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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pact magic

One thing I will likely do in my homebrew game is have all mages gain their spells via pacts with otherworldly creatures. The creatures grant them the ability to harness magic, at the cost of fulfilling the creature's whims. Some creatures will want blood, some might be happy with wine and tobacco. It depends on the type of creature. 
Creatures capable of granting spells might include: demons, dryads, elementals, or angels.

Sample pact granter:
Demon, Imp
Armor Class: 17
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: 1 sting (1d6+poison)
Special: Poison tail, polymorph, regenerate, immune to fire
Move: 6/16 (flying)
HDE/XP: 6/400
Imps are demonic creatures sent or summoned into the material plane.  They are about a foot tall, and have small but functional wings.  An imp can polymorph itself into one or two animal forms: a crow, goat, rat, or dog being common.  Imps regenerate 1 hit point per round, and can be hit only by silver or magical weapons (or by animals with 5+ hit dice). Imps grant mages the ability to cast spells. They will not supply access to holy spells or banishments.

Most imps will be very greedy, but will happily supply a mage with any spell he wants, especially those considered evil. Imps prefer things that appeal to their vanity. While they would be ok with tobacco or sacrificed humans, they would love a bard writing stories about them that show them to be powerful and intelligent. Imps love manipulating mages into committing evil acts, especially if the mage is trying to work for the greater good.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Castle Keeper's Guide released!

There is a thread with physical proof. I used to be a huge fan of C&C, and still have a lot of stuff for it. I kinda wandered away, though, after the Zagyg line got axed by the Gygax family. I'm glad to see this book is finally being released. Hopefully, it will jumpstart the company a bit, as I do like the guys at TLG. I suspect many old schoolers will pick this up, in any case, as it will likely be useful for any clone of D&D. Here's a pic of the Table of Contents, click for larger version:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Camp Ward spell

Camp Ward
Spell Level: M2
Range: 30' Radius
Duration: 2 hours/caster level

This spell acts as a magical tripwire. Mages cast it on a central area, typically before going to sleep, and the spell helps prevent them from being surprised or ambushed at night. Whenever a creature with hostile intent comes within 30 feet of the spell focus, the mage is immediately warned, and will even wake from a normal slumber. The spell gives a general direction of the impending threat, though not a detailed description of the assailants, only that they exist.


Any comments or suggestions are welcome. I think level 2 fits the spell, but it's a bit of a guess. I'm tempted to make the duration a flat 8 hours instead of variable.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Read Magic and Item Creation

These are the rules I'm probably going to use for my own version of the game. Just wondering if anyone has done something similar or has additional input.

Read Magic: All spells are written in arcane script, which all mages can read. It takes one hour to read a scroll so that a mage can use it, and one week to read a spellbook.

Magic Item Creation: Mages can create potions and scrolls at first level, at a cost of 100 gp per spell level. These items take one day per spell level to create. Mages can create other magic items once they reach 5th level, at a cost of 1,000 gp per spell level or item bonus (a sword +1 costs 1,000 gp to make). These items take one week per spell level or item bonus to create.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Merry Christmas!!!!

May you find something just as nice waiting for you under the Christmas tree!  ;)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

WotC shut down index site for 3e

WotC sends Cease and Desist letter to website

Now it will be interesting to see if they come after the clones. The clones are definitely more direct competition than a site that indexed most of the 3e materials. If they do, I expect most clones to disappear. Even if the publishers are ok via the OGL, Hasbro has very expensive lawyers that can ruin their day. Who is willing to hire a lawyer to prove that he has the right to publish OSRIC, S&W, or LL?

In addition, WotC has started removing all their "classic" material from their website (3e and before). I recommend grabbing what you can if you want it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My own OSR ruleset - thoughts

I'm probably going to go full S&S, but with some D&D races instead of just humans. Something kinda similar to Iron Heroes in feel, where 90% of players and NPC bad guys will be fighters.

Some current ideas:
Limited to level 10, as previously noted. I might make Level 1 = Level 2 or 3 of basic D&D, though. I want characters to be competent right off the bat, though still not invulnerable. Lots of different professions to differentiate them. For example, archers will get +1 to hit with ranged weapons, while templars will get +2 damage to all undead.

Mages will also be a bit more powerful, starting with 2 level 1 spells and 1 level 2 spell, and working up from there. I will likely require a minimum Intelligence of at least 13 to be a mage, and maybe higher. I want them to be rare. Spells will focus more on wards, summoning and divination, and less on fireballs. I might also give them some kind of fairly powerful familiar that will require blood, murders, or lots and lots of gold, or their spellcasting will be severely limited. Basically, a simplified pact system of some type. I will definitely avoid anything too complicated, like some of the systems introduced for 3e.

Still have lots of ideas kicking around, and nothing is set in stone right now.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

WoW monsters I really like

I've already done the murloc, but there are a few other WoW monsters I think are really cool.

My list would be:
The quillboar, a humanoid porcupine-boar that is very destructive, but also pretty cool.
The cloud serpent, which is a winged snake. Very mexican-oriented, but really fun.
The makrura, which are intelligent crabs.
Maybe on the goblin tradesmen. They are a heck of a lot of fun (and my character is a goblin), but I don't think they really fit into the typical D&D game.

Many WoW monsters are very similar to existing D&D monsters, but these stand out to me.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The hot OSR blog list

I didn't fare too well, but then again, I don't really care. I try to come up with interesting stuff, but I only post maybe 4 times a week. Hard to compete with something like Grognardia or Porn Stars (both of which are generally excellent). Anyways, I hope those of you who read this enjoy it.

(Maybe I need to get some more rants going to increase traffic.)  :P

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Working on my own personal OSR book (not to be published)

Wonder if anyone else has done this? I'm starting with the S&W WhiteBox. I've ported in races as they are done in BFRPG. There are only 2 classes: Fighter and Mage. However, I have professions, which provide one bonus to the character. Each character gets one profession, and max level in the game is 10. Spells are limited to level 5, due to the character class limit. I did "downgrade" cacodemon to level 5, because I need demon summoning in my game. Speaking of that, I'm adding in some demons to the monster section. I plan on writing up a quickie Morale system, probably 2d6 roll under Morale. I'm also porting in spells from various sources.

This book won't see publication, other than my local Staples making a couple coil-bound copies, but I'll have my own "perfect" D&D system.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

My thoughts on 4e

Day late, dollar short, I know. But I've never really done a post about D&D 4e. I tried it back when it came out. At the time, I was pretty excited, because, quite simply, I was burned out on 3e.

The various marketing ads about less stats for NPCs, less skills to track, and faster combat all sounded great. Unfortunately, I didn't really care for the game. It seemed more like an "Advanced Runebound" than it did D&D. I think some of the ideas were kinda cool, but it just fell kinda flat for me. There were too many conditions to track, and it actually made combat take longer. This was likely due to still learning the new system, but after two session, my friends and I dropped that game. Maybe I'm just jaded, or I just don't like learning all new systems anymore (which is at least partially true), but I didn't feel the game was worth investing any more time in.

I actually wanted it to be wildly successful, even though I didn't care for it. More gamers = more potential people to play with. Unfortunately, it appears to not be doing so hot. It's still the top of the market, but as several people in the know have stated (including WotC in court briefings), sales are much lower than 3e. Which is too bad, because the slow dying of the industry is truly in full swing when the big gorilla feels the effects. (That's not even including the near-complete withdrawal from tabletop by White Wolf, which was the other slightly smaller gorilla).

I understand part of this is due to the OGL, and especially Pathfinder. Many people are sticking to what they know, and I really can't blame them. I know I actually prefer BFRPG and S&W, which are based on old editions, but with the good bits of 3e added in. As long as games like that are available, my needs will be met. But the overall industry (that can support writers and artists), is slowly dying.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Old School is getting commercialized

Not that I blame the authors, they should get what cash they can. But only a couple years ago, all the games had free pdfs and doc files for people to fiddle with. Now, most have no doc file, some have limited pdfs (usually no artwork), and at least one even charges for the pdf. Not to mention the S&W Complete hardback, which is limited edition and probably won't get used at anyone's table for real gaming because of that. I figured this would happen eventually, but it is mildly depressing.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Prince of Wolves - book review

This is a review for the novel "Prince of Wolves" by Dave Gross. No spoilers included.

I'm not sure about anyone else, but when it comes to game fiction, I lower my standards a bit. To be honest, most game fiction authors are not that great. Their big advantage is the setting they are working with. Since most readers will already be familiar with the setting, it saves them a lot of explanation. Of course, there are good gaming novels, and luckily, this is one of them.

The book is set in Ustalav, the Pathfinder/Golarion equivalent of Ravenloft. It features two protagonists, an elven Pathfinder who is a noble of Cheliax, and his bodyguard. Chapters alternate between their points of view. The noble's chapters take the form of entries into a journal, and can be a bit dry. The bodyguard's viewpoint is more typical of novels, and more engaging, in my opinion.

The story has the pair looking for a lost Pathfinder, last known to be in Ustalav. All the tropes come out, from gypsies, to werewolves, to strange Counts and other nobles. And yet it ends up not be as straightforward as you might expect. There is also an interesting character they meet that is a traveling cleric/healer.

Overall, I really liked the story. It may have been a bit better if the author had focused on one character's point of view, but he made it work quite well. The two characters were quite different, and their observations of the same events gave better insight into what happened.

Overall, I give the book 4 out of 5 stars for the average reader. If you are a fan of the old Ravenloft novels, then it is definitely worth 5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

BFRPG - Missing monsters

Just a thing I noticed in the BFRPG rulebook. There are no demons or the lich in the rules. I know they weren't in Moldvay, but these monsters are extremely iconic, and are also in the OGL. It seems kind of funny that they were left out. I believe they've been added in a pdf on the website, but I just think they deserve to be in the real rulebook. For me, it's a little bit too much adherence to the Moldvay set. And it's kind of odd considering how many other things were changed (such as AC and separate race and class, both of which I highly approve of).

Friday, December 10, 2010

I'm not a fan of "Blob" monsters

I'm not really sure why, maybe it's that these monsters are usually Save or Die, but I don't like monsters like black puddings, gelatinous cubes, or yellow molds. They seem kind of 50's sci-fi, and not really fantasy creatures.

Pretty much the only setting I've seen that they make sense in is Carcosa, and that's just a giant lab experiment gone horribly, horribly wrong.

I'm not sure if anyone else has had great success with these monsters, but they just don't seem to fit in my style of games (European fantasy or Conan-style S&S).

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Adventurer licenses

This has come up recently at RPGSite. I like the idea of a letter of writ for adventurers, and that it should be expensive. A suggest cost of 1,000 gp per year sounds good, and it allows for the DM to introduce loans for 1st level adventurers, possibly at very high interest rates. If the players get a writ, and they take a loan at 10% interest per day (since adventuring is a very dangerous profession), they could easily end up paying out 2,000 to 3,000 gold before paying the loan off. This is an easy way to prevent players from just getting rich quick and then retiring. It also enforces the setting construct of adventurers being very dangerous people, since you have to be desperate and capable before being willing to spend that kind of gold just for a license that might not pan out.

Monday, December 6, 2010

LotFP Sale

James is have a BIG SALE, so I recommend checking it out. I have a number of his products and I like most of them.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fountain of Restoration

Here's a random room for a dungeon:

Fountain of Restoration
This small room (10' x 10') has a fountain in the center. The fountain is a cleric healing a wounded warrior woman lying on the ground, with water pouring from the wounded woman's mouth. Characters that drink from the fountain recover all levels and ability points lost due to undead draining.

If the water is taken from the room, it becomes poisonous. Anyone who drinks the water after it has left the room must Save vs. Poison or permanently lose one point of Strength. If they try returning to the fountain to recover this lost point of Strength, it will not work, because the fountain only repairs losses due to undead.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Exploding Arrows

These magical arrows are found in groups of 10-20. They function as a standard arrow in regards to weight and range. When fired at an enemy, they explode on impact. All creatures within five feet of the impact take 1d6 damage. In addition, they must save vs. spells or catch fire. Creatures take 1d6 fire damage per round until the fire is put out. The initial burst and the following flames both harm creatures affected only by magic.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fantasy worlds should have a Santa figure

It seems odd that in many fantasy rpg settings, there is no Santa type figure. Someone that is specifically looking out for the kids. We get lots of gods of assassins and murder, but not gods that represent your average person. I just think it's a bit odd, and possibly a major oversight on the part of world creators. I know some spoof stuff has been published, but not any serious renditions for a world like Faerun or Oerth.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Lulu have a sale today

Use the code CYBER305 at checkout to save 25%. It's only good for today. I recommend Fight On! and any and all the retro-clones.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Relationship rules

Over on the RPGSite, there's a thread by Ryan Dancey about how games need to evolve with more rules about relationships and similar things, and less emphasis on combat. While I don't agree completely with this idea, I think a way to reward character relationships that I could tack onto S&W or BFRPG is a good idea.

Some generic ideas:
1. PCs get XP rewards if they work on a relationship with an NPC. This would need to be something important, like a spouse or a major contact. (Taking the princess to a ball and dancing the night away, on your own initiative).
2. PCs who actively work towards a relationship goal (marry the princess, become a confidant of the king) might get a bonus. Maybe as long as they are working towards the goal, they get +1 to rolls directly involved with achieving it.
3. PCs who ignore a relationship might gain a penalty, such as a reaction roll penalty, while dealing with the NPC and his friends. (If you blow off the princess after she asks about you, she gets angry).
4. PCs might be coerced by a significant other to accomplish some goal, by receiving a penalty if they ignore their relationship, and only losing the penalty when they start working on it. (If the princess invites you to a soiree, and you avoid it for some reason, you receive a penalty until you actually meet with her).

Not sure if I would use these or not, and if I did, I wouldn't use all of them. But I think it's an idea worth exploring.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why I don't like Fumble rules

A number of games include rules (or even house rules) for fumbling. Usually, on a  roll of a 1, something bad happens. I'm not real fond of this. While it can produce some funny results, this rule is much more likely to hurt players than it is to help them. In general, players roll the dice a lot more than the DM. They are using the same character week after week. Having fumble rules affect them is much more likely to kill off their character than it is to help them in some way. I know at least a few DMs have an almost adversarial outlook while gaming, so they really like adding in random stuff like fumbles.

I don't really think this is necessary, especially if you are playing some kind of retroclone or any older edition of D&D. In these games, player mortality is already pretty high. Adding in such a random factor like fumbles is just icing on the cake. If a player dies, I'd prefer it be because he did something stupid or lost in a fight that he already knew was dangerous. Not because he dropped his sword and the blade sliced open his leg.

I could see using fumble rules for NPCs only. That would still add the comedic effect that fumbles produce, without actively harming my friends characters.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hex mapping program

I found wildgen while looking for a hex mapping program. The linked page generates random maps similar to those found in old D&D products. On the sidebar, there is also a link to an add-on for GIMP that will let you make your own hex maps. It's very easy to use, and I thought I'd let everyone know about it.

There's also a pretty cool random person generator that uses tarot cards, along with Traveller hex maps, etc. It's really just a great site for gamers.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

BFRPG Shifters


Shifters have lycanthropic ancestry. 

Description: Shifters appear to be bestial human hybrids. Males are bearded, while women have sideburns. Their hair color is black, brown, gray, or red. Their eyes are black. All Shifters have pronounced canines, long tufted ears, and heavy claws. Shifters wear a minimum amount of clothing, as their nature prevents them from becoming too cold. Males average 6’0” in height, and weigh around 180 pounds. Females average 5’8” in height, and weigh around 145 pounds.

Restrictions: Shifters may become Clerics, Fighters, and Thieves. They must have a minimum Constitution of 9. Due to their bestial nature, they have a maximum Intelligence of 17.

Special Abilities: Shifters can see at night as if it were daytime. This only works if there is some light source available, such as starlight or moonlight. They do not have normal Darkvision. Due to their enhanced bestial senses, they gain a +1 bonus vs. surprise. Shifters are very fast, and have a base movement of 45’ per round. Their claws grant them 1d4 damage in combat, and are considered natural weapons which all Shifters are proficient with (Shifters do not use the standard unarmed combat rules).

Saving Throws: Shifters gain a +1 bonus vs. any Cold effects.

Middle           Old     Venerable    Age Limit

    35                50             70              +2d10

Special House Rule: Shifter Fighters may take the Profession of Claw Fighter. Their claws then do 1d6 damage and they benefit from the “roll 2d6, keep the highest” Dual Weapons rule. Shifters that are not Claw Fighters can roll 2d4 and keep the highest result if they don’t use a weapon.

A pdf is available HERE.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

BFRPG Nephilim


Nephilim have the blood of angels in their veins.

Description: Nephilim have an otherworldly beauty. Many are pale, with light blond hair. They have finely chiseled features. Males stand around 5’10” tall, and weigh around 160 pounds. Females stand around 5’6” tall, and weigh around 130 pounds. All nephilim will have at least one strange feature. This ranges from blue, green, pink, or white hair; eyes being all white with no iris or pupil; eyes of pure gold; vestigial wings; pointed ears; feathers instead of hair; light blue, light green, or golden skin; etc. Players must select 1d4 distinguishing features at character creation.

Restrictions: Nephilim may become Clerics or Fighters. They are required to have a minimum Charisma of 9. Due to their ethereal nature, they may not have a Constitution higher than 17.

Special Abilities: Nephilim have Darkvision with a 60' range. This can not be affected by magical Darkness spells.

Saving Throws: Nephilim gain a +2 vs. Magic Wands and Spells.
Middle           Old     Venerable    Age Limit

100                 150          200              +1d100

There is a pdf available HERE.

Friday, November 19, 2010

BFRPG Cambions

Cambions have infernal ancestry. They are the byproducts of a demon or devil mating with a mortal.

Description: Cambions have dark hair and dusky skin. Males stand about 5’10”, and weigh around 160 pounds. Females stand about 5’6” tall, and weigh around 130 pounds. All Cambions have a strange feature that sets them apart from humans, and many have multiple ones. These features include things like small horns, pointed teeth, red eyes, black eyes with no whites, a forked tongue, tufted pointed ears, an odor of burning charcoal, a tail, or even goat legs. No two Cambions are the same. Players must select 1d4 distinguishing features at character creation.

Restrictions: Cambions may become Clerics, Fighters, Magic-Users, or Thieves. They are also allowed to combine any other class with Thief, as described in Combination Classes. They are required to have a minimum Dexterity of 9. Due to their hellish nature, they may not have a Wisdom higher than 17.

Special Abilities: All Cambions have Darkvision with a 60’ range. They can not be affected by magical Darkness spells.

Saving Throws: Cambions save at +2 vs. elemental attacks such as fire, cold, or electricity.
Middle           Old     Venerable                Age Limit
   100              150          200                          +1d100

There is a pdf available HERE.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Carcosa's upcoming reprint

The upcoming Carcosa reprint is going to be expanded in some way according to Raggi's blog, and I hope they do more than just add some artwork. I'd love to see the various tidbits from Fight On! added in, along with stuff like Strange Sites. I would happily get all this stuff packaged into one big book. I doubt it would happen, especially due to all the different authors, but a big collection would suit me just fine. New material would also be very cool.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

BFRPG House Rules revised

I've been working on Basic Fantasy stuff again. I really like these rules, and they are inching their way into my favorites spot. These house rules adjust classes a bit, add in some new armor types, add rules for barding (which are referred to but not included in the ruleset), and rules for Two Weapon Fighting.
A pdf is HERE that is better formatted (posting tables here is very hard to format).



Clerics do NOT Turn Undead.
Divine Protection: Clerics gain a +1 to all saves vs. effects caused by undead (mummy rot, fear, etc). They also can make a saving throw vs. death ray against level drain attacks that normally do not allow saves (with the +1 bonus).

Fighter Professions: Fighters choose one profession during character creation and gain the associated ability. They gain an additional profession at level 10.

Archer: The Archer is a skilled bowman, and gains +1 to hit with ranged weapons.
Duelist: Duelists score a critical hit on a natural roll of 20, unless only a 20 will hit their foe. Critical hits automatically do maximum weapon damage.
Hoplite: Hoplites may attack with their shields. If they hit, they do 1d3 damage and their opponent must save vs. paralysis or fall down. Creatures larger than the hoplite automatically pass their saving throw.
Knife Fighter: Knife Fighters cause 1d6 damage with daggers.
Noble: Nobles gain a +1 bonus to henchmen loyalty and may have 1d3 additional followers.
Pugilist: Pugilists cause 1d6 damage with unarmed strikes. They may attack armored enemies with no penalty if they are wearing some type of hand protection.
Scout: Scouts gain a +1 bonus to avoid surprise.
Soldier: Soldiers gain a +2 AC bonus from shields, instead of the normal +1.
Templar: Templars can Heal a number of hit points equal to 2 times their level once per day.
Warrior: Warriors get one attack per level each turn against foes of one hit dice or less.
Weapon Master: Weapon masters may choose one melee weapon to master. They gain a +1 bonus to hit with this weapon type.

Use d6 for HD.
Thieves use the alternate thief skill advancement table.
Thieves specialize in knife fighting and cause 1d6 damage with daggers.

Minor Magic: Magic-Users can cast minor "everyday/non-combat" magic at will. Attempting something abusive fails automatically. Usable once per round if no other action taken. Abusive uses include pickpocket attempts, combat effects, etc.

Some examples:
• Light a candle or pipe with a flame from the finger tip.
• Dust things – at first level a minor magic spell might be needed for each shelf or piece of furniture, while at third level a single spell might dust a room and at sixth level the magic-user's entire three story tower.
• Tie or untie a knot.

Wizard Blast: A Magic-User can shoot a blast of magic energy once per round. They must roll to hit target normally.
Damage: 1d4 Range: short 60, medium 120, long 180.
Wizard Blast is usable once per round if no other action taken and requires pointing at the target. The visible effects can be fire, ice, or whatever the Magic-User desires (this effect does not affect damage, it only adds color to the ability).

Armor Type                  Cost                  Weight             AC
Quilted Armor              15 gp                      20                13
Bone Armor                  25 gp                      20                14
Studded Leather           40 gp                      20                14
Banded Armor            200 gp                      35                16

Barding: Gives an animal a +2 AC bonus.
Horse barding: 100 gp. Weighs 60 lb.
Dog barding: 20 gp. Weighs 5 lb.

Lost levels and ability points are regained at a rate of one level per week following the attack.

The optional ability rolls rule from page 141 will be in use.

Characters that fight with two weapons roll 2d6 for damage and keep the higher die roll. If the character is using two daggers or other low damage weapons, they roll 2d4 and keep the highest result. Knife fighters and thieves roll 2d6 and keep the highest result while using two daggers. Pugilists also roll 2d6 for damage and keep the higher die roll, while other unarmed combatants are subject to the standard Brawling rules.


Here's the games I played in the 80's and early 90's. I was just thinking about this stuff lately, guess I'm getting nostalgic.

Marvel Super Heroes - Played a few games. It was fun, but not a major campaign.
Moldvay B/X plus Mentzer Companion set - This was my go-to game for the first few years I played.
AD&D 1e - Played for a couple years.
AD&D 2e - Played a LOT. Vastly prefer the 2e thief to the 1e version.
MERP - Loved this game. We played this one a lot.
Star Frontiers - This was the generic sf game we played. Just a couple one-shots. We liked fantasy more.
Rifts - Several major campaigns of this. Loved the setting, and liked the rules. I had a Ley Line Walker that could just destroy stuff.
Twilight 2000 - We played this a few months while I was in the Navy. It was a lot of fun.

Settings we used:
Forgotten Realms 1e box set. We had a Wild West style fantasy game going for several years in between Rifts adventures.
A Middle Earth/Shadow World conglomeration. We used modules from both settings (though the game was nominally in Middle Earth).
The Known World. I got a LOT of milage out of X1.
Starship Troopers style game with the Star Frontiers rules.
Rifts North America. We wandered around causing all kinds of havoc. It was a blast.
Post-apocalyptic Poland and then Pennsylvania. We actually had the setting book for where I grew up in Bedford. It was kind of funny, and not so accurate.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerors in Hyperborea

There's some new info about this game on RPG Site that I think is interesting. I do think the retro game field is pretty damn full already, so ASS&H is already fighting an uphill battle.

This game appears to offer a lot of magic using classes, at least more than I would expect from an S&S game. Not sure if it will help or hurt the system overall. I also think the subclass Legerdemainist is a terrible name, with no basis in any S&S books. But it appears that it will be staying.

Ghul does make an appearance in the thread and allowed Benoist to post a first draft of the Hyperborea map, which looks pretty good. Anyways, this game has been in development for a long time, so hopefully it will knock my socks off.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Improved Fighters for S&W WhiteBox

In regular WhiteBox, fighters are kind of lackluster compared to clerics and mages. I've modified my BFRPG rules slightly to improve the WB fighter class slightly, without making it overpowered. 
Fighter Professions: Fighters choose one profession during character creation and gain the associated ability. This is in addition to the normal Fighter abilities. Dwarfs and Halflings may also choose a Profession.
Archer: The Archer is a skilled bowman, and gains +1 to hit with one type of ranged weapon (chosen at 1st level).
Duelist: Duelists score a critical hit on a natural roll of 20, unless only a 20 will hit their foe. Critical hits automatically do maximum weapon damage.
Noble: Nobles gain a +1 bonus to henchmen loyalty and may have an additional 1d3 followers.
Pugilist: Pugilists cause 1d6 damage with unarmed strikes and have a +1 AC bonus while unarmored.
Rogue: Rogues gain a +1 bonus to find traps.
Scout: Scouts gain a +1 bonus to avoid surprise.
Soldier: Soldiers gain a +2 AC bonus from shields, instead of the normal +1.
Templar: Templars gain a +1 bonus to save vs. level drain attacks.
Warrior: Warriors can re-roll one to-hit roll per game session.
Weapon Master: Weapon masters may choose one melee weapon to master. They gain a +1 bonus to hit with this weapon type.

NOTE: In WhiteBox, there are no rules for unarmed combat (I don't know why). For my house rules, I just have unarmed attacks do 1d3 damage. I would also add magic gauntlets to treasure tables.
I consider Trap-Finding to be similar to searching for hidden doors.
I also use the Variant Elf class, and they do not gain a profession since they are part-time mages.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Adventures featuring religion

I think it would be cool if adventures featuring religion were published. Stuff like getting hired to recover an artifact by one faction of a church in order to one-up another faction of the same church. Or to make the local priest look really good so that he can get a promotion to bishop. In a world with real gods, it seems that there should be a lot of this stuff going on. But most published adventures avoid this like the plague.

I understand part of it is to try and avoid the "satan worshiper" crap, but most of that has died out nowadays. And seriously, if White Wolf wasn't affected by it, I doubt an OSR publisher would be.

Anyways, I think it would be a cool idea. If there is a sacred scroll known to be in some ruins infested with monsters, I'm sure the local priest would love to have it recovered. And he would also take the credit for the recovery, at least with his fellow priests. It's an easy way to add politics into a game, as well. If the party cleric recovers the scroll, he might use it to gain influence with his higher-ups, trading it for more recognition and maybe a magical reward of some type.

Friday, November 5, 2010

People in the tavern

So, just who is in the tavern the adventurers are hanging out in?

1. Bartender/owner. Big, burly, happy guy.
2. Three wenches. Two younger hotties, one middle-aged. All three are single.
3. A couple off-duty guardsmen, just winding down from a patrol. They really don't want to be bothered.
4. Some laborers, drinking a couple for the walk home.
5. A group of partiers, celebrating someone's birthday. They might buy friendly people drinks and will happily gossip.
6. The local drunk. He might be passed out. He is rumored to be a deserter from the neighboring empires military.
7. A couple thugs, looking to start a bar fight. They don't bother the locals, though.
8. Some mercenaries, looking for work. They take an interest in obvious adventurers, hoping to impress them.
9. A local politician, plotting with some businessmen. The deal might be shady, or they might be planning a local festival.
10. A mysterious stranger, sitting in a dark corner. Rumors are that he is some kind of spy.
11. Another group of adventurers, fresh back from a successful dungeon exploration. One of them is missing from last week.
12. A road warden, looking for some help against poachers. He can provide a small reward.
13. A thief, looking for someone too drunk to prevent their coins from being lifted. She knows who the local thieves and fences are.
14. A traveling noble, a few guards, and some beautiful companions. The guards do not want the noble disturbed.
15. The local prostitute, who pays a bit to the barkeeper to use a room. She's very pretty, but will happily steal from the unwary. The locals look down on her.
16. A creepy, quiet guy that everyone avoids. Rumors are that he is some kind of cultist.
17. A great big warhound. He stays near the fireplace, hoping for spilled slop from the pot. The older wench watches out for him, and makes sure he's fed.
18. An elf. Obviously looking to cast a spell on some poor farmer.
19. A group of local farmers. Talking weather and worried about the elf.
20. A hunter, who brings kills in for the bartender. He's in love with one of the wenches.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The abandoned tower

Just why is there an "abandoned" tower near the village?

1. An insane mage used to live there. His creations still guard the tower.
2. A noble family was murdered there, and it's line wiped out. The tower is haunted by their ghosts.
3. Tax collectors kicked the last owners out when they could not pay their taxes. No one else can pay the taxes, either.
4. Bandits live there, and no one has bothered to remove them.
5. A lich moved in. Everyone is scared to death to go anywhere near the tower, now.
6. It's a giant trap, created to kill adventurers.
7. Goblins live there, and scare away the locals with fake ghost sitings.
8. The tower is holy to the local church. But it's in disrepair, so the local priest just holds a service there on certain days, but otherwise leaves the place alone.
9. The tower is an illusion. It was placed by some wandering mage, and the local villagers love to send unwary adventures there as a practical joke.
10. The tower only appears at night if there is a fog. And strange screams and howls are heard from it when it is there.
11. It's just abandoned. No one cares enough to live there.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dragon Age with S&W

Just an idea I've had. I love the Dragon Age game (been playing it again), and I think the setting is one of the best fantasy settings going. It appears the Green Ronin version of the game is held up in approval hell (and I wouldn't be surprised if it just fades away).

S&W would be an easy fit. Clerics would be recast as Templars, and Mages would have them watching their every move. It's really a setting for Warriors. I might even want to limit the party to one Mage and one Templar maximum. Not sure if I'd use one of the homebrew thief classes or not.

I'd use orc stats for genlocks, gnoll stats for hurlocks, and add in ogres.Undead pretty much fit right in. Not sure how I'd do demons, though I'd likely just modify an existing creature.

The only special rule I might add is that all characters would be Grey Wardens, and they'd have a 2 in 6 chance of detecting nearby darkspawn.

Monday, October 25, 2010

forum similar to RPG.Net?

Is there a forum similar to RPG.Net, without all the excess moderation? One that covers all kinds of games, not just one particular genre? If it did not allow political discussion, that would be a bonus.

Lord of the Green Dragons: Taking D&D "Back" To Its Future Level: Part 1

Lord of the Green Dragons: Taking D&D "Back" To Its Future Level: Part 1

Just a really cool post on the origins of D&D.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Slingers (Mazes & Minotaurs)

For my own convenience, I  did a regular class write-up of the Slinger class listed in Minotaur magazine:

Category : Specialists.
Primary Attributes : Skill and Wits
Gender : Male only.
Basic Hits = 10
Marksmanship : Slingers add their Skill bonus to their damage roll when using slings.
Quick Aim : Slingers add their Wits bonus to their Initiative when using their sling.
Weapon of Choice : All Slingers must (obviously) take the sling as their weapon of choice.
Level Benefits : Each level beyond the first gives a Slinger +2 Hits, +1 to Luck and +2 to Will, Wits or Skill (player’s choice).
Possessions : Sling, 24 sling stones, dagger, and sword. Their starting wealth is equal to 3D6 x 5 silver pieces.
Background Talents : All Slingers have the Mountaineer and Woodsman talents.
Patron Deities : Most Slingers follow Apollo.
Advancement : Slingers gain Experience by killing enemies and creatures with their sling; these awards are calculated as per the usual Glory awards but are doubled for Slingers. Killing opponents in melee combat does not bring any Experience to a Slinger.
Reputation Effect : None.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Things you might see in a fantasy city

Kids stealing the purses of inattentive shoppers.
Two merchants getting into a fistfight because one set his cart up in the spot "reserved" by the other.
A man having sex with a prostitute in the alley.
People playing dice games and taking bets.
A lady riding in a litter, which is surrounded by tough guards who beat anyone who doesn't get out of the way fast enough.
An orphan getting eaten by giant rats.
A killer slicing up some woman in an alley.
City guardsmen beating the crap out of a mugger.
A thief getting his hand chopped off in the square.
Obvious foreigners being led by a rake to an inn that pays him for customers.
Street thugs selling drugs on the corner.
Piles of horse crap everywhere you step.
Two young nobles engaged in a duel over some silly slight.
A young man with boards on his front and back advertising the local tavern.
A cockfight, surrounded by screaming people.
Someone killing a cat to prevent bad luck.
Adventurers roaring down the road, hauling treasure to their home base.
A cloaked creature heading down an alley, following an unsuspecting thief.
An ogre chained to a giant block in the square. Men are offered 5 gold if they can fight him bare-handed for one minute. Lots of people betting.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Elves for Mazes and Minotaurs (Revised)

Made a few changes based on comments. Elves are warriors with some magical ability. Their spells are geared towards combat, and elves lag behind specialized mages in total power.

ELVES      (Specialist Class)
Primary Attributes: Skill and Wits

Gender: Elves can be male or female, as they treat both genders equally. Elves follow Apollo or Artemis.

Basic Hits = 10

Deadly Aim: Elves know how to target the weak spots of animals and similar creatures: they add their Skill mod to their damage rolls when using any missile weapon against Beasts or Monsters.

Elfin Magic: Elves use Elfin Magic, which aids them in combat.

Weapon of Choice: Bow or Sword.

Level Benefits : Each level beyond the first gives an Elf +2 Hits, +2 Power Points, +1 to Luck and +2 to Skill, Wits or Will (player’s choice).

Possessions: Elves start with a dagger, a sword and a missile weapon (bow + 12 arrows). Their starting wealth is 3D6 x 5 silver pieces.

Restrictions: Elves may wear any type of armor.

Elfin Magic:

Elfin Magic = Skill mod + Wits mod

Mystic Strength = 12 + Elfin Magic

Starting Power = 4 + Wits mod

Power Recovery: Elves recover power by meditating within a forest. Each hour of meditation will restore a number of Power Points equal to the character’s level.

Elfin Magic

Magnitude 1: Mystic Arrow
This spell grants the Elf the ability to hit creatures affected only by magic when using a bow. This affect lasts for (1d6 + the elf's Elfin Magic) rounds.

Magnitude 2: Armor of the Oak
This spell grants the Elf bark-like skin. He receives +2 to his EDC. Elves benefiting from this spell may not wear a breastplate or helmet. Elves suffer no encumbrance penalty for this spell. This spell takes effect during the elf’s missile phase. It lasts for a number of combat rounds equal to (1D6 + the elf’s Elfin Magic).

Magnitude 3: Evergreen Spirit
This spell allows an Elf to instantly heal the wounds of the injured. Each use of this spell restores a number of Hits equal to (1D6 + the elf’s Elfin Magic) to the wounded being.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Halflings for Mazes and Minotaurs

Primary Attributes: Wits and Luck
Gender: Halflings may be either male or female.
Basic Hits = 10

Thievery: Halflings excel at hiding, sneaking, finding traps and, well, thieving. In game terms, all these skills are reflected by a special Thievery bonus equal to the sum of their Luck mod and Wits mod. See chapter IV (Adventuring) for more details.

Evasion: Halflings are also very good at dodging blows and add their Wits mod to their melee EDC (unless taken by surprise or wearing a breastplate).

Small Size: Halflings are Small, and receive bonuses and penalties as a Small creature.

Weapon of Choice: Dagger, thrown knife or sling.

Level Benefits: Each level beyond the first gives a Halfling +2 Hits, +1 to Luck and +2 to Wits, Will or Skill (player’s choice).

Possessions: Dagger and 3D6 x 5 silver pieces.

Restrictions: Halflings may wear any type of armor but usually choose not to do so, since encumbrance directly affects their stealth and agility.