Stay off ladders. Just sayin’.
"Tris!" He shouted as the large form fell on Tristan...
After their tough battle against the wererat and his pals. I decided Tris & Kip needed to rest a little and recoup from the strenuous and deadly battle. As per the rules, Kip's maximum travel rate through along a forested trail is nine miles, less than Tristan's 12. Using the six mile hex this means we can cover 1.5 hexes per day. After a short break to rest and eat, the pair decide to move along the trail.
Not wanting to use a complicated system for random encounters, I threw together a quick method for determining what might be encountered if I roll that they encounter something. I have decided I would rather us oracles than set encounter tables all the time. I prefer the simple method of a d6, just has that old school feel to me, so I decide to stick with the d6.
Roll a d6
6 Human* (1-3 common, 4-5 merchants, 6 bandits)
In this case I am using 'humanoid' to refer to goblins, orcs, ogres, etc...things not human or demi-human, not necessarily evil per se, but certainly not the usual friendly types you'd invite to over to dinner.
Using my method of random encounter checks and stumble upon checks I discover that the pair did not stumble upon anything but they did encounter something! Using my table above, I determine that it is a monster! Drat! I was hoping they might catch a break. Well, let's figure out what they have encountered.
A centaur! Hmmm, this is interesting. Let's use my die-based oracle:
Did the centaur ambush them? No, and.... he has spotted them, but they have not spotted him yet. He is watching them from afar.
Here I was at a loss, so I grabbed the Table Fable book and determine randomly that the centaur is...scared?? Hmmm, back to the oracle.
Is someone or something after him? Yes, and...
Is it being hunted? Yes, and...
Is the hunter a person? A tie and the white die is a 3. Quite ambiguous, and even the white die is middle of the road. My first thought was if this was a yes, it would be a person, if a no then that meant some sort of monster, but here the oracle provides little. What is neither a man nor a monster? Then it hit me....a spirit! Interesting. I randomly come up with the name of Myndaril for our new NPC, Myndaril the hunted centaur.
Our boys were spotted but so far they thought they were alone, suddenly Myndaril shouts "Begone!" This alerts the boys, who spot the centaur off in the forest who suddenly appears to be arguing with some unseen person. "Begone, I say!"
Is he mad (crazy)? No
Is he angry? Yes
Angered at the unseen person, Myndaril charges forward, apparently attempting to flee from this spirit, and inadvertently plows in Tristan, both tumble to the ground. Trist stands and tries to calm the situation, getting a positive reaction (applying his Charisma bonus). Myndaril stands, shaken but generally friendly.
Trying to figure out why a spirit is haunting him, I turn to the oracle again. Is he cursed? Yes
Aha! So he is haunted because someone placed a curse upon him.
The pair eye each other, Tris attempting to calm the bedraggled centaur.
Does he calm Myndaril (I add Tris's Charisma mod)? No, and...
Bad, bad all around. Tristan constant gibbering angers Myndaril and he takes a halfhearted swing at Tris causing him to duck, which gives the centaur the opportunity to dash past the cleric and off into the trees. As he rides off, the pair hears him shouting angrily "No! Begone I say, it was not my fault!"
Does anything else happen along the trail until nightfall? No.
The boys continue and pick a spot to camp, they begin setting up camp....
Does anything happen during the night? Yes, and...
Does it happen during the first shirt (6pm to midnight)? Yes.
At what hour? I roll a d6 and add it to 6pm, coming up with a 2 brings us to 8pm.
But what happens? Do they encounter a monster? Yes, but..
Are they surprised? Yes, but...
As they are setting up camp, but before they get out of their armor. Kip spots movement in the trees above (oddly this was completely random but fit into the narrative perfectly), alerting his friend moments before the gecko drops on him, effectively negating the surprise. However, they lose initiative and Tris takes a massive blow, dropping him to just 2hp. Kip manages a solid hit, doing 5hp of damage. For a few rounds, the sides trade swings but no one hits, then suddenly Kip is struck, dropping him to just 2 hit points as well. It was looking grim and then, initiative is tied!
The beast rolls and hits Kip...for just 1hp. Now Tris has 2hp and Kip has just 1hp. They turn to resolve their attacks....
Tris hits, doing 5hp damage. Kip hits as well, his hand ax delivering the killing blow with 6hp!
It was a desperate and dangerous battle, one they barely survived. Kip's last strike sliced into the creature's gut and as the two heroes lay resting, unable to stand, they look over and see a surprising thing...
Inside the creature's gut are three gems!
I roll on the treasure tables, 150gp, 50gp, and.....1,200gp value! Whoa....
Here is what our hexmap looks like so far:
I switched things up between the centaur encounter and the gecko. I was digging through my dice bag and found my d30. I have had it for years but not really used it and that jarred my memory. I remembered I had the d30 Companion and I quickly switched from the Table Fables books to it. Nothing wrong with the TF books, I just prefer the d30 Companion book and it gave me the opportunity to use the d30 I had laying around.
photo from unsplash: https://unsplash.com/@jplenio
The priest kneeled before the woodland altar, uttering a few soft words. The halfling eyed his companion, wondering what god he was praying to. Suddenly a large brown creature leapt from the thick forest, jaws flaring at the priest!
So my real life has reared it's ugly head again and I am stuck with no gaming or....well...no gaming. I decided to once again delve into solo gaming. I grabbed my trusty copy of White Box, printed out some character sheets, grabbed some dice, my copies of Table Fables, a notepad, some hex and graph paper...
I quickly rolled up to gents, and human cleric and a halfling fighter, ready to explore. Thanks to Bill who gave me their names: Tristan & Kip:
Wondering what we might have found, I grabbed the Table Fable II book and looked up Wilderness landmarks. I rolled and they discovered an Altar to the Wind God. I thought a moment and decided to change this to an Altar to HIS God. Tristan was overjoyed to have found this holy shrine to his god and exclaimed he must pray and make an offering. Dropping 5 gold pieces into the stone coffer chained to the altar (displaying the many attempts people have made to steal it), he dropped to his knees and began praying in earnest. Kip looked about and almost missed some movement in the bushes moments before a large rat leapt at Tristan's throat. (Surprised? 5, nope.) Kip manages to get off a shout before the rat reaches Tristan and the rat's attack misses.
Round 1: The wererat wins initiative and both rats attack Kip but the wererat focuses on the pesky cleric, but his swings go wide. The rats lunge at Kip, scoring a solid hit for 2 damage! Tristan returns with a wild attack that goes no where. Kip fairs better, killing one rat with a single blow!
Round 2: The rats win initiative again! The wererat manages to nick Tristan for 1 damage. One rat hits Kip and drops him by 1 damage. Tristan manages a great hit and whacks the wererat for 2 damage, lucky to have silvered his weapon, otherwise there would be no damage. Kip swings wide.
Tristan is at 5 of 6hp while Kip has just 5 of 7.
Round 3: Both sides roll 2s, so they will go simultaneously. I roll the baddies first, The wereat misses Tristan but the rat hits Kip again, dropping him another 2 points, down to just 3! Tristan smashes his morning star into the wererat's head and does 5 damage, killing it instantly1 Kip raises his short sword over his head and smashed down on the remaining rat, scoring a natural 20! It's brains make a splattering squishy sound.
It was a tough fight, but our boys survived and they take a moment to rest and bind their wounds. After they have caught their breath, they check and as luck would have it, the wererat had a satchel of coins!
Tristan regains full health and Kip ends with 6 of 7 hit points.
Space Marine HQ tells me to inform you that the incident has been resolved and everything is fine.
I guess FKR is suddenly cool because some dude named Ben started talking about it, now the little kiddos are fawning all over it. Welcome, we have been here for quite a while.
I made this (oddly) on September 11, 2019 and I honestly cannot recall if I shared it or not. I have uploaded it to itch so you can have it stored in your 'library'. This was my attempt to create something a modern player might accept that is still close to what Dave played.
So yeah, this probably isn't even close.
Check it out here: https://mattjackson.itch.io/arneson-gaming
Go watch Secrets of Blackmoor, might learn a thing or two.
side note: have more and more of your friends left social media and gone to simple texting? I am finding more and more of my friends are doing this.
My friend was lamenting that he had been creating something and mailing it (yeah, that old fashioned thing involving putting sticky stamp on it) and almost no one was giving him feedback. He took the time to not only create something, but also print it, snail mail a physical object to people, and few could take the time to merely say "Thanks." I mulled over this most of the ten hour day today at work and as I took the dogs out for their evening walk, it hit me, "Fuck, I am that guy too."
As a creator that sort of affirmation is like air. I am guessing if you are a creator, I am preaching to the choir here, but for that do not, let me see if I can explain. Even if you charge for your work, or perhaps especially if you do not, the feedback is often worth more to creators. Simply knowing that you breathed something into existence and someone, even if only a few, found it worth or simply said a "Thank you" can mean success to creators. For non-creators I think this can be hard to understand.
I wonder if today's world where so very much is available at our fingertips has caused us to truly no longer appreciate the work others do. Perhaps we are too busy? Perhaps we are all assholes? I don't know but I can tell you that a regular post on my blog gets well over 200 to 300 hits on average after they are posted, then over the next typically end up around 600-700 unique hits. Guess how many comments I get? Typically around 2-3.
Now, back to where I said I was one of those assholes too. People post to their blogs, on social media, insta, twit, itch.io, and a host of other means, I read these, look at these, and rarely comment. Yes, I am exactly who I am describing as well.
So, what am I going to do about it? I am going to take the remainder of October, and anything I download (damn I am addicted to itch.io), blog post I read, pdf I buy, any letter I receive in the mail, I am going to say "thank you", post a comment, or holy shit! write a letter back.
side note: Damn it, getting something GOOD in the mail is such a rarity these days. I will stand in front of my mailbox, open a letter, and read it right there. That a person took the time to write something on that ancient artifact called paper, put a stamp on it, and dozens if not hundreds of people worked to bring it to me, is just mind blowing.
I challenge you to do the same.* If nothing else, just be human and converse, say "Hello", "Thank you", and all that other good stuff we used to do back before our politics began to split us asunder.
* And I don't just me on my blog, stop by the ones you regularly read, make a comment or two. #BeHuman