How to be Mosquito Free

How to be Mosquito Free

by Rabbit

So you’ve made it to Ilveresh and are all set to do some hero stuff, but the mosquitoes are getting you down? Here’s some ways to keep yourself mosquito free, tried and true from the deeper parts of the swamp. There are amazon.com links attached for all of the different repellent methods you can purchase.

Bug Spray

The traditional. This is what a majority of our players use. All of it is helpful. In practice, anything that advertises itself as deep woods, backwoods, or sportsmen works better. A higher deet content is usually better than a lower one. 25% to 45% seems to be the sweet spot. A couple of quick notes about deet. First, if you hunt for it, you can find spray with high levels of deet (90% -100%) It does not work as well as you think it would. It also burns more than you’ll want it too. Second, deet does not get along with prosthetics like latex ears and nail polish. Deet will slowly melt away both of those.

There are some other things worth mentioning about bug spray. Just because you spray yourself down doesn’t mean all the spray will stick to you evenly. That’s okay. Make sure to get the back of your shoulders, forearms, and head. This goes double for my fellow balding men. A trick I like to use is to spray a lot in my hands, then use that to rub around my ears and face. There’s nothing worse than a mosquito buzzing around your head. 

Also, you will sweat your bug spray off. It’s just something to be aware of. You can fight a bunch, then go reapply your bug spray, then go fight a bunch, then go reapply your bug spray again. Live that cycle. If your cool with it, we’re cool with it.

You should be able to find bug spray just about anywhere you look for it.

Bug Lotion

A must have for the deep woods ranger types. It’s a simple lotion, like sunscreen, with 35% deet. As a lotion, it gives a more even coverage than a spray. Put on a good layer before you garb up. Make sure to get around the ears. It’s easy to find at any camping store in the area.

Permethrin

This stuff is great. It is meant as a treatment for clothes and it works wonders. You can find it in camping stores and department stores. Not only does it keep mosquitoes away from your clothes, it’ll repel other bugs too. Surely a bonus with ticks around. Find a dry day before the season and spray your garb down. Let it air dry for a while. It’ll last you the entire season.

Garlic Pills

Garlic Pills are a commitment. They’re easy to find at any department store in the vitamins section. To be effective, you’ll need to take about four per day during the event. They’ll smell, then you’ll smell as garlic oozes out of your pores. You’ll feel a little greasy, but hey, if it works on vampires, it’ll work on mosquitoes.

Garb Choices

This one is largely a character choice. If it’s not the way you want to go, ignore it. That said, the less open skin mosquitoes have, the harder it is for them to get at you. They will still make a successful go of it. Thicker fabrics are better than thin ones. This is also easier in the colder months. Sometimes we still have mosquitoes in winter.

Actions During Play

There’s not a lot you can do to avoid the mosquitoes without aid. One thing that does help a bit is to keep moving. You’re quite the buffet when you stand still. Activity can make it hard for the buggers to stay with you and take your mind off them.

Camping Tricks

For those who are camping on field, it’s good to keep air circulating on you while sleeping. This will deter mosquitoes by making it hard for them to land on you. A little camping fan that is blowing on your face will do just the trick. Also, some mosquito netting inside a tent or car can go a long way if you can rig it up. 

This should help get you past the mosquitoes and back to adventuring and drinking to your health. Just make friends with the mud and you’ll be right at home in the swamp. If there are any methods that you know of to thwart mosquitoes that are not mentioned here, please share them. Be a hero. Everyone hates mosquitoes.

Module Writing 101

Module Writing 101

By Craig Jarvis

1. Name the module

This is one of the more important steps in the creative process. The name allows you to discuss the project with others, and helps solidify the concept and story behind the module in your mind.

2. Date to run and module length

Can this module run at any day and time? Does it run best during the day, or does it require the gloom of twilight for the full effect. Can you run it in snow, or rain, or temperatures in the low nineties? Will the NPCs need extra time to prep garb and makeup? Will you need time and helpers to dress the module area, and run rope walls, or (my preferred method) black plastic walls? Pick the ideal time, but be ready to run whenever the GMs decide.

3. Synopsis

Jot down the central theme, the key NPCs, what they want, and why. Try to fit it all in one paragraph. We’ll expand on it later. If there is a VITAL player, skill, prop or idea, without which the module falls apart, mention it here. In bold italicized text if necessary.

4. Hook

How will the PCs get involved? Will an NPC run into town asking for help, or will he stroll into town seeking to hire a handful of able adventurers? Will the hook appear in the Quill, or will the module marshal just walk across the field, teleporting PCs into the dungeon? The Hook will help define how many players you want, and should give a hint at the power level of the module. A farmer’s wife begging for aid against the kobold in her barn can be an intro to a newbie module for two to four players. A wealthy landowner trying to hire six warriors to clear orcs and goblins out of his hunting lodge might be a mid level module. The Prince’s Spymaster issuing orders to the nobles to assemble a fast moving party of eight heartless and merciless killers to “handle” a problem with an ogre tribe and its new Ogre Magi chieftain… not a low-level module.

5. Linear vs. non-linear

A linear module moves from one room to the next in sequence. It is usually simple and straight-forward. The module marshal can set up the first one to three encounters in order, depending on the number of NPCs available, and as NPC are defeated or bypassed they report back to the marshal or his assistants, to set up the following encounters.  The main branch can have side rooms and forks, but there is only one “correct” path from beginning to end.

A non-linear module is more free-form, requires more prep, but can be much more fun for the PCs. A one-day in which the PCs start in a “ruined town”, and have to find the rare flowers somewhere within the nearest 40 acres. Scatter roleplaying clues around the land, a hermit in the “abandoned elven village” that knows the flowers grow near a hidden shrine. A band of goblins of the “missing teeth tribe” that avoid a cursed spring to the north. You know the flowers are in Trapper’s Camp, guarded by a chimera, a pit trap, and a Potion of Curse that must be drunk to safely pick the flowers.

6. Number of encounters

How long do you expect to entertain the PCs? Even a short module takes time to set-up, collect NPCs, herd PCs, and run the encounters. Count everything as an encounter. Each set of NPCs, each trap, puzzle, or “skill check”. I recommend against delineating roleplaying/combat encounters. Every encounter is a roleplaying encounter. Even mindless undead and giant slugs should roleplay their hearts out. My wildly inaccurate rule of thumb is that each encounter will take about five minutes. That being said, I’ve planned long combats with multiple waves of NPCs get steamrolled in under a minute, and I’ve had a thirty second conversation before the “boss encounter” last over an hour. Be flexible.

7. NPC Stats and briefing info

Give your NPCs as much information as they can handle. Even the tenth wave of level 1 skeletons should have something special about them. Give one a pronounced limb because his buddy is wielding his foot. Keeping the module fun for the NPCs is just as important as entertaining the PCs. I follow a condensed NPC info format.

NPC name, NPC level, class or type, Body, Armor, Damage
Special Attacks, Defenses or Abilities
Description and Roleplaying Notes

For instance:

Bazagdula, 10th level Orc Warrior, BP: 60, AP: As worn, Damage: 5/5 or weapon +3
Critical Parry Shortsword Rt Hand, Critical Parry Shortsword Left Hand, Resist Charm x2, All Unit Tactics

You wear platemail armor, and bear many scars from early childhood to now. You are a Warlord like few seen in ten generations. You speak with command and authority. You are more concerned with winning the war than with winning individual battles. You are not afraid to sacrifice troop for a victory, but each death hurts the Cause. If overwhelmed, fall back and regroup. Your life is to be protected at all costs. 

8. Props and Rewards

A couple of nice props can make a world of difference. Make or buy your props weeks in advance. If you don’t have time to find the rare magic flowers yourself, delegate to an assistant. Give them a few bucks and tell them to get anything that looks like a flower from the dollar store. (Take your receipt to the TM, GM or the BOD) Spruce up an old boffer with red tape for Bazagdula’s favorite sword. Steal a 4x4 from another house and use it as the balance beam trap. Get NPCs to play non-vital decorations, tables, chairs, desks, a fallen chandelier, stalagmites. Trust your assistants to perform last minute set dressing. 

Figure out what the PCs can gain from this module. Will the monsters have coins in their pouches, or in a small stash at the end of the encounter, or no? Are there cool magic items, or rare and valuable objects d’art? Potions, scrolls, alchemies, toxins, armor, herbs, weird stuff? If your loot needs tags, get your tag list to the Econ Marshal well in advance. If the “loot” is intangible, make sure the PCs know that. If the reward is a boon from the local noble, a rich merchant, or a poor hermit with some obscure knowledge, write a thank you note to the PC from that person.

9. Skills

Grab a rulebook, turn to the skill tables. Look back over your module. List EVERY skill that might be useful in identifying or explaining something in the module. Racial Lore: Kobold for the farmer’s wife module. Orc and Goblin Languages for the Hunting Lodge, plus Terrain Lore: Forest and Wilderness Survival. Heraldry: Human, Forgery, Scribe, and Urban Lore: Yardsmith for the Spymaster, Culture Lore: Orges, Read Magic, Mystic Rune, Symbol Lore and Planar Lore: Negative for the Ogres and Ogre Magi. Flora Lore and Terrain Lore: Swamp for the rare flowers, Alchemy 8 for the Potion of Curse, Terrain Lore: Mountains OR Subterranean for the Chimera, and Locate Trap 3 for the pit. 

Write Most-but-not-All of the Skill Info down on a one page briefing sheet. Give it to the PCs and tell them, “If you have the appropriate Skills, you will know this stuff when you see the <kobold, orcs, goblins, Lodge, Spymaster, ogres, ogre magi being played by Travis, bright purple plastic flower>.” Save one or two pieces of info for explanations on-the-fly. “Also, if you have Mystic Runes you realize that the Ogre Magi’s armor is useless against cold and water spells.” “If you have bardic ability you’ve heard rumor that the Chimera’s lion and goat heads will pause if they hear a lullaby.

10. Follow up encounters and after action report

Your module write-up is not complete until the module has been run, and you’ve written the last section… what happened? Were the PCs successful? Did any of the NPCs escape? Did any of the loot get missed or left behind? Is there a follow up module? Include the names of the PCs that went, what they did, in general, and how well they performed. This will help you and the GMs for future encounters and modules

Kanar On A Budget

Kanar on a Budget by Craig Jarvis

So you would like to play Kanar, but money is tight.

You've got time, but gas is expensive, food is expensive, yearly dues are expensive, and the monthly event fee is expensive.

However, I have some suggestions.
 
Gas:

Car Pool. Make friends, talk to people, find out who is coming near your house, and who is going back that way. Ask questions and do the math on gas mileage and your share of the fuel cost. No need to be rude, but be honest and fair with them. If it's 60 miles and they are driving a Sentra that gets 30mpg, they are using 2 gallons of fuel, and you owe them the cost of one.

Food:

Pack a lunch. In fact, pack six. Friday night, Saturday breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and Sunday breakfast and lunch. These are meals you would have eaten at home anyway, so the cost is the same whether you eat them in a swamp or in your living room. Fill a milk jug with water or lemonade and use it. If you need some variety, go to the Inn and barter some labor for some food. The Inn always needs labor. If they don't need you right then, ask the townsfolk if they need firewood, raking, cleaning, anything for enough coin to buy a meal.

Yearly dues:

If you can't afford $20 once a year, Kanar might not be right for you.

Monthly Event Fee:

$20 can be easy to come by, or easy for which to barter. Make friends, meet people. Find someone that desperately needs two hours worth of unskilled labor, for which they will pay you ten dollars/hr. Be awesome and entertaining, and the slightly more fortunate will pay just for the joy of your company. Offer to dig a trench, collect firewood before, after or during the event, repair a wall, fix a shirt, transcribe lyrics, dig out a fire pit, haul six inch diameter deadfall to Tim's Fort...

And if all of that fails, volunteer to play an NPC for the entire event. As long as the GM knows before 5pm on Friday, the GM can waive your event fee.

Cost breakdown:

A three-day event lasts 48 hours. Let's assume you are a die-hard Kanerd and can magically sleep for eight hours on Friday and Saturday. The remaining 32 hours of non-stop immersive roleplaying splendor costs you twenty dollars, or roughly $0.62 per hour of entertainment.

 

Originally posted in the Kanar Facebook Group.

 

Mystic Quill Advice

So you want to write a Mystic Quill Article

By Kaitlin Bereczky (Mystic Quill Editor)

Part 1 - What goes in the Mystic Quill

So you’ve seen me posting about needing Mystic Quill articles and you’d like to submit something to help. Great! “But Kaitlin, I don’t know what to write for an article, what do I do?” Don’t worry Billy, I’ll help you figure out what to write, then you’ll be submitting articles like a fiend!

There are 5 sections to the Mystic Quill:

Local News - This depicts news from Ilveresh and surrounding towns. Crossroads, Brenn, and even Hallot are local news. I would go as far to say as the barrony, but that might not necessarily be the case depending on how far away the town is. News from South Bay, though fairly close, might be considered Novashan news

Novashan and World News - This is news from outside walking distance of Ilveresh. Parts of the barrony would be considered Novashan news. Things well outside the barrony, like in other kingdoms or far to the other sides of the peninsula. Barron Bear’s barrony would fall into this category.

From Our Readers - Everyone likes a little bit of gossip, and this is where it goes. Opinion pieces, periodicals, short stories, poems, works of art, and even our tarot card readings go in this section. It can be very broad and is usually the easiest to write for.

Help Wanted - This is a great place to put hooks for your plots, or if your character is looking for any assistance. Most articles submitted here (and some articles in the rest of the Quill) will have a note in the OOC section on who to follow up with if you want people to investigate with the article title and your name. If you do not want follow up with your ad please SPECIFY IN YOUR EMAIL.

OOC (Out-of-Character) - This section is for any news that is related to Kanar but not necessarily relevant to on field activity. This is where names of those who you can contact for follow up for articles go, board meetings, scheduled events like the road cleanup, PM announcements, and other staff news goes.

Part 2 - What to write

It’s pretty normal to not know what to write about at first. Some people like to write about their first hand experience, while some write from a different perspective. This can get tricky either way.

Write for your plot - If you are writing an article for your plot, give just enough information that players need to get interested in the plot and want to seek out more. For example: “A hunting party found a burnt encampment in the woods just south of Crossroads. No weapons were found, but tracks led farther into the forest and bones scattered and broken at the site have Crossroads Town Guards believing it was a band of orcs.” The players can then follow up with Crossroads Town Guard, knowing from the article that they will need tracking for sure, possibly urban lore, and maybe woodland terrain lore.

Write what your character knows - If you are writing for news that your character heard in town, then you can write the article as your character if you believe it should be public knowledge. If it is not something your character would feel safe telling to a confidential source, do not submit it as your character (or do, if you wish to start a little drama) because the GMs use the Quill as much as the players do and they can use this to mess with you a little, which could be fun or frustrating. You can always choose to submit an article anonymously or under a fake name.

Write a poem - Why not?

Submit a drawing or recipe, a short story, a first hand experience, or news of your adventure that was worth sharing.

Submit an ad for your armor or weapon smithing, an invitation to visit your camp, or a notice that you’re always up for an adventure!

DO NOT SUBMIT ARTICLES FOR THINGS HEARD OFF FIELD. If you heard it at a party, don’t write an article for it. If you heard it in the parking lot, don’t write an article for it. This is meta gaming, and though it may have good intentions, it is forbidden in our game. If you believe an article should be written about something you did hear out of game, consult the GM staff or me and we will decide if it is appropriate to submit.

Part 3 - How to write

I’m gonna grammar this up a little just so you can help me out, so deal with me for a minute. The choice of view of the author is very important when writing articles.

First person - This is mostly for articles that belong in the “From our readers” section. First person is written with “I” and “me” pronouns. You don’t read the newspaper in first person, so don’t write news in first person (please).

Second person - Second person should be used very sparingly. It is mostly for articles that are instruction pieces. “You” is the main pronoun used for second person.

Third person - They, them, he, hers pronouns. This is generally what news articles are written in. This is best for doing most things in the Quill that are in the local or world news categories. It sounds the most professional.

Part 4 - Conclusion

What goes into the Quill? Almost anything. If you think your article isn’t good enough, if it has spelling or grammar errors, or if it lacks content, it won't necessarily be excluded. I (Mystic Quill Editor) reserve the right to exclude articles if they aren’t relevant, are meta gaming, or don’t have the space to fit them in that month. But I will work to include the article even if it needs just a little tweeking.

Enjoy writing your article. If it stresses you out (and believe me I KNOW how that can be) then send me a message and ask for help. If you have an idea I’m very good at coming up with content.

The Mystic Quill is printed for the benefit of all our players. Thank you for your time, effort, and interest in helping build and strengthen our game.