I love city maps, and I spend a lot of time downloading maps
I find online, often at the cartographersguild.com. This one was posted
recently by Narolas and would make a wonderful addition to any campaign.
There are a lot of things to appreciate about this map, the
city sitting on a hill with a large fortress on the top, the ruined wall
running through it hinting at an ancient history and hidden secrets buried
beneath the city, the little villages surrounding it begging for clandestine
meetings at the small inns after a desperate midnight summons and a ride
through the dark countryside.
I think that art is important to set the tone of a game, one of the reasons I struggle with Pathfinder is the ridicules art. Every time I see the barbarian in the main book with a sword made of 300lbs of iron I laugh a little. Conversely the classic black and white line art of 1E and 2E really hits the spot for me. I also think 5E did a great job of presenting more realistic art after the excesses of 3e and 4e.
In my original draft I used art pilfered from the B/X books and adventures of that era. I needed art as a place holder and to let my original play-testers know the style of play I was emulating. Obviously I have the financial sense to know that paying a competent artist to illustrate my vanity RPG is an unwise decision, but I also know a consistent art style is hard to achieve with public domain art.
I have limited artistic talent so I have gone the simple route of creating my own art using black and white silhouettes. This is time consuming as I use public domain pieces and slowly turn them into silhouettes in a often slow process. This is my latest piece, I am not entirely happy with the flail, and may change it to a mace, hammer, or sword.
My intention is this is not a werewolf, but a primal wolf creature, probably the terrible offspring of a titan and a she-wolf. I like the size of the wolf creature and the implied resolve of the crusading cleric bent on ridding the earth of this primal menace.
I have been working on finishing Appendix One: Sample Patrons, mostly just editing and adding art at this point. It is 44 pages long, 12 more than the main rule book, but I wanted to present plenty of options for player.
The project has dragged on longer than expected and I need to finish it so I can move on to Appendix Two: Arcane Magic. Realistically lets say 2018. Lets see if I can beat George R.R. Martin.
Meanwhile I have been playing a half-orc fighter in a 5e Spelljammer game. He is a smart ass swashbuckling scoundrel type who tries to talk his way in to trouble as often as possible. He is built for stealth and thievery, and I don't think he is optimized at all, but I am having fun playing him.
I ran a game of Star Wars “Birthday Game” for my friend I have
been gaming with since 1990. We used d20 Star Wars as a basis for the system,
but as all d20 based systems are alike we played by the spirit and not the exact
letter of the rules. I have never GMed or played d20 Star Wars, and it is way too
crunchy to be a go to system for me, but I didn’t have time to homebrew
anything, and figured working on an adventure was more productive than building
I hate what Star Wars has become, and this game is based on
Episodes 4, 5, and 6 as the only cannon, all prequels, novels, and other
content ignored. I set my game in Mos Eisley a half dozen years before the
events of Episode 4 and described my game as Shadow Runners in a Star Wars
Universe with a healthy dose of Dungeon Crawling. No Jedi allowed just down on their
luck mercenary types getting pulled into the seedy underbelly of Tatoonie.
The characters purged the depths of an abandoned
moister farm looking for a stolen surgery bot. A small dungeon that ended with
the characters heading off in landspeedes for a three way show down between The
Empire, the goons of a crime boss, and themselves as they speed across the
desert. But that will be the next session. The they hit the real dungeon HERE as they try and evade the enemies they created.
This is an single session character from an online Rules Cyclopedia game, cut short by scheduling conflicts.
Halvard was rolled 3d6 in order with two rerolls and the addition of three homebrew stats. Comeliness was my downfall. I am not a fan of Basic one spell Magic Users so I went with a Fighter, a smart Fighter.
Halvard had a short but distinguished career. I will skip to the end of the adventure after we had barley managed to kill a demon. Returning to saftey low on food in the dead of winter Halvard and his adventuring band came across the one route over the river guarded by equally hungry bandits. Halvard seeing no alternative spurred his charger into battle, a battle that killed one of his companions and knocked the rest unconscious. Halvard killed bandits till they fled. Bandaging his companions I rolled a dice to see if Halvard was vengeful, he was. Hoping they would not freeze before his return he left his companion and tracked the bandits that fled then killed them.
We switch campaigns faster than underwear in high school, and Halvard will join the ranks of the hundreds of characters of mine who played one session before being retired alive and richer than they started. I will miss Halvard, and his potential, but he made it out alive and rich.
My work on finishing my Sample
Patron’s book has been long stalled while I worked on ceremonies (complicated
long lasting spells for casters using Piety). Writing the ceremonies was not
really the problem, I only have 15, but I really wanted to include sample components
for each as well as upgraded components that would reduce the costs of these
The 1E DMG has some suggested
magical properties for gems and the real world medical application of herbs,
but not a lot of magical effects attributed to these herbs and flowers in medieval
times. Well after struggling with this as my resource I turned to my collection
of RPGs looking for more inspiration.
I thought Ars Magica was going to
be my savior, but it included little of this. I then spent more time reading it
than I should, because I am somewhat fascinated by it as a concept. Warhammer
and Pendragon were both of little help but again time thieves. Blood and
Treasure had a small section which was better than expected, but I again reread
part of this as I am playing in a B/X game right now.
Eventually I opened up my
Chivalry and Sorcery 3rd edition and worked my way through the walls
of tightly packed text to pages 9-129 thru 9-131 which has more tightly packed
pages of the Magical properties of Herbs, Flowers, Woods, Gemstones, Metals,
and Miscellaneous Materials.
Thank you Edward E. Simbalist,
Wilf Backhaus, and G.W. Thompson for including this in your book.
I can say I am never going to
even attempt to read or play Chivalry and Sorcery, but these pages where invaluable
as a source of inspiration and reference. I have no idea who did the research,
but it looks legit and was much better than anything I could find on the
Here is an interesting blog entry
on C&S from a blog I should pay more attention too
Here is a sample ceremony, about
75% complete but just editing at this point.
Barrier 3Any Non-Primal
Casting Time: 3 hours Duration: 1 year
ceremony a line is traced using a mixture of sacred materials. The beginning
and end of the line must meet, and the line can be no more than 600 feet long.
Once the ceremony is successful completed no animals may willing enter the area
enclosed by the line, and all animals within the area will seek to leave the
area as fast as possible. The effects of this ceremony travel 100 feet above
and below the line.
Sample Components: At least one
gallon of animal blood mixed with primrose blossoms, mugwort, grave dirt, and
ash made from burring juniper bark.
Reductions: Using a gallon of
centaur blood reduces the cost of this ceremony by 20 PP. Adding soot from a
forge or smelter reduces the cost by 10 PP. Dirt from the grave of a hunter
reduces cost by 5 PP. Adding the powdered bones of a woman killed by a wild
beast reduces cost by 20 PP. Adding snake tongues soaked in brine for 48 hours
reduces the cost by 10 PP.Gathering the
Mugwort at dawn reduces the cost by 3PP.
I saw Fury
Road again on Saturday, wanted to see in in 2D after seeing it last week in 3D.
I have seen Road Warrior more times than I can count. They keep the plot
moving, why because They Don’t Waste Time on Backstory
Max does not
care how Lord Humongous became leader of the warlord of a band of raging
bandits. Max just wants to fill up his tank and move on. Likewise we do not
need to how Joe came to rule the citadel, or how the uneasy alliance between
Bullet town, Gas town and the Citadel works, he just wants to survive. If your
adventure has three pages of backstory on a guy who is never going to interact
with the party outside of initiative you have failed.
I have some quibbles
with the movie, mostly the end. Max is the hero who reluctantly helps and his
reward is ending off worse than he was. It
should have ended with Max on the ground, beaten and battered and the enemy not
wasting their time to finish him off. Thunderdome and Road Warrior share this
ending to good effect. We don’t need to see Furiosa return to the Citadel. Just
the ladies getting away with a voice over from one of them saying they won their
freedom, found their green place. and never saw the one called Max again.
plays out like a typical RPG debate between a DM who wants to keep some semblance
continuity in his campaign and a player who is being selfish.
DM: OK lets
pick up from last time. You are battered and bruised on the ground barley haven
survived. As Aunty leaves you pass out. When you awake you are being handled by
men covered in white paint. In your weakened condition you can offer little
wait wati before we start I built this character to drive an interceptor, can I
DM: No the one
you had was “The last of the V8s”, besides you’re the one who set a bobby trap
you were so proud.
on you killed my animal companion, give me my car back. DM: Noooo Player: But
last time I barley even drove a car. I
am playing a Road Warrior I should have gone straight fighter if I never drive
anyway. DM: But it won’t make sense, your car blew up. Player: It’s
just us man who cares DM: Fine you
have your car. Men in vehicles approach at high speed, they look like they are
covered in white paint.
Player: I jam
the gas, I am pretty sure I can out run them…..
The above is a still from the new Star Wars Trailer. As I watched
this I thought wow, that’s a Mega Dungeon waiting to happen. On my run Saturday
morning I thought more about it and formulated a half mad idea of what I would do if I could use Star Wars IP in a OSR dungeon crawl setting.
Pitch: A sandbox set around Mos
Eisley with a crashed Star Destroyer serving as a Tentpole mega dungeon. The
setting would be in the Star Wars universe, but would use only Episodes 4-6 as
cannon and is set 20 years before them. System: A Sci-Fi version of the Peril and Plunder, with an expanded skill
system and magic removed. (maybe add force sensitive, but no Jedis) compatible
with any OSR system. Gritty and dirty with only the smallest hint of Space Opera.
Scope: Levels 1-5 no more no
less. A finite adventure that serves as a mini campaign that runs 12-20
sessions. The characters retire rich or die trying.
The Back Cover: You are not a hot shot
pilot, a space princess, or a farm boy with magical powers. You are a dirt poor
scavenger hoping you can scrape enough credits together to get off of this rock
they call Tatooine.
During the Clone Wars a Star Destroyer attempted an emergency
landing in the desert north of Mos Eisley. Damaged beyond repair the
Imperial salvage teams took what they could, buried their dead, released
bio-spores to soak up the radiation, and abandoned the ship.
The Jawas tell you somewhere in the vessel is a Type 11
Yelton-Brahs Hyper Pump and they have a buyer that is willing to pay top
credits for it. It is up to you to risk the Imperial patrols, Tusken raiders,
and whatever radiation spawned monstrosities have made their home in the depths
of the wreckage in the last 15 years. Unfortunately it’s only a matter of time
before the Hutt’s find out about the buyer and send their own team to recover
Includes: Conversion rules for OSR game sets,
new races, equipment, rules for salvage, the Star Destroyer dungeon,
the home base of Mos Eisley including
the Hutt’s palace, random encounters and side quest in the Dune Sea, new monsters
(Krayt dragons, womp rat
packs, sarlacks, etc.).
Sure it never going to happen but it made the run go faster.
I have added a third Patron Book to
DrivethruRPG (link at the right). I have not yet made the files available for
free in my downloads as I have limited access to internet. All my game work goes slow as I have been
without internet at my new apartment for almost two months.
This one is for The Order of St. Asclepius, a traveling
order of healing monks. The first two Patron Books were solid analogizes to the
druid and the cleric, but this is a little different, it presents a divine
caster with better healing spells, but less armor and weapon choices and
stronger restrictions on actions. It is a more “advanced” choice than the first
two or at least a variation to the standard cleric presented in early editions.
My next Patron book will most likely be Vordon, a Primal Patron for
barbarian warriors, a patron that would be a good stand in for Thor and
presents few restrictions but limited spells.
I have also been working on a random dungeon generator using hex-maps. I
am toying with a solo play experience that plays similar to the “Dungeon” board
game with a random map and longer play time. It would also have more “Old
School” elements like henchman and resource management.
The first step is creating 8 inch hexs with squares in them. I used excel for these and they came out good enough for the test. Each hexs has exits, but will not always connect to the next hex. they are laid randomly as you explore and get progressively harder. a Work in progress and one that is keeping me from finishing what I need to do, the Peril and Plunder Patron Guide and Arcane Magic. both about 75% done.....
I am in the process of adding PDF versions of my books to DriveThruRPG.
the Patron books are free, and I am going to revise the PDF documents to make it easier for printing booklets like this. Make sure your PDF version has a blank page after the cover and before the back cover if not you have an early version and the below will not work.
This is a fairly simple process, though stapling can be a pain if you do not have a long reach stapler (check your office).
I have included screen shots from two different printers as my home printer and fancy work printer do this slightly different.
1. Load the paper you intend to use as the cover to feed first. I use thicker tan card stock for the cover and regular copy paper for the rest.
2. Select "Booklet" and Landscaping
or if you have a fancy work printer "Booklet Printing"
3. Make sure if you can't print double sided to pick "front side only"
or if you have a fancy work printer it prints both sides so hit print and your done.
5. Flip the paper over and you are ready to print the other side just pick "back side only", its ok if it shows a blank page this is the empty cover of the interior.
As you can see very easy. If you don't have a long reach stapler you can using two staplers, using one as the base and one as the stapler, I would suggest practicing on some scrap paper first.
Tonight’s game was postponed till tomorrow giving me time to
work on the finishing touches of my second Patron Book.
This one is for the All Mother, a good equivalent for the
druid. It required additional formatting due to the numerous sidebars with
charts; stats for animated trees, summoned elementals, and animal forms. This
has four more pages, but only two real pieces of “art”, plus some clip art of
leaves and vines I took from openclipart.org and the cover I took from an open
source piece on wikipedia.
I just finished, so haven’t printed a test yet, but I really
need a better stapler to make my booklets. I also need to see if I can get my
editor to take a pass over these.