Monday, February 8, 2016

Weekend Wrap-up

Busy weekend!

Started off by guest posting over at Angry Hamster Publishing, home of the fantastic new game WITCH: Fated Souls.   I posted my top 5 witches.  Have some you like? Post them there!

I also played a LOT of Pathfinder Deluxe Munchkin this weekend.  Didn't win a single game, but I still enjoyed it.

Sunday I was part of the next Roll For Initiative podcast.

I hung out with +Vincent Florio and +Erik Tenkar of the eponymous Tavern while we talked about social media, blogs and boards, Pay to Play DMs and Kickstarters.  I'll post a link when that is live.

In other news the proofs of "The Sisters of the Aquarian Order" are on the way.  That should be going live soon.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Night Videos: Songs of the Aquarian Order

The Sisters of the Aquarian Order are full of idea I have had for a number of years.  Some of those ideas have come from the music I listened too while conceptualizing it and other from music I listened to while writing it.

So here is a brief selection of songs that get me in the mood to write and play.

First up is a favorite of mine, but a newer song.
The Sword know how to do witchy imagery well.  The protagonist of this song, "The Veil of Isis" is an Aquarian Sister if I ever saw one.

A lot in this book is what I like to think of as "left-over hippie shit".  The 70s were a heady brew of occultism, psuedo-science, emerging technology and science fiction. If that was the stew that fed my creativity then this is the broth.   The 5th Dimension recorded "Age of Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In" in 1969.  It featured prominently on the soundtrack for the musical Hair.  I never liked Hair, but this song I always kind of enjoyed.

True fact.  I love Psychedelic Rock, especially if it is in that sweet spot between 1968 and 1977.  If sounds like the band took a lot of drugs and traveled in space then I am there.   The Amboy Dukes really only had one hit, "Journey to the Centre of the Mind".  But it is exactly the sort of thing I enjoy.

Slightly earlier, but no less awesome, was Procol Harum.  "Whiter Shade of Pale" is just one of the songs that seems to call out to me from some great distance of time and space that I can't quite transverse.  An echo of something I should have heard, but have no idea what it was and only have the memories. I think it is the Hammond organ to be honest.

On the other side is 1979's "Children of the Sun" by Billy Thorpe. It is almost so corny and campy that you would assume it was a parody song, but Thorpe meant it in all earnestness.  From the album of the same name it was one of his biggest hits in the US.  I can honestly say this.  The seeds of the Aquarian Order are here.  I remember the summer of 79, I was out riding my bike and I heard this song and thought about a group of Space Wizards. Interestingly enough the album was released by Capricorn Records.

Even getting further away, but still close enough to matter to me, is April Wine's "Sign of the Gypsy Queen".   Something about this song really gets to me.

If Stevie Nicks is an archetypical witch then Grace Slick is an archetypical Aquarian Sister.  I have had a long and complicated relationship with Jefferson Airplane/Starship.  "Winds of Change" hits a lot metaphorical notes for me.  From 1983 it fits into my timeline for solid D&D/Chill game playing.
"Sleeping, not yet dead."

Kickstart Your Weekend: Andreas Walters' Monster Babies

If you remember a while back there was this great Kickstarter for the Baby Bestiary.
It was fun and I liked the concept.  Plus the art was amazing.

Well +Andreas Walters is back and now Baby Bestiary 2 is being Kickstarted.

If you missed out on Vol 1. you now have another chance to get it.

I think it looks great.  Plus it has my good friend +Elizabeth Chaipraditkul of Angry Hamster Publishing doing some monster write-ups.

They just got going and are already doing good.  Please check them out!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Show. Don't Tell.

I was thinking about my post from this morning about Tharizdûn, the Temple and various things that happened in the wee hours of history.
While I have a nice little mythology going here with bits that date back all the way to when I first started playing my players, my kids, do not have the same investment.

I told tell them the story of course, but that is just a story.
Then I recalled the old adage; "Show. Don't tell."

So via a dream or flashback sequence, I am going to have my players participate in the Dawn War.
Here they are going to be figures from that mythical age in the fight against Tharizdun.

Here is what I have so far. The participants in the war are Tharizdun, Orcus and Demogorgon, though he only had one head at this point. I will also have some of the other Elder Evils there too.
On the side of good are He Who Was (who will be killed here), Bahamut (as a PC), Samuel (a PC, HWW's right hand and the future Asmodeus), Corellon Larethian (also a PC) and some others.  Maybe Wee Jas.
Tiamat and Lolth will be there, but they do not fight.  This is why Tharizdun hates them.

I am going to let the battle play out.

I thought I would stat up all these gods in 5e and put them at 30th level.  Sure I could make them all 3rd level and the battle will be similar, but I want my players to feel like these are really powerful beings.
But I started thinking about D&D 5. It is great, but I have not done a lot of gaming at 20+ level with it.    So to add to the dream-like quality of it all AND to get the characters up to the 30+ level AND to have them be true immortals I am going to do something fun.

I am going to run this dream/flashback battle using D&D Basic.  Though OD&D is also on my mind.
The players know the rules, but they will be just off enough to make them have to think about what they are doing.  Plus looking down and seeing 31st level and over 100 hp will impress them.
It will also give me the chance to use some of my favorite B/X-BEMCI material.

Now I need to make some good looking "God" sheets and figure out who was there and who is going to play who.   Obviously if a character worships a god that is who they will be playing.

I have done this in the past, use a different system to invoke a different feel in the players.
When the dream is done each character will get a boon from that god to help them out later on.

The more I think about the more I like it.

Replacing the Temple of Elemental Evil

Not replacing as in removing and putting something else in its place, but moving it to a different place.

The "Come Endless Darkness" plot is moving along nicely. But I really need to introduce the Temple of Elemental Evil at some point.  I am now thinking of upping the HD of all the monsters and putting it into place right after the A series but before the GDQ series.

Which also brings up an interesting point.  The characters in the current game are now 7th level, almost 8th.  Goblins, in enough numbers, are still giving them a run for their money.  More so than I recall 1st Ed doing.

If the big bad is Tharizdun in his aspect as the Elder Elemental Eye, what's Lolth's stake in this?  Demons don't work together.  Maybe through Ghaunadaur.  OR maybe Ghaunadaur is manipulating events to get Lolth out of the picture.  That could work.  Ghaunadaur is nothing more than a puppet of Tharizdun anyway.  Given that he is the God of abominations, then I could put him in the Temple prison instead of Zuggtmoy. It's an idea anyway.

Of course if he is in prison, how did he work out this long plan?  Well maybe this is only the body, the mind has been roaming free.    So if Tharizdun's mind or ego is trapped in Ghaunadaur's body.  Where is Tharizdun's body?  Well that is trapped in the lowest part of the Nine Hells.  Sages call it Zargon the Returner.  When these two meet then all Hell breaks loose.  Though I think three parts is better.  To cover the three evil alignments (Lawful Evil, Neutral Evil and Chaotic Evil),  as a parody of the "holy trinity" and also (and more for me) as a representation of Tharizdun's Id, Ego and Super-ego.  Zargon is the Id, Ghaunadaur is the ego and now I need a Super-ego, the one pulling the strings together. Maybe that is Tharizdun himself.

The Darkening of the Sun is not only beneficial to the Drow, Vampires and Mind Flayers, it is the sign of Tharizdun's return.

Sounds like a plan.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Back to Greyhawk!

I was pouring over my World of Greyhawk boxed set over the weekend and my D&D 3.0 Greyhawk Gazetteer and now look at what Wizards has released for us.

OD&D Supplement I: Greyhawk (0e)

Living Greyhawk Gazetteer (3.0)

While Greyhawk is not the default setting of D&D 5, it does get a lot of nice shout out in the rules.
Plus the Living Greyhawk Gaz is 90% setting material, so it can be used in any version of the game really.

This is great for me because as soon as the kids are done with the A series they are headed to the Free City of Greyhawk.

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Order vs. the Slavers Stockade and introduction of the Drow

Over the weekend the Order of the Platinum Dragon completed the Secret of the Slavers Stockade.

The managed to kill all but one of the Slave Lords in the stockade, freed 140 slaves including a Tiefling Warlock name Crowley who is staying with the Order.
The Rogue discovered two short swords of sharpness and quickly named them 'Snicker' and 'Snack'.

The Order enters the torture room

The order was leading the slaves out when they encountered the brainwashed Markessa's double, whom they also saved.  As they were leaving a group of Drow leading 20 more slaves in.  In typical fashion my youngest made a called shot (I am aiming for her eyes) and rolled a natural 20.  Solid.

They are now spending some time returning some of the Slaves to their homes in the Duchy of Urnst.  They left Highport and are travelling by ship up the Wooly Bay following the river in.  This gives me a chance to get them used to this area of the world, including Greyhawk, AND a a chance for the Slavers to recover a bit more to be ready for them.

All in all a great time this weekend.  No one leveled up, but the treasure was nice.