Sunday, 4 August 2013


Session 1 PCs
1. Captain Barnn, Fighter  - handsome, incredibly charismatic mercenary commander. Princess Dahaeris is infatuated with him, to the extent of eloping with him. Likes women, and money...
2. Sir Harry Toldare, Thief - Falstaffian younger brother of Baron Geoffrey Toldare, the Lord of Shreve Port. An old drinking friend of the King, sent to keep an eye on Dahaeris.
3. Grendor, Halfling - experienced scout, cousin of Mayor Vercana of Dunshire.
4. Lady Aerys, Thief - lady in waiting to and (secretly) bastard half sister of Princess Danaerys, to whom she bears a striking resemblance. At least when their clothes are swapped!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Class Notes

Clerics are members of the Lawful Church of the Unconquered Sun, the only permitted religion in the Grand Kingdom, though the pagan Trosk still have their own harsh gods, Vatun, Frith, Kord et al. There are rumours of Anti-Clerics, followers of Chaos who wield the demonic power of Dark Magic.

The thriving Dwarf kingdom of Bolzak in the White Mountains is the most powerful realm in the Southland. The Bolzak Dwarves number in the thousands, and the vast majority of Dwarves in the Grand Kingdom hail from that proud realm. They are allies and trading partners of the Grand Kingdom, and bitter foes of the Orcs of Blood Forest.
Due to their small stature, Dwarves must use normal Swords two-handed.

Elves are rarely seen in this day and age. The few remaining in the western Grand Kingdom mostly hail from their refuge at Silverdim in the Twilight Forest. The Light Elves are strong in the cause of Law.
Elves in this campaign use the Cleric spell list. They choose spells known equal to their spells/day as normal, 1 at 1st level. In addition, Elves may Turn Undead as Clerics of equal level, for Elves do not fear the Ghosts of Men. There are persistent rumours of Dark Elves, Chaos spawn who wield the power of Dark Magic.

Most persons of note are members of this class, from the forest Rangers to proud Knights, fierce Kubar Nomads, Warrior-Monks, Guard commanders, veteran Mercenaries, and most Royal Courtiers.
A Fighter who rides a war horse may use a lance (spear) on a charge for +2 to hit & double damage- 2d6.

Most Halflings hail from Dunshire, in the north of the Southland. They are allied to the Dwarves of Bolzak and trade delicious foodstuffs in return for useful metalwork and pretty things. They are enemies of the pagan Swamp Trosk and Halfling-eating Lizardmen who dwell in the estuarial marshes to the north of the Southland.
Due to their small stature, Halflings must use normal Swords two-handed.

Magic-Users are rare and much feared, for it is known that some can control the minds of Men. Sensible Magi conceal their knowledge of the Art except from the most trusted.
Those who start with Read Magic as their known spell can begin with up to 3 1st level spell scrolls, at 50gp/scroll. Magic-Users may wear armour, but may not cast spells or read scrolls while in armour. They may use any weapon, but damage die is always 1d4 whatever the weapon.

Thieves are found as Spies, Scouts and Criminals, working in the shadows of the Grand Kingdom.
Thieves may wear any armour, but may not use their special class abilities while in medium (chain) or heavy (plate) armour.

Monday, 1 July 2013

PC proposals

James - Tekhaus Tide (A Bastard of Toldare)
Tekhaus, was the third son of Baron Geoffrey Toldare, the lord of the coastal province of Shreve Port. He grew up mainly on ships, training to be a admiral for his brothers one day. He was destined to lead many ships in defense against pirates. His ropecraft and shooting are beyond compare, 8 years ago his ship defeated a notorious pirate king who had thrown his lot in with the rebellion five years earlier. Tekhaus went to the capital to receive his reward, with his expert archery in the grand hunts, and his charismatic personality, he won the fondness fo the king, the king has kept him as a hunting friend in the capital. Tekhaus has lost his sea legs, but is still one of the better archers in the kings hunting parties. He has been sent with the Princess to help with the scouting of the way, and hunting food to keep the princess in the game she is used to in the castle. (CHA, DEX +3 hopefully)

Judith - Lady Troyan Verdayne
Rumours persist regarding the rebellion of Baron Beldon and connections with House Verdayne - did Lord Verdayne urge him to rebel? Did he bankroll him in it? After all, the smallfolk *know* House Verdayne is no great ally of the Cormanth Kings (and weren't the Verdaynes kin to the old Kings centuries ago?) although the Verdaynes have never been seen to act against the King; nor given him due cause raise sanctions against them... Lady Troyan Verdayne was brought at an early age to the court of King Trionos - ostensibly as a companion for royal princess Daeheris, but in reality as a hostage against Lord Verdayne. Two betrothals arranged by the King ended in tragedy before marriage - an *unfortunate* jousting accident and later a similarly *unfortunate* encounter with disagreeable seafood... (Rumour has it that Lord Verdayne has marriage-of-alliance plans for his only sister that he won't allow to be stymied by the King trying to marry her off, but of course, there's no proof: accidents happen...) 
For her own part, Troyan knows she's a pawn in her brother's plans - but after years alone in the royal court, she's not willing to be quite as malleable a pawn as he might like to think. (INT, CHA +3)

Play Tips

1. Think of your PC as a character in a drama. Even flaws and low attributes can be interesting; Cersei Lannister for instance probably has below average STR & WIS, average CON and INT, and fairly high only in CHA, but is still a powerful character. Tyrion Lannister has low STR, DEX and CHA (even though personable - his chances of persuading anyone or inspiring loyalty are hampered by his dwarfism), average CON, reasonable WIS and high INT.
2. You can make 'informed assumptions' that add facts to the setting. The GM won't negate these unless they negate established facts - occasionally something may be established off-stage but not shown in play, but this will be rare. GM may say "Yes, you *think* that...", though. >:)
3. In pursuing their goals, PCs may conflict with and even kill each other. It's nothing personal, right? >:) In general though this campaign is geared more towards the dramatist/story than the powergaming/munchkin side of play. If your PC dies, take one of your Retainers as your PC/viewpoint character.
4. It's a good idea to say what your PC is thinking, this will help the GM and other players react appropriately.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

misc pics

Amazon Wyvern-Rider over Bolzak

Jackal Tribe Slaver

Knight of the Grand Kingdom

Kubar Nomads

Twilight Forest archer

Halfling Shepherdess, Dunshire

Game Notes

2713 A.U.C.
A thousand years since the fall of the Bright Empire, civilisation rises anew. Shining kingdoms spring forth to drive back the terror of Chaos and bring a new dawn to the world. But dark forces lurk in the shadows, ready to strangle this rebirth - and some say the darkest shadows lie in the hearts of Men...

A game of 'classic' Moldvay Basic D&D (no prior rules knowledge required!) inspired by Game of Thrones (more the tv show than book) - nobles, intrigue, blood & all that. biggrin 
The PCs are typically nobility and their retainers, initially (August 2013) escorting Princess Dahaeris of the Grand Kingdom, youngest daughter of King Trionos XIII, to her upcoming marriage at Castle Westguard, last outpost of civilisation in the barbaric Southlands, then to remain there to aid the local lord in establishing Order across the Southland. 

Characters are created on the day (initially 3d6 in order, swap any two rolls), but it's worth thinking about what kind of archetype you might like to play - a cunning noble courtier, a royal-born bastard, a grizzled guard captain, a mysterious Elven vizier, a taciturn scout or charming spy, are a few possibilities. The chosen background will give you +3 to two of your attributes (STR, DEX etc) and determine your initial social standing. 

BX: Beyond the Westwall.
A thousand years since the fall of the Bright Empire, civilisation rises anew in the West. The Grand Kingdom looks beyond the sheltering Westwall mountains to the fallen lands of the Bright Empire. But evil still lurks in the wastelands. Renegade lords, savage humanoids, evil slavers, insane Chaos cultists, and the mysterious Dark Ones all threaten the return of Law to the Southland.
A Moldvay Basic D&D game. You are escorting Princess Dahaeris of the Grand Kingdom through the Westwall mountains to her forthcoming marriage at Castle Westguard…

PCs are created at the table. Attribute checks using roll-under-stat on 1d20 is the main mechanic. 
Attributes: 3d6 in order, swap any two, then choose a listed Background such as Courtier, Guard Officer, Scout etc that gives +3 to a pair of stats, max 18. That way you have a couple decent stats and a defined role, but probably fragile enough to want to avoid combat where possible. 

Rules & Style Notes
1. To have PCs want to avoid combat and to keep it quick & deadly, I'm using regular 1st level hit points, except you get at least half max at 1st level (d8 > min 4 hp from die, adjusted by CON mod). Most NPCs will be 'Normal Men' with 1 to 4 hp depending on role, eg a small child or old woman would have 1 hp, a mostly sedentary princess gets 2 hp, levy soldiery might have 3 hp, while the royal guardsmen have 4 hp.

2. I'm using AD&D style dying rules - 'unconscious at 0, die at -10'; with Basic D&D damage ranges you almost never get an instant kill (even STR 18 guy with 2-handed sword maxes at 13 damage; though if he had a +1 sword he could potentially do 14 dmg and cut a 4 hp enemy soldier in half with one blow). 
0 to -2 hp unconscious but stable, below -2 hp it requires a first aid WIS check or healing magic to stabilise, so characters at -8 or -9 hp will still often die. 

3. I'm quite excited by Moldvay Basic's potential to run a game where 1st level enemies like 1 hd Orcs are scary threats, and a 3rd level Swordmaster Fighter is a holy terror. I will be house-ruling a bit on magic:
a) Elves use the Cleric spell list to make them more Tolkienesque, and can turn undead likewise - "Elves do not fear the ghosts of Men". 
b) Magic-Users who start play with 'Read Magic' as their starting spell can begin with 1st level spell scrolls, at 50 gp/scroll.

4. XP - I'll award XP for non-combat stuff of course, and advancement geared to a typical Moldvay expected rate of 3-5 sessions/level.

5. Attribute checks using roll under stat on d20 are the main mechanic, eg roll equal or less than CHA to persuade someone, or equal/under WIS to follow a trail.

6. Attributes are 3d6 in order, can swap any two, then choose a listed Background such as Courtier, Guard Officer, Scout etc that gives +3 to a pair of stats, max 18. That way PCs should have a couple decent stats and a defined role, while most will still be fragile enough to want to avoid combat. High status PCs will begin with maximum starting gp for gear (180gp) - they may have additional land holdings etc 'off stage', and will have access to plenty of mundane equipment as part of their mission, so this money is for personal weapons, armour, spell scrolls (50gp), potions (100gp), a favoured steed (riding horse 25gp, war horse 75gp) etc.

7. Movement Speed
No armour, light armour (leather): 40’ – 8 squares, 20’/4 squares fighting withdrawal
Medium armour (chain): 30’ – 6 squares, 15’/3 sq fw
Heavy armour (plate): 20’ – 4 squares, 10’/2 sq fw 

8. Retainers - your PC may begin play with a number of Normal Man retainers up to the limit set by your CHA score. I'll be using Paizo NPC cards to quickly generate characters - for retainers the player can choose a card, the GM then creates a character based on the card... devilish 

The game itself will use Conley's 'Southland' from Points of Light, with the PCs escorting Princess Dahaeris of the Grand Kingdom through the Westwall mountains to her forthcoming marriage at Castle Westguard, but rather than a pre-plotted game it will be player directed along with a bunch of NPCs, rumours, random encounters etc, and we'll see what happens. biggrin

Sample Backgrounds
Guard Commander +3 STR +3 CHA
Royal Scout +3 DEX +3 WIS
Vizier +3 INT +3 WIS
Courtier +3 INT +3 CHA
Royal Cousin +3 WIS +3 CHA
Spy +3 DEX +3 INT
Bodyguard +3 STR +3 DEX
Herald +3 CON +3 CHA
Others as agreed with GM.

Level Demographics
0 - 'Normal Man' - most people
1 - Veteran, or unusually skilled
2 - Elite, eg a 2nd level Fighter is an elite Warrior
3 - Master, eg a 3rd level Fighter is called a Swordmaster or similar
4+ - Hero. Characters of 4th or higher level are rare, and many are semi-legendary. 
The most powerful Heroes of the modern age are of around 6th-7th level, though tales of Super-Heroes (Level 8+) exist in the ancient legends, such as King Thongar the Mighty, the Slayer of Kaladrac, or Arch-Priest Baelor of Willow Vale who defeated the Master of the Desert Nomads, the Champion of Bafomet.

Westguard-Beldon Area Map

5 miles/hex map of the area between Castle Westguard and Castle Beldon:

5 miles/hex
Castle Westguard lies on the Sarduin River, which is navigable south upriver to Sam's Landing and north downriver to the Halflings of Dunshire and beyond to the lizardman and Trosk-infested swamplands of the coast. To the west is the Dwarf realm of Bolzak in the White Mountains, while the Elf refuge of the Twilight Forest lies south-east along the Darkwine river. To the south-west is the Orc realm of Blood Forest, that was formerly the Elf realm of Silverwood. To the east is the Golden Pass across the Westwall mountains to Hawksleigh and the Grand Kingdom.
To the south, Castle Beldon enjoys a strong position on the Sunset Rim beneath Redstone Ridge, and so far has easily repulsed attempts against it by the Grand Kingdom.

Castle Trionos
(120 miles) - King's Road - road - 3 days at 40 miles/day
Shreve Port
(160 miles) - Greenelm Woods - track - 6 days at 30 miles/day
(40 miles) - Golden Pass - difficult terrain - 2 days at 20 miles/day
Castle Westguard

Typical travel time is 20 miles/day on foot with a medium load, 30 miles/day by horse with no remount, 40 miles/day by horse with remount, or by carriage.

Noble Houses

Players may create new Houses for their PCs in consultation with the GM, or may be members of any of the following:

Head: King Trionos XIII Cormanth, Lord of Castle Trionos and Monarch of the Grand Kingdom
The Cormanth have ruled the Grand Kingdom for three centuries, and trace their ancestry back more than seven hundred years to Trionos, the legendary King of the West who defeated the demon-wizard Egarim, conquered Time and Space, and married Pam, Queen of Cooks.

Head: Baron Viktor Beldon (Outlawed), Lord of Castle Beldon, Southland; formerly Lord of Acquitan.
Distant cousins of the Cormanth, the Beldon once rivalled them for power. But in 2700 AUC their head, the Baron Viktor Beldon, launched the Beldon Insurrection, an attempt upon the throne that failed disastrously. Viktor's wife Lady Valyria Beldon perished when the city of Acquitan fell to the loyalist forces. Baron Viktor Beldon fled to the Southland, where he remains a thorn in the side of the Grand Kingdom today. The Beldon have been stripped of all lands and titles, but it's rumoured they still retain secret support within the Grand Kingdom.

Head: Baron Geoffrey Toldare, Lord of Shreve Port
Close cousins of the Cormanth, the Toldare declared early for the Crown during the Beldon Insurrection and helped defeat the Beldon.  In 2711 AUC Sir Belvin Toldare, second trueborn son of Baron Geoffrey and a promising young scion of the House, attempted a campaign against Baron Beldon, but was captured with his wife Alicia at the disastrous Battle of Sam's Landing, and they remain hostage.
Shreve Port bastards are surnamed Tide.

Head: Baron John Banbridge, Lord of Hawksleigh
The industrious Banbridge are marcher lords of Hawksleigh, which controls access to the Golden Pass, only route through the Westwall Mountains to the Southland.  They take much wealth from the road toll, and also make a good living lumbering the great elm trees of the Greenelm Woods to the north.

Head: Baron Mathis Verdayne, Lord of Castle Soraja
"Nothing is Ever Forgotten"
The Verdayne rule from Castle Soraja, guarding the Bleak Shore in the north of the Grand Kingdom from Bornishmen raiders venturing across the Bornish Channel. They claim descent from the legendary Princess Soraja, said to have been daughter of the original Hero-King Trionos I from before his decades-long captivity 'Beyond Time and Space'. When Trionos battled free of his long captivity, and finally defeated his great enemy the demon-wizard Egarim, his wife was dead, and he remarried - to Pam, the humble kitchen cook turned warrior-woman who had helped to free him. The Cormanth are (supposedly) descended from Queen Pam, this arguably makes the Verdayne the senior House - and certainly more blue-blooded - which in some eyes gives them a greater claim to rule.

Other major Houses include the Lords of the Bergruckenwald and the Dukes of Willow Vale, descended from dragon-slaying King Thongar the Mighty.

Minor Houses
Carenton - long a minor power in the annals of the Grand Kingdom, their most prominent member  the former crusader Sir John Carenton now seeks to establish a new Barony at Westguard in the Southland, raising them to the status of a major House.

Saturday, 29 June 2013



King Trionos XIII Cormanth - aging monarch of the Grand Kingdom, regarded as thoughtful but grown weary of rule. Said to be keen to marry off Princess Dahaeris before she's an old maid.
Princess Dahaeris Cormath - 25 year old youngest daughter of King Trionos. Rumoured to be less than ecstatic over her forthcoming marriage to Sir Carenton.
Baron Viktor Beldon - a cousin of King Trionos who once attempted to seize the Throne, now a renegade warlord and the greatest threat to Law in the Southlands.
Sammi Beldon - glamorous and dangerous daughter of Baron Viktor. Her mother the Lady Valyria was killed during the Beldon Insurrection by forces of the Crown, and she hates King Trionos accordingly.
Sir John Carenton - lord of Castle Westguard, an old comrade of King Trionos from the Trosk Crusade. He struggles to bring Order to the Southland. Now betrothed to Princess Dahaeris.
Baron John Banbridge: the powerful Lord of Hawksleigh, the last domain before the Westwall.
Baroness Alice Banbridge: Baron John's redoubtable wife.
Sir Harold Banbridge: Baron John's adult son, a capable commander.
Captain Martin Ardmore: Captain of the King's Rangers at Hawksleigh.
Queen Saravell of Silverdim: Queen of the Elves of the Twilight Forest
King Erzagar XII: King of the Dwarves of Bolzak in the White Mountains.
Mayor Vercana: mayor of the Dunshire Halflings
Yonk: chief of the hill giants on the Golden Pass.
Sir Belvin Toldare: A cousin of King Trionos, captive of Baron Viktor Beldon since the Battle of Sam's Landing in 2711 AUC.
Lady Alicia Toldare: the beautiful wife of Sir Belvin Toldare, like him also a captive of Baron Beldon.
Lord Farris: Lord of Westfield, vassal to the Baron Beldon.
Tom Lodon: thuggish ruler of Sam's Landing, vassal to the Baron Beldon.
Arcador: The great red dragon of the White Mountains.
King Dulcan: Leader of the Kubar Bear Tribe on the plains west of Castle Beldon. Unmarried.
Princess Ygraine: Sister of King Dulcan. Unmarried.
Rhylathor: A High Elf Prince of Silverdim, he rescued Lady Aerys (posing as Dahaerys) from Sammi Beldon.
Queen Saravell of Silverdim
Prince Rhylathor of Silverdim
King Trionos XIII of House Cormanth
Princess Dahaeris Cormanth
Dulcan, King of the Kubar Bear Tribe

Moxy the Serving Girl
The Baron Viktor Beldon

Sammi Beldon

Baron John Banbridge of Hawksleigh, Sir John Carenton of Westguard

Baroness Alice Banbridge of Hawksleigh
Sir Harold Banbridge of Hawksleigh
Lady Alicia Toldare, captive of Baron Beldon

Princess Ygraine of the Kubar Bear Tribe