Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Slow War...

...on a Flat Planet.

A play-by-post wargame in the background of D&D games I'm running.

The factions are...
The fearless dwarves of Lanthanum Chromate+10 in battle but slow on the march. 
Archbishop Sarpedon, blessed of Tiamat. His "4 claws and 5 fangs"--an army of welded warbands--is possessed of powerful chaos magic (dumb ideas welcome and a bonus to succeed) but prone to faction and disobedience (GM rolls 1 in 6 chance of fuckup). He is currently drawing these forces toward The Spasm beneath the former fortress of deceased Ferox in the radioactive rain forest of Cobalt Reach.
Pharoah Nas Akhu Khan She En Asbiu.  His city is built around the skull-faced sphinx of Temple of the Red Sun, occupied by the Rusted Lich, commands 20,000 githyanki and the Maidens Of The Powerslave. Being soulless desert-fiends unable to mix with normal men, they have no spy network, but their stronghold is immune to assault.
The Negatsar of the Chaos Wastes is so vast he cannot move, wheeled upon 40 thrones by dead-eyed servants. His hordes of fork-tongued Slavians actually all kinda average out, gamewise. They are obedient all-purpose freaks of the White-Tiger Bleak Tundra.
The Half King, a Larch Prince of Faerie. The spying and scrying network of the Faerie is impressive. They are less capable in open battle: -10. Due to an ancient contract, if he should directly attack the forces of the Pale King, his armies will lose 1/4 of their strength.
The Pale King Artorius, the Pale King of Gilliam-Briarbraddock, comes from the land of Annwn with all his horses and all his men (leaving all his wolves and all his women to defend his kingdom under the able command of Good Queen Jenny ). Black eyed, extravagantly bearded, very cautious, and always in search of new lands to tax, he inevitably heeds the counsel of his Hatter.
He is served by Pale Knights--a fantastic cavalry in shining armor (+20 in a stand up fight) who nevertheless cannot cross running water unaided (they'll need an ally, or slaves). Due to an ancient contract, if he should directly attack the forces of the Half King, his armies will lose 1/4 of their strength.
The Goblin King of Gaxen Kane. Inverted in speech, inverted in mind, he walks on the ceiling and is bound to his shadow. His hog-balloon spies keep him extremely well-informed of enemy activity and are, perhaps, the key to his nation's ability to survive despite its vulnerable position between Cobalt Reach and Nornrik.
Ching Shih, a Pirate Queen of Enraki, and mistress of the White Scar. No-one moves faster at sea, but her reavers are ill-equipped to fight on land (-10).

Her sister Rogue Traitor--The Sleeping Captain Ba'Al'Sheeba--is an exiled vampire of Gyorsla and her ship is the Blood Angel. Her fleet carries its wealth where it goes, so she has no headquarters to attack, however, as she must sleep so long as the waves move beneath her, her crew can sometimes misinterpret orders if they are alone at sea for too long.
Nyvyan, Colorless Queen of Nephilidia, the Eversinking Isle of seafrost and rime is, like all Nephilidian vampires, amphibious. Her forces are +10 to fight at sea, but due to the elaborate rituals and towering Rook Golems that attend their land movements, they cannot cross land with any stealth. It is immediately obvious when Nephilidia goes on the march.
High in the mountains, nearly touching the sky, are the domes and spires of the wondrous City of Tellach Avail , home to the great Caliph Naxthrool, his craven vizier En Sabath Null (advised by leopards) and the stunning Labyrinth of Nightingales. The caliph's forces are ill-equipped, at present, to fight in the cold climes north of the Palace of Ferox (-10 up there) but enchantments protect his eternal city from all assault from without.
The Black Metal Frost Giant Queens of Nornrik rule the cruel cold elves there. One is smitten with a witch of Vornheim. It is said they can call on the spirits of the wind to aid them in various ways (+5 to various things, depending on how this is used), but are despised by the southern gods (-20 to fight south of the Palace of Ferox).
The Gilded Princesses of Drownesia wield curved blades from the backs of parasaurs. Their distant jungle home is effectively invulnerable to assault, but the territory is strange to them, so they move slowly over both land and sea.
There is a Red King, and he is terrible and he is tall. He wears a red crown. The long red years have made him strange and he hides from the sun, sleeping, his strange dreams making unseen days stranger. Sleeping, he dreams of ruin and of distortion--of an Antiland, reversed and red. When he opens his red eyes in the red night there is his red land: it is inverted, rigid, and wrong.

His vampire armies cannot cross running water unaided but may, through Looking Glass Magic, begin the game in any civilized area, and return to Voivodja through that same portal at any time.

There is a cruel Queen of Hearts: she is in a different castle and she is on a different mountain and she sleeps in a different wooden box, but she is also hiding and dreaming. She dreams into being a world unending, unbeginning, with wonder and murder, disruption and unreason. And melancholy green gardens. And it is there now. And hers.

Her armies have the same restrictions as the Red King's.

From Yoon Suin sails Liangyu Hui, the Oligarch of Silaish Vo. He represents a human polity, but he is a desert troll. How he ended up as the Oligarch is a mystery.

Like the Drownesians, he carries his supplies with him and his home is effectively invulnerable to attack, however, he, too, is in unexplored territory, and so moves slowly.

 From somewhere deep within the unknown corridors of the Cruel City, the Hex King emerges each night onto the tower's balcony and whispers enigmatic decrees.

In times of unusual confusion, the Hex King orders his attendants to drop a goat from the balcony onto the square, where the hidden meanings encoded in the patterns and positions of the resulting blood and innards are interpreted for the populace by a shrill crone.

His armies are mad, and so obey such orders as they grasp feebly, but the King has access to strange magics (bonus to your chance of fucked up idea working).



Make a move at any time by telling me. Do whatever you want. I'll inform you what needs to be done to resolve your action.

There'll be a lot of rulings-not-rules and Common Law game design here.

Most of the rest of this is just nitpicking and I-dotting, so don't let it intimidate you....

Timing and Speed:

I'll try to get back to y'all at least once per day. Actions where timing is immediately important will be resolved in order of fastest action first.

Nominally, each day represents at least a day, so put everything you want done (including if/thens) in your orders.


If it comes up, moving over water is twice as fast as marching over land. "Fast" troops are 10% faster than normal ones and slow ones 10% slower. Normally it takes about a day to march 4 spaces (24 miles).


Basically you start with 100 Strength. This is the currency you use for a lot of things representing wealth, power, influence, etc. 1 strength point represents 1% of your army (usually about 1000 hd worth of regulars) or 10 levels/HD worth of special types (including whatever is needed to train, transport and feed them)--like if you need an assassin, you can spend a Strength point to get a 10th level assassin or spend a strength point to make a little force of 2 3hd fighters and one 4th level wizard, etc.

(At the start, some armies (like the goblin army) are big (100,000 goblins) some, like the Pharaoh's (20,000 Githyanki + slaves) are small, but the total strength of those forces is equal. One Githyanki's effectively worth 5 goblins.)

When you win fights or take important territory you win Strength.

A lot of things cost no Strength, you just do 'em.

I'll keep track of how much Strength you have.


Every space on the map has something on it...

Just rolling around purposefully searching territory without fighting anyone else is kind of like pulling cards off the Chance pile in Monopoly--you might get something good, you might get screwed.

If you find anything good, likely at least one other faction will hear about it.


Each side rolls d100 plus or minus modifiers plus the total Strength of the troops you sent. High roll wins, disparity equals the percent of the strength gambled that the losing side lost.

You can send as many troops as you want, but a maximum of 30 Strength worth of troops can be "gambled" on one roll. Battles larger than that go in phases, and there is time for forces to maneuver after the first engagement/roll.


Many factions have a headquarters at their starting location. If you lose that, you lose half your Strength.

The Pharaoh and Caliph's headquarters' are immune to assault and the Yoon Suin and Drownesian HQs are too distant to be part of the game. Ba'Al'Sheeba has no headquarters.


When you do secret stuff there's a pretty good chance at least one other faction will find out. This is the table I'll roll on (note the Pharaoh isn't on there, he only notices the obvious):

Who hears about your plans?

Roll d20

1 Half King
2 Half King
3 Half King
4 Goblin King
5 Goblin King
6 Goblin King
7 Hex King
8 Gilded Princess
9 Frost Giant Queen
10 Caliph Naxthrool
11 Colorless Queen
12 Ching Shih
13 Pale King
14 Negatsar
15 Dwarves
16 Archbishop Sarpedon
17 Ba'Al'Sheeba
18 Red King
19 Queen of Hearts
20 Liangyu Hui

...if I roll your own faction, your plans remain secret.


Googling words associated with the various factions and locations paired with "dndwithpornstars" on this blog is kind of like flipping through the spell list in the D&D players' book--maybe it's a waste of your life, maybe it's a fun and helpful exercise in Setting Mastery. Either way if you go "Hey look, it says right here elves will run from puppies!" then, hell, I wrote it, I guess I gotta give it to you.

Winning and Losing:

When you're out of Strength, you gotta lick your wounds and take your army home. Maybe make a new faction. Last man, woman or salient entity standing from is the winner or, if the game ends early, whoever has the most Strength when the game ends wins.

The player will be ranked, and their FLAILSNAILS D&D PCs will be awarded bonust xp based on that rank.

I'll keep score and keep track of movements on this:
Click to enlarge

Numbers refer to numbers on the green map, above.

(Mandy hasn't decided who she wants to be yet so she's not on there.)

You may start sending orders at any time.


Timothy Stone said...

Dibs on The Pale King Artorius, the Pale King of Gilliam-Briarbraddock.

Orders to comment here or elsewhere?

August said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zak Sabbath said...

Full up at the moment, I'll let you know if space opens up

Monty said...

Diddles. If you would be so kind, stick me on the waiting list as well; I'm not proud, I'll take any orphaned faction.

Enzo said...

So many good flavour ideas! It's very inspiring.
There's a town in Spain where a goat is thrown from the bell tower as part of the local celebrations. Coincidence?

Zak Sabbath said...

i probably stole that from a Weird Spain story related to me by a Spanish friend

Unknown said...

I order the 10 weakest Githyanki into a free-for-all combat to last a minimum of 10 hours. I order the other 1,990 Githyanki to look-on and complain bitterly but lethargically about how boring the gladiatorial show is. Secretly, I will only be satisfied if all 10 live or if none of them live.