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Rob Brennan
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Exiting a Dungeon

so I'm running Caverns of Thracia using Freebooters but I want to do it as an open table game whereby each session is a single trip in + out of the Dungeon. This means that sometimes we run out of time to do the extraction phase. Hence I have adapted +Jeff Rients excellent Triple Secret Random Dungeon Fate Chart of Very Probable Doom and procedure into a set of 3 possible moves the PC's have to make depending on the level of danger they are in at the time we have to stop the session.

When you exit a dungeon well equipped, though a known route with few known dangers, roll + WIS on a 10+ you survive without incident. On a 7-9 pick one from the list below:
One item from your stuff is gone, randomly determined.
You pick up an extra wound - take d6 attribute or HP damage
One of your hirelings doesn’t make it
You have to use up your luck, lose a point
on a miss, mark XP and something terrible and unforeseen happened, roll 1d10 on the escape consequences table.

When you exit a dungeon without essential equipment, through an unknown route or with vile danger en route, roll + LUC on a 10+ you survive but pick one from the list below. On a 7-9 the GM picks two from the list below:
One item from your stuff is gone, randomly determined.
You pick up an extra wound - take d6 attribute or damage
One of your hirelings doesn’t make it
You have to use up your luck, lose a point
on a miss, mark XP and something terrible and unforeseen happened, roll 1d12 on the escape consequences table.

When you try to escape a dungeon when captured, trapped or seriously out of your depth, roll + nothing, on a
10+ You lucky dog! You manage to somehow escape the dark forces of the dungeon. You return to civilization, naked and half-delirious.
7-9 as above but you are horribly mutilated physically or mentally during your release, pick two:
Perma-burn a random attribute by 1d6
Lose one point of WIS and re-roll your alignment and traits
6- mark XP and something terrible and unforeseen happened, roll 1d20 on the escape consequences table.
Escape Consequences Table (Modified from Jeff Rients original at
1. Maimed. You escape but suffer the effects of a random critical hit. Also, 50% of your stuff is gone, randomly determined.
2. Opportunity for betrayal. Pick one other character who got away safe. Roll 1d6, 1-4 he takes your place and has to roll on this chart while you escape, 5-6 you both suffer the fate rolled by your victim.
3. Held for ransom by seedy humans. A member of the Thieves Guild can arrange release for 1,000 coins per character level. 1 in 6 chance the money disappears.
4. Captured by monsters. Escaping comrades know the level you were captured on and the type of monster holding you captive.
5. Captured by monsters. Escaping comrades know the level you were captured on, but not the type of monster involved.
6. Captured by monsters. Escaping comrades know the type of monster involved, but not what level to search.
7. Captured by monsters. Unseen monsters spirit you away to an unknown location.
8. Lost in the dungeon. GM sets your location each session. Re-enter play if the party finds you.
9. Also dead. Your body is irretrievable due to dragon fire, ooze acid, disintegrator beam, etc. but your stuff is still around for some other jerk to nab at a later date.
10. Alas, you are no more. If any comrades escape they are able to bring your remains and your stuff back to civilization.
11. You and your stuff are sacrificed to the loathsome ___ Gods in order to gate in d6 ___ Demons that are added to the dungeon.
12. A gorgon or somesuch has petrified you. Escaping characters know what level to search for your statue.
13. Magically transformed or transfixed within the dungeon, your location is known only to the GM.
14. A fate worse than death. Drafted into the ranks of the monsters. Roll d6: 1-2 undead, 3 lycanthrope, 4 charmed, 5 polymorphed, 6 other.
15. Pining for the fjords. If any comrades escape they are able to bring your remains back to civilization, but your stuff is lost.
16. Dead as a doornail. The general location of your body is known to any surviving comrades.
17. Your stuff has become part of a ____’s hoard and your body part of it’s supper.
18. That is an ex-character. The location of your body is unknown to all.
19. Bought the farm. Your body and possessions irretrievable due to dragon fire, ooze acid, disintegrator beam, etc.
20. No longer on this plane of existence.

Racial traits
So, we had a bit of an issue in our game with infra/dark/?vision. We had a hobbit and 2 elves. I said the halfling had none but the elves could see in the dark (as per Moldvay) - my halfling player was unhappy. But this points out to me that it is a missing element from the game since the racial traits don't list any of this. OK, the rule may be to ask questions of the players and find out how your world works but I still think that some prompts in the rules would be good eg I like DCC's phrasing of "heightened senses". I personally think this is more important than being light of step and balance - which interacts in a weird way with DEX saving throws. (My halfling thief is getting a bit of an inferiority complex about the elves).

Spellcasting - no GM move on a miss?
So in play we were slightly confused by the wording of Cast Spell as it states "on 6-, mark XP, choose 1 from the list below, and then roll on the Arcane Accident table." - does this imply the GM doesn't get to make a move on a miss? (It did to us) If so this undermines the magic principle in the main rules which states "As a rule of thumb, keep in mind that when a spell or invocation goes wrong, its repercussions should be in proportion to the intended effect." (nice IMO!). The removal of a GM move and its replacement with the Arcane Accident table reduces GM authority and ability to inflict this proportional misfire as the AA table includes some results that are explicitly proportionate and some which are not/are weak.
If there is a GM move as well as the AA roll then maybe players could justifiably feel put upon for 3 bad things happening from one roll? (pick from list, AA table + GM move)

More on Evil (Murder-Hobos)
Well I played my first full session and when it came to XP my 2 evil player characters were delighted to read they needed to "Inflict physical or emotional harm on others for personal gain." since the entire expedition was a D&D style delve into the Caverns of Thracia - they argued successfully that this kill + plunder mission was inherently evil. Is this a problem? I don't know. I do know that many OSR games are setup this way (with ostensibly non-evil PCs) and if Freebooters is to emulate them... anyway I thought it was worth mentioning.

Too much Evil?
So my starting party of 4 PCs ended up with 2 evil characters (+1 neutral and 1 lawful) - fun, but... then I looked at the probability distribution of Evil alignments among playbooks and while 50% evil is unlikely, it does seem to skew towards Evil/Chaotic and away from Good/Lawful. The reason for this is that the Cleric + Fighter are balanced across all alignments but both the Thief and MU skew towards Chaos/Evil.  Hence the overall bias.
The reason I ask is that, especially for AD&D, Gary + much material seemed to present the players as the "good guys" (in general) eg see his Roleplaying Mastery book. The current slant in Freebooters seems contrary to that.
My random thoughts - could we at least balance things out by making Fighters + Clerics more likely to be Law/Good than is standard at present? I can also see a case for adding a Lawful (perhaps only 1 in 12) and even Neutral for MUs...what do you think?

So has anyone found any problems with the power of MU spells not growing much with level?
One of my players has an int 18 MU so he has +3 for casting and a huge number of power points. Other than getting new spells I am not sure how much he is going to improve as he levels - what have I missed? (My comments are theoretical since we only rolled up characters, actual play starts next week - interested what people have seen in practice)

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Maybe some of you would like to get a peek into my work on big data for human history - this video showcases some of the last 9 months work with the Seshat: Global History Databank:

#alignedproject #H2020 #seshat

This is part of a broader study of building data-intensive systems on the web supported by the European Commission's ALIGNED H2020 project. ALIGNED has just finished the first phase of the project, read more below:

The ALIGNED consortium is pleased to announce that Phase One of the project on software and data engineering has been successfully completed. We have worked hard to achieve this important milestone, and we invite you to have a closer look at our videos showcasing the work we have done for Wolters Kluwer's JURION, Semantic Web Company's PoolParty and the Evolution Institute's Seshat: Global History Databank. We are tackling the challenges of building modern data-intensive systems on the web - managing data quality, integrating software and data engineering and improving productivity and agility. If you are an SME or large company facing these challenges, please get in touch via the contact form on our project website. If you want to learn more about the project, visit our website (, sign up to our mailing list, or follow us on Twitter (@AlignedProject,#alignedproject) and Facebook (

See the JURION video here:
and the PoolParty video here:

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There is also a free public lecture on the evening of 26th June.

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Data-driven humanities: teaching computers history so they can calculate the unknown.

Historical research adds to our knowledge of the past, and is increasingly being made available online. If this research is published in ways that computers can process, we can use computers to help us understand historical events. A wide array of theoretical and mathematical tools can be used to analyse this data for patterns or trends, and to reveal insights not otherwise available.

This workshop brings together world-leading researchers in history, social sciences, computer science and mathematics to discuss the ways in which we can use computers to improve our understanding of the past. The morning will focus on teaching history to computers - how researchers have extracted information in ways which computers can use. The afternoon session covers calculating the unknown - how we can use this information to identify, understand, and think about patterns in history.

Who should attend: researchers, students and practitioners in History, Data-driven or Digital Humanities, Linked Data, Social Complexity, Cultural Evolution, Complex Systems, Big Data, Research data sharing and Open Data.

This event is jointly hosted by the Knowledge and Data Engineering Group, Trinity College Dublin, and the Digital Repository of Ireland, Royal Irish Academy. The workshop will be held on Friday 27 June in the Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street. Tickets are €20 and include lunch.

Full details are available at

Direct registration link for Friday's workshop (Eventbrite):

This workshop has been partially funded by a New Foundations Grant from the Irish Research Council.
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