that number.  Emmanuel's move on the right would be written 1-1-6-1-1.

Note that the orientation of the player is not relevant to the code.  The circle of numbers never changes.  If Emmanuel were to turn around and retrace his steps, it would be written 4-4-3-4-4.

You could also designate your target this way.  If the Emmanuel on the left were to throw an axe at the Emmanuel on the right, the trajectory would be 2-3-2-3.

Is that easy enough?


Surprise, Surprise!

Everyone has moved now, BUT the pirates:

The pirates first appear
The pirates start to move forward (arrows show movement)
Andrej and Ahmet get in some serious thumping.
And she shoots her own Man!
A round of tough fighting as the party gets into the thick of things.
Andrej gets seriously thumped.

Silvius gets a critical and Nine-toes hits home; the party fights back!

Madam moves forward and nicks Ahmet.

Ahmet strikes out with Madam.

 Nine-toes feels the Madam's dagger.

Vorhein's spear hits home and Andrej's up and ready for action.
(ignore the arrow by Pirate D ... a bit of flotsam left over from the previous image)

The death of #4, and the anger of pirates.
Ahmet & Silvius knock 'em back, and a pirate goes down.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Returning to Engelke

Monday, August 25, 1650

Weather:  Unchanged; pleasant temperatures continuing as the sun sets, no rainfall and a moderate breeze, the overcast sky beginning to break up.

The likelihood is that the party has bundled Devereaux's body in a blanket from his bed for carrying, and that as the party makes its way back to town it is fairly loaded.  The body is about 80 lbs., so that is one player; the keg is not that heavy, 10 lbs., but it is bulky and fairly demands the attention of one person.  The chest is 72 lbs., which gets unpleasant for one person over a long distance - so it is probably being shared by two people.

The sun is an hour above the horizon when you get back to the edges of Engelke.  You find a chapel, speak with a priest there - who recognizes Devereaux and speaks kindly of the fact that the poor, deeply troubled man has found his rest at last.  He is well known in the area as a madman.  The cleric automatically associates the party (wandering mercenaries as you appear) as descendents of Devereaux's shipmates, and the lie seems simple enough that you go with it.  Whatever questions you may have of the priest in general go unanswered, as the priest knows very little of life, and politics, being simply a country vicar.

The sun is just above the horizon as you get on the road again and enter amid the first houses of Engelke.  Things seem a bit busy for the time of night.  Quite a number of the houses have lights burning as the sun slips below the horizon, and just now coming along the road is a wagon pulled by two horses, driving hell for leather towards you.  The wagon is mostly empty, and the driver hardly sees you before nearly running you down.  He doesn't look as he passes, did not even see you.

Over the next five minutes or so, as you are still at least twenty minutes from the Inn where you've left your horses and Emmanuel, the road starts filling with people, all moving in the opposite direction as you - perhaps a hundred overall.  From them you get news:

"Enrico Baptista has entered the Dollart [the gentle bay upon which Engelke rests] with nine ships, and swears to plunder the town," comes the first meaningful information you can receive.  From where the party is, the Dollart cannot be seen ... but the Inn you go to is within seven streets of Engelke's wharf.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Devereaux's House And The Gem

As the party stands together sorting out their mind-sets and considering what's just gone on in the last hour, with the house well in sight, they piece together bit by bit the realization that knowledge of the gem will not simply let them go.  There is a clear understanding that they have not been able to keep themselves from thinking about the gem since arriving.  During their conversation, they find themselves continuously talking about the gem.  With a great clarity, they feel a foreknowledge that sleep will be impossible without possessing the gem.  They must have it.  They cannot leave this place until they do.

While that prospect is frightening, it remains the fact of the matter.  They may be able to resist for a time, but sooner or later they will have to go get the thing ... no matter what consequences that brings.  Each member of the party understands this.  Each member cannot change it.

Devereaux's house stands there.  The weather is unchanged.  Only now the overcast conditions seem dreadful and foreboding.  The moderate breeze that felt good on the ride up now seems to sting the skin with bits of sand, threatening to drive a man mad.  The temperature that was pleasant before now seems thick and cloying in the player's throats.

All about seems hateful and ugly.  And each companion looks at one another with doubt, irritation and fear.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Learning About M. Devereaux

Monday, August 25, 1650

 Weather:  cool, with cloudy conditions, no rain and a gentle breeze.

Four days pass uneventfully.  The party is free to heal, if any of that needs doing, rest, attend church, become more familiar with Engelke and in general rest.  Remember that food consumption is only a pound a day, and that there are no costs beyond the inn rooms and stabling, unless you want a shave or a bath or something like that.

There was a terrific storm on Thursday afternoon, with high winds, an immense deluge of rain in only an hour (nearly three inches) and airborne spray off the sea.  Engelke faces the Dollart, however, and is well protected when the wind blows from the north or northwest, so the storm was mostly just very interesting, being blown away from the town.

Behind Engelke, I should say, there are no forests; the land is a collection of scrubby mounds of earth and sand, and there are even a few dunes here and about that grow and shrink over time.  There is some cultivation, but most of the hinterland has none at all, particularly north of the town, and what there is extends in the direction of Leer.  There is some hunting that the townspeople participate in this time of year, for the dunes are loaded with grouse living off the wild seed that grows there, and while the season of autumn begins to deepen the birds are fat.

Come Monday morning, whomever wishes to pay to enter the old walled town may do so; the price for looking up the name you want is a single gold piece, not one each.  But you are quite surprised when you are told by the records scribe, "Michel Devereaux?  Of course I know him.  He's still alive, don't you know?  Used to be a famous citizen of the town, but those days are well past now - don't imagine most know of him any more.  Mad as a hatter, lives by himself in the north of town, upon Tutelborg lane near the Hieve swamp.  Little two-story house, stands by itself ... sure you won't have trouble finding it."

One more view of the house, from the front

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Reaching Leer

Tuesday, August 19, 1650

Weather: Moring is cool and overcast, with a fresh breeze.  This breeze lightens a bit through mid-day, but brings mist that lowers the visibility when the party reaches the town of Leer.  There is no rainfall.

It is two in the afternoon when the party reaches the town of Leer, a little more than 3,000 people, an open, unwalled town occupying a mere square mile upon the Ems river.  This is the region of East Frisia, and for the first time in some months, Andrej sees an openly Catholic chapel upon the wayside.

The town of Engelke, much larger, is reached by following the last few miles of the river before it enters the 'Dollart,' a small bay subject to tides, separating Engelke from the Dutch Province of Groningen.  A gentle slope surrounds the Dollart, but the party is only a few feet above sea level in Leer.

Both the town of Leer and the town of Engelke are trading markets - if you don't find something in Engelke, you might find it here ... but I'd have to dismiss the rest of today's travel if the party decided to stick around at this time.  In any event, I haven't generated a table for Leer or Emden (I can do so tonight), so if you do want to buy, we can presume it 'happened' and move on right now.


Monday, August 18, 1650

Weather: Morning is cool, overcast and with a moderate breeze from the northwest; around noon there's a light rainfall for 15 minutes, followed by pleasant temperatures that last through the afternoon and evening, though the sky remains overcast.  The night continues to have pleasant conditions as well.

There is little to say.  The day is uneventful save for the bit of rain in the morning; you do not meet anyone special upon the road.  The countryside is flat, very wooded and filled with swampy, barely tenured land.  You see at most a few woodcutters, a few herders and fruit orchards, but hardly a single planted field throughout the whole day.

The title of this post describes the region you're in.  in the morning you pass a large lake, almost two miles across, while you learn is called Zwischenahner Meer.  Towards the end of the day you spot some lumpy isolated hills here and there, and upon each one of them is a windmill vigorously turning with the breeze.  The travel is very easy on the horses and because it is dry, quite easy on the cart also - mainly because you are travelling along a very well cared for cobblestone road.

As night falls, you find it takes an enormous amount of time to set up the two tents, so that you don't bed town until quite a bit later than normally you would - as such, your sleep will not be as well as might be desired.  In later days, you will probably need to knock off travel earlier, travelling less distance per day, than before.

The town of Leer is still a half a day away, and Engelke a couple hours beyond that.  You should reach Engelke by late afternoon if the weather holds.

No one experiences any ill effects from travel today.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

First Afternoon in Oldenburg

Sunday morning, August 17, 1650
Weather:  Cool, cloudy and with a gentle breeze from the west (good sailing conditions)

To begin, everyone joins in breaking camp, gathering their things together.  Silvius in particular suffered somewhat during the short night, getting not much rest and suffering 1 h.p. of damage in the way of a sore back and shoulders.  The last business of the party is dealt with before moving forward.

The party enters Oldenburg through the east gate of that town, taking note that the town seems remarkably pristine and clean, and in fact unaffected by the late war in everyway.  The walls are strong and only a few decades old, the streets well-managed and wide.  The town is quite large, more than ten thousand people, but suggests a comfortable and wealthy populace for the most part.

Because it is Sunday morning, the main portion of the town has settled into the dozen or so churches in Oldenburg, closing shops and emptying the streets.  When the party does find a place to stop, rest and put up their horses, they find only a 14-year-old boy on duty, and no one else.  He will stable the horses and allow the party their business.  The kitchen is closed until noon; no beverages are for sale until that time, and no liquor until six this evening.

At this point, Jack thanks the party for their hospitality, promises that he will pass it forward to others, and asks if the party will forgive him moving on.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jack's Tale

Saturday afternoon & evening, August 16, 1650

With the afternoon the sky grows increasingly overcast, with the wind rising to where it sways branches and small trees; the weather remains no less pleasant, however, and rain seems to avoid falling ... so except for some slight pressing of the wind while walking, you make fairly good time.
As you approach Oldenburg you pass more and more loaded carts filled with hay and seed, and sometimes with asparagus and kale.  Then when you reach Oldenburg itself, you find some sixty or seventy wagons standing and waiting outside the town gate, jamming up the road and parked upon either side.  It is about an hour before dusk, and by sending Emmanuel forth to enquire you find out that the guards are not allowing any normal traffic tonight into the town, as they are processing wagons entering after the harvest.
You have little choice but to bed down outside the walls for the night.  The sky remains overcast, but the wind lessens.  The smoke jumps around a fair bit that night, forcing the party to change seats again and again between keeping warm, but Jack is pleased to tell stories.
He tells the first about being a cabin boy out of Newcastle and shipping out to the Arctic, where he met the little people called halflings in a town called Archangel.  He then tells a story of how on his second voyage he sailed to India, where his ship was plundered and half the crew taken to a pirate cove Hajipur, sometimes called by the Portuguese pirates Diamond Harbour, in the Great Bengal Delta, where he was for four months until his ransom was paid.  Having made the acquaintance of a fakir called Lassafar, he and twelve others crossed through the hills of Odisha and onto the plains of Bihar, where he saw a great many amazing things about the people called Hindoos, and how they burned their dead on the shore of the Ganges, and how they believed in thousands of gods, and how free their women were with strangers, even sometimes being given by their husbands as sleeping companions to guests.
From Bihar he travelled up into the valley of the Teesta River, climbing thousands of feet to Darjeeling, where they make a marvelous kind of tea, and higher still into Sikkim, where the air became so thin he could not breathe, though the natives could run back and forth as though the air were as thick as by the sea.  Though he climbed many more feet above Gangtok, where the king of Sikkim met he and his companions, finally Jack could climb no higher, though he learned that there were still people who lived in villages which were as high as the mountains that soared up on every side.  He heard tell of yetis and rocs, though he never saw either, and he learned that over the passes was mystical Tibet and beyond that China, but he and his companions declined to go further.
Returning to England his ship was driven by a storm into the coast of Arabia, where it was driven upon rocks.  He was washed overboard near a place called Sayhut, and for days wandered along a desert shore between the great inland desert they call the Empty Quarter, before he was found by a sheik of Hadramaut, in whose country he was.  There he lived for three weeks before gathering provisions to reach Sayhut port, and during that time he lived with the sheik's daughter as though they were husband and wife.  In Sayhut he found his ship under repairs, and rejoined it.  To regain their lost cargo, the captain decided to enter the Red Sea to buy goods from Ethiopia, and it was there that Jack saw a place where lava bubbled up from beneath the sea in a region called Eritrea, so that the sea boiled.
He has been back now for three years in England, and has since found little interest in living any life but one upon the road.  He hopes again to sign with a ship, perhaps in another year's time, and see America, or perhaps Africa, for he has seen none of the south part of that continent save the cape where his ship rounded on its way to India.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Across the Weser to Oldenburg

Saturday, August 16, 1650
With cool temperatures and cloudy conditions.  A gentle breeze brings no rain.

The morning on the bank of the Weser and the temperature has dipped a little ... but it appears to be another fine day.  The ferry operator gets everything ready, and horses and carts can together be put on to take them across.  The ferryman asks to be paid before you leave, a total of 3 c.p. per animal and 7 c.p. per person.  The cart the ferryman will not ask to be paid for.

The Weser is nearly a mile wide, and the Ferry is both poled and sailed across by four men, including the ferryman.  It takes surprisingly little time, as the breeze is caught by the lateen sail and soon enough the ferry slides right across on the wind.  The ferryman inquires as to where the party is going, and without thinking Emmanuel mentions Oldenburg.  The ferryman promises to point out the way, and when the party debarks on the other side he indeed does so.  The Oldenburg road, which will get the party to Engelke, must first be reached by means of another secondary passage over a half-cobblestoned by-way, like the one south of Cuxhaven except a good deal less marshy.

Mid-day approaches and the weather holds, temperatures turning pleasant.  The meadow fields are filled with poppies, the trees about are supporting apples and some northern pears, and now and then is a wide field brilliant yellow with rape or white-and-green with clover, picked over by dozens of fat cattle.

Just past noon, the road meets with a good sized stream flowing eastwards towards where the Weser valley ought to be (behind you now), and you pass a road marker saying that Oldenburg is 8 miles away (you ought to be there before nightfall).  A bit beyond that you find a curious thing.  A man is standing in the middle of the road ahead, with his back to you, and with a piece of string between his hands.  He appears to be stretching the string out the length of his arms and measuring the width of the sky above the road.  He measures it at three and a half lengths of string, seems unhappy about that, and so returns to the right side of the road and does it again.  You see him do it three times altogether before you come within ear-shot.  He seems completely unaware of you.

He's tall, about six-foot-two, weighing perhaps 160 lbs., and wearing a tight brown jacket and breeches, but no robe or cloak.  You cannot see any equipment about the man, or any weapon he might be carrying.  To learn more than that you would need to get closer.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Starting towards Engelke

Friday, August 15, 1650

Weather: pleasant, cloudy

You experience one of the first beautiful autumn sun rises of the year, with clouds in the east turning pink before the sun climbs above the horizon.  The sky is full of big puffy clouds.  The temperature is a bit cool, but it promises to be a fairly nice day.

The road south of Cuxhaven is being used more than most times of the year, as farmers bring in crops of wheat and oats from the soggy farms south of town.  The party finds the road on either side mixed with marshes, small ponds, cattails and much long grass, and to get around the carts its necessary to get off your horses and walk them.

After about two miles the carts thin out and you find you can ride most of the time.  The Holsteiners are unusually light on their feet, and you discover much to your surprise that your asses hardly feel a thing - you find you must comment upon it, as without knowing it you've been given horses which are actually famous for not causing a sore ass after much riding.  With a little experimentation from the fighters, you find the horses are quick to step up the pace, and extraordinarily easy to turn left or right, or come to a quick stop.  The monk and the cleric find it somewhat more difficult to perform these motions, but the fighters have no difficulty, and even find they must cavort a little from pleasure.

You see the barn come up on the right, following a long steady climb onto a low ridge.  It is completely wrecked, and painted a faded blue.  All looks quiet.  There is no horse tied up outside, nor any sign of a person being here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Presentation & Celebration in Cuxhaven

Wednesday afternoon, August 13, 1650

However unhappy they may be about it, the Mayor Johann Helksmueller stands Silvius and Nine-toes upon a platform and gives a speech about their bravery; their strength; the boldness with which they tackled adversity; their special nature and unusual grasp of a desperate situation; their sacrifice of time and effort to do good things for the people of Cuxhaven; their adventurous defense of the lighthouse that keeps ships safe and capital flowing into the hands of every person there; their quiet, reserved attitudes towards accomplishing this heroic task; their simple people-loving habits; their rustic, unassuming appearance, without pretense, without holding themselves to be better than other people, for after all they are only people like the good people of Cuxhaven; their love of Cuxhaven; their at-first refusal of this honor, wishing only to do their duty to the town without seeking glory; their exhortations of the mayor that the reward be small and that it should not weigh heavy upon the town; and finally, at last, the truth about these men, that they expressed a wish for nothing more than that the town should prosper, that the town should present itself well in the world, and that the people of the town should want for nothing, that they should have everything bestowed upon them, that the very simple matters of life be obtained by all, the food on their tables, the tools of their trade, the nets, the ropes, the hulls of their boats, and God willing, all these things come without trial and storm, without the wave that destroys, without the bitterness of war or famine, without pestilence, without the death of our loved ones, or the cries of our children - ending with, "All these things these men, these steadfast defenders of the city, these happy fellows who have the blessing of their friends and followers, these blessed souls, wish upon you, people of Cuxhaven.  Let us honor them in our hearts and with our good wishes."

Whereupon the crowd bursts into considerable applause, mostly from the opportunity to do something after the mayor has gone on and on - and on - and Silvius and Nine-toes are presented with two pouches of gold, and with two beautiful warhorses, which are startling examples of the Holsteiner breed of light horses.  The town applauds some more, and Silvius and Nine-toes are led down into the crowd, where they are thanked and their hands shaken and offers of drink and food, and an Innkeeper named Erwin insists they must come for dinner, and half the town as well, with Andrej and Ahmet peacefully coming along, watching this whole spectacle.  And somehow the Mayor has conveniently disappeared, and the town's guard also.

And after dinner and food and feeling full and a night's rest in the Inn, the party finds that four horses together have been placed in the Inn's stable, and that Erwin has been given a box with a key from the mayor, and that in that small iron box are two more pouches of gold, with small tags that say 'Ahmet' and 'Andrej.'

Monday, October 17, 2011

Return to Cuxhaven

Wednesday, August 13, 1650]
Weather:  warm, clear

The party breaks camp, loads the skiff and Terrell sets about bringing you back to Cuxhaven.  Terrell cannot help at this point to ask most earnestly again about what was aboard the ship, and what the party saw that has kept them talking for so long.  For much of the time Terrell (I presume, since he was being spoken of), was sent off and kept busy by Emmanuel washing the pots, the party's boots, oiling the weapons and so on.

It takes much less time to come back to Cuxhaven than to come out, as Terrell does not need to tack.  He brings the ship in at about 8 knots, and you find yourselves back in the nearby waters in ninety minutes.  The waters are filled with fishermen by that time, spaced over several miles in a sort of cloud in the estuary of the Elbe River.

The party cannot help but notice something quite odd about the fishermen.  For the most party, the skiff comes at nearest a few hundred yards from any of the other boat, but several of the fishermen actually stand in their boats as the familiar skiff comes past.  You see some fishermen point shake their comrades and bring their attention to you, pointing and the like.   One fellow takes off his cap and you can see his lips moving in prayer.

Within good sight of the harbor, you hear a distant horn blow.  This is followed by several others, which continue for two or three minutes, by which time you're within a few hundred yards of the dock you left yesterday morning.

You can see a dozen soldiers on that dock, armed with glaives and shields.  There seem to be a hundred other people besides, and it is quite clear they are looking at you and waiting quietly and patiently for the skiff to arrive.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Wreck of the Pale

Tuesday, August 12, 1650

The sea and the sky shimmer, and as though emerging from a fog, the sandbar and the ship upon it make themselves evident.  The bar is fairly large - the tide has started to go out, this being past three bells - but the ship is close, no more than fifty yards off.  Nine-toes can feel a curse emanating from every part of the sandbar itself.

The ship is immense, rising nearly 30 feet above the sand - almost as high as Scharhorn does above the sea.  In its day it would have rivalled a ship of the Armada; it is well over five hundred tons.  It's clear now that the central part of the ship, along with the deck that protrudes above the sand, has been smashed and splintered all to pieces, great beams are torn asunder, and shattered pieces emerge from the hulk in every direction.  There are no pieces on the sand, of course - they have been long since washed away.  But the party can see the absence of barnacles or even seaweed, which have not gathered upon the ship's form.

Terrell sees that the skiff well and truly is set upon the sand, and he leaps off onto the beach before he can be stopped.  No ill befalls him.  In amazement he staggers forward a few yards, head turned to the side, so that he can read the words on the ship's prow.  All at once he shouts, his hand pointed, "It's the PALE!"  He calls.  "My GOD, that's a lost ship!  Been lost for seventy years!"  He approaches the skiff again.  "It was never found!  Word was it was wrecked by a kraken ..."  He gazes at the ship.  "It certainly looks it.  The thing must have smashed the ship right in the middle with one tentacle!"

When he looks back and sees that none of the party has had much of a reaction from the name of the boat, he'll explain.  "It's the ship of Francois About, the Butcher of Nantes.  He was famous for killing hundreds of Huguenots during the time of troubles in France.  He turned pirate and plundered half a dozen English vessels.  Bloodthirsty as all get out ... the Catholics never produced a bastard like him.  And this is his ship!"
All about while this goes on, the sea is calm, the waves wash upon the shore.  The sun is out and high, the sky clear, the wind from the west at four or five knots.  There's nothing to suggest movement or threat.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

En Route to Scharhorn

Tuesday, August 12, 1650
Weather: cool, clear

Gerhard gives you instructions where to meet Terrell and the boat, which is ready to go when you arrive.  Terrell is a fairly impatient boy, with lots of questions about where you are going and why you're going there, and what you expect to find, and whether or not there's treasure, and have you done this many times before and if so where and how much did you find when you did it that time and so on and so forth until one of you has to threaten him.

The skiff is seaworthy but not in the greatest condition; it needs a paint job, the sails are patched and there's a certain amount of leakage.  Terrell is certain of its doing the job.

At 6 a.m. you catch the lowest tide - it's a full moon, and the tide begins to rise noticeably after 10 a.m. (this passage edited), and by then you'll want to be well out of the flats between the western point and Neuwark.  Terrell guesses it should take about two and a half hours to get to Scharhorn.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Morning After the Crab's Death

Wednesday, August 6, 1650

As soon as light breaks, Gerhard will set about the task of butchering the crab, taking whatever help he can get to load the claws and legs onto the cart.  He has obtained a barrel on loan from Zanfrancesco, and the majority of the body's meat is slopped into that along with salt.  He hopes to leave just after noon, when the tides are receding, and get to Cuxhaven before nightfall.

My previous calculations with the new moon were off; in fact, the new moon was just before the campaign started, not after.  The first quarter rose in the morning of August 5th after 3 a.m.  Thankfully it changes nothing, except the exact moment of the tides.

Gerhard would like to know if you want an exact tally of the weight of meat gathered.  Off-hand, he estimates about 600 lbs., or about 12,000 silver as per your agreement.  He can pay you that amount if you want to settle on the price; he hasn't got the money of course, he'll have to make arrangements with the Hanse bank in Cuxhaven, which he can do personally on Thursday.

Is there anything else that needs addressing?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Evening of the 2nd Day, Neuwark

Tuesday, August 5, 1650

Evening.  Dinner has been eaten, and a baptism performed in the chapel.  There are 20 stones on the top of the lighthouse, hoisted by the unsupported crane.  The net for the supported crane has been laid out and concealed, with food upon it (I will need a % roll from Nine-toes for setting the trap).  The counterweight has been created using the other crane's net, and now sits, full of pieces of wood, on the top of the lighthouse as well, linked to the net on the ground.

Silvius and Nine-toes stand at the top, along with Zanfrancesco, Gerhard, Hans and Rupert.  Hans is tending the lighthouse, spreading the oil over the wood.  In order to lift the stones and drop them, Silvius is stripped of his armor, and neither is carrying a weapon (they are laying next to their feet, if needed).  The crossbow is 3/4 loaded, but will be difficult to use.

As the sun sets it only now occurs to people that the space immediately under the lighthouse will be the darkest area, and difficult to see.  This becomes more pronounced as Hans lights the wood, and the fire spreads and casts its glow on the island.

Before anything else happens, please correct errors or forgotten points.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

2nd Day, Neuwark Island

Tuesday August 5, 1650.


Hans and Rupert stop feeding the fire after 4 a.m., and steadily the last of it burn away just before the sun rises.  The dawn comes in brilliant umber and red colors, with a clear sky over you and clouds in the east.  Rupert collapses into his bed long before dawn, while Hans tends to some last minute details and collapses as well.

Gerhard rises with the party, gives generally the information that I've described about the Hanse and the willingness of the lighthouse keepers.  Gerhard has talked to his brother Rupert about using the platform to throw rocks, and Rupert has agreed to that, as long as he can continue to tend the fire.  Gerhard also discussed about pulling the crab up with the crane, and while Rupert feels the pole can handle it, he's no more certain about the pulley itself than Andrej is.  But Rupert does say there are tools, metal pieces, spikes and timber in the lighthouse basement ... if someone wanted to shore up the crane's timber and improve the joining of the pulley to the crane, all the while hanging 100 feet above the ground.  Rupert declines doing that, but he'd be willing to allow someone else to do it.  He and Hans can load using just the one rope while the other crane - the one facing the direction the crab comes from - is strengthened.

If the pulley were strengthened, then Hans and Rupert would agree that a trap could be laid for the crab with the net they use for hauling wood up.  Gerhard (who is relating all this) explains that the net is strong enough for that, and that the other net used for hauling up wood could be loaded with enough wood to use as a counterbalance, left at the top of the lighthouse and then pushed off at the right moment ... if the crab could somehow be induced to stay in place while people pushed the counterweight off.

That's as much as Gerhard can say.

Regarding all the other practices, plans, intentions and so on, I'd like to play today as though nothing has actually been done or decided.  So if you could please give your character's precise actions from daybreak going forward, that would be best.

Also, sorry, if you could put your OCC comments in brackets, it would be easier for me to decipher through a lot of text when I fall behind.

Welcome back, Ahmet, I hope you enjoyed your vacation.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Crab's Arrival

Monday, August 4, 1650

The dusk slips away and the lighthouse keepers get about lighting the accumulated wood pile on top of the lighthouse.  The flame spreads quickly over the wood, which has been bathed in oil, creating a rather remarkable sight.  In moments the flame covers the pile, and the keepers move to the edge of the platform and the stairs there that take them down into the main structure.

Within minutes the crab appears on the far eastern dike.  It is enormous ... but as yet 400 yards away, and its real dimensions are difficult to describe.  However, it moves off the dike and begins to quickly move across the planted field towards the lighthouse.  The party would estimate it is moving as fast as five or six feet per second, and quite nimbly, not tearing the wheat as it goes but setting each of the eight legs it uses for standing precisely, the tips sharp as the stab the ground.  It is true, the crab's body is about eight feet in diameter.  As it nears the lighthouse, still a goodly distance from the party, an estimate would make the whole crap a good fourteen or sixteen feet wide, the legs bent like a spider's.

At full speed it slams into the side of the lighthouse, claws in front of its mouth, and literally bounces off the stone.  At the last moment the shadow of the platform makes it impossible to see.  Perhaps imaginatively, the ground seems to shake.  The crab staggers back into the light, then slams forward again.  The crack is not so loud the second time.

Now it emerges from the light, moving slower, swinging to the left and right as it moves to the west across the fields.  When it gets within sixty yards to the left of the barn, it stops.  The body can be seen to 'float' three feet above the ground, just above the tops of the wheat stalks.  Its standing legs are as thick as a man's thigh.  The other two limbs, one perhaps ten percent larger than the other, are five foot long appendages ending in claws about the size of barrels.

It moves slowly forward for a dozen or so steps, then speeds directly towards the barn.  If no one disturbs it, the crab will stop at the barn's open side, move half way in and begin gobbling the sugar beets and squashes it finds there, shoveling them into its mouth.

The Crab's Path

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Evening, Neuwark Island

Monday, August 4, 1650

It takes six hours to drive out to the island, as it is nearly twenty miles due west of Cuxhaven.  The tide is starting to roll in towards the end of your journey, and you succeed in reaching the island with only your feet wet.  The sun is still up, but is quite low in the sky ... sunset is in about an hour, but given the time of year there will still be twilight for ninety minutes after that.

Neuwark Isle ... a somewhat recent photo
Note there is a somewhat diamond-shaped dike around southwest of the island, which is about eight feet in height.  The remainder of the island, including the portion inside the dike, is at it's highest four feet above the sea (and most of it is less, particularly in the fens area on the east and north, where the tides have left water pools and inlets.  The lighthouse (in my world, at least) is located in the group of trees that are centre on the map; the church is a red-roofed building to the bottom left ... a red barn stands next to it, and a pool nearby amidst the trees.  The area within the dike, just as shown, is plowed and covered in uncut, ready-to-harvest wheat, which has been abandoned by the residents.

The party lands near the very southern point of the island, near the church, next to the road that runs around the dike.  Obviously the church can't be seen from the shore, but once Gerhard has driven the wagon onto the dike it is evident.  The lighthouse is 100 feet high, with a large platform, wider than the tower, at the top for the burning of wood, with two long ropes reaching to the ground at opposite corners, and a ten foot high woodpile at each end.

You cannot see any sign of the crab.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Afternoon, The Tide Going Out

August 4, 1650

You're directed by an apprentice to Gerhard's warehouse across the back lane, where you'll find Gerhard getting ready things he wants to load by wagon.  Once Andrej has pulled up, Gerhard will direct a couple of strong-backed fellows to load the cart, pressing six silver pieces into Andrej's hand "To keep things in the family, you understand."  It's quite clear from what's going on that the offer of six copper was a ruse to keep things quiet.

Instead of merely wood and stone, Gerhard loads 250 feet of netting, eight feet wide, into the cart, and one hundred a sixty pounds of salt.  On top of that he loads a pile of rough stone and timbers, effectively concealing what is underneath.  This takes a little time, and Gerhard will only mutter about his 'competitors' when asked about what he's doing ... or he'll repeat, "On our way, when we're on our way..."

And there I'll leave it for the moment, addressing what he might say "on our way" when I hear from players as to their take on the situation so far.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Morning After the Feast of July

August 4, 1650

The campaign starts on the knife-edge of time, just as any moment does, with the players having paid for their room and their lodgings all the nights before this one with money that is now gone - and therefore never needs recording.  Another night would cost from their present purse, but then that is how it is when a campaign starts.

The High Mast.
You have all been lounging these last three weeks with your lost earnings at an Inn called 'The High Mast,' built on a twelve foot bank overlooking the Estuary at the extreme western edge of Cuxhaven.  The town is not walled, though it includes a citadel built by Hamburg, and stretches in a long single curve along the curve wrought by the tides.  Two dozen wharfs stretch half a mile to the east, and a hundred boats are in the process of being pulled from the shore and onto the water as the sun has not quite risen.  This last day you four were the only ones using the common room on the Inn's second floor.  The last three days, from Friday until Sunday, the town has celebrated the harvesting of grain and vegetables in the Feast of July.  The first day of Autumn was the 1st of August (not, as many might wrongly think, the 21st of September), and you are all full and sated from the public distribution of vendor and the very last dregs of the spring season's beer.  There'll be no more beer until October, a sad thing, but for the present you have no complaints ... except perhaps for Andrej, who may or may not have viewed sourly the lack of honest respect these Lutherans have for the sabbath - that is not for me to say.

With the departure of the rural peoples returning away from the festival, the town has been 'emptied,' and following the feast you four, Andrej, Silvius, Nine-toes and Ahmet have come to know each other a great deal better.

It happens that Silvius was told only the evening before by the fishmonger, Gerhard, that his brother who helps manage the lighthouse on Neuwark Island has told him the families that dwell upon the island have fled from some threat.  According to Gerhard, there are only three persons remaining - Rupert, Gerhard's brother, the other lighthouse keeper and the catholic who oversees the chapel upon the island.  Word has been sent to Hamburg for aid, but nothing is expected for a week ... and in the meantime there's a danger that homes could be damaged.  Gerhard, who spoke to Rupert just the day before, on the 2nd, said that even the stone lighthouse had suffered abuse.

This Silvius tells to the others; we may presume Silvius asked for more information, but Gerhard would not be forthcoming.  He expressed his concern for the island ... but more to the point Gerhard expressed that it was "a terrible waste" and that the worst of it was the opportunity that was lost, "handed over to those hard-fisted merchants in Hamburg, no doubt," in Gerhard's own words.  From thence he could not be pressed for more information, except a word or two about the good a cart and a foolhardy driver would do him ... whereupon Silvius remembered his recent acquaintence Andrej.

The World Around Cuxhaven

Before starting the actual campaign, I'll take some time now to provide background for the region, concentrating on the terrain, the use of land and the political situation.  This will take some time - I could write a book or so on the subject if I wanted to research and research - though I'll try to cover the highlights.

To begin with, a familiar looking map:

This would be the format of most maps on the blog, showing the elevation of the individual hexes to give a sense of what might be the bottomlands and where the hills are.  As you can see, most of the land is quite close to sea level, with much of the region subject to coastal flooding.  The land rises towards the south, away from the sea, and there are some low hills and uplands stretching from Lubeck on the right up towards Tonder at the top of the map.  Virtually everywhere, however, is less than 100 feet above sea level.

There are three significant rivers, not named on the map.  From west to east these debouch into the North Sea (the water in the upper left) near Leer, below Bremen and at Cuxhaven.  The first is the Ems, which rises in Westphalia, or the western bulge of modern Germany.  The second is the Weser, which rises in the hills of north Hesse, and the third is the Elbe, which rises in distant Bohemia.  Of these, the Elbe is easily the largest and most important, and creates an 80-mile estuary which is subject to tides and navigable for the largest ships of the age.  At Cuxhaven the estuary is about 8 miles wide.

Note that there are many trade centres: Delfzijl, Winschoten, Engleke, Leer, Oldenburg, Bremen, Luneburg, Hamburg, Lubeck, Cuxhaven, Kiel, Flensborg, Sonderborg and Nakskov ... all of which would have a different table for costs.  Easily the most important two are Lubeck and Hamburg, the road between them cutting through the bottom of the Jutland Peninsula (which extends off the map between the North Sea on the west and the Baltic Sea on the East).  This 38-mile road is perhaps the busiest road in Europe, and one of the busiest in the world, while Lubeck and Hamburg are points where goods are loaded on and off boats bound for everywhere.  The most important bulk cargos are timber, grain, wine, wool, iron goods and fish, but of course everything is carried.  Keeping the road open is of primary concern to every power in Europe ... and as such carries a heavy political importance.

In addition, cities like Hamburg, Bremen and Leer trans-ship goods from inland out to the sea ... Hamburg in particular, which ships from central Europe a wide variety of manufactured goods, silver, beer, leather and farm produce, while importing fish, timber, livestock, wool and goods from distant lands like India and the New World.  Hamburg is thus a crossroads between inner Europe and the world, and between east and west.  It is an immense city, with nearly 150,000 inhabitants.  Cuxhaven is comparably small, a town with merely 2,500 people.

Moving onto the next map:

This map shows the divisions between 'civilized' areas and 'wilderness.'  There is in fact a great deal of wilderness still within Germany in the 17th century, which though inhabited tends to lack the necessary presence to make said areas 'safe.'  Thus areas of moor and woodland is occupied by bandits and various monsters, with lairs throughout and the occasional dungeon (where the land is sufficiently above sea level).  The coastland and islands on both sides of the central peninsula are known havens for pirates.

The more heavily inhabited green areas, "mixed cropland & woods," are areas where even the forests and meadows have been civilized to some degree by herders and gamewardens.  These areas have a few scattered mansions within them, but most of the agriculturalists are cotters or villeins, persons occupying lands without a lord to rule over them - though with few personal rights and privileges, and often subject to incursion from persons in the wilderlands.  The life of a cotter is hard.  Still, there are priests throughout these lands as well, operating small churches, and druids living on the edge of the wilder forests, hamlets and thorps not shown on the map, and monasteries and a variety of other military or commercial groups living in small keeps or gatehouses.  Perhaps fifty percent of the land is cultivated, and the population density can rise as high as 240 persons per square mile.

The bright yellow-green areas surrounding Hamburg and Bremen are solidly cultivated areas where manor estates exist cheek-by-jowl with one another.  They are heavily populated, with numbers up to ten thousand persons per square mile in the cities.  Virtually every person not living in Hamburg or Bremen is a landed peasant, living in a restrictive social structure.  Cultivation and livestock raising is intense, with every square inch serving the needs of the population.

And the last map:

The political situation in this part of the world reflects the divided structure of states and entities occupying the land.  As you can see from the key at the left, there are four 'groupings' of states: the Kingdom of Denmark (& Norway), at the top left of the map; the Holy Roman Empire, a weak general authority made of powerful individual states; the lands occupied by the Kingdom of Sweden, military 'colonies' gained after the Thirty Years' War; and just the edge of the United Provinces of the Netherlands.

These states are all at war with one another to some degree, and in the case of the Swedish territories, at war with itself.  That war is being fought by the outer lands (Stade & Verden) against Bremen, which was - and wishes to be again - a free imperial city.  As such Bremen has been crushed several times since 1648 by the Queen of Sweden, the unmarried Kristina Augusta, known for her posturing as a man and wearing armor into battle.  It is common to find Kristina in this part of the world, preferring to be involved herself as opposed to remaining at court in Stockholm.

While this minor 'civil war' progresses, the King of Denmark, Frederick IV, has designs on the County of Kiel, which it would like to swallow up - in particular, the small county of Tonder, which with Kiel is directly under the authority of the Duke of Holstein-Gottorp, Frederick III.  He has plans to marry his daughter Hedwig Eleonora to the Duke of Bremen and Verden, Queen Kristina's cousin ... a marriage the Queen is presently obstructing.  Yet despite this Sweden very much would like to keep Kiel and Tonder out of the hands of the Danes, and the two countries have nearly come to blows over this.

Meanwhile ... the lands west of Swedish occupied Germany, the County of Oldenburg, is in the hands of the Brandenburg House, which controls much territory in the north of Germany.  Oldenburg would like to see Holstein in a bloody war, which would enable them to consume Stade and Verden ... and as such Oldenburg is providing arms to the rebels in Bremen in the hopes of breaking the Swedish hold there.  Brandenburg would rather not have Denmark move further south into Germany, but an all out Swedish-Dane war would be in their favor regarding Further Pomerania (not on the map) which is in Swedish hands and which separates the west territories of Brandenburg from East Prussia, which is also part of the Brandenburg estates.  The Brandenburgians slaver like Homer to have those lands.

Meanwhile, Calenburg's interests, along with Hamburg and Lubeck, is to keep an open trade arrangement with the sea, since these areas don't really care who politically controls the land as long as the trade is not disrupted.  As such, they tend to promote themselves as arbitrators.

The Holy Roman Emperor at the moment is Ferdinand III, an Austrian, who is more concerned with matters Turkish and Spanish than with these northern problems, and thus leaves the individual states to fend for themselves.  His power is minimal at any rate.

Most of the map is Protestant in religion, but the County of East Frisia and the small County of Emsland have a majority Catholic population.  The Netherlands is obviously Dutch Huguenot in belief; most of the remainder is firmly Lutheran.  The Thirty Years' War has largely ruined Europe's appetite for inter-religious strife, but the Catholics still present an embattled mentality where it comes to being wedged between Oldenburg and Holland.  Still, the agreement between those two Protestant countries to leave the Catholics as a 'buffer' makes it the most stable part of the map.

Smuggling goes on apiece just about everywhere as one can imagine.

This covers the basics, I believe.  Please ask questions.  There's always more to learn.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Character Sheets

Reading a pdf from Silvius this morning, I am reminded that there was another thing that bothered me about the earlier campaign ... and that was the lack of easily readable character sheets.  I must tell you all that I loathe pdfs.  I don't think I'm alone in that.  The biggest problem is that they can't be easily updated, on the fly so to speak, whereas a written character sheet can be - in just a few seconds.

Then it occurred to me that the tool for recording character sheets online and updating them quickly is right here, in the form of the blog post.  All that would be necessary is the creation of the character 'sheet' on the blog, where it can be edited any time after its posted, where it can be linked to this blog and therefore read by me anytime at my convenience.  In fact, if the player wants, it doesn't have to be on their standard blog, but can be made on a new blog, where the character sheet need be the only post.

Then if damage is caused, if a new piece of equipment is added, if food is eaten and so on, that's all right there and open.  I can see in advance where you're keeping your equipment and it can be judged and applied to the campaign as necessary - not that it would remove the possibility for deception, as it can be changed as I'm looking at it.  But it would make it possible for me to point out that something was missing or something needed to be updated to fit the proper facts.

What say you, people?  Want to give this a try?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Last Details

I am wrapping up things for a vacation I'm taking this week, which is part of the reason I am putting off the start of the campaign.  I will be available to answer questions, and I'll try to send an equipment list to your emails as soon as possible, to give you a week to .  I am however going to catch a flight this evening at 11 pm EST (destination not disclosed), so I'll be incommunicado for much of the day and all of the evening.  I shall keep you posted on developments.  No one said anything about needing new information from me yesterday, so I take it the crew is at the moment satisfied.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Age & Hit Points

This game has served as an inspiration to do more to finish my character generation table.  I built the part that determines character ages last night, and wow ... is that excellent.  I will never have to generate these numbers manually again.  I love that.

Age affects stats, and since you're all human and mature, you're all affected the same way.  Nine-toes is 24 years old; Sean's as yet unnamed fighter is 25 years old; and Ahmet-oglu Ahmet is 26.  Nine-toes was born on February 14, 1626.  Sean's fighter was born on March 11, 1625.  Ahmet was born on March 24, 1624.  Which, having just generated the numbers, strikes me as a close pattern.

For all three characters, add a point of strength and a point of constitution.  This gives Nine-toes a strength of 16 and a constitution of 13.  This gives Sean a strength of 13 and a constitution of 17.  And because Ahmet's strength is a percentage, it goes up 10%, so that makes his strength 18/31 and his constitution 17.

The players may not be familiar with my hit points system.  Your actual hit points are now a combination of the die needed for your class, your constitution and your mass.  The latter can be read about here and here.  I know that Butch has read them, but perhaps not for awhile.  I'll answer any questions that need asking on the subject.

Basically, it means that Sean, say, starts with the d10 for a fighter; gets +3 hit points with his brand new 17 constitution; and then gets a d8 to determine the number of hit points for his mass.  If he were a smaller creature, the mass would be rolled on a smaller die.  Because all my player characters start the first level at maximum hit points for level, Sean gets 10+3 for the first two ... but he does not get maximum hit points for his mass.  I roll that, getting a 6 - which gives Sean 19 hit points to start.

Using the same numbers, Ahmet starts with 17 hit points.  Nine-toes, a monk, starts with 2d6 for hit points, and has no constitution bonus for his 13 constitution.  Rolling his mass, I see that Ninetoes starts with 17 hit points as well.

So you guys can take a bit of a beating.  Good on ya.

Well, it's my birthday today, making me all of 47.  I don't know how much time I'm going to have once the morning goes by.  Apart from the equipment list, and you fellows choosing your weapon proficiencies, what else is there to do?