Friday, February 24, 2012

Forty Questions All At Once

An ill-fated expedition far upriver, or 'beyond the bend'

Ability scores generation method? 3d6 in order, swap two of ‘em if you want.
How are death and dying handled? 0hp is out, -10 is dead.
What about raising the dead? Doable - for a price. And I don’t mean gold.
How are replacement PCs handled? Level 1.
Initiative: individual, group, or something else? Group, for now.
Are there critical hits and fumbles? How do they work? Nat 20 does max damage.
Do I get any benefits for wearing a helmet? Nope. Perhaps you’d like a nice bowler hat.
Can I hurt my friends if I fire into melee or do something similarly silly? Only if it’s a deliberate gamble; if I tell you it’s likely you’ll hit a friendly and you do it anyway, that’s on you. Depends on the combat setup.
Will we need to run from some encounters, or will we be able to kill everything? I strongly recommend you wear shoes with traction.
Level-draining monsters: yes or no? Yep.
Are there going to be cases where a failed save results in PC death? Yep.
How strictly are encumbrance & resources tracked? Encumbrance not so much, although it’s important to know what’s on your person and what’s actually back on your mule. Resources? Yeah, we track money, ammo, and spell components in Wampus Country.
What's required when my PC gains a level? Training? Do I get new spells automatically? Can it happen in the middle of an adventure, or do I have to wait for down time? Training is not required. You’ll get your new spells semi-automatically (ie, if I’m doing my job right, you’ll have had plenty of opportunity to pick up new ones). Levelling up happens in downtime, not mid-sortie.
What do I get experience for? Glory (killing monsters, winning battles), Discovery (exploring new places, finding weird stuff, visiting legendary sites), Fortune (money, treasure, related items like deeds to land etc), plus awards for Cleverness and Dumb Luck.
How are traps located? Description, dice rolling, or some combination? Description first, die roll second. I prefer description.
Are retainers encouraged and how does morale work? Depends on the party size - my current group is 8 PCs and one NPC guide. Running a smaller group, I’m fine with retainers. I’ve yet to decide on morale rules because it hasn’t come up yet.
How do I identify magic items? Best choice: find someone that knows about such things (a witch is always a solid choice, but the costs are...strange).
Can I buy magic items? Oh, come on: how about just potions? There are a number of minor (and sub-minor) magical items around which can be purchased, gathered, or brewed (including potions).
Can I create magic items? When and how? If you’re a magic-user, you can create items once you’re higher in level. For everybody else, best bet is trying wacky stuff (“I douse my shortsword in the beast’s blood while it’s still warm...anything happen?”)
What about splitting the party? I’m not a fan. Please avoid it if at all possible, for my own sanity.

"Honest" Fergus Clench, bounty hunter

What is the deal with my cleric's religion? Unless you’ve decided to play a Scorpion Cult priest, your cleric is probably devoted to one of the many many lesser and strange deities of Wampus Country. Please invent something interesting, and we’ll go back and forth to flesh it out as the game moves on. Start basic, please. “I am a priest of Orgoth, the Three-Eyed Oak. Neutral.” That’s plenty to get rolling, let it develop in play.
Where can we go to buy standard equipment? General stores and outfitters in towns are the safest bet, but a lot of mundane stuff can be picked up here and there. Don’t forget to ask farmers what they have to sell or barter, you never know what’s in that woodshed.
Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended? River-Town. It’s gonna be spendy.
Who is the mightiest wizard in the land? The Witch-Queen of Sugarplum Castle.
Who is the greatest warrior in the land? Depending on who you ask, either ‘Thunderbolt’ Black or Seven-Fingers of the Cloud Rabbit barbarian tribe. Or maybe Sweet Johnny Peppermint, if he ain't dead yet.
Who is the richest person in the land? If you count land and head of cattle, could be any one of a number of ranchers. But you’re talking about looting sweet sweet gold, aren’t you? In that case, see #4 and bring as many meatshields as you can afford.
Where can we go to get some magical healing? Closer to civilization, find yourself the local Scorpion Priest. Further out? Barter with a witch, if you can. I recommend the Stump-Witch east of Thistlemarch - she’s the least homicidal.
Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath? Poison and some diseases, hit up that parish priest or a barbarian shaman. Everything stranger than that, go see a witch. Or a mountain-fairy, if you can find one.
Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells? Afraid not - those things are found back in civilization. However, magic in Wampus Country is a little on the fairy-tale side, so you can learn new spells from all sorts of magical creatures - witches, fairies, elementals, demons...if you can meet their price. There are other human sorcerors around, but not many, and they tend to cap out around 5th level.
Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC? Thistlemarch has an alchemist, an apothecary, and the learned Doctor Hornapple. River-Town, being bigger and more ‘civilized’, has even more.
Where can I hire mercenaries? If by ‘mercenaries’ you mean trained professional fighting-men...yeah, there aren’t a lot of those unless you want to poach employees from one of the bandit gangs. If you mean desperate, amoral men willing to carry your bag and shoot at what you tell them? Anywhere.
Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law? Nope. There is no central law in Wampus Country. Might come across a town with some weird rules now and again, but writ large, it’s anarchy.
Which way to the nearest tavern? There are several in Thistlemarch, and roadside saloons are not uncommon along the merchant trails.
What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous? Right now we mostly have a problem with gravekinder and sub-men.
Are there any wars brewing I could go fight? Like major wars with armies and stuff? Afraid not. There are often ranch wars and posses headed out to whomp on barbarians, though, if that’s to your taste.
How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes? River-Town’s where you want to head, son. Big-time gambling there, as well.
Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight? The Web of Darkness, if you believe they exist.
What is there to eat around here? This tavern’s supper tonight is barbecued venison, corn dodgers, river-clams, grumbleberry cobbler with cream, and an orange soda, coffee, or lager. If’n you want a chocolate bar at the end, that costs extra.
Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for? Suicide option 1: head up to Big Eagle Mountain - the caves up there supposedly contain a lost city of the ancients. Suicide option 2: bust down the door at Sugarplum Castle and raid the Witch-Queen’s treasury. Less suicidal but probably mythical option: find your way to the City Behind The Moon.
Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure? We don’t have dragons here, son. If you’re looking for a large beastie with a hoard, though, you want to head east to where the Stormcrow sleeps in a nest of woven platinum; or you could trek northward into the Snowdeeps and see if that whole “gigantic soul-eating demon” thing is just a story.


  1. I would like a bowler hat that has been reinforced for combat.

  2. Easily done - and you wouldn't be the first PC to ask about one, either!

  3. Once wore a bugbear skin and skull on my head. But that was mainly for warmth. This was... Score and a half winters ago? Wouldn't trust it turn a blow. The skull part, I mean. Them things got real brittle when they dried. Twern't much good for the original owner, teither. But it was considered stylish in certain out of the way settlements.

    Tell the truth, I'd rather my head not be slowed down by elaborate headgear or decoration.