Blog Archives

Intangible Rewards in the Really Wild West

One of the ways I try to make ttRPG sessions fun, as a GM, is to give players rewards above and beyond just loot and items.

I think of these as non-tangible rewards, though certainly some can be “tanged.”

For example, in my Really Wild West campaign, the players have formed a group known as the Knight Rangers. The Knight Rangers have recently been listed in national newspapers as one of the “Great Posses of the New Wild,” bands of extraordinary adventurers who are making a differences in the increasingly dangerous New Wild West. There’s even a ranking of the Top Ten Great Posses, so the PCs know what their reputation looks like.

Just for fun, they are ranked as follows:

1. Blud-Hexen Bunch

2. Tannerfaust

3. Knight Rangers

4. Sweet Daisies

5. Irregulators

6. Swordslingers

7. Hell-Wranglers

8. The Sawed-Off Seven

9. Snakenails

10. Dragonpunchers

So when it turns out one of the bad guys the Knight rangers killed in a previous adventure was the brother of one of the Irregulators, who calls out the PC who did it with an eye to vengeance, the players all have an idea of their relative reputation compared to the band calling them out.

Similarly, the Knight Rangers have been named “Trustees” of a number of organizations and businesses, who officially trust the group to be both intending and able to help deal with major problems, and thus worthy of giving favors to.

The centaur paladin in the group has learned she is so feared, crime bosses track when she is in town, and reduce the crime level when she is. The soldier with a mystic bent is talking to daughters of death and crow and raven fylgiur. The roboticist technomancer is becoming a renowned expert on Martian tripod technology, and asked to give lectures. The technomancers has been invited to teach at a rebel salon bucking the official theosophy university. The whole group has had conversations with deputies of the supernatural Marshal in charge of hunting down “gravejumpers.”

The trust, fear, and reputation are all things the players can work with, use as tools, or just accept as an evolution of their characters stories. But they are often a lot more interesting than getting another ring of resistance.

Although the Airship in a Bottle IS kinda cool loot.

Support My Patreon
The more support I get, the more time I can spend on writing things like this. 

If you enjoy any of my articles, please sign up, for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month!

Really Wild West “Doomstone” Campaign — After-Action Report (Game Session 8, part 1)

I got a bit behind on posting these due to the holidays, but here’s the after-action report for Session Seven of the Really Wild West: Doomstone campaign. The Knight Rangers have headed out in their converted Martian Excavating Machine, now known as The Armadillo, to the Montana city of Hellgate as part of their quest to find and defeat Professor Barkane Adrameliche, who has become the darkling Lord, the Venom King.

Along the way, they topped in on the family of the ogre ranch-hand and ally Bo Hoss, and discovered the Hoss clan was being forced to labor for a group of Vrock cultists.

This entry is adapted from the notes of my friend Carl, a player in the game, and told from his point of view. My wife, Lj, was unable to play this session. As a result her character, the fenrin operative bounty hunter, was caught up by a twister while flying ahead to scout using DaVinci Wings. Sawyer managed to assure the other Knight Rangers that she’s catch up with them after she landed (and since Lj wanted us to go ahead and play without her, we hand-waved any concern the characters might normally have had over losing a member for a few days).

You can find Session One here: Part OnePart Two.
Session Two here: Part OnePart Two.
Session Three here.
Session Four here.
Session Five here: Part OnePart Two.
Session Six here.
Session Seven here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three.

If you don’t recognize a reference, it may (or may not) be in a previous session, or at the updated campaign notes page.

May 7, 1891

Travel past Idaho Falls, turning west.

May 8, 1891

The Knight Rangers pass many signs, pointing back to Idaho Falls, which appears to have been called Eagle Rock until recently. Numerous families in wagons are headed East toward Idaho Falls, evacuating the area further west.

Reach Root Hog, Idaho (will someday become Arco). It shows signs of extensive  new construction, Edison and Tesla-based engineering, and numerous Martian tech survey teams

The nearby “Craters of the Moon” was a major Martian landing location, and kind of an initial base for them. When Martians were getting sick at the end of the War of the Worlds, this was a place they fell back too. The town is “Martian wreckage boom town.”

Recently the Army Corps of Engineers has opened up Craters of the Moon battle site to public exploration. The Corp found a lot of stuff, but the mass of public can find more, and even a simple Martian “screw” is worth 2 credits.

As the Knight rangers arrive in the Armadillo, a bunch of people with newstypes (Newspapers printed locally having been received over the Babbage-Bel Grid) approach us and ask us for signatures.

(The Armadillo, the Knight Rangers’ mobile base of operation they converted from a Martian Embanking Machine. Art by Jacob Blackmon)

Headline in the “Lake Hudson Dispatch” reads:  Knight Rangers Threaten Town of Texburg. The coverage is all negative and wrong, along with a negative artists rendition

Headline in the “Gotham Times” reads: The Really Wild West: Martians, Mercenaries, and Magic!, and only mentions the KR in passing

Headline in the “Washington’s Bugle Weekly ” reads: The New Wild: Heroes Arise to Meet Unimagined Threats, and is accompanied by a fairly accurate artists rendition, although the female centaur paladin is depicted as being 12 feet tall. The article is written by “April Raynes,” and it mentions two other groups, the “Swordslingers” and the “Blud-Hexen Bunch”

After about hour, 12 men with rifles who have us artilleryman’s badges and red strip trousers show up. They are led by Sergeant Levy Cooper, a gruff man with a big bushy mustache and beard. He is currently in charge of Martian issues in Root Hog. Wants to see our Martian papers, and to have one of his people go over the Armadillo to make sure its not leaking or going to exploding. We agree.

Locals had more encounters with the “bug gum” and takes some affidavits from us about our experiences with it (the Jerusalem bugs and walking meat).

The engineer mentions “orange goo”  from some Martian tech that makes bugs grow big. Sergeant mentions Tesla was here first, indicates the least constructed building, “they had a really nice headquarters.”

He gives us a whistle that has a specific frequency that his fenrin employees can hear, they use it for emergencies.

They leave a corporal to keep an eye on us. Sergeant cooper says ” people don’t do what is expected, they do what is inspected.”

The closest crossing the Armadillo can take is a bridge which currently has so much traffic, we have to make an “appointment” to cross the bridge with the bridge officer.

In town, the centaur paladin goes for a hot shower, can’t find a shower place big enough, but a place that normally does degreaser for salvaged Martian tech, allows her to wash there. She encounters a large, 6″ wasp and pops it with a towel. It explodes into a green goo that is the same color as the Venom King’s various poisons.

The roboticist mechanic does some gambling, and looses to a professional gambler, “Slyton Seeves” , his friends call him “Sly.” They chat. He seems polite and proper. He wants to buy her (custom built) spark pistol for a lead lined box with a glowing blue dodecahedron crystal, She recognizes it as technological, but doesn’t know what it is. She does identify it as a part of a Martian interplanetary communicator. She makes the trade (and later builds herself a new spark pistol).

The human soldier guards the Armadillo while others are in town. He sees a woman walking about unnoticed on other people’s camps. No one else seems to see her. She then kisses a guy who is wraked with coughs, and that guy dies.

She approaches the Armadillo, and the soldier makes it obvious he can see her. She approaches, and they talk. She is Macha Morriga, basically a psychopomp. They exchange information, she tells him darklings rewrite reality. About 1,000 one got loose in South America, and destroyed an entire empire. She leaves, peacefully.

The cartographamancer half-orc was contact by agent of Tex Tanner. Tanner wanted to hire the Cartographamancer away from the Knight Rangers on a long-term contract, but was turned down. Tex Tanner is clearly paying agents throughout the West to keep track of the Knight Rangers.

(End Part One)

Patreon
Want me to keep people updated about future game sessions? Want something else? Pathfinder 1st-edition content? Would you rather see more material for 5e, or industry insider articles? Join my Patreon for a few bucks a month, and let me know

For Starfinder: Jet Jutsu

The idea of developing a fighting style specifically designed to benefit a jetpack or other movement-boosting device is certainly not a new one, but it’s not something I have seen apply to the Starfinder Roleplaying Game. While this might grow to be a whole series of fighting techniques for soldiers to operative specializations, for the moment I’m just starting with a couple of combat feats.

(Art by matiasdelcarmine)

For the following options, “jetpack” applies to any armor upgrade or technological, hybrid, or magic item that gives you a flight speed, or gives you a bonus to Athletics checks made to jump (including items that increase your land speed enough that the increased speed gives you a bonus to Athletics checks to jump). “Using” the jetpack means being able to activate it and expending any battery power, use duration, fuel, or similar consumable required to gain the flight or bonus to Athletics checks to jump. You don’t actually need to take an action to do this, it is part of whatever action is required in the Jet Justsu option.

Jet Back (Combat)
Benefit: When you are attacked by a foe you observing (see States of Awareness), as a purely defensive reaction you can use your jetpack to dodge out of the way. You can move up to half your land or fly speed, and gain a +4 circumstance bonus to your AC against that one attack, and to any Reflex save required by the attack. On your next turn, you must take a Move action to recover as your first action. If you are prevented from doing this (such as if you are stunned), you fall prone. You are also off-target until the end of your next round.

Jet Punch (Combat)
Benefit: You can use your jetpack as part of a charge. You do not take a -2 penalty to your attack roll as with a normal charge, but your penalty to AC increases by -2 (normally to -4 AC). You add half the item level of your jetpack, to a maximum of half your ranks in Piloting, to your damage on a a successful attack.

You may also want to take Jet Charge, Mobility, Sky Jockey, and Spring Attack as part of your Jet Justsu techniques.

If you enjoy the game content I add to this blog, please consider joining my Patreon. For just the cost of a few Cup Noodle (the nice kind, you’re worth it), you can help me continue to make game content, essays, game design treatise, and more.

Strategy Boosts for the Starfinder Soldier (Pt. 3)

We continue looking at strategy boosts, an alternate class feature for the soldier. You can take a strategy boost in place of a bonus combat feat, as long as you meet the strategy boost’s minimum soldier level.

Soldier 6
A soldier must be at least 6th level to select these strategy boosts.

(Art by Camile)

Hold the Line! (Ex): You expend 1 Resolve Point as part of any other standard, move, or full action to inspire your allies to hold their ground against enemy advanced. Allies within 60 feet gain a +4 AC bonus against combat maneuvers that change their position (such as bull rush and reposition) and special attacks that move them (including swallow whole). If a special attack has an effect other than to move a target, the non-movement portion occurs if the attack hits the ally’s normal AC, but the movement portion only occurs if the attack hits the AC with the +4 bonus. These bonuses last until an ally is moved by an attack, or 10 minutes pass. This is a sense-dependent, language-dependent ability.

MEDIC! (Ex): When you allies are wounded, you can inspire those able to patch them up to move faster and do better. As a reaction when an ally takes damage, or as a swift action, you can expend 1 Resolve Point to select one damaged ally and call for a medic. For 2 rounds, any creature within 60 feet can make a Medicine check on the selected ally more quickly. Checks that normally take 10 minutes can be performed as a full action. Those that take 1 minute can be performed as a standard action, those that are normally a standard action can be performed as a move action, and those that are normally a move action can be performed as a swift action. Additionally, creatures can cast a spell with the healing description on the ally as a move action (as long as it’s normal casting time is 1 standard action or less).
This is a sense-dependent, language-dependent ability.

Patreon
I have a Patreon. It supports the time I take to do all my blog posts, videos, and other bits of free content. If you’d like to see more game-bending rule options (or more fiction, game industry essays, game design articles, worldbuilding tips, whatever!), try joining for just a few bucks and month and letting me know!

Strategy Boosts for the Starfinder Soldier (Pt. 2)

We continue looking at strategy boosts, an alternate class feature for the soldier. You can take a strategy boost in place of a bonus combat feat, as long as you meet the strategy boost’s minimum soldier level.

(Art by Mike)

Soldier 4
A soldier must be at least 4th level to select these strategy boosts.

Gear Up! (Ex): As a standard action, you can direct your allies to prepare for hazardous situations. Each ally within 60 feet able to see and hear you can draw one weapon or piece of equipment, or activate a piece of equipment already ready for use (including activating environmental protection on worn armor, but not any kind of attack.) This is a sense-dependent, language-dependent ability.

Take Cover! (Ex): As a standard action, you can direct your allies to take cover. Each ally within 60 feet able to see and hear you can move up to their speed directly toward the nearest piece of cover. Allies that do this are staggered on their next turn (even if they are normally immune to being staggered, and this condition cannot be removed prematurely). This is a sense-dependent, language-dependent ability.

Patreon
I have a Patreon. It supports the time I take to do all my blog posts, videos, and other bits of free content. If you’d like to see more game-bending rule options (or more fiction, game industry essays, game design articles, worldbuilding tips, whatever!), try joining for just a few bucks and month and letting me know!

Strategy Boosts for the Starfinder Soldier (Pt. 1)

Strategy boosts are an alternate class feature for the soldier. You can take a strategy boost in place of a bonus combat feat, as long as you meet the strategy boost’s minimum soldier level.

Honestly, while they are themed more around tactical concerns strategy boosts are exactly the same as Soldier Combat Feats, but with a different name and framing device for people who don’t like class-locked feats. (I tend to be fine with class-locked feats, since they have existed as long asd20 feats have existed, but I get why some people find them awkward.)

(Art by grandfailure)

Soldier 2
A soldier must be at least 2nd level to select these strategy boosts.

Fighting Withdrawal (Ex): When you affect an ally with covering fire, or hit a foe with harrying fire, the ally cannot be the target of an attack of opportunity, or the foe cannot make an attack of opportunity. This lasts until the beginning of your next turn.

Fire For Effect (Ex): When you hit and damage a foe, as a reaction you can call out targeting information to your allies to help them effectively attack that target. Allies within 60 feet able to see and hear you and see the target you selected can reroll any damage die from their own attacks against that target that show a 1 on the die. A given die is only rerolled once per attack.

Once you use this ability, you cannot do so again until you score a critical hit against a target (in which case you can use fire for effect as a reaction against that target), or you recuperate*.

*Recuperate is my proposed game term to represent when a character spends 1 Resolve Point to regain Stamina Points following a 10-minute rest.

Patreon
I have a Patreon. It supports the time I take to do all my blog posts, videos, and other bits of free content. If you’d like to see more game-bending rule options (or more fiction, game industry essays, game design articles, worldbuilding tips, whatever!), try joining for just a few bucks and month and letting me know!

Soldier Feats for Starfinder

Unlike the fantasy RPG it evolved from, which has feats only members of the fighter class can take, Starfinder does not have feats that only Soldiers can take. It does have fighting styles and gear boosts as exclusive class features, but those serve somewhat different roles. As a class that is supposed to be the master of standard combat, it still makes sense that soldiers be able to use their bonus combat feats to pick up specific feats that allow them to perform actions in combat other classes cannot master. Here are some possible examples of soldier combat feats.

(Illustration by grandfailure)

Soldier Bonus Feats: These feats can only be taken using the soldier’s bonus combat feat class feature. A soldier must meet the feat’s prerequisites, but also cannot take them with feats gained from other sources–only their bonus feats gained from the soldier class.

BRACE (Combat, Soldier Bonus)
You have learned how to set yourself before an attack, trading defense for accuracy.
Prerequisites: Soldier Level 2.
Benefit: At the beginning of your turn, before you take any other actions, you can choose to brace as a move action. You gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls, and take a -4 penalty to your EAC and KAC. This penalty does not apply to your AC values against combat maneuvers, and it lasts as long as you are braced and until the beginning of your next turn even if your brace ends. You remain braced until you move, or choose to end your brace as part of any other action (which ends the brace after the action you combine it with).

IMPROVED FIRE SUPPORT (Combat, Soldier Bonus)
You know how to fire for effect.
Prerequisites: Soldier Level 2.
Benefit: You you provide covering fire or harrying fire (including when you do so while using other abilities, such as Suppressive Fire), until the beginning of your next turn the bonuses apply to all attacks against the ally you protect with covering fire or attacks allies make against the foe you penalize with covering fire.
Additionally if you take a full attack, you can use one or both of those attacks to perform covering fire or harrying fire (taking the normal attack penalty for your full attack to the attack roll needed for the covering or harrying fire to be successful).

OVERWATCH (Combat, Soldier Bonus)
You are skilled at attacking when specific circumstances arrive.
Prerequisites: Soldier level 6.
Benefit: You can ready an action to enter overwatch. While in overwatch, until the beginning of your next turn you can make an attack as a reaction to any action by others that you perceive. Your attack always occurs after the triggering action, you you do not need to declare what that circumstance is in advance. If you are knocked down or moved, your overwatch ends.

OVERWATCH MASTERY (Combat, Soldier Bonus)
You are expert at attacking when specific circumstances arrive.
Prerequisites: Overwatch, soldier level 8.
Benefit: When you are in overwatch, you can choose to take a -4 penalty to the first attack you make as part of overwatch. If you do so, you can make a second overwatch attack (also at -4) before the beginning of your next turn.

SKIRMISH (Combat, Soldier Bonus)
You can move up quickly to engage foes in melee and move swiftly from target to target.
Prerequisites: Soldier level 4.
Benefit: When you make a full attack with melee attacks, you can move up to your speed. You can move before or after both attacks, but all your movement must be taken at once, and you cannot move between the attacks. Once you make a melee attack roll against a foe while using Skirmish, until the beginning of your next turn your movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity from that foe.
Special: If you also have Spring Attack, when you use Skirmish you can break up your movement to move before, between, and after the attacks as long as your total movement does not exceed your speed.

WALKING FIRE (Combat, Soldier Bonus)
You can move while laying down heavy fire.
Prerequisites: Soldier level 4.
Benefit: When you make a full attack with ranged attacks, you can move up to your speed. You can move before or after both attacks, but all your movement must be taken at once, and you cannot move between the attacks.
Special: If you also have Shot on the Run, when you use Walking Fire you can break up your movement to move before, between, and after the attacks as long as your total movement does not exceed your speed.

Patreon
I have a Patreon. It supports the time I take to do all my blog posts, but especially longer and more experimental ones like this. If you’d like to see more game-bending rule options (or more fiction, game industry essays, game design articles, worldbuilding tips, whatever!), try joining for just a few bucks and month and letting me know!

Really Wild West “Doomstone” Campaign — After-Action Report (Game Session 7, part 3)

Wrapping up the after-action report for Session Seven of the Really Wild West: Doomstone campaign. The Knight rangers have headed out in their converted Martian Excavationg Machine, now known as The Armadillo, to the Montana city of Hellgate as part of their quest to find and defeat Professor Barkane Adrameliche, who has become the darkling Lord, the Venom King.

But first, they want to check in on the family of the ogre ranch-hand and ally Bo Hoss, who live near Rexburg and stopped communicating with him months ago, though they only ever sent him messages once a season.

Notes adapted from the notes of my wife Lj, a player in the game, and told from her point of view.

>>Later on May 6th day we come to Rexburg.

The Knight Rangers decide to visit Bo Hoss’s family before going in to Rexburg. The ogre clan live in a small valley between Rexburg and Hibbard, in the vents of a mostly-dormant shield volcano.
·        There’s a Pony Express post at the edge of the valley, which looks abandoned. An investigation reveals an old smell of blood in the floor – a Kasatha was stabbed and bled to death right there – no blood drops leading out of the shack. It’s been at least 7-8 months since the pony has been here, and no foot prints nearby for months.
·        The post itself has a hobo mark on it – means this place is unfriendly and unsafe
·        Strongly smells of vulture-like bird – either a large flock or a huge roc visits here every few days but is smart enough to clean up their sign (only their scent gives them away)
·        Place is clean and packed like they left it on purpose
·        The Soldier and Operative, both with DaVinci Wings, take to the air and scout the valley.
     o   The soldier determines that there is wildlife, but they are all acting like there are predators around. He finds and talks to a fisher (a weasellike mustelid) using speak with animals. It says there are “big, death birds” – they crow and dance and speak all the wrong words. They’re all feathered, but they talk to fleshy people
     o   The operative sees at the other end of the valley, beyond the volcano, there is a creepy looking lodge up in the side of the mountainside, in a wetland area. It’s old and rundown, but there’s a light on. Between 100-200 years old, or maybe just a really hard 40 years. Smells of at least two half-elves.

Drive the Armadillo in, but it can’t make it up the mountain to the vents where Bo Hoss’s family live. There are carved-in stairs the Knight Rangers take to get up.
·        There are old stones here carved with South Pacific language, which no PC speaks
·        Also some larger, new stones carved in a very different language
·        We see someone inside the cave – a Bo Hoss-like ogre– carving on the wall.
·        There is a vrock overseeing him. It sees us and screeches – it’s on

FIGHT!

·        The operative shoots and misses, but startles the vrock.
·        The centaur paladin charges and shouts “I name thee demon!” The Knight Rangers conclude it’s a demon.
·        The vrock screams and causes fear, though no one in the area is affected
·        It slams its beak into the paladin for a LOT of damage. It seems to be augmented.
·        The cartograthurge technomancer moves up to see if the new stones are doing something that may effect the ogres
·        The ogre, being now free to move as he will, turns to the stones at the entrance and starts to chisel away the runes yelling “NO!” with each blow
·        The soldier PC spots another figure down the other tunnel

·        The vrock dances and creates a cloud of spores, affecting everyone but the soldier, who is out of range. The centaur paladin grows pustules on her skin from it – blech – but just ignores the penalties and keeps fighting.
·       The technomancer says the menhirs are summoning rocks – brings more demons here, and infuse the area with demonic energy. The ogre keeps trying to destroy it, but it’s taken months to make and is resistant to destruction.
·        The roboticist engineer and her drone joins in to destroy the menhir with the ogre, using her engineering knowledge to help break up its structure. They speed up the destruction quite a bit
·        The figure the PC soldier spotted down another tunnel is a half-elf male with a red, glowing pentagram over one eye who has a wavy-bladed dagger and a pistol. He waves his dagger in the air to cast a spell while he fires. A screaming bullet fires past the Soldier, the bullet crying out obscenities in Infernal.
·        The ogre hits one of the runes on the menhir (natural 1 on a skill check to damage it), and it disintegrates his chisel and damages him mildly.
·        The fenrin Operative bounty hunter moves into the tunnel near , sees another set of stones and alerts the cartograthurge technomancer. Operative shoots the vrock, but the attack bounces.
·        The roboticist mechanic moves into the tunnel to deal with the second menhir. She spots three more ogres manacled and gagged deeper in the tunnel, and lets the other OCs know.
·        Te half-eld cultist and PC Soldier exchange gunfire in a different tunnel. The half-elf staggers to behind a third menhir in that tunnel, and smears his blood on the menhir – his eyes roll up – he chants in Ancient Sumarian and keeps firing at the Soldier.  His bullet missed, but the soldier felt the vileness of it as it passed
·        The Operative bounty hunter moves over to the bound ogres, and identifies that their manacles happen to be compatible with her manacle keys. Ha! She unlocks one, tells it to free the others.
·        The centaur paladin continues to solo the vrock but has to lay on hands for herself – she was running too ragged. It’s smite evil lance strikes against fiendishly-empowered beak bites.
·        The technomancer successfully breaks the front menhir. Half the sense of fiendish energy infusion in the area goes away.
·        The mechanic begins to dismantle the second menhir
·        The soldier (able to ignore the half-elf’s cover), shoots him again – this time, killing him
·        The first menhir broken, the ogre who was attacking it picks up a rock and assists the centaur paladin fight the vrock by flanking it with her. The ogre takes an attack of opportunity from the Vrock to get into position and is bloodied (runs out of stamina), but doesn’t seem to care.
·        The centaur paladin bloodies the vrock – woohoo! Then it smashes her with its beak again, bloodying her.
·        The technomancer unleashes his steampunk bee-bots (the spell “microboat assault) at the vrock, distracting it
·        With Engineering and her drone’s strength, the mechanic roboticist destroys the second menhir, ending the “evil temple” feel entirely, inside this tunnel. The vrock is visible weakened.
·        Soldier, Technomancer, and Mechanic PCs move on to break the third menhir in the other tunnel, byt the dead halg-eld cultist.

·        The manacled ogres frees themselves and follow the fenrun Operative into battle. Second.
·        Aided by the Operative and the orges, the centaur paladin finally does in the vrock. It diminishes into ropey cords of muscle, pus, and rot before it disappears.

·       A second vrock is spotted flying this way. The Knight rangers and freed ogres destroy the remianing menhir, and wait for it to arrive. It is visibly weaker than the first vrock, and faulters when the last mehir is destroyed.
·During the wait, the freed orgres explain two half-elves arrived months ago and summoned a vrock on a stormy knight. Then the vrock captured the ogres and forced them to make the new, evil mehirs. When three were done, the vrock did a dance that turned on half-elf into a second vrock. Then they began being forced to make more menhirs, to turn the last half-elf into a vrock, so the three vrocks could then open a gate to the Abyss.
 ·        Most Knight Rangers take cover to fight the vrock, but the centaur paladin and the ogres stand in open view to draw it in.
·        The second vrock arrives at half health since there are no menhirs, and he’s trying to get to the third one.
·        Paladin charges, Operative and Soldier shoot, Technomancer uses the beebots, Mechanic sics her drone on it, so the vrock is flanked by drone and paladin. Orgres pick up and throw rocks they have prepared for their home’s defense.
·       Vrock is outmatched, though it does ignore magic missiles cast by the technomancer thanks to Spell Resistance, and on a critical hit inflicts a bleed effect on the drone. It dies, much less impressively than the first vrock.

AFTERMATH
·        The ogres are Bo Ghun, Bo Ghran, Bo Deir, and Bo Fo. There are 20 total in the Bo clan (babies grow to full size within 2 years). They invite the Knight Rangers to eat and rest.
·        PCs check out the shack at the end of the valley first — was an abandoned cult house. Find a demonic text telling them how to summon a vrock. The cultists were still 5 months from completing the rocks needed to summon the third vrock, but needed the ogre’s exert stone-carving skills to do it. They told the local townsfolk that the post had been destroyed and that the ogres would come into town to get their mail, townsfolk didn’t care enough to check on why the ogres never did that.
LOOT: Magical Sumerian wavy-bladed dagger; sixteen sets of size-large manacles; demonic text (which is put in a lead-lined safe n the Armadillo the mechanic deigned for radioactives, but will work great for magic too)
·        The ogres give the Knight rangers us a return letter for Bo Hoss.
·        When the Knight Rangers get into Rexburg to mail the letter to Bo Hoss, they tell local officials that because they ignored the inquiry about the Bo clan, demons nearly overran the world.

XPs: 1300
20,270 current total, (23,000 to 7th)

Patreon
Want me to keep people updated about future game sessions? Want something else? Pathfinder 1st-edition content? Would you rather see more material for 5e, or industry insider articles? Join my Patreon for a few bucks a month, and let me know!

Really Wild West “Doomstone” Campaign — After-Action Report (Game Session 7, part 2)

Continuing the after-action report for Session Seven of the Really Wild West: Doomstone campaign. The Knight rangers have headed out in their converted Martian Excavationg Machine, now known as The Armadillo, to the Montana city of Hellgate as part of their quest to find and defeat Professor Barkane Adrameliche, who has become the darkling Lord, the Venom King.

Notes adapted from the notes of my wife Lj, a player in the game, and told from her point of view.

>>Campaign Day 31
·        About an hour after we set out, we see Waterlily (a ranch hand from the Circle Axe Ranch) riding up behind us
·        We pull over and she hands us a large, fancy, international letter that arrived right after the Knight Rangers left the Circle Axe.
o   Formal Eastern European letter
o   Carries appreciation and amazement at our accomplishments from Princess Allegra Gullveig of Stythencia (a tiny Tiefling City-state in Eastern Europe in the Carpathian Mts. near Transylvania).
o   She wrote and sent it, referring to the Knight Rangers by name, about six hours after we decided on our group name. Info doesn;t travel that fast without magic.

Camping first night, spot a glow-in-the-dark figure on a horse coming toward the camp. Skeletal man in law officer duds, with a badge that says he is “Deputy D. Nails.” His horse is bandaged like a mummy and has a necklace of severed heads. As the figure approaches it gets cold and snow begins to fall – not cloudy
·        The heads – there are at least three – are from men who fled when the Knight rangers attacks the Venom King’s forces at Neblin Hill.
·        He says he’s taking over after Deputy B. Hill was recalled. He’s hunting the grave jumper (Venom King).
·        We trade information. The Knight Rangers learn the Prof. has split himself in to two – flesh and bone – but they’re right next to each other. He’ll be at full strength in 180 days from tonight if not stopped – he needs a specific conjunction to accomplish this so it cannot be rushed. His vulnerability is the metal from coffin nails, not silver or cold iron, that have been used to keep bodies in the ground.
·        If the Venom King isn’t brought down soon, “the Marshall” will come down to earth personally and get him.
·        Deputy Nails heads away toward Montana

Campaign Day 32
·        Pass through Rollings, WY
·        Get to Rock Springs, WY
o   Stop here to camp and resupply

Day 33
·        Eden, Farson, Boulder, and Pinedale, WY – all of which are wrecks – wiped out during the WotW
·        Stop at a battlefield on our path – the centaur paladin stops to honor the dead

Day 34
·        Come to a pass through the mountains – gorgeous
·        Stop in Hoeback

Day 35 (fifth travel day – May 5th)
·        Idaho Falls, far eastern Idaho – decent sized town
·        Bear River too deep to cross in the Armadillo
·        Use the cattle bridge and end up in the edge of town
·        A crowd gathers, looking at the amazing converted Martian tech. Begin to cheer, because they think the Knight Rangers took it from the Martians
·        Cartographothurge Technomancer gets off to resupply
·        Centaur paladin gets on the train station platform and tells a tale of defeating the forces of the Venom King’s snakeperson allies, who are quickly dubbed “the Scorpion Gang.” Though she tells the tale accurately, the crowd is already making it bigger that she tells
·        We head out five miles from town to camp
·        A handful of horsemen come out to us – five
o   Three young men, one older man, and a middle-aged woman
o   Professor Virgil, and students from the Eastern Idaho Technical College
o   They want to ask about the Armadillo
o   They brought us potatoes au gratino   They talk to the technomancer roboticist, talking to dawn and learning from her. Invite her to come lecture whenever she likes

Campaign Day 36, which is determiend to be May 6th 
·        Around noon, we spot a herd of brontosauruses.
·        We slow down and drive by at a safe distance
·        Soldier outlaw with DaVinci wings goes out and flies over them – sees the babies
·        The technomancer sketches his heart out

Later that day, the Knight rangers reach Rexburg, and head to the nearby shield volcano to visit Bo Hoss’s family.<<

What do they find!? We’ll discover that tomorrow, in part 3!

Patreon
Want me to keep people updated about future game sessions? Want something else? Pathfinder 1st-edition content? Would you rather see more material for 5e, or industry insider articles? Join my Patreon for a few bucks a month, and let me know!

Really Wild West “Doomstone” Campaign — After-Action Report (Game Session 7, part 1)

After nearly a month break, I finally ran by Starfinder-Really Wild West-Doomstone campaign again, and people have been asking about getting to see the after-action report. So here’s a write-up adapted from notes taken by my wife Lj (who is playing the fenrin operative bounty hunter named “Sawyer”), mostly in second person, as a report for Session Seven!

You can find Session One here: Part OnePart Two.
Session Two here: Part OnePart Two.
Session Three here.
Session Four here.
Session Five here: Part OnePart Two.
Session Six here.

If you don’t recognize a reference, it may (or may not) be in a previous session, or at the updated campaign notes page.

A lot happened in this one, so it’s been broken into multiple blog posts.

>>We’ve traded the digging bits of the Martian Embanking Machine we captured (that had already been partially-converted by Professor Adrameliche, who turns out to be the Venom King) to the Circle Axe Ranch in exchange for the parts, materials, tools, and assistance we need to convert it into our base of operations. Conversion takes two weeks, during which time we are guests of the Circle Axe. The group decides on a group name (the Knight Rangers), and name the soon-to-be-finished mobile base of operations “The Armadillo.”

(A standard Martian embanking Machine, before any modifications. Twenty feet tall, twenty feet wide, and forty feet long. Art by Jacob Blackmon)

The local Fonts and Bismarck Station Chief, Adler, comes to visit and receive a briefing on the Knight Ranger’s recent activities. Agrees to use official Fonts and Bismarck channels to make inquiries about whether Professor Adrameliche has been seen in Montana. Also helps discover that the Professor’s style of technological invention is very similar to that found in several train robberies (performed with the aid of a robotic derailing machine) performed a few years back that accrued a great deal of cash.

Since the Knight Rangers believe the Professor is in Montana, the fenrin operative bounty hunter looks up bounties in Montana.
·        The situation is complicated, with the state new to the Union and in a very unstable place due to massive damage from Martian Walkers during the War of the Worlds. Various Copper Kings (like cattle barons, but for copper) are in near-open warfare and set bounties on each other, many with local (though not legal) support. State bounties are legal, but often lack local support and are likely to anger one or more factions. Mostly only official Federal bounties are seen to have the weight needed to be legal and not likely to bring reprisals.
·        An exception is that the rare bounty placed by “Gotham Jo” – Josephine Fiery, are also respected throughout Montana.
o   She is a madam and business owner of a hurdy gurdy house in Helena
o   She’s married to a man who’s present, but not in charge. In fact she seems to have him under her thumb, with lcoals knowing not to allow him to drink or gamble.
o   has a reputation for taking care of her employees, and only put out bounties on those who have wronged her people, never on an ex-employee
·        There are currently no active bounties safe to take

Knight rangers made some inquiries about Beard-cutter Ben (who sold them “walking meat,” a chewing gum that turned out to attract the Monstrous Jerusalem Bugs that attacks the PCs back in Session Two.
·        Upon hearing they are looking for him, he shows up at the ranch to apologize and offer us refunds and reparations. He got the material from the East Hudson Fur Trading Company. He will never do business with them again, and he’s spreading word that it’s bad, hired a lawyer to sue the EHBFTCo.
·        We ask him to tell us when he finds out more information
·        As part of reparations, ask him to give discounted shaves for law enforcement. He also gives some cash.

Station Chief Adler reports Professor Adremeliche has been spotted in three places in Montana in the last 60 days.

·        Helena, the capitol (It is 680 miles from here – if Knight Rangers go there, can visit Bute-Silverbow on the way. Economy fueled by lead, silver, and gold mining. Capitol buildings under construction. Most millionaires per capita in the US. Many movers and shakers – includes Gotham Jo. The Copper Kings who are so influential elsewhere in the state have very little control here. Population 13,000. No real bad part of town. Almost no unemployment. The rich people compete in charitable giving.)

·        Butte-Silverbow (Closest to the Knight Ranger’s current location – 450 miles. Population of 15,000 – biggest city in Montana. Center of War of the Worlds refugees in the state. Major EHBFTCo. base of operations–no Fonts and Bismarck office there. Center of where the Copper Kings are waging war against each other. Center of the Asteroid Mining Co. – mine adamantine and other star metals. Growing copper industry. Center of Martian tech research in the state. Two scummy red light districts. Grimy and smoke-filled. Gangs based on foreign national or ethnic origins divided up the town, most with ties to one or another Copper King.)

·        Hellgate (800 miles from here – due to limitations on moving the Armadillo through mountains and damaged infrastructure from the War of the Worlds, have to go around a forest to get there. Third largest city in Montana – pop. 3,400. In Hellgate Valley [Sections of which were choked with bones due to French fir traders fighting with natives, which is how it got its name. Fur trade has moved out.] Now largely trades in lumber. Home of Hellgate University [oldest in the state and includes the only accredited and licensed school of necromancy not in Eastern Europe]. Next to the Rattlesnake Mts. One of only two places in the world with a Badlands City embassy.

Most information comes from Station Chief Allison Flynn of Helena, Montana.
·        Her information was gathered under the radar. She is convinced Professor Adrameliche is connected with one of the power structures in the state. Found a picture of him for us – he wears black with accents of the same green as the Venom King. He is, of course, the Venom King. Mechanical arm. Cane with human bones and a green skull pommel – [Likely the Venom King’s actual bones.] Eyes = black with tiny, green dots

The Knight Rangers decide they are going to visit the university in Hellgate first, to see if they can find a way to put down the dead spirit that is the Venom King, and who now seems to inhabit Professor Adrameliche.
·        We can make 40-50 miles per day in the Armadillo. Get to the university in 16 days using an alternate route. Our route will take us through Yellowstone, Idaho Falls, Salmon, Hamilton, Lolo, then Hellgate

Around Day 10 into the 14 days it takes to put together the Armadillo. Dwargus invites us up to the big house for supper and new. Circle Axe has been granted 75% of the disputed lands they were arguing with the vicious Hippogriff Ranch – including Neblin Ridge.
·        Dwargus gives us a Federal salvage deed for the Armadillo from the Sixth Federal Circuit Court in Ohio. It might be overturned, but it should at least take a court case to do so.
· Mention that Texas Helium Magnate Tex Tanner has sent word he’s sending a representative to make an offer to buy the Armadillo… but the rep won’t arrive until two days after the Knight Rangers have left. We decide not to wait for him.

Around Day 12 into the 14 days elven ranch hand Waterlily wants to talk to us. She mentions the Ogre ranch hand Bo Hoss has a problem he doesn’t want to bother us with. His family lives in a shield volcano near Rexberg, Idaho. Communication with them has ceased. Dwargus sent an inquiry – got no information. They’re all ogres – only a few speak English – mostly immigrants of Pacific Islander descent.

A Shirren lady comes to measure Liam for some clothes. As a sensate, she asks if she can lick the Armadillo. The Knight rangers are okay with it, and she experiences 15 new flavors she’s never tasted before. In thanks, she gives us all spider silk umbrellas (+2 KAC/EAC against liquid-based attacks if held, but only 1 HP and takes damage if attack it is used against does any damage).

On Campaign Day 31 – it’s time to head out to Hellgate
·        The roboticist mechanic and operative bounty hunter are the best drivers, with the cartogramancer technomancer a close third.
·        The centaur paladin can drive, but her armor gives her penalties
·        The others we set up on rotation to learn

Patreon
Want me to keep people updated about future game sessions? Want something else? Pathfinder 1st-edition content? Would you rather see more material for 5e, or industry insider articles? Join my Patreon for a few bucks a month, and let me know!