AAR: In which AsenRG prepares his next session

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AsenRG

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So...I think I've mentioned it that my GM wants to run a longer campaign. But she decided she hasn't been running games for a few years now, so she's a bit rusty.
Thus, before embarking on a longer campaign, she's planning to run a few adventures.
And, inspired by Ravenswing's blog, she asked me about something with GURPS. And I asked Google...:grin:

That's how I found The Lost Jewels of Eire on 1shotadventures which we just finished.
Long story short, it was lots of fun. The GM's only objection was that the adventures seemed to assume that the players would rush head-first in all situations. Possibly because it's meant to be a pulp adventure, Indiana Jones-style?
Putting it mildly, that's not my group's style when playing pulp. Of course, to me Arsen Lupin is pulp, and he's not one that goes without intelligence...in any sense of the word.

Bottom line, the adventure was still fun. We punched Nazis and criminals, shot Nazis and criminals, and saved all the artefacts&all the people that we could save:shade:!
So I count this as a success, even though the GM isn't quite happy with her performance. But hey, she needs to get back in the groove, right?
 
After some hesitation (and sleep), I decided to add a review of the adventure. Keep in mind, I haven't read it as a GM.

Also, spoilers.

As I hinted, the adventure is kinda based on the PCs acting in a way the author considers "genre-appropriate". This falls over when our ideas of the genre differ on important behavioural points.
The biggest "plot hole" IMO is that at the start, where you get to meet a crime boss in former Yugoslavia. No way around that. And I mean "no way", it's part of the intro:grin:!
The intro is, BTW, over 10 pages long, according to our GM. That was a "WTF" moment in itself, given that this is over one quarter of the adventure. And it's literally a dungeoncrawl...like, we were in the secret dungeon of a castle!

So you meet the Yugoslavian mafia...but even if you swipe the artefact he was after, as we did, he never appears again...
And it keeps going like this. We were obviously expected to go everywhere without gathering intelligence.
You can guess how well that worked with my group when I'm a player. Hint: not at all.
And, according to our GM, that meant she had to improvise almost all the time.

After leaving Yugoslavia, we get a royal invitation - not the royalty you think of, probably - to a party in Vienna. So we go there.
We arrive the night before. According to the GM, we're expected to just go to sleep...
In Vienna? With half the group being Americans (and one being a very rich one)? We definitely didn't think so!
Cue us visiting the opera. I think he bought the tickets on the black market or something.
It went peacefully, though, because the GM didn't expect it (I wonder why). But IMO, that peace was a missed opportunity...though me and my PC enjoyed it back then!

After that the party was typical 1937 pulp party. Nazi functionaries got doped and documents were copied. A crazed maniac was shot while trying to steal a jewel.
What, no guns allowed? Oh, we always, always have the chicks in the group carrying them stitched under their crinolines! Yes, and the sword of the Chinese chick, too!

The jewel lead us to the next target, though honestly, giving us some more reasons to go there would have been a good idea...I mean, if we didn't know the GM had prepared for this adventure, we'd have gone to the USA. We had secured an artefact already, we suspected the Yugoslavian mafia would turn up at any moment, and there might have been a ghost chasing us!
So what did we do? Why, we go to Ireland!
But then we're expected to land our plane next to a particular castle...
Me, playing the pilot: "Nope. I'm not having this. I mean, I can land anywhere. But what if we have to leave as fast as we arrived? There might be no suitable place to take flight!"
So we arrived by car from the nearest suitable place. And then we went to the nearby village...
GM: "Give me a few minutes. There's nothing about the village, obviously you weren't expected to go there!"
Us: "Just so you know, we're going to be asking the locals about anyone else who might have arrived. And buying them drinks, too. Oh, and the French chick who doesn't want to repeat herself is going to hire us a lodging for tonight, becuase we should let the ladies freshen up after the trip, before going to a castle!"

Of course, there's carnage in the castle, because Nazis obviously have a "shoot first" policy.
And then we find a survivor. OK, that was in-genre...but we're expected to not let the girl come with us (there's bigger penalties to the Navigation roll to find a secret island, if she's not there).
Not let her? We asked her to bring us to the island before she suggested it:shade:! The thought to let her face the mutilated bodies of her former friends and her mentor didn't quite occur to us...

And then, shootout on the island. They're outgunning us nearly 2:1. Should be a challenge, right?
Except we're at significant distance, there's thick fog, and this is GURPS: good luck getting a shot, suckers!
OTOH, we have sneaking specialists...and we have ghosts on our side, too! Ghost aren't impeded by the fog.
It was more of a carnage, honestly!
The main villain tries to run, too. Of course! They all do!
We let him.
Then we go to pick him from where their boat has been. What, did he think we haven't sunk their boat before going after them?
We had. Well, we had actually made a small hole and pushed it off the island. But it counts, right?

Oh, and there was a Nazi U-boat guided by radio towards where the PCs would clash with the main villain. It was obviously expected to cause us issues...
Except we never met it. Why? Because we'd broken the antenna of the radio that was supposed to guide it, of course:grin:!

Bottom line: we ended up with two historical artefact for our employer, and my PC had found a huge diamond.
That's the PC who has "in debt" on his character sheet. Well, I can honestly say that it's unlikely I'd ever play him again...but at least I left him with no debt:tongue:!

Outside of the spoiler, I'm just going to say that I've read another adventure from the same site as well (Thrusher Manor, I might try to run it, and see what happens). It's much better, and most of my complaints about "plot holes" don't apply there.
But then Thrusher Manor is also a sandbox-style adventure. This one...wasn't:devil:.
So I'm starting to suspect that this might be a trend with adventures from the 1shotadventures site. The other adventure that sounded the most interesting was also noted as "sandbox" in its description...
Might it be that the author is better at writing sandboxes?
Yes, I know, that's wild conjecture. But it's not quite impossible, is it?
 
And I'm now running Thrusher's Manor (CoC). We stopped mid-adventure, but even with me botching part of the social element, it's orders of magnitude better than the Lost Jewels of Eire!
 
And I'm now running Thrusher's Manor (CoC). We stopped mid-adventure, but even with me botching part of the social element, it's orders of magnitude better than the Lost Jewels of Eire!
I also managed to finish this adventure.
I don't have major complaints. It was all well-explained, and if I needed something, it was probably noted already.
The one weakness: it could have used some sort of system for which NPC would be found where in the course of the adventure. "A day in the life of Anne de Mackau", and likewise for all the NPCs, would have been helpful. Or some kind of random table. Or whatever. Or even just a reminder "hey, we only detail rooms content, up to you which NPCs are there at the time!"
Yep, I screwed up this and there wasn't anyone for a couple hours...:grin:
Then the PCs started meeting people much more regularly.

My players, being the esteemed connoisseuses of all things RPG of course, had much more to complain about.

Why isn't there a more climactic final battle?
Because I'm not going to play out the demon trying to extricate himself from the four people who were holding him, in combat time...for a whole damn hour of IC time. That would be like 3 hours of OOC time, and nothing but lucky rolls can win, since you brought him down already and are now sitting on his hands and legs.

How exactly can you submit a fallen angel who has almost defeated Samael, the Angel of Death? He should be undefeatable!
His skill is 70 in the write-up. It's not me who made that up, so shut up! What do you want his stats to be? "Kills 1d6 ivestigators per round as soon s he pulls a sword out"? Obviously he's a sword specialist, so let's pretend there is a difference and he just knows nothing about wrestling.

If he's got to be present for the duration of the exorcism, what prevents him from just leaving the body he has taken over?
He can't. Once the ritual starts, he's got to stay there for the full hour. Says so right in the text of the adventure, so it must be true:tongue:!
 
Hmm, just a teaser: I'm planning to run yet another (maybe two) of the adventures on the same site. Then I'm going to send the link to the author.
He'd asked about honest opinions, least I can do is give him mine:thumbsup:!
 
An update to that, because I can no longer edit things here: I'm going to run either Queen of the Red City, Lands of the Dark Wicche, or both. I've read QotRC, and am now reading LotDW.
Meanwhile, the other GM is reading the Book of Quests:thumbsup:. I can bet on myself being done before she is, though, and when I do, she always lets me win:devil:!
 
We finally finished Queen of the Red City. The comments ranged from "that's like mindless look-in-every-room D&D dungeon, except in GURPS" to amazed silence (not in a good way).
However, I think that at the end of the day, it delivered an evening of entertainment, so I'm actually grateful to the author - I kinda needed that!
It's definitely not what my players are looking for in an adventure, but such is life:shade:!

For next time, I've got to pick between Godsfall, Valley of the Lost, Magician's House, and actually biting the bullet and running either Pirates of Drinax, Mythras' Book of Quests, or Monster Island.
Or maybe... Terror's Network:devil:? Decisions, decisions:grin:!
 
Well, technically I didn't play Secrets of the Ancients. I ran it, instead...but IMO, that's no reason to start a new thread.
So: I ran Secrets of the Ancients (for CT/LBB) using the Mongoose Traveller 2e ruleset.
It was quite funny. My group managed to NOT do what the adventure designer expected...again!

They dealt with finding the gas giant where the likely location of the Ancient Site is. In fact, they're spurred by the fact that one of the PCs is a former Navy Admiral (9A9EDF...no, no mistakes in the letters - she just hasn't inherited yet) who ended up with 3 MCr in debt due to...starting anagathics at 22.
Actually, I wasn't surprised at the player's decision to do that, I know her...so I was just making plans on using the debt:tongue:! In fact, I replaced the titular character - the one who gets the inheritance - with her (she's working - temporarily - on a former Scout Ship/now Free Trader and hoping to strike it rich.
I mean, she's in debt to her gf's father, but he only shows tolerance up to 2,5 MCr...:devil:

So, they got the inheritance, dealt with the thugs and agents, and sent the new tenants a coupon for a vacation elsewhere on Regina from the name of an enterprise to get them out of the habitation (total cost: 500Cr). Then they entered and used the ship's laser cutter.

...So far, so good!

And then they started planning for the expedition on gas giant.
Q.: Oh Referee, it's a place where we need antigrav to even move, special protective suits to survive the damn athmosphere, and special equipment to survive the athmospheric pressure. Given that we've got a lot of technical experience, why don't we construct an armoured robo-drone with antigrav and send it to investigate instead of us?
Me:...No reason at all, of course! Where do we get the parts?
PCs: OK, we'll sell the statuette to finance the purchase!
Me: Still not enough.
PCs: I've got an F in Social and am former Navy. Can't we arrange a suitable grav machine to be written off?
Me:...no reason why you couldn't! Roll me Social...

From there, the adventure clashed. The automated Ancient ship reacts to the appearance of new humans/droyne...not the appearance of a 5m diameter sphere with manipulators. Thus, it never got inside the ship.
And even if they did...they can't put on it a statuette that they've sold. So the ship never flies off to see Grandfather!

So they returned and offered the location to the Imperium, offering to waive the recompense. "We just want to be free of debt...personal, for the ship and legal" (they have gathered another former planetary administrator...now administrative officer).
Imperium officials: "That's insane".
Administrative official: "There's working technology there."
IO.: "I think something can be arranged!"
The Imperium can announce a planet to be an Interdicted Zone due to Ancient site, but would hesitate to give an amnesty and a couple MCr? Less than the price of a new air/raft?
Yeah, don't make me laugh.
Bottomline: my characters got away from debt in one adventure, and the Imperium has access to TL-35 machines which it could try to replicate...maybe in a couple decades.
Now they just need money to finance their lifestyles! (Social F/E and social C/D in the same group, with no chances for more inheritances). So there can easily be more adventures!

Oh, and they introduced a new rule for the ship. It's called Naked Friday... because that's my group:devil:!
 
OK, I guess I should just raise this thread from the dead.

So, I ran a one-shot using a H+I scenario. A friend who played mentioned afterwards that "it was obvious you're not used to using adventures".
I just shrugged and admitted that it's true. He knows it's true.
But now I'm going to run another tomorrow... which is going to use a different system, namely Heaven's Shadow d6, and a scenario for a third system - that one being Les Croniques de l'Etrange (with an accent aigu on the capital E). There's basically 0% odds of my players having seen that one (due to language barrier), so I don't worry on that account.
But I'd like to be able to run it better. So, guys, any advice? The scenario makes the players Chinese-style exorcists/martial artists in modern-day HK (I plan to turn that into 2018 HK...pre-COVID, pre-NS law). They're hired to deal with a married man having a fully legal affair...with the ghost of his previous wife.
Things go downhill from there, unless PCs interfere...:shade:


So far, my one idea for making it smoother is "making a random table for encounters that are related to the adventure and can be rolled in the city", and possibly another "random table for running into typical city problems". Maybe I should take a page from OSR games and inflict them on my players on a roll of 5 or 6 (5 being "the adventure-related content happens", while 6 being "the setting-based random stuff happens").

I'm going to share the tables here as I'm making them. But other ideas?


I'm also running the same adventure for my daughter, because she did turn into a crime story lover by herself, while I expected her to go for fantasy...but she's 10 yo, so I'm not needing anything to smooth over my GMing there - the adventure is enough of a challenge for her!
I mean, she already got sidetracked by assuming that an NPC is lying while another is telling the truth. Trouble is, neither of them knew the truth in the first place:grin:!
 
Fortune cookies table:

1. When you can't reach your goal, wait for it to come to you.
2. The noble man does not anger.
3. Violence is always an option, but there's always another way, too.
4. Life is like breathing - inhale, pause, exhale, pause.
5. The king (wan) is far, heavens are high, the fist is always near.
6. When you're going through Hell, don't tarry!
7. Never wrestle with a strong man nor bring a rich man to court.
8. When dealing with barbarians, normal manners don't apply.


City/Supernaturaly encounters table:
1. Cops chasing a criminal.
2. Young master doing his hobby.
3. Another fat si at work, this one is 1d4:
1. exorcising a mo demon employing martial arts on a 6 the demon is European vampire, 2. investigating the flow of FS, 3. negotiating with a spider spirit 4. helping a gwai to move to the other world.
4. A gang/triad member selling drugs, 1-3 light ones 4 hard stuff 5 synth 6 hard and he's pushing them.
5. A modern-minded woman is being nervous, looking around and at the sky (she is being chased by a revenant and wants help, but considers fat si charlatans).
6. At night: gwai street hooker is working the streets. Day: Fox spirit selling dumplings/noodles.
7. Meet the demon-monk.
8. Street protest against an unpopular decision of the judiciary.
9. On the roofs, there's a kung-fu match. Roll for the two contestants: 1. Boxing/KB 2 MT 3 TKD 4 Hung gar 5 Choy Lay Fut 6 Wing Chun 7 JKD 8 MMA 9 Silat, 10: roll againL 1-5 Judo, 6 wrestling 7 Shuai Chiao/military combatives 8 BJJ 9 "Street wrestling" 10 Sambo
10. Thieves at work: 1-2 pickpockets 3-5 snatch and run types 6 robbers lead by a mo demon.
11. Unhappy guy looking for company, might become a victim.
12. Predatory "weird creature" out to hunt.
 
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After the session concluded (~8 hours of play, which we only stopped to take late lunch), and as I just said in the thread on OSR Gamemastering...

I'd argue that it was an old-school game, despite the fact that the only dungeon-like place was the metro (without any dangers inside), the PCs didn't throw a single rolled* punch, let alone anything more substantial**, and there wasn't a single character death:shock:!

*I.e. beating someone who doesn't fight back doesn't count. And those were body punches meant to speed up the conversation:grin:!

**And despite the fact that they had from 6 dice to 7d+2 in their attack skills, in a world where most people have like 2 dice in their attack and defense pools:shade:.

Also, social actions were mostly unrolled, too, if it matters. But one of the players, not sure which one, told me literally "you're getting us into heavy social combat".
Which told me that none of them had any idea what social combat might look like in my games, BTW. I was playing with the kiddie gloves, actually:tongue:!
Why? Well, we ended up with three players. One of them was playing since 2005 or so, one has like 2-3 months of RPG playing, the third one was her friend and that was her first session since some point circa the beginning of the century (when she had played Endyval, a Bulgarian fantasy RPG game with three editions)!

I don't know what are the odds of one of you ever meeting that scenario (the one in the free intro/kit de decouverte of Chroniques de l'Etrange), so just in case, I'm going to spoilertag it.
One thing of note, though...between the player who speaks fluent Chinese, the other who speaks (and teaches) Japanese, I didn't feel like I have to do a lot of setting exposition:heart:. At some point, they were negotiating for info on a person who has given a certain order and I used the female form of "the client" (or a similar word) in Bulgarian, speaking with a key NPC.
They: "so it's a woman".
Me, OOC, turning to the player who speaks Chinese: "Forgive me if I'm wrong, but the words aren't grammatically gendered in Chinese, right?"
Her: "No, they aren't".
Me, as the NPC again: "So, the client (using the grammatical male gender which is also used as "default" when the gender of the person in question is unclear or unimportant) did..."
And the play continued with zero remarks from anyone. Everybody understood that it was a slip that couldn't have happened in the language our characters were actually using.

Overall, I'm happy with this session. It was orders of magnitude better than the one last week, IMO! It helps that this was run using a non-linear adventure, though.
Linear adventures don't really click with me, I'd say.


The players were using the three PCs I posted today in the character creation thread, though. Well, technically, haven't posted the third one yet, but I shall. There's a reason why I made three feng shui specialists (not Feng Shui PCs, though:devil:).

What I can tell to everyone, given that it becomes clear at the intro of the adventure, is the following:
Your client is the second wife of a young IT guy. She suspects he's cheating on her with his previous wife...the one who died two years ago! But I mean, how do you say "revenant/ghost" in Chinese?
(Gwai in Cantonese, and Gui in Mandarin, for the record).
So your investigators are literally hired to take care of the matter. Via exorcism if necessary. The woman, Rose, is afraid (with good reason) that the ghost of her former best friend is absorbing her current husband's (Matt's) Yang qi and might end up killing him!
She had died of anaphylactic shock after consuming peanuts by mistake, BTW.
 
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And here is the part you shouldn't read if you might get to play it!
They did investigate well and thoroughly. Checked the father of the deceased and persuaded him to get them access to the crypt where her ashes are lying, got the wife/client to get them the keys from the villa where Matt's first wife, Leslie, died. Literally took them ~3 hours.
OK, there's no threat to edge them on in this scenario. Fair enough.
Then they went to check the villa in the fishing village, and found it's definitely become the abode of a gwei, by the simple expedient of finding the ghost herself!
So they spoke with her, and she told them she's been murdered. Some thugs went in when she was getting her food - delivered by the usual guy from the restaurant - and threatened her with a gun. She ate it, hoping to get to her antihystamines before she'd die.
She was only half right, though, meaning she got halfway there...
She also believed it might have been done on order by Rose, as the thugs were literally there to make her eat it, knowing she's allergic. Her friends, of course, knew about her allergy.
Of course, she's wrong. It was done by Rose's mother without the NPC herself knowing. Why? Business. She wanted Matt, who was developing an app that might become in very high demand, to come to her and her husband's company, Wen Industries (no idea if it exists in reality, now that I think about this). So, when she noticed her own daughter likes Matt, she advised her to get close to him - without even mentioning getting intimate or anything like it - and arranged for Leslie to die. Her idea, which worked, was that Rose'd gladly help him to deal with the sorrow...
And then my players surprised me. Basically, two out of three refused to consider the ghost as a real person - they decided that she's being egoistic by not wanting to die and pass along...
Afterwards, they went to talk to Leslie's father. They even told him his daughter is a ghost today, and the poor guy got a heart attack (my dice said), which they helped him survive using a potion.
So they did talk to her, and follow the trail - the regular delivery guy told them* the names of two criminals whom he owed money and had threatened him, "but I didn't think they'd kill her" - and they went to follow them to an illegal gambling den.
There, they asked them to call their boss - and the dailo appeared with a big limousine, a fox spirit "arm candy/bodyguard", and two spiders hanging from his back window...spider spirits, maybe**?
Whatever. They tried to con him and failed miserably. OTOH, he sussed that their source of info on what has happened is one of the "weird creatures", so he asked them what is their angle in this story. They finally agreed to exchange one answer: who is their source, for "who ordered it".
He told them about the mom. And they told him they have a "ghost witness".
So after learning that they want to put the ghost to rest, he offered them to simply do exactly that. Oh yeah, and he offered them money! But above all, they did intend to make exactly what he wanted. So he just pushed them to do it a bit earlier, and not try to get justice - which is only possible via vengeance, anyway...
And they didn't feel like killing the mother. Cold-blooded and manipulative bitch that she is, she's still alive, and the ghost is already dead, they reasoned.
I didn't exactly agree, but...I'm a Referee, I can't tell them what is right or wrong, or what their PCs must do. I mean, if I did that, what do I need them for?
So long story short, they went back to the villa, set up wards to prevent Leslie from leaving, and exorcised her.
After which they collected payment from both Rose, their client, and Reginald, the dailo.

Now, I told them that some people are going to be unhappy - Leslie was working for a demon leading a criminal gang (she had been an accountant in life) - and he was going to want payback. But at the end, they decided to split their payments with him, so he would leave them alone. And it kinda worked***, which is what counts, right?

They only got an angry phone call from Leslie's father.
It turned out that Leslie's father had bought the villa - which Matt sold him once Leslie had disappeared - but his daughter was no longer there. His conclusion was "you're charlatans".
Matt and Rose got back together. Matt was already getting his app promoted by Wen industries and well, being the husband of the owners' only daughter has some perks. He is probably going to inherit the whole enterprise, app and everything...although his wife's parents are healthy enough, for now.

The police is going to re-open the file, however. They won't know why...but they might consider it unrelated. Yeah, right...
See, after they interrogated the delivery guy, they blamed him (for not calling the cops to save Leslie) and put him in the villa where the ghost was as well. Basically, the ghost persuaded him (with a not-so-big bribe and her legal consultation) to witness in return for protection and not being prosecuted.
However, the two killers aren't going to make it: one dies during the arrest, the other in prison (mysteriously...) and the cops are left with nothing.


After the session, the newest player said it didn't sit well with her...but she went along because "they're more experienced". Well, I think she had better ideas a lot of the time, including on dealing with the ghost - but I also have to be impartial.
So we adjourned on this. There might be a second session, though, who knows?

*They didn't beat him much. And it was only with fists. The telescopic baton remained as only a threat:shade:.
**Of course, and there was another fox spirit in fox form behind their seats. And the guy behind the wheel was a former soldier of fortune, now a crippled driver.
***For now. Thing is, the demon's son was in love with Leslie, and is out for revenge. He is planning to off his own dad because he wants to get her (that was by the scenario) and it is going to take time, but when it happens, the payment his dad took won't stop him...but that would only become known if there is another session.

Best part of it? I am also running this adventure for First Daughter. She's going the exact opposite way about resolving it.
And yes, she's soloing it. That's my daughter:grin:!
 
So, guys, does anyone have a suggestion for what to run next week? Bonus points if it's at least vaguely Japan-themed...but preferably is simply set in Japan, period.
Yes, I know I can run Kuro, what I mean is an adventure.
 
So I should be running Lot3CF this week. And in an example of Pub Threads Drifting, I'm now publishing what I'm going to do in the game without using an adventure.
It's still going to use one of those tables, though.

1. Maas, from the MAAS vlog channel. Ferretian, taking the name of his job as popular among his species. Wants to catch the fighters in some underhanded dealing so he could post a morality lesson on his vlog. Has contacts with Trainer (who can cut training times in time, but not XP cost).
2. Shark, the pro casino gambler. Banned from the casino. Knows a lot about the other fighters. Rich due to the accident that made him a PNG in the casinos in the Galaxy. Bored. Has contacts with The Professor.
3. Mobster looking to fix a fight for money.
4. Galactic Vlogger (think pushy youtuber) pretending an interest in the fights. He/she/it is selling a supplement on 1-4, a health regimen on 5, or a gadget on 6.
5. Competitor looking for info on other fighters. Would exchange. 1-5 on 1d8 his/her info is even correct.
6. Competitor winding up after a heavy sparring session, won on 1-5 in 1d8 (mood depends on this). Looking to get drunk and/or pick someone up.
7. Competitor looking for contact with vloggers. Wants exposure and a sweet deal after the tournament.
8. Competitor looking for/avoiding fan attention (1-4 looking for, 5-8 avoiding, 9-10 already got caught).
9. Ordinary fans asking for autographs. They have lots of advice, mostly contradictory and useless (correct and useful on 1 of 1d12).
10. Galactic Vlogger with an interest in the fights. Wants to push his/her/its channel. Would give you exposure if you help.
11. Fan of the fights. Prefers whichever team interacted last with him/her positively. Has info, willing to share...info is correct on 1-2 on 1d6.
12. Fan of the fights. Prefers one of the other teams. Might help the PCs if they're not seen as enemies of his favourites. Info correct on 1-5 on 1d8.


Races of extraterrestrials:
1. Human-looking, have a weird IYI symbol on their foreheads or an Yin-Yang symbol.
2. Avian-based (1-6 birdie, 7 bat, 8 fish-based).
3. Predator-based.
4. Omnivore-based.
5. Prey-based.
6. Reptile-based (1-5 reptile, 6-7 insect, 8 plant).

Flavour Table (food flavour):
1. Some kind of stuff that you'd expect to see in a toothpaste tube. It comes in a tube.
2. Soy-based "meat".
3. Soy-based "plants"
4. Soy-based "fruit"
5. Grasshoppers. 1-7 not alive (fried, steamed, boiled, baked in paper, baked in an oven, raw, pressure-cooked). 8. Roll again: on 1-7, they're baked in dough, like a pelmen. On another 8, they're alive.
6. Mice. 1-7 not alive (fried, steamed, boiled, baked in paper, baked in an oven, raw, pressure-cooked). 8. Roll again: on 1-7, they're baked in dough, like a pelmen. On another 8, they're alive.
7. Crickets.1-7 not alive (fried, steamed, boiled, baked in paper, baked in an oven, raw, pressure-cooked). 8. Roll again: on 1-7, they're baked in dough, like a pelmen. On another 8, they're alive.
8. Re-roll. If you get something else, use that. On another 8, it's actual food:shock:!
 
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Activity:
1.Investigation
2. Finding a place
3. Getting into a place
Five Elements Approach!
4. Do the thing.
Take a thing, place a thing, replace one thing with another, examine a thing, alter a thing, rescue, kidnap, deliver, drug, harm, kill, marry/fuck, treat, perform wedding...
5. Flight and pursuit
6. Fight
7. Gear up/Kit Out
8. Design, make & install.

Location:
1.Temple of the Spider-God.
2. Temple of Chthulhoid entity.
3. Clanhouse: V.high, High, Average, Low, V.Low, Illegal.
4. Kung-fu school.
5. Nobleman's Private House.
6. Guildhouse.



Tagging Agemegos Agemegos because of reasons.
 
Activity:
1.Investigation
2. Finding a place
3. Getting into a place
Five Elements Approach!
4. Do the thing.
Take a thing, place a thing, replace one thing with another, examine a thing, alter a thing, rescue, kidnap, deliver, drug, harm, kill, marry/fuck, treat, perform wedding...
5. Flight and pursuit
6. Fight
7. Gear up/Kit Out
8. Design, make & install.

Location:
1.Temple of the Spider-God.
2. Temple of Chthulhoid entity.
3. Clanhouse: V.high, High, Average, Low, V.Low, Illegal.
4. Kung-fu school.
5. Nobleman's Private House.
6. Guildhouse.



Tagging Agemegos Agemegos because of reasons.
And with that, I can now put a check next to Blade of the Iron Throne as well. In the "has been used to successfully introduce new players to RPGs" box. Luckily, our new player wants to play again...and she said she can almost see scenes from the session as stills from a movie, so I call that an unmitigated success:thumbsup:!

OK, most of the merit is to my sister, who brought a friend to the BotIT session I ran today (they've met in art school). I didn't even feel very inspired to run*, but everybody present liked it nonetheless, so who am I to argue:tongue:?

So Anton, Igor and Big Sister Rayna infiltrated the Temple of the Spider, saved some slaves, including Rayna's brother, killed some guys, and ran away on a ship which was, luckily, about to set sail...
Only PCs could come with the plan "intercept a temple slave going out on errands, offer her her freedom, lockpick the collar and replace her with a PC, who is going to map out the place so we can rob it later". It is remarkable that the plan was almost entirely created by the newest player in the bunch, too:angel:!

Note: BotIT is extremely lethal when you have a Conan-like character with great strength (Big Sister Rayna), and doubly so when that's combined with lack of armour. Slave overseers don't usually wear armour.

Also of note: The owners of bar Abordage make some great mead, which means that they have mead on tap:grin:! We should totally play again there...

*Protip: when drinking tea before a session, make sure it's not still scorching hot. And if you don't, make sure not to drink orange juice a couple hours later:shade:!
 
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BTW, TristramEvans TristramEvans could I ask you to change the name of the thread to "In which AsenRG prepares his next session"? I haven't used a ready-made adventure in the last couple of weeks...:thumbsup:

Also, I just posted this in the GPT thread.

"I think I managed to make ChatGPT lose the thread of the conversation while using it to generate me a prompt for tomorrow's session:grin:!

Human: Hi! Can you describe me six characters that would fit a Swords and Sorcery story?
AI: Sure! Here are six characters that could fit a Swords and Sorcery story:
1. The Wise Sage - A mysterious figure with a great deal of knowledge and insight.
2. The Rogue Thief - A cunning adventurer who steals from the rich to give to the poor.
3. The Vanquisher - An elite warrior who is known for their exceptional fighting skills.
4. The Mage - A powerful spellcaster with a wide variety of spells at their disposal.
5. The Nomad - A wanderer who travels from place to place seeking adventure.
6. The Dragon - A legendary creature of immense power, often seen as a powerful ally or foe.

Human: Are you familiar with the Blade of the Iron Throne RPG system? If yes, can you describe the above characters in it? AI: Yes, I am familiar with the Blade of the Iron Throne RPG system. Here are the descriptions for the characters I mentioned:
1. The Wise Sage - A wise mentor or teacher figure who may have access to ancient secrets and knowledge. 2. The Rogue Thief - A daring and resourceful character who is expert in the art of thievery. 3. The Vanquisher - A fierce fighter and master swordsman who can easily dispatch enemies with ease. 4. The Mage - An accomplished spellcaster who can wield powerful magic to their advantage. 5. The Nomad - A wandering adventurer who seeks excitement and discovery wherever they go. 6. The Dragon - A legendary creature of immense
Human: Another question. Can you tell me a story in the Swords and Sorcery genre featuring those six?
AI: Sure thing! Once upon a time, there lived a wise sage deep in the forest who knew countless secrets from the ancient world. They had a powerful apprentice known as the rogue thief, who used their skills to steal from the rich and help those in need. Together, the wise sage and the rogue thief set out on an epic quest for the fabled Blade of the Iron Throne. Along their journey, they encountered all kinds of dangerous adversaries, from fierce warriors to powerful wizards. Thankfully, they were aided by the vanquisher - an elite warrior with unmatched skill in combat - and the mage - a powerful spellcaster able to wield powerful magic. The nomad, a wanderer of the land, provided helpful guidance along the way.
Human: Along this journey, the Rogue Thief found herself to be involved with a powerful politician trying to keep his kingdom safe from a mighty outside empire. The Rogue Thief helped him to uncover some of the spies of said empire, not knowing her own father was among their ranks. Can you please tell me what happened then?
AI: The Rogue Thief was shocked to find out that her own father was a spy of the enemy empire. The Wise Sage, sensing the hesitation in the Rogue Thief's heart, advised her not to turn against her own family. So, instead of revealing the secret, she used her cunning and devious skills to turn the situation to her advantage. She forged an alliance between the powerful politician and her father, thus avoiding an all-out war between their two armies. In turn, she was rewarded with a chest full of gold coins and an honorary title from the politician.
Human: What spy mission did she have to perform in order to achieve that?
AI: In order to forge the alliance, the Rogue Thief had to undertake a dangerous spy mission. She had to sneak into the enemy empire, uncover the King's plan to invade the powerful politician's kingdom, and then report back to her father. With the information she gathered, the Rogue Thief was able to convince her father to abandon his plans of war and instead make an alliance with the politician. (The father wasn't meant to be the same as the emperor, and if he was, how could he be "among the ranks" of the empire's spies?-AsenRG) He agreed, and in return, her father received a chest of gold coins and an honorary title.
Human: Unrelated (yeah, right - note AsenRG, not included in the original prompt): can you give me 6 different strings of the letters A, B, C, D, E, F, with the following restrictions: The first letter should be A, B, or C; The second cannot be A or B; the third and the fourth cannot be F; the sixth letter cannot be A or B?
AI: Here are six different strings of letters A, B, C, D, E, F that meet the restrictions: 1. ABCDEE 2. ACCDEF 3. ACDEFF 4. BCDEFE 5. BCCDEE 6. BCDDEE
(And now it has generated the six characters mentioned above).
Conclusions: A conversation with a wild AsenRG AsenRG is a fierce training tool for the ability of an AI to follow convoluted hints:shade:!"
 
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Well...I'm going to base the next plot around characters. Mix it up with Into the Badlands and Gothic Brides, some wuxia tropes, some swashbuckling, some sorcery...

1. The wise master – a wise martial artist who has the uncanny ability to see through people and situations.
The wise master should totally be an expert in the inner energy arts.
2. The innocent student – someone eager to learn martial arts and imbue themselves with knowledge. Hmm...a Pa Kua practitioner? Or some other scholarly style?
3. The virtuous hero – noble by nature, they uphold justice and fight for the weak. Swordsman, spearman, qin gong expert, wrestler.
4. The anti-hero - Jack Bauer: Kung-fu edition...but ultimately still fights for good. Drunken Master.
5. The Chinese Hercules - basically a villain with great strength, who wants to conquer all. Moto: The Strong Must Eat. Power Puncher.
6. The lone wolf – a mysterious character who does not associate with people. Survivalist, apothecary, recluse. Combinations of techniques he learned from here and there.
7. The Trickster – using wit, guile, and cleverness to their opponents. Stealth and surprise attacks.
8. The Noble Barbarian - someone distinct enough, from a far away place, who does things differently. Maybe a Japanese or Korean? Obviously, foreign style... damn it, I should have used RBRB RPG. Ah well.
9. The Young Master/Mistress - someone who relies on servants to keep him from harm, and is prone to taking former opponents as servants. Might be a bit tough to pull off mechanically. Should be a chain user.

Together, they're part of an army of martial artists who allied to fight an evil force that threatened the land...since I announced Art of Wuxia, they're going to be chasing demons. A demonic cult from Jin/the Demon Lands, even.
 
In Wuxia City, there has been a demonic cult acting in secret.
There are also two powerful clans:
The House of Xun, led by a wealthy merchant (who is secretly a former caravan guard, a very respected Jianghu member before she retired...these days she is known as simply a beauty).
She used to be the Barbaric Rose of the Desert and many of her enemies died before being able to pronounce this name in full, however. She'd still be stronger than any first-level character but 1) she doesn't want to get involved again in Jianghu, 2) she is afraid this might all be a trap for her, 3) she is experiencing trouble with vision, which used to be her strongest asset and 4) she was never one for much investigation. Her partner used to do that, she was just the face other liked to talk to, as well as the killing hand. But she wasn't the strategist and investigator.

The Society of Valliant Warriors is led by a mysterious martial artist.
(He is secretly coming from the Ogre Gate setting by our own BedrockBrendan BedrockBrendan because crossovers for the win...and TSoVW is secretly lead by a Ghost Scholar, the spirit of an animated Calligraphy Brush. He learned martial arts after witnessing the death of a promising student. He can only materialize for 2 hours at morning and 2 at evening. And he uses both of them to learn and instruct martial arts, lately.
So he is a Kung-Fu Scholar, 581 years since he is part of the brush. Luckily, his style is only considered slightly archaic.
As a note, only a slight re-working might be enough to turn this into an Ogre Gate city. Possibly add it to the blog as a guest entry:shade:?

The two clans aren't cooperating, despite being both righteous, due to Chen Hao distrusting the barbaric woman, and suspecting her (unfoundedly) to be in league with northern invaders. It has happened during his over-500-years lifetime...
OTOH, she suspects him of stealing a martial arts manual that she intended to give as a gift to anyone who marries her daughter (from her former partner), if the one she picks happened to be a Wulin warrior. Those suspicions are almost baseless: Chen Hao has no idea who stole it. But it's his right-hand man, Wu Shi Dao. (His name is one he picked himself, it means Four Knives, as he is known for fighting with them, and usually kills any enemies deemed unworthy by himself or his master).
Too, each clan is wary of revealing too much about its strategies to the other and does not want to show weakness.

As for what the cult has been up to, they have been performing rituals to summon dark spirits and strange creatures, often in the dead of night. They are intent on increasing their power and influence in the city, starting by establishing control over taverns and whorehouses, and the ensuing stream of news.
Their activities have been the source of much fear and anxiety amongst its citizens.
It is believed that the cult has been responsible for several mysterious disappearances and deaths, with many of the victims being unsuspecting passersby without ties to the city.
However, they nabbed a former enemy of BTotD who had no idea about her being here. She used to respect him, however, and he respected her retirement, so she is Not Glad.
Additionally, they have been performing rituals in public spaces, which has caused a disruption to the order of the city and its inhabitants: back alleys, abandoned temples, parks, marketplaces and taverns, shrines, cemeteries.
Whorehouses are spared due to the high chance of a wondering xia being present. However, they're trying to get them to pay "protection money" and giving them information.
The rituals usually involve a group of people chanting and making offerings to the dark spirits, including sarifices and engaging in...ahem, questionable sexual practices with ghosts and demons (some of which might even be seen as pleasurable by some, except they lead to a large loss of Yang Qi, sometimes resulting in death). Too, candles, incense sticks and strange concoctions from materials such as animal bones and herbs are often used in the ritual. They also use symbols and spells to invoke the power that they seek.
Importantly, the reports are coming from some who have witnessed the cult's rituals, as well as from rumors that have spread throughout the city (based on the wounds of found bodies).
There are also two women who claim to have escaped from their clutches, though it is hard to verify their stories (and only one of them is true).
The House of Xun has been actively trying to combat the cult's activities and limit their influence in the city. They have been working closely with the city's authorities to investigate and apprehend the cult members. Alas, both see them as "strange criminal sect", not demon-worshippers.
Meanwhile, TSoVW has been using their martial arts to protect citizens from the cult's attacks and disrupt their rituals.

The cult has responded to the resistance of the two clans by attacking them directly, using violence and intimidation against members and people who work with the clans.
 
Well, the above session was a success. They didn't get to confront the cult, but they did capture and made one of its agents (hopping vampire) talk... so I counted it as a success:smile:.

On the OOC front: I've just played with 6 people, at least 4 of which had never tried anything but D&D 5e (one of them maybe had a couple of one-shots behind him). And I wasn't sure about the fifth, either.

At the end, most of them commended the simplicity and streamlightedness of Art of Wuxia (d100/d00 light). And at least one of them said he needs to introduce his 5e DM to this kind of systems...:wink:

All of this seems to confirm my nagging suspicion that possibly a lot of the people who have only tried 5e might really feel like they were missing on something, as soon as they got the opportunity to try something else:angel:!

It definitely confirms my old rule, though: if you run what you want and are welcoming to new people, people shall come to play. Even if they've never tried the system:thumbsup:!
 
Tonight, I ran half a session of Art of Wuxia. That was organized on short notice, due to the Changeling game that was scheduled failing through due to two COVID-19 cases.
Why only half? Because the FLGS was closing at 22.00. We did the best we could, but we had started at 19 with making characters. OTOH, I made an experiment I'd wanted to try for a long time, running two parties through the same scenario...from opposite sides. So potentially, the first party should be opposition to the second...:shade:
Or at least, it should provide events. For example, the first group got to work for House of Xun. These guys were sent to work for The Society of Vailant Warriors. Tomorrow IST (in-setting-time) the first party would have a hopping vampire, captured:tongue:!
OTOH, I got to use some of the in-jokes I'd prepared for Legend of the 3 Cosmic Fists. Yes, I did feed those characters on fried grasshoppers and yes, I did just introduce them to an alien wearing an IYI headband:angel:!

We're looking to meeting again next week in order to finish it, too.

As a note, we also had a gamer used to D&D, and little other than D&D. It must be noted that he didn't object to trying a new system, he was only afraid he's going to be impeded by not knowing the rules. Learning that the rules are easy to explain solved that:thumbsup:!
 
I keep getting a lot of mileage out of making characters... and conversely, making them counts as my contribution to the Characters-Making Thread(s):grin:!


So, I've had 1,5 sessions of Art of Wuxia, and Thursday is the time for the third one. This time, the PCs are going to meet The Bat and possibly, help her take down a criminal organization...but their real task shall be to protect her. She has already managed to offend a powerful crime boss, who has sent a Cutter (think the Punisher, but working for wuxia criminals) after her!

Still, I find it quite entertaining: two of the players from the first AoW session are going to come again. So of course,after the other party met Bat'Bayan, I'll send to find Mila:grin:!
 
The session yesterday evening went well. We got an almost-totally-new player (started some months ago with D&D5e...) who was rather impressed with how fast the system is. He still has to get used to roll-under, though.

Only two players came, but that's not that bad for week-day sessions. The Detective (presented in the thread linked above, in an adjacent post) had just recovered a stolen book on meditation, for the family of the Scholar-Warrior - think "a Bolo Yeung character with glasses". Thing is, he also found a possibly
magical* treatise of strategy with it, as well as some silver and some unknown powdered substance, probably of herbal origin*.
And then they realized someone is going to want those back...:shade:


Let me just skip to the situation at the end of the session:
The "madame" whom the detective have taken the book from is dead.
The two characters know what the things they found, are doing. They're leaving for the South, to meet an uncle of one of them, and possibly to gather their own army. (Their logic is "we've got magic that helps with that, we should use it":grin:).
The agent of Bandit Lord Hao (a generally evil cannibal robber chief) is bound and left in an abandoned building, possibly to die from hunger and thirst if he can't attract attention to himself. They had previously defeated him in a kung-fu fight (after a rooftop chase), but didn't turn him in. Alas, there were witnesses to the duel...

And that's pretty much it. Overall, we could have fitted more in those three hours, but the players took some time to get in character and to adjust to the setting.

*Yes it is - for both of them. The treatise was revealed to give an advantage in commanding troops, as well as the One Against All technique to the owner, while the herbal substance gives an energy boost, resulting in slightly improved combat performance.
OOC the herb is simply maté tea, that's why the bonus is merely 5%...non-accidentally, that's what the Referee was drinking:tongue:!
 
The Planescape thread got me thinking...and the game's tomorrow, so whatever, it was about time I decided what's going to happen:grin:!

And I've been thinking who Mila reminds me of. The worrisome thing is...she reminds me of Batman. Not even Batgirl, Batman himself - she is the first ET to leave a life of luxury* to protect people by risking her life...
And the worrisome part is that 1) we all know what happened to Batgirl, and 2) I'm currently reading Knightfall:tongue:. Something similar just might happen...later.
For now, she'd need to catch a few heterodox xia...

Even worse, how is the Cleaner going to take her back if she keeps evading him? What are the odds of some martial heroes being told the lie about "you're in a Gathering-style competition, she's one of the targets":shade:?
That can be told to PCs, too...
And if it fails, we can get to "freeing the enemies she has captured". Though that last one can be fodder for my RBRB session instead.

*TL 12-13 in Traveller terms, vs TL 3-5 in those same terms...do I need to say more:angel:?

Edited to add:
Human: Let's talk about wuxia. I've got a wuxia world where a notorious demonworshipping sect has recently been resurrected. Their first plans were foiled by a group of young xia (wandering kung-fu practitioners) and now the authorities know that the sect is doing bad things again. At the same time an extra-terrestrial woman (who looks totally human) has decided to become a xia herself, to help protect the good humans from the bad humans without revealing the existence of a Galactic Civilisation before the human civilisation is ready to join it. So she has been hunting evil kung-fu masters, including members of the sect. So now tell me, what are the members of the sect going to do? They don't know who she is, just the sobriquet she is using. How would they try to locate her?
AI: The members of the sect may try to locate the extra-terrestrial woman by searching for clues as to her identity. They may also attempt to track her down by following any reports of mysterious and powerful superhuman feats, r by monitoring any strange activities that could be associated with her presence. They may even resort to using unorthodox and arcane methods, such as scrying, divination, and prophecies in an attempt to uncover her identity.
Human: The cult actually has a member who is a powerful diviner. Please write me a prophecy he might have come up with?
AI: The cult's diviner has foreseen a great struggle ahead, between the forces of good and evil. A hero shall arise from the distant stars, wielding a divine power to vanquish the wicked and protect the righteous. She will come to be known by many names, but her true identity is known only by the stars.
Human: Great, but the question was about a prophecy pointing to her location. Care to try again?
AI: The cult's diviner has foreseen a great convergence of fate, for the forces of good and evil shall soon meet. The stranger from the stars will come in search of those who threaten the peace and balance. Her path will be marked by signs and symbols, and her journey will bring her to a land where her destiny will be revealed.
Human: Give me a concrete example of such a sign/symbol, please. AI: One example of a sign or symbol that may appear on the extra-terrestrial woman's journey is a constellation of stars. This constellation could be seen as a signpost, leading her to her eventual destination where her destiny will be revealed.
Human: But that doesn't point to her concrete whereabouts on Earth.
AI: Other signs and symbols may appear to the extraterrestrial woman on her journey, such as a strange wind, unusual animal sightings, or mysterious visions. These clues could point towards her eventual destination and help uncover her true whereabouts on Earth.
 
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Human: OK. Now what else might the cult be looking for, to achieve their goal of "subjugating the world to the demon king"?
AI: The cult may be looking for any artifacts or objects that could help them in their goal of subjugating the world to the demon king. This includes magical items such as powerful scrolls and ancient books, mystic relics or artifacts, or rare ingredients for a special ritual. Additionally, the cult may be trying to gain the support of other powerful forces, by building alliances with evil sorcerers, dark gods, and demonic entities.
Human: How about a mighty ancient sword? It is now passing through the city with his wielder, one who doesn't even have an idea what he has in his scabbard. But it was used to defeat the cult in the ancient war.
AI: The cult may be searching for legends and rumors of a mighty ancient sword that was used to defeat them in a great ancient war. They may also seek out information on the wielder of the sword, as they may believe this individual holds the key to unlocking the weapon's true power. Additionally, they may send out spies and agents to track the sword's movements, so they can seize it when the time is right.
Human: The cult sent two girls, twins, who are trained assassins, to investigate the man with explicit instructions not to fight him while he holds the sword. He is now at an inn. How are they going to approach him?
AI: The twins may approach the man with caution, using subterfuge and deceit in order to gain his trust. They could present themselves as ordinary travelers or merchants, offering goods or services in exchange for information. Alternatively, they could try to befriend him and get close enough to gain access to the sword. They must be careful not to let on their true purpose to the man, or else he could be alert to their plans and take measures to protect himself.
Human: OK. If one of them tries to use her feminine wiles to get closer to him, what is likely to happen?
AI: If one of the twins attempts to use her feminine wiles to get closer to the man, she may find some success in gaining his trust. However, if the man realizes that she is using her charms to gain access to the sword, he may be guarded and unwilling to cooperate. He may also become suspicious and take defensive measures to protect himself and his weapon.
Human: In addition, the sword is going to rattle in its scabbard. He doesn't know what that means - his grandfather died before being able to explain the secret of the sword - but the girl is going to tell him that he should leave the sword with the proprietor of the inn while talking with her. Would he accept the suggestion?
AI: The man may accept the suggestion to leave the sword with the proprietor of the inn while talking to the girl, depending on the degree of trust he has in the girl's words. He may also be cautious and refuse to relinquish possession of the sword, not willing to risk losing it to a stranger. Ultimately, the outcome will depend on the man's judgment and instincts.
OK, ChatGPT is doing just fine:smile:.
 
The session went great. The street-grown detective met an old friend - a Red Crane Wudang Monk - who is a lot more idealistic. Together, they spoiled the plans of the Two Demon Tigresses to steal the sword.
The PCs totally missed Mila, however. Well, they had been invested already in foiling the TDT duo.

The offensive language during their fight lead to the following memorable exchange:
"Bitch! You have two fathers!" (I'd encountered this curse - translated - to mean "your mother had too many sexual partners").
The reply, however, wasn't as expected. It was litterally "And you have two mothers!"
The funniest part is that it actually worked as an offensive retort... the Two Demon Tigresses are actually twins. I named them after Ting Bo and Ting Bi from the corebook (but changed the stats to be more like spies than unavoidable engines of destruction, because if they were, there would have been no reason for all the interactions that preceded the fight:shade:).
 
I might be running an AoW game on Wednesday...or not. We'll see. Not preparing for that one until I know whether there's enough interest.

OTOH, my preparation for the RBRB one-shot (which I'm running on the local "mini-con") is going along nicely. For starters, I've got all the PCs to be part of a clan which is embroiled in a turf war with another. Been thinking of modelling them after some clans suggested by BedrockBrendan BedrockBrendan which have been doing some really fucked-up stuff (I think it was in Strange Land of Li Fan, but need to check).
Anyway, that's of slightly secondary interest. The main thing is that the characters are being sent to bring a letter with a suggestion for peace...supposedly. But then they have to deliver it in the heart of the enemy clan's territory. And there are rumours that the Pipa-Playing Witch has been seen...
And why does anybody send to such a mission some of the newer warriors of the clan:shock:?
 
OTOH, my preparation for the RBRB one-shot (which I'm running on the local "mini-con") is going along nicely. For starters, I've got all the PCs to be part of a clan which is embroiled in a turf war with another. Been thinking of modelling them after some clans suggested by BedrockBrendan BedrockBrendan which have been doing some really fucked-up stuff (I think it was in Strange Land of Li Fan, but need to check).

Sect wars are probably my favorite campaign plot in wuxia. If you remember the names I can look up which books and blog entries they might be in
 
Sect wars are probably my favorite campaign plot in wuxia. If you remember the names I can look up which books and blog entries they might be in
I was thinking of the guy whose son was abusing some villagers and got his hands cut off as punishment. Which kinda spoiled the son's swordsmanship, which in turn left his father a tad miffed, since he saw it as ruining his investment in the son's training:devil:!
 
I was thinking of the guy whose son was abusing some villagers and got his hands cut off as punishment. Which kinda spoiled the son's swordsmanship, which in turn left his father a tad miffed, since he saw it as ruining his investment in the son's training:devil:!

That might even be in the core book. I think I know which character you are talking about but I can't remember his name actually lol. And I am not having luck searching for "cut off" "hands" etc, in the PDFs.
 
That might even be in the core book. I think I know which character you are talking about but I can't remember his name actually lol. And I am not having luck searching for "cut off" "hands" etc, in the PDFs.
It's War of the Swarming Beggars. I used Google on your blog...didn't get anything...then thought the title looks familiar, and found it:grin:!

Regardless, I am going to use them. Except I am going to change them, to turn them into bigger sects who control two adjacent cities, and set them in a place that's more like Li Fan. I mean, I do steal setting elements, but then change them:shade:!

BTW, can you guess what the twist is, there?

Nobody is expecting them. Their sect is trying to discredit one of the leaders of the opposing sect:devil:!

OTOH, it's not even guaranteed that they'd get this task. I had to give a fast outline to advertise the game on the event's FB page, but frankly, I am still going to run it sandbox-style. So they might end up fighting a Geese-Demon instead (think Jorōgumo but in geese form), dealing with the vengeful ghost of a ninja* who is killing people over genealogy records, or dealing with a murderous expert terrorizing a village in their territory!


*He got murdered by a kung-fu master. The master is the main character from a Bulgarian gamebook, so the guy is looking for vengeance on Gao Liang...he's just not sure whether the guy is practicing Snake, Tiger or Eagle forms, but he knows it's one of them. Of course, those are the three options for styles to learn if you play the gamebook.
The ghost is also a major antagonist in the gamebook I should really sit down and write:gunslinger:!
 
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Just some musings because I'm reading a Demi-God&Semi-Devils now. That kind of dark wuxia is very much in-genre for what I'm planning to run.
Amusingly, it just seems...natural. The antagonists are behaving like, well, humans with superpowers - because that's what they are - and none of the Comic Book Code. The "dark" part is just their refusal to follow the genre tropes of martial arts fiction. You know, the kind where the teacher is always enlightened and nice, and there are only a few "bad apples"?
SPOILERS FOR THE NOVEL TO FOLLOW!!!!!

But in DG&SD there are only bad apples everywhere. Might does not by itself make anyone righteous. To wit: the parents of the protagonist's love interest, every single sect they've met...and even himself.
He is better at hiding it, granted. He always tries to behave appropriately. And yet he manages to twist things the way it suits him, even when he is supposedly following the Pure Goddess's words of his own accord.

Similarly, I remember my first Exalted GM seeming quite surprised that I assumed that most Exalted NPCs would have little compunctions to act unethically, abuse their power, and so on. Different understandings of the genre we were playing in, I guess?

I must make an NPC. He never has a master, because to copy a master is to go against the way of kung-fu, to him.
Not a popular viewpoint. I wonder if he has a Deviation already?
 
OK, now what have I got...

1. An elder of the PCs' clan is asking them to accompany those friendly xia to the Murong family estate in the South.
I am going to be nice and make most of them Southern Hill Sect disciples (there is a deadly conflict between The Southern Hill Sect and Twin-Fisted Eagle Clan, it was provoked by a senseless slaughter performed by Twin-Fisted Eagle's son, Tu-an).
The rest are xia friendly to the Southern Hill Sect which are just passing through and came to greet the Yellow Mantis (sect's leader) or another member...:smile:
-But I'm not that nice: the guy who asked them to go is not Yellow Mantis. It's his wife's calligraphy mentor and advisor, Twin-Brush Ma - a man of little martial talent, but a profound mind.

2. That's only a pretext, of course, the real reason is that the Murong family is known for being friendly to all sects and clans, while keeping from becoming embroiled in their conflicts.
-Also, there's going to be a Washing In The Golden Basin ceremony, so many of those simply HAVE to be there...
-And of course, the Murong family and the allied Wang family all have young scions which might make a match for one of the PCs' relatives. (That's why one of the PCs is traveling there - an alliance with the Murong family, the most famous martial family in the South!)
-OTOH, some heterodox heroes and heroines are also bound to be there. Including some really nasty ones.

3. But the PCs are required to use the opportunity to lend some help to the good friend of the clan, Twin-Fisted Eagle's chief advisor, Iron Monkey. He is, unlike Twin Brush Ma, a man of good martial learning AND a good mind. If he wasn't devoted to Twin Eagle, he might have suffered an accident already. But, according to Twin Brush Ma, he is secretly in league with him and working behind the scenes to put an end to the war between the two sects. Thus, they are required to not kill him, and to deliver a letter with thanks and money - when nobody is watching. Oh, and there's a closed package they have to also give him.
-The letter is genuine, and so is the money. The package contains poison.
-The problem is, Iron Monkey has no idea about the whole thing: he's never been in league with Twin Brush Ma. The advisor is using the stratagem "sowing distrust in enemy ranks", hoping that Twin-Fisted Eagle would either murder Iron Monkey to prevent him from doing the same to him - or start suspecting him, dividing his attention and sowing distrust in the opposing sect.
-Even better would be to leave the whole thing where Iron Monkey would be able to find it, Twin Brush Ma has said.
-ONE of the xia they're accompanying is aware of this plot. She has some rather unorthodox leanings, so her job would be to raise the alarm as they're running away... and hoping that this would lead to the letter being discovered by someone that's NOT Iron Monkey.
 
After consulting with Bing - hey, the guy* contacted me on Skype to ask me what exactly do I want help with - I'm adding a couple twists. Obviously Bing thought my plans were too simplistic:tongue:?
Well, not a claim I've had from players recently, but I was willing to listen.

So, two twists more:
1. Iron Monkey is looking to be accepted into a greater clan than Twin-Fisted Eagle's, to get rich, and to get himself a new concubine. If he thinks he can achieve any of these - and such a social meeting of martial heroes gives him ample opportunities - he'd do that in a heartbeat! That's his "deceive the heavens to cross the sea" stratagem. But it would also mean he'd spend most of his time outside his room...:shade:
1.1.Moreover, Iron Monkey might even help the PCs in some minor tasks, especially if doing so makes him look better (though more likely, he'd help those PCs that are from allied clans, not Southern Hills Clan). Now: what might happen to threaten the PCs in city filled with kung-fu masters that aren't allowed to fight each other? The threat might be social in nature.
Bing suggested: "What if one of the PCs accidentally offends a powerful master or insults someone's honor? Or what if one of the PCs is accused of stealing something valuable?"
I like the way the new AI is "thinking". Sure, it repeats itself a lot, even after I just told him* not to. But it's still in tests, I was told, so I'd cut it a lot of slack!

2. If he can, he would help the PCs to deal with bandits. This is how own attempt to "let the enemy's own spy sow discord in the enemy camp": people travelling to Murong's Ceremony are supposed to not attack each other. By doing that, he gives the Murong family face, and can be exceedingly friendly with PCs. This also has the added benefit that it makes other people wonder whether the PCs aren't becoming too close with an enemy...:devil:

3. At the same time, and not knowing about this, Twin Brushes Ma is going to leak the info about the money the PCs are carrying, to a bandit group, once they depart. He believes they'd be able to fend them off - but if they aren't, well, they really weren't much good, were they? At the same time, a bandit who gets in possession of this letter would easily try to do something: Present it to TFE for award (1-6), or try to blackmail Iron Monkey (7-10)!

*Figuratively speaking:grin:!
 
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OK, I ran that. I decided at the last moment I should add at least a couple monsters, which wasn't a problem even though RBRB has none.
So I present you the stats of a Miner's Ghost as made up by me:

Miner's Ghost: this Miner was struck from behind by a stone, thrown by one of his workmates, and thrown into an underground lake. It can control stones it touches, including levitating them on short distances, and cause underground waters to fill up available precipices (or ones he created with the above power). It also fights using the two head-sized stones circling around his body to strike at enemies, or to interpose between him and weapons.
Also, it wants revenge, but doesn't know who killed him (the shift master covered the crime, so the yamen wrote it off as an work accident). So they met it after the ghost has just created a small lake in a gallery, and trapped a whole crew of miners behind it. (As it can control water, bringing a boat would only result in a sunk boat).

Stones: 2 dice attack, 3 dice damage.
Evade 6, Wits 6, Toughness 8, Resist 2 (doesn't apply to Internal MA attacks), Counter: 1 die vs melee weapons attacks, 4 or 5 Wounds (I'm not sure what I decided...:grin:).
I made those stats by the ancient process, known as "just eyeball them", BTW:thumbsup:! BedrockBrendan BedrockBrendan can tell us whether they're any good.

BTW, it wasn't killed by the (lone) PC, even though it was an Internal Martial Arts specialist (but the three NPCs managed to deliver exactly 1 wound, 2 of them being External martial artists, and one being a Lightness Kung-fu Mistress, so only the sabre guy managed to hurt it with a damage roll which resulted in a 3 Wounds strike). Instead, the drunken master spoke with it after leaving it at 1 Wound (yes, my ghosts negotiate when they start losing - it basically accused them of "helping thieves" - because miners are stealing precious ore from "his" earth, how).
After he realized it wanted the miners to leave "his" mine, and that it was killed there by one of them (and another man covered up the crime), they ordered the miners to admit to the guilt.
The shift master had already been drowned (he tried swimming through the lake), so the lone perpetrator admitted to having murdered him because he was having an affair with his young wife. The other miners beat up the perpetrator and testified against him. The judge quickly sentenced him to death by quartering, for the extra crime of having mislead the court on top of adultery, murder and incitement of another to help in misleading the court:shade:!

We also had a fight with river pirates. The lone 1st level PC managed to defeat a 4th level butterfly swords expert, then fell down due to his subordinate, an unranked pirate, rolling a 10 on the attack roll...and he had no alcohol left in him anyway, so he couldn't counter!
Then the damage roll took away his last Wound.

Brendan - the way I'm reading the rules, that means that the PC is bleeding out, but can be saved, right?
Because that's what happened: Mao the Second jumped immediately in action and did exactly that, while her brother, Mao the First, took down the lucky pirate with a 2-wounds stab to the neck (he has Lethal Spear, so he rolls lots of 2-wounds attacks - which are instantly deadly against non-martial artists).
We left it off where he needed to recover.

Fun fact: that means that the PC never encountered Iron Monkey. Talk about "preparations going to waste", if you wish...though I think that's not the case: next time I run a wuxia session - and we all know it's going to happen:tongue: - I can have other PCs being put in the same situation. And Iron Monkey shall be there, and tangling with Mao the First, Mao the Second, and Bao the Strong And Silent (the sabre guy, I described him as "looks like Bolo Yeung, including in the number of sentences he says per day"). And Xiao Wu Mu, the slender girl with Twin Giant Maces, which they encountered, is still going to be a wildcard.
 
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OK, I ran that. I decided at the last moment I should add at least a couple monsters, which wasn't a problem even though RBRB has none.
So I present you the stats of a Miner's Ghost as made up by me:
I have some monsters in our supernatural expansion document if you can use them (still all very preliminary and rough). I also have a zombie I believe on the blog

Miner's Ghost: this Miner was struck from behind by a stone, thrown by one of his workmates, and thrown into an underground lake. It can control stones it touches, including levitating them on short distances, and cause underground waters to fill up available precipices (or ones he created with the above power). It also fights using the two head-sized stones circling around his body to strike at enemies, or to interpose between him and weapons.
Also, it wants revenge, but doesn't know who killed him (the shift master covered the crime, so the yamen wrote it off as an work accident). So they met it after the ghost has just created a small lake in a gallery, and trapped a whole crew of miners behind it. (As it can control water, bringing a boat would only result in a sunk boat).

Stones: 2 dice attack, 3 dice damage.
Evade 6, Wits 6, Toughness 8, Resist 2 (doesn't apply to Internal MA attacks), Counter: 1 die vs melee weapons attacks, 4 or 5 Wounds (I'm not sure what I decided...:grin:).
I made those stats by the ancient process, known as "just eyeball them", BTW:thumbsup:! BedrockBrendan BedrockBrendan can tell us whether they're any good.

This looks good to me (only thing is toughness should be Hardiness, but same meaning either way)

The resist might be enough, but you could consider giving it an "Immunities" entry if you feel it needs to be more powerful as a ghost

Brendan - the way I'm reading the rules, that means that the PC is bleeding out, but can be saved, right?
Because that's what happened: Mao the Second jumped immediately in action and did exactly that, while her brother, Mao the First, took down the lucky pirate with a 2-wounds stab to the neck (he has Lethal Spear, so he rolls lots of 2-wounds attacks - which are instantly deadly against non-martial artists).
We left it off where he needed to recover.

Yes that is correct. It is sort of open to interoperation depending on how lethal you want it (if you just want to let characters bleed out and die with no ability roll Medicine that is totally fine and makes the game pretty grim). But otherwise you can stop a character from bleeding to death.
 
I have some monsters in our supernatural expansion document if you can use them (still all very preliminary and rough). I also have a zombie I believe on the blog
Well, if you care to share, I'll see about using them:thumbsup:!

Likewise, feel free to use the Miner's Ghost, if you wish:shade:.
Fun fact, we found out about missing miners when the son of the murderer came with a hand cart to the drinking hole they were in, fully expecting to cart his father out to home. He is a filial son, and this had happened before:tongue:!

This looks good to me (only thing is toughness should be Hardiness, but same meaning either way)
Yeah, I keep replacing stats with synonyms. It's bound to happen again...

The resist might be enough, but you could consider giving it an "Immunities" entry if you feel it needs to be more powerful as a ghost
It did just fine against 4 level-1 PCs (I used three of my pregens as NPCs). I think it doesn't need anything more!

Granted, it would be a joke against 4 Internal users, but then they are meant to be monks and exorcists, if you ask me...:grin:

Yes that is correct. It is sort of open to interoperation depending on how lethal you want it (if you just want to let characters bleed out and die with no ability roll Medicine that is totally fine and makes the game pretty grim). But otherwise you can stop a character from bleeding to death.
Nah, there's nothing that I "want", I simply play to see what's going to happen...and I see no reason why it would be impossible to prevent bloodloss. I would probably set the TN higher if there are internal injuries, but that's about it - and it was a sabre slash, those tend to result in pretty "external" injuries, unless it's really powerful chop! So I felt the TN6 was fine, Mao the Second basically simply had to bandage him.
 
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I have been running a Spellcraft and Swordplay one-shot today (we had to interrupt it due to time). See, I kinda like the simplicity of OSR games, not to mention their wealth of options...so my quest to find a game that can do those in a way I actually like continues:grin:!

So the PC (it's a solo game) is a wizard. I should have allowed her access to all spells in the book, BTW...maybe I shall do that if we continue.
She joined a party of NPCs, and is having a dream. A dream where she's being chased by someone across roofs with weird architecture. And that someone is chasing her because she has betrayed her, thus the NPC is planning to release the Grey Mist spell on her...if her blade doesn't do the job.
Also, the setting is Trevor's 48 locations.

What she doesn't know (yet):
An NPC that just joined the party is an assassin. She is there to kill the party's leader, a Warrior who wants to believe himself a Paladin.
Ragnar knows full well he is not. Still, he's Good, he's honourable, he's tough, and he does his best to protect people. He lets other people think he is Paladin, and never answers this question, unwilling to admit to never having been Chosen (barring tough circumstances - he won't mislead anyone, or let anything bad happen to protect his self-image - he just doesn't want to say he has never been blessed).

Granted he's not very bright, has 2 Charisma less than required for Paladinhood (15 vs 17), and the worst part: his relatives know that he is the likely inheritor of a title. So they've sent Zelma, the NPC assassin, to off him before his rich relative succumbs.
Her current plan is to sleep with him and kill him off in his sleep. So far, he's resisting her not-inconsiderable charms. If he manages to do so until they finish the first quest, I'd roll an Intelligence or Charisma save for Zelma, and if she doesn't make it, she might never attempt to kill him.
Also, they're chasing a revenant created by a long-forgotten murder. The only weapon that can harm it is Ragnar's sword. Poor, deluded souls.

What my player doesn't know and the character couldn't, in all likelihood, ever learn:
The NPC chasing her in her dream is who she is going to play in the next one-shot. (Why? Because I know the player: it's much easier to get her betrayed than to get her to betray anyone. OTOH, she has a tendency to murder those NPCs who betray her).
The second one-shot is going to be run via The Petal Hack. Yes, the weird roofs are in Tekumel. And if she does, she'll dream of another equally weird place, which is going to be the Young Kingdoms (or rather AsenRG's interpretations of the Young Kingdoms), the setting of the third one-shot (she knows I'm planning three one-shots, but no more). That one shall be run, of course, via the Black Sword Hack.
And the third PC is going to dream of her first PC, and maybe the second one as well.
And maybe, just maybe, I'd offer her a fourth one shot, where she'd play in a cyberpunk world (either Cities Without Numbers or Zaibatsu) and then she'd realize that all three are her avatars in different VRs. But then she'd need to find out how items from one game have appeared into the other...:angel:
 
OK, I just concluded that (~8 hours, or at least it turned out to be that long) one-shot today using Spellcraft&Swordplay.
The Not-Paladin died to the Assasin's Blade. We have a new PC for Second One Shot, a High Clan Thumis worshipper-dilettante in The Petal Hack:thumbsup:!
 
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