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  • The Star Wars (Posts)
    by Trey on December 14, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    With a new Star Wars film upon us, it's a good time to revisit these classic Star Wars related posts:What Star Wars Got Right What's good about SW that might be applicable to gaming.The  Truth About Droids What's going on behind the scenes with these comic relief helpers? […]

  • Wednesday Comics: A Couple of Recommendations
    by Trey on December 13, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Here are a couple things I've read recently that I think are well worth checking out.Doomsday Clock #1Ozymandias's horrific ruse has been revealed and a world in turmoil wants him dead, but he's nowhere to be found. A new Rorschach in league with Ozymandias breaks two super-villains out of prison for mysterious reasons. This comic had a lot of marks against it for me: it's an "event," it's tied in to a story that is better left alone, and it's written by Geoff Johns, whose work I am generally not particularly fond of. But you know what? I actually thought it was pretty good. Frank and Johns manage to capture the vibe of Watchmen, making it seem like a credible sequel and though not a lot was revealed in this first issue, it has got me interested.Mickey's Craziest AdventureThis graphic novel  purports to be a lost Disney comic from 1965, but it's actually a new work somewhat mimicking an older style by French comic artists Lewis Trondheim and Nicolas Keramidas. The concept is that some installments of the story where lost, so Mickey and Donald go from one page episode to one page episode with a lot of the bridging material missing, making the crazy situations (and Trondheim and Keramidas pretty much pull out all the stops) the characters find themselves in even crazier. The episodic and "incomplete" format serves to break you out of the story, but the art is good and events interesting enough that it doesn't overstay its welcome. […]

  • Moon Castle Part 2: Skeleton Castle and Counterfeit Castle
    by Arnold K. on December 13, 2017 at 9:47 am

    See part 1 here.3. The Skeleton CastleThe city of Gafferdy had a huge necropolis.  Within its crypts, generations of dead were revered, respected, and consulted.  When Gafferdy was destroyed by the Siege Castle, the city's honored dead strove to protect it.The dead roused too slowly to save the living.  However, the necropolis succeeded in driving off the invaders and building the Skeleton Fence.  The powerful undead raised new ranks from the fallen and then fortified the city against further invasion.  They walled themselves off from the outside world, creating a city where the dead were the only citizens.Now, the innermost parts of the ruined city are walled off, with the bone-white walls of the Skeleton Castle clearly visible from afar.The Obstacle of the Skeleton Castle is getting past the Skeleton Fence.  Any living thing that passes over the Skeleton Fence dies.  Only the dead may pass freely.  The Skeleton Fence is very difficult to destroy.The Breadcrumbs of the Skeleton Castle are: - Near the Cemetery Fence, there are several things (graffiti, undead parrot) that mention how Modest Madroff the Smuggler can smuggle you into the Skeleton Castle. - It's easy to track down Modest Madroff.  He died five years ago, and was buried in the cemetery back at the City of the Moon. - You'll probably need to beat up the Cemetery Kids to get access to the cemetery in the City of the Moon.  They have a large bell that they stole from Madroff's grave. - The grave is a small dungeon.  If you bring any light source into it, zombies will attack you.  If you make a wrong turn, zombies will attack you.  If you ring Madroff's bell, you'll hear Madroff ringing his corresponding bell to guide you through the dungeon.  (Any bell will work, not just the bell you recovered from the Cemetery Kids.)  Inscriptions at the beginning of the grave will inform you to (a) bring no light, and (b) ring a bell. - Meet up with the now-undead Modest Madroff, now captaining his sunken ship, the Modest Maiden through the rivers of the underworld.  Pay him the fee (1000g or his other bell) and he'll transport you.  It'll be exciting and spooky and eventually you'll arrive at the Skeleton Castle.Alternatively, just find someone who will turn you into undead.  Then you can cross the Skeleton Fence without dying.Alternatively, just find a way to get invited into the Skeleton Castle.  There's a skeleton princess somewhere that is looking for a suitor.  Do I hear wedding bells?The Skeleton Castle is a massively overbuilt mausoleum, fortified against armies.  Lots of intelligent skeletons, honorable skeletaur knights, necrophidiuses, etc.  They'll probably assume that the characters are simply unrotted ghouls, since there are never any living creatures in the Skeleton Castle.  "Hey new guy!" they shout.  "Come eat some of this dead fisherman that someone threw over the fence!  He's nice and bloaty!"Other fun skeletons: elephant skeletons, giant skeletons, self-assembling skeletons, skeletons who liberate their brothers from the flesh prisons of their enemies, hungry coffins, a graveyard nymph.  Didn't Scrap write a list of fun skeletons?If the dungeon has a gimmick its going to be converting half the party to undead to solve certain puzzles, but honestly undead dungeons are so much fun they don't really need a gimmick.The Skeleton King is basically a meta-lich, formed by all the heads of former ruling families fused into one big skeletal lump.  He probably looks like Gravelord Nito.  Powerful spellcaster, but prone to bickering and infighting.  Obsessed with spies.  Terrified of the Siege Castle.The Local Allies are probably some hilariously somber pilgrims, struggling to pay a visit to their departed loved ones.  A little old lady, a tearful lumberjack, etc, all straight from a funeral.  Expect quests that involve treating the undead respectfully.Also expect some horrific shit, because the undead are good at being both Halloween-spooky and inhumanly cruel.by manbearpaganI've decided not to write up the castles in order.  Partially because it's a loose order (the player's can mostly do them in any order they want, with the following exception).7. The Counterfeit CastleSo the Moon King is basically withdrawn from his day-to-day ruling.  It's up to his lieutenants to run his evil kingdom.One of his lieutenants is the Puppetmaster, who takes notice of the party and conspires to eliminate them.  His plan is to invite all enemies of the castle to a party where they will all be killed.  This nefarious plot unfolds as castles are cleared.The party cannot access the Counterfeit Castle until at least four castles have been defeated and four of the swords reclaimed.There aren't really any Breadcrumbs or Obstacles for the Counterfeit Castle.  It just shows up.One very important thing about the Counterfeit Castle: it's a shoddy imitation of the actual Moon Castle.  The map is almost identical, which will greatly assist clever players.  For example, a obvious treasure in the Counterfeit Castle might correspond to a well-hidden treasure in the same place within the Moon Castle.  You'd never find it unless you knew which part of the wall to smash.After 1 Castle ClearedThe evil city announces plans for the Festival of Dreams.  Fireworks, candy, a dance contest, etc.  Most notably: the doors of the Moon Castle will be opened on that night, and everyone will be allowed to enter and petition the Moon King.The Puppetmaster hopes that this will draw out enemies of the Moon King, and he hopes to assassinate them all in one fell swoop.After 2 Castles ClearedThe Festival preparations begin.  Lots of construction.  Wood, sawdust, plaster.  Huge armies of cotters are brought up from dusty basements.After 3 Castles ClearedThe Festival preparations are in full swing.  Lots of errands (quests) that need to be performed.  Lots of happy people, for once.  Optimism.  The party is encouraged to build a float, to be entered into the parade.  The prize is a mask.After 4 Castles ClearedThe real Moon Castle is removed to the Shuddering Mountain, far away.  This happens in the dead of the night.A fake Moon Castle is built in its place, and a brilliant rainbow bridge constructed over the chasm.  Banners are hung.  This is what the cotters have been building these last few weeks, but it looks cheap and hasty (because it is).  This is the Counterfeit Castle.If the party decides to enter the Counterfeit Castle, they will be surprised at how shitty the castle looks from up close (gaping plaster, sagging woodwork).  Once inside, they will be subject to a brutal assassination attempt.  Probably puppet ninjas, portcullis traps, and cloudkill.If the party burns it down, it will be rebuilt by the next day.After 5 Castles ClearedThe Counterfeit King becomes impatient and arrogant.  Mooncalves begin to venture out from the Counterfeit Castle's towers at night.  The evil city becomes a more horrible place until the party clears the Counterfeit Castle.If the party continues to avoid the Counterfeit Castle, eventually it becomes an open secret with the Puppetmaster sending murder puppets after them, screaming "COME TO MY BIRTHDAY PARTY WE MADE A CAKE FOR YOU!" in increasingly deadly + deranged combinations.The Miniboss is the Counterfeit Dragon, of course.The Boss is the Youthful Moon King, a knight.  He is actually a puppet controlled by. . .The Real Boss is the Counterfeit King, a wizened wizard atop the throne.  He is actually a puppet controlled by. . .The Actual Boss is the Puppetmaster, hiding the rafters.  He is actually a puppet controlled by. . .The For-Real Actual Boss is the Real Puppetmaster, hiding in a flying theater above the castle, poorly disguised as a cloud.Your Local Allies are the unfortunate cotters.  Most of them just lie down in the gutters and watch the clouds pass overhead, but a few still have ambition and drive.  Expect some proletariat quests, as well as some heartbreaking ones "please take care of my family--they think that I am dead". […]

  • Actual Play: Dresden Files Accelerated Hollywoodland Setting
    by Matt Borselli on December 12, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    Hollywood, 1942.World War II is in full swing. In some parts of the world, it's been going on for over three years.Blood....bright red blood is being spilled in Europe, in Africa, in the Atlantic and, yes, even in the Pacific.Not quite a year ago, across the Pacific, nearly four thousand miles from Los Angeles, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.And the blood of the over two thousand American servicemen killed in Pearl Harbor has finally, after months at sea, washed ashore in Los Angeles, staining the beaches red.Up from Venice Beach, magic flows along Mulholland Drive, a natural Ley Line, through Universal City, to a nexus where Ley Lines from Beverly Hills, Santa Clarita and Glendale meet at the Hollywoodland Sign.Those 45 foot tall, stark white letters on the Sign loom above Tinseltown, broadcasting the accumulated magic back down onto the town, creating another sort of magic, a magic of cinema.In a month or so, the film Casablanca will debut.Blood and magic. Magic and blood.As dangerous a combination as a crate of sweating dynamite in the back of an out-of-control pick-up truck, barreling down a wild, mountain road, heading for a hair-pin turn.And the spark that will cause that dangerous mixture of blood and magic to explode, the Santa Ana Winds, are blowing down from the desert across the city.Raymond Chandler was right: "There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge."You received a letter yesterday, brought by a Studio courier, promising you $10,000, for a small favor.You're not fooled. Ten grand isn't a 'small favor'. Santa Anas, blood and magic. Somebody's gonna get hurt......Welcome to Hollywoodland.......Hollywoodland is a one-shot mini-campaign using the Dresden Files Accelerated RPG rules published by Evil Hat. […]

  • Purple Duck Games: Submissions Open
    by Jeff Duncan on December 12, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Purple Duck GamesSubmissions are open over at Purple Duck Games... Here's a quick list of the type of content they are interested in:* Pathfinder savvy content writers interesting in writing for their Lands of Porphrya Campaign Setting.* Adventures/support for Dungeon Crawl Classics* Adventures/Support for Mutant Crawl Classics* Adventures/Support for 4Saken RPG* Blog posts, which support any of the above RPGs...The link to their submissions page is here, but let's just :::Snip:::Submission PageRate of Pay for RPG writing starts at 1 cent/word. As mentioned (#5) above relevant blog posts pay a flat rate of $10. Purple Duck Games commissions art for their RPG projects & for stock. On the above mentioned links is an email you can query. Best of luck!Submissions Open is a freelancer's resource for the RPG Industry. If you're a publisher or game creator (or know of such a company) and interested in promoting a need for freelance writers or artists, drop me a line and I'll post your company data here on this blog or just leave a comment. If you're a writer/artist looking for gigs, click here for the complete list. […]

  • The Moon Castle: a Zelda-Inspired Dungeon Campaign
    by Arnold K. on December 12, 2017 at 9:28 am

    I've been trying to play through all of the Zelda games.  It's been a journey.Anyway, there's something about the simplicity of it all that resonates.  Go to all of the dungeons, collect all of the items, defeat the evil boss in the center of the map.Of course, I still want it to be OSR, so it has to be a sandbox.  And nothing should be a mandatory gate--players should be allowed to wander, exploit, and invent.  Bread crumbs will be placed (extensively, since I want all roads to lead to Rome) but fences will not.The only things that I write seem to be the things that I'm actually running.  I just through some fresh level 1s onto the map last Wednesday (starting a new IRL campaign) so I'm undeservedly optimistic that this little zygote will come to term.by zikwagaThe Moon CastleOnce a meteor fell onto the land of Gafferdy, and killed a great many people.It wasn't a meteor, it was a piece of the moon, and no one was killed.  At least, the people that were killed weren't really killed; they got back up and were alive again.  They were different, though.It wasn't a piece of the moon, it was a castle, and inside of it was a throne as white and as luminous as the moon.  The castle seemed to flow out from it like frozen milk.  Whoever sat on the throne inherited countless realms, all dreams, all imaginary.The Moon Castle was claimed, eventually, and consolidated.  A city grew around it.  Rivals were destroyed; neighboring cities were razed.  Eventually the castle was the power center on the whole peninsula.  Even the dragon Beyoc was tamed.And one king refused to yield his throne, as his predecessors had.  He was old and bitter and cruel, and he died seated in it.  And then something crept in his skull that had lingered in the throne, or perhaps some hidden corruption was finally revealed when the curtain of life was pulled back.  But then everything changed.That was a generation ago.Now the city is an evil place.  People starve, and the most desperate sell their bodies to the castle.  Their souls are moved into shells called cotters, the cheapest form of animate soul-vessel.  It's nothing more than a clay shell filled with dirt and ashes.  They no longer hunger or tire, but no longer do they feel the joys of the flesh.  Eventually the body crumbles, and the soul moves on to whatever afterlife it is due.  Or, more commonly, the soul despairs and loosens its hold on the clay construct, and the body is then reclaimed and rented to another.Cotters are charged rent on their bodies, due on the first of each month.  Rent is usually required to be paid in a day of service, rather than coin.They cannot speak.  They barely have faces.  They are almost blind.The vacated bodies are then leased to lesser demons called poes.  Poes have skin and warmth, but their interiors are mostly filled with a strange mixture of smoke, blood, and light.  Young poes (incorporeal demons who have only just arrived from the underworld) usually behave like madmen for the first couple of weeks.  Having a body is a heady experience.It is dangerous to kill a poe.  Unless you capture the escaping spirit, it will certainly report you to the authorities for the destruction of its skin.Demons have been invited into the city.  Moneylender demons with golden skin and enormous horns.  Landowner demons who house dozens of servitor birds in their wooden bodies.  Guard demons that crawl over the roofs, enforcing strange laws that change almost daily.The final castle is the Moon Castle.  It squats in the middle of the map, and its spires are rarely out of sight.The players can choose to challenge the Moon Castle at any time.  Who knows how far a clever, lucky level 1 character can get?  The Moon Castle has no gate and no key, but there are two large obstacles.  First, there is a chasm that surrounds the castle.  Second, the dragon Beyoc roosts amid its spires, watching for uninvited guests, and there are never any invited guests anymore.Beyoc doesn't sleep because Beyoc is always sleeping.  His eyes are closed and his breathing is slow.  The Moon King steers him through dreams.  Who knows what he would do if he were woken?  Or what it would take to wake him?The interior of the castle is unknown.  It is believed to be full of lunar organisms, demons, and dreams.  The Moon King's power waxes and wanes with the moon.  The poes are only active during the night, and behave like extremely sleepy/drunk people during the day.The Moon King rules through dreams, and all citizens must report their dreams to him.  (Dream audits are conducted to apprehend those that shirk this vital duty.)  People must sleep for 10 hours every day.It is unknown why he does with all this collected information.  (But you can bet its something nefarious.)The Eight DungeonsEach dungeon is going to have multiple trails of breadcrumbs that converge on its door.  Some will be hard-locked and will require certain conditions to access.  Others will be soft-locked, and can be accessed as soon as you find out where it is.Each one has a boss. Each boss has a connection to the Moon Castle, and a piece of the story that it tells.Will there be a magical sword that you need to power up?  Maybe.  Will there be a magical weapon in each dungeon?  I like that idea more.The first two dungeons are common knowledge.1. The Forest CastleWhen the Moon Castle began attacking the forests (for lumber, but also to kill everyone who wouldn't immigrate to his new city), the druids fought back.The druids lost, and all their people perished, but their counterstroke was deadly.  All of the survivors were turned into carnivorous plants--both defenders and attackers both.  None of the invading army survived (except for the Siege Castle, which limped away).  Now the place is full of carnivorous flora, preying on intruders but also on each other.The Obstacle of the Forest Castle is simply fighting through the hungry forest, or finding a way to convince the plants not to attack you.  (Remember that they used to be soldiers.)The Forest Castle is the remains of a natural cave system that the druids once dwelt in.The Boss of the Forest Castle is King Golma, an earth spirit that the druids once served.Your Local Ally is the Plague House, which is inhabited by four friendly plague demons.  Each demon wears a mask to keep the disease in--they've decided that they like humans too much to want to kill them.  They try to invite guests, and to be gracious hosts, but guests invariably succumb to the diseases eventually, so they try to survive on afternoon visitors and written correspondence.  Their names are Cholera, Typhoid, Cancer, and Plague.  2. The Siege CastleA thousand siege engines, heaped together, held together by a spine of twisted spears.  It plods along on armored feet, each made from a thousand iron boots.  It's head is a nest of ballistas and trebuchets.  It was the Moon King's greatest weapon.  Now that the peninsula is pacified (and his attentions have turned elsewhere), the Siege Castle is retiring on the battlefield where it legs were first broken.The Siege Castle wants war.  It wants to feel spears clash against its skin.  It wants to burn battalions under its lava spigots.  It wants to scoop up knights in its jaws and crush them inside their armor until the pulp runs down its chin.But it can't move.  It's rusting apart, dying a slow death.  Rain has accomplished what armies could not.  It dies like a wolf; Fenris after Ragnarok.It is still hungry.  It is still capable of assimilating metal and weapons into itself.  It is still capable of growing.  (That's how it got so big--it returned from the war bigger than when it set out.)It has servants, too, but they are clumsy things, meant to kill, not to repair.  The knowledge and the tools needed to mend it are in the city.At night, you can hear it groaning out on the battlefield.  You can see the forge-fires still smoldering behind its ribs.  Every once in a while, it makes an attempt to move.  You can hear the anguished metal tearing from a mile away. And yet it does move, slowly and painfully.  Every month it drags itself a few feet closer to the Moon Castle.  Does it still wish to curl up at the feet like a loyal dog?  Or does it wish revenge for its abandonment?The Obstacle of the Siege Castle is just approaching it.  It fires at anyone that it sees approaching.  Expect trebuchets.  There's a whole battlefield surrounding it, probably with some trenches still intact.  It has also fortified itself against entry, but the metal is rotting apart.The Siege Castle is the inner workings, the parts that were meant for human occupation.  The barracks, the command center.The Boss is the Siege King, who is basically the rancor handler (Malakili) in Return of the Jedi, except he shepherds the Siege Castle instead of a rancor.Your Local Allies are the Red Ring Army, a bunch of punks and pit-fighters that have befriended the Siege Castle by hosting gladitorial combats where the Siege Castle can watch.  They treat the Siege Castle like a Roman emperor when deciding when to kill an surrendering opponent.  If the Siege Castle nods, they live.  If it roars, they die.  It doesn't nod very often.Expect lots of gladitorial matches.Other Castles3. The Origami Castle - the same small dungeon repeated again and again and again with different themes, navigation is accomplished by non-Euclidean fuckery.4. The Queen's Castle - the queen shrank her castle and her family, keeping them safe inside her own body.  This is the flesh dungeon.5. The Skeleton Castle - a city that became a graveyard, EVERYTHING IS SKELETONS, SKELETON KING6. The Slime Castle - the water dungeon, creating when the Moon King destroyed a merfolk city, degenerate merfolk7. The Mirage Castle - they tried to escape the Moon King by hiding their utopia inside a desert mirage.  It didn't work; the Moon King found them in their dreams, where they are now imprisoned.8. The Counterfeit Castle - a cheap mockery of the city and the actual castle, useful as a preview of what the actual castle holds.  Expect puppets and paper mache. […]

  • Best pint in R'lyeh?
    by Akrasia on December 12, 2017 at 3:18 am

    So I had a pint of the "Blood of Cthulhu" Imperial stout tonight. (Once I spotted it on the board at The Oxley, how could I not? I'm akratic!)It had a nice flavour: dark chocolate, cherry, and tart. Also, it packed a subtle punch (9.5% alc.).It's definitely not a "session" drink: far too rich for that. But it's a nice way to finish a delicious meal.When it arrived, however, I didn't know whether to say "Sláinte" or "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn"! […]

  • War with the Necromancers 3 Rumours & Treasure
    by Konsumterra on December 12, 2017 at 3:07 am

    Well the end of this item as voted for on 5+ with 56 odd votesSewer hell almost readyBeast Men take longer to write but on itHave updated my link pages to past blogs (on sidebar)A while back I was getting lotsa comments and enjoyed them and was inspired by them. The last few felt like robots. Sigh. I appreciate feedback and arguments and requests. My hits are double what they were a year ago.Also If I compile all the warzone stuff humans will be easily described in one big block. Will do a d100 famous national mercenary troops too, partly inspired by my bigger campaign maps.Also this hell is full of plagues so some stuff handy or perhaps you need to get to hell for a cure or weapon. Hellgates releasing stuff from here might be a thing too.Plague lands 1 and 2 - very much based on Brugel and medieval artd10 So why did you become a Necromancer?01 Just for kicks and thrills, to be different02 Someone I loved died and I really wanted to see them again03 Immortality as long as you don't get made into a zombie04 Power, the only way someone like me could get any 05 The sex mostly, not just with zombies, all those hot pale cultists06 Ancient knowledge at their disposal was amazing07 My family were into it in secret for years it just made sense08 Well I like slaves and you cant really hurt the undead09 I developed some deformities and people shunned me10 Everyone hated me so I showed them all!d100 War with the Necromancers Rumours01 The gods have abandoned us, anything could happen now02 If the kingdom survives this the nobility and church will have to make changes03 You cant leave any corpse, behead them, stake them burn them04 I've considered killing and burning the elders of my family so they don't have to worry05 I've considered killing and burning my children so they don't have to live in this sick world06 Farms are still running with undead workers, those necromancers will have all the food07 I'm sure they have cultists everywhere spying on us so they know who to target08 There is a crypt I know where a wizard was buried we should burn him to be sure09 They have put guards on the graveyard now10 Someone trained a dog to find undead before they arise from the ground11 A farmer was driven from his farm by zombie animals12 Some cultists have hidden deformities, if I knew who had them Id tell the inquisitor13 Zombie farm animals walk themselves to the butcher shop, quite ingenious14 Your wife is pretty cold in bed everyone says, maybe she is a zombie15 Soon every town will be under siege and the kingdom will be in ruins16 For years the priests protected us with burial rites but you can see they have failed us all17 Slave labour and immortality, maybe things wont be so bad18 The gods will cut their losses and destroy the world you will see19 That comet last year brought the miasma making undead and mutants20 I never got to kill a man twice before, it was quite a experience21 The nobility is overrun with vampires and demon cults they are just setting us up22 I prefer vampires to mummies, you know where you are with vampires, just sayin23 Mummy armies have been rounding up slaves to build something, i wonder what24 If the ghouls did their job we wouldn't have a undead problem25 After this is over we wont have graveyards, just a cage with ghouls26 So if the land ain't sanctified or is defiled then the dead can rise27 You can't trust the priesthood, their methods don't work, where are the gods now?28 I saw a man the other day catch a zombie fish, it was still good eating though29 Any scratch or cut from a zombie will make you one of them30 I wonder if any skeletons are hiding close? I hate skeletons and bones31 When I was abroad I saw a land where they dissolved the dead in acid, quite sensible32 Burn em all, all the dead, dig em up, chop em up, we gotta do it33 Priest said we need our bodies for the end days but maybe this is it now34 Anyone with the sickness could contaminate us, the water isnt safe anymore35 Most zombies are placid and obedient but if left without orders they go crazy36 Salt around your house keeps out zombies and silver coins will  keep away the rest37 I saw a necromancer once, let me speak to my dead Nanna, didn't charge much38 Everyone always hated necromancers but they have always been around39 In the old days necromancers ruled the world until mankind revolted40 Man learned necromancy from the monster gods and the elder age empires41 Whole lotta villagers burned other day, some say they was diseased or witches42 Why would anyone join a death cult when there are loads of nice religions43 There are undead everywhere but we just have to adapt and move on44 I thought the girls in the cult were all drugged but now I realise they were undead45 They have run the world in secret now is just the harvest time46 I've heard of men selling their souls to save themselves from the undead, is it worth it?47 Soon everyone will have the plague and we won't be able to tell who is undead48 Waggon loads of chopped up body parts taken off to the ruins, wonder what for49 Now all the dead are getting chopped and burned, cultists are smuggling bits out50 Lots of people seeing ghosts and spirits nowadays, everyone is real jumpy51 Seen all the clouds and fog? Much more and the vampires will be out in the open52 I've heard chanting in the woods at night someone is up to no good53 Church has been well attended of late praise the gods54 As the priesthood fail the old druid faith is returning to take us all to escape in fairyland55 We keep burning people and nothing gets better, maybe we are just doomed56 Only those who disobey or die become slave dead, the willing might get to be immortal57 So many liches walking the land so many new spells being rediscovered58 I met a necromancer once who worked as a mortician, seemed nice, not really evil59 I just pretended I was dead and moaned a bit till I escaped and here I am60 Vampires can just feed off you just a little bit, barley hurts, not that bad61 All kinds of treasure on the market, grave goods everywhere some real bargains62 I used to be called a grave robber, now they pay me to dig up the dead and burn them63 There is a shortage of wood from burning so many people they need to cut down a forest64 I've heard of zombie sweatshops for years, some pickle the zombies in salt to last65 If you dont sew up the zombies mouths they moan all the time66 Undead don't need eyes stupid, skeletons see fine, they can sense the living67 I've been digging up the old graveyard to burn the bodies, i get to keep any jewellery68 More soldiers we send the bigger their arm gets, there is no hope69 Ive heard zombies prefer brains, so If I leave a trail of brains into a pit I can trap them70 That old man over there, cut off his own arm it had the necro mutant taint so watch him71 Ive heard of gangs of undead sewer children Im not going down there72 New graves have better locks and bars so nothing gets in or out73 Priests say a well maintained sanctified graveyard is safe but there are lots of undead74 I've heard vampires are pretty attractive, if I could just get a peek at one naked75 Undead hate sound of church bells but now they ring day and night i'm sick of em76 Undead can't harm virgins silly, they are too holy77 Druids use live snakes as holy symbols, i cant sleep with a snake round my neck! 78 People are disappearing all the time, they just snatch anyone they like for snack79 Maybe if we didn't keep necromancers downtrodden we wouldn't be in this mess80 I wouldn't mind being a cultist, fornicating with demons and beastmen seems a good life81 Now the living dead are everywhere all kinds of wickedness is seen as not a problem82 With all this chaos people can kill anyone and blame undead, my boss is a jerk83 Sinners and vice are to blame for this, why wont the nobles and clergy eradicate it84 I've handled hundreds of corpses and I haven't turned into a zombie85 Zombies are cheaper than golems or slaves, i don't get the problem86 Occasionally a zombie left alone goes crazy or gets possessed by evil spirits87 I wouldn't eat any meat, ghoul cults have been slipping human flesh into food88 I was on a Island once where they made criminals into zombies to work for their victims89 My cat sees ghosts I tell you, it leaps up and screams where there is nobody90 You never see zombies telling each other what to do, better than the living I say91 If we run out of dead bodies the ghouls are gonna get more desperate and hungry92 Trinkets to stop the undead are selling like crazy, to bad none of that crap works93 I tell you I saw undead fighting each other, they will all turn on each other soon94 The gods will save us they always have, don't do anything you will regret when they do95 I heard a man used zombies to bring stuff out of sunken ships and nobody complained96 If the city guard used zombies it would be cheaper and they wouldn't get drunk97 Night curfew if pretty strict nowadays, even criminals are taking it easy98 We all have to stick together in times like this and only being lawful good will save us99 Once nobles surrender us the undead will attack other kingdoms and we can be normal100 Im getting the next ship away from here everyone here will be dead slaves next seasonItems are available and priced increased or decreased due to various factors. Evil forces release evil supplies to tempt people into wickedness. Churches make additional items to meet peoples name. Some items are criminal others are desired by the church who might insist they are given to church leaders.d100 War with the Necromancers Rumours01 Cheap holy symbol or lucky charm, possibly effective 1cp 02 Holy Symbol blessed by a real priest 25gp03 Silver dagger can harm some magic undead 30gp04 Silver Tipped Arrows each usually sold in quivers of a dozen 1gp05 Garlic - prices have soared and someone sabotaging fields 1sp bulb06 Holy Water is in demand but some 1in4 is now fake, 2d4 to undead 30gp07 Holy oil as holy water and flammable 50gp 08 A palm mirror can see if a man is still breathing or reveal vampires 5gp09 Wooden steaks 1cp each or a sp with a mallet in a carrybag10 Holy shroud protects corpse from being made undead 100gp11 Select Detect Undead 300gp12 Scroll of Invisibility to Undead 600gp13 Scroll of create Skeleton Servant - makes single loyal servant 300gp14 Scroll of Create Zombie Servant - makes single loyal servant 300gp15 Scroll of Protection vs Evil 300gp16 Scroll of Bless 300gp17 Scroll of Animate dead - typical 12HD 1200gp18 Scroll of Wall of Bone 12" 2d8 save for half to pass 1200gp19 Scroll of Protection from Undead 35HD cannot enter 5ft radius 9000gp20 Scroll of Protection from Possession 1hr no mind control in 1" radius 12000gp21 Skeleton Potion if poured on grave arises as a hostile skeleton 100gp22 Zombie Potion if poured on grave corpse arises as a angry zombie 100gp23 Necro Mutation Potion (lesser) only usable once 100gp24 Necro Mutation Potion (major) only usable once 400gp25 Poison Potion - suitable to poison a local well to wipe out a village 100gp26 Potion of Second Life - tastes delicious, drinker turns into a zombie on death 100gp27 Potion of resist stench - tolerate ghast, troglodyte or magical stinks one hour 100gp28 Ghoul Potion if poured on grave corpse arises as ghoul 200gp 29 Mumy Potion if poured on wrappings of a mummy awakens month later 1000gp30 Potion of Undead Control - 10 HD of undead, charm or save to resist 2000gp31 Wand of Disruption - d100 charges does d3 to undead only 1500gp32 Staff of Curing - cure wounds 3d6+3 2x per day 2000033 Wand of Frost - d100 charges 6d4 cone of cold 2500gp34 Wand of Fear - d100 charges fear on one victim 2500gp 35 Wand of undead detection - d100 charges 2500gp36 Bone Staff - while holding makes your CHA 18 to undead 5000gp37 Rod of rebuking dead 3d10 charges each use as weapon +3hit d6+6 vs undead 3000gp38 Rod of Raise Dead - d10 charges 10000gp39 Black Unicorn Horn - vile wand shoots purple magic missile per HP spent 4000gp40 Orcus Wand (replica) - create loyal zombies or skeletons d100 charge/HD 4000gp41 Hand of Glory - preserved hand candle cast a sleep spell when candle fingers lit 300gp42 Zombie skin face mask - possibly helps you hide among undead 300gp43 Chattering Skull - will chatter annoyingly if anything moves within 1" 400gp44 Skull Drum - with human hair, +1 Lv to bard effects using instrument 2500gp 45 Bag of Bones d6 knucklebones that sprout into loyal skeletons if dropped 1000gp46 Spirit Bottle - trap a free spirit that fails a save, some come with hostile spirit 5000gp47 Death Bone - a one use wand with a death spell made from a priest leg bone 2500gp48 Shamans Shrunken Head - if hung from belt +1 Wisdom 4000gp49 Wizard Skin Suit - as leather armour but wizards can wear, revolting to see 4000gp50 Skull of Wisdom - a necromancer skull that can give evil research advice 10000gp51 The Ebon Book - primer for necromancy and how to find the black school 1000gp52 Forbidden Secrets of Anatomy - dissections of stolen corpses illustrated 1000gp53 The Plague in all it's Forms - medical book to help treat diseases 1000gp54 Vampire Hunters Manual - equipment, methodology, dozens of failed accounts 1000gp55 Book of Last Days - secrets of the apocalypse and to to delay it and its signs 1000gp56 Book of the Dead - secrets of survival in the afterlife increasing your just reward 2000gp57 Tablet of Speak to dead - works once a week as spell 2500gp58 Book of Eternal Hatred - possible expensive recipes for making undead 10000gp59 Manual of Flesh Golems - instructions with ingredients for one golem 25000gp 60 Manual of Bone Golems -instructions with ingredients for one golem 10000gp 61 Goat Helmet - gives you a extra attack of a d6 headbutt 3000gp 62 Goat Chaps - improve running speed +3 and +1" leaping and better at dance 4000gp63 Amulet of Life - stabilises blood loss below zero HP 10000gp64 Shroud of the Dead - makes you invisible to undead for ten minutes a day 3000gp65 Wizards Scullcap - made from a wizards scalp with hair still on it +1 INT 5000gp66 Shroud of Doom - protects wearer from disease of foul odours, looks creepy 5000gp67 Crown of Death - makes wearer immune to kill or death spells 5000gp68 Ring of Ebon Desire - resist one level of energy drain 10000gp69 Wrappings of the Ancients - wrapped wearer sleeps without aging till removed 3000gp 70 Necklace of the Scapegoat - 2d6 charges each will stops 1 level of energy drain 4000gp71 Helmet of Night - wearer can see invisible spirits or undead 5000gp*72 Sickle of Silver d4 can hit any magic creature as if +5 2500gp*73 Holy Dagger - silver +1 dagger +1 Attack if fighting undead 2000gp *74 Scythe of the Deathlord d8+1 weapon  2500gp*75 Sword +1+3 vs undead 1in6 has intelligence and alignment 4000gp76 Sickle of the Death Lord d4+1 obsidian heals a HP for each person sacrificed 5000gp77 Mace of Purification +1 +d3 to undead and is a holy symbol 4000gp78 Plague Staff +1 Staff three times a day causes disease on impact by command 6000gp79 Forbidden Knife- 5% chance per HD of victim sacrificed to call lesser demon 2000gp80 Scythe of Doom - staff with magic force scythe blade at will 2d6 +3 weapon 10000*81 Coffin of Rebirth - any corpse overnight inside becomes a feral zombie 10000gp82 Coffin of Triumph - folds up unto a playing card size great for vampires on the go 5000gp83 Coffin of Eternity - once sealed cannot be touched by undead or death magic 10000gp84 Grim Altar - undead created on altar +1HP per HD 10000gp85 Unholy Chalice - can heal undead 2d4 damage once per day per undead 10000gp86 Throne of Skulls - who sits in this needs no sleep but gets paranoid over time 10000gp87 Brazier of Filth -  if lit makes a sweet smell and undead tend to follow enthralled 5000gp88 Unholy Incense - if burned all in 4" radius for hour save vs disease 1000gp89 Saddle of the Lich - if placed on a dead horse or bones it arises as a undead 4000gp90 Chariot of Nightmares - bone car calls two skeleton steeds at will moves 36" 25000gp91 Bone Harp - can cast sleep three times a day 5000gp92 Saintly Hand - once a day turns undead as a 10th lv priest if used by priest 4000gp93 Pure Vestment - splendid robe can 3x day emits burst of sunlight 6" radius 10000gp94 Voidmarch Chronicle - advice on facing undead hordes in battle 4000gp95 Holy Tear of Heaven - crystal bottle with one drop that can destroy any undead 10000gp96 Holy Shirt - white linen shirt, any undead touch by hand or weapon takes d3 10000gp97 Holy Water Sprinkler -  holy water bottle gives 10 shots d4 damage 3" range 3000gp98 Patriarchs Hat - ornate hat hurts eyes of undead making -2 for them to hit you 10000gp99 Patriarchs Ring - protection from evil while worn 10000gp100 Patriarchs Crozier - paralyses undead for round each hit +3 staff 15000gp*Usable by necromancers who train with sickle and scythe&nbs […]

  • The Stork of Azurth
    by Trey on December 11, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    The Royal Family of Azurth (when there was such a thing), did not have children in the messy way of the common folk. Rather, it was their tradition and prerogative as the chosen heirs of Azulina, who made the Land of Azurth, to call upon the Stork to deliver to them a child.This Stork was no ordinary wading bird of the earthly lands of which you are no doubt familiar, which is the same sort of stork common to the Land of Azurth. This stork is a fae creature, in ancient times tasked with ferrying souls but allowed the enter semi-retirement after Azulina appointed the royal line of Azurth.The process, described in certain ancient texts once in the hands of the clerics of Iolanthe, but now confiscated, required a summoning ritual to call forth the Stork. Then, the would-be royal parents would negotiate with the great bird and be levied a price based on the number and traits of the children desired. Where the Stork acquired the children was a closely protected trade secret. The price was seldom measured in gold but rather in something highly valuable to the customer, though perhaps no one else.Since the Wizard became ruler of the Land of Azurth, the royal line has ended and the Stork brings no more children. Some scholars believe (and a few royalist agitators hope) that some fugitive Stork-summoning texts may yet be in circulation. There are a number of folk who might pay handsomely for one, if one was located. […]

  • War with the Necromancers 2 Encounters & Wonders
    by Konsumterra on December 11, 2017 at 5:12 am

    Some old stuff could be handy or a book on necromancershttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2016/08/d100-necro-mutations.htmlhttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2016/09/d100-blasphemous-books-of-black-library.htmlhttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2017/02/bone-magic-spells-part-1.htmlhttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/metaphysics-for-grave-robbing-101.htmlhttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2015/09/orcus-talk-to-us.htmlhttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2015/01/the-blood-wizard-harvest.htmlhttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2014/10/curses-conditions-corruption-relics-pt1.htmlhttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/d100-necromancer-relics.htmlhttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/gothic-dungeon-key-z.htmlhttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/d100-necromancers.htmlhttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2015/12/underworld-beasts-flesh-feasters.htmlhttps://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2017/10/chained-phantom.htmlhttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/d100-petty-undead.htmlhttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2016/10/non-corporeal-undead-horrors-pt1.htmlhttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2016/10/non-corporeal-undead-horrors-pt2-d100.htmlhttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/d100-hauntings-and-recap-of-last-year.htmlhttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2017/04/petty-hauntings-and-faking-stories.htmlhttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2017/04/pimp-my-zombie-lotfp-spell.htmlhttps://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2017/09/pimp-my-skeleton.htmlhttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2016/10/schemes-for-necromantic-masters.htmlhttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/d100-necromancer-relics.htmlUnder my gothic section in the emo rules index on sidebar are moreprobably don't need A-Z necromancer lairs or carousing with necromancers  So as usual for opening of the war encounters and wonders start off simpler allowing you to use a d10 or d20 in the opening phase before things go to hell. If night time a issue replace undead with light tolerant variety or use weather such as dark clouds or fog which only adds to the effect.d100 Necromancer War Encounters01 Crying child who wont say where they have come from only everybody dead and walking02 Fleeing villagers declaring it is the end of the world and begging for food03 Inquisitor and militia investigating some undead in a village graveyard04 A undead hand crawling on the road05 A rambling old hermit wont get out your way is really a zombie06 Black robed students carrying worldly goods in sacks in high spirits due to a secret07 Student on road looking for his master carrying a blasphemous forbidden book08 Sheriff and a mob looking for grave robbers in area searching waggons09 Sickly traveller exhibits necro mutations but is trying to hide it10 Man on way to report walking dead seen to magistrate or sherrif11 Waggon of robed labourers pulling cart ladened with coffins (cultists or zombies?)12 Peasants carrying body to a bigger holier graveyard where undead don't prowl13 Cultists with barrows and shovels plus d6 potions that raise zombies14 Shambling 4d6 peasant zombies on the road chase at any living they see15 Old person dragging wrapped dead partner on muddy sled, corpse starts to move16 Crazy woman with zombie baby fleeing intolerant village17 Mob wants to burn old necromancer for talking to undead spirits18 Militia guarding a pit full of corpses with lime on top concerned might arise19 Zombie parents chasing their living children who are afraid but don't want to be alone20 Villagers have caught a apprentice necromancer cultist and plan to burn him21 Waggon load of bodies off to be burned with militia guards22 Skeleton soldiers march down road d4x10 march in unison but will chase living23 Necromancer apprentice with ten skeletons holding up travelers for anything he fancies24 An undead ogre with a leather mask and a axe roaming road for food25 Headless zombie staggering on road but can only vaguely sense living26 Ghouls howling in the distance if night you might see some in the distance27 Robed travellers reveal themselves to be ghouls once close, led by a ghast28 Lady necromancer with her ghoul cultists threatening travellers for money29 Fresh acolyte priests from the seminary marching out to face undead for first time30 Templar war priests on horse back fresh from fighting undead now needing rest31 Inquisitor and crusaders searching travellers for taint of necro mutations or undeath32 Zombie bugbears d12 wandering in a pack looking for food33 Spectral minion soldiers on march to relive a peasant massacre they committed long ago34 Spectral minion knight on horse back attacks travellers passing a landmark35 Necromancer with cult and zombies is digging up a graveyard and making more undead36 Soldiers on the march when you get closer you see they are zombies37 Paladin seeking aid to kill a necromancer in a local crypt making undead38 Dozens of skeletal animals rise from the woods and swarm to attack39 A necromancer apprentice offering to sell cursed relics useful in these troubled times40 Skeleton cavalry gallop on the road charge anyone visible41 Skeleton archers in defencive position holding road up ahead42 Dark lone rider, a wight on a zombie horse scouting for forces of evil 43 Wight and a d6 half strength thralls await to ambush on the road ahead44 Shadows from among the trees step out to block the road45 Badly smelling decrepit monks carrying a cauldron of evil liquid for some foul purpose46 Family of cannibal cave killers becoming ghouls, out to murder to celebrate47 Chaos templars on horse seek to stop anyone acting against the undead cause48 Skeletons driving undead ox funeral waggon carrying skeleton archers49 Skeleton apprentice with soldier skeletons inspecting travellers for anti undead activity50 Lady necromancer and her troop of zombie lovers marching to habited areas51 Necromancer commanding a mighty skeleton warrior to lead his skeleton swordsmen52 Sons of kyuss shambling down the road though mist, their glowing worms visible53 Coffer corpses scattered on road by waggon of spilled coffins, will leap to attack54 Necromancer orc priestess with her juju zombies out for a feed55 Hecuva polymorphed into handsome young clergy to get close56 Zombie knights plodding sadly down road, with slowly chase people to kill57 Zombies loading a waggon with people they have killed so far today on road58 Ghouls and ghasts screaming chasing commoners59 Shroud wearing corpses by overturned waggon on the road are sheet ghouls60 Corpses scattered on road arise as shee ghouls led by sheet phantom creator61 Wraith squirming black smokey horror that should not be moving to civilization62 Wraith leading d6 wights warriors in service to a dark power 63 Lone mummy limping down road trailing bandages64 Mummy leading skeletons with spear, sword and bow65 Mummy in chariot with skeleton driver, horses and sword skeleton escorts66 Vampire cultists led by a thrall (with them if night) looking for food for the master67 Village mob hunting a invisible killer who must be hiding in area (eastern vampire)68 Wolves in service to vampire on the prowl, if night it will be not far behind and hungry69 Shadow mastiffs hunting a local youth with basket of food for grandma70 Shadow demon leading shadows exhorts the to attack and leave none living71 Villager possessed by a haunt tries to direct travellers into undead army near by72 Apparition holding the road driving away travellers73 White haired corpses by roadside, by night a banshee holds the path74 Zombie travellers wander road untill see food, by night their spectre master is with them75 Agent of nobles possessed by ghost delivering false information76 Spirit who was murdered under a tree is in human form seeking a lover 77 Spirit tries to scare people off the road to keep them from meeting worse horrors ahead78 Spirit in form of a priest warns travellers but will point out location of relic to adventurers79 Dark elf leading zombies demands humans hurry up and die already80 Spirit in form of old woman tells you where vampire coffins can be found81 Necromancer master with a hundred HD of skeletons, zombies and other undead 82 Necromancer apprentices and cultists transporting waggon of corpse parts83 Horde of cannibals necro mutant cultists finally can stop hiding and just start killing84 Gang of chaos goatmen cultists of Orcus, many have mutations85 Necromancer master with chaos goatmen and zombie servants86 Vulture men eating human corpses by roadside, one is a necromancer87 Pit full of squirming undead body parts (see petty undead) cultists throw in vctims88 Undead wolves rampaging over area killing all, chase rabbit towards party89 Zombie cavemen rock throwers riding a zombie mammoth rampaging down road90 Skeleton army on the move with siege weapons bound for a town 91 Apprentice skeleton wizards with skeleton guards have barricaded road with bone wall92 Insane flesh golem killing and dismembering travellers to see how they work93 Evil high priest of death god riding nightmare with cultists, zombies and demons94 Evil high priest of plague god with army of plague monks, ratmen and rotting zombies95 Master necromancer leading army of skeletons, zombies, cultists and a collossus96 Master necromancer with army of goatmen, necro mutants and death cultists97 Vampire army on move by night but guarded by zombies by day when they camp98 Mummy king wizard leading army of ancient skeletons99 Night Hag leading army of shadows, wights and zombies with her dark elf son100 Lich leading huge army of mixed undead, cultists and necromancersd100 Necromancer War Wonders01 A putrid miasma of stinking mist covers the area for a few miles worrying everyone02 Priest caring for victims of a new sickness spreading across the land03 Man selling dog that hates zombies because it wont shut up now04 Empty old coffins dumped by side of the road05 Posters warning grave robbery now punishable by death06 Preacher warns end of the world in nigh, donations accepted07 Graves on the side of the road have been dug up by someone and bodies gone08 Peasants burning some bodies a break from common custom for burial09 See hands burst from roadside grave as a zombie is born10 Hear bells ringing and smoke from mass burnings of the dead11 Villagers and priest digging up reputed necromancer to burn before he arises12 Militia searching for suspected cannibal killers in area13 Evil priest inviting travellers to worship orcus prince of the dead who will spare us14 Flagellants whipping selves invite you to join them in stopping the gods punishment15 Galloping merchant on horse goes by, "flee the end of the world is coming"16 Robed old traveller offers to help you speak to long lost dead spirits of loved ones17 Necro mutated parents trying to give away their children before they eat them18 Cultists can be heard chanting, if investigated necromancer is raising undead19 Sobbing priest praying over ash heaps that used to be his congregation20 Skeletons led by necromancer tearing apart old chapel searching for necromantic relic21 Apprentice necromancer offers his selection of zombie women for a low low price22 Cultists preaching time to wake up and accept the new age of death23 Skeletons building siege weapons and equipment from giant bones and sinew24 Man selling fake holy water from local creek, claims it is best from a famous temple25 Man selling holy symbols, garlic, silver daggers, mirrors and various charms26 Huge cloud of bats darken the skies27 Huge cloud of flies swarm over country side28 Mosquitoes in thousands mostly anoying but spread disease29 Ravens picking meat from gibbets in the trees30 Heads of bandits on poles have become undead and mostly look confused31 Gibbets hanging in trees with corpses of bandits have become zombies but cant escape 32 Villagers with beautiful young girl debating if they should just give her to the vampire33 Villagers digging up and beheading and staking corpses supervised by inquisitor34 Villagers driven from homes due to poltergeists35 Priest and a mob staking a vampire they have just dug up and getting a fire ready36 Several distraught newly changed necro mutants alarmed the mob will kill them37 Vultures swarming over area in numbers never seen before38 Fox running with a twitching zombie hand39 A devil in disguise hands over a map indicating lost holy relics used to fight undead40 Pile of burning corpses in a pit unattended41 Cultists with waggon moving a un animated flesh golem for their master42 An old barrow grave by roadside looks freshly disturbed possibly wights inside43 Viking warrior mercenaries burning some corpses and dividing up treasure44 Druid leading a congregation promises powers of nature will triumph45 Druid and priest arguing in front of villagers on which faith will save us in time of need46 Bandits come peacefully asking if you know any safe place they can go47 Druid exhorting followers to shed clothing and run wild and free in the woods48 Priest preaching undead atracted to vile thoughts and wicked desires49 Zombie eating a dead horse cant be bothered to stop50 Remains of huge flesh colossus surrounded by scaffolding captured by confused mob51 A distant colossus eating whole animals and people52 Hundreds in payed begging gods to seal the underworld and forgive mortals of sin53 Necromancer cultist preaching servitude and the rewards of eternal undeath54 Remains of battlefield with cultists collecting corpses to be reanimated55 Old roadside tomb sealed door freshly opened56 Hundreds of screaming fleeing peasants bemoan the march of death57 Cultists building a great effigy of orcus or same other god or demon58 Shrines to orcus or same other god or demon found increasingly frequently59 Necromancer cultist offers people chance to peacefully join us now or die horribly later60 Hundreds of marching spectral minions on way to relive attack on a city centuries ago61 Thousands of zombies in grid holding up arms used as computational device by cult 62 Wall of bone blocks the road made with a spell63 Wall of twitching undead flesh and gore blocks the road made with a spell64 Line of zombies with linked arms blocks the road65 Zombies forming a pontoon bridge for mummy chariots to cross river66 Zombie farmers working the fields directed by a newly converted living cultist67 Tower formed with undead skeletons the overnight camp of necromancer master68 Dug up old crypt with piles of bones being sorted where bone golems were created69 A skeleton bird trying to fly and hopping about sadly70 Undead giant vultures carrying skeleton wizards fly by71 Cultists of worm god promises their god will devour the dead if only other gods forgotten72 Necromancer cultist telling farmers how with zombie labour they will never work again73 A dog following zombie master looks sad74 Horde of zombie children being led by cultist to be labourers in masters lands 75 Skeletons with scythes cutting fields with happy cult farmer watching 76 Goblins spit roasting zombie, they like the way they squirm when you eats em77 Priest telling ghouls they should fight against the necromancers 78 Draconic lich ridden by lich flies through sky or a skeleton wizard on a wyvern zombie?79 Ghouls feasting after a battle on both sides remains80 Devil cultist preaching if you sell your souls hell will save you from the unlawful dead81 Necromancers and cultists assembling a great flesh colossus ready to be animated82 Robed men pouring strange potion into a water source for some probably bad reason83 Hundreds of burning skulls fly overhead84 Necromancer with cultists using a colossus to dig up an ancient graveyard85 A necromancer envoy weeting elementalist wizards to convince them to join the dead86 A necromancy cultist convening over a mortal and undead marriage87 A cultist teaching sobbing man that with study he can raise his family as zombies88 Miserable necro mutant outcaste camp listening to a cultist declare they are blessed89 Inquisitors have rounded up necro mutants in cages ready to be burned90 Inquisitors have rounded up local accused cultists with a mob and plan to burn them91 Headless phantom on horseback rides down road, his ghost horse screaming92 Glowing phantom stands in road menacing travellers but mostly scary93 Cultists with necro mutant war hounds hunting for escaped children94 Sky darkened by storm clouds making it dark enough for many undead95 Cultists chanting for favourable weather like storms, heavy cloud or fog96 The whole damned kingdom smells of rotting corpses97 Giant eating squirming zombies he likes cos they don't run fast an they is stupid98 Man chopping up a corpse and feeding to dogs just in case99 The moon seems to look more like a skull than normal100 Visage of demon or evil god seen in sky as night sets seen across the land […]

  • War with the Necromancers 1 Causes & Forces
    by Konsumterra on December 10, 2017 at 4:07 am

    When the dead and necromancers wage war you are in trouble. Once after the monster empire human necromancers used stolen lore to conquer all enthralling humanity in a thousand years of slavery. Necromancers want this age back. Various evils and undead can be united in death but have slightly different goals that might cause divisions if too many humans killed. Some undead out to destroy man jealous of life. Some want human to be slaves or food and they require some humans are spared. Some require human bodies to create them but they don't usually care too much. Some types serve specific gods. Some have own idea of what victory will look like. Some are just opportunists using the havok to spread and act in the open. Spirits can be good or evil or both but the opening of the underworld has spirits more active. Some spirits are spiteful or mean or seek some injustice resolved or to find a lover (often ends badly) or ure people to their deaths. Other spirits aid humans, protecting, warning or informing them. Most non bitter spirits have become serene and close to nature or artworks or buildings and don't wish to see change. Spirit cult revivals may well be reborn and shaman will re emerge as a force.The undead fight among themselves as time goes on and the humans also have problems. Fanatics might blame commoners or want permanent change to social structure. Some expect their church to be leaders. Some wish to preserve traditional powers. Some look for humans to blame for the troubles. As humanity crumbles humans may come into conflict. The traditional churches and aristocracy will have a difficult time to return to the good old days after the blight.d10 What Started war?1 Adventurers awoke ancient lord of the dead2 Cult revived a slumbering lord of the dead3 Evil god  has opened the gates of the underworld4 Cult has been planning this for aeons5 Necromancer school project took on a life of its own6 Adventurer found a ancient relic reviving one of the lich kings7 Undead have decided to round up humanity now for farming8 Ambitious necromancer recovered a lost kill spell that can end a kingdom9 Someone opened the gates to the netherworld releasing necromancer kings of old10 Corrupt noble made a pact with evil that went terribly wrongd10 Objectives of invaders?1 Turn everyone into living dead2 Farm humans for souls and blood3 Establish an eternal empire4 Drain enough souls to call death to the mortal world5 Make necromancers no16 Destroy churches that fight the undead7 Turn humans to the worship of death8 Bring eternal peace and a end of all conflict9 End the world, just get it over with10 Use all the undead as switches in a global magical computation deviced10 What ends war?1 Underworld resealed2 Other supernatural forces aid life (dragons, elves, etc)3 Gods manage to call on mighty heroes4 Humanity rallies and church attendance soars5 Attempt to destroy the world fails, undead return to slumber 6 Key undead leaders killed7 Factions within the evil empire fragment8 Gods intervene with 24 hours of sunlight9 A holy crusade gathers and drives back evil again10 Lack of fresh bodies and food, many undead return to sleepd10 Factions of undead1 Vampire faction want humans definitely spared with undead nobility2 Mummy faction want mighty monuments to glorify their accent to next world3 Necromancers want some humans to terrorise otherwise whats the point4 Ghouls want to eat everyone but admit humans ought not to be wiped out5 Non corporeal spirits just don't care about life and the living6 Non corporeal spirits angry descendants stopped leaving offerings and respect7 Evil priests of the death gods seek a empire revearing their own patron above all8 Lich lords are sick of humankind and want them all made undead9 Army of wights serving evil death knight lords judge all mortals must die in the crusade on life10 A shadow demon lord wants his shadow minions to drain all life and energy in eternal nightd10 Factions of Humans1 Secular humans interested in life and profit making want undead stopped by free men2 Church has emerged as leaders bringing crusaders, templars and other specialists to the war3 Zealous paladins are scourge of evil but also blame sinners and wickedness of humans for blight4 Inquisition has been raising fanatic orders of warriors against evil and burn anyone not on board5 Nobility want to establish old order but are wary of church or commoners grab for power6 Rural folk have called on old ways including druids and worship of forest beings and nature7 Coalition of priests, wizards and warriors of all classes only want to focus of fighting the dead8 Mob are in a panic and will either attack with fire or flee hysterically no longer trusting order10 Grim organised resistance led by fanatic monster hunters who blame educated and nobililtyd10 What about the Plague?1 Sent to kill humankind and allows lots of corpses to be obtained quickly for armies2 Actually causes undead infecting the living turns them undead if not buried on hallowed ground3 Side effect of certain undead have brought from the grave with them4 Spread by cults in advance to weaken resolve of humanity and destroy morale5 Sent by a evil god or demon to aid the war6 Released from a artifact in hands of evil as a weapon7 Plague kills too efficiently leaving no food for certain undead or means of reproduction8 Spread by unclean spirits to end civilization 8 Necromancers are just as fearful of the plague and send undead to contaminated places10 It is mostly exaggeration, most of the deaths are caused by undead and blamed on diseaseForces of the warHumans - defendersMob - irregular horde of angry peasants with tools and flaming torches but with low moraleTemplar Knights - orders of clerical warriors har formed to fight undeathCrusader Knights - devout fanatic warriors less prone to fear vs unholy enemiesPaladins - holy elite knights with priestly powersFlagellants - fanatic warriors with flails who whipthemselves into a frenzyInquisitors - holy order dedicated to hunting and exterminating hidden evil like undead, cults, witchesHuman NecromancersPlague Monks - monk orders who spread plague via siege weapons, braziers and potionsDeath Monks - fighting order of evil robed monks helping bring about eternal age of silenceNecro Mutant Cultists - suffering undead symptoms have joined the new orderEvil Templars - orders serving evil gods and demons in mockery to holy templarsNecromancer Cultists - are fanatic irregular soldier mobs hoping to become immortalNecromancer Apprentices - organised apprentices used as artillery, siege war and undead makingNecromancer Masters - powerful wizards who are not ready to become liches but are great leadersSkeletons - destroy the livingSpearmen - phalanx with shield and spear in the ancient styleSwordsmen - warriors with sheilds and shortswordsArchers - with shortbowsCavalry - riding skeleton horses with armour, lances and sheildsWar Waggons - waggon pulled by undead oxen carrying archers and spellcastersRevenant - vengeful unstoppable spirit of vengeance avenging own death and failed fanatic goalsSkeleton Animal - farm and woodland animals of medium size swarm onto battlefieldsSkeleton Warrior - powerful skeleton heroes bound to rings often reluctant to serveSkeleton Mage - apprentices turned into skeletons by lich masters usually 4th lvLiches - great magicians who have become immortal skeletal undeadMummies - seek to restore former glory and build monumentsMummified Warriors - warrior mummy noblemen of ancient tombsSons of Kyuss - maggot infested priest mummified kingsMummified Magicians - mummified magicians who can still use magicMummified Chariots - skeletal chariot teams led by a mummyPharaoh Mummy in chariot with great semi divine magic powersZombies - generally controlled by smarter leaderZombie horde irregular mostly with peasant toolsZombie warriors regular former military with equipmentCoffer Corpse - immune to normal weapons, pretend to be wounded then cause fearJuJu Zombies - stronger faster more cunning elite zombiesZombie monsters - irregular made up of various animals and dead monstersZombie Knights - regular cavalry but not very fastGolems - made by necromancersBone Golems - four armed powerful swordsmenFlesh Golem - made from a mass of corpse parts and reanimatedColossus - gigantic flesh construct giant usually 20-50 HDGhouls - devour the deadGhouls - basic type of corpse eater mostly live in secret but now activeGhast - stronger ghouls with horrible stenchGhoul King - ghoul leader with magical powers including polymorph into humanSheets - opportunists looking to procreateSheet Phantom - spirit can smother a dead human turning them into sheet ghouls,Sheet Ghoul - servants of sheet phantoms who aid them getting more victimsVampires - feed from and enthrall human cattleThrall vampires - weaker less independent and bound to will of creator may act in units, half powerWestern Vampires - often noble leaders often have own factions and covens seeking powerEastern Vampires - invisible vampires that prey on men in secret less prone to groupsPenanggalan - horrible gore trailing heads who re attach to own body to hide among humansDeath lords - former warriors and nobility interested in revenge against the livingThrall Wight - half strength wights under control of creators often in fighting forcesWights - act in small bands or disciplined armies commanding thrallsDeath Knight - often act as lone leaders or elitesDarkness - seek to devour the living till nothing left, serving evil powers of entropy and chaosShadows - life draining irregular hungry hordesWraith - warriors bound to evil and whose bodies have crumbled to nothing after aeons of serviceShadow Mastiff - great hounds from the dark dimensionShadow Demon - great beings rulers from the dark dimensionNon Corporeal - unrested spirits often angry at the livingPoltergeist - petty disturbed spirit often arise with greats spiritual disturbancesPhantom - non aware echo of past person can cause fear and bound to locationSpectral Minion - often ancient armies called on by a leader might fight for eirther sideHuecuva -spirits of the plague that can change shape to deceive humansHaunt - spirits able to possess victim to fulfill their missions often serving lords of death as spiesApparition - phantom life stealing spiritsBanshee - screaming female spirit that kills the livingSpectre - bitter leader undead who devour soulsGhost - powerful spirits also capable of possession and aging victimsSpirits - non corporeal entities might have once lived but now lesser divinitiesRemains of a person bound in location like a tree or mountain or artwork or idol or painting or bookAct as a minor divinity very knowledgeable about area and past, damaging source harms themSpirits have awoken to aid and harm humankind in the war with cause more troubleCan be kind or evil or have unfinished quest to rest and may change or learn in timeLeast Spirit - 1HD manifest as small animal, faerie a blowing scarf or a light, not very brightLesser Spirit - 2-7HD may appear as mortal or animal and even take loversGreater Spirit - 8-15HD appear mortal but more godlike, unlikely to stay with a humanOther EntitiesNight Hags - enjoy suffering of undeath and often teachers of black magic or mothers of monstersNightmares - steeds for evil beingsElementals are used by necromancers but with a twist to keep elementalist cults enthralled-Fire made from funeral pyre full of burned human remains-Earth made from graves with crumbled headstones and rotting burst coffins-Air made from desiccated mummified corpses and dust made of skin flakes-Water made from bog water with rotten corpses mixed inSome demons and devils are linked to undnead and may manifest or send minionsDevils actually prefer dead locked up in torment so might help man for a priceDemons come in many factions so some will be all for thisDark Elves use necromancy and might get involved with goblin and orc slavesChaos beastmen often serve demons or necromancersGoatmen of orcus for example possibly with necro mutationsRatmen serve plague gods quite oftenOrcs might serve necromancers, other monsters might just come for the foodSome dragons might use necromancy or become draconic lichesLizard men vampires are a thing too - could include demi humans alsoI've done necro mutations before which might complicate matters - undead could be a disease or a condition spread. Cultists and chaos beastmen might develop signs of undeath through their patron god or demon. A zombie variant might raise those killed as zombies. Variant undead will become more common, each necromancer will have own type.Part 2d100 Encounters - Combat encounters on the road or countryside during the ward100 Wonders - spectacles and events but not necessarily combatPart 3d100 Gossip - to cover wild stories of atrocities, failure and propagandad100 Loot - particular goods flooding the market during the invasion […]

  • Actual Play: Dresden Files Accelerated Hollywoodland
    by Matt Borselli on December 9, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    I ran a 6-session mini-campaign using Evil Hat's Dresden Files Accelerated rules set on Roll20 and Discord earlier this spring/summer.I set it in the 1940s, in Hollywood. Long time readers of the blog will note that there already was a "Hollywoodland" label. I finally got a game together, from the disparate elements banging about in my head.And blood and gore and all manner of bad things happened.As usual, I wrote up the sessions and shared them with my players.I'll share them with you as well. […]

  • One Book Shelf: New Security Settings What say you?
    by Jeff Duncan on December 9, 2017 at 12:18 am

    I tried to get on my account over at One Book Shelf (OBS) this evening, and instead I get offered a precursor for security settings...I'm pretty certain I know what's best in regards to my own personal computer settings... But, much to my dismay OBS doesn't think so... Can someone tell me what this is really about?This is what I get:Here's the thing OBS. The security settings on my computer are what I choose to use for all sites across the entire internet. Not only would it be a bad idea for me to adjust my settings, I'm not the only person who uses this computer. Yes I know, these days single computers have accounts and their own settings for those accounts (for my family members) but I don't do it that way... Don't want to do it that way... Don't think it would even be a good idea to do it that way... It's difficult for me to fathom the day that a seller site gets to tell me the settings I need to use their site... Hey wait? Like I'm the customer... And the reviews I write, more often than not, drive sales to the site. Needless to say... I'm not happy with this development.To the right of this first image (on the full page) is this... Can someone in the community confirm that the above is how cookies work..? And whether this will enhance security? Security for who? This makes no sense to me, but I know very little about it.AND BTW if I click on that Continue button it leads me back to the original page... Since when do cookies prevent private information...? I though cookies enabled the sharing of private information, such as my physical location and such... This screams utter BS to me, but someone in the community is welcome to correct me (and I hope they will) if I'm wrong... Help!? […]

  • D100 Weird Dungeon Idols
    by Konsumterra on December 8, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    Idols are common in dungeons and often dedicated to obscure cults unfamiliar to adventurers. Occasionally you even find a good one sealed away or used as a trap or semi defiled by evil. Just roll the d100 and ose d10s to fill out detain or just roll d10s to create something. Why didn't I do this years ago? 5% might not seem like much of a chance for a miracle but thats better than some realities get.d10 Quick Idol Type01 Ancestral god or spirit  - the great ancestor watches all anf judges you all02 Elemental being - brings power from other dimension03 Monster or evil god - one of the great evil powers of the world04 Obscure strange cult - strange cult little known about purpose05 Dungeon spirit cult - dungeon is alive and demands sacrifices06 Monster Hero or evil saint - a past evil doer is revered as a hero07 Beast Spirit Cult - evil version of a animal cult08 Diabolic - lawful evil idol dedicated to devils of hell09 Demonic - chaotic evil idol dedicated to demons of the abyss10 Great Old Ones - dedicated to pre human elder horrorsd10 Decoration01 Gem Eyes02 Leaf gold or silver03 Anointed with oils or blood04 Wrapped in cloth as if clothing05 Wears a crown or necklace06 Sits on pile of skulls07 Creature skin draped over like cape08 Lit candle or stove or lamp before it09 Carpet with exotic mythical patterns10 Painted or made upd10 Accompanying Artworks01 Mural on walls depicting mythology02 Tapestry depicting patterns and mythology03 Candelabra of exotic design04 Braziers burning strange scented offerings05 Book or tablet of stone before idol06 Tiny statuettes or dolls arranged before it07 Musical Instrument used in ceramonies08 Ornamental bowl with oil, booze, unholy water or blood09 Weapon or tool in rack often used for ceremonies10 Small separate altar for sacrificesd10 Popular Sacrifices or Offerings01 Incense or essential oils02 Meat or guts03 Blood or rendered body fat04 Food items or drugs or booze05 Hearts or Bbrains06 Coins or semiprecious stones07 Skulls or bones08 Small animals09 Humanoid Corpses10 Weaponsd10 Idol Security01 Fake treasure cursed or poison02 Trap or alarm activated when offering touched03 Curse spell on any who touch it04 Fear or Confusion spell on any who touch it05 Magic mouth scolds anyone touching it disrespectfully 06 Illusion Spell guards it tries to scare away intruders07 Magical damage spell guards it08 Monster Guards it09 Evil Priest or shaman or cult hero guards it10  Protective spirit guards it possibly animating itd10 Magical Powers01 Heals supplicant if sacrificed to02 Blesses supplicant usually before battle for sacrifice03 Causes weird dreams if slept near04 Aids in communion with dead if corpse lain before it05 Grants a petty minor mutation once06 Used for simple Y/N divination for sacrifice07 Makes Warriors who sacrifice go beserk during next battle08 Protection from Good for sacrifice or other alignment for sacrifice09 Purifies or Creates food or drink if sacrificed too10 Creates a skeleton or zombie or petty undead if sacrificed toD10 Idol enjoys1 Acts of sadism and torture2 Lewd dancing3 Sexual performances4 Sacrificial murder5 Chanting or singing for hours6 Offerings left for it7 Acts of betrayal or injustice8 Unspeakable oaths to perform vile acts9 Humiliation of slave or prisoner10 Self mutilationd100 Weird Dungeon Idols01 Crude idol of rat god with 2000cp arranged in in neat pile before it02 Squat gjade idol curses any who touch with jealousy and paranoia03 Vampire ancestor idol worshipped out of fear of the dead04 Squid demon in green stone that causes nightmares 05 Death cult idol used to speak with sacrificial victims for information06 Bat idol to attract bats to area some but some specialize in vampire bats07 Insect god used to attract food or vermin to area08 Fungus god idol attracts fungal blooms and mould to area09 Jewelled eye demon curses any who steal gem with impotency10 Gilded six armed snake demon emits narcotic vapours if dance before it11 Idol to Xor the flesh god rewards devotion with chunks of bloody fresh meat12 Scorpion idol if set off will grasp victim and sting if treasure touched13 Dog idol will heal wounds if food offerings left for the dog goddess14 Spider idol can call swarm of spiders if non believers touch15 Dungeon Spirit idol will reset local traps if given offerings16 Crystal ball idol with show horrible false visions of future17 Dungeon pie shrine contains one magic pie sent by the dungeon god18 Black lotus demon idol if lit emits narcotic vapours that cause dreams19 Swine idol improves fertility if sex act performed in front of it20 Demon idol will reward you with vision of desire if you sacrifice an eye to it21 Worm god idol will brand forehead of defiler with rune visible to goblinoids22 Succubi idol 5% summon a succubi if masturbated in front of it (or incubi)23 Satyr idol if given wine all worshiping will feel drunk for an hour24 Sphynx Idol if gems crushed for it will answer a y/n question25 Spirit lord idol if sacrifice accepted makes invisible spirits visible26 Wolf demon idol if given a human heart or baby fat will make you a werewolf27 Assassin Demon will drip poison onto a blade before it in a ceremony 28 Goat head demon if danced before it will heal worshipers a HP each29 Orcus idol if sacrificed person to will arise as a zombie to guard the shrine (one only) 30 Jubilex idol if sacrificed rotten food will vomit a tiny gelatin or slime monster31 Hellcat idol will deliver prayers to lords of hell 5% chance will call a hellcat to help32 Hellhound Idol if leave a human heart will 5% summon a hell hound to protect the idol33 Elemental idol for sacrifice will call a elemental guardian spirit to guard it34 Devil Idol will bless a weapon +1 for an hour for a blood sacrifice35 Asmodeus idol if prayed to supplicant will be offered a wish for your soul 5% chance36 Rakshasa Idol is worshiper sacrifices self is reincarnated as other creature 5%37 Snake demon idol will show visions of sleeping serpent men location for sacrifice38 Rat shrine if bowl filled with milk will make rat beings ignore you for a day39 Elf shrine if offerings left will prevent faeries pranking you for a d6 days 40 Black dwarf idol if fed iron will sharpen a weapon +1 for first blow41 Fire demon shrine if offerings burned fire will stay lit for a day42 Phallus Idol if sacrificed to will increase fertility within next full moon43 Blood Goddess for cup of blood will make dagger +1 until hits44 War behemoth demon will give +1 STR for a hour if victim burned alive45 Black crystal trapezohedron will summon shadow if covered with a cloth46 Head hunter demon will grant +1HP for a day for every head you sacrifice to it47 Ice Toad Demon keeps food and flesh fresh if kept nearby48 Salamander idol 5% chance of calling a salamander if incense burned in brazier49 Raven Idol if offered eyeballs might give you vision of what you seek 5%50 Black skinned aroused demon idol, if genitals kissed get +1 next saving throw51 Naga Idol if left food and wine will grant +1 on your next saving throw52 Ugly toad demon will call random encounter if area touched by non cultist53 Strange idol of the render of veils if human sacrificed gives vision of another plane54 Fly idol crawling with flies and maggots which swarm at any who try to damage it55 Dragon idol will accept coins in slot and will breath burning hands on any theif56 Angry sky god will shocking grasp any non believer who touches it used as cult test57 Troll demon idol, human flesh eaten before regenerates wound with disgusting lumps 58 Reptile demon idol if bathed in blood a recently missing limb will regrow over a month59 Cyclops demon if one eye sacrificed to it user gains infravision 6" range60 Vulture god idol if fed human meat will grant +1 WIS for a d4 hours once a week61 Water demon if victim drowned before it will 5% chance become invisible as spell62 Hungry Giant idol if own flesh served to it d4 HP will grant +1 STR for d4 hours63 Ogre Mother demon if fed treasure gives 5% chance of remove curse64 Crude monolith with hole for severed head, 5% chance will speak to spirit of head65 Eunuch demon if you sacrifice your genitals to it gain +1d4HP permanently66 Peacock-horse demon if valuable incense burned will clean and repair your clothes67 Lioness demon if fed human blood of a prisoner it will grant +1HP for the day68 Fish god idol if given gold or human flesh will make next fishing better for a day69 Ape demon idol if you stab yourself with dagger before it grants +1 STR for a d4 hours70 Faceless demon idol if you sacrifice a HP to it your shadow will rise from your corpse71 Demon idol if self torture before it get 5% call a lesser demon per day72 Lava demon if fed d4 HP of your blood -1 fire damage per dice for d4 hours73 Lamprey Demon if fed d4 HP of your blood will give you visions of when demons ruled 74 Star Demon Idol if human sacrificed to calls a byakee from space 5% to serve till dawn75 Dungeon Spirit Idol will summon a spectral hammer to fight intruders for 2d4 rounds76 Orc ancestor spirit if anointed in blood allows you to dream of any orc ancestors77 Famous Evil High Priest idol if swear to it gain protection vs good 1 hour once per day  78 Hunter god if fresh skeleton left for it grows a new animal 5% of the time79 Shaman idol if fast before it can commune with a ancestor after d4 days hunger80 Zombie god if you sacrifice a HP to it you become a zombie on death81 Tentacle eye thing idol will drip nutritious slime to worshippers who flog themselves82 Frog god idol if you lick it will cause a d4 hours of nightmarish halucinations83 Chaos mutant idol will grant a lesser mutation once if a 1HD being sacrificed84 Insect demon idol if fed well will guard shrine area with a insect swarm 85 Shrieking Fungus Demon will scream if non cultists enter the shrine room86 Cave god shine if evoked with ritual will give 6" infravision and make you an albino87 Tick demon idol if fed a drop of blood will keep all lice and parasites away for a day88 Mummified hand idol will bless true believer for an hour or curse false believer89 Shark idol place hand in mouth as test of faith, will bite for d4 damage pleasing the god90 Crystal demon idol will contact other plane if you sacrifice a INT point91 Slug demon idol for a sacrifice of beer will gather a pound of delicious slugs to eat92 Trilobite Demon if given blood will increase AC +1 for a d4 hours once a week93 Centipede Demon idol if fed meat will gain +1"Mov rate for a d4 hours94 Horned Devil idol for a piece of silver will burn like a fireplace for d6 hours95 Efreeti Idol if fed blood will make your next urine highly flammable like alcohol96 Djinn Idol if given maiden tears  will cover nearest 6" radius area in fog for an hour97 Dinosaur demon for a d4 HP per day will make dinosaurs less interested in eating you98 Troll Idol shoots a magic missile at anyone uttering swear words or foul language 99 Farmer Idol keeps elves and fairies away if offering of pubic hair burned every day100 Shoggoth Idol allows wielder to call long hidden sleeping horror 5% per week prayer […]

  • Actual Play: Blue Rose AGE "The Mask of Ebban" Part the Second
    by Matt Borselli on December 7, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    Played March 2017It was a brilliant plan, Mother, brilliant. Worthy of my genius.And I would have succeeded if it wasn't for my useless minions and those meddlers and their dog!No, Mother, I know it was a Rhy-fox, not a dog, but I'm being insulting here.I bet they're laughing it up in some tavern somewhere, maybe near the Veran Swamp or some other hell-hole.But that fox has got my hoofprints in him so he won't forget that any time soon./rages, venting frustration/But it was so cliche! Defeated by fools and pets! And betrayed by my own followers' incompetence!/rages even more/The Mask! I lost the Mask. It was central to my plans. /calmly, dispassionately/ It is of no import. It was only a mask.It was going so well, Mother! The plan was proceeding apace.When I found the manor, I knew! I knew it would be mine and I would rule over everything! I felt it, in my bones, Mother!This ruin was just a first step. But I had to look the part, didn't I? Look the part of a lordling. Latest fashions!Then I'd take over the Pavin Weald. Then Aldis and Kern! That lich has nothing on me.But again, Mother, that was the long-term plan. It's slightly disrupted but I will rise again!I had already started, gathering minions. Those Sprites that followed me were useful but I needed more. And Clickclack building clockwork minions was pure genius. My genius, Mother, not Clickclack's, let's just be straight about that.When those two fools came out of the forest, it was a gods-send! And when one touched the Mask, he was easily dominated. The other was of no import although my minions were fools to let him escape. I knew there would be trouble about that but I was busy with more important aspects of my plans.He was found, obviously, by those meddlers and their dog. Yes, Mother, it's a Rhy-fox, I know. I'm still being insulting.I heard them banging around in my manor. MY MANOR! Like the thieves they are. I gathered what minions I could in the short time and waited. They'd come to me.Took them long enough, I was positively bored waiting. Yes, Mother, patience is a virtue.They busted down my door. MY DOOR! Then stared in at me and the fool wearing the Mask, looking like idiots watching a show.At first I only saw the Night Person warrior and the Human archer. No, Mother, I didn't mention the fool wearing the mask's name. It was Artie or something, it doesn't matter. Why bother to learn minions names? Oh, so many people and you're confused? OK, we'll call him Artie, OK? What was the Rhy-fox's name? Now you want all their names? Why all these questions? OK, OK, we'll name all of them. The Rhy-fox is Foxy, the archer is Manny and the warrior is .... Sheila./exasperation building/Yes, the warrior is a woman. /exasperation is starting to show/No, Mother, those aren't their real names. We weren't formally introduced. They mentioned them to each other, perhaps, but I was busy trying to dominate them.Can I continue my story now that we have everyone named?/exasperated sigh/My minions attacked with gusto as I began a stately dance. Sheila started to dance with me. Fool, easy to dominate! And with Night People's dark history, she should have joined me right then.They thought they would hold the doorway but we overwhelmed them!We forced them into the hall, where Foxy attacked Artie, and Manny and Sheila battled my sprites.Oh, you should have seen them, Mother. My sprites were mopping the floor with them, causing them to lose ground. It was murder most delicious!We would have won!And then that fox! That damnable fox! He attacked the Mask! In rapid succession, he tried to remove the Mask from Artie! Not once, but twice. The struggle was worthy of unruly children, slapping each other with their weak hands while screaming and bawling.He tried once and almost succeeded. After that failure, he tried again and succeeded in knocking the Mask off and onto the floor. Artie collapsed. I really have to get better dupes. No quality there.That's when they rallied, Manny and Sheila. One by one, my minions were going down. So I grabbed the Mask, I was careful not to touch it lest I be the one dominated, and that's when that dog attacked me! Mother, keep up, I'm still being insulting./raging/Me! It attacked ME!/calmly, with dispassionate tone/Retaining the Mask was more important than this and I can always get more followers, fools being what they are, so I ran.No, Mother, it wasn't cowardice, it was tactically reviewing the circumstance and achieving a new perspective that required me to be elsewhere.So I hoofed it.And that Foxy and Manny followed after. I knew that running would leave at least one of the meddlers behind, if only to protect that unconscious fool Artie.One of my sprites delayed Manny and I made it out the door, with Foxy right on my heels.I thought I'd get away, but that dog (keep up, Mother) tripped me and the Mask tumbled from my hand.It was a delaying action, I know. I should have just grabbed the Mask and ran but it started to insult me! ME! Getting insults from a talking dog!That was beyond the pale, I tell you. And you know my temper!I kicked it and it felt good. It tried to bite me, tearing my clothes even more. Those bites hurt!Then Manny the archer showed up with his stupid bow and stupid arrows and he shot me! That hurt the worst! Worse than all the bites!Yes, here's the arrow. Perhaps I'll have it gilded. Perhaps I'll find Manny and shove it up his .... what was that, Mother?Oh, yes. How did I get away?I bedazzled him with magic and kicked the dog to death then ran.Yes, Mother. I left the Mask behind. What do you mean you liked the characters of the Rhy-fox and Manny and Sheila? What do you mean they sounded nice? They're MY ENEMIES, MOTHER!I ran and then creeped back. Sheila and Manny were around Foxy, I think it was alive. When I last saw them, they were limping back to that watchtower, with Artie being supported by Sheila and Manny had Foxy around his shoulders. I couldn't tell if that damn Rhy-fox was dead. If so I hope that Manny turns him into a scarf or a coat (if he doesn't, I will)!Losing the Mask is of no import. I have other plans. You know most of them because you tried to stop me, Mother. At least until I shoved a dagger in your heart. I know, I know, not the nicest thing to do but my temper.I still love you Mother. You know that. Those fools will rue the day they fought me. Sheila, Manny, even Foxy if he's still alive. Rue, I say! […]

  • Encounters In the Forbidden Library
    by Konsumterra on December 7, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    In my setting the university library is a sprawling palace, with multiple levels, secret chambers and other strange things. Frequently adventurers are hired to remove vermin or extract books for forbidden book vaults. The libraries are as vast as a city itself with levels lost and sealed off long forgotten. Some of the oldest vaults contain clay tablets which very few can read. The library is clearly out of control and magic students surviving is part of getting extra credit towards graduation. Safer students take years longer or hire adventurers to help.d10 Librarian Missions 1 Exterminate a type of vermin plaguing the books2 A race of non humans have taken up residence and need exterminating3 Find a particular book requested4 Guard a scholar in a deep stack retrieval assignment5 Find a unauthorised intruder entering the library6 Guard repair crews mending shelves and doors7 Recover obscure book long lost in the stacks8 Find the cipher to translate a book found in code or a lost language9 Find books now catalogued as forbidden and relocate them10 Find unauthorised students sleeping and living in libraryd10 Book Types1 Cloth bound printed on paper with woodblocks 10gp xd10 value d6lb2 Leather bound illuminated books on vellum and cloth 100gp xd10 value 3d4lb3 Wooden cover with birch bark leaves 100gp xd10 value 4d4lb4 Wooden slats affixed together into a book  100gp xd10 value  4d5lb5 Bound hide with text burned or painted in barbarian style 30gp xd10 4d4lb6 Tube scroll case with collection of scrolls inside 30pgx10 d8lb7  Case with multiple scroll tubes 100gp xd10 4d4lb8 Clay seal often printed from cylinder in clay 1gp xd10 d4lb 100 words9 Clay tablet often a bit chipped  10gp xd10 3d4lb 300-1000 words, often sets incomplete10 Clay tablet collection in box or carry case 100gp xd10 d4x100lb 1d10 x100 000 wordsd10 Language1 Modern common from the last century2 Vintage common but still readable to most 100-400 years old3 Old common difficult to read and understand 400-1000 years old4 Imperial the language of the great ancient empire and scholars5 Foreign contemporary work from last few centuries6 Foreign antiquated language over a thousand years7 Demi human work at least hundreds of years old8 Humanoid work at least hundreds of years old9 Pre human language of the monster empire still spoken in the underland10 Languages of the outer planes alignments or inner planes elemental tonguesd10 Security1 List in front of authorised persons permitted to see book often with hundreds of names over years2 Book cover is lockable with  a high quality clasp 1in6 are trapped also with poison needle3 Book pages drugged, poison or covered in spores making it hazardous to read4 Book has a curse to protect it often featured prominently5 Book has had enchantment to preserve it for so long6 Book is a treasure with semiprecious stones and famous art +1d10 x1000gp7 Book bound with a spirit or minor entity of protection8  Book chained to shelf or lecturn9 Book has own will and is difficult to destroy, possibly for a specific alignment10 Book is inhabited by dangerous creature or is a shapeshifted creatured10 Quick Subjects1 Geography d6 1=local 2=historic 3=foriegn 4=geology 5=cave exploring 6=exploration2 History d6 1=ancient 2=historic 3=prehuman 4=demihuman 5=humanoid 6=geneology3 Natural History d6 1=botany 2=zoology 3=astronomy 4=sea monsters 5= dragons 6=monsters4 Sciences d6 1=mathematics 2=geometry 3=lenses 4=alchemy 5=engineering 6=mechanics 5 Occult d6 1=phrenology 2=astrology 3=mesmerism 4=necromancy 5=demonology 6=elements6 Humanities d6 1=art theory 2=literature 3=music 4=poetry 5=diaries 6=philosophy7 Reference d6 1=recipes 2=farmers guide 3=common law 4=tax law 5=almanac 6=travel guide8 Medical knowledge d6 1=first aid 2=anatomy 3=apothecary 4=herbalism 5=poison  6=diseases9 Business ledger d6 1=accounts 2=orders 3=clients 4=debits 5=trade records 6=stock records10 Magic knowledge d6 1=alchemy 2=cults 3=religion 4 =druids 5=wizard 6=sorcererMany monsters in the library are peaceful and quiet and not very threatening.d10 Strange Feature1 Strange library guardians stop anyone leaving with property2 Observatory chamber with giant astrolabe, star chart library and zodiac themed artwork3 Sealed Vault: d4 1=forbidden books 2=to be sorted books 3=magic books 4=magic scrolls4 Crypts of past scholars, former students and faculty some serve library as undead librarians5 Portals to other planes often elemental plane or outer planes like hell6 Doorway to the secret black school that teaches evil wizards for cost of soul by devil teachers7 Gateway to secret alien library level full of strange pre human things8 Library is haunted and gets an additional undead encounter when checks made9 Map room with charts from many lands and times including treasure maps10 Special Collection of books, maps and records on specialist possibly dangerous topic in vaultd100 Strange Encounters01 Wounded apprentice was left by master to starve wounded and alone02 Pale feral long lost students eating a rat or a cat03 Insect men band have attracted some goblins, gremlins. animals and students04 Forest Animal comes from haunted books and artworks wander about confused05 Cloud of book and cloth eating moths are disturbed06 See a bookworm munching on a book happily07 Cobwebs covered in dust choke area with several giant spiders08 Book gremlin and shelf rat colony up to mischief09 Paper Wasp nest eat threats to books but use paper to make nests10 Shelf rat swarm, slower and more ponderous looking than sewer rats11 Stray cat comes close to be friendly12 Hellcat looking for scholarly types it can corrupt13 Imp possibly invisible or spider or toad or baby goat form14 Book Tarantula crawling on a shelf or floor 15 Swarm of book tarantulas blocking passage 16 Stirges live in the loft hungry for blood17 Owl sitting on a shelf lives off rodents18 Giant owl lives off vermin and reads books19 Ravens, often know a single phrase and pick at books on shelves20 Bat swarm blot out light and confusing when hundreds around21 Giant bat hanging from ceiling and hungry22 Giant toad likes to live here and eat smaller students23 Giant hedgehog wanders about and likes to read24 Giant doormouse likes reading and has own prefered filing system25 Giant pigeons like food and talking about books over your shoulder but cant read26 Titan Rat size of cave bear, angry and hungry27 Giant rats in a swarm of 4d628 Centipedes 2d4 giant ones29 Badgerman looking for books to read in his lair30 Mimic pretending to be row of books31 Mini Mimic or baby pretending to be a book but only a d4 bite 1HD32 Shadow from a former student or book hunter33 Phantom apparition of a librarian often make shhhh sound or give angry looks34 Dwarf adventurer out checking engineering and condition of the place35 Halfling looking for good fiction and recipies, lost for a few years now36 Giant Moth often startled and spray choking dust everywhere37 Yellow mould patch38 Shrieker mushroom make annoying noises39 Mushroom men whose civilization evolved here 40 Ghost librarian will possess or age bad visitors41 Spectral librarian disapproves of your choice of books and eats souls42 Wraith of long lost book hunter now a life eating horror43 Zombie students wandering the stacks mostly just looking44 Skeleton student will be reading a book and tries to ignore intruders45 Skull on a tabletop chatters as a alarm or is a talking one46 Small race of hobbit sized ratmen have evolved here47 Large race of rat beastmen exploring from sewers, possibly eating books48 Goblin reading a book or trying to get high enough to reach one, placid sort49 Elf librarian from the secret catalogue only rumoured to exist by normal librarians50 Gnomes sitting about reading often in a group51 A gentleman crow man in a suit is reading while smoking against the rules52 The dragon librarian in human form that nobody knows in a dragon away from secret lair53 A group of elderly librarians and militia guards reshelving books from a trolley 54 Homeless students have built shelter in shelving have squatted a section55 Giant Constrictor Snakes with hypnotism are said to lurk on tops of shelves56 A homeless old man reading while boiling a tea pot on a fire he has built57 A  elderly wizard who has been lost here for years probably cursed58 Four apprentices out looking for a book for their master59 A haughty master with apprentices and thugs here looking for a book, expects respect60 Dark elves reading, will flee back to underland through a hole if chased61 A wizened elder mystic troll looking for books they haven't read yet quietly 62 A living oak tree fused into shelving, home of a dryad and her 2d4 charmed guests63 A hellmouth opens and a horned devil puts some books back then leaves64 A moody eccentric master looking for books like they own the place65 A serpentfolk wizard is here reading peacefully of the lost continent66 A wooden golem with shelves in chest cavity reshelving books67 A bone golem part of a failed over zealous security system cancelled years ago68 A giant swollen caterpillar man munching on books while smoking a hookah69 Gremlins messing with the filing system70 Kobold carpenters fixing shelving and painting over graffitti71 Bored kobold teenagers writing gang graffiti and threats on walls72 Carrion crawler dragging a paralysed kobold to lair73 Buffalo sized purple worm baby out hunting74 Octopus wizards have entered through the drains to plunder magical secrets75 Charismatic evil wizard offers his help and betray everyone at some chance76 Students making out in piles of books77 Wildmen lost in the stacks chasing magical animals that came out of paintings78 Magical Artwork d4 1=dream gate 2=magic portal 3=dungeon entry 4=magic people inside79 Cultists in robes entered in secret must kill witnesses who see them80 Knight and comic servant on a quest in library for a gosh awful long time81 A bard is giving a reading to students,magical creatures and demihuman guests82 Necromancer and his undead guards is pretty sure nobody who sees him should live83 A white wizard of a secret order comes and offers aid and possibly a book as a gift84 Brotherhood of bards on a mission for knowledge about a great crisis85 Cultists seeking clues to the apocalypse all who see them must die86 Guards on patrol looking for monsters or book thieves or trouble check your papers87 Spectral minions patrol from long ago who dont recognise modern dating system88 Spectral minion students reading and looking for books89 Spectral minion librarians actually helpful can call spectral guard to evict troublemakers 90 Golem carrying d4 1=brain in a jar 2=mummified corpse 3=old wizard 4=glass eyeball91 Invisible Spirit bored and likes pranks, will try haunting at first then friendly then anoying92 Succubi or incubi looking for nerdy gullible wizards to drain of souls93 Students with donkey load of books to return after finishing course 94 Chaos heretic seeks to join party and try and instill chaotic philosophy of cosmic entropy95 A agent of Cosmic Law offers to teach you arcane skills if you serve pure order96 A lich in all his glory with skeleton apprentices holding his robe and palanquin97 A devil in human form sliping works of diabolic occult into the collections98 Angelic being searching for holy records for some  reason99 Sphynx with some cherubim servants invite you to dine and riddle with them100 Dragon sleeping on pile of books, change into human mostly if awaked100 Hazards and Wonders01 Books fall from someone up high02 Loose book stacks ready to collapse in avalanche if disturbed03 Bookshelf ready to collapse if disturbed04 Shelf will collapse like dominoes sending05 A mass of dust is disturbed and falls causes choking06 Whole are choked in spider webs and dust07 Scattered corpses of robed students all seeking something called extra credit08 Stoner drug cult of students meeting to get high invite you to join them09 A fabulous fountain pouring fresh water out with pull of a spring lever10 Book repair station featuring desk and various scribe supplies and craft tools11 Magical Instruments playing ancient music all buy themselves12 Story reading golem needs a audience who doesn't die so easily or want to leave13 Nanny golem forgotten what her children look like adopts party and torments14 Walking suits of armour patrol area on the hour15 Animated talking weapons on wall mounts will attack if you don't have library ID16 Invisible person reading book in lectern17 Lectern with book chained on in a locked case lid, some important work inside18 Deadfall of books made as deliberate messy noisy trap19 Piles of books blanked out left by some word eating creature20 Young necromancers trying to raise a dead spirit from corpse creating a shadow21 A skeleton apprentice still trying to impress his lich master by bullying strangers22 Crypt Thing here to teach you valuable life lesson by teleporting you deep into library23 Collection of comfortable sofas d4 1=tea and cakes 2=corpses 3=students 4=mummies24 Nanny Binks the goat messiah is here on a mission with some sons and a human party25 Goblins selling snacks fresh from the sewer like rat on a stick and mushroom beer26 A gathering of lost familiars will question party about missing masters27 Fountain of wine d4 1=drunk students 2=satyrs 3=old drunk wizards 4=several corpses 28 Fountain of water d4 1=elven attendant 2=water weird 3=water elemental 4=holy water29 Fountain d4 1=healing water 2=fresh milk 3=tea 4=chilled water30 Fountain strange rainbow potions with a tin cup chained to valve31 Someone has built a tiny fort out of books 1in6 inhabited by children or kobolds32 Representatives of the Kobold kingdom (three library levels) welcomes traders 33 Student performers practicing their play would really enjoy a audience who would get us34 Student wizards asleep with a keg, an imp familiar will negotiate on their behalf35 Old person with poor eyesight and hearing looking for book, is d6+4 lv wizard36 Wizards old and young playing chess or illusion wargames or other magic games37 See a figure avoiding you crumble into mass of bookworms and disapear38 See devils licking up words from a book to learn some useful torture skills39 Young wizards making familiars battle for money, poor things look unhappy40 See eyes from cracks between books where dark creeper and dark stalkers lurk41 See a secret door open and a student steps in after saying some devils name 42 Sealed water elemental in bottle sworn to put out a fire when lid opened43 Strange robed man seems to be drinking words from book into him then vanishes44 A book falls out of shelf in front of you, "How to serve Hell", includes soul contract45 A black wizened hand offering you to take a book then it vanishes46 Find a sealed letter addressed to you from hell offering you a wish if you sign47 A lamia has established a lair where her charmed lovers read poems to her48 A demonic looking floating head trailing dripping mass of organs behind it in the stacks49 A banshee in the books likes to kill young handsome wizards50 Chaos frogmen demons looking for archons and modrons to battle51 Adorable goofy modrons on patrol for chaos frogmen demons that vex them so52 Find dumped collection of corpses all killed same way such as headless or poisoned 53 Grell wandering around stacks looking for smart guys to eat54 Squid man mind wizard ans cultists looking to feed and find elder evil books55 Wizard spy eyeball watching party for a while56 Guardian Familiar in cat form guarding a relic or important book in display cabinet57 Floor collapses into sub level weighed down by all the books58 Hole in floor leading to burrow complex lined with shredded books lair to some creature59 Displacer beasts on the hunt for humans or roaring for territory60 Leucrotta walks the library tries to lure "lovers" up close to eat them or just their faces61 Naga coiled up with some books and servants62 Doppelganger students try to get close for ambush63 Gargoyles guarding a collection of treasure on display64 Vampire out for a read will be interested in meeting a new lover to eat65 Incomplete golem on a slab surrounded bu books and occult symbols66 Medusa lives in wing of library in area with lots of statutes67 Stymphalian birds roosted in a area will shoot wing feathers at enemies on territory68 Satyr scholar quite happy to talk with party and hang around, carries sandwiches69 Archway with armed living statues ready to attack70 Students listening to a scholar give a lecture71 Secret society of wizards meeting in robes and masks not expecting strangers72 Students discussing outlandish theory, totally alienated from common life73 Tutor trying to convince student to try joining a cult for careerism74 Students whispering about the secret black wizard school and where it is hidden75 Rows of desks for students, scribes or copyists to work from mostly unused76 Artwork exhibited in area with wine and cheese and artists77 Noble person with armed guards with scholar looking for something78 A book falls out of the shelf and open to a spread of significant pages79 A group of assassins out to kill a student or anyone who sees an assassin ever80 Students performing a ritual from a book they found and improvising a go81 Cultists about to murder someone on portable altar and shrine in ritual82 A book launch with scholars here for free wine and cheese and possibly a free book83 Summoner diagram with trapped planar being d4 1=elemental 2=devil 3=demon 4=angel84 Witches up to some research don't want any funny business while on a caper85 Time traveling wizard just visiting and passing through86 Gateway in artwork to another dimension such as the nightmare world87 Magic Mirror makes evil clones who attack originals88 Elemental djinn are meeting here to discuss dividing up the multiverse for the next aeon89 Lonley spirit from a painting seeks a lover90 Old scholar, farm boy and pirate on a quest and a bit paranoid91 Pixies polymorphed into dancing books put on a show for a furious librarian92 Wizards playing a game with illusions and a small crowd has gathered93 Sorcerers here to pick on wizards for having to read books and study 94 Young apprentices flirting for creepy teacher's attention95 Gremlins throwing books at students for fun96 Gremlins taunting librarian with noise making games97 Golem has been reading silently for over 2000 years98 Students looking for a missing friend came to library a few days ago 99  Crawling zombie hand dragging a book somewhere100 Black robed students on way to secret school for evil wizardsMight need more forgot aboutCave fishersSheet phantoms and ghouls […]

  • I want my MTV (Middle-earth television)
    by Akrasia on December 6, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    A few weeks ago I mentioned here that Amazon is set to produce a series (perhaps more than one) set in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth. Moreover, the focus will be on events distinct from either The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings.As I mentioned then, I think that there are many great potential stories to be developed out of the appendices of the LotR, Unfinished Tales, and (especially) The Silmarillion.This article makes a similar point:Like the LOTR appendixes and Unfinished Tales, The Silmarillion has little of the depth and detail found in LOTR or The Hobbit, but all three contain material with marvellous potential. There is the tragic tale of Beren and Luthien, whose romance is set against the backdrop of the quest for the Silmarils; there is the epic story of Elendil and Isildur; and the rise of Sauron and the forging of the nine rings. These stories may be slender in print, but they are surely rich in televisual potential. So I'm not alone in my hopes for the new Middle-earth television series. (Phew!) In fact, if The Silmarillion is in play, there are many, many great stories to be told... […]

  • A Brief Hiatus
    by Trey on December 6, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    They'll be a brief interruption due the arrival of a baby. Programming will resume again shortly. […]

  • Help Stacy Kick Cancers Butt On DriveThruRPG
    by Jeff Duncan on December 6, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    HSKCA$$I love it when a plan comes together: As I mentioned, I put my affiliate & product sales from the month of November towards Stacy's cancer fight and rounded it up to the nearest $10. The grand total was $20. Honestly, the ability to raise some funds was looking pretty dire, but once the black Friday sales at One Book Shelf hit I got a nice (micro) boost. My usual affiliate sales numbers are under $10 per month. If you purchased anything through my links from here and over at EN World; Thank you. Also, a couple folks did in fact purchase some of my Map! products... Awesome and thank you.Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. I receive a token % if you purchase something on the landing page. Thank you for your support.Stacy's Cancer Fight Fund over on Fundly is here if you wish to donate.I'm a total sucker for anything RPG so I went with the DriveThru charity bundle. I'm not much of a salesman, but Over $300 worth of PDFs for 20 bucks! As an RPG reviewer that was an easy choice. Just in case my reviewer slush pile ever gets a bit light, I've got some extra titles...There a lot of ways to show Stacy your support and it's not just about the money. Don't get me wrong -money is nice, but if your anything like me, I've got plenty of money gone to gifts for family and friends during the silly season... (money can be tight this time of year) Even just stopping over at her Fundly and/or leaving a comment or her Facebook page (here), or a comment in the discussion panel of the bundle is a nice way to show support. Take a moment to like & share links and who knows. Every little bit helps. Okay, stand back while I get off my soap box.Best Wishes for Stacy and her family- […]

  • Map Art Doodles
    by Konsumterra on December 6, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    So this was from my month of map making a while back. Did some for Xor as well. Just some doodads for mapping will make more perhaps into a key for a hexmap. Good practicing this stuff and looking at real maps and weird inconsistent perspective. Anyone welcome to use this page how they pleas […]

  • Seven Nano Plagues & 12 Races for Planet Psychon
    by Konsumterra on December 6, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    The Seven Nano Plagues of Planet Psychon1 Chromantic Reassembler Nanite CRN "Skin bug" - bonds coloured symbiote to epidermis and altering organs and tissue - in 12 colour configurations and adaption modes2 Mutagenic Reassembler Nanite MAN "Mutie bug"- creates mutations with many different strains that provide minor or major effects3 Persona Recompiler Nanite PRN "Mind hack bug"- change alignment, personality, history often with shared collective  changes4 Matter Reassembler Nanite MRN "Magic bug"-changes matter into different stuff like slime or candy or turn peope into furnature5 Biological Reassembler nanite BRN "Changeling Bug"-changes physical characteristics to another race or species or physical type6 Necrobion Reassembler Nanite  NRN "Dead Bug"- undead creating plague life form that makes monsters that can survive apocalypse7 Psychotronic Warfare Nanite PWN "Psi Bug"-creates mental networked shared events like hallucinations or dreams or telepathyThese weapons of the late wars are used by the gods for terraforming and psychosphere scaping projects. On the brights side hopeless nanobots re spawn garbage heaps of the ancients, create new species and even respawn treasure in ruins for some reason. Of course when you die you are uploaded to the gods to be reborn again when needed or literally rebuilt with memory implants somewhere else. The gods are funny like that. Bad gods imprison people or make them monsters but keeping them from rebirth is bad enough.12 Chromatic Mods for Races for Planet Psychon1 Red +1 DEX "Volcano People or Fire Tribe" reputed warmongers and pyromaniacs-heat resistance -1hp/dice from fire or heat damage2 Magenta +1 STR "Flesh People of the Flesh tribe" reputed slavers-heal a hp per hour3 Cyan +1 WIS "Sky People or Air Tribe" reputed dislike of confined spaces-hold breath Con + Lv rounds4 Aqua +1 INT "Sea People or Water Tribe" dislike being away from water-water breathing amphibian5 Yellow +1 CON "Sulpher People or Mineral Tribe" reputed miners-poison resistant6 Tangerine  +1 CHA "Trader People or Wandering Tribe" reputed to be greedy-disease resistant7 Emerald +1 CON "Forest People or Tree Tribe" reputed -photosynthetic can live mostly off sunlight instead of food if uncovered too much8 Light Green +1 DEX "Wild People or Plant tribe" reputed -chem and rad resistant9 Violet +1 CHA "Flower People or Manna Tribe"  reputed all magicians-Magic resistant MR 1% /Lv10 Turquoise +1 INT "Jade People or Dragon Tribe" reputed organised-Extra +1AC11 Ivory or roll d10 twice +1 WIS "Bone People or Skeleton Tribe" reputed undead-Wounds stabilize if under zero in one round12 Jet or roll d10 1d4+1 times +1 STR "Night People or Earth Tribe" reputed cannibals-Extra HP d4 and +1/lvA optional series of mods for each colour scheme that can be applied to lots of races and monsters - possibly have dice roll list of optional abilities. Just playing with this for now. But idea that the colours are universal sets that are slapped on creatures and people is kinda promising and certainly not new. […]

  • Mirkwood Adventure 1: Discovery of the Spider Orb
    by Akrasia on December 6, 2017 at 4:44 am

    Year 2946 of the Third AgeEarly May:Over the course of several days, Hengil (Dúnedan Warden), Ulvmund Galmund (Barding Warrior), and Hartmut Hare-Eye (Beorning Wanderer), separately arrive in Esgaroth. They learn that notices of jobs for ‘mercenaries’, ‘adventurers’, and the like can be found in the Adventurers’ Hall within the Town-Hall Quarter.Mid-May:Hengil, Ulvmund, and Hartmut all read the following notice within the Adventurers’ Hall:“Wanted: Help for the village Ulgarstat near the great wood! Gold reward! Those with strong swords, hunters’ eyes, and valiant hearts are to inquire at The Golden Gull on Bridge Street.”That evening the three men go to The Golden Gull, where the innkeeper—a great bear of a man named ‘Baldur Baldurson’—directs them to a table in a secluded corner of the common room. At the table are two emissaries from Ulgarstat: a fair-haired young man named ‘Guntar Resticsard’ and his friend, the tall and dark ‘Aecstan’. Introductions are made—the adventurers learn something of each other and their backgrounds.Guntar explains that he is the son of Ulgar Resticsard, the founder and leader of the village Ulgarstat. (Ulgarstat was settled on a strip of rich farmland at the very edge of Mirkwood, amidst some smaller forests, about a decade ago. It is roughly a day’s march from Lake-town.) His reason for wanting to hire some adventurers is that a number of people have gone missing around the village in recent months. Two months ago a farmer who lived nearby, to the north of the village, disappeared en route Ulgastat. Three weeks later, a peddler left Ulgarstat, announcing his plan to visit the farm of ‘Wessun Fraelsen’ to the north. The peddler never arrived. Ulgar and Wessun tracked the peddler as far as they could along the wooded trail between Ulgarstat and Wessun’s farm. Wagon tracks led halfway up the trail, and then disappeared into the forest. The two men found the wagon, but though they searched the woods around it, they could find no other signs of horse or peddler. Two weeks later, three young men went game hunting up the northern trail. When they didn’t return for supper, their fathers and brothers went after them. No trace of any of the three was found.[Hartmut]Aecstan claims that it is likely wolves that are causing the disappearances. Wolves had attacked the village twice in the past year. In response, six months ago a wooden palisade was built around Ulgarstat. To this claim Guntar remarks that while this may be the case, no bodies have been found…The following day the party travels to Ulgarstat with Guntar and Aecstan. It is a short, uneventful journey, and they reach the hamlet in the early evening. At Ulgarstat, the company learns from Ulgar Retiscard (the leader of Ulgarstat) and his friend the farmer Wessun Fraelsen, of the recent disappearance of Runnal Retiscard (1st son of Ulgar) and Currael (oldest daughter of Wessun).  The party’s mission is now urgent!Early the next morning the company—along with Ulgar, Wesson, Guntar, and Aecstan—follow the trail north toward the Fraelsen farm. The group soon reaches the site where the peddler’s wagon was found a few weeks ago. No tracks are found, but sharp-eyed Hartmut spots some webbing high in the trees, glistening in the sunlight.Leaving the villagers behind, the trio of heroes follows the silky strands deeper into the forest. As the green canopy above them casts the company into twilight, they discover a region covered in thick webs. It is a ‘web fortress’—thick webs drape a line of trees, creating a malevolent mound. Ulvmund and Hartmut react to the sight with profound horror [they gain a shadow point each].[Map of the area around Ulgarstat]Recovering from his unmanly fright, Ulvmund sneaks around the mound. While doing so, he hears creatures muttering and moving. He also notices a rotting hollow log that seems to penetrate the web mound—it provides a web-free ‘tunnel’ through the morass of sticky strands.[Ulvmund]The company deliberates what to do next. But their conference is interrupted when two hideous spiders the size of large wolves attack! Hartmut and Hengil are paralyzed by the spiders’ poison. Fortunately, the Valar smile upon the companions as Ulmund slays one spider, and the other flees. Hengil recovers from his bite, while Ulvmund manages to draw the poison out of Hartmut.Deciding to act before another ambush, Hengel crawls through the rotting hollow log, followed by Hartmut and Ulvmund. A dimly lit hollow is revealed. Two more great spiders drop from the ceiling of webs! But Hengil speaks words of encouragement to his companions [‘Gift of the Warden’ is granted to Ulvmund and Hartmut]. Hearts filled with valour, the fight progresses well, and the spiders are slain by Ulvmund and Hartmut.[Map of the Spider Mound]The companions search the interior of the foul mound. They find cocoons hanging from a tree in the northeast corner. Within the cocoons Runnal and Currael are found—damaged but alive!Also discovered: a stone pedestal on which is mounted a jet-black orb. On the orb is written something in Quenya. Alas, none of the heroes can read the High Elvish tongue. Hengil takes the orb—and immediately feels nauseated by its malignant aura [suffers corruption]. The party also finds a small locked chest amidst the rubbish and rotting corpses that litter the floor of the spider mound.[Hengil]Having rescued the missing villagers, the party rejoins Ulgar, Wesson, Guntar, and Aecstan. The group of nine promptly returns to Ulgarstat. There, the company is rewarded with some gold coins. Ulgar also writes a letter of recommendation for the party.Thrilled by their first success at adventuring, Hengil, Hartmut, and Ulvmund return to Esgaroth. There they celebrate and make grand plans for the future. Still, the black orb disturbs their thoughts…Notes:The pictures of the characters are taken from Cubicle 7's Adventures in Middle-earth Player's Guide. The map of the region around Esgaroth is taken from ICE's Mirkwood. The other maps are taken from ICE's Denizens of the Dark Wood. The core elements of this adventure also were taken from Denizens (the spider orb is my own, however, and is connected to a larger plot...). […]

  • MCU Implications of a Disney-Fox Deal
    by Joseph Bloch on December 5, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    With the news that Disney and Fox are very close to a deal, I thought it might be fun to speculate on the implications such a thing might have on the various Marvel movie and TV properties. For those who haven't been keeping up, Fox is looking to shed everything except their sports and news operations, so they can focus on them as a core product. That would entail losing their film and entertainment television divisions, among other things.Assuming such a deal goes through, the most obvious implication for Marvel (which is owned by Disney) is that a huge chunk of their IP would return to the fold, as it were. The X-Men (including Deadpool and Wolverine), Magneto, Fantastic Four, Galactus, the Silver Surfer, Doctor Doom, Kang the Conquerer, Super Skrull, and other characters would suddenly be accessible to the MCU.The easy part of this equation is the Fantastic Four, et al. Fox has tried to start up a Fantastic Four franchise twice now, and gone down in flames both times with movies that were frankly bad and which didn't "get" the characters at all. Since that's one of Marvel's undisputed strengths, and since there's no gravy train that would be interrupted by so doing, I think that's the low-hanging fruit here.Heck, the timing would also be impeccable. Marvel is about to launch Phase Four (get it???), many of their powerhouse stars are no longer under contract (or are so expensive to get back that alternatives might be welcome), and they also have an ongoing history of weak villains. Having Doctor Doom, Kang the Conquerer, and Galactus as potential long-term bad guys would be very welcome. Plus, Captain Marvel next year is going to introduce the Skrulls as a villain (to go with the Kree that we've already seen in the movies and Agents of SHIELD). Having access to the "named" Skrull villains like the Super Skrull and the Skrull Empress would be handy.So I say Phase Four will be the introduction of the Fantastic Four, with Doctor Doom and/or Galactus as the Big Bads to drive things throughout the phase, and possibly into Phase Five.The X-Men, however, are a different story. Retconning the existing films into the MCU whole-cloth is out of the question. First off, the question casual audiences will ask is "where were the Avengers when Magneto took over the Statue of Liberty?" (among other things). There's a huge interconnected backstory in the X-Men movies, with time travel and all sorts of other shenanigans, and neither franchise mentions the others. So the only alternative would be to start fresh, shutting down the current series of films and TV shows and setting off from square one.But that's a non-starter. That franchise has brought in over a billion adjusted dollars so far, and shows no signs of lessening. Why mess with that? There's no real pressing need to have mutants in the MCU (that's what the Inhumans are for, even if their solo TV show was a bit of a bomb, it would still be possible to jumpstart them with a film somewhere down the road, especially with the more cosmic stuff coming into view, and the centrality of the Kree in the Inhumans' backstory).I say Disney would keep the X-Men franchise as-is, pumping out its own movies and shows, while at the same time being able to use individual mutants in the MCU as needed. Possibly rebranding them as Inhumans, or just calling them "enhanced" or "miracles" or whatever.Either way, Disney needs to figure out a way to more tightly integrate their television and movie lines. Get Perlmutter out of the way, so we don't have any more debacles like Marvel's Inhumans. Especially with the massive amounts of work that Agents of SHIELD is doing to develop a backstory for the Kree and Inhumans, especially with Phase Four likely to be a lot more "cosmic" in focus, they need to make sure things stay in alignment. Perhaps even have a TV-to-film appearance. A little fan service never hurt anybody. […]

  • My Setting World Map
    by Konsumterra on December 5, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    So I've been pottering with this for a few years  and plan to recycle stuff from old settings. Mostly vague so far but will help me make some tables such as:d100 Famous mercenaries for hire from many landsd100 Traders and goods from many landsd100 Desert City Statesd100 Wondrous places from across the worldd100 Legendary Places from across the worldd100 Great Cities of the worldd100 ruined and lost cities of the worldPossibly mark some Xor gate points for quick travel and snacksThe world is smallish but the north is perpetually frozen and the south is on fire or boiling.Most of the world is dominated by powerful magician hierachies and warlordsMost of the world is happy in the stone or bronze age and using magicIt's an age of exploration, new trade and new technology for someCertain lands of man stole steel and iron the gunpowder from the dwarfs and used against the elves and trolls and anything really.Most of these advanced lands are in state of warfare and in sway of alchemistsSome of the ancient states still ruled by gods have sent monsters to the invaders landsThese Lands send expeditions to find magic items and slaves across the world to help win their warsCity of lead is a sprawling ruined city of the old ones with a permanent wolf pirate fortressCity of Brass is where efreet and salamanders and elemental fire beings trade with the worldMore detail to be added yet […]

  • Altered Carbon trailer
    by Akrasia on December 5, 2017 at 5:02 am

    I mentioned here almost 2 years ago (!) that Netflix was producing a series based on Richard Morgan's Altered Carbon novel. (I'm not sure if the other books in the 'Takeshi Kovacs' series will be covered.) And at long last ... the first trailer has arrived.Enjoy! […]

  • Thoughts on the Frost and Fire Giants (and Stone Giants, too!)
    by Joseph Bloch on December 5, 2017 at 2:49 am

    Following up on my musings about the connection between the Elder Elemental God and the Hill Giants in G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief, I would like to move on to the other two modules in the series.The next one, G2 The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl is going to be the shortest in terms of analysis. There's no direct connection to the Elder Elemental God anywhere in the place. That in itself is noteworthy, as there is in the other two. I would posit that the frost giants were brought in as allies after the hill giants, and possibly after the fire giants. The drow are definitely directly involved in advising the frost giants, however, as we are directly told that of false map in the lower level area 4A "Of course, this is a ruse, cleverly laid by those who motivate the giants..."Those being Eclavdra and her drow, of course. So the drow are actively micro-managing the frost giants.There is one line in G2 which is often overlooked, and which points to another missing part of this venerable and well-loved series. In the Background section, we read "...their most important mission, however, is to gather intelligence as to what or who is behind the unholy alliance of hill, stone, frost, and possibly other types of giants as well."Note that it doesn't mention fire giants, but does mention stone giants!*There are a few stone giants in the glacial rift, there to "see how well the frost giants are doing in their war on humankind." We also have representatives of the ogre-magi, who have signed a treaty with the frost giants (presumably to join the war), and apparently the frost giant jarl has only recently sworn fealty to the lord of the fire giants, as the latter's representatives bear a silver bear statue as a token of the frost giants' jarl's loyalty.More grist for the mill of hill giant discontent, by the way. The frost giants are making things happen, getting new allies, and are cozening up to the fire giants, who are directly connected to the drow. There are some hill giant messengers here, but only to deliver a report on Nosnra's success to the frost and then fire giants. The hill giants could well be feeling they've been given the short end of the stick, as I speculated in the previous article.Now let's move on to G3 Hall of the Fire Giant King, which I always viewed as the best of the series. This was the biggie of the series, with three levels, and costing a whopping $5.50, as opposed to $4.50 for the other two (if I recall correctly). It's also the most complex, with both drow and fire giants to contend with, amongst others. And, of course, it serves as the lead-in to the D1-3 series of modules.First, the description of one of the scrolls in Snurre's council room specifically says it has "instructions for the King, telling him to gather forces of hill, stone, frost, and fire giants, along with whatever strength he can raise in ogres, ogre-magi, cloud giants, and any other creatures for an all-out attack ont he provinces to the east and northeast." It's from Eclavdra, and "promises powerful help from 'Drow'".Remember that in 1978, the drow were just a footnote in the Monster Manual. But it's also interesting to see the stone giants included once again in the roster of those involved in the attacks. There are also stone giant engineers who have been working for Snurre, presumably to build out his underground lair.Something else of interest is that no one is here to be convinced to join the giant/drow cause. All that work is apparently being delegated to the frost giants.But the centerpiece of the adventure is the Temple of the Eye on the second level. This is the prototypical temple of the Elder Elemental God. The pillars radiate uneasiness ("simulate this by making players uneasy in whatever way you find best" - Gygax you magnificent sadist) or fear; the altar can invoke the Eye and thus cause death, insanity, aging, or other nastiness; and a tentacle can pull one or more unlucky slobs to their ineffable doom if the Elder Elemental God is summoned.This is an encounter custom-made for the paranoid players in Gygax's campaign, rather than the bull-in-a-china-shop players in every other campaign outside of Arneson's. But it also hearkens back to the weird abandoned temple we saw in the Steading of the Hill Giant Chief. But here, it seems, one can actually summon the EEG, whereas there one can only summon a vague vision of a tentacle.Side note - the ceiling in the Temple of the Eye is at least 50' high, so the ramp between levels 1 and 2 is either very long, or very steep, or both.Side note the second - the inclusion of tentacle rods in the 5E DMG as magic items for drow seems a bit odd. I think they were included by someone who didn't realize that they were wielded by the very small faction of drow that were opposed to Lolth. Fair enough; many people don't realize Lolth isn't the big bad of the series.A few things about the Temple of the Eye. First, it's in active use by both the fire giants and their servants and slaves, and the priests are drow. There are explicit areas of the temple for the giants and servants, and there is no mention of any giant priests.Contrast that with the temple in G1, which is obviously not in use (because it's behind the rebel orc barricade), and has no mention of priests whatsoever (although recall that rubble-choked passage to the second level through the vestry).I've got two brilliant theories here.First and foremost, I think this can play very well into my idea about the weird abandoned temple in G1. As we've seen, that was a much lower-powered place, not fully capable of invoking the Elder Elemental God itself. Perhaps it's a function of physical size, or location (where the EEG is able to project itself onto Oerth might be subject to all sorts of unknowable restrictions based on non-Euclidean geometry), or something else.But imagine this scenario. The hill giants stumble across the weird abandoned temple whilst clearing out the dungeon beneath the Steading. In so doing, they tickle the peripheral awareness of the EEG, making themselves known, but not able to be acted upon. The giants excavate further to the second level, and discover an entry to the drow underworld. This brings the Eilservs into the picture, directed by the EEG to this newly-activated hive of activity, and sets off the whole use-giants-to-gain-power-in-the-Vault plot.But here's the kicker. The Eilservs, being ambitious, don't stop at hill giants, and as they move on to other giant races, they finally come upon the fire giants, who have access to a fully-functional temple that can invoke a portion of the Elder Elemental God, and the drow move in to control them through the cult. Not needing the shrine discovered by the hill giants, the entrance to the second level, and the potential back door into the underworld, is ordered sealed. The hill giants, kicked to the proverbial curb, are now useful only as cannon fodder and lackeys. Nosnra doesn't like that one bit, but can't do much about it. Still, it's a wedge that could, in theory, be used against the Eilservs.Oh that sounds good. Really good.But here's my second brilliant theory, and it revolves around why the fire giants' temple is called the Temple of the Eye.There was a television show in the mid-70's called Kolchak the Night Stalker. It featured Darren McGavin as Karl Kolchack, a Chicago reporter who invariably stumbled across stories involving vampires, or aliens, or zombies, or what have you. There was one episode, titled The Energy Eater (link goes to the full episode!). It turns out that the monster is an ancient Indian bear god who is sleeping underneath a newly-constructed hospital. In one scene, a bunch of x-ray plates are scattered on the ground, and when put together to make a single image show an immense eye, proving that the creature exists.An eye.We already know that Gygax was influenced by this short-lived show (1974-1975), because he's on record saying that the reason rakshasas are vulnerable to blessed crossbow bolts is because that was a plot point in another episode of the series, Horror in the Heights.I submit that different temples of the Elder Elemental God might be able to manifest different pieces of that weird entity. The one beneath the hall of the fire giants is a temple of the eye. There might be others elsewhere; a temple of the maw, a temple of the brain, etc. Just a thought, although it might admittedly take the idea too far. At the very least, I think it's entirely plausible that Gygax was influenced by the show to have the image of the disembodied eye in his own mind when putting this module together.______* There is already a module by RC Pinnell, titled G4 Sanctum of the Stone Giant Lord. It departs from the whole Elder Elemental God theme of G1 and G3, however, and is apparently part of a whole series that covers many giant types not mentioned in the original material. A review of it, or its sequels, is out of the scope of this article, but I present it for those who might be interested. […]

  • More Stuff Like This
    by Konsumterra on December 4, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    So I started a Patreon page and have made this book available as a preview there to my subscribers with some other offers.Partly done this to make me put up more stuff like this monthly and some other reward stuff which I'm sure I can manage. So hopefully will get my production slicker and I can work on a proper publication.Id also like some money to buy games and artwork for particular products Id like to do to make them nicer. And because I cant illustrate everything myself because I cant solve every problem with mostly cartoon octopus doodles.So this book is a 24 page PDF Illustrated by me tooling with a tablet and scanner. It compiles lots of tables about murder hobos, their shanty towns and other horrible day to life activities in their frontier camps of grizzled old killers.Anyway its part of getting my production of stuff up to a standard I'm happy with. And hopefully lots more to come. […]

  • A-Z City Key
    by Konsumterra on December 4, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    I have done this treatment for several dungeon types and rural villages. I considered doing one per district type but my pen and paper notes showed too much repeating so one will do. Point is to use key to populate dungeons or areas rapidly with generic room types and variations. Might do a Psychon one and other dungeon zones some time. A cave one might be good.A-Z Xor Meat DungeonsA-Z Gothic DungeonA-Z Goblin MineA-Z Redbrick DungeonA-Z Village Use this to generate maps and this a-z to populate ithttps://watabou.itch.io/medieval-fantasy-city-generatori might need to make some specialist ones for my suburbs like non human city or mutant slumbsd100 random location keyA 1-4 A Administration5-6 B Barracks Militia7-9 C Church Building10-12 D Dining House13-14 E Entertainment Venue15-17 F Farm Building18-19 G Guild Hall20-30 H Home31-35 I Inn36-41 J Park42-43 K Cult Building44-48 L Penal Building49-52 M Market Place53-54 N Vacant Site55-59 O Health Buildings60-64 P Common Shop65-67 Q Rare Shop68-69 R Exotic Shop70-74 S Scholarly Buildings75-77 T Waterway78-79 U Underground Entry80-85 V Vice Building86-90 W Work House91-92 X Funerary House93-95 Y Charity House96-00 Z Criminal BuildingA AdministrationBuildings used by governing bodies of the cities where laws of the city are written and made and records are kept. Adventurers needing deeds, titles, citizenship, warrants paid, bounties, dungeon claims, exploration permits, mercenary licences, all need to come here.1 Public Hall - meeting hall for public discussions or common assembly2 Court House - where trials and court cases are judged often include cells3 Municipal Stores - government store house often for equipment, goods or food4 Custom House - where custom staff based who examin incoming and outgoing goods5 Record Hall - documents of deeds, marraiges, births and deaths and other documents6 Tax Collector - tax collectors, records and counting house7 Council Chambers - where city or ward council meet8 Clerk Office - office of city where bureaucrats work their magic9 Planning Office - city planing and development often with maps and models of city10 Palace - palace of senior officials and rulersB BarracksCity armed forces buildings where militia and army are are based and work from. City will often have a militia, town watch, military and sheriff office connected to courts. A sheriff servers the court and has two bailiffs each with two beadles who aid him. Militia are semi paid local volunteers for defence and public order. The watch patrol by night and are often paid for by local businesses to enforce curfews. Military are permanent regular soldiers for attack and defence in war. Secret police are inteligence agents seeking spies and traitors1 Guard Post - small cell and several watchmen based2 Gate House - controll entry into a court or district with gate, guards and murder holes3 Guard Tower tower - watching or bigger with guards and cell incide4 Recruiting Hall - office where men offered boots and daily meat to join armed forces5 Drill Hall - hass where men train and march and assemble in6 Armoury - where armed forces store and make weapons and armour7 Militia Barracks - dormatories for armed forces, mostly halls with a dozen bunks8 Militia Office - office where local militia directed from by sheriffs and bailiffs and beadles9 Secret Police Bunker - where secret police based with cells, dungeon and sewer entry10 Fortress - fortified defencive structure possibly holding some goods or important pointC ChurchReligious buildings made by various church organisations and cults. Every block has some religious structure. Many act as administration for ecclesiarchy of various faiths. Religions are quite competitive for attendees and buildings. City encourages church charity and tax breaks.1 Templar Hall - templar barracks where they live, prey and store banking records2 Hermatige - where pilgrims, monks and hermits live or stay in barracks3 Holy Monument - statue, fountain, symbol or idol dedicated to a god or saint or hero4 Monastery - where monks live and work often some industry or scriptorium or winery5 Inquisition - where investigators of witches, demons and foul spirits based6 Reliquary - where religious treasures and relics kept for pilgrims to visit for a fee7 Seminary - school where clerics and priests trained by religion8 Shrine - small often roadside holy place often attended by a young cleric9 Temple - larger church with worship for 12-100 people inside run by many priests10 Cathedral - huge church towering over city 100+ church staff and 1000+ at a serviceD DiningCommon eating areas for all kinds of food and drink popular with many citizens with no kitchen at home or travelling or just rich enough to eat out.1 Street vendors - stall, stand or pushcart offering cheap common snack food from a cp2 Snack bar - counter selling popular snack items often with a specialty like pie from 1cp3 Greasy Spoon - Small eatery for common workers who are regulars from 1cp4 Coffee House - exotic, fashionable places with literate and bards meet from 1sp5 Tea Room - exotic place for intellectual discussion over mystical herbs from 1sp6 Canteen - common mass eatery for workers of a single trade like clerks or sailors 1cp7 Ale House - cheap place to drink often with games or entertainer with no meals 1cp8 Tavern - common drinking and eating place with a good night out for both from 1sp9 Restaurant - where wealth and sophisticated persons eat and ponder from 1ep10 Feast Hall - where groups come to celebrate with all you can eat and drink 1gpE EntertainmentPopular sports, games and performances keep the masses happy but are also hotbeds of vice and rebellion. Popular with all classes and visited by secret police often. Prices from 1cp common 1sp merchant class 1gp for noble.1 Theatre - large hall for performances with large boisterously drunk audiences2 Fighting Pit - small cheap grubby stadium with are for men or animals to fight for money3 Gladiator Pit - fancy large facility for state spectacles of slaghter for the well off4 Music Hall - huge hall with band for mob to sing and watch popular common performances5 Opera House - huge ornate theatre for nobility but some abandoned and ruined6 Amphitheatre - large ground for races, sport events with covered raised seating7 Dance Hall - large hall with band, dancing and dancing troupes performing8 Side Show - cheap stalls and tents with carnies, freaks, games, gimicks and scams9 Speakers Corner - stone blocks where various people speak to locals on various issues10 Odeon - hall where singers and poets perform works for civilized audienceF Farm BuildingsEven in the big city agriculture dominates life and there are many work opportunities for farmers in the city.1 Stables - where horses bought, sold and kept with various qualities2 Granary - where large stores of grain kept under guard3 Grain Mill - mill where grain ground into flour for bakeries4 Barn - for storage of animal feed and other farm animals in stalls5 Piggery - where city waste and sewerage is fed to pigs6 Feed Market - where animal feed sold7 Farmers Guild - where farmers meet and display goods8 Farmers market - where farmers sell goods to commoners9 Livestock Market - where animals in pens sold and suctioned10 Bird House - great house where birds kept for ornaments, messages or foodG Guild HallVarious buildings of trading and crafting organisations of the city. They meet, drink, feast and maintain industry monopolies and protect members. Some act as banks, pension funds, bulk buyers and other uses. Some even have retirement homes and widows and orphans homes.1 Artisan Guild - craftsmen of various specialisation guilds2 Adventurer Guild - dungeon looting adventurer clubs3 Mariners Guild - sailors clubs and ship owner and navigator guilds4 Mercenary Guild - various mercenary company barracks and offices5 Trader Guild - small local traders, stall holders and shop keepers specialties6 Merchant Guild - trade companies and houses who freight bulk good across land and sea7 Magical Guild - specialist magician schools, clubs and secrts8 Trade School - school run by guild to train students often a sweat shop for orphans9 Post Office - carry messages by runner, horse, bird or sea10 Banking Office - pure financial organisations exchange or loan money and goodsH HouseWhere people live1 Shack - a cramped one room building made from recycled garbage 4-102 Cottage - quaint often d3 room wood and plaster common house with thatched roof  1-123 Tenements - crumbling single room flats, substandard construction and bad health 1-84 Apartments - huge multi story buildings with small rooms and often no stoves 1-65 Homestead - multi room house for a family often with a shopfront or a business 1-126 Townhouse - pleasant courtyard house with multiple levels for a family and slaves 12-307 Fortified House - manor house with easily fortified windows, lookouts and entries 12-508 Community Hall - where locals hold community events, meeting and entertainment 1009 Penthouse - fancy apartment building with owner usually on top floor in best one 12-3010 Mansion - a sprawling huge house complex for a extended family and servants 20-200I InnTemporary accommodation mostly for travellers of various quality.1 Flop House - where drunks, drug addicts and homeless stay 1cp2 Boarding House - cheap common house with board and meal most have curfew 2cp3 Lodging House - nicer common house with larger rooms ans service 1sp4 Dormitory - mass housing often for industry, cramped and filthy 1cp5 Messenger Station - where traveling messengers stay and refresh and pass on news6 Caravan Lodge - where traveling caravans stay with animals and workers7 Hotel - large place with quality rooms and stables 1cp floor 4cp or 1sp or 1gp for rooms8 Coach House - where travellers using coaches stay on travels between trips 2-4cp9  Student Lodge - where students establish cheap housing many bawdy and vice ridden10 Guest House - rental house with servant for more substantial travellers like merchantsJ ParkVarious parks in the city for various purposes. Many are enjoyed by locals and urchins.1 Military Monument - statues, graves and other monuments to past wars and battles2 Religious monument - collection of shrines and religious statues or monoliths3 Civic Monuments - monuments to civic leaders and organisations4 Plaza - open area often with stalls where people meet and socialize5 Hedge Maze - often overgrown thorny mazes often where homeless or stray animals hide6 Botanical Garden - park with interesting trees and flowers sometimes foreign or huge7 Zoological Garden - park with exotic animals caged for scolars and popular entertainment8 Fountain Garden - park with expansive water feature often a common meeting place9 Fairground - common fair and carnival events held here10 Common Green - common area for various seasonal events, markets and recreations K Cult HouseBuildings built or operated by evil insane cultists, quite common in the city, remnants of ancient evil1 Witch House - where witches do or once lived, creepy with strange secrest2 Cult shrine - where some cultists meet to revere a idol or shrine in secret3 Cult warren - mess of interconnected shambling buildings turned into a cult nest4 Cultist House - old large house where cult live and meet serving the master of the house5 Secret Lodge - secret fraternal order or men's club meet to mostly drink6 Monster House - house occupied my dangerous creature and avoided7 Demon House - house known for evil, murder and wickedness, mostly ruined8 Cursed House - sinister empty house where something happens to every resident9  Haunted House - old empty house where the dead drive intruders away10 Black Lodge - evil wizard school entry where demons teach black artsL Penal BuildingsPrisons are quite common and specialized. Also include buildings for state punishment of all kinds. They can be quite small but most overcrowded and cruel.1 Debtors Yard - where those who cant pay bills are worked in sweatshops to pay2 Jailhouse -common prison often divided into seperate classes and standards3 Torture Chamber - place where authorities torture confessions from victims4 Asylum - where disabled and mentally ill or troublesome are locked up5 Oubliette - tiny confined prison built into wall or tower for single inmates for years6 Execution Point - a block for public beheadings, hangings, disembowelment7 Punishment Block - a block for floggings, gibbets, stocks and mutilations8 Star Chamber - where secret courts drag prisoners for questioning9 Lords Prison - important prisoners kept in luxury quarters under contract for ransoms10 Prison Hulk - a ship left afloat with chained up overcrowded prisonM Market PlaceMany specialized markets are inn the city1 Street market - common mixed goods from stalls and traders2 Artisan Market - for guild approved fine craft items for the rich3 Craft Market - for ordinary craft goods for commoners4 Spice Market - where exotic food flavouring herbs and spices sold5 Slave Market - where live prisoners sold for sale and kept6 Goblin Market - where goblins sell strange fruit, fungas and strange stuff7 Treasure Market - where exotic found goods like old coins and dungeon loot sold8 Black Market - where criminals sell illegal and stolen goods without proper tax9 Fleamarket - were second hand common household goods and trinkets sold10 Fish Market - where seafood brought in by fishermen liveN Vacant SitePlaces have been abandoned and ruined by neglect. Such places often used by children, gangs and the homeless.1 Squat - ruined building filled with homeless people possibly paying rent to criminals2 Shanty Town - collection of shacks and tents on empty or ruined plot for desperate poor3 Homeless Camp - with neat rows of old tents and some clergy bring food for homeless4 Empty Lot - empty grassy lot with some trash and potholes and rubble5 Abandoned house - damaged empty old house often occupied by someone in secret6 Building Site - slow building side with scafolding, stacks of bricks and builders7 Ruined factory - old industrial building like workhouse with remains of machines8 Ancient Ruins - ancient walls and rubble with carvings and other signs of ancients9 Garbage Mound - lot full of trash and garbage possibly run as a second hand shop10 Rubble Heap - mounds of rubble from long collapsed building and dumped hereO Health BuildingVarious services for bathing, laundry, hygiene, first aid and healing.1 Sauna House - a heated steam house for people that like to sweat2 Bath House -  small wash house where common folk pay to be washed3 Apothecary - selling medicine made by alchemist or a complete charlatan4 Public Bath - large public pool where people meet to be sociable and bathe5 Barber Shop - common for shaves and hairstyles but also first and and dentistry6 Holy Spring - place where special spring flows into sanctified holy belonging to a church7 Wash House - where laundry washed by commoners usually filled with washer women8 Laundry - a commercial  laundry complex serving well off and better hotels9 Churgeon - a private healers house mostly with private clients10 Hospital - a large complex for the sick often maintained by clerics for a churchP Common ShopEveryday shops as used by commoners1 Butcher Shop - shop to buy meat and butcher animals2 Bakery - baking bread and cakes and snacks3 Produce Store - selling vegetables, eggs, dairy, and some live chickens4 Tailor Shop - selling clothing repairs, alterations and comisions5 Tinkers Shop - repairing and selling old pots, tools, knives and trinkets6 Metalsmith - metal cookware, tools, horseshoes, nails7 Leatherwork - leather goods like tools and clothes, saddles, bags8 Carpentry Shop - wooder furnishings and everyday items9 Stonemason - stone items like idols, bricks, fireplaces, headstones10 Pottery Shop - pots, bottles, jars, vases, platesQ Rare ShopLess common specialty shop used by better off professional and merchant classes1 Herbalist Shop - selling herbal medicine, charms and drugs2 Scribe Shop - selling written works and reading and writing services3 Pawn Shop - selling second hand goods and high interest loans4 Armourer Store - armour and weapons sold to public5 Map Shop - cartographer and navigator supplies and old maps6 Rug Shop - carpets, runners, wall rugs and more7 Book Shop - mostly second hand books8 Idol Shop - idols from many cults and religions9 Jeweler Shop - jewels cut and set, secong hand treasures10 Wilderness Shop - selling ropes, folding boats, pulleys, mining tools, trapsR Exotic ShopShops in this class are rare and too expensive for the common folk. Most have a guard to keep out rifraff and might refuse commoner or merchants only dealing with the rich1 Magic Store - shop selling magic items and services2 Humanoid Store - selling goods from the old country for non humans3 Demi Human Store -  selling goods from the old country for non humans4 Alchemist Shop - selling and identifying potions5 Engineer Shop - machinist tools and machines mostly for building and industry6 Gunsmith Shop - blackpowder, guns and cannons7 Antiquities Shop - old decor items and art objects of high quality8 Divination Shop - specialist in telling the future my magic or charletan9 Golem Shop - builds magical mechanisms to be servants, pets or guards10 Black Magic Shop - sell curses, evil books, poison and drugsS ScholarlyEducational facilities for learned classes or for specialist teachers of certain skills. Fighting schools a common part of education.1 Scriptorium - large scribe centre making books and scrolls with dozens of scribes2 Library - place where you can pay to look at books often scholarly or magical3 Museum - where exotic goods kept on display for the entertainment of the idle rich4 Bard School - where bards go to learn trade from a master5 Gladiator School - fighting school for martial artists for hire6 Gymnasium - where people go to train and exercise and practice gymnastics7 Fencing School - where gentlemen learn to fight for self defence8 Wizard Tower - where wizards live and teach small groups of students9 Wizard School - where many wizard students taught in formal boarding school setting10 University - where magicians and scholars study advanced degreesT Water WayDocklands and waterways where people cross rivers or land trading ships or have fishing fleets. Navy and pirates and merchants main shipping.1 Shipyard - where ships built2 Merchant Dock - merchant moorings with storage sheds of merchant traders3 Criminal Dock - dock full of villainous scum, pirates and theives4 Cargo Warehouse - warehouse storage for shipping5 Fisherman's Wharf - where sall fishing boats dock and sell fish6 Poor Bridge - where commoners permitted to cross7 Middle Bridge - where well to do and merchant class cross8 Nobles Bridge - where only the rich and servants may cross9 Ferry Jetty - where folk await boat or raft to cross water10 Canal Way - water channel to transport goods with a built waterwayU Underground EntryVarious underground city passages and complexes1 Catacombs - tunnel complexes where dead buried and people hide2 Dungeon - complex for state torture but overrun with monsters3 Drain Passage - manhole entrance to drain system4 Cistern - entry for underground water storage complex5 Well - opening to underground water spring or cistern for common use6 Latrine - public toilet block7 Tunnel - entry to tunnels used for transport goods unseen8 Hidden Canal - covered canal entry where goods moved on water in tunnels9 Garbage Pit - hole where garbage is dumped and possibly gets moved10 Sewer - enterance to sewer system under cityV ViceSeedy business mostly run by specialized criminals guilds and tolerated by state that probably gets a cut.1 Pleasure Dome - perfumed pleasure house of sorcery cult2 Lotus Den - drug house where customers lay in drugged stupors3 Whorehouse - prostitute houses with wide range of services and specialties4 Brothel - large complex with dozens of prostitutes run as business by house5 Gambling Den - seedy house opened to public for games of chance6 Pornographic Press - erotic prints made here by earnest fanatic artisans7 Private Club - private gentlemans club with fancy drinks, foods and rituals8 Casino - fancy upmarket gambling palace for the rich9 Burlesque Club - dive for seedy exotic performance, food and drink10 Strip Club - where cheap live sex shows and services available with grogW Work ShopVarious places of mass labour often dangerous and polluting workplaces.1 Warehouse - storage of bulk goods mostly for merchants to store and sell from 2 Brickyard - where clay bricks made, fired, recycled and sold3 Dyers - pits of chemical dye with stained workers4 Abattoir - animals slaughtered on industrial scale5 Brewery - beer brewed from grain in giant kettles and barells6 Metal Yard - large scale smelting and refining of metal and large blacksmith projects7 Lumberyard - trees cut into planks and carpenters make large thingsen mass8 Textile Mill - fabric factory with weavers looms, spining wheels, fabric and tapestries9 Artisan Studio - upmarket art studio where artist and students make fabulous work for rich10 Sweatshop - large factory overcrowded with workers many who ive at workX Funerary PlaceWhere dead are buried, prepared and celebrated by population. Most are sanctified and fenced to keep out necromancers, grave robbers and undead. ones where the sanctity expire become haunted and places of evil. Necromancers are unpopular but many wish to speak with the dead so they are quire common in cities just for this1 Graveyard - fenced blessed field with headstones and possible buildings for dead2 Mousoleum - huge building for storing rich dead in stone crypts,  a great monument3 Tomb - stone building for individual or family with some monument on surface4 Mortuary - building where dead stored, mummified or made ready for funerals5 Crematorium - where bodies burned by specialist priests for some religions6 Necropolis - city of the dead, large scale area with many tombs and monuments7 Corpse Pit - pit where commoner corpses and plague victims thrown in with lime8 Charnel House - where bodies flensed so skeleton remains can be kept9 Necromantic Lair - necromancer tomb or tower where they teach and serve comunity10 Funeral Parlour - where funeral ceremonies held before burial or burningY Charity HouseVarious religions practice charity a good source of new recruits and competing who can help the most. Some professional bodies like sailors guilds run old seamens homes. Orphanages are good profitable business. Some charities make good money.1 Orphanage - house for orphans often provide training and real sweatshop experience2 Seamen's Home - where old and crippled and mad sailors live after tithing to order for life3 Poorhouse - place where poor housed, fed and clothed by church workers4 Missionary House - mission with specific group it aids raises funds and work on project5 Soup Kitchen - free soup and other donations for poor administered here by church6 Homeless Shelter - large complex of temporary clean church run dorms7 Workhouse - live in factory building run fairly well and not over crowded possibly a co-op8 Pilgrim Hostel - where traveling pilgrims can stay and prey and receive charity9 Old Widows Home - old women live here in a sweatshop knittong and sewing10 Almhouse - collects money for poor, hospitals, orphanages, convicts with charity drivesZ Criminal GuildsCriminal organisations have a long history and many have a legal front and pay tax or bribe the secret police to exist. Highly specialized city crime syndicates operate all over the city in various niches and classes. Non regulated criminals are hated by everyone.1 Thieves Guild - a criminal gang based here with many living in run as secret society2 Assassin Guild - clubhouse for prpfesional killers often run like a cult3 Beggars Guild - beggars allocate turf and pool resources for food and housing4 Pirate Guild - seafaring plunderers discuss internal matters then get horribly drunk5 Smuggler Guild - guild for smugglers who pass as shifty traders selling dodgy goods6 Lotus Cult - drug dealer guild warehouse where drugs stored and refined before sale7 Orc Gang - gang of orc thugs mostly work as criminal muscle or killing8 Protection Cartel - guild of criminals specializing in extortion and muscle9 Spy Ring House - group of spies possibly for hire as a guild or foreign agents10 Gang Turf - Common youth gang might hold sway over many houses or alleyways […]

  • The Neo-Westerns of Taylor Sheridan
    by Trey on December 4, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Though occasionally I've seen the term "neo-Western" to mean "a Western made in the last couple of decades," I think the term is most usefully applied to films that deal with thematic material and often locales that are part of the Western genre tradition, but place them in a more modern era and reflect modern concerns.Actor/writer/director has been three unrelated (other than perhaps thematically) films that are recent exemplars of this genre, though all there also partake of other genres. Each film recalls classic Western plots but manages to do so in a way that doesn't seem rote.Sicario (2015), directed by Denis Villeneuve, seems at first glance fairly fare from Western conventions. It's a crime story about about government agents going up against Mexican drug cartels. It plays out as a noir with deception and moral compromise the order of the day. Despite it's modern setting, Sicario plays out as sort of an inversion of many late-era American Westerns set in Mexico. The Emily Blunt's FBI agent is not a anglo-savior for the Mexican people. Instead, she's merely a pawn in a game who's rules are concealed from here and are much crueler than she naively imagines. Benico del Toro is the avenger so grim his justice it is without catharsis. It's just another move in the game of horrors. Josh Brolin's affably amoral CIA agent resembles in some ways the gringo schemers of the Zapata Westerns, but Sicario is bereft of any sort of cynical humor regarding the actions of imperialist powers.Oscar-nominated Hell or High Water (2016) is more recognizable as a Western, being a tale of Texas bankrobbing brothers pursued by an aging ranger (Jeff Bridges). This might be a story decent men driven to law-breaking by predatory money men, or the story of the Law personified by the dogged lawman trying to stop two wrong-doers. In fact, like more nuanced Westerns, it is both. When their chase ends after many a scene of dying, economically crippled small towns and dust two-lane highways, neither side will get exactly the ending it hoped for.This year's Wind River, Sheridan's directorial debut, again finds a female FBI agent (Elizabeth Olson) out of her depth. This time, a young Native woman has been a murder in the snowy wilderness of a Wyoming Indian Reservation. Olson's agent has help, at least, particularly Jeremy Renner's hunter for Fish & Wildlife, who lends his tracking and shooting skills. Amid freezing vistas and the business of police procedural, grief is as ever-present as the snow. Grief for the decimation of Native cultures and Native families. Grief at the loss of daughters. Wind River could have easily been a story of revenge as many of its Western progenitors were, but again those particulars are handled in a matter of fact manner. Moving on, but never forgetting, is the order of the day.I'd recommend all of these films, but Hell or High Water feels like the strongest, or perhaps the most unified in terms of theme and action. […]

  • Dictionary of Azurth Updated
    by Trey on December 3, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    It's been a while since my last update of the Dictionary of Azurth, your abbreviated (but free) guide to assort people, places, and things in the Land of Azurth. This update includes the skinny of Elementalist wizards, the Land of Under-Sea, and the very seasonal Father Yule.Get it here. […]

  • Faerie War Zone Part 3 Rumours and Loot
    by Konsumterra on December 3, 2017 at 9:35 am

    I will be doing more faerie stuff and giant cosmic tree plane travel stuff in future. Im imagining the trolls and giants and even dragons they bring back are ones of old blood. Hill giants and ogres might be more like huge ape humanoid men. White apes and cave men in BX might fit into this and other pleistocene mammals creatures, Elves could also be bringing back dragons to to really break humans, but some faerie and dragons share blood and faerie and giants and dwarves and trolls all share blood. I'm thinking the dragons used by elves more serpentine with small clawed limbs on long snake like bodies with crocodilian heads and bat wings. Anyway some elves and dragons might be kin or other powers or mutations like undead elves or reptilian elves based on my mutation lists...A separate dark faerie table set could be done because these faeries are the relatively good elves. Ive long allowed my BX elves to use different spell lists from which class they want be most like - cleric druid or wizard or even my mentalist/psionics list. Ive long considered doing a mash up list to represent good and evil elfkind. Possibly a list for C CE CG Alignment based elves or some other criteria. Been coming a while. Anyway faerie stuff is fun. Will do more.d100 Rumours during the Faerie Wars01 This has happened before and all traces of mans civilization was reduced to rubble02 The faerie world will overlap ours and smother our reality with theirs forever03 People taken long ago by the faerie have been returning, often aged and befuddles04 Any one sympathetic to the fey is one of them or addicted to faerie food or charmed05 They see us destroying the world and only wish to save us from our own folly06 When they take over we will all live eternal lives of pleasure and purpose07 The more we attack and destroy them the more we undo creation itself08 All kinds of natural objects may be slumbering faerie beings who are now awakening09 Even the trees watch us and inform on our every action to them10 Animal kind all rejoice in the new order when they are no longer our slaves11 The old religion was more sympathetic to them and druid cults have returned to benefit12 The priests have tried and failed to use the power of the gods to stop them13 We broke the ancient forgotten pacts that kept our worlds apart and now we will pay14 Strangers have been flooding the market with ancient gold coins I can't wait to get some15 I bought the most amazing new fruit in the market the other day I cant wait to get more16 I saw some goblins by the roadside selling magic stuff, for prices commoners can afford!17 I saw glowing lights in the woods last night something is out there i tell you!18 Some children found faerie flower circles the other day now they are all being kept inside19 A newborn baby the other day, he looked like a wizened old man, it was one of them!20 Elves caused my hairloss I tell you with their magic darts!21 Faeries stole my prize cow the other day, taking some milk was one thing...22 Villagers up north burned a collaborator people said was talking to the trees23 A farm was found where the people were dead and the animals were undead monsters24 The roads have become overgrown with grass and some trails have disapeared25 Ancient faerie roads have been returning connecting their special places26 A beekeeper was found dead killed by his own bees, his family fled their farm27 A hunter was found mauled and eaten by animals, nothing like anyone has ever seen28 Clothes was found on the farm, the only trace of humans left remaining29 Some children went missing but only mushroom fairy rings were found30 Giant mushrooms and toadstools have been found all over the land for some reason31 A trapper found a whole faerie village of tiny mushroom houses but now he is mad32 The madhouses in the city are full, an epidemic of crazed people has flooded the land33 A strange elfpox on people is a plague sent by them to weaken us for invasion34 The crops this year are the biggest ever, farms are out of control with abundance35 Some of the leaders of the army have been struck with madness 36 Some people living close to the invasion have been exhibiting strange mutations37 I had a strange dream the other night that I met my faerie lover in the forest in secret38 I heard strange sining and dancing from the woods the other day but kept on going39 Some youths went to investigate the strange forest music, they never came back40 Most of the mines in the countryside have been abandoned, flooded by kobold knockers41 Iron production has almost ceased with mine closures, why would this happen?42 A strange white stone tower has appeared by the road, it just appeared over night!43 The woods seem to have grown thicker of late, more unfamiliar and strange44 A trader came to town and left yesterday, then his rotten corpse was found in the well45 You cant trust anyone anymore, changelings are everywhere replacing us all 46 Young people have been disappearing, some villages have only the old and lame left47 A woman was sure her baby was a changeling and she threw it in the fire poor fool48 I swear I heard the barnyard animals talking and plotting against us49 I woke up and all my food and booze was stolen, I don't know what happened50 So this nasty gnome threatened us and we laughed then he grew into a giant and we ran51 I heard this screaming last night and in the morning the watch were found all dead52 I saw the ferryman just walk into the river smiling and he never was seen again53 Several bodies have been found drowned with blissful smiles on their faces54 Found my boy in the forest looking for some girl, now he wont eat and only thinks of her55 Heard strange singing by the river, it seemed to be coming from under the water56 He swears he found a door in the hill and it was full of faeries but the door is gone now57 I met this lady in a alleyway and when I awoke she was a toothless old crone laughing58 This woman came to the orphanage and took away all the children to who knows where59 Brutish centaurs and beastmen have been carrying of village women god help them60 A stranger was beheaded and tiny elves came out of him and ran into the forest61 Elves have a much bigger plan with many worlds and humans are just a part of it62 Strange whispering voices at night have been keeping people awake63 People who lived in the long abandoned ruins millenia ago have been returning64 All kinds of fantastic creatures have been spotted, unseen in generations65 Strange weather like fog and storms has been keeping armies and travellers limited 66 A village reported raining delicious food, people have come from miles around to feast67 A merchant opened his strongbox and cried out to find it filled with coal68 A man trapped elves in his barn and burned it but they all turned to birds and flew away 69 A great noble found his lover was a elf in disguise so they had to burn her70 Nobles known as unicorn hunters have been found murdered by elf assasins71 A man painting elven ruins disappeared leaving only a painting of himself in the ruins72 Children have been finding treats from the elves, like candy and gold coins and cakes73 Faerie pranks have been an epidemic across the kingdom keeping everyone in fear74 Strange lights have been seen from forest ruins and the old monoliths on the plains75 Faerie are bad now other old powers like elementals, dragons and giants will be back76 Faerie have paid off hell and calling on favours from kinship to the gods to rule overn us77 We started this, men killed elves and defiled them, noble immortal blood was roused78 They had warned us for decades and we hadnt noticed the warnings now it is too late79 We have to hold true to the good gods in these troubled times and resist vile evil80 Soon you will see things will go to far and the gods will act you will all know it81 Elves can transform us into other faerie people and be enslaved by the elfking forever 82 The elf queen is a dirty whore and a prostitute who has sex acts with gods and animals83 Some worship the elf goddess as the love and fertility cult of old druid days84 Humans who have learned the faerie spall lists are heretics and witches and warlocks85 Many sorcerers power come from faerie bloodlines or to land and nature spirit folk86 Some say the elf king is the lord of the green in the old nature cults87 Many people have gone feral and naked and hairy wearing fines and leaves as wild men88 Faerie have come and gone since the dawn age as they please taking what they want 89 Sometimes when elves invade they return things and creatures long lost in lands of man90 The bright elf king and queen are the same as the dark elf king and queen  91 Elves breed rarely, their babies are sickly and weak compared to humans92 Village priest died and within weeks the townsfolk had returned to nature and elf worship93 Elven bards in disguise are spreading rumours and gossip, the elves control everything94 Problems with plague and famine were caused by the elves all along to keep us weak95 Humans need to stand strong and resist all the filthy elves, orcs, goblins, halflings etc96 The lords of the land have appealed to hell to aid mankind, devil worship will rule us now97 Dragons will come next to cleans the land with fire for our sins and wicked living98 invisible faerie spirits are swarming everywhere you just need special vision to see them99 All kinds of faerie folk are returning from the woods, the waters, the stars and planets100 The gods and the titans, spirit lords, dragons, jotun and the old ones are all returningPrices in war time are cheap  when flooded but possibly 4-10x times more in time of rarity. Some of these goods are designed to cause human kind ruin.d100 Strange loot flooding the market during Faerie wars01 Arrow that always points north, +1 if used, reusable 200gp02 Elf arrow if stuck in ground or corpse grows into a oak tree that grows a yard a year 100gp03 Stone arrow made by wildmen can hurt any fairy creature from magic flint 100gp04 Returning arrow will return to quiver if not broken 1in6 per use 400gp05 Elf Pox arrow save or inflicted with disease one use only 200gp06 Chaos arrow save or confused one use only 200gp07 Sleep arrow save or sleep one use only 400gp08 Charm arrow save or charmed one use only 400gp09 Light arrow one use light spell when elf word written on it spoken 200gp10 Living bow grows an arrow a day up to 12 grow from the bow at most but can be picked 1000gp11 Tin of faerie candy  highly addictive faerie food 30gp12 Tray of goblin fruit highly addictive faerie food 1gp13 Healing herb parcel good for treating a d4 open wound often found in a d4 batches 10gp each14 Elf bread very filling and lasts a long time, weight negligible found in d12 daily batches 1gp each15 Chaos Mushroom will inflict a random lesser chaos mutation only once 50gp16 Deathcap Mushroom will inflict a random lesser necro mutation only once 50gp17 Faerie Mushroom will take viewer to a dream in faerie land for homesick fey folk 30gp18 Faerie Cordial comes in tiny crystal bottle with d10 sips heal 1 HP each 10gp19 Faerie cake if eaten by mortals turn temporarily into faerie being, eat 2 is permanent 100gp20 Magic pie with various random magic effect left out as delicious tempting trap 400gp21 Flower faerie in bottle looking sad will dance if shaken, must be fed faerie food or die 200gp22 Gremlin in a box will perform a act of sabotage if released 100gp23 Kobold in a carpet bag trained servant and fairly good with disarming traps or locks 50gp24 Faerie pony is a small lithe but strong horse that ignores terrain and is very smart 1000gp25 Goblin seeds if planted will grow into goblin servant in  a day d12 batches per tin 25gp each26 Horn of the hunt will call a wildman who will act as a guide or scout once a week 500gp27 Messenger faerie in a bottle, whisper it message and recipient and release 400gp28 Faerie dog puppy will grow into a elf hound 200gp29 Faerie kitten will grow into large clever handsome cat that understands speech 100gp30 Blink dog puppy hard to contain when chewing or pooping growing up 500gp31 Faerie Gold looks like polished gold coins after 24 hours vanishes or turns into stones  32 Faerie gems look valuable but turn into lumps of coal and setting turns into twigs33 Faerie ring if worn lets see auroras and possibly find faerie roads, gates and doors 500gp34 Faerie lamp is a tiny glowing luminous sad faerie in bottle just shake to light 1" radius 400gp35 Faerie arm ring allows you to see invisible faerie creatures like brownies and sprites 500gp36 Elf Boots let you walk silently in wilderness or outdoors 400gp37 Elf Cloak lets you keep camouflaged in foliage or the forest or in vegetation 400gp38 Faerie Poem on illuminated scroll of very high quality 500gp39 Faerie Painting contains a dreamland inside you can enter in dreams 1000gp40 Spirit Bottle contains a poltergeist that will haunt where released 100gp41 Puffball if thrown produces a 5 foot radius choking cloud that lasts d4 rounds 25gp42 Explodestool if carefully placed will explode if anyone within 5 foot for or d6 once planted 25gp43 Screaming mushroom baby, set as an alarm will scream if disturbed, often in chests 25gp44 Love Mushroom if planted will grow a naked elf of appropriate gender to be your lover 1000gp45 Feast Mushroom if planted grows into a picnic in one hour that feeds 12 well 50gp46 Corpse Mushroom if planted with body will arise a zombie, obey planter or goes wild unguided 100gp47 Horse Mushroom overnight grows into a faerie horse that lasts for 24 hours 400gp48 magic Acorn will grow to 30 yard tall oak tree overnight possibly damaging structures 400gp49 Pod Plant Seed if planted near sleeping person grows a hostile doppelganger 1000gp50 Bat Mushroom if spore packet sprinkled grows into mushrooms that turn into d12 bats 25gp a dose51 Faerie Dagger +1 dagger that glows with 1" radius 400gp52 Faerie Sword +1 can harm any faerie being glows with 1" radius 1000gp53 Faerie Shield +2 has no weight and can block a magic missile once per day 1000gp54 Faerie Lance can grow from a dart to a javelin to a spear to a lance or a pike 1000gp55 Faerie Chainmail weighs as mush as leather and as quiet, worn by thieves 1000gp56 Faerie Platemail weighs as much as chain and as quiet, can be worn by clerics 3000gp57 Faerie Axe +2 anyone executed in ritual is reincarnated 4000gp58 Faerie Mace +1 head lights like a jewel 1" glow and +d3 damage to undead 4000gp59 Elfbane Sword +1 +4 vs any faerie or being from faerieland 4000gp60 Darkelf Dagger +1 and fist foe stabbed each day save vs poison or sleep 2000gp61 Elf Key allow you to enter elf doors and enter into faerie hills and gateways 1000gp 62 Elf Circlet lets you understand and read elvish 1000gp63 Elf Charm allows a spell caster to memorise one extra first level spell if on leyline or elf road or standing stones 1000gp64 Elf Beer Cup is a silver stien with a lid, once a day fills with fine bitter beer 400gp65 Acorn Cup fills with water three times a day on request 400gp66 Elf Perfume in a crystal bottle d10 doses +1 to reactions for a hour 400gp bottle67 Elf Gem bonds to forehead and adds +1 INT 1000gp (only one) removed on death68 Elf Crystal bonds to forehead adds +1 WIS 1000gp (only one) removed on death69 Elf Star Stone bonds to forehead adds +1 CHA 1000gp (only one) removed on death70 Elf Gloves +1 DEX 1000g71 Elf baby sickly and weak but if makes a saving throw will live and grow 100gp72 Goblin baby is intelligent but looks a bit like old person and will grow into a goblin in 3 months 30gp73 Log Baby has an illusion of being a baby but isn't but popular as toy or for mad women or monster bait 30gp74 Changeling baby like 71 but can change into a animal or tree or rock daily 400gp75 Orc Baby grows darker, bigger, stronger and faster, adult in a year, teeth give away 50gp 76 Goatman baby horns just coming through, grows hairier and adult in year 100gp77 Wildman baby rapidly turns hairy prefers being clothed in leaves 100gp78 Charmed baby will grow into a d4 1=wizard 2=sorcerer 3=witch 4=warlock 100gp 79 Blessed baby will grow into a holy person like a priest or shaman 100gp80 Doppelganger baby will grow normally but eats other children and malicious 1000gp81 Owlbear Egg 100gp make adorable baby owlbear takes four years to mature82 Rust Monster Egg 100gp takes three years to mature83 Carrion Crawler Egg 100gp needs to be implanted in meat to hatch84 Baby Giant 1000gp huge and grows into human adult size in a few years 85 Terrorbird Eggs 75gp each take 3 years to mature adorable fluffy flesh eating babies86 Giant Eagle Eggs 100gp each takes 2 years to fully mature87 Sea Serpent Eggs 100gp grow a yard per year till mature if released in river88 Giant Spider Egg Sac 100gp grows a d10 huge spiders but they will try and eat another89 Hook Horror Eggs 100gp take 4 years to mature horrible nasty monster babies90 Treant Seed ready to sprout takes hundreds of years to grow to adult 1000gp91 Spyglass of Unseeing a large lense with a handle can see hidden faerie things 100092 Book of ancient faerie lore naming their royalty, tribes and bloodlines 100093 Book of magical beasts details habits of intelligent and giant animals 94 Erotic coloured print of the faerie queen and or the king 10gp or the whole court 100gp95 A great epic poem about the faerie queen the goddess of the land and her court 100gp96 Playing cards with depictions of the elvish leaders and depicting their caste system 10gp97 Scroll of protection from faerie 1" radius lasts one hour on person or place 1500 gp98 Scroll of monster summoning spell but versions that faerie monsters 100gp per level99 Scroll of speak to faerie spirits - reader questions invisible faerie spirits a turn 100gp 100 Sword of the elfking +2 +4 vs human Intelligent Chaotic, sense Human within 3" and wielder gains fast draw skill. Communicates desire of faerie king to wielder by telepathy through dreams 5000 g […]

  • The Elder Elemental God and the Hill Giants
    by Joseph Bloch on December 3, 2017 at 12:33 am

    One of the little things tucked away in the original Against the Giants modules (G1, G2, and G3) is the connection to the Elder Elemental God that runs throughout the first and last in the series. I'd like to tease out some of those connections and see where they lead, especially in the context of the other EEG references we see in Greyhawk.Let's begin at the beginning, with G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief.  Specifically, the dungeon level, which we are told is "certainly superior to orcish work" and "old." There are areas (18, 22, 26, and 27) that are in the process of being cleared of rubble, with tools and the like in the latter two areas. Obviously the hill giants stumbled upon this dungeon complex and either built the Steading atop it intentionally, or discovered it after the Steading itself was complete. The latter does seem somewhat of a stretch, unless they were unconsciously guided by some force to do so.The dungeon level is pretty extensive, and we're not told how much of it has been cleared, or how much was already clear when the giants took over. But the fact that there are still areas being cleared of tons of rubble, and that the whole is old, leads to the conclusion that the whole was a self-contained dungeon complex before the giants moved in upstairs. The fact that the ceilings are 20'-30' high, however, indicates that it was originally built for giant-sized creatures.There are two very interesting items about the southeastern portion of the dungeon (the portion that is blocked off by rebel orc slaves, who've erected a wall of boulders to seal themselves off from their former masters). The first is the most obvious - there's an abandoned temple of the Elder Elemental God in area 17A. Although it's not specifically labeled as such (it's called the WEIRD ABANDONED TEMPLE), there's little question of it, although it seems to be long abandoned and only operating at partial power (compared to others we see). It has the same sort of insanity-inducing effects, and it is possible to invoke an image of "a writing amorphous form of sickly mauves and violets" with "formless members". Immediately adjacent to this temple is a VESTRY (?) (area 18). It's got "disgusting murals and bas-relief depictions of nasty things."That would square with the description we get of an EEG temple in G3 Hall of the Fire Giant King. But this also brings us to the second interesting thing about this part of the dungeon level. The vestry has "a flight of ridged, step-like stones slants steeply downwards toward the south, but this way is completely blocked by tons of stone blocks and rubble."And that flight of stones leading down? It undoubtedly leads to the lower dungeon level.Those of you familiar with the adventure module will at this point be swiftly reaching to your bookcases, in order to flip through the module and its maps. You will doubtless then come back to the computer and shout, what second dungeon level? There's nothing like that in the module!Oh yes there is, dear summer child.First, of course, there's area 18 that leads down to it. But there are is also a mention of it in area 21: "their main hunting ground is the series of caves beneath their own, the entrance to which is through the sink hole at the east edge of their lair. (The lizards feed upon the fungus and the fungus eaters.)". And yet again in area 23: "All carrion crawlers in the whole complex of caves and caverns come to this area from time to time to breed. ... these monsters will appear ... from the north or south along the stream or by one of the sink holes." There's also a sink hole in area 19, and while there's no mention of it in the text, it undoubtedly leads to the same level of caves and caverns.So we have:The dungeon level was here before the giants, and contains a temple to the Elder Elemental GodThe giants have at least partially cleared the level, including the templeThere is a second dungeon level consisting of caves and caverns with undetailed fungus and fungus-eatersThe giants allowed the temple and all entrances to be walled off, and haven't bothered to unblock itSo the giants took the time to clear the temple, but left the staircase leading down choked with rubble. In addition, they haven't seemed to care that the orcs have cut off access to the temple, so it's not a place that is either in active use for worship by them, nor is it particularly of importance to them. Heck, it's entirely possible they're happy that the orcs sealed the place off. It's also possible that they intentionally threw that rubble in their to deliberately seal off the caves and caverns. While this is a fun theory, I tend to think it's not feasible, since the drow would undoubtedly have noticed that their access was cut off. What all this adds up to, in my opinion is that the giants either stumbled on (or were subconsciously guided to) the temple of the Elder Elemental God, and doing so somehow alerted the Eilservs (who were already worshiping the EEG). That was the impetus for the drow to incite the giants to their attacks, as mutual worshipers of the EEG. The fact that there's a sealed scroll from Eclavdra in the Steading, identified with the symbol of the Elder Elemental Eye, also speaks to that interpretation. It's also not impossible that the second dungeon level leads to the underworld passages of the drow, too. But when the drow reached out to the much more powerful fire giants, the hill giants felt slighted. Still under the thumb of their more powerful frost and fire giant allies, not to mention the drow, they might well have been happy to abandon the temple and see it sealed off, halting further efforts to unblock the access to the second dungeon level, with its potential connection to the underworld.This adds another level to the intrigue going on; the hill giants (or at least Nosnra) are growing restless, feeling slighted at being displaced by Snurre and the fire giants. That's why they don't particularly care that the rebel orcs have cut off the temple of the Elder Elemental God, which would otherwise be a powerful connection to House Eilserv. It's noteworthy that although there are stone giants and a cloud giant in Nosnra's hall, there's no particular mention of them being there to be convinced to join the attacks, as we see in the frost and fire giant adventures. It almost like the hill giants were told to entertain these guests, but not trusted with trying to bring them into the cause. That's left to the fire and frost giants.I think expanding the module to detail the second dungeon level, with its caves and caverns, and fungus and fungus eaters, would be worthwhile. Where does that passage in the vestry lead? What's under those sink holes? Is there a connection to the drow underworld, with drow troops and advisers there, waiting for the giants to clear the passage from the vestry, unaware that such efforts have been abandoned?&nbs […]

  • Dark Albion Cults of Chaos: RPG Review
    by Jeff Duncan on December 1, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Cults of ChaosDark Albion Cults of ChaosWritten By: RPG Pundit (blogger site) & Dominique CrouzetPublished By: Dom Publishing (site)Review By: J.L. DuncanWelcome to a brief review of the Dark Albion Cults of Chaos PDF. Unlike most products I review, Cults of Chaos is a system neutral Game Master’s toolkit. This product is a companion module for the Dark Albion campaign setting, but is serviceable as a standalone product for just about any fantasy setting. The Dark Albion campaign setting is also authored by RPG Pundit & Dominique Crouzet. You can pick your poison be it the The Cults of Chaos PDF or purchase a black & white dead tree version. Both can be purchased at RPGNOW.com and DriveThruRPG.com.Disclosure: This review includes affiliate links. I receive a token % if you purchase something on the landing page. Thank you for your support.In truth, the main reason I’m reviewing Cults of Chaos, as this column usually focuses on complete game systems and/or settings, is two fold. One, to find out if the product is as advertised. Or, functional with most systems assuming the framework of a fantasy setting; the ladder of which, is actually an assumption based on authorship. And I might add, this is totally a selfish reason because the game I'm running is D&D Basic. And two, I've been wanting to review products outside the scope of what I usually review!In my mind, the most important thing relevant in a product like this is if its form follows function. This is especially prudent for this reviewer, since I have not read Dark Albion. I can think of a couple of supplements which have made such a promise and utterly failed to deliver… Ultimately no longer on my shelf but… Ah, I digress…At its core, Cults of Chaos provides richly detailed framework for creating and applying a variety of cult types or organizations, as an antagonist plot piece to your campaign. The purpose of which, you will use this very supplement to determine. I would say, just about any type of cult you could imagine, but actually this supplement has it covered well beyond what most, or at least those (including myself) not educated in cult history, would think to imagine. It’s a flexible product. There are plenty of Easter Eggs (I’m not sure what else to call them) which reference the Dark Albion itself, but these are rarely a distraction. The bulk of this product is system neutral, or if not, totally explained in reference within this module. That said, what will be most likely is that if this product appeals, you’ll likely go out and buy Dark Albion, which after reading Cults of Chaos is any good author’s intent. This is a product that not only shows me how to use it, but does it well enough that I needn’t look elsewhere for the details that come with creating an antagonist cult and unleashing it upon my hapless victi-I mean players. Needless to say, I’m impressed.The most serviceable sections include a Cult Generation System from which in utilizing a series of tables you can create your antagonist cult from scratch or use dice to determine its scope and the Running Chaos Cult Adventures section. Both sections are very good reference material to help you hit the ground running. The detail involved with the Cult Generation System allows the GM to custom fit to just about any fantasy system. OSR friendly-yes, but actually, with a few easy tweaks I would argue ANY fantasy system. Cults of Chaos provides the GM many useful tips in running an inquisitor style campaign and then closes the deal with the Running Chaos Cult Adventures section, which provides even better advice on running investigative style adventures.As you can easily guess and especially based on the infomercial style of approval this is a product I thoroughly enjoyed. I sought very hard to find something about it I didn’t like, but not for lack of trying, I failed.I would recommend it for mature reading and viewership based on the detail of the content in relation to the subject matter, and based upon the graphic nature of a good deal of the public domain art. Still that is not to say it’s not maturely written or presented and as a product it doesn’t aim for the cheap seats. Each illustration is relevant to the content and is well placed. If you think about it-it would be exceedingly impossible to write such a module and not cover the bare bones in relation to the practices and behaviors, many of which are well documented throughout human history and what many of the more infamous cults are best known for. In fact I might point out in relation, that there are a lot worse elements which could have been more explicitly detailed and weren’t.To bring it to a close, Cults of Chaos delivers a richly detailed framework for running an inquisitor style campaign leaving few stones unturned. The format is cleanly executed and writing is concise. As a product it’s not only a Game Master’s toolkit, but probably the best system neutral plot-kit device I’ve read. I’d give Cults of Chaos eleven and a half Aleister Crowley’s out of ten, but then again I don’t do ratings and such evil must be stopped! Hopefully, my players will be up for the task.Edit: Since this review published with KoDT I've had the opportunity to use this product. I usually knew what I wanted to do, but I found the chapter: Running Chaos Cult Adventures & the inquisitor style adventure section, very helpful. I'd be remiss not to mention it.Note: This RPG review is property of Kenzer and Company and republished here with permission. Cults of Chaos was provided free of cost for the purpose of this review. […]

  • Faerie War Zone Part 2 Across the countryside
    by Konsumterra on December 1, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    It is worth pointing out lots of elf stories feature reptilian or draconic features at times. The batwing snaked tailed person is such a faerie (but also depiction of snake in eden). Something to consider the cosmological significance of. In one tale a man marries one and is give a condition he breaks and she flies away, The three sons are brutish sadists and one has a huge overhanging fang. The point is faeries may seem similar but are alien. Faerie will pay a tithe to hell every 7 years to keep devils away often paid with human babies. Faerie use humans to strengthen their bloodlines andWildmen are naked savages often hairy and may wear living vegetation on body or in hair. They worship faeries. Many are berserkers and hostile to humans. They do respect kindness and will repay it with information (treasure, where witches meeting) but most don't speak much. Wildmen are led by druids and some directly follow dryads or other beings.Faerie and goblin food or drink is addictive and makes victim hard to survive on mortal world. Without food they will wither and die. The strongly virtuous are better able to resist the temptation. Faerie gold tends to vanish and is used to trick humans in trade deals or as bait. Children and youths are atracted to faerie promises and gifts more than adults.If I ever write my own monster manual I think all the wee folk faerie types will be compressed into one type with random variants.Part 3 will be rumours and treasuresd10 What do Faeries do with prisoners?1 Let monster troops eat them2 Take best to faerieland as slaves returning them in d10x100 years when old and useless3 Take best to faerieland for breeding for d10x100 years4 Transform them into lycanthropes and release5 Transform into orcs and offer to join forces or release in distant land6 Transform into beastmen and offer to join forces or release in distant land7 Transform into trees8 Transform into halflings and release9 Transform into ordinary animals and release10 Strip arms, armour and food then release with warning to not resist faeries againd10 Faerie Forts 1 Giant tree surrounded by other trees, concealed with hidden entrance2 Small ancient keep that looks like it has existed forever where thee was none before3 Hill rumoured to be burial place of ancient kings, hollow with faerie court inside4 Glass or crystal fort that moves or disappears (black glass for dark elves)5 A great door in a hill or rock enters into a impossibly large otherworld citadel6 Ring of mushrooms or flowers is a gate to faerie castle on other side7 Standing stones if walked about right is a gate to faerie castle on other side8 Blackened stone ruin partially built from charred skulls9 Invisible tower only visible from the inside10 Cloud fortress occasionaly lands or drops a ladderd10 Changeling baby really is...1 Wooden or straw golem with illusion2 A small ugly old goblin in disguise3 A changeling who shifts from baby to adult elf like spirit folk4 Sickly dying faerie baby5 Kobold in disguise highly aroused6 Brownie just wants free meals7 Vicious spriggan or redcap shaved and in disguise8 A Phooka in disguise9 Gnome shaved and in diguise10 Pollymorphed troll with time delay to return to normal formFaerie encounters are less willing to die than others. If foes don't succumb to magic or flee or surrender the faerie will be cautious. If many are wounded or a single one is killed the whole group will try to flee with wounded or dead hurling curses and threats. As immortals they take death seriously.So this table is for countryside encounters. Feel free to roll lower dice like d10 for first part of war and use higher dice like d12 or d20 till d100 when war fully functioningd100 Faerie War Zone Encounters01 Tiny invisible faeries loot pockets and bags for coins and food02 Gangs of halflings mugging travellers around countryside and steal food03 Leprechaun with pot of gold runs buy temping pursuit into dangerous terrain or ambush04 Animals of the wilds pause and watch and follow, possibly pixies or shapeshifters05 Charmed people invite travellers to a healing spring where nixies await to enslave06 Charmed people invite travellers to their camp to a wild party in a dryad grove07 Shower of magic darts or arrows from some wee folk rain down from invisible attackers08 Wildmen band attack travellers with clubs and javelins for loot and slaves09 Wildmen led by druid with wild animals attack but will flee if any killed10 Wild animal attacks will usually flee if any killed, include normally non hostile species11 Beastmen bandits attack all same type12 Wildmen mounted on animals attack but will flee if any killed13 Goblin scouts attack for food will flee if any killed14 Goblin bat riders fly by and fire arrows will flee if any near death15 Goblin wolf riders will attack with missiles and possibly melee if they seem to be winning16 Dwarf mercenaries will demand surrender and will release you if you hand over weapons17 Gnomes and some animal friends will demand humans surrender weapons and food  18 Quickling runs by and reports party to elves or other faerie forces19 Redcaps block road threaten travellers and demand human flesh, turn huge if resisted20 Elf scouts will fire arrows from afar and pursue or flee if resisted21 Serious fauns will threaten party declaring they would rather you surrender22 Satyrs will drunkenly threaten party want to take booze, bards and women23 Centaurs charge and will savagely attack with bow, lance and clubs24 Elven warriors will attempt to soften party with spells then attack25 Hybsil scouts with poison arrows ambush but flee if take losses 26 Wild trolls attracted by war sniffing about for people to eat27 Orc archer scouts looking for loot and slaves or corpses to eat28 Marching orc troops moving to a critical battle29 Wildman berserkers with druid prince in chariot of living wood with leaves growing from it30 Elf archers on elk skirmish with humans but avoid casualties31 Spriggans in small form soften party then become giants if resisted32 Swanmay rangers will pepper with arrows then fly away if any harmed33 Charmed human soldiers working for faerie will try to capture or kill resistors34 Talking animal try to convince humans to surrender to faeries for own good35 Spirit folk magicians try to capture party and flee in non human form36 Spirit folk pretending to be human try to infiltrate human travellers37 Pixies pretend to be lost crying children, hungry and need help, spies38 Trees turn into spirit folk warriors led by dryad 39 Faerie spirit folk lady with elf knights tries to convince party to join them 40 Sirene warband will skirmish from ambush then flee to water if any badly harmed41 Savage korred band will threaten humans to join dance or hurl rocks and use magic42 Nymph and pets appear by water source uses powers to enthral or nudity to kill43 Nereid in serpent form with pets by stream attacks, if harmed offers a reluctant kiss44 Sylph will send a air elemental and support it with spells and flee if she is endangered45 Goblin regulars on march led by elf commander on way to battle46 Giant eagles fly by dropping rocks (or owls if night)47 Dark elf assassins riding giant ravens or bats will investigate travellers48 Giant intelligent talking lion leading army of fauns, beastmen and animals49 Army of children joined faerie cause try to take party prisoner and fight to the death50 Fox woman animal spirit tries to join party to evaluate threat to faerie kind51 Wildmen riding giant boars attack with javelins and clubs but flee if losing52 Wildmen berserkers riding bears will dismount and fight side by side to the death53 Wild naked elves riding giant goats and will fire arrows but avoid direct fight54 Elf archers hunting with elf hounds will try and take prisoners55 Elf archers hunting with werewolves trained to respond to horns56 Werewolves savagely attack, use human form to get close57 Jolly drunk on mead werebears in human form offer to travel with humans to judge them58 Elven knights block road challenge nobles to contest or attack ignoble humans59 Elf she witches riding owls fly overhead with spells then flee60 Elf women riding unicorns request humans surrender to be treated fairly61 Grubby naked swamp elves riding giant frogs attack from body of water62 Kelpie in horse form tries to lure humans into riding it then dives in water63 Kelpie maiden in waters edge offers free love to strangers64 Faerie bard attempts to charm party and convince them to aid faerie forces65 Dancing faeries offer to dance with them and offer magic faerie food and drink66 Spriggans try to sneak past but stolen babies cry out67 Spriggan thieves interrupted dividing treasure and angry at traveller intrusion68 Dancing feasting faeries offer hospitality to polite visitors and give gifts to well mannered69 Goblin market meeting on roadside70 Faerie nobility with elf knight escort out seeing their ancient reclaimed lands71 Sirene invite men to be husbands in their underwater land free of war and death72 Firbold leading swarm of madcap chaos goblins high on magic potions73 Formarians leading human captives in chains74 Elf griffin or pegasus riders fly overhead mostly non hostile reporting to faerie leaders75 Elf mob playing hurley ignore humans unless interfered with76 Banshee maid who blocks the road killing travellers by night, in day corpses found77 Abandoned baby in basket is a changeling who can turn from baby to adult elf78 Tiny birds hopping about camp are really pixies in disguise studying humans79 Drunken leprechaun spinning on head like a top will make shoes if you give him grog80 Drunken leprechauns have robbed a wine cellar or merchant and are hopelessly drink81 Goblins offer delicious faerie fruit for sale at low low prices82 Miners camped by road driven out of their mine by kobold knockers pranks83 Drunken aroused naked kobolds fornicating by roadside follow any who give them booze84 Evil dark dwarves torturing victims by roadside 85 Brownies out to steal horses and weapons lurk by old standing stones by road86 Will-o-wisp menacing travellers in fog shrouded road87 Phooka in form of black goat or pony, if ridden cannot get of and takes on a wild ride 88 Mob of dark elf, faerie and beasts tormenting travellers forcing into depraved acts89 Hag with goblin flunkies demands a handsome male be turned over to her to pass90 Gremlins swarm and overun road, some sneaking into bFaggage for later mischief91 Banshee washing bloody clothes by river, if spoken to she reveals true form and screams92 Hag leading a band of dark elves demands gifts or compliments to pass93 Drider squad prowling road for victims to torture94 Treant uproots self and menaces travellers, ploding and happy to scare people away 95 Hag with sack load of crying babies outraged at any interfearance96 Dark elves herding ambulatory fungi of various kinds down road to kill everyone97 Mermaid spirit folk in human form investigating surface to see if a good flood needed98 Fatchan bandits spring out onto road demand treasure, weapons and armour99 Force of elven halberdiers on the march, move into formation, demand surrender100 Changelings in human form investigating which humans worthy to spare or enslaved100 Wonders of the war01 Goblins spreading spores and spouting huge fungal blooms02 Faerie fortress appears where none existed before 03 Wooden stockade elves operating as a prison camp 04 Strange mist covers land with queer lights seen in distance05 No animal noises or creatures visible for some time06 Ancient trees cover an area previously grassland 07 Road vanishes, covered in grass08 Huge magic mushrooms by roadside09 Crazed squirrels rampage over travellers looting camp and biting as swarm10 Vines overgrow area grasping travellers entangling them11 Sounds of revelry, faerie party celebrating return of the old order12 Huge marching army of thousands of elves marching o ancient faerie road13 Swarm of tiny birds actually brownies fill sky chirping 14 Stone monoliths by roadside ancient yet recently moved there15 Ancient faerie road has become visible, thousands of small pointed footprints 16 Strange animal noises, a animal leader talking to dozens of various animals17 A gigantic tree fort visible in distance like a huge tower where there was non before18 A forest walking in distance will freeze if they know they are watched19 Swarm of thousands of tiny flower faeries on the move will be glowing if night20 Hundreds of strange vegetal man sized plant pods open and growing from ground21 Thousands of beautiful flowers covering ground and surfaces on flowering vines22 Drowned smiling men floating in waterway and laying on shores23 Smiling travellers sitting by roadside in drugged stupor eating faerie food24 Wagons tipped over and empty wine barrels and bottles scattered everywhere25 Shimmering glass tower visible in distance26 Dragon flies in distance burning haystacks27 Swarm of panicked commoners fleeing something in distance28 Stampede of deer or goats charge down road led by beastmen29 Clothes and shoes of hundreds of people discarded by roadside30 Tapping and knocking sounds from underground31 Mysterious hill blocking the road with a single door32 Elves partying with hundreds of local youths getting ready to go to faerieland forever33 Waggons pulled by phooka driven by goblins carry strange delicious looking fruit34 See a huge grasshopper with a human head winks at you then hops out of sight35 A man screaming riding a black billy goat that carries him wildly through thorn bushes 36 Goblins drinking and dancing, singing about the new world order37 Children marching to elfland with begging and pleading parents following them38 A faerie army in distance march into a hillside and the door vanishes39 A great boggy pit of peat where mud covered newly born adult orcs arise40 A strange cloud flying overhead seems to be following party41 Flock of giant eagles flying overhead with elven archers riding them42 Hundreds of halflings enjoying a feast celebrating return of the good old days43 Troll shaped holes in rocks seem newly formed44 Horses stampeding being chased by hungry griffons45 Phooka in form of a black bull chasing screaming farmers around roadway 46 Swarm of attractive giggling flower faerie girls lewdly frolicking before travellers47 Gigantic mushroom forest has sprung up overnight populated with goblins and dark elves48 Huge cave mouth opened with huge faerie fungi caver complex within49 Human refugees fighting over faerie gold while leprechauns laugh at them50 Scrawny refugees by roadside seek faerie food they are hopelessly addicted to51 Chests of faerie gold laying spilled on roadside to delay and weigh down fleeing humans52 Aged old bard in latest fashion laying by roadside in last dying gasps asks for sweetheart53 Kobolds engaged in drunken orgy by roadside with humans mirthfully watching54 Mob of old people in long ago fashion speaking barely recognisable dialect all lost55 Cult of faerie worshippers dancing around a bonfire having a celebratory feast56 Druids performing ceremony to awaken the trees (calling tree spirit folk and dryads)57 Druid led country people pulling a huge monolith on a sled dedicated to faerie58 See in reflective surface of a pool a fabulous faerie kingdom city59 Great megalithic Stonehenge archway where a stream of faerie beings marching from60 Huge wild thorny hedge maze overgrown landscape61 Human army have discarded weapons and armour worshipping a faerie lady 62 Naked hairy man with a collar on covered in scratches laying on roadside63 Sleeping old man with thirty foot long beard under tree, been in faerieland a millennium64 Mushroom houses of faerie folk village by roadside with sprites or gnomes65 Friendly smart animal really a pixie follows party as a spy 66 Peasants dancing around a maypole led by druid priestess according to the old faith67 Priest yelling abuse at peasants revelling in ancient naked pagan rite to faerie folk68 A great burning wickerman with singing druidic cultists, new faith priest inside screaming69 Cultists frolicking naked and talking to great horned faerie serpent in magic fruit tree 70 Dwarves, gnomes and forest animals dancing and feasting together in joy71 Druidic wedding ceremony between a human and a elf or wildman72 Abandoned merchant caravan and clothes with naked wildmen looking about confused73 Scholar translating text on a newly appeared ancient elf monolith74 Farmer arguing with cow that refuses to go to market75 Hunter has been trapped by forest animals who are giving him a murder trial76 Dark elves raising dead farm animals and farmers as zombies for a laugh77 Dark elves pouring potions into river causing poisoning and mutations 78 Korreds having a rock throwing contest invite travellers to join in contest79 Procession of woodland elves and fey folk at waters edge meeting sea fey folk envoys80 A parliament of giant owls talking will go silent when they realize humans near81 Hundreds of arrows in ground sprouting rapidly into oak trees82 Sickly human refugees carrying elfpox heading to city to escape faerie invasion 83 New trees overgrowing road up close see warped features of anguished humans84 Hairy wildmen solemnly carrying a fallen elf in a funeral procession85 A wizard catching flower fairies in a net and bottling them to sell86 Humans sprinkling iron filings on road to annoy faerie invaders87 Humans torturing elf captives with heated pure iron rods for information88 Inquisitor leading a mob to burn pro elf cultists as a message 89 Priest leading line of human soldiers towards the front lines, sombre and fearful 90 Formarians wallowing in bog eating rotting human corpses cheerfully91 Formarians with cages on their backs with captive humans marching to next village92 Flying elven skyships with escorts of griffons and giant geese passing by93 Elves singing and calling down celestial fairies and elves to join their ranks94 Hear distant treant songs awakening long slumbering tree folk for miles95 Goblins throwing human corpses into a bog while dark elf lord raises them as orcs96 Hundreds of dead soldiers with horrified twisted expressions and white hair97 Soldiers throwing off clothes and walking into water to follow sirene lovers98 Elf queen with every being that meets her eyes falling in love and following her99 Elf king in giant form striding over land with faerie minions100 The wild hunt led by horned god leading faerie minions on rampage&nbs […]

  • The Ahistorical Historical Setting
    by Trey on December 1, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Historically accurate Aristotle?A social media thread about bad history in historical costume drama caused me to recall an idea I had years ago upon a re-read of Aaron Allston's wonderful Mythic Greece: Age of Heroes. At the time, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys was still in syndication, and while not particularly good, it did suggest the using of Greek Myth and geographic as a backdrop for a fantasy setting that might not otherwise have a lot of the trappings of Greek myth. For the most part, Hercules stuck to the big names, but there's no reason you couldn't get as detailed as Allston's book, but give it a wholly un-Mythic Greece feel.The changes can be big. Reign: The Conqueror (based on the novel Arekusandā Senki by Hiroshi Aramata) re-imagines the life of Alexander the Great as a sort of science fantasy thing with giant Persian war machines and Pythagorean ninjas. Or, they can be subtle, like Black Sails weaving historical pirates with a sort of prequel to Treasure Island. (The difference I see between this last one and a standard historical setting which would generally tend to insert fictional characters, i.e. the PCs, into history, is the "high concept" of the literary/historical mashup.)A lesson on Greek myth every week?So I say go ahead and run a Kirby-esque space opera based on the book of Exodus. Recontextualize the War of Roses to have it take place in something like Warring States Japan. Or take the history presented in the Book of Mormon and turn it into a hexcrawl as Jeff Reints did.Let history be your guide, not your boss. […]

  • Faerie War Zone Part 1 Forces of Fey
    by Konsumterra on December 1, 2017 at 2:04 am

    So i put up a poll on which war zone next and got 50+ replies with faerie winning by a shrinking margin to necromancers. So my format to the war zones is niceley established with a bunch of d10 and d100 tables. Some of these deserve mutation tables.So FarDragonwar-Dragon Gossip-Dragon LootPeasant Revolt-revolt gossipFuture Warzone Current Order2 Necromancer Invasion - undead and return of the unholy wizards of the eldar age3 Siege War - stuff to happen during sieges and modern army and merc types4 Goblinoid invasion - humanoid hordesBarbarian invasionInsectoid Invasion - from commentsChaos - you know the drillHell - also handy for my hells projectOld Ones - now your world is screwedGiants - for when that wall players built in the mountains comes down...Amphibians -sea monster invasionHoly Crusade - angels sick of your shit come to punish you all with zealous paladins helpingDark Eves/Underland - people you didnt even know under your feetrecommendations welcome... should keep me into next yearXor InvasionCurrent Projects into 2018Currently editing shadel port to be bigger with a hardback book possibly by xmasXor mostly needs lots of spells written up (overly ambitious of me) then can get into editShadelport hopefully will fund me art for XorHells will continue to be worked on for my spiral path project at least a year offPlanet Psychon revisions - would be nice to licence some artMore mutationsLots of elfland and adventures in the world tree stuff - yggdrasil meets magic faraway with dungeonsA revision of my EMO house rules - simplified slightly nasty oldschool clone BX+NWPMostly playing cthulhu and possibly a player in some dnd5 but slowly getting some more friendsIf there is anything I should be doing let me know cause  recommendations often inspire me lots and can make me pump out stuff for daysLong term potboilersIve long dreamed of a babylonian historic BRP or DND game-lease look and learn archives and historic clip artA SF setting and a superhero vs cthulhu espionage setting-id like BRP or someone pay me or a licence free version-chaosium have stopped being embarsing even though i dont love all new decisionsPatreon with a monthly compilation PDF or adventure zineWar Zone Typical Descriptorsd10 What Started war?d10 Objectives of invaders?d10 What ends war?d10 Factions/Goals/EventsForces of the ward100 Encounters - Combat encounters on the road or countryside during the ward100 Wonders - spectacles, events and encounters but not necessarily combatd100 Gossip - to cover wild stories of atrocities, failure and propaganda among the common folkd100 Loot - particular goods flooding the market during the invasionFaerie War Zone Part 1All wars are a mess but faerie wars are the worst. Faeries are not nice, weap, puny or rare. They are spiteful, boil up hordes from nowhere, use magic and leave the land cursed and dangerous. When the faerie war ends the landscape is changed and unrecognisable. The human survivors are changed forever. You can't retaliate against infinity and it can vanish without a trace when it chooses taking all your children.d10 What Started war?1 Humans cut down sacred trees2 A human hero stole a elfmaid3 Humans killed too many unicorns4 Humans settled on land belonging to elves withou knowing5 Humans raided a elf farm killing and looting6 Humans started a forest fire7 Humans refused to return a elf relic8 Humans attacked a elf castle out of ignorance9 Human villagers killed changeling babies left in their care10 Humans attacked a dryad grove and burned it downd10 Objectives of invaders?1 To punish humanity for greed and development2 To make sure humans never cause trouble again3 T0 restore the natural balance4 To heal humans of their many maladies5 To cull human numbers for they are a pestilence on nature6 To restore ancient forests for sylvan beings7 To relieve boredom8 To take slaves away to fairyland forever9 To conquer humanity and control their rampant overbreeding10 To teach humans respectd10 What ends war?1 Faerie just vanish with no explanation 2 Planted enough fast growing forests for now3 Satisfactory amount of death and mayhem4 Bored and end war on a whim5 Left thousands of changeling babies among human kind6 Their honour is satisfied 7 A treaty is sworn by leaders8 A great wasteland is left and faerie lose interest9 Seasonal change and faerie moods change at a whim10 Faeries have change of heart and sick of ward10 Faction events1 Human commoners aid the faerie who treat them better than nobility2 Human slaves escape elfland to aid and advise humans3 Faerie use of werewolves spread out of control lycanthropes4 Faerie factions help humans escape wrath of faerieland5 Dark elves raise huge horde of undead that rampage mindlessly6 Centaurs rampage from the forests and mountains to take advantage of chaos7 Satyrs run amok stealing women and booze from both sides8 Elven tribal differences fracture a major force over rivalries9 A evil faerie lord tries to usurp power sending faerie into chaos10 Local nature spirits revolt against faerie to support human commonersForces of the warNew Human Forces (see Peasant Revolt)Humans forces are similar as to others in this series but humans have come to rely on rangers scout groups made up of hunters, games keepers, trappers and men of the forest. While not as good as elven warriors such scouts could give early warnings and performed well against beastmen and centaurs preying on the rural humans. In many cases rural humans, scouts and yeomen were reluctant to fight faerie the most as their ancestors had worshipped them and even had some common blood. Most urban humans fear the wilds and their disrespectful attitude to nature antagonises faerie. While human forces try to behave as disciplined modern armies these tactics fail against most faerie.Human Rangers - elite scouts with bows and experts at tracking and foraging but can act as regularsFaerieland ForcesElves will have armies that fight humans slightly more traditionally. Many faerie are skirmishers, raiders and don't differentiate human soldiers from civilians. They will accept human surrender or worship or even let humans ignore them. Fighting or resisting faerie doing as they please can make trouble. Faeries will take strongest, prettiest and the young and often leave the old, the sick, the mad and the infertile. Faerie use humans as labour, wet nurses, servants, soldiers and even change humans to suit their whims. Humans are able to be turned into beastmen, plantmen, lycanthropes and other uses. Humans are also good for breeding. Faerie mothers often die of find giving birth distasteful or dangerous.  Faerie may give birth to non faerie children some produce goblins instead which have uses but makes the elf mother ashamed. some birth animals and other creatures. Faerie children are weak and many never mature. Human mothers are more resilient and their children stronger. It takes a few generations to breed out the human but these part elves help to bolster the faerie races.Faerie with log term plans over human lands will plant rapidly growing trees, stelae, crystal fountains, hills and other objects that allow faerie reality to overlap and overtake human reality. Faerie rings and stone circles and strange mists act as gateways for faerie to come and go as they please. Intelligent talking animals increase. Tree and other spirits awaken. Spirit folk come out of hiding in their secret places. Many beings can spy on humans and walk among them. Humans have little hope of gaining any comprehensible intelligence but a few pro human elves, hybrids and former slaves might talk. The highly addictive food of fairy land is a big threat and is used to entrap and enslave human, attuning them to faerie land. Faerie forts might just appear and while small might hold thousands of fey warriors. A seeming easy victory might be a deathtrap. Faerie magic makes them unpredictable. Nothing is certain and everything is turned on it's head.As war progresses more and more evil creatures are used as faerie grow more angry or desperate or committed. They dislike death and will often retreat when injured to fight another day, preferring to use non immortal troops to suicidal actions.Faerie armies are often swarms mixing all their troop types mixed and irregular or chaotically swarming around a core of disciplined regular elves in the middle. Magical leader types often support the elves also. Faerie leaders are more willing to fight than human leaders.Wee FolkHalfling Slingers - light sneaky woodland folk irregularsHalfling Warriors - chain, javelins, clubs or shortswords, regularsBrownies - near invisible, able crafters and use magic, skirmishersLeprechauns - guards and scouts not good fighters but good saboteurs and spiesNixies - aquatic highly magical, charm humans and sabotage water transportPixies - skirmishers with magic drugged arrows, invisible and polymorph selves to spySprites - scouts and skirmishers with dugged arrowsBuckawn - drugged dart hurling scout type irregulars, more willing to fight and killKorred - humanoid bestial folk, elite irregulars with magic and boulder throwingDwarf Mercenaries - elite regular sappers and siege troops, elite regulars with chain, axe, crossbowsGnome Mercenaries - often with animal friends and magical, but otherwise like smaller dwarvesQuicklings - scouts and messengers, fastest moving beings knownRedcap - bloodthirsty killers change from gnomes to ogre sizeSpriggan - small gnome size with thief and magic abilities or giant size hate humans and gnomesFlower Faeries - coin sized can be invisible and steal coins or grain, linked to a type of flowerGremlins - tiny prankster goblins who spread bad luck, steal goods and breed into plaguesNature Divinities (dislike moving from home or war, often act as leaders)Dryads - often awakened in forest as obstacles highly revered by fey as goddessesNymphs - often dominate waterways and prevent crossings, with powerful magicSirene - aquatic or on land, able leaders and fighters, often lead charmed forcesSwanmay - were swan women rangers skilled in woods and waterway actionsNeried - water faerie with magic power can hold water waysSylph - powerful magicians often with pet or air elementalHags - various types and power, witch like mostly malicious with magic and shape shiftingLanah Shee - vampiric beauty atracted to bards mostly but inspire them to great short livesBanshee - undead elf maid who's scream killsElves (most common and disciplined and most human like)Elven Archers - longbow, leather and spell wielding elite regularsElven Rangers - composite bow, sword, leather, elite irregular skirmishersElven Warriors - with chainmail, spell, spear and sword elite regularsElven Halberdiers - with plate, halberds and pikes for anti cavalry in huge phalanxesElven Mounted Archers - with composite bows mostly irregular skirmishers, ride elk or horsesElven Knights - with plate, lance and sword on faerie horses elite regularsElven Griffon Riders - often elite scouts and skirmishers who target heroes or horse cavalryElven Pegasus Riders - mounted rangers used for scouting and skirmishingElven Unicorn Riders - elite cavalry and healersDark Elf Assassins - with poison arrows from shortbows and sabres, elite regular skirmishersDark Elf Fungi Herders - drive basiron before them in battle and plant shriekers and dangerous fungiDark Elf Driders - spider centaur dark elves use bows and magicSea Elf Marines - use advanced ships and attack coastal areas, can breathe waterSea Elf Mounted Marines - ride dolphins, giant sea horses, lobsters, sea serpents and other creaturesGoblinGoblins Irregulars - bred by elves to guard borderlands, irregulars with slings and spearsGoblin Regulars - more trained regulars with shields, maces, swords and axes or some with spear Goblin Phalanxes - regulars with spear and shield in phalanxesGoblin Archers - irregular or regular elites with shortbowsGoblin Wolf riders - elite skirmishers and scouts use shortbows and swordsGoblin Bat riders - skirmishers with shortbows especially by nightOther RacesOrc Mercenaries - used when desperate by elves, spear and shield regularsOrc Archers - regular shortbow troops but fight with swords up close and good moraleWildmen Berserkers - irregular scouts but fearsome and fight to death for faerie godsWildmen Druids - magical priests often guarded by berserkersBeastmen - strong fierce warriors, irregular mostly goat, wolf, lion, rabbit, elk, deer, bear, pantherCentaur Cavalry - use shortbow, lance and clubs, might transport halflings or others, irregularHybsil - deer centaur small but use sleep poison and mostly skirmishers in large mobsFaun Warriors - regularor irregular scouts with bows, spears, javelins and clubsSatyr Warriors - brave but drunken lechers, morale high discipline poor, irregular , mostly with clubsCharmed Human Soldiers - many faerie beings can charm humans,* any human troop typeAnimal Spirit Folk - shapeshifting animal to human forms, magical, often fox, cat, hawk, lynxNature Spirit Folk - shapeshifting to human forms, magical often tree, river, rock typesFaerie Spirit Folk - change from palm size tiny faeirie to human size, with insect wingsKobolds - small mine goblins who drive miners away, others are drunken lecherous and friendly*or that's what they said after the warGiant Animals (often ridden by naked feral elves, wildmen or wee folk)Beavers - might dam water or flood regions or build wooden forts or wallsBears - heroic berserker warriors, bear cavalry is frighteningBoars - heroic berserker mountsEagles - aerial troops who often carry smaller races and spies or archersFrogs - in wetlands like swamps or waterwaysLynx - possibly ridden by small fey folkOwl - night scouts and transport spies and assassinsDog (cooshee) - faerie dogs will transport smaller folk or accompanied by elven rangerPorcupine - fire quills making good missile troopsRam - mountainous areas often ridden by gnomesGoat - popular mounts with wee folk in mountains or forestsElk - or Irish deer giant deer often used as cavalryCrow - ridden by dark elves mostly scoutsSwan or Geese - ridden by elven female archer fly and aquaticLion - fierce huge roaring king of beasts, will lead animals and roar causes fearFox - sneaky thieving cunning, experts at luring pursuers to dangerMagical BeingsWerewolf Pack - sometimes led by elf huntmaster  but increasingly wild and out of controlOther Lycanthropes - bear, boar, panther, lion, weasel, elk, shark, crab, horse, owl, ravenElementals - often summoned by druids and wizards and priests of fey folkFaerie Dragons - are very powerful magicians who lead and advise leadersTreant - often used as siege artillery because of sizeWill-o-the-wisp - powerful dangerous magic scouts and often obstruct roads by nightFirbolg Giants - magical elites often act as independant heroesFormarian Giant - mutated hideous giants who claim human land, act as elite heroesTroll Mercenaries - horrible chaos trolls devour everything and hard to killMerrow - aquatic troll race that might be unleashed on coastal areasSelkie - aquatic will hold coastal and waterwaysFachan - one legged one armed hopping fiend usually with a maceDragon - rare flying mounts for heroes, often coloured to suit terrain or metallic typesPhooka - shape shifting faerie beast often black goat, pony, eagle or beastman form, like cruel jokesNuckelavee - hideous aquatic rotting horse like beast with glowing eyes live in stagnant poolsWaterleaper - like a tadpole almost on frog from with a tail and glider wings that eat a person wholeMermaids - aquatic race which may aid faerie war against coasts and shipping […]

  • Actual Play: Blue Rose AGE Character Profile Ajax, the Rhy-Fox
    by Matt Borselli on November 30, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    Ajax the Rhy-Fox, small in stature, large in hunger, traveler of the width and breadth of Aldis, ready for adventure or a tale, bawdy or otherwise. Fond of cheesy biscuits, especially if they belong to someone else.AjaxRhy-FoxExpertLevel 1HPSpeedDefenseArmorConviction31121431Attributes (Focuses) -- primary attributes are in bold2Accuracy3Communication (Deception)0Constitution4Dexterity0Fighting2Intelligence4Perception (Psychic, Searching)0Strength0WillpowerGoals & PersonaCallingThe Exarch (Trickery or Uncovering the Same)Destiny ("Virtue")Resourceful (King of Pentacles) Fate ("Vice")Sneaky (King of Pentacles)Other Talents/PowersNightvision (Racial) Can see without a light source for 20 meters/yardsWeapon Training (Racial) Natural Weapons Group (bite 1d6+1)Talent (Psychic) (Racial) (Novice); Arcanum: Psychic Contact, Psychic Shield, Second SightPinpoint Attack (Class) Expert Power: Once per round, you can add 1d6 damage to a successful attack if your Dexterity is greater than that of the target of the attack.Expert's Armor (Class) xpert Power: You are at home in Light Armor and considered trained in its use without the need of the Armor Training talent.Talent (Intrigue) (Class) (Novice); You are a master of secrets. You know how to play the Game. Choose one of the following Communication focuses: Deception, Etiquette, or Romance. If you fail a Communication test with your chosen focus, you can reroll it, but you must keep the result of the second roll.RelationshipsDuty to the Aldis Sovereign (2)Honor bound to my Rhy-fox grandfather, by ties of family, tradition and love (1)EquipmentLight Armor (Armor 3)Top HatTreasureRecovery Elixer (two draughts, one used by Ajax for 12 points recovery, 2d6+4 recovery in rest, 1d6+2 in combat)Rubbing/drawing of the crest of the Manor from the bed of the master bedroom. […]

  • Weird Revisited: Nawr the All-Consuming
    by Trey on November 30, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Need a rat god? (And who doesn't really?) Here's a petty god post from December 2011 that has you covered. Symbol: Stylized image of a rat-king, as if the animals are dancing in a circle.Alignment: ChaoticRavenous Nawr is one of the group of petty deities know as the vermin gods.  It is not so much worshipped as placated.  Every harvest, offerings of grain are arrayed around small statues or carvings of rats where real rodents can consume them.If this ritual is not observed, there is chance that rats will gather and in the twist and tumult of rodent bodies, a rat-king will form and instantiate the godling.  The composite deity wil summon up a swarms of rats and swirl through the community that has offended it, chewing, biting, and possibly consuming everything in its path.The visitation always occurs at night and is of variable duration, but always ends by sunrise. […]

  • Patreon Launch
    by Konsumterra on November 30, 2017 at 3:01 am

    I've finally done itwww.patreon.com/elfmaidsandoctopiBasicly to motivate me to do more compilations of stuff from here and make some money so i can buy art for future projects - Psychon and Xor need art to really shineIm also minimise my use of modern living creators art on this blog now im becoming commercial so mostly wierd historic work stolen from poor museums and collections rather than living artists and possibly more of my terrible illos of octopus kids.Will be adding buttons and updating links here too...Next kids will have me twittering and instagramming...Ive never read a tweet i cared for and seems mostly for propagating hatred and celeb gossip but i could be convinced. Instagram and deviant might be worth using i just don't wanna re upload my 32000 flickr pix. I could do a whole patreon on my non gaming stuff too but im still on holiday from art world.Currently starting faerie war posts based on my 50 odd votes on G+ […]

  • d100 Fairy Maidens
    by Konsumterra on November 29, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    Plan to do a bunch of faerieland stuff 2018. Will doe faerieland war zone as it won my recent g+ poll although necromancers almost caught up - siege the goblins will follow.Fairy maidens are found in woodlands on the borderlands to elfland. Some are worshipped as minor divinities. Some are charged with a purpose. Heroes might fall in love with them or be charmed by their superhuman beauty. Man and faerie are not meant to mingle. Faerie beings even the mostly bright ones can have monstrous forms and can be spiteful or cruel. Some faeries might flux between bright and dark between seasons or even night and day.Faeries have family and kin and If you harm then you might bring about great danger and curses on you. Most love affairs turn out bad or with the mortal enthralled or discarded after time. Faerie dwellers experience strange flow of time that might be continuity incongruous or distorted.Heroes often lust after them and seek them as mates but this mostly leads to disaster and ruination. It is also a disruption of natural forces and many beings will not be pleased if a maiden neglects her duties. Most have semi divine kinfolk. At best being with a mortal might last a few decades if the husband lives or can cope.Maidens in fact might be a obstacle in a mountain pass or forest trail that stops civilization passing.You can use the d10 tables on own or just the d100 or a mix to fill out details.d10 Bright Fairy Maiden's Companions d10x10HD Worth01 Local commoners enthralled02 Local commoners worship for generations03 Animal companions d6 1=chariot team 2=mount 3=familiar 4=guard 5=farm 6=wild04 Munder hobo adventurers of the worst sort in love05 Charmed lovers d6 1=bards 2=bandits 3=knights 4=hunters 5=revelers 6=servants06 Monster friends d4 1=hybrid animal 2=sphynx 3=lycanthropes 4=draconic07 Demi Humanoids including halfling d4 1=gnome 2=dwarf 3=elf 4=orc08 Humanoid including kobolds d4 1=goblinoids 2=ogres 3=trolls 4=giants 09 Sylvan folk d4 1=faerie folk 2=beastmen 3=animal spirit folk 4=nature spirit folk10 A slumbering kaiju monster can be awoken if maiden very crossd100 Fairy Maidens Magic Accessories01 Instrument 1=lute 2=flute 3=horn 4=harpsicord02 Water d4 1=pool 2=fountain 3=water jar 4=well03 Weapon d4 1=sword 2=bow 3=spear 4=dagger04 Grooming item d4 1=mirror 2=brush 3=perfume bottle 4=makeup tin 05 Food d4 1=dinner set 2=stove 3=basket 4=mill 06 Hiding place d4 1=cave 2=hollow tree 3=buried chest 4=hollow stone07 Clothing d4 1=dress 2=cloak 3=girdle 4=gloves08 Jewelry d4 1=ring 2=medallion 3=crown 4=broach09 Craft Items d4 1=loom 2=spinning wheel 3=painting set 4=sewing box10 Location d4 1=summoning circle 2=shrine 3=monolith 4=portald100 Fairy Maidens Duty01 Guardian of region of nature02 Watching area for great evil to return03 To test heroes on a quest04 Ruler of local sylvan beings05 Guardian of a holy place06 Guardian of a great secret07 Defender vs encroaching humans08 Serves a divinity or lords of faerieland09 Cursed or banished10 Watches a dungeon or ruinsd100 Fairy Maiden Enjoys01 Singing, dancing, poetry or playing music02 Frolicking with animal friends03 Working on exquisite art or craft works04 Helping woodland beings05 Playing pranks on naughty humans06 Caring for human or animal orphans07 Worshiping the faerie king or queen or the gods 08 Educating young forest folk in faerie lore09 Punishing the wicked10 Grooming and bathing often with friends or followersd20 How to gain a Fairy Maidens hand01 Assist her purpose or save her from enemies02 Perform quest or acts of unselfish kindness and heroism03 Helping the natural world resist exploitation04 Aid forces of the faerie kingdom05 Encouraging her interests with gifts or help06 Gifts of fantastic works of artisans or craftsmen07 Gifts of exquisite food and drink08 Gifts of jewelry and magic items or fabulous clothing09 Share discusions and documents of scholarship10 Stealing her prize possessions and holding them hostage11 Defeat her in a contest of her choice12 Steal her magic item and hold it to ransom (jerk move bro)13 Entrap her and force her to marry you (jerk move bro)14 Steal and threaten her pets (jerk move bro)15 Make a deal with faerie nobility16 Prove your devotion for years attempting to please her17 Slay her current husband who forced her into bondage18 rescue her from  a dragon or hag or demon or wicked knight19 Succeed at near impossible faerie challenge20 Convince her of your lifelong devotion and unquestioning obedienced10 Fairy Maiden Love Gone WrongFor anyone having relationship with them01 Children with mortals will be cruel ugly mutants or goblins02 Eventually will flee with children to fairy land03 Child grows rapidly in fairy land returns as knight hating father04 Child grows rapidly in fairy land returns as vengeful troll05 Mother flees and children turn into horrible monsters06 Takes lover to fairyland to meet family, returned 1d0 centuries later07 Family and possibly divinities offended send monsters and assassins 08 Children and mother sickly must return to fairy land or die09 Sickly children and/or mother dies in childbirth or in grief from childrens deaths10 Feeds addictive fairy food to lover, move to faerie land or died10 Friends1 Has a favorite animal companion2 Friendly with a local nature spirit3 Friends with local elven people4 Kin with spirit folk d4 1=tree 2=animal 3=water 4=earth5 Friends with treeants6 Raised by a local hag of great power7 Related to Elf court who watch out for her8 Favoured by a god9 Worshipped by druids and rangers10 Sylvan friends d4 1=satyrs 2=dryads 3=centaurs 4=gnomesd100 Fairy Maidens01 Shalara the dawn mist maiden entices intruders to dangerous mist shrouded waterfalls02 Caerranna lady in green turns men who spy on her into trees03 Farneras the white lady warps flow of time so dallying whith her takes d100 years04 Cragyana the weeping widow sobs and washes clothes in river, hearing her steals all joy05 Cibrana the innocent one frolics in the woods and is guarded by disgusting harpies06 Korana the wild hunts mortal men for sport with her bow and will never submit to man07 Erradora the woman in red skins and flays men to make leather for the elf king08 Sashaldra the air maiden frolics on mountain tops and those who chase her fall to death09 Karmndela the battle maiden is lusty and loves sex almost as she loves decapitation10 Voornadala the cavern maiden guards cave entrances to the underland, warning visitors 11 Bellahabi the wild girl runs with wild dogs and wolves and deer and shepherds hate her12 Karrana the dancer frolics with her animal friends and will talk only to good dancer13 Cyrella the harpist sings beautiful music and is surrounded by jealous charmed bards14 Vorana the sleek lives with her mountain lion friends who dislike her mortal admirers15 Pandra the celestial really really loves dragons and will shapeshift lovers into dragons16 Korranna the sweet is protected and cared for by tiny faeries who dislike mortals17 Virridia the mad dances with her swords and loves to see body parts and blood fly18 Seeranna the frost queen is surrounded by snow and ice troll guardians19 Kola the rabbit queen is surrounded by large thuggish rabbitmen who love maiming man20 Herroda the golden sits spinning gold with elf handmaidens for the elf court who love her21 Virrida the skymaiden walks naked in the woods and her beauty can kill22 Godvirja the divine has great wisdom and sylval beings come to her for advice23 Sunmaak the radiant glows with light and the plants sway around her24 Khieric the healer cares for sick and wounded and woodland folk will never let her leave25 Bezzora the wailing lost her lover in the dawn age and cries ever since26 Sirranna the sweet frolics in the woods but will do anything for honey and sweets27 Kirranis the delight sings and dances with her chorus of elmaids that please the gods28 Zarifiah the sword maiden likes to adventure with her tako wizard companion29 Tesorah the glib likes to read meloncholic books and poems and is hungry for more30 Hannirah the exquisite sits in her crystal cave contemplating mysteries of the ages31 Voadora the silver wears silver armour and weapons, enjoys duel practice with anyone32 Belomas the contrarian always acts the opposite to the intentions of strangers33 Sironis the river maid lives on the shore raising nixies and sprite children 34 Veragorana the mountain maid lives with wild boars and carries a titan war maul35 Kalenara the night maid is a dark elf princess who delights in torture and poison36 Tetyanavorana the grim is daughter of a night had and a elf prince she rides a nightmare37 Elorra the wood maid only talks to human rangers who she trains in secret38 Voranid the radiant is surrounded by prismatic auroras in her gem encrusted cave 39 Derasa the Swan Queen leads her sisterhood of swanmay rangers protecting the woods40 Korlandra the inscuteable sits motionless contemplating secrets of illumination 41 Janmalla the guardian lives in her misty dinosaur filled valley with her pet sabretooth cat42 Jubnubblar the earth maid sleeps with any mortal and sends them any bastard children43 Korindra the flower maid lives in a garden with her sprites and flower spirit changelings44 Zorranna the dark lady runs with her wolf and giant bat friends and hates human men45 Koriola the runner is seen ever running with deer through the woods with her bow46 Lyshea the stalker invisibly follows intruders and judges conduct to see if they live or die47 Corinda the shining one is a happy maid who plays with animals and is kin of the elf king48 Zoranna the seer is a expert on divination and mostly interested in learning new methods49 Viradja the redeemer is consulted by fallen holy folk to find the means of redemption50 Sidri the historian remembers great events since the start of time 51 Koorindala the panther maid lives with several great cats and they hunt together52 Loradama the peacemaker used to be a diplomat for the faerie folk but is over it53 Korindala the shrine maiden attends hundreds of scattered shrines to her divine kin54 Sarinntor the bather spends days bating in springs with elfmaids, dislike spies55 Marradansoor the provider puts on a splended feast for her sylvan friends each day56 Terrania the gatekeeper watches a mysterious gateway in a cliff bound with chains57 Karisama the singer is always performing for animal friends and loves to hear new songs58 Ellianya the delightful spends days listening to pleas of human and non human admirers59 Sarinara the vine maiden makes wine from wild grapes with her drunken satyr friends 60 Jasseeran the enabler sits with elf friends smoking hookahs of exotic and inhuman drugs61 Torilindar the maker spends her days making art and is aided by her faerie friends62 Seemaris the freamer spends most of her time sleeping and guarded by trolls63 Gorgora the strong enjoys wrestling with bears and ogres or anyone really64 Violetta the serene sits in meditation guarded by seven giant serpents65 Zorrana the delectable lies about seductively for lovers then turns them into animals66 Corrinda the archmage dwells in a cottage guarded by elementals researching spells67 Sorrindel the summoner dwells in a cave researching the of summoning planar beings68 Pessarind the adoring one gives her love freely and stores her best lovers in crystals69 Vorinda the reveler is always partying with centaurs and satyrs and anyone really70 Zeeranon the fornicator mates with all kinds of creatures spawning hybrid creatures71 Pathelas the all seeing dwells in a cave and watches the world from her crystal ball72 Morandor the witch queen leads a coven of witches dedicated to keeping humans away73 Corlia the collector has a cave full of her treasures and will trade wisdom for more74 Korrianna the dice maiden likes games of chance and staking lives, she has divine luck75 Hortence the apostate believes humans are equal and rejects elvish philosophy76 Palentia the waterfall maiden bathes in the misty falls watching a hidden sleeping dragon77 Zimmarra the maid of plenty has a magic cornicopia and lays on a fantastic feast daily78 Tsammarra the corn maiden visits human fields to bless them and makes corn golems79 Vharjezra the watcher of the stones guards a prehuman black monolith of the old ones80 Phenltralia the rubble runner frolics in the ruins of a lost prehuman civilization81 Khemnara the voluptuous is guarded by bronze golems sent by this milleniums lover 82 Torrian the slayer enjoys hunting monsters who's corpses she mummifies as trophies83 Ferranial the smith works metal in her cave with dwarf, gnome and troll lovers84 Beerinda the bee keeper grows flowers, keeps bees and makes mead for sylvan friends85 Velenteena the spearmaiden likes to fight and drink with barbarians and vikings86 Sirrella the maid of a hundred wands carries a different one each day from her collection87 Cormandeera the blessed virgin bathes with goddesses daily to restore her virginity88 Hanamelta the perfumer brews perfume and makes incense in her laboratory cave89 Lidiratta the axe maiden daily beheads a criminal delivered to her by faeries90 Vilidaxa the drowned maiden lures handsome heroes into her underwater prison91 Midrella the night hunter patrols her woods with her owl friend scouts and guardians92 Zardella the friend of the furry forest folk spends her time with intelligent forest rodents93 Assurkalan has 100 gnome husbands who toil in her underground pleasure palace94 Varrassa the tree conqueror lives in a giant tree fort guarding elf relics  95 Ramina the hero dwells with her elf and sylvan friends who adventure together96 Sarrella the god slayer works to repair a relic that fragments each time a god is killed97 Oorlana the bell ringer has a collection of magic bells she rings daily to effect weather98 Zaphia the solemn cares for a ancient forgotten elf war memorial and preys for it's dead99 Kola the ape mother dwells with her friendly family of flesh eating giant apes100 Zemijya the walking bird maid lives with her flock of terrorbirds and elf amazon riders […]

  • Announcing SEVEN YEARS of FANTASY WEATHER!
    by Oakes Spalding on November 29, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    Adventurers in the Snow, from "Weather in the World of Greyhawk," in The Dragon, No. 68Campion & Clitherow has just published its first system-neutral product!It's called Seven Years of Fantasy Weather. More precisely, it's Volume 1 of a series.You can buy it on Lulu or DriveThruRPG.Here's the pitch (from the description blurb on both):SEVEN YEARS of FANTASY WEATHER gives you seven years of realistic weather for 5112 separate days and nights. Each twelve-hour day or evening entry includes information on temperature (in Celcius and Fahrenheit) weather events - fog, thunderstorm, blizzard, etc. - amount of rainfall/snowfall, occurrence or possibility of lightning, wind speed, wind direction, phases of the moon, effect on movement rates and chance of getting lost. It's an almanac for the fantasy gamer. No more annoying die rolling or consulting an app or online program to generate a random or patternless result. With FANTASY WEATHER you can see all of it at a glance. Whether you're using Dungeons & Dragons 5e, an OSR retro-clone or any other current or past game or mechanic, this is the last word on weather for your roleplaying needs, This first volume simulates the weather patterns of Medieval England, but other volumes will be forthcoming.But the best way to describe it is to show it. Here's the first page of weather (Year 1, January) for the climate type that I've labeled "Medieval England":The PDF of Seven Years of Fantasy Weather Volume 1: Medieval England contains 84 pages (7 x 12) of monthly charts, plus 7 pages of summaries for each year and four pages of ideas and rules. Here is the summary for Year 1:There were no Blizzards, let alone Heavy Blizzards, in Year 1 of "Medieval England" (it's England, not Alaska), though the possibility does exist. Were there any in Year 2? You'll have to buy Fantasy Weather to find out.Seven Years of Fantasy Weather includes four pages of introductory material featuring a glossary of weather event terms and effects and a (slightly altered) excerpt from the Wilderness travel rules section of Seven Voyages of Zylarthen. But the weather effects (in terms of movement and chances of getting lost) are built-in to the charts, and obviously the wilderness rules can be be used as is, mined for ideas or simply ignored.We even managed to find a weather-appropriate illustration from John Dickson Batten for the cover (from a relatively obscure book of children's poetry): There are a number of weather apps and online generators out there. And I should say, I don't mean to be too critical of them. Indeed, as long-time readers of this blog know, I was quite inspired by some of them. But in the end, they prompted me to try to come up with something better. How does Fantasy Weather differ?The simple answer is it's not a generator. It's simply the weather. Or as one OSR game designer put it, "Instant weather, no generation required!"What's the advantage of that?Well, as I said above, the apps are themselves fairly simple. Or at least they appear to be. That's part of the problem. Even if there is a more underlying complexity or pattern to them, you can't see it. As far as anyone can tell, they're more or less just generating a few "random" weather data points for a particular climate type - cold, temperate, warm, etc. - and season. With Seven Years of Fantasy Weather you can instantly tell exactly what's going on.Plus, Medieval England isn't just "temperate" but, well, England. Or, rather, late 14th century England when they tell us that it was 2˚ colder. There's a lot of precipitation but not a lot of total rainfall - at least when compared to certain tropical zones. You might get a blizzard in January but you probably won't. More likely it will be 45˚ F and drizzling. Or foggy.Actually, England (and especially London) isn't and wasn't as foggy as most people think. And much of the fog that there really was was attributable to 20th century pollution. Medieval England ramps the fog up a bit, for the fun of it, but only a bit. There's still a lot of drizzle.Interestingly, I almost went with the weather pattern for the so-called Medieval Warm Period, lasting from the 10th to 13th centuries. That would have been perhaps more authentic for the "Medieval" label, but it was also more boring. Raising temperatures by just 4˚ means you cut down radically on the chance of snow. I like snow. Sorry Medieval Warm period. But snow or no snow, too many weather mechanics make the mistake of introducing weather as simply another way to screw the players. Or at least, that's often how it seems. One online app usually generates only a few lines of text for the day's weather. But watch out if you get more text lines. Cold front? Roll for hypothermia. Moderate wind? Your torches blow out, missile fire is impossible and search checks are reduced by -5. Thunderstorm? You have a 1% chance per turn of being struck by lightning, which deals out 8d8 hits of damage. Most adventurers - and, I assume, 99% of the general population - will sooner or later suffer death from electrocution.If they aren't pummeled into a pulp by a hailstorm first.That's not what Fantasy Weather is about.What is it about?The point is to use the weather as background to help set the tone, and to sometimes provide interesting choices and opportunities for players. For example, in the desert player-characters can significantly increase their movement rate by traveling at night when it's usually much less hot. This comes with other advantages - fewer wandering monsters - but also some disadvantages - the monsters have a greater chance of surprising you, and it's easier to get lost. A Call Lightning spell is extremely powerful in a thunderstorm, but quite useless otherwise. Can one somehow contrive a plan to lure a foe out into the open when such conditions occur? And fog or low visibility can be used by player characters just as much as they can be used against them. And so on.But most weather is just there, so to speak. There's no reason to solemnly announce each day that the temperature is 60˚ with a gentle breeze or whatever. But if you need it, the chart will tell you what's going on.Creating Fantasy Weather also brought out my inner weather nerd. And part of the reason for my inclusion of the "summaries" was simply because I found them interesting, even fascinating, and felt the reader might as well. It's notable how some averages are quite constant - the average yearly temperature was 52˚ F for five of the seven years, and 51˚ F and 53˚ F for the other two - but others are more stochastic - there were ten snowstorms one year but only two in the next.I admit that one's "fascination" quotient may vary. Then again, I was never a weather nerd before... Fantasy Weather: Medieval England costs only $7.00 for seven years of weather. If your characters journey to or inhabit a different climate, there will soon be other variations, which will cover most climes from the northland of the Sagas to "sword & sorcery" jungles and deserts.Whether you purchase 1, 3 or more, it will be some of the best "supplement" money you've ever spent. And unlike, say, Seven Voyages of Zylarthen, this product is system neutral. Use it with Zylarthen, Swords and Wizardry or Dungeons & Dragons 5e.And finally, pitch aside, I would love for you to tell me how you use it. The point is not to impose more rules on the referee or more ways to die on the players, but again, to create interesting choices and opportunities at minimal cost in time or effort. How can the player-characters use a heavy rainstorm to get the advantage in a wilderness encounter? I have no idea. But I suspect many good players will come up with something.I hope you enjoy it, and that it is as fun for you to read and use as it was for me to design. Good travels! And may the wind be always at your back! […]

  • Actual Play Report from the Fringes of Wermspittle (Session Three; Happy Thanksgiving!)
    by garrisonjames on November 29, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Not everything wants to eat you...and it is always good to have friends, especially in weird places...J's Notes from our Thanksgiving weekend game.Camping in field outside Gadra's tomb. N hears horns and dogs barking on other side of river, calls on the Hobyah (using their Mark on her hand) and asks them to check it out. We break camp and head toward the yellow brick road away from the sounds. I almost step in a dodo nest. Take 3 intact dodo eggs. They're as big as ostrich eggs!The new-new-kid S (N's guest) comes running toward us, hands bound, chased by three Pruztian hunters and dogs. We cut her free from her bonds. All of us run up hill to hide. One hunter leaves with his dog, we guess for reinforcements.We spot three 9-foot albino penguins in the Red Weeds on other side of hill. N asks her Hobyah allies to scout so we can avoid them. Hobyah discover penguin-diving -- literally jumping into the gaping maws of the huge birds, sliding down into their stomachs and them disappearing only to come back and do it again, and again, and again. The Hobyah are immensely pleased and soon there are close to a hundred of them diving into the highly distressed giant albino penguin's mouths. Hunters hear the noise, approach the spot and are quite befuddled. Penguins are traumatized. The hunters leave.We cross river away from hunters. Shallow water, but everyone falls. No injuries. Supplies soaked, some lost. Feels like we're being watched. There are Basajun, Woses, Jub-Jub Birds and Slithy Toves in the area, so it might only be something like that--some inoffensive being or animal not ouot to eat us all...besides there are three huge penguins lying exhausted and weakened behind us for any predators to go dine on at their leisure.Farmstead downstream. Lots of bomb craters. One UXB, Franzikaner make. We decide to check out the farmstead. Avoid Slow Sand and Black Thorns getting there. Fields of mega cabbage and radishes. Hobyah use cabbages as trampolines. S makes comment about eating farmers. Morlock blood? (Dice were rolled, S does indeed appear to have some slight Morlock lineage in her background, but it is not entirely definite--she needs to be tested).Farmstead has house, barn, mil; all bomb damagde and / or overgrown. No signs of recent habitation.Check out house. 3 levels. Lower 2 looted or filthy from blown leaves, rain and elements. Seed company calendar on wall. Attic looks fairly intact. Q (The Thief-to-be) climbs up. He discovers a well-built Shooting Platform, where the farm families would fight-off the Biters and such over the long. dark winters. Lots of homemade weapons. He tosses down what might be useful, including family's Farmers and Mechanics ManualMill is overgrown. Sara uncovers a fox nest and takes red speckled fox egg. since when did Foxes lay eggs? Weird...Barn empty except owls and mice. Root cellar under barn. Door has Achuin lock with symbols for cleanliness, air quality, and pest control. Door is clear of debris and footprints. N consults books (currently carrying Every Good Child's Guide To Things To Bash and Burn, a gardening book, Our First Blue Book written in Etrurian, and the Farmers and Mechanics Manual) and turns off wards. Q picks lock. A (the Fighter) opens door. 12 steps down. A stays top as guard. Cellar has smoked meat, veggies, and herbs. We all take what we can. Go back up stairs. 3 Landsvattir at top. We think that they knocked A out. These things don't immediately attack us. N quickly consults her growing arsenal of books again. These creatures are protectors. They have watched over the farm for decades. Now that it is abandoned, they need to be released, or else in time they may curdle, spoil and turn into something rotten, vile and nasty. The group need to find their pact-anchor to release them since the family is gone. Leave all cellar-goods behind, so as not to offend the creatures, walk past landsvattir. They seem sad. Let us pass.We dig through rubble. N calls on her friends the Hobyah for help. Eventually we find the anchor-object, a ceramic vessel that clearly radiates a slow, deep magical aura. We give it to landsvattir. They are released from their pact and we take cellar-goods. Landsvattir withdraw back to the Tulgey Wood, what we now can see was once an orchard.We camp at farm for the night.One of the funnier moments came after the game session was wrapping-up, when people started to realize that there was no way that Q could carry anywhere near as much loot as he was lugging around, all rolled up in his carpet...which was definitely magical.The Hobyahs have really taken a liking to N's character, especially now that she helped them invent 'Penguin Diving,' which will cause no end of stress and turmoil back in Wermspittle when these little creatures start spreading the word to their fellows and they begin launching themselves into the attic-pens of the Tsalalians...J did not get into the details regarding how the group handled the Pruztian hunters and their dogs--they were hunting after whomever stole the local Castellan's new armor and short sword from the shop back in Kridlist in our first game session. Not only did the group avoid getting spotted, the Hobyahs muddled-up all the tracks and signs of their camp-site that the hunters were not able to figure much out, other than a small group had spent time there recently...and this being a notorious area filled with nasty beasts, bandits and worse...there was no guarantees that it was a small group. Then they followed the sounds to find the penguins and Hobyahs and pretty-much decided it just was not worth it. Besides they now had a story worth telling back at their base-camp. something that might earn them a few free drinks, and that beat trudging about in the thickets on a fool's errand.It was also quite a lot of fun to watch a group really make use of things they've found in the course of the game to solve a situation that might otherwise have gotten really, really ugly. Now besides the Hobyah's, the group has three friends out in the Tulgey Woods who might remember their act of kindness someday...Unfortunately we did not encounter the Jabberwocky, any Damned Things, nor the Bandersnatch...this time...but we'll see what happens next time! […]

  • 5E Greyhawk Update - Players Guide Done
    by Joseph Bloch on November 29, 2017 at 2:37 am

    Hey-o!I posted about this on my FB and G+ pages, but for everyone else, I wanted to point out a milestone in my 5E Greyhawk project.The Greyhawk 576 Players Guide is now complete.That means all the thumbnail descriptions of countries, races, languages, classes, magic items, backgrounds, feats, spells, gods, and factions are done. Especially, this means that each of the 65 gods included in the book has their own divine domain for clerics, and many have unique spells. This is based on the concept, which goes back to 1st edition AD&D, that each deity's clerics have a unique set of features. I felt that the 5E divine domain system would be a perfect vehicle to bring that into the latest edition.Of course, there might still be some tinkering here and there as I make progress on the DMs Guide and other things, but as of right now there are no holes in the Players Guide. It's currently clocking in at 341 pages, but obviously that's before editing, and layout, and art, and all that good stuff. But 341 pages of nothing-but-text (most of it single spaced) should give you an idea of the scope of the thing.Speaking of the DMs Guide, it's by no means just getting started. Things like the history, calendar, weather, cosmology (which includes a brief description of Greyspace and the crystal sphere surrounding Oerth*), and wilderness area descrtipions sections are done.That leaves nation-states and magic items, which are in progress, and monsters and notable NPCs, which have yet to be started.So I'm moving onto those items now. But dang, it feels nice to have that huge piece done.By the way, if you've got a 5E group playing in Greyhawk and would like to join the playtest, please drop me a line at greyhawkgrognard@gmail.com. You and your players will need to sign an NDA (since this is of course very unofficial and can't ever be released without WotC's blessing), but you'll get to see what's what and provide input._____* Yes! I mention Spelljammer! Even though it's just a roundabout mention, it's inherent to the setting, after all. […]

  • Tomb of Gadra: Actual Play Summary
    by garrisonjames on November 28, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    Recently we were able to run a second session for our friends who had their first adventure just outside the village of Kridlist. This time we started off safe within the bounds of the camp set-up by Gnosiomandus. After a good night's sleep the party did an inventory of their loot and considered where they might want to go from there. The old man and his two companions were headed off to Wermspittle with the newly-captured tiger (the same one that the party had managed to avoid previously). Since it turned out that the tiger was in fact pregnant, Gnosiomandus was in a good mood and offered to barter with the group to help them get themselves together so they would be prepared to face whatever lie ahead of them. Q took advantage of the opportunity to unload some of the bulkier items he was lugging about and was interested in acquiring a good short sword or something along those lines. When J's character, a run-away from one of the three circus families in Wermspittle, offered Gnosiomandus the little pouch of White Powder she had recovered last time, he was in a tremendously good mood and offered everyone their personal choice of any three weapons or what-not contained within his traveling fold-box panoply (literally a tesseract-container fitted-out as an arsenal filled with all manner of weapons, devices, mechanisms and such-like).While the group did a bit of shopping, the winged-monkey that they had found earlier took off to go scout a number of limestone formations in the vicinity that might have caves or some other sort of explore-able locations in, on or around them.In short-order the group finished-up their various transactions, said farewell to the sleeping (and very pregnant tiger), and headed off to a likely looking location discovered by the winged-monkey, who led them to the spot, pointed it out, and left to rejoin its master Gnosiomandus who was in the process of trundling down the closer spiral of the yellow brick road on his way back to Wermspittle.The location in question was none other than The Toxic Tomb of Gadra, an adventure that has been in dire need of some play-testing for a good long while now. Oh, to be sure, there were several other possible locations available, but this was the one the group settled upon, so it is where they went. The only rail-roading around here is underground as part of the Unter-rail...and they have not yet found a way down to that yet...So...here are J's notes:Here are my raw notes for Gadra. They're numbered to make them a little easier to follow.1. Gnosiomandus's flying monkey scoped the area for us and pointed us to the outcropping where we found the tomb.2. On the way there we went through some ferns and avoided a poppy field.3. We found a cave opening that had been sealed with glazed yellow bricks. Most had been removed and stacked to the side.4. There was an inscription at the entrance that said Gadra and the words for "toxic" in Pruztian, Franzikaner, and Achuin. They glowed purple.5. There was a pit with spikes that had already been released. There was a dead child's body.6. There was a chamber with a vent shaft to one side.7. The corridor went down and up. We used R's pitchfork to trigger another pit trap and used rope to cross it.8. New chamber. Walls have been scraped clean. Floor did have mosaic tiles. Three spiral mounds. One mound chipped at the top. Chipped area has had something removed.9. R (the Archer) found a gold and silver pendant with a teardrop pearl. Pearl has a purple sheen. Chain is unclasped. She keeps it.10. We opened a mound. It's a Minken barrow. Bottom falls out, no one hurt. We pull the casket out. Dart trap sprung. Each person takes 1hp damage. Open the casket. Spider-hand symbol on inside of lid. N thinks it's moving. We move the body. Casket has a false bottom. We count 14 hand spider eggs in it. 7 are crushed in extraction. R has other seven eggs.11. We hear second party come in. We wait to ambush them. They get as far as the gas trap. They trigger it. Two looters dead, the kid leading them leaves quickly (Scared). Gas sinks, is heavier than air, leaks through cracks in lower walls, revealing a chamber below.12. Open third mound. Uncover then open an ornate casket. Smash another nasty hand spider. Take six more eggs.13. Come to a spinnable door. Room behind it is weird, "feels bad." Door shuts once we're in. Open chamber, painted white, metallic under dust. Cinnabar carvings, mercury dripping from ceiling. We break through a wall section. Air quality in here is really bad. Something in the walls hurts our eyes when we look at it, especially N (the spell-caster).14. Chamber with pool of mercury and a man-sized sarcophagus. Q figures out how to drain pool and raise sarcophagus. R's pearl necklace is pulled toward the sarcophagus. We decide not to open it and it's too heavy to take with us but we have info to sell.15. Tomb is spirally. Use rubble in final chamber to build ramp to entry corridor so we don't have to go back through everything, then re-seal hole in corridor wall and leave.As you can see, this place included some nasty traps, some of which were already set-off by previous explorers...and one of which was set off by a trio of opportunists who followed the party into this place.The level of mercury fumes in this place varies a bit, but no one can last for very long before showing signs of mercury poisoning. Luckily for the group, they managed to open some ventilation and moved past the worst of the traps--even avoiding a couple of deathtrap situations by using good, common sense and a bit of intuition and strategy. For first-timers and newbies, this group played more old school than I've seen in ages and it was truly grand. They managed to get a lot of loose low-end loot here and there, which made the Thief-in-training very happy, but they also managed to acquire some very valuable information regarding this tomb that they can now sell to some interested party, including a rough map outlining the known hazards, identified traps, and the spots best left alone by the next group...unless they come prepared with gas-masks and hazard-suits.Now I am at work revising the adventure a bit to take advantage of the group's feed-back to make things run a little more smoothly in places, and to incorporate some of the changes they've made into the final version of the manuscript.Thank you to all the members of our little adventuring crew. I hope you all had as much fun as I did exploring Gadra's Tomb! […]

  • Planescape Cold War
    by Trey on November 27, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    "Intelligence work has one moral law—it is justified by results."- The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, John Le CarreThis is what comes of seeing The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2016) and Atomic Blonde in the same weekend.Take Planescape's Sigil and re-imagine it as vaguely post-World War (it really doesn't matter which one) in technology and sensibility. It's the center of fractious sometimes warring (but mostly cold warring) planes, but now it's more like Cold War Berlin or Allied-occupied Vienna.Keep all the Planescape factions and conflict and you've got a perfect locale for metacosmic Cold War paranoia and spy shennanigans. You could play it up swinging 60s spy-fi or something darker.There's always room for William S. Burroughs in something like this, and VanderMeer's Finch and Grant Morrison's The Filth might also be instructive. Mostly you could stick to the usual spy fiction suspects. […]

  • d100 Mysterious Enemy Hooks
    by Konsumterra on November 27, 2017 at 12:04 am

    Some art for my next publication. Will do some original art and redo all my murder hobo posts in one spot. Meet Rarg the barbarian, Father Happy, Stabby and Zippo. Once they were typical nice adventurers but years of drinking, sleeping in dungeons and mass murder have changed them.Also have a vote on G+ for next war zone and faeries winning so far....So Mysterious patrons got some kind comments from readers so this is the inverse. A secret jerk is doing stuff to cause the party trouble. Blatantly and deliberately.d10 Means of secrecy and delivery01 Urchin messenger throws items through window or at head02 Thrown off passing vehichle so almost hits character03 Wrapped like gift delivered by cheerful courier04 Theives guild agents deliver by sneaking into bedroom05 Delivered by plague carrying beggar06 Dagger with note stuck in bedhead or house in morning07 Dropped through room with a crash08 Found with a corpse in lodgings09 Robe wearing fanatic agent fights to death if stopped10 Clerk from a law firm who knows nothingd10 Enemy Goals01 To ruin adventurers lives02 To slander adventurers and publicly shame them03 To stp party interfering in schemes of plotting villains04 To stop upstarts with sudden wealth disrupting social order05 To protect secretive cults from interference06 To prevent humankind from discovering long lost secrets07 To prevent the economy becoming enriched with treasure08 To get revenge for stoping some villains past scheme09 To prevent part becoming successful or wealthy10 To please other planar force of wickednessd10 Enemy is...01 A scheming cult leader02 A shapeshifting creature in disguise03 A noble scheming against upstarts04 A wealthy sadistic merchant05 A corrupt government official06 A pre human monster boss07 A former adventurer hoping to toughen party up08 A powerful evil high priest09 A criminal mastermind10 A wizard who hates everything that party doesd100 Mysterious Enemy Hooks01 Dead animal in bed02 Headless chicken and blood nailed to door03 Dead stray dog or cat you were friiendly to04 Corpse of some commoner you talked to earlier05 Picture of a loved one stuck with dagger on wall06 Poison fruit basket07 Pickled human head in jar08 Gallons of blood in bed09 Childs corpse, mother nearby calling10 Youth noble corpse in bed, baillff knocking at door11 Spirit trapped in bottle released in lodgings12 Invisible creature bites character in home13 Stirge nest in attic14 Rats swarm through floor attacking in home15 Monster bursts through floor16 Hit by poison needle in public place17 Shot with arrow by sniper18 Targeted with destructive spell19 Succubi or incubi sent to seduce character20 Giant spider enters house at night21 Someone releases giant snake into house22 Gang of hired thugs attack party in public23 Tax man investigates party for fraud or evasion24 Militia investigate party for murder25 Tribe of monsters swear to kill party26 Assassins try to kill in house at night27 Someone leaves a seige mine on party residence at night28 Someone releases green slime inty privy chamber29 Some one slips adictive drugs into characters food and drink30 Noble house given evidence party murdered a kinsman31 Evil cult given information party out to get them32 Dark elf treehouse destroyed in fire, party blamed by fake evidence33 Party accused of drug trafficking34 Church investigate party for heresey35 Witchunter had anonymous tip party up to no good36 Party reported to espionage, papers hidden in party acomidation37 Witness tells secret police party plotting treason38 Lodgings set on fire39 Assassins await party outside next dungeon40 Bandit group give parties name during heists41 Wanted cultist robes, masks and bloody daggers left in party house42 Someone puts plague tainted goods in party house43 Characters horse or pe attacked44 Characters follower beaten45 Party recieve death threats46 Someone writing slander about party on city walls47 Terrible gossip spread about party48 Bard composing lampoon about characters adventures49 Duelist provokes fight with party in public with abuse50 Play being performed about party scandalous cowardice and incompetence 51 Comedic puppet show popular about characters being awful people52 Someone in neighborhood spreading gossip party killing missing people53 Knight told character acused him of being coward54 Popular comedy song about party is a hit55 Spellbook delivered with contact poison on pages56 Treasure Map delivered directing party to trap57 Treasure Map to lair of impoverished vampire lair58 Witches hired to curse party59 Someone murdering elves or dwarves leaving fake hateful note from party60 Someone tries to trick party into kidnapping someones family member61 Sewer workers bribed to flood party hangout with human waste62 Someone told a dragon party killed it's son63 Dangerous traps placed in party residence64 Dangerous spores put in roof and basement of residence65 Horse and cart try to run character down66 idol wanted by cult hidden on characters possetions67 Family member of character threatened68 family member of party assaulted69 Rabid dog attacks in street70 Theives guild robbed, party blamed71 Assasin guild members murdered party blamed72 Cursed magic items sent as gifts73 Given deed of haunted house74 Hobbit village raided and burned left clues naming party75 Someone burned orphanage and blamed party76 Seduced by diseased prostitute sent by enemy77 Investigation into kidnapping cult party blamed by victim78 Shadows sent by witch attack party in sleep79 Water weird released in characters privy80 Elemental attacks and destroys lodging81 Devil in disguise tries to trich character into selling soul82 Devil tempts character with desires83 Gremlins set loose in character lodgings who follow party84 Imp invisibly harrasses party with pranks85 Demon attacks party while at home86 Party find treasure island map, ship abandons them 87 Party of doppelgangers copy party and behave badly88 Mimic let into party house89 Evicted from house, landlord threatened with death90 Exile from city or kingdom because ruler told lies91 Next place travelled to have heard party trouble92 Find wanted posters with outrageous reward for party93 Friend polymorphed into a medusa94 Next dungeon entered has entry collapsed by workers95 Next place characters attack is prewarned96 Next place character attack has extra mercenaries97 Suicide bomber charges party shouting "death to evil ones"98 Church burned down anf priests killed, party investigated99 Party cloned in secret, clones awake to hunt and kill originals100 Golem attacks party home from sewers […]

  • Living the dream?
    by Akrasia on November 26, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    There is an interesting article at Wired that readers of this blog may want to check out: “It’s a Living: Meet One of New York’s Best Professional D&D Dungeon Masters.” It profiles Timm Woods, a ‘professional DM.’Some bits:“Woods is … busy these days. He’s currently overseeing nine games a week, all of them focusing on either Dungeons & Dragons, or the kid-friendlier, D&D-influenced game Dungeon World. His clientele is made up of an assortment of armchair-adventuring adults, students, and families (including one with a few Oscar wins, though he’d prefer to keep their identity a secret). He’s spent the past few years doing all of this while also working to earn an RPG-related doctorate (his dissertation title: “Anything Can Be Attempted: Table-Top Role Playing Games as Learning and Pedagogy”).” “But while Woods is one of several DMs-for-hire out there, this isn’t his hobby or a side gig; it’s a living, and a pretty good one at that, with Woods charging anywhere from $250 to $350 for a one-off three-hour session (though he works on a sliding scale). For that price, Woods will not only research and plan out your game but also, if you become a regular, answer your occasional random text queries about wizard spells.”Fifty or more dollars per player for a 3-hour session? Eh… that’s way too rich for my blood. But all the more power to Woods if he can support himself in this way. I have to confess that a part of me is envious.However, I can’t imagine ever paying someone to DM a session. RPGs for me are a social activity among friends. ‘Employing’ a DM would change the dynamic at the table. It would alter an act of friendship—the creation and sharing of an idea, and the subsequent collaborative activity of determining how that idea develops, by the players and the DM together—into a commercial transaction.Anyhow, it’s a fun article, despite some sloppy writing (e.g., “There are seven different dies, from four-sided to 20-sided”—um, ‘dice’ is the plural of ‘die’!) and the author’s occasional ignorance of the game about which he is writing (e.g., “skeletal beasties called Gnolls”—wtf?). […]

  • The Meaning of Good & Evil (Alignments)
    by Trey on November 26, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    I don't use alignment much in my games admittedly, but I do like the idea of alignment as indication of at best only loosely morality-related cosmic teams or alliances. Even with the approach their are times where you might need to articulate in some way what an alignment means on a closer to human level. What follows is a way of looking at it in those situation.The idea (not original to me) is that Law vs. Chaos is the primary conflict underpinning the multiverse. This works well with both the Appendix N source material and earliest iterations of D&D. The Good vs. Evil can only be understood in relation to that primary axis.  This secondary parameter gives an indication of the zealotry and methods employed to combat the opposing force. Those on the Good side of things believe that the opposing force can be moderated, ameliorated, or dealt with with less violent means. Those on the evil side of things believe that the opposing force cannot be tolerated or reasoned with, only destroyed.So Lawful Good and Lawful Evil agree that Chaos is a threat, but Lawful Good has a more moderate maybe even "hate the sin, love the sinner" view, whereas Lawful Evil feels all chaos must die by any means necessary. Chaotic Good believes that Law is a wrongheaded constraint on freedom, but hearts and minds can be changed without violence in most cases (violence being coercion, after all), whereas Chaotic Evil wants what it wants so intently it's willing to see everything burn.This way of looking at things has the advantage of showing a way around the rigid, asshole paladin, and also explaining the Dwarf/Elf tension despite the fact they are both Good, and also suggests demons and Devils would never team-up. Neutral Goods become "let's all get along" maybe and Neutral Evil is  perhaps "a pox on all your houses!" True Neutral remains about balance. […]

  • Actual Play: Blue Rose AGE "The Mask of Ebban" Part the First
    by Matt Borselli on November 25, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    Played March 2017The following was presented at and published in the 263rd Aldis Bardic Symposium.Editor's Note: This rendition of "The Mask of Ebban" is the earliest known recitation of the tale, written verbatim by an unnamed Bard. His or her notebook was found in the ruins of a monster's lair just last year and it is unknown when it was recorded. However, it was included in the notebook with tales recorded in Lysana's Crossing, near the Great Veran Marsh, so perhaps it was told in a tavern or inn in that place.This tale differs from later tellings (see Notes for Aldis Bardic Symposium #258 and #247) as being less embellished than previous. All, however, have the hallmark of a tall tale, from a well known tall tale teller. Unfortunately, the veracity of the claims made herein are still suspect, as the official record, written and signed by all the principle Sovereign's Finest involved in the situation, is either missing some of the salient points or completely contradict them. |1>Take this, as with many tales and folklore, with a grain of salt.You want a tale, you say? Well, draw three ales, bring over that platter of beef -- oh and grab those cheese biscuits, too -- and sit on down with my friends and me, because I have a tale for you! My diverse companions and I traveled to the Pavin Weald, to the Tanglewood, and encountered many horrific dangers and wondrous sights, we battled smokey enemies, danced with danger and recovered an 800 year old ladle!  |2>No, no, don't take my word for it, my friends are right here. They can confirm everything (including the ladle). //turning to Tobin// This is Tobin Morid, a man from Rezea, an Archer without compare, my fellow cadet in the Sovereign's Finest. //turning to Nour// And our cadet trainer, Nour, a Night Person, fierce in both loyalty to Aldis and with a sword, a worthy teacher (and she's a fine dancer, too .... but I get ahead of myself). And I? Who am I? Ajax! A Rhy-fox of Aldis, short in stature, long of tail, perpetually hungry for cheese biscuits and with a nose for adventure; a finder of secrets, a teller of tales, a sharp player of the odds ( //shrugs// sure, a bit of a rogue, but a lovable one and an honest one...at least mostly honest). You can trust me //wink// when I tell you that this tale isn't longer than my own! Az mah ... //mouth full of cheese biscuit, swallows// ... as I was saying, we three were in the Pavin Weald, in the Tanglewood. We came to a guard tower along the Kern border, ready for action!  But we found it deserted. Where were the guards? We heard a weak mind-call, seeking aid! But where? We knew not but we three stood together to find that hapless soul and save them! A sprite named Florin told us (for the price of one of Tobin's biscuits, not one of mine) that the three border patrol soldiers were not here. According to the sprite, a grumpy one came and went, leaving two others to guard here but they were gone, for several days. Florin promised to lead us to where they went. Into the Tanglewood go we! //stands on table, striking a heroic pose with tail waving high, while secretly scarfing a biscuit from Tobin's plate// We traveled through many tangles and brambles. Suddenly, before I could call "To Arms!", we were attacked by four foul, grey-black ichor-laden, corrupted wolves! The fight was fierce, I was beset by three of them while my friends bravely fought a single one! |3> (//soothing tone// No, no, dearest Nour and Tobin, don't fret, the story and memories of this trying time will soon pass). //acting out the battle with mugs of ale, forks and knives, and cheese biscuits as the corrupt wolves (eaten messily as they are defeated)// The three sorely wounded me and then two foolishly turned their backs on me to attack my friends, leaving their fellow to finish me off. It was a grim moment that could have gone badly for us but we rallied. It was a glorious fight, with Nour cutting swathes of black ichor from them, Tobin filling them with arrows and me biting them mightily, leading and aiding my friends although gravely wounded. Once we bested one, the rest fell one by one until the end came and Nour's sword finished the last. My boon companions rushed to my aid and rendered sweet succor to my wounds //hugs Nour and Tobin, one with each foreleg//. After ridding myself of the foul taste of corruption in my mouth from my bites on the foul corrupt beasts (allow me a respite to wash that taste away yet again with some ale and, perhaps, another biscuit), we examined the corpses. Normal wolves were turned into corrupt Creatures of Evil (TM)! What evil being could have done such a thing? |4>Continuing on, we chanced upon one of the border guards, a Vata'an named Taleith, unconscious and very badly injured. We rendered aid and he told us his tale. His fellow guard and lover, Dartiz, and he often wandered to an old ruined manor nearby. They knew they should maintain eternal vigilance here on the border but boredom and a desire for adventure prompted them to range farther afield than normal. On their most recent visit to the manor, Dartiz picked up a strange mask and attacked! Taleith barely escaped and collapsed on the way to get help from their senior border guard Braxton. Thank the gods we found him! That mask must have possessed Dartiz! Oh, woe, this tale is sad and terrifying! We escorted Taleith a short way back to where we fought the corrupted wolves and asked him about them but his knowledge was scant. He did not encounter them before but there must be a connection to Dartiz and the mask. I searched my lore for anything about this area and remembered that a Sorcerer named Ebban lived in the Tanglewood during the Kingdom of Thorns. Perhaps the border guards had found his manor? |5>Florin the sprite promised to help Taleith back to the guard tower and they departed. Ah, boon companions depart from our sides too often! Before he left, Taleith told us to tell Dartiz "The Stars will Wait until He is Free". We travelled on, cutting our way through the Tanglewood, climbing a hill where we found ourselves in a circle of standing stones.... but not alone. //turns to a young listener, with care and concern// Do you like to dance, lad? Well, there is evil in the world that can corrupt even dancing! And therein continues the tale. Within the stone circle was a Fae Reveler, alternating crying and laughing, cloaked in darkness. It was a very eerie scene! I stepped forward, with my companions ready behind. She looked at us and began to dance, trying to entice us into her hypnotic steps. Tobin and I resisted but Nour was fell afoul of this enchantment and began dancing (and fine dancing she did!). |6> |7>Realizing that the Fae was corrupted and enspelled herself, we sought to subdue her but were forced to fight for our very lives, amidst a wild dance and lighting shooting from her chest! I aided both Tobin and Nour to defeat her and as she fell, her cloak of darkness dispersed into nothingness, as did her body. Mourning her tragic corruption and death, we strove on and found ourselves at the ruined manor. The manor stood dark, with a stables to one side. We sneakily //cough// er, ah, boldly approached, and entered a hole in one wall. There we found ourselves in a strange laboratory, with a desk that contained a board with sprite wings pinned to it and weird mechanical sprite wings on the desk. We bravely searched the room and found an elixir of healing, as well as parts of an ancient journal. My kind friends insisted that I partake in the elixir, to heal my grievous injuries sustained at the claws of the corrupted wolves and from the lightning of the corrupted Fae. I demurred but they insisted further and so I drank the mint-flavored liquid, leading to cool healing. Feeling much better, I joined the others to read the journal. We surmised it was written by Ebban 800 years ago and in it he explains that "the only way to be uncorruptable is to be fully corrupt" and that he can wear a mask of corruption and take it off and not be corrupted. Shocking! |8>We continued to search the manor, finding more parts of the journal, where it read that Ebban had a corpse of a Darkfiend that he was going to experiment on. |8>We found the main hall, the library, Ebban's master bedroom and servants' quarters and the kitchen, where, yes, //nodding sagely// we found an 800 year old ladle! We also found a crest, carved into the master bedpost, faded and worn, but we made a copy. |9>Finally, we reached a door that was closed, locked with an arcane lock! Listening carefully at the door, we heard nothing. Surely, this was the place we needed to be! But how to get through? Tobin looked at the lock and doubted he could pick it, it being magical and all. But the door was old, as old and weak as all the other wood in this ruined place. I pointed out a section of stone railing in the great hall that could be used as a battering ram and Nour and Tobin fetched it. What terrors lay behind that door? What EVIL (TM) would we three mighty heroes face? Would Nour have another opportunity to dance? As Nour and Tobin swung the stone railing towards the door .... What? Ah, yes. It is late and we are tired from traveling. Have no fears, my friends, //gobbles up the last of the cheese biscuits// we will finish the tale tomorrow.... The Tale of Ajax, Tobin and Nour, against The Mask of Ebban! |10>Flagnotes:|1> The current whereabout of Tobin, Ajax and Nour are unknown.|2> The "Ladle of Ebban" is displayed in the Aldis Royal Museum, second floor, West Hall, with the descriptive label "The Ladle of Ebban, over 800 years old, recovered by Cadet Sovereign's Finest Ajax and select companions. It's powers are unknown." The ladle appears slightly bent, like it was used to hit someone over the head. How this item managed to have a place in the museum is unknown but given the actions of Ajax, nothing surprises.|3> A blatant falsehood, according to the official report. In later iterations, the number of corrupt wolves increase to 6 then 13, with Ajax reputedly fighting most of them, single-handedly. The truth was that Ajax was soundly beaten and only the stalwart actions of Tobin and Nour prevented his death that day.|4> Several adepts have expressed bafflement at what spell was used to corrupt these wolves and the Fae Reveler later encountered. Perhaps that spell was lost after the fall of the Kingdom of Thorns, only to appear centuries later in this tale. If it is again loosed upon the world, then dire times indeed face Aldis.|5> More information has been gathered about the Sorcerer Ebban. See The Kingdom of Thorns and Prominent Sorcerers by Adriá Stormfollower. Tobin is credited as a reliable and profuse source of information on Ebban in the text and there is, not unsurprisingly, no mention of Ajax.|6> No record nor witnesses have verified that Nour is a fine dancer. Attempts to ascertain this information has led to several broken legs on the part of the knowledge seekers.|7> This typcorruption induced upon this Fae Reveler is a first, according to many sages familiar with the Fae.|8> The Journal of Ebban are part of the Royal Archives and currently are unavailable for study.|9> The rubbing and line drawing of the Crest of Ebban, incorporating a flying Wyvern clutching a figure, is displayed in the Aldis Royal Museum, in the Kingdom of Thorns Annex.|10> Aldis Country Folklore and Myths by Vicenç the Sage perhaps mentions the Sorcerer Ebban and the Mask of Ebban in the Tale of the Wandering Fisherman. In the story, a lone fisherman, wandering the Tanglewood, comes to a beautiful, yet otherworldly, manor, where he meets a Sorcerer of great power who wears a mask to hide his face. The fisherman stays with him, speaking long into the night. In the morning, the fisherman discovers he had spent the evening enspelled, fooled by an illusion, when in fact he was in a ruined great house, speaking to a corpse. He fled in terror and told his tale far and wide before dying several years later in a common bar brawl. His body disappeared before he could be buried, presumably taken by the Sorcerer's corpse he spent the evening with. The story ends with the fisherman and the Sorcerer chatting amiably, one corpse to another, in a ruined manor house. […]

  • November Campaign Design XIII - Wrapping Up
    by Joseph Bloch on November 25, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    I started with this...So this will likely be my final post in the National Campaign Creation Month (NaCaCrMo) series. I've gone from a quick map and a couple of notes on a piece of paper to a campaign setting I could run tomorrow.There are maps both of the setting itself on a large scale, and a smaller zoom-in region for initial play. The three major powers are sufficiently sketched out, with interesting politics and personalities, to sustain me for years. There's also an added layer of religious tension, with a schism in one church, and a completely different religion for both of them to unite in loathing of.There are NPCs with their own agendas, as well as power groups besides the political and religious figures. The whole is set up with a logical reason for the PCs to have limited knowledge of the area, as well as with a built-in "frontier" complete with ruined towns and cities. My self-imposed goal of having something radically different is fulfilled by having those ruins to replace the traditional"gilded hole" dungeon.I'm very pleased with the result....and ended up with this.A note on my methodology. Quite a few people have asked how I got so much detail in those posts. The answer is that there's no real trick to it. I just wrote, and kept writing. I would start with the basic premise, think of something that made it unique, move on to the personalities behind the place, and gave them something to make them distinctive. Remembering what I had written in the past, I could then bounce those differences off one another to create the interactions between them, and that formed the basis for the political alliances and interactions. They're fairly commonplace tropes, when you strip them down - the rich widow, the inept ruler, the guy with a grudge against another - but put them all together and watch them bounce off one another.All in all, this was a very fun exercise, and thanks also to the other folks who took on the same challenge. I never expected it, but please do post your results and progress in the comments here! Be sure to give links, so we can see what you came up with. […]

  • RPG Submissions Open Publisher List
    by Jeff Duncan on November 25, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    Alright, alright -alright...  The RPG Submissions Open Publisher List (listed alphabetically) is posted and we've made a separate page for this blog here. As it stands we have 12 RPG publishers. I will do my best to keep this content relevant, so if you notice a broken link, or a change of status in regards to the these companies (below), let me know in the comments. If you know of an RPG company I'm not including and that company currently has an open call for RPG content, please drop me a line and links to the company site.   D20 PFSRDPublication: Varies; Third Party Publishing & Site ContentDesired Content: PathfinderPublishing Schedule: VariesFormat: PDF & site content Rate of Pay: 1 cents/wordNotes: Best to send a query on the Get Published page here or check the Freelancer Open Call on the Paizo message boards: here. D20 PFSRD is supported through Patreon here.Submissions Open: Varies; last active call October 24th 2017 EN WorldPublications: En5ider (D&D 5E), Eons Magazine (What's O.L.D. is N.E.W. [WOIN] roleplaying game system) & Trailseeker (Pathfinder)Desired Content: D&D 5th Edition, Pathfinder, What's O.L.D. is N.E.W. (WOIN) RPG, & system neutral articlesPublishing Schedule: regular and on goingFormat: PDF (printable sheets to a binder) Rate of Pay: 3 cents/wordNotes: Each publication has a separate editor; start here. Though you'll likely find it on your own, here are EN World's writers guidelines. All publications are supported through Patreon. Links: En5ider, Eons Magazine, Trailseeker.Submissions Open: Yes; click on the start here link (above) and pitch your ideas an editor  Publication: Site Content; RPG News & ReviewsDesired Content: RPG industry coverage, reviews, gamer-interest profiles, news & commentaryPublishing Schedule: RegularFormat: Web content Rate of Pay: 4 cents/wordNotes: The link here, will get you started.Submissions Open: Yes' query the editor with your idea(s). Kenzer & CompanyPublication: Knights of the Dinner TableDesired Content: HackMaster, Aces & Eights, Reviews RPG Articles, Adventures; system neutral dungeon traps, magic itemsPublishing Schedule: MonthlyFormat: Print & PDF Rate of Pay: 3 cents/wordNotes: Submissions Guidelines are here & here. New submitters should look over both links.Submissions Open: YesMagpie GamesPublication: Fate CodexDesired Content: RPG Articles related to running Fate or ideas with running other storyteller type RPGs as well as system neutral content.Publishing Schedule: MonthlyFormat: PDF Rate of Pay: 5 cents/wordNotes: Fate Codex is supported through Patreon. Submission guidelines are here.Submissions Open: Yes Modiphius EntertainmentPublication: ModiphiaDesired Content: Looking for adventures and content specific to their house system.Publishing Schedule: Quarterly (ish)Format: PDF Rate of Pay: $30 in credit towards Modiphius products. Notes: Query you ideas to the editor, by picking up an issue of Modiphia #1 or Modiphia #2 (affiliate links) on drivethrurpg or rpgnow or the Modiphius site here. Submissions Open: Yes Palladium BooksPublication: The RifterDesired Content: The Rifter publishes a variety of content for Palladium Book's Megaversal System, and occasionally publishes system neutral RPG articles. Palladium Books publishes a variety of genres: fantasy, mystery, zombies, and science-fiction.Publishing Schedule: QuarterlyFormat: PDF Rate of Pay: $10 per page of printed text (roughly 1-2 cents/word)Notes: Palladium Books prefers submissions by (snail) mail their submission guidelines are here.Submissions Open: Yes Pinnacle Entertainment GroupPublication: Savage Worlds ExplorerDesired Content: Savage Worlds content: adventures, creature features, character archetypes, weapons, vehicles, gear etc., and/or pitch a unique idea.Publishing Schedule: QuarterlyFormat: PDF Rate of Pay: 3-5 cents/word; based on experience.Notes: Submission guidelines to get you started are here. Query/pitch the editor.Submissions Open: Yes Raging Swan PressPublication: Various third party publishing productsDesired Content: D&D 5E, Pathfinder & system neutral content.Publishing Schedule: VariesFormat: PDF Rate of Pay: 11 cents/wordNotes: Raging Swan Press has a good rep for an indie publisher and pays (as far as I know) the best per word rate in the RPG industry. They work through support on Patreon, here. Submissions are currently closed, but I'm leaving this here in the hopes they will be soon. The submission guidelines are here.Submissions Open: No Rite PublishingPublication: PathwaysDesired Content: Pathfinder Third Party Publishing & System Neutral content.Publishing Schedule: MonthlyFormat: PDF Rate of Pay: 1-2 cents/word.Notes: Pathways is supported through Patreon here. The submission guidelines are here.Submissions Open: Yes Steve Jackson GamesPublication: PyramidDesired Content: GURPS & System Neutral Publishing Schedule: MonthlyFormat: PDF Rate of Pay: 4 cents/wordNotes: The toughest thing about writing for GURPS is getting a handle on the WYSIWTG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) format. The guideline index is here. Steve Jackson Games also publishes GURPS material with Warehouse 23, modules in short PDF format. Details for that is here. Submissions Open: Yes The Gauntlet PatreonPublication: The CodexDesired Content: OSR, Dungeon World, & System Neutral; Fantasy & Tech-PunkPublishing Schedule: MonthlyFormat: PDF (only available through Patreon; click the header)Rate of Pay: 5 cents/wordNotes: Each issue of the Codex is themed. Content themes (a list of what's upcoming) and query information is here. If you're not apart of the Patreon you can get a look (and a better idea of what to submit) at a free issue of Codex: Madness here.Submissions Open: YesZenith Games SitePublication: Varies; Third Party Publishing Products Desired Content: Pathfinder & System Neutral; FantasyPublishing Schedule: Infrequent Product Format: PDFRate of Pay: 1 cent/wordNotes: Calls for content are posted on the D20PFSRD Freelancer Open Call Forum (here). Publisher is open for project pitches, outside of content calls. Query by email (click the header). Most recent content call: Oct 17th, 2017Submissions Open: Varies. Publisher puts out calls on a semi-regular basis.Note: Submissions Open intends to be a freelancer's resource for the RPG Industry. If you're a publisher or game creator and interested in promoting a need for freelance writers or artists, drop me a line and I'll post your company data here on this blog. […]

  • Women for Call Cthulhu
    by Konsumterra on November 25, 2017 at 8:30 am

    Two of my players playing old women reminded me I had been distracted by Bright Young Things and needed to do some more senior women. What a mysteriously prejudiced old grog I am.Apologies for this delay, I had partly done but thought Id better finish...Maybe a sheet of hobos...?Possibly a 1890s set with cowboy stuff could be good […]

  • Mysterious Patron Hooks
    by Konsumterra on November 24, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Patrons often employ adventurers and send them on quests. Many have their own secrets. Many hire adventurers or sponsor murder hobos for all kinds of reasons. patrons are handy to motivate adventurers and can eventually lead to more adventures and revelations. I'm not a huge fan of the heist+betrayal trope which is especially played out in SF games. In FRPG the patron mostly wants the party to enter a dungeon and rob monsters which isn't so awful. Many gifts are in fact adventure seeds. Many of these are quick adventure seeds. In shadelport many magicians like to spy on adventurers and broadcast as illusions to audiences. The Baron's Dungeon Games are the most popular and best knows with a viewing chamber designed for elites in the palace and other more common ones throughout the city. The common man gets to see puppet show and actors versions only.Im working through my old request lists and finding them less ambitious to my own stuff.d10 Means of secrecy and delivery01 Urchin messengers who know nothing02 Animal messenger like a pigeon or dog possibly a familiar03 Messages just appear in adventurers room by magic04 Has a agent sworn to secrecy05 Uses a merchant or tavern keeper or shop owner06 Thief slips note into pocket where to collect goods07 Courier service with no return address08 Strongbox in bank vault09 Strange cowled figure who does not speak10 Clerk from a lawfirm who knows nothingd10 Patron Goals01 To destroy minions and plans of a rival schemer02 To mould adventurers into a force for good deeds03 To recover relics and documents for some scheme04 To disturb the order and shake up long stagnant forces05 To undermine the economy and social order with cashed up murder hobos06 To recover goods and knowledge for scholarly interest07 To recover artworks and treasures desired for a collection08 To clear our haunted places to occupy with own minions 09 To have some entertainment10 To gain favours from important peopled10 Patron is really...01 A horrid cult leader02 A shapeshifting creature in disguise03 A noble scheming against rivals04 A wealthy status hungry merchant05 A charitable wealthy noble06 A rich scholar07 A former adventurer08 A powerful priest09 A publisher seeking lurid tales to print and sell10 A wizard seeking arcane secretsd100 Hooks from a Patron01 Map to a cave system location02 Map to a dungeon complex location03 Map of a dungeon level04 Map of a secret temple05 Map of a ruined castle06 Map to a haunted house location07 Map to pirate treasure08 Map to a secret cult shrine09 Map to a hidden crypt10 Map to a secret gang headquaters11 Deed to a haunted townhouse12 Chest belonging to missing adventurers13 Book belonging to ancient wizard14 Sea chest belonging to missing sea captain15 Deed to a seaside cottage16 Deed to a forgotten farm house17 Deed to a family crypt18 Puzzlebox belonging to sorceror unopened19 Box of unopened old potion bottles and papers20 Box of old posters with maps scrawled on back in charcoal21 Box with a magic mouth delivers riddle22 Strange glowing crystal23 Scroll with a history spell and a rusty dagger24 Scroll with s Speak to dead spell and a human hand25 Scroll with invisible writing26 Scroll with coded message27 Scroll with prehuman writing28 Stone tablet with ancient script29 Talking skull in a box30 Box with a chicken brooding a monster egg31 Kobold in a sack who knows dungeon location32 Address of a old murder hobo who knows secret dungeon entrance33 Address of a former slave who spent years lost in the underland34 Address of a sea captain in sailors home who visited a strange island35 Deed to a mine where miners all disapeared36 Spirit in a bottle seeks resolution to murder and betrayal 37 Painting an night spirit maid enters dreams seeking aid against injustice38 Talking goat knows location of evil cult but nobody believes him39 Pair of doves, once young lovers betrayed by evil uncle40 Orc slave who knows where local orc tribes live and a dungeon41 Scrawled map with passwords for cultist meetingplace in sewers42 Squat green demon idol with recognisable coastline and sat on bottom43 Diary of subterranean explorer44 Wooden board with orc treasure map carved on surface45 Map showing local monoliths and several marked with evil symbols 46 A pamphlet telling wild exageration of party recent adventure47 Contract tender notice from assassins guild mentioning party48 Erotic caricature of party member from lurid underground press49 Defamatory cartoon print of party being sold in market from famous character artist50 Directions to satirical puppet show about adventurers51 Strange black seal that fits into slot in prehuman sculpture in ruined wall nearby52 Report from secret police spy indiating party being watched53 List of guild master names with crosses through them and dates54 Location of a thieves guild on back of wanted poster for gang55 Tickets to see a monster vivisection in wizard school56 Tickets to front seat of a execution57 Tickets to a stage show58 Two for one meal voucher at posh reseraunt59 Crate of wine bottles of exotic foreign wine60 Address of drug house where lotus eaters lay about in smokey haze61 Lease for tiny shop or alehouse for d4+1 years 62 Key that opens locked sewer entries near city walls63 Family tree with note on back indicating sole survivor to be sold at an auction64 Note indicating previously unknown sibling of character lives65 Will naming character in old sealed letter written 20 years ago66 Dark elf map showing several tree forts in the dark forest67 Potion that reveals past life and location of treasure to drinker68 Painting of the party with gilded frame69 Lease for 4 years of large loft of warehouse/apartment building on harbour70 Deed for a small 16 man sailing boat in drydock with one month paid fees71 Location of sinkhole and notes on local disapearances72 Token to see a particular prostitute in a noble whorehouse73 Bottle with old island map inside74 Turtle plastron with native carvings of islands75 Huge gilded key that looks like from a palace76 Map of known world with unknown islands marked on by later person77 Map of known world showing a huge landmass and larger coastlines78 Map showing unknown buried tombs in known location 79 Tattooed mummified severed hand of a wizard80 Portrait of noble from long ago spitting image of a character81 Portrait of handsome youth character finds alluring, lover from a past life82 Arrow that always points same direction and vibrates as draw closer to target83 Crate of delicious popular beer and ket to brewery back door 84 Mummy in a crate of serpent man that a cult wants badly85 Ivory Idol in box that cult need back to call demon master86 Relic of a church will be very grateful for return and offer healing magic87 Crate with monster statue that a cult is trying to awaken to life88 Crate with cocoon of catfishman wizard hibernating for thousands of years89 Crate with statue of ancient woman actually petrified with stone to flesh scroll90 An old book of seamonster and fishmen sightings on the coast91 An old book mentioning dungeons that might still be found92 An old book with family trees that disprove title of a current noble93 Suicide note of youth naming horrible villain who ruined many lives94 Collection of prehuman coins and map of a building site in city95 Letter describing someone finding a brick mine near a village96 Notice of a ship on treasure expedition needing senior crew97 Notice of men needed for expedition into mountains98 Note of praise from secret admirer with 1000gp99 Key and address for storage locker in warehouse100 Mummified shaman curled up in box with tattooed map of wasteland location […]

  • Weird Revisited: The Infernal Mob
    by Trey on November 24, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    The above is Mammon, boss of the Pluton family, ably rendered by Jeremy (that Dandy in the Underworld). He's one of diabolic mobsters that control Hell in the world of Weird Adventures. Check out these posts if you missed them back in 2011:     Andras: "Hell's Hoods: The Owl"     Avernus family: "Hell's Hoods: Meet the Avernus Family"     Belial: "Hell's Hoods: Sin's Queen"     Bifrons: "Hell's Hoods: Two-Faced Politician"     Mammon: "Hell's Hoods: The Fat Man"     Moloch: "Hell's Hoods: The Bull"     Pluton family: "Hell's Hoods: Casino Infernale" […]

  • d100 Gossip During the Revolution
    by Konsumterra on November 24, 2017 at 3:35 am

    Sequel to http://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2017/11/peasant-revolt-war-zone.htmlThis is stuff people discuss in taverns during the revolt. Different sympathies, spies, raconteurs,  conservatives and radicals. This does not need treasure table like the dragon series. A follow up of a siege war zone for towns and cities under siege would work well.Obviously some of these rumours are lies and propaganda spread by bards and spies. Some of these rumours could start the next riot. Everyday people are killed for spreading such gossip. Not picking a side makes you the enemy of both sides eventually. Just when you pick a side you hear of some awful act committed by your faction. The dungeon is looking safer every day and many flee to the wilderness to hide till the war ends. On the southern continent of the Empire perpetual revolt and civil war have shattered the empire for a decade now. The petulant sadist boy emperor has become more restrained but it is too late for peace now.d100 Gossip During the Revolution01 The ruler has more sympathy for lords and foreign interests than common people02 The nobility will say anything to maintain their privilege and cannot be trusted03 The rich are in league with devils and have sold soul of the nation to hell04 The rich enjoy finest food and clothes while the commoners live in filth and squalor05 The tyrants and the rich seek to keep the poor slaves 06 The rich have brought foreign religious ideas and keep the poor out of their churches07 The lords of the land feasted on fine food while shooting the poor dressed as animals08 The nobility have no idea how the poor live and believe the gods favour them09 The rich will never learn and so we need to execute them all, long live the revolt!10 The rich are really witches who eat babies and summon demons to keep them in power11 The poor are ignorant filthy beasts and need the guidance of their betters12 The mob commit awful ungodly acts of cruelty and depravity and deserve death13 The poor are scruffy godless heathens and in the name of god need to be yoked14 Commoners have been killing and eating bankers and merchants alive15 The poor only act like the faithful but really worship dark pagan powers and demons16 The poor brought their dreadful condition on themselves if only they worked harder17 The poor dream above their god ordained station and deserve their suffering18 If only the poor would accept their lot in life and not torment themselves with fantasy19 All the wretched poor from servants to household cant be trusted, all plot treason20 Filthy peasants have called for the head of our ruler may the gods smite them all21 Witches have been seen swarming in the skies by night spreading chaos22 A noble general has a pet clearly a devilish familiar spirit advising his cruel acts23 Churches serving rich and poor are on fire and priests have been murdered  24 Whole villages have been burned and the land is scattered with refugees25 The river is choked with massacred corpses of both sides26 Only the axe makers have benefited from all the executions on both sides27 Foreign powers have been watching with envious eyes and waiting to invade28 Foreign powers are terrified the revolt will spread to their lands29 Foreign powers caused this war with agents and troublemakers30 The mob stormed the prisons freeing cutthroats and murderers to roam the land31 Criminals and zealots have seized power over the mob leading them to greater atrocities32 Whole noble families have been murdered, ancient lines now gone forever33 A great peasant leader tried to talk terms of peace but the nobles just murdered him34 The mob have been burning rich homes full of art and fine things35 The countryside is in ruins and will never be the same again36 The common man is armed and nobody is safe from the mob37 New leaders keep appearing and being replaced in coup after bloody coup38 The ruler has invited foreign troops into the country, a gross act of treason 39 Bandits and criminals have risen to prominence in the mob40 Soon the mob will crown a murderer in mockery of the nobility  41 Everyone is hungry and noble and peasant has turned to canibalism42 The rulers are bankrupt and forcing nobles to lend money to the war effort43 Noble armies desperate for food have been looting the countryside and the farm folk44 Peace, land and bread has become the chant of the mob marching on the empty palaces45 Foreign nations have promised the mob gold for their war efforts to undermine the rulers46 Many records have been burned by the mob damaging the nobles tax revenue47 Each day brings fresh stories of atrocities on both sides48 The war is no longer about right and wrong, now it is just a matter of survival49 Signs and omens of evil are being reported daily 50 The whole court are engaged in demonic orgies and need to be killed51 Everyone is being accused of espionage, best just lay low and don't stand out52 Both sides have been sending adventurers to loot tombs and dungeons for war funds53 A faction have begun issuing paper money they claim will be worth silver after the war54 Torture and murder have become so commonplace nobody will be unscarred by the war55 The war has turned every side utterly evil all claiming necessity for their atrocities56 The ruler has had men steal from the church for war funds but promises he will repay57 Common men starve and give their all, nobles still dress like fops and expect the best58 Velvet, lace, silk and finery are signs of noble scum and will be banned by new order59 Only strict service to the gods will save us now, stern morals not grog will win60 Just the other day our ruler enjoyed roast swan, pheasant and the finest wine61 The price of just one of our rulers outlandish outfits could feed a town for a year62 In this new war weapons are changing, gunpowder is becoming more common63 A prison for noble families has been set up in a ruined castle where they await death64 Plague has broken out in places under seige, it must be the end of the world65 A witch hunter has himself been accused of witchcraft after burning dozens of women66 Common country priests allied with the poor demand the church share its wealth67 A bishop imploring the common folk be patient was torn apart by the mob68 Our just ruler has decreed anyone in revolt will be damned to hell and executed69 Some villages have been depopulated leaving them in ruins 70 The ruler's hunt for traitors has left so few able men they cannot manage the war effort71 Eveyday the ruler sees traitors everywhere and sends several allies to be executed72 A assassin injured the ruler while dining on lampreys, just a commoner with a gun73 A general enraged the mob by roping peasants to the mouths of cannons as a threat74 A mob leader has declared all nobles everywhere must die and a new order begin75 A noble woman was thrown to the mob and killed, enraging the noble armies76 Printing presses have proliferated and both sides print lurid pamphlets or enemy crimes77 Commoners parading in looted noble fashion were attacked by a rival mob of zealots78 The ruler was saddened after discovery he had executed his advisors due to enemy lies 79 A woman has has led a mob to victory over a royalist army, surely the world is ending80 A stench of death covers the land, wild dogs roam feeding off the dead, woe to our land81 Alchemists have made the secrets of black powder commonplace changing everything82 Humanoid monsters from the wasteland have been massing and raiding daily83 Cultists have infiltrated both sides in secrets, the rich versus the poor is just a sham84 The factions of demon worshipers controlling both sides seek to trigger the apocalypse85 Enemy armies have been crossing our borders killing and looting as the will86 The king has allied with our nations enemies promising them who knows what87 A noble scholar has suggested the poor all be killed and replaced with humanoid slaves88 I have seen the leaders of the mob drinking and dining like nobles the hypocrites!89 The river is so choked with corpses that the water is fouled with plague90 Rat swarms have grown so bold they enter houses and eat whole families alive91 The ruler has contracted wizards to make him orcs and zombies to win the war92 Werewolves and vampires have been more open, easily feeding and killing in the chaos93 A witch hunter confessed under torture to be in it for the money and to rob old widows94 Cats are the minions of evil, these devil familiars have been the cause of the whole war95 Recently a mob burned a family of nobles and imps fled their burning bodies96 Our ruler has been bewitched by his mistress, a succubus sent to ruin the kingdom 97 One of the royal children has fallen ill and another was captured by the mob98 In these dark days only the church can save us, demons walk our land in the open99 One faction of the mob propose all property and children be held in common property100 Noblemen have been renting out their wives to raise war funds the dirty bastards […]

  • November Campaign Design XII - Artanian Blood Magic
    by Joseph Bloch on November 23, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    As noted previously, one thing I want to use to differentiate Artanian magic from the more standard type used by the colonists from Hanar-across-the-sea is its basis in blood sacrifice. This is thematically similar to Defiler magic in the Dark Sun setting, which consumes plant life in order to function. Artanian blood magic is similar, but uses the life force of animals and intelligent creatures to function.Each magic-user spell has an Artanian equivalent, plus there will be some Artanian-only spells. There is a new spell, Read Artanian Magic, which is required for magic-users to be able to utilize such spells. Spell progression lists are the unchanged.Artanian blood magic spells do not need to be memorized. They are read directly from the magic-user's spell book. There is no limit to the number of spells that can be cast each day, as long as the requisite hit dice of creatures are sacrificed to "fuel" the spell. All Artanian spells have a somatic component in addition to the normal components; this consists of the killing of a living animal or intelligent creature(s) at the climax of the spell.The total number of hit dice of sacrificial offerings needed to cast a spell is given below. If the subject is docile, immobilized, or willing, then no roll to hit is required, neither is a roll for damage. If the subject is resisting, then a normal roll to hit is required and damage should be rolled as normal. If the subject is not slain by the hit, then the spell is on hold until the magic-user abandons it or kills the required number of creatures, to a maximum of 1 turn. Only 1 spell can be on hold in this fashion at a time. Creatures with an intelligence of 6 or greater count as their full hit point totals. Creatures with an intelligence of 5 or less count as half of their normal hit dice. Creatures must be slain with a sharp weapon; it is the spilling of the blood that is required, not simply death itself.It is not necessary that the magic-user himself kill the sacrifice(s). If another does the killing, the victim must be within 10' of the caster at the time of death. For each creature being sacrificed (not each hit die), 1 segment is added to the casting time of the spell.Spell LevelLevel to CastHit Dice UsedDamage111-11 hp, 10'2312 hp, 10'351+2 hp, 15'4723 hp, 15'5933 hp, 20'61144 hp, 20'71354 hp, 25'81564 hp, 25'91775 hp, 30'Spell Level: The level of the spell being cast.Level to Cast: The minimum experience level needed to cast the spell.Hit Dice Used: The minimum hit dice needed to sacrifice to cast the spell. Assumes an INT of 6 or higher. Creatures with an INT of 5 or lower count as half. Damage: The amount of damage inflicted when the spell is cast, followed by the range. This damage will affect all creatures in the range given, friend or foe. A successful saving throw vs. magic indicates half damage (round up). The caster is similarly impacted, but gets no save.ScrollsArtanian blood magic scrolls function the same as their regular counterparts. However, creating such scrolls requires the same sacrifices as noted above for casting, in addition to any other special ingredients the ink requires.Mixing and MatchingIt is possible for a magic-user to use both Artanian spells and regular spells. Neither has an impact on the other, but if an Artanian spell is "on hold" pending the required hit dice worth of sacrifices, a regular spell will disrupt it. Similarly, a regular spell can only be used to slay an offering if the target is within 10' of the magic-user at the time the spell is cast, and only if blood is spilled (a fireball would not work, for instance, but a wizard blade would).NotesAs can be seen, Artanian magic can lead to very powerful spells earlier than normal (usually an experience level sooner), and the ability to cast an unlimited number of spells per day drastically increases their utility. However, the logistics of having the required number of sacrificial offerings to hand makes this less useful in, for instance, an adventuring party, where supplies are usually scarce and the need for mobility limits the number of creatures that can be brought. It would work much better in a setting where the magic-user stays put and can have offerings brought to him; a wizard in his tower, for instance, or a court magician with the resources of a city or a whole realm at his disposal.The need for the sacrifices to be intelligent creatures, or only be half useful, is another break on the system from a PC perspective. A clever player might bring a cartful of songbirds along (for instance), but doing so presents its own logistical challenges. It should also be remembered that the damage inflicted by the spell will potentially impact other creatures that have been brought along for the magic-user's use, not to mention the slow and steady wearing down of his own hit points as the spells are cast.Once the true implications of this form of magic are discovered and become known, it might well start a "land rush" among the major colonial powers, as they seek to root out and explore additional Artanian ruins and tombs where spell books and other magical paraphernalia might be found. I envision a situation where the colonies know that there was something different about Artanian magic, but they don't have the key just yet. Maybe it's as easy as someone finding a Read Artanian Magic spell to open the floodgates. The infrastructure relating to mass sacrifices would be put down to some horrific cult or other, and the moralistic Holy Family church would certainly see that as a cause for the Artanian Empire's fall. Not that the truth is any better from a moral standpoint, but I love to throw the PCs off the scent with in-game information that turns out to be wrong. Nothing says everything their characters know to be true has to be so... […]

  • The Miracle of the Bones
    by Joseph Bloch on November 22, 2017 at 11:38 pm

    I've been doing a lot of reading on Medieval witchcraft trials for a non-gaming project I'm working on, and over and over I see references to "the miracle of the bones" wherein an animal is killed and eaten, and then resurrected when its bones are placed in its skin, and the whole blessed. The details vary according to time and place, but that's the gist. There are obvious parallels to the Norse story of the resurrection of Thor's goats, of course.In the course of my work on the Greyhawk deities, I decided to incorporate this myth into one of their stories. Merikka, Oeridian demigoddess of agriculture, first described in the excellent module N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God and then largely forgotten except for a perfunctory entry in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer (which annoyingly and in my opinion unjustifiably reversed several details that were explicitly mentioned in the module), seemed a perfect fit. There was very little written about her, and this would add a lot of color. Here's what I came up with for her:In ancient times, there was a young woman named Merikka, an ordinary peasant girl on a farm. One day it came to pass that her village was raided by orcs, burned, and all its inhabitants put to death and eaten. All but one, that is, for her father returned from hunting in the nearby woods to find his life and family destroyed. Weeping inconsolably, he gathered up the charred and gnawed bones of his only daughter and placed them in the skin of the family work-horse, thinking to carry them off for a more decent burial than the death she received. As he reached the spot where she was to be buried, he set down the horse-skin and spoke wailing prayers of grief to Velnius, the god of the sky, wishing that simple farmers could just live their lives in peace and not bother anyone else, and digging the grave for his daughter as he did so. Suddenly he heard a horse’s whinny from behind him, and whirled around. There, before his startled eyes, was his own daughter, bright and beautiful and very much alive, along with the family horse. Both were apparently completely unharmed. Merikka smiled warmly at her father and spoke. “Your words of grief and simple desire for the safety of the farm have been heard, father. Thanks to you, I have been reborn, now a goddess, and I will try to keep the simple peace that is your due and the due of all farm-folk.” And with that she and the horse vanished, and her father became the first disciple of the goddess of agriculture. He lived a long and peaceful life thereafter, spreading the tale of his daughter’s rebirth.- The Miracle of the BonesIf you're interested in the original sources, here are some links: Ecstasies by Carlo Ginzburg, Night Battles by Carlo Ginzburg, and The Shaman of Oberstdorf by Wolfgang Behringer. […]

  • Actual Play: Blue Rose AGE RPG
    by Matt Borselli on November 22, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    I had the opportunity to play Green Ronin's Blue Rose: The AGE RPG of Romantic Fantasy a few months ago, as a player, mind you.The group was made up with:The Game Master (played by R)Ajax, the Rhy-fox (played by me)Tobin, a Rezean Expert (played by DA)Nour, a Night Person Warrior (NPC)This actually lead to a new Blue Rose AGE campaign that I'm currently in, as Ajax, with R and a bunch of new people.But I'm ahead of myself.Following are two sessions of Blue Rose AGE: The Mask of Ebban!****** Spoilers ******The following posts may have spoilers to the adventure presented in the Blue Rose AGE core rulebook. You are warned. […]

  • Wednesday Comics: Kamandi
    by Trey on November 22, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    According to the DC Comics 1976 Calendar, November 21st was the birthday of Kamandi. In the unlikely event anyone reading this blog doesn't know who Kamandi is the last human born in a underground bunker called Command D (from whence he takes his name) after a nebulous cataclysm known as the Great Disaster has cast human civilization in ruin and anthropomorphic animals have risen in their place. Kamandi was created by Jack Kirby in 1972 and his original series went on for 59 post-apocalyptic issues.In honor of Kamandi's birthday, here are the places to catch up on the highlights of his story if you are unfamiliar:Kamandi by Jack Kirby Omnibus: Kirby's original run on the title has been collected in DC Archives (out of print) and previous two volume omnibuses (also out of print). The new omnibus is schedules to be released in March of 2018. He carries a hefty price tage, but also a hefty 896 page page-count. This is the most essential reading on the list.Wednesday Comics: was a 2009 anthology published in a broadsheet format resembling a Sunday newspaper comics section. There was a serialized Kamandi story written by Dave Gibbons with art by Ryan Sook with a real comic strip feel, sort of like Prince Valiant. Sook's artwork is gorgeous. There are several other good stories in this hardcover, so you don't have to get it for Kamandi alone. A warning though: It is awkardly sized at nearly 18 inches tall, so it's tough to find a shelf for it.Kamandi Challenge: Back in the '80s DC did a sort of round robin limited series called DC Challenge. A number of DC characters appeared, but notable Kamandi did not. This year, they're doing similar sort of series, but focused on Kamandi, aptly named Kamandi Challenge. Like the original DC Challenge, Kamandi Challenge is uneven and a bit loose in its narrative as every creator tries to do something with the threads they are given. Still, it's all Kamandi and very inventive. The individual issues can be purchased digitally at Comixology or physical at your local comic book store. The collected hardcover will be out in April of 2018. […]

  • Vaults of Vyzor #25: Band Geeks
    by Jeff Rients on November 22, 2017 at 11:51 am

    RosterBrutal Pete, dwarf band leaderAdam o' the Dungheap, mercenary bassoonistLogo Tosslespanner, gnome flugel playerThombur No-Face, dwarf instrumentalistGelash Cogsteel, gnome drummerHugo the Slayer, mercenary french horn playerTinash Steamsteel, gnome tuba playerAleksandr Revzin played Brutal Pete. I mentioned to my wife the other day that Brutal Pete has been on several expeditions to the Vaults but I don't actually recall him being any more brutal than the average dungeoneer. The rest of the band were split up, three characters apiece, between Peter C and Wizard Lizard (a.k.a. Tan), but I can't find in my notes who played which characters.[The following article appeared in the evening edition of The Vyzor Voice, 10 November 2017.]Marching Band Brings Home the Goldby Vulmon BeirelMusic criticVYZOR – Brutal Pete’s marching band returned a few members short today from a grueling but apparently lucrative delve into the tunnels beneath the house formerly occupied by Goodman Johnson. Witnesses report that the band leader, along with flugelhorn player Logo Tosslespanner and tubaist Thombur No-Face, emerged from the dwelling’s root cellar with bulging pockets and burdened with a number of large sacks. Mr. No-Face was later observed buying rounds for strangers in The Green Mulberry before loudly declaring his intention of spending the next several days at the Nunnery. According to Mr. Tosslespanner, three of their band-mates perished from snakebite in the course of exploring unmapped regions, while a fourth died in an explosion caused by a malfunctioning French horn. The losses leave the ranks of the marching band sorely depleted and completely lacking a percussion section or any kind of bass instrument. Nevertheless, the expedition may be judged a success in terms of the considerable amount of gold and gems that appears to have been retrieved by the ensemble. Cryptic answers given by Mr. Tosslespanner during a brief interview, along with the recollections of Vyzorians who were regaled by Mr. No-Face in The Green Mulberry, indicate that the major focus of the expedition was the use of a special apparatus for breathing underwater to retrieve a treasure chest from the depths of a pool infested with vicious fish. It was unclear at press time when, or whether, the band would recruit new members. In the opinion of this writer, it is to be hoped that the ensemble will quickly fill out its ranks and resume its essential place in the artistic world of our fair community.Brutal Pete's tale of the delve...My first memories are of ripping out of my birth caul, which my father had formed from precious metals, the flesh of the hated ones, his own blood, and his labor. (They call us dwarves greedy and spiteful, for we lust for treasure and wage ceaseless war on our enemies, but this is our genesis and renewal). But my first true home is Vyzor and it felt good to delve below the Sorcerer's keep again. Not only that, but to lead my well-trained marching band, the Blue Brutal Beat Band (the 4 B's baby, the Quad Threat, the Quatro-Sting) armed with experimental music instruments made my blood lust sing. By a roll of the dice, the Violet Vaults were chosen. We descended the ladder, chased away some poisonous asps and noted some diving equipment. In excellent formation we arrived at the pool full of piranhas. There was a large rectangular shape in the water and our instincts pushed us to investigate. Retrieving the diving equipment, we made a plan for Hugo the Slayer to play his French Horn of Concealment so Adam o' the Dung Heap could hide as some sort of box or a collection of loose tiles. Thus, the piranhas would be confounded. But calamity occurred and the French Horn exploded, ending Hugo's life, and causing us collateral damage. Hugo's training showed, for not once as he died did I see anything but a look of heroic determination on his face. I nodded once in respect to his severed and smoldering head as it flew past me and I saw it blink once, acknowledging my salute. Logo Tosslespanner's alternate plan involved us slaying some asps, putting their bodies in a chainmail shirt, and bobbing that bundle in the the water to distract the piranhas, so Adam could safely descend to the bottom of the pool. The plan was a great success and what we retrieved was an iron chest. The final stash of the thieves guild! Stuffing our pockets, we carried the chest back to the entrance and made several trips topside to empty the chest fully. Our second death occured now. Adam, on guard below, was attacked by two snakes. Bitten, he fell dead to their poison. We carried his body up and laid him on a bier of treasure.With the remainder of our time we decided to explore this level. All the humans were dead, so we "went dark," relying on our infravision. South down a wide corridor of pillars, then west to a 4-way intersection. Acting on a suspicion, I discovered a secret door and tunnel to the north. The band encountered large lightning bugs and resolved to try one more door, before retreating. I must take much of the blame for what happened next. Looking at what scraps of map I had for this level, I believed we had moved south and west of the lizard mummy king's throne room. Perhaps we had. When we opened a final door to the west a wall of snakes collapsed onto us. Tinash Steamsteel and Gelash Cogsteel fell to the venom of their bites. As spittle bubbled from their mouths I glared, making sure they understood to show no pain to our enemies as they died. Logo shrewdly played his Flugel Horn of Stilting to rise above the mass of snakes. Thombur No-Face blew on The Transparent Abomination and summoned men-sized life-draining Purple Tribbles, which battled the asps. We retreated topside, leaving two band members and some valuable magical instruments under a tide of venomous snake foes. Like a sore-tooth, this will pain me until vengeance and retrieval are done. Final note from the DMThe body of Adam o' the Dungheap, well-known smelly hireling, was successfully retrieved from the dungeon. Thanks to the necromantic arts of Pete Loudly, he has been reincarnated as an orc. He still stinks to high heaven. ONGOING ROLL OF THE DEADTinash Steamsteel (gnome band member), Hugo the Slayer (band member), Gelash Cogsteel (gnome band member), Adam o' the Dung Heap (band member), Magic Meryl (Nick Kuntz), Arthur (faithful NPC doggie), Gachos Disco-Wang (NPC demon), John Lackwit (o-level loser), Szazsraz the Lizard Wizard (Chris Wilson), Iter the Physick (NPC), That Pictish Bastard (NPC), Bufo the Wizard (Makali’i F), Beefo the Gerblin Drinking Buddy (NPC), Willy Whats-His-Name (0-level Loser), Poor Brother Rupert (cleric hireling), unnamed serving boy (0-level hireling), Gwalin Rustbritches (dwarf hireling), Jarrod the Magic-User (Ian Reilly), Jonesy (0-level NPC), Little Liam Linkboy (0-level NPC), Limpy the Naileteer (Jeff Call), Engsal the Enchanter (Alex Joneth), Elfbraham Lincoln (Jeff Call), Littlens (0-level NPC), Biggens (0-level NPC), Stimpy (0-level NPC), Ren (0-level NPC)AZURE TOWER GUEST LISTSigismunde von Flegelschnecke (Alexei McDonald), Sapphean Gratchit (Josh Rapp), Lobat Greet (Jesse Goldshear), Brax of the Tallstones (Brad Black), Mike O'Nidd (Matt Barclay), Kilic (Alex Joneth), Barnabus Sleet (Maxim Golubchik), Laurantha the Unbeautiful (Cullen), Big Gnome (Luke Rejec), Szazsraz the Wizard Lizard (Chris Wilson), Rose Royce (Kiel Chenier), Sneakerly Trull (Zak S.), Ilse Raagenkampf-Sleet (Perttu Vedenoja), Persimion Finch (Galen Fogarty), Magic Meryl (Nick Kuntz), Merrill Meadows (Michael Julius), Chef (Richie Cyngler) […]

  • d100 Draconic Loot
    by Konsumterra on November 22, 2017 at 10:06 am

    When dragons become commonplace during a swarm or plague or planned invasion, draconic items become more commonplace and mostly cheaper. Except anti dragon relics and items they become more expensive. This is a list of the kind of crap in magic shops during such a event. Feel free to increase costs when dragons not under every rock or behind every cloud. Price varies from size and breed also. Prices here for shop price, they only pay about a third at best for dragon giblets and gore. Many Items are fit to be enchanted as if mithril or adamantine or meteoric steel. You might have a shop specializing in dragon gimmick stuff too. Some of these goods are actually from dragon cultists. Of course that guy has a dragon cult robe he bought it as a curio from the dragon shop, honest.Will do draconic mutations, spells and missions yet as Im still feeling out my warzone tables concept more.d10 Quick Dragon Item Types01 Fresh body parts02 Dragon taxidermy03 Arms04 Armour & Clothing05 Dragon Fluids06 Cult Items07 Dragon artworks08 Dragon texts09 Draconic potions10 Dragonbane relics d100 Draconic Loot01 Dragon Scales - a common souvenir 1sp-1gp depending on size and breed 02 Dragon Tooth - on a leather cord, polished 40-200gp depending on size03 Dragon Eye - pickled in fluid, eaten to cure eye disease or in see invisible potion 100gp04 Dragon Penis - dried used as aphrodisiac powder or fertility charm 100gp05 Dragon Skin - useful for leathercraft, clothes, +1 save vs dragon breath type 5gp/foot06 Dragon Bones - make delicious soup or good for divination 10-25gp07 Dragon Flesh - delicious rich meat, heals 1HP 20gp a meal or pound08 Dragon Heart - if eaten makes consumer immune to fear 400gp09 Dragon Brain - used in dragon control potions from 100gp depending on type10 Dragonfoot umbrella stand - tasteless decor item 75gp also good for staves, wands, etc11 Mounted Dragon Head - 300gp+ depending on type, popular in taverns or noble houses12 Dragonclaw - often gripping a glass ball or a rail 75gp13 Dragon Beard - in display box some think they have magic power 75gp14 Dragon Tail - often used as door stopper or hung from roof 100gp15 Dragon Horn - horns mounted on wood or used as military signal horn 100gp16 Dragon Egg - insides removed, often decorated or carved by craftsmen 100gp 17 Pickled Dragon Guts - leftovers from stuffing pickled in vinegar or brine 60gp18 Stuffed Dragon Man -  often posed in various ways 100gp19 Stuffed Baby Dragon - often posed in various ways 100gp20 Stuffed Dragon -  will leave plenty of organs and meat to sell 100gp/HD21 Dragon Claw Knife  - ornamental curved knife d3 30gp22 Dragon Claw Dagger - ornamental curved dagger d4 45gp23 Dragon Tooth Short Sword - ornate carved tooth with hilt d6 100gp24 Dragon Tooth Spear - bone haft and carved tooth d8 250gp25 Dragon Bone Light Mace - with carved head d6 100gp26 Dragon Bone Heavy Mace - with imbedded teeth in bone d8 200gp27 Dragon Tooth Arrow - made from bone and small tooth +1 hit and damage 25gp 28 Dragonskin Shield - skin over wood and bone +1 vs dragon breath type 100gp29 Dragonbone Axe - with dragon sinew fixed steel blade d8 200gp30 Dragonbone Composite Bow - take several years with skilled crafter d8 1000gp31 Dragon Skin Cloak - gives +1 save vs dragon breeds breath type 200gp32 Dragon Shirt - attractive shirt or vest 85gp33 Dragonskin Codpiece - hit with ladies, frowned by priests 75gp34 Dragonskin Gloves - comfortable and durable 45gp 35 Dragon Hide Belt - impressive strong belt for equipment 85gp36 Dragon Hide Boots - durable, comfortable 100gp 37 Dragon Trewes - comfortable dragon trousers 150gp38 Dragon Helm - from head of small dragon +1AC & save vs dragon breath type 500gp39 Dragon Scale Armour - AC+4 +1 save vs dragon breeds breath type 400gp40 Dragon Bone Armour - AC+6 Mv9" +1 save vs dragon breeds breath type 650gp41 Dragon Blood - various properties for potions or causes mutations 10gp bottle42 Dragon Venom - causes disease if gets in open wounds as blade venom 50gp43 Dragon Bile - stains flesh and stinks, toxic organ destroying ingested poison 100gp44 Dragon Urine - smelly highly corrosive acid in glass bottle d6 damage 25gp 45 Dragon Semen - preserved in chemicals can create dragon hybrids 100gp46 Dragon Oil - rendered from fat and high quality lamp oil that is hard to put out 30gp47 Dragon Tears - makes drinker feel melancholy of dragon race, addictive 20gp 48 Dragon Spittle - high quality lubricant 15gp49 Dragon Ambergris - makes sweet smelling perfume 45gp50 Dragon Sweat - feels stimulating sensation on skin 15gp51 Dragon Cultist Cape - various colors one side, black on other 10gp52 Dragon Cult Mask - various colours made of dyed leather 15gp53 Dragon Lord Helm - worn by dragon cult warriors 25gp54 Dragon Cult Prayer Scroll - illuminated vellum chant, various sects 10gp 55 Dragon Cult Holy Text - illuminated vellum book, various sects 100gp 56 Dragon Dung - highly flammable but smell, on a stick burns as torch 6 hours 10gp57 Dragon Cult Coin - gold coin of ancient dragon empire used to identify members 5gp58 Dragon Unguent - rubbed all over +1 save vs one type of dragon breath one hour 30gp59 Dragon Oil Candle - scrapped off oil from dragon burns for 4 hours 20pg60 Dragon Snot - in nugget or liquid form, must have some use 10gp61 Tapestry - of a dragon fighting knights 30 foot long by 3 foot 100gp62 Miniature Painting - fits in pocket 30gp63 Oil Painting of Dragon - menacing chained naked youth 100gp64 Wooden Dragon Collectible Statuette - wood or clay, fits in pocket 3gp65 Dragon Anatomy Chart - butchery guide shows uses for body parts 50gp66 Dragon Identification Chart - shows scouts how to tell types apart 10gp67 Dragon Gold Pendant - decorative holding a crystal 100gp68 Dragon Marionette - popular with the children, wooden and painted 12gp69 Dragon Kite - popular with the children made from silk paper 5gp70 Dragon Plush Dolly - popular with younger children, cloth and straw 1gp71 Dragon Recipe Book - features recipes for cooking and utility 100gp72 Dragon Fighting Manual - instructing one in combat methods 100gp73 Dragon Language Text - from ancient times or dragon cult 100gp74 Draconomicon - natural history of dragons by ancient scholar 100gp75 Annals of the Dragons - history of last time dragons swarmed 100gp76 Chronicle of Tiamat - story of dragon mothers war with  the gods 100gp77 How to Serve Dragons - how to keep your dragon master happy 100gp78 Lineage of the Reptilian Races -  natural history of reptiles and dragons 100gp79 Vile Book of Dragons - stories and lewd pictures of dragon sex 100gp80 Keeping Your Dragon - how to keep a imprisoned dragon in good health 100gp81 Potion of Invisibility to Dragons - masks your scent from dragons not magical 100gp82 Potion of Dragon Bait - smells delicious used to trap or on sacrifices 100gp83 Potion of Dragon Bane - possibly smells revolting to dragons when burned 100gp84 Potion of Bad Dragon Taste - possibly makes you taste unpleasant to dragons 100gp85 Potion of Dragon Sleep - makes dragons feel like a nap after eaten 300gp86 Potion of Dragon Detection - sense dragons within 300 yards (not in human form) 400gp87 Potion of Dragon Speech - allows you to converse with dragons but not read 400gp88 Oil of Dragon Breath Resistance - types for each breed of dragon 400gp89 Potion of Dragon Breath - breath 2d6 dragon breath within 1" per round for a turn 400gp90 Potion of Dragon Control - various types per breed of dragon for a 5d4 rounds 5000+gp91 Lance of the Dragon - +1 vs dragons and draconic beings 1000gp92 Lance of the Dragon Killer - +1+3vs dragons* 4000gp93 Sword of Reptiles - +1 Sword +4 vs reptiles and dragons 4000gp94 Shield of the Dragon Slayer - +1+4 vs dragons and +4 save vs dragon breathe 6000gp95 Girdle of Dragon Friend - wearer can speak dragon and get positive reactions 4000gp 96 Holy Symbol of Dragon Turning - lets a priest turn a dragon once per day 3000gp97 Arrow of Dragon Slaying - kills one type of dragon once if it hits 2500gp98 Dragon Blade - +2 and +d4 dam as if from type of dragon breath** 6000gp99 Spear of Dragon Slaying - +2 +4 vs Dragons, double dam vs one colour* 4000gp100 Sword of Dragon Slaying - +2 +4 vs Dragons, double dam vs one colour* 4500gp*Intelligent, holds souls of fanatic dragon slayer who gives often unwanted advice**Intelligent with soul of a dragon which might lie or advise depending on dragon type alignment […]

  • d100 Draconic Gossip during the dragon war
    by Konsumterra on November 22, 2017 at 5:06 am

    Dragons are jerks everybody knows that. And when dragons invade you hear all kinds of gossip.  Will do draconic loot and reminded of draconolgy or dracomancy based wizards.Possibly draconic mutations might be handy.This is to accompanyhttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2017/11/dragon-war-zone.html d100 Draconic Gossip01 Dragons have been sleeping for aeons and have awoken now there is enough food02 Dragons like to eat humans as part of their reproductive cycle to help them produce eggs03 Dragons are a sign of divine displeasure, prayer and good living will diminish them04 Many dragons live in hell and come to the mortal realm to hunt05 Dragon eggs can take milenium to hatch and are buried far and wide06 Dragon skin armour is valuable but enrages reptilians 07 You can placate dragons by feeding them horses, cattle or virgins08 Dragon blood and hearts have magical powers if eaten09 Dragons can be appeased by gifts of treasure and cattle10 It's the end of the world and dragons will burn and eat everything11 Every dragon has a weak spot which can be found by trial and error12 Thunderlizards are incomplete degenerate dragon spawn from long ago13 Dragons were spawned to battle gods and giants in primordial times14 We need to grab all the food we can and move into dungeons and seal ourselves in15 In the old days sacrificing cattle and virgins kept us safe we need to do this again16 A priest tried talking to the dragons and they just burned him and ate him17 Dragons are mostly dumb animals, the smart ones you can deal with18 Some dragons serve official positions in the celestial court but they are mostly unseen19 The lords of hell are not so pleased with dragons rampaging, perhaps they will aid us20 The dragons attacked temples and wizard towers first, they want us dumb like cattle21 If we feed the dragons enough they will go back to sleep for a aeon22 The dragon cultists try to gain favour of the dragons through worship, perhaps we should23 The reptilian alliance is more fragile than thought, secretly they hate each other24 The serpents and lizards and dragons are united in keeping humans weak only25 Kobolds think they are dragon kin but realy they are too small and taste bad26 A dragon cultist could be right here, drawing their masters to burn us all27 If we could find the hellgate we could seal it and end this war28 If we could go to the dragonspawn pits and destroy their eggs we could win29 Dragonmen were made by eating dragon eggs and joined the dragon cause30 Someone saw different coloured dragons mating so we will see new breeds soon31 If only good dragons were not all in heaven serving the gods instead of helping us32 In other lands the dragons are not all evil and can be reasoned with33 Some dragons can change their form and walk among us34 Serpent men predate dragons and seek to be dominant after humans are crushed35 Lizard men are mostly sick of humans for once they were a great civilization36 Dinosaurs are being hatched by lizardmen using their ancient magic 37 If we burn our houses and hide the dragons will move on38 If we swore alliegence to a smart dragon he would protect us from other dragons39 Our gods have failed us dragons are the new power of this age40 This kingdom is done for, we should flee while we can41 We should round up the old, weak and criminal to give to dragons as a peace offering42 If we build a idol of a dragon they will spare us for worshiping them43 Only a zealous return to the old ways of our faith will end this tyranny of dragons44 I hear there are realms beneath the earth we could all live free of dragons45 Every part of a dragon is valuable and worth a fortune, they might be a blessing46 Primal Tiamat is the mother of dragons and we must prey to her for forgiveness47 Alchemists have been making life and some made whole dragons in huge aparatus48 Wizards and alchemists brought dragons here and we should kill them49 Our priest has done nothing to stop the dragons we shouls sacrifice him to the dragons50 We can hold a lottery to see who gets eaten that would be the fairest way to decide51 Salamander wool makes fire proof clothing and roofing to protect us from dragons52 Humans are finished, lets all get drunk then poison ourselves and take a few dragons too53 Perhaps elves or dwarves will aid us, if we beg they might let us in their kingdoms 54 If only a true hero would unite us all and drive the dragons back to hell55 Elves and dwarves, they must have seen draconic swarms before and know something56 I hear a giant and a dragon had a fight, we should send treasure to the giant king57 I've heard a dread artifact in a dungeon could be used for good to drive away dragons58 We should stake out women and children for the dragons to eat so they spare us 59 A man told me the name of a demon who might aid me if i should see a dragon60 The dragon cult can act as speakers to the dragons so the accept our surrender 61 The rich have been fleeing and leaving the poor to be eaten, typical62 If we stuffed a cow full of black powder it might be a effective dragon trap  63 Men tried to shoot a dragon with a cannon but dragons learn fast and the men died64 Great fog clouds from the sea have stopped shipping, dragon turtles they say65 If you rub dragon dung over your body they will not eat you66 Dragons are asleep in their lairs are most vulnerable to attack67 Witches called the dragons we must find and burn them68 Someone saw a dragon digging up a graveyard for food, some prefer aged meat69 Even if the kingdom survives we will be weak and suffer invasions for years after70 Many refugees have been turned away from cities and some have turned to banditry71 Everywhere food is short, people are fighting over foodstuff72 With so much dragon scale and flesh about magic using them is more common73 Dragon cult wizards have been using spells mostly used by dragons in the past74 Many dragons have been mating with local monsters so expect more hybrid horrors now75 The dragon cult seem to think they will be in charge soon and many are flocing to them76 Dragonmen come from remains of dead dragons using long forgotten spells77 Dragonmen come from lizard men mating with dragons78 New strange dragon hybrids monsters have been seen of late79 Some dragon cultists have developed draconic mutations making them easy to detect80 Knights have been busy rescuing maidens from dragons left out by villagers81 A knight who rescued a sacrificial maiden killed all the men who chained her up82 Draconic items once rare and valuable have become more common83 Some draconic cults worship kindly dragons or celestial dragons but such sects are rare84 Dragons walk among us in disguise observing how humans cope in these times85 Magic that harms reptiles and dragons has become very valuable and scarce86 A dragon slaying weapon was rumoured to be lost in a dungeon a century ago87 Dragon cultists were stockpiling anti dragon magic years before the invasion88 Sorcerers of draconic bloodlines have become despised and are accused of witchcraft89 Mutants with draconic features have become more common, tainted by dragonblood90 Some heroes who fought dragons and touched blood have developed mutations91 Dragon pie and dragon roast have become popular dishes among the ruling court92 A wizard in the city pays good money for dragon brains for some reason93 When the dragon plague is over our land with have been made stronger by the ordeal 94 The taint of dragons will linger long after these troubled times95 Dragonmen have been developing new exotic varieties based on their bloodlines96 Dragon dung and blood if fantastic fertilized that benefits crops for years97 If you eat a dragon egg you gain incredible draconic abilities and all dragons know98 Dragonmen have been increasingly squabbling with lizard men who find them bossy99 Dragons are reincarnated on death and may recognise their killers in their next life100 A knight who killed a dragon has been sleeping with dozens of noble ladies […]

  • November Campaign Design XI - Merchants and Mercenaries
    by Joseph Bloch on November 21, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    Now that the local area where the PCs are starting has been filled in a little more, I'd like to pull back out and take a look at some of the more macro bits of detail. Specifically, I'd like to look at the merchant houses and mercenary companies that were either brought here or established themselves here during the time of the settlement.MerchantsSeveral large mercantile concerns dominate Artania, importing finished goods from Hanar-across-the-sea, transporting raw materials from the interior to the ports, or moving goods within or between the colonies themselves. These are starting to enjoy great political power thanks to their economic position, and some are even rivaling the feudal lords in authority and prestige.House Bourdaine. Based in Hanar, with a local headquarters in New Montrose, House Bourdaine is run by the Bourdaine family, which controls almost all of the sea traffic between New Valais and Hanar. Operating with a royal charter, and kicking back enormous sums to the crown to maintain its privileged status, House Bourdaine controls half of New Montrose, but its influence outside the city is small. Its symbol is a ship with a crown on the mainmast.The Onjoi Company. Chartered by the Duke of New Valois, this company is an amalgam of several different families, and is chaired by the Comte d'Firstwater, who owns the rights to most of the river traffic on the Firstwater. They have expanded their operations to include trade across Lake Onjoi and up the Shining River, making them very powerful in New Valais. They are constantly pushing the weak Marquis d'Onjoi to expand into the interior. It operates by a ducal charter, and its symbol is a red hand and a silver scale.House Greystark. Chartered by both the Duke of New Valois and the Earl of South Aedgaria, this house has found its niche in the expanding trade between Aedgaria and New Valois. It is headquartered in Dubton, and has an arrangement with House Bourdaine to only pass its trade through the port of New Montrose. This vexes the Earl, who wants very badly to see Port Westview expand its trade, but he is willing to accept lesser revenues for now. Their symbol is a fleece (a sheep being weighed).House Ellenhame. Chartered by the Duke of Aedgaria, Ellenhame is contracted to expand trade into and out of Aedgaria's ports. It has been somewhat less than successful, due to a number of factors (some of which are not their fault, some of which are due to their own mis-management). They do very well collecting agricultural goods along the Long Road to ship through Port Westview, but find themselves at odds with House Greystark. Their symbol is a beehive.House Grendine. Chartered by the Earl of North Aedgaria, this house is closely allied with the rulers of Norton, who form their chief supplier of precious metals and other products. Their leader holds the feudal rank of Viscount. It is unclear which party has the upper hand in the relationship, but the baroness Ursula is rarely taken advantage of by anyone. Their symbol is a scale atop a cloud.The Lippegen Company. Chartered by the kings of Grott-Heimburg, this company has a stranglehold on most trade throughout Lippegen, and its managing director is said to be more powerful than the Herzog himself, and holds the royally bestowed title of Graf. The company is not ruled by any single family, but by a board of directors (located in Grot-Heimburg) which is made up of prominent families, including those of the kings, who have a 49% stake in the company by law. Their symbol is a heron wearing two crowns.House Glott. Chartered by the Markgraf von Osttur, is incredibly poised to take a huge chunk of business away from the Lippegen Company, since they are based in Osttur and often manage to sneak prime opportunities out from under the nose of the local agents of the Company. Thusfar their activities have been little more than a nuisance, but a few more nuisances and the Company might decide to scratch the itch. Their symbol is a black tower.In addition, there are other, smaller companies, with two or three based in each town. These I'm leaving for further expansion as needed to facilitate plots and adventures.MercenariesFew of the feudal lords in any of the three colonies have anything close to an army suitable for their full defense and the security of their people and borders. Because of this, they have brought mercenary companies from Hanar-across-the-sea to do the bulk of their fighting. The chief enemies of the colonies at the moment are native orc tribes, various monsters, and renegade deserter goblin/ hobgoblin/ bugbear troops. Only occasionally have the colonies gone to war against one another, and even then such encounters were swift and mercifully over quickly. The feudal lords are much more likely to engage in petty cross-border skirmishes and banditry, but this is normal and to be expected, even within the boundaries of a particular colony.Most of the mercenaries brought over to New Valais and Lippegen are goblinoid troops, consisting of goblin foot-soldiers, hobgoblin and norker sergeants and officers, bugbear officers, and human captains. These were used extensively in the full-scale wars in Hanar-across-the-sea, but are somewhat overkill in Artanis, where there is no large-scale war and no set-piece battles to fight. Hence, there is a much higher level of desertion, with entire companies simply dissolving into the wilderness. Troop strengths given below do not include sergeants and officers.It should be remembered that the goblin troops worship various demons and devils, despite the official distaste for such. It is tolerated because the troops fulfill their function; fodder in war. They do so privately, and never ostentatiously. It is something more of a concern in Lippegen than it is in New Valais, due to the difference in official faiths. The Bitter Embers are a force that has been in the employ of Valais for generations. Consisting of 600 heavy footmen armed with glaive and axe, they are a powerful battering ram. They are currently led by General Renauld Jil (F 11), grandson of the original commander of the force. They are currently stationed in Duchais, Chamlin, and Anleans, broken into several companies that patrol endlessly. Their unit insignia is a red torch, and morale is low.The Risen Fist is a relatively new unit that was raised specifically to be used in New Valais. It consists of 300 archers and 200 skirmishers armed with sling and short sword. They are led by General Prince August Wegman (R 10), a disgraced former scion of a cadet member of the royal Heimburg family. They are well-suited to the guerrilla warfare practiced by the orcs in the wilderness, and are currently on loan to the Marquis d'Onjoi, who has them ranging up and down the Shining River region rooting out the several orc tribes ensconced there. Their unit insignia is a mailed fist, and morale is high.The Steel Owls are a long-standing unit imported from Valais. They number some 400 wolf-riding cavalry, and are spread throughout the colony as scouts and reinforcements for the other troops there. They are led by General Prospero Vouchand (MU 10), who has protested about the scattering of his forces, but pay-and-a-half has kept his protests muted. Their unit insignia is a grey owl, and morale is high in areas where they are engaged against orc raiders, and medium where they are guarding sheep but paid well for doing little.The Black Skulls are an ancient unit, one of the most decorated in the history of Grott-Heimburg. A well-balanced force consisting of 800 medium spear, 300 archers, and 200 wolf-riding cavalry, they are very well disciplined and have a much higher ratio of hobgoblin non-commissioned officers than most. They are led by General Gräfin Maria Bettendorf (A 12), and form the core of the mercenary strength of Lippegen. They are based in Zweistadt, and are constantly engaged in action in the Rojanois Mountains and the thick forests to the north. The Gräfin is fully enmeshed in the politics of Lippegen, and has her sights set on a permanent role in the feudal structure, although her own lands are back in Hanar. Their unit insignia is a black skull, and morale is high.The Holy Orphans are a new unit, raised specifically for service in Lippegen. They consist of 400 spearmen, all of fairly low quality. They are led by Oberst Herr Hans Reichman (P 8), who is attempting to sway his goblin troops to the Church, with next to no success. He is certain that if he can demonstrate the righteousness of his religion through personal victory in combat in front of his men, that will be the breakthrough he needs, and in that quest he constantly throws himself into the thick of battle, taking risks that in all honesty are reckless. His troops are based in Osttur, and morale is medium.The Laughing Hounds are so named because of their barking-laugh battle cry. They consist of 200 wolf-riding cavalry. Their leader is Oberst Josef Winter (F 14). He is a dedicated warrior and hardened fighter, unhappy that he and his troops are in the rear, assigned to policing duties in the western portion of the colony. Unit insignia is a red dog, and morale is low.As noted earlier, there are no goblinoid mercenary troops in Aedgaria. All their military force consists of local militia and troops maintained by the feudal lords. To date, this has been sufficient, but if either Lippegen or New Valais decided to mount a full-scale invasion, Aedgaria's future would be quite uncertain. What is certain, is that reinforcements from Hanar could never arrive in time to prevent a rout. […]

  • Fragged Empire: RPG Review
    by Jeff Duncan on November 21, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    Fragged EmpireFragged EmpireWritten By: Wade DyerPublished By: Design Ministries/Ulisses Spiele  (FE site)Review By: J.L. DuncanA concession of middle age, but I’m finally starting to warm up to space opera or, science fantasy themed RPGs. I’m still yet to delve into the major IPs. I haven’t read any RPG version of Star Wars, nor did Star Trek ever make it to my table. I’ve played Traveller twice. Admittedly, it’s taken awhile. While the excitement about Paizo’s recent release of Starfinder is almost tangible… And on the cusp of Wade Dyer’s third successfully funded Kickstarter (in preorder here), now might be a good a time as any for closer look at Fragged Empire.Disclosure: This review includes affiliate links. I receive a token % if you purchase something on the landing page. Thank you for your support.Fragged Empire certainly offers a distinct and unique space fantasy setting. A post-post-apocalyptic universe; far removed from the extinction of the human race, and one hundred years from the extinction of humanities genetically engineered descendant, the Archons. (Remember post, post.) Four distinct races/cultures, each of which the players have the opportunity to make a characters, fight for survival -in the cold, dark and war torn galaxy of Haven.The setting itself is well done, and presented in my favorite way: A respectable amount of detail and good amount left for the GM to fill in. Stellar maps outline the Haven system and the major locations receive plenty of text. The setting and tone is also presented through a series of short stories between sections. While I usually skip past these, the two I read weren’t awful. In your average RPG product, they usually are... Sorry, “average RPG product,” the truth hurts. The GM should find plenty of ideas for crafting adventures and the GM section has short treatment of adventure hooks just in case. The most expansive aspects of this setting describe the history, cultural differences, and tension between the four playable races.With character creation players have a choice of four races: the Corporation, Kaltorans, Legion, or Nephilim, to make a character. Fragged Empire is for the most part a classless system. However, each race is somewhat scoped (due to genetic engineering) into specific role(s), and the creation guidelines provide 3 or more character (suggestions) templates for each.Nephilim & Scenic Tech ScapeCorporation characters will be left to subterfuge; the most easily accessed strengths being negotiation and social connections (and, have vital importance with this RPGs sub-system). Kaltorans will likely fill the role of the party smuggler or thief, though this species has a good amount of general utility. Legion will likely fill the role of solider or mercenary. While Nephilim and their cultural drive for genetic perfection is probably the most flexible species of the four. Each race has a specific template of (+/-) modifiers towards attributes, skills and other abilities.Character creation with Fragged Empire is involving, requiring more than a few flips back and forth due to the amount of detail. The layout doesn’t help this and it extends to gear and other aspects. Players who are familiar with crunchier systems will likely spend extra time making decisions because of the wealth of material. Due to the intricacy (and importance) of character creation, players creating characters in a bubble, is not the best idea. Which, I’ll get to why in a moment. After the race is selected, players will distribute 18 points among 6 attributes, select 10 trained skills and select one Trait (special ability) from among one of the skills chosen.Note: Fragged Empire doesn’t have a standard monetary system (Item A costs: credits/cash) instead, the game relies on an intricate series of system management tools, from everything to weapons, technological tools, to the capability of the starship the players will rely, to jaunt about the universe.Last in character creation is calculating each character’s starting Resources, Influence and Spare Time Points. Resources will directly tie into each characters gear, weapons and equipment etc., including the number of specific items the character can have in their possession, as well as the care or maintenance of these items. The equipment available depends on how many slots (resources) the character has.The combined number of Influence points (each character receives 1 per level, but maybe further modified by race, Trait selection or game rewards) will determine the ability that the group can utilize their starship, and maintain its capability mechanically and financially: repairs, maintenance and seeking service at a space station etc. If they player group is low on Influence, this will directly affect the type of weapons systems their starship has, as well as their ability to use its standard systems. Spare Time Points are used as a method to acquire upgrades and new equipment.Though I’m covering it only in brief, I’ve never been in favor of system management (a sort of min-game) within a RPG, due to the break of immersion. The important question: what is the purpose of such a system? For Fragged Empire the answer seems to consist of two parts: Pushing aside the mundane details for more “epic” level play and assisting the GM with managing the player group… But, there is a potential problem here, as player characters will likely manage themselves (or worse each other), in order to acquire the equipment they want and utilize a starship effectively, especially if the game goes longer than a few sessions. What’s in place seems more of a distraction, especially considering the game itself is built on cultural tension and it will be unlikely that players will want to create characters of identical race. While it might be slightly more efficient than a standard monetary system (admittedly as clunky as those are), it also takes some of the choices away from the player characters, which might be a good reason to implement such a thing if you’re in favor (promise I won’t judge you) of these kinds of limits. I will say, what’s present in this material is detailed enough and with a little common sense, chucking out the system management aspects, is certainly (and exactly what I would do) possible.The core mechanics of Fragged Empire primarily utilizes 3d6+ the skill rank against a target number set by the GM. For a specific task, players are encouraged to select a skill which they think fits the situation, narrate their characters actions and may receive additional points (if the GM likes the description) based on the narrative. Each skill is well outlined in its suggested use and rules beyond skill rolls are more than covered with this system.The PDF digitizing before my screen is 385 pages cover to cover. The look of Fragged Empire is excellent, due in no small part to the quality a frequency of full color illustrations. As mentioned, I’m not a huge fan of the overall layout of the text, but the writing itself is certainly above par.Overall, Fragged Empire receives a mixed review and it seems at almost every turn of the page something I like, is weighed down with something I didn’t care for. This is a top notch product and on par with the big boys, but the layout and overall arrangement of the material suffers in organization. The detail of equipment, weapons, and guidelines for creating starships, is well done, but acquisition is ruled by a sub-system, which I’d have no use of. The writing is respectable, the setting and cultural history elements are far above the mark of most settings, but at 385 pages the game suffers some bloat (though this is also tied to organization). Characters are well balanced (and not too unwieldy) and a campaign will likely be best served with a mix of each race, while at the same time cultural tension is a core theme throughout.As excellent as it looks, Fragged Empire just wasn’t my cup of coffee… Discloser: This review was originally published on Stuffer Shack (link to the site) […]

  • Monsters as Player Characters - OD&D vs. AD&D
    by Oakes Spalding on November 20, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    I don't know - it looks good to meI'm taking a three-day break from demons to talk about something I rediscovered while looking for demons. I'm sure what I'm about to point out has been mentioned before, though I don't have a reference.In Men & Magic, after detailing the three character classes and three additional races, Gary Gygax wrote:Other Character Types: There is no reason that players cannot be allowed to play as virtually anything, provided they begin relatively weak and work up to the top, i.e., a player wishing to be a Dragon would have to begin as let us say, a "young" one and progress upwards in the usual manner, steps being predetermined by the campaign referee (p. 8).Now I have no idea how many referees back in the day were coming up with stats on the fly for players who confidently announced they wanted to play a non-standard character, but I think it's indisputable that from the very first many were experimenting with creating their own new character classes, races and types to supplement the ones in the text or customary rules. Arneson's Blackmoor campaign had a Balrog player-character, and Gygax's reportedly also allowed such variations in Greyhawk (which is presumably why he wrote the passage above).The author of the Dungeons & Dragons "Basic" set, John Eric Holmes, apparently also enjoyed running adventuring parties of non-standard classes or creatures. And he implied as much in the text of that game:At the Dungeon Master's discretion a character can be anything his or her player wants him to be. Characters must always start out inexperienced and relatively weak and build on their experience. Thus, an expedition might include, in addition to the four basic classes and races (human, elven, dwarven, halflingish), a centaur, a lawful werebear, and a Japanese Samurai fighting man (p. 7). However, now consider this passage (also written by Gygax) from the AD&D Dungeon Master Guide, six years later:THE MONSTER AS A PLAYER CHARACTER On occasion one player or another will evidence a strong desire to operate as a monster, conceiving a playable character as a strong demon, a devil, a dragon, or one of the most powerful sort of undead creatures. This is done principally because the player sees the desired monster character as superior to his or her peers and likely to provide a dominant role for him or her in the campaign. A moment of reflection will bring them to the unalterable conclusion that the game is heavily weighted towards mankind... The considered opinion of this writer is that such characters are not beneficial to the game and should be excluded.The later Gygax is of course contradicting his earlier self. Playing "monsters" as characters is now no longer recommended. Indeed, someone who pushes for it might even have psychological problems!In fairness, Gygax does temper things a bit. He's against doing it, but such a decision should ultimately be left up to the referee - "As to other sorts of monsters as player characters, you as DM must decide in light of your aims and the style of your campaign." And it is preferable to find ways to discourage the practice rather than banning it outright:Note that exclusion is best handled by restriction and not by refusal. Enumeration of the limits and drawbacks which are attendant upon the monster character will always be sufficient to steer the intelligent player away from the monster approach, for in most cases it was only thought of as a likely manner of game domination. The truly experimental-type player might be allowed to play such a monster character for a time so as to satisfy curiosity, and it can then be moved to non-player status and still be an interesting part of the campaign - and the player is most likely to desire to drop the monster character once he or she has examined its potential and played that role for a time. The less intelligent players who demand to play monster characters regardless of obvious consequences will soon remove themselves from play in any event, for their own ineptness will serve to have players or monsters or traps finish them off (p. 21 for all references).Of course during this quasi-concession Gygax takes the opportunity to further put down players who might have such a desire - unless the goal is purely experimental, then they either have a will to dominate or are relatively stupid and inept. This might be characterized as one manifestation of what has been called High Gygaxian style. Here an air of wisdom is coupled with silly insults. That's not a criticism (of the style). In fact it's quite entertaining.It sure beats "In creating the story of your character, work with your DM. Talk to them about your ideas, preferences and feelings."Is it evil to contradict one's earlier self? Of course not. And for all we know, Gygax had learned from the previous six years of play that people playing dragons or demons was simply more trouble than what it was worth. But it's also an example of how, as the universe of Dungeons & Dragons was in most ways expanding (in terms of text or ruleset length if nothing else), there were walls to that universe that were simultaneously being erected or reinforced. All things being equal, I think that's something to regret.Now I confess that in saying this I feel like a hypocritical politician. When I played D&D back in the day, I never ran or played non-standard player-characters, and since my rediscovery of the game and subsequent determination that I was now firmly in the more open-ended OD&D camp, I still haven't done so. But let's just say I philosophically or aesthetically favor an approach that leaves open the possibility. Or at least I like to think that I do.If you want to play a dragon, that's fine. Just give me a few minutes to come up with something.But don't tell me about your feelings. […]

  • The Contents of the Cube
    by Trey on November 20, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Roll Call: Dagmar (Dwarf Cleric), Erekose (Fighter), Waylon (Frox Thief), Kully (Bard), Kairon (Demonlander Sorcerer), and Shade (Elf Ranger)!Our Land of Azurth 5e campaign continued last night with the party about to barge into a room full of death dwarfs that also contained the 7 foot metal cube that fell from the sky. The party is prepared for the dwarfs this time, but they soon find their are also magic-users among them which changes things up a bit. After a short melee, our heroes prevail.Inspecting the metal cube in the aftermath, they find a hatch hiding a recessed box in one wall with lever in it. Pulling it downward causes one of the walls to drop, revealing a lot of packing material--an a familiar looking automaton. Familiar, because it seems identical to Viola, the Clockwork Princess of Yanth Country!The automaton comes out, twitching. In a stuttering voice, it announces itself as "Violet." It extends a hand, but when Dagmar shakes it, the automaton explodes. Only a few of the party members take damage, but they are caught off-guard when a second automaton emerges (this one seemingly undamaged) and gives her name as "Violetta."Violetta is unable to answer most of their questions. She says she was made in a laboratory, but doesn't know by whom.Around that time, the cave shakes again with another, milder, impact. The party heads out to take a look. They hear voices from outside the cave. Wanting to potentially hide the automaton from searchers, they send Kully out to greet the newcomers.The three arrivals almost look like automata themselves, but most resemble Astra of the Shooting Star Folk, whom they met in House Perilous. The metal bearded leader calls himself a King as says he and his fellows were to transport the cube to a man named "Loom" who lives in the junk city in the desert. Loom likes making automata, apparently. The King also mentions during the conversation that he has a daughter named Astra.Relatively convinced of the good intentions of the Shooting Star Folk King and not really knowing what is going on, they turn Violetta over to him. The Shooting Star Folk retrieve the cube and repackage Violetta with care, then take off. Kully wants to go with them, but the ballistic nature of their travel scares the others off, and they manage to convince him that should continue home.When they get back in Rivertown, there's a surprise waiting. A calico cat man, doubly impossible for being a cat man (unknown in Azurth) and a calico male, and a frox in a fancy tophat are waiting for Kully in his room. They wish to enlist the party's aid in a journey to the Land of Under-Sea--and they also promise to take Kully to his father! […]

  • Peasant Revolt War Zone
    by Konsumterra on November 20, 2017 at 8:16 am

    So this concept based on the dragon invasion seemed to work well. Brother Juniper on G+ recommended this post and the visual impression in my mind said yes. Lots of good comments of late which always gets me working on this blog more. The next book I do will be the murder hobo manual but a while off. Shadelport book I will be printing a3 to edit and hope to have revised bigger version possibly on lulu/rpg net by xmas as a test project. Id like a hardcover anyway. Psychon revision might follow up.Wondering about adding rumours table to these war zone features. Any other suggestions welcome.This post will focus on revolts, revolutions and civil wars. Inspired by some of english peasant revolts, english civil war, french and russian revolutions and colonial uprisings. It could also be used to run the human revolt against the vassals of the monster kings if players ever time travel back as Iv had built in the setting since the 80s.It also focuses more on urban than some of the others. I might consider a siege based bunch of tables for when parties trapped in a city or castle during a war. Mixing this with siege war zone would work well. Big fun. This is not one of those fantasy revolts where the good guys establish utopia after a montage of heroic struggle with muppets fighting profesional troops with sticks and nets and nobody gets hurt. This is horrible, dangerous and cruel. If players get in the mix and support a faction they might get caught up in purges and counter revolts. Revolts are often sponsored by foreign powers or dynasties and not really about helping the poor.Factions often struggle with each other, some uniting some crumbling, some destroy each other or factions might form a united government that use elections or treachery to seize absolute power. A 2d4 starting factions might begin and weekly rolls on faction table will remove or add factions to the struggle. Factions might represent different ethnic groups, religions, economic zones or settlements. Some factions might want just a kinder ruler, others might want no more nobility or rich or a democratic parliament. Allying with or leading a faction is dangerous but could result in absolute power.Forces description are good for other warzones as defending armies vs enemy types.Possibly elements of this could be used in a dungeon. A dungeon might have brutal inter-faction conflict and could produce similar results. Often during wars regions might break out in rebellion or behind lines might increasingly resemble revolt areas.d10 Starting the Revolt01 A new tax oppresses the people02 A costly war hurts the common folk most03 A popular hero is executed for crimes against the crown04 A rival dynasty exorts the mob with promises of improvements05 Famine has driven the commoners mad with hunger06 A traditional right has been taken by the ruling class07 Rebels are funded by foriegn power using agents to stir the mob08 Middleclass idealists fermenting revolt09 Older mode of religion is being oppressed by the nobility endorsing new faith10 A massacre of innocent peasants incited unrestd10 Rebellion Military Objectives01 Burn down government and church records of tax, births, deaths, marraiges02 Behead the unjust tyrant and supporters03 Kill bureaucrats such as tax collectors, court officials and goveners04 Make the tyrant and nobles promise to improve conditions and rights05 Seize food and money from the rich and merchant classes06 Burn down buildings that are instruments of the oppressive regime07 Set free all the state prisoners and slaves08 Kill militia and military leaders who don't side with revolution09 Exterminate the monied classes who oppress the poor10 Establish new government for benefit of the commonersd10 Ending the Revolt01 Invaders enter country uniting everyone as foreigners worse than local tyrants02 Most of the buildings and infrastructure are destroyed leaving nation in ruins03 Most of the ruling class and state clergy dead or flee04 Surviving nobility sign treaty ending conflict with promises (will 50% break promptly)05 A faction of ruling class or foriegners support commoner take over06 Ruler is beheaded publicly and new government formed07 A distant heir arrives or common hero emerges and promises to return to good old days08 Plague devastated all factions leaving country anarchic ruined wasteland09 After destroying old order various factions struggle to control whats left10 A faction of religious inspired zealots inspire the mob and seize controld10 Faction Goals1 Support a different bloodline of traditional monarchs who promise to be kinder2 Support a religious faction who promise to rule on theocratic principles3 Formed from criminal classes who claim they were always for the people and against rich4 Wish to enshrine legal rights and guarantees for the common man 5 Seek to end slavery and serfs forever at any price establishing a new order of free men6 Aim to kill all enemies at any cost then worry about governing7 Create a new order with no masters and a bureaucratic order enforcing equality8 Military order where whole economy serve armed forces and spread revolution abroad9 Claim to support common freedom but really run by hostile agents or a cult or mobsters10 Preach freedom but seek a middle class mercantile society based on moneyd10 Faction Events1 Two factions settle their differences and unite2 Faction invites other to talks and betray them with bloody slaughter3 Faction has a bloody coup and a new leader takes control4 Faction leadership are slaughtered by the remaining old order forces5 Faction splits into two over some petty difference and become bitter enemies6 New faction emerges surprising everybody becoming a new force to deal with7 Faction crumbles from incompetence, scandal and internal struggle 8 Faction are slaughtered by the old order forces9 Faction betray everyone and take direction and money from a foreign power10 Faction makes deal with the old order and join themd10 Faction Support Base1 A rural district with hastily improvised fortified village or town2 A religious stronghold with a fortified church, monastery or holy place3 A city state or town with tradition of independance4 Suburb or district of a city barricaded5 Castle taken early or donated by rebel noble6 Encampment in forest or mountains difficult to find7 A easily defended dungeon complex 8 A ruin refurbished as defencive base9 A manor house taken early in struggle or donated10 A cavern complex with many secret and secured entriesRebel ForcesRebels are mostly untrained mobs. They may in course of war improve and adapt. They often incorporate existing rebels or bandits who in fact were outcasts and mostly robbed the rich. Sometimes soldiers will join the mob and will help train them. Most rebels are irregular and undisciplined but rely on numbers. Equipment of rebels often inferior, old and inconsistent. As war goes on and competent leaders receive foreign aid and spend booty they may form new more modern armies able to try new weapons giving them a edge. Common forces often shun flashy displays of wealth while the old order might make more flamboyant displays of wealth and waste. Mobs might fail morale checks and make foolish decisions rather than flee. They might charge, fall into a trap, kill prisoners, stop to loot or worse. Such armies struggle with supply lines and often stop to loot and gorge on food.Most of these are grouped in lots of 20 in a gang with a sub bosslots of 40 band with bosslots of 100 mob with a hero and two bosses and five sub bosseshost of 1000 horde with a great leader is rare but possiblePeasant Mob armed with common farm tools, irregular and passionate but poorly disciplinedCity Mob armed with common weapons and tools, chaotic and bloodthirstyPeasant Militia with some regular training with spears and polearms in formationPeasant Slingers with slings, irregular with low moralePeasant Archers with shortbows, march as regulars but low moraleYeomen Soldiers elite freemen regulars with longbows and two handed swords, high moraleBandit Gang veteran skirmishers suited to raiding and subterfugeForeign Mercenaries with quality equipment operate as state forcesNew Model Army, regulars with heavy armour, pikes, halberds, crossbows and gunpowderMagicians more likely to include druids and priests who attach themselves to groupsState ForcesThese are traditional armed forces of the state. Will used peasant troops by force similar to rebels and treated as expendable. Such troops may change sides if mistreated. Professional troops are disciplined and willing to kill everyone in war. Experienced officers and supply trains give them a advantage but often self assured incompetent or mad nobles might interfere damaging morale and making foolish decisions based on pride. Various specialty support staff include baggage handlers for mule trains, translators, wizards.Typically these are organised in:squads of ten including a corporal - 10 mentwo squads with a sergeant - 21 menPlatoon with four squats and a lieutenant - 85 menCompany with four platoons and a captain - 341 menArmy four companies and a general - 1200+Multimple armies are led by a field marshalMilitia Squads with beadle instead of a corporal, bailiff instead of sergeant and sheriff in chargeLight Infantry mostly skirmishers in leather with spear and shield with some javelinsBarbarian War Band often irregular, shield, axe, javelin often paid to fightHeavy Infantry with chain, shield and halberdsFoot Knights in plate with shields, spears and swords - uncommon elite trropsCrossbowmen with chainmail and crossbowsMusketeers usually only a few squads with a arquebus per two men or a musket eachGrenadiers usually only a squad at most or more in siege use cast iron greanaides and bombsArtillery with ballista, catapults and occasionally cannons mostly for siege work squad per machineLight Cavalry with leather, javelins, lanceHeavy Cavalry with chain, sword and lanceHousehold knight elite cavalry with full plate, shields and lancePriest units in chain, shield and mace act as medics and elite troops often in holy military ordersWizard or Sorcerers often with several squads or guards or accompanying other mostly missile troopsNoble Dandies on horseback with swords and dueling pistols, often overconfidantOther ForcesNon human troops might get involved also which could effect popular opinion. The king recruiting orcs might end up increasing the mob size. Some trained monsters are possible. As war goes on peasant troops might loot better equipment and increase morale and become regular. Townsmen with military experience might become officers for the mob and get them into shape. Revolutionaries are more willing to adopt new methods like guerrilla warfare or refuse pitched battles in open preferring forest skirmishes where armies are less effective. Monster armies might pour from dungeons as opportunists while bandits and robber knights might pretend to serve a faction just to get loot helping or hindering factions.Encounter Typesd10 for first 24 hours opening of ward20 for the d4 weeks afterd100 for ongoing ward100 Revolt War Encounters01 Bard spreading word of revolt in romantic terms encouraging all to resist tyranny02 Rider scouting area03 Bandits hiding in ambush for any oportunity04 Angry peasant mob on way to join forces with others05 Militiamen squad on patrol06 Spy in common clothes serving a faction07 Noble officer galloping through with message for superiors08 Rebels watching road09 Angry city mob with burning torches10 Large militia force on the road unsure of which side to join11 Swarm of angry farmers led by a charismatic hero or bard12 Light cavalry galloping to support a battle urgently13 Skirmishers on move looking to control a point14 Light infantry on the march led by knight15 Archers on the move uncertain of whose side they are on16 Poorly equipped knights on horseback on way to lords estate17 Merchant waggon with guards fleeing area18 Goblins sensing chaos looking for opportunities19 Yeomen band on the march20 Light infantry guarding tax collector waggon21 Crossbowmen squad set up position watching a road22 Angry mob on way to local manour23 Light cavalry on the march24 Heavy Cavalry on the march25 Light Infantry on the march26 Heavy infantry on the march27 Clerics holding the road28 Foriegn mercenaies of uncertain alliegience29 Orc mercenaries kee to comit atrocities for money30 Bandit rebels on march leading peasant mob31 Priest leading peasant band32 Druid leading a barbarian warband from the wilds33 Yeomen leading common horde  34 Student idealists leading a city mob35 Military supply waggon desperate to get back to own lines36 Military waggons with light infantry guards37 Force of slingers with women, old and youths in vengeful mood38 Marching archers on the run to join resistance39 Grenadiers and light infantrymen escorting waggon of gunpowder40 Mob escorting waggon of looted artworks to stronghold41 Light infantry captured escorting peasants to execution place42 Several siege weapon waggons with light infantry escort43 Bandits attacking merchant waggons44 Rebels attacking infantry escorting noble carriage 45 Lone battered knight fleeing a massacre46 Knights in finery marching to the front47 Knights in finery escorting noble to safetey48 Foot Knights have barricaded road49 Peasant mob have blocked road with rubble50 Bandits have tree ready to drop on road to stop traffic51 Peasant archers chasing some light infantry52 Militia who have changed sides to rebellion fighting light infantry53 Faerie folk of the woods chasing fleeing light infantry54 Noble wizards on hill overlooking road with light infantry escorts55 Beastmen looking for human corpses to take home to eat56 Druid commanding forest animals to attack crossbowmen57 Peasant priest with rebel militia marching to front58 Crossbowmen suspending chain over waterway to stop boats59 Peasant mob burning supply waggons and looting dead soldiers60 Peasant mob with captured weapons and drunk61 Cleric order squad declare any who resist heretics62 Cleric order guarding holy relic waggons to safe church63 Cleric order burning peasants at stake for godless rebelion64 Noble dandies on horseback certain they can route any foe65 Peasant mob have dug in position with trenches and sharpened stakes66 Foreign noble leading disciplined peasants with long spears marching in formation67 Necromancer wizard with zombie knights 68 Heavy infantry driving conscripted peasants militia before them69 All women peasant mob angrily marching to front70 Peasants have overturned waggons to block road with archers71 Alchemist noble has mined road and has crossbowmen guards hidden with fuse72 Dandies with fancy groomed warhounds chasing peasants and laughing73 Horde of marching peasants with noble heads on pikes74 Resting horde with bonfire of noble and knight corpses singing and drinking75 Fortified buildings with peasants inside surrounded by nobles with siege weapons76 Peasants in fortified church, nobility moving cannon into position77 Nobles with bombards shelling a town78 Peasant mob with captured crossbowmen equiptment79 Peasant horde fighting army and losing ground80 Mercenary captain with squad of new model army and peasant mob81 New Model Army in force marching82 Musket men with light infantry holding road83 Artillery covering road from hidden position with crossbowmen84 Marching army with important general85 Noble army in stockade surrounded by hordes of peasants with burning torches86 Cavalry charging peasant fortified trenches87 Slingers hurling fire heated clay bullets at burning fortified noble house88 Peasant archers and crossbowmen maneuvering and trying to get advantage89 Noble forces watching while grenadiers sneaking up on peasant barricades90 Nobles with cannon with grapeshot in house taunting peasant mob to attack 91 Musket Men in tower shooting peasant gang trying to batter through tower doors 92 Archers and crossbowmen shooting each other over a body of water in stalemate93 Musketeers pinned down peasant militia in ditch by road94 Foreign mercenaries attacking local noble forces95 Foreign mercenaries attacking local peasant forces96 Several armies under command of field marshal marching97 Thousands of men on both sides in terrible battle blasted wasteland98 Beastmen feasting on field of corpses keen to fight any humans99 Huge force of bandits attacking noble supply convoy100 Hundreds of cultists with torches in hoods looking for victims for great sacrificed100 Wonders of War01 Smoke from distant burning buildings02 Corpses of peasants on roadside03 Dead tax collector and guards04 Dead priest, disembowelled on road05 Refugees fleeing conflict with worldly goods06 Refugees some wounded with nothing07 Lost children who's parents fled08 Fleeing wealthy with waggons overflowing with wealth planning to leave country09 Rider warning a army or mob on the march10 Burning house11 Hung corpses dangling from trees12 Pit full of corpses by roadside13 Peasants hanging a merchant14 Slavers trying to get captives out of the area15 Noble carriage fleeing16 Shepherd fleeing with animals from military17 Serfs wrecking a bridge18 Serfs collapsing cliff to block a road19 Noble and militia abusing serfs 20 Knight leading light cavalry against fleeing women and children21 Priest trying to convince peasants to cease the godless rebelion22 Priest trying to exhort peasants to revolt against tyranny23 Knight convincing militia to turn on villagers in revolt24 Militia watching executioner behead captured bandits25 Dandy nobles watching light infantry execute of peasants26 Servant is disguise with waggon trying to get noble children out of kingdom27 Traveling carny folk trying to flee area28 Vutures feasting on stripped mutilated corpses29 Ravens picking at corpses hanging in trees30 Impaled corpses on poles31 Remains of burnt corpses on charred steaks32 Noble born priest and infantry preparing to burn accused witches33 Severed heads on pikes34 Soldiers killed shepherds and rounding up animals for army35 Peasants mutilating and torturing nobles36 Noble and his men chasing village wenches for sport37 Peasant women castrating nobles who tried to rape them38 Envoy of ruler declaring rebels to be executed unless they surrender to any who listen39 Hear drums and horns of marching distant army40 Young wizard apprentice Wd4 has fled master to join rebellion41 Squad of infantry guarding a noble wizard looking for missing aprentice42 Crossbowmen chasing peasant children escaping from waggon43 Merchant with only a few guards tries to bribe any potential foe44 Noble lord with savage war poodle and crossbowmen 45 Noble lord actually demon cultist wizard with crossbowmen46 Witches collecting blood and organs from battlefield47 Cult summoning a demon on the road to add to mayhem48 Nobles burning a commoners church with women and children inside49 Cultist convincing mob to murder and torture captured royalists50 Witches brewing poison in cauldron to befoul local water in field of corpses51 Peasants with beautiful noble witch in cage awaiting a priest to help burn her52 Peasants eating a horse by mutilated noble corpse53 Peasants trying on fancy clothes from looted noble carraige54 Wild dogs gnawing on corpses55 Witches cooking and eating a baby by side of the road56 Peasants burning waggon load of books 57 Nobles putting peasant children in catapault and firing into bonfire58 Peasants have left waggon of poison brandy on roadside with dead donkey 59 Peasants have taken a abattoir and have cages full of merchants and nobles families60 Peasants have captured knights and have them bound and ready to behead61 Nobleman and troops have captured turncoat militia and are holding a trial62 Nobleman and troops have captured a bard fermenting unrest and holding a trial63 Nobleman and militia have captured a foreign spy aiding the revolt 64 Peasant soldiers have captured a noble spy and debating how to kill him65 New model army training peasants into regular army in field66 Multiple burning buildings with cheering men watching 67 Soldiers locking peasants in barn and getting ready to set on fire68 Peasants burning down a monastery full of records69 Fortified town buildings heavily barricaded with paranoid villagers inside70 Fortified manor house with starving nobles and men inside71 Pack of starving dogs looking for food72 Hungry kobolds trading weapons for food with peasants73 Soldiers robbing peasants for food and presenting them with IOU from ruler 74 Starving peasants begging for food75 Soldiers burning haystacks76 Peasants hanging soldiers entrails in the trees77 Soldiers nailing flailed peasant skins to wall78 Peasants testing exciting new decapitation machine built by engineer student79 Doctor treating wounded by side of the road80 Priests preying at roadside shrine for peace81 Priests begging for money to help the poor or the ruler82 Peasants begging weapons so they can join the rebelion83 A war poodle with fancy haircut and collar belonging to a rich man lost from a battle84 Camp of soldiers resting after a battle, treating wounds and getting drunk85 Peasants roasting a nobleman's pet poodle on a spit86 Peasants playing ball with merchants severed head87 Peasants robbing a money lender and demanding his ledgers so they can burn them88 Knights playing polo with peasant children, several killed already89 Noble riders with torches setting alight peasant houses90 Mob of horrible freed criminals robbing and killing a merchant caravan91 Turncoat light infantry helping peasants fight knights92 Huge prison camp stockade with hundreds of prisoners under guard93 Knights throwing women tied to children into a well94 Witches tormenting tied up knights95 Drunken cavalrymen robbing a alehouse96 See army assembled with ruler inspecting them97 Cultists in field of corpses dedicated blood to chaos gods98 Noble trying to stop men and orc mercenaries from fighting99 Orcs demanding more pay from mercenaries100 Peasants meeting foriegn agents delivering coffer of gold coins to aid the revolution […]

  • November Campaign Design X - Local Color
    by Joseph Bloch on November 19, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    In the previous post in the series, I sketched out the small area the PCs will be operating in at the start of the campaign. Now I'd like to add a little more detail by laying out some encounters, both fixed and wandering. The stats below are for 1st edition AD&D, but they're very minimal and could be used with just about any OSR rules. Here is the map, now with encounter areas marked in red (you'll have to click to zoom to see the numbers):ENCOUNTER KEYHermit. A small wooden hut is home to Father Georg, a hermit in self-imposed exile, soured by the politics within the church (C7, 30 hp, AC 9 (but owns chainmail and shield for AC 3), align LG, usually unarmed but owns a mace +2; spells usually memorized bless x2, cure light wounds x2, purify food and drink, augury, chant, slow poison, speak with animals x2, create food and water, cure disease, prayer, cure serious wounds). He has only a few coins at any given time; whatever wealth he comes across he gives away to those few he encounters. He finds he vastly prefers the contemplative life, and gets along with the Spinebreaker orcs, who sometimes come to him for healing when their own shamans are unable to work the required miracles. He will be friendly towards visitors, but if they show up regularly, he will politely ask them to respect his desire for solitude. He knows where the three orc villages are at any given time, but will not share this information if he thinks it will be used to attack them.Bandits. A group of 35 bandits has made camp only a hundred yards off the road. They are taking advantage of the confusion caused by two contradictory boundary stones; they are in the disputed area claimed by both Jenstein and Greitzberg, and have agents in both towns stirring up feelings about the strip of land. Thus, neither will risk a full incursion to root out the bandits, lest the other take it as an attempt to seize the area by force. The bandits are led by Gregor Ostoff (F8, 55 hp, AC 5 (chainmail), battleaxe +1, ring of invisibility). His lieutenant is also his lover, Wulende (F7, 39 hp, AC 5 (chainmail), longsword, dagger +1). There are 6 second level fighters (AC 7 (leather + shield), armed with longsword), 20 1st level fighters (AC 7, (leather + shield) armed with longsword), and 15 1st level fighters (AC 8 (leather), armed with light crossbow and hand axe). They have amassed a small fortune including 7,000 sp, 950 gp, 6 pieces of jewelry, and two potions of healing. The majority of the treasure is buried in the woods where only Gregor and Wulende know, but the men have 20 sp and 3 gp each, out of the total.Hippogriffs. A family of about a dozen hippogriffs nests here in the crags of a steep rock face. They will often kill from the herds and flocks of Lirberg when they are set out in the hills to graze.Vampire Tomb. Here is the tomb of the vampire that originally turned the baron of Lirberg into the undead; an early Valaisian explorer named Jean Rochon, although he styles himself Sieur Rochon d'Montrose (hp 45, formerly a T9, so has all the relevant thief abilities in addition to his vampiric powers). The tomb is built into a natural cave, and consists of a pair of rooms. During the day the vampire is guarded by a pair of trolls who live in the outer chamber and who are completely under the vampire's thrall (32, 30 hp). He is quite urbane and gracious, and will not attack unless pressed. He has designs on the whole of the district, and although his plans in Lirberg were thwarted, he has learned to be more subtle and is looking for agents he can either charm or whose loyalty can be bought with the promise of wealth and power. Goblins. A group of goblin mercenaries have deserted, and have set up a temporary camp on the banks of this river. They have no plan, and are being harried both by the orcs and by troops sent into the forested mountains to track them down. They are extremely suspicious of outsiders, given the fact that they are surrounded by enemies. The company of 32 (down from 60) spearmen is led by a bugbear hauptmann (captain) named Rogran (15 hp) armed with battleaxe and shield, and 3 hobgoblin feldwebel (sergeants - 9, 9, 8 hp) armed with morning stars. The goblins have 1d3 sp each, while Rogran has their remaining wealth in a chest in his tent (24 gp, 112 sp). At the moment Rogran is laying low, hoping for some opportunity to come their way to get them out of their current predicament. Orc attacks are regular occurrences. Ruined Town. This is the ruined Artanian town, now left to rubble and overgrown with plants. This is a detailed encounter area that will have to be laid out in detail with its own map and key. Might not get to it in November, but designing specific encounter areas is out of scope for NaCaCrMo, so I'm not worried.Dryad Grove. A group of 4 dryads live here. They currently have a captive; Rolf Tardor (F5, 31 hp, AC 10, Align NG, unarmed). Rolf was a woodsman who dwelt in Jenstein and disappeared 2 years ago. He was presumed killed by the Spinebreaker orcs, and his wife has since remarried. Each dryad has 6 gp and the group collectively has 3 gems. Hill Giants. A clan of 6 adult male hill giants dwells in a large cave here (hp 40, 36, 34, 34, 32, 30). There are also 2 females (treat as 6 HD ogres; hp 27, 26) and 2 young (older 6 HD, 28 hp; younger 4 HD, 16 hp). A pair of dire wolves act as pets and watchdogs (15 hp each). The giants occasionally raid Melheim, and have amassed 2,000 gp worth of supplies; 750 gp in furs, 250 gp in wine, 500 gp in copper ingots (weight 1000#), and the rest in coins - 300 gp, 2,000 sp, and 20,000 cp). They also have a longsword +1 that one of the giants uses as a dagger.Obelisk. This curious structure is incredibly ancient; it predates the Artanian civilization by thousands of years. It is made of granite, but has been worn down by the passage of time, so that the once-sharp inscriptions can barely be seen at all now. It radiates powerful magic, and if the right magical incantation is spoken, it will open up a gate to another plane. This spell can be found in the ruined town in encounter 6.Ettercaps. Although the Spiderwood is thick with monstrous spiders of all sizes, at the heart is a pair of ettercaps (25, 24 hp). Tangled in the webs and strangling nooses of their lair are 2 pieces of jewelry and a potion of heroism.Wereboars. A trio of wereboars lives in the heart of the Trotterwood (25, 23, 22 hp), who have a treasure of 2,200 sp and 870 gp, in addition to potions of hill giant control, fire breathing, and extra healing. The wereboars originally came from Sendenow, but they have adopted the boars and giant boars of the wood as their own family, and deeply resent the villagers and their regular hunts. There is another wereboar in the village whose existence has not been discovered, who gives them intelligence on the upcoming hunts, so they can warn the boars and sabotage the hunters. Criosphinx. This creature (42 hp) is well-known to the villagers from Jenstein who take their granite down the river to the ford, where it is loaded onto carts bound for Osttur. He will often be seen on the banks of the river, and is of a friendly disposition. He will sometimes ask riddles of the boatmen as they travel downstream. He has an arrangement with the owners of the granite mines, who pay him a regular stipend for his protection and promise not to interfere with the shipments through his territory. He has grown fat and lazy, finding this infinitely easier than harassing each boat as it passes. He has amassed 900 gp so far, but the arrangement does work out well for all concerned, since he also chases off any bandits or other creatures that would interfere with his cozy arrangement.RANDOM ENCOUNTERSSlate MountainsOrcs. A warband of the Spinebreaker orc tribe. 30 warriors armed with halberds, with 1 captain and 3 lieutenants (8 hp each) armed with battle axes and short bows. Wolves. A pack of 1d6+6 wolves.Woodsmen. 1d6 woodsmen from the nearest human village (F2, AC 7 (studded leather + shield), patroling for orcs or other unusual activity.Brown bears. 1d4 brown bears plus 1d2 cubs.Giant snake. Giant constrictor snake will drop on a party member from the trees above (25 hp).Set encounter. The nearest creature from the encounter key above or a human village is met in the woods, on some mission. RoadsMerchants. A small caravan of 1d6 carts is traveling towards the nearest village. Farmer. A farmer is taking a load of foodstuff to the nearest village.Itinerant priests. A group of clerics (C5, C3 ,C3, C2) is on a mission to reinforce the faith within the district. The first time they are encountered, they come from Osttur and are relatively new. If re-encountered, they will be the same group; they will visit a village, stay at the local temple for a week or so, and organize a special service with the blessing of the local priest. They are led by Father Max, who has extreme views on the virtues of poverty.Margot the Magnificent. A wandering magic-user (MU6, 15 hp), Margot comes from Valais and sells her magical powers to the locals, as well as putting on shows for free at the local taverns. She makes a decent living this way, and is well-liked by most. She is accompanied by a pair of "assistants" (F3, 18, 17 hp, AC 7 (studded leather + shield), armed with spears and light crossbows). Mr. Wurno. A wandering tinker (gnome, T8, 23 hp) who sells a huge variety of trinkets and gadgets from his overstuffed cart. He always seems to have exactly what a customer needs. He has been around for as long as anyone can remember.Patrol. A mounted patrol of local militia from the nearest village, led by one or two of their ritters, will ask the PCs their business. If they seem legitimate they will be allowed to pass, but if they are heavily armed without some sort of letter of marque or other authorization, they may be questioned more closely.Note that encounters along the roads are meant to be repetitive. It should be very natural for the PCs to get to know most of the potential encounters in as small an area as the district. They should get used to seeing Father Max, Margot, etc. This can be used to the DM's advantage; if Mr. Wurno suddenly stops being seen on the road, it may lead them to investigate, leading to some adventure. These NPCs can also be used to further some plot down the road, if the DM has need of a spy or somesuch later on. As the game goes on, I might add others, to keep things fresh, but the continuity of familiar faces is important.Plains (more than 1/2 mile from the road)Badgers. 1d4+1 badgers.Wild dogs. A pack of 4d4 wild dogs.Patrol. See the road encounter table above.Herd. Cattle or sheep from a nearby farm. A shepherd will be nearby.SpiderwoodGiant spiders. 1d8 giant spiders.Huge spiders. 1d12 huge spiders.Large spiders. 2d10 large spiders.Ettercaps. 1 (50% chance) or both of the ettercaps from #10 above.TrotterwoodWild boar. 2d6 wild boar. 15% chance of being accompanied by 1 of the wereboars from #11.Giant boar. 2d4 giant boar.Wereboar. 1 (50% chance) or both of the wereboars from #11 above. […]

  • 5e in Exalted's Creation
    by Trey on November 19, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Art by UDONIn a rare visit to rpgnet the other day, I saw a thread about utilizing the setting for Exalted for a 5e D&D game. The easiest way to do this would be to excise the Exalted themselves to one degree or another. Their fantasy superheroics would necessitate too drastic an overall to the D&D system (or the use of something like Kevin Crawford's Godbound). Removing the Exalted drastically changes the setting, true, but I think that's part of the fun of the mashup.In brief for the unfamiliar, Exalted's Creation is a flat, roughly square, world with the Blessed Isle and a Holy Mountain at its center. The Mountain is the Elemental Pole of Earth, and in all other compass directions, Creation bleeds into the other Elemental Poles (Air, Water, Fire, and Wood).  Heaven is the home of the Celestial Bureaucracy and the gods that oversee the multitude of spirits in the world. Hell is something like the Greek Tartarus; it's the place of imprisonment of the overthrown and now demonic Primordals, the Titans that created the world. The Underworld, the realm of the dead, was created by the death of some Primordals during the titanomachy. Outside of Creation proper, orbits the body of a surviving Primordial, Autochthon, with people living in its Steampunkish interior.All of Creation was born from the chaos of the Wyld, and it still lies beyond the borders. Fey have come from it in the past and attempted to destroy the irritant of stable form and matter.Art by Christopher StevensWith that out of the way, here are a few not-fully-formed thoughts on how to adapt some things:There's a lot of change to basic D&D cosmological assumptions, but also some congruities to be exploited. Demons and devils get combined to the Yozis and both the Abyss and the Nine Hells can be encompassed in the hell prison of Malfeas. Tieflings would be the demon-blooded of Exalted. Warlocks fit well as their servitors.Conflating the elves with the Fair Folk would emphasis the Chaotic portion of their traditional Chaotic Good alignment. The Wyld would make a more alien Feywild. Many aberrations might aslo fit within the Wyld.The champions of the Moon, the Lunar Exalted, could be represented by Shifters and lycanthropes. Warforged could by Autochthonians. Dwarves are, of course, the Mountain Folk, and the Dragonborn take the place of the more dinosaurian Dragon Kings. The Elemental-powered Dragon-blooded could probably be placed with Genasi.That's just to start. I think it's an interesting thought experiment. […]

  • Dragon War Zone
    by Konsumterra on November 18, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    This is first of a new series called war zones. The idea is you can stage various invasions on your poor setting and use these tables to add new encounters and colour. Blame Chad for the idea he is often inspiration. I like feedback because it often gets me writing more.So there will be more like this so you can every year have a horrible invasion lay waste to your campaign so you don't get to comfortable. These would probably make good little publications. Still unsure as to final format yet but this is a start. Will join my other unfinished series like Sewers, Hell, Xor, mutations etc. Future ones will include giants, sylvan, mercenaries, demons, humanoids and anything else I can think of as I go.Basically each type introduces new encounters and spectacles of war as invasions take place. These are not necessarily the types of wars heroes can that can stop, but they might prevent some suffering or help some people. I guess you could run as a misery crawl like Patrick Stewart's dam busting disaster adventure or you could put in a  some key objectives for players to damage the invasion or even lead troops.Encounters are types of threats roaming countryside while wonders are spectacular sights that could be avoided but could lead to fights. They include descriptions of what bad guys are up too and scenes of suffering in the war zone. Dragonmen could be treated as exotic beastmen, firenewts or dragonlance draconians whatever you please.d10 Starting the Dragon War1 Dragonspawn pits of Tiamat in hell have hatched a swarm of draconic monsters2 Dragons have awakened their millennial slumbers and are in breeding frenzy3 An evil god has awakened them all at once to purge humankind4 A gateway to a draconic ruled world opens 5 A draconic cult has prepared this for aeons, nursing eggs in secret places6 Adventurers or a god offended Tiamat7 Gods are angry at mortals for being too plentiful and noisy8 Serpent men in last gasp chance using dragons to destroy humans9 Lizard men found a great clutch of eggs from the dawn age and hatched them with rituals10 A wizard tried to misuse the draconic world spirit and brought the about the apocalypsed10 Dragon Military Objectives1 Eat everything farm animals and humans2 Burn Human Buildings and settlements3 Gather loot for the alpha dragon hordes4 Destroy shipping and merchant caravans5 Route humans driving them to other lands6 Gather magical treasure7 Destroy wizard towers and libraries8 Destroy human temples and establish a dragon cult9 Turn land into a poison uninhabitable wasteland10 Reduce human civilization to stone aged10 Ending the Dragon War1 Dragons run out of food and turn on each other2 Demihuman armies arrive to harass dragons3 Anti dragon artifact is discovered4 Champions confront avatar of Tiamat sending her to hell5 Good dragons come to aid humanity6 Humanoids equally fearful of dragons aid humanity7 Lords of hell offer to aid kingdom for a price8 Dragon army move onto other kingdom once this one a ruin9 Gods offer to aid humanity but take a price10 Factions of the invaders turn on each other over internal fuedCult TroopsHuman cultists include reptile cultists, snake cultists and dragon cultists. Hiding in secret for generations they now walk openly helping the invaders, starting fires, preparing sacrifices, hatching monster eggs and worse. Cultists mostly are irregular rabble but some are especially well equipped and trained. Some are mutants with traits of the beings they worship. Some elites of the cult include magicians such as priests, alchemists, wizards and sorcerers. Alchemists might even have created dragons or dragonmen in apparatus before the invasion. Other magicians may have built drolems - mechanical dragon golems worshiped by cults unable to find a real dragon. Drolems are used in invasion as distractions and where dragons are short. Dragons show contempt for these cults but treat those with draconic mutations slightly better.Cultist Rabble irregular light troops, robes and daggers, fanatic to cause in mob of 40Cultist Mutants, disfigured with inhuman ability, swords and masks in mobs of 40Cult Mercenaries heavily armed and armoured with dragon masks in groups of 20Cult lesser magician d4 Lv d4 1=priest 2=wizard 3=sorcerer 4=alchemist + rabbleCult Boss Magician 3d4 Lv d4 1=priest 2=wizard 3=sorcerer 4=alchemist + mercenariesDrolem with group of mercenaries and rabble plus magician leadersReptilian TroopsReptilians regard dragons as gods and ancestors. The have access to many monster types and move through and fight wetlands without penalty. Serpent men often act as advisors and wizards as they are too rate to field armies themselves. Some serpentmen are in fact the rulers. Vampire lizard kings prefer to fight by night and will produce zombies troops from fallen kin and enemies. They usually enter war later when lizards are more desperate. The vampires don't get along with serpent men so well. Dragons are wary of serpent men ambition but accept worship of lizard men. Dragons think lizard men and dinosaurs are backward and less evolved savages.Muckdweller Scouts with slings or javelins or darts groups of 12-20Savage Lizardmen with javelins and war clubs and shields groups of 40High Lizard Men with spears and morningstars and shields groups of 40Giant lizards with 2 riders (various specialist types) groups of fourBonebreaker or babblers with handler each in groupps of fourPteranodon Riders in groups of fourGiant Snapping Turtles or dinosaurs with 4 riders or handlers eachChieftain leads band of 40 and king has 40 bodyguards and leads 100-400Shamen are common magical leaders or Serpent Man Wizards with twelve guards eachVampire Lizard King as normal king but with zombie lizard men troopsSome types specialize in aquatic with marine dinosaurs, crocs and snapping turtlesTroglodyte TroopsTrog Mercenaries are kin of lizard men who live underground They are effective skirmishers and dangerous close in melee enhanced by their stench. Dragons find them disgusting and they don't share camps with other troops, making their own camps down wind.Troglodyte Sub chiefs command 40 trogs and chiefs command 200Firenewt TroopsFirenewts are kin of lizard men but who live in volcanic regions but a cold variety could exist too living in glaciers instead with frost salamanders and spitting frost instead of fire. Dragons tend to treat them with more respect.Firenewt warriors in groups of 40 with a sub chief or 200 with high chiefFirenewt Strider Rider Cavalry in groups of 4 or 12 or 20Pteranodon Riders in groups of fourSalamander each with two firenewt handlers (BX ones not ADnD ones)Kobold TroopsKobolds worship dragons and are devious skirmishers and relentless irregular swarmers. They also are easily air dropped in by dragons and also able att siegecraft and construction. They use magic more than lizard men but dislike serpent men wizards who like to eat them.  Dragons are a bit disdainful of them and act like kobolds are beneath them. But they don't mind kobolds grooming them. Kobolds serving dragons are fanatics.Kobold scouts with slings or javelins or darts in groups of 20Kobold archers with shortbows in groups of 40Kobold dog riders in groups of 40Kobold warriors with machetes, spears and shields in groups of 400Kobold comand units include sub-chieftains (100) chieftains (400) kings (1000)Kobold magic units include shamen or wizards with 40 guards eachDraconic TroopsDragonmen or draconians come in various varieties related to the chromatic evil dragon types. They are kin of dragons but treated like kin albeit like bratty children. They are technologically more advanced than most humanoids and live in a warrior aristocracy. They are less magical but their knights act as their prize troops. Dragonmen are elite, cruel and arrogant. Outside a dragon invasion they are rare mostly sleep for aeons. They are created by dragons who spawn them when faster humanoid elite troops needed. They worship and obey dragons but might think they know best and act independently.Dragonmen Warriors in bands of 40 led by a chiefWyvern Rider Dragonmen Knights in groups of four who focus on enemy elitesEncounter Typesd10 for first 24 hours opening of ward20 for the d4 days afterd100 for ongoing ward100 Dragon War Encounters01 Very Young baby dragon waddling about angry and hungry02 Giant lizard HD3+1 1in6 ridden by lizard men03 Swarm of poison snakes poison HD1 2d4 dropped on roads04 Constrictor snake HD2 drops from trees05 Gang of overly brave kobold scouts 3d4 sure they are on unbeatable side06 Crocodile HD3 in pond or stream or pond or moving between them07 Fire Drake HD4 scouting and starting fires08 Cultists serving dragons or snake men or lizard men 2d609 Muckdweller scouts HDd4 5d4 use slings to harass travellers10 Pteranodon HD3+3 with d3 kobold observers11 Kobold warband 5d4 out to grab loot12 Very Young Baby dragons d4 hungry but wary of danger13 Lizard Men HD2+1 War Band 3d4 looking for food for dragons14 Dragon Men Skirmishers d4 challenge human heroes to single combat15 Amphisbaena HD6 d3 rolling down road in hoop shape16 Giant Constrictor snake HD6+1 d3 hanging from trees17 Giant Poisonous Snake HD4+2 d6 blocking trails 18 Giant Spiting Snake HD4+2 d3 blocking roads19 Giant Gekko HD 3+1 d10 cling and camouflage often in trees or rocks20 Draco Lizard 4+2 d8 glider membrane drop by surprise on prey from above21 Horned Chameleon HD5 d8 hiding in terrain for ambush22 Tuatara HD6 d4 ridden by lizard men raiding villages23 Fire Snake HD2 d6 blocking roads and sneaking into forges and fireplaces24 Young Dragon hungry but wont take undue risks 25 Bone Snapper HD4 d3 often with d4 lizard men handlers26 Fire Newts Infantry HD2+2 3d427 Firenewts HD2+2 riding striders HD2 28 Ophidians HD 4 3d4 out looking for food for dinosaurs29 Giant Poisonous Snakes HD4+2 d630 Huge Crocodile HD7 in water or moving in between31 Troglodyte Scouts HD2 3d4 skirmishind and raiding32 Salamander (fire or frost) attacking travellers and villagers33 A angry wyvern HD7+7 looking for food34 Hydra five headed with d4 lizard men guardians35 Sub adult dragon scouting for army36 Babbler HD6 d4 with a d4 lizard men handlers37 Ice Lizard HD3+3 scouting but will attack travellers38 Hydra six headed hungry and traveling roads to farms and villages39 Were cobra HD5+2 shapeshifting spy40 Wood Drake HD4 d4 patroling between woodlands41 Cold Drake HD5 d4 from the mountains looking for victims42 Elemental Drake HD6 d4 scouting for army43 Boalisk HD5+1 d3 blocking roads44 Young Adult Dragon scouting for army wary of threats45 Man Drakes HD3 d6 in human form spying for draconic army46 Wyverns HD7+7 d6 looking for humans to menace47 Hydra seven headed roaming area eating everything48 Adult Dragon confident and hungry49 Pteranodon Squadron HD3+3 2d4 with lizard men riders50 Basilisk HD6+1 blocking a road and polluting area with venom51 Cockatrice HD5 blocking a road and polluting area with venom52 Giant Snapping Turtle HD10 moving between water 1in6 with 4 lizard men on back 53 Minotaur Lizard HD8 d8 1in6 riden by lizard men54 Subterranean Lizard HD 5 d6 1in6 ridden by lizard men55 Dimetrodon HD5 d6 hungrilly roaming from swamp56 Giant Pteradactyl HD10 carrying dragon man knight or dozen kobolds57 Behir HD12 sneaking around looking for victims to torment58 Hydra eight headed rampaging across countryside hungrily eating anything59 Adult dragon ridden by serpent man wizard60 Deinonychus HD 4+1 d6 pack of savage hunters61 Medusa sent to kill as many humans as possible62 Old Dragon confidant and hungry63 Cultists fighting force collaborating with invasion, often mutated with reptile features63 Spirit Naga with 2d4 lizard men guards64 Hydra nine headed rampaging horror65 Young Dragons D4 with dragonmen riders66 Dracolisk HD7+3 blocking roads of traffic67 Triceratops HD 16 with d4 lizard men riders68 Stegasaurus HD18 with d4 lizard men riders69 Megalasaurus HD12 with d4 lizard men troops70 Gorgasaurus HD13 with d4 lizard men troops71 Ceratasaurus HD8 with d4 lizard men troops72 Sea Serpent HD 8-10 squirming between water ways73 Fire Lizards HD10 d4 ridden by firenewts74 Were lizard HD8+2 shapeshifting spy75 Were snake constrictor HD7+3 shapeshifting spy76 Wyvern ridden by d3 lizard men or a dragonman knight77 Kobold army HDd4 100 + chief and guards and kobold wizard Lv478 Lizard King HD8 with 40 lizard men troopers79 Lamia (snake) HD9 with 2d6 lizard men servants80 Lamia Noble HD10+1 with 2d6 ophidian servant 81 Werecobra assasins team of 6 looking for human leaders to eliminate82 Serpantman wizard HD12 with 40 lizard men troops83 Dragonmen HD2 x40 with hero leader HD6+6 84 Lizard King Vampire HD12 and lizard men guards 40 by day they carry him in coffin 85 Very old dragon with dragonman knight86 Very old dragon with 20 dragonmen troops87 Very Old dragon mated pair88 Hydra eight headed with 20 firenewt troops89 Hydra ten headed with frost breath (hydrax)90 Hydra ten headed with fire breath (pyrohydra)91 Tyrannosaurus Rex HD18 with 3d4 lizard men guardians92 Hydra 12 headed regenerating firebreathing hydra93 Ancient dragon with a hundred dragonmen searching for human forces94 Pair of mated ancient ancient dragons leaders of dragon kind95 Ancient Dragon ith dragonman knight hero96 Great Elder Wyrm HD18 draconic elder unseen since the dawn age 97 Drolem HD20 dragon golem made by dragon wizard cult to distract humans98 Reptilian Gargantua 50HD god like fire breathing reptilian god lays waste to buildings99 Tarrasque 300hp awoken by draconic cult rampaging across land100 Tiamat Avatar 666hp often flies by razing area with breath weapons off to a battled100 Wonders of War 01 Psuedo dragon comes to warn and advise humans of threat02 Burning cattle in panicked stampede03 Burnt fields or grass04 Cloud of smoke seen in distance05 Ash rains from sky06 Foul odour of sulphur 07 Winged creatures seen flying in distance08 Kobold scouts attacking commoners09 Kobold scouts setting fire to fields or farmhouse10 Muckdwellers chasing farm animals or farmer11 Burning fields or grasslands12 Burning houses13 Burned corpses of farmers or animals on road14 Gassed corpses of farmers or animals on road15 Fleeing farmers on foot hysterical16 Fleeing farmers with waggons17 Fleeing farmers with livestock18 Orphan children covered in soot19 Orphan crying with pathetic ragdoll20 Wounded militia deserting and dumping equiptment21 Fresh militia looking scared marching to front22 Knights galloping to the front23 Dead knight on panicked horse24 Badly burned soldiers fleeing the front25 Kobolds eating burned human corpses 26 Giant lizards eating dead horses27 Dragon landing in a field dropping off kobolds then flying away28 Lizard men climbing out of a well29 Dragon swoops on military waggons setting lot on blaze30 Hundreds of charred soldier corpses with melted weapons and armour31 Huge blazing forest fire32 Burning village33 Marching human army 34 Area swarming with muck dwellers35 Area swarming with kobolds36 Army of kobolds marching37 Army of lizardmen38 Giant lizards crawling on road39 Hear distant roaring and rampaging 40 Dinosaurs destroying buildings41 Pterodactyls flying overhead screeching42 Wyverns flying overhead silently43 Drakes flying overhead dropping fire on roofs and trees44 Dragon setting fire to haystacks45 Huge serpent swallowing person46 Pteranodon flying overhead with lizard man throwing snakes from its back47 Peasant trying to fight a giant snake to save family48 Peasants beating a kobold with farm tools 49 Soldiers with dragonman in waggon heading urgently away from front50 Wyvern fighting a knight 51 Wyvern menacing a fair maiden52 Hydra fighting soldiers53 People trying to cross river being attacked by crocodiles54 Flood of water caused by dragons freezing river upstream55 Wild animals of many species fleeing dragons hunger56 Dragon in a field snacking on cows57 Serpentman barking orders to lizard men to search area58 Striders and firenewts chasing horse rider  59 Salamanders cavorting in burning church 60 Wizard fighting with dragon in distance61 Fire rains from sky62 Hundreds of dragons fly across the sky63 Stampeding dinosaurs rampage across area64 Dragonmen crucifying victims65 Dragonmen herding human civilians to hungry dragons on snack break66 Lizardmen herding bound prisoners deeper into draconic held lands67 Wyverns busy mating while dragonmen riders get annoyed 68 Troglodytes tormenting prisoners in cages with their stench69 Human bandits skirmishing with lizardmen defending fleeing peasants70 Wyverns dropping rocks on fortified building71 Burning knight on horseback fleeing towards water72 Serpantman and lizard king arguing in front of troops73 Lizardmen pulling coffin from prehuman crypt with chanting shamen nearby74 Kobolds feeding fire in burning buildings with incendiary fluid 75 Human dragon cultists repairing a broken drolem76 Human serpent cultists listening to stirring speech of a serpentman77 Lizard cultists healing wounded giant reptile78 Snake cultists in wagon throwing venemous snakes behind them79 Broken stone statues of fleeing soldiers and peasants80 Dinosaur fighting a giant crocodile over a frightened family in ruin81 Paladin on horse heading to front asks for directions to battle82 Priest leading villagers in prayer, ground shaking from something coming83 Sobbing woman with huddling children crying over dead family members84 Cultists exhorting villager prisoners to join them or be sacrificed to dragons hunger85 Lamia leading trail of huge snakes and cultists towards houses86 Cultists have prepared great wicker dragon full of prisoners ready to burn87 Zombie humans being herded by reptile man shaman in service to his vampire king88 Archers fighting a dragon, trying to hold morale89 Wyvern fighting a hill giant90 Crack opens in earth releasing foul odours91 Couatl come to warn and help humans evacuate92 Faerie Dragon come to help faerie and possibly humankind93 Gargantuan lizard beast destroying a castle or bridge94 Burning settlement being trampled by tarrasque95 Earthquake shakes land96 Volcanic eruption in distance spewing out dragons from hell97 Huge plume of smoke and fire from distant city98 Kobolds rendering dead villagers in cauldrons into fat intended to be used in siege99 Catapults and ballistas on burning waggons surrounded by charred human soldiers100 Tiamat leading dragons towards city in formation […]

  • November Campaign Design IX - Campaign Map
    by Joseph Bloch on November 17, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    In the previous installment of this series, I laid out the starting scenario for the PCs. They will be starting in the area indicated by the box on the map below:For me, the maps are where things really come alive. I took the area on the large-scale map, and blew it up to a scale of 2 miles per inch. This allows me to show individual features like mountains, the extent of hills and forests, villages, minor rivers, tracks, and even individual farms. Here is my hand-drawn map of the area that will serve as my primary wilderness map when DMing:I haven't noted the locations of individual monsters yet. Since that's something that will change over time, I'll make a copy of this map and stock it with an initial load of creatures. As they get killed off or driven away, I'll gradually restock the place. Most of the monsters will be in the wooded mountains, of course, but the Spider Wood is an obvious haunt of giant spiders, and I have a vague idea that the Trotterwood would be a good place for giant boar and wereboars.There's also the ruins of the Artanian town at the northern edge of the map. As indicated in the last post, this is where the locals believe most of their troubles are emanating. They're partially right; there will certainly be some beasties in there. There's also an orc tribe in those woods, too; the Spinebreaker tribe, who worship Dispater, lord of the second plane of Hell. Their exact home is unknown, but they are known to have several villages throughout the mountains, as they are semi-nomadic. They cause no end of trouble to the settlers, and thwarting them would be a great service.The whole is known as the Greitzberg District.The eight villages in the District are mostly agricultural in nature, with the four on the plains surrounded by well-tended fields. Each is centered around a fortified manor house, and ruled by a baron. The exception is the village of Greitzberg, which is ruled by a Freiherr, which means he is not a vassal of the Markgraf in Osttur, and enjoys a great deal more independence than the other villages in the district. This causes no small amount of ill-feelings, as the barons are jealous of his independent status. All of the villagers have the right to appeal a baron's justice to the Markgraf, but the Freiherr's rulings in judicial matters cannot be appealed. Each baron maintains a number of ritters (knights) to lead the defense of the village.The mountain villages each have a small population of half-orcs, who are treated as second-class citizens. They are barely tolerated by the humans, but driven out by the orcs. On rare occasions, such half-orcs will return to the tribe after years of being raised in the human communities and treated so poorly. Such renegades assist the Spinebreakers in planning their raids.Lirberg is primarily a dairy cattle-herding village, ruled by Baron Ludwig Erchendag. He is married to the daughter of the Freiherr of Greitzberg, so the two are on good terms. Several years ago the previous baron was turned into a vampire, but was eventually destroyed and his manor house abandoned and sealed. Ever since then, however, there are said to be more unusual happenings in the vicinity than can easily be accounted for. Population 330, 2 ritters, 66 militia.Greitzberg is also a cattle-herding village, but supplements this with logging in the forest across the river. It is ruled by Freiherr Erwin Stadtler. His title comes from the fact that his village was founded prior to the Markgraf being granted his own title. The Markgraf thinks the world of him, however, and treats him like an honored guest whenever the Freiherr visits Osttur. The Markgraf will stay in Greitzberg on visits, and the two nobles will hunt together in the woods. Population 700, 4 ritters, 140 militia.Jenstein is a logging town, but also sports a stone quarry that provides high-quality blocks of granite to the rest of the district and Osttur. It is ruled by Baron Krieg Lustorf. There is a dispute between Jenstein and Greitzberg, however, on where exactly the border between the two lies. It turns out there are two boundary stones, a half-mile apart, each claiming to mark the border. A group of bandits has taken advantage of the confusion and sometimes strikes in the disputed zone. Population 400, 3 ritters, 80 militia.Melheim's economy is centered on a pair of copper mines nearby, worked by a sizeable force of hill dwarves. The ingots are difficult to transport, however, making full exploitation of the resource difficult. The village is ruled by Baron Karl Urfein. They recently built a palisade wall to protect the village against constant raids by the orcs. The baron is experimenting with embracing the half-orcs in his community, organizing them into a militia unit specifically to deal with orc raids. Its success is yet to be determined. Population 370, 2 ritters, 78 militia.Graufort is situated on a ford across the river, and is surrounded by extensive acres of farmland where mostly wheat and rye are grown. The current ruler is Baroness Ursula Megendorf, a young widow whose husband was killed in an orc raid. Graufort is also home to the largest temple of the Holy Family in the district, which gives the baron no little pride. Population 560, 4 ritters, 130 militia.Lunz is a small farming village ruled by baron Josef Kreiten. He himself is an accomplished magic-user, and hopes to start a school for the mystical arts in the village. He has attracted a few students already. Population 300, 2 ritters, 60 militia.Oeltorf is a small farming community ruled by Baroness Suzanne Woldkopf. She is an ancient matriarch of her clan, and the family or its relatives own half the farmland surrounding the village. She herself has 8 children, 23 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren. It is said she has a touch of elven blood. Population 450, 3 ritters, 90 militia.Sendenow is another farming village that grows barley and rye predominately, but also has a strong tradition of hunting boar in the nearby Trotterwood. The ruler is Baron Baldur Reichbach. Being the furthest from the Slate Mountains, Senenow has the least problem with raids from the Spinebreaker orcs, but between the Spider Wood to the north and the Trotterwood to the west, there are other dangers that plague the village, and so he maintains three knights and still makes sure the village militia drills weekly. Population 500, 3 ritters, 100 militia. […]

  • Demons in Early D&D, Part 2
    by Oakes Spalding on November 17, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    The Arch-devil Asmodeus, from the AD&D Monster ManualSee Part 1, here.Dungeons & Dragons "Holmes Basic" Set (July, 1977): There were only a few passing references to demons in this edition. I assume this was largely because they were too powerful and complicated to feature in an introductory treatment designed to take player characters only through 3rd level.AD&D Monster Manual (December, 1977): The first AD&D book fleshed out, so to speak, the nine demonic types presented in Eldritch Wizardry and added three more to their number including Manes, Juiblex (The Faceless Lord) and, oddly perhaps, Yeenoghu, who we are told is "Demon Lord of Gnolls." The numbered Types I to V are also given additional names, and the Balrog is renamed "Balor." Interestingly, two of the types - Type IV (Nalfeshnee, etc.) and Type V (Marilith, etc.) feature illustrations that appear to be fairly close copies (though in mirror image) of their initial illustrations in Eldritch Wizardry, twenty months before. (Both sets were drawn by David Sutherland.) As far as I know, this is the only case where the Monster Manual made obvious use of previous art.Type V Demon (Marilith) from (L to R) Eldritch Wizardry and the Monster ManualEDIT: R. Nelson Bailey pointed out to me that the Monster Manual illustrations of the sahuagin and umber hulk appear to be exactly the same as those originally found in Blackmoor. As in Eldritch Wizardry, the Monster Manual suggests thatIf the name of a particularly powerful demon is spoken, there is a chance that he will hear and turn his attention to the speaker. A base 5% chance is recommended to the referee. Unless prepared to avoid such attention - or to control the demon - the demon will whereupon immediately kill, by whatever means are most expeditious, the one pronouncing his name (p. 16).One wonders in how many campaigns a referee invoked this rule when the players were joking around.The Monster Manual tells us that "Demons are able to move from their own plane into those of Tarterus, Hades, or Pandemonium or roam the astral plane" (p. 16). But what is their own plane? It's not very clearly presented, but the careful reader can figure it out: If the amulet of a demon prince is destroyed, it will "Thus condemn the prince to abyssment for one year." As well, Manes are described as "Those dead which go to the 666 layers of the demonic abyss" (p. 17).The Monster Manual also introduces devils for the first time. These are primarily distinguished from demons in that devils are lawful evil in alignment whereas demons are chaotic evil. There are eleven types of them, led by the "Arch-Devil" Asmodeus, who are the "inhabitants and rulers of the planes of hell." I actually remember these entities much better than their demonic rivals, perhaps because the illustrations are more evocative and appear to be of a higher quality, and also because of their more memorable and resonant names.In addition, various creatures are listed outside of the "Demons" and "Devils" sections - imps, larva, night hags, quasists, etc. - who are either "minor" demons or devils, are related to or associate with demons or devils in some way or who, like demons and devils, largely inhabit the lower planes. Curiously, the rakshasa is listed as a "devil" (not a demon as in Gods, Demi-Gods and Heroes) in the Index but that fact is not mentioned in its description. AD&D Players Handbook (June, 1978): As demons and devils were now official monsters, the second AD&D volume contained a number of references to them, just as it did for other creatures. As one might expect, many of these references were in descriptions of relevant spells such as Protection from Evil and so on. But demons had also apparently now reached a status in the canon where they could be used to stress the imaginative and epic proportions of Dungeons & Dragons:This game lets all of your fantasies come true. This is a world where monsters, dragons, good and evil high priests, fierce demons, and even the gods themselves may enter your character's life. Enjoy, for this game is what dreams are made of! (p. 7).In the Players Handbook it is revealed that clerics might be able to turn or control some demons and devils, just as they turn undead. Though players would have to wait until the Dungeon Masters Guide (August, 1979) or the preview of it in The Dragon (No. 22, February, 1979) for charts on this.I think two other things stand out in the Handbook. First, we see perhaps the first sustained reference to player-characters voluntarily interacting with the demonic in a detailed and explicit way. It's in the description for the 7th level Magic-User spell, Cacodemon:Explanation/Description: This perilous exercise in dweomercraeft summons up a powerful demon of type IV, V, or VI, depending upon the demon's name being known to the magic-user...The spell caster must be within a circle of protection (or a thaumaturgic triangle with protection from evil) and the demon confined within a pentagram (circled pentacle) if he or she is to avoid being slain or carried off by the summoned cacodemon... By tribute of fresh human blood and the promise of 1 or more human sacrifices, the summoner can bargain with the demon for willing service... The components of this spell are 5 flaming black candles; a brazier of hot coals upon which must be burned sulphur, bat hairs, lard, soot, mercuricnitric acid crystals, mandrake root, alcohol, and a piece of parchment with the demon's name inscribed in runes inside a pentacle; and a dish of blood from some mammal (preferably a human, of course) placed inside the area where the cacodemon is to be held (pp. 86-7).Of course it would be easy to pull this "out of context" to argue that AD&D was attempting to make occult practices attractive to children or whatever. In truth, I didn't even remember the spell, and was only reminded of it when researching this post, even though, at the time, I played AD&D exclusively and thought of the Players Handbook as the defining D&D tome. I suspect I'm not alone in this. Among other things, Cacodemon was a high-level spell and I doubt that many campaigns got that far. As always, I could be wrong.The second thing to note is that it was in Appendix IV of the Handbook that all of the planes were finally explicitly named and their nature and relation at least somewhat described or explained (using a list, a two-dimensional representation and a three dimensional representation!). So, as for evil places where demonic entities might dwell, we are introduced to:17. The Planes of Pandemonium of chaotic evil neutrals. 18. The 666 layers of the Abyss of absolute chaotic evil. 19. The planes of Tarterus of evil chaotic neutrals. 20. Hades' "Three Glooms" of absolute (neutral) evil. 21. The furnaces of Gehenna of lawful evil neutrals. 22. The Nine Hells of absolute lawful evil. 23. The nether planes of Acheron of lawful evil neutrals (p. 120).That demons hailed from the Abyss and devils lived in the Nine Hells wasn't mentioned in the Players Handbook, but the Monster Manual had made that sort of clear, and of course there was also that early chart in The Strategic Review. Next (Part 3): the AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide, The Dragon and the first modules. […]

  • The Justice League is Finally Here
    by Trey on November 17, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Justice League is, by and large, the Justice League movie fan complaints about Man of Steel and Batman v Superman suggest they have been waiting for. It is more uneven and rough-edged than Wonder Woman, but it does put the DC cinematic universe on firm footing.I would say the negativity in most of the critical reviews is a bit of a puzzlement to me, except that it isn't entirely. The polish and ready humor (bordering on outright comedy at times) of the Marvel films have set the yardstick by which these things are judged. Warner hasn't understood the memo (particularly Snyder) and the only thing to be done is to keep reading it to them until they do.There was a time when superhero product wasn't so slick and by-the-numbers. Iron Man was original at one time, and it's follow-up reverted a bit to tried and true superhero film formula. Dark Knight is often considered the best superhero film ever, but it is completely bereft of comedy relief CGI characters that now seem a standard element at least of the Guardians of the Galaxy style Marvel films. The earlier Snyder films certainly have their faults, but as others have argued the dislike directed against them seems to have less to do with their cinematic failings than their approach to the characters.Justice League responds to many of those complaints. We have heroes being heroic--and heroes finding their way to heroism after being lost in some way. There is humor, particularly from the Flash, who is different from his tv and comic incarnations to a degree, but has enough to charm to win you over. Momoa's Aquaman seemed like he might be tedious and one-note from the trailers, but I didn't find that to be the case. Though their on-screen development is necessarily limited, every one of the characters gets a bit of an arc that takes off and lands nicely (unlike say Valkyrie's disappearing alcoholism in Thor: Ragnarok). Much of the humor is kind of at Batman's expense, which serves to undercut any grimness or  the "hypercompetent Batman" that sometimes plagues the comics.The setup of the film is very comic book like in structure. It establishes and moves on. This might feel choppy to some viewers and those not familiar with the characters and the universe might feel some things are under-explained. Atlanteans just are, as are Mother Boxes. The movie doesn't spend any time trying to make you accept either or give you more than the story-essential backstory.The last two thirds of the film have more conventional pacing and cutting and fall into problem solving and fisticuffs. Superhero fights in film have gotten a bit tired by now, I think, and this film doesn't do anything to make me rethink that assessment, though it is far from the worst example. Flash's speed effect winds up being similar to Quicksilver's but it's utilized in a different enough way that it doesn't seem derivative. Wonder Woman is a badass, Aquaman is sort of reckless, Batman is out of his depth, but smart. Cyborg is lacking in confidence, but the key to defeating the villain.The film has it's problems of course. Its villain continues the superhero film trend of being not terribly interesting. He's better realized than Wonder Woman's antagonist, at least. The CGI is strangely dodgy in spots, particularly in a sort of prologue (don't let that brief scene sour you on it). The color palette is still darker than ideal.But you know what [and this is a SPOILER so you are warned]...The mid-credits sequence is Flash challenging Superman to a race. It made me smile for comic book nostalgia reasons, which it as been a while since a Marvel film did that. […]

  • d100 Secrets of the Murder Hobos
    by Konsumterra on November 17, 2017 at 11:39 am

    Old piss stained murder hobos, washed up adventurers, drunken former heroes fill the gutters and sly grog shops of Shadelport. These toothless old men might be worth hiring to come along but many will betray you, kill you, rob you, eat you or worse. But plenty more are too brain damaged old and crippled or drunk to do anyone mischief. But they might know a secret or two. Some know where old dungeons lay hidden, where treasure is buried, tricks for dealing with monsters and all kinds of things. Some might be lies just for enough money for a beer or a hit of lotus dust. Under my index you will see lots of old murder hobo tables. Possibly a compilation of them might be worth a go.Suggested by Nova Scotia Dream in last post comment box.d10 What does the drunken old murder hobo want?01 Enough money for a beer02 Enough money to stay drunk for a month03 Lotus resin or some other adictive drug04 A job in service to adventurers or a household05 To come with adventurers as a follower for a adventure06 A night with a prostitute07 A bath and a hot meal08 Armour and a weapon and a few beers09 A suckling roast piglet and a jar of grog10 To be taken on a last adventure to die fightingd100 Quick Secrets Types01 Buried Caches - hidden loot left by adventurers02 Explored dungeons - possibly repopulated or good for beginners03 Active dungeons - found but marked for later, untouched by adventurers04 Monster Lairs - possible treasure guarded by some rare beast05 Tomb location - possible riches and death await06 Underworld Entries - great cavern complexes into the hidden lands of the deep07 Esoteric Lore - strange information that might come in handy08 Secret Locations - secret paths and passages09 Magic Secrets - formula and recipies and spells10 Forbidden Secrets - terrible lore humans were not meant to knowd100 Secrets of the Murder Hobos01 Map to chests of copper coins left by party who couldn't carry them02 Map to stockpile of adventuring supplies in buried waggons03 Map to abandoned silver mine with silver left and some monsters04 Map to treasure pile adventurers left behind when chased away by humanoid tribes05 Map to adventurer treasure ship sunk on a reef off the coast06 Map where adventurers hid a stolen army payroll years ago, surely long forgotten07 Map to where adventurers left loot from dungeon when baggage handlers fled08 Map to hoard of pirate treasure stolen from a pirate captain who disappeared 09 Map to ruined house in haunted woods where wounded adventurers hid loot on the run10 Map to Dwarven dungeon treasure house but swarming with undead11 Map of dungeon cleared out decades ago but now inhabited by new monsters12 Map of dungeon left half cleared out when most of party died on last expedition13 Map of dungeon mostly cleared out but famous hidden treasure never found14 Map of dungeon rumoured to be cleared out every decade hidden near city15 Map of dungeon party was exploring but others all killed by a cult16 Map of dungeon where alchemists made potions in secret full of loot17 Map of dungeon with a sleeping cursed princess in a crystal coffin 18 Map of secret dungeon in sewers beneath city made as secret treasure house19 Map of dungeon concealed in riverbank by mud but once active20 Map of dungeon the rest of party took over and became boss monsters21 Map of secret kobold dungeon they have been expanding for decades  22 Map of reptilian dungeon where degenerate albino reptile men savages lurk 23 Map of of old dungeon used by generations of bandits with stockpile of merchant loot24 Map of dungeon entrance hidden by cult trying to repair ancient artifact25 Map of hidden dungeon where a goblin kings minions dig for gems26 Map of secret village of ogres reputed to be guarding great piles of gold27 Map of a ancient orc factory where wizards used to make them from mud28 Map of secret cult temple filled with wealth but now occupied by beastmen29 Map of sorcerer pleasure sect where decadent cult keep slaves and drugs30 Map of forbidden necromancy school where evil wizards learn wicked magic31 Map of a hidden dragon lair in mountains where beast hibernates for centuries32 Map of cave of a ogre magi and his goblin minions guarding ancient scrolls33 Map of a cave where hill giants dwell in mountains with gold and sheep34 Map of seaside cliff cave hidden by tides, lair of fishmen and their blasphemous gold35 Map of werewolf lair that has for generations been robbing, killing and kidnapping36 Map to hidden dark elf tree house where they spy on and cruelly prank humans37 Map to ruins where a clan of doppelgangers have been plotting against humanity 38 Map to riverside lair of a great magical serpent who guards a golden horde 39 Map to lair of cultists who robbed a reliquary of holy treasure the church will pay for40 Map to lair of troglodytes who have been worshiping a bejewelled reptile statue41 Map to a prehuman crypt of a catfish man wizard guarded by undead and traps42 Map to a earthen mound tomb of a ancient wizard famed as a maker of magic items 43 Map to tomb of king who fought ancient evils entombed with his magic weapons 44 Map to buried mausoleum of a necromancer king sealed since the fall of their empire45 Map to crumbled pyramid tomb in forest where serpent man kings were buried long ago46 Map to valley of crumbling cliff tombs may untouched and sealed with intact magic traps47 Map to hidden cave tomb of of a barbarian chieftain famed for thier gold and chariots 48 Map to a hidden tomb of the vampire bat priestesses of a bloody prehuman cult  49 Map to tomb of a cruel wizard lord who once terrorised region before his burial50 Map to great island crypt of a pirate captain who plundered many exotic lands 51 Map to a cave entrance to a hidden dark elf citadel of the deep 52 Map to a lost underground kingdom with strange magic and treasure53 Map to a cavern with a ruined citadel swallowed up into the earth by the gods 54 Map of a cave where a barbarian hoarde kept their loot until a dragon took it55 Map of a great underground vault where albino degenerates worship a demon56 Map of a great sulphur cave some say is a entrance to hell57 Map of great volcanic cave with ruins of a ancient pre human temple 58 Map of a cave complex where great lizards guard ancient stone sarcophogi59 Map of a pyrites cave where a ancient dynasty fled with their gold60 Map of a great sinkhole that plunges int the depths lined with fossils of great beasts61 Knows common trade phrases of secret common language of the fish people62 Recipie for waterproofing oil that protects spellbooks and from water damage 63 Knows recipe for delicious wine from berries most think are inedible or poison64 Knows how to make delicious seasoning from fermented seagull guts65 Knows a secret word to calm donkeys and mules when they are scared66 Formula for preserving corpses used in ancient burials and forgotten67 Knows a special punch that gives +2 barehanded attack on dragon for a proficiency slot68 Knows a secret technique to make a slingstone fly further for a proficiency slot69 Knows how to make a scent that wolves and dire wolves hate to throw of trackers70 Knows a secret call to summon common cave bats at night71 Location of the yearly local goblin market72 Knows where fishmen meet on the reef to conduct blasphemous rites73 Secret entrance to one of the cities great libraries74 Magic passwords through door in the mountain but nobody ever returned75 Knows location of building where saucy parchments are copied from ancient originals76 Secret route through the mountains to series of demi human and humanoid valleys77 Secret location of great underground highway system built by dwarfs to cross mountains78 Secret tunnels that lead from mountains to distant islands made by druids long ago79 Location of a secret entrance of a secret school of forbidden wizardry 80 Secret way into the city dungeon complex long forgotten by secret police even81 Cliff location where primal wizards wrote long lost spells on walls82 Formula for lotus resin that with extra ingredients makes addictive clairvoyance potions83 Knows location of a rare herb that can restore memory of a 1st lv spell84 Knows location of a magical pool with strange inconsistent effects85 Knows a secret massage technique that dragons really like and could save your life86 Knows location of a sphinx that knows spells forgotten before humans even existed87 Knows erotic technique that can restore forgotten cantrips with a hour long sexual ritual 88 Has rare spell book pages has been using as a handkerchief89 Knows a recipe for invisible ink used by the secret police90 Formula of ingredients of a potion using rare monster body parts for ingredients91 True name and summoning ritual of a demon prince and instructions for protective sigils92 Location of a forbidden book of necromancy lost long ago93 Knows a recipe to heal zombies using human brains, blood and lotus dust 94 Knows location of a imp in a bottle that if freed will serve opener for a time as slave95 Knows recipe for demon blood wine that gives visions of the abyss that cults crave96 Knows where a bubbling pool of chaos can be found that causes mutations97 Knows of a cave in the mountains full of living edible meat, all you can eat98 Knows location of portal and how to activate it but not where it goes99 Knows where devil gems are found that cause any who touch them to lust after them100 Knows whereabouts of several prostitutes actually otherworldly disguised beings […]

  • Actual Play: Heroes of the Ashford Valley Orin's Second Post
    by Matt Borselli on November 17, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Ashford Valley Actual Play notes from March 2013:Wherein Orin speaks of his further adventures.On the road again.Before entering the Deep Forest, we decide to stop by the Laughing Unicorn tavern, a well fortified establishment popular among the travelers of Deep Forest road. We sit for a bit to eat, chatting with the barkeep, Omar the younger. Omar tells us that the coward, Curran the bandit chief, just won’t leave well enough alone and has been stringing up travelers along the road as some sort of revenge for the deaths of his crew. I was perfectly willing to let the scumbag go, but it looks like we must finish him off before anyone else gets hurt. I wonder if there is a bounty on him and his remaining crew?As we finish our meal, I notice a group of dwarves at a secluded table towards the back. Not one to pass up an opportunity to drink with some countrymen, I make my way over. But as I approach, I get an unsettling feeling about this bunch and notice their rather unusual dress…these dwarves are not from around here… or anywhere else I am familiar with. I decide to change my course and make for the crapper, which was probably a good idea anyway.On my way back, I overhear one of them mumbling “that’s him” in a dialect I haven’t heard before. This can’t be good. As soon as I get a distance away from them, they all make a break for the back door. This is definitely not good.I ask Omar about the dwarves and it seems they had been staying at the inn for some time, doing a whole lot of nothing. As we head out, hoping to get in our cart and go, we are told that our cart is waiting for us at the front gate, wheel repaired. The cart was no where to be seen. We rushed out the gate to find no sign of the cart, but off to the side, we spot the 5 dwarves just standing there.I stomped over to the one who seemed to be the leader of the gang and demanded to know what in all the hells was going on! Instead, they started questioning me about some events 25 years prior. It seems they were under the impression that I was involved in some mess involving a burned and looted caravan, and the abduction of 3 three babies! I insisted I had no bloody clue what they were yammering about…but then it hit me. Not only did I have no memory of these events, I could not remember anything from that time…not a single thing.Once it was discovered I was not useful, they seemed to have had enough of our conversation and suddenly blinked out of existence right before my eyes. They must have been in haste, for one of them left behind something on the bench they had been sitting on… a finely crafted ancient pipe on top of a scrap of parchment. Upon examining the parchment, it read “the stone of remembering” written in an ancient dwarven hand. This just keeps getting better and better.Back to the task at hand, we decided to use our precious flying potion in an attempt to catch up to the stolen cart. We were successful, discovering a young lad feverishly pushing the poor donkey as fast as it could go. I managed to board the cart and knocked the thief cold. When he came to, he explained that his girl had been taken by ogres and that he was in pursuit. Well, we couldn’t just abandon the kid, Martin, and his love, Frea, so we decided to proceed to where he presumed to ogres to be.Sure enough, we found ogre tracks and followed them to a cave and who did we see just standing in front of the cave? Frea… seemingly unharmed and in no hurry to escape. There was also the alluring smell of freshly baked pie in the air! Could this trip get any more bizarre? The ogre’s themselves (brothers it seems) then emerged from the cave, clearly not comfortable with our presence. Quinn chose diplomacy over aggression and discovered that the ogres had taken the wench for her pies and meant her no harm whatsoever, but were also not willing to give up their prize. After much discussion, an agreement was reached that if regular payments of pie was provided, as well as some ale to wash them down, that they would not longer disturb the travelers of the Deep Forest Road. While it seemed absurd to me to reward these ogres for NOT menacing innocent travelers, everyone else involved seemed to think that this was a perfectly reasonable arrangement. Whatever. So the bargain was struck and we returned the happy couple to the Laughing Unicorn.We decided to spend the night at the inn, choosing to stay in the same rooms as the dwarves, hoping to discover any clues they might have left behind. All I found was a small pouch of tobacco. Curious, I proceeded to try out my new found pipe. As the smoke entered my mouth, my consciousness was transported to what seemed like a cave, hearing several dwarvens speaking in an ancient dialect, which I could not understand. Throwing caution to the wind, I tried using some standard tobacco. Again, my mind was transported to another place, getting the feeling like I was trapped underground! Quinn cast a cantrip to discover if the pipes had magical properties and sure enough, both the pipe and the pouch of tobacco had a magical aura!In the morning we proceeded to complete our quest to accompany Dunny to his home. As we left the tavern, I spotted one of the dwarves by the bench where we had encountered them previously, seemingly searching for something and then blinked out of sight. We proceed to Dunny’s home, where we bargained for a few potions as payment, 2 doses of Flame Arrow and 2 of Haste.Upon leaving, we saw posted along the road a reward poster, claiming 500 gold for the head or capture of that bastard, Curran. It then occurred to me to check up on uncle Linder. Fortunately, all was well and the small community seemed to be thriving! I told him of the dwarves we had encountered and showed him the pipe. His reaction was that of alarm, telling us of a long lost tribe of outcast dwarves, known as the Charcoal Kings, thus named for their ability to transform themselves into coal dust and then transport themselves over great distances. He then dug up an old book describing the exact pipe and Linder warned me that the pipe was not to be taken lightly and that no good could come of its possession. He then suggested we check in with Sir Hoel of tradetown, who might have more insight about these Charcoal Kings.We decided to spend the night at Linder manor and proceed out in the morning. […]

  • d100 Wilderness landmarks
    by Konsumterra on November 17, 2017 at 2:35 am

    This was going to be more ruins before but Ive expanded it to landmarks. As I was driving back to city I saw a few colonial ruined buildings. These are intended to generate lonely remains of human habitation rather than possible dungeons or adventure for a hex. More landmarks and things mappers might mark or be visible from a road. This is more for crumbling old farm houses in the woods rather than epic scale wonders. Though mostly window dressing it might beg questions about the area and lead to adventure but lest obvious than my other posts. These are mostly by roadsides and often marked on maps as guides or used as places to meet of give directions from.In my setting Ghostwood is a haunted woodland covering a vanished kingdom cursed with destruction and would be littered in such locations.Ive had a bit of beef with gamers of late which diminishes my urge to write so thank you to ppl who were supportive and kind.Some old posts with stuff like thishttps://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2016/08/d100-strange-dreams-in-witch-house.htmlhttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/return-to-ghostwood.htmlhttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2016/05/d100-lonley-ruins.htmlhttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/d100-forgotten-temples-and-bleak-ruins.htmlhttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/d100-forbidden-castles.htmlhttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/d100-strange-lonely-old-houses.htmlhttp://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/d100-crossroads.htmld100 Occupants?01 Shepherds watching flocks02 Merchants resting on travels03 Religious pilgrims or hermit04 Militia hunting bandits having a break05 Local youths getting drunk or runaways06 Homeless old drunks possibly once adventurers07 Bandits or criminals in hiding08 Refugees or escaped slaves09 Humanoids or demihumans in hiding10 Monstersd100 Rumours?01 A great tragedy happened here long ago02 A famous local once lived here03 Some say the location is cursed or haunted04 Wicked travellers sometimes hide here05 Witches or cultists meet here on certain nights06 Some kind of faerie being haunts area 07 Some have looked for buried treasure here 08 Travellers were all murdered here once 09 Murder hobos have been camping here10 A fugitive was seen hiding in area  d10 Quick Wilderness Landmark Types01 Natural landmarks02 Prehistoric monument03 Farm dwelling remains04 Temple remains05 Burial Site06 Monuments07 Abandoned Houses08 Military remains09 Pre human ruins10 Strange thingsd100 Wilderness01 A stone spire reputed to have been a giant once02 Stone footprints of a great being like a god or demon03 A pool with a stone pillar in the middle04 Stone spires resembling fingers attributed to a giant or god05 Three huge rocks known as the sisters, transformed by some ancient wizard06 Rock formation with regular hexagonal pillars many think was made by dwarves07 A great stone arch that was used in rituals in the past but now shunned08 A huge boulder balanced on a stone pillar that seems precarious09 A bubbling pool of mud with calcium formations around the edge10 Huge stone block with vegetation growing on top11 Cliff with ancient rock carvings, some defaced with modern holy symbols12 Chalk carvings in hillside of mythic creature or god13 Stone dolmen once used by druids long ago14 A stone circle erected over thousands of years15 A artificial hill with a unnatural shape once a fort or temple16 A ancient abandoned quarry where monoliths were once carved17 A line of knee high stones along side trail18 A dry stone wall of stacked rocks thousands of years old19 Stone lined circular pits remains of a prehistoric village 20 Carved niches in rocks that once held ancestral remains 21 Ruined wooden barn overgrown with weeds and vines22 Crumbling farm house wall with scraps of farm tools and bones23 Ruined mud brick shack with remains of fences and struggling wild crops24 Ruined mill possibly with windmill or waterwheel remains25 Crumbling old shack and weed choked well26 Crumbling overgrown foundations where several village houses once were 27 Overgrown fields with wild crops and remains of wooden fences28 Remain of stone storage buildings with rotten wooden floor29 Crumbling granary with nothing but dust inside30 Partially collapsed dairy shed with animal pens inside31 Overgrown shrine covered in weeds and badly worn32 Shrine with tiny shack for Pilgrims33 Crumbling walls from remains of temple34 Broken tower and foundations of temple 35 Worn statue of divinity or religious symbol36 Crumbled remains of large statue lying on ground37 Temple foundations now flooded and overgrown with vegetation38 Crumbled remains of burned monastery39 Mound of rubble from a temple with a single broken wall standing40 Remains of outer walls of temple with broken statues and altar41 Mausoleum thoroughly looted long ago now often used by travellers42 Burial headstones in a style unfamiliar to modern people43 Great stone beehive like tombs of long ago now mostly empty44 Stone tomb with worn carvings still sealed45 Earthen boat shaped burial mounds surrounded by stones46 Small stone pyramid a copy of a much more ancient style from abroad47 Earthen mound with stone lined tunnels once housing human remains48 Series of rectangular stone crypts, most ruined and looted49 Round tomb long ago looted but remains of carvings inside50 Huge earthen burial  mound with gaping pit where looter dug way in long ago51 Carved border stone from past with symbols of old gods52 Memorial column carved with text commemorating some battle53 Worn equestrian statue of some military leader54 Stone sphinx enigmatically watching the road55 Collapsed statue some forgotten king56 Rows of worn giant statues heads erupting from ground, most non human57 Great stone head of some unknown deity or king58 Cliff with carvings in several long dead languages with figures of gods or kings59 Huge stone block dragged here by ancients inexplicably60 Remains of ancient fountain no longer working choked with weeds61 Crumbing foundations and walls of burnt manor house hundreds of years old62 Crumbling old alehouse with mostly rotting collapsed thatched room63 Rural villa with courtyard and partialy collapsed roof64 A turf roofed cottage in hillside long abandonned65 A dilapidated feasting hall where warriors once made celebration 66 Dilapidated wattle and daub huts67 Walls of ancient cottages and rubble68 Remains of large stone house looted for cut stone for generations69 Tiny prospectors shack built from scrap near collapsed mine shaft70 Hermits shelter carved into rock face with religious carvings71 Remains of wooden stockade where settlers once sheltered72 Blackened soil full or bones and ash  73 Collapsed remains of guard tower74 Bare earthen square from military camp from long ago75 Scarred earth from battle long ago with fragments of bone, rusted weapons and armour76 Mounds where massacred soldiers and civilians were buried en masse 77 Gibbets with rotting corpses hanging for trees as a warning to criminals78 Heads of executed criminals on pikes as deterrents to criminals79 Mounds of ashes where witches or heretics burned every few years80 Corpses of bandits hanging from trees by nooses81 Worn stone altar on hill with worn prehuman writing82 Stone skull carved into cliff face83 Basalt sealed tower with inhuman inscriptions84 Great stone carved with pre human symbols and depiction of monster85 Stone colossus with head long missing, signs it does not depict human86 Dwarf relief statues carved into cliff face worn smooth with age87 Huge statue of elf maiden reclining near a spring88 Squat crude stone statue of reptilian humanoid89 Great stone slabs carved with reptilian figures90 Niches in cliffs with rotting exposed inhuman corpses91 Giant monster skeleton half buried in ground 92 Ogre bones exposed by erosion93 Gigantic mushrooms and toadstools94 Gigantic tree with remains or elf tree house95 Slimy grotto of chaos with tainted fluid and slime with foul odour96 A spring pouring from mouth of a ancient stone cliff carving97 Broken statues in poses of fear trying to flee something98 A great stone arm some say is from a petrified god99 A stone statue of petrified giant or trolls100 Fused glass slab from some great source of heat long ago […]

  • Demons in Early D&D, Part 1
    by Oakes Spalding on November 16, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    A demon from Eldritch WizardryThere were plenty of demons in early Dungeons & Dragons (1974-1979). Not only were there many kinds of demons, but demons could be summoned by spells, they could possess people, and characters could even make "pacts" with them, perhaps involving human sacrifices. All of this was described in "official" TSR sources such as the rulebooks and supplements or semi-official outlets such as The Dragon magazine.There was plenty of red meat for Christian fundies who worry about that sort of thing to get worried about.But of course that only tells half the story.While demons existed, they didn't exactly dominate things. In essence they were simply an additional kind of monster introduced to make things more interesting. Back in the day I never used demons in my campaign, and I can't remember ever running into them in the three or four other campaigns that I played in.For my campaign this was not because I had any particular religious objection to them (unless it was unconscious), but rather because demons just seemed too complicated. In the Monster Manual their descriptions went on forever (or so it seemed to me). They didn't seem Tolkienish enough (a big consideration for me at the time), and they were too high-level for my campaigns. Also I resented the imposition of the complicated and arbitrary (again, so it seemed to me) metaphysical architecture or geography that went with them - all of the hells and planes and so on and so forth. Demons were just too much fuss.For all I know there were other campaigns that made a fetish of demons. One thing the anti-D&D people never seemed to quite understand is that Dungeons & Dragons, especially in the early days, was what you wanted to make of it. (Of course, logically, this wouldn't have completely disposed of the worry.) Could it be a gateway drug to actual cults or covens? I suppose some people might have played it to make it look that way. But I never saw it.But the other part of the story is that while demons would eventually stake out their demonic place in the universe of 1970's D&D, they didn't exist for at least the first two years of the game.This is a companion piece to my earlier post on witches. Witches sort of burst out (at least implicitly) and then fizzled. But demons, while they took their time making an appearance, would by the end of the 1970's be featured all over - again not because they were the raison d'etre of the game or anything like that but simply because they had become an accepted member of the monster canon, along with Unicorns, Dragons and everyone else.Dungeons & Dragons (January, 1974): The "three little brown books" contained no demons. The Balrog would later become a demon (before having the "Balrog" part of the name deleted for copyright reasons), but he wasn't a demon then.Greyhawk (March, 1975): No demons.Blackmoor (September, 1975): Technically, the first use of the word "devil" in an official Dungeons & Dragons publication was in this supplement. And fittingly (for Blackmoor) it was aquatic-related. The evil creatures called Sahuagin were described as "Devil-Men of the Deep."The Strategic Review (April, 1975 to April, 1976): The first appearance of demons in D&D occurred in the second to last issue (Vol. II, no. 1, February, 1976) of this predecessor to The Dragon. Both demons and devils were featured on the first of two charts in an article by Gary Gygax discussing the D&D alignment system - an article which heralded the apparent evolution of alignment from what had seemed to be a two- or three-point system to a five- or nine-point system. I imagine that this chart might have been confusing to many. It named four sorts of creatures or beings - Saint, Godling, Devil and Demon - and diverse places - Nirvana, Heaven, Elysium, The Abyss, etc. - none of which had appeared in Dungeons & Dragons before. They came from varying religious or mythical traditions but were all meticulously placed on a chart that seemed to represent some sort of deeper metaphysical or supernatural truth. Why were "Saints" (were these just really good people?) "Lawful/Good" and "Godlings" (whatever they were) "Chaotic/Good"? And why was The Devil on the other side of the chart from a Demon? Were Hell, Hades and the Abyss different places? Why was the Law side of Neutrality Buddhist but the Chaos side of it Catholic? And so on.Some of us are so used to the religious cosmology of AD&D that we may not fully realize that it was Gygax and D&D that first made a distinction between "devils" and "demons" as two separate but similar evil supernatural beings. In Christian or European tradition, demons were usually equated with the fallen angels (they may also inhabit people and be cast out, etc.). "Devil" was used as in "The Devil," to denote the first fallen angel or leader of them, or was employed as a sort of slang term to describe demons or supernatural monsters in general or even just very bad people.I'm not claiming that there's anything wrong with Gygax patching together his own novel cosmology out of many different sources, mashing them together and redefining some of the terms - after all, this is essentially what he did with the entire monster canon for D&D - only that it must have seemed a bit confusing to some at the time, especially since it came with little explanation. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons would of course fully flesh all of this out, but at this time, AD&D was still 1-3 years away. Eldritch Wizardry (May, 1976): Here is where demons not only made a grand entrance but positively exploded into the game, in all their myriad and numbered types. There are 94 mentions of the word "demon" in this booklet, and 4 of "devil." Nine types of demon are given statistics and described - six types simply numbered "I" to "VI" (although VI is also called "Balrog", which was still listed as a "monster" in the then available printings of Monsters & Treasure), Succubi, and the two "demon princes" Orcus and Demogorgon. Various demonic magical items and artifacts are described. Demon psionic strength is explained. And demons now appear in the encounter charts alongside everyone else from Lions to Lycanthropes. Indeed, in many terrain types you suddenly have a 1 in 20, or sometimes only a 1 in 12, chance of encountering a demon if your monster check comes up. This might have been annoying to wilderness adventurers. Interestingly, in Eldritch Wizardry demons are not given a specific home. They're said to "roam" the astral plane, but they appear to actually live in or on some other plane or planes. These are not named. The explicit populating of Hell, Hades and other such places is still months in the future - although, as we saw, it was telegraphed in that The Strategic Review article.Gods, Demi-Gods and Heroes (July, 1976): There are numerous and varied demons mentioned as part of many mythologies. Their use here is quite nifty in my opinion, and it's of a completely different flavor from the sterilely labeled numbered types in Eldritch Wizardry. This would herald a trend in which some of the coolest treatments of D&D demons would be, so to speak, ethnic.Here is a description of the Rakshasa, which had earlier been introduced in the "Creature Feature" section of the The Strategic Review, and would appear again in the AD&D Monster Manual, though not explicitly as a demon in either of those texts:RAKSHASAS DEMONS OF INDIA Armor Class: — 5, Magic Ability: (See Below), Move: 18/36, Fighter Ability: 15th Level, Hit Points: 200, Psionic Ability: Class 6 These demons constantly fought man and Gods alike. Many of their leaders were so powerful that the Gods were forced to call a truce at times and give them concessions. All Rakshasas have these powers in common: shapechange, fight invisible except against Gods, all regenerate as a troll, crave the taste of human flesh, and cannot refuse a gambling bet. Some of the more powerful ones have complete control over forces of nature.That sort of short but evocative monster description, lumping together such diverse considerations as invisibility (though not against Gods), regeneration, favorite cuisine (people) and a weakness for gambling is in my opinion one of the defining virtues of early D&D. It would soon be lost. Next (Part 2): The Holmes Basic Set, the AD&D Monster Manual and the AD&D Players Handbook.&nbs […]

  • In the Vicinity of Gyrfalcon, Everybody Has Their Hand Out
    by Trey on November 16, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    This week we had the second session of our GURPS Dungeon Fantasy campaign, "the Dungeons of Zyrd." It found the PCs bribing the snooty butler of the vintner and crime boss, Pnathfrem Lloigor, to gain access. They offered Lloigor their services for--well, something.He admitted to doing a bit of trade in counterfeit world stones. These he acquires from the dwarf excisemen encamped near the Tower of Might in Castle Zyrd. Another group of adventures had gone to secure more forged jewels from the dwarves, but that party (led by the Brothers Salasius) were late in returning. They agreed to complete the task. They were to make contact with a dwarf named Rogov.Setting out, they paid a flatboatman to take them across the Broad River and to wait for their return. A mile up the road, they found the way blocked by a group of hobgoblins who demanded tribute. The price was rather steep (every coin they had), so the party entered combat rather than negotiate with such an unreasonable group of humanoids.Art by Iain McCaigThe hobgoblins had been neglectful in securing distance weapons, and this cost them. A rain of javelins, sling shot, arrows, and magical fire dropped two of them quickly and sent the other three running for the woods. Fearing reprisals from a larger hobgoblin band, the party pursued them, and cut them down in the forest.That unpleasant business out of the way, they continued on toward Castle Zyrd.Treasure: None; Deaths: 5 Hobgoblins. […]

  • November Campaign Design VIII - Fresh Off the Boat
    by Joseph Bloch on November 15, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    Part of the conceits of the Lost Artanis campaign setting is the idea that it so easily fits the "classic" campaign set-up, as a consciously inherent aspect of its design. That is, the PCs can literally enter the setting fresh off a ship from Hanar-Across-the-Sea, into a land they only have the vaguest knowledge of. Thus I don't have to worry about why the PCs don't already know a bunch of people (although I can still pull out the "someone you met on the ship" card if I need to introduce an NPC whom they can probably trust).However, details as to what they see when they step off that ship are lacking.First, I have to decide what the best landing point is. Do I want to start a party in Aedgaria, Lippegen, or New Valais? All have different opportunities for a band of adventurers. I choose Lippegen, specifically Osttur.The PCs arrive in the port at Durst, and then are taken by coach to Osttur in a week, where the promise of employment by petty landowners to the northeast of the town has drawn them. They are to serve as a force of warders to "supplement" the soldiery of the Markgraf and protect the settlers. In reality, the Markgraf's soldiers never venture more than twenty miles from the town gates, so they're on their own, along with several other similar bands of warders who act in semi-competition. To complicate matters, there is a ruined Artanian town in the woodlands, and it is thought that many of the creatures that are making life hard for the settlers are coming from there. After five years, they are to be rewarded with homesteads of their own, but it's a dangerous job, and few live or stick around long enough to collect that reward.Naturally, nothing says they all must come from the Dual Kingdom of Grott-Heimburg. The good folk of Lippegen are more than happy to get their employees from Valais, Wynnland, or elsewhere. Thus, if someone wants to play a ranger or a halfling, they have options that fit into this setup.Next step: some small-scale maps of the area the PCs will be operating in, Osttur itself, and the ruined Artanian town.The map is mostly unchanged, but I did add a few moreArtanian ruins, including the one in the woods northeastof Osttur. […]

  • Wednesday Comics: Popeye & Ghost Island
    by Trey on November 15, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Bud Sagendorf began his career as E.C. Seegar's assistant on Thimble Theater (the strip that brought the world Popeye) as a teenager. In 1948, a decade after Seegar's death, Sagendorf produced Popeye stories for Dell Comics. IDW has been collecting those Dell stories in Popeye Classics.Amid some forgettable Swee'pea one pagers, and mildly amusing comic strip-style shorts, there are two fun stories: "Death Valley" and "Ghost Island." In particular, "Ghost Island" is a certain charm with it's ghosts that look very much like people in sheets (well because--SPOILERS--they are). However, for much of the story Popeye is helpless against their mischief because he reasons fisticuffs are no good against incorporeal spirits.Sagendorf's Popeye world is perhaps more fantasy than Segar's. Popeye seems to live on some island in an archipelago that includes other fantastical islands that appeared in the Segar strips. Here's a map Sagendorf supplies for Popeye's travels in "Ghost Island":If your only going to read one set of Popeye reprints, I'd suggest The Segar strip reprints (particular the one with Plunder Island), but if you are interested in delving deeper, the Sagendorf stories are worth a look. […]

  • EN World RPG News & Reviews Paying for Site Content
    by Jeff Duncan on November 14, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    EN World EN World recently updated the submission guidelines for their community generated content (CGC) program. Article features remain the same (industry coverage, reviews, gamer-interest profiles, news & commentary), but freelancers of accepted pitches are tasked to write articles of  800 to 1,000 words. This is a bump in word count (originally 400-500 words) from when EN World initiated the CGC in June of this year (2017). Rate of pay is 4 cents/word.   If you have some ideas to pitch and want to take part, the RPG News & Reviews submission guidelines are here. Priority is given to writers who are interested and can produce two or more 800-1,000 word articles per month.Note: Submissions Open intends to be a freelancer's resource for the RPG Industry. If you're a publisher or game creator and interested in promoting a need for freelance writers or artists, drop me a line and I'll post your company data here on this blog. If you're a writer/artist looking for gigs click away. […]

  • Witches in Early D&D
    by Oakes Spalding on November 14, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    A witch (one assumes) from the "Witchcraft Supplement in Dragon Magazine #5 (March, 1977)Witches have a curious history in early Dungeons & Dragons (here, I'm defining "early" as 1974-early 1980). They were never statted or described as a monster or class in any of the rulebooks. However, there were two illustrations of them in Monsters & Treasure (in that 1974 booklet, no other monster or class had more than one illustration, and there weren't that many illustrations anyway), there were three fairly long and detailed Dragon magazine articles about them in the space of just two years, and the "Holmes" edition of D&D implied that witches were soon to be a character sub-class.But, of course, in AD&D at least, there ended up being no witches. Alas, witches were the most prominent monster or class that, for whatever reason, never quite made it.Here's a breakdown (by quarter) of appearances of witches in early D&D: 01-03/74 - Dungeons & Dragons (3LBBs): two witch illustrations; charisma example; broom of flying (1)04-06/7407-09/7410-12/7401-03/75 - Greyhawk (Supp. 1): no witches04-06/7507-09/75 - Blackmoor (Supp. 2): no witches10-12/7501-03/7604-06/76 - Eldritch Wizardry (Supp. 3): no witches (2)07-09/76 - Gods, Demi-Gods and Heroes: Tounelea (Finnish) (3)10-12/76 - The Dragon #3: "Ladies in D&D" - witches as high-level female Magic-Users (4) 01-03/77 - The Dragon #5: "Witchcraft Supplement" for witch NPCs (5)04-06/7707-09/77 - Dungeons & Dragons (Holmes): witches presented as an upcoming sub-class; charisma example; broom of flying (6)10-12/77 - AD&D Monster Manual: no witches01-03/7804-06/78 - AD&D Players Handbook: no witches07-09/7810-12/78 - The Dragon #20: "Another Look at Witches" player-class supplement (7) 01-03/7904-06/7907-09/79 - AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide: no witches but there was a broom. 10-12/7901-03/80 - AD&D Deities & Demigods: "witch of the fens" (Arthurian), Snow Witches (Nehwon) (8)1. There were two illustrations of witches in the three little brown books:Men & Magic, p. 17.Men and Magic, p. 27. I think I've seen her somewhere before...In addition, a witch featured in perhaps the most memorable description for how ability scores might be used beyond their explicit effects:In addition the charisma score is usable to decide such things as whether or not a witch capturing a player will turn him into a swine or keep him enchanted as a lover (Men & Magic, p. 11).And finally, a Broom of Flying was included as one of the original 29 miscellaneous magic items:Broom of Flying: This device allows the owner to fly at Dragon speed (24"/turn). The user must know the "Word of Command" to make it function. The Broom of Flying will come up to 24" when its owner summons it with the command word. It will carry two persons but its speed is reduced by one-quarter (Monsters & Treasure, p. 37).And that broom even made it into the list of long range flying speeds - being able to cover 200 miles in a day (though I assume only 150 miles with two riders):The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures, p. 16.However, out of the 77 monsters that appeared in the monster tables and subsequent descriptions, and the 75 that would be suggested as "Other Monsters," appear on the Encounter Tables or rear their heads above water in the Naval Combat section, Witches were not among them.2. Eldritch Wizardry would feature much "occult" material, including a full catalog of diverse demons and a cover drawing of a naked woman being sacrificed on a stone slab. But there were no witches.3. A brief mention of a witch would occur in the Finnish Gods and Heroes section of Gods, Demi-Gods and Heroes:Tounelea: Armor Class: 9, Move: 9", Hit Points: 30, Magical Spell Ability: As 11th Level Wizardress, Fighter Ability: As a WizardressThis was an evil witch type that was opposed to Vinanamoinen (p. 39).4. In an early Dragon article, "Notes on Women and Magic," also called "Ladies in D&D" in the Contents, Witches made an appearance as high-level female Magic-Users. There was some good stuff in the article, I think. Unfortunately it was drowned out by the outrageously sexist slant of the piece, which was widely derided and mocked (by both women and men) at the time (see Jon Peterson's The First Female Gamers).5. In another early Dragon "Witchcraft Supplement," a robust non-player-character witch class was sketched out. It included good witches, bad witches and new and unique witchlike spells and magical items. Interestingly, it was authored by someone who has never been identified. It's actually a fantastic piece, and I cribbed some ideas from it (in a hopefully appropriate way) for a handful of Witch spells in Seven Voyages of Zylarthen.6. In the "Holmes Basic" edition of Dungeons & Dragons, intended to be a cleaned-up version of D&D that would serve as an introduction to the forthcoming AD&D, the witch keeping a "charismatic male" as a lover example was given again, and the broom of flying would make another appearance (this time as one of only ten miscellaneous magic items). Most intriguingly, however, a witch player-class seems to be promised for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons:There are a number of other character types which are detailed in ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. There are sub-classes of the four basic classes. They are: paladins and rangers (fighting men), illusionists and witches (magic-users), monks and druids (clerics), and assassins (thieves) (p. 7.).Note that except for the witch, this gets things exactly right. That seems to hint that a witch class was originally planned for AD&D but then dropped. However, a few years ago Zenopus Archives showed that the passage in Holmes' original draft did not include reference to a witch class. Gary Gygax would later claim that the later insertion of "witch" into the final text must have been Holmes trying to force the issue (Gygax didn't know then that the reference didn't come from Holmes) or a "joke" by someone at TSR: "I never had a PC class of that sort in mind for the game," he said on Enworld in 2005.7. In Dragon #20, a shorter article put forth both original material and some bits cribbed from the earlier treatment in Dragon #5 to set forth a witch player-class.8. And finally, witches made two minor appearances in Deities and Demi-Gods, TSR's AD&D reworking of their earlier Gods, Dem-Gods and Heroes: In the entry for Arthurian Heroes we learn that Sir Garlon (the invisible knight) wasgiven the power of invisibility by a witch of the fens for the promise to only use the power for evil (p. 19). We also learn about Snow Witches in the Newhon Mythos of Fritz Leiber:Many of the northern tribes have a group of women that have a measure of magical power. These women, after some preparation and working together, can control all forms of cold and ice spells. They also possess, among the strongest members, a limited telepathy when in direct eye contact with a human. Given a group of 5 women and 24 hours of time, limited weather control (chilling) is possible; this effect has a range of 5 miles (p. 96). ***************************There were a few non-rulebook accessories published in the late 1970's - 11 modules and the Monster and Treasure Assortments, among them. But as far as I know, no witches appeared in any of these products.If anyone has any other early D&D "witch appearances" to add, that would be welcome.The witch was the most "OD&Dish" creature to have never officially existed. That's the main reason I included her in Zylarthen. She just seemed to fit the OD&D vibe so well.As a player-class, a witch might have been more problematic, being fraught with potential controversial associations involving sexism, reverse-sexism and connections with the occult. I have no idea whether these considerations played a part in the poor witch's failure to emerge.UPDATE (Noon, 11/15/17): The last paragraph of my piece was an attempt to end things on sort of a neutral but suspenseful note. But I actually don't believe that "political" considerations had anything to do with the witch's official absence. In the mid- to late-1970's the "Satanic Panic" hadn't started yet (D&D was still a niche hobby product that was still largely under the radar).It's possible that "sexism" considerations might have played an oblique roll in why the witch wasn't considered as a player-class. After all, having an entire subclass limited only to females might seem a bit odd. And, of course, there was always the magic-user. Just learn how to cackle, paint your conical hat black and put a brim on it, and you're off.But the absence of witches as NPCs or monsters is still puzzling to me. Note that there were many female monsters with creepy spells or powers - groaning spirits, lamias, nagas, night hags, etc. - in the AD&D Monster Manual. I think in the end it was just a sort of random whim of Gygax. Or perhaps he felt that a witch was too potentially complex to be a listed monster but too similar to a magic-user to be a class of its own. And then there were those Dragon articles... […]

  • Actual Play: Heroes of the Ashford Valley Orin's Post
    by Matt Borselli on November 13, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    Ashford Valley Actual Play notes from February 2013:Wherein Orin speaks of his adventures in Sooton.Murder. Nasty business, though I must admit my curiosity is peaked. Seems a local wine merchant, Crabbe, and his wife were hacked to death in their home… presumably at the hands of several men with swords. My curiosity went through the roof as we discovered that Crabbe was 1 of 3-5 apprentices under a Mr. Alden, whom had mysteriously died under very similar circumstances 15 years prior. Something stinks in Sooton and its not just the glowing fish.But its the local boy’s problem now, being we had to head out of town, pulling muscle duty for Dunny, the halfling who had helped us identify the potions we had grabbed from the caves. As were about to head out, we were left with a crudely scrawled message saying what we believe was “Leave town or else” though it could also have said “Leaftown of Elves”…but that have made less sense. I was perfectly happy leaving the murder to the local guard until I saw that note. A deal’s a deal, so off we go, but it was a tough call.On the road, we passed a group of horsemen flying past us toward Sooton, bearing the unmistakable goat crest of Cliffton. Looks like we got out of town just in time.We also passed one of Jim’s former acquaintances, a bizarre women in the company of an unknown drunk. From the look she was giving Jim, there was no love lost between the two. I didn’t ask and I hope that is the last we see her, though I have a feeling we will not be so fortunate.Speaking of ill fortune, just as we seemed to be making progress, Dunny’s cart lost a wheel, grinding the journey to an abrupt stop. It now became disturbingly apparent the danger we were all in, given the volatile nature of the cart’s contents. We (and by that I mean mostly me) managed to drag the cart off the road to an abandoned farm. As we attempted to make repairs, we were visited by some mysterious creatures, who kept their distance just on the edge of the Deep Woods. During the night, we had an encounter with a pack of wolves that may or may not have been the same creatures we heard before. We managed to fend them off, but by then, I had had about enough with this little venture.This was way more then we had signed up for, so I expressed my displeasure to Dunny, who agreed to cough up a little extra coin to make up the difference. This may have strained relations with the odd little man, but what good is a potion if we get blown to bits before we get a chance to use it? Anyway… we are back on our way in the morning…lets hope the rest of our journey runs a little smoother, but somehow I think we are going to be earning every copper and then some before this deal is done. We did, after all, hear rumors of ogres causing problems in the Deep Woods, though to be honest, a face to face with a couple ogres sits a little easier than riding on that rickety old powder keg… Good Times. […]

  • November Campaign Design VII - Lost Artanis
    by Joseph Bloch on November 13, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    I wanted to take some time to discuss the realm of Lost Artanis, which, although it no longer exists in the time-frame of the campaign, will still cast a very long shadow upon it. Artanis is a kingdom that covered the whole of the colonized area and beyond, which fell some 500 years ago due to circumstances which remain unknown. Not a single Artanian is known to have survived, and their cities and villages have fallen into ruin. At first I wanted to give the Artanians some sort of distinctive feature (like blue skin) but then I realized that might be unconsciously derivative of the green-skinned Viridians of the Judges Guild Wilderlands setting, and I shelved the idea. If I come up with something better, I'll certainly revisit it.Mountain ranges now have names, and ruins of Artanianruined cities and towns are now marked. Many are underwater.As I mentioned before, I don't want this to be a dungeon-centered campaign, and thus I will not give into the temptation of having extensive underground regions of cities, buried cities, etc. These ruins are all above ground, overgrown with vegetation, open to the sky and the elements. There will still be monsters, and treasures, and the like to be found in the ruins, but the experience of exploring them will (hopefully) be quite different than a standard dungeon-crawl.As might have been obvious from some of the details I've given in the previous installments on the colonial governments, I also want to have the campaign have a large waterborne/underwater component. Thus did I mention communities of merfolk, sea elves, etc. that the land-based communities interacted with.Because of that, many of the largest cities of Artanis are now underwater, thanks to some unspecified natural disaster that caused the coast to sink, taking the cities with it. These are now haunted undersea ruins, and exploring them will present new challenges, as well as giving an opportunity to really work in the undersea races. Some sort of ubiquitous water-breathing magic or substance might be in order I'm thinking a special wine, made from sea-grapes, that provides the ability to breathe underwater for a specified period of time; downside, if you drink too much to make an extended journey, you suffer from the effects of intoxication.There are still ruins to be found in the interior, of course, and these will be as described above; large, spread-out ruins open to the sky, overgrown with greenery. Some structures might still have roofs after 500 years, but most will not. Orc tribes, wild elves, and goblinoid (goblins/ hobgoblins/ norkers/ bugbears) deserters from New Valais and Lippegen might take up residence, as will wild creatures and monsters.The biggest mystery to be solved is why Artanis fell in the first place. A plague is the most likely explanation, but I think something more mystical will end up being the true cause. Perhaps the population was all transformed into animals whose descendants live in the cities, or left via magical gateways through time and/or space. If so, the stage could be set for their triumphant return at some point. Which, naturally, would be something of a sticky wicket for the colonists.I also like the idea of Artanis being of a higher level of technology and magical knowledge than the colonists. I thought of making it some sort of steampunk or otherwise mechanical aesthetic, but it's so easy to let that slide into cliche and silliness that I demurred. Rather, Artanian magic operates along different lines than standard (A)D&D magic, in that it relies entirely on blood sacrifices to operate. That's similar to how magic works in the Dark Sun world (with its defilers and preservers), except that rather than destroying plant life and turning the countryside into a desert, Artanian Blood Magic destroys human/demihuman life and depopulates over the long run. That might also tie in to the fall of the realm.Acquiring knowledge of this new form of magic is of the highest priority to the guilds and schools of wizards back in Hanar and their nascent offspring among the three colonies. It will be much more powerful, relatively speaking, but since it inherently requires the spilling of blood, it will be much more difficult. Imagine a magic-user having to spend hit points to cast spells. Now imagine if that magic-user could use the blood of others to do so. At low levels, animals might suffice, but at higher levels, only intelligent creatures will do. For those of good alignment, his companions could volunteer to do so, and he could of course give of himself. For those of evil alignment, the question is somewhat easier to answer, as long as living victims are at hand... […]

  • Will Middle-earth be getting the ‘Game of Thrones’ treatment?
    by Akrasia on November 13, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    It looks like Amazon will be producing at least one series set in Middle-earth. And—interestingly—it appears that this series will not cover either The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit stories:The new series will explore Middle-earth in a time period before the events of The Lord of the Rings — but given that Galsor says that it will concern “previously unexplored stories,” we might not be looking at another adaptation of The Hobbit either. That leaves two options: Amazon could plumb the depths of the appendices of The Return of the King, potentially detailing the early romance of Aragorn and Arwen, the creation of the Rings of Power and the history of the line of kings from which Aragorn is descended. Or, in what would be more of a revelation for Tolkien fans — and provided that Amazon had also purchased the television rights to the author’s The Silmarillion — the series might have the entire history of Middle-earth from its creation to play with. Amazon’s press release does note that the deal with the Tolkien estate “includes a potential additional spin-off series.”Regarding The Silmarillion: I was under the impression that Christopher Tolkien was 100% opposed to allowing anything like this to be done with it. (He loathed the LotR + Hobbit movies.) But I would be delighted if he has changed his mind!Even if The Silmarillion isn’t covered, though, there is a goldmine of storylines in the LotR appendices. And since those storylines are quite sketchy, there would be more room for writers to be creative with them within the overall framework of Middle-earth.As for Amazon hoping that this might be ‘their Game of Thrones’, I think that they should remain true to the distinctive character of Middle-earth. While the Akallabêth (the tale of the fall of Númenor) is kind of ‘GoT-ish’ (with it many nefarious actors and the Stark-sh House of Elendil), Middle-earth is much more black-and-white than the GoT world. That should be retained—if not emphasized—not downplayed. Viewers might be in the mood for such a change (especially given how GoT-ish the real world seems these days). […]

  • Dekapus [Wermspittle]
    by garrisonjames on November 13, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    “I believe in everything until it's disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it's in your mind. Who's to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now?”John LennonDekapusNo. Enc.: 1Alignment: NeutralMovement: 120' [40'] (Levitation)Armor Class: Head/Torso 5 (as Chain Mail), Limbs 7 (As Studded Leather)Hit Dice: 3+1 [Advance as Thieves, Spell-casters, and sometimes Fighters.]Attacks: 2 (Improves by HD/Level)Damage: 1d4 (+2 to hit), 1d4 (+2 to hit), or by SpellSave: F4Morale: 7 [12 if combating Mucoids]Special: Affected by all spells that target 'Humans.' Dekapus can opt to convert one of their Attack rolls to a Dodge (Roll as 'To Hit,' and if successful they avoid one incoming attack. They receive double the normal bonus for using bucklers/small shields, but cannot use normal or larger shields. They can only wield Light weapons until achieving 4 or more HD/Levels at which point they can use Medium weapons. It is very rare that a Dekapus would ever wield a Heavy weapon and they would likely require serious augmentation to do so effectively. Dekapus receive double the normal DEX Bonus to all their Thief skills. All Dekapus can cast Blur, Hypnotic Pattern, Obscuring Mist, and Hypnotism once per day and Misdirection up to three times per day. [Percent Liar: 72%]The Dekapus is a pseudo-octopoid...these dishonest creatures are actually mammalian, possess ten limbs and claim to be descended from humans. Fierce enemies of the Mucoids and others, the Dekapus are notorious Oneiromancers, Mountebanks, and Thieves skilled in the arts of misdirection and obfuscation alike. Their appendages terminate in a pair of soft-seeming boneless fingerettes that can split into multiple smaller tendrils as needed, granting them a level of close-up finesse much envied by surgeons. For some reason, some claim it is squeamishness, the Dekapusians rarely, if ever enter into any sort of medical profession.Actors, Performers, Jugglers, Troubadours, Poets (both Accursed and otherwise), Pantomimers, Puppeteers, Artisans, Repairers of Reputations, Insinuationists, Saboteurs, Spies, Observers, Dreamers (Lucid, Deep and otherwise), Reporters...Dekapus have taken on a great many roles throughout Wermspittle, primarily in order to carry on their ages-old conflict with the Mucoids. The mutual antipathy between these two peoples is legendary, fierce and abiding, having persisted across centuries with no clear-cut resolution in sight.Most commonly Dekapus are Thieves of every sort, but an appreciable number of them become Spell-casters such as Illusionists (including Projectionists), Oneiromancers and Druids with a penchant for the Tulgey Woods, Purple Forest, the White Orchard  and other such Weird Woods.The few Dekapus that take up the path of Rangers specialize in hunting down and slaughtering Mucoids and have developed a number of peculiar and unique weapons and harmful devices exclusively designed to kill, maim, or incapacitate Mucoids. Their unwavering hatred of the Mucoids is so severe that Dekapus Rangers will also sometimes deign to hunt down Rooftopi, Octoscholars and any other Cephalopodians who resemble Mucoids in even the least bit.Other Dekapus go to great lengths to ingratiate themselves with all other forms of humanity, no matter how distorted, Infected, teratogenically Afflicted, or aberrantly inclined...just as long as they have no connection to their ancestral enemies..."My dreams are of water. And my nightmares..."Siouxsie Sioux […]

  • Weird Revisited: Beneath Rock Candy Mountain
    by Trey on November 13, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    This post originally appeared in November of 2010. It's genesis was a comment by Garrisonjim over at Hereticwerks. Jim is back blogging again, so it seemed appropriate:It’s imparted by the sagacious urban druids that contemplate on street corners and rumored by stoned hobogoblins that pass canned heat ‘round campfires that there is an earthly paradise hidden in the great mountains of the West. The wondrous land’s fame has even spread to the world we know, where balladeers longingly recount the virtues of the Rock Candy Mountain or the Hobo’s Paradise.The hidden mountain valley (so the tales claim) sits in the benevolent shadow of a mountain of candy (or at least with the appearance of such) and boasts trees which grow cigarettes, whiskey running in streams, and ponds of hearty stew. The inhabitants of the valley comport themselves like those in small towns elsewhere, but they are unfailingly friendly, even deferential, to the lowliest of visitors—perhaps especially the lowliest. No crimes against property are prosecuted; in fact, everything is given freely.Adventurers, notorious hard cases (or thinking of themselves as such), scoff at those yarns. Calloused to eldritch horrors and exotic treasures alike, they’re disinclined to get misty over vagrants’ fairy tales of a hobotopia. Still, a few have caught the fever and gone looking over the years. As far as is known, none have returned.Even in the tales, the way to the Hobo’s Paradise isn’t easy. Though the trail’s exact location is unknown, it’s believed to run treacherously through the cold heights of the Stoney Mountains. Mine slavers and road agents haunt the lower parts of the trail, while apemen guard the more remote passes.These may not be the only dangers. Certain heterodox urban druids believe that this Paradise may not be what it appears from a distance. The air that should be fresh and sweet is instead choked with the stench of an abattoir. The whiskey streams are spiked with methanol and cause blindness, delirium, and death. And the smiling, wooden-legged constables and comic railyard bulls, aren’t benevolent—and aren’t even human behind their skin masks.Could be that more than teeth rot in the shadow of the Rock Candy Mountain. […]

  • Underground Comics is Slowly Being Unearthed
    by Trey on November 12, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Though we don't expect to release it until first quarter of 2018, the various creators involved in Underground Comics #1 are fired up and hard at work. Here's a bit of a "Sunday Comics Section" teaser of the work in progress:A panel from Jason Sholtis's Operation Unfathomable story:Part of an almost completed first page from James V. West's "Zarp: Croak of the Frost Toad":And Jeff Call's Dungeon Dog gets some ink:More to come! […]

  • November Campaign Design VI - Aedgaria
    by Joseph Bloch on November 11, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    Following on the previous installment where I talk about the second of the three colonies in some detail, I'm rounding out Aedgaria in this post.Aedgaria is the last of the three colonies to be founded, by the kingdom of Wynnland. Because of this, they got the leftovers when it came to territory, and even had to split the colony into areas, North and South Aedgaria. It's still a feudal society, though, with his grace John II, Duke of Aedgaria as ruler under the king, far off to the west over the Stormsea. Beneath him are several earls and barons that administer the land.Aedgaria is almost entirely agricultural, with its relatively small population clustered around its towns and the roads that connect them. The one large-scale building project, the Long Road that connects Dubton with Port Westview in South Aedgaria, was personally paid for by a consortium of merchants who bankrupted themselves in the attempt, as the flow of goods from New Valais to the port never materialized. The duke, realizing the value of the road for the internal development of the colony, pays for its maintenance along with the earl of South Aedgaria.Where the other two colonies brought in goblins, hobgoblins, norkers, and bugbears to serve as mercenary troops, Aedgaria brought in halflings to till the soil and make the land bloom, and in that respect they have been very successful. Halfling and human settlements exist peacefully side-by-side or completely integrated. The military consists almost entirely of local militia that drills regularly, and consists of light infantry, slingers, and archers. Each noble maintains a small force at arms, of course, but they are limited in number compared to Lippegen's mercenary contingents.Each half of the colony is ruled by an earl. The south is governed by Thomas Westlake, Lord of South Aedgaria. He is an old codger, son of the original earl, with an enormous family who are involved in all aspects of administration of the colony, forming a mini-oligarchy. Most of the day-to-day duties are handled by his oldest sons, who are quite competent.Port Westview is the seat of ducal power, and the town itself falls within the duke's personal demesne. Intended to be the preeminent port in Artanis, it's turned out to be something of a disappointment on that score, serving Wynnland shipping, but little else. Large numbers of convicted criminals were shipped in to help build the port on the promise of freedom afterwards, but that has backfired. Desperate for traffic, the place has become something of a haven for smugglers from other lands to the west attempting to evade the tariffs and regulations imposed by Lippegen and New Valais. This, combined with a much larger-than-usual criminal element among the population, has led to a situation where several gangs compete for control of the city's criminal and other activities. The duke and his officials seem unconcerned with this, but the law abiding elements of the populace, numbering 8,000 total, is less than pleased.Ulfmore is the meat capital of Aedgaria. Flocks of sheep, herds of pigs and cattle, and other more exotic sources of meat are all found here in great abundance. There are more halflings here than humans, but the baron, Josef Royt, is actually of Sacarian stock; a tiny but proud land between Grott-Heimburg and Valais. His family was driven out after a pro-Grott-Heimburg coup, and his father found his way here, marrying into the baronial title. The town itself, with its population of some 7,000, is built on the ruins of an ancient Artanian city, and this gives it a very distinctive architectural style, as the ruins were used as a quarry for the new settlement.Dubton is on the border with New Valais, and quite a bit of trade takes place between the two colonies here. Baron Ulred Green is still stinging from his father's defeat by New Valais, in which the family estates on Green Island were lost, but most of the populace has long since forgotten the decades-old conflict. He has been quietly building up his personal forces, but it's unlikely he'll come anywhere close to the strength of the Valasian goblinoid mercenaries.The Islands of the Five Mists technically form their own barony, but the position is vacant and the duke seems to be in no hurry to fill the seat. The islands themselves are a merger of human villages and underwater settlements of tritons, mermen, locathah, and sea elves. The various races live in harmony, and fishing is the only industry of any note.The north is governed by Wallace Ford III, Lord of North Aedgaria. He is young, intelligent, and utterly depraved. Although he puts a genteel face on for public consumption, rumors swirl around the court about demon-worship, murders of lovers, and the like. He is married, and his young bride is sweet, innocent, and entirely silent regarding her husband's supposed peccadilloes.Uffberryton is the largest town in the north, with a population of 7,000 or so. The Earl's castle is some miles outside the town, which is under the Baron Frederick Regeld, but governed by a Lord Mayor. Between its position as a port, confluence of roads between the other baronies, and being at the gate of trade with Lippegen, it's a prosperous place, relatively speaking.Norton is mostly dedicated to fishing and whaling, although there are merfolk and locathah communities not too far offshore that provide some interesting opportunities for trade. One in particular is centered around an underwater gold mine, which provides some much-needed hard currency for the often-struggling Wynnland colony. The town has a population of 5,000, and there are many farmers in the surrounding countryside. The Baronness, Ursula Whitehouse, is a widow with a large fortune and a small family.Northgate is uniquely situated at the only opportunity for true expansion in the whole of Aedgaria, to the north. The barony also controls the hills and mountains in the northern portion of the duchy, and there are quite a few active mines and much prospecting that goes on. The enormous pine forests and mountains to the north tempt quite a few explorers, but few are heard from, as they are home to numerous monsters and giants. It has a population of 6,000. […]

  • Actual Play: Heroes of the Ashford Valley Character Profile Giles Corey
    by Matt Borselli on November 11, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    Elf seeking adventure!Description:Giles Corey (NPC)Elf, Level 1, HP 20Reputation +1 (Ashford Town)STR 16 (+ 3) DEX 8 (- 1) MIND 16 (+ 3)Initiative d20-1 Melee d20 + 5Missile d20 +1 Magic d20 +5AC 12 (Leather +2, Buckler +1, DEX -1)Damage + 160’ InfravisionDetect Hidden Doors 1-2/d6Skills:Physical 2 Subterfuge 1Knowledge 2 Communication 1Spells: POW 16Level 1 (4)Magic Missile (Cost 3)Sleep (Cost 3, DC 14)Cure Light Wounds (familiar spell, Cost 2)True Strike (Cost 3)Leather ArmorHelmetBucklerDagger (1d4+4)Longsword (1d8+4)Trident (1d6+4)Longbow (1d8+1)40 arrows in quiverDungeoneering Equipment [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ […]

  • Cavalier for 5th Edition
    by Joseph Bloch on November 10, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    Today is the hobby store release day for Xanathar's Guide to Everything, and apparently one of the things it includes is a cavalier martial archetype for the fighter class. It just so happens I also wrote up a cavalier martial archetype for my own Players Guide to Greyhawk 576, so I thought I'd share that here for comparison (I haven't seen the WotC book yet, because I pre-ordered it on Amazon, and apparently the hoi-polloi don't get the book for another couple of weeks).My version is based on the cavalier sub-class from the 1st edition Unearthed Arcana book. Wherever possible, I'm trying to go back to the 1st edition material for inspiration.CAVALIERCavaliers are the quintessential “knights in shining armor” of the Flanaess. Dedicated to honor, prickly about the deference due to someone of their social standing, they are yet still the product of intense training that makes them among the deadliest warriors in the realm of horse born combat using heavy weapons and armor. No matter their alignment, cavaliers follow a code of chivalry that includes hospitality, honor, courtesy, bravery, and pride. As a rule, cavaliers will wear the heaviest armor available (even if such is not the most efficient, and magical bonuses are not counted), and will seek to attack the most powerful foe available to prove their bravery. Cavaliers never used ranged weapon attacks; such are considered dishonorable. Failure to observe these restrictions may result in forfeiture of half or full experience points and/or renown, at the discretion of the Dungeon Master. Those not in service to some lord, religious cause, or other figure of authority are considered “knights errant” and will have as a primary goal finding service with such a figure. KnighthoodWhen you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you automatically gain advantage when using a lance, mace, or flail from horseback. You are also proficient in heavy armor, if you are not already. In addition, you can expect up to three day’s hospitality (food and lodging) from any other fighter with the cavalier archetype, and other characters who would recognize such feudal hospitality obligations as appropriate. You will have a coat of arms which will be flown on a pennant on the cavalier’s lance and/or held by a retainer as a battle flag. If this standard is lost, the cavalier will make every effort to recover it, or suffer a great loss of personal honor. RetainersAt 7th level, you will attract a group of retainers like that detailed in the Variant Noble: Knight background in the Player’s Handbook. If you have already chosen that background variant, your retainers will follow you into dungeon environments, once you reach this level, but will still expect to be protected and not put in the forefront of danger. HorsemanAt 10th level, you always gain advantage when attacking from horseback. In addition, you are an excellent judge of horses in general, and can always pick the horse with the highest number of hit points from a group, when evaluating them (for instance, when picking one out of a herd to buy or ride). You can ride any ordinary mount without effort, and when attempting to ride special mounts (pegasi, hippogriffs, unicorns, etc.) you have advantage. Finally, you have proficiency in animal handling, when it comes to horses and horse-like creatures.Mastery at armsAt 15th level, you can take an additional action each round to perform a melee attack. If you are wearing heavy armor when making this attack, you get advantage automatically. DeterminationAt 18th level, you are automatically immune to magical fear. In addition, you gain advantage when making saving throw vs. any sort of mind-affecting magic or other effects. […]

  • "The fact that you can just randomly encounter a Longship filled with Vikings is pretty awesome."
    by Oakes Spalding on November 10, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Every week I google "zylarthen" to see if anyone has written a new review or whatever of Seven Voyages of Zylarthen, my OD&D neo-clone. After I gave the game it's somewhat distinctive name, I quickly discovered that one of the benefits is that it's pretty easy to google using just the last part. With "zylarthen" you generally find the game and only the game - the small exception being various characters in obscure fantasy or science-fiction stories (I think there might be at least three) named "Zylar" who occasionally then do something.UPDATE: Actually, the "advantage" might not be so great as all that, I just googled "swords & wizardry" (without the quotation marks) using my Private Browser function for references in the last seven days. The only hits I came up with were to that game. I was somewhat surprised at this.In any case, it's not like I often find a long review by some luminary. More often than not it's board or chat room traffic. Often it's by "Anonymous." Indeed, for all I know, "Anonymous" is always the same guy. The comment is often enthusiastic - "Hey, have you played Seven Voyages of Zylarthen? It does X better than any system that I know!" - but sadly, the comment is often left hanging as people go back to discussing Molvay Basic or whatever. Such is life, for me and Anonymous, I guess.If you're reading this, Anonymous (or group of Anonymities), thanks again. I sincerely mean that.Today, I found this comment on 4chan:Anyone else absolutely love the gm sided stuff to 7 Voyages of Zylarthen, the Hex Crawl resources, the great random encounter tables. The fact that you can just randomly encounter a Longship filled with Vikings is pretty awesome. Probably going to use alot of it's stuff on a project in the near future. It just seems more traditonal and folkloric compared to most other products of it's nature.Well, even though the comment just hung there (or sank like a lead balloon), I'll take it to the bank. Or perhaps more accurately, I'll take it into my heart.I'd like to think it gets the vibe of the game, especially as portrayed in Volume 4: The Campaign, precisely right. If you're in Fresh Water or Coastal terrain, a positive Wandering Monster check has a 1 in 20 chance of yielding Vikings (who will probably be in a longship). That's right, actual Vikings. Here's the description from Volume 2: Book of Monsters:VIKINGS: Hit Dice: 1. Armor Class: 6. Move: 12/15. Alignment: Neutrality. Languages: Type I. Number Appearing: 1-4 longships, manned by 20-80 men each. % In Lair: 15%. Treasure: Class 1, plus 1-6 S.P. ea. Description: These warriors will always be found either on the water or within a few miles of their anchored or beached longships. However, the ships may easily traverse shallow rivers, and thus, Viking raiding parties may be encountered far inland. Each ship will have a Standard Bearer of 2nd-3rd level and a Chieftain of 4th-6th level—the latter usually armored in mail. In turn a squadron of multiple boats will be led by a High-Chieftain of 7th-9th levels. There is a 15% cumulative chance per boat that there will be 3-30 Berserkers, and a 25% cumulative chance that a Priest of Odin will accompany the entire force. Despite their fierce reputation, Vikings are generally intelligent and cultured as well as reasonable and honorable, at least in their fashion. Missiles: die 1-3 = none, die 4 = axe, die 5 = spear, die 6 = bow.Note my rejection of anti-Viking prejudice - "Despite their fierce reputation, Vikings are generally intelligent and cultured as well as reasonable and honorable, at least in their fashion." - After they kill you, they'll probably write a saga about it.Or look at it this way: It beats leeches.Now, of course, many OSR games have this sort of wild side to them. That isn't the right word. I suppose "gonzo" might be better, although it carries sort of a taint, and also doesn't get it quite right either. At least the Vikings aren't wearing clown masks. Then again...Indeed, Vikings appeared multiple times in the original 1974 edition of Dungeons & Dragons (which is why I chose them for Zylarthen) but then quickly fell out as the system and franchise took a more naturalistic turn.And it's not all about Vikings. What I tried to do in The Campaign was to create a mechanism or give referees ideas and tables for creating a mechanism to design a vibrant and "real" wilderness, if you will, teeming with whatever the referee thought would be fun and cool, as well as giving the players interesting challenges and problems.And again, Zylarthen is not unique at all in this. Any OSR or OD&D-like system that has the space to go into detail on this sort or thing does this, or at least should do it. If I did it adequately or even half as well as it was done in The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures, that would make me happy.The Wilderness Encounter tables for Zylarthen were designed to be somewhat tippy. In Coastal terrain, the expected suspects - Vikings, Buccaneers, Lizard Men Giant Crabs, Harpies - each have a 1 in 20 chance of occurring. But if you roll a 14-20, you go to some other table - Flyers, Humanoids, Men, Other Monsters, etc. - which in turn might lead you to yet another table. It's possible you'll run into Cyborgs or a lone Druid on a raft or even a god or goddess. There's even a 1 in 5760 chance you'll encounter a Black Pudding in your coastal wanderings. I'd love to see what a good referee might do with that.As for Zylarthen being "more traditonal and folkloric," I'd like to think that's true to an extent, but again, I simply went back to the sources. As I discussed here, every monster in Zylarthen is taken from, or are expansions on something from the 1974 or 1975 texts. It was all there right from the beginning.What's old can be new again! […]

  • Candlewerm [Wermspittle]
    by garrisonjames on November 10, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    One of the first creatures one learns to Summon, Call or Bind at the Academy is a Candlewerm. The little beasts make excellent 'first servitors' for those students who've never yet had a pet or gained a Familiar. Besides carrying around candles or torches, these things can be taught simple tricks...like the time a student trained a Candlewerm to wield a wand...with rather mixed results.CandlewermNo. Enc.: 1Alignment: NeutralMovement: 30' (10') [Climb Walls]Armor Class: 8 [as Leather]Hit Dice: 1 hit pointAttacks: 1Damage: 1 pointSave: MU1Morale: 6 [11 if made a Servitor]Special: Blind (Immune to visual illusions, Glamers, Figments), Able to climb vertical surfaces, Vague Empathy allows them to mostly understand a few verbal commands.Candlewerms are among the most common, minor forms of Servitors known in Wermspittle. The little things are not suited to service as Familiar, but they are intensely loyal and surprisingly clever--if one takes the time to train them to do more than just lug around a lit candle or carry a torch in their specialized mouth-parts.Certain obscure treatises claim that it is possible to enhance minor servitors like the Candlewerms, but few spell-casters ever make that much effort as it is considered a waste of time.A spell-caster may choose to invest as much as 10% but no less than 1% of their recently earned XP to enhance their Candlewerm, allowing the creature to gain additional hit dice as if advancing as a magic-user at 10% of the normal XP cost and never gaining the ability to cast spells...unless further measures are taken to elevate the simple wermic-brain of the creature...but this sort of thing is strenuously discouraged on campus... […]

  • In case you forgot: BUNDLE OF HOLDING OSR+5
    by Trey on November 10, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    The Bundle of Holding Old School Revival +5 (including all the fine products you see above like the Mortzengersturm digital edition) is still for 10 more days as of this writing. So you haven't missed out yet, but don't wait!Also, the boys at DIY Games have extended an extra offer: Just send Mike Evans a receipt showing the purchase and he'll give you a discount on the print on demand version of Gathox. How cool is that? […]

  • November Campaign Design V - Lippegen
    by Joseph Bloch on November 9, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    So last time I covered some details about New Valais, and now I'd like to put a little meat on the Lippegen bone. The map hasn't changed:Lippegen is my pseudo-Germany colony, linked back to the Dual Kingdom of Grott-Heimburg, with its Summer King and Winter King who swap roles at the equinoxes.I see Lippegen as the second colony founded, after New Valais, and its territory spans from the Uffberry River in the north down to the mountains south of the Southrun. This gives them an enormous frontier they can exploit, through the forest to the north as well as the valley to the southeast (in which they will inevitably run into conflict with New Valais as their efforts meet in the poorly-defined border area). The key to their expansion eastward is the town of Osttur, which commands a strategic gap in the mountains and serves as the gateway into the Shining River valley as well as its northern section.The whole is ruled by the Herzog of Lippegen, Oscar I. Founded some 80 years ago by the grandfather of the current ruler, and stocked with continuous shipments of new serfs, prisoners, and goblinoid mercenaries, the colony has been steadily built up. Oscar's father, Frederic, was especially aware of the importance of roads to the nascent colonial venture, and embarked on a great road-building program, linking all of the towns in the country. The road between Durst and Uffberryton in particular was a stroke of genius, as it provided an incentive for the North Aegarians to use Durst's port rather than develop their own, both stalling development and providing taxes and fees to Lippegen. He also established the frontier-town of Osttur, intended to open up the great valleys to the east to exploration and eventual settlement. Beneath the herzog are a number of grafs of various sorts.Durst is the largest settlement in Lippegen, ruled by Josef II, Graf von Durst. It is a thriving port-town, one of the main destinations for traffic from the west, as well as possessing a large fishing fleet. It has a population of more than 10,000, and the surrounding countryside is thickly settled with farmers, and the whole peaceful. The burggraf of the city, Ernst von Durst, plays a subtle game of politics, playing the herzog off against the graf, and ends up being the real power within the city itself, and in many cases far beyond the city. Finely drilled units of goblin soldiery with hobgoblin and bugbear officers protects the lands of the town from marauders and generally keep the peace. A small force of human Grott-Heimburgers is on hand to keep the mercenaries in their place.Stuttbad is on the official border with South Aedgaria, but there is little trade between the two, as there are no roads connecting them on the Aedgarian side. The primary industries here are fishing and trade with the sea elf and triton communities in the southern portion of Chivar Bay. The current Graf von Stuttbad, Erik II, is much more interested in his antiquarian and artistic endeavors - he has actually built a dedicated opera house in a struggling colonial town of 8,000 - than he is in effective governance, which he mostly leaves to the burggraf of the city, Prophero Musk, a hobgoblin of exceptional intelligence and ability. Stuttbad has more integration between the goblinoid soldiery and the civilian population than usual, and the people are gradually getting used to the idea of a hobgoblin among the petite aristocracy, as long as it doesn't start a trend.Zweistadt is a frontier town, ruled by the Markgräfin von Zweistadt, Corinna I. She is a young woman of exceptional ability and wealth, a first-generation immigrant from Grott-Heimburg and widow of the previous Markgraf. She is considered the most eligible widow in Lippegen (some say all of Artanis), as her territory is not only at the northeastern edge of Lippegen and thus poised to bring in wealth from the thickly forested lands beyond, but the hills and mountains surrounding the town are also home to very profitable mines, worked by a large contingent of imported dwarf and gnome labor. The markgräfin manages to navigate through the treacherous shoals of politics, all the while entertaining a host of would-be suitors and attending a never-ending cycle of balls, masquerades, and other social functions. And as she does so, her wealth increases daily, as does her power. It is rumored she has her eyes set on the handsome young son of the Graf himself, but that one is already pledged to another.Osttur is the bright hope for Lippegen, founded explicitly as a gateway to the rich valleys to the east and southeast, and aimed like a crossbow bolt at halting New Valaisian expansion in that quarter. The Markgraf von Osttur, Karl II, is energetic but unimaginative, and has a strategy that consists of little more than buying serfs in Grott-Heimburg and transferring them to small landowners to whom he grants land titles. Much of the time, however, those land titles are in name only, and the holders have never even set foot upon "their" land. The only thing that prevents his incompetence from coming out is the even greater incompetence of his New Valaisian counterpart, the Marquis d'Onjoi.Chivar Bay is home to three fairly large islands; the Anville, Welcome Island, and Gareth Isle. The Anville is so named because it regularly gets hammered by the hurricane-force storms coming off the Stormsea. The early Valaisian explorer Jon Borjeaux had a sense of humor. Both Welcome Island and Gareth Island are inhabited, and there are thriving co-existent communities ashore and underwater, with sea elves, tritons, and mermen aplenty. […]

  • Knights of the Dinner Table (KoDT) & EN World RPG Reviews: Review Burp
    by Jeff Duncan on November 9, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    KoDT #249Knights of the Dinner Table (KoDT) hits #249. Awesome! This issue I hit the RPG freelancer trifecta in KoDT(it's a real thing, because horse racing and RPG writing are very similar, trust me ;), publishing a magic item, a dungeon trap and a review of Centurion. In RPG hobby-lancer & freelancer circles, this is also know as making it rain! Boom! That's pretty much the it for dungeon traps and magic items with KoDT. I better get busy writing some more. Last month with EN World, I wrote reviews for Starship Commandoes and Synthicide.Disclosure: Product images on this page and the links below here include affiliate links. I receive a token % if you purchase something on the landing page. Thank you for your support.CenturionCenturion is a Roman storyteller RPG. Basically, player characters will be specialist (elite) type soldiers in the Roman army. The setting includes three (era specific) settings. Centurion is decent. I thought there were a couple of things in the craft of the setting which could have been better... But, the presentation of the history of Rome is about as detailed as you'll get and certainly helps with getting a few ideas going, as far as getting this RPG to your tabletop.Starship CommandosStarship Commandos wasn't my cup of coffee. This is also a storyteller RPG and by coincidence of schedule (which wasn't planned) the same publisher: Swords Edge Publishing, as Centurion. Starship Commandos is themed for game like Alien's or Starship Troopers, but it just didn't have enough grit to get a positive review. The review of Starship Commandoes is here, on EN World.SynthicideSynthicide is pretty awesome. The setting is gritty and well presented and the mechanics are simple. A post-post apocalyptic (space fiction) setting. Player characters will be navigating their own spaceship, and taking the role as Sharpers, independent space mercenaries and smugglers for hire. This RPG does a lot of the things I would have like to see in Fragged Empire. The review of Synthicide is here, on EN World. That's it for I've got a ton of reviews to get to and a couple ideas to sort out for Pathways (Pathfinder Content). Happy Gaming, and mind me while I head back down Within the Dungeon. […]

  • Jacob Bos of 5Realms is a Troll and a Liar
    by Oakes Spalding on November 9, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Jacob BosThe Darker Side of Dungeons & Dragons I'm sure by now, most of you have heard the name "Dungeons & Dragons". On the surface, it's a game of the imagination, governed by strict rules, and played with dice, maps, and miniatures. Under the surface however, lies the allure of the occult, the temptation to escape from reality, and the desire for power.So begins the first blog post from a blog called "Secret Evils of the World." Both the blog itself and the profile of the blog's author "Thomas Elder" were created yesterday morning from an address in Canada, with no obvious provenance in terms of the blog or the blogger.It appears to be an 80's style Christian fundie anti-D&D rant. Those red pictures on the side are depictions of hell. You may find the link here. Or not - it may have been taken down by the time you read this. But here's what it looks like, and below is the profile of "Thomas Elder."The first post went up at 5:51 AM CST. (The time stamp is the Blogger default, which is PST.)Yesterday, between the hours of 6 AM and 7 AM, a minor RPG industry guy named Jacob Bos linked to the blog's first post. He put it up in a number of places on Facebook where it received hundreds of comments and many shares, virtually all of which were predictably hostile to the blog and post, and many of which degenerated into anti-Christian snipes and attacks.Jacob Bos is the person behind the Myd'Realm fantasy setting and 5Realms Publishing, both of which have a presence on DriveThruRPG. Bos is based in Canada.The blog post itself received 150+ comments, all of which, as far as I can tell, were directed there by those Facebook posts and shares.The first comment was posted by Jacob Bos at 6:19 AM, twenty-eight minutes after the anonymous first-time blog from the anonymous profile that was just created launched itself into the ether.So Bos appears to have found it quite quickly on Tuesday morning.Maybe the Canadian internet isn't that big...Well, Bos wrote it himself of course.And he also inserted himself into the discussion on at least one of the Facebook places where he linked to the post - the group 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons - laughing along with those attacking those bigoted and stupid Christian fundies. Here's one comment among many. Notice that he comically tries to direct attention away from the troll thesis:Bos also linked to the post in Old School Gamers, where I first saw it, his own page, his Myd'Realm and 5Realms Facebook pages and, of all places, the group 80'S CARTOONS, T.V. SHOWS, MOVIES AND TOYS ..what do you remember? He also linked to the post on his Twitter account, which ironically got no likes or retweets. For all I know, he put it up in other places on Facebook and elsewhere.Here are a few of the ways he introduced the post:Some church.Organized religion.You are all sinners! Repent!LOLHe was a busy man between 6 AM and 7 AM, just minutes after the original blog and profile was created.The "Secret Evils" blog title picture is from the TV series Freaks and Geeks. Curiously, the same picture was posted on the Myd'Realm page a few months ago (with funny "meme" writing placed on it). While it's true that a similar picture has appeared on other sites, each picture has different dimensions and pixel counts, etc., as one might expect. Except for two them - the pictures for Myd'Realm and "Secret Evils" are precisely the same (in terms of dimensions, pixels, etc.).I originally was taken in by this hoax like most (though perhaps not all) of the commenters. Indeed, as a Christian D&D player I felt it my silly duty to defend the anonymous blogger from the lynch mob, at least partially - "30%" as I put it - as well as pointing out that the whole thing, whatever the merits of the anti-anti-D&D case had partly turned into an anti-Christian thing.I should note that at least two Christian ministers respectfully argued the merits of D&D back at the "Thomas Elder."Bos is of course a troll and a liar. He invented the profile, wrote the blog post and then linked to it either to create clicks and shares for his "setting" and company pages or to gin up anti-Christian hate. I suspect it's both.He allowed it to be shared and re-shared as an alleged example of Christian or Christian fundie hate. See? Christians are stupid and bigoted. They want to control you and stop your fun. They want to condemn people they disagree with to hell. They can't separate fantasy from reality, etc., etc.And they hate our favorite game, D&D.Someone must have been channeling the late Patricia Pulling and Jack Chick...Except. Not.It was Jacob Bos all along. […]

  • Edge Creeper [Wermspittle]
    by garrisonjames on November 9, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    “Intelligence is the ability of a living creature to perform pointless or unnatural acts."Roadside Picnic,Arkady Strugatsky​Edge CreeperNo. Enc.: 1d4Alignment: NeutralMovement: 90' (30')Armor Class: 7 (as Studded Leather)Hit Dice: 2 [Advance as Magic-User/Thief Dual-Class]Attacks: 1Damage: (by Spell)Save: MU2Morale: 8Special: See in all directions, Immune to Sleep, Use Detect Invisible at will, Move Silently gains bonus of +10%, Find Traps gains +20% bonus however they cannot remove traps, cannot be back-stabbed, ignore all damage rolls of 1 or 2.Silent, patient, playful...these beings are as much animal as vegetable and yet not quite either. Their tall, central body mass is very flexible and they easily contort themselves to get into tight spaces. Their sturdy four legs allow them to clamber about through rubble, debris, or uneven terrain with the seemingly effortless grace of a deer. Eyes of several types and sizes form apparently at will or at random all over their main body, allowing the Edge Creepers to see in nearly every direction. They have displayed a deep and abiding interest in discovering and uncovering all manner of concealed doors, secret passages, lingering booby-traps, unexploded bombs, mines, and so on. Sometimes they leave markers or Warning Signs, but other times they seem satisfied with merely leaving a formerly hidden thing exposed. So far the Wall Guard have not been able to enlist their help along the Inner Ramparts or the Outer Precincts.Little more is known about them, aside from the few encountered so far have all been spell-casters with an intense interest in the Black Zones and the Glow Field. They seem to avoid the White Orchard for some reason, but may have some sort of affinity for or connection to the Cold Roads. It is rumored that the Edge Creepers first appeared in Wermspittle by way of the Cold Roads, though there are some who are convinced that they first entered by way of the Glow Field or the White Orchard...so far no one knows, so there is a potentially lucrative opportunity for someone to go forth and discover the answers so many Experts and Academics are arguing about...The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.Carl Jung […]

  • 2000+ Posts
    by Trey on November 9, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Today is actually blog post number 2003. It may not be what it was back in 2010, but I still think it's got life in it yet.Here's a selection of posts to walk you down memory lane, one from every year:Hateful Glare: The Beholder Examined (2010)The Night Mail (2011)In the Belly of the Beast (2012)Cyclopes (2013)Ruritanian Rogues (2014)The Fae Moon (2015)Mall Security 2020 (2016)Again the Giants!: Sanctum of the Stone Giant Space God (2017)This is not a best of but rather a "posts I thought were interesting that were not the most popular in their year."Thanks for reading! […]

  • Universal's Dark Universe
    by Joseph Bloch on November 8, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    Well, that didn't take long. News has come out that Universal's Dark Universe, which was supposed to be a shared universe with their various monster properties like Dracula and Frankenstein, has folded after just one (well, two, if you count Dracula Untold, which was in, and then out, of the Dark Universe) film, this year's awful Tom Cruise Mummy flick.I mused on the Universal monsterverse a few years ago, but I'd like to do so again.To my mind, the chief problem was the idea of taking a classic horror movie icon like the Mummy and putting it in a non-horror movie.2017's The Mummy was a high-budget action movie, with planes, and explosions, and Tom Cruise, and action, and chases, and spectacular special effects, and all the things that were suspiciously missing from almost all of the other Mummy movies that came before it. Even the excellent 1999 Mummy with Brendan Fraser, which was sort of a mix of action and horror, played up the horror more than the action most of the time. But the sequel inverted that formula, and suffered greatly as a result.My proposal is to make a shared Universal horror universe (I'll call it DU2) that is focused not on big-budget action flicks, but which is focused on medium-budget horror movies. Stop swinging for the fences, and concentrate on hitting singles and doubles, and you'll have a franchise that will be going for decades. Here are the guidelines I'd use.1. Make the films period pieces. Start them in the late 1870's, near the height of the Victorian age. Explorers are penetrating deepest, darkest Africa, science is advancing steadily but superstition is still rife, Bedlam is still in operation, surgery is still a gruesome thing, and Spiritualism and ceremonial magic are surging. H.G. Wells and Jules Verne are writing, and some of their stories could also be used as material. Jack the Ripper is only a decade away, but there's also Spring-Heeled Jack and other Victorian curiosities to work into the background. Doing so can accommodate all of the major monsters, while nicely avoiding high-tech cop-outs that modern films have to explain away.2. Start small, and build to crossovers. Have a Dracula movie set in Transylvania in 1878. Then Frankenstein in Bavaria in 1879. An expedition to Egypt uncovers the Mummy in 1880. Dracula arrives in London in 1881. Frankenstein and his former mentor Doctor Praetorius create a female monster in 1882. Stretch them out, again emphasizing horror and suspense over action and flashy special effects.3. Don't have a generic, all-encompassing "anti-monster society." Each film has their own protagonists and heroes, but there are crossovers with minor characters. Keep the early crossovers to minor characters; the same British police captain that we see in a Dracula movie set in London is also in the Invisible Man movie, or Doctor van Helsing is a correspondent of Doctor Jekyll, both being interested in the nature of the subconscious, but they don't get together until a few movies later. That sort of thing.4. Tie things together, especially in the early years, with a television show. Universal's House of Horrors would be episodic, centered on a trio of characters (a Spiritualist medium, a ceremonial magician (proto-Golden Dawn), and a former soldier from service in India) who encounter supernatural oddities across England and Europe, and help various people overcome them. Have the same minor characters we see in the films, show up here. But keep it centered on horror. This should be a creepy, tense, scary show, not "Supernatural by Gaslight." Ghosts, Satanic cults, monsters out of folklore; these should be the focus. They can hear about the big bads, but they don't encounter them, except second-hand.5. The payoff isn't a big, Avengers-like mash-up of all the players. It's the set-up of pairings between the monsters, and the subsequent mixing and matching of their adversaries. Dracula and the Mummy are excellent "organizer" type monsters, who might enlist others as minions, pawns, or partners in specific schemes, such as the Monster or the Wolfman. Others might get together due to mutual affinity; Dr. Jekyll and van Helsing are both scientists, as are Frankenstein and Griffin (the Invisible Man). There are also possibilities for neat inversions; the audience may know that Mr. Hyde is the same person as Dr. Jekyll, but van Helsing might not realize it, and it might become a plot complication as Hyde is in league with Dracula, while Jekyll is helping van Helsing.I really think that would work, and would keep the studio churning out films for a goodly while, as long as they were good in and of their own right, with strong characterization and a heavy emphasis on horror and suspense.  But what do I know? They'll crank out some standalone Frankenstein movie set in modern-day New York and have cloning or some crap, and lots of car chases. sig […]