Search This Blog

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Martial Arts for AD&D 2e

I have had this file for years. I think the last time I used it was back in 2000. I figured I'd post it for anyone who wants it. It's inspired by Oriental Adventures 1e, but uses the 2e Weapon and Non-Weapon Proficiencies.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Government-approved adventurers

I picked up the RQ version of Wraith Recon, and I really like the idea behind it. Basically, adventurers are formed into special operations teams and used to fight the enemies of the state. This provides a source of adventures, and gives the GM an easy way to guide a campaign.

Another thing I like is that the adventurers are given gear to use by the government for each mission. If they are sending you to kill undead, you will get lots of holy items to use. If the next mission requires you to take on orcs, you could get wands of fireballs and magical armor and weapons.

This approach is pretty cool, to me. You can overpower the characters for one mission, and then take away any gear that would normally be game-breaking because they are now going on a new mission. I would hope that other publishers take note.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Favor of the Gods

One idea I've had based off of mutations as presented in WFRP is granting characters a Favor of the Gods. I am thinking for now it would just be cosmetic, though some might want to add in a stat or saving throw bonus of some kind. Night sight, improved hearing, etc, would also fit.

Example Favors:
Great size. The character is a mountain of a man.
Canines. All of the character's teeth are canines, and he is a carnivore.
Strange hair color. Maybe his hair is purple or green.
Strange eyes. Maybe they are gold or have pupils similar to cats.
Strange facial features. Maybe he does not look quite human, and can be either beautiful or ugly.
Tiny person. Maybe the character is halfling or smaller sized.
Webbed fingers or toes. Especially common in seafaring communities.

In any case, the Favor should stand out. It should also be affiliated in some way with the god. The character may receive special treatment from the priests of his religion, and he may also be expected to perform services for them, or the lord.

A man blessed with great size by the god of battle would be expected to handle a group of bandits bothering the local lord, as well. With great benefits should come great responsibilities.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A world of cruel gods

Just thinking about this, while I'm reading "Wulfrik", a Warhammer fantasy novel featuring a chaos champion. I'd love to see a world where there are no out-and-out good gods. At best they'd be neutral, and many would be either completely chaotic or evil. I think it would make an interesting twist on a setting.

Sample Gods (borrowed from many sources)

Babeester Gor - Goddess of Vengeance and Booze. She is worshiped by wronged women and drunks. She is more than happy to help her followers kill those who offended them. 

Earth Mother. Represents all aspects of the world, both it's beauty and it's horrible destructiveness. Many primitive peoples worship her as their main deity.

Kharne - the Blood God. He wants slaughter, and he doesn't give a crap about anything but blood sacrifices. Badass warriors are held in high esteem, wimps are for slaughter.

Malar - The Beastlord. He is god of the Hunt, and requires blood sacrifices. Great hunters who face horrible monsters alone are the heroes of his cult. 

Nyarlathotep - The Crawling Chaos. He insinuates among civilized peoples and leads them down the paths of madness.

Thed - Lord of Rape and Beastmen. Thed expects his followers to be brutish rapists, and is the creator and lord of all beastmen.

Shar - Goddess of the Night and Keeper of Secrets. Her followers are assassins and scholars bent on keeping all knowledge for themselves. 

Slaanesh - God or Goddess of Lust and Cruelty. Slaaneshi cultists revel in deviance of all forms. Many are sadists, and happily torture their sexual partners.

 Talos - God of Storms and Disasters. He sends earthquakes and hurricanes at his whim, testing his victims to see who is strong enough to survive.

A world with this pantheon would likely be stuck in a permanent dark age, which would actually make the slow to non-existent pace of progress assumed in most fantasy games to make sense. It would also make more sense to me than Carcosa, where all the gods are Cthuloid, and really don't care about mortals at all. At least with this lineup, the gods would have a reason to be at least minimally involved in the world.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Conan the Barbarian

Just a great tweet from Arnold Schwarzanegger regarding the Conan movies:

"I do still have the Conan sword ..., and I keep it in my office. Here's a picture ."

Monday, March 21, 2011

Warhammer FRP

I played a bunch of WFRP, both 1e and 2e, over the years. I really enjoyed the setting, and the dark tone. No matter how tough you were, you could be killed quite quickly by a lucky skaven or goblin.

When we played, we actually avoided the "find the cultists" mysteries popular among the published adventures. I think the best campaign I was in involved me and my friends acting as mercenaries  around Praag. My first, and funnest, character was a physician's assistant. I think I caused as much damage as I healed, thanks to awful dice. But we had fun.

Recently, over at RPGSite, someone provided a link to a bunch of maps for the Warhammer World. I figured I would share it here for those interested. I really recommend the maps labelled high detail. Wish I had these back when we were playing regularly.

Friday, March 18, 2011

AD&D 2e XP charts

I kind of wish that the 2e xp charts were in more use among the various OSR games. I think it made a lot more sense for a mage to get xp for casting spells instead of killing monsters. Same with the thief using his thief skills and the cleric doing holy stuff to get xp.

Some ideas (based off recollections of 2e):
(XP awards are not given for stuff that doesn't really affect the adventure. No thieves just sneaking around for no reason to get xp).

100 XP per spell level cast.
100 XP for learning a new spell outside the ones acquired due to level gain.
100 XP for creating a potion or scroll.
500 XP for creating a permanent magic item.
1,000 XP for creating a major magic item (DM discretion).

XP as standard for killing monsters.
100-500 XP for participating in jousts or melees.
500 XP for commanding troops in a battle.
500 XP for creating and implementing a battle plan.

100 XP for successfully Turning Undead.
200 XP for converting important NPCs.
100 XP for leading a major religious service in a village, town, or city.
100 XP per spell level cast.
1 XP per gp donated to the Church (up to a max 10% of total wealth gained from an adventure).

100 XP per successful use of a thief skill (that helps in an adventure).
1 XP per gp gained through thiefly activities.
100-500 XP for planning and successfully completing a heist.
XP as standard for monsters killed by backstabbing or poisoning.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

For those of you who have read Sword & Board

The pdf/print copy.

Which parts did you like?
Which parts were just so-so?
And which parts did you think were a waste of time?
What would you like to have seen added instead, if anything?

Feel free to be harsh in your judgements, I'm not made of tissue.Even if I don't ever publish anything else, maybe other publishers can look at this and get ideas.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fantasy relief organizations

Relief organizations for floods, fires, etc., are a very modern development. I was just thinking of how they might exist in your typical fantasy setting.

The most obvious choice is the Temple of the God of Healing, whoever that might be. Helping the poor and needy is their divine mission. In fact, doing so will greatly improve the believers chances of going to Heaven.

A merchant organization could provide these services, for a fee. They might come in after a disaster and help everyone out, feeding people and even rebuilding lost homes. Then they give the local lord the bill. Of course, their fees might end up bankrupting the noble, but them's the breaks.

Maybe a wizard shows up, and he helps dispose of all the bodies. Maybe those bodies become experiments in his lab, or get reanimated as zombies. Best not to ask.

The local druids might help out, in an attempt to bring nature back into balance. Or maybe they are the ones who called down the destruction, to smite the city people and their loggers and miners.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Elmore drew the hottest elf chick

I really miss having Larry Elmore's art in D&D products. He is, and will likely always be, my favorite artist. I love women who wear face paint and kill monsters, and Larry was a master at drawing and painting them. He was the best artist in the bunch among the early guys, in my opinion. I think it's kind of crappy that so many OSR "purists" take every chance they can to take potshots at him.

Friday, March 11, 2011

S&B Errata

Blah. Just minor stuff, but I wanted to put it out there. I updated the file for the print copy, but it may be a few days until it goes through. I fixed a couple typos, and had two corrections.

Onyx Dog
It adds +2 to its rolls to detect hidden objects and for surprise rolls.

Silver Raven
Another command sends it off into the air, bearing a message to its target. The message is delivered in the mage’s voice.

The Dog was just a screw-up, since I didn't change the number from the D20 version. The Raven I just changed the description, since the description referred to a D20 spell not in BFRPG.

Not really major stuff, but damned annoying.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mini Settings

Nentir_Vale and the town of Fallcrest are the mini-setting being used by WotC for 4e. I really like the idea of the Vale, but WotC has cancelled the gazetteer they had planned. That's pretty disappointing for me, as it's the only 4e book I was even going to buy, outside of the PHB I got when the game was released.

It got me thinking about Thunder Rift, as well. I had a lot of fun with that setting back in the day. It was also canned, but it did get a series of adventures published for it before going away. Thunder Rift could be  a little goofy with ninja rakasta and knights running around, but it was a heck of a lot of fun.

I'd love to see something similar published for either S&W White Box or BFRPG. There's the beginnings of such a setting in Morgansfort, but it's really just three dungeons and a base of operations. A more detailed treatment would be great.

I might take a swing at this, myself. Not sure yet. I've also been kicking around the idea of doing my own personal Nentir Vale setting book, but I'd be very limited in what I could do with it, since it's not OGL. If I did this, I'd want to make a print-on-demand book for it, since I still think there aren't nearly enough print products available, outside of umpteen different very similar rulebooks.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Print version of Sword & Board is now available

The book is here

For the low cost of $3.19. It's a softcover black and white 6"x9" book, and it looks amazing. I have nothing but high praise for Lightning Source and RPGNow. I am very, very happy with how the book has turned out. I hope some of you will purchase it and find a use for it at your gaming table.

(The upper right corner of the cover is a change in art color, not book damage, in case anyone is concerned.)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Caravan encounters

Not sure about anyone else, but I tend to have caravan guarding as one of my go-to campaigns. The PCs act as guards, and get to explore the world a bit. They also have a lot of NPCs around to interact with. It makes running a low level campaign pretty easy. Here's a list of potential encounters for anyone who uses this format:

Caravan Encounters
1.    A stone bridge crosses a river on the trail. Trolls have taken up residence beneath it. It’s possible they can be bargained with for safe passage.
2.    The local barbarian horse tribes are at war. The caravan is approached by a group of them. While parleying, a warband from the other tribe appears on the horizon.
3.    Toll collectors are on the road. They aren’t normally located at this bridge. Are they bandits or have the costs of trade risen without warning?
4.    Ambush! Bandits swarm out of the surrounding forest, intent on plunder.
5.    A tinker’s wagon is set up by the trail. The caravan may stop for repairs and to get news.
6.    Goblin wolf riders begin following the caravan. They are keeping their distance for now. Are there more goblins ahead?
7.    There is a magical drought. The normal watering holes are all dry. Can the mage responsible be bargained with or must he be killed?
8.    Plague town. A major stopping point is suffering from the plague. The caravan must bypass it. Profits and pay will be affected.
9.    Unexpected windfall. The caravan has goods that are desperately needed by a city. They pay very well, and everyone gets a bonus. The local thieves take note.
10.     A wizard joins the caravan as a passenger. Using his magic, the caravan makes much better time than normal.
11.    Some of the caravan guards really don’t like each other. They get into brawls in the evening. People in the caravan are starting to choose sides. One enterprising merchant is taking bets on the fights.
12.    The caravan is passing by an abandoned castle. There are rumors that it contains treasure, now unguarded. The merchants think that it might be worth spending a day investigating.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mythmere has an S&W blog now

Mythmere's Blog

Glad to see it. I hope it maintained fairly well, even if it's just a post a week. Looks like it's going to be a combination "announce S&W stuff" and "cool new ideas" blog. I think this is a great way to do it, instead of it just being announcements.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Proof copy is in the mail

Can't wait! I ordered it on Saturday, and it was placed in the mail yesterday afternoon. That's only two business days, which is pretty awesome. Once I get the book, I'll post a picture or two and put the print version up for sale, barring any major layout problems.

I've got my fingers crossed. It was a lot of work to get the book done, and if it comes out nice, it will be worth it. Now I'm just worried that I'll receive my copy and the layout will be messed up somehow.

For those of you who think the guys who publish game books don't have much work, you'd be surprised, especially if they are using a print-on-demand service. I imagine that it gets easier once they have done a book or two, since they know what's needed. Lord knows, I've learned a lot. The writing was the easy part. I can easily come up with ideas and write them, but the layout and publisher submission process is a completely different beast. Lots of things seem unnecessarily complicated, while a couple issues that I thought would be difficult were really easy.

I also had a lot more success dealing with RPGNow than I did with Lulu. If you haven't done a print-on-demand book before, I recommend using RPGNow. They are easy to contact via email and very helpful. Lulu provides no easy contacts, with no emails, just a forum that they may or may not answer questions on (I had one question answered and one ignored). I hope Lulu gets this sorted out, but I am really, really glad RPGNow was available, as while it isn't perfect, I got help with my problems quickly.