Session 01 of “Liberation of the Demon Slayer”

It’s been a long time in coming, but I was finally able to get the first session of “Liberation of the Demon Slayer” off the ground. This is a weird and fun adventure by Venger Satanis that I am running with ACKS.

Why?

Because I can.

title
If you are playing or intend to play, please don’t read the adventure.

Session Report:
Three players joined me.The first three characters: A fighter, a cleric, and a dwarven delver. After carefully navigating around a couple of pits and looting a dead body, they slowly began to explore the first level of the dungeon.

Most of my random encounter rolls came up “nothing”, so for a while they were free to explore in relative safety. They even got to loot the wizard’s laboratory in peace!

However, their luck ran out when I rolled a random encounter with some Demon-Possessed Beastmen. While the party took one of them out, the other two ripped the party to shreds, while the party could barely hit the monsters. For some reason, the Roll 20 dice favored the monsters in this encounter.

TPK

What did my players do? Cry? Beg me to bring the characters back to life?

Nope!

They rolled up new characters on the spot. As they did so, I told them I was going to take a test Fighter I made for the game (to test the character sheet on Roll 20) and have him join the party. His name is Eddie Example.

So what did they do?

Roll 2 Fighters and 1 Barbarian

Whelp. At least we got more brawn than a bodybuilding contest! Who needs magic?

They plunged right back into the dungeon and went a different direction. After killing a weird mold monster and a wolverine-rat hybrid thing, they got into a climactic battle with some kobolds. During the battle, Eddie dropped below 0 hp, so I got to use my absolute favorite table in all of roleplaying (it’s on page 106 of the core ACKS rulebook:

THE MORTAL WOUNDS TABLE

Seriously, this table is a thing of beauty. So many terrible things can happen that aren’t death! I know most old school games state that 0 hp = death, but ACKS says, “Hey, just because you fell under 0 hp, that doesn’t mean that you are dead. Let’s see what happened… Oh. Oh no..”

Due to getting a pretty good roll, he only suffered “notable scarring” from getting peppered with arrows.

He is now known as Eddie the Disfigured.

But hey, they found a magic dagger!

We’ll see if they survive next week…

Lesson Learned
Create a few back-up NPCs in case only a few people show up.

Remembering the Fallen
tombstone
Fighter 1 (Session 1 / Beaten to death by a Demon-Possessed Beastman)
Dwarven Delver 1 (Session 1 / Beaten to death by a Demon-Possessed Beastman)
Cleric 1 (Session 1 / Beaten to death by a Demon-Possessed Beastman)

Do You Want In?
Sunday nights from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm-ish Central Time on Roll 20.

It’s a “drop in / drop out” deal. You can’t make a session? No big deal. Don’t like my GMing style and want out? No big deal. You can hit me up on Twitter (@NotJohnDaker), email (themixedgm@yahoo.com), or MeWe (if you know Power Word: My Real Name).

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1 Week To Join!

One week from today, I will be starting an ACKS game on Roll 20. If you have not joined yet, there is still room for you!

The details are here.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! Hopefully, you can spend this day with your loved ones giving and receiving gifts. But, remember why we celebrate this daty.

Adoration of the Shepherds by Charles Lebrun, 1689

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them,

‘Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.” – Luke 2:1-18, KJV

Dwarves & Dinosaurs

In most fantasy settings, dwarves are portrayed as master miners and diggers. They typically may their homes underground and mine for valuable metals / gems. We’ve all seen it a million times.

Mines

But what else do they find as they dig?

The bones of dinosaurs and other ancient creatures.

dinosaur

“Now Mr. Mixed GM, hold on just a second,” I hear you say, “while you are an intelligent and handsome man, not all fantasy worlds conform to the rules of the real world. In fact, there are many fantasy worlds that still have dinosaurs roaming around.”

You would be correct. But let’s shake up dwarves a little bit anyway. Make them a little more distinct than the norm.

Let’s imagine dwarves dig and find the fossilized bones of ancient creatures. What do they do with them?

Take them to a cleric or wizard for enchanting, obviously!

Here’s a few system-neutral ideas:

TRILOBITE SHIELD

trilobite

This +2 shield contains a fossil of a trilobite embedded in it. Besides the usual properties of a +2 shield, this shield allows the wielder to breathe underwater and see underwater. However, the wielder cannot swim, but sinks to the bottom. The shield allows the wielder to survive the crushing depths of the bottom of the ocean.

FOSSILIZED GUARDIANS

T-Rex

I think this idea has been done before, so I won’t claim to be original with it. Essentially, the dwarves take a dinosaur skeleton and make it into a golem-liek creature, with the usual golem immunities. The party cleric will try to turn it, because it looks like a big skeleton, and they will fail, because it is not undead. For stats, pull up your system’s “binder of baddies”* either use a golem or use a dinosaur (and add golem traits).

THE CLAW

THE CLAW
In the Jurassic Park movie, I always thought that kid was a jerk and I wasn’t mad that he got scared by Dr. Grant.

When this +1 dagger strikes a critical hit on a living, corporeal creature that has 4 HD or less, that creature must save vs. death or die instantly as it is disemboweled.

Now, for those of you who love ACKS: Domains at War or any fantasy wargame… imagine dwarves riding a Triceratops skeleton into battle!

Triceratops
Those horns, plus a rider with a lance = one heck of a charge!

* I hope no one has used “binder of baddies” for their collection of antagonists and sues me over usage of a trademarked term.

Official Gaming Announcement!

Do you like ACKS?

Adventurer Conqueror King

Do you want to play a game with the 37th most handsome guy in gaming?

AHNULD
I look nothing like this

I have some good news for you!

Starting on January 13th, 2019 (or 13th January 2019 for those outside the U.S.) at 7:00 pm Central Time, I am will be running “Liberation of the Demon Slayer on Roll 20.

I intend to run this every Sunday at the same time, for about 2 (no more than 3) hours. I intend for this to be a drop-in / drop-out game. If you can’t make it one session, no big deal!

If you don’t have ACKS, don’t worry, the SRD is here.

Okay, now for the nitty-gritty:

What classes are allowed?
– Anything from the core ACKS book, the Player’s Companion, and the Bombardier.
– From the Heroic Fantasy Handbook, you may use the Beastmaster, Berserker, Chosen, Elven Spellsinger, Freebooter, Halfing Bounder, Halfling Burgler, Nobiran Champion, Thrassian Deathchanter, revised Venturer, Warmistress, Zaharan Darklord.
– Anything else can be run by me and I will determine whether or not to allow it.

Special Rule Changes
– Max hp at 1st level, but you must accept the hp roll at 2nd level and above, even if it is a ‘1’.
– Don’t take the Mapping proficiency. It’s Roll 20, so the map is revealed as we play.
– Your Wisdom bonus applies to all saving throws. Normally, the saving throws of a 1st level Fighter are:

Petrification & Paralysis: 15
Poison & Death: 14
Blast & Breath: 16
Staffs & Wands: 16
Spells: 17

But, if you are a 1st level Fighter with 16 Wisdom (+2 bonus), your saves would be:

Petrification & Paralysis: 13
Poison & Death: 12
Blast & Breath: 14
Staffs & Wands: 14
Spells: 15

Interested in playing?

Just hit me up on Twitter, my email (themixedgm@yahoo.com), or MeWe (I use my IRL name on there like a dingus). I will send you the Roll 20 link and a Discord chat link.

Before January 13, just send me your character information, so I can fill in a Roll 20 character sheet. If it helps, here is a fillable pdf character sheet. Be sure to include character name, class, stats, hp, spells, and equipment. Or, just give me a concept (such as a burly fightin’ man or an attractive thief on the run from the tax collectors) and I will make a character for you.

Why Is Conversion Not Talked About In The OSR?

If you weren’t aware, I am adapting the Venger Satanis adventure, “Liberation of the Demon Slayer” for the Adventurer Conqueror King System. The current plan is to play it via Roll 20 on Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM Central Time. The first game is tentatively scheduled to be Sunday January 13th (assuming I can get my day job schedule nailed down).

However, the point of this post is not to advertise the game (P.S., if you are reading this, you are invited to play). I will send out communication closer to that time to officially invite people to play, including a Roll20 link.

Party

The point of this post is to talk about adapting something developed for one OSR system to another. Something that I do not think gets enough discussion in OSR circles is converting products from one system to another.

It is possible. It is fairly easy. After all, “Liberation of the Demon Slayer” was not specifically designed for ACKS. Converting it is easy, but it did take a small amount of work.

But people do not seem to want to do it.

It appears that in order for a gaming system to survive, the creators (or the community) must be cranking out new products. For example, supplemental material creating new classes for players to be, more monsters to fight, or additional adventures. It is not enough to simply create a good OSR system and expect people to do the work to convert supplemental materials to that system.

I have a few theories as to why that is:

1) Laziness
A GM uses a published adventure because they do not want to develop their own adventure. They want to pick it up and get started ASAP. Taking the time to convert it to the system the are using is not what they want to do.

2) Lack of confidence
A GM has to be willing to make rulings on the spot and adjust rules on the fly. This includes what is in the module. Adapt material for your table. Don’t force your table to adapt to the material. If you decreed that all elves in your game have purple eyes and an adventure module states that an elf has brown eyes, you don’t change your game, you change the module! If the module uses a system with ascending AC and you use descending AC, change it! Single save vs. the 5 categories of saves? Vice versa? Easy peasey to convert! The module is not a book of laws, but a guide to a good time. YOU are the GM, YOU make the rulings. Make those rulings with confidence!

Just because you are running B2, doesn’t mean you cannot do something wild and crazy. In the B2 game I am playing in, the black-robed cultists launched an assault on the keep that we assisted in repelling. As far as I am aware, that is not in the book anywhere. However, our GM improvised and made it happen.

Hear me GMs!

THOU ART NOT BOUND BY THE BOOK

3) Brand loyalty
It can feel a bit like ‘cheating’ on a preferred game system to use a a module from a different system. Now, I cannot speak for any game companies, but I am going to go out on a limb and say that they are glad you are playing their system, even if the adventure is someone else’s creation.

Why aren’t you converting adventures for use in your games? Or are you?