Dragon Warriors Actual Play Stream

#WeirdHookMonth – Powerful Liquor

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The Hook

One bottle of Charavask’s Reserve is made a year, the centennial bottle gifted to those who gather the rare ingredients to make it. Elemental water, dryad’s nectar, assassin vine berries, giant bee honey and more are used. Can you win this year’s bottle by finding what is needed?

Suggested Systems

Advanced Fighting Fantasy, D&D, Pathfinder, Dragon Warriors.

Art by Katherine Souza

#RPG A Witcher Class for the Dragon Warriors RPG

Geralt_of_riviaWitcher Class: For Dragon Warriors

Dragon Warriors is a brilliant ‘Old School’ RPG, reincarnated by Cubicle 7. It has an innate old-Europe feel, somewhat different to standard fantasy fare and well in keeping with The Witcher, which makes it a perfect system in which to run Witcher style RPG sessions.

You can get the PDFs HERE.

Minimum Requirements

A player who wishes his character to become a Witcher must roll scores of at least 10 for Reflexes and Strength and at least 9 for Intelligence and Psychic Talent.

Sign Casting

Witchers may cast their signs an unlimited number of times (there are no magic points) but they must have a hand free to do so and can only cast a sign every third turn.

Witchers and Armour

Witchers can wear any kind of armour but cannot (or at least do not) use shields. Witchers are primarily trained to fight in light armour however.

  • A Witcher can wear armour with an armour factor of 1-2 without penalty.
  • A Witcher can wear armour with an armour factor of 3-4 with a penalty of -2 to Attack/Defence.
  • A Witcher can wear armour with an armour factor of 5 with a penalty of -4 to Attack/Defence.

Witchers and Weapons

Witchers are extensively trained in the use of one-handed weapons only, to an insane degree of expertise. They are much less effective with other weapons. Two handed-weapons suffer a -2 penalty to Attack. This includes ranged weapons, with the exception of pistol-crossbows.

Pistol Crossbow: Damage: D6, 3 points. Short 0-15m, Medium 16-25m, Long 26-35m. 75F.

Health Points

Witchers start with 1D6+6 Health Points.

Combat Factors

Attack 13, Defence 5

Magical Combat Factors

Magical Attack 12, Magical Defence 4.

Evasion

A Witcher’s starting Evasion Score is 4.

Stealth & Perception

A Witcher begins with Stealth 14 and Perception 8.

Initial Equipment

A Witcher starts play with:

  • Gambeson armour (1 armour).
  • A steel sword (d8, 4 points).
  • A silver sword (d6, 3 points). Silver swords can strike incorporeal opponents. Against supernatural monsters a silver sword gets +2 to its armour-bypass roll and +2 damage. Only Witcher-forged silver weapons have these abilities.
  • A backpack.
  • Flint and tinder.
  • A dagger.
  • 1d10 Florins.

The Special Abilities of a Witcher

Witchers have a few innate abilities and a very broad degree of customisation.

They begin with the following abilities:

Heightened Senses

Witchers have an (already) boosted Perception and can see clearly in low-light conditions, but not in total darkness. They start play with the Track ability, as per the Knight class.

Poison Resistance

Witchers consider their Strength to be two points higher than it is when resolving poison effects.

Ranking Up

  • +1 to Attack each time the character increases in Rank.
    +1 to Defence at 3rd Rank and every 2nd Rank thereafter (3,5,7,9…)
  • +1 to Health Points each Rank.
  • +1 to Magical Attack and Magical Defence at 2nd Rank and every 2nd Rank thereafter (2,4,6,8…)
  • +1 to Evasion at Rank 5 and another at Rank 9.
  • +1 to Perception at 2nd Rank and every 2nd Rank thereafter (2,4,6,8…)
  • +1 to Stealth at 4th Rank, 7th Rank and 10th Rank.

Each time a Witcher ranks they get two Skill Ranks to spend, which can be spent to buy the following (though they may only increase their Rank in any ability by 1 each time they Rank up):

Alchemy: You must be at least Rank 6, this gives you access to the Potion making abilities of a Sorcerer but you only have access to Dexterity, Occult Acuity, Strength, Healing, Poison, Theriac, Smoke, Amianthus, Truth, Love and Sleep.

Armour Piercing: As per the Assassin ability.

Armour Training: Offset your armour penalties for heavier armour by 1. You may take this up to four times to completely offset armour penalties.

Arrow Cutting: As per the Warlock ability.

Disarm Technique: As per the Knight ability.

Main Gauche: As per the Knight ability.

Major Enchantment (Armour): As per the Warlock ability.

Major Enchantment (Weapons): As per the Warlock ability.

Minor Enchantment (Armour): As per the Warlock ability.

Minor Enchantment (Weapons): As per the Warlock ability.

Quick Draw: As per the Knight ability.

Ride Warhorse: You can now ride warhorses.

Sign (Aard): A telekinetic wave is projected from the Witcher’s hand. This has a Speed of 13 and does 2 damage out to a range of 5m. A critical hit (double 1) knocks the target over. Extra Skill Ranks can be invested in this ability to raise the Speed, Range and Damage by +1 each per rank, to a maximum of Speed 18, 10m range and 7 damage.

Sign (Axii): Axii allows you to stun an opponent. Make a Magical Attack against an enemy and, if successful, they are stunned for one turn. A critical hit makes them fight on your side for that turn. Extra ranks spent in this sign increase the duration, up to a maximum of 6 turns. You can also use this ability in roleplay to try and subtly bend people to your will.

Sign (Igni): A blast of fire is projected from the Witcher’s hand. This has a Speed of 12 and does 3 damage out to a range of 5m. A critical hit (double 1) sets the target on fire for 1 damage per turn. Extra Skill Ranks can be invested in this ability to raise the Range, Damage and Damage per turn by 1 to a maximum of 10m, 8 damage and 6 damage per turn. You can also use this ability in roleplay to light or extinguish torches, candles, lamps and small fires.

Sign (Quen): Quen creates a magical barrier around you which can resist one hit from any attack. This operates like a shield (blocking on a 6 on D6) and lasts 1 turn. You can spend extra Skill Ranks on this sign to raise its duration and blocking ability by 1 per rank to a maximum of blocking automatically and lasting up to 6 turns.

Sign (Yrden): Yrden drops a magical trap at your feet which lasts until your next turn. Any enemy in the trap area (5m diameter) takes a penalty of -1 to Defence and if incorporeal is rendered vulnerable to normal attacks. Extra Skill Ranks can be invested in this ability to raise the duration and the Defence penalty by 1 per rank to a maximum of 6 turns and a -6 penalty.

Swordmaster: As per the Knight ability.

Unnatural Toughness: Add +1 Health Point. You may take this as many times as you like.

Old School Sucks

Well, kind of. I think many  of us are blinded by nostalgia and fail to recognise the advances that have been made in games. I’m not being subjective when I say ‘advances’ either. Things like unified mechanics, dramatic mechanics and systems that allow for players to ‘buy in’ to the narrative in a more formal fashion are improvements. Skills are an improvement, guidelines and examples on how to handle various ‘stunts’ and tricks are also an improvement.

A while back we tried a session of our favourite old school game, Dragon Warriors. Almost immediately we fell into problems and it’s not like we didn’t all play these older style games back in the day. Something was definitely off though.

  • Nobody felt heroic, or even competent.
  • The ‘whiff’ factor on attacks was huge.
  • The game – as written – had no way to cope with typical player actions such as disarms and so forth, without gaining enough levels to access them as special skills. This seemed to cut them off from being done earlier on without that ability.
  • Dragon warriors doesn’t have quite the same magic issues as early D&D or its clones, but there was a definite ‘holding back’ on the spell front.

I resisted the temptation to ‘fiddle’ with things for a long time. I wanted a true, old-school experience, I wanted the nostalgia but as it turns out, as written, and for our grown up selves, spoiled by FATE and Storyteller, the old school experience is a crock of shit.

I started bringing in flanking rules, allowed them to pull off stunts and tricks, adjusted the monster stats on the fly, interpreted the healing rules in a more generous way and so on. Basically, betraying everything I originally set out to do for the sake of a better game.

You know what? I think that’s what we actually used to do. I think that was the ‘old school’ game experience. Every individual group fixing things in their own way, playing their own game and that was what made for these formative experiences rather than the games themselves. We were all playing our own variations, our own ‘perfect’ games derived from games that were loose and incomplete and subject to interpretation.

Dragon Warriors’ background is always the thing that really appealed to me, much the same with Fighting Fantasy. If we play it again, I think we may use some different rules.

We’ve definitely changed.

Infrno

Infrno is a Beta of a web-based RPG playing application/social site (isn’t everything these days?) which I’ve been signed up to for a while but hadn’t really gotten to grips with until this weekend.

We decided to keep things simple and went for a game of Dragon Warriors, playing through the first adventure in the main book, using the ‘whiteboard’ for maps and the webcam and audio to give the thing a proper test.

First the pluses:

  • Infrno is very easy to use and set up. Not necessarily always intuitive or simple but, in my experience, far more simple and intuitive than all the other, rival options that are out there at the moment.
  • Anyone with a web browser can use it.
  • The social side allows you to keep game notes etc on the site as well as characters, storing them in the cloud whether for your online or offline games. This makes life a lot easier.
  • The whiteboard isn’t complicated and its simplicity makes it extremely usable. You just have to drop images down onto there if you want to use them so making tokens, maps etc is a piece of piss. I never normally bother with them but it’s easy enough with this that I might more often.
  • It’s not wedded to any single system, so it’s open to all kinds of play, all kinds of games. It would be easy, EASY, even to play board games or war games over the interface if you created CGI tokens and that’s something I hope the Infrno guys look into doing with the blessing of various companies.
Now the minuses:
  • The in-site audio wasn’t great, we ended up switching to Ventrilo. We weren’t on the best of connections – one player was in rural Wales connecting via bean-tins and string and the site is in beta, but still that’s a problem. You can always conference in Skype or whatever until this gets fixed though.
  • We suffered the occasional random drop-out from the game, this wasn’t too much of an issue though as they were able to get right back in.
  • The whiteboard took a long time to load for some players.
  • There were pretty heavy, periodic, lag spikes.
  • The dice roller utility is not robust enough for many games.
  • The generic characters sheets are great, but huge and bewildering and unwieldy when trying to enter characters, especially if you’re doing pregens.
That said we had a good time and a successful game, playing online does always seem to be slower than playing in person though. We’re going to keep playing our Dragon Warriors game, at least for a while and I hope to use Infrno to run demos. Even with the Beta-period drawbacks and issues I think Infrno is a serious contender for a system neutral method of online play and of all the ones I’ve tried I like it the best. Get on there and look me up or find me on my company profile, let’s play!