Tuesday, May 31, 2016

New Releases Tuesday: Tomb of Horrors

The Tomb of Horrors is one of the most talked about modules on this blog.  Now you can legall own a PDF copy.

Tomb of Horrors @ RPGNow.



Honestly never thought I'd see this, but there it is.
I imagine the rest of the S-Series will be out in the next few weeks.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Monstrous Mondays: Memento Mori

It's Memorial Monstrous Monday so I thought this might be a good choice for today.

Memento Mori
No. Enc.: 1-2
Alignment: NA
Movement: NA
Armor Class: 9
Hit Dice: 1d4 (1 hit point)
Attacks: 1 (fear)
Damage: as per fear spell
Save: F0
Morale: NA
Hoard Class: nil
XP: 10

Memento Mori are the spectral remains of a violent death. When someone dies a particularly violent death they can leave behind a fragment of their psychic energy as a memento mori.  They appear as thin, ghostly shapes acting out the moment of their death over and over again.  Rarely will they interact with the living.

Upon seeing a memento mori creatures and characters at or below 3 hit die/levels act as if a fear spell was cast on them. Observers above 4 HD and at or below 6 are allowed a saving throw vs.Petrify to avoid the effects.  Creatures about 7 HD are not affected.

A cleric who can dispel undead of 1 HD can put a memento mori to rest.  Also, a memento mori can be put to rest via an atonement, banishment, exorcise or wish spell.

Don't forget to include the hashtag #MonsterMonday on Twitter or #MonsterMonday on Google+ when you post your own monsters!


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Starfinder

Paizo has announced "Starfinder", a new Sci-Fi game that is compatible with their Pathfinder game.



http://paizo.com/paizo/blog/v5748dyo5litw?Announcing-the-Starfinder-Roleplaying-Game

http://paizo.com/starfinder/

I am cautiously optimistic.  This could be a lot of fun and I have a ton of d20 compatible Sci-Fi games to play with.  But of course, I have to ask what will this give me that White Star doesn't already do?

Well it looks like I'll have to wait till 2017 to find out.



Friday, May 27, 2016

Next Stop, The Temple of Elemental Evil

For the next phase of the Come Endless Darkness campaign, I am going to do a flashback episode.  I am taking the characters all back to first level, or more to the point 0 level, and they are going to meet for the "first" time in Hommlet.



Here they are going to meet other adventurers such as Morgan Ironwolf, Rufus, Burne, and Aleena.  I might even throw in Emirikol the Chaotic just for fun.

Why go back and do this?  Well, I wanted to run Temple of Elemental Evil now for a while.  But T1 Village of Hommlet is for brand new characters.  I also have been dying to do some Basic D&D again.  I have picked up all this really cool Basic-era related stuff lately and I think it would be a blast.

So this flashback episode will serve to introduce the party, give them a reason to be together, and uncover the reason why they had forgotten it to start with.

I am going to throw this out there, but despite my own personal objections to the women-in-refrigerators like plot device,  I am still going to kill Aleena.  Partly because I want to later use The Shrine of St. Aleena, but also because of my stated goal of giving my kids a full D&D experience.

Though I also admit I have always wanted to run a game called "They Keep Killing Aleena" as a time-travel adventure.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

New B/X Game Master Screens

I got my new B/X GM screens in the mail this week from +Richard LeBlanc and New Big Dragon Games Unlimited.  It is some good stuff.




Lots of cool add-ons too.



Those are some sturdy character sheets too.



And it compares favorably to the official BECMI screen from TSR.

I like that this also came with PDFs of everything.  So I printed out some of my own sheets.


Can't wait to give these a go!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Class Struggles: Mazes & Perils Deluxe Edition

Image courtesy of Tenkar
It has been a while since I have done a Class Struggles post.  I knew I wanted to do something with Basic-era D&D and had a couple of ideas, but nothing 100% yet.   I ended up talking to +Vincent Florio about the newest version of Mazes & Perils Deluxe Edition, due out June 3rd.
Now Vince knows me. He knows that I love new magic using classes as much as I love anything and a new "Holmes" Basic magic-using class is just too sweet to pass up.  So he sent a copy of the new book in exchange for an honest review.  Today I am only going to focus on the new classes, I'll say more about the book as a whole later on.

Mazes & Perils Deluxe Edition (M&PDE hereafter) introduces two new magic-using classes, the Enchanter and the Shaman.  They join the classic Cleric and Magic-User.   There is a design choice here to keep the Magic-User over the more widely accepted wizard and I am 100% cool with that.  If you know any version of Basic D&D (Holmes in particular) you know what the MU is all about.  The XP progression tables are lesser for this MU compared to their Holmes, B/X, AD&D counterparts. But they are more in line with what a MU actually should need (see this post on my analysis of the MU/Wizard class).   So for this alone your MU is going to have a slightly different vibe to him.  

The max spell level in 5th, but that is not a big deal since the max character level in most cases is 12th.  Again, just because of who I am I might make it 13th.  (Come to think of it this might make a good game for my War of the Witch Queens campaign.)

The first new class is the Enchanter.  The enchanter follows a similar level progression and the same spell progression as does the Magic-User.   The enchanter does have a different spell list than the Magic-User as seen below:


They also learn their spells differently from a MU with a chance of a non-enchanter going insane after reading their spell books.   I like the *idea* of the enchanter and I would certainly play one. I think though I would do something to make them a bit more different than the Magic-User.   Given the mental nature of their spells I might make their prime stat Charisma or even Wisdom.  They have some really interesting spells here and I think a lot can be done with this class.   Just give it a little more to separate it from the MU.

Next up is the Shaman.  Now the Shaman is a real treat.  First it is a "primitive" type of spell caster, so their spells reflect that.


They also have Atonement and Spirit Guardian abilities.  Atonement gives them the ability to spiritually link to a weapon.   I have to admit the first thought I had was of Rafiki the baboon shaman from The Lion King.  Trust me, this is a good thing.   My only "house rule" I would add to this is that the Shaman's weapon acts as a magical weapon for purposes of hiting undead creatures. Not a +1 but more like a "+0".
The spirit guardian is a very interesting ability.  I don't think it would be game breaking if the spirit animal could attack as a 1HD monster, but it is a guardian afterall.  As a DM I would love to do a lot of cool things with this animal. Hell, it would make for a great "patronus" like spell.  Also I would have the shaman need to go on a "vision quest" to find their spirit animal.  Get all new-agey with it.
The shaman fills the same niche as does the druid in other OSR/D&D games, but is not really 100% the same thing.  This is good, a game could be run that has both druids and shamen in it and still be plenty for them both to do.

Which class to play will often be determined I think by their spell lists. If I were to play the Enchanter I might want to supplement some of his spells.  Maybe grab a few illusionist spells some more Enchantment spells from the 3.x SRD. The Shaman works great out of the box.
I would play both to be honest.   Heck, I have a "Basic" game coming up that might be interesting to try out one or both of these.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

On this day the Slave Lords have been defeated!

Over the weekend the boys escaped the Dungeons of the Slave Lords and started a revolt in the city of Sudderham to defeat the Slave Lords.  They managed to kill them all including the leader Stalman Klim.


I decided that Klim was not a cleric of the Earth Dragon cult, instead, I made a more tangible connection to the Elder Elemental Eye.  Yeah I could go all convoluted with the connections and cover cults and fronts, but really the boys have enough details to juggle.

On the Water Dragon on their way back to the Duchy of Urnst I hit them with the big plot point.  The Sun just went out.

In typical fashion, my youngest announces that someone is killing Sun Gods.

While they were unconscious in the Dungeons I told them they had a flash back to an adventure very early in their careers, and one they don't remember.

So for the next adventure, I am going make 0-level B/X Basic versions of their current 7th level D&D 5 characters and take them through T1 The Village of Hommlet.

I was going to do this using 4e, but a few things have happened recently that have made me really want to do this as Basic D&D.  Plus this is a flashback to when the characters were "younger" so a simpler system is really what I want to give it that right feel.

Any XP they get in Hommlet I am going to give to their 7th level characters.  Afterall, if they just now remembered the adventure that could not have had any advantages from the XP till now.

Also, the nice thing here is I am going to take advantage of D&D Basic's features as features (and not as I thought of them then as bugs).  So the sorcerer and the warlock are going to be Magic-Users. The elven ranger will be an Elf.  The Paladin will be a Fighter and so on.  The only sticking point is the Dragonborn.  I think he will be a Dragonborn.  Just like a Dwarven fighter would be a Dwarf. So yes I am going to use Race-as-Class for this.

I also got all my B/X GM's Screen stuff in the mail yesterday from +Richard LeBlanc so Basic is on my mind.  More on that though in another post.

The Sun is gone. The Order of the Platinum Dragon has a lost memory to recover.  And now they hear of giants coming down from the hills to brazenly attack villages...

Monday, May 23, 2016

Monstrous Mondays: Street Faerie

For today I want to post something I was working on over the weekend for a possible Swords & Wizardry game I have coming up.

Plus I thought it also might be nice to revisit a classic monster. Well...one of my classics.
You can see other Street Fae here and here.

Michael Thomas, Victorian Gothic Fairy
Street Faerie
Armor Class: 9 [10]
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: Spark* (1d4)
Special: Blink, Glamour
Move: 12
HDE/XP: 3/60

Sreet Faeries are fae that have chosen to live in the urban sprawl of large cities rather than the normal sylvan glades and woods that one typically associates with their kind.
A typical street faerie stands about 3' high, but can glamour themselves to be taller or shorter by 2' in either in direction.  They have peppered moth wings that they can hide when needed.  Many will live in cities and disguise themselves as children or young humans.
A Street faerie can also "Blink" as per a Blink Dog or a Dimension Door spell.
Their only attack is a Spark which is a spell like attack (no save). They can cause a spark of electricity to shoot from their fingers causing 1d4 hp of damage.
A typical attack of a Street Fae will consist of a spark attack and then them blinking away.

Don't forget to include the hashtag #MonsterMonday on Twitter or #MonsterMonday on Google+ when you post your own monsters!


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Zatannurday: Tribute to Darwyn Cooke

Last week we lost a great.  Darwyn Cooke died after a brief but aggressive battle with cancer.

I loved Darwyn's style and his heroes always looked like they were happy to be heroes.  They were the best versions of the characters.  Maybe not always the version we wanted to see, but better than the "grim-dark" heroes so many artists (and filmmakers) seem to want to do.


I loved how he always showed Wonder Woman smiling.


And of course when she didn't need to be.


He knew how to make Selena sexy cool.






And of course he knew how to draw Zatanna.

But I enjoyed Minutemen Before Watchmen Comics the most.



Silhouette became something else under his care.


But this video was also something he did well. For Batman's 75th Anniversary.



We are going to miss you Darwyn. You and your influence on the DCU.


Friday, May 20, 2016

White Star Traveller

Free Trader Beowulf, this is "The Lady Lilith". We acknowledge your Mayday and have you on long range scan. Our ETA is 2 mins, 37 seconds.  Hold tight Beowulf, help is on the way.

I love White Star.  It's not groundbreaking, or 100% original (Star Wars + D&D), but it is a great representation and it is a ton of fun. +James Spahn did a kick ass job and managed to get me back into Sci-Fi RPGs.

But back in the day our Sci-Fi games were not this:



But this:



There are some things in Traveller that I think of as a "must have" in a sci-fi game. Things like skills, some more psionics, and dying in character creation...wait, maybe not that.

White Star's class system covers broad skills well, but I have not tried to do very granular or specific skills yet.

Plus there are just a lot things in Traveller I just liked that I would love to see added to the White Star.  Maybe this is something I can do for my Black Star game.

There are also some things in Star Frontiers I like too, but that is something more for blog posting I think.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Treasure Trove! With Pics!

So no "real" post today.  I spent my writing time going through my latest treasure trove.

I joined a bunch of area online "Garge Sale" groups on Facebook and one panned out yesterday.  So cash in hand I drove to nearby Schaumburg, IL and picked up a couple of milk crates full of old-school goodness.   It was not till this morning that I discovered what I really had.


Lots of minis including a wizard's lab.


A D&D Electronic board game in working condition and from what I can tell all the parts.


Modules, Top Secret and even a few Marvel Super Heroes books and some Star Frontiers.


Two Greyhawk folios with maps.  They are in rough condition though, between the two I might be able to salvage one.


More character sheets!  Always need these.


No idea what these are.  But I can't wait to find out!


A lot of the books have water damage like this.  This was not a collector's collection, but a users and a player's one.  There are also a few duplicates.  This was because the husband and wife that sold them merged their collections.





The B/X boxes are empty but the books have been cut up and put into that brown binder.  See I KNEW someone had to have done this.  The BECMI Master's box has both the Master's set and the Immortals set inside. The hardbacks are in decent enough condition. The Monstrous Compendium is in fantastic shape.





I have NO idea what this is.  It is made by TSR and it is from 1974.  The product list on back doesn't even list D&D.



Their old Gen Con folder with the games they were going to choose for 1983.

Some JG stuff.


Cut out minis.  From 1984 I think.


And this was a surprise, a 6th printing of Swords & Spells in near perfect condition.


An absolute ton of modules and books.  Some duplicates within the group and some with my own collection, but still enough "new" stuff to make it worthwhile to me.

It's going to take me some time to sort through all of this stuff that is for sure. But I will have a blast doing it.
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