Monday, 27 July 2015

Portal to where sir? sure.. have you had your Cleric bless you against Troll-pox?

I've recently left on holiday, visiting my wifes home country and loving it, and besides the standard stuff to deal with, there can be many other complications.. so here are a few that you might want to use on your players.. oh and at the end.. some observations about medieval villages

Long Distance Travelling, Pitfalls for your players 

Lets start with the basics: Travelling across territorial borders.. Is there a border? is it guarded? do you need some kind of permission from the king of the land to travel to this land? how much will it cost and how effective will the letter be while IN the land? will you be harrassed at every location because you have an accent? 

Now this might sound a bit archaic, but having now 30+ countries in my passport stamps, and 44 countries that I've been in (airports.. they count right?) I've developed a bit of a mental blindfold to the corruption, bribes, speaking to 'the right people' to get things done.. 
Signed, Sealed, Leather strap, viola!
In fact, When I ran a Modern cyberpunk game a few years back, I included all the aspects of travel, my players were shocked at how difficult it was to sneak out of the country on a fake passport. Thought I was being too harsh.. but that was the reality.. the paper may LOOK correct, but it still needs to be in a computer somewhere.. 

Medieval paperwork, just needs to look right.. so maybe a few payments to the local rogues gallery might do the trick.. What next?

Accents, and Languages.. well many system have comprehand languages.. but do they have disguise accents? A common factoid of the tourist, both medieval and modern. Accent = price hike. There are so many place I've seen with three or four price labels on things.. one is euro, one is local currency, one is American, and the last, a PLU? (Price look up for register?) well as often as not, the exchange rate was done weeks ago on those, they say.. and whats written is whats written, but if you do the math, you're getting ripped off another 30% if you trade in anything but local.. then it turned out the local price is the PLU and the others are all fake..

"Offendi, Offendi, where are you from? ahh such a long way you have travelled? would you like some sugared dates? only 1 gold coin each!!"

Even if you have the language and the accent.. speaking with any colloquialisms would give you away., especially if its well known that language and accent spells are common enough.. get your players to be careful with their words.. that's half the point of roleplay, speaking the right way to the right(or wrong) people.

Ok, so what about diseases? Ok sure, I'm sure 99% of you don't bother to use diseases in any way.. how boring.. Is Steve not at todays roleplay session? easy.. he caught a local flue, the team are asked by the apothecary to pop over to the local forest and procure some wilkweed from the edges of dark swamp. On the way, the encounter a bug bear, a wild boar, some tangle-weed, The Dark swamp is home to a mere-gaunt, they fight it, find the wilkweed, gather enough for their befallen friend and a bit more for bonus, then a quick battle with some swamp skeletons (slain by the mere-gaunt, and risen by Dark swamp natural magic) and home again in time for Steve next week session.

Players getting a little too powerful for your campaign? are you the type of GM to modify encounters for plot? why not modify characters for plot? The Paladin contracts a virus immune to healing spells/effect, and requires a special cure at a temple far away, but first the evil BBG must be defeated.. and its only a -1 to con saves & -1 to hit..

Normally, a character travelling across lands would encounter diseases from time to time, deal with one, get on with their life.. its considered part of the down-time, many players skip (or DMs don't bother to run)

yep, worse than this..
But what if your players have access to some kind of quick transportation?

Changing time zones, entering new climates, whole slew of diseases and viruses all at once? the average person might fight off one or two.. but 7 or 10? plus jet-lag? I'm a fairly healthy person (con 16), but one trip through Abi Dabi, and I was out for 4 days with sweats, coughs, headaches, joint pain, and it was 3 different things all taking advantage of my jet-lag.

So if you walked through a portal from one city to another.. I think it'd be a good idea to cast a few greater heals or cure diseases on yourself withing 24 hours, else suffer the wrath of the GM who knows better.

"Oh Offendi, you are sick? please please? come stay with my family, you won't have to pay the hospital, my wife is a nurse, we can cure you, the ingredients will be a mere trifle for you.. 1000 gold" 

Expect different kinds of treatment, different styles of preventative measures, don't sit next to a window, don't drink cold water, let me rub cognac on your legs, here, wear these were-rabbits on your feet as boots, yes, freshly killed, what you don't think the blood will cure you?

Medi Eval Travels

I'll get a Photo to replace this..
Just an Additional Note, while I'm travelling I notice the things that have not stopped from 1000 years of technology and improvements.. On the side of the road, in front of a person house.. a stall.. a set up of their extra produce, in carry-able bags/sacks/jars ready for sale. usually a small child will mind it, playing with a cat or dog, will call out for a parent or even sell you things themselves if you make an approach, Players can get travel rations up to a days travel from a village like this, saving on rations, scurvy from rations, and possibly even get latest news..

News! People don't travel far and wide.. always have friendly villages ask you players about the news from other towns, be disappointed when they have none.. what sort of good for nothing person travels without finding out the local news first.. a pox to you.. Or, if they have news.. well done good sir, have a free ale and 10% off all goods. Players love little things that really gets them feeling like the world exists beyond the game table..

Hope it all helps.. good gaming to all, I'm back to my sick bed. should have cast Cure All on my self when I arrived.. too sick to cast spells now.. (does any system have magic restrictions like that?)
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