Saturday, December 31, 2011

Kids in the Hall Saturday


Hope you all have fun but don't let your snowflake become a blizzard.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Atari Force

Sisko's Blog of Geekery does a synopsis of the best Space Opera comic book in the history of awesome.

The Mitre of Saint Mullet

This simple, onion shaped hat was once worn by the holy man known as St. Mullet. When worn by priests of a similar alignment (GM's choice)it conveys a medium bonus while casting spells and resisting magic.
If the hat is worn consistently for more than a week, the wearer will discover that the hair in at the back of their head is growing at an accelerated rate (but will return to normal growth in about three days/hair extends 5 inches). After two weeks, the bonuses are present even when the mitre is not worn.

However if the new hairstyle is not maintained, the bonus is lost when the hair is cut or grows out (approx 1 month).

Trollstone Caverns

Did an inaugural Solo Run through using Trollstone Caverns adventure included with the 5th Ed Rule Book. It went pretty well and to my amazement, Master Darkberry didn't wind up rotating on spit over some orc's cooking fire. He is however currently trapped in the Caverns unable to solve the riddle of the Sphinx, find the secret door (lousy low IQ score!) defeat the giant Silver Serpent or figure out a way to sneak past the party of orcs currently guarding the exit.

The designers did include a blank door for a GM to expand the dungeon,so I may use that to give Darkberry a chance to escape. Looking over the first few modules, Labyrinth seems to be the best jumping off point here for a low level character.

I'm happy with the Tunnels and Trolls system so far, the only thing I'm not terribly keen on so far is the simplicity of the monster stats. I do like how the system handles multiple monsters (two or more opponents can get deadly, fast), but I don't like how the stats have a hard time reflecting special attacks or abilities. This doesn't give the monsters much flavor and in the end you might as well be battling a statistic. The tinkerer in me can't help but think there has to be a better way and I have a few ideas I might try.

That and the low number of available monsters inspired me to grab my old D&D Monster Manual, my Talislanta Bestiary and any other crittercatalogue I could find and start thinking about conversions. The Wandering Monster table I plan on building is gonna be sick!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Rules of Play

In honor of my first ever Red Box D&D character, Darkberry, I was trying for a Hobbit thief. Did you know that Tunnels and Trolls 5th Ed doesn’t have a Thief class? It does have a ‘Rogue’ and while supposedly modeled on the Grey Mouser; is in fact in a weird mix of Warrior and Wizard without the benefits of either and no real bonuses on its own.

Still, I put ‘Rogue’ down on the Character sheet so Rogue it is. Unfortunately, reading up in the rules, I learned that since I had rolled a 6 for his STR he won’t be able to cast spells yet (need at least a STR 10 to cast). Then I rolled on the Height/Weight tables and came up with 2’6” and 100lbs; chubby little midget! I have a certain fondness for young Master Kheebler Darkberry, but methinks he won’t be around long.
While I am committed to the idea of playing the game straight there are a few things I will have to GMinize. Figuring out the vagaries of Magic can wait until Kheebler gets up to 10 STR or I roll up a Wizard (whichever comes first), but what I really need are some Rules and a Setting.

The Rules of Play
-Play by the Rules. All of them.
-Random is good! Obey the dice.
-Character death is character death. However, this is a continuous story so if a character dies in the dungeon, there is a chance that any loot they collected will be there if the next character can find the body. I’m going to say that, provided the character did not die in a manner that destroys the body and all equipment (the gullet of a dragon, fall into a lava pit, for example), there is a 2 in 6 chance that they body is still there (and not dragged away and eaten or rotted away or become undead etc).
-I’m sure I’ll be adding more. My next Excel projects are to create a random Treasure Generator and a Wandering Monster generator. May even try for a map at some point.

The Setting: Welcome to the Nether Regions

For 500 years, the evil Sorcerer Zurn Ballcock, guarded by the terrible dragon Snoggs, ruled with an iron fist over The Kingdom. Finally, group of friends banded together to steal some treasure from Snogg's horde overthrow the Sorcerer and put an end to his horrifying rule.

Their names have gone down in history:

King Khurgen the Good (once a northern barbarian called The Kannibal): who went on to marry Zurn’s daughter and rule the Kingdom. He then moved the capital from Zuen's ruined city of Midden to the southern city of Sunbeach and rechristened it Khurgania.

Sissy Bignleafy: the Elvin Wizard-Warrior who went on to lead a revolution to overthrow the Queen of the Elfwood.

Hugfoot the Hobbit: incinerated by Snoggs while trying to steal the Great Golden Guzzundar.

Lightbottom the Fairy: who died heroically being crushed under a fifty ton slab

Patty O’Phernychur: the leprechaun who disappeared in the Beer Swamps.

And finally Zagnut the Wizard; rewarded for his service to the King with the Barony of Midden and all the accompanying lands.

Unfortunately the lands in question were the vast, unexplored waste known as the Nether Regions. Discouraged, but not undaunted, Zagnut set out with a handful of retainers to the ruined city of Midden, once the capital of Zurn’s mighty empire. There he established an inn and tavern called ‘Fortune Favors’. His retainers opened a smithy, a general store and a gift shop. Together, they make their living equipping bright-eyed adventures seeking their own fame and fortune in the bleak Nether Regions.

Our adventure begins one morning when a young Hobbit enters the Fortune Favors...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Year's Gaming Resolution

Please bear with me; I promise that this will get around to RPGs in a sec…

Anyone who has been forced to navigate the treacherous waters of the medical system knows that it consists mostly of waiting: waiting for tests, waiting for results, waiting for appointments to get the results. Waiting for another appointment to see if the results mean you have to wait for another test to see if you need a special test … and so on.

I think they do it deliberately so that by the time they actually give you a diagnosis you're so happy just to KNOW you don't care what it is; "It's an alien embryo embedded in my chest that will tear itself out in an explosion of bone, gristle and intestines? Thank you, Doctor! Thank you!"

"Seriously, this didn't turn up on one of the first twenty X-rays?"

I'm currently in the "waiting for more tests" phase, but the point to all this is that there is the chance that I will be facing a (hopefully short) convalescence in the (hopefully near) future. This got me thinking about what I might do with that time, gaming wise. I did a little net-cruzin' and came across this golden-oldie.
In Jr. High, a buddy down the street had T&T and I think we might have played it once, but we were so used to D&D rules by that point weren't interested in variants.

But I remembered that T&T had a bunch of Solo Play adventures. Hey, why not? I may or may not have to go through any extended recuperation time, but Real Life has scattered my regular gaming group to the far winds anyway and I don't have the time right now to set up a regular Google+ game.

So my New Year's Gaming Resolution is to play as many T&T Solo Games as possible. I will play using the straight 5th Ed Rules (encumbrance and everything!), then maybe try my hand at writing one of my own.

For the past few weeks I've been scouring ebay, calling some old buddies (Thanks to Matt for donating his old 5th edition rulebook!) and building some Excel sheets to help me out with the heavy crunching. I also found this particularly awesome site. This weekend I plan on beginning to delve deep into "Buffalo Castle".

Anyone else have a New Year's Gaming Resolution?

Monday, December 26, 2011

House Rule for Merchants

I generally have merchants sell at about 10% above listed price which gives me some room for barganing if the player wants to haggle.

Merchants will buy items at 3-50% of listed value. With a Haggle/Barter roll (or equivalent) they can go as high as 75%. A critical success may raise the price to 80-90%. Beyond that the merchant will refuse to purchase the item. 
The Kabul cooking fat trader in his shop

9 Magical Effects for Magical Candles, Torches and Lanterns

All of these effects work equally well for any lightsource unless otherwise specifically noted.
            This item will never burn itself out.
Summons Shadowling
            The smoke from flame is a small spirit that will perform simple tasks for the person who lit the wick (torch). The spirit is released once the wick (torch) has burned away.
Fire Mace (Torch only)
            This torch is made of solid iron and can be used as a minor magical weapon.
Invisible Lantern
            The light from this torch can only be seen by the person carrying the object. To everyone else, the room remains unlit
            This torch creates a thick warm smoke that causes everyone who inhales it to become calm, a little silly, absent minded and very hungry. If the person inhaling the smoke fails a wisdom roll, they become paranoid, dizzy with a chance of summoning 1d6 Flying Rainbow Bunnies or other psychic predators.
            This torch creates a Sphere of Blackness equal to 20'. Infrared and ultraviolet vision will not penetrate the darkness.
The 8 Candles of Shabragdingo (Candle Only)
            This candle is made of black wax and has strange runic symbols carved down the side. If eight of the candles are brought together and burned simultainiously, they will summon the demon lord Shabragdingo. Unfortunately, the creator of the candles purposely did not mentioned the ninth candle … the one that allows you to control the newly summoned demon.
Of Purity
If this item is used to start a fire, the resulting blaze will purify any food prepared. Water will e boiled of poisons or impunity. Similarly, rags boiled in the water and used on a wound will prevent infection and half the recuperation time.  
Twice a day, with an accompanying trigger word this item will create a 10' fireball that can be launched at an enemy up to 25m away.


File:Suushi Inugami.jpg
A Japanese dog spirit created by burying a dog up to its neck while leaving food just outside it's reach. Once the unfortunate animal has died, it will eat the food as an offering and become complyant to the one who create it. The animal is a powerful healer and can cure most illnessess by possessing the inflicted. Side effects include dog-like behavior. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Classic Japanese Star Wars Art

Via: Retronaut

Kids in the Hall Saturday

We take a break from our regularly scheduled KitH Saturday to bring you Monty Python's (NSFW-if you're offended by plastic boobs) vision of Christmas in Heaven!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Unspoken

It began sometime before the Rasure, when a band of the Red Prince rebels ambushed a company of the Tarkhan’s guard on as it marched through the valley of Starrvale towards the city of Aeternus.

The ambush turned into a running battle that spilled into city. Reinforcements were called by both sides and soon a bloody and protracted war erupted that raged for months and brought to ruin the city was once called Eternal.

Those who witnessed the event from afar say that on the night of the Rasure, the skies above Aeternus lit up with a colour previously unseen by mortal eyes. There was a flash of blinding light, a mighty inrush of wind followed by a thunderous roar that shook the earth. And then Aeternus was gone.

When the ground cooled enough to approach, the first to reach the craterous waste that would come to be called the Lake of Eternal Tears, where shocked to find survivors. Every man and child, woman and old, soldier and citizen lay broken and blooded, but alive in the still smoking ruins.

As the days past they discovered that when they tried to speak of what happened that day, they could not. Not a whisper or a hint could pass their lips. Nor could they write, draw or signal in any way of their experience. Some concluded that they simply could not remember and left it at that. Others have heard the terrified screams that vomit from their throats as they sleep and have looked deep into their hollow, haunted eyed of the survivors and know that the unuttered memories haunt them still.

As the years dragged on another disturbing fact began to emerge. The survivors, who came to calls themselves the Unspoken and wearing a green scarf across their mouths, learned they could not die. Barring violence or malfeasance, they face the years unchanged and immutable. Then there is the tale told in dark taverns that when an Unspoken is killed, the body disappears in the same strange inrush of air that accompanied the disappearance of the city Eternal.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Slave/Servant Background Table

Do I really need a reason to post this?

Watched the 1959 version of 'The Mummy' starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee over the weekend. I had DVR'd it thinking it was the 1939 original. However since it was Cushing and Lee, I won't complain.

The best part of the movie is the conversation that the hero (Cushing) has with the "evil" Egyptian about the removal of relics from Egypt. I'm sure that to a 1959 audience, Cushing's argument that the relics belong in a British museum made sense, but to modern eyes it is the Egyptian who is in the right.

In fact, it is very easy to view this movie completely reversed from its original intent. Cushing and team of his ham-fisted "archaeologists" blasting their way into tombs that have survived unmolested form 4,000 years, yanking out only the artefacts that have ascetic or curiosity value and promply sent them off to be shipped, chipped, sunbleached, manhandled and breathed all over by millions of bored British school kids.

These rich morons scientists steal the body of the High Priestess and then have the nerve to be outraged when the current High Priest and the Undead guardian of the tomb try to get her back. The movies was much more fun, on the whole when viewed as a revenge thriller where the Mummy is mad as hell, and not gonna take it anymore!

All this is not really relevant, but I was watching the ancient Egyptian scenes with all the references to 'Nubian Slaves' and it got me thinking. Slaves and Servants are usually just background pieces, but they are still people with hopes, dreams, talents and secrets. This is probably utterly useless, but I came up with a chart should a GM ever need a quickie history/story point for a slave or servant.
Roll 2D20
2. Beloved King of a faraway land who was betrayed by an evil relative. A band of adventurers are out looking for him
3. A hated Emperor who was deposed. Any native of his land will try and kill him on site.
4. A crazed psychokiller who has been preying on the neighbours.
5. Is in love with one of the master's children. The slave is loved in return, but certain to be killed or sold if they are caught.
6. Is having an affair with the master /master's wife
7. Is a powerful mage who has been cut off from his power by a rival.
8. An extra dimensional being/alien here to study humanity
9. An exiled and amnesic god
10. The master in disguise who posses as a slave out of some eccentricity or to evaluate guests
11. Is proud to be a slave
12. Is a vampire or werewolf
13. Is a spy for a rival house or merchant.
14. A simple fisherman who was captured by pirates
15. Is traumatized by seeing his wife killed and his children stolen
16. A captured soldier
17. An addict
18. A convert to a dangerous new cult
19. Possessed by a demon
20. He who was foretold in prophesy
21. A Hero character in the middle of a story point (picture Conan or Farfid/Grey Mouser)
22. Bitter and about to betray their master
23. An immortal
24. A ghost
25. The last of his kind
26. Cursed to serve the family until the curse is broken.
27. Indentured and looking for any way to pay off their debt.
28. Educated
29. A talented artist
30. A eunuch
31. A talented swordsman / martial artist
32. Sibling to one of the party.
33. Most loyal servant to the family, no matter what happens
34. A prostitute on the side
35. Knows a terrible secret
36. The most beautiful person in the world
37. A carrier of the plague
38. A time traveller from the future trying to stop a disaster
39. Knows the location of the treasure
40. A genie ready to give a wish to the first person who says 'Please' (because who says please to a slave?). 

Undead Rosary

A rosary dating from 1500 that shows the picture of a woman or man on one side, their skeleton on the other, plus these beads that show half face, half skeleton.
via: Retronaut.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Kids in the Hall Saturday

Buddy Holly was kind of a dick.

In their final season, the KitH started ignoring the CBC censors.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Festivus!

via: Lady, That's My Skull

Magic Llama

House Rule:Touching a llama gains the character a +1 to their next dice roll.

The animation isn't standing up well, but Jimmy Neutron is still an amusing film.

Not Dead Yet

My posting has slowed down some. Some of it is Holiday related, the rest is because I'm actually working on something!

In the meantime everything I happen to like on Netflix is disappearing and being replaced by religious documentaries apparently. The Michael Palin travelogues have just gone I noticed, so has all the MST3K, the Discworld movies and now there are noticably less Doctor Who episodes.

I've been watching them before they disappear and just saw 'The Three Doctors' for the first time. The Second Doctor has always been one of my favorites so it was nice to see him back.

What struck me was Omega, a genuinely tragic villan in an awesome Dark Helmet costume. Omega was the Time Lord who invented time-travel, but had to create a supernova in order to make it work. Unfortunately, in the resulting explosion, he was sucked into the resulting black hole and became stuck in an anti-matter universe. Assumed dead by the other Time Lords he was trapped alone for millenia alone until he found a way to strike back at those he thought abandonned him.
Omega learns to manipulated his new universe and creates an environment that one o the Doctor's refers to as a 'funhouse'. Omega's final fate (in this arc anyway) is actually fairly tragic.

A former hero now legend who has become insane and vengeful, trapped in a funhouse dimension held together by his own will is not a bad idea for an adventure.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Whispering Pearls

This method of spell preservation was created by the Incantor Larl'Olarl, who once lived in a sprawling manse on the Green Beaches of the Quell Sea. It is thought that the soundless waves of the Quell gave rise to the noise-intolerant oysters that lay buried the weird green sand.

Larl discovered that if he pried open the shell and whispered a secret or a spell between the lips of the oyster, that the sound would irritate the mollusk to such a degree that it would begin to coat the sound with nacre. Over time, a shining pearl would develop around the sound, its colour a milky transparency. When held to the eye it appeared as if the pearl was filled with slowly moving shapes like a tilted hour glass or frozen cloudstuff.

There is no way to tell what such a treasure contains until placed in the mouth. The next breath from the lungs will release the secret or the spell, said in the same tongue and voice of the original speaker.

If a pearl containing a spell is placed into the mouth of an Incantor, they may speak that spell as needed, but only that spell. Scribbled notes found in the ruins of Larl's manse have hinted that attempting to speak a different spell with the pearl still remaining on one's tongue may have consequences both dramatic and dire.

The words contained within can only be released by disolving the pearl in vinegar.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Jewelled Skeletons

via Retronaut

Great Lich ideas or as creepy additions to a treasure horde.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I can no longer call myself a Old Skool Gamer

The only D&D question for 'Sports and Recreation' PIE in Trivial Pursuit-Pop Culture Edition and I got it WRONG!

It was a description of this picture;

and I said Player's Guide .... ARRRGH!!

Kids in the Hall Saturday

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Rules of Magic

The rules governing magic from a bunch of TV shows, movies and book series.via IO9.

Save Greendale!

Because Network television seems determined to make me spend even more time on Netflix, they have stuck Community on hiatus.

I just realized that my DVR is set to record only a handful of shows, and most of those are old brit-coms off the religous network (Black Books!) or old cartoons off toon retro (the Real Ghostbusters!). Community was THE remaining network show that I actually looked forward too each week. Sure I think Modern Family is funny and I continue to watch Big Bang out of some morbid curiosity - that is rapidly fading. I'm convinced that I'm going to tune in and see that they built a UrkleSheldon-Bot (or have they actually done this already?), but I genuinely LIKE Community. It is clever and funny and fast, it has Chevy Chase in it, they played D&D, had an anime sequence and I seriously want a Louis Guzman statue for my garden. Are these on ThinkGeek yet?

Cancelling Community is just going to be another Arrested Development sized mistake that makes the network suites look even further out of touch with the modern world. I like to picture them as being all white males about sixty years old, wearing Miami Vice pastel suits with the sleeves rolled up and laughing themselves sick over reruns of Growing Pains.

This has gone on much longer than I intended. Go Human Beings!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Half Elves

The Atlantasia quote below seems to be causing a stir:

On Atlantasia you will NEVER find a half-breed elf (if a female elf was ever raped by another race she would commit suicide). (uh, so what would happen if a male elf had relations with a female human?)

I can't say I would ever use this in my games, or even that it makes sense, but if that is the way he wants to run his table, leave him be.

I was never a fan of half-elves personally because I find once you start allowing cross-breeds you end up with that character who is half human half dragon half elf who was raised by ninja pirates and taught to fight by a rengade drow swordmaster and so on. I usually solved the problem by simpley having humans and elves (all demi-humans) unable to produce offspring. They are different species after all.

In general I also try to play up the fairie elements of 'Elves' and fairies, from what I've read, tend towards the sexually capricious. Even Tinkerbell has attended at least one orgy (seriously, read Peter Pan carefully). I'll leave you to look that up yourselves because there is no way I am typing that into Google.

Steampunk Motorcycles

Via: Retronaut

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Muppets

The Muppets movie meanwhile, were pretty freakin' great. Not quite up to the originals, but I don't suppose that is possible with Jim Henson gone. Still, more jokes stuck than missed and the music borders on the awesome (though your fondness for 'Flight of the Concords' style music may vary).

For me the moment that closest achieves perfection is the barbershop quarter rendition of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'. This is SO something Henson would do to take the pretension out of one of the most overplayed and overrated songs in rock history.

For sticking points: I felt that there the movie lacked a certain zany chaos, the voices weren't always perfect (Fozzie seemed to be the least consistent) and poor Walter is just dull. His 'talent' comes right out of left field (and therefore feels unearned) and I couldn't help but feel that it was an attempt by Segal to get a version of himself enshrined into Muppet lore (not that I can blame him). However, I have a feeling that as soon as Segal vacates the producer's chair, poor Walt will end up in a box somewhere next to Roosevelt Franklin, Digit and Clifford.
Loot: Fart Shoes
Created by the wizard Wocka Wocka, this item appears to be a normal pair of leather shoes with sheep bladders afixed to the heels.

When worn the shoes make a constant amusing tooting sound, but twice a day (one for each shoe) they can release a cloud of noxious gas that will incapacitate anyone standing behind the wearer.

Halloween 2007

Netflix has this mislabeled as the original Halloween, but we decided to watch it anyway.

It is the very definition of 'pointless remake': The attempt to give Mike Meyers some psychological depth is laughable (he was child sociopath who liked masks and had a dick for a stepfather? Quick, somebody be surprised!) and the last half of the movie is yet another boring slasher chase which pits Mike against an extremely forgettable protagonist. There is nothing new or surprising or scary here, so do yourself a favour and go watch the original instead.

My biggest problem came from a mistaken impression that I'm convinced was deliberate on the part of the filmmakers. Given that I'm pretty sure that Mike had been in jail for fifteen years, I thought that the three girls were suppose to be fifteen/sixteen as well (supported by the their being in high school, general appearance, behavior and babysitting jobs), so when they start doffing their clothes throughout the second half, I started getting severely weirded out. I have absolutely no problem with women taking their clothes off, but this is skeezy, skeezy stuff.

After a bit of webcrawling, it turns out that Mike is in prison for about sixteen years total, which puts the girls' age at around seventeen. Pretty f*cking creepy.

I have no Gameraid for this, I just wanted to vent about how awful this movie was.

Sunday's Kids in the Hall Saturday

Because sometimes spending a day with the wife practising how to be the perfect couple is more important.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Back to the Red!

Robert Llewellyn, who plays the admirable Kryten on Red Dwarf has set up a blog about the filming of the tenth series!

Edit: It might help if I actually posted the link.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Faking It

The image above comes from the first series of Blackadder when he is appointed the Archbishop of Canterbury. He soon realizes that a perk to the job is making money by selling fake religious artifacts such as pieces of the cross, wine from the wedding of Canaan, stuff Jesus made when he was still a carpenter, and Mary Magdalene's bosoms.

It is not hard to find knock-offs and fakes in our world: purses, watches, movies, snake-oil medicine, Go-Bots and the Family Guy. It stands to reason that a fantasy world where magic is at least known to exist, there would be fake and knockoff magical items. These sorts of items could be sold by charlatans, honest merchants who don't know any better, or even easily availables alternatives for those who can't afford the real thing.
Real thing, or a fake? There is only one way to find out...

Knock-Off Magic Item Chart
Works the same as the regular item. May appear cheap or oddly coloured. GM rolls d12 and does not share result with the player.
1 Item doesn't work at all
2 Works 10% of the time
3 Works 25% of the time
4 Works 50% of the time
5 Works 75% of the time
6 Works d4 times before failing for good
7 Works d6 times before failing for good
8 Works d10 times before failing for good
9 Works d12 times before failing for good
10 Works d20 times before failing for good
11 Works better than original, added effect or power bonus.
12 Item is cursed!

Hey Hey We're the Adventuring Party!

My wife is a Monkees fan. In fact, it might be fair to say she is THE Monkees fan east of Montreal. She had to give an eight minute speech on the band for a class and ended up going on for twenty before they cut her off. You know the game 'Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon'? Well she does a variation called 'Everything Goes Back to the Monkees' and it is a rare older movie where she doesn't suddenly exclaim, "He was in the Monkees!"

Which is just the very long way of saying that I've seen a lot of Monkees episodes. Last night a thought occured to me: this is what most roleplaying sessions would look like if they happened in "real life".
In the course of having their weekly adventures, the Monkees continually broke the fourth wall, made meta-jokes about being in a television show, got into trouble and got out of it through unusual means, even if it meant bending the plot like a Strech-Armstrong doll (or even consulting the script).

While they never found the Underground Lair of Bonky the Absolutely Mad and engaged a rust monster of owlbear in mortal combat, they often went off in search of treasures and face bad guys.

Most RPG players, at one time or another, have their characters make in-game jokes, run around like idiots when they've lost the thread, or forced the Gamemaster bend the plot like a slinky to get they players back on track.
The old 'Do Not Touch This Button, Button', works every time.

Encounter: Clearly Insane Person
The party runs across a lone individual who they quickly realize, has completely lost their mind. The person is the lone survivor of a previous party; a prisoner who hs been alone for a few decades; or in the case of the Monkees, an actor from a previous series who was left behind when the show wrapped.This person has some information vital to the Party, however they are now so crazy that they can barely speak. Instead they can only string together nonsense gibberish or random words. However, the party member with the LOWEST Intelligence score somehow easily understands the gibberish. The Player of the PC is allowed to freely interpret the nonsent as they see fit, but the Clearly Insane Person can vehimently indicate the negative if the GM thinks the player has gone to far.

To convey the needed information, the GM can either have the Clearly Insane Person remember how speak after a bit of practise, or write down the info and pass it to the translate PC.

The Clearly Insane Person however, always asks for something in return for their help. While they do not want to leave their current location, they will demand something that is particularly silly.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NaGaDeMo: Did I Win?

I got through a truely terrible write-up and actually did run a quick playtest last weekend. However continuing work and medical issues have severly limited my time to around to a proper write up.

I suppose I shall have to take an F for effort, but I will post the results whenever I get a free half-hour.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

War Tubas

A primitive kind of psuedio-radar used to listen for encroaching planes in the early days of aerial warfare. Which I suppose would make them more of a War-Trumpet (as in ear-trumpet). Still, these would be awesome in a steam-punk campaign as sound generators.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Crisis of Faith

I am beginning to wonder if I should just dump all the homebrew stuff and write for RISUS or TWERPS, or WEG d6, or the Omnisystem, or Dinky Dungeons. Honestly, I find that RULES interest me less and less and I have to ask myself why clutter up the blogsphere with yet another homebrew system that no-one will ever play? If I want people to read ANYTHING I write why limit myself to a system that MIGHT be attempted by two or three people at most. Would it not be better to write for an already existing system or even rules-free adventures and let people fill their own stuff as needed?

Actually, skimming over the blog that seems to be exactly what I'm doing anyway. I think I may just be on to something here. This will require further thought....

In the meantime I will continue playing with Overcard for now since the playtest is already underway and it was a NagaDemon project anyway,

Discovering Dinky Dungeons

My love of Rules-Lite systems is well known. I honestly think that a simple mechanics allows for a much wider scope than having to come up with a different, often discordinent, rule to cover every different situation. Early editions of Talislanta with its one-chart/one dice system was an eye opening experience after years mired in the clunky mess that AD&D was turning into at the time. Heck, even WEG d6 Star Wars and Ghostbusters were a breeze compaired to the dice-pooling games like Shadowrun. Then there was TWERPS, Kobolds Ate My Baby, TOON!, RISUS and others which were just plain fun.

Which makes it rather odd that I hadn't run across Dinky Dungeons until recently. What is it about rules-lite systems that seems to lend itself to humour/parody games?

Fantasy Games

Want to add some games to your worldbuilding but don't have the time
to come up with some? Here are some games from sciffy and fantasy books/shows.

My personal favorites are Fizzbin (Star Trek), Dragon Poker (Myth books), Cyvasse (Game of Thrones - someone make a playable game of this already!), THUD (Discworld) and of course, Calvinball!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

NaGaDeMo: Playtest Part 1

Niki’s first question was, “So, what kind of character am I making?”

I showed her my write up for Johnny Saxon and said, “A normal person from the near future. The earth is about to be struck by a Comet and the last thing the character remembers is being kidnapped by men-in-black. The circumstances are up to you.’

Well, she didn’t disappoint and being a bigger Community fan than I am, she came up with…

Brianne Miller

Brianne was a second year university student. A bit aimless, she had not yet declared a major but was trying to decide between Woman’s Studies, Sociology, Drama and Psychology, all guaranteed to make completely unemployable after graduation.

After the Comet became public knowledge classes were suspended, but being estranged from her mother and not having anywhere else to go, she stuck around campus. One night, she was invited to attend an end-of-the world costume party in the Student Union bar. Knowing that some of the students had been going a little wild, she decided to dress in the least provocative costume she could find. A few hours later, as the party tipped from wild to decadent, she slipped away and tried to stumble back to her dorm room. Along the way, a black van suddenly pulled up and she was dragged inside…

Combat: 14
Mental: 18
Physical: 10
Accouterments: (5) Squirrel costume, half a bottle of tequila, a textbook “The Womyn’s role in Modern Herstory”, and a can of mace (+2 Mental Damage).

Trick: Big Heart: Bri has a big heart but has to work on it, so whenever she draws a heart, she doubles her bid points.

Flop: Temper: Bri also has a bad temper so whenever she draws a Club, the card value is halved.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

NaGaDeMo: The Other Guys

Still trying to get a quick Overcard game test together before the end of the month. In the meantime, here are some other NaGaDeMo projects I've run across:

-Savage Afterworld has been working on some Mutant Future stuff.

-Zombie Toast is working on DICE. I'm looking forward to reading the finished product.

-Stargazer's World has some notes on tools writers can use.

-Greyhawk Grognard.

-Paranthesis Press

-And the one that kicked it all of in indomitable Nathan Russel

This picture just makes me happy

Kids in the Hall Saturday

There was a time in the early nineties when this song was on Canadian radio almost as much as 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Shattered City

During his fifty year reign, the appetites of the Monarch were legendary among the lordlings, merchants, moon and common people of Sharazad, the fabled City of Glass. In the taverns, pleasuredromes, baths and sensoriums they would gossip openly of the six queens who had shared his throne, the countless concubines who shared his bed and of the mysterious dark sorceress who shared his secrets. With each he sired an abundance of children, all deemed legitimate by ancient law. On the scullery maids, handmaidens, cooks, ladies-in-waiting and the wives of lesser lords who lived within the Palace of Crystal, he fostered an abundance more and it was well known that rostitutes of renown or rare beauty where openly escorted through the Citrine Gates. If they pleased the His Royal Personage, they could expect a handsome reward or even a favoured place among his concubines.

Legend tells that when it came time for him to lie upon his death bed, the Monarch summoned his Queens, his councilors, concubines, generals, lords, wizards and children to him. As his heart grew faint, his eyes grew dim and his skin became pallid and cold, the throng of onlookers leaned in closer, waiting eagerly to hear him name a successor. Instead, with his final breath he laughed softly and whispered only, "Let it all be broken."

A Celebration of Ladyhawke

I actually saw this in theatre with my Dad as a kid, and it has remained one of favourite films. When I picked it up on DVD a few years ago I was a little worried that it had been visited by the Suck Fairy but the soundtrack notwithstanding, it holds up surprisingly well. It helps that it was directed by Richard Donner who has been at the helm of some of my favourite movies including Maverick, Scroodged, The Goonies, The Toy, and TV episodes of the Banana Splits!

The plot concerns a theft named Mouse (Matthew Broderick) who escapes from the infamous dungeons of Aquila. As a kid, I had thought that Aquila was a made up place, but I know realize the film is set in medieval Italy. Aquila also means 'eagle' in Latin which continues the animal theme running throughout the film.

Mouse makes the mistake of bragging about his escape in a tavern, which brings him to the attention of some guardsmen and a mysterious knight named Etienne d'Navarre (Rutger Hauer). Navarre then rescues Mouse from the soldiers, but not out the kindness of his heart. It turns out he needs the thief to break back into Aquila for reasons of his own, the prospect of which doesn't exactly thrill Mouse. The knight also carries a surprisingly intelligent hawk, which aids them in their escape.

As night falls they take shelter in a woodcutter's barn, but Navarre disappears. When Mouse tries to escape, he is nearly killed by the axe welding woodcutter, who is in turn attacked by a great black wolf. In the confusion, a beautiful young woman suddenly appears (a stunning Michelle Pfeiffer) who calms the rampaging wolf.

So unfold a tale of revenge, romance, magic and swordplay that has the feel of watching a particularly good novel. The plot is well structured with a good pace, a lot of humour (mostly derived from Mouse's running conversation with God) and a truly epic final battle between Navarre and the captain of the Bishop's guard. Hauer's Navarre made a huge impression on me and to this day he stands as my archetypal image of a knight. It was also the genesis of my undying love of whacking great two-handed Zweihänder swords.

Okay, so the 80's style synth-a-soundtrack is a little hard to take. I've actually seen it referred to as one of the worst film scores ever composed. Still, if you take that for pure cheese value, it isn't so bad. I think that if it had a more orchestral score the film would be a much higher rated geek classic. Soundtrack or not, it is still my favourite 80's sword-n-sorcery epic.
Double Crossbow
This custom built crossbow can fire two quarrels separately or simultaneously (requiring a single to-hit roll for double damage of a normal heavy crossbow). Because of its large size, it requires greater than average strength to draw and weld.

Curse of the Sun and Moon (WARNING: SPOILERS)
A powerful curse cast on two lovers, usually by a jealous or jilted suitor. The curse is so powerful that it cannot be cast by a mere mortal and can only be obtained by entering into a bargain with a powerful denizen of the underworld, though their price for weaving such a spell is terrible beyond measure.

The effect of the curse transforms one of lovers into an animal for the duration of the day, while the other is transformed into a different animal during the night. The only time the two might see each other in the flesh is for a single, heartbreaking moment at dawn and dusk.

While in animal form, the person is utterly loyal to their lover, will follow them faithfully and defend them to the death. However, while processing high intelligence for an animals, they are still wholly animals in temperament, intelligence and instinct. Upon reverting to human form, they have only a fleeting recollection of their time spent as a beast.

The only way to break the spell is to force the person who cursed them to gaze upon both lovers at the same time, while both are in human form. If any of the people involved is killed, then the curse becomes permanent.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Technical Difficulties

My home computer died and my work computer won't let me see Blogs (stoopid webnanny). So I can upload posts via gmail, but not publish them because I can't access my site directly until I fix the home unit.
And of course, no one will actually be able to see this until I do fix the posting, so I've essentially turned into Less Nessman when he ran to the broadcast booth to report that WKRP was off the air.

Happy Birthday, Doctor Who!

Monday, November 21, 2011

And the Rest of It...

Doing Stuff beside thwacking each other…
If a physical situation such as lifing a gate, or climbing a wall comes up in the game, the character uses their Physical Stat. To do this the Dealer assigns a Difficulty Number.

Easy: 1-6+1 Card
Average: 7-12+2 Cards
Hard: 13+As many cards as required.

The Player now assigns as many Physical Points as they wish and are dealt a card. If they tie or beat the Difficulty number then they are successful. An amount of points equal to the Difficulty number is added to their X-P.

The points spent are temporarily lost (how to regain Points will be explained soon).

Mental skills work the same way if the PC is attempting to repair anitem, or decipher a code or disarm a trap. It is up to the Player and GM to determine when something is Mental or Physical.

PCs can easily have Tricks or Flops that pertain to Mental or Physical checks, for example the player may want the PC to be a trained doctor, so they give the PC the Trick that when doing a Mental Check involving medicine, they may be dealt two cards and can discard the lowest (or similar).

For obscure or trivial skills, such as Jonny's knowledge of Vintage Rock (that song coming over the speakers is "Black Water" by the Doobie Brothers!) or a character's in depth knowledge of Doctor Who trivia ("that tree looks just like a Tardis!") can be played without a difficulty number unless the Dealer absolutely deems it necessary to the plot.

Using Your XP
During the next significant rest period, players can move points from their XP back into their Combat, Mental and Physical stats at a one for one ratio.

If the character does not have enough points in their XP to cover all missing points, then they are still tired, sore or hurt, depending on where they did not put their points.

XP The other use for XP is allowing characters to build up their stats and/or purchase new Tricks. It costs a number of XP equal to the current number+1. For example to raise a Mental Stat from 7 to 8 would require 8 XP.

The cost of a Trick must be approved by a the Dealer. Conversely, players can raise the level of a current Trick by the same as raising Stats. (if the Trick cost 6 points during character creation, it would cost at least 7 points to make it more powerful. The final cost us up to the Dealer.)

So the character has nothing in their XP and they want to heal. For every eight hours of rest, the character gains back 3 points that they can put back wherever they wish.
Well, that is it in terms of basic rules. I've done a HORRIBLE job at explaining them here, but I hope to run a quick game-test tomorrow ASAP to see if they actually work as well as they do in my head. I've enlisted the help of my friend Nikki who has volunteered to help out with the heavy duty rp end.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Book of Loot: Muppets in Space edition.

These items were created by the great halfling wizard Bunsen Honeydew

Door in a Jar
This one shot item is a small ceramic jar filled with a green slime. When thrown at a wall, the slime will poor down the wall and reveal a small door that resembles the entrance to a hobbit hole. The door opens into the next open space beyond the wall. The opening is quite small and is difficult for normal sized humans to pass through.

Rubber Duckie of Invisibility
This rubber duckie is filled with a clear liquid that sprays out when the duckie is squeezed. There is enough liquid inside to spray four people for about ten minutes. The liquid is water soluable and will come off in the rain.

Guard Mind Control Spray
This bottle of mind control spray will automatically convince any guards or security personelle to take the sprayer's side. It will affect ONLY guards and security, it will not affect police or military personelle, unless they are specifically acting as a guard.

Sorry about all the videos: Kids in the Hall Saturday Edition

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sorry about all the videos I

Handmade Portraits: The Sword Maker from Etsy on Vimeo.

Funnin' on Youtube

These videos get me right in the happy fandom place...

Pirates of Pangea

Simply,wow. From the subscription comic HERE.

Dinosaurs are the best monsters never used in RPGs. Most of them have stats somewhere, but when there are fire breating dragons and other monsters they rarely seem to get played. This beauty of an image has strengthened my resolve to include my half pondered Fort Dinosaur (title shameflessly lifted from Burroughs'
Land that Time Forgot books)
module to Extinction Event.

Anyone know of a game that does dinos well?

Combat Part IV: Where I reveal that I'm making this up as I go along...

Example Con't. Round 3The following round, Jonny (still with 9 points) attacks the Fireclown (8 points) with his crowbar (+2). When the round is over, Jonny has Bid 5 points and with his 9 card now has a total of 14. The Fireclown
had only a 4 card and bid 6 points, for a total of 10. Because Jonny (the PC) won that round, he collects those 6 points Bid by the Clown and puts them into his "Experience Pot" or X-Pot. How the points in the X-P are used will be described later.

Jonny then gets a total of 17 for Damage, clocking the Fireclown for 3 Physical points (of an original 10).

Example, Round 4In the final round, the Fireclown is attacking with 2 remaining points while Jonny has 4 points left. The Fireclown is dealt a 10 and goes All In, wagering all his remaining points. Jonny Calls and throws in 2 of his 4 points, revealing his card to be a Jack (11 points). Jonny successfully defends that round and takes no damage. Jonny also collects the Fireclown's two points and puts them into his X-P.

The fight is over because the Fireclown does not have any further points to bid, Jonny has two points left. Since he has points remaining, he has won and Jonny's player NOW DETERMINES THE FIRECLOWN'S FATE. The fireclown is not dead, but he has been defeated.  Jonny's player now gets the opportunity to describe what happens to the fireclown. This can be as simple as saying "with one last swing of his crowbar, Jonny cleaves in the Fireclown's head" to whatever the
player envisions. He can take it prisoner; he can sell it for parts or whatever his fiendish little mind so chooses.

If the Fireclown had won, the Dealer gets to determine what happens to the Character.

If the fireclown had taken enough 10 Physical damage points, it would be dead. If it had taken 10 Mental Points, it would be automatically unconscious/nonsensical.

If both the Fireclown and Jonny had ended the fight with 0 Combat points, the winner is determined by the side that collected the most in their X-P. Yes, I'm going to backtrack and state that Dealers should keep track of how many X-P are collected on their side as well.

Jokers – If either side is dealt a Joker, they automatically win that round. If both sides are dealt a Joker, then the side that Bids the most points, wins.

---- yeesh this is bady written. MRW.

Abandoned Prisons

If these photos don't put you in the mood to play a Post-Apoc or zombie
game, nothing will.

What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?

I Am A:; Neutral Good Human Druid (5th Level)

Ability Scores:
Strength- 13
Dexterity- 14
Constitution- 16
Intelligence- 13
Wisdom- 14

Neutral Good: A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment when it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Druids; gain power not by ruling nature but by being at one with it. They hate the unnatural, including aberrations or undead, and destroy them where possible. Druids receive divine spells from nature, not the gods, and can gain an array of powers as they gain experience, including the ability to take the shapes of animals. The weapons and armor of a druid are restricted by their traditional oaths, not simply training. A druid's Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that they can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?
courtesy of Easydamus

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Living City

Half buried in the Sulking Hills lies the City of Skarab. To reach it,travelers must take the Grim Road and take the path that branches north of the Ruins of Qo. From there they must find a Blind Monk to guide them through the Night Canyon where no light dares shine, before reaching those grey and half forgotten hills.

Following the road, at the crest of one of those low, brooding hills, travelers first see Skarab as a giant hulking scab over the landscape. Dark and sour looking, its walls are the color of dried blood in under the flickering sun. Drawing closer you will see no buildings beyond the walls, only the road leading directly into the round, open maw that is the city's only gate. The walls are not stone, but resemble the chitinous casing of a burrowing beetle. There are no windows or other openings and even the sky is blocked as the walls close overhead.

Visitors rarely venture beyond vast open space beyond the gate known as Craw Market. There they can they can trade bolts of fabric, fruits, glassware and forged tools for the rare alchemical distillations for which Skarab is famous. They hold no monetary system and are rarely interested in coins through they sometimes take them for the metals contained therein. Though the people of Skarab invite trade, they offer little fare for travelers. Food is free for the caravans, but they serve only a thick broth known to traders as snot soup, and a strange meat that is cooked in an alchemical bath. Its stringent, alien flavor is said to be an acquired taste at best.

Inside, the air is heavy, warm and moist. The city is a warren of twisting corridors and tunnels leading randomly into large rooms that are lit only by bulbous clusters of glowing orbs that give a watery and greenish light, for fires are not permitted in the living city. The walls and floors have a curious texture, dripping with moisture and solid, but curiously yielding, as if one were walking on a layer of thin ice over a pond. A fetid wind sometimes blows through the tunnels, and when it does, all the people of Skarab will stop and turn into the wind, chanting 'H'Bjulth Ska'rabblu', 'the breath of Skarab'.

The people themselves are a bloated, yellow-skinned race, who dress in colourless, membranous robes. In the wet, heavy air, many shave the hair from their bodies and wear only thin sandals or go barefoot. Though many speak the pidgin tongue of the caravans, their own language is a guttural and gibbering sound that bears no resemblance to any other known tongue. Their dwellings are cavities carved into the walls, closed off by curtains of the same membranous materials as their clothing and most daily activities take place in the communal halls found deeper in the city.

There is no king or ruling council in Skarab, no authority at all beyond the relationship between master and student. Children are raised by their parents only until they are old enough to become an apprentice at which time the bond of family is irrevocably cut. After that, their lives belong utterly to their new master, who assumes complete authority and may treat them as they see fit. Of the children
who fail to find a master, nothing is said.

The thing is that I like my fantasy WEIRD. Tolkien fantasy is great when I'm reading about Hobbits, but in my early teens I picked up a copy of the Talislanta Worldbook and immediately fell head over heels in love. From there I expanded into Lovecraft's Dreamcycle, the works of Jack Vance, John Varley's Gaea, Howard's original Conan books among many others and realized that limiting yourself to Elves, Dwarves and Hobbits was for suckers. I believe that Middle Earth ranks up there as one of the single greatest achievements in world building, and a goal
that every fantasy author should at least study, but the plethora of pale imitations can make even the original seem pallid at times, like watching a comedian scream 'Stella!' or doing 'I coulda been a contenda'. Then you go back and revisit the originals and remember what made them so iconic in the first place.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Random generator site of pure joy.

In case you couldn't tell, I'm working an evening shift and bored out of my skull.

This is your skin falling off on drugs!

Getting drunk at the tavern after a dungeon crawl is a time honoured tradition. Not so traditional are these horrifying drugs and boozes that can be used to make that 18CON PC who quaffs Dwarven Ale like Kool-Aid to wake up the next morning in the pig's sty with absolutely no memory of the night before and wearing nothing but glitter paint.

Then there is krokodil, which is nothing short of THE MOST HORRIFYING THING I HAVE EVER SEEN. You've been warned...

Still, the evil GM inside me cannot help but think that any game with non-human races could easily have a local intoxicant that might not be exactly friendly to a human body.

Charmed Life

A collection of strange amulets and charms to flesh out your next treasure horde.