Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dagger Mania 3 :Hearteater

Heart Eater is a plain weapon looking like any of a hundred other common daggers. When held its fits nicely in most hands and is well balanced for regular or offhand use.

This dagger is treated as a +2 vorpal blade though its power works on creatures with a normal heart rather than just a neck

Strong necromancy and transmutation; CL 18th; Price 78152GP Weight 1lb slot: none

Dagger Mania 2 :The Twins- Thunder and Lighting

This pair of daggers was custom built by The Elf Lord Mathendier for a lady adventurer who had taken his fancy.

They are made of bluish steel, one etched with a pattern the resembles lighting, the other storm clouds. They can be thrown easily, the right resembling a tiny lighting bolt the left, a streak of thunder when they fly straight.

They are both +2 Keen Admantium Returning Seeking Daggers. The right dagger "Lighting" is also shocking burst the left "Thunder" is thundering and sonic (+1d6 sonic) .

If the daggers are pressed together and the command word word "Me'urra" is spoken, the weapons will cast Lighting Bolt at the wielders level. This ability can be used 1 time per day.

In addition as the daggers are meant to be together and anyone holding a dagger may use Locate any Object at will to find the other.

Aura faint transmutation; CL 12th Slot None; Price 80k gp; Weight 1b. Add an extra 20k for the pair.

Dagger Mania 1 : Herat's Green Death

This infamous weapon, a long plain thin bladed dagger belonged to an Assassin by the name of Herat and was used in several dozen high profile killings. Upon Herat's execution, the dagger changed hands several times and its current location is unknown.

+3 Brilliant Energy Dagger of Venom. The dagger is treated as it was protected by a non detection spell at all times it is being carried. In addition all search checks to find it on a person are at -5. Unlike most daggers of its type, this weapon has an affinity with poison and its blade may be envenomed even with the brilliant energy feature active. When active the weapon glows with a sickly green light equal to that of a torch

Aura faint necromancy,moderate abjuration strong transmutation; CL 17th Slot none; Price 125,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.

Monday, August 23, 2010

How Old School Empowers Players

One of the big issues that faces GM's who want to bring new players into old school gaming is the simple question they are going to ask “Why should i play such a minimalist game?"

Thats a fair question especially coming from players who are used to be able to choose from menus full of options. When you look at a character that is little more than 6 stats, class and level it can be daunting to know how to play the game and to understand how you are going to have your fun too.

What it offers players are as follows

#1 You are assumed to be capable.

Old school games often forgo a skills /background /feat system because your character doesn't need one. When in doubt you know anything that a person of you background would know. Lets say you character is a Human Fighter L1 20 years old raised in the Kingdom on Noonah by a Guardsman and an herbwife. After as stint in the castle guard you were discharged and became an adventurer.
Thats a lot of background and in some systems would be a lot of skills and a lot of fiddly allocation. In old school you might write this much (or less, 16 year old farm boy no parents or siblings now an adventurer is a perfectly good background too) and instead you just toss dice against a stat and go .

The same idea applies to adventuring tasks you might undertake . No need for some Rolemaster-esque pitch tent skill or use rope or camping skills. Just roll some dice if needed and move on. Swing on a chandelier? Roll the dice and go and so on.

Essentially, you can try anything you can think off.

#2 You are encouraged to use your own brains and imagination. Yes older system do include rules for finding secret doors and such but the general best practice is “Iif they don't specify, roll.

If they do specify and they choose wisely, give it to them” this kind of think it through attitude rewards smarts in ways that “Roll a DC15 search check” or “Roll disable device DC 18” does not. This kind of thing is part and parcel why RPG's were regarded as a geek hobby. Brainy people or thinking people get more from the game.

#3 Sandboxing.

Yes modern games do have sandboxing too but the idea of exploring the world, exploring the dungeon and simply adventuring is a strong component of early play styles . Its not so much driven by missions or by the commando style of play we see in modern games but by the players desire. Get tired of the borderlands? Hey. You are adventurers, pack it up and move on. And yes there may be consequences. Dealing with those consequences is part of the fun.

You are not assumed to find everything, do everything or get a certain amount of everything. You can come back, go forward and simply explore an imaginary world.

#4 More organic play development .

With the exception of limits of the archetypal classes (you can't learn to cast spells later) character development is far more free-form . You start lowly and build big and best of all, you chose the direction. Want to be a duelist ? No need to start counting feats and choosing classes levels in advance instead you do whatever things the DM thinks you should (typically some roleplaying and maybe some expenditure of for extra training) and start dueling people. Or if it fits, just do it.

And last #5 an End Game.

Players in older editions had a point in which they could “become somebody” usually around 9th level or so. They could get a tower, a base whatever and become a big man with his own followers and a lot of cool actually played war stories. This is actually an awesomely underrated part of the game.

Instead of the perpetual adventurer, you hack a kingdom out of the wilderness and move onto a more sophisticated game of prices and kings. In many ways this is more compelling than yet another feat or level.

Whats also great is that if this was not you cup of tea, it wasn't mandatory and there certainly were adventures for high level types such as my favorite, Queen of the Demon Web Pits and more.

Those "big 5" ought to be enough to convince some of the wobblers and if you do right by them as a DM they may just come back and we'll be gaming like it was 1981 only better ....

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Change the Classes, Change the World Example: Cantrip

Cantrip is a something a little different. Its plentiful low magic inspired by history , sword and sorcery and the old Runequest 2. Its a bit more of a rigorous change than say Arcana Unearted in that basically none of the archetypes exist but it still shows the basic idea.

What I did is

Remove all races except Human , remove all the spell casting classes, add in Noble, a non magic Bard and Ranger and Savant (a generic scholar/crafter/merchant class) from Thieves World , add low magic rules and allow anyone with an INT of 10 or more to learn and cast L0 spells at will...

Magic items still exist but they are all Petty Artifacts (intelligent items) Lesser Artifacts or Greater Artifacts.

As you might guess, this is a very different game, far more human focused and with much scarier monsters, yet in its own small way more magic than most D&D games.

Here is the players Intro

Welcome to the Cantrip campaign.

This is a D&D world after a magi-pocalypse called the Leveling. This event destroyed the old traditional divisions of magic and most magic items

Its 32 point buy, Human Only using modified backgrounds from Thieves World and Pathfinder traits

Low magic options are in use including level based AC bonus and action points.

Classes are Fighter, Barbarian, Rogue, Scout, Modified Ranger, , Cavalier ,Savant, Noble, Bard, Warlord (modified) though explicitly magical options are not allowed. Mariner and Swashbuckler are up for consideration as well .

Anyone with an INT of 10+ may learn cantrips. Known cantrips may be cast at will without spell failure although gestures and speech are still required. Players start with INT Mod +1 cantrips and may learn more at start with a trait selection. When in doubt I the use Pathfinder rules. More cantrips may also be learned in game. It costs some GP and happens between sessions or after a level up.

Last rule BRING ME CANTRIPS. 3rd party sources of zero level cantrps are highly encouraged. and anyone bringing one I do not have is assumed to have found a spell book some time within game (their choice) and may immediately learn two approved cantrips and an additional one automatically. from that source each level up.

Change the Classes, Change the World

One of the most effective ways I've seen to shake things up in a new campaign is to change the available classes.

Most of the time players come to expect a certain mixes depending of course on system.

By changing this mix you can not only change the flavor of the world but how players interact with it. A couple of published examples, Monte Cook's Arcane Unearthed is recognizable as D20 and outisde of spell casting has a small learning curve but its mix of Warmains. Unfettered, Magisters and Greenbonds provide a meaningfully different game than the standard Fighter, Rogue, Wizard, Cleric mix.

In settings like Age of Mortals for Dragonlance with the addition and emphasis on new classes like Master, Noble and Mariner can shake up a game and take it in interesting new directions.

The same thing can happen when you change classes in older games, game with Fighters, Clerics, Magic User, Thief ,Elf, Dwarf and Halfling is quite different than one with Swordmaster, White Mage,Black Mage, Rogue and Sidhe ( Elves with Illusionist magic), Dwarf Runecasters and Halfling Thornwalkers even if the mix of spells and abilities is pretty similar to a standard game.

Now some caution is advised. New stuff needs to be balanced, , in some games niches need to be filled and of course it all needs to be fun and interesting for player and GM.

If you can meet that hurdle, try changing things up. I think you'll like it.

Send Me You Poor, Your cool Your Huddled Products Yearning to Be Seen

This is an open promotion call for freebie games for any edition of D&D, any retro clone and anything else that you think the readers of a blog thats mostly about Pathfinder and the OSR might like.

If you have something you think someone might like and you think is not getting enough attention, reply to this thread and send me the link.

After I get enough cool links, I'll post them all in one big post. If I really get enough I'll tweak the page to show em.

So hows that for you? Free adds for free products.

The only rules are

#1 The promoted download needs to be free and legal (obviously)

#2 I get to decide what is interesting enough to be posted

Beyond that. Post away

Friday, August 20, 2010

Theory: Be Consistent

T, my G.M friend is a great scholar and generally an OK G.M. , however he has one big flaw. A lot of his games fail do to inconsistent GMing

A classic example.

D&D 3.5 "The Lost Greeks in the Swamp game"

I want to play a God Touched Warlock with some survival skills. The concept is approved and is going well till I make a simple request "look can my guy have a proficiency with a machete as a simple weapon. I'll use the stats of the sickle minus the trip so its balanced."

He answers "No. The rules say it needs to be short sword " This is annoying but I shrug, go Ranger 1/ Warlock 1 (we always start at L2) and the game commences.

About half an hour into play we have an encounter with a gator and proceed handily to kicks its green leathery buttocks. This is fine and good till T, deciding that we are winning to easily starts making arbitrary not supported by the rules rulings to make it more challenging.

The annoyed the play group so much, the game collapsed a session or two later and we never revised it.

What we not wrong here is lack of consistency.

There is nothing wrong even in a more rules rigorous game like 3x or Pathfinder with a "rulings not rules"approach but if you are going to do that be consistent and rule in ways that increase the fun. More importantly, don't call onthe rules when you aren'tr going to bother using them anyway. Its hypocrisy .

I generally advise being generous as well with changes in the appearance of things, especially when such changes fit the game. Fluff is never after all imbalanced.

How I would have handled the request

T "Well my concept is a swamp wise Warlock. I figured I'd take cosmopolitan as a feat and take survival "

Me: "OK Cool"

T "Say can I take a machete as a weapon. I'll use the stats of the sickle minus the trip attack. Its one less than a short sword."

Me: "Sounds Fine" or alternately if the flavor is more important "Uhm, Short Swords are kind of important to the flavor of the game, this being Greece and all . How about a long knife you can slash brush with . Treat it as a slashing dagger."

How would I have handled the encounter? By the book. Besides if I think the players need more chakllenge, the gator can always have a mate .. Heh heh heh...

This I think would have annoyed the players a lot less and lead to a lasting game.

For you listening pleasure Radio Rivendell

Radio Rivendell is a terrific fantasy themed stream cast that plays a wonderful variety of instrumental music.

I often play it in the background while I am writing and while its a bit random, it might be just the thing to play at you game.

Its free and its here ....

Feel Overwhelmed ? Try Rolling Back?

I also wanted to mention that G.M.s who feel overwhelmed with all those options and all the min maxing and who have cooperative players can of course roll back to something like Osric , White Box or Swords and Wizardry.

This returns power to the G.M. and away from the rules set and yet handled carefully still provides plenty of fun options for players.

If for some reason you do run low on ideas or get tired of the spell list or something don't forget that much of the OSR stuff and many of the not too expensive OOP like the old 2e Spell Compendiums are there for you to mine. Many of the blogs also have free content a-plenty. You'll find some those on my blog list and in other sites links of course.

Now maybe a I sound like some back alley peddler but hey, first hit is free. Try an OSDR game of your choice tonight and you and you players may find the relative freedom to be a heck of a lot of fun.

Who know you may never go back.

Oh and PS:

When it comes out, buy my stuff anyway. I need the folding green. ;)

Pathfinder/3.5 Watch out for combos

One thing that I have learned about 3.5 that I didn't see nearly as much in older editions (B/X etc) is the killer combo. yes there were a few of these in 2e but I never had as much trouble keeping them under control.

In the newer additions, 3.5 and to a somewhat lesser degree Pathfinder certain combinations of items, spells and classes can be abusive enough to wreck any sense of verisimilitude in a game and worse, can easily take away fun from the other players.

One example that came to mind recently was Mr. 27 Attacks per round. This is not of course the absolute maximum that can be had but its an example of the kind of thing a novice min maxer like me can think off on the fly

How this nightmarish think works is Take a High level L18+ Warblade (from Book of Nine Swords) with the following magic items

Belt of Battle (from Magic Item Compendium)

Weapon of Speed

Take the Two Weapon Fighting Feat Tree + Snap Kick (from Book of Nine Swords)

4 Primary, 4 Secondary (3 off hand, 1 snap kick) + 1 Weapon

Trigger "Time Stands Still" Make full round attack (9) make another attack (9) trigger belt of battle (another 9) -- now granted this is not especially unbalanced in terms of damage output but unless you are playing Ninja Gaidan or something, it comes on as intensely silly and can detract from the sense of "game reality" you are trying to build. The worse thing of course is it slows the game to a crawl even when the players are very well prepared for it.

Something else to be wary off . If you throw in extra 3rd party stuff like Boots of Kicking (from the excellent Loot for Less series here) or gestalt classes it can get even worse (a possible 300D6 Sneak Attack damage!!)

This should not warn you off 3x, Pathfinder or High level play but it should remind you that the same "cool stuff" players have to mess with can add a large extra layer of complexity to you game that you'll need to be prepared for.

Theory: When to say no to a character or concept

One of the biggest questions that plagues DM's, especially new ones is "When do I say no to a a character or concept."

This question seems hard as after all who wants to disappoint their friends or drive potential players to level griding warlocks instead of hanging out with real people. As I tell people, its not 1981 and people today have a lot more entertainment options some of which simulate the more casual aspects of gaming pretty well.

In my experience these are the best guidelines

Say no when.

#1 It was clearly not allowed up front

#2 It seems like it would take away from the campaign and impair your fun or the fun of others

#3 If you say no, say why and offer a different suggestion

As a personal example.

A GM of my acquaintance (the one whom the iconic NPC Tanzar is named for incidentally) was set to run a "Desert" themed 3x campaign with some peculiar philosophical leanings.

Interested I asked him "Sound good T. Can I play a Monk with the sand feats from Swashbuckling Adventures, a book I knew he had." It was a pretty cool concept, Sand Runner Monk and I even had aneat background for the game world

His answer after some hemming and hawing was "no."

Having heard what the others were playing and having a few other concepts shot down I thanked him cordially and I'll pass. Some time later the players informed me it was a pretty good game.

Basically what happened here is both of us lost. I missed out on a good (well minus the troubles he had with high level play) game and he on a good player. The sad part is that good communication would have made for an all around better situation.

Had I would have handled it had I been in his situation (and I have been in several like it) I would have said 'Oh Sorry T, I'd rather you play something else. The monk is a little weird for this game and the sand feats kind of defeat the battle against the sand aspect of this game. How about a Ranger or a Druid? "

My reply (and he knew me pretty well so there was not new to each others play style excuse) I'd have said "OK thats fair" found another way and we'd have both been ahead.

Friday, August 13, 2010

In Honor of My last Post

Castlevania Dance of Pales

A 4e Post Campaign Idea Dark Action Fantasy

A while back I was ranting that 4e was not D&D as I know it. I still haven't changed my mind about that.There is however one game I'd like to run using the rules. Dark Action Fantasy.

Here is my set up

Gothick Horror world, No Gunpowder (no good rules yet) Monster pallet includes undead, scary faeries and a few staples. No Cthulhu.

Races: Humans only with Dhampyr, The Possessed (from Alea Dragons's Horde #1) and Revenant allowed . The Revenant class has a unique entry. Upon being raised from the dead, the character is automtically retrained to this race and MUST become a Revenant. They come back different ....

Martial Classes , Feats and Powers Only

Rituals allowed including those from Goodman Games' Azagar's Book of Rituals. Prices will be tweaked as needed and ritual components allowed.

Low Magic Items Rules will be used

Options. At unanimous player request Half Elf "Changeling" and Half Orc "Caliban" will be allowed.

There you have it. Tactical Horror 4e. Castlevania here I come.

Two and Half Major Things Old School Games Don't Need

Just my cranky opinion.

#1 The cleric class.Cleric spells are fine but Van Helsing and turn undead belong in Hammer horror films and activist deities belong in Greek Myth. My D&D can do without them.

#2 Alignment. Just say no to objective morality and know alignment and maybe even detect evil, especially if it works on people. However if you must have alignment factions the old school Law/Neutral/Chaos axis is about as much as you need. Law for Cities and Order, Neutral for just getting along and Chaos for Caprice and Disorder.

and # 1/2 The Thief. Old School Games do need some means of adjudicating common adventuring tasks like opening locks and climbing walls. Whether its wall climbing Cimmerians or Burrahobbits they are very much part of the cannon. And while I don't mind a class that focuses on that sort of thing these abilities do not need to be exclusive class powers. After all anyone can sneak, hide, backstab or climb even a stodgy old wizard.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Should I make my game Midrea a Free Product?

I just had a crazy idea.

Why don't I release Midrea as a free and open game world? I can put it together, sans most art, one piece at a time and release it to the community as a series of PDF's

This has a number of advantages

#1 Conventional wisdom says worlds do not sell all that well but its possible expansions just might.

#2 I can give back to the community

#3 Its great for marketing and getting my name out.

#4 The niche is really empty

#5 If there really is demand I can make a print book or a snazzy art rich someday.

#6 I ca make it for several games as most of those foundations have been laid already and this might enable me to reach other markets.

Other than the work and loss of control, it doesn't seem like there are a hige number of downsides

What say you folks to the idea?

New Artist on Board (I Hope)

I am in negotiations for a new artist. He and I have been unlikely friends for some years now but he is a decent artist and solid Pathfinder fan. If things go well, I should be able to take care of a big issue with production and make some serious headway. Oh and improve this dull blog too.

Heres Hoping

On the horizon: Free: Old School Products

I do have a few Old School products brewing too.

Project Fairylands:
A complete RPG for new and old gamers. Amusingly the art is nearly selected on this game but the text is just dewdrops.

Old School Companion:
64 pages of delicious options usable with B/X, Labyrinth Lord or with a bit of effort any of the others

Also under consideration are OSR versions of , Encounters A through Z , Isle of Danger and Dragons Gate. whether these see the light of day will depend on market research and the amount of work they take. The OSR market is tiny and there is a lot of good stuff out there, much of it free. It might simply not be worth the work to sales ratio.

On the horizon: Free Pathfinder Products

A continuation of the above post. Here is what I have planned as "give away" items for Pathfinder

Alphabet of Encounters Outtakes: A free encounter

Keng-Ko-Ku: an adventure inspired a certain giant ape

Iconics: Iconic NPC's from Midrea in Pathfinder format.

On the horizon: Pathfinder Products

Just as a goad to get more work done, here is a list of Pathfinder products I have in various stages of completion and want to get to y'all. Basically this is the catalog. Consider them ethereal till you see them as its pretty ambitious for what is essentially a one man show but I believe I can manage it.

Into the Woods:
A ready to go Pathfinder quick play designed to challenge new and old players of all ages. Its a starting adventure for up to six players designed to be played in one sessions but to leave the doors open for more adventures.

To Battle! :
6 Short (Five level) fighting style prestige classes recycled from my 3.0 OGL and converted to Pathfinder

The Magic of Midrea:
A big list of spells, spellbooks and possibly magic items from my Midrea campaign because you can never have too much magic.

Spells, Swords and Prayers:
New 20 level classes for Pathfinder. To spoil this one, these are classes that resemble some of the prestige classes scaled up to 20 levels. This way you can play several cool concepts from L1 instead if having to struggle with planning and min-maxing.

Encounters A thru Z:
26 Short pre planned encounters for every letter of the alphabet. These can be used as filler or expanded into additional games or even with a little mental muscle into a campaign arc.

Dragons Gate Adventure Path:
Exploration, action and danger await on the Isle of Danger. This adventure path inspired by the pulps and the Isle of Dread is designed for up to six L1 to about L15 PC's and is suitable for Midrea or any other game world.

Isle of Danger:
This is the setting guide for the above Adventure Path.

Signs of Night Adventure Path
Something experimental, a shorter more Gothic Adventure Path. 5 Adventures perfect for you horror inspired game worlds or for players with an appetite for darker fair.

Power Up! Magic items that scale with you;
Just like the title says.

Wonder: Low Magic Rules for Pathfinder:
This is a pulpier, lower magic set of rules for Pathfinder. It includes simple low magic rules and a more complex "low magic item" rule set that keeps the associated power levels.

If y'all see anything on there thats sounds like a must have, let me know so I can prioritize otherwise, wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Midrea One Page

This si the original idea behind Midrea, well at least beyond the "some place to run my games that actually has a name"

You'll also see some Iconics here that some day I may just post. I used Mnoren and Mary in games and Baran (all 35 levels of him) is a former PC. Tonzabar is named for a player as well, my "likes to talk world building" buddy though I've also called him Tanzar too.

I am nothing if not inconsistent.

Fantasy Setting Proposal for Midrea

1. Core Ethos Sentence.
Midrea is a world where hero’s deeds hold society and reality together.

2. Who are the heroes?
Mary Bow- Cynical Mercenary, holder of the Stone of the Pact and hero of the Nightfall War.
Mnoren, the self-appointed gatekeeper and master of the 13 gates
Baran, archmage and Master Magistar, the world’s most powerful wizard
Ravik Byrne, the leader of the Wizards Council
Megan Byrne, Ravik's daughter known as "Trouble"
Commenting on all this is the Adventuring Librarian Tonzabar, whose dry wit livens up any topic

4. What do they do?
Mary runs an Inn now called Mary’s Place, from time to time she sends foolish adventurers on a quest. She’d like to forget adventure but adventure has plans for her.
Mnoren watches the thirteen gates protecting man from, Other Things.
Baran? Well he studies magic until its needs it, which is more often than he'd like.
Ravik has his council to watch, evil plot to unwind and a troublemaking red headed to daughter to deal with him.
Megan, well there a lot to see and do out there and anyway isn't magic fun?
Tonzabar, he watches and comments on it all.

. Threats, Conflicts, Villains
Sometimes it’s hard not to find danger in Midrea. There are 13 gates Elsewhere
For more menace there is the Nether and the First Race. Netherspawn, the leftovers of the first attempt at creation are still out there and they hate all other life.
The First Race, time should have claimed them but Wizardry allows them to linger, still hiding out somewhere, making monsters and worse things. They will return.

6. Nature of magic
Magic comes from outer planar sources, the heavens (for clerical) the spirit world (for druids) the hells (for evil clerics) fae realm (Bards and Sorcerers) and the Nether for the fragments of creation, the spells of the Wizard.

7. What’s new? What’s different?
The flexible nature of the cosmology allows anything to be dropped in with a minimum of fuss. Since the humans on Midrea were originally from our world and time Roleplaying is easy, its Ren-Faire medievalism. And it makes sense. Even the timeline makes adventure fun and easy, historical “points’ help DM’s make a place for heroes.

Enerion One Page

Fantasy Setting Proposal for

Enerion: Along the Great River and Beyond

Core Ethos Sentence:
Enerion is a Steel Age world with a Bronze Age feel and a Robert Howard/Lost World sensibility ripe for action and exploration.

. Who are the heroes?
The heroes are the explorers, the protectors, the doers and the rulers.
They are people like Mesrik Galim, the Wayfinder.
Suon Argontil Prince of the Clarim City State. Hardin Coos Henar, Watermaster of mountainous Tarsk and of course the mysterious Silver Queen.

What do they do?
Every hero has his own desires, destinies and goals. Whether it is Metrics wanderlust, Suon Argontil’s protection of his City state or Hradwins stewardship of man there is plenty of room for excitement. And if things get dull, there is the Silver Queen ageless beautiful and full of terrible wisdom.

Threats, Conflicts, Villains: Danger comes in many forms. There are ancient monsters from before the time of man, the Scaled Ones cast off folks of a previous age, the enigmatic Shapers with there changed monsters Worst of all are the Demons, the outsiders whose very touch befouls the water life depends on.

Nature of magic: Water is the source of magic; spells are drawn form the water into the Wizard, cast out than flow back into the ocean. Even the Gods are said to dwell deep below

What’s new? What’s different?
All of his Civilization depends on water, all trade flows from it, all magic depends on it. Rather than great Feudal Kingdoms there are city-states. Rather than dungeons there are ancient decaying ruins. Rather than Orcs there are magically changed beast men. It’s a new face on old and familiar ground.

Familiar yet exotic is the watchword

I've never run anything in this setting though I've been tempted. My gamers don't read Howard or E.R. Burroughs and would be lost alas.

The 2002 WOTC Setting Search

I normally don't carry conversations from Big Purple over here but this one got me thinking about my old entries in that Wizards contest.

Back in 2002 I entered three worlds into the WOTC contest, Midrea which you see here , Enarion which was kind a bronze age city state thing and another, a not very Tolkien like Evil wins setting.

About a week before the thing was to close I received a phone call from Wizards requesting some kind of legal paperwork. Needless to say I was to the post office so fast you could see the contrail.

Now I really have no idea how close I was to victory but I like to think I was second to last set , which in what 12k entries is not all that bad. If any of my entries did make it that far I assume it was Midrea, as this setting was designed as sandbox/kitchen sink as I could make and I saw the same theme in Ebberon.

I honor of that , next couple of posts will be my one pagers from the contest. With apologies to all I cannot find my "Evil Wins" setting but if I ever do, rest assured I'll post it too.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How to stat your friends as Adventuring Classes

Just for fun its nice to make an version of someone you know as a D&D adventurer.

I have a kind of formula I use for this .

Stats --

Just Guess and round up generously.

Class --
If they have any real life skills that map to a D&D class, give them appropriate levels. Clergy get cleric, people who have studied the occult or science (in D&D these are the same thing more or less) get wizard, people with fighting backgrounds get fighter and so on. Otherwise pick the best class for their personality. If you aren't sure people can get expert or whatever class (savant in the case of Midrea) passes for "skill guy"


Start them at L1 at any age from 16-18. Add the next level (2,3,4 and so on) till their age is reached. If they have any real adventures in the background and +1, add an additional +1 if they actually pursued an adventuring career (military, LEO, Crook) and an additional +1 if they had intensive training (including real grind colleges)

Well unless they are Otherkin or very strange to the degree people think they are an alien, whatever or give off an archetypal vibe , Human.

Feats and Skills
Just guess based on things they know how to do.

And thats how to turn your friends into D&D adventurers and possibly ruin a friendship for life.

A Couple of Other Old House Rules I've played under

From the memory bank

#1 20 and confirm. My first experience with something like the D20 crit system, came way back in 1997. One of our local Grogs - D. Balrog used a system that was Roll and 20 and confirm and you get double damage. How that rule filtered into 3x I'll never know.

#2 Read and Detect Magic as at will abilities. This was back in the early 2e days and in my limited experience in a fighter heavy (7 fighters and a mage!) it worked just fine.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A couple of quick notes on magic in Midrea

Midrea is fairly high magic world, probably closer to Greyhawk than the Forgotten Realms in power level but there is still plenty of magic out there.

Magic items exist in the standard numbers and until I can come up with a fair and accurate level based bonus to AC I'll hold my nose and just use a pretty standard allotment. I do use the "power components" rule so items do not cost XP. Instead they require extra dimensional materials or highly magically saturated materials to make. The exception being "single use" items such as scrolls, potions and some minor wondrous items. These can be made with large quantities of ordinary (although sometimes rare) materials.

Most spells work as per the rules with two key exceptions.

#1 Resurrection Magic.

Bringing the dead back to life in Midrea has been difficult since the Unhallowed War some one hundred years ago . For some reason the various Gods have stopped allowing resurrection magic of any kind to work . Short of using a Magic Jar or Clone spell and a soul stone (or a few limited class abilities that effect only the caster) it is impossible to bring the dead back to life.
Note though that magic from before this period works normally , so the occasional Scroll (though they can't be scribed) ,Staff of Life or other items work normally.
There are also a couple of artifacts (the Heroes Table, The Life Web and the Rod of Years) that can raise the dead as well. Bottom line, you die and unless you buddies want to quest for you, you stay dead...

#2 Teleport

Teleport like spells and powers are rather rare and dangerous sorts of magic. The spells work normally however using them involves travel through the the 1st realm and thus risks taint. Trust me on this, taint is very bad. You an assume almost no one will teleport unless its utterly necessary. Also note that Tree Stride and Fire Stride and similar "nature themed" spells do work normally within the grounds of the Ealven Wood for some reason. So be careful.

Travel Domain Clerics do not gain Dimensional Hop as a power instead gain the following power as per the D20 SRD

SU: For a total time per day of 1 round per cleric level you possess, you can act normally regardless of magical effects that impede movement as if you were affected by the spell freedom of movement. This effect occurs automatically as soon as it applies, lasts until it runs out or is no longer needed, and can operate multiple times per day (up to the total daily limit of rounds).

In addition the spell list is altered as follows

L4 Enduring Flight
L5 Overland Flight
L7 Phase Door
L8 Discern Location
L9 Mass Overland Flight