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  • giorgis 8:45 pm on September 11, 2020 Permalink | Reply
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    In the Trollshaws. Ep02. 

    So, some things to correct. The Watches numbering should start at midnight, so I’m correcting this now. Current watch is 3rd Watch, and the party has spent like 2 hours searching and failing to find any trail or clues.

    Dwalin will search the orcs for any possessions. I will use the Harnmaster tables for this, since MERP doesn’t provide any random item generators for patrols.
    Orc 1: 5 trade goods (furs/hides/etc), 1 weapon (scimitar)
    Orc 2: 8 trade goods (furs/hides/etc), 4 weapons (scimitar, mace, handaxe, dagger)

    There’s nothing special, and orc weapons and trade goods are too crude for humans, dwarves and elves.

    Now for this session, I’m beginning with BOLD again to roll up some connections.

    action gerund subject
    assure negating a skill
    digress training enemies
    interject weakening party member

    So, since they failed to follow the hill troll trails, they will search on the wild for hill troll lairs.
    I deem, that the 3rd watch time is lost, and I’ll roll for encounters.

    3rd watch: 74/72: No encounter

    Scouting: 77+30+11: 118: Success! Finally. Now here we have a metagaming question. Is this the lair of the adventure?
    If I answer this now, and learn this, I spoil much fun. I will ask later on. In any case, the adventure spoke of a side entrance to the lair, but since the Success, was Normal, I decide that the party has just found the regular entrance to a hill troll lair.

    Dwalin looks carefully through the land for any signs of trolls. He’s no woodsman, but he knows what to expect. Finally he sees something that fits. He points for the party to look at a tree, it’s branches ripped off. Not broken, but the bark torn apart and twisted, as if from an external force.
    “Only a troll could have done this. Come!” He goes quickly to the tree, overlooking a hill, and he sees the huge footprints. Dwalin smiles, while Leowyn looks worried around for any signs of trolls.
    “Don’t worry, they sleep at day, we have at least 2 hours of daylight.” He says as he follows the footprints down, to a cave entrance, blocked by a huge boulder.
    “There it is!” He exclaims.
    Leowyn ties the horse to a tree nearby, and whispers to its ear to stay silent.
    The group gathers in front of the entrance, trying to decide how to proceed.
    “Hill trolls sleep at the day. This means, that their numbers should be higher now inside, but we could go inside and do some scouting.” Dwalin proposes.
    “Or we could wait until after dark and let their hunting party leave before going inside. Maybe we’ll find few opposition.” Leowyn counters.
    “Hill trolls are stupid, but they guard their entrance. I’d say we go now, just me and Camthalion. Your eyes can’t see in the dark, human child. What do you think?” Dwalin proposes again.
    “That sounds like the safest course. We need to make sure to be silent… and to return before dusk. Or we risk getting caught inside.” Camthalion agrees, and they go in.

    I declare this a Light Difficulty task, so I need to roll less than -50 to be detected. In all other cases, the party moves inside, some feet. I’ll need to make at least 100′ before I ask which lair is this?

    Camthalion: Stalk/Hide: 17+40-4=53: 70%: 17.5′
    Dwalin: Stalk/Hide: 67+2-4=65: 80%: 20′

    Camthalion: 26+40-4=62: 80%: 20′
    Dwalin: Stalk/Hide: 93+2-4=89: 100%: 25′

    Camthalion: 87+40-4=123: 110%: 27.5′
    Dwalin: Stalk/Hide: 46+2-4=44: 70%: 17.5′

    Camthalion: 22+40-4=58: 80%: 20′
    Dwalin: Stalk/Hide: -22+2-4=-24: 30%: 7.5′

    Camthalion: 6+40-4=42: 70%: 17.5′
    Dwalin: Stalk/Hide: 11+2-4=9: 50%: 12.5′

    Camthalion has entered the main room.
    Q: Is this the lair of the adventure hill trolls? (likely)
    A: False Presupposition: This is not the lair of hill trolls anymore, it’s the lair of orcs!

    Camthalion and Dwalin stalk inside the cave, one with the wall. Their eyes adjusting to the darkness and using whatever glimmer of light enters from the opening in the back. As the corridor opens up to the main room, the duo looks around for the huge bulking creatures, but instead they see, nasty orcs sleeping, snoring.

    Q: Are there many orcs inside?
    A: No, but, there are a few: 1d6+1: 2
    Q: Are they far away?
    A: False presupposition: Re-roll: Yes, and, it’s 2d6x10′: 40′.

    Camthalion: Stalk/Hide: 25+40-12=53: 70%: 17.5′
    Dwalin: Stalk/Hide: 87+2-12=97: 100%: 25′

    Camthalion: Stalk/Hide: 48+40-12=66: 90%: 22.5′
    Dwalin: Stalk/Hide: -41+2-12=-51: F!

    The duo speaks with the eyes, as each of them, weapons drawn, closes in to the sleeping orcs. Camthalion has reached his enemy, ready to slay him in his sleep, when Dwalin, stumbles and kicks the metal helmet of the orc he was about to murder. The metal pot clangs and rolls over the floor, waking up the orcs, who open their eyes in surprise and hiss something in their black speech.

    I’m having a difficult time finding any Surprise rules, so I’m house ruling it. The orcs are considered Stunned for 1 round. In addition they don’t don shields or weapons, so DB and OB is 0. Unless the party offs them in one round, they may sound the alarm (that is, considering there are more orcs around).


    Camthalion: Attack Orc1: 64+23=87: 10A: 13-20=-07: Weak strike yields no extra damage. +0 hits
    Dwalin: Attack Orc2: MM: 19-5=14: 50: 25′: 67+14-100+33=14: 0

    Q: Do the orcs sound the alarm?
    A: Yes, and, they are heard immediately.

    The dwarf and the elf are as startled as their foes. Camthalion exchanges an look with the orc, and then slashes at it, but the orc moves aside and is barely scratched to it’s arm.
    Dwalin spends some precious moments kicking the helmet away, and the lunges to cover the distance. His mace misses by a long shot, and the orc shouts.
    U pizumu! U pizumu! Kishtraum! it hisses out loud.
    For a moment the yell echoes into the caves, but then as it reverberates, the part realizes it’s not echo. It’s other orcs responding to the call. The orc sends a sardonic smile and looks at it’s wicked blade sitting at it’s feet, before heading in another clash with the intruder.

    Camthalion: Attack Orc1: 69+23=92: 11B: 79-10=69: Medium thigh wound. +6 hits. 1 hit per round. -10 to activity. Stunned 2 rounds.
    Orc2: Pick up sword. Attack Dwalin: 76+5-30-5=46: 0
    Dwalin: Attack Orc2: 42+66=108: 13C: 09: Minor fracture of ribs. +5 hits. -5 to activity.
    Leowyn: Perception: 57+10=67: Failure. She hears nothing of the fuss. And can’t roll again for the day… huh.

    So I decide that I will ask each round from now on if the enemy reinforcement arrive, with increasing likelihood, starting at unlikely.

    Q: Do reinforcements arrive? (UL)
    A: No

    Camthalion: Attack Orc1: 44+23=67: 0
    Orc2: Attack Dwalin: 41+35-5-30-5=36: 0
    Dwalin: Attack Orc2: 49+66=115: 19D: 37+10=47:Blow to forearm. +5 hits. If no arm armor, stunned 1 round. Orc2 is down.

    Q: Do reinforcements arrive?
    A: Yes, and it’s a lot of them. 2d6: 10 Orcs.

    Before the orc facing Camthalion has had a chance to react, he hacks at it, hitting it’s thigh, black blood spewing out. The pain stuns the orc, who doesn’t manage to pick up it’s curved sword.
    The other orc, quickly picks up it’s own weapon and hastily jabs at Dwalin, but the dwarf, easily deflects the blow with his shield, and comes with a counter, cracking his enemy’s ribs with his mace.
    As the footsteps are heard closer and closer, Camthalion tries to hurt his enemy again, but the orc evades the blow, still unable to react.
    The other orc, tries to catch up it’s breath and can’t connect a blow against Dwalin, who strikes back, crushing it’s forearm, and stunning it from the searing pain.
    The orc mob makes a ruckus as they arrive to the other end of the cave. Spitting and swearing. Camthalion counts at least 10 of them.
    “Retreat! to the narrow entrance!” He shouts to Dwalin.

    Camthalion: Runs away: -55+35=-20: 50+35+0-5-100: 0
    Orc1: Picks up sword. Attacks Camthalion: 37+35-30-10-25+5=12: 0
    Dwalin: Runs away: 20-5=15: 10-5-100: 0

    Quite weird to have 0′ results for running movement.
    Also the rulebook is contradictory. I’ll take the first statement, that if the character makes a successful MM roll, they can move up to double their normal movement rate.
    Camthalion thus moves 170′, and Dwalin 90′.

    Q: Are the orcs far away?
    A: No: 1d6+2×10’=70′

    The orc reinforcements can move 60′. Dwalin is 160′ away.

    It seems that it’s quite likely that with these distances, the group can get out of the lair before the orcs reach up to them.

    I need to ask the Oracle.
    Q: Does the group get out before the orcs catch up to them? (L)
    A: No, and, two orcs catch up to Dwalin. The party must fight or abandon the dwarf.
    Q: Does Leowyn realize what’s going on? (L)
    A: Yes, and she gets inside to fight.
    Q: How wide is the corridor?
    A: 1d6x10′: 50′

    Camthalion runs like the wind and is almost outside when he turns around and sees that two orcs have caught up to Dwalin. “Leowyn!” He shouts. “Orcs, come, we need your blade.”
    Leowyn gets inside, as Camthalion draws his bow and nooks an arrow.
    She sees the almost dozen enemies and doesn’t speak a word. She knows the dwarf needs her help.

    So, theater of the mind combat. Dwalin will fight against two orcs in this round, and Leowyn can close the distance to stand at his side.
    Since it’s 50′ wide, there can be 5 orcs fighting there. Leowyn and Dwalin can try to hold them off, but they will be facing two or three orcs respectively. Camthalion will provide cover fire.

    I also need to ask about orc archers.
    Q: Are there any orc archers?
    A: No


    Note: A huge mechanics text section follows. I’d suggest skipping to the end of combat to read the narrative instead.

    Camthalion: nooks an arrow
    Leowyn: moves next to Dwalin
    Orc3: attacks Dwalin: 68+35-30-5=68: 3
    Orc4: attacks Dwalin: 18+35-30-5=18: 0
    Dwalin: attacks Orc3: 29+66-25=70: 0

    The rest of the orcs, reach the party. 3 face Dwalin and 2 face Leowyn.

    Camthalion: Shoots Orc3: 04: Fumble!: 62+10=72: You really mishandle your weapon. Stunned 2 rounds.
    Seriously?? Outnumbered, and just lost missile support.
    Leowyn: attacks Orc5: 15+53-25=43: 0
    Orc3: attacks Dwalin: 54+35-30-5=44:0
    Orc4: attacks Dwalin: 92+35-30-5=92: 8. Dwalin has 26hp remaining.
    Orc5: attacks Dwalin: 47+35-30-5=47: 0
    Orc6: attacks Leowyn: 32+35-40-5=22: 0
    Orc7: attacks Leowyn: 65+35-40-5=55: 1
    Dwalin attacks Orc3: 75+66-25=116: 15D: 83+10=93: Unconscious for 4 hours due to blow to the side of the head. If no helm: skull crushed. +20 hits. Orc3 is down!

    So, for each orc that takes a fallen orc’s place, they will not be attacking this round.

    Camthalion: Stunned
    Leowyn: attacks Orc5: 20+53-25=48: 0
    Orc4: attacks Dwalin: 31+35-30-5=31: 0
    Orc5: attacks Dwalin: 63+35-30-5=63: 2
    Orc6: attacks Leowyn: 92+35-40-5=82: 6. Leowyn has 22hp remaining.
    Orc7: attacks Leowyn: 27+35-40-5=17: 0.
    Orc8: joins fight.
    Dwalin: attacks Orc4: 43+66-25=84: 6.

    Camthalion: Stunned
    Leowyn: attacks Orc5: 43+53-25=48: 0
    Orc4: attacks Dwalin: 90+35-30-5=31: 90: 7. Dwalin has 17hp remaining.
    Orc5: attacks Dwalin: 13+35-30-5=13: 0
    Orc6: attacks Leowyn: 18+35-40-5=08: 0
    Orc7: attacks Leowyn: 27+35-40-5=17: 0
    Orc8: attacks Dwalin: 22+35-30-5=22: 0
    Dwalin: attacks Orc4: 07+66-25=48: 0.

    Camthalion: Shoots at Orc4: 64+48-25=87: 0
    Leowyn: attacks Orc5: 14+53-25=42: 0
    Orc4: attacks Dwalin: 17+35-30-5=17: 0
    Orc5: attacks Dwalin: 33+35-30-5=33: 0
    Orc6: attacks Leowyn: 10+35-40-5=0: 0
    Orc7: attacks Leowyn: 43+35-40-5=33: 0
    Orc8: attacks Dwalin: 01: Fumble: 52-10=42: Drop your weapon. It will take 1 round to draw a new one or 2 rounds to recover old one.
    Dwalin: attacks Orc4: 78+66-25=119: 20D: 05+10=15: Minor fracture of ribs. +5 hits. -5 to activity.

    Camthalion: nooks arrow.
    Leowyn: attacks Orc5: 07+53-25=35: 0
    Orc4: attacks Dwalin: 04: Fumble: 62-10=52: You lose your wind and realize you should try to relax. -40 to activity for 2 rounds.
    Orc5: attacks Dwalin: 12+35-30-5=12: 0
    Orc6: attacks Leowyn: 86+35-40-5=76: 5. Leowyn has 17hp remaining.
    Orc7: attacks Leowyn: 35+35-40-5=25: 0
    Orc8: recovers old weapon.
    Dwalin: attacks Orc4: 44+66-25=85: 6: Orc4 is down.

    Camthalion: Shoots at Orc5: 03: Fumble!: 86+10=96: You let your arrow fly too soon. You are 20′ short of your target. You are at -30 to activity for 3 rnds.
    Leowyn: attacks Orc5: 30+53-25=58: 0
    Orc5: attacks Dwalin: 83+35-30-5=83: 6. Dwalin is at 11hp.
    Orc6: attacks Leowyn: 82+35-40-5=72: 4. Leowyn is at 13hp.
    Orc7: attacks Leowyn: 20+35-40-5=10: 0
    Orc8: recovers old weapon.
    Orc9: joins fight.
    Dwalin: attacks Orc5: 45+66-25=86: 8

    Camthalion: nooks arrow.
    Leowyn: attacks Orc5: 74+53-25=102: 15C: 94: Knocked out for 6 hours with a blow to the strike of the head. If no helm: dies instantly. +15 hits. Orc5 is down.
    33% of the orcs are down (Orcs 1,3,4,5). I’ll ask the Oracle.
    Q: Do the orcs flee? (UL)
    A: No
    Orc6: attacks Leowyn: 89+35-40-5=79: 5. Leowyn is at 8hp.
    Orc7: attacks Leowyn: 87+35-40-5=77: 5. Leowyn is at 3hp.
    Orc8: attacks Dwalin: 55+35-30-5=55: 6. Dwalin is at 10hp.
    Orc9: attacks Dwalin: 06+35-30-5=06: 0
    Dwalin: attacks Orc8: 66+66-25=107: 13C: 07: Minor fracture of ribs. +5 hits. -5 to activity.

    Camthalion: Shoots at Orc6: 51+48-25-30=44: 0
    Leowyn: attacks Orc6: 74+53-25=102: 15C: 70: Medium thigh wound. +6 hits. 1 hit per round. Stunned 2 rounds. -10 to activity.
    Orc6: Stunned.
    Orc7: attacks Leowyn: 81+35-40-5=71: 4. Leowyn is at -1hp. Leowyn is unconscious.
    Orc8: attacks Dwalin: 72+35-30-5-5=67: 3. Dwalin is at 7hp.
    Orc9: attacks Dwalin: 25+35-30-5=25: 0
    Orc10: joins fight.
    Dwalin: attacks Orc8: 90+66-25=131: 19E: 75+20=95: Unconscious for 4 hours due to blow to the side of the head. If no helm: skull crushed. +20 hits. Orc8 is down!

    Camthalion: nooks arrow.
    Orc6: Stunned.
    Orc7: attacks Dwalin: 35+35-30-5=35: 0
    Orc9: attacks Dwalin: 12+35-30-5=12: 0
    Orc10: attacks Dwalin: 39+35-30-5=39: 0
    Orc11: Joins fight.
    Dwalin: attacks: Orc6: 73+66-25=114: 14D: 07+10=17: Minor fracture of ribs. +5 hits. -5 to activity. Orc6 is down.

    50% of the orcs are down (Orcs 1,3,4,5,6,8). I’ll ask the Oracle.
    Q: Do the orcs flee?
    A: No, but, it will be likely if they lose one more of their own.

    Camthalion: Shoots at Orc7: 96+13+48-25=132: 22E: 46+20=66: Strike to lower leg. Tendons torn. +3 hits. -25 to activity. Stunned 1 round.
    Orc7: Stunned.
    Orc9: attacks Dwalin: 06+35-30-5=06: 0
    Orc10: attacks Dwalin: 53+35-30-5=53: 1. Dwalin is at 6hp.
    Orc11: attacks Dwalin: 10+35-30-5=10: 0
    Orc12: Joins fight.
    Dwalin: attacks: Orc7: 26+66-25=67: 0

    Camthalion: Reloads and shoots at Orc7: 84+48-35-25=72: 0
    Orc7: attacks Dwalin: 03: Fumble: 100: Worst move seen in ages. -60 to activity from a pulled groin. Foe is stunned 2 rounds laughing.
    Orc9: attacks Dwalin: 36+35-30-5=06: 0
    Orc10: attacks Dwalin: 61+35-30-5=53: 2. Dwalin is at 4hp.
    Orc11: attacks Dwalin: 24+35-30-5=10: 0
    Orc12: attacks Dwalin: 49+35-30-5=10: 0
    Dwalin: Stunned.

    Camthalion: loads arrow.
    Orc7: attacks Dwalin: 26+35-30-5-60=0: 0
    Orc9: attacks Dwalin: 44+35-30-5=44: 0
    Orc10: attacks Dwalin: 58+35-30-5=58: 1. Dwalin is at 3hp.
    Orc11: attacks Dwalin: 97+35-30-5=97: 9. Dwalin is at -6hp. Dwalin is down.
    Orc12: moves towards Camthalion.

    Camthalion: Shoots at Orc7: 77+48-25=100: 10B: 34-10=24: Thigh strike. +3 hits. If no leg armor: 3 hits per round. Orc7 is down.
    Q: Do the orcs flee? (L)
    A: Yes but, they only flee to the depths of the lair. They’re likely to return if the group doesn’t leave soon.

    What a fight! So, as a fellow solo role player pointed out, there’s a modifier for surprise under the Hand Weapons attack tables. There are also many other modifiers there, which were applicable but I missed them, like penalties for when you’re under half hit points…For next combat I guess. As I keep reading MERP, it’s really hard to keep track of the rules. Speaks to it’s age. It isn’t too hard to miss such an important part of the rules…it is more like the little letters in a Terms & Conditions section.

    Camthalion nooks an arrow to his bow as Leowyn joins Dwalin in his fight against two orcs.
    As Camthalion shoots, he mixes up the string between his hands, in a fumble, unheard of for his species. The orcs and the warriors exchange blows, with a minor scratch on Dwalin, who strikes back with renowned fury, hitting an orc to the side of the head with his mace, crushing it’s skull.
    Camthalion still tries to untangle from the bowstring, as the melee combatants cause minor wounds to each other. Another orc takes it’s fallen brother’s place.
    When finally Camthalion untangles himself, he shoots and misses. Everyone is on top of each other, and it’s hard to score a successful hit. One of the orcs is so confused, that he drops his weapon in the fuss. Dwalin scores a hit, fracturing some orcish ribs with his mace.
    Fighting for so long, one of the orcs loses his wind. He pauses for a second, which is enough for Dwalin to find an opening and kill it.
    Camthalion, eager to help his team, shoots too soon. The arrow flies early, and he hits the ground 20′ short of his target. The unarmed orc recovers his weapon and another one joins the fight. Minor wounds are wearing down the warriors.
    Leowyn composes herself and lunges, and with a swift side strike, hacks an orc head, killing it. Despite their losses, the orcs stay standing strong. The fight goes on, with Dwalin cracking more orcish ribs.
    Camthalion misses yet again, but Leowyn jabs deep in an orc thigh. It’s scream is heard above the clash of arms. Another orc, hacks back at Leowyn, and the continued fight brings her down. Dwalin, isn’t scared easily. Despite standing alone in melee against them, he gathers all his willpower, and with a calculated strike, he crushes another orc skull.
    The orcs morale is low. They fight, but are unsure. Dwalin hits yet again, breaking the ribs of another orc, and killing it.
    The orcs have lost half their numbers, but they still keep on. Yet, they start to waiver. They look at each other, questioning their opponents strength.
    Camthalion, finally aims true. His arrow rips off the tendons of an orc, stunning it. Another orc from the rear lines joins the fight.
    An orc warrior screams a war cry and charges at Dwalin, as he hacks, he misses, stumbles on one of his fallen brothers, and ends up punching himself in the face.
    Dwalin can’t keep himself from laughing. He can barely keep a straight face and compose to fight properly. The other orcs, angry, and confused take advantage, and hit the master Dwarf. His armor is strong, but the repeated hits bring him down.
    The orc surrounding Dwalin now turn to Camthalion. He knows it’s now or never. He aims, and hits an already wounded orc, the arrow lodges itself in the thigh of his enemy. The bleeding is intense and the orc falls.
    The orcs are scared. If the elf fights them as hard as the dwarf and the horse-rider, then they’re done for. With their companion falling under the arrow, they turn tail and flee, deeper back in the caverns.
    Camthalion knows this uneasy serenity won’t last. The orcs will come back when they decide they want to get out, or when they realize the elf doesn’t pose that much of a threat.
    He turns his attention to his fallen comrades.

    Surface Ways on Leowyn: 77: Success: Heals 9 hit points. Leowyn is back up to 8 hit points.

    Camthalion lies beside Leowyn. Touches her wounds and focuses. He meditates for a few moments and then he casts his spell. Leowyn is rejuvenated. She opens her eyes and looks at him.
    “Come child. Help me carry the master dwarf out of here.” He says.
    Without saying a word, she picks up their belongings, and slowly, they carry Dwalin out, put him on the horse and leave, to find a place to camp for the night.

    4th watch: 53/43: No encounter
    5th watch: 82/36: Sighting by another group (wilderness encounter/beast): (Harnmaster tables): 89: Dwarf Adventurer: Camping/Seeking accomodations/etc.
    Q: Does the dwarf come to the party?
    A: No
    6th watch: 59/71: No encounter

    The party camps for the night. Camthalion, who is in a better shape than the others, stands watch as Leowyn and Dwalin rest.
    “I believe we have lost them.” Camthalion tells Leowyn. “It was close, but we faced them off.” He tries to assure her. “I don’t think they will come after us, even wounded as we are.”
    “I believe our deeds will travel among them, striking fear into their hearts. I counted at least five orcs falling under my mace!” Dwalin says boldly as he wakes up from his sleep, regaining consciousness.
    “Rest, master dwarf. It takes a lot of energy to crush five filthy goblins.”
    “Yes, yes, you put down one of them, your skill with the bow isn’t as good as I heard, with regards to your people. You should train more.” Dwalin points out.
    “Hah! It was but a bad moment. I’m sorry I let you down. I don’t need no training.” Camthalion responds.
    “Worry not, you saved our lives in the end, and that is what matters.” Dwalin states, and Leowyn smiles. The crisis between the dwarf and the elf is averted.

    I think with these, I have “assure weakening party member”, “digress training a skill” and “interject negating enemies” from BOLD connections, to Camthalion and Dwalin respectively.

    Under the starlight, Camthalion feels a gaze. He looks around notices a dwarf in the distance, under a tree, camping as they do, but silent. He doesn’t make a move to join them, and Camthalion feels that it’s better this way. The party isn’t at their strongest to face the unknown. He stands watch, as the others sleep…

    I’ll end my session here. Time to do some bookkeeping. Experience and hit points.

    Member Hits received Criticals received
    Camthalion 0 0
    Dwalin 43 0
    Leowyn 29 0
    Enemy Camthalion Dwalin Leowyn
    Orc2 200
    Orc3 200
    Orc4 200
    Orc5 200
    Orc6 185 15
    Orc7 200
    Orc8 200
    Total 200 985 215

    Camthalion: 100 for Spellcasting, 10 for a Stalk hide MM over 100.

    Idea Points: 691. I’ll split it between Dwalin and Camthalion for using the BOLD connections. They get 345 each.

    Adding up the experience points from the previous adventure, I have the following totals:

    Name Experience Points
    Camthalion 2203 EP
    Leowyn 1581 EP
    Dwalin 2592 EP

    With two watches resting, and one searching for camp, Dwalin is at 3 hp and Leowyn is at 17 hp.

    That was a combat heavy totally old-school session. The party survived at a thread.
    It was quite tiresome and I missed a lot of the mechanics, as they are spread around the book at the most unexpected places. Flanking provides bonuses that could have turned the tide further for the orcs. The party would have chosen different tactics though in that case.
    On the other hand, my fears about my previous Zweihander session were unfortunately confirmed. I run an equally heavy combat, with an equally (or more) crunchy system. In MERP The results were so much different. There were effects! Narrative feedback! I had so much fun! I could visualize, my dwarf protagonist, drenched in blood, smashing orc skulls, like his life mattered on it!
    Again, expectations. Being completely conscious about what to expect from a session is very important with regards to the fun factor. I expected to have to face tons of bookkeeping and page flipping, and that’s why it didn’t bother me the slightest when it played out.
    I’m really curious as to what the party will do next. Thankfully they haven’t suffered any criticals. Being armored saves you from critical hits in MERP. Makes it easier to get hit and suffer hit points, which makes sense. All in all the protagonists suffered flesh wounds and concussion hits, which can be recovered easily. Will they rest in the countryside or return to the inn to recover? Who was that mysterious dwarf in the night? I’ll also have to start keeping track of their rations, arrows and supplies…

    • Boddynock 10:45 pm on September 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I really enjoyed this one and have been re-reading this post and your first Trollshaws in order to pick up a sense of how to blend mechanical displays with narrative. I continue to like your style and wish you all the best!

      Liked by 1 person

      • giorgis 9:01 am on September 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks you!
        Whenever possible I try to give narrative descriptions after a set of actions. Usually after a combo of oracle questions and skill rolls. In combat, I adapt to the system. MERP has a lot of descriptors integrated in the system, which allows me to give a summary in the end.

        Liked by 1 person

  • giorgis 10:31 pm on July 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    In the Trollshaws. Ep01. 

    So I’m back into MERP, but this time with another twist. I might be using parts of the Harnmaster Campaign tables.
    For the Oracle, I will be using a modified MUNE/RECLUSE Hack, similar to the one I used in my Dash Kile episode.
    I’ll follow up on my rule of player driven game. So I have three premade characters, which according to the MERP game, have the following motivations.

    Leowyn: Rohirim shield maiden. She wants to find her lover’s murderer.
    Camthalion: Sindarin archer. He wants to find what happened to his missing twin brother.
    Dwalin: He wants to recover a magic hammer, as a life-debt to a fellow dwarf.

    Now I could try to run a dialogue for these and see who persuades the other, but instead I’ll go with some metagaming here. If these three characters were played by three different players, it would be the players discussing what they would want to do next. So, in terms of where they are and how I want the adventure to go forward, I’ll choose Dwalin’s objective as the party objective.
    Some more details for the reader: The hammer was lost in the fray on a fight with Hill Trolls in the Coldfells. Bain, the dwarf to whom Dwalin owes his life, believes the hammer is in a troll lair somewhere in Rhudaur.

    Here comes the meta knowledge. There is a sample adventure in the MERP core rulebook, regarding the Trollshaws in Rhudaur. Maybe I can combine the two. I’ll have the party move north to Rhudaur in search for the hammer, and then they will visit the inn where they will learn about the sample adventure. That is if the Oracle and the random encounter rolls allow it…

    I’ll start off by using the Connections from BOLD, to create an overlay for some interesting discussions between the part members.
    I roll the following:

    action gerund subject
    impart avoiding allies
    ponder divulging a love
    scrutinize avoiding a posession

    Continuing from the previous session the month is Hithui, the location is the Inhyrst keep in north Eriador. The party is in the inn, having breakfast.

    Q: Is everything as expected?
    A: Yes

    I’ll get some information from donjon to generate the Inn.
    The inn is called the Hero and Flask.
    Location: On Iron Side, southwest of an outcrop of carved stone. The street outside is strewn with debris from a broken barrel.
    Description: The inn is a simple wooden shack, with a single salvaged stone wall and only a few crude tables and benches. Accomodations consist of a single large room with wooden cots. The inn is unusually noisy, as a company of dwarven miners sings drinking songs.
    Innkeeper: The innkeeper is a timid female human named Finde. She has an identical twin, who works opposite shifts.

    I’ll stop here since the rest of the information might or might not become relevant.

    Dwalin clears his throat as if to make an announcement. Then, with as much seriousness as a dwarf can muster, which is a lot, he speaks to his companions.
    “I saw how you fought those goblins in the tower. I could use your skills in my quest. We… we make a good team together, wouldn’t you say?”
    “And what exactly is your quest, master dwarf?” Camthalion asks.
    “I’m seeking a legendary hammer. It’s said to have slain a Dragon! I believe it’s a bit to the north of here. In Rhudaur, and have reason to believe it’s… in a troll lair.” Dwalin answers anxiously.
    “In a troll lair?” Leowyn asks astounded. “I mean, sure we made short work of those goblins, but trolls aren’t to be toyed with.”
    Dwalin stresses himself. “Help me with this and we shall split any other reward.”
    Camthalion shakes his head. “No. Not good enough. In addition, you will help us in our quests.” He sends a side look to Leowyn, who averts her gaze and looks to the floor. “I’m sure that a Rohirim shield maiden wouldn’t be so far from home if there was no reason? right?”
    “You are correct Camthalion.” She quickly changes the subject and turns to Dwalin. “We split the other rewards and you help us afterwards.”
    “Alright. Seems fair.” Dwalin agrees.
    The party pays rent and breakfast and sets off towards Rhudaur.

    Now here I believe that Dwalin managed to ‘impart avoiding allies’. He spoke of his quest (impart), but avoided the part of how it was a life debt to his ally and friend Bain. One connection complete! There should be some bonus Experience Points here.

    So, as I have said in the past, MERP is a game of serious bookkeeping. Let’s see how much did b&b cost.
    3 light meals (18 tin pieces) and 3 poor lodgings (3 copper pieces) for a total of 4 cp and 8 tp

    So I’ll start having a party pool. They had earned 10 sp and 12 cp in the last adventure. This leaves them with 10 sp, 7 cp and 2 tp.

    Weather: Standard temperate weather. 30F = -1C. It’s cold!

    Q: Is Rhudaur far away?
    A: No, and, it’s very close
    I’ll call it and say it’s one day’s ride. (8 hours, slow ride=30 miles). They can probably walk it within one day if they walk for 12 hours. Leòwyn has a horse but since the other two walk, I’m taking their speed as the lowest.
    So I’ll use the Harnmaster Encounter tables.

    First Watch: Day: No Encounter
    Second Watch: Day: No Encounter
    Third Watch: Night: Encounter
    So it’s Night and Lawless. It’s a Forester: Camping/Seeking Lodgings/etc.
    I roll 1d100 on the friendlyness: 46: He’s distant.

    I’ll go with the flow here.

    The long winter night has caught up to the company as they still are on the road. Far in the distance they can see some glimmering lights, and they hope it’s an Inn for travelers like them.
    As they drag their cold freezing feet, suddenly a figure jumps in from the woods right onto the road.
    It’s a sturdy man, with a hatchet resting on his shoulder and a bow worn along his chest.
    For a moment noone speaks. The sudden event has caught them all by surprise. They eye each other carefully.
    “I’m heading to the inn” The man finally says.
    “So are we.” Leowyn replies. “Will there be any trouble?” She asks as she slowly rests her hand on her sword hilt.

    I’ll roll on the Interaction and Influence Table. They just want to avoid any combat, but things are tense. Yet the other side doesn’t have the advantage so, I’ll give a +30 Routine Bonus.
    50+30=80: Partial Success. Your audience is still listening.
    11+30=41: Failure.
    So, they won’t walk together, but there is no fight either.

    “Move on, move on and keep your hands where I can see them” the man says.
    The party grumbles, and they feel uneasy walking forward with the man behind them, but he doesn’t immediately follow. He leaves a safe distance between them and then starts walking in a slow pace.
    Soon, the lights are closer, and the walls of an inn are distinct to the fair night vision of the dwarf and the elf. Leowyn only sees it when she comes much closer.

    I realized that when I rolled on the Highway Encounter tables and got the Reroll on Wilderness/Rural result, I should have chosen Wilderness, but instead rolled at 50/50 and got Rural, hence the roll on the Rural table and the forester. Retrospectively, the Wilderness result would fit better, but maybe to the south of the inn, Rhudaur is Rural instead of Wilderness, so that would make some sense. Anyhow, when the group starts searching around in the Trollshaws it’s going to be Wilderness fullly.

    The inn stands on the eastern bank of the river.
    “That’s Mitheithel. The waters are cold through the entire year, but it never freezes.” Camthalion tells his group.
    “The Last Inn”. Leowyn reads out loud the sign at the inn entrance. She guides her horse to the stable, while her other two companions get inside.

    Q: Is everything as expected?
    A: Yes, and, it’s business as usual.

    A young man comes quickly toward Leowyn. “Go inside ma’am. I’ll take care of your horse. It’s very cold to stay outside. Warm yourself by the fire. Have some mead. My mother makes the best mead in Rhudaur.”
    Leowyn smiles softly. “Take good care of her.” She says, as she gives the reins to the young man.
    Inside, the fire is burning, and several guests are spread around the common room and bar.
    As Camthalion and Dwalin head towards the bar, followed by Leowyn, the innkeeper turns to them. “Rubb Grumm. Food and lodging?”
    “Yes, get us some warm meals. We’ll be seated near the fire if possible. We’d also like to arrange for some accommodations with separate bedding.” Dwalin tells the innkeeper.
    “Get yourself seated, and we’ll come to you shortly. Something to drink? Mead perhaps?” Rubb adds.
    “A pint will be good.” Leowyn replies before Dwalin gets a chance.

    So, the adventure states that the first time traveller will notice a gloom in the air. Since my question ‘if everything is as expected, was a ‘Yes, And’ I’ll consider this readily available information, and not roll Perception or something similar.

    A younger woman, probably Rubb’s daughter, from the resemblance, serves them the mead, as soon as they are seated. Her eyes are throbbing.
    Leowyn asks. “Are you alright?”
    “Haven’t you heard?” she asks. “Of course not, how should you? You just arrived. My brother, Leddon has gone missing a week now, in the trollshaws.” She sobs.
    Dwalin just looks at her. He knows trolls rarely mean good news.
    She composes herself. “Forgive me. My name is Minna. You look like you can handle yourselves. If you care to, my parents are giving a reward if you find my brother. 2 gold pieces.”
    At the sound of gold, Dwalin’s eyes shine. “That’s a fair amount. How would we know who your brother is?”
    “He… he has a distinctive ring made of bone, carved in the shape of a calf rearing in its hind legs. And… and a birth mark on his hind leg. I hope you can find him.” She answers, as soon as her mother yells at her to get back to work.

    Okay, now I want to see if there are any of the regulars at the inn.
    So, there are Turlin, Goldang and Grepp. Maybe other people are around as well.

    “We should ask around to see if we can learn anything more about this Leddon fellow. Who knows, maybe if trolls have gotten him, maybe he has seen my hammer!” Dwalin proposes. “But.. let’s have some food in our stomachs first.”

    So, I’ll roll on the Interaction table, once for each one of them to see if they can gather any more information.
    Leowyn: 77
    Camthalion: 45
    Dwalin: 35
    I’ll apply their Presence Bonus and give an additional +20 for an Easy task.
    Since there is no generic skill to gather rumors or anything, and I don’t think their missing Influence skill fits the bill, I won’t apply the -25 penalty for not having the respective skill.
    So, considering the above, only Leowyn succeeded, having a partial success at 50%.

    With that in mind, I’ll give the group knowledge of the generic rumours and about Grepp the drunkard.

    At the end of the night, they have filled their bellies and set up in a room on the 2nd floor.
    “What did you find out?” Dwalin asks.
    “It’s dangerous. Hill trolls are wandering south from the Ettenmoors. People are disappearing every now and then. I believe Leddon is just another one of many. Hillmen and Orcs regularly patrol the forest. I think we’re in the last safe place in this part of the land.” Leowyn tells them.
    “Anything else?” Dwalin asks.
    “Yes, my ears caught a conversation with allegations from a man named Grepp. He said can procure a map to the castle where bizarre lights have been seen lately. He says there is a lot of treasure to be found there.” Leowyn adds.
    “Then let’s get the map!” Dwalin said!
    “He… seemed quite drunk, and also asked for 1 gold piece to sell the map.” Leowyn cuts him off.
    “Maybe we should find this Leddon fellow first.” Camthalion adds. We’ll have helped this torn family and also get a nice reward to set us up for this map. “What do you say?”
    Dwalin and Leowyn nod.

    Leowyn doesn’t sleep easily through the night.
    As Dwalin snores heavily, Camthalion turns to her.
    “What bothers you? Us elves are light sleepers, but given how tired we are, I’d expect you to sleep as heavily as our dwarf friend over here.”
    “I’m thinking about my lost love. Argulf. I miss him” Leowyn says, still looking outside the window.
    Camthalion doesn’t speak, to allow her to finish her story.
    “He was murdered, in Gondor. I will find his murderer and bring justice for Argulf.” She adds.
    “This road has led you away from Gondor though.” Camthalion points out.
    “I know. Orc raids blocked my passage and I had to flee north. That’s when I met you. Maybe with the strength of our number, once we’re finished in Rhudaur, you will help me.” Leowyn replies.
    Camthalion nods. “You seem honorable. I will be glad to join you.”

    So now, I’m scratching off the second connection from BOLD. ponder divulging a love.
    Only one is left.

    Some bookkeeping for the gold spent.

    The party pool is at 10 sp, 7 cp and 2 tp, and they drunk a pint of mead (5 tp), 3 normal meals (1 cp each), 3 lodgings with separate bedding (2 cp each), and the stable at 2 tp. The cost total is at 9 cp and 7 tp. This leaves them with 9 sp, 7 cp and 5 tp.

    Q: Does anything happen during the night (UL)
    A: No, and the night goes on very quiet

    So we head off to the Trollshaws to scout for troll lairs for the legendary dragon slaying hammer and Leddon.
    But before that, Leowyn must buy some rations
    She will buy 1wk worth of trail rations, which cost 1bp.
    And I realize I have missed the bronze piece in the economy
    So I’m correcting the values from yesterday, and removing the additional 1bp for the 1 week of trail rations
    The party pool is at 9sp, 8bp 7cp and 5tp

    Dwalin; Tracking: 41+11: 52: Failure. May not try again in the same area in the same day.
    Encounters in the first watch:
    Activity: -10 (Forest) +25 (Hostile): Roll: 67
    Avoidance: +30 (Actively Searching for Something): Roll: 90
    No Encounter
    2nd watch:
    Activity: Roll: 26
    Avoidance: Roll: 62
    No Encounter

    They will set up camp
    3rd watch: 86-51=+35: sighting by another group
    I will roll up Harnmaster’s encounter tables here: Tracks/Spore/Sounds/etc: I choose Sounds: Mutiny/Dissent/Argument/etc.
    Q: Is it an Orc patrol fighting each other?
    A: Yes, but, they have seen the party
    Q: Are they many?
    A: No, and it’s only 2 of them (weak).
    Q: Who is standing watch?
    A: Leowyn


    After a whole day in the winter, searching for troll tracks without success, the party finally camps at dusk. Leowyn takes the first watch.
    The night progresses uneventfully, until suddenly, a ruckus grabs her attention. Rough, wild, barbaric language reaches her ears. She wakes up her companions, just in time, to see two orcs, their blades gleaming in the night, their eyes staring at them.

    Q: How do the orcs react?
    A: 10: Unfavorably to the characters

    The orcs yell something in their language, and charge at the group.

    Q: Distance?
    A: 60′-300’= 1d6*50’= 60′ Oh crap
    Q: Does Dwalin wear his armour?
    A: No+Intervention: Advance plot: A hill troll from the group that caught Leddon heard the fuss and is heading this way.

    So, in MERP, sequencing is fixed
    So, first goes Camthalion, he shoots his bow. Since the bow wasn’t loaded, he suffers a -35 to OB. Range is Short. Roll: 64+48 (OB)+10(IB)-25(Orc DB)-35=62: 0 Damage
    Orc1 Moves 60′
    Orc2 Moves 60′
    Dwalin Holds
    Leowyn Holds
    Camthalion Moves 10′ back.

    Camthalion shoots again: Fumble: 23: Fumble ammunition: Lose this round. -50 to activity next round.
    Orc1 attacks Dwalin: 91+35(OB)+5(IB)-30(DB)=101: 15C: Minor Forearm Wound. +4 hits. 2 hits per round. Stunned 1 round.
    Orc2 attacks Leowyn: 34+35(OB)-5(IB)-40(DB)=24: 0 Damage
    Dwalin: Stunned
    Leowyn attacks Orc2: 98+60+38(OB)+15(IB)-25(DB)=186: 30E: Blow to Upper Leg. +8 hits. 2 hits per round. Orc2 is dead due to hit points loss.

    Camthalion Loads his bow.
    Orc1 attacks Dwalin: 55+35(OB)+5(IB)-30(DB)= 65: 0 Damage
    Dwalin attacks Orc1: 95+51(OB)+15(IB)-25(DB)=136: 21E: 100: Blow to Jaw. Drives bone into brain. Dies instantly.

    Despite the obvious noise, Dwalin had no time to don his armor. The enemy is too close. He grabbed his mace and his shield, while Camthalion grabs his bow and quiver. In a hurry, Camthalion shoots an arrow and misses. Within moments the orcs are breathing down their necks. Camthalion steps back a few feet and tries once more to hit the enemy, illuminated by the moonlight and the weak camp fire, and misses again. One orc is locked in combat with Dwalin. It’s scimitar finds his forearm and delivers a nasty gash, causing some serious bleeding. Dwalin can’t counter as the pain has gotten him stunned. The other orc tries to attack Leowyn, but the shield maiden blocks with her shield and slashes at him back, thrusting at its leg, a serious wound, bringing the orc down.
    Camthalion takes a moment to load his bow now, as the Orc tries again to hit Dwalin. Dwalin, has recovered, and with fury blocks the scimitar with his shield, ducks, and brings his mace up in a circular motion, hitting the orc straight in the face with such strength, that the orc drops down dead at once.

    It’s time for the intervention.
    The hill troll appears from: NW


    A huge moan is heard, and three branches from the tree fall, as a towering figure appears in their rear. In all the fuss, they didn’t pay heed to their surroundings.

    Camthalion shoots his bow at the Hill Troll: 96+91+48(OB)+10(IB)-20(DB)= 225: 26E: 66: Fine Leg Strike. +18 hits. 5 hits per round. -20 to activity. Stunned 3 rounds.
    Dwalin Moves 40′
    Leowyn Moves 40′
    Hill Troll is Stunned (2).

    Camthalion Loads his bow.
    Dwalin attacks Hill Troll: 62+51(OB)+15(IB)-28(OB)-20(DB): 80: 4 Damage.
    Leowyn attacks Hill Troll: 98+67+38(OB)+15(IB)-20(DB): 198: 22E: 68: Fine Leg Strike. +18 hits. 5 hits per round. -20 to activity. Stunned 3 rounds.
    Hill Troll is Stunned (4).

    Camthalion shoots his bow at the Hill Troll: 73+48(OB)+10(IB)-20(DB): 111: 13B: +10 Hits.
    The Hill Troll is down!

    ‘A Troll!’ Leowyn shouts. Camthalion has his bow ready. He aims, and with skill, the arrow pierces the troll’s hide, in the right leg, hitting a tendon. The troll screams out in pain. Who could think such creatures could feel pain.
    Leowyn and Dwalin were about to flee, but seeing Camthalion’s hit and how the troll is disoriented, they close up on both sides.
    Camthalion takes another arrow from his quiver.
    Dwalin tries to hit the creature, but his mace barely manages to bruise it. Leowyn has positioned herself to its flank, and while the troll is busy countering Dwalin, she slashes at the troll’s other leg. The hack is strong, and the troll screams once more. Black blood pouring from both its legs.
    Camthalion shoots another arrow, which finds the troll in its chest. The creature tries to grab itself from the tree next to it, but its wounds are too many, and it falls to the ground.

    Need to calculate EXP.
    For the Orc1:
    Dwalin: 242

    For the Orc2:
    Leowyn: 200

    For the Hill Troll:
    Camthalion: 600
    Dwalin: 0
    Leowyn: 150

    Dwalin is wounded at 15 Hit Points.

    The company looks at each other, in disbelief. Orcs they had met before, but it’s the first time they faced a troll.
    They apply a quick bandage and compress to Dwalin’s forearm.
    “It’s too many hours to daybreak.” Leowyn says.
    “The forest is dangerous, but we can’t risk finding a new campsite at this time of the night.” Camthalion counters.
    “Let’s search our foes for signs of Leddon. Maybe you can scout a bit before we go to sleep again.” Dwalin proposes.
    “Alright. Let me try to provide some aid to you first.” Camthalion says.

    Camthalion casts Heal: 96: RR(-55-70): Success: 10 HP healed!
    Risk Factor: 76: No Risk

    Q: Is there a sign of Leddon? (UL)
    A: No, and, the troll doesn’t carry anything but a huge club

    “Maybe we can follow the troll’s tracks in the morning. It won’t be hard to do. Maybe we’ll find its lair.” Dwalin proposes after their search comes up in vain.
    “Rest now child of the mountains.” Leowyn tell him.

    4th Watch: 105/87: +18: No encounter
    5th Watch: 47/28: +19: No encounter
    6th Watch: 27/106: -: No encounter

    Dwalin has healed 12 more HP. He’s at 37 HP.

    The group is following the Hill Troll’s Tracks: I declare a +30 Routine Difficulty, and also there is a +20 bonus since the scout is looking for a specific thing. 18+50+11: 79: Partial success: You gain some information but you’re not aware that you missed something. You may not try again for 1 hour.
    1 hour later: 13+50+11: 74: Failure: You may not try again for 1 day.
    So the group missed the tracks.

    I’ll end my session here.

    The rest of the Experience for the session:
    Camthalion: 100 for Spellcasting

    Idea Points: 646. I’ll split it in half between Dwalin and Leowyn for using the BOLD connections. They get 323 each.

    Each party member also gets 15+24= 39 Experience points due to travelling.
    Adding up the experience points from the previous adventure, I have the following totals:

    Name Experience Points
    Camthalion 1548 EP
    Leowyn 1337 EP
    Dwalin 1219 EP

    I’m quite partial to the resolution mechanics of MERP. I’m not quite happy with them. Lots of rolls, and results are quite meh. I’ll keep on to it, but on the back of my mind I have the possibility of converting to Harnmaster (and Mythras last after Harnmaster).
    Further delving into d100, it is evident that the rolls aren’t that robust as in D6 with the dice pools probability curves. Modifiers play a huge role here, and even then nothing is guaranteed.
    I was so lucky against the troll, but couldn’t follow some simple tracks.
    Since these games are old-school (not even OSR) there is no player currency. No success at a cost. You fail – the end. You can try again tomorrow. Until then, keep rolling to see if you survive the Trollshaws.
    But that fight! I was certain a TPK was imminent, but Camthalion showed his prowess as an archer. In general, both against the orcs and the troll I was quite lucky.
    I noticed I made a mistake on my encounter against the orcs. The activity detected by the MERP table had to be an animal/beast, so since the Harnmaster table wasn’t contradictory I should have had animals fighting each other.
    All in all, it moves slowly, is crunchy, but since I am in a similar mood right now, I enjoy the process. With summer holidays closing in, I don’t know if I’ll be able to continue my adventure soon, since it’s not digital friendly, but I’ll be coming back to it later on.

    Now to the side tools. Using miniatures and quick battle-hex-map was very refreshing. So much faster than theater of the mind, when you have the right tools available. Using the hex grid also helped a lot with distances. I took the liberty of not asking how far away the troll was, and I just added it to the edge of the map. Another added bonus.
    With regards to the BOLD connections. I like the way I have implemented them in solo gaming. It’s meta, but it makes me create bonds within the party. And it’s a nice way to give some additional experience as rewards.

    • Alan 12:58 am on July 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I like your solo rpg blog stuff! Let me know if you would be into adding a PC etc. to your campaign or create a new one that you run we can do a play by post or something. I’m doing to play an RPG , I have many systems and solo materials as well. No biggie if your not interested.



      • giorgis 10:41 pm on July 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Alan,
        Thanks for the kind words!
        One of the main reasons I started solo roleplaying was so that I can control when and what to play. Real life is so busy, that trying to organize anything more complex than that, just wouldn’t work for me right now. After your proposal I seriously considered setting up a discord server to run a play-by-post, but it seems I’ll have to take a rain check.

        Thanks again!


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