Friday, February 28, 2014

Quick Note - At it Again

Started work on another short adventure wheile I wait for the caves of Innsfjord to flesh themselves out in at home playtesting. This will be my very first mid-level adventure (outside of Three Knocks at the Crypt Door). It is definately going to be bigger than my Two-Page adventures but not by much, five to ten pages at most ... with maps.

Can anyone guess the theme for this one? Welp, I'm not telling! I can say that this has been fun to do because of the puzzles. I'm not typically a puzzle person; I prefer traps. So this is really fun! I'm hoping to have text done by the end of next week with maps done by Tuesday the 11th. I'm contacting my U369 tomorrow about doing the cover ... I hope I can get him for a third time.

So thoughts, opinions, screams for me to stop already?

Oh and to th eCartographer's Apprentice. I'm finished your stats, just have to type everything up.


Quick Note - JD2 Darkland Moors

Jeff Dee (Classic D&D cover artist) has just released his second OSR module (and Kickstarter stretch goal) "JD2 Darkland Moors" over at RPGnow. This adventure is a follow-up to "JD1 Cess-Pit of the Bog-Queen" (reviewed here by Erik Tenkar). As it was a kickstarter stretch goal I got my copy yesterday but have only been able to do a quick digital flip through of the adventure. It is meant for players between the levels of three and five and from my quick look is a traditional HEXcrawl game. Artwork is sparse, but the cover ... oh man, the cover! ... is amazing in its black and white glory!

From RPGnow:

A huge, monstrous presence rampages through the farms and villages of Darkland Moors, throwing the locals’ formerly peaceful lives into turmoil. What manner of giant is responsible, where is it taking its captives, and what is their fate? To restore peace, our heroes must scour the misty Moors and track the beast to its lair! This is the sequel to JD1 Cess-Pit of the Bog-Mother!
This module was originally created as a stretch goal for Jeff Dee’s Kickstarter project to re-create his lost paintings from the covers of the classic RPG adventures A1 Slave Pits of the Undercity, A3 Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords, and C2 The Ghost Tower of Inverness. The author wishes to thank all of his backers, whose support made this work possible.
Included are three alternate introductions to this outdoor adventure, stat blocks for the standard creatures which appear herein, complete stats for unique creatures especially designed for the adventure, plus GM and player maps.
honestly I cannot wait to sit down and get in depth with this. I was impressed with and enjoyed JD1 immensely (and just a note I will be moving either Round Rock or Pflugerville in the next two years ... hint, hint) so I am sure this won't disappoint. Now just to wait for JD3!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Quick Note - The Caverns Of Ugard

More of a shout-out than anything else. +Shane Ward of The 3 Toadstools blog has just released a dungeon and map created using the pattern that I linked to last night. This dungeon, "The Caverns of Ugard", is particularly awesome on Shane's part and serves as an inspiration to my humble-self as a a guide and a slap in the head for my own future work.

It is a very good dungeon, a great set piece to be flung into nearly any LL or B/X style game. Goand take a look!

The Caverns of Ugard

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Quick Note - Cheat and still Dyson up those maps

This is a tempting little piece of tech for all of us who are middling at best in our ability to draw hand drawn maps.

Map Hash Pattern for GIMP by Morgajel over at RPGnow as a Pay-What-You-Want title.

while not my cup of tea (I've come to enjoy the zen of drawing my little pebbles) I can see the possibilities for use by small one man games like myself or for personal maps for home games. Morgajel has a bunch of resources available at drive through, in the form of brushes or placeable object.

Quick Note - Before the Internet ...

As I've said in a few challenge posts that I have made in the past, I did not actually start roleplaying or having an understanding of roleplaying until I was in my twenties (22 to be exact!). That being said I missed the whole play-by-mail thing by a mile. By the time gaming entered my life Yahoo Groups and various web forums were around. I was big into the ruleless Yahoo Group scene playing in multiple games at once. I found them to be an expression in improv. writing and wit ...two things I really needed help in so I could grow as a writer.

Now, that doesn't mean I wasn't involved in any kind of pbm games. While I didn't know it at the time I was really into a Lord of the Rings pbm that was going in the mid 90s. It wasn't a small personal thing like tabletop games were but a huge war game with hundreds of players. I don't know how I managed it but I ended up in control of a small force of Dunedain Rangers that I typically coordinated with two other players.We three were a small group and rarely did we control any huge parsal of land or make and break kingdoms but I feel that we really made an impact on that world.

Actually my first Yahoo Groups game was a play by post (pbp) game in which the players each created a nation (originally a tribe) and were taken through various ages and such. It was quite interesting and in the end, when the Elder Thing in the center of the world awoke most of th enations allied to combat it. It was quite fun in the end to actually play both general and soldier on multiple front lines.

So why am I bringing all this up? Two days ago a Pay-What-you-Want title was released on RPGnow called Callisto. According to the publisher's page Callisto is:
a play-by-mail game based on the olden days back when we played by actual mail. Yes we actually sent pieces of paper with writing on them (hand writing, almost always) through the post with our orders on them and some poor sod collated them and sent back responses.
Now we have tools that simplify this greatly and it’s time to leverage them to do what couldn’t be easily done before: have a lot of fun with the least possible effort on the part of the referee. And so, Callisto.
In Callisto some large number of players will control the actions of persons of note in a mythical place. They will be barons, kings, admirals, mercenary captains, tinkerers, philosophers, outlaws — the possibilities are endless but the running theme is that they will be important. The rules of Callisto will guarantee that they are important.
I picked up a copy of the game, I was intrigued by the idea of the "tools that simplify" play by mail games ... also tinkerers!

Callisto is 19 pages long and gives a broad foundation for a type of free-form roleplaying, It is up to the individuals who who pick up the book to form, promote and plan their own games. There is a sample setting, but it is rather sparse (if you take my meaning). I will need to do another read over but the "system" as such as there is in a freeform game is mostly common sense rules and some guidelines and pointers for potential referees.

I am not sad that I picked this up, I wish there was some support for it (a website with a list of ongoing games) as getting this kind of thing off the ground is rather hard. It is also not a true play by mail game as it is very much upfront with the idea of using e-mail.I cannot say to not take a look, especially given that it is a Pay-What-You-Want title, but I'm not sure e-mail/forum based free form roleplaying games need a rulebook.

Now that all of that is out of the way! I was hoping for a pre-existing game that I can go all "Wolf and Spice" on! A traveling merchant affecting the economies of the world through trade and back room deals with other players ... including some iron monger stuff. I would name hime Misfort'n!

Game Geeks - Your Mission if you Choose to Accept it ...

Game Geeks wasn't able to do a review this week (A shame since he was starting to pick back up again after a few years of very few reviews) but they did instead give us, the Community, homework. And honestly it is some homework that I have been wondering about myself of late to ask in this blog: Pick a TV Series and talk about it as an inspiration to gaming. Systems are optional.

My pick? Fox's "Sleepy Hollow" using Eden Studio's Cinematic Unisystem (Buffy/Angel). The show itself is great dark urban fantasy and is really building a strong mythological foundation that can be easily expanded upon and "blown up" to encompass more than just the titular town.

I have honestly been questioning using the show as the inspiration for a Salem based Sabres and Witchery game.

So, how about everyone else? What television shows, past or present inspire you and your games?



In other news the awesome and indomitable +Christopher Helton was kind enough to share a page full of the original basic TSR Marvel game. Give the man a hand for his awesomeness ... and pray he doesn't kill me for linking.

I've only browsed it so far and honestly it seems rather fun. The actual randomness and precent dice based creation system will take a bit to get used to (I was expecting D&D Basic with a new skin honestly) but it is really informative to what I've been looking to do. I will also say woohoo to Wolverine in his earthtones!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Raceless Classes of Eira - The Prodigal

Below is the final raceless class for the Eira Setting and joins the other two raceless classes that have come before it. Originally, the Prodigal went by the name "Wanderer" and was the only race-based class for the dropped "Changeling" race. The Changeling was dropped as a race when it was decided to make the Sidhe (Au and Un) a non-player race to streamline the setting a bit and to make the world less crowded.  For a time I considered putting the Changeling back in but ultimately the race was axed with the thought that maybe someday it would show back up in a special way ... but if not, oh well.

While reading the Prodigal you'll notice I've decided to keep with the magic system alterations I came up with for The Caster (One of the 3 Human Classes) ... however, it wasn't easy as I wanted the Prodigal to be a completely accidental magic-user/jack-of-all-trades type of character. Some refinement is definately needed in ways of explaining how magic works for the Prodigal ... but as this is a first typed version of the class (I have pages of notes! PAGES!) it is to be expected.

Race/class wise Eira is nearly complete (gulp). All that is left now is the 3 human and 3 dwarven classes.

All feedback is greatly appriciated.

~*~


Prodigal  
The allure of the road is like a song to the Prodigal. She wishes for nothing more than the sky above her, the earth beneath her and the road before her. Most Prodigals travel and wander for the pure sake of the activity and are typically overtaken by a sense of wanderlust that never allows them to stay in a place for too long.  Having no need for wealth or money, aside of what food and supplies the Prodigal needs, she typically spend whatever funds they acquire on parties and feasts for whatever friends or companions they gather during their travels.

In many ways the Prodigal is a jack-of-all-trades, knowing a little of everything from her years on the road and through divine proxy or pure accident has even learned how to focus and control the powers arcane … if on a far smaller level than the Blood Witch or Caster.

Prime Attribute: Charisma, 13+ (5% experience bonus
Hit Dice: 1d6
Races Permitted: All
Weapons permitted:  Staff, Dagger
Armor Permitted: Leather
Cantrips: Has access to three spell-like abilities (listed below) that she can use without a Wisdom Saving Throw
 Idiot Savant: The Prodigal casts spells accidently and is unable to learn or read magical languages, thus cannot use scrolls or spell books.  

Prodigal Abilities
Cantrips – Through years of travel, exploration and the wisdom that such things bring, the Prodigal has gained the ability to cast simple “trick” magics that are harmless to her mind.

Acid Splash – Causes 1d3 damage to any creature hit by it.

Daze – Causes 4 HD creatures who fail their save to become dazed and lose one action for 1d3 rounds. While dazed all To-hit rolls suffer a -1 modifier.

Ghost Whisper – Creates illusionary sounds up to 120 yards away from the caster.

Companion – At the sixth level the Prodigal may gain an animal companion to accompany her on the roads and trails of the world. This companion is a friend and fellow traveller, not a beast of war and while it will help its master is not very effective in combat.

Table 1 - Companions
Roll
Companion
1
Raven
2-3
Dog
4-5
Owl
6
Ferret

All companions do 1d4 damage when they attack and have no bonuses to their to-hit rolls.

Idiot Savant – While most spellcasters risk their sanity or health to wield the powers arcane, the Prodigal came about it quite by accident and does not truly understand the how or the why of her abilities. The Prodigal cannot read or write in magical languages, nor can she learn such things. As such, the Prodigal only receives a -1 + spell level negative modifier to their Wisdom Saving Throws when attempting to cast a spell.

Parrying – Prodigals with a high dexterity score and who are using a staff may fight on the defensive and cause the attacker to take a negative to his To-hit roll.

Table 2 – Parrying Ability
Dexterity Score
Attack Penalty
15
-1
16-17
-2
18
-3

Scoundrel – The Prodigal’s life is not always one that exists in the realms of black and white, good and evil. Sometimes, they cannot simple travel on their winding path through life, but must sneak in the shadows and unbar ways that have been locked to them. As such on a roll of 1 to 2 a Prodigal may pick any mundane lock and on a roll of 1 to 3 may move stealthfully.

Spellcasting – Starting at the second level the Prodigal begins to be able to cast spells outside of their Cantrip ability. At the beginning of every level the Prodigal must choose their new spells that they have gained. Unlike the Caster and the Blood Witch who can continually change which spells they know (as long as they  discovered new magic or the Magic has sung them respectively), the Prodigal is forever locked to the spells that she initially chooses and can never change them.


Table 3 – Prodigal Advancement
                                                                                                                                Spells by Level
LVL
EXP
HD
ST

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
1
2,000
1
16

-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
2
4,000
2
15

1
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
3
8,000
3
14

1
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
4
16,000
4
13

2
1
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
5
32,000
5
12

2
1
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
6
64,000
6
11

3
2
1
-
-
-
-
-
-
7
128,000
7
10

3
2
1
-
-
-
-
-
-
8
150,000
8
09

4
3
2
-
-
-
-
-
-
9
250,000
9
08

4
3
2
-
-
-
-
-
-
10
350,000
10
07

4
3
2
1
-
-
-
-
-
11
+100,000
11
06

5
4
3
2
-
-
-
-
-
12
+100,000
+2hp
06

5
4
3
2
-
-
-
-
-
13
+100,000
+2hp
06

5
4
3
3
1
-
-
-
-
14
+100,000
+2hp
06

5
4
3
3
1
-
-
-
-
15
+100,000
+2hp
06

5
5
4
3
2
-
-
-
-
16
+100,000
+2hp
06

6
5
4
3
2
-
-
-
-
17
+100,000
+2hp
06

6
5
5
4
3
1
-
-
-
18
+100,000
+2hp
06

6
5
5
4
3
1
-
-
-
19
+100,000
+2hp
06

6
5
5
5
4
2
-
-
-
20
+100,000
+2hp
06

6
5
5
5
4
2
-
-
-
21+
+100,000
+2hp
06

6
5
5
5
5
3
1
-
-