Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Halls of the Hidden Prince, level one [map] and a word about my favorite blog

My favorite blog these days, is without a doubt, Dyson Logos' A Character for Every Game it is all gaming, all the time. Dyson generates tons of awesome content- much of which I haven't even gotten to yet. He avoids pretty much every OSR kerfuffule, and his underground maps have made me aware of something that I'd never given much thought to before. I'm not certain if I can articulate this properly, but players need to get a groovy dungeon vibe from the referee; the ref's descriptions, the way he runs encounters and traps; what encounters, traps and dungeon dressing are included in the first place and so on. However, before she can share it, the referee also needs to get this groovy dungeon feeling. The problem, of course, for the ref is finding it. Dyson's maps give me that feeling. Also, they kick ass, and there are like seven million of them. Thanks man.

So, anyway, as an example of the sincerest form of flattery, here is my impoverished attempt to emulate his style (I've stolen the cross hatching technique wholesale), combined with some of my own notes (which were previously posted here in a slightly altered form back in 2010). A key will be forthcoming. This stuff actually does tie in to the current Madling Island project, because these levels are situated beneath the Tower of the Changer.

The Halls of the Hidden Prince

The combined cavern/room complex beneath the Tower of the Changer was constructed in stages. During the waning epoch of the Minotaur Empire, a disgraced imperial aristocrat and his retinue came to the Crumbled Mountains looking to create a new summer labyrinth far from the intrigues at court. Unfortunately, the aristocrat in question, whose name has long since been forgotten by history, had in his employ a shae sorcerer, who, not long after the completion of the complex, manifested an unexpected desire for power, coupled with a previously unexpressed talent for necromancy and a rather excessive amount of bloodlust. Anyway, good times ensued, which ultimately resulted in an empty complex- empty of the living, that is.

The next to come were a group of agrarian Lizardmen from Ssaur who were trying to create a utopian colony. Although, they installed many grow-vats and laid the foundations for a bitchen’ subterranean ecosystem, they were eventually, after a years long battle, driven out or destroyed by the undead. The undead, however, were decreased in number by this conflict, and since that time, as a result, several attempts have been made to re-inhabit the complex; a few groups, as well as many animals (eager to access the food that grows within) have made some headway, but no one controls the space.

There are four basic varieties of Architecture- natural, lizardman, minotaur and lich; although, some other groups and individuals have made modifications as well. Minotaurs like to decorate, so there are a lot of minotaur busts, murals, busts bas-reliefs. Minotaurs also like to bathe, so there are lots of baths, some of which were converted into vats or something else by the lizardmen. Furthermore, the lizardmen planted a lot of food fungus and algae on the walls, they also seeded pools with plankton, algae, fish and other stuff. They constructed mostly with metal and plastic, their machines are everywhere. Strangely, enough they were also fond of murals.

Click for larger image.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Island of the Madling: Part 2.1, South of SSaur, Weather and Hazards.

Part 1
Part 2

The Wasted Plain and beyond, continued.

Tundra and sub-glacial areas are often exceedingly dry; however, the same process* that results in the drainage which fills Lake Brood and, in turn feeds the River Sphere, holds the Würm in check and results in a fairly constant level of humidity and precipitation in the region surrounding Ssaur.

Note: The Rüinlands calendar is a simple affair. There are 10 months each of 35 days. A buffer period of roughly 15 days (taken up by The Festival of Promadealus**) is situated between the end of one year and the beginning of the next. Years are not numbered or otherwise counted, but named after animals. The months are numerically named thus: Onemonth, Twomonth and so on through Tenmonth. The first day of Onemonth is coincident with the spring equinox. However, aside from the gradually lengthening days, the true effects of spring are not felt, during most years, until towards end of Twomonth. Summer is in full swing by the second or third week of Threemonth. The weather turns cold near the end of Fivemonth or the beginning of Sixmonth. Winter begins a month earlier and ends approximately half month later in the mountains.

There are only two discernible seasons in the Ssaur region, summer and winter. Spring and autumn come and goes so quickly that they are hardly noticeable. The soil of the wasted plain never thaws beyond a depth of 6-8 inches even in the hottest years.

* the exact nature of the process is unknown. Some scholars postulate that the heat from a natural magma vent, contained somewhere within the vast expanse of the Würm, erodes the glacier at about the same rate that it grows. Others believe that an ancient weather control station (similarly located) performs an identical function.

** This is basically a winter festival, characterized by overeating/drinking and gift giving; the significance of the name is unknown.

Weather checks:

Summer (Check twice daily) 1d6: 1-2 rain. 3: Cool and dry. 4-5: Warm and dry. 6: Hot and dry.

Winter (Check three times daily) 1d6- 1-2: clear & cold; 3: cold & snowing (1/2 move). 4: Really cold & snowing (1/3 move). 5: Blizzard- (1/4-0 move) characters may be snowbound. 6. Freak weather (referee’s discretion).

Note: blizzard conditions should continue for 1d4 days, obviating the need for further weather checks during this time.



Insect bites: All living creatures crossing through the Dire hills or the Wasted Plain during the summer months are accompanied by a personal cloud of biting, stinging, feeding and breeding insects. Characters without adequate protection, during summer will lose 1d3 hit points a day to insects bites.

Bugway Grease, is a foul smelling, bug repellant salve for sale in Ssaur (and it can sometimes be found in Shards as well). A supply sufficient to protect an individual for one week costs roughly 10gp in Ssaur and twice that in Shards. A character with the forage proficiency, access to a forest and a supply of animal grease can gather the materials to make four times this amount for 1gp in 1d3+1 days. The grease itself takes four days to cook. This process is extremely odiferous, and if done anywhere within the walls Ssaur, besides the Horn, it will result in an arrest and a level 1 punishment.

Boilfly Fever: Many species of biting insects lay eggs in the soil, just above the permafrost layer, prior to the onset of winter. These eggs hatch in the early spring, inflicting three months of stinging agony upon the inhabitants of the plain and any other creatures unfortunate enough to find themselves there.

Successful boilflies, however, lay their eggs within the body of a living host during the final weeks of summer. The host then contracts boilfly fever. If the fever is fatal, and it often is, the corpse of the host usually freezes with the onset of winter. When the thaw comes in the spring the boilfly larva eat their way out of the host, and spend their summer much like the other insects of the tundra, feeding on aurochs and other beasts. Despite the fact that only eggs lain at the end of summer are likely to survive the winter intact, boilflies mate constantly and are always on the look out for a living host in which to deposit their eggs.

For every day spent on the plain, without being smeared in bugway grease, characters have a 2 in 6 chance of being bitten by a pregnant boilfly. Characters bitten must make a saving throw. Failure results in coming down with boilfly fever in 1d4 days, at which point another saving throw can be made. Failure of the second saving throw results in a coma and death in 1d6+1 days. The disease can be cured by a cure disease spell any time after the first failed ST. If the second ST is successful, the character must make one further ST in order to successfully fight off the disease; otherwise they will fall into a coma and die in 1d6+1 days.

Due to their scales Lizardmen receive a +5 to all initial Saving Throws vs. boilfly fever. the second saving throw, however, is made as normal.


Freezing to death: Each day that a character spends out in the harsh conditions of the tundra or high country winter, they run the risk of freezing to death. The weather attacks the character, treating their constitution as armor class (ascending). If the attack is successful, the character must make a ST. A failed ST results in a temporary loss of 1 pt of constitution. The next day the weather attack will be against this lowered number. Three successful attacks and the character falls in to a incoherent state and dies in 1d10 hours- if not gotten to shelter. Sufficiently warm cloths provide a +4 to ST vs. Freezing. Due to their thick coats, Sasquatch characters receive a +5 to all STs vs. Freezing.

All lost Constitution points can be regained (1d6 hours per point) once the character gain access to a sheltered environment.

Well, we’ll get to those Mammoths and mammoth men (and some other critters) next time. This one went off in an unforeseen direction...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Madling Island 2

Before you can die on Madling Island, you must get there alive...

Part one is here.
Note 1- click on the pic for a larger image,

Note -2 links to Ssaur, The Forgotten Depths, and The Tower of the Changer can be found on the left, I did not link them again in the post.

Madling Island 2

Getting there and reasons to go:

Getting there

Preliminaries: reasons to go.

In my one on one face-to-face Metal Earth play test we’re about a session or two away from Madling Island right now. I wont force the issue, of course, but Scott (my player) has already taken his Shae sorcerer and henchmen (Two Minotaur adventurers and a Grey) through the Tower of the Changer and down into the Forgetten Depth (and found the teleportation pool back to Ssaur located in Hex 0703 of the Depths). He’s in the city right now, but I’m pretty sure his lust for magical treasure will goad him to the island as soon as he hears a rumor of it- which will be at the beginning of the next session.

As for how he got to the Tower of the Changer in the first place, at the beginning of our first session, I simply handed him a cruder version of the map above (hard to believe such a thing could exist, but it does) and said, “You left Ssaur several days ago, searching for a pathway in to a fabled hidden land that is supposedly rich in magical treasure; you’ve been dodging a band of Mammoth Men for three days and you’re just about out of food, You see a tower high up on the side of a mountain to the west.”

This above is pretty good example of my preferred method with which to start a campaign; it saves me from an evening of, “So you are all in a tavern,” which I find extremely painful. Furthermore, once the initial session (or two) is over (we played the Tower and the beginning of the forgotten depths in roughly 5 hours total play time) the players are likely to have a pretty good feel for the basics of the setting and some sort of idea of what to do next.

However, I am aware that not everyone likes to do things this way. And, although, I am doubtful anyone is actually going to use any of this material ‘as is’ I feel compelled to offer some alternatives to my rather draconian and ham-fisted starting procedure.

  1. Characters are lost somewhere southwest of Ssaur. They spot the tower. The party comes up with its own reason for being there.
  2. In Ssaur, there is an unnamed wine shop along the wall that divides Market Town from the Horn. The shop is frequented by members of all the races that can gain entry to the city, and by many lower and middle class Shae. Higher caste Shae will occasionally patronize the place while in disguise. One such individual, a Shae woman of obvious wealth and breeding approaches the party and offers to pay them a large sum of gold (referee’s discretion) to recover the body of her son Aldra, who 20 years ago ventured into the forgotten Depths in search of a fabled island supposedly stocked with treasure. She will give the players a copy of the map above- or one very much like it- whatever, it’s up to you (obviously).
  3. The payers are caravan guards. You know what to do.
  4. The players otherwise acquire the map (e.g. they buy it; win it in a card game; inherit it, or find it on the victim of a mugging).
  5. The players find the abandon temple in Ssaur that contains the teleportation pool to Hex 0703 and start exploring the depths.
  6. Some combination of the above.

I’m sure I could come with some more, but I’m sure that everyone reading this can as well.

Features of the Map:

The map features an area of indeterminate scale located to the southwest of the great city of Ssaur. The level of accuracy and the scale of the map are matters best decided by the individual referee. If one looks at the larger setting map, the scale and accuracy of which are also unknown at this time, one will see there is plenty of room to move on both of these issues. As a point of information, in my own game, I have decided not to decide- and I feel really, really fucking good about it.

Ssaur: soon to be remapped and updated, but the current version, available on the left, is close enough for now.

The Tower: in my game this is the Tower of the Changer. You must do as you will, of course.

The Long Stair: a leagues long, monster infested, storm prone, stairway cut in to the living rock. It leads to the Tower.

The City in the Mist: in my game this is the ruin located in Hex 0301 of the Forgotten Depths, it’s also probably important to mention that the scale of this map is completely out of whack with reality in my game. Anyway, I am eventually going to detail this location, but if you wish to use it in the meantime you are on your own, which is kind of nifty, really.

The Dire Hills and The Wasted Plain: both of these regions are dominated by large herds of dangerous herbivores and blood thirsty hominids known as the Mammoth Men.

The River Sphere: a wide, frigid and fast flowing river. Plied by steamships, manaships and barges, but also plagued by mutant pirates.

Next time: Critters- including, but not limited to, Dire Mammoth and Mammoth Men (neither will be quite what you expect, I assure you) as well as the legendary one eyed monster mammoth and terror of the wasted plain: Squint. Also, some encounter and weather tables for the region southwest of Ssaur.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Resource reorginization

Over the weekend, I went through the entire blog and fixed and regularized many tags. I also added links to and reorganized the resources (on the left) under a variety of subheadings. Furthermore, I went through a couple of old entries (notably The City Ssaur) and updated them bring them in to better alignment with my current version of the setting. I even fixed a few spelling and punctuation errors; however, their number is legion still.

Anyway, feel free to peruse an comment on any of the old posts (I still get notification, so I see it all).

The fellow in the pic is ORD of the Universals, a Celestail being obsessed with classification and organization; he is a character from my (in development) web comic and an NPC in my current ICONS game. His legs are in pencil because my design ideas more or less stalled out at he belt.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Madling Island (Map) Part 1 of ?

Click on the pic for a larger image.
(map is not entirely to scale)

Madling Island:

According to popular legend, as related in the wine shops of Ssaur, the so called Madling Island, located in the Purple Lake of The Forgotten Depths, is the site of an abandoned factory, which, during the Lost Wars, was used for the production of Skeletal Warriors. Supposedly, a powerful Madling sorcerer took up residence in the old factory several centuries ago, and abides there still, engaged in an attempt to reactivate the factory's eldritch apparatus in order to raise an army with which to conquer Ssaur and the Rüinlands. The sorcerer is said to have a vast store of treasure. This horde is reported to be made up of magical, monetary and technological constituents. All of this is, of course, hearsay, and it is impossible to identify anyone who has traveled to the island and returned. Thus, the claims of legend remain unvalidated, and true knowledge of the place is scant, if not completely nonexistent.

The truth of the matter is that the rumors are largely accurate, but they tell only a little about the strange and terrible place that is Madling Island.

Madling Island, Some Facts:

The island exists inside a time-space depression (TSD, henceforth); it actually occupies far more land area than it appears to from a distance. Although, at less than a kilometer away, the Island appears to be roughly 15 km from end to end, it is in truth, roughly 10 times as long. Furthermore, time flows differently there; for each day that passes on the island and in its immediate environs, a month passes in the outer world. Obviously, there is no missing the change in physical scale as one approaches the island; however, individuals within the TSD cannot detect the temporal aberration, as the day-night cycle is absent therein, replaced by an endless, brooding and blood-red twilight, punctuated only by the pulsating sullen glow of Godmount.

It is possible that a careful observer from outside the TSD might notice a dull flickering over the island, the cause of which would be difficult to ascertain.

The cause or causes of these strange conditions are poorly understood, although it is likely that the powerful reality warping magic utilized in the creation of entire armies of Skeletal Warriors- and the many other experiments and activities that took place on the island may have been among the causative factors.

Next Time: Reasons to go and how to get there.


I like big settings, but I also like mini-settings; what I like best, though, is a mini-setting nested within a big setting. I discovered this whilst running my first full on Metal Earth game (with True20) about five years ago . During the course of that campaign, we thoroughly explored the island of Skeeme, and many of the ideas, which have come to represent the foundations of the larger setting, came into being during the course of that game. I believe the Forgotten Depths has at least four relatively self-contained mini-settings: The Abandon City (Hex 0301); the top of The Fin (Hexes 0704, 0803,0802 &0902); the Weather Control Station/City of the Sharkmen/Megadungeon (Hex 0907); and Madling Island. This is the first in what will be a very long series of posts detailing the last of these.

The Mür, scourge of the seas

Soundtrack for this post Led Zepplin: Immigrant Song

The Mür

AC: 4[15] (see below)

HD 1+1 (see below for attack)

Attacks: Sword or Javelin (1d6 damage)

Special: group-mind

XP: 100 X number of individual Talons (see below).

Mür are cloned beings based upon human DNA. They are vat grown in the city of Zil, located in the North Rüingulf. Mür are organized into individual bands; each band is known as a Claw (usage is the same for singular and plural). Each individual within a Claw is referred to as a Talon. A Claw is governed by a group mind. All the members share a personality, and are for all effective purposes different components of the same body. All Talons are completely unsexed androgynies. Furthermore, all Talons are albinos.

Mür claws have 2d6+1 talons. With the exception of their ruler (see below), ranking of Claw within Mür society is based upon the number of Talons. Claw larger than 13 in size are known, but rarely encountered.

In combat, Talons receive an attack bonus equal to ½ (round down) their total number (e.g., if a Claw has 7 conscious Talons, each of them attacks with a +3).

A Mür Claw is a Sorcerer equal in level to its number of Talons. One Talon stays behind and casts spells while the others engage in physical combat.

Mür gain their armor class due to segmented armor made from vat grown chitin. This armor is usually highly stylized and its appearance differs radically from Claw to Claw. Claws are very individualistic and competitive amongst one another.

Going where they will in their magically propelled longboats, the Mür are the terror of the entire Rüingulf and its coastal environs. They view all other groups as inferior. They raid often, and take many slaves to serve as domestic workers and agricultural laborers on their Islands. They place the highest value on human genetic material, and will stop at nothing when attempting to capture human prisoners.

Some scholars argue that the only thing that keeps the Mür from conquering the entire region, if not the world, is the inability for the various Claw to put aside their endless competition with one another and unite.

Mür Madlings: A lone Talon that becomes separated from its Claw by more than 1km will go through a painful process of separation, which last for 1d4 days. If not reunited with its unit within this time frame, the talon will develop an individual personality, and over the course of several weeks will sprout sex organs, and otherwise become completely human. This hyper puberty is extremely painful and distressing, Madlings are extremely unstable during the course of it. Unlike other humans, however, Madlings can wield sorcery. On the downside everyone, including other Mür hate them (even more than regular humans). Their albino appearance makes them instantly recognizable. Strangely enough, Autocrix Mandolo Boneaxe, the millennia old ruler of the Mür, is a Madling. How this came to pass is unknown.

Player characters may be Mür Madlings. (I need to work out the exact details for this).

Friday, July 15, 2011

Conan is my Green Lantern, maybe.

Disclaimer: there is no movie talk in what follows.

One of the oft repeated rubrics by which the quality of super hero games is measured is what I'll call The Green Lantern Test. Many consider the ability to adequately model the Green Lantern a key indicator of a SHRPG's flexibility. The thinking is, of course, if the game can allow you to create a playable GL, it can likely do just about anything else you need it to in terms of character generation. In the universal sense, it's not a perfect test. For example I'm fairly certain that one could adequately model GL in Mutants or Masterminds, but, given my limited intellect, I would still find it unplayable. However, if one likes the game play of a certain system and it can model GL, chances are (keeping in mind no game is perfect all the time) it will facilitate a benign SHRPG experience.

When it comes to Sword and Sorcery or Science Fantasy RPGs, GL's role is perhaps most properly assigned to Conan. Conan is at various points in his a career, a warrior, a thief, a sailor, a bandit a forager in the wilderness and many other things. Class and level based games have, by and large, two distinct ways of dealing with Conan.

The easiest method, at least in terms of book keeping, is best exhibited by OD&D 1974. Essentially everyone is either a Fighting Man or a Magic User, and the actions of players outside of their two main oeuvres are constrained only by the imagination of the player, the ruling of the referee, and the parameters within which the group can collectively suspend disbelief. As a referee I am perfectly content with this system. In my experience, players, however, like to have options. They want their adventurers to differ from one another. Occasionally, despite, the repugnance of it all, a conscientious referee must take the wishes and desires of players in to account.

This leads us, as it did the earliest formulators of the game and their successors, to the second method, found in the supplements of OD&D and every iteration of the game released henceforth: a proliferation of character classes, e.g., Thief, Fighter, Ranger, the noisome Cleric, and so on. Many of these classes model one or another part of Conan's career, and, quite obviously, go well beyond its boundaries. None of theses classes, however, adequately model Conan's entire career.

I would find this frustrating enough if the problem stopped with Conan. It does not. What if someone wishes to play a character very much like the Grey Mouser? What class should the select? The facile answer is, of course, under 1e rules, a simple Thief. I would have to disagree, though; Thieves do not fight so well as Fighters, and I never felt that the Mouser was any less of a swordsman than Fafherd or, Conan, for that matter. What if a player wants to emulate Severian from the Book of the New Sun or that Beast Master guy from that 80's movie of the same name?

Setting aside the straight OD&D option for the reasons mentioned above, how can this problem be solved, without resorting to the semi-solution of cumbersome and fiddly multi-classing? Furthermore, as has been pointed out by others, as soon as an ability (e.g. pick pockets) is given to a specific class, it is more or less taken away from the other classes.

I submit, therefore that the proliferation of character classes is an inadequate solution to the Conan/Grey Mouser/Severian problem, and, furthermore, as a phenomenon, introduces more problems to the game than it solves.

These problems have stalled my own design efforts, bringing me, in reality to a dead stop for the last couple of months.

Yesterday, I cracked the code (to my own satisfaction, anyway).

Before you continue, keep in mind that I still view OD&D 1974 (or S&W Whitebox) as nearly perfect just the way they are (the way they are practically necessitates house rules, but that's another conversation, altogether) and all my Metal Earth rule modification are modular, and any adventure material I create, or have created, can be used with the additions or without them.

The admittedly nascent system proposed below is linked to some of my earlier ideas, namely saving throw based task resolution. If you don't want to read about the stuff, just keep in mind that I use a simple system of saving throws and modifiers for non-combat task resolution. Just by reading that sentence you have been introduced to about 90% of that system.

The Fighting-man class has been, in my Metal Earth game, replaced by the Adventurer class. Other classes will be the Sorcerer, and, possibly the Mastermind.

I know it's unseemly to beg, but some comments on anything you've read here today, would be smashing .

Anyway, here it is:

The Adventurer

A member of the Adventurer class can be a Wanderer, warrior, thief, sailor, soldier or, at one time or another, all of the above and more. The ability to survive lies at the core of this class.

At first level and every 2 (3rd, 5th, 7th) levels thereafter the members of the adventurer class may select one competency from the list below. For the purpose of skill advancement, the level at which the character picks a competency is treated as first level when calculating modifiers. For example if Kronark the Barbarian selects the thief competency at 5th level, this level is considered first level when calculating all die rolls).

Offensive fighter: Offensive fighters gain +1 to attack rolls and a +1 to all damage rolls- including results on critical hits tables.

Defensive fighters: Defensive Fighters gain a +1 to their AC (unless taken by surprise) and a +2 to all saving throws vs. wounds/critical hits.

Badass: A Badass character can deal lethal damage (including critical hits) and receives a +1 to hit with unarmed attacks.

Advanced Badass: (Prerequisite, Badass or Defensive Fighter): An advanced Badass has an automatic 4 [15] AC (against melee based attacks) without armor.

Survival: Characters with the survival competency gain a +2/level to all survival related task resolution saving throws, including foraging and overland navigation.

Sailing: A sailor knows how to handle themselves aboard a ship. This includes competency at basic ship board tasks, such as getting under way and stowing cargo, and setting sail as well as more advanced tasks such as navigation.

Thief Skills: A character with the thief skills is adept at such activities as picking locks, climbing walls, and picking pockets. The character receives an initial +2 and +1/lvel to all task related saving throws whilst using these skills.

Marksman: A marksmen receives a +1 bonus to hit and to damage with firearms (including critical hits at close range).

Torture: Character that have been schooled in the art and science of torture receive a +2 per level on all interrogation based saving throws.

Art: An artist is especially skilled at some sort of creative expression. While in a city performers musicians, dancers, jugglers can earn 1d20 Zorms a week. If they are left to depend upon their creativity for sustenance, other artists will almost certainly go hungry, unless they can somehow arrange for a wealthy patron to subsidize their lifestyle.

Beast Mastery: A beast master has way with animals and can effectively charm Lvl +2 hit dice worth of creatures.

Keep in mind these are just samples, and the players and referee can easily create their own sets of abilities.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Skeletal Warrior (Player Character Version)

Skeletal Warrior (Player Character Version)

STR* 3D6


DEX* 3D6

CON* 3D6



Skeletal Warriors, or the Half-dead as they are sometime called, were created during the course of a war lost in the Mists. At one time there were vast numbers of these creatures, but in these latter days there numbers have dwindled. Most of the Half-dead are mindless undead automatons, usually employed by a renegade Shae Sorcerer or a group like the Changers. Player character Skeletal Warriors are among the few that have spontaneously gained self-awareness. Some are haunted by hazy memories of their first life, before they were raised; many have no recollection of anything aside from their days as undead warriors. Due to the fragility of bone structure in the extremities, the hands of feet of Skeleton warriors are made from a compound of bone, necrotic flesh and enchanted stone.

Special: Skeletal Warriors have 2d6 to apply to their physical attributes (STR, CON, DEX). Skeletal Warriors do not require food or drink, but must bask in the light of the full moon for one full night every month in order to replenish their power. If two months are missed in succession the Skeletal Warrior temporarily looses 1d6 from all attribute scores. If the Skeletal Warriors passes two months without basking in the moonlight, they lapse in to a dormant state until they are exposed to the full moon for three consecutive months, at which time they wake. They must make a saving throw to retain memories and experience levels. If they fail, they revert to first level. Skeletal Warriors are immune to poison and receive a +2 to all saving throw.

Shit drawing provided free of charge. Click to enlarge- if you dare.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Burnout, thoughts on comics, two weapon fighting, Helltoad, and so on

Well, it appears to be fading now, but sometime in May, I experienced a bit of RPG burnout. I still managed to keep my semi-weekly ICONS game afloat, but I kind of lost interest in doing any more than that. I think if I hadn't felt obligated to my players I would have canceled that too. I stewed for a week or so and then I started to focus my energy in a different direction. I allowed myself to become consumed by comics. I read some current Marvel and DC for a few weeks, but they quickly lost my interest. It's true that Infinite Crisis, The Sinestro Corps War and Final Crisis we're kind of cool as was Annihilation; ultimately, though, all these series, and several others I sampled were hampered by the need to tie into current continuity.
However, I got the big Jack Kirby Captain America Omnibus and the BPRD Plague of Frogs Hardcover for my Birthday; additionally i received The Walt Simonson Thor Omnibus for Father's Day. The first two are, of course, excellent; the third, however, pictured at the right, is the best 80$ you will ever spend on entertainment. It is over 1200 pages of cosmic ass kicking, it opens with the Ballad of Beta Ray Bill and covers Simonson's entire run on the title (some 42 issues). One of my favorite things about it is that it has been completely recolored. The new colors really compliment Simonson's artwork, imo.

Well enough of that:

Two weapon Fighting:
At fourth level members of the Adventurer class can chose to fight with two melee weapons in lieu of using a shield. upon rolling a successful attack roll the player rolls two D6, the higher result represents the damage done by the combined attack. Two weapon fighter score a critical hit on a 19 or a 20. All other critical hit rules apply.

Hell Toad
Spell level: Sorcerer 3
Range: 240 feet
Duration: Instantaneous
Upon casting this spell the Sorcerer distends his jaw and vomits forth a 45 foot cone of screaming, burning, ravenous toads. The cone is roughly 10 feet wide at its base. Damge is 1d6/lvel of the Sorcerer. A successful saving throw results in half damage.

Anyway, I'm moving back to Denver next month and that means more FtF gaming and more play testing. So The Metal Earth Project is moving forward. The main slowdown right now is due to the fact that I'm trying to write up all the spells and I suck at that. My other major project right now is, for lack of a better term, a graphic novel. I've been thinking about it for years and actively working on it for a couple of weeks. I'll be moving in to my fourth page of artwork (I'm guessing it will be around 150 pages long) tonight. I have two main goals with this project: to improve my cartooning skills and to tell the kind of goofy cosmic super hero story I'd like to read. At the top of this post and below you can find Two pics (click to enlarge) of the main character, Doc Vulcan. Up top, he is transforming, below he is doing super guys do- or perhaps he is performing a dramatic reenactment of the last week or so of activity in the OSR blogsphere- you make the call. I'll also be using several public domain supers in the story. When I get about 50 pages done, I'm going to start posting it as a web comic.