Ironclaw: The Will to Power

Game Master UltraFennec

An Ironclaw: Squaring the Circle game set in the environs of Triskellian, with potential to expand further. Focused on the intrigue and violence surrounding the conflicts between the rising Guilds, with a lighthearted base tone.

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OK, so I've got sufficient interest to officially have a Recruitment thread, YAY!

Before I start putting out details, here's an echo from the last thread in case people missed it:

Disclaimer of Sorts:
1)I own the Ironclaw: Squaring the Circle omnibus book, the Book of Mysteries, and the Book of Fools. These are all 2E products, and I have no older Ironclaw books. We run 2E in this dojo.

2)I've never actually run this game system before, so it's gonna be an adventure for everyone! If anyone actually has play experience from either edition of the game, please inform me of potential pitfalls if possible. I'd rather avoid landmines if it's all the same to you.

OK. Here's the pitch:

My game conceit runs thusly: In the city of Triskellian, mercantile and trade guilds of all sorts are flourishing in the absence of hereditary despotic rule. With all the house of Rinaldi essentially dead (second son Fabrizio's whereabouts unknown), and the Jakobas out of reach, the city continues business as usual as best they can.

Oft-times, business continues with a mean streak. There are multiple organizations competing for the same coin and goods in just about every field, and many of them (or factions inside them at least) are not above using unscrupulous methods for dealing with adversaries. Sometimes, this backfires.

Case in point, one rather large guild recently lost a valuable shipment of goods to a bandit attack, one surely planned by a rival guild. Needing this shipment returned to them post-haste, the PCs have been approached individually (or together as the case may be) for their skills that may be of use in returning goods to their rightful owners.

The "zero-point" for tone I'm aiming for is more on the lighthearted end of the spectrum. I'm playing in or running a bunch of serious games, so I'd like something a bit less "drama" and a bit more "comedy with serious bits." That doesn't mean things can't GET serious, just that I'll be working to bring us back to the base tone by the end of each plot arc.

Lastly, just because I'm aiming for lighthearted doesn't mean the game won't be aimed squarely at adult players. Violence, moral issues, sex, politics, emotional trauma are all things I like to use in a game to make plots feel more real and relatable. The specific degree of each of these will depend on where we fall on the scale below as a group.

That's the pitch in a nutshell. I haven't decided on what kind of manufacture or trade guild you'll be hired by, so if you've got leanings of any sort, now's the time to inform me of them!

What I Need From Applicants:

Aside from your actual character application, I need you to answer a few questions when you post that final app. The first three deals with encounter types, the rest are more of "theme" questions. Please try to keep your answers from becoming paragraphs long, thanks.

1)How much combat do you want to see? Ironclaw can be decidedly deadly for everyone at most levels of power, so think on that as you answer this question.

2)How much social RP and/or intrigue do you want to see? I've lumped this one together as the main theme of the game will cause the two to blur an awful lot as you go onwards and upwards.

3)How much "puzzle-solving" do you want to see? Mental gymnastics, convoluted riddles, investigations dealing with conundrums, and generally "impossible" situations. How much Sherlock would you like in the game?

4)How much "grit" do you want to see? Basically, how far do I need to lean toward "dark" fantasy. Keep in mind the tone in the pitch above.

5)How much "epic fantasy" do you want to see? Epic fantasy typically involves less grit and more heroics. How far do I need to lean toward this?

6)How much personal RP and interaction do you want to see? (This covers romantic sub-plots as well!) This covers resolving personally important background points, how much non-plot-important RP you want to engage in, romance, and just putting your character's personal thoughts out there.

Final NOTE: I'm pretty sure I don't have to say this, but because it's the internet: Ironclaw assumes its anthropomorphic characters act no different than any other fantasy race in another setting. IE-like people. They eat, sleep, breathe, and have the whole wide array of wants and needs every other sentient creature does. This ain't Redwall, though it's an influence.

Well, here's the rough outline of Natalia, Bat Elementalist.
I have to say that the system has changed enough that I'm going to have to read it a few times to get everything right in my mind.
And as a result, natalia is only basicly put together (stats only), because I'm not sure I did it right.

That being said, on to your questions.
1)How much combat do you want to see?
Not too much, since (as you pointed out, combat is deadly), but enough that a character with combat skills isn't bored.

2)How much social RP and/or intrigue do you want to see?
I kind of like the social/intrigue stuff, as long as it isn't overdone.

3)How much "puzzle-solving" do you want to see?
I never think of the same things that other people do, and so always have a hard time with puzzles. An occasional "Sherlock" is fine, but I don't want too much of that.

4)How much "grit" do you want to see?
I'm not into "dark" fantasy, I would prefer light and humorous. And it would fit what I envision for Natalia better than "dark".

5)How much "epic fantasy" do you want to see?
Epic Fantasy for the win. On the other hand, I don't need to save the world...

6)How much personal RP and interaction do you want to see? (This covers romantic sub-plots as well!)
I think that this is one of the strengths of PbP games, and would be all for it.

Took me a minute to parse it, but you're good on stats after I remembered your Increased Trait gifts; the only other thing I'd recommend is noting somehow which Skills are getting additional dice from your Career and Species.

Otherwise I'm pretty sure you've done it right. Or at least as far as I can tell lol. XD

Oh and in case anybody was wondering (or not), the Book of Fools is free from DTRPG. So if you want the 2E rules for Fool type careers, there they are. I'm currently attempting to PDF-ize my dead tree copy of the Book of Mysteries, which contains the 2E rules for Druidic magic, Priestly magic (those lovely high-level S'Allumer spells), Charisms, Blessed magic (Lutarism), and Kyndranigar's Virtues.

EDIT: AAAAAND my scanner just died. Awesome. New plan: if you want to play a Druid, or a powerful priest, or use any of those other cool magical options, tell me so I can PM the necessaries to you, or put a Word doc in the Dropbox.

lawl, I am almost ready with my Cat mercenary... and how much I did laugh because somehow I had picked up the demonstrated character... uhhuh.

Otherwise, don't have the Book of Fools. Might as well download it since it appears to be free. ty for info!

Madame de Vieuxpont (or, if you want to be really formal about it, Rosza Juette de Vieuxpont Lissemanteau, Écuyere d'épée, daughter of Léon de Vieuxpont, le Comte de Baudin) is a young ermine woman of obviously noble origins. Appears to be in her early twenties but who would be so impolite as to ask? Five-two, eyes blue, fur the sort of glossy white one only finds among the Lissemanteau bloodlines...And hardly ever seen in anything as feminine as a dress. Her stock accoutrements are more in line with those of a musketeer, cut to a boyish fit despite her curves, and including all of the sharp and pointy bits one might expect. She speaks Calabrese with a Doloreaux accent and occasional interjections of high Arpitan, and has been known to spend time slumming around Old Town with an ever-changing escort of hangers-on, almost always other young weasel nobility, male, and trouble-prone. In the year or so she has been around Triskellian, she has been rebuked for public drunkenness constantly and fined for discharging of firelocks within the city and illegal dueling more than once, but those who offend her are more likely to find themselves dealing with one of her highly competitive suitors than facing her own blade. Madame de Vieuxpont has all the signs of connections to wealth, but frequently seems to be half a dinar short. Frequently found playing whist with her her companions at the Plow and Stump in Old Town, or occasionally at the Compass Rose near the Docks.

She is the sort of roguish and profligate dilettante who is an endless source of scandalous gossip for other nobles, and appears to be a walking way of sorting young weasel males by hotheadedness and lack of foresight.

Under Construction::
Species/Career:Weasel Dilettante
Personality: Dashing
Local Knowledge: Lyore River Valley
Motto: "It was my duty as a Lissemanteau and a member of the old nobility to provide a proper and decorous example of civilized and cultured behavior, sweetling...So I kicked him in the groin."
Starting Goal:
Body d6, Speed d8, Mind d8, Will d6, Species d4 and Career d8

Skills ($=Species(1d4), ¢=Career(1d8)):
Deceit(d6)(Matters of Class), Digging(d4$), Dodge(d4$, d4)(Vs. Ranged Attacks), Gossip(d8¢,d4)(At parties), Inquiry(d8¢,d4)(vs. Those of Your Station), Melee Combat(d8)(vs. Mobs), Negotiation(d8¢,d6)(When Lying), Observation(d4)(When in the City), Ranged Combat(d6)(When Aiming), Stealth(d4$)

Ally, Contortionist, Dilettante's Trappings, Gang of Irregulars, Increased Trait: Speed, Literacy, Melee Guile, Nobility, Springing Strike

Given Triskellian's general Italiano vibe you're more likely to be called "Madonna" or "Signorina," but it's just a title.

I just need your answers to those questions above...(PM is fine if you'd prefer that.)

Now if only we could get some avatar pics that were actually representative of the characters.

It is... an honorary to meet such a powerful noble. Wise choice indeed to contact me when you are in need of weapons Dante smiles to his employee. A wide grin appear and lights his eyes as he bows to the noble and the right hand holding his hat stretched far away on side

pleasure to make business with you... meooow and he turns to walk away... with bigger pouch than he had come

Dante was a strong willed and a successful mercenary. He had earned his scars in battles, been in tight spots and laughed at this enemies. His golden eyes would burn with fierce fire in fights and even brighter they would be when could do what he wants. Only sky was limit to his abilities and surely he would at some point, at some day make it under his thumb

He was ambitious and quick but had rather nasty temperament. However, no matter in what kind of mood he was, he was patient. He would wait until his enemies would make mistake, he would wait and conquer that woman than the moon to disappear from the sky.

1)hm.. I am quite new to Ironclaw since never had the chance to play the game so not sure about the combat style but I would wish to see combat and interested on the system.

2)RP is the reason we play these games :) and also a chance to improve my playing/speaking/writing as well get on my character so certainly! Maybe 60/40 ratio with RP and combat in my opinion

3)Would be interesting and depending on the consequences. more challenging, more rewarding I would say. Would be nice to test PC´s abilities to judge and think what to do in current situations

4)With this I would say yes. I am definitely a huge fan of grit fantasy and players but understanding my fellow players and the enjoyment I am not really requesting for that way. Some occasion of grit maybe but the plan for this part sounds good to me

5)EPIC all the way!! just.. For the love of Shelyn!

6)Definitely. I am interested to see the plots and developments of PC´s and interactions between their past, allies and other players and how situation keeps going forward. Important part of evolving/growing your pc characteristic in my opinion if I dare say

Eek. I forgot to paste those in!

1) More than a little, but optimally most of it should avoid lethality (on all sides). I would vote for real risks for the really important stuff, but handle things that aren't plot critical on a more swashbuckling/cinematic level. This is probably no surprise given the nature of my character app...

2) Lots of both. For me, one of the more nifty things about Ironclaw is its division socially of the different roles of the nobility and the commoners in diverse societies, and of course when that division breaks down and one has disenfranchised rakes slumming among desperate types, it creates further backlash when said rakes try to deal with nobility again. I'm a literary pain, I know, but consider the relationship between Falstaff and Young Prince Henry in Shakespeare's Henry IV...Living the low life as drunkards and highwaymen because the kingdom doesn't need a prince and a knight. (Actually, if you cross Prince Henry with Lady Brett Ashley from Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, you've got about 90% of my character concept, right there.) So anyway, yes. Lots of roleplay, both low intrigue and high intrigue.

3) A bit. Some is good. It becomes problematic if the entire campaign grinds to a halt because nobody can figure out the puzzle, though.

4) Some. I don't like Disneyland, but I don't feel a need for description of the charmingly typical medieval trend towards using the streets as open sewer systems or other such unpleasantness.

5) Some. I don't really go for 'The PCs save the world.' kind of things, but they still should have heroic potential that they can rise to.

I'd have to say I'd go for about a 60/40 ratio of Grit/Epicness. The ugly side of town is ugly, life can be nasty, brutish and short, but at the same time you have paladins who are the equivalent of medieval superheroes...Enough grit to make it really obvious who the pure and noble (of intent, not blood) people are, while still maintaining elbow room for antiheroes, nasty villains, and corruption.

6) Bunches. I agree with Natalia on this. But I'd also note that I have a tendency to front-load characters with tons of potentially usable hooks via background situations and ready-made NPCs, and you sure as heck shouldn't be expected to use all of them!

I like the responses I'm seeing so far, though I feel I should step in and make a few things clearer.

I don't really do the "RP/Combat Divide" thing. For one, most situations in my games can be attended to in many different manners, and if the group leans toward one or the other, so be it.

For two, Ironclaw is decidedly not the typical sword n sorcery adventure that most RPGs are. Social actions have consequences, and the PCs aren't able to step outside the typical societal boundaries by virtue of being adventurers. If anything they're looked at with a varying degree of disdain outside of Triskellian, which has become more lax toward them because the Guilds need a lot of muscle and people to do things for them.

Physical combat is deadly in this system. Like, you can be one-shotted at just about any time if you fail to defend yourself deadly (if your attacker(s) roll well enough, of course). Armor and defensive skill will help your survival, but there's no guarantee of survivability in this world, and resurrection is impossible for just about all intents and purposes.

I've not had opportunity to run the game before, but I'm going to attempt to calibrate combat challenges to a level that won't see people wiped out regularly. On the flipside of that, I do not "fudge" things, especially since we've got a built-in die-roller here. The dice will fall where they may, and we'll all deal with the consequences.

I don't say this to dissuade anyone from their chosen paths, or to make anyone mad, or to put down your idea of "fun." Just making sure we're all on the same page: Knowing that you can die just as easily as your opponents, take proper precautions and think about whether you really want to draw your sword before initiating deadly hostilities.

Liberty's Edge

Still working on my actual character concept, but I can at least answer the questions.

1. I'll be honest, I like the combat part of any rpg I play in most. So obviously, I'd like to see a good deal of it. Admittedly, having never played this system, I could be misjudging it a bit. I guess I want to see just what the combat system can really do before I settle for less. Still, I play L5R, I know how to handle things without combat going around.

2. I like to see some social RP, of course, and intrigue is a must when sneaky deeds are being done. Do I want most of the game to be that? No. I have a pretty full schedule, so sometimes when I pop in it'll only be a couple lines of talking. Hard to keep a good social interaction running for me at times.

3. Puzzles are always hard to gauge. Sometimes they can be quite enjoyable when designed properly (multiple methods of solving is usually a good thing). Puzzles are bad when you design them with only one way to solve them, unless you describe it in great detail. There are exceptions for dramatic license, of course (by which I mean, if we're in a situation where success or failure will mean a significant shift in the story in one direction, then I actually advocate the single specific method. Make the PCs work to obtain their goals when it really matters).

4. I kinda wonder why you asked this question, when you already said you wanted a lighthearted adventure, but oh well. I don't really want to see much grit here. I also have some dark games I'm in already, and don't need more. A pinch here, a dash there, and we'll be fine.

5. Epic fantasy is very fun, though I think it could actually work against the basic lighthearted vibe you want. By its own virtues, epic fantasy tends to end up being more serious the deeper you get. Now, if we want more cinematic stylings, I'd be all for it. To actually answer the question, though: A dab of epic fantasy. I think it's kinda required in some small measure, given that magic is involved.

6. Here's where I diverge from everybody else: I don't want a ton of this. It's very useful, don't get me wrong, but I tend to fall flat when there is no clear goal to go after. I tend to do most of my character development in tiny bits as I go, and the biggest chunks tend to come out during pre and post combat speeches. Conflict makes my characters grow, I guess.

Concept for first idea was a horse paladin, not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer. I don't know how well he'd fit here, honestly. I also thought about a wolf druid, as well as a tiger warlock. No clue. I could frankly do just about anything with this game right now (except play an armadillo. They just aren't...heroic to me).

1,2&3: I do like combat, and I plan on making a tough as nails combat character. That being said, I absolutely hate when a system makes you sacrifice non-combat effectiveness for combat effectiveness. I love utility/problem solving and roleplay, so I'd like to see a balance of all three. Seriously, I love it all. I'd love to see a high action, social puzzel solving game.

4&5: I'm making a gritty character since the setting sounds pretty gritty. That being said, I could go either way (I prefer grit though).

6: I ain't squeamish about heavy personal involvement. Bring it all on.

That being said, I do not have the book and have no idea what I'm doing in regards to making the character. I'm going to need a little hand holding.

Basically, I'm looking to make the world's toughest and scariest close quarters guy. Someone who is well known for what he does. Marv, Wolverine, The Midnighter and Batman are some good inspirations.

Anyone mind helping me out?

I've PMed you about the corebook, Digger, and some ideas/elucidation on the general chargen setup of Ironclaw.

As far as grittiness goes, combat in Ironclaw fits the bill, but the general vibe of the setting isn't particularly gritty, as the setting tries very hard to feel historically correct as far as emulating Europe leading up to the Renaissance (which I don't really find gritty that much.)

I should define what I mean, probably.

GM UltraFennec's Official Working Definition(s) of "Grit" As Pertaining to RolePlaying Game Settings!:

When I say something about "grit" in a setting I'm looking at two things, typically simultaneously.

1)Literal grit. Roughness. How hard is life in this setting, and how much of that will the players see? Are the nasty, rough and tumble parts of town actually rough, or are they "fantasy rough," which usually means not dangerous at all to the PCs?

Think historical fiction set in the appropriate era, historical fantasy, and any fiction that aims for realism over fantasy tropes. Think Game of Thrones.

2)Dark fantasy story elements. Not specifically related to 1, but they often go together, almost all the time for me. In RPGS, this is where the noir elements show up as well. Typically a "dark" setting encompasses themes like the age of heroes being long past, cultural stagnation, absence of human rights in the world, and a general sense that things ain't getting any better for anyone.

Think Black Company, Malazan Book of the Fallen (equally epic, but still dark), Game of Thrones again.

The amount of grit I intend to use in this game is sparing in regards to #2, and I'd say about average in regards to #1, the latter being whatever level fits the setting described in the corebook. There are rough parts of life everywhere, but with the PCs' uncommon skill they can avoid some of it.

I don't intend to invoke much dark fantasy here. It makes things really serious, and as I said in the old thread, I've got enough serious gaming going on for now.

You can certainly go ahead and make "Marv" in this game, rather easily actually, but playing straight-up Sin City "Marv" will clash with the tone of the rest of the game. Things will probably become more clear once you've read the book a bit. Suffice it to say that while I'm down with your concept, he'll need to step back from the noir elements a bit to mesh with the setting and group as I'm presenting it.

No problem. I can take the character wherever you'd like him to go in order to mesh with the story.

The thing that is most important to me is having the character have strong ties to the setting and the story, which is hard to do given my lack of knowledge. I want my character to care about what is happening. I'll need help with that. I'm very open to suggestions.

1)How much combat do you want to see?
I would like some but not lots.

2)How much social RP and/or intrigue do you want to see?
I vote for a fair amount of this.

3)How much "puzzle-solving" do you want to see?
I like puzzles and such so this would be nice to have.

4)How much "grit" do you want to see?
I would love to see if someone could pull off gritty and humorous.

5)How much "epic fantasy" do you want to see?
Epic is nice but like affecting big things rather then epic things.

6)How much personal RP and interaction do you want to see? (This covers romantic sub-plots as well!)
A fair amount is nice but I dont intend to get any romance myself.

+1 to what Digger Cole just said about background.
note alot of times my background gets built during play as I reference things in my char's past that I made up right then.

@Digger: Check your e-mail, I invited you to my Game Stuff Dropbox. It has corebook. Corebook haz setting! YEY! XD

@Quinn: I don't necessarily need a huge background writeup, but I would like to see some background work in everyone's applications.

Doesn't have to be a huge deal or anything, or really detailed. A basic explanation of where your character's from, how they ended up in Triskellian and why, and a few personal bits that I can pull to use in plot hooks is sufficient.

Added some background. I hope everything fits okay.

I'm interested in trying out for this. I don't have the rule book though. Is there an online reference somewhere?

Quinn Hildring wrote:
Added some background. I hope everything fits okay.

Interesting choice with they d4 Career die. Quinn relies on her natural talent more than her training in thaumaturgy then?

One other thing: given your background says Quinn's from Zhongguo, I'm thinking your name is probably an assumed name that's reasonably close to your actual Zhonggese name, since the various nations of Zhongguo use a nomenclature much closer to classical Chinese and Indian convention, or transliterations thereof (ie-an iconic character called "Bitter Storm" or "Mei Huiling.")

People should be grateful you're so magnanimous and don't force them to puzzle out your real name! XD

Since there's been some talk about 'How much combat is too much?' and it has been noted that Ironclaw has Very. Very. Lethal. Combat. I thought I would put together a few quick examples as to how it works:

I'm going to utilize two of the characters provided at the back of the book and put them through a simple melee and ranged exchange. I'm going to use Deirdre and Hendrick because they both have low-end Body traits (d4 and d6 respectively) and there's a pistol involved, so I can show the difference between gun-type ranged weapons (which have the Slaying characteristic...Very nasty!) and other weapons.

I'm not going to bother with Hendrick's Springing Strike gift since these aren't exchanges, they're single attacks. I'm also not going to fuss with initiative because I want to set up some deliberate examples of 'X attacks Y with Z', but be aware of the chart on the bottom right of p.114. In most games Initiative rolls just decide who goes first. In IC either one side or the other goes first depending on who started the fight (so if combat is inevitable, throwing the first punch is a good idea!), a botched Initiative roll can seriously screw you up...And an overwhelming success can not only let you go first but let you have a free action via Focus, or interrupt someone else's action (which will be DIFFICULT to handle in PbP, if not impossible. Ideas for that, UF?). Focus is important in general, it's at the top of p.116, but my goal here is to demonstrate lethality so I'm going to skip it for the moment.

In IronClaw, 5 wounds will kill anyone. ANYONE. Also, an awful lot of things will send a character 'Reeling,' which ends your turn and gives anyone else a d8 bonus to hit them. A full explanation of damage levels is on p.129.

You get two actions/round (usually). They must be different, you can't attack twice (two weapons lets you use either one, not both, so the fencing style of having an attacking weapon and a parrying weapon is nicely represented here.) One of those actions can be Aiming, which grants you an extra d8...And apparently you can Aim melee strikes. I assume this represents taking a moment to line up your thrust or whatever.

In Ironclaw, a defender can respond various ways to various attacks: dodge, parry, or counter (a counter is a countering attack...You take the enemy's attack and hope it won't hit, you aren't doing anything to stop it, but you get an attack against them). I suggest that we get used to making combat declarations like 'I'm going to do blahblahblah this turn, and if X attacks me, I will parry, if Y attacks, I will dodge.'

Example 1: Melee, defender attempts to parry.:

Hendrick is the real melee monster of this pairing, so I'm going to begin with him. He has a Rapier, which is a rather nice weapon that gives Dmg +2 and Critical. Critical means that if you score two full successes, the weapon does one bonus damage. The Dmg +2 means after all damage is determined from successes, from critical, and from Slaying, the weapon does 2 more points of Damage.

Assuming Hendrick hasn't Aimed (he has used his first action to get close), he rolls d8, d6 to attack with his rapier. Deidre rolls 2d4 to parry with her sword. Dice aren't cumulative in Ironclaw, so the maximum Deidre can roll is a 4, and the maximum Hendrick can roll is an 8. Let's assume Deidre sees Hendrick coming and has used one of her actions this turn to Guard - granting her an extra d8 on defense. She is now rolling d8, 2d4 against Hendrick's d8, d6.

Hendrick rolls 4, 5...Good thing Deidre was on Guard. The 5 would have beaten anything she could manage otherwise.
Deidre rolls 4, 4, 3...And Hendrick hits anyway.
Deidre is hit...Which automatically sends her reeling. For the rest of this turn, and until she recovers next turn, attacks against her will get a bonus d8.
Only one of Hendrick's dice rolls higher than Deidre's highest die (the 5 v. the 4) so his attack only does 1 base point of damage. He doesn't get the bonus from his rapier's Critical because he didn't get a second success (if he had, it would've added 1 damage for the success...And a bonus critical point for having two natural successes). But the rapier Hendrick is using grants Dmg +2, so he has now caused 3 points of damage.
Deidre has a d4 soak die, but she is also wearing leather armor (d6) so her soak roll is d6, d4. She needs 4s or better to soak the damage. She rolls a 3, 2 and soaks none of it.
Deidre takes 3 points of damage. She is now Hurt, Afraid and Injured. This means she will take 1 extra damage point from being hit for the rest of the fight; she is too afraid to attack (but she can Counter! Very risky...); and being Injured she takes another extra damage point (stacking with the one from Hurt).
If Deidre suffers 1 more point of damage she will be dying, and unable to take any action...But the odds are good, due to Hurt and Injured, that if she takes any damage, it will NOT be just one point.

And that's how lethal combat in Ironclaw is. Now as a Player Character, Deidre would get a Combat Save unavailable to an NPC. This is a Gift that can be used to negate a Dying, Dead or Overkill result from any one attack...But it can only be used once in a fight, then she would need 8 hours of rest and a decent meal to refresh it. She would have been better off using her Dodge (d10, 2d8) but I wanted to make a point...

Some alternative outcomes: If Deidre's parry had been successful she would have been completely uninjured. If she had tied Hendrick, she would have had to choose either to retreat a step (Forcing Hendrick to use an Action next turn to close the distance before attacking again), or stay where she was and be hit (bad idea).

Example 2: Melee, defender attempts to counter.:

Assuming a fresh Deidre attacking Hendrick with her short sword. The Short Sword has Dmg +1, and it is Impaling. That means on a successful hit, the defender can choose to retreat and suffer damage as normal, OR if they stand their ground, the Short Sword is treated as having Dmg +2.

Assuming Deidre has chosen to Aim, she gains a d8 to her usual 2d4 Sword Attack roll. Hendrick will be choosing to Counter-attack USING Parry... When you counter, you select a defense (either Parry or Dodge), and roll using that defense. It happens that Hendrick is parrying using the same d8, d6 he would roll for a normal attack with his rapier (he isn't using a second weapon which might have better parrying characteristics, for example).

Deidre rolls 5, 4, 3 to attack. That Aim clearly helped.
Hendrick counter-attacks, rolling 6, 6.
Deidre didn't beat Hendrick's highest die, so Hendrick isn't hit. But Hendrick did beat her highest die, so Deidre is hit.
Alternative outcomes: If Deidre had beaten Hendrick's dice, he would have been hit. If they had TIED, both of them would have been hit.
Countering is a risky proposition. In this case, it pays off for Hendrick.
Hendrick has beaten Deidre's roll with TWO of his dice. His Counter does 2 base points of Damage AND gets the bonus from the Rapier's Critical for a third point, AND gets the Dmg +2 which normally accrues to a Rapier...So Deidre has a d6, d4 to soak against 5 points of damage. At best, she will come off in the same state she did in the first example.
At worst, Deidre takes 5 points of damage and she's DEAD. Did we say something about lethality?

Example 3: Ranged, using a pistol.:

The squirrel isn't making a very good showing, but she's a ranged specialist. Let's assume this began as a close-quarters struggle and somehow Deidre managed to lift Hendrick's pistol from his belt...A good thing, because her bow isn't really usable at Close range.

A pistol does Slaying damage. That means for every successful hit die, it does TWO points of damage. Ouch. A pistol also has the Spark characteristic, which means a d10 is rolled to see if it even goes off. On a botch, it hang fires, its spark die is reduced and...You can see the rest on p.103. Point being, it's slightly iffy...But that doesn't make up for how lethal it is if it hits.

Realizing the squirrel now has a loaded gun, Hendrick attempts to get away. This is a sane move in more ways than one. A good Dash will put him 5 paces away...And just barely out of Near Range. That gets him an extra d8 to roll in an attempt to dodge the shot.

Unfortunately, Deidre has Sharpshooter, which reduces Range penalties by 1 step. Hendrick doesn't get the bonus die.
Deidre Aims, which gets her a bonus d12 due to her Veteran Gift.
Deidre rolls d12, d10, d8 and Hendrick tries to Dodge using D10, 2d8.

Deidre rolls the Spark die and gets a 2...Close! But the pistol DOES go off. She then rolls 11, 8, 8. Ouch.
Hendrick's Dodge dice come up 7, 7, 1, and it's a sad day for the Weasel.
Because of the Pistol's Slaying characteristic, each of Deidre's 3 successes does TWO Wounds, for 6 wounds...And the Pistol also has Dmg +2 for a total of 8 wounds.
Hendrick has a single d6 Soak die and Leather Armor for another d6. The best he can Soak is two wounds.
That leaves 6.
Hendrick is SO VERY messily dead from this single attack that he is considered Overkilled. All of his allies within 4 paces become Afraid. If someone doesn't Rally them, they can only Counter, not Attack.

It's amazing what you can accomplish with Weasel brains if you spread them around a bit.

So, yes. Combat in Ironclaw == Really, really deadly. The Player Character Combat Save gift would allow Deidre and Hendrick to negate (completely) the damage they took in Examples 2 and 3...But it can only be used once per fight. Generally, anything but the lightest wound will put a character out of the fight until they can be healed. Starting level White Magic (p.87) allows the removal of the Hurt condition (not Injured!) in combat, and allows Dying to be replaced by Fatiged. First Aid takes 5 minutes to apply (for the Hurt condition), so by that time the odds are everyone on one side or the other will be dead or in retreat...It isn't a 'mid-fight' option! The Journeyman Level White Magic spell Healing (p.306) can (potentially!) remove Injured as well as Hurt.

Which makes me ask...Do we have anyone planning to play a healer?

Put some more background into Natalia, and cleaned up the profile a bit (although I'm still entering battle info).

Natalia is the youngest daughter of a minor noble family of House Repense. To her family, she has only minor use currently (even her status as marriage bait is low), so they allowed her to travel to Triskellian to study magic at the Dunwasser College. This suited Natalia just fine, as her delight and hunger for magic was appeased (but only for a while, since she wants to understand and use all the magic from all the schools someday).

Part of her lowly status in her family is the fact that she is very small, standing only 6 hands high. And given the normal bat's tendancy to thinness, she could pass as a child (she is "thin" enough to pass as a male child even, something that irks her no end). Since it is hard to interest suitors in a "child bride", her family tends to see her as a "small" liability. Maybe someday, she will grow (although, much to Natalia's consternation, she hasn't grown at all, in heigth or "curviness").

Liberty's Edge

Despite not quite knowing how I'm going to fit a paladin into this mess, I'm going forward with the horse paladin. Working him up.

EDIT: So essentially just as deadly as L5R. I can work with that. Strangely, though, it seems the more deadly a system is, the more I want to play combat characters. Huh.

As for healy bits, I was planning on doing some, being a paladin and all. Apprentice white magic, taking the first aid gift for that bonus d12, etc. It'll be there.

Deadlands is as bad with only 3 wounds but everyone rolls at end of combat to see if dying or dead.

I do like Deadlands exploding dice though, would be quite nice in this game.

I modded skills. but yes she relies on her natural abilities a bit too much. Though she is looking forward to improving her magic and combat skills so she might learn some white magic if no one else does.

A "not the brightest tool in the shed" paladin getting swindled into doing not nice things because he gave all his money to the poor beggars lining the gates into Triskellian? It's more likely than you'd think.

Though your first job at least will involve bandits, so it's not too taxing on the conscience.

Another good note! NOTE: please try to remember that Calabria doesn't have what you would call "anything resembling modern ethical boundaries." Bandits on the road? Kill em. Thieves stealing your stuff? Cut off their hands, or kill em if you can. Victim of traumatic crime? Kill the culprit if you can, send the victim off to a nunnery/monastery where they can avoid descending into sin via mere contact with it. Or if they're a commoner, continue to not give a crap about them and leave.

Sure, the church of S'Allumer and the Lutarists espouse a certain amount of caring, generosity, and general all around goodness, but even that has practical limits.

Yeah, medieval ethics suck. Remember though that this is the world your characters come from and inhabit. People can only deviate from their environment so much before it becomes less-than-believable.

As to morality, being a paladin, and all that...This is the era when a certain bishop (Arnaud Amalric) said something you've probably all heard variations on:

"Kill them all. God will know those who are his own."

"Paladin" does not necessarily mean 'Good according to modern morals.' In fact, a quick read of the religions of the IC world presents some pretty scary paladin ideas. (There's a short, comicy overview starting on p.85 but for the rest you have to dig through all of the fluff in the middle of the book). The Church of S'Allumer (the biggest, most popular, and pretty much a medieval Christian Church analog) condones altruism, charity, chastity, humility, kindness, patience, selflessness, temperance...And zealotry. You don't hear that one listed in the virtues these days. The Doloreaux have a matriarchal semi-buddhist (reincarnation, past lives, etc.) religion, and while their priestesses are not permitted to do violence, they have vidames ("Defenders of the Faith") who are essentially paladins. The Phelan are animist, sort of, and Druidic. The OLD Avoirdupois religion (now outlawed as a heresy) is sun-worship...Loads of fire magic. That's the only one that might require some paladin template-tweaking, substituting in elementalism for white magic.

It'd be unlikely, I imagine, for a paladin who was a horse-type to be any religion other than S'Allumer or Heliodroment (Sun worship). The latter could be handled as easily as putting a Gift point into Elemental Magic and limiting yourself to spells that could be easily described using fire effects. Looking at the Gift (p.84-85) that'd let you do Ignite Fire and Move Fire, as well as minor elemental effects involving fire, and talk to fire elementals. Or, you could just say that your White Magic was effectively sun-based, or something.

Sun worshippers aren't EVIL by default (although there is a villainous sun-worshipper NPC in the rulebook). They're just a banned, hunted heresy. I can't imagine any reason why a paladin of a heretical sect, a traditionalist driven out by this new, upstart religion, might be slumming around with a bunch of other lowlifes. Nope. Can't think of even one.

Really Rosza, maybe your house of noble stoats are lowlifes, but the House of Repense in not lowlife at all!

Edit: Sorry, sorry! Natalia just felt like speaking up then. Really, she's not difficult at all. Really. (Now be quiet and hang over there!) - the Player (~_^)

"Darling, what are you going on about? I said 'other lowlifes'. I displayed a general garment, dear Lady. Art claiming t'is cut to thy fit? Perhaps if'n spent a touch more time looking at the world right-side up, things wouldn't be so quick to go to your head."

(See this? This is the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Honest!)

General warning: I'm going to be visiting a brother this weekend, and I probably won't have much time if any to be surfing the web. Anything you ask me is likely not going to be answered until Sunday night at the earliest.

And given how slowly we've been garnering more potential players, I think it's safe to put the application deadline in officially.

PLEASE have finalized character applications in by the evening of Monday, April 23, 11 PM Central Daylight Time (DST is stupid, BTW). Preferably by posting in this thread as an alias of your application character.

I will then spend what time I have available over the next day or so perusing applications, and post my final decisions here in this thread.

I will be accepting 4-5 players, depending on number of applicants, how well I think characters will jive together, plot hooks I can use with them, and my own sanity.

As the combat examples above show, I've been trying to poke at the 2d Edition system a bit (I am mostly familiar with the first). I am quite familiar with the world/setting though, so if anyone needs any help with characters, message me or post here, and I'll try to provide.

Liberty's Edge

My concept is taking a bit of a left turn, as it were. Wolf warrior of some type I think. Closer to my original thoughts, and plus I just really like wolves. More than likely to be Phelan rather than Bisclavret (yes I will take language: calabrese).

If someone makes a badger named Francis or a white wolf named Darius, I will point and laugh then smack them for the unoriginality.

Phelan=awesome. Especially if you take the time to find interesting Gaelic words for them to say. The old Irish spoke Gaelic, right? Or was it something else? :confused:

Liberty's Edge

Given the time frame in the game, it'd be either Middle Irish, or Classical Irish. Essentially Gaelic, but more modern. I imagine that the druids still speak the original Gaelic, which may or may not have been termed Goidelic. Gaelic started amongst the Irish Celts, and has an essentially unbroken history, so yeah it fits them perfectly. Definitely hunting names and terms to pepper in there.

As for pelt colors, I was thinking more of a cool gray, with white and black accents. A nice backdrop for those tribal markings.

Anybody care what my career may be?

Wandslinger wrote:

Given the time frame in the game, it'd be either Middle Irish, or Classical Irish. Essentially Gaelic, but more modern. I imagine that the druids still speak the original Gaelic, which may or may not have been termed Goidelic. Gaelic started amongst the Irish Celts, and has an essentially unbroken history, so yeah it fits them perfectly. Definitely hunting names and terms to pepper in there.

As for pelt colors, I was thinking more of a cool gray, with white and black accents. A nice backdrop for those tribal markings.

Anybody care what my career may be?

Seems like 'What would you consider fun?' is the correct answer.

Although given earlier conversation, I think we're still in need of a healer. Unless Jlord was planning on rolling that way?

Nobody's applied with a healing-magic-capable concept yet, and it's almost exclusively the province of the S'Allumer church. Not that you couldn't have a Phelan wolf involved with the church. That'd be playing against type pretty hard, and would be kinda cool actually.

If you're looking to create a more "typical" Phelan, the Mercenary jumps out at me and is supported by the setting. And while it's not a career, the Phelan are known for their particularly impressive Atavists.

I don't think the various druid careers have any healing magic, but I have the Book of Mysteries if you want to play one.

I do intend to expand my magic so I could take white magic next gift or switch it out now and take reflection later, if no one takes it now.

Liberty's Edge

I read the Atavisms. Against my usual nature of acquiring more power, I actually don't want to use those. Didn't we already have a Cat mercenary app? I was kinda leaning toward dopplesoldner, but is that too much death?

Looking over the Atavisms, I see that they are too much more powerful that some gifts, or add to gifts that you have to already get. I don't think you would be too overpowered to take some Atavisms.
Careers just give you some starting skills and gifts. It doesn't matter what career you take, as long as you're happy. Dopplesoldner is nice, and you might look into Pit Fighter too. Or maybe Bounty-Hunter would fit your concept better (Melee plus Brawling skills, and Shadowing and Tracking gifts). The job title is odd, but the skills and gifts feel Phelan.

We've had a number of apps of various sorts. Don't worry about doing "the same thing" someone else is. Iz cool.

On that NOTE: Everyone who wants their application to be considered needs to have them posted by...approximately 7 hours from now.

Talked with DM, think I found a concept that works for me now.

Here's the basic sheet. Finishing touches forthcoming later.

Touch o' background:
Ceallach was born and raised in Phelan lands, living a rather normal life. He dreamed of becoming a Fiann, and practiced with a wooden spear he made himself everyday he could.

At the age of 17, he was captured by Bisclavret agents, alongside his brothers and sisters in arms while attempting to raid a trade caravan passing near the borders. They were all sold into slavery. Ceallach himself ended up in the fighting pits in Triskellian.

After 5 brutal years, he rose to the top of his local ring, and finally won his freedom after a particularly bloody bout that left massive claw scars all down his left flank.

Now, for the past year, he has sought his fortune in this foreign city. With no idea how to get home, he has done his best to find a place here, while continuing to cultivate the wild soul of his people.

Man, I really want into this game, but real life is stomping my toes.

I'm currently moving and won't have internet up at my new house for another 10 days or so. I get plenty of online time at work, but I can't download to my work computer, which makes getting into the game book the GM sent me a little tricky.

My character concept is pretty fleshed out, and I would be completely fine having my character introduced late if necessary.

Another option would be to have someone with more experience (who would be willing to help me) build the mechanical framework for my character for me. I wouldn't mind. After I can fully digest the game book, I could bring up any potential changes I'd like to try.

Sorry for the inconvenience. I understand if my bad timing creates more work than anyone wants to deal with.

Actually, I was looking into making a bear cleric healer, but I'm not even 1/4 of the way trough making the character, let alone a back ground.

Oh well. Have fun everybody.

So far so good it seems.

Thought I am still thinking about background for my Cat Mercenary. To tie him more to Phelan or Ridali. The background is little bit open but then could always fill it during "adventures". Older mercenary (at his middle-age?) who appears to surprise and reveal new sides of him (as leveling up -> choice of gifts / additional career)

I see him completely like a Jarlaxle the Mercenary Drow (from Forgetten Realms, Drizzt books) Working as a role-model

OK, since I've gotten at least one PM from my crosspost, and a few interested people hanging on here but a bit late, and because I believe circumstances are important and make a difference, here's what I'm going to do:

I will select FOUR characters to begin the game ASAP. While they're doing that, everyone who's interested but not ready yet can finish their character applications.

I'm assuming that Digger will take the longest given his circumstances, so once he's done, I'll review the remaining apps, and select one, maybe two more and add them to the game once there's an appropriate spot to do so.

But six people is the absolute maximum my brain can handle with regards to PCs. I've tried more before, and the game invariably implodes because I go crazy. With that in mind, if I don't select your character app, don't despair completely, as I'll be checking back here first for replacements if people drop the game. Cold comfort, I know, but that's how it is in my castle.

I hope I get in.

Good luck to everyone else I have enough fingers crossed for everybody thrice over. :)

Thanks for the extra time.

After much consideration, I've decided on the first four party members. These four will be kicking off the initial portion of the game, and whoever comes in afterward will join them when I can find a place appropriate for it.

Our next contestants on the Price is Right are:

Rosza Juette de Vieuxpont Lissemanteau, Weasel Dilettante (and her faithful friend/retainer Guillaume),
Natalia Ivanova, Bat Elementalist,
"Quinn Hildring", Tiger Thaumaturge of Zhongguo,
Ceallach Mac Seitheach, Wolf Pit-Fighter and Atavist.

To everyone else, the next one or two contestants will be chosen once Digger Cole's app is done, since he's got the longest stretch of time to wait. If you want this to happen sooner, find ways to help him out! XD

I'll be generating a Discussion/OOC thread shortly where the party can discuss more specifics and I can spit out some more info related to game start.

WooHoo! Discussion thread here!

Just checking in here again to see who, if anyone, is still looking to join up. Remember that I'm looking to add one or two more players to the mix once the last apps are in!

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