Adventures in Skyraiders of the Floating Realms

This post is a follow-up post to yesterday’s Skyraiders of the Floating Realms (which will be known as Skyraiders from now on to save my typing fingers :D) which explains how the adventuring format works. This is light of the first adventure stretch goal, The Edge of the World, being funded.

Adventure format in Skyraiders

Player’s Introduction

What the character’s know at the beginning of the adventure and what the Referee should quickly impart.

Referee’s information

This section gives the backstory of the adventure and explains what is going on.

The Adventure

This section is the meat of the write-up. It includes:

The Start

The first encounter where the adventure kicks off. In the Edge of the World, this is a dramatic realisation that the sky realm where the characters have peacefully been living for a couple of months has a magical affliction called the Stone Plague, which turns stone to dust very quickly. Since this is happening at a rapid pace, they better get off the island somehow.

Events

This section has a d100 table, of Events, which the Referee rolls on, crossing off events which are one time only. I realised that I tend to do journey type adventures, not dungeon crawls*, but had become somewhat jaded about the write-up and assumption that they are a series of linked events. So I decided to jazz it up by adding a random element to the order that events in the middle take place.

Here’s the one from Edge of the World

D100 Event
01-20 Ambushed by Zarks!
21-30 A Stone Giant Blocks the Way
31-50 An offer by the Twisted Sisters
60-75 Here Comes the Hard Rain
76-86 This Boat is for Ducks Only
86-90 I’m the King!!
91-00 The Sky Realm is Falling and I want my Mommy.

After the table, I then describe the encounters themselves.
And here’s This Boat is for Ducks only

This Boat is for Ducks Only
As a rule, most sky boats will not accept Ducks, believing old wives tales that they are responsible for the current state of the world and are therefore very very bad luck. The characters come across a sign that says “DUCKS!!! Get of this rock here, 2 gold pounds courtesy fee”. Next to it is a rather rough-looking sky sailor who is helping a duck family (mum and dad + three ducklings) into a small flying boat, more a dingy about three metres long. In the boat is another sky sailor and all the duck’s possessions in travel cases. This pair of Sky Pirates, Ulfy (on the ground) and Rulfy (in the sky boat), have hit upon the idea that they can pick up the ducks such as these, pretend to give them free passage off Askor, and instead chuck them off the boat when they are in the sky. Will the characters work out what they are up to and help the ducks?

 

Sky Pirates HP 12 AV 1d4 (Leather), Damage 1d8, Fight (Cutlass, Crossbow) 45%, Magic 35%, Movement 45%, Senses 55%, Social 35%.

See the creature stats for the Sky Pirates? That’s the new concise stat-block I’m using for Sky Raiders. I had a great realisation a couple of months ago. That the typical D100 stat-block, as you see in OpenQuest for example, is a significant barrier to writing adventures. Because its a big clunky thing where you are effectively rolling up a cut-down or full version of a player character. It’s also challenging to format during layout, and there’s a lot of information that doesn’t get used. So I came up with this format, along with monster creation guidelines that support it, so creating useable creatures isn’t a royal pain in the ass. Its fully explained in Skyraiders Zero Edition.

The events also it’s not an exhaustive list, the Referee can add stuff based upon what the players are doing, or from their inspiration. Also, you don’t have to use all the event’s, and I reckon a good four-hour session by having the Start and End (see below) events, plus three events from the events. Also if you think rolling for event’s is a load of nonsense you can treat it as a linear list, with events turning up in order. But I think there’s a lot of reusability in rolling randomly, and also the order of events can make a big difference of how the adventure plays out.

Note * Although I intend to address how Skyraiders does dungeoneering since Sky Valuts – adventure locations of underground chambers filled with loot are a big part of the setting 🙂

The End

This is the ending of the adventure, and describes the climax with any villains, major and minor, that the characters must overcome to conclude. Because the route that they came here is random, that is a consideration. In the Edge of the World, the fact that they may have previously met Boris the Bad Un, the King of the Sky Realm, or the Twisted Sisters, villainous Sorceresses of the adventure, and they may still be at large is factored into the ending.

Aftermath

For ongoing adventure series, this final section details any rewards and penalties that carry forward, and any adventure opportunities that arise because of the situation.

RIP Terry Jones

So actor/director/comedian/member fo Monty Python Terry Jones died the other day.  To say that the Pythons shows, especially the films were a big influence on British Roleplayers is a massive understatement. He also had a great career post-python as a Historical documentary presenter/maker and his BBC series the Crusades will always stick in my memory as a truthful examination of that period free of the usual propaganda of noble Christian knights fighting a heathen foe in the name of our Lord.

My own tribute, which is in an upcoming OpenQuest book as an example of a Disorganised Religion, was written days before news of his death hit me.

The Flying Circus

Odd, irrelevant, this small disorganised religion flies in the face of convention and order. It emphasises joy of living and travel. Its worshippers can literally learn to fly that allows them to move between the floating land masses of the Flying Realms with ease. The Airship Captains are their guardians and in their flying ships can take worshippers across dangerous sky lanes that are not traversable safely by a solo flyer.

 

Spells: Fly, Golden Tongue, Mischief , Fools Gold.

Guardians:  Airship Captains, Requirement Airsailor 50%+, must own an Airship; Spells: The Crystal Ship.

Tales from the Sorcerer Under the Mountain now on Backerkit until Nov 1st

Missed the Tales from Sorcerer Under Mountain Kickstarter in August because you were on holiday or having just too much fun outside away from the computer?

Well until 1st November its all back (pledge rewards inc stretches, and add-ons) on Backerkit

As a small reminder, the kickstarter funded six stretch goals!  These are availe to pre-order backers if you buy either Tales of the Sorcerer Under the Mountain (OSR Rulebook) or the 5th Edition adventure The Sorcerer Under the Mountain.  

1. Character Portfolio. In pdf form 6 playable characters in both OSR and 5th Edition format.

2. Confessions of an OSR DM, a quick article about moving from OSR editions of the game to 5th Edition.

3. The Castle of Howls, a one on one adventure for 1st level chracters for both OSR and 5th edtion in pdf.

4. Fires from the Deep by Paul Mitchener a full adventure for 3rd level characters for both OSR and 5th Edition in pdf/print.

5. Curse of the Emerald Swan by Neil Shaw  a full adventure for 2nd – 4th level characters  for both OSR and 5th Edition in pdf/print.

6..The Jungles of Ruin by Guy Milner  a full advenure .for 4th level characters

+ Monsters are People Too a pod/pdf of ten detailed npc monsters.in both 5th Edition/OSR versions

+ Sunday Dungeons Short one-page adventures, in both 5th Ed and OSR versions. Available as pdfs after the campaign ends to all backers who have backed the books.

Coming soon Tales of the Sorcerer Under the Mountain

Its been nearly ten years since I actively joined the OSR, running games at cons and publishing adventures and rulebooks. Five or so years ago I got hold of the Swords & Wizardry complete ruleset in word doc and edited it down to fit an A5 softcover which I got printed via Lulu and took on holiday with me. The idea being to create a nice little portable version of OD&D, which I could take with me on my travels to read and perhaps run for people. I called it Tales from the Sorcerer Under the Mountain. While it had a condensed version of S&W its 100+ pages, it didn’t have an adventure, and I quietly put it to one side for a while.

Then about three years ago I wanted to run D&D 5th at a local games convention called Furnace, and wrote a dungeon that played heavily on the legacy of early Fighting Fantasy and White Dwarf adventures, called The Sorcerer Under the Mountain (sort of the adventure of this blog). While I eventually ran it using Black Hack 1st Ed, and it was a great success, it too was put to one side about 90% complete.

Fast forward to this year, Tales was kinda permanently shelved as publishing project and the adventure was going nowhere fast. It got a run at the inaugural Go Play Manchester, using 5th Edition which kinda got the brain cells working that it could be an initial  5th ed publishing adventure.

Then a couple of weeks my brain finally put it together. Putting the adventure in the back of the OSR rulebook (which now has a section entitled What is the OSR, and a selection of my house rules), could make a nice little all in one book that sums up my take on the OSR. And if you have no interest in the OSR, the adventure on its own is a nice 1st Level introductory dungeon adventure influenced by British Fantasy Role Playing games from the 80s.

So gentle people and wild things of all ages, I present not one but two books:

Tales from the Sorcerer Under the Mountain, a 6 x 9 OSR rulebook + adventure weighing in about 230 pages, black and white art throughout, cover by Jon Hodgson.

And The Sorcerer Under the Mountain, 5th Edition Adventure module in 8″ by 11″ format,  black and white art throughout.

Here’s the blurb for the adventure:

In ancient times the Sorcerer Khalack Maeki established a lair under Terror Peak Mountain. Being of an evil bent, he enslaved the local Goblinoid tribes and waged war against the Elves of surrounding Scarwood. It said that he was amassing a vast army when an alliance of nearby High Elf Warlords attacked his mountain stronghold. Khalack was killed in the final assault by powerful magic unleashed by the High Elves, although the legend macabrely states that his body was never found. The Ring of the Elements, a powerful magical item which was said to be the source of his power, also went missing much to the annoyance of the High Elven Archmages.

Khalack’s dungeon lair under the mountain lay deserted for hundreds of years. Keeping its secrets and treasures, since the Elves who now controlled the woods around Terror Peak shunned its lightless corridors. Powerful magical wards left by their warlords sealed the dungeon.

Your group of adventurers have assembled in the town of Goldrush, a town of human opportunists, traders and ner-do-wells which lies on the edge of Scarwood. In a local tavern, you met a charming young Half-Elf called Melanda, who claims to know where there is a secret entrance, long hidden from prying eyes by her kin, to the Sorcerer’s Lair. She owes no allegiance to the guardians of Scarwood and is willing to show you for a cut of the treasure. True to her word she has led you through Scarwood safely and you now stand amongst the trees in the shadow of Terror Peak.

An adventure for up to five players with characters of 1st Level, with obvious influences from 80s British Fantasy gamebooks.

This will be coming to Kickstarter soon (as early as next week) and will be available as soon as the campaign ends successfully. ie. the book is done (bar a nice map of the adventure dungeon by Glynn Seal and a bit of last minute editing all of which will get done during the month-long campaign if not before). There will be stretch goals, but nothing that holds up delivery of the main book, and there will be an opportunity to grab the rest of the D101 Games back catalogue at crazy low prices, including some out of print titles. Let’s just say I’m combining the idea of a Summer Sale with the Kickstarter 😉

If you want to know when this the Kickstarter opens, and also Beyond Dread Portals (which is next in the pipe after this one) join the D101 Games Newsletter.

Happy 10th Birthday AKRATIC WIZARDRY!!

Blain Neufeld’s AKRATIC WIZARDRY blog was one of a handful of blogs that I followed in the early days of me reading about the OSR via its blogsphere. Unfortunately, the others have disappeared due to their owners discounting them or in one case dying 🙁 He’s always had nice things to say about OpenQuest, and without his Swords and Wizardry S&S house rules, there would have been no Crypts and Things.

So happy 10th. Here’s to another decade! 🙂

OpenQuest Adventures Patreon Now Live

One of the biggest things that came out of the recent quick consultation here with people about what they wanted to see from me with respect to OpenQuest 3rd Edition, was new adventures. In fact, somebody said, get OQ 3 out of the way as quickly as possible and get on with releasing new adventures. It crops up every time I ask what do you want me to do next with OQ – MORE ADVENTURES!

So to give me a kick up the arse and some funds to lessen the risk of me spending time creating and publishing adventures for OpenQuest, I’ve started a Patreon to support this:

Obviously, the initial focus will be adventures that come out and support the OpenQuest 3rd edition, and when I release them they will come bundled with the latest playtest version of OpenQuest 3, but the patreon will go on beyond the release of OpenQuest 3 (which will get its own Kickstarter later in the year). Also if I get enough support I will commission other authors to write adventures. I’ve already got Paul Mitchener (Crucible of Dragons, Age of Arthur, Liminal) lined up to do an updated version of “Non Semper Erit Aestas”, his adventure set in the Roman Empire just after the death of Nero as well as some adventures set in his Clockwork Palace setting

Beyond Dread Portals at Furnace 2018

If you are following the progress of Beyond Dread Portals, the upcoming game of post-D&D Multi-dimensional Fantasy Adventuring by Paul Mitchener, Mitch is running the following game at Furnace in October.

The Wizard’s Staff

By Paul Mitchener

Ys. A folded dimension filled with a vast city ruled by the undead Autarch and his vampiric agents. A city where the guilds and noble houses which once governed the city are fierce rivals, the Autarch stirring up the strife so his own rule goes unchallenged. Ys has portals to several different worlds, and is the capital of an empire with territories on each.

Nespo. A dead world, full of undead monsters where Ysian army and Guild of the Arcane has a tenuous presence. Explorations in the wrong places awoke the Autarch sixty years ago, and Ys has been his ever since.

You. You’re a group from the Guild of Explorers with a treasure map, seeking a magical staff which once belonged to a wizard who came remarkably close to defeating the Autarch. A staff which still, it is said, contains much of his power. You’re being paid very well to retrieve the staff, but when the time comes, if you succeed, if the rumours are true, will you give it up?

Beyond Dread Portals cover by Jon Hodgson

Beyond Dread Portals part 2 – Beyond d20 System

Beyond Dread Portals cover by Jon Hodgson

Yesterday I looked at the Empire of Ys which is the setting for Beyond Dread Portals.

Today I jump right in and look at the system that powers the game.

Beyond D20, The System
A D20 fantasy system, significantly more straightforward than D20 D&D.

The basic rule: Roll d20 add modifiers over a target number.

Modifiers can come from

  • Ability modifiers
  • Backgrounds
  • Skill Rank (for Skill Tests)
  • Attack bonus (for combat)

So for example

Organo the Sly, a 5th Level Expert, doing a flying tumble over a large number of Mage-Guards of the Arcane Guild, rolls d20 with +5 for her Skill Rank, +8 for her background of being a member of a travelling circus and +3 for her Dexterity Modifier, for a whopping + 16 in total.

If Hargvard the Brute, a 5th level Warrior, is trying to do the same thing he doesn’t have any backgrounds that help acrobatics, so he would only get a + 1 from his Dex modifier. As a result, his player is far more likely to barge through the group of warriors, which allows Hargvard to bring in his background as a street thug and skills as a warrior into play for a much higher modifier. 

The target number is assigned by the Referee and starts at 10, +5 for each complication involved in the test.  Rolls can be opposed, so the target number can be a d20 roll generated by the opposition. So, in the above example, the Referee could roll a skill test for the Guards collectively and use the result as the target number.

Finally, if you can bring into play one of your character’s drives, which are written on the character sheet as short descriptions of what motivates the character, you get to roll twice picking the more favourable roll. However, if you fail, despite rolling twice, you land your character at great risk.

So in the above example, Organo’s player invokes her drive of “To live life to the full” and the Referee warns them that if Organo fails she will end up tumbling gracefully right into the middle of the crowd of Mage-Guards ready to pound her with their poleaxes.

Your character also has special class-based abilities. Such as fighting styles for warriors, spell casting and magic for magicians, various tricks of the trade for Experts. Some of these are expected D&D abilities, and some are from the setting.

Spell casting uses a familiar spell list, but casters have Magic Points, so it’s not the usual fire and forget system. All the spells from regular D&D that break a magic point system, such as Sleep and Charm Person, have either been removed or rewritten to fit in.

Dark, Deadly and Delicious part 3: Rewards

Part 3 of 5 excerpts from the C&T how to run convention games, deals with how to reward the players, both for good play and by encouraging them to have fun.

Reward Exploration and Interaction

Bearing in mind what I’ve just said above, encourage and reward players who explore and interact with their characters surroundings and the non-player-characters that they encounter. Reveal interesting secrets.  Most published Crypts and Things adventures have a special section called “Secrets” in adventure locations, which detail the special treats that can be found by inquisitive players. Dull and uninspired play should not serve up any additional information beyond the basics that are obvious to anyone entering the location.

Remember to let the players have fun

No overshadowing their characters with non-player characters. Let them use their abilities and have their moments (even if it seems trivial to you). Make this a priority and big them up. Unlike a home game where the players learn through trial and error what their characters can do, there isn’t time to do that. It needs to be more immediate.

Next part 4: Be the Monster Manager.

From the upcoming Crypts and Things supplement: Tournaments of Madness and Death.

Tournaments of Madness and Death cover by David M.Wright