Skip to main content


Showing posts from August, 2013

Pranking the players: Questions to the community at large

I have a firm belief that all Referees, Game Masters, Storytellers and Dungeon Masters have an innate desire to screw with their players from time to time. Sometimes that desire could be born out of a bad mood or out of an overly jovial and prankster mind set. Other times it is something born from nothing but the spontaneous nature of running a game. Whatever the reason in the end, Game Masters of all shapes, sizes and names have at least thought about screwing with the players, from cute little pranks, to all out mind blowing moments. So that is my question of the night, what was the biggest prank or joke you ever pulled on your players or was pulled on you? For me: Once had the party travel across the game world by a summons from the Arch-Emperor. When they arrived they were tired and near death in so many different ways. They expected a grand mission, instead the Arch-Emperor made them swear to do his laundry. During my first D&D Next playtest the DM described a perfectly normal …

Ancient Titan - Generic Creature for any setting

Ancient Titan
“I remember that day clearly. My raiding party was crossing the straits to the Isle of the Mist looking for some easy plunder. It was a good day, a day of song and good hard work at the oars. Then It rose from the waters. Like a man, but not, and made of stone and strange metals. With one fist it crushed our and sent my crew to their grave.”
Armor Class: -5[25]/2[17] Hit Dice: 10+10 (68) Attack: Smash (4d6+4), Stomp (5d6+4) Save: 5 Move: 60 Special: Earthquake, Magical Resistance 75%, Physical Resistance 50% Challenge Level/XP: 16/3,200
The Titans are mechanical constructs created by a long dead, but highly advanced race. A miracle of science and magic, the titans are clock work automatons infused with Old Magics making them virtually indestructible.
Six magically wards (crown of the head, shoulders, mid-back, small of the back and center of the chest) empower the Titans giving them their near indestructibility. Only by destroying the wards(AC 4 [15] each 3 HD) can a Titan’s power…

Quick Note - Cinematic vs taticial Combat

Quick Note- Cinematic vs Tactical Combat A quick question for the community at large: What do you prefer, fast and loose encounters presented in a cinematic way or more tactical looking at the game like a battle map?

The reason I ask is that I have several ideas floating in my head to make combat feel more cinematic. There would be number crunching and dice rolling of course due to the needed aspect of rules, but fast and cinematic none-the-less.
These ideas range from combat stunts after a critical hit or a “so much higher than AC[ACC]” that would give the player options for special moves to the “dire circumstances” roll I talked about earlier in my Transformers post.
Part of the reason I want to do this is to give back some of the storytelling aspects of combat to the players and relieve the referee from figuring out how to describe the ninety-millionth player attack and damage to the enemy and make combat more interactive between the entire table.

Transformers (again) A question answered!

I have (surprisingly) received a few e-mails about my Transformers post of a few days ago. Nothing from Hasbro begging me to sell the idea to them, but from a few people in the gaming community interested in some of the things I put down oh so long ago.
The biggest question has been “what is dire circumstance?” So right here and now I will attempt to explain the idea that never became realized.
During play all transformers are placed in situations that may look bleak, hopeless, or down right suicidal. A single Autobot versus a legion of Decepticons or free-falling through the Cybertronion atmosphere toward the planet itself with a busted “t-cog”. During such circumstances and right before death the transformer is allowed to roll his courage against a number predetermined by the situation. If successful that transformer manages the impossible, and while they may die, does so in a spectacular and truly memorable way.
That Autobot manages to hold off the Decepticons (alone) until his compan…

Pseudomorph - Generic Monster for any setting (that someone else probably already did)

Given the pre-exstitent nature of this creature by other names and in other game systems I do not doubt it has already been done. However, a glance at Core, Whitebox and Complete did not show me one so I decided to give the creature my spin.

Pseudomorphs are carnivorous, semi-sentient creatures that live in caves, dungeons, crypts and other subterranean places. They possess the ability to make themselves appear as any inanimate object and lay in wait for prey to come to them.
In their natural state the pseudomorph appears as a large, pale amoeba-like creature.
Lesser Pseudomorph
Hit Dice: 3 Armor Class:4 [15] Attacks: Slam (1d6+2) and Bite (1d4) Move: 3 [15’] Save: 16 Special: Stick, Copy Challenge Level/XP: 4/120
Copy – The Pseudomorph can copy the appearance and coloring of any inanimate object that is at least the size of a large chest.
Stick - Any Melee attack has a 45% chance of causing the attacker to become stuck to the Pseudomorph.
Hit Dice: 6 Armor Class: 2 [17] Attacks: Slam (2…

Transformers - Less than meets the Eye

Back when I was a kid, I loved Transformers (still do if anyone has read a few of my pure G+ posts). One of my first attempts at creating an independent tabletop game was actually an attempt at Transformers, using the toys themselves as the inspiration.
If anyone here has ever looked at a Transformers toy packaging you’d see that all the Transformers have a state block with a number in each stat ranging from that individual Autobot’s strength to their courage in battle.
May idea at the time was to use that stat block to create a point buy system that would allow a player to either make a Transformer of their own or just use the stat card from their toy. In the end I left the idea behind because that is pretty much all I was able to come up with. Rules for combat, transformation and the like were utterly lost on me.
So, what I did complete I am posting here for everyone to see and grab at in the hopes that it may spark some ideas in others, or at the very least be amusing.

Quick Note - Scaling in Hero Scape (House Rule)

Over the weekend I began to play an out-of-print Hasbro game with my 8-year-old called Heroscape (generic example of play/game demo). during play my daughter asked a question that never crossed my mind, never crossed any thoughts from when I was big into the game back in the early 2000s. My daughter likes to rock climb, and I like to build very vertical battlegrounds. My daughters question "Can I climb up the cliff?" left me stunned because according to the game rules the answer was no. However, the strategic value of her managing to scale the cliff would have been amazing.

According to the rules:

Moving Up: When you move to a higher level, count the side of each higher level as one space. Of your figure can't move enough spaces to reach the top of a ledge, then it can't move there.

Height limit: A figure cannot move up a number of levels higher than its Height number all at once.

What does this mean? It means that my Krav Maga Agents while having a move of 6 cannot sca…

Magic Items - Two magic items for any setting

It has been awhile since I've made a magic item so this is a nice change in a while.  The following I cannot take complete credit for as my daughter is actually where the idea came from during last night's Hero Kids game.
On a side-note, playing a tabletop game at a Books-a-Million at 2100 at night with an 8-year-old and my wife gets lots of stares. Especially since I'm a rather animated and vocal referee.
Shield of the Wall A tower shield which appears as a normal tower shield from the front but from the rear is utterly see through, allowing any behind it to easily see their enemies. The shield's magical construction also allows any projectile spell to be cast through the shield, allowing the magic-user to remain hidden while still casting her spells.
And one the I made for an old D&D game I played in the Army.
Staff of the Rings
A staff of ash with an odd gem at its crest. The staff has slots etched out of its wood to securely hold up to four magic rings. The staf…

Quick Note - I am your master ... if you go to MEPAcon

On the weekend of November 8th (specially the 9th) I will be running two games for the Swords & Wizardry OSR system at MEPAcon.

If anyone is in the Northeastern PA or nearby New York and New Jersey and isn't doing anything for that weekend.

From 9 am to 12 noon on the 9th I will be running Grimmesgate.
From 2 pm to 6 pm on the 9th I will be running an Alpha test of Eira with my adventure "The Mad Mage's Tomb"

Also, on Sunday, I will be running a game of Hero Kids. The time is currently listed as 12 am to 4 am but I'm trying to get that changed, to something a little less extreme.

Ragmen - Generic Monsters for Any setting

I've been wanting to make these guys for awhile, now I am and I am gleefully waiting to sic these little guys on my daughter and her friends!

“Never forget; never deny the existence of the ragmen. Born of fear and madness they groan and crawl. Born of madness they wrap and entwine. Born of magus folly the ragmen come, the ragmen come.”
Hit Dice: 2+2 Armor Class: 7 [12] Attacks: Slam [1d4] Saving Throw: 17 Move: 6 [30’] Special: Smother, Gestalt Challenge Level/XP: 4/120
Ragmen are a form of golem created originally by a very mad and very poor magic-user. They have since become the cheap and easily replaceable minions of many eager chaotic magic-users in the world.Ragmen appear to be sets of clothing, either hung or laying in piles when inactive. When active they appear as clothing being filed by nothing at all. Being made of clothe, however, means that Ragmen are easily dispatched by fire (3x fire damage than on a normal target). Unfortunately Ragmen are rather resistant to blade…

The Other Game - Cheating on the OSR

It is no secret that the majority of the gaming that I do is with my daughter and her friends. With few exceptions I am the referee or game master and as such we typically play S&W core or Whitebox or some amalgamation of the two that I happen to be experimenting with.

However, there is another game that I play with my my daughter, one removed from the dynamics of the system created by the world's first fantasy roleplaying game. At first this game was an experiment in an of itself to find a game that my than six-year-old daughter could understand. At the time she was having problems with all the different dice (still does sometimes) and knowing which dice was for when and what. The other system, a streamlined variant of the West End Games system (now known as d6), took away all the dice and was small and simple enough that I learned it in an hour and started to think of ways for my daughter to enjoy it.

Mini-Six "Cinematic Roleplaying Game" by Antipaladin Games is fas…

Next Adventure Question

So the next five-minute adventure is a pretty big one, with a estimated 10 pages of adventure. Compared to my previous 4 adventures (4 you ask?) which topped out at 5 to 6 pages this is quite a leap forward.

The more I work on these adventures with the generic "Town" the more the place seems to take on a life of its own as well as an actual geographic setting. This newest adventure somewhat does away with that as the Town is now very obviously meant to be in a temperate, at least partially forested environment.

The second change is the addition of locations outside the town. In this case the Anicent Forest and a elvish town. Which is where my question hails from. What is the option on how this looks?

W-3 Qu’tanis
Nestled in and among the giant, ancient trees the stairs and homes of the village blend into the forest and would be missed if not for the soft glow of magical orbs and the movement of the village’s inhabitants.  As the players approach a horn is sounded and …

Kickerstarter Barking: Demon Wars Reformation by R.A. & Brain Salvatore

Time to bark again for a kickstarter project. This one is already successful, but given the pedigree of the designers I would venture to look into it.

The game boosts to be Salvatore and son's take on old school game mechanics set in the world of R.A. Salvatore's "Demon Wars" novels which are really great in my opinion. The video is vague on what it means by "old school" but the in-play segments are like nothing I have personally seen before as they game seems to rely on percentile dice and poker chips. Stretch goals aren't all that impressive either as most of them have to do with additional artwork inside of things like adventures or extra materials.

Buy in is also a bit much with $50 being when a physical copy of the game is available. But once again I must bring up the designers and the influence R.A. has had on gaming and the fantasy genre over the years. Given his dislike of what has happened with the Mothership of Fantasy RPGs of late, I think i…

Wayne Rossi's Dungeon Crawl Issue Three released

The third issue of +Wayne Rossi's OSR magazine "Dungeon Crawl" has been released and features new magic items, encounters, dungeons and most importantly (to me) my Blood Witch class for Swords & Wizardry!

I just finished printing out my .pdf copy of the magazine so expect a review sometime between now and Tuesday. While you wait go and pick it up for yourselves at either Lulu for the $11.95 print copy or RPGnow for the $5.00 .pdf copy.

I've been flipping through the .pdf as my anicent, slow-as-hell printer was working on printing it, and honestly I'm liking what I'm see. Although, Wayne I think for Issue 4 you should do an article on the "Rossi Method" of opening doors!

If you haven't read "Dungeon Crawl" follow the links below to get caught up:

Issue # 2 at is still available as a Pay What You Want title!
Issue # 1 is available for free VIA google Docs!

Fear Doirche - Creatures of Eira Preview

Fear Doirche
Hit Dice: 10 + 6 Armor Class: 1[19] Attacks: Weapon (Fae Great Sword (unique), 2d10+4) Saving Throw: 5 Move: 12[60’] Special: Fae Step, Greater Immortal Fae, Iron Resistance Challenge Level/Experience: 13/2,300
The Queens of the Au-Sidhe and Un-Sidh courts have many agents in both the mortal and immortal realms. However, these agents pale in comparison to the Fear Doirche. The Fear Doirche is the assassin and arbiter of his or her Queen’s will. The Fear Doirche carries a portion of his or her Queen’s power within his-or-herself, making the Fear Doirche virtually impossible to defeat, much less fight.
There are always two Fear Doirche, and since it is a title, the appearance of the Fear Doirche can vary greatly. However, one thing always remains the same, no matter who carries the mantle of Fear Doirche; he or she walks with and carries shadows about him or her.
Fae Step - In place of a move action the Fear Doirche can teleport half of his or her move instantly.
Greater Im…

Gamers: Hands of Fate Released!

The new Gamers movie "Hands of Fate" has been released and is avialable free or $10 for an HD download.

Go watch it now! The Three Gamers films have been some of the best examples of Roleplaying life and should entertain all who have an interest in the hobby!

Gargoyle of the Lost Clan – Generic, serial numbers filed off class for OSR games.

The following came at the request of an old friend of mine a few weeks back. I feel bad that it has taken so long to get this written-up, but as I said earlier today during my Quick Note, life has been kicking my rear lately.
For probably everyone who will see this, the inspiration for this class is obvious. For those of you who don’t know the inspiration for the class: Stop reading, go to youtube and watch Disney’s Gargoyles right now!
Gargoyles of the Lost Clan
Gargoyles of the Lost Clan are the last survivors of a race of honorable Gargoyles that have been thought lost for generations. Unlike their more twisted Chaos serving brethren, the Gargoyles of the Lost Clan have a sense of duty to protect all those weaker than themselves.
The Gargoyles of the Lost Clan number only in the dozens, the majority of their people twisted by Chaos or dead through vile magics or other, even more sinister, means.
Prime Attribute: Constitution +13 (5% experience bonus) Hit Dice: 1d10 Weapons Permitted: A…

Quick Note: OSR Supers update

Quick update on the Supers game I am developing. Powers and Skills systems are done, but besides that I am a bit behind schedule due to family and work issues. I am hoping for a mid-September release of an Alpha/playtest version of the game to hand out and run over hangouts Roll20.

Raceless Classes of Eira - The Enchanter - Eira Preview

Once again I present one of the "raceless" classes of Eira. In the Eira setting every race has between two and four race-specific classes that they can be. However, there are also 4 raceless classes that nearly any race can in the game setting can take up. The following is one of those classes; The Enchanter.
The Enchanter is probably the most different class I have made as it mandated that I "create" a new game mechanic, in this case, the imbuing pool. Because of this I have been a bit hesitiant to not only write up the class but also release it into the wilds of the OSR community. 
However, here it is for all to see! As always this is open for anyone to use in their home games, however, I do ask that if it is used that you send any feedback you may have to

The Enchanter
While mages and wizards rage across the land, slinging the powers arcane about as if it were a child’s toy, and as priests and paladins pray to unseen gods for divine bless…