Friday, December 30, 2011

The Furthermore Adventures of Jherrrii the Great, Nay Good

On my first visit, I almost got my head popped off by the bouncer-troll Big Burp when I initially refused to give up my weapons. I ordered and drank from a 5GP bottle of wine. I then turned down an offer to join some cult, survived a bar fight, and escaped with a magical eye patch. Including saving rolls, I picked up 616 AP and netted a few silver pieces. The gold I found was negated by the bottle of wine I purchased.

Magic Leather Eyepatch: if worn during the day, can be taken off at night granting 'Catseyes'
13 SP

AP: 616

I figured I would head back there one more time...

This time, I knew not to mess with 'Big Burp', I happily surrendered my weapons and saddled up to the bar and spent 5gp on a bottle of wine. I get bumped into by an Urukin, who threatens me - I pull my dagger and quickly gut him. A quick search nets a parchment rolled up and tied with a red ribbon. I quickly leave the bar to look at the parchment in private - this has the map to the second part of the adventure.

The map leads to a rugged cliff path and up to a cave mouth. Right away, I know that I am in trouble if I stick around - some large monster is casting its shadow and flexing its muscles - I am able to rush past it into a side passage, but I know this is something I will not be wanting to fight. I soon run into a large group of screaming cannibals and fight my way through them with no real problem. They leave behind a golden statue of a hideous serpent worth 450 gp which I snatch up. I soon come upon a pool that seems to be a way out, which I am glad to take, swimming out and away from this death trap.

Golden Statue (450 GP)
(-5 GP spent)

AP: 432

Still feeling kind of lucky, I decided to visit the 'Dewdrop Inn'... (to be continued)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

T&T: Stay Alive!...Research

I have been immersing myself with all things zombie lately, trying to play out and plot some ideas I have for a survival horror game using the T&T rules as my system.

Others have frequently mentioned the 'Lovecraft Variant' from a long out of print issue of Sorcerer's Apprentice #7. I have located a copy of it online here if you are interested in purchasing it. From what I have found, it really is not going to give me what I am personally looking for.

Mercenaries, Spies, and Private Eyes (MSPE) has also been mentioned as a source for real world T&T rules...I am just about ready to pull the trigger ordering directly from the Flying Buffalo site. I really just want to see how some modern weapons have been handled in T&T rules.

I have been a ardent fan of Robert Kirkman's wonderful comic book series The Walking Dead. The TV series has been a very good adaptation, albeit a bit slow going in its first two seasons. The one thing that Kirkman does a wonderful job of expressing is that the 'Walking Dead' are not the zombies that surround and constantly threaten the characters, but the living.

I also found an enjoyable read via my Kindle: Joseph Talluto's Zombie Series: White Flag of the Dead. He also expands a bit on the notion that mankind becomes the bigger threat to what is left of civilization after such a catastrophic event. While the writing style is not what you would call prose, it is an entertaining read full of many good ideas that would work well within a RPG campaign. I have read some reviews of the 3rd and 4th books in this series, and I am frankly not too keen on where the story is going to justify spending $6 per volume.

I will be starting a new series via my kindle - the first two chapters are free as a Kindle download in the form of Jailbreak by Steven Booth and Harry Shannon.

A few months back, I had started, but never finished, Max Brooks' World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. Like both the Walking Dead and White Flag of the Dead, Z delivers with some good tales of survival in a zombie world. The problem with it though is that it becomes very repetitive - getting pretty much the same story from different characters in different parts of the world.

Right now, I am going to attempt to stay awake to watch the new movie on Chiller based on the Steve Niles comic book, "Remains". I never read the comic book, but have really enjoyed his other work including 'Thirty Days of Night' and one of my all time favorite comic book characters, Cal MacDonald (Criminal Macabre).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Converting to Tunnels & Trolls - Part 4 - Combat (Critical Hits?)

Combat in T&T seems to be more of a narrative than a blow by blow record like in AD&D. This made me start thinking, as I sometimes do, about one possible situation that you would tend to not have in T&T; the against all odds, call it a lucky shot, or call it divine intervention blow, that defeats the mightier enemy.
  • David slew Goliath with a single stone.
  • Indiana Jones dropped that sword guy with a well-placed shot.
  • Elric defeated Karandenus with a single swing of his sword.
OK. Elric was my PC that was very much a complete and utter rip-off of the Moorcock's 'Elric of Melnibone'. We played in a very cool campaign where the DM (One of the best - Chris S) used a lot of PC's from his other games as his NPC's. The DM was also very into city adventures which rubbed off on me; a lot of warring guilds, corrupt guards, and dueling wizards.

Karandenus was the bad-ass guy that just sat in the street wearing his oriental straw hat (coolie hat). I believe he was a master for one of the assassins guilds in the city. At any rate, for whatever reason, Elric decided it was time he took this guy down and challenged him to a fight.

I rolled a natural 20, a critical hit. We used a modified 'Critical Hits' chart that appeared in Dragon Magazine #39, reprinted in Best of Dragon #5.

There was about a 6-7% chance that on a Critical Hit, your opponent was going to be dead (decap, throat slit, heart pierce, and so forth). I made a roll to take off his head, and then ran for my life as his buddies and friends started chasing me through the city. It is another story what happened next to that character.

By my math, I had a 1 in 20 chance to roll the Critical Hit, and another 1 in 18 chance to roll the death dice. This gave me about a 1 in 360 chance to pull off an amazing attack.

Karandenus was a very high level NPC. In T&T terms, I would estimate that he was a character with at least 50+ more adds than my PC's T&T equivalent. If I decided to pull the same nonsense in T&T, there would be no question of the aftermath of the battle. It would be very cool to hear from the T&T GM just how the better skilled fighter in some gruesome way dispatched my moronic arse. Regardless, it seems there is no chance at all in T&T combat rules that I could even crack a 50+ combat add difference.

The one place where I can see in the rules where this could play out is the 'Surprise Attack' phase of T&T combat, where the defender does not get to roll for defense. But I guess this would be more of a 'Cold Cock' attack, not so much of a face off, I challenge you to a duel type of event.

So in T&T, if you are knowingly thinking of messing with something that by far outclasses you, you best not do it. The law of averages and the reality of the situation should be enough to steer you away.

Unless I am missing something.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Review - The Tavern by the Sea

I picked up the Trollhalla Press version of 'Tavern by the Sea' from Ken St Andre at Origins in 2011 at the Flying Buffalo booth (28 pages - 8.5'' x 11''). Written by Ken St. Andre, Illustrations by David Ullery, and a credit to Andy Holmes (imagined by).

The UK edition, published by Tavernmaster Games, is labeled as a Special Edition that I picked up a few months later via Lulu (40 pages - 6'' x 8''). Written by Ken St. Andre and Andy Holmes, with illustrations by Jeff Freels.

First things first, I love the smaller size book. I know that most of the Trollhalla Press books that I have purchased are 11x17 printed pages folded in half and stapled, which for obvious reasons will make in-house or small press printing a bit more cost effective. However, the cover of the larger volume is just another standard sheet of paper, while the Lulu printed UK edition feels more like a book with a heavier cover stock and a binding.

The main difference between the two books is that in the Trollhalla Press edition, the solo adventure is followed by a GM version of the adventure - each of the main story lines that can be explored in the solo are detailed individually for a larger party. In the UK Tavernmaster Games edition, I am presuming that Andy Holmes wrote the follow-up solo that appears that will spin out of one of the outcomes of the main solo. So for the solo gamer out there, the UK Edition gives you two adventures, while the US Edition gives you the single adventure.

The artwork is also different, handled each by two different illustrators. Since both artists were able to effectively capture different scenes and characters from the book, it would be nice to see a volume where both artists' work is featured, but I am sure that makes things a bit more complicated for the small press publisher. Regardless, I do prefer Jeff Freels' style and the layout of the UK Edition. The US Edition does seem to use the same images over and over - most of the artwork is re-used 2 or 3 times throughout the volume on different pages and different sizes.

As for the adventure itself, I think it is well written and appealing, but unfortunately most stories tend to quickly end with a tavern brawl, which quickly makes replay very limiting. I have played it twice now, and in both cases I have pretty much had one encounter with a tavern customer, followed by a resolution that is pretty much unavoidable, ending with the aforementioned brawl. Also, with the frequency of the tavern brawl being so high, it would have been nice to see a bit more difference in possible endings, but there seems to be only three: death, knocked out and waking up in an unfortunate situation, or the last one standing with the same loot each time.

I would like to find a way to the second solo adventure by way of playing the adventure legally so to speak, but I don't know if that will be possible. It seems that once you have embarked on a certain route, there is no turning back to the bar to get another drink or going to another table to start up another conversation. It will only take you a few minutes to finish a trip to the 'Tavern by the Sea', but it will seemingly take 10-15 different trips to see everything it has to offer, and more than likely you will get into 10 tavern brawls in the process.

Delving Dwarf Rating: 3.5 (out of 5) Mugs of Ale!

12/12/11 Edit: Almost every time you are called upon to make a saving roll in this adventure, it is against Luck. There has to be other things that a writer can use for SR's in various situations other than Luck.

Friday, December 2, 2011

T&T: Stay Alive!

So this is what I am playing around with in my head for a possible 'BASH CON' Event...

T&T Horror: "Apocalypse Kinda Now"
You are having a good old time at the BASH Con convention, but something does not seem to be right at the end of Saturday Night. The security guard is trying to get your group out the door, but others seem to be trying to get back in. Will you survive the night?

Has anyone tried to use T&T statistics to create a character that would mimic a real person/real world stats?

I know 'Outbreak Undead' did this...but I want it to be a bit more simple and straightforward.