Monday, December 31, 2012

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

November Blog Roll Addditions

Super radtacular Blogs added to the Roll and totally awesome why. - post on being ridiculously excited / hyperbolic in product reviews which I, of course, totally am all the time. It's my style. I'm providing my opinion and my opinions are frequently "over the top". If I'm only "meh" on something there's nothing interesting to say about it. - the guy with frozen eyelashes. - I want to read about Veins of the Earth (and since I've mentioned it he can't back down now). Also opinionated people, like Stalin on cocaine, are more interesting. - Great name, don't get to interact with many down under RPGrs. Gamma Posts. Great pics "Ahhhhh" - One of my FLGS. - PocketMod Spellbook and Bene Gesserit Class!!! Great minimalistic mod of turning chart. - Santicore! and Dark Sun content which I've never played, always been interested in, and rarely see. - Conan pic.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wizardawn S&W Love

I've been watching Wizardawn (name makes me think of Dark Suns styled adventure based on Red Dawn) for a while now. While many of resources are system agnostic, the stuff I'd been wanting lately, treasure, encounters wasn't so much.

As if in answers to my appeals...

Books and Tomes is keen.  Wrapping it all up, Encounter Generation.  Love the vertical Dungeon Delve. For me, most useful of all is the aptly named [what's behind the] Dungeon Door.  A few pages of "make me look like I know what I'm doing when DMing on the fly".

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

3x5 men-at-arms

Another installment of 3x5 playaides with Telecanter's Silhouettes. This time, men(and not so men)-at-arms.

Commonly available 0-level d4+2hp men-at-arms include Shield Bearers and Spear Men.  Both cost 5sp/day with additional + 5% share of master's treasure if dragged into dungeon, tomb or similar "adventurer type" area. A step up are Swordsmen (including Hammer Slammer) with +1 moral. Providing supporting fire are Archers, and Crossbowmen.  All are 10sp/day, + the 5% "you want me to climb down there?" hazard pay.

Around the City of Towers in my Gold and Glory campaign there are occasionally a few non-humans available for hire.
Morlocs, ex-pitfighters and others who've crawled out of the steam-tunnels beneath the city. 5sp/day + 5%. Treat as 1HD orcs or 1/2 orcs.
Beastmen, the freed decedents of Wraith Overlord's "Legio Bestia" (Beast Legion). 10sp/day + 5%. Treat as celtish styled 2HD gnolls. Tend to hire out in close knit packs of 2-4.
Ogre Brutes, no one remembers how Ogres first came to live in The City. Over generations Urban Ogres have grown smaller (still big), smarter (still dumb), and more sociable than their wild cousins.  Pay negotiable, easy to cheat/trick. Treat as 2-3HD ogres or 1/2 ogres.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


A moment of silence for (what was your character's name?), for 'Bubba Two-club' may his soul not be devoured by demons and his corpse not rise.  Oh, and dibs on his magic boots!

Anomalous Subsurface Environment 2-3, sighted, acquired!

Henchman Abuse, Patrick Wetmore, just released levels 2-3 of his Anomalous Subsurface Environment dungeon. The mutagenically delicious megadungeon I first became fascinated with from reading play reports on Dungeon of Signs (which has excellent ASE material).  I picked up the ASE1 hardcopy at NTRPGcon and the PDF just now.

Now that there's more than just the first level, I believe ASE will be the "Molybdenum Mines" that the Brothers Radicals will soon mention to the characters in my home campaign.

LULU Coupon Code: NOVBOOKS12

Sunday, November 18, 2012

3x5 Dogs n Things

[Update: fixed speling mistake (and added a couple dogs), uploaded to Google Drive]

Still making 3x5 "hireling" cards with Telecanter's Silhouettes. In my campaign there's more than dogs available at the local menagerie...

The orchound (hyena) and warpig are both entries from Zak's 100 dogs chart. Snipherback Dwarves train and hire out Attack Goats. Current campaign has crocodile/alligator thing going on. So the Crocavens silhouette was a no-brainer. Ferret cause as impressionable youth I saw this movie.  Who can resist Flying Monkey's, not I. The last three are bruisers. Semi-Controlled Bars, Berserk Prone Silverbacks, and feed them well and often or else Terror Birds.

Attack goats do double damage on charge. Can bash down doors as fighter with 18 strength. Sure-footed.

Crocavens come in flocks of 2d4 and require a Croc Miester to control them.  1HD, d6, AC14, save 16+; fly, locking jaws(d4 auto-hit subsequent rounds), swarm (crocavens get +1 to hit for each crocaven locked onto target)

Ferrets not raised from pups will (1in 6 chance per "adventure") run away to go live happy ferret lives.

Flying Monkey's must be magically imprinted on new owner. Can be trained to drop oil / other "bombs" and to use magic wands. Susceptible to musical charm.

Baring magical or natural (ranger) animal control Bars, Silverbacks, and Terrorbirds require NPC handler to control them. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

3x5 Hirelings

[Update: now with proper english! uploaded to Google Drive]

To go along with my previous Dogs! Porters, Torch bearer, Lantern bearer and guide.  Torchy carries 6 torches each lasting 1 hour (6 turns).  Lantern guy has 4 hours (24 turns) of oil in lamp and caries two flasks good for another 4 hours each. Although chance of that oil being used in lamp rather than as Molotov by party pyro is nil. The guide is cause I print these out 3 to a page and he looks cool.

If not obvious the 8 boxes are for hitpoints. I'd only give these guys 1-4hp, ymmv. And they can get hit, be burned by fireball, and flee in panic but are non-combatants so no HD or attack.

Thanks again to Telecanter for his silhouettes.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What's Working Well - Playtest Report

This past weekend was 5th session of using Gold and Glory Swords & Wizardry based house-rules. Along with a few one-shots I've got enough play testing to share a few things that are working well. These house rules are quite divergent from stock D&D. But, to me at least, they feel right in play. Streamlining crap I don't find fun and providing grim, gritty feeling without being just "you die".

Death, Dismemberment, and Constitution

Everyone (should) know about Death & Dismemberment.

When an adventurer has no more hit points, damage is subtracted from Constitution and a Death and Dismemberment Table roll is made. Possibly, producing real wounds such as broken bones, guts hanging out, severed limbs, and death. If Constitution reaches 0, adventurer is dead. This is in place of any Constitution modifier to hit points.

With unlucky roll, adventurers may die or receive mortal wound when out of hit points. On the other hand it is quite possible that they are just knocked out, only stunned, or not hurt at all. This stretches out the distance between "things are looking bad" and "Total Party Kill". In past campaigns player's often didn't run away until after 1st or 2nd character death (and by then it was often too late). Now, it's pretty obvious when people start rolling on D&D that the shit has hit the fan.

Not knowing exactly "how much life" adventurers have left (any Death & Dismemberment roll could their last) increases player tension and feeling of real risk when choosing or being forced to "push on". Monsters, hirelings, etc. are dead at 0hp. Henchmen and maybe important villains will probably use this system (hasn't come up yet).

Healing Constitution damage or stopping a fatal wound from being fatal are the primary uses of magical healing. Hit points can't be recovered by "normal" magic. Instead...

Rolling Hit Dice for Healing

At various times; after good rest (i.e. in a town), after downing swig of booze (1/day), after gaining a level; each adventurer rolls their current hit dice and uses that total as their new hit points (if greater than current hit points). This is in place of any hit point recovery or healing rules.

There is only "current hit points". No need to track or remember "total", "max", etc. No waiting days to heal 1 or 2 or adventurer's level, or CON bonus or some other shit hp per day. Less whining about how gimped their character is cause they rolled '1' for hp. Although, now rolling high is not the same booyah! moment. Over extended period of downtime (rolling each day of rest) hit points will tend towards maximum. Giving benefit to resting up before big delve.

This has just worked. Nice pacing of action. Little more forgiving but still deadly. Very curious to see how it pans out at higher levels. (party just hit 2nd lvl last session).

This maintains (my imagined) purpose for hit points. That is, a limit on how long adventurers can be "out mucking about in the dugeon" depending on how well they "manage" this resource. But eliminates / reduces boring wait to heal downtime / lame cleric serial healing everybody. The 1/day booze provides "insurance" vs unlucky guy getting clobbered first encounter and bugging everyone to go back and rest.

Dex as AC

Using ascending AC; naked is 10, hvy armor(best commonly available) is 16.

Instead of providing modifier to armor class, adventurer's Dexterity score is their "natural" armor class. Their effective AC is greater of their Dexterity or the AC of worn armor.

The advantage of wearing armor is that it protects against critical (nat 20's). And in theory, but I forget this, Dexterity AC is only effective vs mêlée (can't dodge a bullet*). But really, 3d6 in order, means high Dexterity is appropriately rare. So, most adventurers need armor. I'm more than fine having the occasional 16+ Dex character be awesomer.

* Not sure I care.  Rules exceptions are rarely worth it. One thing I've learned to totally let go of is using mechanics to emulate realism. Instead emulate style / atmosphere. In the case of Dex is AC, it is bikini chain mail, panther reflexed loin-cloth wearing barbarian, swashbuckling buccaneer etc.

Shields only Splinter

Shields do not modify AC. Their primary use is to absorb damage via Shields Shall Be Splintered. Although, this hasn't come up yet in play they do provide significant (20% small, 40% large, 80% tower) cover vs missile fire.

[The last two work to compress the "power curve". Slowing power creep is one reason I'm using Swords and Wizardry these days. Also, no changing AC; if surprised, behind, using two-hand weapon this round, etc. Really no modifiers, nothing to calculate. AC is either the armor you are wearing or your Dexterity, bam, done.]

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

South Austin has new Game Store

Whose Turn Is It? recently opened in South Austin on S. Lamar.  Which is great news as although Austin has tremendous number of game stores for it's size all but one, two now, are way the fuck up North. Handy Google map of Austin Area Game Stores, I maintain.

I dropped by after work yesterday, unfortunately they close early on Tue.  But, I ran into the proprietor locking up. Amiable fellow, looking to grow his smallest are, RPGs.  I think I can help with that ;). They have space to play games. Which might just be the nudge I need to start up another campaign.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


uZak's 100 dogs (and by indirection Noisms) + Telecanter's silhouettes  = Norm get's off his lazy ass and makes some 3x5" canine "hirelings". Not as pretty as Telecanter's packanimalpaloozas. Better than a small, but vicious dog to the nuts.

Last session potential dog purchaser tested the wares by taking their captured kobold and War Poodle to the local fighting pits. Threw the wretch in with the poodle who sat, expectantly looking up at "master" (rolled #12 Extremely well trained--will obey any order it can understand and never checks morale.) At the command to "kill" the war poodle lept across the pit and tore the pore kolbold's throat out.  'bold only had a hp left having spent the last day, unfed, locked in a barrel. Dogmonger closed the deal, player didn't even bother haggling.

Enough of that, release the hounds!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Meeting Map

Recently, can find it now dammit, someone blogged a map they doodled during a (boring?) work meeting.

The other day I noticed my notebook had tiny square grid on front and drew this.  (note: to coworkers meeting wasn't boring, honest)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Simple Language "Skill"

I like languages in my RPGs. Other than alignment languages which are retarded. Current, in-use languages are kind of meh.  Everyone knows common, right? I'm talking about archaic languages, lost languages, cryptic languages. Those can be treasures in and of themselves.

Language Check

Xd6 < Intelligence, where X is number of languages currently known. Optionally let mages and scholarly types subtract their level from X. Esp if, like me, you do away with Read Magic and all the good spells are written in esoteric languages such as High Lemurian.

If you want to get all fiddly you can require +1 or +2 dice for really difficult languages. Or, treat written and spoken as separate languages.

Learning Languages

Languages are generally not picked out at character creation time (A huge advantage to new players who don't have a flippin clue about all the crazy ass languages you've put in the game). At any time player may claim to know language "foo". Even if "foo" is the unknown language the green skinned people with spears are shouting at you with. A successful Language Check means character has known this language, but, only now has this become important.  They add it to their list of known languages.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Arcane Duels

These rules are part of Gold and Glory's Player's Hand Book and are inspired by JG "Field Guide to Encounters, Vol 1", pg11.  I have yet to play test these, 1st lvl characters are reluctant to engage their betters in mental fisticuffs.

Arcane casters such as Magi, Wizards, and Seers may challenge each other to Duels of Arcane Mastery also known as Manitou Combat. These are mechanics you are required to flavor them up to suit your campaign and/or character.

It Begins

Eye to eye contact is required to initiate a duel which may be avoided with successful Save. This does not inhibit blind duelists who make use of their mind's eye.

Duels are resolved in an arena of the minds. Participants are oblivious to the world around them. Mental spells or effects such as telepathy, ESP, charm, sleep will not work on them. Although their bodies aren't particularly protected from harm.

Brain Brawl

Duels are fought in a series of segments. Three of which occur for every "physical world" round at end of each Combat, Movement, and Action phases(or whatever works for you).  Each duelist starts with mojo equal to their level. At the start of any segment duelists may burn a spell and gain (spell level) mojo.

Each segment each duelist rolls Xd6, X is any number up to caster's level. But, beware rolling doubles, which tend towards being bad. Everyone losses mojo equal to (their roll - highest roll). If two or more are tied for highest they each loose on mojo.

There Can Be Only One!

A duelist reduced to zero mojo also loses. Losers' regain conscious physically drained from their defeat (current Hit Points are reduced by half and they are Stunned for d4 rounds). The last remaining duelist wins! Their mind returns to their body invigorated from victory. They may act normally the next phase.

Extra Secret Results of Rolling Multiples from Referee's Screen

Doubles                      Triples
============================ =================================
1 Blamo!, lose duel          Pop! Head explodes, lose life
2 roll on Minor Chaos Table  roll on Heinous Blunders Table
  (google for it)              (google for it)
3 Psychically Stunned        Psychically Scarred, 
  for 3 segments               forget d6 memorized spells
4 Ow, -d6 HP                 Ow!, -d6 HP
5 Sloppy, loose 1 mojo       Mana Leaking Everywhere, loose d6 mojo
6 Well played, steal 1 mojo  Well Played, steal d6 mojo from opnt

October Blog Roll Additions

Blogs added to the Roll and semi-arbitrary why. - lots and lots of awesome articles on DMing hexcrawling & megadungeons. - more awesome megadungery! - completionism. - (recently) lots posts on Raggi stuff (which I don't pay attention to myself) - which simultaneously makes me want to crawl into fetal position and run necrocarcerus adventures! - meaty articles need further perusing... - ASE - Mystara!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Church of the the Holy Glow

I owe inspiration for the following to reading ASE1 dungeon, Henchman Abuse and Dungeon of Signs blogs.  The Metal Gods, Sick Rock and probably other stuff are directly from Anomalous Subsurface Environment, take a moment to go buy that now, it is keen.

[An aside to the serendipity of winging it. Long ago I placed DeForest Piper's One Page Dungeon Smuggler's Chantry near my campaign's center of action. Thinking vaguely of using smugglers to tie in a pirate town to the south. By the time players got around to finding it I had been reading the aforementioned inspirations and was jonesin for some mutatedness.  Um, er, yeah you stand before the, the... Church of the Holy Glow (at this time was still thinking it was front for smugglers). Then party brought badly injured dude to church.  (Remembering Sick Rock from ASE). Uh, yeah, we can heal him bring him closer to the light, brother.  (Scrambling through Mutant Future). You're healed and are covered in thick porcupine quills.

One day at work the titles and name Brother Radicals came to me. Other bits congealed until I finally wrote it all down last night.  Now that it has substance the players will probably never visit again! That's ok an Attendant can always visit them ;)]

The Brother Radicals

Priests of the Church of the Holy Glow are called Brother Radicals, seekers of the Radiant Truth.  They worship Hallowed Atum, god of truth and builder of the universe.

Brother Radicals are aware of and occasionally converse with The Metal Gods.  They remain undecided as to whether these voices are Saints, true (if minor) gods, or even lessor manifestations of Atum.

All Brother Radicals are able to (mostly) successfully use ancient technology.  They have no clue how it works or often what it is for.  All churches will have at least one functioning Geiger counter which is required to identify and measure the holiness of Radiant Truth.  They frequently have other relics; "Accouterments of Heroes" [cloths, knick-knacks, other sundry ancient junk], "Words of Atum" [portable music players], "Implements of Unification" [stunners, vibro-blades, sonic-disruptors, plasma torches, etc.], "Most Sublime Chariots of the Saints" [various ground/grav/air vehicles, Brother Omega cruises in a pimp purple, shag upholstered, low-rider Impala (bouncing suspension crushes unbelievers for 2d6 damage)].

Brother Radicals advance as clerics. Receiving same number and type of spells as clerics of equivalent level. Bestowed by Atum or one of the Metal Gods. They are unable to turn undead or other creatures. They may start Neutral but all are Chaotic by 4th level.

Level     Title     Notes
========= ========= =========
1-3       Alpha     1 mutation, pass as normal
4-5       Beta      2 mutations, might pass as normal
6         Theta     3 mutations, these guys and up freak the f'ck 
                    right out of normals
                    and generally wear thick, hooded robes "in public"
7         Gamma     4 mutations, "and up" possess light sword, laser 
                    pistol, or the like
8         Zeta      5 mutations, ballistic long johns reduce physical 
                    damage by half
9         Omega     6 mutations,
                    glows with Truth of Atum [all within 10' suffer 
                    rad sickness], wears Saint's Shroud [personal 
                    There is only one Omega Brother Radical. 
                    At least only one per schism of the church

The Radiant Truth

"Its rays bring us further into his grace, brother."
Known as Sick Rock to most. For most grow sick and die within a few days of being exposed to its thin green glow. Brother Radicals know that it is, in fact, the material manifestation of Hallowed Atum.


"Come brother, bask in the Radiant Truth."
The Brother Radicals the proud possessors of legendary and infamous (less proud) healing arts.  They are able to cure afflictions known to be incurable.  They enthusiastically cure all petitioners  freely and with out obligation.  Supplicants must only listen to a sermon on the "Truth of Life, the Universe, and Everything", apply the required emollient, follow the true and proper sacrament, and step into the glow of the Radiant Truth.

The supplicant will then commune with Atum [fall into coma] for d4 days. During which time they will be healed and if pious enough [50% chance] be blessed with devolution.


"We are all made of Atum and thus brothers, brother."
The Truth of Atum is not secreted away by Brother Radicals. It is available to all, praised be Hallowed Atum!  Initiation into the church is similar to its healing; different sacrament, same emollient, same coma, 100% chance of devolution.

Brother Radicals undergo ever more cryptic initiations upon reaching each new title. The most devout are Unified.  Others must live on and seek greater Truth.


"Glory and praise to Atum, I can shoot lasers from my eyes!"
Through devolution one becomes closer to perfection and Unification with Atum.  Although Unification is the professed goal of all Brother Radicals, many secretly really just want kick-ass mutations.

[Devolution == roll on your favorite mutation chart.  I use ones from Mutant Future]

The Most Holy (and Secret) Emollients of Atum

"Fallout threatening your weekend plans? Forgettabout it with new, improved
RadAway. Now with Omega Block 3000(tm)!"
The church hierarchy's secret anti-radiation serum cut with anti-virals and regenerative stembots. When properly administered it prevents the wasting sickness normally contracted from exposure to Sick Rock. And its radiation powers the stembots which heal/cure pretty darn much anything.

Only Zeta and Omega Brothers know how to distill it. Only Omegas know what it really is / does.  Occasionally a shipment from the Most High and August Central Church is delayed and local Brother Radicals are unable to heal or perform initiations.


"Come brother, still thy tentacles and let us help you to Unification."
Some who are healed or undergo initiation lack sufficient purity of heart.  These tainted souls are unable to receive Atum's Benediction and must be helped towards Unification.  Unfortunately, a few are so misguided they resist and leave the care of the Church before successful Unification.

These poor creatures now roam the wild, causing trouble for the faithful. We'd be ever so grateful if you could bring to them the final Truth of Unification.

[A few mutations are so extreme, dehumanizing, and/or horribly negative the Brother Radicals (try to) kill the victims and cover up that they ever existed.  Sometimes they fail.]

The Twelve Attendants of Atum

"Come all ye unfaithful, hear the deafening Truth and be Unified!"
The "Paladins" of the church. Originally twelve in number, the exact count has varied over the ages.  Always limited though, as there are only so many Exalted Receptacles of Atum to go around.  Once properly ordained paladins receive divine sanction and become one with their Exalted Receptacle. Thenceforth they are able to invoke the Absolution of Atum and bestow Unification to even the staunchest heretics.

[Exalted Receptacles == ancient/alien power armor. i.e. Boom Gun armed Glitter Boys or Humpty Dumptys  Anyone can be "ordained" as one of the Twelve Attendants. This involves getting "power armor training" brain dumped from an alien device, chip implant, or the like.  Most Attendants survive that. Those that do eventually succumb to mental psychosis and/or physical attrophication. Before that happens Paladins are rewarded with Unification. But, occasionally one flips out early.]

Holy Sites

Molybidium Mines
Resting place of much Radiant Truth and other holy minerals.  Suitably for such a venerable site, its sanctity is preserved by many of Atum's Children [mutant monstrosities].  Divine creatures Brother Radicals are proscribed from harming.  Thus, frequently, requiring an escort when prospecting for Truth.

Where Saint Norad secured the holy firelances.  Safe from misuse by heretics.  The Scriptures of WOPR detailing the rituals [launch codes] required to wield the lances have been lost.  When particularly put upon the church goes looking for the WOPR Scriptures.  Often hiring adventures for the task, rather than mucking about dangerous places themselves.

Shinning Garden of Shiyane
The holiest of holies. Where Atum's light shone into the darkest depths and common earth, stone, even rain were transformed into The Radiant Truth.  Billions witnessed Atum's glory and were Unified.

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