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Archive for August, 2009

Just as a disclaimer, these posts are pretty much verbatim from the IRC log.  If they don’t read like excellent fiction that’s because playing a role-playing game doesn’t actually produce a novel.  It might produce interesting characters and a great plot but just reading how all of it comes together is not likely to read like a good book.

The most I’ve done is clean up the extraneous crap IRC logs have thrown in them and I’ve substituted character names for he/she/it when necessary to make it easy to tell who is doing what or saying what.

The nice thing about this is that you can tell pretty much exactly what the game looked like at the session.  If reading the Actual Play post gets you interested or excited about the game, then you’d probably enjoy participating.  Not only that, we’d love to have you on board.  You can find me, Andrew, on the MagicStar IRC network on the #indierpgs channel lots of times during the week.  I’m also easily contacted via email, if you’d like to talk about joining us.

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Though midday and mid-summer, the sun just doesn’t seem to be a hot as it was in Greatharbor.  The caravan drovers traveling with Ravnus seem to think the day quite warm, as they labor on down the King’s Road towards Fallcrest.  Ianto, the caravan master, is spurring his horse towards Ravnus and that rarely is a good omen.

Ravnus quickly moves behind a cart. He assumes that the man is barreling somewhere and he is in the way. If he wants to run him down, then he can still do it, but will have to ram the cart in the process as well. After all, how well does Ravnus know these people?

Ianto pulls his horse up next to Ravnus.  His face is sweaty and pinched as he leans his paunch forward ungainly in his saddle. One of the wagon drivers rolls his eyes as Ianto nearly fell just bring his animal to a stop.

“Adept Ravnus…”  Ianto says, trying to right himself.

Ravnus nods, patiently awaiting whatever Ianto has to tell.

Ianto finally gets himself back solidly on his horse.  “Yes… um…  We’ve spotted a horse and what looks to be a wounded man, off the road up ahead.”  He clears his throat.  “Well… these are dangerous parts and I thought you might be willing to… um… you know… conjure whether it’s safe to check it out.  Don’t want no trouble.”

Ravnus passes his hand over his face, pressing it about as he muses the suggestion.

“Perhaps,” he says. “But I do not guarantee the results, when pressed for time.”  He reaches into the cart for one of his packs, pulls the top open, and begins rummaging about inside of it.

Ianto fiddles with his reins and looks unhappy with that announcement but then he generally seems unhappy.  It might be his normal expression.

After a few moments Ravnus brings out a smaller bag, emptying the contents – several semi-precious stones – into his hand. He begins to chant. Then he puts his other hand over the stones, and begins to roll them about in his palms.

“You’re going to do it right here on the horse?” Ianto blurts out before forcing his mouth closed.

After a few moments Ravnus ceases chanting and rolling the stones, “And why not? You know better how to do this than I?” He looks down at the stones.

“There is danger ahead, but nothing that we should be immediately concerned with,” he relates. “Let’s proceed, and keep our wits about us.”

“What kind of danger?”  Ianto asks.  He doesn’t look unconcerned.  “Maybe we should just leave well enough alone.  It don’t concern us anyway.  I don’t want no trouble.”

Ravnus shakes his head as he puts his stones away. “Then you stay here,” he tells them. “I’ll go on ahead and see what is the matter myself.”

Ravnus then heads off in the indicated direction.

Ianto blinks and once again nearly unseats himself.  “Wait…  I’ll go to.  I was just being cautious, is all.”  He spurs his horse and manages to catch up with Ravnus.

Ravnus says nothing, not wanting to upset the man more than he already is.

A few minutes ahead of the slow moving caravan, a small stand of trees is growing a bit off to the south of the road.  A horse is calmly grazing nearby and a slumped figure can be seen sitting with his back to the tree.  A green cloak obscures the man’s features.  The two mercenaries that Ianto had hired to protect the caravan stand off to the side of the road watching but not going any closer.

Ravnus proceeds up to the man. “Hail,” he says. “Are you awake?”

The man doesn’t move.  Upon getting closer Ravnus can see the broken haft of an arrow protruding from the man’s side.

“We already tried calling.”  Ianto explained.

Ravnus shoots a glance back at Ianto, and then gets down by the man. Shaking his shoulder, he says, “Are you allright?” He pushes the man’s hood back.

The man groans slightly when he is shaken.  Pushing the hood back reveals a pale, sweaty face with several days growth of beard.  Black hair tumbles out of the hood in an unruly mess.

Ianto points to the man’s chest.  “He’s a Rider.” He slides like a meal sack from his horse, who seems grateful to be relieved of the weight, and approaches.

“Get him some water; he lives yet,” says Ravnus trying to ensure that the man doesn’t fall over and make things worse.

“Yeah… yeah….  There might be a reward.  Good thinking.”  Ianto says.  He turns and hurries towards the caravan that is passing the site slowly along the road.

The mercenaries seem to have decided that there is no threat from this incident and have ridden on ahead of the caravan again.

“Do you have a physic amongst you? My arts will probably not be helpful.” Even as he says this, Ravnus notes the arrow, and wonders if he should pull it out. Perhaps a divination to determine if he should… Pondering the question he says, “Who are you, friend?”

Moments later Ianto returns with his wife, Jui, who is even more portly than her husband.  The woman waddles up quickly looking like an overgrown duck and waves Ravnus out of the way.  “Move, boy.  Unless you can magic up some healing.”  She unslings a bag from her shoulder and begins rummaging around in it.

The injured man groans but seems unresponsive.

Ianto starts walking towards the Rider’s horse, who notes his approach and begins pointedly moving away.

“Here, horsey, horsey, horsey….”  Ianto chants.  “Come here you darned beast.”

Ravnus, knowing how to help those with technical knowledge gets out of the way, but stands ready to help if Jui needs aid. Meanwhile he watches the man’s horse with interest. Why is the animal so skittish? he thinks.

“This is lodged in a rib.”  Jui says.  “I can’t remove it.  We’ll have to try to get him to Fallcrest.  They’ve better healers there.”

The horse continues to stay just out of Ianto’s reach as the man stumbles around trying to catch its reins which are dragging the ground.  Ravnus realizes that the animal doesn’t seem skittish, just determined not to let Ianto near it.

Turning back to the man at Jui’s comment, Ravnus’ researcher mentality leaps to the forefront of his mind, momentarily forgetting about the horse. He scans the man’s accouterments, looking for mystical significance in any of them.

A silver medalion hanging from a chain around the man’s neck draws Ravnus’s eye.  The sparkle of a jewel glints in the sunlight.  Studying the medalion, Ravnus sees that it is silver with a bas relief horse carved from turquoise embedded in the center.  Turquoise he knew was the gemstone of friendship.

“Who are these riders?” asks Ravnus. “I’ve heard tell of them. But not much. Do they have enemies?”  As he helps move the man to a horse, he considers the fletching on the arrow.

Then something occurs to him.  Once the man has been taken care of momentarily, he heads towards the horse. Interested to see how it reacts to his presence, as opposed to Ianto’s.

“They patrol the roads here in the Vale.”  Jui explains while lending a broad shoulder to help move the lanky man.  “They’re also messengers and such.”

As Ravnus approaches the horse, he says over his shoulder, “Yes, yes, but patrols in whose name?”

Ianto has given up and sits panting on the ground while the horse once again chews on some summer grass.  When Ravnus begins to approach the beast twitches its ears and paws the ground with its fore hoof.  But it doesn’t move immediately away.

Ravnus, moving slowly, tries to take the horse’s reigns.

Jui looks up from her patient.  “I don’t rightly know.  I think all the towns and settlements support them a bit.”

“So… they’re mercenaries…” says Ravnus, stating a fact that he believes incorrect, in order to be enlightened by the correction that he expects.

“Not really.” Jui says.  “They’re more like concerned citizens who don’t hold with sitting around and letting bandits and the like run around outside the law’s grasp, so they got together and did something about it.  The Warden, Hammerfast and the Baron all support them cause it’s smart and cheaper than raising more soldiers on their own.”

The horse rears and then trots a short distance away before stopping and watching Ravnus again.

Ravnus nods at the response, both Jui’s and the horses. He returns to the man, and takes his medallion.  Returning with it to the horse, he shows it to the horse, and again tries to approach.

The horse canters up to Ravnus and nudges him with is nose.

“Here, we can use his horse,” says Ravnus. “A member of such an honorable organization needs to be taken care of well, no?”

“Darned horse.” Ianto complains.

Jui shakes her head. “Can’t put him on a horse.  He’ll have to go in a wagon.”

Some less self-absorbed than Ianto may hear a sardonic note in Ravnus’ description of the rider. He doesn’t quite believe entirely that the riders are as altruistic as they’ve been made out to be here. Helping Jui again, “You’re the expert, madame.”

Ianto lurches to his feet.  “The horse got anything on it that might say what happened to the Rider there?”

Once the rider is safe in the wagon, Ravnus checks the horse over, looking for any clue. As he does so, he says, “The fletching on the arrow… from the looks of it, can you tell who around here may have made it?”

The horse is saddled light but has a couple of sturdy, over-sized saddlebags.  There is also and case with a short bow and a bundle of arrows on the side.

“Ain’t no fletchings.”  Jui says.  She climbs into a wagon with the man.  “The arrow’s been broke off halfway down the shaft…  ack!  Leggo!”  The injured man suddenly sits up and grips the woman as he flails around in a panic.

Ianto shouts and trundles towards his wife.

Ravnus leaves the horse for a moment, and also comes to the man’s side. “Who shot you, man? If you can understand me… who shot you?”

The man’s eyes focus for a moment as Ravnus leans over him.  With strong, weathered hands he grabs Ravnus’s shirt and jerks him forward.  “They’re gathering by the hundreds.  The Harken is full of them.  Tell the Warden!”  Then he sighs and slumps back down into unconsciousness again.

Ravnus quickly grabs his bag again, opens it, and rummages around, looking for a powder. Finding it, he rubs it on his hand, and approaches the injured rider. “He may not last out the day,” Ravnus says by way of explanation. “We have to find out what he saw.”

He places his hands over the man’s eyes, and begins to hum.

Ravnus’s visions is suddenly overlaid with a scene of a forest in the morning mists.  His sight scans the scenery as if someone else is controlling his head.  His vision is bobbing up and down as if he is riding swiftly on a horse through the large boles.  Breaking into a clear place he is confronted by a group of a dozen or so short, powerfully built humanoid creatures.  Each is armed and armored with crude, yet lethal looking weaponry.  The largest of the creatures turns towards him and gives a silent shout.  His vision swerves and begins to move quickly away from the creatures and back into the forest.  The trees blur by.  Suddenly he finds himself running through an even larger group of the creatures that are moving perpendicular to his on path of travel.  His sight ducks and bobs around the group.  It looks down sharply at one point and notes a black and red fletched arrow protuding from his side.

Then the mists are gone and sunlight bores into Ravnus’s eyes.

Ravnus shakes his head trying to reorient. Thinking quickly, however, he says, “Goblins, I think. Many of them. Are they known to be about in these parts?”

Ianto nods. “Um… yeah.  There are sometimes some that raid out of the Harken Forest.  Bunch of small tribes, I think.”

“As this man said, I don’t think this is a small tribe,” Ravnus replies. “More likea small army.”

“You men get on out of here.” Jui butts in.  “You’re disturbing my work.  Go on!”

Ravnus backs off, and cleans up his hands. He repacks, and then looks up at the position of the sun. “We should be off quickly, and travel fast. We can make Fallcrest yet today, yes?”

“Yeah…”  Ianto starts to say.

Jui interrupts.  “We will if you get your great bulk back on your horse!”  She points where Ianto’s horse has wandered off a good distance while the man wasn’t paying attention.

“Darned horse.” Ianto grumbles.


Ravnus checked off Apprentice and Master Aspects.
Ravnus has 3 FATE points.

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Ravnus Rai-Moorhouse

Aspects

  • Servant Class of Greatharbor
  • Haunted by Father
  • Order of the Amethyst Star
  • Inroads with House Azaer
  • Moonsong Temple Associate
  • Refined Comforts
  • Amulet of the Night Sky
  • Apprentice
  • Journeyman
  • Master
  • Arcane Researcher
  • Field Arcane Researcher

Skills:

  • Divination OOOO (Superb)
  • Languages  OOO (Great)
  • Abjuration OOO (Great)
  • Read/Write OO (Good)
  • Lore OO (Good)
  • Research OO (Good)
  • Charm O (Fair)
  • Observation O (Fair)
  • Awareness O (Fair)
  • Teaching O (Fair)

Ravnus is played by Mike Holmes.

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This order was created by Mike Holmes.

The Order of the Amethyst Star has been headquartered in Great-harbor since it’s inception more than five centuries ago.  The order has seen the ancient city be absorbed by the Nerath Empire, and then become a city-state once again after the dissolution of the empire and has gone through significant changes since it’s inception.

Back in that time, a band of elves came to Greatharbor to spread the word of their goddess of the moon. The humans, fearful of elven domination, were reluctant to adopt this new religion.  Eventually the elves began to leave after a time, disappointed.  Then came a human prophet named Alucara, who taught the people of Greatharbor that the moon is it’s own goddess, and that the elves’ portrayal of her as elven was simply their own personification of the fair deity of the night sky and that one had only to look up at night to see her actual form.  Thus some few of the humans of Greatharbor and other regions around were enjoined to become part of the worship of the moon.

Alucara later was blinded by an attack by a dragon that burned out his eyes. From that point he found that he could still reach out to the moon, seeing it in his mind, if not with his eyes.  Seeing through the illusions of the night, to the truth hidden behind it, he could discern things of the world that were reflected in the movements of the objects of the sky.

He wrote of how anyone with enough willpower could close their eyes, and see as he saw, using techniques to move the mind from the body into the night sky.  These techniques were recorded into the Book of Revelations of the Bright Night.  The humans who worship this moon deity no longer use her elven name, but instead think of only her songs.  Hence their temples are called Moonsong Temples.

The Order of the Amethyst Star began when certain studious men reading the Book of Revelations of the Night Sky decided that these methods should be taught to those with the talent enough to be able to open their minds. The founder learned that by donning certain gems, cut certain ways, and mounted right, and worn properly amplified the abilty to do these things.

The primary talisman of the order is the Amythest ring that they all carry

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Riders of the Vale

The Riders are a small group of bards, rangers and sorcerers who act as messengers, scouts and protectors of the people of the Nentir Vale.  They are not controlled or funded by any political body within the Vale.  The Riders support themselves financially through fees charged for message delivery, scouting services and adventuring.

Harkenwold Rangers

Harkenwold is protected by a group of Rangers that roam the land around the villages and farmsteads of the area.  There are 5 rangers currently ranging in experience.  All of them are considered vassals of Baron Stockmer; although, he makes very little requirements of them except in times of war.

House Azaer

A small, well-off trading company, House Azaer is owned by the tieflings of the Azaer family. They import goods (including arms and armor) from Hammerfast, Harkenwold, and the lands to the south, and organize caravans up to Winterhaven several times a year. House Azaer is an excellent place to purchase nearly any mundane equipment , although its prices are a little on the high side.

Amara Azaer is in charge of the house business in Fallcrest, and spends her time on the premises. Though young, the tiefling is quite sharp and doesn’t miss an opportunity for profit in running the Azaer business.

Coming Soon…

  • House Markelhay
  • House Naerumar
  • House Stockmer
  • Dwarves of Hammerfast
  • Ugasthan Tribes
  • Swiftwater Clan
  • Halfmoon Clan

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d6 FATE

The dice bot on IRC that we’re using doen’t have FATE dice. *sniffle* So, instead of having to translate d6’s into FATE dice I’m going to go with one the alternate die methods in the FATE rules. We’re going to be using pools of d6’s.  Here’s the rules.


Six-sided dice(d6) have a lot of advantages for gaming. They’re easy to read,  easy to count, stackable and, most importantly, when there’s a need, they can be rummaged from a couple of old board games. They also can be used very easily – there’s no need to explain what these funny plastic shapes are, or what them mean. Most people are already pretty comfortable with the idea of rolling a few dice and adding them together.

When playing Fate with D6 rules, a lot of elements remain the same. The ladder is still in place, but it now has new values assigned to it. Rather than rolling four Fudge dice and adding the value of the adjective, just roll the number of six-sided dice associated with the adjective.

8d       Legendary
7d       Epic
6d       Superb
5d       Great
4d       Good
3d       Fair
2d       Average
1d       Mediocre
2*       Poor
1*       Terrible
0**      Abysmal

* – Poor and terrible scores are the same as if the player had rolled 1 die and it had come up showing a 1 or a 2. However, the die is considered to be “on the table”, so aspects can be used to change the die.

** – An abysmal score means there is no chance of success at all. The GM may allow the player to spend an aspect to put a die on the table (which will be treated as if it had rolled a 1), which then allows it to be treated as a
terrible skill (above).

Static Difficulties

Difficulties are measured in steps of 5, with the goal being to roll a total that matches or exceeds the difficulty target number (TN).

1 – Poor difficulty
3 – Mediocre tasks
7 – Average tasks
10 – Fair Tasks
14 – Good Tasks
17 – Great Tasks
21 – Superb Tasks
24 – Epic Tasks
28 – Legendary Tasks

Dynamic Tasks

The difficulty of a dynamic task will almost always be the total of the opponents die roll.

Modifiers

It’s easy to add bonuses and penalties to d6 rolls, and there are numerous ways to do it. For Fate, bonuses and penalties are applied as “Bonus Dice” and “Penalty Dice”; for instance, a “+1” modifier becomes one bonus die, while a “-1” modifier becomes one penalty die. Bonus dice are added to the total number of dice rolled, but do not change the number of dice counted. This means that if a player is rolling 3 dice, and gets two bonus dice, they would roll 5 dice, but only count the best 3. Penalty dice work the same way, except the player must count the worst dice. Bonus dice and penalty dice cancel out, so a player should never be rolling both at once.

Modifiers can be applied for a number of reasons. Low quality tools or a lack of tools might add a penalty die (or dice) while having high quality tools may grant a bonus. Similarly, doing a task quickly might cause a penalty, while taking the time to be careful might grant a bonus. Distractions might be penalties, while extra resources on hand may provide bonuses.

Aspects

Aspects are maybe used in Fated6 to do one of 2 things:

1. Turn a single d6 into a 5

or

2. Reroll all dice

It’s important to note that all dice are considered to be on the table for purposes of bonuses and penalties. Thus, if a character with an Average skill rolls with a penalty die rolls 2,2,4, he can check off an aspect to turn the 2 into a 5 to make the result 2,4,5, but he will still need to chose the two worst dice (the 2 and 4). Mind you, in this case, invoking the aspect has changed a result of 4 into a 6, enough to make a difference in many circumstances.

Fate Points

In addition to the dramatic uses of fate points, the mechanical benefit is to add 1 more die to a roll. While auctions are an option, no more than 1 fate die can apply to any single roll.

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