Monday, April 8, 2013

Castle Mordha 4


4: Further Mechanics & Setting

Tests

When a character tries to do something that is not covered by some other part of the rules it is a Test. The Player (or DM if the outcome is meant to be secret) rolls a 1d12 and applies any relevant modifiers. A score of 10+ indicates success. Many things in the rules specifically affect tests (such as Strength on Open Doors tests, a Fawn’s sneakiness on Stealth tests or armor modifiers on stealth, swimming and climbing tests) but in other cases it is up to the DM what modifiers apply at any time.

A test only determines if the task succeeded or failed. If you need to know how well the task succeeded roll a d8 if the task is inside the broad skills of the characters class, or a d6 otherwise. Again, the DM can apply any relevant modifiers to the roll. The higher the roll, the better the character did. In most cases this second step will be unnecessary, but the mechanic exists.


Encounters

Reactions:

Some monsters always act in the same way (such as zombies, who always attack). However, the reactions of most monsters are not always the same. The DM can always choose the monster's reactions to fit the dungeon, but if he decides not to do this, a DM may use the reaction table below to determine the monster's reactions
Roll         Result
1 or less   Immediate Attack
2-4           Hostile, Possible Attack
5-9           Uncertain, Monster confused
10-12       No attack – monster leaves or considers offers
13 +         Monster is friendly

Initiative:

Roll 1d12 highest number goes first, actions are simultaneous so you can have simultaneous hits and deaths. If the characters are in a one on one contest The DM can apply Dexterity & Stance adjustments to the initiative rolls.

How to Attack:

Roll a d20 and add any relevant Class, Strength, Dexterity, Style or Magic bonuses. If the total is equal to or greater than the target’s Armor Class the character does well enough in the exchange to do damage to their target (either a single hit or a series of smaller cuts, bruises or fatigue)

Variable Weapon Damage:

Things characters use to attack are divided into four groups:
·   Weapons: made for combat like swords and battle axes.
·   Tools: items like daggers, knives or hand axes, .
·   Implements: any hard /sharp thing you pick up.
·   Unarmed: punches, kicks, bites and so on..

Fighters (and Centaurs, Dwarves & Elves) do extra damage due to their skill in combat, which improves with levels.

Normal
Ftr 1-3
Ftr 4-6
Ftr 7+
Weapon
1d6
1d8
1d10
1d12
Tool
1d4
1d6
1d8
1d10
Implement
1d2
1d4
1d6
1d8
Unarmed
1
1d2
1d4
1d6

Damage:

Any character reduced to either negative their HP or -10 HP is immediately dead. If below 0 HP but not immediately dead they can be incapacitated or heavily wounded at the attacker’s option.

If the attacker was trying to incapacitate, the defender will wake with 1 HP in 3d6 Turns without first aid.

If the attacker is trying to kill the defender can roll 1d12+ their  Constitution adjustment on the following table
Roll
Character is…
13+
Badly wounded but recovers 10 1 HP in 1d4+2 turns without aid, or recovers normally with first aid. If they recover unaided they suffer a -1 on a randomly determined Ability due to trauma.
10-12
Grievously wounded but can recover if given First Aid in 1 Turn.
0-9
Fatally wounded and can’t be saved, even with magical healing.

First Aid:

This is applying medical attention to am incapacitated, badly wounded or poisoned character. This takes one minute (1 combat round) and the character loses any defensive advantage from high Dexterity.
·   Incapacitated characters wake immediately with 1 HP; this can be applied any time they’re unconscious.
·   Badly wounded character wake in one turn with 1 HP and no loss of ability. It can be applied any time they’re unconscious.
·   Grievously wounded characters wake in one turn with 1 HP if this is done within one turn of their hitting 0 HP.
·   Poisoned characters can be treated with a Test adding background and Wisdom adjustments. If the person giving the first aid is successful the poison victim gets a second saving throw against the toxin. If that one fails they are dead.

Combat Style:

characters in melee combat can adopt one of several tactics with the right weapons
·   Weapon + Shield: Gain the standard +1 to AC.
·   2-Weapon: gain a +1 to hit on your attack(s). The off-hand weapon can be any weapon, tool or implement; damage is done as per the primary Weapon.
·   2-Handed: Gain a +1 on damage with Weapon only (i.e. you don’t get a damage bonus with a tool or implement).
·   1 Handed: Gain +1 on initiative in one on one fights.

Morale:

Morale is 2d6 roll against the monster’s Morale score; rolling equal to or higher than the number means the monster flees. Check for Monster morale at first death/incapacitation and again when one half of the force is down. Retainers have a 7 morale modified by their employers Charisma Adjustment; unless they are facing grievous, unexpected danger they don’t check morale mid-adventure but instead when they exit the dungeon. If they fail then it means they will not continue to work for the PC.

Saving Throws

These are last ditch survival chances for characters, their chance to ‘save’ themselves either from the effects of a powerful spell or from the results of their own foolish action (such as messing around with, or just not seeing, a trap). The saving throws are
·   Poison: resisting toxins, either through endurance or luck in that the poison was weakened or improperly delivered. Since most poisons are fatal you use this save to resist other immediately fatal effects (like disintegrate, or a banshee wail).
·   Petrification: Resisting being turned to stone or other body-changing effects, such as being polymorphed or paralyzed. This is a matter of willpower, and any Wisdom adjustment applies to the roll.
·   Dragon Breath: The ability to ‘dive for cover’ or otherwise reduce the damage of area effect threats. Aside from the eponymous attack spells such as Fireball are also resisted with this save, as are mechanics traps such as deadfalls and some pits. Unlike the other saves Dragon Breath may reduce the effect by half rather than eliminate it, depending on the threat. Wisdom Adjustments to not apply to Dragon breath, but Dexterity adjustments may help with weaker attacks.
·   Wand, Staff, Rod: This is the save for magical (be they arcane or miraculous) effects that a) aren’t addressed by an above save and b) don’t have a caster’s direct power behind them, instead being pre cast and triggered later. A character’s Wisdom modifier normally applies to these.
·   Spells: As with Wand. Staff. Rod except the save is more difficult since the caster is directly wielding the spell.

Class
Poison
Petrifi cation
Dragon Breath
Rod, Staff, Wand
Spells
Normal Man
14
16
17
15
17
Artisans
13
13
13
14
15
Clerics
11
14
16
12
15
Centaurs
10
12
16
11
14
Dwarves
10
12
13
11
14
Elves & Fawns
12
13
15
13
15
Fighters
12
14
15
13
16
Magic-users
13
13
16
14
15


Setting

In preparation for this I wrote essays on my old D&D campaigns and realized that to go Old School I’d be best served returning to my first AD&D campaign world. So here we go:

The Isles
The Isles are a temperate to tropical island chain where each island has variations on a shared culture and language. To the north are the Elvish lands (where non-elves do not go) and to the south is a vast desert empire. The Isles trade between these powers and amongst themselves. Once each island had its own dynasties and sorcerer kings but now wealth comes from trade, fishing and some farming. Family manors, crypts and castles of the large islands interiors are left to rot in the pursuit of trade.

The second largest isle, Shankill, is a trade center, a city state with an extensive fleet, a sizable military force and the oldest church on the isles. It also has the most abandoned properties on the interior which many a rogue and sell-sword have looted over the decades. The mythical crown jewel of these is the ruins of Mordha Castle: once home of the isle’s ruling dynasty, built over the mine that was the Mordha‘s source of income, it fell when the island’s political power shifted to the harbors.

The Mordha, led by wizard Malcolm, tried many stratagems to prevent this loss of familial power – there are rumors that he made pacts with extra-planar forces – all to no avail. Mordha Castle fell from the mountain in an earthquake after decades of scrambling for power. The debris of the castle flattened much of the surrounding city. Now just a small town remains, trading goods from the encroaching jungle to the harbor cities. While treasure hunting bands have sought entrance to its secrets they have all either failed to gain entry or failed to return. Until now.

The PCs have been hired to track bandits harassing Mordha’s Town. They have found the corpse of one of their prey bearing a map showing an entrance to the castle’s dungeons. Vast fortunes await those bold enough to claim them.

This is a pretty straightforward megadungeon setup – vast mine and castle construction connected to mad wizard and hints of an extra-dimensional aspect. There’s a village a day’s ride away to rest and regroup in and large city just a few days further away where the PCs can go to get expert help and advice. Outside of this I don’t need more detail.

The players should know that Castle Mordha is one of the big lost ruins on Shankill. If they start telling everyone what they’ve found they can expect to face some competition in plumbing its depths. This is perfectly in keeping with the old school style, and as a GM it also lets me have ‘woo, someone just touched something that really not ought to be touched’ moments without hoping that the PCs will make a stupid error – I can always have an NPC make a stupid error. Still, the driving exploratory force has to be the PCs since they’re the focus of the game; plus I’ve got to fight the impulse to make parts of the campaign story driven. I’m setting up a big place with a lot of puzzles; I’m fascinated to see how the players interact with it.

Expert Characters

Since I started writing this the friendly people at WotC have put the Cook edited Expert Set up for affordable download which means I don’t have to do all the heavy lifting for levels 4-12. In the interest of not planning too far in advance I’m sticking to 1st – 3rd level characters right now.