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Author Topic: Aquelarre Real Play ITT  (Read 598 times)

rytrasmi

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Aquelarre Real Play ITT
« on: November 16, 2020, 05:15:31 pm »
Hello there. I'm going to play through an introductory adventure for one of the the most interesting TTRPGs ever written: Aquelarre the medieval Spanish game of doom. I've been running a campaign for a few months now and am getting the hang of the system and setting. But there's still much to learn. The rule book has a solo adventure I've been meaning to play to help me improve. Now is the time! And I'm inviting you along for the weird ride. Feel free to chime in with questions, comments, and witty quips! Or just stare in grim, stony silence.

Today we will start to create our character. The rules recommend rolling one up randomly (er, mostly randomly, as there point assignments that are not rolled). So, let's get to it!

Step 1: Where are you from? Here we roll 1d10 for our home kingdom. The choices are Castile, Aragón, Granada, Navarre, and Portugal. Castile occupies the bulk of the Iberian peninsula. Aragón is over in the east with Catalonia and Valencia. Granada is the southern Muslim chunk, what's left of the Caliphate of Córdoba that once dominated the peninsula. Navarre is a tiny place over in Basque country. And Portugal is pretty much where it is today. See the attached map for reference.

We rolled a 7. We hail from the Kingdom of Granada!

rytrasmi

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Re: Aquelarre Real Play ITT
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2020, 05:31:40 pm »
So we live in a Muslim kingdom that is slowly being gobbled up by the Christian kingdoms to the north. Not good. And if I recall correctly, the Kingdom of Granada ceased to exist in 1492. Good thing I've decided that it's 1347. Our character has many happy days ahead!

Step 2: What people do you spring from? The choices for Granada are pretty straightforward. We can be an Arab (80% chance), a Jew, or a Mozarab (Arab-ized Christians). Again, fate decides with 1d10.

We rolled a 7 again. We are an Arab! At this point, I'll mention that the rules are pretty descriptive of what that means, recognizing many ethnicities that settled in Granada and using the term "Arab" as a matter of convenience. We are probably Nasrid from a line of Andalusians who have long lived on the peninsula, though we could trace our ancestry back to the Turks, Mali, Ghana, or anywhere else in the Arab world if we wanted.

rytrasmi

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Re: Aquelarre Real Play ITT
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2020, 06:19:04 pm »
Step 3: What is your class? This is really caste, as opposed to fighter, cleric, etc. in other games. This ranges from upper nobility (e.g., count) to slave, with townsfolk, merchant, peasant, etc. in between. Again, a d10 decides our fate.

We rolled a 10. Holy hell, we are a slave! We are the private property of our master, possibly a captive from Africa or Northern Europe. Perhaps we are a laborer or bodyguard.

Being a slave demands another roll of a d10, on which 9 or 0 means we are also a eunuch. Christ. Here goes:

We rolled a 4 and are in fact intact, assuming we are male.

Step 4: What is your profession? Here we consult a chart based on our society and class and roll for our profession. As you can imagine, slaves don't get the big shot options. The choices range from beggar, to herder, to prostitute, to soldier, that type of thing. The casting of a d100 decides.

We rolled a 15, which means we are a Curandera, a medicine woman (or man). We use natural remedies and have some occult knowledge to boot. We are respected for the healing we do, but not paid much - or anything! - being a slave.

Step 5: What profession did your father have? At this step, we determine what our father (or mother did). This adds backstory cues and family skills. We roll on the same Arabic slave table, as there was little class mobility back in the day.

We rolled a 36 and are the son/daughter of a Jester, so someone who entertains the rich or noble. Perhaps we were dismayed at the idea of following in our father's footsteps and decided that learning some other manner of ingratiating ourselves with the ruling class could bring a bit more dignity. We noticed we had an aptitude for suggesting curative herbs for our masters to eat with their meals and ran with that. Dad was pissed, but we didn't care.

Step 6: What is your family like? Here we decide whether we are married, our birth legitimacy, if our parents live, and our siblings. First up, a d10 to decide what happened to our parents and if we are a bastard and, if so, what kind.

We rolled a 6. We are legitimate and both mother and father still live. Great, dad's juggling and joke telling still bring us shame to this day.

Next, 1d8 minus 1d4 to determine the number of siblings we have.

We rolled 8 - 4 for four siblings. For birth order we roll 1d5 and get a 2. Then we roll odd/even for sibling gender and get an older brother and three younger sisters. No wonder dad was so angry. Older brother ran away to avoid inheriting the job of slave jester and dad turned to me. When I refused, he must of snapped.

Lastly, we roll another d10 to decide if we are/were married.

We rolled a 1, meaning that we were married but our spouse has died.

So, at this point, we've decided that we are an Arab citizen of the Kingdom of Granada. We are a Curandera (healer) that descends from a line of Jesters. We are also a slave. As far as power and glory goes, we got the shortest straw there is. Let's double down on marginalization and be a woman, too. So we are a widow who has basically be disowned by her family for failing to take up the family profession and having a messed up marraige. Consulting the names list at the back of the book, we pick "Zohra" as kind of a badass name. I'm thinking we continue that theme next time when we pick skills and what not.

rytrasmi

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Re: Aquelarre Real Play ITT
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2020, 10:29:12 pm »
Here is what we have so far:

Name: Zohra
Kingdom: Granada
People: Arab
Class: Slave
Profession: Curandera (healer)
Father's Profession: Jester
Family: Husband dead, father and mother live, older brother, three younger sisters

Now we need to decide on our primary characteristics, which are listed below. We have 100 points to assign and due to our profession, we must have a Culture of at least 10 and a Dexterity of at least 15. Nothing can be below 5 (or 10 for Vitality) and nothing can be above 20. This part is not done randomly, per the rules, despite the rolling done above. Since we are a female slave from the underdog society, we are going to max out our prime requisites as well as Vitality so we have a chance at surviving. That leaves 40 points for the other 4 characteristics, so we will go 10 each to keep it simple.

Strength (STR), raw muscle power. Used for certain weapons skills, like Maces and Axes. Also used for throwing things like  improvised weapons. 10

Agility (AGI), quickness and reflex. It is used for skills like Jump and also used to decide initiative. Certain weapons skills, such as Spears, are based on agility. 10

Dexterity (DEX), manual coordination. This is important for a healer because we need to pick and process herbs and make ointments and balms. We survive by our wits and hands. Dexterity maps to manual skills, as well as weapons skills such as Knives and Swords. 20

Vitality (VIT), health and stamina. This is our starting Life Points and decides how well we can recover from trauma and disease. 20

Perception (PER), our awareness and ability to notice things. Aside from several skills, such as Empathy, this characteristic controls our ability to used ranged weapons, such as Crossbows and Slings. 10

Communication (COM), how well we can hold conversation and dialog. This maps to skills such as Command (useful for retainers and servants) and Commerce (useful for finding items for sale and securing a good price). 10

Culture (CUL), the knowledge that we have accumulated. This characteristic maps to many skills, such as Alchemy, Plant Knowledge, and Magical Knowledge. 20

As for secondary characteristics we have:

Luck, which we can burn to make rolls. The luck system brings our the gambler in me, in that you have to declare that you are using luck before the roll. If you fail the roll, then your luck points make up the difference to succeed. Those points are gone until the adventure is over when they replenish. However, if you don't have enough luck points to make up the difference, you fail and lose all your luck points. Our Luck starts at COM+PER+CUL or 40.

Temperance, which is used for saves that require willpower. Some spells allow for a temperance check to avoid.  You may also need to rely on temperance to resist torture or avoid being being driven mad in the presence of a demon. We roll 5d10 + 25 for it. We rolled 66. Not bad at all.

Rationality (RR) / Irrationality (IRR) is the scale of God and reason vs the Devil and magic. Rational characters believe in order and justice and God's glory. Irrational characters believe in mystical creatures, demons, and subversion. RR and IRR change during the game and may affect our ability to cast/resist spells or holy rituals and may come into play when we meet Rational or Irrational creatures. RR+IRR must equal 100 and at character creation neither can be below 25. If we had an ordained profession (priest, cleric, rabbi, etc), we would need a RR of at least 50 to use rituals of faith. But since we are a healer who practices magic we are going to max our IRR. RR = 25, IRR = 75.

Life Points (LP) is essentially hit points like in other systems. It starts at our VIT or 20.

Appearance (APP), is how we look and can lead to different reactions from NPCs. It also controls our Seduction skill. We roll 4d6 + 2 (because we are a woman). We rolled 22. We consult the table and find that we are handsome! Woohoo, maybe we can get by on looks.

Age matters because as we get older we acquire age related problems and afflictions, as well as knowledge and skills. To start, we roll 1d10 + 16. We are 23.

Height & Weight, we look up our STR or VIT on a table. We will go with STR, which is lower and makes us shorter and lighter. We are 1.64 varas and 125 pounds. A vara is a meter in the game world (though real varas were shorter). So we stand 5'5".

Lastly, we have Concentration Points (CP) and Faith Points (FP) which are the resources for spell casting and rituals of faith. When we cast a spell we spend CP which recover slowly. If we perform a ritual we need a minimum number of FP (they are not spent) which we can lose by sinning or gain by penance and other actions. CP is just IRR / 5 and FP is just RR / 5. Since they are mutually exclusive, we will only worry about CP, which are 15 thanks to our high Irrationality.

Next post will be skills!



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Re: Aquelarre Real Play ITT
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2020, 03:01:35 am »
Awesome. Aquelarre is a great game and was a big inspiration for my own Lion & Dragon RPG.

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rytrasmi

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Re: Aquelarre Real Play ITT
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2020, 10:53:27 am »
Thanks! I've been slowly reading through Lion & Dragon and I must say it's great work and very refreshing. I'm going to give it a spin with my group one of these days.

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Re: Aquelarre Real Play ITT
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2020, 03:24:41 pm »
I'm looking forward to read more about the campaign you are running.
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Re: Aquelarre Real Play ITT
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2020, 12:14:21 am »
Alright, this looks effing awesome. Where can I get a hardcopy in the US?

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Re: Aquelarre Real Play ITT
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2020, 02:29:00 am »
From Chaosium's website:

https://www.chaosium.com/aquelarre/
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rytrasmi

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Re: Aquelarre Real Play ITT
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2020, 09:02:58 am »
Alright, this looks effing awesome. Where can I get a hardcopy in the US?

Like Runeblogger says, you can order it from Chaosium directly. I got mine from DriveThru and the PoD is actually really nice, though I suspect the binding is better if you get it from Chaosium.

rytrasmi

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Re: Aquelarre Real Play ITT
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2020, 11:44:26 am »
I'm looking forward to read more about the campaign you are running.
Thanks.

Now, before we give Zohra her skill points, I've listed them all below. Aquelarre has 55 skills (not including languages). I've categorized them into 5 groups (the Rules don't) based on how they tend to play. Obviously this is approximate and there is overlap and every table has a different play style, so take it for what it's worth!

Magic: Alchemy, Astrology, Magical Knowledge, Theology

Mechanic: Climb, Drive (as in wagon), Heal, Jump, Medicine, Ride, Run, Swim, Taste, Teach, Throw

Role Play: Command, Commerce, Conceal, Court Etiquette, Craft, Discovery, Disguise, Eloquence, Games, Listen, Music, Pick Lock, Seduction, Ship Handling, Sing, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Torture, Track

Knowledge/Meta: Animal Knowledge, Area Knowledge, Empathy, Language (there are many), Legends, Memory, Mineral Knowledge, Plant Knowledge, Read/Write

Combat: Axes, Bows, Brawl, Crossbows, Dodge, Knives, Longswords, Maces, Shields, Slings, Spears, Staves, Swords

Magic skills are those that allow the casting of spells and performing rituals of faith. The two main ones are Magical Knowledge for spells and Theology for rituals.

Mechanic skills have solid mechanics behind them, so they are generally carried out according to the Rules. No need to role play healing (unless you really want to!), just declare and roll.

Role Play skills provide good opportunities for role play to earn a bonus or penalty to the skill check. For example, the players describe how a search is carried out to earn a bonus to a Discovery check or even negate the need to make a check. The Rules of course give the GM the power to award bonuses/penalties to any skill check. I have found most of these skills to be the ones that my group role plays.

Knowledge/Meta skills are skills where the GM is pretty much going to reveal things that the players probably don't know. For skills like Area Knowledge, odds are the player isn't going to know much about some locale in medieval Castile, so it's just a roll and the GM feeding info to the player. Same for Empathy in gaining a clue to an NPC's true motivation (if it can't be gained just by role playing the conversation). That said, role play may work with some of these skills.

Combat skills are obviously mostly related to the combat system.

Each character has primary skills and secondary skills based on profession, as well as paternal skills based on father/mother profession. You also have language skills based on where you're from or profession.

Zohra's skills:

Primary (Curandera): Alchemy, Empathy, Heal, Magical Knowledge

Secondary (Curandera): Animal Knowledge, Astrology, Discovery, Legends, Medicine, Mineral Knowledge, Plant Knowledge, 1 chosen Arms Skill from the Townsfolk category

Paternal (Jester): Disguise, Eloquence, Jump, Sleight of Hand

Language: Andalusian 100%, Arabic 80% (CUL x4), Castilian 80% (CUL x4)

For most skills the base value is the same as the underlying primary characteristic. So for Discovery, Zohra has 10% because this skill is based on Perception (hers is 10). So all characters can try pretty much anything. Languages are a notable exception.

Primary skills start at 3x the base characteristic. So Zohra's Alchemy starts at 60% because she's a healer.

You get a pool of 100 points to assign to any skill you want to represent the training of your profession. Primary and Secondary skills go up by 1% for each point spent. All others cost double.

You also get 25% to assign to your Paternal skills to represent things you learned from your parents.

Language skills are set based on your people (in this case the Arabic people of Granada), as well as other considerations.

Next post, I will assign Zohra's points!

Mistwell

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Re: Aquelarre Real Play ITT
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2020, 01:00:16 pm »
This is a cool system.  I look forward to your future posts! Thank you for sharing.

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Re: Aquelarre Real Play ITT
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2020, 05:53:40 pm »
The system is essentially a modified BRP.  Spaniards were doing "clone" products before anyone, without even knowing it! They also did the great Capitan Alatriste RPG, which is essentially modified GURPS (though focused on non-supernatural renaissance era gaming with expanded dueling rules).
LION & DRAGON: Medieval-Authentic OSR Roleplaying is available now! You only THINK you've played 'medieval fantasy' until you play L&D.


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Mistwell

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Re: Aquelarre Real Play ITT
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2020, 02:12:03 pm »
Wasn't there some gorgeous Basic/Expert clone which came out of Spain which expanded that system well beyond anything done by TSR into a full blown D&D-type system? I remember it had incredibly superb artwork.

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Re: Aquelarre Real Play ITT
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2020, 10:23:46 am »
I guess you mean Adventures in the East Mark, but it has nothing to do with Aquelarre, apart from the fact that both are Spanish games.  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/davebrown/adventures-in-the-east-mark-the-red-box
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