Thursday, October 24, 2013

Days in Constantinople

Monday, March 14, 1651, afternoon
With overcast skies, cool temperatures and a gentle breeze with a prevailing wind.

The party has been in Constantinople three more days, giving Andrej time to learn what he has of Cumana, that it is said a war will erupt between Poland and Russia in the summer of 1652 (so go the rumours).  He has also learned that Bulgarian soldiers have been marched east towards the frontier in Persia, where the Safavids are making moves against the Ottomans on the far eastern frontier.

The Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, the party also learns, is a 9-year-old boy, Mehmed the 4th ... and that the real power behind the throne is in the hands of a woman called Kosem, the aged grandmother of the Sultan.  Much discussion is made of her decades of influence over the throne through her sons, but that there are factions that threaten her (but there are always factions that threaten her); or that the Vizier supports her (but when a Vizier doesn't, she manages to be rid of him); that the mother of the Sultan, Turhan Hatice, despises her mother-in-law Kosem (but this has always been so); and that the Chief Black Eunuch in the court, Tall Suleyman, is part of a plot to replace Mehmed with another of Kosem's grandchildren.  And so goes the intrigue.

Ahmet would remember Mehmed's name, but only as a boy born to the royal family ... he perhaps knew before that Mehmed had been given the throne, perhaps not. Ahmet has been away a long time.

Please buy whatever else you need, do whatever else you will. The Captain of the Petrel has suggested she would be ready to sail by the 19th.

The weather continues in the same old way, day after day. You have been living on the sea so long you hardly realize the weather does change; now and then cloudy, few clear days with sun ... and rain becoming less and less frequent now that you are far from central Europe.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Glowing Wolf

As the gnomes disappear, and as Maximillian and Enrico are suddenly there, I will remind the party that the street is still 'empty' with regards to the three of you. Your weapons seem to be accessible, but except for the ground, you're unable to interact with your environment. You suspect that you would be able to pass through doors ... however, Maximillian might caution that while you could not "see" through a door, a creature might still be able to smell you, and that therefore 'hiding' behind a wall or a door could actually be more of a detriment to you than it would be to an enemy.

The wolf, for example, that appears through the wall at 3 o'clock in the square, moving slowly, slavering from its enormous jaws, sizing up the three members of the party.

It is enormous for a wolf, easily 350 pounds, with a snout and head the size of a lion; it's paws are great spreading pads with toes slightly separate, more so than an ordinary wolf ... and the whole body is glowing a very definite green - not in the manner of a modern radiation might be portrayed by a bad film, but as the bioluminescence produced by an octopus or a lightning bug. In the light of day it is barely detectable; in the night, Maximillian (who knows such things as a druid) would guess that it would illuminate an area 10 feet in radius.

The creature paws the ground, and clearly moves its head from one to another of you, choosing its victim.

Now, I'd like to do this without having to produce a map. So read this very carefully and make NO assumptions. This should be very simple.

The square is not very large, only 40 feet across. There's no where to hide, since the wolf can move through things (evidently). Likely, the wolf could travel the whole square and attack any of you, because it is big enough and - as a wolf - probably fast enough. The most dangerous thing about a wolf is that it will go for the throat - and if it hits with a critical, it will likely tear your head right off (does 4x damage on a 20).

Please recognize that using a missile weapon will not exempt you from attack. Hiding directly behind someone else MIGHT, if that protector is willing to be hit on your behalf. So please, if you will throw a spell, pick a protector FIRST. There won't be space to hide behind someone if you're swinging a sling or loading a bow, just so you know.

Remember, how many feet you are from the wolf doesn't matter. It can attack you anywhere.

Let's assume that if you want to attack directly in hand-to-hand melee, the wolf is in so many places at once that you can probably move close enough in a given round and attack.

You should all be at full hit points. In this particular case, the first move will probably have to be made by the wolf - or by you moving towards the wolf and then the wolf springing. Either way, can we start by having Ahmet roll initiative.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Lukas Alone

Lukas, one moment you are walking with your friends, and the next the square is completely empty. There are no birds, no cart, no priests or gnome or soldiers in front of the cafe. The objects and places are all the same, but there are no people in any of them. And it is unnaturally silent.

A moment later, a short figure in a cloak emerges from the cafe, and another enters the road at 1 o'clock from a doorway. Both stand less than 4 feet in height. They each move to stand ten feet from you. The one who emerged from the cafe throws off his hood and reveals himself to be a gnome. The other, with a quarterstaff in hand, turns his back on Lukas and keeps eye upon the street from which he's just come.

"So you are Lukas," says the gnome, in a friendly manner.

(It would be best if no one except Lukas commented upon this thread)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Kare Satsico

Friday, March 12, 1651, morning
With clear skies and brisk temperatures, a moderate breeze and a prevailing wind.

Your travels through Istanbul to find the various things you search for have led you, as I say, through a variety of narrow streets and squares, wherein you have seen many sights.  So it is nothing unusual that to find the walking stick of your fancy you find yourself passing by several dozen beehive-looking granaries, where carts are being loaded on this somewhat brisk morning.  The next day has begun, after yesterday's wanderings after arriving by ship.  The carts carry sacks of grain, and you find yourself moving along with some carts in an upward path to the higher points of the city, naught more than 75 or 100 feet above the water. It is then that you come to the Kare Satsico, where you were instructed to go.

'Kare' is a local name for a Piazza or Plaza, and this one is quite small, perhaps 30 feet by 40. You enter it together, meaning to cross the Kare to get where you are going. I will need to describe it. The carts pass through the Kare on the right side, which we'll describe as entering at 4 o'clock on a clock face and departing at 1 o'clock. They have left a trail of grains, and as you enter the Kare you find a thousand pigeons ... literally ... feeding on this grain, poking about on the ground, breaking apart as the carts move through them, and as you move through them too, like a low tide that refuses to wet your feet.

In the center of the Kare is a fountain where as many as two dozen women seem to be washing their clothes. The woodcrafter's that sells canes is at 12 o'clock; between 11 o'clock and 7 o'clock are a series of step gardens that rise above the square, beautiful and lush, hung with lemons, pears and large, round, light golden apples, the like you cannot recall having seen. They are as large as two of Ahmet's fists held together. Even Ahmet, the Turk, cannot recall having seen these. The gardens are separated from the Kare by a high metal fence, but there are boys who have climbed the fence and are reaching through to grab the apples.

There are four Greek Orthodox priests at 8 o'clock, sitting on benches around a table, who seem to be playing a game with a hat, gold and silver coins, and a draedel that they spin on the stone floors of the Kare amid the pigeons. The pigeons seem somehow involved in the game. There is a blind gnome on a stone block set under a spreading oak tree, who seems to be listening intently to the priests. There is a cafe at 5 and 6 o'clock, with two tables out front and a long bench on one side of the door; a half-orc soldier is sleeping on the bench, while two other half-orc soldiers are sullenly smoking upon pipes from a squat hookah sitting on the left hand table.

This is the scene you take in just before you notice that Lukas is missing.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Constantinople, First Afternoon

Thursday, March 11, 1651
With clear skies and cool temperatures, a gentle breeze and a prevailing wind blowing south along the Black Sea's west coast.

It will take ten days for the party to travel the 380 nautical miles to Constantinople. As you make your way north, you find the cool temperatures worsening somewhat, as the nights steadily become more brisk and the days more cool. There's only a little rain over your journey, however; some the night after leaving Koufonisia, some off the coast of Lesbos and a good, moderate rain the afternoon you make your way through the strait at Canakkale.

The journey is fairly uninteresting. The crew seem in better spirits for some resting time in Koufonisia, which had proven to be more relaxing than their last sojourn in Fiume. The Captain seems in better spirits too, which improve still further after stopping in the small town of Eresos on Lesbos to pick up a pilot who knows the waters of the Straits and of the Black Sea. The pilot's name is Meredith, a 45-year old Turkish woman with hard, experienced eyes, a silent temperment and considerable strength, standing 6 foot one and weighing some 17 stone. She takes over the wheel with little ceremony, and apparently without spite from the previous pilot, Gerhund, who had apparently gone to pieces after the near sinking at Koufonisia.

The Dardanelles strait is quite narrow, no wider than a medium sized river (narrower than the Weser that the party crossed the day after burying the Captain's husband), but the Sea of Marmara on the other side is wide, smooth and easy sailing. The Dardanelles and the sea beyond are filled with boats, the strait being something of a friendly experience as you hail the crews of ships moving just fifteen feet off the beam, even where a bit of supply is passed back and forth between crews. Marmara has hundreds of little boats skittering this way and that, some coming quite close to be run over by the Petrel ... but it all seems to be quite normal, as no one shows the slightest bit of alarm. Meredith breaks her silence to tell the crew to settle down, that if one of these crazy small boat pilots is struck she'll work that day for free.

Constantinople is magnificent. The party comes ashore there with eyes open. They have been to Venice, and to Hamburg, so they have seen big ports before, but there's something truly elegant and Old World about Constantinople that those European cities lacked. Where Venice had a few beautiful piazzas, Constantinople seems to stretch for miles with nothing but. The huge Blue Mosque and the Great Santa Sofia rise like a mother and father from the city, seeming to embrace the teeming, odorous, shouting, passionate marketeers, peddlers, musicians, city officials and holy men that dominate the narrow city streets, the wide boulevards, the preponderous waterfront that stretches all around the point called the "Golden Horn" ... and gold indeed seems plentiful enough to sink all the hundred, perhaps two hundred ships in the harbor.

The market for Constantinople can be found here.

A map of old Constantinople:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Adding Up & Aftermath

Hopefully, then, these are the right numbers:

Enrico caused 10 taken 21
Carlito caused 14 taken 7


The man upon the rock cheers, shouts, beckons for the party to approach him. He seems genuinely pleased.

Psammodrons Round 13 - No, We're Not Done

The creatures roll a 10 for morale, grow aggressive once again and choose to return to the fight. I should point out that when they broke in the first place, it wasn't because they were actually 'losing' the fight; the dice determined a discrete retreat was in order. It would not have been terrified flight.

(E) turns around and rushes at Kismet, involving him in melee but not attacking.

(F) looks at Sofia, then at (H), and rushes to 0826.

(H) turns, signals at both the remaining creatures and rushes to 1227, grabbing the quarterstaff there.

The party's move.

Arkemis can't lift Enrico's body and carry it without stripping it first, so the Greek turns, lifts sword and steps to 0727.

Neklan, the minimum distance on your sling is 3 hexes. You may fire at (H) from your present position, but to fire at either (F) or (E) you must retreat one hex minimum (2 hexes maximum) away. You cannot retreat into a hex with an ally in it and still fire your sling.

Carlito may fire from his present position (+1 to hit), but he is likely to back up to 0729 or even 0730 to do so, even though this would avoid the point-blank to hit bonus. Roll Carlito's morale to stand fast (I believe his morale is 9, which must be equalled or beaten on 2d6).

Kismet may swing.

Sofia may take another action.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Psammodrons Round 12 - They Break

All four of the remaining snake-men break and run. (F), (C) and (E) expend a penalty AP to break from combat, while (H), who was not in combat, moves 4.

Neklan has indicated that he is loading. You will need to move 1 hex in any direction, as Arkemis (below) is entering 0728 to look at Enrico.

Kismet suggested he would be up to throwing an axe. He can do so at this time if he wishes.

Sofia moves to find his daggers, which will be scattered around and may be lost. At the moment, he has not had time to find one dagger. He cannot move to 1322, as that would put him across the path of the fleeing creature, and must therefore risk a re-encounter. Please look at the map Sofia and redirect your character; entering 0922, 0923, 1024 or 1123 would risk re-engagement. In short, it would be 1 AP to enter those hexes, but 2 AP to leave any of those hexes, and I would get the chance to swing at Sofia.

Carlito loads his bow.

Arkemis moves towards Enrico to see how he is, entering the hex with Neklan. He bends down expecting to lift Enrico in his arms.

The map as it stands is below. Has everyone caught up?

Following the Party's move:

Friday, October 4, 2013

Psammodrons Round 11 - Down to Two Fights

(F) takes a swing at Sofia, rolling a 19. It does 4 damage, which by my read drops Sofia to 4 hit points and pushes her back again into 0725. (F) continues to press forward into 0825.

(H) attacks Arkemis, but drops its weapon, which skitters into 1225 without breaking. That's like, my third drop, right?

Freaking quarterstaffs everywhere.

(C) attacks Kismet, rolls a 12 and misses.

(E) attacks Carlito, rolls a 4 and misses.

(A) rushes Neklan, knowing full well that its the spellcaster that's been making its life difficult lately. It moves 3 and doesn't have time to attack.

The party's attack.

Sofia is stunned. Arkemis takes advantage of the fact that H has dropped its weapon, expends 2 movement to get into 0925 and swings at (F) to relieve Sofia. He rolls a 17, and proceeds to do 5 damage with the broadsword. That's enough to kick (F) out of 0825 and stun it.

Kismet, Carlito and Neklan can take actions. Your call on Carlito's action, Enrico.

After the party's move:

Psammodrons Round 10 - Enrico Goes Down

(F) turns and attacks Sofia, rolling a 16 and hitting AC 3. He causes 6 damage to the monk, which stuns Sofia. (F) will expend two movement (penalty due to Arkemis) and move into the hex Sofia has been knocked back from.

(H), who considers Arkemis as much as a threat as Kismet, turns and attacks the Greek, rolling a 3. (H) holds his ground.

(B), seeing that Kismet has been ignored by (H), advances forward and engages the dwarf in combat ... though (B) does not have enough move to attack this round).

(E) smashes Enrico again, rolling a 16. It does 7 damage, dropping Enrico to -4 hit points. (E) does not follow, but retains his position beside (C).

(A) has been driven temporarily off and (C) was stunned, so it is the party's turn.

It is the party's turn.

First off, I will need Enrico to roll to see if he remains conscious. I must also mention that he loses one more hit point due to bleeding, putting him (by my calculations) at -5. He is stunned this round, and can't fight ... but if he remains conscious he still can swing a sword even at -5 hit points. His wisdom is down 50%, which makes it 4.5 (down from 9). He must make a wisdom check against that number, so he must roll a 4 or less on a d20 to remain conscious.

Secondly, I'd like to mention to Neklan that as a thief he can use a scimitar, like the one on Enrico's body. He may not be proficient in it, and therefore suffers a -4 penalty to hit, but it would mean he could at least defend Enrico long enough for the fighter to crawl away - if he's conscious. If (E) is fighting Neklan, and keeps him from 0829, then Enrico might be able to leave. He's -1 AP at the moment due to his -50% status. Obviously, if Neklan has a cantrip that can perform the same task, that's an option too.

Enrico stops bleeding as soon as binding his wounds begins ... but he must be out of a combat hex and he needs fully three rounds to bind, or else the bleeding will restart. If Enrico remains conscious, he has the strength to bind his own wounds.

Arkemis attacks (H), rolling a 3 and missing.

Sofia is stunned. Kismet and Carlito can attack. Carlito will move to 0829, and get there before Neklan would be able to. I'll let Enrico roll to see if Carlito hits.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Psammodrons Round 9 - Limbo

(F) moves and attacks Arkemis, rolling an 8 and missing.

(H) moves forward to 1125 and attacks Kismet, rolling an 18 and hitting the dwarf for 2 damage. That should stun the dwarf, driving him back yet one more hex, into 0926.

(B) hesitatingly takes two steps forward, watching the battle, to 1327.

Both (C) and (E) attack Enrico. The former rolls a 7, and the latter a 3, so that both of them miss.

And (A) is coughing, and was stunned by Sofia. These two effects do not compile, but A ends in 0529 (forgot to account for the stun movement on the last post).

That makes it the party's round.

Arkemis turns and attacks (H), hoping to free up Kismet, but rolls a 10 and does no damage.

Carlito will likely advance upon (C) to free up Enrico.

Neklan, Enrico and Sofia are free to take some action.

Following the party's move.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Psammodrons Round 8 - Ouch

(A) is going to charge at Neklan ... but because the actual contact with Neklan will require 3 of the creature's action points, it won't have enough to actually attack. As I am STILL unhappy with my charge rules (those listed on the blog nonwithstanding, we can agree for the moment I have tested them and don't like them), I will have him stop in hex 0528 and not attack. (Clearly, I need to write some new charge rules and post them on the wiki)

(E) attacks Enrico, rolling a 20, followed by a 12. It then does maximum damage, which is 14. That will crack Enrico's shoulder, causing a break of the skin and setting Enrico bleeding.

(C) will step up to Enrico and attack also, rolling an 8 and missing.

(B) that was hit by Kismet, stumbles back three hexes ... it seems to be hurt.

(D) will attack Arkemis with a clawed hand, rolling a 6 and missing.

(H) steps up to Kismet, rolls an 18, and hits for 7 damage. That also stuns Kismet this round.

(F) was stunned and takes no action.

This would make it the party's turn.

Carlito, I'm sure, will seek to throw something at (C) and rush to Enrico's aid. I'm sure you can tell me how, exactly, that's done Enrico (go on and pick a weapon to throw and roll an attack). If he has nothing to throw, he'll be sure to at least force (C) to attack him next round instead of Enrico.

Arkemis rolls a natural 20 on D, followed by a 1 (not a drop) ... and will cut down his creature with 12 damage. That will seem to kill it.

Neklan can take an action, and Sofia.

After the party's move:

Psammodrons Round 7 ... FUBAR

(A) Turns its back on Sofia and heads straight towards the remaining party.

(F) leaps into 1024, grabs its quarterstaff there and uses it to attack Carlito. It rolls a 16, hitting and causing 2 damage. Carlito is stunned again, but the creature does not have enough move to follow him.

(D) Turns, sweeps its staff over Kismet's head, and attacks Arkemis. Arkemis seems to be somehow blessed, because as D's staff strikes Arkemis' sword, D rolls a 1 and drops HIS quarterstaff. It doesn't break, but does roll into 1025, at Arkemis's feet. Arkemis hops and the quarterstaff rolls behind him.

(C, B & E) are all stunned and take no action at all this round.

(H) gets a +2 modifier to its ability to see the sinkhole since he can see Kismet has slipped into it. He rolls a 2, that is definitely under his intelligence, and pulls up short.

It is now the party's turn.

Arkemis swings and rolls a 16. He does four damage to (D), who stumbles back into 1224, stunned.

Enrico can swing, Neklan's sling is loaded. Sofia can take what action she will. Kismet, I'll tell you at the end of the round if you were able to extricate yourself.

Updated for party movement:

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Psammodrons Round 6

(A) moves across to 0619, keeping Sofia in its gaze, but not moving towards her.

(D) attacks Carlito, rolling a 14 and hitting AC 5. I really don't know if this hits or not, but the damage is 3 if it does. That ought to be enough to stun Carlito and send him back into 0924. Let me know if it hits.

(F) slashes at Arkemis with a claw; it rolls a natural 20, followed by an 18, but only doing 2 damage (1d4 = 1 x2). Arkemis, miracle of miracles, isn't stunned. It only costs (F) two AP to attack, so the rest of its movement will depend on whether or not it can move into Carlito's hex and regain its quarterstaff.

(B) moves forward and, with a glance and a growl at the dead creature, attacks Kismet, rolling a 7 and missing.

(C) attacks Enrico, rolling a 6. That's a miss, too.

(E) attacks the Figure, which has the same AC as Neklan. It rolls a 12, that hits AC 7, but again, I don't know if that hits. Please let me know. Neklan's AC should be 10 minus the dex bonus, but I can't remember what the dex bonus is.

Meanwhile, (H) is rushing at Kismet, and apparently towards the sinkhole. It will have to make a wisdom check to determine whether it sees the sinkhole or not; a success would mean it needs to avoid the sink hole and the six hexes around it, or slide in, or else make a saving throw against feeling as though it is drowning. I'll have to look up to see what the duration of the sinkhole is (and this has been so disjointed, I'm not sure if its been up 1 round or 2).

The problem is, Neklan's name links to Maximillian, and NOT to Neklan. I have no idea where Neklan's character is on line. Enrico's name links to a Google plus page, that says nothing is shared with me, so I have no idea what his stats are, either.

Can we please post links for the DM?

Meanwhile, please take action.

(actions made in comments)

Following the party's move: