GG4 – We meets the neighbours

31 August, 2012

Last week was another talky rather than crunchy session.

Actually, no. There was a fair bit of crunch getting the crime empire going. It took a while because this was our first session running the “Crime Pays” rules. Then Andrew had to run off, so we just had an arena fight between our characters.

I monoplolised the DM’s time building the crime empire, so I made an effort to hold back a bit when we started game, and that’s party why I forget what Nick was doing with Corves and a few other details.

Going back though the mail on the mailing list, the DM seems to have ruled that we now control the bazaar. So I’ll write from that POV. The soundtrack for this post is “Daddy Cool”, by Boney M. Yes, I really am that old.

So anyways, we ‘ad the Bazaar pretty much sewn up. Well – we ‘ad kicked out most of the Tarkanan boys, anyways. We ‘ave cash from our legit jobs, but stugglin ter make The Service profitable.

When we gets this knock on the door. A ‘uman kid, I fink. ‘E as a package which ‘as a nice big ruby innit and some geezer’s mitt. Nah, I knows a warning when I sees one. “Yer can do this the easy way, or the ‘ard way” is wot they is sayin’.

Kid wants ter take us ter meet someone, so we (that’s me, Kashana, Gauthak, Corves an’ Idem going clockwise around the table) kits up and ‘eads out ter the ‘Ollow Tower in ‘Areth’s Folly, just ter the norf. I figure it could get tasty, but probably not. ‘Ooever it is ‘as a flair for the dramatic, an probably belives orl that feeve’s honour bullshit. I mean, “‘Ouse Tarkanan”, right? Wants ter be one of the noble ‘ouses, wiv all titles an shit. They’ll play “‘ospitality in my ‘ome”.

Well, we is gambling on that, anyway.

It’s a big day – it’s pretty much orlways a big day at the ‘ollow tower. There’s a griffin joust on, an Kashana lights up. I knows there is going ter be trouble. We gets taken ter a side door, and up some stairs an shit ter a private box, an there is this old moll there ‘oo, ter cut a long story sort, is not real pleased abaht our movin’ inter the Bazaar.

She asks me ter be direct, and then answers back orl in circles, like “I recently had some unwanted visitors in my house”. Typical. I should ‘ave said: “Lady, I is a bit fick, on account of I is a orc. You just asked me ter be direct wiv you, ow about you return the favour, eh?” Yer knows ‘ow it is. Wot I actually said was “Sorry, but I didn’t come ter the big city fer an easy life.” Gauthak tries ter loom over ‘er a bit, but I don’t even bother. Moll like that didn’t get where she is by bein orl terrified by big lads.

About this time someone says “Where the fuck is Idem?” and someone else says “What the fuck is that griffin rider doin?” One of the jousters ‘as jumped off ‘is griffin in midair and as tackled the rider on the other giffin. The arena is goin nuts. They is fuckin’ flying loop-the-loops, someone’s is just ‘angin on by the stirrups. Not proper joustin’ is wot I am sayin.

Now, I seen Idem run up and over a 50 foot wall, so I recognises the style. The moll calls over some boys, and it’s time ter leave. Gauthak shifts into ‘is bear shape an starts layin abaht. Eventually ‘e jumps out of the private box an starts getting stuck inter the citizenry.

Don’t remember wot Corves wos doin. I fink ‘e found anuvver bar. Might ‘ave ter keep an eye on that, if ‘e is hitting the bottle ‘arder than ‘e should. Tricky ter tell, ‘im bein a warlock an all.

Me ‘an Kashana takes advantage of the distraction ter head dahn ter the pens. While she tries ter find ‘erself a griffin, I looks for ‘ow we will get the fing out of ‘ere. I’m orlso finking abaht where the fuck we is going ter keep it. It’s goin ter have ter be at Lorne’s place, an I don’t know what ‘e is going ter fink. It bein ‘ot an all, we might ‘ave ter paint it.


Kashana fails ter persuade one of the griffins ter come wiv ‘er. I breathes a little sigh of relief, and we ‘eads back ‘ome, pickin up Corves on the way.

So, wot was orl that abaht, then?

Well, two fings. First, we ‘ave a nice ruby wot we can fence fer about 10 bags ‘o sand. Second, now we knows that ‘Ouse Tarkanan is based in Aref’s Folly. This means we can expand south ter Storm’old. Not a lot of action there, but a good strategic move, I fink. Below us at Precarious an Gallestan is orl the Sand King, wot we is mates wiv. Not sure ‘oo runs The Stores – if it ain’t the Sand King, then it’s probably Darsk, because that would complement their import/export business. Don’t want ter ‘ave a go at them yet – not wivout everyone back from the reaches.

So that’s the plan. Expand at The Bazzar, move souf inter Storm’old at some point in the future. If we take too much revenue from Tarkanan, they will ‘ave ter move upwards ter ‘Opes Peak, wot will probably set them against Boromir ‘oo runs most of the upper wards (Temples is very profitable). That could go either way, cause Boromir might come after us, wot I don’t want ter ‘appen.

Be good ter start seein some gold come in, wot with all the work ‘an expense.

GG4 – Crime rules

31 August, 2012

We spent a fair bit of session time working with the system in the “Crime Pays” supplement by Goodman Games. It was our first real played-out monthly cycle. Took a while to do, but mainly because we were unfamiliar with the rules. Once familiar with the system, turns should go a bit more quickly.

It actually seems like a nice little system. Not too complicated, and it throws out adventuring hooks for the DM to work with. It puts a little bit of structure around “Running a Criminal Empire in Sharn”.


A godfather runs a number of Mobs. Each mob works a neighborhood (a district in Sharn, more or less). Statistically, each mob has:

  • A Territory, which has
    • “law” dice, being the amount of attention you get from the law. Slums are 1d4, Noble Wards are 2d10.
    • “underworld” dice, being the amount of attention you get from rival gangs. Slums are 3d6-1, Noble wards are 2d10.
    • base income per month
    • Improvements you can build – a safe house, a beggars guild
  • Some stats that track the status of the mob
    • A “Respect” score – the respect you are given by other gangs. Our DM is not telling us what this is.
    • An “Infamy” score – the degree to which the law is interested in you. Our DM is also not telling us this.

    You want to keep your respect high, and your infamy low. Of course, most things you do to raise respect also raise infamy. That’s the game.

Wealth. Obviously – that’s the whole point.

  • Some derived stats
    • A “Muscle” score – how big your gang is.
    • A “Streetwise” score – how well you own your turf.
    • A “Defence” score – gang size and territory improvements.

    These stats apply to the DCs of certain types of crimes. Kidnapping is muscle vs DC, burglary is streetwise vs DC. Defence is the DC that rival gangs have to beat to act against your territory.

  • Personnel
    • A number of “coves” – replaceable mooks
    • A roster of “Made Men” – each of a particular type
    • Oldtimers – people that can no longer commit crimes (hands cut off) but that you maintain anyway.
  • Each “month”, you go through a sequence:

    1. DM Rolls a random event
    2. Law events and underworld events.
      Law events.
      You add the territory’s law dice and your infamy, and look up on a table. Your want to roll low. Law events vary from a minor fine being levied to the cirty declaring martial law and shutting your mob down

      Underworld Events
      You add your territory’s underworld dice and your respect, and look up a table. You want to roll high. Underwold events vary from full-on gang war, to kidnappings, to the other gangs paying you tribute
    3. Crimes. Each made man in the mob can be assigned a gang of coves and commit a crime. Burgulary, bribery, recruitment, etc. Different types of made men get bonuses that may be applied to beat the DC of the crime. A “Man at arms” has a “martial” bonus, which applies to kidnapping but not to – say – running a “racket”. (note that you need 10 coves not committing crimes to run a district, and not all made men can commit crimes).
    4. Collect base income
    5. Adjust Infamy and Respect
    6. Recruitment. This is distinct from recruitment as a “crime”. It depends on the godfather’s charisma, and Korgul is not managing terribly well. Unless the DM wants to count his racial “strong-arm tactics” feat as permitting him to use Str rather than Cha.
    7. Pay everyone. 1gp for each cove and oldtimer, upkeep on district improvements, made men, and any ongoing bribes.

    And that’s the capsule summary. Apologies to everyone else at the table for monopolising the DM’s time. On the other hand, at our table I’m about the longest-serving player (besides Luke), so having just the one person doing this stuff makes things go a little quicker.

    I’ll do Korgul’s log as a separate post.

    GG4 – Gauthak holds his own

    24 August, 2012

    Andrew didn’t have a game ready to go, so it was a bit of an ad-libbed session. Fun, though.

    So me and some of the lads goes down ter firelight cos I wants a go in the boxing ring against that gnoll wot we saw last time we was down there.

    Well, there isn’t that gnoll in the ring, but there is this Minotar and he’s losin. So Idem gums up inter the ring, pulls the other bloke offim, and him and the minotaur goes inter the bar fer a chat. (I found out later that they ‘ad met during the prison break).

    I steps up and says I wants a fight, but no one is around oo is ready ter have a go. Then Marr steps out of the tavern and says he’ll fight.

    Now, we met Marr before and frankly I didn’t fancy my chances. But Gauthak reckons he is good ter go, so he hops in and I starts latin bets against ‘im, cos I’ll be frank – Marr gives me the willies.

    Marr lays down the rules – anything goes, and if Gauthak wins, ‘e can ‘ear a secret or get something nice.

    Meanwhile, C Dog [Nick’s character. I keep forgetting – Cervix? Corves! That’s it!] is shaking down ‘alfling pickpocket, wot the place is full of. He is trying ter find out ‘oo runs the district, but they is being pretty close abaht it.

    So that leaves me ‘an Kashana, oo proceeds ter have a game ‘o knuckles. [Basic attack vs reflex. No hp damage, just scoring points.]

    So Gauthak ‘its Marr an its on. There’s chunks of elemental earth flying, lighting, thunder – you name it. I think he breaks something serious on the first hit. Then Marr comes back – he is summoning shadow demons or some shit, laying down death effects. People in the crowd starts fallin unconscious an dyin, and the ones that aren’t dying are running – screaming chaos.

    Meanwhile, Corves ‘as a halfling by the collar and is usin’ his electric scourge ter whip ‘im. But he’s keeping mum – plucky little bloke. Me and Kashana is 2 to 1, my way.

    And Gauthak goes for Marr again – more lightning, boulders appearing out ‘o nowhere, the cobbles of the street animating and covering him in armour. Marr summons more dead things – more bystanders being killed. Corves is still whipping the halfling (or maybe he caught another one), and Kashana equalises.

    An I asks ‘er – “Kashana,” I says, “just out ‘o curiosity, oo enforces magic shit in Sharn?” And she says “Well, that would be the King’s Wand. Remember those guards that came to defend the prison? Like them, but with robes.” And I says, “Oh. Well, I ‘ope Gauthak and Marr finish up quick, then.”

    There’s a bit more lightning, and thunder, and earthquakes, and portals ter hell and shadowy chaos bein’ ripped open, an Marr goes dahn. And I beats Kashana three ter two. I looks around, but orl the people ‘oo ‘ad taken my bets against Gauthak is either dead or run orf, which is good.

    I considers if it would be wise ter kill Marr outright, but after a mo ‘is skull starts ter mend itself and orl the dead fluids starts ter gather itself tergether and seep back inter ‘is ‘ead. Lost opportunity, there.

    So I heads over ter Corves, and wot ‘es been doin ter this harfling – well, my stomach gave a bit of a flutter at the sight, which is saying something. I suggests ter Corves that I might ‘ave a word wiv ‘im, and I grabs ‘im, shakes ‘im a bit, and yells “Right! You tell me ‘oo runs this place, or I’ll give yer back ter C Dog!”

    [Andrew felt, at this point, that with my +22 to intimidate and the various circumstance bonuses – you know, being whipped mercilessly with a cattle prod, gates to hell opening up, etc – that he’d have to count it as an auto success.]

    So ‘e cries a bit, and tells me the Boromir Clan runs Firelight.

    Shit. I did not want to get on the wrong side of those bastards.

    I puts ‘im down, and tells ‘im ter loot the corpses. Then ‘andsome ‘ank shows up. So I tells ‘im “Oh officer! Thank the gods you ‘ave arrived! It were terrible!” and I don’t fink I would ‘ave fooled anyone else. But it wos good enough for ‘im. Cos he is stupid as the proverbial.

    He ‘eads inside an people start buying him drinks and telling ‘im how great he is. Then Kashana tells me something very, very interestin’. Handsome Hank ‘as some kind of enchantment onnim. She says it is like a glamour, wot I don’t know wot that is, but she seem ter. She’s keen ter disenchant ‘im and see wot happens. I says, well – if yer can be discrete.

    So she does, and wot der yer know – people start drifting off an ignoring ‘im, the barman actually tells ‘im ter pay fer the drinks.

    Now, url we need ter to is engineer some way of doing this again somewhere where it is going ter cause maximum embarrassment, cos I ‘ate that prick.

    Gauthak comes back, lookin pleased wiv ‘imself. I finds Idem and the minotaur, and we all pisses orf before the rozzers come down and starts arsking awkward questions.

    In addition, we also found out that the districts around us at mid level are all controlled by House Tarkanan, which is what we expected. No criminal-empire building beyond that, though.