Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Upcoming Adventure: The Wrath of Zardax the Unbeatable

Coming soon!

The mighty wizard Zardax,  master of white magic, black magic, green magic, hell he's the master of all kinds of colour magic including but not limited to technicolor and smurple.  He's got a totally rad dungeon with smushing traps and weird riddles and ice warriors and things.  Also there is a totally sweet Ethereal Blade in there which is rad to the max.

Can your brave heroes best the wits of the mighty Zardax?  Can they escape his colour coded dungeon? Can you pay $7 for an adventure?  What if I got Scrap Princess to do art? What about then?  Coming soon as this is totally not just a lie that will somehow get to count as a prank because it's April first and everyone has gotten to lazy to distinguish between "prank" and "falsehood".

Coming Soon!

   The Wrath of Zardax the Unbeatable (title subject to change)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Between Light and Darkness - Rules for light

One thing I've been tinkering with that I was never really thrilled with in NGR was light sources.  "Torches give you 30 feet of light",  which brings into question a lot of other things to me.  How dark is it before a torch is useful in that case? If its dark enough you can only see 40 feet, is a torch useless?  What if you have a lot of torches?  What is something is 25 or 35 feet away and you have a torch?  Is one magically visible and the other not?

The other is that NGR works on "areas"  (ie,  rooms - corridors) rather than getting into the specifics of feet and yards.  So mixing the two was jarring.

In 5th edition I just left it as having a light source gave you a bonus to spotting things hiding in the dark (and being in the dark gave a bonus to hiding).

But it really didn't capture the feeling I want in dungeons.  People often describe "vanilla" dungeons as boring and I can't really get into the mindset of how being a claustrophobic stone tunnel deep underground, cramped like sardines and unable to see clearly whats only a few seconds ahead of you could be boring.

So I started tweaking around and this is the system you'll see in the next print release tucked in a "finicky" rule for those times when simply adjudicating "its light" or "its dark" works well enough (and it usually does 90% of the time).

Areas have a darkness level  between 0 and 10.  0 is daylight,  2 is dusk/dawn/full moon, 5 is a night sky,  10 is a pitch black room (ie, a dungeon).

Every ten feet of light a light source provides lowers darkness in an area by 1 and halves again the next area (round down).  So if you are in a pitch dark corridor with two torches (+6) its 4 darkness, 7 darkness further down the hall,  and theoretically 9 the next area and back to 10 after that (if you had such a long corridor).

Darkness gives a straight numerical penalty to attack rolls, detection rolls, awareness checks for seeing things, and resistance rolls against the possession and insanity attempts.  Its hard to see and do things in the dark, but very easy to hide. One of the things I strive for in NGR is that numbers be intuitively comparative.

Of course there is the additional question of who is holding a light source.  The cons of holding the light source are that you can't hide, you lose a hand to holding something (unless you have say a +5 sword brandished that is bathing the area in light), and people attacking you don't suffer an attack roll penalty.  As for benefits,  you don't suffer attack roll penalties in melee, you don't suffer resistance roll penalties against the supernatural, or penalties to awareness checks for things you can inspect up close (such as finding a secret door).

This also makes it easier to deal with using suspicion in a dungeon to track random encounters.  When you enter into a hallway, courtyard, or other connection space light causes suspicion to those present.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New Release: The Pale Lady

Deep in the woods, every woods, there seems to be a monstrous child stealing witch.

Every spring more and more children go missing never to return.

Two years ago one returned from his absence and is telling tales of vast riches, monstrous servitors, and the way back to her accursed domain.

An adventure for characters of levels, for use with LotFP Weird Fantasy Role-Playing and other similar systems.






The Pale Lady features art, layout, and cartography by fellow Canadian Chris Huth

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

More on removing clerics from LotFP: Getting Spells

This post follows the previous post in regards to removing the cleric from LotFP without removing cleric magic. It has additional information to make it more useful for your game in question.  I did rename the schools of magic to fit with an early modern flair as well.

True Miracles:   Caster must be lawful
Kabbalah:  Caster must not be chaotic
Hedge Magic: No alignment restrictions
Faerie Magic:  Caster must be neutral
Necromancy: Caster must not be lawful
Demonology: Caster must be chaotic

So,  part of having cleric's be just magic users who stick to lawful spells would be to figure out where to get their spells.


True Miracles - The Bible.  Easily available and often memorized.  This means any lawful magic-user can stop by any church and memorize any miracles they want.  The bible is easily available and it is perfectly acceptable to have on you.  If anything it is a sign of your character.  This means a lawful magic-user can cast spells by reciting appropriate passages of scripture.
  Sample Grimoires:  The Bible

Kabbalah - These are the texts of religious mystics.  Kabbalah is a catch all term, but this would be later Kabbalic practices when it moved away from merely being a school of thought in Judaism and entered Christianity and occult circles.  The presence of Enochian languages would reside here.  These texts would be available in religious libraries (such as remote abbeys) and could be legally owned.  They may arouse some suspicion from the uneducated, but no inquisitor would hold these as any evidence of wrong doing against a PC by themselves.  There may be restrictions in accessing the books from a purely monetary standpoint (books are valuable and monks may not want PC's getting their grubby fingers all over them and leaving smudges).
  Sample Grimoires: The Hekhalot, The Book of Jubilees, The Eight Gates 

Hedge Magic - Folk remedies, alchemical treatises, and ancient philosophical texts.  These texts would be available in some prestigious libraries and universities, but most would be in the hands of private individuals and they would be unlikely to share and expensive to buy from.  Unless the individual possessing these texts is in high repute, their possession may cast doubts onto the owner's intentions with church authorities.
  Sample Grimoires:  Picatrix , The Corpus Hermeticum, Turba Philosophorum

Necromancy - Dubious texts,  often banned or tightly controlled. Often created by suspicious individuals who explored heathen cultures.  Many (sometimes all) of these texts are considered heretical. These texts are found in ancient crypts, the libraries of illicit individuals, and only in the most secure (and often secret) of church collections for use in formulating defenses against witchcraft. Only those with express written permissions from church or king would be allowed such texts.  Some court magicians would be granted access under the watchful eye of the church.
  Sample Grimoires: The Lesser Keys of Solomon, Book of Dzyan, Book of Thoth

Demonology - Prehuman relics or transcriptions of extradimensional beings.  These are all considered heretical by the church hierarchy,  but ironically many are just considered laughable gibberish and insane rantings by the lower echelons of the church.  Few works are well known enough to be recognized instantly as a danger.  The church keeps it this way because the sheer fact that some of these spells work calls into question the entire spiritual foundation of the church. These are found in ancient ruins, church bonfires, and in the hands of dangerous individuals.
  Sample Grimoires: The Necronomicon, The King in Yellow, Unaussprechlichen Kulten

Faerie Magic: These texts are often hidden.  They are rare and while opposed by the church they will often be left intact as historical relics.  The belief systems behind them having been long ago discredited as a serious threat to the church with the abandonment of the old gods.  These spells are found scattered in lonely places, and in small towns viewed as quaint by the powers that be.  Usually regarded as harmless folk superstition. Possession of these works is more likely to end up costing your reputation and labeling you as a quack than a witch unless there is an active witch hunt or other hysteria affecting a region.
  Sample Grimoires: The Book of Merlin,  Inscriptions on ancient stones, The Faerie Queene (unedited edition)


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Removing the Cleric from LotFP Wierd Fantasy

On a thread on Google+,  James Raggi was musing about the possibility of removing the cleric, elf, dwarf, and halfling from LotFP core rules and moving them to an appendix. This would require that the spell list be modified.

I personally like the idea of a friar with a walking stick being the lawful equivalent to the wizard in a starry robe with a magic staff, rather than a cleric being a templar with a mace.  This fits better into the LotFP timeline as well.

I would suggest that the spell lists be merged and limited based on the alignment of the caster.

The most clerical spells can only be cast by Lawful magic-users. (True Miracles)
Second line cleric spells can only be cast by magic-users who are not Chaotic. (Enochian)
Simple spells are free for anyone to cast. (Hedge Magic)
The less reality wrenching spells can only be cast by magic-users who are not Lawful (Psychospiritual)
The truly reality wrenching spells can only be cast by magic-users who are Chaotic. (Cosmic Forces)

I also labelled a few as "neutral only" on a lark (Faerie Magic), but you can replace that categorization with "free for anyone" (Hedge Magic).   Some spells (a small numbers) have two versions on either side of the "law vs chaos" line, like "Cosmic Forces" / "True Miracles".  Pick a side, no neutrals.

The idea that "only chaotic can cast" is also wrong. A better system is a simple corruption system. All magic users begin as Lawful.  Their alignment shifts to neutral and then chaotic as they cast spells that their alignment doesn't allow.  A lawful friar who casts a "can't cast while lawful" spell (Psychospiritual) would shift to neutral.  If he cast something requiring Cosmic forces, he would become chaotic.  You cannot shift to become more lawful.

The labels "True Miracles \ Enochian \ Hedge Magic \ Psychospiritual \ Cosmic Forces" are also a spur of the moment thing,  better terms are needed.   Here is a list based on the R&M spell listing.  There may need to be some tweaking based on play.

Hedge Magic Any
Enochian Not Chaotic
True Miracles Lawful
Psychospiritual Not Lawful
Cosmic Forces Chaotic
Faerie Magic Neutral Only



First Level

1. Bless
True Miracles
2. Command
Enochian
3. Cure Light Wounds*
True Miracles
4. Detect Evil*
Enochian
5. Invisibility to Undead*
Enochian
6. Protection from Evil*
Enochian
7. Purify Food & Drink*
Hedge Magic
8. Remove Fear*
True Miracles
9. Sanctuary
Enochian
10. Turn Undead
Enochian
Second Level

1. Augury
Enochian
2. Delay Poison
True Miracles
3. Enthrall
Enochian
4. Heat Metal
Enochian
5. Heroism
True Miralces
6. Resist Cold
Hedge Magic
7. Resist Fire
Hedge Magic
8. Silence 15' Radius
Hedge Magic
Third Level

1. Cure Disease*
True Miracles
2. Dispel Magic
Hedge Magic
3. Magic Vestment
Enochian
4. Remove Curse*
Enochian
5. Sacrifice*
True Miracles
6. Water Walk
Enochian
FourthLevel

1. Cure Serious Wounds*
True Miracles
2. Detect Lie
True Miracles
3. Divination
Enochian
4. Neutralize Poison*
True Miracles
5. Protection from Evil 10' Radius*
Enochian
6. Spell Immunity
Enochian
FifthLevel

1. Commune
True Miracles
2. Cure Critical Wounds*
True Miracles
3. Dispel Evil
True Miracles
4. Insect Plague
Enochian
5. Quest
Enochian
6. True Seeing*
Hedge Magic
SixthLevel

1. Anti-Magic Shell
True Miracles
2. Find the Path*
Enochian
3. Forbiddance
True Miracles
4. Heal*
True Miracles
5. Tongues*
Enochian
6. Word of Recall
True Miracles
SeventhLevel

1. Control Weather
Enochian
2. Earthquake
Enochian
3. Holy Word*
True Miracles
4. Part Water
True Miracles




First Level

1. Bookspeak
Hedge Magic
2. Charm Person
Psychospiritual
3. Comprehend Languages*
Hedge Magic
4. Detect Magic
Hedge Magic
5. Enlarge*
Hedge Magic
6. Faerie Fire
Faerie Magic
7. Feather Fall
Psychospiritual
8. Floating Disc
Cosmic Forces
9. Hold Portal
Hedge Magic
10. Identify
Hedge Magic
11. Light*
Hedge Magic
12. Magic Aura*
Cosmic Forces
13. Magic Missile
Psychospiritual
14. Mending
Hedge Magic
15. Message
Hedge Magic
• Read Magic
Hedge Magic
16. Shield
Psychospiritual
17. Sleep
Psychospiritual
18. Spider Climb
Hedge Magic
19. Summon
Cosmic Forces
20. Unseen Servant
Psychospiritual
Second Level

1. Audible Glamour
Psychospiritual
2. Change Self
Psychospiritual
3. Detect Invisible
Hedge Magic
4. ESP
Hedge Magic
5. Force of Forbidment
Cosmic Forces
6. Forget
Psychospiritual
7. Invisibility
Psychospiritual
8. Knock
Cosmic Forces
9. Levitate
Psychospiritual
10. Light, Continual*
Cosmic Forces
11. Locate Object*
Psychospiritual
12. Magic Mouth
Psychospiritual
13. Mirror Image
Cosmic Forces
14. Phantasmal Force
Psychospiritual
15. Ray of Enfeeblement
Cosmic Forces
16. Speak with Animals
Hedge Magic
17. Stinking Cloud
Hedge Magic
18. Wall of Fog
Hedge Magic
19. Web
Hedge Magic
20. Wizard Lock
Hedge Magic
Third Level

1. Army of One
Psychospiritual
2. Clairvoyance
Psychospiritual
3. Detect Illusion
Hedge Magic
4. Dispel Magic
Hedge Magic
5. Explosive Runes
Cosmic Forces
6. False Alignment
Psychospiritual
7. Fly
Cosmic Forces
8. Gaseous Form
Cosmic Forces
9. Gust of Wind
Hedge Magic
10. Haste*
Cosmic Forces
11. Hold Person
Psychospiritual
12. Howl of the Moon
Faerie Magic
13. Invisibility 10' Radius
Psychospiritual
14. Phantasmal Psychedelia
Psychospiritual
15. Protection from Norm. Missiles
Cosmic Forces
16. Secret Page
Hedge Magic
17. Speak with Dead
Psychospiritual
18. Strange Waters II
Cosmic Forces
19. Suggestion
Psychospiritual
20. Water Breathing*
Cosmic Forces
FourthLevel

1. Charm Monster
Psychospiritual
2. Confusion
Psychospiritual
3. Creation, Minor
Cosmic Forces/ True Miracles
4. Dig
Hedge Magic
5. Dimension Door
Cosmic Forces
6. Extension
Hedge Magic
7. Globe of Invulner­ ability, Minor
Cosmic Forces
8. Hallucinatory Terrain
Psychospiritual
9. Invisibility, Improved
Psychospiritual
10. Pneumonic Enhancer
Hedge Magic
11. Plant Growth
Hedge Magic
12. Polymorph Others
Cosmic Forces
13. Polymorph Self
Cosmic Forces
14. Protection from Nor­ mal Weapons
Cosmic Forces
15. Seven Gates
Cosmic Forces
16. Shadow Monsters
Psychospiritual
17. Speak with Plants
Hedge Magic
18. Wall of Fire
Cosmic Forces / True Miracles
19. Wall of Ice
Hedge Magic
20. Wizard Eye87
Cosmic Forces
FifthLevel

1. Airy Water
Cosmic Forces
2. Animate Dead
Psychospiritual
3. Chaos
Cosmic Forces
4. Cloudkill
Cosmic Forces
5. Contact Outer Sphere
Cosmic Forces
6. Creation, Major
Cosmic Forces / True Miracles
7. Faithful Hound
Cosmic Forces
8. Feeblemind
Psychospiritual
9. Hold Monster
Psychospiritual
10. Interposing Hand
Cosmic Forces
11. Magic Jar
Cosmic Forces
12. Passwall
Cosmic Forces
13. Secret Chest
Cosmic Forces
14. Stone Shape
Hedge Magic
15. Telekinesis
Hedge Magic
16. Teleport
Cosmic Forces
17. Transmute Rock to Mud*
Hedge Magic
18. Wall of Force
Cosmic Forces
19. Wall of Iron
Cosmic Forces
20. Wall of Stone
Cosmic Forces
SixthLevel

1. Animate Dead Monsters
Psychospiritual
2. Barrier
Cosmic Forces
3. Contingency
Hedge Magic
4. Death Spell
Psychospiritual
5. Disintegrate
Cosmic Forces
6. Geas
Psychospiritual
7. Glass Eye

8. Globe of Invulner­ ability, Major
Cosmic Forces
9. Legend Lore
Cosmic Forces
10. Lucubration
Hedge Magic
11. Mind Switch
Psychospiritual
12. Move Earth
Hedge Magic
13. Phantasmal Supergoria
Psychospiritual
14. Projected Image
Psychospiritual
15. Shades
Psychospiritual
16. Speak with Monsters
Hedge Magic
17. Stone to Flesh*
Cosmic Forces
18. Suggestion, Mass
Psychospiritual
19. Veil
Psychospiritual
20. Weird Vortex
Cosmic Forces
SeventhLevel

1. Animated Artwork
Cosmic Forces
2. Bestow Spell Ability
Cosmic Forces
3. Duo-Dimension
Cosmic Forces
4. Grasping Hand
Cosmic Forces
5. Instant Summons
Cosmic Forces
6. Invisibility, Mass
Psychospiritual
7. Magic Sword
Hedge Magic
8. Phase Door
Cosmic Forces
9. Power Word Stun
Psychospiritual
10. Prismatic Sphere
Faerie Magic
11. Prismatic Spray
Faerie Magic
12. Prismatic Wall
Faerie Magic
13. Remote Surveillance
Psychospiritual
14. Reverse Gravity
Cosmic Forces
15. Simulacrum
Psychospiritual
16. Spell Turning
Cosmic Forces
17. Statue
Cosmic Forces
18. Vanish
Cosmic Forces
19. Vision
Psychospiritual
20. Witchlamp Aura
Psychospiritual
EighthLevel

1. Antipathy/Sympathy
Psychospiritual
2. Charm Person, Mass
Psychospiritual
3. Clone
Cosmic Forces
4. Demand
Psychospiritual
5. Maze
Cosmic Forces
6. Mind Blank
Psychospiritual
7. Permanency
Cosmic Forces
8. Polymorph Any Object
Cosmic Forces
9. Symbol
Each Symbol is different
10. Trap the Soul
Psychospiritual
NinthLevel

1. Imprisonment*
Cosmic Forces
2. Lost Dweomer
?
3. Power Word Kill
Psychospiritual
4. Shape Change
Cosmic Forces
5. Temporal Stasis
Cosmic Forces
6. Time Stop
Cosmic Forces

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas! Have an adventure

Happy Holidays everyone.   Linked below is a PWYW mini-adventure for both Neoclassical Geek Revival as well as OSR games.




The Trail of Stone and Sorrow features art, cartography, and layout by the talented Alex Mayo.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wendigo

Now that my home group has left the area in which they are liable to encounter a wendigo,  I figured I would post the monster here in case anyone is looking to use it for their own NGR game.

So the first thing to note is what I consider a wendigo.  In my case it is an air elemental that borders on being a wind demon.  It certainly practices black magic.

In its physical form it is a mass of blowing snow around a ragged corpse,  but its real power is the control over the winter winds.   It can hear anything that is spoken into the wind for several miles around its location, as well as anything around its "children"  (more on that later).   It also has the ability to inspire madness into those who hear the whistling of the wind between trees or through drafts in lonely cabins.   Anyone who is staring into the wilderness during such a wind suffers a social conflict appeal every few hours (for game purposes, once during each watch as that is the most likely time it will happen).   Staring into a fire renders one immune to the effect unless they are physically in the path of the wind (ie outside) in which case they are merely granted a re-roll on their resistance.    This appeal will fill the targets head with thoughts of despair and panic over the unending snow,  leading to flesh eating madness and possession by the Wendigo.  It will drive its puppet to kill and consume its fellows to transform them into husks.

Wendigo reside in regions that have certain characteristics of natural magic  .   In these regions,  eating a meal containing the flesh of your own kind has a chance of turning you into a cannibal husk under the control of the first wendigo to call upon you (automatically succeeding in any appeal).  If this occurs because you are already under the sway of wendigo, all the better.  This is how a wendigo "breeds".      Each time a husk eats human flesh it takes a d6 points of mutation as its body and soul loses heat and begins to freeze from the inside out. A husk can gain nourishment from nothing other than human flesh (or whatever species it is I guess)   When the mutation takes over the ice inside the husk takes over and a new wendigo is "born",  acting as an extension of the original wendigo's sensory powers.   If the husk is somehow not under the control of a wendigo at this point,  it simply dies.

In proper 80's movie format,  killing a wendigo will also kill all of its children, and free any husks from their control.  The now freed husk will convert all of its mutation points to both damage and poison (1 point of mutation becomes 1 point of poison and 1 point of damage) and so will probably still die.

Wendigo also have several forms of innate magic that an enterprising wizard could pry out of their corpses,  but that could still come up in my game so I'll leave that part a secret.