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.

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