Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Hammer of the Gods

The boys will soon be wrapping up their journey through the A-Series and then on to GDQ.  My plan is to play either G or D during Gen Con. After all, what could be better?

But before that happens I want to introduce the big bad problem, someone or something has snuffed out the Sun.  The lands are dark and cold and people are dying.  The is going to be a huge meeting in the City of Greyhawk to try to figure out the problem.  The big guns of the world are going to investigate a lead they think is good while the PCs deal with some giant raids.  I don't need to tell you which group is going to be successful.

BUT before that can happen they need to solve the problem of not freezing to death.

The idea is for this one shot adventure the Council (in Greyhawk) will ignite a large asteroid called "Moradin's Forge" to give them temporary light and heat.  They wanted to do it to one of the moons, but the witches in the world objected to that (and thus allows me to set the stage for the next adventures).

I need something for a group of 8th level characters to do in this.

Alternately I could have the boys play some of the council; very high-level wizards and the like to set it ablaze.  But really setting the Forge on fire is not supposed to be the difficult part.  I thought maybe they would need some special fire to do it, or means to get it to the forge.  Maybe even finding Moradin's Hammer to do it.  But while the stakes are very high, I want it to be something I can do in a 4-hour afternoon.

Anyone have any thoughts?

Bonus points if it can be tied into Led Zeppelin at all.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I might never be clean (mentally) again....

So for the last couple of days I have been doing some world-building research for a couple of projects.  All was well and good till this last round.   I fell into a "Flat Earth" rabbit hole.

Now don't get me wrong. I love reading a good crazy conspiracy theory as much as next guy and I find pseudo-science to be comical.  But this...this just made me weep for humanity.

Honestly. I have said "What the fuck is this?" so many times today that I think I have used up my lifetime quota.

So I need something to clear out my brain. Like a good documentary...or a horror movie. Something to get the stupid out.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Monstrous Mondays: The Piasa Bird

Welcome back to Monstrous Mondays!
Today I want to add a monster from stories of my childhood.  If you grew up in Central or Southern Illinois you heard stories of the Piasa Bird.   I featured this monster in one of my earliest posts here and thought I really need to bring it back.

The following text is considered Open for use under the OGL.

The Piasa Bird
AKA: The Piasa, "The Bird That Devours Men", "The Destroyer"
Frequency: Very Rare
No. Appearing: 1
Size: Large 18'
Armor Class: -2 [22]1
 Basic: 90' (30') Fly:  240' (80')
 Advanced: 9" Fly: 24"
 3e/5e: 25 ft  Fly: 60
Hit Dice: 11d8+6 (55 hp)
% in Lair: 50%
Treasure Type: None. The Piasa eats all meat an discards everything else.
Attacks: 4 (claw/claw/bite/tail swipe) + fear
Damage: 1d6+2/1d6+2/2d8/1d6
Special Attacks: Cause Fear once per day.
Special Defenses: none
Save As: Fighter 102
Magic Resistance: 0%
Morale: 93
Alignment: Chaotic evil
Level/XP: XXXX4

STR: 22 INT: 8 WIS: 8 DEX: 14 CON: 15  CHA: 4

1 Descending and [Ascending] Armor classes are given.
2 This is used for Basic games, and S&W. Also for monsters that I think need to save a little differently than others.
3 Morale is "Basic" Morale and based on a 1-12 scale. Multiply by 1.6667 for 1-20 scale.
4 Still working out an XP systems that works across all games.

According to the diary of Louis Joliet, the Piasa Bird "was as large as a calf with horns like a deer, red eyes, a beard like a tiger's, a face like a man, the body covered with green, red and black scales and a tail so long it passed around the body, over the head and between the legs."

Piasa Birds in the game are a larger and resemble a manticore or a dragon.
They do not keep treasure. They are only interested in killing for meat and sport.

Story of the Piasa Bird 
The following story appeared in the Alton Telegraph (1836) by John Russel. It is claimed that this is story told to Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet by the Indian tribes of the valley.

When Marquette and Joliet came down the Mississippi river in 1673 they encountered a bluff on the east side of the river with the painting of a giant monster. When they asked the Indians what this monster was, they retold for them the story that had been handed down to them for generations. Marquette named the monster "Piasa," pronounced Pie-a-saw, which means "the Destroyer."

The Legend of the Piasa bird that was related to Marquette and Joliet went something like this. Many years ago a great bird roamed the land. Every morning the people would wake in fear to the shrill screams of the great Bird. The bird awoke hungry and would carry off dozens of boys and girls to its cave to be eaten. Chief Ouatoga [OO-wa-toe-ga] was getting old. He wanted to destroy this terrible monster before he died. He called his braves to a meeting and told them he was going to ask the Great Spirit what to do.

He went up on the highest bluff. He spoke with the Great Spirit. The Great Spirit told the Chief, "Dip your arrows deep into the poison of a copperhead snake and shoot them into the body of the Bird. They will cause its death." He returned to the camp and told his people what the Great Spirit had told him. He gathered up a small army of the strongest braves and set out to hunt the Bird. Chief Ouatoga told his braves that the plan was for someone to stand on the cliff to lure the Bird down. When the great monster swoops down they were to shoot it with their poison arrows.

The braves all begged their chief to be the one to sacrifice themselves. But the chief told them no, he would be the one, since he was older. While the braves practiced with their bows, Chief Ouatoga spoke with the Great Spirit. "Think not of my life," he said, "but the lives of the children."

The next morning the chief stood tall waiting for the great bird to come. Its screams could be heard as flew down the river looking for victims. The bird saw the old chief and swooped down on him with a terrible scream.

Just as the monster was ready to attack the braves shot their arrows and all 100 met their mark. The monster fell into the Mississippi river and died. The braves carried the broken and bruised body of their chief back to the tribe. The medicine man healed him and he awoke the next day surrounded by his grateful people. In remembrance of the act the returned to the site and painted a life-size picture of the monster. Every time an Indian went down the river after that, he fired an arrow at the bluff.
In alternate versions of the story the youngest brave stands on the cliff instead of the Chief. When he is healed the next day he becomes the new Chief.

The rare female Piasa Bird.   
Section 15: "The Piasa Bird". Copyright 2016 Timothy S. Brannan.

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

Friday, May 13, 2016

Kickstart Your Weekend: Gamer Badges Set 2

I know I featured this Kickstarter last week, but I wanted to do so again.

Gamer Badges by JBM Press has released Set 2 of their badges

They are a little more than halfway there. So lets help them the rest of the way.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

New Big Dragon B/X Screen Sheets

So a while back I backed the Classic Edition GM's Screen from New Big Dragon and +Richard LeBlanc.

Well, the files went out this week and they look great.  If the physical product is this cool (and it should be) then this was a great project to back.

As an added bonus (well to me because I forgot about it) were files for character sheets.
They also look fantastic.  Since I have been printing out sheets for various versions of D&D for my summer games I thought I should give these a go too.

The sheets look great if you ask me.  I love the class-specific ones and there is even a generic one.

Really looking forward to this one in the mail.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

"Much Maligned"? I don't think so.

So I got this email from RPG.Net the other day and there is a section near the bottom.
Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition has been much maligned in RPG circles (including by yr. humble editor, to be fair), but the game does have its undeniable good points. For some positive discussion of the latest edition of the grandaddy of RPGs, check out "Why 5e Is Good."
Much Maligned?  By who? Where? is blocked at work, so I can't get into the thread itself.
I know there is a certain segment of the RPG population who disliked D&D5 based on (what it seems to me) the involvement of +Kasimir Urbanski (RPGPundit) and +Zak Sabbath and wished it would fail.  Well, that never happened and now almost 2 more years in I notice some of those (vocal) one are now playing 5e.

Then there are also these articles.  Not exhaustive, or even 100% representative but they do make a point.   Read them, but for the purposes of this illustration, the titles will suffice.

I could go on but hardly needed.

No I think this is much, much more a reflection of the point of view of the editor of this newsletter, "Iustum". (I admittedly have no idea who that is.) Also trying to push a particular narrative. lately has been more a place of cliques and overly draconian rules on what can and cannot be posted.  Granted that is their right. They pay the bills they can say what they want there and control what others say.  But that doesn't really make it true.  

Sorry but D&D5 is not much maligned. Not even by die hard Grognards.

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