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RoleMaster Standard System PBEM

Copyright Randy Severance ©2003

Edited by Peter Mork for The Guild Companion

 

 

 

ROLEMASTER STANDARD SYSTEM

Play by e-mail rules

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CREDITS

 

I would like to thank the following gamers for the hours of enjoyment they gave me in RMSS PBEM as well as the specific help they gave me in working on this document.

 

Jim Gamble                            editing, play testing

Rene Meulenbroek              graphic design, web page design, play testing

Patrick Gilbert                       Internet research, web page design, play testing

Sam Martel                            Excel programming, play testing

Kerry Drake                           play testing

Brad Ferguson                      play testing  

Jim Reijnders                         play testing

Robert Bates                         play testing

Jason Knapp                         play testing

 


Table of Contents

 

1     INTRODUCTION__________________ 1

1.1     What is PBEM FRPG?____________ 1

1.2     Is PBEM FRPG for me?___________ 1

2     GETTING STARTED_______________ 3

2.1     Commitment____________________ 3

2.2     Joining/Starting a Game___________ 3

2.3     Communication__________________ 3

2.4     Decisions, Decisions______________ 4

2.4.1       Format___________________________ 4

2.4.2       Language________________________ 4

2.4.3       Frequency________________________ 4

2.4.4       Narrative Styles____________________ 5

2.4.5       Die Rolling_______________________ 5

No Die Rolls____________________________ 5

Players Roll Freely_______________________ 5

Players Roll with Confirmation_______________ 5

GM Rolls Freely_________________________ 5

GM Rolls with Confirmation________________ 5

2.4.6       Story Control______________________ 5

GM Controls it All________________________ 6

Players Control it All______________________ 6

Cooperative Control______________________ 6

2.4.7       Documentation and House Rules_______ 6

3     TOOLS AND RESOURCES__________ 8

3.1     Text Editors_____________________ 8

3.2     Map Making Tools_______________ 8

3.3     Internet Tools___________________ 9

3.3.1       General Web Sites__________________ 9

3.3.2       A Game Web Site__________________ 10

3.3.3       Mailing Lists_____________________ 11

3.3.4       Die Rolling Services________________ 12

Die Rolling Templates____________________ 12

Web Based Die Services__________________ 13

E-mail Based Die Services_________________ 14

4     THE PLAY_______________________ 15

4.1     Writing Styles__________________ 15

4.1.1       Consistent Person_________________ 15

4.1.2       Consistent Tense__________________ 15

4.2     PBEM FRPG Details_____________ 16

4.2.1       Modes of Play____________________ 16

Strategic Mode_________________________ 16

Combat Mode__________________________ 16

4.2.2       Guidelines for Players______________ 16

Don't Discuss Statistics___________________ 16

Stay In Character________________________ 16

Keep Records__________________________ 16

Pick a Leader___________________________ 17

4.2.3       Guidelines for GMs________________ 17

Keep it Simple__________________________ 17

Play with the players_____________________ 17

Be Flexible_____________________________ 17

Be Understanding_______________________ 17

Use Character Histories___________________ 17

Be Enthusiastic_________________________ 17

Provide Numbers________________________ 17

Set the Pace___________________________ 18

5     STRATEGIC MODE_______________ 19

5.1     What is Strategic Mode___________ 19

5.2     The Players in Strategic Mode_____ 19

5.2.1       Posting Expectations_______________ 19

5.2.2       Posting Formatting________________ 19

Subject Line___________________________ 20

Game Date/Time________________________ 20

Scene________________________________ 20

Narrative Text__________________________ 20

Out-of-Character Comments (OOC)__________ 21

5.2.3       Character Rights__________________ 21

5.2.4       Driving the Plot___________________ 21

5.3     The GM in Strategic Mode________ 21

Compile_______________________________ 21

Content Check_________________________ 21

Check for Errors________________________ 21

Roll the Dice___________________________ 21

Contribute_____________________________ 22

Annotate_____________________________ 22

5.4     Examples of Strategic Mode Posting 22

6     COMBAT MODE__________________ 25

6.1     What is Combat Mode____________ 25

6.2     The Players in Combat Mode______ 25

6.2.1       Combat Actions___________________ 25

6.2.2       Conditional Statements_____________ 27

6.2.3       Combat Phase____________________ 27

Early Combat Phase______________________ 27

Snap Combat Phase______________________ 28

Normal Combat Phase____________________ 28

Deliberate Combat Phase__________________ 28

6.2.4       Narrative________________________ 29

6.2.5       Combat Round Post Examples________ 29

6.3     The GM in Combat Mode_________ 30

6.3.1       Scheduling______________________ 30

6.3.2       Mail Early Combat Phase Actions_____ 31

6.3.3       Actions of the Foes/NPCs___________ 31

6.3.4       Process the Turn__________________ 31

Pre-Round Accounting___________________ 31

Initiatives_____________________________ 32

Phases_______________________________ 32

Post-Round Accounting__________________ 32

GM Notes_____________________________ 32

Mail the Results________________________ 32

6.3.5       Combat Round Results Example_______ 32

7     FUN WITH PBEM_________________ 35

7.1     Awards and Encouragement_______ 35

7.2     Keeping Secrets________________ 35

7.2.1       Private Mail______________________ 35

7.2.2       Splitting up the party_______________ 36

7.3     Other People in the Game_________ 36

7.3.1       Lurkers_________________________ 36

7.3.2       Guest Stars______________________ 36

8     BIG EXAMPLE___________________ 37

8.1     CONVENTION_________________ 37

8.2     Turn 46.17 Strategic Mode________ 37

8.2.1       Turn 46.17 Notes__________________ 37

8.2.2       Turn 46.17 Post___________________ 37

8.3     Turn 46.18 Strategic Mode________ 39

8.3.1       Turn 46.18 Notes__________________ 39

8.3.2       Turn 46.18 Post___________________ 39

8.4     Turn 47.01 Combat Mode_________ 41

8.4.1       Turn 47.01 Post___________________ 41

8.5     Turn 47.02 Combat Mode_________ 43

8.5.1       Turn 47.02 Notes__________________ 43

8.5.2       Turn 47.02 Early Action Post_________ 43

8.5.3       Turn 47.02 Post___________________ 43

8.6     Turn 47.03 Combat Mode_________ 46

8.6.1       Turn 47.02 Post___________________ 46

8.7     Turn 47.04 Combat Mode_________ 49

8.7.1       Turn 47.04 Notes__________________ 49

8.7.2       Turn 47.04 Early Action Post_________ 49

8.7.3       Turn 47.04 Post___________________ 49

9     APPENDICES____________________ 53

9.1     GLOSSARY____________________ 53

9.2     TABLES______________________ 54

9.2.1       Game Startup Decision Table_________ 54

9.2.2       Die Roll Templates_________________ 55

9.2.3       PBEM web sites___________________ 56

9.2.4       Combat Actions___________________ 57

10   INDEX___________________________ 59

 

 


 

 

1       INTRODUCTION

1.1      What is PBEM FRPG?

 

PBEM (Play By E-Mail) FRPG (Fantasy Role Playing Game) is an evolution of the well-known FRPG gaming system.  The major difference is that the players and GM do not interact in real-time around a table.  Instead, the players and GM interact via e-mails whose format can vary depending on the situation and game parameters.

 

The PBEM FRPG proceeds as a series of e-mail exchanges between players and the GM (Game Master).  The first half of the exchange originates with the PBEM FRPG players who each write a "post" and e-mail it to the GM (and other players if the situation warrants).  The second half of the exchange is the responsibility of the GM who reads all of the player's posts, decides the outcome, and e-mails the results back to the players.  Sometimes the GM will have little to do such as when characters are discussing which direction to take for their next adventure.  Other times, the GM may be in total control such as when the characters are in the middle of a battle.

 

As with all things, there are advantages as well as disadvantages to playing a FRPG via e-mail.  Some of the disadvantages of PBEM over face-to-face gaming are:

 

·         While e-mail is a faster medium than postal mail it cannot match the communication speed players have learned to expect in a face-to-face game.  As such, fast action combat is not well suited for PBEM.  A battle that might take thirty minutes over a tabletop can take a month or more with PBEM. However, enough information may be exchanged in a short enough period of time to make PBEM role-playing possible.

 

·         The social dynamics of the game are completely different.  Slapping one-another on the back and cracking timely jokes cannot be done and ordering out for pizza and soda is no longer a major aspect of the get-together.

 

·         Because e-mail is a radically different medium than the spoken word, the GM will impose new burdens on the players in the form of turn formats and more elaborate descriptions of character's actions.   This is especially true of melee actions if the GM wishes to maintain control and fairness.

 

Some of the advantages of PBEM over face-to-face gaming are:

 

·         All players have a written record of what has occurred in the game.  If done well, this series of documents will read like a novel. 

 

·         Responding to unexpected changes in the game plot is less of a problem.  Since the players and GM have days (rather then minutes) to respond to moves, there is always enough time to make a quick change of plans.  The GM will no longer have to postpone a game because he prepared for an adventure in town "X" but the players want to go to town "Y."  In addition, players will have time to re-read past e-mail in order to dig out the clues to follow the plot.

 

·         The "Role" is returned to "Fantasy Role Play" and character development takes precedence over hack-and-slash.  The written medium helps support a dialogue and background that encourage players to stay in character.  Players are also given incentive to develop interesting backgrounds for their characters. A player who uses creative writing and puts some effort into his narratives will be remembered as a great player regardless of his character's success. A player who uses five word sentences and puts little effort into the game will be considered baggage even if his character consistently kills the dragon.

 

·         The pool of potential players is no longer restricted to a small group of friends in town.  Potential players may come from Germany, Mexico, or Guam (to name a few places).  Language is more of a barrier than distance.

 

·         Timing is no longer an issue with PBEM.  Each player (and GM) need only commit to logging on and reading their e-mail at regular intervals.  The problem of getting the hometown gang to agree on which Saturday afternoon to play is now moot.

1.2      Is PBEM FRPG for me?

 

Before jumping into a PBEM game potential players should recognize that the nature of PBEM entails a shift in focus from combat and monster killing to description and plot development.  A combat fan might find PBEM to be slow and uncomfortable.  In addition, a level of adequate writing skills is required.  Sure, spell checkers and grammar checkers will come in handy, but having the ability to use an adjective and adverb once in a while is required.  Use of creative writing devices such as foreshadowing, misdirection, and cliffhangers keeps your writing interesting to others.

 

PBEM also requires moderate to good knowledge of a computer system.  Players need to be able to use a text editor, send and receive e-mail, download maps, compress and uncompress large files, and possibly access Internet die rolling services.  Furthermore, a player will need to be organized, be able to save e-mail on his computer and be able to search through old e-mail for specific references.

 

The players must be committed to reading their e-mail every day and responding to it at regular intervals.  The players must also be committed to developing their characters beyond the tiny lead figure normally displayed on the gaming table.  Good players will write long moves and provide descriptions of what he hopes his character will accomplish.

 

The GM must be committed to reading his e-mail and responding every day.  The GM might need to type out large amounts of text as plot history is explained.  Simple requests of the GM such as "what ethos will we be using and what are the powers of the gods" can no longer be answered with a reference to a book.  The GM might have to type out page after page of description so that players who do not have access to all the gaming books will have a common knowledge base.


 

2       GETTING STARTED

 

Living in a one-horse town, abandoned by friends who have now gone off to college need not mean the end of one's gaming life.  A PBEM game can fill the void.  Here are some preliminaries that both players and GMs will need to address before getting started.

2.1      Commitment

 

Playing a FRPG take lots of time.  Playing a PBEM FRPG takes even more time (although the time investment will occur in smaller increments over a longer period of time).  No matter how fast a person is on the keyboard, speaking one's mind over a tabletop is faster than composing e-mail.

 

Anyone who intends to run a PBEM game will need to research Internet tools; he may also opt to set up mailing list services and newsgroups. At a minimum, the future GM will need to define the gaming format (using this document will help) and publish his house rules.  In addition to the basic game preparation, there is the chore of keeping in continuous contact with players through e-mail. The GM will need to log in every day and spend time responding to e-mail. Once a week he will need to devote three or four hours for the publishing of a major turn or combat.  An ambitious GM might even build and maintain his own web page for the players to access.

 

Commitment to a PBEM game begins with an honest evaluation of one's free time and devotion to the game. As with all FRPGs, the PBEM variant is adaptable to the available time of the players, and their objectives.  The numbers quoted here can be adjusted up or down for a faster or slower game.

2.2      Joining/Starting a Game

 

As a prospective player looking to join a game, a quick browse of the newsgroups will reveal many advertisements for games needing players. A read through the posts will reveal an entire spectrum of information about on-going, or soon-to-be-initiated games.   The challenge for the would-be player is to pick a game that he thinks best suits his style of play. Once his selection is made, he needs to write to the GM (making sure to provide an e-mail address) asking to be considered to join the game.

 

Networking is another option with a mutual friend providing the would-be player an "in", and providing the GM some reassurance that the prospective player can (and will) manage his responsibilities in an e-mail game.

 

A final option for the prospective player is to consider joining a game that has already been running for some time.   In this case, the circumstances may offer the option of replacing a dropout player; that is, assuming the writing for a character that already exists and who has some wealth and development.  This would be unthinkable to most tabletop players, since there is so much pride taken in getting a character to survive to the upper levels.  However, in PBEM the emphasis is less on character achievement.   Adopting a character that someone else has already completed the drudgery of establishing a background is something to consider.

 

For the GM seeking players, the obvious source of players is computer-literate friends.  The GM can supplement his circle of friends by posting an advertisement on an Internet newsgroup. Any advertisement should include details about the game in order to pre-qualify the potential players.  At a minimum, this will include information about the gaming system, experience requirements for players, books and other materials the player is required to have, and time expectations. Additionally, the advertisement may include a teaser for the adventure to attract players to the game.  Lastly, the advertisement should include an e-mail address so that interested players can contact the GM.

 

GMs who feel uninspired or "creatively-challenged" by this aspect of their chosen task can browse the newsgroups for other advertisements that can serve as examples.  Borrowing (copying) is acceptable; this is not academic research.

2.3      Communication

 

E-mail offers advantages in scheduling and distance, but it lacks the speed, the opportunities to use elliptical constructions, the dimension of inflection, and the facial and somatic gestures that characterize face-to-face communication; it is a more restrictive communication medium. When the GM describes how PBEM posts should be formatted, the PBEM player may come to believe that his GM's main purpose is to mandate even greater restrictions on his e-mail. The GM may even e-mail a separate, lengthy list of instructions describing the format to be used when submitting a turn/post.  Part of the task of the PBEM player is to understand and follow his directions.

 

Another task for the PBEM player is to make timely turn submissions.  It may be the case that a player's input is not required for every turn.  However, when his input is required, he should submit on time.  If the GM has to spend time sending requests for delinquent players to submit their turns, his burden is increased and his enjoyment is diminished. Options exist if for some reason a player just can't produce a turn:

 

·         The player can ask a friend to write for him.

 

·         The player can negotiate with the GM for an extension.

 

·         The player can allow the GM to determine his fate (because all GMs seem to enjoy the discomfort—if not outright humiliation—of their players, this option should be a last resort).

 

A player who will not be available for several days/weeks should make the effort to find someone to submit turns on his behalf.

 

The GM will determine the requirements for player's submissions.   Such requirements are for his benefit; they should exist to simplify his job as GM. However, each requirement imposes a cost (typically in the form of annoyance) on the players.  With respect to deciding on requirements for communicating, balancing the benefits the GM realizes with the annoyance his players will experience is his first challenge.

 

The GM should consider including justifications for each requirement.  Reasons why are:

 

·         The process of putting reasoning into words can often expose requirements that really don't contribute to the process (and should be removed).

 

·         A reasonable justification will help the players remember the requirement ("Why do I have to write 'My GM is the greatest' in my Subject heading?").

 

·         A reasonable justification will minimize the level of annoyance experienced by the players.

 

The GM is responsible for coordinating all the players, which means foremost, keeping everyone informed as to the game schedule. The players should expect regular postings from the GM, as he should expect regular postings from them.  During the course of a PBEM game, there will no doubt be occasions where personal schedules or exceptional circumstances interfere with normal communications.  When the GM is unable to communicate with his players, the game halts.  Therefore, the GM should be pro-active:

 

·         Well in advance of breaks (for holidays, or summer) the GM should let his players know the start and duration of the break.  The same is true if the GM is going on vacation.

 

·         If the GM loses access to the Internet (e.g., computer died, being repaired), he can resort to a telephone call to notify one of his players (who can then notify the others via e-mail).

 

When the GM makes an extra effort to maintain communication during exceptional situations, it will reinforce in the players the expectations he has for them.

 

Modern technology can ease the communication burden.  Most e-mail programs have address books and alias features that allow the user to refer to correspondents by easily remembered names instead of awkward e-mail addresses.  Similarly, most e-mail programs allow users to create address lists, so that several recipients can be referenced by a single name.  And some mailing list services archive the e-mail so that back posts can be retrieved on-line.

 

While the focus of these guidelines is playing by e-mail, there is no reason that the game should be restricted to e-mail only.  Feel free to experiment with alternate forms of communications (such as online chat rooms).

2.4      Decisions, Decisions

 

The GM will first need to set some ground rules for the game.  These rules should be made known to the players when they join the game.  A prospective player should ask a GM about these rules before deciding to join a game.  Here are some of the major decisions to be made:

2.4.1       Format

 

There are many formats (and here the term "format" refers to communication format) for PBEM.  This document describes only one of them and provides the groundwork for a playable format.  The PBEM system described herein is a time-tested system that will lighten the burden on players and GM alike.  Other format systems can be found on the Internet at the various PBEM sites.  Whichever format is chosen, the rules must be shared with all players so that they know what is expected.

2.4.2       Language

 

The environment of Net-izens is global.  Therefore, the GM has the option of allowing a language (or languages) other than English to be used.  Multilingual games can be great fun.

2.4.3       Frequency

 

During combat, there is a deadline for submitting a turn.  The fear of missing a turn usually keeps players attentive to the schedule during these times.  But during non-battle play, the posting requirements are not as strict.  How often will players be expected to log on and respond?  The GM needs to decide what the minimum posting requirements are. 

 

There will be some battle enthusiasts who are content to ignore their e-mail until a battle starts and these players must be encouraged to participate at all times.  The GM may require a minimum non-battle posting frequency.  Typically, players might be required to contribute to the game at least once a week.  A habitually delinquent player should be retired to make room for someone more enthusiastic who will not drag down the other players.

2.4.4       Narrative Styles

 

If everyone writes with the same "flavor" then the story can be patched together with little effort.  The GM should make some decision when the game begins as to the narrative format to use.  Should the players write in first or third person?  Should they write in current or past tense?  Should they use block or indented paragraph format?  Providing these details to players up front will save the GM from having to rewrite players' posts in order to make the story flow together.  See section 4.1 for more information on these styles.

2.4.5       Die Rolling

 

There are five ways to roll die in a PBEM RPG.  Either the GM or the Player can do the rolling and optionally either can use an Internet Die Service to obtain verification of the rolls, or no die need to be rolled at all.

 

An Internet Die Service is a website that generates random numbers on request with the results automatically sent to one or more e-mail addresses.  More information on Internet Die Services is given in section 3.3.4.

No Die Rolls

Allow the players to decide the outcome of their character's action themselves.  This type of system is used by Interactive Writing Groups where the goal is to write a story rather then to advance a character's wealth and status.  For the sake of drama, action and a good story, players will have their characters get sliced, bashed and burned before they lop the head off of the monster.  However, this method of play actually leaves the realm of FRPG and enters IWG so we will not delve deeper into it here.

Players Roll Freely

Using this option, the player rolls his own dice and reports the results to the GM via e-mail.  No Internet Die Service is used and there is no verification of the roll.  This requires great restraint and integrity on the player's part in order to report the die truly. This method will also slow the game down, as the GM must send e-mail to the player asking for a die roll to be made and then wait for the reply.  If this is done for every roll required in a round the result would be a very slow game.

Players Roll with Confirmation

This option most closely described what would happen if the game were played face-to-face.  The player rolls the die and the GM and other players watch the die fall as witnesses.  The confirmation is performed with an Internet Die Service.  Unfortunately, this method in PBEM is the slowest and most cumbersome of the three as the Internet Die Service takes time to use and the GM may need to make several requests to the players for additional die rolls.

 

In order to maintain the level of integrity of the roll, the player would need to e-mail his combat mode post to the GM before using the Internet Die Service to e-mail his die rolls.  Otherwise the player might be tempted to have the character's action changed depending on the quality of the die rolled.  More information on Internet Die Services can be found in section 3.3.4.

GM Rolls Freely

Using this option, the GM rolls the dice on the behalf of the players and reports the results to the players in the resulting game turn e-mail.  The GM need not use an Internet Die Service to send out confirmation of the rolls.  This requires great restraint and integrity on the GM's part to avoid fudging the die.  The GM would also need to have the complete confidence of the players.  This is the fastest and perhaps the most popular gaming method and keeps the action moving along at top speed.  After all, if the GM were going to fudge the results, there are many ways for him to do so without being creative with the die rolls.  And since the GM is all-powerful, if he decides a character's weapon is to break, then it breaks, regardless of the die roll.  So giving the GM the authority over the die rolls is not that much of a change in power.

GM Rolls with Confirmation

This option is similar to the Player Rolls with Confirmation except that the GM will make all the rolls needed on the Internet Die Service.  This option has the advantage that the GM can make as many or as few rolls as needed to get the turn processed and he does not need to wait for players to respond to e-mail. 

 

However, this option has the disadvantage of being very time consuming for the GM.  The GM will need to roll many times for each character and each foe.  A GM running a group of 8 characters fighting a group of 12 goblins would be rolling the dice for 20 combatants.  With an average of 4 die rolls per combatant (to cover attacks, criticals, open-ended rolls, fumbles, maneuver rolls, etc.) the GM would need to use the Internet Die Service 80 times every melee round!  The GM might end up spending more time on the Internet Die Service site then he does processing the turn.

 

Even if die rolling confirmation is being used, there are times in the game when the GM will need to make some die rolls that are not reported to the players.  Examples of these are Alertness and Awareness skills.  These rolls are made without the player's knowledge at times when there is something for the character to be aware of.  If these rolls were announced to the players when they were made, then the players would know that there is something that the character should be aware of and the player might change his character's behavior even if the rolls failed.

2.4.6       Story Control

 

There are three major ways to run a PBEM RPG.  They are: the GM does everything; the players do everything; and a balance of the two. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, and responds to the problems of e-mail in different ways.

GM Controls it All

This would be a game for the purist.  None of the players know each other, or even how many other players there are.  All communications is done with e-mail to the GM only, who then integrates the e-mail into one large move and sends it back out to the players.  Players will not know if their character is talking to a NPC or a PC.  The disadvantage of this method is the burden that it puts on the GM.  The GM would have many hours of work to do just to produce one turn a week.  If the GM is not able to get to his e-mail, the game grinds to a halt.

 

However, because of the tight control the GM must maintain during battles, this is the preferred method of operation for combat mode.

Players Control it All

Players are allowed to send their turn to other players at the same time they send it to the GM.  Unless they violate a gaming rule, that post becomes reality.  This style is much looser, faster and easier.  This method is often used in Interactive Writing Groups and is well suited for games where a cohesive party needs to cooperate to overcome a problem.  Players are allowed to assume things as they write their work and the GM has to be flexible about it.

 

This allows the players to post actions of the NPCs, monsters, bad-guys and even other characters to some degree. The plot is determined by players rather than by the GM.  Players can write themselves being attacked by Orcs or write themselves finding treasure.  One player might write a cut-away post about the archenemy pacing around in his castle, plotting his next move. 

 

This gives the players a bigger responsibility in driving the plot.   It becomes more like the storytelling game where one person begins a story then passes it on to the next person, who then adds to the story and passes it on again.  The idea behind this format of game is to enjoy flexing one's writing skills and building a plot line together.  There is lots of room for abuse as players could write their characters finding great wealth or magic.  But the next player to write might just as easily turn that treasure into cursed items. 

 

GMs who are aghast at the suggestion that players have that amount of control should know that there are many Interactive Writing Groups that enjoy this format.  Most have even gone so far as to give up any die rolling of any kind—allowing players to make write the story as they go with no random element.

Cooperative Control

This method combines the strengths of the GM and the flexibility of the Players.  The players are allowed to communicate with each other and make moderate decisions about the plot direction but the GM retains control.  In general, players post e-mail to all players, and the GM will inject posts in order to resolve die rolls, communicate with NPC or navigate the plot.  A player can send 'secret' e-mail to the GM if his character is to do something that the other characters are not able to witness.

 

Players are allowed to make superficial, cosmetic and descriptive decisions but must leave the die rolling decisions to the GM.  If one player writes, "it began to rain" the GM should not object but rather adapt the game scenario accordingly.  However, if a player writes, "Joe finds the all-powerful sword of everything," the GM should jump in and veto that post.

2.4.7       Documentation and House Rules

 

Since it will not be possible to share documentation as in a face-to-face game, each player will be responsible for providing his own books and manuals.  Prospective players should be informed what documentation is required.  If the game is going to be using a manual or book as a reference, either the players should each have it available or the GM should be prepared to educate the players.  While it is easier for the GM to write, "See page 26 of the Martial Arts Companion" than to have him try and explain new Blind Fighting rules, here again, the GM must seek a balance.  Players will rightly resist spending money on books that are rarely referenced.

 

The GM must be up-front about the use of optional rules.  If there will be no Mentalism Magic or Gnomes in his genre, he should let players know before they start submitting posts featuring a Gnome Mentalist NPC. 

 

 

Table 21 Game Startup Decision Table

Below are some of the decisions that the GM must make before starting a PBEM game.  Players should be informed of these decisions before they join a game.

 

 

Posting Frequency

Combat Mode:  [     ]/week

Strategic Mode: [    ]/week

 

 

Format

 

  Language

 

  Tense

[  ] Past                   [  ] Present

  Person

[  ] First                  [  ] Third

  Paragraph

[  ] Block                [  ] Indent

 

 

Die Rolling

 

  Rolled by

[  ] GM                    [  ] Player

  Verify

[  ] Verify                [  ] Honor System

 

 

Story Control

 

  Plot

[  ] GM     [  ] Player     [  ] Cooperative

  NPCs

[  ] GM     [  ] Player     [  ] Cooperative

  Descriptive

[  ] GM     [  ] Player     [  ] Cooperative

 

 

Mechanics

 

  Mail Group

www._______________________

  Die Server

www._______________________

  Newsgroup

www._______________________

  Our Site

www._______________________

  Other Site

www._______________________

 

 

Documentation

[    ] RFRP

[    ] Arms Law

[    ] Hard Knocks

[    ] Character Law

[    ] of Essence

[    ] Essence Comp

[    ] of Mentalism

[    ] Mentalism Comp

[    ] of Channeling

[    ] Channeling Comp

[    ] Martial Arts Comp

[    ] Alchemy Comp

[    ] Arcane Comp

[    ] Elemental Comp

[    ] Other ___________

[    ] Other ___________

[    ] Other __________

[    ] Other ___________

 

House Rules

(races not allowed, magic not allowed, etc)

 

 

 


 

3       TOOLS AND RESOURCES

 

Anyone who intends to play in a PBEM FRPG will need Internet access.  While there have been various hardware offerings that allow Internet access (through a TV and phone-line, for example), these devices do not perform functions that may be necessary in a given game (e.g., un-compressing data files, reading spreadsheets).  Since most people have one or more personal computers available in the home, the discussions that follow assume the use of a personal computer rather than an Internet access device.  Here are some helpful hints and recommended web sites to enhance one's PBEM experience.

 

Although there are many quality tools and web sites available, only those that are free of charge are mentioned here.  This chapter is not intended to be an all-inclusive list of relevant websites, nor is the intent to endorse any specific website.  The websites listed below are offered to present starting points for FRPG PBEM surfing.

 

There is a summary of recommended web sites in the appendix.

3.1      Text Editors

 

Some "Rich Text" document editors use special characters to provide automatic formatting.  For example, Microsoft Word has the ability to automatically convert quotation marks into what Microsoft calls "smart quotes" where the slant of the quotation mark will point into the quoted text.  When MS Word does this it is actually using non-standard characters in the text and converting their appearance within the product.  Text cut from MS Word and pasted into an e-mail program may produce strange characters instead of quotation marks.

 

The best way to tell if a given chosen text editor is doing "funny" things is for the GM (or player) to e-mail the post to himself. A periodic check for strange characters in these posts will tell the GM (or player) if he has a problem that needs to be corrected (probably by changing to a different document editor).

 

However, if all of the players have a particular "Rich Text" word processor available to them, the GM can make use of colors, fonts, borders and tables to make the post look great and even insert the map right into the turn document.  If the GM and players can not all get access to the same word processor, then finding a "Flat Text" editor that will avoid placing special character in the posts is the best tool for the job.

3.2      Map Making Tools

 

In PBEM, the GM and players do not have access to the familiar hex grid sheet and miniatures to organize and visualize the game.  The GM will need to obtain and become skilled in the use of a graphic artwork program in order to make maps for the players.  In strategic mode the GM will need to provide wide area maps and in combat mode he will need to provide detailed battle maps with the location of each character and foe.

 

To produce strategic mode area maps the GM could obtain access to a scanner and create images from hand drawn or purchased maps.  There are also free software programs available such as World Builder, which is a shareware program used to draw maps of worlds.  It uses continental drift and true meteorological computations to provide realistic maps including mountain ranges, rain shadows and rivers.  World Builder can be found at http://www.irony.com/webtools.html.

 

To produce combat mode battle maps, the GM needs access to an artwork program.  There are many good graphic artwork programs on the market, some of which are even specifically designed for FRPGs and include templates of drag and drop images for fantasy map making.  There are free software programs available for this purpose as well.  AutoRealm is a particularly good product provided as shareware on the web site http://www.gryc.ws/autorealm.htm.  With AutoRealm, the GM can create complex birds eye view maps and save the maps as JPEG images.

 

In either case, the GM should select graphic software that will produce a compressed image file format such as JPEG because the image will need to be sent to the players.  A larger image file format such as BMP might frustrate players, as they have to endure long download times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sample of a Strategic Map:

 

Sample of a Combat Map:

 

3.3      Internet Tools

3.3.1       General Web Sites

 

The Internet is a great resource for PBEM gaming.

 

Information Resources: The WWW is a great source of historical information about long swords, armor, castles and other period-related items.  The GM can amaze his players with detailed information about the architecture of the times or describe a battle wound in medical terms that would impress a doctor.   There are even sites devoted to helping visitors improve their writing skills in general.

 

There are many sites that might be over-looked, but have offerings that can be adapted for use in a PBEM game.  The GM should try thinking outside the box.  A search for sites of National Parks might yield images of snowcapped mountains or dark swamps.  These images can be downloaded and attached to the game e-mails to show players just what the characters see.  A Search for websites featuring English castles might yield actual floor plans and images for the game.

 

One really great web site for gathering information is Fantasy Links found at http://members.ozemail.com.au/~pjcsjc/fantasy.htm.  Available there are links to the Fantasy Writers Association, Norse Mythology, Folklore, Myths and Legends, Fantasy and Science Fiction Book Reviews, Castles Terminology and more.  Following the webrings in a surfing trip will lead to more information.

 

Community Resources: The PBEM and FRPG community has a notable presence on the Internet. News Groups, Mailing Lists and Chat Rooms provide access to other GM/Players. Through these media, a GM (or player) can ask advice, advertise for new players, find game openings, share house rules, find new plot ideas and generally share with the FRPG community.  Many gamers have published useful informational writings and tools that are offered free.  Time spent in research on the Internet may uncover:

 

·         A freeware spreadsheet someone wrote to help calculate the bartering for goods and equipment.

 

·         Freeware images and artwork to dress up one's e-mail.

 

·         Advice from other gamers for dealing with unique gaming situations. 

 

Some quality FRPG community sites include:

 

·         Gamerz found at http://www.gamerz.net/ offers a mailing list, die server (shadowdice) and other resources and tools.

 

·         PBeM-Portal found at http://www.pbem-portal.com has a simple format but offers hosting services, presents awards and has many useful resources.

 

·         Irony Games' PBEM News at http://www.pbem.com is packed full of resources and tools.  This site has lists of game openings, lurker services, a web based die server, World Builder map making shareware, a fantasy Campaign Calendar Maker (how many months, seasons, moons does the fantasy world have?) and much, much more. 

 

·         PBEM Emporium at http://pbem.brainiac.com/ is a great resource for GMs with lost of links to tools.  This site also supports a large variety of PBEM board games.

 

3.3.2       A Game Web Site

 

A GM skilled in web page design might want to put his game on the Internet. This would be the ultimate culmination of a PBEM game.  Some items that would be useful on a PBEM Game Website include:

 

·         Specific turn information such as Next Turn Due, Current Game Mode, and Current Turn Number.

 

·         Maps and images.

 

·         Game e-mail/turn archives.

 

·         Links to useful sites such as die rolling services or historical references.  Don't forget www.ironcrown.com!

 

·         Forums for discussion.

 

·         Links to player's e-mail addresses.

 

·         Specific game information like house rules, marching order, descriptions of unique creatures.

 

·         Specific genre information like ethos, kingdoms, cultures.

 

·         Specific character information like profession, race, pictures, players and background.

 

·         Personal information about the players' age, profession and hobbies.

 


 

 

 

 


3.3.3       Mailing Lists

 

A mailing list is simply a list of people all interested in the topic of the list.  Mailing lists are discussion forums with the added convenience that not everyone has to be present at a given time.  Messages submitted to the mailing list are saved for subscribers to read through at any time.

 

Most mailing lists are configured and controlled by a moderator who will decide the level of security to place on the list.  The moderator can restrict access to the list to only subscribers or he can make the list open to the public.  Subscribers can set their own personal configuration options to either have mailing list messages automatically forwarded to their personal e-mail address or they can choose to only read them on the internet by going to the mailing list web site.

 

One benefit to using a mailing list is that players and GM need only e-mail their posts to one address and it can be automatically forwarded to all the subscribers on the list.  Subscribers are responsible for maintaining the accuracy of their e-mail address on the list.  This removes the burden of maintaining a list of all the players' e-mail addresses from the GM.  If a player's e-mail address changes, that player will make the appropriate changes to his subscription on the mailing list and none of the other players or the GM need to be concerned about it.

 

Another benefit is that the mailing list service usually provides tools that allow searching in old e-mail archived on the mailing list.  This feature eliminates the burden of saving and storing all the old posts on each player's computer.

 

A disadvantage to using a mailing list service is that the list of forwarding addresses is inflexible.  If the GM wants to e-mail a message to just one or two players and keep it a secret from the others, he will have to use the individual addresses of these players.  To send this message to the mailing list would forward the message to everyone. 

 

Another disadvantage is that most mailing list services are provided free of charge.  However, the mailing list service needs to make money somehow so they sell advertising space to businesses.  This might results in having spam placed at the bottom of all the e-mail messages or on their web site, or even worse, subscribers' addresses being sold to advertisers for direct spamming.

 

One well-known and free mailing list service is provided by Yahoo at http://www.yahoogroups.com.  Some PBEM sites maintain a mailing list service specifically for FRPG PBEMers such as Gamerz found at http://www.gamerz.net/.

3.3.4       Die Rolling Services

 

An Internet Die Service is an Internet application that will allow you to generate random numbers with the results automatically sent to one or more e-mail addresses as a confirmation.  There are several Internet die services available.  Most of them are free of charge with the minor annoyance of commercial advertisements that help finance the service. There are two types of die services:  1. Web Based Services require logging onto a web site and 2. E-mail Based Services require sending e-mail to a service.  Each of these is discussed in more detail below.

 

A good way to find an Internet Die Service is with an Internet search engine using keywords such as "PBEM FRPG" and "Die Rolling."  There are many good sites out there so it should not be difficult to find one that is suitable.  Examples of such sites are:

 

·         Irony Games' Die Server (web based) found at http://www.irony.com/mailroll.html

 

·         Shadowdice (web based) found at http://www.gamerz.net/shadowdice/

 

·         Titan Die Roller (e-mail based) found at http://wolff.to/dice/

Die Rolling Templates

Using a Die Service once for each roll of the die will slow down the game significantly.  The GM will have to sift through 20 to 40 die confirmation e-mails as he calculates out the results of the turn and assuming that the player and GM read their e-mail every day, a single battle turn could take weeks.  Imagine this:

 

Day 1

Player announces his character will attack the ogre with his sword.

Day 2

GM provides the attack modifiers and asks the player to roll.

Day 3

Player logs onto the Internet die service and sends a die roll to the GM for the combat.

Day 4

GM receives the die roll and since it is open-ended, asks for another die roll from the player.

Day 5

Player logs onto the Internet die service and sends a die roll to the GM for the open-ended roll.

Day 6

GM receives the die roll and notes that a critical hit roll is now needed.

Day 7

Player logs onto the Internet die service and sends a die roll to the GM for the critical hit.

Day 8

GM resolves the combat and begins working on the next player's attack move.

 

The length of time for die rolling can be reduced by allowing the player or GM to roll and e-mail several die at a time in anticipation of their use.  Each die would be rolled for a specific reason in a specific order.  If the roll is not needed, the GM discards it.  For a typical combat turn, a player would send 10 die rolls from the Internet die service sometime after his melee round turn is sent.  These rolls will be used in order as described below in the Die Roll Template table.

 

The GM can design different die rolling templates for different uses.  The same pattern that is appropriate for a melee attack might not be useful for spell casting. Some sample templates are shown in table 3-1.

 


 

Table 31 Die Roll Templates

Die #

Description

Notes

Combat

1

Combat Attack

Used for the Melee/Missile Attack

2

Open Ended Roll Addition

Used only if Die 1 is 96+

3

Fumble Die

Used only if Die 1 results in a fumble

4

Weapon Break

Used only if Die 1 results in a weapon break check

5

Critical

Used only if Die 1 results in a critical hit

6

Resistance Roll

Used if the character is required to make a resistance roll this turn

7

Movement Maneuver Roll

Used if the character is required to make a movement maneuver roll this turn

8

Open Ended Roll for Move Roll

Used only if Die 7 is 96+

9

Skill Maneuver Roll

Used if the character is attempting the use of a skill this turn

10

Open Ended Roll for Skill

Used only if Die 8 is 96+

Spell Casting

1

Spell Casting Maneuver

Used only if the spell does not meet all automatic casting requirements

2

Basic Attack Roll or Elemental Attack Roll

Depending on the type of spell being cast

3

Open Ended Roll Addition

Used only if Die 1 is 97+

4

Fumble Die

Used only if Die 1 results in a spell fumble

5

Critical

Used only if the spell results in a critical hit

6

Resistance Roll

Used if the character is required to make a resistance roll this turn

7

Movement Maneuver Roll

Used if the character is required to make a movement maneuver roll this turn

8

Open Ended Roll for Move Roll

Used only if Die 7 is 97+

9

Static Maneuver Roll

Used if the character is attempting the use of a static skill this turn

10

Open Ended Roll for Skill

Only used if Die 8 is 97+

 


 

By using templates each turn, the GM can process an intricate post like the one below with one e-mailing even if the attack roll results in an open-ended roll, fumble, critical or weapon break check. This process will not cover all contingencies and additional e-mail might be needed to perform more rolls.  For example, only one skill maneuver die roll is provided, but there might be a melee round in which two or more skill maneuver rolls would be needed.

 

In the example below, Die # 7is used for the DismountRapid maneuver roll (and 8 if needed).  Die #9 is used for the QuickDraw static maneuver roll (and die 10 if needed). Use Roll # 1 for a melee attack (and rolls 2, 3, 4, and 5 if needed).

 

Table 32 Combat Post using Die Template

From:  muldune@rmss_pbem.com

To:    borak@rmss_pbem.com

       syzygy@rmss_pbem.com gm@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 12.01 – Muldune

 

Game Date:  4/11/1043 12:34

Scene:      Open field outside of Humvill

 

SNAP:

  DismountRapid(20)

  QuickDraw(0)

 

With the grace of a swan, Muldune quickly leaps from his mount while it is still in motion.  He lands on his feet and pulls his sword from his belt so quickly that is appears as a blur.

 

NORMAL:

  Attack/Parry(70/10)

 

The mighty Sword of Ordan bites deeply into the Harpy and Muldune twists it to add more pain to the evil spawned creature.

 

 

Web Based Die Services

Web Based Die Service Rolling requires logging onto the web site, entering a description of what the roll is for (such as "Picking Lock Static Maneuver Roll"), entering the type of die to be rolled (such as "1 100 sided die") and designating one or more e-mail addresses to receive the results.  When the "roll" button is pressed, the random numbers are generated and the results are sent to the address(es) given.  This allows the player to have witnesses to the die rolling by use of the resulting e-mail.

 

If the player is rolling using a Web Based Service, the timing of the combat post and the Internet Die Service e-mails must be monitored.  The player must e-mail his combat post first so that it arrives in the GM's mailbox with a timestamp earlier then the Internet Die Service e-mail.  This is necessary to ensure that the character is committed to a course of action before the dice are rolled.  If the player is allowed to roll his template before e-mailing in the character's action, he could adjust the actions to make use of the good die rolls and avoid the poor ones. 

 

 

For example, if a player rolled 11, 54, 65, 08, 94, 75, 45, 34, 97, 43 then the player could notice that the combat attack roll (die #1) of 11 will result in a weapon break check and the weapon break roll (die #4) of 08 would result in his weapon being broken, but his skill maneuver roll (die #9) is 97 open ended with an additional (die #10) 43 rolled.  Now armed with this knowledge, the player could direct his character to perform a skill maneuver rather then attack.

 

 

Below is an example of a combat post and the associated die post.  Remember that the combat post must be sent to the GM before the die roll e-mail.

 

Table 33 Combat Post Sent by Player

From:  muldune@rmss_pbem.com

To:    borak@rmss_pbem.com

       syzygy@rmss_pbem.com gm@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 12.01 – Muldune

 

Game Date:  4/11/1043 12:34

Scene:      Open field outside of Humvill

 

SNAP:  DismountRapid(20), QuickDraw(0)         

 

With the grace of a swan, Muldune quickly leaps from his mount while it is still in motion.  He lands on his feet and pulls his sword from his belt so quickly that is appears as a blur.

 

NORMAL:  Attack/Parry(70/10)     

 

The mighty Sword of Ordan bites deeply into the Harpy and Muldune twists it to add pain to the evil spawned creature.

 

 

Table 34 Die Roll Sent by Web Die Service

From:  internetdieserivce.com

To:    muldune@rmss_pbem.com       gm@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 12.01 – Muldune Die Roll

 

RMSS Turn 12.01 – Muldune Die Roll

 

muldune@rmss_pbem.com requested that 10 rolls 100-sided dice be made.

 

Rolling the die ... your dice are:

 

97 59 04 77 84 04 11 21 14 47 = 418

 

Confirmation mail was sent to:

gm@rmss_pbem.com

muldune@rmss_pbem.com

 

 

E-mail Based Die Services

E-mail Based Die Service Rolling requires sending e-mail to a specific address.  The e-mail must contain a special code that the die-rolling server will be able to interpret as a die roll request.  The receiving server will then forward the e-mail back to all the addresses on the original e-mail and will include the randomly generated numbers.

 

A player using an E-mail Based Service will not have to worry about the timing of the combat post and the die results because they can be combined into the same e-mail.  Below is as example of using an e-mail based die-rolling service.  The die rolling code "#10,100" represents a request to roll ten one-hundred-sided dice.

 

Table 35 Combat Post Sent by Player

From:  muldune@rmss_pbem.com

To:    gm@rmss_pbem.com

Cc:    maildieservice.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 12.01 – Muldune

 

Game Date:  4/11/1043 12:34

Scene:      Open field outside of Humvill

 

SNAP:  DismountRapid(20), QuickDraw(0)         

With the grace of a swan, Muldune quickly leaps from his mount while it is still in motion.  He lands on his feet and pulls his sword from his belt so quickly that is appears as a blur.

 

NORMAL:  Attack/Parry(70/10)     

 

The mighty Sword of Ordan bites deeply into the Harpy and Muldune twists it to add pain to the evil spawned creature.

 

#10,100

 

 

Table 36 Combat Post Returned by Die Service

From:  internetdieserivce.com

To:    muldune@rmss_pbem.com       gm@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 12.01 – Muldune Die Roll

 

>Game Date:  4/11/1043 12:34

>Scene:      Open field outside of Humvill

>

>SNAP:  DismountRapid(20), QuickDraw(0)        

>

>With the grace of a swan, Muldune quickly

>leaps from his mount while it is still in

>motion.  He lands on his feet and pulls his

>sword from his belt so quickly that is

>appears as a blur.

>

>NORMAL:  Attack/Parry(70/10)    

>

>The mighty Sword of Ordan bites deeply into

>the Harpy and Muldune twists it to add

>pain to the evil spawned creature.

>

>#10,100

 

Rolls 64 39 24 75 74 27 12 37 46 93

 

 


 

4       THE PLAY

4.1      Writing Styles

 

Anyone who plays in a PBEM game must write.  The written word at a minimum must convey to the GM what actions the player wants his character to perform.  Some players will find this level of writing a sufficient challenge.  Other players will want their writing to entertain the other game participants.  Every game can expect a variety of writing skills, but regardless, the GM should enforce certain stylistic parameters.

 

If everyone writes with the same "flavor", the results can be patched together with much less effort.  The GM clearly benefits from the use of a consistent writing style, so he should identify the stylistic parameters he wants the players to use at the beginning of the game.

4.1.1       Consistent Person

"Person" is a grammatical term that describes the perspective of the speaker/writer.  In "first person," the speaker/writer is the agent of whatever action is described ("I ran across the bridge to confront the troll.")  In "second person," the person addressed is the agent ("You ran across the bridge to confront the troll.").  The last option, "third person," is used when the agent is neither the speaker/writer, nor the person addressed ("Muldune/He/She ran across the bridge to confront the troll.")

 

For obvious reasons, the GM will want all players to write in the same person.  Third person is best suited for this kind of writing for the reasons described below.

 

If narratives are written in "First Person" then there will be confusion as to which character is doing what.  One player might write, "I swing my sword" and another might write, "I swing my mace."  When the GM combines these posts into a single narrative, the reader will not know which "I" belongs to which character.

 

Example of First Person Narrative:

 

I look up from my wound to see the bandit in front of me grinning in satisfaction.  Anger rushes to wash away the pain, but I push it aside.  Now is not the time.  A hunter's clarity of mind settles over me and I know what I must do.  The world shrinks to encompass only me and the foe in front of me.  Gritting my teeth, I grip my spear tightly, throw myself forward and thrust the blade of my spear up and into the bandit's stomach.

 

 

The most popular format is to use "Third Person."  That is, use "He", "His", or  "Theirs" rather then "Me", "Mine" or "Ours" for pronouns.  In this format, every reader will know which character is doing what action.  It also helps retain some focus on reality. A player should not write, "I swing my sword" because the player may be capable of swinging nothing heavier than a pencil!  It is better to write, "Muldune swings his sword."

 

Example of Third Person Narrative:

 

ShenJu looks up from his wound to see the bandit in front of him grinning in satisfaction.  Anger rushes to wash away the pain, but the nomad pushes it aside.  Now is not the time.  A hunter's clarity of mind settles over him and he knows what he must do.  The world shrinks to encompass only him and the foe in front of him.  Gritting his teeth, ShenJu grips his spear tightly and throws himself forward and thrusts the blade of his spear up and into the bandit's stomach

 

4.1.2       Consistent Tense

 

The GM should let the players know in what tense the narratives should be written. 

 

Tense is the use of verb forms to indicate the time of the described action.  "I ran," indicates an action that occurred in the past.  "I run," indicates an action that is occurring in the present (or which indicates a repetitive action that is on-going, but not necessarily at that exact moment, such as "I run 3 miles a day.")  In either case, the verb "to run" assumes a slightly different form to indicate the time at which the action occurred.

 

Writing in current tense is a popular choice for narrative formats.  Current tense helps keep a sense of immediacy and "happening" in the story. 

 

Example of Current Tense Narrative:

 

Muldune wakes to find the party already in the process of breaking camp for the hike back to town.  It is a cold and cloudy day and looks like it will rain. Muldune breaks out his clean clothes, changes and packs the rags he was wearing.  He puts his coat on over his armor and joins the others around the campfire for breakfast.

 

As the others talk about going into town, Muldune joins in.  He reminds them that their obligations under the terms of the agreement was to share a portion of their treasure with the town, but is sure that some of them will not honor the contract.

 

As the party departs a light drizzle begins to fall making the trip uncomfortable. As time passes the cold and rain penetrates to numb the limbs of the adventurers.  When they reach the outskirts of town the conversation once again turns back to who will go and who will remain behind.

 

 

Writing in past tense is also a popular format.  Most novels are written in past tense.  That is, they are written as if they are recounting events that have already happened.

 

Example of Past Tense Narrative:

 

Muldune awoke to find the party already in the process of breaking camp for the hike back to town.  It was a cold and cloudy day and looked like it might rain. Muldune broke out his clean clothes, changed and packed the rags he was wearing.  He put his coat on over his armor and joined the others around the campfire for breakfast.

 

As the others talked about going into town, Muldune joined in.  He reminded them that their obligations under the terms of the agreement was to share a portion of their treasure with the town, but was sure that some of them would not honor the contract.

 

As the party departed a light drizzle began to fall making the trip uncomfortable. As time passed the cold and rain penetrated to numb the limbs of the adventurers.  When they reached the outskirts of town the conversation once again turned back to who would go and who would remain behind.

 

4.2      PBEM FRPG Details

4.2.1       Modes of Play

 

When combat occurs, the GM enforces a different set of rules, a stricter set, than is typically used outside of combat situations.  When the GM believes that the stricter combat rules are appropriate for the situation, he will announce by e-mail that the play has entered combat mode.  Otherwise, the less strict set of rules is used, during what is turned as strategic mode.

Strategic Mode

Strategic mode is the type of game play that is executed when there is no battle taking place.  It is an open discussion format.  It will cover situations such as a trip into town to buy supplies, or riding cross-country on an errand.  While in strategic mode a player will be essentially writing the story along with the GM and other players.  This type of interactive writing can take some practice to master but can be a source of great enjoyment as everyone has the opportunity to contribute to the plot.  The details of strategic mode can be found in chapter 5.

Combat Mode

Combat mode is the type of game play that is executed when a battle is taking place.  During combat mode, each player is required to submit a post buy a given deadline.  After the deadline, the submissions are organized and results are returned by the GM.  Combat mode is a very structured format. Players are not allowed to e-mail each other and only send their turns to the GM.  Players then wait for the results of the turn before they can send in their next submission.  The details of combat mode can be found in chapter 6.

4.2.2       Guidelines for Players

Don't Discuss Statistics

A player should never discuss statistics about his character with anyone other then the GM as this subject causes his fellow players to shift mentally from role-playing to statistical analyses.

 

If one player asks another how smart his character is, appropriate responses might be "Intellectually Superb!" or "oh, about average" or "Huh?" The player might want to give a quick description of his character's numerous pocket protectors, or the dim-witted look in his eyes.

 

A player should talk about his character as if the game statistics didn't exist.  Instead of giving out his character's battle statistics, hit points or power points, he might say, "I'm bleeding to death and can't remain conscious much longer."

 

This goes for the character's possessions as well. It is appropriate to tell other players that one's character carries the "Mighty Mace of Rummsfield that can squash giants with ease." It is not appropriate to say it is a "+20 Mace of Giant Slaying." 

Stay In Character

A player should stay in character as much as possible, writing in conversational mode from the character's viewpoint. A dwarf might speak gutturally, whereas an elf might speak eloquently. The quotation mark should be a player's best friend. The player should save Out Of Character (OOC) comments for remarks like "I don't have a copy of Martial Arts Companion available to me" or "I will be on vacation next week."  But when it comes to dividing up treasure it should be "Gimme the loot—you mangy old dwarf!" 

Keep Records

A player should be a good record keeper.  Data that a player might save includes:

 

·         Old e-mails that can be searched for key words.

 

·         The character's wealth and possessions so that the GM does not have to tell the player when he is running low on arrows.

 

·         A separate file with plot and story related stuff in it like clues, NPCs encountered, the nightly watch schedule, the monetary system of the genre, and other reference material.  The GM has enough to do every week without responding to requests for the party's marching order and the identity of the lantern-bearer.

 

Pick a Leader

The players should hold an election and pick a leader from among them.  A leader is crucial in a PBEM game because decision-making becomes segmented with the use of e-mail.  The GM might read one suggested course of action and launch the story off in that direction before the players came to a consensus.  When the party is trying to make a decision, all players should provide their input (staying in character in a narrative) and then the leader decides on the course of action the party will take.  Having a leader will help the GM find the final decision out of all the bantering e-mails.

 

It helps if the leader that the players pick is running an appropriately "leadership capable" character.  It would be difficult for the player of the loaner rogue elf to be an effective leader role-playing through his character.  But the player of the highman paladin would have no trouble placing his character into the leadership position.

 

A player may decide that his character chooses not to follow the leader's decision but instead takes a different course of action.  This might result in making the GM run two different threads of story plot.

 

If all the players decide not to follow the leader's decision, or if the players wish to elect a new leader then these things can be worked out in e-mail.

4.2.3       Guidelines for GMs

Keep it Simple

The GM should keep the plot simple.  PBEM games take years to complete and the players' memories are not perfect. Although the GM might have dropped an important clue early in the game, if the players don't go back and review old e-mail, the clue might get lost with time.  A face-to-face game not only has more memory staying power with the players, but the plot moves more quickly and as a result, the details are fresh in the players' minds. The GM should have players keep a record of important clues and should not be too subtle about telling the players what clues to add to the list.

Play with the players

The GM should reward good role playing efforts by supporting his player's postings.  If a player's character is an elf who is skilled in Singing and Song Lore, the GM should let her find clues to the plot in an ancient song verse and have NPCs request that she entertain them with her voice at dinnertime.  If a player gives his character a quirk in his speech or mannerisms, the GM should include it in his posts as well, which lets the player know that someone is paying attention to his writing.

Be Flexible

The GM should be flexible with players who cannot contribute for a period of time.  In PBEM, vacations, business schedules or a long weekend must be treated like a face-to-face game pizza break. The absent player should be allowed to assign another player to run his character for a while.  If a player misses a turn, the GM should resist the temptation to have every monster in the game descend on the immobile character.

Be Understanding

The GM should be understanding about errors, remembering that each player is writing his post without the supporting observance of the other players. A player might forget things about the game or his character.  In a face-to-face game, such a oversight would be corrected by the others players watching the action but with PBEM there is nobody around to say, "Hey—you can't attack with that sword, you broke it in the last battle."

 

If a player points out a mistake that the GM has made, the GM should make the correction graciously.  When a player makes a mistake, the GM should send him a private e-mail and ask him to correct it.

Use Character Histories

The GM should encourage each player to submit brief character history write-ups so that the GM can have the party bump into Uncle Ghomaz in town, or be contacted by an old shady NPC from a troubled youth.  Player-created NPCs provide opportunities for the GM exploit the investment a player has made in his character (i.e., the character's history).

Be Enthusiastic

The GM should be committed to staying enthusiastic and energetic in the game. There will be times when the muse abandons the GM or he feels entombed in a writer's block.  At such times, the GM needs to shake it off. The players are counting on him to move things along.  If one of the players is in a slump, the game goes on.  If the GM is in a slump, the game stops.

Provide Numbers

The GM should provide the players some numbers to look at. Modifiers and die rolls explain how and why the character action succeeded or failed.  This will motivate the player to acquire more bonuses and to eliminate as many penalties as possible.  If Devron the rogue were picking a lock, he certainly would be aware that his wounded arm is causing him difficulty and that the lighting in the room is just too dark.  Let him know he has a –10 modifier from his health condition and –20 from the lighting.  The character would also be aware of how much his skill or "luck" played in his attempt so let him know the die roll. The next time he attempts that lock he might light a torch or get some first aid ahead of time.

 

Keep in mind that RMSS is a very number intensive game.  Player who have been drawn to this system will most likely have been attracted by the numbers.  To deny the players access to the numbers would be taking away some of the enjoyment of the game.

Set the Pace

If the GM requires posting infrequently, the players might get bored and lose interest, or the game might take so long that clues important to the plot are forgotten.  In addition, players will be so rushed to write their posts that the quality of the narratives will suffer.

 

Conversely, if the GM requires posting too frequently, players will become frustrated trying to keep up.  A player who wanted his character to purchase a new sword in town might miss his chance when he reads his e-mail and finds that another player has moved the party miles down the road.  Assume that players can only get to their e-mail every other day and give them time to respond to any changes to the situation.

 


5       STRATEGIC MODE

5.1      What is Strategic Mode

 

Strategic mode is an open discussion type of game play that is executed when there is no battle taking place.  While in strategic mode a player will be essentially writing the story along with the GM and other players.

 

The GM will announce by e-mail when the game has entered into strategic mode. Strategic mode is different than combat mode in the following ways:

 

·         Turns are not defined as containing a specific amount of gaming time.  A strategic mode turn might span minutes or weeks.

 

·         Turns will not be scheduled—that is a player may send in his input when he wishes—or not send any at all.

 

·         E-mails are to be sent to other players as well as the GM (unless the party has split up).

 

·         Players are allowed to write posts that can describe the actions of any other character in a limited way.

 

The GM does not need to produce a results e-mailing during strategic mode.  Since the players are all e-mailing one-another, the GM's intervention might not be needed frequently.  However, the GM can inject e-mail into the game at any time in order to resolve die rolls, guide the story plot or inject a story element into the situation or drive an NPC.  With the preceding in mind, much of this section is directed at PBEM players.

5.2      The Players in Strategic Mode

 

Each player will write a post and e-mail it to the GM and other players as the situation warrants.  The GM will read all of the player's posts and decide the outcome.  Sometimes the GM will have little to do such as when characters are discussing which direction to take for their next adventure.  Other times, the GM will be in total control such as when the characters are in the middle of a battle.

 

Writing a good post requires more than just creative writing abilities.  The players create their own story collectively, albeit within certain constraints imposed by the GM.  Depending on the level of control the GM offers his players, they may get the opportunity to exercise literary devices such as character development, foreshadowing, misdirection, and cliffhangers.  Strategic mode is their opportunity to be creative.  That creativity, however, should be reserved for the content of the post; the format of a post should conform to the expressed directions of the GM.

 

Consistency in the post format produces a story that is easier to follow.  By using the same paragraph formatting, system of dating and titling, tense and perspective the players reduce the amount of work required to assemble the different posts into a narrative.

5.2.1       Posting Expectations

 

Posting too much or too little: While in strategic mode there is no deadline for posting to the game for the players or the GM.  However, everyone is expected to post on a regular basis.  The GM is responsible for setting posting requirements and attending to members who fail to post on a regular basis. On the other hand, a PBEM game is like a story written collectively by several people.  Some of them might have more or less free time for this hobby.  A PBEM player needs to allow others the time to receive, read, and respond to his posts with their own.  Basically, players have to try to take turns.  A player who is posting more than twice as often as anyone else should slow down.

 

A Post's Contribution to the story:  All posts should attempt to contribute to the story.  A player should be asking himself "will anyone care about what I am writing?"  In a well-written movie, every scene contributes to the story in some way. It might add to the major plot, develop a subplot, foreshadow, or develop a character's personality.  Likewise, a PBEM post should contribute some entertainment or development value as well.  Writing a post in which a character is having dinner by himself or is singing in the shower might not contribute much (although it might add to character development depending on how it was written).  As a guideline, a player should consider what his post contributes to the story.  If his post was a scene shot on film, would it end up on the cutting room floor or would it be aired?

5.2.2       Posting Formatting

 

Every strategic post will include text in which the player describes what his character is doing, and possibly some out-of-character comments.  Experience recommends three additional elements that help the GM and other players to follow the writing in a strategic post. All these elements are shown in the example below, and then described.

 

 

Table 51 Strategic Post — Format

From:  greyfox@rmss_pbem.com

To:    devron@rmss_pbem.com,             steel@rmss_pbem.com,

       shenju@rmss_pbem.com,       jarden@rmss_pbem.com,       gm@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 38.05 – Grey Fox

 

Game Date:  4/14/1043 15:45

Scene:      Castle escape tunnel

 

After the many hours underground, Grey Fox really appreciates the air wafting down from the hatchway--it has a refreshing, and oddly fertile aroma.

 

Having lost Muldune to the Winter Slime Monster, the group find themselves without a leader, so Grey Fox jumps in.

 

"Devron, how 'bout you go first and check for surprises.  Let us know when we're clear."  Grey Fox interlaces his fingers to help boost Devron through the hatch.

 

"Steel, please help ShenJu up onto the barrels.  He should probably go next, then we'll get you up.  I'll help Jarden through and go last. Since I don't have armor, I won't need as much help."

 

Grey Fox passes the lantern and all the packs up just before he climbs out.  He notes that Muldune, Borak and Syzygy left their packs at this site before they were separated from the rest of the party by the fight with the winter slime and the explosion in the tunnels.  He wonders how they will be able to get by without their equipment – or even if they are still alive.

 

Once outside, Grey Fox takes a few moments to reconnoiter.  He is especially looking for a newly formed sinkhole created by the recent explosion underground.

 

<<What do I see?>>

 

"If no one has a better idea, I suggest we take a short time to heal up as best we can, and then try to link up with the others as quickly as possible."

 

<<Anyone care to comment?>>

 

Grey Fox excuses himself and sits down to meditate.  He chants arcane syllables in a low voice, all the while slowly rocking back and forth.  After a few moments, Grey Fox stops rocking.  From all appearances, his spine has locked in a vertical posture.  His eyes are turned upward, so that only the whites are visible.

 

<<Grey Fox casts "Healing I" 3 times on himself>>

 

-------- OOC -----------

 

I will be on vacation next week.  Please let Sam write for Grey Fox during this time.

Subject Line

A designator ("RMSS" in the example above) is usually the name of the game being played.  This designator will help the GM and other players identify game e-mail apart from all the junk e-mail that they might receive.  Without such a designator, game e-mail might be discarded by spam filters or accidentally deleted by the recipient.

 

The designator is much more than a standard title.  Many newsgroup and e-mail readers are equipped with filters that allow readers to include (or more importantly to exclude) e-mail that does (or does not) have a specific subject.  If the subject designator is misspelled, the game e-mail may be missed by these filters.

 

The turn number and the character's name should also be included in the subject line.  This will help the GM and other players sort and organize their e-mail.

Game Date/Time

A Game Date is a time keeping device to help maintain the game time.  Initially the GM will announce the Game Date/Time.  As a player posts, they must include the Game Date/Time in their e-mail so that other unit players can place their story text into the timeline of the story.

Scene

A Scene is another tool used to help place the player's writing entry into the scheme of the story.  The scene should represent the major location where most of his significant writing has occurred.  For example, if he writes a post that begins with two characters in the forest where they talk a bit, then the characters wander into camp where they spend much time in battle, the scene should be listed as 'Camp.'  A player does not have to detail every room that his character comes across, just the location of his post's major contribution to the story.

Narrative Text

This is the player's (or more correctly, character's) contribution to the story.  The player should follow the GM's lead for text formatting, remembering that he is writing a story along with many other people.  While a player will want to inject his own creativity into the story, the story will flow more smoothly if all members use a common format.  Since there are no strict guidelines for text and paragraph formatting, the player should follow the GM's lead.  If the GM posts have paragraph indentations, then the players should use indentations.  If the GM places an extra blank space between paragraphs, then the player should as well.  If the GM uses double quotes rather than single quotes, then so should the player.  Sticking to a uniform paragraph style will help everyone and will allow the pieces of the story to be patched together in a fashion that is comfortable to read.

Out-of-Character Comments (OOC)

Comments that would be directed at the GM or other players (rather than other characters) should be identified by a convention that the GM designates.  Since it is often convenient to place these comments in the text body (so that the player's meaning can be clarified by the context of his posting), the GM should designate a format that allows text to be distinguished from comments at a glance.  In the above example, out-of-character comments are bracketed as: << out-of-character comments >>.

 

An Out-of-Character comment section can also be placed at the end of the post for personal messages or questions to the GM.

5.2.3       Character Rights

 

A player should write mostly for his own character and try to avoid writing about another player's character to any great extent.  However, a player may write small obvious actions of another character in order to fill out the story a bit better.  Players should follow these guidelines when writing about other player's characters:

 

1. A player should write about a character in the same way the owning player would.  For example, if Brad has portrayed his dwarf as grumpy and stern, then the dwarf should keep those attributes when another player writes about him.

 

2. A player should do no harm.  That is to say, it is not allowed for a player to write about another player's character donating all his possessions to the orphanage and cutting his own head off.  That would be doing financial and physical harm. 

 

In the example below, it is fine for Rene (The player of ShenJu) to write the something about Steel (Brad's character, not his own) because he did not violate any of the guidelines above.

 

Example of writing about another player's character:

 

ShenJu feels slightly better after the minor healing, although the total darkness leaves him blind as a bat.  At that moment, his leg gives a twinge as if to remind him that it will be a while before he is able to run without pain.  "Let us continue friend dwarf." ShenJu says into the darkness.

 

Steel shakes his dwarven head as he watches ShenJu speak to him while facing the other direction. "Ye must have taken a harder blow to the head than I expected if'n you're talkin' to walls now."

 

ShenJu turns around, groping in the pitch black that envelopes them like a thick velvet curtain, "I am not blessed with the ability to see in the darkness."

 

"That be obvious." the dwarf grumps.

 

"You will have to lead.  If you give me directions I should be able to make my way.  I will spare both of us the humiliation of you having to hold my hand to lead me."  And with that, ShenJu slowly makes his way behind Steel, fumbling his way through the lightless passage.

 

5.2.4       Driving the Plot

 

Depending on the level of plot control that the GM has allowed, the players may "tweak" the plot by adding details.  This is a chance for the players to exercise some creativity.  The GM retains ultimate authority to work with or change details supplied by his players.  The players should approach the task as "group story writing" and be careful to leave the results (such as "did the chain break?" or "was there treasure in the chest?") to the GM.  However, a player would be welcome to describe the treasure chest in detail.  The GM should appreciate the added creativity and input.

5.3      The GM in Strategic Mode

Compile

Every day or two the GM should collect the Strategic Post E-mails from the players and assemble them into one coherent (i.e., chronological) post.  If the players are adhering to the post formatting requirements, the job should be relatively simple. The final compilation should identify the authors of these story snippets by placing each player's name above his contribution.

Content Check

The GM should read each story snippet and check that no player has changed the story too much or abused another player's character.

Check for Errors

The GM should check for mistakes in game context:  This does not imply that he should correct a player's spelling and grammar.  To do so would quickly get annoying to the players and would invite their corrections of the GM's spelling and grammar in return.  What this does mean is to look for story line inconsistencies.  If the GM wrote that the new NPC was female, and a player writes the NPC as male, that mistake needs to be corrected.

Roll the Dice

The GM should identify places where a die roll or other GM intervention is needed and then make those die rolls.  The GM will need to know the outcome of these rolls before he contributes to the story. While there are obvious exceptions, in most situations there is no reason to conceal the die rolls from the players.  In such cases, the GM should consider including the die roll as well as the bonuses or penalties a character is receiving for rolls in the final compilation.  After all, the character would normally be aware of what was helping or hindering his performance.

Contribute

Strategic Mode is where most of the plot information will be fed to the players.  The GM should add to the story, supplying details of the situation and reactions of the NPCs.  Since PBEM games can take years of real time to complete, the GM should not be too subtle with clues and plot points.

 

The exceptional GM will create colorful NPCs while remembering that not every NPC needs to be an important part the story plot.  It is more enjoyable to have the character's interact with the grumpy storekeeper then to have the players interact with an equipment table in And a 10 Foot Pole.

Annotate

Lastly, the GM should add a "GM Notes" section to the bottom of the post.  This section should include out-of-character information such as:

 

·         Personal information:  It can be fun to make friends out of the group of players.  The GM is in the best position to get to know the players by engaging them in a dialogue, announce birthdays, job promotions, graduations and such.

 

·         Game information:  This can include game scheduling and holiday breaks; requests and reminders to the players; rulings, decisions and answers to questions.

 

·         Summary of the character's current health:  Again, the GM is encouraged to supply some numbers. He can list the character's health by showing hits as a percentage rather then an absolute number.  This way players can get a feel for how damaged each character is compared to each other and yet maintain some privacy in regards to their characters' maximum hits.

 

·         Description of the room/location:  A generic description of the location can be attached to the bottom of the GM's posts.  It costs nothing to cut and paste this information and the available reference can be a big help to the players.

 

5.4      Examples of Strategic Mode Posting

 

Below is an example of a Strategic turn.  The GM collects all the post that he received that day and compiles them, adding his die rolls and comments.

 

Table 52 Strategic Post — Syzygy

From:  syzygy@rmss_pbem.com

To:    muldune@rmss_pbem.com,

       borak@rmss_pbem.com,

       gm@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 39.01 – Syzygy

 

Game Date:  4/16/1043 08:32

Scene:      The tower, lower level

 

Finding himself faced with a full minute of stun <<6 rounds>>, bleeding heavily <<2/rnd>> and nearly dead <<3 hits left>>...Syzygy succumbs to the rules of nature, and falls unconscious. Although no one will probably notice in the dark.

 

 

Table 53 Strategic Post — Muldune

From:  muldune@rmss_pbem.com

To:    syzygy@rmss_pbem.com,

       borak@rmss_pbem.com,

       gm@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 39.01 – Muldune

 

Game Date:  4/16/1043 08:33

Scene:      The tower, lower level

 

Muldune shakes off the disorientation from the explosion and subsequent cave-in.  He shouts "Is everyone okay!" and begins searching around in the shallow water for any of his comrades that may be incapacitated.

 

When he hears someone shouting back he shouts, "Search the water for anyone else that may be out here, if anyone is unconscious they may drown."

 

At that very moment, Muldune discovers Syzygy face down at his feet. He pulls the magician to a shallow spot and inspects him to see if he is too late. Muldune finds a pulse and is glad the wizard has survived but also notes that Syzygy is bleeding badly. While he administers first aid he shouts, "Steel I need you and your healing powers over here right now." After a moment when there is no reply from the dwarf, Muldune shouts, "Whoever is out here and awake shout out your name. Also, I need some light over here right now. Syzygy is down and needs immediate attention."

 

 

Table 54 Strategic Post — Borak

From:  borak@rmss_pbem.com

To:    muldune@rmss_pbem.com

       syzygy@rmss_pbem.com

       gm@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 39.01 – Borak

 

Game Date:  4/16/1043 08:34

Scene:      The tower, lower level

 

Spitting out a mouth full of water, Borak chokes out, "I'm here...BORAK is here.  Who else survived?"   He coughs one last time and then pulls part of his soaked cloak over his mouth to filter out the dust and breath better.  "I saw Syg get hit full force...is he OK?"

 

Hearing the response, Borak moves towards Syg and administers First Aid.  "We need to get out of here and see if the others are OK.  We need to get Syg some help.  All our healers were trapped on the other side of the cave-in"

 

 

Table 55 Strategic Post — GM Results

From:  gm@rmss_pbem.com

To:    muldune@rmss_pbem.com

       syzygy@rmss_pbem.com

       borak@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 39.01 – Borak

 

Game Date:  4/16/1043 08:34

Scene:      The tower, lower level

 

<<Kerry>> 

 

Finding himself faced with a full minute of stun, bleeding heavily and nearly dead ...Syzygy succumbs to the rules of nature, and falls unconscious. Although no one will probably notice in the dark.

 

<<GM>>

 

Deep inside Syzygy - in dark places even his mother does not know about - something stirs.  The forces of essence coalesce and a self-preservation instinct take over <<Body Renewal – Clotting I is launched>>.  Although this spell is too weak to overcome the massive bleeding rate Syzygy is currently experiencing, the blood flow does slow.  <<Body Renewal is auto-casting if the character is stunned or unconscious and in need of that spell.  It slows bleeding by 1/rnd.  Syzygy is still bleeding 1/rnd.>>

 

<<Sam>>

 

Muldune shakes off the disorientation from the explosion and subsequent cave-in.  He shouts "Is everyone okay!" and begins searching around in the water for any of his comrades that may be incapacitated.

 

<<Robert>>

 

Spitting out a mouth full of water, Borak chokes out, "I'm here...BORAK is here.  Who else survived?"   He coughs one last time and then pulls part of his soaked cloak over his mouth to breath better.  "I saw Syg get hit full force...is he OK?"

 

<<Sam>>

 

When he hears someone shouting back Muldune shouts, "Search the water for anyone else that may be out here, if anyone is unconscious they may drown."

 

At that very moment, Muldune discovers Syzygy face down at his feet. He pulls the magician to a shallow spot and inspects him to see if he is too late. Muldune finds a pulse and is glad the sorcerer has survived but also notes that Syzygy is bleeding badly. While he administers first aid he shouts, "Steel I need you and your healing powers over here right now." After a moment when there is no reply from the dwarf, Muldune shouts, "Whoever is out here and awake shout out your name. Also, I need some light over here right now. Syzygy is down and needs immediate attention."

 

<<Robert>>

 

Hearing the response, Borak moves towards Syg and administers First Aid.  "We need to get out of here and see if the others are OK.  We need to get Syg some help.  All our healers were trapped on the other side of the cave-in"

 

<<GM>>

 

Borak tries to administer first aid on Syzygy but finds that it is still too dark to accomplish anything.  Braille first aid was not taught at monk school.

 

<<

Borak's Static Maneuver Roll

Technical/Trade General: First Aid  + 17

Difficulty Very Hard                - 20

  (no medical kit or equipment)

Light Advantageous: Dark            - 25

Muldune Cooperative First Aid RANKS +  6

Cooperative Maneuver Penalty        -  1

Roll                                + 63

Total                           === + 40 ===>

Failure>>

 

Then Muldune tries - and fails as well.

 

<<

Muldune's Static Maneuver Roll

Technical/Trade General: First Aid + 26

Muldune's Health Mod               - 10

Difficulty Very Hard               - 20

  (no medical kit or equipment)

Light Advantageous: Dark           - 25

Borak Cooperative First Aid RANKS  +  4

Cooperative Maneuver Penalty       -  1

Roll                               + 65

Total                          === + 39 ===>

Failure>>

 

<<GM:  One Round Passes – Syzygy's life is slipping away>>

 

=============== GM Notes ============

 

Sam has just gone into the hospital for appendicitis.  He asked me to have Kerry run his character for a short while.  Is that Ok with you Kerry?  Don't forget to flood Sam's e-mail box with e-Get Well Cards J

 

A new manual was just released from Iron Crown.  Check it out on their website.

 

Also Remember, until you three are united with the rest of the party – you are not allowed to e-mail your turns to the others.

 

------ Current Health  ------

 

        -Percent  Max-  -CritMod- -HealthMod 

Name    Hits  Pwr  Exh   OB  DB   Fight Cast  

------- ----  ---  ---  --- ---   ----  ----  

Syzygy    4%  85%  58%    0   0   -30    0   

Borak    96%  45%  80%    0   0     0    0   

Muldune  41%  n/a  67%  -25   0   -10    0   

 

Down From Max: This is the percentage of Hits, Power and Exhaustion the character is currently down from his max potential.

 

Crit Mods:     This is the Offensive (OB) and Defensive (DB) penalties the character is currently suffering due to specific critical hits.

 

Health Mods:   Fighting is the penalty to the character's OB/DB he is suffering due to hits and low exhaustion.   Casting is the penalty to the character's spells and mental activity he is suffering due to low power and low exhaustion.

 

---- Room - Grand Stairwell Level –1 ------

 

This room is a giant column tower.  It stretches over 80 feet up to the roof where bits of sky can be seen through large holes in the collapsing ceiling.

 

All along the sides of the tower are bits and pieces of the remains of a circular stairway that once wound its way up the sides of this column.  Pieces of metal and a few outcroppings of stone are all that remain, making the stairs themselves useless.  Other doorways can be seen up the sides of the column that offer entry into other levels of the structure.

 

The cellar floor reflects the skylight with the shimmer of water that has pooled over the years.  The water is only a foot deep at most, although the floor is slippery with various forms of festering slime and silt coating the rock floor.

 

This is the place that was described to them as children in order to keep them from sneaking out of their beds at night.  The air is stale but the evaporating water from the tower shaft keeps enough updraft circulation to prevent the air from being toxic.

There is only one door exiting from this location.  A small threshold at the door way and the slightly uneven upward slope to the door has left the corridor beyond the doorway relatively dry, but the corridor has suffered a cave-in and is completely blocked.

 

 


6       COMBAT MODE

6.1      What is Combat Mode

 

Combat mode is the type of game play that is executed when a battle is taking place.  The GM will announce by e-mail when the game has entered into combat mode.  Combat mode differs from Strategic mode in the following ways:

 

·         Turns are defined as 10 seconds of game time.

 

·         Turns will be scheduled; a player must send the GM his turn by a given date or his character will have no actions.

 

·         No e-mails may be sent to other players, only to the GM (See "Early Action" for an exception).

 

·         Players can NOT describe the actions of any other character in their posts (unless a player has delegated temporary authority to another while on vacation, remote work site, etc.).

 

Once the GM has collected all the turns, he will process the turns (and those turns of the foes) and produce one result report.

6.2      The Players in Combat Mode

 

While in Combat Mode, each e-mail represents the actions of your character for one Melee Round.  RMSS defines a Melee Round as a 10 second unit of game time.  Using the Combat Round Rules for RMSS, the player will tell the GM via e-mail what he wants his character to do for that round.  These are some rules from RMSS and some from the GM as to how to create and format a melee post.

 

The steps a player must take to create a combat post are as follows:

 

Step 1:    Decide on the combat actions.

 

Step 2:    Add any conditional statements.

 

Step 3:    Assign combat phases to the actions.

 

Step 4:    Write a narrative for each combat phase.

 

6.2.1       Combat Actions

 

A list of action that a character can perform is shown in Table 6-1.  The player decides what actions his character is going to take and record them using the shorthand notation shown.

 

 

Table 61 Combat Actions

Action

Min %

Max %

Movement

Snap/Normal/ Delib

Walk, Jog, Run, Sprint, FastSprint, Dash

0

20/50/80

Fighting

 

 

Attack/Parry (See note 5 + 6)

80

100

PressAttack/Parry (See note 5 + 6)

60

100

Missile

40

60

ParryMissile

50

 

Disengage

25

 

Mental Activity

 

 

React

10

 

SpellPrep

90

 

SpellCast

75

 

SpellInstant

10

 

Concentrate (maintain a spell )

50

 

Awareness

10

 

Observation

50

70

Mounting and Riding

 

 

DismountRapid

20

 

DismountSlow

50

 

ControlMount

0

100

Mount

50

 

Weapon Manipulation

 

 

ShiftWeap

10

 

DrawWeap

20

 

ChangeWeap

50

 

RetrieveWeap

30

 

StoreWeap

20

 

LoadSling

50

 

LoadSbow

50

 

LoadCbow

60

 

LoadLbow

70

 

LoadLtXbow

160

 

LoadHvXbow

220

 

StringLbow

300

 

StringSbow

200

 

StringCbow

300

 

Changing Posture

 

 

Seat2Stand

10

 

Crouch2Stand

20

 

Prone2Stand

50

 

Prone2Crouch

30

 

DropToGround

10

 

LowerToGround

20

 

Misc Actions

 

 

RetrieveItem

30

 

DropItem

0

 

ActLight

10

50

ActMedium

10

80

ActHeavy

20

100

ActStrenuous

40

200

Rest

0

100

Static Maneuver Rolls

50

100

 

When selecting the character's actions, players must keep in mind the following:

 

1.  A maximum of three actions may be declared in any round. 

 

2.  Although more than 100% activity can be declared, only the first 100% activity will be resolved in the up coming round.

 

3.  All the types of actions have been assigned a percentage of the round that they consume.  Most of the actions are self-explanatory, but the GM can provide a more detailed explanation, if needed.  When the player has identified the actions he wants his character to perform, he adds the associated percentages.  If the total is 100% or less, then the actions can be completed in a single round.  A player can also specify actions that take more then 100% of a round but the actions will be completed (possibly) in a future round. 

 

4.  Many actions require more detail from the GM to process the round.  For example:  DrawWeap requires the player to specify what weapon his character is drawing.  SpellInstant requires the player to specify what instant spell is being cast.  The player should add this information to the end of his action shorthand.

 

5.  Some actions have a minimum and maximum percent range on them for their activity.  These actions are normally resolved at the highest (maximum) number but can be "rushed" down to the minimum.  The player can cut time off these ranged actions in order to get his actions into a desired time frame.  For each one percent that he reduces the time, the character will suffer a one-point penalty for the actions.  The "Missile" action is an example of such an action.

 

6. There are two different types of Melee actions.  The Attack/Parry action is the standard "Full Melee Attack" as described in RMSS rule 10.5.  The PressAttack/Parry is the "Press and Melee Attack" as described in RMSS rule 10.5.  The PressAttack/Parry allows the character to pursue a disengaging foe at a reduced movement penalty.

 

7.  If a Melee action is selected, the player must decide how much effort will go into Attacking the Foe and consequently how much (the remainder) will go into defending the character's hide.  To facilitate this, these Melee actions come in two parts (#%/#%).  The first # indicates the OB or offensive efforts.  The second # indicates the DB or defensive (parry) efforts.  So for example Attack/Parry(90%/10%) indicates a using 90% of the character's OB for attack and 10% for defense.

 

8.  The actions ActLight, ActMedium, ActHeavy, and ActStrenuous are general-purpose actions for use with any undefined activity.  A light action (ActLight) might be used to dig a potion out of a backpack.  A strenuous action (ActStrenuous) might be pushing a wagon along the road.  When a character is performing an activity that does not fall into any of the other defined actions, the player should use one of these actions and describe the activity in the narrative.

 

9. Static Maneuver Rolls (or other activities that require a skill roll) that would occur in melee are assumed to require 50–100% such as picking a lock, detecting for traps, predicting the weather, etc.


 

Table 62         Combat Action Notation

Description of Action Desired

How to Note it in e-mail

Notes

Attack the foe with everything the character has.

Attack/Parry(100%/0%)

OB is 100% Attack, 0% Parry

Attack the foe but keep one's guard up.

Attack/Parry(70%/30%)

OB is 70% Attack, 30% Parry

Defend oneself at all cost.

Attack/Parry(0%/100%)

OB is 0% Attack, 100% Parry

Cast an Instant Spell and begin preparing for the next spell.

SpellInstant(10%) "Stun Relief",

SpellPrep(90%) "Invisibility"

 

Rapidly dismount from one's horse, Draw a weapon, and run into battle.

DismountRapid(20%), DrawWeap(20%) "Longsword",

Run(60%)

 

Knock an arrow into one's longbow, and fire at the foe.

LoadLbow(70%), 

Missile(60%)

Completed 30% into the next round.

String a Longbow

StringLbow(300%)

Completed in three rounds.

Cast a spell and prepare for the next spell.

SpellCast(75%) "ShockBolt", SpellPrep(90%) "Fireball"

Completed 65% into the next round.

Draw a weapon and Melee the foe.

DrawWeap(20%) "Spear", Attack/Parry(80%/0%)

A normal Melee action takes 100% of the round.  Because only 80% is being used for this attack, it will be at a –20 penalty.

Walk closer, and fire at the foe.

Walk(50%),  Missile(50%)

A normal Missile shot takes 60% of the round.  Because only 50% is being used for this attack, it will be at a –10 penalty.  There is also the assumption that the missile was "Loaded" the prior round.

 

 


6.2.2       Conditional Statements

 

If a player wants to place a conditional "if" statement in his turn that will determine different sets of actions, he must use the "React" action in RMSS.  The basis of this rule is the RMSS Rule 10.5 "React and Melee Attack Option " (expert below)

 

 

React and Melee Attack Option:  The attacker's OB receives a –10 modification, but the target of the attack need not be declared during the Action Declaration Phase.  As an action in any of the three phases (snap, normal or deliberate), the attacker can attempt to move to and attack anyone with 50'.  If he has not done so by the end of the round, he may move up to 50% of his normal movement.  Apply the normal OB modifications for less than 100% activity used to attack.

 

 

This does not work in an e-mail game because the turns will all be process without the players present to do any "reacting."  In order to allow the players some flexibility with the character's actions within a round a new action has been created:  React(10%)

 

When a player wants to use an "IF" statement in order to pick the target of the character's attack or change the character's actions based on how the round in unfolding, he must use the React(10%) action as one of his actions. 

 

When the React(10%) action is used with an attack, the player will suffer a –10 penalty for having consumed 10% of the round just as he would for having performed any other 10% action.

 

The React action does NOT count towards the limit of three actions in a round and can be used for attack and non-attacking actions.

 

Table 63 Combat Post — Grey Fox

From:  greyfox@rmss_pbem.com

To:    gm@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 38.05 – Grey Fox

 

Game Date:  4/16/1043 08:10

Scene:      The well in the labyrinth

 

SNAP: React(10%)

Grey Fox looks around to see if he has caught the attention of the Minotaur

 

If the Minotaur moves toward Grey Fox

NORMAL: Attack/Parry(0%/90%)

Grey Fox deftly dodges away from the beast.

 

If the Minotaur does NOT move toward Grey Fox

NORMAL: Jog(10%110)=11ft

DELIB: Attack/Parry(80%/0%)

Grey Fox delivers a powerful attack.

 

 

If a player uses an "IF" statement in order to select between different narratives, but does NOT change the character's actions or intended target, then the React(10%) action is NOT needed.

 

Table 64 Combat Post — Grey Fox

From:  greyfox@rmss_pbem.com

To:    gm@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 38.05 – Grey Fox

 

Game Date:  4/16/1043 08:10

Scene:      The well in the labyrinth

 

NORMAL: Jog(10%110)=11ft

DELIB: Attack/Parry(80%/0%)

 

Grey Fox delivers a powerful attack.

 

If the attack delivers any damage

  Grey Fox shouts "Take that you evil beast!"

 

If the attack delivers no damage

  Grey Fox smiles at the monster and says "That was just a warning - next time I get serious!"

 

6.2.3       Combat Phase

 

Each action must be given a Combat Phase.  The purpose of the Combat Phase is to change one's position in the order of battle gaining a possible penalty or bonus for the activity.

 

The three RMSS normal phases are SNAP, NORMAL and DELIBERATE, which are described in RMSR.  These three phases will be resolved in that order (i.e., all the SNAP actions go first, then all NORMAL actions, and finally all DELIBERATE actions).  PBEM adds yet another phase, called the EARLY phase, which is executed even before the turn is scheduled to run.

Early Combat Phase

Because there might be several days between the processing of each melee round, players might be tempted to e-mail each other to discuss battle strategy or plans.  This is strictly forbidden.  In game time, each melee round last only 10 seconds and as such a dialogue would be unrealistic.  That is why during combat mode, the players are only allowed to e-mail the GM.

 

On the other hand, restricting all communications from all players during combat mode would be unrealistic as well.  If the game were being played at a tabletop rather then by e-mail, there would always be some general bantering as the game is played.  To help find a middle ground, the EARLY phase is used in e-mail games.

 

If a player wants his character to perform some action (usually to shout some instructions to the other characters) before the round actually begins, he may make use of the EARLY phase.  The EARLY phase occurs before the turns are processed.  Any EARLY actions sent to the GM will be IMMEDIATELY sent back out to the other players before the turn deadline.

 

EARLY actions are limited to 10% of the round, which is 1 second in game time.  This pretty much limits any EARLY action to shouting short instructions.  The benefit of the EARLY action is that the activity will be sent out to other players before the other players have even sent in their rounds.  So an EARLY Shout(10%) whereby Syzygy shouts "Fireball on the way!" might prompt other players to have their characters duck and dive out of the way.  These EARLY action must be short simple instructions and not three page battle plans.

 

The clever party leader will "train" his group to respond to different battle plans based on shouting different coded instructions.  Similar to a football quarterback, a party leader might teach the group that "Battle Plan A15" indicates that everyone is to fall back and use ranged weapons while the magic users prep "wall" spells and the rogues attempt to make themselves hidden.

 

Players should not be required to use an additional 10% of the round if their characters shout commands in any other phase of the turn.  This is because it is assumed that the character is capable of shouting at the same time as Drawing a Weapon or Running and Climbing.  Only instructions that are executed so quickly that they are to be sent out immediately in the EARLY phase will consume any time on their own.

Snap Combat Phase

The character is rushing an action in order to complete the action before other character's actions occur but sacrificing the quality of the action.  A SNAP action will be given a –20 penalty but will occur first thing in the round.  If the character is moving during this phase, a maximum of 20% of his movement may be used.

Normal Combat Phase

The character is putting forth an appropriate amount of effort and care in an action.  The action will be given no modification and will occur in the middle of the combat resolution.  If the character is moving during this phase, a maximum of 50% of his movement may be used.

Deliberate Combat Phase

The character is taking extra care and time in the execution of an action in order to get a better result, but sacrifices their standing in the order of battle.  The action will be given a +10 bonus but will occur last in the round.  If the character is moving during this phase, a maximum of 80% of his movement may be used.

 

After deciding what his character will do in the coming round, the player assigns each action to a combat phase.  Here are some examples:

 


 

Table 65 Combat Action Examples

How to Note it in e-mail

Notes

SNAP: Missile(60%)

DELIB: LoadLBow(40%)

This character will suffer a –20 penalty on the missile longbow attack because it is in the SNAP phase.  If the character was not in such a rush to get his arrow into the air, he could have released the bowstring in the NORMAL phase and avoided any penalty, or even in the DELIBERATE phase and received a bonus.  Also note that the reloading of the longbow is only 40% complete and will require an additional 30% (for the required 70% total) on the next round.

SNAP: Attack/Parry(100%/0%)

The character will have a –20 penalty on his attack for doing it during a Snap phase.

SNAP: DismountRapid(20%)

NORM: DrawWeap(20%) "Mace"

DELIB: Attack/Parry(60%/0%)

The character will have to make a Riding Maneuver Roll on the Rapid Dismount with a –20 penalty for doing it during a SNAP phase.  The character will gain a +10 bonus for his Attack/Parry for doing it during the DELIBERATE Phase (but will suffer a –40 penalty because a melee attack is normally a 100% activity and he is doing it as a 60% activity).

SNAP: SpellCast(75%) "Shock Bolt"

NORM: SpellPrep(25%) "Fireball"

The Shock Bolt will be cast with a –20 penalty for having done it in the SNAP phase.  This casting now requires a spell casting maneuver roll.  The Spell Preparation will be incomplete this round because it normally takes 90% of the round.  He still has 65% to go.

EARLY: Shout(10%) "Guard the Door"!

NORM: Attack/Parry(80%/10%)

The Early action will be sent out to all players before the round is processed, but the character now has 10% less available for use in the round.

SNAP: LoadSbow(50%)

NORM: Missile(50%)

The attack will be completed in the NORMAL phase of the current round and will be taken with a –10 penalty because a Missile shot is normally a 60% action.  If the character were not in such a rush he could have taken the shot in the DELIBERATE phase and received a +10 bonus (for a total of 0 modification), or even waited until next round for no penalties at all.


 


 

6.2.4       Narrative

 

What would a superhero be without the "POW" and "BAM" in the fight? The narrative section is an opportunity for the players to exercise their creativity.  It should be fun.  The following guidelines are recommended:

 

·         Players should write a separate narrative for each phase (EARLY, SNAP, NORM, DELIB) in which the character will perform an action.  By keeping the narratives for the phases separate, the player reduces the amount of work the GM puts into assembling the results file.  When the players write a separate narrative for each phase, the GM is better able to assemble the results in chronological order, improve readability and comprehension.

 

·         Players should write in the same person (first or third). The GM will announce which he prefers.  When the players all use the same person, the story pieces flow together.

 

·         Players should write in the same tense (current or past). The GM will announce which he prefers.  When the players all use the same tense, the story pieces flow together.

 

·         During combat mode, players should not write about any other character.

6.2.5       Combat Round Post Examples

 

Here is an example of how the combat mode e-mail should look.  Players are reminded that:

 

·         Each post should have an appropriate subject such as "RMSS Turn 14.5 — Muldune"

 

·         Only 3 activities may be submitted (remember the time frame is only 10 seconds).

 

·         Only the first 100% of a character's declared actions will be resolved in the round.

 

·         All activities need to be assigned to a combat phase

 

·         Use of conditional statements will help the GM understand the player's intentions for his character.  If the spell fails, do this...  If the spell succeeds, do that....   Each time a conditional statement with optional actions is used in a post, the player must include a React(10%) activity.  If a conditional statement does not dictate optional actions, it may be used freely without a React(10%) activity.

 

·         A separate narrative description should be included for each combat phase.

 

·         Administrative information for the GM should be included at the end, separate from game data.

 

Table 66 Combat Post — Syzygy

From:  syzygy@rmss_pbem.com

To:    gm@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 38.05 - Syzygy

 

Game Date:  4/18/1043 12:12

Scene:      The brewery

 

SNAP:  React(10%)

 

Syzygy watches the winter slime monster carefully. 

 

If the slime monster attempts another cold ball in Syzygy's direction...

 

   NORM:  Run(90%) 

 

   Not wanting to be a victim of the icy explosion that wracked Devron's body moments before, Syzygy ducks behind the brandy barrels when he sees the monster begin to expel another cold ball.

 

If the slime monster moves away or generally leaves Syzygy alone...

 

   NORM:  SpellPrep(90%) "Firebolt"

 

   Syzygy begins chanting and gesturing as he attempts to pull the forces of essence together for a firebolt.  Blue lights dance around his waving arms.

 

 

Table 67 Combat Post —  Muldune

From:  muldune@rmss_pbem.com

To:    gm@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 38.05 – Muldune

 

Game Date:  4/18/1043 12:12

Scene:      The brewery

 

SNAP:  Run(10%) 2.6 hexes should put Muldune at the north side of the slime.

 

As Muldune's eyes adjust to the light, he moves around the shards of ice to avoid slipping. Muldune shouts out his battle cry, "For the King!" as he closes the distance to the large slime monster.  <<GM:  Move Muldune to the north side of the slime monster>>

 

NORM:  PressAttack/Parry(90%/0%)

 

Muldune hopes the creature was bent on attacking the warmer targets in the room and that his cold metal armor will insulate him from the monster's vision.  He slams his mace home and it makes a strange sucking sound as it hits the beast.

 

 

Table 68 Combat Post — ShenJu

From:  ShenJu@rmss_pbem.com

To:    gm@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 38.05 – ShenJu

 

Game Date:  4/18/1043 12:12

Scene:      The brewery

 

EARLY ACTION:  Shout (10%):

 

ShenJu yells "Someone – grab the torch.  Brandy is flammable!"

 

SNAP:  Sprint(20%)

 

ShenJu squints as a shower of ice crystals rain down.  That was a little too close.  If it hadn't been for Syzygy's quick thinking...  ShenJu makes a mental note to thank the wizard later.  He then sprints across the room to the remaining brandy barrels.

 

NORMAL:  HeavyAction(50%) (Pushing a barrel over and getting it rolling)

 

ShenJu takes aim and heaves against the barrel, sending it over on it's side and rolling towards the slime.  With a muted thunder, the brandy barrel bumps and rolls across the floor towards the slow moving pile of goo.

 

DELIB: StandtoCrouch(20%)

 

With the barrel bumping on its way, ShenJu takes cover behind another barrel to await the outcome of his maneuver. 

 

 

Table 69 Combat Post — Devron

From:  devron@rmss_pbem.com

To:    gm@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 38.05 – Devron

 

Game Date:  4/18/1043 12:12

Scene:      The brewery

 

Note:  Devron is stunned – only 50% action allowed.  Also remember that he started loading his longbow last turn and is 20% into it.

 

NORM:  LoadLBow(50%of70%)

 

Devron reels from the Cold Ball attack. Stumbling back a step or two as if drunk, the Elf tries to regain his footing on the icy floor.  Ice shards hit him about the face caused his eyes to tear up and lose their focus.

 

After several seconds of scrambling around Devron is once again stable on his feet, but slightly disoriented. Looking around wildly for the slime, Devron searches the floor for any sign of it.

 

The slime appears in his slightly blurred sight and Devron continues to raise his longbow.

 

 

6.3      The GM in Combat Mode

 

The GM collects all the Combat Mode Posts from the players and compiles them together with the actions of the opponents and NPCs to produce a complete combat round.  The GM will need to perform the following tasks in order to facilitate the creation of the combat round results:

 

Step 1:    Scheduling

 

Step 2:    Mail Early Combat Phase Actions

 

Step 3:    Determine the Actions of Foes and NPCs

 

Step 4:    Process the Turn

 

6.3.1       Scheduling

 

The first thing to do (once the GM has announced that the game has entered combat mode), is to schedule the turn. Unlike strategic mode turns that allow players to post at will, a deadline for e-mailing combat posts must be established.  Any player that does not have his turn sent to the GM by the deadline will have his character perform some basic defensive action defined by the GM.

 

If this is the first turn of the combat, the deadline is announced when the GM notifies the players that they are entering combat mode.  For subsequent turns, the deadline can be announced in the GM Notes section of the previous turn.

 

Players should be given at least two days between turns in order to receive their previous turn, read the results and examine any accompanying map, and then produce a new post.

6.3.2       Mail Early Combat Phase Actions

 

While the GM is waiting for the deadline to arrive, he should frequently monitor his e-mail for any EARLY phase posts.  If someone e-mails a post that has an EARLY phase action in it, the GM should immediately cut the EARLY phase portion of the post out and e-mail it to the entire party.  This will give the rest of the players a chance to change their character's action based on that post.

 

An example of a post with an EARLY Phase action is shown below.  Only the EARLY phase portion is to be sent out early.  Notice in the example below, that the character Steel shouts more instructions in the SNAP and DELIBERATE phases.  Since these additional instructions consume more than should be allowed in a 1 second game time, the player has not tried to squeeze them all into the 10% (1 second) EARLY Phase action.  These additional commands are NOT shared early—the other players will have to read them when the complete turn is processed.

 

Table 610 Combat Post — Player Early Action

From:  steel@rmss_pbem.com

To:    gm@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 42.01 – Steel

 

EARLY Shout(10%)

 

The screech of the three griffins perched high up on the cliff echoes down into the ravine.  Then he remembered the cave entrance that he spotted earlier.  Steel points toward a cave entrance as he shouts "TAKE COVER IN D' CAVE!"

 

SNAP DrawWeapon(20%)

 

Steel draws the Mace of Power, the heavy well balanced head bounding skillfully in his hand.  He adds "I'll free the prisoner!"

 

DELIB Run(26%) Climb(44%)

 

Steel runs up to the wagon and using the front wheel spokes like a ladder rung, climbs into the wagon and begins to unlock the prisoner's shackles.

 

 

The post below is what the GM would e-mail out to the entire party as soon as he received the EARLY phase post.

 

 

Table 611  Combat Post — GM Early Action

From:  gm@rmss_pbem.com

To:    devron@rmss_pbem.com,       muldune@rmss_pbem.com,       syzygy@rmss_pbem.com,

       shenju@rmss_pbem.com,       steel@rmss_pbem.com,       jarden@rmss_pbem.com,

       greyfox@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 42.01 – Steel (Early Action)

 

EARLY Shout(10%)

 

The screech of the three griffins perched high up on the cliff echoes down into the ravine.  Then he remembered the cave entrance that he spotted earlier.  Steel points toward a cave entrance as he shouts "TAKE COVER IN D' CAVE!"

 

 

6.3.3       Actions of the Foes/NPCs

 

While the GM is waiting for all the combat posts to arrive, he should keep himself busy building combat posts for all the foes and NPCs in the battle.  It is important that this be done before the GM knows what the players might do.  After all, the foes and NPCs can't read the character's minds.

 

An industrious GM will actually write posts for the combatants under his control using the proper format, creating narratives and doing all the math just as the players do.  Once this is done, patching the narratives together and adding a bit of color depending on the die rolls will be easy.

6.3.4       Process the Turn

 

Once the scheduled deadline has passed and all the turns (and die roll confirmations if they are being used) have arrived in the GM's e-mail box, it is time for the GM to get busy.  If the game is using the die rolling methods of "GM Rolls Freely" or "Players Roll as a Template" then the GM should have all the die rolls that he needs to complete the turn.

Pre-Round Accounting

The first section of a Combat Round Compilation is a Pre-Round Accounting section for the turn.

 

Health Report:      The GM should list all the characters, NPCs, Monster and Foes and show the penalties that they will be suffering during this turn.  There is no need to keep the condition of any characters or foes a secret.  If a foe has a wounded leg and is limping, the characters would be able to see this.  It is easier to publish this type of information then it is to field all the questions from the players asking, "Why did my character get a penalty" or "Just how badly hurt does the foe appear?"

 

The Health Report shows all penalties that are imposed upon each character in the current round.  Penalties will be one of two possible types: penalties from a drop in Hits, Exhaustion or Power Points  (called HEALTH penalties); or penalties from critical hits (called CRIT penalties).  These are shown separately in the Health Report.

 

Timing Report:    The GM should list any active spells or other events that have duration with the time they still have remaining.  This is as much an administrative tool for the GM as it is for the players.  By keeping track every turn as to how long a spell will be in effect, the GM will help himself remember when the spell does end.  Each turn he will drop the time remaining down until it has expired.  A GM might be tempted to keep this information secret, not sharing it with players.  But one must keep in mind that this information for the most part is public knowledge.  Any player with a manual can look up how long a "Blur" spell lasts.  By withholding this information, the GM is just causing more work for the player.

 

Action Report:      Here is where the GM should list any character action that was started last turn but remains incomplete because of time constraints  (for example, a wizard who has begun prepping a spell might need to continue prepping for 3 turns; or a fighter who began loading his longbow last turn but did not have the 70% needed to complete the job).  These items should be shown and maintained in the Pre-Round Accounting Section as well.

 

An example of how to list these can be seen in the below.

Initiatives

The next section is a list of the characters' and foes' initiatives in descending order of initiatives.

Phases

The next section lists each of the four phases (EARLY, SNAP, NORMAL and DELIBERATE), and the actions of each combatant in the order of their initiatives. This section is where the players' narratives will appear.  The entire section represents a list of all the actions for the round in chronological order.

 

At this point, the GM can go back down through the list of phases and actions updating any map graphic as combatants move about in the skirmish. Die results are determined in the order they are listed. A good GM will write some narrative about these die results and add it to the narratives already present.

Post-Round Accounting

In the Post-Round Accounting section, the GM lists the changes to any character's health stats (hits, power points, exhaustion).   The GM can also list these results as a percentage of the character's total to give the players a feel for how badly each character is wounded without compromising any character's privacy.

 

The GM may choose to list a Health Report for the next round in order to let the players know in advance what penalties they have incurred.

GM Notes

Add any scheduling deadlines, administrative notes, personal notes, rulings and question/answers in this section.

Mail the Results

The GM should e-mail turn results as soon as they are ready, with relevant maps or graphics attached.

6.3.5       Combat Round Results Example

 

Here is an example of the turn that would result from the battle examples with the Winter Slime:

 

Table 612 Combat Post — GM Results

 

From:  gm@rmss_pbem.com

To:    devron@rmss_pbem.com,

       muldune@rmss_pbem.com,

       syzygy@rmss_pbem.com,

       shenju@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 38.05

 

*********************

PRE-ROUND ACCOUNTING

*********************

 

---------------- Crits------------------

Round 5 Stun Bleed  OB DB NoParry NoAttk

------- ---- ----- --- -- ------- ------

Devron    1    0   -15  0   0       0

Syzygy    0    0   -10  0   0       0

 

         ------- Health ------

Round 5  Move/Fight Cast/Think

-------- ---------- ----------

Devron     -10         0

Syzygy       0         0

 

Timed Events           Rnds Remain

---------------------  -----------

Resist Cold on Syzygy       16

 

Partially Complete Actions

---------------------------   

Devron LoadLbow(20% of 70%)

Syzygy SpellPrep(90% of 180%)

 

 

********************

INITIATIVE ROLLS

********************

 

Muldune       (21)

Syzygy        (14)

Devron        (11)

Winter Slime  (9)

ShenJu        (7)

 

********************

EARLY (sent out yesterday)

********************

 

** ShenJu        (7)  Shout(10%)

 

ShenJu yells "Someone – grab the torch.  Brandy is flammable!"

 

********************

SNAP

********************

 

** Muldune       (21) Run(10%146)=14ft

 

As Muldune's eyes adjust to the light, he moves around the shards of ice to avoid slipping. Muldune shouts out his battle cry, "For the King!" as he closes the distance to the large slime monster. 

 

** Syzygy        (14) React(10%)

 

Syzygy watches the winter slime monster carefully.

 

** ShenJu        (7)  Sprint(20%147)=29ft

 

ShenJu squints as a shower of ice crystals rain down.  That was a little too close.  If it hadn't been for Syzygy's quick thinking...  ShenJu makes a mental note to thank the wizard later.  He then sprints across the room to the remaining brandy barrels.

 

<<

ShenJu's Routine (Sprint) Movement Roll

ShenJu's Movement Penalty      -  5

In a Melee Environment         - 20

Light Advantage: Heavy Shadows - 10

Roll                           + 79

Total                      === + 44 ===

Results: 100% Movement Achieved

Sprint(147ft)*Rnd(20%)*Achieved(100%)=29.4ft

>>

 

********************

NORMAL

********************

 

** Muldune       (21) PrsAttk/Parry(90%/0%)

 

Muldune hopes the creature is bent on attacking the warmer targets in the room and that his cold metal armor will insulate him from the monster's vision. He slams his mace home and it makes a strange sucking sound as it hits the beast <<Hits(9)>>.  The mace buries deep into the slime and Muldune has to make extra effort to extract it.  A huge gray spot appears at the point of impact and the glob seems to be twitching a bit <<CritHit(4), DB(-25)>>.

 

<<

Muldune's Footman's Mace, vs Winter Slime AT 4

Muldune's Footman's Mace  + 60 ((70-10)*100%)

Winter Slime's Defense   - 20

Winter Slime's Parry     - 10 ((100-0)*10%)

Roll                     + 88 Weap Break Check

Total                === +114 ===

Results: Hits(9), Crit(BK)

 

Crit Roll "B" Krush  === + 46 ===

Results: CritHit(4), DB(-25)

"Foe steps under your blow, you catch him in the back."

 

Weapon Breakage Roll

Weapon Strength          + 85w

Roll                     + 36

Total                === + 121 ===

Results: No Damage

>>

 

** Syzygy        (14) SpellPrep(90%)

 

Syzygy begins chanting and gesturing as he attempts to pull the forces of essence together for a fireball.  Blue lights dance around his waving arms.

 

** Devron        (22) LoadLBow(50%of70%)

                     (20% completed last turn)

 

Devron reels from the Cold Ball attack. Stumbling back a step or two as if drunk, the elf tries to regain his footing on the icy floor.  Ice shards hit him about the face caused his eyes to tear up and lose their focus.

 

After several seconds of scrambling around Devron is once again stable on his feet, but slightly disoriented. Looking around wildly for the slime, Devron searches the floor for any sign of it.

 

The slime appears in his slightly blurred sight and Devron continues to raise his longbow.

 

** ShenJu        (7)  Act Medium(50%)

 

ShenJu takes aim and heaves against the barrel, sending it over on it's side and rolling towards the slime.  With a muted thunder, the brandy barrel bumps and rolls across the floor towards the slow moving pile of goo.

 

********************

DELIBERATE

********************

 

** Winter Slime  (9)  Attk/Parry(80%/10%)

 

The winter slime's instincts are overwhelmed with it's equivalent of adrenaline as the heat sources around it shift and move.  The damage that it took had not reduced its resolve.  It swings a sloppy tentacle at Muldune striking him in the chest <<Hits(9)>>.  Another tentacle grabs around Muldune's leg immobilizing him as the cold easily penetrates his metal armor and stabbed deep into his muscle <<CritHit(7), OB(-25)>>.  Muldune gasps a deep breath and again is sent reeling as the frigid air stabbed into his chest. <<CritHit(6), NoAttack(1)>>.

 

<<

Winter Slime's Bash/Ram vs Muldune's AT 20

Deliberate Phase           + 10

Winter Slime's Bash/Ram OB + 90 ((100-0)*90%)

Muldune's Defense          -  5

Roll                       + 48

Total                  === +143 ===

Results:  Hits(9), Crit(DU)

 

Crit Roll "D" Unbalance == + 43 ===

Results:  CritHit(7), OB(-25), Init(1)

"Strike to calf.  Wound impairs foe's movements.  You have initiative."

 

Note:  When a winter slime does any critical with its "Bash/Ram" attack, it also inflicts a "Cold" critical of one degree less.

 

Crit Roll "C" Cold     === + 24 ===

Results:  CritHit(6), NoAttack(1)

"Disorient foe with a tricky shot.  His garments fail to keep out the chill.  Press him while you can."

 

Let's summarize Muldune's situation:

He was hit for a total of 22

He is unable to move his leg for one round.

He is unable to attack for one round.

His initiative will be one less than the slime next round.

His OB is -25 until healed.

>>

 

** ShenJu        (7)  Stand2Crouch(20%)

 

With the barrel bumping on its way, ShenJu takes cover behind another barrel to await the outcome of his explosive maneuver. 

 

*********************

POST-ROUND ACCOUNTING

*********************

 

********* Changes for Rnd 5 **********

Name    Hits Pwr  Exh   Hits Pwr  Exh

------- ---- ---- ----  ---- ---- ----

Syzygy    0    0  -0.1  100%  85%  83%

Muldune -22    0  -1.0   75%  n/a  78%

Devron    0    0  -0.1   44%  n/a  67%

ShenJu    0    0  -0.8  100% 100%  90%

 

 

---------------- Crits------------------

Round 5 Stun Bleed  OB  DB NoPry NoAttk

------- ---- ----- ---  -- ---- ------

Muldune   0    0   -25   0   0    1 Lost Init

Devron    1    0   -15   0   0    0

Syzygy    0    0   -10   0   0    0

WntrSlime 0    0     0 -25   0    0

 

---------------- Health ------

Round 5  Move/Fight Cast/Think

-------- ---------- ----------

Devron     -10         0

Syzygy       0         0

 

====== GM Notes ============

 

Next turn is due Monday, January 7. 

Please subject your e-mail with:  RMSS Turn 38.06 - <character>"

 

Sam – I need you to fill out your training for the new level gain for Muldune.

 

 

Attached JPG Map:

 

 


7       FUN WITH PBEM

7.1      Awards and Encouragement

 

After a few months of PBEM gaming, it will become clear that some players are more adept at certain aspects of the game then others.  There might be a math-wiz who will point out every die rolling modification error.  There might be another whose written work is of professional quality.  Others might be strong at following and tracking plot details or character development.

 

A GM can encourage these quality attributes by periodically posting awards that recognize various aspects of quality game playing.  These awards (and they can be as little as a sentence or two) can appear in the GM Notes section of any post, or they can be an entirely separate e-mailing to the players.  The GM can develop a list of awards posted at any frequency from annual to per battle.  Awards can vary from mathematically calculated ("Most Damage Delivered in Combat") to light-hearted ("Most likely to Fumble at a critical moment").  The point is to have fun with them.

 

Some annual awards might include:

Most Prolific Poster

Best Written Work

Best Character Development

Perfect Attendance Award

Most Creative Contribution to the plot

 

Some post-battle awards might include:

Most Valuable Player

Most Damage Delivered

Most Damage Received

Most Creative Maneuver

 

 

Example of an Award Post:

 

It's time for the non-semi-periodical-random RMSS Player Awards <<insert crazed round of applause here>> The envelope please...

 

The award for "the only person playing this game who can spell" award goes to Jim, who can not only spell "Minotaur" but can also spell "Spectre."

 

The award for "most improved melee formatting" goes to Robert, who usually sends two or three e-mails each round eagerly asking guidance in his formatting improvement.

 

The award for "best narrative writing" is a three-way tie going to Rene, Kerry and Jim, for their colorful vocabularies and obvious efforts to entertain with writing.

 

The award for "best character development" goes to Brad for his portrayal of Steel Siverhand and to James for his portrayal of Devron (although there were several runners-up close behind).

 

The award for "most likely to call the GM one hour after a turn is sent to try and interrogate the GM for more details" goes to Brad and his large long distance phone bill.

 

The award for "most likely to find a math error in the game turn" is a tie going to Kerry and Brad, who keep me on my toes.

 

The award for "being most willing to put their character in harm's way" goes to James and Patrick for their front line volunteering.

 

And lastly,

 

The award for "most likely to have his next turn sent to the GM within one hour of receiving the last turn" goes to Kerry, and his quick responses.

 

Congratulations to all!  You all receive the admiration and appreciation of the GM and the other players.  Keep up the good work!

 

 

7.2      Keeping Secrets

7.2.1       Private Mail

 

When playing face-to-face, the GM may find it hard to direct a private message to any one player.  If the GM passes a note on a slip of paper to a player or asks a player to join him for a private pow-wow in the hall, the other players immediately become suspicious.  Was the player's character charmed by the evil wizard?  Was he possessed by a poltergeist?  Something has happened and suspicion cannot be avoided.

 

The GM can make use of the e-mail medium to direct e-mail to any one player without the knowledge of the others.  The GM should provide information to only those players whose characters have direct knowledge of the information making it the player's responsibility to pass this information on to the others.  Players can make use of secret e-mails as well.  Although players must ALWAYS include the GM in the mailing list, they can exclude other players if they have a need. 

 

Some examples of keeping secrets:

 

The elven rogue character Devron wiggles into the treasure chamber where the others in the party cannot fit. When the GM describes the treasure, the e-mail only goes to Devron.  In the treasure is a nice looking ring that Devron does not wish to share with the party—hey, that's what rogues do! It is now up to the player of Devron to forward the (complete?) treasure inventory to the other players.  Even if the rogue player is honest, moral and shares the complete treasure list, the fact that it is sent to the others by the player of Devron and not by the GM will generate some suspicion.

 

Grey Fox has befriended a pigeon and Devron has an Owl friend.  The two characters have just met and have not yet disclosed to each other that they have an avian animal companion.  The GM sends e-mail to each player individually describing that "an owl has been following your party and has been chasing your pigeon away," and "a pigeon has been following your party and has been harassing your owl."  It won't take long before each character is convinced that the "other" bird is a spy for some evil foe.

 

 

7.2.2       Splitting up the party

 

There may come a time when the party completely splits up into two or more groups.  This goes beyond just a few private e-mails and begins weaving two different plot threads.  Although this sounds like it would be great fun, there are several problems that could arise:

 

1.  During these times, the GM must develop and maintain two separate threads of e-mail. It doubles the GM's workload.  Two different e-mails must be written with all the associated die rolling and two complete description of events.  There is also the added burden of the administration work required to keep the two threads separate.  If the GM does not have the time to commit to a split party, he should not allow it.

 

2.  The separate threads might not take the same amount of game time to complete.  If half the party finished their task in only 2 hours but the other half needs 4 hours to complete their task, there will be a divergence of the Game Date/Time.  Characters will be sitting around waiting for their comrades in the other group to finish their work.  The GM should try to influence events so that the two groups of characters complete their tasks around the same time.

 

3.  The separate threads might not take the same amount of real time to complete.  If half the players complete their tasks in only a few weeks but the other half needs a month, then half the players will be sitting around receiving no game e-mail during that time.  Playing out the game fully when a scout is sent to recon the goblin camp would be fun only for the GM and the player of the scout.  The rest of the players might quickly become bored of simply standing watch back at camp.  The GM should try to organize the split in such a way that the two groups of players have something to occupy their time.  Perhaps a patrol of goblins could wander into the hero's camp while the scout is out looking around.

 

4.  If the GM is using a Mailing List for his game, he will have to either create a new mailing list for each subset of the group or resort to sending e-mail directly to player addresses.

7.3      Other People in the Game

7.3.1       Lurkers

 

A Lurker is a person who receives the e-mail of a PBEM game but is not actually a player.  This is usually done for entertainment sake.  Lurkers are not allowed to send e-mail to the general group.  Lurkers are expected to be silent observers and should not kibitz to players.

 

Lurking is a good way to check out a game before agreeing to join it.  Lurking is a way to gain insight into the style and intensity of play so that a potential player can judge the level of commitment required by a particular game.  If that particular game is not what the player is are looking for, no harm done.

 

Lurkers exist strictly with the indulgence of the GM.  Additions to the Lurker-list are at his discretion and he may decide to limit lurkers only to potential players, or in any other way he chooses. Anyone wanting to be a Lurker should send e-mail to the GM and ask to be placed on the Lurker's List.  Most GMs and players enjoy having an audience and the chance to show off their characters and writing abilities.

7.3.2       Guest Stars

 

There might come a time when the game is full, but someone writes in with a positively juicy character that will mesh perfectly with the game.  Or there might be a person who would like to play, but only for a short while.  Allowing a temporary membership allows more people to enjoy the game, and can give the GM a fresh jolt to keep things moving. Guest stars can also control important NPCs if the GM allows, or write for a villain who antagonizes the players.  This all adds work, but is a great deal of fun.

 

The GM might also consider trying to get a celebrity into the game.  Maybe a favorite fantasy book author would be interested.  Drop him e-mail.  He may respond.

 


 

8       BIG EXAMPLE

8.1      CONVENTION

 

The following pages contain an example of PBEM starting in Strategic Mode and entering Combat Mode for a few turns.  The example is intended to show the flow of communication between players and GM.  Each section below represents an e-mail that the GM sent out in the course of the game.  The player e-mails are not included below because they are cut and pasted into the GM's turns.

 

When players and characters are referenced it will come in the form of Player/Character such as Kerry/Syzygy.  This indicates the player Kerry who is the writer for the character Syzygy.

8.2      Turn 46.17 Strategic Mode

8.2.1       Turn 46.17 Notes

 

·         Background:  In this game, the party has been tasked with delivering a prisoner to the city that serves as the major seat of law for the kingdom.  The prisoner (a halfling named Fowler) has been charged with accounts of racketeering, extortion and murder.  During their travels, several rescue attempts have been made by Fowler's friends. 

 

Recently in the game, there has been a battle with some bandits that resulted in Syzygy gaining a level as well as the acquisition of various treasure items.

 

·         Post Formats:  The GM received two posts from player that are reflected below: a post from James/Devron and Kerry/Syzygy.  Notice how each post snip is separated from the other by a heading that gives credit to the author of the narrative, indicated the time and day (game time) and the location of the party (Section 5.2.2).

 

·         Writing about other characters:  Notice how players are allowed to write about other characters in addition to their own when in Strategic Mode.  In this example Kerry/Syzygy's post includes actions of Grey Fox, Borak, Steel and some others (Section 5.2.3).

 

·         GM Rolls Freely:  In this example, the GM Rolls Freely system of die rolling is being used.

8.2.2       Turn 46.17 Post

 

From:  gm@rmss_pbem.com

To:    allgroup@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 46.17

 

<<James:  May 5th, 14:14 - On the road from Moreville to Yetton Dale >>

 

Devron looks about the group as he prepares to speak. He has been quiet lately, and most put it down to his desire for solitude. As he starts to speak most can figure out that the young elf misses Muldune to some extent.

 

"You know, it would have been interesting to see how Muldune would have dealt with that useless pile of worm dung back there. He has a very strict sense of duty and would not have tolerated that from anyone. I think he might have trounced that hick just on principal."

 

Then with a slight chuckle he continues, "That would have been well worth the price of admission. Oh well, maybe when he tries to catch up later he can straighten out the sheriff and his toad."

 

Glancing down at his horse, he pats it on the neck. "I've also decided that I should probably name my horse. Its easier to say 'take care of Shadow' than to say 'take care of Devron's horse' or some such. I didn't really want to give him a name, but the gods seem to be giving me a message to treat the horse more as an appendage than a beast of burden. You can just tell by the way he keeps looking at me that he wants something. At first I thought it was just some treats, but I finally figured out that he didn't like to be called horse. So he is now officially to be called Shadow."

 

Devron then moves Shadow back to his position in the group and occasionally shifts his shoulders to make his new mail sit properly.

 

<<Kerry:  May 5th, 18:50 - On the road from Moreville to Yetton Dale>>

 

The group makes camp the first night, and a routine begins to develop itself.  The two monks move off and go through a ritual set of katas to keep their skills sharp, and, as has been his habit for past few weeks, Syzygy moves off with them to watch and learn.  This night however, as Syzygy moves through the most basic of the martial arts moves there are no corrections or suggestions from the pair of experts.

 

"I think he's got it." Grey Fox mutters.

 

"Not bad, for a novice." Borak admits.

 

Much later that night, sitting by himself.  Syzygy pulls the small ring from his finger and sets in on his lap.  He focuses on it, letting his mind's eye encompass the small device.  He begins to see the actual essence lines bound to the ring, giving it its enchanted powers.  He picks the ring up, and, for lack of a better term, "introduces" himself to the ring.  His magical powers and its begin to merge as Syzygy makes the ring his own.

 

<<Syzygy's Static Maneuver Roll

Power Awareness: Attunement     + 61

Roll (+ 48 )                    + 48

Total                       === +109 ===

Near Success:  Despite your best efforts, things remain just out of focus.  Another attempt, if appropriate, may be made at +10 to clarify matters.  The spell (if any) is known.

 

Syzygy's Second Static Maneuver Roll

Power Awareness: Attunement     + 61

Prior Roll Near Success         + 10

Roll (+ 44 )                    + 45

Total                       === +115 ===

Success:  Your mystical senses are at your beck.  Your maneuver succeeds normally.  The spell (if any) is known and usable.>>

 

Putting the ring back on his finger, Syzygy then draws one of his daggers. The new one, the enchanted one, and repeats the process.

 

<<Syzygy's Static Maneuver Roll

Power Awareness: Attunement     + 61

Prior Roll Success              + 20

Roll (+ 78 )                    + 78

Total                       === +159 ===

Success:  Your mystical senses are at your beck.  Your maneuver succeeds normally.  The spell (if any) is known and usable.>>

 

Day 2 --

 

After the group has been on the road for a small time, Syzygy spurs Zephyr forward and draws even with Steel on the wagon.

 

"My good friend Steel."

 

"Watcha want Ziggy."  The dwarf spares him a glance from under his bushy eyebrows.

 

"Teach me." The wizard prompts.

 

"Teach ya what?"

 

"Teach me to speak the tongue of your people."

 

"Are you daft?" The cleric leans forward, as if getting closer to the wizard will make him easier to understand.  "Why would you want to learn that?"

 

"I speak the common tongue, can speak a passable Grey Elfish Dialog, can read Grey Elfish, High Elfish, Common, and the High Man language.  I am a researcher, and the more sources I can tap for my information, the better I'll be.  Its a long ride my stout comrade, what harm can it cause?"

 

Steel blows a huge sigh through his beard and moustache.  "Wizards!" he exclaims.  "This," he slaps the wagon, "is a wagon.  In my tongue you would say..."

 

And the day goes on.

 

That night, after the monks complete their katas, Syzygy meets Borak as he is coming back to camp.  The wizard is carrying the monk's broadsword.  The two converse for a few minutes, Borak shrugs, and the pair move off.  Soon the sound of bare steel swinging through the air can be heard, and Borak again critiques the way Syzygy tries to follow his examples.  The pair work together almost every night.

 

<<GM:  May 7th, 14:14 - On the road from Moreville to Yetton Dale>>

 

Day 3...

 

=================== Notes ===================

 

I pause now to give you a chance to post.  I don't want to launch anything too dramatic on a Friday so I will wait until Monday for my next post.  If any of you are so inclined, you may move the party ahead two more days.

The trip so far...

 

A good post idea (for those of you who have not been visited by a muse) is to post about your character's training.  Kerry did a great job on his post above.  From this post, you can tell that Syzygy has just gained some skill in martial arts and is now working on the dwarven language as well as the broadsword.  If you are strapped for ideas but want to write something, take a look at your character sheet and see what the character is training in.  From who or what is this training being received?  Write about it.  Great post Kerry :-)

 

--- Road from Moreville to Yetton Dale -----

 

The river from Moreville runs northwest to Yetton Dale and then to the Bladed Coast at Port Norgha.

 

The trip from Moreville to Yetton Dale is made by most travelers by using the river.  In the middle of the summer one can sit on the bank of the river and watch two or three barges pass on any given day. But at this time of year with the winter melt runoff from the Sunrise and High Horn Mountains the river is too swift and rough for merchant barges.

 

Along the both the north and south banks of the river are horse trails, used by mules and other beasts of burden to pull the barges upstream.  But the trails are just narrow paths and cannot be used by a wagon.

 

----------- Transportation Summary -----------

 

Slowest Mover:  Small Wagon  3.5 mph

 

                                          Man.

Transportation           Burden  Speed    Mod.

Syzygy's Quarterhorse    71.6%    7.5      30

GreyFox's Thoroughbred   89.1%    8.0      20

Borak's Warhorse         88.0%    6.0      30

Devron's Quarterhorse    99.1%    7.5      30

Lone Wolf's Warhorse     93.6%    5.0      40

Steel's Pony             91.0%    5.0      30

Jarden's Warhorse        71.1%    6.0      30

Wagon (small)            57.2%    3.5     -30

Mule Fred                29.6%    6.0      20

8.3      Turn 46.18 Strategic Mode

8.3.1       Turn 46.18 Notes

 

·         Advancing the Game:  In the next post, the GM received no new posts from players for several days so he decided to move things along himself.  The only contributor to the post below is the GM.

 

·         Changing Modes:  In this post the GM announces the change from Strategic Mode to Combat Mode.

 

·         Plot Clues:  Notice how blatantly the GM announces the presence of a plot clue in the Notes section of the post (Section 5.3 Contribute).

8.3.2       Turn 46.18 Post

 

From:  gm@rmss_pbem.com

To:    allgroup@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 46.18

 

RMSS Turn 46.18

 

<<GM:  May 7th, 17:28 - On the road from Moreville to Yetton Dale>>

 

As soon as camp was set along the riverside, Syzygy wanders to the side to begin his professional studies.  He finds a small hillock closer to the river.  The white noise of the river rushing by helps drowned out the camp side chatter and helps him concentrate better.

 

Back in camp, Grey Fox helps stake up his tent; Borak meditates; Steel checks the chains on Fowler (who has learned by way of a lump on the head to refrain from spitting at the dwarf).

 

Jarden and Devron are fidgeting with their new armor pieces.  Lone Wolf stands watch; ShenJu checks the horses (for burrs in their hair, loose shoes and such).

 

"No - there is no extension of the nether into the astral during the consubjurgation of pattern flow.  It's a simple translation," Syzygy corrects himself.

 

Syzygy shakes his arms and loosens up his shoulders getting ready to try his new spell again.  "Magisupus Pisces taliosa!"  Unseen power radiates from his extended arms towards the river.  The water at the riverbank begins to swirl and in seconds it is bubbling with the activity of a school of fish.  They flip and splash and break the surface of the water as if they were coming up to feed on a swarm of insects.

 

"Great - I summoned some fish.  Now let's see if I can insert a command into the canton." he says to himself.  "I'll try and get a few to beach themselves.  We can add them to the dinner."

 

Syzygy concentrates.  "Magisupus Pisces taliosa! - un Pisces loytality."

 

This time the energy does not gently radiate from him but rather it snaps fourth like a whip.  When the lash of the whip recoils it separates from his extended fingertips with a pop that stings his hands.  "Ouch!"

 

"That isn't supposed to happen." Syzygy consoles himself.

 

Syzygy stares at the river's edge and his eyes grow wide. "Oh my!  How did I do THAT!"

 

Stepping out of the river onto the bank is a large hulk of man-shaped clay.  It's body drips of water and shines with a gray gloss.  Once on the shore, it stands erect to a height of eight feet.  Its arms and legs protrude as thick as tree trunks from its barrel-like chest.  Its head has no features, but it turns directly towards the camp.

 

The noise from the riverbank catches the attention of the others in the party.  They turn to the river and see the construct emerge.

 

Devron's thoughts quickly turn to his shield that was left by his tent.  Syzygy, having been working on his skills, does not have a spell stored for instant use.  ShenJu knows that he can quickly mount Jasaru but that it would hamper his retrieval of his spears or sword (both back at his tent).

 

==================== Notes ===================

 

We now enter Combat Mode and increment the turn number.  Remember that you must send your post only to me.  Do not include other players in your e-mail addressing.

 

Turns are due on Monday September 16th

Subject your turn RMSS Turn 47.01 - <PC name>

 

The Monster:  It is recognizable as a clay golem.  No, Syzygy didn't summon it but Steel will probably blame him anyway.  Clay golems are magical constructions, built by wizards to serve a purpose or mission.  This is NOT a random encounter (this is a clue!).

 

Please note the restrictions I placed on some of the characters:

 

Syzygy: no spell stored, down 5 power points

Devron: no shield

ShenJu: no weapons

All others: no bows strung, bows in tents

 

 


 

 


8.4      Turn 47.01 Combat Mode

8.4.1       Turn 47.01 Post

 

From:  gm@rmss_pbem.com

To:    allgroup@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 47.01

 

**************** INITIATIVES ****************

 

Grey Fox      (21)

Devron        (20)

Syzygy        (19)

Jarden        (17)

Clay Golem    (16)

Borak         (15)

Stone Golem   (14)

Lone Wolf     (12)

ShenJu        (9)

Steel         (8)

 

******************* SNAP *******************

 

** Syzygy (19) <<Jog(10%78)=7ft>>

 

Syzygy moves down the back side of the hill, away from, and hopefully out of sight, of the golem.

 

** Borak (15) <<DrawWeap(20%)>>

 

Borak sees the intruder and concludes immediately that the mage is an easy target until he calls up his magic.  He also realizes this could be an excellent ruse to divert attention from a rescue attempt on Fowler.  Borak pulls out his newly acquired broadsword.

 

** Lone Wolf (12) <<DrawWeap(0%)>>

 

Lone Wolf draws his Katana with wolf like grace. He smiles and says, "Time to play hard."

 

<<Lone Wolf's Static Maneuver Roll

Combat Maneuver: Quickdraw (Kat + 26

Roll (+ 97  + 26)               +123

Total                       === +149 === Success:  Your long training pays off as you step through your maneuver with an almost instinctual ease.>>

 

****************** NORMAL ******************

 

** Grey Fox (21)  <<Seat2Stand(10%)

   Run(30%158)=47ft  RetrieveItem(30%)

   StringLbow(30%of300%)>>

 

Grey Fox jumps up and runs to the wagon planning to retrieve his longbow.  Somehow, he feels that his fists and feet will not be very effective against a big blob of mud.  Grey Fox hurries to string his longbow as he wonders if arrows will be any more effective.

 

** Devron (20)  <<DrawWeap(20%)x2>>

 

Devron, seeing his friends attacked by the clay golem that just appeared, glances at his horse where his longbow lies and shakes his head.  He draws both a long and normal kynac.

 

** Syzygy (19) <<SpellPrep(90%)>>

 

Knowing most of his spells will not be of much use against the golem, Syzygy decides to try something unique.  He begins a spell that may or may not have any effect on the beast.

 

** Jarden (17) <<RetrieveItem(30%)

   Run(30%136)=40ft RetrieveItem(30%)

 

Jarden reaches into his backpack and brings out his oil flask. He then runs over to the fire pit and grabs a newly added burning piece of wood with his other hand.  Jarden then heads straight towards the monster.

 

** Clay Golem (16) <<ActLight(50%)>>

 

The clay golem pauses and bends down to his right.  His arm extends out and bangs on top of the collection of boulders by the river side.  The rocks begin move.

 

** Borak (15) <<ADefence(10%)>>

 

I'm coming! Borak shouts to the mage as he gets into a defensive stance.  "Back up and I'll try and hold it off until you can fry it!."  As he runs he shouts out, "Watch out for the prisoner!  This may be a diversion!"

 

** Stone Golem (14) <<ActLight(50%)>>

 

The pile of riverside boulders extends a granite appendage and tries to wave the clay golem away.  The clay golem's prodding persists and the mass of stones finally relents and uncurls.

 

** Lone Wolf (12) <<Observation(20%)>>

 

Lone Wolf takes note of the situation, observing where everyone is in relation to clay golem. Everyone is pretty spread out. Lone Wolf says, "If the powerhouse hitters move in close we can keep it a bay and away from the tents. Don't need the tents getting all crushed in the heat of battle."

 

** ShenJu (9) <<Sprint(50%156)=78ft>>

 

ShenJu checks over all the mounts, talking softly to each horse as he inspects their hooves for stones.  Syzygy's sudden yelling causes him to look up.  ShenJu follows his emphatic pointing and sees a large man-shaped creature plodding out of the water.   ShenJu whispers to the horses to stay where they are and then runs towards the tents and the campfire.

 

<<ShenJu's Sprint(Routine) Move Maneuver Roll

Athletic Endurance: Sprinting   + 36

In a Melee Environment          - 20

Roll (+ 74 )                    + 74

Total                       === + 90 ===

100% Movement Achieved

Sprint(156ft) * Rnd(50%) * Move(100%)=78ft>>

 

**************** DELIBERATE ****************

 

** Devron (20) <<Sprint(40%219)=87ft>>

 

Rushing to their aid as he draws both a long and normal kynac. As he nears the monster he tries to swing around behind it to gain an advantageous position.

 

<<Devron's Sprint(Routine) Move Maneuver Roll

In a Melee Environment          - 20

Roll (+ 68 )                    + 68

Total                       === + 48 ===

100% Movement Achieved:

Sprint(219ft) * Rnd(40%) * Move(100%)=87.6ft>>

 

** Clay Golem (16) <<Walk(50%40)=20ft>>

 

The clay golem lumbers towards the camp.

 

** Borak (15) <<Run(50%122)=61ft>>

 

Borak runs to put himself between the monster and the mage.  He doesn't want to attack this turn, just interpose himself as protection to the mage, so he runs to the monster-side of the wizard.

 

** Stone Golem (14) <<Prone2Stand(50%)>>

 

The pile of rocks moves to stand erect as an 8-foot tall stone golem.

 

** Lone Wolf (12) <<Jog(80%107)=85ft>>

 

Lone Wolf starts jogging closer to where the action is going to happen as everyone moves in on this clay golem.

 

** ShenJu (9) <<RetrieveItem(30%)

   StringSbow(20%of200%)>>

 

Upon reaching the tents and the campfire ShenJu takes only a moment to take a few deep breathes.  He checks the golem's progress.  The creature is now ambling towards the group, making squishing sounds as it moves.  ShenJu darts into his tent and hastily throws packs and clothing aside looking for his bow and quiver.  He finally finds it and re-emerges from the tent and quickly starts to string the weapon.

 

** Steel (8) <<Attk/Parry(100%/0%)"Subdual">>

 

Steel sees the clay golem at the riverbank and the knuckles of his hands whiten as he tightly grips his dwarven-crafted mace and his full shield that is emblazoned with the symbol of a stylized eye.

 

With a glance over at Fowler, Steel says plainly, "Ain't gonna leave ye to yer wiles.  Can't even chance trustin' ye until ye come out with it.  This is what ye get."

 

Steel then savagely beats Fowler over the head with his mace.  The hobbit goes down <<Hits(25), Out(15)>> and a big nasty bruise swells up on his head <<CritHit(15), Foe(-20)>>

 

<<Steel's Footman Mace (CR) vs Fowler's AT 4

Deliberate Phase           + 10

Steel's Footman Mace       + 53  ((53-0)*100%)

Fowler 2's Restrained      + 30

Roll (+ 37 )               + 37

Total                  === +130 === Hits(25)

Crit Roll D Subdual    === + 91 ===

CritHit(15), Out(15), Foe(-20): Grip foe's arm and hold it while striking him on the face until he goes unconscious.  Foe is unconscious for 15 rounds.>>

 

*********** POST-ROUND ACCOUNTING ***********

 

*********** Changes During Round 1 **********

Name     Actions                  Hit Pwr  Exh

Syzygy   Jog; SpellPrep;           0   0  -0.2

Grey Fox Sit2Stand; Run; GetItem;  0   0  -0.4

Borak    DrawWeap; ADef; Run;      0   0  -0.6

Devron   DrawWeap; Sprint;         0   0  -0.9

Lone Wolf DrawWeap; Observe; Jog;  0   0  -0.3

Steel    Attk;                     0   0  -2.0

Jarden   RetItem; Run; GetItem     0   0  -0.4

ShenJu   Sprint; RetItem; Strngbow;0   0  -1.1

 

*** Status of Heroes at the End of Round 1 ***

          --- % of Max ---   --- Penalties ---

Name      Hits  Pwr   Exh    Crit  Fight  Cast

Syzygy    100%   91%   99%     0     0      0

Grey Fox  100%  100%   99%     0     0      0

Borak     100%  100%   99%     0     0      0

Devron    100%  100%   99%     0     0      0

Lone Wolf 100%  100%   99%     0     0      0

Steel     100%  100%   98%     0     0      0

Jarden    100%  100%   99%     0     0      0

ShenJu    100%  100%   99%     0     0      0

 

================== GM Notes ==================

 

Next turn is due on Thursday September 19th

Subject your turn RMSS Turn 47.02 <<PC name>>

8.5      Turn 47.02 Combat Mode

8.5.1       Turn 47.02 Notes

 

·         Early Action:  In this turn, note that Patrick/Jarden submitted an EARLY action.  The GM sent this back out to all members of the game as soon as he received it (prior to the schedule deadline).  Players were allowed adjust their turns accordingly (Section 6.2.3).

 

·         Reaction Activity:  Note the use of the Reaction activity.  The player James/Devron submitted a turn that contained an "If" statement (Section 6.2.2).    The Reaction activity cost 10% of the round.  The original player's post read:

 

 

Normal <<Reaction(10%)>>

Devron watches with horror as the second golem rises from beside the riverbank. Realizing that this far out in front he is quite alone brings a shiver to the elf. Watching the approaching clay golem he waits to see what it will do.

 

If the golem moves to attack Devron :

  Normal <<Melee/Parry(0%/90%)>>

  Devron prepares himself to defend against the monster.

 

If the golem passes the elf by :

  Normal <<Sprint(30%)>>

  Devron moves behind the abomination.

  Delib <<Melee/Parry(60%/0%)>>

  The elf strikes for all he is worth with both kynacs.

 

 

·         Battle Instructions:  Notice in this turn that Borak is heard calling out instructions to the party.  But since he did not do this as an EARLY action, the Shout activity does not consume any of his round (Section 6.2.3).

8.5.2       Turn 47.02 Early Action Post

 

From:  gm@rmss_pbem.com

To:    allgroup@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 47.02 - Early

 

** Jarden (16) <<Shout(10%)>>

 

"Stand clear of the Clay one for a moment!" Jarden yells to the group while at a full run.

8.5.3       Turn 47.02 Post

 

From:  gm@rmss_pbem.com

To:    allgroup@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 47.02

 

************ PRE-ROUND ACCOUNTING ************

 

*** Modifiers for the Beginning of Round 2 **

Name   Init  Stun Bleed  Mod  Parry  Attk Fowler   0   15    0    -20     0     0

 

**************** INITIATIVES ****************

 

Grey Fox      (23)

Devron        (19)

Borak         (16)

ShenJu        (16)

Jarden        (16)

Syzygy        (15)

Stone Golem   (13)

Lone Wolf     (12)

Clay Golem    (12)

Steel         (10)

 

******************* EARLY *******************

 

** Jarden (16)  <<Shout(10%)>>

 

"Stand clear of the Clay one for a moment!" Jarden yells to the group while at a full run.

 

******************* SNAP *******************

 

** Jarden (16)  <<Run(30%136)=40ft

   ActLight(10%)>>

 

He remembers the time he had spent as a young monk, watching a pretty girl working in pottery shop; her bodice hanging loose and her hands expertly worked the clay as she naively thought that he was there to learn about her work. To his amazement he realizes that had in fact learned quiet a bit from watching her, namely that when clay is fired up in a kiln, it turns to pottery and is extremely breakable!

 

Uncorking the oil flask, he tosses it at the clay golem once he has a clear shot. Upon contact with the dense clay the flask, previously cracked but resealed with tree gum, breaks apart and drenches the creatures arm and chest.

 

<<Notice how Patrick narrated a partially broken flask into the game to make sure that I didn't just have the oil flask stick to the clay without breaking :-) >>

 

** Lone Wolf (12) <<RetrieveItem(30%)>>

 

Pausing only for a breath or two, Lone Wolf realizes one of his hands doesn't have anything in it. Lone Wolf grabs his Shield, which was bouncing off the back of his legs while he was jogging, and arms it in his combat stance.

 

****************** NORMAL ********************

 

** Grey Fox (23) <<StringLbow(100%of300%)>>

 

Grey Fox continues to string his long bow, while watching the progress of the two golems.

 

** Devron (19) <<React(10%)

   Sprint(30%219)=65ft>>

 

Devron watches with horror as the second golem rises from beside the riverbank. Realizing that this far out in front he is quite alone brings a shiver to the elf. Watching the approaching clay golem he waits to see what it will do.

 

As the golem passes the elf, Devron moves behind the abomination.

 

<<Devron's Sprint(Routine) Move Maneuver Roll

In a Melee Environment      - 20

Roll (+ 78 )                + 78

Total                   === + 58 ===

100% Movement Achieved

Sprint(219ft) * Rnd(30%) * Move(100%)=65.7ft>>

 

** ShenJu (16) <<StringSbow(100%of200%)>>

 

ShenJu strains to bend the dark hardwood of his bow to slip the string on.  The slurping gurgle of the clay golem and the rattle of the rock golem lend an urgency to his task.

 

** Syzygy (15) <<SpellCast(75%)>>

 

Syzygy casts a spell meant to loosen earth to the consistency of plowed ground at the Clay Golem.  Careful observers notice that the last gesture of the spell has one small addition from the normal...his fingers are crossed.

 

The golem shutters and tremors as if a minor earthquake was rocking his earthen body <<NoParry(1)>>.  Large pieces of his aggregate flesh slough off <<CritHit(8)>>.  But the magical creation seems to feel no pain.  It does not cry out nor slow down in his walk.

 

<<Clever spell use Kerry.  I tried to find a spell that would emulate what you are attempting.  The closest I can come is in the Flesh Destruction List - Touch of Disruption.  It is a 3rd level spell (as opposed to the Loosen Earth 2nd level spell) but I think it's a good approximation.  I have used the Flesh Destruction List - Touch of Disruption rules to administer damage to the clay golem.

 

Syzygy's Casting Earth Law 2: Loosen Earth Maneuver Roll

Same Realm Base List            + 10

Earth Law 2: Loosen Earth       + 66

Two Hands                       + 10

No Roll Required - All Automatic Casting Conditions Satisfied

 

Basic Attack Roll (BAR) Essence vs Other armor

Earth Law 2: Loosen Earth   +  2

Roll                        + 58

Total                   === + 60 === Mod -10

 

Spell Resistance Roll Syzygy(5) vs Golem(8)

Basic Attack Roll (BAR) Mod     - 10

Resistance Roll vs Essence      + 11

Roll                            + 14

Total (need total > 41)     === + 15 ===

Failed by 26 points (41 - 15) indicates a C impact critical.

 

"C" Impact critical vs Clay Golem

Roll  (+ 23 )               === + 23 ===

CritHit(8), NoParry(1)

Foe is unbalanced and can only manage some wild swings to protect himself for the moment.>>

 

** Stone Golem (13) <<Jog(50%60)=30ft>>

 

The stone golem begins his lumber forward to the northeast.

 

** Lone Wolf (12) <<Walk(45%71)=31ft>>

 

Lone Wolf decides to slow to a walk to see what Jarden can accomplish with his improvised Molotov cocktail.

 

** Clay Golem (12) <<Jog(50%60)=30ft>>

 

The clay golem ignores the shouts and cries from the heroes as if anything they do will be irrelevant.  He heads directly to the party's wagon.

 

** Steel (10) <<Run(50%68)=34ft>>

 

Steel looks back at Fowler as he turns to run - the lump on the poor hobbit's head is already visible.  The dwarf hopes that he won't need to physically move Fowler in a fast manner as Fowler now acts as a bag of rocks for the next few minutes.  Steel runs toward the stone golem, hoping to show it that Stone isn't supposed to have legs and move around.

 

**************** DELIBERATE *****************

 

** Devron (19) <<Attk/Parry(60%/0%)>>

 

The elf strikes for all he is worth with both kynacs.  The smaller kynac fails to strike with enough force to do any damage.  It simply leaves a small dent in the clay body.  The large kynac lands at a downward angle and it peels a large strip of the creature's clay body away <<Hits(11), CritHit(9)>>

 

<<Devron's 2-Weap:Kynac vs Clay Golem's AT 3

Deliberate Phase           + 10

Devron's 2-Weap:Kynac      -  6 ((34-40)*100%)

Devron's Rear Attack       + 35

Golem, Clay 1's Defense    - 20

Roll (+ 34 )               + 34

Total                  === + 53 === Hits(0)

 

Devron's 2-Weap:Lng Kynac vs Clay Golem's AT 3

Deliberate Phase           + 10

Devron's 2-Weap:Lng Kynac  -  6 ((34-40)*100%)

Devron's Rear Attack       + 35

Golem, Clay 1's Defense    - 20

Roll (+ 95 )               + 95

Total                  === +114 === Hits(11)

Crit Roll Normal Vs Lrg === + 23 ===

CritHit(9):  Strong blow to foe's forearm yields its measure.

 

Note:  Remember, the golems are large creatures so we do not use the Slashing crit table.  We use the Normal Weapon column of the Large Creature crit table.>>

 

** Borak (16) <<ADef(10%) Run(80%122)=97ft

   Observe(10%)>>

 

Hearing the chanting from the mages heartens Borak.  He decides this round belongs to those good with the bow or ranged weapons and counts himself out.  He also believes that the golems may still make for the magic users so he runs through the camp and arrives just south of the magic users to form their line of defense.  He shouts out to the others wondering what the plan of action might be, "Form a line in front of the mages...protect the spell-casters!"  He's not really certain of what action is best, but thinks the group needs to draw a line of defense somewhere.  As he approaches the mages, he looks around fully to make sure there are no more surprises growing out of the ground or perhaps any of the trees.

 

** Jarden (16) <<PrsAttk/Parry(10%/40%)>>

 

The first chance he gets he touches the torch to the golem shoulder and it lights up. The golem's arm bubbles and steams as water in the clay evaporates and the clay bakes <<CritHit(8)>>. The creatures chest fares better and is only partly dry with a web of spidery cracks spreading outward <<Foe(-5)>>.

 

<<I am going to treat this as an "A" heat critical.

 

Crit Roll Heat     === + 67 ===

CritHit(8), Stun(2), Bleed(2), Foe(-5):  Toast foe's side and send him stumbling back 5 feet away from you.  He blocks his face against any renewed assault.

 

Golems are not effected by Stun or Bleeding.>>

 

** Syzygy (15) <<SpellPrep(25%of90%)>>

 

Feeling smart, Syzygy begins to create anther spell to ruin the Golem's day.

 

** Stone Golem (13) <<Jog(50%60)=30ft>>

 

The stone golem shakes the ground as his weighty steps propel him forward.  He lumbers past the clay golem and his assailants as if he didn't have a care in the world.

 

** Lone Wolf (12) <<Observation(25%)>>

 

Lone Wolf is unable to bring his weapon to bear but he is ready and in position for an attack next round.  Lone Wolf says to Jarden, "That be some quick think'n for some of such a thirst for the booze."

 

** Clay Golem (12) <<Jog(50%60)=30ft>>

 

The clay golem had every intention of ignoring the fleshies that were hovering around him.  But the series of attacks against him has activated the self-defense programming in him.  He does not have enough time to initiate a retaliatory attack but he balls up his fists and begins assessing the situation...who to clobber first?

 

** Steel (10) <<Run(50%68)=34ft>>

 

Steel passes the wagon and Grey Fox struggling with his bow.  "Bows don't crush rock! Hammerin' does!" he yells out.  He does not have to go far before he is toe to toe with the rock monster.

 

*********** POST-ROUND ACCOUNTING ************

 

*********** Changes During Round 2 ***********

Name      Actions                 Hit Pwr  Exh

Syzygy    SpellCast; SpellPrep;    0  -2  -0.2

Grey Fox  StringLbow;              0   0  -0.3

Borak     ADef; Run; Observe;      0   0  -0.9

Devron    React; Sprint; Attk;     0   0  -1.8

Lone Wolf RetItem; Walk; Observe;  0   0  -0.1

Steel     Run                      0   0  -0.8

Jarden    Shout; Run; ActLt; Attk  0   0  -1.2

ShenJu    StringSbow;              0   0  -0.3

 

*** Status of Heroes at the End of Round 2 ***

         --- % of Max ---   --- Penalties ---

Name       Hits  Pwr   Exh    Crit  Fight Cast

Syzygy    100%   82%   99%     0     0       0

Grey Fox  100%  100%   99%     0     0       0

Borak     100%  100%   98%     0     0       0

Devron    100%  100%   96%     0     0       0

Lone Wolf 100%  100%   99%     0     0       0

Steel     100%  100%   97%     0     0       0

Jarden    100%  100%   98%     0     0       0

ShenJu    100%  100%   99%     0     0       0

 

*** Modifiers for the Beginning of Round 3 ***

                               No    No

Name       Stun Bleed  Mod   Parry  Attk  OB

Clay Golem   0    0    - 5      1     0  -10

Fowler      14    0    -20      0     0  -20

 

================== GM Notes ==================

 

Next turn is due on Monday September 23rd

Subject your turn RMSS Turn 47.03 <<PC name>>

 

 

8.6      Turn 47.03 Combat Mode

8.6.1       Turn 47.02 Post

 

From:  gm@rmss_pbem.com

To:    allgroup@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 47.03

 

************ PRE-ROUND ACCOUNTING ************

 

*** Modifiers for the Beginning of Round 3 ***

                               No    No

Name       Stun Bleed  Mod   Parry  Attk  OB

Clay Golem   0    0    - 5      1     0  -10

Fowler      14    0    -20      0     0  -20

 

**************** INITIATIVES ****************

 

Grey Fox      (21)

Devron        (20)

ShenJu        (20)

Borak         (18)

Lone Wolf     (15)

Clay Golem 2  (15)

Stone Golem   (15)

Syzygy        (13)

Jarden         (8)

Steel          (7)

Clay Golem 1   (6)

 

******************** SNAP ********************

 

** Grey Fox (21) <<DropItem(0%)>>

 

Seeing the stone golem bearing down on his position, Grey Fox sees little use for a long bow in the immediate future.  He abandons his effort to string the weapon and places it in the back of the wagon.

 

** Devron (20) <<PrsAttk/Parry(100%/0%)>>

 

Devron quickly sets himself to strike the golem's back again before it can turn on him or move at another target. Trying to remember what it is that Muldune used to yell as he attacked, the elf mutters "For the King!" under his breath as he tries to drive both kynacs into the clay as far as they will go. Devron feels the resistance of the clay as the blades start to bite deep, hopes that something vital is hit.

 

The Kynacs only manage to peel away more clay from the construct <<Hit(7)>>

 

<<Devron's 2-Weap:Lng Kynac vs Clay Golem AT 3

Snap Phase                 - 20

Devron's Long Kynac        + 34  ((34-0)*100%)

Devron's Flank Attack      + 15

Golem, Clay 1's Defense    - 20

Roll (+ 78 )               + 78

Total                  === + 87 === Hits(7)

 

Devron's 2-Weap:Kynac vs Clay Golem AT 3

Snap Phase                 - 20

Devron's 2-Weap:Kynac      + 34  ((34-0)*100%)

Devron's Flank Attack      + 15

Golem, Clay 1's Defense    - 20

Roll (+ 50 )               + 50

Total                  === + 59 === Hits(0)>>

 

** Jarden (8) <<DrawWeap(20%)>>

 

Jarden ducks under the Clay Golem's wild swing and quickly draws his weapons.

 

** Steel (7) <<SpellInstant(10%)>>

 

Steel raises his mace and shield in the air as he channels the will of Helm to give him an extra oomph on his next attack, he shouts, "GREAT GUARDIAN GUIDE MY NEXT ATTACK AGAINST THIS ABOMINATION OF THE EARTH!"

 

<<Steel's Casting Holy Arms: Holy Attack I

Same Realm Other List      - 10

Holy Arms 1: Holy Attack I + 67

Shouting Voice             + 10

No Hands                   - 20

Roll                       + 63

Total                  === +110 ===

Near Success:  You cast your spell normally at the end of the deliberate action phase of the current round.

 

Your spell still works - you will receive the bonus +15 for NEXT round's attack rather then this one.  This actually might be better because you can forgo the -10 penalty to your OB (use 100% OB for attack) and gain a full +15!>>

 

******************* NORMAL ******************

 

** ShenJu (20) <<StringSbow(80%of200%)>>

 

ShenJu's shoulders bulge as he finally bends his shortbow enough to slip the string over the limb.  The string quivers as the tribesman releases the bow and the string draws taught.

 

** Clay Golem 2 (15) <<Prone2Stand(50%) Jog(50%60)=30ft>>

 

Rising up from the riverbank, another clay golem oozes to its feet and begins lumbering toward the hero's camp.

 

** Stone Golem (15) <<PrsAttk/Parry(100%/0%)>>

 

The stone golem is not impressed at the short fleshy in front of him.  It's large granite fists pound down on the top of the dwarf's head <<Hits(13)>>.  The blow reverberates down the sturdy dwarven spinal column and drives Steel's feet six inches into the ground <<CritHit(9)>>.  His leather helm is torn from his head and Steel's vision nearly blacks out.  Steel staggers and teeters, unable to focus his eyes or his mind <<Stun(6)>>.

 

<<Stone Golem's Bash vs Steel's AT 10

Stone Golem's Bash         +100 ((100-0)*100%)

Steel's Defense            - 39

Steel's Parry              -  5 -((53-10)*11%)

Roll (+ 85 )               + 85

Total (Max Limit)      === +135 === Hits(13)

Crit Roll D Unbalance  === + 98 ===

CritHit(9), Stun(6):  Strike head and shatter foe's helm. Pieces fly in all directions.  If foe has no helm, he is in a coma for 4 weeks.

 

Wow - lucky it was an "Unbalancing" critical.  Any other class of critical with a roll of 98 would be death! Since Steel did not get to attack this round, this round will count as one of the stun rounds.>>

 

** Syzygy (13) <<SpellPrep(65%of90%)>>

 

Syzygy, gleeful in his success, prepares another spell for the clay golem.

 

** Jarden (8)   <<PrsAttk/Parry(79%/1%)>>

 

He presses his attack on the clay golem hoping to shave off some more of the clay.  Now that Jarden has captured the golem's attention he finds it harder to get under the monster's guard.  The scimitar slashes the beast and Jarden has to pull hard to get his blade out of the clay <<Hits(9)>>.  The main gauche is unable to deliver any damage.

 

<<Jarden's 2-Weap:Scimitar vs Clay Golem AT 3

Jarden's 2-Weap:Scimitar    + 73 ((94-20)*99%)

Golem, Clay 1's Defense     - 20

Roll (+ 47 )                + 47

Total                   === +100 === Hits(9)

 

Jarden's 2-Weap:Main G vs Clay Golem AT 3

Jarden's 2-Weap:Main Gauche + 73 ((94-20)*99%)

Clay Golem 1's Defense      - 20

Roll (+  5 )                +  5

Total                   === + 60 === Hits(0)>>

 

** Clay Golem 1 (6)  <<Attk/Parry(100%/0%)>>

 

The clay golem lashes out at Jarden with unexpected speed.  He reaches out with his massive wet limbs and grabs the highman.  Jarden tries to spin away but the clay fingers mold to his armor and hold fast <<Hits(3)>>.  While Jarden is basically unharmed by the attack, he is ensnared in the monsters grip and is pulled against its dense chest.  Jarden is pinned with both arms against his side.

 

<< Clay Golem's Grapple vs Jarden AT 14

Clay Golem 1's Grapple      + 60 ((60-0)*100%)

Clay Golem 1's Health Mod   - 10 (-10 * 100%)

Clay Golem 1's Crit Mod     -  5 (-5 * 100%)

Jarden's Defense            - 15

Roll (+ 64 )                + 64

Total                   === + 94 === Hits(3)

Crit Roll A Grapple     === + 13 ===

Init(1):  You impede foe's combat stance.  You have the initiative.

 

Note:  In accordance with Creatures and Monsters:  If a clay golem scores a non-tiny critical with a Grapple/Envelope, then the foe is grappled and next turn receives a free Medium Crushing attack>>

 

***************** DELIBERATE *****************

 

** Grey Fox (21)  <<ActStrenuous(100%)>>

 

It seems the golems are attracted to the wagon (of course, the fates may be attempting to mislead the party).  In any event, if there is something in the wagon that the golems want, Grey Fox does not want them to have it.

 

Grey Fox begins pulling the wagon in the direction of the horses.  The effort is strained at first, but gets easier shortly after the wagon starts.

 

<<GM: Jim, I have no problem with this move but I have a question.  Moving the wagon in the direction of the horses is to the east, which is also moving closer to the golems as well as moving into the middle of camp where the wagon will get pinned in between tents and trees and campfire.  If you were implying a move to the northeast, keep in mind that that direction is up hill.  In both these cases, the wagon is being pushed backwards?  I just want you to ensure me that this is your intention.  I did not move the wagon on the map yet.  I will move it extra next turn when I get confirmation.>>

 

** ShenJu (20) <<ActLight(20%)>>

 

ShenJu draws an arrow from the quiver at his hip.  He jabs the sharp point into the flames and spears a glowing coal.  The ember sizzles and spits as ShenJu draws the arrow out.

 

** Borak (18) <<Defense(10%) Run(25%122)=30ft

                PrsAttk/Parry(65%/0%)>>

 

Seeing the golems heading past the mage, he changes his tactics and decides to join the fray.  He bides his time and runs up beside the clay golem after he attacks so as to approach from the side <<Robert, I can't get Borak behind the golem because Lone Wolf is already there.  The best he can get is flank.>> and slices deeply with his broadsword using his  martial arts style.  He tries to "hamstring" the golem, but isn't sure if that type of damage is possible for this creation.

 

"What do these things want?" Borak yells over his shoulder to anyone who might be wondering the same thing.

 

<<Borak's Hwarang Do:Brdswd vs Clay Golem AT 3

Deliberate Phase           + 10

Borak's Hwarang:Broadsword + 12 ((47-35)*100%)

Borak's Flank Attack       + 15

Golem, Clay 1's Defense    - 20

Roll (+ 54 )               + 54

Total                  === + 71 === Hits(0)>>

 

** Lone Wolf (15)  <<SpellInstant(10%)

                     PrsAttk/Parry(80%/10%)>>

 

Lone Wolf calls upon the powers of his god and casts Holy Attack to help him in this fight.  He leans back a bit then swings his Katana with fury taking aim to where Jarden's Molotov cocktail has toasted the side of the clay golem. As the blade nears the golem Lone Wolf yells, "Take that you unfinished pottery vase!"

 

The divine being smiles down on Lone Wolf but leaves the novice paladin twisting in the wind for a moment or two longer.

 

The Katana bites deep into the creature's clay skull <<Hits(11)>> splitting it's head in two <<CritHit(20)>>.  But the creature's head contains the same material as the rest of its body.  No brains spill forth and the creature continues to move and fight <<Stun(0), NoParry(2)>>.  Even so, Lone Wolf's attack was so impressive and well coordinated that it swells his chest with pride and energizes him for the next assault <<Self(+10)>>

 

<<Lone Wolf Casting Holy Arms 1: Holy Attack I

Deliberate Phase           + 10

Same Realm Base List       + 10

Holy Arms 1: Holy Attack I + 59

Shouting Voice             + 10

No Hands                   - 20

Roll                       + 30

Total                  === + 99 ===

Near Success: You cast your spell normally at the end of the deliberate action phase of the current round.

 

Lone Wolf's Katana vs Clay Golem 1 AT 3

Deliberate Phase           + 10

Lone Wolf's Katana (SL)    + 48  ((65-10)*89%)

Lone Wolf's Rear Attack    + 35

Golem, Clay 1's Defense    - 20

Roll (+ 29 )               + 29

Total                  === +102 === Hits(11)

Crit Roll Normal Vs Lrg == + 86 ===

CritHit(20), Stun(2), NoPry(2), Self(+10):  Strong blast to head staggers foe.  His guard drops for a moment.  You have a chance.

 

Note:  Golems do not suffer stun.  Next round Lone Wolf gains +10 from this critical as well as the +15 from the spell!  Will it be enough to save Jarden?>>

 

** Syzygy (13) <<Jog(35%78)=27ft>>

 

Syzygy uses some time to keep within optimal range of the Clay Golem.  <<Still not quite within 10 feet.>>

 

** Steel (7) <<PrsAttk/Parry(80%/10%)>>

 

Without the help of others, Steel assumes a touch of a defensive stance on the stone golem, though he remains ready to pounce on it if it ignores the dwarf and heads somewhere else.  Steel commands, "LET'S GANG UP ON 'EM!" The dwarf waits a moment and then attacks the golem.

 

Steel's attack is executed flawlessly...in his mind.  He pictures himself smashing down on the golem reducing it to a pike of rocks.  In reality, he is stumbling around waving his mace helplessly in the air.

 

<<Stunned for 5 more rounds>>

 

*********** POST-ROUND ACCOUNTING ***********

 

********** Changes During Round 3 ***********

Name     Actions                Hits Pwr  Exh

Syzygy    SpellPrep; Jog;        0   0  -0.2

Grey Fox  DropItem; Shout; ActSt 0   0  -3.0

Borak     ADefense; Run; PrsAttk 0   0  -1.7

Devron    PrsAttk/Parry;         0   0  -2.0

Lone Wolf SpellInstant; PrsAttk  0   0  -1.8

Steel     SpellInstant; PrsAttk-19   0  -1.8

Jarden    DrawWeap; PrsAttk;   - 3   0  -1.6

ShenJu    StringSbow; ActLight;  0   0  -0.2

 

*** Status of Heroes at the End of Round 3 ****

         --- % of Max ---   ---- Penalties ---

Name     Hits  Pwr   Exh    Crit  Fight   Cast

Syzygy   100%   82%   99%     0     0       0

Grey Fox 100%  100%   94%     0     0       0

Borak    100%  100%   95%     0     0       0

Devron   100%  100%   96%     0     0       0

LoneWolf 100%  100%   96%    10     0       0

Steel     78%  100%   96%     0     0       0

Jarden    97%  100%   95%     0     0       0

ShenJu   100%  100%   99%     0     0       0

 

*** Modifiers for the Beginning of Round 4 ***

 

                               No    No

Name       Stun Bleed  Mod   Parry  Attk  OB

Lone Wolf    0    0    +10     0     0     0

Steel        5    0      0     0     0     0

Clay Golem 1 0    0    - 5     3     0   -20

Fowler      13    0    -20     0     0   -20

 

================== GM Notes ==================

 

Next turn is due on Monday September 30th

Subject your turn RMSS Turn 47.04 <<PC name>>

 

 

 

8.7      Turn 47.04 Combat Mode

8.7.1       Turn 47.04 Notes

 

·         Early Action:  In this turn, note that Rene/ShenJu submitted an EARLY action.  The GM sent this back out to all members of the game as soon as he received it (prior to the schedule deadline).  Players were allowed adjust their turns accordingly (Section 6.2.3).

8.7.2       Turn 47.04 Early Action Post

 

From:  gm@rmss_pbem.com

To:    allgroup@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 47.04 - Early

 

** ShenJu (16) <<Shout(10%)>>

 

ShenJu sees Steel stagger as the golem lands a crushing blow.  ShenJu shouts at the dazed dwarf, "Steel!  Retreat and make your way here!"

8.7.3       Turn 47.04 Post

 

From:  gm@rmss_pbem.com

To:    allgroup@rmss_pbem.com

Subj:  RMSS Turn 47.04

 

************ PRE-ROUND ACCOUNTING ************

 

                               No    No

Name       Stun Bleed  Mod   Parry  Attk  OB

Lone Wolf    0    0    +10     0     0     0

Steel        5    0      0     0     0     0

Clay Golem 1 0    0    - 5     3     0   -20

Fowler      13    0    -20     0     0   -20

 

***************** INITIATIVES ****************

 

Grey Fox      (24)

Devron        (19)

ShenJu        (16)

Borak         (14)

Lone Wolf     (14)

Syzygy        (11)

Clay Golem 1  (11)  Must come before Jarden

Jarden        (10)

Clay Golem 2  (10)

Steel          (8)

Stone Golem    (6)

 

******************* EARLY *******************

 

** ShenJu (16) <<Shout(10%)>>

 

ShenJu sees Steel stagger as the golem lands a crushing blow.  ShenJu shouts at the dazed dwarf, "Steel!  Retreat and make your way here!"

 

******************** SNAP ********************

 

** Grey Fox (24)  <<Reaction(10%)

   DropItem(0%)>>

 

Grey Fox quickly realizes that the target of the golems is not the wagon, but the group's little ray of sunshine:  Fowler.  He drops the wagon's limber.

 

** Lone Wolf (14) <<PrsAttk/Parry(100%/0%)>>

 

"This next hit should take out this Golem," Lone Wolf yells to the group while winding up for the next swing of his Katana.  Lone Wolf reached deep down inside as he asks Torm to look down upon him and aid him in saving Jarden. Lone Wolf takes a deep breath and attempts to sever the arm off the Golem and hopefully more. Lone Wolf yells as he swings "If this works... Drinks are on you Jarden."

 

Lone Wolf's Katana cuts deep into the clay mass <<Hits(20)>> and might even have sliced the beast in two had it not been for Jarden.  Jarden was being held so tightly to the golem's chest that the tip of the Katana hit Jarden's shoulder armor stopping its advance through the clay <<CritHit(12)>>.

 

<<Lone Wolf's Katana vs Clay Golem 1's AT 3

Snap Phase                  - 20

Lone Wolf's Katana          + 65 ((65-0)*100%)

Lone Wolf's Crit Mod        + 10 (10 * 100%)

Lone Wolf's Rear Attack     + 35

Golem, Clay 1's Defense     - 20

Holy Attack                 + 15

Roll (+ 59 )                + 59

Total                   === +129 === Hits(20)

Crit Roll Normal Vs Lrg === + 35 ===

CritHit(12):  Strike to beast's chest.  Some unseen pieces of protection blocks your attack.>>

 

** Syzygy (11) <<Jog(20%78)=15ft>>

 

Cloak flapping in the breeze behind him, Syzygy jogs in behind Borak and Lone Wolf, closing in on Clay Golem 1.

 

** Steel (8) <<Disengage(25%)=10ft>>

 

Steel stumbles away from the stone golem.

 

******************* NORMAL ******************

 

** Grey Fox (24) <<Run(64%158)=101ft>>

 

Grey Fox runs over to where Fowler lies in a daze.

 

** ShenJu (16) <<Missile(60%)>>

 

The glowing coal sputters and fizzles on the arrowhead as ShenJu nocks the arrow and draws.  ShenJu takes aim at the nearest clay golem.  Jarden struggles wildly in the creature's grasp, trying with all his might to break free from the slimy grip.  Memories of the spectre's curse flicker at the fringes of his mind and ShenJu quickly decides not to risk the shot.  The tribesman turns smoothly and makes a long shot, sending the flaming arrow in a blazing arch towards the clay golem mucking it's way up the riverbank.

 

The distance and the moving target prove to be too much for the nomad and the arrow plunges harmlessly into the water.

 

<<ShenJu's Short Bow vs Clay Golem 2's AT 3

ShenJu's Short Bow         + 24 ((24-0)*100%)

Short Bow Range  100-120   - 40

Golem, Clay 2's Defense    - 20

Target Moving 60ft/rnd     - 12

Roll (+ 90 )               + 90

Total                  === + 42 === Hits(0)>>

 

** Borak (14) <<ADefense(10%)

   PrsAttk/Parry(90%/0%)>>

 

Realizing that Jarden is not long for this world, Borak swings with all his might turning all his martial arts skill into an attempt to sever an arm off of the clay golem.  Even this horror would have trouble holding on with only one arm to Borak's comrade surely.

 

As the golem twists to the left in response to Lone Wolf's attack, the monster pulls Jarden to the left and right in the way of Borak's broadsword.  Borak has to balk on his swing for fear of hitting his friend.

 

<<Borak's Hwarang Do:Brdswd vs Clay Golem AT 3

Borak's Hwarang Do:Brdswd  + 37 ((47-10)*100%)

Borak's Flank Attack       + 15

Golem, Clay 1's Defense    - 20

Roll (+  5 )               +  5

Total                  === + 37 === Hits(0)>>

 

** Syzygy        (11)  <<SpellCast(75%)>>

 

Grasping his magical amulet Syzygy uses the device to save his own internal power and directs another "loosen earth" spell at the golem.  The spell does not have the oomph that the first casting did and the golem shrugs it off.

 

<<Syzygy's Casting Earth Law 2: Loosen Earth Same Realm Base List        + 10

Earth Law 2: Loosen Earth   + 66

Shouting Voice              +  5

Two Hands                   + 10

No Roll Required - All Automatic Casting Conditions Satisfied

 

Basic Attack Roll (BAR) Essence vs Other armor

Earth Law 2: Loosen Earth   +  2

Range 0' - 10'              + 10

Roll                        + 31

Total                   === + 43 ===> Mod of 5

 

Spell Resistance Roll Syzygy(5) vs Golem(8)

Basic Attack Roll (BAR) Mod  +  5

Roll                         + 42

Total (need total > 41)  === + 47 === Successful>>

 

** Clay Golem 1 (11) <<PrsAttk/Parry(100%/0%)>

 

Barely holding itself together, the clay golem puts the squeeze on Jarden but is unable to bring enough of its mass to bear.  If it had not been for the persistent pounding that it had been taking, Jarden would have been in trouble.  But the golem is on his last leg and the magical powers that bind the material into animation are strained and weak <<Hits(14)>> and can only manage a minor attack <<CritHit(3), Init(1)>>.

 

<<Clay Golem 1's Crush vs Jarden's AT 14

Clay Golem 1's Crush      + 100 ((100-0)*100%)

Clay Golem 1's Health Mod  - 30 (-30 * 100%)

Clay Golem 1's Crit Mod    -  5 (-5 * 100%)

Jarden's Defense           - 15

Roll (+ 30 )               + 30

Total                  === + 80 === Hits(14)

Crit Roll A Krush      === + 13 ===

CritHit(3), Init(1): Foe evades much of your swing.  You have initiative.>>

 

** Clay Golem 2 (10) <<Jog(50%60)=30ft>>

 

Clay golem 2 lumbers north.

 

** Steel (8) <<Run(25%68)=17ft>>

 

Steel makes his way to the calling nomad.

 

** Stone Golem (6) <<Disengage(25%)>>

 

The stone golem is no longer hampered by Steel so he continues to move to the northwest.

 

***************** DELIBERATE *****************

 

** Grey Fox (24) <<ActLight(26%)>>

 

With water from a skin and anything else close at hand, Grey Fox tries to awaken the little hobbit.

 

<<Fowler's Stun time is reduced by 1 round>>

 

** Devron (19) <<PrsAttk/Parry(100%/0%)>>

 

Devron grits his teeth and glances down at his shorter kynac. "Maybe the blade is too short to get good purchase against the clay" the elf thinks. Taking a firm grip on both weapons he sets himself to plunge them both side by side in the creatures flank. Exhaling in a loud rush he plunges forward forcing the blades deep into the clay behemoth.

 

Both kynacs dig hard and deep into the monster <<LongKynacHits(9), KynacHits(13)>> and the monster quivers and slumps.  Devron plunges again and again into the dense mass <<LongKynacCritHit(12), KynacCritHit(15)>> and the clay pile looses its magical enchantment and ends up as an inert mass of earth.

 

<<Devron's 2-Weap:LngKynac vs Clay Golem AT 3

Deliberate Phase            + 10

Devron's 2-Weap:Long Kynac  + 34 ((34-0)*100%)

Devron's Flank Attack       + 15

Clay Golem 1's Defense      - 20

Roll (+ 63 )                + 63

Total                   === +102 === Hits(9)

Crit Roll Normal Vs Lrg === + 31 === CritHit(12):  Strike to beast's chest.  Some unseen pieces of protection blocks your attack.

 

Devron's 2-Weap:Kynac vs Golem, Clay 1's AT 3

Deliberate Phase            + 10

Devron's 2-Weap:Kynac       + 34 ((34-0)*100%)

Devron's Flank Attack       + 15

Golem, Clay 1's Defense     - 20

Roll (+ 78 )                + 78

Total                   === +117 ===> Hits(13)

Crit Roll Normal Vs Lrg === + 47 ===>

CritHit(15):  Strike lands upon foe's side.  He responds by leaping back away from you.>>

 

** ShenJu (16) <<StoreWeap(20%)

   RetrieveItem(10%of30%)>>

 

ShenJu doesn't even wait to see if his shot hits its mark.  He shoulders his bow the moment the shaft is gone and begins to dig furiously into his belt pouch.  A second later he pulls out two brightly colored berries.  He rolls them between his fingers, feeling the smooth waxy skin.  He sniffs one lightly and nods to himself; Suranie berries.  ShenJu grips the berries firmly, careful not to bruise them lest their full effect be lost.

 

** Syzygy (11) <<Jog(5%78)=3ft>>

 

Remembering his early training with the wizard Pendelton, Syzygy recalls, "The shortest distance between two points is straight line." Everything up to this point has been about the accursed hobbit Fowler.  The idea that the Golems are after their wagon seems somewhat absurd (especially as Jarden cooked last night, and there were leftovers in the wagon; enough to repel most creatures).  Taking out his mental protractor he notes that the golems "attacking the wagon" are also on a straight line to the unconscious hobbit.  Syzygy turns and starts to run back over the small hill, in the direction of the unconscious scoundrel.

 

** Jarden (10) <<PrsAttk/Parry(100%/0%)>>

 

Once freed from the Clay Golem Jarden comes to an internal resolution that despite his obvious faults the Dwarf is really all right. He comes to the rescue by attacking the stone golem. If this damages his weapons, though, the dwarf is gonna pay!

 

The Scimitar bites into the rock and rings as it clips a piece of rock away. <<Hits(11)>>.  Jarden tries to twist the blade to add more damage but the blade torques and he must back off before much more damage is delivered <<CritHit(6)>>.

 

The Main Gauche also chips away at the monster <<Hits(9)>> as it digs into the aggregate forearm <<CritHit(9)>>.

 

<<Jarden's 2-Weap:Scimitar vs Stone Golem's AT 16

Jarden's 2-Weap:Scimitar    + 94 ((94-0)*100%)

Jarden's Rear Attack        + 35

Golem, Stone 1's Defense    - 20

Roll (+ 66 )                + 66

Total (Max Limit)       === +150 === Hits(11)

Crit Roll Normal Vs Lrg === + 20 === CritHit(6):  Hardly enough for victory.  Weak side strike.

 

Jarden's 2-Weap:Main Gauche vs Stone Golem's AT 16

Jarden's 2-Weap:Main Gauche + 94 ((94-0)*100%)

Jarden's Rear Attack        + 35

Golem, Stone 1's Defense    - 20

Roll (+ 30 )                + 30

Total                   === +139 === Hits(9)

Crit Roll Normal Vs Lrg === + 24 === CritHit(9):  Strong blow to foe's forearm yields its measure.>>

 

** Clay Golem 2 (10) <<Jog(50%60)=30ft>>

 

Clay golem 2 continues his northern trek.

 

** Stone Golem (6) <<Jog(75%60)=45ft>>

 

The stone golem ignores Jarden and passes by the rear of the wagon showing no interest in it at all.  He continues to head to the northwest.  He walks right through Bargalina's tent ignoring and ripping through the canvas and rope wrapping around his legs.

 

************ POST-ROUND ACCOUNTING ***********

 

*********** Changes During Round 4 ***********

Name     Actions                 Hit Pwr  Exh

Syzygy   Jog; SpellCast; Jog;     0   0  -0.2

Grey Fox Reaction; DropItem;

         Run; ActLight            0   0  -0.5

Borak    ADef; PrsAttk/Parry;     0   0  -2.0

Devron   PrsAttk/Parry;           0   0  -2.0

LoneWolf PrsAttk/Parry;           0   0  -2.0

Steel    Disengage; Run;          0   0  -0.3

Jarden   PrsAttk/Parry;           0   0  -2.0

ShenJu   Shout; Missile;

         StoreWeap; RetItem       0   0  -0.4

 

*** Status of Heroes at the End of Round 4 ****

         --- % of Max ---   ---- Penalties ---

Name     Hits  Pwr   Exh    Crit  Fight   Cast

Syzygy   100%   87%   99%     0     0       0

Grey Fox 100%  100%   93%     0     0       0

Borak    100%  100%   91%     0     0       0

Devron   100%  100%   90%     0     0       0

LoneWolf 100%  100%   92%     0     0       0

Steel     78%   97%   95%     0     0       0

Jarden    97%  100%   92%     0     0       0

ShenJu   100%  100%   99%     0     0       0

 

*** Modifiers for the Beginning of Round 5 ***

 

                               No    No

Name       Stun Bleed  Mod   Parry  Attk  OB

Steel        5    0      0     0     0     0

Fowler      11    0    -20     0     0   -20

Clay Golem 1 Dead

 

================== GM Notes ==================

 

Next turn is due on Friday October 4th

Subject your turn RMSS Turn 47.05 <<PC name>>

 

GM:  Rene - you neglected to account for the action of StoreWeap(20%) in order to get your bow stored.  You could DropItem(0%) but your narrative spoke otherwise.  This added action puts off the Prepare Herb until next round.  But that shouldn't be a problem because the Preparation of this herb is simply to squish the berry under the nose of the patient (like smelling salts).  The Prepare Herb roll will only be used to see if ShenJu can remember what to do with the berry.

 

 


 

 


9       APPENDICES

9.1      GLOSSARY

 

Threads

Another term for a sub-plot.  Part of a story that is ancillary to the main plot with a small story of it's own.

 

Borak

A monk of wisdom.

 

Combat Mode

The gaming situation during which a strict set of rules are in place designed to facilitate battle situations

 

Devron

A rogue of deception.

 

Flat Text

The type of text produced by some word processors that contains little to no cosmetic features.

 

Game Date/Time

The date and time from the character's perspective, the date and time in which the game is taking place.

 

Grey Fox

A warrior monk of composure.

 

Internet Die Server

An Internet service that allows the generation of random numbers and e-mails confirmations to designated addresses.

 

Iterative Writing Group

A type of Internet PBEM club in which the members focus on writing stories.

 

Jarden

A mercenary highman of battle.

 

Lurker

A person who is on the game's mailing list for entertainment but who is not otherwise participating in the game.

 

Mail Lists

An Internet service that provides e-mailing and archiving messages to subscribers.

 

Muldune

A knight of honor.

 

Narrative

The descriptive story-telling text in the game.

 

Out-of-Character

(OOC) Gamer's e-mail and other communications that are not performed in the persona of the game characters.

 

Person

The viewpoint from which a story is written.

 

Post

Each e-mail submission that a player makes to the game is called a "Post."  The term originated as a result of using Internet bulletin boards, the submissions to which are called posts.

 

Rich Text

The type of output produced by some word processors that use features such as color, fonts and tables.

 

ShenJu

A nomadic warrior of courage.

 

Steel

A dwarven cleric of devotion.

 

Strategic Mode

The gaming situation during which a relaxed set of rules are in place designed to facilitate planning and open discussions.

 

Syzygy

A wizard of essence.

 

Tense

The use of verb forms to indicate the time of the described action.

 

URL

A web site address.

 

 

9.2      TABLES

9.2.1       Game Startup Decision Table

 

Table 91         Game Startup Decision Table

Below are some of the decisions that the GM must make before starting a PBEM game.  Players should be informed of these decisions before they join a game.

 

 

Player Posting Frequency Expected

Combat Mode:  [     ]/week                 Strategic Mode: [    ]/week

 

 

Narrative Format

 

                Language

 

                Tense

[    ] Past                                 [   ] Current

                Person

[    ] First                                [   ] Third

                Paragraph

[    ] Block                              [   ] Indent

 

 

Die Rolling

 

                Die Rolling By

[    ] GM                                  [    ] Player

                Die Rolling System

[    ] E-Mail Verify [    ] Honor System

 

 

Story Control

 

                Plot

[    ] GM                                  [    ] Player                             [    ] Shared

                NPCs

[    ] GM                                  [    ] Player                             [    ] Shared

                Descriptive

[    ] GM                                  [    ] Player                             [    ] Shared

 

 

Mechanics

 

                Mail Group

www._______________________

                Die Server

www._______________________

                Newsgroup

www._______________________

 

 

Documentation

[    ] RFRP                                              [    ] Arms Law

                R = Required

[    ] School of Hard Knocks               [    ] Character Law

                O = Optional

[    ] of Essence                                     [    ] Essence Companion

                N  = Not Used

[    ] of Mentalism                 [    ] Mentalism Companion

 

[    ] of Channeling                               [    ] Channeling Companion

 

[    ] Martial Arts Companion             [    ] Alchemy Companion

 

[    ] Arcane Companion                      [    ] Elemental Companion

 

[    ] Other ________________        [    ] Other ________________

 

[    ] Other ________________        [    ] Other ________________

 

 

House Rule Changes

(races not allowed, magic not allowed, etc)

 

 

 


9.2.2       Die Roll Templates

 

Table 92               Die Roll Templates

Die #

Description

Notes

Melee Combat

1

Combat Attack

Used for the Melee Attack

2

Open Ended Roll Addition

Used only if Die 1 is 97+

3

Fumble Die

Used only if Die 1 results in a fumble

4

Weapon Break

Used only if Die 1 results in a weapon break check

5

Critical

Used only if Die 1 results in a critical hit

6

Resistance Roll

Used if the character is required to make a resistance roll this turn

7

Movement Maneuver Roll

Used if the character is required to make a movement maneuver roll this turn

8

Open Ended Roll for Move Roll

Used only if Die 7 is 97+

9

Skill Maneuver Roll

Used if the character is attempting the use of a skill this turn

10

Open Ended Roll for Skill

Used only if Die 8 is 97+

Spell Casting

1

Spell Casting Maneuver

Used only if the spell does not meet all automatic casting requirements

2

Basic Attack Roll or Elemental Attack Roll

Depending on the type of spell being cast

3

Open Ended Roll Addition

Used only if Die 1 is 97+

4

Fumble Die

Used only if Die 1 results in a spell fumble

5

Critical

Used only if the spell results in a critical hit

6

Resistance Roll

Used if the character is required to make a resistance roll this turn

7

Movement Maneuver Roll

Used if the character is required to make a movement maneuver roll this turn

8

Skill Maneuver Roll

Used if the character is attempting the use of a skill this turn

9

Open Ended Roll for Skill

Only used if Die 8 is 97+

10

Misc. Roll

GM's discretion (such as hits healed from a healing spell)

 


9.2.3        PBEM web sites

 

Table 93               Recommended web sites for PBEM

Name

Link

Notes

Graphic and mapping tools

AutoRealm

http://www.gryc.ws/autorealm.htm

Shareware map-making software.  A Mailing list for this product is also available on Yahoogroups.

World Builder

http://jendaveallen.com/builder/world/navigate.html

Shareware terrain map-making software that can build terrain on a global level.

PBEM Resources and Communities

Gamerz

http://www.gamerz.net/

Many links to other resources.  Owners of Shadowdice die roller.

Fantasy Links

http://members.ozemail.com.au/~pjcsjc/fantasy.htm

Loads of links to informational resources.

PBeM-Portal

http://www.pbem-portal.com

Simple but useful.

Irony Games

http://www.pbem.com

A community with loads of resources and tools including die rolling, calendar making and more.

PBEM  Emporium

http://pbem.brainiac.com/

Good resource for GMs with lots of links to tools.  Also supports a verity of PBEM board games.

Mail List Service

YahooGroups

http://www.yahoogroups.com

 

Die Rolling Service

Shadowdice

http://www.gamerz.net/shadowdice

Die roller run from a website.

Irony Games' Die Server

http://www.irony.com/mailroll.html

Die roller run from a website.

Titan Die Roller

http://wolff.to/dice/

Die roller that is triggered by sending e-mail rather then by web access.

 


9.2.4       Combat Actions

 

Table 94         Combat Actions

1.  A maximum of three actions may be declared in any round. 

 

2.  Although more than 100% activity can be declared, only the first 100% activity will be resolved in the up coming round.

 

3.  All the types of actions have been assigned a percentage of the round that they consume.  Most of the actions are self-explanatory, but the GM can provide a more detailed explanation, if needed.  When the player has identified the actions he wants his character to perform, he adds the associated percentages.  If the total is less than 100%, the actions can be completed in a single round.  A player can also specify actions that take more then 100% of a round but the actions will be completed (possibly) in a future round. 

 

4.  Many actions require more detail from the GM to process the round.  For example:  DrawWeap requires the player to specify what weapon his character is drawing.  SpellInstant requires the player to specify what instant spell is being cast.  The player should add this information to the end of his action shorthand.

 

5.  Some actions have a minimum and maximum percent range on them for their activity.  These actions are normally resolved at the highest (maximum) number but can be "rushed" down to the minimum.  The player can cut time off these ranged actions in order to get his actions into a desired time frame.  For each one percent that he reduces the time, the character will suffer a one-point penalty for the actions.

 

6. There are two different types of Melee actions.  The Attack/Parry action is the standard "Full Melee Attack" as described in RMSS rule 10.5.  The PressAttack/Parry is the "Press and Melee Attack" as described in RMSS rule 10.5.  The PressAttack/Parry allows the character to pursue a disengaging foe at a reduced time cost.

 

7.  If a Melee action is selected, the player must decide how much effort will go into Attacking the Foe and consequently how much (the remainder) will go into defending the character's hide.  To facilitate this, these Melee actions come in two parts (#%/#%).  The first # indicates the OB or offensive efforts.  The second # indicates the DB or defensive (parry) efforts.  So for example Attack/Parry(90%/10%) indicates a using 90% of the character's OB for attack and 10% for defense.

 

8.  The actions ActLight, ActMedium, ActHeavy, and ActStrenuous are general-purpose actions for use with any undefined activity.  A light action (ActLight) might be used to dig a potion out of a backpack.  A strenuous action (ActStrenuous) might be pushing a wagon along the road. 

 

9. Static Maneuver Rolls (or other activities that require a skill roll) that would occur in melee are assumed to require 50–100% such as picking a lock, detecting for traps, predicting the weather, etc.

 

Action

Min %