Friday, April 30, 2021

To the Moon! [Finale]

The following is from GameDoc's session summary posted in our private social media.  Traveller has been super fun, and I have to say that Dr. Mondocane (if that is his real name!) has been one of my favorite characters of all time to play.  This was a fun adventure with a great group and I (for one) am looking forward to his future Travels through space...

The crew descend to the lowest level of the facility and discover the command center, manned by a new version of the cyber-organic Essersy creatures, these with low-grade telekinetic abilities. 

Mongoose Traveller on Fantasy Grounds

Some alien by Mongoose Publishing

Sally May is seriously injured in the firefight, but the crew emerges victorious. Klaes is able to restore the manual flight controls for the Esseray transport so that the human prisoners can reruns to Tinath. The other sabotage the drone fighter craft being assembled at the facility before boarding the Kingfisher and departing the moon.

Mongoose Traveller on Fantasy Grounds - What a MedKit do?

Sunday, April 25, 2021

FOMO Has Got to Go

To get lots of likes, there is but one possibility...
Inspirobot will analyze and select the best market strategy for your collapsing integrity.

So, just a while after I spoke about Blackstone Fortress and the market strategy, Games Workshop seems to have taken everything I said to heart. 

Warhammer Quest: Cursed City was open for pre-order April 3 of this year.  As of April 28, it is completely gone and is never coming back.  It's not on the GW webstore, and all records of it ever existing have been expunged.

Recently it's been determined that Cursed City will not ever get a reprint.  It wasn't ever mentioned that this was a limited release, and essentially if you don't have one you won't get one unless you pay scalper prices.  Based on what we've come to expect from Warhammer Quest games, this is definitely a step up on the FOMO game as GW has shown us the don't care what anyone thinks about anything they do, or don't do, or how they do (or don't) do it.

No reprint?  What?  Why would they develop an entirely new game system only to be done after one print run?  Again, this is a Warhammer Quest game and it came with certain expectations, such as support from the parent company.  Expansions and you know - remaining in print long enough for people to buy it. 

The pre-order itself was sold out in around 2 hours, so what bean-counter at GW was responsible for the decision to halt reprint manufacturing ALTOGETHER?  Not a delay, simply no reprints.  Cursed City is gone forever.

Is GW's capital down?  Are there manufacturing issues?  They haven't said anything about it, so one is left to assume that this is all on purpose and GW will be catering to the FOMO market from here on out.  I don't blame them really.  

With 3d printing getting better and better, as a company they are going to have to start offering something other than hastily written and janky rules and overpriced plastic.  The answer, they seem to believe, is making the plastic even more limited.  Probably so they can all scalp on the secondary market.

The FOMO Market Creation was something I only thought existed when I spoke about GW's practices, but it appears that it is not only very real, but that's what all of these will be targeted at from now on.  It's official.  Games Workshop games are only for scalpers and collector fanboys only.

...but mostly scalpers.

Fanboys will gawk at limited edition releases more and more as GW attempts to regain relevance.  It's hard to watch, but instead of leading the pack of game companies as the renowned rules and model makers they were, GW has decided to become the ultra niche-market of the already niche-market.

I wasn't going to buy Cursed City anyway.

I hate anything Age of Sigmar related with an irrationality that could only be born of the oldest neckbeardia.  It's just not gonna happen.  Call me when the Old World drops.  Maybe.  Honestly we don't NEED GW anymore and other gamers are starting to figure that out, mostly due to their questionable practices and policies.  Plus there's just better stuff out there.

...but I'm gonna scalp the hell out of the next boxed set, baby.  Pre-order 10 of the next set and wait 3 weeks.  Then double the price and stick it on Ebay.  After 6 months and every 6 months thereafter, add the boxed set's price.  Once it's gone too big and you need to lose the stock, break the remaining ones open and sell the components at a huge markup.

You can't lose with that strategy now that GW is a non-trusted entity.  Invest!  Buy!  Sell!


Friday, April 23, 2021

Non-Lethal Combat in AD&D 2e

Iron Seer Dungeons & Dragons
The following is a secondary primer to 2nd Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons combat designed to give an overview and basic functions of non-lethal combat.

AD&D 2e Basics and Combat Overview

One thing to remember going forward is that attacking an armed opponent while unarmed is excessively dangerous.  Doing so will allow the armed opponent to strike first with his weapon regardless of the initiative roll.  If that wasn't enough, in addition the defender will be granted a +4 to attack and damage rolls.

Note that this is not an 'attack of opportunity' as it is in later editions.  Rather, it simply allows the defender with a weapon to strike the unarmed attacker first, and with a hefty bonus.  It is not a 'free' attack.

Non-Lethal Combat

Punching, Wrestling and Overbearing are the three main ways of engaging in unarmed non-lethal combat. Weapons can also be used, as we will see.  Each of these methods has a different system of resolution.  

  1. A normal attack roll is made vs. the defenders normal armor class.
  2. The score on the attack roll, if it is successful, is compared to the Punching chart to determine the type of attack that landed.
  3. The amount of damage is given, along with a percentage to 'knock-out'.
  4. Damage is treated differently.  Record punching damage separately.
  5. Barehanded punches cause 1 or 2 points of damage, with brass knuckles or metal gauntlets causing 1d3.
  6. All punching damage is subject to Strength bonuses.
  7. When a creature reaches 0 hp, they fall unconcious.  Only 25% of punching damage is permanent, actual damage.  The remaining 75% is temporary and heals 1 turn after the combat is finished.
  8. It is best to have the lowest successful score you can get.  If you hit AC 6 on a 12, for example, you will have better results on the 'Punching' chart with more damage and higher K.O. chances with a 12.

Wrestling is handled very similar to Punching, with the following changes.
  1. A normal attack roll is made vs. the defenders normal armor class.
  2. The score on the attack roll, if it is successful, is compared to the Wrestling chart to determine the type of hold you manage to land on your opponent.
  3. A hold is broken by a throw or gouge result on the Wrestling chart, the assistance of another person or the successful use of a weapon.
  4. Armed combatants involved in Wrestling are limited to using Small size weapons after the first round due to arm bars and head locks.
  5. Damage is treated differently.  Record wrestling damage separately.
  6. All Wrestling moves inflict 1 point of damage plus Strength modifier.  Certain moves can be maintained from round to round until broken.
  7. Holds maintained for consecutive rounds do one extra point of damage per round they are maintained.  For example, an arm lock maintained for 3 rounds would do a total of 6 damage (1 + 2 + 3) at base (plus Strength bonus each round).
  8. When a creature reaches 0 hp, they fall unconcious.  Only 25% of wrestling damage is permanent, actual damage.  The remaining 75% is temporary and heals 1 turn after the combat is finished.
  9. It is best to have the lowest successful score you can get.  If you hit AC 5 on a 7, for example, you will have better results on the 'Wrestling' chart with more damage and higher K.O. chances with a 7.

Overbearing is where you dogpile something.
  1. A normal attack roll is made.
  2. For each category of size difference, the attack roll is modified by +4 (if the attacker is larger) or -4 (if the defender is larger).
  3. For every leg beyond the second the defender possesses, the attacker suffers -2 to their attack roll.
  4. Multiple attackers make 1 attack roll, with a +1 for each attacker beyond the first.
  5. If the roll is successful, the target is pulled down.  
  6. The pin can be maintained from round to round with successful overbear attacks.  In this case, the "prone" modifiers to combat are ignored for the dogpile.
Using Weapons in Non-Lethal Attacks

For when you have no other option or only barely care about how it turns out.
  1. Can only be attempted with weapons with which a non-lethal beatdown could be effected.  No warhammers, maces or arrows.
  2. Damage is treated differently.  Record non-lethal weapon damage separately.
  3. When a creature reaches 0 hp, they fall unconcious.  Only 50% of non-lethal weapon damage is permanent, actual damage.  The remaining 50% is temporary and heals 1 turn after the combat is finished.
Additional Notes on Unarmed Combat
  1. A creature's natural weapons are always 'usable'.
  2. It is possible to specialize in Punching or Wrestling.  Any character of any class can do so.
  3. Single-Class Fighters can eventually specialize in both, but you may only start play with one specialization or the other.
  4. A Weapon Proficiency slot can be spent by any player character to learn Martial Arts.
  5. Martial Arts is functionally identical to punching but with higher damage and K.O. percentages.
  6. Specializations in Unarmed techniques can be continued and improved upon.
  7. It is possible to perform the following maneuvers (covered in the Overview):
    • Called Shot
    • Disarm
    • Grab
    • Hold Attack
    • Parry
    • Pin
    • Pull / Trip
    • Sap
Additional considerations may come into play due to whatever reasons.  For bookkeeping purposes, simply note the amount of damage done by these attacks and figure it out at the end of the combat - there's no reason to break each attack into the temporary / permanent categories.  Worry about it once the opponent is at 0 and then figure out if they are still alive.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Pining for Treasure

The following is from GameDoc's personal session log from our private social media group.  You can listen to him recount it himself here on the Arcane Alienist!

The Mythic World of Urd
** The Mythic World of Urd Campaign **

While prepping for their adventure to the pine forest, Harald strikes up a conversation with the displaced foresters and learns that the goblins seem to have descended throug the forest from the north. Their numbers are unknown because they came in the night when the humans couldn’t see anything. Eager for any help, they provide Harald with directions to their camp.

Celestina also eavesdrops in on the conversations of the foresters over breakfast and learns they’ve appealed to the castellan for aid, but that they are competing with a group of dwarves who want help securing their mine.

While gathering flowers, Gormer is approached by one of his fellow villagers from √únmann who explains that the rest of the group set up their own camp nearby because when they arrived, Urgash was not permitted into the Canopies due to being an orc. Gormer sends word for Urgash to meet them outside the Canopies and join the treasure hunt.

The party sets out at last, guided by Jessup, the odd fellow who first approached Dolly about helping find the treasure. Along the way he explains that there is an old tower in the pine forest where the treasure is supposed to lay. No one that’s gone after it has returned, and the lizardfolk of the surrounding fens refuse to go into the forest.

Pining for Treasure 1

When they arrive, they discover most of the trees are covered in webs. Several skeletons have been webbed to rocks and trees. Roderick pokes at a skeleton with his sword and it falls apart, spilling forth a swarm of spiders. Another nearby skeleton animated and lunges at the party. Urgash shoots it with an arrow and it also fast apart and released a swarm of spiders. As the party is overrun by hundreds of spiders, most are bitten. Harald lights a torch and is able to disperse the swarms with fire.

Pining for Treasure 2

The party approached the tower, carefully avoiding the other web encased skeletons they find along the way. As they near the tower, the clerics are hit with a feeling that something unholy is about. The tower is covered in webbing whose strands are far to thick for normal spiders. 

Khaine scales the side of the tower to reach the rooftop while the others cautiously enter through the door. The first floor is empty. Ascending the stairs, they discover a pair of giant spiders with glowing eyes and profane symbols on their heads. 

Pining for Treasure 3

On the roof Khaine discovers the site of an unholy ritual with Chaos runes written in blood. He destroys the runes. Menawhile, inside the tower, Celestina managed to put the spiders to sleep with a spell and the others quickly kill them as the evil symbols fade from their heads. 

The party locates a cache of coins, jems, and jewelry in the tower and Urgash is able to harvest the venom glands from one of the spiders. 

Pining for Treasure 4

The party heads back to the castle to cash in their loot and buy additional gear. Urgash is admitted to the castle after the others vouch for him.  Celestine notes that one of the corner turrets has the markings of a wizard’s tower. A guard confirms for her that it is the home of Ovilair, a reclusive wizard who often advised the castellan. She knocks on the door but no answer is given.

At the inn, Dolly meets a pair of fellow dwarves who further explanation their predicament. They are of the Irongrit clan. A week or so hence, their sulfur mine was attacked by bugbears and the dwarves were driven out. Their thane, Hanksite Irogrit bravely covered the escape of his clan and is presumed to have been killed. They are getting nowhere with the castellan in terms of help and offer a reward if the part can reclaim their mine for them.

The party decides to first investigate the foresters’ camp and try to learn more about the goblins in the woods, and then move on to the dwarven mine. Given that goblins and bugbears are related, there is likely a connection.

Pining for Treasure 5

Friday, April 2, 2021

Traveller: To the Moon! [Parts 1 & 2]

The following is from GameDoc's session notes in our private social media group.

Mongoose Traveller on Fantasy Grounds
** Welcome, Traveller... Campaign Page **

After reviving Khaine from his state of suspended animation, the crew travels to the topmost level of the complex, encountering another handful of troxbolg guards. There, they also find more human prisoners. This group appears weary and seems to have endured more physical abuse than the others. 

Traveller:  Sally May goes down...

Among them are Sir Aaran Berani and his daughter Emma, scientist in the employ of Baroness Edda who were taken form the alien ruins on Tinath. Sir Aaran explains that all the prisoners are abductees. The troxbolgs prevent them from escaping and put them to work assembling machine parts. But otherwise ignore them if they are docile abs compliant.

Traveller:  Hangar Level 4
"Too bad we can't fly that one...and ours is outside in the vacuum."

There is a gang of thugs among the prisoners that have become collaborators in exchange for better treatment. The prisoners on this level are those that are unruly, uncooperative, and that manage to resist the drugs that are added to their food to make them compliant.

Traveller:  Moon Base Prisoners
"I guess we should like...round them up?"

The level below houses the compliant prisoners and below that, the workshops. The hangar level (ground level) is storage. Below that are the quarters of the troxbolgs and their human collaborators. The lowest level is off limits to humans. 

Traveller:  Elevator Dash
It turns out that Dr. Mondocane needs to take 3 Tee-Up actions in order to offset his melee penalty.

The crew proceeds methodically to each subsequent level, killing the troxbolgs and freeing the remaining prisoners. Khaine is able to use a psionic suggestion to cause the ringleader of the collaborators to have his gang switch side and help fight the alien cyborgs. 

Traveller:  Corridor Strike
"This is why God invented grenades."

One level remains - the lowest level and command center for the facility. The crew is warned that there are no humans there, and that the troxbolgs that guard it are armed with guns. Rumors are there is another variant of cyber-organic beings there as well.

Traveller:  Tight Spot!
"We're in a tight spot!"