The Guardians — Episode 21: All aboard!

We are back to using the Basic Fantasy RPG ruleset starting from this session to make it easier for me to prep and run our weekly games. Some noticed the downshift in power from the 5e-version of their characters but I hope they’ll be okay (since the monsters are also all weaker now).

This session’s PCs:

  • Diana – human fighter, level 4 (controlled by other players)
  • Elfred – elf fighter/magic-user, level 3
  • Fredo – halfling thief, level 5
  • Hermione – human magic-user, level 4
  • Mistamojo – human cleric, level 5
  • Lavandes – elf druid, level 4
  • Oracle – human fighter, level 5

Atop a cliff inside a huge cavern stood Oracle, Lavandes and Diana against a single wight. With the corridor behind them sealed off with boulders and loose rocks, they didn’t expect the two zombies to crawl out of that rubble. Fortunately, there were only two that got through.

It has just dropped its sword when it bacame to hot to hold, thanks to Lavandes’ Druidic magic. Oracle wasn’t too pleased though because now that the wight is unarmed, it will very likely attempt to touch him and drain his energy — a worse outcome than just getting slashed by a sword.

Farther along the cliff were Fredo and Mistamojo crawling out a tight opening in the wall and on to the floor. They had just barely escaped the goblin lair below but they couldn’t rest yet. They could hear zombies trying to claw their way up the same opening they just came out of.

At the bottom of the cliff, Elfred desperately held on to the rope and at the magical folding boat that was being pulled aggressively by the strong river rapids. Yobak the goblin collector beckoned the rest of the group to get on the boat while Hermione continued to levitate beside them.

Elfred’s grip on the rope and on the boat started to weaken. The boat floated l away a couple of inches but she was able to regain her hold on the boat. All this was happening while the skeletons from across the river showered them with arrows.

It looked like the Elfred needed more rope to tie the boat to the rope tied to the top of the cliff about 100 feet from the water surface. Thankfully Mistamojo had a couple of 50-foot hemp rope. He handed them to Fredo who then easily crawled down the side of the cliff toward the boat as if gravity didn’t matter.

Meanwhile Oracle’s main concern was avoiding the energy draining touch of the wight. He swung his magical long sword and chopped off its right hand. That didn’t stop the wight from touching Oracle with its left hand. He immediately felt weaker as his life energy transferred to the wight. This only made Oracle more determined to slay it. He swung his long sword around again and cleaved the wight’s head off.

At the same time, Diana and Lavandes tried to destroy the other two zombies but were not doing too well. Eventually Oracle came over and sliced the first zombie in half by the waist. Then he sliced the other zombie vertically in half.

At the bottom of the cliff, Fredo finally got on the boat and tried to tie it to the rope from which Elfred was hanging but did not succeed. The strong waves rocked the boat violently making it difficult to tie a knot that will hold the boat in place. Hermione tried to tie the boat to the rope a couple of times but failed as well.

Mistamojo started climbing down the rope from the top of the cliff but slipped and fell into the water. He was slightly hurt but he managed to hold on to the side of the boat and get on board. Fredo tried to tie the boat to the rope again and succeeded the second time.

Finally, Elfred was free to let go of the rope and got on board the boat. She noticed that the skeletons were still firing arrows at them. She turned around and let loose an arrow of her own. The arrow hit one of the skeletons right between the eye sockets which made it stagger down the cliff and into the river below.

At the top, Diana, Oracle and Lavandes stepped closer to the edge of the cliff, thinking about how they would get down. At that moment, zombies started coming out of the wall from where Fredo and Mistamojo came. To help things along, Hermione floated up to them by pulling on the rope to the top.

Diana tried to come down to the boat using the rope but fell into the water. Like Mistamojo, she was able to hold on to the side of the boat. With Hermione offering to carry them down to the boat one at a time, Oracle took the offer. They both descended down to the boat. Lavandes decided to not wait a second longer and used the rope to climb down and successfully reached the water without getting herself hurt.

As the magical folding boat could only fit five people and there were eight of them, Lavandes and Diana would have to stay in the water while holding on to the boat. Hermione could continue to levitate and be dragged along by holding on to a piece of rope tied to the boat.

With Yobak, Fredo, Mistamojo, Elfred and Oracle settled on the boat, they undid the rope that tied the boat to the post at the top of the cliff. The boat was then carried away by the strong water current toward the bright light up ahead with Hermione in tow floating above them, and Diana and Lavandes holding tightly to the side of the boat.

Hopefully, this underground river leads to the outside world and ultimately, back to the town of Landseal.

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Back to Basic

After a couple of sessions running fifth edition D&D (5e), I’ve come to realise that although Wizards of the Coast did a pretty good job at simplifying this latest incarnation of D&D, it still has a lot of tiny moving parts. Too many moving parts, in my opinion, as compared to Classic D&D.

Sure, old school D&D has a few subsystems for different tasks instead of the one unified 1d20 + modifier rule, but they really are just about two handfuls of rules to learn and then that’s it. With 5e, I feel like it’s a death from a thousand cuts as the dungeon master (DM).

It doesn’t feel like that much rules at the beginning but I could see that as the players level up and they start to get more features, I’d have to put forth challenges and creatures with just as many features for me to learn and run. I probably wouldn’t mind the overhead when I was younger but these days, I don’t have lots of free time after work to figure out challenge ratings and read up on rules and all that adventure prep.

In the end, I asked the players if it’s okay to go back to using Basic Fantasy RPG and they were fine with that. Thankfully.

And so I’ve converted their characters back except for Lavandes and Elfred. I’ve converted Elfred from cleric to ranger to multi-classed fighter/magic-user. For Lavandes, I’ve allowed her to stay as Druid using the supplemental rules for druids.

I also started to look for a new character sheet to use but couldn’t find a form-fillable one I liked. In the end, I liked the 5e character sheet so much that I ended up modifying it a little and used that as our BFRPG character sheet!

I kept the background stuff because I think that helps guide my players as to who their characters are. I also kept the two axis alignment more as a reminder of their character’s moral code. Just for flavour.

If you want to check out the converted sheets for the Guardians group, you can find them here: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AnJOWypFepGXxVsVvOOmWaLbcQhs

The Guardians — Episode 20: Into the darkness

Elfred caught the boat just before it got washed away by the strong current below

This is our second session after we’ve converted to D&D 5e, and our last.

I mean, after this session, I’ve asked my players if it was ok with them if I convert everybody back to Basic Fantasy RPG. Thankfully, they said yes. I’ll write more about this in a future post.

In the meantime, below is the session report for our twentieth session and the first session in 2018. I think we all had fun with it. There were monsters to fight but given the apparent endless supply of them, our heroes decided to focus on getting out of the caves and figuring out how they could do it given their situation.


This session’s PCs:

  • Diana – human paladin, level 3
  • Elfred – high elf ranger, level 3
  • Hermione – human wizard, level 3
  • Lavandes – high elf druid, level 3
  • Oracle – human fighter, level 3

The heroes continued to battle the zombie horde rushing in from the northern tunnel. Diana looked around and realised that the way back out was in the opposite direction. They then agreed to start stepping back from the zombies. Yobak, the goblin collector who decided to follow the group, was very relieved to leave the zombies behind.

The fighters stepped away first leaving Hermione the wizard and Lavandes the Druid in the shape of a wolf behind to fend for themselves. Hermione was able to avoid getting hit and then turned invisible. The zombies ganged up on Lavandes but she bit back and then swiftly backed away as well.

Diana stood by to make sure that everybody was safe and started shooting arrows at any approaching zombies. Oracle convinced her that it was no use trying to fight the zombies as there were just too many of them. She decided to join the rest of the group.

Hermione the Magic-user is discussing with Oracle the fighter about what they were to do next.

Thankfully the zombies didn’t move fast and the Guardians were able to outrun them easily. Unfortunately, they came upon a dead end where the cavern opens up to a ravine. They remembered being in this cavern before. There used to be a rope bridge here but they cut it down when they passed by here a few days ago. They no longer have a way to get to the other side of the cavern.

It was just as well since on the other side of the cavern standing by the cliff were walking skeletons. At that point, the skeletons weren’t paying any attention to them yet.

The only way out seems to be to go down the ravine and walk towards the west end of it where they could see light piercing the darkness in the caves. They could also hear the sound of rushing water so they suspected that there must be some sort of river or stream below. From where they stood, they couldn’t see far enough into the darkness to determine what’s below, even with the elves’ dark vision.

Elfred tied her rope to one of the posts that used to support the rope bridge and started climbing downward. Hermione reappeared and then started to levitate. Diana guided Hermione’s floating person to the cliff. From there, Hermione started pulling herself down into the ravine’s depths.

Oracle looked at the cave structure and felt that smashing the nearby rocks could possibly cause the tunnel where they came from to collapse. With that, he started hitting the sides of the cave with his hammer with all his might. It seemed to be working.

From a distance, they could overhear one of the undead shouting commands at the others to get out of his way. It was not an ordinary zombie. It was possibly a wight. Eventually, the wight was able to stand beside Oracle. He shouted at the skeletons at the other end of the chasm to start shooting at the heroes. The wight then slashed his longsword at Oracle multiple times.

The wight slashed Oracle in the arm but then Oracle ducked away from the wight’s second strike. The wight accidentally hit the tunnel wall that Oracle was working on and caused a chain reaction that collapsed the tunnel where the zombies were.

Lavandes changed back into her normal elf form and cast a Heat Metal spell at the wight’s sword but to no apparent effect.

The skeletons on the other side started shooting their arrows. Arrows rained on the heroes wounding some of them but most of the arrows missed.

Elfred eventually reached the end of her rope and could still not see the bottom of the ravine. She needed more rope. Lavandes threw her rope to Diana and then Diana dropped the rope to Elfred. Elfred then tied that rope to the end of her rope which allowed her to descend further down.

She saw that the bottom of the ravine was raging rapids. She suspects that diving into it could prove fatal for them. With the armour and equipment they were carrying, they would just drown if they go in. She shouted back to the group what she saw. They needed some sort of boat.

It was unfortunate that they didn’t buy the box that magically unfolded into a boat from Yobak the collector earlier. Fortunately, Yobak was actually with them and had brought with him the magical folding boat. Yobak volunteered that he had the boat but he wanted to sell it to them. They all struck a deal that they could all use the boat if Yobak could join them and that they would owe Yobak.

To activate the boat, it needed Yobak to say a magic word. So not only do they need to bring the box to the bottom along with Yobak. They agreed to have Yobak hand the box to Hermione and then Yobak climb on Hermione’s back. Then Hermione will pull them slowly to the bottom of the ravine as she continued to levitate.

The skeletons shot arrows at the heroes again. One of the arrows nearly struck the Yobak dead. Hermione saw the arrow flying and decided to turn quickly and take the arrow painfully on her right arm instead. She told the “gremlin” to remember this moment. The “gremlin” reminded her that his name was “Yobak”!

At the bottom of the ravine, Hermione threw the box at the water as Yobak shouted the magic word that unfolded the boat on the water. Elfred then quickly held on to the boat with one hand as she tightly gripped on the rope with her other hand. Yobak jumped into the boat and yelled at the others to come down now.

With the boat only able to hold about four medium sized people plus the goblin, Hermione will have to continue levitating and be pulled along by the boat down the rapids.

However, Lavandes, Oracle and Diana were all still at the top of the ravine fighting off the wight and fending themselves from the rain of arrows from the other side of the cavern.

Will they all be able to make it out in one piece? To be continued.

House rules – revised for 2018

After over a year of running two separate campaigns with Basic Fantasy RPG, I’ve decided to change the house rules I use around character classes based on what I’ve seen in play.

Now that I’ve decided that I will no longer run D&D 5e and had to convert my players’ characters back to BFRPG, I want to make sure extra sure that my players will be happy with their characters, especially those who are fighters.


On top of the normal benefits a character gets for his/her class, I have additional Class benefits for the PCs.

Fighter

Pick one special skill at levels 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18.

  • Heavy hitter:
    • Rank 1: Do +2 melee damage but get -1 to initiative.
    • Rank 2: Do +2 melee damage but no initiative penalty.
  • Weapon Mastery (chose weapon):
    • Rank 1: Gain +1 to hit and +1 damage with a chosen weapon type (chose upon picking this option)
    • Rank 2: For the same weapon in Rank 1, gain +2 to hit and +1 damage.
    • Rank 3: For the same weapon in Rank 2, gain +2 to hit and +2 damage and increase attack rate (the original rate of fire of 1 per 2 rounds becomes 1 per round; 1 per round becomes 2 per round; and 2 per round becomes 3 per round).
  • Swashbuckler:
    • Rank 1: Gain +1 AC when wearing chain mail, lighter armor or no armor.
    • Rank 2: Gain +2 AC when wearing chain mail, lighter armor or no armor. Also gain an AC bonus equal to your Strength modifier.
    • Rank 3: Gain +3 AC when wearing chain mail, lighter armor or no armor. Also gain an AC bonus equal to your Strength modifier and any attack bonuses due to held weapon’s magical attack bonuses.

Magic-user

  • Arcane Blast: This is a bolt of raw magic. To avoid getting hit, the target rolls a save vs. magic wands with a penalty equal to the caster’s Intelligence modifier. The bolt has a range of 30 feet and does 1d4 magic damage. Since it is pure magic, it will affect creatures which are only affected by magical weapons, but does not affect inanimate objects.
  • Cast Cantrips (Minor Magic): Magic-users are allowed to cast everyday magic at will. This is usable once per round if no other action taken. This ability is for non-combat use only. Attempting something abusive fails automatically. Abusive uses include pickpocket attempts, combat effects, etc.
  • Read Magic: Can be cast at will. No spell slot is required and it’s automatically known.
  • Spell Bonus based on Intelligence:
    • 13 to 15: +1 Level 1 spell
    • 16 to 17: +2 Level 1 spells
    • 18 above: +2 Level 1 spells and +1 Level 2 spell

Cleric

  • Spell Bonus based on Wisdom:
    • 13 to 15: +1 Level 1 spell
    • 16 to 17: +2 Level 1 spells
    • 18 above: +2 Level 1 spells and +1 Level 2 spell

Thief

  • Hit Dice of 1d6: Instead of 1d4.
  • Racial bonus to skills:
    • Dwarf: pick pockets +5, remove traps +5, listen +5, climb -10.
    • Elf: open locks -5, remove traps -5, move silently +5, hide +5, listen +5.
    • Halfling: pick pockets +5, move silently +5, hide +5, listen +5, climb -15.
  • Ability score bonus (5% per +1 modifier):
    • Dexterity: open locks, pick pockets, move silently.
    • Intelligence: remove traps, hide.
    • Wisdom: listen.
    • Strength: climb.
  • Knife Fighting: Cause 1d6 damage with daggers, knives, dirks, stilettos and similar weapons that normally deal only 1d4 damage.