Thursday, July 31, 2014

Quick Note - One Long Night

Insomnia strikes again, but that is a good thing for everyone buy me! I have finished first draft writing of another two-page adventure title "Assault on the Southern Horn" which goes a long way of bringing all the thread from "Under the Horn", "Joy in a Flask", and "Spectres of Usarm" together.

Like Usarm I think I'll need to be creative in just HOW I get this all to fit into the format ... but right now I may have to take out the scissors and leave some material in the gutters.

Like the previous two-page adventures this one is for Swords and Wizardry. I'm currently looking at artists for the cover but if I can afford it and he can do it I may take my normal two-page adventure cover artist.

Small sample from the first draft of one of the later rooms.

Area 15
Several broken glass tubes stand in the center of this room. Once the PCs enter the same female voice as in Area 3 & 4 will announce a breach and the door will close and lock behind the PCs followed by the sound of wind. In the next 6 rounds the air will be completely removed from the area requiring a Saving Throw to avoid asphyxiation. An an observant PC will notice a the same face in a panel that was in Area 3 & 4. Destruction of the panel or two rounds after the air has been removed will unlock the door.

Treasure – None

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Glide Frog a Creature for Any Setting

A new creature for use in Swords & Wizardry (and most other OSR systems) and the Next Edition.

Glide Frog
The croak came from above them as they raced through the marsh lands. Looking up El saw the large dark green form of a frog gliding above them, long tongue lolling from its mouth.
Type: Mortal, Monstrous
Hit Dice: 2+2
Armor Class: 6[13]
Attacks: Bite (1d4 + Poison (Save Negates)), Tongue (1d6 + Swallow)
Saving Throw: 16
Special: Gliding, Swallow Whole, Water Breathing
Move: 12 [36’]/36 [110’] Gliding
Alignment: Neutral
Challenge Level/XP: 6/400
Special Abilities
Swallow Whole –
35% chance of catching target with tongue during attack and swallowing target whole (Save Negates)
Gliding –
Creature can glide on wind currents for up to 110 feet.
Water-Breathing –
Can breathe in bodies of fresh water for duration of up to 24 hours.
Background
Glide Frogs are solitary creatures of near human-like intelligence (1 in 3 can speak) who live in the great swamps of the south. Territorial the Glide Frog will hunt any creature within the bounds of its "home".
Glide Frogs appear as a normal Giant Frog except for a membrane skin that connects their front and rear legs which allows them to glide on the wind. Internally, the Glide Frog has hollow, bird-like bones, and its skin is more rubber-like than its non-gliding cousin.
Ecology
Glide Frogs are solitary by nature but once a year males will seek out females and congregate in a 3 mile square area around the female’s territory. During this time the males are more aggressive than normal.


Next
Stats
Medium Monstrous Animal
Armor Class
13
Hit Points
16 (2d8+2)
Speed
30 feet/120 feet flying
Str
12 (+1) Dex 14 (+2) Con 12 (+1)
Int
10 (0) Wis 6 (-2) Cha 04 (-3)
Alignment
Unaligned
Languages
-
Traits
Skills
Athletics +2
Special Senses
Dark & Water Vision 60’
Relentless
If reduced to 0 Hit Points the Fauth can make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 7 + the damage received. If successful the Fauth drops to 1 Hit Point instead of the actual damage value and at the end of its next action drops to 0 hit Points.
Actions
Melee Attack – Bite
+3 to hit (reach 5 feet; one creature). Hit: 1d4+2 Piercing Damage. On a successful attack the Target must succeed a DC 11 Constitution Save or be poisoned until healed (either through alchemical or "Cure Disease" Spell). For every round poisoned the target suffers 1 HP of damage.
Melee Attack – Tongue Whip
+2 to hit (reach 15 ft; one creature). Hit 1d6 Bludgeon Damage. Target of Attack must succeed a DC 15 Dexterity Save or be caught by the tongue and swallowed whole by the Glide Frog. For every round, up to six rounds the swallowed target attempts a DC 20 Strength Save to free herself from the Frog or take 1d6 acidic damage. If after six rounds the swallowed target is still alive the Glide Frog will spit the target out and will not attempt to swallow that target again for the duration of the encounter.
 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Genius Loci on Save or Die.

So the newest episode of Save or Die (episode 95: We Have Class) features my second Two-Page-Adventure "Under the Horn". The adventure ended up with an average rating of 3 Dragons and some issues that I never noticed or realized were brought up.

I'm very thankful not only for the review I was given (Starting at the 1 hour 20 minute mark) and me being me I had to go and try and fix the negatives. Here are the changes:

1. New Cover without the product blurb/adventure background.
2. Adventure Background has been moved to the interior before Adventure Set-Up.
3. Minor layout change in font, sizing and the addition of the King's Hunt Stockart by Fat Goblin Games.
4. Some rewording to make it clearer as to WHO the apprentice mages are.
5. Named the Big Bad of the dungeon to better reflect that he was a Big Bad as well as added some additional information that better links "Under the Horn" to "Joy in a Flask" and "Spectres of Usarm".

The adventure, like all my two-page-adventures is still in landscape format, but has been cleaned up a bit as to not be blurry at higher resolutions (Once again, I am loving my birthday gift of Serif's Page Plus X7).

Art is still rather spartan in nature with the cover art by the recently renamed u369 (Now Deadguybeer) and the new new background piece.

Here is a comparison of the covers old and new.

Old Cover 

New Cover






















Save or Die may do the other 2 pre-existing Fantasy two-Page-Adventures over the next year, so fingers crossed that I continue to pass my save vs. death rolls!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Quick Note - Online mappers

So in my eternal quest for mapping programs to supplement my not-so-great abilities I have found a few and these are those.

 Stone Sword

Stone Sword is a fun little mapper, problem is ... it is little. The variety is lacking and the user interface takes a little to get used to. Still it is fun to play with and can help generate ideas.

Sample by me


Tiamat

Not free but has a bunch of free resources and allows you to transport and upload other digital tiles. Exporting to a jpg or other file format costs money, a single export is around $2.00 US but bundles bring the cost down considerably.

The program is really easy to use and if you have a variety of tiles sitting on your hard drive it really makes things fun. However, the cost does not justify use of as most digital tile sets come as pngs that can be easily manipulated in free programs like Gimp.

Sample by me



Pyromancer's Dungeon Painter

Pyromancers was my first and honestly I have a lover hate relationship with the program but I typically always end up going back to it for quick maps, my PbP game and the beginnings of five minute adventures. It is by far not the most complete program out there, but it offers more than Stone Sword in terms of objects and the lack but without the microtransaction nature of Tiamat. Unless there are more out there that I haven't found (and there are) this is the best one by far.

Sample by me



Now it should be noted that all of these services are personal use only and if any one decided to use these for a published adventure they run the risk of some trouble. There are programs like Dungeon Designer 3 that are pay for use but do allow commercial use ... however, the licensing is such that actually doing so may not be an option (however, I am no rights lawyer so if anyone knows better I am all ears and grubby little hands).

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Quick Notes – Announcements, Questions and Tables … OH MY!

In the past two months I have hinted at the idea that by the end of summer I may no longer by traditionally employed. As of yesterday that has become a fact as I failed to get the promotion I was seeking and thus cannot continue to work with my current company due to child-sitting and hours of operation issues that have been plaguing me and mine since before I started this blog.

This means that I will have a heck of a lot of time on my hands when I am not being a proper stay-at-home dad/job hunting. A lot of time means that I am open for a lot of gaming work that I have not yet finished and that I am currently in the wings for ... except the rate of posts to the blog to steadily increase over the next month as I find a new routine and work out my new position in life.

In September as things stand now I will be starting a bi-weekly Swords & Wizardry game that seeks to playtest my non-Two Page Adventures OSR adventures. We'll be starting with "Pyramid of the Lost King" and moving onto "Lights over Innsfjord" from there.

With the lack of income and a complete dependency on what I earn from the sale of my products I am unfortunately going to fall behind on 5th Edition. I had wanted to be on board the train from the get go ... but I seem to have a need to get off at an earlier station ... for a while at least ... there is always Christmas!

I don't plan on stopping my "Next Edition" development projects such as my 5-minute adventures (Like "The Ice Caves of the Frozen Queen") and the creature stats that regularly grace this blog (speaking of +OSRToday linked to the Glaistig which is bloody AWESOME!).

So a lot of changes coming up in the near future ... I'll be submitting a quarry to RITE for a Pathfinder Adventure and I've been reading over the submission guidelines for +Green Ronin Publishing has released for their design contest as I've been chewing the bit for awhile now to dig into the AGE system.

Now a question in regards to the 5-Minute Adventures. Should I do what I did with "The Ice Caves of the Frozen Queen" and release it as a .pdf or should I've done what I've previously done with adventures like "Halls of the Dwarven King" and release the adventures as a copy/paste to the blog proper?

And since I cannot leave you all without some content! Here is a new Uncommon Table!

Uncommon Table: The Pub Fireplace
Roll (1d6)
Result
1
The Fire and rear of the hearth are Hard Hologram illusions hiding a secret room that is actually the deck of a hidden ship that can traverse Time and Dimensions in Space.
2
The fire is actually an intelligent Elder Elemental who has been imprisoned by the owner of the bar who happens to be a Dark Arch-Mage.
3
The fire is only a fire and deals 1d4 damage per minute to the idiot who is fool enough to believe it may be more than a simple fire.
4
The fire is a micro dimensional rift to one of the nine hellish realms of the Outside. While too small for anything of the Outside to come through it is just big enough for Halflings.
5
The fire serves as a prison for a particularly lecherous pirate who pinched the back-end of the wrong Elf. Every so often a small voice can be heard asking for rum from within the fire. If a bottle of rum is thrown into the fire it will disappear and the voice will suddenly begin to sing a rather racy drinking song … Some pirates never learn their lesson!
6
While the fire itself is normal an astute Ranger, Druid or Wizard may be able to tell that the wood is from a Trent.  Investigation will find that the Bartender has several chained in the swamps nearby and regularly mutilates them for their wood. When questioned the bartender will state he only did it to keep from having to cut down trees as Trents regrew limbs at an astounding rate.


  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

New Creature for any setting - The Gaistig (S&W and Next Edition)

Below is a new undead/Ghost enemy to be encountered in the deepest tombs and most dark places in any game. The Glaistig is based on a Scottish ghost by the same name.

Unlike what is presented below the Glaistig of Scottish legend was often a benign ... or at the very least neutrual spirit that took the form of a young and beautiful woman. In some stories the Glaistig was found to be a blood sucking ghost that would lead men and travellers (typically also men) to dark places to feed on them.

The Glaistig presented below is a much, much darker creation as I wanted to set it apart from other Ghost-Type Creatures.

Enjoy!

Glaistig
The woman appeared behind them, plain but attractive. El’s companion – ever the noble knight – stepped toward her, a warning of the dungeon’s dangers on his lip … El’s warning wasn’t quick enough and in a moment the knight was dead and the woman vanished only to reappear mere inches from El’s outstretched hands.

Type: Undead, Ghost
Hit Dice: 7
Armor Class: 3[17]
Attacks:  Touch (2d8 + Level Drain)
Saving Throw: 9
Special: Immune to Sleep, Charm Hold, Normal Weapons. Intangible, Ghost Step
Move: 12 [36’]
Alignment: Chaotic
Challenge Level/XP: 11/1,700

Special Abilities
Immune to Cold – Due to its nature as a vengeful spirit the Glaistig can move through solid matter at half its normal speed.
Ghost Step – Instead of normal movement the Glaistig “flickers” in and out of sight every 3 feet adding an extra 3 feet to her movement ratio.

Background
Glaistigs are the undead of innocents who were murdered or killed for dark rituals and magics. The energies that the innocents’ deaths and blood were used for inadvertently bind the soul of the victim to the Mortal Realms and driving the soul into inescapable madness.

Ecology
Glaistigs lack much of the intelligence they once had and are driven by their madness. Typically Glaistigs are encountered in groups at sites in which dark rituals took place or evil wizards made their homes.
Next Stats
Medium Undead
Armor Class 17
Hit Points 48 (7d8+3)
Speed 30 feet
Str 8 (-1)          Dex 16 (+1)      Con 16 (+2)
Int 6 (-2)          Wis 8 (+1)        Cha 3 (-4)
Alignment Chaotic Evil
Languages -

Traits
Skills Stealth +6
Special Senses Dark Vision 60’
Immunities disease, hunger, poison, sleep, suffocation, thirst, cannot be frightened, charmed, put to sleep,etc.
Damage Resistance to all weapons save those of silver make.

Ghost Step – Can walk through any solid object at half its normal speed.


Actions
Melee Attack – Energy Drain. +5 to hit (reach 5ft; one target). Hit 14 (2d8+3) necrotic damage, and if the target fails a SC 16 Constitution Saving Throw, until the target completes a long rest, its total hit points drop by the amount of damage it received during the attack. If the target reaches 0 hp as a result of this attack it dies and its soul is consumed by the Glaistig causing it to regain hit points equal to the target’s hit dice. Once killed by a Glaistig the target cannot be resurrected or reincarnated.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

5 Minute Adventures -Ice Caves of the Frozen Queen w/Matt Jackson

Last Friday +matt jackson offered a challenge with a map of his. This is my response. This adventure is for the Next Edition. Enjoy

The Ice Caves of the Frozen Queen

Remember Thoughts are highly welcomed!

UPDATE!

I apparently forgot two creature blocks in the Creature section: Here they are ... sorry

Ice Statue
Medium Construct
Armor Class 13
Hit Points 10 (2d8)
Speed 25 ft.
Senses blindsight 25 ft.
Str 12 (+1) Dex 11 (+0) Con 10 (+0)
Int 1 (–5) Wis 3 (–4) Cha 1 (–5)
Alignment unaligned
Languages
Traits
Immunities: The statue is immune to cold, disease, poison,
gaze effects, and other attack forms that rely on sight. It cannot
be blinded, charmed, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, stunned,
or put to sleep. It does not need to sleep, eat, or breathe.
Actions
Melee Attack—Slam: +5 to hit (reach 5 ft.; one creature). Hit: 4
(1d4 + 2) bludgeoning damage.
Black Ice Statue
Medium Construct
Armor Class 16
Hit Points 16 (4d8)
Speed 25 ft.
Senses blindsight 25 ft.
Str 14 (+2) Dex 11 (+0) Con 10 (+0)
Int 1 (–5) Wis 3 (–4) Cha 1 (–5)
Alignment unaligned
Languages
Traits
Immunities: The statue is immune to cold, disease, poison,
gaze effects, and other attack forms that rely on sight. It cannot
be blinded, charmed, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, stunned,
or put to sleep. It does not need to sleep, eat, or breathe.
Actions
Multiattack: The statue makes two slam attacks.
Melee Attack—Slam: +5 to hit (reach 5 ft.; one creature). Hit: 4
(1d4 + 2) bludgeoning damage.

Actual Play - The Tri-Report

So I've recently had the chance to DM/Ref a lot of games ... not an overwhelming amount, nor the total amount I've ever ran at once but a good deal. The best part is that 2 of them are my playtest games "Spectres of Usarm" and Chromatic Commandos.

Chromatic Commandos - In its second session the CC game has seen the Commandos fill out and we now have a full color roster. Not surprising no Pink Commandos but I'm hoping that changes as others come in or other group pick up the play test version of the game.

Character creation for 7 players took approx. 2 hours over the two game periods and a lot of that had to do with learning new and unfamiliar rules with stat generation and picking archetypes and flaws. Despite the fact that we've moved over to actual game play and combat, ability, skill use the majority of feedback was still focused on character generation.

I have no allusions, in the end Chromatic Commandos book will be heavily focused on character creation and combat and leave the rest up to the Referee to build and create. The tools will be there but assembly will be required.

I'm finding the free form nature of the game with its d20 fences are causing some issues with figuring things out. Skills and abilities seem to be taking the heaviest hit on this both are purposely defined in a vague manner ... and that bothers me, its a question of moving from a vague openness of my original idea (OSR Rangers) and this new complete form. For now I've decided to level those alone and see how they continue to play out in the coming weeks ...

Character generation has seen some changes, though, Ability modifiers have been changed from a 1d4 roll for increase every 4 levels to half level rounded up every level and a move from the Commando dice being a d4 to being a d6 to make the Commandos appropriately powerful feeling.

Enemy generation and basic combat are up next. Order of combat needs to be revised I think as everyone seems to attempt action and then special calls (abilities or transforming).

Spectres of Usarm - My PbP game for my last 2-page-adventure. Nothing brought out into the light just yet outside of Gar'Ak the leader of the Orc bandits is a tad OP compared to other Orcs (2hd and +2 to hit and dmg). The players seem to be enjoying themselves or at the very least haven't told me otherwise.

Like most of the 2PA games, Spectres is made with Swords and Wizardry in mind so the combat flow is going rather nice and the players are starting to ask questions as to what the hell is going on.

On a personal note I will say it is starting to become hard not to just say "ORC" in the story/in-game posts and I'm beginning to think making Orcs a mysterious, unknown race of viking-like raiders may have made using them a bit tedious.

(PbPs and VTT games are really making me appreciate the use of maps)

The last is the 5th Edition starter being played with "Code Name: The Wife" my eldest daughter and our transplant from Japan whose never seen or heard of a tabletop RPG before (see bought her own dice yesterday and has been texting me hourly about when we play next ... which is strange since she is living in my attic)

Being my family the party has utterly devastated the adventure as written, ignoring the goblin tracks, infiltrating the Redbrands instead of attacking and routing them from the town and our Human Noble Fighter was sent alone to "guard" the old watch tower for the miners and discovered the necromancer by herself and offered fealty to in return for not being eaten alive by his zombies.

This all in 2 and 1/2 hours. The players now have the tasks of finding the Dwarven Cleric's uncle Rockseeker, discovering the name of the builder of the watch tower and freeing the mines of undead threats within a week or be run out of town by the miners.

This is what happens when I don't get a chance to read through a published adventure before running it!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sell Me Savage Worlds

There are a grand total of 5 systems I've played and 2 systems (*) I know by heart.

OSR Style systems
D20/3.5*
Cinematic Unisystem*
Hero Kids
Cortex

I've tried FATE and FAE and as anyone who reads this blog knows I cannot wrap my head around either. I own a bunch more, CoC, Traveller, Alternaty and a bunch more. Typically I read through a system and cherry pick things that can be used in my private gaming or just find interesting ... rarely do I ever stray too far from the path of what I know.

Savage Worlds I've been interested in for a while now but can never get up the energy to actually slap down the money and actually play it! Add to that all the Savage Worlds products and I start to get confused.

for instance: THIS appeals to me, but is it inclusive or do I need a Core Savage Worlds book to run it? So your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to somehow convince me to slam down the cash and get what I need to run East Texas University!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Quick Note - Six Things to Remember About Adventuring in Fantasy Egypt

Between watching "Prince of Egypt", "Joseph the King of Dreams" and a bunch of low grade mummy movies this weekend I have decided to go ahead and give a quick listing of things one should remember about adventuring in Egypt or its fantasy equivalent.

1. Its Hot - Egyptians were not known for their body armor. Despite what films have shown us the majority of Egyptian soldiers were no body into battle. The exception to this was the Pharaoh who were leather banded torso harness. The same thing goes for helmets, the typical Egyptian soldier where no head protection that was armored. Again the exception to this was the Pharaoh.  In a fantasy game the players should be limited to leather armor, however, again the armor was banded leather strips, not the hardened leather that is typical to most fantasy settings. The Banded Leather armor should be decreased in its protection by 1.

2. Wizard, Priest ... Whats the difference - Egyptian priests were not only the religious leaders of the culture but also the culture's main source of mysticism. In reality these mystics employed a mixture of stage magic and alchemy to achieve their success, the mystics and priests of Egypt were observational scientists to the highest order and good readers of people. In a fantasy setting combine the Magic User and Cleric classes, combining the spell lists but not the amount of spells per day. If your edition or system has differing levels or amounts per day the DM/GM/Referee should pick which class is the "Tracking Class".

3. Weapons - Sickle Swords, Long Bows and Spears are the weapons of the day. The majority of these weapons are stone/wood and more rarely bronze/wood. While it is true that maces and axes were used they were not as common to the soldier class as the Sickle Swords, Long Bows and Spears. From a roleplaying perspective the move from the mace and axe can be seen as a move through the rank.

4. Everything is Massive - Look at the reality of the ancient structures of Egypt. These people worked on a scale that is nearly mythic.from statues to the pillars of buildings, everything is huge and that scale can lend a somewhat otherworldly quality to the temples, palaces and dungeons.

5. It is Old -  huge statues of heads sitting in the drifting sands or half buried by the river's cool waters may actually be giant full scale statues of some long dead god or Pharaoh. The sands and waters and even buildings hide things from generations past. The land has many things to find and discover.

6. Monsters are Real - While not actually "real" the monsters and creatures of ancient Egypt were active in the lives of the people. Also remember just because something is listed as  a "God" does not mean it was a divine being, just otherworldly.

I hope this helps or inspires!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Quick Note - Prophet of the Slug

Just got a new piece in for my Explorer's adventure "Miracle of Science" done by the always wonderful +Theo Evans. As always, I'm amazed by Theo's style and respect for the human form in what he does.

If anyone is interested in Theo give him a "ring"!

Note: Nudity so NSFW.
















































Friday, July 11, 2014

The Summoner - A really simple class for Swords & Wizardry

I bet anyone here five dollars that this has been done and done far better than anything I could do. However, I watched some Lodoss War today and watched more than a number of FFX cut scenes on youtube so I had to have a hand at it.

As always comments are welcomed so please speak up, chat about it and all that other stuff! enjoy!

The Summoner
While the world knows of the Wise who move about it and try to shape it with their spells and arcane trickery many forget the older ways, of those men and women who danced within the flow of the magics of the world. There were many, the Ley-Speakers who moved and channeled the power of the lines of magic that held the world together and the Summoners who brought forth creatures from the aether.
Long has it been since the Summoner walked the world, the Wise sought them, learned from them and did not understand. Oh, they “learned” but they did not feel the magic the way the Summoners did … and so, the Wize, the abusers of the magics of the world hunted and destroyed the Summoners, then the Ley-Speakers and as the Mortal World shook as the lines of magic began to fray the Au-Sidhe came and stopped it all.
The Summoner was gone, but maybe … maybe they will appear again.
Prime Attribute – Charisma 15+ (5% experience bonus)
Hit Dice – 1d4 per level (1 hp per level after tenth)
Armor Proficiency – None
Weapon Proficiency – Daggers and Staffs only.

Summoner Abilities

Read Magic – Summoners can read, write and understand the language of magic naturally without casting.
Saving Throw bonus – Summoners receive a + 2 on all saves against magic.
Summoning – The Summoner can summon a number of unintelligent to semi-intelligent creatures who are of the same alignment as her or of a neutral alignment. The hit dice of the creatures summoned must be no more than the Summoner’s total hit dice. Summoned creatures remain with the Summoner for no longer than the Summoner's charisma modifier x 1 hour, unless they die or are released by the summoner. 


Level
Experience
Hit Dice (d4)
Saving Throw
Number of Summons/day
1
0
1
16
2
2
2,500
2
15
3
3
5,000
3
14
4
4
10,000
4
13
5
5
20,000
5
12
6
6
40,000
6
11
6
7
55,000
7
10
7
8
80,000
8
09
7
9
100,000
9
08
8
10+
+100,000
1hp/lvl
07
8