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Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Nephandi

Just wanted to mention my favorite evil villains from any game. Nephandi are just evil bastards, but have been turned that way. I'm guessing the concept was heavily influenced by the Hellraiser movies. Just go through a bunch of pain and terror, have all of your perceptions twisted so that you think all of existence is a lie and needs to be destroyed, and you'll be perfect!

Some very cool pages about the Nephandi:

White Wolf Wiki

World of Darkness Wiki

Two Nephandi and a Marauder

memoirs on a rainy day

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Wegmar's Wondrous Wagon of Wonders!

This is a take I've had on a post someone had made a few years back regarding magic shops, which is a topic currently at the RPGSite.
Wegmar is a tall, thin man, wearing a silk smoking jacket and a top hat. He is loud, waves his hands a lot, and will try to sell a glass of water to a man standing next to a river. He has a large, enclosed wagon drawn by two small gray mules. He travels the dimensions, selling odds and ends and magic items. 

The first sign he is near is a glowing blue magical circle appears on a nearby road. Then the sound of wagon wheels rumbling, and his wagon appears. The gate vanishes shut behind him.
Most of his stock is useless junk. Things like small wooden toys, candy, and elixirs "guaranteed to heal any illness" (and which are just bottles filled with sugar water).

However, he does have a small selection of magical components, a few potions, and a few scrolls. He's also very likely to have some kind of miscellaneous magic item, such as a crystal ball or rope of climbing. He does not sell weapons and armor, magical or not.

Wegmar accepts coin for non-magical doodads, since they don't really cost him anything to acquire.If a customer wants to be something that is actually magical, he prefers to either trade for another magic item or he will accept a favor, to be collected at some later date.

The favor will be collected at some later date, and is generally going to have the players going on a short adventure to recover some magic item that Wegmar wants. If the players try to attack Wegmar, he and his wagon will disappear, never to be seen again.

Any players who owe him a favor must fulfill it when he asks, or they will suffer a non-removable geas that gives them a -1 to hit, damage, and all saving throws until they start trying to complete the adventure for Wegmar. After they acquire the item he wants, his wagon will reappear near the adventure site and he will collect it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My perfect D&D edition

Since all of the news seems to be about the upcoming D&D 5e, I figured I'd make a list of what would be in my personal "perfect" edition:

1. Ascending AC.
2. Reflex, Fortitude, and Will Saves.
3. Fighter, Mage, Rogue, and Cleric.
4. Options to modify the base classes:
  4a: Fighters have options to gain cleric spells or mage spells, fight with light armor and rapiers, etc.
  4b: Mages specialize like they did in 2e. They can also gain special abilities based upon spec, so that necromancers can raise weak undead at level 1, witch doctors can use some healing spells, etc.
  4c: Clerics have Domains like 3e, and gain weapon use based upon their god. Not all Turn Undead, instead maybe having stuff like Thief clerics gaining thief abilities or Nature clerics basically being  Druids.
  4d: Rogues would have options to become bards, burglars, assassins, or monks.
5. Races included would be: human, elf, dwarf, halfling, gnome, shifter, dragonborn, tiefling, and aasimar.
6. High level options including a decent rulership system and maybe a mass combat system (though I'm not really sold on the necessity of this).
7. Vancian magic, because I like it.

- There's probably other stuff I'm not thinking of right now, but these would all be awesome as a base starting point.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Why D&D and the clones fail at Swords & Sorcery

Many people have said that D&D (and the various retroclones) are based on Swords & Sorcery. I call BS. Yes, it has some influences (such as giant snakes, giant frogs, and other crazy weirdness), but the general format of the game just doesn't work.

In swords & sorcery, almost every single story features one or two characters taking on their enemies, which usually involved some kind of insane mage or monster-god. Said character would have a tough time of it, but generally ended up stomping the bad guy and stealing the wench.

One thing that didn't happen in the genre was groups of people wandering around, fighting monsters. D&D assumes you will have at least four players, and generally one fighter, one thief, one mage, and one cleric. The cleric alone just doesn't work when it comes to S&S. "Good" mages were also extremely rare (Elric and the Gray Mouser are pretty much the only ones I know off the top of my head). Almost everyone else was a fighter or thief.

Having more than two, or maybe three, characters in the group is also pretty much unheard of, barring stories about some kind of battle the hero happens to be participating in. Until a retroclone actually addresses this in a decent way, the S&S vibe will be mere window dressing, at best.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Starting level

I've pretty much always started every game at level 1. Not really sure why, but it's what I've always done. In one way, I like this because it allows players to grow into their characters. When just starting out, there's only a few things to keep track of, and the player is well aware that he is no superhero, so he is careful and doesn't usually just charge into a fight (I've definitely had exceptions to this, though).

I'm not sure this is a great idea, especially if the players are all experienced. Allowing them to start at level 3 or even level 5 really wouldn't overbalance anything, and would give them a solid starting point, where they don't have to run in fear if they encounter a small group of orcs.

The big hold-up for this is determining what, if any, magic items the characters possess at the start of the game. The old Companion set had some decent rules for starting at high level, but that's pretty much the only rules version that addressed this, if I recall correctly.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Malazan stuff I'd love to see in an rpg

I've been reading the Malazan series by Steven Erikson and there is just a ton of stuff in it I'd love to see in a published campaign world. Fact is, Malazan is based on a D&D/Gurps campaign, so that probably really adds to this feeling.

Anyways, stuff I'd love:
1. Soletaken. Powerful shapechangers that are generally resistant to magic and many of whom are mages. Some of them are dragons, others turn into a horde of rats. All of them are vicious, nasty bastards.
2. Warrens. Magic is aspected to warrens. Many mages can only access one warren, though cases certainly exist where mages can use a bunch of different ones (Quick Ben and Bottle being the primary examples).
3. Ancient races that are still around, though very rare and generally extremely powerful. Examples include the Toblakai, the Jaghut, and the Tiste variants. This would also work fine with elves if they were not just the tree-hugging recluses most settings use that mid-level adventurers can kill without a ton of effort.
4. A real live Empire that includes multiple cultures and is generally quite effective at accomplishing it's goals. Most settings either have the empires long vanished or generally collapsing (Forgotten Realms is a prime example).

Monday, October 8, 2012

WotC reprinting 2e!

Greyhawk Grognard has the SCOOP! I'm excited about this. I will definitely be saving up to buy all three books. 2e is my favorite official D&D, bar none. They are also reprinting Slavers and the S series as seperate hardcovers, but I'm honestly not interested in them. They weren't that great the first time around, imo.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Solo elf wandering Realms

Something I've wanted to run would be a campaign with an elven fighter-mage running solo. Maybe with one NPC follower. Kind of like Elric and Moonglum. Start the character at level 10 or so, and work up from there.

Of course, I'd run it in the Forgotten Realms, probably the Western Heartlands. Travel from Evereska down to Iriaebor over to Candlekeep and back. Become a famous adventurer that wipes out bandit camps and defeats evil mages.

It seems kind of lame and boring, but I think it would be a blast. Especially if I focused a bit more on acquiring old magic and researching it.