Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gringle's Tavern

Gringle's Tavern, an unmapped stat-free location to add to your local Megadungeon

A secure door with a sealed observation port stands under a well painted sign advertising "Gringle's Tavern" .
Knocking on the door will result in one begin questioned by either of the RedCaps door guards (inside the door) there is no secret entry code but the Red Caps are instructed to keep folks and monsters out that could upset business. Bashing the doors open would invite the wrath of the guard, gringo, his staff and many of the patrons who will fight to defend this place of comfort.

When the door open warmth, fine food, libation and company are ever present. Any willing to enter in peace are allowed to drink and dine but fights do break out on occasion.

Gringle tends bar and a trio of goblin-man barmaids serve the patrons in the tavern.
The hag in the kitchen is a wrinkled and odd dark elf of 3rd level who keeps two sleep spells on hand to put an end to bar-fights back out in the common room. She is aided by a number of menials (usually gnomes, goblin-men and molemen) and Lum a relatively calm and obedient Ogre.

Back-rooms are available for those that don't' wish to wine and dine with just anyone, but the service is a little slow.

Anyone starting a fight in the common room will likely be slept by the cook and fined half of their possessions before begin carried away from Gringle's and possibly dumped outside the dungeon.

Fare (roll a d10 to see which one isn't available any given day)
1. Shelf Fungus Roasted in Firebeetle Oil… 4sp
2. Savory Root Mash… 4 cp
3. Boiled Fire Beetle served with garlic-butter and fried roots… 5gp
4. Honey Cakes…. 2sp for 3 small cakes
5. Thick Vegetable Stew with yummy dumplings… 5cp
6. Toast and Grelsh (gnomish garlic-relish)… 6cp
7. Stuffed Bats, a half dozen small bats stuffed with spiced break crumbs and boiled sparrow eggs… 2gp
8. Roasted Meat in black sauce. A goodly portion of meat (usual off the bone) sitting in a thick sweet black sauce of mashed beans,cooked blood, pan drippings and seasonings… 4sp
9. Toast and beans. A half loaf of toasted bread covered in beans sprinkled with cheese… 4cp
10.Gobs and Tatters, a variety of small meat chunks of various cuts and beasts served with portions of boiled roots… 8cp

Drink (roll d8 twice to find what isn't available today)
1. Root Beer, potent liquor brewed from the sap of select roots… 1sp
2. Dwarfish Black Stout, specially imported from the iron peaks… 6sp
3. Heart of Wine… 1gp
4. Spiced Hard Cider…4cp
5. Spiced Hot Cider… 2cp
6. Honeyed Wine, poor wine sweetened with honey to make it palatable…5cp
7. Berry Wine, wine brewed from berries picked outside the dungeon…8cp
8. Elfin Mead, imported from the Sylvan Halls… 5sp
9. Mint Tea… 3cp
10. Ale, plain old ale… 4cp

Patrons (2-7 rolls any given hour)

1-2 A Nervous halfling
3-4 A Curious Halfling
5-6 A Shivering Moleman
7-8 Five Rowdy Molemen
9-10 A pair of Cowering Halflings
11-12 Seedy Looking Halfling
13-14 A retired Halflign pit-fighter
15-16 A gnomish fortune-teller in faux-gypsy gard
17-18 A trio of goblins in eloquent garb
19-20 An escaped elfin princess escorted by a pair of Hobgoblins
21-22 Mangey Gnoll with missing bits of Fur
23-24 Four shifty looking Kobolds
25-26 A lone Dwarf
27-28 Seven Singing Dwarves that will just not shut up
29-30 A pair of Dwarf mercenaries looking for work
31-32 A vampire scouting the place for a fresh victim
33-34 A ubiquitous Doppleganger
35 A trio of Nuns
36-38 Four sneaky looking Goblin-men
39-40 A table full of goblins racing snails
41-42 A half- dozen orcs
43-44 A dozen orcs (at least) begin rowdy and participating in rat fights
45-46 A moody half-orc swordsman
47-48 A half-dozen goblins wearing theatrical masks
49-50 A human troubadour down on his luck
51-52 A nervous man… bound to turn into a werewolf any second now…
53 A nervous man… waiting to challenge the killer of his father
54-56 A nervous man
57-58 A half-dozen dandies here on a dare from the nearest city
59-60 A young half-orc swordsman with a chip on his shoulder
61-62 A table of dwarves and goblins playing cards together, this can't end well
63-64 A pair of trolls
65 A dwarf in full plate, a gnome wearing a lion pelt, a gnoll, a goblin in a straw hat and an adolescent girl sitting together at a table.
66-68 A trio of were-rats
69-70 An elegant lady with two large albino giant rats on leashes.
71-72 A table full of berserkers getting "fortified"
73-74 A young bard trying to find something/someone worth writing a ballad about
75-76 A down on his luck necromancer
77-78 A gang of Thieves
79-80 A trio of Doxies/Harlots
81-82 A pair of Gigolos
83-84 A slaver browsing the crowd for fresh talent
85-86 A Bounty Hunter
87-88 A Hooded Figure… a Ranger
89-90 A Hooded Figure… an Assassin
91-92 A Hooded Figure… a spy for the local darklord
93-94 A Gold Dragon traveling incognito
95-96 A Half Dozen Gnomes
97-98 A pair of Elves
99 A lone adventurer
100 An NPC party of Dungeoneers

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Healing and Hit Points

It's an age old issue in RPG land, brought up by recent near TPK, those pesky HP and healing. Healing and the nature of Hit Points is a little muddy.

Hit Points are an abstract value to track abstract resolution of combat and the trauma it inflicts. Only problem is I don't care much for abstract arrows and for an "abstract" score Hit Points tend to be very tightly defined.

Common Complaints about HP:

1. Why does it take longer for my 6th level fighter to recover back to full HP than it does for his 2nd level henchman?

2. Why does "Cure Light Wounds" bring us back from the brink of death... those don't seem like very light wounds ?

3. Why can my 10th level fighter survive being riddled with arrows?

4. If a melee round is an abstraction of several thrusts and blows why do I have to count my arrows?

let me answer in reverse order:

4. Becasue melee round "abstraction" is an abstraction as to how much is worth resolving and book keeping. Sword blows don't have a recognizable finite utility like an arrow. Sword blows don't have an associated weight, like arrows. Sword blows don't have a related per application cost, like arrows. Arrows counting is easy put a dozen of 40 little marks on you paper an cross them off as yuo loose arrows: problem solved, nothing left to reason, it's all part of the supply an resupply element of dungeon exploration.

3. Your 10th level fighter can survive being riddled with arrows because your 10th level fighter is now a bad-ass due to being 10th level. If your 10th level fighter is a bad-ass your 10th level fighter had best stop standing there and getting riddled with arrows or yuo will in fact discover how many arrows it takes to slay your 10th level fighter. This goes back to the "abstract" argument again.... the arrows aren't abstract, the holes they poke in a 10th level fighters armor aren't abstract what is abstract is how bad-ass your fighter is; if you have 55 hp compared to 2hp you are definitely much more bad-ass in regards to being an arrow catcher at those 55 hp. Your character can survive lots of littel jabbey pokey things so your character will act outrageously heroic and fight hordes of bad guys and have some chance of surviving the attempt.

2. "Cure Light Wounds" brings you back from the brink of death because the spell is poorly named and there are no rules which relate how a wound is defined as light or not. It would take only a moment to redefine what a light wound is:

Any wound that inflicts HP damage equal to or less then a targets level+1 in damage is considered a light wound. Cure light wounds spells will only restore damage suffered by such light wounds.

That would do the trick but it creates more book-keeping but it also limits the very limited healing abilities low level parties will have access to, that's just being a stinker.

What about the brink of death deal again? Well, the spell is poorly named again... it sure isn't a light wound when you go from almost dead to not-dead. This is much less of an issue when death greets your heroes at 0hp as opposed to say the negative value of 1/2CON + level *(or some other formula). Rules that stretch how long characters stay alive after getting knocked on their asses stretches the healing mechanisms of the game (which were originally written when 0 hp = death), healing spells have never really caught up.

What's "light" about "Cure Light Wounds" is the magical oomph behind the spell not the impact on recipients wounds.

1. It takes longer for your 6th level character to heal than it does for his 2nd level henchman becasue most people aren't going to pay attention to the henchman for as long as they will their actual PC... no really, more important characters tend to have more HP, it's only reasonable that paying attention to the results of them being wounded would get more camera time.

Still don't like that answer? Have characters heal according to their level, 1 hp per level per day of rest after the first would do the trick nicely for quicker level based recovery. But just how fast does one heal up after not being killed by being roasted by dragon breath, raked by a dozen ghouls, falling 60 feet onto some rusty spikes and being shot full of arrows even if all that isn't lethal? When you think of all that maybe it is reasonable it takes a month or longer to heal up from all that bad-ass damage suffering a lesser character wouldn't be healing up from at all.

Hit Points aren't a measure of how much trauma a character can suffer they are a measure of how bad-ass a character is and that's certainly much more abstract than defining how many arrows does it take to slay a 10th level fighter (the answer of which is always, regardless of level: that last arrow).