Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mastermind take 2, and an update on the Metal Earth book

Friend of the Metal Earth, Stormbringer, has kindly offered to do the layout on the book. He has already taken it upon himself to reformat the Mastermind layout. Get it here or in the side bar. I think it looks awesome and I am very appreciative.
Thanks SB!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Mastermind class, version 1

So anyway, I'm thinking that I am going to go with Plan C as mentioned in the comments of this post. There will be three classes, the Sorcerer, the Adventurer, and the Mastermind (Click to download- also available in the side bar at the left).

In creating this I was very influenced by the Beyond the Black Gate S&W Thief Class and I used Erin D. Smale's Building the Perfect Character Class to get a baseline for xp requirements and such. I found both of these at the OSR Links to Wisdom page.

My sincere thanks to everyone involved with everything above (including S&W).

I'll likely change this up a bit in the future, but probably only a bit.
I can invent monsters and technogear and spells all day, but making classes has been the major stumbling block for me, and I feel that I am on the right track at last. I could be just a few weeks away from play test document.
Or something.

OPD Entry

I have decided to enter The Forgotten Depths (also available in the side bar on the left) into the OPD contest. It's like a year old, so nothing to get excited about.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Character Classes: Plan A and Plan B

I’m still working this out, and I have two alternating plans.

Plan A: the players may chose from the classes listed below, each of these classes will have a number of options with witch a player may further customize the character in question. For example a sorcerer may be a healer or necromancer, or a bit of both depending upon his choices. A slayer may be a soldier, an assassin or a brawler. Another level of customization may be available through mulit-classing. Each character would only be allowed to advance in one class at any given time, but may chose to take a level in a different class upon leveling up in their current class. For example, upon gaining second level in the Slayer class, Sarken the Scourge decides to take a level in the Hunter class. This would be subject to GM approval.

These are the classes under plan A

Mastermind: The scientists, intellectuals and engineers of the Metal Earth. Examples from literature: Turjan of Miir, S’nerg (Hiero’s Journey), Tomb the Dwarf (Viriconium), Guyal of Sfere (The Dying Earth), The Red Queen (Den Saga)

Outlander: A warrior from another time or place. Examples from literature: Den, John Carter, Kamandi, Sumner Kragen (Radix) and many, many more.

Hunter : Scouts, savages and beast-friends these seasoned individuals have the know how necessary to thrive in the wild. Examples from literature: Naüsica, Hiero, the gelfling chick from Dark Crystal.

Sorcerer: Wielders of the realty warping power of magic. Examples: Turjan of Mur and Mazirian the Magician (The Dying Earth).

Slayer: Soldiers, assassins, swordsmen, brigands, members of this class are skilled in dealing death to their opponents. Examples form Literature: Severian (The book of the New Sun), Tuftan (Kamandi), Ulan Dhor (The Dying Earth)

Plan B:

There are two classes Sorcerer and Adventurer, any and all special abilities have to be worked out with the referee. I may provide a list of suggestions, like “Speak with lizards” and “crack shot” and shit. I don’t know. Maybe there will be a random table of special abilities.

Regardless of which way I go (as of this writing, I’m leaning heavily towards Plan B) there will be two ‘race’ as class options (Robot and Halfdead); mutations (mostly psionic in nature) and Sorcerers will be able to use any sort of weapon- except guns (the mechanisms of firearms and energy weapons mess sorcery up).

Actually, I may have made a decision while writing this post, but I have to think on it.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Explain the OGL to me

Here The AD&D Grognard expresses concern over the lack of proper use of the OGL and where it will lead.

I'm not sure when it is appropriate to use and when you can give it a miss.

For example:
Should I have a OGL page for monsters that use a Swords and Wizardry style stat block, but are largely my own creations such as in these posts?

How about spells, like in this post?

What about my own house rules that use common gaming concepts like hit points?

Does the fact that I'm not looking for cash here make any difference?

1d12 table of random NPC asssholery

I wrote this whilst thinking about some of the people I knew in Jr high, and (especially) grad school. Some of these people will make an exceedingly good first impression, others will be blatant assholes right from the start. I actually know someone with 11 of the 12 traits (she is hygienic) so feel free to roll multiple times- perhaps you could even roll 1d12:

  1. Persecution complex: thinks everyone is out to get him/her.
  2. Bad hygiene: never washes, smells like a goat.
  3. Pathological liar: lies all the time, even when the truth would suit his purpose.
  4. Negative: interprets everything in the worst light.
  5. Sexist: openly hates the opposite sex.
  6. Invalidator: sneers at the aspirations and efforts of others.
  7. Manipulative control freak: everything they do is designed to influence and maneuver others.
  8. Whiner: bitches and complains all the time.
  9. Cowardly.
  10. Angry: Mad about something all the time. If one situation gets resolved, they find something else.
  11. Traitor: Completely without loyalty.
  12. Arrogant, self involved big talker : Begins virtually every sentence with the word “I” and is the hero of every story they tell, furthermore this individual will often pretend to have special status or access to secret knowledge.

Note: Most of the people i know from grad school are fine human beings, but it is hard to deny that the asshole index is a little higher in academia than in the general population.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Crassly Sexualized Science Fantasy Sorcerer Spells: NSFW?

Perky Shae Sorceress, Altia, moments from a confrontation with a mutated tree and a horny beanbag… er… it was supposed to look like a rock. Honest. Fuck it. This shit is free, stop bitching… Look a tattooed elephant! and nipples! Click to engorge enlarge.

Ahem, anyway...

As I have stated elsewhere, clerics are rarer than humans on the Metal Earth (i.e. pretty fucking rare) . However, Sorcerers not only have all the MU spells, but access to some spells which are traditionally reserved for clerics as well. I have made small changes to most of the spells below and there are a couple of new spells too. The list below contains only first level spells; the rest will come soon.

Before I get to the spells, two items for those of you who visit regularly:

1. I’m a bit scattered lately, but a lot of the incomplete multi-part posts (like this one) will be worked out in the near future; I have no idea in what order, though.

2. I don’t really have another item, I just wanted to throw a list up because I thought it might make me look organized in front of the folks that showed up for the tattooed, earring sporting elephant (Which I think I stole the idea for from a dirty Pathfinder book I flipped through).

3. Wait, I do have something! Everything is under control. I got a scanner, the art I post will look a little bit better. Over the next week or so, I'm going to switch out some of what is already up for newly scanned versions.

First Level Sorcerer Spells

Most of these are based on the OGL spells from S&W WB. A few are my own. I have altered all but the final three, but I left them up as a convenience for those who wish to make use of the list . They can copy it all from here. I declare all of my own spells open game content.

Arcane Bolt

Spell Level: S1

Range: 20ft

Duration: instantaneous

Caster throws a bolt of howling chaos energy. This bolt will cause a minor wound to any medium or smaller creature. A second bolt (cast during the next round only) will rob the target of 50% of their remaining hit points, and expand the Minor Wound into a Major Wound.

Detect Corruption

Spell Level: S1

Range: 60 ft.

Duration: 1 hour

The caster detects creatures that have been altered or corrupted by radiation or magic within the spell’s range.

Detect Magic

Spell Level: S1

Range: 60 ft.

Duration: 20 min.

The caster can perceive in places, people, or things the presence of a magical spell or enchantment. Magical items or secretly placed charms may be discovered with this spell.

Detect Radiation

Spell level: S1

Range: 200 ft.

Duration: 1 hr

The caster can perceive dangerous levels of radiation within the spell’s range.


Spell Level: S1

Range: 120 ft.

Duration: Until dispelled

This spell affects living bipeds of human size or smaller, such as apes or sharkmen. If the spell succeeds (saving throw allowed), the unfortunate creature falls under the caster’s influence. In order to cast the spell the caster must possess a personal item belonging to the target, or use an obvious visible focus, such as a shiny coin.


Spell Level: S1

Range: 120 ft.

Duration: 1 hour + 10 min./level

1. As an illuminate spell the caster brings into being a floating globe of light about the size of a human skull and about as bright as a torch. The globe moves with the caster or remains stationary, at thei sorcerer’s discretion.

2. As a Shroud spell, the caster instead causes night-time darkness to fall upon the area with a radius of 20 feet, regardless of extant light sources. This field of darkenss can move with the caster or remain in one place, at the sorcerer’s discretion.


Spell Level: S1

Range: Touch

Duration: Instantaneous

The caster can cure one Minor Wound or reduce one Major wound to a Minor Wound. If cast twice, the spell can cure one Major Wound or reduce a Grievous Wound to a Major wound. No wound will respond to the speel more than twice. The spell caster cannot cast the spell on herself and incurs 1 pt of Hit Point damage each time the spell is cast. This point of damage takes 24 hours to heal.

Power up
Spell Level: S1
Range: Touch
Duration: 1 min (1 charge)/ level:

The caster has the ability to power up any technological device such as an autonm, computer, raygun, or a electronic door

Protection from Radiation/Chaos

Spell Level: S1

Range: Caster only

Duration: 1 hour

Will protect caster from effects of harmful radiation, Arcane Bolts or curse squalls.

Purify/ Putrefy Food and Drink

Spell Level: S1

Range: Close/Touch

Duration: Instantaneous

1. As a Purify Food and Drink spell. the caster causes enough food and water for up to a dozen people to be made pure, removing spoilage and poisons.

2. As a Putrefy Food and Drink spell. the caster causes enough food and water for up to a dozen people to be made putrid, creating spoilage and poisons.

Read Languages

Spell Level: S1

Range: Reading distance

Duration: 1 or 2 readings

This spell allows the caster to read directions, instructions, and similar notations that are written in unfamiliar or even unknown languages. It is especially useful for treasure maps.

Read Magic

Spell Level: S1

Range: Caster only

Duration: 2 scrolls or other writings

This spell allows the caster to read magical writings on items and scrolls. Magical writing cannot be read without the use of this spell.


Spell Level: S1

Range: 240 ft.

Duration: Referee’s discretion

This spell puts enemies into an enchanted slumber (no saving throw is permitted). It can affect a number of creatures based on their hit dice.

Note: I wrote this piece of shit in Word before moving it over to blogger and the format is well and truly fucked; I can't seem to fix it, so please excuse the goofy spacing in some places.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sample Backgrounds

Characters may or may not have led active, interesting lives and gained knowledge/skills prior to the first day of the campaign. Depending upon the ruling of the referee, there are three basic options for expressing this in terms of the game.

  1. No background at all, the character is a blank slate; her past is something that shall be determined in play.
  2. The player has strong idea, which can be related in a minimal number of sentences (50 words is a good limit).
  3. Roll on the table below 1d3 times. Identical results may be rerolled, or may be taken to indicate a high level of proficiency in the implied skills related to the background.

Roll 1d10

1. Forager: Foragers live outside the cities. Players with this background must pick a specific environment with which they are familiar (e.g. swamp, desert, woodland): within this environment the forager knows how to acquire untainted food and water. Any character that survives a significant amount of time the wilderness of the Metal Earth will pick up this background.

2. Scholar: At the very least someone with this background is functionally literate. The character may also have knowledge of a certain subject area.

3. Criminal: Criminals come in different varieties. At the very least, a character with this background should have black market/underworld connections in their home town. It is also possible that they are experienced in breaking and entering, extortion or some other traditionally criminal activity.

4. Outlander: This is character from another time or world. This background is available only to humans.

5. Looter: Looters have experience gaining access to and dealing with the hazards of ruins.

6. Farmer: Metal Earth farmers are adept in working with and repairing the machines of a green shaft.

7. Artists: Artists are capable practitioners of an art form (e.g., poetry, painting, sculpture) or one of the performing arts (e.g., stripping, playing a musical instrument, acting, prostitution).

8. Sailor: Sailors know about boats and junk(s).

9. Artisan: Artisans have a manufacturing skill that requires the use of their hands; this could be anything from making jewelry to blacksmithing to house painting.

10. Guard: Guards are trained in standard military procedure. Guards know how to march in formation; keep things polished; open and close gates; defend against a siege, and sometimes enforce the law.

Note: Certain species have automatic access to some backgrounds (e.g. all Sasquatch can be foragers) and may select these background in place of one random roll each). A suitable background should confer a bonus on task resolution saving throws (see here for more detail). The exact nature of each background listed below is described in terms of the Metal Earth setting. In some cases, they may well be different than what would be found in other settings. In all cases the exact impact a specific background has in mechanical terms is up to the referee.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Self Indulgence: More on The Metal Earth Book

Today, I was thinking about buying a copy of a forthcoming retroclone, but in the end I decided against it, because I would not get much use out of it.
This led to more thoughts on the eventual Metal Earth book; looking at all my material, some of which is up on the blog, some of which is not, I came to realize that I have made significant changes to virtually every aspect of the game. Therefore I have decided that the Metal Earth booklet will be formatted in such a way so that it can be used as either a supplement or as a game. With some very minor exceptions, everything in the Metal Earth book will be compatible with the older versions of the world's most popular rpg. However, although the Metal Earth game will use the same basic building blocks as that game, it will be its own thing. To give you a slightly better idea if where I am coming from here is the first draft of the introduction:

This book is broken in to two separate parts. The first part is a generic set of rules intended to facilitate Science fantasy role-play in any setting. A referee can adjust these rules to fit a specific setting of his own design, a commercially published setting, or a setting derived from inspirational material (e.g. novels, comics or cinema). These rules are presented in a modular way in order to facilitate referee modification, further they are largely compatible with the older editions of the world’s most popular role-playing game.

The second section of the book is an example of a specific setting designed to work with these rules: The Metal Earth. However, this section will also include material that can easily be used in other settings.

To add to the confusion, some setting specific material, most of which is directly involved in character generation, will be included in the first section. Furthermore, there will be naughty pictures and bad language throughout the book.

Note: the guiding principle of design in regards to this game is brevity; four words are never used in a situation where two will do the job. It is my intention, with the exception of the aforementioned naughty pictures, to give the referee and his bitches exactly what they need to run a science fantasy role playing game, nothing more and nothing less.

The good news is- it might not take me too long, because I just finished grad school and I have yet to find a job. So I'm going to work on this while I'm not applying for work or slacking.

Humanspace playtest PC: Jak Mogan

Jak Mogan

Astronaut Level 2
Homeworld: Earth
Age: 25
Languages: Sunuz

Str: 12
Dex: 14
Con 15
Int: 11
Psy: 8
Cha: 9

HP: 17
AC 5 (space suit)

Space Sword
Disruptor Pistol

CR 0
Gear: see above

Class skills:
Space Swordsman
Energy Pistol 2

Background Skills
Robo Tech

The pic is a little rough, but that's because I used a digital camera as a opposed to a scanner. Anyway,I thought showing a low level pc in their natural state (wounded/near death) would be cool.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Gods, why did I eat that goblin sausage?

Every day in the wilderness/cavern whatever all characters have to make 1d4 saving throws vs. taking a really, really, really inconvenient shit. There is no limit to how many days in a row this can be a problem. PC's can opt to hold the shit in, which leads to another saving throw- against 'roids. failure leads to 1d3 piles, -25% of movement rate for each one and -1 on all combat rolls for each one as well. These piles will take 2d4 days to subside, during this time the character must make hourly saving throws. A failed ST results in uncontrollable weeping- at both ends. .

Monday, March 7, 2011

Vehicles: Part 1 of 3

Forms of non muscle powered vehicle transportation, ranging from sailing vessels to steam wagons to rockets and starships, are all dealt with under the same system. This system is extremely abstract and simple and is more of a set of parameters intended to assist the players and referee conceptualize vehicles than a hard and fast set of rules. As with all my mechanics, these were formulated with the lazy referee in mind (i.e., me). Groups desirous of a more complex and comprehensive system should look for it elsewhere.

Vehicles are categorized in one of four classes (1, 2, 3, and 4) or land, sea, air, and space respectively. Specific vehicle characteristics represented by four statistics, Speed, Armor Class, Hit points and Upkeep. Certain types of craft may have specific restraints or bonus to be determined by the referee e.g., submarines can operate underwater; you can’t drive a tank through a tightly packed forest- at least not at its normal speed.

The vehicle classes are, for the most part, self explanatory. Obviously, for example, land vehicles are restricted to moving over land, and in many cases can only function at top speed if there is an available road or there is no obstruction (e.g., broken ground; a cliff face, rows and rows of giant phallic monoliths ect…). Special vehicles such as low rise hovercraft may be able to ignore the former of these restrictions.

Vehicle power sources and the rate of necessary refuel are determined on a case by case bases by the referee. A standardized system would suck. These points will be addressed further in the examples given in the third part of this series.


Movement is represented by a score ranging from 1-10. This value is designed to measure the speed of vehicles in relation to one another; it is not meant to measure the absolute speed of a vehicle. Absolute speed is once again determined on a case by case basis, sometimes varying from vehicle to vehicle from place to place. Players should eschew all expectations of consistency, or perhaps, play GURPS. For the purpose of this system, each class of vehicles is considered to move twice as fast as the class below it. Therefore, a Class 1 vehicle with a Movement value of 2 moves at half the speed of a Class 2 vehicle with a Movement Value of 2 and the same speed as a Class two vehicle with a movement of 2.

It is possible for a vehicle to have more than one movement score, as may be the case with vehicles like starships and submarines which are capable of movement through different mediums. For example a spaceship may have different movement values for travel in an atmosphere, a vacuum, or hyperspace, if you feel the need, but, really, I would not bother to go into this level of detail. Just keep in mind that everything is relative and go from there.

Armor Class:

As with everything, this should be determined on a case by case basis, but it works exactly the same way as armor class does for characters and creatures. Some additional guidelines will be provided in the form of examples in the final entry of this series.

Hit Points:

Vehicle hit points are determined on a case by case basis- and as they only partially represent the vehicles integrity, may actually go up or down depending on the experience, or lack thereof, of the operator(s). For example a small sailing ship may have a base of 10 hit points, but the referee may grant another 5 if the crew manning it is experienced.


This is the cost (in gold pieces, or zorms, or whatever) required to keep the vehicle operational. Also determined on a case by case basis, and possibly subject to modification. Furthermore, this cost can sometimes be covered in commodities other than gold. A sailboat may be reprovisioned with no monetary expense if the crew puts in at an island. A starship that uses human sacrifices for fuel need only do some kidnapping, or make use of an unpopular crew member. As always abstraction is useful, but one should never get carried away with it.

In the next entry I will address vehicle combat, critical hits, and I will take another look at movement (if I fucking feel like it).