Sunday, January 19, 2020

Three Flags

In adventures and campaigns that involve sailing ships, flags play an important role. Previous articles have introduced numerous flags flown by the power groups throughout the Sol System; this one presents three that are used widely to convey important messages to all who can see them.

-Nate


White Flag
The flag of truce is a vital part of negotiations that bring conflicts to an end. In theory, any traveler who flies this flag should be granted safe passage to meet with foes; in practice, it is sometimes misused, and at other times not shown the deference that it should command.


Yellow Flag
This ensign is a universal symbol of infectious disease, and is flown by vessels whose crews have succumbed to some kind of pestilence.


Red Flag
Finally, a red flag is flown to convey one message: No quarter shall be asked, nor shall it be given. This guarantees that combat will be bloody, as depicted by the color of the flag.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Truth or Consequences

This is an adventure that I wrote and ran for a gaming weekend with some old college friends; it starts a new storyline following the events of my "Manifested Destinies" campaign.

-Nate






Introduction
The American frontier is home to a diverse group of people, including myriad ethnic backgrounds, professions, political philosophies and religious beliefs. The ideal is that they all can live together in harmony; sadly, reality is often much different. This is one such instance, when a wicked person attempts to exploit the beliefs of some and oppress those of others—but hopefully a traveling troupe of entertainers can foil that foul plot.


Adventure Synopsis
This adventure begins when the PCs—a troupe of entertainers traveling by riverboat—arrive in the frontier town known as The Crossing. On the surface this place might seem like a devoutly religious little community, but appearances can be deceiving. They experience a series of strange encounters, including the arrest of a Native American visitor, tales of terrible nightmares, a woebegone preacher and an unexplained death, and hopefully can piece together the clues to reveal the culprit.


For the Gun Master
The truth of the matter is that a powerful bokor, who is masquerading as a revivalist Christian preacher, has set up shop in The Crossing, and is using his powers (night terrors) to afflict people's dreams, making them believe that they're condemned to suffer eternal torment unless they can find redemption by submitting to his teachings.


Involving the Heroes
This scenario drops the PCs right into the middle of the action, as a group of travelers disembarking from a steamboat at The Crossing. Since it is assumed that they've been together aboard the steamboat for some time, the players should introduce their characters and provide any description and background information that they deem appropriate.


Scene 1—Arrival
The steamboat is docked alongside the long pier that extends from the shoreline into the river; the PCs are just making their way onto land when they are caught up in the growing conflict. Refer to the supplement “The Crossing Revisited” for a layout of the town.


Amid the hustle and bustle of a riverboat landing—that is, steam whistles, tramping feet, roustabouts shouting and the excited conversation of the passengers—you hear one voice call out. “Hey! Stop that thief!”

This scene takes place at Location A on the map of the Landing. In addition to the PCs and the others who are crowded around the pier, Sheriff Gerald Lawrence and two deputies are closing in on a native brave, Red Hawk, who is running for the river. It is Lawrence who cried out, and he points toward the fleeing warrior. With that, it's time to enter initiative order. 

For their part, Lawrence and the deputies draw their pistols and open fire on the fleeing Red Hawk, while he heads for the protection of the water. Hopefully the PCs decide to intervene. While the sheriff is not to worried about shooting “an injun,” he can be prevented from doing so if someone raises a concern about the issue. In game terms, that could be accomplished through a Persuasion check by one of the PCs, which causes the bystanders to start questioning and grumbling. As long as they prevent the lawmen from killing Red Hawk, the PCs can learn the brave's story, including the following details.
  • The fleeing man is Red Hawk; he came to The Landing seeking a fellow warrior, Running Wolf.
  • Red Hawk is accompanied by a medicine man, Grey Buffalo, who is camped outside of town further inland.
  • Running Wolf came to The Landing after he'd spent some time in the wilderness on a vision quest.
  • When he came to town, Red Hawk learned that Running Wolf had become a “cuthair,” having donned the white man's clothing and converted to Christianity.
  • Running Wolf is currently staying at the local church, where he is assisting the preacher.
  • Red Hawk has stolen the Running Wolf's tomahawk, which the converted brave had given to the church as a sign of his seeking a new path in life. Since it is an item passed down by Running Wolf's forefathers, Red Hawk believes it should be given to another family member.

Development
The PCs should be able to de-escalate this situation through quick thinking and fast action. Even so, Sheriff Lawrence insists that Red Hawk be arrested and taken into custody. As that happens, the brave shouts, “There is something not right in this town!” before he is hauled away.


Scene 2—Around Town
In the aftermath of this incident, the PCs can do some exploring and find a place to stay. In doing so, they can learn the following information by visiting different locations.

The Jail
If they didn't learn any of the details of Red Hawk's story, the PCs could visit him at the sheriff's office (location I) to hear more of the story. Of course, that brings more interaction with the sheriff, which could complicate matters for the PCs.

Gerald Lawrence
The new sheriff of The Landing is a relative newcomer, a man who wandered into town and then was pushed into power as an ardent follower of Reverend Bouchard. In truth he is a thief whom Bouchard has recruited to steal items from unsuspecting victims and act as legal enforcer.
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d4, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d4, Fighting d4, Lockpicking d8, Notice d6, Persuasion d4, Shooting d6, Stealth d8
Charisma: --, Pace: 6”, Parry: 4, Toughness: 5
Edges: Fleet-Footed
Hindrances: Greedy (Major)
Gear: Clothing, Colt Peacemaker (Range 12/24/48, Damage 2d6+1, RoF 1), Bowie knife (Damage Str+d4+1), lockpicks.

Red Hawk
This native warrior is out of his element at The Landing, but worry about his friend, Running Wolf, has driven him to come here. He suspects that there is something wrong about the town, but he does not know just what it is.
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d4, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d6, Notice d6, Riding d6, Shooting d6, Stealth d6, Survival d6, Tracking d6
Charisma: --, Pace: 6”, Parry: 4, Toughness: 5
Edges: Alertness, No Mercy
Hindrances: Outsider
Gear: Bow (Range 12/24/48, Damage 2d6, RoF 1), knife (Damage d6+d4).

The Saloon
In the saloon (area D) there are two people who can shed some light on the situation. One is Elizabeth Gray, the saloon keeper, who can tell about the rapid rise to power of both Reverend Bouchard and his deacon, Sheriff Lawrence, along with the discomforting dream that she had (but only if asked about it specifically). 

The other person present is Reverend Malachi Smith, the man who has had his position and congregation usurped by the newcomer. The latter even mentions that “There's a strange fear of sin, judgment and damnation that hangs over the people of this town.” Only if the PCs ask specifically does Gray mention a nightmare that she had recently; this is detailed in the Appendix, below. Similarly, other locals can tell about their own bad dreams, if the PCs think to ask the right questions.

The Church
A visit to the church (location E) lets the PCs meet Running Wolf and Reverend Bouchard. Both are present during the day, while only the prior stays here at night.

Reverend Edmond Bouchard
Bouchard plays the part of a pious church leader, but he is in fact a bokor who is inflicting bad dreams on the locals in order to convince them that they need to repent their sins in order to be saved. Because of that he is beloved by the people, and thus commands tremendous influence throughout The Landing. He acts with a sense of righteousness, even if his true motivation and purpose at The Landing remain a secret.
Attributes: Agility d4, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d4, Investigation d6, Notice d6, Occult d6, Persuasion d8, Streetwise d6, Voodoo d12
Pace: 6', Parry: 4, Toughness: 5
Edges: Arcane Background (Voodoo), Charismatic, Command, Fervor, Power Points (x2), New Power (x4)
Hindrances: Overconfident
Special Abilities
Power Points: 20; Powers: Confusion, Divination, Fear, Night Terrors, Speak Language, Spirit Walk
Gear: Clothing, religious materials, tomahawk (Range 3/6/12, Damage Str + d6), conjure bag.

Bouchard plays the part of the pious preacher, acting as if he loves everyone and wants to help them lead better lives. If questioned too deeply or otherwise threatened, however, he becomes brusque and insists that “The sheriff should be a part of this interrogation.” Running Wolf comes to his defense if needed, and Bouchard attempts to flee the scene if the PCs resort to violence.

Running Wolf
During his vision quest, this brave saw something that convinced him he needed to follow the path of the white man (as detailed in the Appendix, below). For that reason he has come to The Landing and seeks to learn what he can, even if this place and the people's way of life feel strange and uncomfortable to him.
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d4, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d6, Notice d6, Riding d6, Shooting d6, Stealth d6, Survival d6, Tracking d6
Charisma: --, Pace: 6”, Parry: 4, Toughness: 5
Edges: Alertness, No Mercy
Hindrances: Outsider
Gear: Bow (Range 12/24/48, Damage 2d6, RoF 1), knife (Damage d6+d4).




The Camp
Finally, heading out to Red Hawk's camp lets the PCs meet Grey Buffalo, the medicine man. He can explain that he accompanied Red Hawk to this location after the warrior was concerned about his friend. He can be a valuable ally for the PCs if are overpowered by the forces in town, or if they need to go on a Spirit Walk to learn more about the situation.

Medicine Man (Veteran)
More powerful medicine men can even begin to explore the world beyond this one.
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d4, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d4, Healing d4, Knowledge (local) d4, Notice d4, Persuasion d6, Survival d4, Tribal Medicine d10
Charisma: --, Pace: 6”, Parry: 6, Toughness: 5
Edges: Arcane Background (Shamanism), Improved Rapid Recharge, New Power x2, Power Points x2, Rapid Recharge
Hindrances: Outsider
Powers: Armor, beast friend, boost/lower Trait, deflection, dispel, spirit walk; Power Points: 15
Gear: Trappings, staff (Damage d6+d4, Parry +1, Reach 1, requires 2 hands).


Scene 3—At Night
Perhaps the best opportunity for the PCs to do some snooping comes in the night, when most of the townsfolk are asleep and there is the cover of darkness. Some of the places they might want to investigate include the following locations.

The Graveyard
If the PCs have learned of Gareth Hildebrand's unfortunate death—he died, apparently from fright, in the middle of the night—then they might want to visit his grave (in the small cemetery next to the church, Area E). Those with access to powers such as Grave Speak or Divination can speak with the dead man's spirit, and therefore learn of his dream.

The House
The most important evidence can be found, of course, in the house (Location G) where Reverend Bouchard is staying. While most of that establishment is quite normal, it has a hidden basement; it takes a Notice check to locate the secret staircase that leads down to it. On one of the two long tables in the basement there are numerous seemingly innocuous items—belongings taken by Gerald Lawrence from unsuspecting victims, which allow Bouchard to use his Night Terrors power against them. These include a handkerchief embroidered with the initials of Godfrey Werner; a lock of hair tied with a string taken from Elizabeth Grey; and a small wooden box that holds a U.S. Marshal's badge that formerly belonged to Gareth Hildebrand. The second table holds a metal lockbox, which is filled with $1000 in bills, coins, and other items of value donated by the pious townsfolk to the false preacher. 

While discovering these items can provide the PCs with a vital clue, being caught in the house is a considerable problem. Reverend Bouchard immediately sounds the alarm, and Sheriff Lawrence—who also stays at the house—starts shooting and calls for his deputies. What is more, the fact that so many people in town revere the new preacher means that they try to help the lawmen subdue and capture people who they believe to be meddling interlopers. Such a sprawling altercation leads into the final scene, below.


Scene 4—All In
Revealing Bouchard's deception and talking down the angry townsfolk requires a Persuasion check. Having the items from the basement provides a +2 bonus to that check, and at the GM's discretion good roleplaying could grant a similar benefit. On the other hand, if the PCs have done anything to make the locals distrust them, or if they handle the diplomacy in a bad way, then the GM could apply a -2 or even -4 penalty to the check. Until they succeed, the lawmen and the preacher continue their attacks, using more force than is necessary in order to silence those who can expose the plot.

Once the PCs do convince the crowd, however, the locals cease their interference. What is more, success with a raise means that some of them are even willing to help the PCs. This should still make for a challenging fight, but one that becomes much more manageable without the entire town rising up against the heroes. What is more, the deputies can be dissuaded from fighting if the PCs defeat the sheriff and then make a successful Intimidate check.

Finally, if they are being overwhelmed, then Bouchard and Lawrence could make a run for the livery (Area J in town) and try to steal a couple of horses with which to attempt a getaway.


Epilogue
In the end, the PCs can shake up the balance of power in The Crossing, possibly creating an opening for someone else to take charge. The locals are grateful for them exposing the truth, and at the GM's discretion, they might provide goods or services as a sign of their gratitude. The PCs are welcome to stay as long as they will in town, and perhaps even to provide a new candidate for sheriff, or until another adventure comes their way.

Further Adventures
Detailed below are just a few of the possibilities for additional business in which the PCs can become entangled.
  • While the events of this scenario lead the PCs to a number of locations through the town, there are plenty more that they might choose to visit of their own volition—and each of these is a chance for the GM to introduce NPCs for later use.
  • As mentioned above, the inhabitants of The Crossing could be impressed by the PCs' abilities, and even recruit them to provide a new sheriff and deputies.
  • Similarly, the PCs may have earned the trust of Running Wolf, Red Hawk and Gray Buffalo, who in turn could recruit them to help with business for which they require assistance from “city folk.”
  • Finally, there is the matter of a cryptic cipher on a piece of paper tucked in the box with Gareth Hildebrand's U.S. Marshal badge—but that is a matter for another adventure.


Appendix—The Stuff of Nightmares
Detailed below are the dreams with which various locals have recently been afflicted.
  • Godfrey Werner, who owns the warehouse (Area B), saw himself on a steamboat, headed back east; it suffered a fiery explosion and began sinking. He tried to board one of the ship's boats, but was carrying too many valuables, and the boat foundered... As a result of this, Werner's hair has turned grey at the temples.
  • Gerald Lawrence, the new sheriff, if asked mentions that he hasn't had any bad dreams recently.
  • Reverend Malachi Smith has had no dreams, either, but he is still frustrated about losing his congregation to the newcomer, Reverend Bouchard.
  • Elizabeth Gray, who runs the saloon (Location D), dreamt of an earthquake, one that tore open a sinkhold and began swallowing up her establishment. As the walls and ceiling collapsed around her, the booze-soaked earth began dragging her down like quicksand...
  • Running Wolf was out on the plains, hunting buffalo. The sun was oppressively hot; a scouring wind arose, blowing dust before it. Animals cried out in pain and tried to flee, but were overcome. He managed to stay ahead of it, but was driven ever eastward, until he had reached the town and saw the church, with its doors open, promising sanctuary...
  • One of the recently deceased is an old man, Gareth Hildebrand, who died of fright in his sleep. His spirit, if questioned, reveals his dream: It was back during the Civil War, during the Battle of Atlanta. When the fires started there and burned out of control, he tried to help fight them. In the flames he saw demons frolicking, diabolical figures wearing gray and blue uniforms.
  • Finally, if Reverend Bouchard has the time and opportunity to do so, then he might use his Night Terrors power to inflict a terrifying dream on one or more of the PCs.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Nar'raw and the Larks

This post--the first of 2020--bring sthe heroes from my adventures at Con of the North last year up to 6th level, and introduces a new PC. She is Nar'raw, a lizard folk bard who first appeared in the ongoing story that I've been writing.

-Nate




Nar'raw
CR 5
XP 1600
Female lizard folk bard 4
NG medium humanoid (reptilian)
Init +1; Senses Perception +8
DEFENSE
AC 18, touch 11, flat-footed 17 (+1 Dex, +5 natural, +2 shield)
hp 14 (2d8+2)
Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +4
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft., swim 15 ft.
Melee Longsword +6 (1d8+2)
Ranged Shortbow +5 (1d6)
Special Attacks None
STATISTICS
Str 12, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 16
Base Atk +5; CMB +5; CMD 16
Feats Extra Performance, Multiattack, Skill Focus (Perform)
Skills Acrobatics +9, Bluff +10, Diplomacy +10, Perception +8, Perform (sing) +13, Sense Motive +7, Sleight of Hand +8, Spellcraft +9, Swim +10
Languages Draconic, Common, Orcish
SQ Hold breath, bardic knowledge, bardic performance, cantrips, countersong, distraction, fascinate, inspire courage +2, versatile performance, well-versed
Combat Gear Belt and pouches, longsword +1, heavy wooden shield +1, necklace of adaptation
Spells per Day: 4/2
Spells Known: Dancing lights, daze, detect magic, lullaby, message, read magic; alarm, hypnotism, identify, sleep; enthrall, rage

Nar'raw joined up with the Larks during one of their adventures on Homeworld, when pirates stole her tribe's eggs to force them into diving on a shipwreck. After they helped her recover the eggs, she decided to accompany them on their next voyage in order to learn more about the rest of the world. When it turned out that they could sail beyond Homeworld, it opened up whole new realms of discovery and learning. 

This bard especially enjoys the company of Lucinda, from whom she has learned much, and Uriel, whose rough-and-tumble ways remind her of folk from her own tribe, and who is almost as much of an outsider in many cultures as she is. 


Horace

CR 5
XP 1600
Male human fighter 6
NG medium humanoid
Init +1; Senses Perception +2
DEFENSE
AC 16, touch 13, flat-footed 12 (+2 Dex, +1 Dodge, +2 armor, +1 enhancement)
hp 49 (6d10+12)
Fort +7, Ref +4, Will +4
Resist Bravery +2
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Longsword +12/+7 (1d8+7)
Ranged Light crossbow +9 (1d8)
Special Attacks None
STATISTICS
Str 17, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 12
Base Atk +6; CMB +9; CMD 21
Feats Cleave, Dodge, Great Cleave, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Profession: sailor), Weapon Focus (longsword), Weapon Specialization (longsword), Vital Strike
Skills Climb +12, Profession (sailor) +11
Languages Common
SQ Bravery +2, armor training 1, weapon training 1
Combat Gear Leather armor +1, longsword +1, masterwork light crossbow, case of 10 bolts, pouches containing a captain's logbook, 9 gp and 9 sp, necklace of adaptation 


Uriel
CR 5
XP 1600
Male half-orc ranger 6
CG medium humanoid
Init +1; Senses Perception +11; Darkvision 60 ft.
DEFENSE
AC 14, touch 12, flat-footed 12 (+2 armor, +1 Dodge, +1 Dex)
hp 55 (6d10+18)
Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +4
Resist Orc ferocity
OFFENSE
Spd 40 ft.
Melee Longsword +11/+6 (1d8+5), shortsword +9/+4 (1d6+4)
Ranged Longbow +11 (1d8)
Special Attacks Favored enemy
STATISTICS
Str 19, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 10
Base Atk +6; CMB +10; CMD 21
Feats Cleave, Dodge, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Power Attack, Two-Weapon Fighting
Skills Climb +13, Handle Animal +9, Heal +11, Perception +11, Stealth +10, Survival +11
Languages Common, Orc
SQ Intimidating, orc blood, orc ferocity, weapon familiarity, 1st favored enemy (humans), track, wild empathy, combat style feats (Two-Weapon Fighting), Endurance, favored terrain (water), hunter's bond (hunting companions)
Combat Gear Leather armor +1, longsword +1, masterwork shortsword, longbow, quiver of 20 arrows, 50-ft. coil of silk rope, pouch containing 6 gp and 4 sp, necklace of adaptation, ring of feather falling, elixir of vision 


Maximilian
CR 5
XP 1600
Male halfling rogue 6
CG small humanoid
Init +9; Senses Perception +15
DEFENSE
AC 20, touch 16, flat-footed 12 (+5 Dex, +2 armor, +1 size, +1 Dodge, +1 enhancement)
hp 36 (6d8+6)
Fort +4, Ref +11, Will +2
Resist Halfling luck
OFFENSE
Spd 20 ft.
Melee Short sword +11 (1d4+1)
Ranged Short bow +10 (1d4)
Special Attacks Sneak attack +3d6
STATISTICS
Str 10, Dex 21, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 9, Cha 9
Base Atk +4; CMB +4; CMD 19
Feats Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +16, Climb +11, Disable Device +11, Escape Artist +14, Knowledge (local) +11, Linguistics +11, Perception +15, Sleight of Hand +14, Stealth +18, Use Magic Device +8
Languages Halfling, Common
SQ Fearless, halfling luck, keen senses, sure-footed, weapon familiarity, sneak attack +1d6, trapfinding, Evasion, rogue talents (resiliency, surprise attack), trap sense +1, uncanny dodge
Combat Gear Leather armor +1, shortsword +1, short bow, quiver of 20 arrows, set of thieves' tools, pouch containing 5 gp and 9 sp, eyes of the eagle, necklace of adaptation 


Konrad
CR 5
XP 1600
Male dwarf cleric 6
LG medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Perception +4; Darkvision 60 ft.
DEFENSE
AC 17, touch 10, flat-footed 14 (+4 armor, +1 enhancement, +1 shield, +1 enhancement)
hp 48 (6d8+18)
Fort +9, Ref +3, Will +11
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 20 ft.
Melee Warhammer +6 (1d8+1)
Ranged Sling +4 (1d4)
Special Attacks None
STATISTICS
Str 12, Dex 10, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 19, Cha 13
Base Atk +4; CMB +5; CMD 15
Feats Extra Channel, Iron Will, Selective Channeling
Skills Diplomacy +10, Heal +13, Knowledge (religion) +13
Languages Common, Dwarven
SQ Slow and steady, defensive training, greed, hatred, hardy, stability, stonecunning, weapon familiarity, aura, channel positive energy 3d6 (6 times/day), domains (artifice and knowledge), orisons
Combat Gear Chain shirt +1, light steel shield +1, masterwork warhammer, sling, pouch of bullets, silver holy symbol of Ptah, healer's kit, pouch containing 2 gp, 6 sp and 9 cp, cloak of resistance +1, necklace of adaptation
Spells per Day: 4/4+1/4+1/3+1
Spells Prepared (Typical): Detect magic, guidance, resistance, virtue; animate rope, bless, comprehend languages, protection from evil, remove fear; hold person, shield other, silence, spiritual weapon, wood shape; dispel magic, prayer, searing light, stone shape 

 

Lucinda
CR 5
XP 1600
Female half-elf wizard 6
NG medium humanoid
Init +2; Senses Perception +2; Low-light vision
DEFENSE
AC 13, touch 13, flat-footed 10 (+2 Dex, +1 Dodge)
hp 29 (6d6+6)
Fort +3, Ref +4, Will +5
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Quarterstaff +3 (1d6)
Ranged Light crossbow +5 (1d8)
Special Attacks Spells
STATISTICS
Str 10, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 19, Wis 11, Cha 12
Base Atk +3; CMB +3; CMD 15
Feats Dodge, Greater Spell Focus (evocation), Scribe Scroll, Skill Focus (Spellcraft), Spell Focus (evocation)
Skills Craft (writing) +13, Knowledge (arcana) +13, Knowledge (geography) +13, Knowledge (history) +13, Knowledge (local) +13, Linguistics +13, Spellcraft +14
Languages Elven, Common, Draconic, Halfling, Dwarven, Orcish
SQ Low-light vision, adaptability, elf blood, elven immunities, keen senses, multi-talented, arcane bond (familiar), arcane school (evocation), cantrips
Combat Gear Clothing, spellbook, pouch of spell components, quarterstaff, light crossbow, pouch containing 5 sp, ring of protection +1, cloak of resitance +1, potion of fox's cunning, necklace of adaptation
Spells per Day: 4/3+1/3+1/2+1
Spells Known: All cantrips; burning hands, comprehend languages, identify, jump, mage armor, magic missile, shield, shocking grasp, true strike; flaming sphere, invisibility, locate object, scorching ray; dispel magic, fireball, haste, lighting bolt



Polly the Parrot
CR --
XP --
N tiny animal
Init +2; Senses Perception +6; Low-light vision
DEFENSE
AC 16, touch 14, flat-footed 12 (+2 Dex, +2 size, +2 natural)
hp 14 (6d8-6)
Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +4
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 10 ft., fly 40 ft. (average)
Melee Bite +6 (1d3-4)
Special Attacks Details
STATISTICS
Str 2, Dex 15, Con 8, Int 8, Wis 15, Cha 7
Base Atk +2; CMB +2; CMD 8
Feats Skill Focus (Perception), Weapon Finesse
Skills Fly +5, Perception +6
Languages Common
SQ Alertness, improved evasion, shared spells, empathic link, deliver touch spells, speak with master

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Ten-Year Anniversary Reflection

Given that 26 December 2019 marks the ten-year anniversary of this blog, I feel it's appropriate to reflect on how things have gone.

Skull & Bones
The first focus of the blog—and the reason why it's called d20 Pirates—was the mostly historical setting for 3rd Edition D&D called Skull & Bones. Indeed, the entirety of the first four years were dedicated to that purpose. In that time the content included a series of nineteen adventures, maps and descriptions of locations, scenes to add as filler, NPCs, magical items, reviews of pirate-themed books and shows, and other elements. 

All in all I was pleased with how that turned out; even though it needed polishing, it provided a good outlet for my creative energies. I ran a number of these scenarios at local game days and private gatherings, mostly for friends, but never played all the way through to the end.

Freeport
The first change to that early focus came early in 2014, when I published a party of Pathfinder characters for use with the Freeport campaign setting. I was running some scenarios at Con of the North in the Twin Cities, and decided to share them. Eventually this material included a handful of scenarios and some articles, along with a few reviews. I have fond memories of these sessions, both from CotN as well as from MisCon (in Montana) in 2015 and Gen Con in 2016.

Al-Qadim
Later that year I also shared a couple of scenarios for the Al-Qadim campaign setting, one that I'd loved since it first appeared in 1992. I didn't end up making too much content for it, but it was fun. I still wonder sometimes about running an AQ campaign using D&D 5th Edition.

Space Fantasy—Aetherial Adventures
May of 2014 brought another change of focus, this time on writing rules and scenarios for use with the Pathfinder RPG, ones that emulated the space fantasy style of the old Spelljammer campaign setting. This came to include a setting based on our own solar system that I used for my home campaign, which I eventually ran during the 2017-18 school year and wrote up as the Godsharp Saga. I really enjoyed the process of developing a world and its cultures, something that I'd never done to this extent before. This of all the content for this blog is probably the one thing of which I am the most proud.

Pirates of the Spanish Main
My first delve into the Savage Worlds RPG came in April of 2015. I'd picked up the Pirates of the Spanish Main rulebook at some point, and had played some Savage Worlds in a series that helped playtest the Broken Earth campaign setting with Matthew Hanson. Since I enjoyed the “Fast, Furious, Fun” nature of those rules, I decided to try using them to write a few adventures for PotSM. I loved just how easy it was to do so, especially the process of creating NPCs.

D20 Sidewinder and The Sixth Gun for Savage Worlds
Most recently I've been channeling a lot of my creative energy into material for the RPG based on The Sixth Gun comics. I'd previously dabbled with the Sidewinder rulebook, which uses the (in my opinion) underappreciated D20 Modern rules for Old West adventures and campaigns. While that book is remarkably comprehensive, though, I didn't love the amount of work that went in to writing stats for characters. I'd also started reading The Sixth Gun comic series starting from Free Comic Book Day in 2011, and quite enjoyed it. When Pinnacle Entertainment Group announced that they would be kickstarting an RPG using the Savage Worlds rules, I knew they'd be a good match. This led into setting and scenarios that came to form the Manifested Destinies campaign, which I ran during the 2018-19 school year.

Moving Forward
Currently, of course, I'm running the Return to Freeport campaign for the 2019-20 school year. We're in a bit of a hiatus right now for the holidays, but intend to be back at it in the New Year. I'll include weekly updates once we're back underway, and an overall reflection when we finish. Due to personal reasons, I'm looking to finish this campaign by the middle of March.

Personal Stuff
The past ten years have brought a lot of changes in my life.
  • I have moved five times since I started the blog, due in part to some of the circumstances that I'll mention below.
  • After nearly ten years, I emerged from a challenging and ultimately unhealthy relationship. That's been a very positive change.
  • My mom passed away in July of 2017, and my dad in March of 2019. That was hard for me, of course, but I had the support of family and friends.
  • I've been fortunate to keep the same job for the past ten years, as an English teacher at an alternative high school.
  • In March of 2017 I started dating someone new; we became engaged in November of that year, and were married in that same December. That was a whirlwind, to say the least.
  • Finally, my wife and I are expecting a son in March of 2020. That will be a tremendous adventure in its own right, but I have could people in my life coming along for it.