Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Everybody

Its not quite Christmas where I am but as I am not logging in tomorrow, I wish you a Merry Christmas or whatever you are celebrating .

Peace, Joy and Prosperity to you and yours ...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sorry for the slow posts #3

Its Christmas and I have been very busy with that and with some research for some non gaming stuff.

Next year I hope to blog more about OSR games and E6/E8 primarily with maybe a little Risus discussion and of course invest some money in art and such to make some kick-butt products.

On that topic I do have stuff written but its not ready to be seen. Sorry to tease but while I like my stuff, its ugly and I won;t subject y'all to it.

Till then, enjoy Loadouts in all its ugly glory and have a most Happy Holiday Season

Friday, December 17, 2010

WOTC and the pulling of Crystal Keep

OK here is an interesting story first from ENWorld and reposted here for your convenience/

Not that long ago there was a site called Crystal Keep that posted a bunch of text files that contained crude reference charts for almost everything from 3.0 and 3.5 including ,uch closed content.

Politely and respectfully, WOTC sent a C&CD order to Crystal Keep something they had every right to do BTW and away went the files.

This would seem like no big deal except that those files have been up there for more than a decade and its been quite some time, what 2 or 3 years since 3.5 was out of print.

It struck some as petty and many (myself included) as essentially pointless.

This comes after a couple of other off PDF decisions including pulling all legal PDF's, suinga couple of infringers who posted on SCRIBD and pulling its old 3.5 archives.

Folks over on ENWorld have been asking why and especially why now... To save y'all a trip I'll answer here

AFAICT There are two reasons behind the PDF related decisions.

#1 is protecting IP

#2 is "edition channeling" Hasbro/WOTC was counting on an upgrade cycle to drive sales, most of the 3.5 players would move on to 4.0 and thus they'd recapture the old play base and gain some new younger players.

However a mixture of the OGL, global economic woes (the young were particularly hit) PDF warez , a different market (video games hurt TTRPG's) and the jarring edition transition (4.0 is not like older editions all that much) have all hurt sales.

There were at least some stories out there suggesting that Pathfinder was selling as well as 4.0 at a times . That that is a big big deal in an industry where its expected you were the #1 at all times.

So Hasbro/WOTC being a big organization and less than nimble they controlled what they could control.

They cut off the legal PDFs (for old and new editions) , went after that guys that posted on SCRIBD, went after Crystal Keep , and took out the old archives (which is also a cost savings measure)

The problem is that none this matters or will help.

The warez world has pretty much everything ever in PDF with a few exceptions of obscure direct to PDF releases and very obscure and expensive RPG's.

For those who don't choose to be involved in that, there are plentiful retro-clones for every edition save 2.0 (its being worked on though) and cheap books a plenty. Its even possible to find players ...

As for driving 3.5 to upgrade to 4.0 , well no. The natural 3.5 upgrade is Pathfinder +OGL not 4.0 which is a large change, not an upgrade

What we see is a company relied on a business strategy (edition upgrade) that was obsolete with the OGL and as soon as it became fairly easy to scan and download books and as such got caught behind the adaption curve.

Now this doesn't mean WOTC won't make money hand over fist or that D&D won't stay number one. Its just means Hasbro/WOTC will have to try harder and I think thats just fine.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Breaking my own rules: A Political post on why gaming is not diverse even though I wish it was

This is an apolitical blog for the most part but an article at the fame and fortune blog, Othello in the 41st millennium caught my eye and as my reply is rather long, it deserves a post here...

Tabletop Gaming is clearly not a diverse hobby. Its mostly White, almost entirely Middle Class to Lower Upper Class at least in the United States

And while I am personally interested in a broader player pool I do not think this is possible.

I'll start by saying my gaming circle of late has been usually diverse, if a bit lacking in women. Its an outlier and It has members that are Black, White and Hispanic in about equal numbers. We do not have First Nations players or Asian players as neither group is common in the local population.

Like most groups we have few women. Its understandable as our gaming style is fairly traditional (i.e hack and slash) tabe top and almost all the local female gamers prefer LARPS. When Angel or Buffy is run (or other Urban Fantasy games) we do get female players in numbers as well.

All that being said, our cultural experiences and interests are mostly the same. Our world views on things like status and money are all very narrow.

However most groups are not as diverse


Well simple. Gaming derives mainly from European Romanticism and is a consciously Euro-Centric thing . Its Knights and Castles and Wizards mixed with Orientalism.Its hardly reasonable to expect much diversity in such an activity when its audience is not interested in much outside that mythos

Heck even our Black and Bi Racial players have little interest in diversity as they prefer Asian or Caucasian archetypes for some reason. And note this is not an issue of exclusion. All of us are fine with diversity. Bigotry is a quick way out of my group.

However while we have tried alternatives settings such as Polynesia or even Ancient Greece and others have been offered and there were no takers. The gamers want a mono-cultural Euro-centric activity and thats a big thing.

Its already small culture of people like to make up stories, dabble in acting and double entry bookkeeping (not my words) in essence a special kind of geek. The entire US play base is pretty much from lower middle class to lower upper class "white culture" with a smattering of outliers and its pretty unlikely that it can attract people from outside these boundaries and still retain interest from the dominant group .

Is this a "fault" issue -- well no. Its your hobby time and your choice how to use it.

Also for my non US readers speaking only from the US pov here mine is not a well integrated nation and its culturally and racially divided along economic fault lines in ways that might surprise Europeans or persons in the UK.

The Big Sort by Bill Bishop explains this in some depth but the simple version is, there is not as much cross cultural contact as might be expected as the US has a third world level of income disparity and a lot of economic segregation and voluntary ethic segregation. Its kind of sad really but the cause and effects and solutions outside of gaming are not really germane to this conversation

These disparities rather exasperate things as it would require diverse recruiting efforts in an eco-system where recruiting the base is significantly harder (video games and the Internet and time constraints and other choices get in the way) and since the base simply isn't interested in anything non Euro-Centric, it makes mixing groups harder.

And no you can't educate them. Its a brittle play base and many gamers are almost reactionary Conservatives when it comes to gaming choices. Don't believe me? Frequent any board and Gawds help you if you were to lecture someone in a group on their choices.

I'll note there have been attempts to break out of the mold ranging from Aztec like Tekumel to the African themed Nyambe and a number of GURPS supplements. None of them were really well received

I have found it difficult to even get people to play say Greece or Rome much less say Greater Zimbabwe or even Sci-Fi like Traveller where race as we know it is irrelevant and Bridget Indra Chan M'Benga is a perfectly commonplace name ..

So basically, its our box and we have to live with it.

Now miniatures gaming is another matter, I'll pass on much talk (not my hobby) but for areas with a decent population of affluent non Whites (not the US in most places alas) much more effort could be made and the company that pulls it off, will make more than a bit of money.

They deserve it ...

Friday, December 10, 2010

A couple of non OSR games I want to try

Not my designs at all but I'd like to try

Dyed in the Wool or a musket-punk version of it.

Slaughter Feast which is a version of "Real World RPG Rules" the key here is the players have to play people trying to be world in a world gone murderous

And I think I'd like to give Dreamscarred Presses "3rd Dawn" in the excellent and under-appreciated Trie20 a go.. Its more a setting than a campaign but its unique enough to tweak my interest in someone else's world.

So what non OSR stuff would you like to play?

Campaign Ideas December Edition

Note sure if there will be a number two this month but here goes


A Highlander the Gathering meets Wu-Xia knockoff where the PC's are Immortals. The key differences are that there is no rule that "There can be only one" and while Power can be stolen there is no "End of Days" or "Prize" Also as the intro might suggest "Boost" powers are quite possible and even encouraged.


Welcome to Argo house, your home, your prison, your life. P.C.'s are agoraphobics who live together in an enormous mansion created years ago by someone with the same problem. Essentially its a kind of social and mystery dungeon crawl with very detailed environments. Its highly possible I'll set this in the same universe as Ramble in which case the technology is quite a bit lower and there are no cellphones or Internet..

Among the Mighty

Yesterday you were a regular Joe or Jane . Last night you watched as a new comet "The Trailing Sword" roared overhead. Today, you are Among the Mighty. D20 modern meets D&D where the players who were regular folks suddenly become 15th level Gestalt D&D characters with all the trimmings (even the magic items!) What will you do with your newfound power?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My least Favorite Class: The Bard

This is by far my least favorite class as outside of middle and late second edition I have yet to see an version I really like.

Through I heard good things about them I have never seen the 0e Dragon Bard, Labyrinth Lord or the Swords and Wizardry takes on the class

The AD&D 1e Bard was a rules bending , prestige class like piece of crud no one I know played. Total crud ...

and the 3x Bards while playable not only suffer from having their own spell list with many unfitting spells but they have an annoying "buff" method. I do like the concept of inspiring people, the implementation left much to be desired in the book keeping department ...

Now the Pathfinder Bard is a bit better, its easier to use the "Performances" and they are a lot more versatile however the annoying resource issue is still there . Also while the .alt Bards are pretty cool but IMO it still suffers from the spell list problem. Its not bad, its just not quite what I needed ..

Now of all the Bards, I'd say the 2e version was most interesting, there were a wide range of very interesting .alt bards in the form of kits and late on, the generally hateful Skills and Powers supplement, redeemed itself a bit and became a pretty good tool kit for all sorts of concepts, including Fighter/Mages.

Also , importantly it used exactly the same magic system as a Wizard so the magic issue was done away with. And yes there were Bard spells. Nothing stopped Wizards from learning them and that was how it should be....

Now if I were designing a Bard I get rid of the spells and make it more like the Marshal from the Miniatures Handbook. Buffs would be immediate broad based and not require tracking rounds per day.

I don't know if they'd have magic (probably not) but if they did, the spell levels would align exactly with Sorcerer or Wizard and be interchangeable with whatever the class was ...

Well that my opinion anyway...

If you have a most disliked class or some thoughts on the Bard, fire away

Pathfinder fun: A party of one..

Here is a challenge for all the Pathfinder players who read the blog.

You and your buddy are playing a Pathfinder campaign, just the two of you.. You are the players and he tells you its 20 levels using Pathfinder, epic Point Buy with some 3x stuff appropriately modified for Pathfinder of course. No rules abuse . Under those circumstances what do you play?

My choice is the Party of One

Mystic Ranger 16
Scout 4

Using the Sword of the Arcane Order, Swift Hunter and Obtain Familiar feats you can cast arccane and divine spells to 5th level, have a scout and a tank buddy , have a lot of tricks, stealth, trap finding and a decent skirmish combat mode with bonus feats.

Its not even crazy unbalanced all things considered.

So what would you play?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Old School Guy #2 Genric the Soldier Mage

This guy is a bit of a hack designed to allow a player to have a human fighter/mage and to show what being flexible with the rules can do. He was made with the Hill Cantons material weakly documented. Doh!

Genric was born to a large family in Dyr whose Father, the Village Reeve died early. As his mother could not feed him during the time of the Potato Plague she sent to live with cousins in Mada.

As a young man he was conscripted by the military, however when the unit attacked his kin-folk he participated in the Great Mutiny and this ended his attachment. Now no longer part of the service and still feeling a lust for adventure, Genric has taken to the road with his new companion Kael.

Magic User 1

S 14
I 16
W 10
D 13
C 14
CH 12

Background Skills
Basic Forestry

May wear leather or elven chain and cast spells
Fight as Thief with Thief Weapons
D6 Hit Die
Fast Advancing (+10% to XP)

Genric advances as a Magic User but do to his abilities requires an extra 10% XP per level.


2 sets clothes (free)
Hygiene Basics (free)
2 daggers
Backpack, two small sacks, bedroll, water skin, tinderbox, and one week of iron rations , five torches, five oil flasks, 60 ft. rope, grappling hook, wooden pole
Light riding horse with tack

35 GP

Background Stuff
3rd child
government Official (+1 cash)
Dad was Reeve who died
Ma could not handle raising gave to guardian a very distant cousin
survived plague outbreak
conscripted but mutinied

A couple of Old School Guys #1 Kael

These guys were made with Labyrinth Lord in mind and using some of the cool background generators at Hill Cantons and a smidgen of my under development house rules.

Kael is the second son of a traveling merchant whose mother died in childbirth. Kael and his family served the Duke of Aven for many years till the Duke was outlawed. During this time he was fostered by the Duke in Exile. Quite recently he was injured in magical attack on the fortress and as a sid effect of this seems to have developed a second sight. Now a man grown, Kael has decided to do some exploring and see if his gifts can help him find a fortune of his own.

Human Fighter

S 13
I 10
W 10
D 10
C 17
CH 13

Background Skills
Animal Handling

Elflike Senses: 1-8 (d12) Spot Secret Door 1-4 (d12) Spot other 1-4 (d12)

HP 10

3 Sets Clothes (free)
Hygiene Kit (free)
Chain Armor
20 Bolts
Backpack, two small sacks, bedroll, water skin, tinderbox, and one week of iron rations
10 oil flasks, lantern, shovel, two caltrops, whistle
Pony with Tack

Background Stuff
second child
merchant (+1 Gear ) Long Distance
dead parent (+1 Con)
crime political dissent (+1 CH)
served patron (+1 CH)
'survived magical disaster (+1 Con)
Choice +1 ST
Choice +1 Int

What is E3?

If you download my free Loadouts supplement for Pathfinder you'll notice a little E3 Moniker at the bottom of the page.

if you were wondering thats our nifty new trade dress that lets you know that our products are roughly compatible with the 3rd and 3.5 edition of the "Underground Lizards" game as well as games that"Blaze Trails" and "Find paths" along with other games that require a twenty sided die and are fairly similar in play.

Its just something to set up apart from the rest and I hope is easily recognizable.

Our old school stuff will have a different moniker when the time comes but it will also be cool (I hope)

Thinking About: The 3x Successor for older D&D is E8

Yes Epic 8, the 3x variant in which the leveling stops at 8 and instead of new levels, all advancement after is in the form of feats at every 5000XP.

My reasoning?

Well E8 (especially with an option to get a level 5 slot with a feat) stops at roughly the hit point and power level of older versions.

With a bit of work it gives you the same relationship to the world that high level guys in AD&D and OD&D had.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Machine Called (Playtest Update)

I updated the playtest files for Loadouts and included a new and improved OGL declaration. Its in a microscopic size 4 font to keep that mess under a page so you'll need to zoom in if you want to read it but its all there now.

Thanks much to Starglim over at the ENWorlds boards for pointing out the errors and for the other suggestions as well.

I owe ya one man....

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Taking a little time away from the machine

My computer has been eating my brain for a while now so I am going analog for a bit.

When I return I'll post a new version of Loadouts (a wonderful poster on ENWorld named Starglim caught an OGL error) and I have some of the usual cool stuff to talk about.

Stay tuned ...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

First Product to the Wild

Grab it at the main page or here

Loadouts is designed for Pathfinder using the Pathfinder SRD and an art budget of zero (literally) and is meant to enable easy outfitting of starting characters.

It provides pretty much everything that a person and a party need for dungeon and wilderness adventures in a a short 4 page PDF, Its art light and generally printer friendly.

I really appreciate any comments you have on its usefulness, layout and ease of reading (and printing if you so desire)

Thanks Much.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dropped the E6/E8 Question

Asked on my Pre-Thanksgiving "Hows everything call" in fact. Player #1 who if things go well will also be one of my artists (personal stuff got in the way alas) seemed to be somewhat intrigued. This is a good sign.

I think using E6 or E8 might enable me to run a better game and that means more fun for all.

Hope You Had a Happy Thanksgiving !

For my American readers of course. By habit I don't update on holidays and I just plum forget my obligatory Pre-Thanksgiving post.

Ah well, may you not grow weary of turkey before its used up ;)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Asking the Old School Question to my Players

I finally got around to asking the dreaded "Interested in an old school game" question to my players.This group is a little younger than me and grew up with 2e so I am sure those expectations colored their decision here.

I explained the "thinking on your feet, exploration and simplified play" motifs to them and they answered with a resounding meh...

One of my players explained "Look 2e is cool, we'd play that and you run a good game but we'd rather have more mechanical support for actions and options. Honestly describing how traps are disarmed and exploring and all that doesn't sound that fun"

I can't say I really blame them with an ample selection of play opportunities out there and little cultural contact with the Old School style there is little draw for that sort of thing. Even the mighty old names like Demon Web Pits or Keep on the Borderlands are far too distant for them ..

Ah well. I am going to pitch E6 or E8 to them and see where that goes next. I think they might like it.

24th Letter Men #10 and Final :Rime

This guy was really easy, a straight across the board, Ice themed Battle Sorcerer. Heck the write up even includes his ice armor !Folks may note I decided to exclude Celebration, Risk and Rake. I have enough members already and these save maybe Risk were difficult to get right.

Name- Drake Son of Robert

Class: Sorcerer (Frost Bloodline) 18

Signature Gear : Frost Rod

Origin: Upon his change, Drakes father sent him to learn with teacher. He and his family are still on good if chilly terms.

Notes: While his level is very high, in most respects he is among the weaker members of the team, being entirely focused around one element and having little versatility.

24th Letter Men #9 Night Elf

One trick pony type characters are pretty difficult to do but I am happy enough with this write up for a blue furred, tailed, critter.

Name- Kurn the Waggoner

Class- Acrobat 9 Swashbuckler 4 / Sorcerer 13 (Destined Bloodline)

Signature Gear: Holy Symbol of turning undead (as Cleric of his own level 3x day, also grants +3 natural armor) +3 Combat Armor as studded leather, Magic Rapier

Origin: Kurn comes from a far off country and when his change came over him he was kicked out of his home and taken in by a circus. Eventually teacher found him and made him part of the extended family.

Notes: Kern is a half fiend though do to his piety does not radiate evil of any kind and is immune to anti fiend measures. Most all of his powers are teleport and movement based with a few divinations and subtle protections and buss he sees as prayers

Monday, November 22, 2010

What is your Sweet Spot?

A simple question and an open post.

What is your sweet spot, that is, what level is D&D most fun for you ?

For me its under 10th or so depending on edition (a little higher is fine with OSR games)

How about you?

For your consideration... The Sweet Spot and some tricks therein

This is a very long article on the EN World archive about preserving the Sweet Spot, that is the place in any D&D campaign in which the game is the most fun.

For me that spot tends to be pretty low around 6th or so. This is the place where the game is action oriented but still human. Regular stuff like say wolves or bandits can still challenge the party and its not "monster of the week" or "How come we never saw those before?" but OMG Orcs!

Its what Ryan Dancy calls the 1st (and maybe early second quartile)

Levels 1-5: Gritty fantasy
Levels 6-10: Heroic fantasy
Levels 11-15: Wuxia
Levels 16-20: Superheroes

Gritty to Heroic

I guess this comes from a steady diet of things like GURPS and Runequest where combat can be deadly. Of course I also want my fantasy to have verisimilitude, the notion that "well that could happen"

Now this sweet spot idea is nothing new,.

The older editions had an implied one in the form of an end game that capped hit points at levels 9-11 and abilities that lagged back a bit as well. Not much point in being past14th as a thief. 95% at everything is pretty awesome and it doesn't get better than that.

Spellcasters of course broke this mold with higher level spells but on the whole D&D was calibrated to "Pretty Heroic" as vs the Superheros we see in the last few articles I've written.

Now of course there are ways to alter the game to lengthen the sweet spot, E6 the game within D&D is decently well known (thread one, and thread two and great for those who like lower level play (L1-L6 or so) . There is also an E8 Variant and even an E10 has been bandied about

Another technique is to limit the spells list to remove abusive spells and spells that really effect verisimilitude.

This can be a bit of work but if you like higher level play (just not some of the spells) it can be worth it. Which ones to disallow is up to you but the usual ones are the ones that require magic to overcome, anything that creates stuff Ex Nilho (no more wall of Iron w/o a time limit) anything permanent (including Continual Flame) Teleports and Raises.

I've also seen people limiting spell casting classes to once every two levels, so that a 20th level type can have at most 10 caster levels. This can be cool as it encourages some the more mediocre prestige classes with limited caster levels that we seldom see such as Spellsword

All of these work to one degree or another .They key is to pick which you like, your players like and run with it.

24th Letter Men #8 Archwing

Another simple and relatively weak character.

Name: Warn or the Warra Clan

Class: Aristocrat 4/Expert 3 /Fighter 5

Signature Gear: Bracers of Defense, Magic Quiver with various javelins, Sword, Amulet of Disguise/Non Detection

Origin: Warn keeps his wings hidden most times as he is ashamed of them. In time Teacher has taught him to appreciate them more and to be somewhat more of a fighter. For a more advanced version, substitute Noble class for Aristocrat

Notes: Warn should be treated as an Avariel. Also coming from a wealthy and successful merchant family Warn has access to a great deal of wealth if he needed it.

24th Letter Men #7 Red Phoenix

Another easy character, this read headed lady psion has some TK and telepathy related abilities.

Name Graya Jen

Class: Psion 12

Signature Gear: None

Origin: Jen's parents turned her over to Teacher as soon as she manifested her changes and she has been with the crew since then.

Notes: She has another power as yet unknown to the others, upon dying she takes the form of a Phoenix for 72 hours then is treated as if a true resurrection was cast upon her. The origin of this power is unknown.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

24th Letter Men #6 Brute

Brute was a bit tricky as D&D is designed to support archetypes rather than versatility. However using the Acrobat from Legends and Lairs, Cityworks and Meta Classes from the 3.5 (on the OGL wiki) I can get a pretty good version.

Name: Han Maca

Class: Acrobat 13, Expert 2 , Con, Dex and Str Master 5

Signature Gear: Bracers Defense, Amulet of Mighty Fists and Alchemical Devices

Origin: Han was a scholar at the Great College when his change overcame him, giving him the body of a man ape. While the college did not expel him, his self loathing lead him seek help and thus he met Teacher. Now he works with the 24th letter crew to help humans and the changed to coexist and to fight evil.

Note: Han has a 16 INT the Educated feat and a talent for Alchemy.

24th Letter Men #5 Red Eye

Red Eye is one of teachers 1st recruits, the team leader and all around glass cannon. His design was not difficult though I gave him "Feat Rogue" substituting general feats for sneak attacks as a gestalt class to cover for his myriad of skills and tricks.

Name: Sum Scotta

Class: Feat Rogue 11/ Warlock 11

Signature Gear: Ruby Goggles (function as Warlock Rod with unlimited charges, may do subdual damage at no penalty with eldritch blast) Combat Armor (as Mithril breastplate +3) Hand Weapon.

Origin: Father was a space pirate among other things. Teacher took him from an orphanage and gave him, home family and purpose

Note: Eldritch blast is shot from eyes in the form a powerful red beam

Saturday, November 20, 2010

24th Letter Men: #4 Steel Golem

This is of course a big metal Rusky. He was might tricky to get right as his various abilities are not very fantasy in application. Eventually I made him a Warforged with an innate "human form" spell. As with Manhunter I abused the Adept of the Green Star class, treating it as a gestalt core racial class to make up some of his abilities. Also note the spikes ability of his Warforged Juggernaut prestige class is removed in favor of an Improved Natural Weapon feat.

Name: Pavtar Ruka

Class: Fighter 10 /Warfored Juggernaut 5/ and Expert 5 Steel Self Racial 10

Signature Gear: Big Hammer, Innate Mithril Armor +5

Origin: Born in a far off land to peasant parents, Pavtar was recruited by teacher and has proven to be a powerful and loyal team member.

Notes: Pvatar should be treated as a Warforged . He has the innate ability to cast Alter Self (Human Form) as a EX ability as well.

24th Letter Men #3 Ghost Cat

This girl was a little tricky and I vacillated between the WOTC Ninja class and the more exact Rogue with a special ability. I decided on rogue as the class as I felt it was more customizable.

Name Katara Prowd

Class Rogue 7

Signature Gear: +3 Ghost Touch Studded +3 Ghost Touch Hornblade (may become short sword or dagger as free action)

Origin: Found by Teacher, Katara's wealthy merchant parents sent her to what they thought was a finishing school but turned out to be a place where she can hone her innate gift. She is easilt the youngest member of the team, more than 3 years from adulthood

Note: Katara has a "Wraith" prestige race and cast Wraithform among several other spells as a supernatural ability

Friday, November 19, 2010

24th Letter Men #2 Quickhatch

Quickhatch is of course a short, hairy, nasty tempered clawed berserker who gets far too much air time in my opinion. He uses the "Prestige Races" rules that are seen in Dragon #304, Oathbound and Bastion' Faeries to represent some of his more famous abilities

Name- Lojan

Class Barbarian 17 /Rogue 17

Signature Gear: Quickhatch has been modified by magic which gives him scent, +5 Natural Armor, Cure Disease and Neutralize Poison (self only) at will , regeneration as per ring, unaging and and 75% damage reduction. His claws are treated as unarmed attacks and are Keen, +5 Admant

Origin: Born Hundreds of years ago, Lojan has battled, slain, loved and roamed hundreds of battle fields. Now he has his family in the form of the 24th letter team.

Note: Lojan should be treated as a Longclaw Shifter with the racial feats and 2 weapon style trees.

Good News

I just tested our first product today. While it looks a bit amateurish do to the very simple layout and my use of public domain art I am pretty happy with it. Everything displays on 2 different OS's (Linux and Windows) and its edited correctly.

Its short enough that I'll be posting it here soon.

So stay tuned ,,,,,

24th Letter Men #1 Teacher

Teacher is lower power than a person might expect and is simply best done as a Psion from D&D. For those who use Green Ronin's "Psychic's Handbook or Advanced Player's Guide, the Psychic class works as well"

#1 Teacher 24

Name: Charn Xavel

Class: Fighter 1 Psion Telepath 18

Signature Gear: Psi Throne, Combat Suit (+3 to AC non encumbering) hand weapon if needed

Origin: Former soldier whose early manifested powers lead to him to seek peace between the throwbacks and the normal folk

Notes: Bald and at different times he may be confined to a magic chair as he cannot walk do to a curse no one can remove.

The 24th Letter Men Intro

Instead of E6 and The Sweet Spot which I am still chewing on, I am going to another group of Supers, an upstate New York group of Gifted.

Again I have tried to capture the flavor more than the letter of the rules. In addition the "unusual DNA" that many of them have is represented with being a non human. For simplicity in their verse certain humans carry latent DNA from other races and this manifests for some at puberty and in the form of supernatural powers of different sorts.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The League of Justice in 3x The Wrap

One thing I learned with this little experiment is that the common assertion that 15+ level characters in D&D are functionally superheroes in many respects is entirely true .

I had only modest trouble making the entire JLA in 3x terms and while the ersatz heroes cannot throw tanks or buildings or the like, the certainly could handle any number of normal 1-3rd level people and create a battle that could easily grace the pages of any 4 color magazine.

Had I chosen to use Epic Levels (my original write up for Paragon was 30th level!) the power gap would have been even greater.

Now mind you, this is not a complaint, only an observation and as such, someone who is hoping for a more literary flavored game will want to take this into account.

Tomorrow or so, we will have a longer discussion on stuff like this and the Sweet Spot for play and E6 and well a bunch of other stuff. Till then, good gaming !

The League of Justice in 3x #9 Manhunter

This guy was really hard to get right. I originally had decided to be a little wahoo here and make him a mind flayer but this didn't work very well. I hope this gets his weird flavor acceptably well. Also I tweaked the Green Star Adept to allow it to work with psionics. I think I'd allow this is a normal game without many qualms.

#9 Manhunter

Name: Jzan Jzor

Class: Ranger 16/ Green Star Adept 10-Psion 6

Signature Gear: Ring of Human Kind (Alter Self to human form at will) Lightweight Combat Armor, Death Ray, Energy Sword, Psi Amp

Origin: Jzan was brought to The World by the trickster , Myx as part of an extra spacial invasion. However using the last charge on a belt of alignment change, The Speedster he was able to shift Jzan to Lawful Good and in so tricking the Trickster banish him. . Now filled with remorse for his previous evil deeds and an exile, Jzan aids the League in its fight against evil.

Note: Jzan should be treated as a Half Orc

The League of Justice in 3x #8 Speedster

I had a hard time actually making this guy as few RPG's support speedsters very well. However using an idea I learned when I long ago playing Champions that a power can be visualized with many different FX and the same game rules function and a dab of one of my favorite WOTC Prestige Classes, The Swiftblade I was able to capture his flavor pretty well I think.

#8 Speedster

Class: Scout 19/ Sorcerer9 Swiftblade 10

Name: Garrick Bar

Signature Gear: Magic Helmet, Magic Sword, Magic Throwing Axes, Magic Daggers Xeph Amulet (allows Xeph speed bonus 3x day) Ultra Light Armor

Origin: Garrick's Magic called him in strange paths, bending his fate to heroic speed.

Notes: Garrick has pretty much every feat for speed boosting and maneuvering in the books and can move his full movement and attack 3 times doing serious damage. While he does not have th raw combat skill of some of his peers he makes up for it with a variety of bonuses. In addition because of his speed he can appear anywhere (Greater Teleport) as needed.

The League of Justice in 3x #7 The Sea King

Until quite recently this guy had a reputation as Mr less than useful. However the recent makeover makes him a formidable and useful member of the team. This version can certainly hold his own as well.

#7 The Sea King

Class: Atala Paragon 5 Fighter 10 / Ocean Druid 15

Name: Artus

Signature Gear: Sea Scale Armor, Knife, Trident

Origin: Artus is an exiled King of the Lost Atala and shares his time between the surface world and his undersea kingdom

Notes: He has a Swim Speed and may operate underwater and above ground freely thanks to his race as paragon class.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The League of Justice in 3x #6 She Hawk

This character is a bit of a cypher to me as I have only seen her on the animated JLA cartoon which I seldom watch and in a couple of real old comics

#6 She Hawk

Class: Hawk Folk Racial 3 -Hawlfolk Paragon-5 Barbarian 10/Fighter18

Name: Shara of the Hawk Folk

Signature Gear: Ultra Light Breastplate, Belt of Power, Rod of Lordly Might with Greater Dispel at will, Magic Helmet

Origin: A traveler from the lands of the Hawk People, Shara is plagued by prophecy and knowledge of her past lives . IN service of this prophecy she has stayed among her friends in the lands of the wingless.

Special has a reborn soul and as such may draw upon that knowledge. Treat this as bardic lore giving her a lore check of 18

The League of Justice in 3x #5 Amazon Princess

I had a bit of trouble making her interesting but with a little work I am pretty happy with the results.

#5 Amazon Princess

Class: Warblade 15/ Feat Rogue 15

Name: Princess Dahna of the Mazi

Signature Gear; Bracers of Missile Deflection, Mithril Breastplate, Magic Bastard Sword, Magic Girdle, Boots of Flying , Tiara of Wisdom, Magic Lasso creates zone iof truth and may be treated as chain in combat.

Origin. Traveling far from the Matriarchy of the Mazi, Dahna has grown quite fond of the world of men and vowed to use her powers to aid all.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The League of Justice in 3x #4 The Lantern Knight

This guy was one of the hard ones, versatile and power he does not map well to 3x. However this version should feel roughly the same and with the spells listed be able to match much of what the original can do. Unlike the usual guidelines I did allow a hybrid prestige class, the Abjurant Champion as part of a gestalt build. This seems to match his capabilities pretty well.

#4 The Lantern Knight

Class: Fighter 19/Arcane Bloodline Sorcerer 9 -- Abjurant Champion 5 Argent Savant 5

Name Halis of Jorn

Signature Gear: Force Masters Ring (allows any metamagic use freely and doubles force spells, this is his bonded item) Force Sword, Celestial Guardian Armor (+5 Full Fortification, Fast Flight) Necklace of Adaptation, and an Enchanted Lantern

Notes: Halis has a feat that renders him fearless and need not make any fear checks for any reason.

Origin:Halis, a warrior of the Realm was granted his ring by an unknown emissary. This ring awakened the power in his blood and while at first he needed to charge the ring with the lantern to use his powers, this is no longer the case.

The League of Justice in 3x #3 The Archer

This guy is a another "normal" high level character. Like the Bat he is a lot of equipment, in his case a magic bow and magic arrows.

#3 The Archer

name-- Olival Queens-Son

Classes: Scout (Sniper) 9 Fighter (Archer) 9

Signature Gear: Magic Bow, Magic Quiver, Magic Arrows, Night Goggles

Origin: An expatriate noble turned hunter and scout, the Arrow hunts his chosen pray with consummate archery skills

Monday, November 15, 2010

The League of Justice in 3x #2 The Bat

#2 The Bat

name -Baronet Barret Vayan

Class Rogue 18

Signature Gear -- Lots. Vayan has the equivalent gear and magic items of a standard character of his level and may trade them in at will between missions. In addition he always has his Mask of Disguise and his Great Cloak which is a +5 Resistance Cloak of the Bat

Lord Vayan inherited the great manor upon the murder of his parents by outlaws. Over the years he has exacted a fearsome vengeance on those folks in the form of his late ego "The Bat." all the while appearing to be nothing more than rising young merchant prince with a bought title.

The League of Justice in 3x #1 Paragon

Yes those guys, or the 3x variations of them. I got this idea while I was studying the math behind 3x and realized that epic level 3x characters are pretty close to supers.

I won't be including the full write up (its time consuming and there are legal issues ) but just enough to wet your whistle and show you what this system can do.

All "powered" types are made as gestalt characters. Its assumed that the world they inhabit is somewhat lower magic than a typical 3x world and as such they gain the following bonuses to a maximum of 20th level

+1/2 lvl AC
+1/4 lvl Saves
+1/4 lvl to any Stats

#1 Paragon

name : Le-Kal of the Lost People
class -- Paladin 20/ Warmage 20
signature gear-- belt of strength, cloak of flying, invulnerable coat , holy avenger, shield of the sun

Le Kal is the last of his people and a paragon of good and law . Found in the carter of a great spell he was raised by freeman farmers and in his secret life known as Carlous of Kenvi,


Saturday, November 13, 2010

What If: The Inspiration had been Pirates

One of the more interesting ideas that has come from the OSR is the "faux revival" game "Mazes and Minotaurs" which the author describes as

Mazes & Minotaurs is what the first fantasy roleplaying game could have been if its authors had taken their inspiration from Jason & the Argonauts (yes, the 1963 movie with all the cool Ray Harryhausen monsters) and Homer’s Odyssey rather than from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings or Poul Anderson’s Three Hearts & Three Lions.

So let me ask you this

What if the inspiration of D&D had been pirate tales, pirate movies and the swashbucklers with the random inclusion of magic instead of Tolkien, Howard, Lieber and Anderson?

Personally I can see some Faerie stuff creeping in (Elves and Swashbuckling have been a good fit far longer than Xtreme Legolas) and lots of Vance, but where else would this lead us?

Todays Birthday Robert Louis Stevenson

Google noted that with a nifty image.

Of course RLS is the author of Treasure Island, Black Arrow and many other wonderful books. His works were a part of my earliest adventuring inspirations.

As I mentioned before Pirate movies and period books were a huge inspiration to me and while I have never found my "Pyrate D&D" (I own almost everything on the topic) I do keep looking.

So in honor of the man who would indirectly bring us Arr! (via Wallace Beery in the Treasure Island Movie) and who knew how to cook up a yarn, happy 160th!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Some Silly Fun: Cthulhu Rising

Iä! Iä! Cthulhu Fhtagn Iä! Iä! Cthulhu Rising!

A bit of Nox Arcana, from the Necronomicon Album . Its just the thing to play when you don't take your Call of Cthulhu too seriously.

Happy Veteran's Day

No I haven't forgot and yes its late, but a big thanks to everyone who served in the the United States Armed Forces.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

4e Confession

A couple of 4e related confessions. 4e is not my cup of tea , my gaming circle actively dislikes the game so I probably won't be playing unless I find a new group

However there are a a few things I'd quite like to play

#1 Fighter possibly Slayer. Big Sword, Big Weapon, Big Nova Attack

#2 Teleport Centered Fae Spellsword. I think it would be fun to be "Johnny on the Spot" and able to port all over the board. Focus my guy on movement and I can get in the critters face and back my team up .

#3 Telekinetic Psion. Some of the powers look really cool and the idea of sliding dudes all over the map sounds boss. I don't know how it would mix with a more "strikey" class but man a 4e Jedi would be a ton of fun. maybe INT based Warlord/Psion or something .
This would especially be fun as I really like playing TK dudes and my DM's almost never let me. I Guess they know me far too well... Heh Heh Heh ...

Product Update Nov 10 edition

Here is where we are at

FSG 0000 is completed, art and all with the caveat that I am unhappy with the current amateurish layout. Once I finish learning a bit more about my desktop publishing software I am try a different layout, add an emblem I am working on and I'll have it ready

FSG 0001 is written but is awaiting art and layout

FSG 0002 and FSG 0003 are partially complete

FSG OSR 0001 has the art partially selected

Once these are ready for you, there will be plenty to fill your E-Stocking

Your Interdimensional Desert Island Game Choices Part 2 One System

This is a follow up to Fridays post.

same scenario as before.

This time however the same marginally benevolent aliens with inscrutable motivations (MBAWIM) allow you everything published for one system, circa I dunno 2012

My choice would be 3x. Originally I'd choose GURPS but GURPS would remind me of the real world far too often. 3x is much more escapist fare.

It also has several thousand books and PDFs. With that hundred years to waste I could try a whole lot of things I'd never have time to try. Heck I might even use as much as 1/4 of the supplements ;)

What would you choose?

3 Color Magic

I was just thinking about an alternate magic system. Instead of thr arcane/divine split or the
the druid , cleric, magic user dichotomy though how about a Chaos/Nature/Law split?

Chaos magic would be obvious "physics" violating spells, blast magic, walls and that sort of thing. Some of the shadow illusions would be here as well

Nature magic would deal with things that already exists animals, divination, mental spells plants, healing and such ...

Order magic would be things that effect probability, celestial energy maybe , turning undead (as as spell ala Lament of the Flame Princess) and some cross overs like divination and buff spells ...

If desired schools could be tied to a stat such Chaos magic to Cha , Nature Magic to Int and Order magic to Wis maybe

Or they could be tied to an OD&D 3 alignment system (Chaos= Chaotic, Nature =Neutral and Order = Lawful ) or even inverted (magic is about domination of the forces, so Chaos Magic Users are lawful and Order magic users and Chaotic)

As for the classes, in 3x/Pathfinder they'd be a custom deal mixing aspects of Wizard, Archivist and the Elements of Magic "Boon" system --

In OSR games they'd be treated as a magic user with a custom spell list and d6 for hit die instead of d4. Unlike MU's they can wear non metal armor (or mithril) and use most weapons. What balances this is that they have an MU's to hit ..

So what do y'all think?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bronze Dwarves

Just something that occurred to me kind of inspired by Runequest and by my brass bladed pocket knife ...

Bronze is an interesting metal in that it is as hard as and effective as iron yet easier to use in many respects.

Its biggest flaw historically was that it was expensive to get the copper and tin needed to make it in large amounts and as such and thus anything needing it was too pricey for mass use.

Of course once steel (as vs iron) came along, bronze was obsoleted for weapon and armor applications and such is history

However imagine if a fantasy culture, say a group of Dwarves, call them the Redsmith clan had deep nearly inexhaustible mines of copper and plenty of tin. Now these folks would keep using bronze well into the age of iron and would not have any real disadvantages in continuing to do so.

Now imagine further that they find by alloying a bit of some silvery metal they happen have lots of , I dunno starmetal or mithril or something into the mix they can make weapons at least as good as the finest steel.

This gives you something in game terms is simply "better quality weapons" masterwork or whatever your system uses that happen to be bronze. Thus you can have a sea of gleaming red armor that looks like a bronze age panoply but is a strong as steel.

This is even better if the opposing cultures are not quite to "blast furnace" tech and instead are still at mail and coat of plates. Graceful Dwarf (or Elf if you prefer) plate strong as armor that would not be seen for centuries on a battle field with mail and scale ...

Something to think about anyway ...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Your Interdimensional Desert Island Game Choices

OK here is the Friday fun question.

Assume that the marginally benevolent aliens with inscrutable motivations have decided that you and a selection of other people will be transported to a pocket dimension for the next hundred years or so.

It pretty nice all things considered and is fully equipped and can provide pretty much everything needed. You won't age, get sick or die (unless you are really dumb) its pretty much a gilded cage

However just at the last minute you blurt out "Wait there are no role playing games here!"

These aliens have no clues what an RPG is and are low on proto-matter. However they relent and as they already had provided you with plenty of dice and miniatures , they let you make the choice of what three books there can be.

No PDF's (the aliens don't like computers) but any three books that you can think of.

What do you choose?

My choices are

Dungeons and Dangers Custom Edition, 600 pages of LL styled D&D rules and options all in one book.

The Grand Adventure Book for D&D CE, every single adventure ever published for 0,1, LL and B/X. Thats several hundred BTW.

and one more book, probably Ultimate Unsisytem, 600 pages of cool stuff with an alternate conversion to Risus in the back

Alternate "the Book of Worlds" dfor D&D CE with loads of settings --

What would yours be?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Little Philosphy of Our Design

What I am aiming for in my products is something simple. I want you be able to download it, print it if you want too and use it in your game. Nothing more, nothing less

A lot of gaming products are cool and good reads but in terms of actually seeing play, well.. They end up joining a ton of games on the maybe someday list.

Other games are a feast for the eyes but if they are in PDf form you are scared to print them with ink costing more than gold (literally in most cases) .And if you like many gamers, you system is far from state of the art, they take forever to open th darned things

I don't want this. So I am aiming for mostly utilitarian, simple stuff that I hope folks will use and enjoy.

And yes this sometimes means less than state of the art graphical design and layout Thats OK with me. I hope its OK with you.

Pet Peeve: The Term Dead Tree

That one is simple. I hate this term. Its called paper or a book or magazine. In fact while we typically make ours out of renewable fast growing wood it can also be made of renewable cotton,unlike say a computer which is made of non renewable materials and which uses electricity on an enormous scale if you include Google and the other data centers that keep the Internet running.

Now don't get me wrong I am quite happy to take advantage of the benefits of PDF publishing but its not morally superior to print as the term dead tree suggests. Its its own thing with its ups and downs.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thinking About: Conversions

I am not much for converting settings to different game systems. Its not only a lot of work, I already have more than I can or will be able to play anyway.

There are a couple of exceptions, I kind of like the various worlds using Ubiquity in particular Hollow Earth Expedition, Regime Diabolique and Desolation. I do not however much care for Ubiquity or its silly insistence on "Average people as PC's" in pulp genres. This easy to fix however, its 1-5 scaling goes easily into Unisystem which I prefer

Two other candidates for Conversion to Unisystem are Serenity and Supernatural . I like the Verse but I don't much like Cortex (its OK just not great). Happily this is super easy as Eden Studios Presents #1 has "Spacefarers and Prairie Folk" which means very little work for me. Supernatural also using Cortex is more of an idea raid than a conversion. Its right up Angel with a few mods and I have no doubt someone on the Eden boards has done Sam and Dean already

As for conversions to D&D, I don't use them. I have lots of material and most of my favorite settings are already done. The closest I come here is using labyrinth Lord to run my old 1e adventures. This requires of course minimal work ...

so let me ask you... What do you convert to what ?

Status Report #2

I just finished a rough and ugly 1st draft of my free supplement. Its about 4 pages but I think y'all will find it most useful.

I also heard from one of my art guys and he is going to be sending me some concept art fairly soon. Apparently a computer error on his end munged up the 1st sending. As soon as that is resolved he should be sending the stuff.

Lastly, I am still experimenting with formats. Currently I am looking at sparse, easy printing and utilitarian with line art and rarely a little color art as well.

If this is too dull or less than interesting I'd be curious to know what kind of formats you folks prefer? So let me know ....

Campaign Ideas November Edition #2


A tabletop RPG designed explicitly as a soap opera rather than an adventure game. There will be some action but its mostly drama drama drama in the vein of Melrose Place and the OC

The Mighty

Another soap game, this time more along the lines of Dallas, Falcon Crest and Dynasty

These games might use Smallville (which is designed for soaps) or amusingly GURPS which is nearish to releasing a very detailed social engineering supplement.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Campaign Ideas November Edition #1

Survival of the Fittest

After a cosmic event only the top 1/10 the human race survives. This is a post-apocalypse campaign of rebuilding and discovery not shooting and fast cars .


Gestalt D&D with the PC's are people in the modern world who suddenly are transformed into high level D&D characters. What will you do with 15 levels and tons of magic?

Status Report

OK thought I'd give y'all a status report.

I have two Pathfinder products written and mostly edited, one is free and one is a pay product.

I am currently in the "Layout" stage which is the beast as my skills in this area about those of a deranged gibbon with hooks for hands ...

After I improve my layout and editing skills I am going to acquire some decent art and we'll have something then.

In addition I have an OSR Freebie coming up, my take on the Thief, the Adventurer. Its supports my someday I hope, Old School Companion product and the d12 Thieving Rules. While I could put it together right now, I'd like to make this a nice professional looking instead so, it maybe a while.

OSR wants list

My cash flow is mostly going to real world stuff right now but I thought I'd share my catch up list

#1 Big Pile of Magazines (in particular I like Land of Nod)

#2 Print Versions of Labyrinth Lord and Advanced Edition Companion

#3 B/X Companion

So do you play Non D20 /OSR Games?

Yep. I sure do.

I like AD&D 2e GURPS, Unisystem (Buff, Angel, All Flesh, Witchcraft and the most excellent Ghosts of Albion) and Risus.

Generally I don't use my other systems as these suit my needs just fine.

You won't see products for these though unless there is a 2e retro-clone.

GURPS stuff is done in house, Unisystem is basically impossible to license or use and Risus stuff is not really salable. And I do like money ...

However its not impossible I may slip a Unisystem Fan Article in sometime. You never know.

A few other games also tweak my interest and while haven't found a group that plays them (they all LARP around here) both worlds of Darkness any New World of Darkness save Promethean and Old Mage, Werewolf or Changeling (though I don't much like the system) would be fun. I'd also like to try Ubiquity Savage Worlds, Cortex or Traveller ....

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween Everybody!

Not much more to say than that. Enjoy your festivities whatever they may be.

My one big rules peeve with D&D especially old school

This is actual easy. Everything else is pretty simple to fix. My biggest peeve is the lack of good low magic item options.

I'd really like to know just how much bonus to AC to give in lieu of magic armor. Thats pretty much it.

On the Actual Play Agenda: Choice #3 Old School Moduel Crawl

The last D&D choice

My players have never played the old school modules so they are in for a treat if they choose this option.

Old School Module Crawl: Lightly modified Labyrinth Lord: Advanced Edition Companion meets old school modules.

On the Actual Play Agenda: Choice #2 Into the Green

The next idea...

Into the Green Wood: Fae Centric/ Swashbuckling Pathfinder with clock-punk elements

On the Actual Play Agenda: Choice #1 Borderlands

Working on some notes for the next campaign prospectus. Here is what I'll be offering my group.

The 1st offering will be : Pathfinder -- Borderlands: Classic Sandbox using very lightly modified Pathfinder and 3X

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Room for One More Blog in the Roll

The Underdark Gazette.

When (not if, when) you visit you should check out the "free stuff" listing. Its chock full of goodness.

Also I'd like to give these guys a shout out and an apology. They've mentioned my blog a time or two (and driven a LOT of traffic my way) but I never followed them. Weird.

So sorry guys and thanks for the all the fish, err hits

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Epic Level Pathfinder/3x Cheese Question

So here is a fun munchkin question .. Say you were invited to a Level 30 Epic campaign, almost anything from 3x and Pathfinder can be used -- What would you play?

For me it would be an Wizard 5 Incantrix 10 Abjurant Champion 5 Force Missile Mage 5 Argent Savant 5

This is between the metamagic abuse, the truly horrid magic missiles, a plethora of boosted force spells and the lovely fact that that you can pop off a quickened +11 shield spell should be able to handle almost anything.

How about you?

Weclome a New Edition to the Blog Roll

Hill Cantons, an excellent Labyrinth Lord blog with great house rules

On practical magic

One of the complaints about D&D magic seems to be that its not very “magical” well I guess thats true after a fashion, D&D magic is methodical and efficient to an almost scientific degree.

This really doesn't bother me though. Real world magic was mostly used for perfectly practical purposes (love spells, fertility , protection ) and it was scientific and repeatable at least in the minds of its practitioners. And I have no doubt that if it were possible to blast people with fire, our ancestors would be memorizing fireball at every battle.

The only real grumps I have is that fact that there really aren't enough “day to day” spells for my NPC's to use. I think such a supplement “Practical Magic” might be really fun for old and new school DM's

Share your Appendix N

Come on, You know you want to..

Hopefully I can pick up a few things I might have missed ...

My Appendix N

Of course this is going to look pretty different than the originals and I am not arrogant enough to think my list is very important but here is, excluding history books what truly inspired my games

Note that I had the benefit of coming in when gaming was just taking off and fantasy started to blossom in its modern form. This gave me a much wider range to choose from than Gary and Dave and the originals would have had

Notice too, my "peak gaming" era for me was 1989-1991. I started well before this (with Holmes Blue Book) but those years were the ones where I gamed the most and gaming took off for me.

Lastly I have read of the things that inspired the earliest gamers (save The Broken Sword which I have not yet seen a copy of) but these are the most inspirational ones

So without further adieu My Appendix N

The Ace Conan series. Yes I know this contains more than a little pastiche material. Thats OK. Even diluted Howard's works contains enough vibrancy to feel real in ways that say Tolkien does not

The Hobbit and to a lesser degree, Lord of the Rings.

Brian Froud's Faeries – that book scared the heck out of me as a kid for various reason.

Brian Froud's Faeries movie



The Conan Movie for pure visual appeal

Bestmaster 1 and 2, great fun and good inspiration. The Kaber or whatever it was called throwing Iron crossed with made its way into many a game as the Kel

Katherine Brigg's Encyclopedia of Fairies: Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies, & Other Supernatural Creatures

Edith Hamilton's Mythology especially the Norse bits

Smurfs (yes Smurfs) Gargamel and Azrael are very much archetypal mad wizard and familiar

John Norman's Gor. Once you delete the Fem-Sub BDSM its very fun Sword and Planet stuff with wonderful historical pastiche

Deed of Paksenarion by Elizabeth Moon – probably the best D&D Paladin yet

Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson

Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar stuff

Fritz Leiber's Newhon stuff

Louis L'Amour's The Walking Drum and Haunted Mesa

Ken Follet Pillars of the Earth

The SCA who will get its own post

Paradoxes of Defense by George Silver, this is how real medieval fights went and once I saw this it made a HUGE difference in how I perceived this stuff worked

Pretty much every pirate and swashbuckling movie ever made …

Phantom of the Opera musical

Starcraft. Misunderstood lines from the Protoss made up entire cultures in my game world.

Original Star Tek in particular Friday's Child (the Cappelans and their weapon the kligat were a big inspiration for the Vara) and the ahn'woon from Amok Time

and last Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town for starting me on the road to fleshing things out.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A bit of theory on Starter Characters

Starter Characters especially for new gamers

#1 ought to be a bit optimized where appropriate

#2 simple to play

#3 interesting

The reasons?


#1 Optimization increases survivability and decreases the "wiff factor" a well built character with a decent life expectancy is more fun to play and elp a new player who may not have been exposed to any RPG (even something like World of Warcraft) feel like they have "won" . This can increase immersion and the chance of a second session

#2 Many RPG's are complex enough that adding more layers will make a start up game harder than it needs to be. Keep it simple to start, not dumbed down but easy to play and if the game clicks, players can add complexity as they learn the rules over time.

#3 Boring characters are well just that boring. My favorite trick is to give everybody an off kilter ability or a special ability (within the rules of course) that gives them an extra fun thing to do in the game. This gets players thinking a bit and gives them something extra to do that can be fun at just the right time.

New House Rule: All familiars can talk

Basically it goes like this

All familiars have a starting INT of at least 8, more if appropriate and can speak Common.

This rule is pretty much the same for all editions.

The reasons for it are simple, it makes familiars a bit more useful without granting them huge amounts of extra power, ets me give PC's hints as needed. and is simply more fun for me to have another NPC with a mind of its own rather than a "pet"

In rules such as Pathfinder where certain familiars and only those are granted speech (such as the raven in Pathfinder) the familiar gains the special ability to speak any normal language its "master" can.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Gnomes of Midrea: Origins

There were the easiest. The only temptation I had to avoid was to make them Garden Gnome Size or smaller like in the Gnomes books.

Instead I made them Small tricky woods oriented Fae suitable for PC's

They got a tiny hint of Hugi (from Poul Anderson's excellent Three Hearts and Three Lions) a hint Gnomes from the books, a hint of David the Gnome from TX, a little roaming Gnome,and Garden gnome (just kidding) and some Gamer Gnome.

It was comfortably easy compared to the others.

Elves of Midrea: Origins

These guys were a real chore to get right. I don't much care for the proliferation of Elves like we see in most games these days and to tell you the truth, don't much like Elves as PC's either. Its just a thing.

However they are essential in most generic fantasy worlds, so well I had to make something.

Eventually my Elves became a smidgen of Gamer Elf, a drip of Katerine Kerr's Deverry, lots of folklore Elves, a tablespoon of Terry Pratchet's Lords and Ladies and a spalsh of home brew.

The White Elves got a dash of Tolkien, The Grey Elves a tad of Star Trek Vulcans (who yes are in fact Space Elves) and the Drow got both Gygax and Realms style addenda.

Probably the most jarring changes in appearance were removal of pointed ears and the cats eyes from all of them (Elves look like perfect humans,usually Nordic types on Midrea) and the corpse white skin of the Drow.

Yes corpse white, I mean come one they live in a grim, albeit well lit cavern deep underground.

Ignoring the unfortunate implications of the skin color, Black skin rankles my makes no sense even for fantasy instincts and so has to go. Of course they are going to be palid, not black skinned.

The general non religiousness of Elves just felt right to me. Tolkien's elves were semi divine beings and religiously faithful types (well for whatever religion they have on Middle Earth) and I wanted to get away from this. The gamer elves just have pantheons, which bugs me too.

So I made them non religious (excepting Drow, ignore that implication too) -- to paraphrase -- works for me ....

Also to rant I really hate the Wood Elf, High Elf Split, Sea Elf, Plastic Elf, Hospital Elf, ettc etc etc so that had to go.

White Elf (Basically OK with humans) Grey Elf (more standard folkloric Elf with a hint of scholar ) and Dark Elf, suited me better.

Hopefully my players (who have yet to play an elf) will like it as much as I do.

Dwarves of Midrea : Origins

The origin of these guys was pretty prosaic, 100% gamer dwarf -- aka a race of craft crazy, mining and gold obsessed Gimli wannabes with bad Scots accents

This is fun and easy to play and well understood by everybody.

However of late I have wanted to add a little more variety to the breed and make them more clever (most of the time than doughty)

My never inspirations include The Hobbit (note that the Dwarves in that are often sneaky as much as fighty) Faerie Tales, Norse Myth, a bit of Gamer Dwarf (including Warhammer and D&D) C.S Lewis's Narnia and the excellent Advanced Races: Dwarves by Green Ronin.

This gives me a more cunning and sly dwarf while not disallowing the occasional warrior dwarf,

Haflings of Midrea Part #2 Creation

As I mentioned in my original article here my Halflings were kind of an afterthought, well players might want them I better put them in kind of thing.

Seeing as how I kind of was shanghaied into adding them I felt I ought too add whatever I liked so lomg as I left them intact enough to meet expectations . So I added a bit of the GURPS Yrth Halflings , Nelwyn's (Willows People) Warrows (from the McKeiernen's Silver Call) some modern D&D Halfling (mine tend to be taller) some Birthright Halfling and of course plenty of Tolkien to the mix. The stew was easy to create as that was pretty much all the media on Halflings anyway.

I took out the barge folk (I have humans for that now) the gypsy haflings (redundant when I have Human Tinkers) and I can tell you other than height and maybe random pouch tables not a drop of Kender got in the mix.

Once it was sorted add one local, an gate world fir an origin and viola, Halflings of Midrea

So, how about y'all tell me about your reluctantly added races, what you did to reclaim them and what you did to create them.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Old School Class Ideas List

This is my list of class ideas designed with B/X-LL in mind. It does use race as class but each of that races archetypes was to provided as an option.

To note I haven't designed all these classes as of yet and may not ever in fact. TIf I do I will likley put them in my "Old School Companion" with the XP tables built with one the design methods and tweaked to taste.

Magic User

Non Human Classes

Notes, all Elf classes are "what they do + elf spell list" to represent the fact that Elves are magical beings

Elf Archer
Elf Sword Dancer
Elf Trickster
Elf Healer
Elf Forester

A couple may require some explanation. Bounder is a patrol fighter, Thornwalkers patrol the Hedge that keeps foreigners out of the Shires and are analogous to Rangers. Herbalists use herb lore and nature spells. Last Guardians are like Paladin/Undead Hunter types

Halfling Bounder
Halfling Thornwalker
Halfling Herbalist
Halfling Guardian
Halfling Burglar
Halfling Sharpshooter

Dwarves have a few less class options in this version (as vs my "Cunning Dwarf" ideas below ) Clan Dwarf is the standard Dwarf with some trade skills, Dwarf Rager is a Berserker, Runecasters do well Rune Magic, Stonespeakers have Earth Magic, Ancestor Speakers are a shaman-cleric. Of course Tunnel Scout subs in for Rogue.

Clan Dwarf
Dwarf Soldier
Dwarf Rager
Dwarf Runecaster
Dwarf Stonespeaker
Dwarf Ancestor Speaker
Dwarf Tunnel Scout

In more "Cunning Dwarf" archetypes Optionally Ancestors Speaker, Rager, Runequest, Soldier, Stone Speaker and Tunnel Scout can be dropped for a very simple pair

Clan Dwarf (Fighter/Rogue/Merchant)
Dwarf Magician (Magic User)
and Clan Dwarf becomes a modified Thief

Friday, October 22, 2010

My Old School House Rules Part 2

OK a few more rules added

#7 3x3 background and skills system (here) will be used

#8 Level drain is gone. Instead it is replaced by taint. When taint equals the character level, they die and other bad things may happen. Ghost aging is also gone and will be rpelaced with other unpleasant powers

#8 The following non human classes are available thus far

Changeling (aka Half Elf) these function as per book however they cost an additional 15% XP to advance in any class a human could and have no level limits

Dhampir -- These are humans with a vampire parent . They gain the additional ability to sense undead (as per spell at will) immunity to vampire charm domination and ghoul paralysis and may strike undead as if they had an appropriate magic weapon. This costs an additional 15% XP

Dwarf -- Cunning Folk rather than Doughty Warriors, Dwarfs tend to default to Thief or Black Wizard rather than Fighter, See here

Worlds I made: Amnet Var Part 2 Rules

Amenet Var is human-centric and uses a modified Pathfinder rules set.

Humans only

32 point buy

everyone gets a bonus background as per Thieves World. This includes a bonus feat but is in lieu of a Pathfinder Talent

Combat Options everyone gets
Gain Elusive Attack @2 attacks
Gain Counterattack @3 attacks
Gain Overpowering Attack @4 Attacks

Action Points (as per SRD) are used

1/2 level is added to AC round down. 1/2 this (1/4) is added against touch attacks and when flatfooted though not when helpless. The compensates for lesser amounts of magic items.

Fractional Saves and BAB as per SRD are used

Greyhawk Average Hit Points are used

Classes Allowed are

Ranger (non spell using)
Barbarian (obviously super natural rage powers not allowed)
Monster Hunter
Beast Master

In addition two magic using classes are allowed Wizard and Archivist.

In order to take more than half ones level or advance to a a level that could cast spells greater than the intelligence modifier would allow in magic using classes a feat must be taken at 1st level

Greater Gift
Preq Human Int 15+ Con 13+
Bonus Possessor may take any number of wizard or archivist levels up to the second casting level of the INT. In addition they gain +1 on all saves
Regular: A person may only take ½ level of caster classes up to second casting level of INT

Prestige Classes
Classes are permitted as appropriate. Ask for any specific requests.

And there you go, an example of world building via house rules

Worlds I made: Amnet Var Intro

Far in the past, an ancient race of men hungry for power at any cost dabbled in forbidden powers, changing their very nature to something Inhuman. They became the Sorcerer Kings. Even after the Ageless War their Empire, House bound Anment Var persists today.

As a citizen of the free lands you may you must make you way in a dangerous world filled with monsters, terrible ruins and the ever present hunger for domination of the Sorcerer Kings.

Your fate is in your hands

Against the Sorcerer Kings is a modified version of Pathfinder set in a decaying world of Sword and Sorcery.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Old School House Rules Part 1

Not a PDF as yet but a test of the concepts.

These will be used with my S&W, LL mutant hybrid game if when its done.

#1 As the PC's are supposed to be somewhat physically and mentally above average persons stats are rolled 4d6 drop low arrange to taste

#2 Racial classes are not in use as of yet . Instead I will be using LL/AEC styled races with modifications.

#3 Classes are

Black Wizard
White Wizard
and possibly Bard and some kind of Merchant Adventurer should I acquire Majestic Wilderlands

#4 Hit points are calculated Greyhawk Average

#5 Akrasia's Fighters with Flair will be used. Non Wizard characters may gain one choice from this chart.

#6 Everybody gets either a DM approved choice from the special snowflake table or 2 rolls.

more to come

OK Fine, the 15 games meme thingy

I gave in finally and my big 15 (idea from here BTW) is below in no particular order

Car Wars
Pyramid 2000
Diablo 2
Santa Paravia en Fumachio
Marvel Super Heroes

Pathfinder/3X So How about all casters are highly specialized

Just a notion that occurred to me. It might be fun to ban the generalist casters like Wizard, Druid and Cleric and allow only the highly focused caster classes.

The list would be limited to the Pathfinder Summoner and the four 3x classes, Healer, Dread Necromancer, Beguiler and War Mage.

This would provide nearly the ultimate in niche protection for casters and give the game a very distinct "powers" flavor.

What say you all?

Thinking About: Doing away with Non Human Races

I have been thinking about humanocentric gaming of late and have come to the conclusion that while there is nothing wrong with well thought out non human PC's, they are basically unnecessary.

Most of the pre Tolkien fiction doesn't have them except as half breeds. Now certainly there are of historical tales (some quite recent) involving someone alleged to have some non human ancestors like a Troll in the family lineage,Changeling (usually the human taken by the Fae) a Vampire (the Dhampir archetype that is so popular right now) and maybe someone like Cú Chulainn who was essentially god blooded and even others from non European parts of the world like the Philippines, Polynesia or Africa

Still until the influence of Tolkien (mostly) the idea of a non human protaganist was unknown. No one would have a complex non human culture or even contemplate a truly alien protagonist outside (possibly) of Sci-Fi.

I think in some ways this approach might be better. It takes encounters with Elves and Dwarves (even more cunning ones) and whatnot into the realm of the strange and mysterious, in other words the broader realm of adventure . It also gives those rare PC's a direct connection to that realm, like it or not, they were born into it.

Instead of the Mos Esiley Cantina we can concentrate on the various human cultures even cribbing from them as needed "of course those guys talk with Scots accents. They are Highlanders after all" this roots the mundane part of the game world into something like our more prosaic reality and gives us a hint more verisimilitude.

Worlds where Pseudo French, Quasi British, Kinda Irish and Sorta Scots sit down at a table make more sense than a Human, a Hafling , an Elf and a Lizardman doing the same. In the event a non human race is desired for the world it makes them even more "other"

Personally I like it but as always YMMV ...

Posting Delayed on acount of work

I have been rather busy of late. Sorry for the lack of posts.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Theme Parties #4 The Seven Delvers

A little Delving Deep, a little Dwarf Fortress and a little Hobbit minus Bilbo.The Delvers is a 7 person, all Dwarf mercenary group ready for most anything. They specilize in "Dungeoneering" but are certainly open to most other jobs. Like all Hire-Dwarves they are very expensive, about twice what human mercs would charge. Most consider them well worth the cost

The Party consists of

Rimbold -- Axe for Hire, Party Leader. Fighter

Gart -- Crossbowman, Fighter/Crossbowman Variant

Nordilbor --Spell Master -- Sorcerer, Boreal Bloodline

Genkan -- The Trapsmith, Rogue/Trapsmith variant

Drozdt -- The Shield-Dwarf, Fighter

Sabrosh -- The Alchemist, Alchemist

Branlor -- Artificer and Healer, Artificer

1d8 Knives and Daggers from my campaign

I also rather like magic knives and daggers as they can be used by many classes, used many ways and are a tiny bit less iconic than swords.

#1 Thunder: One of the twins. This is a +2 dagger that deafens its target for 1d4 rounds on a successful hit (save vs magic to negate) it can also find its twin (as per locate any object spell ) at will.

#2 Lightning: The other twin. It is also a +2 dagger with the same locate ability. It does exra electrical damage as per a shocking grasp. If both dagger are wielded the user may once per round cast a lighting bolt as per his level. This bolt also stuns (1d4 rounds ) deafens (1d4 rounds) and knocks targets down if they fail a second save (first for half damage, second to negate) The user takes 1d4 subdual damage if this ability is used

#3 Shard Dagger: A Shard Weapon that resembles as clear black glass knife

#4 White Knife: A +1 dagger that does subdual damage against Law normal damage against Neutral and double damage against Chaos.

#5 Earring Dagger: This +1 weapon can shrink down at will into an earing or charm, complete with clasp and when shrunk radiates no detectable magic.

#6 Hornet Knife: A +1 Dagger does 2d4 when thrown and returns automatically on a miss. It cannot be thrown stealthily as it makes a loud buzzing sound when thrown or returning.

#7 Black Knife: A +1 dagger that does s double damage against Law and normal damage against everyone else

#8 Dagger of Poison. This +1 dagger has a hollow reservoir that can hold one dose of poison or holy water. On a successful hit the user may apply this venom instantly with perfect safety to him or herself. After that the reserve will need to be reloaded.

And yes #8 is how we do daggers of venom

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

1d10 magic swords from my campaigns.

I like naming magic weapons and giving them a little background. It makes them a lot more interesting than "sword +1" and I think this makes for a more fun game. So without further adieu, a list of swords with random numbers for your convenience.

#1 Cleave Heart -- Broadsword +3

#2 Heart Harrow -- Cursed Arming Sword, a +3 weapons also but causes suicidal depression and rage in the bearer. It can dropped willingly if the bearer does not have significant personal grief. Otherwise you need a remove curse

#3 Flame Heart -- A great weapon.

#4 Fortunes Friend -- Luck Blade, finds treasure as defined by bearer at will.

#5 Stirge -- Vampiric Rapier +2 drains 2HP granting 1 to user per blow.

#6 Dead Cutter +1 Sword ignores all special defense of undead.

The next 4 are Shone made great weapons

#7 Tal Ayelo -- The Northwind Blade -- A Great Weapon aligned with treachery. Grants +1 per 4 levels to the user that may also be applied to tasks involving treachery. Wounds caused by this weapon and not healed by magic will ache with cold for the rest of the persons life.

#8 Fas Ayelo -- The Southwind Blade -- A Shone Made flame tongue sword aligned with honor. Any task of honor associated with this weapon gets a +1 per bonus per 4 of the users levels.

#9 Vas Ayelo -- The Westwind blade also known as the Death Dealer. This weapon gains +1 per 4 users levels, does double damage to living things. Persons slain by this weapon cannot be raised in the same body . Also the bodies of those slain cannot be animated.

#10 Hahl Ayelo -- The Eastwind blade also known as the the Sunrise Sword. Gives off soft light equal to daylight (including its effects on undead) in a 20' radius. Its grants +1 per 4 levels to any task involving saving lives and this bonus does apply to AC!. Used in combat otherwise its a +1 weapons.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Said Weapons Theme

I haven't done a music post in a while. Enjoy.

A Silly magic Item "Mercy's Sister"

A Magic Scythe I've never had time to use in game.

Mercy's Sister

This heavy black +1 weapon can be wielded as proficient by any bard . It gives off an invisible aura of mild despair that can be felt by all within 10 feet that has no game effect.
When wielded the user and his allies can also hear faint music. Carved on the side is an inscription "Hey Now, Hey Now Now Now" anyone finishing this phrase in song will active the scythes power and it will become a +3 acid scythe.

Price -- Mild Necromancy, Moderate Evocation CL12 34,500 (including Bardic Wielding)

For cruel DM fun, make your players actually RP the activation phrase. This will last till the party throws said item down the well or their books at you ;)

Gaming Hints: D&D does not have to be played serious

If you look at the silliness inherent in early D&D with its anagram names, stuff like Gutboy Barrelhouse, the humor in the AD&D DMG you can tell that D&D was not meant to always be played straight .

I'd be even money that in jokes and the ancestors of the Monty Python References (whatever was hilarious in 1974) probably flew across the table back in Lake Geneva just as they do ours.

In my experience my second best ever D&D campaign was one I have mentioned before (Midrea Unglued) a very extended one shot in 2e where the leads were Hans and Franz from S&L and the rest of the cast included a talking squirrel named Rambo, A Swedish Minder named Inga (who had a Shojo frying pan BTW A Satyr Bard and a Mute Coroner/Psion named Hayabusa. We played the rules mostly straight but laughed our butts off.

Why it was so much better than most is really simple, everyone got involved and everyone had fun.

Those two things are the real keys two a great game.

Let me repeat

Everyone gets involved and everyone has fun

If that works for you like it did for me than let me suggest that you lighten up and let the laughs fall where they may. Laughter after all may be the best medicine for your sick game.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

D12 Thievery or We Are All Thieves

This system is rough right now and is based loosely on "The Lamentations of the Flame Princess" and several of the other articles including d6 and 2d6 thieving, Thieves and Rakes, and 1d6 thieving.

It was inspired by a blog post (now lost) suggesting that thief abilities be given to everyone.Its also lets me use the d12 a bit which I really like and works easily with existing abilities (double them)

1st things first,

The thief class advances as per your system of choices , saving throws, weapons and such remain the same though where the class hit die is a d4 it is raised to a d6

However the thief skills have changed. Instead these are called adventuring abilities. Anyone can use them and all of them start at an 11 or 12 on a D12.

These abilities are as follows (some taken from LOTFP)

Find Traps
Sleight of Hand

Everyone gets 2 points at L1 and 1pt thereafter to add to one of these abilities. In addition Dex or Str mod applies when light or no armor is worn.

Thieves however as specialists get 4 at L1 and 2 points thereafter. At higher level additional abilities such as disarm magic locks and traps, wall running and others may be learned with DM permission.

Well that should cover it. What do y'all think?

3x3 Old School Background and Skills System the easy way

What I use is a 3x3 system , 3 sentences and 3 guidelines


#1What is your background?

This needs to include where you how you grew and up and where.

For example, Roger the Dog Mage MU1

Raised a freeman , a kennel keepers brat at Castle Weland, in the Middle Kingdoms. This tells us he knows something of middle class life, castle life, dig training and may have friedns and foes at the castle

#2 Where you learned to be a PC.

Trained on the sly with Corian the local Hedge Wizard

#3 Why you are now adventuring?

Decided he wanted fortune , glory and excitement so he grabbed his stuff, bade his family farewell, took grip his warhound Grip and headed off for adventure.

Now to make this work you need 3 guidelines

#1 Whats said is said. If you make it up, its that way till its changed in play.However feel free to make stuff up as you play with DM approval as it makes great play hooks.

#2 The important stuff happens in play not in the backstory

#3 You are already a capable person out the door, tough as a man at arms and probably a journeyman in one or more skills. To make your skill roll, simply roll vs stat and be done with it. Thats all thats needed.

And viola, simple, flexible old school skills system.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Realization: I am not the market for a lot of RPG's

As it happens I am a pretty traditional gamer. I like games with lots of imagination, a conventional GM/Player set up and pretty ordinary rules.

A lot of games these days are different, some of the Indie RPG's go in a more collaborative story telling direction, others like 4e more board gamey and others are just plain too strange for me.

Thats perfectly OK though. Between the various games I do like (GURPS, Pathfinder. OSR, Risus and others) there is more material than I can afford anyway.

As long as I can get players I am good to go.

Thinking About: Dwarves as Cunning Folk.

This idea came to me while skimming Searchers of the Unknown, Revised .

The simple (its a one page game) description of Dwarves struck me as a great idea

posted here in part

Dwarfs are short and cunning

Subterfuge: Sneaking, climbing, fiddling locks, hiding, disguise,
forgery, picking pockets and so on are all feats of subterfuge. . Dwarfs add +2.

Rather than an entire race of Gimli's, throw in this and some of more magical Dwarf ideas (like say Eldoran arcane Dwarves from Advanced Race Codex Dwarves (Green Ronin BTW ) and you have a great replacement for the halfling and gnomes niches

Also if you want to play Elves as exalted and Dwarves and more base and sin wracked (play up the greed and anger) possibly Half Orcs too.

Its also very Nordic (they can be Dvergar and the Elves Alvar) if you like that flavor. or play them as selflish ala C.S. Lewis' "The Last Battle" bah, the Dwarves are for the Dwarves.

So you get a much more variated people (some will be doughty warriors) that is not as flavored with Gamer Scottish. Well just a little. ;)

Rules-Wise it requires very few rule changes. At most drop the various "hated foes" for some kind of craft cunning as I do already and if desired add some Fae traits .

In older games, all thats required is tweaking racial bonuses to thief skills and allowing Dwarf casters.

So what say you folks?

Pathfinder Content: Haflings of Midrea

Halflings almost didn't make the cut, no one plays them and they were a poor fit with the worlds original vibe. However I relented and thus were born the Shire Folk

Midrean Halflings are a pastoral people who live along a tributary of the river Arna. Their kingdom, as big as most, is lightly inhabited pastoral hills and valleys bounded by a thick Hedge of magical thorns and the Darkling Wood.

Attempts to enter the Shires en-mass by water seem to be thwarted by the river itself and despite the peaceful nature of the inhabitants, they can put up a nasty fight if attacked.

Typical Halflings are about 4 feet tall, shorter than Dwarves plump (around 95 lbs) and have furry feet. Females are about 2 inches shorter.

As a general rule they prefer good food and the comforts of home to adventure though there are of course exceptions.

They don't appear to have gods or divine casters though some Hedge Wizards and Herbalists with magic (variant druids) are known. They are also often fairly psychic.

Halfling marry for life and are generally honest tending to Lawful and Good Alignments.

Stats are as per Pathfinder.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Campaign Ideas Bonus Round

Just a few that occurred to me recently ...

Into the Big World
A party of sheltered shire folk must journey into the wider world to regain a powerful protective device. D&D with an all Halfling party.

Days of Dust
Explore the world and try to survive when essentially everyone is dead and turned to dust. Night of the Comet meets the Omega Man with twists.

The Rift Worlds Invasion
Can you hold the Imperial line and stop the invasion of a TL17 civilization?

Conquest and Glory
The Rift Worlds Invasion from the POV of the invaders. The PC's get to play the command personnel of the 1,000,000 ton TL17 cruiser Tribute of Cana as they try to get a foothold into Imperial Space despite the Jump 15 distances.

Trillion Credit Squadron
This is the classic GDW module updated. Players may either play the Imperium , who gets the eponymous tera-credit or the Rift Worlds who gain one TL17 1,000,000 Warship.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Campaign Ideas Day Fourteen

Boy its been Two Weeks already. Hard to believe. Today I am going to wrap this up with a nice long post with well everything else, including SF, Horror, Modern, Modern Fantasy and Fantasy stuff.

This Far and No Farther:
A GURPS game set in a stagnant near future. New technologies include Longeity Serum, Immune Amplification and Smart Drugs. The hitch, After a Neo Nazi Biogenic War hard science research is severely limited and controlled .
The PC's would be local police investigators on the trail of a homicide. Along the way they will discover all sorts of mad scientists illegal science labs and illegal micro fab computer chip plants.

Starlight, Iron and the End of Days:
This is DeLint style Faerie tales set in a 2050 where the demographic prediction of Phillip Longman et all are true. Less Men means the Fae have crept slowly back into the world. Normal people, poignant empty cities and greening

Revolution Rock:
Also set in the same Universe. A band of teen age friends try to get into the rock concert of the century.

Quiet Years:
A cop show set in the same Universe as above, though without any supernatural elements at all
System: Unisystem Medium or GURPS.

Project Restoration
The player characters come together while they are all working for a future government program called "Project Restoration" Since the Earths population dropped by 50% and the birth rate is really low (even with extended lifespans) the State of California decided to use a mixture of volunteers (called Tans from the uniform) and folks on alternative sentences (for various minor to moderate offenses, called Blues) from 16-25 (ish) to restore of demolish unused housing stock in hopes of making it easier to have kids (more space means more kids). said players uncover some very old problems (possibly occult) and wacky hijinks ensue.

Eldritch Hours:
Call of Cuthulu with the names and serial number filled off. New names, new faces and new horrors.

Wing Zero:Senego Dreams
Anime inspired. 6 ancient experimental ships and a rag tag commercial fleet against an alien invasion.

Under a Broken Sky:
Thundaar inspired post apocalypse super science an magic fusion using with D&D and Gamma World. . Who cares if its not logical, its fun.

They Who Were Chosen:
Modern fantasy. The PC's discover All Hell is Breaking Loose and its there job to stop it. Sort of like an all Slayer Buffy game without the background stuff

Simply Marvelous:
A return to my modified marvel universe using Beyond Human.

Faerie Triumphant:
The Elves have destroyed European civilization. But recently there has been a sliver of hope and the Fae sighting have diminished. Is it the new beginning or just a lull in the end of the world.

All the World is Trees:
Inspired by a recent thread Veridia of course. No oceans, no plains -- just trees.Tribal style adventuring with Anglo Saxon, Australian Aborigine and Native American flavor

All Along the Great River
Another Corner of Videria, this time the city states along the great river that traverses the world.

Scannerque modern intrigue in the vein of Firestarter, the 24th letter , Push and Jumper. The PC's are powerful psi fugitives on the trail of the mysterious "Haven" a place where psis can live in piece. Pursuing them is "The Shop" and "The Company" both of them who want to control this powerful asset.

The Elf Killer Way
The mortals of Anar will no longer be pawns of the Elves. Its time for war. Men, Orcs, Dwarves and Halfling vs the Evil fae.

Dark Streets
Pulp Supers with more than a hint of Wold Newton.

The Grand Campaign
L1 to the Demon Web Pits – Old School

Reign of Ghosts
This is the preamble to Wielders and is set in Midrea after the 3rd apocoli. All of the faiths except three (Wicca, The Way and The Left Hand Path) were actually soul collecting beings using the power for obscure purposes. These "Gawds" were killed during the Soul Taker War changing what was a D&D world into a True 20ish one.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bonus Campaign Ideas

Just because and just because it is just because I am posting a grip of short ideas

"One strange day exploring a city on foot, kind of a little Adventurers in Baby Sitting meets Up with a dose of Garfield. "

Keep Her Flying
A ship and a crew is a family. Sometimes a dysfunctional one. The players are a crew of Free Traders in the Verse, after the events of Serenity.

See Ya Space Cowboy
Cowboy Bebeop in the Verse

Special Crimes Unit
Law and Order +CSI +Weird

Classic modules using 3x D&D with light rule changes

Little Wishes.
Petty magic on the world of Cantrip . D&D using cantrips and osirons and magic items as the only magic.

Dark Cities
Dark Fantasy possibly with NWOD rules from Mirrors

Campaign Ideas Day Thirteen

All horror themed in honor of the triskadekaphobes out there.

Something Wicca This Way Comes
The players end up running a magical trouble-shooting service out of their downtown bookshop. Think a cross between Hellblazer and Practical Magic.

Welcome to Santa Carla:
Buffy/Angel set in the eponymous town from Lost Boys

Broken Faith
Now in the service of the Watchers Council the P.C.'s must contend with growing horror as well as rehabilitate a very damaged Faith the Slayer. Its Buffy/Angel with more psychodrama. Faith, or whats left of her, has returned from prison. Tormented body, mind and soul by the sadistic Warden, the Slayer is but a shell of herself. With darkness on the rise the world needs Champions. So until the new potential can be found its up to the PC's to hold the line and if possible help a young girl back to health.