Saturday, May 19, 2018

Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes

Busy day. spent the whole day gardening with my wife.  But I sneak out to go to my FLGS.


Grabbed a hobby-store exclusive and regular cover of Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes.

260 some odd pages.  Filled with monsters, background on the Blood War, new racial variants for all the races.  Tons of monsters. 

It's going to take me a bit to digest it all.  But so far I love it.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

This Old Dragon: Issue #118

It's February of 1987.  I am preparing to graduate high school and get out of my then hated hometown (I have softened up a little since then).   Everyone is listening to "Livin' on a Prayer", I am listening to a lot of Pink Floyd.  Gives you a good idea of why I wanted out of there so bad.  In any case, I did have a world to go to. To bad at this point it was overrun with demons, demonic-ogres, and dragons in an all-out war!  Ah, the good times.  Let's go back and check out Issue #118 of This Old Dragon.

Issue #118 marks the last of the "Chess" series for Dragon by Denis Beauvais.  Maybe one of the more evocative ones too.

Letters ask for coverage of more non-TSR games. The editors maintain that they don't get a lot sent to them.

The main feature of this issue is games within games.  So tournaments, duels and the like. Or as I like to think of it, a walk through the Ren Faire.

First up from Dan Salas is The fighting Circle: Gladiatorial Combat in the AD&D game.  I can't help but think that this is somewhat due to the recent Dragonlance books where Caramon is sent back in time and becomes a gladiator.  The article is actually pretty long and light on the crunch.  In fact there is none till you get almost to the very end. What is provided is fairly edition agnostic.

Hardcore into writing the next draft of my witch class now.  So you know I wanted my own set of Time-Life books.

Leonard Carpenter is up with Surely, You Joust (no and quit calling me Shirley).  This one is more specific to AD&D 1st Ed, but has some good material that can be ported over.  A joust should really be something that is featured in your games at least once. This too is a long one ( are already on page 30).

A Day at the Faire by Eileen Lucas gives all the other characters something to do while the knights, cavaliers, and paladins are off at the joust.  NPC stats are in 1st Ed, but everything else is easy to add to any game.  I do wish this one was longer though.

Not sit idle, Leonard Carpenter is back with On Target: Archery Competitions.  These are more linked to the rules and the Jousting article.

Ok. Up next is one of odder articles I have seen.  Christopher Wood must like a sense of realism in his games since he gives us "ARRRGH!!!" an article on the various races pain thresholds.  As expected Dwarves come out on top here with elves and half-elves the worse of the lot.   While I appreciate the thought here this is not something I'd ever use.  Plus it has "Advanced Rules" and "Optional Rules".  As an old-school gamer I know I supposed to like this stuff, but if I wanted to do this then just give a Constitution roll or something.

C.C. Stoll gives us the centerfold of the issue with Nibar's Keep, The Game of Magical Arena Dueling.  Some interesting ideas sure, but it is a stand-alone mini-game.

There is the fiction section from Lois Tilton.

Some Sage Advice covering the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide.

Ah here is something interesting.  Leonard Carpenter is back again (again) with A Hero's Reward. Or a basic Hero point system for AD&D.  You can almost hear the Grognards flipping over their sand tables in disgust!  ;)  This, of course, has been done before and will be done again.  Personally, I like them.  I wrote a lot about the Drama Point system in Cinematic Unisystem over the years so you know where my preferences lie.  The system suggested here is simple enough but used mostly for dice rolls. No "rewriting a scene" like you can in Cine Unisystem.

Next, we get an article about playing Neanderthals in the D&D (Basic/BECMI) game.  So it is a race as a class and yeah, it works.  The article, Out of the Stone Age by Jack R. Patterson, is not a long one but it's for BECMI so it has to be brief and get its point across quickly.

If you don't like spiders then skip over this one, but The Dragon's Bestiary has a bunch of different types of spiders.

TSR Previews covers the up and coming releases from TSR for March and April of1987.  Let's see we get two new Windwalker novels and the Lazer Tag Official Tournament book and the Chase family board game.  No, I don't really remember these either except for the Lazer Tag book.


Thomas Kane has a bit about war, revolution, and secret agents in Unfriendly Fire for Top Secret.  Or military operations for Top Secret agents.  It's not detailed enough to make TS into a warfare game, but at least enough to get a flavor of what you could do.

Jon D. Martin has the Marvel-phile article in all but name with his profiles of Adam Warlock, Pip some green woman named Gamora and Paragon/Her. 

Role of Computers features a number of games for the Macintosh, the then state of the art in computer hardware.

Games Guide covers the small ads.  All the usual suspects are here.
Convention Calendar is a healthy three pages.

Nice full-color ad for SnarfQuest the Book.  Only $9.95!
Snarf himself is three pages but still black/white.

Wormy weighs in at 4 full-color pages.

Ok, not an issue I have many memories of and there is not a lot here I would use today either.  Seems to be the time I think because I was saying more or less the same thing about White Dwarf #86 from the same month.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

OMG: One Man's God

I came to D&D back in the 70s via my interest in myths about the Gods and Heroes.   I was reading D'aulaire's Book of Greek Myths when a friend lent me his copy of the Monster Manual.   The rest, as they say, is history.

One of my favorite books in the entire AD&D line was/is Deities & Demigods.  I have been mentally going back to that treasured volume since I picked up The Great Courses: Great Mythologies of the World.



The scholarship in D&DG is not University or scholarly level, but I give Rob Kuntz and James Ward many kudos, and really it was not supposed to be.  It was supposed to be a game book and in that it succeeds wildly.

But it all got me thinking about that old adage; "One man's God is another man's Devil."
What would it take to grab some of the evil monsters and revisit them as AD&D/OSR style demons, complete with their placement in the Gygax-ian Great Wheel?   One of my bigger misgivings about D&DG, despite how good it was, it did not try to integrate into the larger D&D view of the multiverse and planes.  Today I think that is perfectly fine, but then it bugged me more.

I guess in a way this is my gift to me of 1981 or so.

My plan is to go through the D&DG and take an extended look at the pantheons and the myths behind them and find some good bits (there are lots) and comment on some others and hopefully find some cool demons to fit the larger D&D world.

Ok, so I have a Ph.D., I can do academic rigor. That is not what this is about. This will not be a treatise of comparative religions or a dissertation.  This is blog post, with game material.  My audience is the same as Kuntz and Ward's, the D&D gamer.

The only thing I have not figure out yet is whether to do these as an OSR-friendly S&W/Basic-era format or as D&D 5.  Maybe both or one or the other as it strikes me.

I am not likely to include the non-human deities since they are already more integrated into the larger D&D mythos,  but I may focus on one or two that I want to expand on; Blibdoolpoolp and Vaprak the Destroyer come to mind for different reasons. Possibly Laogzed too.
I am also not going to go in order.  I have this notion of starting in the Fertile Crescent and working my way out, both physically and temporarily.   This is for my own education so I can mentally place various cultures in their proper times in relation to each other.
I also have not figured out what to do with beings that began as gods and later were transformed to devils, for example, Astártē to Astaroth.  I am planning on splitting up Greek and Roman, if for no other reasons to deal with some unique Roman ideas and dabble a little in some Etruscan myths and legends. Or maybe do an extended Greco-Roman-Etruscan post.

Love to hear suggestions and ideas.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Wayward Sisters for the Chill RPG

Yesterday I posted the stats the Wayward Sisters for the Supernatural RPG and I had a blast.   I always have a lot of fun doing these deep dives into characters.  So I figure what the hell.


The next logical choice, of course, is Chill.   Even in 1980 Chill was the monster hunter game.  Today's 3rd Edition Chill is if anything even more suited for a Supernatural-style game.  The changed point of view on magic, The Art, is a good fit to how Supernatural deals with magic.

In truth, I would love to see how something like SAVE would work in the Supernatural universe.  I am a huge of fan of Chill and I have been wanting to do a Supernatural / Chill crossover forever.  This is really is perfect.

Links lead to their pages on the Supernatural Wiki.

Jody Mills

Attributes
AGL 60  Movement 30
STR 50  Prowess 25
STA 55  Close Quarters Combat 28

FOC 50  Research 25
PSY 50  Communication 50
WPR 50  Interview 50

DEX 50  Fieldcraft 25
PCN 60  Investigation 60
REF 55  Ranged Weapons 55

STU 12

Skill Specializations
Stealth E 60
Lore E 55
Leadership E 80
Interrogation E 80
Drive E 55
Crime Scene E 90
Pistols E 85

Edges and Drawbacks
Attractive 1
Courageous 2
Decisive 1
Information Source 2
Natural Leader 1

Drive: To make sure no other families are destroyed by the monsters.


Donna Hanscum

Attributes
AGL 50  Movement 25
STR 50  Prowess 25
STA 50  Close Quarters Combat 50

FOC 60  Research 30
PSY 60  Communication 50
WPR 60  Interview 30

DEX 50  Fieldcraft 25
PCN 60  Investigation 60
REF 55  Ranged Weapons 55

STU 12

Skill Specializations
Stealth B 40
Knife Fighting B 65
Lore E 60
Interrogation E 80
Drive E 55
Crime Scene E 90
Pistols E 85

Edges and Drawbacks
Courageous 2
Hopeful 1
Information Source 2
Peace of Mind 2
Tough as Nails 2

Awkward 3

Drive: To protect the innocent.

Alex/Anne Jones

Attributes
AGL 60  Movement 60
STR 50  Prowess 25
STA 55  Close Quarters Combat 55

FOC 50  Research 25
PSY 60  Communication 50
WPR 55  Interview 28

DEX 55  Fieldcraft 28
PCN 65  Investigation 33
REF 60  Ranged Weapons 30

STU 13

Skill Specializations
Knife B 70
Lore E 55
Persuasion B 75
Drive B 43

Edges and Drawbacks
Attractive 2
Background 2 (Vampires lore and behavior)
Emergency Medic 2
Strong Stomach 1

Burned Out 3

Drive: Prevent anyone else from suffering like I did.

Clare Novak

Attributes
AGL 60  Movement 30
STR 50  Prowess 25
STA 55  Close Quarters Combat 55

FOC 50  Research 25
PSY 70  Communication 70
WPR 60  Interview 30

DEX 60  Fieldcraft 30
PCN 60  Investigation 30
REF 60  Ranged Weapons 60

STU 12

Skill Specializations
Stealth B 45
Knife fighting E 85
Lore E 55
Deception B 85
Drive B 45
Larceny B 45
Crossbow E 90

Edges and Drawbacks
Attractive 1
Courageous 1
Inured 1
Tough as Nails 2

Drive: Destroy all the monsters that have harmed me.

Patience Turner

Attributes
AGL 60  Movement 30
STR 60  Prowess 30
STA 60  Close Quarters Combat 60

FOC 70  Research 35
PSY 70  Communication 70
WPR 70  Interview 35

DEX 60  Fieldcraft 30
PCN 70  Investigation 35
REF 65  Ranged Weapons 33

STU 35

Skill Specializations
Stealth B 45
Thrown Weapon B 45
Melee Weapon E 90
Lore B 50
Empathy E 100
Drive B 45

Edges and Drawbacks
Attractive 2
Hopeful 1

Naïve 2

The Art
Sensing (PCN)
Premonition B 85
Prescient Dream B 85

Drive: Discover what the new world is about, how to use my powers and live through it.

Ok. Now, these are builds I can enjoy and get behind.  These would be some kick-ass characters to play.  Everything from Patience discovering what her own powers mean and what she can do, to Clare's unresolved anger issues and the new mother/daughter relationship to Jody (who is basically Clare in few more years).  Even Anne trying to put the horror of her life behind her to do something normal.

It would make for a great game and a great TV show.

Don't forget that Petition!
https://www.change.org/p/the-cw-save-wayward-sisters

Monday, May 14, 2018

Wayward Sisters for the Supernatural RPG

Well.  A while back I expressed my wants for the upcoming Wayward Sisters Supernatural spin-off.  Well, sadly we learned over the weekend that the show was not picked up (Charmed was! but more on that later).



Personally, I think this is a huge mistake and many entertainment news outlets are reporting the same.  There is even a petition that gaining steam and buzz asking the network to reconsider.  I would consider it a favor if you all could stop by and sign it.
https://www.change.org/p/the-cw-save-wayward-sisters

But I am not asking this and expecting not to pay.  So here are the Wayward sisters themselves, ready to go for your Supernatural Cortex game, whether they get a show or not.



Links lead to their page on the Supernatual Wiki.

Jody Mills

Concept: Sheriff. Survivor of zombie attacks. Lost her entire family. Has a history with Sam and Dean. Seasoned Hunter

Attributes
Agility:  d8  Alertness: d8  Strength: d6  Intelligence: d6  Vitality:  d6  Willpower: d8

Derived Attributes
Initiative: d8 + d8  Endurance: d6 + d8  Lifepoints: 18  Resistance: d6 + d6

Skills (Specialty in paratheses)
Covert d6 (Open Locks d8, Stealth d8), Discipline d6 (Leadership d8), Drive d6, Guns d6 (Revolver d8), Influence d6, Knowledge d6 (Law d8), Lore d6 (Levithans d8, Zombies d8), Mechanic d4, Medicine d4, Melee Weapons d4, Perception d6 (Investigation d8), Survival d6, Tech d4

Assets & Complications
Allure d2, Carries a Badge d6, Contacts d4, Devoted d6, Natural Leader d4, Tough d8
Anger Issues d2, Duty d8 (Protect her family), Out for Blood d4, (resolved)

Weapons & Gear
Service Revolver, d6, 50', 8
Shotgun, d10, 30', 8

Vest, Ballistic. 2w


Donna Hanscum

Concept: Sheriff.  Survivor of a monster attack.  Softy on the outside, hard as nails on the inside. Seasoned Hunter

Attributes
Agility:  d6  Alertness: d6  Strength: d6  Intelligence: d8  Vitality:  d8  Willpower: d8

Derived Attributes
Initiative: d6 + d6  Endurance: d8 + d8  Lifepoints: 20  Resistance: d8 + d8

Skills (Specialty in paratheses)
Covert d6 (Open Locks d8, Stealth d8), Discipline d6, Drive d6, Guns d6 (Revolver d8, Shotgun d8), Influence d6, Knowledge d6 (Law d8), Lore d6 (Vampires d8), Mechanic d2, Melee Weapons d4, Perception d6 (Investigation d8), Survival d6, Tech d4, Unarmed Combat d4

Assets & Complications
Allure d2, Carries a Badge d6, Contacts d4, Cool Under Fire d4, Devoted d6, Focused Hunter d2 (vampires), Good Natured d6, Tough d8, Unbreakable will d2
Duty d8, Honest to a Fault d4, Idealist d4

Weapons & Gear
Service Revolver, d6, 50', 8
Shotgun, d10, 30', 8

Vest, Ballistic. 2w


Alex/Anne Jones

Concept:  Runaway former vampire bait. Wants to put hunting behind her to focus on her nursing. Survivor. Veteran Hunter.

Attributes
Agility:  d6  Alertness: d8  Strength: d4  Intelligence: d8  Vitality:  d6  Willpower: d6

Derived Attributes
Initiative: d6 + d8  Endurance: d6 + d6  Lifepoints: 14  Resistance: d6 + d6

Skills (Specialty in paratheses)
Covert d6 (Stealth d8), Discipline d4, Drive d4, Guns d4, Knowledge d6, Lore d6 (Vampires d12), Medicine d6 (First Aid d8, General Practice d8), Melee Weapons d6, Perception d6 (Investigation d8), Survival d8, Tech d4, Unarmed Combat d4

Assets & Complications
Allure d4, Contacts d2, Higher Education d4 (LPN, RN), Tough d4
Dark Secret d4 (used by vampires as bait), Paranoid d4 (vampires)

Weapons & Gear
Knife d2

Clare Novak

Concept: Once religious daughter of Jimmy Novak who gave up his life to be Castiel's vessel. Former thief and now out for blood hunter. Veteran Hunter.

Attributes
Agility:  d8  Alertness: d6  Strength: d6  Intelligence: d6  Vitality:  d8  Willpower: d4

Derived Attributes
Initiative: d8 + d6  Endurance: d8 + d4  Lifepoints: 14  Resistance: d8 + d8

Skills (Specialty in paratheses)
Covert d6 (Open locks d10, Stealth d8), Discipline d4, Drive d6, Guns d4, Knowledge d6 (Religion d8), Lore d6 (Angels d10, Demons d8), Melee Weapons d6, Perception d6 (Investigation d8), Ranged Weapons d6 (Crossbow d8), Survival d8, Tech d4, Unarmed Combat d4

Assets & Complications
Allure d4, Contacts d4, Cool Under Fire d2, Devoted d6, Faith d2, Focused Hunter d4 (demons), Intuitive Leaps d4, Tough d4
Anger Issues d4, Out for Blood d8, Overconfident 2d (down from d4), Rebellious d4, Smartass d4, Wrong side of the Law d4

Weapons & Gear
Angel Sword d8
Knife d2


Patience Turner

Concept: Highschool star of academics and sports.  Emerging Precognitive.  Grandmother worked with the Winchesters.  Rookie Hunter

Attributes
Agility:  d8  Alertness: d6  Strength: d6  Intelligence: d10  Vitality:  d6  Willpower: d8

Derived Attributes
Initiative: d8 + d6  Endurance: d6 + d8  Lifepoints: 12  Resistance: d6 + d6

Skills (Specialty in paratheses)
Athletics d6 (Sports d8), Covert d4, Discipline d6, Drive d4, Knowledge d6, Lore d4, Melee Weapons d6 (sword d8), Perception d6 (Empathy d8), Science d6, Tech d4

Assets & Complications
Allure d4, Clairvoyant d4, Low-Profile d2, Natural Athlete d6, Premonitions d6
Combat Paralysis d4, Idealist d2,

Weapons & Gear
Baseball bat d6 B
Handgun d4, 40', 6

I like them!  Now I just need some good rules to get Rowena into the mix.

Don't forget that petition!



Friday, May 11, 2018

Kickstart Your Weekend: Maximum Mayhem #5: Palace of the Dragon's Princess

Maximum Mayhem #5: Palace of the Dragon's Princess

Mark Taormino is at it again and this time he has turned his offerings up.


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/marktaormino/maximum-mayhem-5-palace-of-the-dragons-princess-bo

His fifth module, Palace of the Dragon's Princess, on the way and it has already seen all it's funding met.

I have talked a lot about Mark's adventures and books.

I expect this one to be just as good. It's an obvious nod to Palace of the Silver Princess.



But the best thing about this?  We are getting a BOX!


I am in for a box, module and dice.

I am so stoked for this.

While overtly for OSRIC/AD&D 1st Ed, I want to play an epic B/X game with all of these.  The Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen goes to level 14 and that is perfect.  Sure they are all deadly as hell, but that is part of the fun, right?

Thursday, May 10, 2018

This Old Dragon: Issue #155

Ok this is an "emergency pick".  My basement got some water in it for the first time ever.  The only thing that was damaged was this issue.  So I am flipping through it now and tossing it when done.  I might end up tossing it before I am done, to be honest; it's in really bad shape.  So let's head back to March of 1990 for Issue #155 of This Old Dragon!

We have a cool cover from Carol Heyer. It features a little faerie in a faerie ring. It is an appropriate cover to our theme this issue.

Some ads for Spelljammer and a couple of TSR board games, The Hunt for Red October and Red Storm Rising. I had forgotten about those last two, to be honest.

Letters are first.   We get a request for the Witch from #114.  The eds remind the reader what issue it was in and no, it should not be used as a PC.  Don't worry, mine was almost done at that time.

Skip Williams is up with Sage Advice.  Mostly covering questions from the new Monstrous Compendiums.  Ah. We get to the Demons and Devils issue in AD&D 2nd Ed. The answer they give is:
The answer, in short, is at present there are no plans to include devils, demons, and similar creatures in the AD&D 2nd Edition game. ... The demons and devils in the old Monster
Manuals were a prime weapon in the campaign of misinformation directed against gaming, so they were dropped from the new edition. It's possible that demons and devils will be revised into a format that preserves their usefulness in adventure design and does not give the game's detractors cheap ammunition, but that format hasn't been found yet.
Another letter points out the error on the Vampire sheet, front and back are the same.

Next is our feature "Realms of the Faerie".

He had the Grugach elves introduced last week (Issue #67) now 7 years and 4 months later we get Wild in the Wood: The Point of View of the Grugach-Wild Elves by Eric Oppen.  The article is actually pretty cool talking about life amongst these almost primitive elves.

Denise Lyn Voskuil is next with four new deities in The Elfin Gods. They are Araleth Letheranil, lesser god of light.  Kirith Sotheril, lesser goddess of magic. Melira Taralen, lesser goddess of fine arts and finally Naris Analor, lesser god of healing, suffering, and death.   All these gods made to the present day.

Up next is the article I remember the best, In the Frost and Snow by David S. Reimer, introduces the Snow Elves.  I had also created a snow elf race back in the day, and there are some similarities here. All of which are due to the similar material we were drawing from.  But my snow elves were smaller than regular elves, his are taller. Also, mine tended to be pale-blue.   Still. A fun race that I like to use every so often.

Other Side favorite Vince Garcia is back, this time with The Folk of the Faerie Kingdom.  I must-read article if you ever plan on doing anything with the Faerie realms.  It is a nice long article and one I wish I could keep!  A little bit of Quest of the Ancients leaks into AD&D here with the inclusion of Rhiannon the Faerie Queen goddess and his "Druids of Rhiannon".  I appreciate Vince's obsessions here.


Gordon R. Menzies has The Ecology of the Satyr.  It's also good stuff. Now I want to play a half-Satyr bard!

Thank You for Your Cooperation is a survey for Top Secret/S.I. game by Jon Pickens.  I don't know enough of Top Secret history to know if this lead to something else.

The Game Wizards tries something new with Anne Brown, TSR previews ala gossip column.  It doesn't really work for me.

Another Other Side favorite Bruce Heard is back with another episode of The Voyage of the Princess Ark.  This time Part 3: To seek out new life and new civilizations.  Love the maps, but the maps have always been kind of a key feature of these articles.

Didn't read the fiction. Plus this issue is really getting on my allergies.

Gamers Guide covers all the small ads. There are a few Play by Mail games and ads here too.

Marvel-Phile has a couple character I know pretty well.  Captain Britain and Roma.  Captain Britain is a character that I always felt would translate well into a modern Ghosts of Albion game.  Roma is a Protector in all but name too.

Ah. Here are the TSR Previews.  Lots of Forgotten Realms stuff.  But this the Age of the Settings.

Jim Bambra reviews a few of the new Star War's games.

The Convention Calendar gives us the best cons of March and April 1990.  I swear there were more back then than now.

John C. Bunnell gives us some reviews of books.
Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser cover what's new for Macs in The Role of Computers. Most Macs were still monochrome at this point. Though I thought for sure there were some color ones.

Dragonmirth has a few artists and comics I am not all that familiar with.

Through the Looking Glass is completely soaked.  Eww.

So what do I have, save a huge mildew colony?  Well in truth a pretty cool issue.  Lots of great information on the fey and stuff I can still use today.
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