Friday, November 30, 2012

Ogre Mage Scan

Again, I don't know Matt Finch from Mythmere Games, but the Matt Finch I know (knew?) was a great artist living up here in the middle of nowhere, great white north, USA. He was a co-worker at a retail store, and when we found out he could draw, we roped him into some character drawings. Here's the one he made for my friend's ogre mage (continued after picture):

You really don't see many people playing ogre mages. Unfortunately, the game this one was made for didn't make it very far. I'd love to see someone play an ogre mage with 7-9 levels in both fighter and wizard.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tell Me About Your Fighter

What is your fighter's name (&/or alias)? What fighting style or weapon does he/she specialize in? What are some epic fights you've been in (one-on-one or larger battles)? What treasures have you won by might of arms?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Barrowmaze Delve Recap

Sunday afternoon I joined a group delving into Barrowmaze for the first time. I have the adventure, and I read it through many moons ago. I don't remember much about what's where, so I thought it would be a great experience to play in the setting before ever trying to run it.

My PC
My character is a female druid named Euthalia. Many months ago she cast Animal Companion and has trained a badger (Broc) to explore with her. She joins up with groups of adventurers who are going into keeps/dungeons/barrows in the midst of the wilderness. They are there for loot. She is there to rid the place of "abominations against nature."

Spells (4 due to Wis bonus): Cure Light Wounds, Detect Magic, Entangle, Shillelagh.

Encounters and dressing
  • Rumors of undead, secret cults, and the name Orcus was thrown around. 
  • In the SE mound we found a staircase under a sarcophagus. 
  • The thief disturbed a nest of giant centipedes. Euthalia wouldn't help fight them because they are natural creatures. Broc did help fight them and got poisoned. He was slowed to half speed for many days. Luckily badger don't care. 
  • We lost most of our party due to technical difficulties in Hangouts/Roll20. We started with 2 theives, a dwarf fighter cleric, a druid, and 3 henchmen. We ended up with just one thief and the druid after the centipede fight. 
  • The thief found a pit trap by falling in it. Mark off the Cure Light Wounds. 
  • Searched a barrow and found 41 platinum. 
  • Found Giant Carnivorous Flies. Again, the druid didn't want to fight because they were natural creatures. The thief didn't want to fight because she couldn't take them. 
  • We found 3 mongrelmen counting their loot. They attacked us. Euthalia cast Entangle and the thief backstabbed the entangled creatures. We found 1532 cp, 1897 sp, and each got ~400gp worth of gems. 
  • Ended the sitting with 738 XP and 755 gp worth of loot. Not bad for a thief and a druid. 
Now we have to go home and wait for the poison to wear off the badger before we find another group to explore with.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lucky Dice

My friend Chris throws a house-con every year for his birthday. Every year has a theme, and every year he has specialty dice made to give out. Every year these dice end up as my lowest rollers in my collection. Every year.

The other day I grabbed them to start making a new character. My first roll of 3d6 = 4. That's it. Out of three dice. I immediately threw them back in the bag and hauled out my Artisan Dice. My first roll was a 16. I finished the character using the Artisan Dice: 16, 12, 15, 12, 15, 11.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Alternate D&D Setting: Dwarves

A while back I posted about my friend's home-brewed world for D&D 2e. I have some of his notes. Here's the write up on dwarves:

The dwarves of this world automatically gain a plus to strength (+1) and constitution (+2) for they were hardened by what they call The ORDEAL. The clan units have grown, even fighters, as a whole. Dwarves consider humans as a good race to trade and fight with, but otherwise they have no use for them. Dwarves consider elves to be less than nothing. A dwarf may attack an elf on sight for they consider elves to have conspired with the Wyrm Lords. Any dwarf worth his weight in battle will carry a stout weapon of dwarven make which will be inscribed with his clan, family, and personal name, as well as any runic battle symbols endowed to him by a priest of Yarnok the dwarven god of battle and the hall. Or even runes of Sertig, the Maker.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Character Profiles: Valnir Narinsson (WFRP 1e)

Valnir Narinsson of the Longbeard Clan is a cleric of Grungni. He is a towering 4'10" dwarf with brown hair and grey eyes. He has a long beard tucked into his belt and coming out of a dwarf-faced belt buckle. His chosen weapon is a pick-axe (scan below).

Backpack contains: Book of Grudges (see below), blanket, tinderbox, iron rations, leather scroll case, waterskin, pewter tankard, crowbar, small hammer, and iron spikes.

Purse: Jewel of Power, coins

Belt Pouch: Pebbles

Necklace: Mithril pick (holy symbol)

Robes: Dark grey embroidered with a pick symbol.

Favorite spell (to date): Assault of Stones

Book of Grudges: Igor Erisitov from Brestikvia, Elizabeth Aitmatov (who is also possibly a witch), Sarah Littlefoot, Sakhaz Ironbeard (deceased).


Friday, November 23, 2012

Alternate D&D Setting: Were-Priests

A while back I posted about my friend's home-brewed world for D&D 2e. I have some of his notes. Here's the write up on the were-priests:

History of the Were-priests

After the great rebellion, the ex-slaves frantically sought means to keep the Dragon Lords at bay. One faction of humans thought that only through a strict militant state would they hope to hold off the hordes of the Dragons. Another faction sought to reclaim the might of human magic and a reassertion with their ancient gods. Finally this faction split also into Mage and Priest classes. Few sects of priests remain for they felt a call from their gods to go to a distant land and many followed their gods fearing to lose them once more. The largest sect to remain was the were-priests, men and women who changed form at will as well as call upon the animals of the wild. The Were-Priests have many sects within their religion; the largest of these are those of Bear, Wolf, Eagle, Rat, Crow, and Stag. Though there are many more sects these are the most numerous. It is not counted among them to be less if an adherent does not fit into one of the more powerful groups, for one’s sect is not chosen by the follower but by their god. Their god gives them a spirit guide in a spirit form and they are only able to change into that form.

Sects: Bear, Wolf, Eagle, Rat, Crow, Stag, Panther, Lion, Cougar/Mountain Lion, Vulture, Fish-Various (merfolk), Shark (merfolk), Seal, Sloth, Squirrel, Coyote, Dog (Dom.) Horse, Goat (Satyr).

Thursday, November 22, 2012

On Miniatures

Miniatures aren't just about the RPG. It is a wonderful little side-hobby, collecting and painting. It is something you can do with just one or two people if you can't get the whole group together to play. Painting parties are fun, even if the whole group is there. It's nice to take a break from the game sometimes. I love the minis.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gygax Magazine Expectations

Since my brain is foggy (it has been a long week already), and the buzz going around is the return of TSR and the revealing of Gygax Magazine, I thought I'd weigh in with my thoughts and expectations.

(Aside: I hope you're not hearing about it now for the first time. Heh. This blog is not a good place to keep up with current events.)
Gygax is a gaming magazine for new and old players alike .We are looking forward to the games of tomorrow and today, while preserving the traditions and history that got us where we are now.
Our articles and features cover current independent and major publisher games such as Pathfinder, Savage Worlds, The One Ring, Shadowrun, Godlike, Labyrinth Lord, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, Warhammer 40k Roleplay, Traveller, and others, as well as classic out-of-print games with a modern following, like AD&D, Top Secret, and Gamma World.
 My thoughts on the magazine are summed up in this: I only play one of the games listed above. AD&D. Even then, it depends on which edition (though I hate to be like that). I may have the PHB and assorted books from every edition, but I only regularly play 2nd edition. I wouldn't mind playing 1st or OSRIC or BECMI or LBB, but I really haven't had that opportunity.

Dragon Magazine was great for me (in the 90s). Most of the articles contained usable information that I could port over into my game. A gaming magazine described in the quote above seems like it will be too filled with a variety of games I don't play to really entice me.

Hopefully reality proves different than expectations.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tell Me About Your Thief

What is your thief's name (&/or alias)? What does he/she specialize in? What are some grand heists you've perpetrated (you can interpret this however you like).

Friday, November 16, 2012

Review: Book of Vile Darkness D&D Movie

This was the first time I have ever watched a movie on YouTube, not that that's either here nor there, but there it is. I'll break it down into what I really liked and what I didn't care for:


Dislikes:
  • The hero was required to kill someone in cold blood to join the party. Instead, he defended himself from an attack. The evil party accepted that.
  • The dragon was a large, emaciated bat.
  • The fight scene at the town was so bad! It had horrible choreography. And where were the archers?  A few good archers could have taken out the evil group before the fight even started.
  • The end message seems to be that you are more noble if you lie, cheat, steal, and murder to attain your goal than if you are faithful to the tenets of knighthood.  That's not how I play D&D.

Likes:
  • I liked the mage's spells and how they were connected to his body: Wizard eye was able to be effected by a trap and caused him pain when it was disrupted.  Also, his spell allowing him to turn into a swarm: I'd assume those individual creatures could still be hurt and feel pain. That could cause a loss of HP when he reforms.
  • The town's symbol of ruler-ship  the mace with the diamond at the top? I love it! It'd redesign it a bit, but it's a cool idea.
  • The evil mage as sort of a devil-over-the-shoulder to the hero is a neat idea. He never does anything bad to the hero, but he does encourage the hero to be bad. How the hero reacts can make a nice story.
  • The hero poisoned the barbarian, and slid the body into the bag of holding and threw the bad into the lake. I think that's actually kind of clever.
  • The evil mage has the holy symbol on in the last scene. What a slap in the face to the hero who's chained up!

In all, the movie was low-rate with cheesy effects and unbelievable scenes. I won't be satisfied with a D&D movie until one is at least Lord of the Rings quality. Until then, I can still leave the bad and siphon off some of the good for ideas in games.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Faemarik Scan

I don't know Matt Finch from Mythmere Games, but the Matt Finch I know (knew?) was a great artist living up here in the middle of nowhere, great white north, USA. He was a co-worker at a retail store, and when we found out he could draw, we roped him into some character drawings. Here's the one he made for my elf ranger, Faemarik.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dwimmermount Level 1 Session 4 Highlights

My PC:
Spade the fighter of somewhat dubious fighting ability (when the stats don't lead anywhere else, you can always be a fighter...I don't have a PR bonus, though). When he's not fighting to pay the bills, he's a hobbyist archaeologist. I thought it fit the Dwimmermount premise.

Newly acquired henchman:
I mostly wanted someone who could help scribe my exploits, copy down markings we found on walls, etc. What the Meatshields program gave me was a human male fighter with 2 HP who had taken an oath of silence. That worked for me. Maybe he was looking to join a monestary. Whatever the case, I grabbed him and put him in the marching order right behind me.

Encounters and dungeon dressing: 
  • The Oracle beside the entrance told us we could find the key to the door guarding the treasure (that it had told us about previously) in a cavern to the southeast. Therefore, southeast was our goal for the night. 
  • We found the stairs going down to level 2, but ignored them because we hadn't gotten our treasure from level 1 yet. 
  • More ghostly images replaying a scene ad infinitum. 
  • Old barracks with some unopened footlockers which contained 40 GP and 300 SP. 
  • An old library with a slightly charred magical scroll (sold for 750 GP), an ornate hand drawn and illuminated map of a far off Thulian locale (sold for 500 GP), and a war codex which give fighters (me!) 500 XP after reading. 
  • Some kind of pack of emaciated gremlins ransacking a room that we might have wanted to ransack. They ended up killing 2 retainers before we could exterminate them. 
  • A room with boxes that looked to make the gremlin-type creatures. 
  • A room with oil around the other door, which we suspected may be a trap, so we lit it on fire before someone or something else could light it on fire while we were standing in it. We went back to town to refresh and recuperate while the oil burns off and the smoke clears. 
In all, we are having a great time exploring this level. The oracle has given us a couple goals, and it seems helpful to be goal-oriented when exploring a level of Dwimmermount. Otherwise, you're just going to randomly check doors and ignore unexplored areas when you find the next set of stairs.

Until next session, my retainer and I will be organizing my memoir notes, copying them, and delivering a copy to the local library for archiving.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Holy Adventure: Quest

Short and sweet, here was the quest for my holy adventure:

Destroy Talisman of Ultimate Evil

I believe my idea was for the PC group to infiltrate an evil church, find the artifact, and destroy it before it could be used against the good group. Pretty simplistic, huh?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Holy Adventure: Characters

Once upon a time I had the idea for a holy adventure. This was an adventure funded and run by the church of a specific D&D deity. As such, there was a Cleric in charge of the group, who ultimately reported to a higher up Priest of the church. All others were either followers of the same deity who "went to the same church" or followers of one of the church's close allies.

Here's some info on my plans for the characters:

Cleric (Level 7): Not as strict on the tenets of the faith as the Priest (as in, let the thief do his job), but strict enough to remain in good standing with the church.

  • Will have say/rule over the Paladin(s)
  • DM will keep track to make sure the Cleric is sticking to the tenets and beliefs of their god.
Paladin (Level 6):

  • Will have high charisma, as is a requirement anyway
  • Will most likely be the group leader unless the Cleric wants that job.
Figher(s) (Level 5):

  • Belongs to the church.
  • Possibly a Ranger, depending on the religion chosen
  • Has blessed weapons and armor
Specialist (Thief) (Level 5):

  • Belongs to the church (even churches need the talents of a "specialist" every once in a while.
  • May have some spells as divine favor (Detect Traps, Invisibility, Silence 15', etc.)
  • Must give 20% of earnings to the church to retain the favors
Wizard/Mage (Level 5):

  • Belongs to the church.
  • Also may have some extra spells as divine favor.
  • Spells are cast as 2 levels higher as a divine blessing, as long as the Wizard remains devout.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

New Monster: Scorpitaur

This monster was inspired by a miniature I ordered and painted. I had to name it and give it stats.

M 6 WS 41 BS 25 S 4 T 4 W 17 I 30 A 2 Dex 18 Ld 33 Int 18 Cl 29 WP 24 Fel 10

Alignment: Evil
Size: M (5-6' tall)
Appearance: Humanoid in appearance, these creatures combine the features of a bull, scorpion, and human all in one. The body is human-like except in color, which is usually a shad of red like a scorpion or crab. the head is that of a bull with dark, black horns. the eyes are light red, and out of the lower jaw protrudes two up-pointing tusks. A large scorpion tail, as long as the rest of the body, curls up from the creature's hind-side and over the head. There is a black stinger on the end of a mace-like tail head.
Psychological Traits: Cause fear in creatures under 6' tall.
Special Rules: Subject to Blood lust. One of the 2 attacks per round is a tail sting. Victims must make a Poison test every time they are hit:

  • 1st Failure: Drowsy
  • 2nd Failure: Paralyzed
  • 3rd Failure: Unconscious
  • 4th Failure: Dead
Climate: Forests and mountains


Friday, November 9, 2012

Do You Use Contagion and Disease?

I was reading through a WarHammer Fantasy Roleplay supplement the other night, and there was a chapter about physicians and surgeons. There were rules for contracting infection, both before and after surgery. Do you use rules like that? Is there a chance that your (non-magical) healer will cause an infection in the person they are trying to patch up? It doesn't seem like much fun for those trying to run heroic games, but it might be interesting for an added dose to those running games higher in realism.

On which end of the spectrum do you fall?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Random Encounters

I have to admit, I was never that good at remembering to roll for random encounters. I do, however, think I had more planned encounters on the road than many other GMs. I think I mostly remembered to use random encounters during night watch.

What about you? Are random encounters part of your style?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Advice for Running High-Level Adventures


There is talk about this subject occasionally, so the other day it dawned on me that I should ask our old DM, the guy who ran our high-level games how to deal with such things. This is what he had to say (tidied up for posting):
Best ways to work it are to spend the first couple of sessions with working the backstory of the campaign and getting to know the characters that your players have developed. Give them some information-gathering tasks with a couple of minor encounters thrown in to see what they are capable of...What are their strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies in combat. Then tailor each week to challenge the characters in their weaknesses while rewarding their strengths. It forces parties to develop teamwork and group-thought processes to overcome what is in front of them. Not every battle needs to have that invincible foe, but if it has one minor foil that can expose a character flaw (whether it be a combat flaw or a fear/phobia), you can really provide a challenge in how to overcome that distraction. Some trial and error is inevitable. You may find that a particular battle becomes dominated by [the DM's] forces or [the party's forces]. If it's [the DM's] forces, then you can keep morale up by providing means of escape before the whole party dies. Or if they escape on their own, some hidden information on how to turn the tide in their favor at a future encounter. Hope this helps!
I hope this helps, too. It's quite a mature way of thinking for some young adults back in the 90s.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Gaming Inspiration: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

If you want an example of Lawful Neutral, look at Cameron in this show (played by Firefly's Summer Glau). She doesn't care who gets hurt or killed as long as John Connor is safe.

She really makes the show, and gives me inspiration should I ever play a LN character.

Monday, November 5, 2012

On My Dungeon's Background

Considering the facts:

  • I don't want my underground complex to be of Dwarven or Skaven make.
  • I want the front door to lead to a heretofore unknown valley.
  • I have some Halfling ideas rolling around in my head.
The resulting background is:

Many ages ago, the valley was home to Halflings. One family of Halflings began dabbling in magic and eventually moved up to a tall hill overlooking the valley where they could practice their art without endangering, and with less interruption from, others. The power of this family grew until it was summoning demons to do its manual labor, including excavation and artisan work in the hill complex.

The complex will be like a Hobbit hole but with expansions. One expansion is the family crypt, a sublevel of the complex. Occasionally, the family would allow a particularly prominent (and giving) Halfling from the valley to be buried within.

The ages saw the decline of the population in the valley, the loss of its connections to the rest of the Old World, and the extermination of the family in the hill. Weather all this was natural or unnatural remains to be discovered by the adventurers.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Magic Item: Tzeentch’s Blasphemous Blessing


Servants of the chaotic ones seek their lords’ favors, their varied chaotic gifts, their mutations. There exists, hidden in few forgotten recesses in the Old World, amulets which hasten the blessings of chaos. Few know of these amulets, and even fewer seek them. But for those who seek and find, the blessing comes rapidly…almost too rapid for the human body to survive.

These amulets mutate a human body into a Beak Horror. The process happens over a 24 hour period. Not every body can handle the rapid change. Sometime during the process, have the character make a Toughness check.  If the check is failed, the body is consumed and the brain goes mad, and the character dies before the transformation is complete.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Obsession


Obsessed characters can carry a group through an entire adventure.  The obsessed character is constantly straining for forward momentum. They will light a fire under others who want to hang around in town buying fancy garments or spending money carousing. The obsessed character wants action: clues found, rumors acted upon, oceans and deserts crossed, mountains scaled, and enemies defeated.

How can I get a character in my game to be obsessed?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Artist: Eric Quigley

Eric Quigley is a (fantasy?) artist who has recently gotten my attention in multiple different ways.

First, he has been making some fine looking pieces for the Dwimmermount Kickstarter.

Next, not only does he do some amazing work like this, but he also puts it out there for people to use for free!

And on top of that, he's a contributing part of the gaming community on Google+. He posts, comments, and replies to questions.

Eric is definitely worth taking a look at. Enjoy!