Saturday, 23 July 2016

Gaming in public: Swords & Wizardry and Fantasy AGE



I live 45 or so kilometers away from next decent sized town. I haven't visited it that much earlier, because I haven't needed to. But now that I have gaming buddies there, I've been there more often. Me and +Kookko Jaskinen (Jaakko) decided we should do some gaming because he has a summer vacation. So we did!

ROUND 1: Swords & Wizardry at Rax

My long time dream has been to play roleplaying games at all-what-you-can-eat pizza joint Rax, because that's what we did when we were younger gamers and it was a blast! Gaming, pizza, infinite amount of soda... that's fantastic! I wanted to run my dungeon Temple Of Greed (available HERE) and chose Swords & Wizardry so Jaakko could try out some old-school rules based on '74 Dungeons & Dragons.


We created two characters for him. Brother Colt, the Cleric and Jared, his Fighter guard. Backstory was simple. This religion of one-and-only-truth had discovered an ancient, forgotten temple. They wanted to loot it because religion is greedy. They sent Brother Colt to investigate and get all the treasures he could!

Spoilers of the temple ahead!

They got the key to the temple from their supervisors and ventured to the temple. Door opened easily, and inside they went. On the inner door there were pushable panels with letters V, R, C, A, A, E and I and plate reading:
To enter, one must know greed.
They weighted the puzzle for a good amount of time, and Brother Colt tried to push them to form a pseudo ancient word of greed. C-R-A-E... you got the point. But there were two buttons left that didn't stick to the bottom when pushed, so he ordered Jared to push them. Bad for him, as Jared pushed the last plate down, he lost two fingers to a razor sharp blade, and the buttons reseted. Oh the pain and DEX lost! But they were on a mission, so they had to try to open the door to not to return empty handed!

Here I helped a bit. The right answer is "avarice", synonym of "greed". Neither of us are native English speakers, so I asked Jaakko has he got any ideas what the answer would be and I let him roll INT checks for both of the characacters. They succeeded to solve the puzzle.

Inside was a room with two doors, one on the right wall, other to the left wall. On northern wall there was a plate:
Greed is everything. Greed is RIGHT. Greed is a DOOR to success. Greed we worship. Greed saves.
HA, this is obvious thought Brother Colt but was quite certain this was a trick of some sort. Too obvious. He ordered Jared to the right door, the obvious answer and went to the left door himself. On a "go!" they opened the doors simultaneously. Jared discovered a hallway, Borther Colt poison and death.

Jared ran to his master's corpse only to find an old skeleton next it. He took adventuring equipment from his deceased partner and looted the skeleton for some gold, a ring and golden teeth. Onwards.

The corridors behind the door joined together in the end, behind the north wall of the previous room. There was a door, from which another hallway opened - to the left, and to the right. He went right discovering a room and a dead end with a door with some plates. Jared had bad memories of plates, so he checked the room first.

Inside the room there was an empty altar room, except of the altar with a plate:
He who gives everything for the gold-lusty god of greed shall receive.
Okay, he did nothing but went to observe the door. He took a risk and started to push the door panels. When a right panel was pushed, it made a mechanical noise behind the door and stayed pushed. But if you pushed a wrong tile after it, all reseted. It took some time he took pushing the tiles and finding the right order (disclaimer: you can discover the right order... somewhere) and got into a small room with a squirrel statue and a peek hole on the other wall. The squirrel statue was holding a stone nut.

Jared took the nut, nothing happens. Put it right back, nothing happens. Tried replace it with sling stones - nothing. Tried to stick the nut into a peek hole and put stones on the squirrel's palms. Nothing. Hmmm. Then he gave the ring he looted from the skeleton for the squirrel statue, and something happened somewhere within the dungeon. Then he went back and took the other hallway.

Walking down the hallway he discovered a secret door. Inside was an altar and lots of gold pieces (1,300 in total). He made some calculations and bagged everything and dragged them back to the door that led to this hallway. He was lucky to take everything at once... He returned and continued the hallway to discover a statue. And he immediately knew what to do with it! But there was a problem. To get to the statue you had to walk down a short hallway where obviously was a wall wide pressure plate! He grinned and jumped and discovered later, that the pressure plate on the floor was a diversion. The real trap was a scythe that cut him bad when he jumped the pressure plate! He started with 1 HP, and lost it. Also he lost 25% of permanent HD. And two points of CHA for missing half of his face! Bleeding, almost dead (at 0 HP I decided he is barely alive and could only crawl and not take any kind of actions) he crawled back where he left the gold sacks he bagged earlier.

Hugging the treasure he found he fainted only hoping someone would find him before he bled to death...

If he survives he will be called Jared The Unlucky. It would be fun to run this 1 HP Fighter with Dexterity penalty and Charisma lost to charring and -25% to HD through all kinds of death trap dungeons! But for now his time was over. Temple Of Greed won, no treasure was dragged outside.

ROUND 2: FANTASY AGE AT FLGS

Belly full of pizza and one adventure done we headed to our FLGS (Porin Pelikauppa). We met there earlier before we ventured to Rax. There was only this new Star Wars RPG and four WH40k roleplaying game supplements available. No other roleplaying games and their dice variation sucked too. They are focused on video games, Warhammer, Magic: the Gathering and other tabletop and board games. Good thing is they have tables there you can use for gaming! We were lucky to get a table because there also was a X-Wing tournament starting!


When we played D&D 5E last time Jaakko showed me his copy of Fantasy AGE. It looked interesting. He had already played it but I wanted to try it too! Character creation was quite simple and quick with some fun options. I created a lizard-man Cleric (homebrew stuff) because it felt most interesting compared to your usual fighter-mage-dwarf-elf-human and so on D&D stuff. And I wanted to be an adventurer!

Gods were forgotten, and only us lizardmen had Clerics and religion. Well, there were few from other races that believed, but not that many. I was sent to find all kinds of ancient religious artifacts and other god-things to the big main continent-island. To the icy wastes my travel took me, where a tower acted weird. This tower was used to rapture style soul ascension in the old times, but now there was disturbance. The disturbance was zombies!

When traveling I found this ragged guy who led me to his camp. I discovered that the camp was actually a prison camp and he was a prisoner. The staff wanted to challenge me (enter combat rules test) and I had to fight this huge warrior! But with spells I could do it damaging him and eventually teleporting him to a cart full of zombie corpses. That'll show him!
I decided I need some backup to my journey to this tower and had the ragged guy, a warrior and an elf lady with me. Only because they thought I am someone else they were excepting! Well, nothing wrong with that, because I'd be long gone in frozen wastes when, and if, they discovered I am a wrong guy. We started our journey and found some zombies at a distance. I decided I want to kill them to try combat rules once more. Easy targets, eh? Thanks to my spells I could keep distance from them, but the others took some damage. Most damage suffered was that warrior I already had beaten. What a waste!

CONCLUSION

SWORDS & WIZARDRY: TEMPLE OF GREED
  1. Temple Of Greed is a challenging module that can kill a campaign, because the casualties can get high. But hey, you don't have to go there. You don't have to be greedy!
  2. I should use The Black Hack for one-shots. Even though I love Swords & Wizardry there was unnecessary things (attribute derived bonuses for example) that didn't improve gameplay.
  3. I am looking forward to Jared The Unlucky's next adventure(s)!
FANTASY AGE
  1. Quick character creation but variation in characters.
  2. It felt old-schoolish even though the system uses 3d6.
  3. We had a rules misunderstanding of how stunt dice trigger. I thought that the damage system was weak (roll vs ac and damage reduction. Most things did 1d6 damage and my weakling had over 20 hit points). The trick is, that even though basic damage against hit points is weak, stunts are when you hit hard and kill stuff!
  4. Can't wait to check out the tower! Seriously, it's been a long time I've encountered zombies in a roleplaying game and I am currently watching Z Nation.