Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Magnificent Samurai - Session 10

I ran Session 10 of the Magnificent Samurai on Sunday the 9th.

Session 9 Log
Magnificent Samurai Campaign Logs


  • Augustus Scitiori - dual-weapon master of shortswords
  • Catonio - a Catfolk Swashbuckler
  • Eliot de la Frau - A Saber-master and pirate.
  • Erland - a Jotun wrestler.
  • Markus - A Hobgoblin Paladin of the God of Chivalry.
  • Melek - a Nephilim greatswordsman
  • Tonokai - a Kazanjiman horse-archer


  • Mother Helen - A priestess of the Goddess of Healing 
  • Sister Marie - Her junior priestess
  • Altan - A Meng guide

To Find the Cause

From the tower, the party traveled to the largest building nearby, a temple or civic structure of some sort.  As with the tower, they entered by climbing up a dune to a second story window.  Located inside was a goblin, working on something on a table made of various gears and of a metal similar to their Spirit of Order.  One of his arms was missing, replaced with a mechanical contrivance.  Half his face was replaced by metal in a similar fashion.  They decided to speak with him before attacking, and found out a few things.

They discovered the golden skull, the Spirit of Order, and the other goblin each held a piece of his soul.  He had to replace bits of his body because he's been cursed so that no Healing spells will work on him.  Finally, the whole reason that he did all this was that he wanted to "balance" his spirit, and instead of giving himself up to a lifetime of meditation and contemplation, he decided to use magic to split the imbalanced pieces from his spirit. It worked, but ultimately too well, as he was now totally without strong emotions of any sort and didn't care what the party did with him one way or another.  They also found out that while the angels were there out of choice, to keep the basement demons contained, the demons were working on how to permanently remain on the material world.  The group decided killing the devil they had met was preferable to trying to kill a milquetoast sorcerer.

Back to the Tower

They left the spirit-shard people with the wizard, and went back to the tower.  When they entered, they found it abandoned, and the upper and lower floors deserted and normal looking.  The "basement" level, which was actually the first floor, now had a basement.  Melek, Augustus, and Markus went down, as Markus had been told several times "He's waiting for you in the basement."  They found a golden monkey statue there.  The monkey represented was odd looking, having two faces on the same head.  As Markus approached, they heard an intensifying sound of jungle drums, and so they smashed the monkey.

Weirdness and Price Paid

The three of them were instantly transported elsewhere, to a steaming but oddly silent jungle.  The Dark Powers were so potent here Markus got a headache.  Noting they were in the bottom of a bowl shaped depression, they moved to the top of the ridge.  They saw a leathern hut with smoke coming out, and entered.  Inside was a barefoot woman in blood-red robes, stirring a pot, and a monkey in a cage.  Markus used Demon Lore and recognized her as an aspect of Demogorgon, often encountered in dreams.  Some say she represents the self-defeating insanity of the Prince of Demons, as she was the intellect of one head and the monkey that of the other.  She offered to send them home for the cost of one level of Will each, with the guarantee it would not be used against them.  After a long discussion and much soul-searching, they paid and were returned to the tower.

The Death of Melek

The party got the spirit fragments and returned to the tower.  Leaving them on the second floor, they went down and fought.  There were many demons slain, but in the course of the battle, Melek got separated from the rest of the group, two frog-demons managed to glue his legs to the ground with sticky spittle, and he couldn't retreat or turn.  The devil they sought stepped behind him and stabbed, stabbed, stabbed.  Melek decided to hit him by thrusting the sword through his own body, which I ruled was such a surprising maneuver the devil got no defense.  This was enough to effectively remove the devil from the fight, but Melek just kept getting hit.  By the time the party was able to come to his aid, he was down to 1 HP from being dead, dead, dead (down to -5xHP +1.)  He got healed by the healers, but was hit again, and died.  This even after Augustus stood astride him and All-Out Defended with bonuses to his Parry and the Sacrificial Parry Perk.

The party took his body to the Kingdom of Prester John for a proper Western burial.  Melek's sword became an enchanted object after his death, gaining Flaming Weapon (he used the fiery Imbuements, so I thought it appropriate.)  Markus decided to take it up in his honor.

Artifacts Located by the Scarlet Wizard

They stopped in on the Scarlet Wizard on the way and he gave them the locations of some magic items they had traded some Favors for.


GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 6 - 40 Artifacts, p. 11.

Location: This bow is in the hands of Blue-Belly the Eater of Children, an Ogre Mage who hold a fortress several days' travel west.


This is a pair of excellent quality, large butterfly swords. They appear to be of silver, but are as hard as steel and don't tarnish or rust.  They were made by Gutye Zhu (Ancient Iron Master) for Beifang Xuezhe (Northern Scholar), the last of the Silken Robes school of martial artists.  He defeated the Nine Demons Sect single-handedly and disappeared from the martial world.


  • Blade Quality: The Blades are a pair of Balanced, Very Fine large butterfly swords, giving a +1 to hit, +2 to damage, and -2 to breakage.
  • Shatterproof: The weapons are enchanted to get a further -4 to breakage.
  • Magical: The Blades count as magical weapons.
  • Silver: The Blades count as silver, but without the penalty to breakage.
  • Quick-spin Strike: For 2 FP, the wielder may make a Feint followed by a Dual-Weapon Attack as a single Attack maneuver, with no other penalties.

Weight: 6 lbs total.

Blades of the Northern Scholar

sw+3 cut
+1 to Shortsword skill.
thr imp

Location: The Blades of the Northern Scholar are held in the martial academy of the Sons of the Nine Demons sect, an evil martial school.


The Bilesword is a gladius, and drips yellow acid when drawn from its sheath.  It was brought to the East by the gladiator "Undefeated" Gaius Maximus, who traveled far after his retirement. He died fighting the Shell-Ghost Crab at Silver Lake.

  • Blade Quality: The Bilesword is a Very Fine shortsord, giving it +2 to damage and -2 to breakage.
  • Accurate and Puissant: The Bilesword gets +1 to hit and +1 to damage from its enchantments.
  • Acid Weapon: The Bilesword deals an additional 2 corrosive damage with each attack.  As a free action the wielder may increase this to 1d until his next turn by paying 1 FP.

The Bilesword

sw+3 cut
+1 to hit, +2 corrosive damage followup
thr+4 imp

Location: The Tomb of the Western Warrior, in the countryside well north of Shengdu City.

Monday, October 17, 2016

House of Conti - Session 4

I ran Session 4 of the House of Conti on Saturday the 8th.

House of Conti - Session 3
House of Conti logs

Cast of Characters

  • Luca Conti - A swashbuckler
  • Raphael - A capable wizardly spy
  • JD - a Sorceror
  • Baradiel - A half-fallen angel


  • Goldie - Raphael's familiar, a special rat
  • A Swarm of Fancy Rats - Raphael's other Allies

Out of the Sewers and Back In Again

Luca, having been Geased to leave, dropped his weapons and headed to the initial entrance.  Once they got upstairs, they looked for the mage they had tied up on the surface but she was gone, and also found a silver piece Raphael had dropped in her pocket as a Seeker target.  They went to her apartment nearby, and found a dead man on the bottom floor, as well as bloody boot-prints leading out of the building.  Searching the room upstairs, they found a room conspicuously free of treasured possessions, stray hairs, or anything else that could be used to Seeker her easily, like it had been swept clean by a woman with Paranoia...

Goldie, Raphael's rat familiar, tracked the boot-prints to a tavern across the street.  The Golden Rooster, famous locally for its high-quality pasta.  They asked the bartender if they had seen anyone suspicious, and he admitted a man went into the basement earlier, but that his bar didn't even use it for storage any longer, having moved everything to a shed outside as worms kept coming up from the sewers and spoiling the food.  At this point, the group was suspicious of the bartender, as he gave them lots of grief, but they went down anyway.  They found the very cultist meeting place they had just left.

An Unwitting Donkey Kong Reference

The cultists they had left sleeping were missing.  The dead ones were still here, so they started to search.  As they were walking north, a lit barrel of gunpowder was thrown at them by the stone ape statue, hidden in the prison cell. It didn't even occur to me that this was totally Rock Donkey Kong until the players pointed it out.  Baradiel and Luca both tried to cut the barrel in half as it flew past, but they had no such luck.  They wanted to cut the fuse, but it was too far inside the barrel at this point to even see.  Both Luca and Baradiel took considerable damage from the blast, Baradiel being taken down to a death check and Luca being taken below 0 HP.  As they were reeling, the missing cultists all came from the north, with the Berzerk spell active on them.

For a couple of turns, it looked really bad for the party, as the cultists were All-Out Attacking and landing hits because of the reduced defenses.  Baradiel also failed a Consciousness Check and passed out.  Raphael saved the day with a timely Terror, which all the cultists failed to resist.  This stunned them long enough for Baradiel to be healed and Awakened, whereupon he failed a Bloodlust Self-Control roll and started choppin' off heads.

In the midst of this, Raphael located another bomb, even bigger than the first, on the roof of the room.  He ducked back, then on the next turn Luca leapt up using Baradiel's back as a footstool, cut the fuse with a single stroke, and landed perfectly with a critical success on Acrobatics, and was promptly annoyed when he realized literally no one in the room saw that.

After the cultist were taken care of, JD used Telepathy to send a message to Sazano the Wizard to get him to contact the Inquisition.  They went back upstairs to check out the tavern and found it burning down.  Luca used Leadership to organize the people around to put out the fire and save whomever they could.  After all this Sazano and Inqusitor Fedduchi arrived.  Fedduchi was a man both Luca and Raphael had met in the affair of the Bishop's murder, and they remembered him as as a just and reasonable man from their prior dealings.

An Agent of the Inquisition?

Back in the cultist temple, Luca made such promises and boasts that it had Sazano worried; Raphael took the lead from Luca and used Diplomacy to convince the Inquisitor to make Luca an agent in this affair, so they might freely track the Gath cult down.  Fedduchi agreed, and promised to send a letter granting Luca authority in the matter complete with the local Bishop's seal.  The day being complete, the party rented out the top floor of a local inn and partied until dawn.  Or dusk, perhaps, as by the celebration's end they could only agree that in some way the sun was shifting positions with the moon.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Thoughts on Adapting Published Magical Styles, Part 2

I'm going to followup Thoughts on Adapting Published Magical Styles.  This one covers the styles from GURPS Magical Styles: Dungeon Magic.

The Fluidists

(GURPS Magical Styles: Dungeon Magic, p. 6)

This style fits without much tweaking for my gameworld.  I don't see anything in it which would forbid it from being a sanctioned Brotherhood style.  I could even see the fairly radical members of the school accepting female members in a direct violation of the Brotherhood tenets.  I already have style that's part of the Brotherhood, the Fraternity of Gideon, that does so.  It certainly wouldn't make them popular, and I imagine few Fluidists would hold office in any guilds.  It strikes me that the last thing a Fluidist would want that sort of responsibility, anyway.

The Guild of Iron Mages

(GURPS Magical Styles: Dungeon Magic, p. 10)

The Iron Mages fit in well, with few changes needed.  As a conservative style, I don't think they'd support female members, so they'd certainly be a Brotherhood school.  In my opinion they need Enchant and some Weapon and Armor Enchantments added to their spell list.  I don't run straight Dungeon Fantasy and those are spells it seems like they should have even if PCs never use them.

The Old School

(GURPS Magical Styles: Dungeon Magic, p. 13)

Necromancy is one of the big no-nos in my gameworld, and is illegal almost anywhere.  However, I think that unlike the Onyx Path the Old School could work as a Brotherhood school of licensed Necromancers, especially since is says in their description they fight that identification.  They wouldn't be able to wander around in public with a gaggle of Zombies but they could get away with a lot just from being official.

The Order of the Sun

(GURPS Magical Styles: Dungeon Magic, p. 17)

Straightforward boom-boom mages?  Sure, why not?  I don't see anything that makes me hesitate in throwing this bunch in.  It seems like the sort of group that wouldn't necessarily seek to be a part of the Brotherhood as a whole school.  Certain teachers might be, but there's room for those who aren't.  They don't teach anything that's treated as Black Magic and are often Impulsive and Overconfident, which says to me they're too erratic for the Brotherhood to try to control them all.  Plus, when an orphanage gets burned down by a misplaced Blast Ball the Brotherhood could then say "Not our fault!"

The Sisters and Brothers of Echoes

(GURPS Magical Styles: Dungeon Magic, p. 20)

I'd use this style as it is, and since it readily accepts women it's not a Brotherhood school.  They teach Mind-Search, which skirts the edges of Black Magic, so the Brotherhood might try to run them off on occasion, but they know enough useful spells, and they practice their magic in a public enough manner, that secular officials probably allow them to practice magic in spite of the Brotherhood's distaste.  The Brotherhood isn't absolutely powerful and I think it's a good thing for there to be reminders like this school scattered about.

The Tower of Pentacles

(GURPS Magical Styles: Dungeon Magic, p. 24)

Another school that fits right in.  This would definitely be a Brotherhood style.  They strike me as filling a need for judges and negotiators within the Brotherhood, and they are respected enough that their ties to the Echoists would be overlooked. For that matter the Pentaclists probably have enough pull that they're the reason the Echoists continue to exist outside the Brotherhood framework.

The Wizards of the Mirrored Gaze

(GURPS Magical Styles: Dungeon Magic, p. 29)

The Bene Gesserit... I mean the Wizards of the Mirrored Gaze fit in great with a few adjustments.  Firstly, they're now the Sisters of the Mirrored Gaze and are female-only.  They get around the legal prohibitions against female mages by claiming to be a religious sisterhood, they're just vague about the gods they serve.  They have a number of spells that politically powerful people would find useful, so I think they'd often be found among the connected, and could use this to guarantee their continued existence.  They definitely know spells that qualify as Black Magic on my gameworld but since they cast them for the right people they can probably get away with it.  For a while, anyway, as I could see a King Philip vs. the Templars situation happening if the Sisters aren't careful or get too rich too quickly.