|Yup...That's a Gorilla-Bear|
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Saturday, November 4, 2017
Calling this rpg an rpg might be incorrect because it's not standalone. It is in fact a hack of Arnold's rpg GLOG because GLOG is great and lovely and I love templates. Regardless, this hack/rpg is called Verge because single syllable names for rpgs is the rage these days. Now Let's get into the meat and potatoes
GLOG uses a roll under system but I'll be using a roll over system for Verge because I'm overly attached to nat 20s. Just roll a d20 and add the relevant ability score. If it beats a target number of 20, the roll is a success. The math is the exact same as a roll under system but flipped.
To physically accost something roll Strength or Dexterity. Your target's armor is applied as a penalty to this roll.
Armor is divided into light (+2), medium (+4), and heavy (+6). Shields, helmets, cool hats, and accouterments add +1 armor each.
Mortal wounds dealt with most weaponry is d6. Two-handed weapons, such a claymores, and dual-wielded weapons, such as twin katanas, deal +1 damage. Firearms and unique weapons deal exploding damage.
Verge uses a single type of save to avoid danger. To save Roll a d20 and beat a target number of 15. This target number decreases by 1 point for every level after first.
New characters begin with hit points equal to their Constitution score and gain d6 hit points per level after that.
Roll DEX. Encumbrance is applied as a penalty.
Roll 1d6, either for the group or individually. Ties are resolved with the highest Wisdom. Group ties go to the PCs.
Verge uses Benjamin David's skill rules. New characters begin with 3 skill points. These points can be invested in skills up to three ranks. Rank 1 is "Skilled", rank 2 is "Expert", and rank 3 is "Master". A vague "jack of all trades" roll is permitted to all characters. In this case the character rolls as "Unskilled".
Vague skills get vague results. Characters should be encouraged to pursue specific skills. i.e. don't pursue "Science", pursue "Biology" or "Geology".
GLOG....GLOG is everything else.
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Redux Death Marcher
I feel I rushed the Death Marcher class and I can do better. So first on the list is a redux of that class. I'll be making two versions. The first will be an OSR version that can fit into any retroclone with minimal tweakage. The second will be a version for Arnold's GLOG system.
Wundergauss and El-Sai
Wundergauss is a city located on a planet named El-Sai. They're both really cool and awesome but you wouldn't know that because I haven't written much about them yet. The best way to describe the later is that is is a post-apocalyptic planet without the apocalypse part. The world is full of hellish landscapes, and all that Neolithic Hobbes-infused savagery that everyone devolves into after an apocalypse. The former is like the City from Mountains of Madness but the humans moved in.
My Fantasy Heartbreaker
I am in the boat that limitation breeds creativity and in this hobby limitation translates to system, and system translates to RPGs. I could easily pick a system and stick with that but there are no terms like my terms. Also, pledging loyalty to a particular system is fine and all, I've never met a soul that's ran someone else's system RAW. They tweak it to suit their needs. Some people like percentile skills. Some Don't. Some people like descending AC. Some don't. So the goal with this fantasy heartbreaker is to write down all the rules that I like to use, for one reason or another, and go from there.
I rarely have enough time to run for my home group these days so I am going to branch out into the wonderful world of flailsnails! This gives me an opportunity to make some tables and pick and pull from the modules I haven't run yet *cough Hot Spring Island *cough*. I expect to be ready by mid November if everything goes according to plan.
As for The Cosmic Cephalopod, Ceph will have to wait. Don't get me wrong. I love the idea of a universe-as-squid but I think I bit off more than I could chew for this project and I lost passion for it after the Cephasite post. But who knows, maybe we'll hear from Ceph sooner rather than later.
I have dozens of other inspirations stewing in my pit. For example the most recent note is "Cretaceous Cops" and that will definitely become a thing!
Saturday, October 14, 2017
Upon death roll a d12 and reference the following table:
1-5—All that stuff about the afterlife? Nonsense! You're dead as dirt! Enjoy an eternity of nothingness and blackness chump!
6—The trauma of your demise summons necrotic energies that reanimiate your corpse into a minion of undeath with HD equal to your levels. The minion has all of your gear, statistics, and abilities; and they are super evil and the DM controls them!
7—You are for all intents and purposes ressurected. Boring!
8—A god of death raises you as a Revenant. This god grants you exactly one year of undeath to enact revenge against your killer(s), then your body crumbles to dust and your soul flies into the great beyond.
9—Your spirit reamins in the mortal realm as a Ghost.
10—You are recombobulated as a random non-undead monster with HD equal to your levels.
11—Your latent mutant genes save you from death's door. You are for all intents and purposes ressurected, but return to life with a random major mutation.
12—Turn out you were John Carpenter's The Thing all along! Who would of guessed!
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Death Marchers precede the dead to places the living can't tread. Brass, woodwind, and percussion in hand they play final lamenting dirges through dry deserts, icy tundras, and dense forests. Their haunting music ends only when the dead are buried or death has claimed them.
The Death Marcher
Hit Dice: d6
XP to Level 2: 2,250
Spellcasting Ability: Wizard
Instruments of Steel - To the Death Marchers music and violence come hand in hand. Therefore their tools are forged as instrument and weapon. Roll a d6 twice to determine the instrument and its weaponry.
- Brass (Cornets, Trumpets, Tubas, etc.)
- Wind (Clarinets, Oboes, Flutes, etc.)
- Percussion (Drums, Cymbals, Xylophones, etc.)
- String (Guitars, Lutes, Sitars, etc.)
- Keyboard (Accordions, Harmonicas, Synths, etc.)
- Other (Bagpipes forged from the lungs of a dead god, etc.)
- Big Ass Axe - d10 damage, reach.
- Boomerblade - d6 damage, throwable, comes back to you.
- A Boring Sword - d8 damage
- Wires, Hooks, and Barbs. Oh my! - d4 damage, reach, can be used like a whip to trip people or snatch objects out of their hand. Damage causes the target to bleed for 1hp per round; the bleeding can only be staunched with magical healing or first aid. The bleeding stacks.
- Kerosene and Steel - d6 damage, can be ignited on command, illuminating like a torch, and dealing +1 damage.
- I Need Monster Power! - deals no damage, but playing it allows the Death Marcher to summon a random monster with HD equal to 1/2 his level (round up).
Personal Dead - You carry your Personal Dead with you, whether its in a square coffin, a large sac, or chained to your back. Your goal is to escort your personal dead to their final resting place. Use Skerples' Table of Camp Followers or your favorite NPC generator to determine who they were in life. For determining their final resting place, I recommend opening your favorite hexcrawl and picking the most remote dangerous hex on that map; or you could just make a place up that's filled with fuck all danger.
Duration: d20+level days
Death Marchers travel to distant and dangerous lands where food and water are ill found. This spell allows the Death Marcher to forego food, water, and sleep for the duration of the spell. However once the spell ends, the Death Marcher incurs all the fatigue-related penalties he would have incurred without this spell.
Duration: 1 Turn/level
This spell enchants the target with great speed. The target moves at double movement speed, as if effected by the Haste spell, but cannot deviate from his path. This means they can move forward but not backwards, left, right, or diagonally in anyway. Unwilling targets may save versus Magic to avoid this effect.
Monday, October 2, 2017
These first eleven or so posts will feature entries on the wandering monster table I'll be using for Ceph and will showcase the fauna that call her skin home.
So without further ado, allow me to introduce the cuddliest entry on the Ceph Wandering Monsters Table, the Cephasites.
Cephasites are alien mollusc-things that pepper Ceph's arms in giant mounds that look like coral reefs of scintillating colors. All cephasites have chromatophores in their skin that they use to communicate with one another and, in the worker's case, use to hunt.
Their society is broken into three castes. They are workers, soldiers, and reproducers.
|A Worker (Art by Tyler Smith)|
Workers are the most numerous caste within a mound and their main job is to feed the soldiers and reproducers, expand and repair mounds, and hunt.
Workers are the only caste of cephasites that PCs will encounter outside of mounds.
HD X AC Unarmored Tentacle dX Movement 40ft
Swarm - Workers hunt in swarms numbering 2d10+10. They have X hit points and roll a dX for damage rolls were X is their numbers. When a swarm takes damage their numbers are reduced by the same amount.
Mesmerize - The workers synchronize their chromatophores and unleash a rapidly changing array of colors when they hunt. Any creature that sees this color array must save versus paralyzation or act as if they had the Confusion spell cast on them until the swarm is neutralized.
The cephasite soldier caste is divided into two members. They are the walkers and floaters.
Soldiers jobs are to defend the mound from intruders.
Soldiers are only encountered inside or nearby cephasite mounds.
|A Walker (Art by Tyler Smith)|
The walker is about three feet tall and looks like an octopus standing with insectile arms. These are its legs and they are as sharp as daggers. Additionally it hides a sharp beak between the folds of its mantle and is capable of projectile vomiting a corrosive acid that it produces naturally.
HD 1 AC Leather d8 Arms d4 Beak d6 Movement 30ft
Projectile Acid d8 - If this attack misses but would have hit the target without factoring in armor, then that target's armor incurs a permanent -1 penalty due to corrosion.
|A Floater (Art by Tyler Smith)|
The floater is about as large as the walker and it looks like a sky cuttlefish. A hollow bone inside its mantle is filled with a light gas that allows it to float. It maneuvers with small air jets and fins that act like wings. The floater hides a sharp proboscis behind its tentacles, which it uses to dive-bomb intruders and drain their blood.
Its brain is more developed than its walker compatriot and its eyes are more acute. Therefore floaters function as a relay network for their mound, interpreting signals from one member and repeating it to another.
HD 1 AC Leather Proboscis d8 Fly 30ft
Dive-bomb - The floater can descend rapidly on its prey to impale it with its proboscis. This requires its full movement speed and when it does it gets +2 to both attack and damage.
Drain - If a floater successfully hits with its proboscis, it latches on to its target and drains 1hp a round.
The reproducer caste is divided into two members. They are the Kings and Queens.
The role of the reproducers is to produce more cephasites. This is accomplished by male cephasites (kings) impregnating the females (queens).
reproducers are only encountered inside mounds.
|A King (Art by Tyler Smith)|
A king is much smaller than his queen counterpart. He's about as big as a worker but lacks any offensive capabilities besides its large mandibles. A king is capable of releasing pheromones that compel nearby soldiers to come to its aid if it comes under attack.
HP 4 AC unarmored Mandibles d6 Movement 30
Pheromones - The king unleashes a cloud of pheromones that attract d6+4 soldiers (50% walkers 50% floaters) in a 150ft area.
|A Queen without her egg sac (Art by Tyler Smith)|
When a queen dies she releases a cloud of pheromones that has an enraging effect on nearby cephasites.
HD 6 AC Leather Mandibles d6 Movement 10ft
Raging Pheromones - Upon death the queen unleashes pheromones that cause cephasites within a 150ft area to go berserk for 24 hours. Under this rage the cephasites act as if the Confuse spell was cast on them and they get +2 to both attack and damage rolls.
Rapid Reproduction - After a round of inaction the queen can produce a swarm of 2d6+8 workers. These workers die after 6 hours of life.
Monday, September 25, 2017
I have to admit that I'm inexperienced when it comes to wandering monster tables. I come from that generation of DMs that brought encounters with them to the table and when I discovered the OSR I got into the habit of borrowing tables from books. Well I doubt there's a table out there for an infinity-sized nautilus so it's time to but my own spin on the wandering monster table.
The PCs can run into meeks, mooks, henchmen, bosses, meatgrinders and gonzos.
Meeks are absolute trash. They serve no use other than to throw their bodies at the PCs. They usually have d4 hit points, deal d3 damage at best, and have an armor class that even the wizard can beat on average. Meeks are only a threat when their numbers are high because they stand a chance of overwhelming the PCs. For this reason meeks' No. Appearing roll is 3d4. Text book meeks include goblins, kobolds, and commoners.
Mooks are like a meek plus. They're still pretty shit but slightly more deadly. These guys get a whole Hit Die, wield real weapons, and actually wear armor. There's usually 2d4 of them. Mooks include orcs, zombies, and footmen.
Henchmen are badasses. These guys are as tough or a little bit tougher than PCs. Usually their NPCs with class-like abilities and can go mano-a-mano with PCs. Often times they'll have a wild card hidden up their sleeves (poison, magic, items, etc.) Their numbers depend on the PCs but I usually shoot for 4-6.
Bosses fuck the PCs up. They are either hard as hell to hit or tough as nails and their hits can chunk a foo. One is more than enough to threaten a party of PCs. These are the gelatinous cubes, ogres, and warlords.
Meatgrinders are monsters that the PCs stand no chance of survival against conventionally. Combat ain't going to cut it. Now a lot of DMs will throw down a monster that hits like a mac truck or giggles at the PCs crits, expecting the party to run away, and I have to say that isn't my style.
What I tend to go for is intelligent monsters that have a personality—or in other words are interesting.
For example, say the PCs encounter the ghost of a girl who's looking for her lost family. She won't attack the party unless they, like, bully her or attack her, and she might be grateful if you find her family's skeletons and bring her back a skeletal finger or something. Or maybe a djinn looking for his lamp.
Gonzos are batshit insane, fucking weird, and straight out of left-field. Enjoying your fantasy campaign there? Too bad! Now you got to deal with the crew of the USS Enterprise suckas! Go crazy. Tap into the Salvador Dali or Frida Kalo that rests in all imaginations. That or just go with a pop reference
Conveniently there are six of these monster types? Encounter types? Templates? I'm not sure what to call them but anyways. That fits nicely on a d6 which is my go to for a dungeon delve.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
The piles were put there by dump ships belonging to apathetic worlds. Some Elsaians curse the dump ships, calling them "scum" while others praise them, calling them "gods".
Your average Elsaian is primitive, fueled by their most basic desires. It's better that way. Food, water, and a good life are hard to come by. On El-Sai it's "fuck it, fuck it up, get fucked up, and fuck."
On this planet dragons are invaders and masters, enslaving lesser races to wage their eternal war against each other.
Of course the depths host a myriad of secrets. Sea people living in their crystal domes lead by immortal dragon turtles. A drowned king sealed deep below in a forest of kelp. A lost civilization of gold-haired albinos and the great machines they commanded.
Your average Openseaman is entangled in intrigue. Just smile, nod, and serve and maybe the dragons won't eat you. They have paradoxical last names like "Conrad Biglittle" or "Annette Squarewheel."
Infinity leaves a lot of room for diversity. Therefore a city block can differ vastly from the next. There are no more purebloods left; everyone's a mutt. But the city has one constant and it's its namesake. The buildings are silver like mercury and gleam with reflected artificial light--like glass.
The City might be infinite and its rulers are too. The fractal councils rule any piece of infinity that they can grab and they all hate each other, for some reason or another. Members of the fractal council are infinitely powerful and meek because they command infinite underlings and have to answer to infinite superiors.
It is lead by a plutocracy of Machiavellian weirdos. One of them is literally a super-intelligent colony of vermin.
Whatever sea it suckles from krakens like to play.
|by Needle16 aka Luke|
Saturday, September 16, 2017
They say history isn't what happens, it's what's written down. Such was the case for Ndaalu.
Ndaalu was cruel. Ndaalu was deadly. Ndaalu was strong. But most of all Ndaalu was pharaoh.
The people cried Ndaalu's name, begged him for mercy and bled by his sword. No ruler in all of Egypt was more brutal and cunning. By his lead Egypt slaughtered all*.
But who would honor such a terrible monster, even if he be pharaoh? So Ndaalu's scribes secretly omitted his name from their records, chiseled his name from their slabs. But Ndaalu knew.
Instead of slitting all of their throats, Ndaalu schemed with his sorcerers. If history would not remember him as a man the he would be remembered as an instrument of slaughter.
The sorcerers worked tirelessly to forge a great blade that would serve as Ndaalu's next body.
And so Ndaalu would live on vicariously through the heroes of the ages that took him as their mantle.**
*The bloodying of the Nile, commonly attributed to Moses, was Ndaalu's doing as he would execute surrendering armies by slitting their throats and holding them upside down by their feet to "feed" the Nile their life essence.
**The cherub's flaming sword that guards the gates to Paradise was directly inspired by Ndaalu.
The Meat & Potatoes
Put simply Ndaalu is a flaming sword, and dms could leave the details at that and run him as such, but the following text is how I run Ndaalu.
Ndaalu is a curved bronze sword peppered with 3d20 Egyptian hieroglyphics. These hieroglyphics are familiar and obscure and it is possible that they could help further the research of the written Egyptian language. The hilt is an extension of the blade itself and is wrapped with black leather straps.
The hieroglyphics serve as runes that capture the souls of living creatures slain with Ndaalu. A filled rune glows orange and gives off ember-filled smoke. These captured souls act as charges that the wielded can be spend towards different powers possessed by Ndaalu.
Ignite: The wielder can spend X charges to ignite Ndaalu. While ignited Ndaalu bequeaths +X damage to his wielder. Ndaalu stays ignited for X turns and counts as an everburning torch while ignited.
In this state Ndaalu cannot collect souls as the magical properties of the sword are focused on keeping it aflame. However slaying a living creature keeps the ignited state ongoing at a rate of 1 soul to 1 turn.
At 5 charges Ndaalu can cut through stone, worked or otherwise. At 10 charges he can cut through metal. At 20 charges he can cut through adamantine. At 40 he can wound a god. At 60 he can cut through the fabric of reality itself, opening portals into what lies beyond our own reality.
Great Balls of Fire: Ndaalu also functions as a Wand of Fireballs at double the cost. So if a system requires 2 charges to cast fireball with its wand than Ndaalu would require 4 charges to cast fireball. Ndaalu's fireballs are particularly deadly and deal +1 per damage die.
Increasing the level of the fireball also costs double.
Form of Fire: for 10 charges the wielder can enter a fire form. While in this form the wielder is under the effects of a Gaseous Form spell with the added side effect of igniting flammable objects. To exit this form the wielder must succeed at a save versus Magic. Failure means that a random body part is bequeathed in flame permanently.
Also the wielder can communicate with fire elementals while in this form.
Soldier of Slaughter: for 20 charges Ndaalu summons the soul of one of his soldiers. These soldiers are fighters of 2-5 levels and can only be hit by magic and magic weapons.
HD 2-5 AC 13 Atk bronze longsword 1d8 MV human
For every 2 charges above 20 spent increase the soldier's damage and hit points by one.
Wall of Flame: For 30 charges the wielder can cast the spell Wall of Fire as a magic user of his level.
In addition to the above boons, Ndaalu adds +1 to the hit bonus of his wielder for every week he is in his wielder's possession (max 10). Additionally Ndaalu gains +1 to his domination rolls against his wielder at the same rate (max 10).
In rpgs guns have a tendency to get simulated to pornographic levels. Luckily I know next to nothing about guns besides that they shot bullet.
Or I say that. I've already taken this entire post, crumbled it up and threw it in the garbage at least two times now because I thought my systems were too complicated.
But no worries. Something about three times and this time I'm not reinventing the wheel. I'm just taking it down a different road.
So yes. Guns are magic! What does that mean? Well to be honest it means guns are reskinned spells. Now I know that sounds boring but stick with me here.
Have you ever wanted to have an on demand Burning Hands? Hmm? How about a one time use fireball that doesn't require a weird wizard to read some squiggles of a piece of parchment? What do you think of that? I don't hear a guffaw! Well shotguns and grenades are at your service!
OK that's enough of the snark. So yes guns are reskinned spells but that idea is pretty cool by itself. But what about the poor wizard? Well if he's as smart as the rest he'll be using guns too so he doesn't have to worry about his precious class protection.
What I find the coolest about this idea is that it can apply across multiple games, albeit that they have some sort of magic system. So if shotguns are Burning Hands in your games you can keep them functionally similar between your 5e game and your LL game.
However these reskinned spells must be kept within reason. After all they're just guns. 5e's Burning Hands can deal 3d6 to up 6 creatures and that's pretty powerful for an on demand shotgun, even with a save for half. I'll make it an attack instead and the number of adjacent creatures hit a d5 to nerf it a bit.
And by grod's beard if you want exploding dice let them explode!
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Dwarves are made, not born. Their bodies are constructed completely from rock, the most popular types being basalt, limestone, or obsidian. They are completely hairless however most dwarves are etched with long hair and complex woven beards. They stand about five feet tall and their shoulder width is wider than that of an average man and they boast a stout physique. Their pupils glow with the bluish light of the soul forge.
Soul forges are ancient artifacts constructed and left behind by deep dark forces now lost to mortal races. It is the crux of dwarven life. Without their soul forge dwarves would not exist. That's because the soul forge is a factory that produces dwarves and it is fueled by the souls of the living. Without proper fuel a soul forge would cease production and the secret of forging dwarves would be lost forever in its machinery.
Dwarves treat their soul forge like ants treat the queen of an anthill. Not to mention that dwarves prefer to refer to their societies as "colonies". Each dwarf has a purpose. Most go out into the world in search of souls while others dig or build or trade. Colonies are usually located underground below tall mountains but volcanoes and deep canyons are also viable locations.
Dwarves don't experience emotions. Neither is their will solely theirs. All dwarves share a consciousness with the other dwarves of their forge. They sense what they sense and vice versa.
Made from the earth dwarves are therefore one with it. Rock is no different to them as water is different to man. Therefore dwarves can submerge themselves in the rock. Walls are useless against them and proofing a structure against them requires complex metal alloys or lead. However every time a dwarf submerges he risks losing himself and becoming one with the earth from whence he came. If this happens the dwarf fuses with the earth, leaving behind an eerily humanoid shaped rock deposit and a foggy white gemstone where the heart would be.
That gemstone is a dwarf's soul gem. It serves a similar purpose to a dwarf as a black box serves to a crashed plane. The soul gem contains all the experience and memories of a dwarf. Colonies will sometimes retrieve these if it is necessary. To the right collector these gems are valuable and they hold spells well if emptied.
Dwarves do not hate all life. They simply follow the cyclic nature of their soul forge. Collect souls, to fuel the forge, to make more dwarves, to collect more souls, etc etc. They will only begin abduction, or collecting as they like to call it, when forced. Otherwise they are more than willing to provide a service in exchange for souls. In fact a popular capital punishment among settlements around dwarven ones is to punish criminals to "collection". This deal doesn't bother most settlements because the people being collected are usually undesirable in the first place and the dwarves are damned efficient builders.
XP Penalty: 750
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
So I imagine that a lot of DMs who run OSR stuff fly by the seat of their pants from game to game, relying on their abstract knowledge of D&D to guide their rulings, cook up combat, and solicit story.
What's funny is that I use to hate that particular style of DMing. I used to think that the rules were supreme and were higher than the DM himself and that betraying them was a disservice to all players at the table. But as I played more and more OSR stuff I started getting into the game that was happening at the table. I stopped caring about the game that coulda shoulda woulda been the game described by the rules. Now I find myself tapping into my knowledge reservoirs (as empty as they may be) more often at the table and keeping my books and pdfs nearby lest I really really need to look something up for some reason.
However the printed text has a certain ethos-logos attached to it. Most players new to OSR stuff are more willing to try your weird game if it's printed on dead trees. This has half-motivated me to try and produce my own rules document. I say half-motivated because when a source book is introduced suddenly the DM isn't the only authority at the table. I'd practically be asking the potential lawyers to slap me with the white glove of rule dueling. But I think this fear can be chalked up to my own paranoia.
The hope would be that the rules would facilitate the game that's going on at the table and not the idyllic one they outline. More so since it's my rules document there's not going to be any niche rules in their that could potentially challenge my DMship and even if there is it's probably a good thing because I'm a forgetful plebian.
Now that I've decided to produce this rules document the only thing that I need to decide on is a name. Sure I could just call it Into the Weird but that sounds eerily similar to a certain designer's game and I believe I would be doing him a disservice by circulating such a document. So I've settled on "Qwik N Durti Role Playing Game" or QNDRPG for short.
Why that name? Well it certainly isn't artsie and I'm OK with that. This is a rules document not a module. In the latter's case I would take more creative liberty with the title. As for the reference to haste and filth I feel it resonates with my particular style.
An adventurer's life will be brief.
The world will be dangerous and bloodthirsty; a threat. There will be blood to spill. There will be muck to crawl through. There will be death.
Life will be quick. It will be dirty. There will be no time for philosophy or debate because someday death will be over that bend, around that corner.
So is the adventurer's life.
Saturday, September 2, 2017
In El-Sai's case each value means the following:
Starport: E—basically a floating rock; no facilities or any cool space stuff.
Size: 5000 mile diameter; that's about the size of Ganymede.
Atmosphere: 5—Very Thin; you'd need breathing masks to adventure on the surface.
Hydrographies: 10%—if my math is correct that means all the water on El-Sai could fit into Yosemite Park.
Government: Representative Democracy
Law Level: 2—basically everything but energy weapons is A-OK.
Tech Level: 7—basically modern amounts of tech with a sprinkling of future tech such as hovercrafts, pulse lasers, as well as fission and solar powered engines.
I've always imagined Wundergauss being set in a land with plenty of water, green landscapes, and definitely no tech. Standard MEAL with magic stuff. (That stands for Medieval European Analogue Land.) But these results paint a way darker picture.
I've always imagined Wundergauss bordering a great sea or ocean where plenty of boat on boat action could go down. Such a setting seems impossible with only 10 percent water. But I'll take my cake and eat it too.
Not only does Wundergauss border a sea, it borders the only sea. A Lonely Sea, so to speak. It just so happens that all of the drinkable water drains into this basin. The land around it is arable and its rivers power corrupts; that's why.
prime real estate. Dozens of tribes brawl it out on this promised land for the exquisite title of Water Barons. The barons send waves of armies against their enemies and control the sea with steel ships fueled with diesel. Why would they risk polluting the only drinkable water on the planet? Well because
Sure you can live elsewhere, but who the fuck wants to suck water out of plants and pray to idols that you kill something to roast over the fire that night. It's a savage's life!
Might there be promise lands elsewhere? The caravans say so but who trusts them! They're all maniacs and low-lives. The Oil barons say here are, but they'd say anything for good coin.
The Lonely Sea awaits the people's saviors or the barons to rule it.
Thursday, August 31, 2017
Friday, August 25, 2017
With that said I plan on taking a specific approach to my current campaign, which features my city setting Wundergauss. Now without further ado I'm going to define my chosen three rulesets and campaign inspirations.
Ruleset 1: Lamentation of the Flame Princess
Was there any doubt? It's the game that pulled me into the OSR and it just so happens to be my favorite game to run for OSR noobys. It's got nice clean-cut mechanics that aren't bloated or janky. Skills are simple and eloquent d6 roles; fighters don't suck; saves make sense; it even has rules for Property and Finance! However there are some rules in this book that just trigger me. I'm looking at you Firing Into Melee rules! And the magic item creation is more annoying than it is useful. But overall Lotfp is just a nice full package and a great base for any OSR inspired ruleset. It does lack the essentials for high adventure like treasure tables and a monster manual, but my next choice should fix all of that....
Ruleset 2: Old School Reference and Index Compilation
Or OSRIC for short....At first I was going to pick Labyrinth Lord over OSRIC but the former doesn't add as much to the equation. Meanwhile OSRIC brings more treasure and more wandering monsters to the table, not to mention more classes and Fireball! However I don't like the way OSRIC does most of these things. For example I'm pretty sure +1 against orcs and goblinoids doesn't really qualify as a racial bonus.... But from what I understand my complaints are due to the nature of 1e and has nothing to do with the creators of OSRIC being shits (because they're not!) In total OSRIC is a ruleset that will serve as a resource for the things that lotfp leaves out, and it will serve as an inspiration for homebrews down the road. I'll probably regret this last ruleset
Ruleset 3: Classic Traveller
Yup! I love this game. It's also got nifty things like guns so if I want to take my campaigns into modern land or if I just want to give the cleric a machine gun I can do that. It's got spaceships so I can take the party into space! I love that entire worlds can be randomly generated on the fly. It's got a bunch of weird and interesting races. Most of all it has sapceship combat which can easily be applied to regular boring ship with sails combat.The only downside is that I might be biting off more than I can chew. But that has yet to be seen and like I said earlier if it fucks up my game somehow I can just fix it.
Inspiration 1: The Napoleonic Era
Now Jeff says to avoid generalized sources for this part of the formula. He says to use books, not wikis. Truth be told I'm not a huge fan of fiction or books in general anymore. I used to read a lot as a kid but that was more of a coping mechanism than anything else. Since becoming an adult with expectations and responsibilities, my love for fiction and reading in general has tanked. What I know about this time period has mostly been through glimpses through movies and shows such as Master and Commander and Horatio Hornblower. But in the end I think what players take away from the table are those glimpses. They remember hails of cannon fire or musket rifles, intriguing with posh nobles, or crawling through the streets of an early modern civilization. Sure you might run into one player that absolutely gushes about this stuff but your average player just doesn't care. And there's nothing wrong with that. They're here to play D and fucking D, not get a history lesson. With that said there's just so much that I like about this era: the early-modern combat, the transition from monarchy to democracy, ships of the line, the style of clothing, the etiquette and expectations placed upon not only the bourgeoisie but pretty much everyone in society. But the focus isn't going to be in reenacting history, its going to be recreating those glimpses of this era provided by those shows and movies that caused me to fall in love with the period in the first place. (BTW if anyone knows of good resources for this period, preferably not on dead trees, I would be most gracious if you could send them my way!)
Inspiration 2: Girl Genius
Now if you haven't figured out that I'm an illiterate sod then you'll probably be surprised when I say I haven't read a single steampunk novel. But comics....I can do comics. They have the perfect balance of words and pretty pictures to keep my attention and regardless Girl Genius is so entertaining that it keeps me glued to the pages anyway. Now my love of steampunk is purely aesthetic. There's just something cool about leather-clad scoundrels running around with zappy bits. Not to mention it fits in the early modern feel that I am going for.
Inspiration 3: Final Fantasy VIII
I love this game. It was my first introduction to the final fantasy series and I really like its mechanics (even though everyone else seemed to hate them). The lore it presents is interesting and the setting is a weird blend of high fantasy and near-future science fiction. Not to forget GUNBLADES. (I don't care how stupid it is the idea of hurting someone more with your gun powder (or whatever) powered sword its just awesome!)
So those six things will serve as a base for whatever it is I'm trying to create but I know off the top of my head that won't be enough to cover all the bases. So I'll take the opportunity now to list a few more sources that I will be taking advantage of here.
Zak's Urbancrawl Rules
These rules are just awesome and that's why I'll be using them. I don't want my players to feel like they are in constant danger, which is why prior to reading Zak's post and Vornheim, I usually treated settlements as safe havens. I think that's totally fine but when my players are drunking it up at the local tavern, I don't want them to feel like they are in constant danger, but I do want them to feel on edge—that anything could come around that corner (but it won't kill you...probably).
I bought this ruleset awhile back on a whim and while I don't like most of it there are some aspects I enjoy, mainly how race and class are treated. I am a proponent of race and class being separate entities. The only problem with that is separate race and class is a big contributor to builds, which I despise with a passion. Some great people have offered solutions to this problem while keeping race and class separate, but they haven't been for me. However I really like how 13th Age addresses the problem and I'll probably be using their method going forward. I also like some other aspects such as the mechanics surrounding Icons but I find mostly everything else to be too bloated and it's just too much of a modern rpg for my tastes.
The Last Gasp Blog
This blog is a great resource for anyone, especially if weird fantasy makes you gush. I'm extremely fond of anything related to Maleficars and the Horwarts Can't Save You Now rules might be the best for handling magic items I've come across.
and countless other sources will server as inspiration....
In elevator pitch this creation looks like a early modern setting beating to the tune of high adventure with a sprinkle of low sci-fi and a twist of high sci-fi layered on top of that.
Thursday, August 24, 2017
First I showed up to Blackforest expecting to pick up the game from where we left off last week, but a new player showed up and he really liked 5e. Also I had promised Gabe Jr that if it was just me and him I would run 5e if he wanted to play that instead of my OSR madness. Unfortunately for me I showed up completely unprepared for this situation and therefore reran the events of last session out of desperation. (Don't do this. It's bad.)
Second I don't actually have any chase rules that I can call on at a moment's notice. When I knew a chase was about to start I looked up the optional chase rules in Vornheim and cringed when I realized I had no measuring tape with me. (There was none in the shop either.) Luckily I was able to utilize a Star Wars lanyard. I ended up making each side roll a d10 and they would move that many heads across the table. (The lanyard had little heads of Star Wars characters that I was using for vague measuring units.) Whoever made it to the center of the table first won the chase, so to speak.
As cool as lanyard-based chases sound, I don't think it's my thing. But playing cards; those are my thing. So I'm going to layout a playing card based chase ruleset here. Disclaimer: the main inspiration for this ruleset is borrowed from an article, but I found it too wordy to be relied on at a moments notice. So consider this ruleset a wacky simplified version of that one.
Required supplies are simple: a deck of playing cards without the faces and something to represent the chasers and chasees.
Start by laying out d6+4 cards face down. Flip the first card over and place the chasers and chasees on there. The rank of the card is the difficulty class set for each side. (Aces count as 1.) Each round each member rolls a d10+Dex. If the result is higher than the rank then they advance a card. The chasees escape when they reach the last card and the chasers win if they incapacitate the chasees or cut off their means of escape by reaching the end first.
If two members are on the same card they can exchange a round of melee attacks. If there's only 1 card of difference between them then they can exchange a round of ranged attacks instead. Anything more than that and the two sides can't attack each other.
Instead of attacking a member can opt to inflict a disadvantage on an adjacent member (same card or 1 card away) or provide an advantage for themselves. In the case of disadvantage a member rolls 2d10 and takes the lowest and in the case of advantage they take the higher. In order to accomplish either tasks a test of some sort is required, usually a skill check of some sorts but don't be afraid to reward ingenious thought.
If members decide to split up you can place another row parallel to the first and place the figure representing the member doing the splitting on that new row.
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Sunday, August 20, 2017
So it's hard to contextualize adventurers since they're often born from spur of the moment inspirations and pod-dropped into a world their players know nothing about.
In a normal dungeon crawl this is fine but in my current weekly campaign Gabe Jr has a fine taste for story games and roleplay. So I want to provide him some opportunities to learn about the setting and flesh out his character without throwing ham-fisted explanations and exposition at him.
So the big question is how do I go about doing that? Well if the players control their characters' actions, personality, and background, the dm controls everything else. I literally have an infinite list of npcs, monsters, and encounters at my disposal. To be honest that feels a little intimidating on my part so I'll start small and hopefully that will get the ball rolling.
If you've ever moved to a new town with no friends or family near by then it's probably intimidating or down right scary to go out and mingle. The same can be said of pcs.
So I decided to use Zak S's contact rules from Vornheim and give Gabe's character a friend. Now all I know of this npcs is their name and profession. I'm leaving it up to Gabe to decide what this person means to his character. He could be a distant relative, lover, co-worker, etc.
Who you pass by on the street or what kind of homeless people or street performers you see can influence your perspective of a place and I think the same is true for adventurers.
I think I'll start small and go from there. I'll keep the combat encounters low because I don't want pcs to feel like they are in constant danger above ground.
Wundergauss isn't an ancient or mysterious city but it is sprawling with numerous factions playing The Game. However the land beneath it is as ancient as time itself and plays host to an assortment of underworlds. So I want the encounter table to reflect that. Plenty of secret entrances to lost dungeons, hideaways were nobles get high and order hits, seedy dens for dregs, etc.
And of course I'll support these things with improvised lore and info as it comes up in play. I might do a short write up about notable houses, the current dynasty, and the local religion but other than that I really prefer winging the rest during gameplay.
Saturday, August 19, 2017
So I planted myself in the dm's chair once more after a long hiatus, deciding to run Lamentaion of the Flame Princess and Tomb of the Forgotten Toad-People.
Blackforest Comics has open gaming every thursday so I posted an ad earlier in the week on their Facebook page.
Unfortunately only two people showed up, Gabe Jr, the owner's son, and Timmy, the owner's friend. Gabe Sr, the owner, was around and joined the game later but he had to go run his own game at the library for some kiddos.
Regardless of the small party the session ended up being pretty eventful.
I brought some pre-gens for potential noobys but Gabe Jr and Timmy decided to roll up their own.
In the first room the party got tpk'd by a Black Pudding after they tarried too long in its lair by collecting coins scattered amongst the 3 feet of bones lining the floor.
Then they rolled up some more characters, this time with random levels for a slight advantage, and tried the tomb again.
In the next room they discovered a floating toad-person in the lotus position that exploded into a cloud of dust when the pcs touched it.
Slightly disturbed they continued to the next room and encountered some yellow mold (that they lit on fire), fought some zombie toad-people, and discovered the cockatrice statue.
In the next room Timmy's character almost died horribly after triggering a poison gas trap but he was able to bash his way out of the room. After that they surfaced to rest up.
At this time we braked for pizza and Gabe Sr joined the fray.
They dived back in, fought some more zombies, who were suspiciously more dwarvish, and Timmy's character got eaten by a Gelatinous Ooze in the next room. After that the Gabes retreated and we called it a night.
Not sure what the state of the campaign will be next week because Timmy is having to go out of town for a few months. I might just do one-on-one with Gabe Jr. If that doesn't work out I might try to get something going online once I move into my new digs.
Friday, August 18, 2017
I love anime
|Yup even her|
I love rpgs
of the video game variety. I think I'm in a rare percentile of gamers because I didn't discover trpgs until I was at least 18 and even then my first experience wasn't that great. Ever since I had an on-and-off again relationship with trpgs until it cemented itself and my favorite hobby.
A majority of my childhood free time was taken up by video games, more specifically rpgs. I remember spending hours upon hours playing Final Fantasy VII, X, X-2, and even XII for a short stint. Next to that was Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, God of War, and probably countless others that I've forgotten since.
I've never really gone public with this information because its emotionally taxing. But a man's blog is a man's soul so if I can't put it here then I can't put it anywhere. OK. So I lose my mother at age 11 and it fucked me up pretty bad. I dropped out of school and society and my dad didn't really know what to do with me because he was about as fucked up from my mother's death as I was. I was essentially agoraphobic and, truth be told, video games kept my mind off the fucked up the intrusive shit brewing inside my skull. It sounds silly now but video games were my lifeline until I got the help that I needed and pulled myself together.
Now I don't even own a video game system and I'm not exactly happy with the state of the gaming market today. But chances are I can get one of those games on steam and relive those all too familiar moments that not only influenced my muse, but also kept me safe.
I love wrestling
Survivor Series 2003. Undertaker versus Vince McMahon in a Buried Alive match. No disqualification, no count out, no ring out, no submission; the only way to win is to bury your opponent six feet under—killing him.
Fucking wow. That was the first wrestling match that I watched that hooked me into the world of professional wrestling. The sight of Vince—the guy who runs the whole shebang—bleeding all over the place. The twist at the end where Kane, Taker's brother, buries him alive. Holy shit they just killed a dude! I was hooked.
And boy was it a great time to be into wrestling. I remember fondly Evolution and the build-up to Wrestlemania XX. There's probably countless other wrestling moments that I've since forgotten.
I love history
As a teen I read fiction constantly but as an adult I find that history is more interesting than fiction. I'm probably not the most literate history fan but I find my interest gravitating more towards the Age of Sail than anything else and my interest has only bee piqued since discovering Lamentations of the Flame Princess. And on that note....
I love D&D!
If that wasn't obvious....I love to run the game. It's an indescribable feeling and it gives me great joy to be behind the NPCs and monsters. I'd say it's my one true calling if I was to be so bold. I more so love the OSR and DIY communities and the great creators pushing their projects farther ahead than the corporate/modern games.
Alright! This has been a short list of things that I love and hopefully my future projects will be filled with a little bit of everything from this list. I'll have to wait and see.