Tuesday 31 January 2023

Decemborc, Rise of the Orc Lords; Week 2

 

New Porcus Town

Planning

In Week 1 my gamble on Goblin Town failed and yet I lived to fight another day. I even gained more Goblins to bolster my numbers up to 430HD in my main army (Porcus Force). My ally, Kris Karnhell, had traded in his Goblins at the end of week 1, which got him on the score board; but, I considered it a mistake; my plan was to grow my army as much as possible and Goblins were as good as any other grunt. 



When I tried to reconcile the Week 1 daily battle reports with the combat tables I found I did not understand at all how they worked; Mr Wargaming told me to think harder.

This week I intended to follow through with my allies in the Southeast Conference and take Oghma Town for my reinforcements to arrive in. Once again we were concerned that he might slip through to Malturrim and pick up his own reinforcements, so I wanted to attack on day 2 before that could happen.

Kul of Dripping Blades wanted to end the week with a dwarf raid, and so enthusiastic was Kris Karnhell that he left his stone walled home village with nothing more than "orc dummies propped up peeking behind my walls, lol". This gamble would have consequences.

With a sub chief dead in Goblin Town, I had 3 spare 2 HD bodyguards who did not count in battle (being less than 10HD), I would make use of them in other ways. 


Orders

Porcus Orcus Orders Dec 8-14
-------------------------
Main Goals
#1 Take Oghma's village (8,5)
#2 Deposit gold in Malturrim 
#3 Get reinforcements in Oghma's former village 
#4 after #1 is achieved, split rewards with Kull & KK, sub chief and 10HD orcs from old home 10,9 to move up to new home 8,5, other sub-chief will hand over gold in Malturirm, Porcus may purchase some goblins from Kul if this works out.

-------------------------
Day 1
Porcus Force in 8,6 430HD total
  • Moves to 7,6
  • Gizzard the Wizard casts Invisibility on a 2hd former bodyguard

Be ready to engage an Oghma force if encountered moving through 7,6.

Day 2 
  • One sub-chief an co. in 7,6 take gold to Malturim in 6,5
  • Porcus Force moves to 8,5 and attacks Oghma's village (in conjunction with Kul & KK)
  • Gizzard the Wizard casts Levitate on an invisible former bodyguard, he will attempt to go into the village and open the gate at an opportune time.
  • Gizzard also will cast Ventriloquism at max range (90 yards) to project behind the wall and yell things like "The (opposite side to the gate) wall has been breached, flee for your lives!" & "Oghma is down, Oghma is down!" And, in Porcus' voice, "I, Porcus Orcus, will spare all who surrenders to fight hoomans for loot and slaves!"  
Day 3+ Porcus Force continues siege if required, 
  • Gizzard to (re)invis other 2hd former body guards if nothing else is required of him

Due to events on Day 2 there were Supplemental Orders for Week 2:

Day 3

  • Because the are currently no subchiefs at (8,5) Warlord Porcus has to stay there, so Gizzard the Wizard leads Gizzard Force; comprised of all but 10 HD of warriors from (8,5) including the recently arrived reinforcements (I guess around 300hd in total), along with all the gold (500 plus any loot gained from Oghma). He leaves Porcus and moves to (7,6), he also casts Invisibility on a "ninja orc" (what I'm calling the former 2hd body guards)

Day 4 

  • Gizzard Force moves to Malturrim, picks up the Sub-Chief there, and hands in an even number of points in Gold (ie if he has 600 then all of it, if 500 then only 400)
  • Gizzard casts Invisibility on another "ninja orc"

Day 5 

  • Gizzard Force moves to (5,6)
  • casts Invisibility on a "ninja orc" if we still have 3, otherwise on himself.

Day 6 

  • Gizzard Force moves to (4,6)
  • Assess defences in place and have levitate ready; if very lightly defended then he may attack the village. However, the priority is to be in position to raid humans in week 3 so only if they really have their pants down

Day 7

  • Gizzard Force moves to (3,7) ready to hit humans in Week 3

Meanwhile, as discussed

Day 3

  • Subchief and all HD of Orcs from my old home hex (10,8) move to meet KK and for the siege (8,7). After defeating the Hoomans, or after the loss of 40 or more HD, the subchief and survivors will march north to (8,5).

Results

The Siege of Oghma Town itself went very smoothly (vale chief Oghma) with Gizzard's sneaky wizard tricks helping, and I now understood the siege combat table. Everything after that was a mess, KK had lost his home village to humans; Kul had to return home to pick up his reinforcements; my reinforcements spawned in the wrong place, but, somehow, in the right place to help KK retake his town then make it back up to New Porcus Town by the end of the week. Meanwhile, Gizzard the Wizard lead a force deep into enemy territory and was well placed at 4,6 to strike in Week 3. 

Oh, and not only was I on the leader board; thanks to rain preventing others scoring with their treasure, I was on top, for now.




Monday 30 January 2023

Almaricky's Elf Shield

Not Almaricky, but how I think the shield
looks based on EQ nostalgia

Almaricky's Elf Shield (Evocation)

Level: 1                  Components: V, S, M

Range: 0                 Casting Time: 1 segment

Duration: Special   Saving Throw: None

Area of Effect: Caster

Explanation/Description: When this spell is cast, an immaterial shimmering barrier appears on the caster's shield arm. This barrier acts as normal medium sized shield; with an additional +1 magical bonus at 1st level, +2 bonus at 3rd level, etc up to a maximum of +4. 

The shield can only benefit the caster in a round where his shield arm is not put to some other use; i.e. if a bow, two handed weapon, or two weapons are wielded, the shield has no effect that round, but neither does it hinder such actions. Multi-classed and Dual Classed magic users can benefit from the Elf Shield while spell casting, but single class magic users do not if they cast a spell that has a semantic component.

The Elf Shield expires either after receiving a number hits equal to the level of the caster, or, if that limit is not reached before 6 turns/level of the caster have elapsed.

Each time the caster is attacked by a weapon a check is made to see if the attack hit the shield; if the attack roll is sufficient to hit the unmodified AC of the caster, but less than the bonus provided by the shield, then the spell is deemed to have caused the attack to miss, reducing the number of hits remaining by 1.

For example, if the Caster is level 1 with an AC of 5, determine if the enemy's attack roll would have hit AC 5, or 4.

The material component for this spell is a small crystal in the shape of a shield, which shatters when the spell expires.

As a Fighter Magic User Thief, Almaricky found that she was always needing to swap her shield in and out, this spell gives her a shield when she needs it, with a magical bonus, but only for a limited time. 

So, what did it cost?

Dungeon Masters Guide Page 115, Spell Research                                       Elf Shield




For this spell the University Library was used for reference. 






Duration of research: 1 Week base (minimum 2)







Chance of Success: 10base +16 (Int) +4 (level) -2 (spell level *2) = 28%









Results

Base cost 200gp per week.

Weekly variable of 100 to 400gp for additional materials.

Duration of research: 1 Week base (with a minimum of 2)

Almaricky was successful on week 2, and the total expenditure ended up at 900gp. This spell is now available for learning by Good Aligned characters at the Minas Mandalf University.

Sunday 29 January 2023

Decemborc, Rise of the Orc Lords; Week 1


Planning

Having staked everything on regime change in Goblin Town, I began setting the stage with some propaganda. Yes, I was the big protector of our little brothers the Goblins.

A secondary part of all this was that if I could keep the others from Goblin Town for a day or two it would make a big difference to the number of Goblins remaining there when I arrived. Oghma and Kul of the Dripping Blades could make it on day 2. The earliest I could get there was day 3, which was the same as Kris Karnhell and Lorem Ipsum (which I figured he would do). If all 4 Orc Lords hit Goblin Town there could be 500 or more Goblins taken before I could execute my plan! 

In the lead up to the beginning of December Kris Karnhell, Kul of the Dripping Blades, and I had made contact and, thankfully, realised that our close proximity (no other 3 tribes were located so close together) and relatively poor location made us natural allies. From there it was inevitable that the unfortunate Oghma became our target, as the nearest other Orc Lord in a prime location that we could hit. But he wasn't just a target for plunder, since, if he was allowed to grow strong, we could be bottled up in the south east indefinitely.


South Eastern Conference 

What to do? I figured Oghma would split his force on day 1:

  • "He's got a lot of extra troops from the draw, I'm thinking he'll send his gold with a light force to Malturrim. That will get him I think 110HD reinforcements on day 3."
  • "He'll probably send another force to goblin town and come away with slaves he can also get to Malturrim in the first week." 

I pushed for KK to immediately move north to attack Oghma on day 2, which, if I was right, would catch him with his pants down at home and before the day 3 reinforcement's I expected him to get. This wasn't just about delaying both in getting to Goblin Town; If Oghma managed to get the reinforcements behind his walls then he could stand off all 3 of our armies. Kul and I would then arrive later in the week to finish the job.

Orders

Porcus Orcus Orders Dec 1-7
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Day 1
Porcus Force consisting of:
One 5HD warlord with five 3HD bodyguards
Two 4HD sub-chiefs with three 2HD bodyguards
One 3HD spellcaster (magic-user Wizard)
190 Orc warriors at 1HD each Total HD = 240
2,000gp
  • Moves to 10,7
  • Gizzard the Wizard casts Invisibility on a Sub-Chief
  • Subchief with body guards and 10HD Orc Warriors left in 10,08 (Porcus Town) total HD = 20
Day 2 Porcus Force moves to 10,6
  • Gizard the Wizard casts Invisibility on Warlord
Day 3 Porcus Force moves to Goblin Town (10,5) 
  • Recruits Goblins due to goblin friend ability
  • Execute Plan "Goblin Town is ours!": Invisible Warlord and Sub-Chief sneak in to capture (or kill) the goblin leader and convince him to follow the commands of Porcus Orcus.
Day 4 
  • If plan "Goblin Town is ours!" is successful then merge the entire force of available Goblins into Porcus Force and move to 9,5. 
  • If plan "Goblin Town is ours" is unsuccessful and Porcus Orcus is no longer "Goblin Friend" stay and raid Goblin Town, if still "Goblin Friend" then split into Porcus Force B (One Sub-Chief and body Guards with 40HD Orcs) & Porcus Force (the remainder)
  • Porcus Force B moves to 11,5
  • Porcus Force moves to 9,5
Day 5 
  • Porcus Force moves to either 8,5 or 8,4 depending on situation in 8,5...
Day 6 
  • Porcus Force moves to 7,5
Day 7 
  • Porcus Force moves to Matlurrim
Contingencies:
1) On day 3 & day 5 there is likely to be conflict with other Orc Lords, will have to adapt to the situation.
2) One Orc Subchief with invisibility will attempt to infiltrate any opposing force that has Goblins and attempt to have them defect to Porcus Orcus in exchange for their freedom and a reward.
3) non-hostile Orc forces with Goblins will be offered 125gp per 10HD of Goblins

Results

The problem with the 'Attack Oghma' plan was that KK would be going out of his way and taking all the risk himself, so, in the end, he decided to go straight to Goblin Town instead. On the plus side, Oghma himself only raided Goblin Town and did not get the reinforcements from Malturrim that I was worried about.


The Goblin Town Coup didn't work out so well, as everyone knows by now. I like to think that my propaganda helped a little way and that my goblins still believed I was a goblin friend after all as I rounded them up later.

Things worked out rather differently than planned with the Oghma attack, KK and I, for our various reasons, did not reach him, and Kul ended up attacking by himself. Kul was none too please about this; but we pledged to make it up to him in Week 2. 

The big unforeseen boon was that Lorem Ipsum went elsewhere and, for now, was not our problem.


Orc Lords at the end of Week 1


Saturday 28 January 2023

Almaricky's Sharpened Blade


Almaricky's Sharpened Blade (Alteration)

Level: 2                    Components: V, S, M

Range: 0                   Casting Time: 2 segments

Duration: Special      Saving Throw: None

Area of Effect: 1 Weapon

Explanation/Description: 

This spell causes a blade to become exceptionally sharp, for a time. When cast by a multi-classed or dual classed thief, the spell grants the user the ability to consider his total levels, not just those of the thief class, when calculating the multiplier for a successful backstab. For example, a level 2 Fighter/level 2 Magic-User/level 2 Thief would normally do double damage for a successful backstab; but, with this spell, the effective level for the thief becomes 6 (2 thief levels plus 2 fighter levels plus 2 magic user levels) and would grant the caster the ability to do triple damage on a successful back stab. No other bonuses or penalties are altered by the use of this spell and at no time may the maximum possible thief backstab multiplier of quintuple damage be exceeded. 

PHB p. 27

The material component for this spell is a special oil (minimum cost 100gp per flask), a drop of which must be applied to the weapon to be used when making the backstab attack. Thereafter the magic is imbued in the weapon even if the oil is somehow removed; however, the spell dissipates when the weapon is next used for any attack, regardless of whether that attack is a backstab or a normal attack; or, after 1 hour per caster level has elapsed; or, if the weapon is completely coated with an entire flask of oil and immediately sheathed when the spell is cast, after 6 hours per level. In this later case the normal duration begins to apply the first time the weapon is unsheathed.

So, what did it cost?

Dungeon Masters Guide Page 115, Spell Research                                       Sharpened Blade


For this spell the Minas Mandalf University Library was used for reference. 







Duration of research: 2 Week base (minimum 3)







Chance of Success: 10 base +16 (Int) +5 (level) -4 (spell level *2) = 28%

Note that according to the above formula, adjusting the chance of success upwards is VERY expensive. Almaricky isn't made of Gold Machos

This Spell was researched in Downtime between adventures in December 2022






Results

Base cost 400gp per week.

Weekly variable of 200 to 800gp for additional materials.

Duration of research: 2 Week base (with a minimum of 3) 

Almaricky was successful on week 4, with a total expenditure of 3400gp. Because she used its Library to offset research costs, this spell is now available for learning by any Good Aligned character at the Minas Mandalf University.

Wednesday 25 January 2023

Decemborc report; a view into the mind of an Orc Lord

First I'd like to thank Mr Wargaming for running such a great game, I enjoyed every moment of it. It's taken me a while to work out how I wanted to write up my experience of the game; blog posts allow me to be as detailed as I like, so here goes.

Before Brovenloft died down, Mr Wargaming introduced the idea of a more structured Braunstein/Wargame with orc tribes instead of the ungodly (and godly) powered forces that had run amuck in November. The idea was so popular that it became a reality in record time.  The rules and all are recorded here. I don't know how he was able to set it up so quickly, but anyway I jumped at the chance to join in.

First, I needed a name, something suitable but not like all the others; I've always liked pig face orcs...



The Draft

When I understood how the draft worked, which, let me tell you, I did not at all get it to begin with; and that I was in the middle of the pack, I realised that the best locations would likely be taken by the time my first choice came around, and that the best special abilities would be taken by the time of my second choice. Likely, none of the "best" stuff would still be available to me; I needed a specific strategy that worked with the lesser choices to have a better chance.

Draft Map


I also had to choose what kind of Shaman I had in my tribe; Cleric or Magic User.

Cleric Spells


Magic User Spells

I found out later that one Orc Lord chose Cleric and used Speak with Animals to help with random encounters, which sounds pretty useful; but, when comparing lists above I realised that the DMG Magic User spell list for Witch Doctor's was chock full of useful and versatile spells. Invisibility stood out, but how to use it? Assassination? Ventriloquism could help with that. 

Who should I target? Clearly, moving on the Dread Lord was right out, which left the humans, dwarves, elves and goblins; out of these the goblins stood out as likely targets. The "Goblin Friend" ability might give me the edge I needed to take over Goblin Town and to push me over the top with 1000HD of goblins all in the first few days of the game!

With Location I knew I had to be close to goblin town; but, here I hedged my bets. I figured the six Orc Lords ahead of me in the draft would go Location or Special ability first (probably someone would pick troops), then the opposite for their second choice, followed by Troops or Wealth.

If I was right I could pick Troops or Wealth first, have a good shot at the best picks in those categories, and trust that the Location and Special ability I wanted would still be available later. I really wanted Location I (and in hindsight should have given that a higher priority) but I also wanted some decent Troops and Wealth to offset the otherwise poor location and special ability.

So, these were my choices;

Draft Choices for Porcus Orcus

Troops

Wealth

Ability (8. Goblin Friend, 9, 1, 2,  4, 5, 6, 7, 3, 10, 11, 12)

Location (I,L,C,H,F,K,B,E,G,J,D,A)


And how did I do?

I watched the stream with excitement as my first pick came up. As expected, though the best locations were gone, there were still some good ones that could have been mine, but I was locked in to my plan.

Troop Draft list

I really wanted an extra Subchief. In a possible oversight by Mr WG, 60hd Orcs is the same strength as 50+ a Subchief, but the Subchief was more versatile and would allow me more fog-of-war freedom (I had planned to send out a Subchief alone as a feint, but never needed to). I also figured that extra Subchiefs to cover losses in battle would be important. I was very happy to see Lorem Ipsum grab the number 1 troop pick of 60 HD orcs and I got number 2.


Wealth Draft list


By the time my second pick came around, 7 Locations and 2 Wealth selections had gone, leaving me to pick up the 3rd place of 1500gp (which was just as good as the second place).

When the time for my third pick arrived, 9 Locations had gone, 7 Special abilities had gone, and I got my crucial 'Goblin Friend' ability. Looks like I was right in thinking that the other players considered this a weak choice, but I would show them otherwise (I hoped).

4th, and last, pick; Location I was long gone, I would have had to have selected it as my first choice to beat Lorum Ipsum to it, but I got which was just one day further from Goblin Town. 

That one day difference would turn out to be significant; but, with these results, on the day of the Draft it was all going according to KeiKaku. 



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