Saturday, May 5, 2018

OERAD: Spellcraft & Swordplay

Wellcome once again to the annual Original Edition RPG Appreciation Day!

Uh wait... isn't that supposed to be Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day?  Well, yes, but this year Gamers & Grognards, our host, has decided to expand the day to any old-school game that emulates the Original Edition, or (of course) the Original Edition itself.

This year I want to talk about one of my favorite Old-School games, Spellcraft & Swordplay.

Now, just I get this out of the way first.  Jason is a friend of mine and we worked on a lot of Unisystem games together.   Also, I worked on a supplement for S&S called Eldritch Witchery.  That all being said I developed my opinion of this game long before EW ever was thought of.

Spellcraft & Swordplay is not a retro-clone exactly.  It is more of a "near-clone" or as I often think of it as an alternate reality version of OD&D. This game was released in 2011 and it is much closer to the Original Edition feel than S&W.  How?  Well, it uses the original 2d6 means of combat resolution rather than the "alternate" method of the d20.

When D&D was starting out it grew out of the rules in Chainmail.  Using a d20 (twenty-sided die) was the "alternate" combat method that became the norm.  But the original combat method involved 2d6 (two six-sided dice), S&S (among other changes) explores that further.

There are other changes such as saving throws are made against the appropriate ability (which is not too far off to how 5th edition or Castles & Crusades does it). So you can make a Dexterity save to avoid getting hit with something, or a Constitution save to avoid the effects of a poison.

There are no skills, but ability rolls and some characters get bonuses due their classes.

S&S “feels” a lot like the old rules.


The first third of the book is dedicated to character creation. It is roughly analogous to “Men & Magic” and about the same size. We have our introduction that tells why this book is here. There is a section on ability scores and what they can do. There are entries for the four core races (humans, elves, dwarfs, and Halflings), Warriors (not Fighters or Fighting Men), Priests, Wizards, Thieves and Assassins, all the things we remember as kids or have been told about. Some things have been renamed (my OD&D had Clerics and Magic Users and it was not till 2nd Ed that I had Priests and Wizards) some oddly so (Crypto-Linguistics? I am going to need some more levels in Read Languages to figure that out!) but the spirit is there and that was the point.
Classes each have their own advancement tables as in days of old, though the hit point calculations are weird, they are in line with OD&D rules (I just had forgotten how it was done). Though I missed the level names. Spells are a simpler deal. Levels and description, that’s it.

Part 2, Combat and Confrontation is a little more modern than it’s old school counterpart, showing it’s modern sensibilities. It is, in fact, truer to a more modern concept, the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Ability checks, for the most part, replace all skills. Armor Classes though go up instead of down (so 7 is better than 3) and start at 1, not 10.

Part 3, Monsters and Magic is the “Monsters & Treasure” or “Monster Manual” portion. All stats are in a table at the beginning of the chapter, with descriptive text and some pictures following. It does make it awkward to read, but again this is the same as the OD&D books. Monsters are followed by a listing of magic items.

While there some differences from baseline D&D,  S&S is one of those systems that becomes systemless after a while.  The focus is less on rolling dice and more on adventure and role-playing.  For that reason, I find anything written for OD&D, Swords & Wizardry or Basic D&D can be translated and used in a snap.

In fact, as much as I enjoy Swords & Wizardry I find Spellcraft & Swordplay closer to OD&D in terms of gameplay and feel.

Spellcraft & Swordplay Books


Spellcraft & Swordplay Characters
Reviews


Thursday, May 3, 2018

This Old Dragon: Issue #67

Let's talk about 1982 for a bit.  Over the summer D&D had been thrust into the spotlight again, though this time in a positive way, in the movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Though the version played on screen didn't look a lot like what we all played, it was still much better than what we would later get in Mazes and Monsters (Dec. 1982) or on 60 Minutes (1985).  82 was an interesting time for me too.  I was deep, deep into my Basic/Expert game and having a blast. I was not reading Dragon yet, so going through these issues is always part nostalgia (for the time) and part new discovery.  So why not go back to a simpler time.  John Cougar (Mellencamp) is singing a little diddy about Jack & Diane growing up in the mid-west and on the shelves for November 1982 is issue #67 of This Old Dragon!

This is another issue sent to me by Eric C. Harshbarger from his collection.  It's in great shape too.

The cover is of the silly variety, but that is fine with me.  It is something I associate fondly with this time.  I guess never ask the barbarian to cut the turkey on Thanksgiving!

Flipping over (since I have the cover this time!) we get that great B/X D&D ad from the early 80s with Jami Gertz and Alan Ruck.

Mike Cook takes on the role of Publisher for the first time.

Letters covers some errors as seen by readers. This includes the infamous example of the lucern hammer being a pole-arm and not a hammer.  Also Len Lakofka has some criticisms on the "missing dragons" article that gave us the yellow, orange and purple dragons.

Gary is up first with From the Sorceror's Scroll.  He introduces a bunch of new Magic-User spells of the 1st through 4th level.  All of these (and more) will end up in Unearthed Arcana, here just referred too as ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ® Expansion volume.
Seeing these here like this is a bit odd, I am used to these spells being official content by way of UA.  But I am sure there were groups that argued that.
Later on Gygax covers some rumors, like TSR buy Grenadier and new sets of Dragon Dice coming out.  Neither of these came to pass.



Another Gygax hit is next this time in Featured Creatures.  We get the Grugach elf (based on a Celtic creature if I recall right), the Valley Elf (she's a valley elf, a valley elf. ok fine fer sure fer sure...) and the Cooshee (based on the Cù Sìth).  I joke, but I actually liked the Valley Elf.
Again, all this content will be later added to the Unearthed Arcana and the Monster Manual II.

Spy's Advice is up from Merle M. Rasmussen. With answers to your Top Secret questions.
Not related to this article per se, but if you ever get the chance to talk to Merle about Top Secret, please do so.  No one is as enthusiastic about this game as he is and it is quite infectious.  You leave not only wanting to play, but wondering why you play any other game!

Gregg Chamberlain has some advice on Souping up the Spider.  A good one for me to hold onto for when I run Q1 this summer.

Gary is back again (!) with the next installment of The Deities & Demigods of the World of Greyhawk.  In this issue we get the stats and backgrounds on Heironeous and his arch nemesis Hextor. Iuz and his rival St. Cuthbert.  In an interesting bit, Iuz is described as possibly being some by-blow of Orcus and not of Graz'zt as later revealed.

The big feature of this issue is Roger Moore's treatsie on The Astral Plane. It's a good read and lot of what is here later found it's way into other books over the years.  Though there is still a lot of good stuff to read here.  The article is quite long to be honest and filled with great information.

It leads right into an adventure set in the Astral Plane.  Fedifensor is an adventure for 6-8 AD&D characters of level 7 and up and written by Allen Rogers.  The characters need to head out to a Githyanki outpost to recover a Lawful Good sword, the titular Fedifensor.

The fiction section is an odd one for me, odd in the sense that I actually read it.  I had expected King of Cats to be about the Gygax Rexfelis (to give you an idea of when I finally got a copy of this) and found it was a much more entertaining story in the style of Celtic myth.  I am not sure if this was the first time I had heard of the Hill of Tara or not, but it is something that has been a central feature to many of my games since. The picture of Black Tam Chattan still is a good stand-in for the AD&D Catlord.



The spells continue here.

Gygax has another contribution! This time in the form of the Beauty, or as he prefers, Comeliness stat.  To be honest, we never used this when it appeared in the Unearthed Arcana either.

Another article by Gary, this time one of his more famous ones.  Poker, Chess, and the AD&DTM System. Or how I have read it in the past, "The rules are guidelines unless they are rules I wrote and those are RULES!"  It covers what is and certainly what is NOT official rules.  You certainly get the gist that D&D has rules, and you can experiment with them. AD&D has rules and any deviations mean you are no longer playing AD&D at all.  Retrospect tells us a little about why this was going on. The overt reason is tournaments, but the hidden reason was the lawsuit between TSR/Gygax and Dave Arneson.  Gary, of course, is making some good points here along with some grandstanding, but in truth we all house-ruled everything.  While he makes some good points about the reach of Dragon to all gamers, the same logic could be applied to tournament-level AD&D and all AD&D/D&D players out there.  The average player didn't care about that.  They wanted to have some fun. He has some more on the barbarian and the Deva, both to be featured in books later.

The Role of Books is up. Lewis Pulsipher covers some of the big names in the realm of mythology publishing and how to use them in your games.  Lew really is the academic of this early group of game designers.

Ken Rolston covers the TrollPak books from Chaosium.  I was always very curious and little fascinated by these books.  I had spoken to other gamers that had moved over to Runequest and used these trolls in their AD&D games (shhh! don't tell anyone!) I still want to find a copy of this. I would drop the trolls I normally use in favor of these. I think it would be fun.

Lots of ads. Wormy and What's New?

The back cover has an ad for the AD&D Action Scenes from the MPC model kit company.  Back in this time I had built so many models from these guys. A couple R2-D2s, a C-3P0, Darth Vader's TIE fighter (my favorite one!).  I would have totally bought these.   I kind of want them now.
eBay has one for $130.  Not sure if that is worth it.



What a fun issue. Lots of material here, though not much I can use today in my games except for the great Astral Plane stuff.

Want to know what I was saying about White Dwarf from the same time? Check out White Dwarf Wednesday for issue #35.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

New Spells for the Deathwitch and Mara Witch Tradition

The Little Book of Adventuring Classes Vol. 1 was just released by Jason Paul McCartan.  It is for Swords & Wizardry but can be easily adapted to other games.  I will get a review out on it soon, but I want to wait on reading it since it has a class and race very similar to something my son and I have been working on and I don't want any undue influence.
(spoiler, what I have read is great and worth every penny!)

But the one class I did read was the Deathwitch. She also appears to be the cover girl of this book, so it has my attention. Also, the book was released on Walpurgis Night so many kudos to Jason for planning ahead.   

The deathwitch fills the same niche as my Mara witch Tradition.  They share enough similarities that ideas can used for one or the other almost equally, but both still retain their uniqueness. 

Both witches have very strong associations to death and the undead.  The deathwitch maybe a little more so.

I was already working on a big spell-related project and as it turns out necromancy spells really don't fit in well to it.   They do however fit in well here.

So here are some spells for both the Deathwitch and the Mara.  All are 100% open content.
(email me for a full section 15 if you want to reuse any.)

"Witch" refers to both the deathwitch, the Mara tradition of my witch class or a warlock
Note: Mara Witches, and other witches from The Witch, require material components. Deathwitch and warlocks do not.

Black Fire
Level: Witch 1
Range: 15’
Duration: 1 hour + 10 minutes per level
This spell allows the witch to create an immobile source of heat with black fire, emitting no light but providing warmth equivalent to a small campfire in a 10-ft. radius.  The fire is a diffuse source of heat that is not sufficiently focused to ignite combustible materials.  It can be used to slowly cook meals or boil water, although doing so always requires double the amount of time required with a normal campfire.  The flames are uncomfortable to the touch, but they will not cause any burn damage.  They can be extinguished in the same manner as a normal fire. 
Material Components: A piece of lampblack and a 1-lb lump of coal. 

Blight Growth
Level: Witch 1
Range: Touch
Duration: 1 week
This spell can be used in three ways.
Blight Garden - Growth is decreased by 20% during the duration of the spell When used on a natural garden, it will produce 20% less food.  This can be used to affect gardens up to 10 square feet per caster level. 
Blight Body - If cast on a living creature, they will recover one less hit point for each full night of rest.  
Blight Mother - This spell can also be used to decrease the chances of a woman getting pregnant, though it’s up to the GM to decide exactly how it’s affected.
Material Components: A drop of fetid water.

Bone Cage
Level: Witch 4
Range: Any 25' radius the witch can see and is within 100'
Duration: 1 round per level 
This spell is favored by evil witches, warlocks, and necromancers.  Upon uttering the command a cage of bones will erupt from the ground and trap up to 5 man-sized creatures in a 25’ radius.
The material component for this spell is a bone of a man that died in captivity.

Command Undead
Level: Witch Ritual 1, Deathwitch 2
Range: Undead within Sight
Duration: Instant
This spells summons the divine power of the Witch’s patron and gives her the ability to affect undead as if she were a cleric one level lower. This special ritual requires only one witch, but she must use a specially consecrated altar item such as her athamé or pentacle. 
If she is joined in the spell by another witch or a like-minded cleric then she can add one effective level for each additional participant.
Material Components: A concencrated athamé or pentacle.

Death Armor
Level:  Witch 2
Range: Self
Duration: 1 round per level
This spell causes the witch’s skin to become highly acidic.  Anyone touching the witch’s skin, via an unarmed attack or otherwise, receives 2d6 points of Acid damage (save for half).  The witch can make a touch attack with this spell.
Material Components: 100 gp worth of special creams, which must be rubbed over the witch’s arms.

Feel My Pain
Level: Witch 1
Range: 50’
Duration: Instantaneous
The witch transfers pain and damage to another target in line of sight.  She invokes the spell and either cuts herself or causes damage in some way, such as putting her hand in a torch fire.  She takes 1 hp of damage (regardless of how much would have been dealt normally) and she turns and magnifies that on her target causing 1d6 points of damage.
Material Components: The material components for this spell are the witch's boline or dagger or whatever she uses to cause herself pain.

Ghostly Slashing
Level: Witch 1
Range: 25’ + 5’ per 2 levels
Duration: Instantaneous
This spell creates what seems like a ghostly attacker that attacks the target.  In fact, the spell only causes an open wound on a person.  This spell deals 1d4 slashing damage +1 per level (max +20).  The placement of the wound is random.  This spell has no effect on the Undead or construct creatures like golems.
Material Components: A small flake of any kind of metal.

Hecate’s Spiritual Dog
Level: Witch 1
Range: 10’ per level
Duration: Special
This spell summons the spirit of a dead dog to act as the necromancer wishes for the duration of the spell.  The dog has one Hit Die for every odd level the caster has (1 HD for levels 1 and 2, 2 HD for levels 3 and 4, etc.) to a maximum of 5 HD. 
A non-combative dog is useful mostly for warning and will vanish after one warning or 1d4 hours + 10 minutes per level, whichever comes first.  A combative dog fights as a dog with Hit Dice as generated by the summoning and lasts until killed or 1d4 rounds + 1 round per level.  Both have an Armor Class in inverse proportion to caster level up to level 10 (level 1, AC 9. level 2, AC 9, … level 10, AC 0).  Past level 10, the dogs have AC 0. 
Material Components: The witch’s Athamé, dog fur (for a non-combative dog) or a dog tooth (for a combative dog).

Mimic
Level: Witch 2
Range: the Witch herself
Duration: 1 hour
The witch uses this spell to mimic any voice she has heard.  She can’t use any of the languages spoken by the voice unless she knows them as well, but can mimic the voice perfectly.  A saving throw (modified by Wisdom bonus) allows a victim to notice the truth.
Material Components: The witch brings her hands to her mouth.

Shadow Monsters
Level: Witch 4
Range: 30’
Duration: 1 round/level
The witch may create phantasmal pseudo-real monsters in an area of 20’. The monster or monsters created cannot exceed the witch’s level in HD. Monsters created in this fashion must all be the same type. They have 2 HP per the creature’s normal HD. Victims are allowed a Wisdom check to realize the creatures are only partly real. The phantasmal monsters are able to attack and deal damage as per a normal creature of their type to any being that fails this check. If the check succeeds, the phantasmal monsters damage is halved. 
Material Components: The witch makes a shadow of a monster with her hands while casting the spell.

Skull Guard
Level: Witch 3
Range: One Skull
Duration: Until sunrise (8 hours)
The witch casts this spell on a normal skull and sets it out to guard at night. Any creature that approaches the skull causes it to glow. If a creature moves past it closer to the witch it will begin to cackle, howl or otherwise make a noise to awaken the witch.  The noise is magical and will always wake the witch. The witch can enchant one skull for every 2 levels.
Material Components: A skull, preferably of a hanged man.  If the witch plans on casting for multiple skulls then she will need those skulls as well.  The skulls are not consumed in the casting. 

Tears of the Banshee
Level: Witch 4
Range: 100’ + 10’ per level)
Duration: 1 minute + 1 minute per level
This spell calls a thick green mist to roll forth from the earth, completely obscuring darkvision/infravision and reducing regular vision up to 5 feet.  All those within the mist are shielded and are at a -5 to hit. Furthermore, those within the area of effect must make a saving throw (fear-based) or be scared by the eerie qualities of the fog, as strange sounds such as wailing, laughter and screaming persist for the duration of the spell.  Affected creatures suffer a –2 to all attacks and saves, but do not have to flee as if they were panicked.
Material Components: Water from a bog where a childless woman has killed herself.

Waves of Fatigue
Level: Witch 5
Range: 30’
Duration: Instantaneous
The witch sweeps her arms in a long arc and a wave of negative energy renders all living creatures in the spell’s area fatigued.  Fatigued characters can’t run and they take a -2 penalty on any Strength and Dexterity rolls (including attacks and damage).  Fatigued characters require 8 hours of rest.
This spell has no effect on a creature that is already fatigued. 

Monday, April 30, 2018

So Many Spells

I didn't get a chance to do any gaming this weekend.  Not likely get in any in the next few weekends since I am going to spending my time helping my wife in her garden.

So while I was outside rototilling (before and after) I was working out some spells and some spell books.  I snuck inside to check some of my databases, files, folders and materials on my cloud drive and I figure a conservative estimate is I have about 12,000 different spells spread out over all the editions of D&D.  A good 800 or so are ones I wrote myself (I know I wrote close to 400 for Buffy and Ghosts of Albion and another 380 for the various witch books).


In CineUnisystem rules (Buffy, Ghosts of Albion, Angel) there is a quality called "Occult Library" which relates how many tomes of magic you can start with and thus how many spells.  This works because there is no real formal training for would be spell casters for the most part and often spells are found in old libraries and collections.  Much like Call of Cthulhu.

Occult Library is a variable quality.  Without giving away too much here is a breakdown.

Name Points # of Spells Notes
Poor 1 4-13 A spotty collection of Time-Life books
Fine 2 7-16 Access to the internet
Outstanding 3 11-20 Some really rare books
Amazing 5 21-30 Some unique tomes that no one else has

How would this translate into terms a D&D player could use?  Well, there is no economy to "buy" features in older versions of *D&D, but there is in newer versions.  D&D 3rd, 4th, and 5th all have feats.  Now keep in mind one of the reasons that wizards (and witch and warlocks and other spellcasters) go on adventures is to find new (or more likely "old") spells.  I do not want to lose that.  So given the feat economy in 4th and 5th edition, I would use this only for "starting" spells.  The character spends a feat to gain access to a number of spells.  I would also say that this feat is a Character Creation feat only.  So you can only take it at 1st level.

New Feat
Arcane Library
You have access to a large library of arcane tomes where you can study at your leisure.
Prerequisites:  Level 1 only;  Ability to cast Arcane spells.
Benefit:  You have access to a library of arcane and occult tomes.  This library will give 3-18 (3d6) spells of up to 9th level (2d4 +1) (GM's can work with the player to determine what spells are found).
These spells must still be learned, but they are here for when you can learn them.

For older editions of the game, I would suggest adding an extra 100xp to spellcaster's Experience to the 2nd level to cover this boon.  I would allow this for Witches, Magic-Users  (Elf as a class), Illusionists and Bards, but not Clerics or Druids.

I am sneaking this one in under the wire, but this is my contribution to the RPG Blog Carnival, hosted this month by Hereticwerks.  The topic this month was Journals, Grimoires and Spell-Books. 


Thursday, April 26, 2018

This Old Dragon: Issue #153

Going into a bit of a mystery era for me.  It is January 1990, the 90s are officially here.  Born on the Fourth of July is still in theatres, but the music charts still have a late 80s feel to them, grunge was still a few months away, but my roommate's younger brother was CONVINCED that this new band he discovered via some bootlegs, Soundgarden, was going to be the next big thing.  (Kid, I forgot your name, but seriously solid call).  At this time my games were winding down.  I was a Junior at University and working to get into grad school.  So this is really one of the first times for and this Issue #153 of This Old Dragon!

So, like I said I have no memories of this issue, but a couple of articles I remember reading later on CD-ROM.  But that is jumping ahead.  The cover, titled "Chariot races are a dime a dozen" is by multiple Hugo award winner Kelly Freas and is really fun.  As I have mentioned in the past my road to D&D began with my love of the Greek and later Norse myths.  Seeing this cover, with Odin and Hermes betting on the races and Ares and Set controlling it via godly video-game controllers just really makes me smile.

The cover sets up nicely our feature of this issue. The Gods.

The first thing I notice about this issue is the number of full-page ads is greater.
For those wanting to put this into their own chronology, the Publisher is James M. Ward and our Editor is Roger E. Moore.  There is a sidebar on the Letters page listing some of the changes in personnel.  We only know now from hidsight that TSR was going to have a lot of troubles in the 90s even if creatively they were having some of their best output.

Letters hits us up with a CRAZY idea; Dragon magazine on disk! Not gonna happen says the management.  Others want to read four-five page transcripts of other people playing D&D. Sorry guys, but you both will get what you want in a few years.

Skip Williams is up with Sage Advice.  Like most of the SA from this time period, it deals with the new AD&D 2nd Ed rules and a bit of 1st Ed. Fitting with the theme this one covers Cleric and Druid spells.

Forum has the usual collection of gripes and insights.  One thing I had forgotten was slowing down how demi-humans gain experience points.  In 2nd Ed this has the effect of making the demi-human races feel a bit more like their Basic D&D counterparts.  I don't think I would try this in D&D 5, but it is something I see working well in other games like Castles & Crusades or even Swords & Wizardry.

Here we get our special feature.
Up first is Craig Barrett, Jr. and The Goals of the Gods. Here he talks about what motivations the gods have in your world and what they do. This article is long, well researched and only kinda-, sorta- related to Fantasy Roleplaying.  Don't get me wrong, it is a fascinating read and a good one if I wanted an intro article to comparative mythology.  Still, it is a good "Food for thought" article and a good one to start off our series with.

Craig Barrett, Jr. is back (so soon? yes) with another essay/article.  As Above, So Below talks about the power of the gods and even postulates on powers above the gods.  Again there is an academic feel to this one, but I also found it more interesting.

Following In Their Footsteps by Fraser Sherman is more along the lines of what we expect from Dragon articles; background information and advice on how to use it in your games.  Sherman treads over some well-traveled ground here going all the way back to issue 83 (and likely before) of changing the cleric class to more closely fit their god.  AD&D 2nd ed mad good strides in this direction as would 3rd edition.  But unlike past articles that focused mostly on weapons and spells, this one looks at hobbies and past times or other interests. So mostly non-weapon skills.
The article focuses exclusively on the Olympians, but there are enough archetypes here to cover the other pantheons as well.

Nice big ad for the Science Fiction/Fantasy Book club.

Your Place in the Grand Scheme by Tom Little addresses the importance of clerics in the AD&D game.  The article runs the gambit of religion, morality, philosophy, and alignment.  This really was a golden time for clerics.  The 2nd Ed rules introduced the Priests of the Specific Mythoi and later Planescape would make philosophy and the gods a very central element to the game.  Clerics were really moving beyond the "walking first aid kits" and becoming more of an archetype in their own right.  But it seems like every so often we still get articles or posts of "Cleric, who needs them!" which I find very odd, to be honest.

Fiction is next.

Jeff Grubb is next with The Game Wizards with another "conversation" with Elminster.  Jeff is a good author and game designer, yet his Elminster "voice" feels off to me.  I am 100% certain this is bias on my part.  Over the years I have gone from being amused by these articles, to avoiding them, to outright hating them and now back to being pleasantly charmed by them.  One of my goals is to collect all of these and give them a read sometime, especially all the Wizard's Three articles.

John C. Bunnell is back with another copyrighted edition of The Role of Books.  A.C. Crispin is featured here with an original book.  I was always a fan of her tie-books for Star Trek, V and Star Wars. I remember seeing her obit on StarTrek.com a few years back.

The Ecology of the Manticore is next. I liked the manticore back when I read about in mythology and it was a favorite monster in D&D Basic, but somewhere along the line I stopped using them.  This article by "Spike & Jones" does little to interest me in them again.

Through the Looking Glass has a do-it-yourself wire-frame and epoxy dragon.

Con Calendar covers the best of what 1990 has to offer this winter and spring.  It always seems like there were more Cons back then.

Wow.  I think this might the very first article on The Voyage of the Princess Ark by Bruce Heard.  I consider these "must reads" if you have any interest in the Known World as it was presented in the BECMI era of D&D.

Your Best Chances is obsessive compulsiveness after my own heart. Ed Friedlander takes all six of the ability generation methods from the AD&D 2nd Ed game and looks at your chances to get the roles you need per class.  I love how he mentions he was using Quatro on an IMB-PC.  That shit could only fly in the late 80s and early 90s.  But major kudos to Ed here for working all this out.  I am tempted to try it all out in R just to say I did it.

Speaking of computers, Role of Computers covers the then state of the art for the dawn of the 90s.

Small ads for Gamer's Guide.

The table of contents says there is a Top Secret article here, but mine has been cut out.  Same with the Spelljammer one.

Dragonmirth has the normal shor comics, but nothing along the lines of SnarfQuest or Wormy anymore.

So if you are into Clerics and gods then this is a great issue for you. It's a good issue overall and I loved Ed Friedlander's stats and a chance to see the start of the Voyage of the Princess Ark too.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Back after a bit

Sorry for the lack of posts.  I am learning a new language and it is taking up a lot of my time.


Sadly, learning R will have nothing to do with anything I post here or with my games, but it is good for me to stay current in my day job.  Plus I am soooooo tired of dealing with SAS and SPSS.


Monday, April 23, 2018

The Return of Nibiru

Nibiru, the Crossing Star, is back.  With the same results that we had back in September.

So in honor of this apocalyptic repeat here is the original article!

 If you are reading this then you know we survived.

Today is the day that some conspiracy theorists believe that the planet Nibriu will destroy the earth.
Interestingly enough the Babylonian "star" of Autumn was called Nibriu.  Of course, the tin-foil hat crowd will claim that this is because the Babylonian's and the Aztecs were in contact with the same aliens (the Zetas according to one group).



Of course, this is all great stuff for a game.
Nibriu could be a sub-brown Dwarf, a body with 2.5 times the mass of Jupiter.

With a name like Nibru it could be some Clark Ashton Smith-like god, a fatal star whose invisible light shines down bringing woe and destruction.  Worshiped by insane warlocks and blind abominations whose milk-white eyes can see the foul light.

Witches and warlocks can forge a pact with Nibiru for more magics.

Nibiru's Crossing
Level: Witch/Warlock 2
Range: 1 person
Duration: Instantaneous
By means of this spell, the warlock can instantly transport himself instantly 10 feet + 5 feet per level to any unoccupied space of five feet square. So a 4 level warlock can transport 30 feet away.   The warlock does not need to see the area he is transporting too, but he must know if it is occupied or not.

Winds of Nibiru
Level: Witch/Warlock 3
Range: 40 feet from the warlock
Duration: 1 round + 1 round per 3 levels
With ancient incantations, the warlock summons the foul winds of Nibiru. The winds blow from the warlock in a cone shape and terminate 40 feet away.  Creatures in the area of effect are blown outside of it. Those outside cannot enter the cone area in front of the warlock.  Missle weapons and spells are also ineffectual in area.  Such is the concentration required that the warlock cannot move during the duration of the spell.

Dreadful Gravity of Nibiru
Level: Witch/Warlock 4
Range: 100 feet from warlock
Duration: 1 round
With this spell the warlock summons the dreadful gravity of the planet Nibiru and can pull one Small, Medium or Large creature to it to stop five feet from the Warlock.  The creature is pulled and immobilized for 1 round.  After this it may attack normally.

Eclipse of Nibiru
Level: Witch/Warlock 5
Range: 50 feet radius sphere from warlock
Duration: 5 rounds
This spell summons a piece of dread and invisible Nibiru to block all magical attacks directed at the warlock. Any spell directed at the warlock is deflected or is stopped at a distance of 50 feet from the warlock.  Magical weapons are also likewise deflected.
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