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  • giorgis 3:13 pm on October 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply
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    Miniatures pt52 – Astagar Mercs 

    Another Sci-Fi set of miniatures. Astagar Mercenaries from the Critical Mass range of Ral Partha Europe. Fine sculpts, they’ll do great as snakemen. I’m pondering of running UFO: Enemy Unknown themed Squad Hammer in November and they will fit right in.

    Snakeman leader
    Snakeman Brawler
    Snakeman with Gun
    Snakeman Heavy Infantry
    Snakeman with gun
     
  • giorgis 10:07 am on October 20, 2021 Permalink | Reply
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    Miniatures pt51 – Ghouls and Ghasts 

    Switching to some miniatures painting, for some relaxation after risk of solo burnout.

    Here are some Ghouls by Splintered Light Miniatures. I really love Ben Siens sculpts. Although these are true 15mm, they fit in well with my heroic 15mm as they’re non human.

    Did a simple paint job, using a Pale Flesh base coat, washed with a Black/Blue/Green custom wash. Also played a bit with the base texturing, by just sprinkling baking soda over CA glue, which gave these cool effects of broken land. Sealed up with a satin varnish for a wet look.

    Ghoul with bone club
    Ghoul
    Ghoul
     
  • giorgis 10:29 pm on October 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
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    A Call to Glory S06 – The Witcher 

    Continuing at the same challenge in the Level 1 dungeon A Call to Glory from TSR’s Dragon Quest, introductory adventure game, I aim to try more of the fantasy RPGs in my collection, this time with The Witcher.

    I’ll be using a diverse party of 3 characters from Witcher Easy Mode, the free quickstart. I’ll try to include as many different demihuman races and careers as possible to have a party that can deal with most tasks.

    My main issue with this playthrough is the ingrained rulesystem and setting. For goblins and kobolds I’ll be using the Nekker stats, and for orcs and larger, the Ghouls.


    The Party

    Pregenerated

    • Orban Madars, Dwarf Criminal
    • Ada of Ban Ard, Human Man at Arms
    • Andras the Red, Elf Bard

    The Adventure

    The heroes have been called before Gustovan, the Burgomaster of Torlynn. Torlynn is a small village set in a quiet, hilly area near the mountains. The heroes have lived here for many years and think of Torlynn as home. Gustovan is known as a wise and kind mayor.
    He asks of the heroes to go explore the old, abandoned, dwarven, iron mine, because strange lights and sounds come from within. They’re to find out if there is something wrong there or if the reports are false.

    The heroes enter the dungeon. It’s entrance is a rough cavern, cut from the stone long ago by dwarves. They check their weapons and start down into the mine, with the wind blowing in their backs.

    The heroes enter the dungeon. It’s entrance is a rough cavern, cut from the stone long ago by dwarves. They check their weapons and start down into the mine, with the wind blowing in their backs.


    A. Tunnel

    Wandering monster check: None
    Wandering monster check: None
    Wandering monster check: None
    Wandering monster check: None

    The wind fades away as the heroes move into the mine. A long tunnel leads onward, to the next room.


    B. The First Lair

    NameInitiative
    Orban8+3=11
    Ada10+7=17
    Andras5+9=14/7
    Nek15+9=14/15
    Nek25+8=13

    Orban is in front, followed by Ada and Andras. Ada and Andras can’t move until after Orban moves, so they hold their actions, thus the Nekkers move first.

    Round 1

    Nek1 charge at Orban vs Reposition: 18/23: Orban moves aside.
    Ada moves and attacks Fastx2 at Nek2 vs Dodge: 20/18: Hit: Torso: 7 Damage, 25/18: Hit: Torso: Simple Critical (Foreign Object): 11 Damage +3, Nekker is down
    Nek2 charge at Ada vs Block (shield): 31C/17: Hit: Torso: Difficult Critical: Sucking Chest Wound: 0 Damage +8
    Orban attacks Nek2 vs Dodge: 21/17: Hit: R.Arm: 2 Damage
    Andras shoots Nek2: 14F:(No major fumble)/18: Miss

    Round 2

    Ada attacks Fastx2 at Nek2 vs Dodge: 19/16: Hit: Head: 36: Nek2 is dead.

    So the adventure book states that if the heroes have a hard time, give them an extra Kur's Drink potion. This time, I decide as a GM to let them sweat it a bit. I know there's a Kur's drink at the Gnoll Lair. Suffocation causes 3 hits per round damage. Will they make it in the remaining 11 rounds that Ada has to live?

    They find a leather armor and a pouch belt.

    As the heroes enter the room, they notice a couple of beds. Probably used to be the miners’, but now they have new occupants. The vile creatures jump off and charge at Orban who’s the first to enter the room. He quickly moves aside, giving room for Ada to hack twice at the monster with his battle axe, hitting it at the torso both times, killing it.
    This has left his side open to the other nekker, who digs it’s claws deep at the his chest, opening a gaping hole at his lungs.
    Orban hits the Nekker with his blade, but he barely wounds it, as Andras tries to get a bow and arrow ready. The sight of blood distracts him and he stops short.
    Gasping for air, blood in his throat, Ada of Ban Ard brings his battleaxe down at the nekker’s head, killing the creature. They search the room quickly for anything to help Ada with his condition but they find nothing, so they quickly search onwards not wasting any time.


    C. Jagged Cavern

    I won’t make a wandering monster check.

    Nothing of interest in this narrow cut cavern in the stone. Only the occasional splashing of water driping from the ceiling.


    D. Orc Lair

    I’ll be using the Ghoul stats for this opponent.
    Only Orban and Andras will enter the room. Ada is right outside.

    NameInitiative
    Orban8+6=14
    Andras5+9=14
    Ghoul6+5=11

    Round 1 (3)

    Orban moves and attacks Ghoul vs dodge: 23/11F(No major fumble): Complex Critical: Ruptured Spleen: 5 Damage +5, 21/20: Hit: L.Leg: 2 Damage
    Andras shoots Ghoul vs dodge: 17/25: Miss
    Ghoul claws Orban vs reposition: 9F(No major fumble)/22: Miss

    Round 2 (4)

    Orban attacks Ghoul vs dodge: 24/19: Hit: Torso: 5 Damage, 18/19: Miss
    Andras shoots Ghoul vs dodge: 16/20: Miss
    Ghoul bites Orban vs reposition: 17/16: Hit: R.Arm: 0 Damage, 06/25%: Bleed

    Round 3 (5)

    Orban attacks Ghoul vs dodge: 22/12: Hit: Complex Critical: Ruptured Spleen: 5 Damage +5, Ghoul is down

    As soon as the heroes enter this small room, the stench of rotten meat fills their nostrils. They see a ghoulish figure as they move in to engage. Orban hits it right in the torso, rupturing it’s spleen, and follows with a weak hit to the leg. Andras shoots at it and misses, while Ada stays in the rear, trying to keep his wound closed. The Ghoul claws at Orban, but the dwarf moves aside, and strikes back, hitting the necrophage in the torso. Andras shoots again and misses. The ghoul growls and jumps at Orban, biting his arm, and causing severe bleeding. The dwarf furious hits the ghoul again at the same spot, this time the creature can’t withstand any more wounds, and perishes. The dwarf notices a loose stone slab on the floor. Pushing it aside he finds a bag of gold, probably the treasure belonging to some of the miners.


    E. Trapped Room

    Orban: Practiced paranoia: 19/18: Detects the trap

    A small empty room, with a funny smell. Black ash and soot cover the floors and walls. A steel door with an iron handle sits in the middle of the floor.
    As the dwarf tries to open the door he notices a trap mechanism connected to a stem for something to pour out. He prefers to leave this door alone lest he suffers.


    F. Gnoll Lair

    I’ll be using the Ghoul stats for this opponent.
    Only Orban and Andras will enter the room. Ada is right outside.

    NameInitiative
    Orban8+10=18
    Andras5+2=7
    Ghoul6+4=10

    Round 1 (7)

    Orban moves and attacks Ghoul vs dodge: 27C/30C: Miss, 21/34C: Miss
    Ghoul claws Orban vs reposition: 21/10F(No major fumble): Hit: Complex Critical: Broken Ribs: 0 Damage +5. 11/30 hits.
    Andras shoots Ghoul: 0F/15: You strike one of your allies with a ricochet. Roll location on a random ally within range. Orban: R.Leg: 3 Damage 14/30 hits

    Round 2 (8)

    Orban attacks Ghoul vs dodge: 19/28C: Miss, 17/23C: Miss
    Ghoul bites Orban vs reposition: 20/21: Miss
    Andras shoots Ghoul: 29C/16: Difficultt Critical: Torn Stomach: 6 Damage +8

    Round 3 (9)

    Orban attacks Ghoul vs dodge: 24/14: Complex Critical: Ruptured Spleen: 3 Damage +5, 33C/6F: Deadly Critical: Septic Shock: 3 Damage +10, Ghoul is down.

    Orban is at 10 hit points when he drinks Kur’s drink: 20 hit points healed, bleeding stops.
    Ada is at 10 hits points when he drinks Kur’s drink: 10 hit points healed, Stabilized.
    Ada drinks once more, healing 25 more hit points. He’s at full health and Treated.

    The heroes enter a room and a dozen of small insects buzz past them. Biting flies are everywhere. A large ghoul sits in the room, and as he sees them, attacks.
    Orban slashes at the creature, but fails to land a hit as it dodges and evades. It claws back at the dwarf, and breaks his ribs. Pain sears through Orban’s body. Andras shoots, but as the two combatants are entangled, his arrow finds Orban’s right leg instead. The dwarf curses at the elf, and misses his next attacks against the ghoul, but manages to avoid it’s bite.
    Hoping to redeem himself Andras the Red aims carefully and this time his arrow strikes true, tearing the ghould’s stomach apart. The creature shrieks and Orban finds the opportunity to hit it twice in torso, his poniard rupturing the spleen and tearing the guts sending the ghoul down in septic shock.
    Searching the room, they find an invigorating honey-like potion. Andras recognizes it for a potion of healing. Kur’s Drink. They decide to share it between Orban and Ada, and by magic, their wounds heal. Only Ada feels a bit weary, but he can breathe again.


    G. Empty Room

    Wandering Monster Check: No monster

    I decide not to search the pile of dirt in the room.

    The heroes go through a rough room like a cave, a small pile of dirt is at one corner of the room. The party moves onward.


    H. Broken Room

    Orban dodge: 4+8=12/14: Failure: Hit: R.Leg: 6 Damage. 24/30 health.
    Ada dodge: 27+10=37/14: Success
    Andras dodge: 4+5=9/14: Failure: 18 Damage. 12/30 health.

    As the party goes through this large chamber cut from the stone, they notice the walls and ceiling are cracked, and huge chunks of stone have fallen on the floor. Their vibrations cause some more to fall as they pass through, hitting Orban to the leg and Andras to the chest.


    I. Narrow Tunnel

    NameInitiative
    Orban8+7=15
    Ada10+5=15
    Andras5+3=8
    Ghoul6+1=7

    With no room to maneuver, Orban faces off the Ghoul one to one.

    Round 1

    Orban charges Ghoul vs dodge: 10F(No major fumble)/4F: Hit: Head: 27 Damage: Ghoul is down

    The heroes find another narrow tunnel. They go through in a single file, the dwarf in front, the elf in the rear, and the man at arms in the middle. Suddenly the door at the end of the hall swings open, and a foul ghoul, cries out and marches towards them.
    Orban charges and finds the ghoul at the head, killing it instantly.


    J. The Story Room

    I’m not rolling a wandering monsters check since the next room has a major fight.

    The heroes enter a large chamber that has been polished smooth. Ancient dwarvish runes are carved into the walls. Orban reads them out aloud. They tell of the story of the digging of the mine and the work that the dwarves did there. Near the end, it mentions that the dwarves found a vein of glowing iron unlike anything they had seen before. They mined this strange ore, which they called eisenmond and found they could make weapons of great magic with it.
    As they mined for more eisenmond they discovered some dark and evil secret about the mountain, without saying anything more than that they packed up and left overnight.
    The story ends by saying that they left behind a large nugget of eisenmond which glowed brighter than the rest, in the care of someone called the Stone King.
    The heroes realize that this is the key to the secret of the mountain, and what Gustovan sent them there to find.


    K. The Iron Mine

    I don’t feel that Ghouls and Nekkers fit well with the story, so I’m going to place 4 Knockers here, from A Witcher’s Journal.

    NameInitiative
    Orban8+8=16
    Ada10+10=20
    Andras5+10=15
    Knockers6+2=8

    Round 1

    Ada charges at Knocker4 vs reposition: 22/22: Miss
    Orban moves and fast attacks Knocker1 vs reposition: 23/17: Hit: L.Leg: 1 Damage, 10F(no major fumble)/16: Miss
    Andras shoots Knocker4 vs reposition: 21/17: Hit: R.Leg: 2 Damage
    Knocker1 attacks Orban vs reposition: 17/21: Miss
    Knocker2 moves and attacks Orban vs reposition: 22/16: Hit: R.Leg: 3 Damage. 21/30 Health
    Knocker3 moves and attacks Ada vs block: 15/21: Blocked
    Knocker4 attacks Ada vs block: 19/21: Blocked

    Round 2

    Ada attacks Knocker4 vs reposition: 22/20: Hit: R.Leg: 4 Damage ,18/17: Hit: R.Leg: 4 Damage
    Orban attacks Knocker1 vs reposition: 19/33C: Miss, 30C/17: Hit: Difficult Critical: Torn Stomach: 4 Damage +8
    Andras shoots Knocker4 vs reposition: 17/17: Miss
    Knocker1 attacks Orban vs reposition: 17/22: Miss
    Knocker2 attacks Orban vs reposition: 19/18: Hit: Torso: 0 Damage. 21/30 Health
    Knocker3 attacks Ada vs block: 22/11: Complex Critical: Lost 2 Teeth: 2 Damage +5. 38/45 Health
    Knocker4 attacks Ada vs block: 19/23: Blocked

    Round 3

    Ada attacks Knocker4 vs reposition: 15/21: Miss, 15/16: Miss
    Orban attacks Knocker1 vs reposition: 21/16: Hit: Head: 10 Damage, 21/15: Hit: R.Leg: 2 Damage
    Andras shoots Knocker4 vs reposition: 16/16: Miss
    Knocker1 attacks Orban vs reposition: 15/25: Miss
    Knocker2 attacks Orban vs reposition: 15/15: Miss
    Knocker3 attacks Ada vs block: 25/19: Hit: L.Arm: 0 Damage
    Knocker4 attacks Ada vs block: 16/17: Blocked

    Round 4

    Ada attacks Knocker4 vs reposition: 24/17: Hit: Simple Critical: Foreign Object: 13 Damage +3, 18/22: Miss
    Orban attacks Knocker1 vs reposition: 19/16: Hit: L.Arm: 1 Damage, 7F/21: You damage your weapon severely. Your weapon takes 4points of reliability damage.
    Andras shoots Knocker4 vs reposition: 18/21: Miss
    Knocker1 attacks Orban vs reposition: 17/18: Miss
    Knocker2 attacks Orban vs reposition: 18/21: Miss
    Knocker3 attacks Ada vs block: 21/24: Blocked
    Knocker4 attacks Ada vs block: 15/24: Blocked

    Round 5

    Ada attacks Knocker4 vs reposition: 24/21: Hit: R.Leg: 3 Damage, 18/23: Miss
    Orban attacks Knocker1 vs reposition: 23/19: Hit: Torso: 5 Damage, Knocker1 is down, attack vs Knocker2: 9F/20: Your weapon glances off and you are staggered
    Andras shoots Knocker4 vs reposition: 17/17: Miss
    Knocker2 attacks Orban vs reposition: 22/19: Hit: L.Leg: 4 Damage. 17/30 Health.
    Knocker3 attacks Ada vs block: 13/30C: Blocked
    Knocker4 attacks Ada vs block: 20/17: Hit: L.Arm: 0 Damage

    Round 6

    Ada attacks Knocker4 vs reposition: 22/9: Hit: Difficult Critical: Sucking Chest Wound: 10 Damage +8, Knocker4 is down, attack vs Knocker3: 25/23: Hit: Torso: 10 Damage
    Orban attacks Knocker2 vs reposition: 23/11F: Hit: Complex Critical: Broken Ribs: 2 Damage +5, 18/16: Hit: R.Leg: 1 Damage
    Andras shoots Knocker3 vs reposition: 16/18: Miss
    Knocker2 attacks Orban vs reposition: 15/17: Miss
    Knocker3 attacks Ada vs block: 22/25: Blocked

    Round 7

    Ada attacks Knocker3 vs reposition: 25/15: Hit: Complex Critical: Broken Ribs: 11 Damage +5, 43C/22: Deadly Critical: Separated Spine/Decapitated: 36 Damage +10, Knocker3 is down
    Orban attacks Knocker2 vs reposition: 21/19: Hit: R.Leg: 2 Damage, 21/21: Miss
    Andras shoots Knocker2 vs reposition: 17/8F: Hit: Simple Critical: Foreign Object: 3 Damage +3
    Knocker2 attacks Orban vs reposition: 18/21: Miss

    Round 8

    Ada charges Knocker2 vs reposition: 22/17: Hit: R.Leg: 5 Damage
    Orban attacks Knocker2 vs reposition: 34C/19: Hit: Deadly Critical: Septic Shock: 2 Damage +10, 26C/14: Hit: Complex Critical: Sprained Arm: 1 Damage +5
    Andras shoots Knocker2 vs reposition: 21/16: Hit: L.Arm: 2 Damage
    Knocker2 attacks Orban vs reposition: 3F/22: You are knocked off balance and are staggered.

    Round 9

    Ada charges Knocker2 vs reposition: 15F/9: Hit: R.Arm: 6 Damage, Knocker2 is down

    The heroes enter a vast chamber that is roughly carved and still being worked. Small veins of iron ore still line the walls. Four monsters work the mine, and as they see the party they howl and attack.
    As the two sides clash, they fail to hit each other, still trying to read their opponents. Ada charges at two of the knockers, while Orban engages at two others and Andras shoots from the corner of the chamber at them.
    Ada hits one of his opponents twice at the leg, and blocks his counterattack with his shield, but the other punches him in the face so hard, that it knocks out two of his teeth. Orban lands a strike at the knockers, slashing at the abdomen, tearing it’s stomach. the creature cries in pain as stomach acids fill it’s guts. Orban manages to avoid both their strikes, while Andras shoots and misses.
    They all exchange blows, some hit some miss. Orban’s blade is damaged as it hits the hard floor, but finally, after a series of wounds he brings down his wounded enemy. He tries to hit the other knocker quickly, but he loses his balance and is staggered, and the knocker counterattacks with a hard punch to his leg.
    Ada hits the other knocker dead in the chest with his battleaxe, tearing off it’s lungs, and wounds the other assailant as well. His large shield blocks all their attacks.
    Andras shoots arrow after arrow, but worrying if he might hit his companions, he prefers to miss any risky shots.
    Orban slashes with his poniard at the tough goblinoid, his blade breaking a few ribs. The creature screams and tries to hit back, but Orban evades quickly the attacks.
    The fight continues with Ada bringing his axe blade horizontally right where the knocker’s head connects to the rest of the body. The connection is severed and the head flies off to a wild direction, as the body falls to the floor, blood pumping out of it’s major arteries.
    The last remaining knocker is ganged up by the heroes who quickly finish him off.
    Searching through their opponents belongings, they find a cool silver ring, and a coil of rope. The dwarf takes them both.


    L. Tunnel of Death

    Orban: Practiced paranoia: 30C/18: Detects the trap, and knows how to avoid it. +2 To Dodge Checks.
    Orban dodge: 4+8+2=14/14: Failure: Hit: L.Leg: 7 Damage. 10/30 health.
    Ada dodge: 17+10+2=29/14: Success
    Andras dodge: 8+5+2=15/14: Success

    The heroes enter a smooth and straight tunnel. The floor is marked with the dark stains of dried blood. As they reach the door to the other side, Orban detects a mechanism, that upon opening the door, releases several rocks to their heads. They try to be careful and the elf and the human avoid them, but the dwarf is hit on the leg, and is bruised.


    M. Mysterious Fountain

    In the center of the room is a stone fountain, carved in the image of a large dragon that coils around itself and sprays water out of its mouth. The water lands in a polished stone pool that has been cut into the floor around the statue. The air is sweet with the smell of fresh water. The heroes drink from the water to quench their thirst, and in a magical way, all their wounds and fatigue disappear.
    They look around the room and see that there are no more doors, and it appears to be the end of the mine. But knowing that they haven’t found either the Stone Kind or the large lump of eisenmond, they start searching for a secret door.

    Orban awareness: 12/16: Failure
    Ada awareness: 0F/16: Fumble
    Andras awareness: 27C/16: Success
    They find the secret door.
    Wandering Monster check: Monster: Ghoul

    NameInitiative
    Orban8+6=14/14
    Ada10+8=18
    Andras5+3=8
    Ghoul6+8=14/15

    Round 1 (7)

    Ada moves and attacks Ghoul: 18/17: Hit: Head: 33 Damage: Ghoul is down

    As they find a secret door and open it, a ghoul was lying in wait right behind it. It hisses, but Ada is waiting with his battleaxe. He brings it down on the necrophage’s skull, finishing it off in one swift strike.


    N. Sloping Passage

    The tunnel has been cut downards at a sharp angle. Walking down is very dangerous, but with the rope, the heroes descend it with great care.


    O. The Eisenmond Mine

    The heroes finally enter a rough stone chamber, with flakes of a mysterious glowing ore flickering in the walls, floor and ceiling, making the dark walls shimmer like a starry night.
    In the center, sitting on a small stone pedestal, is a short statue carved from a single granite block. It depicts a dwarf with a pick and other mining gear, missing it’s head which is tossed in the corner. The head sports a rusty crown, fashioned from iron, The statue’s hands are open and held out as if it was holding something.

    Okay, so here’s a puzzle concerning players and not characters, but it can be resolved with Deduction (INT) checks, which I will test.

    Orban Deduction: 1F/14: Fail
    Ada Deduction: 10/14: Fail
    Andras Deduction: 22/14: Success. He finds a secret compartment with two nuggets of eisenmond, that fit perfectly on the eye sockets of the statue’s head.

    Orban Deduction: 13/14: Fail
    Ada Deduction: 11/14: Fail
    Andras Deduction: 14/14: Fail

    2nd attempt:
    Orban Deduction: 19/14: Success. He considers placing the head back on the statue.

    Searching around for secret doors, Andras finds a small compartment in the pedestal that contains two nuggets of eisenmond. His keen senses tell him that they fit perfectly to the head, and he proceeds to place them there.
    The party looks at the head. Then Orban decides to re-assemble the statue.
    As soon as the statue is assembled, a strange light fills the room. The stone body of the statue glows and the mouth moves slowly. In a voice deep and old as the mountain around, the statue speaks.
    It says about how the mine belongs to the dwarves, and how good it is that the heroes have arrived because a great evil has tainted the spirit of the place. The priceless magical stone called the Eisenkern was stolen, and along with it, the power to trap the beast that lives at the heart of the mountain. If the Eisenkern is not returned, that terrible beast will be freed, and a horrible evil will come upon all who dwell in these lands.


    Ending the Adventure

    The heroes return and report their story to Gustovan, who seems troubled by it. He rewards them and takes thought of the matter.


    The System

    The Witcher TTRPG is a great mid-crunch system. It seems like a perfect fit for people used to concepts like Hit Points, but want to try something that makes more sense than the abstract concept by the d20 rulesets. The system is skill based and doesn’t need to be balanced in order to avoid being broken.
    I liked the critical wounds system, as they can happen quite often, and the hit locations, which when combined can end a fight quickly. I didn’t like the divisions involved in most of the damage calculations. It could become too troublesome to run.
    The rules where nicely written with several details in the sidebar, but I found an odd place or two where they could be better explained.
    In basic combat, it was nice having different attack (Fast/Strong) and different defend options (Dodge/Block/Reposition/Parry), but ultimately in the defences, it didn’t feel too much like an option during combat, and more like an option during character creation (this one blocks, this one dodges, etc).
    There were points where combat felt like dragging, but overall it wasn’t too much.

    What about the Dungeon Crawl?

    Considering I didn’t have a healer with me, I was lucky to survive the dungeon. If I didn’t know (meta knowledge) about the healing potion, a regular party might have perished (though to make things fair I did go through all the rooms in order of appearance like in all my previous plays). Of course, if I had a Witcher character with me, it would have been a lot easier, but it was nice to pit regular characters in the fight.
    I feel like The Witcher is a nice fit for a dungeon crawl, where the hit points mechanics along with the mid-dragging combat speed give room for a party to maneuver. The nice thing is that it doesn’t go without a nice amount of criticals and effects.

    Summary

    Overall as a unique, d10 system, The Witcher TTRPG is very enjoyable, and has managed to hit a sweet spot between traditional d20 systems, skill based d100 systems, and computer RPGs. This combat based dungeon crawl only showed one part of it’s capabilities, and I’m certain that it has much more to offer in the rest of the RPG aspects, and especially the awesome Witcher setting which I haven’t gotten a chance yet to try out.
    Regarding it’s solo capabilties, I’d say it’s possible to be soloed. Bookkeeping can be a chore, as there are many stats and conditions that you have to monitor through combat, but if you keep combatants at a moderate level, it won’t be a problem.

     
  • giorgis 9:10 am on October 6, 2021 Permalink | Reply
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    A Call to Glory S05 – MERP 

    Continuing at the same challenge in the Level 1 dungeon A Call to Glory from TSR’s Dragon Quest, introductory adventure game, I could not leave Middle Earth Roleplaying Game out of the testing. Despite having extensively played MERP recently in my In the trollshaws adventure, and despite wanting to try out its modern retroclone Against the Darkmaster (aka VsD), I decided to go again with MERP, mainly for ease of use, having the books in print and everything.
    With this playthrough, I’ll have almost completed the d100 fantasy games in my collection.
    Middle Earth Roleplaying is a light Rolemaster sibling, using Tolkien’s setting. Iron Crown Enterprises held the IP license for several years and developed many supplements on the setting.

    I’ll be using a diverse party of 4 characters. I’ll try to include as many different demihuman races and careers as possible to have a party that can deal with most tasks.

    Scrolling through the core rulebook, I found 4 pregenerated characters for the sample adventure, that I’ll be using for this game.


    The Party

    Pregenerated

    • Bali Redhelm, a Dwarf Warrior
    • Boffo Northtook, a Hobbit Scout
    • Galadhil, a Dunadan Ranger
    • Lamalas, a Silvan Elf Mage

    The Adventure

    The heroes have been called before Gustovan, the Burgomaster of Torlynn. Torlynn is a small village set in a quiet, hilly area near the mountains. The heroes have lived here for many years and think of Torlynn as home. Gustovan is known as a wise and kind mayor.
    He asks of the heroes to go explore the old, abandoned, dwarven, iron mine, because strange lights and sounds come from within. They’re to find out if there is something wrong there or if the reports are false.

    The heroes enter the dungeon. It’s entrance is a rough cavern, cut from the stone long ago by dwarves. They check their weapons and start down into the mine, with the wind blowing in their backs.


    A. Tunnel

    Wandering monster check: None
    Wandering monster check: None
    Wandering monster check: None
    Wandering monster check: None

    The wind fades away as the heroes move into the mine. A long tunnel leads onward, to the next room.


    B. The First Lair

    I’ll be using the weak orc stats for the kobold and goblin.

    Round 1

    Boffo move to attack WOrc1: MM: 67+50=117: 110
    Lamalas move to the side of the room
    WOrc1 move to attack Lamalas: MM: 39: 60
    Worc2 move to attack Bali: MM: 49: 70
    Bali move to attack Worc2: MM: 7+5-5=7: 50
    Galadhil move to attack Worc2: MM: 88-5=83: 100
    Boffo attacks WOrc1: 49+5-14-15+10-25=10: –
    WOrc1 attacks Lamalas: 56+35-10-5+60-100=36: –
    Worc2 atacks Bali: 32+35-10+70-100=27: –
    Bali attacks Worc2: 22+33+15-5-5-25+50-100=-15: –
    Galadhil attacks Worc2: 08+15+47-25+100-100=45: –

    Round 2

    Lamalas prepares Sleep spell
    Boffo attacks WOrc1: 60+5-14-15+10-25=21: –
    WOrc1 attacks Lamalas: 27+35-10-5=47: –
    Worc2 atacks Bali: 76+35-10=101:10A: 43-20=23: Blow to upper leg. +5 hits. Wears leg armor.
    Bali attacks Worc2: 05: Fumble: 97: Stumble over an unseen, imaginary, deceased turtle. You are very confused. Stunned 3 rounds.
    Galadhil attacks Worc2: 33+15+47-25=70: –

    Round 3

    Lamalas prepares Sleep spell
    Boffo attacks WOrc1: 96+39+5-14-15-15-25=86: 10A: 55-20=35: Thigh strike. +3 hits. If no leg armor: 3 hits per round.
    WOrc1 attacks Lamalas: 28+35-10-5=48: –
    Worc2 atacks Bali: 35+35-10-19=41: –
    Bali stunned
    Galadhil attacks Worc2: 39+15+47-25=76: 7 hits

    Round 4

    Lamalas casts Sleep spell at the Orcs: 59+2=61: -15 RRB
    WOrc1 resistance: 60-15=45/50: Failure. WOrc1 sleeps
    Worc2 resistance: 81-15=66/50: Success. Worc2 resists
    Boffo attacks & moves to WOrc2: 54+5-14-15-25+25=30: –
    Worc2 atacks Bali: 18+35-10-19=24: –
    Bali stunned
    Galadhil attacks Worc2: 47+15+47-25=84: 9A: 49-20=29: Blow to upper leg. +5 hits. If no leg armor: +3 hits & 2 hits/ rnd.

    Round 5

    Lamalas waits
    Boffo attacks WOrc1: 63+5-14-15-25+25=39: –
    Worc2 atacks Bali: 75+35-10-19=81: 6 hits
    Bali stunned
    Galadhil attacks Worc2: 93+15+47-25=130: 23E: 85+20=105: Major abdominal wound. +10 hits. 8 hits per round. -10 to activity. Stunned for 4 rounds.

    Bali switches to warhammer and shield.
    They find a short sword & a leather armor.

    As the heroes enter the room, they notice a couple of beds. Probably used to be the miners’, but now they have new occupants. A couple of goblinoids get up, pick their curved swords and attack.
    They face off each other in combat, Bali and Galadhil against one orc, and Boffo and Lamalas against another. The orc hits Bali on the leg, only his armor saving him from bleeding. He’s disoriented and stumbles on flat ground, stunned. Boffo jabs at the other orc in the thigh, while Lamalas prepares a spell, concentrating.
    Galadhil delivers a scratching wound to the orc, as the elf mage finally casts his spell. The orc in front of him falls in a deep slumber, but the one fighting off the dwarf still stands.
    It growls, shaking off the magic, but receives a sharp cutting strike to the upper leg, by Galadhil’s broadsword. It disregards the profound bleeding wound and hits the stunned dwarf once more, but the chain armor withstands most of the blow. Only for a moment as Galadhil follows up with another slash at the belly. The innards of the orc spill out, and it falls to the floor, dying out, incapacitated.
    The heroes dispatch the other spellstruck orc, and search for anything of value. They find a nice set of leather armor, dwarf or hobbit sized, and a sharp short sword.


    C. Jagged Cavern

    Wandering Monster check: No wandering monster

    Nothing of interest in this narrow cut cavern in the stone. Only the occasional splashing of water driping from the ceiling.


    D. Orc Lair

    I’ll going to be using the medium orc stats for this opponent.
    Only Bali and Galadil have entered the room

    Round 1

    Orc attacks Bali: 44+60-10-25-5=64: 2 hits
    Bali attacks Orc: 05+5+58-30=38: –
    Galadhil attacks Orc: 56+15+47-30=88: 7A: 89-20=69: Medium thigh wound. +6 hits. 1 hit per round. -10 to activity. Stunned 2 rounds.

    Round 2

    Orc -1 hit. Orc stunned.
    Bali attacks Orc: 66+5+58-30-25=74: 3 hits
    Galadhil attacks Orc: 96+82+15+47-30-25=185: 22E: 36+20=56: Minor forearm wound. +4 hits. 2 hits per round. Stunned 1 round.

    Round 3

    Orc -3 hits. Orc stunned.
    Bali attacks Orc: 97+75+5+58-30-25=180: 20E: 56+20=76: Blow breaks bone in leg. +12 hits. -40 to activity. Stunned 2 rounds. Orc is down.

    As soon as the heroes enter this small room, the stench of rotten meat fills their nostrils. With their infravision they make out an orc figure as they close in to engage. The orc wears leather armor and carries sword and shield. It attacks Bali, but the dwarf’s heavy armor withstands most of the blow.
    The orc parries Bali’s attack, but Galadhil’s blade cut deep in the orc’s thigh. The monster screams in pain, and grabs the bleeding thigh.
    Bali hits the stunned orc, but his strike is weak. Galadhil hits the orc to the forearm, causing another bleeding wound. The orc hasn’t had time to react as the two adventurers deliver strike after strike. Finally, the dwarf aims at the orcs leg. The blow breaks its bone. It falls down, incapacitated, unable to react as it bleeds out.
    The dwarf notices a loose stone slab on the floor. Pushing it aside he finds a bag of gold, probably spoils belonging to the defeated orc.


    E. Trapped Room

    Boffo: Perception: 03-37+28= Absolute Failure
    Boffo: MM: 43+50=93: 70: Failure: 86-30: 56: Clothing catches on fire. Takes 2 rnds to extinguish. +12 hits. 8 hits per rnd afire. Stunned 1 rnd.

    A small empty room, with a funny smell. Black ash and soot cover the floors and walls. A steel door with an iron handle sits in the middle of the floor.
    Boffo looks around for traps, but finds none. As the halfling tries to open the door he hears a clicking noise. He’s not fast enough to avoid a jet of greek fire, that hits him and sets him on fire. It takes him awhile to put the flames out, and he escapes with a few burns. At last he opens the trapdoor, but it was just a trap as behind it is only rock.


    F. Gnoll Lair

    Using strong orc stats.

    Round 1

    Orc attacks Bali: 44+75-10-25-5=64: 5 hits
    Bali attacks Orc: 96+94+5+58-30=223: 22E: 23+20=43: Blow to forearm. +5 hits. If no arm armor, stunned 1 round.
    Galadhil attacks Orc: 20+15+47-30=52: 1 hit

    Round 2

    Orc stunned.
    Bali attacks Orc: 01: Fumble: 03-20=-17: Lose your grip. No further activity this round.
    Galadhil attacks Orc: 43+15+47-30-38=37: –

    Round 3

    Orc attacks Bali: 100+31+75-10-25-5=166: 18E: 46+20=66: Medium thigh wound. +6 hits. 1 hit per round. -10 to activity. Stunned 2 rounds.
    Bali stunned.
    Galadhil attacks Orc: 68+15+47-30=100: 9 hits

    Round 4

    Orc attacks Galadhil: 80+75-10-25+5=125: 16C: 07: Minor calf wound. 1 hit per round.
    Bali stunned.
    Galadhil attacks Orc: 68+15+47-30=100: 9 hits

    Round 5

    Lamalas prepares Sleep spell
    Boffo moves to the side of the corridor
    Bali disengages
    Orc attacks Galadhil: 34+75-10-25+5=79: 5 hits
    Galadhil attacks Orc: 04+15+47-30=36: –

    Round 6

    Lamalas prepares Sleep spell
    Boffo waits
    Bali bandages himself
    Orc attacks Galadhil: 11+75-10-25+5=56: –
    Galadhil attacks Orc: 89+15+47-30=121: 13C: 82: Slash weapon arm. +10 hits. 1 hit per round. If no arm armor: muscle and tendon damage, arm useless.

    Round 7

    Lamalas prepares Sleep spell
    Boffo waits
    Bali waits
    Orc drops shield and takes the scimitar with the left arm
    Galadhil attacks Orc: 56+15+47-5=113: 12B: 38-10=28: Blow to upper leg. +5 hits. If no leg armor: +3 hits & 3 hits/ rnd.

    Round 8

    Orc drops from blood loss.
    Lamalas doesn’t cast spell.
    Galadhil bandages himself.

    They find Kur’s drink.

    Bali: 25 hits healed
    Galadhil: 25 hits healed
    Bali: 30 hits healed

    Boffo equips short sword & leather armor.

    The heroes enter a room and a dozen of small insects buzz past them. Biting flies are everywhere. A large furred orc is sharpening his scimitar, and as he sees them attacks.
    He hits Bali, who strikes back with his warhammer, hitting hard the orc’s forearm, stunning him. Galadhil follows up with a strike, but only the end of the blade hits, barely scratching the wicked beast.
    Bali is anxious to get a hit while his opponent is stunned, but he fumbles, losing his grip and has to grip his warhammer again. The orc finds time to recover and counters back with a strong hit, wounding Bali at the thigh. The dwarf can’t do much than grin in pain try to parry his opponent’s blows. Galadhil hits the orc, but only blunt impact hurts the orc, as the chain hauberk dissipates the blow.
    With Bali stunned, the orc turns its attention to Galadhil, hitting the ranger’s calf in a low sweeping slashing strike, causing bleeding. Galadhil delivers another hit that can’t get through the chain hauberk.
    The dwarf warrior is wounded so the supporting heroes prepare for the worse. They want to try to draw the big orc out. Boffo steps to the side ready to ambush him, while Lamalas prepares another spell, concentrating, as Bali steps outside.
    The orc tries to hit Galadhil who parries with his shield, and strikes back, slashing the orc’s weapon arm, rendering it useless and causing profound bleeding.
    Despite its predicament, the orc stands strong, and drops its shield and starts fighting with it’s off hand.
    Not for long. Galadhil sinks his blade into the orc’s foot, and the creature perishes from blood loss.
    Searching the creature, they find an invigorating honey-like potion. Lamalas recognizes it for a potion of healing. Kur’s Drink. Bali takes two strong gulps, and Galadhil another one. Their wounds quickly heal, and they can continue again the quest.
    Seeing the dangers they face, Boffo decides to equip himself with the short sword and the leather armor.


    G. Empty Room

    The heroes go through a rough room like a cave, a small pile of dirt is at one corner of the room. The party moves onward.


    H. Broken Room

    Hard MM

    Round 1

    Boffo: 16: 5%
    Lamalas: 41+15=56: 30%
    Bali: 21: 10%
    Galadhil: 88-5=83: 50%

    Round 2

    Boffo: 30: 10%+5%= 15%
    Lamalas: 93+15=108: 80%+30%= 110%
    Bali: 43: 10%+20%= 30%
    Galadhil: 38-5=33: 10%+50%= 60%

    I. Narrow Tunnel

    Round 3

    Lamalas: Prepare Sleep spell
    Boffo: 05-60=-65:F: 23: You slip. 30% Chance of falling. -20 from maneuvers for 2 rounds: 01: Falls.
    Bali: 95: 60%+30%= 90%
    Galadhil: 25-5=20: 5%+60%=65%
    Orc MM to attack Lamalas: 47: 70%
    Orc attack Lamalas: 97+73+60-10-100+70=190: 48E: 01+20: Thigh strike, +3 hits. If no leg armor: 3 hits per round. Lamalas is down.

    Round 4

    Lamalas: +3 hits
    Boffo: stands up.
    Bali: MM to move inside & attack Orc: 09: 5%+90%: 95%. Didn’t move inside.
    Galadhil: MM to move inside & attack Orc: 96+52-5=100%+65%: Moves inside and fights Orc.
    Orc MM to move and attack Galadhil: 64: 80%
    Orc attack Galadhil: 86+60-10-25+80-100=91: 12B: 88-10=78: Medium thigh wound. +6 hits. 1 hit per round. -10 to activity. Stunned 2 rounds.
    Galadhil Stunned

    Round 6

    Lamalas: +3 hits
    Boffo: 02-01-20=F: 45: You stumble. 45% chance of falling. -30 from maneuvers for 2 rounds. 19: Falls.
    Bali: MM for rocks: 66: 40%: Success
    Orc attacks Galadhil: 73+60-10-25-21=77: 4A: 17-20=-3: Weak strike yields no extra damage. +0 hits.
    Galadhil Stunned.

    Round 7

    Lamalas: +3 hits
    Boffo: stands up
    Bali: MM for rocks: 56: 30%: Success
    Orc attacks Galadhil: 88+60-10-25=91: 22C(A): 24: Blow to upper leg: +5 hits. If no leg armor: +3 hits & 2 hits/ rnd. Galadhil is down.

    Round 8

    Lamalas: +3 hits. Lamalas is dead.
    Galadhil: +3 hits.
    Boffo: 83-30= 53: 20%+15%: 35%
    Bali moves 10′ inside.
    Orc attacks Bali: 17+60-10-25+10= 52: 0
    Bali attacks Orc: 93+58+5-5= 151: 20E: 10+20=30: Blow to side. +4 hits. -40 to activity for 1 round.

    Round 9

    Galadhil: +3 hits.
    Boffo: 28: 10%+35%: 45%
    Orc attacks Bali: 100+35+60-10-25+10-40= 130: 26D(B): 98+10=108 & 88: Sever weapon arm. 15 hits per round. Down and unconscious immediately. Shatter knee. +9 hits. -60 to activity. Knocked down and stunned for 3 rounds.

    Round 10

    Boffo loads sling.
    Orc MM to attack Boffo: 26: 10%: 45% remains.

    Round 11

    Boffo attacks: 06: Fumble: 35: Fumble ammunition. Lose this round. -50 to activity next round. +56
    Orc MM to attack Boffo: 26: 10%: 45% remains.

    Round 12

    Boffo loads sling.
    Orc MM to attack Boffo: 83: 50%: reached Boffo.
    Orc attacks Boffo: 30+60-40-100+50= 0: –

    Round 13

    Boffo attacks with short sword: 97+97+80-5+10-14=265: 22E: 16+20=36: Minor chest wound. +3 hits. 1 hit per round. -5 to activity.
    Orc attacks Boffo: 39+60-40-5= 54: 0

    Round 14

    Boffo attacks with short sword: 38-5+10-14=29: –
    Orc attacks Boffo: 41+60-40-5= 56: 0

    Round 15

    Boffo attacks with short sword: 17-5+10-14=8: –
    Orc attacks Boffo: 28+60-40-5= 43: 0

    Round 16

    Boffo attacks with short sword: 98+96+4-5+10-14=189: 22E: 28+20=48: Minor chest wound. +3 hits. 1 hit per round. -5 to activity. Orc is down.

    Round 17

    Bali is dead

    So the adventure book states that if the heroes have a hard time, give them an extra Kur's Drink potion. Right now Bali and Lamalas are dead and Galadhil has lost over 84 hit points (he's at -35, with death at -90). So I suppose healing Boffo won't hurt, but it won't make much of a difference either.

    Boffo finds a Kur’s Drink.
    Boffo drinks it all: 35 hit points healed.

    As the party goes through this large chamber cut from the stone, they notice the walls and ceiling are cracked, and huge chunks of stone have fallen on the floor. Their vibrations cause some more to fall as they pass through, so they walk carefully to attempt to avoid it without harm.
    Lamalas is the first to reach the door to the other side, and by the time he opens it, Galadhil is halfway there with Bali and Boffo way back, as falling rocks impede their movement.
    Lamalas opens the door, to find a narrow hallway, and duddenly the door at the end of the hall swings open, and a foul orc, lifts its gleaming black axe and marches towards him.
    The elf prepares to cast another sleep spell, and Bali closes in to assist, but they both are too late. The orc brings his battle axe down at the elf’s thigh, swinging it with both hands. The strike is so strong that the elf falls incapacitated due to shock, and lies bleeding.
    Before Bali has a chance to enter the hallway, Galadhil gets past him and faces the orc one to one. The orc swings his axe low, and hits the ranger again, and again and again. Galadhil can’t react to the successive strikes, and he drops unable to fight longer.
    The orc enters the broken room and challenges Bali. The dwarf parries a blow and hits the orc to the side. The orc counters with a swing top down. The axe cuts off the dwarf’s arm, severing it, in an arc that reaches Bali’s knee shattering it. Bali drops immediately, a pool of blood where his hand lies.
    The hobbit draws his sling, and tries to shoot at the orc, but fear overcomes him and he fumbles the ammo, losing precious time. By the time the or is upon him, he has no option but to draw his blade.
    The orc doesn’t expect much resistance from such a small sized opponent. Boffo uses this to is advantage and fights close with his short sword, where the orc can’t hit easily with his big two handed axe. Boffo manages to avoid all his enemy’s attacks, and stabs the orc twice in the chest. With the final hit, the orc drops. The hobbit notices a vial of the same kind of potion they found before, hanging from the orc’s belt, and snatches it quickly.
    Boffo quickly runs to his companions, but there’s no hope for the elf and the dwarf. He stabilizes Galadhil, gulps down his healing potion, and removes his leather armor to walk silently. He will sneak in the shadows to survive if possible.


    J. The Story Room

    I’m not rolling a wandering monsters check since the next room has a major fight.

    Boffo: Read Rune: 31-25: 6: Failure

    Boffo Northtook enters a large chamber that has been polished smooth. Ancient dwarvish runes are carved into the walls. He can’t understand a single word that is being said, and moves on to the next room.


    K. The Iron Mine

    Boffo will attempt to ambush the first orc miner.

    Round 0

    Boffo: Stalk/Hide (vs Perception): 43+27-5: (Light MM): 80%: He can move 40′
    Boffo: Ambush: 06-14+35+10= 57: –

    Round 1

    Boffo will attempt to Run away to the next room.
    Conflicting action between him and the orc he tried to stab: 79+50 vs 74+10: Boffo wins.
    Boffo Run: 41+50=91: 100%
    Boffo gets into the next room, and reaches the door to the other side.

    L. Tunnel of Death

    Boffo Perception: 29+28=57+30:+20=107: Near Success: You gain some information on the topic that required the perception roll, and you are aware that you missed something. You may try again after 3 rounds of contemplation.

    So Boffo is quite certain the door is trapped, but he can’t attempt to disarm it. He can only open it and hope for the best as the four orcs enter the hallway.

    Round 2

    Boffo opens the door to the next room.
    Deadfall trap triggered. Everyone must make an MM maneuver of 100% or suffer a C Impact critical.
    Boffo: 10+50=60:80%: 69: Blast to shield arm. +10 hits. Shield or arm armor destroyed. If none: arm broken and useless, stunned 3 rounds.
    Orc1: 18+10=28: 20%: 57: Strike to leg. Knocked down. +8 hits. If no leg armor: stunned 2 rounds.
    Orc2: 37+10=47: 30%: 04: Not even a scratch. +0 hits.
    Orc3: 40+10=50: 30%: 98: Strike abdomen. +18 hits. Stunned 12 rounds.
    Orc4: 50+10=60: 40%: 29: Staggered by strike to side. +10 hits. Stunned 1 round.

    Round 3

    Boffo: stunned
    Orc1: stunned
    Orc2 attacks Boffo: 10+35+20-40=25: –
    Orc3: stunned
    Orc4: stunned

    Round 4

    Boffo: stunned
    Orc1: stunned
    Orc2 attacks Boffo: 53+35+20-40=68: –
    Orc3: stunned
    Orc4: recovers, and takes position behind Orc2

    Round 5

    Boffo: stunned
    Orc1: recovers and takes position behind Orc4
    Orc2 attacks Boffo: 35+35+20-40=50: –
    Orc3 stunned
    Orc4 waits

    Round 6

    Boffo attack Orc2: 11+10-14-5=2: –
    Orc1 waits
    Orc2 attacks Boffo: 53+35-40=48: –
    Orc3 stunned
    Orc4 waits

    Round 7

    Boffo attack Orc2: 49+10-14-5=40: –
    Orc1 waits
    Orc2 attacks Boffo: 60+35-40=55: –
    Orc3 stunned
    Orc4 waits

    Round 8

    Boffo attack Orc2: 74+10-14-5=65: –
    Orc1 waits
    Orc2 attacks Boffo: 62+35-40=57: –
    Orc3 stunned
    Orc4 waits

    Round 9

    Boffo attack Orc2: 97+60+10-14-5=148: 30E: 70+20: Disemboweled, dies instantly. 25% your weapon is stuck in opponent for 2 rounds: 56: Not stuck.
    Orc1 waits
    Orc3 stunned
    Orc4 attacks Boffo: 91+75-40=126: 23E: 76+20=96: Knocked out for 6 hours with a strike to side of head. +15 hits. If no helm: dies instantly. Boffo dies.
    TPK

    Silently,Boffo enters a vast chamber that is roughly carved and still being worked. Small veins of iron ore still line the walls. Four orcs work the mine, but the noise of mining covers Boffo’s footsteps, who gains the element of surprise.
    He tries to stab an orc from behind with his short sword, but at the last moment, the orc turns around and sees him, foiling his attack, and shouting the alarm.
    Boffo escapes at the last moment swiftly and runs forward deeper into the mine into a narrow tunnel, with the four orcs at his trail. It is a smooth and straight tunnel. The floor is marked with the dark stains of dried blood. As Boffo reaches the door to the other side, he tries to do a rushed examination, and although he can’t pinpoint it, he feels like there is a trap mechanism attached. Hearing the shouts of the orcs charging down the hallway, he knows he has no other option but to open the door.
    Alas, despite his awareness, a pile of rocks fall upon him and the orcs. His left arm is broken and useless. Some orcs are stunned, but one wasn’t hit by a single stone. He climbs atop the rubble and charges the stunned Boffo who, tries to parry as best as he can.
    The two combatants exchange several blows, but neither one is too focused on the fight, still shocked by the noise of the trap. Finally, Boffo finds an opening, his short sword disembowels the orc, killing it instantly, black blood spilling everywhere. But as Boffo is over his downed opponent, the larger orc of the four, brings down his scimitar on his head. The strike to the side of the head is severe even for a Northtook, and the poor hobbit dies.

    The System

    I’ve played a lot of MERP during my past adventure in the Trollshaws, so I’m quite acquainted with the system. The turn sequence again, leaves a lot to be desired. Every time I need to pause and think who acts first. Also it’s not always intuitive. The best example was the fight with the orc bearing a two handed axe, but because it didn’t wear heavy armor it could attack before most of his opponents. Unless I’m missing something in the rules, which is very possible, since the book suffers similarly to WHFRP1e from layout and rules hidden in several places all over the book.
    The enemy’s stats (orcs) could have been better detailed as I was missing several pieces of information that are necessary and I had to make rulings on my own.
    Nevertheless combat is interesting and, of course, deadly.

    What about the Dungeon Crawl?

    MERP is very deadly for dungeon crawling. Without any meta currency to aid the player, a group of 4 diverse classes will soon meet it’s end in a dungeon, unless they head back, recover and enter the dungeon again. A single strike can end a hero, and there’s no easy reviving. It’s truly old-school, and even with high-fantasy healing involved (Kur’s Drink) success is not going to be easy.
    A fair bit of luck is going to be needed, and maybe, if we go the old-school way, a few men-at-arms.

    Summary

    This is a crunchy system with a fair bit of bookkeeping. I love the details, the information and the results. But considering the other d100 systems I’ve played these past days, it comes short. With regards to soloing crunchy d100 systems, Harnmaster was the obvious winner of the family, with Mythras next and the other two old-school games coming up last, but not least. I enjoyed every single one of them, as the narrative feedback was enough to give a detailed combat, and the deadliness made me try to consider different approaches. Maybe I’ll get to try VsD or WHFRP4e in the future, to see how their modern reiterations have tackled some issues, but first I’ll go along with the rest of the (non-d100) games on my list.

     
    • giannidowns 8:56 pm on October 6, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Great fun to read this series as it unfolds. Do you have a list of games you think you’ll run this through? I realize that you may lose interest before you complete the list, but I was curious to read your intentions (didn’t notice it listed in a quick search)

      Liked by 1 person

      • giorgis 10:30 pm on October 6, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you!
        Yes, I avoided listing the games on purpose, in case I set up expectations that I won’t follow through.
        I don’t have a particular list, but on top, there’s The Witcher and (maybe) Conan 2d20. I am interested in both these systems because they have their own unique mechanics (not d100 or d20). My main concern is that they’re very well ingrained with their respective settings. I’ll have some reading to do beforehand.
        At the bottom of my list are games I’ve played a lot, which are mid to low crunch like Savage Worlds and MiniSix, and I more or less know how they’re going to behave.
        I leave some room in the middle for games that I might have forgotten, and I’m curious to try out.

        Like

        • giannidowns 11:02 pm on October 6, 2021 Permalink

          I completely understand! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I look forward to the next installment.

          Liked by 1 person

  • giorgis 6:05 pm on October 2, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: hackmaster,   

    A Call to Glory S04 – Hackmaster 

    Continuing at the same challenge in the Level 1 dungeon A Call to Glory from TSR’s Dragon Quest, introductory adventure game, this time using Hackmaster Basic Free.
    Hackmaster was sitting on my digital library for a while, asking to be played. I always wondered how the tick-time-count would work. Back in the ’90s I had homebrewed a system using a similar count for funsies, so I’m curious as to what a professional application would look like in practice.

    I’ll be using a diverse party of 4 characters. I’ll try to include as many different demihuman races and careers as possible to have a party that can deal with most tasks.

    Scrolling through the core rulebook, I found several pregenerated characters, and I chose some typical stereotypes that I’ll be using for this game.


    The Party

    Pregenerated

    • Narvi, Dwarf Fighter
    • Gundo, Halfling Thief
    • Elemmas, Elf Mage
    • Selre, Human Cleric

    The Adventure

    The heroes have been called before Gustovan, the Burgomaster of Torlynn. Torlynn is a small village set in a quiet, hilly area near the mountains. The heroes have lived here for many years and think of Torlynn as home. Gustovan is known as a wise and kind mayor.
    He asks of the heroes to go explore the old, abandoned, dwarven, iron mine, because strange lights and sounds come from within. They’re to find out if there is something wrong there or if the reports are false.

    The heroes enter the dungeon. It’s entrance is a rough cavern, cut from the stone long ago by dwarves. They check their weapons and start down into the mine, with the wind blowing in their backs.

    Notes: In order to accomodate the Wandering Monster checks, while lacking a turn sequence, I’ll do a check every 10 seconds (out of combat).


    A. Tunnel

    Wandering monster check: None
    Wandering monster check: None

    The wind fades away as the heroes move into the mine. A long tunnel leads onward, to the next room.


    B. The First Lair

    Hackmaster has almost all D&D relevant monsters, so I can use both a goblin and a kobold

    Name Initiative
    Narvi 9
    Gundo 8
    Elemmas 6
    Selre 8
    Goblin 11
    Kobold 4

    I’ll be denoting movement with the ‘>’ arrows, attacks with an ‘X’
    Small creatures move one space every 2 seconds
    ToP stands for ‘threshold of pain’

    1. Kob >
    2. Kob >
    3. Kob >, Kob X Narvi: 17/6: Hit: 2-2: 0 damage
    4. Narvi X Kob: 11/21: Near Perfect Defense: 15/5: Hit: 2 Damage to Narvi
      Elemmas >, Elemmas X Kob: 14/8: Hit: 1 Damage
    5. Gundo >, Gundo X Kob: 3/8: Miss
      Selre >
    6. Selre >
      Gob >
    7. Selre >, Selre X Gob: 12/13: Miss
    8. Gob X Selre: 17/12: Hit: 5 Damage
    9. Kob X Narvi: 13/12: Hit: 1 Damage
    10. Elemmas X Kob: 9/19: Miss
    11. Gundo X Kob: 19/11: Hit: 10 Damage: ToP save: 5/4: Fail: Kob is down
    12. Narvi >
      Elemmas >
      Gundo: Coup de grace X Kob
    13. Elemmas >
    14. Gob X Selre: 13/18: Miss
      Elemmas >, Elemmas X Gob: 4/11: Miss
      Narvi >, Narvi X Gob: 8/13: Miss
    15. Gundo kills Kob
    16. Gundo >
    17. Selre X Gob: 0/17: Miss
      Gundo X Gob: 18/22: NPD: 9/25: Miss
    18. Elemmas X Gob: 16/12: Hit: 4 Damage
    19. Gob X Selre: 16/11: Hit: 6 Damage
    20. Narvi X Gob: 20/6: Hit: 14 Damage: ToP save: 7/6: Fail: Gob is down
    21. Gundo: Coup de grace X Gob
    22. Gundo kills Gob

    They find: leather armor & broad axe

    As the heroes enter the room, they notice a couple of beds. Probably used to be the miners’, but now they have new occupants. A couple of goblinoids get up, pick their weapons and attack.
    The kobold charges at Narvi, its spear hitting him, but doesn’t get through the leather armor. Narvi hits back, but leaves an opening for the kobold, who quickly takes advantage and score a minor hit to his ribcage. The elf and the halfling surround the kobold, with Elemmas wounding it.
    Meanwhile Selre has engaged the goblin, who parries his blow, and hits him back with his curved sword.
    The kobold hurts Narvi once more, only to be pierced through by Gundo. The halfling drops the goblin down as he pulls his blade, dipped in black blood. Defenseless, the kobold does nothing as the halfling positions himself right behind him, and executes the creature with a thrust downwards to his spine.
    The party of heroes come to the assistance of Selre who parries the goblins blows. After a few failed attempts from the combatants to wound their opponents, Elemmas spills blood with his short sword. Just a second later the goblin wounds Selre who screams in pain. Narvi brings down his axe to the goblin, which falls unconscious, only to be finished off by Gundo.
    The heroes search the room and find a nice set of leather armor and a hand axe.


    C. Jagged Cavern

    Wandering Monster check: No wandering monster

    Nothing of interest in this narrow cut cavern in the stone. Only the occasional splashing of water driping from the ceiling.


    D. Orc Lair

    Name Initiative
    Narvi 13
    Gundo 4
    Elemmas 12
    Selre 7
    Orc 7
    1. Gundo X Orc: 18/8: Hit: 4 Damage
    2. Orc X Gundo: 20/22: Miss

    3. 12: Gundo X Orc: 20/6: Hit: 12 Damage: ToP Save: 17/6: Failure: Orc is down
    4. Gundo: Coup de grace X Orc
    5. Gundo kills Orc

    As soon as the heroes enter this small room, the stench of rotten meat fills their nostrils. With their infravision they make out an orc figure as they close in to engage.
    Gundo, charges swiftly and wounds the orc, who tries to hit back but fails. With another quick strike, the halfling’s longsword pierces the lungs of the orc. It gurgles black blood, and the halfling sends him to the afterlife soon after. Within less than 10 seconds, the entire fight is over.


    E. Trapped Room

    Gundo: Avoid traps: 7/20: Success

    A small empty room, with a funny smell. Black ash and soot cover the floors and walls. A steel door with an iron handle sits in the middle of the floor.
    Gundo looks around for traps, but finds none. As the halfling tries to open the door he hears a clicking noise. He’s fast enough to avoid a jet of greek fire, that lets of to his head. Thanking his quick reflexes he opens the trapdoor, but it was just a trap as behind it is only rock.


    C. Jagged Cavern

    Wandering Monster check: Bugbear

    Name Initiative
    Narvi 10
    Gundo 6
    Elemmas 10
    Selre 8
    Bugbear 4
    1. BgB >
    2. BgB >, BgB X Gundo: 22/5: Hit: 4 Damage
    3. Gundo X BgB: 17/20: Perfect Defense: 10/11: Miss
    4. Gundo X BgB: 4/7: Miss
    5. BgB X Gundo: 15/24: Miss
    6. Gundo X BgB: 6/12: Miss
    7. BgB X Gundo: 17/16: Hit: 10 Damage, Knockback
    8. Gundo X BgB: 12/13: Miss
    9. BgB X Gundo: 15/17: Miss
    10. Gundo X BgB: 17/15: Hit: 5 Damage
    11. BgB X Gundo: 11/18: Miss
    12. Gundo X BgB: 8/15: Miss
    13. Gundo X BgB: 21/10: Hit: 7 Damage
    14. BgB X Gundo: 23/25: Miss
    15. Gundo X BgB: 7/11: Miss
    16. BgB X Gundo: 18/27: NPD: 8/11: Miss
    17. Gundo X BgB: 13/14: Miss
    18. BgB X Gundo: 12/25: Miss
    19. Gundo X BgB: 19/9: Hit: 8 Damage
    20. BgB X Gundo: 24/17: Hit: 9 Damage
    21. Gundo X BgB: 19/3: Hit: 3 Damage
    22. Gundo X BgB: 20/16: Hit: 3 Damage
    23. BgB X Gundo: 15/17: Miss
    24. Gundo X BgB: 13/2: Hit: 7 Damage
    25. BgB X Gundo: 19/18: Hit: 11 Damage: Gundo is down
    26. Narvi >, BgB X Narvi: 20/17: Hit: 19 Damage: ToP save: 20/5: Failure: Narvi is down
    27. Elemmas >
      Selre >
    28. BgB >, BgB X Elemmas: 23/22: Hit:10 Damage: ToP save: 17/2: Failure: Elemmas is down
    29. Selre >, BgB X Selre: 27/11: Hit: 26 Damage: Selre is down
      TPK

    As the party checks the small rooms in the narrow jagged corridor, a huge bulking creature appears. They’re all set up in line against it, and cannot take advantage of their numbers. It grows and charges at Gundo. Behind him Narvi, Elemmas and Selre can only watch the fight.
    The massive humanoid hits Gundo again and again with its morningstar. The halfling fights back valiantly and wounds it severly, but is no match for the monster. The halfling lasts for more than a minute, but in the end, Gundo falls, and quickly Narvi steps up to take his place. The bugbear’s reach is greater though, and with a quick hit, before Narvi has even got a chance to score a hit, the morningstar smashes his helmet and he’s down. Elemmas considers casting a spell, but it’s too late, as the morningstar is the last thing he sees. Selre ponders fleeing, but he’s no coward. He faces off the bugbear, and a quick blow to the ribcage sends him flying back 5′, dead.
    Thus ends the story of the heroes.

    The System

    So first of all regarding the time-tick-count system. It’s really good on practice, really difficult to solo bookkeep, and there are some cases where there are problems with RAW. For example, because the bugbear was able to finish off it’s opponents one by one, he could attack each and every second. Unless I missed a rule, in the book, there was nothing there to prevent it. In general I found the rules lacking. Both the layout and the explanations felt like they were missing some parts. I don’t know if this has to do with the fact that it’s the Basic (Free) version, but that’s what I have and tested upon.
    Combat was okay. On one hand it is a rule system that makes sense mechanically (as opposed to say D&D), but it fails and falls in the Hit Points abstraction trap, and it fails to take advantage of the opposed rolls to generate interesting results. You end up with rolling so many dice, but the results are mostly binary, with exceptions regarding critical hits/defenses/fumbles. It was mostly evident in my fight with the bugbear, where there were a lot of hits that did nothing or close to nothing. No narrative feedback whatsoever.
    Explanations on skills, traps, and similar leaves a lot to be desired. Also I found at least two cases where the example provided didn’t fit with the rule described, which made things even more confusing for me.
    A nice system, but there is a lot of room for improvement, which seems to have been stagnant considering its age.

    What about the Dungeon Crawl?

    Hackmaster lends itself nicely to dungeon crawling, even though it lacks a meta luck mechanic or easy healing.
    The TPK didn’t happen due to bad dice rolls, or the fact that the bugbear was overpowered for my party. It mainly happened because as a solo player, I could not see the tactical options I had. After my party perished, I sat and wondered what could I have done better, and I realized I could have set a nice trap for the bugbear. The fighter and the mage could have entered the side room, and the halfling could retreat in the corridor. Then they could flank it and take advantage of their numbers, and maybe a nice scorch spell.
    The failure lies entirely upon myself here, and it’s a nice opportunity to consider the tactical options provided in a dungeon board.

    Summary

    I could see a potential new version of Hackmaster working better than this one. I’m glad I took the opportunity to play this out, because now I know how the ticks mechanic works. It’s really interesting, and I think the best part of it is the granular movement which feels more realistic. Melee attacks timing leave a lot to be desired though.

     
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