Archiv des Autors: belchion

[Rezension] Sternmetall

Dieses Jahr habe ich auf dem Weg zur Feencon die Anthologie Sternmetall – Bulgarische Phantastik aus dem Verlag Torsten Low gelesen. Mein Eindruck von diesem Buch ist etwas zwiegespalten.

Einerseits waren es nicht die klassischen Fantasythemen, sondern leicht ungewöhnliche Ideen, auch der Schreibstil war in Ordnung. Ich konnte das Buch während der Bahnfahrt gut weglesen. Besonders die Geschichte Sternmetall, die auch der Anthologie ihren Namen gab, wartete mit einer fremdartigen und doch vorstellbaren Welt auf.

Andererseits fehlte allen Geschichten das gewissen Etwas. Sie fühlten sich nicht wirklich wie Geschichten an, sondern mehr wie eine Aneinanderreihung von Ereignissen. Auch dies wird in Sternmetall am deutlichsten, wo die Hauptfigur im Grunde nichts tut, außer zweimal (davon einmal auf Aufforderung) zu singen.

Insgesamt bleiben alle Figuren eher blaß, es gibt keine Konflikte oder Unsicherheiten, an denen sie wachsen oder sich verändern könnten. Besonders in der ersten Geschichte wird dies deutlich, wo die „unerwartete Wendung“ im Nachhinein als für die Hauptfigur äußerst konfliktreich beschrieben wird, nur in der Geschichte selbst nichts davon durchkam, weil der Autor sich zu sehr auf die (von mir als erste Lösung ins Auge gefasst und daher erwartete) „unerwartete Wendung“ fixiert hatte.

Man kann dieses Buch lesen, es ist OK, aber es hat mich nicht mitgerissen und daher kann ich es nicht guten Gewissens zum Kauf empfehlen.

Monsterhandbuch: Jetzt gedruckt und als PDF

Es hat, zugegebenermaßen, sehr lange gedauert, aber nun habe ich das PDF des Monsterhandbuchs fertig und es mir auch gleich drucken lassen:

Damit alle etwas davon haben, und nicht nur diejenigen, die eins der 10 Druckwerke in die Finger kriegen, habe ich zudem das PDF auf Drivethru kostenlos zum Download bereitgestellt.

Ja, das könnte noch schöner aussehen, aber es lässt sich alles lesen und insgesamt bin ich zufrieden.

[Actual Play] Adventuria Open Table Chat Game, 2018-07-06

This week was an exception, as only one player was present. Since that player had been separated from the group and wanted to test a theory, we played nonetheless:

  • Roderick Clearwater (lvl 3), human rogue, 1004 XP

Roderick triggered the mechanism several more times, ending in different combinations of tunnels leading into or away from the middle point:

  1. The form where he jumped into Tapio (stumps leading into all four directions, and a curved tunnel leading all the way around the center)
  2. Tunnels leading north and south through the center.
  3. Tunnels leading north and west.
  4. A Tunnel leading east toward a broken door.

He also figured out that he was not lifted when he activated the mechanism, but instead was spun arround very quickly, disorienting him.

He was unable to find Tapio again, despite several tries, and followed the marks Dargoth had left during the game before toward a door behind which he heard furniture being moved.

[Actual Play] Adventuria Open Table Chat Game, 2018-06-29

Again, the group delved into the dungeon and considered using the title theme from Scooby Doo as guideline for their actions.

This week’s characters:

  • Tapio of Gareth, human fighter (lvl 3), 1538 XP
  • Dargoth the Daring, human fighter (lvl 3), 1613 XP
  • La Fleur (lvl 3), human wizard, 1051 XP
  • Roderick Clearwater (lvl 3), human rogue, 984 XP

The group returned to the great storage room through the dungeon and searched it for treasure, finding mostly foodstuff, but also a snuff box, a golden amulet, a silver amulet (which, when identified showed as magic void), and some minor trinkets. The silver amulet burnt the werewolf, but did not change her form, and also did not prevent Dargoth from casting spells when he wore it.

The group attempted to rest in the storage room afterwards, but was disturbed by a bat flying in, diving for their camp fire! Luckily, La Fleur nailed it with a Magic Missile before it came into contact with the fire.

Even though everyone but Dargoth acted before the bat, nobody was able to hit it. La Fleur, the last to act before the bat, decided to Magic Missile it to circumvent the bad luck with attack rolls. Which was quite overkill for a completely ordinary bat, but the results speak for themselves.

When Roderick investigated the most sincerely dead bat, he found a small pouch with a horrible balm bound to its leg. Dargoth later recognized the powder as an instant demon, which would arise if the balm is set aflame. They decided to put the balm into the empty snuff box and gave it Roderick for safekeeping.

Afterwards, they considered setting a trap for their enemy, but finally decided against it as they considered it to risky during night. Instead, they pressed on through the dungeon in a hope to bring the fight to the enemy.

They returned to the kitchen where they removed the stove from the well. An eerie light washed over the slain and already partly scavenged giant rats, and La Fleur smashed and burnt the corpses just to be safe. Once the stove was removed, Tapio was sent scouting into the well, where he found a tunnel which lead to a room with a shelf, many bones and a cleaver. The others followed, and only Dargoth awakened whatever lurks deep in the well, but it was probably sleepy as it just tugged at the rope with a tentacle and then retreated again.

This was a great amount of luck for the players: Not only made most of the group extremely good stealth rolls, but their opponent also rolled very poor.

There were two exits from the room, one west and one east. The group headed east, and quickly came to a T-section. They heard howling from the north, noticed they had left the hogtied wyfwolf in the kitchen, and decided to go south till they got to a crossing.

Dargoth found tracks leading west, and Roderick a strong curving wall to the east. The group parted, with Dargoth and La Fleur following the tracks, while Roderick and Tapio inspected the curved tunnel.

The tunnels led on for some time, in a sharp bent. After a little while, they reached a crossing, the curved wall continued beyond, but one could also go north and south. Tapio remained at the crossing, while Roderick went a little south till he reached yet another crossing. Once he stepped into the middle of the crossing, one could heard a loud clanking sound, while dust filled the air. Roderick quickly jumped forward and ended up in front of Tapio, even though he had jumped away from him. Roderick afterwards followed the curved tunnel and finally appeared behind Tapio.

Meanwhile, La Fleur and Dargoth had followed the tracks and reached a door. They could not hear anything behind the door, and opened it. Behind, they saw an extremely cramped storage room full of furniture and, hardly to be seen, a leg beneath one of the furniture. Dargoth went in to investigate, suspecting foul play, and was right: The bones started moving once he looked at them. La Fleur dashed in as well to help him, but her magic did not do any damage, while she was hit by two attacks and lost conciousness. Dargoth hardly noticed this, as he smashed his way through the skeletons without taking damage.

This fight should have been easy, but the dice had conspired against La Fleur: Not only was she attacked twice, but both of these attacks hit with and one even hit critically. This caused sufficient damage to reduce her to −1 hit points, which meant that she was at 0 hitpoints, unconcious and had to roll death saves. Then her luck returned though, as she rolled a 20 on her very first death save, which caused her to regain 1 hit point and get back on her feet, where she could even cast an (albeit unsuccesful) spell.

Dargoth and La Fleur decided to prepare the cramped room as a resting space, while Tapio and Roderick were still puzzled as to where they were.

[Actual Play] Adventuria Open Table Chat Game, 2018-06-22

Four brave adventures delved into the underground beneath the ruins. None of them appreciated the amazing foundation that prevented the swamp flooding the dungeon level, though.

This week’s characters:

  • Tapio of Gareth, human fighter (lvl 3), 1488 XP
  • Dargoth the Daring, human fighter (lvl 3), 1563 XP
  • La Fleur (lvl 3), human wizard, 1001 XP
  • Roderick Clearwater (lvl 3), human rogue, 934 XP

Within the cellar, the air is stale, and the only breeze can be felt directly next to the entrance from the tower. Dargoth takes some parchments from a secretary in the room, afterwards the group presses on. A zig-zagging tunnel leads them north, at a T-crossing the group hears irregular sounds from the north.

Roderick sneaks ahead, passing three tunnels before finding the sound’s source: A ragged prisoner throwing pebbles out of his cell. When the group approaches him, he considers them just another ‘mind game’ by someone named Belgor, and only reluctantly gives his name (Ywain). Roderick attempts to free him, but finds that the door has no visible lock to pick. They learn that only the torturer can open the doors, but Ywain does not know how he does it.

The group sets off to find the torturer and get his keys.They find him a little to the west, in a archetypical torture chamber. He had noticed their coming, and awaited them ready for battle and with his latest victim’s head between the jaws of a wolf. Dargoth hopes the werewolf girl the group holds captive might be able to control the wolf, and thus the groups (angered by the torturer’s haughty behaviour) decides to attack. The captive is killed by the wolf in the first round, but otherwise, torturer and wolf do not pose a threat. Quickly, the group annihilated them, which ended with a dead wolf and an imploding torturer.

Somehow, half of the group thought torturer and wolf would be other werewolfs, and the other half thought they would be an ordinary wolf and a human. Both were wrong. Furthermore, I rolled very poorly, which is why I could not use any of the special abilities wolf and torturer had. Only Tapio was shortly afflicted with one of the special abilities, but at that time, the fight was almost over.

The group found a couple swords, three bone chips, and a smithing hammer, but not the keys they were looking for. La Fleur identified the bone chips and found them to be induced with painful magic, thus she decided to smash them, which succeeded.

Spoiler: The bone chips were the keys.

The group returned to the cells and investigated the doors a little further, La Fleur attempted to identify them as well and found the cells lock was somehow connected to excruciating pain. They decided not to smash the door though, and instead asked the werewolf to lead them to something interesting.

The werewolf lead them into a storage cellar and up a ramp. Dargoth opened the trap door at the top of the ramp, and they ended in the big storage room on the upper floor they had seen earlier. Directly in front of them, they saw a mirror floating in mid air. When investigating, they found a line protecting the mirror, which dissolved anything it came in contact with. Finally, the group decided that La Fleur and Dargoth will fire bolt the thing while the rest of the group hides back in the cellar.

This worked rather well. The line came rushing after them, though, and after some examination Roderick concluded it would be a transluscent Gelantinous Cube which ingested a mirror. The group decided to lure the Cube toward the tower, drop oil on it and set it aflame. On their way, La Fleur and Dargoth continued to harrass it with Firebolts and Rays of Cold, which finally brought the cube down.

It also made a lot of noise, which attracted the attention of other inhabitants: Just as the cube stopped moving, the shadows started to grow darker and almost substantial. A hideous laughter sounded through the tunnels.

Most of the players are now convinced that their enemy is a wimpy illusionist, who pretends to be a dangerous monster. Still, they play it safe.

La Fleur and Roderick fled, Tapio had some success in thinning the shadows with a silver butter knife and Dargoth cast Protection from Evil to retrieve the mirror from the Cube before their opponent could appear. Alas, in the darkness, he could not see anything and found that his massive weapons were not good for such a task, as he accidently smashed the mirror.

I had the player roll an attack roll to retrieve the mirror unharmed, and he failed.

He did retrieve the mirror, but it was partly splintered and dented. Nonetheless, La Fleur attempted to identify it and learnt that it indeed was magical. When attempting to learn more, she heard countless rhymes overlapping each other, but any answers were lost in clinking.

With that, a somewhat frustrated group ended the session.

[Actual Play] Adventuria Open Table Chat Game, 2018-06-08

This week with complete cast again, including running away from bats and rats, as well as interrogating a werewolf.

This week’s characters:

  • Tapio of Gareth, human fighter (lvl 3), 1175 XP
  • Dargoth the Daring, human fighter (lvl 3), 1250 XP
  • La Fleur (lvl 2), human wizard, 688 XP
  • Roderick Clearwater (lvl 2), human rogue, 621 XP

The group rested a bit, but was disturbed by a hooded figure who conjures a swarm of bats and warns the group to leave before the next dusk. La Fleur annihilated the swarm with Flaming Hands, which caused the figure to disappear in a shower of sparkles. The spell also incinerated the wooden interieur of the room, filling it with smoke and heat. The group ran for their lives, through the tunnel, into the barn and the sowbug, which Dargoth scared of with Dancing Lights.

The courtyard was swarming with bats, the group ran toward the logway to the swamp, where more bats flew at them. Dargoth and La Fleur both cast Burning Hand, which incinerate the bats but also set the swamp gas aflame which causes an explosion that splatters the adventurer’s in mud and deafens them for some time.

On their way out, Dargoth attempts to drown the captured werewolf, fearing he might lead its vampire master to their position, but Tapio and Roderick stop him. They run a bit further into the swamp and rest there. The next morning, the three mercenaries take their leave from the group. Dargoth attempts to interrogate the werewolf, and determines that she is not a minion to a vampire master. He finds it difficult to ask questions that can be helpfully answered by ‘yes’ or ‘no’ though, and often gets seemingly contradictionary answers.

The players noticed that after an or question, and started making predictions what a specific answer might mean, finally coming up with a solution to the werewolf’s origins: She was bitten by a werewolf and later cursed by whoever lives in the ruins.

The group returns to the ruins, and investigates a little more. They find a stack with the werewolf’s clothes (turns out it is a she), a garden and that the north tower that is filled with guano of which a part has been dug out, and a deck chair with an empty bottle of wine on the tower’s roof. The west tower has a set of stairs filled with rubble, and the east tower a stuck door. When attempting to break the door open, Dargoth and Roderick collapse the ground beneath them and fall into a cellar with stairs leading up to the tower room. After unlatching the door, the rest of the group enters and looks around. Roderick finds a secret door that Tapio opens through sheer luck, and the group prepares to enter the cellar.

Nebenwirkungen für Heiltränke

Ich hatte neulich die Idee, dass Heiltränke nur für die Rasse, für die sie vorbereitet wurden, problemlos funktionieren. Wenn eine andere Rasse diese Heiltränke trinkt, gibt es nervige, aber nicht wirklich gefährliche Nebenwirkungen. (Die Idee wurde von einem Forenbeitrag inspiriert, den ich leider nicht mehr wiederfinde).

Orkische Heiltränke

  1. Lautes Aufstoßen (einmalig)
  2. Schmieriger Schnurrbart wächst (lässt sich abrasieren)
  3. Schluckauf für 1 Stunde
  4. Flatulenzen für 1 Stunde
  5. Überall am Körper wachsen drahtige Haare
  6. Heißhungerattacke
  7. Gefühl, die Haut sei zu eng
  8. Keine Nebenwirkung

Elfische Heiltränke

  1. Doppelstimmiges Reden
  2. Verlust aller Körperhaare
  3. Stärkere Anfälligkeit für Gestank
  4. Stärkere Anfälligkeit für Lärm
  5. Stärkere Anfälligkeit für unangenehme Berührungen
  6. Augenbrauen werden zu Moos
  7. Haut wird zu Rinde
  8. Keine Nebenwirkung

Zwergische Heiltränke

  1. Starker Bartwuchs
  2. Stimme wird tiefer
  3. Wertlose Metalle riechen unangenehm
  4. Bäume scheinen sich aggressiv zu bewegen
  5. Die Erinnerungen an Taten der Vorfahren überlagern eigenes Erleben
  6. Haut fühlt sich metallisch an
  7. Haarfarbe passt sich Farbe und Struktur des umliegenden Gesteins an
  8. Keine Nebenwirkung

[Actual Play] Adventuria Open Table Chat Game, 2018-05-29

Only two players played today, the other two had to cancel on short notice. Due to public demand, I ran a session nonetheless.

This week’s characters:

  • Tapio of Gareth, human fighter (lvl 2), 1155 XP
  • Dargoth the Daring, human fighter (lvl 3), 1230 XP

Roderick and La Fleur stood behind and attempted to identify a few of the recently looted potions, while Tapio and Dargoth explored further. Dargoth drank one of the Orcish healing potions they had gotten from Erbert Domian, and felt healed, but also grew a greasy moustache.

They had been warned that Orcish Healing potions had side effects, which are rolled for on a d10 table.

First, they entered a large paltry, with a lot of shelfs, buckets and barrels. On the far side of the paltry, Dargoth noted a glistening piece of jewelry hovering in the room, which he considered odd but decided not to investigate.

Next, they went into a large hall. They heard a clanking and banging, as if from wood hitting metal, but assumed it just a door. The hall was wide open, as large parts of the ceiling had collapsed. Dargoth still opened the large door to the outside courtyard, hoping to let some more light in (but not much did).

Afterwards, he opened a tapestry that was flapping in the wind and stared into the maw of a wolf! Tapio immediately jumped to attack, but despite them all hitting the wolf, their attacks seemed to cause no damage but superficial scraps. Tapio shouted ‘Werewolf, run for your life!’ and the three mercenaries Alrik, Torben and Perainos immediately fled.

Dargoth felt lucky though and grappled the wolf, assuming it would still need to breath air. Thanks to a potion of giant strength he had drunken earlier, he succeeded and, after some tussling, Tapio managed to bind the held wolf.

During interrogation, in which the wolf could only give signs for ‘yes’ and ‘no’, they figured out that this werewolf could no longer change into human form and decided to bring it to La Fleur for treatment. Tapio looked for silver cutlery, but only found a silver quill, with which Roderick was to keep the wolf in check.

Afterwards, they quickly glanced in the three remaining smaller chambers, which were probably servant dorms, and found an engraved piece of wood:

A red gift in a white case.
A white case with no hinge.
Made in the dark. Ah, what a delight.
To find, to hold, to open.
When the other gifts are gone.

They did not dawdle here, though, fearing that Dargoth strength potion would wear off. Instead, they rushed into the kitchen, which was a horrible mess and stank like hell. Large holes dotted the north wall. Both Tapio and Dargoth agreed this looked like the work of rats. Nonetheless, Tapio decided to search for valuables, and finally found the silver cutlery hidden in the stove!

Of course, this was not due to old adventures hiding their treasure in strange places, but because the cook attempted to forge a weapon against the werewolf. Ahem. Good that my players fill in the blanks whenever they show up.

Greedy, Tapio tried to find even more treasure, despite squeaks and trippling from the holes. Suddenly, he found himself facing eleven large rats! After a bloddy battle, the rats withdrew after their leader, the Nimble Rat, had recognized Tapio as the Slayer of Rats!

OK. This was a rather humouros intervention, as Tapio’s player had said his character would have a lot of experience with fighting rats, and slew seven of them with eight strikes, only missing the eight attack, which lead to the assumption that this must be some kind of rat champion.

Tapio wanted to investigate the well in the kitchen as well, trying to yank the bucket up. Something down in the well yanked harder though and almost drew Tapio in, if it had not been for Dargoth’s swift reaction and giant strength.

After securing the well with the stove, the group returned to La Fleur and Roderick to rest. Here, we stopped a little early, as I felt extremely tired. Both Tapio and Dargoth reached third level and I am curious to see what they will choose as additional power for their class.

[Actual Play] Adventuria Open Table Chat Game, 2018-05-18

With some additional reinforcements from mercenaries that tried to plunder the ruins, the group continued their search for treasure.

This week’s characters:

  • La Fleur (lvl 2), human wizard, 668 XP
  • Roderick Clearwater (lvl 2), human rogue, 601 XP
  • Tapio of Gareth, human fighter (lvl 2), 668 XP
  • Dargoth the Daring, human fighter (lvl 2), 742 XP

First, they sent Jules into the tunnel entrance they found, but he only smelled rodents and found nothing else. Their next target was the barn, where the mercenaries Alrik, Torben and Perainos had seen a monster earlier. The group dispersed, taking vantage points up on roofs and walls, in case a monster storms out. Jules again was sent to scout the barn, but could only report a smell of decay.

Dargoth opened the door, but nothing dashed out and attacked. They started smashing barred windows and walls to let some light into the barn, and finally found the monster: a giant sowbug! It hid in the darkest corner of the barn. Discerning it probably was no threat if left alone, they gave it an opening to scuttle of, which it did.

I had them roll a Nature DC 8 check to safely route the sowbug off.

Afterwards they searched the barn intensly, but found only a couple copper pieces. Only when Dargoth took detailed measurements he found a trapdoor hidden under the hay. It took the group quite some effort, but finally with a lot of noise, they cracked it open.

And smashed the healing potion that lay beneath it. Such is life.

Beneath was a small tunnel where Dargoth barely fit into, and which caused a strange echo effect if shouted into. The group did that for some time, before Tapio decided to investigate (and stepped into a puddle of healing drought). Dargoth followed him.

The tunnel ended in a wooden grate, in the room behind it stood an ugly stone statue. Tapio simply threw the grate over, disturbing lots of dust, which temporarily blinded him. When the dust settled, the stone statue stood right in front of him, he immediately attacked, but his swords brushed the stone without any effect. In return, the monster grabbed him and gave him some nasty bites and shoves. Luckily, Dargoth managed to persuade the monster that he would be a more dangerous target, which let the rather winded Tapio go. After a harrowing back and forth, the monster finally crumbled.

Phew. That was a difficult fight – all fighters had to use their second wind ability, and Dargoth even drank his potion of giant strength as his early attacks barely caused any noticable effect. If Dargoth had not successfully intimidated the monster, poor Tapio would have probably been crushed in its grip. And all that by a well positioned standard monster.

Afterwards they searched the chamber and found quite a lot of loot among the rubble: Among other things, a throwing knife, an axe, a halberd, a morning-star, five potions in differently coloured bottles, and a little money.

I am really curious when they are going to test those and what they will make of them!

After having given XP for the successful fight, we stopped the session a bit earlier than usual.

Crowdfunding: Mythic Britain (deutsche Ausgabe)

Für Fans des historisch angehauchten Rollenspiels: Die Rune-Quest-Gesellschaft (RQG) will Mythic Britain, ein Setting für Mythras bzw. RuneQuest (und kompatible Regelwerke), im Rahmen eines Crowdfundings übersetzen. Es spielt in einem Britannien, in dem aller Aberglauben des 4. bis 6. Jahrhundert nach Christus wahr sind.

Das finde ich etwas ärgerlich, da ich mir gerade vor kurzem die englische Ausgabe gekauft habe. Hätte ich mal ein wenig gewartet, denn die Rune-Quest-Übersetzungen dauern bei der RQG zwar immer etwas länger, werden dafür in aller Regel auch gut.

Der letzte Crowdfunder der RQG (das Mythras-Regelwerk) wurde erfolgreich abgeschlossen und weist nach allem, was ich gehört habe, eine gute Qualität auf. Da das gleiche Team hinter diesem Projekt steht, sollte es eine ähnliche Qualität aufweisen. Zu Beginn holperte bei Mythras allerdings die Kommunikation etwas (weshalb ich schließlich auch kein Geld dafür ausgab), das kriegte die RQG aber mit der Zeit in den Griff, weshalb ich vermute, dass dieses Crowdfunding runder verläuft als das vorige.

Für Fans des historischen Rollenspiels kann ich daher nur empfehlen, einmal ein Blick auf dieses Crowdfunding zu werfen. Die Preise scheinen mir angemessen, der Umsetzungszeitraum etwas knapp, allerdings nicht unmöglich.