Monday, February 15, 2021

Review: Beyond the Wall

I recently re-discovered this lovely post about the 1937 Hobbit book as a RPG setting, luckily for us the author has continued to write about this Wilderlands setting and mentions that they use the Beyond the Wall system to run their games. Their impression of it seemed good, so I picked up the books and played two sessions using the rule set for my group. Here is a review.

The Pitch

Beyond the Wall styles itself as a "pick up and play" style RPG, many of its design elements are aimed at streamlining play and unburdening the planning required to run a game. It is also a retro-clone, a game heavily inspired by the first editions of Dungeons and Dragons, throwing it's hat in the ring against other OSR gaming systems like Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Swords and Wizardry, Basic Fantasy, etc. Lastly, and what most caught my eye is the specific flavor of fantasy the system (and therefore the implied setting) works to create, fantasy after the style of Ursula K. LeGuin's Earthsea books. The materials provided are predicated on the premise that the adventuring party all comes from the same village and grew up together, just the sort of homey folksy aesthetic I enjoy.

Game Mechanics and Design

To demonstrate how light weight the rules are, of the 100 odd pages of the core rule book it only takes 30 pages to cover the core rules. Anyone familiar with D&D should be able to pick this up, skim those 30 pages and be ready to play. My group plays primarily D&D 5e and they picked everything up quickly, something I cannot say for other retro-clone rulesets I have encountered.

All of the "crunch" of other systems (huge equipment tables, 12 different base classes, a gaggle of fantasy races, lists and lists of skills, etc) are extremely and elegantly condensed. There are only three classes: the warrior, the rogue, and the mage. Every character concept can be expressed through those classes and different ways of mixing and matching of class features for multiclass characters. If you want to play a barbarian you can customize the warrior to be a barbarian. This is how different races are handled as well, the example in the book is the Elven Highborn, a mish mash of the warrior and mage class.

When a party is sitting down to play their first adventure in the system character creation can optionally be done cooperatively as the first phase of play. This cooperative character design intertwines the character's with each other and the village they all come from, nicely answering the question most adventuring groups struggle with when forming "Why the heck do we all decide to go risk life and limb with each other?" The character creation is handled as a series of tables, called a playbook, each is titled after the character trope they are aiming for. For example the two playbooks provided for the warrior class are the "Village Hero" and the "Would-be-Knight", and each playbook builds a distinctly flavored character in that theme.  This also handles ability scores, skills, spells known, special equipment, and established relationships with NPCs. While all of this is optional, I think it is one of the best innovations the system provides.

The DM is also given a similar worksheet of tables to run the adventures, called scenario packs, that are provided with the base rule book. As character creation occurs the DM makes notes of specific NPCs and locations relevant to the party and intertwines them with the adventure elements. A series of tables also generate a whole adventure, but puts a lot of burden on the DM to create encounters on the fly.

There is a more to say about a few other quirks of the system, but suffice to say that I am pretty pleased with the ruleset and like the structure of character creation and adventure generation. 


Using the provided character playbooks my group built characters and we played through the "Angered Fae" scenario pack over two sessions. Before play I simply copied all of the tables and tweaked some of the results to be more fitting to my Ánemos setting. This was pretty straight forward and totally optional, I think I could have run the session as written in the scenario pack without too many issues.

Character creation was a blast. There were a lot of funny coincidences, three of the characters rolled the same "You are about to marry into the Miller’s family" result and we agreed that they were all competing for the hand of the same person. Part of the scenario pack is to describe pairs of players handling some fey chaos together in the days immediately before play begins, doing an excellent job of setting up some interpersonal mechanics for the outset.

While the adventure design is quite literally formulaic, a skilled DM should be able to throw some content together based off of the results from the tables to make a satisfying adventure. There are enough moving parts to make it seem like a lot of planning has gone in to it, a hard effect to simulate.

At the end of the adventure the consensus was that it was a pretty fun game.

Beware the Mountain King!


8/10, a serviceable lightweight OSR RPG system with some innovative design tools that make it a real gem. I plan on writing some content in this format for my own settings (because I can't seem to sit down and write a whole adventure in a more traditional sense and a series of tables seems much more attainable for expressing my ideas).

Check it out here!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Greek Mythic Fantasy on the Rise

 In the last few months I've seen a few new cultural items with a strong focus on Greek Mythic Fantasy, here is a review of a few I have encountered.

Video Game: Hades

Let me start by saying at the date of publishing I have ~120 hours of game time in this game which I bought in early access in 2019. It has since come out of early access and is gaining some wide spread popularity.

Description: Hades is a roguelike RPG where you play as the son of Hades, Zagreus, as you try and escape the realm of the dead to find out the truth of your family history. Aiding you in your escape are many of the Olympic gods: Zeus, Poseidon, Artemis, and many more. The Olympic gods lend you some of their powers so you can smash up the guardians of Hades and escape.

Thoughts: The setting of the game is compelling and provides adequate framing for the roguelike structure, especially if you are a mythology nerd like me, but the real stand out is the game play. Everything feels very tight and responsive, there are enough combinations of weapons and god given boons to make each run exiting. I would have loved to see more gods in the game (especially Hephaestus!), but the diversity already included is great. As with all Super Giant games the art direction is sublime.

Final Score: 9/10, a really great game

Western Animation: Blood of Zeus

Description: Set in fantasy Ancient Greece, the Netflix series focuses on the story of a new hero, Heron, the son of Zeus and a mortal queen and his half-brother who has been tainted by eating the flesh of a dead Titan. Heron teams up with an Amazon warrior and some capable rouges to help the gods stop a second war with the Titans.

Thoughts: Produced by the same studio to create the excellent Castlevania animated Netflix series, I had pretty high expectations for this show that were frankly not met. While the art style looks similar I didn't find any of the punchy combat animation I loved so much in Castlevania, and while the premise of the story is fine I didn't find it that compelling. It is always fun seeing interpretations of Greek myth on screen, but that is about all that I found engaging.

Final Score: 5/10, its a quick watch with some cheesy fun

D&D 5th Edition Source Book: Mythic Odysseys of Theros

Description: Wizards of the Coast owns Dungeons and Dragons as well as Magic the Gathering, and this is the second cross over book published for D&D 5e from their Magic settings (the first being Guild Master's Guide to Ravnica). The book is meant to "serve as an example of how to take inspiration from real-world mythology and adapt it into a world built from the ground up for fantasy adventures" a goal I myself have tried to accomplish in this blog.

There are new races and sub-class options for characters, as well as optional mechanics for characters to have a more mythic origin. There is a chapter dedicated to the pantheon of the setting where each god is given some myths, a set of beliefs and observances of their followers, and some examples of how characters might gain or loose their favor. The next chapter includes a world map of Theros with some lengthy descriptions of each city state/civilization. After that is a chapter focusing on adventure design in the setting, framed around the champions/villains of each god described in the earlier chapter as well as some encounter tables and small dungeon maps. There is also an example adventure included in this section, No Silent Secret, to demonstrate some of the principles described. The final two chapters are dedicated to magical items and artifacts, and some mythic bestiary stat blocks. 

Thoughts: I played a little bit of Magic the Gathering back in the day but I never encountered the Theros setting, so that might have something to do with why I feel so lukewarmly towards this book. There is a lot of fluff text here dedicated to retelling Greek myths in a slightly different way, and I mean a lot. I understand the necessity, but is seems like wasted space. All this new mythos does is create homework for the DM and players to get a common background in the setting when most groups already likely have at least some impression of Greek myths. To get the most value out of the set dressing I would take each location or myth and put them in a table for easier use while playing, because who really cares about the major landmarks around the Sparta clone city-state?

Because of the origin in Magic the Gathering there is a lot of art included in the book, most of it in a kind of "psychedelic cosmos" style, the image above is a good example. There is an in setting reason for this (the gods live in Nyx, a realm of dreams in the night sky), but a lot of the art feels a touch too dramatic for me. I do like the art included in setting chapter, there are some great city/land scape pieces.

There are a few new races included, but many of them have been published before in other 5e books so that is disappointing. The new sub-classes and backgrounds are flavorful, but there are only three.

I like the piety mechanics introduced for the gods, it seems like a good frame work for PCs to interact with very powerful gods, though in my own setting I prefer to keep my gods small. I can see myself using the stat blocks of the mythic beasts at the end of the book as well as the magic items, those are always useful. 

Final Score: 4/10, a lot of wasted effort on a setting that is not doing anything compelling with the source material. The mechanics provided are okay, but that's about it.

Friday, July 31, 2020

The Point Crawl and Spatial Resolution

Introduction and the "Linear Point Crawl"

I was taking the train across town (now a few months ago, none take the train across town in these times) and looking at the transit map when I realized that they had created the most basic kind of a point crawl: a sequence of locations (stations) and vectors (the track between them) without the opportunity to change the order of those locations (you can't skip a station). I am a geographer as well as a forester, I work in the geospatial world and spend a lot of time and energy thinking about the locations of things in relation to each other. 

Many in the RPG community praise the adventure structure of a point crawl. The premise is this: the adventures take place in discrete locations (dungeons usually), while exploration occurs in the vectors between those locations (the wilderness usually).

Many of the "mainstream" RPG adventures published follow this most basic point crawl structure (as well documented by Joseph Manola in his series of Consolidating Pathfinder Adventure Paths). Just as you "finish" one location you are directed (not gently!) to the next one by plot contrivances, hence the abhorrent accusation of "rail-roading".

Lets call this form of the point crawl the "Linear Crawl". Its features are this:
  • Locations are the only places where the game "happens"
  • The order in which you visit them is constrained absolutely
The minimum requirements to run a Linear Point Crawl are: 
  • A series of adventuring locations that you have planned for players to visit
  • An order in which the adventuring locations may be visited
Of course even the most egregious example of a rail roading adventure is flexible enough to allow the adventurers to return to town between adventuring sites, an implicit allowance for non-linear travel, but only to places where adventure "don't really happen". Sometimes this hub changes during an adventure, for example the party now always returns to a big city instead of the small town they started in.

The travel between locations is often hand waved (after all adventure doesn't happen there), but some times these published adventures use a technique to mask the linear nature of their adventures:  wilderness encounters (see D&D 5e's Tomb of Annihilation). These wilderness encounters occur between locations, and sometimes are even supported by random encounter tables. These help the adventure feel like it has the opportunity for exploration with a non-linear structure, but this is an illusion. This style of wilderness "exploration" rarely gives the players any real autonomy to explore beyond the encounter, it functions as a way to tax the character's resources while they travel and as content filler.

An example of a Linear Point Crawl style adventure.

The "Multi-Path Point Crawl"

The next order of complexity up is what I would describe as the "Multi-Path Point Crawl". This is where locations are connected in a more complex way, with the opportunity for multiple vectors leading to or from a single location. This means that locations are still the primary focus, but not all locations have to be visited and the order that they are visited in can be influenced by the player, though there may still be constraints (like time, more on that later). To use the train map analogy, this train system has multiple lines who share some common stations, riders can choose from several routes to get to their destination.

Many adventures have an in built time constraint: an impending orcish invasion, a lich gathering strength and corpses for an undead army, the king is dying and needs a drink from the fountain of virility, etc. With this structure, adventurers are incentivized to move quickly and efficiently twords their goal, meaning that choosing the correct path/destination has consequences and that they will not get the opportunity to visit every location or travel every vector. This structure is common in a more narrative style of play, generally not the style of play so well described and explored in these articles by Ben L: Pleasures of the OSR Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Sandbox style play does not rely on these drivers, it has many other conflicts and motviations.

An excellent example of this tension comes to us from the Fellowship of the Ring, where the Fellowship tries and fails to cross through the Redhorn Pass and has to turn back and travel through the Mines of Moria (also an interesting example of wilderness like exploration and travel through a dungeon like environment). They had three choices as laid out in the book: travel south and pass near to Saruman's tower (dismissed out of hand), to travel though the Mines of Moria (a dwarf stronghold gone strangely silent in recent years, Gandalf resists this option) or travel over the Rehorn Pass (a perilous journey but preferable to the Mines). Tension is achieved by the slowing of their important journey and their choices having consequences.

To summarize: the multi-path point crawl still places and emphasis on the locations visited, but the order those locations are visited (if at all) are removed or relaxed. In a multi-path crawl you need:
  • A set of adventuring locations that players may visit
  • A set of travel vectors between those locations
  • Information provided to the play on the consequences for those deciding which path to take or local to visit (for example they might get more treasure for traveling through the Wight Wastes to the Mound of Misery as opposed to the easier travel along the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City)
An example of a Multi-Path Point Crawl adventure structure. If you can find a way to activate the Standing Stones you can skip the Keep of the Meta-Fungi altogether (an avoid the mind altering spores!)

The Hex Crawl and the "Spatially Relevant Plane Crawl"

The level of resolution that I am currently enamored with is what I will call the "Spatially Relevant Plane Crawl", the logical extreme in complexity of a Hex Crawl.

The problem: The highest level of spatial resolution possible is a to-scale map where every point on the map is in a sense a location.  This is the resolution that we are trying to simulate with the Spatially Relevant Plane Crawl, we want players to feel as if they can point to any point on a map and say that is where they want to visit. Of course planning a to-scale map would take a prohibitively long time and take up a large amount of space. Because we have limited time, space, and creative juice we should not attempt to create a to-scale representation of the play world. These valuable resources are better spent on things that players will actually interact with. The goal of this approach is to simulate the experience of a to-scale map. So how do we do this?

A common approach is to use a Hex Map, a map with a grid of hexagons projected onto it, often with a series of rules of thumbs for the correct amount of content for each hex: a monster lair, the dominant ecosystem, some hidden locations, etc. Often these maps may not even have hexes projected onto more detailed maps, but instead have some visual shorthand for the content of a hex:

This is... fine. It uses a few basic topographic/ecological features to indicate the content of a hex (forest, hilly forest, marsh, grass land, hills, mountains, water, etc). There are usually accompanied by a keyed table telling you what you can find in each hex.

While the above map is perfectly serviceable, it is not especially compelling aesthetically nor does it have the little bits of weird detail that real world maps have or the fun landmarks and style of the best fantasy maps. It also restricts/abstracts choices into which of the adjacent hexes the party wants to venture to next, leaving little room to study the terrain between the players and their destination.

A nice solution that appeases my aesthetic sensibilities is to simply project a hex grid onto an existing/generated map. It removed the clunky and harsh divisions between hexes, and allows the topography to tell more of the story. Getting the grid to match perfectly to labels/features can be a bit clunky and doesn't solve the problem of abstracting choices into which hex to travel into next, so lets discard the hex grid entirely.

Using/drawing/generating a good map can help you create challenges and interesting choices for your players. The features I look for in a "good" map are these:
  • Topography is indicated, preferably with actual topographic lines, but maps with a hillshade effect give a good idea of topography as well
  • A reasonable scale. Do you really expect your players to walk from New York to San Francisco? If not, then you probably don't need a map at that scale. I find that getting an idea of what a reasonable scale can be a little hard, think of hikes/runs/bike rides you've been on, how long did it take you to travel that far? Could you keep up that pace over many days? There is no need to plan a map in detail where most of it's content will never be seen (an argument for localism and a discussion of long distances/time).
  • Some idea of the dominant ecosystem (as you know I like to build systems around ecosystems), this will help fill wilderness travel content. This can be represented in a choropleth map with color codes for land cover.
Using the above basic requirements as a guide I generally like to enrich my map with the following:
  • Place settlements and the paths/highways between them
  • Place adventuring locations (ruins/keeps/monster lairs/etc)
  • Name some major wilderness areas and think about their major features/gimmicks

With a good map with the above elements, I feel like I have what I want to run an adventure. I can build random encounters/locations for the wilderness areas (see an approach to this here) and flesh out dungeons and settlements as usual.

So when my players look at their map and point to some far and whimsically named place beyond the mountains and say they want to visit there next I can nod and say "Great, go ahead and roll the first wilderness encounter as you make your way into the foothills bellow the Unpathable Peaks..."

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Fountain is Dry

I fear this blog has gone the way of previous endeavors of mine. I have curated online spaces before, and gone into the spiral of self conscious approval seeking where I write/showcase things I think folks want to see. Once I realize the vanity of the project I tend to abandon it.

I don't think my time writing here has been wasted, but I grapple with half finished ideas and the uncertainty of publishing something that is uninteresting/derivative/etc. Perhaps I simply need to pretend that I have no audience (and perhaps I no longer do?).

The Nature of a Dry Fountain

Since my last media consumption update  my life has changed somewhat. I have moved from one end of the West Coast to the other, from a rural town to a major American city, and I finally was able to move-in with my long time significant other. Like many people my life has been disrupted by the pandemic, but I am among the privileged that get to continue my work from home.

My days are general absorbed by work (now chained to a desk, no field work for this forester), exercise (I am running semi-seriously for the first time since college), cooking (one of my great joys), reading (perhaps a blog post on its own?), playing video games when I have the time, and of course playing RPGs with new friends.

I actually rather enjoy the routine, but perhaps cabin fever is getting me anxious to write again.

So, perhaps the fountain might yet trickle?

Here is some bread I baked

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Time Travel, Chronomancy, and the Hard Working Men and Women Who Make it Possible

Time Travel Disclaimer

You need to be very very careful when introducing time travel into your game. Its tricky, lots of fantasy is ruined by it. So how do we play with one of the most explored ideas in modern fiction? Carefully, with moderation.

This means introducing time travel to your party at the right time, and limiting its use either through prohibitive resource scarcity or unique circumstances leading to its application.

This guy is clearly a chronomancer, who else has the time to learn to balance on their cane like that?
Source: ReznovKG


But of course some wizard somewhere fucked that right up and invented time manipulation magic, Chronomancy. They probably thought, "Oh, I'll just go back in time once to kill the Dark Lord when he was a mortal and zip back to the modern day", and then ended up causing some horrible paradoxes that ripped up the mortal plane.

Luckily in this timeline the wizards haven't done anything too stupid yet and if you are very rich or powerful you too can toy with the sands of Time like a child plays with dirt. Here are some of the most common services for sale in the exclusive Time Market:
  • Chrono-experiential effects: This is time magic cast on the mind, to let you relive times past or to make time go by faster for you. Be careful, walking down memory lane is tilt shifted into the red spectrum of light, lending these experiences a rosy hue...
  • Time rate adjustment spells: Haste and Slow are the most common examples of this form of chronomancy. Its relatively easy to change how someone or something flows through time, their hearts just might not like beating at 240 bpm every fight though.
  • Time stoppage: Pausing time is much more major magic, though it carries none of the dangers of tampering with the timeline. Some Chronomancers have made mistakes meddling with this magic, and have trapped themselves inside a single moment as TIME HERMITS (thanks Arnold for the idea).
  • Time travel: The pièce de résistance of time magic, flinging a whole person through the timeline. Its not accurate, and its not cheap, but you can do it. Be careful when traveling forward in time, you don't always land in the most probable timeline. For example, if the odds are 1 in 10 that the Chancellor to the Emperor will successfully assassinate him and take the Empire for himself, there is a 1 in 10 chance that the future you travel to will be in the reign of the new Emperor. This gets nuttier the farther into the future you go, as possibilities branch and timelines fork. Its much more reliable to travel back in time, though you may have trouble finding your way back to your origin point.
The primary constraint on chronomancy is getting enough raw resources, specifically Time, to work with. Thats where the Time Market comes in...

The Time Market

The Tardy Sifters and other groups who preform Time accumulation labor are the bottom rung of a tall ladder of movers and users of Time. This economy can't really be altered, indeed if they were any more efficient at collecting Time their Time would be lest potent and thus would be Time wasted. No, grueling and inane labor are the best ways to accumulate a lot of Time.

Tardy Sifters making making their way to market
Source: Artur Sadlos

Its like crack cocaine or a pyramid scheme, its a viscous cycle designed to keep more and more people down while those running the show profit. The chronomancers don't pay in gold, but rather chrono-experiential potions.

Here's how it works: Say you miss your first cat. You go to the Time Market and ask a chronomancer for a way you could hang out with your cat again. The chronomancer prepares a draught for you that lets your mind travel back in time and play with your cat while your body is catatonic. You get snapped back to the present after the potion wares off. You ask the chronomancer for more time with your cat, but you are out of gold. He says its no problem, just go into the desert and collect me some sand, its easy work and in return you can hang out with your cat more. And so you are well on your way to chrono-experiential dependency where you are locked in a self reinforcing cycle of labor and blissful visits to a more rosy past as your body withers and the present feels like a prison.

Keep in mind this is not memory magic, this is a way to actually send the mind back in time. This is relatively easy because minds don't weigh anything and can't mess up the timeline like whole bodies can.

He might not have intended to visit this future, but he's making the most of it.
Source: Nate Abell

Monday, May 28, 2018

Raccoons Might be Real Life Goblins

I've a growing suspicion.

It has to do with raccoons.

And our favorite green men, goblins.

Here me out here: Raccoons may be as close as we in the mundane world get to interacting with goblins.

Think of the attributes of a goblin: small, mischievous, stupid but devilishly clever, creepy hands, they are most active at night, their teeth are small but sharp, and while they are a nuisance alone they are a terror in large groups.

Now think of raccoons, everything in the above list can be applied to them.

So for your delight, photographic proof that raccoons and goblins might as well be the same:

A failed goblin ambush

Might as well be a raccoon


The situation would be the same if they were all raccoons
Source: Arthur Rackham (1867-1939), from “Goblin Market” by Christina Rossetti, George G. Harrap, 1933

They both seem fascinated with shiny things

And to finish it off, a gif of a raccoon climbing a crane (when I saw this i was genuinely surprised, it moves like a humanoid!):
Assassins Raccoon
I rest my case.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Limáni, the City of Wharves

City of Wharves

Limáni was once a small crescent shaped atoll, barely sand bars at low tide but with sturdy (and treacherous breakers) keep the worst of the surf off. Located just to the southwest of the patrolled waters of Minoan Republic, these sand bars were used as a way for traders to exchange goods and avoid Minoan taxes before entering the Republic's domain.

It started small, a few boards lain in the sand and a few crude moorings. Through time docks were built in the shallow water, and pilings were driven into the sand. Not through careful engineering but sheer weight of  convenience and shortcuts a lattice of gangplanks and derelict vessels formed the bones of the floating town.

An atoll
Source unknown

In the modern era hardly anything is built on the shifting sands of the atolls, they are used more like a unstable foundation upon which the rest of the city is tethered. There are no great structures in the City of Wharves, nothing is taller than decks of the ships that make up her body and the masts swaying above. The bulk of living and business actually occurs below the waterline in the hulls of ships, where psári oil lamps burn in damp claustrophobic cargo bays never built to be used as a tavern in the sticky humidity.

Few people call Limáni home permanently, most of the stable population is of descendants of merchant exiles from the Republic and pirates. Most are just passing through, though they may stay for a night or a year they are all trying to get their ships free and sail to less rank waters. 

Hazards in the City


As the tide rises and falls, so does the City of Wharves. You may go out to dinner in the central part of town, and find you have to hike up to the rim and down the other side to return to your ship. The city is only roughly level at hightide, and with three moons the tide in Ánemos are erratic at best and extreme and deadly at worst.

Because of the extremely flexible topography of the city navigation can be difficult, the path you took out will look very different if it is there at all when coming back the same way. The decks of ships moored in the city are considered open to the public, there would be no other way to get around if everyone kept each other off their decks.

Think of the city as a large net, at every node a wooden block of variable size and buoyancy floats, and there are little people trying to get their little block out of the net all the time while other little people try and shore up sagging parts of the net. Its chaos.

Medieval Venice was much too organized

Use the below table for generating random events when chasing across the decks of the city:
2: Rapid low tide! As you jump from deck to deck the sea seems to drain like a bathtub, and a great rip sunders this part of the city. A successful Dex/Reflex save will get you on the far side of the rip away from your pursuers, a failure will trap you on with no where to run from your pursuers.

3: Falling mast! +6 to hit, 2d8+4 bludgeoning damage to the (1d3): Pursing party, the pursued party, or the deck (it may smash open!) between the parties (this makes the pursuers loose a turn to clamber over it)

4: Dead end! Either dive into the water of face your pursuers.

5: A crane is lifting cargo crates, if you jump you might be able to grab on and get swung far ahead of your pursuer. This is an Str/athletics check, on a failure you 1d3: get thrown into the water, get thrown right into your pursuers, or you miss to no adverse effect.

6: Popup market! Roll on the goods table a few times and thats whats being sold. Make it effect the chase: resins means people might get stuck to the deck, silks can be hidden behind, pottery can be smashed, etc.

7: No chase event

8: You dash into a tent-tavern on the deck of a large ship. Its very dark compared with the glaring sun outside, giving you enough time to hide. The party all roll stealth checks, using the highest, against the pursuer's perception checks, again using the highest. Even if caught here a tavern brawl can be easily started.

9: Float Patrol gang sinking a ship directly in your way! You can try and dash over it as it sinks, a Dex/reflex check; or you can face your pursuers.

10: Rotten gangplank! A random party member of the either the pursing or pursued party must spend the next 2 chase turns struggling to get free, or 1 turn if their party helps them.

11: Rouge wave! You can see it coming, the decks a few ships away violently surge up and then down. Dex/relex save or be thrown into the drink.

12: Fire! As you run someone accidentally kicked over a lantern and the inferno is burning brightly behind! 2d6 fire damage, Dex/reflex save for half. Loose all pursuit but their is a 2 in 6 chance someone saw it and thinks it was you that started the fire, they will report you to the Float Patrol for justice, which in the case of arson means death. They will come looking for you in 1d4 days.

*Its very hazardous to swim in the middle of Limáni, you are always at risk of getting crushed between rocking ships. Smaller players have it a little easier. Everyone is vulnerable to drowning if they get tangled in the many nets/mooring lines in the murky water.

The Float Patrols

These roving bands of  "public servants" are half police force, half protectionist racket, half public works crew, half vigilante mob, and half fire brigade. They haphazardly patrol the city tightening lines between ships, adjusting gangplanks, maintaining pilings, condemning sinking vessels by cutting them loose, collecting "docking fees", and generally working twords keeping the city afloat.

Think of them like douchey lifeguards: they are doing something important for public safety, but you can't help but roll your eyes at them.