[OSR Actual Play] Greysands Campaign - call for IRC players



  • Oh, a quick update:

    I won't be making it back home as early on Sunday as I thought. I'll be online around 2330 GMT, instead, but up for anything (including running the Thorgul-Hamun delve).
  • Works for me!

    As for Carrion... The amount of moneys we get is kind of silly. Myself, I'm queing up for various wizardventures, wherein I rip off the sweet powers of other schools of wizard thought and then go build a phallic wizard tower in the middle of a town somewhere.

    Though I'm up for anything! My understanding is that being stupid rich removes the baseline adventurer motivation of more gold. Unless you have dragon levels of avarice, as much as we have is as much we'd ever need. This means that those specific characters need to move to other, non-'baseline' goals and motivations. One thing that works for Benbet is sheer moxy. Oh, what troubles has that scamp gotten himself into today? Oh look, he's dead now! Har-ha-har!

    Alternatively, we could go the other way and do hardcore econo-sim to see if we can build some kind of permanent institution with all that money, like a bank, a mercenary band, some kind of minor upstart noble house, a circus, a pirate fleet, a hospital, a spy ring, or something entirely else.
  • Well, my imposed "holiday" is now over and I'm back for more. Any news, or has the meaty dungeon crawl in the wizard's hill been the only thing of interest? Maybe I should run the Seafort again if there's a general desire to move from the logistic and back to the real action of Dungeon Adventure.

  • edited May 2014
    No real news that I know of, Mike.

    We tried to play the wizard-hill last night, but couldn't get enough players. Nevertheless, when it resumes it will resume with a bang: the characters are deep in it, and there'll be no time wasted on logistics as spears come hurtling out of the darkness!

    There are three hirelings with the group, who just lost their leader. Real human intelligences (unlike me!) are sought to animate the souls of these poor fellows, who did not expect such a frightening delve in the dark...

    Any takers?

    (I'd be up for the Seafort, too, myself, although right I have a vested interest in finishing this thing we have begun.)
  • Can we write up some "In Media Res" tables to immediately set up a dungeon camber with 1d4 doors, What's-In-Your-Pockets tables and some random encounter in progress? Death to logistics! :D

    Will run the Seafort this way if people insist I put my money where my mouth is.
  • I definitely think that was part of the appeal of your Silent Dusk adventure. If you can come up with other, similar adventure setups, they're a great way to play this game.

    The downside, of course, is the loss of strategic positioning. It's always a trade-off!
  • Strategic positioning can be negotiated up front or it'll let itself in later - it has a funny way of bubbling to the surface. As Trotsky said: "You may not be interested in strategy, but strategy is interested in you."
  • I have not heard from Jonas about his availability, but it feels like we've been on hiatus for too long.

    Mike, Daumantas, and Chris - perhaps you'd like to see if you can survive Thorgul-Hamun after all on Thursday? Early evening (by North American time) should suit as well, and I'm flexible.
  • I have not heard from Jonas about his availability, but it feels like we've been on hiatus for too long.

    Mike, Daumantas, and Chris - perhaps you'd like to see if you can survive Thorgul-Hamun after all on Thursday? Early evening (by North American time) should suit as well, and I'm flexible.
    Paul, thanks for trying to get me into the session. My answer is the same as before; schedule something and we'll see if I happen to be online. I don't want to ruin my sleep, so I'm prepared to miss out on the rest of the adventure. The optimal playing time for me is 6 PM GMT to 9 PM GMT, and I think it's too early for the rest of you.
  • I think I can be around Thursday in the 1700-2030 local time frame which I think converts to 2300-0230 GMT. But that's likely too late for Jonas and Daumantas is probably at work?
  • Jonas,

    That's exactly the thing: we can go ahead and schedule without you, but it will almost *certainly* be at a time you can't make, which is disappointing! Can we try something this Sunday, maybe? What is that like for you guys?

    If that's impossible, I'm up for playing on Thursday at the time you mention, Chris.
  • Sunday, unless you mean very early (I could make 0500-0800 local time) won't work for me though perhaps (I'm not sure) Saturday would.
  • I can only make weekend sessions now, so no Thursday for me.

    I'm available on either Saturday or Sunday.
  • Daumantas - congratulations!

    OK, so Sunday it is. Chris, let's go with your schedule, although I'm not sure I understand when that is! Do you mean 1700-2000? And is "local time" in your time zone? If so, that's 2100 GMT, pretty sure.

    I'd pretty surprised if you meant that you wanted to play at 5AM, whether your time or GMT (which is even worse for you!).
  • 0500 is five in the morning. And by local time, I meant Central Time in North America. Which seems to be GMT-5 or GMT-6 depending on when/where I look. I didn't really anticipate that that time would work for anyone else in the Americas, but it is genuinely the best Sunday slot for me.
  • Ah, so you weren't kidding. :)

    Well, unless someone else has a better idea, we may have to wait for about a week and a half before we play again. That's unfortunate!
  • Paul, what's your minimum continuity requirement? Two players who've been in the game? And Saturday is bad for you?

    If the slot tonight is still good, maybe Eero will be around to run something for us and anyone else who drops by. Mike was around for a while last night.
  • Chris,

    Yes, that sounds about right. It would be great to have both you and Daumantas there; Jonas hopefully, too, but two of you would be great. It's a shame to drop things just as the adventure is about to come into full bloom, as it were.

    Daumantas, are weekdays completely impossible for you now?
  • Yep. Work all night, sleep all day, dull boy Jack ain't got no time to play.

    I mean, I eat during the day too, but that still doesn't really leave a convenient three hour slot open for gaming.
  • I hear ya!

    (I have to say, this was so much easier when people were sick and unemployed. What's the world coming to these days?)
  • I hear ya!

    (I have to say, this was so much easier when people were sick and unemployed. What's the world coming to these days?)
    Me and my friends joke about how much roleplaying games we'll play at the retirerment home. We can pick up the IRC game in 30 years as well.
  • Indeed.

    Well, please let me know if you have a possible opening - we have a pretty exciting situation to play out, and the immediate action could resolve itself in a 2-hr session if we move quickly.
  • "move quickly"

  • Hello, folks - particularly Chris, Daumantas, and Jonas, but anyone else is welcomed here, too.

    I'd like to see if we can continue the delve on Thorgul-Hamun this weekend, so please post your availability. I was having a chat with Tavis Allison (the creator of Adventurer, Conqueror, King, or "ACKS", as it is usually known) last night and he really wants to join us as well. He's always a fun player and really interesting to talk to about the nature of old-school D&D play. If we can settle on a time that works for everyone, he should be able to make it as well, he said.
  • I think I'm pretty open this coming weekend. The sooner we nail a chunk of time down, the easier it is for me to set that time aside and not schedule other stuff.
  • Ah, I'd love to but it depends a little on what my weekend plans are like. I'll let you know a little later on in the week. :D
  • edited June 2014
    Right now Saturday evening is the most likely time for me, but Saturday morning/lunchtime could work as well.

    (This is in Eastern Standard Time, so add four hours for GMT.)
  • edited June 2014
    Hello, folks - particularly Chris, Daumantas, and Jonas, but anyone else is welcomed here, too.

    I'd like to see if we can continue the delve on Thorgul-Hamun this weekend, so please post your availability.
    I'm available Saturday and Sunday 18:00 GMT to 22:00 GMT.

    Edit: Or earlier on Sunday, but I prefer those slots. /J
  • Unfortunately, those are almost precisely the times I'm working this weekend! Still, if no other options arise, I may be able to squeeze in a session 1930 to 2200 GMT on Sunday.
  • It would be great to play with Tavis!

    I will be available throughout the weekend, so I can adapt to the most discriminating player... Which at this point seems to be Jonas and Paul.

    Is the start time of 1930 GMT good for everyone else?
  • I think I can make that.
  • edited June 2014
    Ok, done! I will aim for 1900 GMT, but I'll be coming from work and I can't promise for sure that I will make it that early. If Tavis shows up before I do, please fill him in on the details. (Jonas may need to be filled in on certain aspects as well.)

    See you all Sunday!

    (Mike, Eero, etc, you're welcome to join in - it will be a short and eventful session.)
  • That's the spirit!
  • It is with great pleasure that I can confirm I will be in attendance on Saturday, providing it's not ridiculously late GMTwise. :)

    Could I also suggest we find a new venue for organising ourselves? This thread is getting terribly long and messy.

    Paul, I suppose I need a character and things. Contact me with some details when you get a sec?
  • edited June 2014
    Looks like I'll be able to join on saturday as well! Is there room in the party? If you've got something booked I'm okay with watching, but I don't want to derail and make the session about something other than Thorgul-Hamun.

    And now I see that it was sunday you were talking about, not saturday. Well, I'm available to play on saturday if anyone else is up, but you guys have fun on sunday!
  • Wow...maybe a game on Saturday and a game on Sunday...
  • Well, I think it's settled through quietude:

    There will be no game on Saturday, but we will certainly convene on Sunday! I will arrive between 1900 and 1930 GMT, and then heads will roll. (I'd say dice, but apparently we don't use those.)

    JonatanK, we will play again, and you are certainly invited!
  • Ah ah! I messed up, Sunday then. But, hell, let's see what happens on Saturday too. I'm certainly behind on my actual play.
  • Well, another session down, and our heroes are stuck in a burning library, rapidly running out of breathable air.

    The library presented quite a procedural challenge, and we disconnected a bit on how to handle it. I'll give it a thought before we resume the game - definitely one of those situations where being able to see each other (and each other's body language) would have saved us a thousand words.

    I'll be around on Sunday, if you guys wish to attempt a brilliant escape from your current situation. A lot of danger but also a lot of reward is potentially at stake here. Who's got the least forgiving schedule?
  • I'm doing f2f gaming on Sunday. Please enjoy without me if you convene a quorum.

    I think I agree, Paul, that the save-the-library procedures would have been greatly streamlined had we been around a table. From my perspective, I think we hit whatever the opposite of a "sweet spot" is between abstraction and firm fictional cause and effect. I'd have been OK with "you'll save 4d6 books if you do your best" at the start and I'd have been OK with a chart of the shelves showing what was on them, what was on fire and then updating those charts round by round as the flares did their damage and we did what saving we could do. And what you were trying to get across to us might have been easier with the full bandwidth of a conversation and the ability to scratch notes and drawings and stuff. Interestingly, these bottlenecks seem pretty rare.
  • From my viewpoint the GM in that situation was relatively passive about either providing rich detail for micromaneuvering, or about abstracting the matter in a fruitful manner out of the fictional morass. The end result was that the GM was stuck in a "what do you do next" loop, while the players were relatively unable to provide him with specifics about it. So the GM keeps asking what do you do, and the players keep reiterating "we'll save as many books as we can, given the situation". The situation does not actually move into resolution because the GM is not satisfied with a general mission statement, and the players can't really make any meaningful tactical choices either, lacking another layer of tactical detail.

    When I'm GMing, I try to recognize when we're stuck in these sorts of meaningless communication events (for example, I recognized this one as less than pertinent when the GM and one of the players were microing about their ability to smother one particular flaming pile of books with a cloak and a water flask, and I had no clue how many books were involved in that, and how many were meanwhile burning away on other shelves), and then either zoom in on an actually decisive fictional task, or zoom out into an abstract gloss of the situation. As Christopher says, "you can save X books per person before the fire takes the rest" would be a simple gloss; an ambitious GM (or player) might complicate that by providing certain basic tactical choices, like an opportunity to make a risky move in exchange for a chance to save more books.

    From the player side, it's notable that the players can contribute to the process as well by demanding the GM for abstractification or clarification, and by offering their own deals regarding it. Here the players were stuck in a strict reactive position early on, partly because of the early GM declaration that the matter would be resolved "by rounds", which naturally already serves as a resolution strategy from the player viewpoint. The GM is generally the party with the best opportunity for constructive interference regarding resolution strategy - he's in position to choose the best method and execute it.

    Not a big deal, but a good learning experience. In summation I'd say that the situation started becoming ineffective when Paul decided to resolve the book-saving round by round, but did not immediately institute clear facts on the ground against which the action could be measured. A detailed round by round action could have worked, but it would've required establishing more stuff, such as the total number of books, the speed of the fire in consuming them, the risk/effect trade-offs of the various actions that characters could take to curtail the fire, and so on. When the GM instead allowed action to move forward without the effectiveness of individual actions being clearly established, the action got uncoupled from consequences; very similar to what you'd get from D&D combat if you didn't use hitpoints as an objective measure of efficacy of combat action.

    Bold abstract glossing is the tool of choice for aborting and getting out when you notice that something's not working - just tell the rest of the group that this current resolution strategy is not working, and offer a deal for an alternate way to resolve the situation and put it away in favour of more interesting content. This is basically the same situation as you'd get in a combat when you realize that nobody's interested in the individual attack rolls for some reason - you'll want to abstract it away with a one-roll resolution at that point rather than continuing stubbornly.
  • Question for Eero (on the theoretical side) and Paul (on the actual in-game situation), given the way the book-saving effort went and where we stopped, would it be appropriate for me, upon hearing how many books we're likely to save, to offer a conversion of HP lost into books saved? Like, "OK, if we bail now, this (whatever) is the situation but I'm willing to stay and lose three HP to the fire, in the form of burnt fingers and smoked lungs if I save an extra three books." Something specific like that? And then what? Paul accepts or maybe counters with a different if-you-stay-longer risk:reward scenario?

    (I don't think I'd offer the HP in actuality because I'll need them for the fight that's about to happen when we charge the toilet room, but is that a reasonable next step?)
  • Were I GMing, that would be a welcome initiative, yes. Whether I'd accept it would basically depend on my ideas about what HPs are and whether that would be a realistic depiction of the situation, and so on and so forth, but nothing wrong technically about it. In this particular case I would suggest that a character could save 50% more books at the cost of a save against smoke inhalation, with 1d6 HP damage on failure.
  • edited June 2014
    The games linked to this campaign often have scheduling difficulties. I wonder if some kind of tool might help us location good times and have less back and forth planning here (dedicating more space for meatier how-to stuff). As such, I've taken a first crack at a schedule. If you're one of us (or want to be!), feel free to acquire a column under each day of the week, toss in your name and indicate your availability with colored cells on the schedule. Also feel free to add a column for your timezone if that'll help you.
  • I agree that this was a good learning experience, and on the particulars of the challenge involved - you guys are right on the money as far as I can see. From my end there was an additional pressure of trying to get to my concert on time, so I didn't feel as much freedom to think it through as I normally might. I knew we had to wrap up somehow within the next 5-10 minutes, and it was clearly not happening on its own.

    If I have some extra time, I might read up on the risks of smoke inhalation, but for now I think Eero's suggestion is pretty close to what I might come up with myself.

    The thing that keeps tripping me up as that there is lots of smoke immediately *outside* the door, as well. How dangerous is it? It's hard for me to gauge. Anyone here ever work as a firefighter? :D

    The situation is that there's a large bonfire (a large pile of sticks and flammables, plus a flask of oil) giving off smoke which must pass through the room just outside the "library" - a space maybe 3-4m/10-13ft long, and half as wide, with a meter-wide opening up into the next room. The fire has been going for 4-5 minutes or so. How bad is it going to be in that room?

    If emerging into the next room is just as bad as staying, that will change the calculation significantly.

    (As a general procedural note, I will definitely randomize this a bit, to simulate how the characters inside the "library" don't know just how bad it is out there, so it could be better or worse than that.)


    I like the idea of the schedule, and the visual layout is helpful. However, speaking purely for myself, it would need to be date-specific. I'm a freelancer, and my schedule is irregular, so it doesn't do much good for me to say, "I'm free on Friday afternoons". That said, if you three (plus whoever else) can find a time in common this way, that would be 90% of the battle!
  • My schedule is also irregular enough - I can make space in it for a specific time of the week, but I can't tell when I'm most available day by day weeks in advance.

    Regarding smoke, you might assume that people stuck in smoke are basically fucked when they actually have to inhale concentrated smoke - once it's thick enough to cause coughing, it's thick enough to interfere with oxygen intake. (Not so much because of the coughing caused by ash particles, but due to the carbon monoxide that comes with the package deal - smoke has basically no oxygen at all, I think.) The room ventilation and ceiling height are the big issues in determining how long you have before a room fills up with smoke. For example, that stairs room might take a long time (like, an exploration turn) to turn unsurvivable if the smoke mostly passes through the upper reaches of the room and up the stairs, leaving some quasi-breathable air down at floor level. If the room geometry is such that the entire room is swept by the smoke passing up from below, then it could be unsurvivable as soon as the bonfire really gets going downstairs.

    I personally would judge that next room to be in a quite bad state already a minute after that flask of oil - it's a small room, and the stairs are positioned such that smoke will accumulate in the room quickly before getting blown up the next set of stairs by its own pressure. The fire is going immediately below those stairs, and there could even be somebody down there who specifically positioned the blaze and fans the smoke so it starts drawing up the stairs. (Once the smoke establishes that direction for itself, the draw of air pressure will keep it going that way - rising smoke leaves behind a vacuum that gets filled with more smoke, and so on - the same principle that makes a chimney work.)

    Depending on how complex the situation gets, a GM could technically simply calculate the smoke volume to get a rough sense for how the breathability of the air in the complex develops. The volume of smoke released by the bonfire down there could be pretty impressive, depending on the pyrotechnic skills of whoever set it up in the first place. A conservative estimate could be e.g. 1000 cubic feet per minute, but it could range by an order of magnitude either way based on nitpicky details. All that smoke has to go somewhere, and as long as its air pressure is higher than that of the surrounding clean air, it's going to push the air out of its way as more smoke crowds in. Once a way out into open air has been established the smoke volume within the dungeon starts going down, but by then it might already have filled all available spaces inside.

    I would personally suggest abstracting all this via the use of hitpoints - as you know, I interpret hitpoints as an abstract tool of measurement, and these types of situations are exactly why: they help us in arbitrary quantification of how much stamina each individual character has for surviving the worsening conditions before they drop and lose consciousness due to lack of oxygen. Just start with minor exhaustion due to reduced oxygen intake (e.g. lose 1d4 hit points per turn while working in a room starting to fill with smoke), and ramp up in stages until the players decide that their characters actually need to, you know, breathe air to survive.
  • I actually don't think the smoke is a huge problem for us as long as we don't stay beyond the library's safety margin and don't try to ascend. There pretty much has to be safe atmosphere in the room with the fire. Right?

    I knew the schedule wouldn't work for some of us, but I thought if there were enough of us for whom it does (Daumantas might be one, it seems like Jonas is, etc) then it might be a tool for helping us along. And I'm not promising to be there for a game in my green space and I might show up to a game in my purple -- it's just a guide.
  • Agreed with all of the above!
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