Wednesday, October 23, 2013

RL #10: Morningsong

"I'm confused."

That seems to be a recurring theme in this campaign. But that's kind of what Ravenloft is all about, so I try to play it up as best I can. ;)

Tonight marked the tenth session in our game, which is now just over a year old. We started off with the PCs exiting Chatain on horseback en route to Stangengrad; over the vast, green countryside they rode, descending a low valley on the second day of their journey as the road wound northwest, deeper into Falkovnia. That night, as they prepared to camp, they heard the distant clangor of what sounded like a veritable army mid-march within the valley.

The noise grew louder, and soon the PCs shuffled off their hillside to avoid whatever was making its approach. But no matter where they moved, the racket only became more thunderous and frightful, booming in the companions' ears as they found themselves fleeing in a dead run. When finally Aginot tumbled over a jutted root, the commotion suddenly stopped.

The PCs had wandered far off of the road, and at a distance, Alaric spotted a mounted rider wearing a great helm and braided beard, and carrying a shield emblazoned with a lion's-head crest. Again and again the figure slipped away into the foliage and then reappeared again, always barely out of reach, as the companions diligently followed it, eventually discovering a hidden trail that led further into the forest.

They took to the trail by the moonlight, losing sight of the rider but arriving at the edge of a small village, nestled secretly within the surrounding groves. Warily, they entered a lamp-lit tavern bearing the same lion's-head insignia on a banner outside. Inside, the patrons and proprietor met the PCs with suspicion, and particularly so when Alaric told tale of the horseman, whose description elicited the name "Lord Hanwey." One tavern-goer dashed out to fetch Jorah, the local cleric, and after a sultry greeting, arrangements were made for the party to take refuge for the night at the pub.

The village, Morningsong, was home to only a hundred or so villagers - that number made fewer in recent weeks when a handful of able-bodied hunters inexplicably failed to return from the forest. The next morning, the PCs met Dowding, the militia captain, and Lady Silva, the town governess, who rode on horseback, accompanied by a non-mounted escort of two casually-outfitted men-at-arms and a lowly-looking servant who appeared to suffer from mental illness. Through exploration and questioning, the party learned a bit of history behind the town's modest chapel, whose signpost out front bore the following scripture:

"Let this chapel stand for eternity
As a reminder of the consequences of sin."
As explained by Dowding, some twenty-five years prior, two fair sisters fell in love with a brooding, young soldier from a faraway land. The younger girl, Ellidora, was to be married to the the gallant, but out of jealousy-turned-hatred, the elder sister, Angelina, slew Ellidora, slitting her sister's throat on the steps of the chapel where she was to be wed. Three days later, Angelina was stoned in the chapel courtyard by the light of the full moon. As she was bound to the totem, she vehemently denied wrongdoing and accused Ellidora of being a witch, possessed by evil.

In the wake of the sisters' deaths, the young gallant rode off into heavy mists one cold autumn morning and was never heard from again. A month after ordering the execution of his eldest daughter, Lord Hanwey, the town's governor, was slain by orcs in a great battle to protect the village (which the militia ultimately won).

We ended with the PCs pledging their aid to Lady Silva as village sought to learn the fate of its missing woodsmen.

DM's Commentary

No XP to award at this time. Players can feel free to use this thread (or just email) to ask questions or carry out menial dealings and conversations in the village. Not much else to add other than I thought this was a really good session, with fantastic atmosphere throughout.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Death & Dying

A couple more sections from OSRIC, important enough to quote directly:

Damage and Death 
When a character or creature is hit, the amount of damage is deducted from his or her hit points. When hit points reach 0, the character is unconscious and will continue to lose one hit point per round from blood loss until death occurs at –10 hp. Note that any additional damage suffered by an unconscious character (aside from bleeding) will kill him or her instantly. The blood loss of 1 hit point per round may be stopped immediately in the same round that aid of some kind is administered to the wounded character. Being knocked unconscious is quite serious; even after returning to 1 or more hp (by means of a healing spell, potion, or natural rest) the character will remain in a coma for 1-6 turns and must rest for a minimum of one week before he or she will be capable of resuming any sort of strenuous activity, mental or physical. If a character is reduced to –6 hit points or below, the scars of the wound will likely be borne for the rest of the character’s life. 
Characters who are slain may be raised from the dead if a cleric of sufficient level is available to perform the casting (exception: elves do not have souls, and are unaffected by the spells raise dead or resurrection).  If no such character is available in the party, as will be the case for most low-level parties, the group may choose to approach a NPC High Priest for assistance in raising a dead character. The NPC will always charge a fee for such a casting, typically at least 1,000 gp.

Natural Healing 
A character will recover 1 hit point per day of uninterrupted rest. However, if the character has a constitution penalty to hp, before rest will begin to affect the character’s hp the character must rest for a number of days equal to the constitution penalty. A character with high constitution gains a commensurate benefit after resting for one week; the number of hp regained during the second week will be increased by the amount of the character’s hp bonus at the start of the week. Four weeks of rest will return any character to full hp regardless of how many hp the character has lost.

Combat in 1e/OSRIC

This post is a reference for how I currently run combat. AD&D/OSRIC leaves a decent amount of room for interpretation when it comes to intricacies, and that's by design. I try to stick to "by the book" rulings as much as possible, but I know my personal style for running combat changes and evolves over time. I started putting this together after the last time we played, but I'm posting it now to help prepare for this week's game.

It's important to note that a lot of this tends to go out the window mid-session, especially when trying to keep everything exciting and fluid. That said, it's never bad to have a quick reference to defer to when needed.

(Much of the below is sourced from OSRIC. Anything that's not is generally my own.)

Combat Basics

  • A combat round is one minute. A "segment" is six seconds. There are ten segments in a round.
  • At the start of combat, each side with a chance to be surprised (i.e., unaware of the opposing party) rolls a d6.
    • 1 = surprised for 1 segment
    • 2 = surprised for 2 segments
    • 3-6 = not surprised
    • A character with high Dexterity (16+) gets a "Surprise Bonus" which negates that many surprise segments for that character only.
  • If there are any segments where one side is surprised but the other is not, the unsurprised party may act during those segments. This includes:
    • Movement (limited to the character's movement rate / the number of surprise segments)
    • Making a melee attack
    • Making a charge attack (limited to the character's movement rate / the number of surprise segments * 2)
    • Making a single missile attack (i.e., a single arrow, etc.) if in range
    • Attempting to turn undead
    • Casting a spell (only if the spell's casting time is equal to or less than the number of surprise segments)
  • Once surprise segments are handled, each PC declares actions for the first round, then each side rolls d6 for initiative. The result is the segment on which the opposing side may act (therefore higher is better).
  • Each character's action occurs on his or her party's initiative segment (i.e. the opposing party's die result).
    • Melee attacks occur on the initiative segment.
    • Missile attacks normally occur on the initiative segment, however characters with a "Missile Bonus to Hit" (Dex 16+) apply this bonus to their initiative count in addition to their attack rolls.
    • A charge begins on the initiative segment, but consumes enough segments to cover the full charge distance (at 2x normal speed) before the actual attack occurs.
    • Spellcasting begins on a character's initiative segment and consumes a number of segments equal to the spell's casting time (during which time the spell can be disrupted and foiled).
    • Movement is otherwise considered to be ongoing and fluid throughout the round. Determining a character's exact location on a specific segment is left to the DM's discretion.
  • After all sides have acted, if the combat is still ongoing, a new round is started with new initiative rolls by each side.

Combat Actions

Attacking into Melee: If an attacker has multiple adjacent opponents, the target is determined randomly. The same applies when attacking at range against "engaged" opponents (in these cases, the attacker can elect to take a -4 penalty to hit in order to try to hit a specific target).

Charge: A charging character gains +2 to hit, but if the defender's weapon is longer than the attacker's, the defender can attack first. A character can only "charge" once/10 rounds.

Fleeing: Fleeing characters immediately draw an additional attack from adjacent opponents at +4 to hit.

Parrying: A character who parries cannot attack, but may subtract his or her "to hit" bonus from his or her opponent's attack roll.

Invisible Opponent: An invisible opponent can only be attacked if the general location is known, and the attack is at –4 to hit.

Prone Opponent: Attacks against a prone opponent negate the benefit of a shield, negate dexterity bonuses, and are made at +4 to hit.

Concealment: Concealment is anything that obscures an opponent’s vision, such as tree limbs or smoke, but does not physically block incoming attacks. The GM must decide whether the defender is about a quarter (-1 to AC), half (-2 to AC), three-quarters (-3 to AC), or nine-tenths (-4 to AC) concealed.

Cover: Cover is protection behind something that can actually block incoming attacks, such as a wall or arrow slit. Cover bonuses are as follows:
  • 25% cover: -2 AC
  • 50% cover: -4 AC
  • 75% cover: -7 AC
  • 90% cover -10 AC