Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Question for Flailsnails Gamers/GM's



Has there been any established method of transportation, between game universes? Like, a side dungeon level, or spooky wood, that's a known "gateway to far-out places?"

If I were to run a Google+ Hangout Flailsnails game and you were interested in playing, what times/days would be preferable? Tuesdays & Wednesdays look fairly open on the CC Calendar.

Friday, January 13, 2012

5 Reasons why 5e Dungeons & Dragons will use the OGL

1. You can't create D&D without it!

Not any D&D that actually looks and feels like pre-4e D&D, anyway. From 0e to 3.x, all of it's OGLed.

Any "Ultimate, Modular Edition" of D&D, is going to ooze OGL rules and terminology.

2. They Can't go for the Instant Kill!

Consider this quote from Mike Mearls:
"We plan to continue offering people access to tools like the D&D Character Builder and the D&D Monster Builder to support 4th edition. We're also exploring ideas for conversion tools so that some of the 4th edition characters and content will be playable with the next edition."
Some.

In abandoning 4e, they're taking a huge risk! While lapsed gamers, coming back to a familiar D&D is no doubt part of their overall plan, they've got to, but got to get PF player's to buy their stuff!

And, while comparatively small, OSR dollars are no longer something to dismiss. The Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperboria Kickstarter, has raised over 12k in just a month of fundraising. In this economy, that's rather telling.

WotC can't expect everyone to just flock to their banner, overnight! They'll get an initial sales bump, but to be sustainable, they're going to have to make inroads. They're going to have to woo their old customers.

Because sure as shit, their going to lose a chunk of their current ones!

3. There Will be No Edition War!

It'll be a matter of selling compatible products. Not enough gamers will abandon their favorite rule-set, for something too different. Not immediately. But, if it's close enough, with add-ons and modules that gamers can use with what they're already playing...

"Our Supplement CZ is absolutely perfect for you Pathfinder guys! It'll really add some nice options and tweaks, you can introduce for your game."

"Supplement O1 will work really, really well, with any Old School game, not to mention our own 5e Base. It's got just enough and just the right kind of material, that DIY DM's will feel right at home integrating it into their campaigns."

"The New Forgotten Realms is completely compatible with Pathfinder! Check out these Prestige Classes!!!"

If it's good. If PF, OSR, etc., gamers like it. They'll pick up more and more. From supplements to adventure modules. Hell, they don't even Have to really switch to the WotC main rule-set(s). But, even if they don't, they'll probably buy it (them.) There won't be an Edition War.

It's going to be a Seduction.

4. All those OGL Publishers!

Will be publishing, anyway. They need to be sporting the 5e logo and producing content for WotC's Game.

5. They're Going to have to Join the Club, if they're going to Take it Over!
"The new edition is being conceived of as a modular, flexible system, easily customized to individual preferences. Just like a player makes his character, the Dungeon Master can make his ruleset. He might say ‘I’m going to run a military campaign, it’s going to be a lot of fighting’… so he’d use the combat chapter, drop in miniatures rules, and include the martial arts optional rules.” - Mike Mearls.
"I'm the lead designer of a project that will likely evolve into a new iteration of the Dungeons & Dragons ruleset. It's meant to be a set of rules that unites all the previous editions, and the players of those editions. It's a big project, and we plan on involving all comers to playtest and voice their opinions, because really, what's the point of designing a game no one wants to play? And who knows better what D&D players want than, well, D&D players. " - Monte Cook.
To win back their former base, the new game is going to have to look and feel like D&D.

If they're going to be the Big Fish in D&D again, they're going to have to play in the same pond as the other fish. And then, Eat Them, if they can!  


Thanks to EN World, for keeping a handy compilation of 5e related quotes and news.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

On Piracy

If you're a blogger and you make a post instructing everyone how and where to download a pirated copy of an OSR product, I'm not going to keep you on my blogroll.

To the nameless blogger:

1. I'm aware that even without a link, this may draw attention to your post. But, someone who's going to go to enough trouble to track down a nameless product linked from a nameless blog, has no doubt long ago worked out his pirating strategy and already has what he wants.

2. Morality is not here the issue. As always, my blog is dedicated to the furtherance and promotion of the OSR.  Until OSR publishers tell me they're moving enough volume that Piracy is a blessing, I'm going to assume it's antithetical to the purpose of Dreams of Mythic Fantasy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

That Upcoming D&D-Related RPG Everyone is Talking About

With only 4 days left, the Kickstarter for the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea RPG has met its Stretch Goal, insuring that a pdf of the 2nd module for the game, Taken from Dunwich, will be sent to all backers!

Cover for the upcoming
Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea RPG
I'll wait patiently for my boxed set! Click the link above, for more info, art and a video!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Archive Post: The Hommlet Files

I keep forgetting about Archive Thursday.
Here's two posts from the UG, regarding Hommlet and associated subjects. By dint of overwhelming mass suggestion, I've decided to run Greyhawk this evening. In Fact...
By God, It’s Time to Go Back to Hommlet! 
hommletOriginally posted Dec. 30, 2009.

The Village of Hommlet was the first Module I ever DM’ed. I think it’s the first adventure I DM’ed, but I  don’t quite recall. I was writing my own stuff, right off the bat and there’s a good possibility that I put my friends through some weird little ecological disaster of a dungeon, before initiating them into the joys of T1.

Back then, during our first year or so of play, we didn’t have a campaign. One of the four of us would decide, or be chosen, to DM and the rest would pull out characters from our notebooks, or roll up some new ones, assembling a level appropriate party for whatever the DM du jour had in mind.

This sort of tournament style of play isn’t nearly as satisfying as a true campaign. But, the year or so we spent on one-shot adventures, was a fabulous learning experience. Each one of us DMed on a regular basis, honing our skills and learning from one another. On a Friday night, in my friend Mel’s bedroom, I ran T1.

Even then, during my green, first forays into DMing, I knew it was one hell of a great module. 26 years later, I recall very little of that gaming session. I do remember how well the game went. We all had a blast and the experience encouraged and inspired me to continue with my apprenticeship as a DM. I also had my first DM Evilgasm, as the players, who had accepted Turuko and Kobort as adventuring cohorts, were shocked and surprised, when their trust was rewarded with treachery.

It was the only time I ever ran T1. I think it’s time that I rectified that little injustice. So, this coming year, I resolve to run The Village of Hommlet again. If anyone would care to join me, let me know. We can all compare notes and have some fun, seeing what we, as well as our players, do with this classic adventure.
Well, I've got to get my ass in gear and finish prepping for tonight. I'm excited by the prospect of running T1 again, after all these years. But first, one more Hommlet related re- post.  
Gygaxian Supernaturalism - Or, What Happens to Hommlet's Rufus at 8th Level?
Originally posted July 11, 2011

The Gods are Watching You!

From T1:

Rufus Is also lawful good, and when he reaches 8th level he has been instructed to return to Verbobonc for special service in the Viscount‘s behalf. 

Some Quotes from the DMG:

Page 81

Why then the increase in hit points? Because these reflect both the actual physical ability of the character to withstand damage - as indicated by constitution bonuses- and a commensurate increase in such areas as skill in combat and similar life-or-death situations, the "sixth sense" whith warns the individual of some otherwise unforeseen events, sheer luck,and the fantastic provisions of magical protections and/or divine protection. (Emphasis mine.) 

Page 25

Whether or not the character actively professes some deity, he or she will have on alignment and serve one or more deities of this general alignment indirectly and unbeknownst to the character. 

Page 79

By means of skill, luck, magical protections, quirks of fate and the aid of supernatural powers, the character making his or her saving throw takes none or only part of the indicated results - fireball damage, poisoning,being turned to stone, or whatever. (emphasis mine.)

There's more relevant material, such as that involving alignment languages, the penalties for changing alignment, etc. Hell, it's "passim" throughout the AD&D rulebooks!

One more quote.

From Deities & Demigods, this time. Page 9:

Otherwise, the accumulation of hit points and the ever-greater abilities and better saving throws of characters represent the aid supplied by supernatural forces.So. The supernatural realms and the relationship with deity is very, very important in AD&D. And an integral part of an AD&D campaign world.

Now, back to Rufus.

8th level! One step away from Lord. He's already gotten 3/2 attacks. Rufus is about to become a Superhero!

Rufus Is also lawful good, and when he reaches 8th level he has been instructed to return to Verbobonc for special service in the Viscount‘s behalf.Now, Rufus wouldn't know what 8th level means. Would he? As you might suspect, I'm going to make the case that yes, 8th Level would indeed, mean something to Rufus.

Gygaxian Supernaturalism! (With Thanks to Mr. Maliszewski.)

He might refer to it as becoming a Superhero. I don't think the text states that Rufus is a follower of the Cugel fellow, though Burne is. For the moment, let's assume Rufus is as well. It's likely, the cult of St. Cuthbert would have it's own title for 8th level. Or, maybe Superhero is more widely used.

The point is, that in a world where Leveled Characters are so closely married to the gods and supernatural powers, a Fighter as high as 8th level, especially one as well connected as Rufus, would have an idea of where he stood with his god, church and the Greater Supernatural Realm.

So, what might the Viscount have said to Rufus?

"Return, when you have witnessed the Vision of the Cugel at Noon."

Or, something.

In a world so tightly wielded to the supernatural powers, being a leveled Fighter, serving a deity, perforce, might be somewhat akin to being part of a Mystery Cult. Rufus would know when he had crossed an important threshold and we might assume that 8th level represents just that! An important threshold. Because not only is that the point at which Rufus was ordered to return, but because it was known that he would recognize his entry into 8th level. It could simply be that every level would be considered important. Or, maybe just every one above, say 5th.

At what point does a Fighter start noticing that he's a pawn of the gods?

Hell, he's probably been having dreams, nightmares and visions, sent by St. Cuthbert, and/or Planetars, lesser servants, etc., for quite some time. Not to mention nasty, demonic beings, or deliciously enticing ones, trying to make him swerve from his LG path.

The idea that the gods are giving characters all this aid, which increases at every level, yet have virtually nothing else to do with them is rather problematic. Gods just aren't the type to be so altruistic and helpful, without ever being more noticeable. Or, demanding! Characters serving under protest, as it were, might be subject to more subtle treatment. Or, not! Those more involved with Churches and Organizations, might also only see signs of the deity "out of the corner of their eye," as it were. Or, they might find themselves more directly put-upon.

Rufus' deity has been helping him out with Hit Points, Saving Throws, etc., to the point where Rufus is 8th Level! He lives and moves in a supernatural reality and the gods have a vested interest, however small, in his doings. PC Level ties into this relationship directly! While it's easier to see with Clerics and MU's, as a Fighter gains levels, he's also becoming more tightly enmeshed within the schemes and powers of his deity. Whether he wants to, or not!

It makes perfect sense, that he would be able to see and track the progress of this relationship, at least somewhat. And that he would notice the effect, his relations with the divine, were having upon him. His church, certainly his deity would know!

Established signs, omens, etc., not to mention the possibility of initiatory rituals of a sort, would fit in just perfectly.

Maybe the journey to visit the Viscount is a ruse and the Powers that Be, want to get Rufus out of Hommlet so they can test his worthiness to operate at 8th Level.

Oh, apparently Burne and Rufus are lovers. I don't really see St. Cuthbert as the sort to have a Sacred Bander wing of his army. Further research is called for!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Holy Crap, I'm DMing This Friday! Help me Pick a Setting!

Thought I had another week. Oops!

I'm running AD&D. Got nothin' prepped. Turning to my library o' Gaming Stuff!

Gonna use an other than homebrewed setting.

  1. Greyhawk.
  2. Blair's Planet Algol.
  3. Vornheim.
  4. Wilderlands of High Fantasy.
  5. Forgotten Realms Greybox.
  6. Formalhaut.
Gotta decide, quick!



Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Random Planetary Angel Generator


A major revision of the original post, to include divine servants of both Good and Evil deities.

Random Planetary Angel Generator by James A. Smith

A system for generating Random Angels, similar to the Angelic Choirs of Traditional Hermeticism, but based upon the Metaphysics implied within the rules of “Old School” Class & Level RPG’s. I’ve chosen here to utilize the Types of Magic. These were based upon traditional sources and I have, here, re-associated them with those sources, to correspond with Planetary Energies (or any other astrologica/planar scheme, desired.)
 Determination of Alignment and Deity Association is left to the ingenium of the GM.

Table 1A:  Roll to Determine the Choir of the Angel

 

d8
Name of the Angelic Choir
Associated Type of Magical Energy
1
Angels of Divine Power
Evocation/Invocation
2
Angels of the Mind of the Gods
Divination
3
Angels of Divine Manifestation
Conjuration/Summoning
4
Angels of the Living Gods
Necromancy
5
Angels of Desire
Enchantment/Charm
6
Phantasmagorical Angels
Illusion/Phantasm
7
Angels of Abrogation
Abjuration
8
Angels of Transmutation
Alteration

 

Table 1B: Correspondences, for the Above

 


Type of Magic
Universal Principles
Suggestions for Apparel
1
Evocation/Invocation
War, Aggression, Dominance, Force. Violence.
Armor. Shield. Flames. Red. Electricity.
2
Divination
Knowledge, Teaching, Wisdom, Obfuscation, Lies. Insanity.
Robes. Darkness. Light. Pendant.
3
Conjuration/Summoning
Creation, Command, Movement, Invitation, Art. Enslavement.
Noble Finery. A Crown. Rich or dashing clothing. Purple. Blue.
4
Necromancy
Energy, Growth, Nature, Life, Death. Blasphemy.
Robes. Light. Darkness. Organic materials. Green.
5
Enchantment/Charm
Love, Lust, Submission, Dominance, Marriage.
Nude. Clothing designed to entice. Green. Purple. Flowers.
6
Illusion/Phantasm
Dream, Guile, Laughter, Lies, Perception, Secrets. Madness.
Gaudy Robes. Motley. Multi-colors. Dark colors.
7
Abjuration
Fortification, Protection, Negation, Abrogation. Imprisonment.
Armor. Shield. Clothing designed to deflect. Blue.
8
Alteration
Change, Transmutation, Metamorphosis. Permanence, Restoration. Corruption.
Radiant Clothing. Nude. Yellows.

 

 Table 1C: Symbolic Accompaniments for the Above

 


Weapon Suggestions
Other Accouterments
1
Sword, Axe, Halbred, Weapons of Magical Energy.
A Warhorse. Gauntlet. Flames. Chariot. Warship. An Army. A Wand. A Staff.
2
Staff.
Books. A Crystal Ball. An Owl. A Library. An Abacus or Computer. Spectacles. A Taxonomic Chart.
3
Rod, Staff, Sword.
Crown. Orb. Throne. Scepter. Artist's Accouterments. Clay. A Magic Circle and/or Triangle.
4
Caduceus, Scythe.
Serpents. Skulls. Growing things. Undead.
5
Wand, Whip, Rod.
Roses. Mirrors. Rings. Slaves. Lovers. Collars. Chains. Fey Creatures.
6
Sickle, Club, Silver Weapons.
A Hooka. Smoke. Mirrors. Bells. Large Diamonds. A Straightjacket.
7
Staff, Sword.
Scepter. Shields. Walls. Globes of Force. A Cage.
8
Flaming weapons.
Gold. Alchemical Equipment. Potions. Ensorcelled Creatures.

Considerations, such as Alignment and Allegiance, will suggest additional symbols. An Angel of Desire, who is a servant of a Lawful and Good Deity, may appear as a chaste, but fervent priestess, or devoted bride. A Lawful and Evil example may appear as a leather clad dominatrix, bearing a chain of slaves. A servant of Chaos and Evil, may itself appear as a slave, even going so far as to let a mortal seem to dominate them.

Table 2: Roll to Determine the Monster Level of the Angel

 

Monster Level d8+4
Powers
Attacks Per Round*
Defense Value (Descending)*
Weapon Needed to Hit
Immunity to Magic %
5
May cast any 1st and 2nd level Divine spell, as well as any 1st & 2nd level Wizard spells, which are of the Magical Type corresponding to the angel, 1/day each.
1
4
+1 or better
40%
6
As above, but 2/day each.
1
3
+1 or better
45%
7
As above, but, 3rd level as well, all 2/day each.
2
2
+1 or better
50%
8
As above, but all 3/day each.
2
1
+1 or better
55%
9
As above, but 4th level spells as well, all 3/day each.
2
0
+1 or better
60%
10
As above, but all 4/day each.
2
-1
+2 or better
65%
11
As above, but, 5th level as well, all 4/day each.
3
-2
+2 or better
70%
12
As above, all 5/day each.
3
-3
+2 or better
75%
*Damage is by weapon, or 1d6.

 

Table 3: Roll to Determine the Status of the Angel

 

d100

Current Standing

01 – 05

Deity’s Favorite

05 – 15

Trusted Seneschal

16 – 60

In Good Standing

61 – 70

On Probation

71 – 95

Fallen*

96 - 00

Free Agent

 A Fallen Angel of an Evil Deity may be Neutral or Good. Possibly, there is no Alignment conflict.

 

Table 4: Roll to Determine the Base Appearance of the Angel

 

d10
Appearance – Movement Rate as the Base Appearance Creature
1 - 5
Human
6
Elf
7
Dwarf
8
Halfling
9
Gnome
10
Dragon

 

Table 5: Roll to Determine the Sex of the Angel

 

d8
Sex
1 - 3
Male
4 - 5
Female
6 - 7
Androgynous
8
Neuter

 

Table 6: Roll to Determine the Appearance of the Angel’s Head

 

d100
The Head Appears to be a:
1 – 70
Match for the Base Appearance
71 – 73
Bear
74 – 76
Serpent
77 – 79
Nimbus of Light
80 – 82
Lion
83 - 85
Bull
86 - 88
Hawk
89 - 90
Eagle
91 - 93
Wolf
94 – 96
Dragon
97 - 99
Ape
99 - 00
Covered

 

Table 7: Roll Twice to Determine Other Noteworthy Physical Characteristics*

 

 d100
Roll Twice on this table.
1 - 25
Winged (1-4 Feathered and 5-6 membranous) Flight at Double the Movement Rate
26 - 27
Obese
28 - 30
Bald
31 - 39
Horned
40 - 42
Made of Shadows
43 - 45
Extremely Thin
46 - 48
Extra Pair of Arms**
49 - 51
Extra Pair of Eyes**
52 - 55
Extra Pair of Wings (add a first pair as well, if not already rolled)**
56 – 58
Odd Skin Color
59 - 60
Exaggerated Sexual Characteristics
61 - 63
Appearance Constantly Changes, within the already determined parameters (or without, as desired)
64 - 65
Flaming Eyes
66 - 68
Covered in Fur
69 - 70
Appears as a Pair of Identical Beings
71 - 72
Cloven Hoofs
73 – 74
Smaller than usual for Base Appearance
75
Ritually Scarred
76 - 77
Larger than usual for Base Appearance
78
Hairless
79
Mechanical
80 – 85
Incredible Beauty
86 – 88
Claws/Talons
89
Hideous
90
Made of Light
91 - 92
Metallic
93 – 94
Vegetable
95- 96
Fangs
97 - 98
Tattooed
99 - 00
Roll Two-More Times
*I have not here separated, characteristics commonly associated with so-called “good” angels and those of “fallen” ones. In the traditional sources, there is some overlap (horns, for example often appear on servants of the Most High.) The DM may, of course, re-roll any result as desired.

**May be chosen multiple times.




Monday, January 2, 2012

The UG is closing today - And Dejah Thoris

I'll be closing the Underdark Gazette to public viewing, sometime late this evening.

And now, the Incomparable Dejah Thoris!


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Combat Manuevers: Trip

A Google+ discussion led me to hammer this out and add it to my rules doc. I use Saving Throws to help adjudicate this sort of thing, as it's a good gauge of combat ability for both the attacker and the defender.

Trip: A Fighter, Paladin, Ranger, Cleric or Druid may forgo his normal attack and attempt to trip his opponent, knocking him prone. The Attacker must make a Saving Throw, to set-up his opponent for the maneuver. Then, he must score a To Hit, which will do 1d4 points of potential Damage (no other modifiers apply.) The defender must then make a save, at a penalty equal to the Damage scored. If successful, the Defender remains standing and takes none of the Damage. Otherwise, he suffers the Damage and is knocked Prone, suffering all of the effects of that condition.

One question that occured to me on the above, was whether or not the defender's armor would come into play. I decided, yes. I can see where armor would, at least sometimes, aid the defender in fighting off a Trip. Especially, when magical armor or items, are in play. It's fiddly enough, without breaking it down further.
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