Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Knowing Rules, Character Sheets, and Information Overload

This post at Follow Me And Die reminded me of the first time I ran Dungeon World. I made a few copies of the basic rules and character sheets from what the designers/writers of that game put out, from over here (pdf warning).

Now I should say, the group was kind of large - 5 people, none of whom had played any tabletop game, ever. But all of these folks - literally all of them - have PhDs. How hard could it be to teach them the ropes?

The problem with those character sheets is that they contain not only all the starting moves of each class, but every possible pick-one-of-these-neato-option level-up feats. Half of the players thought they got to pick from the advanced moves list, because, hey, I handed each of them a giant sheet of paper about it. And I think everyone started trying to read and comprehend every part of their character sheet. On top of the 'basic moves' handout, a few of those were floating around. Most people recovered from this enough to play and have fun, though periodically someone would tune out for a bit, and come back to ask if they had access to any of the advanced moves. My wife, sadly, never recovered from the information overload. She came away from the game thinking that tabletop RPGs are a form of directed play. You know, when a 3-year-old asks you to play astronauts or princesses, and then you're supposed to know precisely how they want you to do everything in this role. That is probably one of my greatest failures as a person who runs these games.

And it really is my failure. I'm sure some internet dickwads would be happy to tell me it's her fault or the like, but they can go to hell and play tabletop there. I threw too much paper at people, and all that paper was covered in rules. There are two pages of general moves and two pages of rules particular to your character, one of which should largely be ignored. I tried to point out to people that they should just try to do whatever they wanted to try to do, and I'd tell them when this required dice rolling, but between my words and all the papers, it wasn't always easy.

(Though I should say in general, people seemed to have fun, and folks want to play again, so it's not like I ran them through abject confusion and misery.)

I kinda want to run them through a different system next time, given my recent predilection for all things OSR. The LotFP Character Sheet is certainly less replete with paragraphs to read and comprehend. But I'm tempted to make things even simpler; run it with the WWCD? rule of Everyone is an Adventurer, though I'd give people taking the Learning / Specialist route 3-4 skill points, especially in the start of the game. That might be OP, but who cares, the wizardlings will get spells from potentially anywhere in the spell list (though if they have 6 hp and a level 7 spell, they can only cast it once). Anyone taking the fighter route can use combat maneuvers as a fighter.

So far so good... But to make something really simple for new folk, I want to use something like this awesome character sheet. Choices are baked in, but simple enough that people won't spend 30 minutes glaring at their sheets. Rules are not presented in paragraph form for new folks.

(Edit: Hopefully this doesn't come across as 'blaming Dungeon World.' It's not DW's fault. I just think handing out lots of prose to people, and telling them not to read it, that's going to lead to failure.)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Videos of Ye Olde Guns

Gear and Methods of the Matchlock Rifleman. Not as dry as my title, this video has a fellow going over the process of loading and firing a matchlock rifle. Also displays period garb, armor, equipment. Folk were apparently taught to load without putting the rifle on the ground, so they could load on the move, which seems totally bananas to me. Also, putting a lit match near the black powder that touches off your rifle presents some obvious safety concerns. It's easy to see why a flintlock or wheel lock was considered a step up in technology - the wheel lock being the step that overcomplicated things too much, but got away from 'lit match juggle reload,' the flintlock as the step which resolved the mechanical complexity.

It's neat to see in the above example, the re-enactor is wearing a plate male cuirass. Probably wouldn't help much against bullets, but who knows. The capandball YouTube channel has a video about shooting lamellar armor with these kinds of guns.

Match lock rifles firing line - it would suck to juggle gunpowder and a lit piece of string like that. Gunpowder out in the air won't explode like TNT or C4 or the like - it burns and burns really fast. But still, you could spill and get a nasty powder burn or the like. You can see the fellow at the end with his Apostles, seemingly running through faster thanks to them.

Wheel Lock Carbine - loading, firing. Really cool mechanism. Especially the way the flint is basically lowered into the front of this trough filled with black powder, and the spring-wound wheel spins around, rubbing itself against the flint, flinging sparks into the powder pan.

Wheel Lock Rifle - short, slow motion.

Flintlock rifle loading and firing - looks like this one has a rifled barrel, too. Probably too advanced for OSR games, but it's not like I've ever seen rules for rifled barrels. Practically, those make shots more accurate, especially over distance.

There are actually a lot of flintlock videos on youtube; if you want more, find some!

The paid version of Lamentations of the Flame Princess (the rulebook) contains an appendix section on firearms that largely goes over these points. It's nice to have some video references, especially on how the wheel lock works. It also specifically mentions the kind of armor you see in that first video.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Rules Hacks I Have Loved

Kind of a saving for later post...

Necropraxis' House Rules are short and sweet. PDF link.

What Would Conan Do?

I like the idea of everyone starting as the same class a lot - I feel like it'd be easier for pick-up games with people who haven't played before. In-game decisions leading to you getting bonus abilities is also an awesome feature of the 'God Botherer' link. 

Ten Foot Polemic Unified House Rules and Related Thoughts - very big set of things. I definitely like the first few pages; think I start to shy away in the Necromancer / Barbarian class page. Love the Goblin. Honestly demihumans are a bit played out, from my perspective, but I'd love to see a Fighter MU Specialist Goblin set. I also really like Not Getting Hit Points and general thoughts on Death and Dying. 

Games With Others' Extensive List - I especially like the Dark Souls stuff, memory as a disease kind of explains a character having the player's metagame knowledge. The HP setup is also interesting, as are the rules for benching PCs and having backup PCs. 

Metal Vs Skin's Rules on classes, race, multiclassing, and goblinoid collective action - I really love the Kalak-Nur setting, and, surprise, I like this post on the classes of Kalak-Nur. This is another LotFP set of hacks. I like how it lets us leave race-as-class alone or let players have their race-class and... adopted? class, via the magic of multiclassing.

Actually, all of Metal Vs Skin's House Rules are pretty great, particularly the HP as countdown clocks. That seems like a particularly hardcore DnD modification.

Lost Pages' B/X Hack: MAGEBLADE. I might throw in the LotFP Specialist and the 'all of you can do this, the specialist can get better' rules, but this is also good as is, and the 5MORE system is easy to comprehend.

Paper and Pencils Lamentations of the Flame Princess House rules. Part 1. Part 2.

The mass combat and horse-riding rules in A Red and Pleasant Land are lots of fun. 

Amazingly detailed rules hack just for climbing.

PDF of Telecanter's Receding Rules' House Rules - combat maneuvers are especially well done. I love combat maneuvers like that - like the Mighty Deeds from DCC, simplified, as they can encourage creativity. Having a list of feats is not as much fun, and having no combat maneuvers is even less fun. Zak S put out the monster's guide to combat maneuvers.

If you had already decided on an OSR retroclone of choice, and didn't have enough choice paralysis... Rules hacks! Forever! I'd probably just wind up using Telecanter's or Ten Foot Polemics. I'd like to playtest MvsS's hp countdown, if I ever (ever) have free time again. I want to take some people who want to play an in-person game and run with the What Would Conan Do? ruleset above, set in Vornheim or the like.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Ringing Commands and Discordant Response

(Because I've read too much about the Derro in falsemachine's underdark writing, Veins and because I have tinnitus.)

The derro transmit their signal from somewhere near the pounding heart of the Urth. Certain surface-dwelling individuals receive it - typically those cretins who have bludgeoned their ears with musket fire or cannon or bomb. Their hearing is partly lost. Their brains quest for the missing sensation, like a man without an arm who still feels it itch. The transmission steps into their eager minds, in the form of a persistent ringing which does not fade. It warbles forever just at the edge of perception, softer or louder, always with one, always the same tone, a phantom itch in the mind. For now, the transmission is but a test pattern.

With this test pattern, the derro prevent sleep, or causes anxiety or depression, suicidal ideation or, horribly, the act itself. This naturally delights the derro.

But their goal is not to depress or promote self-destruction. Their goal is to build The Machine, to fuel it with blood, to calculate all of creation, anticipating every drop of rain, every frown, every betrayal. Their goal is omniscience over all things, usurping the place of the gods, removing from us our free will, such that it is.

For this they will need an army on the surface, to pull down nations and cast blood down into the cracks of the Urth. They will torture those who receive the signal and resist, simply by amplifying the test signal. To those who obey, they will broadcast orders, they will coordinate. An army will coalesce from a body of civilians, fight viciously, then fade back into their countryside or cityscape. They will have no leaders, no screamed orders or signal flags. Their disparate battalions will flock together and flank and attack and feint as though directed by a God, listening to invisible voices. Conventional armies will crumble.

But those so afflicted will find ways to rebel against their would-be tyrant. Shod in helms of lead, followed by shrill flutists, we will march into the deep wearing our Apostles, carrying cutlass and knife and musket. We will build the derro not a heaven of everything in its precise proper place, but a hellish cacophony. It will be our funeral song, chosen gladly, for it will be theirs as well.

How a Party Member is Really a Doppelganger

  1. When she things you're not looking, she rearranges her teeth. You've trained yourself not to look over when you hear the grating sound.
  2. Mirrored copy. Handedness switched, hair parted wrong, sword on the wrong hip. He seems to think you haven't noticed anything.
  3. Sense of humor utterly broken; never clowns around with anyone, just repeats what they said in a mutter and tries to laugh.
  4. Carefully measures faces of other party members when they seem to be asleep.
  5. Once over-rotated head about 150 degrees to spot an ambush, saving the party. No one speaks of this.
  6. Drawings of her face later become completely blacked out of their own accord.
  7. Accidentally went with party to old hometown. Didn't recognize parents, childhood friends, cousins. Pets didn't recognize him. Parents freaked out. 
  8. Can pick locks if no one is looking, by placing palm against lock's mouth and extruding flesh into the mechanism. Became obvious the one time she got stuck.
  9. Arrow right through lower left side ribs missed heart and lung when the shapeshifter moved them around, internally, before they could be pierced. Managed to jog 3 miles by torchlight and get out with the rest of the party before anyone noticed the wound. A barber in town helped remove the arrow and was pale as a ghost afterwards, drinking heavily. "That wasn't possible. There was hardly even any blood. When I asked her if there was any pain, she just laughed."
  10. (Stolen) They weep after killing a monster. When they think no one is looking, their character stares into the distance and they detect as neither evil nor good, but they are terrified of _sanctuary_. 
  11. You can't ever picture her face in your mind. Recognition is possible, you can tell her apart from others, but you can't describe her in words, you can't imagine her face. If you draw her, you find yourself coloring in a dark circle.
  12. After Rialto died, Urgwic the torchbearer took up his arms and armor and swore revenge at the raiders who killed the fighter. Urgwic doesn't take off Rialto's old helm anymore, we can never see his face. He talks like Rialto used to, his accent drifted, and despite Urgwic's sandy hair, he's grown the kind of curly black beard Rialto always had. I think he got taller since putting on Rialto's old chainmail.
  13. You found an old sack in X's backpack when searching for a spare ration one night. The sack was full of dried out, tanned human faces. At the bottom of the back gently rattled a few teeth.
  14. Fell down a crevasse in the Underdark and came back the next day, fine, mostly. Eyes the wrong color. You threw a torch down the crack and could see the glint of her armor at the bottom. 
  15. Miscast ESP scroll let you see in his head for a few seconds. All dancing flesh and lies and lives halfway inhabited. Loathes and envies humanity by turns. You know what it's like now to feel your face warp into someone else's. How easily this fools everyone. How far one must go to keep such secrets.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Charmonde Localities

Again, if you play Numenera with me as your host, Wednesdays at 7pm, exit forthwith!

Per the wilderness turn of the hazard system, locality events are mechanical changes in the area you're in. What does this mean for pointcrawling a city?

There are two things to consider - the scope of the locality event, as well as what it is. The scope could be the node the PCs are currently in. Perhaps a smallish riot breaks out, or a street play, which guards will try to shut down for blocking roads. Perhaps a literal fire sale at a store, a palatial parade. Some of these wouldn't necessarily affect an entire neighborhood. Some would route around through different nodes with (tiny) minds of their own.

This is also an opportunity to bring in Haven events as described in the system. So perhaps a bomb goes off and guard patrols become more common (and less likely to shake people down, as their coworkers are everywhere). Haven events will definitely affect every single node the PCs can go to in the urban pointcrawl. They could spur adventures and change the entire reason the PCs are in the city in the first place. The PCs might seek to flee the city only to find, in Charmonde's case, that its screaming walls are up and walking away would lead to death. Or in other towns, getting out has become onerous (not impossible) as the culprits could get away, or enemies are outside the walls, or the priests said the devil is bathing in the moat. It's not impossible to leave - it's just not easy. And finding a route out would be valuable information for many people in the city.

Haven events in a given urbancrawl turn should still be haven events. They should affect the city for weeks or months, and to make sure the entire world doesn't seem to be ending, they typically shouldn't pile up on top of one another every 20 minutes, or hour, or however often you roll for a turn passing. Winter and a jailbreak and an insurrection and a monster invasion is just too much for the tone of my game, but feel free to pile them up if fitting your own style. Personally, if I roll a locality event, and a haven event from that, haven events are off the table for the rest of my two-hour session. Probably for longer.

For Charmonde, my locality event table will look like this. Roll a d6 and

  1. Bridge Slavers Student Festival - likely university students performing theatre, getting guards off the PC's backs, and occasionally making good anti-slavery points. Or just being drunks.
  2. Crater Day - citizens celebrate the last defensive war Charmonde had. The reasons for the war and the source of the crater are contradictory. Food and drink are cheap, crowds are rife with thieves.
  3. Nobles Duel at Pauper's Bridge - it seems like everyone wants to turn out and hang off the narrow bridge, watching the offended party and the offendor duel with smallswords atop the bridge's highest tier. Gambling and an unofficial pre-duel show of acrobatics and fighting prowess.
  4. Royal parade winds through much of the city and every bridge. Dress codes will be strictly enforced, and waves of guards will pass through before the Queen to check for illicit speech or roguish characters.
  5. The sonic wall misfires and no one can get into or out of the city for half a day. Anything that can sell out in that time period is going to sell out, and people will bemoan the lack of control their betters have. Quietly, of course. Rabble-rousing is a crime.
  6. Roll on the Haven Events table. If re-rolled, the PCs feel as though someone stepped over their graves.

The Hazard System and Urbancrawling

Necropraxis' excellent Hazard System doesn't really have a 'urbancrawl' option. The Haven turn presented in it operates under the assumption that adventuring is out in the wild or down in a dungeon. The city is where the characters go to lick their wounds, level up, carouse, and replace their lantern-holder. This is a totally understandable setup. It's a neat nod to Torchbearer's town phase, and I'm sure the writer at Necropraxis isn't trying to say cities can never contain adventures - that's the point of the entire Haven Complications system. And I'm sure Torchbearer could lend itself to urbancrawling as well, though the Grind might be a little less troublesome, depending on the density of taverns.

There are some shifts in tone or mechanic for wilderness turns to become urbancrawl turns. In both areas, encounters mean that NPCs (or animals, or monsters) seek out the PCs. Percepts still involve the PCs seeing the potential encounter, and having more options to avoid it. This is true in both settings, but the difference is distance.

Percepts in the woods work more through implication: wolf tracks, orc droppings, a day-old campfire or three filled with human bones. Cities grind up what we leave behind, beneath our feet. So percepts have to close the distance a bit more.

Nobles will send a foppish bard ahead, or leave behind the quivering, dying body of a commoner who did not kowtow. Thieves will be standing in the open, staring at a character for one instant, then suddenly gone. Guards will tromp up to the PCs and right past them into an alehouse that's behind on its taxes or kickbacks; crashes and drunken yelling jump out the doorway, followed by the thud of a club on some face. Urban settings let percepts brush right up against the PCs, as long as it makes sense, as long as the NPC wouldn't find it odd to see homeless adventurers in their street. Percepts in the wild work more through implication, through increased distance, because it doesn't make sense for 67 marauding orcs to ignore the PCs. City dwellers, though? They can ignore anything. They have to.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Why Stats in Numenera and Lamentations of the Flame Princess

But why male models?

All I've been reading lately is OSR blogs. Well, that and A Distant Mirror, which is a nice reminder that no matter how rose-tinted our view of the past may get, how much it seems like the world is 'going to hell' and 'things aren't like they used to be' and 'garble gabble gabble gabble', it actually was objectively worse in the past in some key areas of human existence. Not everything is wonderful today, sure, absolutely, and not everything is getting infinitely better, or even slightly better. But the 1300s really went out of its way to be totally bananas.

Anyway! OSR! There's a lot of free, interesting material around it. Also, I've found that in running Numenera for a year, I'm really way too much of a softie. There hasn't been enough anguish or fear, enough danger. That's not a fault of the system, really - it's more that my prep needs to focus on some numbers and tactics of enemies, and I am trying to get there. But I do think OSR systems do an amazing job of creating dangerous situations for the the players. From Dungeon Crawl Classic's 0-level funnel to the Giant in Deep Carbon Observatory, there's a lot to learn from.

I came into DnD during the height of 2nd edition, have played some Pathfinder as well. They were never really a good fit, nor was 4th Edition. Numenera pulled me into tabletop games with its interesting setting, the mishmash of past and future, the way PCs could know what a 'democracy' was without it breaking the setting. Then I read, say, Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad and find out that old-school fantasy also has this idea that the future looks bit like our past - civilizations rise and fall like waves, and their detritus lives on, sometimes informing new generations, sometimes trying to eat them. DnD is the apocalypse, after all, and the civilizations of men have just crawled up from the brink of extinction.

I want to bring a bit of that to Numenera. I also want to actually play LotFP with some folks. I imagine in the long term I may move over from the Cypher System to B/X DnD retroclones, but we'll see. I certainly don't want to leave my Numenera players hanging.

I forgot Charmonde's Patrols

I completely left this out of the earlier post.

The Guards of Charmonde

Numenera Stats:
Level 3 (65% of the guards)
10 hp, 1 armor

Level 4 (35% of the guards)
14 hp, 2 armor

Either groups armed with a club, and either a spear or a heavy crossbow and 20 bolts. In my game, NPCs armed with heavy weapons do level+1 damage or 6 damage, whichever is more. This gives NPCs a chance against heavily armored, mutant murderhobos. 

For LotFP I'd probably give them 1+1 or 2 HD, an AC of 14 or 16, and morale of 10. The lower ranking guards are clad in a soft, shimmering fabric that hardens when hit quickly (mechanics for The Slow Knife are left to you, dear reader). 2HD / Level 4 guards have the same setup, adding on breastplates of glass-steel. 

They tend to use clubs and attempt nonlethal takedowns of unarmed criminals. Otherwise it's spears and crossbows.

 In addition to their physical resilience and armament, Charmonde's guards are well-furnished with cyphers. For any patrol of 4-10 guards, 1 guard will have a pouch of 2 cyphers which allow him to cast Scan as a Nano - which allows the guards to inspect and search people coming into the city. As for the rest, roll a d6 for every guard.
  1. Detonation (web), level 1d6+2, might roll to escape. (For OSR games, make a strength check. Players within the 10-foot range of the detonation could save vs. breathe weapons to avoid getting stuck, otherwise, strength check.)
  2. Same as 1
  3. Detonation (flash). Level 1d6+2. Speed test or blinded for a minute. For OSR games, a speed test could probably be a save vs device or vs magic).
  4. Same as 3
  5. Metal Death, level 1d6+2, foam spray. Covers a 3 foot cube, turns all metal within to glass. And not glass-steel, plain old regular glass.
  6. Subdual Field, 1d6+3. Operator can create an invisible field within 100 feet. The field has an area of 40 feet. Violent acts within the field are impossible and the effects last for 1d6 rounds after leaving the field. Field lasts for a minute. 
I'd say for whatever system, roll 2d6 when encountering guards. On a 2-4 they're corrupt, pretty much there to shake the players down for whatever their Scan finds, willing to sell the PCs a pass that they've been inspected and aren't carrying anything too crazy - no WMDs or artifacts that will help the war effort. Of course, the price of such a pass is fairly high, and it's not for sale until the PCs relinquish any interesting cyphers, which will probably never arrive at the royal armory. If the PCs follow these guards and don't get made, they're probably taking the goods they've stolen to a nondescript house in the quiet Neighborhood of No Note...

Otherwise they're bored and by-the-book. The city does depend on people coming in and trading, so excessive corruption gets stamped down on. 

Some laws of Charmonde

  • Cyphers and artifacts that can seriously help the war effort shall be taken with compensation, remediated via a receipt and a legal process that most people can't afford to get through. Cyphers that affect large groups of people at once, or that could level buildings, are definitely within this category; cyphers that give someone a few points to their pool or the like are not. 
  • Only nobles may where pointed shoes.
  • Only nobles may wear their hats tilted. Regular citizens who wear hats do so with quite a degree of trepidation.
  • Sedition and speaking ill of the Queen is not tolerated; other forms of speech are generally protected. Of course, sedition can cover a great many things.
  • Only authorized folk should enter the sewers beneath Charmonde.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Pointcrawling Charmonde

If you play Numenera every other Wednesday or so, over Roll20, with Charlie as your GM, leave now or forever spoil your enjoyment (maybe). (Hopefully not.)

tourist's map of charmonde


Charmonde is a city from the Steadfast, a collection of kingdoms in the Ninth World. It's very much part of the Numenera setting, but hopefully the work I've done to elaborate on it could be of interest to anyone.

It is a city located in a rich, mercantile kingdom, ruled by Queen Armalu, who rules from Charmonde. She is rumored to never leave her palace. Sealed within it, hidden from the spores and vagaries of the outside world, she is far older than any normal human.

So a ruthless queen - who treats her subjects decently as long as they stay in line. A rich kingdom on the edge of a series of kingdoms, getting into war footing with a group of people to the north. Armalu has asked for funds from the southern kingdoms to help pay for common defense; the southern kingdoms balk, figuring she's as likely to invade them as their common-yet-unmaterialized enemy to the north.

City of Bridges, City of Screaming Walls

Charmonde is bisected by a river. The city is as much bridge as anything else - six span the river, which is close to 300 feet in width. Buildings dot the bridges or cling beneath them. Temporary merchant stalls go up along the Merchant's Bridge, while taverns and coffee klatches cling to the underside. The Merchant's Bridge is all ancient glass-steel and stone - sun and moonlight dance through it. The Immigrant's Bridge to the West is a and the Guard's Bridge at the extreme East were made by humans of the Ninth World, from a patchwork of wood and iron. They are built to allow / force boats through monitored chokepoints, to ensure the Queen gets her due and that no contraband is brought into the city.

The bridges to the Empiternal House are a gilded metal that seems warm to the touch. The Poor Bridge is narrow and tiered, it seems to be made of living tissue. In places something like a pulse can be felt, and the tissues of the bridge can bleed, scab, and grow. Since humans have lived in Charmonde the Poor Bridge has grown at least 2 tiers, accompanied by terrible howling.

The city has no walls, but four towers along the periphery of the city can emit a howling, rending sound. When activated by Aeon Priests and Royal Wizards, the cacophony kills those who would enter Charmonde. The Immigrant's Bridge and Guard's Bridge are the closest Charmonde has to a wall, as they box in ferries and boats traveling up and down the Jerribost river. Guard stations along common roads into town tax travelling merchants as they enter, and roving squads of guards remain alert for those seeking to avoid tolls or worse, bring contraband or sedition into the city.

Pointcrawling Charmonde

Pointcrawling is an alternative mapping scheme to hexcrawls, and quite well suited to an urban environment. Not all locations lead easily to others, via well-known streets. I wanted to create something more abstract that a street-by-street layout of the city until I need such a thing, generating street layouts if needed via the urbancrawl rules Zak S created

So the PCs can, following signs and main streets, get from point to point according to the map below.

Pointcrawl Map of Charmonde

 Within a square, if specific streets are needed, generate them via the rules urbancrawl rules above, keeping in mind that the broad thoroughfares between points are generally easy to spot and follow.

Travel between points should take 20 minutes.

Travelling from point to point in Charmonde isn't the only option; it's possible for PCs to break away from the lines between neighborhoods. It just takes time and effort. Finding a shortcut between, say, the southwestern slum and the Noble's Quarter should be less difficult than a shortcut between the same slums and the Merchant's Bridge.

In Numenera's system one can have a level 4 Intellect task to find a path between adjacent but unconnected points. Skipping around the map should increase the level of difficulty; finding a way across the river without going over a bridge should require a trip to the sewers, which will be detailed in a coming post.

In Lamentations of the Flame Princess, anyone can search, as it should be, though not all searchers are created equally. The party can put forth their best searcher and let him or her search once per turn until a route between adjacent nodes becomes connected; for 'skipping' over or past nodes, make a test per node skipped. To have two people search for a route, the party has to split up, which could be problematic. The entire point of taking up the PCs time in the city is to potentially throw random encounters at them, after all.

Encounters in Charmonde

Use the Wilderness rules from The Hazard System - I plan to ignore rolls for resource exhaustion during the day. Roll whenever it seems appropriate - when the PCs arrive in the city, when they move into a upscale node, when they go something conspicuous. I know strict adherence to the rules of Numenera means the GM never rolls, but I feel like a world engine like this is better than GM Fiat dictating every encounter. 

So each <appropriate time unit>, roll a d6
  1. Encounter
  2. Perception of/about a potential encounter
  3. Locality Event
  4. Perception of the area / hints of a hidden area
  5. Nothing / Resource Exhaustion
  6. Lost - went too far or entered an adjacent node
Lost PCs with a map can probably spend a turn figuring out where they wandered, roll under INT+2 or (Numenera) make a level 3 Int check. Given the nature of a pointcrawl, getting lost might mean they get some kind of bonus for finding a path between nodes, if they started and ended in disconnected nodes. 

Getting lost may be getting into 'too fiddly' territory; I might let it happen once and see how it goes in play. Resource exhaustion, likewise - the PCs aren't really going to be getting exhausted from walking around, nor using up torches or supplies.

General Encounters

  1. Patrol
  2. More Patrol
  3. Slave (escaped) who needs _________
  4. Drunk students
  5. Beggars
  6. Pickpocket
  7. A rogue who figures the PCs could help _______________
  8. Noble and retinue, willing to ___________ if the PCs ______________ and are obsequious
  9. Confused visitant, one of Numenera's aliens
  10. Printer's Men looking for illegally reproduced books
  11. Sentient Octopus in a mechanical walker, chipper voice from vocoder
  12. Ferry worker looking to offload some ___________________
  13. Fiery academics debating __________________________ relevant to the PCs
  14. Prisoner transport. The prisoner drops a slip of paper no one sees. 
  15. Convergence Agent
  16. Angry Proselytizer of Angulan Knights, who hate mutants (everyone is a mutant)
  17. Someone who seeks the PCs - bounty hunters, henchman of betrayed crime lords, old friend if the PCs have scrupulously avoided trouble
Cross out anything after it's happened once, other than patrols. The city is rife with patrols. For more encounters, I'd shamelessly steal from Zak's urbancrawl rules about Who Are You And Why Are You In My Way Table (Vornheim) - just replace goblins with visitants or sentient, chipper octopi. If people are fighting octopi, they're royalists convinced the cephalapods want to take over the city.

Locality events and perceptions of hidden node attributes are coming in a later post, along with Charmonde Sewer Generation rules.