Friday, January 31, 2014

Quick Note - 2 Page Fantasy


 Working on a new 2-page adventure for drive-thru. This time I'm doing a fantasy dungeon crawl for level 2-4 that I hope to be done, typed and playtesting on Monday.

Not going to ruin the story just yet, but it should be a fun little delve and has some strong (in places) but fun mix of monsters to contend with.

Diwata - A Race/Class for OSR rule sets

The Diwata was my part in the OSR Cares package from last December. It is a race as class and draws inspiration from Filopino folklore and some modern fantasy sources like Codex Born.

Diwata-By Johua De Santo Genius Loci Games
In Philippine mythology the diwata are benevolent or neutral spirits that are invoked ritually for positive crop growth, health, and fortune. The Diwata spirits may also incur illness or misfortune if not given proper respect. They are said to reside in large trees and are the guardian spirits of nature; casting blessings or curses upon those who bring benefits or harm to the forests.

Diwata can be born from any type of tree, however, the tree must be one of considerable age (500 years plus) and from a climate that could be considered under the influence of Good or Lawful deities. In some respects the Diwata are the avatar of the tree that birthed it and have an inborn sense of curiosity and wanderlust.

All Diwata are female in appearance, tall with a lithe figure and green or auburn colored hair. They have exceedingly smooth skin, having no wrinkles (even at joints) or other markings on their flesh.

Prime Attribute – Charisma 13+ (5% experience bonus)
Hit Dice – 1d4/Level (+1 every level after 10)
Weapons Permitted – Staff*
Armor Permitted – None (to include magical protections)
Infrared vision – 60’
Racial Bonuses – +2 to saves against magic and poison. -2 to saves against any form of fire

*The diwata can only use a staff carved from her home tree. If that staff should be broken or destroyed the diwata must beg her home tree for a new branch (75% - (number of times requested x 10) and spend 1d4 days carving the branch into a new staff.


Diwata Abilites
Blessing of the Land – Three times a day the diwata can impart the vitality of the land to all allies within thirty feet of her and who are in contact with the ground. The Blessing has one of three results depending on what is most needed by the target.

·         1d4 HP restored
·         All aliments cured
·         A +1 circumstance bonus to damage and physical saves.

Curse of the Land – Twice a day the diwata can use the natural energies of the land to inflict damage on those who would do the land or the diwata harm. If the target is not of a chaotic or evil alignment than the target receives a +4 to his or her save against the curse. The Curse has one of two results depending on what is most needed by the caster at the time.
·         The Target is set upon by insects inflicting 1 point of damage for 4 rounds and causing a -1 to all rolls made by the target.
·         The Target feels the weight of his or her past deeds and receives a -1 for up to six prior sins.

 Flesh of the Tree – As a being of and from the Trees the diwata has harder than normal skin. As she grows and becomes more powerful that skin becomes tougher imparting a –[+]2 to her AC[AAC] ever 3rd level to 9th level.

Touch of the Mother – A diwata may enter any tree that is not sick or corrupted in some manner and for every 8 hours she spends in that tree regains 4 hit points. If the diwata spends the same amount of time in her home tree she regains 1d4 hit points.

Level
XP
HD
Save
AC+
1

1d4
16

2
2,000
2d4
15

3
4,000
3d4
14
+2
4
8,000
4d4
13

5
16,000
5d4
12

6
32,000
6d4
11
+2
7
64,000
7d4
10

8
128,000
8d4
09

9
256,000
9d4
08
+2
10
400,000
9d4+1
07

11+
+144,000
+1 hp/lvl
06 onward



For Midgard!!! New Bundle of Holding full of Northern thews and dark fantasy

New Bundle of Holding is a Kobald Press take-over  with the City of Zobeck and Midgard campaign setting for Pathfinder. I haven't played the system in a few years but I'm willing to take a look and at the current bonus buy-in of $15.00 it isn't too bad for 8 books.

Been thinking of delving back into Pathfinder for awhile now since I haven't had luck with getting into and Swords & Wizardry games, and the Open Barrowmaze game I joined just never seemed to happen (not on the LL but on my part, 1900 Sundays turned out to be a problem).

So if you're interested in Northern/Western medieval dark fantasy this might be a good bet to look at.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ice Priestess - OSR Class for any setting

Daughter is watching "Let it Go" from Disney's Frozen for the hundredth time! HELP!!!

~*~

Ice Priestess
Hailing from the far northern reaches of the world, the Ice Priestess is a female born to the nomadic tribes of the north who are born with a connection to the very spirits of the ice and snows.

Generally considered to be a natural born sage and spirit-talker by her tribe the Ice Priestess holds a place of honor, power and privilege that few others can obtain.

During her youth an Ice Priestess is sent away from her tribe on a sojourn to learn the nature of her powers as well as what fate the Spirits of Ice and Snow have in store for her and her tribe.


Prime Attributes: Wisdom + 15 (5% Experience Bonus)
Required Attributes: Wisdom + 13
Maximum Level: 10
Hit Dice: 1d4
Weapons permitted: None
Armor Permitted: None
Of the Ice: Immune to all cold effects
Child of Ice: Can create, manipulate and use ice to her will (see Ice Priestess abilities).
Ice Dart: Can create a ranged projectile of ice that deals 1d2 damage.




Ice Priestess Abilities
At the start of every level the Ice Priestess rolls 1d6, the result of this roll is the amount of abilities she has access to per day. The Ice Priestess cannot use abilities that are above her level, nor can she allocate all her abilities to one level.

Level 1

-          Ice Shield – When cast grants -1[+1] to AC [AAC] for 1d4 + level rounds
-          Ice Shard – When caste deals 1d6 + level damage to a single target

Level 3
-          Ice Construct – When caste creates a simple inanimate construct of the Ice Priestess’s choice for 1d6 rounds. If a weapon it deals the same damage as the same weapon from the equipment list.

Level 5

-          Create Minor Ice Minion – When caste creates a 1hd, semi-sentient creature for 1d6 rounds who will obey every command given by the Ice Priestess.

Minor Ice Minion – HD 1; Atk 1d4; AC 9[10]; SV 19; MV 9 [45’]; AL Neu; CL/XP 1/15 Spec Nil

Level 7

-          Freeze Water – When caste can solidly freeze 10 gallons + Level of water for 1d4 rounds.

Level 9

-          Create Major Ice Minion – When caste creates a 4hd semi-sentient creature for 1d8 rounds who will obey every command given by the Ice Priestess

Major Ice Minion – HD 4; Atk 2d6; AC 5[14]; SV 13; MV 9 [45’]; AL Neu; CL/XP 4/120 Spec Nil

Ice Priestesses and Weather
Depending on the environment the Ice Priestess is present in she may receive a positive or negative modifier to her abilities as well as need to make a save for her own health.

Warm Weather environments – In environments south as topics or deserts the Ice Priestess receives a -2 to all abilities and can only cast have of her daily allotment of abilities. Further while in such an environment the Ice Priestess must daily succeed a saving throw or lose 1d4 health due to the heat.
Temperate Weather Environments – In environments of a temperate climate the Ice priestess receives no positive or negative modifiers to her abilities and does not need to make a saving throw. Further she can cast all of her daily allotment of abilities.

Cold Weather Environments – In environments such as tundras, the Ice Priestess receives a +2 to all abilities and can cast her daily allotment of abilities +2.

Table 1 - Ice Priestess Advancement
Level
Experience
Hit dice (d4)
Saving Throw
1
2,000
1
18
2
4,000
2
17
3
8,000
3
16
4
16,000
4
15
5
32,000
5
14
6
64,000
6
13
7
128,000
7
12
8
256,000
8
11
9
400,000
9
10
10
544,000
10
09
11+
+144,000
+1HD


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Quick Review - Lost city of the Dwarves Part One - Discovery

I’ve been on death’s door since Sunday with a stomach virus so bare with me as I’m solely existing on antibiotics and my wife’s chicken noodle soup.
~*~
Lost city of the Dwarves: Discovery is a “choose your own adventure” style, single player d20 based roleplaying game developed by Pen & Forge Productions (although there is a multi-player supplement). It is a meaty little volume of somewhere around 250 pages. I picked up the POD version of the book last summer with the express purpose of re-living my childhood recess days when, instead of playing with other kids, I guided an erst-while teen through time and space, a wizard’s apprentice through the trails of avenging his master and so many other adventures … Outside of Howard, Dowell, and Tolkien that book series/gimmick had the biggest effect on my future choice of hobbies and loves.
I finally got around to reading/playing my copy of Lost City of the Dwarves last Saturday. I had intended to spend some of my down time re-reading the final 2 levels of Venger’s Liberation of the Demon Slayer dungeon so that I can finally get a review out but found that I had forgotten my tablet at home. Looking for some way to pass the time I cleaned in my car out and found, buried under toddler clothes and many ponies (my two-year-old’s obsession) my print-copy of Lost City. I had honestly forgotten I even owned the book, much less that it was in my car. So with dice (always a set in my glove compartment jus tin case) in hand I decided to explore the Lost City of the Dwarves.
From a rules perspective the game has more in common with the Basic and Original Editions of Dungeons & Dragons and its retro-clones than it does with 3x and higher. Stats are boiled down to three main stats and pretty much everything else boils from them. Setting up your character can be a bit difficult as things like Base Attack, Morale and Initiative take some investigation to figure out (look at the example character sheet). Once the character is made, however, it is all pretty darn simple.
Like the typical “choose your own adventure” stories, you make decisions and turn the appropriate numbered passage. So if there are three doors and you want to go South (45) you go to passage 45. The difference comes in the fact that there is combat, traps and puzzles to be solved. Combat is typical D&D combat but boiled down to two steps – initiative and combat – with the reader rolling for both himself and the creature. Now I will tell you that cheating is easy, but I would advice against it as it takes the fun and random quality of the game away.  Traps (as far as I’ve seen) are handled in multiple passage parts, with the reader being given a choice, having a reaction and given the choice to move along (or possibly dead … damn door knob!) or try again with a different tactic.  As for puzzles I have not yet run into any but I have flipped through the book to note that they appear to be very Sunday paper in their execution. Crosswords and Word finds done in clever fonts with interesting art direction to make them actually seem a part of the sprawling dwarven city the reader is exploring.
So far I have died four times. Once at the hands of a goblin I attempted to sneak attack. Another time against a pair of goblins I tried to sneak attack (I survived my second attempt, I suggest this action!). And finally I was drowned and Shocked to death by two different traps.
Honestly, I am enjoying this book/game. For someone like me with very little time and very little real-life community in the Hobby this is the perfect escape when the online option isn’t an option. It gives me the opportunity to roll dice, and explore a fantasy world that I would otherwise be cut off from. As a “choose your own adventure” style game the only negative I have isn’t really a negative. That “negative” is that there are so many possibilities that it is extremely hard to backtrack to a point when you can start making good decisions. Basically when you die, just re-roll (or start your character back at level 1).
As a finally aside, there is a sequel (Lost City of the Dwarves Part Two - Deliverance) and a few stand alone adventures. I ordered the sequel today and plan on looking through the stand-alones and multiplayer supplement later.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Quick Note - Publishing updates!

Been a rather busy week for me in regards to life and family, but hopefully the grand ocean of marriage preperation, post peak debriefs and sick children will calm a bit in the coming weeks and allow me to get back into the flow of the blog and Genius Loci Games.

I've given myself a hard finish date for the first complete draft of Lights over Innsfjord. March the 1st will be when I set the deadline which will allow me to go into editing and playtesting the adventure as a whole instead of in compontent parts (currently I have been sending people through the various dungeons but not through the storyline).  I am hopeful that I can get a roll20/hangouts group and possibly even a live group going (if the local gaming shop is interested in it).

The Nest, my 2-page adventure for Brave Halfling Games' X-Plorers is saling rather well with 20 copies sold since release this month. I haven't hear danything positive or negative yet about it but with the numbers I'm seeing I can honestly say I'm hopeful for its success asa worthy RPG adventure. That said, I am nearly done the Edge of Space conversion for the adventure and I hope to have it up by the end of the month.

Speaking of Edge of Space, my next adventure for the system, Helena's Gauntlet, is coming along and I have picked up some stock art to help fill the adventure up. I am hoping to find someone to make a ingress style city map for the adventure, but I've had little luck in such so far.

I'm also busy with a new Arame story as well as expanding the previous one (The Robathen's Coin) into a more meaty piece. If anyone purchased the original run they'll get the update version of the story for free.

Finally, I have already started to compile information and individual creatuers to begin to fill the second creature guide with the new stat block. I am hoping to be able to use what I've made off of the first creature guide as well as my other releases to fund the only negative aspects of the original creature guide; the lack of art.

My hope is for the second creature guide to feature around fifty creatures with art for at least half of them. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Quick Note - The D&D Next Launch Event

I will leave the details of and the beliefs in or against the multi-media launch of Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition and the event to better minds and pens than myself (see Dyvers and Tenkar's Tavern). Why, because I'll pick up the books that come out and pour over them the same way I did with the much quieter Abysmal Plague event and if there are any Encounters groups or launch games taking place in my area I will enjoy them.

No, I will focus on the story blurb published over on Wizards of the Coast's website:



A white dragon plunders caravans heading north to Icewind Dale. In the Silver Marches, a scornful red dragon torches a town that refuses to pay a king’s ransom. Elsewhere, dragon-worshiping barbarians in Viking longships attack merchant vessels leaving Neverwinter, while masked heathens infiltrate a noble villa in Waterdeep, murder its lord, and steal a draconic artifact.
Dragons and their allies are threatening the Sword Coast and the North, but why now, and to what end?

F or years, the evil Cult of the Dragon has devoted itself to creating undead dragons in a vain attempt to fulfill an ancient prophecy. However, the cultists were misguided. They misunderstood. But now, under new leadership, the cult believes that the prophecy does not speak of undead dragons, but of a dragon empire that’s been extinct for 25,000 years. Tiamat, the queen of evil dragons, has languished in the Nine Hells for millennia. The cult believes that the time of her return is at hand.
The cult has a new face and a new mission. It seeks to free Tiamat from the Nine Hells and bring her into the Forgotten Realms. To accomplish its goal, the cult needs five ancient dragon masks and the support of evil dragons everywhere. The cult leaders—each one a "dragon whisperer"—have reached out to the evil dragons of the Sword Coast and earned their allegiance.
Meanwhile, evil dragons in cahoots with the cult seek to amass a treasure hoard worthy of their dark queen, not by plundering their own hoards (of course) but by stealing money from cities, caravans, good-aligned dragons, merchant ships, and other sources. Their ravenous hunt for treasure throws the Sword Coast into upheaval. Neverwinter, Waterdeep, Baldur’s Gate—no city is safe from their depredations.
The situation is dire. However, the Sword Coast is far from defenseless. Powerful factions are ready to rise up and put an end to the tyranny of dragons. Adventurers throughout the Realms must join forces to face Tiamat, destroy the Cult of the Dragon, and prevent the rise of a new dragon empire. In their hands, the future lies.
I can say that while reading this I was both happily surprised and at the same time sad. What I find excellent is that the game will be launching with a rather epic campaign path, something that will draw players in immediately and put them on the road to be the saviors or ruiners of the world. I'm also excited that Faerun and the Forgotten Realms are taking center stage (my second favorite setting and closely followed by the much maligned 4e Points of Light setting) in this event and seems to be pushing to the forefront as the new default setting.

Why is this exciting. Well for old fans it gives them something to work with of the start, nearly every D&D player the world over knows something of the Realms and even if it isn't their favorite setting can easily ad hoc the histories and individual playing styles into the Realms. Also this could mean some more intimate involvement by the esteemed Ed Greenwood who has been abused quite enough in recent years by WOTC.

What I am worried about, however, is the setting as well. To be precise I'm worried about the location: The Sword Coast. I've never hidden that I am a huge fan of Perfect World/Cryptic's Dungeons and Dragon MMO "Neverwinter" but that is more or less do to its' foundry tools and the excellently done adventures I have found there. Unfortunately, the game itself, the one not made by fans of D&D is rather bland and cliche. It is the Sword Coast of the MMO that I am afriad will be represented in the event and not the rich Sword Coast of the novels and Bioware era PC games.

Again, I'll be as onboard with this event as I can be given that I live in an area that seems to hate fantasy RPGs (that aren't Legend of the Five Rings), but I can't help but worry about how rich and organic the world feels if it is the Sword Coast of the MMO ...

Also, seriously with an event like this there won't even be a TV movie!? What the hell Hasbro, you'll authorize a big budget Battleship movie but not D&D!

Another challenge ... accepted?

Appears that their is another challenge set up to begin on the first of February courtesy of d20 Dark Ages. I'm tempted to throw in since I did enjoy last September's 30 day challenge. However, that challenge also burnt me out a little so I'm not really too sure.

I suppose we'll find out on the first!

Some very interesting questions this time around, which is pleasing. No filler or kind of out there questions.


Childreeeeeeeeen in Spaaaaaaaaace!!!!

This weekend I did something that would probably get me killed if I ever attempted to put it up on the blog. I ran a game of +Justin Halliday's  Hero Kids ... in space ... with plasma swords and laser guns and android pets ... it was a lot of work. Honestly through the split coffee, the tangled mess of scotch tape (my one-year-old got to my notes) and everything else, I have no idea if I would ever be able to post anything.

The one caveat all the parents in my daughter's game have is that I'm not allowed to post pictures of their kids online, which means no pictures of the game either. Makes me a little sad, really. The kids love the bi-weekly gaming session,  and oddly last weekend's one shot  was their favorite to date.

Rules wise, nothing much changed except the lack of caster types and certain melee based types. So no brutes or warlocks, but the healer made her way through with the Medic, who was given flash bang like grenades to replace the searing light power.

The game was simple enough the heroes were traveling with people of their village to the capital world to see the coronation of the Princess of All Space. Their engines were hit by asteroids and the ship crashed on a mysterious forest planet.

Turned out the forest planet was a secret base for a bunch of space pirates and the families of the kids are taken prisoner along with the remains of the ship while the kids were out exploring. The kids initially try to follow the pirates but get hopelessly lost.   Some excellent roleplaying happened here as the girls started to cry and break-down and the boys were all ... well little boy brave and trying to act all grown up. I was very surprised by this and swore to myself that I would reward them somehow.

So the kids set-up what the can for a camp that night and all fall asleep to a fire that one of the boys creative started with his blasters. It was while they slept that they had their first monster encounter. A creature called an Grity which looks like a large hairless rat with a split jaw wandered into the kids' camp sniffing for food. The boys woke up first and started to try and scare it off with roars and monkey sounds. The Grity wasn't scared, however, and instead took the boys as a threat and attempted to attack them. Her was another great play moment because while the boys were doing this the younger of the two girls (a medic in training) whispered in my ear that she was going to roll a flash bang over to the Grity. So I secretly let her and I made the rolls behind my screen. After a few seconds I nodded to her and she screamed "CLOSE YOUR EYES!" making everyone at the table jump. The kids all closed their eyes, the Grity screamed in pain as it was blinded and ran off ... unfortunately the other girl was still in her sleeping bag and the Grity accidentally caught up the sleeping bag (and girl inside) as it ran off.

The others give chase and soon find the Grity's lair, an ancient temple with statues of robed figures holding glowing swords before them (the swords of the statues did glow). The kids explored the temple while looking for their friend, and in one room the two boys found a locked chest which they managed to bash open. Inside they found two tubes. They each took one and within moments found the buttons on the tubes which released the plasma energy sword constructs held within the tubes.

While the other three were exploring the temple and finding the plasma swords, the last girl (the captured) find herself in the den of the Grity and discovers that the animal is very gentle and is in fact the pet of an old man in dark, but much patched robes. This man reveals himself as an Exiled Knight who has been hiding on the forest world for decades. As the girl and the old man talk a sound can be heard in the distance (the boys bashing the lock). The old Knight goes to investigate, and as he leaves he activates his own plasma sword ... a dark red one.

Right around here is where we ended, because we'd played for three hours and three of the kids had parents waiting in my living room, making awkward conversation with my wife.

The kids had fun, I had fun running it for them and I do feel really bad about all the notes and character sheets getting destroyed by my one-year-old after the fact (lesson of the day, never leave gaming stuff out when you have babies). If the kids ask I'll probably run this again. They still have to rescue their friend after all.