Building a Foundation

This is not an article about pouring concrete or laying block in the ground.

First night of adventuring!  Could have been worse, I suppose.  We added a new player at the last minute, so most of the evening was occupied creating that character and purchasing gear.  (As you may have guessed, I’ve stolen Mr. Smolensk‘s trade organization largely wholesale, so it does take most of an evening to sort through 20 pages of shops and items) But after that all got sorted (mostly), the adventurers finally left the walls of Canterbury on their way to Oslo.

Our current cast of characters is led by Freya, a half-elf rogue, followed closely by her sister Hilde. The final PC is a half-orc barbarian, Aleksandr, a recent resident of the British Isles due to a rather personal argument with a ship’s captain. Also along for the ride is Klaus, a human mercenary and friend of Freya.

The party left the south gate of Canterbury at 9:00 am the morning of May 2. They took Watling Street south towards Dover. The weather being fine for traveling they made good time, crossed through Bridge, and a bit after ten bells heard a strange sound coming from the young wheat field that edged the road.

Alek moved to investigate, and discovered three huge rats fighting over a bit of something. This information he relayed to the rest of the party, alerting the rats to his presence. They promptly attacked, and brought the barbarian down to half health before being put down. Which is where we had to end.

Not bad for a half hour of actual running.  As for the rewards, we stopped immediately after the last rat was gloriously criticalled by Freya’s arrow.  Which is a shame, because it only had 4 HP left at the time.  All that to say I only assigned XP.

Now XP for this campaign is taking a bit of getting used to for my players.  They are used to the super-fast WotC XP table, so when I introduced the concept of different classes requiring different amounts of XP to level, based on the Pathfinder XP tables using Slow for Fighters, Paladins, and Barbarians, medium progression for every other class less Wizards and Sorcerers who use the fast tables (which are themselves a bit slower than the default PHB table).  This combines nicely with Mr. Smolensk’s XP scheme of basing XP awarded based on damage dealt and received.   If after playing with the PF based tables it’s still taking too long to level, I will consider upping the number of XP awarded per point of damage.  XP for loot doesn’t apply here since the rats don’t have any, but I think it will make my players happy when they do get some later.

For the record, according to the standard 3.5 rules, this encounter would be worth 75 XP for each character.  Freya received 88, Hilde received 20, Alek received 176 and Klaus received 50.  Alek received the most because he was the only one bitten by the rats, and did the most damage to them.  Freya took second for her accomplished bow-work, Klaus also managed to deal some damage, while Hilde played her lute and inspired the then-stunned barbarian on to greater deeds.  Her XP is solely from watching Alek have his calves shredded.

Something that I will introduce next session officially (since I didn’t have time to write it up and send it out before we started) is the concept of armor as damage reduction.  I’ve written about that before, but I’m simplifying it majorly to actually be workable in a combat.  Basically it boils down to using the AC rating of the armor as DR instead.  Shields will still add to AC.  This means that enemies will be hit more reliably (along with the PCs), but the damage done will be less.  Working hand-in-hand with this concept will be a mechanic for equipment fatigue/damage that occurs in combat.  It is based on this proposition, but modified according to my own tastes.

It will run thusly:  For each attack against an armed and/or armored opponent, 2d6 are rolled by the attacker and the defender.  If the attack hits, the defender’s roll applies to his armor, as indicated on the second table on the second link posted above.  If the attack misses by (10 minus the defender’s base attack bonus) or less, the defender’s roll applies to his weapon, because he is considered to have parried the blow.  If the attack misses by more than (10 – D’s BAB), the roll is discarded, because the attack missed so widely.  The attacker’s 2d6 are applied to his weapon (as per the same table referenced above) if he misses by 10-defender’s BAB, or hits by less than or equal to the DR score of the armor the defender is wearing.  If the attack succeeds spectacularly or fails miserably, it is considered to not have encountered any suitably defensible material and therefore suffers no risk of damage.

For creatures not wearing armor but wielding a weapon, the defensive roll only applies if a weapon to weapon strike occurs.  For creatures wielding natural weapons, such as claws or teeth, they may still be blunted or broken.  Natural attacks such as slams, however, cannot be damaged.

We’ll see how that plays out next time, if the PCs get into another fight.

I may have more thoughts on the campaign later, but for now we will have to wait and see what the PCs do with the rat corpses and whatever they were fighting over.  Next session is expected to occur on the 10th of March.  Oh yeah, Sliders is happening Sunday, so I’ll be participating in my wife’s adventure then, I may have some thoughts after that game. Stay tuned!

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