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About Xorgrim

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  • RPG Biography
    Have played RPGs regularly since 1991. Mostly Fantasy Settings, Got into CoC in the Early 2000s. I have dabbled in Vampire, Warhammer RPG and Numenera.
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    D&D 5e, CoC, Numenera
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    I have a degree in Early Modern History and would like to prepare a straight history (no magick) Renaissance game set in the Thirty Years War.

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  1. Lets meet the characters: Gottfried Balthasar Pflumer - 38 - Townsman - former Weaponsmith - Faction: Catholic - accompanied by his 2nd wife and 3 children Wilhelm Hastdenteufel - early 20s - Townsman - paracelsian physician - Self (Personal honor): parents were being accused of witchcraft and burned. wants to restore the good family name. Eric Fleischhauer - 26 - Townsman - Soldier- Faction: Military Unit - Veteran of wars of Italian city states. Parents were butchers. Alfons Konrad Röders - early 20s - Peasant - Woodsman - Self (Greed -> career) pretends to be a Bavarian patriot. The story starts on May 10th, 1627 in Rheinbischofsheim on the river Rhine, not far away from Strasbourg, close to today's German-French border. This is the place, where the new catholic league regiment, payed for by count Pappenheim, is being mustered. Gottfried, Eric and Alfons arrive together, they come from the same town in Bavaria and had been recruited a few days ago. They meet an old friend of veteran Eric, Wilhelm, the Physician. Those two know each other from former military campaigns in northern Italy. After a battle, Eric had been cared for and healed by Wilhelm. They stand in line to be registered categorized in ranks based on previous experience. Here they meet the diary writing Peter Hagendorf, as well as a future Antagonist and their future Sergeant Hans Nothaff. Gottfried and Alfons will receive normal pay, Eric being a veteran will receive double and the Physician will receive almost 4 times as much because most medics in those days were actually barbers without medical training. They receive 1st week's pay and they are being told that the Muster ceremony will be held tomorrow. They spend the evening on the field where the muster will take place. which is full of soldiers, merchants, baggage train folks and so on. army life. Btw, all characters have only half their hitpoints and basically except the pay they just received because I wanted them to be desperate when joining the army. While having a soup and some beers, an argument breaks out on the neighboring table between future Sergeant Hans Nothaff and another soldier. Nothaff is clearly drunk and the aggressor. For some reason, Gottfried and Eric want to break this up by punching the aggressor, so we have our first combat. Gottfried is first to act and misses, NPC Hans is next to act and also sees the incoming Eric, so he decides to even the odds by drawing his dagger. Eric also misses, the other soldier is already unconscious under the table. Next combat round Gottfried hits, but Hans dodges, and then Hans scores a crit with his dagger. Since he is a rather large specimen with a 1d6 damage modifier, the damage is enough for a grave wound (ribs). Gottfried has to use a hero point to downgrade it to a serious wound. The look on my players' faces was priceless because of how deadly the Renaissance system is (granted, he would have had 4 hp left, if I had allowed them to start with full health, but still.) This escalated quickly and eventually Nothaff received a serious wound on his weapon arm which ended the confrontation. The Profoß (military judge) allowed Wilhelm to apply some first aid before taking everybody in custody over night. The next morning, everybody was released again because witnesses had pointed out that Nothaff had only drawn the dagger because of being outnumbered, and on the other hand the player characters were just responding to a brawl against an aggressor. So basically, nothing to see, noone died, let's get on with business. We need every man. Next I described in detail the Muster ceremony during which the new recruits including the player characters ceremonially walk through an improvised gate flanked by all the other soldiers. This is symbolic for leaving civilian life and entering military society. Then the character's were assigned a unit (Kompanie headed by Hauptman Kelman [Hauptmann=Major]). Nothaff and Hagendorf are also in the same unit. The players were also assigned quarters at a nearby farm, inhabited by Kräuter-Else (41) and her son Herman (11). She is a widow and also a wise woman. (Kräuter means herbs) During day 2 there was also some camp life happening, shopping, socializing, also a trip to the whore tent. but eventually the characters settle into their quarters. I also forgot to mention that Gottfried's wife and child are not in quarters with the soldiers right now but still left in tents at the muster place. And I will have to read up on this because I am not sure how that was handled during long stays like winter quarters. I am pretty sure that on the move, families slept together so the soldiers were mixed into the baggage train. Also, when they swore their oath, THe terms of the deal were read to the characters, including how much meat, beer and bread they are promised per day. Gottfried quickly found out that while that is plenty for the soldier itself, it is hard to provide for a family of 5 from that. Last but not least, Alfons wanted to buy new boots, and was pretty dissapointed to hear, how many weeks pay they would cost him. My comment: you can always try to get some money from those peasants and farmers. Sad but true. This was it. Plans for next time: With the characters in their quarters is also a brute (Langer Emil), who is going to start exploiting their hosts, beating the boy for information about a possibly hidden herd of sheep, trying to rape the widow. Pretty sure, that the characters will step in. This will not necessarily make them well liked in their unit, which will hopefully create interesting confrontations in the future. On a broader note, we will witness a soldier's wedding, and eventually there will be enough soldiers so that the regiment will start going north (towards the remaining Danish troops in Germany). The unit will be transported on ships down the river Rhine. There will be an accident, wrecking the characters' boat, then they will march towards Wolfenbüttel, where the main action will happen during the siege of the town. We will probably not going to get the siege itself next time. Two more sessions, I think, for the story. I am pretty happy with it so far.
  2. Xorgrim

    Dual Weapons/Multiple Actions?

    I am not sure I understand this, either. I feel like the first sentence contracdicts the middle sentence. Unless, I interpret your post this way: normally you could not fire both your pistols in one round, but can fire 1 now the other the next round without penalty for using the wrong hand for the second shot. But if and only if you choose to do an all out attack, then you can fire both pistols in the same round. So the main benefit in the first case would be, that a closing enemy, who will be on you before you reloaded, will now probably eat two bullets before he gets to you. And with the rules being as deadly as they are, you will probably put him down, if you hit.
  3. First game session over. Overall it went pretty well, I think. 3.5 hours to create charactes and clarify rules, then about 3.5 hours of playtime. So the introduction was had, not much more. But still, I think we all got a feeling for waht roleplaying in this scenario will be like. In 10-12 hours I 'll write up a more thorough after action report.
  4. Tomorrow, Sunday, my guys will come over to create characters and start playing. Today, I ll be busy fleshing out the camp life scenes, while the army gatheres reinforcements. I think we won't get any further than that today.
  5. Btw, for anyone who understands German, there was a documentary on TV this week about the Thirty Years War, which featured my diary writing soldier prominently in the second half (about 44 minutes in) It is still available in the tv station's video library. They misrepresented two things about him. 1. He couldn't see his dying wife and bury her, because he had been captured and conscripted by the Swedish. 2. His second wife had not died by the end of the war, in fact, he n ot only had her and the son he also mentions in the film, but also a 1 year old daughter. Other than that I enjoyed the documentary. Especially the way they sort of interviewed the main figures and how they spoke to the audience by actually quoting from their diaries.
  6. So, some delays happened in our old campaign... but it looks like, we are going to start with my 30 Years War thing within a month or so. My plan is to have a character creation/rule explanation session first, that may include a little bit of roleplaying in camp or during recruiting. The army will probably not leave to go to the siege until the second session. However, I still have a little trouble with the faction rules as stated in the OP. Please keep in mind, I have never played this system before. My gut tells me that the characters need the same faction in order to play well together. But then again, this does not seem to be intended in the rules. They will fight for the catholic league, but some of them may be protestant. That 's fine. It happened all the time in the Thirty Years War. So, the way I understand the faction system, you pick one that you most identify with. So some people might pick catholics or protestants, but maybe they would associate more with their profession than their religion, or their home region, or their family, or their army unit. Then they would pick those instead, right? Could you guys see any problems with a diverse faction spread among the group?
  7. Thanks for liking the idea and for your tips. I haven't worked on the scenario since last time I posted for several reasons. (Still waiting on my printed edition of the rules, The current campaign will last my group till the summer, among other reasons). Thank you especially for pointing out that the siege could be the backdrop for an adventure more focussed on the baggage train. It hadn't really occurred to me that my players don't need to be soldiers in the unit. Originaally I had planned to let them create them their caracters and start playing in the same session. From what you are saying it makes more sense to at least get a feel for what they would like to play before the initial game session, so that I can adjust my story with a little bit more advanced notice. Best regards!
  8. No. It is interesting, in that the setting is so close to my setting, but with the Cthulhu elements, the content might also feel foreign. Bottom line, I hesitate to spend money on it at this point. I intended to use them that way. While reading Peter Hagendorf's diary, it is undeniable that over time, he lost empathy for the victims of war. He did not start out that way. A declining sanity pool, as the horrors of war mount, seems to capture this quite well. Still thinking about this. I think, I might make use of the multi faction part of the rules and let them at least all pay lip service to their unit (regiment) but their true faction might be something different. I like the idea of a local woman acting as a guide, if one of my players wants to portray that. I am pretty sure, one of them would like to be a priest or something similar. Getting my players' character wished neatly fitted into the story, will take some effort.
  9. Xorgrim

    Rules Questions

    For me, it feels like common sense that the all out attack would focus one opponent. The name already sounds reckless. So you use it, when it's now or never. You are outnumbered, so kill one quick and even the playing field. Or: The warlock is chanting, he has to die now.
  10. Ok, I should have read the Factions chapter more carefully. I guess, if players want their characters to be honorable, they should pic Self Interest (honor) as their primary faction. And if they do, I have a heads up. I ll make sure to tell them during character creation, that sticking to a particular faction may include dishonorable things if it benefits the faction. and that going against the core beliefs of a faction might have consequences. Hope, I am not going to be proven wrong, but suddenly my concern does not seem to be such a big deal anymore.
  11. We have touched on the following issue earlier, but I did not focus on it until today: Portraying the ugliness of the war and human behavior within it, may have unintended consequences for the Player characters and therefore the story as a whole. It feels like, being in that army, does not allow the players to play heroes. In my experience, usually PCs in RPGs are heroes. Personally, I would argue that not being heroes is actually the point of my whole setup. Neither army are the good guys. So let's say, the PCs witness a fellow soldier murdering an 11 year old boy, just in order to get the boy's potentially valuable locket. (And the locket contains a sketch of his mother's face. And he had gotten separated from his mother a year ago and has been searching for her ever since. Or something like that) Natural impulse of heroes would be to either kill the murderer or at least bring him to justice (deliver him to authorities). And probably, the commander does not care as much about the boy's life than about having to punish, or even execute a good reliable fighter. Maybe the murderer is let go with an actual or just metaphorical slap on the wrist. Maybe, heroes would not like to remain in the company of those people. When the town is flooded, lots of civilians die. Maybe the players would actually like to come to the city's aid, because they perceive the actions of the siege army as evil. Now, in my opinion, this is just how the war was. If the players want to play heroes, they can't be in either army and would have to try to help the peasants or town folks against either army... Maybe Magnificient Seven style. That however, would be a very different story. A story worth telling, I guess, but not the one, I am preparing right now. So this is where my thought of having a clear antagonist comes in. Having a clear picture of an enemy could maybe steer the story more into my intended direction, but it would still require my players to to tolerate some of the regular mayhem, unless they desert. I don't know whether they are up for living with or participating in the grim and criminal.
  12. Thanks for your ideas, g33k. I ll take them all to the table. One thing, though... with English being my second language, I did not really understand what you made the local laborer say in the gossip section. Was your point, that my guys are bored because they have to listen to meaningless stories from hasbeens and wannabees?
  13. I think, you make valid points throughout. 1. I am not sure though, whether all my players will be happy, playing soldiers. For some of them fighting is just a necessary evil getting in the way of their role playing of a baker. But of course, having them all be soldiers would make it easier to find action beats for the whole group. Otherwise, I might run two separate stories at the same time, one in the army, one for camp followers. And that is fine for a bit, but not for the whole story. I actually would like the idea, on the other hand, if one of my female players decided to be a wise woman. The game rules allow it and give them some cool abilities. And having to be very subtle about it, sounds exciting to me. Such a person would probably spend most their time on the baggage train, however. Maybe they could be involved in digging trenches, though? But I think, I would prefer them to face their own challenges, too. Delivering a baby, hunting and collecting herbs in the woods, dealing with an abusive soldier, catching a thief. 2. My players are pretty mature, but stories of rape and abuse can kill the mood pretty quickly. And being a man, I am not sure if I can deliver that storyline in a way that would not upset my female players, even though things like that happened all the time in armies of that or any era. Whores though? I don't see a problem with the morality of it, if that was your concern. It is pretty bleak, though. They are there, because they don't have other options. They might be widows or girl friends or daughters of fallen soldiers. For them, being with the army beat the alternative. I wouldn't want to whitewash the uglyness of all of that. After all, every army had a special officer to lead the baggage train, whose title was "Hurenweibel" meaning something like whore seargent" 3. Yes, I don't want to bore the players. I will give them room though to explore life of an army in waiting. 4. On commando missions, the combat rules seem sufficient and I agree that it has to be scary and deadly. And I presume, it will be. This particular adventure does not contain army on army battles, though. If players will encounter that at a later point of the campaign, and I think they should, I might have to borrow some rules from other systems that deal with large scale warfare. A problem for another day. 5. I like the idea, although you should know that the whole diary is a one-volume book the size of a hand and it covers 25 years. So the whole adventure takes up about a page of that. Plus, it is a clean copy, written close to the end of the war, comprised of all the notes he had written throughout his years. So by the time, he wrote the final version of the diary, his marriage, the camp time and the siege of Wolfenbüttel were roughly 20 years in the past. (I included a picture of the closed diary in my thesis paper on page 5 of the pdf. You can see an example picture of the open diary on page 45.) But keeping in mind g33k's advice, I shouldn't overdo it with the NPC, as awesome as I may find his text, because it is my players' story now. I agree with your sentiment, though that it does not have to be railroading and playres would have choices, as I was trying to say in my earlier reply to your and g33k's comment. Thank you and everyone else for their input. This all feels very helpful to my process. (Newbee GM that I am)
  14. I see your points, and have been thinking about this quite a bit, especially since I have been in situations before when the GM was so much in love with his NPC that the players became often irrelevant. Very frustrating. I will try to keep the NPC(s) more in the background. However, I don't think I can avoid, having the characters following "some kind of hierarchy", if they are soldiers in the Thirty Years War, right? There is a chain of command. Unless of course my players decide to desert. I mean if they do that, my story is out the window. But as soldiers in the army, they have to follow orders. So, regardless of my particular case... How does a campaign work in which player characters are soldiers? In any rule system? In any setting? From my experience as a player, we have mostly been in commando situations that allowed player characters to act independently from the rest of the army. Like a special mission behind enemy lines, for example. So during my siege, my players should have options for a series of small missions like that. Maybe the Lt. will ask for volunteers to go on the mission to Braunschweig? If players don't bite, they will help building the redoubts in the siege and may come under fire from the town's artillery. Not everything can be voluntary, though. I think, I may assign them to construction site guard duty. That would be an order and not a quest for volunteers. Feels more plausible as an order, in my mind. But maybe a character has a brilliant idea how to shorten the siege. They couldn't just do it because they are on duty. But they could suggest it to their commanding officer. And if it really is a good idea, it would be run up the chain to the siege commander... I think, the siege commander will allow almost any plausible idea that might help the outcome as long as it does not foil his overall plan. So this could lead to a commando situation, in which player characters can act independently, putting their plan into practise. Maybe they stop the traitor sabotaging the dam. This could be an investigative adventure in itself. A series of mishaps delay construction, raising player suspicions, who then might investigate. (Or they don't, and then the traitor is successful) The whole siege is also a race against time because it could not have been sustained through winter. So, the colder it gets, the more urgency I would try to instill in the players, to take matters into their own hands. (OKed by the siege commander)
  15. Ok, I got into it a little today. So here are some basic ideas. All players will play characters somewhat affiliated with an Infantry regiment led bei Gottfried Heinrich zu Pappenheim. He mustered his men near Ulm in May to August 1627 for the Catholic League Army. Possible roles: Soldiers without any ranks or up to Seargent at the most. People from the bagage train like merchants, priests, medics, carpenters, Orphant children Whores Wifes Wise women Whoever they are now, they could have a broad variety of backgrounds. Peasants, craftsmen of all sorts, beggars, merchants, maybe even some educated folk like former teachers, apothecaries, or actors, city guards, career criminals, whatever. THey just have to come up with a good reason, why they are not what they used to be but are now pennyless, uprooted hungry and desperate. The story starts at the camp near Ulm with the Muster ceremony. Here, they all swear to behave according to certain articles of law (like, no rape, no looting of churches, no gambling) This of course, is contrasted right after by a long waiting period in camp in which they are bored and start gambling and drinking, hassle women, cut down the farm animals of the peasants. I would like to convey here the contrast between either being a victim or being the oppressor. And most of the pillaging soldiers where on the other end before and eventually were desperate enough or angry enough to ask: Why should I starve, when I can take other people's food? Why should I or my family be victim of harrassment rape and murder, when I can do the raping and murdering? (I am thinking about letting the characters start off with maybe half their maximum health because they all have had tough times behind them. I want to tempt them to participate in the criminal activities, because they can restore their health this way. But I won't force this on them. Maybe they want to help the peasants instead, maybe the peasants will be grateful and share provisions. IN any case, by the time the army leaves, characters should be at full strength) During camp, there will also be tensions between factions, or between more and less unscrupulous people, between pious and more secular people, between superstitious and rational people. Also my main NPC, Peter Hagendorf, who I will make the guy who recruited the players (if they are soldiers) will marry during that time. So there is going to be a feast. Eventually, they will march north in order to besiege the Lower Saxon town of Wolfenbüttel. (by the way, almost all the things I am listing here really happened with that regiment, and we know about it, because my NPC wrote his diary. The siege of Wolfenbüttel is well documented. On wikipedia, however, there is only a German language entry, though. If you can't read German... sorry. I ll summarize a bit, when I talk about the siege The march will give opportunities to do several things like scouting or foraging. In 1627, the war had been going on for 9 years already, so tehy wil pass thorugh burnt down abandoned villages, or people will hide from them, foraging may be a challenge because the area has bled so much already. The scouting party will eventually make contact with an enemy scouting party. There may be a fight, maybe they avoid each other, maybe they are even friendly towards each other. Then they will arrive at Wolfenbüttel and will besiege the town. Historically, that siege took 114 days. They arrived in late August and the city surrendered on Dec 14th. The besiegers built a barrier in the river that passes through the city. They built the barrier downstream of the city, meaning north. THe effect was that the town was flooded, houses crumbled, deseases broke out because corpses were rotting in the rising water... ugly. So for the siege, I can think of many activities, most of which actually happened, either in that siege or in other sieges that Peter Hagendorf describes in the diary. Players should not do all of them so that I will have some stuff left for later sieges in the campaign. Here is a possible chain of events, activities and challenges: Digging trenches and redoubts Diplomacy mission to Braunschweig, to get carpenters and workers from the city to build the dam. (City refused, maybe players can sway them somehow) Diplomacy mission to Goßlar for the same reason. (Goßlar delivered workers and tools) Cutting down the forest to build the dam. Guarding the construction site against sabotage from sneaky attackers from within the town Possible outbreak of deseases not only in town but also in the camp of the sieging army Famine/Keeping the army fed could lead to a challenge of maybe trying to harvest the crops, which is dangerous because the fields are in range of the city cannons Maybe a stealth mission into town to learn about the morale in town, how much provisions they have, how serious the flooding and its consequences are... Maybe player characters can even destroy provisions to speed up the siege. Eventually, looting the town (gaining riches and XP) Off to Winter Camp and other adventures. As I am outlining this, I feel like this can be exciting. However, I am missing a clear antagonist/villain. Maybe a traitor successfully damages the dam and flees into town. The secret spy mission could involve bringing "justice" or let's say punishment to the traitor. Maybe the idea is, to bring him out alive in order to publicly torture and execute him or whatever. ( This paragraph is me spitballing and not historically accurate) Sorry for the wall of text. I felt inspired and needed to type. Happy to hear some thoughts. This is going to be my first self-written adventure. I have only GMed two bought adventures in all my 26 years of RPGing.