Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Starships and Spacemen

Starships and Spacemen is a new edition of an RPG that is compatible with both Labyrinth Lord and Mutant Future, and is being published by Goblinoid Games.

For the last month is has been gathering pledges on indiegogo, and the fund drive will end on Saturday August 4th. At this point, if you pledge, you will get the game, because it not only reached it's target goal, but also it's first stretch goal!

If you pledge at the $20 Sub-Lieutenant level (or higher), you'll get a hardcopy version of the rulebook and a patch of the Confederation pictured above.

Now, I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to being able to not only explore the final frontier, but to being able to bring along wizards and mutants, and to add phasers and dimension hopping Confederation officers to my dungeon crawls.

Edited to correct mistakes...

Monday, July 30, 2012


“CLOSE THE GATE” Feris screamed over the rushing wind that reeked of rotting fruit as he unleashed a lightning bolt from his wand into the swirling mist.

Through the gate the segmented creature jerked as the lightning bolt coursed through it's body. In response, it reached a claw out toward the adventurers. Its armored mouth snapped and chittered, its voice causing everyone’s vision to blur.

Rathgar grabbed the glowing cube from under the swirling window. “HOW?!”

Feris stared at cube in Rathgar’s hand. “I DON’T KNOW!!”

Rathgar jerked as the clawed appendage grabbed the back of his armor, rending it like tissue paper. His eyes went wide with pain, his cry lost in the wind. He tossed the cube toward Feris.

Feris darted out from behind the column and scooped up the cube. The creature was lifting Rathgar up, and his face was an image of pain that Feris would remember for the rest of his life. Another of the beings claws reached through the portal, bending toward Feris, grasping a ring out of which snapped viscous looking worms.

He squeezed his eyes shut, concentrated on the formula in his mind, and with a push of energy, turned the cube to dust in his hand. The world went silent, and even through his closed eyes, blindingly white.

When Feris next opened his eyes his first sensation was of pain, and as his vision cleared, of Nimble kneeling next to him. “He’s awake” Nimble said softly over his shoulder.

Armor Class: 0
Hit Dice: 15*****
Move: Fly: 150’ (50’)
Attacks: 2 claw or Special
Damage: 3d8/3d8 or Special
No. Appearing: 1d4 (1d4)
Save As: MU15
Morale: 12
Treasure Type:
Intelligence: 16
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 6810

Monster Type: Monster (Very Rare)
Augur are beings from the far realm that are happy to come to the mortal realm and cause mayhem. They are covered in chitinous plates with 6 clawed appendages and a long tail. An Augur's head has numerous sensory organs that render it immune to blindness and allow them to see invisible at will. Augurs chatter constantly which causes anyone within 60' to suffer a -2 penalty to all attack and morale rolls due to the otherworldly sounds.

Due to their alien nature, Augurs are immune to Sleep, Charm, and Hold spells, weapons of less than +2 enchantment and spells of 1st or 2nd level. In addition to their other powers, Augur can cast spells as a 12th level Wokani.

Image by Davi Blight

Saturday, July 28, 2012

S.S. Waratah - Ghost Ship

On July 28, 1909, the SS Waratah disappeared after leaving Durban for Cape Town. There were 211 people on board, and no trace of the passengers, crew, or the ship has ever been discovered.

The Waratah was named for the emblem flower of New South Wales, Australia, and built to serve as a mixed cargo/passenger liner between England and Australia. Not nearly as large or impressive as the Titanic, it still boasted 100 first class cabins, eight state rooms and a salon whose panels depicted its namesake flower, as well as a luxurious 'music lounge' complete with a minstrel's gallery. The cargo area could be converted to carry over 600 steerage passengers.

Before leaving Durban, one passenger disembarked. An engineer and experienced sea traveler, Claude Sawyer, felt the ship was too top heavy.

There are always numerous ways to use a ghost ship in an RPG: The ever popular classic ghost ship encounter, to an even more supernatural, possibly Lovecraftian, situation. The 211 deaths could have been sacrifices to the old ones.

The ship might have been carrying a mystical treasure, possibly an Egyptian artifact?

A Time/Space hole may have swallowed the ship and sent it to the past, the future, another planet, or even into another dimension, say Gamma World, or a lake in the Underdark of D+D.

It could also have been an preliminary move in the years leading up to the Great War.

Thanks to Dr. Grumpy for the topic of today's post.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mysterious Switch

From a hotel window, or across a very busy intersection you notice an old homeless man standing on a milk crate, ranting about something. He’s holding an illegible cardboard sign scribbled in sharpie. As you watch, a black SUV pulls up next to the old man, and 2 men in black suits and sunglasses jump out. A third MiB pulls an old man out of the car. The original is shoved into the car by the first 2 MiB, while the replacement is pushed up onto the milk crate and handed the sign. The suited men all get back into the SUV, and pull away out of sight.

If questioned he will claim that:
1. He was held in a secret government facility while a clone/android/shapeshifter took his place. They tried to wipe his memory, but he remembers!
2. The agents shoved him through the car, but didn’t replace him.
3. He’s a time travel subject, and they needed to get his younger self to send him to the past to complete the circle.
4. Don’t know what they’re talking about, but will make something up for a donation.
5. Is actually a government agent who’s replacing an alien.
6. Is a replacement/upgrade android, and the old one is being brought back to Eureka for study.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Claws of the Phoenix

The oni slammed both fists into the Zhu’s chest, sending him crashing back into a stone pillar, and falling to the floor. Zin used the opportunity to tumble past the demon’s tree trunk like legs, and kick back into it’s knees. The demon dropped down, reaching back to grab the monk. Wrapping his great hand around the monk’s ankle, the creature jerked Zin forward, smashing his face on the stone floor as he was pulled off balance. The oni pulled a kama from his belt with it’s free hand, and raised it up to strike the prone monk, stopping only when a blast of cold from the depths of hell gripped his upraised arm.

Zin twisted in the oni’s grip, kicking the demon in the face with his free leg. The oni’s head snapped back sharply. With a pop the oni straightened his neck, and snarled wordlessly through his tusked mouth. The creature lurched to its feet, lifting Zin by his held ankle.

Dangling Zin grabbed the kama tucked into the oni’s belt, and drove it deep into the demon’s gut. The blade burst into flame, and the oni howled, dropping Zin once again onto the stone floor.

It only sort of looks like this

Claws of the Phoenix

This matched pair of highly decorative kamas with red, orange, and yellow grips allows a fighter, thief, or mystic to either take a second attack at a -2 penalty, or to make one attack but roll damage twice, always taking the better roll. On a natural 20 the blades will burn with phoenix fire for 1d6 rounds and cause an additional 1d6 damage with every successful hit. They count as +2 weapons for determining what they can hit, but do not add this bonus to attack or damage rolls.

Use short sword stats for kamas.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

If you could only keep 10

Brendan from Untimately asked the desert island question “If you could only keep ten of your printed RPG books, which would you pick?

10 books seems rather extravagant to me, considering I could do just about everything with my top 2 choices. I tended toward the books that would allow me to do the widest variety of stuff, rather than focus on one system.

Still, it’s an interesting exercise, and a good topic for a blog post. So here are my choices, in no particular order (after the top 2).

1. Dungeons and Dragons Rules Cyclopedia
This wonderful tome contains just about everything you’d ever need to run a D+D campaign from start to finish.

2. Star Wars 2nd Edition
Once again, an all-in-one everything you could need to run a swashbuckling space opera.

3 Mutant Future
Nicely compatible with classic D+D, with the weird mutations and post-apocalyptic flavor.

4. Tales from the Floating Vagabond
It’s important to remember that the point is to have fun and not take things too seriously.

5. Vornheim
While I haven’t yet had the chance to use it, the sheer inspirational value makes it totally worth it.

6. Nobilis
Because the answer to “Do you want to be a god?” is always yes. Plus it's the most beautiful RPG book I own.

7. D+D Creature Catalog DMR2
There are a lot of different books of monsters, but I find myself turning to this one more often than others in my collection.

8. Star Trek Deep Space 9 (LUG)
When going boldly, it doesn’t hurt to bring along a rebel fighter or a ferengi trader.

9. Dungeon Alphabet
Pure inspiration, from Michael Curtis' text to the art.

10. Volo’s Guide to All Things Magical
I love this mishmash of random bits of magic from the Forgotten Realms for its inspirational value.

A few things that weren't considered because I don’t own dead tree versions:
Labyrinth Lord

Starships and Spacemen hasn’t been released yet, but it has achieved it's funding goal, and they're working on the first stretch goal. It would probably make the list in place of DS9.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hit Points Followup

Following up on this post about Starting Hit Points, I wanted to share the results of the poll.

Max - 20 (50%)

Whatever you roll - 10 (25%)

Other - 5 (12%)

Reroll if 1 - 3 (7%)

Reroll if under 1/2 max - 2 (5%)

Total Votes: 40

I reordered the results to put them in descending order.

This was not the order I was expecting. Based on my audience (you) being mostly members of the OSR, I really thought that Whatever you roll was going to be the top choice. Yet a solid half of you picked max hit points!

I also had some good comments.

Roger the GS wrote:
Highest of 3 rolls. You'd be surprised how many characters still end up with weak HP under that rule.

Basically 2 re-rolls with the player being able to chose at will.

The campaign I'm running started as a first-timer learning campaign, so I gave my players max hp through level 3 and then made them start rolling. Seemed to work pretty well. They're now level 12, so any early benefit has long since been blended in.

For first time player, I like this idea. Basically makes things a little easier for newbies.

I depends somewhat on the nature of the campaign I am in (epic fantasy migth start with full or schlubs robbing tombs just take yer damn roll).

Right now we play roll your die, accept it or roll again, but the second roll is always binding. When you level, roll a single new die & accept it or...

The choice of starting HP really can have an impact on the style of the campaign.

Keith Davies:
No rolling hit points, they are calculated based on level, attack bonus (fighters are tougher than wizards, deal with it), and Constitution.

Sounds like 4e, which, when I play 4e, is how I play it.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Blood Wraith

"What's with the jars?" Rathgar asked.

Allianora picked up one of the glass jars that glowed red. "I don't know."

Pushing his glasses back up his nose, Feris looked at the jar. "I'm sure this will come as a shock, but it reads as magic. Actually, they all do.

The room was covered floor to ceiling in shelves, most of them covered by broken jars. About a dozen jars remained unbroken, and all glowed faintly red.

"You shouldn't have come here" croaked a voice from the doorway, followed by the sound of shattering glass. Glowing blood poured from the broken jar on the shelf, and a figure rose out of it.

Nimble looked from the creature to Allianora "Don't drop that jar!"

Blood Wraith
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 5**
Move: 150’ (50’)
Attacks: 2 claw
Damage: 1d8/1d8
No. Appearing: 1d4 (1d4)
Save As: F5
Morale: 12
Treasure Type:
Intelligence: 8
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 300

Blood wraiths are creatures made from the blood of murder victims. They appear as invisible men or women covered in dripping blood. When created they are contained in glowing glass jars. When shattered, the Blood Wraith will attack anyone in sight. Blood Wraiths regain 1hp for every successful hit.

Blood Wraiths are created undead creatures, immune to sleep, charm, and hold spells, and can only be harmed by silver or magical weapons.

Image from Meanwhile, back in the dungeon.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

King Kong

Like most of you, if not all, I am a big fan of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings, so I was looking forward to seeing what he did with King Kong. Now, I’m only sort of familiar with the original, but due to its cultural saturation I know the basic story, and Jackson told that story... unfortunately it took him 3 hours to do it when it could have been done in probably half the time.

As you might expect, it was visually beautiful. He managed to capture the depression era best of times/worst of times aesthetic very well. Skull island was amazing. From the fantastic geology to the various monsters, it all looked amazing! The scenes with the giant bugs should be required viewing for D+D players and DMs. The brontosaurus stampede was a little silly, but it worked ok. The Kong vs T-Rex (x3) fight was equally impressive.

What didn’t work was the overabundance of time that was spent on the scenery and the action, and so little spent on either character development or story development. For all the spectacle, I couldn’t help but feel bored, I think in large part because of the overall length of the movie, during much of which there was so little dialogue.

Even Avatar was half an hour shorter than this!

Other things that bothered me:

For all the time the beauty character (Ann Darrow as played by Naomi Watts) spends barefoot in the jungle, sliding down muddy hills, being chased by T-Rexs, giant bats, carried around by Kong, etc. She manages to remain distractingly clean.

During the fight between Kong and the T-Rex’s, Kong gets bit and kicked numerous times, all without ANY blood. In fact, for all the violence in the movie, the level of gore remains notably low, making the suspension of disbelief rather difficult (if not impossible) to maintain.

The kid shooting giant locusts off of a guy with a machine gun (which he’s never used before), and never hitting the guy.

What worked:
Jack Black’s character. His mindset was the most prototypical D+D adventurer I think I’ve ever seen on screen.

The Skull Island Natives worked really well. They were creepy, clearly murderous, and on screen just long enough to be interesting before moving on and not being seen again. Perfect!

The maps!

Overall I’d give it a 2/5. If you want to see the good bits, the fast forward button is your friend.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Chaos Cultists, Adepts, and Prophets!

The tattooed figure before the idol continued chanting as Rathgar hewed his way through the cultists. “It was foolish to come alone!” He yelled between chants.

Rathgar pulled his sword from the thick hide of yet another cultist while blocking wicked dagger with his splintering shield. “He just keeps on talking...” he muttered.

One of the cultists in front of Rathgar opened his mouth vomiting out a green stream. Rathgar screamed, and the surrounding cultists all raised their daggers to strike him down. Nimble and Allianora’s invisibility dropped as they cut down the cultists.

The high priest paused in his chants and called out “By the dark whispers of Yaquath’qtha, that which lurks in the far beyond, I name thee worms that crawl blind under the sun!”

Nimble stumbled, his blade swinging wide as his eyes clouded over. “I can’t see!”

Allianora smashed her mace into a cultist’s head, and the body crumpled to the floor. Another instantly took his place. “Feris! Do something!”

“Way ahead of you” replied a voice next to the dark priest. Feris appeared his hand upon the cultist leader’s shoulder. His body seemed entirely tense, eyes wide. blue lightning coursed across his skin, leaving zigzag burnmarks where they flowed.”

Chaos Cultist
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 1+1*
Move: 120’ (30’)
Attacks: 1 or special
Damage: by weapon or special
No. Appearing: 1d6 (5d12)
Save As: C1
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: Q
Intelligence: 9
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 19

Chaos Cultists are humans who have sworn dark oaths to demons, devils or other beings from the far planes. They always appear with some mark or change that makes them stand out from normal men, even subtly, and makes those of a more lawful nature tend to shun them instinctively.

For every 6 Cultists there will be an Adept who acts as their leader. All cults will be lead by a Prophet.

Chaos cultists have been granted a boon by their dark power, and a bane that comes with it. Roll on the charts below to determine the nature of the boon. Each boon implies a type of bane. For example, claws may hinder the ability to hold items. Wings may make the use of armor difficult. Generally each cultist within a cult will share the same boons and banes.

Chaos Gifts
1. Acid/Poison Vomit (1d4 damage, 10’ range, 1/3 rounds free attack)
2. Bone Shards (1d6 damage, 20’ range)
3. Claws (1d4/1d4 damage)
4. Maw (1d6+2 bite damage)
5. Paralytic Touch (must continually touch with both hands, can’t attack while holding)
6. Split tongue (if speaking, can cast charm person. Must continue speaking, can’t attack)
7. Eyes of the Void (causes Fear)
8. Cyclopean Eye Beam (1d4+1 damage, 60’ range)
9. Noxious Fumes (causes -2 to attack)
10. Red Eyes (infravision)
11. Black Veins (causes darkness 10’ when wounded)
12. Silent Whispers (no mouth, communicates via telepathy)
13. Eyes of the Deep (never surprised)
14. More Dead than Alive (Count as undead)
15. Reptilian (+1 to AC, -1 to initiative)
16. Beastial (+1 to hit & damage)
17. Batwings (Flying 90’ (30))
18. No Bones (able to squeeze through spaces as small as 1”, bludgeoning causes 1pt of damage)
19. Carrying the Spawn of Hell (upon death a tiny humanoid demon will burst from the belly of the cultist. Use stats for Giant Rat)
20. Toad’s Tongue (15’ range, can entangle or grab)
21. Arms of the Baboon (+2 to damage)
22. Devil’s Horns (Headbut, 1d6 damage)
23. Leap of Faith (Leap attack, 30’, +2 to hit)
24. Brain Eaters (Tentacles, Entangle, automatic 1d4 damage)
25. Pestilent (surrounded by swarm of flies, -1 to hit, save vs. breath or take 1 pt of damage)
26. Serpentine (+2 to initiative)
27. Aquatic (Swim 120 (40), breath water)
28. Armored (+2 to AC)
29. Prehensile Tail (Can hold items & attack every other round)
30. Poisoned Stinger (save vs poison or suffer -5 to strength 1/day)

Chaos Adept
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 3+1**
Move: 120’ (30’)
Attacks: 1 or special
Damage: by weapon or special
No. Appearing: Special
Save As: C3
Morale: 11
Treasure Type: R
Intelligence: 11
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 100

Chaos adepts have taken the next step toward their dark patron, and have gained the ability to cast spells. Pick 2 first level spells and 1 second level spell from the cleric list. When available, only the reverse of a spell can be taken (i.e. cause blindness instead of remove blindness).

Dark Prophet

Armor Class: 2
Hit Dice: 5+1***
Move: 120’ (30’)
Attacks: 1 or special
Damage: by weapon or special
No. Appearing: 1 (1)
Save As: C5
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: B + O (in lair), V
Intelligence: 13
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 750

Dark Prophets are the heads of Chaos cults, and are always defended by 6 Chaos Cultists. In addition to their Chaos Gift, they also can cast spells. Pick 3 first level spells, 2 second level spells, and a third level spell from the cleric list. When available, only the reverse of a spell can be taken (i.e. cause blindness instead of remove blindness)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Random Encounters: Beyoncé

"It lives in the woods just outside of town. You wouldn't believe the rumors about the thing. Some say that there's a talking mouse that controls it, and that's why it seems to act intelligently. Another tale I've heard is that it tracked a thief to his hideout, kicked in the door, and in a high metalic voice said 'knock knock motherfucker' before pecking the living crap out of him." The beastman paused to bite another chunk out of the roasted crow.

"And that is why I'm here. I want to capture it, and see what makes it work." The rat-faced warlock pointed out, poking the camp fire with the end of his staff.

"But how do we trap it?"

"Well, if there is a thing controlling it from the inside, I have a curse that will freeze its joints. If not, I have a spiderweb spell that will probably hold it, at least for a little bit."

"And if that doesn't work?"

"That's what you and your friends are for. We'll build a pit, and lure it in. Simple as that." The warlock tossed a polished blue stone to the creature. "Don't worry, you'll be highly rewarded for the risks you and your tribe will take."

Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 7+1**
Move: 120' (40')
Attacks: 1 Peck + Special
Damage: 3d6
No. Appearing: 1 (1)
Save As:
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: Nil
Intelligence: 5
Alignment: Lawful
XP Value:

Monster Type: Construct (Unique)

Wandering the edges of the woods near a cluster of small villages is an animated metal chicken, known to the local residents as Beyoncé. No one knows how Beyoncé was named, but it has been known to the villagers for many many years. It has protected them from marauding bands of humanoids and wild monsters. Beyoncé has been hunted numerous times by warlocks looking for the secret of its apparent intelligence, but between its natural cunning, and a nest of hornets that has made its home inside its belly (4HD Insect Swarm), none have succeeded.

Beyoncé is a 5-foot tall metal chicken owned by The Bloggess, originally introduced here. This post was inspired by this more recent update about Beyoncé.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Starting Hit Points

A topic that's been beaten to death, with numerous opinions, styles, and house rules.

Yet, I really have to question how much it matters? Whether the wizard has 1 hp or 4 hp, a goblin with a bow or short sword will likely kill him with a single blow. I tend to be inclined toward making characters roll, but allowing either a reroll (take what you get, even if it's lower) or taking half the maximum.

While it doesn't seem to make much difference at 1st level, it can make a big difference at second level. A wizard getting a pair of 4s vs one that got a 2 and a 3 can actually survive a hit from that same goblin, even if it rolls high!

Of course using the rule that hit points are rerolled every level (without a base) then that isn't a consideration...

So I'm curious what my readers do. I have a poll up on the right.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Phoenix Shield

The torches in the cave burned with a purple flame, and seemed to make the shadows deeper and more sinister. Rathgar stood before a large warrior in plate. Sprawled out behind him lay Nimble, with Feris crouched over him. Allianora leaned against a natural pillar, one hand pressed against a growing bruise. Rathgar took several deep breaths before raising his sword and slamming it down on the warriors shield. In return the warrior’s mace swept up and caught Rathgar on the shoulder, sending him reeling to the floor.

“Step away from the thief” the warriors voice rumbled out of the closed helm. “I have no quarrel with you.” He stepped past the dazed fighter toward Feris and Nimble.

Rathgar kicked hard at the warrior’s knee, resulting in a satisfying cracking sound. The warrior cried out and dropped to the floor. He swung out at Rathgar, just missing his foot.

“Hey!” Feris yelled, now standing over Nimble. “Eat fire!” Flames shot from Feris’ hand, enveloping the warrior who screamed in pain. The flames wrapped wildly around his body, and Rathgar pulled himself away from the blistering heat.

The flames died, and standing before them was the warrior, completely unhurt, but without his shield. “You’ll pay for that, wizard!”

Shield of the Phoenix

This shield provides a bonus to all saving throws against fire equal to the shields enchantment. In addition, anyone who is killed by fire (magical or mundane) while holding the shield will be engulfed in a pillar of flame. When the fire dies down, 1 round later, the bearer of the shield will be at full health, but the shield will crumble to ash.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pyramid of Shadows (pregame)

In just a couple of hours I'll begin to run my players through H3 The Pyramid of Shadows!

I've been looking forward to this adventure for a while now, and even though I haven't been in the 4e mindset, this is going to be fun...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Defending Castle Zagyg

On 7/6 Joe Dimech ran Castle Zagyg for Chris Hales, Gabriel, and myself. The cast of characters were as follows
Kellan the illusionist
-Kip the Fighter
-10 goblins
Gimli the dwarf
Nick the Pike
-5 unnamed level 0 men-at-arms

Returning from the jousting fields of Harflur, Nick the Pike again joined Kellan and Gimli in cleaning out the caves and corridors under Castle Zagyg. Much of the time was spent mapping out areas that had been previously skipped, and most of these areas had recently been cleaned out. The adventurers that the group had chased into the elves’ cave seem to have survived. Finding a back entrance into the elves’ cave Kellan and Gimli checked what the elves had in stock. It turns out it was some fairly impressive items, including one that I don’t even want to mention. According to the elves most of the items had been traded in/sold to the by the other adventurers! The party was in utter shock and disbelief that the other adventurers would sell such a potent item…

After a relatively uneventful day spent mapping out empty corridors, they returned to the castle via the canyon path. The sounds of battle caught their ears as they approached the gate. The goblins standing guard yelled out that adventurers had broken into the castle! Opening the gate the party rushed in to see a gnome illusionist, a human wizard, two plate armored fighters, and a plate armored cleric. Kellan cast Fear, causing one of the fighters to flee, while Nick tossed his Javelin of Lightening, dropping the gnome and injuring the cleric. Kip shot an arrow, hitting the wizard.

In return the wizard dropped a massive fireball on the party, killing the goblins and men-at-arms, and seriously injuring the party. The cleric attempted to blind Kellan, but he shrugged darkness off. The remaining fighter positioned himself between the party and his spellcasters. Nick and Gimli charged at the fighter who fended off their blows. Kellan blinded the enemy fighter while Kip slipped around stabbing the wizard.

Again seizing the initiative, the enemy cleric blinded Kellan, and the wizard held Gimli. Kip skewered the wizard, while Kellan conjured a goblin hero to attempt to rally the terrified goblin defenders of the castle. Unfortunately the fact that Kellan was blind caused the phantasmal goblin to alternately float several inches above the ground, or sink knee deep into it. Nick pushed past the blinded fighter, sinking his ax deep into the cleric who dropped his mace and fell to his knees in surrender. The fighter and cleric were stripped, bound, and interrogated.

The captured adventurers told the party that they returned their treasure to the town, hence their lack of gold. It was decided that the blind fighter would be escorted back to the town to get ransom for the cleric and for the removal of the blindness. When after 3 days the fighter did not return, the cleric was executed and given to the remaining goblins.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Moai Spirit, Lion

“By the Shining Lady, did you see that stone?” Rrac said, holding a tankard in front of his mouth.

“Aye” Gilloc nodded, “Definitely something worth picking up on our way out of town.”

“Gentlemen” Naudeen “While I generally hold your opinions on the value of ‘loot’ to be of little consequence, in this case I think you might be correct.”

“Erts? Go walk Goober.” Narsal ordered.

Goober thumped his tail against the tavern floor, and Erts looked panicked. “Go!” Narsal repeated. Without a word Erts walked to the door of the tavern and held it open for the dog.

“We’ll go tonight” Naudeen said “and come back and get Erts and the dog when we're done. Then, we get out of town.”

Silently the elf was boosted up by Gilloc and Rrac. Naudeen grasped the edge of the open window, and pulled himself through. The child’s bedroom was quiet, and mostly dark. Only a streak of moonlight washed across the child's bed illuminating an arm and a stuffed animal. Naudeen glanced around, noting nothing of value. As he edged his way around the bed toward the door he heard a low growl. Naudeen froze. The only animal that he could see was a small stuffed white thing tucked under the child's arm.

With the stillness that only an elf can evoke, Naudeen waited unmoving as minutes dripped by.

Slowly, he crept on, easing the door open, and slipping into the hall. Keeping to the walls, he made his way inch by inch to the master bedroom. Slipping through the unlocked door, he quickly spotted the dresser and the jewelry box atop it. Skipping the lesser pieces, Naudeen picked out the large green gem set in gold. Chances were that the gem was flawed in some way, but the setting alone made it worth taking. Slipping back through the door, he stepped into the hall, and eased the door closed.

The hair on the back of his neck stood before he heard the growl.

Turning, he saw a sight that chilled his blood. The child stood in the doorway looking at him, and behind him a great white tusked lion.

Moai Spirit (Lion Form)

Armor Class: 6**
Hit Dice: 6+2**
Move: 150’ (50’)
Attacks: 2 claw/1 bite or 1 roar
Damage: 1d4+1/1d4+1/2d6+2 or special
No. Appearing: 1 (1)
Save As: C5
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: Nil
Intelligence: 5
Alignment: Lawful
XP Value: 950

Moai spirits are household guardians that are able to take a semi-physical form. The can only be harmed by silver weapons (which do half damage) or magical weapons. Their roar can cause Fear or Hold Person (spirit’s choice).

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Inspirational Image: Inner Dire Wolf

This isn't one of my corgis, and I don't know where the pic came from originally, but always remember that in the heart of man's best friend is a wolf... maybe even a dire wolf!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Starport Saturday: Mechs, Bots, and Droids Discount Emporium

Starport SaturdayA105

Mechs, Bots, and Droids Discount Emporium

This little shop is crammed full of all sorts of little robots and their component parts. While nothing on the shop floor is actively blackened with blaster marks, nothing looks like it came right off the factory floor either. The display window contains a variety of climbing and flying robots that carry or otherwise display the various deals available within.

For anyone looking for an inexpensive bot (slightly used) or some spare parts to fix their old droid (parts refurbished in-house), or a basic servicing (oil bath extra) this is the place to go. The owner operator is a grizzled, skinny human with a scruffy white beard and breath that smells of actuator fluid and breath mints named Randal. Everyone entering the store will receive the same enthusiastic greeting along with a handshake or a clap on the shoulder. He will often ramble on about the latest rare droid component he’s managed to acquire, or is looking for, and always stands just a little too close.

Anyone who comes to his store more than once will always receive a better than fair deal, and anyone with a rare bit they’re looking to offload can usually get a fair or better price.

As an ongoing project I’m stocking the map above with shops and characters, making it something of a mini-campaign setting. However, it’s also want to open to you. This is your chance to be a guest blogger here at Tower of the Archmage! All you need to do is to pick one (or more) of the different stores, and write up a description of what type of store it is!

How to get involved: Leave me a comment or an e-mail letting me know you want to join in, and pick a space. Write your post (or posts if you’re feeling ambitious). Send me your post via e-mail, and I’ll get it up, probably on a Saturday.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Rusty's Random Blog Post Topic Generators

Way back when there was a blog called Rusty Battle Ax, and the author, Rusty, came up with some interesting stuff. Below are his 3 random blog post topic generators. I posted them back in 2010, but I've gotten a lot more followers since then, so I figured it was time to revisit it.

The Original!

D30 Random Blog Topic Table
1. My Favorite Color of Dice

2. Most Unlikely, But True, TPK
3. Least Favorite Magic Item
4. Which Monster Has the Best Sense of Humor?
5. Retro-Clones: Are They OSR?

6. Random Table of Found Meals in the Dungeon
7. Dungeon Geology

8. Why I Don't Like __________
9. Flaming Oil as a Weapon: Yes or No?

10. Darwin Award for Player Characters: Your Best Self-Destructive PC
11. Do Elves Fart?
12. Does Your Campaign Setting Have a Magnetic Field?
13. The Original AD&D 1e Bard
14. Clowns As Monsters
15. Lions, Tigers and Bears

16. Three New Magic Items
17. Clothes and Style for Player Characters
18. The Best Names for Taverns, Pubs, Inns and Bars
19. Fudging Dice Rolls as DM: Yes, No, or Depends
20. Spells with Loopholes

21. Names For Coinage

22. Three Actual Historic/Geographic Settings for Campaigning
23. New Monster
24. Best Music Before a Gaming Session
25. Snacks: Salty, Sweet or Healthy?
26. What Were They Thinking?
27. Names for Swords
28. Five Things an Adventurer Should Never Be Without

29. Oops
30. Roll Twice and Use Both Topics in One Post

Son of Random Blog Post Topic Generator

  1. You're doing it wrong!*
  2. Now THAT Was Inappropriate
  3. The Biggest ______ Ever
  4. Put Some Water On It
  5. After That...Silence
  6. And Here Is What You Missed
  7. And When The Saving Throw Failed…
  8. Bad Dice Day
  9. That’s Not How I Imagined It
  10. Ewww…What Is that Smell?
  11. And That’s the Last Time I Ever __________
  12. Should Have Checked For Traps
  13. Don’t Taunt the Monster
  14. Banned From Appendix N!!
  15. Maybe I Should Have Stayed Home
  16. When _______ Attack(s)
  17. Well, That Didn’t Work
  18. And It Sounds Like _______
  19. Duh
  20. Missed It By That Much
*Thanks, Gene

Table 1: Roll d10
1-2 Roll on Table 2 then on Table 4
3-4 Roll on Table 3 then on Table 4
5-9 Roll on Table 2, then on Table 3, then on Table 4
10- Roll on Table 4

Table 2-Roll d12
1.    The
2.    A
3.    One
4.    Two
5.    Three
6.    Four
7.    Five
8.    Six
9.    Seven
10.    Eight
11.    Nine
12.    Ten

Table 3-Roll d100
1.    Alabaster
2.    Amiable
3.    Anemic
4.    Apelike
5.    Arcane
6.    Bad
7.    Badass
8.    Beautiful
9.    Best
10.    Bizarro
11.    Black
12.    Blue
13.    Certain
14.    Cheap
15.    Circular
16.    Clever
17.    Dark
18.    Dastardly
19.    Dead
20.    Difficult
21.    Dirty
22.    Divine
23.    Dorky
24.    Draconic
25.    Dry
26.    Elastic
27.    Exciting
28.    Explosive
29.    Fast
30.    Fastest
31.    Favorite
32.    Flashy
33.    Flying
34.    Funny
35.    Gnarly
36.    Golden
37.    Gooey
38.    Gray
39.    Green
40.    Groovy
41.    Horrible
42.    Hostile
43.    Humane
44.    Humorous
45.    Immovable
46.    Interesting
47.    Lazy
48.    Least Favorite
49.    Living
50.    Loud
51.    Major
52.    Massive
53.    Meta
54.    Mighty
55.    Minor
56.    Miserly
57.    Multi-Faceted
58.    Mundane
59.    Neutral
60.    New
61.    Nice
62.    Old
63.    Oldest
64.    Orange
65.    Overlooked
66.    Paleomorphic
67.    Pedantic
68.    Perverted
69.    Pissy
70.    Poor
71.    Popular
72.    Purple
73.    Red
74.    Rich
75.    Rude
76.    Sad
77.    Scary
78.    Secret
79.    Shocking
80.    Skimpy
81.    Slow
82.    Sparkly
83.    Stupendous
84.    Stupid
85.    Sure
86.    Sweet
87.    Tight
88.    Timid
89.    Tiny
90.    Ugly
91.    Unpleasant
92.    Valuable
93.    White
94.    Wicked
95.    Wiggliest
96.    Wimpy
97.    Wordy
98.    Worst
99.    Worthless
100.    Yellow

Table 4: Roll d100
1.    Aberrations
2.    Actions
3.    Adventures
4.    Ants
5.    Armor
6.    Artifacts
7.    Artwork
8.    Authors
9.    Bargains
10.    Beans
11.    Beverages
12.    Books
13.    Campaigns
14.    Castles
15.    Characters
16.    Cities
17.    Classes
18.    Clerics
19.    Concepts
20.    Concerns
21.    Covers
22.    Cowards
23.    Crackers
24.    Creatures
25.    Deities
26.    Demons
27.    Dice
28.    Dice Rolls
29.    Doors
30.    Dragons
31.    Dungeons
32.    Dwarves
33.    Editions
34.    Elementals
35.    Elves
36.    Encounters
37.    Equipment
38.    Events
39.    Fey
40.    Fighters
41.    Freebies
42.    Giants
43.    GMs
44.    Gnomes
45.    Guilds
46.    Halflings
47.    Heroes
48.    Humans
49.    Ideas
50.    Inflictions
51.    Information
52.    Issues
53.    Items
54.    Kobolds
55.    Maces
56.    Magic Items
57.    Maps
58.    Modules
59.    Monsters
60.    Mounts
61.    News
62.    Odors
63.    Orcs
64.    Planes
65.    Players
66.    Poisons
67.    Problems
68.    Products
69.    Puns
70.    Races
71.    Rangers
72.    Relics
73.    Rings
74.    Rogues
75.    Rooms
76.    Ruins
77.    Rulebooks
78.    Rules
79.    Saving Throws
80.    Secrets
81.    Sessions
82.    Settings
83.    Snacks
84.    Spells
85.    Strategies
86.    Supplements
87.    Tables
88.    Taverns
89.    Techniques
90.    Thieves
91.    Tools
92.    Trolls
93.    Undead
94.    Vampires
95.    Victims
96.    Villains
97.    Wands
98.    Weapons
99.    Wimps
100.    Wizards

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Scarab of Protection

The scarab pinned to the sorcerer's cape flashed as Feris' spell fizzled. The sorcerer smiled, and pointed his wand at Feris, sending a black bolt of energy that blasted Feris off of his feet, then split to catch the onrushing Rathgar and Allianora, knocking them both to the ground.

"Now, where did the other one go..." The sorcerer looked around. "Come out, come out where ever you-" his singsong chant ended abruptly as several inches of steel protruded from the front of his chest. "Oh, of course..." The sorcerer coughed once before falling to his knees. Nimble pushed the sorcerer off of his blade, face down on the floor.

"Ow..." Rathgar moaned, sitting up.

"'I can freeze the sorcerer so we can kill him' you said 'it'll work' you said. It didn't work Feris...."

"Apparently he was ready for that tactic, but it did distract him." Feris replied, without getting off of the floor.

"And you did kill him." Allianora pointed out.

"But I could have gotten hurt, or worse! We only just got the last warlock's curse removed, and my eyebrows still haven't grown back yet!"

Scarab of Protection

These ceramic items are most commonly known to protect against curses or magic missiles, however other varieties exist. When found they will have 2d6 charges. Roll on the following charts to see what protection they offer.

Scarab Type (1d12)
01-07 Lesser (roll a 1d6, 1d4 times on the chart below, doubles add 1d3 charges)
07-10 Minor (roll a 2d6, 1d3 times on the chart below, doubles add 1d3 charges)
11-12 Major (roll a 3d6, 1d2 times on the chart below, doubles add 1d3 charges)

Scarab Protection
01 Charm Person
02 Sleep
03 Magic Missile
04 Fear
05 Entangle
06 Hold Person
07 Blindness
08 Disease
09 Confusion
10 Polymorph Other
11 Poison
12 Curse
13 Feeblemind
14 Death Spell
15 Disintegrate
16 Geas
17 Flesh to Stone
18 1d6 extra charges and roll again

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Back to 4e

Between the OSR and D+D Next I haven’t spent much time or energy on 4e, and it’s been months since I last got my group together to play, mostly due to school. But school is over for the summer, and my players are itching to see what’s up with the pyramid floating over Fallcrest.

Since I haven’t been thinking about it, I need to refresh myself on 4e in general, and the adventure specifically. Also, having a chance to prep this far ahead (2 weeks, give or take) means that I can have all the minis ready, rather than having to dig about for them.

Yeah, I know it’s very different from the type of prep I’d be doing for an old school game, and I’m ok with that. It’s still D&D, and any chance to sit down with some friends and roll some dice is a good thing!