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  • giorgis 10:12 am on November 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #SGAM,   

    Return from Syriholm S2E00-S2E01 

    So, I want to play test my Background Suprise Events ruleset. In order to do that, I’ve decided to return to my Hexflower dungeon crawl adventure and pick it up from there.
    I’ll be switching gears from MiniSix which had serious balance issues for me, to Savage Worlds. So I went ahead and converted the two survivors to SW and since they got out of Syriholm alive, also gave them 5 exp, and an advance, which I spent.

    Below are their stats.

    Name Furi Grinarson
    Archetype Fighter,Great Weapon
    Race Dwarf
    Agility d6
    Smarts d4
    Spirit d6
    Strength d10
    Vigor d8
    Fighting d10
    Intimidation d6
    Notice d6
    Repair d4
    Taunt d6
    Low light vision
    Pace 5
    Parry 7
    Toughness 7+2
    Hindrances Code of Honor,Loyal,Greedy minor
    Edges Brawny,Sweep
    Experience Points 5
    Weapons Great Axe
    Armor Chain Hauberk
    Name Atiel Nerdalye
    Archetype Marksman
    Race Elf
    Agility d12
    Smarts d6
    Spirit d6
    Strength d6
    Vigor d6
    Fighting d6
    Healing d6
    Notice d6
    Shooting d10
    Stealth d4
    Taunt d6
    Tracking d6
    Low light vision
    Pace 6
    Parry 5
    Toughness 6\
    Hindrances Heroic, Phobia minor snakes,Loyal, All Thumbs
    Edges Alertness
    Experience Points 5
    Weapons Bow, Short Sword
    Armor Leather

    Furi managed to recover the great axe heirloom from the hands of Gorkil. I decide that this axe of dwarven craftsmanship will inflict a +1 step on the damage die on a raise (d12).

    Normally I wouldn’t list them, but since this is an example playtest of the ruleset I will describe the possible background events that may unravel for the party:

    Suit Event
    Hearts Their dead party members family reaches up to them and have a request
    Diamonds Rumors of their journey in Syriholm reaches unsavory characters who will ambush them for their supposed treasure
    Clubs The orc new leader to prove his mettle, has sent assassins after them
    Spades Both members were severely wounded, maybe a wound has festered? Furi drank a concoction of dragon’s blood, could this have some side effects?

    So, staying true to the Hexflower, I will be using In the heart of the unknown Hexflower engine from goblin’s henchman.
    It has a terrain engine, an encounter engine and a weather engine all in one. I will be using the default encounters as described there. The party will start in the mountains.

    What is the objective? I will start off with a Savage Worlds chase. Orc boar riders are after them. They must successfully escape, whether it’s defeating their pursuers or gaining enough distance. This will bring the group together, instead of splitting up to their own devices.

    Additional rules

    I’ll be using the Usage Die and Resource Die mechanic from Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells and the Addendum.
    I feel that since there are dice steps, it will fit in well with the Savage worlds mechanics.

    Resource Die
    Funds d6
    Rations d10
    Torches d6
    Water d8
    Healing kits d6
    Adventuring gear (spikes, hooks, ropes) d6
    Arrows d12


    Atiel wakes up to the sound of panicking and galloping horses. She’s on her feet within seconds and realizes it’s their own horses.
    They’re already gone, but what startled them?
    She puts her ear to the ground, and can hear the sound of hooves. Heavy and smashing to the ground. Two Orc boar riders with scimitars! She kicks Furi, her hard hearing dwarf companion to wake him up and she picks ups her gear.
    Furi quickly follows and the two of them start running in the undergrowth as the boar riders appear in the distance, screaming their war cry.

    I will be using the Savage Worlds Chase rules to run this. I will use a 5-round chase which is the default.
    The orcs have a +2 bonus due to their boars speed.

    Wild Cards other than PCs will be noted with a ⚜️ in front. When a Wild Die is rolled, it won’t be noted, just the final best result between both dice.

    Round 1:
    Atiel: Agility (d10): 6: Success, 6♦️.
    Furi: Agility (d6): 2: –
    Orcs: Riding (d6,+2): 3+2=5: Success, 5♥️.
    Atiel: Shooting (d10,-4): 9-4=5: Hit, Damage (2d6): 3/8: No damage.
    Arrows usage (d12): 6, No downgrade.
    Furi has no action card and doesn’t act.
    Orcs are at long range and can’t attack.

    Round 2:
    Atiel: Agility (d10): 4: Success, 5♠️.
    Furi: Agility (d6): 2: –
    Orcs: Riding (d6,+2): 2+2=4: Success, Q♠️.
    Atiel has an action card lower than the orcs and can’t attack. The orcs are at long range and can’t attack.

    Round 3:
    Atiel: Agility (d10): 5: Success, 8♦️.
    Furi: Agility (d6): 2: –
    Orcs: Riding (d6,+2): 5+2=4: Success, Q♥️.
    Atiel has an action card lower than the orcs and can’t attack. The orcs are at long range and can’t attack.

    Round 4:
    Atiel: Agility (d10): 4: Success, 5♣️, Obstacle.
    Atiel Agility (d10-2): 9-2=7: Success, she avoids Bumps and Bruises due to obstacle.
    Furi: Agility (d6): 6+4=10: Success and Raise, ~~7♣️~~, 5♦️.
    Orcs: Riding (d6,+2): 1+2=3: –
    Atiel: Shooting (d10,-4): 5-4=1: Miss
    Arrows usage (d12): 6, No downgrade.
    Furi is at long range and can’t attack.

    Round 5:
    Atiel: Agility (d10): 4: Success, 10♣️, Obstacle.
    Atiel Agility (d10-2): 4-2=2: She gets one Fatigue level due to Bumps and Bruises.
    Furi: Agility (d6): 3: –
    Orcs: Riding (d6,+2): 3+2=5: Success, 6♥️.
    Atiel: Shooting (d10,-4-1): 6+2-4-1=3: Miss
    Arrows usage (d12): 6, No downgrade.
    Orcs are at long range and can’t attack.
    End of chase, the characters escape.

    Atiel and Furi sprint as fast as they can, the orc riders behind them in the distance. The terrain is on their side as the thick bushes and branches delay the boars as their riders force them through.
    Atiel finds an opening and lets off an arrow which fails to penetrate the thick leather armor of the orc.
    Elegantly she evades a tree trunk in front of her, while Furi tries to keep up.
    Another arrow misses her target, and distracted as she is, she stumbles and falls in a small trench, getting bumped and bruised. Her next arrow misses again as she is disoriented from the fall.
    Nevertheless they manage to climb atop a small hill and evade the orcish pursuit.
    Without their steeds, they begin to walk back to civilization.

    Episode 1

    Day 1:
    Encounter Engine: Wandering Monster, distant/improbable
    Terrain Engine: Hills
    Weather Engine: Sunny/Rain
    Encounter: Lion

    Atiel: Notice (d6+2,-1): 6+4+2-1=11: Success, Raise
    Rations (d10): 5: Ok

    The first day, they descend the mountains, and travel a hillside. It’s afternoon, when Atiel stops Furi and motions him to be silent. Her keen elven eyesight has detected a mountain lion in wait far in the distance. They decide to make a detour rather than face the beast.

    Day 2:
    Encounter Engine: Equipment Trouble
    Terrain Engine: Hills
    Weather Engine: Sunny/Cloudy
    Rations (d10): 8: Ok
    Encounter: Healing kit downgrade to d4

    The next day, as Atiel checks on her gear, she has noticed worms! They have eaten through a significant amount of her healing herbs. Thankfully, she’s no longer bruised.

    Day 3:
    Encounter Engine: Major Settlement
    Terrain Engine: Arid
    Weather Engine: Raining

    Q: Do humans live here?
    A: Yes, and, it’s a bustling city
    Time of arrival: Midnight
    Q: Do the guards let them in?
    A: No
    Rations (d10): 8: Ok

    Finally at midnight of the following day, they reach Camora. A huge walled city in the middle of an poor arid valley. No matter how much they knock and bang at the gates, no one opens, and they camp outside the walls, waiting for the dawn.

    Day 4:
    Q: Do the guards let them in? (Likely)
    A: Yes
    They will spend the night at the Green shield inn and listen to rum ours.
    Smarts (d6): 6+5=11, Success, Raise
    They find a quest.
    Funds (d6, rent a room at the inn): 1: Downgrade to d4.
    I’ve used donjon for the quest generator and GMA to find out what Sabazzu (see below) has committed.

    In the morning, they enter Camora. They put on their cloaks again, as the humans seem suspicious of other races. A culturally diverse city like Camora thankfully is quite safe for the elf and dwarf adventurers.
    After so many days in the wild and in the Syriholm dungeon, they decide to rent a room at a local inn, The Green Shield, and listen to local rumors. Their coins are dwindling dangerously.
    As they drink casually in the bar, a priest named Enetros recognizes them as adventurers.
    -Please noble warriors. Sabazzu the Terrible and his cultists committed a most heinous crime today. They defenestrated the high priest, a holy man, who fell to his death from the temple top floor. The local militia won’t see to the matter. Bring us justice and you will be rewarded!
    Furi, worries about their financial state, and turns to Atiel.
    -We have lost our steeds, and we are low on gold. Let’s do this one, and then we can part each to his own way.
    -We have to help this poor man get justice. I’m with you on this one as well Furi Grinarsson.

    Day 5:
    They begin their tracking from Camora.
    Tracking (d6+2+1-2): 4: Success
    Encounter Engine: Equipment Trouble
    Terrain Engine: Hills
    Weather Engine: Heavy Rain
    Encounter: Torches got wet and ruined due to the heavy rain, downgraded to d4.
    Rations (d10): 2, Downgrade to d8

    The party has found the tracks of Sabazzu fleeing Camora and follow the group to the wilderness.
    Heavy rain catches with them and soon the tracks are gone. To top it all, the torches are soaking wet in the backpack, and they are left with only a few usable ones.

    Day 6:
    Encounter Engine: Signs of Civilization
    Terrain Engine: Arid
    Weather Engine: Storm
    Tracking (d6-3): 0: Failure
    Rations (d8): 3: Ok

    The storm is so heavy that the tracks are gone for good and they can’t follow. They will continue in the general direction they think Sabazzu has went and hope they can catch up with the tracks soon.

    Day 7:
    I draw the final card and reveal all the 7 of them and I get an event!
    Didn’t expect it so soon. The first three cards where spades!
    This also means that whatever is happening has started a while and out character had no idea.
    So Who? A: Atiel

    Encounter Engine: Lair/Monster Settlement
    Terrain Engine: Special, Chasm
    Weather Engine: Clouds
    Encounter: Giant Beetles

    That’s some good luck for the experiment, but some bad luck for the group! As they meet some monsters in their lair, Atiel’s wound has reopened!

    The storm has ended, and as the party moves on, the ground collapses from the torrents and they fall down in a deep chasm. Atiel screams, as her wound from the orcs of Syriholm sends waves of searing pain through her.
    But that’s the least of their worries, Furi draws his great axe, while man-sized beetles crawl towards them, eager to devour their newfound meal.

    Resource Die
    Funds d4
    Rations d8
    Torches d4
    Water d8
    Healing kits d4
    Adventuring gear (spikes, hooks, ropes) d6
    Arrows d12

    Session Background: I didn’t expect that quick success. An event from the first week of play! Now, I know I have to give Atiel a chance to avoid this wound, but I need to think through the trait roll, so I will do it in the next session along with the combat!
    For this adventure, I did the same as with the dungeon crawl in Syriholm, maybe even more pronounced. I played on a high level. I didn’t go into moderate or tiny details. Instead I focused out. This allows for fast, dynamic play. Less roleplaying though, but it fits well for what I want to achieve.

  • giorgis 1:43 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #SGAM   

    Background Surprise Events Oracle 

    This ruleset and it’s playtesting will be my contribution to Solo Gaming Appreciation Month. During the playtest I may need to modify the ruleset, and it’s going to be finalized after the playtest adventure is complete.

    So this idea has been bothering me a while now. How to deal with events running in the background that your character wouldn’t know?

    In social TTRPGs the GM rolls some things behind his screen and you as a player have no idea what is going on.

    Then suddenly, in the next town you are arrested by the militia. The burgomeister was running the fence of the weapons shipment you intercepted in the name of the king and he was notified by a survivor.
    Or your thief barely escaped from the castle with a hefty jewel. He rides off, and a while later he finds out the constable’s men are after him.

    How can we emulate this, by keeping the element of surprise? I know the Oracles have chaos factors and interventions which you can use to add such events, but it feels too random, disconcerted, and on the whim of the solo player to use. I want something separate, running on the side.
    First of all dice as a check are out of the question. If you roll dice, then you know the result, which ruins any surprise and the sense of worry. This leaves me with cards as a randomizer. I will be using a deck of poker cards with jokers.

    So here goes:

    Choose one time unit for card drawing and one for resolution. I find a general rule for Day-Week is quite good, but you may want something more tense.

    Each day, draw a card, face down, and put it aside. Do this for the entire week. The order matters so don’t mix the cards, but put them one on top of the other.
    At the end of the week, reveal the drawn cards. If you get 3 or more cards of the same suit in a row, then there is an event. If you get 3 or more cards of the same suit, spread between other suits, then you get a rumor on an event, and if this happens again in one of the next two weeks, then an event is generated. If two different suits both happen, then the suit that wins is the one with more cards. If it’s a tie, then it’s the one with the highest total. Jokers can be applied to suits of the same color. Order still applies.

    For type of event see the following table.

    |Hearts|Relationship, Family|
    |Diamonds|Debt, Weregild|
    |Clubs|Wanted, Hunted|
    |Spades|Wound, Disease|

    So for example:
    If you get an event in Diamonds, then maybe someone the party killed had a wife and kids. He is tracked down and asked to pay a Weregild to the victims family. This can go back to something that happened several adventures ago.
    If you get an event in Clubs, then maybe a wanted poster is raised on the characters because of the fight they had in the inn.
    If you get an event in Hearts, then maybe a friend has come to ask a favor owed.
    If you get an event in Spades, then maybe that rat bite you had when clearing the basement from the giant critters was diseased, or an old wound from the past has reopened.

    In any case when the event is revealed, it’s always connected to something that had happened in the past. If the adventure is still new and there are no past events, try to connect it to the character’s background.

    The event should always give a chance for the player to avoid it or come on top of the situation.
    If for example the character is hunted down in the city and he’s not actively laying low, roll a search/tracking/whatever skill for the hunters against a fixed difficulty. If he’s actively laying low, then the roll is opposed vs the character’s sneak/hide/stealth roll. If he’s found, then check for ambush and run the encounter, if not, then he’s made aware of his hunters presence. For example the homeless kid could run to him in the inn, and tell him that some nefarious looking figures are asking about him.

    Now, if an event has triggered in the week, really early, the event will have a bonus when rolling on avoidance. For example if the hunters were on the character’s trail since Monday, and now it’s Sunday, then they had ample time to find him and ambush him maybe.

    What I like about this mechanic is that it gives the player a warning at certain times, and also the results are hidden until revealed. For example if you had a ‘rumor’ on spades, and you felt that old wound bothering you when straining, maybe you start to take things slow to avoid reopening it. So you spend the next two weeks avoiding close combat and not responding to the insults of the thugs in the tavern, just to make sure that you will have an opposed healing roll if required. Then the two weeks pass and spades events didn’t trigger, and you took all those precautions for nothing.
    Or you had a ‘rumor’ trigger in clubs and you overheard the merchant about how a caravan was attacked and they are looking to find who did it. You know your character was involved, so he lays low, and when the event triggers next week in clubs, you have the bonus opposed roll for laying low.
    In addition it’s a way to connect game character creation disadvantages such as Hindrances, Banes or whatever else they are called.

    So, considering the cards instead of dice again, I realize it’s all about the feel. This could be done with a nice table and probabilities on a d100 die.
    But having the cards face down, makes one wonder about what’s going on each day that they don’t know about.

    Also maybe there could other side rules. If the player has a sixth sense, an active web of spies, insight skill, or is clairvoyant, maybe they could reveal a card in the middle of the week, based on a successful roll, and prepare accordingly.

    If for any reason, the character is otherwise occupied (in a dungeon, in hyperspace) then keep drawing cards face down, but reveal them only when he is back.

    Optional rules:
    If there are more than 3 cards of the same suit, then increase the intensity of the event.

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