Sunday, December 27, 2015

Requiem for a Cardinal's Guard - Duval Delsarte

Recently the supernatural claimed another member of the Cardinal's Guards. Duval Delsarte (the balding Guard in the center), was struck down by a creation of witchcraft. One of the five animated Scarecrows created by a Witch. The Scarecrows look like these creatures (from Dr Who) but with  glowing eyes. (I'll post stats for the Scarecrows sometime after the PCs finish dealing with the Witch.)
Which, fortunately for the players, did make the Scarecrows a little easier to see on a dark night in the woods. Delsarte was holding a bulls-eye lantern while Guy de Bourges lighted the makeshift torch he had created. He coolly stood his ground until the torch was alight. But alas, the Scarecrow smashed the Guard aside like a rag doll. Guy avenged the fallen guard by lighting the Scarecrow on fire. Through various means the players prevailed without further casualties, though the Witch escaped in the dark. They learned that grenades were very effective; fire was effective, clubs were somewhat effective, and rapiers and pistols were not very effective. Gaston, after repeatedly lunging to impale a Scarecrow through the chest said, "Grenades. And a bigger sword...or maybe an axe."

Here are the stats for Duval Delsarte (SR 6)

Location: Paris, Cardinal Richelieu's Red Guards
Personality: Likes a challenge.
Motivation: Maintain his sang froid.

Daring 2   Melee 1    Defense 1   Duelist 0
Lifeblood 4               Elite Pawn 4
   Rapier: 1d6 Damage; +1 Parry
   Dagger: 1d3+1 Damage; Range 5’; +1 Called Shot
   Wheellock Pistol: 1d6+1 Damage; Range 10’; Reload: 3MA; Misfire: 2
   Matchlock Musket: 2d6 Damage; Range 50’; Reload: 5MA; Misfire: 2-4
Maneuvers: Bladework+3, Brawling+2, Lunge+3; Dodge, Parry+1; Ranged Attack+0

Equipment: Rapier, (2) Wheellock Horse Pistols, Matchlock Musket, Tabard of the Cardinal's Guards {silver: 3 pistol balls, 2 musket balls }.

Repose en paix, Duval.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Red Fox Inn

For tonight's adventure, the PCs are starting out having lunch at a country inn outside of Paris. Bondy is a village seven miles northeast of Paris along the main road to Meux. The Red Fox Inn (l'Auberge du Renard Roux) is a pleasant roadside inn with whitewashed walls and airy buildings. The front gate is flanked by ivy-covered trellises. Behind the inn is a walled courtyard with a well, stables, and a chicken coop. The innkeeper is Lucas Figuier—a stout man with a jovial personality. His wife Marie is an amazing cook (Cook-3) and the inn is well known for its food.

For the look of the inn I searched through my file of inns and taverns and came up with the Broken Coin Inn PDF that I purchased from THE FORGE ®. The PDF includes both an exterior view of the inn as well as plans for the upper and lower floors.

One thing I notice about most inns created for Fantasy Roleplaying is that the inns are fricking huge with dozens of private rooms and tables in the common room. That is much larger than most taverns and pubs I recall seeing in Europe and for play, such a large location just lowers the odds that a PC will notice someone interesting or it ups the GM workload by requiring the GM to fill the inn with a hundred or so interesting NPCs. I have a lot of NPCs for Honor+Intrigue, but aside from a crowd watching a parade I see no reason to include one or two hundred of them at a single location. The Broken Coin Inn isn't too bad in this respect, but I wanted a smaller inn, so I cut out part of the left wing of the inn which reduced the dining area to a single table private dining room suitable for a conference of PCs and eliminated 2 bed rooms and 6 beds.

I also wanted the windows in the outside picture to match the windows on the floor plans. For some reason the artist and map maker got their signals crossed. The original exterior show 11 windows on the front upper story (5 left, 1 center, 5 right) and 12 windows on the front lower story (6 left, 6 right). The interior plan for the upper story only has 7 windows (3 left, 1 center, 3 right) while the lower story only has 11 windows (6 left, 5 right). Lots of windows are nice for the airy look I wanted and it was easier artistically to change the plan than the exterior view. So I added and moved windows on the floor plans.

While I was fixing that, I noticed that the stairs between the first and second floors were not too clear as far as direction so I added some arrows and the word UP to clarify.

Since I had decided to name this inn the Red Fox, I took the sign for the real Red Fox Inn & Tavern in Middleburg, Virginia. Here is the result.

Friday, December 11, 2015

What to do when you can't game?

I’ve had a series of sad life events this year and I just got hit with another very sad one right before Thanksgiving. As I result I’ve either been too busy, too exhausted emotionally, or just too unmotivated to take the time to post. Tom over at and a Brace of Pistols, has been having trouble collecting and posting his thoughts. His post on Gamer ADHD inspired me to write a bit  Here are four things I do when I can't game the way I might like.

[1] If I'm not in the mood long term or feeling burnt out, I switch to a different campaign or game system. Often this means returning to an existing campaign. I've switched between Call of Cthulhu (CoC) and whatever other campaign I happen to be running off and on, every couple of years or so since the mid 1980s. That gives me a chance to run a different style of game for a while so I have a chance to let my inspiration and enthusiasm for the other campaign(s) return. CoC may not work for you since you already have the weird and awful in Witch Hunter, but maybe something else you like could fill the same role.

Incidentally, because I run year’s long games and to switch campaigns when I need a change, I tend not to end campaigns. So in a certain sense, every campaign I’ve ever run is still ongoing. And I come back to many of those campaigns multiple times over the years. With the recent changes at Chaosium I’ve even toyed with the idea of looking at the new Runequest version and running a Gloranthan campaign. Since two of my current players are ran in the Griffon Mountain campaign back in the 1980s. I could go back to that campaign.

[2] If I'm feeling not in the mood but not totally burnt out and I want to stay with the same campaign, then I find some inspiring material to read or watch. Something that has the right feel for the campaign I'm running. Space Opera, especially expanded universe stuff, or WWII movies are good for Star Wars. Long before any official prequel stuff came out, my mental model was that the Rebellion was kind of like WWII (obviously the Alliance are the Allies and the Imperials are Nazis) and the Clone Wars were kind of like WWI.

So find some stuff that works for Witchhunter. Brotherhood of the Wolf, Captain Kronos, Last of the Mohicans (I like the Michael Mann version best), or The Mission are movies I might pick for inspiration.

[3] If I am inspired to create but unable to run due to no players, then I create stuff for the game.
  • This may be new NPCs (one reason I have hundreds of them in H+I).
  • It might be maps or locations.
  • It might be new monsters.
  • Often it is possible adventures. I have a big file of possible adventures.
  • Some are keyed to particular PCs as something that the player might like or that fits the PC's Boons, Flaws, or Background.
  • Some are keyed to a location - so I might create possible adventures for a new place in my world. Like if you have done stuff in some town, say Frankfurt, maybe you detail some stuff for another location like Aachen.
  • Some are just stuff that sounds interesting. Lots of Adventures and Adventure seeds never get used. Which is kind of sad, but I like creating stuff and one never knows when pulling something out may be useful.

[4] Run stuff without your players. I recommend the Gamemaster Emulator - I use it for when I don't have any players available. Create a character of your own and use the GME to run something for your PC. Or use it to resolve in greater detail something that the NPCs are up to. Bonus you get some world in motion to provide rumors and such for the PCs when you and your players can get together.