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Thursday, 20 December 2018

The Adventure Continues .... 9. It's Dirty Work! (UPDATES: Vigour/Guard/TB Combat. TLK Addition.)

We pretty much had an error free session last night. Everything went relatively smoothly, with only a few extremely minor issues, all very easily updated in the latest v2.25 fix. And although we only had a play time recorded of 1 hour 7 minutes, this was mainly due to one player having to be called away for half an hour (combat was in TB pause mode anyway) and we did a fair share of paused TB combat, which does not record time.

As for the latest version, the important thing to note this time around is that there was an update to the TLK file. (Cure Minor Wounds heals 1-4 and not 4, which it currently states. This is the only change, but something I still wanted to fix for the latest file downloads.)

Strictly speaking, there was only one fix that needed addressing, which is explained below, and the rest of the alterations are to do with tweaking/balancing, or updates to do with the TB Combat system, all explained below.

The List of Fixes

1) JOURNAL TB PAUSE: This only affects players using the auto-pause TB Combat System. If, while paused, the player views their journal and looks at a creature entry from the bestiary, the game requires a very brief (0.1 sec) unpause to allow the GUI to update. If the game is paused, the system needed to be updated to ensure the game paused after this update, or else the round would play for the six seconds before pausing again.

2) CURE MINOR WOUNDS TLK ENTRY: The description Cure Minor Wounds spell was incorrect. I have made the cantrip now cure between 1-4 HPs and not 4, as the description said. The latest TLK file addresses the description entry.

3) OTHER (MINOR): A TYPO in the TIME WARP rule description. Target GUI auto open for the DM too.

The List of Updates

1) VIGOUR DRAIN: I have updated the speed of vigour drain according to some types of activity. Previously, the vigour drained at a steady rate, but after some player feedback, I decided to slow down/prevent decay if some sedentary activities are being carried out, like being in a conversation or playing a puzzle, etc. This is so a player's ability to read or take time in some aspects of gaming does not penalise their PCs ability to continue adventuring in a day. (See additional note on TIME below.)

2) GUARD SEARCH: Again, after some player feedback, I decided to alter the algorithm related to the guards that may try to search PCs for stolen goods. The search now depends upon if stolen goods have been reported, and a reduced random chance search roll.

3) CREATURE CR FEEDBACK: When encountering a creature, the PCs are given an indication of how tough an adversary may be (a Challenge Rating or CR) according to the heroes own levels. I have altered the algorithm, as the encounters were giving a CR feedback slightly too high for the creature encountered. i.e. A creature may have been labelled "HARD" instead of "NORMAL". The algorithm governing this may have other slight tweaks if needed, but as it is only a guide, further alterations may not be required.

4) TB PAUSE FUNCTIONS: For those that use the Althéa auto-pause TB Combat System, there has now been an additional 0.5 second "move forward" option added to the SHOW GUI (small square in the top left corner). To activate the 0.5 second forward time, the player now RIGHT-CLICKS in the box. Doing so will move combat forward by 0.5 seconds with each additional right-click. This allows the player to determine if their PCs are doing what they want to in a round, or take additional reactionary steps within the round in question. E.g. The 0.5 second is used and the player notices a creature move somewhere they had not expected, the player may then change the current action of their PC or PCs to accommodate it. This is in addition to the 0.1 second "move forward" that the player can use by simply entering the small GUI at the top left of the page. NB: In a MP game, only the leader can now do the 0.1 step, but all are still able to right-click for 0.5 sec.


MP RESTING MECHANICS REASONING: Because The Scroll is not based in real time, and it caters for more than one player (i.e. Multi-Player) something has to be done with respect to TIME, especially when RESTING. A key point being that the default REST function (R Button) would normally automatically pass time for everyone, regardless of their individual needs. In The Scroll, the players now have the option to pass time or not, according to the party needs (for every players' PCs). For example, if player 1 plays a wizard who uses all their spells before player 2 does (who also plays a wizard), then the following options are available, based upon the following D&D rule:-

It takes a minimum of 8 hours REST before a wizard can regain spells. Or to put it another way: Resting to regain spells is available every eight hours game time. So, if a wizard uses all their spells prior to this time frame, then eight hours must pass (in rest) to allow any to be regained. Options available are:-

A) If a wizard of player 1 uses all their spells in 4 hours of game time, but a wizard of player 2 does not, then player 1 can either play the further 4 hours game time, which means playing a further 1 hour real time before resting to recover spells (One hour game time equates to 15 minutes real time.), or ...

B) Request of other players that the party stop and rest (pass time) to allow player 1 to have enough time to recover the spells that they have lost. If agreed, then TIME must be made to pass before the final result of that REST can be applied using the REST function to recover spells and HPs.

A player, as a member of a MP party, could (of course) simply NOT seek the go ahead to PASS TIME from other players if they wish to force the rest, but as time constraints may be an important issue in some situations of play, then it is generally considered good etiquette to consult with other players before forcing the passage of time. The important point to note, however, is that if eight hours game time has passed and there is NO NEED to pass time, then a player can rest (to recover spells and/or HPs) without having any impact on another player! (In a SP game, this is not an issue as they simply pass time and then recover for their party as they see fit.)

Further reading: Here are some links to past blog posts on the topic:-

1) TIME ...

THE VIGOUR SYSTEM: In relation to time is the need to rest and recover due to fatigue and exhaustion (and not just for spells and HPs). The rules behind these conditions are fairly varied (as a variant rule) and can appear harsh to the unaware player. However, The Scroll has implemented its own version of the variant rule, which is more generous to the PCs.

From the D20 Resource website, we know the following:-

FATIGUED: A fatigued character can neither run nor charge and takes a -2 penalty to Strength and Dexterity. Doing anything that would normally cause fatigue causes the fatigued character to become exhausted. After 8 hours of complete rest, fatigued characters are no longer fatigued. 

EXHAUSTED: An exhausted character moves at half speed and takes a -6 penalty to Strength and Dexterity. After 1 hour of complete rest, an exhausted character becomes fatigued. A fatigued character becomes exhausted by doing something else that would normally cause fatigue.

FORCED MARCH: In a day of normal walking, a character walks for 8 hours. The rest of the daylight time is spent making and breaking camp, resting, and eating. A character can walk for more than 8 hours in a day by making a forced march. For each hour of marching beyond 8 hours, a Constitution check (DC 10, +2 per extra hour) is required. If the check fails, the character takes 1d6 points of non-lethal damage. A character who takes any non-lethal damage from a forced march becomes fatigued. Eliminating the non-lethal damage also eliminates the fatigue. It’s possible for a character to march into unconsciousness by pushing himself too hard.

In The Scroll, however, a system is put in place to indicate when an adventurer has been on their feet for more than 8 hours, in that they begin to suffer from lower vigour than they had at the start of a day. The more their vigour score drops through continued adventuring (and not resting), the more they begin to suffer from fatigue and exhaustion. The most a PC can suffer in The Scroll is -3 to strength and -3 dexterity and slower movement (when famished). If they push themselves without eating beyond this, then they also suffer further penalties to attack and damage due to hunger. The PC does not need to make a constitution check, as HPs are NOT removed in this system. Furthermore, the heroes never fall unconscious as a result, no matter how sorry a state they become.

NB: It is also worth noting that just because one PC has a higher constitution than another, these detrimental effects due to fatigue and exhaustion are personal and relative. i.e. A fighter with 18 strength may drop to 15 if they go without rest and food, but this is still very strong compared to an accompanying wizard who may have started with 10 strength and has now dropped to 7.

Heroes Take On The Small ...

... And The Dangerous!

The Adventure Continues ... 9. It's Dirty Work!

Didn't we just come this way?

NB: Contains spoilers for Option 1 background.

The heroes started to feel the pressure of being on their feet all day again, and so Myara suggested they all get some rest at the Bloated Buckle Inn before tackling the sewers. The heroes were now quite competent at grabbing sleep wherever they could find it, and so even a cheap night at the inn gave them a good rest, and fully prepared them for what lay ahead.

They rose early, at 1.00 am, and headed straight for the shuttered entrance of the Guild Hall for which Grist had given them the key to be able to gain entrance when the establishment was closed. After a quick nod to Grist, the cellar keep, the heroes opened the trapdoor and descended into the sewers that lay beneath. It was completely dark, and Helden brought out his lantern so that all could see. (Although Flint and Threska could see quite well due to their natural racial ability to see in darkness.)

Myara noticed a nearby chest and grabbed some torches that were inside, as Helden spotted some nearby wall mounted torches and lit them. The small round chamber they found themselves in was almost welcoming in the new light of the torches, but the terrible stench that started to waft from a nearby passage told them quite distinctly that this job was a dirty one!

Helden had hardly started leading the band of heroes down the first passage when they encountered what was to be a fairly common encounter down here: a sewer beetle! It had been a a day or two since the party last saw any combat, and the approaching sewer beetle appeared quite menacing, even spraying acid at the heroes at its approach. However, with Helden's quick reactions, and Myara's bow shot, the oversized, acid spitting vermin was quickly taken down. It was not long before Helden was scratching around its remains, harvesting items than may be of some use, especially in alchemy.

After some minor healing from the clerics, the heroes continued to push north through the tunnels, one time with Helden losing his bearings in the maze of the sewers ... even with his otherwise immaculate mapping skills.

Eventually, the heroes came to what appeared to be a natural divide, a chamber with a bridge that covered a large run of waste water. Myara noticed a body, and took note that she wanted to investigate it, but for now, Helden, acting as the party leader chose to take the group back to map the rest of the chamber south of the divide. As the heroes made their way around, they noticed piles of junk caught up here and there, and often searched them in the hopes of finding anything useful. Apart from the odd useful herb or bullets, not much else was found though.

As the group followed the passage south again, they came across another circular chamber. This one had a few oil barrels and a large table where they could make repairs to weapons if needed. Moving further east from the chamber, the heroes followed a passage that appeared to move to another region of the sewers. As they slowly made their way, searching all the while, a strange noise began to sound ahead, and before they knew it, some of the party started to become confused by its strange influence.

"It's a Gibbering Mouther!" shouted Helden, but half the party were just standing around doing nothing, confounded by it's supernatural sound. Quickly Helden took stand to defend the group, and eventually, as the effect of the strange sound wore off, the rest of the party took up a defensive stance and joined the battle.

The battle was far from easy, and considerably more difficult than a few oversized sewer beetles they had encountered up to now. Helden even noticed that his own magikal weapon was having a minimal impact against this hideous monster and its strange pulsating "skin". More than once, Elana and Threska had to apply their healing to the two fighters that held the creature at bay, while Myara bowed it from behind the fighters. Creatures were summoned and magic missiles cast, but the emanating sound of the creature stopped the summoned creatures in their tracks, and it was obvious that it would take a lot more beating than the spells used so far.

Eventually, with Karatsen exhausted of spells, and the clerics running low on healing, the creature finally succumbed to the blows of Helden and Flint, and the arrows of Myara. Again, Helden searched the remains, and found some useful alchemical essences. However, this battle used a lot of the party's resources, and Helden was not happy about moving forward without spell backup. Although not in the least tired, he made the decision that the party should head back to the first sewer chamber and make camp there and rest to recover spells before resuming their search.

So, the adventurers slowly backtracked, and setup camp in the first chamber, putting their ability to rest in almost any environment very much to the test. The spell casters put themselves into a Trance, and used the Cocoon spell where required, and eventually the 12 hours of time required to rest and relearn spells and prayers passed. It was now around 5.00 pm, and the heroes had prepared themselves for the night shift of dirty work.

GAME TIME SINCE START: 12 Hours 29 Minutes.

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