Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Gladiator Blood

When gathered from the arena sand, gladiator blood undergoes a powerful transformation. When drunk right away, it will act as an Elixir of Fury. But when coaxed and mixed by skilled enchanters, be transformed into a Bottle of Strength end even the fabled Balm of Blood. 
These enchanters also claim that the strength of the potion is directory related to the strength of the gladiator, and how grievous the wound. This has lead some, less than reputable stable owners, to add barbs and other bloodletting tools to their warriors' weapons in the hopes of harvesting more blood from the sands. 



Sunday, December 29, 2013

Killola

Killolas, sometimes also called 'Drop Bears' are fearsome hunters of lost continents and deep jungles.

As their colloquial name implies, Killolas are ambush hunters, waiting in tall trees until an unsuspecting, potential meal walks below. They then drop onto their target, hoping to break the legs or spine. If that fails, the hunter is equipped with long claws and sharp teeth that it will then use to tear into its target's flesh.

They are solitary in the wild, but there are reports of ones using weapons. They are also sometimes used as minions and jungle shock troopers by Dark Lords, but their fearsome tempers and savage natures make them very difficult to control.  

Saturday, December 28, 2013

2014 all in one place

Owlbears and Bullets and Rust Monsters, oh my!

Tony DiTerlizzi has a nice article on the toys that inspired some of D&D's most iconic monsters.

The Politics Of The Next Dimension: Do Ghosts Have Civil Rights?

Those of you with a memory for minutia may remember the montage sequence in Ghostbusters when they appeared on the cover of an Atlantic Monthly magazine.

Because this is the type of world we live in now, Matthew Phelan actually wrote that article.

Avast! Here be Pirates!

I can't stop looking at Concept Art World. Its a goldmine of ideas and reference pics for any tabletop rpg. 

What particularly caught my eye where the links for the console game, Assassin's Creed: Black Flag. 

Look through these and then tell me you couldn't run a Pirate Game right now. 



Sunday, December 22, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Blue Heart


In a frozen citadel in Trackless Wastes, a Mirin witch cuts the blue diamond heart from corpse of an Ice Giant.

I am trying to find the proper situation for this pic, if you know please let me know!

Talislanta is fucking awesome.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

History's Heroes: The Star Boy

In the late summer of 1908, near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River, Russia, a team of scientists lead by Dr. Boris Nehamkin was investigating an explosion that destroyed 2,000 square miles of forest. Near the center of the blast, they discovered a small, strange creature with silvery skin. 
Image Source
Despite its three fingers hands and the antenna on its head, it looked almost exactly like a young boy. 
Dubbed Star Boy, the creature never spoke and never seemed to age. It soon displayed incredible powers including telekinesis, empathy and and healing abilities. The silvery suit, which it was never seen without, proved to be impenetrable to bullets, fire and explosions. 

Dr. Nehamkin and the Star Boy toured the world for much of the early 20th Century until they tried to flee the USSR and Stalin's increasingly erratic rule. Dr. Nehamkin was captured and was never seen again. The Star Boy traveled to Britain and then to America where it was a member of a number of so-called 'super teams'. During WWII, it was with the landing of powered humans on Dieppe Beach that has come to be known as P-Day.  

After the war, as if disgusted with what it had seen of humanity during the war, it retreated into seclusion into the dessert of New Mexico. It was only spotted a few times after that, until June of 1947 when it appeared for the last time near the town of Roswell. 

Awesome Quest Idea: The Midas Flesh

A comic book by the creator of Dinosaur Comics, The Midas Flesh ... "The Quest for King Midas's Corpse."

This is one of those kind of ideas that you wish you thought of first: have your party venture into a dungeon (or planet!) of solid gold!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sparkle Sloth

These rare creatures are only found in cloud forests on the slopes of high tropical mountains. Scholars believe that their eye-catching fur comes from an oil produced by the sloth's skin and provides a unique form of camouflage, useful in the constantly dripping trees and erratic sunlight.

The oil of the Sparkle Sloth is also a very powerful narcotizing agent, capable of knocking out even the largest of creatures after only limited contact. This provides powerful protection for the sloth, as any predator that tries to feast on the sloth usually ends up nodding off instead. Some native hunters have been known to rub their arrow points on the sloth's fur to aid in hunting.

As a result, alchemists and enchanters have been known pay handsomely for even a small vial of the oil. Of even more value is a live sloth, though catching one is extremely dangerous endeavor and to date, no sloth has ever been captured by an outside party.

The sloths themselves are utterly harmless, easy to take care of and can become quite affectionate if handled properly. However few are up to the task of venturing deep into unmapped jungles and swamps inhabited by terrible monsters. To then journey past tribes of cannibals, headhunters and mimes, then up treacherous mountains; all in the hopes of catching a very rate and elusive animal. Even if successful, they face a return journey past all the same dangers, only now burdened with a prize that happens to knock you cold at the slightest touch.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Throne Helmet

"Natural bodily functions are always going to be difficult on a delve. The food is always bad, which gets nasty fast if you're stuck behind the barbarian in the marching order. Leaving spoor and your water behind gives enemies something to track and always ends up attracting the wrong sort of predator. I once took up with a slightly bent ranger who took to whizzing in old potion bottles then leaving them behind. The next poor shmuck who came along and thought he's discovered a bottle of enhanced strength was going to be in for a real nasty surprise, lemme tell ya."

"And don't even get me started on the encumbrance problems of lugging quality tp down sixteen levels down into the Caverns of Schadenfreude. It ain't heavy, but it takes up a lot of room. While they might contain the rare spells of Salted Rain that you need to vanquish the Grand Leechmaster who's waiting for you down at the bottom of the Pits of Tormentium, those velum scrolls and books that the mage is lugging around start to look real tempting after ten levels of wiping your ass with cave rats."

"So this one guy I ran with for a while, Sir Shart Tyanet the Ablutioner, gets this specially made helm, crafted by the finest enchanters at the Wizardium of Nex. They made him a helm that transformed into a shitter! I kid you not!"

"Story is that Sir Shart got himself et by a Dire Moose somewhere in the twisted paths of the Morning Wood. Either someone came across the body and gave it a proper delver's looting, or else the Lyceum Enchanters spotted a market and made copies, cuz I've seen one or two since then."

"Now I appreciate the need for a little home comfort down there in the dark, but my question is ... where does the doody go once you've changed it back into a helm?"
             -Harb Sharptoes, Halfling Thief

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Moose Riding

Image Source
In certain northern tribes, the Ritual of Moose Riding has become a popular rite of passage for young men attempting to prove their bravery or more often, in preparation of marriage.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Nostalgia is fun!

Plaid Stallions posted this pic from a Canadian catalog. Apparently the cardboard dome and the utility belts were only available to hosers. I had one of those 'lightsabers' and while I didn't have one of the domes, my best bud in grade three did. I am still sickenly jealous.

But what's really tweeking my nostalgia bone lately are the Fisher Price Adventure People. I had a bunch of these sets as a kid, but at the time they were used mostly as utility vehicles for my GI:Joes and they all got passed on to cousins or sold for pittance at garage sales. If I had the energy and money to get back into collecting, I'd be ebaying the hell out of this.


Link: How to Make a Fantasy Map

An article from TOR.com where Isaac Stewart shares his process for making the map for The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Skullwort


Real Life: Snapdragon seeds
The Skullwort plant has no leaves and usually resembles little more than a small dead bush and is covered in small, white seeds that look remarkably like human skulls.

Possessed of the rare quality known to biomancers as necrosynthesis, Skullwort can only grow if germinated within the body of someone, or something, recently dead. As a result, they can be be sometimes found deep below the earth, or inside darkened castles while on the surface they are most often found on battlefields and cemeteries.

The skull shaped seedpods are prized by necromancers, seers and druids for their many qualities, but supreme care must be made in harvesting as the pods will try and find a new host to germinate in by chewing their way into the flesh of any creature that may come into contact.

Known Properties
-Seeds placed into the skull of a skeleton can cause it to re-animate. The skeleton will then try and kill any living creature nearby to deposit the skull-seed into the flesh and allow it to germinate.

-Seers and Prophets have been known to collect the skulls and after being inscribed with forbidden runes, are used as powerful divination tools.

-If carefully harvested, prepared and brewed into a tea, it allows the drinker to converse with the dead.

-If the wind is blowing from the Final Realm, the skulls talk to each other in the voices of those who have passed.

-It is rumoured that feeding the seeds to Wraiths or Zombies might sate their hunger for a limited period of time. 

-Crushed into a paste and carefully prepared, it can be used as a potent zombie-bane. Much care must be taken however, as the recipe is very difficult to make and the slightest mistake can result in a terrifyingly powerful hallucinogenic and necrotizing drug.

-A party of delvers once found a blind and ancient dwarf who had been dropped into some subterranean oubliette. The dwarf, now quite mad, claimed that he was the last survivor to an expedition that had gone deeper than any before or since. There, in caves carved through the hearts of precious stones larger than castles, they discovered a vast realm of Fungoids, Ant Men, Morlok and Gremlin, all ruled by a giant skull that hung from the branch of a tiny tree. 

Hospital Survival Tips

A member of my old gaming group went through a difficult operation yesterday (successfully, by all reports!). To help her out, I wrote down some Hospital Survival Tips. I thought I'd post them over at my Other Blog in case anyone else needed them

Thursday, December 12, 2013

LEGO Boosh!

Two of my favourite things wrapped up in a delicious frothy jelly. LEGO and The Boosh! 
This moment of sublime awesomeness is brought to you by Ochre Jelly! 
Ice flow nowhere to go
Lost in the blinding whiteness of the tundra!
If you are not familiar with The Mighty Boosh and you like your comedy with a heavy dash of surreal, do your self a favour and learn more ... so much more awesome.  

Gamers' Common: A Manifesto

Of Dice and Men brings up the concept of Gamers' Common. Originated by Frank Mentzer, it is an idea designed to get around the Edition Wars and bring all roleplayers together, regardless what game they happen to be playing. What it means is writing game supplements using terms that are common to most games, or at least understood by all gamers; things like Rounds, Hit Points, Experience etc. It then falls to the game-master (and players!) to choose what rules set they want to apply. This might seem like a bit of work, but isn't any different than trying to convert a really good adventure that might not exactly fit your current game, edition or preferred OSR. More importantly, it leaves things open-ended enough to allow for GM improvisation and adaptation. I don't believe that you should play anything straight out of the box.

Two of my all time favourite role-playing supplements are The Chronicles of Talislanta (available all free and legal here) which outlines the continent of Talislanta, the primary setting for the game of the same name; and Titan which describes the world of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy and Sorcery! gamebooks. Neither has a single rule in them, but both are utterly bottomless in terms of ideas and inspiration.

I thought of both of them when I came across of Mentzer's idea of rule neutral supplements. I've been struggling to find a focus for this blog for a long time and my own game writing has been all over the freakin' map.

I find the D&D Edition Wars to be tiring and pointless* and my own pet favourite games (Talislanta, TWERPS and WEG D6) are a little too esoteric to fill out a regularly posted blog. Homebrewing is fun, but again appeals only to a very small niche market (basically, myself). Still, I want to share my ideas, or at least put them down in one place so I can refer to them later. Writing in Gamers' Common allows me to do this, and I don't have to cross reference anything to make sure I converted the THAC0 correctly.

So I am leaving the rules behind and embarking down the GC path. I might occasionally dip into a rules specific post from time to time (if I ever bother to finish that TWERPS GI:JOE supplement, for example), but otherwise I am going to concentrate my energies on being as general as possible.

*For the record, I am an OSR Grognard at heart, but I am a believer in playing the game in front of you. If the GM puts the time and effort into running a 4thE game, play that and don't bitch how AD&D or the Red Box or Labyrinth Lord or Pathfinder does it better.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tsoukalos, the Great Seer

Link to the man himself
A century ago, Tsoukalos arrived by aethership to the Starport of Skree with an incredible tale. He claimed that on his world, aliens had once ruled as benevolent gods until they had been driven off by sorcerers who exploited the alien's own technology against them.

In time, both the sorcerers and the aliens were forgotten by history, save for a few gifted scholars and theorists who tried to warn that the the aliens had not been eliminated, only driven away. One day, they would return.

According to Tsoukalos, one night a ship of pure light appeared above his condo and he was taken up. He tells that the unnamed beings had once been the kind rulers of a mighty galactic empire that spanned a thousand worlds. But that one day they had been betrayed by those they cared for and that they had been forced to flee into the void. In their rush, they had been forced to leave many of their secrets and technology behind.

He was told that humanity on his home planet was not yet ready for their return, but that because of his faith and devotion he had been chosen to search for those lost secrets and spread the word of their return to the worlds they had left behind.

Since then, he claims to have traveled to over a hundred worlds, teaching all those who might listen of their wonder, and searching for ancient clues in lost ziggurats, forgotten runes and city college libraries across the galaxy.

Merrickville Aikikai

A nice article about my first Sensei's new club.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dehydrated Monsters

Using a Spell of Dehydration or a Wand of Pickling, some monsters can be transformed into a dried, miniature state. Though completely inert, the monsters can be reanimated by immersing it in water. Though the reason for it is unclear, Dinosaurs from the Thunder Plains and the common Terrible Lizard are notably susceptible to this and after dehydration, will remain viable for many years.

Some clever mages will carry a bag of such creatures and reactivate them whenever the need for a rampaging dinosaur is required.

However, it should be noted that to fully revive the small strip of slightly spongy leather into a three ton rampaging monster, the water required is equal to the amount initially lost.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Missing Female Pilots of Star Wars

Linkage

Old School Ju-Jitsu

These moves have been around a long time. 

Hookin' the Adventure

An adventure idea based on the animated special, 'Wakko's Wish'. It can be the basis for a Holiday themed adventure that doesn't revolve around yet another raid on the Anti-Santa's Compound.

The HOOK: A star has fallen in a nearby valley. Soon rumours begin to circulate that the star is magical. Throw in some interesting groups to compete against and you have a solid, Wacky Races style adventure (something there needs to be more of IMHO).

What is the Star? Rumour Table
1  A giant diamond, worth millions.
2  A robotic being on an intergalactic search for its soul. 
3 The cracked bottle of a dying genie. He has enough lifeforce left to grant one Wish 
4  An inexhaustible power supply.
5  The star is a gateway to a dimension of pure evil and must be destroyed.
6  The Wheel of Morality
7  The Egg of Mantumbi
8  An unexploded photon torpedo.
9 A virginal woman of unimaginable beauty. 
10 Crimson Gem of Cyttorak
11 A giant star ship filled three factions of alien soldiers, all locked in bloody battle.
12 An aethership, completely intact but utterly empty. A warm, half-eaten dinner is still on the galley table. 
13 The nefarious Wand of Orion, presumed destroyed after the War of the Void. 
14 An angel cast from the Heavenly Plains for the sin of Despair. 
15 A small black hole that is slowly boring its way into the heart of the land.
16 An amnesiac god in the form of an giant snail. 
17 A meteor filled with a strange green goo, that transforms all who touch it into the hungry dead!
18 A shard of the Ice Star. Its unearthly cold will soon spread across the entire planet.
19 The sled of the demi-god of the Winter Solstice, laden with a sack filled with the souls of naughty children that have been turned into lumps of coal. They must be burned before dawn to ensure the return of the sun. 
20 A rock of extra-terrestrial origin. Worthless except to collectors and astromancers. 

The Loot

ELIXIR
This potion tastes absolutely aweful, but it will restore half of all lost hit points.

It is also a powerful explosive that will do D6 damage per thrown bottle.



Frozen Nuts
A powerful spell for preserving food and material components. Will also D8 damage to any male character/opponent. If the full 8 points is inflicted, the spell also incapacitates for d4 rounds.

The Cave of Worst Nightmares
Reached only by an abandoned mine below the Duke's Castle, this terrifying cave shows each traveler what they fear most; be it a washed up comedian with an 'edgy routine', or the greatest fear of any traveler: a gas station washroom. 







Gookie
This counts as a feat or special ability. When utilized, it will stun one opponent for one round. This is a non-magical effect.





Megabeltch 
This spell unleashes a powerful sonic attack capable of stunning opponents, causing avalanches and eliciting cheers at any frat party.
Material Component: any carbonated beverage.

Gnomithopter
This gnomewerk device can carry up to ten pounds plus a gnome pilot/power-source.


        

Anyone else see it?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

D&D Cartoon Cyclopedia

Dungeons & Dragon Cartoon Encyclopedia

Mysterious Path

Don't you hate it when you find someone out there doing it so much better than you are? These illustrations from The Mysterious Path Blog are exactly how I was trying to picture gnomes. I lie, these are so much better than I was picturing.

The entire blog is filled with goodies, like this one...

Weapons Ago-go!

The nice thing about the Variable Weapon Damage is that it becomes much easier to assign weapons and armour to enemies. You can give them whatever suits the situation best, then roll a d12 (round up) to determine the damage/protection. It would certainly keep the players on their toes. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

NaGaDeMon 2013: W,T,F!

W,T,F! Download

This year's entry into NaGaDeMon for 2013. I concede that I failed this year's challenge, in that I never got a chance to play test. And as made evident by the typos, I spent more time thinking about it than writing it, but overall I am happy with the final result. I don't pretend that its very original, but it's fast and simple and the players and the DM (DiceMaster, in this case) to play with the full range of dice in their bag.

It also allowed combine a number of elements that I've wanted to use for a while now:

Simple, open-ended character creation
-You choose to be a Wizard, a Thief or a Fighter to start, but beyond that designation the rest of the process is up to you.

Clear Rules
-If you have 8 in your Combat Skill, you roll a D8. If for example, the Opponent has a 6 in Combat, the DM would roll D6. High roll, wins. That example pretty much encapsulates the entire rule-set.

Eliminating Imitative
-There is no initiative. Once the melee starts, everyone is assumed to be acting at pretty much the same time.

Wounds
-No Hit Points! You roll your Body stat below the number of accumulated Wounds to avoid a TKO.

Magic is Internal
-Wizards role vs their own Magic skill to see if the spell worked, not against an arbitrary Saving Throw.

Weapons and Armor Ratings
-I solved another RPG peeve of mine here, the weapons and armor issue. I've tried to develop a few different rpgs over the years and one part I always hated was determining what weapon did what damage (does a battle-axe do more damage than a giant sword? What about a blunderbuss?) and how much protection armor is suppose to do (is plate better than dragon scale?). My solution?

It doesn't matter! At the time of character creation, you get a certain amount of points to put into a Weapon and Armor. The more points, the better damage/protection, but as to what the weapon/armor actually is ... doesn't matter. Choose whatever suits the character, so it can be an exceptional knife that does D20 damage, or a rusty old greatsword that does only D6.

Help for Writers

We're all tired of hearing it, but  a writer must write everyday.

The only kind of sentence you should ever use.

25 STEPS TO EDIT THE UNMERCIFUL SUCK OUT OF YOUR STORY

Ghost Blogging. Has anyone tried this?

Anyone interested in how to properly structure a story should read this book, written by Sgt. Pinback himself, Dan O'Bannon (writer of Alien and Total Recall).

A Reign of Hot, Cardboardy Death!

With the Holiday season once again upon us and the plethora of wrapping-paper tubes that it brings, I once again dream of starting up an East Coast Cardboard War League. 




Guides for Building Samurai Armour (Cardboard or otherwise)



Link Dump: Aikido and Iaido

Thanks to a recent push from a friend of mine, I am slowly getting back into serious training again. 


I am generally not a very competitive person, which is one of the main reasons Aikido and Iaido appeal to me. 

Defensive Tactics, Halifax. Because I get punched at my job more often than I might like. 


I am striving to make the first 10minutes of this my daily morning routine.

Haga Junichi IaidoYoshio Sugino
Katori Shinto Ryu
Nakayama Hakudo Iaido
Finger Locks

Secret of the Samurai Sword
One of my favourite Aikido demos

Link Dump: Misc

On a very overdue vacation! Which means I am clearing out some of the many bookmarks I've collected over the past few months. 
The Most Evil people of the Medieval period. 

The Wiki of Unusual Deaths

101 Science Fiction Tales, from io9

A History of Painkillers

8-Bit Game of Thrones. Fun, but would have been better as an RPG. 

Cryptids from Europe and Africa