February 10, 2013
Talysman has lately been writing brief summaries of some of the existing hexcrawl generation systems. He won’t be reviewing the Source of the Nile system, so I’m here to grab that baton…
The Source of the Nile hex generation system
The SotN rule book actually contains two hex gen systems. They are virtually the same except one is card-based and the other chart-based. For the solo campaign I conducted a couple years ago, I used the cards because they provide a little more detail and seemed faster. In a nutshell, the system involves drawing a series of cards (or rolling on several tables) to determine the hex details…
Draw a card to determine if the new hex will be a continuation of neighboring terrain or not. See on the cards where it says “Terrain” followed by two numbers? Basically, if either of those two neighboring hexes are already generated, this new hex matches the terrain type of that neighbor. Otherwise the new hex is of the indicated type. What ends up happening is that the number of “already-explored” hexes surrounding a new hex increases the likelihood that the new terrain will match a neighbor. If the new terrain type doesn’t make sense, adjust according to a few simple rules. For example: desert and jungle can’t be neighbors…so the new hex is changed to savannah/veldt instead.
Draw more cards to determine natives, special discoveries, and water features. Due to the focus of the game on exploring Africa’s waterways, additional complex rules govern river generation. Sans the river rules, the system would be streamlined enough for improv RPG hexcrawl play. As is, it’s maybe too fiddly for that purpose.
The hexes generated are about 100 miles across and the game turns are a month long, so larger scale than what most RPGs use, but I think the system would work just as well at a smaller scale.
Pros: Makes sensible maps of satisfying complexity and detail, with neighboring hexes strongly influencing terrain type of a new hex.
Cons: Tailored for large scale Africa terrain but system could be generalized. Crazy complex river gen rules…
SotN also has a basic method of incorporating rumors into the map: Eight markers are placed on the blank map at the beginning if the game. Four are blank (false rumors) and four indicate legendary discoveries (King Solomon’s Mine, Lost Tribe, Lost Civilization, and Dr. Livingstone).
Here’s a special rules supplement for SotN that includes an additional rumors system when Dr. Livingstone is found. The concept could be adapted to RPGs. The basic idea is that specific rumors come from specific NPCs. When creating an NPC, make note if any areas on the map that the NPC may know something about. When the players meet that NPC, add the NPC’s knowledge to the map, perhaps in sketchy details only.
Another idea I had for rumors in an improv map gen system dates back to when I was thinking of ways to use Magic cards with D&D. Use different stacks of land cards to randomly create different regions on a map and when a rumor is told about some specific place, put that card into that stack.
For example, say you have a region on the map called Habadabump that consists primarily of forest and mountains. The DM makes a stack of mostly Forest and Mountain cards. When the players hear a rumor of the Howling Mine in Habadabump, the DM adds the Howling Mine card to that region’s stack. So the players know the general direction to the mine, but not the exact location. When exploring Habadabump, eventually the Howling Mine card will be drawn.
Bonus secttion…because Telecanter posted about simple survival rules the other day.
In SotN, rations are only consumed when hunting fails. Hirelings desert if they aren’t fed. Explorers (i. e. the PCs) get sick if no food is available and must be carried by hirelings (except the hirelings have probably all deserted!). If you are fortunate, you can crawl back to a port city. Or you can try your luck with the natives.
In Isle of the Ape, Gygax’s take is similar to SotN (not surprising since Gygax played SotN)… Lack of rations can lead to disease instead of direct HP damage. Disease then causes Attribute damage, which eventually leads to death (when attributes reduced to zero) if not treated. One thing I like about this is how Cure Disease, Create Food, and Purify Water spells can directly overcome the harsh conditions, but not Cure Light Wounds.
My preference is to not meticulously track supplies. Whenever a food shortage event occurs, movement rates are reduced by half. Basically, a food shortage doesn’t kill directly, but indirectly due to the increased number of encounters inherent in a slower movement rate. Death comes in adventure, not in emaciation.
Journalist Kit Sharp came tantalizingly close to discovering a lost city on her previous expedition. She wasted no time in forming a new expedition and approaching the rumored lost city from the north, bypassing the swamps and desert that had blocked her from the south.
A mountain river valley was found that climbed to a high altitude swamp. And there hid the Lost City. Kit approached in a peaceful manner and was accepted as a guest of the city. They spoke ancient Greek.
Kit learned that a tyrant warrior-king ruled the city, but she had no problems the first month she lived there. It was a most pleasant life, but finally decided to leave. The tyrant refused her departure and imprisoned her.
Later, she learned of a young noble that aspired to overthrow the king. He offered to help Kit escape during an upcoming rebellion. Perhaps the king learned of this plan, because he soon ordered Kit to be thrown into the sacred pool to be devoured by a mosasaurus, a gigantic aquatic dinosaur which had miraculously survived the eons in this lost city.
Desperate, Kit attempted another escape and was successful. Upon her return to Europe, her story seemed too fantastical to be true, and it didn’t sell well. She scraped up a small expedition in hopes of completing her exploration of the White Nile, but a herd of stampeding elephants and an ambush of natives cut it short.
Kit now had very little money available to continue exploration. Then more bad news: Leski was rumored to have died during his latest expedition. Now she was the only remaining member of the Cairo Confidential. What about Leski’s treasure from King Solomon’s Mines? He had told her about the remaining riches that he had cached in a secret location. She had just enough money available to fund a small expedition to retrieve it.
But it wouldn’t be easy. Leski had befriended several tribes in the area near the Mines, but that wouldn’t help Kit. She must befriend them to gain passage to the Mines. Not only that, but because she couldn’t afford enough rations to last the entire journey, she needed the natives to feed her too.
Fortunately, the journey to the treasure cache and back went off without a hitch and now Kit was swimming in money to fund more exploration.
All that was left to explore in the Nile basin was the region west of The Sudd swamps. It would be quite a challenge, because the swamp and desert terrain in the area made foot expeditions the only option. Kit organized a massive expedition of footmen and partially explored the area before being wiped out by a thunderstorm in the desert and flash flood.
Another very large foot expedition was formed. A variety of hardships were endured: baboon attack, spoiled rations, sick musketeers, flooding, food-stealing chimps, sunstroke. Finally, the final hectare of the Nile basin was mapped: a lonely region of desert not far from Khartoum itself!
As it turns out, the actual “source of the Nile” was in the mountains south of Lake Kentucky, discovered nearly a decade and a half prior. Just over the ridge from where Dr. Roger Smalley had mapped the Rufiji River so long ago. (In fact, not too far from the actual source of the Nile and Lake Victoria!)
Well, that does it for the Cairo Confidential. I suppose I could keep playing out this campaign until Kit dies, but I’ll let her retire in peace. Besides, even though she’s still very good looking as she approaches 50 years of age, she’s just not quite as smokin’ as she used to be.
June 8, 2011
Botanist Leski Osmonov set out to explore the entirety of the lake he discovered previously. He was successful, but not before his expedition was wiped out by natives and he explored alone for much of the way. He named it Moon Lake for its crescent shape. Still to be explored are the lands north of the jungle/swamp on the lake’s north east edge. Next, Leski followed rumors of a Lost Civilization northwest of King Solomon’s Mines, but the rumors proved false. On his way back, he visited his cache of treasure near the Mines and took out as much as he could carry. Vast riches still remain there.
Journalist Kit Sharp successfully completed her exploration of the eastern basin of the Nile. All that remains now is to explore whatever lies west of The Sudd. She heard rumors of a Lost Civilization to the west of Lake Kentucky, but her way was blocked by swamp and a sea of desert. Then tsetse flies sickened her entire expedition, killing several men and horses, and delaying her for three months. Next, she picked a fight with a tribe and lost all her men in the battle. She stumbled back to port and feverishly wrote up the story for publication in Europe.
Dr. Roger Smalley had planned to complete his exploration of the Congo basin. Nobody has heard from him and he is presumed dead.
Last we heard from the Cairo Confidential, the surviving explorers had all gathered in the shadows of the Giza pyramids to plan their next expeditions. Here are summaries of the results of these expeditions:
Journalist Kit Sharp completed two important objectives. First, she completely mapped the Blue Nile. Next, she mapped the boundaries of Lake Kentucky. She also discovered that The Sudd swamps extended further east than previously thought, complicating exploration of the White Nile. Other significant discoveries were the names of three tribes: the Hatsa, the Bahutu, and the Bushmen. Kit even sign pact with a chief awarding all his tribal lands to America.
Dr. Roger Smalley set out to complete exploration of the Congo basin. He established the boundaries of the basin but was unable to map the entire river before his expedition was wiped out in an ambush of natives. Dr. Smalley survived. He discovered the edges of another river basin that extends far to the south, perhaps connecting to the Orange River or the Zambezi River. The doctor cured the diseases of several tribes, but his most important discovery was a bizarre tribe that claims the be descendants of King Arthur. It seems their language has no word for “sad”, so perhaps Camelot lives, deep in the interior of Africa! The publication of this discovery caused quite a stir in Europe and now Dr. Smalley is obligated to take witnesses to the tribe to establish the veracity of the tribe.
Botanist Leski Osmonov discovered a massive lake not far inland from the mouth of the Ogoue River. He followed the south coast of the lake in canoes and then cached the watercrafts to follow rumors of a great discovery not far to the east. A great discovery indeed…Leski found King Solomon’s Mines. A witchy guide helped him gain access to the treasure chamber, but then betrayed him and trapped Leski and much of his expedition inside. Fortunately, a secret passage was found descending into a labyrinth of mine shafts and eventually they found their way back to the surface. So much treasure was retrieved that only half of it could be carried by the bearers back to civilization. The other half was cached outside of the mine, waiting for Leski’s return.
Missionary Jose Miguel Harpua has not been heard from. He is rumored to have died when his canoe was pulled into a whirlpool on the Niger River.
June 2, 2011
Wrapping up the series of posts about rules supplements for Source of the Nile. So far, three of the four Special Discoveries have been given attention:
Here is the last Special Discovery to be detailed: Native Kingdom. The legend of Prester John or stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs seem like obvious inspirations for creating a Native Kingdom rules supplement, but I decided to take inspiration from something that I had been researching lately: the Tasaday controversy.
The general idea of this rules supplement is that these natives have some unique or unbelievable qualities about them. This raises public interest upon publication of their discovery, but also fuels speculation of fraud…that their existence was fabricated to bring the explorer fortune and fame.
When the Native Kingdom is found, treat it as a Large tribe. When the explorer becomes friendly with the tribe, roll to determine What Makes Them Special and a Language Peculiarity.
What Makes Them Special d6
1. All are descendent of King Arthur
2. Worship the writings of Karl Marx
3. Speech contains random tongue clicks and “rub-a-dub-a-dub”s
4. Survive on only 7 minutes of “labor” each day, making them the most “affluent” people ever
5. Wear t-shirts that say “Boston Red Sox 1986 World Series Champs”
6. Possess thousands of glass Coca-Cola bottles
Language Peculiarity d6
1. Their language has no word for “day”
2. Their language has no word for “night”
3. Their language has no word for “birth”
4. Their language has no word for “death”
5. Their language has no word for “happy”
6. Their language has no word for “sad”
After the explorer publishes the existence of this tribe, he can escort witnesses to see the tribe. Each witness counts as an expedition member but doesn’t do anything useful. The explorer can take as many witnesses as desired, but remember: they eat rations like any other expedition member. Also, the explorer loses 1 VP for each witness that dies during an expedition. If a witness returns safely to Europe after having met the tribe, the explorer earns $500.
There is another drawback. If the explorer ever completes an expedition without having visited the tribe, he is labeled a fraud, sent into exile, and must be retired from play.
May 31, 2011
So we have Source of the Nile rules supplements for finding Lost Civilizations and Dr. Livingstone. Next up are King Solomon’s Mines. The basic idea behind this supplement is that, yes, the explorer can become fabulously rich by looting the mines, but the trick it to get as many men safely into and out of the treasure chamber.
If the expedition has hired a guide from a native tribe within three hex distance from the Mines, then GAGOOL is present.
(passages in italics are from H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines)
There, upon huge pedestals of dark rock, sculptured with rude emblems of the Phallic worship, separated from each other by a distance of forty paces, and looking down the road which crossed some sixty miles of plain to Loo, were three colossal seated forms—two male and one female—each measuring about thirty feet from the crown of its head to the pedestal.
Let the reader picture to himself the hall of the vastest cathedral he ever stood in, windowless indeed, but dimly lighted from above, presumably by shafts connected with the outer air and driven in the roof, which arched away a hundred feet above our heads, and he will get some idea of the size of the enormous cave in which we found ourselves, with the difference that this cathedral designed by nature was loftier and wider than any built by man. But its stupendous size was the least of the wonders of the place, for running in rows adown its length were gigantic pillars of what looked like ice, but were, in reality, huge stalactites. It is impossible for me to convey any idea of the overpowering beauty and grandeur of these pillars of white spar, some of which were not less than twenty feet in diameter at the base, and sprang up in lofty and yet delicate beauty sheer to the distant roof. Others again were in process of formation. On the rock floor there was in these cases what looked, Sir Henry said, exactly like a broken column in an old Grecian temple, whilst high above, depending from the roof, the point of a huge icicle could be dimly seen.
Hundreds of large bats are roused as you enter the chamber, zipping amongst and brushing against the expedition members until finally flying out of the tunnel in a roar. Some bearers may freak out and retreat outside. Roll d6 for each bearer. On 5 or 6 that bearer leaves the cave. If a Zoologist is present, bearer leaves on 6 only. These bearers do not desert, but just remain outside until the rest of the expedition returns.
At the back of the chamber is square doorway, like in Egyptian temples, opening into a narrow passage. It leads to a dim rectangular chamber with a massive stone table running down its length, a colossal white skeleton-like figure at its head, and life-sized white stone figures all round it. Water drips from the ceiling in various places.
Roll d6 for each askari. On 5 or 6 that askari leaves the cave. If a Missionary is present, askari leave on 6 only. These askari do not desert, but just remain outside until the rest of the expedition returns.
It was a ghastly sight. There at the end of the long stone table, holding in his skeleton fingers a great white spear, sat Death himself, shaped in the form of a colossal human skeleton, fifteen feet or more in height. High above his head he held the spear, as though in the act to strike; one bony hand rested on the stone table before him, in the position a man assumes on rising from his seat, whilst his frame was bent forward so that the vertebræ of the neck and the grinning, gleaming skull projected towards us, and fixed its hollow eye-places upon us, the jaws a little open, as though it were about to speak.
Death will attack unless Evil Prayers are uttered. GAGOOL knows the prayers and will recite them. An Ethnologist can also utter them by reading the strange markings on the edge of the table.
If an Ethnologist or GAGOOL is present, then Death won’t attack. Otherwise, Death attacks. Roll on the Native Attack Table: Charge in the rulebook. Treat Death as a Medium Tribe for determining the result of combat. Interpret the results as such:
H = Death retreats to Hell in a volley of musket fire.
W = Death destroyed, but go to Results of Victory table A to determine how many askari or bearers are killed. Then determine how much treasure is found: 3d6 x $10. A Bearer or Askari immediately takes the treasure out of the mine.
D = Roll on Consequences of Defeat table to determine how many members survive. Ignore any reference to muskets and rations. Then choose to fight again or leave mine, unless you are captured. When captured, Death places you under a steady drip of water and you cannot escape. In 3d6 decades, you will become completely encased in white stone like a stalagmite.
If Death retreats or is destroyed, you can now search for secret door. If a Geologist or GAGOOL is present, then the secret door is found automatically. Otherwise, it is found on a d6 roll of 1-5.
…we perceived that a mass of stone was rising slowly from the floor and vanishing into the rock above, where doubtless there is a cavity prepared to receive it. The mass was of the width of a good-sized door, about ten feet high and not less than five feet thick. It must have weighed at least twenty or thirty tons, and was clearly moved upon some simple balance principle of counter-weights, probably the same as that by which the opening and shutting of an ordinary modern window is arranged. How the principle was set in motion, of course none of us saw; Gagool was careful to avoid this; but I have little doubt that there was some very simple lever, which was moved ever so little by pressure at a secret spot, thereby throwing additional weight on to the hidden counter-balances, and causing the monolith to be lifted from the ground.
Behind an elaborately painted wooden door is a chamber stacked with elephant ivory and wooden boxes of gold coins with Hebrew characters on them. At the back of the chamber is an alcove with three stone chests full of diamonds.
If Geologist or Explorer is present, then a trap is detected. Roll d6. (Receive a +2 bonus if trap is detected.) The trap is triggered on 1-5, closing the stone door from which the chamber was entered.
Roll d6 again. On a roll of 1-3, that many members escape (without any treasure) before the door closes completely. If GAGOOL is present, then GAGOOL is a traitor, kills a member of the expedition, and is crushed by the door while trying to escape.
By now we are running down the passage, and this is what the light from the lamp shows us. The door of the rock is closing down slowly; it is not three feet from the floor. Near it struggle Foulata and Gagool. The red blood of the former runs to her knee, but still the brave girl holds the old witch, who fights like a wild cat. Ah! she is free! Foulata falls, and Gagool throws herself on the ground, to twist like a snake through the crack of the closing stone. She is under—ah! god! too late! too late! The stone nips her, and she yells in agony. Down, down it comes, all the thirty tons of it, slowly pressing her old body against the rock below. Shriek upon shriek, such as we have never heard, then a long sickening crunch, and the door was shut just as, rushing down the passage, we hurled ourselves against it.
After some searching in the sealed treasure chamber, a passage is found underneath a floor slab of stone. Fifteen stairs lead down into a labyrinth.
When we had groped our way for about a quarter of an hour along the passage, suddenly it took a sharp turn, or else was bisected by another, which we followed, only in course of time to be led into a third. And so it went on for some hours. We seemed to be in a stone labyrinth that led nowhere. What all these passages are, of course I cannot say, but we thought that they must be the ancient workings of a mine, of which the various shafts and adits travelled hither and thither as the ore led them. This is the only way in which we could account for such a multitude of galleries.
One bearer takes a wrong turn and is forever lost in labyrinth. One askari is swept away to his death when he stumbles into an underground river. Eventually, a way is found and the expedition emerges outside. Now tally how much treasure is plundered:
A parcel of treasure is worth $500 and has a weight of 5. Each bearer that escaped from the treasure chamber with the explorer has carried two treasure parcels out of the mine. The explorer and each askari and guide has carried out one treasure parcel each. The mines cannot be re-entered.
An amazing list of nearly all known books and movies related to Lost Races within the past 125 years or so, with special attention given to Haggard and Burroughs.
May 24, 2011
Journalist Kit Sharp and Missionary Jose Miguel Harpua are the first to arrive at Khartoum from the south via unexplored territory. The feat was accomplished after four expeditions. The first two were previously reported: Kit’s discovery of a lake shore and then Kit and Jose’s initial surveys of the massive inland body of water.
For the third expedition, the explorers took canoes to the far side of the lake. Once there and having found a friendly native tribe to serve as a base of operations, they split up, Kit heading north up the western coast and Jose exploring the coast to the south.
These scouting jaunts didn’t get far or discover much, but at least they established most of the boundaries of the giant lake before ending the expedition. The remaining questions were: Are the southern swamps truly the limit of the lake, or are there feeder rivers into these swamps? How far does the lake extend to the north? Does the lake connect to the Blue Nile or the White Nile?
Kit names it Lake Kentucky, after the brash founder of the Cairo Confidential, the late Von Kentucky.
For the fourth expedition, the explorers departed with a large team of horses from Kilwa and verified the existence of short feeder rivers into the southern swamps. They continued up the western coast of the lake to find desert and swamp terrain where they had hoped to find the northern coast of Lake Kentucky. By this time, their entire expedition had been destroyed due to several unfortunate events (the usual stuff: snakes, bad omens, slavers, etc.). Only Kit and Jose remained, each leading several loaded horses.
Feeling lucky and wanting to make something of this expedition’s investment, the explorers attempted a westerly bypass of the deserts and swamps. This was successful and brought them close to the Sudd marsh at the known edge of the White Nile. They debated further exploration of Lake Kentucky, but decided they were lucky to have made it this far on their own. Also, Jose had discovered several healthy locations to build missionaries that he was eager to report on. Best to follow the White Nile to Khartoum and live to resume exploration another day.
To Kit and Jose’s delight, they found Dr. Smalley and Leski Osmonov in Cairo. The four surviving members of the Cairo Confidential celebrate their accomplishments and drink to the memories of missing friends. Getting down to business, they examine the map and debate where to explore next.
Here’s the initial empty map:
Here’s the complete view of explored terrain:
They decide on a plan: Kit Sharp will continue exploration from Mombasa to Lake Kentucky and up to one or both of the branches of the Nile. Jose Miguel Harpua and Leski Osmonov will lead seperate canoe expeditions up the unpublished western waterways. The missionary on the Niger River and the botanist on the Ogoue River. Both will attempt to cross into the White Nile basin, if possible. Dr. Roger Smalley will complete exploration of the southern Congo basin, skirting that pesky region of impenetrable jungle/swamp northwest of Livingstone’s mountains.
May 20, 2011
Dr. Roger Smalley and botanist Leski Osmonov explored much of the Congo. Smalley’s journal is summarized below…
Part 1: Off to a rough start.
Departed from Luanda. Overrun by jungle fever and tsetse flies. 7 askari and 14 bearers dead. Expedition much reduced but we continued on.
Part 2: Much progress and good fortune.
Leski discovered several new species of plants: Arctotsis, Streptocarpus Rexi, Acidenthera, Ixia Viridiflora, and Okume. I cured a chief’s son of disease. Several hostile tribes were encountered but they either retreated or were defeated.
Dr. Livingstone was found…a guest of a tribe of natives and delusional. I introduced myself: “I’m Dr. Roger Smalley. I’m here to rescue you.” He didn’t want to be rescued but we had a productive meeting with him. He described the mountainous terrain to the south and east. (Livingstone represented on map by white square with tribe 36. )
Part 3: Perilous Return
Oh how I wanted to explore the rest of the Congo basin, but supplies were running low and we decided to return downriver to the coast and publish our discoveries while we still lived. Europe would be excited to learn that Livingstone still lived. We anticipated a pleasant journey but met the opposite.
Twice we encountered hostile tribes and were defeated. The first time, I made a stand with the askari to allow Leski to escape in a canoe with most of our supplies. I was captured but soon escaped and joined Leski downriver. The second time we followed the same plan, but I was unable to escape quick enough to join the botonist. How it must have pained him when I never emerged from the jungle and he had little choice but to leave me behind.
I escaped a month later with a musket and a monkey carcass the natives were preparing for meal. The meat soon rotted and I was left with nothing. I couldn’t depend on the musket for my survival so, when I came upon a previously friendly tribe downriver, I traded the musket for enough dried meat and nuts to last me to the coast.
Knowing there was a hostile tribe at the bend of the river to the north, I choose to cut across unexplored wilderness directly towards Luanda. My problems worsened when I came upon another unknown tribe. I had little choice but to offer them all of my possessions as a sign of my friendship. It worked.
I stumbled into Luanda several weeks later, carrying nothing and having lived for several weeks off of whatever bitter ferns and rot grubs I could dig up along the way.
The botanist was happy to see me.
Miss Sharp and Jose Miguel Harpua arrived in Mombasa with a plan. They’d travel overland to the east bank of the unexplored lake. Trade for a canoe with the jungle tribe there. Miss Sharp would paddle to the unknown west bank of the lake and then follow the coast to the south. Jose would move along the southern coast and meet up with Miss Sharp somewhere in the middle. If either explorer had difficulties or ran low on supplies, he or she would return to the eastern bank tribe and wait for the other to return.
The key to the plan was to establish friendship with the jungle tribe. Without the tribe, they would have had no way of acquiring canoes. The last time Miss Sharp had encountered this tribe, she was captured and barely escaped.
Well, not only did the tribe trade with them, but Jose also converted the chief to Christianity! Miss Sharp still smirks whenever she thinks about it.
Miss Sharp journeyed across the lake, disappointed not to find the lost city or native kingdom that the rumors were suggesting. Just tall mountains and diminishing supplies. She was forced to return to the friendly jungle tribe on the east bank, hoping Jose does not overextend his expedition in search of her’s.
Meanwhile, Jose’s mounted expedition met serious difficulty, repeatedly getting lost and eating the extra horses. He discovered that the lake continued further to the south than expected. A massive inland body of water. (Note: I’m ignoring the rule that says a lake’s size is limited to three hexes. I like the idea of massive inland bodies of water and not being able to predict where they might end.) He could not risk further exploration and was forced to return to the friendly tribe. Kit was there waiting for him.
They traded all the horses to outfit a more robust canoe exploration of the southern portion of the lake. This joint expedition was a partial success, finding what they hope is the southern limit of the lake before turning back towards civilization.
The return trip was quite thrilling. After caching the canoes to make an overland trip back to the coast, they barely survived the attack of an aggressive tribe. Then they defeated an ambush of slavers and discovered their base of operations. Dangerous, yes, but it sure made for a great story back in Europe!
May 17, 2011
In the Source of the Nile campaign that I am playing, an expedition has found Dr. Livingstone. Later this week or next week I’ll post the story of that epic expedition, but here’s a sneak peak of what might have occurred.
The rulebook doesn’t specify what happens when Livingstone is found, other than the player earning 5 victory points. Wanting to spice things up a bit and inspired by the Lost Civilizations supplement by Holmes, I created the following system . It’s not exactly reflective of actual events, but intended to be lighthearted, simple, and contribute ingredients for a good tale.
Determine Livingstone’s situation and sanity (2d6):
2 Leader of Slavers and Delusional
3 Captive of Slavers and Delusional
4 Guest of Slavers and Delusional
5 Captive of Slavers and of Sound Mind
6 Guest of Slavers and of Sound Mind
7 Guest of Natives and of Sound Mind
8 Captive of Natives and of Sound Mind
9 Leader of Natives and of Sound Mind
10 Guest of Natives and Delusional
11 Captive of Natives and Delusional
12 Leader of Natives and Delusional
This region contains a war between slavers and a native tribe. Generate a tribe of slavers or natives depending upon Livingstone’s situation.
To attempt to meet with Livingstone, one of the following must occur:
a. Explorer becomes friendly with the natives or slavers.
b. Explorer defeats the natives or slavers and finds their village.
c. Explorer is captured by the natives or slavers.
Decide or randomly determine the explorer’s reaction when first seeing Dr. Livingstone. The war between the slavers and tribe causes them to be particularly sensitive to anything strangers say.
Explorer’s Reaction (Choose or d6)
1 “Dr. Livingstone, I assume?”
2 “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”
3 “Doc? Dr. David Livingstone? Boy, am I glad to see you.”
4 “I’m Luke Skywalker (or whatever explorer’s name is). I’m here to rescue you.”
5 “Why, you slimy, double-crossing, no-good swindler.”
6 “We meet again, at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner. Now, I am the master.”
If “Dr. Livingstone, I assume?” and Livingstone is either:
a. Leader of Slavers and Delusional
b. Captive of Natives and Of Sound Mind
…then explorer is captured. Otherwise, meet with Livingstone.
If “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” and Livingstone is either:
a. Leader of Natives and Of Sound Mind
b. Captive of Slavers and Delusional
…then explorer is captured. Otherwise, meet with Livingstone.
If “Doc? Dr. David Livingstone? Boy, am I glad to see you.” and Livingstone is either:
a. Captive of Natives and Delusional
b. Captive of Slavers and Of Sound Mind
…then explorer is captured. Otherwise, meet with Livingstone.
If “I’m Luke Skywalker (or whatever explorer’s name is). I’m here to rescue you.” and Livingstone is either:
a. Leader of Natives and Delusional
b. Guest of Slavers and Of Sound Mind
…then explorer is captured. Otherwise, meet with Livingstone.
If “Why, you slimy, double-crossing, no-good swindler.” and Livingstone is either:
a. Guest of Natives and Delusional
b. Guest of Slavers and Delusional
…then explorer is captured. Otherwise, meet with Livingstone.
If “We meet again, at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner. Now, I am the master.” and Livingstone is:
a. Guest of Natives and Of Sound Mind
…then explorer is captured. Otherwise, meet with Livingstone.
If Livingstone is a Captive and the explorer is friendly with the natives or slavers and not captured after the initial reaction, then the explorer can buy Livingstone for 3d6 gifts. The explorer then meets with Livingstone, see below.
If the explorer is captured, then the explorer must escape with Livingstone in order to meet with him. Use the Consequences of Defeat table in the rulebook to resolve escape attempts. If you escape with member(s) and Livingstone is not a Leader, then you can choose Livingstone as a member (but not necessarily part of your expedition, see below) and meet with him immediately after the escape.
Meeting With Livingstone
When explorer meets with Livingstone, roll d6. If he is of sound mind, roll another d6. If he is a Leader, roll another d6. The sum of these rolls is the number of nearby hexes that Livingstone reveals to the explorer. Start with the nearest blank hex (if tie, randomly determine) and generate the terrain and rivers as if it they were being explored. Do not generate tribes or discoveries. From that revealed hex, choose the nearest blank hex (if tie, randomly determine) to reveal. Continue this process until the indicated number of hexes are revealed. The explorer gets credit for these hexes if he publishes them.
After Livingstone reveals hexes and he is not a Leader, roll d6. Add one if he is of sound mind. Subtract one if he is Delusional. He joins the expedition as a guide if the sum is 4+. If Livingstone is a guide, he will never desert. If Livingstone does not join the expedition, he goes his own way and is never seen again.