GMing includes creating towns, adventures and treasure, running adventures, and reffing the rules. Questions about any of that? Ask ‘em here.
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When creating swanky treasure, the text suggests that you make it something that everyone can share, or that you give everyone treasure at once. The example item treasures are mostly for a single character, however. Does a significant treasure equate to one +1 vest, or to a +1 vest for each character in the party? If the former, can the GM hold back significant treasures until he can give out one to every player at the same time? If not, how can the GM give out a related set of magic items?
“Weapons or tools that grant abilities,” right, on 86-87? The cool stuff made from the carcass of the mine serpent is all one single treasure. The group kills the mine serpent and drags its carcass out with them, the GM says “okay here’s what you can have made from it: a dagger, a magical focus, and an armor shirt.”
So, the latter: a significant treasure equates to a +1 vest for each character in the party.
Except it’s not strictly each character. The text says “several of the characters,” and I usually just make 2 or 3 cool things at a time.
Cool, that makes perfect sense now. Thanks!
Counterstrike says it does “a die of damage” if you beat the opponent. Is that real damage, or does it have to beat blue-die successes, e.g. armor?
Really? Yikes! It does 1 damage, plain and simple, ignoring armor and everything.
The text probably does say “a point of damage” - I was typing the question from memory. Even so, I wanted to make sure that the point of damage ignored armor, so thanks for clarifying. It sounds like a handy, er, feat to have if you’re up against an opponent with a lot of blue dice!
Sample Hometown setup:
Land Beyond the Rivers intro page
Character Types: including lists
Do things seem to conform to code?
The yet-to-be-available character types include Arms and Spells Guy, whom I can’t help but think of as “Jihadist.” But I’ll come up with another name!
Off to create monsters now . . .
Vincent, how should a GM handle human opponents? Would you create them as if they were player characters, or would you go through the monster creation rules (maybe only choosing Flesh as their type?)
Not as if they were player characters! Goodness no, never that. They’re monsters. Flesh and metal if they’re armed with metal, flesh and bone otherwise.
Jim: Yay! Thanks. I’ll read it all carefully and comment when I have a chance.
Vincent, just want to make sure I understand roughly the amount of significant treasure to hand out so that the group’s transition to Level 2 is smooth.
If level 1 takes 12 sessions (you mention the average being 10 to 15), does this look like an appropriate amount for a player?
Two new character types
A weapon (individual treasure)
Armor or cloak (individual treasure)
Shield or ring (individual treasure)
A special item or tool (individual treasure)
A new map (individual treasure)
An Item of Portent
Two Group Improvements
That’s five individual treasures, so for nearly half the sessions a player would be getting a “present”, and for the rest the group as a whole would receive a benefit.
You don’t get to choose how much significant treasure to hand out. Every adventure is worth 11-19 XV. That means that every adventure, hand out 1 significant treasure (and 1-9 minor).
Level 2 happens in 50+ XP. Maybe right at 50, maybe way up around 100, depending on how things go. So that’s 5-10 significant treasures, roughly, in level 1.
Don’t worry about how many of which kinds of significant treasures! Make a plan when you create an adventure, never before, and even then, don’t decide on the treasure until the adventure’s done.
We’re getting ready to play. I’m curious about religion in the starting milieu. The game seems to lean away from the faux-Christian faux-medeval setting common in fantasy games. Is there any particular reason for this? One player suggested a city on the border between Catholic Europe and Orthodox Eastern Europe. Would there be any reason to shy away from this? The setting as presented in the book seems to imply earlier more animist religions.
It’s true, but no, no particular reason. Don’t shy away!
Or rather, the reason is quite particular: approach and pass 1000 and I start to feel really, like, fettered. I blame Ars Magica.
Do the magical domains make any kind of intuitive sense to you in a Catholic-meets-Orthodox context?
I think I could make the domains make sense in that context. Ultimately I’ve shied away from the Catholic / Orthodox setting because interpreting the domains as representing rival religions doesn’t really ring my bell. I can see that arising through play, however, which seems a lot more interesting than imposing it as a setting choice.
I didn’t mean to imply that - it doesn’t ring my bell either. To my mind, priests of most religions are wizards of the Spirit World and the Household.
I asked this question a while back, but it seems to have been skipped over.
Before running this game, I want to know:
As the GM, how much, and what exactly, do I need to establish before a battle starts?
Do I draw a map? Do I say what tactical constraints are in place? Do I say where everyone is? Do I say if tactical constraints already apply to people? In other words, are there already some combatants rolling dice from the outset, or does it have to be established via setup rolls?
If it’s all flexible, then what do you do, and find to work well?
You can draw a map.
You should describe the battlefield, with everyone understanding that the features you describe can be used as tactical constraints - but you don’t need to specify them as tactical constraints.
If tactical constraints already apply to people, then yes, you better say so.
Nobody should be rolling any dice before the first setup, though. I don’t understand that part.
A thought: for “the lists” and “the character types” (p.10), I know this is a sweet chance to customize and “own” the game, and I know there are two example sets in there already, but it would still be sweet to have a whole shedload more examples on a website like Abulafia where people would share their Storming creations. I think it would both stimulate other groups’ creative juices, as well as be a quick and dirty way to set up the game for someone with zero prep time.
The “rolling dice” was a typo, strange as it sounds.
I was just trying to distinguish between these two ways of introducing the battle:
A. The battle is on! The goblins are up on the bridge, above you, so they get two bonus dice.
B. The battle is on! There is a bridge there. In the setup phase, I’m going to roll for them to get into place on the bridge, so they can use it as a tactical advantage.
It sounds like you don’t have a preference either way. Is that right?
Trying to brainstorm a good setting for a StWT game, I came back to an old idea that I shelved a couple of years ago…taking John Harper’s “Wolves of the North” setting for Dogs in the Vineyard (PC’s as Viking champions), but crossing it with Roanoke, so the stories are set in those first Viking colonies in America.
It could be a large and currently prosperous village, with some trade with Native Americans. But part of the setting tone would probably be a growing sense of dread, since the players know those initial colonies didn’t make it. Would that conflict too much with the game?
And the bigger question: what is the wizard and the wizard’s tower? My thought is it could be a dark Viking sorcerer who made it over before the PC’s…which could be a great reveal, since the characters assume they’re the first whiteys to step foot on the continent. But I’m without part 2 released, I’m not quite sure whether that would jive with what’s coming.
Don’t worry about the wizard yet! What’ll happen is, three adventures in (or so) you’ll get a really good idea for the wizard, so you’ll start dropping hints. Then by the time it’s time for the group to level up, you’ll have a very clear picture and a solid batch of in-play setup, so you’ll be all ready and set.
Having an idea now just means you’ll have to throw it away when, three adventures in, you get the really good idea.
That makes sense. Does the rest of the setting concept sound like it would work? It’s a bit afield from the examples in the book or that I’ve read.
Oh, yeah, totally sounds great. I wouldn’t hesitate.
I played in that Wolves of the North game, and it was totally like playing Storming the Wizard’s Tower.
While playing tonight, the PCs were up against some tough terrain, confusing trap-filled rat tunnels, Perception based, with Dazzle (for the confusing maze of intersecting passages) and Jagged (for the traps). Armour, to make Jagged hit more often. 3xv.
One of the characters has the spell A Guiding Shadow, and her player wanted to use it to get through the tunnels. It seemed to be a reasonable thing to try, but I was unsure of how best to do it. I thought of giving hits as bonus red dice, but decided to allow hits as direct damage allowing, it turned out, easy passage. I decided each damage check box represented 1 decision point.
I remain somewhat unsatisfied with that encounter, but I’m not sure if it’s because I think I may not have done things the best way, or because I think they might have outsmarted me. I was hoping those tunnels would become synonymous with terror and loathing and cries in the dark, but the result was sort of “oh, the old dark, twisting, trap-filled rat tunnels. How ordinary.”
That’s a good application of the spell - the attack spells inflict damage directly, so it makes sense for a guidance spell “attacking” a maze to do the same.
Did you have any way in the maze to attack the spellcaster directly? Next time, consider dropping the maze to 1XV and making the traps a 2XV monster of their own, with attack abilities. No attacks means that you have nothing to stop spellcasters having their way with you.
What about putting the pcs against an evil wizard/priest?
Should I treat him as a monster with special attacks such as mesmerize or can I give him spells to cast? At which cost in XV?
…but maybe an evil wizard is a matter for level 2…
When I made an evil wizard monster, I made the wizard himself as one monster and his spells as a second monster. It worked okay -
Well actually, that whole game was kind of iffy. I was playing with 5 12-and-unders, so I don’t really know how well it worked. I’ll want to try it again before I draw conclusions.
Anyhow that’s my advice: create the wizard as one monster, and his spells as an additional monster or monsters under his command.
Prolly just a matter of covering every spell ability in the special abilities section for monsters. What spells can’t you make right now with the monster abilities?
Doing that would make it easier, perhaps, to create new spells from scratch.
Spells as additional monsters? It’s a strange approach, but I think it should work, provided that they’ll require a unique monster template. They could use their 5 white dices as green dices to calculate the spell hits.
Otherwise, what do you think about giving every monster an ARCANA skill and creating a monster ability called “Spellcaster”? Every time the monster selects it, he could choose one spell he can cast with green dices equals to his arcana skill.
Oh. For a wizard monster, I wouldn’t pay any attention to the existing, listed spells. Those are for PCs only.
If you really WANT to have your monster cast the existing, listed spells, then yes, a monster ability’s the way to go. I believe I’d list it only under flesh and shadow. Here’s what I’d do:
SPELLCASTING (special move): The monster gets 2 green dice toward casting a spell from your regular spell list. Choose the spell now, when you create the monster. The spell goes off in followthrough, as normal, and the monster gets to spend its success as normal on the spell’s effects. [Recall that its success is its white+green minus the best incoming white+red.]
IMPROVED EFFECT: For each +1XV, give the monster an additional green die and an additional spell it can choose to cast, to a maximum of 6 green dice and 5 available spells.
But like I say, my first choice would be to create its “spells” either as its own abilities or as mosters themselves, using the existing monster abilities (like mesmerize, drain, armor, attack, etc….)
Thanks a lot Vincent!
Both the options are really compelling… I’ll tell you soon how they work in combat!
I was reading the text again the other night, and i was wondering if you could post the actual write up for what Abilities you selected and how much XV you put into the Terrain that the three players battle on pages 68-72? That would help me, i think, in understanding what you’re doing as the GM in that example. I’ve had some…uh…trouble with Terrain, as it goes.
The central asia thing gets another twist in my setting: Avramistan
It’s a twist on the Kingdom the Khazars
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