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Dungeon Mastering By Dummies

Second Session

by NotMousse
Sep 21,2004


Second Session: Near death of a dork

Allow me to try this introduction thing again.

You may call me NotMousse; I'm a slightly above average intellect male in my mid 20's running a very average home brew game of DnD with what I consider an average lot of players. Not interested in over analysis by people who majored in gaming philosophy with a minor in English, I decided a column with more of an every man's point of view would be interesting. In short this is my thoughts on the campaign that I've been running for the last two years with a group (GM included) that was more interested in having *fun* than the deep socioeconomic issues within the game world. And for that I am grateful.

As a side note. I HATE elves. I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate HATE ELVES! Grrr...

Morning again rises in Rivertucky. Thomas awakens at the crack of noon, feeling fine, and decides to head on over to Fred's place. Jaj, on the other hand, finds himself feeling quite hung over, and unable to find Fred's place. Spying some hicks at the shooting range, an open space with an abandoned mobile home as the target, Jaj asks for directions to Fred's place. A helpful yokel points Jaj in the right direction while spieling about in a uniquely hick fashion. Jaj's hangover gets the best of him on the way over to Fred's and he finds himself in front of the Rivertucky temple. Inside Jaj accidentally insults an acolyte, being attacked and tossed out for the verbal blunder.

I forget the exact reason, but Jaj's player seemed to have a reason to run off on his own. And just for the record the insult was Jaj calling the town's leader a Nerfherder. I'm not sure exactly when Jaj's player decided we were playing Star Wars, but I put an immediate stop to that.

The temple in Rivertucky is pretty much dead center of the place as religion was the only reason I could explain this particular group would farm instead of forming a raiding party that preys on the monster life around them full time. Erm... you didn't just read that guys, there's nothing implied here. Move along now.

Jaj takes his 1 HP having ass back to the inn and awaits help. Hikaru, having left for Fred's much earlier waits out front with Thomas, eventually deciding to look for him at the Inn. Thomas and Hikaru find the battered Jaj and heal him, heading back to Fred's.

Sitting on the stoop of Fred's home is Cletus, the prisoner, cleaning a light crossbow. Cletus cautiously loads his crossbow. Seeing this Thomas clocks Cletus upside the head with his heavy mace, dropping Cletus like a sack of cement. Thomas applies a bit of healing to Cletus before bursting into the Yerfburger residence. Upon entering the mobile home, Thomas is confronted by three crossbows trained upon him, one each from Fred, Ma, and Daisy May Yerfburger. During the course of combat Jaj is turned into a pin cushion, saved only by bribing his god, kills a pig, then flees, Thomas surrenders, then attacks, then pleads for the fighting to stop, before fleeing. Finally, Hikaru further pisses off Fred, who then rages at her before she flees.

This is the first official full blown disaster for my group. Considering all that has happened since I'm pleasantly surprised it took so long.

Now the players didn't know a few things; chief among them being that Cletus was Fred's errant son, and that bursting into a room with a bloody mace is a major breech of etiquette in Rivertucky. Another thing that must have been missed by my players, is that this was hillbilly town, and personal arms were not only common, but considered a rite of passage.

I was very much considering replying to Thomas' 'I burst into the room' with 'After walking into the room you go *splut* ... make a new character'.

This also marks Jaj's first time slaughtering a pork bearing animal. Erm... whatever you call the animal family that's meat is called pork. I'll be looking this up soon I'm sure. Any who, this is where Jaj begins to earn the title Pork's Bane.

The village of Rivertucky becomes quite hostile as hicks gather to shoot at the fleeing adventurers. After finally fleeing Rivertucky, the trio heads west, then north to the river, following it downstream till they make camp at night.

As any proper town where the population's tan ends at the neck and arms Rivertucky is constantly ready to reduce any perceived threat into a bloody pincushion just waiting to be erected in the fields as a morbid scarecrow. As I'm sure you can guess much boot was applied to group butt.

This is where I first started taking bribes. Well I might have taken a quick bribe about 4 paragraphs up, but here's where I made it official. With characters like Jaj within the group I figured I should profit from the extra slack given for certain... actions. Agitating a peaceful shire only to slaughter their entire fighting population (minus one pissed cleric) comes immediately to mind. As does shooting one's 'love' in the back. Though my favorite was being beaten by a horse.

The next day the group comes across a group of kobolds attacking some wild horses. Jaj splatters the kobold look out, thus the kobolds continue attacking the horses. Hikaru and Thomas double team a kobold as Jaj and his familiar splatter most of the remaining kobolds. Ted arrives on heavy war horse back, leaping 20 feet from the saddle as his steed comes to a stop. Ted then fires a crossbow bolt into the heart of the remaining kobold, tossing it about twenty feet back before the body limply lands with a thud. Ted scores a critical hit!

I had planned for Ted to rescue the group, but then Jaj suddenly pulled some competence out of his butt and the flashy entrance was pretty much wasted. Then again who knew an owl was more than a match for little lizardy men?

Bonus Section!

This is a few selections of my house rules. Mainly deviations from the core D20 rules, but also a few bits of originality. Of special note are my racial adjustments and my simple drinking rules.

Races no longer have racial bonuses to skills, instead any race with a bonus of +2 or higher will be considered to have that skill as a racial class skill, subject to the normal costs and limitations of class skills. Additionally races with bonuses with certain weapons lose those in favor of automatic proficiency with such weapons and any other racially specific weaponry (eg a Dwarf would be automatically proficient with a waraxe as it's a weapon native to their culture).

Actually that automatic proficiency bit was before I read the 3.5 rules where the weapons are treated as martial instead of exotic for their races, which makes more sense. I've since changed my house rules to reflect this.

The exact changes are as follows:

  • Dwarf racial skills are Appraise, Craft (anything to do with stone or metal), however, they do not receive the ability to detect irregularities in stonework just by passing nearby. Dwarves are also proficient with the light hammer, hand axe, urgrosh, dwarven waraxe (both it's two and one handed uses), and the warhammer.
  • Elf racial skills are Listen, Search, and, Spot, however, they do not get an automatic chance to discover secret areas simply by passing near them. Elves are also proficient with short swords and one type of bow or crossbow. They also gain 2 extra starting feats, but they're elves, this means a fairly short life in my campaign.
  • Gnome racial skills are Alchemy and Listen. Gnomes are also proficient with Gnome hooked hammer and repeating crossbows, because it sounds like a Gnomish type of weapon.
  • Hobbit, erm... Halfling racial skills are Climb, Jump, Listen, and, Move Silently. They're automatically proficient with skiprocks and slings.
  • Orcs are much like Half Orcs as presented within the PHB only with their bonuses doubled and the addition of a -1 penalty to attack rolls in bright light. Orcs are also proficient with the Orc double axe.
  • Humans being versatile can choose two skills to become permanent class skills.
  • The half races, Half Elves and Half Orcs, are discouraged as both races are not prone to breeding with humans. The 'Half' races are screwed since they only have +1 racial bonus to skills, lose them, and don't have any racial class skills to show for it.

Oriental Adventures will be a large source for this campaign, it will dominate a portion of the game world and it's influences will be felt throughout the world.

Monks will not have to ready their fists as a weapon, I forgot if this was an actual rule or not, but the absurdity of it all compels me to state this anyway.

Drinking is a fun and unpredictable affair, thus whenever a character fails a Fortitude save against alcohol (which counts as a poison for any characters who have special resistance to such) another player may dictate his next actions for a short period of time. After failing three Fortitude saves in a row the character has passed out.

Criticals being of a rarer nature in third edition, I'll tell you if the hit kills or not, and then allow you to describe how the hit is delivered. As a side note, no golden coins will fly out of enemies, nor will healing potions, or magical items of any sort.

Joking is fun, but if I think it's an interesting idea I may roll my D30 of Doom (tm) to make it reality (e.g. a cleric of the sun god possibly being narcoleptic). So feel free to jest about other characters.

Skill Focus is one of those near useless feats. As such I'll allow players to chose two skills to gain the benefit of Skill Focus when it's taken as a feat. This does double duty as it also eliminates the need to remember the name for so many feats that do the same thing.

The Negotiation skill is used for any monetary dealings; it's key stat is Charisma, and it is usable untrained. Negotiation rolls are opposed checks, the winner may adjust the price of the negotiated item or service by up to 2% per point by which he beats the opposing roll. Warning, anytime an item or service is reduced by 40% or more the losing party will be pissed, and this may effect future dealings.

End session.

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