Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Preparing Sewer Rats, Part 3 (Equipment and Progression through Self-Debasement)

One of the main focuses with Sewer Rats is speed - fast character creation (thanks to Into the Odd), short sessions, that sort of thing. The other one is bureaucracy - Sewer Rats don't really get to make their own decisions, and they have a vertigo-inducingly huge chain of command telling them what to do and where to do it.

And you know what isn't fast? Spending half an hour searching through equipment lists and thinking about if you want a hammer and nails or another 50 feet of rope! And you know what has lots of bureaucracy? Being assigned equipment by some incompetent middle manager who doesn't have the faintest idea what Sewer Rats even do!

So, every time you complete a mission, more equipment is provided to your group.

If you complete only your primary objective, you roll 3 times on the table below per player, and each player can choose 1 item. If you complete both objectives, each player can choose two items. New characters are created entirely as written in ItO, and get all the equipment they normally would.

We are tracking ranged ammunition, using Usage Dice. Whenever you get new equipment, you have a 2-in-6 chance of having your weapon's Usage Die increased back to the default (1d8).

Digression: Sewer Rats House Rule #1
I've run a couple sessions of Sewer Rats using Into the Odd completely RAW, and now I am doing the OSR thing. Instead of the standard 3 stats, I'm using 4 - Vitality (STR + CON), Dexterity, Will, and Charisma.

I like having Charisma, because in the same way being smart can help you avoid a pit trap, but you still get a Dex save to avoid it, being persuasive should help you persuade someone, but you should still get a Cha check.

The change from Strength to Vitality is just because STR ended up being used for poison and disease saves anyway, so I wanted the name to reflect what it really was.

Of course, there are more house rules - disease stuff, healing changes, etc. These will be coming in the 4th and final Sewer Rats post, possibly next week (either that or another Sunless Horizon post, depending on the will of the people).

Another Digression: Using Useless Items
Loads of these items seem totally useless. Let them not be useless. If someone tries to distract a Hurtta with dried meat, get drunk to improve their Will saves, or change their clothes to help them with a VIT save against disease, let them. Sewer Rats PCs won't get many (if any) magic items, so getting use out of mundane objects is very important for keeping the game interesting.

1d100 Items from the Ratcatcher's Guild
  1. A bucket, with a large hole in the bottom.
  2. A single boot.
  3. An empty bottle.
  4. 1d4 pieces of chalk.
  5. A wooden 10' pole.
  6. A tattered shirt.
  7. 1d20 feet of rope.
  8. A bent trumpet.
  9. Half of a shortsword (1-3 handle end, 4-6 blade end).
  10. 1d4 bottles of beer.
  11. A cheap pair of pants.
  12. A shoddy hammer.
  13. 1d4 metal spikes.
  14. 1d20 caltrops.
  15. A broken musket.
  16. 2d4 candles.
  17. 1d6 pieces of dried meat.
  18. 1d8 matches.
  19. A blank book.
  20. A quill and ink.
  21. A whistle.
  22. 1d4 flasks of lantern oil (each lasts 5 Turns).
  23. 2d8 empty glass flasks.
  24. A lantern.
  25. 50' of rope.
  26. A net.
  27. An empty barrel.
  28. A pair of rusted manacles.
  29. A loaf of dense, dry bread.
  30. 1d20 pieces of paper.
  31. A crowbar.
  32. A chicken.
  33. A bucket.
  34. A pickaxe.
  35. A mirror.
  36. A shovel.
  37. A pair of heavy gloves.
  38. 1d4 sticks of unreliable dynamite (1d10 damage, 30' radius, 1-in-4 chance of detonating, 1-in-4 chance of detonating in the next 1d4 turns, 2-in-4 chance of nothing). If an explosive does not detonate, you can collect it and try to use it again.
  39. 1 set of Shield Armor
  40. 1 flask of acid
  41. 1 dose of antitoxin (cures poisons, but not diseases)
  42. A metal 10' pole
  43. A set of caltrops (covers 4 10' squares)
  44. 1 vial of rosewater (defends against airborne illnesses)
  45. 1d8 torches (each last 3 Turns)
  46. Heavy Plate (as Modern Armor, sinks)
  47. A full set of clothes.
  48. A handheld battering ram.
  49. 1d2 doses of dragon's blood - when consumed, be consumed by anger; +2 to attack and damage, must attack each turn, no defensive or subtle actions, must pursue fleeing opponents. Lasts 1d6 Turns, lose 1d4 VIT when it ends. (while called dragon's blood, it is actually created alchemically from far more mundane ingredients)
  50. 1 huge mining charge in a cart (2d10 damage, destroys walls, 100' radius, goes off 5 turns after the fuse is lit).
     51-60. Melee Hand Weapon (dagger, shortsword)

     61-70. Ranged Hand Weapon (pistol)

     71-80. Melee Field Weapon (pike, longsword)

     81-90. Ranged Field Weapon (musket)

     91-95. Melee Noble Weapon (rapier, sabre)

     96-100. Heavy Gun (arquebus). Heavy Guns have a 1d6 Usage Die instead of 1d8.

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  1. I was excitedly waiting for the next post in this series. And this didn't let me down, that's a darn good list of 100 mundane items! Is entry 45 a typo? 91d8 is a lot of torches...

    Under "Another Digression" you mention that Sewer Rats might never get magic items, but in ITO there's a pretty decent chance that a PC will start with an Arcana.

    You may be interested to know that Chris actually started using Charisma and a replacement for Will entirely since 2017.

    1. The entry 45 typo has been fixed (although if you want to deliver your PCs a cartload of 728 torches, be my guest).

      You're right about the non-scarcity of Arcana - I had forgotten about the fancier stuff you can get from character creation. The next post will have a bit about how to handle stuff the PCs retrieve in the dungeon (which is the only way they can get more Arcana), along with a load of other miscellaneous stuff.

      I had no idea Chris had started changing around the stats he uses - I've read a lot less of his blog than I probably should have before I bought his book.


Sunless Horizon

Sunless Horizon is the most self-indulgent setting I'll ever make, taking inspiration from Veins of the Earth , Axis Mundi , HMS Apolly...