Monday, November 30, 2015

Artist Spotlight - Danny Prescott

Note:  This is something I rarely get to do but think I should do more often.  I also encourage the other OSR/Gaming bloggers out there to look into do this as well.

Basq by Danny Prescott Copyright 2014-2015 Genius Loci Games
There are a number of artists that I have worked with in the last few years.  Most notably is +Frank Turfler who, as I said in my Three Toadstools interview, is my go to artist.  However, today I wanted to spotlight another gaming artist who does some really amazing work, and who I would love to see more of.  That artist is +Danny Prescott, or Herbanicus over at deviantart.

There isn't much to say, so instead here are a few of my favorite works by Danny and why:

This is Danny's newest piece.  A collection of different examples of fantasy women of different callings, sized, and personalities.  I enjoy the mix of styles in these six images, ranging from a very Weird Tales Swords & Sorcery still to pre-renaissance wood cuts.  I am also a huge fan of the different clothing types and the lack of the typical fantasy midriff.

 This market and temple piece is what convinced me to ask Danny to do the picture at the top of the page for the City of Basq.  There is a quality to this picture that just screams "ALIVE!".   There is a bustle to the street and so many different little scenes going on that a story (or adventure scene) can be written just by looking at it!

Truth be told, from the beginning of Pyramid of the Lost King's production I have been tempted to beg Danny to let me license this piece from him.  The only thing keeping me from it is the mountain in the background, and that only because there are no noticeable mountains near Basq except the flat topped "Narrows".


Finally is the image of the Krampus.  I've used this image for the last two years to frighten my children, it is just that invoking of horror!  Again we see a wonderful mix of the modern and the pre-renaissance wood cuts between the Krampus and the children he carries.













Saturday, November 28, 2015

Mini-Review: Mutants & Marvels

I've had Mutants & Marvels(aff) in my collection for a long time now.  I remember picking up the 1.0 version when it was a "New Product" over at drive-thru rpg ... hell, I even had the thing printed at the local Staples and bound for later use.

Then I promptly forgot about it.

This week I picked it up again when a friend stated he wanted to run a one-shot of a Fasrip he found.  Low and behold it was the second edition of Mutants & Marvels!  All I can say is that I wish I had looked this over more when I first picked it up way back when as it would have saved me a lot of trouble with finding a simple and easy to play supers rpg.

Simple and easy is the main draw of Mutants & Marvels(aff).  Since I first started to play rpgs back in the early 2000s, I have searched for a supers game that I could get into.  I have tried Mutants and Masterminds, Icon, Paragons and Prowlers, Champions, Mighty 6, and a host of others.  Hell, I even tried to build my own system when the blog was young(see here) ... that didn't work out well.  In the end, I found that these games had a core problem:  They were too damn complex for my simple mind.  The main reason for this is the need to feel super (as you are super heroes) while at the same time offering some sort of balance.  

Mutants & Marvels basically says screw that (form the 1.0 version pg 2)

What the game is and isn't ...
This game is not meant to be a realistic simulation of super hero combat.  Nor is it meant to be a comprehensive set of rules designed to cover every contingency, and funnel character development and player innovation into a neat and balanced package.

Right away, this singular paragraph had me.  Too often in modern game design we are looking to balance out all the characters, make each of them the equal to the other, so everyone can be cool.  However, like Syndrome said:


By saying screw that, Tom Doolan (the writer and designer of Mutants & Marvels) right away gets to the core of super heroes and super hero worlds: not everyone is super,not everyone is playing on the same field of power.  This is why on the Avengers you can have a god working alongside a soldier who is a perfect example of humanity, but still just a human!

So how does it work?  Pretty simply the Game Master picks a power level for the game: Heroic, Superheroic, and Epic.  Each of the power levels comes with a different amount of Ranks that can be divided up between the different sections on the character sheet.  Heroic has 15 Ranks, Superheroic 25, and Epic has 35.  From here points are divided between the seven attributes (Fighting, Agility, Strength, Endurance, Reason, Intuition, and Psyche), Powers, Trained Skills, and possible secondary things like contacts.  The rest of character creation is the job of the GM who will pick an appropriate resource level (which works like the d20 Modern resource system), reputation, and so on based on the character's back ground.

Combat is also super easy as it is a series of resolution rolls vs either a Target Number set by the GM or a roll from an opposing force.  This roll is 2d10 + Modifiers > the Target Number.  That's it, nice and simple.  

A lot of work rests in the players and the GM being able to balance one another out and talking through things.  As the quote above says, M&M is not meant to be a comprehensive list of powers. This means that if a player wants her character to do something not listed she and the GM need to talk and work that out between the two of them.

I have in the last week managed to play this system twice, once over Roll20 with a few friends for 2 hours, and again yesterday afternoon with my daughter and her friend.  The system is quick to pick up, and fast to run. The main book doesn't have much in the way of antagonists, but those are easy to come up with quickly based on the level of need the characters have.  The one suggestion I would make is that normal human villains, like bank robbers or terrorists, should have a Rank system of 5 with no more than one score ranked at Excellent (+2).

Mini-Review: White Box Chivalry by Barrel Rider Games

At this point in the long game of the OSR, +James Spahn and Barrel Rider Games need no introduction.  James has made a name for himself in quality material. His White Star Sci-Fi setting for Swords & Wizardry White Box has not dropped below 5th place on RPGnow's hottest 100 listing since the day after its release nearly a year ago, and many of his over products dot the list on any giving day.  I suspect, his newest product White Box Chivalry (aff) will be on the top 10 before I wake up in the morning; and for good reason.

White Box Chivalry is a 13 page box that adds knightly conduct, appointments, and life to the various fantasy worlds of Swords & Wizardry White Box.  While mostly tables, White Box Chivalry is nicely detailed, and doesn't miss a beat in its explanation on the hows and the whys behind how a player-character could stumble into knighthood.  All-in-all, its a good read and is easily implemented into any pre-existing game.

Unfortunately, it does have some flaws.  The Accolade System, while awesome, is mildly confusing and I needed to read it three times before I got a handle on it.  Also, while billed as being available for any race/class combination, it leans very heavily toward human/fighter (for obvious reasons) and is very hard for any other races or classes to achieve the honor.  Still it is a minor gripe and one that leads to some interesting questions about different demi-human kingdoms (Dwarves instantly come to mind) and how the negative and positive racial modifiers would change based on location, peoples, and cultural values.

Like the majority of James work, White Box Chivalry is very gameable, and is seeded with the DIY mindset of the OSR.  It works best as a framework to be altered, changed, and evolved/devolved to the liking of individual tables and groups.

Currently the small book is on RPGnow for a mild $1.99, and is worth the pennies for it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Patreon Supported Adventures the Bards of Ur

Released to the public earlier today VIA RPGnow, The Bards of Ur is a 5Next adventure for 5 characters in the mid-levels of play.

 The Bards of Ur are the biggest troupe in the land. Their strange black-and-white make, their leather, spiked clothing, and strange heavy music is all the rage in every town they pass through. However, their music is the key to breaking the chains to a Demon Lord who has been imprisoned for a thousand years.  The young of the villages they visit vanish and in their wake calamity strikes, as crops go bad, livestock die, and dark fiends haunt the fog enshrouded forests of the land.

The music, the missing youths, the chaos, it is all part of The Bards of Ur's plan to unleash their Demon Lord who will drag the world into his demonic domain to reclaim his throne.

Can these minstrels of metal mayhem be stopped?


Since I release not everyone has an RPGnow account or would be interested in using it for The Bards of Ur, I am putting up a copy here for everyone to grab.




Thursday, October 22, 2015

Patreon Supported Adventures - Love's Restroration

My newest adventure for the Eldritch Modern Supplement for Swords & Wizardry is now available on Patreon.  Typically what would happen is my Patrons would get the adventure as part of their patronage and at the end of the month they would vote on the adventures released that month and pick one for a general free release VIA the blog ... that didn't happen this time, and essentially there is a quick Modern Paranormal adventure on my Patreon page that is available for anyone who wants it.



If you like the adventure I would suggest joining my Patreon page but it is not required nor begged it is your decision. If you like the adventure but don't want to join Patreon I also have a donation system through paypal if you'd like as well.  None of it is required, however, so if you want, grab the adventure and enjoy it with my blessing and hope that you and your crew will have many future adventures in the Modern Paranormal setting of Eldritch.



Thursday, October 1, 2015

5 Things I would Like in the Future of Fantasy Grounds

With yesterday's announcement that Smite Works, the creators of +Fantasy Grounds, had acquired (the still in testing) Tabletop Connect VTT, I started thinking about things I would like to see in the future of Fantasy Grounds. Some of these are connected with Tabletop Connect, but most aren't.

Also look for a video around Saturday that look at the differences between the two VTT and some thoughts on what I think Smite Works may incorporate from the Tabletop Connect platform ... this all depends on if I can get the Windows laptop to screen cast.

The List

1.  Season Passes for Organized Play Recently FG "sold" a Dungeons & Dragons 5e Adventurer's League module on their site to the public. This was amazing because, despite WOTC supporting and accepting FG Adventurer's League games into the official rankings, there has been no digital support for the adventures.  What this means is that all the conversion work was done on the part of the Adventurer's League DM which can be difficult because of how WOTC formats the Adventurer's League pdf files.

What I would like to see is Smite Works, WOTC, Paizo, and Tops to take a cue from the current trend in video game DLC and offer season passes to Organized Play adventures. This would mean for a single fee, a DM/GM can purchase a complete set of adventures for his organized play league that would be automatically added to his account when they become available.

2.  Tabletop Connect's Dungeon Builder While I am not a fan of 3d dungeon styles that both Tabletop Connect and WOTC attempted to implement, I do think a built in 2d creator using the same tools as TTC's 3d set would be a wonderful quick map generator for DMs/GMs who run their games on the fly.  This would also open up a new retail avenue for map and tile creators like +Frank Turfler.

3.  More official support and rulesets from various creators/systems  This is my pipe dream in a way.  I would love to see more official rulesets with full libraries. Right now official support for FG is rather limited to d20 variants and a few oddball but popular systems like Savage Worlds and Fate. I would like to see more variety of systems and games like AGE, HERO system, World of Darkness, Shadowrun, Swords & Wizardry, etc.  Yes community created rulesets do exist but with few exceptions they are rather bare bones.

4.  In System VOIP Yes, it is easy to use Skype, Hangouts, or some other third party VOIP, but just the simplicity of loading up a single program is alluring.

5.  Sharing Features  Looking at number 3, I can't help but wish for a system in game to share more than just the maps, notes, and images that can be preloaded into Fantasy Grounds. I suppose, what I am saying is I would like to see the ability for a GM or player to share a pdf or word file through the client, much in the same fashion as Hangouts allows.  This would make homebrew classes and rules more easily accessible, to players and GMs who don't have the time or ability to incorporate that information into FGs pre-existing systems.

While a list, I should say nothing is in any order. I personally think numbers 1 and 3 are the most important as they all for more player and GM options and help open up Fantasy Grounds and VTTs to a larger range of players.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Quick Annoucement - Everything within a Name

I was informed today that the name I have been recently using for my S&W modern supplement was copyrighted. This, obviously means I cannot use it and rightfully so as I would hate for someone else to come along and start to use Usarm without my knowledge or consent. The reason I share this is because a lot of posts have gone missing from Google+. This is due to my inability to change the link name back to the blog to something that doesn't hamper the copyright of another developer. I am in no legal trouble that I am aware of and for the moment the game will go back to being called Eldritch Shadows or Basic Modern ... at least until something else that is much more cool and invoctive of the system (and totally legal) can be found.

Conversely, if anyone happens to know HOW I can find out if a name is copyrighted or trademarked (preferably for free) please let me know.

On a side-note, despite this unpleasantness it was a great day at the beach!



Patreon Supported Adventures - Old Fey Bargains: A Short Scenerio for Eldritch Shadows

Introduction

Fey Magic is a short adventure, a romp, to fill in the gaps between campaigns or major story points within a large, Eldritch Shadows game. This adventure is suitable for players of the third or fourth level and should take about on night of play. Fey Magic is an investigation adventure, requiring players to think and travel on their own accord. While some rolling is required this romp is more suited to discussion, roleplay, and critical thought.

Summary

Alister MacCuinn's family has always been fortunate. Since the late 1800s they have prospered in the New World, leaving Scotland as poor dirt farmers only to become the most powerful coal family on the Eastern Sea board. When coal lost its throne to oil, the MacCuinn's found in their mines veins of copper and far rarer material. Now, in the early years of the twenty-first century all seems good for the McaCuinn clan, except an old bargain and an ancient enemy are about to be broken, and all the good fortune of the MacCuinn's will fall back on them and the town they built from the wilds of the Appalachians.

Nearly a century ago, Alister's Great-Great Grandfather trapped a Fey deep in the pouching mines he dug. For all this time the creature, a woman of great beauty and dark heart, has remained chained far below. A Bargain was struck that should the family ever be blessed with the birth of triplets, who would number as two girls and a boy, born in an order of girl, boy, girl, the cold iron chains that bound the Fey would fall and she would be released. To seal this bargain, the MacCuinn bound the Fey's power to a pendant that was passed sire to heir until now it rests against Alister's chest.
Last week, Alister's Daughter Moira, birthed triplets with the help of modern medicine. The order matched that of the bargain made, and as the babes slept their first night in their mother's care, a mine collapse killed 40 of Alister's men. The next day as shock rang across the country, Investigators claimed that MacCuinn had bribed safety inspectors and that the mine had been dangerously unsafe for years. The same day, Moira's husband was killed when a sinkhole opened up in front of his car as he traveled to the hospital to see his wife and new born children.

Hooks

While the players could be involved for any number of reasons here are several that could aid in convincing them to aid MacCuinn.
  1. The Power of the Fey – With the bargain broken, a wave of Fey magic explodes across the country, and assaults the team's Magic-User viciously, showing him visions of the Appalachians collapsing the deaths of millions.
  2. An Old Favor – One of the character's great-great grandfather's was close friends with MacCuinn, even traveling to the states with him. It has been long understood that the character's family owes the MacCuinn's a debt of brothers and blood.
  3. College Sweetheart – Moira MacCuinn dated one of the characters in college and while she has fallen out of touch, knows he is involved in the supernatural. Not believing that all the bad luck is just chance she contacts the character and begs for help.

The Adventure

MaCuinn's Domain

For whatever the reason the players soon find themselves involved with MacCuinn's problems. Unfortunately, the old businessman doesn't want them involved at all in his problems and is rather uncouth in his opinion (and statement of such) of the characters. When meeting with MacCuinn the players should be allowed several minutes of time alone in MacCuinn's office while the old business man attends to other matters. The following are some of the things they may discover:

- There is a memo on the table that reads “For the tenth time, Roger, we aren't expanding to the south. While we own that land it has already been savaged of all materials by poachers and wannabe teenagers.
- Pictures and paints on the walls depict the MacCuin men going down the family tree to the original immigrant. With the exception of the first MacCuinn all following MacCuinn men have the pendant.
- The pendant is laying on the desk, its chain broken and the stone in its center a deep red/black, different from the blue depicted in the storybook.
- A letter from accounting inquiring as to why a miner named Zeb Liben, who was fired thirty years ago was still receiving a weekly pay.

During the meeting Alister is hostile to the characters, believing them to be nothing but frauds and opportunists out to make a quick buck at the expense of Alister's company. No matter the angle, Alister will storm out, alerting his security forces to have the character's arrested.

Other Points of Interest.

While much can be gleaned in Alister's office other information can be obtained by hitting the streets and mingling with the townsfolk. The following are some of the things they may discover.

- Zeb Liben is an old nut job who lives in the woods near the town and has a tendency to poke at people with a silvered butter knife.
- Despite being unused wild land, Alister maintains a high security presence in the area, and has gone so far as to install hidden cameras throughout that section of forest.
- A Few nights ago (the same night as Moira gave birth) a group of teenagers at a bush party in the forest near the MacCuinn property swear to hearing a laugh that seemed to come from the earth itself.
- A couple of the miners who escaped the collapse claim to have seen great hands of rock and earth ripping out the supports and collapsing the mine.
- Investigation into the inspector will reveal no sign of him as having ever been employed by the PA State Mines Commission (In truth the inspector is the brother of the trapped Fey disguised by Glamour).

If the players decide to find Zeb, they'll locate him living in an old, broken to rust and mildew trailer in the forest near the hills of the MacCuinn property. Zeb is twitchy around those he doesn't know and keeps his hands on an old shotgun. From Zeb the players can find out the following.

- Zeb believes that MacCuinn has hired assassins to take him out.
- The former company level inspector discovered the MacCuinn family secret and was paid-off to keep his mouth shut,

The Southern Property

The southern boundaries of the town are edges of this huge section of wild lands owned and patrolled by the MacCuinns. If any character should study what they see with their eyes over Internet image searches they will discover that the ground has fallen away. A Successful Intelligence SR will reveal that is not the grounds but the hills that have moved, growing about 10 feet in height. While the cave is easy enough to find, a Successful Wisdom SR is needed to assure that the players do not get lost in the wild.

While traveling through the wild lands outside the town the player have a 3 in six chance of running into one of the following once:

Roll     Enemy
1 – 2    Bear
3 – 4    Fey-blooded ally
5 – 6    Rock Dog


The old pouching mines have long since been boarded up and concealed by years of scrub growth. However, the sense of mere presence acts to guide even the most magically dis-inclined character to its entrance once the players get close enough (within ¼ mile). Inside the caves the players will find a small, narrow tunnel leading deep into the mountain, the walls and floor are slick with water and a faint glow can be seen far ahead a long with the sweet sound of a woman singing in a deep Scottish lilt. Anyone who does not succeed a Wisdom SR will be under compulsion to obey the fey further in the tunnel.

At the tunnel's end the players find an unfinished section of the mine. Mining tools and an old cart still waiting for their owner to retrieve them. Against one wall, a tall, lean, red-headed woman with deep violet eyes is bounded to the wall by a singular chain around her left wrist. Her right arm is free, but a broken chain can be seen danging from her right wrist. This is Fia, a Fey tricked into traveling across the waters and trapped by the MacCuinn generations ago. If she has any of the players under compulsion this is the moment she uses them, commanding them to free her, if any play not under her compulsion attempts to stop the enspelled player they should be attacked.

Fia is interested in revenge for her long imprisonment and demands the blood of the entire MacCuinn Clan to sate her. While it is possible to convince her to another route, Fia is spoiling for a fight and even trapped is a force to be reckoned with.

Outcomes

The bargain has been broken so whether Fia is once more imprisoned, killed, or freed the MacCuinn luck is long gone. Alister is none to happy about this but sees little he can do about it given his failing company and the loss of much of his wealth. Oddly, while Alister ends up in prison due to the mining accident and revelations of corruption and political bribes over the years, the reversal of luck doesn't seem to affect Moira or her children. If the players should, in later years, follow up on the case they will find that Moira has named one of her daughter's Fia and while her siblings have gray eyes she is gifted with deep violet ones. Unfortunately, Fia Brother, a power Fey Lord who has been searching for his sister for a long time will not be so forgiving to the players should they imprision her once more or kill her, and should become a force in the backgrounds of their lives for quite some time.

Bear – HD 4; AC 7 [12]; ATK Bite; MV 12; Save 13; HDE/XP 4/120; SPC Hug
Fia - HD 6; AC 4 [15]; ATK Unarmed; MV 2; Save 11; HDE/XP 8/800; SPC Spells 1st lvl, 4 (Charm Person x2, Sleep x2); 2nd lvl, 2 (Detect Thoughts, Phantasmal Force); 3rd lvl, 2 (Hold Person x2). Fey Born abilities (Glamor at-will, Compulsion 3x/day)
Fey-Blooded Ally – HD 5; AC 6 [13]; ATK Handgun (1d6+1); MV 12; Save 12; HDE/XP 5/240

Rock Dog – HD 4; AC 4 [15]; ATK Bite; MV 12; Save 13; HDE/XP 4/120; SPC Slam

Friday, June 26, 2015

Quick Shots - ROC Facility

Today I continue work on the X-Plorers' adventure "Wag the Dog". As anyone who follow my google+ stream knows I've been posting a lot of stuff for the adventure in the last two days in terms of layout as I both prepare the adventure for my Patreons and retail release. Below is the map of the ABRI Corporation's ROC2 Facility, a factory on the artificial planet of Hella where most of Act II takes place.



Patreon Supported Adventures - Forgotten Goods,

Here it is blog folk! The latest one-page-romp from Genius Loci Games! If interested you can get all my Patreon Supported Adventures in pdf form as a Patreon Supporter.

About Shadowhack

Shadowhack is a simplified version of the classic FASA roleplaying game, Shadowrun, that uses the Old School Hack OSR ruleset as its foundation. While not complete, Shadowhack offers a good framework to fast play in a cyberpunk fantasy world. To play Shadowhack all you need is a bunch of d12s and the Shadowhack PDF file.

Introduction

© copyright by Jazbee 2012
Forgotten Goods, is an introductory one-page-romp for Shadowhack meant for 4 to 6 rookie Runners and should not take more than a single session of play. The adventure begins with the players getting a gig from a Decker named Westend who wants them to retrieve an off-line datacore she claims as her own tech from a storage unit in Old Town. What should be a simple milk run soon unravels as the Storage Facility has become the home for a cult of Ghouls who are very interested in protecting their turf. Should the players succeed and recover the datacore they will find that Westend has transferred a substantial amount of credits to their credit sticks. Unfortunately, the job may not be over as the Nostromo Corporation is hunting for the Runner Crew that stole their property.

Kurt-G's Forget-Me-Not Storage

Security is rather light around the storage facility. Automated cameras, and a few rusty old drones (Goons - HP 1, Damage Ranged Ballistic 1d12) roam the lanes of storage units in packs of 3 to 4. Any forced entry into the facility will key the drones and cameras to focus on the intruders, transmitting the collected data to Troubleshooting International for later investigation or sale. Hacking the security cameras is relatively easily (GM modifier +2), but the drones are harder (GM modifier +4) and will fry when successfully hacked. Both the drones and the Cameras have been reprogrammed to ignore the Ghouls, and can give no warning to the presence of the squatters should either system be compromised.

While the front sector of the storage facility is free of Ghoul influence, the back half is under the full control of a Ghoul named Papa Sym, who has lead the Ghouls to believe that they are cursed by God and can only find redemption through him. In truth, Papa Sym is a BTL manufacturer who uses the Ghouls as a personal security force, and cheap labor. In truth, Papa Sym is a Vampire of no account.

Enemies

Ghouls (Goons) 18 – HP 1; Damage Ranged Ballistic, Melee Slashing 1d12; Notes: Ghouls hunt and attack in packs of six. If more than 75% of a hunting party the remaining Ghouls will attempt to flee.
Ghouls (Heavies) 3 – HP 4; Armor (Light – I 12, B 13); Damage Ranged Ballistic (Minigun) 2d12
Papa Sym (Boss) – HP 10; Damage Ranged Ballistic (Handgun) 3d12, Ranged Magical (Fireball/2x 3 pts) 3d12 Area Sphere 3 around Target; Notes – Other Spells – Heal/1x 3 pts.

Payday

The players will find the datacore in a random storage unit, floating in a zero-g field in the center of the unit. The units only light comes from the soft glow of the zero-g unit. Any attempt to physically bypass the field will result in bio-feedback (damage 2d12, 1 pt) and trips an alarm that will alert Troubleshooting International and lock the players inside (GM modifier +6 to hacking attempts). Attempting to use hacker abilities to gain access will alert, security programs within the self contained system of the zero-g field's generator. Once the players have gained access to the datacore, they will receive a message from Westend as to where to drop the package and guarantee their payday.

Enemies
Security Program (Goons) 6 – HP 1; Damage Ranged Mental 1d12

Conclusions

Westend will somehow access and deposit the appropriate amount of credits to each players credit sticks, and through the player datacoms (both systems typically thought to be unhackable) thank them and apologize. It is here she will reveal that the datacore isn't hers, but Nostromo's property and that they are already investigating the disappearance of their core. Any questions about Westend's propose or why she needs the datacore will result in the Decker closing the transmission.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Briggian Werewolves and the Eldritch Shadows

Recently my library 4e game "The World" ended with the characters discovering what was causing the glitches in the game world while at the same time breaching the main server farm in the real world. The ending was bitter sweet as Carlos, Remy, and Cher were trapped in the game world while Carlos' in game elf lover, Myr, and Remy's soul-partner, the pseudo-dragon Krynn, were dataported and trapped in the real world. The players hope to revisit the 4e game someday, and some talk has already been given over to travelling to Ireland and trying to access the original server farm to rescue Carlos' group.

Starting next Sunday though the library group starts a new game ... again run by me (under protest, mind you!). This time around I've gotten them to agree to play my OSR modern game "Eldritch Shadows". Given the stereotypical make-up of my group (2/3rds female and middle-aged ... remember I said stereotypical, I am poking fun at myself and my group) I was unsurprised when, after explaining what Eldritch Shadows is, the reaction was one of "Oh like Mercy Thompson!". Thankfully, I am a fan of Patrica Brigg's work, so I knew what they were talking
about and soon planning was underway with character creation over skype and discussions on where the game will take place.

Oddly enough the library game will be taking place in the same area as all my existing (and upcoming) Elritch Shadows adventures ... Pennsylvania, and take place after "Fair Game" but before the events of "River Marked". The group consists of a Lone Wolf werewolf, a Human White Witch, and two mortal cops dealing with a group of Irish Fey who claim the Appalachian Mountain Range as originally belonging to them before Continental drift.

This set-up has given me two problems: 1. how the hell to handle how Witch Born magic works in Mercy-verse, and 2. how the hell to handle werewolf characters as they're presented in the Mercy-verse. So ... werewolves first.

Adam by Frvn-art
1. No matter their profession, skill level, etc the Briggian Werewolf follows the "Street-Thug" progression track.
2. Transformation to and from wolf-form is a painful and long process requiring a successful Constitution SR and three turns. Should an SR be failed the Briggian Werewolf is "locked" into their current form for a number of hours equal to 1d20 + 4.
3. In situations of high emotions the Briggian Werewolf must succeed an Intelligence SR or lose themselves to the wolf for 1d6 turns.
4. For every day a Briggian Wolf remains in wolf shape he or she must succeed an Intelligence SR with a negative modifier equal to the number of days within wolf shape. After three failures, the Briggian Wolf has "lost him-or-her-self to the wolf" and will be hunted by the Enforcer.
5. Whenever there is a full moon, the Briggian Wolf must succeed
an Intelligence SR or become "moon called" and "loose themselves to the wolf".
6. While in wolf shape a Briggian Wolf regains hit points equal to 1 every three hours. However, if the Briggian Wolf attempts to shift while injured there is a 3 in 6 chance of further injury in the form of 1d6 additional damage.
7. Silver-based objects (weapons, poisons, etc) deal double damage, any silver that remains in the body (shrapnel, shavings, poison) deal an additional 1d6 damage every hour and inflict a negative 4 modifier to all rolls until removed.
8. While in wolf shape one of the following ability scores increases by 4 (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution) and all sense-based Wisdom SR Checks receive a +2 modifier.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Patreon Supported Adventures - Incursion of the Horeshead Nebula

Good morning folks! Today marks the first Patreon supported adventure in the overly long month of May! This one-page romp is inspired by the classic Universal film The Last Starfighter and is suitable for players of any level. If you would like to help support the creation of free adventures and one-page romps please visit my Patreon page.

Incursion of the Horsehead Nebula

A White Star Compatible Star-Pilot Romp for 4 - 6 players

Introduction

Outside the known universe a war rages between the forces of the Void and a Rag-tag alliance known as the Remnant. The Remnant, the last survivors of universes destroyed and consumed by the Void. Our universe is the last in a once sprawling multiverse and with its end so to does everything else. In the black between planes of existence the Remnant fight to secure and destroy the Void Incursion Gates into our universe … sometimes, just sometimes, a few humans those with skill tested through an innocent looking game known as Space Gauntlet are recruited as Star Pilots to help fight for the survival of the Final Universe.
In Star Pilot is recommended that the players choose human characters, however, due to the nature of the Multiverse-that-Was a player can choose any race from any existing Whitebox supplement book allowed by the Referee.

Set-Up

The Void has created an Incursion Gate deep within the Horsehead Nebula. Remnant Command is planning a two-pong attack on the Gate one from the Final Universe and one from Outside. While the attack on the Outside will be made up of the bulk of Remnant ships a small assault team, bolstered by two Slip-Ships, will assault the Incursion Gate from the Horsehead Nebula. The horsehead side of the Gate is guarded by 8 Sentinels and 4 Drones.

The Adventure

Whether from Earth or from one of the Remnant colony ships in the Outside the players have been picked up and are now abroad the Slip-Ship Cadre-66. The three day journey to the Incursion site has been relatively boring, only broken up by simulation training and nightly crew bonding exercises.
At the start of the adventure each of the players are jacked into a virtual reality space simulation of how the top brass think the upcoming battle will go.

Referee Note: If you are feeling like creating a more cinematic beginning do not inform the players that they are in a simulation, cut right to the action, getting their blood pumping and their minds used to working together in a space dog-fight before the actual dog-fighting beginning.

Training Day

The brilliant reds and purples of the forming stars and the matter of life wash over your small ships, bathing everything in a light show only ever seen in dreams. A klick or so before your ships, like a scar within those heavenly clouds,an Incursion Gate glows. Before any of you even have a chance to adjust your helmets sensors go off as four Drones begin to approach from port and starboard.

Simulation Drones (4) – AC 4[15]; HP 20; SS 3; MV 20; Tar +2; ATK 4d6 (Laser Cannons); HDE/XP 5/240; MOD FTL Drive

After the battle a real alarm begins to go off as a too-calm female voice announces “enemy ships inbound … all Pilots to Bay.” The players are forcible withdrawn from the program, requiring a Saving Throw to resist being sickened for 10 minutes.

Assault on Cadre-66

The Training Bay is near the Pilot Bay, however, as the players are moving toward it the ship comes under attack and begins to rock and buck, requiring a Saving Throw at least twice (but as many times as the Referee calls for it) for the players to keep their feet. At some point between the the Training Bay and the Pilot Bay, Cadre-66 is boarded by Void forces and begins to be overrun. The female voice calls over the radio from the ship to be evacuated, and while the players are moving toward the Pilot Bay a male voice, the Captain, will contact them personally and insist they complete the mission at all costs. While traveling to the Pilot Bay the players have a 4 out of 6 chance of encountering the following enemies once:

Phages (4) – AC 6[13]; HP 3, 2, 3, 1; ATK Laser Pistols (1d6+2); THB +0; MV 6; HDE/XP <1/10

Once to the Pilot Bay the players will find that the area is in disarray and that the launchers have been blocked by debris. The remaining crew is franticly trying to clear the debris but have come under attack by two squads Void soldiers.

Phages (6) – AC 6[13]; HP 3, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3; ATK Laser Pistols (1d6+2); THB +0; MV 6; HDE/XP <1/10
Noble Phage – AC 5 [14]; HP 12; ATK Laser Pistol (1d6+2): THB +2; MV 8; HDE/XP 2/30

Whether the players helped clear the launchers or defended the Bay after the battle the launchers are good to go allowing the players to launch and start the assault on the Incursion Gate.

Incursion Gate

Moments after the players launch from Cadre-66 the ship is lost in an explosion of blinding white light.  Leaving the Remnant with only one Slip-Ship to back the player led assault.

Drones (4) – AC 4[15]; HP 20, 18, 22, 25; SS 3; MV 20; Tar +2; ATK 4d6 (Laser Cannons); HDE/XP 5/240; MOD FTL Drive
Sentinels (2) – AC 5 [14]; HP 65, 80; SS 8; MV 6; Tar +2; ATK Laser Cannons x8(4d6), Proton Missiles x2 (8d6), Ion Charges x4 (2d6); HDE/XP 14/2,600; MOD Automated Weapons, Ion Charge, FTL, Proton Missiles, Shield Capacitor
Slip-Ship – AC 5 [14]; HP 200; SS 20; MV 20; Tar +3; ATK Heavy Laser x20 (6d6), Ion Charge x8 (2d6)
Incursion Gate – AC 3 [16]; HP 30; HDE 2/30

The Drones will target the players while the two Sentinels will focus their attention on the Slip-Ship until it is destroyed. Once the Gate is destroyed the Drones and Sentinels will lose all power as a connection to the Incursion Gate was the true power source.

Concluding the Adventure

Depending on the course of the battle the players may not have a place to dock their ships. However, before things become dire transport and medical ships from the Remnant “pop” into the Final Universe to conduct search and rescue. The players will be quickly picked up and receive a heroes welcome.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Savage(?) Bruman

So on the recommandation of +Frank Turfler I've been trying to learn the Savage Worlds system ... In some places it reminds me of Cortex and in others ... yeah, still working on it.  Since, however, I am one that learns at least in part through application I've attempted to convert the Bruman of the Valsuum White Star adventure over to Savage Worlds.

Savage Bruman
Bruman are small rat-like creatures who live in vast underground tunnel networks and cities, drawing as much as they can from the depths of dying Valsuum. The Bruman are tradesmen and merchants who are always looking for a deal and willing to trade in nearly everything. Bruman are cunning and rarely tell the truth unless it benefits them financially. Because of their cut-throat nature in trade and business the Bruman are often looked at suspiciously by the other races of Valsuum.

Fade into the Background: Bruman have an excellent ability to fade into the background granting them a +2 to all Stealth rolls.
Bad Rep: Due to their reputation as con-men all Bruman receive a -2 Charisma penalty.
Scurry: Bruman start with a d6 Agility instead of a d4.

Short: Since Bruman only average about 3.5 feet tall they have a Size of -1 and need to subtract 1 from their Toughness.

The one thing I need to say so far is that the race creation guidelines in the Explorers' Guide (pg 22) is very limited and worded in a very unintuitive manner.  

Monday, May 18, 2015

White Star Compatible - Valsuum - Sky Riders

Sky riders are a simple single person sky ship typically used in close aerial combat, scouting missions, and by Sulfurate surveyors for quick conveyance from one location to the next.

Sky Rider
_________________________________________________________________________________
Armor Class...................................................................................................................................6 [13]*
Hit Points...............................................................................................................................................15
Shield Strength........................................................................................................................................0
Movement.............................................................................................................................................25
Targeting...............................................................................................................................................+1
Attack.........................................................................................................2d6 Twin linked laser blaster
_________________________________________________________________________________

*There is a 40% chance that when damaged rider will sustain 25% of the damage done to the Sky Rider.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

3.5 DMG released Marking the End of the 3.5 Core Wave

For the past 3 weeks WotC has been releasing the core books for the 3.5 edition of Dungeons & Dragons through DnDclassics and OBS. This today marks the release of the final book of the 3.5 Core books with the Dungeon Master's Guide.

What comes next is anyone's guess, but I have a feeling this will go one of a few ways:

  • Wizards will follow up with the secondary core set of 3.5 and move on from there with the various core setting books for the 3.5 edition (Forgotten Realms, Eberron, ETC).
  • Wizards will finally release the d20 Modern books to wide release through OBS and may even include some of those long sought after "proofs" that never made it to the public (I'm looking at you d20 Supers!)
  • Finally, what I think is most likely, is that Wizards will move on to a slow release of another edition of the game ... my bet would be 2e.
Wizards seems committed to correcting the mistakes of its past and fully embracing the online media culture of the 21st century in such a way that seems almost natural and not as negative to its pre-existing fan base (I'm looking at you 4e spot light videos!)

Monday, May 11, 2015

ETU: Off Radio

I love Urban Fantasy and while I prefer it to be more Butcher than Lovecraft I can take it either way. Pinnacle Entertainment, the folks behind Savage Worlds released an anthology of Modern Supernatural Horror/Urban Fantasy stories back in 2009 ... I found out about it last October.  Of the stories in the Anthology one was offered up for free during the East Texas University Kickstarter. That one being Off Radio.

Off Radio is closer to the Pinebox, TX and 12 Minutes to Midnight campaigns than to the ETU campaign. It follows a local cop who goes "off radio" to solve a series of strange murders that are occurring around a local college.  Despite its sparse page count, Off Radio packs a heavy punch and its all thanks to the characterization. While still broad strokes the few characters presented in story are characterized beautifully, and the feeling of dread and the simple guilt of a fallen man radiate in every page.

I highly recommend it.

A Cortex License? Really?!

I've never hidden the fact that MWP's Cortex system is the 3rd  in my top three rpg systems (d20, d6, Cortex). While I have a love affair with Classic Cortex (It was the first physical book I bought from OBS) I see nothing wrong with Cortex Plus. So color me surprised when I ran across this earlier today.



I don't know how long the Compatibility license has been available but so far I have only been to find a few projects (here, here, and here). Now the question is will the third parties pick this up or will it waste away from lack of support?

Fund Raiser Reminder



Hey everyone! Just a quick reminder that the Fantasy Grounds Open Table fund raiser has about 19 days left. If I am able to upgrade to the ultimate license I have a lot more wriggle room in being able to run and develop games for the VTT platform as well as connect with the community and run teaching sessions for rule systems and FG itself.

For anyone who may not know the Ultimate license allows the holder of the license to host games with anyone who has the FG program. This includes DEMO versions of FG which are freely available at no cost.

Quick Review - Star Temple of Saturgalia

White Star+James Spahn's sci-fi adaptation of Sword & Wizardry's White Books rules have been a resounding success and is probably the hit of the year. So no surprise that in exactly 1 week from its release we see the first 3rd party adventure being released on OBS.

The Star Temple of Saturgalia  by Darrel Miller of DM Studios is a small 6 page adventure for low-level heroes and is very much the traditional dungeon crawl style adventure with some mild outer space/world travel and random encounters.

From OBS:

You and your team have been sent, or forced to go, to the Star Temple of Saturgalia. There you hope to find the fabled Star Amulet that may turn the tide in the Space War. Ignite your Star Saber, strap on your blaster, and prepare to avoid the Imperial Customs - you're going on an adventure. Prepare to enjoy a couple of hours of FUN!!!

An adventure crafted for OSR games, and is compatible with Sword and Wizardry and White Star.

The adventure is rather straight forward and to the point. The players are sent to retrieve a relic of the lost Star Knight age. On their way they may run a foul any number of the various dangers that present themselves in the world and in the end may hinder a threat to both the Star Knights and The Way.

At six pages the adventure may occupy a single night of play and with its low-level attention can be used as a way of jumping into a longer campaign I wish the desert planet had been a little more fleshed out and perhaps a little more to the temple at the adventures end ... but all in all a nice little romp into a Galaxy Far, Far Away.

The Star Temple of Saturgalia can be picked up at any of the OBS sites for $1.00.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Opinion Piece - 5 Things I would like to see from WotC in the next 2 years

Been thinking a lot lately on what I would like to see from WotC in the next few years to raise awareness of the brand and to bring D&D and other WotC owned material to new and old audiences.

1. Audio Plays/Dramas

Paizo and Big Finish have done an awesome job with their Audio Dramas of the "Rise of the Rune Lords" adventure path. However, as I have said in my reviews (here and here) they could have been better. I think WotC has the ability to do that with its amazingly large and varied settings and adventures from nearly 40 years in the business. I think the best route for them would be through Graphic Audio

Graphic Audio's Tag Line is "A Movie for the Mind" and it truly is. The narration, vocal cast, music, and sound effects are top notch and I think they would bring a lot of awesome to the D&D brand.

2. An official Meta-movie

I have often said that "The Gamers: Dorkness Rising" is the best Dungeons and Dragons movie ever made. Why? Because it focused not just on the story of the fantasy world but on the players and the drama of the table. The best part was that it was done with respect and love (unlike some other recent examples). A big budget action comedy from the same cloth as Dorkness Rising would be amazing.

3.  A Return of a Modern Source Book

5e doesn't need as much work to build a modern setting with as 3.5 did and while there is a plethora of modern settings now available (hell I'm working on one). D20 Modern will always be a favorite in my heart. I would like to see some support from WotC for this coming up ... and I mean more than the rare article on their website.

4. A return of the Cartoon

The original cartoon had a lot of fun elements involved but was somewhat hampered by a horrible budget, no real support from TSR and 80s parents groups. Thankfully almost all these problems are easily taken care of at this point. Hasbro is the parent company of Dungeons & Dragons and can both give an animated series a deserving budget and support it through Hasbro Studios (the toy and game company's media arm). The only thing missing is a writing staff that knows D&D and at this point I pretty sure they could throw a stone at the Writer's Guild and find 20.

5. Better Digital Support

This is something that will be showing up in my next youtube video and is something I feel ALL rpg publishers who also release on VTTs should do but would love to see WotC become the forerunner of it. Basically if I paid full price for the physical product why should I then have to pay full price for the VTT version. Marvel Comics does this wonderful thing (or did. I haven't bought comics in a few years) where if you bought the physical copy you'd get a code for the digital copy. I understand the work that goes into converting adventures from paper to VTT - as I am currently doing it for my own adventures - however, at least a 25% discount should be in order to people who have legally purchased the physical copy.

BONUS ROUND: A Blasted OGL!

I really don't have to explain that one.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

CAH:S3 - Wasteland 2010

Spectum Games has just released the newest setting for it phenomenal "Cartoon Action Hour" roleplaying game. I've rarely spoken of CAH before but it is a system I am a huge fan of ... just one that I don't have the time or the players for.

Wasteland 2010 is very obviously a homage to Thundarr the Barbarian one of the greatest cartoons to be born out of the 1980s. I've only had the chance to quickly skim the pdf but from what I've read I've greatly enjoyed.

Now if only I could find a group!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Zeke
Support Kaitlynn Peavlier's Stock Art
One of the major themes I wanted to get across in Eldritch Shadows was that there was more to the world than the players knew (not the characters, the players). From the player perspective there are four magic using classes, the Priest, the Crusader, the Council Mage, and the Street Mage. Those are what are present to the players at the beginning of a game and logic then dictates that the world of the game follows suit. Not true, one of the threats in the Shadows are the "One-Trick Ponies", those magic-users who are weak as hell but have compensated for it by becoming really good at one thing.

One-Trick Ponies are too weak to be considered Council material, and don't have the same bag of tricks that a Street Mage would have. However, they make up for it quantity over quality. One such One-Trick Pony is the Summoner. Unlike a Council or Street Mage the Summoner cannot use any other spell except for Monster Summoning I spell. The difference is in duration, amount, and preference. The Summoner has an affinity for one supernatural creature on the Summon List and that creature will always be the one he summons. The Summoner also always receives the maximum  amount of the creature of his choice, and they stay in this plane of existence for 18 rounds.

Let's take Zeke up there, he's a rather gifted Summoner and has a special affinity for Dire Foxes (same stats as a Giant Rat in White Box). So ...

Zeke (Summoner) - AC 7 [12]; HD 2+2; Atk Weapon (Cane 1d4); THB +2; SV 17; MV 12; HDE/XP: 3/60; Special Summoner 3/day - Summon 6 Dire Foxes

Monday, May 4, 2015

Eldritch Shadows - Vampires

I am currently writing a new adventure for Eldritch Shadows featuring a staple of the Modern Fantasy/Paranormal Genre: The Vampire. Thoughts and feedback are always welcome.

Background
Vampires have existed since the dawn of time. As the He created all life in the universe the Adversary sought to counter and corrupt His creations. The Vampire was the first, but mostly certainly not the last. As humans basked and grew in the light of day the Adversary children sought and controlled the night. As humans where made in His image the Vampire was a dark parody of that image; a sickness, and hunger brought forth from the depths of humanity. The Adversary sought to create a predator to hunt, to tempt, to seduce, to rend, to tear, and to destroy. However, while the Adversary sought to slap Him in the face, sought to make a mockery of His creations, one thing was overlooked: free-will.

Free-will still existed and while the Adversary still had a margin of influence and control on his creations they fled and sought their own pleasures, their own delights, and their own truths. In the end, they still thrive, multiple, and fulfill the command of their father, but not as the Adversary wished and so much slower than ever desired.

Before the Now
It was the vampires who first went into hiding, long before the creatures of nightmare and shadows. During the time of the first enlightenment. when men like DaVinci where hunting them and bring the Shadows into the light, the first Enclave was formed and new havens and hunting grounds where sought. Decades before Columbus the Enclave of Bincheno Gioveni landed on the shores of what would become Cuba and from there the vampires spread throughout South America, slowly overtaking culture after culture, turning the leaders, priests, and headmen to their darkness. Large swathes of the Americas became footholds of the Shadows in this time slowly marking the way for the dark and selfish desires of explorers to come. Only the tribes of the North American plains could face the Enclave, but as the colonization of the Americas took place the power of the plains tribes began to falter and soon the Enclave gained a foothold in North America.

That foot-hold was short lived, with the second enlightenment of the American Revolution the Vampires found themselves again thrown back into the shadows. However, they retained some measure of power in the American South and in the nations being born out of the ashes of South America.

The Now

The Enclave is strong, its businesses, law firms and political connections both in the light and in the Shadows are the strongest the world has ever seen. One out of Five CEO in a Fortune 500 company is a Vampire of at least minor nobility, with enough resources and power to sway governments to their whims. The seat of the Enclave still resides in South America, in the shimmering towers of Rio di Janeiro. Bincheno Gioveni still heads the Enclave, moving pieces across a world board and unknowingly broadening the foothold of the Shadows.   

Barrel Rider Games White Star released

Cover Stock Art by Jason Moser
Layout Jason McCartan
Just after midnight on the 4th of May, +James Spahn's Barrel Rider Games, released their Sci-Fi system/supplement for Swords and Wizardry White Box: White Star. It is currently available in pdf but will be making an appearance soon in physical form.

I picked my copy up this morning and it is quite good from what I've read so far and +Jason Paul McCartan's editting and layout skills in the production are top-notch. If space opera style sci-fi is your thing and you haven't already picked it up (and I doubt that as it is already #1 on RPGnow) you should do so.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Question of the Day - Will there be an OSR version of Frigga's Chosen?

Received an e-mail yesterday VIA drivethrurpg about Frigga's Chosen. The e-mailer asked if there would be an OSR version of Frigga's Chosen at some point in the future since I am mainly an OSR developer. It was an honest question, Frigga's Chosen was the first time I released an adventure for 5e without a proceeding OSR version of that adventure.

So the answer?

Maybe.  I hate to say it but the market (for me at least) isn't really there anymore. The OSR - and Swords and Wizardry in particular - are my first gaming loves, but I do need to at least break even for the stock and professional art that I purchase. Assault on the Southern Horn, if not for the 5e version, would still be very much in the red.

So, for anyone else wondering, that's the answer. Once Frigga's Chosen has shown it is something that will at least break even I can move forward, until then it sits in the wings and I keep my fingers crossed that it does.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Short Stop - A 1-Page Romp for Eldritch Shadows!

This was released about a week ago on my Patreon page for my Patrons and served as a gap between "The Night Train Comes" and the upcoming "Lake Fall" adventures. All three adventures will be part of the supplement when it comes out with final rules updates and the like. For now, enjoy!

The Feral Aeon

This short scenario can be played at any time. However, it was originally designed to fill a small gap between “The Night Train Comes” and “Lake Fall” adventures when the players stopped at an interstate rest plaza for pizza and coffee.

What are Aeons

Aeons are small spirits of knowledge that resemble little more than motes of light twinkling in and out of existence like the glow of fireflies in a summer night. While initially harmless and utterly harmless, the pure amount of collected knowledge that floods into them drives them to madness, making the a danger to all things they encounter. Despite this dangerous nature Aeons have become a powerful tool to Council Wizards and are often sought and bound to a Council Wizard. The binding process is typically a long and difficult trail for the Council Wizard who must not only break the madness of the Aeon but also construct a binding shell for the creature of wood, iron, and word.
Once bound an Aeon achieves a form of sanity linked to the bond it shares with its Council Wizard. This bond is typically transferred through family or apprentice lines, however, it is not unheard of for a Council Wizard to not transfer the bond. Unfortunately, once an Aeon is clear of its bond the madness returns and the Aeon once more becomes dangerous to all around it. These Aeons are called Feral Aeons and are marginally easier to bind.

Light Dinner

I-76 and its branches run through the majority of Pennsylvania. A large, mostly clear of trouble toll road, the interstate is a prime and quick way to get where one needs to go. Throughout these long veins of concrete and asphalt are little oasis's of civilization after a fashion. The rest stop, a one stop shop of greasy heart clogging foods, gas, bathrooms, and coffee, they serve the late night trucker, the half-asleep father, or the bored teenager out for a ride. The rest stop never closes, and is rarely ever empty. Tonight is no exception. People line in front of the over-priced chain coffee shop, the pizza-maker, and the small gift-shop with more bad audio book Westerns than should exist. Everything is peaceful and normal … until the small floating wooden skull bursts out of the men's room wall and bodies start to drop to the floor!

Everything Happens in the Rest Room

This particular Feral Aeon has been named Lode by its now dead Master, an ancient Council Wizard with a love of Urban Fantasy books and an unfortunate heart condition. When the Wizard feel concerned people (and a few opportunists) surrounded him, there thoughts, voices, emotions all over taxing the Aeon as it dealt with the pain of its former master's death and the breaking of the binding. Within moments the Aeon went feral, and within seconds nearly every living soul in the men's room was murdered by the Aeon's immense energies.

A Quick Stop

The players are in the rest stop when Lode breaks through the wall and the chaos begins. Lode zips around widely his energy blasts targeting random people. Within seconds people are screaming and bolting for the doors. Any player not moving with the crowd must make a successful Dexterity SR or be trampled by the fleeing civilians and incurring 2d4 damage.
Any Council Wizard with the players will automatically know what Lode is and what an Aeon would mean for her in terms of Council prestige and personal power. Unfortunately, the re-binding process requires the Control of the former master, in this case a wooden ring on the dead Council Wizard in the rest room. Lode will stay in the rest stop as long as there are living creatures of a small or higher height left in the building. Once the rest stop is emptied or its occupants killed the feral Aeon will bust through the roof and search out the nearest town, killing everything on the way.
If a Council Wizard with the players manages to bind Lode the carnage will stop and the Aeon will express remorse for its actions. However, if the Aeon is killed the energies released will destroy the rest stop, leveling it to the ground (Dexterity SR to get out in time, Strength SR to free oneself from the rubble).

Feral Aeon – HD 3; HP 20; AC 4(15); ATK Beam (2d6+2 damage + Random Effect); SV 12; MV 60' Flying; CL/XP 5/240; SPC Grants Master +1 on all Intelligence SR, Grants +1 Spell per day, Cannot Attack once bound, Beam has the following Random Effects on a d6: 1-2. Paralysis; 3-4 Sleep; 5 Turn to Stone; 6. Disintegrate


Eldritch Shadows - Oh the Interesting Paths!

As I reported before, during MEPAcon I was able to get Eldritch Shadows out into the wild and play it with a good sized group. During this session, Eldritch Shadows was played in its intended form, that being a Paranormal or Urban Fantasy setting heavily influenced by Jim Butcher, Patrica Briggs, and Simon R. Green. It was a lot of fun, and the personality of the modern setting, the focus on exploration and investigation over combat ( +Reese Laundry correct if I'm wrong but outside the final boss, there was only 4 combats in the entire 4 hour block, right?) made for some great interaction between the characters and between the characters and the world of the game.

(Although the best bit was the crowd we formed during the police stand-off section who got a kick out of the police assuming the Mage had a teaser when he used a sleep spell on the FBI agent).

Support Kaitlynn Peavlier's Stock Art
So imagine my surprise when last night I ended up using Eldritch Shadows to run a game about teenagers in a Magic Academy ... Yep, I basically ran a game of Harry Potter mixed with a little bit of Gotham Academy.

Changes where of course needed, the only one being that anyone not playing a "Street Mage" or "Council Mage" class had to succeed an Intelligence SR in order to cast the spell with a negative based on level. So a Soldier Class with an Intelligence of 10 would have to roll under a 9 in order to cast a first level spell.

The kids had a blast and I thankfully surprised at how the typical bloodthirsty nature of the group vanished. Instead the kids focused their attentions on keeping away from patrolling teachers, finding secret passages and solving the "Riddle of the Ice Queen".  When combat finally did occur the kids used the landscape instead of direct confrontation with the Frozen Minotaur construct in the labyrinth beneath the school's magically frozen lake.

With how much fun the kids had with this I may have to add a "other stories" section at the end of Eldritch Shadows detailing this alternate use of the S&W supplement.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Players Handbook now available on OBS

This morning, to little fanfare, Wizards of the Coast released a pdf of their most popular version of Dungeons & Dragons on Drivethrurpg. This is the first time a non-basic rules book (B/X, Rules Cyclopedia, BECMI) has been released to pdf through OBS since WotC lost their fear of the digital market two-years ago.

This release could mean a number of different things. The most hopeful is that WotC has finally fully embraced the digital market and gotten over their fear that all pdfs will be sold once and than pirated ten billion times. The other is that the sales for the collector's editions that have trickled out over the last two-years have finally begun to slump and WotC is looking for a new revenue resource for its older material.  Personally, I think it is a bit of both. The overwhelming success of the Elemental Evil Player's Guide on OBS has shown that the market isn't only there but utterly enthusiastic. My only hope is that the EEPG's print-on-demand success will cause WotC to re-evaluate things and offer other products up as POD (Rules Cyclopedia damn it!!!).

Right now I am interested in two hypotheticals that can potentially branch out of this release. The first is the release of the core books of the other editions of D&D to OBS and other digital services and the possibility of POD ability with those releases.  The second is how a complete explosion of the old rules back on the market in affordable/easily obtainable ways will affect the 3rd party market and in particular the OSR.  My personal opinion is that there will be little effect, however, I cannot deny that there does exist the potential for people to stop supporting "OSR 1e Clone" in favor of flat out 1e.