Sunday, August 30, 2009

Notebook Dive: Swords of Tantoom

Digging through some notebooks revealed this page:
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Swords of Tantoom

Planetary Romance.
races-
High Men- civilized men

Amazons- matriarchal warrior culture

Pygmy- diminutive race of humans that dwell in remote undesirable locations.

Thron- Great, massive shaggy brutes. Noble but savage warriors.

Rhakne- inhuman 6 armed mammal/insectiod warriors. Can manage 3 normal weapons and 2 shields in combat. 1st strike is at full chance, 2nd at -2, 3rd at -3. they are more fragile and weaker then their fearsome appearance would convey.

Slorb- Bloated, spiked amphibians. Not trusted by all men.

Equipment-
Needle Guns - armed with toxins.
Rocket Rifles- different type of rocket charges.
Arming Sword, Saber. 1d8
Broadsword, Long Sword 1d10
War-Sword, Bastard Sword, Two handed Sword 1d12
Back-sword, Cutlass, short sword 1d6

Campaign ideas-
Random Canal Table

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With all the recent Swords and Planets posts I've been seeing lately on Blogs I'm inspired.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Boggins, Trobs and Yogs oh My.

Years back my group was clearly becoming a little jaded by the plain old D&D humanoid races. It started me shaking things up a little. A variety of familiar but not identical humanoids followed. Here they are:

Boggins- stats as per goblins. When in a group of 6-12 one boggin may cast a spell once a turn. In a group of 13-99 A boggin will cast a spell every other round. In groups of 100 or more 1 spell will be cast each round. Boggins like to live in tunnels and halls under the forest floors.

Trobs- stats as trolls, they are ash white and don't regenerate. They are blinded by full daylight. They prefer large spears which they may throw 12/24/36 for 2d6+2 damage. They move silently 50% of the time. Trobs like dark forests and sleep in lairs dug out under tree roots.

Yogs- large ogre like humanoids with the stats of hill giants. There is a 1 in 3 chance any ranged spell cast at them will be reflected away in a random direction at up to half it's normal range. Yogs like to live in marshes where they cool themselves durign the day. They can hold their breath under water for up to 2 hours but are not otherwise overtly aquatic.

Troggins- gnoll strength goblinoids (same stats) with the ability to hide in darkness 90% of the time. Infravision will not reveal them in hiding and they will always gain surprise against folks that don't use torches or lanterns. Troggins are 6-7' tall grey skinned goblinoids who live in tunnels in the mountains and deep under the earth.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Underground Jobs

Just an idea for now. Surley will flesh it out in the future.
This popped into my head while watching a movie about an underground civilization "So that's what all those humanoids doing in a dungeon "
I came up with this list of job titles/roles-

Messenger , Drainage, Mold Scraper, Root Chopper,Websweep,Carpenter,Mason, Trap-smith, Locksmith, Rat Catcher, Spider Milker, Gong Farmer, Miner/Digger, Blacksmith Weaponeer, Armorer, Cobbler, Porter, Fungus Gardner, Jellyherd, Roottapper, Wormcharmer, Roustabout, Lamp-lighter, Snail-herd, Puppeteer and Drink-bearer.

Just have to work up the actual jobdescriptions and likely tools and hopefully my dungeons will develop a little more life.

oh yeah the movie was called "City of Ember"

Monday, August 10, 2009

On Boxed sets

Popular wisdom for RPG fans and companies say boxed sets don't sell to gamers? Gamers want big books and lots of them.

Oh really? What is it about ever shrinking sales figures of RPGs that supports this?

What about these stories ?

http://www.suntimes.com/lifestyles/family/1701986,HOF-News-EasyGame06.article

http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS212196+25-Mar-2009+BW20090325

http://buffalogamebuffsblog.com/2009/05/14/2009-board-game-sales-are-looking-promising/

http://money.cnn.com/2009/07/10/news/economy/board_games_resurgence.fortune/

There is a market for traditional and non-traditional "board games" and RPG publishers are missing out for some bizarre reason.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Crumbling Ruined Street Events

The following are a number of events that can be used to dress-up wanderings through post apocalyptic city ruins. To be inserted into a random events/encounters chart or fit into the local ruin key.

Glass from high overhead rains down. Anyone underneath must make save or suffer 2d12 damage.

A Facade collapses. Everyone must flee or suffer 6d6 damage with a 20% chance of being trapped under debris.

Ancient grate gives way dropping PC into sub basement. 3d6 damage in fall.

Street collapses into old subway. 4d6 damage in fall. 45% chance of trapping a victim in debris.

Fierce wind whips up street, half move rate to move against.

Echoes, every sound the party makes is amplified but the acoustics of the ruins here.

A running automobile can be heard in the distance.

A normal human falls from the heights of the buildings above. Searching pockets or nearby rooftop will reveal a note indicating the person was a sleeper or shelter dweller who came out recently but couldn't endure the world the way it was anymore.

A flowerpot hits one of the PCs on the head. (2d6 damage)

The street is full of human bones for the next couple dozen yards.

Vehicles are piled across street so as to form a barrier.

Boards with nails litter the street/sand walk. Anyone moving faster then a walk has to make a save to avoid stepping on a nail, 1d4 damage, it may stick and slow movement as well..

A nearby telephone/3d-wrist band rings but no one is there if it is answered.

"No Muties Allowed" sign with a couple mutant skulls placed as warning.

Rooftop Machine gun nest clearly visible overlooking street. If PCs investigate they discover it's a sham.

Scarecrows line the street for a couple blocks.

Mannequins placed about street as if normal pre-ruin life was still happening.

Christmas lights powered by small solar cells illuminate a two block area.

At least a dozen cars show signs of having been stripped for parts on the side of the street recently.

Fire Hydrant bursts spraying all nearby in old filthy water. (disease check?)

A row of intact parking meters. If tampered with a security robot may shop up in 2-12 rounds.

An ancient skeleton with placard reading "the end is near" is slumped on the stoop of a nearby doorway.

A functioning traffic signal.

A mutant human child is wandering alone in the street holding a doll.

Cockroaches scurry away in every direction as the party nears.

An ever growing hoard of mostly normal looking rodents is trailing the PCs, it will fade away each time it's attacked and be gone for good on the 3rd or 4th attack against them. After the 2nd attack roll a wandering mutant check.

Remains of a lynched human dangles from a light pole.

A high pile of bones lies on the street clearly under a window a couple of stories above.

A desperate mutant is handcuffed to a pole, left there by a police-bot for jay-walking. The mutant may join the party for 1d4 days if freed.

Animated bill-board comes to life for the next 2d6 days before fading away, the chance of a random encounter is triple normal during the time the bill-board functions.

Fire alarm goes off in nearby building.

Gun shots/ laser blasts can be heard in the distance.

"Adult" Blow-up dolls decorate the entrance to a building.

A big pile of now empty plastic water bottles in an old crate in the middle of the street.

"Robots Working" sign and traffic barrier.

A pair of serviceable shoes dangles from some old power lines overhead.

A radio blares out loud oldies for a few seconds from a window overhead.

A clothing line with clean laundry dangles across the street/alley.

A ball bounces down a flight of steps or rolls down the street.

A child's doll activated by the footsteps of the approaching PCs speaks out "ma-ma. ma-ma"

A crashed military air transport lodged in building a couple stories over the street. All useful gear has long since been scrounged.

A thirsty mutant pit-pony with a riding saddle wanders down the street.

A crater in the middle of the street.

A guns hots rings-out as a bullet glances off a surface near a PCs head.

A line of children's shoes in a cross walk.

Mutant pigeons burst out of a doorway or window as PCs pass, they fly off, everything is calm afterward...

Wolfrats can be heard baying in the distance.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Hungry Dead Reaction Table

I've always felt monster reaction tables are a pretty useful tool that is still under utilized. Sure one need not slavishly roll on them all the time as the adventure and the situation on hand can certainly dictate the likely monster reaction. It's fun while DMing to have to improvise or do things a little different.T he biggest impediment to using a universal reaction table for all such reactions is just that it's universal nature. Charts for a wider variety of situations or encounters give more room to define and spring forth new creations from entries on more specific tables.

Here now is my Hungry Dead Reaction Table, for use in situations when one has to deal with brainless, semi-brainless or gourmandish undead

Hungry Dead Reaction Table
2 ..... The undead seem oddly distracted by something else and don't pay you any attention
3-4 ... The undead seem confused by the stimulus of fresh meat (roll again at -2)
5-6 ... the undead are surprised by the walking talking meat before them, they stand there for a
round salivating (roll again in 1 round)
7 ... The undead are thrilled to see the PCs, they howl, scream, moan, groan or murmur "brains"as appropriate to draw more of their ilk to the oncoming feast (roll again +3)
8-9 ... the undead stumble onward ready to attack
10-12 ... the hungry dead leap forth ready to bite, gnash and tear.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ghost of Gaming Past


My oldest child being chastised by The Ghost of Gaming Past for his choice of game related materials. ;-)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Reality Checking

I must confess over the years I have spawned the gamut from wargaming DM to stream of consciousness DM, hard core rules stickler to whatever is fun. Time to time I've caught myself using a real world prop to show folks no you can't do that.

The sword slung over the back: a player argued it's work for his longsword I told him he was wrong (and I should have let it drop there and let him play with a goofy looking character) the argument raged detracting from game play until I went and got my practice sword of the time (a wooden katana of some sort), we rigged the scabbard carefully as we could and low and behold the players arms just weren't long enough to draw the sword with it slung over his shoulder.

We can fight in this space: A player argued two characters could most certainly fit in a 5' space and fight with one using a polearm and the other a sword. The argument was stealing game time but I went and got this big long staff my dad had at the time (probably only 6' long) and a new boffer sword I had created, the player and stood in the hall next to my parents bathroom, it's about 5' by 6' and we pretended we were fighting someone in front of us. After getting boffed a number of times the arguing player relented.

It' shouldn't take me that long to search a door: a player didn't think it would take more then a minute to search a door properly (I think I was using 2-5, 1 minute rounds back then) that any fool could do it in ten or 20 seconds. We argued, I c am eup with a plan I old the player I was going to rig a trap the same one I used as an alarm to let me know when my little brother or parent had been in my room when I wasn't there. After rigging the "trap" the player was let lose to find it. After about thirty seconds he found the penny wedged in the door jam and announced it was there I said "fine open the door" so the player did and the other penny secreted along the top edge of the door fell to the floor "oh look, ANY fool can't find a trap in 10 or 20 seconds".

Sneaking in armor: Turns out you can sneak in all sorts of armor. I learned this from experience playing LARPS I had this ridiculously heavy and noisy set of scalemail, thin metal scales on a leather backing, I looked like a disco ball in the sun light and it sounded like someone throwing silverware down a staircase when I ran. Not wanting to have 4 to 40 fellow larpers in elf ears and over sized padded weapons to beat me savagely while night questing I simply learned how to move and make no noise in that very noisy suit of armor, the trick was slow and calculated moves that probably slowed my travel speed down to about 1/10th normal but I most certainly could sneak in cumbersome poorly designed clanking armor. I'm certainly not a high level thief in real life either.

Reality checking can be silly, waste a lot of time but now and again a little actual physical experience really sets the record straight.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

[Real Life] It's A Boy !!!

Just got home minutes ago with baby Quinn. He's a squeaky squirmy babbler who already pushes himself with his arms and looks side to side with his head to specifically look at things, as best as his eyes will cooperate, and is pushing himself with his feet already to scoot into more comfortable positions.