RPG Sessions – Phandelen

It’s been a little while since we’ve looked in on our fearless adventurers as they journey to Phandelen. Life, as it will do, got a little busy, so there’s only a couple evenings to recap!

When we last saw the group, they had just made their way out of the caves and into the town of Phandelen. Now, as a relatively new DM, the thought of these guys running loose in a town scared the bejesus out of me. It is a small town, to be sure, but there’s still any number of places that they could choose to go. So the night before and that afternoon? I prepped and then prepped some more.

I’ve learned that index cards are your friends as a DM. I write little crib sheets down for each building and business that the PCs could wander into. Notes about the people they will find there, any wares for sale, general atmosphere…it’s all on the card. It’s very helpful.

Thankfully, it was night when the party arrived in Phandelen, so the inn, (a nice place to sleep for once) was their top priority. Upon awaking, they set off to explore the town a little and collect on some debts. During one of their excursions, they happened upon the local ruffian group in town – the Redbrands.

After a bit of a fight, they had dispatched four of the brigands and were off to find where the rest of them were staying. So up to Tresendar Manor they went, where the Redbrands were rumored to be hiding out. A quick survey of the area led them into the cellars, where they made short work of the first guards they found.

Things started really getting interesting at this point – behind a secret door was a nothic, and he was really on the fence about whether to devour the party or to let them pass. Thankfully the nothic had a taste for flesh, and they fed a couple of the Redbrand corpses to the creature…so he let them pass. Granted, they later decided to go back and slay the beast, but for now? Crisis averted.

Now, I’m not going to spoil too much of the adventure on the off chance that one of my readers has yet to play this adventure. The party made it through, missed the bad guy (yes, Sam, you were right – that WAS a familiar), but saved a family. But I will share a story about why I LOVE RPGs.

See, the party’s cleric decided to have some fun at the expense of our warrior. During a fight with some skeletons, Tychon (the cleric) decided to use one of his cantrips to make a sound appear to come from a skeleton. That sound? Rend……..which is the warrior’s name. Well, he went crazy and started recklessly attacking everything. It was one of those moments that had all of us in stitches!

Join us next time as we head back to the town proper and do some more exploring!

Kickstarter (RPG) Update – 2/29/2016

We spend a lot of time looking at the board game offerings on Kickstarter, but there’s a TON of great roleplaying stuff on there as well. Today we’re going to check out a few of those!

First up we have a reboot of the swashbuckling 7th Sea from creator John Wick:

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7thseaSince its release in 1999, 7th Sea has brought thousands of fans into the world of Théah—a place very similar to our own Europe in the year 1668. Inspired by the works of Alexandre Dumas, The Princess Bride, and other novels and movies of high adventure, 7th Sea played fast and furious, emulating the pace of movies like Captain Blood, The Three Musketeers, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

7th Sea is a tabletop roleplaying game of swashbuckling and intrigue, exploration and adventure, taking place on the continent of Théah, a land of magic and mystery inspired by our own Europe. Players take the roles of heroes thrown into global conspiracies and sinister plots, exploring ancient ruins of a race long vanished and protecting the rightful kings and queens of Théah from murderous villains.

As a 7th Sea Hero, you might…

… save the Queen of Avalon from treacherous blackmail!

… thwart a dastardly assassination attempt on the Cardinal of Castille!

… raid the villainous fleets of Vodacce merchant-princes!

… free the Prince of the Sarmatian Commonwealth from a mysterious curse!

… make decisions that alter the very course of Théan history!

In most roleplaying games, you start off as a 1st-level loser who’s terrified of the goblin with a broken knife. In 7th Sea, you are a Hero, an icon of Théah ready to live and die for causes that matter. You can take on ten thugs with swords, knives, and guns all on your own. You don’t start off digging through old dungeons hoping to find a copper piece or two. No! You are trusted knight, a loyal bodyguard, or even… an adventuring queen herself. Right from minute one.

In other words… you’re d’Artagnan, Milady de Winter, the Dread Pirate Roberts, Jack Sparrow, Julie d’Aubigney, and the Scarlet Pimpernel all rolled up in one!

This is a game of high adventure, mystery, and action.

This is a game of intrigue and romance.

This is 7th Sea.

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Set sail for Kickstarter and check out what has become the most funded RPG of all time! [link]


Next, Modiphious Entertainment brings Conan to life with the epically named Robert E. Howard’s Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of:

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conan“Know, oh prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars…”

ROBERT E. HOWARD’S CONAN: ADVENTURES IN AN AGE UNDREAMED OF is a brand new roleplaying game based on the incredible character of Conan and of the Hyborian age.

We’re running this Kickstarter to help fund one of the biggest line ups of major artists ever for a roleplaying game. Each book is a beautiful high quality hard cover book featuring a major commissioned cover art by one of the legendary names we have assembled along with truly authentic and evocative content by industry veterans and newcomers, all under the watchful eye of world-renowned Conan experts and scholars including Jeffrey Shanks, Patrice Louinet and Mark Finn, working together to bring you the most authentic Conan roleplaying experience yet, focusing exclusively on Robert E. Howard’s original stories.

Featuring Modiphius’ 2d20 game system, also seen in the Mutant Chronicles, Infinity, and John Carter Warlord of Mars RPGs. Try it out!

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Conan will be ravaging Kickstarter until March 20th, so check it out today. [CROM]


Finally, another reboot comes our way with the contemporary horror game KULT: Divinity Lost:

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kultIn KULT: DIVINITY LOST, the world around us is a lie. Mankind is trapped in an Illusion. We do not see the great citadels of Metropolis towering over our highest skyscrapers. We do not hear the screams from the cellar where hidden stairs take us to Inferno. We do not smell the blood and burnt flesh from those sacrificed to long forgotten Gods. But some of us see glimpses from beyond the veil. We have this strange feeling that something is not right—the ramblings of a madman in the subway seems to carry a hidden message, and our reclusive neighbor doesn’t appear to be completely human. By slowly discovering the truth about our prison, our captors and our hidden pasts, we can finally awaken from our induced sleep and take control of our destiny.

KULT: DIVINITY LOST is a reboot of the highly acclaimed and infamous contemporary horror role-playing game “Kult”, originally released a quarter of a century ago, in 1991. This anniversary version of the game features a completely new rule-set, and the setting is updated to present day. Escape your nightmares, strike bargains with demons, and try to stay alive in a world full of pain, torture, and death.

The number one goal of KULT: DIVINITY LOST is to wake this universe up from its slumber and give it back to you, old and new Kultists, with all the love, respect, and twisted imagination you could hope for! We think we have an awesome game and we want to share it with you.

The most important philosophy of KULT: DIVINITY LOST is to have context, to have rules and background materials about the world that supports playing stories deeply seated in the vast and complex KULT universe.

This can be summarized in five statements:

  • The game must support the Players creating interesting and unique characters.
  • The game must support the Narrator creating terrifying horror stories.
  • The game must support stories of characters that see through the Lie and therefore are cursed (or blessed) by slowly Awakening.
  • The game must support stories with multiple dimensions and entities: make them intelligible and horrifying for the players, and manageable for the narrator.
  • The game must support suspense, drama, and action, without breaking the flow or immersion of the story.

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KULT: Divinity Lost will be around until March 31st, so don’t delay! [link]

RPG Sessions – Into the Cave

One of the first pieces of advice I was given as a new DM was this: Plan. And then plan some more. BUT…remember that your players are always, and I mean ALWAYS going to fuck up your plans.

Well, this was more true than I could have imagined.

So I’ll give my obligatory spoiler alert here…if you’re planning on playing as a PC through the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure? Stop reading now. Seriously. Otherwise? Read on!

After our heroes made their way to the head of the trail, they found a cave with a stream coming out of it, with a dense thicket to the east side. Hiding in this thicket? Goblins, of course! The party made short work of the two sentries and headed in the cave.

Now off to the right was a room with a few wolves, and then the rest of the cave system was up the main path alongside the stream. There was, of course, a natural chimney which came down from the final room into the wolf lair, acting as a trash chute. And wouldn’t you know it, but they decided to shimmy up the chimney.

The halfling ranger tried first, falling out of the chimney after only a few feet. But the half-orc warrior? He made it all the way up. And then he secured a rope and the other three came up with him. So there they were, now with surprise, facing a bugbear, two goblins, and a wolf.

All in all, the battle wasn’t as hard as it might have been were they already beaten up. So they cleared the rest of the cave system with relatively minimal wear and tear, and are moving on to the next part of their adventure.

I think the biggest thing from this session was the use of a crit/fumble chart for 1’s and 20’s that were rolled. And believe me…that thing saw some use. Nothing really untoward happened to the PCs, but the monsters took a beating.

In two weeks we’ll get back to the road and see where it takes them!

RPG Sessions – Hobs-a-Plenty

Tonight was the first time for me sitting behind “the screen” and actually running a role playing campaign. I was a little nervous heading into it, but all-in-all I think it went well. The party had been forced to move on to Boston to lay low after some rather destructive evenings in Burlington. They were also chasing Jae, a former party member and now Red Court Vampire, through Burlington and now down to Boston.

For my first session I was planning on keeping things relatively simple. Our GM was now a player and we needed to work his character into the fold, and they had moved on to a new city so the group needed to establish some contacts. I had plotted out a couple of things, but had no clue how the party was going to go through things, so I tried to not get things too set in stone.

The first thing we did was establish where the party would have their base of operations in the Boston area. Given the talents of the one who could actually pay for the rental, a garage seemed like the most likely place so we chatted about where it was located and how it was to be set up. Over the next few sessions this will most certainly become a headquarters for the party to operate out of.

Next it was time to meet the newest party member, Guy LaRue. Early that day we had agreed on where Guy would be living, so things moved over to his house in Newton. When I had first planned out the evening I wanted to have the party encounter an ambush in progress at Guy’s house. They were going to show up to Guy being under attack, and hopefully wind up jumping in to help out.

As we were getting closer to that moment, I saw that we had worked out a way for our characters to bond as one of them had spent some time in Boston. A little backstory crafting and we decided that Tom, our troll-born changeling, once worked as a bodyguard for Guy. So I decided to put the ambush in a different place and have them get jumped a little later on. We moved things along with Guy, and he “knew a guy” (that phrase comes up a lot in our sessions) that might have some insight as to where Jae had gone…or know someone who did.

Moving things to the Boston Aquarium, the party noticed that the streets they were traveling were fairly deserted, with some movement down the side streets, but nothing on any of the streets they took. Once they hit the Aquarium, I sprung the trap. Fifteen Hobs had been following them from Guy’s house and cornered the party. The lights went out, and it was time for a fight.

I didn’t anticipate the fight being all that bad for the party: Hobs, while tough and pretty nasty in most cases, aren’t going to stand much of a chance against four seasoned fighters. It took a few rounds, but the battle quickly turned into a blood bath…or ectoplasm bath, actually…as they hewed into the Hobs. A few minor wounds were tended to, and the loading dock door opened onto their first contact, Tommy O’Leary.

And then there was a lot of contact building which I’m actually not going to talk about. Writing out my sessions wasn’t bad as a player, but as a GM I’m finding that I have some secrets which I’m not ready to share yet! Regardless, join us in two weeks to see where things take the party next!

RPG Sessions – Dresden Moves to Boston

When we first started playing the Dresden RPG, we decided to base it in our town of Burlington, Vermont. The thought was that our familiarity with the city would give us a great amount of flexibility with our sessions. And it has, for well over a year.

After chatting with our GM Daniel about taking over the reins for a while, we decided that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start a new city. Our sessions have really taken a toll on this town, leveling some pretty major structures in our battles with the Red Court. I had an idea of where I wanted to move the action, so then all that was left was to figure out how to get the group down there. I thought of a few ideas,  one of which was quite apparent thanks to some brilliant groundwork that Daniel had laid out for us.

From our first session one of the contacts that we had the most interaction with was an officer on the Burlington Police named O’Malley. He was “in the know” to a certain degree, and was aware of the presence of supernatural powers in this area. Of course, he was aware of them, but refused to get himself involved with them. Which is probably a good thing, in retrospect, as he also shielded us from much of the investigations surrounding the weird events in which we took part.

Over the course of our sessions this area has seen the explosion of a lake cruise ship, the complete razing of several buildings, a wizard going supernova on the university campus, and a slew of non-human corpses. The last session alone saw us stacking up vampire corpses like cord wood. Excitement like that is bound to draw more than a little attention from local authorities.

So tonight started with a phone call from O’Malley. He let us know that things were way over his capacity to shield us now, and that we should leave town ASAP until things blow over. To sweeten the pot a little he pointed out that one of his informants tipped him off that the Red Court idiot we’ve been chasing forever had just taken off as well…for Boston.

We spent the rest of the night chatting as a group about Boston. What sort of enemies did we want to see there? What kinds of troubles exist? What are the themes of the city? What locations do we want to involve?

City and character creation in the Fate system are pretty cool. It’s all about choosing aspects and themes for the places and situations we’re going to encounter. This gives the players a way to add to the story in their own way. For instance, we choose Boston Common as accorded neutral territory. Now we all know that getting a talk set up with rival interests can take place there with a supposed measure of safety.

The next session will lead us into Boston and I’ll get the chance to run some real sessions. I’m looking forward to it!

RPG Sessions – The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game

When I was a wee lad of 12 or 13 I became fascinated with Dungeons & Dragons. I was reading some of the novels at the time and was hoping that I could actually get the chance to play some day. As luck would have it, a new kid moved to my school the next year who said he was willing to DM games for us. And by “us” I really mean “me”, because none of my other friends were that interested. So one or two solo sessions later things eroded, but I still found myself interested in the roleplaying genre.

More than 20 years went by before I was able to actually dive into roleplaying games, and I started with one of my favorite worlds – The Dresden Files. This RPG is based off the FATE system, which uses more of a storytelling device to drive the action than a complex system of rules. That’s not to say that the rules aren’t there – they just help frame some structure around things.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time playing through our Dresden campaign to the point where I am getting ready to run one of my own with the same group. These posts will serve as an archive of my RPG sessions – be it the Dresden Files RPG or any other campaign I wind up running. So it will be a combination of a session report and general musings on the game as a whole.

So, starting in a couple weeks, there will be a new part of gaming covered here at Board Everyday!