2008-10-20 Unmasking Perdune

The party captured an elf using improvised grabbing & grappling rules and prevented him from killing himself. They used thought detection and charms on him, and were able to get some hints about a secret slaving operation going on. The party didn’t act on it immediately and locked the elf away, where he was conveniently killed by Gorse. But the party never realized.

The party went on a scouting mission and discovered more than 2000 elves had assembled.

Only on the last day before the big attack did Sordrun watch the outsides of the station at night and was able to surprise and kill Pedrune.

Eventually (after the session ended) the party discovered what Pedrune had been up to: He had been planted here by a competitor of the Aspis consortium but had decided to double-cross both by raising a zombie army. And this he did under the cover of the “cold house” where he had already animated twelve corpses. He had a secret deal with some elven rangers that led elves into traps and captured stragglers for him. He was just about to meet some of them when he was killed…

Feel free to add an in-character report. :)

Did you escape with the boat? Did you negotiate a peace with the elves? Did you side with the elves once you learnt more about the secret mine underneath the station? Or did you beat back another wave of at least sixty elves? Either option would have allowed you to survive.

Pedrune also had a strange magic compass on him that keeps pointing into the jungle. It points us to the next adventure, in fact. You can keep these characters or make new ones. Have them at level eight. I’ll take Marco’s advice and have them half way to level nine.

The next game will be the first Monday in December. The party has been following the directions of the strange magical compass for weeks and is finally approaching the target.

  • Elven rangers 3 × 3HD – 9XP
  • Elven warriors 31 × 2HD – 62XP
  • Spying on the elves – 10 XP
  • Defense of the station – 5 XP
  • Lions 2 × 4HD – 8XP
  • Pedrune 7HD – 7XP
CharacterNext Level
Kassandra 43½ / 80
Pepe 68½ / 80
Al 68½ / 80
Sordrun 58½ / 80
Iiro 25¼ / 80

The DM says:

  1. The secret wizard was a level 7 wizard. I rolled 18 hp which would have granted him 1 7d6 fireball, 1 empowered magic missile (20 damage to a single person), and 1 empowered burning hands spell. When Sordrun surprised him in the dark, it was a close call: His first arrow cost Pedrune 6 hp, the fireball cost him another 6 hp, and now Sordrun had to inflict another 6 hp on his last shot. Which he did. :)
  2. The adventure basically says that there is a constant stream of elves coming at you once you enter the jungle. I liked the idea of spying on them, but wasn’t sure what the plan was. So I went along with it…
  3. As far as the M20 rules themselves go, we had a question regarding the number of alarm spells that could be in effect at the same time. I ruled that the number had to be less than a dozen. At the end Pepe had six of them going on. But with Perdrune always being aware of the party’s activities, avoiding them was no problem.
  4. I think the improvised grappling & grabbing rules we’re using work quite well. Just use opposed melee attacks (d20 + level + STR bonus but without magic weapons).
  5. I realize now that I should not have halved XP progression for this game. This would have allowed Kassandra, Pepe, and Al to gain a level at the end of last session. Or maybe I just need to be more liberal with my story awards. After all, that was part of the point.

Report 1 from Iiro

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2008-10-13 To Nightfall Station

Feel free to add an in-character report. :)

  • Elven rangers 5 × 3HD – 15XP
  • Girallion 7HD – 7XP
  • Crocodile 2HD – 2XP
  • Lizardmen 3 × 2HD – 6XP
  • Lizard shaman 3HD – 3XP
  • Shambling mound 8HD – 8XP
  • Faruq the yellow musk creeper zombie 4HD – 4XP
  • Elven fighters 30 × 2HD – 60XP
CharacterNext Level
Kassandra 43¼ / 80
Pepe 43¼ / 80
Al 43¼ / 80
Sordrun 33¼ / 80

Playtest report:

  1. I thought combat worked quite well, even for a large horde of enemies. The rules given in the adventure worked very well: Any visible character gets 1d4 arrows, every round 1d6 elves jump on board. More than 15 savage elves were killed before Al was able to save the boat.
  2. Marco said that he didn’t enjoy playing the M20 HC wizard and felt that it was due to the spell casting = hit point loss rule.

Comments on 2008-10-13 To Nightfall Station

Correction: I enjoy playing a wizard. I enjoy playing a wizard very much, both previously in DnD and presently in M20. What I find distasteful is not being able to participate because I am conserving my hitpoints and twiddling my fingers, or participating fully and finding myself on 1 hitpoint with 7 strength (so, without taking any physical damage the entire combat, a single strike doing 8hp of damage would kill me outright).

I will post more detailed comments on the Spellcasters Loose Hitpoints thread.

– Marco 2008-10-14 10:54 UTC

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2008-10-06 To Whiteriver Station

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Notice that I added two maps to the HomePage.

  • Enraged Dragonnel 6HD – 6XP
  • Kapoacinths 2 × 6HD – 12XP
  • Hippo 3HD – 3XP
  • Pygmy Keches 5 × 5HD and Mambas 5 × 1HD – 30XP for three players only
  • Whoring, donations, cream cake party, drinking with friends 200gp – 2XP each
CharacterNext Level
Kassandra 17¼ / 80
Pepe 17¼ / 80
Al 17¼ / 80
Sordrun 7¼ / 80

Playtest report:

  1. Being able to cast spells and have the cleric heal you immediately allows you to enter combat fully buffed – for free! This ain’t right… How about re-introducing two kinds of hit-point loss. Casting spells costs hit points that cannot be healed (but they will recover after 30min of rest just like all the other hit points lost).
  2. We’ll change the XP rule and drop the “Add +1 for each doubling of the number of foes. e.g.: 1 kobold (a 1 hit die monster) = 1 XP. 2 kobolds = 2 XP. 4 kobolds = 3 XP, 8 kobolds = 4 XP etc.”

Comments on 2008-10-06 To Whiteriver Station

a) Sordrun, not Sandro… b) Why not introducing Mana instead of non-regenerating HP? non-regenerating HP sounds very dangerous within a battle…

– Daniel B 2008-10-07 06:57 UTC

He’s right, I didn’t think about that easy solution yesterday. I would give the mana concept a try.

– Marcel 2008-10-07 07:17 UTC

Hmm, whats the reason that doubling the enemies doesn’t double the XP’s gained? Actually it should “more than double it”, since it’s harder to kill them all at once instead of killing them sequentially.

– Marcel 2008-10-07 07:28 UTC

XP: I assume that the idea was to have the XP proportional to the danger, and danger (in D&D 3.5) is measured in encounter levels (EL), not challenge rating (CR). It’s a strange quirk in the D&D 3.5 rules that you design encounters based on EL (which uses the log scale of +2 for every doubling) but grant XP based on the number of foes and their CR (linear). The original M20 author probably felt like “fixing” this.

Mana: I think one of the reasons for using the current solution is that right now we don’t need different hit dice for different classes. Therefore, everything for a wizard to a battle mage to a rune warrior is possible: It just depends on the number of spells you cast. The more you cast, the weaker you are in combat. If we separate the two, then you can cast all your spells and still be a melee fighter. What we could do is this: Spellcasters have to split their hit-points between hit-points and mana-points. It’s more inflexible but makes “tracking” it easier.

I remain unenthusiastic.

– Alex 2008-10-07 08:37 UTC

XP: In D&D: 2*CR = (CR+2) (=EL). Meaning it turns out the same (not really a quirk, imho). EXCEPT: no XP for low level thingies. That’s why they need that awful table and this EL/CR concept. Thats what I always thought.

Mana: I see the point…

– Marcel 2008-10-07 09:06 UTC

I don’t understand: Two CR 6 creatures make an EL 8 encounter. Do you base your XP on the EL 8 or on 2xCR6=12? Currently the DM picks monsters based on EL (8) but hands out XP based on number of critters (12). The only reason this isn’t surprising is that often there but one high-level boss and the other XP are negligible.

The table is there to apply the same sort of log reward: If your current level is two levels below the average party level, you get 50% more XP. The rest is interpolation and rounding. We don’t do that in M20.

Maybe we just need a notation for spell casters.

This is what it would look for a single fight:

1420Hit by a spear
1016Cast a favorite 2nd level spell
612Cast a favorite 2nd level spell
1212Got healed by a cleric but cannot go over 12 this fight

The next fight you will start again with 20/20.

It doesn’t look too complicated, I think.

Also, regarding XP: I don’t mind either way, I guess. If we change it to “based on HD” then I’ll just change the rules. I’m still hoping that pushing the story forward as well as finding and wasting treasure is going to provide a lot of XP.

– Alex 2008-10-07 09:32 UTC

Example in D&D: assume a Level 6 Party will encounter 2 level 6 monsters:

  • 2 CR6 Monsters would give 1800XP each
  • 1 CR8 Encounter would give 3600XP

So actually it doesn’t really matter how you award XP in D&D. (There are a few exceptions for CR 1 and 2 for low class levels)

– Daniel B 2008-10-07 10:43 UTC

Yes, Marcel also pointed it out to me via Email.

Issue resolved: XP based on HD of monsters slain (and their treasure wasted)!

– Alex 2008-10-07 11:26 UTC

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