Sunday, September 04, 2011

Equipment for Zu

Last week I totally forgot to print out the equipment list before game. That makes it a suitable topic for my next post, amended with few small bits of explanation:

Local coinage exists in great variety and will be adjudicated on a "spirit of the moment"-base. Khantún has lacquered coins of rare wood with a hole carved through the middle, the barbarians of the Hāāā Plains might occasionally use the pretties and most colourful dinosaur feathers, etc.. The "universal" coinage, or "The Basic Alchemical Catalysts" as known by a few well-informed sorcerers, are the following:

- The Ist. The Ist is a reddish coin of varying hue, roughly round and the size of a large thumbnail, though there's quite a bit of variation. Good for ordinary low-cost items like rope, torch, etc..

- The Kon. A largish coin of shiny dark green metal with complex non-figurative engravings in it. Comes in a variety of shapes from square through round to elliptic, but always the same weight. Worth 10 Ist, and typical adventuring gear (weapons, armour and the like) are measured in the Kon.

- The Bizant. Even larger, shiny and dark blue, more of a medallion than a coin. Very rare, worth a 100 Kon.

These coins are the remnants of a long-forgotten age and nobody knows how to mint more. Occasionally, one might come across what wizards call an "activated" coin. An activated coin always has some magical quality. This can be obvious (glows, feels unnaturally cold or warm, floats on water (though weighting normal), or delivers a small shock on touch); or more elusive (keeps on spinning and spinning once spun, makes a small humming noise when held to the ear, or reacts specially to specific substances). Such coins are usually worth 100 or more times their nominal value to the right buyer - if they're recognised for what they are.

Dagger, whip, clubd6-1max. 1K
One-handed weaponsd66K
Two-handed weaponsd6+112K
Speard6 (+1 two-handed)4K
Thrown weapons (javelin, throwing axe)d6-1 (+STR bonus)2K
Slingd6-1 (d6 w/ lead shot)1K / 2K per dozen lead shot)
Bow & arrowsd610K / 1K per dozen
Crossbow & boltsd6, +2 to hit, ROF 1/220K / 1K per dozen

Armour & shields*
Light (leather, studded leather, exitic hides, linothorax, etc.)-1HP damage per hit5K
Medium (partial metal, mail shirt)-3HP damage per hit15K
Heavy (full mail, qood laminar, etc.)-5HP damage per hit50K
Buckler+1 AC3K
Medium+2 AC6K
Large+3 AC, heavy encumbrance12K
Helmet+1 AC5K

Equipment & supplies

Acid, 1 vial7K
Ale, 1 flagon (4 draughts)**1K
Brandy, 1 bottle (12 draughts)3K
Chain, 10'8K
Incense, 1 stick or perfume, 1 vial1K or more
Medical supplies (bandage, herbs, etc.), 1 dose****1K
Mirror, small, silver10K
Oil, fiery*****1K5I
Oil, lantern5I
Pole, 10', wood1I
Rations, travelling, 1 day1I
Rope, 50', hemp5I
Rope, 50', silk15K
Shovel, pickaxe, crowbar, grappling hook, etc.2K (per item)
Steel & flint1I
Wine, Mead, Berrywine etc. (1 bottle, 8 draughts)2K


Riding Lizard(1HD, AC10)10K
Sandcrawler Lizard(2HD, AC12)20K
Horse(2HD, AC12)50K
Hunting Raptor(1HD, AC14, d6-2 bite)10K
War Raptor(2HD, AC14, damage reduction -1, d6 bite or +2 leap30K
Winged Snake, hunting(1HD, AC16)15K
Winged Snake, messenger(1HD, AC16)20K
Winged Snake, poisonous, trained(1HD, AC16, d6-1 + poison50K


Alchemy lab equipment, basic set3B
Lockpicking tools15K
Musical instrument, simple4K

* So, yeah, armour doesn't improve your AC, but instead decreases the amount of damage you take from attacks. Feel free to rage if you're a true grognard. It works, because:
- Shields and helmets still improve AC, and DEX bonuses are easier to get, so characters will still have a decent AC, only it won't go into the 20-s (or negatives for descending AC).
- Humans can naturally improve only to the fifth level of experience, and monsters are also scaled accordingly (though they can exceed that limit), so the enemy will never have such huge attack bonuses. Or much HP.
- Since melee attacks are roughly in the d6 ball park, medium armour offers a rather decent protection, but still doesn't turn you into an armoured Superman. Heavy armour might, but that's very rare Rosenwalder stuff and good luck getting some. That +1 for two-handed weapons or the STR bonus makes a real difference against medium, though.
- The theme here is that armour was made to be protective against other humans, but if you get attacked by some eldritch monster whose damage code is [multiple] d [whatever], then you're quickly in real trouble. As you should be, since they're eldritch monsters.
- Criticals take off points not from you HP, but from your ability scores (with a *2 modifier to damage code). Which is cool because it's like Traveller, and because it actually adheres to the age-old silly explanation that "HP is not wounds, it's stamina/luck/rolling with blows". It makes perfect sense that if HP is not wounds, then something else must be wounds. Let's take that official explanation which always has been silly, think it through all the way, and we might actually get something that works and even makes sense. More to the point, criticals ignore armour, anyway.

** 1 draught of booze (regardless of type) and a bit of rest after a fight heals you 1d6 HP once per day. I'm pretty sure it worked for Conan, so it works for my players, too. Plus, see above: HP is not wounds.

*** Has anyone ever bought any other type of lantern then "bullseye"? I've never seen it happen. And if everyone always buys just one type, why have several on the list? Anyway, this lantern here is neither. It doesn't do fancy stuff like narrow beams or quick hiding option. And, unlike all D&D lanterns I've ever seen, if you try to turn it 90° so it shines directly up or down a shaft, all the oil pours out and down your neck.

**** These heal 1d6 points of lost ability.

***** One of my favourite dead horses. Lamp oil isn't a damn Molotov cocktail!!!! So here's a separate item, a sort of Alchemist's Fire.

****** Guess these need some explanation, which also educates you about the world of Zu
Riding Lizard - Bipedal, about as tall as an Icelandic pony, carries one rider. The most common riding animal of Zu. Looks a bit like this, minus the hair and with less developed forelimbs. Upsides: it can keep going without rest for a long while, and it's inherently docile and obedient. Downsides: none too bright, obedience means it listens to everyone, not just its owner, not good at running, gets scared and uncontrollable in a fight.

Sandcrawler Lizard - These are like sand-coloured, oversized Komodo dragons which have been stretched a bit. They're very good at moving speedily over sandy terrain, and are primarily used by the Ankur Empire. Each lizard can have two men ride on it in a squatting position (too low to hang your legs down), but their undulating movement might cause seasickness in unaccustomed people - or it might just cause them to fall off. They're very calm, and Ankur janissaries can fire some of their smaller spirit house weapons from the back of a Sandcrawler on the move.

Horse - As mentioned, most civilized people of Zu consider these to be sinister, unnatural, possibly demonic creatures and would want to have nothing with them. Objectively, they're smarter then the usual Riding Lizard, their galloping speed makes them great for pursuit or getaway, and when properly trained, they make formidable platforms to fight from. At the same time, they can't cover the same distances as most reptiles without rest, and training them is a hard art to master.

Hunting Raptor - Size.  Appearance. Questions?
Obviously, they're meant to hunt small prey, but can cope with deer-sized creatures when in a pack. They're rather smart and easily trainable, and the noblemen of Ankur and Khantún often breed them as pets - these varieties have incomparable prettier (or more garish) plumage, and would be proportionately more expensive (if at all for sale).

War Raptor - These are your Jurassic Park Raptors (only with feathers, obviously). They can't be ridden, but you can set them loose on the enemy right before a battle for a bit of bloodshed. Of course, the enemy might have some prepared wizards or just some female War Raptors in heat, and then there's no telling which side the bloodshed will be on.

Winged Snakes - These were inspired by Scott Wylie Roberts' excellent Travellers of the Wasteland, which you should check out.

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