Saturday, December 29, 2012

A thousand dead babies

As the year comes to a close I thought I would list where the various projects are.

Neoclassical Geek Revival is currently 20% funded for the 2013 printing, but is ready to go.

Scenic Dunnsmouth will be released by Lamentations of the Flame Princess

Gnomes of Levnec has been completed as a draft, and hopefully be published

A secret work has been completed (edit: 2013, Lamentations of the Gingerbread Princess, no longer secret),

And of course there is the title of this post  A Thousand Dead Babies

This is a little mini-adventure for OSR and NGR games which was given as a gift to the early backers (before Christmas).

I might class it up a little and put it on sale for a few bucks after the IndieGoGo campaign has ended.

Google+ comments can be made HERE

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Secret Santicore 2012

Hey there folks,

If you want to see what I put produced for Secret Santicore 2012, follow the link below:

Robbing the Reliquary - A table to generate heist adventures

The Request: 

A heist and/or diplomatic adventure that takes place at a bizarre festival or holiday celebration, OR relevant tables that would help one build that adventure (die-drop? multi-column?).

The Response, from Zzarchov:

Robbing the reliquary

To use,  roll a d8, d6 and d4.  Note the results of each die, what the total number is, and whether that is an odd or even number.  You should never need to roll dice more than that single throw.

There is a chance for some real cash, some oddball cult in this village is celebrating the:

The What:
1. Feast of - There are 4 great halls and numerous market stalls providing free food and (if applicable) drink! Each hall will be visited by the item in question.

2. Fast of - No food or drink, the item will be placed on a tall tower or spire overlooking the town for the duration of the fast.

3. Festival of- Its a party, no liquor laws,  games and contests, the item is a trophy to the winner of the games (who gets to hang around with it for a day before returning it)

4. Dance for - Its a masquerade with the object on display in a large enclosed building with minimal easy to extinquish lighting, rafters and a few exits.

5. Sacrifice to the glory of - Drownings, hangings, wicker man burnings,  someone is going to die in a manner dictated by the diety or patron.  The item in question will be present at the sacrifice.

6. Parade to honour - There will be floats, and onlookers, and it will turn down narrow streets and winding alleys as it circuits the town.

7. Running for - There is a mass stampede as angry livestock are released and devotees run with the item ahead of the herd.  Weird eh?

8. Orgy in the name of - Yep,  just what it sounds like.   Probably in a large opiate smoke filled building, the item will be passed around the seething mass of flesh to touch for luck.

of Who?
1. Norn the all consuming  - An ornate golden bowl. Anything eaten from it is edible.
2. St.Aldritch the muted  - A silver holy symbol stained with blood of St.Aldritch that counts as +(d4) item
3. Krampus - A leather sack full of donations and coins (Total# x 1000 gold coins in value)
4. Azael'bub the maggot king  - A jewel encrusted gold idol worth 10,000 gold.
5. The Sun!  - A solid gold dagger. It counts as +(d4-1) item (if 0 its not magical, just gold)
6. Hyrda the wrathful - A carved stone amulet with gold inlay.  +d8 to AC if worn on odd, -d8 to ac on even

Which is Dangerous because of?
1. Outsiders are forbidden (The angry mob has hundreds of devout townsfolk).
2. Zealous Pilgrims (Total# of armed level 1 warriors guard the item at all times)
3. A summoned being (Related to the diety, 5 hit dice with two special powers)
4. A wee little curse (if you don't have a random curse generator, the first non-follower to touch the island suffers a permanent curse as if from a cleric, but really, get a random curse generator or make something cool)

On Trips (in addition to other results)
1. Well, that isn't entirely true, there are several outsiders present.  Most with an apple in their mouth.
2. Anyone who makes a sound during the full day ritual is to be killed immediately, no matter what they are doing.
3. Krampus himself is here,  and he can detect naughty, such as trying to rip off his festival.  prepare for sack beating.
4. Once the idol is unleashed, anyone who stops dancing until it is placed back in its box will melt into maggots. The person to put the maggot back in its box also melts.

Dubs (in addition to other results)
5. That dagger?  The thing is it is kind of in use, its recipients soon won't have the heart to stop this event.
6. The parade marches out into the surf where the float carrying the amulet is burned.  How do they get it back?

Runs (in addition to other results)
1-2-3.  The high priest is a level 5 cleric as well.
2-3-4.  There is a competing party also out to steal the same thing
3-4-5.  The local ruler is planning a military raid on this cult and its activities mid-ceremony
4-5-6.  After entering the village, it becomes obvious that everyone here is undead.

Max Result (in addition to other results)
18. It is time to take a fishwife or fish husband and publicly consummate, doing so puts you under the mental control of your new "spouse".

Thursday, December 20, 2012

On Grot

I have seen a few people commenting about how they like "Grot" in their games. The idea of "Grottiness" being a certain level of dirt and grime as an aesthetic.  Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque gave some examples of Grotty art here.

Evan of In Deep Places has also expressed an interest in that style of game as well. The old Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying game is given as a good example of Grot in a game, the idea being to be as close to "Jabberwocky" in atmosphere as possible I would imagine.

Death is a common element in "grotty games",  not per say that player death is more common but if it occurs it is far more spectacular.  No simply "falling down",  one often has charts for going into explosive detail of just how far away their limbs land.  These rarely have game effects, except of course to remind you exactly how unpleasant death is.  It is not simply being shot and falling from the roof of the saloon.

But the best of these games and movies requires something more than grime, abject poverty and death.  While it should appear to be a scene of abject misery to the viewer or the player,  it requires quite a bit of joy and happiness.  Here are a few examples of grot.

At the 1:00 minute mark it becomes grotty

The inhabitants of a grotty realm have to have adjusted and adapted nicely, with a hearty and unusual blend of pathos and bathos.

Comments on Google+ are found HERE

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The 2013 Printing of Neoclassical Geek Revival

So as the year draws to a close,  it is time to once more start the notice that I will be making an additional print run of Neoclassical Geek Revival next year for a 2013 edition.

I will as always be striving to keep the same high quality binding, paper and all the rest as before.  However the print runs are starting to get bigger than I can reasonably handle in the haphazard manner I've been doing previously.

So I am throwing my hat into the ring of crowdfunding (figuratively, my hat is too nice for such cavalier tossing in reality) .

So here is an IndieGoGo campaign me and my elite crew of volunteers who seem to tolerate me have come up with.

I will be attempting to put in art in this version,  not just public domain stuff.  I can't promise that you will like it only that I will.

I also don't have any stretch goals, traditionally I lose a couple bucks from each hardcover so unless things change selling more doesn't do me many favours.  But if I do look like I will someone make cash off of this I will probably spend it all on more art.

With such lackluster praise like this,  how can you not want to contribute?

Google+ comments can be made HERE

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Quick 1001 Nights Equipment

Dirt simple starting equipment for dirt poor adventurers.   So your first character died?  Or maybe you just are arriving late? or maybe you just don't give a ship about starting equipment (or this is for an NPC).

Well, everyone has a small fruit knife to start,  but also rolls a d8, a d6 and a d4 and chooses what is most important:   Weapons, Armour or Miscellaneous stuff.

The most important thing uses the d8 for its result, the second the d6 and the least important the d4.  But you may notice there are more than one result for item, separated by a slash (/)  this is what happens when you get doubles or triples.   The portion of the double (or triple) with the highest die gets shifted over one slash for a double, or two for a triple.


Joe wants Weapons, Armour and then Misc.   He rolls a d8(4) a d6 (5) and a d4 (3)

He has a bow and quiver, a brigandine jacket, and 50 feet of hemp rope as his starting equipment.

Susan wants Armour, Misc and then Weapons.  She rolls a d8(4), a d6 (3) and a d4 (3)

She has a leather jack, 50 feet of hemp rope and a grapnel, and a spear.

Pat wants Misc, Weapons and then Armour.  Rolling the dice, all come up 2.

Pat has a bag of 30 gold dinars, a dagger, and a dark cloak.

1.  A simple wooden club/ a bronze mace/ an iron flail
2.  A dagger/ a belt of 5 throwing knives/a poisoned curved dagger
3.  A spear/  a satchel with 4 Javelins/ a trident
4.  A bow and quiver/ a heavy crossbow/ an arquebus or blunderbus
5.  A scimitar/a falchion (2 handed)
6.  A scimitar/ a falchion (2 handed)
7.  A bow and a scimitar
8.  A Scimitar and a dagger and a Spear

1. A leather cap/ a metal helm/ a bejewelled turban or crown
2. A dark cloak/ a dashing cape/ a jaguar skin cloak
3. A turtle shell buckler/ a large wicker shield/ a medium iron bound shield
4. A leather jack/ studded leather armour/ spiked leather armour
5. A brigandine jacket/  a coat of scale
6. A brigandine jacket/  a coat of scale
7. A brigandine jacket with a metal buckler and leather cap
8. A coat of scale with a metal helm

1. A torch/ a brass lamp and flask of oil/ a lantern and flask of oil
2. A bag of 30 copper pennies/ a bag of 30 silver shekels/ a bag of 30 gold dinars
3. 50 feet of hemp rope/ 50 feet of hemp rope with a grapnel/ 50 feet of silk rope with a grapnel
4. A large sack/ a backpack/ a backpack full of food with a wineskin
5. A wooden pole/ a steel crowbar
6. A wooden mallet and iron spikes/ a sledgehammer and iron spikes
7. Locksmiths tools
8. A forbidden and mystical tome

The Google+ comments thread is HERE

Monday, November 19, 2012

Real Life Experiences

So recently I was thinking about different common activities (or not so common) in the course of an RPG and how many people have actual real life experience doing any of those things?

Camping without a tent
Starting a fire without matches (or a lighter)
Riding a horse
Swimming with gear
Hiking up a forested hill
Hiking through a swamp or marsh
Hiking through subzero conditions
Hiking through a jungle or rainforest
Hiking through a desert
Moving around in a lightless cave (ie, not something with walkways and lights and tour guide)
Navigating at night with a torch or candle (for the UK folks, not a flashlight)
Firing a bow
Getting in a fight after childhood
Throwing a hatchet or knife at a specific target
Rowing a boat or Canoeing
Throwing a molotov
Picking a lock
Chopping down a tree with an axe
Throwing a rope and grapnel and then climbing that rope
Climbing a rope
Climbing a tree
Rock climbing
Climbing a building
Digging a big hole with a shovel (5 feet or more deep, 3 or more feet long and wide.)

Collecting wood and use it to start a fire
Navigating wilderness with no compass or signs
Sailed a sail boat
Determining location on a map (via triangulation, speed extrapolation) on sea and land
Distillation of liquids (extracting alcohol or purifying water)
Collecting rainwater

Firing a long gun
Firing a handgun
Firing an automatic weapon
Using explosives
Flying a plane
Gaining unauthorized access to a computer system
Writing commercial software
Using machine tools

Had a broken limb
Had a stab or puncture wound (we'll assume from accident)
Been on fire

Google+ comments HERE

(additional questions from the the writer of AFG)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What is the OSR really about? A discussion of Gender in Gaming

So I first want to note that I don't want to start this post with the discussion of how the various editions of D&D change certain problematic elements. That will be later.

First I want to talk about an example mechanic in Neoclassical Geek Revival to set as a baseline.  Much of the magic system in NGR is based around the competing claims of civilization and wilderness, with a potential third axis of destruction.   Bringing order and security to the wild reduces the power of magic.  Civilization would see demons and pagan spirits as one and the same, with different flavours to trick mortals. Pagans would see the demonic and the march of civilization as part and parcel, to build a mountain you need to dig a pit for materials.   The demonic cultists would tell their flock that the unending darkness will soon envelope both of these petty factions as it subsumes the last points of light, best sell your soul while it confers a high price.

So religion is specifically never explained who actually is right,  but it is set up to be a constant proactive conflict. If you have multiple faiths in the party, you'll risk getting into intra-party conflict.  The trade off being you can let adventures write themselves if you don't.

This moves into magic-users, currently I have more remote areas giving more mana back.  But I also note that Mystic Wastelands may cause mutations.

For the 2013 Printing I am going to be a little more explicit.  I am currently using the numbers based on wilderness to show the odds something supernatural will occur based on how remote an area is.   This works out remarkably well.  Basically for each campaign (or region) you would write up a list of a few "natural magics" like  "An unburied body may rise from the dead!" or "Burning a chicken egg in a church as it burns to the ground will cause it to hatch a wyvern".   The amount of mana a region generates in a day is the % chance the event will happen.

This maps out to
0% chance in the city
<1% chance in the rural (so round down to 0%)
1% chance on the frontier
3% chance in the wilderness
5% in uncharted, virgin territory
24% chance in a mystic wasteland.
100% in a magical vortex

There are also of course going to be spots in any region which are one level more magical (haunted houses, ley lines, etc).   So murdering someone in a haunted house has a slight chance of causing the body to rise back to unlife.

Once I remember being asked "why is it important to have a method to know the strength of a giant centipede?"  and my answer then is as now:  When you have a few numbers to work with you can work out repeatable subsystems that aren't purely arbitrary on the fly.

So the OSR is a tag some people use to self identify their work.  It contains members of all genders. Whatever version of D&D you like is best.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

New Diet Flailsnails, Flailsnails Zero and Flailsnails Blue

So last night I was privileged to play in a delve into the vats of Mazarin alongside Zak, James and Zach (who I don't know if they have a blog).  A blast was had, shenanigans were invoked and treasure was looted.

One thing that was brought up after the game is the nature of Flailsnails PC's getting progressively more weird things as times go on.  I would wager this is not so much due to gonzo settings but due to the "party" size.  Specifically that there are dozens of players, and even if a dungeon kills 99% of players in a room, the one that lives loots his fallen compatriots and winds up with an overload of cool things which individually aren't a problem.  Like toxins in a liver, so too is the over abundance of some stuff.

Now while a GM can veto any item,  it is usually good to do that before it is about to be used and no one wants everyone to be busy reading through a list of loot to have each one vetoed or allowed.  I propose the following variants of Flailsnails for the discerning GM (ie,  those who don't want the full spectrum of flailsnails).

Diet Flailsnails:
   You can bring your character and any mundane equipment that can be found somewhere in the world, weird technological items (guns etc) should use the rule of if it can be purchased in the game.  Bring 1 magical item, exotic item or strange beast (to be run past the GM) for every 3 levels or parts there of.  Other stuff is stuck in intraplanar customs awaiting your exit.

Flailsnails Zero:
   This is meant for settings where even standard gear might be a problem (like a caveman setting,).  Your character appears with nothing.  When you leave you can take 1 item with you (or handful of small items) for each full session in the setting you've played (including this one). The GM might be nice and allow you to start with items in the same way (so nothing the first time, 1 thing the second).

Flailsnails Blue:
  This is a quick start one.  Any time you use a non-native magical roll a d6.
   1.) The inter-dimensional shift has broken it, upon attempting to use it the item loses all power and does not get to use its desired effect before it crumbles to ash.
   2.)  With a snap the item will work for this round,  but then break and loses all power, becoming mundane.
   3.)  The item chugs along and slowly enters a death spiral. It will work for the next 10 minutes before becoming mundane.
    4.)  The item works fine!  For now anyway, it will crumble to ash at the end of the game.
    5.)  It works this time,  but then stalls out after this use.  You can try again next game as the item is fine.
    6.)  Hunky Dory! The item works fine in this setting.

Thoughts Suggestions?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Rural GM

I was reading the following from Noisms and though of my own habits as a Rural GM and my own reasons which very much mirror his own but with complete opposite outcomes.

To me a city is a place where the actions have the least consequences.  If you kill a blacksmith in the city you can always go to another blacksmith.  If you kill the blacksmith in a rural game, well I hope you like stone weapons.   And while a city can swallow players actions and work around them, in a rural game the consequences have real ripple effects.  Now that you've killed the blacksmith, what happens to the farm yield when a plough breaks?   What do the locals do about you now that you've set off every danger alarm their brains can muster?

To me, if a dead body occurs in a city people may notice, but they don't always care. In a rural game they notice, and they have to care, they depend.  The fabric of civilization is much more tenuous and even one cut thread has disastrous effects.

This also might be linked to the ease in which people view rural travel.  I read in an encumbrance article where an entire weeks worth of food was listed as the NGR equivalent of 1 dot (the system actually worked really similar to NGR's encumbrance system).  Travel to remote locations is hard, and so few people do it.

A rural game to me, will always be my default.

Friday, November 2, 2012

ConstantCon Schedule

So with the planet Hogswamp and the RFCS Northcote having run its final regular Online delve on Monday (my home game will continue with it) I'll be shaking up the games I run.

Monday Evenings:
   Fantasy Polynesia will be the regular game.  If everyone ends up with boats it may shift to a more naval game.

Random Saturday Afternoons:
   Mystic Winter:  A medieval fantasy game based upon the concept that magic only exists between Halloween and Easter.  The game would quickly move from no fantasy, to low fantasy to high fantasy and then back down.  Lots of ice and snow.

Every other Sunday:
    Cover Band:  I take someone else's setting and do my best to mimic and run it.  What is being played will vary by whim and availability, pretty much all one shots.

If you aren't on Google+ yet, you really should be.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Creature Feature: The Bogeyman

   Many of the local peasants warn their children of the Bogeyman   but they never truly wish to tell their children his true nature.  That would risk his ire, spoil his game.  Once a year at fall harvest he comes to a village to collect a single child from wailing parents,  but he always demands the child least loved by the community as his prize.   This the community must determine themselves,  for he demands a party and a celebration in the honour of all the children in the town.   Presents and treats are laden upon the children,  and the child with the least at the end of the night is taken.   Rituals have sprung up to bring fairness,  the children are hidden in costumes that townsfolk not know who exactly they are gifting treats too.  This was done to prevent political feuds and rivalries from determining the child to be taken, a course of action which began to anger the bogeyman.

     So the children march the night in costumes, gathering treats from the town, scolded not to eat them until their parents have had time to check the candy (in reality to allow the parents the ability to count and tally the treats).   And when the witching hour commences and the first second of dreary November passes the bogeyman comes, slipping unnoticed from any doorway to steal the child away.   

  Why do the townsfolk permit this?  Because those who participate in the ritual, signified by the display of a fearsomely carved or illuminated vegetable on their doorstep,  are protected from the supernatural for the long winter ahead.  Some say it is his will alone that keeps the peripherals at bay, others say he is their lord.

  Happy Halloween,  I hope you get lots of candy...just not more than my own kin..

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Incoming Fighters!

So what type of fighters are incoming?   Roll 2d6 to find out for a more routine encounter of 1d12 for something potentially disastrous.

1.)  UFO
  A small single seater flying saucer with three telescoping legs acting as landing gear and a transparent dome. It appears to run off an unknown power source, be made of an unknown alloy and be able utilize a staggering array of technology that borders on magic to the uneducated.  Mostly it seems to rely on heat rays and shields as they have the most obvious buttons that anyone who managed to steal one could operate.
Strength: 5, Agility: 20 Health (3d6), Alien Power Stores: 20,  Alien Power Generation: 10, Medium armour
Blast, Bubble of Protection, Cone, Fast (moves 2 zones as an action)

2.) Unknown Fighter Craft
  Occasionally found near space wreckage or radiation belts are these unusual fighter craft.  They seem to be amazingly intricate and well made crafts utilizing the top technology of 250 years ago.  They are not antiques however, making it a bit of an oddity that someone would have the education to assemble one but not do absolutely anything better with their time such as leave to become a citizen.  They appear to be aerospace craft featuring a dizzying array of guided missiles, miniguns, radar and railguns.
Strength 14: Agility 15: Health: 3d6,   Light Armour. 2 medium weapons, 2 large weapons, 1 tiny. FH

3,4,5.) Militia Fighters
   Durable, Reliable,  Dirt cheap to make and barely able to meet the lowest requirements to count as a space fighter by the federation.  While it absorbs an ungodly amount of fuel its 4 engine design makes it quite versatile, despite its thick armour plating.
Strength 15: Agility 20:  Health 3d6,  Medium Armour,  2 medium weapons, H

6,8.)  Pirates
    Made from readily distributed kit plans and scavenged parts the quality and workmanship of this vessel varies highly.  They are aerospace capable (to land and launch, not dogfight) and are designed for stealth.  They won't last long in a battle with real fighters, but against people with no weapons they are more than menacing in the void of space.
Strength: 6  Agility 10: Health (3d6 in theory, 2d6 in practice).  +5 to evade checks. 1 tiny weapon.

7.)  Armed Shuttlecraft
   Shuttles are primarily used for small cargo hauls from orbit to planet side for amounts of cargo too small, or to locations too remote from a proper lander. When needs arise they can be rigged with some weapons to serve as an incredibly poor fighter, often by administration police forces looking to posture. Their ability to land and launch from a planet carrying a crew is useful however.
   Strength 8    Agility: 8  Health 3d6, 2 tiny weapons

9,10,11)  Rebel Interceptor
  Rebel interceptors are built from salvaged parts and scrap metal.  Their elaborate design is largely a giant set of engines and a couple small weapons pointing forward.  They are incredibly fast however, making them very useful for hit and run assaults against vulnerable targets.
Strength 10:  Agility 9:  Health 3d6, 2 small weapons, Fast (2 moves for 1 action), C

12.)  Refitted Pinkerton Drone
  The Rupert-Furlcorp Pinkertons avoid wasting manpower on manned drones in out of the way places.  Deep system automated mining operations (such as around rogue planets, or ones years travel from the nearest star lane) have fully automated defence fighters.   Very rarely someone will take the mighty effort to raid these out of the way locations, or a drone will be damaged by a cosmic storm and drifts into inhabited areas.  Wrecked drones will have their computers removed and crude cockpit installed.  They are fast, manoeuvrable and armed with first world weapons.
Strength 12:  Agility 18:  Health: 1d6,  2 small lasers (burst, normal or armour piercing options). Fast (2 moves for 1 action). Light armour, Partial Heavy Armour, FH

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Journal of Abraham Nermal: Knight of the Black Rose

 So it has been a rough few months for Abraham.  No sooner does he get into Lychgate with his fortune and the money changers cackle with glee again.  Now there is a new coin to be spent.  Abraham had to trundle back to Nightwick fighting bandits along the way.  Somehow hero Stavros managed to utterly annihilate the shanty town in the few days Abraham was in the city.  Abraham has no idea what occurred as Abraham was too buy attending church and other wholesome activities like? bathing? no not bathing...talking to people without giggling? yes that thing.
     Destitute Abraham had to take work bringing a wagon to Rupert with Frederick.  Thankfully Stavros made friends with a Sergeant leading a band full of mostly loyal and barely murderous thugs to help guard us.   They were very important when we ran into even more murderous thugs trying to rob us.  We could offer them a job now!
  Back in Nightwick we had a good solid beam of daylight,  went into the abbey and explored.  Abraham found a secret door in the ashes,  found what the only normal person in Nightwick is looking for.  It is a magic garden, so says the precious. We had planned to return there in one, maybe two weeks,  but then we got drafted.  We were given ponies and told to go evacuate a little hamlet. Now ole Abraham was sad,  because while Ol'Abe here knew these would be murderous cultists out to eat us all in their dark rites to keep the pig men at bay,  everyone else riding out seemed to be pretty certain this was the case too. This would make it much harder for Abraham to escape while they are entombed alive, burned at a stake or sacrificed on an altar.
  We saw many burned out hamlets along the way,  had to shoot those hideous pigmen who rode those filthy manbeasts with their sickening sloughs of skin.  There be forty as sure as there be four,  too many for Abraham to count...Abraham really should work on that.  They slumped from their galloping beasts and fell dead to the moors. There veins be full of pus and old blood, their banner be a baby's flayed skin.  But somehow one hamlet on this blasted heath wasn't eaten and flayed.  It would be very hard for Abraham to convince others it is fine while he...and maybe Frederick, escape.
  Late in the day we reach this hamlet on the edge of the swamp along the River Dark.  Several small houses with gardens along a dirt trail with a larger manor at the end by the swamp. Peppers were being grown in the fields, and several goats and pigs roamed about.  Curiously there was also a lone bull and no cows by the manor. Stavros got all talky talky with the leader in his funny robes and his armed footknights.  Talk of evacuation,  blaming of Arnawald,  lies to get us to stay the night, lies where we can't join feast.  Abraham doesn't get politics.  They wanted to kill us all, we wanted to rob them blind.  Time could have been saved by stating the obvious.
 As they took our horses Abraham decided to try and help the townsfolk pick a pack of pickled peppers to prepare for the "Evacuation",  made sure to be extra nice.  Got invited to stay in a house like a person rather than forced to stay in the stables waiting to be killed.   Abraham and Frederick and a fancy Doctor who rode with us managed to get lodging in house, avoid being eaten.  Abraham peeked through thatch roof and watched unholy feast as old man leading town sat on raised dias as townsfolk partied.  Maybe Abraham would get to see his friends be eaten in stew,  Abraham hadn't thought that was an option.   Then it happened.
  The taterbar trapper was apparently not a team player and made a break for it, bolting off on a horse with Stavros and funny Preacher man.  Footknights gave chase.  Abraham aint the best at math,  but three less people to eat and three people in a house did not seem like a good idea.  These people were kind to Abraham, so Abraham only took the most obvious valuables from their savings and left setting fire to everything they had worked their whole life to build up to Frederick.  Frederick and Wolfram burned the mother down and ran out the front door like suckers.   Abraham being smart crawled through the thatch roof,  but some idiot made the thatch too tightly packed and it kind of collapsed a big portion and made a lot of noise.   Some Footknights started chasing Abraham instead and began throwing spears at him. Abraham is very good at running away,  but spears are faster than even Abraham's feet.  So Abraham opened the bull pen.  The bull did not like the noise the panicked townsfolk were making as their village burned, it did not like the knights running towards it to get at Abraham.  Abraham took the opportunity to disappear into the panic and free their horses.
   Then Abraham saw them,  a trio of old dead trees in the mocking image of a man moving towards the town,  covered in tangling vines and dangling peppers. They were living plants twisted into unlife, like a fabled black rose.  They were what the man and his footknights used to keep the pigmen at bay. As they strode into the town the old man screamed "no!".  Abraham learned an important lesson;  they either do not speak the tongue of man or do not care.  There was much snapping of bones and gnashing of teeth as Abraham rode away with Frederick and Wolfram.   Abraham was surprised,  no one died! Well no one Abraham knew the name of anyways.  Lots and lots of people died.  Abraham saw a lot of bodies the next morning,  like a lot of bodies.  But all is well that ends well (for Abraham).  Abraham managed to get 11 bronze coins, a rustic charm and two sacks full of packs of peppers he picked.
   Still it is a shame, if other people had been team players and accepted their fate,  Abraham could have had a delightful summer home.

Monday, October 22, 2012

What did you land on?

This was a simple d6 chart for rooftop parkour chases in an Arabian Nights game I ran.  Pretty simple, someone falls from a rooftop and if you need to know what they land on.

1. A wagon full of stuff
2. An awning on a stall
3. A horse
4. A group of people
5. A tree
6. A fence

But it could be better and made to be more useful. Roll a d6 and a d4.

1.) A wagon full of:
         I: Manure:  no damage but you are covered in shit
         II:  Apples, Turnips or other food:  1 pt of damage per 10 feet and an angry merchant wants payment
         III: Straw, no damage at all and you are hidden.
         IV: Small angry animals in wicker cages which will impale you as they break. d8 damage per 10 feet.
2.) An awning on a market stall, you:
         I: Bounce off it into (roll again)
         II: Fall right through it,  -1pt of fall damage and upset a merchant
         III: Bounce off it onto the street, only 1pt of damage.
         IV: Bounce into a second story window. During the day its open, during the night its a closed bedroom
3.) A horse:
           I: Which already has an armed guard riding it.
           II: Which is saddled and ready to ride!  How dashing!
           III: Which you just missed.  It will proceed to shit on you.
           IV: Which you land in front of, it will rear up to kick you.
4.) A group of people who are:
          I: Armed guards who don't take kindly to this assault as you send them sprawling.  1 damage to all.
          II: A thief escaping justice.  You will be rewarded with a few coins and praise for aerial tackling them.
          III: A wealthy merchant,  coins spill everywhere and a milling chaos ensues you can easily be lost in.
          IV: A poor pilgrim who is a revered holy man, an angry mob will form to chase and beat you.
5.) A Tree which is
          I: A date tree, if you make an agility check you grab hold and can continue the chase.
          II: A flowering tree in a garden, you appear to be peeking in a second story window with a woman changing.  Make a charisma check, failure results in screaming for angry relatives, success a smile.
          III:  The ugly tree, you take 3d4 damage (instead of fall damage) as you smash branches on the way down.
          IV:  Soft and verdant. you land and become tangled in the boughs.  No damage but it will take several rounds to get out.
6.)  A fence that is:
           I: A low stone fence,  take d8 damage per 10 feet instead of d6.
           II: A wooden picket fence,  take d10 damage per 10 feet instead of d6 as you are impaled.
           III: A wrought iron spiked fence, take a d12 damage per 10 feet and you are stuck on barbs.
           IV: Really more of a brick wall. Take d8 damage as you bounce into (roll again)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Making new classes

Neoclassical Geek Revival has its five classes and the pie piece system to mix and match between them.  Life is fine and dandy,  however as always remember that I built the system as a toolkit you can plug and play into your game,  and that doesn't just mean the content but how the content is structured.   Lets take a look at the classes "Warrior, Wizard, Rogue, Bard, Priest" :  these lump everything I want in a swashbuckling fantasy game.  But I don't use wizard and usually don't use priest when I play the sci-fi game I run with ConstantCon.

Perhaps you want a different type of characters and challenges?  It is easy to swap out classes.  If you wanted to say add in "the athlete" for an ancient greek setting or "the fool" for a more fairy tale game you could. Each class follows a different framework. The reason I say "swap out" rather than add is that five is kind of a "magic number" where a player cannot (no matter what) start out with one piece in every class, but if that is their ultimate goal they could achieve it and have one pie piece in everything by tenth level.  Assume we are removing "Rogue" for these examples.

1.) It has its own modifier:
  This modifier is given to people who do not have the class too, that is important.  Everyone can do this, people with the class do it better.  The modifier is given in the same way as the other class:  1/3rd your level if you not part of the class,  2/3rds of your level if you have one pie piece in the class,  your level if you have two pie pieces and your level plus your milestones if you have three pie pieces (technically your level plus two per milestone if someone manages to get four pie pieces at tenth level).   This score is also modified by a single attribute.  This attribute should not be shared with any other class modifiers your game is using.

      Athlete's improve Fitness,  modified by Health
      Fools improve Chance, modified by Luck

2.) It has five powers, and a sixth special power
   These powers should be unique and awesome benefits the class gives, try to avoid one "awesome power" and a bunch of crappy filler.  That is really hard.  Also remember that the modifier from step one should be useful beyond these powers. Having an "Algebra" modifier for "Mathmagicians" if it is only useful if someone takes the "Abra-Calculus" power.

So Athlete could recycle the Rogues power of "Parkour" without any difficulty.  You might also put in a skill like "Endurance" where they take less damage from wilderness travel, or "Sprint" where they move faster. A fool might have skills like "Blissful Ignorance" where they cash in luck at a two for one rate if they aren't aware they are in potential danger, you could recycle the "Jack of all trades" skill and rename it "lucky break" to work the same,  perhaps a skill to allow them to add their Chance modifier to saving throws.   The Rogue power "Opportunism" would work just as well for A fool with a rename.

3.) It has a personal item:
  Every class has a "personal item" that grows in ability when the class completes some act that is the point of the class.  Warriors who fight get a trademark item,  wizards gain a talisman, priests relics etc.  This has a corresponding result on the 2d6 that should have a 1/6 chance of coming true, or 1/3 if it is a very uncommon occurrence (currently wizards finding spells). Each of these die combinations should be unique in your game.  If Bards need to roll 10+ for their personal item,  nothing else should use exactly the same combination (10+) though it can use something that occurs on 10+.  Priests need to roll doubles,  meaning a bard/priest who rolls boxcars would improve both items.   Since we are swapping out Rogues in this example the cheater method is just to keep "7" as the die combination.

So the Athlete has a "Trophy" that improves whenever he wins events or solves a problem through a particularly epic task of physical fitness (like shoving over a building or swimming across a raging sea).  Each benefit level from the trophy could give a +1 presence bonus to appeals or something else, I am just wining it, figure out what you want it to do.  The Fool could simply recycle the "Lucky Item" the rogue uses.

So there you go,  always remember that Neoclassical Geek Revival was build not just as a completed product, but as something you can rip apart and plug into your game.  It is a toolbox above all else.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Repost from Google +
So,  Dungeons and Dragons and lots of people saying they never fight dragons. Jez  brought this up and loads of people commented how they haven't encountered an actual dragon in the game.

This began coalescing in my mind along some other comments I've heard recently about the OSR being for many about doing new things the old way to breathe some life into it, and a comment about how I run cliché filled games and how NGR doesn't exactly fit as old school,  but isn't a new "focused" game and still plays as D&D.

So it kind of crystallized as a semi-coherent thought that I like to run old clichés ,  except ideally done well.  There is a lot of talk about how "done to death" old clichés are,  but  what could be more cliché than slaying the dragon? and it seems very few people have actually played a game where that occurred.

I believe D&D does some tropes really poorly.  "Hack ankles until it dies" and weird clusterfudges of rules to make swashbucklers work alongside knights and blah blah blah.  But it strikes me as interesting design difference between finding the tropes D&D does well and rocking the hell out of them (many LotFP adventures do this) and games which focus on making the fantasy tropes D&D does poorly ,  be fun and awesome (to avoid pure self promotion I'll mention  OSH as another example of this)

Or am I did I just accidentally snort a line of Kool-Aid instead of having insight? It is easy to confuse the two?   Have you actually played or ran adventures that played these clichés straight and without irony or a twist?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fantasy Polynesia: Starting Gear

So I want to get across the inherent poverty of the current breakdown of social order.  So rather than the usual methods of choosing starting equipment,  players will simply choose three objects from the following list (you can choose an item more than once).

Starting Equipment

1. 30 feet of rope
2. A wicker basket and harness (equivalent to backpack)
3. A bamboo dagger (small, light, piercing)
4. A small bone pearing knife (small, simple, minor, piercing)
5. A small net
6. A wooden javelin (medium, throwing, pole)
7. A hunting bow and 3 wooden arrows (Medium piercing missile, ineffective)
8. A large wooden club (Large, Blunt, Simple)
9. A stone adze (medium, devastating, slashing, unsuitable, simple)
10. A reed sleeping mat
11. A leather pouch with 18 polished stones
12. A fire starting kit

After picking their gear, players also start with one random item (2d4)

2. Weighted Koa Leiomano (Small, Slashing, Devastating, Vicious, Versatile)
3. A large sling and two smooth granite bullets (1 dot each)
4. A gourd helmet
5. Zilch
6.4 engraved pearls
7. barbed pike (large, pole, piecing, vicious)
8. Robes (Ceremonial) and Garotte

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The State of Fantasy Hawaii

A year ago a wave of refugees appeared in the islands begging for protection and help.  Denizens of far off Rapa'Nui, they spoke of the conquest of their lands by an unending horde from unknown origins sailing in on their ungainly ships of grass with strange magics and deadly weapons.

Fifty such ships arrived in the islands 6 months ago and were barely defeated by a combined fleet from Maui and the Big Island.  But the oracles and refugees all say this is just a scouting party.  Most of the great kings think the islands must unify,  but they all have differing opinions about who should lead.

Oahu is lead by the incompetent and decadent king Elani.  But Oahu is wealthy, and heavily populated and despite its weak ruler, crumbling economy and disorganized army is considered the heart of the islands.

Pi'lani is the current Mo'i of a unified Maui and Moloka'i.  Highly respected as a skilled administrator with great acumen he is credited with the completion of the highway around the island as well the great temple.  Maui is currently well organized and wealthy, but also extremely rigid in its religious views resulting in much resentment among the oppressed menehune.  Other kings sneer at Pi'lani as untrained in the art of war as the inhuman denizens of Lanai still harass his shores.

Kamehameha is the new king of a unified Hawaii.  He personally crushed the rival chiefs in battle and sailed the combined fleets out to meet the foreign threat.  His kingdom is new and untested, and despite his personal strength he is not considered a serious contender for unification.  He has been eyeing the great drifting hulk of nine masts that drifted into the water.  The ghosts that are seen haunting it at night do not frighten him, for he wants the magic it displayed when it first limped into the islands.

Kaumuali'i is the King of Kaua'i and also claims suzerainty over the feuding chiefs of Ni'hau.  The far islands are considered somewhat 'different' from other Hawaiians due to their accent and Kaumuali'i aims to keep it that way,  calling the foreign threat no concern of his people.  He has rallied some of the isolated north western isles into an alliance against any attempt to "unify" them into a greater Hawaii.  He has even been rumoured to be in talks with the dreaded Elves who tried to conquer the islands a thousand years ago. Their floral banners have been seen on his island.
The Empire of Tongo has sent emissaries to the courts of all of the major kings and is keenly interested in the events unfolding.  The instability on the island and the increased trade has seen an erosion to the feudal system to include more of a monetary economy and more class mobility than usual.  Golden coins of Elven or even stranger origins are now in circulation,  traded for a dozen engraved pearls each.  The more mundane transactions involve simple polished stones of vivid colours, twenty to a pearl.  And this is where the adventurers come in,  enterprising low caste individuals with nothing but the shirts on their backs looking to become landed nobility or respected kahunas but probably winding up dead.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fantasy Polynesia

So one of the historical settings I have always loved (just below Meso-America)  is the Polynesian Triangle.   After visiting the Hawaiian Islands recently I have decided I definitely am going to have my next fantasy ConstantCon game be set there.

However,  I am going to take liberties with history in same way D&D takes liberties with the concept of medieval Europe.

1.) Economics and Feudalism
   The Hawaiian Islands had a feudal government at this point.  Economically (and in terms of having non-nobility adventurers) this poses some problems.  So I am going to solve it the traditional RPG way,  early modern economics has somehow crept in.  And in the same vein the explanation for this societal shift where concepts of money and noble titles co-exist?   ELVES.

2.) Polynesian Mythology
  There will be a basis for sure, a strong theme.  But if you look at most adventure games set in "faux Europe" the monsters tend to be mostly Greek or 20th century literary inventions.  So if you pop into this game don't be surprised if you find something like a Morlock uprising or a rogue deepcrow.

3.) Travel
  Magic is real.  The Polynesian triangle was fairly isolated day to day and most people didn't go far, more so than Europe (which still, people often didn't even go to the next city).  Assume the existence of magic combined with the actual, historical fantastic sea voyages means there is more regular contact (at least among nobility) along the Triangle.   They would certainly be far off and exotic,  but you might find a Maori noble on Maui.

4.) Time Crunch
  History is long.  But to have a stronger dynamic the "point in time" of the Hawaiian Islands will be a crunched 250 year period.    Historical rulers and figures who were not contemporaries will be,  because they had the most game-able personalities, achievements and goals.  Like wise, a few things that are anachronisms will exist.  Because Elves, why not.

5.) I'll swap out some history for other potential history and or magic
  I am crunching time,  but lets mush some more stuff in there.  Things that could have happened (especially with magic) but didn't and may have even been really unlikely or had no reason, or only happened because another PC from another campaign caused it.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Duskwood

Continuing my compilation of seed charts..
To use, roll a d8, d6 and d4.  Know the total result, and the result of each die.  Unless specifically told to roll a die,  you should only have 1 die roll.

Terrain: The Duskwood (Haunted Woods )
Travel Speed: 2

Where? (d8)
1. Very, very dense cedar trees (fumble range is cumulative weapon reach)
2. Dense cedar trees (fumble range is weapon reach)
3. An open grove (d6 x d4 meter radius)
4. A bubbling stream flows through. Count d6 as extra d8, or d4 if this is the second stream
5. Lots of tree cover causing constant deep shadows but little undergrowth.
6. Lots of narrow trees, allowing light to shine in and causing tall grasses and weeds
7. There are boulders strewn about, covered and surrounded by gnarled trees.
8. The trees are somewhat more sparse as the area turns into a small marsh.

What? (d6)
1. Blood matted goatmen (d8 x d4)
2. Confused and angry ghosts (d4)
3. Nothing
4. On 14+ a demon possessing a (2: Wolf, 3: Bear, 4: Rotting Troll Carcass)
5.  Count both d4 and d8(if applicable) as extra results on d6
6. d8 demon worshiping vikings, use d4 as extra d6 result on even

Weird? (d4)
1. Demonic Shrine on odd, Ruined and overgrown temple on even
2. d6 snare traps
3. The floor is littered with bleached and gnawed upon bones, many human
4. A smoldering pit of coals on top of a stacked stone mound highlights a section of path (+1 speed)

Triples (in addition to other results)
1. An aging crone tends a large boiling cauldron (talisman +3), she knows "Brew Potion", "Ice Giant Strength" and "Newt Kiss" (polymorph other newt). She is a level three wizard/wizard/priest with 150 piety and has through dark pacts, taken the goatman as her "lover", rancid meat smell and barbed nethers in all.
2. The ghosts are playing a game of dice but cannot seem to remember the rules and are agitated.  They accuse each other of not knowing how to roll dice (being incorporeal they can't roll them) as they sit on opposite sides of a square(ish) stone slab with a pair of ornate bone dice in the middle. The other two sides have hidden snare traps placed by imps to snare anyone who tries to grab the dice (due to their obvious high value).  The ghosts will also be angry at stolen dice and attempt to possess whoever attempts to grab the dice.
3. Its the Wharwhilf! ( Swedish Werewolf)
4. Five bubbling streams are present in total, moving in towards a central point where all the water disappears.  The terrain otherwise is many dead trees covered in moss and vibrant flowers.  The immediate area counts as a mystic wasteland and the point where the streams converge to nothingness counts as a "vortex".

Dubs (in addition to other results)
5. There is an iron sword stuck in the petrified skull of some massive (size 12 or greater) beast. The skull is all that remains.  The sword is simply a sword (12 or 14 total),  meteoric iron but also cursed to cause 1 stress per night to its bearer until returned to the skull (11) or a blessed sword from a Spartacan questing knight in ages past (+1 relic).
6. A level 3 Viking Berserker is leading the band.

Max (in addition to other results)
18: The path is a wooden bridge over the marsh.  The Vikings have built a crude shrine on their side (consecrated) and have stashed large amounts of wealth (2000 silver and a small golden eagle statue).  They guard the bridge.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Planet Hogswamp: Special Deal on the black market

First come first serve on the goods below.  Not only do you get the items but a special pass to smuggle them past space port security. Post your purchase and character name in the comments on the blog.

Uzi  - 2 available
(Small, Burst, Repeating, 30 round magazine, uses pistol rounds, +1 awesomeness with 80's hair) - $3000 each

Silencers - 3 available
(No suspicion from shooting, pistol round caliber only, small item) - $800

Sawed-off Shotgun - 1 available
(Medium, Complicated, Exotic OR Repeating with 2 shot magazine, uses Shells) - $550

Pristine Thompson 1928 - 1 available (comes with fully loaded drum!)
(Medium, Hand and a Half Grip, Burst, 50 round drum, uses heavy pistol rounds) - $12,500

Vials of Neurotoxin - 3 available
(dose deals d4 damage a round for 12 rounds) - $8,000

Special Molotov's - 10 available
(A special alcohol jelly with air based chemical detonator, sealed in a festive mason jar. Blast 2/Fire) - $20

$20k in counterfeit script - 1 briefcase available
(Electronically it is easy to prove its fake, a stealth check of +10 to detect by the human eye) -$500

Construction License - 1 available
 $800 - no questions asked, union backed

Ranchers License - 3 available
$300 - Administration backed, no questions asked

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Random Grim Wars

So perhaps you are or run into a grizzled veteran in the Rupert-Furlcorp Systems,  what war were they in?

If she's a grade A certified Bad-Ass roll a d12,  if he's a tough guy or someone who's "seen some action" roll 2d6.

1.  THE Front

This person isn't just a veteran of a war, this is a veteran of THE war.  The war that consumes billions and billions of lives each day.  Great continents are scorched with orbital bombardments,  planetary sized rad-arrays pulse whole planets with fatal gamma bursts,  C-Beams glisten off the smouldering dust particles that were once entire battle fleets,  men built fortifications out of their fallen comrades as planets are terraformed simply by the vast amount of bio-matter deposited as corpses in a fight with seemingly all powerful aliens. Almost no one makes it back from this war,  those that do rarely make it far before caught.  Those who make it to hide out in these systems are rarer still.   However weak you thought this person was they were toying with you,  they are actually level 10 with 3 milestones.  Their actions have automatically saved the entire human race, even if but for a few milliseconds each.

2. Ambush on the Black Ark

A single federation military vessel patrolled the Rupert-Furlcorp Systems.  It was an ageing, third line armed transport ship.  Recruiters glad to stay off the front lines for a while longer scoured the Serv worlds picking up "recruits".  At first they were morons offered citizenship and not realizing they would never live to see it.  Then they were press ganging criminals and no one cared.  When they were paying "recruiter fees" to third parties who were press ganging the unfortunate and unlucky, people locked their doors and kept a wary eyes out for strangers.  But when the draft happened,  when Serv's were being forced to fight on the behalf of a federation that they were not citizens off? When hard working slavers were not only being cut out as a middleman but drafted themselves?  Well,  then shit got real.  When launching a planet wide draft on Buckwheat 4 a massive riot erupted, quickly being exterminated by hardened Federation soldiers.  But it didn't simply end, everyone piled on.  The armed gangs, the constabulary, the militia, even the rebels piled on in a swarming planet wide fire fight.  As the orbiting ship opened fire on the planet, everything that could fight in orbit did. Raiders and Planet Defence satellites battled together with ships streaming in from other systems hoping to free lost relatives.   It didn't work.
  They were cut down and blasted into bits,  no amount of wooden galleons will stop even a poorly maintained modern frigate.  But they did actually manage to damage the ship and kill some federation soldiers.  The draft was quietly dropped as the ship limped back to federation space.  Still, rumours of another Black Ark always float about. This person will always have at least a second milestone.

3. The Caves

Cornocopia, one of the show worlds for the corporation to parade to federation inspectors. It was highly populated and fairly pristine looking despite the incredibly heavy amounts of strip mining before it was terraformed.  But then it was hit by a pulse of cosmic radiation, some highly radioactive rogue planet came zipping through the system at near TAU.  The gravity destroyed infrastructure and shifted plates causing a horrible chain reaction.   The oceans drained and the biosphere irradiated.  The population was largely fine, but the orbital infrastructure was trashed.  With no way to escape people crawled into sewers and ruins,  crawled deep into the maze of zig zagging tunnels from the mining.  Most of the tunnels were barely big enough for a grown man to crawl,  leftover evidence of the automated explorer droids.   There wasn't enough air, water, food and power for everyone. Help wasn't economical and as such it never arrived,  factions formed as soon as this became evident and the bloodbath began.  It wasn't just fighting for supplies either, air was a limited resource as well.  No quarter was given, no surrender was ever taken.  Eventually the population stabilized to a sustainable number,  but even now,  15 years later,  it is an unforgiving place. If you lived through this you killed someone, probably several someones.

4. Eco-terror attacks of odd eight

Ten years ago a bunch of eco-poets became radicalised,  they felt the need to introduce a little more chaos and turn gardens into wilderness.  People like the Appleseeds when they bring useful plants or delicious animals to a planet, less so if they try and release poisonous snakes, noxious weeds or dangerous predators. Administration officials are usually pretty good about checking cargo for dangerous pests but occasionally some slip through and all and all it was a mellow back and forth.   But these hot headed folks banded around a fanatic named Noah and decided that things were going too slowly.  They took over a militia cruiser and hijacked a teamster superfreighter before going on a 6 system rampage against constabulary inspection teams backed by private citizens over the course of 2 years. Almost a dozen worlds were seeded with all kinds of mess before they were crippled at the battle of Eye-Sign Station by a trio of militia carriers.  The cruiser (renamed the Rainbow Warrior) was turned to slag along with a dozen smaller Appleseed ships, but the superfreighter (The Ark) was last seen venting coolant and atmosphere as it plowed through an asteroid belt.

5. The Last Rebellion

It has been a generation since the rebellion first sprung into being.  Spurred on by the ancient texts of Marx whole worlds joined in an effort to separate the corporate worlds from the Federation and live in a communist utopia. It quickly gained steam and overran most constabulary and even most militia forces within a year.  Then the pinkertons came in and reversed everything over a two month crackdown.  Rebel forces still remain, hidden and isolated,  but they are but the faintest shadow of what they were.  Controls got tighter after that, at least on paper.  The corrupt nature of the constabulary meant most people didn't notice,  they only knew better than to mess with the company goons.

6. A Coup

Officially the administration runs things, its rules are enforced by the constabulary and the militia is only to be used for external threats.  What often happens is that some militia commander will try (and sometimes succeed) in usurping control of a planet, usually claiming the chief administrator is loony and replacing them with a puppet administrator.  Sometimes the coup comes from within the constabulary.  Its usually pretty petty and over within a few weeks,  but the fighting is often very heavy and very intense.

7. Gang Warfare

Criminal organizations and petty gangs are rife on most worlds.  The low technology and vast amounts of living space available leads to a certain level of lawlessness around the edges.  The fighting is usually low intensity with a lot of posturing,  but periodically open warfare spills to the streets and its a real bloodbath (at least until the bribes for the constabulary to keep out of it dry up). The sporadic turf wars between the Hernandez syndicate and the Followers of Ezekiel on New Tijuana  are a prime example of such open warfare.

8. Guerilla Warfare

Rebel (or less frequently raider) units still exist in the empty wilderness of most planets, or lingering in rusting ships  hiding behind quiet little moons. Militia units often spend most of their time in these sorts of low intensity skirmishes, though sometimes constabulary SWAT teams are involved.  It tends to mostly feature ambushes, patrols, raids and sabotage.  There is almost never sustained front line combat.

9.  Ned's Bounty

Ned the Pirate King.  He captured dozens of freighters and smaller ships from the teamsters and some say he had fifty thousand under his command.  He sacked space stations and outposts and had a hundred fighter craft and armed shuttles under his control if not more.  He had tens of thousands of Federation Credits but had no drive to live among what he considered "Soft Weaklings" and frequently paid his own men in federation credits.   Eventually his pirate fleet was destroyed around the gas giant Nork 8, with its hundreds of moons.  He was confirmed dead, but no one ever found his treasure.

10. The Hitlerian Crusade

Long after the twentieth century, the horror of the Third Reich was dulled by time. White supremacists grew to deify Hitler and view him as a messiah and Mein Kampf a holy text.  At first they were violent but eventually their descendants mellowed and chose to ignore Hitler's more violent teachings and focus on what they consider a religion of joy and togetherness.  Just kidding, can you imagine?  No, they are asshole Nazis except in space.  So when they inevitably snuck into the Rupert-Furlcorp systems and set up shop, they quickly tried to take over the place.  The war with them lasted 3 years, uniting both militia and rebel forces against them. While organized resistance has long since collapsed there are  still secret Hitlerian cults and hidden bases all over the place. Trashy adventure novels and radio dramas frequently feature heroes stumbling upon secret Space Nazi bases and destroying them.

11. The Ruins

New Australia,  the centre of the rebellion,  was bombarded with asteroids as a warning to other worlds.  Once highly populated and industrial it is now a scorched wasteland.  The orbit of the planet has been seeded with vast clouds of dangerous debris, largely cutting the planet off from any but the most daring of explorers.  Life on the planet is harsh and deadly, it is a post-apocalyptic hell scape populated by roving gangs of machete wielding bikers battling isolated communities of bunker dwellers with crossbows and sporting goods.  Occasionally inhabitants from the planet do make it into orbit and explore the wider universe.  These are tough cookies and are never less than level 2 if they actually make it to orbit on their own.

12. The Strike

There was exactly one attempt at an organized labour strike among the Servs.  It surprisingly lasted for a month once the pinkertons got involved.  Almost no one made it out alive, less than 5% of the workers.  Anyone who could go toe to toe with a power armoured goon with nothing but a pipe wrench is not to be trifled with.  This individual will always have at least their second milestone and be at least level 3.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The River of Discontent

Continuing my compilation of seed charts..
To use, roll a d8, d6 and d4.  Know the total result, and the result of each die.  Unless specifically told to roll a die,  you should only have 1 die roll.

Terrain: The River of Discontent (A river through the wilderness, from mountain town to coastal city)
Travel Speed:  14 or 3 per week

Where? (d8)
1.  A wide and shallow portion of the river
2.  A fording point
3.  Rapids!
4.  A slow and lazy bend in the river
5.  The banks are heavily forested
6.  The banks are covered with large boulders and steep rocky cliffs.
7.  The river is wide but of unknown depth
8.  A fast moving straight

What? (d6)
1. Nothing (odd) or rangers (d4x2)
2. Other vessels moving the opposite direction (d4-1)
3. Nothing
4. Crazed Goatmen (Total#) on odd, or a pack of bandits (d8x2) operating a toll
5. Nothing
6. Vicious Monsters (1: A Grizzly Bear, 2-6: d4 trolls, 7-8 giant undead eel)

Weird? (d4)
1. Storms and Poor Weather (-d8 to speed)
2. An abandoned/sacked camp
3. Nothing
4. A collapsed series of stone cottages (d8) dots the immediate shoreline

Triples (in addition to other results)
1. The dragon is hunting the river for treasure to steal
2. The other vessel is beached and sacked.  The bodies are missing as is any gold, food and supplies are left behind.
3. A bunch of escaped logs, freed from some lumber camp, are rolling down river.
4. The bandits have errected a wicker and earthen fort with a simple tower. The toll is 2/3rds of your cargo and wealth.

Dubs (in addition to other results)
5. Children singing can be heard in the woods, investigating will reveal the giant singing centipede trying to lure prey
6. Triple the amount of trolls

Max (in addition to other results)
18: The witch Svaerlinda (lvl 6) is present, in control of the eel, along with 4 level 2 Viking zombies, fully armed and armoured. Knows "Dragonsbreath", "Morning Fog" and "Undo the Toil of Skalds", also has 200 piety.

The God that Crawls

So no surprise, I received both the Monolith Beyond Space and Time and The God That Crawls from IndieGoGo so both are being reviewed.  The first thing I can say about the God That Crawls is I'll be avoiding any real spoilers about it because I can immediately tell I will in fact be using this or something very similar to this with the serial numbers filed off.  Very very few things other people wrote ever fit into this category.  I'll use great concepts,  but actual game content is something very rare for me to want to use.  Seeing as people I game with read this, I'll also have to be fairly careful about what I discuss.  In that vein I have listed a few of the important concepts that are important to both the module and (in my opinion) whether or not it will be useful to you.

1.) It is historical
    This one is the easiest to ignore,  but it will take the GM some work to replace historical details with equivalent details in his world.  This also has some issues with subtlety,  with real world history you don't have to explain things.  A bible verse for instance, just IS while a verse in say the faith of "Spartacus" you'd have to give more detail on the verse and why it is important etc,  really delving into a player skill versus character skill.  Knowing the importance of historical figures can be player skill, knowing the importance of fictional historical characters that didn't exist until the GM wrote them 20 minutes ago is a bit different.   I consider this a plus, as I've mentioned this is the kind of detail and back and forth on for my fantastical earth setting.

2.) Once the players choose to buy tickets and board the train, it is a bit of a railroad
    This really depends on your version of railroad,  but an important point is still that this is a game which is all about dealing with a consequence of an action they chose to take.  At some point they choose to do something, and then spend the rest of the adventure trying to deal with that choice without much option to do anything else but react.

3.) There is a bit of whimsy that will probably never come up
       I like whimsy,  but I am going to be blunt.  I doubt this will ever come up in a game, and if it does the work involved means you will probably just ignore it or find a different mechanic.  Still it is a nice reminder that this is a game and not to take it too seriously.

4.) This is an excellent repository of non-standard magic items
     I love a good number of these and they are created exactly in the manner that I like magic items to be. Weird, dangerous and old.

5.)  The Book
    Page 42,  honestly this is something you will make a part of several campaigns and probably a half dozen Call of Cthulhu investigations.

I would recommend this as a module if you are looking for an interesting action (not combat) dungeoncrawl. This module forces the party into snap decisions so be wary if your local group of friends all suffer analysis paralysis and everyone prefers a more low key and low stress dungeon.

Edit:  A note for those concerned about bias,  there is this.  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Broken Hills

Continuing my compilation of seed charts..
To use, roll a d8, d6 and d4.  Know the total result, and the result of each die.  Unless specifically told to roll a die,  you should only have 1 die roll.

Terrain: The Broken Hills  (A rugged frontier far from any city)
Travel Speed:  3 per week

Where? (d8)
1.  A steep ravine with loose dirt and gravel along its sides. 30 feet deep, 150 feet wide
2.  Thick scrub brush, thorn bushes and low junipers.  Weapons fumble on their reach or less.
3.  Atop the crest of a hill, the next hill is visible just across a ravine (as 1)
4.  A large grove of trees at the base of the hill (Total# of big oak trees)
5.  A pond being fed by a bubbling brook in the side of the closest hill. On odd there is an unusually large tree giving shade to the pond.
6.  At the top(odd) or bottom (even) of a large cliff face (20+Total# feet high).  -1 speed if you need to backtrack rather than pass it.
7.  On a somewhat steep downward slope of a hill
8.  A large and mighty oak centered on the top of a hill

What? (d6)
1. A Woodwose warband (d4+d8) lead by a level d4 warrior(2)/priest on 10 or less.
2. Total# of feral goblin thieves on 8 or less,  d8+d4 Direwolves with enslaved goblin riders on 11+
3. Its a Motherf&$*ing Grizzly Bear
4. Nothing
5. Nothing
6. d4 Lesser Cheiftains and 3xd4 retainers or men-at-arms

Weird? (d4)
1. Unusually dense brambles and large numbers of jutting sharp rocks, -1 to travel speed.
2.  On a 12+ there is a heavy rain, -2 to health checks, -1 to travel speed, else clouds of black flies.
3.  Double the number of beings present from the d6
4.  A usable path has been found, +2 to travel speed if followed.

Triples (in addition to other results)
1. The remains of a large skirmish, 12 dead Woodwose and 12 dead warriors and 3 chieftains
2.  The area is littered with dozens of punji sticks and small snares. The goblins are well armed have a stash with a suit of mail, 230 silver and 42 golden coins.
3. Each of the bears is atop a different hill. On each rides a level 5 barbarian princess, one with a meteoric iron spear the other with a shield of flying rowan and dragon tooth dagger (among standard gear). They are preparing to joust over a captured, bound and gagged level 2 chieftain's son. All three of them will violently hate you if you try to rescue him.
4. The trees are in a 4x3 grid and the path goes directly down the middle of it.  If the the area just past the trees is excavated they will find the foundation of an old hall or small palace.  A week of careful digging with result in 3202 copper coins, a golden battleaxe head and a suit of horn scale armour. The horn scale armour is blessed by ancient gods and will therefore work against ethereal assaults.

Dubs (in addition to other results)
5.  If a tree is present the area is consecrated ground to a nature spirit.  If not, there is a smooth stone throne in front of the pond.  Sitting in this throne regenerates mana at a rate of 1 point per hour. A sage could dig up and destroy the area to learn "Visions of the Moon Pond", a version of scrying.
6. The chieftain(s) and the retainers are all mounted on horses and carry an extra 150 golden coins.

Max (in addition to other results)
18:  The chieftains have just finished burying a chest with 12000 silver coins at the base of  the tree.  They will come up with any bullshit reason they can to have the players accompany them back to civilization.  This way they can ensure the players won't steal their treasure before they make it back.  The chieftains each have 102 golden coins upon them, each retainer has 50 silver coins.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Random Grimoires

In NGR it is incredibly important that wizard's try and keep their spells to themselves.  Obviously over time sharing, stealing, apprenticeships and librarians ensure that some spells, or rather collections of spells, are more common than others.  While I do also keep a different type of chart for random spells (unique or rare one-offs) this is a table for the more common grimoires in a table.   The Cultes De Goules and the Necronomicons of a region.

For each rare book a collector or wizard MIGHT have roll a d20.  For each more common tome roll 3d6.  The mathematical reasons for this should be obvious.

1.) Entreaties to the lady in the tower of iron
 "An iron cover engraved with intricate geometric designs. The pages within are delicate rice paper and written with rigid and precise Chinese characters."
   - Supplications Eternal (A version of silence with a permanent duration)

2.) Inner Mysteries of the Elder Masons
"The cover is white deerskin stretched over oak panels stamped with the gold sigil of the masons.  The pages are supple vellum, written with silver ink."
   - Sacred Wall (A version of barrier that summons a permanent brick wall. Casting time is 1 minute ppl)
   - The owed hart (Summons nearest elk)

3.) Chants and Runes of House Ulthark
 "An enormous granite box, inside are neatly stacked copper plates, each acting as a stencil when used in the correct order."
   - Base of the Mountain (Version of Elemental Rune: Earth)
   - Summit's Peak (Version of Elemental Rune: Frost)

   - Forged of Pain (Warding on Metal Weapons)
   - Forged of Belligerence (Warding on Metal Helms)
   - Cooled Passions (Permanency on metal item when first being cooled, x2 Difficulty and Cost)

4.) The Silver Codex
"The cover is made from two smooth silver plates, the pages are fine sheets of blue silk written with silver ink."
   - The Everfull Pouch (enhanced capacity for bags and sacks)
   - Sun Burst (Flash, but with sunlight, as such it can damage the undead)
   - Worn to dust by Nuldrin's grace  (Erase)
   - Ruin of the Vault Dwellers (Rune Lock)

5.) The Book of Aarrgh...
"A simple black leather cover with heavy brass buckles and a title that seems to trail off. The pages inside are crisp and fresh.  Most copies of this tome have a supernatural entity bound in its back pages,  freed upon beginning to read them."
   - Keeper of Forbidden Knowledge (Imprison within a blank book, reading the new text frees it)
   - Screams of Anguish (Cantrip: Causes a random scream to emanate from off in the distance)

6.) The Rot on the Roots of Yggdrasil
"A polished and smooth brown leather tome, large enough to cover a small writing desk when opened.  It is fastened with a leather strap with a gold buckle. The book has  glossy paper,  written in Elven with shiny red ink that is actually a potent contact poison. The tome details the secrets of the demon-god MiGo, this allows even a layman reader the ability to exorcise the supernatural, but only against demon's and undead of MiGo."
   - Viscous Bolt (A version of Bolt that assaults the target with a stream of flesh eating fungal soup)
   - Narcoleptic Spores (A version of Blast that releases a cloud dealing a d12 of shock or stun damage)
   - Cordyceptus Mammalia (A version of raise undead on mammals that creates infections fungal zombies)

7.) Rites of the Elder Masons
"An unassuming grey buckram bound book. The book will have a heavy iron lock upon it."
   - Masonic Robes (Robes become hard like stone, acting as armour)
   - Heat of the First Stones (Detect Magic, using heat)
   - Glowing Stones (Glow, but can only be cast upon worked stone or bricks)

8.) Rites of the Death Eaters
"A set of rolled up patches of human leather, coated in intricate tattoos. A d20 roll would give all 5, with 3d6 they will have a copy of each result shown on a die, which may include doubles or even no scroll with a 6."
   - Wall of Dung (Barrier, but made out of packed animal dung) - 1
   - Beelzbubs Wrath (Cone of flies, dealing d4 ppl) - 2
   - Bloodthirst of the Moonlight (Channeling, drinking fresh blood by moonlight) -3
   - Power of the Hog Totem (Polymorph self into giant hog, permanent) -4
   - Whispering Glow of the Damned Souls (Spell Storage into Candle)- 5

9.) The Little Green Book
"A small little hardcover book bound in cheap green buckram. The pages are stamped text on flimsy paper akin to newsprint and are bound poorly"
   - Lightning Bolt (Bolt spell, player must shout "Lightning Bolt!" once per power level)
   - Schmetterling (Flight Spell, caster grows giant butterfly wings for duration)
   - Dust to Dust (Dispel, 1 dif/cost ppl, only works on undead)
   - Courier's Hope (Fast Feet, only cast on others, target grows tiny wings on ankles)

10.) The Little Blue Book
"A small little hardcover book bound in cheap blue buckram. The pages are stamped text on flimsy paper akin to newsprint and are bound poorly"
   - Wall of Earth (Barrier of loose soil)
   - Defiler of Gaia (Channeling, harms plants in 1 area radius ppl)
   - Litany of Choolar (Dispel, only 1 dif ppl, deals 1 damage to caster ppl)
   - Delayed Orb of Force (Blast, goes off in 1 round ppl, can't shorten timer)

11.) The Little Red Book
"A small little hardcover book bound in cheap red buckram. The pages are stamped text on flimsy paper akin to newsprint and are bound poorly"
   - Cat's Eye (Night vision, caster actually has cat eyes for duration)
   - Crushing Blow (Damaging touch, blunt force)
   - Static Wail (Interference)
   - The Black Arrow (Warding, arrows and bolts only)

12.) Edicts of Vydyl, The Lady in Black
"A large cloth disk covered in tiny Gaelic writing.  It is a holy text to the druids of Vydyl but also contains coded secrets in its text. "
   - Dancing Shadows(Cantrip)
   - Mantle of the Shadow Dragon (Polymorph self, only the first third of spell)

13.) The Diary of Count DeSade
"A simple red leather journal with a silk ribbon "
   - Wave of Madness (Blast that deals stress not damage)
   - Gift of the Dhampyr (Channeling, drink blood from living victim)
   - Talons of the Soul (Damaging touch, deals stress leading to mind control not damage)

14.) The Druidic Rites of Vydyl
"A richly embroidered black wool tapestry depicting scenes and runes detailing of the actions of Vydyl with a  single winding grey thread"
   - Shadow Tendrils (Cone, a wave of lashing tendrils doing d12, won't work in bright light)
   - Whispering Shadows (Message, from shadow to shadow)
   - Shadowrifts (Blast, doing d12, won't work in bright light)
   - Mantle of the Shadow Dragon (Polymorph self, only the second third of spell)

15.) Songs of the Woodwose
"A large gnarled root suitable for use as a club.  It is ornately carved with pictographs and runes in a winding spiral"
   - Wall of Thorns (Barrier)
   - Bee Swarm(Cone, Bees for d4 (+1 vs unarmoured),  must say "BEEEEEEES!" when casting)
   - View Veil (Detect Magic)
   - Call of the Wild (Interference for non plant/animal spells only)
   - Woodflesh (Petrify, but into wood)

16.) Dairy of the Princess of Candyland
"There are so very many sparkles, and its pink, with tassels,  really this is just the most obnoxious looking sparkly diary you can picture a 6 year old ballerina wanting"
   - Rainbow Bolt (Bolt, D7 damage, damaging is converting matter into candy)
   - BFF (Charm Person, Permanent until aggression or mean words)
   - Fireworks of Candyland (Blast, only damages on 1 or 6, on 6 roll 2 extra dice)
   - Nightmare Fuel (Simulacrum, only works on stuffed animals or dolls)

17.) Typicalities of Phrool
"A purple stained wood cover, splattered with multicoloured paint. The pages are gold ink on tie-dyed vellum pages"
   - A Shadow of Time (Illusion, only of whats there now,  uses all senses for difficulty of just one)
   - Mask of Phrool (Glamour of  psychedelic man sized jelly fish that speaks in a buzzing tone, reeks of sulfur )
   - Lost to the Ages (Erase)

18.) The Higher Mysteries of Vydyl
"A bowling ball sized polished black stone inlaid with mystic runes"
   - Shadow Portal (Portal, requires a shadow to duck into)
   - Mantle of the Shadow Dragon (Polymorph self, only the final third of spell)

19.) The Serpen Lexicon
"A giant scroll written on the skin of some massive snake or wyrm, as large as any Torah"
   - Charming Tongues (Charm person, can only tell lies, grows forked tongue for duration)
   - Supplications to Yig (Summons a giant spectral cobra)
   - Congress of Yig (Channeling, regain mana by pure ew, requires a snake)

20.) The Book of Bone
"The cover of this book is black leather, studded with human teeth. The inner pages are penned in the blood of crows on paper reclaimed from defiled holy texts"
   - Legion of  the Dead (Raise undead, 20x effectiveness, only usable on a battlefield, must first slay those who slew them, or their current descendants)
   - Carrion's Debt Foreclosed (Raise undead crows, vultures or hyenas, 5x effectiveness)
   - Mother's Lament (Raise undead, ghost of stillborn from grave, 1 diff ppl, +5 to free will)
   - Eternal Torment of the Wicked (Raise undead, wizard from their talisman, double free will chance)
   - Tail of the Dragon (Imprison, Ghost into Skull)
   - Dust to Dust  (Dispel, 1 dif/cost ppl, only works on undead)

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Barrens

Continuing my compilation of seed charts..
To use, roll a d8, d6 and d4.  Know the total result, and the result of each die.  Unless specifically told to roll a die,  you should only have 1 die roll.

Terrain: The Barrens (Isolated shield wilderness)
Travel Speed: 2 per week

Where? (d8)
1.  Spacious white pine forest,  the ground is damp and rotting.
2.  Junipers and other small shrubs among discarded boulders resting on visible bedrock with patches of grass.
3.  A reed covered marsh with worn bedrock cliffs for most of the shores. Easy ford available on 8+
4.  A lake surrounded by stray boulders and white pine
5.  Small rolling hills covered with mazes of low juniper bushes
6.  A dense cedar forest, the ground is covered with  tinder. 800+ year old ruins of cobblestone houses on 10+
7.  A damp and crowded cave full of slick mud and treacherous depths in a cliff face.
8.  As six result, but with a crumbling stone fortress as well on a 16+

What? (d6)
1. Hungry wolves prowl the area (d8+d4)
2. Nothing
3. d4 Raccoons will attempt to rob the parties supplies if they camp without dogs
4.  Woodwose hunters (d8+d4)
5.  Woodwose village (20 + 3x Total# occupants)
6. d4 Woodwose priests + d8 Woodwose followers/guards

Weird? (d4)
1. Heavy rain falls turn soil to thick mud
2. A wooden shrine (consecrated) is surrounded by animal bones. An ash filled fire pit is full of smooth coloured stones.
3. A set of standing stones around a stone slab, overgrown with moss and lichen.  Signs of use and consecration on 9+)
4. Vultures circle over head.

Triples (in addition to other results)
1. The wolves are lead by the legendary silver wolf (Level 7 warrior, priest, priest)
2. The fire pit is still burning, the smell of burning meat is present. 3 woodwose hearts are in the fire.  An ethereal demon haunts the area (Int. 6, Social 6, Spirit 20, knows cantrip to polish stones, 10 piety)
3. The blood golem is within 100 feet and will hunt any unfaithful, striking when least expected.
4. A recently killed woolly rhinoceros lies dead at the lake edge, soaked thoroughly.

Dubs (in addition to other results)
5. A simple wicker fence surrounds the village. A level 3 warrior chief rules the village.
6. 4 additional woodwose are held prisoner in pits. The head priest is level 2 with 200 piety.

Max (in addition to other results)
18: The castle is inhabited by a withered sorcerer lich, possibly once a woodwose or other large creature.  Served by the priests and guards as well as a size modifier 4 giant bat that appears to be formed from snow and ice. The bat can breath frost in a cone (up to power level 3, 30 mana).  The lich has 3 random spell books in tattered and bloodstained condition, as well as a crude lab full of dried herbs, bits of animals and stone tools.