Sunday, July 19, 2020

Moana's Stingray Cove

Something I've been tinkering with on the side: a spot under the tropics where one can relax with a margarita, enjoying a marine breeze and the sight of a turquoise sea crashing on the nearby beach. Since vacations aren't in the cards these days, I figured I'd dream a bit and make it a Calidar feature as well. Those of you with PG1 "Players' Guide to Meryath" will recognize this place. Feel free to adapt this material to your game.




Click on the map for a full-res view
Moana's Stingray Cove is a greasy spoon for pirates and thieves rather than a vacation resort. Its bar faces a wooden deck. The front and sides are open, save for fishing nets and ropes adorned with sea-themed decorations like shells, bits or coral, and ship gear. An old sail stretches overhead from the main building to surrounding wooden posts. Beach bums often sit out front at sunset, by a campfire. Sturdy shutters above the bar's countertop can be swung down and locked after business hours to close off the deck area from the building. The entire structure sits on posts, about two feet above the sandy surface. The ground floor includes a kitchen, a pantry, and staircase to the upper level. The area beneath the stairs is walled off, although a removable panel may conceal ill-gotten gains stored there, as well as a one-way passage leading under the house.

Odd detail: A woodstove is used to prepare hot meals. The fireplace, though a pile of ashes lies within, is not in use. A cauldron sits inside, with some bone-dry, crusted mealy remains. The reason for this is that a tall mast stands inside the chimney conduit. It is invisible, therefore someone would have to search the ashes to feel the mast's presence. Reaching well above the building's roof, it supports a crow's nest (equally invisible). It is used to keep an eye on the neighborhood.

Click on the map for a full-res view
The staircase runs past a gallery on its right hand side (going up). In case of trouble, rogues might stand there, ready to shoot their crossbows over the railing, down at unwanted visitors. A number of eye symbols show the position of peep holes to spy on various places on that floor. The main room is a place where those in the know meet to plan future missions. The owner's bedchamber opens on a balcony. Ratlines connect its left side railing to a trapdoor in the crow's nest floor. They are invisible like the mast. Two unusual features might catch the eye of observant PCs. Three large metal bolts protrude from the railing (securing the ratlines' lower end). A part of the building's roof is indented to make room for the intervening ratlines.

Click on the map for a full-res view
Anyone investigating the bolts can feel the unseen ratlines. Anyone climbing the ratlines also becomes invisible, and can plainly see the hidden structure. Yardarms jut out from under the crow's nest. From there, it is easy to push open the trapdoor and climb onto the platform. Gunwale-like railing secures the spot, and a wooden roof protects occupants from the tropical sun. A watcher always occupies the crow's nest, relying on a magical scroll to communicate with the cove's owner. If alerted of a potential piracy target sailing by, the owner uses a similar device to tip off nearby pirates. I'm sure you got the idea.

Yardarm, Ratlines, Roof Indentation
Fighting on the roof is definitely an idea. Someone trying to flee could easily jump into the fronds of an adjacent palm tree, or leap onto the sail stretched above the bar's deck. It is old, but it might still hold someone's weight, or at least soften a fall.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Delayed Spell Memorization for BECMI

An idea crossed my mind about the (entirely optional) ability of magic-users to leave a few slots “open” while they spend their required hour to memorize spells for the rest of the day. The objective is to allow them the ability to memorize one or more of these open slots at a later time.

Red Wizard of Thay--Learning New Spells © 2015-2020 Winterkeep
            The math is simple: if it takes a ninth level spellcaster an hour to memorize 12 spell levels, therefore each spell level should require no more than 30 rounds—using BECMI rounds and turns. The math is different in other versions of the game, since their timeframes work differently. Whether a DM should allow this option is entirely up in the air, but I thought I’d bring it up for the sake of reference.
            The initial memorization process at the beginning of each day should always take the recommended 60 minutes, regardless of whether slots are left open. Assume these open slots require some mental prep work at the beginning of the day. Delayed memorization can therefore take place, at the rate of 30 rounds per spell level for a ninth level magic-user or just 5 rounds per spell level for a wizard with maximum possible experience.
            A magic-user should not be able to combine open slots to cast higher level spells. For example: one cannot combine slots left open for second- and third-level spells in order to cast a fifth-level spell; delayed memorization only concerns spells of the same or lower levels as those open slots. Given the chart below, the option becomes attractive once a spell level requires a turn or less to memorize. This makes spellcasters, including clerics (if they need to pray for their spells in advance), a lot more versatile and dangerous.

Process =         1           Hour
                       6           Turns Lasting 10mn each
                      360         Rounds of 10 seconds each

Spell Memorization Speed
(D&D BECMI, B/X, Lab Lord, Dark Dungeons, etc.)
XP Levels
Spell Levels
Total Spell Levels
Mem. Time per Spell Level
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
Rounds
Turns
1
1
1
360
6
2
2
2
180
3
3
2
1
3
120
2
4
2
2
4
90
2
5
2
2
1
5
72
2
6
2
2
2
6
60
1
7
3
2
2
1
8
45
8
3
3
2
2
10
36
9
3
3
3
2
1
12
30
10
3
3
3
3
2
14
26
11
4
3
3
3
2
1
16
23
12
4
4
4
3
2
1
18
20
13
4
4
4
3
3
2
20
18
14
5
4
4
4
3
2
1
23
16
15
5
4
4
4
3
2
1
23
16
16
5
5
5
4
3
2
2
26
14
17
6
5
5
4
4
3
2
29
13
18
6
5
5
4
4
3
2
1
30
12
Etc.
36
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
81
5