Lacking Natural Simplicity

Random musings on books, code, and tabletop games.

Lessons from Titan and Advanced Fighting Fantasy

Back at the beginning of October I started a thread on rpg.net: Advanced Fighting Fantasy: Distinctive elements of Titan and FF for an adventure? to collect ideas for what should go in a AFF adventure I want to write for my gaming group.

Today I ran across a blog post, Known World, Old World: Titanic Lesson Plan, which also talks about distinctive elements of Titan.

AFF1e: Dungeoneer Adventure I: Tower of the Sorcerer, Part 2

Spoilers!

We're playing “Dungeoneer Adventure I: Tower of the Sorcerer”, from Dungeoneer, so if you haven't played that you might want to skip this entry.

Previously.

Scheduling didn't work out again, so L.B. couldn't join us via Google Hangouts, alas.

Attending

Clockwise, starting with the Director:

  • T.K.B. — Director

  • T.A. — Grimbold Tornhelm

  • M.A. — Gordo Brondwyn

  • E.A. — Aspen Darkfire; she also played Alexa Wolfrica, L.B.'s character, since L.B. couldn't attend

Actual Play

At the Griffin's door, they unlocked the door, they unbarred the door, and then Aspen (at Alexa's suggestion) listens at the door and hears very interesting things. They decided to rebar the door and go on.

They opened the Giant Lizard's door, saw the saddle, saw the lizard, and pulled the door shut and barred it.

In the Guardroom, there was a lot of throwing chairs, by both sides. Alexa was reduced to –1 STAMINA by an opponent's Mighty Blow. Aspen cast Stamina, bringing Alexa back to 5 STAMINA, and then Gordo was taken to –1 STAMINA by another opponent's Mighty Blow, and was brought back to 5 STAMINA by another Stamina from Aspen. All through the fight the Ogre had been laughing at the Heroes and throwing stuff at them that knocked them down, but Aspen had been steadily sniping at them, and despite one impressive Dodge, where the Ogre interposed a Goblin haunch from his supper and blocked an arrow she had steadily brought his STAMINA down. When the Orcs were finally disposed of and he threw the table on the Heros, Aspen was far enough back to escape the spill, and switched from arrows to Fire Bolt, rolled a 6 for damage, and the Ogre fell down dead!

After the battle Alexa cast Stamina (which for her is just a natural ability, a “second wind”, not a spell), and got an Oops!, and E.A. rolled a 13 on the “Oops! Table”, and Alexa ended up with a pair of small goat horns! Eventually everybody was back up to full STAMINA.

In the sorcerer's chambers they killed Xortan Throg and tried not to kill evil Prince Barinjhar by pulling their blows, hoping to return him to his father for rehabilitation. However, he died while they were searching Xortan Throg's study and freeing Princess Sarissa. They found him dead when the returned to the main chamber. The real Xortan Throg clued them in, via a vision in the fire in the fireplace, that they had killed a fake, and that he was still alive and looking forward to destroying them and Salamonis. Since they'd killed the Prince, they decided traveling to Salamonis with Princess Sarissa was a good idea, and headed back out through the Goblin cave to avoid Prince Barinjhar's soldiers, outside, and set off in direction of the fabled city.

Aftermath

All characters got +3 XP.

Reflections

The kids picked up on throwing things pretty quickly; I'll have to see what other sorts of tactical twists we use.

I enjoyed running this, and the kids had fun.

AFF1e: Dungeoneer Adventure I: Tower of the Sorcerer, Part 1

Spoilers!

We're playing “Dungeoneer Adventure I: Tower of the Sorcerer”, from Dungeoneer, so if you haven't played that you might want to skip this entry.

As I've mentioned before I've been trying to use the RPGs derived from the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks for pickup games with the kids. This time around I switched from Fighting Fantasy — The Introductory Role-playing Game (FF:TIRpG) to Dungeoneer, the first book of Advanced Fighting Fantasy (AFF1e), and started “Dungeoneer Adventure I: Tower of the Sorcerer”, the first introductory scenario in the book, using the pre-generated characters from the book.

I wanted to get L.B. in the game through Google Hangouts, but unfortunately the scheduling didn't work out. She did pick a character, Alex Wolfric, and I turned modified the character sheet turning the character in Alexa Wolfrica.

Attending

Clockwise, starting with the Director:

  • T.K.B. — Director

  • T.A. — Grimbold Tornhelm

  • M.A. — Gordo Brondwyn

  • E.A. — Aspen Darkfire; she also played Alexa Wolfrica, L.B.'s character, since L.B. couldn't attend

Actual Play

Previously

On the occasion that the kids picked out their characters from the pre-gens I ran a combat between Gordo Brondwyn and Grimbold Tornhelm so they could see how combat and skills worked. Gordo threw daggers at Grimbold and kept out of his reach, but didn't have much recourse once he'd thrown all his daggers. I stopped the combat there.

More Rules Familiarization

We started out with some combat with Aspen Darkfire and Alexa Wolfrica versus Gordo Brondwyn, so E.A. could see how combat and surprise rounds worked, and how spells worked, since she was the only player who would be running spellcasters this episode, and everybody could see how combat between one character on one side and multiple characters on the other side worked.

Then I had them do some tunnel exploring under an abandoned temple to show them how some of the other Special Skills worked, including Trap Sense, Underground Lore, Dark Sense, and Awareness. There were pressure plates, a rolling boulder (ala Indiana Jones), and a chasm across the tunnel that the boulder herded them toward. Aspen and Alexa both noticed the chasm, but Gordo and Grimbold, behind them, did not, and right out into midair, luckily crashing into and grabbing hold of the other side of the chasm, and narrowly missed by the boulder. Alexa and Aspen helped them up afterward.

The Adventure

The kids' characters talked with Prince Barinjhar and Morval for a while, then headed off down the indicated path.

They entered the tunnel, and found the main cave full of Goblins, who they handily defeated, each killing three. Alexa managed to pick up the portcullis blocking the tunnel to the tower all by herself, an impressive deed.

Later she broke open both doors to the prisoner cells, freeing Xortan Throg's experimental subjects, the peasants Rufus (hunchback, one arm 6 inches longer than the other) and Sam (triangular head and deformed legs). The characters escorted them back through the portcullis and provided them with torches and directions out of the tunnel, then returned to the stairs leading upwards beyond the cells.

Reflections

The kids seemed to enjoy the game: E.A. and M.A. said so explicitly, and T.A. liked that the characters started out as super competent Heroes rather than 1st-level nobodies. They all liked how they mowed down the Goblins. T.A. liked the fact that it added detail to FF:TIRpG, since he likes game systems with more detail.

I think next time I'll add some examples of improvised tactical SKILL use, to show how combat can be something besides just opposed SKILL rolls.

Defining keys in the C-x 8 prefix keymap

Yay! I finally found it!

Suppose you hate typing “C-x 8 RET GREEK SMALL LETTER LAMBDA” to insert a lowercase lambda character in emacs (perhaps because you have a dull American keyboard and aren't very savvy to input methods). You can add a key definition to the “C-x 8 prefix keymap”, say “gl”, so you can type “C-x 8 g l” and insert a lowercase lambda.

Here's how you might do it for “λ”, “Λ”, and “§”:

(load-library "iso-transl.el")
(iso-transl-define-keys '(("gl" . [?λ])   ; greek lowercase lambda
                          ("gL" . [?Λ])   ; greek uppercase lambda
                          ("ps" . [?§]))) ; punctuation SECTION SIGN

My preordered copy of The Last Sons Savage Worlds Deadlands Book Arrived

My print copy of the Savage Worlds plot point campaign book The Last Sons for Deadlands from Pinnacle Entertainment Group that I preordered months ago arrived today.

It is a large, heavy, beautiful book, and from my quick look it is full of interesting, useful stuff.

And everything that Studio 2 ships is always very well packaged. This book was sealed in a bubble-wrap envelope, surrounded by loose foam peanuts, all in a box of extra-thick cardboard.