Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Grottos & Golems: RPG from Pathfinder Cards

Paizo's version of D&D is physically more than a handful. So when their adventure card game was released, I wondered what trimming and shaping would be done. After the product line hit stores, I saw plainly the switch to stepped dice for attribute based resolution - no D20. Beyond making these rolls, there are no traditional combat mechanics. The power and items cards, when you expend them, represent a kind of damage. This week I started thinking about a D4-D12 hack of Pathfinder, with OSR stuffing instead of a card deck. G&G is the result, available as a one page beta:

In this hack, players pick polyhedral dice for each Attribute, making sure the highest sum is exactly 42. Next, a class is selected, with each having proficiencies and a pair of die boosting powers. One power grants the next size up for rolling, the other contributes a bonus D4 or D6. Rather than make a host of hit tables, combat employs basic opposed attack and defence rolls. The latter uses base speed instead of an attribute, so a PC can't max himself into a super-ninja.

With OSR spells already 90% sorted into schools, the task of making casters unique is easy. My bard-like Minstrel has a much different play style than a specialized Wizard, and captures that type of "niche sub-class" focus that Pathfinder extols. Instead of levels, magic is sorted into Minor, Lesser, and Greater incantations. I did this for another game of mine and it reduces some weight.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

More Grimy Goblin Lore

Uncommon facts gleaned from numerous slain Dungeon Overlords:

1) Goblins will expire from chemical reaction if fed large quantities of bitter citrus, or submerged in fruit juice.
2) Goblins touched by the horn of a Unicorn or Ki-Rin will be cursed by colorful, "Thomas Kinkade-like" visions. Removal of the eyes is the only cure.
3) Goblin blood will neutralize the paralytic toxin of the Carrion Crawler.
4) A percentage of Goblin can swivel their heads and feet more than 180 degrees.
5) Goblins near Dwarf or Gnome strongholds will camouflage themselves as demihumans using waxy paints and yarn "beards".
6) Goblins that ride wolves take better care of their beasts than their kin. The wolves are routinely combed and powdered with clay to prevent ticks and parasites.
7) Some Goblin tribes use toxic minerals instead of decaying matter for poison. Deposits containing compounds of arsenic or mercury are mined for their harmful effects on humans.
8) The severed limb or head of a Goblin will react to the touch of a demihuman for a full day.
9) Most Goblins, upon seeing a polished piece of metalwork, will attempt to tarnish it with piss or spit. Most Rogue Trappers, aware of this compulsion, carry shiny cookware.
10) Aside from books of black magic, the only other valuable Goblin literature belongs to their iniquitous dramaturges. However, translation to Common is required in the buyer's market.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Collecting Miniatures in the 21st Century

Where I grew up, there was no FLGS with all the nice things a fantasy gamer kid needed. I was lucky that TSR publications sometimes appeared at the mall 15 miles away. I had no appreciation for the gaming miniatures market before I was out of school and able to attend conventions. However, I was aware of the expense and labor involved with the hobby, which makes doodling maps and designing adventures seem perfectly facile. The gratification from building armies seemed distant, till I discovered product lines in economical non-metals. I now have useful assortment of plastic troops from Reaper, Rackham, and Wargames Factory. Consider some example savings from Reaper's BONES line of 28+mm creatures - the various Beastmen types. A metal minotaur costs around $12, while the same mold in BONES resin costs a mere $3. The 4:1 ratio holds for just about all the giant-scale offerings.

Of course, there are favorites I could only buy in metal, and some castings that were going out of production. Once painted, I doubt anyone could tell my forces are mixed materials unless held in the hand. Once a final Kickstarter lot arrives in 2015, I'll have enough figs for the following troops/settings:

  • "Forbidden Jungle City" - Inspired by TSR I1 module, featuring monsters from tropical wilderness like snakemen, frogmen, apes, and lionmen.
  • "Against the Beastmen" - Inspired by the G series, encompassing hobgoblins, ratmen, bugbears, ogres, gnolls, goatmen, minotaurs, and angry giants.
  • "Hyborian Heroes" - Inspired by S&S comics, the PC minis I buy tend to look like they are extras from a Conan movie.
  • "Demonic Undead" - Inspired by Diablo-style games, starring a mix of Rackham and Reaper evil dead.
  • "SciFi and Post-Apoc" - Blend of skirmish teams for anything futuristic.
  • "28mm Vikings" - One army for the SAGA tabletop game.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Aranna Relics for Retro Phaze

Magic items in my CRPG hack are sorted into three groups. The first, with a simple +1 bonus, are crafted from a special ore that was mined by a vanquished enemy. Players won't find these arms and armor in civilized areas, rather, closer to old battlegrounds. The second group, entitled Bane Relics, feature a +2 enchantment that targets certain foes. For example, a Pyric sword would be ideal for slaying a Frost Drake, but not effective against a Fire Drake. The final collection details Legendary Relics, made with a combination of bonuses and ensorcelled effects. Only after defeating the most perilous of dungeons will a party recover one of these twenty artifacts.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

1988: Dudes without Dump Stats

In this crapsack setting, you'll need to keep notes on who or what needs to shot full of holes. That is one reason the player character sheet is only half a page. Another might be the excruciating pain of deciding whether you are "glamorous jeans" Chuck Norris or "dorky stetson" Chuck Norris. The char-gen for 1988 DUDES doesn't take long, and leaves your persona looking ready to rock. After selecting the better performing side of four qualities, a player gains three high performance abilities and two killer talents. Since the tools of the trade are mundane, one can opt for an upgrade that bypasses the lack of money. Taking on the linked complication might bring the tabloids running or worse, but that can wait till the zombies stop chewing your Louisville Slugger.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Searchers of XOLGMOD Revised

To compress fantasy hacking down to a page or two, I revised content instead of just reducing text size. The writers that "shrink ray" their lines seem to be missing the point of the exercise. Each heading of S.O.X. has 3-4 main points. There are three backgrounds, three tiers of equipment, three spell families and so forth. Gone are the layers of crunch and sifting of styles. Admittedly, for completion there would need to be a DM's page with details on monsters, loot, and spell effects. Speaking of the arcane, I opted for spells that "evolve" every level or two. The base examples for each domain begin with very minor effects, becoming more powerful as the Wizard advances. Finally, my decision to replace the Thief's classic power, back-stabbing, was based off in-game experiences. The opportunity to re-roll a challenge happens much more often than ideal conditions for a strike from the shadows!

This PDF will be released in combination with my other fantasy game mods (Retro Phazed Dungeon Siege, Bronze Age stuff).

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Re-upped Tajumul town PDF

After seeing a post on small settlements over at Hack&Slash, I went back to some old notes and compressed them into an overview of Port Tajumul, tropical rest stop. The only critical info I couldn't fit on one page (since I added a map) is the list of important NPCs. I may create a flip-side layout for that data.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Deep Carbon Observing

A quick look within the new OSR product and thoughts on use:

ART REVIEW: Proof that there is a use for the kinds made haphazardly in 8th grade study hall.
DARK FLOOD OF CARROWMORE: A slightly lower level module amid the first 30 pages your players will recognize/decry as the HP softening cycle. I suggest extracting certain parts for placement in the final slog beyond the ruptured dam.
DROW SCIENCE LAB: The oddly built observatory reveals the haunting stuff only dark elves care to fool with. The ancient (and alien) occupants would be challenging for me to role-play, should PCs want to chat. Yet, when compared to otherworldly lairs like the classic Temple of Tharizdun, there are more game seeds and stylish treasures. With modification, the bulk of encounters could be a mega-dungeon node.
VALUE: 6/10 - higher if rough visuals without blue grids get a pass.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Viking Runes & Equipment

I changed my list of gear to feature the historical names of viking weapons, and devised a set of basic rune spells. According to online resources, their throwing javelin was called a "gaflak", and a glaive-like heavy spear called an "atgeir" existed. Sorcerers will be required to carry a carved rune staff or wand. The rune list can be traced back to Elder Futhark, which is common for most viking RPGs. The current selection in development:

PROTECTION RUNE: Target rolls 2DK1 (best of 2d6) for Defense in combat. Also gain a +1 bonus versus magic effects.
ANCESTRAL RUNE: Caster gains bonus to detect false objects, lies, and invisible things. Entire party receives 1 point initiative bonus.
HAILSTORM RUNE: Targets in 30' area of effect have their ranged attack reduced, and take light wounds if no shield is equipped.
*THORN RUNE: Single target is immobilized by vines. (second option will either be group target penalty or creation of plant barrier?)
STRENGTH RUNE: Target rolls 2DK1 for Melee in combat. Negates combat penalty for fighting multiple opponents in contact.
*DAYLIGHT RUNE: Beam of blinding sunlight reduces target's attacks to level 1. Undead monsters within 30' are slowed to half movement.

*Targets will be allowed saving throws vs primary effect.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Admission to the LEAGUE

With the help of a  Photoshop transcript, we can find out how those old school boys wound up outside...