Monday, August 30, 2010


"It is said that regardless of the century, plane, or species, developing artificers never fail to invent the ornithopter."  The old sage quoted.

"Maybe because so many dream of flying?"


"It's ready"

"Are you?"

"Yes" The young artificer began to work the controls of his newly built machine.  Almost immediately it began to lift toward the blue sky.

This item can carry up to 3 human sized occupants.  If it is operated by one operator then it moves at 180' per turn, two operators at 210' per turn, or three at 240' per turn.  For every non-operator the ornithopter carries the speed is reduced by 60' per turn.  For every hour the ornithopter is operated, the operators must make a Saving Throw vs. Paralysis or be unable to operate it for the next hour.  The saving throw is made harder by the number of passengers: -1 for one passenger, -2 for two.  In addition, for every 2 hours of operation there is an cumulative -1 penalty to the roll until the operators have rested for at least 6 hours.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ok, 46 of you follow my blog. Yet I only have 5 votes in my poll?  There's a 2 way tie, your vote could make it a 3 way tie! 

And because I know you aren't supposed to post anything like that without offering anything of value:

Here is a link to a fantastic Halloween prop website that does almost everything with paper mache
.    I plan of showing off my own first paper mache very soon.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ornithopter Class Starflyer

Rare marbles adorned the walls and floor of the small hanger bay.  The bay doors were guarded by golden panthers, and between them sat the starflyer Uzra.  

"Pardith, make sure no one follows us through those doors.  Ezra, take CeeBee and make sure we can fly that thing." The blue skinned girl and the rolling trashcan headed for the hatch, while the hulking Weren kept watch, his massive flintlock pistols at the ready.

Kanar headed over to the hanger bay contols, and began to override the bay doors.  His concentration was knocked away when a pair of gunpowder explosions blasted out in rapid succession.  

"We've got company!"  The Baron Bharaputra's black clad guards were in the corridor, their las-blasters humming.  

Kanar drew his fletchet pistol and shot off a couple of rounds before entering the final commands into the panel.  "Into the ship!" He ordered Pardith as he sprinted to the hatch.

Ornithopter Class Starflyer 
(X-Plorers Rules)
Class 2 Scout
Improved deflectors (+1 AC)
Quick Handling (+2 to all piloting rolls)

Ornithopter Class Starflyer 
(Terminal Space Rules)
Hull type: FT (4 structure points, Pilot skill +5%)
Armor: titanium (8)
Reactor: expanded
Drive Class: B
Maneuvering thrusters: one additional unit
Jump drive: Yes
Sensors: civilian +5%
Jamming systems: none
Armament: none
Ammo: none
Shield generator: Beta
Cargo space: 0.5t
Other: Nav Computer, Luxury styling
Value: 100,000

Ornithopter Class Starflyer
(d6 rules)
Craft: Ornithopter Class Starflyer
Affiliation: Baron Bharaputra
Era: Rise of the Empire
Type: Personal starship
Scale: Starfighter
Length: 12.5 meters, 30 meter wingspan
Skill: Space transports: Ornithopter Class Starflyer
Crew: 1 
Passengers: 4
Cargo Capacity: 0.5 metric tons
Consumables: 1 month
Cost: Not available for sale (Worth upwards of 150,000 credits)
Hyperdrive Multiplier: x0.5
Hyperdrive Backup: x15
Nav Computer: Yes
Maneuverability: 3D+1
Space: 5
Atmosphere: 350; 1,000 kmh
Hull: 4D
Shields: 3D
Passive: 30/1D
Scan: 70/2D
Search: 80/3D+1
Focus: 5/3D+2

Barely larger than your average starfighter, this unique shuttle manages to cram in a surprisingly large amount of luxury.  It's interior was crafted with the finest materials at the direction of Baron Bharaputra, who while being a thoroughly despicable person, has the finest taste.  It manages to come right up to the edge of being garishly opulent, yet still remaining an elegant means of transportation.

It's severely limited cargo capacity and personal accommodations would make any extended trips a rather uncomfortable experience in spite of the luxury.  It also relies on speed, maneuverability, and deflectors to protect it from harm, as it has sacrificed any armament in favor of it's FTL drive and various luxuries.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Monthly Audience Participation Poll Now Open

Since there were only 2 topics offered this first go, I added, and will continue to add, an option for Rusty's Random Blog Topic Generator.

So tell me, what shall I write about?  Poll closes on 9/1. 

For the first time in months I don't have any scheduled posts.  For most of the last month and a half I had an entire weeks worth written and scheduled!    I do have a bunch of drafts kicking around, probably 2 weeks worth of posts, but none of them are ready for posting. 

None of this is helped by the fact that I'm once again back to school, this time for my Masters Degree.  I don't know what impact that will have on my blogging, but it probably means that I'll not make the number of posts per month that I've managed this summer.  I hope that means that the posts I do contribute will be of equal or even higher quality, but we'll see. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Audience Participation Reminder & The Phantom of the Opera

I'll add the poll to the site tomorrow, which gives you 1 more day to add your suggestions to my first monthly audience participation event!

I have just finished reading The Phantom of the Opera, and I must say that it reads like play report from an adventure module. 

It wouldn't be all that difficult to turn the Phantom and his dungeon into a D&D adventure.  5 cellars, an underground lake, a horrible villain with some pretty clear motivations, and that fantastic rat catcher... It's more immediately translatable into adventure terms than either the first Oz book, or Alice in Wonderland, even though both of those offer a richer and more unique setting.  

Monday, August 23, 2010

What does your game world look like?

I must admit that most of the time when I imagine my game world, I usually picture Northern Europe/New England with a bit of New Zealand thrown in for good measure.  This is due, in large part, to the fact that I've spent most of my life in the northeastern USA.  It's what I see every day.  Well today we're going to look at some other scenery.

The Outback

South Africa


American Southwest






Saturday, August 21, 2010

Three Horrible Poisons: Euryale's Kiss

Bonus 4th Horrible Poison!

The ratman struggled at his chains as Cerastes approached him, dagger in hand.  "Murinae will have your head for this" the ratman spat at him.

"I fear not your king" Cerastes replied.  "In fact we Children of the Gorgon have a gift for him, but I wanted to make sure it was perfect before we deliver it."  Cerastes lashed out with the dagger, causing but a minor wound across the beasts snout which healed almost instantly.  The ratman laughed.  

"Do you think to kill him with that?  You'll need..." He paused, his lips curling back.  Confusion shown in his eyes.  His hands clenched into fists, and a bit of blood dripped down from where his claws pierced his palm.  Next his arms tightened against his chest, and quickly he lay curled on the floor, wrapped tightly around himself.  

Cerastes unlocked the chains, grabbed the creature by it's tail, and dragged it out of his work area.  

Euryale's Kiss

This poison was developed by the alchemists of the Children of the Gorgon, using their own venom.  It is a more refined and distilled toxin, and causes all of the victim's muscles to tighten.  If the victim fails the first saving throw their heart has seized, and they will die immediately.  Should they pass the first they must then make a second saving throw.  Should they fail the second they will become paralyzed for 2d12 hours.

Image from

Friday, August 20, 2010

Happy 120th Mr. Lovecraft

While I've never been a huge fan of his writings, today is his 120th birthday, and his impact on our hobby can not be denied.   

In honor of today, I have uploaded The Call of Cthulhu and The Dunwich Horror to my kindle. 

A reminder that the first monthy audience participation thread is still still open for suggestions!

Three Horrible Poisons: Amaranthus Forsaken

"Really it was a fairly minor wound, but he bleed like a stuck pig.  Even after we wrapped it, after the battle, he kept bleeding.  His blood just kept oozing out.  We replaced the bandage over and over...  Allianora tried her healing magics, but by the time we got him out of there... We lost him." 

The Magus nodded as he looked upon the body of his former pupil.  "Thank you for returning him to me." 

"Is there anything you can do" Nimble asked.

"Perhaps."  The Magus' face was dark.  "Leave me.  I will send word."

When they had gone, the Magus took a large crystal from a nearby shelf, and held it over the lifeless body of Feris.  The stone glowed, and then flashed before falling dark.  Feris gasped and his eyes shot open. 

"You never did pay enough attention during herbalism." There was a hint of a smile at the corner of his mouth. "Maybe now you'll have a little more incentive.  I want a scroll on Love-Lies-Bleeding, and 2 vials of antidote before I release you to your field studies." 

 Amaranthus Forsaken

This poison must be introduced to the victim's blood, and is most often applied to a weapon.  A failed save causes the victim to be highly susceptible to bleeding.   If the victim is already wounded, those wounds will begin to bleed for 1 point of damage per turn.  Any injury sustained after they have fallen victim to this poison will cause an additional 1d3 points of damage, and if they aren't already bleeding the 1 point/turn they will start.  The bleeding will only stop once the victim has bled out or they are completely healed.  If they are completely healed the poison remain in effect for all future wounds until neutralized or 48 hours have passed.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Stheno's Fang

"Fury and Aggression." Sesska demanded.  "Lethal and beautiful, an instrument worthy of my sisters name."

"Yes Mistress." Her Child replied. His tools forced the brass to take shape.  Twin serpents entwined, their tails formed around a steel core stretched out.  The glow of the forge bathed all in crimson, the dagger gleamed.

The finished blade was passed to her new champion, who accepted it with reverence.  "Use this to destroy those that have slain your brothers and sisters and defiled our home." She commanded.

"With Setan's blessing, I shall!"  Her champion rose to his feet. 


Stheno's Fang is a magical brass double tipped dagger.  While it gives no bonus to hit or damage, it is perpetually poisonous, though it is a somewhat weak poison, giving a +3 bonus to the saving throw.  The dagger is highly aligned with chaos, and any neutral or lawful character attempting to use this weapon has a 50% chance per attempt to injure themselves rather than their intended victim.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Three Horrible Poisons: Sweet Corruption

Valance, Priest of the Spider God, had a way with venom.  Most priests of the Spider God did, but Valance had a true talent for it.  

On a completely unrelated note, one of Valance's many enemies, a "collector of specialized goods" named Aldtani, suffered from a sweet tooth, and one day a small box of candy arrived at his residence.  The gift was from the local confectioner, and the note attached informed him that this was a chance to taste the confectioners' newest creation.  The box held only 3 pieces of yellowish, sugar coated treats.  He hadn't even sat down before the first piece was in his mouth.  The confectioner was truly a genius, and this was his finest sweet to date.   Then Aldtani's right rear molar crumbled, followed quickly thereafter by the rest of his teeth.  Blood oozed from his gums, and then his nose as his skull began to dissolve.  In a very short time, a boneless quivering mass of flesh expired, and a small spider outside the window was the only witness in attendance.

Sweet Corruption

Failure to save against this toxin will cause the victim's bones to dissolve, leading to agonizing pain as the body crushes itself to death.  During the first 3 rounds the victim will notice minor issues resulting in a penalty of 2 to attacks and armor class.  During the 4-6 rounds they will suffer a penalty of 4 to attacks and armor class, movement will be reduced to half.  Rounds 7-9 the victim will be unable to do more than move at 1/4 their normal rate as they crawl.  Rounds 10-12 the victim will be a helpless mass of flesh in excruciating pain.  Should some means be utilized to neutralize the poison, the victim will remain at whatever state they were detoxified at.  Restoration of the lost bone requires healing of at least 5th level. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monthy Audience Participation

While I write this blog entirely for me, I do appreciate each and every comment I get (even that oriental spammer) and I love seeing my blog listed on other peoples blog rolls too. It's nice to know that I'm not just talking to myself. 

I don't always have the initial inspiration for my posts.  Much of the time I get it from all the blogs that I read.  What I'm looking for are things that you might be interested in getting my take on.  Any topic related to gaming, even tenuously, can be suggested.  I'll accept suggestions for 1 week.  After that I will post a poll, which will also run for 1 week.  The winning topic gets at least 1 post, possibly more.  If it really catches my imagination, you might get a whole series!  If this works, I plan on doing it monthly. 

So tell me, what do you want me to talk about?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Three Horrible Poisons: Malinarint's Bane of Derangement

Topic generated via Rusty's Random Blog Post Topic Generator.  While I rolled Three Horrible Poisons as a blog topic, I am going to share them over 3 posts.

Poisons are designed to kill or otherwise incapacitate the unfortunate victim by disrupting a creatures normal biological processes.  Considering the variety of biological processes, sometimes death would be the kinder option, and that's before we get to the realm of magical effects.  For your consideration, I offer these horrible poisons.  I hope your players enjoy them!

Malinarint the Voidstrider saw things that twisted him, spoke with things that broke him, and experienced some strange form of rebirth before returning to the Known World.   Wherever he walked, the people went insane.   Entire villages were burned to the ground, abandoned, or turned into slaughter fields as the madness overtook them.   In relatively short order, the madness stopped.  No one is sure what happened to Malinarint.  Some say he was stopped, others say that he simply abandoned this plane of reality, but whatever happened to him, these poisons are attributed to him.

Malinarint's Bane of Derangement

Being subjected to this poison will cause (with a failed saving throw) the loss of 1 point of wisdom.  In addition, every turn after the initial failed saving throw the victim of this poison must make a wisdom check or lose an additional 1 point of Wisdom.  Should the character fail 3 checks in a row, the character will become insane, and their wisdom checks will be made as if their wisdom was half of its current score.  If their wisdom falls to 0, they will fall comatose and die shortly thereafter.  If a character succeeds at 3 wisdom checks in a row then they have fought off the effects of the poison and will suffer no further wisdom loss.  Wisdom may be restored through magical means.   

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Children of the Gorgon

"Sssteady now... wait for the mage before you throw" Sarpa instructed her clutch.  Their nets held at the ready, they crouched in the shadows, waiting.  Through the archway they could hear the mammals invading their home.  

The short one came through first, wiry like a serpent, but unmistakably mammal with whiskers and hair.  His eyes darted about, but he failed to notice them.  

Then came the brute, wearing a hodgepodge of leather, chain, and plate armor.  His broad sword and shield were held at the ready.  Following close behind him was clearly the mage they were waiting for.  In one hand he held a wand, and in the other a torch.  

As he cleared the archway the clutch moved as one.  The wiry one dropped and rolled before the net entangled him.  The warrior reacted instinctively, bringing his shield up to block the blow, which unfortunately for him did nothing to stop the net.   The mage merely startled in surprise, dropping the torch, and falling to the ground.  The clutch hissed in excitement, rushing forward with clubs to subdue the wiry one, and put an end to the struggles of the warrior. 

One of the Children stood above the mage, his club held high, when he noticed the forth one.  It had hair like gold, and a mace of steel.  The cracking of ribs confirmed the hardness of the mace.

Children of the Gorgon
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 3 + 1* (M)
Move: 120' (40')
Attacks: 1 weapon or 1 bite
Damage: By weapon + 1 or 1d3 + Poison
No. Appearing: 2d8 (5d4)
Save As: F3
Morale: 9
Treasure Type: (P + Q) B
Intelligence: 10
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 75

Type: Humanoid (uncommon)

Children of the Gorgon are reptilian humanoids with predominantly serpentine features.  They stand on average between 6 and 7 feet tall, but tend toward a more wiry frame.  Their skin is scaly, and they do periodically molt.

They are silent hunters, and use the element of surprise as often as possible.  They surprise on a roll of 1-3 on a 1d6 due to their naturally stealthy nature.  When using weapons they cause an additional point of damage due to their strength. 

Their bite is poisonous, and should their victim fail their save they will become paralyzed for 24 hours.  In addition the victim must make a second saving throw at the end of the 24 hours or they will suffer a permanent loss of 1 point of charisma as their face retains a bit of stiffness.   If the effects of the poison are magically healed prior to the end of the 24 hour period then the victim will avoid the potential loss of charisma. 

There can be Children of the Gorgon spell casters.  They can learn to be Shamans or Wokans of up to 6th level.  Their religion states that they were created by the Serpent God from the hair of the Medusa.  Whether this is true or not is unknown, but they are often found in the service of Medusa's and they seem to be immune to the petrification effects of her gaze.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Artist or Artisan: Thoughts on Creativity

I once had a conversation with my uncle where he asked me to name some artists.  I answered Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael (What do you want?  I was like 8 and big into the Ninja Turtles).  He asked if I knew any that weren't turtles.  I knew a couple, but he suggested that anyone who creates is an artist, no matter what the medium.  I thought this was a pretty neat idea, and I've carried it around with me for quite a while... but is it true?  Well, I suppose part of that depends on how you define creating something.

Does painting a miniature that someone else sculpted count?

Building a megadungeon using someone elses rules?

What about writing up a variant monster for D&D?  What if it's based on a picture someone else posts?

Much of the time I feel very much that I am more of an artisan than an artist.   Someone who is at least marginally skilled, but not original.  I'm creating works, but they aren't original, and that lack of originality pushes them out of the realm of "real" art.  I'm often inspired by the things I see, and I like tweaking them, putting my own spin on them, but the original idea, the soul of it isn't mine.  On the worst of days that makes me feel less of an artisan and more of a charlatan.   

Taken to an extreme this becomes a very silly idea.  The guy who sculpts a historical mini is an artist.  The guy who sculpts a squad/company/regiments worth of historical minis is an artisan.

So what am I: Artist? Artisan? Charlatan?   I'm leaning toward the middle one.  How about you?  How do you see it?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

D&D Creature Catalog

I recently reacquired the D&D Creature Catalog.  I had a copy back in my Rules Cyclopedia days, and as I was working on my megadungeon I remembered a few choice entries that I wanted to make use of. 

E-Bay delivered me a well loved copy for $4.  It complements my well loved Rules Cyclopedia, but I do wish I still had my original.  For one thing I think it was in better condition... but it was lost somewhere in one of many moves, sad to say.

For those unfamiliar with this fine volume, it is the equivalent of the Monster Manual II for later editions.  The Rules Cyclopedia includes 179 different monster listing (in this case counting "Bears", "Dragons", "Spiders", etc. as one entry).  The Creature Catalog adds an additional 154 critters.  There are some that I'm not sure ever made it into any future products, and others that I think are just cool, so I'm going to share some of them with you, my dear readers.

The Gray Philosopher tops the list of my favorite creatures from this volume.  This poor tormented gent was a chaotic priest who was so distraught at various internal philosophical debates that his soul refuses to move on until they're resolved.  Over time his dark thoughts begin to take on a malicious form.  While the Gray Philosopher will ignore you, his malice won't!  He isn't much of an team player, but he can make for a spooky encounter.

The Nosferatu is a vampire variant who has control over whether those he kills return as vampires. A good alpha villain who can be a former fighter, thief, cleric, or magic user!  

Dragonflys are giant magical insects with breath attacks that mirror those of the dragons.

The faithful Dog is also listed, with 3 varients: Dog, War Dog, and Elven Dog.  A well trained war dog makes a nice addition to any adventuring party, especially if you get it some armor

In addition to the elven dog, there are a number of other fey creatures included like Brownies, Red Caps, Coltpixy (fairy horse), Faedorne, Flitterling, Shargugh, Silver Warriors, and Wood Imps.

The Rakasta also make an appearance, though not as they appear in later editions.  In this edition, the Rakasta are a humanoid species that seems to be as native to the Known World as orcs and goblins.   They are cat people who's society mimics that of the Mongols.  When they appear in the D&D Thunder Rift adventure Rage of the Rakasta their society more closely resembles that of feudal Japan (aka samurai and ninjas).  Either way they employ metal claws that do 1d4 damage each. 

Other notable humanoids are the Gator Man, Hutaakan (jackal people), Kara-Kara (tropical orc like people), Lupin (dog people), Nagpa (vulture people), Pachydermion (elephant people), Shark-Kin, Sis'think (The Desert Scourge - Lizard people), Snappers (chaotic turtle people), and Tortles (lawful turtle people).

In addition to the creatures there are a couple of pages discussing using the various creatures and suggestions for creating your own variations on existing creatures.  Everything from re-skinning monsters to adding new powers is covered, along with making unique named monsters to really amp up the cool factor.

At the end of the book are a variety of wandering monster charts, and an index of all D&D creatures for the Rules Cyclopedia era, and in what product they can be found in.  

The art in the book is overall pretty solid.  Most of it is fairly basic pen and ink, some more detailed than others.  There are a number of creatures all done in the same style, mostly undead that give us remarkably similar headshots.  Granted there often isn't a whole lot that makes various undead look different from one another, even if they function in completely different ways, but the artwork is just too similar. My favorite artwork has to be that of Dave Simons, of which there is remarkably little to be found via Google search. It's definitely the best of the book.  Here are two pieces I really like: The Gray Philosopher and the Iron Gargoyle.

I'm looking forward to incorporating some of these beasties into my megadungeon.

If you come across a copy, it makes a nice addition to the monsters included in the Rules Cyclopedia, and I heartily recommend you add it to your collection.

**Entry edited for spelling**

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Carrion Crawler gets 8 attacks?

The Rules Cyclopedia says:
"Its small mouth is surrounded by eight tentacles, each 2' long, which can paralyze on a successful hit unless a saving throw vs. paralysis is made."

MM3.5 says
"Each of a carrion crawler's tentacles is about 2 feet long..."

Ok, I'm thinking about this 9 or 10 foot long bug with it's 8 paralyzing attacks.

Now, I'll admit that I can not remember a single instance of ever using a carrion crawler in any game I've ever run, and I think a big part of the reason is the 8 attacks it gets.  I just don't see it.  2?  3?  Maybe even 4 attacks, but 8?

So I'm curious, how do you run this bug? Does he get 8 attacks?  Does it target multiple opponents, or does it use all 8 on a single attack?

I'm honestly considering knocking it down to 2 attacks with it's stubby little tentacles.  Even still I expect it to be a pretty nasty creature.  

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I've been thinking a bit about the things I post.  Most of them are megadungeon posts, new monsters or magic items, and fluff/inspiration posts.  I also noticed that I tend to blog in chunks.  You get a week of megadungeons, or a series of magic items.    

Now one of the things that I really like about blogger is that it allows me to write posts in advance, and schedule them to be posted in the future.  I've been thinking of trying to structure my posting a little bit.  Maybe have Monster Mondays, Weird Wednesdays, Thaumaturgical Thursdays, Future Fridays, and Sci-Fi Saturdays, or something along those lines.  I'm not entirely sold on the idea, as I'm not sure I would keep up with it.  I may however attempt to work around that idea, and just not worry about it if I don't manage to make an appropriate post for a specific day.

Anyone else give that a try?  How did/does it work out for you?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Bloodtooth Fungus

Rathger noticed it as they slowly moved down the corridor; a pinkish mushroom growing out of the wall, and dripping something onto the floor.  He started pulling chunks of it off the wall, and popping them into his mouth before anyone could say anything.

"What are you doing?!?" Feris blurted out, quite a bit louder than he'd planned.  

"It's Bloodtooth, have some." He replied, a bit of reddish liquid dripping down his chin.

"He does this every time.  Every.  Single.  Time." Nimble said as he accepted a piece from Rathgar. 

Bloodtooth Fungus is both a bane and a boon to those who seek adventure in the wild places.  For reasons unknown it is almost always found in wilderness locations that are ideal campsites.  Anyone who spends an hour or more in the immediate vicinity of Bloodtooth fungus will find themselves feeling sluggish and anemic as the fungus imperceptibly drains away their life force.

On the other hand, anyone who consumes Bloodtooth fungus will find themselves enjoying an accelerated healing rate, and a boost to their fortitude. The downside is that Bloodtooth fungus tastes like a cross between a raw steak and an adventurer's socks after having cleared the giant rats out of the sewer.  

A patch of Bloodtooth Fungus will drain 1 hit point per hour from any creature in its immediate vicinity.  Consuming Bloodtooth Fungus will allow an extra 1d3 hit points to be recovered the next time a character takes a rest.  A typical patch will have enough to allow 1d4+1 characters to reap its benefits.

Due to it's nature, it tends not to remain in an area for long.  Natural insects and animals will begin to avoid the area, and eventually the fungus will dry up and blow away until it encounters an area with blood and the spores begin to regrow.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Spell Frame

The Magus literally crackled with energy.  His skin shined with the power that swirled around him, with the death he would bring to his enemies.  He knew they were coming, and he was prepared.  It would be the last night they would ever see. 

Ages ago, back when Dungeons and Dragons was Advanced and seconded, I was, for a while, completely intrigued by the idea of the mythal and Myth Drannor specifically.  I mean, it basically turned the entire city into one giant magic item.  My brain worked overtime on this concept, and eventually a much lesser version worked it's way out.  I unfortunately have no idea where my original write up for it went.  I found a refernece to it while going through some old gaming papers, but not the spell itself.  The basic idea was to allow a wizard to set up a framework of arcane energy by sacrificing a high level spell slot that would allow him to store extra spell energy that he could use to basically trigger a bunch of lower level spells all at once. Basically it would allow a magic user to give up a 7th level spell for 3 third level spells - say two fireballs and a lightning bolt.  And those three spells could all go off at once, since they were precast.  I don't believe I ever got to playtest it, but I thought that I would share it and see if there was any interest in the idea.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Trap Door Suprise

"Is that a door?" Nimble asked as they came upon a strange circle in the wall.  "According to the map it looks like the passageway should be right here."

"What's that design?" Rathgar asked Feris.

"Nothing I've ever seen before."  Feris mumbled a few words of power. "It isn't magic either."

Nimble tapped the circle with the butt of the pole, ran it along the grooves of the pattern, and finally around the edge.  Whatever it was, it was solid.  He leaned in closer "I don't see anything that looks like a trap."

"Should we just try to push it in, or pry it open?" Allianora asked.

Nimble shrugged, Feris shook his head, and Rathgar said "I'll do it."  He pressed his shoulder against the circle and pushed.  It shifted in slightly, and then pushed back hard, knocking Rathgar to the ground. Shifting slightly back and forth the eight legged creature emerged from the tunnel, standing over Rathgar.  

 Allianora and Feris back-peddled away from the weird spider, while Nimble scrambled to keep it's rear towards him, and Rathgar quickly worked his dagger free of it's sheath to stab up into it's weak joints.    

Shield Trapdoor Spider
Rules Cyclopedia

Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 5* (L)
Move: 120' (40')
Attacks: 1 Bite
Damage: 3d4 + Poison
No. Appearing: 1 (1)
Save As: F3
Morale: 6
Treasure Type: U
Intelligence: 0
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 300

Monster Type: Lowlife (rare)

Shield Trapdoor Spider
Mutant Future

No. Enc.: 1(1)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 120’ (40’)
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 5
Attacks: 1 (bite)
Damage: 3d4, poison
Save: L3
Morale: 6
Hoard Class: VI

Shield Trapdoor Spiders are 8 foot long, black and brown monstrous arachnids with distinctive abdomens;   they are oddly truncated with a blue-green hardened disk that is covered with grooves and ridges forming distinctive and individual patters.  Those bit by a Shield Trapdoor Spider and fail their save will suffer the effects of the Confusion spell for 2d10 rounds before death. 
These spiders are aggressive and cowardly.  And all reaction rolls suffer a -3 penalty to the roll.

Cyclocosmia - Wikipedia
 Let me take a closer look.... oh no wtf?!? - Geekfill

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Unfortunately I am not in Indianapolis right now.  I wish I was, as I've wanted to be for the last... oh... since GenCon moved to Indianapolis. And before that I wanted to be in Milwaukee.

I have never been to GenCon, or any other gaming convention for that matter.  I have been to a number of different cons that included gaming, but I really want to go to the big one.  The chance to see... well... everything.  Vendors, fellow bloggers, game designers, and the lady from the quilt store. 

The lady from the quilt store?

It turns out that Linda, the lady who runs the local quilt store is a gamer, and is on her way to GenCon.  I know this because she sent an e-mail encouraging everyone to keep stitching while she attends GenCon for the 26th time!!

Well, at least now I know who to ask about the local gaming scene!

On the other hand, I really need to get to GenCon next year. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I can kill you with my brain

Psionics.  I have hated them since I first allowed them into my games.  Back when I was running 2nd edition, I let a few players bring in some psionic characters, and promptly nailed them with the

I don't remember the form exactly, it may have been as simple as "Rocks fall, X and Y die.  No Save.  Give me those sheets."

Now, admittedly, I never owned the Psionics handbook, and I was playing with a bunch of high school power gamers, so I'm sure that has tinged my feelings on the subject just a little bit. 

When 3.0 rolled around and they released the new psionics handbook I threw down the hammer in all of my games, and just told my players (different from my 2e players) not even to ask.  Psionics does not exist in my universe.  Period.  End of sentence. 

I haven't played enough of 4e to have made a decision about it, but because of the way the game is structured, I'd be far more inclined to allow it.

When I started playing D&D with the Rules Cyclopedia Psionics wasn't even a blip on the radar.  

So what would I want to see in a psionics system for RC D&D (or any other system for that matter)?  I'd want a system that doesn't just roll over the rest of the game world and isn't any more complicated than anything else in the system.  If I can figure out weapon mastery and mass combat, then I should be able to figure out psionics. 

Now, I have no interest in creating such a system, but if a player wanted to bring in a psionics character, that's what I'd be looking for.  There are several bloggers out there who are working on such a system, and I wish them luck, and I hope they keep this post in mind as they do it. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mutant Future - Space Bears!

The fires burned the sky.  Four great streaks across the darkness of the night, followed by four thunderous crashes as the pods came to rest upon the side of hills north of Borr.  Come morning, the curious went out to see what had fallen from above.  

Luckily there was but one Ursine per pod, and they were already injured from the crash.  There were some good eats in town that day for those who came to Lucky Bob's, Suckerface's, and that plant thing with the unpronounceable name's funerals. 

Space Bears are the descendants of the ursine population that was sent into space on a generational terraforming ship ages ago.  In the unrecorded prehistory something happened to cause the bears to begin to develop greater intelligence.  Eventually they took control of the colony, developing an advanced civilization.  Some decided to return to their homeworld in order to study the planet that had originally spawned them.  Using the old generational ship that remained in orbit, they set off across the starts.  Unfortunately the effect that caused them to develop their enhanced intellect had a new effect on the return trip, causing them to become more aggressive and bearzerker-like.

Space Bears
No. Enc.: 1d6 (3d6)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 120’ (40’)
Armor Class: 6 or 3
Hit Dice: 5
Attacks: 3 (claw, claw, bite) or 1 (by weapon)
Damage: 1d3+1/1d3+1/1d6 or by weapon
Save: L2
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: V, VIII or VII

Space Bears recently landed are often equipped with specially designed space suits (counts as advanced environmental armor AC3) and armed with laser rifles with a single energy clip.   Space Bears that have been grounded for a while will abandon their ruined suits and drained and broken weapons, and will use their primitive attack forms and have the VII treasure type.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Wardog Armors

"Seriously?"  Rathgar asked "You're bringing that into the dungeon?"

"Yes" Nimble replied curtly, his nose slightly upturned. 

"Fine, but if it starts yapping, you have to deal with it."

"I will let you know this is a highly trained guard dog that will prove invaluable down in the dungeon."  

"You even bought it armor?  Where did you find a smith willing to do that??"

"I don't want him to get hurt.  And anything can be had for the right price, you know that."

Dogs can be useful companions both in the dungeon and in the wilderness.  They are loyal and watchful with far better ears and noses than humans, or even elves!  But in a world with dangers such as dire rats, drakes, and rocs it's important to protect the ones you take into the dungeon. 

Most forms of armor can be had for dogs, though the crafting of it can be difficult for many smiths to adjust to.  If an armorer has made a particular type of armor for a dog before, than the cost for the armor is the standard price listed in the equipment section of the rule book.  If the armorer has never made armor for a dog before, then the cost is 150% that listed in the rule book.

Magical forms of dog armor are very rare, but not unheard of.  Common enchantments include Mirror Image, Detect Invisible, Locate Object, Resist Cold/Fire/Poison, and Protection from Evil.

To determine a dogs armor class while wearing armor, presume that they have a natural AC of 8, and a dex adjustment of +2.