Friday, September 12, 2014

What you talkin bout Willis?

Coming Soon from Goodman Games- Dungeon Crawl Classics:Shanna's Weird Dice.
http://www.goodman-games.com/6041preview.html

from the copy on the page:
This set contains the very dice that Shanna Dahaka used to invoke Azi Dahaka and enchant her magical afro.
Using these dice in your game is guaranteed to bring good fortune, especially if you rub them on an afro prior to each session.
WHAT?  Did I just read this:
Using these dice in your game is guaranteed to bring good fortune, especially if you rub them on an afro prior to each session.

 Yup...

Having fun with and making fun of dumb pop-culture references of the past is fine, off color humor is fine. Ad copy that is tone deaf to hurtful idiocy of the past is in poor taste.


Here's how it could have been softened to not be as creepy and borderline awful as it is.

This set contains the very dice that Shanna Dahaka used to invoke Azi Dahaka and enchant her magical afro.
Using these dice in your game is guaranteed to bring good fortune, especially if you rub them on your afro prior to each session.
See, that's having fun with stupidity of the past, not wallowing in it.




Sick for Days

Been sick for days with some sor tof flu my Kinder Gardener brought home (or maybe the teen imported from her food service job) starting to wonder when I rolled a 3 on my CON score.
I also noticed the odd reply to someone's blog post or forum I've been doing from my bed on my smartphone were going out on my other google account... technology and the flu are fun.
Feeling a little better the store brand day-whatever actually has me slightly functional and my fevers seem to be gone.  
Probably back to irregular posting any day now.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Orb Magic (1st draft,part1)

 Orb Magic
Throughout this post I'll be presenting a variant magic system for use with old-school dungeon play. It is the intention that Wizards discussed here would be the primary spell-casting class of the campaign but for clarity (to distinguish them as distinct from more traditional Wizards or Magic-Users) the will be known a Wizard of Orbs (WOO for short). Inspired by Rules to the Game of Dungeon.

Means of spell casting in a campaign with Orb Magic.
A Wizard of Orbs is able to memorize and retain the capacity to use a number of spells that depend primarily on the presence of Orbs. These Orbs serve as focus and supply for the spells known to a WOO.

When a Wizard of Orbs casts a spell they much have an orb in hand or attached to a proper magical accouterment and typically the orb is consumed in the casting or completion of the spell.

Orbs interact with each other in odd ways rendering them briefly useless for the purpose of spell-casting if too many are brought into close contact with each other. A 1st level Wizard of Orbs may only normally carry 5 orbs on his person at any time but there are ways to circumvent this using a variety of magical accouterments (explained later). Non-Wizards may carry but 3 orbs if they wish to transport a supply for an allied WOO. Should too many orbs be collected together they will not function for the purpose of casting spells for 24 hours.

There are 11 common Orbs that are used in casting spells. Each Orbs allows a WOO with knowledge of an applicable spell to use that spell. An orb does not grant a WOO the ability to use a spell they have not memorized even if it is one of the spells known to a WOO and present in the casters Grimoire.

Power Grades of Orbs:
There are six different powergrades of Orbs rated in grade from I to VI. A spell cast through an orb may be cast weaker than the grade of the Orb itself of the WOO should so wish (usually because they aren't high enough level to take advantage of the grade of the Orb due to their level as a WOO).


Wizard of Orbs Class Table
Level
exp
HD*
Spells
Memorized
Orb
Grade
Orbs Carried
Other
1
0
1
3
I
5
A
2
2500
1+1
4


6
B
3
5000
2
4
II
7
C
4
10,000
2+1
5


7
D,E
5
20,000
3
5
III
8
F
6
40,000
3+1
6


9
N
7
60,000
4
6
IV
10
OI
8
80,000
4+1
7


10


9
100,000
5
7
V
11
W
10
200,000
5+1
8


12
OII
11
300,000
6
8
VI
13
K, PI
12
400,000
7
9


13
OIII
13
500,000
8+1
10


14
PII
14
600,000
8+2
11


15
OIV
15
700,000
8+3
12


16
PIII
16
800,000
8+4
13


16
OV,PIV
17
9,000,000
8+5
14


17
PV
18
1,000,000
8+6
15


18
OVI, PVI

*- Reroll HTK each level, new HTK total may not be lower then previously rolled.

Other abilities
A- Copy Scroll to Grimoire, consumes scroll successful on 3+ rolled on d6. Fills 1d6 pages in Grimoire.
B- Copy from Grimoire to Scroll, costs 100 gp per grade of scroll and must pulverize one orb; successful on 3+ rolled on d6.
C- Duplicate Scroll, costs 100 gp per grade of scroll and must pulverize two such orbs; successful on 4+ rolled on d6.
D- Identify Potion; may identify what type of potion oe has on hand with a tiny sip, roll 1d6 and the potion is identified on a roll of 3+ but if a 1 or 6 is rolled and the potion is poison or a trap the effects are suffered.
E- Identify Wands; may identify what type of wand a specific wand is. Successful on 2+ rolled on d6.
F- Copy spell from Grimoire to Grimoire, successful on 3+ rolle don d6.
N- Brew Potions, if formula is discovered. Formulas must be ket in grimoire and use 1d6+1 pages.
W- Fashion Wand, if procedure is discovered. Procedure to manufacture must be kept in a grimoire and use 1d6+3 pages.
K- Craft Magical Device, ability to craft miscellaneous magical item, arms, and armor
OI to OVI- Fashion Orbs of that Grade, costs ½ list price and takes a day per grade.
PI to PVI- ability to graft Orb Devices of appropriate grade. Including Wizard Gems.

List of Orbs and Orb Spells
Orb
Spell
Destroy Orb
Light Orb
Lamp
Y


FlashBang
Y


Glory
Y


Searing Beam
Y


Blinding Beam
Y


Alarm
S
Fire Orb
FireBall
Y


DragonBreath
Y


Ring of Fire
Y


Wall of Fire
Y


Resist Fire
S


Fire Walking
S
Ice Orb
Freeze
Y


Cone of Cold
Y


Wall of Ice
Y


Blizzard
Y


Protection from Cold
S


Create Ice Giant
Y
Wizard Seed
GoodBerry
Y


Tangle Weed
Y


Climbing Vine
Y


Flame Flower
Y


Thorn Staff
Y


HypnoFlower
Y
Sword Orb
Call Sword
N


Blade of Fire
Y


Silver Blade
Y


Dancing Sword
S


Vorpal Blade
Y


Wall of Blades
Y
Axe Orb
Call Axe
N


Headman's Axe
Y


Flying Axe
N


Barrier Breaker
Y


Unseen Axeman
S


Haft Cleaver
Y
Hammer Orb
Call Hammer
N


Winged Hammer
N


True Kosh
Y


Rock Breaker
Y


Miracle Smith
Y


ThunderClap
Y
Witch Egg
Gremlin
Y


Imp
Y


Gargoyle
Y


Dragon
Y


Trapping
N


Ovum Recall
N
Skull Orb
Skeleton
Y


Zombie
Y


Ghoul
Y


Vampire
Y


Raise Dead
Y


Command Dead
S
Void Orb
Dispel Magic
Y


Reveal Magic
N


Protection from Magic
S


Transporation
Y


Shatter Orbs & Gems
Y


Anhialation
Y
Crystal Ball
Clairaudience
N


Clairvoyance
N


Seeking
N


Obfuscation
N


Communication
N


Sending
Y
Y- yes always destroyed, N- not destroyed, S- Special

Wizard Gems
Are a specific casting of a spell. (Consumes 2 appropriate orbs in creation). Wizard Gems do not count against total number of orbs carried.
Wizard gems may be stored as an orb or be mounted as a mundane gem.
Non-Wizards may hurl wizard gems to use the spell on a d6 roll of 3+.


Scrolls
A scroll is a spell captured on parchment. A Wizard of Orb is able to read any scroll on a d6 roll of 2+, there is no chance of failure if the scroll is in the WOO's grimoire.
On failure to read or copy a scroll the scroll itself is consumed.
If one fails to copy a scroll into a book half the pages the spell would have filled are lost from the book.
If one fails to copy a spell from a book onto a scroll the spell is erased from the grimoire and the pages it once occupied are lost.

Grimoire
A Wizard of Orbs is able to retain more spells in a Grimoire then may be retained by memory alone.
A blank and simple grimoire costs 50gp + 2gp per page. More elaborate and secure Grimoires exist and they are much more expensive.
A WOO does not start play with a grimoire unless they purchase one with starting funds.
It takes One hour for a WOO to memorize a spell from a grimoire.

Casting spells from a Grimoire. A spell may be cast from a grimoire but this is risky as the spell and it's pages could be lost from the volume. It Takes 2minutes to cast a spell from a Grimoire and requires the appropriate orb. The spell will function on a d6 roll of 3+ but the spell (and pages ) ar elost on a roll of 1.


Determine Starting Spells and Initial Orbs
A Wizard of Orbs starts play knowing 3 spells total. A WOO may select 2 of them (from the chart above), the third is randomly rolled. The starting WOO should be cautious as some powerful spells may be temptign early in their career but they will lack the power to use them effectively (as determined by Grade of Orb the WOO can handle and the Grade of Orb used)

Third spell Known
Die Roll
Orb and Spell
2
Void Orb- Reveal Magic
3
Light Orb- Alarm
4
Fire Orb- Protection From Fire
5
Crystal Ball- Clairaudience
6
Sword Orb- Call Sword
7
Light Orb- Lamp
8
Wizard Seed- Tangle Weed
9
Crystal Ball- Obfuscation
10
Ice Orb- Protection From Cold
11
Light Orb- Glory
12
Void Orb- Protection from Magic

If the spell rolled is one the WOO already selected they may select any spell from the third spell table.

A WOO will start play with one orb for each spell known, additional orbs must be purchased with starting funds.




Orb Devices
Special Orb devices exist to enhance and improve the power of A Wizard of Orbs. All of the listed devices allow a WOO to use appropriate spells as if the orb was in hand if the device is properly worn or deployed.

Each device will be limited by what grades of orbs may be attached depending on the material of the device, lesser orbs may be attached, greater ones may not.

Orb Device List
Device
Orb
Count
Orbs
Held
Base
Cost
No. Carried
Orb Pommel
1
1
50
Counts as 1 of up to 3
Orb Hilt
1
3
200
Counts as 1 of up to 3
Orb Ring
0
1
100
1 per hand.
Orb Crown
1
5
400
Counts as 1 of up to 3
Rod of Orbs
1
4
300
1 rod or 1 staff
Staff or Orbs
2
8
500
1 rod or 1 staff
Orb Band
0
2
250
1 per limb
Chamber
0
6
300
One may be carried
Orb Count- counts against total number of orbs WOO may carry (unless empty)

Orb Pommels and Orb Hilts must be attached to appro iate weapons. A wizard gem inserted in either can be used by a non-wizard but has a 1in6 chance of destroying the entire device when used.
Orb Crown must be worn to be used.
A WOO of 8th level or higher may cast a spell (using an orb on the rod) and strike with the rod in a round.
A WOO of 11th level or higher may cast a spell (using an orb in the rod) and strike with the staff in the same round.
Orb bands may be worn on any limb, one per limb and must be worn for the orb to be used.
An Orb Chamber is a sealed container to carry multiple orbs, an orb must be removed from the chamber to be delpoyed. They are complex puzzle boxes and if one hasn't opend it befor eit takes 10 minutes. If one has opened it before it takes 3 rounds (orb may be deployed at the end of the 3 rounds).

Orb Device Materials
Material
Maximum Orb Grade
Cost Multiplier
Brass
I
x1
Silver
II
x5
Hepatizon
III
x10
Orachalcum
IV
x20
Galvrin
V
x50
Aethril
VI
x100


Using an Orb Device is not without financial/material risk. When the last orb in a device is used roll against the grade of the orb with 1d12 if the roll is less then or equal to the power grade of the last orb used the device crumbles into inert valueless powder.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Old House Rule

Here's an old house rule I used years back but seem to have stopped using in recent years for no good reason.

The Risk of Breaking Down Doors, Bending Bars, and Other Feats of Strength

 PCs can try again an again to break open doors, bend bars, or other related fits of strength but not with impunity. The first roll has no risk, the second and further tries by an individual are  risky becasue there's a 1 in 6 (non-cumulative) chance of suffering a hernia which limits one to half speed and -2 to hit rolls and saves that require moving, it takes 3 days of travel free rest to recover from this condition. 
If three attempts have already been made on a specific feat of strenght for the day and it's still your first turn you run the risk of attempting what others have failed at, but you do get a save to avoid the hernia on your 1st try (if 3 other previous rolls failed).




Why did...

Why did the hipster burn his mouth?


House Rules Madness or Confomirty

Getting a good look at how some folks did dungeon adventure/RPG 40 years ago got me thinking what would be more entertaining to see these days dungeon adventures written to specific rule sets/edition of a game or house rules madness? 

Why do so many of us keep reworking the wheel, we have the wheel, we have most of the wagon there are plenty of reference points out there that house-ruling can be a little more extreme and be embodied in the adventures/dungeos people share online (and elsewhere). Back in the good old days I didn't blink an eye at lifting a RuneQuest, Chivlary&Sorcery, Tunnels-n-Trolls, or FantasyTrip scenario I came across and using it in the game i was running (most likely D&D).

Some folks get really rigid on converting from one game to another or from one variant to another.  Loose conversion guidelines are sure handy but it isn't really necessary to be so gosh-darned conformist.  I managed a campaign that ran about two years using the BFRPG rules and used modules and materials written for D&D editions and Simulacra that spanned decades (including originak D&D, B/X D&D, AD&D 1st and 2nd ed,LL, S&W, and 3.X) . Back when I ran a 3e campaign I used plenty of original judgesguild material along with modern stuff and the players never noticed I was converting on the fly 99% of the time.

I think so many of us are chaining ourselves down trying to emulate style and format for specific versions of the game(s). I myself seem to enjoy the less picky adventures.  Time to get more creative.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Cargo Cult D&D Relic

On the informative blog Playing At The World blogger and game historian Jon Peterson has posted what is liklelythe earliest known variant of D&D: Rules To The Game of Dungeon.  It's a retyping and partial scan of a set of rules written by the then teenaged author some 40 years ago with copious and informative notes by Peterson.

There are some quirky oddities in this rough relic of an age gone by. This is D&D as remembered and reworked by someone who played it (or one very much like it) in the earliest days of the game. This is a sampling of the cargo cult nature of early D&D back at the dawn of the RPG hobby.

A few curiosities of note: a dungeon adventure is called "The Descent" (how's that not totally cool?), magic-use is do-dad oriented where a spell caster buys (or fashions) the physical embodiment of spells. Priests can heal but lack the ability to turn the undead. Characters can have sons, daughters, or apprentices as heirs depending on class and chance. Levels start at a highly numbered rank and work down to 1 (for "1st class" I assume). Monsters have specific score certain weapon must get to harm the monster. The equipment list is quirky, humorous, and a little crazy.

If you like old D&D and want to take a look at how some folks did it back in the day go check out the blog entry for the pdf and discussion of a couple early adventures written for Rules To The Game of Dungeon. I myself really hope more of such materials comes to light as there were years of game playing, innovation, and interpretation that were and are little known outside small bands of players (if even outside a single backroom).