Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Jewel Throne Artwork WIP Preview

By Jason Alexander Scanlon...

The Sounds of the Sea of Spices

Whether treating with half-naked, sun-bronzed indigenes; hacking through steaming jungles; or wading through black water only to have a companion disappear into the jaws of a massive crocodile, the soundtrack is exclusively Exotica...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Question for OD&D LBB/White Box types?

So I'm DMing a LBB OD&D/Whitebox d6 & d20 type game, and I've found that converting "normal D&D" material on the fly is a snap, except for one thing, monster damage.

There is a precedent in LBB D&D (& EPT) for some monsters inflicting multiple dice of damage, such as giants.

If you are converting a post-greyhawk/AD&D/B/XD&D monster to LBB OD&D, at what point (if any) do you decide that the monster's attacks do more than one dice of damage? Or do you use another scheme.

In an encounter with a giant crocodile that was listed with a 3-24 damage bite, I decided to roll 3 six-siders and use the highest roll; but I could see rolling two or three dice for damage (4-24 roughly equals 3 d8 "hit dice" which would be 3-18 in d6 "hit dice").

I also use "latter era nice-guy Gygaxian/Master of the Game" PC hit dice; PCs roll 1 die per level, with fighters getting a +1 per die, so the PCs do have more HP than standard LBB characters.

So how do you guys handle this?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

[Mailorder Related] Hail to Finland!

I'm not sure why, but every time I order a print product from Lamentations of the Flame Princess not only does it consistently arrive sooner than orders I make from vendors located in the United States, but the shipping charges do not leave me feeling like I have been gang-violated with broken glass (*cough* Lulu... *cough*); chalk one up for socialism? ;)

Obviously James needs to start stocking a larger variety of dead tree OSR products, as the combination of convenience (as in it's convenient to get the damn book in my hand AS SOON AS POSSIBLE) and reasonable shipping costs makes ordering from an frozen boondock on the opposite side of the world a no-brainer.

So here's a tribute to Finland & Metal:

RPG Hate Annoyances - "Muddying the Waters"

New player "What's my AC?"

DM "With felt armor and round shield it would be 7"


DM to new player *sighs* "What is your dexterity score again? 10, okay there's no dexterity modifier in your case."

**** later in the game ****

DM to new player "What's your armor class again?"

New Player "It says 7 on my sheet, but I get a dexterity bonus, right?"

DM *glares at Bystander Player*

File under "It happens every damn time" & "Please don't confuse the beginners"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Legend of Kronh the Hunter Part II

The cold fluffy water has stopped dropping from the sky and the strange two headed woman claims that it made the water stop; our chieftain is pressed and invites the two headed woman to join our band.

We set out north seeking the missing hunters and soon see a bright shining reflection suspended in vegetation ahead of us; KRONH and one of the other hunting men boldly stride forward to investigate.

The shining form is a man wrapped in shining bulky skins that resemble light shining off of the lake or parts of KRONH's fire-stick, a hunter from a strange tribe!

KRONH reaches out to pull the hunter from the bushes it is entangled in and suddenly several clumps of vines start sluggishly whipping about and moving toasted KRONH and the other hunter.

KRONH is grabbed by the vines that secret burning fluid on his skin and reacts by consuming a vial of speed while his servants feebly attempt to battle the vines.

KRONH is wrapped in vines and unable to fire his thunder god penis and instead pummels and bites the vines while thrashing out of their grasp.

Meanwhile the healing-woman strikes at the bushes with her weapon and suddenly the vegetation goes limp, the bush disgorging the shining hunter.

KRONH speaks with the strange man, his tribe is from the north; KRONH asks what weapons he bears and finds out that she in an unarmed foraging woman!

Still, with the shining skins she must be from the gods tribe, and KRONH commands her to escort the party back to her tribe and we set forth northwards...

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Legend of Kronh The Slayer

I be KRONH THE SLAYER; as your eyes reveal I am a mighty man and hunter, tall in stature, muscular, vigourous, virile, cunning and noble-featured.

KRONH hunts the forests for his tribe; other men in the tribe hunt, but KRONH hunts alone, for such a mighty hunter is slowed by lesser companions. Women forage, tend wounds, and perform other woman-ish duties. Sometimes when the other men are hunting KRONH takes their women; KRONH has many sons, many more than the other hunters realize.

For many days it has been colder; one day a rim of hard cold water formed around the lake. KRONH cares not, he breaks the hard water with his fists and bathes in the cold water as he does every morning. Fluffy cold water falls from the skies now.

As it has been colder so has game been less plentiful and predators have started hunting the tribe. KRONH cares not, he is a cunning hunter who fills his belly regardless of how plentiful game is, let the weak and slow starve says he. And if hunting beasts hunt KRONH he welcomes the battle for KRONH is mighty.

It is said that as it had been colder the game our tribe hunts has been traveling north, into the barren hills. Other hunters have travelled to these hills, but have not returned; KRONH cares not, he is cunning and fast enough to find game in the forest.

One day the chieftain calls a meeting and informs the tribe that lots have been drawn to form a party to seek out the missing hunter. Those that have been drawn include several women, a couple of hunters and KRONH. Hohoho, KRONH laughs at the falsehoods of the chieftain, for they would not leave to chance getting KRONH to lead this band; obviously KRONH's lot was rigged.

The men are taken into the shamen's hut. KRONH is familiar with this hut, as many of the tribe are afraid of the skulls, totems and spirits in the hut, but KRONH is unafraid and knows that many of the tribes women are excited by the spookiness of this hut.

First the shaman offers us men mighty shields of some strange material of the Gods; the same Gods that men like KRONH are descended from. But the shaman is deceitful, for next he offers us bows and arrows, but we must choose between the bows or the shield. KRONH now knows not to trust the shaman and is sorely vexed, but chooses the bow, as a wise hunter always carries a ranged weapon.

Next the shaman presents KRONH with a fire-stick, the penis of a thunder god! Another hunters tries to claim the prize but KRONH receives his rightful tribute; KRON will have to watch this other deceitful hunter!

The shaman sends the other men away and teaches KRONH the secret prayers of loading, marksmanship and clearing jams of the fire-stick; the other jealous men lurk outside the hut but KRONH drives them away with cuffs and bellows.

After learning the secret prayers KRONH returns to the party to see that s strange two-headed woman had emerged from the forest and is treating with the chieftain...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pluton Zone Miscellany - The Karcery Institut

Karcery Institut
Karcery is one of the few inhabited worlds of the Pluton Zone that is not part of it's general feudal society, instead operating as a strictly regimented organization, managed by KEAB Authority (Karcery Elder Advisory Board). Karcery is infamous for its Institut Troopers, squads of mercenary sorcerer-soldier fanatics, conditioned from birth to be unafraid of death and utterly loyal to the terms of their commissions. These commissions are tightly regulated by the KEAB Authority, which operates independently from the feudal lords of the Pluton Zone while still maintaining restraint with their commissions in order to avoid unduly destabilizing it's civilization. Institut Troopers wear black uniforms with discrete silver skull insignias; its is said that they are ritually married to a skeleton, and thus death itself, upon graduation from the KEAB Authority conditioning academies. Troopers are raised in military units from birth in these academies.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Pluton Zone II

Concept: The Pluton Zone is a space sandbox designed to facilitate "Space D&D"; there are space- and planet- monsters, treasures and "dungeons," as well as a feudal frontier society and some vaguely-defined & Dune-inspired "space magic" to justify the occasional Space Sorcerer and Space Cleric. People fight with space swords due to both some vaguely Klingon/Barsoom-ian space warrior society traditions as well as practicalities involving space ship hulls and systems.

The Pluton Zone is humanocentric, the presumption being that aside from occasional Vancian "Inscrutable Indigenes" or extra-weird NPCs, the sentient population of the region is entirely human-based. Society is dominated primarily by aristocratic Houses that command the majority of Pluton Zone's military and mercantile assets; these Houses are led by sundry Lords, Barons, Archdukes, Princes and the like dependent upon the status of their House, their lineage, and their holdings. Those audacious enough to declare themselves Kings or Emperors have been set upon and destroyed by the rest of the Houses for both their temerity and the implicit threat to the liberty of these Houses by such aspirations. Many Houses have complex liege and vassal relationships with other Houses.

At one time in the past the society of the Pluton Zone was occupied by a staunchly middle class democratic capitalistic homogeneous society, but things collapsed a long time ago and callous space feudalism emerged.

Tourism from the more "civilized" core zones are a major industry for safer worlds; the tourists marvel at the quaint customs and barbaric splendor of many of the societies with many taking advantage of the looser legalities and flexible regard for human rights of these worlds.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Pluton Zone

The Pluton Zone is a sandbox setting for "Space D&Ds" that I'm toying with; the primary inspirations are space-feudalism, Jack Vance, Dune and Flash Gordon.  What follows are my rough initial notes; obviously the names need a lot more polish, and I haven't even touched upon the varied idiosyncratic space-aristocrats, The System Barons!


Located between the Esatern limb of the Feudal Sectors and the Arallu Void this region is suffused with dark gases and dust, the remnants of several systems destroyed in antediluvian aeons. Many of the stars are lurid purples or reds in hue. The initial Stellar Explorers who surveyed the Pluton Zone discovered several indigenous Human societies.

Primary Systems

ARASH - dim, small, white star.

ARASH-VUGL - large, metal-poor, cool, foggy, rainy, planet of dismal oily gray fens and bogs inhabited by oversize invertebrates. Their are rich deposits of petroleum in the muddy crust of of Arash-Vugl, House Akand operates drilling rig colonies.

EREBUS - trade hub, capital, where the system barons meet, neutral ground; local laws prohibit firearms, energy weapons and armor in common regions; sulphurous cloudy, windy, boulder ridden ochre and rust wastes; cold, dry; some mines.

KARCERY – prison world, produces soldier-sorcerer-fanatics

KOROS-ZON - ultraviolet desert; valuable minerals

KRAS – bloated, pale, dim yellow star

KRAS-MOLOKT - cold plateaus with foggy fungal hell jungle pits between

LABROS - amazons; steppes; shaggy titanic beasts

LYOTAN - dim ocean world; drifting vegetation mat-islands

PRIOTHERIA - endless scathing cold winds and broken red mountains; rubble

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Weeping King

Lobraxius was once a cheery, fruitful land, but is now dim and troubled. Chill mists dampen its orchards and its onetime singing brooks are now gloomy and menacing. It's capital (and only large settlement of note) Lacunae is no longer bustling but instead inflicted with lassitude, mild despair and occasional fits of madness.

The Silver Palace dimly looms over Lacunae through the cold mists and upon it's throne of howlite sits The Weeping King. Despite his appellation the Weeping King is stoic, albeit confused and vaguely troubled, being called by such a title for the weeping wound upon the side of his head.

This wound was inflicted by the cursed blade Bolvangangen, wielded by The Weeping King's bastard half-brother The Masked Prince at the urgings of their witch-mother Ulmoas. This accursed blade sorely wounded both the king and via it's sorcery the land, draining both of their vitality and vigour.

Now hissing shades stalk the dales and moors of Lobraxius and infants quietly die of neglect in their cribs.

The Sea of Spices - Chapter I, Part III

Kasem Somchai dashes through the pyramidal monoliths, both graven with the form of a powerful looking man, with his back to the viewer, wearing an elaborate witch doctor's head-dress and somehow with his arms outstretched holding back a loathsome vague slug-like shape, stumbling onto a black stone platform, a landing, over the edge of the titanic blue-lit pit before him. Almost toppling over the edge, he desperately swings his arms to regain his balance and somehow, through the instinctive reaction to the sudden peril of a calamitous fall, breaks the mesmerism that has overtaken his consciousness and regains his senses, fully lucid.

Looking around he sees a wide basalt staircase plunging from one side of the landing he is standing upon, horribly worn, descending at a steep incline down the side of the pit. His companions catch up and they all stare in awe at the vast glowing void wondering if the other ensorcelled Henchmen had ran heedless off of the platform into the blue abyss before them?

The situation is discussed and the party begins cautiously descending the staircase, alert and clenching bared weaponry. After 2,000 small, tall, steep steps the stairs come to another landing before reversing course in their descend down the sides of the cyclopean shaft. A narrow aperture gapes in the pit-wall adjacent to the landing, with graven forms in the stone on either side, the same powerful witch-doctor as on the monoliths above, but this time facing the viewer and wearing a face-covering cowl that bares fierce eyes and its palms up and out as if holding something back.

As the party discusses whether to further descend gibbered whimpering is heard from withing the dark portal in the shaft-wall. Zusander, with his skills in languages and translation makes out pidgen words for "Please," "Help" and the like. Inquiries are made and the unseen speaker begins begging in Common "Please take me from this bad place; Please protect me from the wicked ones below."

The companions further discuss their options at length before torch-light is cast into the aperture, revealing a short, narrow tunnel with a prone man at the end, clad in orate Ankhor mail with a round-shield bearing the bas-relief of an elephant's head and a sheathed bolo-sword at his waist. Although he had the frizzy hair and almond complexion of the islanders, his eyes and facial features belied Ankhor ancestry.

The man, and adventurers named Nodcal, explains that he and his Sindhu dwarf companion, Sufru, had descended into the pit seeking gold; they found many abandoned strange huts before night fell and several ghostly bad men emerged chanting wicked black juju. Sufru fell under their spell and wast entranced, but as Nodcal fled they brushed him with their fingers and sucked his vitality, draining him of his strength. He was able to ascend this far before collapsing from exhaustion and dragging himself into the alcove.

Nodcal begged the party to descend and rescue Sufru, but the party refuses and instead conveys Nodcal back to their vessel. The journey through the jungle is uneventful, aside from placid orangutans and an arm-sized leech attacking a Henchman, but Nodcal recovers no strength and requires the aid of two men to walk.

The party weighs anchor and sails for the southern village, delivering Nodcal to their witch-doctor; the half-Ankhor adventurer presents them with a purse of 3,000 worn shiny coin-like flattened lumps of gold. Speculations are made regarding what else he had been carrying while helpless and in their power.

The party feasts, rests, and under the pretense of "hunting" begins navigating an indirect route through the jungle for the mist-shrouded middle mountain of the three looming above the jungle inland from the village.

Starcrash - Carcosa!

"HYPERLOG VG15-663xyk/Imperial Mangor Scout Expedition - Hyades:
Achieved orbit around habitable class world, monitors indicated unusual BIO and PSI readings. Was forced to evacuate after vessel was swarmed by unknown winged bioforms. Escape pod landed in phosphorescent barrens, next attempting contact with jale hued humanoid natives"

Imagine combining Humanspace Empires, Terminal Space, X-Plorers or Stars Without Numbers with the Carcosa setting; Raygun Holocaust!

Files this one under "Games I want to play in..."

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Sea of Spices - Chapter I, Part II

The party returns to the Salty Voyager and settles their nerves after the shocking jungle episode. The next morning they return to the pond carrying a rowboat from their xebec. They use a complicated scheme to ferry all of the adventurers and retinue to the pile of crumbled black ruined stones in the center of Nushnos' death lake.

The islet is searched, and although Amarath the Scholar ascertains that it is indeed the ancient remains of some ruin that they are standing on, no entrances, passages, chambers, shafts or treasures are found. Zusander strips to his scimitar and dagger and dives several times to the bottom of the pond, but also discovers naught; the party returns to their vessel and rests another night.

The next morning they set out for the mountain rising above the jungle; for two days they slash and tread and sweat and drudge through the thick undergrowth and choking lianas, encountering naught but occasional placid family groups of orangutans. By the evening of the second day they have reached the rocky base of the vegetation encrusted mount and while searching for a campsite they discover an ancient road of worn black stones in the jungle, heading directly for the mountain. There are intermittent piles of crumbled basalt slabs alongside the road which the Scholar Amarath identifies as the vastly ancient remains of buildings.

As twilight sets in the party makes camp alongside the black road but are disturbed by the sudden sussurus of ghostly chanting whispers coming from the mountain above accompanied by a vast vertical shaft of shimmering blue light thrusting up into the night sky from a spot on the lower reaches of the mountain, with the road pointing directly at this ghastly illumination.

The Physician Asem Somchai, the Fighting-Man Ulnoc, and the Henchmen Hanamandu, Modibi, Sabmon and Fulompha begin running down the road towards the blue shaft of light upon the mountain, ignoring the calls of their companions. Zusander grabs Mobidi's arm and tries to overpower her but after she begins pummeling him he lets her twist out of his grasp and rush after the others.

The party attempts to chase their apparently mesmerized compatriots, but all of the ensorcelled dashers aside for the mail-clad Asem Somchai are able to outpace the party. Fearing further violence if they physically interfere with the Physician they instead follow him.

An hour later Ulnoc comes to his senses while dashing down the dark road leading steeply up the mountainside; he attempts to stops Fulompha but she soundly ignores him so he instead turns around and begins jogging down the slope, soon coming across the Ankhor Physician followed by the rest of the un-mesmerized adventurers and Henchmen.

The party continues following Asem as he dashes up the steep mountain road, and an hour later they come upon the source of the massive shaft of blue ghost light; upon a small ledge or plateau in the lower reaches of the mountain, the ancient road leading up to it, is a vast circular pit, from which the beam of light emerges. Two monoliths, resembling vertically elongated pyramids, stand close together where the road intersects the pit, one of each side of the terminus of the paves, with Doctor Asem Somchai dashing straight towards the point between these two markers...

J/B Blackrazor's PC Relationship Table & OD&D "Seems" More "Realistic"

I'm posting from my phone on my lunch break, so this post is going to be deficient in links, tags and the like.

- Firstly JB Blackrazor's "How the adventurers know each other/previous relationships" table EDIT: is pure gold; it a great device for helping define new PCs and their relationships with other PCs, and is a lot of fun as well. Dude needs to write more random tables!

- Secondly, I DM'ed OD&D for the first time yesterday, and both the players and I really enjoyed it. Our experience seems for bolster the theory that the less rules there are, the more "realistic" and "immersive" the experience is, and it seemed really conductive to creating an emergent adventure story.

- We used the Empire of the Petal Throne beginning/background skills system and I think it may be one of my favorite skill systems and certainly my favorite for D&D-ish systems. When I was young vague skill systems frustrated me into nerdrage; nowadays I could care less for having defined mechanics for basket weaving.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Sea of Spices - Chapter I, Part I

The Cast:

Amaranth, Kumarikantam Magic-User and Scholar

Doctor Kasem Somchai, Ankhor Cleric and Physician

Nushno, Sindhu Fighting-Man, Step-Brother to Zusander, and his henchmen:
- Sabmon (Cleric), Fulompha (Sorceress), Euvero (Fighting-Man) and Ulnoc (Fighting-Man)

Zusander the Tiger, Sindhu Fighting-Man, Step-Brother to Nushnos, and his henchmen:
- Clodius (Iskander Fighting-Man), Faruza (Sindhu Fighting-Woman), Hanamandu (Kumarikantam Fighting-Man) and Modibi (Sindhu Priestess)


The Salty Voyager, Sindhu Xebec

Nushno and Zusander, step-brothers that hated each other, shared an adventurer-uncle, Abheems, who told them tale, of a mist shrouded mountain, the middle of three, looming above Snake Island, west of Dread Island and north of the port-island of Amphorae in the Sea of Spices. This uncle spoke of tales and maps and of the treasure horde of an ancient lost empire sequestered within a hidden temple upon said mist-shrouded mountain before setting out on a expedition to recover these treasures.

Uncle Abheems was never heard from again.

The the intervening years the brother grew to despise each other further, while emulating their uncle by pursuing lives of wandering adventure. Nushno gained a second enemy to his step-brother when both he and a Kumarikantam Scholar-Sorcerer pursued the same woman, only for both to earn her scorn for their competitive efforts.

This Scholar was Amarath, an adventuring companion of the Ankhor Physician-Priest Kasem Somchai, the two of whom has been inseparable companions since they saved each others lives on a disastrous expedition where the rest of their companions expired.

Before the aforementioned expedition, Doctor Kasem Somchai has served a term of hard labour in the gaols of a cruel Vizir with Zusander the Tiger, where the two of them banded together for mutual advantage.

Years later the two rival step-brothers grudgingly decide to work together and go after their missing uncle and the treasure horde he was seeking. Zusander brings along past ally and cleric Kasem Somchai and the Sage-Sorcerer Amarath to bolster the party, and Nushno is dismayed to see that the "help" that his step-brother has obtained includes a former romantic rival.

The party pools their resources, the step-brother gather their henchmen, and they all commission an adventurer-captain and lease a xebec before thrusting out into the vast reaches of the Ouroboric Oceans into a harrowing journey to the Sea of Spices.

Much later the vessel floats alongside the western coast of a large jungle isle, according to their navigation Snake Island. Four mountains thrust out of the lush greenery, one to the north, and three closely clustered together to the south, the middle of which is shrouded with thick gray clouds. In the initial scout of the coast two hut-villages are spotted, one below each two mountainous regions, with a distance of 50 miles separating the villages along the coast.

The party sails into the harbor of the southern village; the villagers are friendly and their chief greets the xebec from a dugout catamaran, making welcomes and inquiries of cargo. Zusuander makes of gift of a vial of perfume which impresses the chieftan greatly, other sundries are gifted, and the party is feted with roast pig, fruit, arrack, and gracious hospitality. They notice that the boulders scattered about the village appear to be the remains of ancient architecture, and that the harbour, apparently natural, seems to be artificial albeit of extreme antiquity.

The next day the party speaks with the cheiftan and witch-doctor, and when inquiries are made of the mist-shrouded mountain they are informed that it is taboo and forbidden. The party sets sail for the northern village, consisting of grass huts on wooden platforms and barges of reed-bundles, and again gifts of "cargo" are made, this time a block of incense impressing the chieftan. The people of this village wear many pieces of rude gold jewelry, which piques the parties interest.

They inquire of the mountain looming above this village and learn that long ago a wicked tribe lived in a village inside the mountain and performed black magic upon and enslaved the people of the island. Eventually the mighty sons of gods saw fit to stop this tribe, and punished them for their wickedness and imprisoned them within their mountain.

Nowadays people stay away from that mountain, and those that hunt too close to it often disappear. The party agrees that is seems wise to stay away from the mountain and asks about the gold jewelry. They are told that the jungle is full of the weathered rubble of ancient ruins, and that sometimes hunters find trinkets or amphorae under rocks or within the burrows of capybaras; after many years the tribe has accumulated many trinkets. It is said this gold comes from when the wicked tribe of the mountain was struck down, the jewels of those that were slain in the jungles.

The next day the party sails north-east along the coastline for a few hours to a spot north of and close to the mountain and anchored in a sheltered harbour. The party decides to search the jungle for a few hours and seek out some of this gold. After an hour they stumble upon a small group of orangutans, who placidly munch on forage while watching the party. The party continues searching the jungle and in the darkness beneath the jungle canopy, among the singing, chattering and screeching of birds, monkeys and insects, sweltering in torrid humidity, they find a stagnant black pool with a tumbled pile of black rocks resembling the shattered stone ruins of a small step-pyramid squatting in the center of the pool amidst the poison-green floating vegetation, only a few shafts of sunlight piercing the canopy above to illuminate a few slime-encrusted boulders among the rotting edge of the islet.

The party discusses investigating this ruined pile for gold; the Sindhu step-brothers Zusander and Nushno are both trained and skilled swimmers and divers, and the two resolve to see if they can wade to the islet. The cautiously step into the waters, the much sucking at their feet; at about a third of the way to the black rocks, about thirty feet from the shore, the waters reach above their waist. There is a sudden explosion of white foaming water and blackened green scales; a massive crocodile lunges out from the deeper waters, grabs Nushno within its jaws, and disappears beneath the suddenly blood-slicked and still waters.

There is a shocked silence as the birds, monkeys and insects still their cacophony before Zusander begins slashing with his scimitar through the murky waters, but to no satisfaction.

He staggers out of the slimy pond to rejoin his stunned companions; Nushnos' former flunkies discuss their situation, and at the urgings of the Sorceress Fulompha, Ulnoc is nominated as the new leader of this particular knot of henchmen. Meanwhile the rest of the party speculate on how suspicious this tale will sound to the family of the rival step-brothers, "Nusho went on a sea voyage with a former romantic rival, his hated step-brother, and someone that his step-brother met in prison; they go into the jungle and than he gets killed by a crocodile that disappears with his body..."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Adventure/Module Recomendations?

I'm looking to pad out my collection of adventures; system doesn't matter as long as it's reasonably compatible with OSR-ish D&D & varients.

Looking for swords & sorcery/pulp fantasy/science fantasy. Free, not-free, included in a magazine, it's all good.

I like:
The Fane of St. Toad
The Dreaded Isle
The Unknown City
The People of the Pit
Obregon's Dishonor
The Isle of Dread

Dwellers of the Forbidden City

The Mines of Khunmar
The Coils of Set
ANYTHING by Gabor Lux

Do you guys have any sterling recommendations?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Calling Dibs, Jewel Throne Update, and Dungeons & Charity?

Firstly I formally call dibs for usage of the appellation "Thing Tome" for an OSR monster book; I'm not 100% sure that I'm going to attempt this endeavor (and I'm not about to commit to anything until I release The Jewel Throne) but, in the meantime, if you steal this name that makes you a nasty thieving gaga...

Regarding the Jewel Throne, all of the articles are in, I'm just waiting on some artwork (and I'm in no rush artist's cool whenever they're ready :)) and than the layout begins.

One of the ideas I'm considering for the Jewel Throne PDF is releasing it as a modestly "app priced" download with the proceeds going to a worthwhile & non-politicized charity? I need to consult with the contributors regarding this conceit, but please let me know what you think of this idea?

If this proves fruitful, and I also proceed with the Thing Tome, than I'd like to also use it as a charity fundraiser.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Daydreams of Stair Stalkers

"The Stair Stalker, created by Roger Musson, is just plain fucking creepy..."

Thanks to Greg Gorgonmilk for turning me on to the Stair Stalker; after reading his awesome interpretation of this thing, I can't imagine a dungeon of mine without them. Tekumel, Hyboria, Call of Cthulhu, some Ancients pyramid in the Traveller universe; if it's underground and has stairs, chances are you may run into a Stair Stalker...

Now I agree with the creepiness of the Stair Stalker, and a good DM could milk it. And with an Armor Class of 0, 3+1 Hit Die, and two attacks for 1-6 pips of hits, the Stair Stalker is no pushover! Tougher (albeit not as social) than a bugbear and with that AC is probably more dangerous than an Ogre, I'm pretty sure one of these guys could have a shot at TPKing a beginning party.
"Oswald the Greedy shoves the shaggy green thing down the stairs after taking it's leathern sack"
Oswald the Greedy is going to get beat the fuck down...

So now I have to include some notation in my random dungeon encounter matrices about the probability of an encounter with a solitary (No. appearing: 1) Stair Stalker.

Okay, the No. Appearing die is only 1 pip, and the solitary gimmick works for this thing, but imagine being deep in the bowels of some creepy ass dungeon, beat to shit and hauling some heavy sacks of copper wire, statuary and silverware out, and when you come to the exit staircase you are confronted by a herd of Stair Stalkers cutting you off. Shambling silently, zombie-like, filling the entire stairwell. Do you try and wait it out? How many of these fucking things are there? Sure you can try to cut your way though, but these things are tough and the whole pack  would probably flip out. Where are they going? Where did they come from?

I definitely need some rare chance of a Stair Stalker herd occurring for my dungeon encounter tables...

Jodorosky's Dune & a greater degree of collaboration...

"In December 1974, a French consortium led by Jean-Paul Gibon purchased the film rights to Frank Herbert’s epic 1965 science fiction novel Dune and asked Jodorowsky to direct a film version. Agreeing, he planned to cast the surrealist artist Salvador Dali as the Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV, who requested a fee of $100,000 per hour. He also planned to cast Orson Welles as the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, who only agreed when Jodorowsky offered to get his favourite gourmet chef to prepare his meals for him throughout the filming.[22] The book's protagonist, Paul Atreides, was to be played by Jodorowsky's own son, Brontis Jodorowsky. The music would be composed by Pink Floyd, Magma, Henry Cow and Karlheinz Stockhausen.[citation needed] Jodorowsky set up a pre-production unit in Paris consisting of Chris Foss, a British artist who designed covers for science fiction publications, Jean Giraud (Moebius), a French illustrator who created and also wrote and drew for Metal Hurlant magazine, and H. R. Giger.[citation needed] Frank Herbert travelled to Europe in 1976 to find that $2 million of the $9.5 million budget had already been spent in pre-production, and that Jodorowsky's script would result in a 14-hour movie ("It was the size of a phonebook", Herbert later recalled).[citation needed]
Jodorowsky took creative liberties with the source material, but Herbert said that he and Jodorowsky had an amicable relationship. "

Whilst musing about a theoretical monster manual that grants the artists a greater creative stake in the proceedings, Jodorosky's Dune came to mind.

Now imagine an OSR RPG product produced like a movie, "jack does great monsters, Jill does great dungeon maps, Didier makes great NPCs", talented folks are comissioned by a "director/curator" to bring their individual strengths to bear on the individual elements of a project.

It could produce some "next level shit" or it could fall into the "design by committe" trap...

Monday, March 7, 2011

[PSA] Please Don't Nuke Your Blog! & d10 Romantic Misadventures Table

Fellow-Blogger and/or Internet-Acquaintance,

I've been reading your blog for a while, and recently when I clicked my bookmark for it and I recieved the blogspot 404 orange-beige-and-blue staring me right in the eyes. Needless to say I was confused; did I click the wrong bookmark? Did China hack blogspot? Oh wait... I've seen this before... Far too many times...

Hey, I get it, blogging is kind of a geeky, masturbatory time-suck. And BlasTeR_WvlF1986 has been really grinding and sniping at you on both the BullseyeLantern and the ZagygTemple messageboards. But, aside from the fact that I liked reading your blog, there's this one thing...

That Shoggoth Generation table; it was a piece of art! I could get everything from a member of the Cleanup Crew to a Mr. Shiny to a Blob-Kaiju using it. I really need that Shoggoth Generation table for this dungeon level I'm working on...I made the map with your table in mind!

Plus there's also that Uppity NPC Table, and Random Minor PC Humiliations Matrix, and your stats for The Headless Horseman, and that Bowels of the Worm God dungeon, and...

...Anyways, if you want to take a sabbatical or retire from blogging, that's certainly your prerogative, but please don't euthanize all of that useful content you produced! I'm sure you could easily erase the fingerprints and serial numbers off of your blog and leave the corpse floating in the internet for us scavengers to pick at. Your so graciously freely-shared creative output was appreciated, greatly appreciated!

EDIT: Joe-Sky Tax,

d10 Random "Romantic" Misadventures Table
1 - Birthmark reveals that she/he is your sister/brother!
2 - You're unable to perform and cruelly mocked for that by paramour.
3 - Premature. Way too premature. As above.
4 - Overprotective relative bursts in, menacing wackiness ensues!
5 - Everything seems fine...for 1d20 days. Better see a physician to irrigate your urethra with sulphur and quicksilver!
6 - Oh wait, afterwards it appears that she/he was expecting financial recompense for making the beast with two backs with you,
7 - She/he seemed normal, but now wants something illegal before they will "party."
8 - Turns out she/he was a serial killer (or bounty hunter)... d12 for assassin level!
9 - She/he was the princess/prince in disguise; not a fairy-tale, the consequences if the wrong party learns of this could be potentially lethal.
10 - Was a virgin; 01-50% - it is Really Really Awkward, and they seem distraught afterwards, 51-00% unleashes some inconvenient or catastrophic curse, transformation or prophecy...she/he was THE ONE!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Jewel Throne Update-ish Post and d10 Random Aristrocrat Possessions Table

I'm currently waiting on a couple of articles and pieces of art (all of which sound like they'll be great!) and than I'll commence with the layout. The quality and quantity of submitted material is considerable, including two adventures that are pretty much the equivalents of old-tyme TSR 16-page modules; it'll be at least 70 pages. It will be a free PDF, and I'll make sure and format a version meant to easily print out and assemble into a booklet.

This post is pretty boring, albeit possibly of some interest to some folks, so I really should include a random table.

d10 Random Aristocrat Possessions Table
1 - Ivory and platinum snuff box (contents d4: 1 - candy, 2- cigarillos, 3 - cocaine, 4 - cranberries)
2 - d20 x 1,000 gp worth of gamblings markers from other Aristocrats.
3 - +3 Stiletto, silver and sapphire hilt
4 - Folding mirror (minor magic item)
5 - Scandalous diary with many compromising details regarding both the author and associates.
6 - Outlawed Chaos-Demon Cult Unholy Symbol! (d4: 1 - Arioch, 2 - Belial, 3 - Cthulhu, 4 - Demogorgon)
7 - Either a fake mustache or fancy ladies undergarments (dependent upon gender of said aristocrat...)
8 - High tech communicator!?!?
9 - Vial of especially puissant poison
10 - A writ of "Get Out of Jail Free" from King/Emperor/Senate, negotiable by the bearer!

[Category - Bloody Obvious Ideas] Artwork First Monster Manual?

I know there's been a lot of OSR-blogosphere discussion about greater collaboration between writers and artists blah blah blah... (I'm going to be a dick and NOT LINK to said discussions).

Whilst meditating on said subject the idea struck me, "It would be awesome if a bunch of awesome OSR-ish artists types assembled a collection of bitchin' original monster illustrations, and than said monsters were statted out for a monster book (including morale scores and hoard classes dammit! And also Comprehensive Encounter Tables too!)"

The next idea to strike me was "Duuh genius...I'm sure someone has already done that." Although I'm sure it was more like 20 monsters for 3E in a $12 PDF-only product, and done in that full-color, overblown DevaintArt style...

Anyways, a nice thick monster manual of OSR illustrator monsters could be pretty freaking awesome, and I'm pretty much counting on James Mal. to get on this right on this after releasing Petty Gods...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

d20 Random Iron Rations Table

1-10 - See previous entry
11 - Salt-cured blubber
12 - Charred pigeon scraps
13 - Pressed earthworm cake
14 - Giant leech bacon
15 - Candied eel
16 - Dried melon
17 - Deep fried swamp lice
18 - Spice-cured manure shrimp
19 - Dry camel ham
20 - Swine-lung pasty

d10 Random Iron Ration Table

1 - Rat jerky
2 - Lamprey pemmican
3 - Smoked sausage (dog)
4 - Sun-cured gull eggs
5 - Dessicated beet slices
6 - Mashed locust wafers
7 - Hard cheese and an onion wedge
8 - Shredded dried carp
9 - Bush tucker (monkey, recognizable)
10 - Pickled frog preserved in grease

EDIT: written on and posted from my phone on my lunch break; I'll have to respond to your comments on my previous post when I get home later today.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Region Statistics - % Dinosaur & % Prehistoric

For example: The Blackened Wastes (Tropical Wilderness Desert, 25% Dinosaur, 35% Prehistoric); The Woolly Tundra (Subarctic Wilderness Plains, 75% Prehistoric); The Slithering Jungles (Tropical Civilized Jungle, 60% Dinosaur)

% Dinosaur and % Prehistoric refers to the percentage of random encounters (and presumably placed lairs) that consist of Dinosaurs (including pterodactyls, plesiosaurs, dimetrodons and the like) or "Prehistoric" encounters (such as mammoths, smilodons, cave men, axe beaks, hobbits, etc.) in the noted geographic area, with a roll being made on the appropriate tables for the composition of said encounter, such as the tables in the 1st Edition Dungeon Masters Guide.

This idea came up while brainstorming comprehensive modular encounter table methodology. Obviously other %s suggest themselves, such as % Robot, % Snake & % Supervillain.

EDIT: Of course I'm an idiot for not stating the obvious % Lovecraft...

My Favorite "Example of Play" Courtesy of MAR Barker

Player : (After considerable argument) "Person number two is carefully reaching out with the point of his spear. He pushes just one coin off the altar toward himself . What happens?"

Referee : (Laughing fiendishly) "That's all it takes to set off the trap. A great metal cage falls clanging down  over all of you. I believe you were all up near the altar - nobody specified leaving any of the party behind to guard the door, and I thus assume you were all within the 20 foot square area covered by the cage. (Rolling percentile dice, giving the party a 20 percent chance to have had one or more stragglers outside the cage area - none were). When the cage falls, you also see that the idol on the altar begins to arise. What you thought was its metal surface was actually its armour. At the same time secret doors in the north and south walls also swing open, and fifty smaller versions of the idol file into the room expectantly. You have now encountered the Demon Kurritlakal, the Cracker of Bones, Eater of Skins, Father of One Thousand Progeny, Spawn of Great Durritlamish . . . "

- Empire of the Petal Throne - The World of Tekumel, page 102