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.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Barrowmaze is Excellent

Reading about people receiving their Barrowmaze Indiegogo loots made me curious (jealous). So, I got the PDFs for Barrowmaze I & II. I (for no particular reason I can recall atm) had been more or less ignoring Barrowmaze. Maybe cause my current campaign already has too many megadungeons. In retrospect that was bad choice. After partial read through I declare Barrowmaze to be excellent.

Similar to ASE (another semi-recent purchase) Barrowmaze is a refreshing take on the megadungeon.  Something familiar wrapped up with originality. A small deviation, but enough to get me excited to run it. Instead of levels going down, Barrowmaze is series of barrow mounds (and underground "dungeons") going away from "starting point".  Which, with minor flavor tweaks, fits into my campaigns history and geography. Coincidence or strength of dungeon's versatility.  Also, same as ASE, Barrowmaze has strong theme (undead/tombs).

I mostly read the introduction and preperation materials. History, factions, special rules (for breaking open tombs, bricked up walls, digging), restocking, new treasures (death masks, scarabs), gimmicks (runic tablets), and the "plot". All very well written and imagined. A welcomed summary of "how is Barrowmaze interesting" and "what DM needs to know to run/wing this thing". Author's please don't bury this critical info in the room descriptions. 

That front matter sealed my opinion that Barrowmaze is excellent. Based on it's quality and interestingness I'm confident the body of room descriptions is sprinkled with drops of dungeon deliciousness. [Read more and in fact it is.]

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Short RPG Descriptions

Everything needs to be short. I don't have time for long, I don't have patience, attention span, or memory for long.

Short is excellent.

This collection of 4-5 sentence short descriptions of many, many, many RPGs is excellent. One of Zak's several great ideas.  Linking mostly so I can find it again.

For fun, entry for my current setting.

Gold and Glory a retro science fantasy fantasy heartbreaker based on Swords and Wizardry. Featuring too many classes, multiple magic systems, and numerous house-rules from OSR blogs and publications. Setting is as gamer ADD as the rules; Sword and Sorcery, and Planet, and Sandal and Lovecraftian, and Post-apocalyptic. Players seek plunder and fame under the broken moon of a fantastic world. Where demons cower from elder, unfathomable things from out of space, beyond the horizon robot worshiping mutant orcmen wield the fire lances of the ancients. Where The Grey "Valkyrie" transport heroes to "Valhalla" in their circular, metal sky-chariots

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

No Elves! Still Going Strong

Several old RPGs (defined as out when I was a kid some 30 years ago!) are still active and experiencing modest resurgences.  Almost all driven by fans and hobbyists (not industry) and often for the love of the game (rather than $$$).

It use to be, in the dark ages before large drives, fast networks, and free creation tools, if you wanted to get something out there to other gamers you had to charge a large amount just to cover production and shipping. Now there is the option, if you want to share and be shared, you can. The future of RPG hobby has never looked better.

Everyone has heard Hasbro's announcements about releasing old TSR titles.

Still no Elves, but there are new! Talislanta supplements. All of Talislanta and more has been released under Creative Commons License.  Talislanta is one of the reasons I need multiple clones that can pursue all this cool stuff I can't seem to find time for...

The Iron Crown
Rolemaster Remastered (and Spacemaster, HARP Fantasy, HARP SF, and campaign settings).  The long running I don't follow things too closely, but I believe guild companion folks have bought the rights or something like that. I keep getting email newsletters announcing various products being available on PDF

And there must be enough interest to warrant a new edition and playtest.  Just wish more of that "interest" lived in Austin, TX!

wicked cool overhaul.  I actually don't remember Empire of the Petal Throne from back in the day.  I probably saw ads or heard mentions, but never saw game or knew anyone who knew anything about it.  I discovered Tekumel from reading various bloggers, Grognardia, Hill Cantons, Jeff Rients.

There will always be a (hard) core of base of fans for EPT.  It might never "break out".  But, that doesn't really matter. My goal for next NTRPGCon is to get into one of the EPT games.

dude, I'm old!
Star Frontiers Remastered The first "fan remake" I found, Amazingly Excellent. Better production values that original!  Get's my Drasilite all bubbly!  Really, really gonna have to start a Sci-fi campaign in 2013.

Don't even want to get into Harn, or I'll never get this posted...

Those are mine, there are others.  What are yours?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Players Have the Choice to Ignore Empty Rooms

[I usually resist joining in on blogosphere esp "OSR" blogsphere shit storms.  They're boring, and 99% chance someone else has already said what I was thinking.  Which may be the case here.  But, I just  commented on and Both comments rang true as one of my "fundamentals" of the style of RPG I like to play these days.]

Players have choice, even more so in sandbox, non-linear megadungeon. No one forces them to spend time in any room or even to open the door to any room. If they chose to spend 3 hours in/out of game time searching and futzing with every brick in wall and piece of garbage they have no one to blame/thank other than themselves.

If uninterested they could open door, see nothing, move on. Could even preempt "dressing description" by asking DM "Any monster, any obvious loot? No, we close door.

I've personally witnessed many people accustomed to railroads and storybased games struggle when given choice. Often either doing nothing waiting for plot to advance or doing everything (e.g. exhaustively searching every room) assuming it all must be important part of plot or it wouldn't be here.

Whether a player likes sandbox or not has to do with the player (and their expectations) more than with the sandbox. This is why it's very important to explain sandbox and "train" players how to make choices. Or, help them identify sandboxes just aren't the type of game they like and live and let live.

I was skeptical at balance, you lost me at "monster power curve". [context]

RPGs aren't games that require or benefit from "balance" or even rules in the traditional sense. they have an intelligent, adaptable referee who will outperform any set of rules or mechanisms hoped to provide balance. The referee is not just another player, they are the game. I don't mean that in an egotistical way. But rather referees are what distinguishes a RPG from say an adventure boardgame or an MMO themed skirmish game.  And those are fun types of games. They aren't RPGs.   (Miss)using the label leads to mis-matched expectations and shit-storms like "Are empty rooms teh Awesome!".

Rolemaster Playtest

I briefly looked over Character Law, looks pretty much as I remember. I like Rolemaster, but I think detailed, heavily skilled games work much better for modern / sci-fi games.  Spell Law is interesting alternative to Vancian.  I like them both.  

Check it out for your self.  Free (after sign-in) downloads.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Demons and Devils Miniatures Kickstarter

$75 gets you 30 or so amazingly sculpted demons and devils in metal and resin.  Some truly huge minis are available as add-ons.

Center Stage Miniatures has been producing high-quality 25 and 28mm miniatures for use in fantasy role-playing games since 2009. With over 40 figures available in our Advanced Fantasy Miniatures range and the recent acquisition of the Julie Guthrie Fantasy Personalities range (196 figures), we've been growing in leaps and bounds thanks to you, our customers. Our regular sculptors include industry veterans like Patrick Keith, Jason Wiebe, Tim Prow, as well as some extremely talented newer sculptors like Nicolas and Federico Genovese.  
In our second year of business, I decided to begin tackling the Demons and Devils of the underworld, so I commissioned a Molydeus from Tim Prow and Baphomet, Demon Lord of Minoaturs from Jason Wiebe.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Monster HP Tracking

At the table I've been using d6's to track monster hit points (roll bunch, group them into "creatures" 1 die per HD, then remove or "rotate" dice as damage is inflicted).  I'm not satisfied.  I want to use d6+2 per HD. Needs space, and prone to accidents (jostling dice, using them for some other roll).  A bit too fiddly / time consuming.

I remember seeing a pdf of d6 rolls (I think from ChogWiz).  I decided to create a little hitdice program to create similar ReStructedText chart. The use one of my favorite tools, rst2pdf, to create the following PDF which I'll print out and test in next Sunday's Gold and Glory game.

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