Friday, December 25, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holiday Hiatus

Between moving house and becoming a newly minted landlord, starting new position at work, having my only motorized transportation break down, and holiday shopping/merrymaking I've got no time for bloggy. Probably resume early Jan.

I only mention this cause the RPGBN is threatening to excise the inactive and lazy from their blog roll.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

OoE - Dragon Magzine #12 #13 #14

I've decided to take at least one element from every RPG product I own to use in my Gold & Glory campaign. Starting with my CD collection of the Dragon Magazines issues 1-250. See also DragonDex.

The Dragon Vol 2, No 6. Feb, 1978

The Full Index. Another Elrohir cover, diggin lizard boy's Aztecish sword. Other nice details, cobras cauldron(magic item right there!) , pig orc belt buckle, bald man's staff nice eyebrows too. Ok, I'm really liking Elrohir, who is this guy?

7500 copies printed, 1164 mail subscriptions.

by James Endersby and John Carroll

Maybe good to use with trading system from Dragon issue 6.

Small merchant ships can hold up to twelve units of cargo, while large merchant ships can hold up to thirty units.

gp/unit cargo
1000 Spice
1000 Silk
1000 Precious Stones Amber, flint, jade, marble, emeralds, etc.
300 Ivory
300 Precious Wood Only 1-4 units; ebony, teak, balsa, etc.
350 Tea
250 Cotton
1000 Jewelry This is primitive and low-grade stuff, not the jewelry used in normal D&D campaigns.
250 Cloth
250 Livestock (exotic) Camels, falcons, peacocks, monkeys, ocelots, Arabian horses, etc.
100 Fruits and vegetables Spoilage may occur, especially over long voyages.
— Foreign slaves 20-60 people. (aw, too PC to put a price on people?)

Also, roll for treasure — type A.

There is also a 15% chance that a few passengers are aboard ship. These passengers can be merchants, adventurers, or noblemen.

The Dragon Vol 2, No 7. Apr, 1978

I see that Conan is still with us. Cover, Tom Canty. Don't think it's this guy. But, I like both their arts. The Full Index.

Dragon starts new monthly schedule, $18 for 12 issues.

From the Sorcerer's Scroll
by Rob Kuntz

In reply to Tolkien fanboys.
As I stated earlier we support creative imagination but we also support the premise of D&D. Those who base their games around a single work such as LotR are playing a campaign based around Middle-Earth and since D&D was not written to create a basis for one world, it is thus not strict D&D.
Hey, Rob Kuntz says my One of Everything is the proper D&D, I win the OSR :)
One must also remember that this system works with the worlds of R.E. Howard, Fritz Leiber and L.S. de Camp and Fletcher Pratt much better than that of Tolkien. If one is to branch away from the D&D system, let’s say towards Tolkien’s world, he will be disappointed to find that most spells, characters etc. do not function well within the epic world of Tolkien’s design.
...for a role-playing, continuous adventuring world, Tolkien's does not fit well within the D&D game style.
Oh, snap! Definitely feeling a preference for S&S over High Fantasy.
One last piece of information which might help those people out there who are confused about which “light” Dungeons & Dragons should be taken in or how the game was inspired; I suggest you read the following. This is an excerpt taken from the foreword to Dungeons and Dragons, written by Gary Gygax.

“These rules are strictly fantasy. Those wargamers who lack imagination, those who don’t care for Burroughs’ Martian adventures where John Carter is groping through black pits, who feel no thrill upon reading Howards’ Conan saga, who do not enjoy the de Camp & Pratt fantasies or Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser pitting their swords against evil sorceries will not be likely to find Dungeons and Dragons to their taste.”
Oh, double snap followed by an offhand pimp slap! But, really, it's we lovers of black pit groping who lost. Because they didn't find D&D to their liking and they changed it out from under us.

by Shlump Da Orc

When I was a kid reading this I didn't pick up on that it was probably April Foolish. I remember thinking along the lines of bloody hell, who cares? Playing a game over here. Wtf are you doing?

Looking now I'm intrigued by the weight per cubic foot of all sorts of stuff; metals, stones, gems, woods, rubber, pitch and many more. Guess that's gonna be my one thing from this issue. The maths and depth of giant's footprints are still a bunch of hooey.

The Dragon Vol 2, No 8. May, 1978

Nice, a little sci-fi horror in this issue's cover by Steve Oliff.
Full Index.

Robots PC's and background for MA could be interesting if I was running a MA campaign. Not one bloody thing from this issue can I use. Not even any decent inspirational art. I've failed at OoE. Luckily failure doesn't bother me.

Friday, December 4, 2009

OoE - Dragon Magzine #10 #11

I've decided to take at least one element from every RPG product I own to use in my Gold & Glory campaign. Starting with my CD collection of the Dragon Magazines issues 1-250. See also DragonDex.

WARNING pixie sized nipples below (if that sort of thing bothers whoever you work for). Even more nipples further below!

The Dragon Vol 2, No 4. Oct, 1977

Comic book cover by John Sullivan.
Full Index.

Let There Be A Method To Your Madness
by Richard Gilbert

Nice article on dungeon design which was more interesting than title led me to believe. Start with "story" behind dungeon and then enumerate the basic purpose and theme for each level. Interestingly he suggests creating all the connections between levels and only after that is done fill in the rooms of each level. Some basic stuffs, create vertical elevation for "continuity between levels". But also tidbits like
Give the builder’s character a few personal tendencies, such as being sneaky, grandiose, austere, or a hater of straight lines
In the entire history of mankind, only shelter has caused more construction than religion.

D&D Option: Orgies, Inc.
by Jon Pickens

Instead of receiving xp for gaining treasure, players receive xp only as treasure is spent. GP Spent / Character Level = XP.

Sacrifices 1/week offering directly to a god, or demon, or to their mundane representatives. Naw, I want sacrifices collected in person or not at all! GP/100 == chance sacrifice is accepted.

Philanthropy aid to the "little people". A real need must exist.

Research wow article says 250gp / level per day! I'd keep it line with carousing d6*100 / session (higher dice with in big city or with nice lab). Money for spell research counts? Making items, potions, etc does not. I can see some reason in that.

Clan Hoards dwarves and other clannish folk. Give it up for the family.

Orgies "500gp / level per night (250gp if recuperating and under 50% hit points)" Ha, guts hanging out but I can still go whoring! Hey, I've seen this idea before! A player (I hope author meant character) may orgy (didn't know it was a verb) continuously! as many days as he has constitution points.

The Dragon Vol 2, No 5. Dec, 1977

Didn't take long for Dragon to start pandering to puerile interests with pixie nipples last issue and "full bodied" nipples on this freaky cover by Elrohir.

The Full Index.

TSR Periodicals becomes a two man crew as Joe Orlowski joins as Little Wars editor. The Monster Manual had been recently released and "Gary continues to work upon this humoungus project daily..." Project being AD&D.

I turn seven years old this month.

Good intentions never last
"TSR is proud that it did not take advantage of this tendency in its D&D players by sending forth a stream of junk products to attract more money." -- E. Gary Gygax

Seal of The Imperium
by M.A.R. Barker
It requires much preparation, special training, and ascetic dedication to the art to produce a magical scroll. ...a priest might enroll himself-herself with one of the scroll masters. It then takes a year or two to learn: the making of special paper and ink, the ceremonies connected with the production of a scroll, instruction in the secret forms of calligraphy and writing which make it efficacious, the purification of the writer so that his own imperfections do not creep through into the scroll, etc. It then takes a few years more to master the art of writing higher and higher level scrolls. Really powerful scrolls may take a year in themselves to write and are done by a team of priests. least so Lord Fereshma’a hiKúrodu, High Priest of Ksárul in Jakálla, confided to me.
Dig it. Magic! Not just a game mechanic so you have more than a few spells to cast. A scroll. Neat how Barker is playing that his information on Tekumel was releated to him by denizens of that world. Very Edgar Rice Burroughs/John Carter of Mars and many others who copied that style of narration.

Sea Magic
by Fritz Leiber

I just read my very first Leiber! How sad is that?

Indeed, happy holidays to everyone in blogger land.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

OoE - Dragon Magzine #8 #9

I've decided to take at least one element from every RPG product I own to use in my Gold & Glory campaign. Starting with my CD collection of the Dragon Magazines issues 1-250.

The Dragon Vol 2, No 2. Jul, 1977

This guy by Bill Hannan looks like he came from The Dying Earth.

The Full Index.


by Robert J. Kuntz
For those that like the fast-pace, roll-it-up-and-get-it-over-with type of gaming with no extra added realism to brighten up their gaming day, I suggest that these tables are not for you.
Snarky much, Rob? jk, random tables get me every time. Esp, if like these, they are very much not randomly constructed. [btw, Why do so many people equate random tables with erratic, chaotic results?] Roll for size in carats, then value per carat in gp, finally consult table that corresponds to that per carat value per carat to determine what gem stone has been found. Here one example

50 G.P. - 75 G.P. Value:
1. Amazon Stones
2. Adventurines
3. Azurite
4. Bloodstone
5. Smoky Quartz
6. Chalcedony
7. Fluorite
8. Malachite
9. Rhodonite
10. Rock Crystal
11. Rose Quartz
12. Chrysophrase
13. Citrine
14. Cyanite
15. Essonite
16. Hyacinth
17. Jacinth
18. Kunzite
19. Serpentine
20. (Roll Over)

Bonus, jewelry tables!

The Dragon Vol 2, No 3. Sep, 1977

After several issues of MA and pimping Gamma World they finally kick down with a bitchin post-apocalyptic cover. Once again by Bill Hannan (Still can't find a thing about this guy)

The Index

Tombs & Crypts
by James M. Ward "The mystery, challenge and pleasure of any wargamer in discovering and opening a tomb of some unknown being is well known"

Random generation starting with 1. Soldier, 2. Hero, 3. Priest, 4. Pair, 5. Mated. Pair, 6. Lord, 7. King, 8. Patriarch, 9. EHP, 10. Magic User, 11. Wizard, 12. Being. Which provide a bunch of modifiers to the following tables; Gold, Gems, Maps, Jewelry, Magic Item x2, Misc Magic Item, Special Item, Artifact, the Tomb itself, and the Guardian. Pretty nice all considered. It goes into my DM binder.

Needs more than a drop of ichor.
Totally reminds me of playing Populous II.

Seal of The Imperium
by M.A.R. Barker

Barker answers some of the deluge of letters (note: not email!) received due to the "EPT" issue. A few things struck me.
The Detect Evil/Good spell seems to really be a "detect hostile/non-hostile" [intent].
I like that interpretation esp since I abhor good/evil alignment systems.
(4) Can the Transmutation spell turn water into stone?
This spell is very rare on “real” Tékumel, and thus I have not had much experience of it — and did not give it much thought when I introduced it into my list.
That is how I want to roll. Throw that shit in there, figure it out later if it ever comes up.
(6) How do persons of one alignment (“good” or “Evil”) behave towards followers of the other?
With pleasant circumspection: correctly, with dignity, and watchfully.
Tsolyáni are more ceremonious and formal than Americans, ... “friendly insults” ... might well lead to violence! Thus, when one has business with a person of the opposite alignment, it is best to be honorific and polite to an equal, gravely deferential to a superior, and clearly concise to an inferior.

(7) Why don’t members of one alignment attack members of the other on sight?
... it quickly became clear to all that there must either be a terrible war to the death between the forces of the “good” deities and those of the “evil” ones, or else some means of working together must be found.
Can't we all just get along? Interesting take on alignment and a model for "How to deal with a Paladin in the Party".

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

OoE - Dragon Magzine #5 #6 #7

I've decided to take at least one element from every RPG product I own to use in my Gold & Glory campaign. Starting with my CD collection of the Dragon Magazines issues 1-250.

Hey! Just found Held Action Blog has similar idea and a cooler name :(, Read'em 'cause you got'em.

The Dragon Vol 1, No 5 Mar, 1977

Full Index.
Dave Sutherland created this nice "Conan about to be chomped on by a Snake" cover art. Was there a male warrior that wasn't Conan in the late 70's? Also, since we're talking snakes, that old Dragon logo is all sorts of Swords and Sorcery Awesome.

These early issues have more S&S feel than when I had subscription (early eighties). Also back in #001 Tim Kask said "That mission is to publish the best magazine devoted to Sword & Sorcery, Fantasy, Science Fiction and Role Playing gaming." Maybe it means nothing that S&S happened to be listed first. But, I'm really seeing Grognardia's points about S&S and origins of this hobby. I wonder when/why S&S fell out of favor (with the fiction/game buying public)?

Also this issue marks when Dragon went from 6 to 8 issues a year. At the expense "Little Wars" going quarterly, a magazine I never heard of and wikipeadia has no info for me. Anyone?

Witchcraft Supplement For Dungeons & Dragons
by unknown

Clerics are immune to witchcraft (along with Djinn and Efreet, don't get that?) Neat concept though, that men (and women) of god are flat out immune to some kinds of magical shenanigans.

Numerous interesting magic items such as
Mountain Seeds
Similar to Hill Seeds in function but much deadlier. When pitched into the air thee gloves will swell to the size of a castle almost immediately. With one such seed a wizard could crush armies or destroy a town. They are safest when dropped from above, but can be thrown up from the ground if you are able to use teleportation and escape before it comes down.

Creature Feature
Here's and Erol Otus I've not seen before, a water color, not his usual medium?
Number appearing: 1-6
Description: 10-20 feet long, brown chitin overall, pink underside
Armor class: 2 overall, underside class 4
Movement: 12/6 through ground
Hit die: 3-8 (8 sided die)
Treasure: B2
Squirt acid for 1-6 die of damage according to size
Bite for 3-18 points damage
Magic resistance: none
Alignment: neutral
% in lair: 25%

That image is almost full magazine page. Crammed into the bottom inch are the stats (reproduced above). That is the entirety of the Creature Feature. A far cry from the later ecology series, eh?

How Green Was My Mutant
by Gary Gygax

Random skin color, skin texture, head, neck, body, face hands & feet, fingers & toes, arms, and legs. The uses are legion!

The Dragon Vol 1, No 6 Apr, 1977

Nice cover by Morno.
Full Index.

Almost nothing of use. A (complicated and not as good as B/X) morale system, psionics, Metamorphosis Alpha stuffs (which are cool but dated). How to paint Petal Throne miniatures could come in handy for descriptions.

Sea Trade in D&D Campaigns

by Ronald C. Spencer, Jr.

Nice, simple, somewhat abstract system for sea trade from the "Bardukian Campaign" aboard the USS Benjamin Franklin (SSBN 640). Nice to know the people ready to usher in our nuclear holocaust Mutant Future get to have fun in their spare time.

Buy a cargo(assumed to be available in port) for 10k or 50k gp depending on how big of a merchant ship you have/are hiring. Write captain orders (default assumption is players are investors / merchants and have better things to do then spend weeks at sea. Although, nothing precludes sea borne adventure), pay pilot fees and import taxes. The general mechanic is the more ports you "skip" the bigger risk and bigger payoff you gamble. There's a d100 chart that has profit/loss as percentage of cargo. Ship can also be flat out lost at sea. Instead of taking loss, captain's orders can be to push on to next port and hope for better price there. A few more wrinkles but that is basically it.

I'd add some random tables for cargo types (cause I just know my players will ask me exactly what it is they bought). Maybe a table for how ship was lost at sea, d6 -> 1. storm, 2. kraken, 3. dread pirate roberts, 4. sea nymphs, 5. mutiny, 6. UFO

A minor distraction for players, way to gamble away their coin or strike it rich. Could lead to some adventures and generally fills in some of the vacuum of a world thus making the campaign seem more rich and real.

The Dragon Vol 2, No 1 June, 1977

Cover by another one name chap, Elrohir.
Full Index.

In the editor page, Dragon Rumbles, Tim Kask is hating on poor issue one's cover. He also claims to be the sole staff member (with assistance from Gary Jaquet who is four hours distant). Which's pretty darn impressive and I guess that means Tim gets to hate on whatever he wants.

This issue's Featured Creature, "Prowler", features another full page Otus water color.

This Morno guy has got some nice style going on. Wrote a bit of fiction to go along with his sweet art. More of his illustrations too (saved to my flavor/inspiration folder). Can't find much on him/her, did some Character Sheet cover art. Hmmmm...

Ah ha, I got you now Mr. Morno, or should I say Bradley W. Schenck!

The Internet is so cool.

Unlike issue #7 of The Dragon in which I find not one directly usable thing. The Military Formations of the Nations of the Universe by M.A.R. Barker is full of cool flavor. e.g
"The Oncoming Wings of the Hereafter"
This battle plan consists of a strong centre (variously divided into phalanxes, squares, wedges, etc.) and two long, fast-moving columns of lighter troops on the flanks, sometimes with “warhammer” units in concealment in one or both of the Greave positions behind. As the centre meets the foe, one or both of these columns may attempt to cut off enemy flanking units for annihilation by the concealed “warhammer” units coming along behind, or they may swing out like great wings to try to outflank the enemy and attack him from the rear.
But, I'm gonna be hard pressed to squeeze that into Gold & Glory. Guess I'll use it if the players ever find / enter Portal to Tékumel. Hmmm, they will arrive during major war (civil?) and be thrust into choosing sides / playing them off each other Fist Full of Dollars style. So, now this Portal isn't just "Freak Ass EPT world" it's "Freak Ass EPT military campaign world". See, brainstorming through all my stuffs is working out!

[I'm not 100% certain how I'll work this... Thinking that once players discover and figure out a "major" portals like the EPT one described above I would metagame tell them "hey through this portal is this freaky military campaign kind of game". Want to play that for awhile? No, fine. Don't enter that portal. If yes, then maybe roll up new characters for it? Maybe just a few players want to. Their characters enter portal and players create new characters (or assume control of henchmen) for this this campaign which we continue now. We'll make a side game for the EPT characters, meeting these other days.]

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

OoE - Dragon Magzine #3 #4

I've decided to take at least one element from every RPG product I own to use in my Gold & Glory campaign. Starting with my CD collection of the Dragon Magazines issues 1-250.

The Dragon Vol 1, No 3 Oct, 1976

The Full Index. Reading Tim Kask's Dragon Rumbles editorial pages of these early Dragons I'm struck with how much the tone and topics remind me of Ignatius �mlaut's words from Fight On!

From Len Lakofka's Notes on Women & Magic the level name for clerics after Prioress and before Matriarch is Superioress. That's too funny.

GenCon IX D&D Elimination Tournament "Miss Teenage Wisconsin, Jennifer Johnson, was on hand to add a touch of class to the ceremonies and presented all of the plaques." Wonder how that went?

Birth Tables for D&D
by Brad Stoick & Brian Lane

Pretty neat. Interesting ideas on rolling father's title, Knight, Baron, etc. and also their position Land Holder, Sheriff, Advisor to the King, etc. If I used something like this I'd start with the over the top HackMaster system and add some ideas from here to that.

by Mike Childers as modified by Keff Kay

The mechanics for Katana and Wakizashi are interesting. They come in +0 to +3 tohit/dam varieties. Each having increasing chance to score a critical. E.g. for the +3; automatic on 18,19,20 or when rolling 5 or more above required to hit number. A critical blow is resolved on this d100 table.

01-80 25% of Max Hit Points or 6 hit points (whichever is greater) and the loss of a limb (1 = right arm, 2 = left arm, 3 = right leg & 4 = left leg).
81-95 50% of Max Hit Points or 12 hit points (whichever is greater) and a major body hit (no additional damage other than hit points).
96-00 100% of Max Hit Points due to decapitation or other instant kill.

I wonder when the Vorpal Sword was first mentioned and same for critical hits?

A New View of Dwarves
by Larry Smith

From the Abilities of Dwarves;
7. They can "feel" when handling armor or weapons if they are magical in nature.
9. Dwarves with Int of 9+ and Str 9+ can do smiths work.
10. Dwarves with Int 12+ and Str 9+ can to armorers work.
13. Dwarves with a Dex of 17 or greater can swim naturally.
14. Only Dwarves with an Intelligence of 12 or better will even consider getting on a horse. [Think Larry got that reversed ;)]

There's more of the "if stat then foo" entries. Interesting idea on how to both provide benefit for high stats and produce some character background.

The Berserker
by John Pickens
"Each berserker must become a shieldbrother in one of the following
clans: Wererat, Werewolf, Wereboar, Weretiger, and Werebear. When
the berserker earns his wereshape he will take that form when berserk,"
Kind of a fighter druid shape changer, I'm diggin it. I always thought barbarian and rage were two tastes that did not go well together. Definitely will use this class concept if not the exact mechanics. I like how one of the followers they attract will be a bard (I imagine Skald type)

Under chance of berserking:
Add 20% if the berserker bites his shield (voluntary).

WTF? More on this shield biting thing.

The Dragon Vol 1, No 4 Dec, 1976

I'm six this month! Full Index. Cover by M. A. R. Barker. The art and that it was made by the game author both pretty much explain why EPT rocks. They added four pages to this issue for EPT.

"In terms of development of detail, I think EPT has it over Middle Earth in the matters that most concern gamers. This is attributable to the fact that EPT was developed by a wargamer, and M-E was not." -- Tim Kask

I hadn't realized EPT was ever so gamer mainstream. Even had miniatures made for it (reviews in this issue). I wonder why it did not take off. Actually I know, it's too freaky. And only some gamers are freak lovers. Some of that freakish awesomeness
"...dispatches from all over the Empire are gathered each month into another volume of the “Korunkoi hiGar-dasisayal Koluman hiTirikeludalidalisa” (The Book of Mighty Imperial Deeds of the Great and Glorious Petal Throne). Inscribed on leaves of gold, this record is maintained in the Hall of Blue Illumination ..."
From Reports Submitted to the Petal Throne. Also very awesome is The Battle of the Temple of Chanis: 2020 A.S.

One of the past / lost / destroyed empires that once ruled the lands that comprise the "G&G play area" and whose ruins are it's adventure sites will be EPTesque. I'll sprinkle those reports and the rest of the awesome flowery text in scrolls, texts, monument carvings. Perhaps the players can piece together the location of a great treasure. Or even what caused the Empire of the Petal Throne to fall and thus avoid its mistakes.

Creature Features The Mihalli
No author listed, I assume M.A.R Barker

Your basic malevolent ancient race, but with awesome pants.

The Mihalli are an ancient nonhuman race which came with humanity to Tekumel G&G — but not with humanity’s knowledge or blessings! Their motives and attitudes are totally incomprehensible to mankind. They behave in ways which can only appear random to humans, since the Mihalli seems to function simultaneously in this dimension and in others as well.

The Mihalli are humanoid in form, hermaphroditic, able to see in the dark. Their skins range from dull green to a rich coppery brown — lower class Mihalli being of the former color and higher level Mihalli of the latter. They are shape-changers and can adopt the form of any human they wish. The only drawback to this is that their opalescent red eyes can at times (20% each turn looked at) be seen even through their disguises. They are marvelous magic users.

Their favorite magical weapon is the Ball of Immediate Eventuation, which can fire an energy bolt, build up a defense shield against all nonmagical projectiles, or cause them to become invisible. This weapon comes in various strengths, represented by its color: the weakest one is light purple, then bright silver, then bright gold, then lambent, translucent blue.

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