Monday, August 13, 2018

Terse Ogres

A brief collection of fearsome brutes .

Lurk- They seem too large to hide so well but next thing you know there they are.

Slather- Huge rude gaping maws with immense rude rasping tongues that they use to lick the clothing and the flesh from their victims.

Lank- Tall and thin. Their gaunt features almost conceal their horribly sinewy strength.

Gong Throttle- They flail about with immense hands until both grasp a hapless victim by the neck. This skin turns to iron while they themselves are immobilized with delight as they choke the life from their latest victim.

Goom- Gibbering, chortling, and drooling do little to conceal their appetites.

Gump- Their impossible gaze locks men where they stand to be crushed or gutted.

Snap Gorge- Keep your hand and feet and everything else away from this brute as he shovels everything into his mouth.

Red Anne- Screaming and sputtering in blood-stained finery and a wicked blade.

Molly Mugs- A weeping maiden that will crush to death any that dare her embrace.


Thanks to Throne of Salt and Monsters and Manuals for inspiring me. Need stats? Use an Ogre, troll, or giant from your favorite set of rules.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Keep The Backstory Short

On facebook today and somene mentioned how some folks spend an awful lot of time on long backstories for their PCs. I agree some folks spend an awful lot of time on them for no real benefit.
It's like people think a multi-page backstory is going to save them from blowing that last saving throw.

I had a character who became emperor of his realm and his whole backstory was "Bastard child of a nun and minor prince of The Empire next door". That was the whole backstory. It was presumptive, I don't think the DM or I had a clue there was an empire next door at the time, eventually there was one and my player invaded it with his army a couple times until a big chunk was taken over.  The backstory never conflicted with play.


The interesting stuff about a character happens while playing the campaign. The backstory only needs to be a brief hook.  Keep it short. Make sure it fits the campaign. Leave room to build onto the charater's story later.




Sunday, July 22, 2018

Evil rears it's ugly head, but there are no restricitve alignments. [BFRPG]

One appeal for BFRPG is the absence of an alignment system. Now don't get me wrong here I personally have no issue at all with alignments being present in an RPG campaign I even think it shoudl have a bigger presence when within the rules. BFRPG having no alignment rules is an advantage as it relieves new and very casual players of picky rules interactions and feeling shackled by the game authors or ref's views of good and evil. BFRPG is a system without good and evil however there are a number of mentions of both within the rules.

In the class description for clerics  one can see this:
 Most Clerics spend their time in mundane forms of service such as preaching and ministering in a temple; but there are those who are called to go abroad from the temple and serve their deity in a more direct way, smiting undead monsters and aiding in the battle against evil and chaos. Player character Clerics are assumed to be among the latter group.

So Clerics are assumed to be the good guys at least in the battle versus evil and chaos.  By extension their buddies (the other adventurers) are also the good guys. Being one the good guys is an easy enough concept for most players to comprehend and deal with. Good guys are heroes that don't support destruction of life and civilization. So just what is the nature of this evil and chaos the good guys are going to battle (or serve as a foil for the more picaresque adventurers)?

Evil, at least the evil the game rules interact with is a dangerous and destructive force. Most interactions with evil are against supernatural forces. Look into the spell descriptions and one will see several spells that most certainly interact with "Evil".


page 19: (in Conjure Elemental spell description)
dispel evil will banish the elemental

Conjured elementals are a supernatural interference on the mortal world, they are antithetical to the natural order and as such a sure cure to remove the entities is the Dispel Evil spell.

page 20: (Detect Evil spell description)
This spell allows the caster to detect evil; specifically, the caster can detect creatures with evil intentions, magic items with evil enchantments, and possibly extraplanar creatures of evil nature. Normal characters, even “bad” characters, cannot be detected by this spell, as only overwhelming evil is detectable.

Here again the Evil the rules interact with is mostly the seriously off-base supernatural stuff. I have a bone to pick with "evil intentions" when compared to the remainder of options here it is out of places as "evil intentions" are not supernatural and diabolical evil; unless of course it is meant to indicate the evil intentions of those working with supernatural and diabolical forces. This spell shouldn't be used as a "get out of needing to reason card" for players as the NPCs that are truly wickedly evil by intention should be relatively rare.

page 24: (Invisible Stalker spell description)
The spell persists until dispel evil is cast on the creature

As with conjured elementals Invisible Stalkers are an intrusion on the natural order of things and are considered "evil" (or perhaps chaotic) in how magic interacts with them.


Page 25: (Magic Jar spell Description)
Possession of a creature by means of this spell is blocked by protection from evil or a similar ward.

Here it is implied that dominating others through supernatural means is an evil act. Robbing someone of their identity, their free action, and their very mind itself is a pretty diabolical trick.  Again evil is presented here as a supernatural force against the natural order.

Page 28: (Protection from Evil)
Note that the definition of “evil” is left to the individual GM to decide.

Both a feature and a fault all at once if one doesn't study how evil interacts elsewhere in the rules. Keep evil to being a supernatural intrusion and it isn't too hard to see where this spell would work. while a number of the monsters are described as being evil in nature or behavior they aren't rigidly defined as "EVIL" (or chaotic) as one may see in related games and it actually clears up some confusion for players who wonder why "Protection from Evil" works against Monster X that is called evil in the rules but Monster Y which is also defiend as evil within the rules. Unless ther's not some seriously dire and wicked things going on with a measurable amount of the supernatural its just not the type of evil the spell interacts with.

Yes evil exists in the rules of BFRPG but it is the spine-chilling bwa-haha sort of supernatural evil and players don't have to worry about being penalized by the rules for having their character pocket a few stray silver coins when no one is looking as petty and selfish acts are not the cosmic supernatural evil that the rules interact with. This approach to evil is one I can work with as it doesn't halt play having to explain or debate how alignments interact with each other within the rules.






BFRPG Still a good fit for me?

Updated my old Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game character sheet a few days ago and it's up there over at the BFRPG site: http://basicfantasy.org/downloads.html. There's a whole bunch of other RPG goodness as well that others have done.

Considering using BFRPG as the rules for the next campaign as it worked well for running adventures written for D&D, AD&D (1st and 2nd edition), and D20 era D&D in Judges Guild Wilderlands of High Fantasy with on the fly "conversion". The biggest change I recall using was reducing monster HP from d20 era sources to 2/3rds what was listed. For spells not in BFRPG I either used the source or converted to the nearest equivalent.

I am a classical rules tinker however and there's a chance even if I use BFRPG as the core I'll kit bash on a few extra parts which is also a plus for using this system as it isn't so delicate it can't handle a few extra subsystems here and there.



Sunday, July 15, 2018

Last Great Campaign?

The past several weeks has been a real humdinger that reminded me again and again of human frailty.  It left me with this notion: Now that I and my family, friends, and gaming buddies are aging how many more campaigns do we have in us? Family and work can prove to make gaming tricky for the mature gamer but health and mortality oh they are much more decisive factors.

 GM's are famous for working on the next great campaign while running one or two other campaigns but do we ever plan on one being our last great campaign? We only have so many years left where our eyes, ears, hands, and even our minds will support our playing RPGs. Should we plan each campaign as if it is our last? How should The Last Great Campaign be structured? Should the Last Great Campaign be structured to end in a bang or should it be set up to to last until the bitter end?

My best campaigns have run from 4 to 8 years in length. They did so by adapting to my gadfly choices and the slowly revolving group of players. While I never really planned for any of those campaigns to run for so long they just did. Now as I age and some of my friends and fellow players have died or been limited by illness so much they can't play I have to wonder is there ever going to be another long campaign and is there going to be more than one?

Is it my duty to prepare for the Last Great Campaign? Should it be structured as a place to walk off into the twilight from, to swim in seas of nostalgia, or maybe just maybe it could be a shinning example to pass on to a future generation?

Heavy stuff. Lot's of questions and no answers just yet.


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Look into the darkness for hope and the gutter for who shall answer the call

Those bothersome murder hobos just keep coming back. A princess needing saving, a realm under threat of an evil dragon lord, or a whole lot of bothersome orcs on the border and  it's only a matter of time before the murder hobos turn up. Sure some claim to be heroes or more honestly opportunistic mercenaries but they are wandering slayers of all the survey just as likely to use cloudkill and firebombs in a tavern brawl as they are against an unholy host in a forgotten necropolis.

For years I've Dm'd dungeons and dragons and related games and time and again the players expose their characters to be naught but murder hobos. So why fight it? Why not structure the campaign to expect that, to deal with it, to embrace it?  Are people, almost people, and not people at all that descend into the most dangerous of places imaginable to steal bar money really the right means to display heroic adventure.


I touched on shifting the classes to embrace murder hoboism:  http://aeonsnaugauries.blogspot.com/2017/01/working-away.html

I discussed part of what causes murder hoboism in the past:    http://aeonsnaugauries.blogspot.com/2015/06/murder-hoboing-as-reaction.html

There's a fairly fresh post on the whole murder hobo thing here at elfmaids and octopi:  http://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com/2018/05/merry-murder-hobo-month-of-may.html

So yes dear reader a few posts shall follow expanding on the care, feeding and torture of the murder hobo. How to structure a campaign to actually deal with them, how to reward players for actually being heroes (what?) , and how to deal with the consequences of actions.



Sunday, May 6, 2018

Hello, back at the old blog

Hello everyone.  After an absence I'm going to be back to game related posts here on this good old blog.  I'm starting up a campaign with way too many houserules that I'll be sharing here.  A lot of the old posts will of course still be part of the body that makes things what they are.  The "Undercity of Mog" is getting moved to a new world and renamed the ever so different "Undercity of Maug" for vague linguistic reasons no one is ever going to care about. Still going to be a mash-up of oldschool meets d20 so there should still be posts that appeal to a number of readers. I also hope to get more illustrations and maps up here on the blog.  So thanks for reading this and yes indeed there is more to come.