Wednesday, December 29, 2021

My Old School Gaming Project

Spend any time here and you know that I do love my old-school gaming.  Also for me, my introduction to RPGs coincided with my introduction to computers.  For me, RPGs and computers have always gone hand-in-hand. 

So it should be no surprise then that if I am going to spend so much time working on bringing old-school games back to life I might be doing the same with old-school computers.

Here is my current project.  

Raspberry Pi CoCo

This a "proof of concept."  It is a 3D printed case, housing a Raspberry Pi with 8Gigs of RAM.  It is wifi enabled and has HDMI ports.  Currently running the CoCo-Pi software.

https://coco-pi.com/

Back in 1985, I bought my first computer. It was a Tandy Color Computer 2 with 16k of ROM, a tape-cassette drive for storage and I  plugged it into a color TV.  One of the first things I did with it was to write programs to roll dice, do character abilities and even mimic combat.  Eventually, my DM and I would spend our gaming sessions working on some software we called "BARD" and it was a combat manager.  We could load 10 characters in at a time, roll for initiative and have them battle any number of monsters we wanted.  Some special abilities were a problem (beholders gave us no end of grief) but we had it worked out so that even dragons with breath weapons worked well. I even had a character, my one and only even ninja, killed by a black dragon, taking 70 hp of damage in the first attack. The death was so spectacular that my DM and I sat back and laughed our asses off as this black dragon attacked only the ninja and kept on attacking him until he was at -400 hp. 

It was great fun and I still have the source code.

Fast forward to later this year when my brother got me this:

CoCo 2

CoCo 2

That's not just any CoCo2, that is the one my DM and I wrote BARD on.  He had sold it to my brother years ago because one of the EPROM pins broke off and at the time it was too costly to replace and better computers were out.  I have even gone from my CoCo2 to a CoCo3, to a Tandy 1000, to an 8086, and then to an Intel 286 by that time.  I was getting ready to buy my next computer, my Gateway 486 that I upgraded for years until it got to be so full I needed to keep the case off and have fans blowing in. 

But I digress.  This "new" machine is close to 40 years old and I have been spending my Christmas break cleaning it, upgrading the internal components, and even 3D printing new parts for it.  What I have not be able to make or re-use I have been ordering online.

I hope to show her off soon.  Right now I need to stop so I can transfer some files to USB.  Yes, I got it working with some new USB ports.

This will be a lot fun.  Scratch that, this has been a lot of fun already.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Monstrous Monday: Aamon, Grand Marquis of Hell

Another social media-inspired post today.  My wife was reading something on Geek Girls and she got very excited about the idea of there being border-lands in Hell. Which naturally got us talking about my Demons for Basic Bestariy III.  Not knowing anything about the D&D Blood War, she thought the idea of multiple demonic species in "Hell" a really fun idea.  She was really excited when I mentioned that my Basic Bestarity Demons come in 12 different species, or what I am calling Lineages.

What D&D calls unique devils I refer to as the "Baalseraph" or the Devil Lords.  These are the ones that fell to Hell after losing the War in Heaven.  Each Baalseraph is unique and each one had a previous name from when they were spirits of good.   

Today I want to investigate both of these topics and also show why I also like using OGC monsters.  In this case, I am updating "Amon" from the Tome of Horrors Complete from Necromancer Games and Frog God Games.

Aamon, Grand Marquis of Hell

"Amon, or Aamon, is a great and mighty marques, and commeth abroad in the likeness of a Wolf, having a serpents tail, [vomiting] flames of fire; when he putteth on the shape of a man, he sheweth out dogs teeth, and a great head like to a mighty [night hawk]; he is the strongest prince of all other, and understandeth of all things past and to come, he procureth favor, and reconcileth both friends and foes, and rule forthy legions of devils."

- Johann Wier (1583) Pseudomonarchia Daemonum.

Large Fiend (Diabolic, Baalseraph)

Aamon, Grand Marquis
Frequency:
 Unique
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Lawful Evil]
Movement: 180' (60') [18"]
Armor Class: -2 [21]
Hit Dice: 22d8+44****** (143 hp)
 Large: 22d20+44****** (165 hp)
To Hit AC 0: 6 (+14)
Attacks: 1 weapon or 2 claws, 1 bite
Damage: 2d6+6 (+3 weapon, +3 strength) or 1d6+3 x2, 1d8+3
Special: Baalseraph powers and immunities, magic resistance (75%), regeneration (3 hp/round), spell-like abilities, summoning, teleapthy 100 ft. (see below)
Save: Monster 22
Morale: 12 (NA)
Treasure Hoard Class: XVI, XII (G,K)
XP: 16,250 (OSE) 16,750 (LL)

Str: 19 (+3) Dex: 17 (+2) Con: 16 (+2) Int: 18 (+3) Wis: 16 (+2) Cha: 18 (+3)

Aamon, also called Amon and Nahum, appears as a wolf-headed humanoid standing 9’ tall. His fur is brownish-black and his eyes and teeth are yellow. His great clawed hands are brownish in color and covered in shaggy fur.  He has a long tail like a snake.  

Aamon is a vassal in service to Geryon, commanding no less than 3 legions of bone devils and 40 legions of lesser shedim (devils) on his home plane in Hell. Amon wields a +3 great-mace with two hands. He can also bite in the same round for 1d8+3 hp damage.  If pressed he can attack with his two massive claws instead of his sword. Amon is only harmed by +3 or better weapons. Amon is very strong (STR 19), receiving +3 to hit and damage in melee combat. He regenerates 3 hp per round.

Aamon has the following spell-like abilities, usable at will: animate dead, charm monster, detect invisibility, detect magic, dispel magic, fear (as the spell), fly, geas, know alignment, polymorph self, produce flame, read languages, read magic, suggestion, teleportation, wall of ice, and limited wish (for another being only). In addition, one time per day he may employ a symbol of hopelessness and gate (60% probability of success) 1d4 bone devils. He is able to summon all wolves in a 1-mile radius and control them to do his will.

Like all Baalseraph, Aamon has the following damage modifiers.  He takes no damage from fire (mundane, magical or dragon), normal weapons, or poison (ingested).  He is immune to the effects of mind-affecting magics like charm, ESP, hold, and sleep.  He takes half the damage (and saves for no damage) from cold, electricity, and poisonous gases.  Finally, he takes full damage (or saves for half where applicable) from acid, magic missile attacks (or similar magical energy), blessed, magical, or silvered weapons.   He has magic resistance of 75%. 

Prior to his fall, he had been the spirit known as Nahum, which means "who induces to eagerness."   He was summoned as an impartial judge in disputes between friends.  Now as one of the fallen he creates strife between friends. 

As a Grand Marquis Aamon commands his troops to fend off the hordes of invading Asuras, Calabim, Tarterians.

Seal of Amon

--

Aamon is not just a great example of a Grand Marquis, he is a great example of an OGC monster.   He is used in Pathfinder, Swords & Wizardry, Advanced Labyrinth Lord, and others along with its original use in AD&D.

Section 15 for this monster follows:

Open Game License v 1.0a Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

System Reference Document. Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, based on material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

Swords & Wizardry Core Rules. Copyright 2008, Matthew J. Finch
Swords & Wizardry Complete Rulebook. Copyright 2010, Matthew J. Finch.

Tome of Horrors Complete, Copyright 2011, Necromancer Games, Inc., published and distributed by Frog God Games.

Amon from the Tome of Horrors Complete, Copyright 2011, Necromancer Games, Inc., published and distributed by Frog God Games; based on original material by Author Scott Greene, based on original material by Gary Gygax.

I am choosing to cleave close to the original material and the OGC material because I feel that anyone using this monster (or later using the Basic Bestiary) to be able to slot him right into an ongoing game without too many "continuity errors."  So I include his "mythological" background (description, legions controlled) and his "D&D" background (allegiance to Geryon).  I also include more details that are solely from my own games (Baalseraph, borderland disputes). 

My Aamon is expanded and changed, but I can see where you can use Amon and Aamon interchangeably. The ability to pick up one of my monsters and use them in any game is one of my main design goals.

Links


Sunday, December 26, 2021

Boxing Day: Magic Realm

Magic Realm
After many years I finally treated myself to a game I have wanted for years.  Avalon Hill's "Magic Realm."

The game looks like a board game, but there are a lot of RPG elements as well.  And the game is notoriously difficult to learn. 

I have no experience with this game. At all. But I just knew I wanted it.   So instead of a review here are some other reviews.

So it looks like I have some learning ahead of me!

I also have no idea if my game is complete or not. I like what I have seen so far.



Magic Realm

Magic Realm

Magic Realm

Magic Realm

Magic Realm

Magic Realm

Magic Realm

Magic Realm


Friday, December 24, 2021

Friday Night Videos: Christmas Eve Music

It's Christmas Eve in my part of the world!

While I am not a Christian I do love the secular holiday aspects of Christmas. Getting together with family. Relaxing at the end of the year. Making some great food (homemade pizzas tonight) and yes giving presents.

So let's get this Christmas going with some of my favorite Christmas songs!

Here are some of my all-time favorites.















Santa Claus and the Friday the 13th Christmas Special for NIGHT SHIFT

Been working a lot on NIGHT SHIFT lately so I see everything through this lens.  So when one of my friends on Facebook posted this idea, you know I had to run with it. 

Jason vs Santa

Not too far-fetched, as the images of Santa and Father Christmas come to us from the legends of Odin wandering the land in disguise, giving gifts to children.

So for NIGHT SHIFT imagine this.  It is December 13, but it is also Friday the 13th (the next time this happens is December 2024).  A group of kids are back from college and getting ready for Christmas.  They all get together and talk about how they all nearly died at Camp Crystal Lake one summer.  The memories and the date summon Jason Voorhees to start killing again.

I imagine a sad and angry Santa Claus (I mean if Jason is real, why not Santa).  

"I knew those children Freya!" he tells Mrs. Claus. "Billy. Susie. Ann. They were on the Nice List most of the time. They were all good kids!"    

Mrs. Claus watched him for a moment, she then reached into her dress and pulls out a large iron key on a silver chain.  Santa stands, takes the offered key.  He goes and unlocks a cabinet. Inside is a large golden spear.  "Ah, Gungnir old friend. It is time again." He removes his jolly red coat to reveal his muscled frame donned in fine mail. 

Mrs. Claus hands him his shield saying "Remind him who you were, Grímnir. Who you are."

He walks out of his workshop in the driving snow (in slow motion no less) as two ravens fly into the scene to fly in front of him.

Santa Claus
Santa Claus
20th Level Chosen One
Supernatural

Strength: 20 (+4) s
Dexterity: 17 (+2) 
Constitution: 14 (+1)
Intelligence: 16 (+2) 
Wisdom: 18 (+3) P
Charisma: 20 (+4) s

HP: 110 (20d8+20)
AC: 2
Fate Points: 1d10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +8/+6/+4
Melee bonus: +10  Ranged bonus: +6
Saves: +6 to all

Special Abilities: Increased Ability (Str), Brutal Warrior, Stunning Blow, Killing Blow, Supernatural Attacks, Difficult to Surprise, Improved Initiative, Improved Defense, Survival Skills  (13th level), Mental Resistance, Regeneration.

Supernatural Ability: Body Control

For a game I would have the PCs being hunted by Jason and the only one that can save them is Santa.  That is of course if they can remind him that he had once been Odin.

--

Joe and Becky were running for their lives. 

The monster in the hockey mask had killed Gary and it was now after them.  Becky was hurt and limping.  Joe was trying to hold her up while they ran. Both were terrified. Joe was looking behind and he no longer saw the monster and he didn't notice the limb and he tripped, bringing him and Becky down.   They looked up and saw the monster. The monster raised his machete to bring down on the teens. Joe heard a scream that he thought was Becky's, but he soon realized it was his own.   Instead of the sound of metal on flesh, the sound was metal on steel.

Joe looked up and to his complete astonishment, he saw.

"Santa?" Joe asked, surprised.

"Ho. Ho. Ho." Santa said, but there was no mirth in it. His spear held back the machete. "Now, foul draugr. Not these children."  Santa knocked the undead slasher back with his spear. "Not during MY season!" 


Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Winter Solstice and a Return to Hyperborea

Today is the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and last night I got my PDF copies of the new Hyperborea RPG, formerly Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.  

Hyperborea has long been part of my "older, colder" version of D&D. And winter is a great time for it. This new version has a lot going for it and I can't wait to dig into it.  There is so much to like here.

It also is a good time to revisit the witch family, The Winters, and my favorite member Tanith.

I detailed Tanith for the 2nd Edition of the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea RPG. 

Tanith Winters

Tanith Winters

Female Hyperborean Witch 12th level
Alignment: Neutral (but it is likely she will move towards Evil at some point)

ST 10 [+0 +0 2:6 2%]
DX 14 [+1 +0 3:6 8%]
CN 13 [+1 +0 80% 3:6 8%]
IN 16 [+1 75%]
WS 12 [+0]
CH 16 [+1 8 +1]

Age: 30
AC: 4
HD: 9+3
hp: 38
FA: 5
CA: 12
#Attacks: 1/1
Damage: 1d4 (dagger), 1d4 (sling)
SV: 11 (+2 Transformation, +2 Sorcery)
ML: 12

Abilities
Alchemy, Brew Decoction, Familiar, Read Magic, Scroll Use, Scroll Writing, Sorcery, Dance of Beguilement, Effigy, Henchmen, Broom Enchantment, LAdyship

Spells
First level (5+1): Charm Person, Light, Scare, Shocking Grasp, Sleep, Write Spell
Second level (5+1): Darkness, Extrasensory Perception, Identity, Ray of Enfeeblement, Ungovernable Hideous Laughter
Third level (4+1): Continous Darkness, Slow, Phantasm, Wind Wall, Starlight
Fourth level (4): Freeze Surface, Moonlight, Mirror Mirror, Transfer Wounds
Fifth level (3): Cause Lycanthropy, Control Winds, Transform to Winter Wolf
Sixth level (2): Control Lycanthrope, Freezing Sphere

Languages: Common, Hellenic (Hyperborean), Old Norse, Speak with the Dead, Speak with Nature Spirits
Size: M (Height: 5'2", 114lbs)
Move: 40
Saving Throw Modifiers: Transformation +2, Sorcery +2
Secondary Skill: Weaver (almost all Winters women begin as weavers)
God: Lunaqqua

Snowy Owl Familiar ("Beira"): AL N; SZ S; MV 10 (Fly 80); DX 15; AC 7; HD 1/4 (hp 5); #AT 3/1 (claw, claw, bite); D 1/1/1; SV 17; ML 5; XP 11

Normal Gear
Winter robes, winter cloak, clothing, daggers (2), backpack, woolen blanket, chalk, ink and quill, polished steel mirror, incendiary oil, parchment (4), soft leather pouch (2), small sack (2), tinderbox, torches (2), wineskin (mead), writing stick, iron rations (one week), spellbook (contains all prepared spells), 1 gp, 5 sp

--

Tanith has been an interesting character so far.  In the few games, I have run her she has become surprisingly power-hungry.  She seeks to control the Winters family which is going to bring her is direct conflict with Grandmother Winter.

With this new Hyperboria RPG out I am also going to explore her relationship with her god Lunaqqua.

Lunaqqua


Monday, December 20, 2021

Monstrous Mondays: The Confessor

This creature began with a picture posted to the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Facebook group, and I thought it might be fun to stat up.  The original posters asked, "in game terms, what is this?"

Here is what I posted in response. 

It is a "Confessor." It appears in areas of profound sadness. It feeds on the professed guilt of those who sit next to it. You have to confess your worst guilt to it. If you do, it leaves. If you don't or lie to it then it attacks as a specter.

It seemed to go over well, so here are some full stats.

What struck me about it was the white "robes" it is wearing, the bench seems to have room for someone else to sit next to it, and it is out in the daylight.

This is an undead creature, but a special one.

CONFESSOR
FREQUENCY: Very Rare
NO. APPEARING: 1
ARMOR CLASS: 3
MOVE:  0" (special)
HIT DICE:  10+10 (55 hp)
% IN  LAIR:  100%
TREASURE  TYPE:  Nil
NO. OF ATTACKS:  1
DAMAGE/ATTACK:  1d10 + Energy Drain
SPECIAL  ATTACKS:  Compell, Energy Drain
SPECIAL  DEFENSES:  +1 or better weapon to hit
MAGIC  RESISTANCE:  25%
INTELLIGENCE:  Average
ALIGNMENT:  Chaotic  Evil (Chaotic Neutral)
SIZE:  M  (6' tall)
PSIONIC ABILITY:  Nil

The confessor is a special undead appearing in places of great sorrow.  They are found sitting alone waiting for someone to sit down next to them.  Humanoids are compelled to do so unless they make a saving throw vs. spells.   If a victim fails the save they sit down next to the confessor. This is all the magic does, what the victim does next is up to them.  If they make the save the confessor still will beckon any living humanoid to come to sit next to it. 

Once someone sits next to the confessor it will then ask them to confess their deepest guilt. The character then has to confess their worst guilt to it. If they do and are honest, it leaves. If they don't or lie to it then it attacks as a 10 HD undead creature.  Its touch does 1d10 hp of damage and drains one energy level as per a specter.  They can and do move about in the daylight and are not harmed by it.  

They can be turned by a cleric as a Lich.  Unless the confessor hears a confession they will return on on the next sunset.  Anyone killed by a confessor will remain as a spirit helplessly haunting the area around the confessor; wordlessly screaming out their warnings to others. 

--

Have to admit, I thought of this.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Friday Night Videos: Remembering Mike Nesmith

Not everything I post here is game-related.

Friday Night Videos is a prime example.  And in truth, there might not be a Friday Night Videos (or even an MTV as we used to know it) without the pioneering work of Mike Nesmith.

Nesmith, who passed away on December 10 at the age of 78 was one of the members of the fake rock band, The Monkees.  LAter he created the show PopClips that was later sold to Time Warner and gave us MTV.  This is not a surprise since the Monkees show was essentially a surreal sitcom with music video sensibilities.  It played in reruns to kids like me that would grow up into teens with MTV.

Mike Nesmith is the Godfather of Music Videos.  Yes, there were music videos before, some WAY before, but he turned them into entertainment for the masses.

So here's Nes and some of my favorite songs he has written.

He also was featured on songs written by others. 


His best though, is one he wrote and performed and became something of a signature song.

Weren't they good, they made me happy.  Miss yeah Nes.

Tea with the Witches

Been crazy busy at work. That time of year.  But one big project is done and I am down to the last few courses in this contact hour audit I have been doing for weeks.  

I have been neglecting things here so here is a quick one.  I got some art made of a scene crucial to the "War of the Witch Queens"  back story.  The scene is called "Tea With the Witches" and it takes place in The Simbul's castle in the Forgotten Realms.

Tea with the Witches

I want to send out a hearty thank you to Brian Brinlee for doing such a great job with this. Here are the witches pictured. Left to right (clockwise, never widdershins when dealing with witches):

Sagarassi the Sea Witch (Krynn/Dragonlance), Iggwilv the Witch Queen (Oerth/Greyhawk), The Simbul, Witch Queen of Aglarond (Toril/The Forgotten Realms and where this is taking place), Larina (my OC), Feiya the Pathfinder iconic witch (Golarion/Pathfinder).

They are playing Pentacles, a game played with five people using Tarroka cards.

Hopefully regular posting will resume next week!

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Featured Artist: Chris Achilléos

Chris Achilléos in 2013
It has not been a good week.  In addition to Anne Rice and Mike Nesmith, we also lost British Cypriot painter Chris Achilléos.  He was 74.

Achilléos' book Sirens was one of the first art books I ever bought.  I think my brother (who is an artist) still has it.  I'd later go on to pick up his Beauty and the Beast and Medusa books. 

I loved his art from Heavy Metal (and sometimes White Dwarf) magazine as well as the British covers of the Richard Kirk Raven novels.  But it was his art of Taarna of the Heavy Metal movie poster that most people know him.

Links

Taarna
Taarna

Chris Achilleos 01

Chris Achilleos 02

Chris Achilleos "Tanith"
Tanith

Chris Achilleos

Chris Achilleos "Elric"
Elric

Let's not forget his Raven covers for the British publisher Corgi.

Raven: Swordmistress of ChaosRaven: Swordmistress of Chaos

Raven: Swordmistress of ChaosRaven: Swordmistress of Chaos


Corgi Books


Monday, December 13, 2021

Monstrous Monday: Children of Darkness

Author and world creator Anne Rice died this past weekend at the age of 80. 

Anne Rice, Queen of Darkness

Rice's writing, whether her books on vampires, witches, mummies, or erotic fairytales, had a huge effect on horror writing, modern media vampires, and not least of all, games. 

I recently watched the 2017 "World of Darkness" documentary where Vampire the Masquerade creator talked about how he tried to avoid everything Anne Rice when he was writing, only to watch all the movies and read the books that influenced her. 

There was certainly something in the air around then.  World of Darkness / Vampire the Masquerade came out in 1991, with development starting in the late 80s (on the way to Gen Con according to the documentary).  Back in 1985-86, I read "The Vampire Lestat."  I actually read it before I read "Interview with A Vampire" so my opinion of Lestat was a bit higher than my friends that read the books in the proper order.  "Lost Boys" came out in 1987.  All of this led to some interesting discussions at the game table on the nature of vampires.  

Once again I am going back to my original "Red Book" and I pulled the stats on an old favorite, the Children of Darkness, updated to my new Basic Bestiary stat block.  Though spoiler alert, you have seen a variation on these with the Children of Twilight.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
Vamire, Children of Darkness
Medium Undead (Corporeal)

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1d4)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Neutral]
Movement: 180' (60') [18"]
  Run 360' (160') [36"]
Armor Class: 2 [17]
Hit Dice: 10d8+20*** (65 hp)
To Hit AC 0: 6 (+13)
Attacks: 2 fists or by weapon
Damage: 1d6+5 x2, or weapon+5
Special: Constitution drain, immune to mind-affecting spells such as sleep, hold, and charm, plus additional powers
Save: Monster 10
Turn As: Type 12 (Lich)
Morale: 11 (12)
Treasure Hoard Class: XX [C]
XP: 3,000 (OSE) 3,100 (LL)

Str: 22 (+5) Dex: 18 (+3) Con: 16 (+2) Int: 16 (+2) Wis: 13 (+1) Cha: 20 (+4)

Few undead creatures are as powerful as the vampire and none are as successful as hunters as the vampire.  The Children of Darkness are among the most powerful of the vampires.  The transformation to the undead causes the Children of Darkness to become the perfect predator. Their physical form becomes perfect; imperfections disappear, they become stronger, can see and hear better, and naturally, can smell blood.  These vampires only prey on humans and as such only humans become Children of Darkness. 

The Children of Darkness share many of the same strengths and weaknesses as the common vampire. They are strong (they have strength scores of 22), undead, immune to mind-affecting spells such as sleep, hold, and charm. They are also immune to having their minds read.  However, unlike other types of vampires, they can enter dwellings, holy ground and are not harmed by holy items like symbols of holy water.   Additionally, they cannot turn into bats, wolves, or mist. They do not need to rest in coffins, but many do since it is a good guarantee that they will lie undisturbed.  Like all vampires, Children of Darkness are damaged by and can be destroyed by sunlight.   They take 2d6 hp of damage per round exposed to sunlight.   These vampires are turned by Clerics as Liches or Type 12 Undead. 

These vampires can attack with their fists causing 1d6+5 points of damage per hit or attack with a weapon with a +5 to damage.  Additionally, these vampires can have a special power.  These powers can include, Charm, Levitation, Pyrotechnics, Telekinesis, or Telepathy.  Typically these vampires gain their first power soon after becoming a vampire and an additional power for every 100 years of age.   Children of Darkness over 1,000 years old are believed to be able to fly or even immunity to sunlight.

Magical weapons can harm them and if they are reduced to below 0 hp they do not die, must retreat where they will heal at the rate of 1 hp per day.  Damage above this 0 hp threshold is regenerated at the rate of 1 hp per round.  Vampires can "heal" hp on an eight-for-one basis for any hp they drain from constitution points (1 con point = 8 hp). 

The deadliest attack is their Constitution Drain.  Once they latch onto a victim they drain them of blood via a bite.  This bite drains the victim of two (2) points of constitution per round, with most humans drained to zero in five rounds. A human drained to below 0 constitution points will die. A drained human will not return as a vampire unless the Child of Darkness also gives them some of their own blood.  They can only do this if the human is at 0 points of constitution, no more, no less.

Children of Darkness will band together in small groups for protection. Many will share the same sire or will even be "orphans", Children whose sire has abandoned them.  They have a complex set of laws they must abide by which includes not turning children into vampires, (though feeding on them seems to be ok) not creating too many of their own kind (which is difficult to start with), and not killing their own sires.  Some even take this as far as not killing others of their kind. 

The Children of Darkness see themselves as superior to all other types of vampires.  They view other vampires as mutations or aberrations.  Their own rules prohibiting them from killing other vampires do not apply to other vampire types. They often refer to all these other types as "Children of the Devil."

Every hundred years or so a Child of Darkness feels the need for a deeper sleep. They will find a secluded location away from the sun where they will sleep for a decade or more.  Sometimes very old vampires will fall into this death-like state and forget to awaken. 

--

About twice as much text as my late 80s version.  For this stat block, there is now a "Turned As" listing.  This is something I'll introduce in Basic Bestiary II: Undead (currently 220 entries, but only 140 are complete).  "Named" undead will get a chance to make a saving throw but I will detail all of that and my alternate rules for Undead Level Drain in the book.

BBII Cleric Turning

Friday, December 10, 2021

Kickstart Your Weekend: Vaesen RPG – Mythic Britain & Ireland

There are few things I love more than Creepy Folk horror and one of those things is creepy Gothic Horror.  I was quite pleased to see that Free League Publishing of Sweden was doing a horror Mythic Britain and Ireland, you know it has my attention.

Vaesen RPG – Mythic Britain & Ireland

Vaesen RPG – Mythic Britain & Ireland

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1192053011/vaesen-rpg-mythic-britain-and-ireland?ref=theotherside

I picked up Vaesen based on solid recommendations while I was at Gen Con this past year.  The game is gorgeous, but I have yet to play it.  But this?  This looks like it was tailor-made for me.

Once again the art looks amazing and the game itself?  Well, I am hooked and already thinking of a game I could run with it.  

Check it out and throw them a Krona or two.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

NotTSR sues Wizards of the Coast

Kinda busy with work and other projects this week, so this will be a fast one.  

File under, "Gods, Not these Idiots Again?"

So the New, New TSR, also 3SR, or TSR3, or NotTSR by me, have decided in their infinite wisdom to sue Wizards of the Coast.


Yup.

Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro (the makers of Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons) is being sued by TSR (the makers of well...nothing actually).

You can read the filed suit here: 

Now that is the text of the suit and details exactly what is being asked of the courts. This is a copyright and trademark dispute.

The copyright one is completely bogus as Wizards owns (and has all the receipts) of the copyright to all of TSR, Inc.'s former copyrights.  This has been repeated multiple times by Ryan Dancey, the Wizards of the Coast employee charged with investigating and authorizing the purchase of TSR, Inc. (and the spearhead of the OGL), by Shannon Appelcline the RPG historian who has covered the history of D&D/TSR, and most recently by Benjamin Riggs who writing a book to cover the purchase of TSR, Inc. by Wizards of the Coast. 

Reading through this document this is about NotTSR wanting to have free and clear use of the old logos that Wizards had owned but the trademark licenses elapsed.  Currently, it looks like the use of the "Man in the Moon" logo has cancelation pending

Given the language in the NotTSR's IndieGoGo's page (which I am not linking and will get to in a bit) makes the claim that Wizards of the Coast are "bullying" them to give up the logos and maybe even the name. This is what I thought they had done anyway back in July with the whole "WonderFilleD" name.

While the text of the actual suit says one thing, their IndieGoGo page says something else.

The crowdfunding effort on IndieGoGo makes it sound like they are taking on WotC to reclaim D&D and get them to remove the disclaimers on older products (including ones produced and published by WotC themselves).

delusional nonsense

There is a whole lot of nonsense here to unpack.  Where to start?

TSR, Inc. is not New TSR.

There is a lot of conflating of the two (well there were three) TSRs.  LaNasa here is trying to make a connection between the TSR that dissolved in the 1990s to the new "company" he created.   That conflation is something he has been doing for the last few months.  I am wondering if he is actually starting to believe this himself. 

IndieGoGo and not GoFundMe

Then there is the issue of IndieGoGo vs. GoFundMe.  GFM is the go-to platform for things like this. So why IGG? I think it is because there are few consumer protections against fraud that GFM was specifically designed for. IGG is great, but this is not what it was meant for.

The Suit vs. What the fundraiser page says

The suit covers a trademark dispute.  The IGG pages leads you to believe that they are also going after Wizards to get the language on the DirveThruRPG/DMSGuild pages changed.

Extra delusional

Keep in mind that NotTSR has no legal leg to stand on here. WotC owns those products lock, stock, and barrel. They can do whatever they want to their own products.

I said it 18 months ago, and I revisited it 6 months ago, but those disclaimers are not coming down. It doesn't matter what the older, tiny subset of fans, many who also claim never to buy the products, want.  If anything it increased the sales.  Do you honestly think Oriental Adventures was going to go to Mithril seller on its content alone?

NotTSR and LaNasa do not have that sort of power. Not even if their Fundraiser ran at its current levels for the next 10,000 years. 

Libel and Slander?

Good thing that this wasn't in the actual suit.  This is a perfect example of someone not knowing what the legal terms Libel and Slander actually mean. I would even argue that LaNasa has MADE money since those disclaimers went up.  Also, WotC can also show that no harm has been caused to their own livelihood since they went up.   This is the weakest of all his claims. 

So what is the point of all of this?

Simple. I have talked to a lot of people that are part of the RPG industry and the overwhelming consensus is that is nothing more than a cheap cash grab.  It is a grift to get money from the old-school gaming crowd. 

LaNasa is promising the return of "old TSR" but not only is Old TSR gone, it is gone forever. The copyrights and IP are held by a multi Billion dollar company (Fortune 500 rank #494).  The principles and the creatives are all for the most part dead. The ones that are still alive have nothing but contempt for this cash grab.  Don't forget that "good old TSR" was not always so good. Gygax tried to screw Arneson of money he was owed (it was Wizards of the Coast that made Dave Arneson was paid finally, not TSR), it was TSR that fired Gygax from his own company, and it was TSR that threatened to sue anyone that so much as talked about D&D online back in the early 90s.   The whole "Make TSR Great Again" is a smokescreen for a blatant cash grab and to hide the fact they still have no products out.


I said what I said

Edited to Add: Here is a brilliant takedown of the complaint by a lawyer who does this stuff all the time.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Mail Call: Chris Perkins' "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition"

Been a busy time at work, so just a fast one today.

Some time ago I grabbed something called "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition" from the web.  It has been sitting in my "to be sorted" folder for ages.  I was in the process of digging up some other material for a project when I happened upon them.   The layout was nice and clean and the covers were nearly print-ready.  So I spent some time a few nights ago tweaking it and slapped the whole thing on Lulu.

Here is what I got.

Chris Perkins' Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Ed.

Chris Perkins' Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Ed. PHB

Chris Perkins' Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Ed. PHB

Chris Perkins' Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Ed. PHB

Chris Perkins' Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Ed. PHB

Chris Perkins' Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Ed. MM

Chris Perkins' Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Ed. MM

Chris Perkins' Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Ed. DMG

Chris Perkins' Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Ed. DMG

Chris Perkins' Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Ed. Covers

Frankly, I am pretty happy with it. 

I went a re-looked up what this game was/is and it turns out it was done by Chris Perkins.  The game is a very nice blend of AD&D 1st and 2nd Editions with mechanics from D&D 3rd Edition and inspiration from Castles & Crusades.  The overall effect is not unlike D&D 5th Edition, but more of a 1st Edition feel.

The art is all copied from published classic D&D sources, so there is no way this thing is legal to sell. I am sure if cleaned up it could be released under the OGL, but it is so close to Castles & Crusades and D&D 5th edition there is no need to do so save as an entertaining experiment.

Perkins used to have a website for it, http://www.adnd3egame.com/cnc.htm but it is long since gone. There are details about it at RPG Geek and Boardgame GeekI have no idea where it is hosted anymore.  I found a new site for it here: https://scruffygrognard.wordpress.com/2010/02/02/add-3rd-edition/Note: Perkins is now working on a BX3e.

It is a completely playable game and has a lot of nice features.  It reads like a D&D "Greatest hits" album.  It is just missing some "kits" or "subclasses" to make it more like 5e.  

The question of course is why play this when I have all the other versions of *D&D?  Well, the simple answer is that it looks like fun.  IT might be neat to play this "what if" version.  It is also interesting to see which design choices Perkins went with. Like why 20th century D&D style saving throws and not say 3rd/4th Edition ones or 5th Edition/Castles & Crusades ones?  How does the skill system work (feels like a mix of AD&D 1st ed and D&D 3rd ed)?  There are Bard and Monk classes, how do they compare to their 1st and 3rd ed counterparts?  Plus there is a section on Psionics. So there is a lot to explore here.

Besides the books are damn attractive.  The layout like I said is clean and simple, but it appeals to me.

Now that I found his site again I am curious to see if there will be more updates on it. His BX3e project also looks very interesting.