Monday, July 29, 2013

A Moment Below Decks

Feb 8, 1651, Monday evening
Partly cloudy and cool temperatures, and a light air, with a prevailing wind

After three days of slow progress

As the wind dies, the Petrel struggles its way east.  The party is told that somewhere out there is the island of Kythera and the island of Crete, but naturally nothing can be seen but the dark blue water of the Mediterranean, lapping gently at the boat, suspended particles of detritus clear as a bell down to eight, ten feet as you stare into the sea from the rails.  There are no birds, not because there's anything wrong, but because of the season you're told, and a dozen stories of ancient battles fought with galleys come to mind.  This would be fine weather for a galley, were it not too early in the year and therefore deceptive.  It is poor weather for a sailed ship.

The captain still has not made an appearance, though it has been six days now since the events on Zante.  The party has carefully packed all their loot away now, to keep it from the prying eyes of the shipmates, but now and then Jacobo and Anders have both dropped very definite hints that they could say something if not for their "very dear friendship with fellow adventurers," such as the party.  "It's a shame others can't see how much you took from that mountain," says Jacobo to Maximillian on the Sunday morning.  "Yep.  That's a real shame."

On the evening of the 8th, the ship steadily heaving all of five feet a minute, yet in a generally southeastern course, there's a violent ruckus on the deck below, that draws some Andrej and Lukas from their cabin, and Maximillian and Ahmet from the upper deck, along with any hands who are free to go look.

The sight is the cook, Maurice, his forehead cut wide open with a broken plate, the deck outside the Captain's cabin awash with soup and stewed beef, the captain's cabin door slamming closed and the barely-heard but unquestionable railing of the captain behind the closed door, at the top of her lungs.  Those aft and on deck chance to hear the last said a bit louder.

"I only wanted her to eat," says Maurice.  The general feeling of the crew to this, and for the next hours thereafter, is the desire for the same.

Knowing Andrej or Maximillian might rush to aid, be it known that Maurice would shrug off such attention, preferring to dress the wound proudly and hope it scars well.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Fighting the Euroclydon

Feb 5, 1651, Friday evening

Weather: with overcast skies and brisk temperatures, and a gentle breeze, with a prevailing wind.
You come aboard, bringing your horses with you and making yourselves ready for the continuation of the journey.  The horses are soon full-sized and eating again - the crew has collected a hundred pounds of grain for them, to be sure they're well supplied.
The Bo'sun in still in command, and remains so two days later.  There's no word of the Captain emerging from her cabin, and the word goes around that she has not eaten during that time.  The morale of the crew is generally low, though it is not because they dislike the bo'sun.  They seem to accept completely that he is in authority, even though he would not be the next in the chain of command - that would be the mates, or officers.  Still, the mates obey him, they call him 'Skipper' and he treats them well ... with kid gloves, even, as he seems to know they're all worried about the Captain and where her mood might take her.  (I could not find a name for him ... let's say he's Danish, and call him Viggo.
The prevailing wind is the Euroclydon, that blows hard from the northeast and curls dangerously around the southern capes of the Peloponnese this time of year.  Viggo chooses ultimately not to risk the ship on the shore, and pursues a frustrated, difficult easterly course, worried of a change in the weather; he has heard that a warm crosswind from the south can gain a great deal of moisture off the Mediterranean and rain enough to swamp a boat in Winter.  He wants  no part of that.

The weather does turn gentle come Friday, and the boat makes good passage in a generally southeast direction, keeping the wind on her beam.
The exact placement of the ship is unknown to me just at the moment; I'll be working it out, and wanting to add a prevailing/secondary wind element to the weather generator.  It's safe to say you're probably three to four hexes east of Zakynthos at this time, in waters that are variably the Mediterranean and the Sea of Crete.

From Moby Dick:
"It stood on a sharp bleak corner, where that tempestuous wind Euroclydon kept up a worse howling than ever it did about poor Paul's tossed craft. Euroclydon, nevertheless, is a mighty pleasant zephyr to any one in-doors, with his feet on the hob quietly toasting for bed. "In of that tempestuous wind called Euroclydon," says an old writer- of whose works I possess the only copy extant- "it maketh a marvellous difference, whether thou lookest out at it from a glass window where the frost is all on the outside, or whether thou observest it from that sashless window, where the frost is on both sides, and of which the wight Death is the only glazier." True enough, thought I, as this passage occurred to my mind- old black-letter, thou reasonest well. Yes, these eyes are windows, and this body of mine is the house. What a pity they didn't stop up the chinks and the crannies though, and thrust in a little lint here and there. But it's too late to make any improvements now. The universe is finished; the copestone is on, and the chips were carted off a million years ago. Poor Lazarus there, chattering his teeth against the curbstone for his pillow, and shaking off his tatters with his shiverings, he might plug up both ears with rags, and put a corn-cob into his mouth, and yet that would not keep out the tempestuous Euroclydon."


Current reading stats:


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Division of Treasure

The Player's Handbook has this to say about the division of treasure:

  • Equal shares - division of the total amount of treasure by the number of characters involved.
  • Shares by level is a division whereby the character levels are added together and the total treasure is divided by the number of levels - then each participant is awarded their 'share.'
  • Equal shares plus bonus, to reward excellence by offering an outstanding character or characters in a combat an extra share or bonus item by vote.
  • Non-player characters who are henchmen of the player characters count as one-half characters, or for one half of their levels, and in turn are not permitted bonus shares.
  • Incapacitated or killed characters, subsequently brought back to life, are eligible for a share only in treasure gained prior to such death.
  • Characters who are uncooperative, obstructive, attack party members, behave cowardly, etc., should forfeit from one quarter to all of their treasure as a penalty for their actions, by vote.
Magical Treasure
  • If but one or two items of magic are gained, these can be grouped singly or paired to equal a share of treasure.  If one is of relatively small worth, it can be grouped with money to equal one share.
  • If three or more items are discovered, they can be divided as follows:  a) the best item; b) the next best item; c) third & fourth items; d) 'x' amount of money as compensation for not getting any magic items.
  • Three or more magical items, alternate method:  a) best item; b) second best item & 'x' amount of money; c) third item & '2x' amount of money; d) fourth item & '3x' amount of money.
Can we please discuss variations on the above suggested methods?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Couple Hours to the Sea

The two sailors express curiosity at the head that Andrej fixes, and listen to as much story as the party wishes to tell.  Jacobo warmly slaps Maximillian on the back at one point, as you're walking back to the boat, saying, "You're looking somewhat the worse for wear there, my friend."

Enrico has noticed a hawk lazily circling in the sky, which seems odd for February, and remarks upon it to the others.  As you travel two or three miles, to where you can see the sea, the hawk disappears, then reappears from time to time.

The pine trees give way to wild olive groves again, on an easy slope where there are many loose blocks of stone, leading down to low cliffs above the sea, thirty or forty feet high.  Anders calls a halt when you come to a place where the shore of the sea is accessible, via a gulley that splits the cliff in half and shows a narrow, rocky beach running a hundred feet.  "We wait here," he says.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Exhausted, Then Awake

Feb 3, 1651, early afternoon

Weather: with cool temperatures and overcast conditions, with a light breeze

(There were some incorrect moon phase graphics; those have been fixed)

I doubt sincerely that it would take more than a few hours, after finding the treasure, to move it up and out of the cavern and secure it on horses.  You may not have the necessary sacks, but we're talking no more than a hundred pounds worth of coins, which if necessary could be buried somewhere about (so suggests Tazio).  Armor and other finds can be secured upon horses, which can be walked back to Zante if necessary.

Between searching the floor for treasure, the party will come up to the surface for food and to get war, where they will find it is full night.  The men-at-arms have food cooking, bedrolls laid out, etcetera, but no one gets any sleep because your adrenaline simply won't let you.  You're driven to poke through all the hydra's lair, even those areas of the large first cave for awhile before you're convinced the hydra killed no bodies there.  Now and then you find sunk, waterlogged bones, of adults, signs of the other fighters who came there, but no children's bones; Andrej postulates the hydra ate them, perhaps because children's bones are softer and digestible.  The party also finds a wad of rotted clothing that has been used to stuff between the cracks in one corner, for a foot high platform under the water where apparently the hydra sleeps.  Much of the clothing is that sort which children would wear, but it is faded and of course ripped to pieces.

Once you get the material and the gear and what have you hauled out, filling bags as necessary and emptying them out as necessary, to let the people up top try to jury-rig pouches if necessary, the party, exhausted, crashes onto their bedrolls.  They sleep fitfully and unwell for five hours, awaking only as their bodies cry out for more food.

I'm guessing you find a way to keep the coinage, then, but beyond what I've described, I make no assumptions about what the party does once it awakes and eats again.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Treasure Assessment

Treasure (with a few additional notes):

Ahmet, total x.p.: 1,225

Enrico, total x.p.: 612 ... flail +1 (technically, Enrico doesn't know that, but it's easier for combat calculation); plate mail (40% quality), scale mail (60% quality), hand axe (40% quality)

Maximillian, total x.p.: 1,926 ... plate mail (10% quality), scale mail (40% quality), great helmet (40% quality)

Lukas,  total x.p.: 2,201 ... scale mail (70% quality), great helmet (30% quality), trident (100% quality)

Andrej,  total x.p.: 1,022 ... warhammer (50% quality); sooner or later Andrej's going to pop the cork, and will learn (from experience) that it's a potion of extra-healing.  If there's a potion a cleric would recognize from sight and smell, its a healing potion.

Sofia:  total x.p.: 511 ... glaive (20% quality), heavy crossbow (10% value)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

For Those Watching

For those who may have watched the proceedings with the Hydra, and are following this blog and the player's exploits, feel free to comment on this post.  Let them know they're brilliant, marvelous players and that you are enjoying the interplay and the gamesmanship.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Hydra Is Dead! Long Live the Party!

To begin, here is the experience gained by persons in the party:

The following treasure is also found (generated by my new chooser, magic included, though that part is a long way from being finished):

3,229 g.p.
733 s.p.
586 c.p.

9 agate stones, ranging from cherry-sized to plum-sized
2 pieces of polished coral, cherry-sized

A rusted light crossbow and a rusted heavy crossbow
3 suits of scale mail (human)
2 suits of plate mail (human)
4 large shields, three of them rotten
2 great helmets
A glaive
A hand axe
A trident
A warhammer
A short sword with a pommel of amber stones
A flail that appears to be made of steel and mithril, with engraving
A gold-engraved medallion
A smooth, unset gold ring, heavy
An engraved helmet set with hematite pieces
The figurine of an owl carved from coral
A gold goblet set with bloodstones
A chain mantlet, a suitable component for chain mail, made of silver rings
A corked bottle, tied to one of the suits of plate mail

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Round 15: One For Andrej

Before the hydra attacks

The hydra only has one attack, and it chooses to spend it on Andrej.  It rolls a 16 on a d20, hitting AC 0 ... and 2d8 causes 11 damage. 

That too is a wound.  Andrej is pushed back to 2815, staggering but still in it - stunned, of course.

Lukas takes a point of damage from his wound.

Lukas' spell is ready to go.  Enrico may load; Sofia and Ahmet take what action they will.

Is everyone okay with these numbers?  1.5 added to Maximillian for faerie fire.

Round 14: Andrej Gets A Little Nip

The hydra backtracks some to the edge of Sofia's light and all four heads attack, two against Andrej and two against Ahmet.

Against Ahmet the heads roll a 7 and an 8, both missing.  Andrej is not quite so lucky.  The male head attacking him rolls a 15, hitting AC 1, causing 6 damage.  The other head rolls a 4.

I have Andrej at 28 hit points, so he isn't stunned.

The position for both images, before and after the attack, would be the same, so here's where the party stands now:

Enrico is loaded; Lukas is free to take action, but he suffers 1 hit point more of damage.

All characters may take action.

Round 13: The Mage Gets His

Boroge shifts two hexes to the creature's right:

Before the hydra's attack

The hydra's heads center on the periphery of the party, as the hydra tries to break down anyone left who could harm it.  The left most head attacks Andrej, the other two that aren't stunned attack Sofia and Lukas.

Andrej is missed again - not because he's in plate, but because for some reason the monster on this side couldn't hit a three-year-old girl dressed in bright pink ribbons.  However ... only the other side.

The head attacks Sofia and rolls an 8 ... which hits AC 8, which Sofia has as a first level monk (nope!  misses her!  She's AC 7!). 
I need Sofia to roll a d20 under her wisdom or drop the torch (when things really get fun).

The right-most head rolls a 14 on Lukas, hitting AC 2, and taking a bite out of Lukas' clothes and flesh for 13 additional damage.  Lukas is bleeding 1 hp a round beginning next round.

Here's the view:


The party's turn:

Maximillian, as you went unconscious, you let go of your club and the shillelagh was lost.  Your strength nor dexterity are remarkably low, so you have no subtractions on attacking ... and just a reminder that a club can be thrown.  It's laying in the water just to your right.

Enrico and Ahmet are both free to go, and Andrej too.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Still In There. Still Swinging.

Before the Hydra's roll to hit.
The hydra moves back, the left-most head twisted back and stunned.  The two middle heads this time strike at Andrej, the right-most at Enrico.

Against Andrej I roll a 5 and a 13, missing.  However, I roll a 17 my third round in a row against Enrico, hitting AC -1 again.  I roll 2d8 and cause ... 4 damage.

Enrico will be beaten back into hex 2814.

Ahmet bleeds 2 damage from wounds.  This does not stun him (as it is not a hit).  I had ruled against bleeding causing stunning some months ago with the offline campaign.  (How much does a DM really want to abuse his players, anyway?).

Maximillian does not bleed, as he's being administered to.

Here is where it stands:

Make Your Move.


(OOC:  Most of the time, I play a monster, and I am a bit underwhelmed by the monster's failure to do anything.  I insert some horrific creature, such as a 'hydra,' expecting that hydra to be dangerous and potentially deadly, only to find that a party dispatches such a beast without hardly a scratch.  Not that I want to kill a party, mind, but most of the time I get a round like this, where I get four attacks, and all four miss.

And then there are rounds like this one.  And when they happen, I find myself wanting to re-roll the dice.  Okay, here goes).

Before the Attack

Boroge does little more than pivot, bringing its right most head towards Maximillian and the left most towards Andrej.  The two in the middle both strike at Ahmet, who has given this beast the most trouble, it must be recognized.

I roll a 6 to hit Andrej ... and he's missed.

I roll a 15, then a 17 against Ahmet, hitting ACs 1 and -1.  I roll 2d8 for damage and Ahmet takes 13 from the first blow ... then he takes an additional 13 from the second.  The second, I am absolutely certain, stuns Ahmet.  I'm pretty sure the first one did.

Then I roll a natural 20 against Maximillian, who has finally had the nerve to get into this.  That is followed by a 6 on a d20, so that it is double damage ... and for damage I roll 2d8 and get a 12 ... doubled for 24 damage.  The hydra snaps his mouth around Maximillian's body and then hurls him into the arms of Sofia, in 2812 (the arrows on the image below show Maximillian moving forward to attack, then being thrown back).

Maximillian is still alive; he's at -4 hit points.  He'll need to roll a modified wisdom check (under 60% of his wisdom) to stay alive.  He's double-wounded, so he'll be losing 2 hp per round if someone doesn't start binding his wounds immediately.

Ahmet is also wounded twice, once from each blow.  He's stumbled back into 2813.

That was ... brutal.  I can't express how much I'd like it if that hadn't happened.

Please do what you can.

It Might Be Hurting, A Little

The hydra slithers around to its right, to allow it to attack with the right most heads while the two on the left pull away to protect themselves from be struck again.  Both of these heads lash out at Andrej, again.

This time, the right-most head (3014) hits with a 17, causing 9 damage.  Andrej's site says that he is down to 37 ... and so the hydra fails to stun him by virtue of 1 hit point.  A little bit of luck.

Here is the hydra's position:

Please act as you will.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Boroge Awaits

The party in its present formation gets as far as this before Andrej sees Boroge:

Andrej's shadow added for kewl factor.

The party can just see the left most head at the edge of the darkness, and sense three of the others.  There's no sign of a fifth head.

Andrej finds himself stepping on a rotted sack of some kind, that was once filled with coins that are now a pile of metal pieces pushing against his boots.  In 3013 Lukas can see some sort of arm bone & hand, with a silver bracelet on its wrist.

Enrico has line of sight, but I need to emphasize that he cannot see the actual body of the creature, and he would be -2 to hit the heads in this much light (-4 to hit the body).  Same modifiers apply to everyone else.  Where Ahmet, Maximillian and Sofia are standing, they cannot see the creature.

Andrej knows from this distance the creature could easily attack in the next round.  Since he has decided to go in the front, I will need Andrej to roll a d6 for initiative.

Better late than never:

Winning the initiative, the hydra rushes out again ... and while the right most head laughs hideously, the other three heads snap at Andrej - missing, missing and missing.


The fifth head is definitely dead.  It drags through the water after the body as the hydra approaches Andrej.

Please go ahead and take action.  Hex 2814 is close enough for Ahmet to attack a head.  The body of the creature is fully visible now.  Enrico will have to load, or quick fire at a -4 penalty to hit.

Friday, July 12, 2013

It's Running Away?

Boroge turns, flattens itself into the water and swims away, somewhat more quickly than it would wallow.  The hump of its back shows above the waterline (and you can see i've added a 'glow' to that) which the party can see, but which will modify the chance to hit (particular issue for Enrico, as now the hydra is a bit far for daggers).  It moves 5 hexes altogether.

The party's move is shown as before.  Feel free to take action.


I can save a little time if I put the next update here:

Things Are Not As Bad As You Think

Whatever the party's take on things, the one head not actually being killed, the hydra was clearly hurt by Ahmet's blow. It pulls itself together, shudders, then moves back into the darkness ... the woman's head begins to succor the head that was struck, while the one head that is second from the right screams in a high-pitched man's voice, "THIS ISN'T OVER! YOU'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!"

Ahmet suffers another point of damage from the wound he received.

The party is free to take action.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Party Could Have Been Fighting Sheep

Boroge slithers forward five feet, one hex, and the middle heads draw back. The lighter green head, which is clearly the female one, looks at Lukas and says, "YOU SHOULD BE RUNNING."

The head most on the left, that was butted out of the way by the female (do did the crit to Ahmet last turn) attacks Ahmet now. It rolls an 18 and delivers only a small nip for 4 damage. This, I feel certain, does not stun Ahmet (who I'm sure will happily return the attack). Ahmet also takes one additional damage at this time from the wound (which won't stun him either).

The right most head actually attacks Enrico ... the second from the right weaves overtop and dives down at Andrej ... who stoops at the last moment and is missed. Enrico is not so lucky. The head hits him with a 17, causing a very unpleasant 10 damage to the poor noobie. Enrico falls back into 2306 (arrows show Enrico's last movement from 2407, then the subsequent movement after the attack).

That completes the hydra's movement for this round.

The party may do as they will - Enrico is stunned and can do nothing. General word to the wise ... if you don't get in it, you don't get out of it. X.P. distribution so far (10% included for those who get that bonus).

Ahmet - 678
Enrico - 306
Andrej - 304
Sofia - 78
Lukas - 205
Maximillian - 156

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

And Boroge is ... a Hydra

Picture speaks for itself. I can check dexterities later, or you can save me the time:

Slowly, but surely, my artwork improves.
 As the creature moves very slightly forward, perhaps a hex and a half, two of the heads move in Ahmet's direction. The party hears the second head from the right say to the right-most head, "Watch out, there's some ugly little beastie around that corner."

The rightmost head will turn towards Andrej. The middle head will look at Lukas and say, without attacking, "Why must you fools always disturb us? Did we eat your child?"

The first head snaps out at Ahmet - but through a particularly bad coordination, the second head moves so quickly and ruthlessly that it smacks the first head out of the way. As a result, the first head rolls a "1" to hit ... but the second head rolls a natural "20." The hydra rolls to see if it is triple damage, and it is not - however, twice 9 damage is 18, that the creature does on its first round against Ahmet. Ahmet is stunned, and staggers back to 2213. He has a wound now, that will bleed 1 hit point damage per round until it is healed or bound (noted by a red star).

The head attacking Andrej rolls a 17, hitting Andrej rather definitely and causing 6 points of damage. This doesn't stun Andrej.

The party can take what action they will. It will require 1 movement point for Maximillian to discharge his spell; he can then move up to 3 afterwards, but can't physically attack the same round he discharges a spell.

To hit one of the creatures heads in direct melee, Party members must be in 2308, 2309,2310, 2311, 2312 or 2408. The head partly in 2312, that struck Ahmet, is already pulling back to 2412. It is possible to move into the 2500 column, but not to do so and attack.

Remember, because of the water, it requires 2 movement to enter a new hex. It does not cost a movement point, however, to retreat from a hex next to the heads (as it normally would for melee), and although the creature is huge, unless you are next to the body there is no incidental damage.

All good?

Boroge Cave, Crossing the Great Room

Here's an update to the image, with everyone moved. Sofia, note, has not moved at all. Here is my understanding for where everyone is:

I haven't shown the cave entrance again ... just that portion of the map where the party is.  I trust everyone can figure it out.
The space beyond the opening extends, still turns to the right, but your lights really don't reveal what is on the other side. (See how I have to make the lights overlap? So disappointing).

Boroge's Cave, All In

Here's the depiction of the cave, with people placed as suggested. Hope this is clear:

Still having trouble posting on blogger. I wish they'd fix it. Changed the picture very slightly; bleeds a little better ... and now showing Lukas' second torch:

Shame the graphics don't allow me to overlap light sources.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Boroge's Cave

Moon, date & weather unchanged.

For the present, I'd like to try describing this without resorting to diagrams.

The mouth of the cave is quite unspectacular ... it is little more than a hole about 8 feet wide, with a short drop that quickly turns to a smooth, steep slope, curving down from the top of the hole out of sight.  The bottom of the curve that can be seen, the party would guess, is perhaps 30-35 feet below.

The air near the cave, or hole, is a bit cooler than the ambient atmosphere - the druid detects a definite odor of fresh water, and the sides of the drop are damp - though by no means wet.

There is a sign next to the hole that reads, simply, 'FEAR,' in black faded letters about four inches high.  The sign is small, about half the size of a small shield, attached to a stake that is pounded into the clay surrounding the hole.  Further out are a number of strong, gnarled pine trees, the nearest about twelve feet from the hole, with a trunk 8 inches thick.  A moment's examination will show that the bark of the tree near the bottom has been worn smooth, as if with ropes regularly rubbed up and down upon it.

Tree not to scale