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...


I'm a Viking You're a Viking

I went back to the mead hall of lazy dungeon masters and started cleaning up my RAVENFEAST mini game. There have been a few OSR posts about gaming as a structured company, which fits quite well with viking heroes. Like an army game with miniatures, players assemble an entire clan with one or two leaders, some viking warriors, and a lot of (part-time) bondi henchmen. PC characters are all vikings (sorcerers if rune casting) with one underling per level. Points are spent to determine one's chances of success on a D6 roll. Pay the maximum in a skill and you gain one of two special powers. Misfortunes that happen to your hirelings reduce their spirit, which will send them running back to the long ship if they fail a spirit test.

Health is structured in tiers, with one attack being able to lower a character to a worse tier. Ergo, the defense increase from wearing tougher armor or marching in a shield wall are crucial. Like a master archer or swordsman, a rune caster must focus his build points on sorcery to use his magic well. Currently, I haven't defined the specifics on the runes...but they will lean towards the Druidic.

I'm trying to place nearly all the needed data on the PC sheet. It looks like this so far:

Saturday, September 6, 2014

1988: Agents for Playtest Assembled

Out of respect for a birthday demand, I made some gamer friends draft characters using the D8 rules posted here for my pulp 80's game. Creation went quickly, there was only some minor delay picking equipment. They didn't like having a single upgrade & complication apply for the whole group, so I offered a mix of each. This way, the one "shooter" who needs a gun and the "driver" who needs a better car can make use of their vocation skills. I told them that the focus was anti-Mythos investigation, but only one PC appears geared for it. Rather, the team is a motley bunch right out of a John Carpenter film. The agent roster for "Q CELL" reads:

AGENT INNSBRUCK: Amateur Biathlete with good rifle skills for his age.
AGENT SCHLITZ: Fighting Janitor with a ubiquitous van and two mooks KO's already.
AGENT BURKE: Steely Archivist with advanced machete and forensic talents.
AGENT BLUEBIRD: Competent Bus Driver and mechanic with a love for classic rock groups.

The plot I'm swiping comes from the material available for the DELTA GREEN RPG. I found a haunted house adventure that I'll report on once they finish it (or die trying).

Sunday, August 31, 2014

OSR Version of MMORPG Mesmer Class

While working on my Retro Phaze interpretation of the Dungeon Siege PC game series, I though I'd try a hack from my other favorite digital adventure realm, the old MMO Guild Wars. Guild Wars is a game with simple attributes but thousands of skill combinations. Of the game's magic using primaries, the Mesmer class is by far the most unique. The Mesmer fights by placing damaging effects upon targets that are unleashed or worsen when their skills are activated. Targets simply die from being denied actions or degenerated over the encounter duration. Since the class I played was a healer, one of my sorry jobs was to dispel Mesmer hexes without dying from one myself. At high levels, a good Mesmer on your team was worth more than a "nuker" or other damage dealer.

My pen-and-paper version turns the GW Mesmer into an Illusionist focused on brainwave damage and defense. This hack might be good for a non-human race, one without physical buffs. Here is the tweaked spell list atm, GW inspired ones in bold:

Arcane Glamer (audible glamer)
Constricting Armor - targets in armor must save or suffer discomfort penalty.
Detect Invisibility
Hypnotic Images - hypnotic pattern with lower HD captivation.
Illusionary Countenance (change self)
Mantra of Concentration - speeds mesmer casting to phase prior to missile fire.
Optic Distortion I - defense bonus from altered perception of caster.
Psychic Message (MU message)
Signet of Recoil - triggers latent damage upon target if it completes a spell.
Wastrel's Demise - target takes latent damage if spell duration is spent without action.

Accumulated Pain - percentage of current damage taken flares again as hex expires.
Blinding Image (blindness)
Conjure Cowardice - defense penalty from fear and faster morale checks.
Hex of Silence (deafness)
Illusionary Weapon - shadow weapon damage based on foe's belief save.
Mantra of Resistance - increases elemental protection for caster.
Phantasmal Placard - displays arcane note for certain viewers.
Signet of Midnight - shrouds target with dark, impairing aura that can spread by touch.
Unnatural Shifting - victims that fail save have no control over direction moved.
Web of Disorder - targets passing through must save or be compelled to rearrange/sheath equipped items.

Arcane Conundrum - increases the target's spell casting time.
Emetic Epidemic - targets that fail save suffer hallucinatory nausea.
Dispel Illusion
Hex of Frustration - triggers latent damage upon target if it misses in combat.
Mind Wrack - latent damage to non-spell users after being targeted by a spell.
Optic Distortion II - increased field benefits allies within 20 feet.
Paralyzing Anguish (paralyzation)
Signet of Suggestion (suggestion)

Drain Enchantment - removes one spell effect from living target.
Ethereal Killer (phantasmal killer)
Hex of Pain - inflicts damage over time, no save for 1st round if unwounded.
Illusionary Faction - (mass change self)
Mantra of Invisibility (invisibility)
Psychic Recovery - ally healed half his INT plus mesmer level, caster heals INT bonus + level.
Signet of Ether - signet becomes shadow version of spell known by target.
Wastrel's Wizening - like Demise except damage is contagious STR + DEX loss.

Chaos Storm (confusion)
Ethereal Effigy (project image)
Hex of Ignorance (feeblemind)
Illusionary Passage (shadow door)
Mantra of Shadows - mesmer summons 4HD shadow bodyguard, or can animate foe's shadow as 3HD surprise attacker.
Signet of Flux - mesmer gains control over enemy initiative order, limited by HD pool.
Unnatural Yearning - victims that fail save are hexed with intense greed/paranoia.
Web of Dysfunction - targets passing through must save or suffer crippling spasms.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Overdue SotU Mod Attempt

Here at the Plateau, role playing is a simple affair. I'll never be at the keyboard, churning out a 200 page rule set with yet another way to play a fantasy adventure just like D&D. Typing is painful, and most ideas can be presented on a few spreads. When I release my pdf of short projects, I'll also throw in a Searchers of the Unknown hack of olde D6~D20 flavor. The SotU format is great for focusing on fun things you want in your game. Expect to see the following:

  • The 3 iconic "backgrounds" - Fighter, Thief and Wizard.
  • Wizards with armor and "alignment category" spell options.
  • An "advantage" for thieves in the form of a skill re-roll.
  • Special abilities triggered by a "Critical Hit".
  • Target 20 resolution still using "old skool" AC numbers.
  • Pet war-beasts and flaming oil for dungeon cleaning power!
  • No super HP recharge until PCs eat & sleep.