Roleplaying: Merrie England - setup

This is to announce a restart of my roleplaying game, set in Merrie England.
The first one (@ ) fizzled out, though I enjoyed running it, especially as the players showed originality and inspiration!

Looking back, I think for an online game I had too many players (8) and also made it too wide-ranging – in the sense that the players could go anywhere and a plot would emerge.
So I’m going to try with just 4 players* and a clearer guide to the next objective. (But if the players want to strike out on their own, I will cope!)

*already chosen, but if anyone wants to be a reserve, do let me know.

This thread is for:

  • spectator, player and DM witty comments
  • lengthy rules queries and explanations
  • anything else that isn’t the game itself

The game thread is for actions and short technical questions only.

This will be a 1st edition D&D game, with the background of rural England. So elves, magic weapons and dragons will mingle with church spires, pubs and village greens… (There will be no cricket!)
There will be as much roleplaying as combat. Player characters will have both weapon skills and non-weapon proficiencies. Character histories and backgrounds are going to be helpful.
The dice will take a back seat to the roleplaying and experience will be awarded for achieving story goals and amusing the DM – as well as traditional combat. There will be few as complications as possible (e.g. no weapon v armour adjustment tables).
All monsters will come from the Monster Manual, and all the character races and classes from the Players handbook (plus a couple of my own design).

Players who know Tolkien books and rural England will spot familiar references and are welcome to make suggestions and give advice. N.B. This is a team effort.
The party will be Good and mainly Lawful (i.e. no Evil or Chaotic Neutral characters).

Characters will start with 35,000 experience points. Note that classes advance at different rates (generally single-class Thieves are quickest, then Clerics, Fighters, Magical Casters and lastly multi-class characters).
Characters will start with a few magic items. These will all be based on spells. There will be the usual (+1) weapons, armour, cloaks and rings as well as items like a Rod of Cure Light Wounds or a Wand of Ventriloquism.
Each class has its Guild, which arranges training (and spells for the Casters).

The party consists of:

Boadicea , a female human Paladin
Hallstein, a male gnome Fighter/Illusionist/Thief
Gislsson, a male half-Elven Ranger/Magic User
Bergthor, a male human Fighter -> Cleric

They will be assembling in the charming rural town of Oakham in the County of Rutland. They have been asked to help High Priestess Edith Weston of the Church of Heimdall…

Gislsson checking in.

So how do I pronounce my name?

Be warned, I am now expecting witty comments as mentioned in your preamble. :wink:


I’d be up to give Boadicea a shot, if you haven’t filled that slot yet.

Since the game already seems to be filled, I’d love it if you could put me on the reserve list. :slight_smile:

Whoops, I misread that. If a slot ever opens, let me know.

What Exit?, I pronounce it Giz - el - son, but I’m no expert. (It comes from the Norse Gisil meaning ‘arrow shaft’.)
P.S. I only said I would put my witty comments here, not that I would make any! :smack:

appleciders and Omi no Kami, thanks for your interest. :slight_smile:
You are both now on the reserve list, but please don’t get your hopes up. (As I said, I’m sticking to just 4 players this time and I’m confident the chosen players are jolly keen to play. :cool:)
But do enjoy the game, which will start shortly. :smiley:


  1. please look carefully at your character history and specific knowledge (did someone say ‘plot element’? :wink: )

  2. Once the adventure is under way, please state what spells you are loading each day. It will be helpful to use blue for spells throughout:

‘With a flourish, Arthur Grimshaw unleashes his Pyrotechnics spell on the camp fire’

with green for comments or short questions for me:

Does my character know what Basilisks eat?

  1. When giving your orders, please feel free to give as much (or as little) detail as you want. Since we’re not all face-to-face + playing a continuous session, it’s necessary to simplify things.
    So saying:
    ‘I ask the shopkeeper for a discount’
    is fine, as is:
    ‘I say “Our mission is to bring peace and security to this lovely countryside. Wouldn’t you like to be a part of that? Now if you can sell us those horses at a discount, you’ll be a part of history!”

In combat, a general description of your actions will be fine e.g.
‘I charge in, attacking the most dangerous-looking fighter and using my Warhorse to attack as well.’
‘I concentrate on enemy spell-casters, using missile and magic to stop them casting.’
‘I will fight (helping any outnumbered colleague), but be ready to break off to cast Cure Light Wounds.’

  1. The Deities used are Norse with an occasional non-human one (e.g. Heimdall, Odin, Thor, Loki - and Moradin of the dwarves)

  2. Marching orders are not really necessary, since the party is both small and full of experienced characters. I will assume that any weaker travelling companions are being protected.

(For those of you who like statistics, here is the average of all the character characteristics:

Constitution (15.7)
Wisdom (15.3)
Strength (12.8)
Dexterity (12.5)
Intelligence (11.8)
Charisma (10.5)

Average HP comes out at 37.8)

My next few posts here will be guidance on things like Ethics, Mounts and Magic. They’re mainly to show my style – please don’t feel weighed down by loads of rules!

Boadicea, checking in.

As a note to the DM, my warhorse’s name is now Shadowfast. (With apologies to Tolkien, but names have power, and said horse needs to be swift and as hard to hit as a shadow…)

I’ve got my virtual dice ready – let the game begin!

  • Open Boadicea.doc
  • Replace All ‘Chariot’ with ‘Shadowfast’
  • Save Boadicea.doc


I will give our last two players as much time as they need to sign up and check in, then start the game.
meantime, here’s more stuff to read…

Every DM handles ethics in their own style – here are some examples of mine…

Very few of my monsters are inherently and incontrovertibly evil.
**Evil priests / shamans, Assassins, Beings from Evil planes, Dragons named by their colour **(e.g. Red, Blue) are permanently evil.
They will never surrender and if overpowered will beg to be swiftly killed (since their Evil Patron will do much worse to them, since as prisoners they are an ‘embarrassment’ to the Patron.)

Other Evil monsters may be persuaded into at least Neutrality, provided they are treated fairly and given some good reasons to change lifestyle. (There’s often a reward for this from Good Churches.)

Of course any criminal can be handed over to the authorities for trial. (There’s sometimes a reward for this from grateful locals.)

If the party are in a dangerous situation (e.g. down a dungeon) and could be injured/killed while trying to cope with many prisoners, they may petition their Gods for permission for a swift execution. (This is invariably instantly granted, since the Evil monsters have caused the whole problem.)

The good guys (e.g. the party) need some reason to attack.
For example, the party can instantly act in self-defence or if they know their opponents are guilty of serious crimes such as kidnapping, proposed human sacrifice and worshipping an Evil God.
The party are fully entitled (on any of the above grounds) to attack without warning, using lethal force, claim any treasure found and even ask for a reward*.

*if they find an item that belongs to someone who is not evil, they should try to return it. Of course there will be a reward…

And I should’ve said, he should be as hard to DAMAGE as a shadow is… shadows are fairly easy to hit, after all.

Shadowfast, a specially summoned Paladin’s mount, is a highly intelligent version of a battle trained warhorse. :cool: He automatically gets respect (or fear) from normal horses, so can (for example) take charge of the party’s mounts if needed.

He gets a bonus to his defence based on his speed, so has the equivalent Armour Class of Leather. (If you want to buy him Barding - which improves his defence - then ask at any stables.)

Shadowfast has about as many hit points as a tough 3rd level Fighter. :slight_smile:

Of course whenever Boadicea rides him, Shadowfast gets her bonus defence v Evil (and the Paladin can easily Lay on hands to cure her mount with a touch).

I give some more stuff on riding + horses below…

Riding notes:

There are three main categories of horse: wild, tame and battle-trained. (There are of course also different sizes and breeds - from fast ponies to strong carthorses.)

Wild horses can only be approached with Speak with Animals (spell) or **Animal Training **(NWP).
Tame animals can be bought and ridden. They are fine just riding about, but may well be spooked by fire, loud noises or combat.
Battle-trained horses (expensive!) will not only ride into combat, but some will fight as well.

The rider’s ability:

With no Riding Skill, a character can only cling onto the back of a tame or battle-trained horse. (They cannot get a battle-trained horse to fight.)
They cannot fight or cast on horseback.
Their horse must be stationary for them to mount and dismount.

With Horse Riding, a rider can swiftly mount and dismount (their tame or battle-trained horse must be stationary).
They can guide their mount with their knees, and get a battle-trained horse to attack (so the rider can attack too).
They can cast, as long as the mount is not galloping.

With **Advanced Horse Riding **the rider can do everything as in Horse Riding, with these extras:

  • a rider can swiftly mount and dismount and strike a blow as well.
  • a rider can urge his mount to extra speed for a short while (but must let it rest later).
  • a rider can drop down, hang alongside and thus use his horse as a shield bonus Armour Class, although in this case the horse will be hit instead).
    The rider has a rapport with horses, can identify their afflictions and determine the quality of any horse (e.g. on sale).

Hallsteinn checking in.

I’ve got my SDMB account created. By way of proof, I offer this fine message!

I’ll give a prod to the Fighter/Cleric so we can all be set to go.

To start off, I’ll cast Illusion on Hallsteinn being very heroic and earning gobs of experience so I can get the jump on everyone else :smiley:


Welcome to the SDMB. :smiley:

On the one hand, your use of blue for spells is a fine start. On the other, you couldn’t make Hallstein look heroic using an illusion. (Even a Limited Wish probably couldn’t manage that! :p)

Here’s a guide to how I award experience points (xp) to the characters:

  • everything is shared equally between the party members (it’s a team game)
  • any companions get separate xp ( i.e. it doesn’t come out the party share.)
  • defeating monsters gets an award based on the danger
  • treasure also counts (but there is a maximum - so you can’t get more xp for treasure than the monsters were worth)
  • achieving roleplaying ‘goals’ gets an xp award
  • making the storyline ‘interesting’ (by interacting with the locals, spotting references in your character background or just doing something original all count.

Your character doesn’t need time to train. When there is a suitable moment in the adventure, I’ll make an xp award and anyone going up a level immediately gets the extra hp and all other bonuses.
N.B. When an MU (or Illusionist) goes up, they get a free spell to add to their book. This is delivered by their Guild and is free. The only obligation is that the spellbook of a deceased MU (or Illusionist) belongs to the Guild and must be returned (for a small reward, naturally). Keeping a book will attract … reprisal!

A few final points:

All characters speak Common (the local language) and can identify others sharing their alignment (e.g. Neutral Good) using secret gestures. Most intelligent monsters speak at least some Common, but everyone prefers their own language. Non-human player characters will speak some other languages (e.g. elf, orc,) and a good Intelligence characteristic gives the player a few extra languages too.

All non-humans can see some distance in the dark (using infravision). A bright light or a heat source will spoil this.

All four player characters are members in some way of the Fighter-class, so can Specialise in their favourite weapon, getting +1 to hit and damage. This happens every three levels (i.e. at 4th , 7th etc.)

Only a character with a **Thief **class can use two weapons. They must be the same and reasonably small (i.e. Hand Axe, Club or Dagger). For example, Elvish or Gnomish Scouts can use two short swords.
N.B. If the character is both a Fighter and a Thief, they can use a Specialisation to do better with both weapons wielded.

Only Rangers have tracking. A character who can train (or speak to) animals could use e.g. a trained dog to track.

Clerics simply meditate briefly each morning to learn spells. They can learn any spell of a level they can cast.
**Magic Users **and Illusionists have to read their spellbooks daily (also briefly) to learn spells. (If they don’t cast a spell one day, it remains in their mind. They can either keep it, or learn another instead.)
All these spellcasters must specify which spells they learn each day. They cannot ‘substitute’ spells, e.g. change a memorised Bless spell to an extra Cure Light Wounds.
There are Magic Potions (usable by anyone), plus Scrolls and Devices (both of these two are only usable by the class that can cast the spell).

Detect Magic discovers all magic nearby and also gives level and type of spell (e.g. 1st level MU)
Identify is available to all Casters and Healers and works on one spell / round (which can be running, or held on a Potion, Scroll or Device. N.B. A character with Spellcraft can try to spot a spell being cast or running. However they have no clue about Potions, Scrolls or Devices.
Dispel Magic uses an Identify (or Spellcraft) result to Dispel one spell completely. It always succeeds.

(Thanks for reading this far!)

Welcome to the Straight Dope. I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to playing with you.

Here is a cast list.
I will add to this occasionally – hopefully it will help everyone keep track of ‘who’s who’.

Boadicea, a female human Paladin (player character)
Hallstein, a male gnome Fighter/Illusionist/Thief (player character)
Gislsson, a male half-Elven Ranger/Magic User (player character)
Bergthor, a male human Fighter -> Cleric (player character)

Edith Weston - High Priestess of the Temple of Heimdall, Oakham
Sir Guy Gisbourne - Lord of the Manor of Rutland
Crumlin - Acolye, Temple of Heimdall, Oakham

I am here by way of Kruilla. So thank her…

This is my first time on a board so lets give Berg some XP for that since we seem to be handing it out for no reason.