Inspired In Japan – Role Playing a Year After The Big One

Inspired in Japan

While contemplating the difference between “role-play”, “roleplay” and “role play” I came across an interesting bit of trivia. In Japan, RPG means a digital role-playing game, while pencil and paper RPG’s are known as TRPG’s or “table-talk role-playing games”.

Role-playing in Japan is an interesting phenomenon. They had their own boom, have their own games and enjoyed some of the games we know well in the west, such as GURP’s and Dungeons and Dragons. There are even companies like Aurora Models who make miniatures and dungeon sets for TRPG’s.

But what’s the state of TRPG’s now?

Well, it seems like the disaster that hit Japan a year ago had quite an effect on spending, especially in terms of recreation. Apart from many foreigners leaving, many Japanese cut down on travelling and recreational spending. I spoke to my local hobby store owner who said that Magic The Gathering had seen a sharp decline in sales.

Have a look on the store locator from the Wizards of the Coast site and you’ll find plenty of stores stocking their goods in Japan, but talk to the average teenager about RPG’s and they might not know what you’re talking about, even with those who understand English well.

Is this all because of the disaster or just the general slump of the RPG industry?

The Foreign Effect

There might not be as many foreigners in Japan now as there were a year ago, but amongst us the passion for gaming burns strong. My own list of role players in my area numbers some 15 people, and that’s only after being here for 8 months (you should know that I’m socially retarded quite often, so I’m sure there are people I’m missing, just because I don’t get out much.)

Barbarian vs Flesh Golum
The enlarged party barbarian faces off against a Flesh Golum in a session just a few hours outside of Tokyo

Amazon.co.jp, the iTunes store and Drive Thru RPG are probably the main stores used by the foreign community today, while finding dice is a bit of an art form.

Japan Can

Japan is a country of determined people. The spirit of Bushido and “Never Give Up” may be stronger than any Japanese person would ever admit, especially in the face of the situation today. While the rest of Japan may not have been so directly affected as those hit by the Tsunami or the displacement from the reactor, their minds certainly are not far from what happened a year ago today.

What can you do?

Japan doesn’t want to be treated like a plague victim. It’s safe enough, even if there at tremors now and again, but it’s a beautiful country that deserves a visit. As role-players we are continually inspired by Japan, from L5R to the samurai and ninja classes in D&D or Pathfinder. Reach out on the web. Buy manga, play the games and come and be inspired by this amazing country.

It inspires me daily.

Avernos – South Fort

“South Fort will fall, its heart is blacker than any would guess. It is but a small bother on the great road to the destruction of the Alliance Nations. Then, and it shall be soon, the Tyrant will hold all Avernos as his kingdom.

– Karleethia Darkhand

 

A while back I gave an overview of Avernos, the Land of Adventure, and a brief introduction to South Fort, which is the city setting for the solo adventure Sentinels Watching. In this post I’m going to give you a heap of extra setting information so that you can use South Fort in your own campaign.

City On Watch

South Fort was established as a garrison in the Wilderlands, an inhospitable stretch of land on the Southern edge of the human kingdom. To the West lies the deadly mountain range known as the Jaws, and beyond that the Abyss, from whence every manner of foul darkness issues forth. To the east lies the Dead Wood, a forest older than time and said to be haunted by the spirits of ancient trees.

The city has seen more than it’s fair share of conflict, and yet has grown as a major commercial hub, due to the fact that it sits on three important trading routes. As the city has grown so too has the power struggle within it between South Fort’s elite. While the city is officially led by the Keep Captain, there is growing evidence to suggest that an influential gang within the city holds the real power.

Law, if you can call it that, is maintained by the city watch known as the Blue Capes. They owe this title to the blue capes of rank they wear to distinguish themselves from the civilian population. If the leaders within the Capes are doing anything to stem the corruption in the city they are keeping very quiet.

 

Districts of South Fort

South Fort is divided up into several districts, each with its own unique character:

The Keep: The military and municipal heart of the city. Here you’ll find clerks, judges, officers and other administrative personnel, along with a heavier presence of Blue Capes and South Fort militia. Other than at times of siege, common folk have little business in the Keep and the few merchants that have stalls here are solely concerned with selling stationery, inks and the stamps required for the daily running of the administrative offices.

Inner City: Surrounded by the main defensive wall of the city and the watchtowers known as the Sentinels, the Inner City is home to the richest citizens of South Fort. Built on top of a rising outcrop of rock, the Inner City commands a grand view of the rest of South Fort and the Wilderlands beyond. Foreign and trade goods are sold on Market Way, a wide thoroughfare, which draws merchants from far and wide, while the best craftsmen line South Fort’s famous Trade Road.

Outer City: Those living in the Inner City would describe the Outer City as “home to everyone else”. The Outer City sees more traders and travellers than the rest of the city as many visitors to South Fort prefer to ply their trade outside of the city walls and away from the high taxes they can expect to pay within. The Outer City black market does a roaring trade, with coin traded for goods from the Northern Kingdom, the Free South and the Eastern Ports in alleys, taverns, back rooms and through secret agencies such as The Raven.

The Sewers: The sewers of South Fort are an impressive feat of human and dwarven architecture hailing back from the first days of the Alliance. Having since fallen into decay, the sewers are now home to all manner of ne’er-do-wells, not to mention a growing rat population.

 

Organisations and Societies

South Fort is home to a number of organisations and societies, each with their own agendas.

The Sentinels: A secret organisation said to be operating within the Inner City. There is evidence to suggest that they control the taxation of trade within the city, which would make them powerful indeed.

The Blue Capes: The city watch of South Fort. Their main jurisdiction is within the city, but at times they help the militia patrol further abroad. Duties of the Capes include maintaining the peace, running messages and extracting taxes from visiting merchants.

The Raven: A clandestine organisation trading on the Outer City black market. The Raven have a reputation as heroes to the lower classes and as thieves to the wealthy, although much of their reputation comes from bar room chatter and old wives’ talk.

The Hoods: A large group of robbers, cut-throats and bandits who target the surrounds of South Fort. They are a constant blight on the trade routes and a thorn in the side of the South Fort militia.

The Fixers: A guild that hires and assigns unusual jobs to mercenaries and other adventurous types. It’s said that if you need extra coin and don’t mind a few scars then the Fixers are just the people to contact.   

 

More Adventures

Want to experience more of South Fort and have a chance to influence the future of this intriguing city? Hop on over to The Rising Dark for another completely free adventure set in the City of Sentinels.

Well, that’s it for this week. Let me know what you think by posting a comment below. Your comments could help shape the future of South Fort, Avernos and the world beyond.

Be A Star Player – Rule the Rules

My wife and I were recently talking about why learning the rules of role-playing games is such a scary task for so many players. With core rule books averaging over 300 pages, it’s not surprising that it seems like studying for an exam. Also, it’s quite easy to get by sometimes without knowing the rules, especially around a good GM. Well, thanks to some inspiration from the guys at Campaign Mastery and their great series on Rules Master, I thought I’d share some advice specifically for players.

 

The Key

The key to reading and learning rules, as the Campaign Mastery guys say, is not to read the book from cover to cover. Just read what interests you and what you need to play your character. The rest of this post is aimed at helping you do just that.

 

Start At The Beginning

As with a new text book, always skim through the Table of Contents first. This gives you an idea of what’s in the book and where you’ll find what you want. It’s a bit like looking at a map to get a general idea of where you are. You might even find chapters with names like “How To Play”, “Getting Started” or “The Basics”. Go there next.

 

Reading Lists

In the first chapter there is often a nice little reading plan. Follow that and you’ll save a load of time and be ready to play much sooner. The introduction will also give you a good idea of setting, or at least the feeling of the game, so I’d recommend reading it. From the reading list you can make your own reading plan, like I mention below in the Action section. Generally, your reading plan will skip anything for the Game Master, unless it pertains in some way to how you might want to use your character. Skip anything not related to your character. Not using magic? Then just dump that chapter from the list.

Action – Make A Reading Plan

  1. Write “+1 Reading Plan of Power” on the top of a sheet of paper. Underline it in neon. Draw a dead goblin head next to the heading for extra flair.
  2. Write down a list of all the chapters you’ll need. Exclude everything that’s for the Game Master.
  3. From the Table of Contents, find the page numbers for each chapter. Mark these on your reading plan.
  4. BONUS: Take some sticky paper tabs and mark out the sections you’ll need. If you’re wanting to play a pirate, put a tab where rules for pirate are given to help you find things quickly.

By the way, this method works well for studying too. Web guru’s call it “chunking”, or breaking down information into manageable bits. Our brains are kind of lazy, so you can grasp more if you can see there’s less to actually learn.

 

Build A Character

Once you have your reading plan, the next step is to build a character. A good idea is to have a character concept, as this will help you build a specific kind of character with the rules. As you go, use your reading list to track what you’ve done and add in anything else you want to look at. Just don’t forget to take stuff off the list too, you don’t need extra work.

As you build your character you might get an idea of where you want to take your character. Will your rogue establish her own guild? Make a note of this, preferably on your character sheet. It will help you play your character and, when the time comes, you can use your ideas to direct your reading further.

 

Play

So, supposing y0u have a character and you’re ready to play then try your character in a game. You can learn most of the rules at the table under the watchful eye of the Game Master and with the help of more experienced players. While you’re playing though, make a list of any rules you feel uncertain about and any rules you want to check out. Then you can then look at those rules later or in down time.

 

Dig Deeper

After the game, or if you have enough time before a session, get a better grip on the rules by looking at the following suggestions, which are ordered by importance, from most to least.

Combat: Learn how to fight with every weapon in your arsenal, including your fists and makeshift weapons like broken bottles. You’ll also want to know how to use your special combat abilities and know exactly what their effects will be, since these are often character specific and something your GM may not know off hand. A good place to keep notes is on your character sheet.

Skills: Skills make up a large part of what your character can do. Keep in mind, however, that your skills are not as important to the GM as his campaign and session preparations. So if you understand what you can do with your skills, you’ll get more out of your character. Think of it like this: if you’re a sneaky halfling with major stealth skills, but don’t know how to use them, you just won’t sneak as effectively as you could if you knew the rules.

Movement: The more I learn about martial arts, having tried a few, the more I realise fighting is all about moving. Where you are directly influences your effectiveness. Movement is relatively simple too, so make sure you know how your character will move, both on land, in water and when riding something. A good way to think of this is to look at how a hero in a story of the same genre as the game you’re learning would get around. Aragon walked, ran, rode a horse and used a canoe.

Magic: If you’re using magic, know how it works. A good idea is to keep page references of each spell you can cast.

Miscellaneous: Subjects such as alignment may be covered in a chapter along with other miscellaneous rules. Many of these rules may be fluff that you can skip or skim. I’d leave this stuff for last.

 

Some Other Ideas

Beginner’s Boxes and Solo Modules: These are a great way to learn the game. Play at your own pace while trying out the rules. I don’t need to say more except that our free module is here.

Forums: The web is a great place to learn, especially when there’s a rule your don’t understand. Check out forums like EN World or RPG.net, you may even get an answer from the designer of the game themselves. If you can, find a local forum too, it will help you make friends and find game groups in your area, as well as help you learn local house rules. For South Africans I recommend www.rpg.co.za.

 

You Gotta Read To Succeed

At the end of the day you just need to jump in and read. I always think that a little work can lay the foundation for more understanding later, so even if time is limited, read what you can, it will be worth it.

Let me know if you have more tips or something that worked particularly well for you.

 

Comments Are Back Online

Comments were down for some time, sorry. I guess no one could tell me because no one could comment. Anyway, the good news is that you can comment again. Hopefully I’ll be able to manage the ton of spam this blog was getting and not have to use a plugin again.

 

Tidy Tidy

In other news, I’ve tidied up some posts to make things a little easier on you. I’m working towards making this blog truly awesome, so leave a comment if there’s anything you’d like to see on this blog.

 

Star Players

Our current series is all about players. You can check out the first two posts here and here. Next we’ll look at getting to grip with the rules, so stay tuned.

Be A Star Player – Equipping For The Fight

Last week I wrote about how to be a better player, now we’ll focus on the character you play, specifically your equipment and how to get the most out of the gear available to you. I’m focusing on Dungeons and Dragons and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game here, but the principles apply generally to all games, even table top war games.

Armour
Never overlook armour. Your armour proficiency will give you a good idea of what kind of armour you’ll need, simply choose between the highest protection or high manoeuvrability. Typically you’ll want high protection if you’re a front line fighter and high manoeuvrability if you’re an acrobatic rogue.

Choose shields in a similar way. Even if you suspect you won’t need a shield, take one anyway if you can carry it. You never know when you might need it’s protection, such as if you find yourself running down a passage of dart traps.

If you’re a caster, choose some protective spells and supplement that with defensive feats like Dodge and magical armour, like rings of protection.

Daggers
Always carry a good knife, I always say. Daggers are easier to hide, can be thrown in a pinch, prepare a tasty camp meal and provide a clean shave before heading back into town. If you can find a nice toy knife it makes an excellent prop at the table, especially when rolling to intimidate some NPC.

Weapons
Miyomoto Musashi, the famous Japanese duellist, likened weapons to the tools available to a carpenter. Different weapons have different abilities and uses, making them better for certain tasks. For instance, did you know that the Jo, a Japanese short staff about the length of a broom handle, is particularly effective against the sword. It was developed as a defence against the katana, the famous Japanese sword. It follows then that your character should have as many weapons available as possible, if not carried then close at hand. I’d suggest looking at what weapons are available to your character and then try to cover a number of ranges and attack types (such as piercing, bludgeoning, non-lethal and so on). Don’t forget those reach weapons either. Spears and the like may have other uses than those mentioned in the rules, such fishing someone out of quicksand. Also, don’t forget about silvered weapons and magical weapons, particularly for your main arms.

Ranged Weapons
It’s surprising how easy it is to think in two dimensions with role-playing games. That is, until your party gets terrorised by a flying creature. Having a ranged weapon on you gives you options, even if your ability to hit is reduced and you’re doing less damage.

Potions
A good selection of healing potions and buffing potions are important. Anti-venom is one of those things you won’t want until you need it, so get a few bottles early on. Typically I’d choose potions that can heal around a third to half your total health points, so that any extra healing isn’t wasted.

Skills Equipment
Things like disguise kits, healing kits, thieves tools and climbing kits are all good to have floating around in the party. Without them, it can be a little like changing a tire without the proper tools. Even if you only get a small bonus, that can be the difference between success and failure, so rather be prepared. Again, also remember that some equipment may have other uses than stated in the rules: a healer’s kit may have needles and other useful equipment that could be used in other ways, or when empty could help you carry that stash of loot.

The most useless equipment…
…is what you left behind. Every piece of equipment is a useful tool that will, if used well, help you succeed on more rolls. Make the most of what’s available and be well equipped to face your next encounter.

Be A Star Player – 10 Ideas to Improve Your Game

There’s plenty of information out there to help aspiring Game Masters (GM’s), but not quite as much for players. Most resources are players’ handbooks, which generally deal with the rules of the game and how to play, not always how to be the best player you can be. The wonderful thing about role-playing games is that it’s an ongoing learning experience as well as a group effort. So, without further ado, here are my 10 Tips for being a better player, in no particular order.

 

1 – Play

To quote Michaelangelo in the latest Ninja Turtles movie: “Learn by doing dude.” You’ll learn more about the rules, the game and what it means to be a player when you’re actually at the table throwing dice. And if you can’t play with friends, you can always try out a solo adventure like our own Sentinels Watching. Most games that have boxed sets also include solo missions that are specifically good for new players but may leave veterans frustrated with the lack of options. Failing all that, online games are becoming increasingly popular, such as Dungeons and Dragons Online and even Heroes of Neverwinter on Facebook. These games give you some idea of how the game works and an insight into the mechanics, but I still think rolling dice with friends is the best way to learn.

 

2 – Read Them Rules

It sounds obvious, but read the rules. It’s easy to get by without actually studying the rules, but this generally slows down the game and puts added pressure on the GM. I’d recommend focusing on the introduction, character generation and combat sections in general. Some books follow quite a different format (such as the Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game), but will recommend chapters for players. Read them. It’s not necessary to know the rules off by heart, but having a general idea of where everything is, will speed up the game. Also, get yourself your own copy of the rules to have on hand for easy reference during the game. Most rulebooks are available in PDF format from places like Drive Thru RPG, making them much cheaper and easier to use on small devices like net books and iPads.

 

3 – Read

Reading the rules is important, but that’s not all you should be reading. There are tons of resources out there, from advanced players’ guides to online forums and blogs like this one. Also, reading stories set in a similar genre to what you’re playing can really spark the imagination and give you some great ideas for where you want to take your character. My current character, a duellist, had me scouring Wikipedia and the net in general for more information on “the gentlemen’s game”, which had some interesting results, including finding rules for duelling that intricately detail the amount of blood required to pay back various levels of insult.

A word of warning though, especially for younger players, there are plenty of sites you don’t want to visit because the information on them is worthless and unhelpful. I generally start with Wikipedia if I’m doing my research on the web and work out from there, using the “See Also” and “External Links” sections.

 

4 – Be Prepared

Having your character, dice and miniatures ready is always a good idea. I keep a folder of character sheets that goes to each game and I make sure I update my character as soon as possible when he levels up. A good way to level up is to find a character editor that works for you and use that, along with the rule book. For Pathfinder I use Erian_7’s Excel sheet, which is pretty complex but very useful.

Keeping notes from past sessions is also a great idea. It helps you to get back into the game quickly and ensures you don’t miss any of those important hints the GM keeps dropping.

Lastly, bookmark any spells, special abilities or sections in the rules you’ll need to look up during the game. It will make it look like you read the rules and give you street cred with experienced players.

 

5 – Play Your Character

I think it was Steven King who said that characters write themselves, you just record what they do. It’s the same with role-playing. Eventually your character will walk into trouble while in your head you’re screaming “No, don’t go down there, it’s a trap!” And do you know what? That will be okay. My duellist character has a knack for shooting his mouth off, while I’m usually reserved and often prefer to take a back seat. The key really is to just play the character as you envision him, which makes for some great role-playing and a great game in general.

Talking in character is a very useful way to get into and stay in character, and most GM’s I’ve played with tend to give awards to those who use a different voice from their own. My wife recently played a half orc that had everyone in stitches because of the voice she used, which not only added to the game but made her believable as a hulking male half orc barbarian.

 

6 – Be A Team Player

This is a general tip, but remember that role-playing is a team game, be prepared to work with everyone and you’ll be a star player in no time.

 

7 – See The World – Imagination

A while back I posted about imagination gaming, so I won’t say too much here except that, in role-playing, you need to try and see the scene in your mind’s eye. I find the more I imagine the scene, the more I get lost in the game and the more I enjoy it. The simplest way to do this is to ask questions about the five senses: “What do I see? What do I hear?” and so on.

8 – Run Some Games

Walking a few miles in the GM’s shoes is a great way to be a better player, because you understand what it’s like to run a game and can sympathise with the GM when things get busy at the table.

 

9 – Help The GM

Helping the GM goes a long way to keeping things running smoothly. Filling a cup, offering snacks and even tracking initiative order all help the GM focus on telling the story. You might even get bonus XP for your troubles, who knows.

 

10 – Help New Players

Helping newer players is a good way to improve your own knowledge of the game and, again, to keep things flowing. Finding rules for them is a great way to get more familiar with the rules yourself and lets you learn about characters you’ve never played before. It also gives you something to do while other players are busy with the GM.

 

 

Ultimately, the goal of being a better player is to be someone who people want to play with – someone who covers their side of the game in an entertaining and fun way without being “that guy” who makes things unpleasant. If you keep working at it, your game will improve, which will lead to more fun for all and more table time for you. It’s a roll you can’t critically fumble.

For Love and Role-Playing

It’s Valentines day, my first in Japan, and there’s a buzz in the office. All around me men are getting boxes of chocolates from the female staff. Even I’ve got some sitting on my desk, and I got cookies from my wife’s students on the walk in. In Japan, Valentines day is about girls and women giving chocolates to friends. In the West, we focus on our love relationships. Love (and friendship) has many faces, but it’s essence is universal.

 

Role-playing too, is becoming increasingly universal. While I’d guess that most games come from the United States, places like Europe and Asia have developed their fair share of systems and even Africa has a number of systems to it’s credit. But hold on a moment. Am I comparing LOVE to role-playing? Sure, many people love the game, but really? Hear me out…

 

I think generally we only think of love in a limited way, throwing friendship from the definition. I’m coming from the position that friendship is just a kind of none romantic love, but to make it simpler I’ll just refer to friendship from here on out. Role-playing is about fun, first and foremost. It’s also about social contract, the spoken and unspoken rules of how we interact at the table. Because of social contract, role-playing can be a really good place to build friendships. A photo from some of my role-playing buddies back home was a good reminder to me of just how meaningful the friendships we build through playing can be. We invest in each others lives through this strange game and real bonds are formed.

 

But role-playing has caused it’s fair share of broken friendships. Enough stories float around of bad games. At the core of this problem, I think, is social contract again, or lack thereof. Both GM’s and players need to work hard to communicate their likes, dislikes and fears. Everyone needs to listen too. By the very nature of the game, it works best when everyone works together. Are we, as GM’s and players, really listening to what everyone else is saying when we sit down to play. Are we hearing the concerns voiced in a joke, or the worry behind a question. Are we reading body language? Are we failing a spot check on fears?

 

This Valentines day, let’s love like God intended, looking past ourselves and to the feelings of others. Let’s build better friendships and a better game.

Sentinels Watching – Not All The Rats Are In The Sewers

 

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Compatibility with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game requires the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game from Paizo Publishing, LLC. See http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Paizo Publishing, LLC does not guarantee compatibility, and does not endorse this product.

Pathfinder is a registered trademark of Paizo Publishing, LLC, and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatibility Logo are trademarks of Paizo Publishing, LLC, and are used under the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatibility License. See http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/compatibility for more information on the compatibility license.

Pathfinder and associated marks and logos are trademarks of Paizo Publishing, LLC, and are used under license. See paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

This content produced in terms of the Open Game License, a copy of which is available here.

Some map textures thanks to Wikidepia and May Ang.

Rules

This is the final instalment in our four part series, which started with chapter one, continued with chapter two and chapter three last week, and now comes to its climactic end. Be sure to read those posts before you continue with this one.

If you captured Lazar you can now pump him for information. Make an intimidate check of DC 10. If you succeed read the block below.

“Agh! Stop! stop!” Lazar squeals, his good eye wide with terror. “I’ll tell you everything.” He squirms uncomfortably, trying to inch away from you, but ready to talk. He details to you how he and his men were hired by a group known as the Sentinels, a secret organisation who offered a good reward in gold to bring Rotham to them. Lazar never actually met with anyone from the group, but he was to take Rotham under cover of darkness to the Sentinel Inn, where he supposes the organisation gets their name. He suggests that if you want more answers you’ll need to go poke around there.

If you get nothing from Lazar you can head out of the sewer, meeting up again with Rotham if you left him behind. Rothams own investigations have lead him to suspect something going on at the Sentinel Inn, and he’ll want to strike there now. You have an hour to rest up before heading out again. Any prisoners are locked up near the exit to the sewers.

 

The Sentinel Inn

The Sentinel Inn is a nondescript building within the main walls of the city. It is old but reasonably kept, possibly one of the oldest buildings in South Fort.

The Sentinel Inn Map
Download and print this map for todays adventure.

 

The adventure plays out like a mini dungeon map. There are three possible entrances into the inn, and these are listed below. You can try any and all entrances until you get in, then follow the numbered map below.

 

Breaking and Entering

You can try getting in through the front door, the stable doors or through the chimney, since there’s no fire rising from it. The Sentinel Inn is a two story building but all the windows are too small to fit through, even for small characters.

 

The Front Door

This is a double good wooden door, and is currently locked. Through a small window you can see an empty hallway beyond the doors. A Disable Device DC of 21 is required to get through the lock. Getting through the door brings you to room 2.

 

The Stable Doors

The stable has double doors on both sides of it, except that the Northern doors are blocked on the outside by a pile of crates, barrels and other discarded items. You can make a stealth check (DC 8 ) and a perception check (DC 14) to find a small hole through the crates which any small character can sneak through. If you fail the stealth check the crates clatter to the ground, possibly alerting occupants of the inn, but you can still use the hole if you find it, leading to room 1. The Southern door is a simple door with a lock (Disable Device DC 20). You can attempt to break down the door with your shoulder (DC 15 Strength Check). However, you can hear the sound of horses on the inside of the stables. Getting through the door brings you to room 1.

 

The Chimney

The chimney is large enough for a person to climb through, except that reaching it will be difficult. To climb up to the roof requires a DC 10 Climb check and you must make a second check of DC 15 to climb down on the inside of the chimney. If you have any rope you can reduce the DC to 10. If you fail you take D6 wounds from the fall (we’ll assume you fall from half way up of the 20 foot climb. Success brings you to room 2.

 

Inside the Inn

Refer to this map and read each room description given below once you enter it. If at any point you wish to leave the inn you can go to entry 7 below.

 

Sentinel Mini Map
Map Reference. See the corresponding entries below.

 

Room 1 – The Stables

The room is dark but you can see that two horses are stabled here. If you made a noise coming in they are stamping, snorting and generally making a noise. You can make a Handle Animal check, DC 10, to silence both animals (roll once). Otherwise, after three rounds two men come to see what’s happening and you’ll have to fight them, whether or not your still in the stables.

You can search the room (DC 10) to find 30′ of rope. A door leads from this room into room 2.

 

Room 2 – The Passage

This room is quiet. If you came in through the chimney or search the chimney make a DC 12 Perception check. If you’re successful you find a roll of papers in a leather tube. The papers are blank way-bills similar to the one found in the bandits lair.

Doors from this room lead into rooms 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6. You can also leave via the main doors or through the chimney if you wish. The stairs lead up to the second story which is a series of empty guest rooms, all completely bare except for bed racks.

 

Room 3 – The Book Cook

The door to this room is locked (DC 20). It’s a good wooden door. You cannot see anything through the key hole, something is covering it, but you can hear someone moving about inside. If you manage to bash the door down in one round or pick the lock you get a surprise round against the occupant of the room. If not, or if you broke down the main doors to the inn, you find him standing ready for you. Otherwise this grey haired, portly man, is sitting at his desk, writing in a journal. You can attack him or threaten him. If you fight him, use the stats for Dominic Gladstone below, he attempts to run, but will fight if you have him cornered. If you wish to threaten him make an intimidate check at DC 10. If you fail he calls out and a henchman arrives in 3 rounds. If you succeed he hands you a journal, explaining that he wants only to live and this book contains all the evidence you will need to put the sentinels away for a long time.

If you search the room you find 100 gold pieces in a locked strong box. The lock is DC 25 and the hardness of the box is 8 with 60 hit points and a break DC of 25. The key is around Dominic’s neck.

From this room you can go back to room 2.

 

Room 4 – Guard Room

The door to this room is open and you can see movement inside. If you pass a stealth check (DC 10) and didn’t alert the horses in room 1, you can take a surprise round against the occupants of this room. There are 3 henchmen in this room, – 1 for everyone you have already faced.

Searching the room turns up some fine clothing worth 12 gold pieces.

From this room you can go back to room 2.

 

Room 5 – Master Mind

This door is open and ajar. You cannot see anyone from where you stand but you can tell that the room bends around out of sight.

If you’ve had no combat in the inn so far, and if you didn’t make any noise entering you get a surprise round on the occupant of this room, who is working at his desk with his back to you. Otherwise he is hiding on his bed in the darkness, make a perception check (DC 12) or he surprises you. He makes a single attack and then flees through the window and onto the roof. You can follow him with a DC 10 climb check.

Once on the roof go to the final showdown below.

 

Room 6 – We Paid To Be Left Alone

The door to this room is locked. It’s a simple wooden door with a lock DC of 19. Looking through the key hole you can the dim light of candles and you can hear giggles coming from within. If you get inside read the passage that follows.

A fat man with a thinning hair line and rosy cheeks is tickling a woman with elaborately styled hair, who squirms around and then freezes when she sees you, letting out a loud scream. “What’s the meaning of this?” the man shouts, “we paid to be left alone!”
It’s obvious these two will not be getting in your way, so you make your apologies and close the door as best as you can when you leave.

This room leads back to 2.

 

The Final Showdown

It has started to rain outside and as you climb up onto the roof Cedric turns to Rotham and spits out in loathing “So Rotham, you found me. Well done, but now what? You won’t get any medals for this.”
“I’m not after medals Wolfheart, I’m after rats like you!” Rotham draws his sword and aims it at Cedric. “I think it’s time you came clean.”

The rain has made the steep slate roof slippery and treacherous. If anyone is hit make a reflex save to avoid falling (DC 10). If you fall make a further DC 10 save to grab onto the gutter or take 2d6 damage from the fall. Cedric aims to knock you or Rotham off the roof, switching his attacks between the two of you. Once you have played three rounds of combat read the block below.

There is a flash of light and your night vision is robbed from you. You blink to clear your vision, the rain driving into your eyes making it no easier. When you finally clear your vision you see that Cedric has disappeared, leaving behind a burn mark on the roof and smoke that drifts up into the rain filled sky.

If you manage to defeat Cedric before he escapes, well done. You have completed the mission successfully. If not, if he managed to escape, well then that is an adventure for another day. You’ve still uncovered major goings on in South Fort, and helped Rotham in no small way. Well done adventurer. If you were defeated then hopefully some other hero will be along shortly to avenge you, perhaps another character played by you!

 

NPC’s

Sentinel Henchman

Human Gangster Thug, Lawful Evil

STR    15 (+2)            CON     12 (+1)            WIS      10 (+0)

DEX    11 (+0)            INT      9 (-1)               CHA      8 (-1)

Offence

Bastard sword (Melee): +4 to hit, 1d10 + 2 Damage (19-20/x2).

Defence

AC: 10 (touch 10, flat-footed 10)                HP: 11
Fort: +3                     Ref: +0                        Will:+0

Skills: Intimidate +3.

Feats: Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword) and Weapon Focus (Bastard Sword).

Inventory: Bastard sword, 2d6 gold pieces.

Tactics: These guys are all about dealing damage, but hit them enough (6 or more damage) and they will run away.

 

Dominic Gladstone

Human Counterfeiter, Chaotic Neutral

STR    10 (+0)            CON     11 (+0)            WIS      8(-1)

DEX    12 (+1)            INT      15 (+2)               CHA      9 (-1)

Offence

Mwk Dagger (Melee): +1 to hit, 1d4 Damage (19-20/x2).

Defence

AC: 11 (touch 11, flat-footed 10)                HP: 8
Fort: +0                     Ref: +1                        Will:+1

Skills: Appraise +6, Bluff +3, Craft (Forge Documents) +9, Knowledge (Local) +6, Knowledge (Nobility) +6, Linguistics +6, Sense Motive +3, Sleight of Hand +5.

Feats: Run and Skill Focus (Craft – Forge Documents).

Inventory: Mwk Dagger, 5d6 gold pieces.

Tactics: If attacked Dominic will try to run away.

 

Cedric Wolfheart

Human Guardsman and Traitor, Lawful Evil

STR    11 (+1)            CON     12 (+1)            WIS      9(-1)

DEX    15 (+2)            INT      10 (+0)               CHA      8 (-1)

Offence

MWK Long sword (Melee): +3 to hit, 1d6 + 1 Damage (19-20/x2).
Light Crossbow (Ranged): +3 to hit, 1d8 + 2 Damage (19-20/x2).

Defence

AC: 13 (touch 13, flat-footed 12)                HP: 15
Fort: +0                     Ref: +1                        Will:+1

Skills: Appraise +4, Bluff +4, Perception +3, Sense Motive +3, Climb +2.

Feats: Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot.

Inventory: Blue Coat, MWK Long sword, Leather Armour, Light Crossbow (15 bolts), 15 gold pieces.

Tactics: Cedric tries to surprise attack anyone who enters his room, then flees through the window, climbing up to the roof (DC 10 climb check).

 

THE END

Well, that’s the end of the solo campaign, for now. Let me know what you thought by leaving a comment. Keep an eye open for the PDF version coming soon that will include higher quality maps, more adventure option and the final battle with Wolfheart and his magic wielding accomplice.

Sentinels Watching – The Bandits Lair

Well, it’s just about 2012 as I write this, but never fear, I’m about to get into the spirit of New Years Eve. I can’t believe a whole year has flown past. Anyway, I’ll leave that for another post. For now, the next installment of our exciting solo campaign. Enjoy.

Pathfinder Compatability Logo

 

 

Compatibility with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game requires the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game from Paizo Publishing, LLC. See http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Paizo Publishing, LLC does not guarantee compatibility, and does not endorse this product.

Pathfinder is a registered trademark of Paizo Publishing, LLC, and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatibility Logo are trademarks of Paizo Publishing, LLC, and are used under the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatibility License. See http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/compatibility for more information on the compatibility license.

Pathfinder and associated marks and logos are trademarks of Paizo Publishing, LLC, and are used under license. See paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

This content produced in terms of the Open Game License, a copy of which is available here.

Some map textures thanks to Wikidepia and May Ang.

Rules

Sentinels Watching is a mini solo campaign using the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game for a level one (1) character. Everything is provided here so you can jump straight in, or, if you want to run this game for a player, there’s enough here to get you started.

This is the third instalment in our exciting adventure in the city of South Fort. If you haven’t already played through the first scene, please head there now. The second chapter can be found here, and you’ll need to play that for this post to make any sense.

 

Chapter 3 – The Bandits Lair

You arrive at a dimly lit tunnel, with candles burning on the tops of crates that are obviously from old plunder. They appear empty and some have rotted through from the damp air. There is no guard posted at the entrance of what must be the bandits lair, and you have time to organize a surprise attack. should you wish. Make a stealth check at DC 9. If you succeed you get a surprise round in your favor when the combat begins.

The lair is a simple affair, set up in a dry stone cistern of the sewers. A small fire burns in a pit, warming the contents of a battered pot and providing a flickering light in the room. A table made from tressels and planks of rotting wood takes up the center of the room. On top of the table are spilt the contents of a broken chest, a mass of gold pieces, a necklace of pearls on a silver chain and some crumpled papers. Six chairs sit on either side of the table, two of which are occupied by dirty, travel stained men, the others are empty. On the far side of the table, on a ledge of stone, sits a gaudy throne of yellow painted wood, in which an ugly, angry man sits arguing with those below him, spittle flying from his lips. An ugly scar covers the left side of his face and his ruined eye, while his good eye seems ready to pop out with rage.

You may attack at now, or if you have passed the stealth check, you can listen in. If you are listen to the conversation read the block below.

 “I don’t care Dungie, things are bad enough, we lose that bloody Blue Coat and now you rob someone under the protection of the bloody Sentinels. They’ll skin us alive they will. Tell me, Dungie, who employs us?”

A shorter man with a leather skull cap and nervous sweat dripping down his forehead answers “The… the… the Sentinals do, but I…”

The man on the throne cuts him off. “Really Dungie, you’re not as stupid as you look. Let’s just hope we can fix this mess before it gets any worse. Where are all the others?”

At this point something catches the man on the thrones ear and he holds up a hand for silence. Now’s the time to fight.

 

Play the encounter out as a normal combat encounter, using the map below. You get to roll for the bandits and Rotham as well, use the listings in posts one and post two of this campaign. There are two bandits and their leader, each who start on a section of the map with a chair. The bandits react to your attack by getting between you and their leader, and if you are with Rotham they divide their attack between the two of you. Their leader, Lazar, shouts directions to his men and every second turn throws various objects at you or Rotham (Roll to decide who he targets). They fight until they can all safely escape, or if the two bandits fall Lazar will give up, pleading for his life, so that you or Rotham can manacle him. If anyone escapes you can continue the chase into the sewers as you see fit.

The Bandits Lair
Click here to download the full sized map.

 

The Merchants Treasure

The loot on the table belonged to a merchant, who you now suppose has new use for his treasure for the amount of blood on the broken chest. There are 40 gold pieces and the silver and pearl necklace is worth 100 gp. The papers contain letters and cargo manifests, mostly detailing cargo of linens and silks from the Southern Pirate Ports. One letter stands out though and is reproduced below, it is dated from some two days ago.

 

The next part of the adventure is here, check it out for more exciting action.

Merchants Waybill
A crumpled piece of paper, perhaps a clue.

 

NPC’s

Use the bandit listing from last week for the bandits at the table.

Lazar (xp 200)

Human Bandit Leader, Chaotic Evil

STR    11 (+0)            CON     12 (+1)            WIS      9 (-1)

DEX    13 (+1)            INT      10 (+0)            CHA      10 (+0)

Offence

Longsword (Melee): +1 to hit, 1d6 + 1 Damage.
Throw bottle (Ranged): -2 to hit, range is 10 foot, d3 damage.

Defence

AC: 14 (touch 14, flat-footed 13)                HP: 11
Fort: +3                     Ref: +1                        Will: -1

Skills: Intimidate +4, Diplomacy +1.

Feats: Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot.

Inventory: Studded Leather Armour, club, longsword, dagger and 3d6 gold pieces.

Tactics: Lazar throws his dagger when he’s sure he’ll get a kill, otherwise he picks up bottles littering the table and the area around his throne.

 

The quest isn’t over just yet. Continue the fight for justice in Chapter 4, the final scene. For more information on Avernos, the setting of Sentinels Watching, head over here.

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