Tuesday, July 31, 2012

And Another Kickstarter

Just when you thought your wallet  was safe there is another "must join" kickstarter, and this one has some serious Old-School roots.

Jeff Dee is recreating all his old art from the old B/X Basic and Expert sets.

Here is one of my faves.

And of course he did the immortal Morgan Ironwolf.

So check it out and you too can get some cool art from and old-school master.

Band of Zombies Kickstarter

The newest Kickstarter is now up for Eden Studios' "All Flesh Must Be Eaten" Zombie RPG.

Band of Zombies is coming for your WWII Zombie fun!

I was a playtester for this one and I can tell you it was a lot of fun.  But what makes this one cool are all the add-ons, stretch goals and things you can get for being a backer.

Eden has a history of high quality products and this book looks like it will live up to that.

Monday, July 30, 2012

OSR Monster project

Re-blogging this from Rended Press.
As of today, the OSR OGL BLOGOSPHERE MONSTERS PROJECT has 26 entries.

I'll close the file sometime during the afternoon of August 1.

Remember: This is open to any creature you've posted on your blog at any point in 2012!

So come on, people. Do the cut & paste!

Note: Please only share material that you feel comfortable appearing in a half-assed, crazy, DIY fan compilation.
I have sent a couple of monsters in.   It would be nice to see some more!


Eldritch Witchery and The Witch are both back from the editors.

Which means that I am working on edits and in some cases rewrites.  Nothing major, but if I want to do it correctly it will cut into my blogging.

So please don't mind the silence here this week.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Zatannurday: Zatanna and Raven

My love for Zatanna is well known and highly documented, but she is not the only magic-using character in the DC Universe.
There is another character that honestly I like just as much, but never really focused on around here and that is Raven.

Since we are getting a new, renewed, Teen Titans on TV ("Teen Titans Go!") I thought I'd talk a little abotu Raven.

Raven is the daughter of Trigon the Terrible, one of the most powerful demons in the DC universe.
In fact when we are first introduced to Raven in "The New Teen Titans" she goes to the Justice League first. Where she meets Zatanna.  Zee tells the league not to trust her because she can sense Trigon's evil in her.

Raven has had some ups and downs. She went evil, tried to kill her teammates, she died, came back as a teen again, been a target for sacrifice and/or marriage by a cult.  Daddy issues are the least of her issues.

Outside of some special editions though Raven and Zatanna have never really worked together.  There was speculation that she might be in Justice League Dark (she would fit) but I guess she is now back with the Titans.

Anyway here some pairings of the two, official, other worlds and cosplay.

Of course who could forget this one.  Sort of a prelude to JLD.

Some Deviant Art pieces.

Ok, so Zee is known for pulling rabbits out of her hat. Sort of a gimmick, but yeah. Well on the Teen Titan's Raven was turned into a rabbit in the episode called, odly enough, "Bunny Raven".

Here are some cool Cosplay.

Looks like I'll have to create an adventure that includes both Zee and Raven for DC Adventures/Mutants and Masterminds 3.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Banners on the Cheap

So you might recall the map I had made from Banners/Signs on the Cheap.


Well I was not the only one who had one made.

Here are some others, check out their map/banners too.

Greyhawk Grognard has a cool hex map, http://greyhawkgrognard.blogspot.com/2012/07/banners-on-cheap.html
RPG Blog has a HUGE dungeon, http://www.rpg-blog.com/2012/07/my-rpg-map-banner.html
and Blond Nerd has a cool map as well, http://www.blondenerd.com/gaming/banners-on-the-cheap-review

All pretty good reviews and nice looking maps.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Art Sale!

So I am taking advantage of the DriveThruRPG Christmas in July sale and buying up a bunch of art for all my upcoming projects.

I figured you all might like to see some of them.  This is not everything mind you, nor will everything listed here get used.  But I thought it might be fun to share.

If you want to see what they look like and what I said, just click the link.  I liked most of these.  Or rather I reviewed the ones I liked the most and listed them all here.    I just hope I make enough on my books to pay for my shopping spree! ;)


Clipart Critters 220 - Live, Dead, Girls
Cerberus Stock Art - The Next Decade of Fantasy: Volume 1
Horror figures and clipart 2
Fantasy Clip Inks:: Spot Art set 1
Fantasy Clip Inks:: Spot Art set 2
Fantasy Clip Inks:: Spot Art set 3
Clipart Critters 210 - Studying Wizard
AoV: Fantasy Art (Reflections of Voldaria)
StockArt Covers: Leather Bound Book IX
Stock Art: Sketches #1
Standard Stock Art: Issue 6 - Vile Beasts
Barbarian Princess Art Pack
Clipart Critters 197 - Demonic Pact
Call of the Moon Half-Elven Art Pack
Stock Art: Dragons
Standard Stock Art: 9 Fantasy Portraits
Fae Folk Stock Art Pack
Dawnbreaker Stock Art Pack
Clipart Critters 148 - Squid Face
Stone Lizard - Stock art
TobyArt 1: War Priests
Clipart Critters 163 - Dragon Woman
Nathan Winburn Illustration: Dark Fantasy Vol. One Stock Art
Clipart Critters 150 - Elven Harem Girl
Inkwell Stock Art: Skeletal Dragon
Stock Art: Forlarren Sorceress
XXX vampires stock pack
Stock Art: Magical Cat
Stock Art: Evil Tree
Inkwell Stock Art: Dragon, Blue
Inkwell Stock Art: Female Vampire

Dragged back into Wikipedia

Well I got dragged back into a Wikipedia sourcing issue.

I am looking for 3rd party sources for the following monsters:

Al-mi'raj (Dungeons & Dragons)
Atomie (Dungeons & Dragons)
Axe beak
Blindheim (Dungeons & Dragons)
Bunyip (Dungeons & Dragons)
Caterwaul (Dungeons & Dragons)
Cave cricket (Dungeons & Dragons)
Cave fisher
Coffer corpse
Crypt thing
Death Watch Beetle
Slicer beetle

If you have any old books or magazines NOT published by TSR/WotC or were in White Dwarf, let me know here.  Thanks!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

White Dwarf Wednesday #25

White Dwarf #25 puts White Dwarf into it's 5th year of publication.  It is the summer of 1981 (June/July) and let's get into it.

Again, another really cool cover.  Maybe artistically not as good as last issue, but I have always liked this one.
Ian Livingstone celebrates WD fifth year with an editorial of basically saying we are going to keep doing the stuff you like and stop with the stuff you don't.  he mentions another survey on page 27.

Again in "Must Read Again" articles we have Lew Pulsipher's Part III of an Introduction to Dungeons and Dragons.  This time it is on the magic using classes.  Frankly

I'd love it if these were sent off to the D&D Next team as critical essays on what the game was.

Page 10 is a fun little item.
Called the Creature Quiz, it is a quiz on various elements of "S/F and Fantasy Gaming".
An aside: Was it purely a British thing to call this S/F & F games rather than RPGs?  Anyway the quiz is fun. Answers are not given but you need to send your completed quiz to WD no later than July 1, 1981.

Probably good I missed the date, I am sure I did poorly on this one.

Click to see bigger version

After that we are back in Traveller land with Optional Skill Acquisition

Open Box only has three reviews for us.  For Traveller we have "Double Adventure 2: Across the Bright Face/Mission on Mithiril"  It gets are (although less so these days) 10/10 from Trevor Graver.  He liked Across the Bright Face a little more of the two but thought both were great.  "Plunder" and "Runemaster" both from Chaosium are play aids for RuneQuest. Oliver Macdonald gives Runemaster 9/10 saying it contains a lot of useful material and is well worth the cost.  Plunder though only gets a 5/10 stating it's limited usability and redundancy. Finally we get the classic "Space Opera" from Fantasy Games Unlimited reviewed by Andy Slack.  This is the first real competition we see for Traveler and it is Science Fantasy (more or less) and not Science Fiction.  It gets an 8/10, partially for it's complications and a long time to properly set up, but otherwise a fantastic game. 

We get a new series called The Dungeon Architect.  Part 1 is about designing an interesting dungeon.  To begin with we start out with the typical "lather, rinse repeat" style dungeon.  The one where you open door 1, kill monster A, open door 2, kill monster B.  And so on.  The author deconstructs the entire dungeon raiding experience into why and how and for what reason.  Very interesting take on it really.  While we in 2012 have had this discussion before in 1981 it is an interesting new point of view and the start of the growth of D&D in the minds of gamers as something more than just killing monsters underground.  Looking forward to the next two parts.

The Letters page covers various AD&D rule questions.

The Lower Canon Court is an AD&D "Skirmish for a large number of players."  The idea here is a cleric was found guilty in a court and wants revenge.  The characters are all members of the court when the pandemonium breaks loose.  There are a lot of NPCs and a map of the court room.  It's different idea and I like the attempt but I can also see it only appealing to a small crowd of gamers.

Treasure Chest has some new magic items like the Bowl of Everlasting Porridge and Bell of Watchfulness.  Some are still a little silly, but all can be played straight.  

Andy Slack has Traveller rules on Vacc Suits. 

Fiend Factory continues its run of themed monsters.  This time a mini-scenario (more of a plot really) called the Black Manse.  We get Dream Demons, the Incubus, Brain Suckers and a Guardian.  The monsters all designed to challenge a party of levels 5-6.

Starbase is back and celebrating their first year with some suggestions for reading.  Interesting really.

In Character Conjuring Lew Pulsipher talks about what makes a good AD&D character class.  He makes the case that classes should be internally balanced. That is weaknesses to set off strengths.  A wizard can't use armor or swords for example. He is also talkas about between class balance and that not all characters of say 3rd level should be the same power.  Another issue he brings up are the serious use of joke classes (like the Jester and Idiot from Dragon a few years back, but oddly not any of the WD joke classes are mentioned).

The new questionnaire follows on the other half of the page. Results are promised in a future issue.
Again, get yours in by July 1st, 1981.

This is followed by the Classifieds/Small ads, and a few more pages of ads.
In the end we get an ad for the AD&D lead figure line.  Back when they were lead and you had to pain them yourself.  I loved those as a kid.  AND I might add I just acquired a bunch of these in fantastic shape.  Pictures soon.

WD ended up being 4 pages less this time around.  Not really sure why.
After a period of growth WD seems to be content to keep on with what works, though the gaming world is now showing unprecedented growth. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few months.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Kids are Awesome!

With the new reprints of 1st Ed AD&D now out my kids want our next game to be a 1st Edition one!

How freaking cool is that?

We have done just about everything we have set out to do in 3rd Ed and our 4th Ed game is still moving right along.

So what should we do then for 1st Ed?
I know I am going to throw in some house rules.

  • 1st level HP will be equal to Con scores for all characters and NPCs include 0-level humans.
  • I will be using bards, I am just not sure which one yet.
  • Double damage on a natural 20.
  • Will use strict multi-class and dual-class rules.
  • If it is written down somewhere and it works with AD&D1, 2 or Basic D&D then it will be considered for this game.

I know I am going to use ideas from ALL the retro-clones where appropriate.  So it will be less of a 1st Ed game in rules, but certainly one in terms of tone and spirit.

Here are the adventures I want to use.  Again, I like sticking with these old school modules.

T1 Village of Hommlet, levels 1-2 (IF I don't use it in the D&D4 game)
B1 Into the Unknown, levels 1-3 (my go to starting module)
B2 Keep on the Borderlands, levels 1-3 (how can I NOT do this?)

L1 The Secret of Bone Hill, levels 2-4
X2 Castle Amber, levels 3-6 (love this freaky module, though it sticks out as the only Non-Greyhawk one)
A1-4 Slave Lords, levels 4-7
C2 Ghost Tower of Inverness, levels 5-7
S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, levels 8-12
G123, Against the Giants, levels 8-12 (I also have the Stone Giant one from Dragonsfoot)
D12,3 Against the Drow, levels 8,9-14
Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits, 10-14
S1 Tomb of Horrors, levels 10-14 (IF I don't use it in the D&D4 game, it is an AD&D classic)
CM2 Death's Ride, levels 15-20. (Again, unless I use it in my current 3.x game which the boys want me to do)

AND if their 4.e group does not get to the end, then I could use the Bloodstone H series too.  But that is getting WAY ahead of myself.

If you look over my previous plans here and here, you see I am sticking with the modules. 
I am running the HPE Orcus ones for 4e, and used many of the other classics in my 3.x games.

So far the boys have gone through B3, B4, S2, S4, WG4, I1, and X1 for 3.x (and a bunch I made up when they were younger like "Cave of the Rainbow Dragon" and "The Stinky Cave"), and H1 Keep on the Shadowfell for 4e.  So they are getting, as my youngest put it this morning, a full Dungeons & Dragons education.

Again.  This is going to be a lot of fun!  I am not expecting this one to start anytime soon, I still have a 3.x game to finish with them. 

The Complete B/X Adventurer is Mine!

NOTE My updated review is here:

I got my copy of the Complete B/X Adventurer in the mail yesterday.

It certainly lives up to it's hype and to it's predecessor the B/X Companion.
You don't need the B/X Companion to use this, but it certainly helps.

It reminds me a lot of the old Bard Games "The Compleat ______" books. That is a good thing in my book.

I will get a proper review up soon.  But here is the brief one.
I like it.  I like the witch class but the summoner might end up being my favorite.
Can't wait for the PDF so I can have it on my tablet.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Adventures in Oz

With the Christmas in July sale going on I thought I would point out that one of my favorites games is on sale.

Adventures in Oz

Ever since I was little, I mean really little, I have enjoyed "The Wizard of Oz".  I can recall being about 4 or so and being frightened of the flying monkeys, the Winkies and of course the Wicked Witch.  I also remember we had this old copy of the Wizard of Oz book in the house and I remembered how different it was than the movie.

Oz is a fascinating place really, and I was amazed the first time I learned how much of it was there beyond Dorothy and her friends. I learned about names like Mombi and Ozma.  I will admit I have always wanted to put a "pumpkin head" in my games largely in part due to "Journey Back to Oz".  In my WitchCraft games we also used to call witch hunters "Dorothies".

I think Oz is a bit under rated to be honest.  It's not the drug referenced lands of Alice or even the purely fantasy of Peter Pan, it is, in a way, pragmatically American.  But it is fertile land as well. It gave us "The Wiz" and "Tin Man" and of course, "Wicked".

So I was thrilled when I heard of F. Douglas Wall's Adventures in Oz RPG.
It is, like the literary Oz, a great game for the younger set. The rules are fast, simple to learn and you can be up and playing in no time at all.  They game is also really, really fun. If you never play it, the book offers a good resource to using Oz in your own games.

The game is simple, fast and fun.

If you have kids and want to introduce them to the world of Role-playing then this is a great bet.  Just like Oz you get a fantastic land that is kid friendly with characters we all know (or at least, mostly know) and like Oz there is a lot more to this game than seen at first glance.

This is also a great game for adults.  I would recomend a game of Oz as a palette cleanser.  There are no Tolkien dwarves or elves in this game, but plent of Muchkins, Winkies and Gilikins.  There is magic, but it's not the same as all the other games you have played.  Plus it is rules lite so Narators and players can get up to speed fast.

All in all this is a great game and worth picking up.

DriveThruRPG Christmas in July

I know it has been 100+ degree out, but DriveThruRPG is thinking cool winter thoughts.
They are having their annual Christmas in July sale again.  The sale begins today (at 9:00am Central) and continues for a week!

They are featuring 25% off hundreds of titles (I found nearly 11,500).

This might be your best chance to get that game you want before GenCon.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Review: Wizard's World (1983)

What can one say about Wizard's World?

Well for starters it could be easily dismissed as yet another fantasy heartbreaker, but I don't think that would be fair really.
Yes it's AD&D roots are showing and there is a lot about the this game that is derivative.  But that is looking at it in 2012.  To look at this game as it was meant to be seen you have look at it with 1983 eyes.

This game offers some interesting twists beyond the typical D&D knock-off.  First I love the art in this book.  Sure there has been better art, much better art, even in books from the same time. But there is such an honesty about it that I enjoy.  And I LOVE that cover.
The attributes are nearly the same, enough that conversions are easy.  The charts all go to 30 which is nice.

Ok so we have a bunch of classes, many of which would drop right into AD&D, OSRIC or what ever Clone you enjoy.  There are a number of fighter-like classes, that honestly only differ a little bit from each other, but that is fine.  Some martial artists, some magic using types, 14 total.  What is cool is there is Vampire class!  Something we won't see again till D&D4 or until I did my own (link).  We have all the standard races plus some new ones, Metamorphic Dwarfs and Demon Halflings.  Honestly the book is worth it just to be able to say "Demon Halflings"!

There are 22 pages worth of spells that go all the way to level 10.
Rules follow next which is primarily about combat, weapons, poisons, potions and the like.   A little bit on magic items.
Monsters follow. There are a few, but almost no overlap between here and what you might find in a typical monster manual for a game.  There are dragons, but very different from what we are used to seeing in "D&D".
Some suggestions for play and threadbare character sheet.

Ok what is good about this game?  Lots really.  If you play D&D or some old school game you would be hard pressed not to find something here to use.  Did I mention the Demon Halflings yet?  There are plenty of monsters and lots of spells.

What is bad?  That is subjective.  If you are not a fan of old-school play or expect full color art then you will be disappointed.

What did I like? Nearly everything really.  I have to hand it to Dan Procter and Goblinoid Games for becoming an old-games preservation society.   This game isn't going to win any awards now nor would it have won any then, but it is a fun trip into the past when many games were little more than a few pages, a staple and your friend's brother to do the art.

At 80+ pages this is packed.

If you wanted to play this system and say use one my of witch classes from either The Witch or Eldritch Witchery then I say you would need an INT 11 and WIL 11.  Choose spells from the witch lists and use those or the WW spell that was most similar.

Games You Never Get to Play

When people talk about influences on their games and gaming life they typically mention the works of Fritz Leiber or Jack Vance or Tolkein or the other Appendix N names.

Not me.  Well, yes I have read those, but they were not biggest effect on my games.

My Appendix N is full of Hammer Horror and In Search Of... and any more dozens of bad-wrong-fun horror and occult material from the 70s.  It should be no surprise then that I gravitate towards games that let me do that sort of thing, Chill, Call of Cthulhu and of course WitchCraft.

But just as I am a product of 70's and 80's horror, there were other things going on then.  Still lots of "leftover hippie shit" as I used to call it.  Zodiacs, crystals, psychic powers.  All the stuff that gets mixed in with magic and the occult, plus aliens, Atlantis, secret societies, Erich von Däniken and all that.

Basically all the stuff left over when you take out the horror and the magic from the big occult boom of the 70's.

What has this have to do with gaming?


There is one game I have always wanted to play but doubt that I ever will.

It's not a game per-se but rather a campaign.

The game is one set in the 70s where all the characters are teens.  They are also, unknown to them until the game starts, the children of the first successful alien-human hybrids.  They look completely human, but each one has unique pyschic powers.  No magic, all psychic.  The drama comes in when the teens discover what they are and the government comes in to take them to a secure facility.

So you can see where this gets it's genesis.  There were a ton of shows in the 70s about kids with powers or people being chased by the government.  I want to put it in the 70s so I can avoid cell phones, gps and the like.  Plus it was the last time teens could hitchhike across the US without people calling the cops.   I'd work in mysteries of Atlantis, crystals with magic powers, strange MIB agents, aliens out to kill them all that great stuff.  Setting it in the 70s also lets me bring in "future tech" like more powerful computers and things we use today.

The list of influences of this game go on and on.  Basically I'd go to Wikipedia's Psuedoscience category and pick and choose.

My game system of choice would be Conspiracy X since I can use most of the mythos intact.  The Unexplained would also work well as would a low powered Mutants & Masterminds game.  Something like Damnation Decade, but with more danger and horror, and none of the alt-history.

I'd love to play it or even write it.  But I doubt I'll have the time.
If I were to write it all out I'd call it "Star Child" sounds very 70s.

What games or campaigns do you really want to play but don't think you will?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

My New Map!

I got my new map from Banners on the Cheap!

A bit of background.  I was approached back at the end of  June about the possibility of printing up a large vinyl banner for an RPG map.  Consequently I have also wanted a large map of Victorian London to put up in my game room.

Well I went to the website and setup my new map.  All you need is really is the image.  The layout interface is ridiculously easy to use.

Here is the original image I used, 1890s Map of London and here are the results below!

As you can see the map is huge.

The banner itself is 4 feet tall by 6 feet long.  The image I had when printed at it's best resolution would have been 6 feet by 7 feet.   So a good fit really, with some space on the edge.

I might print up Places of Interest (occult locations, the Swift's Home, St. Erisian’s School) and pin them in place.  I'll more than likely use stickers since I don't want to poke any holes in this.

This picture does not do it justice, but the print is very clear, clear as the source image, to the point where I can read the street names.

The color is great.  It really is an absolute gem of a map.

I have not tried it yet with water based or dry erase markers yet, so I can't confirm if those work.
What I do know is I am looking for other maps I have laying around here that I would like to get blown up onto a huge banner like this.   A scale map of Castle Dracula would be awesome.  Failing that, a scale Castle Ravenloft.

My expectations were pretty high and I am happy to say they have been met!

If you want to try them out for yourself then here is the link. I highly recommend them.

Custom Yard Signs

Read more here:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

White Dwarf Wednesday #24

White Dwarf gets a little bit bigger again in April/May of 1981.  And again we get a great looking cover.

The editorial doesn't get started till page 9, where Ian Livingstone talks about the growth of the hobby. Games in plastic zip-lock bags are a thing of the past and now we get games in boxes with full color cover art.  He notes that D&D alone sold more 500,000 sets.  I am unclear whether these are considered the Golden Age or the Silver Age (I think 1983 is the cut-off most people agree on) but they were certainly the Halcyon Days.

Lew Pulsipher is back with his Part II of an Introduction to Dungeons & Dragons.  Again this reads so fresh to me today that I am going to xerox the whole series and use it with my new groups.

Andy Slack provides the coverage for the other big game of the day, Traveller, in "Backdrop of Stars". This article deals with setting up a Traveller campaign.  So much of this article has been personally ingrained with me on what Traveller is that I am a little surprised re-reading it all these years later.  I didn't know it was separate from the game.  As an aside my oldest got to play some Traveller this past weekend.  He ran into the issues that most of did 30 years ago; characters dying or being so horrible that they were next to useless.

Open Box has some interesting reviews up this issue.  Quirks is an odd little game of plant and animal mutation.  It reads like Pokemon set in Gamma World, but I am sure that is not it (though that sounds cool).  Ian Livingstone gives it 9/10.  Shooting Stars from then giant Yaquinto Publications is a ship to ship tactical space game.  It gets 8/10 from Nick Henfrey calling it "delightful to play".  Valley of the Four Winds (the same as the fiction that used to appear in WD) is a new game from Games Workshop.  It was designed by Lew Pulsipher and is given a 9/10 by Alan Paull.  GDW gives us a new Traveller book, Adventure 3 Twilight's Peak.  Andy slack gives this classic adventure a 10/10 calling it the "best FRP scenario of any kind I have ever seen".  I recall this one as being good, but the best of the best?  Well it has been 30 or so years.

Marcus Rowland presents another new class, the Detective.  This class is very much cut from the same cloth as Sherlock Holmes, but re-crafted to fit the D&D world better.  In many ways this is offered as a "good" alternative to the Thief and Assassin classes; with similar skills, progression and attacks.  The Detective also gets a bit of spells. As a custom class goes it looks pretty solid, but I can never recall seeing one in play even in the wild and crazy days of Jr high where everyone was playing some weird class they found.

Letters has some rule questions for D&D and one on the Fiend Factory from Issue 22.

An AD&D mini-module by Mark Byng is up next.  I do note that it is referred to as a Mini-Module and not a Mini-Adventure.  The Lair of Maldred the Might spans the next few pages and it is layout like a an old tome.

Starbase is back with more Traveller material and an article I remember reading many times.  Laser Sword and Foil was about bringing lightsabers into Traveller.

O.C. Macdonald discusses Alignment in Role-Playing Games.  The discussion begins with D&D and then moves on to AD&D and C&C.  The article generally pro-alignment even if it admits that it adds little to the games.

Fiend Factory falls into the April Fools trap and gives us some joke monsters.  I used to enjoy these sort of features, but anymore I don't find them as funny.  Granted at 40 something I am no longer the target audience of 1981.  So what do we have, the Bonacon which is a cow that stinks. There is an alternate version that is a flying cow.  Llort is a Troll with nilbogism. The todal which is some sort of monster sent to punish evil doers for not doing enough evil. The unique Tali Monster which is so huge it has to be carried by 35 goblins. Finally there is the Dungeon Master, which I am loathe to explain.

Treasure chest renew my faith with some interesting and deadly tricks and traps for dungeon rooms.

News is very interesting this issue.  It is telling us about the arrival of the D&D clones!  In particular the new Expert Set.  I recall seeing the picture back in the day and to me it looked like a metal tin with rounded edges and I thought for sure there were Expert Sets (and Basic Sets) that were metal tins.  Sadly that never happened.   In more back to the future news Yaquinto is going to give us a space game called Demon's Run.  No idea if it includes Sapphic 19th century Silurians or not. 

We have classifieds, and ads till the end.

A good issue marred by some silly monsters.
Lots of space given over to D&D and Traveller this issue, but not so much for the other big game, Rune Quest.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

AD&D Reprints

The AD&D reprints are now in.

They are really nice too.

Newer paper that feels thicker, if glossier.  "Gilded" edges.  Nice covers.  These are nice enough to be collectors' items and still sturdy enough to be able to play with them.

The covers are a nice homage.

Gilded pages are always a nice touch.

It might be hard to see here, but the text is not an "exact" copy, there are some minor formatting issues.  The books though have the same page count as before and my quick glance tells me that things that show up on page X in the old books still appear on page X of the new ones.

I also like the ribbon book mark.

This copyright statement and the new ISBNs are the only clue you will get inside that this was not a TSR publication.  Many companies wold have altered the text inside to a degree I am sure.  These pages, even considering they were completely re-done, are the same.

I think we are going to be playing some First Edition here soon!

There is your history of D&D right there.  Original Edition, Basic, Advanced 1 & 2 (and OSRIC), RC, 3.0, 3.5, Pathfinder and 4e.  And my new books have a new home.  That is till my kids see them in a couple of hours and they end up upstairs in their rooms.

I am not sure how much of my purchase went to the Gygax Memorial fund, but as long as it was some then I am fine.

Major kudos to WotC for getting these produced.

Putting my Monster where my Mouth is. Baobhan Sìth

Rended Press is working on an OSR monster book.  I think it is a great idea, especially if they are all OGL complaint. The issue with me though was "any monster posted in June".  Well that is cool, but I didn't post any in June.  So I mentioned that on the blog the other day and gave the suggestion that if it was say all of 2012 then I could do something.

They opened it up to all of 2012.  And I looked.

Sheepishly I noticed that I didn't post a single OSR/OGL monster in 2012.  Plenty for other systems, but nothing an OSR book would need.

So here is one of mine from "The Witch".

All text that follows is considered Open under the OGL.  Full OGL text is listed here, OGL Declaration/Statement.

Baobhan Sìth
Armor Class: 2 [17]
Hit Dice: 9d8+2** (43 hp)
No. of Attacks: 2 claws, 1bite
Damage: 1d4+2 / 1d4+1
Special: Blood drain, captivating dance, dying words, spell-like abilities, vulnerable to iron
Movement: 30’
No. Appearing: 1-3
Saves As: Fighter 9
Morale: 9
Treasure: None
Alignment: Chaotic (Chaotic Evil)
XP: 1,800

The Baobhan sìth (bavaan shee, “faerie woman” in Scottish Gaelic) are evil female fey that feed on the blood of living creatures.  By entrancing creatures with their dance, they lure men to their deaths.  Baobhan sìth are always female; no males of this race are known to exist.  These creatures are generally found in remote locations such as unclaimed forests or overgrown and ruined keeps, castles or the like; always a secluded location, but close enough to a populated area that the baobhan sìth can feed when hungry.

Often called the “White Woman” of the Scottish Highlands, the baobhan sìth are often confused with vampires.  Though they are not undead, they do have a lot of similarities.  Both feed on blood and use seduction in order to lure their prey into their grasp.  Baobhan sìth also are vulnerable to cold iron, much like a vampire to silver.  The baobhan sìth also avoids bright sunlight, it is not dangerous to her, but they avoid it all the same.

Local legends claim that when young women fall to the allure of witchcraft and lie wantonly with men they will die and return as baobhan sìth.

Their lairs are typically clean; the monsters have disposed of the rotting corpses of past victims.  They are solitary creatures and rarely work in groups.  There is however a popular tale of a group of four men traveling in the Scottish Highlands that were seduced and attacked by three or four (depending on the tale) Baobhan sìth working together.  Baobhan sìth each have their own hunting ground and to intrude on another’s is certain death.

Baobhan sìth prefer to use their abilities against male humanoids, particularly elves or humans, and most of all bards.  They generally avoid dwarves and halflings, though if food is scarce they have no qualms about draining the blood of just about any living creature.  They do not drink the blood of animals; no matter how hungry they are, as they see this as primitive and savage.

A baobhan sìth stands 5 to 5-1/2 feet tall and weighs roughly 120 pounds.  Her hair ranges in color from black or brown to golden yellow.  Eye color varies but is usually brown or green.  A baobhan sìth wears flowing, loose fitting robes or tunics of white or green often tied at the waist with a scarf of red or black.
They speak Common, Elven, and Sylvan.

A baobhan sìth prefers to attack a lone target and generally avoids combat with groups, fleeing if confronted by such a party.  Stragglers are often the subject of the baobhan sìth’s attention if the straggler is far enough behind its comrades.

When first encountered, a baobhan sìth opens combat with her captivating dance.  Creatures that fail to succumb are entangled (saving throw vs. Paralysis).  Once she has captivated at least one foe, she moves in and uses her sharp nails to draw blood from the victim’s chest or throat and then it drains the victim’s blood.  It deals bite damage and drains blood, dealing 1d4 points of permanent Constitution drain each round it maintains the hold.  At Constitution 0, the victim dies.

The Baobhan Sìth may cast spells as a 3rd level witch.

If overwhelmed or outnumbered, the baobhan sìth uses her entangle ability (if she hasn’t already used it) and tries to slip away into the surrounding forest.

Leanan Sìth (Leanan Sídhe, Lhiannan Shee, “faerie mistress”): The Leanan Sìth is the Manx (Isle of Man) counterpart to the Baohbhan Sìth.  This creature can be found all across the British Isles.  She has the additional power of being able to turn invisible at will, as a spell like ability (9th level).  The Leanan Sìth will typically feed on the blood and life force of young poets.  They drain the victims slowly, and in a state of ecstasy.  Such poets create works of unsurpassed brilliance while in the clutches of these women.

Section 15 Copyright Notice

Open Game License v 1.0a Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
System Reference Document Copyright 2003, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, Bruce R. Cordell, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.
Liber Mysterium: The Netbook of Witches and Warlocks is Copyright© 2003, Timothy S. Brannan and the Netbook of Witches Team.
Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game Copyright © 2006-2008. Chris Gonnerman.
Labyrinth LordTM. Copyright © 2007, Daniel Proctor. Author Daniel Proctor.

"Baobhan Sìth" Copyright ©2012, Timothy S. Brannan

Monday, July 16, 2012

Post-Game Day

It was "mini-con" this past weekend at the Brannan household.

Saturday my oldest son played old school Traveller and had some of the crappiest dices rolls in the history of dice.  He was disappointed, but not in the rolls themselves but he was looking forward to playing rather than rolling up characters.

Saturday evening was Ghosts of Albion at EN World Game day.  I didn't have a full roster so I invited him to come along (my youngest had a friend spending the night).  He played William Swift, Protector of Albion. He did a great job.   He thought I had made the character especially for him! Everyone else had a great time and it was great to run Blight one last time.  It dis give me some ideas for new adventures and maybe even a hook to bring my boys into this game.

Sunday was D&D 4: Keep on the Shadowfell with the kid's group.  The group agreed to take out the Kobold lair for the nice price of 100gp each.  The got past the kobold ambush and the kobolds outside the lair, but they have not gone it yet.  The kids did great really.  They are learning to work together more and that is a good thing.  I have a couple of players that want to retrain or swap out some feats.  It is a generally accepted house rule here (and at the games my son and three of the other players play at) that you can make "free" modifications to your character to better suit you, the party or whatever.  My youngest is playing a Bard, he is thinking he wants to add a little bit of warlock to that and maybe rearrange his stats for a better Dex.  My oldest is playing a Paladin multiclassed with Warlord, which works, but he did this thinking we would not have any "Leader" types.  With my youngest now playing a Bard (instead of his usual ranger) and one of the others playing a cleric, he wants to drop the Warlord in favor of Sorcerer, his other favorite class. So the idea is that he had some military training (was Warlord, now it will be more of a background) and during his adventures the stress of combat has awakened the Celestial Dragon blood in his veins and now he can call on Dragon magic. It works.  I still need to talk to the other players too to see if they want to make any alterations.

The kids' 4e Group still doesn't have a name of their own yet.  In the game they are called the Heroes of Winterhaven.  Though in the arc a better name for them would be Death's Champions; though that sounds darker than it is supposed too (they will be making sure that that Death and Life are saved from Orcus).  They have an unknown ally in the form of a mysterious girl named Nera and one of the Arch Dukes of Hell will offer his aid as well. 'Enemy of my Enemy" and all.  Should be a great time!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Game Day and Blight

Game Day Chicago went fantastic yesterday!
I had a good group to play Blight and I thought it went really well.

Today is D&D4 and then it is 1 month till Gen Con!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Thursday, July 12, 2012

London Map updates

So a while back I learned about Banners On The Cheap and their desire to "get into" the RPG map biz.

There was no single tabletop map I wanted, but I have always wanted a large map of Victorian-era London for my game room.  I finally settled on a map.

Click for a really, really big version
It is London of 1890, rather than my preferred of 1838, but that is cool.  This is the "classic" Victorian London and good enough for me. It will work great for nearly all the Victorian games I own.

The process could not have been easier and frankly the prices were a lot cheaper than I expected.  I'll get this one by the end of the month and I will let you all know how it works out.

If you want to try them out for yourself then here is the link.

Custom Yard Signs

I have pretty high hopes for this.  If it works out well, and takes dry-erase or water markers well, then I have a bunch of others I'd love to do.

Nothing Like The Sun...

Chanel Divinity: The Triple Moon Goddess Heresy

NOTE:  This is something I had submitted to WotC during their open submission window for Dragon.  They took a pass on it.  But that is cool, because it means I can expand it and pass it on now to you for free.

From the Ancient Dragon Scrolls, #54:
Selûne was created from the primordial essence of the universe, along with her twin sister, Shar. Together, they created Chauntea (the embodiment of the world of Abeir-Toril) and some other heavenly bodies and infused these areas with life. The two goddesses then fought over the fate of their creations. From these struggles emerged the original deities of magic, war, disease, murder, death, and others. Selûne reached out of the universe and from a plane of fire, brought forth a flame and ignited a heavenly body in order to give warmth to Chauntea. This greatly enraged Shar, and she began to erase all light and warmth in the universe. Desperate and weakened because of Shar's actions, Selûne hurled some of her divine essence at her sister. Selûne's essence tore through Shar, bringing some of Shar's essence with it. This magical energy combined to form the goddess Mystryl, the original goddess of magic.
"So says the legends of the Realms. Selûne and Shar, sisters locked in eternal battle, eternal struggle. But this is not the observations of a few; the chosen to know the truth. It is true that siblings fight, they argue, yet do they also not love each other still? Are they not more alike than different?

These were the first questions asked by the first of our order, the truths they lead to though would make us shunned by both the Light and the Dark. Shunned, because deep down they know their own teachings are only half-truths their litanies incomplete. Shunned because we know the terrible, wonderful truth that the Goddesses of the moon, Sehanine, Selûne and Shar, are in truth aspects of the One Triple Goddess."

Followers of the Triple Goddess, known amongst themselves as the Sisterhood of the Triple Goddess (aka Sisters) believe that the Goddess always has been, it is mortals that have artificially split Her into component Goddesses because they can not comprehend Her in Her true form.  She is Sehanine, Selûne and Shar individually and all at once.  There is no contradiction.  Followers of the individual Goddesses fight among themselves because their doctrines are so close to each other, yet they only have a small piece of the truer picture.

Each Aspect is much as the Goddess she represents; Sehanine is the ever youthful Maiden, Selûne the powerful Mother and Shar, the most misunderstood but still shrouded in shadow, decay and death.

The Maiden.  In Her guise as Sehanine Moonbow, the Maiden is ever young. She is represents new beginnings, youth and re-birth.  It is the Maiden that represents the freedom of youth but also growth.  She is most often seen in lush green vegetation, the eternal Spring, the Waxing Crescent Moon.  For this reason she is also most often associated with the elves and the Feywild.  She is young, capricious and fickle as befits Her nature. She dallies with Gods (and sometimes Goddesses) to sow the next generations. When she does she becomes the Mother.

The Mother. In Her Aspect as the Mother, She is most often worshiped under the name Selûne.  Here She is the Goddess of the Summer, the Full Moon. She is associated with the Prime Material and the practical.  She is the Mother. Strong, proud, and stern if needed, but loving and understanding.  Since the Spellplauge She is depicted as being full with child.  Some say she is pregnant with the reborn Mystra and it is through the Mother that Magic enters the world.

The Crone. The most misunderstood of all the Aspects of the Goddess.  Though to be evil She is demonized as Shar, the Dark Moon. The Crone is far, far more than that.  True, She is responsible for death, darkness and decay, but these are natural processes of Life, Death and Rebirth.  She is the Crone of Winter and all souls pass by Her.  Forgive her if She seems bitter or cold, She only knows of Death.  For this She is most often associated with the Shadowfell.  She honors the followers of Shar, but does not understand their fascination with death.  Death is needed so that others may live and grow.  The harvest must be sown, the fields must be cleared, sometimes burned, so that new seeds and growth can occur.  The Crone knows much, but the price of Her wisdom is high.

The Worshippers of The Triple Goddess

The lay worshipper of the Triple Goddess is typically female (thus the name Sisterhood), as the Goddess waxes and wanes in course with the moon, so does a woman as she progresses in life as Maiden, Mother and Crone and through only monthly cycle.

Tenets of Faith
The Triple Goddess is worshiped by anyone that worships one of her Aspects, but Her faithful know the truth.
• She is the Moon, waxing and wanning as the Moon does
• She brings Light, Life and Darkness to the World.
• She is the Goddess of Rebirth, Life and Death.  Therefore her true believers can never use, or have used on them, any Raise Dead Spell; only Reincarnation.

• Share the word of the Triple Goddess, but do not attempt to convert others.  They will come into the fold when they are ready.
• Do what you can to help followers of the Goddess' Aspects.
• Destroy undead. They are an abomination to the Rebirth, Life, Death cycle and therefore an affront to the Goddess.

Relations between the Worshipers.

The Sister of the Triple Goddess share many of the same practices of faith as do the followers of Sehanine, Selûne and Shar.  In fact it is not uncommon that a follower of the Triple Goddess will be part of one of the other members' sects.  She (and the followers are most often a she rather than a he) will quietly perform her duties next to her unsuspecting sisters, all the while knowing that only she knows the whole truth.
If discovered the follower is usually asked to renounce their heretical beliefs, other service or punishments may be required depending on the sect she belongs too.

The followers of Sehanine view the Triple Goddess as an interesting curiosity.  They are more than willing to assume that Sehanine and Selûne could be the same and of course there are still many among the elves that believe that Sehanine is part of a Trinity with Hanali Celanil and Aerdrie Faenya, so this is not a stretch for them.  Sisters are usually only asked to maintain pleasant relations with the rest of Sehanine's followers.
The Sisters see the followers of Sehanine as sweet, but hopelessly naïve.  This they see as a consequence of only following the Maiden Aspect of the Goddess.  They lack the experiences and wisdom that would come to them from learning from the Mother and Crone.

There is much similarity between the Elven Goddess Angharradh and the Triple Goddess.  Cheif among these are Sehanine and their similar symbols.  Sisters see Angharradh as a separate Elven Goddess more representative of the deep-seated desire in the elves to reunite their race.  Unlike Angharradh, who is both the same as and seperate from her aspects, the Sisters believe that The Triple Goddess is One and Three as the same time.  There is no separating Sehanine from the Goddess.

The Selûnites see the Sisters as also being naïve, but not about the true nature of their Goddess, but instead underestimating the evil and influence of Shar.  Some of the more Orthodox members even see the Sisters as a threat set up by Shar Herself to undermine them from within; something they refer to as the Heresy of the Dark Moon (in which they completely ignore Sehanine).  It is not the Triunity or even Trinity they have the issues with, it is the fact they include Shar in it.
Though it is speculated that there are Sisters in some of the highest ranks of the Selûnite church.
The Sisters see the Selûnites as being blinded by their hatred of "Shar" to see the full reality; there is no "Shar" as a separate Goddess.  Shar, The Crone is necessary for life to continue and grow.

The Orders
Swords of the Lady: The "Lunatics" appreciate The Sister's stance on undead, but feel their belief that Shar is  part of their Goddess to heresy in the extreme.   The Sister's see the Swords as dangerous fanatics.

Oracles of the Moon: The Oracles and the Sisters actually get along quite well. The Oracles tend to see more than the other followers and the Sisters find the Oracles very knowledgeble, but removed from worldly concerns.

Silverstars: Silverstars are wary of the Sisters, feeling like the Swords, that cleave a little too closely to Shar for their liking.  However individually they do tend to get along since Sisters value life above all else.  The Sisters admire the Silverstars and feel their cause is worthy and just.  They just wished they could find the way to seeing the full Goddess.

The Followers of Shar tend to be a dark, evil lot.  They view the Sisters as cowards for not embracing true evil and watering down their belief with the likes of Sehanine and Selûne. They have nothing but contempt for them.  Punishments can include forced re-conversion by torture.  When the Sisters were first discovered within the ranks of the Sharites they were captured and infected with Werewolf Lycanthropy.  What shocked and surprised both sides were that the Sisters so infected retained their own minds when transformed; something even the Selûnites could not do.
The Sisters see the Sharites as perverters of the Goddesses true form.  Yes, the Crone is shadowy and surrounded by death, but it is the ultimate destination for us all.  To focus on that aspect alone is perverse.  The Sisters run the greatest personal risk from the Sharites, but they are also the ones the Sisters feel the need to reach out to the most.

The Orders
Dark Justicars: The Justicars consider the Sisters to be dangerous heretics and usually kill them on sight. The Sisters avoid the Justicars at all costs.  Some souls can't be saved.

Order of the Dark Moon: More accepting of the Sisters since their own tappings into the Dark Weave has lead them to believe that is of the same nature as the Weave.  If this is true, then the teachings of the Sisters, as radical as they are, could also be true.  The Sisters find the Order to be very austere in their thinking and are not surprised that their single minded dedication to the Shadow Weave also blinds them to the greater being of the Triple Goddess. They are not to be taken lightly, but represent the best inroad into Shar's cult they have.

Nightcloaks/Nightbringers: The Orthodoxy of the Church of Shar see the Sisters as a threat and one that must be destroyed.  The Sisters view the Nightcloaks as the true poison in Shar's worship.  If this dangerous element can be removed the Sisters feel the rest of the followers of Shar will become followers of the Triple Goddess.

As an unaligned deity the Tripple Goddess is misunderstood by the clergy and lay member of most of the other faiths.  The followers of Chantea in her form of the Great Mother have much in common with the Sisters.  While the dogman and tenets of faith are very, very similar, there are enough differences to keep them from being close.

Centers of Worship
The Sisters are found everywhere that the worshipers of Sehanine, Selûne and Shar.  In particular they are located in the Moonshae Isles. There are centers of worship in Waterdeep as well.

Fourth Edition

The Triple Goddess is the Unaligned Goddess of the Moon, Magic and Change.

Type: Greater God
Alignment: Unaligned
Gender: Female
Sphere: Moon
Symbol: Three interlocking circles
Domain: Arcana, Change, Moon

Special: Worshipers may take any feat or Paragon Path that is limited to Sehanine, Selûne and Shar, with alignment considerations.

The Triple Goddess find worshipers among all sorts of peoples. She is predominantly worshiped by Witches, Celestial Sorcerers, Fey and Dark Pact Warlocks, Moon Elves and Half-Elves.  She is also worshipped by good or unaligned Half-Orcs.  Regardless of race or class Her faithful are mostly women. Those that devote themselves to destroying Undead will also pay Her homage, especially if they hunt at night.

The worship of The Triple Goddess is strongest anywhere where the Prime Material, Shadowfell and the Feywild overlap.  There is known activity in Winterhaven.

Third Edition D&D

The Triple Goddess
Goddess of the Moon, Change, Magic and Mysteries
Greater Deity
Symbol: Three interlocking circles
Home Plane: The Moon
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Portfolio: Moon, Magic, Night, Mysteries
Worshipers: Women, witches, Astrologers,
Cleric Alignment: Any
Domains: Arcana, Change, Moon
Favored Weapon: None (magic)

The world is more complex than you know and there are still great mysteries.  The Triple Goddess is the keeper of these mysteries, but to understand them you must first understand Her.