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  • 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 ant 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... […]

  • My continual failures of 5th ed
    by Konsumterra on November 14, 2017 at 2:55 am

    So I got a 5th ed players book at a good price after playing a few games and playing with the character making software. My motivations are that it is very hard to get any games going here and Ive run about 4 games in Adelaide this year and more games in Sydney when visiting for work compared to 3 games a week for several years in Sydney when I lived there. But things were growing tougher to replace lost gamers and I wasn't getting new players after 5th ed mania. Iv'e never got obsession of why latest computer games or RPG games are better or an improvement but I can see a bit more why computer games are technologically superior (I'm playing Fallout Vegas Now).My interest in 5th ed is to at least play something instead of looking at my 2mx1.5m bookshelf of games gathering dust or just being for reading. I also had some financial motivation as ppl had asked me to write some 5th ed stuff possibly for money. I will also point out I got back into dnd about 6 years ago because ppl heard I used to play and wanted to give it a go. I chose BX dnd or rather I wrote my house rules based on BX from memory with a adnd 1.5 NWP system with some more recent abilities made into skills like OA book did. My attraction to DnD was simplicity of the stat block and easy you could run from memory and ad libbing stats of opponents in play. I could make up new creatures with less than 30 words possibly just AC MOV HD ATT abilities. I had been playing RQ since 80s and had stopped 2nd ed DnD after a quality decline in art, layout and writing in late second ed products and stuck to RQ3 and BRP and Cthulhu and TSR Marvel. Marvel was super simple fun and also low complexity. RQ because of hit locations has more record keeping. One of my GMs in RQ had a huge stack of loose paper notes of monsters and nps and monster stat forms filled out and spent lots of time prepping. My idea of prep is to make tables and doodle a map to help me improvise everything faster. I was running a mash up of historic RQ3 and Cthulhu for my vikings and Babylon games for several years and I used my piles of pregen characters in published products and a bit of faking in quick fights to avoid prep time and help record keeping. Anyway I got back into oldschool dnd for the easy adlibbing and mechanics and less reading and and record keeping. I like BX vs ADnD because it is simpler, smaller stat blocks and it takes race options out of character creation. I almost got into castles and crusades but at time it didn't have a skill system. I like LOTFP lots but I like STR dam bonuses and so do my kids and more skill choices. Cyclopedia DnD is my fave edition.So I'm reading the 5th ed players book and finding wizards and sorcerers most easy to wrap my head around. I still don't really get fighter abilities or how to play them but will re read. Fighters used to be the dumbest easiest class I used to recommend to new players. (I dont get DCC either)  I find lots of situational things happen in combat I'm a bit puzzled by and wonder why some mechanics bothered to change but I can accept it I just don't get it yet. So a few more re reads and some more playing to understand. My interest in running 5th ed is low and after asking my peers about my current problem with the game my interest in being a 5th ed DM has almost dropped to zero. Actually it was reading Volos guide that made me hope for the product line and get a 5th ed PH.So my biggest problem is this. As all classes now have quite complex abilities and the approach to character creation is now character building with a emphasis on maximising character growth through to high levels. Characters have lots of emergent properties of this complexity and situational abilities. Many abilities are unclear how they work from name unlike say spells or a BRP skill. So I thought gee it must be hard for a DM to keep track of all this for a DM. The Volo's Guide having some generic stat blocks was handy. So if the poor DM has to run a bunch of high level NPCs it must be hard to run all these abilities optimally. Players vs GM in most games have an edge running player abilities vs a DM brain managing lots of abilities but late dnd seems to be worse a case. So by my quick reading of rules I would have to know lots of these abilities to police rules on players and run the bad guy NPC character classes.So I began asking ppl on forums and friends I know how do you manage NPC character class abilities in combat and get them right in late dnd vs how easy it was in early dnd. Some ppl were quite hostile and said it was just aesthetic choice (despite most of them never having played older versions they know they don't like them?)  choice is not a choice if you have never tried the choice (but Im sure id rather be alive than dead). I don't really see this as an aesthetic choice. But I only studied philosophical aesthetics for 5 years so what would I know.Some misunderstood and they said it was the players responsibility to keep track of their abilities not DM. In play using some of basic game design principles I corrected a experienced player attempting to stack lots of phantom HP and it turned out I was right and they couldn't do it. So I like that some 5th ed game philosophies on stacking abilities has some good general principles that let a novice like me correct a veteran 5th ed player (and it seemed a gross misuse of ability that would break game If I had it). One of my friends rules is if an ability is so good everyone would have it there is something wrong.One woman told me she used the online character makers to plot out all the NPC abilities as part of her prep to get her head around them which made sense. The Volo's Guide generic stat blocks were handy. I guess this is what all the types of Man in the 1st ed MM were for too. Some of the online sources give capsule descriptions of abilities that inform you as you make the character which is more useful than reading a premade character ability in a book and having to search for it.My buddy Andz said he runs three games a week of 5th ed. He happily uses house rules in his games in a cavalier manner but he said running it as often as he does helps but he also uses spread sheets to manage these abilities for NPCs.Someone else said he notes on cards npc with notes on abilities and tactics.The most common response was that DMs just don't bother with NPC fantastic abilities or they just fudge them and let them do anything on the fly. Many argued only PC heroes have all these abilities because they are special heroes and NPCs just don't. I call this the loosey goosey method. Is this in a book? More than 80% of people I asked responded with a version of this. To me this is a symptom of a broken game. If it is explicit heroes are special and only they get abilities fine but I don't think that is a feature of the game.This is actually a radical shift in DnD culture, greater than most of the petty rule changes. The idea that players are mechanically special and more equal than NPCs they face and deserve to be treated differently does not thrill me. The superheroism of the game has gone from something you struggle to achieve from a position of weakness and luck to survive to the characters are special day one. The attitude to death in newer gaming is probably related.As a player the whole point of character classes is they are simple shortcuts to archetypes and abilities. You know what a character can do. You know what an enemy can do. This helps me fight enemies by going kill that guy first because he has X ability. Having a DM just do as they please with NPCs round by round takes away this one advantage of the character class system. Too many character classes also has this problem. More classes more strange abilities. More splat books with untested content helped break 3rd and 4th. Some complained about 2nd ed kits but they did not have game breaking mechanic (mostly) and were simple to implement than whole specialist classes. Too many classes to me takes away the advantage of the class system. It makes the build a class from scratch in late 2nd ed and dragon systems seem more appealing. Too many classes makes me think RQ is easier because anyone can do anything only culture and roleplaying cause problems not rules. So I am concerned with more splatbooks and classes and abilities being added to the cannon. I like character classes simple archetypes with perhaps skill choices to customise a bit. Hopefully I get 5th ed before 6th ed takes over.I guess higher level DnD has always had a complexity problem. After tenth level the game increasingly bogs down in rule checks, rolling and adding more dice, more xp calculus, more treasure accountancy, managing party territories which cuts into adventure time increasingly.I guess RQ has its problems too with complex NPCs, It took years to get our heads around sorcery (scientist min max gamer in group got it and taught us).  Some of the later products in the ten years of RQ3 had NPCs do far more creative things with sorcery that was a inspiration. RQ3 Monster Coliseum is rated by some as worst RPG product ever but it does not deserve it. It offers rules for chariots, a solo or one on one game mode for play. But best of all the monster stat book was probably my most handled book in 3rd ed. The viking Box set had a whole book of pre gen stat block record sheets which were invaluable.DnD monster stat blocks have gone from a sentence to a page and often are not so helpful. My memories of BX and Adnd monsters is pretty accurate. I couldn't remember everything on 2nd or later eds. 2nd ed felt like they were writing to fill space in the monster folders and the detail given took away the DM chance to make own cultural decisions. With more complex stackable abilities designers started giving bugbears 80+ HP and they had to have special abilities and martial maneuvers too. Occasional monster being a martial artist is fun. Every bugbear being Bruce Lee not so special. More HP and stackable damaging abilities means more maths and dice rolls and slower game also. I tried using a 3-6 d6 difficulty system for skill and stat checks instead of d20 recently and my head exploded from watching ppl slowly add d6 results.I am increasingly sympathetic of ppl who have given up on DnD. I think my test for a system would be can kids get most of it in one session and can intro rules fit in 30 pages but ok to have more options for long term campaigns.  Probably 1st to 7th is my sweet spot for dnd levels. New players walking into a game at 14th lv that everyone worked to get that high is a bit hard.Possibly Im just showing my age wanting fairness and equality for NPCs and laziness for wanting minimal prep and reading rules to run a encounter. Also complexity of splatbooks and new eds seems more profit driven than about good game design.A further note. I like pathfinder but the art puts me off. It is good art but not how I imagine my world. The DnD look doesn't quite do it to me in 5th ed. I think the layouts are among the best but the art look isn't really me. I kinda like the historic and gritty arms and armour pseudo realism of 70s and 80s books. I kinda hate most fantasy computer games with too many crystals and new age looking stuff which the mid 80s TSR artists pioneered. Anyone looking more newage than Elmore or Caldwell is too much. If I could make BX in my image I would Illustrate it with Don Laurence and Angus Mc Bride and Osprey book art. Possibly with more gore and filth.Qualifiers and G+ Discussion Thoughts after posting this:The JEZ called me out on claim 5th ed better layoutI only mean better than 2nd ed-4th ed2nd ed disliked most art and hated borders and spot artlots of 3rd and 4th i could barley readIve said before I find things in B&W textbook layouts by being familiar with shapes of blank spaceDnD5 and CoC7 have done better job of full colour faux old bool looks than most of last ten years but I still prefer B&W textbook style over coffee table glamI Like Eclipse Phaze layouts but I thin Zac hates it so go figureIf I had money I would pay for look and learn magazine clip art which I grew up on plus pay some of the insan old illustrators I know who are out of workthis article interesting as it is a fix for amalgamating old and new play modesa whole book on resourcist mod rules for dungeon horror would be good for 5th ed - this post nails it on the head - BX is a resource based horror game not heroic or epic is a good take.hackslashmaster.blogspot.com.au - On the Megadungeon and 5th Edition PlayIf I have to play complex game I will stick to my BRP/RQ3 Hybrid (I ditch strike ranks) - Complexity for me is good for horror and near misses. I still remember I had a table next to a 4th ed one and my game played through 40 rooms in 4 hours vs 4 rooms for the 4th ed table. […]

  • 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... […]

  • 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. […]

  • 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. […]

  • More human Than Human
    by Konsumterra on November 12, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Ive considered using a whole bunch of medieval races believed to exist by scholars from late roman times into the renaissance. Elves and dwarves are fine and all but these might ad some colour. Not really developed yet but I'm tempted to do most using my beastman class (which I use for orcs and barbarians too). The multi fingered men would be exception, I might use elves as a template instead as I like idea they are magical and skillful. Just a teaser for now.Tribes of Man (Abhuman)Most abhumans HD12/LvNight vision +1 foot Jump/lv AC9 Unarmed Attack d4New ability at 3rd lv 5th level 7thd20 Tribes of Strange Peoples1 Cynocephalus - dog People -d4 bite +1jump/Lv track by scent, farm sheep ad trade2 Ear People - naked use wings as ears 1st 1v featherfall 3rd lv glide 5th lv fly rnd/lv 7th fly at will3 Mouthless People - lose mouth but superior scent often employed as sentries and scouts4 Cyclops People - simple tech and simple robes but best goldsmiths, miners, at war with griffins5 Headless People or Carnimen, face in chest, some have eyes on shoulders - chaos cannibal savages6 Green People - Wild plant men who live off sunlight, leaves instead or hair, worship trees7 Wild People- Wild fairy men covered in hair and worship nature dress in skins and leaves8 Ape People - Orung tree ape men or forest apes from far away jungles9 Cave People - Fur wearing cave savages with stone weapons, huge, sloped foreheads10 Monkey People - can swing by tail, fast, rascally, great climbers11 Goat People - horned goat featured men worship hell +1 d4 headbutt and +1 Jump/3Lv12 Ten Fingers People - less HD but good magicians, wary of humans11 Hemaphrodites - various types but most split in middle, possibly made by alchemists12 Two Headed Men can sleep and take turns, very alert, often talk to selves13 Pygmies can use dwarf or halfling but small people who wage war with storks and wetland birds14 Many Armed Men - grow extra arm per level every 2 = +1ATT d10 HD15 Hyperboreans - men of polar north immune to cold and shun armour, at 5th lv wings16 Skraerlings - hairy wild men of polar regions who worship wendigos17 Deluvian - can breath water, move freely in water18 Sciopods - giant single leg and foot can use as shade or umbrella while sleeping +1 Jump"/Lv19 Backwards Foot Men - can fun backwards using missiles, +1"MOV /Lv, leaves false trail d10 HD20 Sciritae - snake like faces and serpentine bandy legslots more herehttp://www.theoi.com/greek-mythology/fabulous-tribes.html"Specula physico-mathematico-historica...." by Johann Zahn, 1696. Library Call No. Q155 .Z33 1696. Strange versions of humanity […]

  • 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! […]

  • 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 [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ […]

  • 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. […]

  • d100 Evil High Priest Cults
    by Konsumterra on November 11, 2017 at 12:36 am

    In the Barony EHP flood from the whole world to Shadelport in hopes of recovering evil relics used by the monster king slavers of aeons ago. Many cults in the city are evil and devils and demons are worshiped openly along side respectable gods from across the world. Some cults in the city ruins never left and still operate in the ruins of their lost age of greatness. Some demons and evil cults have been outlawed and driven away for being too dangerous to the city and it's profits.  Many cult priest arrived and dream of being a hit and building a temple ensuring their gods love. Many become beggars and are lucky to secure any kind of following outside the most desperate and poor. Some join bigger sects that can accommodate them as a shrine keeper in area. Some might become servants of greater priests. Some brave the wilds and convince bandits or monsters to adopt their cult. Some willingly enter dungeons. Local EHP don't encourage other peers to enter their dungeon unless lower ranked members of the same cult. Some might use lesser priests to control specific populations. If that guy you send to the kobolds to convert them gets eaten it is still ok.EHP often adopt a dungeon, ruins or an abandoned house or cave as a lair. Besides immediate cult, servitors, pets and minions such lairs often attract humanoids or beastmen. Lairs might be connected to a dungeon by secret passage.Cults often conflict rather than cooperate but some form allegiances in the short term. Obviously evil cults are equal opportunity so EHP could mean a priestess.EHP was a standard gaming acronym once. What happened?Point of this is you can populate dungeons with EHP run factions quicklyd10 How Important a EHP are they1 Lead a cult of wandering beggars and outcasts in slums and wastelands2 Lead a secret village cult often incognito as a popular local figure3 Led a suburban cult from a back alleyway shrine4 Cared for a travellers shrine caring for pilgrims5 Worked in a small temple as popular suburban or village priest6 Worked in household of a noble as family priest, likley related7 Worked in larger city temple employing many priests on an estate8 Important senior city priest on many councils, operates a specific order9 Converted tribe or bandit clan into worshipers now absolute leader of fanatics10 Worked in a great holy temple a centre of great faithd10 EHP Bonus Trouble1 Has a pet holy beast2 Has a imp, quasit or elemental familiar3 Has a magic famed item4 Knows wherabouts of a magic artifact5 Has book of forbidden ritual to call otherworldly aid 6 Has a collection of skulls of past EHP can consult 7 Allied to humanoid tribe who worship the same cult8 Has a famous warrior cohort of ill repute9 Has a villainous rogue henchman who does dirty jobs 10 Has ally in region of another foul cultd10 What is the prefered lair?1 Haunted old House2 Spooky cave3 Ruined old church with graveyard4 Dilapidated old farmhouse and barn5 Strange cyclopean ruins from a elder age6 Dungeon complex under a ruined castle7 Dungeon complex under ruined temple8 Dungeon complex built by dwarfs or trolls long ago9 Dungeon complex formed by ancient large animal burrows10 Dungeon complex formed from flooded settlementd10 What is the EHP up to in the Lair1 Planning revenge on those that wronged them2 Help a dark power enter the world3 Exploit or sacrifice as many victims as possible4 Torment the lives of common folk5 Plot to undermine local government or nobility6 Plan to seize a love interest or attractive substitutes in name of love7 Destroy a rival cult or respectable religion8 Take control of rival cult and monster tribes9 Find and operate a forbidden machine of the dark aeon10 Enthrall victims as labour force of minionsd10 Quick Evil Cult Types1 Evil Personality Cult - founded by mortals for greed, power and sex and vice, often sorcerers2 Evil Spirit Cult - often worship or enthralled by a local spirit hungry for power3 Evil Elemental Cult - servinhg a evil element enter our world4 Evil Druidic Cult - dark nature cult against humans kind and civilization, engage in blood rites5 Evil Witch Cult - unlawful magicians seeking power through various elder entities6 Wizard Sect - esoteric cults teach wizardry but with cult trappings7  Evil Beast Cult - often allied to beast men or a spirit animal to one of their ancestor cultsEvil 8 Evil Demon Sect - demonic cults from the infernal abyss seeking power and murder9 Evil Devil Cult - diabolic devil cults seeking influence over rulers of humankind10 Evil God Faith - evil gods from one of the popular pantheons d100 Evil High Priests Cults01 Egomaniac self made messiah with beggar and a few merchant cast followers. All wear one colour and assist the master obtaining virgins and drugs02 Blind sorcerer claims he is divine and can teach sorcery. Started murdering public servants driven out of city 03 Mad Prophet teaches students from his holy texts. Cult is obligated to kill and rob non believers and kill enemies of the faith04 Old wise scholar sorcerer claims he can free minds with his potions and has atracted many merchant clan members. Went into hiding as wanted for kidnapping children05 Mad alchemist has developed drugs to enthrall desperate and some non humans. Wanted by law seeking a dungeon hideout06 Priestess of a hedonism sorcery sect, worshipers practice orgies and drug abuse. Tried to influence city officials and driven away. Priestess and her faithful seek a new lair and power 07 Strange mystery sect advocate strange robes, food and sexual practices. Holy Teacher got into fight with more popular sect allied to university and was driven away. Desperate to be heard and grow08 Mind mage sect who set up casinos they claim are worship houses of luck god. Driven away by crime syndicates they have found monsters dungeon atracted to cult09 Grave robbing sect who robbed from the dead have become in communication with ghouls. Undead have taught them demonic rites and ancient forbidden secrets10 Forbidden sex club of hedonistic sorcerers have fled city after being publicly shamed. Now they bring rich to them for secret esoteric rites of sub human debauchery 11 A dark spirit has formed a cult from simple folk. Now it has them it seeks to gain a stronghold and more fanatic killers to join it's ranks12 A disease cult found a vile relic and began to breed with ratfolk before being driven from the city. The spirit miasma seeks cultists to infect a dungeon and make it unholy 13 A evil spirit has led a monster worship cult sacrificing to monsters for aeons. Recently some of it's followers became very successful and has whole dungeon interested14 A evil spirit of jealousy has controlled it's cult who serve it's squat ugly idol. The cult bring it sacrifices and it grows greedier for power15 Started as a harmless barnyard cult but spirit was tainted and became lustful and vindictive. As cult has grown the spirit has become more demanding16 Cult of a dead wizard whos's spirit has corrupted and turned many to evil. Aids followers carving out a niche for them in dungeon and occupies a host body most believe is high priest17 Cult founded by serial killer and cannibal, led by descendant who in recent years has gained magic and contacted their founder. Sell and give meat to monsters18 A cult of necromancers worshiping dead masters corpse. They hope the current EHP will gain power to revive the master as a free willed undead who will lead them19 A vindictive forest spirit has grown to hate humans so much it has forgotten specifically why. Now it directs it's cult leader to kill and torment and wipe out humans20 21 Cult of evil fire elemental prince who practice arson, burning victims and calling elemental beings. Priest has been kidnapping sacrifices for the fire lord22 Cult of the evil water elemental princess who practice drowning victims, wrecking ships and fornicating with fish folk. Priest has been sacrificing kidnapped wives of enemies from past life in city23 Cult of the evil earth elemental prince who bury victims alive and crush them under dolmen they erect. The priest is greedy for precious metal to be hoarded till they can be given to the master24 Cult of evil air elemental princess who drop victims off cliffs and tower windows or strangle them. The priest seeks to contact beings in the clouds to join their evil schemes25 Cult of the funeral pyre gather wealth from burnt human remains. The leader operated a legitimate crematorium until they were found out. Bitter the cult leader sacrifices to his lord of fire and death. Conjure elementals full of ash and burned bones26 Cult of the burial mound seeks to look graves. Cult leader robs graves of treasure and corpses and is on the run from the city. Conjures earth elementals with rotting corpses and coffins inside. Started feeding dead to monsters  27 Cult of the drowned have been gathering dead from the sea to raise as undead servants and rowing oars on cult ships. The cult leader encourages drownings on coast and wetlands. Elementals conjured contain liquified rotting corpses28 Cult of the desiccated dry corpses in wind and high places or in sealed crypts. They stockpile the dead to create mummies the cult leader sends after enemies. They summon air elementals filled with flakes of skin, hair and bone fragments 29 A heretical elemental sect teach elements can work together for power. Current priest seeks relics and to build elemental shrines to unite various monster races 30 A obscure sect worshiping a evil quasi demi or para elemental being such as ice, lightning, metal, wood, mist or something 31 A warlock cultist has been communicating with hibernating catfish men deep under the earth. He hopes to dig up and awaken to learn their their ancient secrets32 A witch coven seek revenge for members hunted and killed now they plan to spread terror over region33 Witch Queen has been resurrected by cultist and she immediately seeked to restore her regime of the past through magic and monster minions 34 Warlock was a former dark elf slave and uses his connections and dark fey knowledge to control a dungeon35 A vengeful witch seeks revenge against a noble family. Her coven are all vindictive women with axes to grind against local menfolk36 A warlock and his coven are serving a demon patron. Using information they seek to activate a monster generating relic they have detected deep in a dungeon 37 A witch cult have been waging war against a sea demon cult for decades. The EHP is willing to use pawns as bait to destroy more fish cult hybrids38 A warlock leads a cult of dupes using drugs and illusions. It's all a smokescreen for a secret plan to destroy a whole community 39 A witch has been awakening ancient sleeping horrors to destroy enemies and build a power base. The cult require a rare resource to awaken the monsers40 A warlock seeks to spread the plague and has been aiding chaos rat men. The cult have been aiding them infiltrate settlements and bringing them remains of mummies from crypts to make vile potions to spread disease  41 A EHP of a warped druid cult has been making undead to punish humans for crimes against nature42 A druid cult have been letting blood on a ancient stone for aeons but recently stopped releasing a demon imprisoned. The cult now serve the demon and plan a bloody rampage43 A local bloody druid cult was hiding in secret but when found out fled to a dungeon. The cult have members hidden in local communities and seek revenge on informants and former neighbors. The EHP is still a respectable pillar of the community who escaped detection 44 A new breed of monster has been seen in the area. It is the creation of a druidic EHP using village folk kidnapped by the cult45 A Druidic EHP has been populating the forests with monsters driving away hunters and loggers. The cult have been scaring locals leaving trails of bait into villages46 A cult of druidic priestesses have birthed a horde of beastmen and have been training them in a new lair over decades. The EHP is the wife of a respected noble who spent years away at foreign wars47 A druid cult hunted to extermination decades ago by militia and a legitimate church has returned and has started killing retired militia and clergy. The new EHP is a child of the original leader and lives in the local area 48 A peaceful druid cult were killed by a mob and the survivors are seeking revenge. The EHP has begun rites to awaken a elder god to punish the world and uses minions to keep them away49 A druid lord has been in hiding with formarians and is now ready to invade civilised lands. He has organised a new cult from malcontents and cannibal outlaw clans and the formarians have sent hideous mutants to advise and protect him50 A druid priestess has been bringing faerie monsters to the waking world. Her cult have been preparing a base where the creatures are spawned from and spread through rivers and streams51 A necromancer cult leader has been sending his minions graverobing to prepare a zombie army52 A esoteric cult leader wizard teaches mysteries of geometry and strange dietry secrets. His students will do anything to please him which includes murdering scholars who mocked the master53 A wizard EHP has been recruiting rich students then blackmailing them to serve a demon lord. After decades some have become important officials in the city. Now the EHP has stepped up his plan to take over the city by assassinating city officials and replacing them 54 A sect of white wizard women who perform acts of charity have secretly been using the sect as a cover for a cult. The cult really serve a strange entity from beyond and the EHP has been stealing souls from the innocent to bring the being into the world55 A wizard was driven away from the university a laughing stock for his theories of summoning forgotten elder gods. Now he is a cult EHP planning on helping alien gods invade reality56 A well regarded private magic teacher was revealed to be murdering his peers and stealing spells. He and his students ran away to some dungeon where he has become EHP of a demon cult57 A wizard was discovered to be holding demonic orgies and driven from the city and his lucrative university teaching post. Now there are signs his cult has been reformed in a rural dungeon and he is publicly known as EHP of a pleasure demon sect58 A wizards daughter outraged at fathers tower being left to her brothers stormed off into the wilderness with her followers. Now she is EHP of a vindictive cult murdering male kin and heirs of the city scions59 A wizard cult of rebellious students seeking lore have been declared criminals and have holed up in a dungeon. Now they seek demon patrons, lost relics and monster allies to stir up trouble and gain quick power. The self styled handsome EHP was a former star student and has many bounties on him60 A wizard sect who were a degenerate clan of elder god worshipers driven from family land by a angry mob. The current EHP just ate his father and heads the clan. He is seeking brides for himself and his otherworldly gods61 A EHP found a ailing clan of goat men in the woods and has lead them to bolder victories. They worship various demon gods and have been sacrificing often to curry more luck62 A werewolf cult priest driven from home and exposed as a monster has found a tribe of wolf men and converted them to worship of the demon wolf of eternal night. Now they have a new lair to raid caravans and kidnap human victims63 A EHP on the run found a tribe of elder vulture men in a mountain cave who accepted him as leader. Their crumbling library contained secrets of the ancients including where a dangerous relic the cult now seek was hidden 64 A EHP lost in the sewers found a temple of lamprey men and convinced them his evil god was superior to the worm god. Now they menace docklands and river sides kidnapping victims to drink and sacrifice65 A EHP discovered his ancestors were degenerate mole men and has found and recruited them to worship of the blind worm god. They under his guidance took over a dungeon easily and have other monsters afraid of being dragged under the soil to be feasted on66 A EHP has led his Frog men clan to partially flood a dungeon then took over. Now they have been murdering fishermen and those who live by wetlands67 A EHP has spent years living in a fishing village corrupting family bloodlines with fish men. The cult have gone into hiding since the village drove them away but they have seized a dungeon and the priest has hatched a kracken egg in a subtereanean pool68 A EHP of the blood goddess was sent a loyal clan of vampire bat men assassins. Since eating the weak and doubters in the sect the cult have been searching for a new lair to observe and menace the city 69 A EHP who was raised among rat men has led his clan to seize a ruin complex. There they seek to summon a greater rat demon of the chaos rat lord to lead them to conquer more dungeon areas70 A EHP has raised a band of cat men as her sons. Now they are of age she has been directing them to assassinate rival cults and lawmakers71 A EHP of a dark demon prince has led her cult to reclaim a long abandoned temple. She has been summoning him and has born a son the cult hope to raise to be a conqueror72 A EHP of the demon prince of undeath has led his cult to a mausoleum.  Slowly they have been preparing a army and now seek more corpses to feed from and make more minions73 A EHP of the spider demon cult have infested a dungeon with spider eggs helping her cult take over. They have been seeking allies to expand their territory even dealing with dark fey folk74 A EHP of a bestial monster demon has been leading the cult to convert the inhabitants of a ruined castle dungeon complex. Having grown more confidant they have roamed further leaving gnawed tortured corpse on roadways75 A EHP of a horrible slime demon cult were driven from the city sewers. They have colonised a dungeon using slime monsters76 A EHP of a two headed bestial demon lord recruited a band of mutant followers convincing them they were the blessed deserving of power. Driven from the city ghetto the fanatics have overrun a dungeon complex and their demon god has rewarded them with a pool of mutagenic ooze77 A EHP of a succubi cult have been ruining merchant families and influencing them to lives of depravity. A Inquisitor drove them from the city and now the cult have moved into a cavern complex and seduced a bandit gang to serve them78 A EHP of a ogrish demon of winter and cannibalism killed everyone from his mountain village and moved into a dungeon with his followers79 A EHP of a cavern dwelling devouring goddess has come closer to the surface having been driven from their underland homes by enemies80 A EHP of a fungi demoness has been spreading fungal gardens with her followers. They have become rivals with the goblin mushroom cult and the conflict has spread over several dungeons81 A EHP of hell has been banished and has since been in contact with outcaste devils. His cult have been spreading but orthodox hell cults have been setting adventurers on them. Now they have hidden in a dungeon till they are forgotten82 A EHP of the lord of lies has set up a secret lair to plot against civilization. They have been running blackmail and extortion rackets and have relocated to a dungeon to avoid secret police scrutiny83 A EHP worshiping fiends of the pit has been trying to re open a hellmouth with sacrifices and rituals. The forces of good hid the keys years ago and the cult are still searching for them84 A EHP of the cult of Dis have been working to curtail rival hell cults. Posing as good adventurers the cult keep their hellish secrets in their lair in a dungeon so as not discovered 85 A EHP of the archduke of Hell was driven from the city by rival priests. With his followers they seek to build their strength and influence in local dungeons before returning to the city86 A EHP of Mammon has been driven from the city for being too obvious and a threat to them all. Furious the cult have established a lair in a dungeon where they can brutalize victims in peace. Clumsy and lacking subtlety the cult have been murdering suspected rivals and atracting bounties87 A EHP of Tiamat has been suppressed by the lords of hell who fear her influence on mortals. The cult in response have hidden in a dungeon and raising baby dragons for future actions88 A EHP of a hell worshiping witch cult have established a dungeon headquarters where they can frolic as they please and use as a place for black sabbath meetings and orgies. 89 A gang of hell rakes form the city have been driven out of their city clubhouse. The secret EHP has established a new dungeon base where they can be even more horrible and debauched. Monthly the noble youth members of the city come to the lair for days of depravity. The rest of the time the cult kidnap victims and steal luxury items for parties90 A respectable men's club are secretly a cult dedicated to spreading the influence of hell for power in the next life. The EHP is respectable and requires a dungeon lair for the clubs forbidden secrets 91 An EHP of the lord of death has been driven away by rivals. Infuriated he has become a vampire and plots revenge. Still growing in power his cult have been feeding him and preparing for his glorious return  92 A EHP of the night queen was driven from her home for witchcraft. Little did they know she was a priestess with a extensive cult. Now their goddess has sent them visions of a artifact to avenge themselves. Their new lair is located where they hope to dig up the parts of the relic to be reassembled 93 A EHP of the lord of Decay has been working on a new plague to torment humankind. The cult have been fermenting a great pool of decayed filth in secret with chained prisoners to test the disease94 A EHP of the lord of mutation plans to pollute the city water supply. The cult have been working in secret to brew foul potions to achieve this but so far nothing strong enough for the whole city. The dungeon lair however is crawling with mutant things 95 A EHP of the scorpion goddess has developed a taste for eating human babies and grown to huge proportions. Worse she has been giving birth to scorpion men and had to move the cult to a isolated dungeon where the inquisition will not find them96 A EHP of the Snake goddess has taken a dungeon to keep her hybrid snake cultists hidden. More reptilian minions have joined her and local farmers complain of record numbers of snakes in their fields97 A EHP of the Ice goddess has thawed out and restarted her cult. She has raised undead monsters from the mountain glaciers and her cult plan to bring about eternal winter from their dungeon lair98 A EHP of the horned god has established a secret lair in a dungeon where they operate their schemes to corrupt lawmakers and city officials. The cult keep elaborate records and create cursed magic items to taint victims with99 A EHP of the dark man has been hosting witch gatherings for years but now intends to branch out into creating a formal school for witches. The cult have carved out a niche in a dungeon to act as cover100 A EHP of the Bezerker god has become sick of weak puny city peoples. From a ruin outside the city they have been brewing bezerker potions. The cult plan to spike free grog during a festival to incite a bloody massacre&nbs […]

  • 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 […]

  • Actual Play: Heroes of the Ashford Valley Session 4
    by Matt Borselli on November 8, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    Ashford Valley Actual Play notes from December 2012:IN WHICH: A party of adventurers face a night attack and mysterious voices on the cliff-top, a merchant is encountered and a second descent into the cave leads to a monstrous encounter!Jim Baggins, Quinn Quimby, Orin Copperhead and Giles Corey set up camp on the cliff-top and set watches, which Jim and Giles promptly sleep through – resulting in a close moment when eight undead skeletons attack the camp!After a quick fight, the enemy is defeated and the party tracks the skeletons back to a one-way door that Orin guesses leads to the dungeon below.At that point, the party notices the same voice coming from the birds and wild animals about the hill, all telling the party to flee before they are killed.For three days, they wait for the water to recede from the cave openings so they look to the road and spot a merchant caravan traveling on it. Once off the hill, they find that the merchant is Mikan Roddin, a human merchant from Tradetown that has dealt with Orin in the past. They hail him and his caravan and talk for a bit – none of the guards are happy stopping so near to “The Haunted Hill” and little is gained in information about it but one of the ancient swords is sold for a good sum to Mikan.Returning to the cliff-top, they see that the water has receded enough to spot the caves again and Jim speculated that this could be a defense mechanism for those who used the caves in centuries past – anyone on the hill causes the water to rise in a matter of hours, closing off the caves, while no one on the hill leaves the caves open.Quickly, the party descends again into the cave, bypass the two pits on the stairs and encounter another set of the degenerate humans, this time an elite force in ancient armor and those strange eye-slit-less helmets. They defeat the subhumans and note that the armor is protected by the primitive fetishes. They discover that the statue again has been beheaded and their former prisoner is nailed to the wall, most likely as a punishment for failure to defend the last time the party was here.Searching around for the statue’s head reveals it in the junk room and they recover it without taking too many wounds and replace it on the statue, where it again knits the stone together.Proceeding down the last 20’ long side tunnel, they find themselves in a 20’ by 50’ room with a sarcophagus. Searching through the coffin, they find another valuable gem, a pair to the one they found before.Finding a stone slab blocking their way, they moved it and followed the passage 20’ deeper into the dungeon, into a room 30’ by 40’, with two doors, one sealed and barred, the other opening into a short hallway with two doors, ending in a T. Looking in the two doors, they found some bare rooms but heard a beast coming from the T.They quickly retreated to the larger room and an owl-bear burst upon them there. It was a long fight but they managed to bring the beast down, stabbing it to death as it’s roars echoed through the halls, waking who knows what other horrors that the brave adventurers will soon face. […]

  • Yzel [Wermspittle+]
    by garrisonjames on November 8, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    "Retaliation is related to nature and instinct, not to law. Law, by definition, cannot obey the same rules as nature."Albert CamusYzelNo. Enc.: 1d4 (1d6)Alignment: NeutralMovement: 120' [Levitation]Armor Class: 3 (as Plate Mail)Hit Dice: 3+ [Advance as Fighters, 1 in 100 may be a Ranger]Attacks: 1Damage: As WeaponSave: F3+Morale: 12Special: Unaffected by Fear, Confusion, Illusions, Charm, or other mind-influencing powers/spells. All thief abilities are reduced by -4 penalty within 30' radius. Unwavering Morale (Never retreat, never surrender...unless ordered). When engaged in conflict become Mindless/Completely Instinctive with +2 on all Initiative rolls.Gifted calligraphists of high order, the Yzel can only be addressed effectively in their own unique written language which in some ways resembles something alive unto itself. Any spell-caster seeking to learn this language must undertake a very demanding magical retreat lasting no less than one year in order to successfully assimilate and integrate a beginner's level appreciation of the complex whorls, squiggles and intricate diacritical marks involved in this uncanny textual tradition. Those who invest the time find themselves able to converse, after a fashion, with the Yzel and engage their services as guardians or soldiers.Voiceless, faceless, telepathically muted, the Yzel are deeply intelligent plants from SomewhereElse who are renowned as being highly civilized beings, despite being almost totally opaque to all forms of magical scrutiny, psychic snoopery or technological intrusion.The Yzel are never found unarmored save when they first spawn, but so far no one has discovered where they go to get their distinctive body-casques made from multiple alloys of bronze and beryllium. The armor is so cunningly wrought that it cannot be removed from the creature and upon their death the armor crumbles away into an ultra-fine dust, as does the Yzel's body. They are incapable of being resurrected, raised or converted into undead.When an Yzel enters into conflict they surrender to their instincts in a manner that renders them mindless, but not in the same way that a Berserker enters their rage. The Yzel in battle is a terrifying, implacable opponent that cannot be read, second-guessed or misled--they become focused completely on just the battle at hand...and that could be seen as a flaw of sorts, possibly leading to their downfall against an opponent willing to sacrifice lesser fighters to occupy the Yzel, allowing one to by-pass them altogether."To win any battle, you must fight as if you are already dead."Musas […]

  • Wednesday Comics: Storm: The Slayer of Eriban (part 4)
    by Trey on November 8, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    My exploration of the long-running euro-comic Storm, continues with his adventures in the world of Pandarve. Earlier installments can be found here.Storm: The Slayer of Eriban (1985) (Dutch: De Doder van Eriban) (part 4)Art by Don Lawrence; script by Martin LodewijkIn the unwilling service of  the assassin Renter Ka Rauw, Storm and friends set sail for the capital of the strangely shaped planetoid of Marrow. Not long after they are underway, Storm discovers a stowaway, a young boy who really wants to learn to play chess.Renter immediately wants him thrown overboard. Storm tries to argue, but Renter reminds him who's boss:Renter suggests a fishing vessel will like pick him up, but then two eel-like sheels come swimming toward him! Storm swims out to try and save him, and surprisingly Renter tries to help out as well. Ultimately, It falls to Ember to rescue Renter with a well-placed arrow, though he insists he never needed her help at all. Still, her efforts convince him to let the boy stay aboard until the next port.Along the way, Storm teaches the boy chess, Renter even gets in on the game after picking up the rules by watching, but he throws a bit of a tantrum when Storm wins.Soon, they arrive in the capital city of Rommily:After docking, they say goodbye to the boy, Tillio, who plans to make a living teaching people chess. Renter plans to go into the city and find where the Barsaman games are going to be held. He takes Ember with him and commands Storm and Nomad to stay with the ship.As soon as Renter is out of sight, Storm goes ashore too. He plans to find the authorities and warn them of Renter's planned assassination of their ruler. It reassures Nomad he'll be back before Renter and Ember return.Storm locates some guards, but when he warns them of the assassination, he does get the response he hoped for.TO BE CONTINUED […]

  • Actual Play: Heroes of the Ashford Valley Character Profile Orin Copperhead
    by Matt Borselli on November 7, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    An Irritable DwarfDescription:Orin Copperhead, DwarfLevel 2Alignment – LightStrength – 18 ( +4 ) Dexterity – 12 ( +1 ) Mind – 10 ( 0 ) AC 17Hit Points – 27Power Points - n/aInitiative – d20 +1Melee attack bonus +6Missile attack bonus +2Magic attack bonus +2Fortitude + 7Reflex + 1Will + 0Hometown – TradeTownLanguages – Common, DwarfReputation – +2 in the town of Ashford (temp)SKILLSPhysical +4Subterfuge +2Knowledge +2Communication +2CANTRIPSAdrenalineUntieSparkEnhance VisionUnlock/lock- N/AEQUIPMENTChainmail and GauntletsShield, Lt. WoodenDwarven Battle Axe (1d10)Crossbow, Lt. (1d8)Dagger (1d4)Bugbear Longsword (1d8+1)Dungeoneering EquipmentBio:A miner by trade and heritage, Orin worked out of Tradetown, but given his budding talent with an ax, he was often chosen to accompany shipments to and from Ashford.Orin Copperhead is a volcano of a dwarf in that he grumbles a lot, has head like a rock, and when his face starts turning red, its time to run.One notable exception to his gruff demeanor is at the tavern. Get a few drinks in him and a rowdy pub song will not be far behind, often accompanied by his bullhorn flute. This gift for music is a well known family trait. Whether it be a lively tune pouring out of a tavern, a somber dirge sung at a funeral, or a classic ditty sung around a campfire anywhere in the Ashford Valley, chances are it was originally penned by a Copperhead.His uncle, Linder, works a mine located within the northernmost part of the Deep Forest. Orin was recently reunited with Linder after the mythical stag, Yarkand, lead him and his party to the old dwarven manor his uncle had been renovating. […]

  • November Campaign Design IV - New Valais
    by Joseph Bloch on November 7, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    As mentioned in the previous installment, I've filled in a lot more detail in the eastern portion of the map, and added one large and one small lake, to give the terrain some interesting features. Here's what it looks like now (click to embiggen):The scale is 10 miles per hex, and bear in mind that this is not the final look and feel; the final will be using the Darlene-esque look I used in my Beyond the Flanaess maps a few years ago. The map is done using Hexographer Pro, by the way.I wanted to spend a little time considering the southernmost colony in the setting; New Valais. Named for the Kingdom of Valais far to the west across the Stormsea, I'm going for a medieval French vibe (hence the pseudo-French names).The Duchy of New Valais stretches from the Grey River in the west to Lake Onjoi in the east. The Grey River also forms a political boundary between South Aedgaria and Lippegen, but the boundary on the other side of the mountains, in the valley where the Shining River flows, has never been firmly defined. As Lippegen continues to expand southeast in the valley, they are bound to run into conflict with the Valaisians, who are also expanding in that area. The Three Moons Desert forms the southern boundary, so named because of the time it takes to travel from one end to the other, so legend has it.New Valais was the first colony founded, and thus the oldest. Valasian explorers were the first to arrive in Artanis once the Stormsea calmed (an event whose cause is unknown, and serves as a central mystery), allowing regular traffic across its surface. New Montrose serves as the capital and seat of the Dukedom. It is the largest settlement in Artanis, with a population of approximately 30,000.Underneath Duke Absolon III, there are four Marquis, each based in one of the large towns; Chamlin, Anleans, Duchance, and Onjoiville. The towns have populations of between 10,000 and 15,000 each, and an equal number of peasants live in the surrounding countryside, based in small villages. The whole duchy is based on feudal land-rights, with tenant serf-farmers making up the majority of the population outside the towns.The island chain known as the Breakers protects Chamlin and Anleans from the worst of the storms that still roll in from the Stormsea, and the coast is also connected by a fine road. No road connects Onjoiville to the rest of the Duchy, however; all traffic passes on the Firstwaterl; the river connecting Lake Onjoi and the Gulf of Morois. The Duke has granted exclusive rights to such traffic to a number of companies and families, and they guard their position (and incomes) jealously.Chamlin is the westernmost marche in the duchy, ruled by Lewis I, Marquis d'Chamlin. They uniquely enjoy a small amount of trade with South Aedgaria, via the road that connects Chamlin and Dubton. Although this gives the Chamliners a somewhat better impression of the Aedgarians, twenty years ago they did fight a short but violent war over possession of Green Island, which is particularly fertile, not to mention strategically placed. Chamlin won the conflict, a fact which some in Dubton have not forgotten. Chamlin's primary agricultural product is cattle and cheese. In fact, Chamlin cheese is particularly famed back home, and constitutes one of its chief high-value exports.Anleans is another coastal marche, with a thriving fishing industry as well as large amounts of cotton, ruled by Lothar, Marquis d'Anleans. Being the interior-most marche in the duchy, Anleans is also the most secure, with few raids from orc tribes to worry about. The marquis of Chamlin and Duchance grumble about being expected to carry all the burden for the defence of Anleans, but so far the fact that the marquis is married to the duke's second daughter has prevented any action. There are rumors that the duke is paid a special honorarium to maintain this arrangement.Duchance is situated in a hilly valley, and the marche extends up into the hills and mountains beyond. It is ruled by Roger, marquis d'Duchance. The land is excellent for grapes and wine, which is its chief export, but suffers badly from constant raids by orcish tribes (and their goblinoid allies, originally brought over as mercenaries by Valais, but many thousands have deserted).Onjoi is the easternmost marche, with the marquis' residence in Onjoiville, overseen by Welois, Marquis d'Onjoi. In theory, the marquis rules over all the lands within thirty miles of Lake Onjoi, as well as the entire Shining River valley. In reality, the only really secure settlements are on the southern end of the lake, and Lippegen is beginning to settle the valley en masse. Orcs and other threats have kept Onjoi from gaining true control over the lands he has been granted, and rumors in the court of both the duke nearby and the king across the Stormsea say that patience is growing thin among his superiors. Action to secure and pacify his lands is not only expected, but required, if he is to retain his position. This has made him understandably frantic to do just that.As mentioned before, religiously Valais and its colony follow the druidic faith. Since rangers use druid spells, they are implicitly associated with that faith. So, class-wise, there aren't going to be any Valasian paladins or clerics, but druids and rangers will come from here. […]

  • Savage Worlds Explorer by Pinnacle Entertainment Group: Submissions Open
    by Jeff Duncan on November 7, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    Pinnacle Entertainment Group just released issue #4 of Savage Worlds Explorer, and the call for content submissions is officially open. The snippet below comes straight from the Pinnacle Entertainment Group site: (here)Note: Red text, my emphasisSavage Worlds Explorer, Pinnacle’s new, ongoing publication, was successfully launched this past weekend at the 2017 Origins Game Fair and now, we’re reaching out to you for content for future issues. If you’ve ever wanted to write official (yes, official) Savage Worlds material for Pinnacle Entertainment Group, Savage Worlds Explorer is precisely what you’ve been waiting for.Whether you’re an established RPG author or a first-timer looking to get your foot in the door, we want to hear your ideas! Here are some quick and dirty guidelines on what we’re lookin’ for:Adventures: 5,000 words. Stand-alone Savage Tales for any of Pinnacle’s Savage Settings or Companions. (For Licensee settings, please contact the company directly for permission!)Creature Features: 2,500 words. Include creature descriptions and statistics, along with ecology, legends, or other information as applicable/interesting.Character Archetypes: 2,000 words. Include any and all critical mechanics with your query.New Weapons, Vehicles, Mechs, Gear, etc.: 2,000 words. Devoted to a single item or a compendium of related goods.Something Completely Different: 2-3,000 words. Maybe it’s a useful genre rule we overlooked in Savage Worlds Deluxe, or a suite of Setting Rules to facilitate underwater or ethereal adventuring, or… something else!Savage Worlds Explorer #1Disclosure: 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.I contacted Editor-in-Chief Mathew Cutter (fitting name, for an editor) with a couple of questions and he replied the next day. Rate of Pay is between 3-5 cents per word, dependent on the freelancer's experience and the quality of the writing. The turnaround from when you pitch an article (and it's accepted), and are expected to have it written, is between 60-90 days. Issues 1-4 are currently available in PDF on the Pinnacle Entertainment Group Inc. site (here) as well as with One Book Shelf (drivethrurpg & rpgnow here, or click on the product image). As of yet, Savage Worlds Explorer, doesn't have a dead tree version. Best of luck to submitters!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. […]

  • LeDaan [Wermspittle]
    by garrisonjames on November 7, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    “We can't have any weak or silly. Life is real again, and the useless and cumbersome and mischievous have to die. They ought to die. They ought to be willing to die. It's a sort of disloyalty, after all, to live and taint the race.”The War of the WorldsH.G. WellsLeDaanNo. Enc.: 3d6 (6d6)Alignment: NeutralMovement: 120' (40')Armor Class: 6 (as Scale-Mail)Hit Dice: 1+ {May advance as any Class]Attacks: 1 (Weapon or Spell, barehanded does 1d4)Damage: As Weapon, spell or item (Wand/Rod)Save: F4 [Improves with Advancement]Morale: 9 [-4 penalty if confronted by Infernal Devices or Implacable Machines]Special: Immune to most common forms of poison or venom; Gas Masks protect against airborn toxins such as pollen, spores, gas, etc.; wear scale/lamellar armor incorporating under-layers of Gray Flannel, Whitesuit Fabric, or similar textiles that offer them protection from extreme temperatures and resistance to acids; Keenly interested in all Pre-War artifacts; Dedicated enemies of all Mucoids (+4 on Reaction Rolls) and/or members of the Purple Horde or anyone showing clear signs of being compromised/serving the Purple Clouds in any way, shape or form (+6 on Reaction Rolls).Proud, haughty, arrogant...and resplendently dressed in ornate masks and vibrantly-dyed fabrics, the LeDaan are a fiercely independent people who claim descent from Eloi and Morlock lineages alike, as well as many other forms of humanity with the exception of the Mucoids whom they despise as utterly contemptible traitors. The one other form of humanity they hate above even the deformed and grotesque starborn Mucoids are those who serve the Purple Clouds and march beneath the Banners of the Purple Hordes who are led by the so-called Desert Fathers.The LeDaan are clever people, skilled in the ways of survival within some of the most terrible Post-War wastelands; they consider the Wilderness their best defense and only venture into ruined cities or approach established enclaves or Redoubts in small groups...always under watch by multiple scouts and trackers. It is not that they are collectively paranoid, so much as the LeDaan cultures that have arisen from the ashes and wreckage of prior epochs retain a keen sense of the danger of complicity and compromise, how collaborators were far more destructive to the old civilizations than even the bombs, the death rays or the Black Smoke ever could have been.No one recalls ever seeing a LeDaan without their ornate Gas Masks securely fastened-down. Perhaps this is to forever hide their secret shame, the vivid oily-purple irises of their eyes...a lingering trace of their ancestor's former service to the Purple Clouds...“For a time I believed that mankind had been swept out of existence, and that I stood there alone, the last man left alive.”The War of the WorldsH.G. Wells […]

  • The OSR News - Revival Edition
    by James Smith on November 6, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Some Recent New ReleasesFlower Liches of the Dragonboat Festival from Kabuki Kaiser.Author - P. Crespy. Artist - Evlyn M.Available in PDF for $4.99 and in softcover for $9.90. Available in Hardcover for $19.90. Other combinations also available at the same link. 95 pages.When omens portend ill fortune for the city, the priests call upon a Dragonboat Festival: a racing competition gathering swift boatmen from all over the continent. Their ancient chants call forth the powers of the undying, waking the Flower Liches from their distant graves. For a week, the liches roam the city freely, and oversee the race, taking the losing crews as tributes and sacrifices. Once the Dragonboat Festival is finished and the liches disappear, the city's prosperity is magically replenished, and all the monetary wealth the citizenry had before the festival — player characters included — is doubled.Under Tenkar's Tavern, Levels 1-3 from ThrowiGames.Author - Thom Wilson. Artist - Je Shields.Available in PDF for PWYW. 10 pages.Once a boisterous and popular bar, Tenkar’s Tavern has recently become a place shrouded in mystery and despair. Members of the kitchen staff have disappeared and have not returned in several days. Additional hired hands have also since gone missing. An empty kitchen means unhappy customers and the barkeep Nerik is losing money! He needs outside help to solve his dilemma. Can the adventurers help find the kitchen staff or the source of the tavern’s problems?An Adventure for three to six characters of 1st or 2nd level, designed for Swords & Wizardry TM by Matthew J. Finch.10 pages, B&WFever Swamp from Melsonian Arts Council.Author - Luke Gearing. Artist - Andrew Walter.Available in Print & PDF for £12.00. Available in PDF for $7.84. 32 pages.The air is moist. The moisture mixes with your sweat — the heat is relentless. The drone of insects gives you headaches, and the fever from the infected wounds has left you delirious. Your raft is damaged, and there are spirits in the trees. You’ve only been here for three days. Fever Swamp is a hex-crawl sandbox adventure compatible with Lamentations of the Flame Princess and most other Dungeons & Dragons clones.PLEASE NOTE: this is a pre-order (expected delivery date late November) discounted to match the Kickstarter pricing. Once released the book will be priced according to material costs, which will likely be higher. Also bear in mind that and any books ordered along with this will be held back until it is ready to ship.The Dying Sword: A Labyrinth Lord Adventure from Unbalanced Dice Games.Available in PDF for $2.50. 16 pages.The Labyrinth Lord has heard the story of Delldrell. A mad man who lead his people away from the water to conquer the land people. A man who was not right for that job! Now his clumsiness has been released again. His final battle he must finish with the party's assistance. The priest will show them where he is. Delldrell is making him do it! The Dying Sword is a short mid level Labyrinth Lord adventure. A fight for a dark night and a grumpy Labyrinth Lord. Come party, come whispers Delldrell and the blade that will never finish dying. The Wasted Hack from Shattered Pike Studio.Author and Artist - Aaron Frost.Available in PDF for $5.00. 100 pages.The Wasted Hack is a “Pen and Paper” role playing game made using "The Black Hack" by David Black that uses dice and character abilities to resolve conflicts and overcome challenges in a Post-Apocalyptic world. Players assume the roles of survivors in this ruined world, with varied backgrounds and abilities at their disposal. Play as a brutal Savage, disciplined Veteran, crafty Scavenger, or baleful Infected. This 100 page book contains rules for Action Dice that fuel special abilities for each class that can be acquired as the characters level up, a wide array of mutations the characters can develop over time, weapons, armor, and gear, varying degrees of success, hirelings, character vs. character combat, waste-land beasts to oppose your players, printable monster cards, Marvelous Items including Future-Tech, Relics, Lost Marvels and Schematics, and more!Eructation Of The Goblin Troll: A Labyrinth Lord Adventure from Unbalanced Dice Games.Available in PDF for $3.50. 35 pages.Again the party is summoned by the Labyrinth Lord. In their hands is a notice from Blurf. Come to the Inn Of The Big Beer, the situation is dire. The party must hall their mid level butts there. To a dangerous place Blurf is sending them, to bring back the head of The Goblin Troll! People have stopped drinking his beer and the Goblin Troll is why. Eructation Of The Goblin Troll is a mid level adventure for Labyrinth Lord. Be prepared not only for fighting but for being damn confused! :D A nights entertainment or an eternity of being lost? Blurf is waiting. Blurf Blurf Blurf the party will find themselves saying, why only 100 GP???Wizardry Unearthed for Swords & Wizardry Continual Light from Cross Planes Game Studio.Author - Mark Craddock.Available in PDF for $1.25. Wizardry Unearthed presents Additional Classes, Races, Optional Rules for a Saving Throw inspired system for Thief Abilities, and Monsters from across the planes to add to your SWORDS & WIZARDRY CONTINUAL LIGHT Game.The Witch for Swords & Wizardry Continual Light from The Other Side Publishing.Author - Timothy S. Brannon. Artists - Marlena Mozgawa, Luigi Castellani, Larry Elmore, William McAusland, Bradley K McDevitt.Available in PDF for $1.49. 13 pages.The Witch. This is a spellcaster that blends both divine and arcane practices. Whether she is the helpful local healing woman or the evil wicked hag of legends is up to the player. Designed to be used with the Swords & Wizardry Continual Light game. This class adds three new Witch Traditions, new spells, and new magic items to the Swords & Wizardry Continual Light game. Advanced Adventures #38: White Dragon Run II from Expeditious Retreat Press.Authors - James C. Boney, Joseph Browning, Joseph A. Mohr. Artists - Peter Mullen, Jack Holliday,The Forge, Jeremy Hart, Matt Morrow, William McAusland, Rob Torno, Jason Walton.Available in Print & PDF Combo for $14.00 and in PDF for $7.00. Also available from the  Expeditious Retreat Press Lulu store. 18 pages.White Dragon Run II is an OSRIC(tm) module designed for 6-10 adventurers of levels 2-5. Return to the little village of White Dragon Run! At the edge of civilization— the place where monsters are a constant threat and adventurers thrive—reputations are made or broken, and deeds are performed only to be set in verse decades after the real story is long lost. On this thin line between country and chaos lies White Dragon Run, the last stop for the civilized before the well-trodden road becomes the weed-infested trail leading to creatures that would rather fight than herd, fish or farm. White Dragon Run II contains four new locations in the Skathernes: The Sane Hermit, The Rainbow In The Dark, the rare and unusual Ambulatory Tower, and the deadly Temple of the Snake God.If you enjoy this adventure, look for future releases in the Advanced Adventures line from Expeditious Retreat Press.Dungeon Crawl Classics #95: Enter the Dagon from Goodman Games.Author - Harley Stroh. Artist - Doug Kovacs.Available in Print for $9.99. In PDF for $6.99. Also from DTRPG in PDF for $6.99. 36 pages.A Level 5 Adventure The Isle of Dagon: to common folk, it presages death, pestilence, and woe. To warlocks, witches, and wizards, the isle offers a wealth of occult power, forbidden knowledge, and spells beyond the ken of mortal man. But before you can lay claim to the island’s secrets, first you have to survive its fabled spell duels — a series of death matches where only one caster may reign supreme.Wizards and elves will be tested to the fullest of their abilities. To triumph, parties must also survive the machinations of the other contenders and their wicked retinues. For when vying for the title of Master of Dagon, and battling against some of the most powerful sorcerers to tread the Known Worlds, you will need every advantage you can glean. Will you and your companions sit passively by, awaiting whatever fate befalls you? Or will you take the fight to your foes? And when your life — and those of your companions — hangs on the casting of a single spell, will you have the courage to accept Dagon’s challenge? The time for questioning has passed. Black-sailed ships have come to ferry you and your companions to the fabled death matches. It is time to Enter the Dagon.Threshold #17: Western Brun from The Vaults of Pandius.Editor in Chief - Francesco Defferrari (Sturm.) Artists - Giampaolo Agosta, Leandro Abrahão, Robin D., William McAusland.Available in PDF for Free. 210 pages.This issue of Threshold should be considered a starting point in a great voyage to the West of Brun, with the help of the maps and the reports sent by previous explorers. We will indeed begin by examining the maps of Brun produced over the years, and then we will look at the timeline of the great continent and at the people and creatures who inhabit it.  Special focus of this issue is on the Arm of the Immortals, with Ignacio Ramos’ maps and Atila Pires dos Santos’ original nations and culturesFrontier Explorer #22 from Frontier Explorer Magazine.Senior Editor - Tom Stephens.Available in PDF for Free. 41 pages.And welcome to the fourth and final issue in Star Frontiers’ 35th Anniversary year. This issue has a wide ranging variety of articles including new archetypes, new equipment, station construction rules, and more. This issue also introduces a new back cover comic, The Escape Plan, by our comic artist Scott Mulder. It will be fun to see where this new adventure takes us.Advanced Adventures #37: Under Ruined Onm from Expeditious Retreat Press.Author - Joseph A. Mohr. Artist -  Bradley McDevitt, Del Teigeler.Available in Print & PDF for $14.00. Available in PDF for $7.00. Also available from the  Expeditious Retreat Press Lulu store. 16 pages.Under Ruined Onm is an OSRIC(tm) module designed for 6-10 adventurers of levels 5-7. Nearly seventy five years ago the greatest bard ever known in the dry land of Zanzia disappeared. Anton Deangelo was a hero famous for some of the greatest songs in Zanzian history. In verse, countless dragons he slew, dozens of giants he felled, and hundreds of demons he put to the sword! Outside of the world of song, he and his band of adventurers gathered significant riches and looted many dungeons all over the land. Then suddenly…he was gone. The last time he was heard from he and his merry band were outfitting an expedition to explore the ruined city of Onm in search of the lost Mandolin of Duaree the Mad.The Onm ruins are on the edge of the Blood River and the Dragon Teeth Mountains and no other ruins fabled enough to attract Deangelo are known to be in that area.If you enjoy this adventure, look for future releases in the Advanced Adventures line from Expeditious Retreat Press.Garden of Evil from Dragonsfoot.Author - Joseph A. Mohr. Artists - See File.Available in PDF for Free. 30 pages.The Great Druid of Zanzia has summoned adventurers to the standing stones near the city of Barrowmar. He is very concerned about one of his initiates who has disappeared in the Dark Forest north east of the city. The initiate has lived there for some time but has not been heard from for weeks. Strange reports have been coming in about bizarre creatures and plants in the forest. Multi-headed creatures and plants that walk, talk and move have been reported. Something dire has happened in the forest and the Great Druid wants the adventurers to investigate these strange reports. An adventure for characters of 7th to 9th Level.Some Re-Releases and Second EditionsAstonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea (Second Edition) from North Wind Adventures.Author - Jeffrey Talanian (author), David Prata (editor.) Artists - Ian Baggley, Daisey Bingham, Johnathan Bingham, Charles Lang, Peter Mullen, Russ Nicholson, Glynn Seal, Val Semeiks, Jason Sholtis, Logan Talanian, Del Teigeler.Available in Print for $69.99 and in PDF for $19.00. 622 pages.ASTONISHING SWORDSMEN & SORCERERS of HYPERBOREA™ is sword-and-sorcery role-playing at its pinnacle. Play an Amazon fighter, Atlantean magician, Esquimaux shaman, Hyperborean warlock, Ixian necromancer, Keltic barbarian, Kimmerian cataphract, Pictish thief, Viking berserker, or one of many other possibilities. The heroes of a HYPERBOREA campaign delve the mazes and labyrinths of vast dungeons filled with horrifying monsters, lethal traps, and bewildering puzzles. They explore savage frontiers, breach hostile borderlands, probe ancient ruins, and investigate cursed tombs. They plunder for treasure and magic in a decaying world inhabited by bloodthirsty beasts and weird, otherworldly beings.Now in its second edition, AS&SH™ has been expanded to include new classes, new spells, new monsters, new magic items, and more! It also includes a new, full colour map, an introductory town and adventure, as well as hundreds of new illustrations! This new edition is backwards-compatible with the original edition of the game.Explore endless challenges and infinite realms of imagination with this complete sword-and-sorcery role-playing game!  Space Age Sorcery Version 1.5 from Hereticwerks.Authors - Garrisonjames, Eric Fabiaschi. Artists - Garrisonjames.Available in PDF for Free. 28 pages.Space Age Sorcery (1.5) was first made available from the Hereticwerks blog in 2013, now the free pdf lives again here at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow. We hope you enjoy it. The Revised & Expanded Version of Space Age Sorcery (v. 2.0) will be coming soon in both hardcover and softcover formats.Misc. NewsThe Bundle of Holding Old School Revival +5 still has 14 days to go.Rafael Chandler has some cool generators up for your perusal.The prophet Konsumterra of the Elfmaids & Octopi blog continues to put out weird and wonderful random tables.Papers & Pencils brings you Blogs on Tape.Mighty Thor JRS - Fantasy Book News & Reviews.And a Character Sheet for Death is the New Pink.A few Product ReviewsMelan of Beyond Fomalhaut reviews Under Tenkar's Tavern.Bryce of Ten Foot Pole reviews Under Ruined Onm.And a MapA pretty cool interactive map of Sigil. About The OSR NewsUnless otherwise noted, all links to products and files are to the individual authors sites, pertinent posts, or sales pages. I don’t link directly to files, unless that is the only link available.  I have received no remuneration from any publisher, for reporting on their releases, nor is such a requirement for a product to be included in these posts. At times, an author or publisher may send me a complimentary copy of an item, for purposes of review. This is not a requirement for a product's inclusion in these posts. Some of the links to products are affiliate links and do provide compensation from the pertinent site.Please feel free to send me information on any new releases, events, or other items of interest, which you would like to see mentioned. […]

  • Red Hordelings [White Star / Space Age Sorcery]
    by garrisonjames on November 6, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Red HordelingARMOR CLASS5 [14]HIT DICE3 [May Advance as Brutes, Fighters, Rangers or Assassins]TOTAL HIT BONUS+3ATTACKS2 Nano-Obsidian Blades (2d4+2, each)*SAVING THROW16SPECIALBoneless, Hyper-Dexterity, Expand/Contract, BloodhealMovement8HDE/XP4/175* Nano-Obsidian Blades ignore most common forms of shielding and inflict double damage on a natural roll of 19 or 20 when striking Machine-based or Cybernetically-enhanced foes. Should a non-Hordeling attempt to wield one of these nasty weapons, there is a10% chance ofthe weapon exploding into a swirling cloud of nanoscale obsidian flakes causing 6d6 damage within a 20' radius...and this chance increases by another 10% every time the weapon is used in combat. All non-Hordelings also suffer a -1 penalty on To Hit rolls using these things as they are arranged for the uniquely boneless grip of a Hordeling.Boneless: Hordelings are invertebrates with a distributed cartiliginous mesh for a pseudo-skeleton so any melee attacks against them ignore any damage results on a roll of 1.Hyper-Dexterity: Hordelings can attack in any direction with either hand at no penalty.Expand/Contract: Anything within 10' is considered within melee reach/range.Bloodheal: If a Hordeling remains completely stationary for fifteen minutes while bathed/soaking in an opponents blood they can regain 1d6 hit points.The infamous Red Horde of Trilaxa III are vicious, blood-thirsty invertebrates from a hot, volcanic hellworld who mock all humanoids as clumsy weaklings, especially anyone wielding a ranged weapon. These boneless barbarians can be found in the service to all manner of planetary dictators, interstellar tyrants, crimelords or whomever else desires a private army of ruthless melee-fighters who never question an order and always fight to the very end against any odds as a matter of collective honor. The Red Horde are ancient rivals to the Jarpha and is is suspected by more than a few academics that the Mistresses of the Horde may in fact have been involved, if not outright responsible for the slow decline of the Jarpha's cognitive processes by way of some very specifically tailored and targeted infectious wetware. Spellcasters who have attained the Secret of the Scarlet Obelisk gain the means to summon forth a detachment of Red Hordelings in place of the usual creatures they might call forth...unfortunately there is little information provided in the commonly available sources concerning how one might best negotiate a contract with these entities one summoned. […]

  • Weird Revisted: The Tintype of Dark Wonder
    by Trey on November 6, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    The original version of this post appeared on November 2, 2010. This version has been lightly modified for 5e usage: The Tintype of Dark Wonder is a magical artifact, often discovered at a carnival photography booth or in the possession of a street photographer. The photographer will not have taken the picture himself, nor will he know how it has come to be among his wares. It’s usually sold cheaply. The small cult who follows the picture's movements, and chronicles them in iterations of the mimeographed or photostatted tract known as The Menagerie Grotesque, holds that it has its origins in drowned Meropis. No serious scholars view the cult as anything more than a collection of crackpots, so this, like all their other claims, are doubted. What is not in doubt, however, is that the item gives the possessor control over three magical entities, but at a price.The possessor may summon the three, frankly ludicrous, animal caricatures pictured by simply holding the tintype, looking at the desired creature, and willing said creature to act in accordance with his will. When a creature is summoned it disappears from the picture, returning only when its task is complete. The creatures will act in the following manner:The gluttonous frog: When called the frog will follow any individual the possessor wills. It will be invisible to all with magically aided vision but the possessor. The victim will find themselves with a growing appetite for food, sex, and other pleasures. Over time, these appetites will grow increasingly bizarre. The victim will gain weight, whether eating excessively or not. Over a period of 2-12 months they will become immensely fat and virtually immobile, and entirely depraved. A saving throw will allow the victim to intuit that they are under a curse. Remove curse will chase the frog away.The lanky hound: When called, the hound begins harrying a victim. It will only be visible to the victim, the photo’s possessor, and those with magical sight. The hound will always stay far enough away from the victim so that it is a vague shape in the distance, or perhaps a distorted figure in the fog, glimpsed by peripheral vision. The hound's presence will cause the victim increasing feelings of dread and paranoia. Within a week, they will be suffering the effects of poor sleep. Within two, they will be unable to perform in any critical situations and be essentially homebound by fear--only being able to leave with a successful Wisdom save at disadvantage. The victim seeking out the hound and chasing it, will drive it away for a time, but it will return in 1d4 days. Only remove curse or the like will drive it away permanently.The twisted eel: The twisted eel causes the degeneration of the body of the victim, by progressive nerve death, and crippling arthritis. The victim will feel the eel's cold-blooded presence but only the possessor and the magically sighted see it. After a 1-6 days of the eel’s influence, pain will cause a -1 [disadvantage] to all roles involving physical aptitude. After 2d4 weeks, dexterity and strength will begin to be reduced at a rate of 1 point a week. Healing magic will stave off loss for that week, but not halt the degeneration. When strength and dexterity are reduced to zero, constitution begins to decline at a rate of one point a day. Once again, remove curse or the like will drive away the eel.  If the eel is driven off before a score reaches zero, it will fully heal with time.Death of the one who summoned the creature will also end its attack. If a remove curse drives the creature from its intended target, it will attempt to attack the possessor instead, unless a successful saving throw is made. Each possessor may only summon each creature once, after that the picture seems to be just a picture....except for the untoward attention it brings to the possessor from extraplanar entities, and sorcerous collectors eager to add the tintype to their collections. […]

  • d100 Pilgrimages of Atonement
    by Konsumterra on November 6, 2017 at 10:19 am

    So paladins and clerics and others occasionally offend the gods and need to prove to their gods they are not jerks. These are some quests to patch up your gods unconditional love.Also good for npc characters. to make up for some failure. Most gods and beings will temporarily remove your powers after at least one warning, three at most. An offer of atonement comes only after they have demonstrated sincerity and will allow a Oath spell to be cast on them.Accepting a new tabu or oath according to alignment might be a common form of atonement also. Actually makes followers more extreme to compensate for past failure.Characters who are priests, clerics, paladins, champions even monks might require a sacrifice of action to restore their gods faith and holy powers. Do not ask if you have faith in god. Ask if god has faith in you. Repented characters are expected to be more zealous and right acting as example to others. Some order penitents wear hair shirts or practice self flagellation to atone for petty sins and desires. Periods of prayer and silent contemplation alone might work too.If players have come into conflict with a god or their religion they might try this procedure to bring peace and ask forgiveness. Some might be tough to comply.d10 Things to anger god1 Committed  mortal sin (or broke alignment code)2 Lost a holy relic3 Failed to defend temple or holy person4 Forbidden love5 Fled from enemies in a crisis6 Deceived by enemies7 Killed wrong person by mistake8 Made ritually impure by contact with opposite force9 Failed mission resaulting in great tradgedy10 Released great evil into the worldd10 Things to appease for offences to God1 Prayer and contemplation in silence alone 3d6 months2 Pilgrimage to holy places d6 holy locations and relics to visit3 Temple service one year living in temple barracks4 Take on a new oath of conduct dedicated to your alignment5 Sacrifice 90% wealth to the church or to poorest of faith5 Daily ritual such as flagellation, tattooing, blood letting, or sacrifice required6 One year living as a hermit in the wilderness or wastelands7 Mission to preach faith and serveof church with good public works 3d6 months8 Crusade go join in a war approved by church anf fight for god 3d6 months9 Work on church lands as labourer or mill worker or farmer for d4 years10 Take on a pilgrimage of atonementA priest might take on your case and advise on options or if heroic might use magic to divine what god wants with magic to advise the penitent. Penitents or atonement might wear a badge or mark indicating to the faithful this person is on a moral quest.A god might meddle in such a quest and make things harder sending temptations, perils and worse. An enemy cult might also make life harder.A god might be impressed you have suffered and atoned and let you off. They might even send a message or appear to the atoned in a dream. A god might reward a hero as a welcome back to the fold. Perhaps a gift of a intelligent magic item that can advise them better. Perhaps a guardian Spirit. Doing some of these tasks for your god as a sacrifice might earn you merit in heaven or a real gift or attention from your big (not imaginary) friend in the sky. Some of these you must continue forever but at some point the god restores your abilities but expects you to continue the task even if it is endless. They will tell you when to stop atoning but might restore powers at a climactic moment to help you achive quest.d10 Divine Gifts for those that went above and beyond holy mission1 God lets you witness them in true glory +1 WIS2 Church earmarks you for possible sainthood3 Gifted with holy text d6 1=prayer 2=philosophy 3=legal 4=mythology 5=technical 6=hymm4 Chest with d6 holy scrolls and potions5 Mark of heavens mandate a brand recognised by the faithful, on body or holy symbol6 Position in church hierarchy. Lots of committees, legal matters, courts, councils and reports to write. Well provided for but take all your money, usually attached to a famous temple and given a title and mix with nobility7 Watched by a divine guardian familiar spirit in secret (tries its best)  8 Holy beast d6 1=mount 2=familiar 3=farm 4=guard 5=hunter 6=messenger9 Holy place requires defence and worship often added to heroes title10 Intelligent Magic Item offers advice from heaven d6 1=holy symbol 2=tool 3=weapon 4=jewelry 5=clothing 6=book with at least one other functiond100 Pilgrimages of Atonement01 Find a long lost artifact02 Kill a evil witch in her lair03 Destroy a secret enemy cult04 Liberate an oppressed kingdom05 Slay a enemy champion06 Wage war agains a foriegn power07 Conquer a kingdom in name of god08 Destroy rival cult great temple09 Wage war on Hell till god satisfied10 Drive a demon lord from the earth11 Found a new temple in hostile land12 Establish new worshipers in new land13 Serve a noble in defence of the faith14 Marry and serve leader of the faith15 Steal relic from a foriegn land16 Slay a great beast menacing the faithful17 Destroy city of rival faith18 Destroy relic of rival faith19 Bring faith to a newly discovered land20 Carry a relic to a far off land21 Defend a agent of the faith against assasins22 Capture agent of hell and convert them23 Slay a minority of unbelievers in your land24 Kidnap a love interest of god25 Lay waste to worshippers of enemy god26 Exterminate species of creature sacred to rival faith27 Kill everything in a dungeon and destroy it28 Hunt all the bandits on the kingdoms roads29 Uncover cult corruption in the kingdom court30 Seal a planar portal d4 1=demonic 2=diabolic 3=elemental 4=underworld31 Recover a lost hero trapped or slubering for an age32 Rescue a saint from captivity and help their mission33 Build a shrine a month 34 Build a temple each year35 Never cease war against forbidden cults36 Challenge every evil high priest to battle37 Raise a army to wage war on evil38 Raise village mob and destroy a place of evil39 Protect a supernatural being from evil40 Protect a breed of holy beast for the breeding season season41 Build a shrine in a far away land for the first time42 Send aid and missions to a great disaster or the frontier43 Convert a shanty town of murder hobos to join your sect44 Munish a race of beastmen menacing a community of faithful45 Cleanse the undead from a former holy place or burial place46 Cleanse the were beast from a wilderness area47 Exterminate all the doppelgangers in a city 48 Exterminate every vampire in the kingdom49 Challenge every priest of another religion you meet to a fight50 Build a cathedral every ten years51 Establish a monastary in the wilderness52 Live as a holy hermit when not adventuring53 Convert a king to your faith54 Destroy copies of a book criticising your god55 Kill artists or bards who slander your god56 Establish a fortified temple in enemy territory57 Establish and lead a religious order with a specific mission58 Travel alone to the wasteland to convert the wild heathens59 Exterminate a heresy god dislikes, some might be saved if the recant 60 Rescue and raise a sacred child to be a hero of the faith61 Care for all widows and orphans you meet62 Heal and give alms to the poor63 Establish a poor hospital in a busy place and maintain it64 Establish a orphanage and school65 Establish a poor house every year66 Help victims of a plague and live among the sufferers till over67 Have clergy cover body in religious tattoo art68 Hide your face in shame forever69 Change your name and title to a more religious and zealous one70 Always help apprehend evil doers on the kings road71 Have as many children as possible raised in standards of the faith72 Abstain from d4 1=sex 2=killing 3=money 4=settling one place73 Must report to every temple in district you enter and ask priest if they need help74 Your god insist you flagellate yourself every day75 You are taken to heaven seemingly briefly to reorientate yourself to the true faith76 You must establish a great burial ground and transfer remains there from old site77 You must comision beautiful artwork by great artists till god satisfied78 You must give away all wealth to the poor and live among them79 You must give all wealth to church who will support you at a basic level80 Guard a holy place from minions of evil or provide for such81 Recover a lost holy text and have church leaders adopt it as new dogma82 Preach a message from god at every oportunity to as many people as possible83 Carry exiting new gospel that will meet resistance from the established church 84 Exhort everyone to give more money and charity to the church at every opportunity85 Join a particular order and serve them for life86 Transport scriptures to temple in far off land and help spread the faith87 Slay a fantastic behemoth that has menaced humankind for aeons88 Collect materials from dangerous place far away to help build new cathedral89 Gather priests and acolytes and sail to a undiscovered land to preach the faithful90 Stamp out horrible religion of d4 1=city 2=nation 3=natives of a colony 4=foreign land91 Build a fantastic monument that will carry gods fame through the ages92 Build a mission far away to help spread faith on major trading point or route93 Exterminate a race of heathen humanoids menacing the common folk94 Punish a king for defiance to your god95 Burn down a library or reliquary or cathedral of a rival religion96 Publicly torture and kill cultists you catch as message to all from god 97 Swear to serve a hierophant or king in the name of your faith98 Free a imprisoned supernatural being and ally of your faith99 Rescue an bound supernatural being and force it to adopt true religion to be freed 100 Dismember a saint into many pieces and distribute across the world to churches […]

  • November Campaign Design III - The Religion Question
    by Joseph Bloch on November 5, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    As mentioned in the previous post in this series, here's the trimmed-down map that only focuses on the northern, settled, parts of the continent (which I've christened "Lost Artanis"):The map has a scale of 10 miles per hex. The eastern areas definitely need some more detailing, and I might throw another large lake in there to break up the landmass and give things an interesting contour.I also realized I need names for the home countries of these colonies. New Valais is obvious, of course, with its people coming from Valais, and being beholden to the king of that nation. Aedgaria is a colony of the kingdom of Wynnland, a rather conventional, bucolic place; while Lippegen is a colony of the Dual Kingdom of Grott-Heimburg, with its two kings who swap out the duties of royalty as the seasons turn, with one being the Winter King and the other the Summer King.Regarding the question of religion, I've already decided I want Aedgaria to be a traditional cleric-based religion, and Valais will be drudical in nature. That still leaves the question of what to do with Lippegen. I could go with something completely new, or I could go with another clerical land, but with a different spin than Aedgaria. Since I already have one country that is completely different (Valais), I'm going to go with the option I think lends itself to the most dramatic possibilities, and say that Lippegen and Aedgaria share a religion, but that they are in schism, and thus each regards the other as heretical.This religious tension can flare up and be tamped down from time to time, with hostility increasing or decreasing as events unfold. It gives me another arrow in my quiver for making plot-advancing events come to life.  So what's the deal with this religion in crisis?The Church of the Holy Kin is based on the worship of the Holy Family, a trio of gods that is said to have created the world and who are related to one another. There are no evil deities, but demons, devils, daemons, and etc. take that role. The Holy Family consists of:Adar - Sky father, appears as a powerfully-built human male with the head of a lion. Neutral good. Greater god. God of the sky and weather, storms and the rain that quickens the fields. He is prayed to in most circumstances, especially for fair winds, gentle rains, and good weather. He is also god of craftsmen. A primordial being with no father or mother.Amara - Earth Mother, appears as a beautiful woman with the head of a falcon. Chaotic good. Greater goddess. Goddess of the earth, plants, animals, and agriculture. She is prayed to for bountiful crops and game, and also in childbirth and healing in general. A primordial being with no father or mother.Kest - The Joyous Warrior, appears as a prototypical knight in shining armor, with great eagle wings, or a beautiful young girl, scantily clad, with butterfly wings. Lawful good. Lesser god. God of war, victory, chivalry, and knighthood as well as sex, lust, food, drink, and pleasures of the flesh. S/he is prayed to for victory in battle. Child of Adar and Amara.Temples of the Church are dedicated to all three members of the Holy Family, as are clerics. The idea of a cleric dedicated to a single member of the Family is unknown. Clerics wear blue and white, and are as described in the Players Handbook. The religion is a moralistic one, embracing the tenets of Good, imported from a now-destroyed city-state of great splendor in the distant past.  There are, however, specialty clerics that arise in different places and cities, emphasizing particular aspects of life that are of particular interest to their faithful. Naturally, Lippegen and Aedgaria have their own, and some from Hanar (the home continent off to the west across the Stormsea) will have come themselves as settlers. No specialty clerics trained in Artanis will be anything other than Lippegen or Aegarian Order. Here are a few such orders of specialty clerics that could be found:Lippegen Order specialty clerics: AL LG, LN, NG; RA blue and white tunic and leggings with green and yellow trim; WPN longsword*, dagger, spear; SPL tracking as a ranger 2 levels lower; ADD burning hands, locate plants, slow poison, stoneskin, transmute rock to mud. The Lippegen Order evolved to be more aggressive and warlike, while at the same time gaining skills that are helpful in a new environment.Aedgarian Order specialty clerics: AL LG, NG, CG; RA blue and white tunic and leggings with red and white trim; WPN flail, battle axe, horseman's pick; SPL re-roll all 1's when curing wounds; ADD animal friendship, charm person or mammal, plant growth, animal summoning I, animal summoning II, commune with nature, anti-animal shell. Such clerics are well-suited to the rigors of life on an untamed continent. It is possible that a North Aedgarian and South Aedgarian order will emerge at some point, but it has not occurred yet.Lordain specialty clerics: AL any good; RA blue and white tunic with silver and blue trim; WPN dagger, knife, cutlass*; SPL predict weather 1/day at 1st level, gust of wind 2/day at 5th level, control weather 1/day at 14th level; ADD feather fall, fog cloud, call lightning, control winds. Lordain is one of the great seaports of Wynnland, and their clerics are used to serving aboard and helping ships and those that travel by water.Kreff specialty clerics: AL any good, RA blue and white tunic with gold and red trim; WPN longsword, lance*, horseman's flail; SPL +1 to hit when mounted, immune to fear at 3rd level; ADD flaming sphere, fireball, protection from evil 10' radius, wall of thorns. Kreff is a barony in Heimburg that has seen generations of warfare in the struggle between the Orthodox and Reformed churches. Their clerics serve on the front lines, encouraging paladins and their troops to greater deeds of action. They follow the Orthodox church, but a single decisive victory by the Reformed church forces would render them all but extinct.The nature of the schism within the Church is, on the surface, one of theological minutiae. The Orthodox church, to which Grott-Heimburg (and thus Lippegen) holds allegiance, believes that Kest can only be male or female at any given time, thus constantly shifting the balance of gender within the Holy Family. The Reformed church, to which Wynnland (and thus Aedgaria) is pledged, holds that Kest is at all times inherently both male and female, and thus there is always equality of gender within the Holy Family. There are other, minor, issues as well.But that is on the surface. The real root of the schism is political and economic. The Orthodox church is centralized, with a single Great High Priest who rules as priest-king over his own realm in Hanar and who has spiritual authority over the church organization in the various kingdoms that uphold it. The Reformed church, on the other hand, is very locally centered, with the highest level of authority at the level of an individual temple or shrine, or at most a town with three or four temples. […]

  • The Horn of the Edge of Time
    by James Smith on November 5, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    This large black horn is made of a dense wood of unknown origin and encircled with thick gold bands engraved with Dwarven runes.Only a Fighter (or B/X style Dwarf, Elf, etc.) may use the Horn and usually has only one opportunity to do so. A Fighter who raises the Horn with the intent to use it, will immediately know why this is so and may choose not to follow through with their decision.Upon sounding, the Horn will summon a number of Warriors from the Edge of Time, as follows:If the user's level is 1-5, then the Horn will summon 1d4 5th lvl Fighters for every three foes present, to a maximum of 3d4.If the user's level is 6-8 then the Horn will summon 1d4 5th lvl Fighters for every three foes present, to a maximum of 6d4.If the user is 9th level or higher, then as above, except the maximum number summoned is 15d4, unless the number of foes exceed 25,000 and there are a significant number of outer planar powers present on the battlefield, such that the battle might be considered of apocalyptic import. In which case, the full compliment of Warriors will be summoned to the battle field and their exact number is left to the Referee to determine.In the aftermath of any of the above cases, if all of the warriors are slain by foes or accidental friendly fire, then the user may retain the Horn and activate it again at a later date, assuming he survives.Otherwise, if the user and at least one of the Warriors are still standing, then the user is instantly slain and must accompany the surviving Warriors to the Edge of Time and join their number. The Horn will then teleport to a random location in the multiverse, unless seized by a Dwarf who was an ally of the previous user, within 1d2 rounds. […]

  • Weekend Movies
    by Trey on November 5, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    A saw a couple of movies this weekend, and I both of them made me think of gaming in one way or another:Everyone will tell you Thor: Ragnarok is the most fun of the Thor installments, and I can say it is the best of that lackluster franchise, but its pleasant in the moment farce doesn't entirely makeup for it's threadbare story, and lack of any dramatic core. What Thor: Ragnarok sort of reminded me of, though, is the conception of an rpg session versus its reality. Thor is the PC trying to cool and dramatic but fumbling. Surtur is the GM trying to present a heroic drama tone, but can't do it due to player interruptions. Goldblum's Grandmaster is the GM darling NPC who the GM finds more amusing than any of the players. In the end, the adventure doesn't come together in the way any of the participants were individually guiding it, but it's still a fun romp.Free Fire by Ben Wheatley is kind of a more humorous Reservoir Dogs, if the shootout between the criminals near the end of Reservoir Dogs had been two-thirds of the movie. Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, and other character actors are party to a gun deal gone bad for random reasons who wear each other down bullet by bullet, blow by blow. You wouldn't necessarily think a film that spends most of its length following wounded gangsters crawling around the dirt floor of an abandoned factory would be interesting, but it will surprise you. What this one reminded me of was a Boot Hill session. It's all down to the gunfight, injury and the maneuvering for cover and placement. In fact, a little reskinning and you could run a cool modern Boot Hill session with this premise. […]

  • d100 Loners in the Wasteland
    by Konsumterra on November 5, 2017 at 11:11 am

    These are for people living alone often on fringes of settlement or even in the wilderness or frontier. Good to occupy a shack or cave or old house in the middle of nowhere. Could be a house just outside town, a quiet street or a wasteland cave.d10 Reasons to be alone1 Hates people d4 1=wronged 2=odd 3=tragedy 4=lost everything2 Seeks quiet contemplation d4 1=philosophy 2=meditation 3=art 4=prayer3 Exile  d4 1=banished 2=last of kind 3=former convict 4=kin murdered4 Wanted criminal d4 1=cannibal 2=bandit 3=traitor 4=taboo lifestyle5 Atoning for sin d4 1=failure 2=blasphemy 3=let down others 4=dishonour6 Stranded here by loved ones - others died or moved on7 Insane d4 1=eccentric 2=paranoid 3=delusional 4=serial killer8 They belong to a esoteric cult - mostly evil9 They are practicing magic in secret d4 1=wizard 2=witch 3=druid 4=priest10 They are a monster in disguise - some kind of shape shifter or spiritd100 Loners01 Grizzled old hunter uncomfortable with humans who might help starngers02 Cat lady with her horde of cats 03 Several old ladies who knit mostly04 A old couple who outlived children05 Lone old woman who people acused of witchcraft06 Herbalist who trades exotic medecine07 Old wizard who used to have aprentice servants who died08 Old ex paladin bitter about failure and the past09 A monk avoiding civilization and hoping church forgets him10 Preacher driven away for heresy by church for ideas11 Old man living out here and mostly high on mushrooms and herbs12 Old crippled old murder hobo angry at life and failure13 former sailor with stories of his travels and enjoys story telling14 Old lady midwife and healer driven away from home by zelouts15 Fanatic priest suffering for faith, under vow of silence16 Lone teen goat herder who's family all died17 A former village idiot who's village got a bigger idiot and drove him away18 Gladiator on the run for years from contracts19 Mercenary who fled battle and reputation ruined by guild20 Crazy old man been alone since child, unkempt and barley can speak21 Thief from city driven from his guild and sure assassins after him22 lone bard inspired by isolation23 Old woman with crystal ball, star charts and cards who will tell fortunes24 Healer who was lone survivor of plague in settlement25 Diseased old man who people fear for his appearance26 Hideous mutant driven from home27 Ranger keeping eye out for trouble to report by messenger bird28 Druid priest last of sect wiped out29 Old witch who makes potions and candles30 Old alchemist on life's project, running out of ingredients31 Old drug addict with pile of drugs and food32 old alcoholic mostly busy brewing or stinking drunk33 Scholar out here to observe nature while writing a book34 Hallucinating madman writing demonic text invisible beings dictate to him35 Mad holy man writing prayers and maxims with his animal friends36 Cannibal serial killer with collection of human remains37 Artisan has carved amazing things from ivory and wood38 Trapper collects animal furs to trade, mad from isolation39 Prospector who finds occasional gold or silver nugget40 Bandit on run from law and in hiding41 Woodcutter who finds exotic trees required by church and wizards42 Attractive otherworldly beauty with part elf blood, sick of attention43 Older woman sick of abusive life avoiding people44 Young attractive person with a secret supernatural lover45 Murder hobo searching area for a dungeon from a crude map46 Witch who offers drugged honey cakes and beers to travellers47 Three old witches will tell terrible future or curse people48 Wizard sold his soul to demons out here to avoid temptation49 Old holy person. every night demons taunt them50 Old starving man menaced by harpies who steal and pollute his food51 Youth in love with supernatural abusive lover who traets them as a slave52 Shaman whose people long ago adopted another faith53 Woman in hiding with strange powers, sick of the voices in her head in city54 Strange witch child seems innocent and abandoned but ancient horror55 Several children whos parents eaten by bears stranded out here56 Old man friends with some faerie or demihumans57 Old woman living with hedge troll lover58 Old bitter dwarf exile and limps, hates everyone but animals59 Elf cast from faerie land for fraternising with humans, kindly and serene60 Loner Gnome will show now monster haunted former burrow village of his youth61 Halfling who is sick of freeloaders and family, alone to avoid sharing food62 Old half orc ashamed and mistreated by orc and human kin63 Old person was elfland slave for hundreds of years, speaks old dialect64 Old woman with her goblins she raised from babies65 Young man abused by family sick of people and mistrustful66 Scarred old man was flogged and imprisoned now distrusts people67 Ghastly but kind old woman accused of witchcraft will help any who are kind to her68 Young woman waited upon by forest animal friends who protect her69 Old man who lives near dryad lover jelous of younger men in area70 Old man with pet bear and wolf and eagle who helps anyone in trouble71 Old miner and his mule making maps of dungeon entrances and ruins in area72 Former spy very wise in affairs of old court but in hiding from assasins73 Secret Police agent sent to this terrible observation point as punishment 74 Old naked man friendly and preaches his free love lifestyle75 Old charletan driven away from frontier for ripping off everyone76 Old mute man friendly but rope scar on neck77 Escaped slave with manacle scars and slave tattoo78 Man covered in tattoos of chaos, claims to be misguided youth on the run from cult79 Old beekeeper who manages hives all over region80 Woman who lives with wolves, was raised by wolf spirit after lost in woods81 Old man in hiding as strange fishy scales developing on body 82 Was a beastman but surgically operated on by wizard now feels alienated83 Druid priestess with magic scrying pool who is visited for her wisdom84 Woman with tatoos and beard, doesnt need people, quite happy alone85 Old wizard perfecting formula of making magic item or new spell86 Sorcerer drug addict driven away for vice and corrupting youth87 Old man trades with non humans normally shy of humans88 Former mutant carnival freak sick of people staring at them89 Crazed old magician brain melted by magical studies and blasphemy90 Heretic old priest secretly now serves evil cult after reading forbidden books91 Old person actually a youth cursed and curse can be broken by strangers92 Former assasin tired of human causes and killing93 Former adventurer was tortured by monsters and recovering from trauma94 Exile wrongfully accused by villain, dreams of justice95 Girls who fled wicked step father and has lived alone several years96 Child who's parents died helped by faerie folk and trolls97 Desperate lycanthrope, tries to avoid people and lusts to eat them98 Old person actually local spirit protector of region in human form99 Strange person actually shape shifting spirit folk100 Old woman really a ogre magi&nbs […]

  • d100 Mystery Dungeon Levers
    by Konsumterra on November 4, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    When that dungeon gets boring put in a few of these. Some players will pull every lever some will never touch one. Some trick you into pulling them. Some are for monster defence. Some are made by mad wizards to be jerks.I'm going through my list of backlog easy ideas for a bit while dealing with bullshit in my life.Have a few bigger projects to work on too like A-Z cities and a new type of encounter area type - the warzone. Tables for when your region is invaded. Separate hazards and scenes and encounters for different war zones - human, humanoid, dragon, chaos etc. Sewer hell 2 and Xor spells too.Some only work one or a few times. Some might be hidden, or the lever might be separate to mechanism..Of course you could have these effects in buttons, switches or something instead. Finding lots of mechanisms with different handles might be fun.d10 Lever Appearance1 Rusty iron lever2 Valuable metal with gem knob on end3 Skeletal leg or arm4 Crude wooden and splintered 5 Brass with ornamental engravings6 Black wood with silver runes7 Ivory with carvings8 Greasy metal lever9 Spiked mace head10 Skull topped bone rodd100  Mystery Dungeon Levers01 Passageway roof collapses02 Pit in floor opens to dark depths03 Staircase revealed04 Pit with ladder opens to another level05 Opens panel and releases angry and hungry monster06 Rings alarm bell attracting monsters 07 Starts water flooding in area08 Shuts and locks doors in area09 Opens oubliette cell with skeleton on floor10 Opens a hidden panel with treasure chest11 Murderholes in ceiling open and snakes drop through12 Rearranges dungeon floorplan13 Seals main dungeon entrance14 Opens panel and activates a fountain 15 Awakens something in depths that heads for this room16 Seals room with portcullis gates17 Opens a crypt with multiple sarcophigi18 Opens a small vent with visible light from surface19 Illuminates area of dungeon with magical light20 Rains d2000cp from hole in roof21 Opens secret panel with rack of magic armour22 Opens secret panel with weapon rack and at least one magic weapon23 Opens several doors to secret level across dungeon24 Opens secret door to wizard lab with several potions on bench25 Opens secret panel revealing a magic mirror26 Plunges area into magic darkness for one hour27 Fires a balistia bolt at operator 2d8 if fail save28 Opens secret room with treasure chest and human bones29 Opens pit of acid that divides room30 Releases sleep gas into area, lasts one hour if fail save31 Opens secret room with healing shrine32 A stone table rises from floor with heroic feast laid out33 Opens panel in wall with magic dungeon pie (d6 uses)34 Opens chamber with magical fungus and d6 goblin corpses 35 Magic circle on floor alights summons elemental servant appears to obey for a hour36 Magic circle on floor alights summons a imp appears to obey for a hour37 Opens shaft in ceiling to upper level but with huge spiders and webs inside38 Opens monster supply room with food, costumes, healing potion and fake blood39 Opens room with talking skull answer d4 dungeon questions a day40 Fires croosbow bolts down main entry coridoor41 Opens door to magical gateway or teleporter pad42 Reveals map on wall with glowing line art43 Opens secret flooded pit and begins to pump out water44 Opens panel with wand inside but is trapped with magic45 Opens vent releasing stirge nest with remains of dead adventurers46 Magic circle on floor alights and summons a succubi who offers sex47 Summons a monstrous giant devil face who's mouth is a gate to hell48 Opens a spy hole letting you observe another area unseen49 Opens a speaking tube lets you speak with other room in dungeon50 Opens a panel with gargoyle or animated statue inside 51 Opens vent releasing panicked bats but can be used to escape dungeon by crawling52 Water pours in through roof and room doors shut and are locked53 Rotates dungeon room confuses mapping possibly accessing new areas54 Floor opens into slide that deposits on lower level55 Opens secret door with elevator possibly with a attendant to other levels56 Opens secret door with elevator possibly with a attendant but only goes to hell  57 Operator struck by ray save or die, if lives now immortal (d4 charges left)58 Sends the whole room backwards or forwards in time (d3 uses)59 Fills dungeon level with fog for d6 hours60 Opens a pit with volcanic steam vent warming the area, some treasure visible below61 Releases brownie bound in hidden panel who offers to help new friends62 Releases automatons from secret door that repair dungeon and reset traps63 Opens secret chamber to magical machine from lost age64 Opens to secret chamber with ancient machinery from aeons lost65 Opens hidden tomb with greater undead imprisoned in tomb for aeons66 Opens hidden chamber with angel nailed to walls will be grateful if helped to escape67 Opens sealed room with dead adventurers with packs of rope, spikes and other supplies68 Opens sealed pit with shoggoth gibbering insanely trapped in depths69 Opens panel with hidden crumbling books and scrolls possibly including maps70 Opens hidden room with dead kobolds, bricks, mortar and building supplies71 Opens hidden room with long dead architect and partial dungeon map on workbench72 Opens hidden door out comes grinning goblin with birthday cake on pushcart73 Opens hidden dungeon garbage shute can be used to possible escape dungeon74 Opens hidden well accesses underground river, possible escape from dungeon75 Opens hidden panel releases bound hellcat who offers to guide most lawful person76 Makes whole room become elevator, often mechanism only works once 77 Opens panel with kegs of beer and wine with taps and mugs78 Open secret door into chill room with frozen carcasses possibly a ice toad in cage79 Opens secret door, inside is a bound salamander if freed goes on rampage80 Opens secret room with dormant monster eggs and a hatching apparatus81 Opens secret torture chamber used by some boss long ago82 Opens secret bedroom with sobbing prisoner83 Opens secret lavatory, sewer enterance possibly usable for escape 84 Opens secret store room with stolen crates of merchant goods and artworks85 Opens secret room of statues (petrified victims from long ago)86 Opens secret armoury with crates of forgotten and corroded weapons and armour87 Opens room with d6 spirits sealed in bottles by shaman long ago88 Opens secret room of lamp oil, torches, flints, lamps and candles89 Activates noisy machinery in depths dungeon self repairs to new condition over d4 hours90 Activates shimmering pool of light allows communication with distant sister dungeon 91 Opens magic mirror that communes with ancient evil forgotten by mortals92 Hear machinery, then screaming, then blood leaks from cracks in walls93 Doors seal and walls close in, 1in6 spikes pop out walls too94 Bathes room in strange light ages all by 4d10 years if fail save95 Bathes room in strange reduces all to d6+3 years old if fail save96 Everything in room is magically cleaned and food and drink purified97 Pollutes food making diseased and turns drinks into poison98 Turns all coins in room into equivalent value of copper99 Turns all non magic iron, steel, copper or bronze into useless dust100 Healing ray cures d6 HP once per day, causes cancer on second use if fail sav […]

  • Actual Play: Heroes of the Ashford Valley Session 3
    by Matt Borselli on November 4, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Ashford Valley Actual Play notes from November 2012:IN WHICH: A party of adventurers hear some rumors, make some interesting discoveries and explore a caveUpon arriving in Sooton, the adventurers Jim Baggins, Giles Corey, Orin Copperhead and Quinn Quimby delivered their errand (receiving 10 gp each for the trouble) and sold their captured bandit gear (for 150 gp).They heard three rumors about town: A child had been attacked by a giant bat in Ashford town a few days ago; strange things were found floating down the Soot river; and bandits were a trouble along the High Bridge Road.Since they were in Sooton, they decided to look into the strange things floating down the Soot river.Seeking answers, they headed towards the riverside and looked for a tavern frequented by fishermen. They found The Hole (aka Fishin’ Hole), a tavern that catered to the fishermen of the town.Entering the tavern, they failed to impress the locals in a rather spectacular way, leading them to quickly retreat. However, a local lad, named Ty, met them around the side of the tavern and was greatly impressed by their social gaffes.Ty told them that they had found some odd fish and other items floating down the river and he showed them to the party. A 3.5 foot long fish, with no eyes and silvery-blue scales that glowed in the dark was hanging near the tavern, and Ty also showed them an odd-looking helmet, that would fit a weirdly-shaped human head, oval with a pointed conish top and no eye slits. Giles said that this was no elvish made helmet and Orin knew it wasn’t dwarf made.The party decided to explore along the river and Ty offered his boat but they chose to stay on land and see if they could find where these strange things were coming from.So they left Sooton and crossed the ford. Traveling up the Tradetown-Sooton road, they soon exhausted daylight and so set up camp at a well-used campsite. The night passed uneventfully except during Giles’ watch, they heard elvish singing – and a group of wood elves, glowing in the night with magical lights and lanterns, traveled past them but did not stop or talk nor seem inclined to do so.Giles pointed out the watching elvish archers that were ready for any action the party made and guessed that the elves leaving this area was probably due to some danger than had recently come to the area.The next morning, they climbed the hills off the road and came to the Soot river rapids, where they spotted several caves close to the water level. Down 100’ or more of cliffside, they made it to one of the caves and went in, descending deep into the Earth. They encountered a pit, which they won past easily but a second pit, hidden in the stairs, nearly claimed Orin and Quinn.They found themselves in a 50′ × 50′ room with a fountain in the center and exits in the center of each wall and were attacked by degenerate humans with pale white skin, pale blond hair and wearing rough white tunics. These creatures wielded ancient swords and the party killed three of them and the remaining creature surrendered.After binding the prisoner, they searched the room and examined the fountain. A statue missing a head stood in the center of a brackish pool. Orin searched the pool and found the statue’s head and reached in to remove it, barely escaping being attacked by some monster in the water. Leaping to the statue, Orin placed the head back on and the stone knit together. A magical process occurred, refreshing the water (killing the monster within) and cleaned the room – removing the blood and dead bodies.The party continued exploring, taking a 20’ long side passage down to a 30’ by 50’ room, which turned out to be the degenerate humans’ barracks. There they found a valuable gem and avoided some cursed fetishes set up on an altar.Another 20’ long side passage entered a similar 30’ by 50’ room but the room was unstable, dropping parts of the roof into the room. It seemed that the degenerate humans’ used this room for a trash room.Before they could explore further, they heard the sound of running water coming down the stairs and Orin figured that a mechanism closed off the lower portion of the stairs so the fountain room would not flood. If they stayed, they’d be trapped for a while but if they risked leaving now, they might get out.On the way out, Giles fell into the first pit but was saved by the climbing gear they used then Jim fell in the second pit and was wounded but saved by the party. On the last set of stairs up to the cave entrance, both Jim and Quinn slipped in the rushing water and Jim was badly wounded.Soon they were at the cave entrance and the water, up to their thighs (and waist for the dwarf), threatened to push them down the stairs into a water grave. Climbing back up the 100’ plus cliff, they escaped!Giles went around and healed the wounded as best he could and the party camped on the cliff top for the night because it was too far to get to town before nightfall. […]

  • Reviews: Hubris - A World of Visceral Adventure
    by James Smith on November 4, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Hubris - A World of Visceral AdventureConcept design and writing by Mike Evans.With art, design and layout work by Mike Evans, Alex Mayo, David Lewis Johnson, Jez Gordon, Jeremy Duncan, Angie Groves, Doug Kovacs, David Lewis Johnson, Jason Sholtis, Wayne Snyder.Available in PDF for $14.99. In Softcover for $34.99 and in Hardcover for $49.99. 350 pages.Hubris is a weird fantasy setting that uses the awesome Dungeon Crawl Classics rules! In this book you will find 10 territories filled with tables and charts to generate interesting locations and encounters, new occupations, 4 new classes, 5 new playable races, 3 new spells, 4 new patrons, including 3 patrons spells for each, 11 new and terrible gods, 14 tables and charts for a GM to use to aid them in their game or create interesting/fun situations, two new adventures to kick off a campaign, and 51 new enemies (including enemies that are unique thanks to random generation). Hubris is hackable! Each territory can be used as the GM wills! Need a desert, swamp, or frozen tundra for your game? Use what's in Hubris!Reviewers note: This review is late. Ridiculously late. Mike sent me a PDF for review and I apologize to both him and my remaining readers.Jesus, fuck!Mike Evans was kind enough to send me a free copy of the Hubris PDF for review. I haven't done a review in years. But, returning to the blog is always in the back of my mind and I jumped at the chance to take a look-see at what I was fully expecting to be more than worth everyone's while.Jesus, fuck!Hubris is a setting for the DCC RPG. I'm far from an expert with that system. I've never ran it, though I've read the rules and various other materials for the game. So, I'm not going to be examining this too closely from a rules system perspective. Since much of Hubris is system free and is by and large usable with any Dungeons & Dragons type game, I think we'll be ok.One of the arguments you often see in old school circles, is that D&D is post-apocalyptic. Throughout the early material you see nods to this idea. Myths and artifacts hearken back to a dimly remembered past. Gods walked the earth, the mortal races were on the brink of something grand and transcendent and the mysterious, all powerful ancients were masters of the world. Then, something happened and things got all fucked up!Under this paradigm, the traditional campaign takes place long after the great disaster, when humans and other races have began to move civilization forward once again. In a precarious, hold onto your asses kind of way.There's always the chance that things will take a turn for the worst. There's Dark Lord's a scheming, hordes of misshapen things, invading armies from Hell, meteor's slamming into whatever bright, last hope type of civilization humanity has been working on so assiduously for the betterment of all life. All very typical of what's often referred to as a "Vanilla," D&D setting.OSR designers have often striven to break from those "Vanilla" ideas, taking their setting inspiration from horror, science fiction, swords & sorcery, atomic-age post apocalyptic media, pre-historic times and a host of other, less often traveled streams of fiction and myth.Hubris draws from many of those streams, to take the usual D&D Post-Apocalypse and turn it up to 11. Here, things have very much taken a turn towards the dark end of the spectrum and instead of the milieu's peoples slowly climbing back towards the heights from which they have fallen, we have a real nasty world, over-brimming with despair, violence and cruelty.After the usual Introductions, the book opens with a Setting Summary. Upon looking at the map and its notations, many horrid, nasty, hellish-sounding places are marked. A small number of locales look kind of promising. But, overall there appears to be very little possibility of hope, or succor.We then get into the rulebook section with Chapter 1: Character Creation, which includes a list of Occupations for Hubris. Many will be familiar, in some variant or another, others not so much. I don't think I've seen a Pus Diviner in any supplement before.  I can work with that!Four new classes are given: Alchemist, Blood Witch, Druid, and Shadowdancer. Five new races, are also presented for play: Avarian, Ekrask, Half Demon, Murder Machine, and Mutant.I think all of these are well done. In particular, I like the Alchemist. Aside from being the bomb throwing, potion slinging fellow one might expect, he also has a Jeckyl/Hyde thing going on, which I think is just splendid!The Murder Machine is a product of techno-sorcery and whatever poor bastard had to endure the process of their re-creation.The Mutant is gloriously fucked up! Three tables with almost two-hundred total entries, will morph, distort and empower your PC. You're probably going to end up very, very gross.From there we get some sections on Optional Rules and Chapter 2: Equipment. There's rules for class based damage and a few other things. The equipment section is pretty much what one might expect, except for the alchemical items and the Prostitution table.Bringing us to Chapter 3: Territories of Hubris. These ten territories each are given a short intro. Then, a Lay of the Land d100 table, sort of a "what the hell is going on here," thing. An Encounters d100 table, sort of a "what the hell do I run into here," thing. The tables are filled with interesting and disturbing things and people to interact with. There's tons of adventure to be rolled up. There's also a few pages detailing some prominent locales of the region, with rumors and more adventure hooks.The Random Table as setting expository tool is one of my favorite OSR design concepts. Mike does an admirable job of using his tables for this purpose, providing just enough additional prose to round things out and really bring these horrid locales to life. And yeah, the locales are horrid. Phantasmagorical. Visceral.With names like The Weeping Forest of Forgotten Memories, the Great Plains of Unbidden Sorrow, The Frozen Wastes, these aren't places to build a summer home and retire.This brings us to Chapter 4: The Wizard's Spellbooks, New Spells and Patrons of Hubris.  As is fitting for DCC, Spellbooks get all weird, with their own random table generator. This is good. This is really good and I don't recall seeing anyone do a table like this before. Cover, Appearance, Personality, Quirks and Special are listed as entries and there are five for each alignment.Three New spells, such as Summon from the Void and four new patrons with all of the usual DCC accouterments, Invoke Patron and Taint tables, and Patron Spells, are present. DCC can always use some new patrons. The Charred Maiden, The Floating Island of Terror, The Spider Goddess and The Twisted One are herein detailed for your perusal and use. I don't want to get into details, because like in every review I don't want to give away the show. I can tell you these are well done, appropriately creepy, weird, and exuding Swords & Sorcery goodness.Bringing us to Chapter 5: The Strange and Terrible Gods of Hubris.Clerics get a new power, the ability to invoke their gods name. With deities like God of the Terrible Whisper, or The Heathen Below and ten other, rather ominous gods, good luck with that!Chapter 6: GM Tools and Tables, provides all kinds of cool stuff like a Grave Digging Table, City District Table and several other useful tools for the GM. There are 14 generators and tables here, covering 36 pages.I think my favorite one is What are these Strange and Terrible Ruins? It has 14 parts, with entries for Rituals, Strange and Terrible Artifacts, Strange NPC's, and several others. If I told you there were entries likeThe Crystallized Rancid Heart of a Scorned Lover, or All those who enter the ruins feel their hair, teeth, and nails fall out (no save). To remove this curse, they must be blessed by a priest under the full moon while standing in tubs of eels and sucking on newt eyeballs, it might give you a little taste of what life is like in Hubris, but I would have to exceed Fair Use, I think, to really impart the flavor of the whole thing.Chapter 7: Magic Items, provides a generator as well as some already prepared magic items and artifacts. Chapter 8: Monsters of Hubris showcases new monsters, as well as versions of old favorites. Including a wonderful Fallen Angel generator.Chapter 9: Adventures. A 0 level funnel and a 1st level adventure are provided. No spoilers!Finally, we get an Appendix N, the Index and OGL.The art is good with fitting depictions of the goings on in Hubris. A list of the artists involved is given at the beginning of this review.In Summary,Hubris is an assault on on your gaming sensibilities. Raw and indeed, visceral, there's little respite from the Hell on Earth that the setting offers. Refereeing a group of players here would be a blast.The book is worth buying for the tables and various tidbits alone. It's ripe for cannibalization and cherry picking things to use in your own campaigns. There's so many useful, evocative things that you could turn to it again and again. How much Hubris you want to bring into your milieu is your call. You can also just go all the way and run the setting whole cloth.I don't feel that I've come even close to doing this thing justice. Hubris needs to be read and experienced. There's just so much going on and so much to work with here, but it's also very much accessible and easy to digest. There's cool shit on every page and the amount of thought and work that went into providing this much impressively weird fantasy is worthy of high praise. […]

  • More on the Ring
    by Jeff Rients on November 4, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Cool guy Evan Elkins made several improved versions of my map of the Ring.  Thanks, Evan!  I especially like this one that shows the borders of the interstellar polities and the names of the subsectors.The borders make it a lot easier for me to notice a few details about the multisystem governments of the Ring.  A big one is the fact that fully half of them do not possess a class A starport.  (Starport type is the letter above the planet in the center of the hex.  A is the best.  An X indicates no starport whatsoever.)  This lack of class A starports is super interesting to me, as class A's are the only starports with facilities for the construction of starships. So where do these poor governments get all their jump capable vessels?  Do they buy them from other interstellar polities?  If so, which ones?  Do the sellers limit the sort of naval technologies they'll make available to others?  Or do the pocket empires that lack a class A buy all their ships from the two non-aligned worlds with class A starports?  A third possibility is that they make do with rickety old fleets from a previous era.  Some combination of all three of these possibilities is probably the best answer.  But one of the things I love about Traveller is how the random distribution of something like starports suggests ramifications for the campaign.Another thing to glance at is the presence of naval bases, which take the form of a little star in the upper left of the hex.  Most of the governments of the Ring have either one or two naval bases.  So that's the norm for the region.  But two of them have no naval bases whatsoever.  They also don't have a class A starport.  I think it is fair to ask whether or not these two governments even have their own navies.  If not, what does that mean for the campaign?  If they do have a navy, why don't they have a base of some sort?  Whatever the answer, it should provide some interesting material for the setting.Then there's the blue-outlined and white-outlined regions in the middle left subsector.  They possess 3 and 4 naval bases respectively.  Having more naval bases than average seems like an indicator of possible belligerency.  That looks like the section of the Ring with the biggest military build up, so maybe those two neighbors have a long history of interstellar warfare. […]

  • Review: Thor Ragnarok (Spoiler Free)
    by Joseph Bloch on November 4, 2017 at 4:08 am

    I saw Thor Ragnarok tonight in a mostly-filled theater with the new (to me, anyway) Dolby system installed. Supposed to have better sound and visuals. The sound was definitely more rumbly; the seats would shake when there were explosions or ships flying past, but I didn't notice anything particularly better about the viewability of the film. The power recliners were a definite plus, though. No 3D, no IMAX. Now on to the movie itself.Bottom line; this is easily the best of the Thor films, but that's a pretty low bar, as they're on the bottom end of the MCU films as a whole. A lot has been said about the level of humor in this film, and there are definitely a lot more jokes (sight gags as well as silly moments in general) to be had than in most Marvel films in general, save the Guardians of the Galaxy films.At first when I heard about the humor in the movie, I was afraid it would descend into farce, and had visions of using the phrase "the MCU has finally reached the level of Abbot and Costello Meet Loki" but my fears were unfounded. The humor is definitely stepped up, but it's well-done and adds to the film, rather than taking it down the Abbot-hole.Valkyrie from the comic booksHela (played by Kate Blanchett) is one of those rarities in the MCU - a villain whose motivations are relatively easy to understand and clearly defined. Unlike Malekith in Thor The Dark World, I might hasten to add. I won't go into too much detail, but they tie her story into that of the Valkyrie (played by Tessa Thompson) very nicely.Speaking of whom, I comfort myself that they never actually call her Brunhilde, as she is known in the comic books, so she is "one of the Valkyries" rather than "the heroine called Valkyrie, whose real name is Brunhilde, in the comic books" who is a leggy blonde, as one might expect someone named Brunhilde to be. Ahem.Jeff Goldblum's Grand Master is a treasure to behold, and he's just as quirky as his brother and fellow Elder of the Universe, The Collector, seen in Thor The Dark World and Guardians of the Galaxy.Hulk is the Big Guy in the room, and dominates the film's second act. He's more vocal than we've seen him before in an MCU film, but that's perfectly in line with his comic-book incarnation, where he speaks regularly. I found myself really liking the talking Hulk a lot more than the screaming-only Hulk we saw in the first two Avengers films (with one notable exception):There's a great call-back to this scene in the film, by the way, and it's brilliant. You won't see it coming, but you'll know it when you see it.What struck me overall about the film was the use of color throughout. From the opening title you know this is a film much more grounded in the MCU's Cosmic side, with its bright colors, asymmetrical designs, and weird angled line ornamentation that doesn't seem to serve any purpose, but which should be instantly recognizable by fans of Jack Kirby's work in the comics. Visually, this film establishes the use of color and crowded design as a hallmark of the Comic MCU definitively. Sakaar is what Asgard should have looked like (and Attilan from the Inhumans show on ABC, for that matter, but that's another story). The use of contemporary music also recalled GotG, but to a lesser degree.The pacing is also worth noting. The film runs longer than either of its predecessors (130 minutes) but it doesn't feel like it. When the final battle in the third act rolled around, I thought the movie still had a ways to go. It never feels rushed or bloated. Great pacing. Spider-Man Homecoming was similarly well-paced.It's far from a perfect movie, of course. They completely unnecessarily re-use a musical theme. Holding off until the end of the film would have had a lot more impact. Doing the same thing twice feels like they couldn't be bothered to find anything else (someone send the folks at Marvel Studios a bunch of Manowar CDs, pronto!). Once or twice a joke could have yielded to a straight line and provided greater impact. Meekly-voiced Korg became a one-trick pony. But these are relatively minor issues. There are none of the greater problems that plagued Dark World, for instance.On the whole, this is an entirely fun outing for the MCU. We see a side of the Cosmic universe we've not seen before, which broadens it immensely, setting things up for even greater things I'm sure when Captain Marvel hits theaters in 2019, and we get to see the Kree (again) and Skrulls (finally) in action, not to mention the inevitable Guardians of the Galaxy 3. This will surely be yet another hit for Marvel, and deservedly so. Its definitely in the top third of their catalog. […]

  • Vaults of Vyzor #24: rescue the dead
    by Jeff Rients on November 3, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    RosterPitwin Spryneedle, gnome (Mick Kuntz)Hugbert the Bold, jerk (NPC hireling)Ilse Raagenkampf-Sleet, LotFP specialist (Perttu Vedenoja)Maria de Parma, fighter (Giuliano Pereira)Lars Hootman, owl-man (Ian Reilly)Sapphean Gratchit, blue mage (Josh Rapp)Balphazad the Befuddled, magic-user (NPC hireling)(report by Nick Kuntz)To: Mister Barnabus Sleetc/o The Jarrod Memorial LibraryFrom: Master Pitwin SpryneedleDear Mister Barnabus Sleet,Good morning, sir. Do not be confused as the Halfling delivering this missive and the unused potion of spider climb is, in fact, your fellow librarian know previously as Magic Meryl. Know, too, that she continues to want to be known as Magic Meryl (even though, I am sad to say, I detect no magical abilities residing in her reincarnated form).As you know, sir, my parents are currently under the heel of the Red Hand Orcs somewhere in the Vaults below Vyzor. I could not leave my teacher to also be lost to the dungeon. Pete Loudly, your fellow Octarine Belt Librarian, suggested that an emergency mission to retrieve Magic Meryl’s body for him to reincarnate could be performed in 13 days. Several of Vyzor’s adventures volunteer to help me in such an endevour including among their number yourself and Meryl’s other fellow librarian Laurantha the Unbeautiful. As your are current under the spell of the Masked Sorcerer himself to defeat the Elf King, I could not risk your well being by delving into the dungeon for another purpose. Plus, with threat of invasion promised over the sale of that fish god statue to Loudly, I didn’t want to push it with the Masked Sorcerer. Instead, I recruited the following adventurers to assist from those that had volunteered:Mario De Parma- The newly arrived to Vyzor human fighter was so friendly that when he offered help, I could not say no.Sepphean Gratchit- The human blue mage was Meryl’s closest living friend and it was impossible to stop him from joining the mission.Lars Hootman- The owl-ing fighter had stepped forward to return the favor of Meryl retrieving Jarrod’s skull. I knew Meryl would want me to allow him the honor.Ilse Raagenkampf-Sleet- In the alleys of Vymrrys, I had seen her cast the most terrifying spell I had ever seen. She is probably the most powerful and fearsome being I have met so I had to see if she would come along.In addition, we hired the Hubert the Bold and Balphazad the Befuddled to assist in carrying the body.Our mission started with us assembling the frame for the pulley system Yohey constructed for us in the root cellar of the Johnson’s old place. Then we proceeded down into the Violet Vaults. Ilse took the lead and immediately ran across a snake. They have not stayed in the Throne Room of the Serpent King. She made short work of it. Sapphean downed a potion of animal control and we grabbed the door Yohey had taken off its hinges last visit to this awful place.Around the corner, Sepphean quickly ran into more snakes which he easily charmed. We turned the door sideways and used it to blocked off a room to our right filled with more mage-killing sinister serpents. We moved quickly down the hall to the room with that life-like serpent pillar collecting about 13 snakes, all controlled by Sepphean.With the Throne Room and Meryl’s body a mere 70 feet away, the retrieval team stopped to discuss our plan to get her out. As we discussed, Mario and Lars noticed a small form hiding behind some rocks. As soon as he noticed us noticing it, the little jerk tried to make a break for it. Ilse and I caught up to it, though. The weaselly fellow is some sort of foot high man named McGillicutty who had with him a small chid. He was terrible fashion sense and a terrible personality. When I tried to charm him, he shrugged it off and claimed, “You don’t cast magic on me, I cast magic on you!” Besides him being the most unpleasant person I know, we smoothed things out with him and I paid him 25gp to be our guide. He hopped onto Mario’s shoulder and joined us.That sorted, we went about enacting our plan. We coated the thirty feet of corridor closet to the Throne Room in oil. Ilse walked to the edge of the Throne Room and summoned a strange mist that caused the snakes to start killing each other. Balphazad became incredibly jealous of such a display of magic that he torn off back out of the dungeon. Never hire that guy or let him join the Library as he is a total flake.Meanwhile, the snakes had entered some sort of tangle of violence like a Last Gnome Standing wrestling match except less cool and more bitey. When they had defeated their fellow snakes in the room, they slithered their way towards us. But, ah-ha, I was waiting with a torch. Now, I will admit here that I did not do my best. I became filled with memories of Meryl’s death and burned with revenge. I should have been stronger as Meryl had sought to teach me to act in according to virtue rather than base feeling. None the else, I dropped the torch soon after seeing those cruel creatures as I wanted to see them burn.And burn they did. The hall caught on fire and we waited as they died. At this point. McGillicutty opens his gob to mention something about an alternate route through the piranha room (passed some doors spotted on previous delves). We, though, decide to save that stuff for later and have Sapphean scout. He cast spider climb on himself and traveled across the ceiling into the Throne Room.There, Sapphean noticed a couple of things. One, the mummified Serpent King was vomiting out snakes still. Two, he could see Magic Meryl’s body and it seemed to be snakeless. A quick use of the spell fly and he swooped down to retrieve Meryl. As he scooped her lifeless shell, two snakes popped up but they were a bunch of dorks and missed. We had retrieved Meryl!At this point, we notice that McGillicutty had split. That dweeb is no good. Plus, he abandoned his kid to have Lars Hootman take responsibility for him. He even left a not about how bad of dad he’d be. Don’t hired him again. We quickly got back to the dungeon exit. We hear some kind of noise of a monster but it looks like the snakes kept it away. With a quick use of Yohey’s pulley system, we return Meryl to the surface and rushed off to Loudly’s shop. I gave him 750gp and he returned my teacher form the great unknown. She is shorter now that she is a halfling and keeps muttering about the “cosmic womb.” I have been there twice to be remade and I won’t forget it. I can’t imagine what she has been through. It has definitely changed her. She has started carrying rocks around in a pouch and calling them her “magic missiles.”  Hopefully with the help of friends like you and the talking skull of Jarrod, she will be able to adjust from the shock of her return and new life. I think not being able to cast anymore is going to be real hard on her. Still, I am glad she is back. I am also grateful to know so many kind and skilled adventurers. I would welcome having any of these cool fellows in my party anyday. They will always have the gratitude of Meryl and I.Sincerely,Master Pitwin SpryneedleP.S. I will be appearing soon with an offering of my spellbook to join the illustrious ranks of the Jarrod Memorial Library.P.S.S. Seriously don’t trust that Balphazad-dude. He just ragged on us the whole time and split. Plus he is a terrible dad to his weird kid.P.S.S.S. That wasn’t the end of our trips to the Violet Vault. We also visited the piranha room and found where McGillicutty lives. He was just sitting there drinking tea like it was no big deal, the jerk. I gave him a hardy slap on the back as a greeting and tea shot out of his mouth. Ha! It was a great prank. He told us that piranhas live in the pool we had already knew about thanks to throwing a dead snake in. He also told us that doors west of the pool or the corridor leading to his home go to the Throne Room f the Serpent King. He mentioned the room to the east of the piranha room that just had undead in it. It is marked as it is a waste of time and only filled with death.P.S.S.S.S. The old door Yohey took off the hinges is currently blocking the corridor south right out of the Violet Vault entry leaving only the old hobo camp accessible. We wanted to keep the snakes out.ONGOING ROLL OF THE DEADMagic 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) […]

  • Stacy Dellorfano's Cancer Fight Fund on Fundly
    by Jeff Duncan on November 3, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    Cancer Fight FundFor the month of November I'm donating any product or affiliate sales proceeds earned from this site, as well what's earned through affiliate links with my RPG reviews on EN World. Proceeds go to Stacy Dellorfano's Cancer Fight Fund (link). Whatever the amount, I'll do an account in December, round it up to the next $10 amount, and smash the donate button.I don't know Stacy personally, but cancer sucks... While I'm usually inclined to covet any product or affiliate sales this site earns like baron robber on holiday, this time I felt compelled to do something (however fractional that might be) after reading her account on Fundly. If my random encounter roll came up cancer, I'd be in just about in the same rowboat. In fact it might be just a raft, but either way, navigating shit creek, without a paddle. At minimum head over to her Fundly page... Any of the following will suffice: Like, donate, share. Get the word out, and show this indie creator your support.         […]

  • November Campaign Design II - Better Map, Firmer Concepts
    by Joseph Bloch on November 3, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    So after the previous effort, I sat down with Hexographer and took a stab at a first-draft map. Here's what I came up with:Click to embiggenA few things are different from the sketch map, of course. There are more towns. There are islands, Things have names. This isn't a final map by any stretch - I want to do it in the same style I did my Beyond the Flanaess maps - but it will do to get some concepts going. I'll pretty it up at some point. (Although I may, just may, do a hand-done map for this one, in true old school style.)One thing jumps out at me. The whole desert area in the south is unnecessary at this point. At a scale of 10 miles per hex, we've got 400 miles by 200 miles of adventuring terrain, just in the areas claimed by the colonies. I might want to expand into the southern part of the map at some point, but I think I'm going to cut it off and focus on the settled areas.I have my Big Concept now. I want this to be a campaign without dungeons.Yup, no dungeons. No credulity-defying gilded holes. There will be ruins from Lost Artanis (the civilization that was here before the founding of the colonies, but which was mysteriously destroyed 500 years ago), but they will be just that. Ruins. Like you'd see in Rome or Greece. No vast megadungeon complexes, but there will be vast ruined cities to explore. Mines are a possibility, and dwarves and gnomes live underground, and there will be sewers, but no dungeons in the conventional sense. Tombs will be small, four chambers, maximum. I do think there will be an Underdark-type area where the druegar live, but even then there will be conventional buildings in large open underground areas, like Erelhei-Cinlu in the Vault of the Drow.The far eastern half of the map still needs to be fleshed out, and I should start thinking about the nature and location of those Artanian ruins.I'm also thinking about the nature of Lippegen's religion. I could go with something completely new (designing a new sub-class of cleric to go with it), or I could have the church in Lippegen and Aedgaria in schism. Both have clerics, but they are at odds with one another over some point of theology, somewhat analogous to the Protestant and Catholic churches in the 16th century. But do I want to put them at each others' throats? […]

  • Worthy Cause: Extra Life
    by Joseph Bloch on November 3, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    Starting tomorrow, Thramack and Darth Cupcake will be participating in Extra Life's game stream marathon tomorrow into Sunday. You can pledge any amount, which will go to help ill and injured kids in need. Do check it out, here:https://www.extra-life.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=249425 […]

  • D100 Village Notices
    by Konsumterra on November 3, 2017 at 7:35 am

    Villages on Exile Island often have notices on the village store or a notice board up adjacent to the village square. Most villagers cannot read but enough can read them aloud to other to get message across. A d8 notices are pretty common.Often they are pasted up or people steal them for paper or collect them.d100 Village Notices01 Reward information to capture of local bandit gang or their hiding place02 Reward for arrest of local highwayman03 Reward for capture of local witch04 Reward for recovery of lost or stolen animal usually a horse05 Reward for recovery of missing child or person06 Reward for recovery of stolen item or goods07 Reward for information as to who is stirring up trouble with non humans08 Reward for information or capture of foreign spies or saboteurs09 Reward for capture or information on wanted traitor to the realm10 Reward for heretic or enemy of the church11 Sale on bulk goods available from store12 Sale on recently born livestock from local farm13 Sale on rusty old weapons and armour taken from monsters14 Sale on goods seized from bandits at the sheriff office15 Sale on medicinal herbs from local herbalist16 Sale on almost expired army rations from militia17 Sale on mystery meat from butcher or farmer or hunter18 Sale on second hand clothes19 Sale on children, would make fine apprentices or servants20 Sale on second hand farm tools and goods 21 Carnival day coming soon on village green22 Market day coming soon with local produce and goods23 Livestock auction and market coming soon24 Auction of seized goods from bandits and monsters soon25 Land auction coming soon 1in6 with house26 House auction coming soon 1in6 furnished27 Public entertainers soon d4 1=minstrels 2=circus 3=acting troop 4=freak show28 Public performance soon d4 1=bard 2=magician 3=animal trainer 4=poet29 Trade caravan coming with wide range of exotic goods soon30 Country fair with livestock and produce contests soon31 Church seeking donations of food and goods for charity32 Church jumble sale coming soon, goods wanted33 Wedding celebration upcoming at church34 Visiting holy man visiting for special church notice35 Moral crusader lecture at church soon 36 Inquisitor visiting to find heretics, witches, werewolves or cultists37 Church working bee, helpers required to repair church and graveyard38 Funds needed to improve the church 39 Fundraising dance and feast soon, beer included in entry40 Public warning to beware or d4 1=witches 2=werewolves 3=undead 4=cults41 Labourers required for tree felling soon42 Labourers required for clearing rocks from land soon43 Labourers required to strip a emptied dungeon44 Labourers wanted to help build house or barn45 Labourers wanted to help dig a well46 Labourers wanted to assist adventurers excavating ruins or dungeon47 Labourers wanted to work on roads48 Labourers wanted to build fences49 Labourers wanted to build bridge50 Labourers wanted to work on noble estate51 Able bodied men to report for militia training soon52 Village assembly meeting soon to vote on leaders53 Village court meeting soon to redivide farm land54 Trial of criminal shortly all witnesses called to appear55 Witch trial and burning soon56 Able bodied men required to help hunt wolves in area 57 Able bodied men required to help locate fugitives hiding in wilds58 Court day with various petty crimes being charged and punished 59 Execution of criminals soon, a great family day out60 Public flogging of local soon everyone welcome61 Sightings of elves or faerie folk to be reported to sheriff62 Sightings of humanoid folk to be reported to sheriff63 Sightings of beastmen to be reported to sheriff64 Sightings of undead or hauntings to be reported to church65 Sightings of diabolic or demonic happenings to be reported to church66 Sightings of robed strangers by night to be reported to sheriff67 Sightings of suspicious or foriegn folk to be reported to sheriff 68 Sightings of monsters or their lairs to be reported to sheriff69 Sightings the beast of the moors to be reported to sheriff70 Sightings of strange (d4 1=dogs 2=lights 3=beasts 4=shrooms) to be reported to sheriff71 Decree of law from kingdom rulers72 Decree outlawed clan of nobles now wanted fugitives for treason73 Decree of road toll increase to fund anti bandit militia74 Decree of a tax increase for dungeon looting for adventurers75 Decree demanding higher tax on certain goods76 Decree forbidding commoners from certain fashion items77 Decree that any information concerning certain artifact or relic be given to authorities78 Decree that borders of local village being altered by state 79 Decree that someone being knighted for some act of heroism and service to crown80 Decree reminding commoners the tax man will be coming to visit81 Adventurers seeking poleboys, baggage handlers and torchbearers82 Murder Hobo band recruiting camp followers83 Adventurers selling deed of exclusive looting to semi cleared dungeon84 Surviving adventurer offering map or deed to dungeon that killed his party85 Mayor seeking adventurers to sort out local problem86 Noble seeking troubleshooters to deal discreetly with a problem87 Church seeking pious heroes to recover goods for the church88 Farmer has found hole on farm seeks monster hunters to explore89 Drunk to be found in tavern offering dungeon map90 Murder Hobo seeking young apprentices to learn on the job in local dungeon91 Bounty from city for wizard for teaching magic unlawfuly or stealing spells92 Bounty on druidic cult leader for attacking miners or foresters or hunters93 Bounty from miners to catch claim jumpers94 Bounty from sheriff for local criminal who locals quite like95 Bounty for leader of robber knight enemies of local noble96 Bounty for escaped criminal from the sherrif lock up97 Bounty for mysterious rogue recruiting youths into bandit gang98 Bounty for adventurer who has evaded taxman and is now hiding in forest99 Bounty on orc heads 1gp each or for some other troublesome humanoid100 Bounty for foreign hero who hides out across the border where they are respectab […]

  • d100 Cruel Pranks for Witches & Dark Fey
    by Konsumterra on November 2, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Witches and elves and faeries can be jerks. Best not to offend them but you might have done so just by being noticed by them. Oops I probably just offended some now. Jerks.This was a quick and fun one only took a hour. The marine one before took 3 days.d100 Cruel Pranks for Witches & Dark Fey01 Kill farm animals and make them zombies02 Put poison spiders in farmers clogs 03 Poison the local well with lust potions04 Cast illusions of plague symptoms on travellers05 Cast illusions on huge spiders to look like puppies06 Make illusions of ghosts07 Make farm tools invisible and leave on paths08 Let invisible wolves loose in area09 Turn peoples children into bats or rats10 Replace roast joints in oven with human flesh11 Cast illusions on dangerous mushrooms to look normal12 Cast ilusion on baby so parents think it is a changeling13 Leave fake evidence a loner is a werewolf14 Steal goods and leave them in neighbours house15 Hold doors fast with spell then set fire to house16 Make animals go crazy with drugs or spells17 Use ventriloquism to make farmer think animals inteligent18 Leave invisible snakes everywhere19 Lead a rust monster around at night to ruin all a farmers tools20 Poop down chimney into stew pot21 Scare cows and chickens so they give no eggs or milk22 Steal arrows off locals and shoot travellers with them23 Spread spoors of giant fungi over granaries or rooftops24 Burn down a barn or storehouse in winter 25 Cover crops in hallucinogenic fungi spoors26 Leave false clues that local elderly are witches27 Use ventriliquism to make animals tell children to do dreadful things28 Leave treasonous documents in house and inform lawmen29 Leave dead body in the well 30 Tell sylvan beings local humans tried to harm their children31 Tell centaurs and satyrs how attractive local human women are 32 Encourage dryads to kidnap all the men while out farming33 Destroy food stores with magic34 Raise dead family members or pets as zombies as a surprise35 Blunt all tools by night36 Unpick thread from clothing and leather goods37 Shave animals with ridiculous patterns and dye their hair38 Crap in peoples boots39 Enlarge vermin with spells40 Take people to faerie land and return them hundreds of years later41 Get humans addicted to magical elf food left out as delicious treats42 Taint human food with werewolf blood43 Replace candles with ones made from human fat from missing reletives44 Tell bandits or tax collector that farmers have secret treasure45 Warp wooden tools or roof or walls of houses with magic46 Dig up dead relatives and arange aound the house as if alive47 Turn someone into a cat and set own dogs on them48 Taint food with mutagenic chaos mushrooms49 Take the form of local and go stab happy then flee50 Cast sleep on household then arrange in compromising positions51 Take form of locals and beat up the village priest52 Sell farmers children to beatmen as slaves, invite beastmen to collect them53 Convince beavers to gnaw down trees to fall on human houses54 Put magic glue in shoes and in hats55 Magically grow beards on babies with cantrips56 Put holes in every bucket and pot in a household57 Put leaks in roof58 Make horrible sounds at night keeping everyone awake in fear59 Give local dogs rabies60 Send swarm of rats to eat all household food61 Send swarm of birds to eat all farmers crops62 Animate scarecrow as a wood golem and make it beat up farmer63 Teach local birds to utter obscenities or terrible gossip64 Steal fillings of pies and replace with feces65 Move trappers traps to places where villagers get hurt66 Encourage tree people to stop humans murdering their kin to build houses67 Put invisible knives in backs of chairs, in beds on doorhandles68 Make poison toads look like delicious fruit with illusions69 Leave murdered animals inside out nailed to walls70 Piss in beer and add snake heads and magic mushrooms71 Make eerie lights at night scaring everyone72 Rub toads on peoples faces in sleep causing horrible warts73 Encourage children to lick newts driving them crazy with narcotic secretions74 Drop huge deadly icicles on people coming out of house in cold mornings75 Cast illusion on farmer that they are brutish orcs so friends attack them76 Turn locals into deer and encourage local hunters to to catch them77 Put stinging nettles inside peoples clothes while they sleep78 Use magic to make every fertile woman pregnant with changeling children79 Turn farmer into a donkey then beat with sticks then turn back after a few days80 Sneak cockatrice eggs into the farmyard chicken coops81 Put giant leeches in chamber pot82 Settle stirge nests in the roof of local house83 Put illusions on beastfolk so they can trick humans into sex 84 Cut off bards fingers and suck out their eyeballs85 Turn farmers horse into a centaur and encourage it to beat farmer who mistreated it86 Turn goats into goatmen and explain how human eat their babies87 Attract a ogre to a local cave and give kids a fake treasure map to the cave88 Encourage a giant snake to sneak into house and eat babies89 Set fire to haystacks while young lovers are inside90 Turn pigs into orcs and give them weapons91 Startle horses while pulling waggon causing terrible accident92 Loose a fully grown crocodile in local watering hole where kids like to swim93 Encourage pet Ice toad to sit on roof at night to freeze house and frostbite the crops94 Summon a Imp to torment the household invilibly95 Set gremlins loose on household who start increasingly dangerous trickery96 Kidnap children and leave illusion covered goblins in their place97 Encourage giant burrowing insects to eat crops and leave huge holes everywhere98 Draw obscene and blasphemous graffiti on house walls 99 Lure away children to life of slavery in elfland using treats and toys100 Whisper locals secrets and private thoughts causing fights and feuds […]

  • Redemption RPG By Silent Spirit Game Studios: RPG Review
    by Jeff Duncan on November 2, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Redemption RPGRedemption RPGProject Lead: Paul FrackPublished By: Silent Spirit Game StudiosReview By: J.L. DuncanWelcome to a review of the portable document format (PDF) of the Redemption role playing game (RPG) and the Redemption Deployment Companion. Redemption was brought to print and PDF format through Kickstarter raising 4.6k internet bucks. You can purchase either product in print or digital format at RPGNow.com and Drivethrurpg.com, as well as receive updates, notes/errata at Silent Sprit Studios website (here).Disclosure: This review includes affiliate links. I receive a token % if you purchase something on the landing page. Thank you for your support.Redemption is a military space opera RPG. The setting thrusts campaigners more than 500 years in the future. The human race has colonized mars as well as planets beyond our solar system. Innovative technologies have led to human expansion and exploration. The spearhead of humanity is the Terran Sphere Confederate Navy (TSN), which holds to the traditions and remnants of the (earth bound) Naval and Air militaries.Humanity is locked in war with the Shohan, a technologically advanced star faring race. While the Shohan are the setting’s main antagonist, Redemption provides a double handful of unique alien races many of which have joined the TSN and are featured as playable character races. The setting and history elements of Redemption encompass over a full third the 300+ page mainbook.While typically, I’m a proponent of setting; in Redemption the writing is overdone. In part this view is derived from the overall length and layout of the material, as well as the relevance of material which lacks detail, but it is also because what’s written is in need of a good old fashioned edit. The writing is thorough and for the most part of decent grammar, but the narrative of most subject headers meanders insatiably and is occasionally off key from what has been written before.In short, the writing style overloads the game. Worse and concerning this reviewer’s opinion untenable, is that the setting includes narrative of location upon location: where this battle occurred, where these alien races live; this region of space is where this fleet patrols-so on and so forth and so on… However, Redemption doesn’t provide one single map! Instead there is this section, which “encourages you to DIY:Stellar Cartography"Transcribing existing star charts and postulating where drift will take them in the next 600 years would be lots of incredibly boring work, and we don’t want to do it. A much more interesting and interactive alternative is to use the following set of rules to generate your own stellar topography.” PG 297Redemption is a good example of an RPG which (In my humble-all knowing, reviewer opinion) grew too big for its own britches. If I had a craw, something would be sticking in it.Even the roughest map would suffice. Dots on page perhaps, but nothing? Nope-Nada… Well, if I have to make my own dots on page as representations of planets and systems I suppose I can, but I’d more likely throw the setting material out as well. I don’t need a set of rules to define systems which are already somewhat defined; I need a picture to go with what’s written. I’ve heard they’re worth a thousand words. The mind wonders, then it wanders. I’m going to sing now…“I used to go swimming with bowlegged women, and dive between their legs!”Moving on-Deployment CompanionThe mechanics of Redemption utilize variable Target Numbers (TNs) but the game includes a variety of story elements. Players and GMs who are familiar with story building RPGs should feel moderately at home. Yes, Redemption is somewhat a sand box. Most of its core elements, promote creativity over specificity. Despite my aversions, it presents this concept respectably well.In regards to the core game mechanics, the difficulty of a TN is determined by the characters ability rating and requires players to roll a set of specific dice (3d6-3d10 etc.) and tally the result. The fewer number of sides, in rolling a specific set of dice, the easier the check; for a successful check, the player desires to roll equal or less than the target number. This is opposite of most RPGs which focus mechanics on target numbers. The GM determines which set of dice are used in the roll and therefore the difficulty of the check.The characters ability rating is determined by talents, skills, training and if they are using any tools or equipment, this may aid or inhibit the action being gauged. For beginning characters the number will be around 10-12 and ability ratings with experience cannot exceed 30. The GM may also decide to set the difficulty to 30 which is gauged “impossible,” but can be adjusted down by player characters through story elements built in the mechanics. Action Points can be spent to activate Tags, which could if relevant, lower the difficulty of a specific task. Players can also spend Action Points to Edit the Scene. For the most part both Tags and Action Points are defacto story building elements which player characters can introduce to develop and/or modify a specific scene.Redemption incorporates this collaborative method from the beginning with character creation. Group Tags are decided on and shared by members of the player character group. Additional Tags are individualized to emphasize each specific character’s concepts and goals. This also entails that the theme of the game or story can be decided on from the jump, which I liked. Apart from Tags each character will have a number of Ranks (or points) to distribute among their core stats (attributes) which are used to further enhance character abilities and/or skills vs. specific checks and challenges.While in concept Tags are an interesting way to emphasize character and ways in which players can add and change the story, I was disappointed in how they’re presented in Redemption. Certainly how Tags function is explained, but there are a number of Tags which are noted in the game that I had no comprehension of how they might work, because many of the Tags aren’t defined beyond a key phrase. For a game that emphasizes Tags, this is a pretty big hole.NPC and character examples have different Tags as well as there is a short list of Tags which are race specific. Racial Tags are better explained however, due to the emphasis of Tags as a mechanic and story building tool, much more should have been written. At the very least, each of the Tags in the mainbook should have been made clear.I must admit this is something I find very common in RPGs which involve role playing with collaborative story telling; some interesting mechanics without what I (subjectively) consider adequate specificity. To me this turns the game into something I would play into something I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. Gygax-ism aside, while I’m certain in part this is to do with my subjective preference for medium to heavy crunch games, it also has to do with the game itself. In writing, if an RPG doesn’t show me how to play it then it must tell me-either of these work and most games have both sorts. Redemption isn’t the worst offender among RPGs but it certainly could use some refinement.Certainly, I could throw Tags out altogether (or at least the ones I have no clue of) but its emphasis in Redemption leaves me feeling like I’m missing the point. Which may or may not be the case here? If Redemption wants my group to create their own Tags- (which in part it certainly does) then it should add some specificity to the ones provided and we’ll go from there. Without detail this leaves my review and the potential of playing this system out in cold space.The Deployment Companion promotes a number of ways in which the player group can interact with the setting (again mostly through text) including some rules errata, NPCs and adventures. The supplement features three Ports of Call or physical locations and three adventures.Similar to the lack of important details with the mainbook the Deployment Companion just doesn’t appeal. Ports of call have no maps and nothing to tangibly define them and the adventures meander too loosely for my taste. The only saving grace of this supplement is the NPCs and new Alien races, which are well done. Again this may have more to do with the sort of RPGs I prefer but while the writing is serviceable the products lack of specificity doesn’t engage my GM sense to have interest in running it.So to conclude Redemption left me pretty disappointed. The setting detail concerning the various alien Xenology is very well done; while the rambling meandering presentation of the history and the lack of maps defining any of the stellar systems was a pretty big deal to me. What’s a space opera without space? While I was critical of how Tags are presented, as a game mechanic it is certainly something to work with. It has potential. Also good is the B&W illustrations, which I would have liked to have seen more of.What can I say? Too much work is left to the GM and players for Redemption to find its way to my table. If you’re in search of a sandbox-space opera and familiar with RPGs of the story building variety, you might consider giving Redemption a try. If you do and quite literally so, more power to you.Note: This review was originally published in Knights of the Dinner Table and is property of Kenzer & Company. It has been republished here with permission. […]

  • Bundle of Holding Old School Revival + 5
    by Trey on November 2, 2017 at 11:00 am

    A new Old School Revival Bundle of Holding has dropped and it is a doozy. Check out the two levels:I personally own everything in the first block (and I wrote one of them!) and most of the stuff in the second, and I can say they are well worth full price, but to get them all together at such a discounted rate is not to be passed up.As always ten percent of the payment goes to charity--in this case Human Rights Watch, so you can pruchase guilt free. You've got 19 days to pick it up, but why wait? […]

  • Actual Play: Heroes of the Ashford Valley Character Profile Quinn Quimby
    by Matt Borselli on November 1, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Veteran ex-soldier, son of a merchant, returning home to the valleyDescription:Quinn Quimby, FighterLevel 2Alignment: LightStrength – 16 (+ 3)Dexterity – 10 (-)Mind – 15 (+ 2)AC 16 (+ 5 chain, +1 shield)Hit Points – 28Power Points - n/aInitiative – d20Melee attack bonus + 6Missile attack bonus + 3Magic attack bonus 0Fortitude + 6Reflex + 0Will + 2Hometown -Languages: Common, Dwarf, RomaniReputation – +2 in the town of Ashford (temp)SKILLSPhysical + 5Subterfuge + 2Knowledge + 2Communication + 2CANTRIPS (7)EQUIPMENTChain mailShieldBattle Axe (1d8 + 4)+ 1 Bugbear Longsword (1d8 + 2 + 4)Short Sword (1d6 + 4)Light Crossbow (1d8)Whip (1d3 + 1)Dagger (1d4 + 4)Dungeoneering Equipment [_ ] [_ ] [_ ] [_ ] [_ ]Ammunition [_ ] [_ ] [_ ] [_ ] [_ […]

  • November Campaign Design I - Rough Map, Broad Concepts
    by Joseph Bloch on November 1, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    In my first installment in my NaCaCrMo series, I have a quick sketch of a map done, a big concept for the campaign, and a few details that occurred to me as I was contemplating the whole thing. Here is the map I came up with, along with marginalia which I'll transcribe below (click to embiggen):One of the core ideas of starting off an adventuring party is to have them come from somewhere else to the place where the adventure is, to give a reasonable explanation for why they wouldn't intimately know the terrain, NPCs, local secrets, and so forth. In the original DMG, Gary Gygax gave some excellent advice on the subject:As background you inform them (the players) that they are from some nearby place where they were apprentices learning their respective professions, that they met by chance in an inn or tavern and resolved to journey together to seek their fortunes in the dangerous environment, and that, beyond the knowledge common to the area (speech, alignments, races, and the like), they know nothing of the world. Placing these new participants in a small settlement means that you need do only minimal work describing the place and its inhabitants. -- AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide, p. 87So here's where my first concept for the setting comes from. The whole thing is a recently-colonized island, or subcontinent, or continent. The kingdoms doing the colonizing have only been at it for a century or so, there's a multiple-month lag in getting there from the homeland, and the settlements are still very early in the process of becoming secure. There are only a handful of actual towns, settlers are coming over and clearing land, a few intrepid explorers have mapped out some of what's out there, but there's a huge frontier, mostly unexplored, filled with mountains, forests, monsters, and mystery.That gives a perfect excuse for the PCs to be fresh off the boat (literally!), almost completely unfamiliar with their new home, and with a built-in excuse to go off exploring. Perhaps there's even a bounty on bringing back new and better maps, locations of valuable resources, and so forth.In order to do this, I looked to the European settlement of North America. The map above doesn't have a scale, intentionally. When I did some back-of-the-envelope calculations based on the colonies from New England down to Virginia, a population of 100,000 after a hundred years of settlement activity wasn't excessive, and a scale of about 400 miles long and 200 miles wide would be about right, if I'm aiming for a 1720's scope.Note that this does not mean I'm going for a 1720's level of technology. I'm just looking for historical patterns of colonization, exploration, and population growth. Fast forward 100 years from Plymouth Colony, and we get about that number of people and area of development. Still all very rough and dangerous and unexplored, though. Just what I'm going for.There are three competing powers who have established colonies here; the colonies are Aedgaria (split into north and south), Lippegen, and New Valais. I envision them as (very roughly) English, German, and French. Aedgaria is the latecomer with the worst pickings, as both Lippegen and New Valais have solid routs to the interior, while North Aedgaria is stuck with a more northern route, with worse climate. Stretching the American colonies idea, North Aedgaria is New England, Lippegen is New York/Pennsylvania, South Aedgaria is the mid-Atlantic states, and New Valais is Virginia. Again, these parallels are more for scale than anything thematic, except for South Aedgaria being cut off from the interior.It's also worth noting that setting up the campaign this way makes it much easier to head towards the AD&D "endgame" of clearing land, building a castle, and ruling over peasants.Transcribing my margin notes on the map above (just stuff that occurred to me as I was contemplating the map):HumanoidsGoblinoids - mercenaries brought over by Lippegen and New Valais. Many deserted, now indigenous/feral.Orcs - Natives. Unknown in Hanar-across-the-SeaDemihumansNative Wild Elves.Other elves/dwarves/etc. brought w/Hanarians [I seem to have settled on "Hanar" as the name of the continent whence all the settlers are coming]Most elves - ValaisMost dwarves - LippegenMost halflings - AedgariaNative druegarLOST ARTANISFormer big empire, suddenly destroyed. Why?? Ruins.Secret - There were two civilizations, one much earlier. Not obvious. High Tech (steam-magic)ReligionValais - DruidsAedgaria - ClericsLippegen - ???Pop approx 130kThat took about an hour. Can't wait to see where this leads me! […]

  • Phantom Stalker, Spectral Hound and Twinling
    by Oakes Spalding on November 1, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Phantom Stalker from the original AD&D Fiend FolioSeven Voyages of Zylarthen Supplement 1: Book of Spells includes three spells that annoyingly refer to Supplement 2: Book of Fiends. I say "annoyingly" because Book of Fiends has not yet been published (It's written, but this time I'm pursuing a different option for the art):Phantom Stalker: This spell summons a Phantom Stalker. See Supplement 2: Book of Fiends for characteristics and effects. Magic-Users. Level: 5. Spectral Hound: This spell summons a Spectral Hound to track opponents. See Supplement 2: Book of Fiends. Magic-Users. Level: 4. Twinling: See Supplement 2: Book of Fiends. Magic-Users. Level: 6.Not a lot to go on there, obviously. So here are those creatures (two days ago I also added them as an addendum to the Electronic Edition PDF): PHANTOM STALKERS: Hit Dice: 6. Attacks: 2-12. Armor Class: 3. Move: 12/24. Alignment: Neutrality. Languages: Type J plus Simple Common. Number Appearing: 1. Description: These are invoked in a manner similar to Invisible Stalkers but their purpose is to guard and avenge. Only one may be created at one time, and they will never leave the initial area—castle, tower, underground lair—they were initially called to, unless it is to avenge the death of their master. If their master is killed, the Stalker will be implacable in tracking his killer, wishing to fulfill the terms of the summoning and return to its abode as quickly as possible. It may Polymorph Self and Fly but will usually appear as an 8’ tall, reddish humanoid with fiery eyes. A Phantom Stalker is immune to fire-based attacks but saves against cold attacks at a -2 penalty and takes an extra hit of damage per die. If slain, the creature will explode in a six-die Fire Ball. Of course, since the Stalker values its own life as much as any creature, he will attempt to make use of this as a threat, revealing it to his attackers if cornered. SPECTRAL HOUNDS: Hit Dice: 5. Attacks: 2-12 plus possible extra-powerful bite. Armor Class: 7. Move: 24. Number Appearing: 1. Description: Via a powerful spell, a supernatural canine is created that will inexorably track and close in on its target, as long as something with the victim’s scent is initially presented. The creature will take 3-18 days to reach its victim, and on the final 3-6 days the victim will hear a howling coming progressively nearer. If possible, the Hound will attack while the victim is alone, and it will usually surprise on a 1-4. If, during melee, the “to hit” roll succeeds by +4 or more, double damage will be inflicted due to the Hound sinking its teeth into the throat. In addition, after such a bite the victim will go comatose for 2-8 turns and then die at the end of that period unless surgery, a Cure Light Wounds spell or similar or more powerful magic is administered in the interim. TWINLINGS: Description: A Twinling is created by the horrible spell of the same name, and thus the victim is allowed a saving throw to immediately dispel it. If this is failed, then a perfect double of the victim—with the same current hit points, spells, magic items, and so on—instantly attacks, though it will be invisible as well as invulnerable to all others, and it will look as if the victim is batting the air. The monster will continue to attack until either it or its victim is dead. These three monster descriptions actually give a bit if insight into the methodology behind the forthcoming Book of Fiends. The idea was to track and reimagine (not duplicate!) the original Fiend Folio. Essentially that meant four things.Any monsters not in the SRD (the Fiend Folio has many of those) or that weren't to some extent legally "freed" by Necromancer Games' 2011 Tome of Horrors would have to be reworked and renamed, at the least. In many cases this meant keeping some of the stats but inserting the creature into a different ontological space, so to speak. So for example, many planar or just plain bizarro creatures (the Fiend Folio had many) often became extraterrestrials from, say, one of Pluto's moons, or evil faerie creatures. I actually think this worked out perfectly for the Zylarthen/OD&D vibe I wanted to preserve, but I'm sure that a few Fiend Folio fans will miss some of their favorites.Silly (in my opinion), broken or superfluous monsters would be reimagined. Now don't misunderstand. I love the Fiend Folio, and that includes loving some Fiend Folio monsters that most people seem to hate. (I also dislike a few that many people seem to love.) But there were a number, many of them also SRD or present in Tome, that I felt just didn't work, or at least wouldn't work for Zylarthen. One example is the Adherer. There's nothing inherently wrong (and a lot inherently right) about a monster that is, well, sticky. But the way it was initially presented in the Fiend Folio, including that (in my opinion) unfortunate illustration, as a sort of DM "gotcha" monster - you think it's a standard mummy, but think again! - was just (again, in my subjective opinion) annoying. So I reworked them as amphibians.All monster descriptions would be reduced to stripped-down OD&D/Zylarthen style. One of the things I didn't like about the Folio (and to some extent the original AD&D Monster Manual) was how long some of the descriptions were. I always felt I had to reread them five times just to make sure I didn't miss some little extra spell or odd ability. In many cases, this meant replacing a page or half-page length description with a short paragraph. I like that sort of presentation much better. But, again, opinions obviously differ on this. The two conceptions are just different. One is OD&D, and one is AD&D, if you will. But all Fiend Folio monsters would be represented, at least in some form. In many cases this "representation" is extremely tangential. CIFAL's became Wasp Zombies (actual zombies with venomous wasps crawling out of orifices in their bodies), Flinds (relatives of Gnolls) became non-described Gibbelins (relatives of Dunsany's non-described Gnoles), The Hound of Ill Omen became Prophecy Worms, Snyads became Termite Men, Mites became Water Gnomes, Norkers became Aquatic Hobgoblins and the Nonafel (Cat O'Nine Tails) became just a standard panther. And so on. Sorry Nonafels. So, the Phantom Stalkers is quite similar to its originals, or, rather, to the OGL version presented in Tome of Horrors. But the description is stripped down, and the possible planar origins of the creature are left unmentioned.The Spectral Hound was originally a Devil Dog. Not much similarity there except for the dog and the throat biting thing, I suppose. But I felt there were too many standard canine variations in Folio (and there already were Hell Hounds and Blink Dogs, etc. in OD&D and AD&D). So I thought a sort of less powerful version of the Invisible Stalker spell would be fun.I had actually forgotten that the Twinling was a reworking of the Aleax. I kept the evil twin idea (which was a damn good one) but made it into an evil spell, as opposed to a sending of the gods, or whatever it was in Folio. And I thought all the extra detail about regeneration and so on was superfluous. It's bad enough to find yourself up against your evil twin in a duel to the death where no one else can help you!By the way, just so no one misunderstands. I don't think Zylarthen's Book of Fiends is better than its semi-parent (such a thought would be insane). Rather, it's simply my imperfect effort to re-imagine it (or re-imagine some of it) in a legally viable and (hopefully) fun way for the Zylarthen/OD&D universe.Good hunting and happy casting!Phantom Stalker from Necromancer Games' Tome of Horrors […]

  • What's In The Attic? (Table 2)
    by garrisonjames on November 1, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    His old servant ... had spoken of the strangely aromatic and hideously carven box he had found in the attic, and of the indecipherable parchments and queerly figured silver key which that box had contained: matters of which Carter had also written to others...Through the Gates of the Silver Keyby H P. LovecraftWhat's in the Attic? (Table II)This attic has become overgrown by a patch of Stranglemasses that appear to have been seeded by chance, just down-wind of Glindeng's attic (Table3/Option6). One has to wonder how many other randomly-seeded patches of these foul plants have taken-root in the roofs, eaves and attics around here. Some crazy old lady, they call her 'Mildred', most likely an escapee from one of the broke-down sanitariums along Skinner Row, has been tending to this unplanned-for garden of Stranglemasses for years now. No one knows why the plants tolerate the crazy lady. Perhaps it has something to do with the illegal experiments that were done on her while under the care of Doktor Rommiro?The people on the floor below have been complaining of an unnatural draft coming from this attic. Even in the Summer. Turns out there's a Weak Point lodged in the back wall. It opens onto an empty, barren, frozen wasteland. Beware the penguins.Wet, sticky goo covers nearly every surface in here. The stuff is setting-up like so much dried snot in the corners. Everything stinks worse than rotten cabbages. There's a swarm of some kind of pink-banded slugs clustered beneath a messy mound of old rags and newspapers heaped against the back wall, just to the side of the broken window. The slugs will pop into small puffs of poison gas if exposed to heat or bright light. [Save or suffer debilitating nausea (50% penalty to Move, -2 To Hit, -4 to Morale) for 1d4 hours.]Six dead penguins lay next to a zinc-plated tub. A blood and feather crusted Tsalalian obsidian knife rests on a rickety taboret next to the tub. Why is there a shattered mirror lying face-down on the floor?An old Zugritti woman bundled-up in tattered old red and yellow blankets sits in her wheelchair at the window, keeping a look out for something she cannot, or will not describe. Once every 15 minutes roll a d6, on a roll of '6' there comes a scratching, scraping noise at the window which drives the old woman to screaming madly. She will be inconsolable, hysterical and extremely agitated for the next 1d4 hours during which time the neighbors, the Constables or other Local Authorities, and others will be attracted to all the ruckus.Javeer Nerladoux, once a famed investigator among the Secret Police in Narliz, sits quietly in a corner of this old attic smoking a foul-smelling pipe and tinkering with his broken grammophone. Perhaps one of you might know a thing or two about fixing such devices? Javeer has dozens of dusty cylinders originally recorded at the Great Opera House of Narliz from before the war. His favorites feature his nephew Erik.Five old crates have been set before the windows and filled with dirt and other soil-like substances scraped from the near-by eaves and other sources to form the seed-beds for strange yellow flowers that someone has been tending to for several months now. But what kind of flowers get fed blood, mud and what may well prove to be White Powder residue? and is that a tender shoot from some form of Red Weed just poking up out of the soil in that third make-shift planter?There is a Loathsome Mass behind an old airship trunk packed with deeply stained and saturated military campaign maps once drawn-up by the map-makers of the Third Logistical Battalion of the Pruztian Army dating back to before the First Occupation. The Loathsome Mass has compromised the trunk's structural integrity--any attempt to move it will result in the trunk collapsing into bits and pieces, and further exposing--and ruining--the maps, journals, correspondence and other papers contained within it.Seventy-Two little bat skulls have been hung upside-down from red thread pinned to the central rafter. Each one has been lovingly inscribed with an idiosyncratic summoner's personal Noetic Glyph drawn from Unter-Noetica, an illegal manual only ever written-out in Noorstrian, an obscure language that remains on the Banned Languages List to this day. The Board of Community Hygiene offers a reward for information on sites like this...but they would quarantine the place, and possibly detain anyone who has come into contact with the little skulls. Can you hear the tiny, raspy little voices just at the edges of your consciousness yet? Perhaps there is time to locate a Karcist, Medium or someone with a background in purging mischievous spirits and Littelgeists...Someone has re-built an electric airship motor in the middle of this attic. all it is missing are the batteries...and some way to get it out of here, as it is far too large to pass through either the door or the windows.Six barrels of Spectral Brine sitting in the dark, slowly rusting away. A lonely little Flidder has been trapped in this attic for months now. Who would do such a thing? Why? Will they be mad that you let it go?A small blue-tinged lens lies in the middle of the floor. It glints coldly in the dark and inflicts 1 point of damage to anyone licking it up, every time it is picked-up. The Lens allows whomever is holding it to locate any of the Cold Roads they so desire to find...but somehow the Lens also shifts them into the Winter-time to do so.An un-finished gargoyle statue scowls disapprovingly at anyone who enters. The dust is several inches thick in here, so the artist may not be coming back.Four zinn-plated rolls from a printing-press have been stashed here by a Yellow Kid following a raid on their master's shop due to charges of engaging in Caprichographika. These rolls could be set-up to print out the weird images etched into their outer surfaces, but it might draw the attention of various Local Authorities. It might be easier to auction the things off, perhaps engaging the services of a dealer in curios and antiquities such as the kindly Mr. Cave or someone less scrupulous, but more inclined to handle such objectionable materials. There is a base 45% chance that disturbing the rolls will attract the attention of a Phantasmal Menace.A young man lies dead in his ramshackle bed set below the central gable window. A trail of little red footprints reveals that this was the work of a score or more Little People who appear to have returned to their domains within and between the walls after dispatching their enemy. The young man was something of a Dreamer, even now in death his dreams permeate this space and if one is careful not to use too bright a light source, or to cast damaging or disrupting spells, there are 1d6 Oneiric Codices on the little nightstand next to his bed that could be perused if one so desires. These books are made-up of dream-stuff and will disappear instantly if there are any loud noises, bright lights, spells cast within the room, or if anyone attempts to move or disturb the dreamer's body in any way. Each book has a base 30% chance to contain 1d4 spells that an avid reader could attempt to memorize. Doing this means they must remain still, quiet and entirely focused on the task at hand, disregarding all else, or the attempt fails and the books dissolve into so much oneiroplasm. Each time a spell is successfully memorized, roll a d6, on any result other than a 1, the books all disappear. On a result of '1' the current book dissolves, but the others remain and can likewise be consulted if desired. Any spells gained in this manner can be immediately cast and lost, or it is possible to attempt to inscribe them into a grimoire, journal or spell-book...but unless the caster does so while asleep, the inscription will fail and the spell will be lost.(1d6) Ravens are on the windowsill, taking turns tapping out competing rhythms or patterns in order to annoy a cat that no longer lives there.Three glass plates prepared for use in Ectography and wrapped in black fabric lie next to a broken camera and related apparatus. A calling card for B. Jazmir, Master of Ectographry can be found on the floor near the table. It seems that Master Jazmir ran afoul of a cabal of Fantomists. It is just possible that the Fantomists have left someone to keep an eye on this attic studio in order to capture any of Jazmir's possible associates, suppliers or clients. The Fantomists might take an interest in the players if they poke around in this attic for very long...A partially visible and quasi-fossilized Horla hangs suspended from the rafters by a stout chain affixed to an electric winch. Someone has been making detailed anatomical drawings of the creature.A broken case containing three partially-chewed bars of Lear's Soap.A black-iron spear mounted with a battle-lamp has been jammed into the floor-boards. The cable is missing, otherwise it is in working order. When powered, the spear can emit an Actinic Ray capable of causing an additional 3d4 damage to any creature susceptible to sunlight struck by the blade, or 1d6 damage if used as a Ray Attack (Ranged). Typical battery-packs yield 6 attacks at full-strength.The ceiling is encrusted with a Scabrous Froth.An old barber used to make this his home, before he got mixed-up in some nasty business with a pair of Wall Guards and a missing Electric Mitrailleuse. In the battered old chest at the foot of his un-made bed there is a large glass jar containing a dormant Corpuscular Sludge. A pair of Lesser Nosferatus have been watching this place, waiting for a chance to gain entry and recover the Sludge for their Mistress. Both wear Rings of Rat's Teeth and will cast Vile Residue to facilitate their escape if necessary.Something Squick and Ichorous can be found here, as can be a mop with a broken handle and three rusty buckets.A trowel for fighting Gobbling Grouts and Jellies has been left on the windowsill.The spell Unnatural Acromegally has been carved into the floor-boards by a pair of Thumblings who are still caught-up in their argument about the best methods for adjusting this spell to have the most impact upon their hated enemy.A Black Key dangles from a blue ribbon looped over the handle to a closet door. For a moment you might be able to hear the waves crashing across the rocks below the Gormenstille of New Chillon, but perhaps that is all just in your headA magic circle has been botched. The outer perimeter is clotted with shiny little lumps of congealed Purple Amber, while the inner border still smolders with a foul-smelling green flame that is taking an extremely long time to burn itself out. An enterprising Forager might be able to scrape-away a few samples of the Purple Amber, but doing so runs the risk of coming into contact with the green flames...and they do not consume anything physical, but rather they consume spiritual things. A close examination of the rest of the attic will turn up a small ivory carving of a Peryton in the classical Franzikaner style. This little item is an un-charged Charm Against Perytons suited to use within the Purple Forest. Perhaps a Jaladari might help make the Charm work, or offer you something for it?Ruttolfen, a Gleiben Rat-Killer stayed here in this garret in-between jobs exterminating vermin in the Near Deeps under a Sewer Militia contract. Several pairs of half-shredded banded-leather gauntlets and some other bits and pieces litter the floor and there might be Something Under his Bed. No one has seen or heard from the guy in over a month. Some of the other tenants are concerned enough to ask you to consider looking for their friend. they might be able to put together some kind of reward if pushed.An un-exploded cannister of Black Smoke protrudes into this attic from the ceiling. Some one really did a shoddy job repairing the roof and did not bother checking the spaces below for whatever made the hole. Tampering with the cannister runs a cumulative 30% chance to set it off. Loud noises, jarring contact, excessive heat or electrical discharges within the room and most forms of spell-casting will all incur an additional 10-40% chance to detonate the cannister...so it might be better to leave well enough alone and maybe report this UXB to the Local Authorities. Of course, there are those who would pay handsomely for this cannister, and others who would be willing to purchase the details of its location...but that's a matter of conscience and/or commerce...What's in the Attic? (Table I)  |  What's in the Shuttered Room? […]

  • Wednesday Comics: Nocturnals: Sinister Path
    by Trey on November 1, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Ignore the calendar. Halloween doesn't have to be over yet, not when there's a new Nocturnals graphic novel out. I backed the Kickstarter for Dan Brereton's Sinster Path, so I first mentioned it back in July, but now the nonbacker public can get it. The Kindle/Comixology versions are available, as is the soft cover, through sellers on Amazon.If you're not familiar with horror/pulp/superhero mashup The Nocturnals, you might want to read this post first.  If you are, then you know Brereton presents his tough guy underworld where super-science and magic exist in a matter of fact way, without a lot of explanation. Sinister Path continues this tradition, so no one evidences any surprise when Doc Horror and his crew head into the mansion of a deceased judge to get the files of dirt he kept on various underworld and government figures and encounter supernatural menaces. All in a days work for a werewolf/mob enforcer/scientist from a parallel dimension!If that makes the Nocturnals sound like camp, it is not. The tone is serious for the most part, and Brereton makes his unusual concept work. His moody and lurid art probably helps.Sinster Path could be read as a standalone, but it's probably, but best to start a little earlier so you know the relationships. It's fairly open-ended, promising more to come. […]

  • The Ring revised
    by Jeff Rients on November 1, 2017 at 10:12 am

    So here's a revised version of the Traveller map I shared the other day.  I made a major goof in the first version: the bottom right and upper left corners of the map were the exact same subsector.  Whoopsie.Now that this little issue is fixed, here are some next steps to make this map into a viable Trav setting:Take a good look at the jump clusters.  What places are jump-1 vessels limited to?  Where can a j-2 ship go?  What parts of the Ring can only be accessed by j-3 or better?Plan some travel routes.  I prefer the pre-Imperium (the official setting) version of trade routes in the 1977 version of the rules.  Tales to Astound has a good post on this subject.Figure out what some of the Red and Amber Zones might mean.Look at which worlds are dominant in the region.  Generally, a world with a high population, a high tech level, a class A starport, and a Naval base will be one of the big players in the setting, as those are the kinds of worlds with the resources needed to force their will on others.Determine what all these dang allegiance codes indicate.  Those are the the little two letter things near the bottom right of each world.  Na stands for Non-aligned.  The rest are random output of the generator and are meant to suggest the name of some sort of interstellar political unit. […]

  • d100 Crisis in the Court of the Cephalapoid Kings
    by Konsumterra on November 1, 2017 at 7:22 am

    This is for underwater folk in the local area to drive them to interact with the surface world. Possibly some characters might be part of the aquatic world or visit it or find other signs of things going on. The sea folk might have various surface adventures and cause some mischief. It's just part of the rich tapestry of life in a fantasy world. Also for those who might play magic octopus princesses or for the DM to see what squid men or deep ones up to. A setting on a Island or coastline with ongoing land sea interactions.d6 Cephalapod type1-Squid2-Ammonite - curled shell3-Nautilus - shell4-Cuttlefish - short tentacles5-Octopus6-Orthocone - long pointed shelld6 Race Type1 Spirit Folk - change into human form and any between2-3 Tako - larger, sentient and amphibious versions or normal creatures4-6 Beast Folk - fierce hybrid beast and humanwere types might exist too....d6 Alignment1 Serve duly appointed lord of the sea according to mandate of heaven LG2 Serving chaos and evil demons of the deep who seek the apocalypse CE3 Serve fleets of hell and marine devils who seek eternal subjugation of weak LE4 Serve bright faerie courts of various sea lords who serve freedom CG5 Serve ancient elder evils who seek to return to walk the world NE6 Care for the natural balance of plants and animals N d100 Crisis in the Court of the Cephalapoid Kings01 Human garbage is ruining the undersea community and sea folk are getting angry02 A anchor ripped the roof off a shrine and infuriated the priests03 Refugees from a massacre have joined the community increasing it's needs04 Human fishermen have captured a maiden and her family demand something is done05 Humans found some gold idols from the ancient sea kingdom and the priests have been dreaming the gods are displeased06 A vicious fisherman has been harpooning citizens and everyone is upset07 A storm washed a magic pearl from the temple and possibly it washed ashore08 A holy beast from the deeps died and washed up on shore, humans are curious and starting to investigate09 Human cultists have been calling on a rival sea entity upsetting the ancient balance10 Prophets warn human kind are about to invade the deep somehow11 Human smugglers have been faking supernatural events to drive away the curious but unwittingly have atracted adventurers to the area12 Wreckers have sunk ships with false beacons and wreckage is strewn over the kingdom13 A human alchemist has been dumping failed formula in the sea and causing mutations14 Ships have been dumping ballast on the city damaging homes15 Humans fishermen are depleting local fish schools causing sea folk to grow hungry 16 Effluent dumped in sea by humans has caused toxic algal blooms 17 A plague of starfish have covered the reef eating everything, if humans would eat them it might help 18 A strain of marine lycanthropy has been turning humans into awful monsters menacing the sea folk19 Human pearl divers have come closer to the city and need to be kept away20 Sirens have been luring humans to their deaths prompting human adventurers to explore the coast21 A cult has been drowning humans and the bodies are washing up on the coast, people are blaming undersea peoples22 A ship was wrecked and has some cargo humans are trying to recover by extraordinary means risking the community being discovered23 Some humans have been diving in area, one was captured and questioned. A scholar found ancient records of the sea city and is sending explorers to find ruins24 A pod of orca have been working with human whalers to hunt behemoths of the sea25 A water elementalist school has been mapping the sea bed and needs to be scared away26 Sea druids have been trying to contact the kingdom but the ancient law says they must be kept away from the truth27 A human sea cult has been dropping offerings into the sea and annoying the sea folk with their ignorant blasphemey28 To punish the humans a great wave was sent to punish them but instead they have been investigating  the source 29 A great conch shell that calls a ancient behemoth was lost by naughty princesses and humans found it on the shore30 Humans have been constructing a lighthouse and have inadvertantly released the blood of a titanic slumbering demon god which might awaken31 Humans have offended a sea god and thousands of sharks have been terrorising the coast32 A selkie had her skin stolen by humans and now she is trapped in the human world, helping her would get her kind on side33 Cephalopod cuisine is all the rage and fishermen have beet trapping anything with tentacles to sell in the city34 A mermaid has lost her comb and mirror and sources say humans stole them35 Several aquatic races have been at war and human scholars have been finding corpses washed up on the beach36 Seahag kidnaps a prince of land and sea to start a war37 Sea Necromancer has army of zombie sailors to raid coast and sea kingdom is blamed38 Race of mermaids is eating men and fish folk slowing trade39 Giant mass of sargassum seaweed choking seas, trapping ships and smothering sea folk cities40 A new race of sea beings worshiping a strange marine demon move into area fermenting war41 A ghost ship has been seen menacing small groups of travellers42 A Dragon turtle has been eating people on coastal raids and attacking under sea towns43 A dragon king is concerned one of his daughters has gone missing with a magic pearl and has minions looking for her44 Scholars have found a seaside cave complex with pre deluvian tablets. The undersea folk dont want them in the hands of surface dwellers45 A jade tablet from the palace of a sea god has been stolen by a disgruntled servant and will use it to create problems in the region with it's forbidden secrets46 A great fishy sage has been trapped by humans and locked in a menagerie47 Some farmers dug up a relic in a field that was once under the sea. Priests of the sea folk are getting visions and want it back48 A human cult have been holding boat parties for the rich and conducting faux rituals that offend the sea priests49 A local fish herding boy has been trapped by humans who have put him in a carnival freak show50 Some local marine people were vandalizing human nets and got captured. Humans plan to kill the prisoners51 A new breed of poisonous shellfish has been spreading from hulls of ships from far off land52 Humans have been searching coast waters for shellfish purple dye derived from for robes of nobles. Many searching near underwater cities53 Pirates looking for lost treasure have been digging up beaches and interfering with undersea agents missions54 A surface dweller has been killing trolls and chopping up bits and throwing in the sea to dispose of them. Now underwater trolls are spreading55 A tribe of sea ogres have been moving into area bullying locals and eating any who dont surrender treasure56 A mighty sea spirit in serpent form has been keeping his daughters in a cave. Various sea warriors and human adventurers have died trying to meet these beautiful sea spirits57 Explorers found a huge undersea statue and human scholars are seeking to study it and possibly move it. As one of the border stones of the lost undersea elder empire this is blasphemy58 A fishing fleet has been using new huge nets and has captured a beloved community pet59 Humans have been drowning witches and someone else has been reanimating the corpses which have been causing problems60 A seahag has been kidnapping males and using them to father monsters which guard her island 61 A disgruntled princess of the undersea kingdom wants to destroy peace and has been stirring up humans and giving them clues to the humans as to the aquatic settlements62 A lord of the deep has demanded a birthday gift but only the surface world can provide it63 A ship load of narcotic lotus resin sunk and after a night of hallucinations the sunken city dwellers want more64 A new pet of a sea hag demands brains to eat and human or sea folk will do65 A pirate has discovered the undersea folk have settlements and that they have treasure66 Human merchants have been dropping messages into the deep inviting trade with undersea  world67 A ship brought up a anchor with a architectural feature from the sea king palace hooked. Sea folk want it back68 A catfishman wizard of elder times has been revived and seeks to rebuild his ancient evil empire. Most of the modern evil races dont even like this plan but he has managed to find malcontents and rebels to join his schemes69 Drunken sailors have been scouring coast as rewards for captive mermaids are being offered in the city by a circus70 Pearl divers from a far off land have been brought into area by merchants and have been getting close to secretive underwater settlements71 A strange bard has been singing eerie songs and leaving political unrest in wake. Sources say same happening on surface too. Is it the same being?72 A surface magician has been summoning fish schools for the fisherfolk and some sea gods are less pleased73 The queen requires ambergris and some recently was washed ashore, sombody needs to take it for the rightful rulers of the sea74 A group of mystery solving squid kids have not returned from a expedition to the surface and their families are worried75 Human sealers have begun settling a rocky island sticking out of a  reef city and the king wants volunteers to pretend to be ghosts to scare them away76 A sea people merchant want to start secretly trading goods with surface folk and needs someone to come up with a crafty way to do this without exposing undersea civilization77 A seahag turned a princess into a human to be with a handsome sailor she saw and her family want her back78 Human cultists have tried reviving a slumbering god who rivals that of the undersea kingdom and something needs to be done by Cthulhu!79 Humans have trapped fish in setted off bays to fatten schools of fish in a farm but they are increasing disease and parasites over the whole area80 A human boy used a relic to visit the underwater kingdom in disguise. So far humans don't believe him and the sea king wants the relic stolen and the boy discredited81 A human artist has been spying on the aquatic world with a crystal ball and has captured the likeness of the queen in a comprimoising position. Someone must get the painting and probably steal the ball too82 A human natural history professor trapped some children and has them on display in the university menagerie. The court demand they be returned home before they fall behind in the school year83 Children have been playing in the shallows and some have gone ashore to prank the humans. Somebody must find theses kids and warn them away from this foolishness84 A gang of misguided hybrids have been raiding royal sea caravans and hiding on land. Possibly human authorities can be tricked into killing them all85 A report has come in of a number of citizens trapped ashore in wells for decades and the king would like these poor souls rescued86 A horrible human murdered a member of the royal family. The king wants them punished or captured. As all humans look the same a detailed description of the villains wooden leg is available and the priest is certain he is in the human city87 A spy on the surface world has seen hybrid offspring in the human orphanage and a priest would like someone to bring them to underwater civilization 88 A human wizard has been swapping souls with citizens of the sea city to spy on it's people. Find the spy in the city or find where he lives on the surface and stop him89 A human killed a holy narwhale and the king offers a reward for bringing the rotter in90 A ancient nautilus prophet from the depths has come to the sea kingdom warning the humans are plotting against marine races. The king needs spies too visit the human kingdom91 A human spell to summon marine creatures has been used increasingly and the sea king wants copies of the spell destroyed and humans warned off from using it92 Some crafty sea folk have been sinking human ships to rob them but the humans are getting wary and have sent adventurers. The troublemakers sinking the ships must slow down and not be so greedy93 The sea god priests need volunteers to go ashore and deliver pearls to the volcano goddess as a gift. Humans have been intercepting the gifts and the gifts are essential to appease the goddess94 A dyke has been holding back the sea in a location of the human world and sea gods want it sabotaged so the land can be reclaimed95 A heretical sea folk sect fled into marine caves under the human lands aeons ago. Now the king wants explorers to find them to see if they are fit to return to the bosom of the community or stay exiled96 A sea spirit has fallen in love with a ornamental ship prow and offers a reward to bring it to him. Bonus reward if it can be brought to life somehow97 A fish whisperer has been helping human fishermen and the sea king wants them punished and their powers somehow removed98 A evil strain of parasite has been replacing itself with the tongues of fish folk and making them utter blasphemies. Where did they come from and how do we stop them?99 Maps of the human world are required by the military and scouts are needed to get the latest ones from mankind100 A attack on the surface world is being planned. Scouts are needed to check planned beachfronts and rivers […]

  • November Campaign Design
    by Joseph Bloch on November 1, 2017 at 3:30 am

    I'm declaring November to be NaCaCrMo.Sodium-Calcium-Chromium-Molybdenum for the win!Oh, wait. No. With all the national month of this or that or the other thing in November, I thought I might turn my own attentions to creating a campaign setting in a month, both to see if I can do it, and to share my own process for doing so with you all. I'm calling it NAtional CAmpaign CReation MOnth. Because those sorts of semi-acronyms are all the rage nowadays, apparently. Maybe it's not "national", but I'll give it a try anyway.Starting on November 1st, I'll go from a bare concept to (hopefully) a finished, ready-to-play campaign setting that could last many years of play.My only self-imposed limitations:It'll be written for some form of D&D or OSR game (or more than one)It'll have at least one complete map and accompanying descriptive textIt'll be in final, playable (not necessarily publishable - formatting and layout is not required) form by November 30It'll have at least one unique twist to set it apart from most other campaign settingsSo there we go. Hope this works out as well as my NaGaDeMon experience a few years ago!_______Illustration from Ed Greenwood's excellent "Plan Before You Play" article in Dragon Magazine 63. […]

  • Massachusetts 1920s – Call of Cthulhu 7e – Campaign Index
    by Akrasia on November 1, 2017 at 12:24 am

    [A lovely cheesecake created by two of my players]Since it’s Halloween I thought it appropriate to post (finally!) the index for my 7th edition Call of Cthulhu campaign. The campaign actually has been on hiatus for several months now. I’m not entirely sure when I’ll return to it, as I’m focused more on my Middle-earth campaign right now, and a friend is planning on running the Laundry RPG soon. But since the Cthulhu campaign did go quite well (only one character death!) and was a lot of fun, it would be a pity if I didn’t finish the scenario summaries and post links to everything related to it on this blog.So here is the index (to be updated when I post the final summaries)…7th Edition (‘non-campaign’) posts:·       Some initial impressions of the 7thedition of Call of Cthulhu.·       I ran the ‘one-shot’ adventure ‘Missed Dues’ at the 2016 Loz Con.The Investigators:Bertrand Smyth. Lecturer in Archaeology. Originally from London. o       Visiting lecturer at Harvard University (1922-23); permanent lecturer at Miskatonic University (1923+).o       Specializes in Ancient Greece.o       A veteran of the Great War.o       Cousin of Stephen Knott (property-owner and collector of rare artefacts).o       A bit of a ‘fuddy-duddy’ (dresses in an unstylish Edwardian manner).Max Brewster. Private Investigator. Bostonian (originally from Lowell MA).o       A forty-ish, slightly greasy, gumshoe.o       A specialist in dodgy divorce cases.o       Plenty of street smarts, but little formal education.Helen Tilton. Freelance photographer and journalist. o       Originally from Toronto.o       Sometimes works for the Boston Globe.o       Has Marxist sympathies.Kellen Tilton. Football coach at Miskatonic University. o       Originally from Toronto. o       Brother of Helen.o       A veteran of the Great War. The Massachusetts scenarios:Except for the first one (which is a classic that has been around since the beginning of CoC), all of the adventures that I ran for this campaign are new for the 7th edition. After the each summary I provide some general reflections on the adventure.·       The Haunting (September 1922).·       Dead Light (late November 1922).·       Blackwater Creek (September 1923). [Summary coming soon.]·       Crimson Letters (October 1924). [Summary coming soon-ish.] Happy Halloween! […]

  • 1st Edition Paladin Spells (Part 2)
    by Joseph Bloch on October 31, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    Following up on the previous post, here are the remaining paladin-specific spells, converted from 5E to 1E format. The 5E paladin spell list goes up to 5th level, but in 1E paladins can only cast up to 4th level spells, thus this list is a little smaller than the total list of paladin spells in 5th edition.Third LevelAura of VitalityLevel: 3Components: VRange: Self (3" radius)Casting Time: 3 segmentsDuration: 1 turnArea of Effect: SpecialSaving Throw: Neg.This spell fills you with healing energy. One time during the duration of the spell, you can cure wounds on any individual within 30 feet of your position, causing them to regain 2d6 hit points. If cast on an unwilling subject, they are entitled to a saving throw to avoid the spell's effect.Blinding SmiteLevel: 3Components: VRange: SelfCasting Time: 3 segmentsDuration: 1 turnArea of Effect: 1 weaponSaving Throw: NoneThis spell will create a special field in any single weapon you hold. The next time the weapon hits an enemy before the end of the spell, it will ring with a thunderous clap, inflicting an additional 3d8 h.p. of damage. In addition, unless it is able to make a saving throw vs. spells, it will be blinded for the duration of the spell, with a -4 penalty "to hit". If the weapon does not hit, the spell effect wears off at the end of the spell's effect. Only one target will be affected by the weapon.Crusader's MantleLevel: 3Components: VRange: SelfCasting Time: 3 segmentsDuration: 1 turnArea of Effect: 30' radiusSaving Throw: NoneThis spell creates an aura around you that inspires all friendly creatures within 30' of you to greater feats of martial skill. For the duration of the spell, all friendly creatures inflict an additional 1d4 h.p. of damage when they hit. The radius of effect moves with you.Elemental WeaponLevel: 3Components: V, SRange: TouchCasting Time: 3 segmentsDuration: 1 hourArea of Effect: 1 weaponSaving Throw: NoneThis spell allows you to temporarily imbue a single weapon with a +1 bonus for both "to hit" and an additional 1d4 h.p. to damage inflicted. If you are 13th level, the weapon will have a +2 bonus to hit, and if you are 15th level or higher, the weapon will have a +3 bonus to hit.Fourth LevelAura of LifeLevel: 4Components: VRange: SelfCasting Time: 3 segmentsDuration: 1 hourArea of Effect: 30' radiusSaving Throw: NoneThis spell infuses you with positive energy, which radiates out from you in a 30' radius and moves with you. All friendly creatures in the area of effect get a +4 bonus to all saving throws when attacked by undead creatures or creatures native to the negative material plane. If any friendly creature within the area of effect starts a round with 0 or fewer hit points and is still alive, that creature will be increased by 1 additional hit point.Aura of PurityLevel: 4Components: V, SRange: SelfCasting Time: 4 segmentsDuration: 1 hourArea of Effect: 30' radiusSaving Throw: Neg.This spell surrounds you with an aura that protects against disease and other conditions. For the duration of the spell, all non-hostile creatures within 30' of you will be immune to all diseases, including mummy rot, but already-existing diseases are unaffected. In addition, they will have a +4 bonus to all saving throws vs. poison, petrification, fear, blindness, deafness, and paralysis. Finally, they will also take half damage from any non-fatal poison. The aura moves as you do.Staggering SmiteLevel: 4Components: VRange: SelfCasting Time: 4 segmentsDuration: 1 turnArea of Effect: 1 weaponSaving Throw: Neg.This spell will create a special field in any single weapon you hold. The next time the weapon hits an enemy before the end of the spell, it will cut through into their mind itself, inflicting an additional 4d6 h.p. of damage. In addition, unless it is able to make a saving throw vs. spells, it will be stunned and suffer a -4 penalty to all "to hit" rolls, saving throws for the next 1d4 rounds. If the weapon does not hit, the spell effect wears off at the end of the spell's effect. Only one target will be affected by the weapon. […]

  • Book-Keepers
    by garrisonjames on October 31, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    “But need alone is not enough to set power free: there must be knowledge.”Ursula K. Le Guin,A Wizard of EarthseaBook-KeepersNo. Enc.: 1d4Alignment: NeutralMovement: 90' (30')Armor Class: 7 (as Studded Leather)Hit Dice: 2 (Advance as Magic-Users)Attacks: 1d2 or Spell-Taking (can also use Magic Items such as Wands)Damage: See BelowSave: MU2Morale: 6Special: These creatures can attempt to drain any spell a victim has memorized by making a touch attack that inflicts 1d2 damage per Round, requiring 1 Round per level of spell being extracted. If contact is broken during this attempt, the spell is lost to both parties.Driven by obsession and totally lacking in conscience and possessing only a vague echo of their former intellects, Book-Keepers are undead creatures of unnatural memory and lingering reflex, beings so caught-up in the pursuit of spells and the act of spell-casting that even in death they pursue new spells at any cost.Seldom encountered outside the Academy, Book-Keepers are considered Very Minor Undead; verminous magical pests best left to apprentices and students to deal with generally. Only in rare instances when a Book-Keeper might have stumbled upon an ancient, forgotten trove of old scrolls or books and gained a considerable number of spells would there be reason enough to alert the elders, professors or administrators of academia. Many faculty members look upon the Book-Keepers as something of a test for their charges, an opportunity for those with the wits to make the most of it or a contest of skills and/or personal power for those too dim to continue along the path of spell-casting.Some nuisances are really gifts in disguise, if one only knows how to make the most of the situation.'If you want to make things go BOOM! join the artillery or the grenadiers. Spells make lousy -- and overly expensive -- bombs.'Jadivak Klinehorst,Third Exchequer of the Academy at Wermpsittlefrom a quotation carved over the door to the Little Arena as a reminder to others […]

  • Actual Play: Heroes of the Ashford Valley Session 2
    by Matt Borselli on October 31, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Ashford Valley Actual Play notes from November 2012:IN WHICH: A party of adventurers fight a bandit gang and resolve the fate of prisonersWhat happened before: Four adventurers, Quinn the warrior, Jim Baggins the magic-user, Orin Copperhead the dwarf, and Giles Corey the elf, were tasked with delivering a valuable Bugbear longsword to the Lord of Sooton. While on the Deep Forest Road, they encountered Yarkand the Great Stag and followed him into the Deep Forest to a manor owned by Orin’s uncle Linder. Linder feared trouble was about to come down upon him and welcomed his kin and the other adventurers to his side, hoping that they could save his valuable gold mine and lands.With only a few days before trouble came down upon them, Jim, Quinn, Orin and Giles helped Linder set up defenses for his manor. The capped and sealed the well, then disguised it’s location. They also placed barrels full of stones on the manor roof to drop on attackers. And the mine was trapped and camouflaged.But the bandits arrived before they could retreat into the manor. Curran and his “Local Boys,” along with some humanoid allies that included orcs, gnolls and bugbears, stepped from the forest edge. At their heels were a half-dozen prisoners from earlier raids. Curran smiled as his crew fired upon Jim and Linder, who quickly retreated into the manor. While Orin took up a defensive position in the mine, Quinn and Giles watched from the ruined chapel but quickly skirted the enemy and made it to the manor.A pair of gnolls set up a small camp to the north of the manor while Curran’s main force set up camp near the chapel. When the manor defenders started firing into the bandits, Orin shot as well, giving up his position. A group of three orcs headed for the mine but were slain by the adventurers before they could successfully attack Orin.As darkness fell, the bandits set up mantlets made from farmhouse doors captured during their raids and built large bonfires. They traded arrows with the manor defenders, to little affect on either side.Quinn and Orin, supported by Jim and Giles, attacked the smaller camp, succeeding in slaying the two gnolls, while Linder watched the other bandits. The party retreated to the manor after throwing the gnolls’ mantlets into a bonfire and managed to escape the other bandits.A bugbear and three bandits took over the gnolls camp and again, Orin and Quinn sallied forth from the manor to do battle, with Jim and Giles supporting, striking hard against the bugbear and bandits. Jim cast a grease spell onto the bandit camp and lit one of the bandits on fire. The fight was fierce but Orin and Quinn prevailed, though Quinn received a nasty wound.Two more bugbears, hidden in the darkness, sprang forward and the fight continued back to the manor while the other bandits attempted to join in. Giles cast a sleep spell on the bandits and succeeded in enchanting two of them. By the end of the night, the party had killed 4 bandits, 2 gnolls, four orcs and two bugbears while taking little damage themselves. Giles healed Quinn and Jim’s wounds and the group prepared for morning.In the night, an argument among the bandits lead them to turn upon themselves and the manor defenders heard the remaining two orcs be killed by the bandits. Towards dawn, another argument started and then silence. It wasn’t until morning that the truth was learned.With only 4 bandits left in his crew and an unhappy bugbear, Curran had little choice but to retreat. He gave his prisoners to the bugbear for payment and fled the other way, with the remains of his “Local Boys.”The party, concerned with the prisoners and their soon-to-be gruesome fate at the hands of a monster, pursued the bugbear and slayed it. Returning to the manor, they soon lost the trail of Curran and his crew. Gathering up the weapons, equipment and gold of the slain, they left Linder and the now freed prisoners together to form a new community around Linder’s manor. The dwarf would continue to mine the gold and the humans would build anew with Linder as their lord.The adventurers continue on to Sooton and to further adventure, knowing that at some point, they would meet up with Curran again!Treasure: 67 GP, 12 SP, 2 gnoll longbows, 2 gnoll longswords, 3 bugbear longbows, 2 bugbear longswords (1d8+1, claimed by Orin and Giles), 1 + 1 bugbear longsword (1d8+2, claimed by Quinn), 4 longswords, 4 shields, 4 shortbows, silk hanky, bottle of cheap wine, book of recipes, iron key, sticks of chalk, one she-loves-me-not daisy. […]

  • What is Book of Spells? Part 1: Magic-Users
    by Oakes Spalding on October 31, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    GateWhat is Book of Spells?The short answer is that it's a spell catalog for the Seven Voyages of Zylarthen universe, containing 296 spells presented alphabetically, approximately half of which are new to Zylarthen. Some of the old spells have been rewritten and shuffled around slightly among classes and levels. Thus, Magic-Users now have 216 spells - 30 per level for levels 1-6 and 12 per level for levels 7-9. And Witches and High Priests each have completely unique lists of 40 spells - or "powers" for High Priests. In the process, the Witch and High Priest NPC classes have been somewhat re-designed. Book of Spells also contains new rules for age and aging, a table for item saving throws, and an optional rule for higher-level characters doing extra damage. As with volumes 1-4, it exclusively makes use of the wonderful illustrations of John Dickson Batten - all "new" ones, so to speak.It's currently available on Lulu, in physical booklet form for $6.95 and as part of a revised Seven Voyages of Zylarthen Electronic Edition for $9.95.I'm going to break the longer answer up into three parts. Today I'll focus on Magic-User spells.Let me go back a step and describe what was done for spells in the original Zylarthen. In the foreword to Vol. 1, I implied that the game was based solely on OD&D's "three little brown books," published in 1974. That was true for classes, abilities and (roughly) the combat mechanism. But attentive readers of Zylarthen and these blog posts know that monsters, magic items and spells tracked the first two-years of Dungeons & Dragons, taking things through the late fall of 1975. Or, in other words, I made use not only of the three little brown books but also Greyhawk and the first four issues of The Strategic Review. Most spells were inspired by these sources. There were a few original ones, and we declined to use some others, most notably the upper-level Magic-User spells (levels 7-9) of Greyhawk and roughly half of the Illusionist spells of Strategic Review. Of the spells we used, Magic-Users got all of the Magic-User spells and some of the Cleric spells. NPC High Priests (clerics) got a list similar, though not identical to, the OD&D list, the bulk of it shared with Magic-Users. Witches got a mix of the most "witchlike" Magic-User, Cleric and Illusionist offerings. Again, a few were unique, but most were shared.The original tally looked like this:Magic Users: 120 spells (20 for each of levels 1-6).Evil High Priests: 36 spells (5 for each of levels 1-3, and 7 for each of levels 4-6).High Priests: 36 spells (5 for each of levels 1-3 ,and 7 for each of levels 4-6).Witches: 60 spells (10 for each of levels 1-6).However, if you took out the overlaps, the number of distinct spells equaled 150. Out of the 132 Priest and Witch spells, only 30 were unique to those classes.For Book of Spells, we added the high-level spells in Greyhawk and expanded the time frame through mid-1977, thus stopping right before the start of the publication of AD&D. The additional sources we tracked were Eldritch Wizardry, Gods, Demi-Gods and Heroes, the Holmes Basic set, and two articles from early issues of Dragon magazine. Not all the Dragon spells were used, and we should note that for spells not in the 3.5 or 5.0 SRD, if we used them, we were pretty careful to use them as jumping off points only, re-imagining and (usually) renaming them, at least in so far as their names and effects were not obvious, generic or taken from some other source - such as the Conan stories.I'll discuss Witches and High Priests in more detail in parts 2 and 3, but the idea was to give them completely unique lists, letting them keep a few of the OD&D spells, but transferring the bulk to Magic-Users. This time, a larger number of spells (perhaps 70 or so) were either original to me or re-imagined (and usually renamed) from another early TSR game. OSRites will easily be able to identify it. The idea was to really make Witches and High Priests different from Magic-Users, as well as more witchlike or priestlike (though my angle on priestlike may surprise a few of you), while letting Magic-Users have 95%+ of the OD&D spells. Giving the vast majority to that player-character class seemed like the right thing to do.So here's the new tally:Magic Users: 216 spells (20 for each of levels 1-6, and 12 for each of levels 7-9).High Priests (including Evil High Priests - there is now technically no distinction in the spell lists): 40 - not separated by level.Witches: 40 - not separated by level.So, many of the "new" Magic-User adds were Druid spells from Eldritch Wizardry (I always liked the spells but hated the limiting nature of the class - at least for player-characters) and the left-out higher-level spells from Greyhawk.But I don't want you think that Book of Spells was merely an exercise in mashing those spells in (there wouldn't have really been a point if that had been the case). Rather, the parts and the whole had to work for the vibe of the game and for how "magic" would now be separated from witcheries and the deity bestowed "powers" of priests. I also took the opportunity to "fix" a number of spells that I either felt were broken or whose descriptions were annoyingly vague or unclear.Here are a few spells that I tried to fix:Color SprayHeat MetalMagic Missiles (yes, the "s" is intentional)Sleep (it's scaled back a bit to its original conception of having only a 10' x 10' area of effect - but 1st level Magic-Users now have a few other nice offensive spells to compensate)Here are some spells that were reimagined and (usually) renamed:Fear TouchHurrah!ItchSurrender or Die!Create FogCall Animals (I, II and III)Monster Summoning (I through IX - yes, you can now summon monsters at 1st level)Here are some spells that have only a tangential relation (if that) to their originals:Drain-Magic RayStun RayFreeze RayLava CircleAnd here are some that, as far as I know, are original to Zylarthen, but seemed to fit:Spectral HoundPhantom StalkerTwinlingCone of Cold (sort of original - some monsters in OD&D could do it)Create Breathable WaterTime Travel (this is a 9th level spell, and like Teleport carries a significant chance that the result might be somewhat "off")I have to admit that the first three require the forthcoming Book of Fiends to be understood or used, but I'll post the necessary monster descriptions on this blog in the next few days.As with the original Zylarthen, two versions of Raise Dead were reworked into super-healing spells. There are still no Wish spells (you have to have a ring or perhaps a sword for those). And there are only one-and-a-half spells from the set of "Phantasmal" illusion offerings - I had always felt that too many illusions and "I disbelieves" always threatened to ruin things."White Puff Ball Spell" was TSR's Gods, Demi-Gods and Heroes name for a spell described in the (now public domain) Conan story, "The Black Circle." Since TSR sort of lifted the spell from the story at a time when the story was not public domain, and subsequently permanently deleted it, I felt that using their wonderful name for the effect in the now pubic domain story was fair game. Alas, since Forlorn Incistment (another Gods, Demi-Gods and Heroes spell name that TSR lifted - though with a different spelling - and then deleted) is from a work not yet in the public domain, I followed TSR's route in AD&D and the SRD in renaming it as the much more boring "Imprisonment."I like the new Magic-User lists a lot. I feel that there's a great mix of spells at each level - from offensive to defensive to just useful to weird to, in a few cases, downright creepy. And while some "balance" is good - in determining which level to assign a spell to, for example - the overall goal was to make things fun.See the end of this post for page scans of the full Book of Spells Magic-User list.A word on round/turns: I don't really want to get into a big argument about this here, and I know that some people I respect hold a different position, but I came to feel that breaking time units down into rounds/turns as opposed to the more elastic conception of turns/melee turns/full turns was actually what Gygax and Arneson intended back in 1974, though their presentation was certainly confusing. In other words, rounds/turns was NOT a "naturalistic" accretion of AD&D. (Thinking that it was was the main reason I didn't originally go with it in the original Zylarthen.) But perhaps more importantly, Since Zylarthen's first publication, I came to feel that using an explicit rounds/turns scheme for spell duration was much less potentially confusing. So, for Book of Spells and the revised Book of Magic ALL spells were rewritten using the rounds/turns methodology. I imagine this will make some people happy while annoying a few others. But there it is.At the same time, for Book of Spells and the revised Book of Magic, I got rid of most instances where spell range, duration or effect varied according to level. I now feel that such variances were an illegitimate accretion from the original Vancian inspiration, even if they were present, at least to a small degree, even in the 1974 booklets. Finally, how does Supplement I: Book of Spells impact the already existing Vol. 3: Book of Magic? I elected to port rewrites and changes from Book of Spells back to Book of Magic, thinking this would be the least confusing alternative. In other words, purchasers of the new Electronic Edition of Zylarthen or the revised physical booklet of Book of Magic will notice that the Magic-User spell lists and descriptions in Book of Magic are slightly different from how they used to be. But Book of Magic still only has 120 spells for Magic-Users, and stops at 6th level. Sleep is a bit less of a mini-nuke, but in return you get Color Spray, multiple Magic Missiles (though they still DON'T hit automatically) and if you use Book of Spells, you can now summon a Goblin, Giant Centipedes or even Green Slime (whatever the referee determines that to even mean) to do your bidding.Unless you end up with a Butterfly Rabble.--------------------------------------------------Magic-User spell list from Supplement I: Book of Spells:Magic-User spell list from the revised Vol. 3: Book of Magic: […]

  • A short James Raggi interview
    by Jeff Rients on October 30, 2017 at 9:51 pm


  • Underground Comics
    by Trey on October 30, 2017 at 11:00 am

    I'm proud to announce that Underground Comics is coming. In an unexpected turn, an idle G+ comment has become an anthology comic with a crew of stellar old school gaming artists: Jason Sholtis, James West, Jeff Call, Stefan Poag, Karl Stjernberg, and Luka Rejec. Coming along for the ride are myself and Billy Longino, penning a couple of stories, and pitching in elsewhere as we can.Underground Comics will be 52 pages of black and white dungeon-related comic goodness, available in print on demand in 2018. Stay tuned for further updates as things develop! […]

  • 1st Edition Paladin Spells (Part 1)
    by Joseph Bloch on October 29, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    One of the things I like about 5th Edition is the notion of special spell lists for paladins and rangers. (I have no idea if this was also a thing in 3rd or 4th edition, since I never got into either.) I think this is precisely the sort of thing that could translate into 1st edition very well.So, that being said, here's my take on translating some of the 5th edition spells into 1st edition format.These would be in addition to the normal clerical spells to which paladins have access.First LevelCompelled Duel (enchantment/charm)Level: 1Components: VRange: 3"Casting Time: 1 segmentDuration: SpecialArea of Effect: One creatureSaving Throw: Neg.This spell will compel a single creature to fight the caster. On a failed saving throw, the target creature must remain within 30 feet of you and has a -4 penalty "to hit" when attempting to strike any creature except you. Once affected by the spell, the creature can attempt to make another saving throw which would allow it to move more than 30' from you for that round only. The penalty to hit remains in effect. The target creature is aware of the compulsion to attack you.The spell ends when you attack any creature other than the target (either with a weapon, magic item, or spell), when a creature friendly to you damages the target (again either by weapon, magic item, or spell), or you move so that you end the round more than 30' from the target.Divine Favor (evocation)Level: 1Components: V, SRange: SelfCasting Time: 1 segmentDuration: 1 turnArea of Effect: One weaponSaving Throw: NoneThis spell will imbue any single weapon held in your hand with divine energy in the round following the casting of the spell. A weapon so empowered will do an additional 1d4 h.p. of damage when it hits. The effect remains until the spell duration expires.Searing Smite (evocation)Level: 1Components: VRange: SelfCasting Time: 1 actionDuration: See belowArea of Effect: One weaponSaving Throw: NoneThis spell will turn any weapon you hold white-hot when it strikes (you are not harmed by this) in the following round. This will inflict an additional 1d6 h.p. of fire damage, and the target will become engulfed in white flames. These flames will inflict an additional 1d6 h.p. of fire damage per round until they are extinguished, or 1 turn has passed, whichever comes first. The flames can be extinguished by the target making a successful saving throw vs. spells, by some other creature using the round to extinguish the flames (smothering them with a cloak, etc.), or if the target is in an environment where fire is impossible (underwater, in a vacuum, etc.).Shield of Faith (abjuration)Level: 1Components: V, S, MRange: 6"Casting Time: 1 segmentDuration: 1 turnArea of Effect: 1 creatureSaving Throw: NoneThis spell causes an invisible shield to protect one creature of your choice. For the duration of the spell, the selected creature will have a +2 bonus to its armor class. The spell requires a bit of parchment with a prayer or holy text written upon it, which can be re-used.Thunderous Smite (evocation)Level: 1Components: VRange: SelfCasting Time: 1 segmentDuration: 1 turnArea of Effect: 1 weaponSaving Throw: NoneThis spell will create a special field in any single weapon you hold. The next time the weapon hits an enemy before the end of the spell, it will ring with a thunderous clap, inflicting an additional 2d6 h.p. of damage. In addition, unless it is able to make a saving throw vs. spells, it will be pushed back 10 feet and knocked prone, requiring a round to get up. The sound of thunder can be heard up to 300 feet away. If the weapon does not hit, the spell effect wears off at the end of the spell's effect.Wrathful Smite (evocation)Level: 1Components: VRange: SelfCasting Time: 1 segmentDuration: 1 turnArea of Effect: 1 weaponSaving Throw: NoneThis spell imbues a single weapon you hold with a powerful magical aura. The first time the weapon hits an enemy during the duration of the spell, it will inflict an additional 1d6 h.p. of damage. In addition, the creature struck must make a saving throw vs. spells. Failure means they are struck as if they had a fear spell cast upon them for 1d6 rounds.Second LevelBranding Smite (evocation)Level: 2Components: VRange: SelfCasting Time: 2 segmentsDuration: 1 turnArea of Effect: 1 weaponSaving Throw: NoneThis spell imbues a single weapon you hold with a powerful magical aura. The first time the weapon hits during the duration of the spell, it will inflict an additional 2d6 h.p. of damage. In addition, the target will glow as if a faerie fire spell had been cast on it for one round after the hit. If you do not hit a target before it expires, the spell is lost.Zone of Truth (enchantment/charm)Level: 2Components: V, SRange: 6"Casting Time: 2 segmentsDuration: 10 minutesArea of Effect: 15' radiusSaving Throw: neg.This spell creates a zone within which no untruth can be spoken. If any creature enters the spell's radius, or is within that radius when the spell is cast, it must make a saving throw vs. spells. Failure indicates it cannot tell any falsehood. You will know whether any given creature is under the effect of the spell when you hear them speak, but creatures affected by the spell will also be aware of their condition, and could very well choose silence or evasiveness._____Edit: Thanks to James Mishler for input on the spell effects, which have been updated to reflect his feedback. […]

  • Actual Play: Heroes of the Ashford Valley Character Profile Jim Baggins
    by Matt Borselli on October 29, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    An Occasionally Adequate MageDescription:Jim Baggins, Magic UserLevel 2Alignment – LightABILITIESStrength – 7 ( – 2 ) Dexterity – 6 ( – 2 ) Mind – 11 ( 0 ) AC 8 (- 2 DEX)Hit Points: 19Initiative: d20 – 2Power Points: 17Melee attack bonus: – 1Missile attack bonus: – 1Magic attack bonus: + 1Fortitude – 2Reflex – 2Will + 3Hometown -Languages – CommonReputation – +2 in the town of Ashford (temp)SKILLSPhysical + 3Subterfuge + 3Knowledge + 6Communication + 3SPELLS (POW Cost)Magic Missile (2) - 1d4+1 damage: +1 missile per two levels above 1st (max 5)Knock (3) - Grease (3) - Makes 10ft square or one objects slipperyDisguise Self (3) -CANTRIPS (11) Arcane GraffitiBall of SmokeBlankBlue LightBumpGrownHaywireShineTelekinesisWiltUntieEQUIPMENTDagger (1d4 – 2)Sling (1d4)Whip (1d3 – 2)Net (entangle)Dungeoneering Equipment [_ ] [_ ] [_ ] [_ ] [_ ]Ammunition [_ ] [_ ] [_ ] [_ ] [_ […]

  • The Center Cannot Hold
    by Jeff Rients on October 28, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    The Ring (pictured above) was created as a Burgess Shale type Traveller environ.  At 3 x 3 subsectors, the Ring is a bit more than third smaller in area compared to a standard Trav sector, but still plenty large for many kinds of adventures.The individual subsectors were generated using the Zhodani Base's cool random generator tool, with race set to "Pocket Empire," settlement level to "Backwater," and most subsectors either "Standard" or "Scattered" density.  The central subsector was set to Barren settlement level and Rift density.  The graphics for each subsector were autogenerated by clicking the nifty "send to TravellerMap.com" button.  I then stitched the individual maps together rather hamhandedly in pixlr.com.The inspiration for the structure of the Ring comes from a couple of old strategy sci-fi games I played in my undergrad days.  I fondly remember searching U of I's local AppleTalk network for an unsecure Mac that could host our games of Spaceward Ho!.  Usually someone in the Foreign Languages Building unknowingly obliged.  Later we spent a lot of time playing the sci-fi mash-up game VGA Planets, where the Cylons could fight the Federation and the Rebel Alliance at the same time. As I recall, both games had options for configuring the initial spacemap and we tended to favor ring-shaped universes.  This choice allowed for each player to face at most 2 foes in the early stages of the game.  We liked slow build-ups, ending with titanic battles between well-prepared opponents.World info and subsector maps below the thingy.@SUB-SECTOR: Eretfama SECTOR: The Ring# #--------1---------2---------3---------4---------5-------#PlanetName   Loc. UPP Code   B   Notes         Z  PBG Al#----------   ---- ---------  - --------------- -  --- --Harsar        0109 E5237A7-7    Po                 403 NaXalsaus       0202 B77A532-C    Ni Wa              102 RdHosoka        0204 E763685-1    Ri                 200 NaDeravon       0209 X488565-0    Ag Ni           R  113 Wd171-649       0304 X789000-0    Ba Lo Ni        R  014 NaDrinobytia    0308 E658677-3    Ag                 100 NaBisar         0401 B745211-7    Lo Ni              900 RdDonjema       0502 B440742-7    De Po              134 RdJenar         0507 B552366-7  S Lo Ni Po           920 WdFasaon        0508 C767643-3  S Ag Ri              100 WdErudjeos      0510 C368455-6    Ni                 224 WdKadonbar      0601 C7A7314-7    Fl Lo Ni           405 RdErnesonus     0602 X789300-0    Lo Ni           R  123 RdJessoreta     0604 E441432-5    Ni Po              124 RdRorare        0606 B540223-9    De Lo Ni Po        724 RdApdoka        0609 E5A4314-4    Fl Lo Ni           305 WdEretfama      0610 A8C8131-D  2 Fl Lo Ni Cp        210 Wd697-998       0703 X131000-0    Ba Lo Ni Po     R  003 RdTirusjan      0704 E779516-6    Ni                 503 RdOraberos      0706 X533340-0    Lo Ni Po        R  913 RdKlavobkabne   0709 C110415-7    Ni                 400 WdRasurus       0710 D85577C-4    Ag                 612 WdObavirgeus    0802 B537576-7  S Ni                 510 RdHozesye       0804 B410642-7    Na                 402 RdNapsoquia     0808 E000301-7    As Lo Ni           412 Wd@SUB-SECTOR: Lanavus SECTOR: The Ring# #--------1---------2---------3---------4---------5-------#PlanetName   Loc. UPP Code   B   Notes         Z  PBG Al#----------   ---- ---------  - --------------- -  --- --Banroos       0902 D377321-6  S Lo Ni              222 EbNerzaus       0903 X344000-0    Ba Lo Ni        R  013 EbIrenso        0907 E666305-3    Lo Ni              403 NaZARNEHOOS     1004 E7469BG-3    Hi In           A  120 EbFletman       1006 E121862-6    Na Po              702 NaApfaje        1008 XA78523-0    Ag Ni           R  224 NaSylama        1010 C376100-9  S Lo Ni           A  204 CfKonmasous     1101 C156575-B  S Ag Ni              203 EbKalobia       1106 C474410-5    Ni                 600 NaYtenones      1107 C326354-B  S Lo Ni              633 NaOrsaa-3       1108 B689130-8  N Lo Ni              103 CfNonmavir      1201 C300120-6    Lo Ni Va           105 EbSaleros       1203 X9DA000-0    Ba Fl Lo Ni Wa  R  024 EbHurapnas      1204 D110402-A    Ni                 101 EbHorolaos      1205 B442200-8  N Lo Ni Po        A  935 NaFrilkareia    1206 E378200-6    Lo Ni              202 CfZefazare      1207 B135451-A    Ni                 724 CfZedoromage    1208 BAA8200-8  N Fl Lo Ni           810 CfHodalroia     1210 E310459-6    Ni                 720 NaLanavus       1302 A425635-A  N Cp                 722 EbZehomazes     1303 B349540-8  N Ni                 202 EbLasala        1307 X149000-0    Ba Lo Ni        R  000 CfTenonkal      1309 X864131-0    Lo Ni           R  635 CfMareraus      1401 D7656BE-1    Ag                 123 EbZaninia       1404 C577430-8    Ni                 112 CfYtesesus      1405 D353489-7  S Ni Po              124 CfBigeganil     1406 D556461-2    Ni                 504 CfNelala        1407 C674512-4  S Ag Ni              823 CfOnytua        1408 DADA232-5  S Fl Lo Ni Wa        101 CfSapetiroro    1504 B556330-9    Lo Ni              304 CfOrytbizad     1505 C7798CA-8                       312 CfXatgeos       1506 C655454-6  S Ni                 110 CfUrusxe        1509 C46658C-5    Ag Ni              721 CfGetavorhar    1601 D100745-9    Na Va              304 NaMasadxeka     1602 B666300-B  S Lo Ni              600 CfJusobaos      1603 E7A56BA-1    Fl                 925 CfMajecas       1607 E630102-4    De Lo Ni Po        624 Cf@SUB-SECTOR: Shinonavan SECTOR: The Ring# #--------1---------2---------3---------4---------5-------#PlanetName   Loc. UPP Code   B   Notes         Z  PBG Al#----------   ---- ---------  - --------------- -  --- --FLENQALDO     1706 E200ACA-7    Hi In Na Va        222 GnJERAROS       1707 EA899BA-4    Hi                 124 GnDrenirkad     1710 E520524-7    De Ni Po           924 GnFalasanos     1801 CA7A200-8  S Lo Ni Wa           323 FwStapenavet    1903 B9C5311-7  N Fl Lo Ni           124 FwSaline        1904 CA8479A-3  S Ag Ri              404 NaHALBIN        1905 C885AFH-7  S Hi                 203 GnUsrexan       1906 B624201-D  S Lo Ni              413 GnPlirge        1908 X342400-1    Ni Po           R  714 GnRokamala      1910 A734487-A    Ni                 124 GnKafaros       2001 X100000-0    Ba Lo Ni Va     R  013 FwUsanavon      2004 D444101-9    Lo Ni           R  223 NaDofansabius   2005 C200467-6  S Ni Va              124 GnNerro         2007 B89A322-8  N Lo Ni Wa           934 GnJALZE         2008 EAEAAA7-9    Fl Hi Wa           220 GnLasyma        2101 C788102-5    Lo Ni              134 FwObratonusia   2103 C766313-8  S Lo Ni              202 FwSarilmaos     2105 C735246-6    Lo Ni              313 GnLares         2107 C557368-5    Lo Ni              700 GnSniranaus     2108 C533310-9    Lo Ni Po           103 GnKlobmare      2201 E553778-1    Po                 101 FwEtytza        2203 B733412-8    Ni Po              923 Fw304-223       2205 X9BA000-0    Ba Fl Lo Ni Wa  R  034 NaSasroze       2206 D555656-2    Ag                 304 GnUsironrare    2208 C556133-4    Lo Ni              303 Gn812-663       2301 X300000-0    Ba Lo Ni Va     R  003 FwPronbinalsa   2304 X530000-0    Ba De Lo Ni Po  R  014 FwErgeros       2306 E26A532-8    Ni Wa              722 GnShinonavan    2307 B9757AB-A  N Ag Cp              923 GnLasy          2309 B434233-A  S Lo Ni              304 GnVauserze      2310 X244000-0    Ba Lo Ni        R  003 GnGabrous       2402 X536423-4    Ni              R  921 FwSapeset       2404 A300334-A    Lo Ni Va           804 FwFronedzege    2405 B446200-9  N Lo Ni              123 NaOnanjar       2406 D665878-1  S Ri                 804 NaBytessyus     2408 D776543-2  S Ag Ni              103 GnAldas         2409 E545122-7    Lo Ni              112 Gn@SUB-SECTOR: Syka SECTOR: The Ring# #--------1---------2---------3---------4---------5-------#PlanetName   Loc. UPP Code   B   Notes         Z  PBG Al#----------   ---- ---------  - --------------- -  --- --Silauos       0115 B358100-9    Lo Ni           A  122 BcFlorkasedos   0116 B79669C-5  N Ag                 500 BcXexekaus      0119 D88A68A-7    Ri Wa              600 BcTronzaretia   0120 E252547-8    Ni Po              121 BcCADFA         0211 C0009CC-A  S As Hi In Na        421 KjRocebi        0212 X876676-0    Ag              R  104 KjSysavmaos     0214 X4388CD-0                    R  204 KjSlirirkaos    0215 B63358A-A    Ni Po           A  224 Na112-508       0217 X788000-0    Ba Lo Ni        R  011 BcVurobi        0219 E51046A-3    Ni              A  522 BcMerlafama     0312 E000687-7    As Na              702 KjHodojero-5    0313 E310265-5    Lo Ni              122 KjBlasget       0316 X563000-0    Ba Lo Ni        R  012 NaConbila       0318 B442414-7  N Ni Po              113 BcCrytxal       0319 D583387-2  S Lo Ni              224 BcPRILIRURJE    0320 C8A7977-5    Fl Hi              224 BcJekasanne     0414 D99A300-9  S Lo Ni Wa        A  112 KjIludjeroqu    0415 C520122-7    De Lo Ni Po        214 KjFamasofa      0416 C755564-8    Ag Ni              225 KjInapinaus     0417 C8C6303-6  S Fl Lo Ni        A  121 NaSUDORU        0418 BA87A65-9    Hi                 224 BcNerdalce      0513 C8B8542-4    Fl Ni              200 KjObilin        0515 B364563-A  N Ag Ni              523 KjLalaban       0516 C766105-5    Lo Ni              413 KjDoreretgeus   0518 B466410-7  N Ni                 124 NaSofama        0520 B786124-8  N Lo Ni              123 BcBibasos       0611 B259436-8  N Ni                 723 KjJekabos       0612 C343368-A    Lo Ni Po           122 KjCreravromad   0613 B300863-7  2 Na Va              304 KjZasylaus      0614 C349156-A  S Lo Ni              424 KjFalsarus      0616 A000320-B    As Lo Ni           220 KjXanes         0620 B579325-A  S Lo Ni              612 NaSYKA          0712 B766998-A    Hi Cp              312 Kj916-187       0713 X533000-0    Ba Lo Ni Po     R  034 KjQanororir     0719 B235676-7  S                    922 NaQARRADUS      0720 E533986-4    Hi Po              324 NaAnobet        0812 B899689-9  N                    123 KjIrage         0813 D753778-4  S Po                 215 KjFranonav      0820 C610640-5  S Na                 523 Na@SUB-SECTOR: Kansous SECTOR: The Ring# #--------1---------2---------3---------4---------5-------#PlanetName   Loc. UPP Code   B   Notes         Z  PBG Al#----------   ---- ---------  - --------------- -  --- --Sykadia       1017 X541000-0    Ba Lo Ni Po     R  000 Na@SUB-SECTOR: Blusoriros SECTOR: The Ring# #--------1---------2---------3---------4---------5-------#PlanetName   Loc. UPP Code   B   Notes         Z  PBG Al#----------   ---- ---------  - --------------- -  --- --Cezamao       1713 D8988BD-2  S                    104 NcStussamakaje  1716 X456000-0    Ba Lo Ni        R  023 NcQanhomata     1720 B97A100-E    Lo Ni Wa        A  122 NaPrytqarresoy  1812 B576212-A  N Lo Ni              224 NcSyzeceza      1813 E448563-5    Ag Ni              121 NcVeranedxeus   1817 D456100-4  S Lo Ni              123 NcResyquia      1818 A200243-A    Lo Ni Va           123 NaDogequla      1819 A254697-9  N Ag                 804 GaAlzanus       1911 E574574-3    Ag Ni              823 NcDosasurus     1914 C945345-5  S Lo Ni              412 NcDavreia       1920 B210163-8    Lo Ni              322 GaUsmare        2011 E7A5322-3    Fl Lo Ni           913 NcAderil        2012 B537341-A    Lo Ni              234 NcThirirus      2016 X9BA8AC-2    Fl Wa           R  515 GaAlaed         2020 B753457-7  S Ni Po              413 GaMusedanon     2116 D100512-8  S Ni Va              520 GaUdurusos      2117 C510662-4    Na                 604 GaBLUSORIROS    2119 A220ADF-F    De Hi In Na Po  A  124 GaRaoronfa      2120 D144751-4  S Ag                 913 GaBlinlateria   2211 D510427-4  S Ni                 823 NaYtlaro        2212 X8CA557-6    Fl Ni Wa        R  111 NaZerer         2213 D134234-6  S Lo Ni              713 GaEsusersy      2220 C510301-7  S Lo Ni           A  310 GaSersaderjeus  2316 C325843-5                       223 GaNECANIA       2412 C364996-6    Hi                 313 GaHarfa         2414 D998336-7  S Lo Ni              714 GaStesusuos     2415 D363304-4  S Lo Ni              303 GaRaluresoneria 2420 X886000-0    Ba Lo Ni        R  014 Ga@SUB-SECTOR: Inqav SECTOR: The Ring# #--------1---------2---------3---------4---------5-------#PlanetName   Loc. UPP Code   B   Notes         Z  PBG Al#----------   ---- ---------  - --------------- -  --- --Labirlas      0121 C7557A7-3    Ag                 413 NaCilerfabus    0124 D530596-3    De Ni Po           102 NaRosanzero     0125 C69A368-B    Lo Ni Wa           810 NaSiliror       0126 C558259-5  S Lo Ni              111 XiMarmatu       0223 C888410-5  S Ni                 100 ThInqav         0224 A853655-B    Po Cp              215 ThRehasus       0228 B510655-7  S Na                 710 XiCemazanerus   0229 X233322-3    Lo Ni Po        R  224 XiIrobalytia    0322 B431224-C    Lo Ni Po           923 ThEnaedon       0324 D765551-8  S Ag Ni              423 ThNew Etirytus  0325 X356575-0    Ag Ni           R  422 ThOrurzarurus   0326 X5A9332-0    Fl Lo Ni        R  414 XiAlinjeras     0327 X310302-3    Lo Ni           R  724 XiRemarus       0328 D236422-4    Ni              A  204 XiSobensous     0329 D000720-4  S As Na              234 XiFanusinos     0330 D400585-8  S Ni Va              413 XiHodoro        0422 E9C9405-6    Fl Ni              504 ThTusredoia     0424 B431531-8  S Ni Po           A  301 ThBrinesobsobia 0427 X889236-1    Lo Ni           R  403 XiKabika        0428 B985320-8    Lo Ni              912 XiOreturus      0430 BAB7453-8    Fl Ni              114 XiFarho         0522 B522756-A  N Na Po              223 ThQuradrasia    0524 E686675-6    Ag Ri              203 ThSogas         0526 D665210-2    Lo Ni              823 XiIrusavne      0529 C434330-A    Lo Ni              100 XiUddo          0624 C100797-7  S Na Va              623 ThGlenobal      0625 B310123-8    Lo Ni              410 ThDruseseredap  0626 X100000-0    Ba Lo Ni Va     R  003 XiBisoqarytos-1 0630 C449146-B  S Lo Ni              204 XiGabneos       0721 C265148-5    Lo Ni              203 ThReroquroia    0725 D3105A8-6    Ni                 100 ThZanzanbia     0726 E7A8113-4    Fl Lo Ni           410 NaSysogan       0727 E447320-3    Lo Ni           A  402 XiCorinonge     0729 DACA587-4  S Fl Ni Wa           304 XiSysar         0730 C358864-4  S                 A  214 XiQanav         0824 C48A200-B    Lo Ni Wa           313 NaDOXASUS       0825 E554ADE-8    Hi                 122 ThReraytsosaus  0828 B55556A-6  N Ag Ni              100 XiHarsy-5       0829 E236120-6    Lo Ni              104 Xi@SUB-SECTOR: Reresaxan SECTOR: The Ring# #--------1---------2---------3---------4---------5-------#PlanetName   Loc. UPP Code   B   Notes         Z  PBG Al#----------   ---- ---------  - --------------- -  --- --Zanoril       0921 C3236AC-6    Po                 322 NaStenuseron    0922 B322464-8    Ni Po              123 HtSycetmaa      0923 B8A657A-6    Fl Ni              110 NaMavzece       0926 D8B6550-3  S Fl Ni              103 MtIrbisanud     0928 C746200-7    Lo Ni              224 NaSymaso        1022 C75589C-7                       104 HtHaseros       1027 E335769-7                       823 MtIrrene        1030 C786623-3    Ag                 902 MtObron         1124 C245313-8  S Lo Ni              133 MtNesanob       1222 A49A457-C    Ni Wa              324 HtZamases       1223 B530798-7    De Na Po           512 HtGretdobasos   1224 D49A8BF-7  S Wa                 101 MtXanusos       1225 B666125-8  N Lo Ni              114 MtErinha        1229 D489649-3  S Ri                 702 MtIlsosoneu     1321 X989300-2    Lo Ni           R  422 HtSanfa         1322 D767547-5  S Ag Ni              313 HtKabathous     1329 B3017AB-7    Ic Na Va           613 MtStaprezeia    1421 B8A9534-7    Fl Ni              100 HtRonada        1422 A665449-8    Ni                 210 HtLaszeia       1423 C758430-7  S Ni                 124 HtMabje         1426 B000200-F    As Lo Ni        A  123 MtAvzejeus      1428 D440511-5  S De Ni Po           113 MtPruronneia    1521 B267355-A    Lo Ni              103 HtReresaxan     1522 A988688-C  N Ag Ri Cp           133 HtMapkad        1621 D596576-2    Ag Ni           R  123 HtFinreje       1623 B468278-C    Lo Ni              114 HtYtaeru        1630 C449102-7  S Lo Ni              101 Mt@SUB-SECTOR: Anren SECTOR: The Ring# #--------1---------2---------3---------4---------5-------#PlanetName   Loc. UPP Code   B   Notes         Z  PBG Al#----------   ---- ---------  - --------------- -  --- --Ilalsarus     1723 D321889-4  S Na Po              304 CiGANRAS        1728 E100A96-8    Hi In Na Va        224 CiRefala        1821 C340673-7    De Po           A  805 NaLeskararfa    1822 C468500-7    Ag Ni              202 CiXavavqud-1    1824 C586100-6  S Lo Ni              923 CiYtoncece      1828 C456651-6    Ag                 302 CiJarjat        1829 C311554-7  S Ic Ni              912 CiVusirro       1830 D211843-4    Ic Na              903 CiGareror       1922 E769466-3    Ni                 434 CiGedan         1926 C765656-4  S Ag Ri              125 CiJadonia       2021 E8C7667-2    Fl                 720 NaAnren         2025 A865151-B  N Lo Ni Cp           414 NaAvapsasia     2029 E27A500-6    Ni Wa              112 NaXanesus       2121 E7A7200-3    Fl Lo Ni           905 NaCerje         2122 C6A7768-5  S Fl              A  202 Cc847-107       2123 X658000-0    Ba Lo Ni        R  010 CcErurud        2124 C595598-7    Ag Ni              100 CcSalxefa       2225 C400743-5  S Na Va              103 CcInkaszaus     2229 C437138-6    Lo Ni              124 CcRoxehonsao    2230 C344300-9    Lo Ni           A  103 NaUdrarerud     2322 E200423-4    Ni Va              102 NaZalaho        2323 C158142-7  S Lo Ni              124 CcZaced         2324 EA998BB-3                       203 CcRokape        2327 C66A213-B    Lo Ni Wa           612 Cc607-906       2421 X785000-0    Ba Lo Ni        R  000 NaFalsarus      2422 C442310-5  S Lo Ni Po           202 CcQaret         2424 B527355-8  N Lo Ni              313 CcHatan         2425 B769777-8  N Ri                 423 CcOnlazeka      2427 XA74000-0    Ba Lo Ni        R  012 CcMiriluril-4   2428 X477000-0    Ba Lo Ni        R  024 Cc […]

  • Actual Play: Heroes of the Ashford Valley Session 1
    by Matt Borselli on October 27, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Ashford Valley Actual Play notes from November 2012:IN WHICH: A party of adventurers traveling from Ashford town to Sooton on a delivery errand are waylaid, a dwarf is met and a trouble is discussed.Orin Copperhead the dwarf, Jim Baggins the wizard, Quinn Quimby and Giles Corey the elf met a few weeks ago in Ashford town when they joined a search party looking for a lost girl. Their group was the one that found her safe and sound and gained some measure of reputation in the town (currently everyone has a +2 reputation in Ashford town except for Giles, the NPC elf, who has a +1). But reputations are fickle and only further deeds can cement these adventurers as heroes in the minds of the people.Partly because of this reputation, they were hired to deliver a valuable bugbear longsword to Sooton. Bugbear longswords are considered masterwork weapons and usually can only be gained by killing a bugbear. This longsword, quite definitely a fine weapon, was manufactured by a mysterious Tradetown company called the Iron Bugbear Company (how they learned the method of creating these weapons and where in Tradetown the are located is the mystery).Along the trip through the Deep Forest, they encountered Yarkand, a mythical stag that is beloved by the Valley. Yarkand, the Emperor of the Ashford Valley, the Lord of Forest, Farm and Field, met the adventurers near one of the mysterious Runestones along the road and led them through the forest (on a trail that appeared before Yarkand and disappeared behind them) to a near-abandoned manor. Then Yarkand walked into the forest and disappeared.At the old manor, the party met Linder the Dwarf, a miner (and uncle to Orin) who found a vein of gold in the nearby mine. Linder was glad of the friendly company and invited them in to tell them his problem. A man had come earlier and gave Linder a bad feeling. He’s expecting trouble and that trouble came several days later with the appearance of a bandit gang (leading a half-dozen or so prisoners!). […]

  • Vyzor #23: oh god I killed another dog
    by Jeff Rients on October 27, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    RosterYohey the Carpenter, LotFP specialist (Anthony Fournier)Persimion Finch, pig (Galen Fogarty)Magic Meryl, magic-user (Nick Kuntz)Arhur, doggie (pet)Pitwin Spryneedle, gnome (henchweenie)Gozundi the Lizard (Chris Wilson)To: Mister Banabus Sleetc/o The Jarrod Memorial LibraryFrom: Master Pitwin SpryneedleDear Mister Barnabus Sleet,It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform you of the passing of my mentor Magic Meryl, 2nd Dan – Jale Belt Librarian. She perished in the 1st Level of the Violet Vault, covered in a swarm of poisonous snakes. Arthur, ever the faithful dungeon terrier, stayed with her to the bitter end. He, too, died of poisoning under the touch of their most fearsome fangs. I fear I would have suffered similarly, sir, if not for the heroism of the warrior cursed to live as a pig, Permsimion Finch.I traveled with my mentor, Arthur, Mister Yohey the Carpenter, Mister Gezundi the Lizard, and the aforementioned Mister Finch as far as the 3rd Level of the Violet Vault. While what was encountered there include some of the most frightening brushes with the unknown in my fair short but adventurous years, they were not what befell my teacher. Still, even know; I do not want to dwell long on what transpired in those dungeons deep. Heed, though, this advice: Watch the ceilings.Included with this missive is a map that leads from the hatch in the root cellar of the Johnsons’ old place to the location where Magic Meryl passed. When we left it, the long room had become flood with snakes. Snakes first poured from the mummified serpent man seated on the southern throne as well as innumerable holes hidden amongst the reliefs of those sinister, slithering creatures. I do not know now if the serpents remain or not.From among the funds I acquired from the sale of a crown we recovered from the deceased Serpent King and 10 barrels of wine, I am currently offering a reward of 200gp total to those that return Magic Meryl’s body to the Jarrod Memorial Library. This is in addition to any current standing rewards you have for the return of librarians to your institution. It is there that she found a home in Vyzor and would like to return to join her friend Jarrod among the stacks.I, myself, hope to one day be counted among the Library’s ranks to continue Magic Meryl’s legacy. While I am proficient in the casting of 1st and 2nd Level magic-user spells, I have yet to master one not yet found among your collection. Until then, sir.With deepest regrets,Pitwin SpryneedlePitwin and Persimion carousingONGOING ROLL OF THE DEADMagic 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) […]

  • Chained Phantom
    by Konsumterra on October 27, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    3d Printable manacles legit for totesSorry for not blogging much. The Shadelport PDF has had 2000 hits now so I guess I should go pro. Im gonna revise and expand it for Xmas. Anyone wanna pay me to publish it let me know.So am flying soon from Sydney to Adelaide after a weeks work. Busy socialising with old friends and working and training but possibly getting into debt. So possibly loan money as I have been recently reminded why I dont want money from family or want anything from them ever. Kids at work were playing zombie apocalypse and one little girl accumulated all the dolls in her imaginary tree fort to protect them from all the zombies. Awwww. What a great encounter this would make. Behind on my blogging and drawing challenge and my drawing has not been up to scratch. Couldn't get game going but my doodle art game group held a special round for me. I will post some pix of the electronic doodle master machine and rules for drawing games we play. We get pretty rude. This group Ive been playing with for ten  years or so and are pretty resilient. Im going to try and get us a airline grant for a national/international (well Japan) doodle league but more on this later. Next month I will be doing a digital art piece every day so a poster, faux ad or sticker design each day which hopefully will kickstart my public vandalism hobby again. Might do a collage challenge after that or do my tax or something. Got to spend night in city train station all night recently which sucked and was cold but I had a book. When pro hobos feel sorry for you you know your a fuck up. Still a good reminder of why I must not become homeless. Definitely worse than the hostels and cupboards in warehouses I lived in most of this blogs history in Sydney. Adelaide has no work but my house is nice. Thinking of doing teaching degree next year but will see if I can cope first.Anyhow staying where I am there is some cool skeletons hanging up in front of a house with black shrouds and manacles connected to neck rings with chains. Quite disturbing so this:Chained Phantom**AC 16 HD 6+6 Att Touch2d6 HP drain, MOV 12"fly Special: Moan, life drain, +2 magic to hitThese undead are created by affixing specially enchanted slaver manacles used in age when monsters ruled over man. If a slave dies or is murdered while wearing the chains their soul is trapped in the corpse. Once the body is rotten or desiccated the phantom spirit arises and the body and chains shift to the ethereal plane. The spirit can move up to 12" from the point of its death. The Phantom if the place of death is approached in non sunlight appears and moans. All within 12" must save vs fear. It then flies after intruders reaching inside them and drains HP, half which are added to the phantoms own but these HP gained cannot exceed the maximum roll able HP of the phantom. If the intruders flee the phantom is limited how far it can chase them. Any person killed by the phantom arises as a zombie 24 hours later.  If killed the phantom corpse re enters the material plan be in a heap and the chains can be taken and used and are worth thousands but considered evil or as a cruel punishment. The phantom is enraged by living and seeks to kill any sentient being. Some may include dogs or other animals and may have zombie guards. Many have 2d4-2 zombie servants that lie in wait until the phantom appears.The chains may be found as treasure alone without a phantom and possibly with remains of a corpse. Some use them as guards for treasure or graveyards as sunlight keeps them in the ethereal plane. Necromancers might have the formula to making the vile chains in their black libraries. […]

  • Three Years in Azurth
    by Trey on October 27, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    October 20th marked the third anniversary on 5e Land of Azurth campaign, though we played our anniversary month game a couple of weeks earlier. The sessions have been about monthly, so it isn't as many adventures as it might be, but still is a milestone for a group of adults with busy lives.In that time, the party has ventured briefly into the depths beneath the Clockwork Princess's Castle Machina. They defeated the schemes of a witch and cult of jaded gourmands in the Enchanted Wood. They took on the crime lords known as the Baleful Burly Brothers in Rivertown. The escaped the clutches of a manticore named Mortzengersturm. They explored a Cloud Castle and escaped a cloud giant wizard, Zykloon. The cleared out a wererat carnival. They rescued Gwendolin Goode from the Motely Pirates, and almost obtained the Confection Perfection from the Candy Isle.Then things got really weird. They explored a floating Gelatinous Dome. They headed out into the Etheric Zone to break a Super-Wizard out of the Carnelian Hypercube. The investigated a whole in the ground and fell into a land of mushroom people, then a land of warring clans living in a ruined spacecraft, and hunted by invisible bugbears. Escaping their they were accosted by wooden gargoyle puppets, and encountered a weird control of dragon-wannabes, before finally getting whisked back to Azurth by the timely intervention of Father Yule on a windswept peak.They were barely back in Rivertown when Shade's estranged mother sent them into the fairy-madness of House Perilous. Their adventures there included a brief sojourn to France. On their way back to Rivertown, they got sidetracked helping a milltown and forest overrun with iron woodsmen.At the moment, they're looking for a fallen star in the caves of a group of Death Dwarfs. Credits:Dagmar (Cleric): AndreaErekose (fighter): BobKairon (sorcerer): EricKully (bard): JimShade (ranger): GinaWaylon (thief): Tug […]

  • Book of Spells for Zylarthen Released!
    by Oakes Spalding on October 26, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    It's been a long time coming, but I've finally released Book of Spells, the 1st supplement for Seven Voyages of Zylarthen.It's available in booklet form and as an "extra" in the also newly released Zylarthen Electronic Edition, which consolidates revised versions of the first four volumes in a bookmarked 336 page PDF file.Here's an excerpt from the foreword:Book of Spells, the first supplement for SEVEN VOYAGES of ZYLARTHEN, almost doubles the number of spells in the ZYLARTHEN catalog from 150 to 296. Part of the idea was to continue the process of “re-imagining” the original fantasy adventure game through the midpoint of its fourth year, at least for spells. Thus, some of the “new” spells will be familiar. Many of them were originally designed for a particular player-character class not available in ZYLARTHEN, although its more sinister non-player character relative survives (see Vol. 2 under “D”). Our own view is that the spells were wonderful, but the player-class itself was limiting. We think they work better if they simply expand the choices for all Magic-Users. We also somewhat redefined the ZYLARTHEN Witch and High Priest classes. Both now have unique lists of spells—or “powers” in the case of High Priests—the majority of them being new to the universe of ZYLARTHEN as well as the original fantasy adventure game. We feel that the Witch spells make Witches more Witch-like, and the High Priest powers make High Priests more . . . perhaps alien is the right word. In the process of conceiving Book of Spells we’ve also slightly rewritten many of the spells in Vol. 3 and changed the level of a few of them to better comport with the range of the expanded list. The duration for most spells is now defined in terms of “rounds” (10 to a turn) or “turns” (6 to an hour), as opposed to the more elastic scheme given in the original. Spells and powers are listed in alphabetical order. All are fully compatible with ZYLARTHEN as first presented. Revised rules for movement and time, tables for age and aging for player-characters (especially useful when assessing the effects of attacks by Ghosts and the like) and item saving throws (for all sorts of unpleasant situations) have also been provided. Finally, there is an optional rule for increasing the damage rolls for high-level player characters—if the players or referee feel that the original ZYLARTHEN scheme places them at a disadvantage against higher-level monsters with multiple dice of damage.I'll be going into a bit more detail on what I did in Book of Spells, as well as discussing the Electronic Edition in subsequent posts.I'm happy with the results, and I hope you will be too. If you would like to purchase either product (just in time for Halloween!), you can currently find them at the Zylarthen page on Lulu. (The Zylarthen box to the right will also bring you there.) But this time I also intend to offer both products at two other sites as well.Cheers! And may you always find yourself upwind from a White Puff Ball spell. […]

  • Broodmother related public event
    by Jeff Rients on October 26, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Hey, all!  I'll be at the Flanagan Public Library, 124 S Main St, Flanagan, IL on Thursday, November 7th 2nd starting at 7pm.  I'll be giving a talk, the working title of which is "How D&D Saved the World."  Go big or go home, as they say.Since I grew up on a farm just outside Flanagan, this is sort of the return to the mundane world of my hero's journey.  In my talk I hope to explain my ridiculous hobby to the community that first knew me as That Weird Kid, so the content of my presentation may not be super interesting to my fellow specialists.  But please come if you'd like!  I'd be thrilled to see some friends and/or meet people I only know online.If you bring your copy of Broodmother I would be happy to sign it for you, though I will only sign page 5. […]

  • Deadly Trappings by Kenzer & Company: RPG Reveiw
    by Jeff Duncan on October 26, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Deadly TrappingsRPG Review: Deadly TrappingsPublished By: Kenzer & Company (site)Review By: J.L. DuncanThis review starts with a gamer admission as well as a disclosure. And the Gawds of the Many Faced Dice, demand my confession. First, I have a long standing and serious love/hate relationship in regards to dungeon trap manuals and RPG trap rules/guidelines. This is the first section of any new dungeon fantasy RPG I go to. “A rock falls everyone dies,” is my DM mantra.Disclosure: This review includes affiliate links. I receive a token % if you purchase something on the landing page. Thank you for your support.Also, I write RPG reviews on a monthly schedule and contribute the occasional article, for Kenzer & Co.’s, Knights of the Dinner Table (KoDT) magazine. The Deadly Trappings in this volume published before I’d written anything with KoDT. I don’t’ think it will cause bias in the review, but I’m mentioning it.Deadly Trappings is a collection of seventy-seven system neutral traps. Most are designed for use in a dungeon, but there are a couple of oddities (a spaceship trap & and a guy in a cowboy hat, triggering a western genre, bear trap). Each trap receives two or three panels of illustration and at minimum one half, to three quarters of a page description. Text size varies for each, but most trap descriptions are between 300-500 words. The traps are same format of those published monthly in KoDT. Presumably, this book is a collection of the best of those traps, which (originally published 2009) were written before 2010.The reader immediately gets acquainted with Joe Cocksure, Deadly Trapping’s proverbial, faces of death test monkey. Joe is the featured character of the graphic illustrations of the traps. Joe dies a lot.The writing of each trap is remarkably consistent given they are authored by about thirty individual contributors. While all of these traps are indeed system neutral, most include a short blurb about the history of the device as well as its mechanics (system less crunch); and/or information about the NPC designer of the trap, and/or the motivation behind the design. The fluff elements create an interesting back story for each trap, something pretty uncommon with supplements such as this, when mechanics are usually the sole focus.I understand that for some, the most important thing about a trap manual is directly related to how many of these traps the DM/GM might actually use. While others like to use manuals such as this to craft their own ideas. Deadly Trappings should have either camp covered, but the bottom line is, I don’t know your game. And dungeon crawl to dungeon crawl, I’ve seen very different ideas on the “proper way” to utilize traps.The most useful solution I can think of is giving a baseline description as to the sort of traps featured with Deadly Trappings. I’ve collated a ten point bullet list for consideration. Needless to say, but some of these concepts overlap each other:· Magic Traps: 21· Step on it, Trigger: 25· Total Party Kill (TPK); Or Traps which Feature this Potential: 14· Traps which De-limb or Maim: 8· Death by Rock or Stone: 9· Death by Falling: 16· Death by Fire: 6· Death by Asphyxiation: 5· Death by Poison/Toxin or Acid: 9· Traps you’d be unlikely to use with Your Favorite Edition of D&D: 3 In conclusion, Deadly Trappings has a respectable mix of traps. I have the perfect bound print edition which weighs in at 80 pages as well as (though I can’t find my old hard drive) the PDF. Whether you’re a fellow trapmatician or just a DM in need of some good trap material I don’t think you can go wrong here. But then again, that’s likely the last thought through my player characters minds before… “A rock falls, every one dies.”Happy trapping!Note: This RPG Review of Deadly Trappings originally published with Stuffer Shack. (site)        &nbs […]

  • Skarzg
    by Trey on October 26, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Art by Jason SholtisLarge monstrosity, neutral evilArmor Class 15 (natural armor)Hit Points 84 (8d10 + 40)Speed 30 ft. (40 ft. on all fours) STR 18 (+4) DEX 13 (+1) CON 20 (+5) INT 7(-2) WIS 9 (-1) CHA 6 (-2)Skills Perception +2Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12Languages SkarzgChallenge 5 (1,800 XP)Keen Smell. The skarzg has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.Regeneration. The skarg regains 10 hit points at the start of its turn. If  it takes acid or fire damage, this trait doesn’t function at the start of the skarzg’s next turn. The skarzg dies only if it starts its turn with 0 hit points and doesn’t regenerate.Actions:Multiattack. The skarzg makes three attacks: one with its bite and two with its claws.Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d10 + 4) piercing damage. If the target is a Medium or smaller creature, it is grappled (escape DC 14). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained and the skarzg can’t bite another target.Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (2d4 + 4) slashing damage.Skarzg are rapacious predators, animalistic but cunning. They are very hard to kill, and they will eat anything. Their origins are lost in the mists of time, though some believe they were brought to this world by the Ylthlaxu who used them in sadistic hunts. They now roam free in the wild places, though thankfully, not in great numbers. […]

  • Longest Campaign Ever?
    by Joseph Bloch on October 25, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    This guy has been running the same campaign for 35 years! […]