Tuesday, December 21, 2004

A chance meeting

Delphino surveyed the carnage. Kraken are not prone to being sentimental, but this waste of life caused even him to pause. Of course, these slavers deserved no pity, and would get none from Delphino or his crewmembers. He winced from the fresh bullet wound in his shoulder. Suddenly, he noticed one of the freed slaves looked familiar. It was Marish, a Masiquani sailor he had served with on an a frigate some time ago. One of the few "dry-earthers" Delphino had come to call a friend. He strided over to Marish and raised his hand in greeting. Marish was glad to see his old crewmate, and was overjoyed considering the circumstances. Delphino and Marish exchanged stories. The masiquani sailor told about being waylaid in a dark alley in Baltimus. Then Marish told Delphino a most interesting tale...

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Bring out the sheep...

Matt has decided to join up with us! He shall now finalize his membership by performing the "rites" on the "ritual" sheep. Good luck Matt.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Gaming Day

Saturday, November 27th will be a board gaming day at Nigel's. Festivities will start at 11 am. That night, I'd like to get a Texas Hold 'em game going, probably at Brintle's. My kid needs a college fund.

Friday, November 05, 2004

The d6 question

After the zombie adventure, I'm convinced I like the "extra D6" for a raise damage rule. It's fast and quick, and leaves us with basicaly one roll where you have to count multiple raises. What does everyone else think? I don't think I'll change it in the middle of a game unless everyone else agrees to it, but I'm going to use it in the future.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Bennies and Cards

Tim and Lee and I were having a discussion the other day about bennies and adventure cards, and it got me to thinking. Tim pointed out that the reaction to adventure cards has been less than enthusiastic, which he found odd considering they are just free perks that don't need to be given out to begin with.

I see his point on this, although the natural reaction for someone who is given a card that he doesn't think will come in handy at all is to groan about it, it's certainly no worse than not having a card at all, and generally better. The main grousing point has been the card which allows a player to go through the deck and get a card of his choice...easily the most powerful card in the deck, and the one which people seem to like the least. ???

Now, I kind of understand the problem with it, as I once had the card myself and I kind of froze with it, not wanting to blow the card too early and regret it later. Those who get the card seem to suffer from somewhat the same problem...too many choices makes it difficult to make any choice at all, and it feels like it slows the game down. Tim has offered to take the card out of the deck...which is okay, I guess, but it will be detrimental to us over all even while making things easier on us the players. Perhaps the problem lies simply in the fact that we are all new at the Adventure deck, and aren't familiar enough with it. I know that if I had the deck down much better it would probably make it easier for me to judge how to use the card. What do you folks think?

This is an important question. I like the cards, but we as players need to make our feelings about them better known. Right now Tim thinks we'd rather not have them, which I hope is not the case, and if it isn't we need to show more appreciation for what the cards do for us, or we may lose them as a perk.

Now, bennies. Bennies are unanimously loved, I think, but there is a wide difference in how each player handles them. Most exemplified by the two players who seem to be at opposite ends: Shawn, who spends his bennies like water and me, who tends to horde them.
Shawn will spend his bennies early and often if he doesn't like a roll he gets, thus usually meaning he has none at the end of a session. Nothing wrong with that per se, but sometimes he gets a bit beat up on account of he runs out of soakers or doesn't have a bennie at a crucial moment. On the other hand I almost never spend my bennies unless I am soaking damage or I need to re-roll something which is crucial to the success of a plan (ie, the plan will fail if I fail my roll). I am a paranoid gamer who fears taking a big hit and reaching for a bennie to soak the damage...and finding them all gone. Or that I will need multiple bennies to soak the hit because I fail one or two of the soak rolls. In other words, I don't feel very safe unless I have two to three bennies at all times. Luckily my current character's power helps me keep bennies handy while still spending them.

Most everyone else is between Shawn and I on the "bennie spending" spectrum. Other than Shawn and Nigel (who starts with less), most folks have one or two bennies left by the end, but are willing to toss a bennie here and there to re-roll a damage roll (something I am LOATHE to do) or something along those lines. I am not advocating that anyone needs to change their bennie habits...Shawn's way is no less valid than mine. In the first half of the session though I think nearly everyone is a bit wary of spending a bennie until they have a general idea of how things are going. While persusing the bennie rules in the main book, I noticed something that could change the dynamics a bit, making those of us on the miserly end of the spectrum a little more free-spending and those on the free-spending end able to every once in a while have a bennie or two at the end of the session.

The rules state that, on the average, the GM should give out one or two bennies per session to each player, depending on play. Obviously you might get less if you suck, and more if you do some way cool stuff or make a great joke or what have you. I don't think I've ever seen more than one player gain one bennie in any session, and usually none. Are we just not doing very well at impressing you, Tim? Or have you chosen to set the bar higher? If you chose to set the bar higher in my case, given my character's unique edge, I would understand that. Something like the cliff-dive last session I would think would be benny-worthy, for instance...but if you thought "Well, I'd give a bennie to anyone else's character who did that stunt" I'd understand that. I'm not trying to grub for more bennies, is what I'm saying, but I do think it might be good for the others if you gave out more.

Then again, I could be wrong. We seem to do pretty good even without the extra bennies, so if you have indeed chosen to raise the bar as to what it takes to earn a bennie mid-session, I'm not going to argue too strenuously. I guess what I'm saying is, I'd like to know about where the bar is so as to give people more of a chance to try to impress the gm and earn some. Until I re-read the section on bennies I hadn't even given any consideration to that aspect of the game...it could have an entertaining effect on game play if people think more about things they can do to earn some bennie love.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Battlemat Proposal

Nigel has discovered this cool looking product. Check it out here: http://www.bc-products.net/Index.html
Basically it's a dry erase battlemat with squares drawn on. It's also modular so you can make different shapes. The idea would be, for the permanent members to go in on a set. What Nigel and I suggest is the $60 set that comes with a carrying case. They are also coming out with a hex version, which we could look into if we end up liking the product. Please let me (or Nigel) know your opinion.

The Happy GM

Just wanted to say thanks to the whole group for the Halloween episode. I was a little worried on how it would play out, but you guys pulled it off wonderfully. I was impressed at how everyone got into their roles. I was thoroughly entertained and it will be one that I'll remember.

Monday, October 25, 2004

The Evil that men do

This Thursday will be the Halloween adventure. I'm going to go with a one shot (to the head.)

Friday, October 22, 2004

Sushi anyone?

Hey guys. Just wanted to comment on last night's game (hey, how come me and Tim and the occasional Shawn are the only posters here? Brian? What happened to the weekly log you were gonna post?). I thought it was really good...Tim gave us a good tactical challenge that could either work well for us or go badly if we chose poorly, and we rose to the occasion. The Bad guys were fun and memorable, and the battle was very tough with opportunities for heroism all around.
In particular, hilights for me were my heroic dive off the cliff to come to the aid of my fellows and of course killing Brute the Kehana in single combat (thanks Nigel for the boost, it not only helped me alot it probably ended the combat far sooner and with less casualties than it might have). Others were Barilas taking a full volley of pistol fire and coming thru barely scratched, Hork taking the cannoneer's head off with one swipe of his jumani chain, and Lynn's rifle duel with Ogden (Lynn has helped us so very much in battle by keeping the leader in check).
Lowlights were unfortunately the mage getting wounded AGAIN (lucky shot!), James spending nearly the entire battle on one mook (bad luck mostly, but Jimmy needs to be a bit stronger I think!), and sadly the complete lame-out of Edmund's cannon volley (that would have been so cool if it hadn't crapped out!).
In any case, I think we had some good team work, and it seems like we are all settling in to our roles very well. Andy, I had some suggestions for Hork...you have to remember that a grael's job is to be the party Brick. Strength and Vigor are your friends, have as much of that as you can. Getting hit should not be a worry for you, the goal is to be able to shrug off the damage. Having an 8 toughness is going to help that, I would also suggest getting the edge Brawny which will give you a further +1 and let you carry more stuff. Basically, if I were you, I'd wild attack nearly all the time. That will give you a +2 to hit with your first swing, but more importantly it will cancel out your -2 with your second swing. And if you hit, doing a d10+3+2 (hopefully a d12 soon?) damage will probably smush most mooks into paste.
If you are worried about being shaken, pick up the edge Combat Reflexes when you get to Seasoned...it will give you a +2 to unshake. Also, right now you are eligible to buy Nerves of Steel and Improved Nerves of steel which will help cancel out those nasty wound modifiers. Finally, Berzerk would be a great edge for you to have, as would Sweep.

The only other thing I have to say is, Shawn, you are our most powerful artillery, but I'm thinking you need more power points as you seem to run low quickly. And your dice luck has been poor lately...would upping your spellcasting die help do you think?

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


I don't want to break with tradition, so I will run a Halloween game. I have two choices. I could run a separate one-shot Halloween adventure. No problem there.
The other choice, is to take the 50 Fathoms game into Halloween territory. This has the advantage of not breaking up the game, and allowing you to gather XP for the trip. The disadvantages are thus: First, I feel bound to make the Halloween adventure nasty. Second, I was not planning to do this, so you'll have to be ok with being railroaded into the plotline (in fact, I would need you to go along with wherever I steer you to) for this to work.

Thoughts? Ideas? Complaints? World Series Predictions?

Friday, October 15, 2004

Interludes: On the voyage back to Baltimus

Boze sat down beside Delphino, who sat staring out torwards the Flotsam Sea.
"Sea Hags," Delphino muttered. "The answer is out there somewhere..."
"That was just like old times, eh?" Boze said, trying to see what Delphino was looking at. Delphino chewed absently on a tentacle and grunted.
"On the slave ship, just you and me, sneaking about...you still make too much noise you know. Not like when I first met you, you walked like a grael in iron boots. But you learned...still, they almost caught us. It was fun though. Felt like we were finally pulling our weight again."
Delphino glanced sideways at his companion. He didn't often talk this much for no reason, so he was starting to wonder what was up. He spit out the tentacle he had been gnawing on and chose a fresh one to chew for a bit.
"I mean, these guys we're with," Boze continued, "Barilas is a better navigator than I've ever sailed with, and Lynn...well, I didn't like him at first. He still complains too much if you ask me. But he's a deadly shot with that rifle of his, and he's picking up gunnery very quickly. And the two visitors are amazing warriors as well as talented individuals. And Wainwright...well, I hate to say it but he's a better fire mage than you are."
Delphino spat his tentacle and turned to look at Boze, his eye membranes nictating slowly and meaningfully.
"No, I know you've got more talent overall than him, and I doubt he'll ever learn any other elements, but he does seem to have a particular talent with fire magic," Boze grinned.
"The visitors are very single-minded when it comes to elementalism, I have noticed," Delphino allowed.
"Anyway, I'm just saying it was refreshing to be of some actual use for once. Maybe we do have a place with these people after all," Boze sighed.
"You thought not?"
"I don't know, I..." Boze trailed off for a bit. "I think I did something stupid, Delphino."
"Ahh." Now Delphino believed the conversation was coming to it's actual point. "Are you referring to the Kehana you murdered last night?"
Boze regarded him coldly. "I'd give a rat more consideration before exterminating it, you know that. I consider ridding the ship of kehana to be a beautification project."
"Yes. But some of the others don't understand. In particular the earthers seem to think it was...ghrbjpialjkj...what is the word...immoral? To kill a helpless victim?"
"If the captain and Edmund have a problem with putting down vicious animals, then they and I are never going to see eye to eye, and I may have to rethink my alliances. I hope not, because I am wondering if one them might not be the prophecied one..."
"Pllkjuiuhflkjfkmnvcnoiwyyu. You mentioned something you had done," Delphino said.
"It ties in. I...mated...while we were in port last."
Delphino's eyes nictated rapidly and he returned a tentacle to his mouth.
"Yes, I know...it was stupid. I met this doreen named Sayed, and a female named Kendra. She wanted to mate with him, to repopulate our people. But he wouldn't. He started talking about how everything was pointless, how we were all going to die anyway and we might as well just accept it. He said there was no reason to do anything but sit and drink and to hell with the world and the kehana and everything else too. And it just made me so angry, I wanted to do the opposite of whatever he was saying. I wanted to believe that there was a point and we could make a difference and change things.
"So, I acted rashly, and I mated with her. The thing is...what if he's right? He doesn't even know the half of it...the world really IS doomed. What if we can't defeat the Hags? What if I have brought more life into this world only to see them die again?"
Boze punched the ship's rail, his hand impacting the wood with a solid crunch. "I shouldn't have done it," he grimaced. "I didn't even know her, don't care about her. If she does bear a child...I may not ever have time to see it. And I may have just brought another life into this world just to have it ended."
Delphino considered his words, chewing thoughtfully on his tentacle. The Doreen must be upset indeed, he thought, to open up so. In the years they had known each other, companions and perhaps friends, the Doreen had very rarely discussed anything but business. He had never even offered his name. Delphino suspected there was no-one left alive who even knew it anymore.
Boze shook his head. "You have to admit, the odds seem pretty slim we'll win, eh?"

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Who rules the rules?

The revised Savage Worlds rules are coming very soon. Most of the revisions are easily adapted (grappling being fixed for example.) There is however one new rule that bears discussion. The new rule is for damage and raises. Now, if on an attack roll, if you get at least one raise, you get to add an extra D6 to your damage. No more do you add up the raises and get a +2 to damage for each raise. The D6 is completly extra to the damage roll, and can ace.

For example:

Baron blood swings at a pirate with his sword. He hits with a raise. His normal damage is D8 (strength) + D6 (wild die) + 2 (for the short sword.) He gets a 7 damage. Now he can roll an extra D6 and add that to the 7. This D6 can ace.

Let me know what you think of this rule. It's tempting for me as a GM because it just takes one more calcuation away from my workload. However, you might all feel cheated not getting your extra damage from raises. What do you think?

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Goals, methods, and personnel

Well, I will start with my last point first, actually. It was suggested that we hire some Marines to man our ship. I don't have a problem with this per se, it just begs a few questions. The problem, of course, is that our command staff is going to be equal in size to the crew even if we hire on a full complement. We have six "officers" and two (three?) crew right now, we can hire four more crew maximum (or three if we keep the new mage).

Should we hire all 4 as Marines? I'm not sure if marines cost more to hire than regular sailors, or if they are harder to find. Baltimus makes it a certainty we can hire enough crew to fill our empty slots, but what kind of crew may be hazier. If I had my druthers I would hire a Grael sailor as a stevedore (no more worries about transferring cargo!), which would also give us a good fighter and harpooner in case we meet with something large and hungry.

If marines are about the same cost as a sailor, and have the same skill in boating, there's no reason to not hire them. Presuming we find a grael to hire on as a stevedore, we have three crew slots left. Perhaps we can find a half-ugak looking for work...after fighting Red Men in the Savage Lands I have great respect for their hand to hand abilities, and one would make a fine boarding repellant. As for the rest, I'd suggest leaning towards Masaquani from the old Ograpog nation...that way they would be likely to share our minor goal of bringing down the Keiran Emperor (should this come out in the course of things). Although, if by some bizarre chance of fate we have the opportunity to hire an Atani who knows how to sail, I say we take it. I still feel that a flyer could give us certain advantages in some situations. However, I doubt we'd chance upon one.

Now, on to Goals. What are we trying to do? Stop the flooding is an obvious one. All the money and trade goods in the world won't matter when the whole world is under water (CLEARLY the Kehana are in on this with the Sea Hags...they are the only race besides the Kraken who have nothing to fear from a drowned world, and the Kraken have proven they are against the Hags). Delphino and I would like to defeat the Hags, ultimately. To this end, I think we may need to go back to the Savage Lands. If it is true that the Hags are witches who use the same dark magic as the Red Men, we may be able to learn a weakness or counter to them from the likes of the shaman we killed.

Which leads to Methods. How do we do this? An expedition to the savage lands will be very dangerous, and will require a large, well-armed, and well-provisioned force more than likely. So we need lots of money and a bigger ship. Which I hope is what we are trying to do right now. Trading and privateering are excellent ways to achieve what we want...we can build up cash, reputations, and buy or commandeer a much bigger boat eventually (well, perhaps we will have to do that in steps). Also, a larger and sturdier boat is apparently needed to navigate the Teeth if we are going to go find this Tressa the Red. So I think we have made a good start of things.

Here's my outline, feel free to add, subtract, or append:

1) Trade up to a bigger boat as soon as possible.
2) Build up cash reserves, trading and privateering as we travel in pursuit of any secondary missions we may take on.
3) Build up contacts in various ports and help the rebels in Kiera, which will hopefully give us extra resources and even a recruitment pool later on.
4) Trade up to a bigger boat again/Find this Tressa if we determine (s)he can help us stop the flooding.
5) Pursue L'Ollonaise? If the sword really can help...
6) BIGGER BOAT, MORE CREW/HIRELINGS: Become a force to be reckoned with.
7) Go to the Savage Lands, capture some shamen, and learn their secrets.
8) Inform the remaining Kraken, and kick the Sea Hags lousy asses!
9) Round up all the Kehana and stake them down in the hot sun for a few weeks.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Things uncovered

Edmund looked at Delphino with an exasperated sigh. "Not again, he thought." The Keiran Empire was certainly not a gracious host. The city watch mocked them as they dropped in coins for the "gate tax." Still, they'd manage to uncover some interesting facts, despite the less than warm reception. Delphino chewed on a tentacle nervously, wishing that he was free to show these barbarians the full might of a Kraken mage, but the mission was too important to risk for personal satisfaction...

Things uncovered by Delphino and Edmund while researching in the Empire:

  • The horrible beings known as Octopons that both Edmund and Delphino encountered in the Flotsam Sea appear in no records before the deluge-they aren't mentioned in Kraken tales either.
  • Tressa the Red is a famed arch-mage. She retired to The Teeth shortly after the hags came, in order to research the situation on Caribdus. The Teeth can only be reached by navigating The Gullet, a treacherous waterway leading to the teeth. Tales indicate a ship that can withstand punishment and a skilled captain and crew are needed to survive it. A little magic wouldn't hurt either.
  • The magical fortress Tressa took over has 4 tests that need to be passed to gain entrance. Each test is associated with 1 of the 4 elements. No further information on the tests could be found.
  • King Amemnus possessed a sword rumored to be useful against the Hags. It was recovered by an expedition funded by Byron Baltimus, but the fleet that carried it was attacked and sacked by the famous pirate L'Ollonaise. It is presumed in his possession.
If you have any other specific questions, post them, and I'll let you know if you found anything about them.

Your friendly GM.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Fireborn-A Shawnlike game?

Shawn: I've been reading about this new RPG from Fantasy Flight games. They have a copy out at Hobby Corner. I think you should check it out. It looked really cool to me, but not my style of game to run. While reading it, it struck me as the kind of game that you would do well. It's a modern magic type game with a neat twist. You should stop by there and check it out if you get some free time.

Obviously, there's no rush for you to pick up a new game to run, but still. :)

Friday, September 24, 2004

Boze's Tale

Feyd was a young man when he married, but she was his
childhood sweetheart, so it came as no surprise to
anyone in his tribe when the took the oath to each
other under the statue of Porpoise, the village patron
spirit. He was a playful, mischievous spirit but also
a protective and moral spirit, who Feyd always tried
to honor by never taking himself or anything else too
seriously. Feyd was himself a happy, friendly person
who could always be counted on to help a neighbor
repair his hut after a storm or hunt a little extra
for a sick relative.
Mara, his wife, bore him twin sons not so long after
they were married. Their whole lives were ahead of
them. Until the rains came.
When the village began to flood, the people fled to
higher ground, taking what they could. Feyd, true to
his nature, went back several times to help those who
were older or less able to make the trek as easily. He
and his younger brother Daan carried their parent'’s
and sister's belongings, forgoing most of their own.
Soon, their village was joined by people of many
other villages who also sought out the high ground. At
first it was almost like a big festival or reunion,
everyone pitching in to help. They figured eventually,
the rain would stop and the flood would recede, and
they could return to their own villages.
But it didn'’t. When the entire population was
standing in water up to their knees, it became clear
that they were doomed if they stayed where they were.
The village elders conferred, and the choice was made:
swim for it. Of course, the only place they had a
chance in heck of making it was the Kehana flumes, but
what choice was there? Surely their old enemy would
take pity on them. Porpoise would protect them.
Of course, the old and infirm did not make the whole
trip, for the most part. Feyd's parents eventually
tired and drowned. Feyd wept, but he had to get his
wife and children to safety. Daan helped their
sisters along while Feyd carried one son, Val, and
Mara the other, Joon. Their youth and drive allowed
them to make it.
When they reached the Kehana, the fish men were
delighted to see them. The Doreen were too exhausted
to recognize the danger, the greedy glint in their
eyes, as more and more of them came to "“greet" the
refugees. Then, when the Doreen were outnumbered and
surrounded, the Kehana fell upon them.
Feyd watched his brother torn apart as Daan tried to
defend his sisters from the onslaught. He killed tow
of them before he and the girls were slaughtered. Feyd
went berserk and cut his way through the Kehana, madly
trying to find a way out for his family. Bur Mara and
Joon were seized, and Feyd froze. He watched as his
beloved son, Joon was devoured alive by the evil fish
men. Mara threw herself at the laughing Kehana and
fell from slashing, clawed hands.
Feyd wanted to go mad, but he had to get his
remaining son out of there. So he swan like he never
had before, using everything he had left in him. A few
Kehana pursued, but turned back when they decided
easier prey was still available. Feyd got away.
But he and Val were still far from anything
resembling safety. In fact, Feyd would have drowned
from exhaustion if they hadn't come upon a mass of
flotsam in the sea. He found a large section of
planking and placed his son on it, and clung to it for
Days went by. He felt he was dying. He was too tired
and wounded to do anything but hold on. He became
delirious, and so it's very hard for him to pinpoint
the moment his son died. He didn't realize it until
after he was picked from the water and nursed back to
health. When they told him, he went silent for 3 days.
Then he decided before he died, he would take every
possible Kehana he could find to grave as well. He
vowed they would all pay for what they'’d done.
The vessel that picked him up was a small Kraken
scout piloted by Delphino. The Kraken told him about
what happened, and about he Sea Hags responsible.
Grateful for the rescue, he decided that the Sea Hags
were equal criminals in the destruction of his race;
Feyd pledged himself to Delphino's service and swore
he would follow him on his quest to find a way to
defeat the Hags.
In the years since, they have explored many rumors,
sunken ruins, dead ends, and even a few leads. The
stories of the Maiden seem promising, so they have
tried to get any info they can about her from
Visitors. Delphino'’s magic has made it very easy for
them to gain passage on any ships to get wherever they
feel they should go next, and Feyd'’s (though he never
uses his name) cold, bitter, jaded nature has made him
a natural for enforcing crew discipline, as he never
gets close enough to anyone to play favorites.
Although Kehana crew are singled out for punishment
more often and more brutally than any other
crewmen...and oddly, a few have disappeared on the

Thursday, September 23, 2004

A night in the the Kieran Empire

So, just in case we didn't get the fear of the Empire put into us, poor Edward had to pay for his impudence of walking around the city with a book. Although they normally ignore Kraken, they were deciding that it was a good idea to poke at me too.
I don't feel very bad for having run the arms to the rebels anymore. I don't think I did last time, but now I really don't.

I also think that we could have been in bigger trouble if we had not been careful about the Sloop this evening.... could have been worse.

I also have to be more careful with my magic points. Perhaps only charging the shot of the cannons when we are more sure to hit.


Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Welcome and comments

First of all, Welcome to anyone who decided to join up.

As the GM I had a couple of hopes for the first "adventure" you guys went on. (talking about after you left the Savage Land). I was first hoping to let you set your "moral compass." I wanted it to be done quickly, under the theory that a hasty decision with out much time to think would give your gut reaction. You could have just taken your money and sailed away if you wanted to. I was pleased that you decided to help the rebels, even though it might not be in your (short-term) interest. Secondly, I wanted to give you a respect for the Keiran armed forces. They were heavily armed and well trained and they gave you a run for your money as I thought they would. Thankfully, you had perserverence and teamwork which allowed you to overcome them.