Friday, January 22, 2016

Shadow of the Sea Lord - Pregen #1 - Alyse Swifthand

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Alyse Swifthand
Level: 3 / Magician / Elementalist (DLC)


For a halfling Alyse is skinny. It doesn't matter what she eats she just never manages to look anything more than ill fed at best. To say this sets her apart from other halflings is an understatement. Despite this her winning personality makes sure that others of her race find her attractive, and has won her the affections of many a suitor. None of those suitors has made more of an impression than a young human girl who fell madly in love with her. Alyse spurned that love, rejecting the girl out of hand.

Alyse is an atheist, having little faith in the seemingly fickle attentions of the gods and instead trusting to her own magic and skills. This has made her somewhat self centered though she endeavours to be fair (if not generous) when dealing with others. Only those she calls friends can piece the shroud of self interest that she wraps herself in. She'll attempt to do right by those who have earned her trust, but that only extends so far before she cuts them loose for slowing her down, or stymying her own ambitions.

Alyse came to Freeport because her elemental skills make her a valuable member of a ship's crew, and her time as a fisherman has taught her how to handle herself aboard ship. She considers herself part of no crew, and instead hires herself out to any vessel with the gold to retain her services.

Race: Halfling
Age: 24 yrs
Sex: Female

Strength: 8
  • Health: 14
  • Healing Rate: 3
Agility: 13
  • Defense: 13
Intellect: 10
  • Perception: 10
Willpower: 14
  • Insanity: 0
Corruption: 0
Size: 1/2
Speed: 8
Power: 2 (Rank 0: 3 per day, Rank 1: 2 per day, Rank 2: 1 per day)

Languages: Common, reads all she speaks
Backgrounds: Farmer, Fisherman, Folklore (academic),

Interesting Thing: Alyse has a stalker who follows her around, but always flees if she attempts to approach. Though she does not know it yet, her stalking is the game girl whose love she spurned years before.

Race & Class Abilities
  • Good Fortune Whenever a creature within short range rolls a 1 on any die, you can use a triggered action to discard the roll and let the creature roll the die again.
  • Uncommon Courage When you become frightened, you can use a triggered action to make a Will challenge roll. On a success, you remove the affliction.
  • Cantrip: Whenever you discover a tradition you learn an additional rank 0 spell from that tradition.
  • Spell Recovery: Use an action to heal equal to your recovery rate and regain on expended casting of a spell. Usable once per rest.
  • Elemental Attunement You can use an action to become attuned to air, earth, fire, or water. You remain attuned to the element until you use this talent again, you become unconscious, or you complete a rest. The benefits of this talent depend on which element you choose, see pg 11 of the Demon Lord's Companion.

Spell Knowledge
  • Sense Magic (rank 0, SotDL pg 55)
  • Air (Will)
    • Rank 0
      • Stir the Air (SotDL pg 115)
      • Wind Blast (SotDL pg 115)
  • Fire (Will)
    • Rank 0
      • Control Flame (SotDL pg 127)
      • Flame Missile (SotDL pg 128)
    • Rank 2
      • Firey Volley (SotDL pg 128)
  • Nature (Will)
    • Rank 0
      • Magic Acorns (SotDL pg 134)
      • Oak Hide (SotDL pg 134)
    • Rank 1
      • Healing Berries (SotDL pg 134)
  • Water (Will)
    • Rank 0
      • Freeze (SotDL pg 127)
      • Produce Water (SotDL pg 147)
    • Rank 1
      • Wellspring of Life (SotDL pg 148)
Wealth: Getting By
Equipment: 3 torches, dagger, sling w/20 stones, basic clothing, backpack, week of rations, waterskin, tinderbox, pouch w/ 2cp

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Nuts & Bolts #63 - Outsourcing

A quick N&B this week. Rather than dive deep into rules or setting I want to talk about execution at the game table. Specifically I want to talk about the fact that outsourcing is a good thing. Specifically I am referring to using outsourcing to keep play moving.

During combat for instance, GMs should delegate rule look ups to the players, it's the natural response for the GM to look up the rule in question, they are the arbiter of the game after all, but doing so stops play in its tracks. Instead GMs can simply ask a player to find it while they continue to run things. Likewise players should volunteer to take on these tasks, the GM is putting in a lot of work to run the game, and while we GMs enjoy the job, it is a job, helping to take some of that work off our backs, especially during the session, and even more especially during combat, is something we'll really appreciate.

Combat is where this will come up in most instances. It's the part of the game were the rules most often come up, and the part that often requires the most management by the GM. Need to know what some ability does? Get a player to look it up after they have taken their turn. It will keep them occupied, save you the effort, and allow you to keep running through the other PC and NPC combat actions, at least until you intersect with that question, at which point hopefully your helper will have found what you need.

This doesn't supercede the idea that a GM should be willing and able to simply state that "this is how it'll work tonight and I can look it up later" to keep things going over all, but for easy items that you are fairly certain are in the book, or for critical issues that you feel you probably just missed or need a refresher on, this will help to avoid slowing down the game to check the rules.

I've been blessed with my monthly Shadow of the Demon Lord game to have a bunch of GMs as my players. I discuss any rules changes I want to make at the start of the session and often get good feedback ideas. Likewise when combat comes up they are quick to jump in to look up what True Seeing does, or how blindness affects combat, and how both of those things intersect. It keeps combat rolling and is truly appreciated by me.

Outsourcing isn't just limited to rules issues however. How many times have you needed to determine the name of a town, NPC, ship, or the like and found yourself unprepared? At times you can quickly rattle something off, but sometimes you come up blank. When you do, try asking a player to provide the name. This can work for all manner of details that you didn't think to prepare ahead of time. It also has the added benefit of giving the players a stake in creating the world. That in turn can make then care about the world more.

Next time you are running a game and something comes up that you need to crack the book for, or you need a detail about the world that you hadn't considered, have a player do it if possible. Give it a try and see how it works for you. It may help to make for a better session for all involved.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Story Seed - An Ancient Place

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"What is this place?" Heldor asked as he approached the pool. "Where does the water come from?"

Lebbon followed slowly behind, leaning heavily on his walking stick. "An ancient place. A place of old gods and old magic," he replied in a reedy voice. "None of the three kingdoms has ever claimed this place, and no histories speak of its origin. There are only stories that vary from teller to teller that hint at what this place is ...or was."

Heldor ran across the plaza, or crossroads ... whatever this place had once been, and peered over the low stone that ran across one of the ancient archways. Water flowed out from below and to the cliff-side where it glided almost silently down the narrow waterfall they had seen hours before. "Is it coming from the well? What feeds the well?"

"Boy, these are questions none have answers for. This place is a mystery that even the most learned have failed to puzzle out." Lebbon sat down by the pool with a sigh and dipped a hand in the cool waters, "Perhaps the knowledge of this place is lost to all time. Lost like leaves down a river, or the memories of the dead." Lebbon sighed again regretfully.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Last Week Today - Week of January 11 - 17, 2016

Story Seed - Last Goodbye

Nuts & Bolts - Here be Dragons

Shadow of the Sea Lord - The Yellow Sign


Did you know that there was a new Cyphercaster Magazine published this past week? Go check it out, let us know what you think.


Did you watch  +James August Walls+Ryan Chaddock, and I discuss the Numenera book Into the Night? If you missed it you can watch it on YouTube! And if you liked it you can look forward to more, we decided to make this a "thing" on a basis that could be called "recurring." Our third episode of Cypher Live will be later this month, and we'll be discussing The Strange's Worlds Numberless and Strange.