Sunday, February 26, 2017

I'm not going to chronicle my Eastwylde campaign on this blog

I think after all, it was a mistake to start talking about my Actual Game on this blog.  I want to use it instead for a more general kind of rumination on D&D or RPGs, and broader creative impulses or ideas that don't fit within my campaign per se.  I think my game is pretty good, or at least the people who have stuck with it after a year are having fun.  I may make a second blog just for a campaign chronicle, although there are some difficulties in that I am a very shitty record-keeper.

That said I don't mind talking about stuff pertaining to the Eastwylde setting.  It started life as a deliberately genericized Pathfinder campaign but has grown organically as the players chose to interact with certain elements over others and assumptions, on-the-spot exposition/decisions etc. piled up.   So now I have copious notes on fairy kindreds and history, orc tribes and religion, and the tangled doings of local baronial families and mercenary companies, because these are the elements my players chose to explore (examples of things they ignored: Ruins of an evil Druid civilization, subterranean worlds, rumors of the restless dead).  

So watch this space.

Oh yeah so, last session, I tried doing my version of  Last Gasp's arts and crafts-y encumbrance minigame.  My idea was basically to literally draw the modes of conveyance my players were using and then have them physically place objects representing tools and supplies on those diagrams.  I thought, what could be simpler?  Here we'll have everything laid out in immediately understandable form, as you'll be able to literally SEE how burdened your characters/packbeasts/hirelings are. 

Here are the drawings I made, in fact:

Backpack (& waterskin):

Light horse:

Donkey (went unused as players do not have any donkeys presently):

Note that I didn't have time to include portraits of the two mounts that the Cavalier and Paladin are using (a war-bull and a heavy war horse)---which, honestly, shouldn't even matter because trying to treat a warbeast like a pack mule is stupid but hey what do I care, these assholes don't even remember to take their animals' armor off after a long march poor things are probably dying of chafery. 

 Anyway, the idea was this: a quarter stands for an object (a roll of torches, a lamp, a mapcase, a spade, whatever) and one quarter equals one of the larger squares (six for the backpack, eight for Mule saddlebags, 16 for Light Horse saddlebags).   In addition to quarters there are dimes, which represent either food (a pint of grain probably) or a pint of water (as much as you need in one day).  Notice the waterskins hold two dimes, and additionally you can put two dimes in any of the larger squares.  Since you need to eat and drink, effectively you burn through two dimes a day.   If you use more than half the big squares (five for the Donkey, nine for the Horse, four for yourself) you are encumbered and lose overland speed and your animals are treated as carrying a medium load.  If all the squares are used, it's a heavy load.

Not perfect, maybe not too well thought out, but I thought it would be a simple way to make encumbrance MATTER in my game which is all I want.  I KNOW THEY'RE NOT KEEPING TRACK OF THEIR RATIONS THE RUNNY LITTLE FUCKS anyway.   Sadly what actually happened was this: I laid out sheets for the eight light horses the party is using and a backpack for every PC and NPC, and the space needed took up the entire table.  There was no room for it.  Also nobody put any coins on their sheet or used it at all; I just dropped it and started the game.  ACTUALLY YOU KNOW WHAT this is a dodge my players use all the goddamn time is they chatter until I have to drop whatever brilliant idea I raised at the start just to get the fucking game going WELL NOT NEXT TIME SONNY JIM I am going to bring a half liter of malt whiskey and I am going to sit back and cross my legs and drink it and watch Buffalo Bills highlights on my phone until THEY come to ME  less angry version: it turned out to be unworkable but next time I will work out a better version.  Maybe with tokens?