Friday, November 6, 2015

Kickstart Your Weekend: Brimstone & The Borderhounds RPG

I don't know much about the Brimstone & The Borderhounds comic, except it looks like "Dog the Bounty Hunter" meets "Hellraiser".  I could be wrong.  But even if I am it sounds like a cool game.

Troll Lords also thinks so with their new Brimstone & The Borderhounds RPG.

It is being written by Jason Vey (of Amazing Adventures, Band of Zombies, Broken Gods, and contributing author to the Defending Earth the Unit Sourcebook for the Doctor Who RPG, and contributor to Buffy) and uses the SEIGE Engine found in Amazing Adventures and Castles & Crusades.

Already I see a lot of use for this game.

I have a little side game going on (well on hold for a moment) called "The Daughters of Death" that was using D&D4.  With this it looks like I could easily move it over to Castles & Crusades.

Since I already have some Castles & Crusades plans in the mix for my game after my D&D 5 one.

In anycase this looks like a lot of fun.

Troll Lords has a great track record with Kickstarter so backing this one should be a no brainer.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Assault on the Slave Lords

Things are heating up for the Order of the Platinum Dragon this weekend.  They have been dropped into some unknown part of the world after they left Barovia.

While trying to charter a boat they hear some rumors of a group of slavers.

I went through this series years ago myself, so I am really looking forward to running it.  I think I still have a thief that was trapped in the basilisk room.
Of course I am going to make some changes to these adventures. The Slavers themselves are working for a group of vampires.  One or more of them are vampires themselves in fact. Not sure who though.

Also, I am going to replace some of the orcs with gnolls. I am planning on incorporating some more gnoll themes in the Slavers series. I am replacing Gruumsh with Yeenoghu and capitalizing on his role as "King of Ghouls" and "Vassal to Orcus". I am going to use a lot of the material in Hercynian Grimoire #1 from +James Mishler too.  It's just too good NOT to use.

I am also considering throwing in thouls just for the fun of it.

Here are some other postings on this module. Always interesting to read what others have experienced.

Edited to Add, Peter's detail into each adventure.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Class Struggles: Psionics

I might be splitting this into two parts. I have a lot I want to say, not a lot of time to say it all and one of the books I really wanted to talk about is missing from my shelves.

Obviously one of the reasons I wanted to cover this topic this week was the release of the Basic Psionics Handbook.  It is not the first psionics book out there for old school gaming, but more on that later.

Psionics was always an interesting addition to D&D/AD&D.  Back in my AD&D1 days I loved it. Nearly every character had a psionic wild talent or five.  We used and abused the hell out of the rules in the AD&D Player's Handbook.  I know a lot of people at the time hated them, but my group loved them.  Probability Travel became a big deal when traveling between worlds and being Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fans, Improbability Travel became a thing too. We even created more powers (including a third tier past Sciences) and built our own psionic classes, The Riddlemaster, Shadowmaster and the Beastmaster.

During this time between AD&D1 and AD&D2 I started playing with a group that was using the OD&D rules and a heavily modded set of psionic rules from Eldritch Wizardry.  We all played Deryni characters.  I have to admit these games really got me to rethink how to structure various psionic powers in a game.  On a side note I just picked up a bunch of the old Deryni books at my Library's recent book sale and looking forward to delving into those again.

When I got to college and then AD&D2 I dropped psionics from my games.  I had decided that magic and psionics just don't mix and should not be part of the same world.  I did pick up The Complete Psionics Handbook for 2e because I really wanted to know how they were going to revamp the psionic powers and of course see the first psionic classes.  While I never used the Psioinc rules when running 2e I enjoyed the book.  I even converted my group's old Riddlemaster to a more balanced Adept class.

D&D 3 came around and again Psionics were not part of the corebook, but seemed to be designed with the core rules in mind a little more.  The first book out was the Psionics Handbook.  Psionics for this version are more akin to spells mechanically than any other version.  This was updated for 3.5 in the Expanded Psionics Handbook and the Complete Psionic.

There is something going on here that I will get to in a bit.

We come up to more modern times and D&D 4.  Player's Handbook 3 and Psionic Power introduce us to yet another psionic system.  Now in this edition the Monk is a psionic based character class, which I like.

The interesting thing here is that between all four major editions of D&D, the psionic systems are all different and for the most part largely incompatible with each other. There are really only a few classes they have in common. Each edition has their fans.  I personally like the AD&D1 system the best, but that is largely because that is the one I used the most.  D&D3 and D&D4 have some great points about them, mostly how well the psionics system fits in with the main game systems.  D&D 3's "Spell like" system appeals to my sense of game design, even if they lack a certain level "differentness" that I like in my psionics.

There is a new psionic class coming out eventually for D&D 5. It is called the Awakened Mystic and it looks really cool to be honest. It's also different.

Which system do you like?  Which classes?

Next week I want to look over some of the classes in detail.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Review: Basic Psionics Handbook

I love Basic-era gaming.  Basic/Expert D&D was the first D&D I ever played. Even when I had moved on to Advanced D&D, it still had a strong Basic feel to it.  So I was very, very pleased to hear about +Richard LeBlanc's new psionics book, Basic Psionics Handbook.
If you have been reading his blog, Save vs Dragon, a lot of what is in the book won't be a surprise, but it is all great stuff.  Even then there are things in the book that are still a treat and a surprise.

The book itself is 58 pages (PDF), full-color cover and black/white interior.
The book covers two basic (and Basic) classes, the Mystic and the Monk.  Both use the new psionic system presented in the book. The system bears looking at and really is a treat.

Overview. This covers the basics including how psionics is not magic and how attributes are used.  It's a page of rules that slot in nicely with the normal Basic rules.  The basics of psychic power including Psionic Level and Psionic Strenght Points (PSP) are introduced.

Mystics are next.  Mystics in this case are more molded on the Eastern philosophy of  mystics, not the clerical sub-class-like mystics I have detailed in the past.  Though through the lens of Western thought.  That's fine this is not a religious analysis, this is a game book. This class helps builds the psionic system used in this book based on the seven chakras.  Chakras divide the psionic powers into broad groups; something like the schools of magic for spells.   As the mystic progresses in level, they open up more and more chakras.
Each chakra has seven Major Sciences and twelve Minor Devotions, similar to the old AD&D rules (but not exactly the same, so read carefully).  This gives us 72 devotions and 42 sciences.  That's quite a lot really.
As the mystic progresses they also earn more PSPs and more attack and defense modes.  They are the heavy hitters of the psionic game.

Monks are the next class.  Monks really are more of psionic using class in my mind and to have them here next to the mystic is a nice treat for a change.  Everything you expect from the monk is here. Unarmed attacks, no need for armor and lots of fun psionic based combat powers.  The monk does not have the psionic power the mystic does, but that is fine it is not supposed to.  It does have a some neat powers from the mystic's list.  One can easily see a monastery where both mystics and monks train together, one more mental and the other more physical.  The monk has plenty of customization options in terms of choice of powers.  In truth it is a very elegant system that shows it's strength with the mystic and it's flexibility with the example of the monk.
This is very likely my favorite monk class.

Psionic Disciplines detail all the powers of the chakras.  It is a good bulk of the book as to be expected. There are not as many psionic powers as you might see spells in other books, but this is a feature, not a bug.  Powers can be used many times as long as the psychic still has PSP.  Also many do more things as the character goes up in level.

Psionic Combat is next and deals with the five attack modes and five defense modes of psychic combat.  The ten powers are detailed and an attack vs. defense matrix is also provided.  The combat is simple and much improved over it's ancestors.

The next large section details all the Psionic Monsters.  Some of these are right out of the SRD but others are new.  Personally I am rather happy to see a Psychic Vampire. Though it is not listed, I assume that these creatures are also undead and are turned as if they were vampires.

Appendix A deals with something we abused the hell out of, Wild Psionics.  At two pages it is the simplest set of rules I have seen for this sort of thing.  Also it looks like something that could be ported into ANY version of D&D including and especially D&D 5.

Get out your crystals, Appendix B details Psionic Items.  Again, short, sweet and to the point.

Appendix C: Psionics and Magic is a must read chapter for anyone wanting to use both in their games.

Appendix D: Phrenic Creatures turns normal creatures into psionic ones.

Appendix E covers Conversions for Monsters from LeBlanc's own CC1: Creature Compendium.
Appendix F details how to convert any monster into a psionic one.

We end with a a couple pages of collected tables and the OGL.

Bottom line here is this is a great book.  Everything you need to play psionic characters and add psionics to your game.  Personally I am going to use this to beef up The Secret Machines of the Star Spawn which I also picked up today.

Demon Hunter Class for AA (and C&C)

Just in time for Halloween (but I just found it now) Jason Vey has put out a new Demon Hunter class for his SIEGE Engine Amazing Adventures RPG.

While designed for the Pulp-era adventures of Amazing Adventures this class also would work fantastic with Castles and Crusades.

The class is much more "Buffy" than it is "Solomon Kane" but you could do either with it.  Mostly though it reminds me of John Gregory, the Spook, from the "Last Apprentice" book series.

It compares well to the Paladin really, except it doesn't have healing, spells or a special mount. It does have supernatural senses and a special weapon.

Just another reminder that I need to play more Castles & Crusades.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Diigo upgrade - Come join me!

I upgraded my Diigo account.  The "OSR Blogs" social bookmarking tool is now public.

Anyone can now add their own blog to the list.

If you want to add this code to your own website, just copy and paste.

<script type="text/javascript" src="'s%20best%20content&tags=&token=" ></script><noscript><a href="" >Group OSR-Blogs-Groups-and-sites's best content</a></noscript>

The red highlights are values you can change.

Join me and help increase this list.
I am also going to add more features as the week goes on.

Let me know what you think!

Edited to add: Adding another group to my "Witch Links" page.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

October Movie Challenge: Last Minute Additions

Got these in today.

The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976)
Been wanting to see this one for years.  It was a bit campier than I thought it was going to be.  And slow.  But I am glad I finally caught it.

Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Yeah. I have seen this one a few hundred times.  Nothing beats seeing it in a theater full of fans, but HBO has had it on today.

Frankenstein: The True Story (1973)
A three-hour made for TV epic featuring Jane Seymour.  One of the first Frankenstein movies I ever saw.  Still a lot of fun and I surprised by how much I can remember of it.

34 Watched / 22 New

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