Friday, November 21, 2014

Soloplay - CotMA Va - Coda

In doing the accounting after the last foray, I noticed that one of the scrolls they recovered was Explosive Runes.  That's not an ACK's spell, so I looked up the definition from ADD 1e.  A mage has a 5% chance per level to notice the runes.  Myrphines rolled a 54 -BOOM!  The details were recorded in this letter to S. Cornelies Cethgi, the Publican (Tax Farmer) for Epirus Nova from his son Tertius.

                                                                                                              Scodra, Illyria - Kal. Dec.

    I am in Scodra at the request of Lactitus, the local king, to discuss trade opportunities.  Despite being part of Illyrium, Scodra is separated from it's cities by rough mountains, while the plain opens to the south towards Epidamnus and Apollonia.

   Rest assured that even in my absence our mercator, Fronieus, will have departed from Apollonia on the Pride of Corcyra no later than today.  He has over 1500 amphora of dried fruit and fortified wines for Aqueleia.  We should make a good profit from that trip, not just from the traders of Noricum but even from the Germans and perhaps the Sagitarii.  For I have heard that traffic along the Amber Road is higher this year.  I have even encountered a grim German here in Scodra!
     From our point of view, Lactitius' most attractive product is a freshwater eel, from the large lake the city is situated upon.  I have had it served several ways, the pickled was the most palatable.  At most this will be a modest increase in the cargoes we send north.  I suspect it might be more attractive in Syracuse and Utica where their firey dishes will mask it's rather greasy taste.
  However, while visiting here I have come across not only an opportunity for profit, but also a chance to bedevil old G. Hirtus, who has the tax farm for Illyrium.  The day of my arrival there was a terrible explosion and fire in an inn called the Unhappy Banker (no one in our family!)  It turned out that some Corinthian (I thought Mummius Achaicus had sold all of them) mage had destroyed part of the building - and himself.  Speaking with his companions, including the afore mentioned German, through one of their retainers who spoke excellent Latin, I discovered that they had recently returned from an expedition under Gentius' old castle, just outside of town.  And that they had each brought out hundreds of gold and silver coins, even the retainers had been lavishly rewarded.  Apparently, old Appius Claudius failed to bring home much of the treasure.
    Here in lays the opportunity I have broached with Lactitius.  He pays his taxes through G. Hirstus as part of the Illyrian tax farm.  Hirstus does not know of the increased revenue and having based his tax gatherers in Issus and scattered through the mountains, only visits Scodra once a year to collect.
  I am also attempting to place an agent with this group, I have sent to Hellieon in Epidamnus, he has a son who has come of age and has skills that would be useful to the German and his companions. Having an agent in the group will ensure that we do not miss levying the tax on any major treasure the group brings out.  I'll offer his son 1% of the additional taxes as a reward.

AcrocorintoWanting to date the letter is what prompted me to develop the calendar page,which I have now made dynamic and added recurring events.  The comment about Mummius Achaicus refers to the sack of Corinth in 146 BC, at the prompting of Roman mercantile interests.  The picture is of the ruins of the Acrocorinth or fortress.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Calendars Old and New

The 1e DMG has a stern admonition on tracking time "YOU CAN NOT HAVE A MEANINGFUL CAMPAIGN IF STRICT TIME RECORDS ARE NOT KEPT."  Emphasis in the original

I never have.

In retrospect, part of it is the way my college group played - we did the modules and one shot adventures, never a mega-dungeon.  That type of episodic playing allows the group to hand wave the time accounting.  You adventure until you've cleaned out the local dungeon and then some undefined time later you're at the next dungeon having done your training and leveled up.  Don't get me wrong, it's nature and nurture that made me avoid doing the forensic accounting of strict timekeeping.  I don't want to fiddle with anymore paperwork than I have to, and as long I stick to running adventures for the group I can get away with not tracking time.

But now I'm running through Castle of the Mad Archmage, building a corner of my setting around it and time tracking has become important for determining when a room gets re-stocked and when background events occur.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Hack & Slash did a nice post on dungeon restocking in answer to a question from a reader.  And I have to say, I don't do restocking, mainly because most of the adventures I run are one shots and there isn't enough time for anything to creep back into the area between forays by the party.

In my soloplay with Castle of the Mad Archmage, I'm attempting to follow the restocking rules that +Joseph Bloch wrote into the mega-dungeon.  But those come down to after awhile the creatures will be replaced by something similar*.  That's pretty broad and leads us to the point of Hack & Slash's post.  There are a couple ways you can approach it.   You can come up with some sort of random stocking tables, such as a vermin table to determine what moves in after you kill the fire beetles in Room 27.  It doesn't need to be limited to just insects and arachnids, any sort of non-intelligent creature would do.  The second way is to have or steal a good idea and run with it.  I'm in the midst of doing that.  The party recently cleaned out the bandits on the surface, leaving me with the question 'What, besides more bandits, has a role similar to the bandit's role in he dungeon?'  The first step is determining what the bandits' role is in the dungeon - stealing the characters ill-gotten hard earned loot.  Now most humanoids and demi-human can be cast in that role, in fact that's what the dwarves and elves in the first level do.  But a group of orcs inhabiting a castle just a couple miles outside of town, sort of begs for the town to clean them out in the interest of hygiene and public safety.  Then I had what to me is a good idea.  Replace the bandits with tax collectors aka government backed bandits, pulls money out of the campaign, creates incentive for the characters to find alternate means of egress or practice hiding their loot.

One of the esteemed Mr Bloch's rules is that dead characters have a chance of rising as undead. Not exactly the same as re-stocking as whatever killed them is probably still there, nut an idea that I shall shamelessly steal when running other dungeons.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Soloplay - CotMA V - Befriend & Disruption

Continuing the exploration of the Castle of the Mad Archmage

Myrphines Ektomias - scion of the Heraclidae.  Recently castrated by a bandit
Midymnoios Moncheri - Paladin of Athena, called One Hand after losing his left to a carnivorous fly
Segestes One-Eye - Barbarian warrior of the Harii.  Came south along the Amber Road.  Lost an eye fighting kobolds.

Akus - a slinger (and failed mage) hired as muscle
Jumilanas - a mercenary crossbow man hired as muscle
The Egyptian - Landlord of the 'Old Fish', cheapest lodgings in Scodra
Ikexanlas - The town physician

Scene: Returning the body of Thekitor to the dwarves in accordance with his last wishes.  Dwarven leader will volunteer another spy to accompany them.
Chaos Level 5, Roll 2 - Interrupt scene.  I've got nothing in mind and the opening is already set by the cliffhanger ending last time - a situation that Mythic doesn't anticipate.  Random Event: Action 22 - Befriend; Subject  62 - Disruption.

Interrupt Scene:  Unnoticed by the party, a large force of kobolds, accompanied by a giant weasel has crept up the passage and rushed into the open door right behind the party.  (Disruption) Assuming the some of the dwarves and party members survive, the party will be considered friends by the dwarves.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Neunage Affen or Lamprey Ape

Lamprey Ape
Breaking the sealed door and opening it allows a miasma of rotting fish to roll out of the chamber. A vision in pink awaits the party, but it's a vision that makes the characters wish for darkness to descend. From it's clawed toes to the tips of it's enormous flapping ears the ape-like body is pink. All shades of pink from bright fluorescent to the pink of blood spilled in water twist and writhe across patches of hair, scales and seamed wrinkly hide. From the center of it's triangular head, a single malevolent green eye balefully stare at you over the lamprey mouth dripping a disgusting yellow ichor on the scuffed out lines of the restraining pentagram.

Pathfinder Stats
XP 1,600
CE Large Aberration
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent; Perception +8


AC 19, touch 12, flat-footed 16; (+3 Dex, +7 natural, –1 size)
hp 63 (6d8+36)
Fort +11, Ref +4, Will +3


Speed 30 ft.
Melee bite +8 (1d4+5) + ichor, 2 tentacles +8 (1d6+5)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks rend (2 claws, 1d6+7)

Bite—injury; save Will DC 17; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect become confused for 1 round. A creature that fails 5 saves in a row becomes permanently insane, as per the insanity spell ; cure 2 consecutive saves
save Fort DC 17 1 time. Effect – an egg is injected in the victim. If the initial Fort save is failed. Another one must be made the next day. Success means the egg failed to implant, failure means that the egg will hatch in 21 + 1d10 days, the larvae eating its way out of the host.


Str 21, Dex 14, Con 23, Int 6, Wis 9, Cha 6
Base Atk +4; CMB +10; CMD 22
Feats Intimidating Prowess, Iron Will, Skill Focus (Perception)
Skills Intimidate +9, Perception +8

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Game Report - Dangerous Statues: Part Deux

8 point buck outside the window as we
started.  Deer season opener is
next Saturday.
 Only three of our regulars made it up for gaming on Saturday.  Had to do an alternate location at Domus Thompsonii, as our usual host, who plays the elvish wizard/thief, was in South Carolina at Honorcon.  After giving the players a choice between continuing where they left off, doing one of two one offs or trying Castle of The Mad Archmage using ACKS, they (as the title of this post indicates) chose to finish off their current adventure.

The elf having inexplicably wandered off the party was reduced to the Tilean fighter, the Dwarf Magus and the dwarf monk with his human henchman of the clerical persuasion.  Prior to starting I informed the monk's player that his henchwoman, when encountering uncouth behavior would use her 0 level 'Create Water' on the offending character, like a squirt gun on a cat.  He asked if she could do it as ice water and I magnanimously agreed.

Faced with a choice of going after the Swamp Witch or returning to the trap door in Crow's Hill, they decided to do the door first.  After an uneventful journey, they returned to the octagonal room with the red granite floor and walls covered with archaic holy symbols.  Lacking the thief they used brute force and a crow bar to open the trap door, discovering a shaft with a ladder  leading down to a stone door inscribed 'Correus, Fidelis Custos'.  Despite the a couple of the players being former altar boys, they couldn't decipher the dog latin.  They did guess had something to do with faith or fidelity, but that was as close as they got.