Wednesday, April 25, 2012

An actual Old School Post *GASP*

This is the rough draft of the intro for my upcoming OSR campaign.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Old School. We'll be playing “undecided” rules using some classic D&D modules and my usual improvisation . You'll have opportunities for exploration, combat, RP, dungeon crawling, hex crawls, city adventures and more. If things go well you'll even get to enjoy the old fashioned end game and tackle a few of the high level modules.

Starting PC's are inhabitants of the village/town of Dunmer. Its a mostly self sufficient farming and fishing village with a population of nearly 250 freemen, located on the river Argan. Dunmer is famous only for its excellent knife works and its blades, knives and dagger not swords are exported quite widely. Other than that its like hundred of other villages and small towns in the Middle Kingdom.

Every half century or so there Argan River has a serious flood usually mildly This years flood, a few years ahead of time was particularly severe. While the mess has been cleaned up and the King's Relief has been sent the village will be some time recovering.

Now is an ideal time to set out for adventure. Not only will this take the strain off the limited resources you might be able to have a shot at real wealth.

You and some zero level friends and companions have come across a map that is purported to show a nearby bandit treasure, so grab your gear, adventure awaits ….

Monte's Leaving WOTC, my take

Hearing this makes me a lot less interested in 5e.

If a designer I know is quality is willing to turn down contract work with a prestigious employer on a prestige product in this job market over matters of opinion that bodes ill for the solidarity a project this scale needs.

Now there are going to be some quality people on board no doubt but losing Monte is not good at all

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Human Ethnic Groups of Midrea

These groups were formed over a millennium from the original groups as placed by the shapers. Magic and such aside, human migrations have been a bit static as compared to Earth mainly do to the sheer dangerousness of Midrea.

This list can give players an idea of what peoples are like and help them select a nationality for their character. While Midrea is mostly Caucasian in skin tones, skin color and race haven't proven to be much an issue as there are Elves to hate

Peoples of Midrea

Senn Humans.

Ilaski -- The Moon Folk

Izaro -- The Islanders

Itsaso -- The Sea Folk

Vara -- The Stoics

Galan -- The Schemers

Shan -- The Mid Folk Zaldi -- The Horse Nomads

Toulani -- The People of Hooves and Manes

Makatza -- The Wild Tribes

Astiya -- Witch Folk

Chun -- Savages

Hajasani -- Decadent Folks

Vai -- Horse Lords

Delan -- Imperials

Skadi -- The "People"

Hyrkan -- The Rebels

Eledrian -- The Common Folk

Amachians -- Scattered People

Escane -- Rovers

Vala -- The Beautiful People

Hunzun -- The Scholars

Other Humans

Steel Cities People (aka Shipfolk)


Terran Folk

Nihon -- Japanese

Honsi -- Singaporean and Chinese mostly from Hong Kong

Freefolk -- Mixed

Alban-- Mixed English and Commonwealth

Midlanders -- Continental especially Germans

West Folk -- American

Brin -- Colonial and some early modern Americans

Galli -- French Extraction

Inish -- Irish

Scota -- Scots

Northfolk -- Swedes, Netherlanders, Danish, Norway

East Folk -- Eastern Europeans

Domainers -- Feminists

Tinkers -- Pavee

Firhom -- The Luxembourg of Midrea

Ashara-- Ren Faire,, S.C.A. and Wiccans (Aradian and Ashanan)

South Folk aka Ladan-- Spaniards, Portuguese and some other Latino peoples

Afra -- Black Africans Americans and others

Sansa -- Indian folks

Semit - various Semitic peoples

Midrea Gates Updated

This is an update of an old old post with Midrean background

Cosmology in Midrea

Most of the details of Midrea'n cosmology are known to anyone with a decent education and at least a 14 or better Intelligence and/or any ranks in Knowledge/Religion or Knowledge/Planar. I usually assume that all PC's know these basic things just to keep things simple.

Midrea is in a pocket realm in the astral plane. It was was created about 2000 years from campaign date by an alien race called the Shapers who planned to use it as place to engage in their perpetual wars called “Strivings” without destroying themselves. This failed and the Shapers ceased to exist leaving only artifacts and ruins.

The planet is Earth sized and Earth like with s two satellites, a moon roughly the sizes of Earths and smaller asteroid. There are no other planets in the system although a star field with 13 constellations is visible.

Dotted Magic is a product of the 13 gates the Shapers used to soften space time and to allow beings to be summoned to the planet via spell. Each gate leads to a different world and someone with rare gate key or another access method can use the gate to travel to that world. In addition, certain spells can allow for planar travel though do to the nature of the world, only the gate realms are accessible.

It was thought that the elemental gates were failed attempts at Gates but later research (i.e I changed my mind) has proven this to be false.

7 of the Gates correspond to colors

#1 Red Gate.

Location: Under a giant flowstone dome in the Vinyar barrens.

Destination: Gothic-Steam-Earth This world is kind of Ravenloft meets Edgar Rice Burroughs It feature a habitable Earth, Mars, Venus and a number of exotic and dangerous technologies.

#2 Orange Gate

Location; Deep within The Chun controlled jungles near Qadesh

Destination: A decaying dying world under an sun bloated near to orange where dinosaurs have returned. Its kind of Dinotopia meets Jack Vance with a smidgen of Gene Wolfe

#3 Yellow Gate

Location: The Eye of Sand in the Stehl Mountains

Destination: Gothic Space ala 40K, the Outsider and Dune

#4 Green Gate

Location: Halfling territory

Destination: The Arboreal world forest of the Halflings

#5 Blue
Location: Firhome at the stronghold of the Royal Academy of Magic

Destination: Something like the Earth of Call of Cthulhu.

#6 Indigo Gate

Location: Lanpon capital of the Empire of Taran

Destination; The Hall of Mirrors on The Shan home world Senn . This is a generic humans only D&D fantasy world more or less.

#7 Violet

Location: The Elven Woods

Destination: The Elven home world commonly called Faerie

4 Gates lead to Elemental Planes


Location: Hellheart Volcano

Destination: City of Brass


Location: The Arian Trench

Destination: A cave just outside Atlantis on the Plane of Water


Location: Deepest part of the Underdark

Destination: Dead Stone Cave, Plane of Earth


Location: Bottomless pit of Tokal

Destination: Elemental Plane of Air

2 Gates lead to allegedly spiritual realms

White Gate:

Location: The Throne of the Gods, World Roof

Destination: Realms of the Gods of Men

Black Gate:

Location: Hell Gate Keep, the border of the Dead Wastes

Destination: The real of the Adversaries, demons, devils, deonads, slaad

In addition there are two failed gates once in the Machine City, leading to the Machine Subrealm and another that leads directly into Astral Space which is in a contested area of the Stehl Mountain range

Monday, April 23, 2012

Apologies for the edit

I hope the posts are readable. Blogger just made some changes so I am still getting used to the new layout tools. Big Blocks of text are not good.

Clark's Law Applied

In my last post I mentioned the possibility of wahoo character types. I'll demonstrate how this works We'll start by noting that the current game is 6th level, Pathfinder 20 point buy. A new player joins wanting to play a stranded space pilot kind of like a Colonial Viper Pilot from Battlestar Galactica named Hawk . The other players are fine with it and given that such thing do happen on Midrea, I OK it. The first thing we have to do is make an equivalent. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Given this guy is human and a fighter pilot and that he is not going to have access to his fighter, its pretty easy to do. Human, Fighter . Since he needs skills we'll use the tactician archetype. Stats are up to him, the player decides on ST 14 IQ 14 WS 10 DX 14 CN 12 CHA 14 Next comes traits skills and feats. As a general rule if it won't happen in game I don't charge for it and so while Hawk is an able pilot and gunner, he doesn't need to list them as they won't get used. Being weird does cost a trait (outworlder) so he selects that and one other (reactionary) skills feats are the same and so selects ones that make sense to him. The outworlder trait is mandatory but he'd take it anyway as it allows him access to a skill (offworld lore) ad to use tech items, he grabs 5 others and 6 feats, deciding on point blank shot, precise shot, far shot ,improved initiative, target of opportunity , shake it off and enfilading fire. These fit the flavor and are universal enough to work for most settings. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Next comes the hard part, technical items. The player decides Hawk should have a combat jumpsuit, 2 comlinks, automed kit and a freeze pistol with a light mount (its tacticool) along with some space food, a food sterilizer and a solar powered vapor canteen This is where Clark's Law comes into play What makes this work is that each of these items can easily be transfered into a magic item equivalent. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Jumpsuit becomes magic studded leather The comlinks were a little tricky but I find a set of magic earings in the Magic Item Compendium thats a good fit (yes its 3.5 close enough) automed kit, treat as a box of potions (healing, remove poison, cure disease) space food, its just rations the canteen, after some thought it becomes a 1x daily create water item Food sanitizer 3x daily purify food and drink ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- last comes the freeze pistol , the mounted light is easy, its about as good as an Ioun Torch so thats that. But how do you make a freeze pistol ? Given that a gun is roughly the same as a wand I decide that the freeze ray ought to be modestly powerful, say a L2 spell. I go digging and pull up a wand of a 3.5 spell ice knife. That gives him a 2d6 cold attack (with dex damage and a burst option) I offer him a deduction of 20% cost for the need to be reloaded every 10 shots (4 magazines) or he can take a 20 shot with 3 magazines for full cost. Hawks players chooses the later and now he has a freeze ray with 2 extra clips. Later as the game continues and more treasure is found I simply repurpose some of the usual amount he'd get at each level into new tech items allowing him to keep the flavor. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Viola, instant balanced space pilot ...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Midrea Notes: Part 1 of Series Clark's Law

I am starting a new mini series about my game world Midrea and its cousin Eradim. This series will be a series of design bits, why I did X vs. Y that sort of thing. Hopefully it will be of interest to world builders and my readers but if nothing else articulating these design choices will help me clarify my own thinking. Because I wanted a fantasy world with occasional bits of space in the old school vein ala Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, Blackmoor and others that was accessible I needed to have a means to make it fair for the other players. I decided on an application of three rules #1 Clark's Third Law namely that "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." #2 Stats are balanced, not fluff and as such if the campaign is at a level that allows it, balance won't be hurt. #3 If it weird we all have to agree its O.K and I'll shoehorn it in. Applying these three things allows a player to enjoy almost anything they can think of without screwing up the game.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Some Music from Kemper Crabbe

A lot of folks have never heard Kemper Crabbe mainly because he was pigeonholed "Christian" music back in the early 80's.

His album the Vigil is awesome by any means so here is one I particularly like, an ancient song They That God Down to the Sea in Ships

Happy Holidays

Its a four-fer on the Holiday front

Happy Easter to secular folks , the Gaming Gang and any Christian Readers, Happy Passover to any Jewish readers and have a happy Feast of Eostra for my Pagan readers.
May today be blessed for whatever faith you hold.

Last Nights Game

We had a really good game last night. As we have been doing a lot, we improvised. This time we put into to play some Space Marines modified to look like Brotherhood of Steel (from Fallout) the most awesome pad of paper ever which is a huge pad of one inch squares perfect for gaming and tossed some dice.

We played a Brotherhood of Steel after a fusion battery for our anti-ghoul picket gun. We found the batteries and an experimental weapons lab to explore later. Major fun.

Our GM, E. was awesome and even the three newbies who had never played Fallout had a blast. One Mrs L. decided to buy Fallout New Vegas and give it a try.

All in all this is going to be our "standby" game and I couldn't be happier.

Fallout rules and good gamers rule harder.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Been Studying for the upcoming Old School Game

I think I may be running Old School D&D with some newbie players quite soon and as the ambassador its even more incumbent on me than usual to bring on the awesome.

In perpetration I have been studying world building for hex crawls, initiative systems and more.

Its all enough to make my head hurt though I am pretty sure it will be worth it when I combine it with my improvisation skills.

Thinking of Dave Arneson

Going gaming in a bit and I'll be thinking of Dave Arneson , the co-founder of the hobby I love.

If our lives pass in the hereafter I just hope I can tell him "Thanks for everything, Dave."

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Tome of Manly Things

I usually avoid reviewing Pathfinder stuff these days as I am focused more on Old School for my D&D fix.

However being a sucker for free stuff I decided to download Little Red Goblin's Tome of Manly Things

Its a DTRPG freebie (here) that was meant as an April Fools product.

However its quite clever as it uses a variant of the gunslinger Grit mechanic to allow people to play "the Most Interesting Man in the World" or Burt Reynolds or whoever those guys in the Vegas commercial were

Being a joke product there were a few bugs, a small lack of clarity on how many man cards a person gets (how awesome is not a number and as such I recommend 1+ charisma modifier) or any discussion of what the Man Code is. Of course that kind of realistic since no in reality knows what it is either. ;)

However despite the flaws this is actually a cool class and renamed Hero or something is not only playable but fun.

Definitely an interesting and offbeat add to the game I can recommend.

Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque Compendum is Cool

If you like Ravenloft or any kind of Gothic Horror and play and old school game or if just want a grab bag of new free goodies, spells, poisons, a cool system, optional rules, monsters and more (and yes I did say free) Go grab the tales of the grotesque and dungeonesque compendium here

Its very cool.

Between this and the Lands of Ara I mentioned earlier you'll have hundreds of pages of neat stuff to enjoy for free.

So get, go get them. I'll be here when you get back.