Tools of the Trade [The Vault #16]

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Bandits have "a very particular set of skills. Skills they have acquired over a (sometimes) very long career. Skills that make them an annoyance for people like" our adventurers (to borrow some lines from Taken)...Those skills have led to the development of twenty tricky tools, which we detail below. As we have before, we can use them against the adventurers or give them to them as specialized Loot. One might also  give them to besieged heroes defending a location or castle as options to fortify their position (for the Gears of War fans that want RPG Horde!).

  1. _False Bottom_ (#Bottom) There might be a hidden compartment somewhere...> On a Notice check of 12 or above, the adventurers uncover a random :loot: item. 
  2. _Superior Lock_ (#Lock) The latest in mechanical security. > Requires a Lockpicking :roll: of 15 or above. On success the door or chest is opened. On failure, lose 1 Persona.
  3. _Lockpicks_ (#Picks) Illegal in most principalities. > These clever little picks and hooks grant a +5 to Lockpicking :roll:s. 
  4. _Wrist Sheath_ (#Sheath) Every villain should own one. > The element of surprise the hidden weapon affords grants a +2 to one :melee: ability :roll:. 
  5. _Poisoner's Ring_ (#PRing) Let's shake hands! > Reveal after a social interaction. On a :roll: of 7 or above, the little poisoned prick administers the subtle substance (we will be publishing an episode of The Vault with 20 poisons soon. It will be linked here once we do). 
  6. _Tripwire_ (#Trip) You wish you'd seen it. > On a Notice :roll: of 12 or below, you take a hard fall.  Suffer 1 hp of damage and -3 to the next ability :roll:. If you rolled a 1, you lose the next ability action you'd normally take. 
  7. _Tracking Dart_ (#Dart) The fusion of magic and malice. > Fire into an object or person with any successful :ranged: ability :roll:. On success it deposits a magical powder that allows one to track the victim for the next 24 hours. 
  8. _Invisibility Potion_ (#Potion) A favorite of pilferers and pervs. > Makes one invisible for one round. Gain a +2 to your ability :roll: and subtract 2 from any damage suffered. The potion doesn't work against :beast: encounter cards if the adventurer :rolls: 8 or less on their ability this round. 
  9. _Sneak Shoes_ (#SShoes) Padded silken slippers. > Gain a +3 to Sneak checks.
  10. _Golden Garrote_ (#Garrote) You appreciate that they're killing you in style. > Play a :melee: ability and expend this card. On success, add a +3 to damage of the ability. 
  11. _Manacles of Malice_ (#Manacles) For torture or recreation? > On a :roll: of 8 or above deal 1 extra damage this round or reduce the damage you suffer by 1. Duplicate these results for two additional rounds. 
  12. _Pit Trap_ (#PTrap) Someone's been working hard... > Roll a Notice check of 13 or above to avoid the Trap. On a failure suffer 3 hp damage and -3 to :melee: abilities next round. 
  13. _Net Snare_ (#Snare) It'd be relaxing if you weren't surrounded by villains. > Roll to Escape Bonds on a 13 or above. On a failure you cannot use :melee: abilities for 2 rounds. All other abilities suffer -3 to rolls until you escape (takes 2 rounds to cut free).
  14. _Caltrops_ (#Caltrops) Ooohh! Shiney! > Roll an athletics check to avoid suffering 1 hp damage and -1 to the next ability :roll: If used as :loot:, use to inflict 1 hp of damage on up to 3 targets.  
  15. _Sap_ (#Sap) Time to drop the curtain on them. > Make a :roll: with a risk/difficulty equal to the target's current hp. If the :roll: is greater, the adventurer cannot use an ability this round. If an Encounter card is the target, it's Tier is reduced to 0 (for purposes of calculating damage) for one round. If this is a surge round, it also doesn't surge. 
  16. _Bottomless Bag_ (#BBag) This magical pouch is excellent for storage and kidnapping. > The user need only think of the contents they wish to summon before opening the bag. If it's in there, it will appear (though it may not be alive or cooperative). Getting people in may be a more difficult matter!
  17. _Scroll of Safety_ (#Safety) More a scrap of paper than a scroll, really... > When this scrap of paper is crushed, the bearer is teleported to the location written on it. Often used to retreat. 
  18. _Doorjamb_ (#Door) Used to jamb doors and delay pesky pursuers. > If in a building, may be spent to jam a door and give adventurers one round to heal or perform another action {there must be another room to flee to first}. 
  19. _Spyglass_ (#Spyglass) It lives up to the name. > Gain a +3 to Search :rolls:. 
  20. _Marbles_ (#Marbles) A child's tool that becomes dangerous in a fight or chase. > On a :roll: of 9 or above, up to 2 ground-bound foes stumble and take 1 hp damage. On a :roll: of 1, the user or an associate stumbles and suffers the damage.  

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Righteous Role Playing [The Forge #5]

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A recent community survey on the role playing elements of Expedition has shown that 62% of you would welcome more robust role playing as part of your Quests. This installment of The Forge hopes to give you ways to do that, whether you are an author writing a quest or a group of players playing a pre-written quest. Authors, you can use these to outline/plan quests. Players can use these on the fly. 

Four common things that provide grist for role playing are Backstory, Complications, Consequences, and detailing Description. 

Backstory

Unrevealed backstory is often used to hint tantalizingly at greater revelations. When used appropriately (as a tease) it retains that element of mystery keeps us watching movies and reading books, for there is suspense not only in the unresolved future, but the tension of events already past. As you are playing a quest, adventurers can role play and help create the backstory. 

You may object, "What if we create a backstory that the quest later contradicts?"

It doesn't matter so much if during the unfolding of the quest we're told the backstory really isn't what we thought it was. After all, Luke Skywalker found out the narrative given him about Vader by Obi-Wan wasn't accurate. There are lies we sometimes tell ourselves, too. 

  1. Why is the villain doing what they're doing? (Stealing X, Attacking Y, etc.)
  2. Why are the adventurers getting involved?
  3. What does this quest mean to each adventurer as an individual? 

Notice that #2 and #3 may seem the same, but they often are not. The adventurers may be getting involved to stop the Lich's undead army from conquering the realm, but for different reasons. One might fear for what will happen to his wife and children in the city under seige. Another may know the magecraft he practices will be outlawed should the Lich take power. The mobster in the group may only want the Lich kept at bay out of selfish financial interest (you can't sell drugs to the undead). 

Some other elements you can use to craft the backstory:

  1. What type of relationship do the adventurers have with the victims or characters in the story? 
  2. What type of history/relationship do they have with the Antagonist (Enemy)?
  3. How does the Antagonist feel about the adventurers (if they know of they even exist)? Do they hold them in contempt? Secretly fear them? Have crossed paths (and swords/spells) with them in the past?

All of the above questions will probably be answered/role played in the opening phase of the quest. Here are some likely to come up in the middle and end phases of a quest:

  1. How do the characters in the story feel about the adventurers' actions. If we find out later the quest tells us those things, it's okay.  Maybe our adventurers' initial impression was wrong.
  2. What do characters do about the adventurers actions.

Complications

Complications are the challenges or conflicts the heroes must overcome to succeed.  They may also be things that happen to the Antagonists or their minions that make things funny, more interesting, or easier for the adventurers.  

  1. What happens that makes the quest or part of it unexpectedly difficult? For the adventurers? For the Villains?
  2. During Combat? Outside of Combat?

Here are some examples of complications:

  • The henchmen of the Bandit Captain have fled with the contents of the Royal Treasury. Perhaps one of their wagons has broken down, allowing the adventurers to attempt a Sneak check to attack with surprise while they try to repair the broken axle.  This is a complication for the villains a one or two person party can inject to make a quest easier. 
  • As the battle against the Dark Wizard grows more desperate for the adventurers, they opt to introduce a complication against the Wizard...the battle is happening in the Wizard's chamber, with magical Loot all around. A Notice check allows them to grab some Loot to use in the final stages of the battle. 

Consequences

At the end of the adventure we're probably given a surface level explanation of what we've done (defeated the Lich, saved the realm, etc.), but what does it really mean? This is a great place for players to help craft the story and tack on a more personalized ending to the quest. 

  1. How do people feel about the outcome or adventurers?
  2. If they were victorious, there may be a very important but involved. Ex. We defeated the army of the Dark Wizard, but we did a lot of property damage that the citizens of the Kingdom aren't too happy about. We may have to lay low for awhile. 
  3. What were the moral consequences of everyone's actions? Ex. Those guards we killed when we could have snuck by had families to feed. Maybe one of their relatives has sworn vengeance against us. 

Descriptions

Quests provide the body of a story, but there is almost always room for you to dress that body in some interesting clothing. The locations and individuals may not always be described or named. The party can do this collectively. We recommend such role-playing have some limits, for the sake of not extending quest length too long:

  • One sentence is probably good. 
  • Anything longer than a short paragraph may "break' something coming later in the story or take too much time. 

Examples: We enter the Copse of Candlelight and are told "the profusion of fireflies makes it difficult strike a target or find one's way."

A player wishes to add some further ambiance...

"The fireflies are attracted to their reflection off the polished armor and steel of our armaments. They gather around us like iridescent halos and out spirits are lifted."

Maybe the party thinks the description is appropriate enough to warrant the player raising their Persona by 1 as a reward for the role playing.

We hope we've given you some ways to enhance and deepen your enjoyment, social interactions, and role playing!  Happy Questing!

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Honor Among Thieves [The Vault #15]

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All fairs ill when the land teems with lawlessness. Still, not all who come to thievery are evil. We hope the twenty plot seeds below will add depth to your Bandit-based quests:

  1. _FamineTide_ Starvation stalks the lands, driving even moral men and women to desperate means. Are the bandits evil? Are there merchants withholding food to drive up its price?
  2. _Gangwar_ The Crimson Band and the Blackguards have cast aside their uneasy truce. The streets run red with the blood of thieves and innocents alike. Someone must bring the strife to an end, one way or the other.
  3. _Cursed Cargo_ The adventurers best a band of thieves that seem all too willing to part with their sordid gains.  Why, and of what consequence to the adventurers?
  4. _Lawless and Disordered_ A conspiracy threatens the fragile rule of the new monarch. If they cannot bring to heel the recent rash of unrest in the land, another lord may be able to usurp the throne. Who will the adventurers back?
  5. _Ill Gotten Gains_ The adventurers have just discovered that an old friend and respected pillar of the community was once a criminal, who started their legal business by stealing from former associates. Now the associates have found them. What will the adventurers do?
  6. _Contract with Death_ Someone has hired an assassin to slay one of the adventurers.  Who and why?
  7. _Blood Money_ The authorities approach the adventurers unexpectedly and find stolen goods in their possession. How have they come to be there? Who is trying to frame them?
  8. _Bounty Hunting_ The adventurers return to the capital to find several criminals have amassed significant bounties, just waiting to be collected. 
  9. _Making the (Roman) Peace_ Commerce depends on safe roads, something the realm certainly does not possess. Can the adventurers tame the space between settlements and restore prosperity?
  10. _Bribery and Corruption_ Common folk are preyed upon by those who have crafted the law to suit their greed. Will the adventurers join "the system" or fight against it?
  11. _Slave Trade_ Slavers prey upon the coastal lands, abducting many and taking them across the waters for sale in distant lands. One of the adventurers has recently lost a relative to them...
  12. _Drugwar_ A powerful and addictive drug has hit the streets. Spellsnuff temporarily gives common folk magical powers--to terrifying effect. Now even those of common means will go to great lengths to acquire it. > Draw a :magic: ability that can be used by the Encounter or NPC card, though not with reliability. 
  13. _Ransom_ Someone dear to the adventurers has been abducted. Now the ransom note has been delivered. What will they do?
  14. _Fleshtrade_ The Hall of Lords has been blackmailed into legalizing prostitution. They say it's a "woman's right to choose". Now a brothel has opened next to the adventurers homes. 
  15. _The Bookie_ A family member of one of the adventurers has willingly entered into some unwise...arrangements. Now they've come crying to their relative for protection and help. 
  16. _The Fence_ The adventurers have come back from their last quest with a wagon full of loot. The problem is, the items they've gained have been made illegal, and the command has gone out all those in possession of them must turn them over to the crown.  Will they comply or find those who can "move" their goods. 
  17. _The Caravan_ A merchant caravan has hired the adventurers at an exorbitant sum. Why? What cargo could warrant such a fee? Are the goods legal? More importantly, what threat would require such countermeasures?
  18. _Lost and Found_ The adventurers have been hired to recover filched goods. But what happens when the adventurers discover their employers may not be the legitimate owners?
  19. _Bodyguarding_ The adventurers have been contracted to protect a VIP from kidnappers or assassins. Complications ensue. 
  20. _Moral Hazard_ Washing up on distant shores, the adventurers are taken in and nurtured back to health by a band being hunted by the powers-that-be. Will they help the outlaws who claim to be backing the dispossessed, legitimate ruler of the land, or will they turn them over? 

Like this? Consider sharing or Tweeting it, or joining the weekly Quest Crafter mailing list for more writing inspiration.

Have an idea for the next Quest Crafter or feedback on how we can make it more useful to you? Email us at Authors@Fabricate.io or leave a comment below.

Surviving the Quest (The Forge #4)

This is a post geared more towards players than authors, but authors will get something from this too.  Recently we've gotten several quest reviews lamenting the difficulty of a quest. We also published our first player survey and discovered 46.5% of the current respondents have tried solo play. 

Not many RPGs are built for solo play. If you've spent any time playing the big traditional games (D&D, White Wolf/Onyx path's WoD, etc.) you've found that even 2 person play can be a challenge. This post of The Forge aims to give you some ways you can, on the fly, increase the survivability and completion rate of single and two player play. 

The Expedition Style guide has suggested authors begin with combats of Tier sum 2-4, with the final boss battle being a 5-8 Tier confrontation. The problem for small party size is the cumulative number of enemy hp that must be cleared to lower Tier Sum (which determines damage) and the Surges that result.  The highest damage output will occur on the front end of combat, when Tier Sum is greatest. Abilities or Loot that can cancel that opening round of damage can be good (the Loot III Elder Sign from "The Horror" Expansion, for instance). 

Here are some other things you can do:

  1. Allow surges only every other normal surge round (6th, 12th, 18th, etc. instead of 3rd, 6th, 12th). 
  2. Apportion Loot items at the beginning of the Quest, particularly those that heal or prevent damage. See the recent Vault post on Skills and Skill Checks to see how adventurers may "craft" loot (#3). 
  3. Drop the lowest Tier Encounter card from the combat and update the Tier Count. 
  4. Give your adventurer a "familiar"/"animal companion"/"minion" from the Encounter deck of Tier 2 or 3. Apply the following rules to your minion: Can absorb damage that would normally be suffered by the adventurer, but is destroyed when it reaches 0 hp; it also deals damage equal to 1/it's Tier Value each round and surges like normal (against your opponents).   

Below we've collected modifications from the many Vaults that can make combat more manageable. You could theoretically print this post of The Forge and apply them during your playthrough. Inserting some Skills and Skill Checks in the midst of combat or at it's beginning can also help.

  • _Intimidation_ (#Intimidation)The threat of your anger and power may be enough to cow the foe. > An intimidation :influence: :roll: of 10+Tier value of your foe forces them to flee (can be scripted in the combat simulator).
  • _Disengage_ (#Disengage) This battle is not going well. It's best to live to fight another day. > A :roll:  of 7+Tier Value of foes allows you to flee the fight. Failure increases damage you suffer this round by 1. (We'll show you how to script this in a future Advanced Combat Forge post).
  • _Notice_ (#Notice) They thought to creep up on you. They will be the ones surprised. > A :ranged: :roll: of 15 minus the # of foes affords you an advantage. Deal +1 damage this round. Failure results in you suffering +1 damage this round. 
  • _Sneak_ (#Sneak) It's time to avoid notice. >  A :melee: or :song: :roll: of 7+Tier Value of enemies allows you to bypass this fight. Failure lands you in melee. 
  • _Discern Intentions_ (#Discern) Through wisdom and experience you discern the next move of your opponent. > A :song: or :influence: :roll: above 7+Tier Value of opponents allows you to avoid some of their assault. Reduce damage by 1 this round. Failure increases damage by 1. 
  • _Tactics_ (#Tactics) You've fought their kind before, or studied how to do so. > A :roll: above 10+Tier Value of opponent let's you cancel one enemy's next Surge.

In the "Titles" episodes of "The Vault" we've been creating for each Encounter type, we've included a few Titles that actually weaken Encounter cards. Here are the existing debuffs:

  • _The Craven_ Blusters when things go well, turns tail when they don't. > Flees when reduced to half hp. Update the Tier count. 
  • _Halfhand_ In this kingdom they take fingers every time a thief is caught. He's lost more than a few. > Deals -1 damage each round. 
  • _Stumpfoot_ His foot was cut off as punishment for crimes. > This opponent surges every 4th round, not every 3rd. 
  • _The Fallen_ Disgraced and disowned, even by fellow criminals. > On an Intimidation :influence: :roll: of 10+Tier Value, you can shame them, gaining a +2 to your next ability :roll:. 
  • _The Mad_ One mushroom was too many. > When encountered or on each round :roll:. On 11 or above, attacks another enemy for 1 hp/Tier. On 10 or below, attacks the adventurers as normal.
  • _Banbound_ You have its kryptonite. > One of the Loot items possessed by the party can be expended to deal an additional 2 points of damage (in addition to its normal effect) against this Fae. 
  • _Bondtaker_ It can't hurt all of you. > Choose one adventurer [or highest roll]. All of its attacks deal 1 less damage against that adventurer.
  • _the Mercurial (Maiden)_ Emotion is a powderkeg in a thunderstorm. > When encountered or on each round :roll:. On 10 or above, heals adventurers for 1 hp/Tier. On 9 or below, attacks the adventurers.
  • _The Rotting_ Scraps of necrotic flesh dangle and drop off as it moves. > This foe takes 1 extra damage from Melee abilities.
  • _The Husk_ It's not quite what it used to be...> Has 2 fewer starting hp.
  • _Of Dead Eyes_ The rot of the grave has taken some of it's eyesight. It sees not at a distance. > :ranged: abilities deal +1 damage to this foe. Sneak checks gain +2. 

You might also want to give your adventurer some custom items. Please note that while these may be necessary to survive some quests on solo or 2 person play, they stand a very real chance of breaking the game with more players, and taking all difficulty out of combat. 

  1. _Armor_ It doesn't gleam like the nobles', but it's made better. > This suit of well-crafted chain, scale, or plate mail reduces damage suffered each round by -1, -2, or -3. 
  2. _Ring of Regeneration_ They're technically illegal...and over time cause cancer. > The magic from the ring heals 3 damage each round an enemy surges.

We hope this helps you enjoy solo and duo questing more!

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Have an idea for the next Quest Crafter or feedback on how we can make it more useful to you? Email us at Authors@Fabricate.io or leave a comment below.

Onerous Outlaws [The Vault #14]

This week we'll begin adding some depth to the "Bandit" Encounter type, with twenty Titles to personify and modify your fearsome felons:

  1. _The Elusive_ They have a way of fading away... > When reduced to 0 or fewer hp, the adventurer who dealt the blow makes a :roll:. On a 10 or below, the Bandit avoids the attack and escapes instead. 
  2. _Breaker of Chains_ No chains can hold them. > Deals +1 damage each round in combat, due to hideous strength. 
  3. _The Shadow_ Known for striking first from the shadows. > Adventurers must make a Notice :ranged: check of 11 or above, otherwise they cannot use abilities the first round of combat. 
  4. _Spell Thief_ A wizard turned criminal, excelling in stealing spells. > Once per round when an offensive  :magic: ability is played, if the ability :roll: was below 10, the Spell Thief turns the effect back on its caster (it also doesn't strike the intended target).
  5. _The Craven_ Blusters when things go well, turns tail when they don't. > Flees when reduced to half hp. Update the Tier count. 
  6. _The Lightning Lord_ Precise, quick tactical strikes are their specialty. > The first round of combat the Lord and his henchmen inflict +1 extra damage and take -1 damage. 
  7. _The Tumbler_ Acrobatics are his forte. > Any ability :roll: less than 12 deals -1 damage against this agile foe. 
  8. _Sneakhand_ His sleight of hand is superb. > On the first round of combat, choose one adventurer to :roll:. On a 10 or less, Sneakhand steals 1 :loot: item from the adventurers in the first combat exchange. He can then use it for his own benefit. 
  9. _Snaremaster_ It's a trap! > The adventurers must make a Notice :ranged: check on the first round of combat. The adventurer with the lowest :roll: steps into the trap, and suffers -2 to hp and their first ability roll. 
  10. _Riddler_ You wish they'd shut up and fight. > On a "solve riddle" check of 11 or above, adventurers deal +1 damage to the Riddler, but on a failed check lose 1 Persona. 
  11. _The Brute_ Your blows only serve to enrage him. > Any round in which they take 3 or more damage, they Surge. 
  12. _Master of Disguise_ They look so familiar...> On a failed ability :roll:, if it is the first round or a Surge round, the ability instead deals another adventurer damage. 
  13. _Halfhand_ In this kingdom they take fingers every time a thief is caught. He's lost more than a few. > Deals -1 damage each round. 
  14. _The Tongueless_ His tongue was removed for insolence. > Make a Persona check at the beginning of combat. If the :roll: was 10 or below, you are unnerved and make the next ability :roll: at -2. 
  15. _Stumpfoot_ His foot was cut off as punishment for crimes. > This opponent surges every 4th round, not every 3rd. 
  16. _The Swift_ He's sooo fast! > Surges every 2 rounds instead of every 3. 
  17. _The Fallen_ Disgraced and disowned, even by fellow criminals. > On an Intimidation :influence: :roll: of 10+Tier Value, you can shame them, gaining a +2 to your next ability :roll:. 
  18. _Thief Lord_ Truly he is a king of thieves. > The round after each Surge, add a Tier 1 Bandit and upgrade the Tier count. 
  19. _The Poisoner_ They coat all their blades with it. > Any round an adventurer takes damage, the adventurer's next :roll: is made at -3. 
  20. _The Widowmaker_ Women and children weep at mention of their name.  > At the beginning of combat, adventurers make a Persona check. A roll below 9+Tier Value of the Widowmaker results in a loss of 1 Persona, so potent is the fear associated with them. 

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Have an idea for the next Quest Crafter or feedback on how we can make it more useful to you? Email us at Authors@Fabricate.io or leave a comment below.

The Guided Quest (The Forge #3)

Intrepid Authors, audacious adventurers, this week we propose to you a method by which we hope you can craft a quest in about an hour of time! I clocked the example we're using below at 68 minutes, and you could certainly cut it down by omitting some skill checks or advanced combat scripts. 

You can find it in the Community Quests section of the App under the name "Bacchanalian Revels".

Made from the ideas and script already provided in the weekly "Vault" entries, we hope this method will provide even first-time authors with a way to fashion a custom adventure with ease.

For our first Guided Quest I'm going to pull from Vaults #8-12, which focus exclusively on the Fae, then I'll show you how to pull all this together in the Quest Creator.   So to begin I'll choose (or select by a random roll) a plot from Vault #10 (Inscrutable Intentions)

  • Plot #4: _Bacchanalian Revels_ Several charming and reckless Fae have swept into town, seducing the young with indiscriminate abandon. Much destruction and heartache will result if they are allowed to continue, but anyone dealing with them will also have to face their beguiled victims too."

Next let's choose a name and a Title to give to the Boss/main Antagonist from Vault #9 (The Fae Folk):

  • Title #5: _Lord of Illusions_ While they live, you'll not know what to believe. > Every other round, adventurers :roll:. Whoever rolled lowest finds their ability misses one intended target (they choose which, if multiple targets were designated).

Any proper Quest needs settings for the action, so let's select 3 from Vault #12 (Occulted Environs):

  • Location #4: _Faerie Circle_ This simple circle of stones or oddly colored grass in the middle of a forest clearing is a gateway to the realms of Fae. > Attempts to travel to or from the mortal and Fae lands gain a +3 while in the circle, but such travel can only be undertaken by one person at a time. Alternatively, with a proper offering, adventurers may summon a Fae to answer their questions on a :roll: of 10 or above. The Fae's answers may clear as mud, but that's another matter. 
  • Location #5: _Copse of Candlelight_ The profusion of fireflies makes it difficult to strike a target or find one's way. >  -2 to all :ranged: and :magic: abilities. -3 to any :roll: to search the area or find Loot. 
  • Location #6: _Flickerwood_ So named for the pockets of flammable gas throughout. > Use of abilities with "fire" or "lightning" in the name ignite a pocket of flammable gas on rolls of 10 or less. All enemies and adventurers take 2 damage. 

Finally, just to make things more interesting, let's select 3 "Alchemies of Alteration" from the only fae Vault we haven't used yet, Vault #11:

  • Alchemy #10: _Illusion of Control_ You get the impression you’re being toyed with. > Cancel all damage done to one Encounter Card this round.
  • Alchemy #11: _Word of Creation_ An item of worth springs into being from nowhere. > Choose Loot items equal in Tier value to the Fae's Tier value and put them into play under it's control. It can use them against adventurers or for its own benefit.
  • Alchemy #12: _Phantasmal Peer_ A simulacrum appears out of nowhere and strikes. > Draw a Fae Encounter card of equal Tier level to one already in play and place it into play for a single round, resetting the Tier count. After resolving damage (and surges, if applicable) for the round, discard the Phantasmal Peer. 

Finally, we'll yank some Skill Checks from the latest Vault (#13).   We'll show you those in the Quest Creator.... 

In reality, while we've done this we've been copying and pasting the Vault entries into the Quest Creator. This will save us loads of time. We do, however, need to add some necessary spacing and pathways (**goto XYZ**) to each entry we've pasted. Let's see how that might look in the Creator:

So you can see the first thing we have to do is put the proper spacing between script that we've pasted from the Vaults.  Since we're using the plot (Bacchanalian Revels) as the quest title, it's the only one that'll have the # and the added screen script (_Introduction_).  Then we've inserted our skill check _Craft Item_  bumping the text players will see (in white) to the line below, then bumping the instructions (> On an appropriate etc.) to its own line, with a space between them.  Next comes our first selected location, _Faerie Circle_ , where we repeat the process of putting blank lines between screen/card names (_Faerie Circle_), narration text (white font), and game instructions (red font). We have deleted some instructional text from _Faerie Circle_, since traveling to the Fae realms isn't part of this adventure, and added some story narration about summoning a Fae to question (final two white lines).  Next, let's introduce our antagonist...

So you can see the first thing we have to do is put the proper spacing between script that we've pasted from the Vaults.  Since we're using the plot (Bacchanalian Revels) as the quest title, it's the only one that'll have the # and the added screen script (_Introduction_).  Then we've inserted our skill check _Craft Item_  bumping the text players will see (in white) to the line below, then bumping the instructions (> On an appropriate etc.) to its own line, with a space between them. 

Next comes our first selected location, _Faerie Circle_ , where we repeat the process of putting blank lines between screen/card names (_Faerie Circle_), narration text (white font), and game instructions (red font).

We have deleted some instructional text from _Faerie Circle_, since traveling to the Fae realms isn't part of this adventure, and added some story narration about summoning a Fae to question (final two white lines).  Next, let's introduce our antagonist...

On the screen above we add some connection narration for the story. Then we throw in a skill check, _Discern Intentions_ that has bearing on our first combat encounter. You'll notice I've scripted some advanced combat to randomize the enemies faced and keep them fresh:  - {{_.randomEnemyOfClassTier("Fae", 2)}}.  I've also added one of the "Alchemies of Alteration" (this one was called "Word of Creation"), that'll appear periodically throughout the combat.  This script, which begins with: * {{_.currentCombatRound() % 2 == 1}} on round and ends with "benefit" will also buff our low Tier enemies, as well as turn over some additional loot to the adventurers when they win.   The first screen (#Slaves) below is what will be seen for any battle lost during this quest. We've written it from scratch.

On the screen above we add some connection narration for the story. Then we throw in a skill check, _Discern Intentions_ that has bearing on our first combat encounter. You'll notice I've scripted some advanced combat to randomize the enemies faced and keep them fresh: 

- {{_.randomEnemyOfClassTier("Fae", 2)}}. 

I've also added one of the "Alchemies of Alteration" (this one was called "Word of Creation"), that'll appear periodically throughout the combat.  This script, which begins with:

* {{_.currentCombatRound() % 2 == 1}} on round

and ends with "benefit" will also buff our low Tier enemies, as well as turn over some additional loot to the adventurers when they win.   The first screen (#Slaves) below is what will be seen for any battle lost during this quest. We've written it from scratch.

The battle won, the Fae impersonating "Ariel" can be Deceived or Intimidated (two Skill checks seen above) to get us to our next locations (either the _Copse_ or _Flickerwood_). 

The battle won, the Fae impersonating "Ariel" can be Deceived or Intimidated (two Skill checks seen above) to get us to our next locations (either the _Copse_ or _Flickerwood_). 

If the adventurers failed their skill checks, they have to take a more circuitous route before finding their way to the site of the final confrontation with the Lord of Illusions. Enter the _Flickerwood_ . You'll notice we have to write some connecting story narration (it's not purely copied and pasted, though the special condition applies), and thrown in combat with teens besotted by the Lord. The advanced combat script for this battle is the _Illusion of Control_  from "Alchemies of Alteration" (Vault #11) .

If the adventurers failed their skill checks, they have to take a more circuitous route before finding their way to the site of the final confrontation with the Lord of Illusions. Enter the _Flickerwood_ . You'll notice we have to write some connecting story narration (it's not purely copied and pasted, though the special condition applies), and thrown in combat with teens besotted by the Lord. The advanced combat script for this battle is the _Illusion of Control_  from "Alchemies of Alteration" (Vault #11) .

After overcoming adversity in the Flickerwood or succeeding in their skill checks against the fake "Ariel", the adventurers arrive in the final location, the Copse of Candlelight. This location is simply copied and pasted in its entirety, then we throw in 2 skill checks, to which we've added but a few words to fit them into our story. Next we will see the Lord himself and get our final combat encounter:

After overcoming adversity in the Flickerwood or succeeding in their skill checks against the fake "Ariel", the adventurers arrive in the final location, the Copse of Candlelight. This location is simply copied and pasted in its entirety, then we throw in 2 skill checks, to which we've added but a few words to fit them into our story. Next we will see the Lord himself and get our final combat encounter:

I'm not going to include the alternate combat if the adventurers fail their notice check (and suffer extra damage for it), but here is the screen if they succeed in the notice check.  You'll see we have a few instructional scripts, which appear in red and begin with ">" .  One script is for the notice check (> +1 damage...), one from our pasted location (> Suffer -2...) and then the advanced combat attack of the Lord of Illusions (in which "A simulacrum of the Fae lord appears our of nowhere and strikes". ) If the adventurers prevail in the titanic struggle, the end is brief but happy:

I'm not going to include the alternate combat if the adventurers fail their notice check (and suffer extra damage for it), but here is the screen if they succeed in the notice check.  You'll see we have a few instructional scripts, which appear in red and begin with ">" .  One script is for the notice check (> +1 damage...), one from our pasted location (> Suffer -2...) and then the advanced combat attack of the Lord of Illusions (in which "A simulacrum of the Fae lord appears our of nowhere and strikes". ) If the adventurers prevail in the titanic struggle, the end is brief but happy:

So you'll see that our Quest was a total of 182 lines (many just spacing lines, many others copied and pasted) at a total word count of 1,118, again, most of those already written for us in the "Vault" series.  If you've taken the time to get here, we're confident you're about an hour or so from crafting your own short quest. Happy scripting! Like this? Consider sharing or Tweeting it, or joining the weekly Quest Crafter mailing list for more writing inspiration. Have an idea for the next Quest Crafter or feedback on how we can make it more useful to you? Email us at Authors@Fabricate.io or leave a comment below.

So you'll see that our Quest was a total of 182 lines (many just spacing lines, many others copied and pasted) at a total word count of 1,118, again, most of those already written for us in the "Vault" series. 

If you've taken the time to get here, we're confident you're about an hour or so from crafting your own short quest. Happy scripting!

Like this? Consider sharing or Tweeting it, or joining the weekly Quest Crafter mailing list for more writing inspiration.

Have an idea for the next Quest Crafter or feedback on how we can make it more useful to you? Email us at Authors@Fabricate.io or leave a comment below.

Skills and Skill Checks [The Vault #13]

In Vault Entry #8, Haunts Unhallowed, we introduced the idea of using adventurer abilities to resolve skill checks. This week we thought we'd give you 20 prescripted skill check types you can drag and drop into the Quest Creator. For GMs and authors wishing to incorporate healing checks, we provide an alternative. We also have some ideas for anyone wishing to let adventurers craft Loot items or resolve puzzles or riddles via checks (helpful when playing with young ones). 

A reminder about one way skill checks can be used.  You can tell players to add bonuses to rolls based on their Adventurer card or the number of abilities of a certain type in their hand (ex. 3 Melee abilities grants +3 to athletic rolls). For example:

Athletic Skills = Melee Abilities.
Knowledge Skills = Magic Abilities.
Perception/Stealth Skills = Ranged Abilities.
Performance Skills = Music Abilities
Social Skills = Influence Abilities.
Sanity/Will Check = current Persona.

So how do you have easily variable skill checks?  If you start with a risk (difficulty) of 7-10, add the Tier value of any active opposition to find the target number. Without further ado:

  1. _Deception_ (#Deception)You attempt to bypass the guards through guile and confidence. > A deception :Influence: :roll: of 10+Tier level convinces the guards. A failure results in combat with them. 
  2. _Healing_ (#Healing) Fetch the healing kit. > A :roll: of 5+total hp below full health is required. On success, heal 1 hp for each point above the risk/difficulty. 
  3. _Craft Item_ (#Craft) Using the skills you've learned you craft an item for the impending quest. > On an appropriate :roll: (ie :magic: for magic items) of 12+level of the :loot: item, you succeed in crafting it. Failure costs you 10 coins per level of the Loot, as you waste time and materials. 
  4. _Climb!_ (#Climb) Scaling the cliffs/walls is the only option. > An athletics :melee: :roll: brings you triumph, but a failure results in loss of 3 hp OR :loot: worth 2 tiers.
  5. _Search Area_ (#Search)There may be a diamond in the rough here... > A search :ranged: :roll: of 15 or above yields a :loot: item equal in level to 1 for every point above 14. 
  6. _Intimidation_ (#Intimidation)The threat of your anger and power may be enough to cow the foe. > An intimidation :influence: :roll: of 10+Tier value of your foe forces them to flee (can be scripted in the combat simulator).
  7. _Escape Bonds_ (#Escape) The bonds haven't been made that can hold you...you hope. > An :athletics: :roll: of 12 or above allows you to slip free. Failure costs you 1 hp. 
  8. _Pick Lock_ (#Lock)You listen closely for the satisfying click of tumblers. > A :perception: :roll: of 10+Loot Value wins you through. Failure triggers a countermeasure dipped in poison for 3 hp damage. 
  9. _Disengage_ (#Disengage) This battle is not going well. It's best to live to fight another day. > A :roll:  of 7+Tier Value of foes allows you to flee the fight. Failure increases damage you suffer this round by 1. (We'll show you how to script this in a future Advanced Combat Forge post).
  10. _Disarm Trap_ (#Disarm) Harm and death are imminent... > A :perception: :roll: of 7+Damage done by the trap saves you from harm. Failure results in damage taken. 
  11. _Notice_ (#Notice) They thought to creep up on you. They will be the ones surprised. > A :ranged: :roll: of 15 minus the # of foes affords you an advantage. Deal +1 damage this round. Failure results in you suffering +1 damage this round. 
  12. _Sneak_ (#Sneak) It's time to avoid notice. >  A :melee: or :song: :roll: of 7+Tier Value of enemies allows you to bypass this fight. Failure lands you in melee. 
  13. _Solve Puzzle_ (#Solve) Brute force isn't the solution to all life's problems... > On a :song: or :magic: :roll: of 10+Loot Value gained, you solve the riddle and earn a reward. Failure springs a trap!
  14. _Discern Intentions_ (#Discern) Through wisdom and experience you discern the next move of your opponent. > A :song: or :influence: :roll: above 7+Tier Value of opponents allows you to avoid some of their assault. Reduce damage by 1 this round. Failure increases damage by 1. 
  15. _Tactics_ (#Tactics) You've fought their kind before, or studied how to do so. > A :roll: above 10+Tier Value of opponent let's you cancel one enemy's next Surge.
  16. _Persuasion_ (#Pers) Many a time your golden tongue has gotten you out of trouble. > A :song: or :influence: :roll: of 12 or above favorably sways the individual or crowd. 
  17. _Knowledge: Encounter Type_ (#Lore) Deep studies into the nature and behavior of this type of creature affords you an advantage. > On a :magic: :roll: of 7+Tier Value of the enemy, you can make one other ability type deal +1 damage to the foe for the remainder of the round. 
  18. _Survival_ (#Survival) You've been trained to survive in hostile environments. > On any check to endure cold, heat, or other elements, :roll: above 7+damage that would be dealt. On a success you avoid harm. On failure take the damage. 
  19. _Commerce_ (#Commerce) Your skill at trade has served you well. > On an appropriate :roll: of 10 or above you wheel and deal your way to profit equal to 10 coins for each point on the roll above 9.  
  20. _Building_ (#Building) Mastery of geometry and knowledge of materials and logistics allows you to erect or analyze structures and fortify areas. > On a :melee: :roll: of 12 or above, your preparations of the battlespace delays the party taking damage until the second round. 

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Occulted Environs [The Vault #12]

Many a magus has theorized about the location of the Fae lands.  Some believe them to be one and the same with our own, yet out of step in time. Some believe them to be in a "parallel multiverse". Still others contend they exist only in the realm of our own imagination, but that imagination is far mightier than any of us know. 

More certain is that those hidden lands have deep perils and unknown laws. Below are twenty locales from the Fae Lands to beguile and confound adventurers. 

  1. _The Felldowns_ The very air seems thicker, sound moving sluggishly through its inky mirk. > All efforts to detect foes or items suffer a -3 to the roll.  On a failure to detect foes, resolve the first round of combat without playing adventurer abilities (Loot items may still be played).
  2. _Whispering Woods_ You could swear that tree just spoke to you. > Roll a :roll: to discern the content of the whispers. On a 15 or above, an adventurer is given a premonition of the future and can choose their first ability from any in their hand before the start of the combat timer. 
  3. _Huldre Home_ The forests and caves near a local mountain chain are known to be home to indescribably beautiful Fae women, and hideously deformed Fae men. > Persona checks are required in all interactions with the Huldre/Hulda, and grow more difficult with each encounter. On failures the adventurers are charmed into service by the women or terrified by the men (lose Loot or suffer -2 to rolls after being made to do hard labor or flee). 
  4. _Faerie Circle_ This simple circle of stones or oddly colored grass in the middle of a forest clearing is a gateway to the realms of Fae. > Attempts to travel to or from the mortal and Fae lands gain a +3 while in the circle, but such travel can only be undertaken by one person at a time. Alternatively, with a proper offering, adventurers may summon a Fae to answer their questions on a :roll: of 10 or above. The Fae's answers may clear as mud, but that's another matter. 
  5. _Copse of Candlelight_ The profusion of fireflies makes it difficult to strike a target or find one's way. >  -2 to all :ranged: and :magic: abilities. -3 to any :roll: to search the area or find Loot. 
  6. _Flickerwood_ So named for the pockets of flammable gas throughout. > Use of abilities with "fire" or "lightning" in the name ignite a pocket of flammable gas on rolls of 10 or less. All enemies and adventurers take 2 damage. 
  7. _Hall of the Hanged_ To tunnels beneath the earth many transgressors have been taken by the Fae. Roots have grown about the necks of the condemned, slowly choking them to death. Some may yet live. > Those traversing the narrow halls must roll a :roll: to avoid being hooked by a viney noose. Those rolling below 10 suffer 1 damage and an additional point of damage if still ensnared during combat rounds.  
  8. _Twilight Towers_ Built when the Fae were at the height of their power, these Axis Mundi allow transportation among the worlds. > All Loot obtained while in a Tower can be used twice while one remains in the Tower.  When the Tower travels to another realm, however, all adventurers roll a :roll:. On a 10 or below one Loot item vanishes. 
  9. _The Glimmerlake_ The glowing waters of Glimmerlake are renowned for their restorative powers. > Consuming or being immersed in the waters banishes minor curses, counteracts poisons, and restores 3-5 hp.  
  10. _The Widow Wood_ The Lady that lives in this wood is so beauteous and Fell she has made more widows than some wars. > Male adventurers can only attempt violence against the Lady on an ability roll of 15 or above, no matter the printed risk on the Ability card. 
  11. _The Somnolence Cellars_ The Fae owners of this cellar use its potent magics to lull future feasts to sleep. Several creatures may be drowsing there when you arrive... > When entering the cellars and each round an ability is used, a :roll: of 7 or less results in the subject falling asleep. An action may be spent to wake a sleeper. 
  12. _Puck’s Peak/Pixie Peak/Peril’s Peak_ In turns prankish and perilous, the inhabitants of this Peak delight in changing the appearance of those transgressing their grounds. > All adventurers roll a :roll:. On a 15 or below, an illusion is placed upon the victim. The player to the victim's left chooses the nature of this illusion. It lasts until after the next combat or roleplaying encounter.  
  13. _Dwarrowblight/Dwarrowdelve_ In this place, your emotions weigh you down more than the flesh. > If below base Persona, suffer a negative to all rolls equal to the number of levels below base. 
  14. _The Black Bridge_ Joining the realms of the Fae to the Hells, it can only be trod by those steeped in sin. > To even attempt the journey requires three successful persona checks of 12 or above. Each failed check results in the loss of a persona point. If minimum persona is reached before three successes, the adventurer is trapped in Hell. 
  15. _Ascension’s Arch_ Joining the realms of Fae and Heavens, it can only be ascended by the pure. > To even attempt the journey requires three successful persona checks of 12 or above. Each failed check results in the next roll  suffering a -4. If minimum persona is reached before three successes, the adventurer is expelled and cannot ever set foot on the Arch until their death. 
  16. _Queen’s Copse_ One of many places a Faerie Queen has bedded down while traveling, remnants of her power linger there still.  > Those sleeping in the copse have strange and wondrous dreams and must make a :roll: of 12 or above. If they succeed, randomly draw a Loot item or Ability (which can then be used as though it was a single use item before being returned to the deck). 
  17. _Tatania’s Tower_Titular demesne of the Queen herself, though seldom inhabited by the Wanderlust Woman. > Anyone using Loot or eating food in the Tower must roll a 12 or higher on a :roll:, or else they are bound within the Tower until the Queen returns to question the transgressors.
  18. _Oberon’s Overlook_ King Oberon has cast many a scrying magic from this awesome overlook. Others may find such magics enhanced here too...if they can survive the climb. > Any rituals of divination employing sight automatically succeed from the Overlook.  They can provide the caster with any number of temporary benefits, from knowledge of the foes or circumstances in the next combat encounter to the next best choice when faced with a decision (essentially a "do-over"). 
  19. _Thistledown Trench_ Originally a deep canyon, over millenia it has been filled with the victims of the man with Thistledown hair. Jagged bones jut up from the ground like ivory caltrops. > All adventurers must roll a 9 or above on a :roll: or suffer 1 damage for each round spent crossing the trench.
  20. _Calaban’s Cavern_ Home to treacherous and savage Fae, the Caverns confound all those without deceitful natures. > Adventurers of an honest or honorable nature must roll a 10 or higer on a :roll: to avoid becoming lost. During the next combat encounter, lost adventurers cannot join the fight until 2 rounds have passed. They suffer no damage during this time. 

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