Friday, January 29, 2010

Revision: Chapter Two: Character Creation

Chapter Two: Character Creation

Chapter Two covers how to make a Tellings character from Attribute generation through an Example of Character Creation. For the most part, the chapter can stand except for a revision to the Example of Character Creation and thinking about a few of the Attributes. Here are the chapter headings and the revision possibilities are (*) asterisked:

Generating ATTR Scores
Attribute Descriptions & Information
Perception *
Strength *
Given the fact that I have not played Tellings consistently in a while, now that I am running a table regularly, I am finding combat to be a little slower than I remember it. Actions happen less often than I recall. This might be because a) I am not used to it and b) starting characters are a little on the slow side (without any increased ATTRs or EASE skill levels).

I am considering modifying either the PER INIT bases (probably not) or Weapon Ease scores.

Moreover, starting characters seem to have difficulty with penetrating armor. Again, I doubt this will be solved by changing STR DAMAGE bases, but rather it might mean bumping Weapon Damage up a point.
Experience and ATTR-Gained *
I am going to look at the whole ATTR-gained system. I still like the idea of power levels and caps being based on ATTR-gained, but it needs some smoothing out. This will be handled moreso in Chapter Nine.
Generating Body Points (BODYpts) and Endurance Points (ENDpts)

An Example of Character Creation *
This section is useful but needs an overhaul (especially if rules change). Mainly, the character needs updating, the character sheet scans need cleaning up, and I have to make sure everything adds up correctly.

Revision: Chapter One: The Beginning

Chapter One: The Beginning

This chapter covers the basics about what is a role-playing game and Tellings. For the most part, the chapter needs little revision and tweaking (unless someone has concerns to raise), except for the couple of issues below (*):

The Fundamentals
The Role of Player and Character
The Role of Master
*Given the purposefulness of trying to be gender neutral in the game, particularly the pronoun conventions, I am going to change the name of Master of the game (though will still use game master in the lower case sense) to the Wright of the Telling, which befits the ethos of the game more.
The Game
To Play

The Game Premise

The System Premise

The Roll of the Dice
*One of the most difficult concepts (for some reason) to grasp about the game is the Roll-or-Base roll. This section needs to be revised, perhaps expanded, to better explicate how this mechanic works.
Automatic Success and Automatic Failure

The Character Sheets

Metrics and Measures

A Note About Pronouns


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Seattle Campaign 1.2: "The Ring of Fi'an" (Burnbeard)


--experience is awarded
--the adventuring party leaves Gilal (after securing horses for everyone), crossing west across Takare, and head to Grand Takare, the Sovereign Capital of the Second Continent
--about a week or so later, they arrive in Grand Takare
--they seek out a reasonably nice inn settling on the Inn of the Star and Laurel; the innkeep Aretina (Takaran, sturdy though not fat, friendly in a stern sort of way, dark brown hair) welcomes them
--the party seeks out the help of the Temple District and the Academy Hall
--the Academy reveals a little bit more about the Ring on Tirdim's hand; it is a ring of Magic Talent, dedicated to Lor, and is of Elar make; it is an antique; it also has had other magics imprinted upon it, magics that prevent accurate identification; the "curse" that binds the ring does not seem to be a true or evil curse
--Wren sets about translating a journal of Burnbeard's they found in one of the magic boxes; the journal is about the ring
--eventually, the party heads to the Guild of the Eleventhed Star (particularly after Galen is snubbed by the Academy mage, who called him Tirdim's "manservant")
--at the Guild, they make a contact with a median mage named Magda(Takaran, short, sturdy, long light brown hair, friendly)
--Magda reveals that Burnbeard has left a message and a package for anyone that produces the Ring
--the package has a slip of paper that says, "Seek these hands."
--the package also has two items: a sealed glass phial containing a twig with small delicate leaves and tiny silvery-green berries suspended in clear liquid, and a piece of pottery that is an intricate bit of clay ropework, glazing, and firing
--"Seek these hands." means to find those who made these items
--they seek out an herbalist named Laryth Greenwealth, who knew Burnbeard; Laryth gives them a magical rootball; something small is magical inside the rootball
--they seek out a potter named Tomias Handworth, who also knew Burnbeard; Tomias gives them a sealed clay jar filled with some liquid; something small clunks around inside
--Telisa uses the magic of shape earth to open the ball revealing a second ring
--the clay jar has been enchanted to be nearly unbreakable; the party decide to throw it out of the highest inn window possible; the jar shatters and a gelatinous, slippery, extremely bouncy sphere of greasing is released; inside the ball is a third ring
--once the rings are gotten, they are identified; like the first ring, they have beneficial powers but also seem to be "cursed"
--Riseif wears the ring that grants strength
--a small disagreement breaks out in the party about the third ring, which hastens the wearer's reactions, but eventually the ring is worn by Galen
--Wren's translation of the journal reveals that the ring was given to Burnbeard by an Elar mage named Fi'an, who had visited Burnbeard many years ago; the mage and Burnbeard were fond of each other; the Elar mage passed away and bequeathed the ring to Burnbeard (an unusual act for an Elar mage and for a ring of such value); Burnbeard wanted the ring to be a source of curiosity and inspiration for adventure
--speaking the name "Fi'an" to the ring releases it from Tirdim's hand
--another illusory message is triggered saying, "To seek knowledge is the greatest of all curses. To know wisdom is the greatest of all cures."
--at the release of the ring's curse, a tiny shimmer of light seems to escape the ring and fly away through the walls and out of sight; the party surmises it might have been a message of some sort (but do not know to whom or what it said)


--the next morning, after the discovery of the ring's purpose and name, Aretina awakens the party very early saying a messenger was at the inn for them
--the messenger turns out to be brown-black owl, who turns into a druid named Brela (short, Takaran, weathered tanned skin, beakish, ill-mannered)
--Brela tells the party that she has a message to deliver (which was prearranged by Burnbeard just shortly before his death); she gives them a scroll case and leaves
--the scroll case contains another letter, a final letter from Burnbeard:
To my esteemed friends,

Many apologies — it seems that I have been needing to say that as of late — for resorting to such an impersonal medium to express my thanks, my amazement, and my respect for you all. (And apologies for asking so much of you, for asking you to humor the wooly and nettling wishes of an old, old man.) If I have learned anything in all of my years in this world it is that all life is a game and that some games are very serious. Praise be to Luck! However, I shall not wax philosophical. My time is short. And my plans, as they are wont to be, long in the making.

You have accomplished so much. And whether you are an old friend or a new acquaintance, something of you has charmed this old fool’s heart, and I see in you the very germs of myself at your age. I hope to grow those sometimes fickle, sometimes brilliant, sometimes adventurous bits of myself in you. And if you have come by this final letter then you have my utmost commendation and my utmost pride. There is one last thing I must beg of you.

Help me. Help this old man. Help this fool on an important errand. You have recovered the Ring of Fi’an. You have gained two other things, which I had hoped would be further adventures to the lands to the north and south. But as with all plans and some lives, they sometimes must be curtailed. So, you have the two rings: the Ring of Ogrummum and the Ring of Fleeting. The keys to their would-be curses are now yours as well. It was arrogant of me to think that I could trick you, I could teach you, and most of all, I could instill in you some great truth about the world. I relinquish that arrogance now. But I cling to the hope that you will continue reading and continue seeking.

But I get ahead of myself, as usual. My hope that the adventures I had laid out would provide for you the fortitude, the experience, and the resources to take you to even greater adventures and challenges. My hope was that you would be ready given time and wisdom gained. I hope you are ready now. I know you must be. I do trust in you, my friends.

What I have to reveal to you I cannot do so here. It would be too much, and it would be unsafe. There are many eyes and hands that would go to extraordinary lengths to discover my secrets, no matter how silly. But what I would tell you is that I ask you for one final favor. Two things. Enclosed is a coin. It is a clue. Another test, I am afraid. I sometimes laugh at my own presumptuousness. I beg your leave in this. The coin can only be used in Gilal. Also, please do not sigh, enclosed is a map. Yes, I test you again. But I cannot chance that those undeserving gain any of this. There is a place, there is a power that even now works to undo this letter, this knowledge. I cling to the memories as best as I can. But time works against me. This life is also being undone. Oh, my friends. But the map. Yes, the map will take you to the next part of this summons.

I have left you what I can and what I have been able to prepare. But there are not enough days. Not enough hours. But you are strong, young, resourceful, and more than capable. I have never had an apprentice — for too long anyway — who would study with a cantankerous hermit that prefers the company of plants and wilderness to the company of civilized people? — but I hope that you would find a small place in your heart for me. You are my adopted family, truly. And I hope I have been a good, albeit long-winded and at times boorish, uncle.

The light grows dim. And I wish I could explain more. But to the south is my last wish. I cannot forget it. It cannot be forgotten. The gods have blessed me and cursed me.

I thank you.

Lorhest Burnbeard

--along with the letter is a blank piece of thick paper, which the party guesses has the map secreted upon in; they try to reveal the map with normal means (heating the paper) to no avail; they decide to leave it till they get to Gilal
--also along with the letter is a Sovereign coin stamped with the symbol of Anurl, the God of Death; the coin is a ceremonial coin often used as a tithe or a proof or a message
--the adventurers decide they must head back to Gilal and discover what Burnbeard's big secret is
--on the road to Gilal, while camping in the wildernss, they are attacked in the middle of the night by would-be seekers of Burnbeard's secrets
--the attacking party had a greater darkling with them, two mages (one of them a necromancer)
--the adventurers (with difficulty and some comedy) defeat the attacking party; all are killed save for the necromancer who escapes
--Riseif is badly injured during the fight
--the party must tarry until Riseif is able to be magically healed and travel
--they return to Gilal, surprising Hyuster Moll
--they seek out the Priest of Anurl, who is the caretaker of Gilal's main cemetery; his name is Cobren (thin, sallow-skinned, quiet, dark-haired)
--Cobren Anurl tells them, after being presented with the coin, that Burnbeard made provisions for his death and burial; Burnbeard also left instructions to give anyone who produced the coin three scrolls of speak with dead and access to his mausoleum
--the party contemplates what questions could be asked of Burnbeard's spirit


--Galen has stupid disease
--the adventurers mull over what questions they might ask the spirit of Burnbeard; they must wait till nightfall before they can return to the graveyard and seek out the Priest of Anurl; the party discusses different possible questions
--meanwhile, they also try to tackle the problem of the map (or currently the empty piece of paper); Tirdim says the paper might be affected by illusion magics, which require the proper trigger to reveal
--Tirdim attempts a more detailed identification spell; he fails the first time; he gets it the second time and reveals that the paper has been affected by illusion magic (most likely some sort of invisibility) and strangely body magic
--the party decides that perhaps blood is needed either as ink or some sort of catalyst; Tirdim pricks his finger and tries a drop of blood, which reveals momentarily a little area of the map; eventually, Riseif volunteers to cut his hand and smear the paper with more blood
--the map is revealed showing an area of Takare, southern Takare, the Javelin Mountains; notes are marked where an arm of the mountain extends into the Takaran forest (called Jeweltooth's Arm); locations of two tribes of darklings also marked (the Morning Fire Fire clan and the Winter Ash clan); the names of "wise ones" for each clan are named include Togro (Winter Ash) and Obreth (Morning Fire Fire); some sort of valley is marked on the map; notes about seeking out the clans and finding a Stone
--the adventurers seek out Cobren Anurl, who opens the mausoleum of Burnbeard
--they use the three scrolls of speak with dead
--meanwhile, Wren, who is fearful of undead and superstitious about messing with the dead, stays at the gate of the graveyard and thinks someone might be lurking about, spying on the group
--first question: What did you want to tell us before you died?
--Burnbeard's spirit responds in fragments: something about a Valley, to the south, great power, forgetting what to say, very important, darklings can help, go find the Valley
--second question: What can you tell us about the stone?
--Burnbeard's spirit responds: the Stone is needed, the Stone will protect you, the Stone has been left for the party, it will keep back the darkness, it will offer some comfort, hopefully
--third question: ???
--the party discovers Burnbeard has a necklace on, a egg-shaped locket, which contains within it a sunstone
--the party packs for a long trip to the south, to find the darkling clans, to find the Valley; before they make it out of Gilal, Cobren tells them of an augury he has about their quest; he says that they will meet "Death and Undeath"
--the party makes it to Deshelen, Takare on the Jeweling River; they hear of some rumors of another party of adventurers who came and left the town just before them
--while in town, Telisa contacts the local druid, named Rathkin; she tells Rathkin Mannan Aia some of what they look for (e.g. the valley, undead, Burnbeard); Rathkin asks her to report to him as soon as she discovers anything
--on the road toward the mountains, during lunch, they catch someone magically spying upon them; they ride to catch the spy and discover it is the necromancer from the earlier brigand attack; the party attacks and the mage puts up a good fight; the mage tries to bargain his way out of the situation but the party refuses; sleep spells abound; in the end, the mage with his dying breath attempts spontaneous magic, which is interrupted by Riseif
--Riseif and Telisa and the dead mage are trapped in a magical sphere of force; Tirdim phases into the sphere but also gets trapped; Tirdim must depend on spontaneous magic to teleport each of them from the sphere
--the leave the magical "disaster" and hope it resolves itself
--they head to the mountains and are approached by a group of darklings from the Morning Fire Fire clan; they arrange to meet with Obreth, the wise one; Obreth looks older than she is; in a ritual, she shows the party what she knows about the Valley; something about the magic of the Valley causes forgetfulness and remembering the Valley causes rapid age; Obreth dies in order to show them where she thinks the Valley is
--they meet a young wise one named Arata, who takes Obreth's place; Arata takes them to meet the Winter Ash clan
--Togro, the Winter Ash wise one, also shows the party in a similar fashion what he knows of the Valley; he dies in passing on the information
--Arata will take the party to where she thinks the path into the mountains is; the party will have to go the rest of the way on their own

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Seattle Campaign 1.1: "A Friendly Letter from Afar" (Burnbeard)

{I'll be using the Tellings blog to archive adventure notes from the current Seattle campaign.}


--sitters at the table:
Rebecca: Telisa, an Ebani priestess of Mannan Aia, likes horses and alpacas
Curtis: Galen, a Gaurien "rogue" and man of mystery
Mike: Riseif, an Ebani warrior
Andrea: Wren, an Atalisiran privateer and priestess of Possos
Josh: Tirdim, an Elar Academy mage
Greg: Lanthorn, a Gaurien knight of Valadarin

--adventure opens, all player-characters are given backstory that connects them to an NPC named Lorhest Burnbeard
--Lorhest "Burnbeard" Windlin (5'8", broad shouldered, chubby, dark brown hair, blue eyes, always smiling), a middling mage and merchant of Gilal, Takare; very well liked and favored by Gilal; a member of the Guild of the Eleventhed Star; came to magic late in life (earned his nickname "Burnbeard" by setting a man's beard aflame during a heated argument); noted for his skill in accounting, woodlore, potionmaking, and storytelling; a bit of a trickster, curious
--the adventurers receive a letter informing them of Burnbeard's death:

I have always been a man of very few words. I have prided myself on my actions, rather than anything that I have boasted or written. And I have prided myself on the choices I have made. I believe I am a good judge of a person’s character. Therefore, I have chosen to write you and to offer you a gesture of friendship, respect, and adventure.

You see, my friend, I am dead. And I have left a portion of my fortune, my knowledge, and my demesnes to your care for I believe that you shall take up my offer, my challenge and do me proud. I have named the good man Hyuster Moll of the Inn of the Wild Cap in Gilal, my home town as you know, as the executor of my posthumous wishes. Seek him out, if you would, and he will reveal to you my final wishes.

In the past, I have been accused of many things. Recluse. Foolish wanderer. Scamp. Simpleton. Magician. However, one name that I shall always hold dear and hold true is friend. You have impressed me and touched my old heart. And I shall like to repay the favor. Of course, as a foolish, wandering, reclusive, simple, scamp of a magician, I shall not make it too easy. As I said, I am a good judge of character. And I believe that you are more than able and are more than willing to honor this old man’s wishes.


Lorhest “Burnbeard” Windlin
The Garden

--the adventurers arrive in Gilal, Takare and take up rooms in the Inn of the Wild Cap; they meet Hyuster Moll (tall, stout Locharan, has the look of a former mercenary, greying hair, stern) the innkeep; Moll informs of Burnbeard's last wishes
--the party meet one another; they learn that Burnbeard died in Moll's inn (he favored the Inn of the Wild Cap)
--the party is told that they are to embark on an "adventure" orchestrated by Burnbeard; they are to seek out his home in the forest outside of Gilal and discover what Burnbeard has left them
--the party investigates Burnbeard's room at the inn; nothing seems out of place and Burnbeard died of natural causes; Riseif discovers a brass key (which he keeps secret)
--Burnbeard called his home "The Garden"
--traveling south into the hills deep in the Takaran forest, the party (some on foot, some riding) eventually make their way to Burnbeard's house
--they discover the house has been sealed, magically protected by various means; Galen tries to climb down one of the chimneys and nearly gets caught by a fire that magically lights beneath him
--the party discovers signs of darklings about the house; Galen's pack is stolen (loses his grappling hook)


--investigation of the house continues; the party discovers there is a magical clay tablet hung on the front door; writing words on the tablet yields different responses; eventually, they discover that the tablet is somehow the key to opening the front door; after a number of attempts, they finally get the tablet to yield the right key to the door
--within the house, they discover a number of things include a set of finely crafted, magically sealed boxes, a table full of unmarked bottles and potions, books on woodlore, and several annoying and inconveniencing traps (including a magically sticky floor that traps Riseif's boots)
--while investigating one of the boxes, Galen attempts to pick the lock and sets off a needle trap; the needle is poisoned with a potent sleeping draught, which knocks Galen unconscious for hours
--meanwhile, the house is approached by would-be mercenaries and highwaymen, who want to a chance at Burnbeard's stuff
--the party (sans sleeping Galen) fights the mercenaries, killing their leader, capturing a mage and two rogues; one of the mercenaries escapes
--the party discovers a secret passage into the hill against which the house is built
--they discover the secret cache of Burnbeard
--the encounter a stone door shut by an immense iron bar; the word "Strength" is carved above the door; they are not strong enough to lift the bar


--Galen recovers
--Tirdim begins to identify the potions left on the table
--Telisa and Wren use the books to try to identify the plant designs set into the top of the three mysterious boxes; they discover that the first box bears the design of bloodquill (thistle-like, red flower, large spines, very poisonous), the second box bears the design of balm of evening (small flat leaves, white clusters of small flowers with violet interiors, violet berries, causes deep sleep),a nd the third box bears the design of the Sarian fire plant (blade-like leaves, serated edges, reddish-greenish in color, causes agony)
--eventually, the adventurers discover that one of the potions on the table is a Strength potion; it is a bottle of wine; however, the potion has the troubling side effect of being magically intoxicating; the more you drink, the stronger you are but the drunker you get
--Wren, being a practiced drinker, is chosen to use the potion to move the iron bar; unfortunately, she drinks with abandon, becomes hilariously drunk and useless, eventually passes out
--Lanthorn and Riseif then share the remainder of the potion and manage to move the bar
--beyond the first door is a second door; the second door is wood and iron; above the door is carved the word "Wit"
--there is a lock on the door; Galen attempts to pick it to no avail; it is completely beyond his skill
--the identification of potions continues with the discovery of a potion of immense luck; Galen uses the potion to miraculously pick the lock (to the sound of a mysterious horse's neighing)
--beyond the door is a cave-like room; three chests full of coin and magical gear are found; a crevice in the cave wall leads somewhere deep into the earth; the party discovers that there is a magical ring just out of reach within the narrow cave
--Riseif uses the remaining luck potion to "fish" the ring out
--Tirdim identifies the ring; it is a Ring of Magic Talent but it also has unidentifable properies
--Tirdim puts the ring on; it is cursed to stay on his hand; an illusory message reveals (in Burnbeard's hand): "An ancient curse binds all who have touched this ring. Seek out its owner, its history, to undo that which it has wrung."
--the party returns to Gilal and decides to head to Grand Takare to seek out information about the ring