Sunday, August 25, 2019

#RPGaDAY2019: Calamity

Today's topic is Calamity.

In many ways, this post is a continuation of my post on Lost.

One of the things all my Lost Lands have in common is they are lost due to some calamity.

Atlantis, Doggerland and East Beleriand were taken back by the sea.  Their secrets hidden by the waves.

For the Suel Empire, it was the Rain of Colorless Fire.  And that makes it interesting.

I think flooding is something we can get.  We see it. Some have experienced it.  I  grew up near the Illinois River Valley.  My wife grew up near the Fox River Valley (it was her backyard).  We have both seen several "once in a lifetime" floods.   Flooding I get. I know what happens, even when it is terrible.

Fire from the sky?  That is some apocalypse level shit.

Ithink that is also one of the reasons that attracted me so much to the whole Suel Empire.  Their world was just under a sea, in this case the Sea of Dust, but they were wiped out by fire.  Like Pompei.

A good calamity can add some gravitas to your world.  Plus it helps explain all those lost treasure hordes dragons seem to have.


Rain of Fire 
Level: Witch Ritual 6
Ritual Requirements: Minimum 3 witches, see text
Range: See text
Duration: See text
"It is said that only those that give life know the price of taking a life.  This is why only witches were given the power to destroy." - from the Journal of Larina Nix

The witches of old had powerful rituals both of creating life and creating death. This ritual is very much the latter.
Three or more witches are needed for the most basic version of this horrible ritual, more witches added the more devastating the effects.  Each witch must know this ritual.
The witches take a prepared focus item, an effigy made from the same materials of their target.  Usually a town or a locale. Each witch contributes a bit of blood (1hp worth) to item's creation since life must be given to take life
Once the ritual has begun the witches make a plea and summons to dark gods of vengeance, destruction, and fire.   The pleas, once heard, will be answered in kind, with vengeance, destruction, and fire.   

The witches then burn the effigy, each providing the flame via magic.  Once that is done the fire rains down on the actual location destroying it and anyone in it.  Victims can run from the location if they make it out of the area, they will be safe, but a save vs. Spells must be made or take 1d6 hp of damage per all the level of the witches involved, or half on a save.

Witches Participating
Minimum Damage
Area Sq. Miles
3
36d6
5
4
48d6
10
5
60d6
25
6
72d6
50
7
84d6
100
8
96d6
250
9
108d6
500
10
120d6
1,000
12
144d6
2,500
13
156d6
5,000

Material Components: The effigy of the place targeted, made with materials from the target. Each witch also uses a rod of ash that she uses to focus her energy on the effigy then they raise their rods to sky to direct the energy out to the target.  Each witch also contributes 1hp worth of blood in the casting.

This ritual is rare and all witches must know ritual in order to cast it.

I wonder what lies in the Suel Cities of Dust?  Treasures? The Suel people preserved only as ashen shells?  One day I should find out.

Water was running; children were running 
You were running out of time 
Under the mountain, a golden fountain 
Were you praying at the Lares shrine? 

But oh your city lies in dust, my friend 

We found you hiding we found you lying
Choking on the dirt and sand
Your former glories and all the stories
Dragged and washed with eager hands 

But oh your city lies in dust, my friend 

Water was running; children were running
We found you hiding we found you lying 

But oh your city lies in dust, my friend 
Hot and burning in your nostrils
Pouring down your gaping mouth
Your molten bodies blanket of cinders
Caught in the throes 

And your city lies in dust

Saturday, August 24, 2019

#RPGaDAY2019: Triumph

Today's topic is Triumph.

Let's all cast our minds back to the early and mid-80s when D&D was getting REALLY popular.



There are more, if you want to find them.  Lots more really.

The biggest Triumph we have had as RPG players and geeks, in general, is that society has come to embrace us.

The biggest movies in the world now are all nerdy topics that never would have worked in the 80s.  Comic-books, stories about wizards, Lord of the Rings, movies about Aliens.

Let's have a look at the at the top box office earners according to Box Office Mojo.

1Star Wars: The Force AwakensBV$936,662,2252015
2Avengers: EndgameBV$858,188,4152019
3AvatarFox$760,507,6252009^
4Black PantherBV$700,059,5662018
5Avengers: Infinity WarBV$678,815,4822018
6TitanicPar.$659,363,9441997^
7Jurassic WorldUni.$652,270,6252015
8Marvel's The AvengersBV$623,357,9102012
9Star Wars: The Last JediBV$620,181,3822017
10Incredibles 2BV$608,581,7442018

The only "non-geek" movie in the bunch is Titanic.

Now celebrities tout their geek and D&D cred like it is a badge of honor and respect.
Vin Disel,  Stephen Colbert, Felicia Day, Dwayne Johnson, Joe Manganiello among many others routinely talk about D&D.  Will Wheaton walks around Gen Con like he BELONGS there (spoiler, he does!).

And then you have something like this.
Actress Dominique Tipper from "The Expanse", a British/Dominican actress of color so no where near the stereotype of a D&D player.



Her Twitter posts after this have been a delight.  She is falling in love with the game so many of us love and it is a wonderful thing.

The Triumph of D&D is how we went from being persecuted in the 80s to being in the limelight today.

They say the best revenge is living well and D&D is living well indeed.

Friday, August 23, 2019

#RPGaDAY2019: Surprise

Today's topic is Surprise.

What is the most surprising thing you ever witnessed in a game?  I have to say it was a game my older son ran for my youngest son and the sheep.


It was so surprising because of how crazy it all was and how much noise we heard coming from the basement.

So it goes like this.  The party was supposed to get to the next town to get to a job.  The job was what the adventure was supposed to be about. Simple right?  So they all decide to take a short cut through a field and stay off the main road.  They ask what is in the field.  My oldest, not having planned this bit out (because why should he) rolled and said "Sheep".

The players freaked out.  They all wanted to have sheep as pets or animal companions.  So they spent a long time chasing sheep, trying to charm them or casting any spells they could think of.  By this time some of the players got tired of chasing sheep so they started killing them. Next thing the players they started try and raise the sheep from the dead, others wanted to bring them back as zombies.  Then the characters started attacking each other, the zombie sheep started to attack the characters.  By the end of the night, some four hours later, the sheep were all dead, the countryside was on fire, and at least three characters (out of six) were dead.

There was so much yelling and laughing and shouting.  We were laughing our asses off upstairs.

Every kid downstairs had to tell us their version of the story.

I know I am not doing the story any justice here. But it was so damn funny to hear them tell it.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Adventures in Hyperborea

Hat tip to Jason Vey for sharing these with me.

So if I know ANYTHING at all about Conan, likely it came from Jason Vey. In addition to being a top rate game designer, he is a Master's level scholar on Robert E. Howard.  So when he shares something related to Conan, or Howard or realted topics, I pay attention.

This week he shared this with me, Adventures of the Hyborian Age. This is an older site with adventures for the Mongoose d20 Conan game.  Jason is using this material for his OD&D-based Conan game which sounds fantastic.

He shared with me something he knew I would love. A Conan-flavored conversion of one of my favorite adventures of all time, S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth.

The new adventure has a more Hyborian feel to it and draws heavily from Conan lore, in particular, Red Nails.

HS4 The Lost Caverns of Acheron

The adventure is, at it's heart, the same as S4.  Save now it has been reskinned for the Hyborian Age and all the background has been changed.

Now maybe I have been reading a lot of Eric Fabiaschi of late (or always really) but this sounds like a PERFECT adventure for  Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea!

Eric has had a LOT to say about AS&SH (most of his blog) and S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth.  In fact he pulls in a lot of Jason Vey's own game, Amazing Adventures into the conversations too.

In fact, I am very curious to hear what Eric has to say about this adventure. (EDITED: I talked to Eric before this post went up. He has played it using AS&SH. He also pointed out my next point.)

Now AS&SH only takes us to level 12.  This adventure is right up against that level limit and might even be a bit more than a party can deal with. I would alter this by having a larger party to be honest or carefully scaling the encounters.

Outside of the Hyborian skin the biggest change is the Witch-Queen Xaltana.  She essentially combines the characters of Iggwilv and Drelzna into one.

So instead of this:


We get this:


It actually works out quite well. In fact, Xaltana is much more interesting than Drelzna ever was. (Sorry D!)

Appropriately the adventure takes on a more Clark Ashton Smith feel to it.  This plays so well into the sequel WG4 The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun. Which could in like fashion be reskinned as The Forgotten Temple of Thasaidon. Hmm. Maybe that is something to try; borrowing heavily from The Tomb-Spawn.

She would make a great Witch Queen!  More on that later.


#RPGaDAY2019: Lost

Today's topic is Lost.

One of my favorite things in RPGs is visiting or exploring lost lands.

I am currently re-reading Tolkien's The Silmarillion.  I didn't enjoy it as a kid, but when I re-read as an adult a few tears back I loved it.  Today I am getting a lot more out of it still.

One thing that bugged me back then that I adore now are these maps.

As a kid I was very familiar with this map:


I had this on my wall for years until I went to college.

But this map in the Silmarillion bugged me.


Obviously, these maps are related.  Reading the stories I knew these were the same worlds or at least related lands.

It wasn't till I noticed the only commonality between the two maps, on the far right of the Middle Earth map and the far left of the Beleriand map you can see the Ered Luin, the Blue Mountains.

It works better if you place the maps like this and sink the lands under water that Tolkien mentions.


Now, this map fills me with joy.  Look at all those lost lands!  If I ever do a Middle-Earth game there will be a way to visit these lands.

Even if I never do I want to know more about it.  What happened to these lands when the waters claimed them? Were there still people there?  Not just lost Gondolin, all the places.

It reminds me of Doggerland.  A lot more real and closer to home, but no less lost.


Think about it 8,000 BCE, lands to the east of England.  Walking from (what would be) London to (what would be) Copenhagen.

This is a Mesolithic (Middle to Late) period in human history.  We know so little about this time and the people that lived here.  Not just a lost land, a lost people, a lost time.

Sure we have some wonderful archeological finds from this time, but who were the people? What did they do? What sort of adventures would they have had?

Again, I might never get the chance to do anything with it, but I do love looking at these maps.

Back in the early days of AD&D 1st ed I took an immediate liking to the lost lands of the Suel Empire of the Greyhawk setting.

Like Middle Earth, I want to run a game set during the Invoked Devastation / Rain of Colorless Fire.  Something along the lines of the Doctor Who episode "The Time Monster" where the PCs get sent back in time to witness the destruction. I would have watched it around the same time I was playing AD&D 1.

I love lost lands, one day I might even get to visit them!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

In a time of Ancient Gods...

There were the ones that beseeched these gods for power and it was granted!

These are the witches of the Classical Traditions and their closely allied sisters the Amazon Tradition.



Coming soon for the BLUEHOLME Journeymanne and Prentice Rules.


Sumer. Egypt. Greece. Rome.
These are the foundations of civilization. Where mythology, religion and magic collide in a fertile land.
It is a time of Gods and Witches!

This book introduces the Classical Witch Tradition. Witches from the ancient time of myths and legends.
  •         The witch class and four new combination classes
  •         Guidelines for playing any species of witch
  •         Six witch covens of the Classical Tradition
  •         120 Spells and Rituals for witch characters
  •         24 Monsters to challenge or be allies
  •         29 magic items and six artifacts
  •         Three Non-player character witches from pages of mythology

Also fully compatible with Daughters of Darkness: Lilith and the Mara Tradition.



#RPGaDAY2019: Vast

Today's topic is Vast.

Vast. Seriously it is like it is too large of a word to tackle all at once.


To any PC in any sort of RPG the setting should feel vast.  For D&D it is can be the world or the known planes.  In sci-fi games, this can be the galaxy or even the universe.

But I don't write vast.  I write local.

Yes, there is a whole world out there, but how much of it are the PCs going to see? What do they really know about it?  Sure, there were people in the 13th century that had a pretty good idea what the world looked like, but did the peasants?

Let's look at Star Trek and by extension my BlackStar game. Because really, what is more vast than space?


That is a map of the Known Space of the Star Trek universe roughly at the end of the 24th Century.  My BlackStar game is likely to be set 50 years prior to this.
This is a LOT of territory.  The Sol system is where the larger yellow line is.  Click to see larger.

This is roughly 1,500 Light Years wide, of the Milky Way that is 105,000 Light Years wide, about 1%.

That's a lot of untold stories. 

I wish I had more time to do more!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...