Sunday, April 17, 2011


I am bowing out of the A to Z challenge.  I thought I could balance it with school, but school wins.

See you all in May.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A to Z Blogging Challenge: H is for Humanoids

I've established Orcs exist in my game (by allowing Half-Orcs), but I kind of want to mess around with the concept of the humanoid threat to the island of Greatholm.  I've got an idea for how to handle the threat facing the Elves of the Elshaw, but I wanted to have something different for the rest of the island.  I may have found my solution when I was thinking of F words to use for the Challenge.  It took me longer to write this than anticipated, so I bumped it to H...

According to Wikipedia, the Fir Bolg were the inhabitants of Ireland before the Tuatha De Danann showed up.  Well, the Fir Bolg will be the original inhabitants of Greatholm (in keeping with my tradition of bastardizing different parts of Britain for Greatholm).  The Firbolg in the Monster Manual II (since we're still waiting on Joe to finish the Adventures Dark & Deep Bestiary) are what I have to work with.  At 13+ HD, that's a bit much to have them running around too much.  So, the purest and greatest of the Fir Bolg will match the stats in Monster Manual II, but they aren't the only Fir Bolg running around.

From time immemorial, the Fir Bolg ruled Greatholm.  The many tribes of Moroilean (the Fir Bolg name for the Island) lived and fought amongst each other until the Men of the West and the Men of the North began to appear on the shores of the island.  At first, they proved no serious threat.  As time passed, the humans would not stop coming.  More and more would land upon the island, eventually establishing footholds.  The scourge of humanity would prove as virulent to the Moroilean tribes as they were to other parts of the world, eventually driving them out of the rich plains into the southern hills and mountains and the forests of the northwest.  Their numbers waned to the point of desperation.  The tribes that survived were the ones that decided that if they can't beat humanity, they should join them.  Using their alter self abilities, the Fir Bolg bred with the humans they captured in raids.  The resulting children, while weaker than their parents, bolstered the tribal numbers.

As the blood thinned, so did the understanding that the creatures were Fir Bolg.  Creatures decended from the Fir Bolg eventually were unable to use the alter self abilities and began to be known as "Orcs" due to the regular swine/warthog imagery on their banners and such (Orc is the Fir Bolg word for swine).

Fir Bolg and Orcs (greater and lesser) will appear as large copper-colored humans with dark brown or black hair.  The biggest thing differentiating the different strains is their size.  As they continue to breed with humans, they get more and more human blood in them.

Morale  +8
Number Appearing  1 (5% 1d4 will appear together)
Hit Dice  11d8
Armor Class  2
Move  15"
Magic Resistance  20%
Damage  by weapon type +10 (strength modifier)
Attacks per weapon (Attack Rank L, +4 (strength modifier)
Size L (12')
Intelligence Average to Genius
Alignment Chaotic Neutral (Can also tend towards Neutral and the Evil alignments)
Treasure Type VI
Treasure Value 2500 g.p.
Magic Treasure 15% Weapon; 10% Armor
X.P. Value 2000+16/h.p.

Greater Fir Bolg can alter self at will as 11th-level casters.

Morale  +6
Number Appearing  1d4 (5% 4d4 will appear together)
Hit Dice  7d8
Armor Class  4
Move  15"
Magic Resistance  10%
Damage  by weapon type +8 (strength modifier)
Attacks per weapon (Attack Rank H, +3 (strength modifier)
Size L (10')
Intelligence Average to Genius
Alignment Chaotic Neutral (Can also tend towards Neutral and the Evil alignments)
Treasure Type VI
Treasure Value 1500 g.p.
Magic Treasure 10% Weapon; 5% Armor
X.P. Value 350+8/h.p.

Lesser Fir Bolg can alter self once per day as 7th-level casters.  


Morale  +4
Number Appearing  1d8 (5% 4d8 will appear together)
Hit Dice  4d8
Armor Class  6
Move  12"
Magic Resistance  5%
Damage  by weapon type +6 (strength modifier)
Attacks per weapon (Attack Rank G, +3 (strength modifier)
Size L (8')
Intelligence Average to Genius
Alignment Chaotic Neutral (Can also tend towards Neutral and the Evil alignments)
Treasure Type VI
Treasure Value 500 g.p.
Magic Treasure 5% Weapon
X.P. Value 60+4/h.p.


Morale  +2
Number Appearing  1d8 (5% 4d8 will appear together)
Hit Dice  1d8
Armor Class  6
Move  12"
Magic Resistance  none
Damage  by weapon type
Attacks per weapon (Attack Rank C)
Size M (6')
Intelligence Average to Genius
Alignment Chaotic Neutral (Can also tend towards Neutral and the Evil alignments)
Treasure Type VI
Treasure Value 100 g.p.
Magic Treasure none
X.P. Value 10+1/h.p.

A to Z Blogging Challenge: I is for Illusionists

I never quite got the feel for Illusionists.  They always seemed to be pale shadows of Magic-Users.  I can't say there have been many versions of D&D (and by extension, the clones thereof) who give me a character class I can really sink my teeth into.

G is for Great Landowners

When I created Greatholm, I used a lot of different sources.  I used a bit of Medieval Demographics Made Easy, by S. John Ross.  The work that I made the most extensive use of, though, was A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe by Expeditious Retreat Press.  One of the things that it discusses is a breakdown of the land of a particular kingdom and who owns the land.  They introduce the concept of Great Landowning Families.  There are four Great Landowners in Greatholm:  The Royal Family, The Church of the All-Father, and the two Dukes of the Realm, the Dudleys (The Duke of Avonlea and his family) and the Stanleys (Aberfirth).

The House of Neville, the current royal house, controls the vast majority of the land in Greatholm, about 11.8 million of the 13.8 million acres of land on the island.  However, they only have 31 manors concentrated mostly in Astleyham.

While the Church of the All-Father has two rather large segments of alloidal land (The Westleigh Diocese and the Starfall Protectorate), most of their more than 600,000 acres is spread throughout the realm as individual churches, abbeys, monasteries, priories, and other church facilities.  Church land is not royal land (as much as anyone can have their own land in Greatholm), being exempt from taxes.  About a third of their 82 manors are within Westleigh and Starfall, the rest being scattered across the island in the form of different abbeys, monasteries, and priories.

The House of Dudley maintains all of their 150,000+ acres within the Duchy of Avonlea.  Within this fertile land are 47 manors.  The Dudleys are closely allied to the Nevilles via marriage.

The House of Stanley, on the other hand, regularly feud with the other great landowning families from their vast (almost half a million acre) holdings in the west of Greatholm.  Most of the feuds are political, not military, although there have been random conflicts between the different nobles of the "Wild West." The land is very rough, so even though they cover considerable acreage, they only have 57 manors.

Where are my posts?

I'd like to know that as well.  I'm not pleased to have to recreate them...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A to Z Blogging Challenge: F is for Friggin' Awesome...

So, last night, I continued my Adventures Dark & Deep game, but this time I used a lot of the tables from the Zak S.'s Vornheim to help flesh out Wickster.

Wow.  Got an awful lot of mileage out of that supplement.  It's ingenious and easy to use.  Sure, some of it will need to be tweaked a bit to reflect the different setting (most notably the encounter table), but as a framework, it's awesome and vital for anyone running urban adventures.

More on this to follow.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A to Z Blogging Challenge: E is for Elves

The Elshaw Wood is a place where humans fear to tread.  It is filled with mysteries arcane and fey.  The Church and Kingdom vigorously patrol the outskirts, making sure creatures do not come out (or are they making sure citizens don't go in?) and threaten the good order.

Within the wood is an elven kingdom perfectly content to not deal with the humans to the west.  They have their own problem.  Recently (the last fifty years--recent for elves), the catacombs beneath their city, Calatirion, have been broken through by humanoids from some heretofore unknown land.  The elves are only concerned with encroaching men who may or may not be working with the humanoids.

In order to keep this encroachment down, the elves have instituted the Tauritirno, the Forest Watchers.  They serve two purposes: defense/reconnaissance of the periphery of the Elshaw and acquisition of human slaves.  Elves are majestically beautiful creatures of great power and magic.  However, they are as cruel and egotistical as they are attractive.  Feeling the world outside the Elshaw unworthy of their affairs, they often breed their lower caste males with female slaves.  The resultant half-elves (which actually qualify as Elves for PC race purposes) are then raised to be the ambassadors and other public representatives to the outside world.  As those half-elves breed with humans, the resultant "elf-bloods" (which are the PC race Half-Elves), are the result.  The diluted blood will typically last for about three generations before the offspring are, for game mechanics purposes, human.

There is a lot more to the Elshaw Elves, but those are mysteries to be uncovered in-game.

Implications for Player Characters:
Elves are much more powerful in Greatholm than most D&D settings.  As a result, the PC race known as an "Elf" is technically a half-elf.  The "Half-Elf" race is more appropriately an Elf-Blood, even more diluted.  

No. Appearing 1
Hit Dice 9d8
Armor Class -1 (Elfin Mail +2, Halberd of the Elvenkind,  plus Dexterity bonus)
Move 120’
Magic Resistance Immune to sleep and charm spells.  40% resistance to spells cast by non-elves.  20% Half-Elves, 10% Elves (PC Race)
Damage Halberd of the Elvenkind  (1d10+2/2d6+2 damage)
Defenses none
Attacks Halberd of the Elvenkind (2 attacks/round; Attack Rank J, +2)
Size M
Intelligence Highly Intelligent
Alignment Lawful Neutral
X.P. Value 1700+(12/h.p.)
Individual Treasure 5-40 p.p., Boots of the Elvenkind, 3 Cage Arrows (see below), Cloak of the Elvenkind, and Halberd of the Elvenkind (see below)

The beauty of the elves is such that characters with a wisdom of less than 14 will be subject to the effects of a fascinate spell.  PC-race elves and half-elves with wisdom scores in the 10-13 range are unaffected.  Ture elves also have the following spell-like abilities what can be used at will:
  • charm person against any of non-elven blood.  Elves have no limit to the number of  non-elves they can use this ability on.  However, if the target makes a saving throw, the elf cannot attempt to charm that target again for another 24 hours.
  • entangle (3 times/day)
  • speak with plants (2 times/day)
  • transport via plants (2 time/day)  This only works within the Elshaw Wood
Cage Arrows (New Magic Item)Bat over at Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets posted these on Sunday and they totally fit with the Tauritirno.

Halberd of the Elvenkind (New Magic Item)
This powerful weapon is found only in the hands of full-blooded elves.  Even PC-Race Elves are not permitted to wield them.  Any non-elf known to be in possession of a Halberd of the Elvenkind will, under no uncertain circumstances, be hunted until the offender is dead and the Halberd is back in the hands of the Elves.  This is one of the few circumstances when a party of Elves will leave the Elshaw.  Many of the villages (and certainly all nobles) near the Elshaw are aware of this and if they realize that someone has a Halberd, that person will, at best, be sent on their way.  At worst, the person will be slain and the Halberd will be returned at once.

For all wielders, the Halberd of the Elvenkind acts as a halberd +2  in all respects, with additional powers.  The wielder also receives a bonus of +2 to armor class and all saving throws.

It also contains enchantments similar to an enchanted staff.  If the wielder is of elven blood (an Elf, a PC-Race Elf, or a Half-Elf), a successful hit can do double damage a the expenditure of one charge, at the wielder's option.

If the wielder has the ability to cast arcane (Mage and its subclasses) spells, the wielder can also use the following abilities at will (as per the spell of the same name if applicable; the number in parenthesis is the number of charges used when the power is activated.  This cost is double if the wielder is an Elf (PC Race), triple if a Half-Elf, and quadruple if of any other race):
  • cone of cold (50% have fireball instead) (2)
  • continual light (1)
  • magic missile (1)
  • minor globe of invulnerability (1)

When found, the Halberd of the Elvenkind will have a number of charges equal to 26 minus 1d6.  It can be recharged by any spell whose effect the staff can create, plus any charm spells.  It is worth 
9,000 x.p.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A to Z Blogging Challenge: D is for Druids

After giving the Church of the All-Father the once over yesterday, today we take on the other side of faith in Greatholm--The Old Faith.

I had never really looked too much into the historical roots of Druidism until just now and I realized that a whole lot of what is out there is just speculation.  The nice thing about this is that there is very little to get "wrong."

It isn't just because the Church of the All-Father is the state religion of Greatholm, that the Old Faith has been suppressed.  Even under the Sterling Potentate's polytheistic faith, the Old Faith represented a spiritual place for those who dissented.  If the spiritual solace were taken away, the task of oppression could be made easier.  Active promotion of the Old Faith would represent a threat to the power of the Potentate's Priests and now represents a threat to the Church of the All-Father.

The thing is with magic, the question isn't if there is one god, it's who has the right god.  Currently, the Old Faith is suppressed.  It hasn't gone away, however.  In the western part of the island, particularly, the Old Faith thrives, albeit in secrecy.

The fact that the Old Faith has been forced underground for the last 300 years has given it a flexibility that most religions lack.  The Druidic Tongue is only spoken, with all written records of it extinguished.  This was part the doing of the other religions and in part the actions of the Old Faithful themselves.  By relying on an oral tradition, there is no written proof of heresy.  As each practitioner needs to exercise discretion when practicing the faith, there are numerous unique approaches to the faith, compared to the one axiomatic approach taken by the Church.  (On a side note, I'm not entirely sure how to reconcile this lack of structure with the Druidic hierarchy from the Adventures Dark & Deep Player's Manual.  I'll worry about that when I get a 12th-level Druid in my game.)

Druids play the role of spiritual advisers to the members of the Old Faith.  Most practitioners of the Old Faith do so in small groups, which may or may not be led by a classed Druid.  Druids will frequently travel to meet with these groups from time to time, under the guise of a scholar or merchant, to answer questions of faith or perform important ceremonies.

Members of the Old Faith swear by the "Three Realms" -- The Sky, the land, and the sea -- tied together by the fire of inspiration or freedom (depending on who you ask).  They respect and revere the elements and the spirits inherent in everything around them.  This can manifest itself in gentle thanks to objects or animals who benefit them.  Speaking to inanimate objects or animals is often seen by the more suspicious members of the Church of the All-Father as signs of heresy.

All classed Druids will speak Druidic.  Non-druids can also learn it, but the language is rare even among the faithful.  Usually only devout members of the Old Faith who lead the prayers of their peers learn the language.  It is also possible for some outsiders to learn it.  Many of the more inquisitional members of the Church have pieced together enough Druidic to identify its speakers as heretics.
Players who chose to have their PCs be members of the Old Faith would be able to come up with their own tenets of faith, but should still maintain the spirit of what has been written before.  Druids and Rangers, particularly must be more rigorous with their observations of the various changes of season.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A to Z Blogging Challenge: C is for Church

Under the hood:  There is more than a passing resemblance between the Church of the All-Father and the Medieval Catholic Church.  This is somewhat intentional, as I wanted a recognizable face of the faith to give the players something concrete to relate to.  Outside of superficial conventions, the resemblance stops there.  My portrayal of the Church of the All-Father has nothing to do with any thoughts I have or comments I might make about religion.

Oh, and just because I have to give credit where credit is due, the genesis of the Church came from some of Raggi's Church of All from the No Dignity in Death module.  I like to think I've taken it in a different direction, but the initial seed was planted by our favorite metalhead from Finland.

The Church of the All-Father is the all-pervasive religion in the Kingdom of Greatholm.  Its hand touches every aspect of life in the kingdom, having ascended to primacy after the Sterling Potentate's polytheistic faith fled them during the great and noble rebellion led by King Simon I, which re-established the Kingdom four generations ago.  Under the watchful guidance of the Archbishop of Westleigh, the Church of the All-Father is the single largest landowner in the kingdom after the Royal Family, with all church land exempt from tax and feudal obligation.  For the most part, this means that various monasteries operate as independent estates and that churches are separate from the land they minister.  In some cases, like the Westleigh Archdiocese and the Starfall Protectorate, there are huge areas of land under church control.

The head of the Church of the All-Father, based at Warwick Abbey, which is near Whitehaven.  The Patriarch also serves as the spiritual adviser to the King.  The Patriarch serves until death, when the Secretary of State ascends to the Patriarchy.  The current Patriarch is His Holiness Industry II, who has served for 18 years.
Title: His Holiness <<Apostolic Name>>.  The Apostolic Name is chosen from the list of the seven Virtues: Charity, Chastity, Humility, Industry, Kindness, Patience, Temperance, followed by a numeric title.  You would refer to the Patriarch as "Your Holiness."

There are six Archbishops of the All-Father--The Secretary of State (the Patriarch's minister of affairs), the Archbishop Penitentiary (responsible for matters of Canonical Law), and the Archbishops of Ballykin, Beckby, Westleigh, and Whitehaven.  Then the Secretary of State ascends to the Patriarchy, the remaining five choose the new Secretary of State and then the new Archbishop to replace the vacancy.
Title: His Eminence <<name>> and either the title (in the case os the Secreatry or Penitentiary) or the location they are in charge of.
Example: His Eminence, Thomas Penitentiary.  You would refer to him as "Your Eminence."
Bishops serve many different roles in the Church, most notably heading up various dioceses across the Kingdom.  When an area is either too populous or distant for the Archbishops to effectively control, they will establish a Diocese, with a Bishop in charge.  There are also numerous Bishops serving the Archbishops and Patriarchs in differing capacities.  Many Apostolic and Archepiscopal Vicars are promoted to Bishop after considerable service.  Most promoted in that way are given a Diocese, but others remain on as elite agents.
Title: His Excellency, the Most Reverend <<Name>> of <<Area of Service>> agents and staff members will refer to either the Apostolic Court or their Diocese as their area of service.
Example: The Bishop of Wickster would be referred to as His Excellency, the Most Reverend Henry of Wickster, and addressed as Your Excellency.
Abbots and Abbesses are the heads of the different Abbeys throughout the kingdom.  There is only one Abbot or Abbess per Abbey.
Title: The Right Reverend <<name>> of <<abbey>>, addressed as Father/Mother
Example: The Right Reverent Simon of Houndswick Abbey.  Addressed as "Father Simon."
Vicars serve as representatives of higher powers within the Church.  An Apostolic Vicar is a personal servant of the Patriarch, Archiepiscopal Vicars serve Archbishops and Episcopal Vicars serve Bishops.  Agents of other Church officials do not merit a vicarage.
Title: The Very Reverend <<name>> of <<who they serve>>
Example: A servant of the Archbishop of Beckby would be known as The Very Reverend Geoffrey Long of the Beckby Archdiocese and you would call him "Father" or "Father Geoffrey."
Canons are the heads of the non-monastic or militant orders of the Church, as well as senior (non-episcopal) functionaries within the Apostolic Court.  The heads of seminaries, senior episcopal staff, etc. serve as Canons. 
Title: The Reverend Canon <<name>>
Example:  The head of Beckby Seminary is The Reverend Canon Roger Cooper.  He is referred to as either "Canon" or "Canon Roger."
Most Priests are Parish Priests, administering the faithful in a village.  Others serve as junior ministers in the larger cathedrals in the towns or cities.  Fewer still make up the Itinerant Order, traveling the land in the All-Father's name.
Title: The Reverend Father <<name>>
Example: The church in Sodbury is led by The Reverend Father Robert Evelyn, referred to as "Father Robert."
Brothers and Sisters are members of the church who are not formally ordained, but live under vows.  All members of the religious classes begin play at this level.  PCs of other classes can also take the religious vows and be in this caste.  If one of the PCs is a Cleric serving as a Vicar, it is likely that the Church would want the rest of his party to be Brothers and Sisters.  They are addressed as "Mister" or "Madam."
Seminarians are the students at the Seminaries around the Kingdom.  They are referred to as either "Mister" or "Madam."

What does this mean for the characters?  Well, what follows are road maps for Clerics in Greatholm.  Mystics and Paladins will get the same treatment in future articles, which will detail the Monastic and Militant Orders.

CLERICS (Itinerant Path)
Level 1-2: Most PC Clerics who begin play at Level 1 will be Brothers or Sisters of the Itinerant Order of the All-Father.    They are charged to travel the Kingdom and do the All-Father's work.  They may ask for meager food and lodging at Church facilities, typically no more than a mat on the floor and a servant's portion of gruel, in return for service (cleaning and the like, although it could serve as a hook for adventures).  This courtesy does not apply to the Cleric's fellows unless the head of the facility is interested in using all of the PC's fellows as agents of the church.
Levels 3-7: At 3rd Level, the PC will be frocked as a Priest of the Itinerant Order.  He would have the option of taking a Domestic Parish, but that would then change the character to the Domestic Path.  As an Itinerant Priest, the Cleric gains better treatment when asking for food and lodging.  Within reasonable limits, the rest of the Priest's associates will be granted the food and lodging as a Brother with minimal questions asked.  Also, this stage is the soonest that a Cleric could be made a Vicar.  If the PC is made a Vicar, they will gain a powerful patron at the cost of the obligations inherent in the role.
Level 8+:  At 8th Level, the PC gains the ability to found a church (Actually, an abbey) and gains all of the benefits noted in the Adventures Dark & Deep Player's Manual.  The Priest is given the title of Abbott and gains an estate and followers.  Any abbeys founded will be in the wilderness, far from the bulk of civilization.  Once founded, the abbey and its estate will be considered Church Land (and not that of the King), which is another reason why you will not be able to establish a stronghold in any of the existing civilized areas.  A possible exception to this outcome is to allow a PC to take over an existing abbey or even a Diocese.

CLERICS (Domestic Path)
Level 1-2:  PC Clerics who are tied to a particular Church begin play as Brothers of the Domestic Order of the All-Father.  They are servants of the Priest of the local church (or possibly a Bishop or Archbishop), which limits their adventuring possibilities considerably.  If this path is taken, then the campaign will likely be focused on the PCs service to the church.
Levels 3-7:  At this stage, PC Clerics will be ordained as Priests, granting them either their own church or an increased role in one of the cathedrals.  This will tie the Priest to his church or cathedral, again limiting the range of adventure.
Levels 8+:  Any PCs that achieve 8th Level as a Domestic Priest will be strong contenders for a Diocese.  If using the stronghold rules, the newly-frocked Bishop can establish a new Diocese in an expanding part of the Kingdom.  As the head of a Diocese, the Bishop will be incredibly busy with his subordinate churches.

Note: The further political advancement of Clerics to Archbishop or higher is outside the scope of this article and should be handled as a case-by-case basis by the GM.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A to Z Blogging Challenge: B is for Brigands

A wide, open land waiting to be exploited-by men both sinister and just.
Greatholm is not a densely populated island.  Huge swaths of land are wilderness.  When you look at one of the maps, you'll see that the majority of the towns and settlements are surrounded by miles of wilderness.  While you will find many estates in the plains of Avonlea and Astleyham, large chunks of the Norcott and Astonwold are wild.  The Elshaw, with its fey inhabitants, is untouched by man.

Few of Greatholm's inhabitants venture far from their homes at any point in their lives.  Those brave souls travel with trepidation, for the way is often wrought with brigands.

As the campaign will begin in Wickster, we will focus on the brigands who inhabit the Astonwold Hills.  Many of them are descendants of the remnants of the Sterling Potentate (from Stonehell Dungeon), who took to the hills and forests after their rule was overthrown.  While the generations have erased any political motivations the brigands might have, many of them have developed a culture of hatred for the nobles of the island and seek to live outside of the boundaries of their rule.  Naturally, the powers that be frown upon this behavior.

Preying on travelers through the Astonwold (and occasionally venturing into the Norcott), the brigands operate in smallish, itinerant gangs.  Unable to settle in any of the land, they are forced to range far and wide, living off of the land and what they can gain by force.  The brigands are a loosely clannish folk, with the different clans composed of many different gangs related by blood.  When a gang grows too large to operate effectively, they separate into smaller gangs.  Intermarriage is rare within a clan, but interclan relations are often kept civil through political marriages.  Slavery is common, particularly women taken as forced wives.  Male slaves are usually hostages for ransom or skilled craftsmen.  The nomadic life of the brigands is not adapted for easy child-rearing, so the mortality rate is very high (increasing the value of child-bearing women).

Given the heavily forested terrain in question, most of the brigands operate as footpads.  The few highwaymen that do exist are well-known through the region and actively hunted by the Royal Road Wardens as well as the Ranger Brotherhood (who, outlawed themselves, are often blamed for brigand activity).

So here is a sample gang of Astonwold Brigands: The Teague McPhees

Led by Teague McPhee (of Clan McPhee), the Teague McPhees are one of the smaller brigand gangs roaming the lower Astonwold Hills.  They are quite notorious for their brutality and fearlessness.  Teague himself wears the magical armor of Sir Gilbert Warwick, a knight of the kingdom, whose death earned Teague a bounty of 5,000 g.p. on his head for murder of a noble.  Teague's younger brother Bayne wears the magic armor of an unnamed household knight who came after the band in retribution.

For the most part, I haven't described the non-combatant slaves and camp followers or the "important prisoners."  Maybe they could be Gilbert's family members or some merchants.  More on that if I end up using the band in my game.  Anyway, here are the stats for the brigands.

Morale +5
No. Appearing 1
Hit Dice 9d10+3 (53 h.p.)
Armor Class 2 (Plated Mail +1 & Shield)
Move 120’
Magic Resistance none
Damage Long sword 1d8+2, Dagger 1d4+1
Defenses none
Attacks Long sword (2 attacks/round, Attack Rank K, +1 to hit), 10 attacks/round vs. creatures with 1d8 hit dice or less.; Dagger +1 (3 attacks/2 rounds), Attack Rank K, +1 to hit), 10 attacks/round vs. creatures with 1d8 hit dice or less.
Size M
Intelligence Highly Intelligent
Alignment Neutral Evil
X.P. Value 1,642
Individual Treasure 10 g.p.

BAYNE MCPHEE (Teague's Lieutenant)
Morale +4
No. Appearing 1
Hit Dice 7d10 (24 h.p.)
Armor Class 4 (Steel Scale Mail +1 & Shield)
Move 120’
Magic Resistance none
Damage 1d8+2
Defenses none
Attacks Long sword (2 attacks/round, Attack Rank H, +1 to hit), 7 attacks/round vs. creatures with 1d8 hit dice or less.
Size M
Intelligence Very Intelligent
Alignment Chaotic Evil
X.P. Value 615
Individual treasure 8 g.p.

TEAGUE’S GUARDS (Alf, Cooley, Lee, Roarke, Siobhan, and Vincent)
No. Appearing 6
Hit Dice 2d10 (18, 13, 9, 10, 11, and 10 h.p.)
Armor Class 8 or 7 (Leather Lamellar (2 w/shield))
Move 90’
Magic Resistance none
Damage Long Sword (1d8+2); Light Crossbow (Point Blank (6’-60) 2d4+2, Short (61-120’) 1d4+2, Medium (180’)-Long (240’) 1d4+1)
Defenses none
Attacks 2x Long sword (3 attacks/2 round, Attack Rank C, +1 to hit), 2 attacks/round vs. creatures with 1d8 hit dice or less.; 4x Light Crossbow (1 attack/round, Attack Rank C, +1 to hit if target             is within point blank-medium range)
Size M
Intelligence Average
Alignment Chaotic Evil
X.P. Value 89, 74, 62, 65, 68, 65
Individual treasure 9, 6, 10, 2, 3, 9 g.p.

Morale -1
No. Appearing 20
Hit Dice 1d6 (6, 2, 6, 3, 3, 3, 2, 4, 1, 3, 2, 2, 4, 2, 1, 6, 1, 1, 3, 3 h.p.)
Armor Class 8 or 7 (Leather Lamellar (11 w/shield))
Move 90’
Magic Resistance none
Damage Light Crossbow (1d4+1), Long sword (1d8), Pike (1d6), Short bow (1d6)
Defenses none
Attacks 3x Light Crossbow (1 attack/2 rounds, Attack Rank B); 11x Long Sword (Attack Rank B); 3x Pike (Attack Rank B); 3x Short Bow (Attack Rank B)
Size M
Intelligence Average
Alignment Neutral
X.P. Value 11, 7, 11, 8, 8, 8, 7, 9, 6, 8, 7, 7, 9, 7, 6, 11, 6, 6, 8, 8
Individual treasure 7, 10, 8, 8, 8, 10, 8, 8, 7, 10, 7, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10, 8, 6, 8, 6 g.p.

10 Camp Followers (non-combatant)
10 Slaves (non-combatant)
2 Important Prisoners (non-combatant)

In the provisions and storage tent:
Ale, barrel (12 g.p., 250lb.)
Food, dried vegetables/fruit (2 g.p., 10 lb.)
Iron ore (10 g.p., 100 lb.)
Lumber (2 g.p., 25 lb.)
2x Livestock, fowl (in cage) (10 s.p., 7 lb.)
Livestock, goat (1 g.p.)
Silk, bolt (85 g.p., 9 lb.)

In Teague's tent:
Book, illuminated (small), entitled The Five Potentates of Sterling (100 g.p., 6 lb.)
Clothing, fine (1 set) (30 g.p., 4 lb.)
Ewer, glass (30 g.p., 5 lb.)
Incense (20 g.p., 1 lb)
Mirror, large (20 g.p., 12 lb.)
2x Box, engraved (medium) (50 g.p., 4 lb.)
The first contains 81 g.p., the second contains the following gems & jewelery:
Beaded electrum pin (13 g.p.) with a small star peridot (flawless) pip (50 g.p.)
Brass pin with 2 cloisonné spirals (1 g.p., 12 s.p.)
Copper beaded necklace with large, stamped, nude female figure (3 g.p.) and six very large moss opal (very poor) studs (10 g.p. each)
Plain copper ring (1 g.p.) with large jade (good) pip (10 g.p.)
Thick silver bracelet stamped with five flowers (15 g.p.) surrounding small blue spinel (flawless) pip (50 g.p.)
Medium Glass Bead (flawless) (1 g.p.)
Small Pale Aquamarine (good) (10 g.p.)
Tiny Opal (flawless) (25 g.p.)

In Bayne's tent:
Ewer, silver (18 g.p., 2 lb.)
In the Guards' tent:
Cup, copper (2 g.p., 1 lb.)
Ewer, copper (6 g.p., 2 lb.)
Fur pelt, ermine (4 g.p., 1 lb.)
Fur pelt, marten (4 g.p., 1 lb.)
Fur pelt, mink (3 g.p., 1 lb.)
Perfume, rare (10 g.p., 1 lb.)

Friday, April 1, 2011

A to Z Blogging Challenge: A is for Armor

Visually, armor is a huge aspect of the image and feeling behind your game.  The film version of Excalibur used anachronistic armor designs (as I understand it) to convey a certain vibe.  So, being a visual person when I plan my games, I wanted to think about how armor would work in my Greatholm game.  I tried to shy away from cost/weight/protection analysis to instead look at the armor and what goes into making it to determine what status it confers upon its wearer.  Wearing armor when you make your first impression can have a strong effect on that impression.

Most of the armor (with the exception of mail and the plate family) can be produced anywhere, although some of the more time/resource intensive models (steel scale, for example) might not be readily available in the villages of Greatholm, requiring a commissioning of the armor (and a hefty down payment).

Cuirass, Leather (3 g.p., AC 8, 15 lbs., Full Movement) - A breastplate made of leather.
Lamellar, Leather (15 g.p., AC 8, 20 lbs., 75% Movement) - A series of leather scales connected to one another to form a shirt.
From a game mechanics standpoint, I'm not sure why anyone would purchase Lamellar over the Cuirass.  The Lamellar is five times the cost, 33% heavier, and limits your movement.  That's just game mechanics, though.  Looking at pictures of Cuirasses and Lamellar, one thing that looks very interesting to me is the comfort factor.  The rigidity of the Cuirass, while providing better and cheaper pound-for-pound protection, looks like it wouldn't be fun to wear over a long period of time.  While the Lamellar slows you down, it looks like it's got better weight distribution.  So who uses one over the other?  I'd say your typical militiaman might be more likely to have a Cuirass.  When you are only occasionally called upon to wear armor, you want cheaper.  However, those who tend to wear the armor more often (guards and the like) would probably choose Lamellar.

Furs (2 g.p., AC 8, 8 lbs., Full Movement) - Heavy, thick furs that provide protection against both cold and weapons.
The social connotations of wearing Furs will exclude you from most polite company.  Only Northmen and the more "rustic" of the Western Forest Folk (culture to be named later) wear Fur Armor.  Fur as a style and status symbol, however, is in favor among the upper class.

Gambeson (4 g.p., AC 8, 10 lbs., 75% Movement) - A quilted jacket stuffed with padding.
Gambesons are included in the mail and various plate armors, which give the wearer an air of status.  Rough types who want to look "legitimate" will often wear a gambeson.  However, if one of lower status wears a gambeson around the upper class, they will certainly be looked even more down upon as "pretenders" than someone of their class already would be.

Brigandine (30 g.p., AC 7, 20 lbs., 75% Movement) - Leather or cloth with steel plates riveted or sewn to the inside.
The favored armor of city watches and household guards, due to the relative lightness, mobility, and ability to dye the leather or cloth into heraldic colors.  Some of the more affluent members of the criminal underworld will also choose brigandine.

Lamellar, Steel (35 g.p., AC 7, 30 lbs., 50% Movement) - A series of steel scales connected to one another to form a shirt.
Not a popular new choice for armor by anyone with the advent of Ring Armor, you can find steel lamellar in the hands of the militias who were once well equipped, but can no longer afford to upgrade.

Ring Armor (30 g.p., AC 7, 25 lbs., 75% Movement) - Rings of metal sewn onto a leather backing.
A little bit heaver, but the same price and mobility as Brigandine.  I'm thinking this would be favored by mercenaries and the like, since it looks more like "armor" than "clothing."

Scale Armor, Leather (25 g.p., AC 7, 30 lbs., 50% Movement) - Small leather scales mounted on an inner layer of cloth.
As long as you don't have to move much, this is the most affordable option for AC 7, but it's lack of mobility limits it to static guards.

Cuirass, Steel (60 g.p., AC 6, 25 lbs., 60% Movement) - A breastplate made of steel.
It can be prohibitive in price, but the lighter weight and better movement rate within the AC 6 range is an advantage.  Some of the wealthier noble guards will wear this.
Scale Armor, Steel (45 g.p., AC 6, 40 lbs., 50% Movement) - Small steel scales mounted on an inner layer of leather.
It's not much more expensive than some of the AC 7 armors, so it can often be found in mercenary hands, as well as in some of the more affluent middle class guard forces.

Mail (75 g.p., AC 5, 30 lbs., 75% Movement) - Interconnected rings of steel forming a mesh.
Now we are getting into the elite forms of armor, those only found in the hands of adventurers and noble forces.  The cost of mail makes it prohibitive for large forces, so only household guards of the peerage and higher nobility.  Individuals with mail are looked on with considerable respect (and could very well be targeted by nefarious individuals keen on stripping them of their wealth).  You'll probably have to go to a full blown town to get this as well.  Any Small Town or larger with an Armorer will be able to provide mail.

Plated Mail (90 g.p., AC 4, 35 lbs., 75% Movement) - Mail with small steel plates embedded within it to reinforce it.
Plated Mail, requiring more resources and skill to make, can only be made in towns with two or more Armorers (and only one can make it).  In rare cases, noble houses will have an Armorer who can make it, but it will be for the house itself.  This is a rare type of armor outside of Cavaliers.  Adventurers and mercenaries with Plated Mail are rare bordering on unique.

Plate Armor (400 g.p., AC 3, 45 lbs., 50% Movement) - A full suit of armored plates covering most of the body, worn over mail.
Plate Armor is even more rare than Plated Mail.  Outside of the larger noble houses, you would need to go to one of the cities (Ballykin, Beckby or Whitehaven) to find an Armorer who can make this for you.  The price alone makes it virtually exclusive to cavaliers.  A commoner with Plate Armor would be legendary.

Jousting Plate (4,000 g.p., AC 1, 100 lbs., 25% Movement) - Similar to plate armor, but the metal plates are extremely thick and heavy, providing superior protection but at a severe cost in mobility.
I'm not even sure why an adventurer would want this.  Pretty much just high-status cavaliers are in possession of it.  One Armorer in Whitehaven can produce this for those not of the great landowning families of the kingdom (the Royal Family, the Church, Avonlea, and Aberfirth).