One of the players in KN’s just-started Nordlond campaign –  Forumite, Discordian and infrequent guest poster Kalzazz – wanted to play a character from “Totally Not England.” As it turns out, such a place exists. It is called Brionnu, just south of Nordlond, along the eastern coast. There’s another realm/raiding target called Arnulf as well. “Totally Not England” is strongly Celtic in nature. It’s organized in what are best called Parrishes, with a local priest or druid (lots of druids) communing with nature and the gods, and acting as chief and first citizen. The parrishes are not terribly large, which means raiding one won’t get you in trouble with an entire country…just maybe a few thousand folks.

Hey, Vikings gotta Viking.

In any case here’s the first session, which I reported in A Pair of Wizards, as told from his point of view.

We were starting level, we were on a boat, then we fought bandits and crushed them.

Starting on a boat was a nice touch reminding me of Shining Force CD, and bandits of course are the popular starting foes of untold Fire Emblem games (Fire Emblem Gaiden even gives you Bandits on a Boat!).  I was really hopeful we would get to fight Dire Conches though like in Shining Force, some author needs to make those happen.

The fight . . . well.  It was definitely a low level GURPS fight.  Natalie started off auspiciously with a good axe throw, then not so well with a shield rush, so she didn’t get to use her cool boarfolk power.  She fortunately did not actually fall off the boat (though I would have felt that pretty appropriate!).  

I had promised to get hurt so healing could happen, and I was successful on that end.

The topic of contention is to sell the boat or keep it, with the delta about 3.5k either way, so that isn’t enough for any cool magic items I have no strong feelings on the matter.

I did start Natalie with a katana (sorry, a Brionese Sicklesword, the whole D&D idea of druids can use scimitars since are sickle shaped, well, Brionu is Celtic so Druid Land so I’m sure they like katanas!) because reach 2 cutting seems fabulous and they may be hard to get later.   So no quick release backpack or armor.   Getting armor and probably hobnails are in my future.

I’m probably going to spend the 3 CP I just got on Lifting ST, so my armor doesn’t send me careening wildly into the depths of encumbrance.   Encumbrance is very very real even for ST 19 barbarians.

I usually think of low level to high level characters in terms of low level characters are those whose biggest challenge is overcoming their own incompetence that gradually morph into being challenged by the coolness of the opposition.   We really weren’t challenged this session, but it still felt pretty low level.  I haven’t played a barbarian before but I think it is a pretty slow burn template unlike knights, swashes or wizards who can really roll from the get go, so I am hoping this campaign goes long enough to be being burning brightly.   The fact we had 30 seconds before the enemy arrived and the enemy did not simply die in a hail of ranged attacks in 5 of those 30 seconds also felt pretty low end, only Chuff (with a sling) and the Elfard Wizard (whose name I dare not try to spell, whats up with Elf Wizards with challenging names?  Seep in DFW has a Special Character in her name!) had the only ranged attacks that actually had ammo.   

The burning question now is in the realm of the Encumbrance and Liquidity constrained, is it better to get overall wimpy armor, or better to have less wimpy armor but more gaps in coverage?

And on the less wimpy but gaps in coverage plan, what do you armor?   Torso (or even front torso) since it is easiest to hit, or hands, feet and skull since weakest points?

An enemy All Out Attack next to me, and of course, my instinct was ‘Telegraphic to the Skull!’, but no Telegraphic in DFRPG.  That is huge.   That really was my crowning moment of feeling like a low level no account starting character scrub . . . . when an Enemy All Out Attack and it had zero input on my action next round, because not enough skill to target the skull, and neck at 11 or less . . . . so I just threw the same generic body blow I would have anyway.

This brought up the other burning question – what option makes the biggest change?  Telegraphic, Committed/Defensive, Evaluate?  (thats a trick question, I am sure it is not Evaluate).   Telegraphic is the Universal Response to All Out Attacks when it exists . . . without it they may be more worth doing, at least against the skill constrained.   What option changes the game the most?  I would be interested to see that discusssed.

Who knows!  Looking forward to next session!  And I really liked the cool map and boats.

Special thanks to Bruno for being general awesome and the reason I wanted to play DFRPG to begin with (and making a fabulous character art for me), Zul for running this (and the super awesome DOA that preceded it), and DHC to creating Nordlond.

I got to talk with Che Webster for the third time about a month ago. We talked about adventure design and a few other topics of interest.

As always, Che is a delight. The interview started at 6am my time, so he helped me focus. Some. That was important.

604 Adventures With Douglas Cole

user avatar

Reviews Starting to come in!

Over at GreysonWHY, we have

Quick Review(s) of The Dragons of Rosgarth, Forest’s End, Norðlondr Fólk, and Hand of Asgard from Gaming Ballistic for the DFRPG

Then high praise over at Don’t Forget Your Boots. To the North!

If you write a review, let me know. If you use the character-building books, let me know. If you play the adventures, link up your session summaries if you write them!

If you’re interested, you can find the books set in Nordlond on the GB Store:

Adventure/Setting

Rules/Supplement

 

Over on the SJG Forms, user Dalin wrote up a perfectly blushingly glowing play report on The Citadel at Nordvorn:

This past weekend, three of my players and I retreated to a small family cabin in the snows of northern Minnesota to launch our new Norðlond campaign. I’ve been buying Doug’s great DFRPG products since the first kickstarter, but have only run bits and pieces as one-shots with side groups. (I snagged a few monsters and sample characters for other adventures, too.) My main group just wrapped up their previous campaign, so we decided to dive in whole hog.

I wasn’t sure where to begin and, with my school rapidly retooling for distance learning, I had little time to prepare. It came down to skimming/rereading my Nordlond material (Hall of Judgment, Citadel at Norðvörn, and the prerelease PDFs from the Nordlond Sagas kickstarter) and hoping something would click.

As I headed into the weekend, I expected that we would begin with Hall of Judgment as an introductory scenario. The players, however, wanted to get to know the wider setting before diving into an adventure, so we decided to begin with some vignettes along the Jotunnáin river. This led me to pull out the Citadel at Norðvörn. This was the book that I was the most unsure about. I loved reading it as a setting book, but I wasn’t sure that I would be nimble enough as a GM to flesh out the various plots on the fly. I should never have hesitated.

It was awesome. Seriously. I’ll post more about it in this thread as I have time, but we probably played for 15-20 hours over the weekend and there was no shortage of material. The vignettes idea faded away as the group became absorbed by the plot threads in the small town of Áinferill. The NPCs were rich and evocative. The maps and pictures in the book made great game-aids, and my players were fully immersed. It grew naturally from low-stakes roleplaying with minor NPCs to an epic quest into the Dragongrounds. There were moments of comedy, pathos, and edge-of-your-seat action. It was some of the most rewarding gaming that I’ve ever experienced.

I don’t get a lot of feedback on my stuff, least of all play reports. So hearing that it went well, and that more detailed reports will follow, fills me (and Steve Jackson himself!) with joy.

If it seems interesting, The Citadel at Nordvorn is not hard to get in PDF or Print!

FnordCon 2 is looking for folks to run and play RPGs. 14 tables, three days, in Austin TX. Gaming Ballistic will be there; so will Sean Punch. Come by!

This is a repost of the Daily Illuminator. I’d like to point out that RPGs are listed first in the title, and that there are 14 tables for RPGs. That’s more than Car Wars and Munchkin combined. So if you were worried that FnordCon is really MunchkinCon, well, if it were, they’d have called it that.

I’ll be there. So will Sean Punch, who is great fun. I’ll be on two panels: one on GURPS/DFRPG, the other on TFT.

So sign up, and sign up to game. Sign up to RUN a game. I’ll give digital materials, from pre-gen characters from Hall of Judgment to any of the adventures I publish, to anyone that wants to run games at the Con. Let me know you’ve signed up, what games you want to run, and the time slots, and I’ll email you the adventures and map packs if they exist.

I have semi-final table assignments for FnordCon: 14 tables for RPGs, four for Car Wars, six for Munchkin. Times a weekend’s worth of game slots . . . equals a lot of games. And that’s not even taking the open gaming room into account. Or the Ogre room, whose tables will move around depending on the scenario.

There is still time to sign up, and we’d love to have you. Actually, right now would be a great time to register, because I’m about to send out the “want to run games and earn swag?” letter to everyone on the mailing list.

What have we got for you?

     – A weekend of games in a nice hotel.

     – Our staff will be accessible, running games and answering questions.

     – A big game library, and people to teach you both the new things and the classics.

     – Also meet our guest(s) – starting with GoH John Kovalic.  Also: Sean Punch! Drew Metzger! Andrew Hackard! David Blanchard of GPI! Ross Thompson of The Op!

     – See (and help playtest) games and adventures that have not been released, and in some cases have not been announced.

You can register right here.

 Steve Jackson

From the computer in the Lair of the Chaotic GM

Douglas’ Conditional Injury article from Pyramid #3/120 is an excellent alternative to GURPS’ default HP ablation system, especially if you dislike the “death by a thousand papercuts” trope in RPGs. I have built a small tool to facilitate its use:

https://jscalc.io/calc/30GyHBOoMYnXFmRc

It takes into account damage after DR, the target’s HP and other relevant parameters, and outputs the inflicted injury severity. Various consequences such as required HT rolls, shock penalties etc. are also included. The article allows for multiple interpretations of the effects of injury, lending itself very well to different styles of games, but in this case I decided to remain close to the injury rules as presented in the Basic Set.

Enjoy!

While I’m busy finishing up the fourth of four books for the Nordlond Sagas Kickstarter, Steve Jackson Games has launched more support for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG.

The project funded in a few hours on the first day. But this is a “Quickstarter” which means it’s only running for a week. And though the 64-page book funded on Day 1, it “only” has about 350 backers as I publish this, and more is always better. Things get at least “nod with satisfaction” for me at about 500 backers, and just over 600 was my “take” on the last two projects I ran.

The Dungeon Fantasy RPG had nearly 1,600 backers (1,587 if you must know) on its initial launch, and this book promises some ready to go magic items, monsters, and pre-gen NPC races that could easily be migrated over to the player side of the force if a GM wants.

I’m in for the print version; I may upgrade to Retail later, as, well, I DO have a store.

Support the campaign sooner rather than later; it really is the primary portion of the campaign rather than the post-campaign Backerkit-and-Shipping phase that I watch, and I suspect that the SJG folks look at he same thing.

 

This is a nice unboxing video of the Four Perilous Journeys “ALL THE THINGS” pledge level. All five adventures (and the 1-2% error rate on Vampire Hunter Belladonna for assembly problems did not affect this order, so yay!), plus the counter sheets and card deck. Engage MN Passive Voice: “Nice things are said.”

Plus: beer.