How to Play


Vorpal Lhura is meant to be played through an online format similar to LiveJournal. So here's how I envision things: GM posts a description of what the party is encountering, preferably in as "story-like" a format as possible. Less "You're in a dark place. You're likely to get eaten by a grue." and more "The party, after some squabbling, agrees to head west at the crossroads. The plains stretch out ahead of them, flat and largely featureless. The summer sun's cooked some of the grass brown, and there's barely a breeze. As noon approaches, the heat becomes visible in front of them, distorting the road ahead. Just when it seems as if they're heading to nowhere, a figure can be made out alongside the road. At least, it looks like a person. It's hard to tell since they seem to have collapsed just off the road, and are face down in the grass." Stuff like that.

The players then comment on the entry with their actions, the GM answering simple actions until something more robust is required, such as:

Player 1: "Oh Gods!" Mari exclaims, and runs up to investigate.
Player 2: Yeah, I go to check things out too. Maybe the guy has some gold I can loot...
GM: It is, indeed, a human man, passed out and sniffing dirt. He is breathing, and sweating, but he won't wake to simple prodding, shaking, or loud noises.
Player 3: Is gold all you think about?
Player 2: Is there anything else worth thinking about? I start patting the guy down for coin or stuff...
Player 1: Mari swats at Vernon's hand. "Stop that! He needs help!" She starts casting her level 4 healing spell.
Player 2: Vernon scowls at Mari. Did he find anything anyway?
GM: In that quick of a search? No. The guy's wearing a brown robe and has a walking stick with him.
Player 3: "Probably a pilgrim who pushed himself too far in the name of those idiot Gods."
Player 1: "HEY!"
GM: Lose one point of Focus, Mari. If you're distracted enough to take offense at his comment and even say so out loud, that counts.
Player 1: Drat. I'm still okay on the spell though.
Player 3: Merenthal grins.
Player 2: Vernon gives Merenthal a thumbs up.
Player 1: I'd totally roll my eyes at you two if I weren't busy trying to save this man's life.
GM: The healing spell is cast with no problems. A white light infuses the man, and he seems to breathe easier. His eyelids open creakily and he looks around in confusion.

At this point, the GM can go to another full post if a lot of description is about to ensue or if this is a major character who needs considerable introduction, or the party can just ask him questions, continuing to comment on this post until the GM decides that a new post is required. Basically, if it's going to end up being really long or if it's a Major Plot Point, it should end up as its own post.

If a player's going to have a major scene of drama or character development, they should make that its own post as well, but simple actions like, "I swing my sword in an attempt to decapitate the ogre." aren't really post-worthy. Each comment should be considered a single action, so comments like "I jump over the table, sword in hand, and kill this guy and then that guy over there, and then I spin around and kill that guy too!" aren't allowed (and are honestly kind of childish, like you're playing cops and robbers).

You could say "I jump over the table, sword in hand, and take a swing at the nearest combatant." for example. True, it's technically "two actions" in the sense that you jumped over the table and then swung your sword, but unless jumping over a table is something your character might have trouble doing, the GM should pretty much give you that, just for the sake of dramatic entrances (especially if you're a Hunter. Those guys LOVE drama). It's the sword swinging that the GM's going to have to really step in on, so stop the comment there and give them a chance to do so.

Most contests are simple stat comparisons, highest wins. In the event of a tie, the GM (and likely the player) may have to get creative to settle things. After all, sometimes you do meet someone who is your equal, and impasses can happen.

At the end of significant actions (a battle completed, a puzzle solved, etc.), the GM should award experience points to players based on their performance, in the following manner:

GM: The door to the ancient tomb groans under the weight of centuries, then starts to rumble open. The temple shakes with the effort, but here, at last, lies the pathway to the buried riches of the lost king!
Player 3: We did it! Merenthal grins proudly at the opening door.
Player 1: "FINALLY...," Mari sighs, pushing herself up.
Player 2: "All the gold is!" Vernon rubs his hands together in glee.
GM: Merenthal, gain a point of Focus-Logic for figuring out how to open the door. Vernon, 2 points towards your Search skill for finding that talisman. Mari, gain 3 points of Scholar for deciphering the talisman; you can divvy them up between History and Lore as you wish.

(This is probably also a good point to start a new post.)
Players should feel free to speak up if they think they should get points; keep debates civil and be understanding of each other. In the case illustrated above, the tomb is an important part of the questline being developed; that is why the players who figured out how to open the tomb received various points. Points should be given out for either Significant actions or Oft-Repeated ones.

A point to increasing HP should be a prime prize, not easily given out or earned. The point in "Focus-Logic" is an indication to shift a point out of Creativity and into Logic; it does not increase Focus. Points for skills should be a little bit easier to come by, IF the skills are being used. Note that the GM specifies what is to be done with the points in question. These are the relevant skills the players used to solve the puzzle, thus that's what they've effectively leveled. At the end of a storyline, a GM may (and should) give general points to represent the experience gained through the entire campaign. Players may spend these general points as they wish, but are strongly encouraged to put them into appropriate skills/attributes.

For Example: The party has completed the campaign. The GM awards specific points for the various skills/abilities used during the pitched battle against the Ghost of the Lost King, then gives each player 15 general points in addition. Mari thinks back: they've traveled far, and spent most of their time away from populated centers. She hasn't specifically gotten points for Cooking, but she's probably done her share of it in their time camping, so she takes 3 points out of the 15 to level her Cooking Skill. In addition, they haven't been carrying much in the way of food with them, so they were probably hunting. She drops 2 points into Hunting, and splits the remainder between upping her Focus-Creativity a level (because she's had to come up with creative solutions during the course of the questline) and her HP-Str/Stam a level to represent the long amounts of hiking/walking they've had to do.

Merenthal decides to buy Unholy (his Primary magic school) up to level 10; since he's at level 7, this takes all 15 of his points (4 to get to level 8, 5 to get to level 9 and 6 to get to level 10), but he found a tome of the black arts back near the beginning of the campaign. He's probably spent most of his downtime studying it; the GM awarded him level 7 earlier in the questline for his creative use of some of the spells, but now Merenthal has the ability to finish learning from the book.

Vernon's uninterested in anything but being a better thief. He drops 10 points on leveling his HP-Spd/Dex two levels, then puts 3 more points into getting another level of his Thievery skill. This leaves him 2 points; he can't decide what to do with them now, so he (and the GM) make a note of the fact that he's got those points leftover.

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