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Author Topic: [Elfs] My Apartment Con & Elfs  (Read 1979 times)
epweissengruber
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« on: April 14, 2006, 08:35:20 PM »

I have run Slave Pits of the Undercity ret-conned for Donjon.  This weekend, for the IndieRPG Toronto group, I ran it for Elfs.  I was pleased with the level of invention shown by the players.  We got through the first level of the dungeon, but not the second.  We used freeform roleplay to settle what would have happened at the end.

I have chosen to post a few notes here to guide anyone who wishes to use this scenario in an Elfs game and to record our group's observation of Elfs in play.

Elfs demands a high level of full body participation in the game.  I watched players do all sorts of amazing mime and vocalization to get across the antics of their Elfs.  It was the most fun WATCHING a group of roleplayers that I have had in a long time.

I ran the slaver as an entrepreneur dealing with different kinds of management problems.  The half-orc workforce was being replaced by a group brought across the border illegally -- the border between life and death, that is.  The half-orcs were resentful of their gradual replacement and by being at the beck and call of the foreign management and their cold, inhuman style.  Management consisted of a group of ambitious Insect Men who, during their off hours, were studying for their MSAs (Master of Slave Administration). 

We never got to where the players could confront the officers of the slavery enterprise.  They were to be the evil inversions of the stock adventurer characters outlined in the Elfs rulebook.  Their customers were a bunch of hoity-toity fancypants elves from the Island of the Blessed Immortals who were looking for slaves to do the cooking, cleaning, and maintainance that the fancy elves could not be expected to sully their hands with. 

It would have been nice to see what the snot-nosed runty degenerates would have done to their upity relatives.  Maybe some other time.

Original module may be found here:
http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=1059
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epweissengruber
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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2006, 08:52:17 PM »

IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIPS

SLAVER
- wants to run a business
- experimenting with undead as a cheap labour source
- distrusts his partners
- really would like the slave handoff to go well.


SLAVE CUSTOMERS
- folks who expect to get a good deal
- super-rich elves from the last island of the blessed (which scuzzy elves like you lot are not permitted to visit)

HALF-ORCS
- sullen , xenophobic, blue-collar
- lazy
- like to drink
- hate the undead who are stealing their jobs
- resent these hotshot new insect guys
- will never trust an elf, though

UNDEAD
- exploited by their overlords
- illegally brought across the border between life and death by cleric
- they are unhappy but do what they are told
- Zombie Chavez has a Zombpatean attitude

INSECT MEN
- eager to work 14 hours a day
- want to save up and take time of for MSA studies (Master of Slave Administration) but some are doing it part-time

GIANT ANTS
- a nuissance
- Slaver has been meaning to get an exterminator but doesn’t want to drive up the overhead

CHARACTER CARDS
* these can be put easily into a table in a wordprocessing application and cut into conveninetly-sized cards for easy access
* most are original, some are direct steals from the Elfs rulebook

Human rules:
Immune to Low Cunning or Dumb Luck
* need 3 successes to defeat
* standard armour 2 or  heavy armour 6
* some have arbitrary magical abilities

HEROIC PARTY
* they want to free the slaves and loot the dungeon
* they are self-righteous and self-serving
* after they have met the player Elfs a couple of times, have their dead bodies pop up at various points in the dungeon

Location: Anywhere
HEROIC LADY: Arianet-Alynn Goldfallow
Immune to Dumb Luck
* need 3 successes to defeat
* standard armour 2
* failiure to hit = 2 damage
* Genital-stage elf will automatically take 1 damage for every round spent fighting her
Gold Pieces: d10 x 6

Location: Anywhere
HEROIC WARRIOR: Gelrick
Immune to Dumb Luck
* need 3 successes to defeat
* heavy armour 6
* failure to hit = 2 damage
Gold Pieces: d10 x  6

Location: Anywhere
HEROIC MAGICIAN: Jebediah Darklock
Immune to Low Cunning
* need 3 successes to defeat
* standard armour 2
* inevitable first magic strike hits for 1 damage unless character makes a saving throw versus Dumb Luck
* later magic zots hit for 1 damage unless character makes a saving throw versus Dumb Luck + Spunk
* failure versus Darklock = 1 damage
Gold Pieces: d10 x 6

HEROIC THIEF: Felith
Immune to Low Cunning
* need 4 successes to defeat
* standard armour 2
* inevitable first theft of a character’s possession unless character makes successes on Spunk.  Hidden thief has to be discovered through Dumb Luck only.
Gold Pieces: d10 x  6

HEROIC CLERIC: Reclic
Immune to Dumb Luck
* need 4 successes to defeat
* standard armour 2
* inevitable first magic strike hits for 1 damage unless character makes a saving throw versus Dumb Luck
* later magic zots hit for 1 damage unless character makes a saving throw versus Dumb Luck + Spunk
* can heal if Elf makes a 3 successes on Spunk
Gold Pieces: d10 x 5

1ST FLOOR: ABANDONED TEMPLE OF EVIL GOD
* monsters up here are low ranking and divided between the old-guard "unionized" orcs and the new "undocumented" illegals

Location: Dry Floor            Gold: d10 x 4
SPECTRE
Moaning ghosts roam the place
It takes 4 successes to defeat one, but all four must be in a row.
They can be dissuaded from attacking by giving them what they cry for
- blood
- sex
- an unwilling sacrifice
These have no long term consequences, except for the sex in which case the Elf (of whatever gender) will give painful birth to a baby spectre in a few minutes

Location: Dry Floor
SKELETON
- 1 success to kill
- 1 point of armour
- failure to hit dings elf for 1 spunk
- Anything sharp only gets 1/2 success
Gold Pieces: d10 x 2

Location: Dry Floor
GHOUL
- 4 success to kill
- 2 point of armour
- failure to hit dings elf for 2 spunk
- after first touch, Elf loses 1 Dumb Luck until Ghoul is killed
Gold Pieces: d10 x 6

Location: Dry Floor
SUNDEW
- Hard to Kill: 10 successes
- Final 3 points must be lost to 3-in-a row successes
- 2 point or armour
- limitless multiple attacks
- failure to succeed = 1 hurt
- After the first hurt, the Elf’s bare skin will be exposed
- this is a perv Sundew
Gold Pieces: d10 x 13

Location: Dry Floor
ORC
Large and tough, in comparison to a pathetic or snivelling Elf.
* 8 successes to defeat
* 2 spunk damage on a successful hit
Abilities: the final 2 must be in a row or at once
Painfully stupid: Low Cunning gets x2 value against them
LETHAL opponent
Gold Pieces: d10 x 8
Location: Dry Floor

1/2 ORC
Like a goblin.  They run in packs and ambush.  They are weak and snivelling but they carry treasure
* 2 successes to defeat them
* 1 arnour
* Low cunning does not work against them while it is night or the folks are underground, in which case all the successes to defeat them must occur at once or in a row.
Gold Pieces: d10 x 3

Location: Dry Floor
REAPER
Skull-faced spectre that follows murderous characters about.  The minute the character lets up, the reaper attacks.
* number of successes to defeat = 6 + the foes killed by elf in reaper’s presence
* abilities: does 2 Spunk damage on attack
* the Reaper is LETHAL
Gold Pieces: d10 x 6
Location: Dry Floor

HARPY
Filthy, gooey women
Attack the filthiest, gooiest little Elf in the bunch
* number of successes to defeat = 2 per number of harpies in the flock (1 per players)
* abilities: vulnerable to fire attacks, each attack w. fire gets a +1 bonus, killing Harpy at close range means being covered in sticky glue that will turn hard in a few minutes
Gold Pieces: d10 x 3
Location: Dry Floor

EVIL PRIESTESS: Elivereccli
Immune to Dumb Luck
* need 4 successes to defeat
* standard armour 2
* inevitable first magic strike hits for 1 damage unless character makes a saving throw versus Dumb Luck
* later magic zots hit for 1 damage unless character makes a saving throw versus Dumb Luck + Spunk
* can heal if Elf makes a 3 successes on Spunk
Gold Pieces: d10 x 7

2nd FLOOR: GOOEY FLOOR (lots of sewers, slimy caves, etc.)

Location: Gooey Floor
INSECT MEN DRONE
* 4 successes to defeat
* 2 point armour
* 2 elves must attack at any one time, or successes are halved
* anything involving Fire gets double success (does not obviate the preceding rule: a solo elf with a torch does normal damage)
Gold Pieces: d10 x 5

Location: Gooey Floor
INSECT MAN COW
- docile and mild
- 8 successes to kill
- 1 spunk per failure
- It secretes a vile poison
- Can shoot spooge of goo at 1 character per round
- 3 successes are needed to avoid puking unstoppably for the whole scene and sporadically for the near future.
Gold Pieces: d10 x 9

QUEEN ANT
- The monster is quite dangerous
- 2  point of Armour,
- 8 successes to kill
- 2 spunk per failure
- It secretes a tasty honey
- Once a character is hit, it will receive a spooge of goo to its mouth
- 3 successes are needed to avoid becoming a licking, foaming goo slave for the duration of the turn
- Oral Elves, once addicted, must win another 3 successes to get the stuff off.
Gold Pieces: d10 x 12
Location: Gooey Floor

WARRIOR ANTS
- Only attack if someone has taken damage
- 10 to kill, collective rating of 10 successes to kill
- only do 1 spunk damage per failure
- after 1st attack, character will lose spunk as they glom on and don’t let go.
- it takes 3 successes to get rid of glommed-on ants
Gold Pieces: d10 x 12
Location: Gooey Floor

SLAVER MASTER: (Anti-Thief)         Gold: d10 x10
Immune to Low Cunning
* need 4 successes to defeat
* standard armour 3
* inevitable first theft of a character’s possession unless character makes successes on Spunk.  Hidden thief has to be discovered through Dumb Luck only.
* +1 injury per failure
* Save vs. Dumb Luck or trained blood weasels wound you for 1
* Save vs. Low Cunning or trip on 1 of his booby traps
Gold Pieces: d10 x
Location: Gooey Floor

SLAVER ASSISTANT 1: Anti-Heroine: Tenaira-lynna Wallowga
Immune to Dumb Luck
* need 3 successes to defeat
* standard armour 2
* failiure to hit = 2 damage
* Genital-stage elf will automatically take 1 damage for every round spent fighting her
Gold: d10 x 6

SLAVER ASSISTANT 2: Anti-Warrior: Krigelcur
Immune to Dumb Luck
* need 3 successes to defeat
* heavy armour 6
* failure to hit = 2 damage
Gold Pieces: d10 x 6

Location: Gooey Floor
SLAVER ASSISTANT 1: Anti-Magic User: Ockdar Kledjediah
Immune to Low Cunning
* need 3 successes to defeat
* standard armour 2
* inevitable first magic strike hits for 1 damage unless character makes a saving throw versus Dumb Luck
* later magic zots hit for 1 damage unless character makes a saving throw versus Dumb Luck + Spunk
* failure versus Darklock = 1 damage
Gold Pieces: d10 x 6

SLAVER CUSTOMERS: Fruity High-Class elves from Enchanted Elf Island
Immune to Low Cunning
* need 6 successes to defeat
* standard armour 3
* some have arbitrary magical abilities
* every failure gets +1 damage
* magic item: 3 success versus Dumb Luck to avoid a zap of 1
* enchanted weapon: save spunk luck or get a zap of 1
Gold Pieces: d10 x 11

SLAVES
- Addicted to ant goo
- On being removed from the pens they get all testy
Immune to Dumb Luck
* need 3 successes to defeat
Gold Pieces: 0 – they are slaves!









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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2006, 08:54:04 PM »

Hooray!!

Have you seen these threads? [Elfs] Slavers beware! and [Elfs] It's about the aspis queen.

Come on, tell us - what was the most heinous moment? When you realized you weren't playing a light little parody but actually were seeing into the depths, and I do mean depths, of your friends?

Best, Ron
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epweissengruber
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I like games! and theory! and The Forge!


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« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2006, 08:58:45 PM »

Damn!

No, I hadn't seen those.

It was interesting the extend that "goo" and "licking" became subject to the sick whims of the Oral and Genital Elfs.

But I am amazed by how good the mechanics are at demanding verbal, gestural, and descriptive creativity.

The game is pretty demanding.  Every roll requires a creative response by the players and there are a lot of rolls.
We were all pretty drained by the end of things.
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epweissengruber
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Posts: 311

I like games! and theory! and The Forge!


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« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2006, 09:10:31 PM »

My players got the ghouls to turn on the half-orcs.  They reasoned that with all of the marauding by the humans going on, the ghouls could savage the halfies and put the blame on the intruding PCs.

That is what I like to see in an Elfs game.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2006, 06:20:33 AM »

Hi Erik,

Let's talk about timing, pacing, adventures, and sessions when playing Elfs. It was designed based on strong memories of my experiences with late-70s, early-80s AD&D ... in which a session could consist of half a fight to two fights at most, usually spread over four to six hours. In playing Elfs, the best way as I see it is to beef up that content just a little, and cut down the play time by about half. So, play two or three encounters of one sort or another, then stop, having played for probably two and a half hours.

If you try to keep going instead, which is not unreasonable in the heat of the moment because people are having fun, everyone will get a lot more tired a lot quicker than they expected. Given the fun prep and the immense potential for chaos in the second "phase" of an adventure like Slave Pits (i.e., after the elfs have really put an oar into whatever is going on, for everybody involved), it's better to attack that part of play when refreshed.

The sample adventure in the book was written based on one small encounter in an old module ... the one with the tropical island, "Isle of ..." something, I can't remember. I made it snowy instead of hot, although you can see the referential joke in making the snow-elfs immune to cold and thus dressed like Hawaiians. Anyway, my point is that I didn't try to run the whole freakin' island in one night.

Best, Ron
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jaw6
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Posts: 30


« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2006, 06:01:40 AM »

I was one of the players in Erik's game (Jojoba: Spunk 3, Cunning 1, Luck 3 - played as a clueless dummy).

Erik - I think we realized this during play, but anyway - I think we needed some gamist-y motivations at the outset. (The fictional justification - "the barkeep sends you on a geas" was fine, but something more gamey/mechanical would have helped, I think.) A little "Your objective is to get coins; by killing & looting monsters, or stealing from your buddies" would've gone a long way. We even completely forgot to loot the first few monsters.

Hmmm... I had fun, but I'm not sure how I felt about Elfs at the end of the game; a little "take it or leave it", maybe. Maybe because I didn't spend my infantile years playing D&D, I don't share the same in-joke stereotypes (though I'm vaguely familiar with what they are, they just don't resonate with me, I suspect, the way they do for some).

On another level, I've played D&D with "adults", whose play would be indistinguishable from Elfs - and I never went back to that group again. In that sense, I'm not sure what positive things I got out of Elfs.

Hrm, but that makes it sound like I didn't have fun. Which I did, but in the silly, Toon-like acting & narrating moments.
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- Joshua Wehner
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2006, 08:16:42 PM »

Hello,

You guys might be interested to know that, although I played a fair amount of AD&D as a young teen, I didn't like it much, and never played in a long-term campaign or brought a character up from level 1 to 10+, or anything like that.

My primary irritation has nothing to do with Elfs, but rather with issues of my background with fantasy fiction, mythology, and similar that aren't to the point in this discussion. The secondary irritation was that the game being played seemed to be nothing at all like that implied, illustrated, and for which sources were cited in the books.

Elfs is my articulation of the game that was really being played. It was a functional game at least part of the time, best described as nearly-Hard Core Gamism, with a strong emphasis on Turnin' and mild Calvinball, mainly. My frustration came from the fact that no one ever really admitted that this was really what was happening, and that "loss" was such a severe setback that there really was no point in playing.

Every rule in Elfs reflects the specific and actual resolution system and reward system for that covert game being played under the aegis of "D&D." I found a way to permit the functional bits of the Hard Core without opening doors for the dysunctional remainder of the Hard Core. The result was twofold.

1. Fairly light, satiric content: a version of "fantasy" which never existed outside of adolescent-D&D mindset, regardless of the ages of the players.

2. Rapid, creatively-demanding Gamist play based on sequential set-pieces, with a strong focus on immediate, fleeting advantage and long-term bragging rights, from which the loser of the moment is well-equipped for jumping back in the fray.

Now, the interesting thing from an author's standpoint is that, as I said, I wasn't a practiced veteran at this particular activity back in the day. I'm not recovering my nostalgic days of yore in writing Elfs, I'm exorcising a particular bemused horror at it - and also finding a few things in it to love, as long as the satiric scalpel is included too. Satire is brutal stuff; playing Elfs kicks the historical covert-thing underlying that kind of D&D right in the nuts, every time.

So Joshua, I understand where you're coming from. Since you have neither nostalgic (yet perhaps painful) memories of actually playing like that, nor the prolonged contact with it in the sense of being trapped with these people or not getting to play at all, there's no deeper commitment to Elfs' content waiting to be tapped in your mind. A lot of people react to Elfs almost with tears of joy - at last, they get to play in that fashion with a real reward system and without the fear of the dysfunctional Hard Core, and they also get to kick that mode of play in the nuts like they've been longing to do for oh so long. I see that a lot at conventions.

On the other hand, since Elfs is a well-constructed little Gamist rules-set, if I do say so myself, it ends up offering a fun chance for creative competition and enjoyment of the wacky situations for their own farcical sake. I can see how that wouldn't sustain much interest in playing Elfs a lot, but hey - as you say, it was a fun time, although not, for you, hitting deeper into the stuff I discuss above ('cause that's not you). That makes sense to me.

Best, Ron
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