The party set out up the mountain again after a cold night sheltering in an overhang.

Two medium wyverns circled overhead, watching them. As the vikings reached the steeper slope leading up to the nest, a larger wyvern took flight. Geir fired some arrows, but to little effect. Near the base of the slope they found a corpse hidden beneath some sort of cloak/basket done up to look like a rock. Frigga figured out the cloak could provide visual cover from the wyverns.

Frigga and Grimman climbed up a short ways (limited by the length of their rope), followed by Geir. While Geir was climbing, wyvern flew by, mauling him with its claws. Helga and Aesa started trying to climb up to reach him. The largest wyvern attacked Helga, trying to carry her off. Helga was roped to the rest of the group, and the extra weight caused the wyvern to crash and let go of Helga. Once on the ground, Helga and Frigga (who bolted down the slope like a madwoman) made short work of the big one. Other wyverns started attacking during this time, but big axes and spears to the eye proved sufficient to deal with them.

They climbed some more, and another large wyvern plus two small ones started attacking them. Geir shot one eye out of the large one, and after several might weapon strikes to its legs, with no damage inflicted on the party (and the loss of more of its brood), it led the few remaining wyverns away, leaving the nest and eggs to the group.

Searching the nest revealed the axe of Odd Dragonslayer, which Aesa happily claimed as her own.
The party did the month of downtime, including a visit home. Grimman visited Gyda.
They decided to track down the eventual resting place of "Odd, Dragon-slayer" in hopes of recovering his cool axe.

They reach the town near Icerock (where Odd is believed to have died). They head out to Icerock. Wandering Wyverns buzz them, but are driven off by a little resistance. Most of the party isn't really equipped to fight a ranged battle. The next day, they find the beach were Odd's ship seems to be beached, and hike/climb a ways up the mountain.
This is way out of date; the session was before Thanksgiving.

The party pressed on deeper into the cave. They killed some oblivious skeleton miners. They attacked the wizard in his lair, rushing in perhaps a little more quickly than was prudent. The fought the giant zombie, and the just-a-little-large zombie, the two skeleton guards, and the lighting-ball-tossing wizard. All enemies were vanquished. Loot in the form of coins, potions and a magic crown was pillaged.
After resting in town and healing up, the party outfitted with rations, torches and a lantern. (Which took much longer to work out than it does to say).
They made it to the evil mountain without incident. On the final approach, they encountered a footprint that was only a few days old. The followed the trail for a while, before losing it in a rocky patch. After a discussion of what to do next, they started heading back to the cave, only to be ambushed by a skeletal archer hiding in the bushes. The archer mis-judged how quickly the party could run, and was quickly dispatched. The loot included a magic quiver and the enchanted bones.

They camped that night in the cave, and Grimman burned the bones, hopefully releasing the spirit trapped in them. The next morning, the party marched into the cave, past the first chamber and into the second, with the chasm. Frigga jumped across, while Grimman proceeded more carefully with a rope after climbing down. When about half the party was across, more spider zombies attacked. They didn't last long; Geir fired arrows into the eyes (and brains) of the biggest one, and the others were dispatched easily. Unfortunately, Helga got clocked by one, and needed healing. They rested for an hour or two, used their magical healing, and were ready to roll for the next session.
We picked up the session with the party (including Tryggvi) about to confront 6 zombies (with a skeleton in the back).

Grimman and Tryggvi were the main front line, with Grimman getting the worst of the pressure. The zombies facing him were relentless (rolling well), trying to chop him off at the legs; he weathered to storm as well as his heroic spirit could manage. On Tryggvi's side of the line, things went better. Zombies were hacked and dispatched (with a brief moment of caution when a zombie rushed into a hole in the line). Meanwhile, Geir dropped the skeleton in the back before it could strike the alarm gong. Just as the zombie flank collapsed, and the party's heavy hitters started to roll up the undead line, a lucky shot hacked Grimman's leg out from under him.

They spent some time drinking deeply from the newly acquired magical healing horn, and bandaging their wounds, before deciding to retreat from the cave. They heard some noises from the other side of the door, and formed up to fight, but nothing came through. They marched out, carrying the crippled Grimman. They traveled all the way back to town, a journey of over a week, made slower by Grimman's wounds and the need to stop and hunt to supplement their meager rations.

Rested and resupplied, the party intends to travel back to the cave, and kill all they find there.
Last night was the fight against zombie spiders. Frigga walked on ahead past the plank bridge while everyone else was being cautious, triggering the ambush by 6 giant zombie spiders.

She handled 3 of them while 3 more stymied the party from crossing the bridge. Many heroic actions were taken, but the party prevailed. They are realizing that being low on light sort of sucks, though. They have one torch left, and that is half-way burned through. We left them facing a room with a squad of zombies waiting for them.
So before I leave to play round 3, I thought I'd record round 2.

They vikings went to the cave mouth. They squashed some spiders. They were wounded enough that I let them skip ahead to the boss fight. The boss was very disappointing; I don't think she got any hits in. They left the archer in the back, and he almost died when the spiders looped around and attacked the flank.

Note to self: if your dodge is your only defense, All Out Defend is stupid when below 1/3 hp. May as well All Out Attack, since you can't defend, even with +5 for AOD dodge+retreat.
So as a replacement for the bardic healing that left the party in the viking game, I have introduced a 'Horn of Healing'.

When you drink deeply from the horn, you are healed by borrowing against 'future' healing. Mechanically, you make a HT roll as though you had spent a day resting, and potentially gain a HP back. You get to keep making rolls until you are healed, or you crit fail a HT roll. There is a catch, though. Once you reach (threshold) days of healing, you start getting a penalty to the roll equal to (penalty constant) multiplied by the days past the threshold.

Should the healing take place in one drink, or should you have to quaff once for each day of healing?

What should the values of (threshold) and (penalty constant) be?

There are currently only 3 HT levels in the party; the numbers for threshold =7, penalty = .5 are below the cut
Read more )
So I used a heavy handed plot hook- a story about a previous band of heroes who had a Horn of Healing (wanted to replace the party healer, who moved to Maine), and were last seen heading to the lair of an evil sorcerer.

So we do some math for supplies, since they don't know how far away the mountain is. It was very frustrating. It was hard to get people to cohere on a plan, and say who was carrying what. There were a number of fairly simple solutions, they just wouldn't come to an agreement on what solution they were picking as a group, or as individuals.

So anyway, they marched off to the Northwest. First night near target they were attacked by a swarms of spiders; the second night by some larger spiders. In both cases, their armor was largely proof against the attacks. I had intended these encounters to help us all understand the threat of spiders, but since they all resisted the spider venom when bitten, they have no knowledge of it. On the up side, I think I came up with a good (fun) way to handle it, as opposed to the original 'Save Vs HT or be paralyzed', which seemed to be un-fun.

So we ended at the mouth of the main cave. I have two encounters planned for next week, then a boss fight. If we are going strong, there will be a second level, but I should have a while to worry about that.
Trying to sort out the events into a narrative.

The party was asked to deal with a marauding ogre in a valley. They traveled there, and met two other erstwhile heroes also looking in to the problem, Aesa and Geir. They joined forces, and traveled to the problem area. They met a local farmer, and intimidated him with their bloodthirsty overconfidence. He directed them to where the last attack occurred. The discovered the destroyed farm house, and followed ogre and orc tracks away. Along the way, they were attacked by a handful of goblins. They dispatched them quickly, taking a few scratches. (A very introductory combat)

Traveling further, they had some intra-party conflict as an overly curious Geir tried to "look" at Grimman's sword. Grimman started throwing punches. While that was going on, the Ogre and orcs descended on them. (I shorted the number of orcs since Tryggvi wasn't present for this session.) Helga and Grimman double-teamed the ogre, who didn't manage to land a blow. Geir and Aesa each ended up facing an orc, and Frigga took on two. In less than 10 seconds, they won, keeping the ogre from running away.

I rolled terribly for the bad guys. They hit infrequently, and the few times I did, the party's defenses were ample. In hindsight, the ogre's skill should have been higher.
A message reaches Odense in the early spring: the High King plans a massive raid on Ireland. Jarl Skorri is to bring his forces to the muster in 2 months at the capital.
The first session of the viking game happened last night. It went fairly well-players had fun, we got some solid practice at combat (which is going to be the focus, I think). We were down a player, which I suppose I should have expected.

The game started in media res, with the party in a cave fighting little goblins. I got surprisingly good rolls, and the party bad ones, so what should have been an easy encounter was actually a challenge. Just as the last of the little ones was getting dispatched (by the player who actually got points for Bloodlust, instead of finishing folks off voluntarily) the ogres arrived. You'd think 5 ogres vs 5 skilled viking warriors would be a fair fight, but the party wasn't in a good ready position, and once again, I rolled well in the first round. So it was a hard slog, with some folks well below 0 HP, and the party beginning to withdraw, when an ogre got a solid hit on a fleeing player, and she woke up- it was all a nightmare.

So that was fun. My program performed fairly badly. I hadn't done nearly enough testing of the units, or trials of the whole thing. My bug list is quite large. I think I need to scale back my goal to just the combat chart, instead of going for the whole die-rolling, health tracking, bell and whistles gadget fest that doesn't work.

But the bells and whistles are more interesting. I dunno.
Jarl Skorri is in his 50s, and has generally been a wise and just ruler. His health is overall good, despite the weight he has been gaining as he gets older. He lost an eye in battle many years ago. His wife died years ago, although he keeps two favored concubines. He has no children left. His oldest son Brand left on an expedition to the west 4 years ago, and Eirik went on a raid two years ago from which no one returned. Losing Eirik made the Jarl melancholy and conservative, but he remains a good ruler.

Gyda is older than anyone else in Odense. She lives up in the woods, comes to the Jarl's halls for some festivals and feasts, but not all. There is always a place set for her, though. When folks need a potion, or other witchcraft, they go up to 'those woods', and don't talk about what happens. Otherwise, folks avoid her and her woods, traveling around it if necessary.

Pere is the blacksmith. Not native to Odense, he arrived as a young man. Surprisingly thin, he is still quite strong. He claims to have studied under dwarfs to learn his trade, and does good work. He won't make weapons, but his tools are highly regarded.
The World:

The world is bounded to the north by mountains of ice. Those aren't too far away.
To the west, around the arm of mountains, is a vast ocean, with fewer islands the further you go,
and mighty storms. To the east, across the sea, are the lands of wild men, and many goblins.
To the south are men, and far south are lands of good plunder. (Use a real world
map of Scandinavia to get the general idea, but that becomes less accurate the further you go from

The Viking kingdoms are generally small, but gather into large federations under a high king.
The kingdoms to the south tend to be larger, with stronger central governments, and more stable
alliances. Generally, a great leader spends as much time keeping his followers going in the same
direction as picking a direction.

Local travel is mostly on foot, and boats dominate the distances. People live mainly on the coasts,
avoiding the thick forests and steep slopes of the mountains. Winters are harsh and dark,
and legends tell of giants attacking during the worst of them. Horses are known but uncommon, becoming more common further south.
Fishing is a mainstay, with some basic agriculture and pig/cattle raising.

Cold. Winters are damn cold. Up in the mountains the weather is even worse.
Old folks talk about how winters today are easy, but they also had to walk uphill both ways to get
to the well. Summers are nice, even warm, but nights at sea are always cold.

People see magic in many things, attributing many things to curses or good luck charms. Blatant magic (flying, fireballs) is rare. Friend of a friend, or 'my grandfather told me' stories, include more obvious magic. The less verifiable the story, the bigger the magic. Exotic beasts are uncommon. Dire wolves and goblins are the most common of these.

Goblins (nasty little claws and teeth, not intelligent but clever and vicious) are uncommon,
but most folks that don't live in larger towns have seen them. Usually about the size of a
pre-adolescent human, they must gather in packs to be dangerous to a warrior.
Dwarves are known to exist, but it is rare to see them. Perhaps one or two will come to
a big town once a decade. They trade mostly for ivory, offering excellent weapons.
There are stories of fey creatures in the woods, but most 'sensible' folks attribute them to wild
human tribes, like the Finns (east) or Germans(South).

Campaign Notes:
The game focuses on the actions of Jarl Skorri's personal warband--his elite troubleshooters. Full-time warriors, they live in his hall, ready to act at a moment's notice. Skorri has many more troops available, if the call goes out, but it would take days or weeks to muster them. Every member of the warband can (and will, in the shake-out session) pass a combat trial. They are all accomplished warriors, and can live off the land, sail a ship, or sneak by a guard.
As vikings, they don't think twice about trading or piracy, depending on the strength of those they meet.


Apr. 27th, 2006 09:17 pm
Here is some of the content for my Vikings game on Tuesday. Please review and comment as the mood or interest strikes you.

Read more... )
The game has two goals for me: an excuse to play with my cool lego dolls, and to meet potential additions to the weekly gaming group.

September 2017

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