Interest check: Old-school fantasy

Which adventure campaigns interest you (select as many as you like)?

  • Stonehell

    Votes: 5 41.7%
  • Anomalous Subsurface Environment

    Votes: 5 41.7%
  • Maze of the Blue Medusa

    Votes: 4 33.3%
  • Hot Springs Island

    Votes: 5 41.7%
  • The Old Ways (my own incomplete creation)

    Votes: 7 58.3%
  • Something else (describe below)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    12

Edgewise

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According to the rulebook...
Old-School Essentials Core Rules (p. 13) said:
Re-Rolling 1s and 2s (Optional Rule)
If your roll for hit points comes up 1 or 2 (before applying any CON modifier), the referee may allow you to re-roll. This is in order to increase the survivability of 1st level PCs.
Here's how I interpret this rule: if you roll 1HP and there is a chance you could do better, you get to roll again, once. If you have 2HP and you could do better, you can choose whether or not to re-roll, but you have to stick with whatever you get.
 

dokel

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orym.png


Orym Silverlight

Level 1 Elf
XP: 0

STR 9
INT 14
WIS 10
DEX 8
CON 9
CHR 12

HP: 3

Gold: 5

Alignment: Neutral

Languages: Alignment, Common, Elvish, Gnoll, Hobgoblin, Orcish, Kobold

Weapons: Sword (+0/1d8), Short bow (-1/1d6)

Armour: Chainmail (AC 6 [13])

Other gear: Backpack, Hammer (small), Iron spikes (12), Oil (4 flasks), Rations (standard, 7 days), Tinder box (flint & steel), Waterskin, Arrows (20), Spellbook

Spells known: Charm Person

Orym is a somewhat bookish second son of House Silverlight, currently making his sojourn in the lands of men as part of the traditional Elven rites of passage. Eager to get back to his studies amidst the dusty ancient tomes of the great library of Nemuth he (somewhat reluctantly) seeks adventure so that he may return home armed with tales of his great deeds of bravery and cunning. And then, hopefully, he'll never have to leave again.
 
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Edgewise

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I've got a big new installment for you guys: here is a google doc that will contain all the starting player information. I've copied the class listing above into it, and fleshed out other house rules, including both optional OSE rules and some of my own.

Alignment changes are relevant to all PCs but the section on black magic is probably the most dramatic. The assumption, by the way, is that PCs aren't going to be performing black magic (i.e. human sacrifice for spell-casting) except under very unusual circumstances, if at all. But it has mechanics.

Another important thing for new PCs is the section on secondary skills, taken straight from the advanced fantasy genre rules. It's not super-important, but it's something you want to consider around the time of creation.

I still have to add all the setting details. I'm going to tweak a fantasy setting hexmap that I already have, adding a few locations (like, say, Stonehell). Outside of this document, I have to create a few setting elements like notable NPCs, and determine any minor tweaks I may need to make to the adventure itself.

Then we'll be ready to run!

Again, the player document is here. Enjoy!
 

Bunch

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Name: Egare Va
Class: Thief
Background: The seventh of fourteen children Egare knew there was no hope for him. Only one problem. Egare didn't stand out at anything. He decided to use that to his advantage. No one ever expected much from him. He just blended in. What can you do when no one sees you? Steal. Not too much that people might start watching you but enough. Egare is not going to starve working on the farm for his parents only to see it go to his oldest brother.

Physical Description: Forgetable. Egare is average height and weight with brown hair and brown eyes. The majority of his possession he has is keeps in his backpack except the clothes on his back, the daggers concealed in his boots and the dagger up his sleeve. He keeps a few silver in his belt purse but the majority of his gold is rolled up tightly in a bit of cloth in his backpack. Unless he expects danger his leather armor is also kept in his backpack. To all outward appearances Egare is a peasant carrying a loaded pack. He apprenticed as a lorimer.

STR 11
INT 11
WIS 10
DEX 10
CON 9
CHA 8

HP:5
Gold: 3



Weapons & Armour
Leather (20gp)
3xDagger (9gp)
sling w 30 stones

Equipment
Backpack (5g)
Thieves Tools (25g)
Flint & Steel (?)
Waterskin(1g)
Belt Purse (1g)
Waterproof Hat & long Cloak
Peasant clothes
Waterproof boots
12) torches,
(5) oil flasks,
a weeks standard rations,
12 iron spikes,
small hammer,
50' of rope,

10' pole.
 
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Brock Savage

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I explained to my wife that we were gonna do some old school D&D (she's only played 5e). When I showed her the characters she wrinkled her nose and said, "Oh, you're playing as commoners." Which in a sense is spot on, 5e commoners being unremarkable scmucks with 1-8 hit points and 10's across the board for stats. She doesn't see the appeal.:grin:
 

Edgewise

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I explained to my wife that we were gonna do some old school D&D...
This post initially made me sad until I realized the same conversation with my wife would have ended right there with her eyes clouding over.
 

Bunch

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This post initially made me sad until I realized the same conversation with my wife would have ended right there with her eyes clouding over.
Mine would have involved some vague "uh huh"'s and some "oh"'s
 

Edgewise

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Just to let you all know, I added a bunch of content to this document just now. Most of it is actually copy-pasted from another campaign document - with a bunch of changes. All the cultural stuff was written spontaneously; it could probably be better organized, but it's less than two pages, so I figure that's pretty digestible. If I extend it, I'll have to section it up.

I still have to write up the sections for visiting Stonehell itself, as well as a tiny bit of mythology. There's already some details mentioned about Stonehell: one party is sanctioned by the mayor of the nearby town (Ogdenburg) to explore at any given time, but unlicensed adventures periodically enter its halls.

The dungeon is in the midst of a swamp-choked ruined city, and it is best reached by ferry from Ogdenburg. You guys, of course, are the current official delvers. I'll figure out the system by which Ogdenburg takes its cut when I write this all up, but know that will be part of it.

This could be subject to change, of course, but I think you can get a good idea of things from the document at this point.

Oh yeah, I added a hexmap, too. Each hex is 12 miles across. It was taken from the other campaign and changed in a couple of places to fit this campaign.
 

Brock Savage

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Great write up @Edgewise

If the town is "in on it" are there folk willing to accompany adventurers into the dungeon for a few coins? I imagine they might be dregs like drunks, gong farmers, rat catchers and runaway teens but I can work with that. What's the uh.. going rate?
 

Edgewise

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If the town is "in on it" are there folk willing to accompany adventurers into the dungeon for a few coins? I imagine they might be dregs like drunks, gong farmers, rat catchers and runaway teens but I can work with that. What's the uh.. going rate?
I'll have to get back to you on that. I have to go over the OSE rules for hirelings and start there.
 

Tulpa Girl

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Secondary Skill: Farmer

(ooh, that's such a stretch for a halfling...)

Are alignment languages being used?
 

Brock Savage

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@Edgewise I'd like to revise Bron's background to work with the campaign setting. Brineville sounds cool and I can imagine Bron thinking he was a marine when in fact he was part of a well-armed pirate crew. "Diving for salvage" takes an entirely new meaning when the locals are probably luring ships into hazards to loot them. Secondary skill will obviously be seafarer.
 
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Edgewise

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Are alignment languages being used?
Yes, but I'm treating them as sort of Infernal/Angelic, so your average orc wouldn't know Chaotic. Another consequence of this is that there's no Neutral language.
 

Brock Savage

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Do we have a consensus on ascending or descending AC? I am a heretic who prefers ascending but can roll either way.

I updated my character fluff to incorporate the established setting.
Edited in a pic of my character in my earlier writeup.
I dig the pic, she looks bad-ass.
Love the sound of the modified Half-Elves.
Yea I like it too and am stealing the idea for myself.
 
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Tulpa Girl

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Do we have a consensus on ascending or descending AC? I am a heretic who prefers ascending but can roll either way.
I'm fine with either as well.
I dig the pic, she looks bad-ass.
Thanks. Took me a while to find one I thought fit the character concept, but the look helps to cement how I want to play her.
 

Edgewise

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I'm fine with either as well.
I'm usually a fan of ascending but all the entries in Stonehell are descending, so I would probably lean towards that. So anyone who has a preference: weigh in and I will decide.
 

Edgewise

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Good news everyone: You're all going to die!

I've finished (for now) all the preparation in terms of the player notes and my own behind-the-screen prep. Read the notes at your leisure...or not. You don't really need to know anything in the notes, but it's there if you're interested. It's really useful for me so I can nail down details about the setting and write them once instead of saying them over and over - I can always refer you to the relevant text.

Anyway, here's what you need to know:

You're a band of adventurers who has obtained an exclusive license from the Mayor of Ogdenburg to delve into the nearby Stonehell dungeon. It used to be a prison for a forgotten empire, and now it's a warren of monsters and devils. There's plenty of plunder in its depths, and you perform a community service by keeping it from growing out of control. One catch: to be the exclusive adventurers of Stonehell, you need to pay the Mayor 100 GP per month.

Ogdenburg is a seedy boomtown at the mouth of the Idlwend River on Bronzewater Lake. All the lumber used in the great city of Blackwater passes through here, so it is full of transient laborers with money to burn. Several of its mud-clogged streets are devoted to rowdy cantinas and brothels, and the place has a reputation for shady characters.

Stonehell dungeon itself lies more than eight leagues away overland through a stretch of the infamous Moisture Swamp. A much better approach, however, is to take the ferry run by the Truman clan; that gets you there in about four hours and avoids the perils of the Swamp. The dungeon is located amidst the ruins of the nameless capital to the forgotten kingdom.

What I need from you:

It would be helpful if you guys can decide how you got together in the first place. Someone had to sponsor you to be put on the waiting list for Stonehell, 150 GP per person, so it would be good to build-in an explanation for that. I can come up with all of this, but I figured you guys might want to. It might be nice if some of the PCs have pre-existing relationships, especially familial. I just think it adds something. It also helps explain why they would risk life and limb together.

That's it! I can post the game thread tomorrow, starting you guys in Ogdenburg during an audience with the Mayor, and we'll take it from there. May the gods have mercy on your souls!
 

Tulpa Girl

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Can't think of any particular reason why someone would sponsor Tessa for Stonehell, or any particular ties to the other PCs off the top of my head, but will go along with whatever anyone else comes up with.
 

Séadna

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Knowing the usefulness and skills of halflings, natural thieves, Hildegard might have convinced her employers to foot the bill for such a mercenary.
 

Edgewise

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Added name, secondary skill, image and reason for being in Stonehell there now.
It makes sense that Hildegard would be sponsored by her wizard's coven, and the rest of you are somehow associated with her. It's simpler if there's one rationale for the whole party rather than a separate sponsor for each PC.
Can't think of any particular reason why someone would sponsor Tessa for Stonehell, or any particular ties to the other PCs off the top of my head, but will go along with whatever anyone else comes up with.
Perhaps Hildegard helped Tessa out of a tight spot (or the other way around), and a favor is owed. It doesn't have to be super-complicated, and these things can evolve.

What about Bron the fighter, Orym Silverlight the elven scion, Egare Va the thief, and @Simon Hogwood's as-yet unnamed dwarven thane?
 

Brock Savage

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.
It would be helpful if you guys can decide how you got together in the first place. Someone had to sponsor you to be put on the waiting list for Stonehell, 150 GP per person, so it would be good to build-in an explanation for that. I can come up with all of this, but I figured you guys might want to. It might be nice if some of the PCs have pre-existing relationships, especially familial. I just think it adds something. It also helps explain why they would risk life and limb together.
I assumed the default character in this game would be some kind treasure hunter and made my character based on that assumption. A typical old-school set up is that the characters have pooled their resources from previous endeavors to assemble an adventuring company dedicated to wresting as much wealth as possible out of the dungeon. It's easy, simple, and explains why we cooperate and have a base level of trust for each other. It also syncs nicely with the major source of experience points in B/X, hauling treasure out of dungeons. This all being said, I am open to ideas and would love hear what everyone else thinks!

B/X is deadly. Fighting monsters should be avoided whenever possible. The default activity is skulking around a dungeon, avoiding unnecessary fights, and looting everything of value. I keep stressing hirelings because encumbrance is a thing and extra meatshields with spears help immensely in a fight. Also, an an FYI flaming oil is one of the better entry-level weapons in the game.

@Séadna Love the character art.

@Edgewise What's the word on the cost of hirelings?
 
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Edgewise

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I assumed the default character in this game would be some kind treasure hunter and made my character based on that assumption.
That's totally fine and it obviously works. Of course, I'm totally fine with any character who has a reason to want to crawl through a dungeon.
The typical old school set up is that the characters have pooled their resources from previous endeavors to assemble an adventuring company dedicated to wresting as much wealth as possible out of the dungeon.
Something like that works here. There are some specific assumptions to this setup, though, so it helps if you gets can fill in the gaps. I just need to explain why someone would sponsor you (@Séadna took care of that) and why you'd be connected to each other in the beginning. I'm not looking for a backstory so much as a pretense. But it never hurts to have a relationship between two characters that will motivate them.

When PCs die and are replaced, I'd probably want you to come up with a really simple connection between the replacement and the existing party. Someone's cousin or whatever. It can be really simple: this is my friend Dave the Wizard and he likes money. Done! That's fine! And something more elaborate is also fine, as long as you remember that this character may die in the first encounter i.e. don't write Lord of the Rings.
@Edgewise What's the word on hirelings?
The OSE rules offer a set of possible mercenaries and their prices (CFG pp. 36-37). Of those, what you'll find in Ogdenburg are crossbowmen, light and heavy footmen. As well as peasants, of course. We'll go with those prices. You have to hire an armorer to hold on to any of them between delves. Otherwise, you'll have to see how many you can recruit from scratch for the next expedition.

However, there's no mercenary store - you'll have to see how many you can find from combing the taverns.
 

Brock Savage

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I just need to explain why someone would sponsor you (@Séadna took care of that) and why you'd be connected to each other in the beginning. I'm not looking for a backstory so much as a pretense.
Pardon me, I don't get the sponsorship thing. I assumed Bron would plunk down the the 150 gold and "sponsor" himself. The whole point of going into a dungeon is to get filthy rich and retire instead of working your entire life to enrich your boss; if someone sponsors Bron I assume they want a cut of the action which uh, is the kind of thing Bron's trying to avoid by becoming a treasure hunter. If I am not grokking this set up please explain it like I'm 5. :grin:

But it never hurts to have a relationship between two characters that will motivate them.
I agree that connections between characters are definitely cool and desirable. Here's a list of stuff if anyone wants a connection with Bron (or any other character for that matter).
  1. Is a sibling of
  2. Was saved by
  3. Served with
  4. Protected by
  5. Adventured with
  6. Is a friendly rival of
  7. Childhood friend of
  8. Is magically bound to
  9. Survived with
  10. Escaped with
  11. Apprentice of
  12. Acolyte of
  13. Idolizes
  14. Drinking buddies with
  15. Business associate with
  16. Lost a bet to
  17. Is indebted to
  18. Was trained by
  19. Dueling partner of
  20. On the run with

When PCs die and are replaced, I'd probably want you to come up with a really simple connection between the replacement and the existing party. Someone's cousin or whatever. It can be really simple: this is my friend Dave the Wizard and he likes money. Done! That's fine!
This is also cool and desirable. Can we name heirs so our loot goes to our replacement character?

The OSE rules offer a set of possible mercenaries and their prices (CFG pp. 36-37). Of those, what you'll find in Ogdenburg are crossbowmen, light and heavy footmen. As well as peasants, of course. We'll go with those prices.
A couple peasants would be fine at this point. They just have to hold gear and torches. How much do we have to spend to get them on board?
 

Edgewise

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Pardon me, I don't get the sponsorship thing.
Stonehell lies near the town of Ogdenburg. The Mayor of Ogdenburg has decided that he should be able to control who delves into Stonehell, and since he's nearby with armed men, he does. Adventurers must pay a fee of 150 GP per person in the group to get their party on the waiting list. Once everyone ahead of you on the list has died or mustered out, your party gets exclusive access, and keeps it for the price of 100 GP per month (for the entire group).

The assumption is that someone else paid the party's application fee since 1st level PCs aren't expected to have that kind of cash. That's sort of the campaign premise here, but of course if your PC has enough money and want to pay your own way, you can. That's a stretch but possible, although I don't think it would be worth it even if you started with the max of 180 GP.

And even if you do that, you need to pay the 100 GP per month to retain the privilege. Of course, you could choose to be unlicensed adventurers, but doing this would risk being declared outlaws in Ogdenburg, which is very nearby. That would mean you couldn't resupply there, and you'd be more at risk of being waylaid. Plus there's the risk of running into the legal adventurers.
...if someone sponsors Bron I assume they want a cut of the action which uh, is the kind of thing Bron's trying to avoid by becoming a treasure hunter.
No, I'm not assuming that at all. @Séadna has provided a premise that his wizard's coven wants him to hunt for a rare spell which is reputed to lie in the depths of Stonehell. I'm guessing this is a pretty valuable spell to sponsor an entire party. The wizards aren't interested in the loot, so you can keep all the filthy lucre. They just want the knowledge that man was not meant to know.

Of course, they might have other requests as you go, but suffice to say, the money is all for you guys.
This is also cool and desirable. Can we name heirs so our loot goes to our replacement character?
Sure, although it's up to the rest of the party to respect that or not. I imagine they would, but still...
A couple peasants would be fine at this point. They just have to hold gear and torches. How much do we have to spend to get them on board?
They cost 1 GP per month, but I'm going to say that's the minimum for any dangerous adventure even if it lasts a couple of days.

I'm starting to write up the first encounter, so you might want to be aware that it's set after you all briefly meet up in Ogdenburg and proceed to the Mayor's Hall. You'll have a chance to do any sort of shopping, recruiting, rumor-mongering, crafting, etc. after we're done with that.
 

dokel

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Orym is pretty easy to integrate into any party. Basically, he's expected to do some adventuring before he returns home and will be hanging around looking to attach himself to any group planning a trip into the dungeon. He's likely to have attempted to research Stonehell and would probably be inclined to 'buy' his way into an adventuring party by claiming to have useful knowledge. I was wondering if there was maybe a rumour table?

Also...

Regarding hirelings - B/X differentiates between 'retainers' and other types of hirelings e.g. mercenaries, who typically don't go adventuring and usually only become relevant at the domain level of the game. Retainers are generally more useful than torchbearers/porters as they can have class levels and will fight monsters etc. The downside is that they get a share of the gold/xp. Orym would be much more interested in trying to hire a couple of level 1 meatshields Fighters than some peasants to carry torches.
 

Edgewise

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I was wondering if there was maybe a rumour table?
There will be time for rumor-mongering after the "briefing," but due to your backstory, I will give you a rumor here:
There is an albino ape in Stonehell who is smarter than most men and can cast powerful spells.
Regarding hirelings - B/X differentiates between 'retainers' and other types of hirelings e.g. mercenaries, who typically don't go adventuring and usually only become relevant at the domain level of the game.
That's correct; I should double-check the usability of mercenaries for adventuring. But peasant torchbearers, at least, are going to be fine either way.
Orym would be much more interested in trying to hire a couple of level 1 meatshields Fighters than some peasants to carry torches.
Are you talking about retainers? That's something you could look into longer term - at this point, you've freshly arrived in town. That will give me time to be absolutely clear about these rules. I'm willing to deviate from OSE/BX, but I want to do it intentionally.
 

Brock Savage

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@Edgewise
Okay, thanks for clarifying. I'm on board with the sponsor thing, I didn't realize it was non-negotiable and thought it was more of a suggestion.

Morgulwen, the self-styled pirate queen of Brineville, sponsors Bron because she believes the fabled Ruby of R'lyeh is somewhere in Stonehell and she wants him to retrieve it. She ponied up an additional 130 gold for gear (as represented by starting funds).

Orym would be much more interested in trying to hire a couple of level 1 meatshields Fighters than some peasants to carry torches.
Why not both? I like rolling into dungeons with a big crew.
 

Simon Hogwood

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Copperhand
Neutral Dwarf

STR: 13*
INT: 8
WIS: 10*
DEX: 7
CON: 10
CHA: 11

HP: 8

Secondary Skill: Chandler
Language: Basic fluency in Lissek

An unremarkable-looking dwarf with a rich reddish-brown beard, Copperhand has been retained out of Fort Castro by Hildegard's Wizard patron as a light specialist. He carries a warhammer (d6) as a primary weapon with a hand axe (d6) for backup. He will when adventuring be wearing leather armor (AC 7 [12]) and carrying a torch in his off hand.

Other belongings: Backpack with 11 torches, a tinderbox, a week of rations, a backup tinderbox, a skinful of wine, a crowbar, 50 feet of rope, a (noncombat) hammer, a dozen iron spikes, and two spare large sacks, one of which has GP23** in it.

*I choose to use the "lower two (WIS) to raise one (STR)" option here.

**With a starting GP of 90, if I've done my math correctly Copperhand has GP29 in weapons and armor and 38 in other equipment.
 

Edgewise

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Okay, I'm on board with the sponsor thing, I didn't realize it was non-negotiable.
Well more like recommended and hard to avoid.
Morgulwen, the self-styled pirate queen of Brineville, sponsors Bron because she believes the fabled Ruby of R'lyeh is somewhere in Stonehell and she wants him to retrieve it.
I suppose there's no reason members of the same party can't have different sponsors. Since Bron and Hildegard have different sponsors, I'm guessing that they know each other or someone in common and decided to join forces. How about Hildegard was ordered by her superiors to negotiate with pirates, and the pair struck up a mutual respect when they fought off the ambush of the rival pirate - Savage Quenn - together? Just an idea.
 

Brock Savage

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Well more like recommended and hard to avoid.
Bad choice of words on my end. I wasn't trying to be snarky. one.

I suppose there's no reason members of the same party can't have different sponsors.
Again I misunderstood and was under the impression we'd all have our own sponsors instead of agreeing upon one for the entire party. If it's simpler for everyone to work for the wizard we can just do that.

Since Bron and Hildegard have different sponsors, I'm guessing that they know each other or someone in common and decided to join forces. How about Hildegard was ordered by her superiors to negotiate with pirates, and the pair struck up a mutual respect when they fought off the ambush of the rival pirate - Savage Quenn - together? Just an idea.
I like it. @Séadna what do you think?
 

dokel

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Are you talking about retainers? That's something you could look into longer term - at this point, you've freshly arrived in town. That will give me time to be absolutely clear about these rules. I'm willing to deviate from OSE/BX, but I want to do it intentionally.
Yes, retainers. Orym's a lover not a fighter :grin: He'll definitely be interested in seeking out some hired muscle. Although, if all else fails he'll just drop Charm Person on the first mighty-thewed oaf he spots :tongue:


Why not both? I like rolling into dungeons with a big crew.
Indeed, for it is the old-school way :smile:
 

Edgewise

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Bad choice of words on my end. I wasn't trying to be snarky. one.
No worries at all, I just want to make sure it all makes sense.
Again I misunderstood and was under the impression we'd all have our own sponsors instead of agreeing upon one for the entire party. If it's simpler for everyone to work for the wizard we can just do that.
Only simpler for you guys to come up with a backstory. It's all good from where I stand. All I need to do is figure out where to place two different treasures - easy enough in a megadungeon.
Yes, retainers.
I'll definitely read up on that a bit more then. Thanks for the heads up.
Although, if all else fails he'll just drop Charm Person on the first mighty-thewed oaf he spots :tongue:
That can work, but just be aware that you'd be run out of town, at best, if anyone catches on.
Dude get yourself something cool like an orc (or whatever humanoids live in Stonehell)
Seek, and ye shall find :devil:
 

Edgewise

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Just FYI gang, my first post is ready to go. I don't know if I can save a draft of a new post, so I want to post this while I'm still at my home PC. We are yet to learn why Egare (@Bunch's thief) is involved in the party, but we can figure that out when he gets a chance to post again. Money, maybe? Sounds plausible to me!

Here's the game thread! See you there!
 

Tulpa Girl

Still looking for my first TPK.
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Like Copperhand, Tessa was hired by Hildegard's patron to help assist and protect the human in her journeys into Stonehell.

As it turns out, dwarves and halflings are favored by human spellcasters for this role, being short enough to cast spells over their heads, while still able to intercept any melee attacks toward their person.

Said patron gifted Tessa with a suit of halfling-sized chainmail, which they just happened to have but had no use for. They also supplied her with some of her secondary equipment.
 
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