Well, it went pretty good. Our little group kicked off the 5E Sword & Sorcery game. As I said before I took a lot of the rules from Xoth.
The party consists of a barbarian, monk, druid, and courtier. The courtier player couldn’t make it so an NPC (Fighter/Rogue) stepped in to keep them from totally getting their butts kicked.
This was combo of Session 0 and intro adventure. Actually, we did a lot of the Session 0 stuff before hand via a Facebook Group. It was pretty simple at the beginning. Guard a merchant caravan through the desert. What could go wrong? At first, not much. Some bandits tried to sneak into the caravan at night and steal some stuff. No problem for our group of adventurers.
Then I did a little railroading. OK, a lot of railroading. I wanted to create an event that would give the characters a reason to bond even if it was against a common enemy. So the player characters (+another guard) got drugged and wake up in chains. They had been handed over to a bunch of slavers. Since I pulled this little nasty narrative trick on them, I did give them each an Inspiration Point.
Of course, the barbarian rages and breaks his chains and the fight begins (without a real plan by the party). It was bloody and tough fight for the PC’s who didn’t have any armor or weapons. The NPC who really saved their bacon was the no-name, no-class, lowly NPC guard. With just damned lucky rolls, he was able to wrestle the Slaver Boss to ground and keep him occupied for half the fight. Ah, when the dice decide that they want the story to in an odd direction, that’s a cool thing about gaming.
The party frees the other slaves and quickly realize that the slavers weren’t nice folks and that they only had about half the water they needed to make it out of the desert. It was a tough trip and a couple of the NPC’s died along the way but they made it to the big city and new they are looking for that bastard merchant who double crossed them.
And on a final, I’ve already had a couple of folks inquire about starting a second game. But more on that later.
Well, it’s been a year of almost no gaming at all. Sure there have been little tiny blasts of playtesting something or a little one shot but nothing solid.
Finally, I just made the time to do some gaming. Half the players are from the Thursday Night Crew and the other half are pretty much brand new. Of course, the extra challenge is that half the group has never gamed with the other half. So we’ll see how that goes. There was a very early no politics rule right up front.
So what are we playing? Well, the newbies have only been exposed to 5E so I thought that was the best way to start before throwing them into an old school game (which IMHO would be easier to run online). Plus it’s the only books that everyone has access to. Now I did cut down on choices and options and our campaign is going to be mostly based around Xoth with some extras thrown in to make it have a bit of the weird tone and inspiration from Hyperborea.
I have high hopes that this will be a fun one. I’ll do some random posts about the antics and few things that I feel are just neat. So if you’ll excuse me, I have to finish up planning their first adventure.
Yeah, I know that I’m a little late on the band wagon and that many folks have already been playing online for over a year. Let’s just say I was holding out and too many real life things just go in the way. But any way, I’m finally starting up on online game with some members of the old gaming group.
Of course, lots of folks had already done a lot of legwork and it really helped researching about what tools to use. After a little debate with group we finally decided on Discord for our choice for video/audio/text chat. For the Virtual Table Top, I decided to with Owlbear Rodeo.
Sure there’s lots of VTT’s out there. And many of them have a ton of really bells and whistles. But comparing the others to the way I like to run games the choice was clear.
Most importantly, the learning curve for Owlbear Rodeo isn’t that steep. After playing around with it and watching a couple of Youtube videos, I pretty much got a solid feel on how to use. It also means that my players don’t have to mess around and make yet another account/login. On the downside, I’m making one either. Sure that’s easy on me but Owlbear Rodeo saves everything in your browser. So you don’t have an “account” with it. They have added a means to import and export your data since it’s sitting in your browser and if you switch devices, browsers, or clear out your browser the stuff is gone. That really doesn’t bother me.
Let my tell you. And this is another selling point for me. Owlbear Rodeo feels most like throwing down a battle mat and some mini’s. I can load up custom maps for each encounter but then I’ve never really done that at the table and it’s much handier when there’s random encounters or the party doesn’t jump on board the plot train.
Owlbear Rodeo come out of the virtual box with basic tools you need to set up a map and get to rolling dice (and yes it does have a dice roller). You can upload custom maps although larger sized files may cause some lag. Personally, I made a very simple battle mat with Dungeon Scrawl. It’s just a simple 12 x12 grid which IMHO is big enough for most encounters. The file size is smaller than the builtin maps and should load faster for my players. I also tested out making a bunch of custom tokens. I already had a bunch of inspiration art in a folder and headed out to Token Stamp and made over 50 tokens in a couple of minutes. Will I use all of them? Probably not but I’ve got them if I need them. A quick Internet search also leads to some useful tools like a Spell Effects Template and Initiative Tracker.
There’s a few other selling points. Players can use it on a tablet or even their smart phone. And it’s free! I know this is cool but this also a small project built with passion and they do have a Patreon which I encourage folks to support.
Now if you don’t believe my rants then take from someone prettier and smarter than I am.
It’s been way too long since I wrote anything about Xoth and it’s coming back to my mind with a vengeance. In case you’ve been keeping up, I’m trying to get the old gaming group back together.
I’ll admit that I have nothing against the Standard D&D type game and I can even tolerate the Cantina Scene type parties. But then there’s times when I want to go all Swords & Sorcery. For me, that means Conan and Robert E Howard. So it’s back to Xoth as one of my pitches.
I had picked some of the stuff way back when during the days of Pathfinder 1St Edition. Sure I played Pathfinder but I never would want to run it. But I liked the writing and changes so much that it always stayed in the back of mind.
This gets me to where we are today. I was searching the Internets and lo, there’s a 5E Player’s Guide for Xoth. Now this could be interesting and it is. This takes the 5E rules and makes them perfectly friendly to a grimmer more down to earth type of campaign.
Let me break the basics down for you. First, Races & Classes. It’s all human but there’s still various “cultures” that replace the mechanics of Race. There’s the Savage, Civilized, Enlightened, Decadent, and Degenerate. Each gets a stat boost and some neat skill-boosts/tricks. But each as a disadvantage. And their pretty big disadvantages. Like the Savage. +2 Strength, +1 AC, Advantage on Perception Checks. Cool right? Oh wait. You also take disadvantage on attack rolls against aberrations, undead, and fiends. It’s a cool tweak.
Then there’s classes. Of course, all of the classes aren’t allowed because they just don’t fit the setting. So, there’s no Bards, Clerics, Paladins, Wizards, and Sorcerers. The remaining have some tweaks. No archetypes that have any magical or “super” abilities. No Eldritch Knights or Arcane Tricksters. Rangers don’t have spells but they get some other tricks. And the Druid and Warlock have some additional tweaks to them. And there’s three new classes: Conqueror (sort of the Paladin replacement), Cultist (as close as you’re going to get to a cleric), and Courtesan (Bard/Social class).
And of course there some rules tweaks on spells, magic items, healing and combat. All of it giving the campaign that Howard type feel. Oh and the best part the Players Guide to Xoth is free. Available on Xoth.net and DrivethruRPG. Note: On DrivethruRPG, you’ll have to login since it’s behind the adult filter because there be boobies.
If you want a more detailed review you can check this one out.
So back to what I might do with this. Of course, I could just use it with 5E. It’s the RPG that most of the players are familiar with. But then I’m a crazy OSR guy. So I can pull up Swords & Wizardry, Crypts & Things, or even my own Forgotten Tales of Sword & Sorcery and run with that. Sure I’ll do some tweaking and house rules and all of those rules are kissing cousins. But since I’ve got a bunch of Pathfinder and now 5E stuff, it’s really easy to convert that material into an old school game. But then Barbaric! is another of my newly found favorites. Sure it’s easy on the rules crunch and character generation but conversion will take some doing.
What’s actually going to happen? I dunno. But I’ll keep posting about it here and we’ll see what happens.