A Winter Chase

As part of @twwombat‘s Winter is Coming Blog Festival I have written a winter time chase that can be dropped into most suburban settings. This chase is based on the chase rules presented in the Pathfinder GameMastery Guide or from the Pathfinder PRD. A few subtle tweaks would allow it to work in a wider variety of situations. What leads up to Obstacle One is up to the GM. If the person being pursued makes it to the end before the pursuing party reaches him the GM can certainly develop a final zone for some sort of showdown!

Obstacle One: To the Roof!

Catching sight of the pursued cresting the roofline of a near two story stone building the party finds themselves at the foot of the building.

Scale the Wall (Climb DC15): The stonework of the building make climbing a reasonable option to reach the roof.

Find Recessed Ladder (Perception DC15): At the far corner there is a recessed, iron ladder that leads to the top of the building. A perception check allows one to find it and easily ascend to the roof.

Obstacle Two: Back to the Streets.

After crossing the roof of a building or two, the row of buildings end at a gap. There appear to be two ways down from here.

Jump into Snow bank (Acrobatics DC15): A large snow bank lies below to soften the jump from this height. An Acrobatics check is required to leap successfully into the snow bank without risk of injury. Failure results in 1d6 damage and loss of the next round’s action to recover from the fall.

Descend the icy wall (Climb DC20): The wall on this side is quite icy making the climb down difficult. Failure on the check by 5 or more results in 1d6 damage and the loss of the next round’s action to recover from the fall.

Obstacle Three: Crowd by bonfire.

After reaching the ground again the party is able to follow the pursued through an alley back to the main street. Upon turning the corner the party encounters a large crowd near a big bonfire. The crowd is thick and not parting easily as the group rounds the corner.

Talk your way through (Diplomacy DC15): Party members can try to talk their way through to both gain confirmation the pursued came through this way and to get the crowd to more easily allow them through.

Bully your way through (Intimidate DC15): Party members can also try to intimidate the crown into letting them pass through unhindered.

Obstacle Four: Massive Snow bank

Once through the crowd the pursued heads towards the outskirts of the town through a side entrance. Just outside the town is a massive snow bank from the winter winds that stands six to eight feet tall.

Plow through snow bank (Strength Check DC15): Party members can try to push their way through the deep snow bank with a strength check.

Spot the tunnel in the shadows (Perception Check DC15): Some children have dug a small tunnel through the base of the snow bank. A successful perception check allows a party member to find the tunnel and allow passage through the base of the snow bank.

Obstacle Five: Frozen Stream

Once past the snow bank the chase runs through the area outside town for a short distance until reaching a frozen stream that the pursued appears to have crossed.

Move Across Ice (Acrobatics DC20): Move across the ice requires an acrobatics check to do so successfully.

Low Hanging Branch (Climb DC15): A large tree limb from a near tree provides a means to climb the tree and cross via the limb to the other side of the frozen stream.

The Linnorm Ice Throne

The Linnorm Ice Throne is a magical artifact for the Pathfinder Roleplaying System and written as part of the Winter is Coming Blog Festival. The throne can be dropped into a campaign for use with a nemesis in the cold lands of the north or it can be used to bring winter to any region you wish during any season!

The Linnorm Ice Throne

Aura: Strong Abjuration, Evocation and Transmutation      CL: 20th
Slot: None                                                                            Weight: 1900 lbs

Description:

A towering throne of graying ice with a harsh contrast between a smooth seating area and the jagged ice crystals surrounding it the Linnorm Ice Throne make a commanding presence. The light plays off the crystal-like cold throne in a glittering play of reflection.

The throne’s back stands nearly eight feet tall, the likeness of a great linnorm is carved from the ice, weaving about the back culminating in a vicious serpent head with ice fangs bared arched over any who would sit in the throne. Large, smooth arm rests sit to either side of a nearly three feat side seat, with four short pillars of ice forming the legs of the throne.

There is some mystery as to history of the Linnorm Ice Throne, the most common story one of an archmage of ancient times having crafted it in a lost ice citadel to the north. Driven by his desire to command the prevalent linnorms of the frozen north the Linnorm Ice Throne came into being.  The throne is said to be fused with the blood of an ice linnorm that still flows within the throne itself and provides the throne with its power.

Powers:

The Linnorm Ice Throne holds several powers to help the person that currently controls the throne maintain their rule.

Control Weather (Winter): The throne has the power to permanently control the weather in the two mile radius. The throne prefers a brutally cold climate and will manifest winter weather in any region it is moved to. The weather created by the throne are near blizzard-like conditions.

Endure Elements: Upon any person seated in the throne it will place an endure elements spell upon the person to allow them to easily withstand the frozen surroundings the throne surrounds itself with. The throne owner must return to the throne every 24 hours to have this effect renewed.

Cold Ice Strike: The person seated on the throne can use a command word to cause the linnorm carved into the ice of the throne to spel forth a flurry of ice slivers as described in the Cold Ice Strike spell. This can be done three times per day and acts as 15th level caster.

Icy Prison, Mass: The person seated on the throne can use a command word to cause the throne to cast Mass Icy Prison as a 15th level caster.

Mage’s Private Sanctum: The throne is always treated as if centered within a casting of Mage’s Private Sanctum (450′ Cube).

Destruction:

Destroying the Linnorm Ice Throne is quite difficult due to its controlling effects of weather. One must have a Fire Giant that can withstand the effects of the cold the throne produces smash it upon an anvil with a magical hammer of fire and then immediately have the pieces of the throne ingested by a great red dragon. Failure to immediately have the pieces consumed will find the throne reassembling itself.

Winter is Coming!

Winter is Coming RPG Blog FestivalWinter is coming. Wait, what? Yes, with the first day of fall the Winter is Coming RPG Blog Festival launches! This will give you plenty of time to take the articles from this festival and work them into any winter themed games you may have!

@twwombat has kicked off the idea of a week-long RPG blog festival that starts today, September 23rd. The theme for the festival is winter-themed elements for a variety of RPG game systems including D&D, Pathfinder and a few more. The elements can be new magic items, encounters, NPCs, feats and more all written by a wide variety of contributors to the RPG blog festival. At last count @twwombat had twenty-five participants lined up for the upcoming week.

The Iron Tavern will be participating in RPG blog festival with two contributions during the upcoming week. First we will look at the cold and mysterious Linnorm Ice Throne. From the frozen lands to the north this long lost, powerful artifact of the cold has been discovered again. This will be a magical artifact designed using the Pathfinder rule system.

Next up The Iron Tavern will publish a winter chase encounter using the Pathfinder rule system chase rules. What winter hazards will your players have to face to succeed? This chase encounter will be a drop-in encounter possibly with slight modifications for your specific campaign taking place during the winter.

There are lots of other contributors lined up for the Winter is Coming RPG Blog Festival. Be sure to keep an eye here for The Iron Tavern’s contributions and an eye on Wombat’s Gaming Den of Iniquity so you don’t miss any of the great stuff in store for the upcoming week. Winter is coming!

Monte Cook Back at Wizards?

Monte at WotC - Good or Bad?Twitter was afire yesterday with the announcement Mike Mearls made stating that Monte Cook was brought on board at Wizards of the Coast to work with R&D in “making D&D the greatest RPG the world has seen”. In addition he will also be taking over the Legends and Lore column that Mike has been writing weekly for the past eight months.

There appear to be several different camps and a lot of speculation about what this means for D&D. Some camps I agree with, some of the speculation out there makes sense and some not so much!

My thoughts? I am actually excited to see what Monte will bring to D&D. I was not a big fan of 4e as it just did not seem to match what I feel D&D should be for me. Because of that I spent most of my time playing 3.5 or Pathfinder and only paid cursory attention to what was going on in the D&D world. Don’t get me wrong though, I fully understand that many people do enjoy 4e and I don’t begrudge them that one bit. I am sure the game I prefer might not match the game they prefer.

But with this announcement? I plan to at least become a regular reader of the Legends and Lore column. Now my curiosity is piqued! What is in store for D&D? Will 4e just be modified with changes Monte might bring to the table? Or is this the beginning of a new edition? For someone that hasn’t followed D&D in its 4e iteration very closely, Wizards seems to have succeeded in at least getting some of former customer to pay closer attention again.

I am still not sure D&D can pull me back in just yet, but for the first time in a long time that possibility is there. I have been quite happy with my Pathfinder and other systems and the entertainment they have provided me. It would take some major changes to draw me back to the D&D brand.

My hopes with this addition of Monte Cook to the R&D staff? It is hard to put my finger on exactly what I want to see, but I hope that he helps bring back some of the 3e feel to the game again while retaining the ease of DMing the 4e system that every lauds. Maybe something with newer mechanics but retains the “old school feel”.

Regardless of how this plays out, it does indeed seem that there are exciting times ahead for D&D! I am looking forward to watching things unfold in the coming months ahead.

Broken Mountains Patrol

Iron Tavern BarrelThe pair of dwarves quickly move forward through the common room of the Iron Tavern, Baerun stands his ground as they draw closer, his face suddenly breaking out in a large smile as the pair are steps away.

“Thought ye’d seen the last ‘o us, did ye?” the first dwarf calls as he claps Baerun’s back with a blow that would have knocked the less hearty down. A wide-mouthed smile also breaks out across his face from underneath his beard.

The second dwarf pulls a stool out from the bar, the wooden legs scratching against the floor as he makes himself comfortable. “Expectin’ me to pour my own drink dere, Baerun?” he says as he leans forward elbows on the iron topped bar.

“Reggor.” Baerun says to the dwarf that clapped him on the back. “And Nortik, of course.”

“Have yerself a seat Reggor. I’ll pour ye a couple of ales.” Baerun continues, still smiling as he pulls a couple of mugs down from the rack overhead and begins filling them from one of the tapped wooden barrels marked C.A.

He places the overfilled mugs down before each dwarf each sitting at the bar.

“How was the trip across this time?” Baerun asks, wiping down the bar top. “Nip of fall is in the air, won’t be many more easy trips I reckon.”

“Ah, de’ mountain trolls gettin’ restless. Lotsa’ prints, probaby a trio ‘o dem. Nortik and me tried to track ’em a bit, but we lost ’em across a rock field. Maybe we’ll run into ’em on da way back.” Reggor replies, pushing an already empty mug away and nodding for another.

Baerun promptly offers another, following with a second for Nortik who is also pushing his empty mug back across the bar.

“Them trolls always causing concern in these parts.” Baerun replies. “Just part of getting the ore out of here. Hungry? I can have something made up for ye?”

Reggor and Nortik both nod.

Baerun scrawls something on a small piece of parchment and sets it on the ledge of a pass window behind the bar. A burnt, human sized hand takes the slip of paper from the ledge and disappears from sight.

“It’ll be ready in a bit.” Baerun says to the pair of dwarves as he walks back to you at your end of the bar.

“Sorry ’bout that. Old friends!” Baerun says as he passes another mug of ale along to you. “Who are they ye ask?”

“I told ye that the dwarves patrol the main road to the mine earlier, eh?” Baerun replies.

“Those two are part of the patrol. Once winter hits the patrols will stop, though a trading caravan or two might try to pass through if they are desperate. They will have their own guards along of course knowing the dwarves don’t patrol in the winter.”

“Reggor and Nortik are some of the toughest, that’s why they travel with just themselves. Those prints of three mountain trolls they found? Lucky for them trolls that those two didn’t find them! Sometime I will see if I can get them to tell you some of their stories, they have some good ones!”

“Fact, if you are looking to head to the mines on your business you might be able to tag along with those two. I could put in a word for you if yer interested. Safest passage yer likely to see!”

“Now if you’ll excuse me, looks like their food is up.” Baerun says as he looks at the pass through window and sees two heaping plates of food sitting there.

The One Ring Resources

The One Ring was released at Gen Con Indy and many people that were there have their slipcover set, others have received their early bird pre-orders and the rest of us wait with PDFs for our slip-covered sets to arrive. During this time many fans have been busy putting out some excellent fan-created materials for the game. In addition there have been some other gems out there that I felt needed to be consolidated into one place for the moment.

Let’s take a look at some of these gems that are out there!

Cubicle 7 The Video Files

First up is Cubicle 7’s own video series about The One Ring. Likely if you have done any searching for more information about The One Ring you have come across these. But I felt this post would not be complete without some reference to them. These videos include interviews with game designer Francesco Nepitello and art director Jon Hodgson. An excellent series – either for those considering picking up The One Ring or for those waiting for their books!

Jon Hodgson’s Deviant Art Gallery

As mentioned in an earlier post I was very impressed by the artwork in The One Ring books and that was one of the things that drew me into looking at the game closer. Jon Hodgson has been very cool with posting various wallpapers and such to the Cubicle 7 forums. In addition he has a Deviant Art gallery that is well worth checking out if you are looking for inspiration for your Middle-earth game.

Azrapse’s Web Character Builder for The One Ring

One of the more impressive fan created tools for The One Ring is the Web Character Builder written by Azrapse from the Cubicle 7 forums. In a very short period of time he has developed an excellent online character builder TOR characters. The character builder has import and export options, a print option, the ability to export to BBCode for PbP campaigns, a dice roller and he’s recently added an Online Character Server for storing your characters online. In addition he has thus far been very quick at handling feature requests and squashing any bugs. An excellent tool and well worth a look!

Voidstate’s The One Ring Dice Roller

If you are interested in a standalone dice roller for The One Ring, voidstate recently posted just such a thing. It stands to be a great tool if you need to make a quick roll for something. You can choose the type of roll, the number of skill dice, whether you are weary, how to handle the feat dice, whether to spend a Hope point and set the TN if you know it. This is a relatively new creation, but so far voidstate has been updating it to correct for any errors the community has found. Another great tool!

The Rune Generator

This next tool is not specific to The One Ring but one I have already found useful – a rune generator! The rune generator is quite useful for creating handouts and such and can take the text you input and output runes in either Old English runes from The Hobbit or Cirth, Moria Dwarf runes from Lord of the Rings or Elvish Tengwar.

The One Ring Actual Play Post

And the final item I mention is less a resource and more an example of play that might help some people. John Marron over on rpg.net has started an actual play thread of his The One Ring game and includes some of the mechanics behind the action. I found it an interesting read. Be warned though he is running the sample adventure in the game, so there will be spoilers abound. If you might play the adventure it might be best to avoid this last thread to prevent spoiling any fun for you.

The resources highlighted above are just some of the ones that have caught my eye over the past month. Keep an eye on The One Ring Forums at Cubicle 7 and you can find some other fan created resources that might help you with your game as well. Enjoy!

The One Ring at The Iron Tavern

Play-by-Post Gaming: Player Advice

Green DragonI have made several posts on Play-by-Post (PbP) gaming over the past week or so. Each of these posts have had a heavy GM focus where we’ve focused on pacing, narrative and props for PbPs. Today I want to talk about things you can do as a player to help contribute to the success of a PbP. One cannot expect the GM to carry all of the weight!

Pacing was one of the first areas I talked about from the GM side and the importance of keeping the game moving along at a reasonable rate. A player can also contribute to keeping the pace moving in a PbP.

Do your best to make your posts in a timely manner to keep from holding a game up. If you are going to be gone for an extended period of time, give the GM a heads up. They often just appreciate knowing and are happy to NPC your character while you are away. If things are simply very busy in your real life – and lets face it, that’s why we’re playing a PbP – then even simple one liners can be better than massive, verbose posts to keep things moving forward.

Now with that said, when the time permits do focus on descriptive posts. Just as descriptive narrative is important for a GM in his or her posts, do the same as a player. Add those extra details to your posts! They help others get a better feel for your character as well. Describe your actions and mannerisms, give people a hint as to what is going on in your character’s head. Bring your character to life! Some of the most memorable folks I have played with have posted in a form that was quite enjoyable to read.

Another phenomenon I see happen occasionally in PbP is player’s talking past each other or acting in a vacuum. Try to interact with the other players in your party. And when they try to interact with you through conversation or actions be sure to respond! Building this interaction with party members can go far to keep people engaged with the game and go far to keeping the PbP successful.

And finally – help your GM out and make sure you actions are clearly posted. Often I find putting something behind a spoiler tag as out of character that clearly states your actions can help make things a little easier for the GM. A happy GM makes for a happy PbP group!

By doing these things as a player you can help make the PbP you are playing in successful and a good time for all.

It certainly takes a combination of player support and GM support to result in a long running PbP. Sometimes the game just doesn’t work out – but I think if GMs and players start with the advice covered in this series of posts that you are well on your way to a successful play-by-post game!