Campaign

22 Sessions

It’s been more than a year since I started a “real” campaign, the first such attempt at such since a short-lived attempt to run through Castle Ravenloft back in… 2009? 2010?  Anyway, I’ve played plenty since then, and before as well, but mostly in the “Sliders” setup, and as often a player as DM.  But now I’ve passed the one-year mark (sort of), so I thought I’d do a recap of where we’ve gotten so far.

  • Sessions played: 22
  • Hours per session: 4
  • Estimated total play time: 88 hours
  • Characters created: 6
  • Characters/players lost: 2
  • Characters killed: 0
  • Distance traveled: 1,332 miles (approximately)
  • Time elapsed (in game): 63 days
  • Levels gained: 7
  • Max character level: 3
  • Monsters killed: 17
  • Monsters fled from: 2
  • Non-monster enemies killed/incapacitated: 11

We try to get together every other week, but as we are all working adults, sometimes that gets interrupted by work, kids, hospitalizations, what have you.  So though we’ve been going for about a year and two months, we’ve not quite gotten to a year’s worth of sessions.  Along with the having kids to deal with, our sessions usually net about 4 hours of actual play time.  Between commutes, dinner, and the bedtime routine, anywhere from 1-2 hours are “wasted” on non-game stuff every night.  And now that one of our company has moved out of state, there are technical connection issues to deal with as well.  I was a bit surprised to count it all up and only get two “work weeks” of game time.

Also over the course of the year we’ve fluctuated in the number of players available.  One of our number had to drop out due to work conflicts, another stopped playing because of poor communication of the game’s goals on my part.  So far no one has died (though a few have come close, almost every fight it seems someone nearly dies), but I hope think that will change eventually.  Gotta make these people feel it, you know?

The party started in Canterbury, Kent, England, but quickly moved to Dover, Calais, then Amsterdam after a storm hit the ship, Hamburg, then overland up through Denmark, across the water from Fredrikshavn to Gothenburg, up through Uddevalla, Fredrikstad, and finally Oslo.  After about a week in Oslo they set off to Hogevarde Mountain, back to Oslo, and have now trekked up to a small settlement called Hovringen.  It’s been quite a journey, and taken more than three months.

The level gain is rather slow, because these folks aren’t getting into fights four nights out of seven.  There’s been conflict, sure, and plenty of fights, but my XP is assigned on combat damage dealt and received, and on loot gained from fighting.  So far they haven’t made the effort to get up to their waists in blood.  Also, two of the current characters are multiclassed, which means they need a lot more XP to gain a level than a single classed character.

It’s interesting, having played less than a year’s worth of sessions we have come so far and yet it seems like not terribly far after all. Looking at the time played, we might get just as much game time in by meeting for one Saturday a month, all day.  Something I’ll bring up to the group next game.

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Armor as Damage Reduction

I use armor as damage reduction in my game. Not terribly complex, simple as using the armor class as the damage reduction value. Playing for 8 months with it now, I haven’t had any issues with it (but the highest level any character has gotten in that time is 3rd, it’s kind of slow moving). But I think I will once levels start creeping a little higher.

See, I had the good fortune to be able to add another player recently,and in the process of explaining the armor thing, he asked if there were other ways to increase AC. I still use AC, it’s dex and shields which avoid hits, armor makes them less damaging. Which started me thinking, “Hmm… If AC is going to stay around 12-16 for most characters, BAB is going to become meaningless pretty quick.” So I thought some more and, as is my usual, I devised an elegant solution. Allow players to increase either BAB or a “class defense” bonus every time they would get an increase in BAB.

See, the reason it’s so elegant is 1) I don’t have to rewrite the class tables, 2) it provides another way to customize for the players, and 3) it keeps the balance of to-hit and AC aligned, while maintaining the damage reduction role of the armor.

I realize that keeping pace between to hit and AC will mean fewer attacks per round at higher levels, it also means there is an opportunity to unbalance characters, to focus either on hitting or attacking. Personality in combat through the rules.

But I think it all works.  I’ve kind of intellectually taken issue with the idea of 4 effective attacks in the space of 6 seconds anyhow, so this will also have the effect of making that more realistic, and making combat even more deadly than it has been in my game.

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Change of Plans

You ever hear of DMs talk about how their players don’t do what is expected of them? Me too. I once ran a campaign that was founded on that principle, in fact. Now I’m older, slightly wiser, and I run a different kind of game now.  Everyone who has followed along up until now will know that I run a “DM’s Plot” free sandbox campaign.  Which is great for being ready when the players jump the rails, because I myself tore the rails up and threw them away before the game even begins.  Which leaves it to the players to look around, pick a direction, and go exploring.

So you wouldn’t think that there would be any rapid plan changes to throw me off, would you?  Well, these are human beings we are talking about, and sometimes they change their minds about what they are doing.  So they did.  Not in a huge way, but I thought that they would sit around in Hamburg for a while while they waited for a ship that was bound for Oslo came in to port.  Turns out they are tired of sea travel (Three thunderstorms in a week isn’t too much is it?), so they bought some horses, tack, feed, tents, and set out north through Denmark to find a cheaper ship, as well as run into some adventure along the way.

That’s all fine.  But I thought there was going to be more time spent dealing with things in Amsterdam.  But our friendly neighborhood Sorcerer-Assassin decided that it wasn’t worth it to explore the house/shop of the butcher he was supposed to scare into silence after he found a notice from the town council declaring it to be vacated and handed over to the Honourable Guild of Butchers.  So they set sail, weathered two small storms (the third was a big one which forced them into Amsterdam for repairs) and made it into Hamburg.  Once there, they made contact with the harbormaster and arranged for passage on a small ship that was due in to port in about six days.  Then they decided to buy some horses (which were cheap), some saddles, (which were not), provisioned up (in theory) and set off.

Which, like I said, is fine.  They are totally entitled to do that.  In fact, I am happy for them.  Because they chose this whole trip of their own accord.  Going to Oslo was their idea.  I believe their intent is to meet relatives.  They probably will, by the way.  Eventually.  But I was not expecting them to take the land route.  Which means I hadn’t looked closely at maps of the area, explored the territory, seen what kind of terrain is between Hamburg and Frederikshaven.  I thought it was going to be a week of chilling in the Big City, maybe being mugged again, and then another week (or so) on the sea.  I didn’t expect to transition into a land-based adventure so soon.  Thankfully, however, I have a few tools that helped me out.

First is my Agglomerated Monster Index Sorting Suite (or AMISS for short).  When it’s actually complete I’ll post a copy somewhere for y’all to use.  Using that, I can sort monsters by CR, Climate, Environment, Type, Subtype, Name, and Weight.  It’s pretty handy when generating random encounter tables on the fly.  Which I did.  Second is Google Maps.  Since my world is Magical Earth circa 1550, I can Google up the distance (and walking time) from just about anywhere (Hamburg, say) to anywhere (Frederikshaven?  I haven’t even heard of Frederikshaven!).  So that’s nice.

Point being, being prepared for the unexpected with quick, useable tools I was able to roll with the change in plan no problem. Although I’m curious to see what they do to deal with that shade they ran across on the road north…

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The Sinking of the Rat’s Eye

From the Book of the Righteous of Tyr, 4th chapter of Stevin, Section 3.

“And lo, while upon the ship The Mandrake (called now the Ginger Root), there arose upon the sea a cloud of poison, placed by the servants of the unjust ones, and the vessel which had placed the cloud did command the Mandrake to stand for boarding.  And the captain of the Mandrake did give Saint Stevin and his companions into the hands of the pirates of the Rat’s Eye (for that was the name of their ship) for a price of gold.  They were placed into the lower parts of the ship, where they were accustomed to keep the slaves that they had captured.

“Stevin waxed wroth, but wisely waited for the time to strike, for the Rat’s Eye was bound to deliver the company of Stevin to the Queen of the pirate slavers.  So Tyr sent fair weather and sped the ship along the face of the waters, through the Cliffs Which Induce Madness and into the inland sea, upon the edge of which was the citadel of the Pirate Queen, who had stolen the younglings of Redwall Abbey.  And arriving in the port, Stevin began to ascend upon the air towards the citadel, but looked back at the ship and beheld upon the upper parts of the ship there was a captive, in the same form which Tyr had bestowed upon Stevin when He had delivered him to the aid of the Abbey of Redwall.  And Stevin turned in his steps to free the captive, but was met in the air by the weiraht, who did engage him withal and shouted a loud curse.  Stevin then called upon Tyr to smite the infidel with blindness, but the weiraht’s evil did resist the power of Tyr.  Then the companions of Stevin rushed down to the aid of the innocent upon the ship.  The servant of Nature did leap into the form of a swift bird and rushed to call the lightning upon the unrighteous one.

“Then Stevin did once again call upon the Just One to forever close the eyes of one who would oppose justice, but again did the monster’s dark magic repel the hand of Tyr.  He then released again a cloud of poison against Stevin (for it was the monster who called the cloud of poison upon the sea), and then began to flee back to the ship which was departing to escape the wrath of Stevin, which grew full of Tyr’s might.  And when Stevin saw that the Rat’s Eye did attempt to escape the inland sea, behold, he called down the strike of flame upon their mast and burned away the ropes and sails of the mast, and smote those on the ropes with the fire of Tyr.

“The servant of nature then called forth a Djann and a mad troupe of monkeys to wrest the boy from the hand of the captain of the ship, for he did seek to keep the captive.  But the power of nature was too much, and caused the captain to quake with fear.  Then Stevin did lift up his hands, and commanded the sea itself to rise (for the ship had set out oars to escape even after the main mast had been burned) and the ship came back to the dock and they smote themselves upon each other.  Then the crew of the ship did all leap overboard for fear of the might of Tyr and disappeared into the sea, and the companions of Stevin did rescue the boy from out of the hand of the pirates, and allowed the ship to burn, to cleanse it from the unrighteousness that it had carried.”

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Skills, Revisited

I figured this out in the shower this morning, so you know it’s a good idea.

I’ve been puzzling over how to make the skills work really well within my game, especially with the combat-XP system.  I think I finally have something that is simple, easy to implement, and easy to remember.

Skills advance by use.  Some things which used to be skills are now class features, namely Open Lock, Climb, Hide & Move Silently (now called Stealth); Spot and Listen have combined into Perception, and the function of several “interaction” skills has been taken over by the Conflict! system.

At first level, you may choose a number of skills to be “proficient” in (equal to the number of ranks you would have received upon a level up).  You get a +2 bonus to all of these skills.  You may only be proficient in class skills.

Making skill checks:

Each skill is tied to a particular Ability Score.  When you make a skill check, roll a d20.  If the result is less than or equal to your ability score plus proficiency and experience bonuses, you succeed.  If the roll is higher than your ability plus proficiency and experience bonuses, you fail.  Particularly difficult tasks may impose penalties on your ability score, but typical activities will not.

Skills and Experience bonuses:

Each successful use of a skill earns one SXP, or skill experience point.  When you have accumulated 7 SXP in one skill which is also a class skill, you receive an experience bonus (+1) to future checks in that skill. Further increases require 7+(current XP Bonus) more successful uses of the skill.  Remember lucky number 7.  For cross-class skills, double the number of successful uses that must be achieved (14 for +1, 16 for +2, etc.)

Compound Checks:

Some activities are more complex than simply using a single skill.  In these instances, a series of skill checks may be required, possibly in conjunction with straight ability checks.  If any of the checks fail, the task may not be completed successfully, but may be partially completed, depending on circumstances.

Opposed Checks:

Opposed skill or ability checks work much as they did before, with d20 rolls adding all bonuses (including ability modifiers).  Higher result wins.

The table of current skills can be found on the Obsidian Portal wiki.  For everyone who are not my players, I have very little business telling you what skills to use or not.  Go crazy.

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Combat Experience and Levels

My current XP award system is based solely on combat experience.  Damage dealt and damage received gain XP.  Loot gained from combat also awards XP.  The numbers aren’t important for this discussion, because I want to discuss what levels are, and what they do for characters.  They mostly work, but with a combat-based XP system (one that gives different awards for different contributions, no less) there are (it has been pointed out to me) certain shortcomings.

My first and biggest point is this:  going up a level makes you more effective in combat.  You get more HP (resistance to dieing from attack), you get better saves, and you get a better attack bonus.  You get better at combat.  You get better at not letting the other guy stick his sword in your belly, and get better at putting yours into his.  This does not come from talking your way out of fights, this does not come by way of picking locks and running up walls.  Training and sparring only go so far.  You do the same sword drills as the 50 year old grizzled veteran fighter.  You have read all the training manuals.  You have the same head knowledge as the other guys as to the physics of the whole “killing other people” business.  But until you have been on the field of battle, surrounded by madness and blood and death and fear, you will never become better at it than those who live there.  You must experience combat to survive combat, to win combat, and to get better at not getting killed.  Your sword arm must know exactly how to maneuver the blade to slide between the plates of armor on the other guy, and it must do so in a timely manner.  You must learn to lean away at precisely the right time to turn that killing thrust into a glancing blow. War is a crucible. That is why I really like the XP-for-damage model.

However, there is a problem.  In 3.5, there is a certain aspect to characters called “skills.”  Many of you are familiar with this concept.  Leveling up also gives you a certain number of skill points, so that you can get better at doing things other than killing things.  By now you should be able to see my dilemma.  What about those characters who don’t do so hot at combat, but do other awesome things like pluck some strings attached to a bit of wood which makes strangers throw coins at your feet?  How does killing things while denying those same things the opportunity to do the same to you make you a better lutist?  Answer:  Realistically, it doesn’t, and I agree, shouldn’t.

So I’ve come up with at least part of a solution.  I plan to remove the skill point portion of leveling up from the “combat level,” and make it a category of it’s own.

That sure dropped a boatload of silence on the audience, didn’t it?SkillUse

Moving along.  Using skills, unlike combat experience, is much less intense.  You can practice to get substantially better at those things. In fact, many of the skills are meant to represent things that are practiced to improve.  Some of them, I would argue, are not so much (how do you teach yourself to hear better?), but for the most part they are.  How does this translate into a “noncombat level,” you ask?  Like so:  For each successful use of an appropriate skill (list to be given later), you place one tally mark next to that skill.  When you have accumulated enough tally marks (for the sake of argument let’s say seven), you get a +1 experience bonus to that skill.  Now, erase all those tally marks.  To get another bonus, you will need 8 successful uses of the skill (7 + the current experience bonus). See table.

Now, it doesn’t have as much bite as a level, but it does reflect a more realistic model of skill development.  And that’s kinda what I am going for.  I hope I’m getting closer.  So anyhow, now skills get better as you use them, and that independently of combat levels.  Combat wins combat expertise.  Skill use wins skill expertise.

But now it’s your turn.  What more could I do to make it better?  (Players in my campaign especially invited to comment)

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Tuesday Campaign, Session 3

Having arranged for passage on a ship bound for Hamburg, Freja and Morelli directed their steps back to the inn where Alek, Hilde, and Klaus were enjoying a fine meal and a song.  However, a cry for help found it’s way to Freja’s ear, and she dashed down a nearby alley to help the poor girl.  Morelli followed close behind, and luckily they spotted the figure lurking in the shadows before he had a chance to surprise one or the both of them. It was a tense standoff, escalating quickly when the little girl they had heard before jumped on Morelli and nearly dragged him to the ground.  He escaped only by wounding the girl grievously, and the bandit lost heart when he saw that Morelli was actually a spellcaster.  Both he and the girl escaped.

Staggering back to the inn, they joined their compatriots for dinner, and overheard the locals talking of a “beast, of huge size” ravaging the countryside.  Going to the hospital attached to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Calais, they secured an appointment for the morrow for both Alek and Morelli to be healed.  Freja conducted the negotiations, and discovered more of the beast’s predations that night.  Klaus contributed some of his father’s knowledge of wolves to the hunt, and they set out the next morning to find the creature.  The beast fell for their trap and they managed to slay it, winning a prize of 300 Livres from the Bishop for their trouble.

Again, there was very little damage sustained by the party in both of the fights, netting a rather smaller sum of XP than might otherwise have occurred.  I am still quite pleased with the idea of awarding XP based on pure combat prowess, though I have revised the level thresholds down a significant number after discussing with my players their thoughts.  In the interest of avoiding a mutiny at the table, I’ve taken the Pathfinder XP tables, assigned the highest column to Fighters, Paladins, and Barbarians, the lowest column to Wizards and Sorcerers, and the middle table to everyone else. Then I took all the numbers on that table and divided them by two for the current advancement table.  I have also modified Mr. Smolensk’s XP scheme up by a bit to 15 per damage dealt, 20 per damage received, and 15 divided among the party per point of damage received.

We will play with that for a while, and see how that sits with everyone.  (They also got 300 XP divided among them for the reward from the Bishop).  So that’s where things are now.

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Surprise Running

I honestly didn’t expect to be running my campaign tonight, but Alek’s player felt well enough after his surgery this morning that we gave it a go.  It turns out that the dire rats the party faced last time were fighting over a human arm they had dug up.  The arm belonged to a body that was buried in a shallow grave, a fresh body, with neither pouch nor papers, the only identifying thing on him besides his clothes was a snuff box with a two-headed eagle carved into the lid tucked between the man’s doublet and shirt.

They dilly-dallied around for about an hour with exhuming, examining, and excavating a new grave for the body that a gnome came up the road behind them, also from Canterbury. He introduced himself as Morelli Grimsbane, and Freyja (who is the defacto group leader) agreed to allow him to travel with them at least as far as Calais.

They reached Dover without further incident, arranged passage on the ferry for late the next morning, and had dinner at the White Horse Inn.  After dinner, Freyja snuck out of her room while Hildegaard played for the patrons in the tavern.  She wandered down to the docks, found some taverns, bought some drinks, and came away with some interesting information about the German eagle, the Hanseatic League, and trade relations across the North Sea.

They sailed the next day, a few of them losing coin to Klaus in cards and dice while on the boat, and hit shore just after 1:00 (the winds were extremely favourable).  The last thing that was settled was negotiating passage on a ship bound for Hamburg setting sail three days hence.  I rolled the random encounter dice, and there will be opportunity for more XP for the group the next time we meet.  Oh, that was just Freyja and Morelli at the shipping office, Alek, Hilde, and Klaus went to find lunch.  I’ll have to come up with something interesting for them as well.

It’s always a bit touchy for me to introduce a new player to a campaign, especially one with whom I’ve not played before.  The rest of the group is pretty tightly knit from running together for some time, I am always aware of the possibility that the new person isn’t going to mesh well or quickly.  But I’ve got a good group who are very welcoming, so I’m sure if tonight didn’t scare him off, he will integrate very well into the group.

Next session will provide some opportunity for building some cohesiveness within the group, along with inter-party trust.  Personally, I would prefer if my players would just accept new party members without the need for them to “gain the trust” of the rest of the group.  This is a game, after all, and we are all here to play it. I suppose it stems from half of the group being actors and well-read, and desiring good writing for the whole world, not just everything that comes after character creation.  Mainly, I guess I’m just insecure about starting up a game and having people abandon it.  Though I’ve talked to him this morning and he is planning on coming to the next game, so I guess it’s not as bad as my paranoid self imagines.

But enough of that, I’ve got other things to worry about.  Alek, the cost of a pair bone dice is 2 silvers.  Everybody: the market list for Calais is linked on the Obsidian Portal wiki.  If I missed something leave a comment and I’ll wedge it in here.

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On the Cosmological and Theological Aspects of Divinely Sourced Magic in an “Alternate Earth” D&D World

One of the issues with running in the “real world,” even one in which magic and elves and dwarves and orcs exist, is the question of the origin of divine magics.  Hand-waving on this point is not an option, especially because a majority of the group (myself included) are staunch Christians.  The idea of clerics wandering around casting spells in the name of Jesus is just a bit, well, too much, even in the context of a game.

Thus, I will here attempt to present the cosmology of the universe that my campaign world exists in such that clerics of any religion will be believable both in their faith, and in the source of their power.

We must start with the fact that there are extant powerful beings who enable the casting of a kind of magic that is separate from that which the arcane schools wrench from the fabric of the universe.  This is not a difficult point to render believable.  The Roman Catholic church has a traditionally held belief that each person is watched over by a guardian angel.  I will utilize this precedent, and declare that each cleric has a particularly powerful “guardian angel” who has in itself the power to manifest the power required to energize the spells of the clerics.

My world exists because it is created.  There is one ultimate source of power in the universe, the God of gods, the Penultimate Creator.  From this being comes all power, energy, light, reason, and order.  To lesser “spiritual entities” he assigns greater or lesser amounts of power and in some cases agendas.  Below those middle managers are other less authoritative spirit beings that humans have recognized in various forms, some humans call them spirits, some call them angels, some call them oni.  These spirits then, being recognized, are the “face” of the Penultimate Creator.  The middle managers might be interpreted as various lesser gods, while the Penultimate Creator is greater in authority even than these.  This being because he created all of them, and allows them power according to his own agenda.

Thus, the power which clerics wield is the power of the Penultimate Creator, filtered through several intermediaries into a standard form that is recognized as the cleric’s spell list.  Humans, of course, can only be allowed to wield so much power at once, and as they prove themselves worthy of that power, their allotment is increased at the rate which is most beneficial to the development of the individual’s responsibility and morality at the discretion of the guardian angel and the overseeing spirit.

As for the planes, there is of course the Prime Material Plane wherein the world exists.  There are also the four Elemental Planes, Fire, Earth, Water, and Air.  Below is the Plane of Punishment, and above the Plane of Reward.  Suffusing all of these to a greater or lesser extent is the Astral Plane and Shadow Plane, allowing travel to spiritual aspects of the residents of each plane.  Outside of the Astral Plane is the Realm of the Creator, where the primary expression of said Creator resides and holds court, issuing directives and controlling the cosmos.  While the basic, physical portion of creatures residing on the Prime Material Plane remains on the Material Plane, it is possible for the spiritual portion of sentient creatures to travel on the Astral or Shadow Plane to visit other planes, excepting the Realm of the Creator, which is inaccessible to all, except those spiritual beings who have been assigned the most power.

Oh, a note about Arcane magics:  The multiverse was created according to rules and logic, and through research, experimentation, and the right kind of insights, certain individuals are able to manipulate aspects of the physical world to leverage these elemental laws in predictable ways that manifest in a way that humans call magic.  So, instead of physics, my world has magic.  It has physics too, but no one is going to devote much time to the study of it when things like fireballs and planar travel are available.

Is that about it?  I think I’ve covered everything.  If anyone has any questions about any of this, I will be happy to answer them.  Comments welcome, as well.

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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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