Part two, as promised. I shall move on now to the Town board. I bought a complete set of DragonStrike off ebay solely for these boards and namely for this one in particular. My current HQ campaign that I was running (and still running by the way :) ) was coming close to a dramatic end as we got ever so close to the Witch Lord story arc towards the end of the gamesystem quest book. I had thrown in a few quests from ye olde inn's archive along the way and omitted that crazy magic door mine (quest 10) that in the past has frustrated me. Once we played through the quest 12, where the heros release the Witch Lord and wiggle their way to safety only to find out that the only thing to vanquish this evil was the coveted and unfortunately lost spirit blade...I stopped the adventure.
Okay we all know the story from here... Heroes quest out to find the blade and then slay the witch lord in the next round ... Game over huzzah!
Well I decided to take a different approach with my devout friends/heroes (who were all sucked into this game by this point) and draw out the suspense a little bit more. I wanted the quest for the spirit blade to become this greater achievement, and so finding it would take more time and discovery. Where did it come from? Where is it? Does anyone know anything about it? And while the Heroes searched for clues and answers to these questions the Witch Lord would grow from his weak state to become a real threat tormenting the land with his undead armies and taking the right hand seat to Zargon himself. So I knew that my heroes' journey would have to change from there on out... That the gameplay would have to change and that my friends were ready to take on a more "advanced" HQ experience. I don't own Advanced Heroquest and I do have copies of ROTWL and KK but I wanted to make this world my own now... Keep the core rules and gameplay intact but make adjustments where I felt needed adding in some D&D elements and from there on create the majority of the adventures up myself which would unravel a coherent story line of adventure, reward, deception, and all out fun.
So I wrote, and I drew, and may have become a little obsessed... (but loved and still love ever minute of it) until I was ready.
I wanted to throw out Mentor completely... Forget taking quests from some know it all old dude... I wanted a place that the heroes would could return too after completing quests, for actual NPCs... A place that they could immerse themselves in and roleplay their characters more... A place full of NPC plot quests, and story lines, even mini-games... Just like some of my favorite RPG video-games. And the key to this for me was the Town board.
I won't bore you with all of my scripted story, but I'll cover the Highlights of course along the way as I take you now through my town, which I named Redbrooke.
I hope you enjoy.
Oh and we will need a character to follow for this trip. I chose the elf, his name shall be.... OwlFang.
Okay first here let me overview the whole board with a couple of pictures before we start going door to door. The left one is the pic of the board as is... A cool town overlay with decent high fantasy art-work perfectly suited for HQ minis. Full of different buildings that house many cool options like a tavern, blacksmith, tailor, warehouses etc.
The right picture is a top view of Redbrooke. Complete with custom roof tiles with doors (so when a hero opens the door I just remove the tile and place the contents of the building much like a reveal of a dungeon room) I also added some 3-d elements that we shall see detailed in future posts.
In my campaign the Emperor has sent the four heroes here to help the cause in building Redbrooke's defenses against the ever growing threat of Zargon and the Witch Lord. It is here that they will help the townsfolk in many different quests all the while looking for clues on the whereabouts of the SpiritBlade. They were initially told to seek out the Emperor's loyal follower and Lord of Redbrooke, Mayor Hilly Warrington, for further instruction.
Here we have OwlFang who is at the typical starting point for entering the town. It stems from the Great Northern road which ends up here at Redbrooke, the southern most occupied town of the Empire. Redbrooke stands as a stronghold of sorts, defended by the river that cuts the town's border to the South and the West. Over these waters lay the Badlands and Blight Region that holds the hordes of Chaos and undead and other things that go bump in the night.
The closest approachable door is just ahead to the left, a wooden structure with a thatch roof. It smells of old, dried hay and horse manure... you assume this must be the stables.
You open the door to reveal a generic stable... dusty and mud splattered. Inside a young girl tends feeds the only animal currently in the pin, an old mule.
|the mule mini comes from an Oscale model of the Borax 20 mule wagon team (ebay) the mini for Pipa comes from Reapermini.com|
She does not shy away at your presence, on the contrary she does not seem to stop talking to you... She gives you a run down of the town, and through all the frantic words that run a mile a minute from her mouth you get the gist that she and her family live here in Redbrooke, in fact her Father owns and opperates the local Inn, and her mother works the Tavern. She, herself, is in charge of watching over the animals here in the stable. Her name is Pipa.
Before this point my company of Heros had acquired a pack mule... this mule served as a deposit box for extra items and weapons that the heros could not or needed not to carry into their next quest. I have instated an item and weapon carry limit in my rules to make gameplay a little more realistic. Certain items can be purchased to increase what one can carry such as belts for extra weapons and pouches for extra items (potions, scrolls, other stuff) but you'll see these things as we go along.
So anyways, As you might assume this is now where the mule is kept, Pipa assures them to take care of the teams trusty mule and will be there whenever they are ready to leave. Some quests are multiple quests long... so there is not a chance to return back to town until after a few trials... so when this happens the team will purchase a few extra potions and daggers and such to add to the Mule's load. They are able to access the Mule between each of these quests.
Pipa is also the source for Town Gossip and Rumors, being a little kid she has a knack for going eavesdropping... I would love to get my HQ group together once a week, but to be honest it doesn't always happen like that. So whenever a gap of time happens between playing, Pipa is the one to go to to refresh on what has been going on in the game.
Oh and I also have this trusted journal that has all of my NPCs stats and info and what they are meant to say. It will change from week to week, and some of the heros have made good relationships with certain villagers... so potential dialogue is scripted in theses pages, and it is for my eyes only. I roleplay the NPCs with different accents and voices it gets pretty funny sometimes... especially trying to talk like a little girl.
Here is a pic of Pipa's page. Also the item chart for the mule... which I let my Heros name... they chose to name him Conan, the Mulebarian.
After gathering a general since of your whereabouts you decide to go to the one place where you can both find a bit more information about this town as well as kick up your feet and wet your whistle... The local tavern. From Pipa's directions you point your feet west toward the robust structure just across the road. From an outward glance you see a green tile roofed building with a large chimney stack that is producing a fair amount of smoke. As you round the corner of the road, making your way for the front door, you hear the sound of loud voices and the clink clank of ale steins. You approach the door and the tavern's painted sign above the entrance catches your eye. It is an image of a large monster slamming down a large mug of ale... Above the graphic you read the establishment's name... The Sloppy Ogre.
You open the door to reveal an alehouse that is furnished with a few tables and chairs as well as a nice large polished bar. Behind the bar you see an overweight woman who greets you with a welcome. Her voice is deep and un-lady like to say the least, and now you start to understand where the name of this place comes from. You step in and immediately feel the warmth from the hearth fire radiating out. You look over to it and see a well built fireplace that is inlaid with colored tiles and topped with a sturdy mantle. On the mantle is a painting of a man wearing a crown... You do not recognize the man in the portrait... But he appears to wear the look of importance... Perhaps a king from the Olde World... Before the age of the Empire.
As you step towards the bar to get a well deserved drink you are stopped by a cool voice that comes from the cloaked figure sitting at the nearest table. You shoot him a glance and see a man who is well built and fitted with leather armor and a deep green cloak. Over his shoulder you see a beautiful bow and a quiver full of arrows. You cannot see his face fully but you can see the man has a peppered grey beard. He motions for you to come over to join him... He seems interesting enough to talk to so you heed his call.
|The table is made from some pieces from the HirstArts molds. The mini is from Reapermini.com (pathfinder mini)|
The man greats you, He calls himself Heron-Grey. He explains that he is a Ranger of this region. Alongside of being a master tracker and huntsman he tells you he also as a fondness for gambling. He reaches in his cloak and produces a handful of dice and places them on the table. He grins and asks if you care to make a wager when playing his favorite dice game... Dungeon Dice.
*so in game...* This is one of the mini-games that I incorporated into the town. Completely optional of course but it has become a favorite pastime for one of my particular Heros. It is actually a popular dice game called "cee-lo dice" . the rules are simple. you place a bet (in game you bet any amount of gold you wish to wager) the house then matches your bet and the winning pool is formed. You then roll the dice... then the House rolls his three dice... the results are gathered and the winner is declared... and whoever wins gets the gold. Heres a link to the rules via wikipedia
This game has resulted in some hilarious outcomes for my Heros. I allow them to bet how ever much gold they want... hopefully doubling their purse is always a good incentive to play. Some of my Heros steer clear of Heron-Grey and his game but one of my Heros ... the Halfling... is a straight up fiend for this game... After every quest and the eventual return to Redbrooke... he heads straight for this table. And I have taken more gold from him than he can count... it was so sad for awhile as he lost every bit of gold (even some of his weapons) to this game that I actually had Heron-Grey give him a side quest, where he could earn some of that gold back... the good old fashioned way.. by clearing the Valley board of orcs and goblins... He paid a reward for every enemy killed... Needless to say I think the Halfling ended up gambling all of this money away too.
So here is a chart I made for Dungeon Dice... rolling a 4.5.6 is an automatic win. the next highest roll is 6,6,6.. then 5,5,5 and so on. if you roll doubles you take the number of spare (the third dice) so rolling 6,6,1 would loose to a roll of 1,1,6 . rolling a 1,2,3 results in an automatic loss. If both players roll the same result...re-roll.
Owl Fang humors the old man and bets 20 gold pieces... he rolls a 1,2,3 (automatic loss) Heron-Grey rolls (even though at this point he has already won..) a 4,5,6 (automatic win)... Owl Fang Pays up, and his turn is over.
That was a tough loss, but you hold your head high and thank the Ranger for teaching you his game. You deny his request for another go, and turn your attention to getting that drink. You take a seat at the bar next to a stout dwarf who is so drunk at this point that he is having a hard time staying atop of his bar stool. The fat woman behind the bar introduces herself to and welcomes you to the Sloppy Ogre. Her name is Bertha and from the looks of it, this must be Pipa's mother. She offers you a drink... this one's on the house.
The drunk dwarf will only talk to you once a number of other quests around town are completed first... He is part of a major plot quest... My heros do not know this yet... but will unfold his secrets in time. here is a pic of what a quest card looks like... they are NPC specific (noted at the top) the stars represent the difficulty of the quest.
Bertha puts a fresh, cold mug of ale before you and you tip your glass in respect and drink the frothy brew.
Drinking is another mini-game... From now on my Heros do not automatically Heal and recover used spells after each completed quest... they must spend some of their turns and actions in the town of Redbrooke to re-fill and re-plenish Body and Mind. This gives the Heroes just another thing to do when in town... its a lot of fun to see how they go about it too... there are a number of different ways to go about this and drinking is one of them... albeit a riskier option.
Here are the rules for the Dinking mini-game... buy a drink... roll 1 combat dice. If Olwfang had rolled a :blackshield: he would have to spend 2 turns in jail for getting drunk and starting a fight... I use the jail for other crimes as well... one week I had a no cursing law in place... if any of my friends said a swear word while playing (in the town) they would have to spend a turn in jail. Obstruction of Justice is a good one two... (spilling a drink or snacks on the table)... knocking over a NPC mini is an Assault Charge ..two turns in jail... Im not really too evil when it comes to this, but its pretty fun.
You finish your ale and thank Bertha again. You get up to leave the tavern behind and set out to see the rest of the town now that you have a bit of beer in your belly.
To be continued!