Old School Rules (Shadowdark) RPG System: Gorgana Colony

Game Master DeJoker

Gorgana is an old penal colony located far from civilization. It is only feasibly approachable by airship due to the treacherous rocky desert that lies between the impassible mountain range which Gorgana is located next to and the nearest settlement to the far east.

To say that the inhabitants are truly criminals would be wrong, as the original inhabitants have all died except for an old crippled elf named Kurúki. In fact a majority of the population are actually descendents of criminals, political dissendents, and prisoners of war which are predominately what get sent here. The original group were brought here to the remains of an ancient city built into the mountain walls and next to a large stone wall that seals off the valley beyond. Strangely the wall has never had a opening built into it but does have three mechanisms to lower a platform down the one hundred feet from its top to the ground on the other side. The housing for the mechanism is ancient stone, while the mechanism and the materials its made of are not. Basically the community maintains these mechanisms in order to more safely make excursions into valley beyond.

The players will be those youthful individuals having gain the designation of explorer. Explorers are those tasked with delving deeper into the valley to find treasures. They are well thought of by the community as they are the life's blood of the community. For what they bring back is what eventually gets traded to the erratic arriving airships in exchange for valuable equipment and supplies not obtainable by the community.

For Guidelines on character creation see Recruitment except players start at 1st-Level for this game.

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No preference on ammo

Neutral Half-Orc Thief HP: 4/4 AC: 13 Torches Lit: 0/6 Slots 13/16

For Ammo I vote 2

Male Human Priest 1

Never thought I'd play a game where determining who is carrying the torch became such a major factor. Almost everyone needs two hands. Gaspar could volunteer to carry it, but he needs his shield to stay upright without better AC, and taking a round to drop the torch and draw the mace would take out one of our better melee characters and perhaps the light. Do denizens of the dungeon require light like the PC's do? When we played this game in tabletop we actually hired a torchbearer.

Not sure I like an adventure being nerfed by who is carrying the torch... but we'll see how things progress. I'll have to check the spell lists but perhaps when he gets a new spell Gaspar could pray for Light, and cast it on his sheild???

As for the denizens of the Shadowdark you can assume many of them do not need light for one reason or another as that is part of the theme of Shadowdark -- things get a lot more dangerous when lights go out.

Further the GM is strongly encouraged to "attack" the light source via various means and situations. So no the adventure is not being nerfed by who is carrying the torch -- who is carrying the torch is a major aspect of the game because, as stated, if it goes out things get a lot nastier rather quickly.

That being said the Wizard can carry the torch, as they technically only need one hand to cast most spells. The trick might be when they actually do need both hands to cast a spell.

Appearance | Female human shaman 1 | AC 10, HP 6/6 | Spells: Burning Hands, Magic Missile, Sleep

Okay, I’ll hold the torch for now and wield my dagger in the other hand, ready to drop the weapon I if I need to cast.

Okay Fanki are you leaving your staff at home then?

I ask because you cannot just put your staff in your backpack. However, you can walk with your staff in one hand, the torch in the other and then if you need to cast a spell you can just lean the staff up against yourself.

Further I would let you fight with your staff one-handed it just does 1 step less damage 1d4 instead of 1d6 and you have a -2 To Hit with it.

Of course you can always, set the Torch on the floor instead of just dropping it as Action, however a Torch on the floor gives off half as much bright light.

Appearance | Female human shaman 1 | AC 10, HP 6/6 | Spells: Burning Hands, Magic Missile, Sleep

I'll just use the dagger and leave the staff at home. They do the same amount of damage!

Also, it looks like Gimli got that nat 20 on the first try for the puzzle, so Fanki won't need to attempt it. :)

Ah he did not mask it as requested so still you should make at least 1 roll to cover the round that Grimli aces it, who knows maybe you will ace it as well.

Appearance | Female human shaman 1 | AC 10, HP 6/6 | Spells: Burning Hands, Magic Missile, Sleep

Okay, will do so.

I still think I need (unless I missed it) a single file marching order as well.

Okay so is everyone still here?

Neutral Half-Orc Thief HP: 4/4 AC: 13 Torches Lit: 0/6 Slots 13/16

yup, just waiting to resolve the door and then advance into the darkness

Torch: 1d6 ⇒ 5

Male AC12 (Shield with bonus), HP [4]/4 Fort+2 Ref-1 Wil +2 Human Fighter

Is Ellis also there?

I am good with Ellis being there and working out any fine points as needed.

Okay Gaspar I am a bit confuzzled here can you please clarify some things.

1) I had you down as having picked up a Crawler's Pack (5gp) which contains 2 Torches along with Mace (5gp), Leather Armor (10gp) and Shield (10 gp) -- Total 30gp

2) I have you rolling in Discussion tab Gold: 3d6 (1, 2, 2) 5 = 50gp and while the guidelines say x5 which would make it 25gp which you seemed to have adjusted for. The guidelines also state you can only roll 2d6 not 3d6 (how did you get 3d6?). If that was incorrect then you only have had 15gp to spend and not 25gp to spend and thus I would assume you lose your shield?

Again just asking for clarification here.

Male Human Priest 1

I've been called away on a family emergency. Probably out of touch till Saturday so feel free to move things along.

Thanks for the heads up Gaspar and hopefully you will get a chance to respond to my questions when you return.

Until then I will assume you have no Shield

Male Human Priest 1

I guess Gaspar has no shield... so he might as well carry a torch for someone who needs two hands.

Okay that is fine -- also I have posted some of the slightly updated and/or expounded upon guidelines within the Campaign tab. Most of it is pretty much what is in the original guidelines with some slight extensions or minor modifications to make them more universal along with some clarifications. The topics covered were DC, Morale, Dying, and Spell Focus.

Ellis Please look at the Campaign tab as the guidelines for your initial Crawler's Kit is different and that might make you want to adjust what you have, maybe.

Also Ellis do you consider the character to be more Neutral (Good) or more Neutral (Lawful)

Male AC12 (Shield with bonus), HP [4]/4 Fort+2 Ref-1 Wil +2 Human Fighter

Neutral neutral lol… will do on the rest.

Edit: adjusted crawler kit, adjusted money, added a dagger.

First Ellis I am not going to hold you tight to any specific alignment as to me it is only supposed to be a guide post not a box your character must fit into.

So with that said, as long as you promise not to dip into Neutral(Evil) I will be okay with the rather bland True Neutral alignment in a group of "heroic" folk.

And other changes noted, thanks.

Grand Lodge

DeJoker wrote:

First Ellis I am not going to hold you tight to any specific alignment as to me it is only supposed to be a guide post not a box your character must fit into.

So with that said, as long as you promise not to dip into Neutral(Evil) I will be okay with the rather bland True Neutral alignment in a group of "heroic" folk.

And other changes noted, thanks.

All good. Definitely no evil… just a bit of sourness and bitterness for his current plight. Events can shift it to more heroic for sure.

Okay a heads up on searching and examining things here are the guidelines I will be using as well as the why. This will also be posted under the Campaign tab for easy reference going forward.

To Search or Examine a character may either use their Wisdom or Intelligence bonus, their choice.

Standard Old School Guidelines say that for a non-Elf to search for a Secret door took 10 minutes per 20-foot section of surface (wall or floor or ceiling). This thus means it took 1 minute per each 2-foot section of surface.

Thus I am going to say to do a single search or examine takes 1 minute of time (10 rounds) minus the the amount over 11 you get on the 1d20 roll without modifiers thus 10 down to 1 round.

Further to help speed things up I will be incorporating the Take-10 and Take-20 guidelines but if you choose to Take-10 it takes you a full minute. To Take-20 takes up to 20 minutes, 10 minutes plus 1 additional minute for each point above 10 that is required to beat the DC.

Take-10: When a character is not in any immediate danger nor distracted, they may choose to Take-10. Instead of rolling a 1d20 for the skill check, they calculate their result as if they had rolled a 10. For many routine tasks, Take-10 makes them automatically successful. Distractions or threats (such as combat) make it impossible for a character to Take-10. In most cases, Take-10 is purely a safety measure when the character knows (or at least suspects) that an average roll will succeed but fear that a poor roll might fail, so they elect to settle for the average roll (a 10). Take-10 is especially useful in situations where a particularly high roll would not be overly beneficial.

Take-20 Again when a character has plenty of time, they are not faced with any threats nor distractions, and the skill being attempted carries no penalties for failure, they can choose to Take-20. In other words, if they rolled enough times, eventually they will get a 20. Instead of rolling 1d20 for the skill check, they just calculate their result as if they had rolled a 20.

Taking 20 means you are trying until you get it right, and it assumes that you fail many times before succeeding. Taking 20 takes up to 20 times as long as making a single check would take (usually 2 minutes for a skill that takes 1 round or less to perform). However it is not static, it requires 10 times the amount of time plus 1 additional time increment for each number needed above 10 that is required to beat the DC.

Final Note: In the case where more than one person is searching or examining I will take the worst result -- OR -- if the area is to small for more than one or two folks then I will apply the additional rolls as additional time.

If you feel any of this is out of wack please let me know, as well as perhaps your opinion on an alternate plan.

Male AC12 (Shield with bonus), HP [4]/4 Fort+2 Ref-1 Wil +2 Human Fighter

Taking the worst roll I sorta get it buuuut it penalises multiple people working together. To steal a 5e term, it’s imposing disadvantage. How about taking the lowest roll BUT adding a static bonus for each member joining in the search?

Okay I can see that -- but my intent was in situations where players are not stating they are attempting to work together which is quite different than making one's own search. Now while these guidelines do not have guidelines for Aid Another I will implement that and put that under the campaign thread as well.

Still if the area does not allow multiple individuals to examine/search the area due to spacial constraints, additional rolls will tack on additional time. That goes also for additional Aid Another checks as the player can always add the contingency -- only if their is room enough for me to lend Aid or to examine at the same time. Then I can arbitrate how many folks can be involved and then take those in posted order -- unless the group is under initiative then I will take them in initiative order.

Currently I have Ellis, from a short distance away, asking his question of Gaspar and Grimli as those are the two closests to the statues. As such Grimli can choose to make his own Examine check or simply Aid Ellis with his examine check. Now Aiding will neither add nor subtract time from the amount of time it takes, regardless if the Aider chooses to roll or to Take-10.

Sound fair?

Appearance | Female human shaman 1 | AC 10, HP 6/6 | Spells: Burning Hands, Magic Missile, Sleep

Unfortunately, due to reduced free time and increased workload on my end, I am going to be withdrawing form this game. GM, thank you for the opportunity to try out the Shadowdark rules, even though my time was brief.

RL is what RL is may your life be wondeful.

Heads up to the remaining players looks like I have a player willing to step in and take the reigns of your wizard -- with some minor adjustments of course. So they will make their presence known in the current situation rather soon hopefully.

Grand Lodge


female human Wizard 1

I'm coming in to replace Fanki.

Grand Lodge

Welcome to the fun

Random Check: 6d6 ⇒ (2, 3, 4, 6, 4, 3) = 22
Random Check: 1d6 ⇒ 5


To answers Grimli's in game question -- perhaps no one has examined the weapons and such just the statues.

Note I am being lenient as you are not used to me as a GM as of yet.

Male AC12 (Shield with bonus), HP [4]/4 Fort+2 Ref-1 Wil +2 Human Fighter

Please please be lenient. ‘Got ya, you didn’t say you were…’ moments are hard enough to manage around a table. Over pbp it’s harder to work with GM/players alike. I mean if we do something stupid? Hey, slam us but if there is any doubt? Please clarify. PbP has its own set of challenges.

I fully understand and I am not a drop dead harsh GM -- I understand it is about fun -- but it is also about challenge.

Still in the beginning I do realize my view from my side of the GM screen is quite different than your view and as such I try to help no and again if I feel the players are missing the meaning of something I have described.

However, eventually I am going to get to the point where I feel you should have a better understanding and not give out as many overt guidances via out of game information.

Lastly I am going to always be very cognizant that the game is about having fun while being challenging.

Male Human Psion 10/Atlanteologist 10

I got a message from Dejoker.

He's away from his computer and will be unable to post until this weekend.

Grand Lodge

All good.

Grand Lodge

Need a day all… fried out after a monster weekend

It appears once I returned there was an issue with my account to which I have just gotten resolved. Will be posting in-game as soon as possible.

Grand Lodge

Cool. Good to hear

Okay so I am hopefully back on track with everything and things will move along smoothly hence forth, which of course is always a hope of mine regardless of what RL throws at each of us.

Also I am hoping those that felt reducing the amount of time a Torch would last can now see why such a thing is feasible without the unwarranted reduction they were suggesting. Sure if all you are doing is combat followed by combat (aka hack-n-slash) the torch time would be extravagant however if you run a true Shadowdark game as outlined by the creator such a thing is totally unnecessary.

Grand Lodge

Had a very BIG weekend with a work all day then DM at night (with looong drives to and from) followed by a day of drinking… and I’m not young like I used to be. Will post tomorrow.

It be okay still waiting on a few other responses as well.

I am thinking that from my side of the GM Screen the situation is perhaps not looking quite like I am attempting to subtly describe it and since we are all new to how each of us work let me be a bit more explicit since you have spent 2 examinations worth of time on them.

These statues are extremely life like, so much so that it would require a Legendary Crafter to render them as such. Further they are clothed in real clothing and using real objects, which could have been much more easily rendered via stone by said Legendary Crafter. The whole concept of dressing statutes in real clothing and wielding real objects begs the question as to how was the clothing and weapons put into place since the objects are not clay but stone? Aka the same effort to remove the objects would have been needed to put them into place to begin with, which would then require some kind of Mending spell to fix the damage necessary to do so.

I hope that gives you a slightly better perspective, however, if anyone is still confused just ask. I am willing to be absolutely explicit this being the first encounter with my way of giving players hints and foreshadowings.

Male Human Priest 1

Gaspar had asked earlier if there was a possibility that they were petrified beings and not natural statues.

Well then I apologize for having missed that question, either that or Gaspar's investigation roll did not reveal that to him. Do not recall the exact part.

Or asking if they are petrified beings and examining to see if they are petrified beings are not quite the same thing but again I may have missed the reference which is my apology.

Male AC12 (Shield with bonus), HP [4]/4 Fort+2 Ref-1 Wil +2 Human Fighter

Apologies for the dust up, that should have been bought here and asked with considerably more courtesy on my part. A bad morning after a bad nights sleep. Not an excuse, just an explanation.

It is fine, I take criticism with a major grain of salt as my purpose as my intent is to deliver a game that is fun for all (not just me) and that means listening to my players which I have found are not always forth coming with their displeasure about something.

Further I tend to be rather frank which is not always well received so I try to give plenty of room for such to others. Still if nothing else, a lot of my rough communication tends to bring out the hidden Trolls that are on forums which I find a good thing to find out. Oh and not calling you a Troll btw just pointing out what tends to happen to me.

Male Human

@Dejoker, sorry to butt in - I was looking at your explanation of flanking - can you explain to me what Precise Attacks are/how they work?

Your flanking rule reminds me of the oldskool differences in shields - small/bucklers could only add their AC vs one opponent, medium shields two and large shields three.

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