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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. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?
  7. 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)
  8. 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)
  9. 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.
  10. Combat Rules Question

    Regarding Q2, maybe we could borrow a handy tool from other game systems for an unopposed attack: Advantage. So that would mean that I role 3 D10 instead of two. 2D10 determine the 10s, 20s, 30s (picking the better roll) and the third one the single digit numbers. If you have different color dice, that shouldn't be a problem. Don't the new (7th edition) Call of Cthulhu rules have that as well? If you wanted to, you could apply the same principle to Q1 and give advantage to the man on horseback and disadvantage to the person on foot.
  11. Thanks for the hint with hitpoints. For the faction, I was thinking that maybe all of them could have their company (100 soldiers) or their regiment (about 2.000 to 3.000) as a faction. The soldier from the diary, for example, clearly identified with the regiment. It seems like it became his home. In the 25 years he describes in the diary, he has always remained in the same regiment, except for an 18 months stint in the Swedish army (opposing side) which they forced him to join at gunpoint in 1633. However, as soon as he had the chance, he returned to his old regiment after the Battle of Nördlingen in 1634. The Swedish army had lost and without hesitation, he switched sides again and they started to pursue the remaining Swedish forces. I am trying to say that this was not arbitrary but prompted by his deep connection and feeling of comfort towards his old regiment. I could get into more detail about it, but that isn't important right now. In any case, I feel that a familiar company of soldiers could replace home for a soldier and in game terms serve as a faction, especially since the Captain's name was usually also the regiment's name. And the nomadic lifestyle of being in the army hardly allowed for a certain place to feel like home . Sorry, I am rambling. I am too excited.
  12. As the title suggests, I would like to run a Thirty Years War campaign. No magick, or very subtle low magick. I have a history degree in Early Modern History and actually specialized in the Thirty Years War. However, while having been playing RPGs since 1991, I have hardly ever been a GM. And never in my own scenario. I have played CoC over the years, so the Renaissance rules don't bother me, but I have not seen them in practice yet. I was looking for some game on youtube and in other places on the internet, mainly for inspiration but I have not been successful. Even on this forum, all I can find, are magick infused settings. This is, what I want to do: Player Characters should be part of or affiliated to an infantry regiment in the Catholic League Army. They could be soldiers, they could even have a small commanding role or they are part of the baggage train. I have a strong set of NPCs and a lot of plot points already from my studies. (based on a real diary of a soldier from the Thirty Years War). I know that diary very well. I am a bit concerned about railroading my players too much, but I do want them to experience some of the more gripping parts of the diary as companions of the author. I would be very happy to receive some advice from people about potential pitfalls, especially if they have GMed in the Thirty Years War. For instance, how to apply the faction system, will be interesting. It does not have to be religion, in my view, because lots of Protestants were part of the Catholic League Army. There are strong indications that the author of the diary also was Protestant, although he never states this out-right. Of course, there are many superstitions in that world, so some Wise Women/Alchemy/Subtle Witchcraft would probably be ok. But I don't want a strong deviation from historical realism. Anyway, this whole thing is in very early stages of planning. Thanks for reading this!