Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Break for Buying Miniatures

During the shopping crush leading up to December 25th, most vendors of gaming minis have excellent sales. I saved my pennies and bought figs-n-bits for my current 28mm forces. That hobby has taken over my time, since I feel compelled to prime and base products when they arrive on my doorstep.

One new vendor I tried out was Black Tree Design; they were selling random sets at half price. I jump for joy when I can find nice sculpts for less than 3 bucks a figure. Another project was making some custom dice for my SAGA viking warband. Official D6s are quite expensive so I painted my own runes.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

D6 STAR WARS Reawakened

Even though the stench of Rancor poop still circulates from the prequels, the franchise is coming back to the big screen. Yet, this post is about a freshening of the favored D6 SW rules from West End Games. Some industrious fans have compiled the essentials from the game books into a sharp-looking PDF. If you have enough rebel scum in you, I'm sure you know where to look for the data.

I attribute the power of the film saga, as a RPG setting in particular, to its intense visual design. The viewer is shown ILM's practical universe, where the tools, vehicles, and bases for most "PC classes" have been crafted. The adventure paths of alien smugglers, rebel pilots, or imperial officers are also defined, and don't demand esoteric study. Watching the original trilogy almost makes you a virtual citizen of Tatooine. When the newer prequels arrived, you could see how sacrificing real sets and characters hurt the overall impact. You can't walk through a green screen and kick a droid. Thankfully, a game master running a SW campaign has access not only to the classic D6 rules but also the wikis that fill in missing fluff from the comics, novels, animations, and video games.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Boukensha of the Unknown Release

After scanning some cartoon adventurer art, I uploaded the SotU-based game to my google drive. I put a lot of emphasis on distinct races and a chart of JRPG heirlooms for PCs. A wacky bestiary would be nice for a reverse side expansion, but I'm working on my Dungeon Siege monsters right now.

Lastly, a close up picture of the equipped Human, Half-Kitsune, Kappa, and Kotengu!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Dragonslayer's Urland - A Pictish Game Realm?

scene cut from the film?

A while ago, I made a hex map of the Isle of Skye, the shooting location for the Paramount/Disney movie. The fortifications shown on film (and on my map) don't exist yet, in the time I believe the story is set. Based on old articles and the scenes with "clerics", the time is before the turn of the 7th century. Hence, Dragonslayer is a movie about early Dark Ages sorcery, in a kingdom of the Picts/Prydyn. Although swords and spears would've been used by warriors, their home was not a tall 10~12th century donjon. Rather, the inhabitants would be fortunate to have a walled hillfort with a squat tower called a Broch. The construction style was common all along Western Europe, even in Celtic Iberia.

The enclaves were almost always along the coastline or near a loch. My new map of this highland province is a bit larger, and shows forts with a red flag. For D&D use, I placed skull markers for mountainous monster zones. The one on the island is a dragon lair, of course. I'd guess that the greatest population would be far to the East near modern Inverness. Clerics and monks would be traveling up from the Irish kingdom of Dal Riata (shown in orange). Now, I must choose which part of Europe I want my Bronze Age game to feature. Ancient Scotland joins Cantabria and Urashtu for contention!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Boukensha of the Unknown: 1 page RPG Soon

My Searchers of XOLGMOD hack strayed a bit from the original concept by keeping some basic classes. Authentic mods of SotU should follow the "monster stat block" approach, with only a few changes to mechanical rules like initiative or such. Boukensha (Japanese for adventurers) offers assorted races and starting gear that borrows from the JRPG genre. Playing non-humans and wielding weapons of the orient is to be expected. For even more flavor, there is a list of PC heirlooms that mixes D&D with console classics like Breath of Fire and Final Fantasy.

I did change how stunt/save rolls work. Non-combat tests are divided into fast or slow matters. A reflexive jump to avoid a trap is a fast (Hayai) roll, and is modified by level and armor type. Investigating a statue is a slow (Osoi) roll, and has a better chance of success if extra time is taken and help from other PCs is given.

Once I sketch some "manga" art for the center of the page, I will release Boukensha as a PDF.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Universal Erol Otus NPCS

Heroes/Victims of numerous TSR adventures, place this (chaotic?) trio in any fantasy game:

Race: Human or Young Dwarf
Fights with (1D6): Enchanted Spear from dragon hoard, Silvered War Pick, Bronze Battle Ax of Aberration slaying, Pole Ax cast entirely from life-draining martian alloy, Guardsman's iron halberd, Scimitar of 99 Ghouls.
Battle dress (1D6): Riveted Leather and horned helmet, Nothing but magic boots & belt, Centurion's Splint with eagle helm, Golden half-plate from a distant desert kingdom, Giant Badger pelts, Tribal Cloak of Speed and Ring Mail Vest.

Race: Human or Young Drow
Fights with: Magic Morningstar and throwing dagger.
Battle Dress: Elven Mail+2 from the Underdark or Studded Leather & Shield of Reflection.
Favorite Incantation: Glyph of Warding or Cause Serious Wounds

Race: Half-Elf or Elder Gnome
Fights with: (1D3) Rod of Eldritch Flame, Wand of Conjuration, Staff of Storms.
Battle Dress (1D3): Bejeweled Tunic and curled Cap of Control, Violet Robes of the Abyss and unholy skullcap, Nobleman's Silk Doublet of Resistance and Tasseled Hat.
Favorite Incantation (1D3): Mass Suggestion, Lightning Bolt, Globe of Invulnerability.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Searchers Mod now Online

Rather than hold off for a bigger project to wrap up, I've uploaded a second draft of my take on Searchers Of The Unknown. The change to my original has to do with some OSR spite towards the use of flaming oil. Scientifically, the oil you'd use for lanterns and bombs aren't the same. I can be convinced of that, and how difficult lighting a live target could be. Ergo, I've replaced my cask of oil with the multifunctional and realistic PACK GOAT. Not only can one transport a good 40 pounds, but they are tasty enough to lure any monster out of its dark domain. I'd also suggest writing a random chart of effects triggered when a goat eats strange stuff in wizard tombs or such.

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.