Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The benefits of obsessing over pulp fantasy...

. . . getting 97% on an anthropology term paper which was basically about different species of cavemen killing and eating each other.

3 & 1/12 years until I have a life again . . .

Thursday, October 11, 2012

As I See It: Even Thousands of GP

Every adventurer isn't rain man. They look at a heap of coins and say "That looks like 600 GP to me." It's a form of significant figure and with all things being equal, as we assume that adventurers are competent at adventuring matters, all of their estimated coin totals total up to something that's close enough to the actual realistic total that it's not worth slowing down the game to worry about it.

The same way that we don't have things like "Hit Points: blood left: 47543.26 millilitres; compound fracture of left anterior tibia; 2nd degree burn on upper right arm from fingertips to shoulder" and "Sword, long, steel, high carbon, 54 rockwell hardness, blade length: 107.5 cm, entire length: 129.2 cm, single-edged, hollow-grind; sharpness: 63% of maximum; weight: 8.2 kg" on our character sheets for heck's sake.

If say, a theoretical DM, decided that even thousands of coin was unrealistic and would subtract 500 coins and add a d1000 roll to have true scientific realistic treasure hoards, they would find out pretty dang soon that it's a pain in the ass for the DM and the players to deal with that degree of accuracy. Not that I ever learned that lesson the hard way...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Thieves' % Check Idea

The player rolls the 10s die and the DM rolls the 01s die w/o the player knowing the result.

For games where you want the player to have part of the fun of making Thief % checks while still preserving some ambiguity.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I Don't Really Care About the Forgotten Realms BUT...

What's I'm hoping is that the Sundering is akin to how Britannia was shattered into multiple "shards" for Ultima Online. An official campaign world where there's this explicit caveat along the lines of:

"There are countless parallel worlds of the Realms after the Sundering; no two are exactly the same. The Realms that you adventure in will not necessarily confirm to what official published material and novels state, and due to the Sundering that is exactly what the official status of the Realms are now. Your DMs version of the Realms is what they make of it and it is "official"."

So a DM can run their game in the Realms without worrying about knowing all of the Realms minutiae and needing access to every Realms resource or having to deal with Canon Lawyer players going "Actually in the Realms..."

The same way how in the Wilderlands community you have the Original JG Wilderlands, Necromancer Wilderlands, Majestic Wilderlands, Gabor/Melan's Wilderlands, James Mishler's Wilderlands, Scott Z'a Wilderlands of Darkling Sorcery, etc. and there's not a "Right" or "Wrong" Wilderlands, just a setting for DMs to run fantasy adventures as they see fit.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

[O/AD&D Prestige Class] The Esoteric Assassin

The Esoteric Assassin

"Some legendary abilities purported to be in the province of ninja training include invisibility, walking on water, and control over the natural elements..."

The Esoteric Assassin’s training in the dark arts allows them to carry out missions of death, for with their spells they can infiltrate and slay with impunity. Esoteric Assassins belong to secret societies hidden in cities or based in remote fortresses in the wilderness. 

Requirements: Assassin (or Thug) of 5th level with an Intelligence of 15 or higher and a Dexterity of 16 or higher who has assassinated or challenged to a duel and slain an Esoteric Assassin of higher level for the purpose of joining their society.

Esoteric Assassins progress as an Assassin but gain the benefits of an improved Saving Throw versus Poison and the ability to cast spells. They may progress to a maximum of the 14 level, and must assassinate or challenge to the duel and slay a 14th level Esoteric Assassin to advance to that level.

Level XP Poison Save Spells:1st/2nd/3rd/4th
6 65,000 11 1
7 110,000 10 2
8 190,000 10 3 1
9 335,000 9 3 2
10 550,000 9 3 3 1
11 800,000 5 3 3 2
12 1,325,000 5 3 3 3 1
13 1,875,000 4 3 3 3 2
14 2,125,000 4 3 3 3 3

Spells are prepared and cast the same as a Magic-User, and cannot be cast while the Esoteric Assassin is wearing any armor.

1st Level Spells
Audible Glamer (2)
Change Self (Illusionist, 2e 1)
Detect Poison (UA Druid 1, 2e Cleric 1)
Feather Fall
Fog Cloud (Illusionist 2, 2e 2)

2nd Level Spells
Alter Self (2e)
Darkness 15’ Radius
Illusionary Script (Illusionist 3, 2e 3)
Pass Without A Trace (Druid 1, 2e Priest 1)
Spider Climb (1)
Unknowable Alignment (Cleric 1, Reversed)

3rd Level Spells
Misdirection (Illusionist 2, 2e 2)
Non-Detection (Illusionist 3, 2e 3)
Protection From Good 10’ Radius (Reversed)

4th Level Spells
Clairaudience (3)
Clairvoyance (3)
Dimension Door
Improved Invisibility (Illusionist 4, 2e 4)
Poison (reversed Cleric 4)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

[Flailsnails] Thieves vs. Specialists

I've been wrestling with how to handle LOTFP Specialists in my Flailsnails OD&D game. OD&D Thieves have d4 hp, set skill %s, and are limited (varying with interpretation) to Daggers and Swords (AD&D pre-UA limits them to club, dagger, dart, swords (long, short & broad) and slings); leather armor & no shields.

Whereas LOTFP specialists have d6 hp, choose their own skills (which is usually a maxed out snaeak attack and stealth), can use any weapon, are limited to their leather when doing sneaky skills and can use shields.

Basically, as I've seen most LOTFP Specialists played, they are analogous to OD&D Assassins (d6 hp, any weapon, leather & shield).

Now I like OD&D/pre-UA AD&D class-based weapon restrictions. Fighters are the bad-asses using bows, pole arms, two-handed swords, morning stars, and the like. In 3E we reached this point where every PC was carrying reach weapons and crossbows and were all members of the Expendables or something, which is cool, but I think OD&D restricted weapons are cool as well and has it's own more-D&D-ish flavor.

Now I want to be a cool flailsnails DM and let people bring in their PCs and play them as they are used to.

Now I was thinking about 3E "munchkin cheese" and how the LOTFP could be seen as the Flailsnails munchkin cheese Thief when I realized something...

...in LOTFP Specialists are forever 1st level when attacking.

Problem solved.

If you play a Thief in my Flailsnails game you are an OD&D Thief.

If you play a Specialist in my Flailsnails OD&D game you are a LOTFP Specialist that forever attacks as a 1st level character.

Balance achieved!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

[Random Table] What does the Elf Bleed?

1- sea foam
2 - semen
3 - sand
4 - plasma
5 - sunlight
6 - hummingbirds
7 - iridescent bubbles
8 - wind
9 - flower petals
10 - honey

Monday, August 13, 2012

[Random Tables] Impertinent Behaviors

d12 - Impertinent Behaviors
1 - Impertinent Strutting
2 - Impertinent Whistling
3 - Impertinent Giggling
4 - Impertinent Prancing
5 - Impertinent Wiggling
6 - Impertinent Winking
7 - Impertinent Grinning
8 - Impertinent Aping
9 - Impertinent Hooting
10 - Impertinent Japing
11 - Impertinent Fawning
12 - Impertinent Airs

Astonishing S&S of Hyperborea: This Gets Me Every Time...

"...and the spring years are remarkable for a species of fire beetles (oft called jigs) that cavort about the bogs, scores upon scores emitting their fulvous phosphorescence, as the standing males “jig” on their hind legs in most ostentatious displays."

Cracks me up every time I think of it, although I like to think that the displays are both ostentatious and impertinent.

BTW, AS&SOH has some of the best art I've seen in an OSR-ish product. It's metal as all hell without getting into gauche mohawk-y territory, and captures the cold, grim vibe of the setting as written. Plus that cover! It seems like a nice 0.75 ed. AD&D-ish system as well.

Cam From Red Box Vancouver is a Cool Dude

He brought TWENTY (20) TACOS to yesterday's D&D game, Power Down!

Taco Taco Man
Cam is the coolest Taco man...

[Ambiguous Villain NPC] Jewel Arrow

No one is sure who the ambiguous villain Jewel Villain truly is; by appearances he is a dashing aristocrat in luxurious hunting garb. He travels the borderlands upon a magnificent steed and is legendary for his golden gem encrusted arrows of amazing craftsmanship.

Tales speak of him encountering lone travellers and from long range firing his elegant hunters bow at them. Most are slain by one of his Jewel Arrows, but those who survive usually have a fortune embedded in their body.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

F**k Yeah Geoffrey!!! Psychedelic Fantasies!


I'm loving the brutal unrelenting D.I.Y. hippy D&D assault, so fucking punk! I'm just hoping that this flower child emails me the PDF I bought immediately.

Monday, August 6, 2012

"Exploding" D&D Wilderness Encounter Checks

In OD&D and B/XD&D you check once per day to see if there's a random wilderness encounters (Cook/Marsh Expert has allowances for multiple checks per day, buts it's kind of vague).

That's fine but what about in adventure stories where the encounters don't stop? One dude gets eaten by a giant snake, another gets a poison dart in his neck and a third drowns in quicksand. Before noon no less.

To account for this I've worked out an "exploding die" derived wilderness encounter check that uses the sum of an infinite series calculations to maintain roughly the same odds as the original check.

The idea is every day you roll a wilderness encounter check; if there is one, roll another wilderness encounter check and than roll again and so forth (don't worry, probabilities ensure that there won't be 154 encounters). This determines the total number of random wilderness encounters the party encounters over the course of that day.

Clear, Grasslands, Inhabited, City: Was a 6 on a d6, now 1-2 on a d12 or 14%.

Woods, River, Desert, Hills, Barren, Ocean, Aerial: was a 5-6 on a d6, now a 1-3 on a d12 or 25%.

Swamp, Mountains, Jungle: was a 4-6 on a d6, now a 1-4 on a d12 or 33%.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Random Magic Sword, Mercenary and Specialist Hireling Tables


Magic Swords d10
1. Lifecutter: +1 short sword, +1 initiative and armor class.
2. Frenzy: +2 bastard sword, +2 initiative and -1 armor class.
3. Gravehammer: +2 two-handed sword, drains 1 life level on a 20.
5. Amputator: +2 falchion, severs random extremity on a 20.
6. Poison Needle: +1 rapier, slays target on a 20 but also inflicts 1-6 points +1 point per level or hit dice of the target of damage to the wielder in such instances.
7. The Elephant Razor: +1 long sword, +2 to hit, +2 armor class, and 2-16+2 damage against larger-than-man-sized targets.
8. Breeze: +2 scimitar, wielder can leap 10' and takes half damage from falls.
9. Gorging Hound: long sword, +1 on to hit rolls and +1-4 damage.
10. Prismthorn: +1 shortsword, +2 on saves versus spells and magic items, on a successful save 50% chance of reflecting spells back upon the caster.

Mercenaries d20
1. Abromogdan the Serpent: lawful, 2 hp, very tall, forked tongue, lisps. Bull-headed mace, 6 javelins, plate mail, large rectangular demon-faced shield.
2. Balish Moaz: neutral, 6 hp, deep voice, missing fingers on left hand, greying beard. Battle axe, hand axe, short bow, rusty chain mail.
3. Domodon the Axe: neutral, 7 hp, fat, eschews pants in lie of a stained leather loinclout. Scimitar, spear, short bow, studded leather armor, small round shield.
4. Embrag Vril: chaotic, 4 hp, somewhat childlike, dances when happy, giant wolf tatto on chest. Mace, long sword, light crossbow, brass-plated banded mail, large round shield.
5. Falash Ashang: neutral, 3 hp, very long nose, greasy hair, amateur scholar. Spear, war hammer, sling, leather armor.
6. Herfaling Irax: chaotic, 6 hp, stuttering, balding, peeping tom. Broad sword, club, furs and chain mail, kite shield.
7. Jobo Mash: chaotic, 4 hp, short, prone to spouting impromptu verse, very talkative. Halberd, short sword, light crossbow, plate mail.
8. Kroak Ilking: lawful, 4 hp, excitable, waxed mustache, wears gaudy gold chains. Spear, shortsword, long bow, chain mail.
9. Lashtur Gond: chaotic, 4 hp, proud of never lying, lucky at gambling, exotic sexy accent. War hammer, spear, plate mail, large rectangular shield.
10. Oplinth Shen: neutral, 2 hp, incredibly handsome, obsessed with seafood, really wants a fancy dagger with a ruby pommel. Long sword, short bow, studded leather armor, buckler.
11. Promdalia Droarkang: neutral, 2 hp, lavishes attention upon his long oiled beard, laughter is booming, has a pet owl. Heavy flail, hand axe, chain mail.
12. Quizitch Walsht: neutral, 1 hp. Wears a monocle, beloved by animals, is convinced he will die soon. Long sword, flail, plate mail, shield.
13. Rom Keth: lawful, 1 hp, farts constantly, shaves head, carries a set of hand drums. Battle axe, spear, short sword, chain mail.
14. Surku Broag: neutral, 4 hp, wears an eyepatch and a doo rag, loves spicy food. Battle axe, war hammer, heavy crossbow, plate hail.
15. Tintur Kamelan: chaotic, 6 hp, unshaven antisocial alcoholic loner. Morningstar, short sword, light crossbow, plate mail, small battered wooden shield.
16. Ubt Ubtar: neutral, 4 hp, jolly, wears a fur hat, spits a lot, long sword, short bow, plate mail, large round shield.
17. Veykag Omeleg: neutral, 2 hp, middle-aged retired sailor, missing many teeth. ip, Harpoon, whip, short sword, studded leather armor.
18. Weshly the Grey: lawful, 4 hp, brooding teenager, grey haired. Fussart, 6 chakrams, chain mail.
19. Yalib Loamur: neutral, 8 hp, wears a large gold hoop earring and gaudy red silk pantaloons, wants to someday own an elephant. Spear, sling, studded leather armor.
20. Zaphalian Krunt: lawful, 3 hp, is always a perfect gentleman, can imitate any bird call, has a robotic leg. Hercules club, long sword, light crossbow, plate mail.

Specialist Hirelings d20
1. Boraz the Alchemist: neutral, 4 hp, constantly strutting and whistling.
2. Choak the Bearer: neutral, 6 hp, wears a jaunty cap, love skipping stones across water.
3. Forbu the Mule and Camel Wrangler: chaotic, 6 hp, once narrowly escaped being devoured by a swarm of lobsters, mother was a famous opera singer.
4. Hibble the Jester: chaotic, 1 hp, shaggy disheveled hair, is burdened by an unremovable cursed iron collar put on him by a witch.
5. Kantang the Snake Charmer: neutral, 5 hp, bad skin, wears patched hose.
6. Kingtu the Cook: chaotic, 2 hp, wears a ratty tunic and a wide brass studded leather belt, calls everyone champ.
7. Leshari the Linguist: neutral, 6 hp, champion shuttlecock player, always talking about wine.
8. Malboarth the Diver: lawful, 2 hp, considers himself to be a ladies’ man, isn’t.
9. Mustod the Engineer: chaotic, 4 hp, brash, talks loudly.
10. Narat the Champion Rider: neutral, 3 hp, winks to punctuate statements, unnecessarily sly.
11. Rangu the Quack: neutral, 1 hp, cracks knuckles, burps, pot belly.
12. Shemharad the "King" (insane): neutral, 3 hp, wears dirty robes of state and a dented tin crown, hook for a hand, waxed mustache, loves practical jokes.
13. Silvomar the Gypsy: chaotic, 5 hp, has a huge hooked nose, wears a fur vest.
14. Tunk the Hound Master: neutral, 1 hp, mumbles constantly making communication difficulty, flies into rages.
15. Ushtu the Labourer and Acupuncturist: lawful, 3 hp, makes inappropriate lewd quips, completely trustworthy.
16. Vortu the Forensicist: neutral, 6 hp, chews tobacco, has a pet pack pony “Cyril.”
17. Wort the Falconer: neutral, 1 hp, carries a gaudy ebony and ivory cane, prone to humming.
18. Wuxuan the Physician: chaotic, 1 hp, has huge feet, oversensitive about the subject, is always stubbing toes.
19. Xsargot the Venom Master: chaotic, 3 hp, tattoo of a snake on face, wears a kilt, has a goofy slobbering dog.
20. Yot the Torchbearer: neutral, 3 hp, wears all black, smokes aromatic blossoms in a pipe, is a pretentious poet.

Monday, July 2, 2012


Written by Albert of Underworld Kingdom and Terminal Space; $3.50 32-page PDF from lulu.

Random tables for games in abominably ancient weird fantasy cities, it brings to my mind Vornheim; China Mieville; Arduin; CSIO; and supernatural Slavonic sardonicism.

It's only shortcoming is that it is not longer! I haven't posted any links due to writing this on my phone.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sunday's 10 Hour Game pt. 1

The orphaned child magic-user Floria “Viperhearted” Khazam and her adult apprentice Azure Krikorion team up with the naive adventurers Patster and Fizfin meet in the Souk and decide to seek out rumours of adventure.

A beautiful young catamite, Brezihav the Beautiful, seem entranced by the party and pleads for tales of their adventurers. Floria asks is he knows of any and the catamite speaks of a tale told to him by Kholhak the Bold of a cavern a short distance out of Yam, formerly a goatherd shelter, that now has a portal appearing at midnight to creepy halls haunted by monsters and dripping with treasure.

The party sets out to the hlly region indicated by the tale and encounter a pair of goatherds that corroborate Brezihav’s tale and point out the cavern entrance, located at the base of a hill bearing on it’s brow a crown-like rock formation, “Crown Hill”.

The party sets up camp outside the cave entrance and in the evening, after the goatherds and their wards have retired from the locale, the party encounters a small pack of massive (9 feet tall), shaggy, lumbering primitive ape-hominids bearings huge stone tomahawks.

In the ensuing battle Fibzfin’s head is smashed into flinders and Azure is trapped in the cave by tumbled boulders as Floria flee back to the Yam Outskirts.

The two rest and the following day the fighting-woman Elsi is recruited, and the grizzled labourer and digging prodigy Digger is hired. The party returns to the cave to find that some party has dug out the cave entombing boulders and that Azure is dead and robbed of his gold and fancy azure cloak, bearing the wounds of having been beaten with a mace before having his throat slit. There was blood and the signs of punching through armor on the magician’s dagger to his credit. His diary does indicate that there had been no sign of a portal as Azure waited in the cave.

On their way back to Yam they encounter two enigmatic crow-people that seem amused with the party and after inquiry informs them that they had seen a flock of five man-things, including the “two-that are one,” walking back to Yam earlier, and one had been wearing an azure cloak.

Returning to the Yam Outskirts they spot a group of five warriors at a wine stand: three mail-clad mace-men; a pygmy archer riding piggyback upon a large blind eunuch controlled by the pygmy’s toes pulling and twisting the blind eunuch’s nipple rings; and a strutting shirtless oiled warrior with fancy clothes, a fancy spiked buckler, and fancy scimitar, and a fancy azure veil who was currently strutting about showing off his fancy new azure robe.

Floria refrains from fireballing them in the crowded souk, and the party enquires after the band of warriors’ identity,they are Veiled Death Bride Makhar and his Murderers.

The warriors leave while the party is distracted and they next seek of Brezihav the Beautiful who blanches at the sight of the party, ensaddening the disappointed and naive Patster, and admits to his role in a scheme to lure adventurers to the cave for Makhar and his Murderers to slay and rob. But, Brezihav stutteringly claims, he only did this because Makhar had threatened to murder him if he didn’t comply.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fortress Eibon - Update

Previous Antics
Columbo the Brave, the Unkillable, the Toughest Hobbit in the World is rumoured to have been slain by a pack of reeking man-apes after slaying almost allof their numbers in the bowels beneath Fortress Eibon, losing the +5 Defender Sword,Short STAHLKURTAN and several other ensorcelled blades, as well as the sweeper good-luck charm hireling Heramphalmos.

The party hired the services of Siege Engineer to hurl two grappling hooks with attached ropes over the walls of the western face of the Fortress, thereby gaining egress to the upper regions, the now famous extravagant spendthrift adventurer Zyglox the Rich found a platinum and emerald crown amidst a hoard of coins while scouting out an area after descending another rope.

He quickly hid the crown on his person and called the party down the rope to collect the coins. Zyglox and the now also-famous flamboyant adventurer Trigger Ben were the first to ascend the rope as the party endeavoured to return to Yam with their riches; at that point a giant scorpion appeared and after the third remaining delver started climbing the same rope it broke sending all throw plunging down to their eventual deaths.

An elderly itinerant sought the party's aid in looting the subterranean temple of some ancient forgotten god. A maze of empty obsidian chambers was explored uncovering ape nests; walking apes with massively powerful arms and talons; dis-imprisoning some sort of aggressive black four legged bird; and finding the temple. The elderley itinerant patron, several mercenaries and delvers were killed by fireballs shooting out of the darkness of the massive temple, but eventually a small cult that worshipped the forgotten god of the temple were slain, with the robot soldier Breaker striding out of a fireball blast to hew down the head sorcerer of the cult with the long-dead but infamous Buzz Brazelhatch's rapier-thin and flexible puissant two-handed sword LADYKILLER.

In a secret vault beneath the underground temple the party dealt with a fire-spewing giant fanged skull that was shattered by the mace of a man-at-arms while it attempted to devour the metal body of Breaker.

While exploring a hidden abandoned sanctum cavern constructed by a high-level cleric of the cat goddess in centuries past, now partially flooded by the rising levels of the Effluvium River flowing out of the Mire ward of the Yam Outskirts the party deal with being mostly submerged; belligerent sponges that spurt and ichor that would after many turns start growing spongy growths upon ichor begrimed armour and skin. A gigantic crab was quickly slain after being lured out of a cat goddess shrine by a thrown chicken; a massive pile of animated cat corpses wrought havoc upon the delvers; many riches were salvaged; and Zyglox the Rich was almost eaten by a gigantic python.

A party of newish delvers were hired by the striking and severe Matrician Ceraphalia the Widow to recover her nubile daughter, Nespithene, from the clutches of the sorcerer Chungu the Beardless; who had been famous for his luxurious beard before a rival sorcerer stole it from him leaving him with smooth pink skin where his beard formerly had reigned.

She offered a handsome reward for the return of her daughter, and another one for Chungu's head. The delvers were informed that Chungu was reputed to reside in a subterranean ruin west of the Yam Spaceport.

The party found a descending stairwell amidst the rubble piled west of the Yam Spaceport and proceeded to slay ruin-dwelling madmen; defeat more of the infamous disappearing giant flea  of past infamous massacres; be ambushed and backstabbed by a pack of thieves who were so disenheartened by the subsequent swift brutal retaliation that they threw down their shortswords and gave the party their considerable hoard of coins and jewels in exchange for their lives; and another violent encounter with a band of religious warriors who called themselves the Tomb Police, who negotiated a cessation in hostilities after one of their number was slain, as it was a misunderstanding after all.

A subsequent expedition involved the cleric Verbana, the naive Patster and the infamous chaotic asshole psychopath with a million lethal tricks up his sleeve Randy Serpenthelm, who had acquired a terrible reputation in the regions of Yam. Randy Serpenthelm sought the services of chaotic warriors for his nefarious schemes and the party went up Whip Street to Fight Street where they espied the clubhouse of the chaotic and violent horseman gang The Vomit Demons, several of which were partying on their patio with liquor and dancing girls.

Randy Serpenthelm seeks out their apparent leader and explained a proposal involving several of the Vomit Demons serving under his command for the glory of chaos and such, the Vomit Demon left for a turn before returning with a bottle of liquor which was passed among the party, with Patster the only one who could drink the liquor without vomiting and thereby being respected by the Vomit Demons instead of being openly mocked and laughed at.

Randy Serpenthelm was led inside to discuss his proposal with the chieftan of the gang while the other went and waited across the street beneath the walls and tower of the Executioners and Torturers Guild. Randy was ambushed by a group of Vomit Demons inside and used his magic chaotic sword to summon a pack of armored chaos warriors and his animate medusa head Vanessa to barely ward off death while slaying several of their numbers; a true is called and Randy Serpenthelm is allowed to exit through a secret one-way door into the night-soil chamber of the building where he crawls through a waste drain tunnel to his exit in the alleyway.

After cleaning himself Randy Sepenthelm seeks out a blacksmith and attempts to hire him to construct him a new identity concealing helmet with some sort of fancy motif. The smith repudiates the request and chases Randy out of his shop yelling about how he "will not work for THE SNAKEHEAD." Children in the street take up the call and begin pointing and laughing while calling out "SNAKEHEAD" while adults begin whispering and pointing and mutters of "That's the one they call the Snakehead..." can be heard.

Randy Serpenthelm retreats into seclusion and recruits Verbana and Patster to collect the supplies for a ridiculous new disguise and persona. They hire mercenaries: a towering barbarian wearing a nail-keg helm, bearing a massive maul (used to break up infantry formations), and with bare muscular legs, named Kroghan of the Maul Clan, and two rough-and-tumble labourers, Boroni and Moroni, who are armed with a hatchet and a cudgel, and they seek out Chungu the Unbearded.

New staircases and uncovered and Kroghan is almost devoured by a giant paralyzing worm before an iron door. The party argues with unknown persons who harrange them for slaying their expensive and difficult to acquire worm guardian and Randy attempts to use Vanessa upon the peephole to ambiguous results.

Kroghan is enlisted and makes short work of the barred iron door with his maul and hastily abandoned quarters are found. When searched a seven panel accordion folding brass pornographic etching of some small value is uncovered and Boroni is rewarded with it with predictable results. Explorations reveal treasure guarding poisonous snakes that are slain; giant metal doors which are smashed open to reveal an empty chamber, its floor marred by the telltale scuff marks of heavily laden chests. A huge cloud of bone dust terrifies the party repeatedly until the cleric Verbana turns it and treasure is recovered.

The apparent hastily abandoned dwelling of a small group of worshippers of the chaos goddess of hot-blooded murder Ziomar is uncovered, and when Verbana opens a secret door uncovered by the party they are engulfed in magical darkness. The party flees and returns to the Yam Outskirts.

Randy Serpenthelm comes up with a scheme to find a corpse in the slums to offer to the murder goddess cultists and the party travels to Murder Street in the very chaotic Maim Ward of the Yam Outskirts. The come upon the Cathedral of Burning Blood, temple to the twin chaos goddesses Ziomar and Zamazthu (the goddess of lust and passion). Randy Serpenthelm investigates and encounters the Priestess of Ziomar, a statuesque nude woman painted in dried blood, who appears to know his identity despite his audacious disguise and informs him of how much Ziomar is grateful of everything he has been doing and of how he in the goddess's gaze and so forth. Possibly fearing compromising his secret identity, Randy quickly leaves while the Priestess continues of loudly laugh and call out after him.

The party returns to the subterranean ruins where they seek out the Ziomar cult and are able to negotiate with them through a shut iron door; they know Chungu's location and think he and his cult are assholes, directions and well wishings are provided and the party seeks out the gate to Chungu's domain.

Funky flute and drum jams are heard as the iron door to his chambers are approached and the odours of incense and drug smoke float in the air. Randy attempts to negotiate with an unknown party on the other side of the door who is incredibly laid back and well meaning but remains intractable regarding attempts to get him to open the door. Verbana comes uncunted and starts yelling at "You Shitheels" before Kroghan in again enlisted to smash the door open with his maul and Boroni is rendered aslumbered by a sorcery from within the chamber

Randy uses his chaos sword to again summon chaos warriors, but they now appear in the image of depictions of Ziomar, prepubescent slim pale nude girls bearing two daggers in their bloodsoaked hands. There is a protracted battles before the long haired, bearded, beaded, braided, macramed, embroidered, organic acolytes of Chungu are slain revealing the funky den of large cushions, hookahs, world music instruments, and groovy handcrafts but no sign of Chungu the Beardless or his nubile victim.

An iron door is opened revealing caves, and the party hotly pursues Chungu's apparent trail. Out of the darkness a voice is heard and the party stumbles upon the masked Cat Burglar and Jewel Thief THE RASCAL who explained that we would split treasure with the party in return for their aid, as The Rascal was currently mobility impaired. The Rascal that he had infiltrated Chungu's cult and endured their horrid accursed piping until he could sneak through the door and find Chungu's hoard, including Chungu's Seven Gems, which he looted before his leg was broken "by some trap of Chungu's" and he lay here in the darkness without food or water for an unknown span of days that seemed like forever. A arrangement is made, The Rascal's leg is splinted and he is given a piggyback by Kroghan. The party explores further and finds cave painting of hairy naked people fluting and drumming among paradisal pastoral flowered paradise with frolicking animals. The delvers than begin to hear a faint fluting and piping and flee the chamber.

They find a tunnel that seems to be Chungu's only escape route, but when they come upon white and gold glowing motes and begin feeling peaceful they turn tail and return to The Souk where they sell Chungu's Seven Gems, which consists of a couple of quite valuable gemstones and several petty ornamental and fancy stones.

After resting several days the party returns to Chungu's cult den to continue searching the caves but espie lamplight when approaching. Verbana sneaks up and peers within to see a slim, blonde and nubile maiden crying and weeping while smoking a hookah while a long haired man in a robe, with smooth pink skin where a beard would be, was arranging the bodies of his acolytes while saying "...goodbye brother Sunshine. I'll be missing you Willow-Tree..." and Verbana cast Hold upon them.

The man is held, tied up and gagged while the screaming crying girl("Chungu! What have you done to him! Nooooo!) is picked up and rendered helpless by Kroghan who laughs heartily when she tries to scratch out his eyeballs though his helm, before Verbana takes the responsibility of decapitating the held Chungu and the party return to the Yam Outskirts with the crying screaming maiden and Chungu's head on a ten-foot pole.

Their patron quickly finds the party by following the shrieks and wails of her daughter, whom she slaps and has her men-at arms gag and carry while she informs her that she is to be imprisoned, drugged, and trained into being a good wife for a rich merchant before she rewards the party. Patster feels bad.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Towards a More Complicated Dungeon Encounter Table

So I've been DMing a lot of dungeon-centric play for a while now, which has entailed a lot of farting around with different procedural dungeon generation & stocking algorithms from different sources and trying to mash towards some sort of universal dungeon generation holistically out of diverse sources.

One thing that has become apparent to me is that there is a dire need for "modular" dungeon encounter tables.

This is something I've harped on before, when I've made the demand that all monster books should contain comprehensive encounter tables utilizing the monsters in the book. The idea being that the DM can make a table like:
1-4 - use AD&D DMG encounter table
5 - use Monsters of Myth
6 - use Malevolent & Benign
7 - Use Tome of Horrors Complete
8 - Use Carcosa

...to dice on when generating random encounters, and than use the encounter table within the individual resource/monster book. That way a DMs entire collection of monster resources (or "modules") can be available for random encounter/lair generation.

Now both OD&D and B/XD&D (as well as Labyrinth Lord & OSRIC) use modular wilderness encounter tables, you have a table like:
1- Men
2- Animals
3 - Bugs
4 - Undead
5 - Monsters
6 - Fliers

...and then tables of Men, Animal, etc. encounters with different tables used for differing terrains. What I've come to like about this schema is that it allows the DM to easily make custom encounter tables for wilderness regions in their campaign, i.e.:
1 - Men
2 - Animals
3 - Bugs
4-8 - Undead
9 - Monsters
10 - Fliers

Now I think it would be dandy if someone made up dungeon encounter tables using this method, so I was pretty happy when I came across this on Rules Roles and Rolls.

I think it's one of the best dungeon encounter tables I've seen, it has dinosaurs and froghemoths! And I particularly like this:

The encounter table is organized into rows, each with a different type of creature. Determine if the adventure area has any encounter types that should not appear, out of these:
Surface: Creatures from the outdoors
Troops: Groups of fighting creatures
Leaders: Powerful, intelligent individuals
Predators / Loners: Solitary, powerful beings
Vermin: Masses of unintelligent creatures
Unnatural (later divides into Weird, Unliving, and Planar): Supernatural and strange creatures
Decide what each excluded type will convert to.
Example: You are stocking an organized fortress area. You decide thatVermin and the Unnatural types do not belong there. You also decide thatthe Vermin types should be replaced by Troops, and Unnatural with Leaders,as those would be more commonly found in the fortress.
Now this does bring to mind 4E's monster roles, albeit done in a way that actually elegantly works with the oldschool D&D paradigm. And it also reminds me of the Tekumel procedural megadungeon generation systems from The Underwords article in The Best of the Journal: The Pettigrew Selections, which has a method for determining areas on dungeon levels and than generating their inhabitants via tables for different areas that determines not the specific monster but instead its "dungeon ecology role":
...For convenience, the possible underworld creatures are separated into the 12 categories listed below...
Bandits - Humans or intelligent nonhumans who have turned to Tomb robbery and banditry for a living...
Adventurers - Humans or intelligent nonhumans who have descended into the underworld in search of treasure and artifacts...
Undead - Corpses reanimated to serve various purpose...
Guardians - Creatures designed to protect treasure by the ancients, the priests ... and others...
Carrion Eaters - Creatures which subsist on carrion...
Demon - A large interdimensional demonic being.
Guards - Humans or intelligent nonhumans ... who are set to guard a specific place...
Water Creatures - These include most of the creatures normally encountered at sea...
Ancients - Creatures or devices created by the ancients...
Ssu - ...
Independents - Intelligent or semi-intelligent underworld creatures which function on their own...
Other - Monsters ... not included in the categories above. They should be used in special situations at the referee's discretion...
Obviously the solution is for me to go over my OSR Dungeon Encounter Tables and rework them to work with the above schema.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Flailsnails Magic Item For Sale

Harashamenon the Trinket Broker of the Souk of the Yam Outskirts is widely advertising the availability, with delivery, of a Magic Wand of Fireballs, with 5 6d6 Fireballs remaining, for the price of 4,000 gold pieces.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

(megadungeon area/ruin) The Bloodsoaked Temple

NOTE: If you are a player in games I DM, please do do not read the following.

This a part of a Tekumel inspired megadungeon I'm working on, as well as an exercise in using different random table utilities.

Dungeon Design - % Man-types

This is a train of thought inspired by both the descriptions of the Empire of the Petal Throne underworld and my analysis of % of man-type encounters through various editions of D&D.

When making a dungeons consider assigning a % Men value to individual dungeons.

A complex of interconnected cellars beneath a slum used by criminals and outcastes? 90% Men.

The just-unearthed vault of a race of prehuman abominations? 0% Men.

When stocking an inhabited room or determining a random encounter make a check against the % Men value.

D&D dungeons with the monsters Monsters MONSTERS! paradigm is pretty awesome, and makes for a great funhouse, but higher percentages of man-types should allow for more complex and entertaining emergent scenarios as well as emulating a great deal of the source literature.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Man-types in Dungeons - Sundry Addendums


There will be from 2-12 men with any Fighting-Man, Magic-User, or Cleric encountered in the wilderness. They will be from the 1st to the 4th level of the appropriate class. In addition, there will be other magical items they might have.

See also here.

Beyond This Point Be Dragons

There will always be 2-12 men accompanying any Lord, Superhero, Wizard, Necromancer, Patriarch, or Evil High Priest. In addition they may be carrying various magical items.

Empire of the Petal Throne

Priest/Priestess: ... 1-6 [Priest/Priestesses] in both cases, and always with 2-24 followers. Of the latter, there is a 30% chance of half being soldiers (levels 3-9). ...

Lord/Lady: 1-3 Lords or ladies ... may be met. These people may be accompanied by 1-100 soldiers. A lord will be of level 7-12 and will be a fighter. A lady will be of the same levels ... there is a 40% chance that a lady will be a magic user of levels 7-12 ...

Moldvay Basic

Acolytes are 1st level NPC clerics on a pilgrimage to or from a holy (or unholy) shrine - or perhaps merely seeking adventure.

Bandits are NPC thieves who have joined together for the purpose of robbing others. Bandits will act as normal humans in order to surprise their intended victims. ... Bandits may have an NPC leader of any class, fighter, magic-user, thief or cleric, who is of an experience level higher than the bandits.

"Noble" is a general term for the lord of a castle and any of his or her relatives.

Traders are first level fighters who make their living trading goods. They are similar to merchants, but much braver (and much better fighters).

Veterans are low-level fighters, usually returning from or going to a war. ...A party of veterans may be of mixed levels and alignments, or the DM may wish to give all members the same levels.

Non-randomized Monster Hit Points is the F'ing Devil

Non-randomized monster hit points? You, WOTC, are the real monsters good sirs.

You want minion and elite monsters in a large group for an encounter? You dice up the hit points for the group of monsters. The ones with crap hit points are the minions, and the ones with the extraordinary hit points are the elites. Because they're tougher the elites get to bully their hands onto the best weapons as well. Any magic arms in their loot? The elites are using them.

Hell, just roll a d8 for each one and multiply the result by their hit dice and add any pluses to make it swingier.

In encounters with groups of monsters, I love the emergent narrative that occurs due to varying hit points. "Holy crap, this guy has almost max hit points, he has a boat load of them. He's obviously some kind of big deal!"

I find the shocked aftermath when some badass terrifying monster had absolute shit hit points and gets fucking worked right off the bat to be a beautiful thing, from either side of the screen.

Some people would claim that it's not cinematic enough, that it's an anticlimactic disappointment. Those people do not understand drama.

Hell, as a player, realizing that we just wasted the last charge of the rod of zapping death and our remaining plasma grenades on a monster that was made out of tissue paper may elicit some good natured "God damn it!"s, but we'll be laughing our asses off and remembering it as D&D being totally fucking awesome.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Man-types in Dungeons: B/X & AD&D

Moldvay/Cook Basic/Expert

Level 1
1-8 Acolytes * (cleric 1) - 5%
1-8 "Bandits" (thief 1) - 5%
1-8 Traders (fighter 1) - 5%
Total: 15%
* If there are 4 or more encountered they will be led by a 2nd (40%), 3rd (30%), 4th (20%), or 5th (10%) level cleric.

Level 2
1-6 Berserkers - 5%
Noble (fighter 3), squire (fighter 2) and 0-10 retainers or henchmen (fighter 1) - 5%
2-8 "Veterans" (fighter 1-3) - 5%
Total: 10%

Level 3
1-4 Mediums * (magic-user 1) - 5%
5-8 member NPC Party (varies 1-3) - 5%
Total: 10%
* There is a 50% chance that mediums will be accompanied by their master, a 3rd level magic-user.

Levels 4-5
4-9 Adventurers/NPC Party (varies 3-12) - 5%
Total: 5%

Levels 6-7
4-9 Adventurers/NPC Party (varies 3-12) - 5%
Total: 5%

Levels 8+
4-9 Adventurers/NPC Party (varies 3-12) - 5%
Total: 5%

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Masters Guide

Level 1
5-15 Bandits - 3.75%
3-9 Berserkers - 2.25%
5-15 Brigands - 2.25%
2-5 Characters with men-at-arms or henchmen to round the party out to 9 - 8.25%
Total: 15%

Level 2
2-5 Characters with men-at-arms or henchmen to round the party out to 9 - 11%
Total: 11%

Level 3
2-5 Characters with men-at-arms or henchmen to round the party out to 9 - 10%
Total: 10%

Level 4
2-5 Characters with men-at-arms or henchmen to round the party out to 9 - 8%
Total: 8%

Level 5
2-5 Characters with men-at-arms or henchmen to round the party out to 9 - 8%
Total: 8%

Level 6
2-5 Characters with men-at-arms or henchmen to round the party out to 9 - 6%
Total: 6%

Level 7 
2-5 Characters with men-at-arms or henchmen to round the party out to 9 - 5%
Total: 5%

Level 8
2-5 Characters with men-at-arms or henchmen to round the party out to 9 - 5%
Total: 5%

Level 9
2-5 Characters with men-at-arms or henchmen to round the party out to 9 - 9%
Total: 9%

Level 10
2-5 Characters with men-at-arms or henchmen to round the party out to 9 - 8%
Total: 8%

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Things OD&D Did Right - Man-types in Dungeons

The Underworld & Wilderness Adventure
% of sundry man-types in the dungeon wandering monster tables.

Level 1
Bandits - 12.5%
Total: 12.5%

Level 2
Warriors (fighter 2) - 10%
Conjurers (magic-user 2) - 10%
Berserkers - 10%
Theurgists (magic-user 3) - 10%
Total: 40%

Level 3
Heroes (fighter 4) - 10%
Thaumaturgists (magic-user 5) - 10%
Swashbucklers (fighter 5) -10%
Magicians (magic-user 6) - 10%
Total: 40%

Level 4
Evil Priests (cleric 4) - 10%
Myrmidons (fighter 6) - 10%
Enchanters (magic-user 7) - 10%
Total: 30%

Level 5
Superheroes (fighter 8) - 8.333...%
Sorcerers (magic-user 9) - 8.333...%
Total: 16.666...%

Level 6 (maximum)
Lords (fighter 9) - 8.333...%
Wizards * (magic-user 11) - 8.333...%
Evil High Priests * (cleric 8) - 8.333...%
Total: 25%

* Typically each will be accompanied by from 1-4 apprentices (Enchanters/Evil High Priests) and 1-6 bodyguards (levels 4-6 fighter-type).

Assuming that the classed man-types are chaotics, what a hive of scum and villainy!


Level 1
Bandits/Bersekers - 8.333...%
Footpads (thief 2) - - 8.333...%
Total: 16.666...%

Level 2
Warriors (fighter 2) - 8.333...%
Conjurers (magic-user 2) - 8.333...%
Robbers (thief 3) - 8.333...%
Theurgists (magic-user 3) - 8.333...%
Burglars (thief 4) - 8.333...%
Total: 41.666...%

Level 3
Heroes (fighter 4) - 8.333...%
Thaumaturgists (magic-user 5) - 8.333...%
Swashbucklers (fighter 5) - 8.333...%
Magicians (magic-user 6) - 8.333...%
Cutpurses (thief 5) - 8.333...%
Sharpers (thief 6) - 8.333...%
Total: 50%

Level 4
Evil Priests (cleric 4) - 5%
Myrmidons (fighter 6) - 5%
Enchanters (magic-user 7) - 5%
Pilferers (thief 7) - 5%
Total: 20%

Level 5
Superheroes (fighter 8)/Paladins - 5%
Druids (a "monster"-type in Greyhawk) - 5%
Sorcerers (magic-user 9)/Necromancers (magic-user 10) - 5%
Thieves (thief 9) - 5%
Total: 20%

Level 6 (maximum)
Lords (fighter 9)/Paladins - 5%
Evil High Priests (cleric 8) - 5%
Wizards (magic-user 11) - 5%
Master Thieves (thief 10) - 5%
Total: 20%

Empire of the Petal Throne

Level 1
1-6 Warriors (levels 1-3) - 8.333...%
1-3 Priests (levels 1-3) - 8.333...%
1-3 Magic-Users (levels 1-3) - 8.333...%
Total: 25%

Level 2
1-6 Warriors (levels 1-3) - 8.333...%
1-3 Priests (levels 4-6) - 8.333...%
1-3 Magic-Users (levels 1-4) - 8.333...%
1-12 Bandits (levels 1-4) - 8.333...%
Total: 33.333...%

Level 3
1-6 Warriors (levels 5-7) - 8.333...%
1-3 Priests (levels 5-7) - 8.333...%
1-3 Magic-Users (levels 5-7) - 8.333...%
Total: 25%

Level 4
1-3 Priests (levels 7-9) - 8.333...%
1-3 Magic-Users (levels 7-9) - 8.333...%
Lord/Lady (level 9-11) - 8.333...%
1-12 Warriors (levels 7-9) - 8.333...%
Total: 33.333...%

Level 5
1-6 Warriors (levels 7-9) - 8.333...%
1-3 Magic-Users (levels 5-7) - 8.333...%
Total: 16.333...%

Level 6
1-3 Lords/Ladies (levels 10-12) - 8.333...%
1-3 Priests (levels 10-12) - 8.333...%
1-3 Magic-Users (levels 10-12) - 8.333...%
Total: 25%

Thursday, May 17, 2012

[Magic Item] Swashbuckler's Cape +1

Appearing to be a cape of luxurious, effete manufacture, it's dweomer allows it to be held in an hand and used as a shield +1 by any being capable of using a shield; if used by a fighter of the 5th level (and no higher!) it will function as a shield +3.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"Don't Go Down the Well" or "How Do We Get The Hell Out Of This Place"

As of late in the Fotress Eibon games the players have been hitting the well in the south courtyard hard. It descends 40 feet to a cave system below the fortress.

There's a fair amount of treasure lying around down there, so I approve of this tactic. However, every time the party returns to their rope I make a secret dice check. Last sunday a 1 came up... someone or something had taken the rope!

The two surviving PCs made an amazing journey through the dungeons beneath Eibon, going up levels, going down levels, running, benefiting from good reaction rolls. I'm dying to spill the beans about how deep and how high they got, but that would spoil the fun.

It was getting late, and the players were getting sloppy, so I called the game there. I'm really hoping that come next session these two boobs stumble a way out of the maze.

Also, one of my favorite categories of PC death is when a character dies due to not carrying a light source. On Sunday one character fell through a one-way magic chute to a lower level... and he must not have been a scout as he had no means of illumination on his person. What a dork!

He did manage a valiant effort at groping his way out, but something disarmed him with a chain before he was savaged asunder... the other PCs were close enough to hear that part!

As well, crocodiles in a dungeon are pretty awesome!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Best Thing About a TPK When a PC has a Buttload of Sweet Magic Swords...

...a bunch of monsters in the dungeon armed with sweet magic swords.

"Come at me bro!"

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Quickie O/B/X D&D Starting Magic-User Spell Determination

3-8 - Randomly determine 1 1st level spell.
9-12 - Pick 1 1st level spell.
13-15 - Read Magic and pick 1 1st level spell.
16-17 - Read Magic, pick 1 1st level spell, and randomly determine 1 1st level spell.
18 - Read Magic and pick 2 1st level spells.

Inspired by my recent academic adventures, I imagine the above as this:

Int 3-8 - You're inept; although you somehow stumbled into an apprenticeship/wizard school, you were a failure and only remember how to do one thing, and it's probably not want you wanted to learn.

Int 9-12 - Although you got into an apprenticeship/wizard school you're pretty much a hack and managed to only learn how to do one thing.

Int 13-15 - You were an adequate student, you managed to learn a spell and the skills necessary to learn more on your own.

Int 16-17 - As above, but you managed to also retain some scraps of random information.

Int 18 - You were a prodigy and graduated with two spells of your choosing, what a champ!

One can easily play around with this depending on the DMs preferences regarding starting # of spells, randomization, etc. Maybe you need a 13 Int to avoid random starting spells? Maybe an 18 Int PC gets to pick 3 spells. I just like having a handy, arbitrary system for determining starting M-U spells that allows for some reward for being a brainiac.

I always liked the AD&D starting spell determination in principle, but in execution is a mess however much I love the cheap laffs at the expense of 1st level M-U's that have Friends, Mending and Ventriloquism in their spellbooks ("Where did you learn magic, working at a cricus? Bwahahahaha!").

As an aside, random spell determination works a lot better for the PCs with the OD&D/B/XD&D spell lists which aren't cluttered up with the hedge mage spells of dubious general utility. Heartbreak is your Magic-User reaching 7th level and getting Shatter in their spellbook. Not that I'm entirely against the D&D rules repeatedly slapping your PC in the face.

Monday, April 2, 2012

In OD&D It Takes 1 Turn to Cast Cure Wounds Spells...

...another example of how, for me, OD&D comes across as more literary than any other edition.

When I played Pool of Radiance on the PC in the 80s, I was shocked that you could cast Cure spells in combat; somehow, despite never being exposed to OD&D, I had just assumed that you couldn't use Cure spells in the middle of a fight.

Also, why are there so many blospot D&D blogs despite the fact that the ampersand is a forbidden character to use in tags?

Saturday, March 31, 2012


I'm seriously loving this cover (enlarge for FULL AWESOME), shine on you crazy diamonds...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lovecraftian Scientific Dread

Not RPG-related per se, but I feel a chilling rugose cosmic horror that a sort I've been working on for one of my classes is too efficient; I have no idea why it works so well... too well...
Yes, I am writing code in GW Basic. I use programming languages that wear jeans and leather, not cracker jack clothes; never mind how dismal the documentation for "modern" programming languages is compared to the documentation available for GW Basic.

Monday, March 12, 2012

I Just Got the Most Amazing News!


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Microscope & Multiple DMs Campaign

I'm sure someone has already posted this idea but...

- Presume that you are setting up a multiple DM D&D campaign.

- The DMs get together and use Microscope to determine the history of the milieu; Microscope has mechanics whereas a group could easily ensure that the desired D&D tropes are included.

- The DMs split up the resultant setting into "administrative areas" and each DM runs sessions in their area.

- If the DMs desire, they can use Microscope to further determine details of the setting as the campaign continues.

Going Ape...

Cover for a brutal kill-your-mother-music grindcore recording, amazing artwork by Andrew Walter. For Bill from Green Skeleton...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Friday, February 3, 2012

[Science Fiction Future] Raspberry Pi - $25 Computer - Coming Soon

"The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video. We want to see it being used by kids all over the world to learn programming."


It's supposed to be available sometime in February; I definitely want one of these!

Imagine how embarrassed the dudes who wrote Traveller and Shadowrun would feel if they hear about this?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Skill Focus (Education)

I'm sorry about this, but I've been maintaining such a laser-sharp focus on smoking weed my current classes that I've been neglecting this blog, emails, and I can't remember the last time I DM'd or played.

I'm still alive; I still love D&D; and I'm not about to nuke this blog anytime.

Now for some gaming content:

I absolutely HATE the teaser I've seen for the covers of rerelease of the 1st ed. AD&D hardbacks. No soul 100% guaranteed. I already have the books, but even if I didn't there's no way I would ugly up my bookcase with those eyesores when the originals are available.

Which bring me to this: Am I the only person who not only likes, but loves the 1st edition original AD&D Monster Manual cover? Monsters here, monsters there, monsters everywhere! When I was 9 years old it was utterly compelling.

And the part on the back with the goblins fleeing the purple worm? It cracks me up every dang time. I'm giggling just thinking about it...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Dear Mike Mearls & Wizards of the Coast

Do the original LBB Dungeons and Dragons next.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

22 Dungeon Levels Are Not Enough - Congradulations to Pete

Today Pete, a player in the group(s) I DM, obtained "The End of the World" achievement trophy (worth 1100 xp), for his PC, 1st level Fighter Orpo, via. the party's cunning use of Levitation and Invisibility spells, reaching the uppermost edge of the mapped & stocked Fortress Eibon megadungeon. (There is still an unplumbed bottom of the mapped and stocked dungeon).

Mind you, he didn't find a staircase or corridor blocked off with "UNDER CONSTRUCTION" signs; he climbed a ladder up to the 11th (upper) level, looked around, and bailed after seeing the 8' brightly coloured snail shell in a corner next to his ladder.

Looks like I need to finish mapping and stocking the next quarter of the dungeon, which currently has 22 levels suitable for PCs of levels 1 through to 7; at this rate the complete megadungeon should have 88(!) levels and be able to handle PCs of up to 20th level.

Why Sleep and Web Get Saving Throws When I DM...

...because you better damn well believe that I run adversary NPC Magic-Users like a goddamn shark. And if they had access to an "I Win" button they would use it.

Magic goes both ways, but even I'm not that cold-blooded.

Besides, my players love throwing sleep spells at opponents with too high a HD for sleep to affect or that otherwise are immune; why not preserve the confusion by giving the monsters a saving throw?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What Fairy Tales Have Taught Me About Demi-Humans & Monsters

Elves, Dwarves, Giants, Goblins, Pixies, Nixies, Dryads and Snyads should definitely not have Type IV names like Elberenthon Autumnleaf or Bordan Stronghammer but they should have hokey, folksy names like "Green Jack," "Weeping Annie," or "Big Ted."

Also, prompted by the AD&D Demi-Human Level Limit discussion over at Rients' joint; my view is that you have to keep in mind that these aren't people we're talking about; they're demi-humans, some of them don't even have souls. By D&D standards they're practically monsters.

And, ultimately, they're also critters from fairy tales. I like fairy tales, and if I was an adventurer I would be terrified of facing something from a fairy tale. I can handle fairy tale beings being badasses. But can I handle them being the most-badass mofos? The Conans, The Gandalfs (okay, he was an angel; in human form), The Gray Mousers, The Rambos, The Darth Vaders, The Snake Pliskins? The Batmans? The James Bonds?

No; they are from fairy tales. Only the children of Adam and Eve are allowed to become the King Arthurs, the Alexander the Greats, the Merlins, the Solomons, the Moses', the Musashis, the Indiana Jones'. I think that in almost every supernatural worldview, there is the idea that there is something that makes human-people and the super-natural spirit people of the woods and mountains fundamentally different. And the greatest legends are about human heroes (and also deities).

Demi-humans get unlimited Thief advancement because it's a crap class, and I'm okay with fairy tale beings betting top-shelf, triple-A level tricksters.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

[Fortress Eibon] New Years Day TPK...?

Three members of the Yam City Mercenary Brotherhood were engaged for an expedition into Fortress Eibon by two locally know delvers, Ballard and Ree Kee, along with a magic-user new to the Yam outskirts; none returned from the run and it is presumed that there are no survivors.