Friday, December 22, 2017

Skeleton Army

The opening setup

"Really, Zarlazz? Skeletons?""What's wrong with skeletons?""A bit low-rent, aren't they? Couldn't you come up with something that hasn't been done to death?""What, you'd prefer we give the adventurers a more meaty challenge?""That pun was beneath you, Zarlazz.""Puns are beneath us all, Kovath."

Secret Prison of Kas the Bloody Part 4

This is a chatlog, the recap writup is featured here.

Secret Prison of Kas the Bloody Part 3

This is a chatlog, the recap writup is featured here

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Token Tuesday: Reptillian humanoids Pack 1

Today on Token Tuesday, Emily Smirle has served up for you some reptilian humanoids.  They are all released to you under Creative Commons.  Below is a preview of just one such humanoid, if you follow the link here you can get a zip file filled with lizard/dino men in a variety of colors and weapon configurations.

Creative Commons LicenseReptilian Humanoid Tokens by Emily Smirle is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Token Tuesday: Puddings

I'm announcing a new feature here at Dungeons on Automatic: Token Tuesday with art by Emily Smirle.  Every Tuesday I'll serve up something new from her, focused first on the monsters in the DFRPG Monsters book.  After that, we'll see.  Today she has served up for you some puddings in a variety of colors.  They are all released to you under Creative Commons.  Below is a preview of just one such pudding, if you follow the link here you can get a zip file filled with puddings in a variety of colors.

Creative Commons LicensePudding Tokens by Emily Smirle is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Wandering in circles

"This tunnel - it doesn't go anywhere."
"Well, so?"
"I mean, we're paying for these tunnels by the yard. Why is there a completely empty hallway with three entrances to the same room and -- forty-eight, forty-nine -- yes, fifty -- FIFTY yards of pointless twists and turns?"
"That happens sometimes."
"And that's somehow okay?"
"Honestly, the amount of time and effort we save on planning is worth five thousand yards of hallway." 
Here we are walking in a looong circle.
This session (Chat log here) featured no combat just a great deal of trap finding.  And some laughing at the time wasted in the dungeon.  Traps triggered once, and were evaded and disarmed once. I wasn't super thrilled with how the session went just in terms of all the rolls exploring empty halls but the loot was okay.

First, they handled the loot from the fight with the dinomen last session.  Then they moved on and uncovered a secret door using See Secrets, then they uncovered a secret door that led to a hallway that led to ... 2 doors back to the room with the secret door.  The party managed to choose the one door that was trapped to open.  Teetonka triggered the trap but yanked his hand back in time to avoid the poisoned needle. (side note, I need to write up some more door traps, there aren't many in the traps book).  The party continued south to discover a trapped room (liquid ice sprayers in the ceiling).  Vondur got impatient (Impulsive swashbuckler) and decided to leap over the trap. He failed his acrobatics roll and had to burn a luck to escape an icy doom.  Teetonka started to describe how he'd disarm the trap but I cut him short so we could move on.  This is not ideal behavior on my part, players are encouraged by RAW to disarm traps in ways other than just "I roll traps" but I was in a hurry.  I went ahead and rewarded with CP as if he had spent the time and effort explaining how it would be disarmed (Exploits p.92).  Search checks were made and some hidden loot was found in the room (I hid it in a panel on the randomly generated balcony).  The haul wasn't bad:
  • 11 eigth-gold, 21 silver, 174 copper ($2144)
  • 2 gem like objects (probably tourmaline? Teetonka put these in her boot) 
  • fine metallic shield with jeweled inlay  and edging of feathers (magical, effect not known).  
  • Potion of Agility (Identified by Gharza sipping it. as a Half- Orc, she can make HT based alchemy pretty well)
They then spent some time considering how to get the Liquid Ice out of the ceiling, before giving up and returning to exploration.  The next room they entered was a boss level encounter: 21 Skeletons.

I've only done it twice, but I'm already getting pretty tired of these huge hordes of monsters.  The party opened the door, saw the skeletons and shut it again.  Stonemaul decided to pray to his god for help in smiting the undead menace.  I went ahead and let him roll based on Exploits p. 90.  The effective skill of 6 seemed unlikely to work out, but he did indeed roll that 6.  After some discussion of possible results, I decided to just throw a Turn Zombie spell loose on the tightly packed skeleton phalanx.  It helped out, all the skeletons started the fight down 4 HP and 4 of them spent the fight running from Stonemaul instead of pitching in.  At that point we called it a night and planned to pick up an a week or so.
This looms for next week
Thoughts: I need to make tokens for trapped doors so I can click to either spring or disarm the traps so things can move faster in this regard.

Secret Prison of Kas the Bloody Part 2

This is a chatlog, the recap writup is featured here

Monday, December 4, 2017

Free Dragon Tokens Pack 1 Courtesy of Emily Smirle

Just wanted to take a moment to release some fantastic token art by the talented Emily Smirle.  She whipped these up for me when we ran into some issues with our dragon hunting playtest.  They are all released to you under Creative Commons.  Below is a preview of just one such dragon, if you follow the link here you can get a zip file filled with dragons in a variety of sizes and colors.

Creative Commons LicenseDragon Tokens by Emily Smirle is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Too much loot?

By Nicolas Uvena-Stefanovich Licensed under Creative Commons

"Wait, what are you doing?"
"If you don't put loot in the dungeon, Kovath, then the adventurers won't come to be killed."
"Right, but you can't put that there."
"Why not?"
"Because if you put it there, one of the gnolls is going to pick it up and use it."
"And that's... bad?"
"I don't have time to go into gnoll tribal politics right now but trust me, a puissant, flaming, very fine broadsword of penetration will NOT be good for our population numbers."
"Fine. Fifty random coins, then, whatever."
"Don't pout, Zarlazz. It's a nice sword. We can give it to one of the wights."
Last week, I had a post about hunting dragons in which I said:

"All of that said, there is such a thing as too much treasure, and I'm not sure where that line goes for DFRPG yet."
To which the esteemed Peter V. Dell'Orto of the DungeonFantastic blog commented in response to me, saying:

"I'm really curious to see you expand on this. With such a limited supply of purchasable magic items, treasure seems like it'll pretty much be better mundane weapons, better mundane armor (and armor is highly pricey), potions, and healing. Even with pre-DFRPG pricing, which was lower, I had to dramatically increase the treasure in my dungeons just to keep pace. So I'm wondering where you see this line being, and when treasure becomes too much."
After he said that it got me thinking, and I reached out to my players (I've got 7 who've hit a dungeon with me so far).  We determined pretty quickly that it would take multiple millions of $ to zero out most delver's wishlist forever, even assuming all those items could be found on a shelf in the shop.  It's quite likely that (contrary to my previous statements) there is no sane tipping point after which delvers have too much stuff. 

What does that shopping list look like?
In theory, you could have a Torc of Exemplary Humanity (as one of my players called it) with +5 ST, HT, DX, IQ and Per for $1,025,000.  That's a cool million.  That doesn't include a weapon, so let's assume a swashbuckler: the balanced, very fine, orichalcum, silver coated, ornate edged rapier ends up costing $64,000 without enchantments. If we add accuracy, defending, ghost weapon, loyal weapon, penetrating weapon, icy weapon and puissance at their max levels we end up with another $817,000 and we aren't even done.  For armor, the aformentioned swashbuckler would probably like what I presently consider to be the world's best adventuring armor combo.  First, a fine spidersilk ornate lightened suit of cloth for a total of $18700, 2 DR and only 6.75 lb. Second, a spiked, ornate, dwarven, orichalcum, fine suit of epic plate (only 23.76 pounds and an incredible 10 DR) for $648,000, but why stop there, lets take it to the next level and lighten that ($10k, down to 11.88 lb) and add max levels of Deflect ($400k) and Fortify ($160k) to land us at  $1.218 million.  There's no adventuring gear in this list, but I've already cleared $3 million assuming you pay sticker price and don't suffer any markups for having to custom order something so insane or pay a mad enchanting markup for speed.

So, why was I convinced such a thing as too much money existed?  In a completely different game (in GURPS using the Monster Hunter supplements set in the present day) I gave players ridiculous bounties for completed missions.  If magic items aren't available to soak up money, it turns out you can buy everything you care to carry pretty easily.  My players got to the point of buying a decommissioned missile silo and several wheeled, floating and flying vehicles "just in case", after which they continued to find silly things to spend it on, but none of it was meaningful.  My players found it fun, but all it added to play was a sense of crazy wish fulfillment shopping spree.  I could no longer motivate my players with greed (which was fine in that game since they all had other reasons to do what they did) or use money as an obstacle for them.  In the end, I don't regret giving them their shopping spree, but wish I'd taken longer to get there in the campaign.  I was somewhat worried I'd be facing the same issue with DFRPG, but I'm increasingly convinced it's not a real problem and I nod to the wisdom of Peter in this matter.  If anything, I'm convinced that the rate at which loot gets handed out needs to keep going up as there is a gap between the price point on good mundane gear and incredible magical items that's pretty large.

What about your games? What's the most money you've seen thrown around? Did it cause problems?