Monday, August 31, 2009
I just picked up a relatively cheap (less than $15 with shipping) set of the complete D&D animated series on DVD via buy.com and am looking forward to checking it out. Presciently, Wil Wheaton appears on the cover. By the way, the WotC D&D sessions podcast (with Wil and friends) has started up again. I'm not a 4E player, but I do find these recordings moderately entertaining (at least until the combat gets a bit winded).
Finally, here's a Ruins and Ronin folder icon. The PC version is only 48x48 and seems a bit small for any real usage - the Mac version will scale up to 512x512 with no loss of quality. A little fancier than the similar icons I've posted up here before. I'm still going to put together a decent one shot solo adventure using R&R one of these days...
Friday, August 28, 2009
I'd never been challenged before by a player who had chosen an evil alignment for a PC in a party of neutrals and lawfuls, and though I'm slightly haunted by the feeling that I might have railroaded his fate, in the end it feels justified as he was just too much of a sore thumb sticking out for the others not to notice.
Since then, nearly all of the original party has died. Agnal still lives, and I'd left open the possibility that he might return to play at some point in the future. New characters have been rolled up, and (perhaps because of Agnal still living and my offer being known) alignment choice for the new characters have been either evil or neutral. We're now looking at the possibility of a new party composed of evils and neutrals, possibly led, but at least accompanied by the elder creep Agnal.
While the traditional dungeon certainly still holds allure for PCs of this persuasion, I'm curious what others have done in similar situations. What types of adventures have your party's evil characters engaged in... did you write up scenarios with their evil alignment specifically in mind? Are there even published materials which you've used (perhaps with modification) for this? I'm just looking for a little extra inspiration here.
I fondly remember the time (as a young teenager) my beloved Winkle Ellapote (6th level CE Elven thief) ravaged the Village of Hommlett with my friend's 9th level Assassin and a host of hirelings. It was all wrong, but a lot of fun. Now that I'm on the other side of the table, my mind is racing with options and to be honest, I'm a little nervous about where these new, evil characters may venture!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Marc Okrand created an artificial language of the Klingons from Star Trek - I think it’d be cool if there was something similar for Orcs or Goblins. I was looking around for a translator of some sort (I wanted to add some "real" goblinoid into a room description) and didn't find much, but stumbled on a number of fascinating articles on Helge Kåre Fauskanger’s site having to do with Tolkien and the languages of Middle Earth. Especially interesting was an article on “Orkish and the Black Speech”, which might contain a "reason" if you will for why nobody's devised a dictionary for it.
It seems a shame there's not any true or complete artificial language (AFAIK) for any of the various monster species in our favorite game. Linguistics student needing a project? Get on this! You’ll be famous.
Update: Fauskanger mentions that there appears to be modern usage of Orkish and bat has brought to attention the band "Za Frumi" which led me to an online tutorial of a home grown dialect.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
To quote Camille: "I'm gonna fight an Orange Monster!" ...Beginner's luck, she kicked my ass... I still can't get her to play a solo game of Labyrinth Lord a la Chgowiz, but I'll keep trying.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Nothing terribly exciting happened, but some good ground work was laid to be able to use the tent settlement as an ongoing place of rest and recuperation. The party bought the tent of the tailor's family that had put them up for the night and who'd adjusted the size of the dead paladin’s scale mail for the cleric. Turns out they were wanting to get out of town on the next caravan and perhaps because of the extra money they’d earned from the party decided to finally do so. In departing, the tailor also gave them a talisman of protection of some sort. It seemed to possibly be just a superstitious item to protect the tent and possessions left there, but it was unclear in trying to get more information from him about it, and could actually be a true magic item.
We learned that the owner of the general store (by comparing descriptions from our earlier sightings with the locals) left town with the Ranger we’d apparently slighted, presumably in his employment that we had ourselves turned down. They'd headed North.
The newest member of the group, an NPC named Ouze (alchemist or magic user of some sort) was valuable in helping the party obtain some information about the well known bandit chieftan whose camp lie to the North, as well as the general layout of the area and of the existence of ruins to the East of the settlement a ways. The dwarf fighter spent a few gold at the local house of ill repute and gleaned some information about a recent murder there they’d heard about on the street. He discovered that the murderer had been caught and was awaiting a public trial to occur the next day.
The next day, the party attended the public trial. Ouze mentioned that he knew the man, that his name was Opal, and that he was a traveling fighting man of some ability. For some reason, the town elders showed him mercy, perhaps because the full reason for the fight at the whorehouse or who in fact started it was somewhat in question. Instead of death, he was sent into exile with nothing but the few rags that he wore. As he was sent to the East, towards the ruins, the party decided that it would wait a while and then go that way also, hoping to find the man, save him from certain death by exposure, and thus have him in their service.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
On Aug 13, 2009, at 2:11 PM, ze bulette wrote:
would you like to play with Nick and I sometime? We generally do every other week, on a Tuesday or Wed., from 9pm-1am.
what say you? it would be a good time to join, as all but one character in Nick's party just died.
On Aug 13, 2009, at 10:37 PM, Vince wrote:
Do I get a magic sword?
Sent from my iPhone
On Aug 13, 2009, at 10:51 PM, ze bulette wrote:
OBViOUSLY sent from your iPhone.
is that a yay or nay?
On Aug 13, 2009, at 10:58 PM, Vince wrote:
I want a magic sword.
Sent from my iPhone
On Aug 13, 2009, at 11:08 PM, ze bulette wrote:
first, you probably don't realize this but most if not all magic swords have a certain degree of sentience. this makes them different from most magic items one might encounter in one's various adventures. sentience, as far as fine edged weaponry goes, is not necessarily such a great thing. nevertheless, if you insist, any character you choose to play, i hereby ordain possesses a magic sword. what i will not divulge, however, is the degree of sentience, of what alignment it is, and what specific magical abilities the blade has. if you can live and play with this, and if you require this before considering playing, your character is hereby granted it. asking for much more though would be risking the wrath of the uber-god that is in fact the DM. frankly, given your (character's?) demands, i find it likely that other characters in the party will find your own PC to be arrogant, possessing a sense of self-entitlement, and to have most likely scored low in the "Wisdom" (not to mention "Charisma") attribute. far be it from me to bar any such character from playing out his fate though.
On Aug 13, 2009, at 11:12 PM, Vince wrote:
Sent from my iPhone
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I love the fact that it seems like it was likely created on an Atari 8oo or Commodore 64. The adventure itself is pretty much another Hommlett-esque affair, complete with detailed town setting and a (thought to be but not) abandoned cult 'Retreat'. There's some decent art inside, and the included maps (examples here and here) and front and back covers are on a thicker stock of paper (though not detachable).
In hoping to garner a little more information about this publication including its value, I knew that googling "Fantasy Systems" was a pointless endeavor, but did turn up a brief mention on the forums at Acaeum (although over five years old) and a short post at Tome of Treasures. Has anyone else seen this before or have more information about it?
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Not being sure if he was lurking just out of sight on either side of the door, or if he was in a further corner of the large chamber somewhere else, Eluxen the elf lit and hurled a torch into the room, aiming for a stack of furs and rags that appeared to be bedding that the ogre was using. This was done in an attempt to enrage and draw out the ogre. Because of the angle and distance, a side-arm throw was attempted, which failed badly as the torch bounced back into their room with a few sparks spraying into the other one. On a second try though, the torch landed directly on the bedding nearly forty feet distant, somewhat igniting it. The ogre made an angry series of noises but didn’t reveal its position, whereupon the elf charged into the center of the room, narrowly avoiding the ogre’s halberd attack from where it had been lurking. There was some silliness as the elf ran around the room and pillars therein, avoiding yet another attack, and then rejoining the party which had now entered. At this point combat engaged, but with a moment to catch his breath and out of the front row of attack, he cast a sleep spell on the ogre. Unceremoniously slitting the sleeping hulk’s throat, the party began searching the room.
They found a secret passage with some stairs leading up to a previously discovered and searched room, a small amount of gold and silver coins in a chest by the bedding, and that their thrown torch had partially burned and destroyed what was in all likelihood a magic elven cloak of some sort (somewhat upsetting Eluxen!).
After this, some future meals of the ogre were discovered in a nearby chamber in the form of a few humans and a gnome, all of whom promised reward upon their safe return to town. So this return was made, and the party was then rejoined by the freshly healed and ready for action Ipsil, the thief.
Trading some men at arms for fresh ones, they journeyed to the dungeon, choosing again the stairs to the chamber and passageway where they’d previously encountered zombies, and unsurprisingly found them there still. Mog the cleric tried again and miserably failed to turn them, and at this point they were surrounded by a dozen of the festering creatures and a melee proceeded.
The zombies rolled well and it was a grim outcome - the first to die was a replacement man-at-arms named Murdock, who was pulled completely in two and disemboweled by the undead. This made quite an impression on the others, but they continued to fight on, the largest and most steadfast among them being the next to fall, followed by Ipsil the thief once again. I was feeling bad for the fellow, having grown slightly attached to him.
The party made a run for the stairs up, but stopped there and continued the fight in the hopes of retrieving the bodies and perhaps resuscitating their fallen comrades. This proved a bad idea, as the time spent in lingering in the stairwell and switching to missile weapons allowed another zombie to catch Narmain the fighter and nearly kill him in one swipe. Eluxen insinuated himself between the two in order to save him, and was himself then struck down. At this point, only Narmain the fighter (on the edge of death), one of the three men-at-arms, and the two mysterious strangers Qubert and Torgu were left alive. The latter two were the first to bolt (just before Eluxen fell). Once the elf had been killed, Narmain and the militia man decided they’d had enough too, and that because of the chance of dying while trying to retrieve and revive Eluxen, it would be more honorable to return to town to tell the castellan and village elders of the deaths of their mates and what they’d encountered.
About two and a half hours into playing when this all happened, nearly a TPK. So it goes, though fortunately Nick was very good natured and philosophical about the whole thing. In retrospect, he probably should have run away and developed a different plan of attack, as was done the first time that the cleric failed to turn them, but he might have just been frustrated or perhaps bolstered by the presence of Qubert and Torgu.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
A long lever with a handle at the top and a cast iron key at the bottom is used with these collars - the key-like end of the lever is inserted into a second, larger keyhole on the collar, and by grabbing and twisting the handle, springs are tightened and set inside the steel construction. These work to power various types of mechanisms which are designed to coerce the collar wearer into carrying out actions against their will, or more simply, to force them into slavery.
There are different types of these collars, but all involve mechanisms which will prove fatal or extremely painful to the wearer unless someone rewinds the springs at regular intervals. The wearers themselves cannot turn the long lever used for this purpose.
For example, in one design, the springs in the collar will slowly unwind - as this happens, daggers will slowly protrude from the collar into the empty space at the center of it, eventually piercing and killing the wearer. In another version, only a single, poison tipped metal thorn protrudes which accomplishes the same task. In yet another design, through a serious of clever gears, a long blade will suddenly spring forth into the center of the collar, completely decapitating the wearer if the springs are not tightly recoiled every ten hours.
Through the use of these collars, the wearers can be turned into hand maidens of evil, carrying out various short activities under threat of their own demise.
Notes: Because what dungeon is complete without a slave in a collar? I see this item as something I'd be most likely to use with an NPC, to compel them to commit evil acts in the service of an evil master. I wish I could say that this wasn't inspired by a similar, real-life contraption... please forgive the crude sketch!
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Telecanter already posted about this, but there's a few new pics. One of these days I'll have to do a review of all of the caves/underground labyrinths in N. America & France I've explored and post up some pics.
Leaving aside the rest of the book, the idea of cantrips always seemed a little silly to me, even though I can see some value in them. But their fun and logic is quickly cut off at the knees by virtue of the fact that they're usually abandoned at first level. To quote from page 45 of Unearthed Arcana:
"Most cantrips are simple little spells of no great effect, so when the individual becomes a 1st-level magic user, the knowledge and information pertaining to these small magics are discarded in favor of the more powerful spells then available. However, a magic-user may opt to retain up to four cantrips in place of one 1st-level spell. This assumes that the magic-user has, in fact, retained his or her book of cantrips - a tome as large as a good-sized book of higher-level spells."
I see some fun to be had in re-introducing cantrips with a little modification. First, I don't see how or why these small magics are discarded - is it merely because of the large book that needs to be lugged around? I'd house rule this and say that cantrips don't require a spell book at all - they're essentially like the little recipes and tricks great chefs learn early on, and by first level are something that any professional would know how to do without having to resort to a magical tome for a refresher.
In addition, I'd be fine with granting four of these to a first level magic-user in addition (rather than the option of "instead of" listed in UA) to their first level spell(s). Thereafter, I'd allow another cantrip to be learned per level of the magic-user, or something similar, and have them each be able to be cast once per day (heretical!). I mean, these are really mostly useless items to have in one's repertoire as an adventurer anyway (not that I personally wouldn't love to have the Exterminate cantrip handy on a camping trip), and I'm having difficulty at the moment even thinking of a decent role playing opportunity for them, but I'm sure they're there, right?
I picture archetypal mages like Gandalf and have a hard time believing that they couldn't cast "Salt" or "Stitch" cantrips. Besides, it might be fun to come up with some more of these little spell-lings.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
This was just fine to most of the party, although Benedict had a little problem with it at first, but being outnumbered he backed down. They returned to town and there made various mundane inquiries, re: a cook and men-at-arms to hire (no luck!), as well as re-sizing the magical armor of the dead paladin to fit the shorter cleric, the latter of which was accomplished for 10gp.
Overheard was the news of yet another assassination in town, this time in the brothel. A trial of some sort was scheduled to occur. Another development was a (presumably cleric, but Gladric is unsure) new character joining the party, someone they’d met in the tent settlement who at first seemed to be an alchemist but who described himself as some sort of mystic, interested in earning some experience and money. Not sure what to make of him, but at least he’s outnumbered by the others should he attempt to wreak havoc.
It was fun trying to reason with the ranger, but Nick (or atleast the ranger) was having none of it. He’d wanted to sell the magic armor in order to acquire steeds for everyone, but Gladric resisted based on the idea that the cleric should wear it as the healer of the party, and that other things could be done or sold to acquire horses for everyone. He also pandered to the (presumably) good side of the ranger, explaining how selling the armor for profit might just allow such a thing to fall into the hands of the enemies of the dead paladin, which would be an insult to his memory. This or just the persistence of Gladric paid off, although they were disemployed as a result - the ranger being in a rush to keep on the trail of his enemies while it was fresh. Later, he was seen in town recruiting a suspicious looking, cloaked human figure, and going so far as to purchase a war horse and various equipment for him.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Per the 1e Wilderness Survival Guide:
Heavy war horse: 500 lbs. normal load, 750 lbs. max.
Light war horse: 300 lbs. 500 lbs. max.
Medium war horse: 400 lbs. 650 lbs. max.
Wild horse: 300 lbs. 600 lbs. max.
Mule: 500 lbs. 750 lbs. max.
Pony: 200 lbs. 300 lbs. max.
Any loads larger than normal = 1/2 movement penalty. Of course there’s all sorts of fatigue considerations, which typically the WSG goes into great detail about, but I’m not concerned with that here. OSRIC mentions that only 10% of horses can be trained as warhorses. This complicates things because there is no “Riding horse” listed in the WSG. There is also mention in the WSG of vehicle movement rates and loads. There, the description of mounts uses light, medium, and heavy again, but the reference to them being “war” horses is gone. A couple of thoughts: is it really necessary to have three types of warhorse? Or a wild horse and pony even? Ok, my prejudice for B/X is showing through. Still - “Do you have a pony sir?” “Erm, you mean you want a punier horse? Sure, I got some of them over here...” Anyhow.
In Labyrinth Lord, this information is found in the monsters section of the book, under Horses. Here we have something more to my liking - three types of horses.
Riding horse: normal load 300 lbs. 600 lbs. max.
War horse: 400 lbs. 800 lbs. max
Draft horse: 450 lbs. 900 lbs. max.
With the same movement penalty assumed, although not quite as explicitly spelled out.
Holmes Basic D&D has the following to say - under the entry of horses in the monsters section, four types of horses are listed: Light horse, Medium horse, Heavy War horse, and Draft Horse. Nothing is said here about weight limits, but mules are mentioned under the horse entry as being capable of carrying 350 lbs.
Cook & Marsh’s Expert D&D has more information under its entry for Horse in the monsters section, although now we are down to three types (the same used by LL): Riding horse, War horse, and Draft Horse. Loads are also the same as Labyrinth Lord.
I don’t believe S&W mentions these things anywhere, and I’m not sure about OD&D. Perhaps this information will be useful to someone devising their own set of house rules. I wonder if anyone’s already developed something at odds with these fairly close sets of stats, and how they arrived at whatever they chose to use.
I’m glad I took the time to look these up - although I don’t track encumbrance very much (unless it becomes ridiculous) with regard to my players’ characters, I’m more inclined to track it when it comes to mounts and beasts of burden. I don’t want to make it too easy for vast sums of treasure to be hauled away, and want the players giving a certain amount of attention to logistics when it comes to heading back to town with their loot, traveling long distances, and deciding what to take and what to leave behind on occasion - so the only question remaining is, exactly how much can a
Monday, August 3, 2009
Come to find out, what I'd been been thinking of as the purple cover is really mostly "dusty pink", at least according to the side of the spray can I used for much of this. So I guess it's really the Pink Box edition. Cue side 2, "Brain Damage".
My tabloid sized LL book fits great in there (anyone thinking of making one, I recommend using 11x17 in half, rather than 8.5x11, unless you don't mind going blind), along with my hirelings card, character cards (on 4x6's), obligatory booze bag o' dice, screen, and d30. Too bad I couldn't find a decent thick paperboard box, this is a little flimsy - the cigar boxes I had are just too small. I'm eyeballing that Forgotten Realms campaign setting box that I picked up recently, wondering if I should go ahead and use it for a do-over for this...
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Faerieworlds 2009 is happening this weekend here in Eugene, Oregon. Again, a bit late to post about it, but it's a yearly event. The focus is "mythic music" and arts and crafts. Lots of costumed visitors in attendance adds to the playful atmosphere. I've never been to this one as the musical styles you find there usually aren't my favorites, but if you're drawn to celtic and medieval inspired music, you might love it.
Finally, here's one you can still attend and plan for this year: The Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire near Corvallis, Oregon, this September 19 and 20.
"Come be thee blythe and merry at the Renaissance Faire! Just 15 miles and 500 years away from downtown Corvallis. Here enchantment awaits young and old alike as jousting knights and noble steeds clash on the tourney fyld while minstrels, troubadours, jongleurs, dancers and bards fill the lanes with delight.
With over 125 artisan stalls and 1,000 costumed players, visitors can browse the village for unique hand made goods and one of a kind treasures while surrounded by Renaissance revelry and entertainment. Eat, drink, and be merry, for food purveyors are on hand within Friar Tuck's Forest, and children delight in games and adventures.
The only Fair of its kind in Oregon, this exciting event offers an educational interactive adventure in history, welcoming families and children. Modeled on the merriest of elements from the times of Shakespeare and Elizabeth I, and set in the historic renaissance of 1558 to 1603, here all the Faire is a stage, and everyone a player!"
I hope to get out to this one next month and bring Josiah, my eight year old (irregular) Labyrinth Lord player!
Inspiration for this post provided by Chgowiz's recent entry on the subject.