Fate of the Norns

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 Post subject: Blizzards?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2020 10:19 pm 

Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:56 pm
Posts: 97
I have done a...subpar job thus far of emphasizing the apocalyptic environment. My players *always* forget that it’s always night, and I’ve done very little with the cold aspects. I’ve decided that a great way to drive home the cold and ice is with a blizzard. I want to run it as a skill challenge at some point when my players are trekking through the wilderness. They’d basically be taking turns making skill checks to find, get to, or make shelter or escape the storm. Certain number of successful skill checks passes the challenge, and everyone makes it to safety, while a certain number of failures means they’re stuck in the storm and bad things happen. I know what I want to do, im mainly looking for ideas on how to actually run it, though. Things like:

- possible solutions I should anticipate so I know how to adjudicate them
- check difficulties
- how many successes/failures to pass/fail the challenge
- consequences of failure
- ways to raise the stakes as the storm and the challenge go on

If it helps, I’ve got a Druid, a Nanus drake riding blacksmith, and a berserker with frost mauler gauntlets.

 Post subject: Re: Blizzards?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2020 9:37 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:38 am
Posts: 51
I have done what you're doing many times in games for the very same reason.

- possible solutions I should anticipate so I know how to adjudicate them

Things your players will try:

1. Make a Fire
Obvious starting point. But where are you hunkering down? On the road? In the woods?

2. Find a Cave
If there is one. If there are nearby mountains there's a good chance. Bonus - is it occupied by a grumpy bear? Or, does the bear return later after the party has set up camp?

3. Find a Cabin
If there is one. It depends how off the beaten path they are. Bonus - does the person who live there not want to share their warmth and food, and attempt to drive the party out? A murder hobo party will just kill the guy, but you can frame it so they'd feel really bad about it. Or, it can be a good example of them being honourable and abiding by the man's wishes...not super likely but it could happen.

4. Build an Igloo
This is a good idea. Igloos are actually very warm with a fire. But constructing an Igloo takes about two hours and a lot of specalised knowledge. Does anyone have Survival: Wilderness? Also, I don't know how much the Vikings know about igloos. The Laplanders and the Sumi, sure, but where are you on the map? Because the Vikings down south almost certainly lack this knowledge.

5. The Good Old: "But I have my winter coat on! That should count for something!"
To me this should not be a bonus; should be a penalty if you don't have it. Players will argue that they must have prepared for winter otherwise they wouldn't be going out, but there is separate pricing for winter gear, skiis, etc. in the books. If you know you want to do this, then make sure you remind your players before they leave civilization that there may be a storm HINT HINT and maybe they should make sure to have special winter gear. They'll start scheming and probably try and buy a dog sled and some other nonsense, but you can usually either get them on the right track or give them enough rope to hang themselves with.

6. Hunting in the Woods for Game
It's Fimbulwinter, so game is scarse, but you can try. Anybody hunting would get an an extra check for the cold being out there, on top of their ability to get something. Then there's the issue of carrying it back. If you've got a big meaty warrior hunting then maybe they can sling a young deer over their shoulder and walk back; otherwise they might need a sled. This invites a series of checks. Where is everyone else going to be in the meantime? Freezing to death outside?

7. Huttling Together Naked for Warmth
It's a good idea, and worth a boost to the check. The trick would be keeping the tone of the game where you want it to be and trying to mitigate the silliness of your player characters snuggling naked.

- check difficulties

I'd check for the effects of cold on party members in a sequence of maybe 3, 4, 5 difficulty? It depends who you have in the party. If somebody has Survival: Wilderness it makes a big difference.

- how many successes/failures to pass/fail the challenge

I'd limit the situation to 3 escalating checks asking for Physical runes to overcome the cold. Doing a set series drives home that it's an ongoing thing. I find that if you do more than 3 checks to survive some environmental issue going from here to there, it gets tedious.

- consequences of failure

Driving home the effects of the cold can be challenging. It depends how brutal you want to be with this. You could say:

- Pass all 3 or you freeze to death
- Pass only 2 you have hypothermia, take the Degeneraton contion
- Pass only 1 you are Impeded by your own freezing limbs

If you're going to be that cutthroat (cold-hearted?) I'd let everyone know the stakes beforehand. I'd even flat out say, once the blizzard starts and they're well and truly caught in it: "We're going to do a series of 3 checks to see how you handle the cold. If you fail all 3, I'm sorry, you freeze to death in the blizzard." It gives people a sense of urgency, and they start scrambling to make a fire and wiggling out any bonus they can get to survive the night - which is exactly what anyone would do in the situation.

If they inisist on being outside in the blizzard and toughing it out, I suppose you could treat it like a combat encounter, a "battle with the elements". For instance: "Another icy blow of wind sweeps past you, doing X damage." But I think it's probably more effective to impose conditions on the players (or make them pay runes to avoid them) like:

- In the open air of the blizzard? Check to avoid staring into the white of the wall of snow before you, and being Blinded
- Marching through the snow? Impeded. Additional physical effect to avoid frostbite.

That could be a really fun way to encourate players into seeking shelter if they don't get the urgency of it.

Anyway, those are my initial thoughts.


"What strength!! But don't forget there are many guys like you all over the world."

 Post subject: Re: Blizzards?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2020 10:17 am 

Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:56 pm
Posts: 97
This would have been a much better way of running it. I felt like I narrated things well, but I also felt like my players were well equipped to shut it down, so I was in a position where it was either “well this is over now” or “Yeah no that doesn’t work.” Like the frost mauler gauntlets on a berserker with resistance to blindness, that player felt he should be totally comfortable in the Arctic conditions. The Druid tried to open an inner sanctum, so I made it a skill check to keep concentration on the spell to see a) if you can open it at all and b) how big it is. Sorry, it’s only big enough for 2 people, not 3 people and a dragon. Blacksmith: can my nanus drake and I both use fire aura and beckon Muspellheim to keep warm? For now...

Ngl it was a little frustrating, but oh well. I’ll let them get a little distance from it and try again with some of your excellent suggestions. Thank you muchly.

Btw 1 thing I did with the challenge that was fun was have them be hunted through the blizzard by a pack of 20 snow serpents which were promptly devoured by a size 106 Jarnvid Wolf right when the party started panicking.

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