Friday, August 19, 2016

The Expedition to the Lost Legionnaire

This post follows the expedition of the online group, as composed to my home group as they compete to find the Eye of Set.

Sitting on the veranda sipping tea they overheard that a sailing ship had seen a makeshift encamp and a lone member of the foreign legion waving to them.  Sadly the cliffs and rocky shores prevented a landing and they were forced to sail on.

Taking the hook, the expedition decided to purchase some riding animals and a large amount of water and millet and to travel days through unknown terrain to mount a rescue.    The party once again contained a judgmental British industrialist, a Texas gunfighter, and now a retired French Cavalry Officer.

They set off across the narrow desert and ventured into the long grass of the savanna, where they were promptly ambushed by lions.   Not wishing to risk injury they rode their horses at full tilt to simply outrun their pursuers.  They rode hard through the day and camped near a large rock,  unfortunately their sleep was plagued by a swarm of flies.   The next morning they cut through a patch of dry scrubland and came upon a dead legionnaire sprawled among the branches of a leafless tree,  his expensive repeating rifle at the base.   They moved forward when the industrialist noticed the tell tale signs of disease and held everyone back.   Deciding the rifle would be useful, the braved the risk to retrieve it before using whale oil to burn the tree and cremate the legionnaire.

Riding further they noticed that a large swarm of hyena's were slowly stalking them, keeping well back.  Unnerved they continued and noticed that buzzards were also beginning to hover over them.  Attempts to turn and ride off the Hyenas were only temporarily successful as they would scatter and then eventually reform.   As the sun wound low they moved into the badlands and saw that jackals were now forming in the rocks ahead of them.   Once more they tried to run down the Hyenas,  but in this chase they heard the voice of a woman, and rode to find an Oasis with a lone woman waving a stick at more jackals.   As they rode in on thundering hooves to rescue her they were assaulted on all sides by a swarm of Hyenas, Jackals, and diving Buzzards that tore at their flesh and were fearless in the face of sustained gunfire from the various repeaters.  In a tense battle of pistol fire and horse hooves they eventually managed to kill the swarm of animals, suffering innumerable small injuries along the way.

The woman thanked them and asked them to camp here at the oasis for the night, and share in her refreshments as she began to strum a Zither.  The Texas stayed up into the evening to speak with her and share dates from her bowl while the cavalry officer and industrialist set fire to the animal corpses.  As the morning sun began to rise the British industrialist awoke early, and noticed out of the corner of his eye that for a brief moment the woman seemed off, corpse-like, before the image of her returned to normal.   A normal person would have been unsettled but left it at that,  but the British industrialist specifically placed no value in the lives of non-Europeans and even then only negligible amounts to the lives of non-upper class British.  So he immediately drew his revolver and shot at her head.   She did not even both moving and seemed almost ready to laugh as the gun was aimed.  As the bullet sunk into her head,  "the universe" reminded "her" that this particular gun was a holy relic having been blessed by god for its role in rooting out the snake cult of the last adventure.   With a shocked look still on the remains of her face,  the bullet exploded her skull and dropped her body to the sand.  He form had the appearance of weeks of rot.    Further more,  the dates in her bowl now appeared to be decaying human toes.

Refilling their water stores and packing up her Zither, which seemed to have an almost magical quality to its tones, the party made haste to continue on their journey.  Reaching the cliffs overlooking the water,  the party was soon ambushed by a band of desert nomads with banditry on their mind.  Thinking the battered trio would be easy picking they charged in firing matchlocks and bringing their lances to bear.    Firing two pistols at once the Texas gunfighter brought down four in a few seconds, his companions taking out another pair between them.   Having their charge broken the remaining few quickly broke.

The cavalry officer took the two injured nomads, and stabilized them to be taken as prisoners (along with their guns and camels) while the gunfighter took the bodies out to be buried.  The industrialist went to find the legionnaire on his own.   The industrialist found the legionnaire,  dehydrated, starving, and wearing a tattered uniform with his rifle still in hand.  He was living in a simple structure of ragged cloth and brush, and was successfully talked into following the party home.   The gunfighter meanwhile was overtaken with a powerful urge while burying the dead and took to eating parts of the dead men's flesh.  He found him self surging with strength and freshly invigorated.   He secretly carved more flesh for "special rations".

Riding home they encountered another band of nomads,  this one offering to pay a ransom for the two prisoners.   Not wanting to risk another confrontation (and seeing financial rewards for low risk) they took the offer and continued.  Moving into the savanna once more they encountered a band of warriors bearing simple hide shields and clubs.  Their leader demanded tribute and the party offered him a matchlock.  This seemed to impress him greatly and he implied safe passage, giving them a small golden trinket as well.   Continuing on the party moved through the savanna to the edge of the narrow desert separating them from Guam-yaiv,   They came to another band of warriors with the same garb and a leader riding a chariot pulled by golden quagga.  This situation seemed tense until the leader noticed the amulet.  He demanded it in payment and then let the party go without a word.  Perplexed by the exchange (which involved little language)  the party returned to Guam-yaiv a success to the local authorities,  happy to receive word of the legion and its progress.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Caravansary in the Secret City of the Nomads

For any regular readers,  this is a reference table for use in my Xan Than Du game so that it can be referenced in play.

The Caravansary
Your presence changes prices by 5% per point.  Each point of infamy to the French decreases price in the Caravansary and vice versa for infamy with the locals.  Occasionally the caravans will be out in the desert and can be encountered beyond the confines of the secret city. Goods from the Bazaar in Guam-Yaiv may also be purchased at triple their normal price,  having been acquired through banditry.

Combat Gear

Bamboo Lance

Large, Pole, Piercing, Light
5 silver

Horn Bow

Small, Piercing.  30 silver
Obsidian Arrows: 1 silver for 6 arrows

Tortoise Shell Shield

 Small shield.  5 silver

Ivory Knife

 Small, Piercing.   200 silver
                            ?d8 weeks

Requires a combined presence+standing of 6+


Signalling Mirror

40 silver


1 copper for 3



 6 copper, comes with 1 day of water.

Dried Dates

 1 silver a day
 1 dot


7 silver


3 copper for 4 days
2 dots

Prepared Cactus

2 copper for 1 day.
1 dot

Local Meats

 4 copper a day
1 dot


1 silver for a pipe (1 dot)
2 silver for a dose.
30 doses can be stowed in  1 dot pouch.



60 silver (triple for war trained)


75 silver (triple for war trained)

Tiny Dog

 1 silver (triple for fattened version)

Monday, August 15, 2016

A backlog of Xan Than Du expeditions

So GenCon came and went,  I met many interesting and wonderful people and much merriment was had by all.

It also meant I was drained, didn't run Xan Than Du games for 2 weeks and didn't get around to posting play reports.   Here are back to back play reports from the home group.

The party set out with the treasure seeker Kojata once more to loot the ancient tomb of horror and misery.  The party consisted of the British Cavalry Officer, An upper class gentleman with a bought commission, and a disturbed Royal Marine.    They wandered the familiar route through the harsh light of the desert sun,  burning quickly through water reserves but avoiding the terrors that roam through the night.

Once more they left Kojata to guard and they went deep into the tomb,  the sound of horrible screams and gunfire erupted from deep within, along with the smell of burning flesh and burning incense.  The party returned without the unhinged Marine,  but brought with them six fabulous gems.  The party quickly press ganged a British porter they had forgotten they had hired, a former cabin boy,  and went back into the tomb after some scotch.  It was quiet for a while before a horrid wailing as if from some mournful child echoed forth.   The party rushed out with two jade urns full of honey and a set of silver inlaid bone tools,  including a curious honey dipper.

Not wishing to waste time fleeing from whatever was in pursuit of them they stowed their valuables and made their way through the desert, back to Guam-yaiv.  at night.

Midway back they heard the beautiful music of a zither and the singing voice of a young woman.   The British gentleman and the cabin boy moved forward to investigate while Kojata warned of witchery and the Cavalry Officer smelled a bandit's trap.     The woman was playing an instrument and eating dates from a bowl.   She conversed at length with the British in crisp English,  eventually offering them hinted at rewards and secrets.  At this point the gentleman made to leave and the player was forced to roll a number of resistance rolls to the magical words she had been saying in their conversation, becoming aware of the attempted charms all at once.   The cabin boy pressed for more information,  then spurned the woman.  Who immediately began changing into a monstrous hyena.   A rifle bullet from the cavalry officer knocked over the beast as it chased the cabin boy,  but it quickly began to have its bones and blood reform and heal before their eyes, cackling like mad.

The Cavalry officer drew forth his enchanted sword from the cave of wonders and summoned the Genie within,  the sight of which caused fear in the fabled carrion concubine, scourge of the desert.  As the concubine fled, the genie asked what wish he could grant but the cavalry officer informed him false alarm and that he might make a wish later.  The genie sighed and went back into his prison.

Returning to Guam-yaiv they sold the honey, tools, and jade urns but they sent Kojata out to find a special buyer for the set of Gems,  knowing that while it may result in intrigue it could fetch a much higher price.

The next session the party consisted of the Cavalry Officer,  The Cabin Boy, and the Stage Magician.  Kojata had found a potential buyer in the chieftain of the Desert Nomads.  The party was to meet the chieftain in two days at an obelisk amidst ancient ruins in the desert.   Suspecting potential foul play they left early, scouted the site, and pushed into the savanna to camp.  They camped at a rocky outcropping and hunted gazelle.  The Stage Magician used his Crystal Ball from the Cave of Wonders to scrye the sight the next morning, watching the chieftain set up a potential ambush and bury his treasure.

The party then approached the meeting place and left two sharpshooters behind the chieftain's warriors and sent their negotiators in.   There was a tense debate.   The chieftain offered only the fair value of the gems and a promise of safe passage from all Nomad bandits,  but also demanded the location of the tomb.  The party countered (After a tense and grueling negotiation) to get more than simply safe passage,  but full membership into the Chieftain's tribe.  Eventually the leadership of the tribe relented to this deal and an arrangement was struck.

The party was taken deep through the desert (with only a few encounters with wildlife) to the secret city of the nomads which was  hidden deep inside a mighty chasm,   The city (more a large town) was a series of cliff side dwellings overlooking a massive oasis and an orchard of date palms.

One of the party was required to marry a local, and the cabin boy volunteered. After a series of hazing rituals in which the elders laughed merrily, he was wed to the chieftain's least favourite daughter from his least liked concubine, Parsii.  She was said to be touched by mystic gifts and carried around with her one of the tiny hairless dogs the locals bred for meat. Having married a local,  the cabin boy was offered (and accepted) initiation in the secret mystery cult of the local god of agriculture and insects.  This cult was an enemy of the carrion god whose concubine they had previously battled in the desert, and also an enemy of the decadent city of Guam-yaiv.

In game terms, they unlocked a settlement which allows them to start or end each week at either Guam-yaiv or the secret city of the nomads.  They may also create nomad characters.

Having some time left,  the party set forth and explored desert and the savanna. They fought jackals, saved Nomads, risked disease from flies, and encountered an opium caravan from Yoon-Suin under attack from a pack of painted and bejeweled lionesses.  Slaying several lions and driving the rest away they discovered the caravan was unfriendly and suspicious.  They took the lion corpses and their jewels to be taxidermied and added to their museum exhibit.

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Temple of Lies

A couple days ago I said I would get a free adventure out to you all prior to GenCon if the Bundle of Holding for Lamentations of the Flame Princess rose up a few ranks.   It shot up.

Behold!  The Temple of Lies your patronage to Mammon has conjured.

You still have a few hours at the Bundle of Lamentations if you haven't yet purchased it.

Friday, July 29, 2016

A new adventure in time for Gen Con, potentially free!

So currently I have some works on offer with a Bundle of Holding   that ends in a little over 75 hours as of the time of posting this.

It is currently the third most popular bundle of holding of all time.   But I am nothing if not competitive.   If this bundle of holding can climb its way to the number 2 spot by reaching $28, 564 I will release a free adventure in time for GenCon this year.   At the average bundle price,  this is about 160-175 new bundle purchases.

Plus, it helps a charity.

With a free adventure its like getting free money*!

*note that it is actually in no way like getting free money.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A rival expedition in the land of Xan Than Du

Session 1 of the Google+ game

A newly arrived expedition of British Explorers arrived in Guam-yaiv,  staying with a friendly British merchant. This is a rival expedition to the home group, which you had seen in previous posts.

Their founding members were the devout aristocrat Lord Dingleberry, a superstitious opium addict named Cecil Fernsby, and Arizona Jones, a British emigrant to Texas, fresh from the Mexican-American war and eager to return to his home country as a member of the Royal Explorers Society.

As they took their first trip to the local bazaar to purchase initial supplies and perhaps name their expedition,  they engaged with small talk among the merchants to learn some rumours,  seeing if anything would hook their interest.

One thing that did was a local commotion as French soldiers ransacked the market looking for someone in a hurry.  As soon as they passed they heard  a muffled plea "Aidez-moi" as some rough men hauled a figure wrapped in a blanked away, disappearing into the back alleys.

Rushing to action before the hook expired they chased the group into the alley, except for Cecil who climbed onto a roof to gain an aerial view.  They tracked the kidnappers to a shady opium den in an alley, guarded by a stern looking doorman who was keeping away the beggars.

While Joe attempted to converse with the angry guard Cecil attempted to stealthily drop a brick on his head.  Unfortunately the beggar turned out to be a second guard and leaped to his feet with a throwing dagger in hand.   Lord Dingleberry was amazingly quick on his feet and interrupted this by calmly pistol whipped the beggar in the temple,  knocking the beggar unconscious and sadly getting blood onto his shoes.

The split second commotion seemed to give the guard enough were with all to expect an attack,  but he was too slow and the brick still struck him and knocked him out like a light.    Angry at the blood ruining his shoes,  Lord Dingleberry kicked the peasant beggar to death while the party decided to kill the guard and take his key to the opium den.

The party descended into the compound and found a room of impoverished addicts,  but spying a still valuable signet ring on one of them,  Joe snuck in and grappled with the unfortunate soul.  To contain the struggle he ended up needing to bludgeon the victim to unconsciousness with a series of punches.

They bypassed the latrine and continued deeper into the compound where they found a room full of clerks and a single guard.  They were counting coins and sorting great heaps of opium.    The party burst into the room and decapitated the guard before demanding the clerks surrender.  The shower of arterial blood really added to the weight to the argument for surrender and so the clerks did.  A great haul of gold coins and opium was quickly thrown into a sack while light zither music emanated from the VIP room further in.

Cecil did some quick math and realized that this opium den could never hope to turn a profit given the few patrons it could hold at full capacity and the number of guards and staff it housed.  They interrogated the clerks as to the location of the kidnapped Frenchwoman and ascertained that she was being held in the lavatory they had passed earlier.

Backtracking to the lavatory they had passed earlier,  one of the clerks attempted to make an escape when they approached the door.  He was quickly struck with a knife in the back and left to bleed out on the floor.   The party discovered secure tie on points hidden in the ground near the latrine and discovered that midway down the pit (about 20 feet) was a secret chamber.

Cecil descended and nearly fell 40 feet into a mound of fetid waste,  but managed to hold his grip and enter the secret passage.  It opened into a room with a large amount of climbing supplies including a rope and grapnel tied onto the wall.  Cecil throw the grapnel back up so that the party, including their 4 hostage clerks, could descend.

Moving through this secret underground structure they found a series of blue stone arches.  The clerks intentionally set of some sort of tripwire, causing the arches to hum loudly and give away their position.  None of the clerks were able to escape the volley of loud gunfire and sword strokes.

The party continue deeper into the complex, finding a storage room full of millet, water casks, and an unusual round sarcophagus.  As they began to investigate,  crossbow bolts whizzed into the room from a hidden archer somewhere in the darkness down the hall.  Lord Dingleberry attempted to abscond with the sarcophagus but it began to shake and a large serpent quickly escaped from it.  As Joe dropped his candle and bolted down the hallway to find this hidden archer,  a female face appeared in the darkness and began to whisper to Cecil.  Lord Dingleberry could barely contain his horror as he saw that this female head was sitting atop the body of a great serpent.  He fired his pistol at point blank range and managed to slay the beast in a great torrent of black tar as its body aged a thousand years an a few seconds and crumbled to dust.

Cecil and Lord Dingleberry raced down the hall after Joe to find him grappling with an armoured warrior with a bizarre serpentine dagger.    The three of them combined were able to quickly dispatch the guard and steal his valuable silk and mail armour.   Injured and certain of more guards alerted to their gunfire they bravely rushed towards the sound of running water, hoping to find the kidnapped Frenchwoman.

And on a great stone slab, surrounded by fresh coals that warmed the air,   was a great snake finishing its meal,  two feet in European ladies shoes sticking from its mouth.  Joe aimed and with great luck was able to shoot the snake dead in a single shot so it could not escape into the water.  Whats more,  the shot didn't also kill the Frenchwoman, in fact it barely destroyed a single calf of hers.    Using his medical skills from the Texas Navy,   Joe was able to revive the woman despite the long odds.

The party retreated quickly and alerted the French garrison who stormed the location, finding it hastily abandoned and encountering only some resistance from a few stragglers.

The party gained great favour among the French garrison for saving a captain's daughter,   but also incurred great ire among the locals for thwarting this blow to the occupiers.

Foes Vanquished:
1 Beggar
1 Bouncer
1 Washed Up Opium Addict
1 Guard
5 Clerks
1 Temple Guard
1 Ancient Serpent Woman
1 Blessed Python

Treasure Recovered:
Treasured Family Heirloom Ring
Opium Den Treasury (39 gold, 491 silver)
Opium Den Supply  (13 small pouches)
Ancient Round Sarcophagus
Suit of Brass and Silk Mail with Serpent Emblems
95% of Mademoiselle

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Down Time Activities in the lands of Xan Than Du

My current game is set to run with an assumed week in between games. This allows for some healing,  but also a time to generate new adventure hooks, or gain new skills.  The following downtime activities are available.

Tranquil Relaxation
Required Standard of living:   Medium or greater
The character spends his days contemplating philosophy, painting, or sipping tea and/or gin on the veranda.   Devoid of conflict the character heals a point of stress.

Required Standard of Living:  Low or Medium
The character gets involved in games of cards, liquor or other intoxicants, and engages in trivial pass times.  They regain luck as if their standard of living was one level higher.

Required Standard of Living:  Any
The character pores through library records, or hunts down leads in seedy establishments, or whatever is appropriate for the rough topic being sought. If researching,  an intelligence check with an arbitrary penalty for difficult determines success or failure towards gaining information towards a single question.  For investigation, a charisma check is similarly made.  

Martial Training
Required Standard of Living:  Any
The character seeks out a trainer to further their martial prowess (ie, combat tricks).  You have to find new teachers beyond the fencing instructor at the lodge,   Jean Dumas.

Jean Dumas requires not more than 3 infamy with the French and a High Standard of living in Guam-yaiv,  he knows fencing related combat tricks.

Skill Training
Required Standard of Living:  Any
The character spends the week practicing a new skill.  They may make an intelligence check,  if they do they earn 1/12th of a skill.  When they have 12 successes towards a skill, they learn the new skill.

Charitable Work
Required Standard of Living:  Medium or Less
The character helps the poor and needy, and perhaps throws in some religious conversions. They heal luck at one rate worse than normal but also gain 1 piety and reduce the negative effects of infamy by 1 for the following week (then people forget the deeds you have done).