Friday, December 31, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Is everybody sick of reading about spell mastery yet?
Here's the first draft of my spell mastery house rules. They're a bit clunky, and I'm open to suggestions on how they might be improved. Here goes:
Magic-users can achieve spell mastery. Any spell memorized by a magic-user can be replaced at will by a mastered spell of the same level or lower.
Magic-users who wish to master a spell must first find a mentor. Mentors are hidden mysterious beings - ancient, inhuman, possessed of alien intellects and appetites - that seek to advance their own goals, which most mortals find inscrutable. (None are of lawful or chaotic alignment.) Those that dwell in the material world are invariably found in inhospitable, near-inaccessible locales. Others must be entreatied in the otherworldly realms where they reside, be they nightmarish hells of impossible angles or gauzy opiate dreamlands. Though no two mentors are the same, they are universally temperamental and notoriously difficult to approach, each one first requiring a particular set of cryptic gestures, obscure passwords, outre offerings, etc. before any requests are entertained.
Furthermore, no mentor knows all of the spells in existence. (For example, Three-Headed Oul-Balam grants mastery in spells dealing with visual illusion and invisibility, while Glatth, Eater of Doves gives instruction in spells of travel, movement, and teleportation.) To research the means of finding a mentor capable of teaching mastery in a specific spell requires a significant investment of time and money.
The first time a magic-user attempts to find such a mentor, he must first invest 1500gp per spell level and one week per spell level desired, then roll under or equal to his Intelligence score on 4d6. Subsequent visits to a mentor who the magic-user has previously contacted cost 750gp per spell level, and the Intelligence check is made on 3d6. If the Intelligence check fails, the money and time are lost, and the magic-user must start again. If the Intelligence check is made, the magic-user has successfully contacted the mentor, and the chart below is consulted.
(The money and time represent mystical research of the proper etiquette, the purchase of the required offerings, and either an expedition to whatever inhospitable place the mentor inhabits, or the rituals - magical, drug-induced or otherwise - necessary to visit an otherworldly one. At the Labyrinth Lord's option, the costs in time and money may be waived if the magic-user and his PC companions agree to undertake an adventure in search of a hidden mentor.)
Spell Mastery Attempt Table (2d8) For a particular mentor, each roll below 12 provides a cumulative +1 modifier to future rolls on the table, until the result is 12 or higher. Once a result of 12 or higher is rolled, the modifier is reset.
2-3 What is the meaning of this? PC has offended the mentor somehow. Roll on the Spell Mastery Mishap Table below.
4-5 This should suffice. Mentor teaches PC a new spell of the Labyrinth Lord's choice. New spell is of the level in which mastery was desired, but is not mastered.
6-8 Is this what you seek? Mentor grants mastery in one spell currently known to the PC, but not the one the PC wanted (Labyrinth Lord's choice). If none of the PC's spells are those in which the mentor can teach mastery, see "This should suffice", above.
9-11 What have you done for me lately? Will grant mastery in exchange for a favor from the PC. Roll 1d6: (1-2) valuables (3-4) magic (5-6) mission. (The Labyrinth Lord should make the cost proportionate to the spell's power.) If the PC is unwilling or unable to pay the price, see "Get thee gone" on the Spell Mastery Mishap Table for consequences.
12-14 Very well; I shall show you the way. Mentor grants mastery in one spell of the PC's choosing.
15-16 You have long been a favorite of mine. Mentor grants mastery in two spells of the PC's choosing, and marks the PC physically in some fashion. (The Labyrinth Lord should devise a physical change that relates thematically to the mentor.)
Spell Mastery Mishap Table (2d6)
2 This I command. Mentor places a quest or geas spell on PC (no saving throw). Even if the mission is carried out successfully, mentor will not grant mastery.
3-5 The stars are wrong. Mentor refuses to grant PC audience. PC can try again in 1d8 weeks.
6-8 Get thee gone. Mentor ejects PC from premises and will provide no aid for 2d4 months.
9-11 Darken my door no more. Mentor casts PC out, will never be found by PC again.
12 I must despise you now. Mentor casts bestow curse on PC (no saving throw) and drives the character out, never to be found by PC again.
(These tables are based in part on Jeff Rients' "Suffer Fools Gladly" table in Fight On! #3.)
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
Friday, September 3, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
Situated at the mouth of the RIVER WULE, the port town of GLYGON is where the bulk of the ISLE OF COSK’s importing and exporting is conducted. Ships from across the SEA OF UNTHICOR unload their wares here and bring raw lumber, spices, and other goods back to ERSIS and THAMSH, or take on supplies before continuing eastward. Increasingly, companies of chartermen (as well as free lances) are disgorged from these ships to seek their fortunes further downriver.
Among the canyons and foothills of the mighty SPIRES OF SLOINE yawns the gateway to the legendary STONEHELL dungeons, “liberated” over a century ago yet somehow still infested with all manner of monstrosities, many of them human. The often venal needs of its would-be plunderers are served by the mercantile inhabitants of FULCRUM, a shanty-town that sprung up seemingly overnight.
Farming homesteads dot the fertile expanse of the PLAINS OF HEALOTH to the south, the largest of which is the village of WATTEM, situated at the edge of LAKE RUMIC. Their bountiful crops are carted north to Glygon, and south to CRADOUN for shipment to GHOOR-AMPAVA, THRONE CITY OF THE ICONESS. From here, many who find their dreams of riches thwarted by the terrors of Stonehell hire themselves out to the elves of the Spires, becoming the latest soldiers to serve the feuding clans and the multi-generational grudges they call the Mountain Wars.
Little of the precipitation that sustains these settlements reaches past the Spires, and much of it trickles back westward, filling the rivers and creating vast expanses of boggy earth. The sweltering heat of the MAGGELE SLOUGH is unpleasant enough, but further south, the RIVER STRELB has its start in the foul swamp known as THE CYSTLANDS, a veritable breeding ground of abominations. The neighboring FOREST OF MOTOMB is hardly more welcoming, overrun as it is with sinister creatures. The crusading zealots of Ghoor-Ampava have their work cut out for them here.
Yet the settlement of NEW FIESSEL sits at the edge of LICRETTO BAY, only a few days’ travel from the heart of Motomb. Their proximity to that dread forest (and to the mysterious, fey-haunted SHANDAWOOD) leaves these devout souls, driven out from the increasingly debauched cities of Thamsh, left practically cut off from the outside world, a situation that seems to suit the townsfolk well.
Across the Spires of Sloine lie the arid, rocky WASTES OF SPHAURG, unexplored - except, legend says, by the unspeakable cultists who constructed the TOWER OF PRIDE at the salty shores of LAKE DYFOI in ages past. None know the name of the being (god? demon?) summoned here, but the stories say it is trapped within, and maddened by the passing centuries. The GAUTVAS REACH and the strange island fortress dubbed the BASTION OF BLYCH remain likewise ancient and largely unknown, except to the pirates that harbor along its rocky coast and cavernous islands. The people of the nearest settlement, PHAWN, rarely travel south, content to fish the RIVER AFTRYDE.
To the north, where the SHAILOR MOUNTAINS branch off from the Spires, sits the abandoned dwarven outpost men call BLEDSPAR’S FOLLY, believed wiped out by plague. The dwarves that survived travelled east, building a nigh-unassailable fortress at SKOSTALM TOR and virtually sealing themselves within. The SCIDIAN PENINSULA, to the far northeast, does receive some small amount of rainfall, and the cutthroat town of PORT CANCIARE serves as eastbound ships’ last port of call before crossing the OMMULTIC OCEAN to the far-flung lands of QUING and QAYEDESSA.
(Looking back on it now, it's a bit of a mess. It's certainly not very evocative, but I was mostly trying to write down my concepts before I forgot them. Many of the details will undoubtedly be changed as I continue to develop the setting, but I feel I'm off to a decent start.)
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
- My face-to-face tabletop gaming group hasn't met in quite some time.
- I'm feeling burned out on my play-by-post Dragon Warriors campaign, and put it on indefinite hold.
- I'm preparing to move to New York City at the end of this month.
So, there you have it. The good news is that after such a long break, I'm really starting to feel the RPG itch again, so I should be ready to post more regularly once things calm down a little. I am hopeful that I'll be able to find a good group in New York. I might even be able to find a decent old-school game. I would really like to get some Labyrinth Lord in...
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
I ran Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay tonight, largely by the seat of my pants, and it went pretty well. We're nearing the final stretch of Terror In Talabheim scenario. I'm deviating massively from the adventure as written at this point and loving it.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Since I started the campaign some time last year, we've had a few player dropouts. At the moment, the game is on hiatus. I've only got three active players, with one potential recruit looking over the rules. I'd like to pick up one or two more and get the ball rolling again.
I'm looking for people who fit the following criteria:
- Like the Dragon Warriors game and have access to the rules (either the original Corgi digest paperbacks or the new Magnum Opus version - the changes are minimal).
- Don't mind playing through (tweaked) published scenarios, many of them at least partly dungeon-based.
- Are able to post to the forum at least a few times per week.
So, if that's you, and you think you'd like to give it a try, leave a comment to this post. Thanks.
[UPDATE: I've got enough players for now. Thanks, everybody!]
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
First off, after a long love affair with the game, I've finally somehow managed to get my group to give Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay a shot. I'm using the 2nd edition of the game, since I own literally everything that was published for it. There are a couple of people in my weekly group who I think were a bit skeptical about my insistence on random character generation, but we're now two sessions into the Terror In Talabheim adventure scenario, and the players seem to be having a good time rooting out a Skaven plot to poison the inhabitants of the nigh-impregnable fortress that is the Taalbaston. As much as I talk about wanting to run this campaign or that, I often find myself freaked out and frustrated once I'm actually behind the screen, but happily, I've avoided any such crises of confidence thus far. Maybe my love for WFRP overcomes the usual jitters, or maybe it's because the current plan is to run just this one scenario, relieving some of the pressure?
Then we've got my online forum-based Dragon Warriors campaign. I recently discussed some of the difficulties I've run into, both with the play-by-post format and with a rather poor choice of adventures I had made. We've finally slogged our way through The King Under the Forest, but the nature of the adventure combined with the fact that the characters started it just as the holidays were upon us has pretty much killed the campaign's momentum... and a good deal of my enthusiasm along with it. At the moment, I've put the game on hiatus until I'm finished with WFRP. When I start it back up, I will need to recruit more players (since one of my regulars dropped out), so if you're interested in playing a Dragon Warriors play-by-post campaign, keep an eye on this blog.
Lastly, I continue to participate in my good friend Bret's forum-based OSRIC campaign, set in his homebrewed (and wonderfully detailed) "Realms of Lakoria" sandbox setting. The AD&D rules have been a lot of fun to work with, and I have been having a great time playing a grumpy ranger character in that ruleset. For whatever reason, OSRIC really seems to get people into a fun, not-too-serious, old-school mode of play that's much different from the style I'm used to. It took a little while to get used to, and I sometimes think our party has been going about things in a more gonzo way than our DM anticipated, but it really is a blast.
And as a last random note, I just got a bunch of Creature Crucible D&D supplements in the mail yesterday. I picked them up on eBay with the inkling of ripping them off for use with Labyrinth Lord. We'll see how that works out.
So, yeah, a happy gaming time for me. Hope yours has been good as well!
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
My first Exotic Events roll is a 16: "The character and another player character become acquainted with each other." Cool - this reminds me of the random cooperative character generation that Mongoose's new versions of Traveller and RuneQuest use. I roll a d10 to see exactly how they're acquainted. I get a 9: "One saves the other's life." A roll of a 5 on d6 indicates it was Gloomspear who saved the other PC's life. I like this. Adult events work a bit differently than Childhood & Adolescent ones in that you pick at what age they happened. Let's say this one happened when he was 20 years old.
I roll a 12 for Gloomspear's second Exotic Event, a long and detailed entry which explains that Gloomspear discovered "a waterlogged old chest" with "an apparently drowned animal" inside, that then awakened and became his pet. Well, that's definitely exotic. So, I have a roll on table 759: Unusual Pets up next. A roll of 7 on d20 indicates that it's a monkey, and another roll on table 760: Special Pet Abilities tells me that it's "Telepathic - Can communicate by mental speech." 19 seems like a good age to find a half-drowned psychic monkey, right?
I notice at this point that I was supposed to roll "Noteworthy Items" for Gloomspear's friends, the dwarf and the wizard, by using table 114: Parents & NPCs. Obviously, you wouldn't want to roll up a detailed history for everybody Gloomspear's ever met, so instead, each of his friends will get d3 rolls on the table. The dwarf gets one roll, and the wizard gets two.
To make a long story short, the dwarf (a male) is "persecuted or villainized" for "being involved in illegal activities", namely "organized guild thievery". Gloomspear befriended a notorious dwarven thief when he was a slave. The poor guy was probably in the clink with Gloomspear when the prisoners' amnesty was declared, and ended up enslaved alongside him.
Gloomspear's wizard friend (a woman) is forever telling "tales of a legendary treasure" and has vague hints as to its location. Interestingly, she is also believed to be the destined mate of "some unheard-of god from another land". The wizardess disagrees, but is still harassed and annoyed by this god's followers. Well, whatever else you might think, you can't say this book doesn't provide some colorful results.
Next, we'll see what happens when Gloomspear the boy becomes a man...
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
So far so good, right? Sure, his Hit Points roll could have been better, and he looks kind of like Saladin as played by Inspector Gadget, but his stats are well above average. He certainly seems to be a cheerful guy. His future is wide open, but it's his past that he needs to worry about. Why?
He's about to go through this:
"This book contains everything you need (except dice) to create detailed character histories and includes guidelines and rule materials to accomodate any FRP game system."
Yes, that's right, this is Central Casting: Heroes of Legend, Paul Jaquays' batshit crazy lifepath book, which I recently managed to pick up for a song on eBay. I don't know much about it, but I do know it has a picture of Ayatollah Khomeini in it for no reason whatsoever.
So wipe that crooked-eyed smirk off your Saturday-morning-cartoon-looking face, Gloomspear. Things are about to get real.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
Brothers and sisters, at long last, the age-old dream can be realized.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
With my recent acquisition of quality old-school style products like Labyrinth Lord, Stonehell Dungeon, and The Dungeon Alphabet, I'm back to seriously considering running a Dungeons & Dragons campaign again, but this time using the Labyrinth Lord rules (based on the "basic" version of the game) rather than 4e. Specifically, I want to run a game focused on a megadungeon, the boomtown surrounding it, and rivalries among the bands of adventurers delving into its depths. I have some neat little ideas that I think will give my own spin on an well-worn concept.
What I'm currently trying to figure out is how to do it. I could try running it at the local comics and games shop, but I'm about to start playtesting something that will take at least a few weeks (that's literally all I can say regarding that subject), and I also want to give the new Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space game a fair shot. I wouldn't be running Who, but it's difficult to see how I could finagle running a game on one night and playing on another in the week. Players have enough difficulty pulling off one night a week, myself included, and that's assuming they'd even be willing to give something so old and crusty a shot. I doubt they'd be interested for even a short game, let alone a setup that would require as much long-term investment as I'd hope to be able to get.
What to do...?
Thursday, February 4, 2010
This October, Wizards of the Coast is releasing a "D&D Genre Setting" boxed set for Gamma World, using the 4e system. Oh, and there will be booster packs of randomized Mutation and Tech cards.
Let the wailing and gnashing of teeth begin!
But hey, it's nice to see the boxed set making its long-delayed comeback, right? And between these boxed sets and the impending release of Dark Sun, it sure looks like WotC is trying hard to win over fans of the TSR era.
(Honestly, I'm not sure what to make of this announcement. On the one hand, if you were ever going to make a game with randomized player abilities on cards, Gamma World would be the one with which to do it. I will admit it appeals to my love of randomness. On the other hand, I have never been a fan of "booster packs". I also wonder how, and if, this card-based character generation would integrate with the D&D Insider online tools.)