A new character

If you are a new player, first play a completely new character so that you will get used to the style of play. If you have played in OSR-style games before, feel free to choose any of the options below.

NEw character

First level, random attributes as usual in the rules system. I recommend as random a character as possible, since it gets you prepared for the fact that the character is not completely under your control and the game is about adjusting to circumstances.

Import an existing character

If you have played roleplaying games before, feel free to take a character from there and bring it in to this game. The other players have to accept it, as usual. They might object to too powerful or otherwise disruptive characters.

If the character is of at most the same level as your highest level character in this game, than it is likely to be accepted by the players.

If the character was played in different game system, there might be a need for conversion. Talk about that before play. If the character is from a levelless system, it will convert to a character of as low a level as possible, given that it still has roughly the same capabilities as before. Custom solutions are possible, but not to an excess. Simple is beautiful.

Take over an NPC

If a suitable non-player character is nearby and of level at most the same as the highest level character you have played in this game, then you can take over the NPC, if you want. Talk to the referee or ask about a particular one.

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A new character

Kulonummien kauhu ja maailman reunalla

Kirjoitin Sami Koposen Kulonummien kauhu -seikkailuun lisäyksiä. Kokonaisuus on julkaistu Roolipelitiedotuksessa: http://www.roolipelitiedotus.fi/juhlavuosi/skenaario-kulonummien-kauhu/

Kannattaa vilkaista myös Kyösti Tuomisen Maailman reunalla -seikkailu: http://www.roolipelitiedotus.fi/juhlavuosi/skenaario-maailman-reunalla/ . Sääntötekniset tiedot ovat Stormbringerille ja D&D:n viidennelle laitokselle, mutta kevyestihän tuon kääntää haluamalleen roolipelijärjestelmälle.

Muut seikkailut eivät tähän mennessä ole näyttäneet vanhan liiton peliin kovin sopivilta, mutta kannattaa nekin vilkaista läpi ja seurata tulevia. Jos ehtii, niin kannattaa lähettää oma mukaan: http://www.roolipelitiedotus.fi/sivusto/juhlavuoden-projekti-kaynnistyy/

Kulonummien kauhu ja maailman reunalla

Languages of Mernua

All the usual languages of the game are here, too, with the exceptions that the Trade language (Common) and Orcish are not literate. If a character knows no other languages, they can not read or write.

A list of custom languages and typical speakers follows:

  • Duvan’Ku – the language of a an evil culture vanished long ago. There are rumours of a cult. Known by some sages and rumoured cultists. Very rare.
  • Glakti – language spoken in and around Heatherleigh. Unique alphabet.
  • Latin – the language of the church of Thanatos and a language of study, and hence also of magic. Unique alphabet.
  • Maldor, modern – spoken on the continent of Near. There is frequent trade. Mutually intelligible with archaic/traditional Maldor.
  • Maldor, traditional/archaic – spoken in the senate of Joli, among the nobility, and here and there in various villages and cities. There used to be many settlers from Maldor before contact was lost. Especially the nobles have tried to keep the language pure as a symbol of status. Called traditional, proper or true Maldor on Mernua, and archaic Maldor by people from Maldor itself and the wider Near.
  • Sign language of the crystal-headed children – used by the otherwise deaf Andrews and also known by some refugees from the village of Greenmeadow. Very rare.
  • Vermil – the language of a culture vanished long ago. Known by scholars of history and some mages. Rare.

There are also a number of foreign languages that have appeared once or twice in the game, but have not had much of a presence, thus far: Galactic Standard Language (virtually unknown), Low Saxon (very rare), Taldor (very rare), Quechua (rare).

Languages of Mernua

Tarinankaari

Miten saa varmistettua, että roolipeli noudattaa tiettyä tarinankaarta?

Tarinankaari

Tarkoitan tarinankaarella sitä, että pelin loputtua syntynyttä tarinaa voi verrata toiseen tarinaan ja havaita, että ne noudattavat samanlaista kuviota, vaikka yksityiskohdat eroaisivatkin.

Alku-keskikohta-loppu -tyylinen jaottelu on liian karkea, sillä sen voi nähdä oleellisesti missä tahansa tarinassa, joten se ei ole hyödyllinen tähän tarkoitukseen.

  • Sankari kohtaa tilanteen, jossa pääsee näyttämään voimansa. Sen jälkeen hän kohtaa roiston, joka jollakin tavalla toisintaa tai heijastaa jotain kipupistettä sankarin elämässä. Sankari jää tappiolle. Lopulta hän kuitenkin onnistuu käsittelemään vaikeaa asiaa ja sitä myöten voittaa myös roiston.
  • Sankari joutuu mukaan seikkailuun, joka johtuu muiden pahuudesta. Johtuen sattumasta tai huonosta onnesta, tai koska hän ei ole paikalla, jokin tilanne muuttuu vakavaksi. Sankari yrittää ratkaista tilanteen ja voittaa useita yksittäisiä tapauksia, mutta huono onni, ylivoima tai ovelat ansat saavat hänet huonoon tilanteeseen. Lopulta hän kuitenkin selviää ja kaataa pahuuden yhdistelmällä taitojaan ja luonteensa lujuutta.

Joku saattaa haluta pelata roolipeliä niin, että se toisintaa tietyn tarinankaaren suurella varmuudella. Miten se käy?

Kuinka varmistaa tietty kaari tarinalle

Menetelmät alkavat karkeimmasta.

  1. Kaaren voi kirjoittaa sisään peliin. Fastaval-peleissä ja muissa ns. freeform-peleissä tätä näkee välillä. (Nimi ilmeisesti viittaa siihen, että suunnittelijalla on täysi vapaus pelin muodon suhteen. Välillä se tarkoittaa, että pelaajalla ei ole mitään vapauttaa minkään suhteen.) Pelin tavoitteena on tuottaa tietty kokemus ja joskus hyvä keino tähän on poistaa kaikki toimintavapaus ja satunnaisuus pelistä. Äärimmäinen esimerkki on Fredrik Åkerlindin Matka, joka löytyy oleellisilta osiltaan täältä: http://www.nordicrpg.fi/julkaisut/unelma-keltaisesta-kuninkaasta/ . (Ahdistava ja taitaapa sisältää seksuaalista väkivaltaa.) Peli koostuu sarjasta kohtauksia ja yksinpuheluita. Toki vähemmän pakotettuja esimerkkejä löytyy myös.
  2. Perinteinen peli, ratakiskottava pelinjohtaja. Jos joku käyttää valtaa ja pakottaa tarinan kaarelle, niin kyllähän se kaari siihen ilmestyy.
  3. Lyhyt perinteinen peli, jossa on vahva alkuasetelma. Jos pelissä on kolmiodraama ja väkivaltaiset hahmot, niin on hyvin todennäköistä, että veriooppera seuraa.
  4. Säännöt, jotka ajavat peliä vahvasti tietylle kaarelle, mutta eivät täsmennä tiettyjä kohtauksia. Klassisia Forge-pelejä löytyy runsaasti: Kätyrin osa, Vuoren velho, Zombeja ovella, ja vähemmän muinaisena esimerkiksi Fiasko. Näissä on yleensä voimavaroja tai laskuri tai vastaava rakenne, joka ajaa peliä tiettyyn huipentumaan tietynlaisten vaiheiden kautta.
  5. Yhteinen sopimus. Jos peli on kerronnallinen ja kaikki pelaajat haluavat saada tietynlaisen tarinan aikaan, niin luultavasti siinä onnistutaan. Tämän voi tehdä joko vapaamuotoisesti eli käyttämättä juurikaan aukikirjoitettu sääntöjä, varsinkaan mekaanisia, tai sitten sääntöihin kirjoitetulla tavalla. Ensimmäinen voi tapahtua esimerkiksi keskustelupalstapeleissä, toinen esimerkiksi Parhaaseen katseluaikaan -pelillä. Uudempiakin löytyy, mutta ei taida suomenkielisiä juurikaan olla. Chuubo’s marvellous wish granting engine lienee käytettävissä tähän, esimerkiksi.

Yleisemmällä tasolla

Roolipelissä on useita voimia, jotka vievät peliä eri suuntiin. Nämä voisi jaotella vaikkapa sääntöihin, asetelmaan, pelaajiin ja perinteisen pelin tapauksessa pelinjohtaja kannattaa käsitellä erillään. Jos nämä kaikki voimat pyrkivät varmistamaan tietyn tarinankaaren, se luultavasti tapahtuu. Jos jotkut niistä toimivat satunnaisesti tai kaarta vastaan, pitää muiden tavalla tai toisella kumota häiriötekijät, jos tietty tarinankaari on tavoitteena.

Tarinankaari

Some utility spells for D&D 5

I use plenty of modules from various games and editions of D&D. This leads to players finding spells which might not be part of D&D 5 repertoire, which is quite focused on combat magic. Here are some, converted from OSRIC for the most part and extended to have higher level effects. The spells might not be interesting as starting spells in a combat-focused game.

Erase

1st level transmutation
Casting Time Action
Range 30 ft
Target A scroll or two pages of writing
Components V, S
Duration Instant
Erases mundane writing, leaving no trace of it.
At higher levels: At second level the caster can trace their finger and have those parts of the text be erased, while others remain. This takes as long as it takes. At third and higher levels, the spell can dispel magical writing, runes, glyphs, and symbols. if the spell is of lower or equal level than erase.

Fool’s gold

2nd level transmutation
Casting Time Action
Range 10 ft
Target At most a cubic feet of copper or brass
Components V, S, M (some fool’s gold)
Duration 8 hours
The copper or brass turns into material closely resembling gold. A close investigation of the material allows an intelligence save to detect it is not actually gold. As fey magic, the spell is broken for any item that touches iron.
At higher levels: At third level, the duration is one day, and at fourth, a month. At fifth level, it is one year.

Hold portal

1st level abjuration
Casting Time Action
Range 60 ft
Components V
Duration 1 hour

Targeted door, window, gate, chest, shutter or other entryway closes and gets stuck for the duration of the spell. Casting knock on the object dispels hold portal.

At higher levels: If cast at second level, the duration of the spell is one day. At third level, the duration is instant.

Proper mending

1st level transmutation (ritual)
Casting Time Action
Range 30 ft
Target One object
Components V, S, M (two lodestones)
Duration instant

Repairs small tears and holes. Recombines several pieces of a broken item, as long as they are approximately in correct positions. Does not restore magic to an item that has lost it.

Proper message

1st level transmutation
Casting Time Action
Range 120 ft
Target One creature at a time
Components V, S, M (copper wire)
Duration Minute

Allows two-way whispered conversation with the target, whom the caster can change by subtly pointing at a new one. There must be a straight line, not completely blocked, from the target to the caster.

At higher levels: If cast at second level or higher, the range of the spell is sight and the conversation can continue as long as the target is visible. If cast at third level or higher, the duration is an hour and there can be a number of simultaneous targets equal to spell level, all of whom can communicate with each other.

Some utility spells for D&D 5

How I run games

I describe my default game mastering style, refereeing, below. I can also run a roleplaying game in other ways, but this is the most natural and most fun for me, both as a player and a game master. It is compatible with most traditional and traditionalish roleplaying games; OSR ones in particular.

What would really happen?

When adjudicating a situation, the main question I ask is “What would happen?”, supposing the game world was an independent and existing world, which might or might not follow the same rules as the real world.

When considering the options, all of the following are to be respected: Previous events in the game, things declared true during preparation, rolls of dice and results they indicate in random tables, if any.

If and when there are several reasonable ways a situation might be adjudicated, the results are adjudicated by dice rolls. This is where the rules system comes into play. When it is silent, an ad hoc randomization process is invented and used.

This turns the game into a board game where one can “try anything” their character could try, and where the governing rule is the in-game fiction, possibly governed by mechanical rules.

Ignored matters

The following play no role in game master decision making.

  • Will the player character(s) succeed or fail, live or die.
  • Will a given non-player character succeed or fail, live or die.
  • Will something dear to players or their characters succeed or fail, live or die.
  • How dramatic something would be.
  • How good or fair a challenge something would be.
  • How interesting something would be.

These mean that the success and failure of the player characters is in the hands of the players, the game world, and luck. Manipulating the situation so that the game world and the luck are on their side is a responsibility of the players. They can enjoy their triumphs, knowing that they were earned. Defeats show that play should be improved.

The entire play group as an adjudicator

I prefer to have the entire group as part of the adjudication process, both for the rules mechanical issues and the the more general judgment calls. Typically this means that I ask if a ruling sounds fair and reasonable before making it; sometimes I consult players for their expertise, if it is relevant in the situation.

When this works, it makes the fiction more realistic (as mediated by the genre and such) and increases player buy-in on the outcomes of their actions. It also reinforces that what happens is not due to referee fiat, but rather an organic outgrowth of what is happening in the fiction.

Pacing in the hands of the players

If the players want to spend time on something, they have the right to it. They determine the pace of play. If they do not manage to decide what to do, then I, as a referee, can remind them of the matter and maybe suggest them that nothing is happening, but resolving the issue and deciding what to do is their problem, and their power. If they are happy “just roleplaying”, they have the right to that, too.

Why bother playing?

The game is in succeeding in the goals one sets for oneself. There are several factions, as well as typical dungeons and other dangerous locations. Also, the emergent play tends to be interesting in other ways, too – characters often have to decide between heroism and safety, or whom of several shady non-player characters to ally with, if any.

further reading

How I run games

Heatherleigh

This is a central location in my campaign world. I record it here for ease of reference.

Heatherleigh (suomeksi Kanervaketo, på norsk Lyngeng) is the capital “city” of the Dragonclaw barony, a barony on the wrong (western) side of the mountains, when compared to the rest of civilization and the metropolis that is Joli. It is serves as a nice punishment for nobles that need to be out of mind, but who do not deserve death.

There live around 2300 people there and more in the surrounding areas. A river flows by. On the western side, where the city is, are some villages: Huredmere, the village with no name, and farther to the south, Hommlet and Nulb. On the eastern side of the river (one end of a large bridge is in the city) the closest village is that of Dale, but there are others, such as Caermor amd Evermore. A road through Huredmere later branches off and leads to Arkinsburg/Winterhaven, now more or less deserted, if following King’s road to the right, and Melford and other minor settlements if turning to the left branch of the road.

The situation in Heatherleigh is unstable. Baron Domongart MacNair, much loved, is dead, and baroness Molmoria MacNair, less loved, might have been the reason, or perhaps it was the assassin who led a group of goblinkin into the palace-castle, motivated by an old love. Many died in the attack; in particular, there is a distinct lack of city guards. There is a new cult in the city. They have been gathering followers from among the less well-off, mostly, and they seem to pay their respects to the three values, or queens, or gods: time, love and non-violence. The baroness fears that if guards are deployed elsewhere, there will be a coup or a violent uprising.

There are problems outside. There are goblins north of Dale, in the Llancrest woods. They may be allied with the ones that tried the assassination. Outlaws have taken over the nameless village. A monster attacked Huredmere, but has since left. Rumours from Hommlett tell of increased activity of bandits and worse, but there is no such warnings from Nulb. A giant has parked their castle next to Evermore and the northern trade route to civilization is thereby closed; not that the guards could do anything about it, anyway, and not that there would be any trade in the winter. The southern route is a little longer, but works well enough.

The weather is abnormally hot and wet. There are storms all the time, and the Earth mother is silent about her reasons from bringing them. Her cult is old and a major power in this area. She gives gifts, concrete ones like strange clothes, containers of hard but light material, and, some claim, weapons and items of power to the high priestess, the baroness MacNair. Sacrifices of food, wood, animals and even people are given to the Goddess through her mouth, a strange temple of bygone era, where the earth moves and takes the sacrifices somewhere deep. Later, Earth opens her womb and brings forth valuables.

Consequently, the local nobility wears very strange clothes of fabric not seen elsewhere as ceremonial clothing. (Reader might want to consider uniforms in old Start trek.)

Locals use their own language, Glakti, very different from others and unknown elsewhere. They also draw it with strange symbols. A majority know the trade language (common tongue) reasonably well.

Buying things

The place uses the price list of Pathfinder roleplaying game, available for example at https://www.d20pfsrd.com/equipment/

There are people willing to exchange money: They accepts coins listed in the website above and will pay it back in copper, silver or gold, at 1 percent transaction fee.

Magic items worth less than 1050 gold are often available, but finding any takes at least a day. Some more expensive or rarer stuff is also available, but you will not hear about it before making it clear that you can afford it.

A player asked about healing potions. The cheapest ones that are available are:

  • Potion of cure moderate wounds, 2d8+3 hp, 300 gp, 1 available
  • Potions of celestial healing: heal 1 hp per round, detect as angel due to goodness infusing you; 1 round, 100 gp, 6 available
  • Potion of infernal healing: heal 1 hp per round and detect as fiend due to evilness infusing you, 1 minute (10 rounds); 100 gp, 6 available
  • Oil of goodberry: Treats 2d4 fresh berries, each of which heals 1 hp (up to 8 per day) and counts as a meal when eaten. (Finding fresh berries in the winter will be tricky.) – Berries stay 1 day, 50 gp, 5 available.
  • Hemochem: Heal hit points per round for one minute (10 rounds). Does not stack with itself. Grade I: 1 hp, 250 gp, 1 available.
Heatherleigh