Monday 22 March 2021

[BLOG] Great Tables of D&D History

...very pleased to meet you
The random element in D&D gameplay is one of the great, underappreciated design features of role-playing games. We rarely question its presence, and only notice it when it is absent from a particularly contrarian ruleset. Things could have gone differently: if RPGs had emerged from experimental theatre, randomness would presumably play a much lesser, even marginal role. But random chance in game, character generation, and game prep, is at the heart of the role-playing experience, responsible for a lot of its variety and unpredictability. “Roll a saving throw against poison” is one of the tense moments in any adventure – for a moment, the whole world stops as the fate of adventurers hangs in the balance, and great things are decided by the roll of a 20-sider.

Random and semi-random methods have added a curious layer of chance to running the game as well. The GM runs the game, but even with a pre-written adventure, he does not know exactly what game he will be running. What if the players blow a few crucial rolls and they cannot get through a particular locked door? What if the bad guys roll terribly, and a dangerous foe goes down in a few rounds of desperate melee? What if a random encounter is taken as a major clue, derailing the course of the campaign? These factors, even beyond player decisions, make sure we are kept guessing – and hopefully at the edge of the seat.

And of course, random generation is useful in preparing adventures, from the general framework to the room- or encounter-level descriptions. Random tables – used intelligently – take our mind where it would not go without prodding. What the computer people call “procedural generation” can determine a lot of incidental detail in a lot of CRPGs beyond the basic RNG – going all the way to the construction of random landscapes and political systems. But computers have not been given an imagination yet: they work fast, but they can only regurgitate and combine; they cannot truly create and interpret. And so, tabletop gaming’s random tables remain wedded to a combination of random rolls and the human personality. Your take on “ruined tower, giant snails, archives” will be different from mine, and from one random “seed”, we would build radically different worlds.

Of course, not all tables are created equal. We may try a lot, but we will gravitate to a few which are particularly useful.Some are plain better, more useful than others. This is why I present here my personal list of favourites, all of which I have used extensively due to their usefulness and longevity. No distinction is made here on the basis of age, nor official or unofficial status: tables are a meritocracy. However, there is no order to the choices in this final selection: all are great in their own way, and to rank them further would not be useful. So!

* * *

The Concept Generator: The Locations (Overview) Table (Tome of Adventure Design)

It would take long to sing the praises of the great ToAD, this modern classic of utility products, so let it suffice that its over 300 pages of tables is an inexhaustible mine of what the author, Matt Finch calls “deep creativity” – half-formed idea fragments which emerge into full-blown game material. Like Charles Foster Kane’s Xanadu, its treasures are endless. Someone in the middle, there is a four-page 1d100 table for the generation of random thrones. There is enough in that table alone to create and stock The Dungeon of Thrones, if you wanted to. That’s the kind of book the ToAD is. But there, among the tables for “complex architectural tricks”, “corpse malformations”, “religious processions and ceremonies”, and “mist creatures” – which I am sometimes using – there are some that come up all the time (such as a table collection for generating individual-, item-, location-, and event-based missions), and one that is beyond useful. And this is actually the first table in the book: the “Locations (Overview)” table.

The Locations Overview Table

This is a four-column 1d100 table to create basic concepts for major locations (there is one for dungeon complexes, dungeon rooms, and strange features, of course – the book scales down nicely). It could work as a module title generator, of the “Adjective Noun of the Adjective Noun” variety. I have been using this particular table since its original appearance in Mythmere's Adventure Design Deskbook, vol. 1., and found it a great companion for coming up with the initial building block of future adventures, or just interesting places to scatter in a campaign world. Consider these examples:
  • Moaning Chapterhouse of the Bat-Sorcerer
  • Collapsing Edifice of the Many-Legged Burrower
  • Dilapidated Castle of the Bitter Apparition
  • Aerial Cliffs of the Hyena-Keeper
I am not saying every one of these results does something for me right now, but three or four rolls almost always provide a basic framework to build on. I can imagine the Moaning Chapterhouse of the Bat-Sorcerer as a place in a campaign inspired by Clark Ashton Smith’s Hyperborea stories, and the Dilapidated Castle as a locale in a chivalric high fantasy/fairy tale setting. The other two, as the average result tends to be, is weird fantasy; the Aerial Cliffs are great, while the Collapsing Edifice just gives me “centipede monster lair”, and that’s not much added value. The other three, I could use. Sometimes, I take a folded paper sheet, and fill one page with random idea seeds that seem to fit my current mood, then build an adventure around them (The Singing Caverns from Echoes #01 was partially built with this method).

Of course, there is something about this table I have not noted yet: it is not just one table. It is followed by another identical d100 table with different keywords (Sinister Grotto of the Howling Wolves… OK, this is not much – but how about Fossilised Pagoda of the Mist-Pirates, the greatest wuxia OSR adventure never written?), and a two-column table that uses the “purpose approach” for truly weird but sometimes quite cool results (Skin Altar, Time-Well, Spider Separator [?], Perfume Pools [that’s a winner]). That’s a lot of stuff to work with. You could fill a mini-setting with adventures based solely on these tables, because why not.

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Muddle's Generator

The Wilderness Workhorse: Muddle’s Wilderness Location Generator

Yes, this is an internet tool, and you can try it for free, so go ahead. The ToAD, exhausting as it is, is not much focused on wilderness play, and its tables in this section are cool but just not as varied as the dungeon chapter. Muddle’s wilderness table is a good alternative. It combines nouns and adjectives into a list of 50 locations for your wilderness adventure. A lot of these results will be irrelevant to your current project, but you can check these and delete them, then replace them with a new batch of entries, repeat until you have the precise 50-entry roster you need. Here are the first few from the selection I got this time:

  • Deep Hills of the Elder Piller (sic)
  • Mausoleum of Adamantite Drows
  • Dreary Treasury
  • Inner Tomb
  • Skeletonelder Hole
  • Slimefist Tower

A lot need to be weeded out (I have developed a soft spot for Awful Peak, it is staying), and the vocabulary is much more limited than Mythmere’s thesaury (Sorry! Sorry!), but it is quick, cheap, and often does its job. You can use it to build. Deep Hills of the Elder Pillar sounds like the place where people possess a lot of good ol’ folksy wisdom, much of it involving goat sacrifice and non-euclidean things, Dreary Treasury is a place offering an interesting internal contradiction, and Inner Tomb either lies deeper in the wilderness, or it is a tomb with a hidden sub-section. And we have a cultist hideout at the end, I believe.

But that’s not all! Muddle’s set also has a dungeon room generator that’s almost as decent,  and you can force it to select by theme. The other tools are less useful, although the deity generator might make Petty Gods a run for its money (Grundermir Ratvoid, Dread Fiend of Bad Breath; Malumdrim Biscuitfinger, Queen of Ants; Asheeltrym Grumblespoons, Lord of Bannanas (sic); Mulelroun, Godess of Apples; and Grelderthul the Beautiful, Queen of Aggression is certainly a pantheon).

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The Implied Setting: Outdoor Random Monster Encounter Tables (AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide)

In the book that has everything, everyone will find something. Gary’s magnum opus is less methodical guidebook than an occult tome that teaches you, the fledgling DUNGEON MASTER, that horizons are infinite, and the true scope of the reaches far beyond a few narrow possibilities. Last evening, we looked up its advice on underwater combat after two characters fell into a deep pool inhabited by a water spider, and I am sure the “how much damage will I take in my armour type if I transform into a specific lycanthrope type” table has been useful to someone, somewhere – at least once in history.

When the DMG’s readers are asked which is the most important section in there, the teenage munchkin will say “Of course it is the magic items table! Here, have a vorpal mace and two Wands of Orcus!”. The journeyman will point to the dungeon dressing appendix – it is useful indeed – and the old-schooler will at once point to Appendix N for its listing of AD&D’s thematic roots, which we all know is better than the stupid dreck everyone else is reading. The connoisseur of obscure gems will note the “Abbreviated Monster Manual” from Appendix E. Bad people who need to be put on a watchlist will cite “the Zowie Slot Variant”. These are not bad answers, but for my pick, I would go with Appendix C, AD&D’s outdoor encounter system.

You encounter 2d6 Catoblepas

Random dungeon dressing and treasure tables help you fill your rooms, and Appendix N will help you develop a refined taste in genre literature; Appendix C gives you the most practical tool for AD&D’s implied frontier setting. We can appreciate the points of light concept because it gives us our points of light in the practical sense – not as aesthetic, but also as practical procedure. Random encounters, particularly when also used to populate wilderness areas, as in a hex-crawl, give you the gameplay texture to make expeditions in the outdoors varied, fun, and very hazardous. That is, they give you the everyday reality of travelling between two points on the landscape. Here is an expedition of six encounters moving between two cities separated by plains, then hills, a stretch of forest, more hills, marsh, then plains again, assuming one encounter occurring on each stretch:

  • Plains: Men, nomads (150), with 13 levelled Fighters between 3rd and 6th level, a 8th level Fighter leader with a 6th level subcommander, 12 guards of 2nd level, plus two lesser Clerics and a lesser Magic-User. Assuming the nomads do not force you back in town, or just take you as captives, we can move on to…
  • Hills: Elves (140), with 10 levelled Fighters of 2nd or 3rd level, 3 Magic-Users of 1st or 2nd level, and 4 multi-classed elves (4/5 level, plus a 4/8 leader). Let us not consider the giant eagles in their lair – the elves are bros, anyway. We share lembas and move on.
  • Forest: 2 Giant weasels, which are 3 HD creatures. Luck was with us, unless the encounter occurs by surprise, since giant weasels suck blood at a rate of 2d6 Hp/round. They have no treasure, but their pelts are worth 1d6*1000 gp, each enough to hire 100 porters for 10 to 60 months of work, or an army of 50 heavy footmen for the same time span!
  • Hills again: 16 Wolves, the basic unit of fantasy wildlife. They are 75% to be hungry when you meet them. Of course, they are hungry this time, too.
  • Marsh: this is a great place to meet a beholder, catoblepas, or other high-level monsters, but instead, we get Men, pilgrims (60), 9 Clerics of 2nd to 6th level, and a 8th level Cleric with a 3rd to 5th level assistant. There is 60% of 1d10 Fighters (random level, 1st to 8th), and 30% for a Magic-User of 6th to 9th level, but they are not here right now. Still, these badasses are travelling in the world’s most dangerous terrain type except mountains. Don’t screw with.
  • Plains again: 1 Huge spider, which is a good roll on 1d12, and fortunately, it is not the calf-sized 4+4 HD type, but the dog-sized 2+2 HD type. The only downside is that they surprise 5:6, which is a bad value, considering their poison is deadly.

Just a random encounter, bro!

After this trip, you start to appreciate those sexy harlot encounters in the city (and hope if it comes to worse, it is 8th to 11th level Thieves out for your purse, and not a Weretiger or a Goodwife out for your blood), and you start understanding why those points of light remain points, not larger blots, or why those pilgrims travel in groups of 10-100. It also puts your mind into a different frame than level-balanced games with random monsters numbering in the 1d4 or 1d8 range. You can’t fight all those roving death armies, and besides, it does not pay (weasel pelts excepting). You learn to scout, you learn to run, you learn to leave behind food to distract your pursuers (this scales up from rations to pack animals and fellow adventurers – as the great Grey Fox once shouted back to a companion stuck in a bad situation, “What ‘party’? The party is already over here!”), bribes of gold or good, old-fashioned bullshitting to tip over that reaction roll. You learn to grovel before that dragon, planning future revenge. You learn to plan an ambush to plunder that lair you just discovered, and carry away the best valuables. Welcome to the AD&D World Milieu!

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The Chad Sword & Sorcery Milieu: Ravaged Ruins (Wilderlands of High Fantasy / Ready Ref Sheets)

Wilderlands of Highly Awesome
So you got to know Appendix C, and suddenly gained a new understanding of AD&D. You are on a different level. Here is where it gets stranger. From the OD&D era, Judges Guild’s Wilderlands setting presents a truly bottom-up sandbox setting of minimal detail and high weirdness – recognisably D&D fantasy, but more “Appendix N” and Frazetta than the comparative classicism of Greyhawk or Steading of the Hill Giant Chief. The “High” in Wilderlands of High Fantasy might stand for something else than “Tolkienesque” here, even though the setting also has a generous helping of Tolkien pastiche – right next to old-school Star Trek, classical mythology, pulp fantasy, and Dark Ages Europe/Near East mini-kingdoms. It is just general fantasy enough to kick you out of your comfort zone when it turns out the Invincible Overlord has captured a stray MIG fighter, or that the dungeons under Thunderhold, castle of the Dwarf King have half-buried railway tracks and a gateway to Venus on their fourth level. The described Wilderlands is filled with odd, short idea fragments and juxtapositions, a few throwaway lines like

  • “Villagers charged with a centuries old oath to the ‘King of the Lost-Lands’, maintain an eternal bonfire atop a crag to warn ships off the hidden reef.”
  • “In a well hidden crypt is a ring of Brathecol, one of the kings of old Altantis. (sic –  ‘Altanis’ vs. ‘Atlantis’ is one of the strange ambiguities of the setting)) A stone golem is  guardian of the crypt which appears as a monolithic block of limestone.”
  • “The crystallized skeleton of a dragon turtle is buried on the sandy beach. The skull houses a giant leech.”

However, there is also a procedural Wilderlands that lives in its weirdo random tables and guidelines, which were collected in the supremely fun Ready Ref Sheets, Volume I (no second volume was released, but the first one is a great look into OD&D, and remarkably easy to obtain). Here you can find rudimentary rules for taxation, trade and mining – but the most useful table is the self-explanatory Ravaged Ruins. This table generates wilderness locations to scatter across your hex maps, and let your players wonder about the fallen glories of past ages – something that already establishes one of the major themes of the Wilderlands. The table is relatively small, a simple two-pager with results drawn from archaeology... at least at first glance. It generates a basic ruin type, with nested sub-tables to determine the specific subtype – there are not that many results, but the number of combinations is at least decent. Supplemental columns also establish the condition of the ruins, their covering (definitely archaeological in sensibilities), state, and the monsters guarding the ruin. And it gets weird, as seen in these six rolls:

  • Statued fountain, found in a large crater, covered with vines, crumbled and decayed, protected by lycanthropes.
  • Bones, above ground and covered with slime, partially operational, no guardians. (What does partially operational mean in the case of a bone pile? Mediocre Judges will frown and reroll. Superior Judges will find an explanation. Perhaps this is a bone mine of extinct creatures, still excavated by locals as trade goods or building material? What of the slimes?)
  • Sea-horse carriage, partially sunken and buried in a thicket, dangerous operational, protected by insects.
  • Periscope inside cavern, covered in rocks, collapsed and tumbled, mechanical guardians. (Wait a minute! We are not in Middle Earth anymore, Bilbo!)
  • Man o’ War inside cavern, dangerous operational, protected by trap. (It has to be a fairly big cavern for that… and what if we roll it for a place far, far from a sea coast?)
  • Asphault (sic) road, partially covered in thickets, corroded & eroded, protected by giant types. (So this setting has old, overgrown, eroded asphalt roads.)

Ravaged Ruins

Something, even a random detail, becomes a theme through repetition and exploration: and this is the Wilderlands’: picking through the remnants of older ages, part Dark Ages, part Classical Antiquity, part fallen star-faring civilisation. Antigrav sleds, nuclear submarines and re-entry capsules lie wrecked in ancient ruins guarded by dragons and mechanical guardians next to crystallised skeletons and eroded old idols; the grand works of past cultures lie abandoned in dusty deserts and frozen tundra. There are rat chariots pyramidal palaces. What is this place? In a compact, two-page table, Wilderlands of High Fantasy speaks louder, and in a more game-relevant way, than a full supplement. Yes, this table can be exhausted through use, but by that time, you get the Wilderlands.

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The Panic Button: The Table of Despair (Original D&D Discussion / Fight On!)

Not every great table is enormous, and this one is just a throwaway forum post by korgoth. However, The Table of Despair is a great gameplay innovation, and a high achievement of old-school design. It becomes useful when the characters don’t get the hell out of Dodge before the curtain falls; when someone is separated from the main party for longer than healthy, or when someone flees in blind panic. You roll on the table and weep, mortal. Those are not great odds – in fact, they are downright crummy odds – but this is Jakkalá, and they may in fact be the best odds you can get. All that for a fistful of káitars!

The Table of Dessssspair!

Aside from its chuckling evil glee, the table communicates the danger of the Underworld very clearly. The results are appropriate, and should be pronounced in a booming, hollow voice. It is not applicable to every campaign, and it is a bit repetitive, but it is a work of simple genius. I have included a milder variant in Castle Xyntillan (“The Table of Terror”), which is derived from Helvéczia’s “Through Branch and Bush”, but all of these trace their lineage back to korgoth’s now classic post.

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The Carousing Table

The Equation Changer: Party Like it’s 999 (Jeff’s Gameblog)

Curiously, very little of the definitive old-school gaming blog has seen print; Jeff Rients just wrote tons of material he gave away for free. And 2008 was a great year, even by the Gameblog’s standards. These carousing guidelines are not radically new, since they build on older principles which go right back to Orgies, Inc. (The Dragon, 1977) and even Dave Arneson’s First Fantasy Campaign (Judges Guild, 1977), already in vogue by 2006-2007. But Jeff’s take is the iconic, recognised version; he was not there the earliest, but he was there the mostest. It is simple: at the start of every session, you can just throw away a bunch of gold pieces in wild parties, and earn the same amount in experience points. There is, also, a random table to add risk and complication to the downtime activity. The party may have just been looking for some good fun and easy XP, but a few bad rolls later...

  • Brother Otto wakes up with the hangover from hell, cramping his spellcasting.
  • Nick the Knife accidentally burned down the inn, and everyone in town knows.
  • Sir Wullam wakes up and finds himself with the symbol of the Brotherhood of the Purple Tentacle tattooed on his... oh no! Oh nooooooo!
  • Sorceric has a minor misunderstanding with the guards, and is hauled in for six days in the lockup.
The adventure has not even started yet... or has it just started?

At least this inn is not on fire, RIGHT, Nick?

The carousing rule inverts D&D’s core equation, the 1 gp = 1 XP rule. Here, you do not gain XP for treasure you find, you gain XP for treasure you spend. AD&D’s model – which, mind you, works great, although for different reasons – hoovers up excess gold from the campaign through training costs (most of my current Hoard of Delusion party is stuck at their current level, having the XP but not the gp for training), and introduces the strategic dilemma – do we spend it on advancement or other useful stuff? It is also quintessentially 80s action movie – our hero, experiencing hardship, goes to the gym or the old karate master to bulk up for the tougher challenges coming his way. The inverted model removes money through living it up through excessive partying. OD&D’s upkeep rule is a predecessor (1% of your current XP total per arbitrary time period), but Jeff’s carousing table turns it into a mini-game and a source of new mini-adventures. You can also see Ffahrd, the Grey Mouser or Conan doing this, more than them learning new moves under the watch of a wise old instructor. Of course, it is just a table of 20 entries, with a comical aesthetic. But it is a hell of a beginning. I have my own 64-result downtime complications table from the Helvéczia RPG: here are four results for late 17th century picaresque adventures:

  • One of Father Gérome Gantin’s noted enemies has vanished from town, and everyone is eyeing him suspiciously.
  • Bettina von Vilingen, the noted scoundrel, finds herself the elected mayor of a tiny podunk village.
  • Sebastiano Gianini, Bettina’s partner in crime, has indulged in sins better left unmentioned, and loses 3 Virtue.
  • Domenico Pessi, retired mercenary, survives a close encounter with Death, but to correct the mistake, the Grim Reaper is once more on Domenico’s trail...

* * *

The Dipper: The Monster Determination and Level of Monster Matrix (OD&D vol. 3)

For our final table, let us return to the roots: OD&D’s random monster chart. OD&D has often been called badly designed (and until its mid-2000s revival, it was mostly considered a historical footnote), but what it is is badly written, and barely if at all explained. The design itself, taken at face value instead of handwaved or second-guessed, is surprisingly tight – blow the dust off of the covers, and you find yourself something that hangs together quite well as a game. We have already mentioned AD&D’s wilderness encounter charts – here is a simple, elegant and universal matrix for running expeditions into the Mythic Underworld.

The Dipper

The matrix cross-references level depth – the basic measure of zone difficulty – with a 1d6 roll to select a random chart, followed by a roll on the chart itself. It is trivial, but it is quite different from modern random charts, which usually go for weighted results for every level. The matrix mixes up the results by occasionally introducing lower-level (more powerful) monster types to the first dungeon levels, or hordes of low-level types for the depths below. Dangerous monsters travel up from the depths, and weaker creatures band together to establish strongholds and outposts in the deeper reaches. Consider the following expedition, going down to Level 3 and back, with two encounters on the average each level (it is not stated, but usually implied that the number of creatures appearing will be worth one dice per baseline, adjusted upwards and downwards):

  • LVL 1: 6 Kobolds (LVL 1)
  • LVL 1: 3 Lizards (LVL 2)
  • LVL 2: 1 Hero (LVL 3, a 4th level Fighting Man)
  • LVL 2: 1 Manticore (LVL 5 – ooops!)
  • LVL 3: 2 Superheroes (LVL 5, 8th level Fighting Men)
  • LVL 3: 9 Gnolls (LVL 2)
  • LVL 2: 2 Ogres (LVL 4)
  • LVL 2: 3 Thaumaturgists (LVL 3, 5th level Magic-Users)
  • LVL 1: 2 Goblins (LVL 1)
  • LVL 1: 1 Swashbuckler (LVL 3, 5th level Fighting Man)

Although basically meant for on-the-run wandering monsters, this little chart comes into its own during stocking dungeons. Follow the general stocking procedure for rooms along with the room treasure charts on p. 7, and you will soon have something fairly serviceable for a starting effort. It is quick and a lot of fun. Of course, for established monster lairs, I would use a higher “No. Appearing” – perhaps not the 40-400 goblins of the outdoor charts, but at least 1d8*5 for a start – if it’s got treasure, it can defend it. You can also expand the monster listings, or “slot in” alternate subtables while preserving the master matrix. You could have one for mediaeval fantasy, desert tomb-raiding, undercities, or what have you.

The AD&D Matrix

Now, I am not 100% happy with this table – chalk it up to personal preference, or the benefit of hindsight. I do believe it goes too deep. Six levels of difficulty should be enough, for a neat 6×6 matrix. Second, it is weighted towards the more powerful encounters, dredging up deep horrors as soon as you enter Level 3. On Level 2, you are more likely to encounter Level 3 monsters (Wights, 4th and 5th level NPCs and Giant Snakes) than Level 2-ones; on Level 3, you will regularly meet Mummies, Wyverns, Hydrae and Balrogs. On the other hand, fun low-strength critters are phased out too soon – Orc, Skeletons, Bandits and the like disappear after Level 2. That is too steep for a good difficulty curve. In our LBB-only, reasonable by-the-book Morthimion campaign, I have adjusted things by using the Level 1 charts for the first two levels, Level 2 for the second two, and so on: that was more than enough for a modern OD&D game (i.e. one played casually, not obsessively every day, every week, as people would do in the 1970s). I also tended to bump treasure values up by one row for largely the same reasons.

E..excuse me, is this Level Two? I thought this was Level Two

All that said, the OD&D monster table is an excellent example of compact, elegant design. With a few alterations – cut it down to 6 levels, rebalance a little, increase encounter numbers for some monsters – it would be powerful even in our day and time. I would adjust it just slightly, but keep the “dipper” aspect. AD&D’s equivalent dungeon encounter chart (Appendix C) is certainly more balanced, but missing some of the cool chaos introduced by its predecessor. It is weighted a bit too much towards “slog” instead of “swing”. Somewhere between the two, I believe we could find the perfect monster encounter chart.

Sunday 14 March 2021

[CAMPAIGN JOURNAL + STUFF] The Infernal Wedding (Helvéczia Campaign Journal and Mini-Adventure)

[This play report covers two sessions of our most recent adventure played with the forthcoming Helvéczia RPG. Like the previous similar post on this blog, the Capuchin, an infamous brigand leader, makes his appearance – but in different circumstances than the last time, and to an entirely new stable of characters. This excerpt goes more deeply into the magical and supernatural side of Helvéczia, and features a larger cast of characters, as well as a short dungeon expedition. There will be a more formal announcement with a preview of the game’s introductory chapter (and a few more things), but this introduction is as good as any.

Courtesy of the author, Istvan Boldog-Bernad, I have provided a transcription of his GM notes in a separate post: these are, of course, minimal notes (which Istvan is a master of spinning into much larger adventures), but they should serve to illustrate what follows below.

Once again, unlike the game default, this campaign takes place in an alternate Catalonia, in the year 1697. The Catalonian Republic is now a distant memory, but ruins from the time of its suppression dot the countryside. Prince Franco’s forces, dispatched by the court in Madrid, rule the coastal cities with an iron hand, while the Saint Hernandad Society and the Inquisition scour the land looking for rebels and heretics. Off the main roads, however, the law is weak, and the grip of power very tenuous. Bandits, monsters, revolutionaries, hermits and much stranger beings prowl the forests and mountains, and only good steel and a brace of pistols can guarantee survival…]

Exactly two months have passed since three adventurers routed the rapacious bandit leader and defrocked clergyman, the Capuchin, and saved the damsel he had wanted to marry in the mockery of a wedding ceremony. Our company has changed much in these times: Jean-Fado de Béziers had retired to the small lakeside town of Lagoscoro with a pretty widow, and the cheerful Little Juan Cordial had joined his brother’s band of highwaymen and freedom fighters, while losing Rodrigo Cordial, his oldest, Franciscan brother. Two more 6th level characters (the highest in Helvéczia) followed them: Farkas Cserei, the Transylvanian scholar had decided to return to his homeland, and Santiago, the revenge-obsessed Aztec, had forgiven his defeated mortal enemy, and disappeared from Migalloc (although some might suspect a pretty Gypsy girl had played a role in this decision).  It was time for Álvar Díaz Garcia Vega de Valencia y Vivar, who has since claimed the sword of El Cid, and become the greatest swordsman of Catalonia, to go his own way. Leaving the great city of Migalloc, he parted from his companions, and rode towards the estate of Don Santiago Serrano, where the cruel aristocrat was known to keep slaves captured from the mountain villages.

The others pressed on towards the ranges of the Picos del Bosque, where they had heard rumours of an enchanted garden belonging to the mythical Hesperides. Diminished in numbers, the company now included:

  • Father Taddeo Previti, 5th level Italian Cleric, and a member of the Holy Inquisition (yours truly);
  • Gérard Pradas, 6th level Occitan Student, now in possession of the game’s most formidable destructive spell, as well as an intelligent giant parrot calling himself Jago, and a nest’s worth of giant raven hatchlings (captured way back after the adventure with the Capuchin);
  • Guiellmo Gallardo de Barcino, 1st/2nd level Catalan Duellist/Student, a freethinker and pamphleteer recently returning from Engeland;
  • Rupert van den Rosenfluyt, 3rd level Dutch Vagabond 3, a wandering botanist looking for rare cultivars;
  • Benito Cortizo de Soto, 2nd level Gallego Vagabond 2, a low-born scoundrel; and
  • Luís Bartolomeu Lopes de Coimbra, 2nd level Portuguese Vagabond, a sailor following a mysterious treasure map.

Into the Picos del Bosque

On the forest trail, the company found a camp of loggers clearing the forest. Inquiring about the way to Altinadea, their intended destination, a woman stirring an enormous cauldron of soup pointed them north: the village would be to the north-west, but just a little way to the north, there would also be closer shelter: the cloister of Saint Agnes. Father Taddeo immediately seized on the opportunity, and guided the group towards the place, where they might find a place to rest, and the father might learn useful spells. By mid-afternoon, they had spotted a walled enclosure with vegetable gardens, side-buildings, and a central structure. A dozen robed monks were outside in the fields, offering friendly greetings. They were not nuns, as expected, but brothers; and they welcomed the travellers, asking them to leave their mounts at the stables before joining them in prayer.

Father Taddeo happily led Eusebio, his donkey, to a manger, and returned to the brothers who were already explaining the way to Altinadea to his companions.

“¡Manos arriba! Hands in the air! You are now the prisoners of the Capuchin!one of the monks shouted, levelling a blunderbuss at the party, while a heavy-set, greying man in monks’ robes strode forward with something that had previously seemed a rake, but was actually a concealed Lucerne hammer. Multiple guns, and as many swords, were pointed at the party. The Capuchin looked at the guests before him very carefully, but he recognised no one, especially not those who had previously spoiled his wedding. Unfortunately for the brigands, this was a party of six heavily armed and freshly rested adventurers aching for a fight, and soon found themselves outclassed. They fled in several directions; and the Capuchin shamefully beat a hasty retreat, catching a bullet in his cuirass, and riding off on his horse amidst curses and invective. The garden was entirely deserted.

From the large building emerged two dozen nuns, who had been under siege from the concealed brigands just when the newcomers arrived. Worse, one of them, Sister Agnes, had disappeared. She was known to often wander off and seek out an abandoned old house to the east for meditation, and perhaps she was still there. If the fleeing bandits would get their hands on her, the consequences would be terrible. The nuns also recommended caution, as there was rumoured to be a large black dog living in the area, which came straight from Hell – and would drag its victims down with it. Since sunset was approaching, time was of the essence: the eastern mountain trail too narrow and treacherous for horses, the company proceeded on foot through the thickets and forests.


The ruined house was found by nightfall: it was dark inside, and there were signs of long abandonment. A lonely owl sat ominously on a nearby tree branch. Seeing no light but wary of an ambush, they approached and called out for those inside to come out; but as there was no answer, they entered the ramshackle building. A small eerie light illuminated the only room: a transparent, sad old man. Father Taddeo raised, then lowered his cross: the apparition was not hostile. Indeed, the spirit introduced himself as a Hermit who had lived in this small house, but receiving no proper rites, could not go on to Heaven, and was stuck wandering this world. Worse, the devil had stolen away his physical body, making burial impossible. After questioning him further, it turned out the spirit had seen Sister Agnes: and she, too, had just been seized by devils, and taken down to Hell. Worse, she had drawn the interest of none other but Don García Deselvado, one of the aristocrats of the infernal court, and the second highest-ranked in Catalonia – below the mighty Don D himself! Don García had decided to marry the pretty Agnes, and the wedding was set for tonight: all manner of guests would present themselves at the high occasion.

“And how might we follow in their tracks and save the worthy sister?” Gérard inquired.

“The black dog runs at night! Go you to the crossroads, and follow if you dare!” spoke the apparition.

“Thank you, oh noble spirit. We will try to recover your body as well.”

“Just remember! He who goes to a wedding, should bring wedding presents!” whispered the pale lips.

The Black Dog Runs at Night
Returning to the crossroads the company had recently passed on their way to the abandoned house, they sat down on the nearby rocks and waited. This was a strange place, for their trail was narrow, and the one crossing it just seemed to disappear in both directions after a short while. Hours passed and an unnatural cold settled on the Picos del Bosque. From the dark woods came a blood-curdling howl, and an enormous hound the size of a calf appeared from between the branches. The hound looked over the characters with its bloodshot eyes and growled; then turned and slowly ran towards the end of the crossroads.

“Don’t lose it!” whispered Rupert van den Rosenfluyt, and broke into a jog. They entered the forest on the trail of the beast, through branch and bush, and passed a dark opening leading underground. Now they were beneath the earth, and lit lanterns to see the cavern descend downwards, their guide gone. There was a thick smell in the air, and the walls were dark with soot. Here and there, sulphurous gasses hissed from cracks in the walls. The black dog had not gone far, in fact: pressing on, they found themselves before a pair of enormous wooden gates. The hound had settled itself on a large pile of skeletal remains, and was busy gnawing on an enormous, juicy bone.

“Well, here we are – he gates of Hell. Are we sure we want to pay a visit?”

“Very sure. Who is a bad boy?”

The dog growled, but gave them no further heed. They opened the heavy portals, which swung outwards to let out billowing smoke and the stench of sulphur. They entered, and the gates closed behind them, to reveal a gallery of vividly painted frescoes and plush couches. If this was indeed Hell, it was a remarkably comfy part of it.

The Church of HELL

On examination, the frescoes proved to be tantalisings depiction of the seven cardinal sins. Benito and Luís were lost in the study of two particularly fetching ones (having failed their Temptation saving throws), and had to be dragged onwards. The next chamber was an anteroom. Stairs descended downwards, while from forward came the sounds of music of merrymaking through a heavy door. Opening it just a crack, Benito Cortizo spied a room with about a dozen thin, spindly apparitions of smoke resembling small devils, dancing to the tunes of unseen musicians. Another door lead further on. After short discussion, Father Taddeo suggested that Sister Agnes would probably be kept imprisoned, and she might be found deeper down. Taking the stairs, they found themselves in a small baptismal chapel, but it was a most unwholesome place: it was built upside down, with pews and a font of dark water on the ceiling, and tiny baskets hanging from ropes. There was a most unholy reek here.

“The water does not pour down from the font! It is an unholy magic!” proclaimed Father Taddeo. “If we sanctify it with holy water and good incense, the wedding may come to a bad end if it starts at all. Help me stand on your shoulders so I can reach this...”

“I do not like those baskets. We will stand ready with guns drawn.”

It is upside down, and EVIL!
The elderly father, blessed by vigour despite his advanced years (and 18 Dexterity!), climbed and reached towards the dark liquid with a vial of holy water. There was a loud *SCHLURP* as the “water”, a heavy gelatinous mass fell on the three characters standing beneath. None were engulfed, and Don Guillelmo fought valiantly, but the deadly pudding proved very strong, multiple characters were badly wounded, and the company decided to flee back to the anteroom instead of fighting it in this dead end.

“I have a plan,” said Gérard Pradas. “I am good at calligraphy: we will forge a letter of introduction to Don Deselvado from... the arch-devil of Lust? Do you know a suitable name, Father?”

“That would be Belphégor.”

“Splendid! Belphégor will wish the newlyweds good fortune, and recommend that they consummate their wedding night in the baptismal chapel, an auspicious sign for strong offspring. We can turn that to our advantage, or at least delay the festivities.”

They proceeded forward to the dancing room, carefully covering their ears to defend from some sort of devilish music. The wispy smoke-devils were dancing happily, and invited the wedding guests to join them. They didn’t know anything useful, and weren’t interested in their letter, so the characters tried passing through the dance floor, but the devil spirits were very ardent, and tried to drag them into their wild frolic. Benito and Luís failed to save vs. Temptation, and joined. A melee ensued to drag them away and destroy the devils; they were dispatched, but Luís lay dead on the floor, his heart stopped due to the heavy dancing. Searching the room, there was still no trace of musicians, but someone had carelessly left a decorative walking stick worth 7 golden Escudos in a corner, as well as a lost pouch with 30 copper Maravedi, and 90 silver Reals. Luís also had a treasure map on his person, which Don Guillelmo dutifully pocketed.

The next door was quiet, and the opposite side revealed a room piled with a mouth-watering feast of juicy meats, piled fruits of known and unknown varieties, and bottles of the most noble Tokaj wines – well known for their curative and invigorating properties. [And among the Habsburgs, the wine of wedding nights!] Spiral stairs descended downwards, and from a door further on came arguing voices. On more careful scrutiny, the bottles of Tokaj were found to be tampered with, and filled not with wine at all, but piss.

“Blasphemy! Now I really believe we are in hell!” exclaimed Father Taddeo. [This is where session one ended.]

Listening through the keyhole of the next door, Rupert van den Rosenfluyt heard the boisterous laughter of three card players.


“Devil take you, you cheated!”

“It was a twenty-one!”

“You deal!”

“I hereby wager the molar of Judas!”

“That’s a fake too! Put up the real money!”

Rupert shrugged and opened the door, while Father Previti melted into the shadows. The room held a card table, around which two devils were playing cards with a manacled prisoner for a large sum of coinage. The devils were friendly enough, and encouraged anyone to sit down and play a hand. Their prisoner slid to the side and hurriedly said, “Very good, and I liked the game too! But I shall be going now, and let these fine gentlemen take a seat.”

“Wait just now! You are not going anywhere. You have not wagered your soul yet!”

Father Taddeo had heard enough. Someone’s salvation was at risk! He exclaimed from behind the door:

“Do you know what you are not expecting?”

The devils shrugged dumbfounded, then one hollered back: “Your mother!”

“Yeah, your mother!”

“Incorrect answer. The Italian Inquisition, that’s what! In nomine Patris et Fili et Spiritus Sancti!” yelled the father, charging the card players with his heavy staff. A short melee developed, and the devils found themselves completely outclassed and surrounded. One tried to flee, but was blocked by Father Taddeo and Don Guillelmo, and seeing this, they both surrendered. The miscreants proved slippery and tried to strike a bargain, but finally, when the father promised he would baptise both of them if they didn’t confess, they explained that the wedding was taking place downstairs, down in the main chapel.

“Now give back the money to that poor man you have dispossessed,” demanded the inquisitor.

“That’s robbery! It is our money, we swear!” they protested to no effect, as their winnings, were transferred at gunpoint to the company’s purses, half to the freed captive, and half split among the others. Two bottles of real Tokaji were also liberated; Don Guillelmo quickly took one. With this, the devils were ordeed to stay in the room, and Benito dutifully jammed the lock with some bent cutlery. Rupert unlocked the manacles of the former prisoner, who introduced himself as Miguel – he had just been playing cards at the inn in a far-away town in his native Castilia, and found himself in this room after blacking out from too much wine. The company was whole once again.

Miguel the Gambler

Descending a deep set of spiral stairs, they arrived at a corridor running left and right. From the right came cacophonic organ music, and there seemed to be further steps down; the other direction was more quiet, with occasional creaks or squeaks.

“The chapel is that way,” noted Rupert, leading by example. Down the stairs, they came to an anteroom again, with a very large double wooden gate. All kinds of blasphemous statues were carved on the inverted portal (as everything is the opposite in Hell), and from beyond came the music and the sounds of backwards Latin preaching. Very quietly, they opened the door, and peered in, unnoticed by the wedding guests.

The Infernal Wedding

This was a large, dark gothic hall, with statues of Judas, some ram-headed demon, and other illustrious evildoers. The congregation, a ragged host of miscreants and knaves, had their backs turned, and the adventurers quickly noticed the Capuchin and his surviving men – the brigand leader was in high spirits, loudly sharing tasteless jokes about the wedding night. On two sides of an altar, two grinning devils played pranks and sommersaults, while before it stood the bride and groom: the crying Sister Agnes, and a finely dressed, bespectacled arch-devil licking his lips in anticipation – Don García Deselvado! The don seemed to be playing a puppet with his left hand while holding the nun with his right, and the purpose of the strange act was soon clear: the priest, a lifeless old corpse reciting a litany of backwards Latin, was visibly controlled by several strings dangling from the ceiling.

Don García Deselvado
Quickly taking stock of the situation, everyone occupied their places. Father Taddeo cast the Stumble spell on the entrance threshold to cover their flight, then crept in like a shadow, hiding behind the statue of Judas, and looking around until he found the source of the organ music – a balcony reached by some spiral stairs – that rare Heavenly Choir spell he kept in mind might come in handy. Don Guillelmo and Benito hid close to the portal, readying guns, while Gérard retrieved something from his pockets. Miguel, taking the forged letter of introduction, stepped forward, and the devils by the altar immediately noticed him, beckoning to the new guest. Swallowing, Miguel stepped forward, and bowed before Don Deselvado, presenting the letter. The don nodded and pocketed the letter.

“It is from Don Belphégor, my Lord, and it concerns your wedding night! Aren’t you going to read it?” Miguel inquired.

Don Deselvado cast an irritated glance at the Spaniard, but relented, and, continuing his puppetry, handed Sister Agnes to the newcomer for a moment while unrolling the parchment. He scanned the message quickly, then spoke: “That’s all good. Give him some drink for his troubles.”

The two devils made Miguel chug a large bottle of brandy, gaily explaining: “Oh, this is Hell, amigo! We do everything backwards. The happy wedding has already been consummated!”

Miguel, coughing from the alcohol, glanced back at the portal, and showed a quick sign. He lunged forward, seizing Sister Agnes and yanking her on the floor as a volley of fire cut across the temple. Don Deselvado was hit with a bullet from Benito’s gun, but remained standing, and held on to his half of the nun. Father Taddeo, who had meanwhile snuck up to the organist’s nest and positioned himself behind him, seized the hapless devil and hurled him down from the balcony, breaking his neck on the stone floor. Don Deselvado tried to pull Agnes back, rolling a very high score, but Miguel rolled a natural 20, and jumped with her towards a northern archway, leading to an upwards staircase. All Hell broke loose in the Church of Hell, and Gérard Pradas chose this moment to throw the egg of a black rooster, procured through unholy practices and fermented for weeks in manure and sulphur, at the congregation, while speaking Latin words. The Fireball detonated in the midst of the agitated wedding guests. Don Deselvado was hurled back but mostly unhurt, but the Capuchin was torn limb from limb along with his men, and the surrounding revellers and the two sommersaulting devils. Further detonations came from the Capuchin’s grenades, and there was a tremendous racking sound as the ceiling shook and caved in, burying the centre of the church, and separating the company.

Father Taddeo stood up, still reeling. From the northern door came Miguel. Don Deselvado, seeing he was in peril, fled through a door to the west, abandoning the stunned Agnese. Knowing that raising the alarms would not do them much good, Father Taddeo reached for the last resort: his trusty Bible, which he opened at a random passage, and read aloud:

“Book of Ruth, 4:4! ‘No sooner had Boaz gone up to the gate and sat down there than the next-of-kin, of whom Boaz had spoken, came passing by. So Boaz said, “Come over, friend; sit down here.” And he went over and sat down. Then Boaz took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, “Sit down here”; so they sat down.”

To his horror, Don Deselvado found himself unable to move, compelled by the Good Book to stay where he was. Father Taddeo advanced with an ugly look in his eyes.

“Don García Deselvado, for your deeds against this innocent sister, I shall do the worst thing to you that I can inflict upon you. I shall baptise you.” and he took out the holy water, the incense, and raised his Bible. Don Deselvado emitted a pitiful cry, and pleaded for mercy, offering vast riches and infernal powers, but the father baptised him, and the arch-devil was burned into a pile of ashes.


Safe Puzzle
The company was divided by the collapsed rubble, and it would have taken several hours to dig through, an appalling prospect. It was decided that each half would try to return to the surface through some way, and rejoin when possible. Rupert, Don Guillelmo, Benito and Gérard had a known route, but before the Father, the shaken and badly shocked Sister Agnes, and Miguel, there were only unknown passages. Miguel scouted ahead while Father Taddeo comforted Agnes as he could, using his healing to heal her wounds, and the last of a blessed relic, the handkerchief of Saint Lucia, to wipe her brow. Sister Agnes somewhat regained her faculties. Miguel returned: he had found a rich bedroom with Don Deselvado’s giant portrait hiding a puzzle safe he could not crack, but no way forward. The passage went on, but was too dark without a light source. After a brief discussion, they decided to try the spiral stairs leading up from the church. Deducing that the dead, strangely mummified body of the priest controlled by the Don had once belonged to the Hermit, they carried the cadaver with them.

Meanwhile, the larger part of the company retraced their steps to the feasting room, still hearing the devilish card-players from behind the door, guessing whether it was safe to come out. By approximate measures, the baptismal chapel was somewhere above the Church of Hell – might there be a secret door they had overlooked while fleeing from the pudding? They returned, hoping the monster has returned to the font on the ceiling. Unfortunately, it did not: it pounced on the characters, and with one slurping sound, swallowed Gérard Pradas, who was now struggling mightily to get it off with his remaining spells before getting devoured. A secret door opened, and Father Taddeo, Sister Agnes, and Miguel stepped into the chapel, joining the melee.

“Nobody expects the Italian Inquisition! Now begone, you infernal aspic!” the Father tried to exorcise [turn] the pudding, to no effect. The fight continued, and even Sister Agnes joined in with a torch to avenge the wrongs done to her. The gelatinous horror was defeated, the gambler Miguel striking the last blow. Rupert van den Rosenfluyt was unconscious, and the others were badly wounded, Gérard at a single hit point. Worse, the father’s attempts at medicine almost ended up killing Gérard, who passed out from the pain, and was ony saved by the last healing spell, while Rupert had to be resusciated with a swig of Tokaj wine.

There was one last challenge before leaving this hellish place. The outside gate was guarded by the Black Dog, and obviously, it would not allow them to pass outside as easily as inside. Rupert had brought a large bone from the feasting table, while Father Taddeo again reached for his Bible. Unfortunately, the growling hound did not care for the scrap of old meat, and when the Bible was opened to a New Testament verse, the passage had no relevance for the situation. The Black Dog stood up and attacked, while Don Guillelmo heroically tried to hold it back. It breathed a cone of fire, and while none died, Gérard was at -4 Hp again (one shy of death), and everyone was badly hurt. Miguel muttered a curse and threw the mummified body of the Hermit at the creature: “Go chew on this!” He turned and fled with Gérard on his strong back, quickly followed by Father Taddeo, and then the others, Don Guillelmo being the last to head for the surface...


EPILOGUE: Returning to the Cloister of Saint Agnes, the nuns were overjoyed to see the return of their lost Sister, thanking the adventurers profusely. They, in turn, decided to stay until Sunday, and enjoy the hospitality. Father Taddeo continued with his doctoral work, “A Most Useful Treatise on Deviltry & Other Sins, with Practical Applications towards their Expurgation Through the Element of Surprise”. He also gained easy permission to memorise the spells found at the cloister: from the first level, Bless and The Bountiful Herbarist; and from the second, Protective Circle and Withdraw Poison. Rupert van den Rosenfluyt and Gérard Pradas, who found their adventure a little too virtuous, tried to pick up a few comelier nuns with honeyed words and roguish charm, in which Rupert easily beat his rival for the attentions of one Sister Margarethe. “And that is how we do it with your colonies, too,” remarked the crafty Dutchman, which only shows us the wickedness of Godless Calvinism.

Watch out, sin!
As for Miguel Hernandez, the freshly freed gambler, he was soon at the card table again with Gérard and Don Guillelmo. Noting the sinful activity, Father Previti watched it for a while, then asked if he could join in memory of his young days at Seminary. The stakes were high – two golden Escudos each, winner takes it all. To everyone’s surprise, in a company of professional card sharks and scoundrels, the elderly inquisitor came out on top, sweeping 8 Escudos into his purse – a nice sum to finance the publication of his doctoral theses. Was it blind luck? [A natural 20] That ineffable Italian magic? [Indeed, Italians are lucky at dice and cards, receiving +2 on their Gambling rolls.] Or was Father Previti’s 18 Dexterity at play? On this matter, the angels are stubbornly silent. We can only say that on Monday, the 8th of May Anno Domini 1697, the company was mounted again, riding northwest towards the mountain village of Valfogona, a place known for a ruined mill, a few abandoned manor houses, and the fiendish Comte Arnau, whose horse was known to eat the odd peasant, and who had infamous assembled a collection of kidnapped wives.


Designer commentary: This long session report is a fairly an accurate recapitulation of what Helvéczia intends to deliver: fast-paced, colourful, and hazardous adventures in a fantastic paraphrasis of historical Europe, drawing liberally from swashbuckling stories, odd legends, folk tales, and modern fantasy alike. It is not a serious study in historiography, nor an exercise in physical or social realism. Instead of grimdark – a tone that I have long felt to be creatively exhausted – its tone mixes picaresque adventure, romance, low comedy and a grotesque element. It does not shy away from the dark side of late 17th century Europe, but it is not a catalogue of atrocities; rather, it is a celebration of a certain time and its people. As such, it has a touch of the strange and alien: it is firmly rooted in the pre-Enlightment mindset, of deeply held religious conviction, military virtue and obstinately held tradition, but also relentless social climbing, low-class mischief, and an interest in the lives of extraordinary scoundrels and never-do-wells (the player characters). Is it fun? We think so.

Luís Bartolomeu Lopes
de Coimbra: By the Time
You Remember His
Name, He is Dead
The two sessions also reflect the system’s workings and the campaign dynamic. The scale of power is limited: characters usually begin on the 2nd level (although Little Juan had been a simple servant boy who had climbed all the ranks almost to the top), and players, NPCs, and monsters are limited to 6th level – but this achievement is quite a rarity in the game setting. A capable band can accomplish much, but always has to watch out for a stroke of misfortune, or the consequences of a bad decision (as the case of Luís demonstrates). There is no level scaling in Helvéczia, and none of the released adventures bear a level designation: a group of freshly rolled characters can try to tackle them just as well as seasoned hands – and as in the great picaresques, Fortune is a fickle mistress!

We could see the forms of magic at play, and their differences: Father Taddeo would memorise his spells at the churches and convents he visits (always doing his best with a limited and ever-changing repertoire), while Gérard Pradas would have to procure rare magical components for his spells, which he has obtained from rare manuscripts and copied into a spellbook. (I do not know how he obtained that egg for the rare and supremely useful Fireball even as a player, although I am starting to have ideas about those giant raven hatchlings he carts around on the journey...) We could also see a use of the Holy Bible as a last-resort saving mechanic; but not its counterpart, involving a deck of cards and bets against the Devil himself; nor a third, very hazardous random table for those cases where nothing helps and you must seize the last shred of hope.

As for adventure design, these sessions combined a wilderness expedition with dungeoneering. Helvéczia tends to have relatively small dungeons (although this is relative – the first supplement, to be included with the boxed set and also sold separately, has a much larger one), and in general, has an emphasis for situation-based mini-adventures which it calls “penny dreadfuls”. Wilderness expeditions and strange things in backwoods areas are of a particular interest, which also feature heavily in the Catalonia campaign – we have by now explored much of the south-western quadrant of the hex map, and our travels have brought us to its central areas. Helvéczia has a high interest in wilderness adventures, either as overland hex-crawls, or localised point-crawls describing a smaller area.

The Infernal Wedding (Helvéczia Mini-Adventure) (PDF, 1 MB)

The Infernal Wedding (original scanned notes in the Hungarian) (PDF, 2 MB)