Friday, November 29, 2019

Krim's Patrol Corvette

Using Ryan Wolf's Jinda Wolf corvette as one of the Space Patrol's system defense boats, I decided to see if I could work my way through the T5 rules for the stats. So far, I'd have to go with no. I believe someone over on COTI has a spreadsheet over in the files section, so I may have to try that. But based on the existing plans and tonnage. the ship is 442 Traveller tons. Rounding up to 500 tons to keep things within the basic rules.

The QSP (Quick Ship Profile) would be PE-ES90, for Patrol Corvette, hull E (500 tons), streamlined, 9G maneuver and 0 jump. This is an in-system ship, and that actually works great with the deck plans. It is a TL14 design and one of the standards in the League of Independent Planets for the Space Patrol and system defense.

The mission is a patrol corvette: PE. It has a streamlined hull (friction / 3, stability +1) with 3 layers of hull plate (aka superdense). There is also a anti-blast layer of armor. It has a type Y drive giving it Man-9, and a power plant type Y as well to power both the drive and the plasma barbettes. It has  wide variety of sensors: communicator, visor, EM, life detector (handy when checking ships), radar, neutrino detector to check for those fusion power plants, radiation sensors. The 6 plasma guns are housed in 3 dual barbettes, the 24 missiles are housed in a triple missile turret, and the 4 fixed forward mass cannons I am translating to 1 triple slug thrower turret. For defenses there is an electronic scrambler, but primarily they rely on speed and maneuverability, as well as a strong offense.

There is a bridge as well as a dedicated CIC. There are 2 double staterooms used as double staterooms, a 3rd double stateroom for the captain and his office, and squad barracks for boarding crew. It is a military crew consisting of 14 total: Captain, 1st officer, pilot, navigator, medical officer, 3 engineers, 2 gunners and a 5 person boarding squad that overlaps duties with the rest of the crew. In general there are at least 2 crew available for every position, except engineering.

I've not worried about the cost - this is a government ship. But I will eventually work that out. I'll probably do this also for Cepheus Engine, and maybe even Classic and Mongoose. Just to see.

And in reviewing the power plant section, I may not be able to get a power plant for 9G in there: looks like at TL14 it only goes to 7...I don't think I am reading that correctly. The design sequence is via a fill-form, that then relates to the tables, than then relate to the sections. So it is not exactly a linear process until you've done it enough times. But it makes sense - it goes from the most compact to the most expanded. The sensors need to be looked at as well, but there does appear to be a good interaction for actual playability in there: the charts indicate the ranges that sensors can sense things. So the ship has both photonic and visor sensors: visor works at 1 better range band effectively: at 5000km photonic can see an ACS (adventure class ship) whereas the visor can see small craft at the same range. And the EMS can detect missiles at that range. The neutrino detector can detect missiles out to 8 light seconds away at range 8.   So then looking at the sensor task roll lets you know how well you can sense things, and it takes into account the tech level (so TL 14 is pretty good to have here!), character skills, size range vs object size. So some interesting mechanics there: a higher TL ship will definitely have a better chance of sensing things. Makes you want to upgrade your TL9 sensors at the next high tech port!

So I really need to read the books a bit more: there does seem to be a lot to look forward to in the T5.10 version.

Fantasy Trip - Big Boss

After discovering that they can die, but finding some healing potions (it was a random roll on the treasure table, and a very fortunate one!), they are pressing on. I am using the dungeon from the 2nd Delayed Blast Gamemaster, a Kickstarter for some old school fun dungeons. See - I *am* using some of the things I've purchased. In fact, one of the random things they found after defeating the giant spider was a spider-engraved chest, a bit too large to carry easily, filled with flat stones with spiders engraved on them. I've some ideas what they may be used for in a later game (imagine if they turn into giant spiders in the light of the moon...wonder who will be keeping guard that night?)

They have two more rooms to explore before the last one. One they are in when we left was a work room, with magical ingredients, books, scrolls and tablets. One of the books will be my fantasy mushroom book if I can remember to bring it in the next session. While not magical per se, it does have some notes and things that could be used in magical potions, poisons and other game artifacts.

Wish that the Bones KS delivered early - all these goblins and I only have game pieces for them. And an empty suit of armor is coming up, then our wizard of the eyes. She is a Dwarf wizard as I have a Dwarf magic user mini, and, hmm, could be a sister or cousin to Glorirnolsia Grumblestone. I may have to figure out if there is a connection or not there. How many wizardly Dwarves are living near Edge City?

And here is Vakkekara Mountainsunder, a female Dwarf wizard who lives to spy apparently.

ST: 10  DX: 12  IQ: 15

Meal, Dispel Missiles, Reveal Magic, Drop Weapon, Detect Magic, Scrying, Slippery Floor, Duplicate Writing, Spell Shield, Lightening, Unnoticeability, Staff I, II, III, IV, Create Gate.

Her ornate wand, engraved with eyes, does 1d+3 damage (she has had time to improve it over the basic 1d damage). Her one weaponized spell is the lightening, but she has a few defensive ones. She prefers to user her minions as her shield and sword.  She will attack at least one round but then slip through the door that is spelled only to let her go through, and anyone she is touching. So should one of the players be holding on to her when she steps through the gate, they will have a one way trip.

She has Create gate as she has a backup from getting trapped: the outline of a door is on the back wall. The gate is attuned to her and will take her to her tower. Not sure yet where the tower is, but I am thinking she could pop up later. She is holding a power stone that has 20 ST points to use, and her wand has 15 mana points, so she has some magic backup. She may drop the power stone if she gets hit by anything.

The floor in front of her will have the slippery floor spell on it, and she will have the unnoticeability spell running. So she may well get a few attacks, which she will make with 2 ST for 2D damage.

The ensorcelled armor will be ST 30 DX 12 IQ 2. It is carrying a 2 handed sword (3d-1) and guards the chamber next to Vakkekara's final study.

Not 100% sure we'll be running this Sunday - Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Fantasy Trip, 2nd Outing

The characters are Runt Gubbler, the intelligent Goblin Mage with a ST 6, Crut the half-Elf rogue with acrobatics who has his own theme song, Threndir the Elven Archer who seems to have a hard time hitting anything, and Cheeli the Dwarf Tank who has an even harder time hitting anything despite the +5 DX enchanted hammer he has, thanks to Runt.

Our last game took most of the session working up the characters, but they did manage to get to where the missing dogs were (along with one hunting bobcat like animal with a mohawk. Hey, I used LEGO animals for the dogs and the cat just showed up :) ).  They decided to return to Hamor with the dogs, so Threndir, who has the animal skill, managed to befriend most of the dogs. As they were semi or fully trained hunting dogs, they tended to follow the lead well enough. The large cat, not so much but they did notice it stalking them as they marched back to the village.

Once there, young Jon was enthusiastic about Old Blue returning home, and they all got paid their 2 silvers plus the meal and a night at the Badger's Lodge (yay, the Inn now has a name!). The inn keep, who also has a name but I don't have those notes handy, just had regular food: the ambrosia mushroom was finished the other day, and that party had left the previous morning. A good night's sleep and they had various breakfasts, from a plate of bacon bigger than the Dwarf's head to the bowl of porridge for the Elf. With their new-found wealth, the went to the small trading store nearby (Hamor is slowly getting larger, I'll have to make some maps!) Looking up the prices of armor it turns out the adventurer's did not get paid as much as they thought things may be worth. They did stock up on travelling food: the goblin store keep even had a loaf of Dwarven bread - he and Cheeli bartered quite a bit as Cheedi is the town's smith. Had no taste and almost broke a tooth - he was getting closer to true Dwarf bread (which can also be used as a weapon. Why yes, I do enjoy Terry Pratchart)

Threndir noticed the hunting cat hanging out in the woods, watching the township. Taking some bacon, he went to make friends with the large feline. The big cat ate the bacon, and Threndir sat down only to get his thighs kneaded with some very large and sharp claws. Returning to the group, they managed to find their way back to the guard's watch post in the clearing, despite Cheeli's most definite memory of turning the other way at that fork in the path. No one noticed the big cat following along.

Entering the 2 story and slowly collapsing building, they spread out, Cheeli searching the kitchen area, Runt hanging back at the door, and Threndir and Crut looking up the staircase. They only noticed the giant spider when it jumped and attacked Crut!

A short battle waged, Run watching as he had not recovered all the mana for his staff and so did not have much in the way of power reserves. Crut stabbed the beast several times, and Threndir managed to put a few arrows into it. Crut did get bit, but made his roll against poison. They finally kill the eight legged monster. After some discussion about figuring out how to get the poison from the spider to Threndir's arrows, they decided it may not be worth the risk of an accidental scrape from a poisoned arrow.  The did find a chest with spiders engraved on the outside. Managing to get it open they found several flat rocks with spiders engraved on them. The chest was too big to carry readily, but a bag worked for carrying the rocks (Dwarves are great at being tanks and carrying everything!)

They also found a trap door. Crut tried to check for a trapped trap door but failed, Thinking it safe, he then proceeded to open the door only to spring the large arrow trap! Fortunately with his acrobatics roll he managed to make that save, otherwise it probably would have killed him (3D6, and he only has ST 10). With a large arrow stuck in the wall, they descend the 3 hexes worth of steps to the dungeon. They did noticed that there were a lot of eyes painted everywhere.

Below, there were 2 Goblins in what appeared to be a sitting room of sorts, with Goblin size chairs and a table. One Goblin had a sling, the other a horse bow. Cheeli of course charged, letting the Goblin get a final shot in. The others spread out a bit in the small room and the fight was on. Cheeli it turns out tends to kill Goblins with a single blow, he may want to call his hammer Goblin Squasher although as Runt the Goblin Mage is the one who enchanted the weapon, perhaps not. The other Goblin slings a rock at Cheeli but it bounces off his armor. The group turns on the poor Keen, who in his fear has managed to now require a fresh pair of pants. With much threatening, they find that there is a trap in the middle of the next passageway, and that the master will not be happy. And that there are more Goblins further in. Having Keen lead, the troupe make there way to the next chamber which appears to be a Goblin barrack, with several Goblins ready to attack, and three Goblins managing to still sleep.

This next battle proved how dangerous combat can be: Runt managed to cast a lightening spell that frizzled one Goblin's hair but did not kill him. Getting hit in the head with a rock from a sling almost took poor Runt out, so he cast staff to snake and hid back in the passageway. Meanwhile, Crut also got stabbed a few times and decided that perhaps a withdrawal was a better choice. Cheeli was nigh invulnerable between his plate armor and toughness. But he also has a very difficult time actually hitting anything despite the hammer giving him a boost. And one attack, with a dagger that normally should not be able to hurt him, actually rolled a 4 for double damage, so 2 hits got through.

The staff turned snake kept biting at the remaining Goblin while Cheeli kept swinging away. After a messy battle, they regrouped, badly injured. However, a true random roll on the random treasure tables found 6 healing potions. There was discussion prior to this about going back to Hamor to rest up. I did mention that wherever the Goblins were coming from, as the place was actually pretty well furnished, there could be as many or more next time around, this time more prepared for a group of adventurers. So, while two kept guard and the magic users rested half an hour, and potions were drunk, they were somewhat restored and ready for the next round.Which will be the next session.

Some really fun points: Crut apparently has a theme song, and that acrobatic skill was very handy: the 1st trap had a 3d arrow which would likely kill him had he not dodged. Runt has been acting pretty true to character, hanging back and doing the minimal amount necessary to survive. They have managed to find a few gold pieces as well as the timely healing potions, and now realize that combat is dangerous. We also discussed experience points a bit and I don't give them out mid-session: had they left after this combat, I would have given it to them but the dungeon would be restocked with more difficult foes. But I will be giving out some extra to some of the characters as they are playing well in character. Probably enough to let them add another attribute, but they first have to survive!

And this is where all those Goblins in the Bones Kickstarter would have been handy, but I used the tokens from Tollekin's set I think and it was good enough.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Fantasy Trip, First Outing

We did managed to get the first game going this last Sunday. I met up with my friend and his 11 year old at his workshop. Cool thing is he is working towards (or already there) his journeyman's level for knife making. So the shop is full of sharp pointy things and tools to make knives with, along with the the welding and other equipment necessary for his day job. So I am thinking about how to work that shop into a game at some point...

The first part we read over their character backgrounds. We have the Elf archer who is perhaps overly proud of his prowess (yet managed to not hit the avatar a whole lot when we got into combat) who was wandering back to Edge City to see about the bar maid he once loved. There is the half Elf rogue whose mother is the bar maid, and the Elf may or may not be his father (this is metagaming at this point, so if/when we get to Edge City and they meet up with the mother/ex-girl friend, there could be interesting dynamics). The rogue has a good many knives secreted in various places. Then we have the Goblin wizard and his staff, a bit stand-offish and is looking out for himself. Finally the Dwarf smith who is our walking tank.

Getting the characters built took a fair amount of time, balancing out the skills and magic. I had training wheels on - let them pick the armor and weapons without worrying too much about the money side of things as per the Fantasy Trip rules (start with 1,000 silver I think is the general rule). I also tried to explain that the rules are a framework - it is our game to have fun with.

With the characters built, I tossed them into the village of Hamor, where the previous party was having dinner with their messy Goblin wizard. Runt, the Goblin wizard, ignored the voracious and messy Merk,and that party went upstairs to their rooms not long after that.  The party eventually all showed up, with some words between Dwarf and Elf (in TFT Elves and Dwarves do not get along well). I tried to set the scene with young Jon worried about Blue, his dog. Anyway, roll over to the next morning and more dogs are missing, and the inn-keeper of the Badger's Lodge, father to young Jon, offers a reward to the group that can track down the missing dogs. Our group gets together and heads out. Sadly none actually have the tracking ability; I allowed the Goblin mage with his large IQ stat to find some tracks that they followed to the foothills to the west of Hamor (near the mushroom caves in fact from a previous adventure). There were some huge footprints along with the dog prints.

They got to the clearing and saw the smoke rising up from what should have been a deserted guard house or watch station. The dogs were visible behind the house, barking and yipping. Unfortunately they did not succeed in sneaking up on the house: the Dwarf wearing plate mail is not a quiet Dwarf! Out of the building comes a huge, human-looking being in bronze chain mail, and he issues a "Who goes there, to disturb my abode?" A bit of conversation and a somewhat belligerent Dwarf and battle commenced While the avatar had a ST20 and a 2 handed spear that did 1d+2 damage (just slightly more than a normal spear), the Dwarf, though slow, managed to engage Urkon (still need to figure out which god he is an avatar of!). Between plate armor and having toughness 2, he managed to actually avoid any damage. However, his natural DX and armor pretty much assumed he would miss every time. Except: Runt had magically enhanced this hammer (and we now need a name!) with a +5DX giving the Dwarf only a 9- to roll, so not quite 50%. He did manage to land a few hits but more often missed, as did Urkon (which, considering he was 3x the height of the Dwarf, may have had something to do with that). The Elven archer was shooting, and did manage to hit but equally often managed to miss, making a pin-cushion of the building behind them. He did get a good alignment up to not hit any of his companions. The rogue had moved behind Urkon, invisible thanks to Runt, and while would not miss easily, the dagger rarely did damage as the armor absorbed 3 points of damage. What ended up turning the tide was the gargoyle the wizard brought up - it flew over and attacked Urkon, claws scratching and teeth biting.

Urkon was finally vanquished in a puff of smoke - the avatar may return (hey, it's a nice mini :) ).  Runt the wizard had used up all his staff's mana and a good bit of his own, so was a bit wobbly on his feet. No one else took any damage, so perhaps I was too careful with the new players.

At this point, they can rest for a bit as it is only mid-day on a nice fall afternoon. I gave out 120 XP each as they played within character and defeated the avatar. This allows them to bump up a stat, and in the case of Runt the wizard, recharge his staff (it takes XP to recharge if I read the rules, so I wanted to be a bit generous to allow them to improve a bit as well as prepare for the next part).

And the next part: explore the building, maybe find the caverns for a real dungeon crawl, and then hopefully get back up and take the dogs back to Hamor.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Planning the 1 Shot, Part 3

We're going to try again this weekend, barring illness or other interruptions. I've also asked them to generate 2 characters apiece - TFT can be a bit deadly and 2 beginning level characters may not fare so well.

So my huge friend is playing a Dwarf Smith and a Goblin wizard. His 11 year old an Elf archer and a Halfling rogue. I'll have to poke around to see if I have any minis close to those: the Dwarf I have covered, I actually half a Halfling rogue but it is a female. I don't currently have any Elves so will have to do with any archers I may have. And pretty sure not a Goblin to be found. All that will be covered with the Bones V Kickstarter, but alas, that is April of 2021.

I've also worked up the falling apart guard house a bit. I really need to take the time to learn how to use Campaign Cartographer...but I have at least a basic map of the building. I have a lot more respect for those people that can make beautiful maps. I am still fingerpainting...

Bottom floor has the kitchen area. A corner is full of guano - always look up! Upstairs are the barracks and a new alter. Still need to pick a god for the avatar thay they may end up fighting (which is why there are 2 characters apiece). There is a trap door under the staircase that the rogue will hopefully notice. This may lead to a small dungeon I need to work up.

The building is in shambles, and there is light only from the door and the single window on the 2nd floor. Except: the fireplace is still roaring. I'll have the avatar Urkon on the 2nd floor. We will have to roll for surprise - we'll see if they are trying to be sneaky or not.

There may be miscellaneous treasures to be found - I may roll on the random treasure table or bring along the Deck of Many Things for a more humorous treasure. I want this to be fun and memorable, but not set up expectations of riches from the get-go. I also need to remember to bring along some of the coins and maybe even the stamps - if they die we can stamp the sheets. Or if they live...

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Traveller Solo, interlude

My solo experiment definitely took a long hiatus! A few other things kept coming up. One thing I may want to add to the Krim system is a ship inspection. Re-reading Foundations Edge and the experience the main characters have getting through customs, As we left our crew jumping from Preacep to Krim I still need to roll for anything happening during the jump transit, then what happens when they come out of jump at Krim.  I will add to any random roll a customs inspection: they are coming from Imperial space to League space. So time to beef up the Space Patrol, maybe create another ship and crew with that career book, and have an inspection. Hope I roll well on the reaction roll! Hopefully nothing like the image from the book from Stellagama and created by Ian Stead. I think I've had 1 quick overview of that book, maybe I should try and do a more comprehensive review for my 15 followers!

So the plans are to try & re-read that book a bit as it has some interesting things about how the law works on various planets and can add additional chrome. Plus next game it is a possible career choice.

And work up a ship and crew from that book to practice with its career paths. I had to combine that with the Clement rule books to get the entire thing to work, but it does create some detailed characters.

And process the in-jump events, then out of jump for the No Refunds and into League space!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Traveller Kickstarters

I finally got the Traveller 5.10 books, and it is even signed. The cards may have some use if I ever get to an actual T5 game which really seems unlikely. I still have to read over the books at some point. They do come in a really nice slipcase. I did read over part of the combat, and it does seem significantly improved in explaining it than the original and T5.09 versions. I am still a bit confused over character generation and that has always been one of my favorite parts of Traveller. The knowledges and skills I think I can get with a bit more playing around. Just seems a little too much detail perhaps. But skills and knowledges play a more critical part in some of the dice rolls. And like Shadowrun, this is a dice pool game. Not sure I really like that as much fun as it is rolling a handful of dice on the table. But then I have to count things....

It also came in with ship cards that can be used for a ships crew. So now I have the No Refunds crew sort of there, or at least the captain. They are pretty nice as well, but I can actually do better if I need to - last game the players really seemed to like the player cards I made for them.

So in the end: was it worth $150? As a completionist, I would say yes. As a gamer with an low chance of actually playing T5, probably not. I will still mine the game for various things: the combat has some interesting ideas about range and size of the target. A lot less abstract than Classic, so I may yet come to some sort of combat system I actually like in Traveller by combining bits and pieces. I may have to come up with that by early next year as we've another game I'll be refereeing. Still need to find a good starting place.

There is another Mongoose Kickstarter, a large campaign that would take at least a decade of game time. It combines elements of the Great Rift and the Elemental Cruisers. I've decided to actually forgo this one, as much as I would like it. Again - my gaming group would never finish it, I probably will not be able to find another group of people to play face to face and that's where the physical stuff comes in handy (if I back something, I back pretty high to get as much as possible! Give me PDFs and game books!)  While parts of it do look interesting, it is still a campaign which requires a certain amount of railroading despite Mongoose saying it does not (I've got a few of their adventures, and they all require some sort of railroading to get to the end. Guess I am much more a sandbox player). Looking at it from a resource viewpoint, I can see, as with Traveller 5.10, parts would be useful. But the whole of it I just won't use. Plus they want close to $60 just for some pads of paper, pencils and dice. And a patch....seems a bit high for me as much as I would like the patch (to go with the 20+ other patches from various Kickstarters that have rarely seen the outside of the envelope they are in!)

So perhaps I am learning some moderation. Or perhaps it is due to the $350 I just spent on Reaper Bones, which I won't even see until April 2021! And my guess is that I'll be adding more throughout the pledge manager. While I won't collect ALL the dragons, I will get at least 2. I mean, really nicely sculpted dragons of a good size to tower over the adventurers!

Planning the 1 Shot, Part 2

I was fairly well prepared, had my car loaded with the big box of I want It All goodness, and got the text message: the boys are sick, and not allowed to get out while feverish. So I have another week or so to prepare. I did give Nate a Fantasy Trip folder with blank character sheets (I knew there was a reason I bought those folders! TFT Office Supplies should be another Kickstarter!)

I did realize I forgot to bring any coins for the various treasures that may be found, and now I have a chance to create the interior of the tower for the end battle part. So while I was pretty well prepared, now I can be even more (over) prepared!

Longer term, if this goes well, I may introduce one or two of my gaming buddies to the game. But one step at a time - see if they like it and want to continue on with that. While I would like my own son to want to play, I can be satisfied that he at least goes to the gym with me!

I also have a fair number of paper minis. For the 1st game I don't think we need any, and I've got metal or plastic minis for the players. The Dwarf is below, and the roguish Elf I'll use one of the rogues I have.

And when you take a photo of a mini, and it gets large, it is easy to see all the places that need work! I worked pretty hard on the shading and tried to do a bit of highlighting. The beard still needs work. But when it is small it looks pretty good :)

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Planning the 1 Shot, Part 2

I've got the basic premise in place, and I did up a map for the boss fight assuming they get there, I also have a small cast of supporting characters. William was already shown in the last post, this post we'll present the big bad and a possible friend depending on how things are going.

First, the culprit behind the scenes: Urkon the Hunter. A minor deity, not quite a god but more than human. He hunts the woods across Cidri and has recently come to the forests around Hamor. He has picked up a residence in an abandoned watch tower (and somewhere along here we can start developing the history of this area: why is there a watch tower here? Why is it abandoned? But I am getting off track....) Behind the tower he has an area fenced off, full of hunting dogs, including Old Blue. A small stream crosses the path with an intact bridge. There are some foot hills to the south.

Both the below are baed on minis I do have: Urkon is from the Sin Tempore game, Aniron from the learn to paint. See - trying to actually USE those minis I am getting!

Urkon The Hunter

Urkon is an 8' tall hunter, dressed in bronze armor. Once he was an avatar of a warrior god, but he has been granted some freedom to roam. While he still wears the armor, he manages to move with some agility for such a large being. He is still a single hex creature for combat, just barely.

ST 20 DX 16 (adjDX 11) IQ 12 MA 12
Spear 1d+3, Plate Armor (-5 damage)
Spear, 3 languages (common, Dwarf, Elf), Literacy, Naturalist, Woodsman

He carries an magical spear, giving him +2 on damage, so 1d+3 damage. If he throws the spear (and now I need a name (turning to this interesting site that has all sorts of fun generators), I'll go with Attuned Impaler. An ancient weapon crafted by ancient Dwarfs, one of our protagonists, our Dwarf Smith, may recognize it on a 4d vs IQ roll. If so, he will know about the extra damage it can do.

Aniron, Wood Elf

ST 10 DX 16 (adjDX 14) IQ 12
Animal Handling, Vet, Naturalist, Woodsman, Staff II (12 manna), Detect Life, Blur, Staff to Snake, Bow, Pole Weapons

Aniron may turn up if the battle (if there is a battle) starts to go badly. Basically my ace in the hole in the event the 2 players and 1 NPC go to a fight and it goes badly. He will be coming up from the south foothills, tracking down those dogs that have been taken against their will. Basically I do not want a TPK (Total Party Kill). Unless things just go really south!

Planning a 1 Shot

There is no lack of guides for setting up a 1 shot. 1 shots are handy for introducing new players to a game or just having a quick game of something new between a longer running session.

Going by the guidelines set out by the Frank GM here, we need a simple hook, a simple goal, and simple encounters. I don't have any of the background of the players, all two of them, but I do know we'll have 1 blacksmith Dwarf, and one roguish Elf. Normally in the Fantasy Trip Elves and Dwarfs do not get along too well - they only thing they agree on is their opinion of Orcs apparently. However, I know the players both love dogs, so I can wrap a hook around that: the dogs from the village are starting to go missing. A distraught child wailing in the streets should bring the Elf's attention, and the Dwarf, why, his hunting dog Old Blue seems to have disappeared as well. The lad's father, inn keeper of the Fat Pear, one Johann Schmidt, is willing to pay into the pot: several of the villagers have put forward some coinage as a reward to see where the dogs are disappearing to.

Unless one of the two pick up some tracking skills, I may throw in a woodsman NPC to help guide them and maybe play the red shirt should something dangerous come up. And lo, I've created a base character:

William Ask, 18 year old male from the town of Hamor. Farmer, hunter, and general good guy.

ST: 10 DX 12 IQ 10
Talents are Farmer, Area Knowledge, Bow, animal handling and tracking. He actually knows one spell, detect magic, learned from his mother who was a travelling wizard. He has not seen her in years now. His father has a small farm north of Hamor where William lives. He has lost two hunting dogs in the last few weeks and is getting concerned.

They will meet at the inn, where they will see a party of Dwarfs, humans and one very messy Goblin eating (last game for those interested - somewhere on this disorganized blog are those adventures). William is looking a bit lost and this is when Festus comes in, wailing about his lost dog.

The smith, whose forge is a nearby, was trying to have a quiet drink at the end of the day, also worrying about his missing pups.

So, the hook: missing dogs and other animals. Goal: find the missing animals. Encounters: to be determined but I need to scale them to basically 2 players. William may or may not make it out...and he may be wearing a red shirt.

And while I have posted the map before, here's the area involved. This takes place at the Pear Farm, which is basically the village of Hamor. The village consists of the inn, a small smithy, several small houses and surrounding farms. The inn maintains the largest farm where pears for its signature Peary drink are harvested. There is brewery behind the inn, and farther off are various woodsman huts, where wood and timber are cut down to be sent to Edge City to the south. It is an honest little town, where folk come in every few days for a drink and conversation. There are hills and caves to the north and east, a few temples scattered about the woods here and there, mostly deserted and crumbling.

I'll have to read the various publications I've been getting - toss in some fun rumors that have no direct bearing on this story, things like that. Maybe a bit of politics as there is some unrest in the area, and I've never really thought about tiny duchies and whatnot that may have their own laws.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

The Fantasy Trip Overview

I'll be running a game for a friend and his son starting this weekend. As my games run to PG-13 at the worst, pretty sure an 11 year old will be just fine!

First, the broad definition of a role playing game: it is a game where you can take on the persona of a different person and have an adventure. Some games have very extensive rules that can detail just about everything you can do, some are very rules-light. It is at its core improv theater with some rules. And most RPGs have a rule 0: it is YOUR game, play it as you see fit.

Anyway, the Fantasy Trip is a fantasy role playing game, where you can play fantasy races or humans. Unlike a lot of RPGs, there are no classes. And the game is what is called a point buy system: you start with so many points and create the character you want to. There are two basic archetypes that can be played: fighter and magic user. The only difference is in the cost of using those points to get skills or magic. A magic user can learn spells at a cost of basically 1 point per spell; a non-magic user costs 3 times as much. On the other hand, a fighter can learn talents which take at least 1 point at the stated cost, but a magic user has to pay 2 times as much. So you can mix and match talents and spells but it will cost.

Spells are just that: throwing fireballs, creating illusions. Talents are what allow you to swing a sword well, or ride a horse, or even read. A magic user should really learn the literacy talent...

RPG characters are generally composed of stats, which I believe is short for statistics. The Fantasy Trip (TFT) has 3 basic stats: strength, dexterity, and IQ. Strength determines how much you can carry and how large a weapon you can use. Dexterity determines if you can actually hit something with that sword, as well as avoid traps or not fall off the cliff you are climbing. IQ determines your level of spells and talents you can know, and how well you can disbelieve illusions.

TFT is a 3D6 game, that is, it is based on 3 six sided dice. To hit something, you need to roll 3 dice and have a lower total than your dexterity. Dexterity can also be affected by armor: the stronger the armor, the lower your adjusted dexterity but the more protection you have. Armor is a damage soaker: it subtracts from the damage done.

Your base characteristics, ST (strength), DX (dexterity) and IQ (err, IQ), all start at 8 each for a human. You then have an additional 8 points to add however you like to your character. Starting characters start at 32 points (the 8x3 = 24 for the base + the 8 additional points). You can learn up to your IQ level in talents and spells. All characters speak the common tongue; it takes 1 point to learn a new language. Starting characters, as mentioned, can get a total number of spells and talents as their IQ. As you adventure, you gain experience points and can increase your characteristics or learn new talents or spells.

Combat is at the core of most RPGs. Combat in TFT is based on Melee, a microgame of the 70s. Facing matters, distances matter. The board is made of hexes, and friendly fire can happen. If you shoot an arrow and miss, it keeps going, If anyone is in that line, you have to roll to see if it hits that person. Spells work in the same process: roll 3 dice, if less than your DX you succeed. Spells do take fatigue ST from you, though, so early on you have to be cautious with your magic. Later, if you have the staff spell or a power stone, you can store magical energy to be used later.

Healing is a lot harder in TFT versus a lot of games. You can heal 1 point of damage every day or so. Healing potions are pretty rare by the rules although I have had games where payment was sometimes via magical healing potions.

Now, for the game we're doing the father wants to be a Dwarf Smith. Dwarfs start with ST 10, DX 6 and IQ 8 with 8 points. He is probably going to want the armourer talent, which is an IQ 10 talent. So at least 2 points will go to IQ. And he will want some fighting talents, such as knife, sword. Being a Dwarf, probably the ax/mace talent. And the shield talent. And maybe additional skills such as alertness, animal handling to help with the shoeing, maybe business sense if he is running his own forge!

The son wants to play a dark elf. Elves in TFT are your typical Elves. They start with ST 6, DX 10 and IQ 8 with 8 additional points. He is going to want leather armor probably that absorbs some damage and subtracts 1 from DX. They also have a higher movement allowance than humans. If in the roguish style, he may want to pick up the dark vision spell to be able to see in the dark, and lock.knock spell that allows him to magically unlock magical or mundane locks. A few weapon skills, and some stealth skills, and things like alertness.

We'll spend the 1st part designing characters, although I hope to loan them one of my books so they can read over it the next few days. Being an 11 year old I think it will read more than I have and tell me how to play!

I may start this one off from my last map - there are some good potential adventures there. And we can scale them for a 2 party of beginning adventurers so it won't be insta-kill.

Monday, November 04, 2019

New Links

For some reason I am on a link-adding spree. Just added Traveller Jim, which has some cool posts. And somehow they are from the future! Not sure what is going on but he has posts from 2020 and beyond! And I am going to have to find a use for the armed shuttle

Armed Shuttle

Saturday, November 02, 2019

Painting Interlude

While participating in the Reaper Bones V Kickstarter, and ending up spending more than I thought I would, with the full knowledge I will be spending even more over the next several months while the pledge manager is open, I bought one of their learn to paint sets. This was the layering set, and it comes with 3 minis and the directions on how to paint them as well as the paints.

I started with the easy one, Aniron the Wood Elf Wizard. Laying is more subtle than I expected, but easy to do when following the directions. Coming up with the colors to combine myself will only take time and practice. I am actually pretty happy with how he came out. While the washes I also use do some of the same things, actual shading and highlighting by varying the paint seems to work out better. I need to improve my wash technique some more, but that is true of all my painting techniques.

For a paint review, I cannot say that the Reaper paints are significantly better than the cheap acrylics I get for about 1/10 the cost at Wal-Mart. With the techniques I am learning and practicing we'll see if they are indeed any better. They do have really good names, and there are colors I cannot get otherwise (pretty sure the paint stores will not carry a color named Fresh Blood!) so there is a significant higher variety. After I've worked a few more painting sprees I'll probably be better able to compare paints.

I also started following back on some of the people who are following me - hello people! There are some good posts out there, and without the extra push we got from Google Plus sometimes it feels we're talking to the void. For me that's okay as most of my ramblings are just that, ramblings. I do have my game notes here as well for the games I am playing but some of my fellow players are not quite as on-line as I am.

I also feel I need to be more productive in these posts and not just ramble. You know, helpful hints to gamers and things. Except that there are already so many of those. The newest blog I added a link to is the Frank GM. More general fantasy gaming, but good advice. The other blog I added today deals with the Solomani Rim. I've never played Traveller there - pretty much the Marches or MTU. There is some interesting posts there as well. As my next game (yay!) is in the Rift area, we will be closer to the Solomani Sphere so some background may be useful.

The blue is the stick stuff I use to stick the mini to the tube I use to paint with. I even use a wet palette, which for the Reaper paints thins them out more. I had to adjust the directions a bit for when they add water as the paints are already on a fairly damp surface. The advantage is that the paint stays usable much longer. Acrylics dry out really fast.  For a wet palette, I took the advice of one of the videos I watched. Used a container, stick a paper towel in it, get it wet, drain out the excess and stick a piece of parchment paper on top. As I also bake (I have a weakness for muffins!) I actually have parchment paper. Reusing a yogurt container, so being thrifty!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Traveller 2020 Game Prep, version 0.1

Just starting to think about what I'm going to do with the next game. As this will be the 4th game I've run for the club, I've created the book cover below from the wonderful  ZhodaniSpace website.

I do know it will be out on the Great Rift someplace as I need to use those supplements I bought. And there should be some Element Cruisers in there. I've got to get with everyone to see what sort of game they want to play from the previous list.

My next steps are to read some of those supplements to find a good starting spot, then do my normal overboard world background information dump that no one reads but is fun to generate.

I've also been reading the blog from the Frank GM which has some interesting ideas. While aimed more towards fantasy, they do apply. Hopefully I've added those websites to the bloglist on the right as they are quite useful.

Edit: so it IS the Great Rift, not Great Reft. Reft actually means: past tense of reave. I'll have to generate a new cover!

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Traveller Game 2020

Looks like I will be running a Traveller game January and February of next year. The general consensus was for a new game and Classic / OTU. So somewhere in the existing Traveller universe. As I have these wonderful maps of the Great Reft, I believe we'll go out there somewhere on the edge of the edge of the Imperium. And somehow throw in those Element Class Cruisers.

Most of the people have played before, either with me or in years past. For those who have not, I found a really nice 2 page summary of Traveller on the Ace and the Dog site, It is a good overview and more succinct than I would have had. We've yet to decide on a theme, so I'll generate another survey for that. Seeing as I only got 3 responses from the last one asking for a Traveller or Fantasy Trip game, the few who like the internet will hold sway!

But basically you can have a general theme to start out with at least. While I do sandbox games where the player characters can do anything they really want to, it helps to have a general consensus of the sort of game to start off with. Using the Mongoose book skill packages as a good starting point, we have:
  •  general Traveller - wandering the universe with no real goal in mind. This is where the classic Patron encounters can really come into play. 
  •  Mercenary, focusing on heavy combat oriented games. I'll admit I am not particularly good at running these, having no real background in military doctrine (I got into role playing because, while I really like playing games, I have no tactical nor strategic abilities!)
  •  Traders - buying cheap and selling high, then still having to take on interesting jobs to make the mortgage. Firefly is the shining example of this style of game (and rumor has it that Whedon played Traveller in college and Firefly is basically from that)
  •  Explorers - your Scouts and research people. Can be hard to play for those who don't enjoy getting into world building.
  •  Diplomat - government operatives, and I would go as far to say Black Ops could fit into this so I can see a split party of high ranking people aligned with not so high ranking...
  •  Investigator - jinkies, figuring out things. Another genre I would have hard time refereeing
  •  Criminal - lead a life of crime, one step ahead of the coppers
  •  Bounty / privateer - not actually in the Mongoose books, but definitely a possible way to go. I have several deck plans that would work for bounty hunters.
I do like the skills package idea and the concurrent character generation to somehow link the characters together before the game even starts. The skills package is a nice bonus to even out skills. Two games back two players only went through 1 term, so they did not really get the characters they wanted (I was allowing them to start all over and they could have gone on the different careers, but they did not). 

A Note on Psionics

I am not a big fan of this, but if a player wants to try this we can. Note that psionics "age". Unless you are a Zhodani, psionics is feared and illegal in the Imperium. Your abilities will decline as you age unless you get training. So a possible adventure is the search for a psionic institute before any ability you have goes away. You start with 2D6 potential, and every 4 years after 18 it decreases (can't recall how much, only that it does). This is not a Star Wars game with the Force, but ostensibly a hard SF game. 


As for races, I allow the following races to be played. The problem with playing the non-human races is that the players really need to read the books or something to get into the characteristics of that race and not just play furry humans. Sometimes it is hard to step outside of yourself.


Human. Within humanity there are various origins:
  •  bog standard Imperial. 
  •  Vilani. A bit conservative :) 
  •  Solomani. Better than everyone else, and they do uplifting
  •  Zhodani. A peaceful psionic race. Would be an interesting challenge to play
Aslan. There is a strong sexual dimorphism between males and females. Males do not do scientific type of work and are primed for physical battle and acquiring lands. Females handle negotiations and technical things. Do not be disturbed if the Aslan calls all pilots female...A stereotype is the noble samurai. 

Vargr. Your dog-based species. Mongoose splits it up a bit more than my preference with 3 main types. But basically your chaotic, pack-based mentality. 

Droyne. Relatively rare, and the player type most likely to be used would be a Sport. This would require the player (and me!) to read up a great deal on them. They are small, usually winged reptile-like with hidden psionic abilities. Lots of rumors on them.

Not playable.

Races that are not great for playing and I probably won't allow unless a strong case can be made for it include:

Hivers. A manipulative race, very technologically advanced in robotics. A pentapod that uses gestures and translating devices to speak. I just don't know enough to be able to referee them well.

K'Kree, the militant vegan centaurs. First, the player would have to play an entire family as a solitary K'Kree is by definition crazy. And secondly they are extremely claustrophobic and there is no way you could get them to enter any human building or ship just about.

And more

Additionally, I have several other races that possibly could be played (Virushi, Ael Yeal are interesting choices and I have played them way back in the day), as well as a few others. And if a player wants to create an alien race we can do that. Within reason of course. I could even see uplifted apes or bears as they are canonical. 


A lot depends on what sort of game the players want to play. But I think any of the below are good. I seem to collect career books!

Pre-career options:
 Medical College (somewhere I've got rules on that)
 Military College
 Navy College

 Army (support, infantry, calvary)
 Navy (line/crew, Engineer/gunner, Flight)
 Marine (support, Star Marine, Ground Assault)
 Space Patrol

 Scout (courrier, survayor, explorer)
 Scientist (field researcher, scientist, physician)

Adventurer (Hunter, Pioneer, Relic Raider)
Agent (law enforcement, corporate goon, intelligence)
Arts (artist, collector, critic)
Belter (asteroid miner, prospector, worker) - at least 2 different career versions available
Bounty Hunter (hunter, repossession, support)
Citizen (corporate, colonist, worker)
Clergy (evangelist, minister, monk)
Craftsperson (architect, tradesperson, labor)
Drifter (Barbarian, Wanderer, Scavenger)
Entertainer (artist, journalist)
Fringe Marketer (black market, fence, pawnbroker)
Gambler (casino, sports, track)
Instructor (professor, teacher, tutor)
Investigator (not quite Agent; forensics, inspector, PI)
Merchant (Free Trader, Line, Mega, Merchant Marine, Corporate Shipper[crew, engineer, gunnery])
Noble (administrator, diplomat, dilettante)  - requires 10+ social)
Organized Crime (hitman, enforcer, operator)
Other (rogue: thief, enforcer, pirate)
Police (beat cop, patrol, strike force)
Politician (candidate, manager, operative)
Port Authority (control, inspection, stevedore)
Prostitute (prostitute, hetaerae, streetwalker. here for completeness?)
Psionic (*)
Scavenger (junker, picker, restorer)
Skyport Authority (aka port authority, I've at least 2 character systems for this)
SORAG (Zhodani intelligence *)
Surface Navy
Thief (con artist, hacker, intruder)
T5 Careers (I've not gone through these enough to generate characters easily, and T5 is not really compatible with Mongoose / Classic that we'll be playing. But we can adjust as necessary somehow)

Shadowrun Van

Looking around, I did find the official image of the fairly expensive van Jupiter has. It is a bland sort of van but really good stats. He did manage to drive it cross country and arrive alive after all. The quote from the site I found says:

Bigger and more powerful than it needs to be, this luxury van is the top-of-the-line in its class, and just as much of a status symbol as the Bentley. On top of that, it packs intimidating size and all the accessories for cruising through the wilderness. Or, more commonly, through elite urban neighborhoods. This expensive vehicle is gaining more and more popularity with discreet security details for its combination of status and security. 

3 5 3 15 12 2 4 3 10 68,000¥ Core

Now, this one is a tad beat up, and does have a Boris or Frazeata air-brush style painting on the side of a Viking on a Pegasus or unicorn. We're currently at what appears to be a high-end fixer, so I'm aiming towards armoring up and expanding my small, and recently diminished, fleet of drones. If you can call 2 drones a fleet. Although it may already be fairly well armored, but not knowing the Shadowrun rules not sure how a 12 stands up.

The official image is:

Poking around there are some other vans that I'll have to ask about that I think look a bit closer to what I have in mind. While the 1st is a fire truck, it would have the space for drones. I imagine my arial drones are on a roofrack that is also a charger, and the Lynx drone folds a bit but does take a chunk of space in the rear area. The 2nd van down is pretty close and may work. And finally, that last one is really interesting - a "van" if you stretch the definition, but with a variable payload or stripped down for some real speed I would imagine.

Next post I'll try & find som Vikings on mythical beasts. There was also an interesting email exchange for the 8 track sound track system installed. Magic-proof and matrix-free so no elf-induced feedback to worry about. Just the pure sounds of Tin Lizzie apparently...

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Shadowrun game

We've started a game of Shadowrun. I am playing Jupiter Jones, a human rigger. And, as everyone knows, I tend to get carried away with background (which is why I want to come back to previous games, but so far, in the few years I've been playing more actively with my current group, I've yet to continue a characters journey.).

Regardless, I've created 4 SIN cards for my character, 3 with matching drone registration cards, a real card, and a drivers license. Our story is taking place in Atlanta of 2075. Not a great place to be, and all we eat is soy apparently due to massive food shortages or something.

So for those who may recognize the name, Jupiter Jones was one of the three main characters in a series of books, the Three Investigators. As I was not sure if I was going to play male or female, the name works either way. But chose male. Looking for some character art and found one that was close enough to what I was looking for. Sorry I can't attribute it - one of the issues I have with Pinterest is that we don't always get to see where the image is from!  Regardless, he does have a proficiency for jury rigging and loves junk yards. I want to make one of the junk yards in Atlanta his lair. Not a great one, but a place to park his sweet van with a pegacorn and Viking painted on the sides, and plush shag carpeting inside. No, he does not get many dates.

The drones will be named for various characters in the books. As I've not read them in 40+ years, it is Wikipedia to the rescue. The lynx drone is Bobby. I need to get back to my character sheet and work that up a bit more.

But, here is the card sheet which I'll probably print on card stock and have ready for the game.

For what SIN cards are, I found this link to be useful: wiki

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Weekend catchup: Tracker, solo Traveller, and more!

So the weekend slipped by faster than expected. I did manage some light yard work, scrubbed the basement bathroom, and washed the bamboo floors upstairs. So housework was out of the way. I managed to start painting a few of the Sine Tempora game's minis, but I fear badly. I really need to watch some more instructional videos and slow down. I did order a "learn to paint" kit from Reaper along with some minis. Broke the $40 part so free shipping and a free mini along with the paints and their guide. We will see if those paints work any better than the 50 cent acrylics I get a Wal-Mart.

I also managed to get the Traveller Core version to work as it was, and some research indicated that yes, I can distribute the whole thing as a single exe. There are 3 options, and I'll go for the smaller of them which assumes you have the .NET Core installed on your local machine. If you keep up with the MS updates, that should be the case. I suppose we'll find out at some point. I still want to style the big main menu buttons, and for some reason the images are not showing up there. I will hopefully get that figured out, and may put the exe file out there for others to see what happens. Just because it works on my machine...

The Traveller solo game has slowed down, so I decided to expand out a bit more for Krim. The pilot's guide has been slightly expanded, and I've added a high-tech medical company, Meditech LLC (no, not an imaginative name). Created a bad logo and will have the company overview posted below. There will be more adventures of the No Refunds and her crew, just need to get more motivated.

And finally, I've also stalled on the Death Test game I was solo playing. Want to get back to that but time and motivation don't seem to overlap for many of the things I want to get done.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Traveller Tracker - Core Edition?

So when I got the new computer, part of the process was also installing .NET core (and don't even try to keep up with all the .NET naming. While I know I am horrible at naming things, MS tends to be all over the map).  Anyways...for some reason the previous project thought it was and was not .NET Core. I was targeting the most recent Windows .NET which is 4.7, and honestly, while it will be around a while is really at end of life as they move everything to the unified "this will work on everything" process (which they tried originally with the UWP: write it and make sure the view ports were flexible enough and it would run on Windows computers, tablets, Xbox and phones. If you are not in the development world: it pretty much died. )

Anyway, I spent another hour trying to get the packages to work (the packages are libraries. In Ruby, they are gems, on C they are libraries, and that's about all the languages I use that use packages). I could not get it to work.  So, moving on to a new version. Again. With .NET Core. I've got it almost back to where it was (which was not too far anyway). There seems to be some difference in the Entity Framework (one way of talking to the backend database for the program). There is that final piece and I should be good to go again.

One of the advantages of moving to the newer framework is that in theory I think I can generate a single .exe file that is the whole thing: no installers, just download and run. In theory...if so, that would solve the biggest issue I have - getting it to run for other people. Not that there is a high demand for this, but hey.

And just to preen a bit: the last computer would take at least 2 minutes to load the project. The new computer has the IDE (integrated development environment where I can write the code, debug and run it) on the boot SSD and it is ready to go in less than 5 seconds. Having an SSD and twice the memory (16GB vs the 8GB) makes a huge difference for a lot of things.

Hopefully I will have some time to get that going this weekend and another post. I want to actually make those square buttons more SF like - chop off an edge or something.

And also, I've joined the Reaper Bones V Kickstarter. I fear I will spend far too much money for minis now that I am starting to paint them. Just have to actually USE them in a game...going for the core set and just bumped up for 2 expansions. As the pledge manager will be open for a long time afterward I fear I will have far too many minis. But I need those dragon columns! And that Greek expansion set - oh my!

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Shadowrun - Session 0

With 5 people and 2 books, character creation was an interesting challenge. Plus the 5th edition books tend to not be well organized, and instructions somewhat vague and spread across multiple pages. 

Regardless, I did manage to get my Rigger, Jupiter Jones, set up. Background from before knowing anything about the mythos and world of 2075 Shadowrun:

Jupiter Jones from Rocky Beach, CA originally. Dumpster/junk yard diver to create interesting drones. Should have high IQ and technical/mechanical background skills, perhaps socially awkward. Per conversations should be early-mid 20's.  Moving to game location due to a "request" from local authorities to prevent him from "looting" various dumps.
Will name his drones Petey, Bobby and other names from (I think I read most if not all of those back in elementary school). Has an affinity for creating "lairs" in junkyards.
I'll post the stats later, but as I picked the most money, we'll add he comes from an above average middle class family. I did get a sweet van and 3 drones, still have money left over. The van is going to have a pegasus painted on the side, either a Boris or Frazetta inspired air brush image. I may do that with all the drones - I also picked artisian as a skill.  Also picked jury-rigging and a few other skills to make my background work. I still think I prefer random character generation, but I can see the appeal of designing a character to specs within a limited array of choices.

Here's a Boris Pegasus to see where this is going. Pretty sure they will be shag carpeting, beaded curtains as well.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

The Fantasy Trip Pantheon: Mim, God of Rain

Mim, God of Rain

Mim is the 1st son of Monta, God of the Elements, and Alamia, Goddess of the Earth. While Dwarves are the most attuned to Mim and Alamia, many other races venerate these gods as well. The ancient histories indicate that Mim created the Dwarven race. Whether or not this is true, it is what the orthodox Dwarves believe. Humans tend to think the God of Rain is why Dwarves are often so dour.

Mim does not have any particularly required devotions or holy events, so most adherents tend to make their own up. Mim will often send his avatars throughout the world, and there is always an aspect of water to these visitations (see Mim's Herald) Mim tend to the soulful, but is also the bringer of life: without the rains, life would soon cease to exist. He is known to bestow graces upon his clerics, and has answered farmers' prayers for rain, or even to cease the rain. 

He will rarely get vengeful but when he does, he brings down elements of his father upon those who have enraged him. 

Dwarves will more often prayer to his mother, Alamia, Goddess of Earth. Yet they also have respect for Mim and his life giving rain. They just prefer the earth in many ways. Often their underground shrines have aspects for both Mim and Alamia. 

The symbol that most adherents use is the knife on a cross, the knife being a vine encrusted hilt. It is often in a pool of running water in most shrines, open to the skies for rain to fall upon it. The saints for this religion, when done in statuary, are standing in a bowed position, arms outstretched as to receive the rains. They are depicted in armor, hands free of gauntlets but wearing rings. Usually guarded by 3 wizards for an active shrine or temple, those in neglect often are protected by wizard's spells to protect any holy items. As per the mid-winter festival that meet in the grove, offerings are not only ale and other grain-based drinks, but also leaves and flowers.

Prayers to Mim can bring down the rains, and higher level clerics may be able to ask for lightening and flash floods. Mim can also stop the rains - he does not generally mess with nature's own rhythms but may as needs arise. 

From Pinterest, could not find the original post


At the junction of a smaller path heading west, the adventurers see the pillar of water with the frolicking puppies. The avatar, its voice bubbling with emotion, pleads with the crew to visit the temple of the grove.

"Please, my lord Mim can no longer hear the priest who was in the midst of our mid-fall festival. The prayers were suddenly silenced and we fear nefarious intentions." The puppies, who were playing about the base of the flowing water column, stop and growl. They are amazingly cute. Mim's avatar continues: "I am the Beloved of Mim, and alas, whilst I can communicate his holy words, I cannot see what has happened."

Should the adventurers ask, the avatar will indicate that the grove is only a few miles down that path. It is not wide enough for the horse and cart (our group is with the Dwarf Mage and her protector, Heinrich, along with another pony pulling a cart piled with timber and barrels of peary). If they ask what is in it for them, the Herald will first wave its tentacles in the air, the puppies looking up at the adventurers with wide, puppy eyes. "I am but a poor herald, a voice among many. A young voice that fears I have nothing for you."  If pressed, the tentacles will droop, and one will move into the flowing column of water and bring out one of the treasures from the Deck of Many Things (another KS I did; feel free to drop in any small treasure. But by golly I want to USE those things I keep getting!).

The path to the grove is winding. The mage and her guard will stay with their wagon and wait for perhaps an hour or two. The other cart will continue its journey to Edge City. This is also the place where I can bring in other players: there could have been all sorts of people staying at that inn for whatever reason.  The adventurers will hear the sounds of birds and squirrels in the trees at first, but as they approach the temple in the grove, the sounds seem to dwindle until there are no more natural sounds. They come upon what appears to be the grove, a small, square building with a well outside in rough but serviceable shape. There appears to be a small garden outside the door, and a couple of chickens scratching in the dirt. There are trees and brush, and a well-worn area near a statue. Looking past the statue, then can see what appears to be a cleric tied to the tree.

At this point, start with the attacks. Have any scout-like character roll to hear for anything - a succesful roll indicates roll to initiative as normal, else the thieves will have the initiative for the 1st round.

The thieves are a mix of humans and goblins, ill-dressed and ill-armed. There will be 1d6 more attackers than adventurers, and they will be 32 point people. There are a lot of 32 point fighters out there - use some of them. Armor will be limited to leather, and there will be no fine or magic weapons. There are 1d6 coppers per brigand (they are poor thieves) and the weapons and armor are ill-made and not worth anything.

When the battle concludes, assuming the adventurers are the winners, they can release the priest. He is an elderly human male, tonsured.

"We were starting the feast of thanks when those brigands arrived." The group may notice that there appear to be no other supplicants around. "Oh,", says the priest. "It is just Gerty and Francine for this feast this week." He points to the chickens. "It is the peary harvest and people get busy. Mim is not so picky to require a full house other then the mid-winter celebrations."  He is bruised, battered, and first aid would help.  

The cottage aka temple is a rough-built square house with a thatched roof, a simple table with two candles and an open book. A small chest is to the left of the table, and a bed to the right of the door. 

"I am Reginald Oosterman, and I give my thanks to you for saving me." He rummages about in the small chest and brings out what looks to be a small knife. "As Mim gave this to me when I saved a young lass, I can grant you this knife as well."  It is a small dagger, the hilt appearing to have vines wrapped around it. It is blessed to do +1, so does 1d6 damage. It may fetch $20 rather than the normal $10 a dagger costs. "This, and a feast of thanks." Outside next to the well, on a stump, is a small meal. While enough for 1 frail old man, it would be just a few bites each for the group. But Reginald will be insulted if they don't partake of the meager portions he sets aside for each player. 

If the adventurers check out the brigands, other than smelling bad and having nothing of value, each of them has an intersesting tatoo on their right forearm. It is a snake wrapped around a sword and what looks to be a rune or writing in a language no one here can read. Reginald has no idea what this could mean or say either. 

If anyone makes a 4D roll against IQ, they may recall seeing that painted on some of the walls in the caves they were mushroom hunting in. They are part of a larger group...

Reality Trip part II

New computer, everything seems to be installed and back to working. Except: for some reason the Traveller Tracker program is having issues (nuget, aka the package manager, seems unable to find some of the packages). It is probably a solvable issue and I did spend some time on it but after more than an hour, got nowhere. There are, of course, several options: keep trying that, start fresh and maybe the transition will be okay, or just stop entirely. It has been a bit more difficult to do software in my spare time lately, I think part of it is that I am just tired of coding after almost 40 years of doing this. Could be a mid-life crisis! So off to a new hobby - painting miniatures! :)

I plan on working out at least one of the gods of my little corner of Cidri, expanding on the avatar I did a few weeks ago. I'll try & actually make a mini-game, something with maps, encounters, all that. Try my hand at writing a generic OSR module. If I got good enough, maybe aim to get one done at least once a month, switching between Traveller & The Fantasy Trip. We'll see.

So hopefully there will be another post today, extending the map to the shrine and having some encounters along the way.

And there is also interest in Traveller at the gaming group. I'll post an email for the Jan/Feb game slot to see if there is enough interest.

And: a 32" 4K screen is....large for a monitor. But really nice!

Friday, September 27, 2019

Reality Trip

The hard drive on my computer at home decided to die. It was not even 8 years old. Being an all in one sort of thing and being a few years old, rather than replace the drive I am going PC shopping this weekend. Need to bump up the specs a bit more as I still use Visual Studio and several graphics programs that would benefit (8GB works but it could be better). So 16GB, at least an I7 of recent vintage, and an SSD for at least the boot drive with maybe an additional SATA drive for slower storage. And I will get better about backups - last one was at least 6 months ago. And supposedly I am an IT person (well, I am a developer, and all my source code is safe up in Github, so there is a back up!)

Good news is most of my stuff I save on-line. Not even sure what is on that hard drive, but I'll probably pull it from the machine and maybe get an enclosure to get access to it if possible.

Bad news is I have to reinstall everything, including Heaven & Earth, the 20+ year old Traveller software that still worked for me running in XP service pack 3 compatibility, And i need to find the installers for the various planet generation software, Campaign Cartographer, all those fun things.

So my already spotty updates may be spottier as I really don't think I'll find what I want this weekend, and even if I do, there will be hours spent reinstalling software and configuring the system to work the way I want it to.

So, digging through my on-line storage, here are some images of Krim, a high tech world in the League of Independent Worlds. Sadly, the color mapping was one of the things on that hard drive - that program can use color maps, so I took the Mars mapping and added some additional layers for a more interesting color. But I do have all the seeds for the various planets saved online I think - each planet has its own directory with everything related to that planet stored there.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Fantasy Trip Pantheon

Resurrecting some old notes (as in 35+ year old notes - somehow I managed to hold on to a lot of handwritten, drawn and typed stuff from the halcyon college days!).  The pantheon of my fantasy world with a bit of stuff added to see if I can work with it.

There are 5 primary gods and goddesses, who between them only have eight gods and goddesses of the next level. I would think there may be a bunch more gods and goddesses, demi-gods and demi-goddesses that are not listed. Sort of an open-game world: establish the big structures and everyone can fill in things as they want.

And apparently various races are more directly connected to the gods and goddesses. Not to say that there is 100% compliance, but at a guess, if you worship "your" god you may get better results. Not really sure what I was thinking at the time.

The big five are Tionna, God of All Living Things. While that covers a lot of ground, we'll just go with that. His wife or consort is Blizria, Goddess of All Demons. A ying-yang of the celestial world perhaps. Blizria was also attached to Slamia, God of Might. Guess a burley, he-man of a god. Monta is God of the Elments, and married to Alamia, Goddess of the Earth. I imagine a hippy god couple here...

Tionna and Blizria have two children: Tona, Goddess of the Lesser Creatures. Druids tend to pray to her a lot. Tinma is the God of Plants, and apparently female warlocks have an affinity with him.

Blizria and Slamia also have two children, Bizmia, Goddess of Fire. Demons and imps really like her. Her sister is Blaon (and I have a typo in the document below), and is goddess of lightening. Ogres and giants dig her.

Monta and Alamia have four children: Mim, God of Rain. Dwarves are apparently attuned to Mim. Maion is the God of Wind, and Elves appear to be attached to that particular god. Miniatria is Goddess of Air (and how that differs from wind exactly is a celestial question!), and is favored by pixies and fairies. Aronius is Goddess of the Land and the Centaurs truly believe in her.

Now - the race/creature affinity grew out of which miniatures I had at the time (and still have). So that is part of the explanation.

I'll have to write up more aspects of the gods and goddesses as well - I think the next adventure I get to DM, that avatar from a previous post may belong to Mim or  one of his progeny, and it may be his temple or grove that has been messed with in some way.  Maybe throw in some of the other things I keep getting: deck of silly things has some good treasures, and the Delayed Game blasts also have some really fun things. I need to make the adventures more fun and out there. I tend towards the conservative in gaming it seems, and really need to learn to let go.

Pear Farm

Here is where our Fantasy Trip adventure had their mushroom adventure. Decided there may be more in the woods and forests round the tiny farmstead/village. After rolling up the avatar a few days ago, I've stuck it in the fork in the road and added the Temple of the Grove. I'll see about writing up my old pantheon today or tomorrow.

I don't think I ever played TFT much back in college, it was mostly D&D with the main group, and Traveller with the sub-group. Traveller I liked as it was in the vein of proto-Traveller and a lot simpler, and anything could go. My primary character ended up with a 200 ton Scout ship with an artificial intelligence, a short range transporter system and the eternity chip (Merchants and Merchandise: expensive but would repair your ship), a deadly speeder designed with Striker and really based on the Blade Runner cars. That ship was TL 17 for some things: the AI was a true AI and of course transporters are way up there. And, due to an accident, both legs were bionic, giving him endurance F. Not sure I would allow a lot of that until a LOT of playing had gone on now.  And of course, I was reading a lot of the Well Worlds series so that character's name was Nathan Brazil. Interestingly, Jack Chalker, the author, I believe lived in Norfolk at the time, and I was going to Old Dominion University. I believe he showed up for various local cons, but I could well be misremembering.

My point being both games were fairly straightforward and simple in mechanics. It was only later that Traveller got significantly more complicated (and T5 is significantly more complicated!) Probably why I've backed the Fantasy Trip so much: rules are pretty straightforward and easy for anyone to pick up. I'll have those game aids for combat when the Decks of Destiny show up, and most of that is also on the DM screen and various other places.

Not really happy with this map: I had some issues with the layers getting wonky and the affects being odd. But I wanted a smaller 25x10 mile map and the overland maps are all 1000 miles wide...

Still not done with it but figured I would get something out there today. Seeing as I now somehow have all of 13 followers :)

Saturday, September 14, 2019

The Fantasy Trip, a side trip with a religious herald

While we've not yet returned to the Fantasy Trip adventure, the group will be heading back to Edge City, probably along with a cart bearing a fair amount of lumber and several peary casks (peary is a drink made of fermented pears. It was the only alcohol served at the inn they were at, what with all the pear trees in the back). I really hope we can continue that adventure: the place where we are at we can add or remove new player characters pretty easily.

Anyway, one of the (far too many) Kickstarters I backed was The Lesser Key to the Celestial  Legion, a sort of do-it-yourself religion book. Finally decided to roll up at least a herald to one of the many religions on Cidri, at least one of the ones in my part of that immense world.  I actually have an entire pantheon from the college days, so will try & get that in here at some point.

So, after rolling on the many interesting tables, the herald that came up is a 6 foot column made of water, with metallic eyes and very long tentacles. It has wolf puppies around it as this is a 1st level herald. Not that TFT actually has levels per se, but going with a low-level herald. The religious symbol for this god or goddess is a stone cross with a plant-encrusted knife planted in the middle of it. There are two religious aspects for this religion: ancestor worship and quiet prayers. Probably to the delight of the players, the sacrifice is wine, mead or ale. The religious texts are painted on linen cloth. There is only 1 celebration a year in the winter, celebrating a martyr's death. Costumes and masks are worn starting at midnight for 3 days in a grove, starting with the 1st full moon of winter. The odd relics are petrified toes of the martyr, which can grant +1d3 save against poison as well as +1d3 for a divine aid check (which I am not sure how that would translate to TFT but we can wing it). The toes are usually in a stone cross and knife reliquary.

So a distinct possibility is for the group to meet this young six foot column of water on the way back to the city, asking for aid perhaps in recovering the petrified toes, or investigating something.

And yes, I do need to get back to Traveller, the primary reason for this blog. But I've been side-tracked a lot lately by various other things. Including dying in yet another attempt at Death Test...

the spiders in the chest actually did 4 points of damage to 1 character. A bad start for the 1st room!

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Miniatures Painting

I watched a couple of videos so far, and have started painting minis after a few decades...big difference is back in the day it was enamel paints. Now I am using admittedly cheap acrylics (50 cents a bottle) and some more expensive shaders/inks for post painting.

Some things I think came out well, some not so well. But as I am just starting, practice should hopefully improve what I am doing.

The last few games I've tried to get a mini to represent my character. Sadly, most of our games don't get down to any tactical level for the most part - theater of the mind. Although I had some difficulty with envisioning how all 6 players managed to attack a mimic door in a narrow corridor that was only 5 feet wide... This is why I really like The Fantasy Trip (and why some of my group does not): you need to think tactically a bit more. After some friendly fire hits last game we played, the players were a bit more careful about bows and line of sight!