Montag, 9. März 2015

Chthonic Codex Prep & Play report

On G+, Natalie asked how much time people spend preparing their weekly sessions. I'm currently only running games irregularily, but what I run is based on my campaign that saw regular fortnightly sessions for more than two years, so I think it applies somewhat. For this session in particular I opened up a third front that already was hinted at in my previous session: The Hypogea of the Valley of Fire being in contact with the Sylvan Realm. 

So, let's see what the breakdown was ...

Effort breakdown

  • Thinking about the game and Chthonic Codex (including chatting with the author for a bit): Several hours
  • Coming up with the adventure setup: 5 minutes using the Assignments table from Chthonic Codex.
  • Rolling for additional character background: 5min
  • Laws of Reality: 10min
  • Building the Hypogea Map: 30 minutes (80% done).

What we know so far

  • Recently, a cave-in opened part of the Hypogea to an area of lush woodland.
  • A number of Blind Piercing Behemoths (Chthonic Codex, pp 30/31) escaped.
  • One was killed by people living outside, surprisingly, but not without sacrifice.
  • The opening is too large to be closed off.
  • It's common knowledge that the land above the Hypogea is the Valley Of Fire, a valley that is enshrouded and flame and fire.
  • Lush woodland is not that so the Great Schools send out a joint expedition of apprentices (because, seriously, why would Masters or Savants go out there themselves before more is known?).
  • We also know that the Bears were on the lookout for their pope (at least, that's what they told the witch and the gnome accompanying them).
  • We also know that a rogue Wizard lives in the Sylvan Realm, in a Silver Tower that stands in a Milky Lake.
  • We also know that there are witches which seem to be unaffiliated to any school, so technically they're also rogue.
  • In addition, see the Sylvan Realm wiki for more background information.


The chosen apprentices for the initial expedition into the Green Beyond are
  • Agathon the Stargazer You found a clue about the witches that are rumored to live in the Green Beyond, "always in threes they appear, mother, maiden and crone. Avoid the ire of the crone, the lure of the maiden and the wiles of the mother".
  • Elettra the Necromancer You recently escaped when his school was invaded by a skullsnatcher. Is it still after you? (picked by Paolo)
  • Strata the Fire Dervish You got lost, fell down a hole, and were volunteered for this mission. Another Fire Dervish, Agamemn, is mad about this for some reason. (picked by Sherief)
  • Phyllis the Artificer Your friend Sybil went missing and was last seen near the new opening. You think you can save them.
  • Epicles the Gatekeeper You found a small sack containing 4 rations and a quart of water. Maybe one of the first mission's members left it behind? (picked by Barry)
  • Sophia the Chimerist You found the originally appointed Chimerist, Demetrios, dead, halfway here from the school. You took his money, his sword, and his place in this expedition. (picked by Frotz)
These are the pregens from the boxed set, enriched with results from Eric Nieudan's joining an ongoing expedition table (changed to a d12).

The Mission

Assignment is They need help making it back before something bad happens. So, this group of apprentices is not the first to be sent out.

Laws Of Reality

blanked out to avoid spoiling yourself (mark text to see laws of reality):

Really? No, you won't get to see the laws of reality this easily.              
Maybe if you were to find a mystic place in the Hypogea, one could be revealed.

Hypogea Map

Concocted as per the Chthonotron. Only used as inspiration for where to set the cave-in, did not get active use during play (step-by step photos taken for later reference, material for another post).

Live Blog

Paolo did some live blogging during the session.

Information used during the game

  • Sylvan Realms map
  • Chthonic Codex' random encounters map
  • Some ideas about what the crone does
  • Chthonic Codex' Assignment random table
  • Chthonic Codex' random name table

Rules used during the game

  • 5MORE checks and saves, and a ton of failed experience rolls
  • 5MAIL combat (one attack)
  • Chthonic Codex spells


This session was based on previously developed material I got "for free" and which made up the major parts of game content. My preparation framed the origin of the player characters for me which allowed me to referee the game world properly. I would say there was nothing prepared that wouldn't see re-use in follow-up sessions. The cloth my campaign is made of got some more thread and embroidery, and I predict less general-use and more session specific prep in the future.

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