Sunday, 30 September 2012

DMotivational #29: Make A Spot Check


Dungeon Masters Series #9: Gothmog

Name: Gothmog.
Kindred: Human.
Type: Wizard.
Level:  2.

Strength:  21
Constitution:  28
Dexterity:  24 (32)
Speed:  10
Intelligence:  28
Wizardry:  12
Luck:  13
Charisma:  12

Combat Adds:  +22 (+30)
Missile Adds:  +34 (+50)

Languages:
Common

Weapon:
None.

Armor:
None.

Other Items:
Cloak of Night (Worn as a robe, +8 DEX whilst worn, 40WU).

Spells:
Dem Bones Gonna Rise (10 WIZ), Catseyes (6 WIZ), Spirit Mastery (8 WIZ).

Talents: 
Commune (WIZ+6): Gothmog may make a LXSR on WIZ to commune with the spirit of anyone who's body he can physically touch and has been dead no more than 1 hour. X is equal to level of the deceased or, it's MR divided by 10. Only one attempt may be made per individual.

Dissect (INT+5): Given the right tools and appropriate time, Gothmog may attempt to dissect a body for "useful parts". A successful dissection requires a SR to be made of an appropriate level (1 for common creatures, 4 for very rare, almost unheard of ones).

Dungeon! Variants #3

Continuing on from my previous articles here and here, part three adds the Monk and the Bard to the fray!

The Monk and Bard in Dungeon!
by Jon Pickens.

Here are two new pieces for that great game, Dungeon!

The Monk competes will with the Hero, Elf, Dwarf, and, Hobbit. Whilst the Bard takes on the Wizard, Superhero, Cleric, and Thief.

These new pieces will allow players to experiment with a grand total of ten different strategies.

THE MONK. Representing the far Eastern martial arts expert, the Monk moves six spaces per turn.

He fights as an Elf, getting two strikes in combat (only one if using a Magic Sword). If his first blow kills (or has any effect on an ambusher), the Monk gets a bonus move of one square, which may not be used to initiate another attack.

A Monk treats Serious Wounds as "drop one prize, retreat one square, lose one turn". He cannot otherwise be wounded or lose turns, but he does lose prizes and can be killed.

The Monk ignores all traps except those that transport him to a chamber one level lower. The Monk may not ambush other players.

He may not pick up Magic Armor or any prize worth more than 3000GP. The Monk needs 10,000 GP to win.

THE BARD. The Bard moves five spaces per turn.

He attacks and defends as a Hero. The Bard is unaffected by "Hold" and can only affected by Fireballs and Lightning Bolts on a roll of 8 or better. In addition, he gets any combination of the following cards up to a total of four:
  • Entrancement Song: Played instead of attacking. The opponent's return is automatically "No Effect", but the Bard can not pick up the treasure.
  • Combat Song: Allows the Bard to fight as a Superhero when played.
Unlike other pieces using cards, the Bard need not return to the Main Staircase to replenish his stock. He may restore them at the rate of one per turn that he that he takes no other action.
 
The Bard's songs are considered magical for all in game purposes. He needs 20,000 GP to win.

Dungeon! Variants #2

Continuing on from my previous article here, why not Hobbits and Thieves to your Dungeon! experience?

Hobbits and Thieves in Dungeon!
by Gary Gygax.
 
We have found the game, Dungeon!, to be most enjoyable when each participant plays a different piece.

With the standard game, four makes the best match, and then with the Dwarf and Cleric are added six persons are able to play different pieces. With the desirability of adding still more diversity to the game, as well as the desirability of allowing up to eight different strategies to be played, the following new types incorporated.

Subsequent games have shown both the Hobbit and the Thief are viable competitors against the standard types, as well as against the two optional pieces.

THE HOBBIT: The Hobbit pieces moves only four spaces per turn. The Hobbit fights as either a Hero or an Elf, whichever has the higher score to beat the particular monster and, when rolling on the PLT a score of 11 is treated as a 6 or 8 score.

However, the Hobbit is able to arm themselves with up to seven missles. Hobbit missiles are treated as spells with regard to combat. There is no PLT roll if the Hobbit fails to kill the monster. The missle adds +2 to the Hobbit's dice score. As with a spell, he must indicate he is using a missle (any unused spell card will suffice), and the missles may be replenished in the same manner as spells (one per turn at the "Start" space).

Hobbits are able to open Secret Doors on a die roll of 1-3. They ignore Traps just as a Dwarf does. The Hobbit needs 10,000 Gold Pieces to win.

THE THIEF: The Thief piece is able to move six spaces per turn. It fights as a Hero, but on all attacks which are non-sequential upon the same monster the Thief adds +1 to his dice roll score (due to stealth and surprise), and if he fails to kill the monster the Thief ignores all PLT dice scores except 2 (he hides in the shadows to escape the monster or climbs out of it reach).

If he ever attacks the same monster in two consecutive turns, he loses all of the above benefits and fights exactly as if he were a Hero. On any attack score of 12, it is assumed the Thief has stolen the prize without combatting the monster, and he may then take a bonus move of up to 3 space, but he may not engage in another combat.

The Thief opens Secret Doors on a die roll of 1 or 2. All Traps, except those which transport him to a Chamber one level lower, are ignored by the Thief. In order to win, the Thief must accumulate Prizes at least equaling 30,000 Gold Pieces value.

EDITORS NOTE: Although not specifically mentioned in the original article above, I believe that the Thief fights as a Hero.

Dungeon! Variants #1

Not long now before I can lay my hands on the re-release of Dungeon! Which has got me working away, digging up all the old material I had lying around for my original copy.

Material that thankfully I wont need to re-type thanks to this gentleman here. That said though, I have had to edit parts of the document (mostly to make better sense of it myself), which you can read below.


Dwarves and Clerics in Dungeon!
And a Pair of New Treasures and Some New Monsters to Make the Pot Sweeter
by Gary Gygax.
 
In order to add a new dimension to the character types in Dungeon! we have added the Dwarf and the Cleric.

The former is in the strength category of the Elf and Hero; the latter is designed to compete with the Superhero and Wizard. In playing we have found that both new types are viable and have about the same chance as the others to win if they are played properly.

For the six-player game of Dungeon! it is highly recommended that each player operate as one of the six types, allowing no two of the same type on the board.

THE DWARF: The Dwarf fights as an Elf, so simply use that score on each monster card which applies to the Elf when combatting monsters. Likewise, the Dwarf needs 10,000 gold pieces to win.

Although the Dwarf does not open secret door any better than a Hero (1 or 2 on 1D6), he does detect and remove Traps easily. Therefore, whever a Dwarf enters a space containing a trap, he simply puts it in the discard pile, ignoring the results of the trap, and freely picking up any treasure thereunder.

THE CLERIC: It will be necessary to add two types of spells for Clerical use:
  • Hold: This spell causes the monster it is thrown upon to defend at -2 (ad +2 to the dice roll of the Cleric), and in addition, the monster does not get a dice roll in the event that the Cleric fails to kill the monster when he combats it.
  • Transference: Simply use the Wizard's Teleport spell. If there are several Wizard's playing in the game, additional cards may have to be made up.
The Cleric fights as a Hero against all monsters except Undead (Skeletons, Wights, Wraiths, Mummies, Spectres and, Vampires) and, Evil Heroes, Evil Superheroes, Witches and Evil Wizards. In these cases, he fights as a Superhero.

Also, although the Cleric cannot ambush others, he may be ambushed, but if he is ambushed he fights as a Superhero.

The Cleric may take a maximum of four spells at any time (Hold and/or Transference in any combination). He may replenish spells just as a Wizard does.

When rolling on the PLT, the Cleric treats "Seriously Wounded" as a "Retreat 1 space, lose 1 prize, lose 1 turn". In all other cases, he cannot be wounded or lose a turn, but he can be killed or lose prizes. The Cleric needs 20,000 gold pieces to win.

New Prize Cards: With the new characters, it is suggested that the following new prizes be added:
  • Boots of Speed: Amend the lowest value Third Level Prize Card to read: "Boots of Speed: Increase movement by 1 space per turn"
  • Magic Armor: Amend the lowest value Fifth Level Prize Card to read: "Magic Armor: When rolling on the PLT, add +1 on rolls of 2-6, -1 on rolls of 8-10 and 12. Rolls of 7 or 11 are not affected. Additional value: 1,500 Gold Pieces."
New Monsters: Simply amend existing monsters as indicated below in order to make the game more interesting. The numbers following the name of the new monster correspond to the numbers shown on the card for Lightning, Fire Ball, Wizard, Superhero, Hero and Elf.
  • First Level --
    • On Skeleton card: Zombie 3,3,7,4,5,6
    • On Hobgoblin card: Orcs 5,2,6,4,6,4
    • On Giant Lizard card: Anti-Magic Trap! "All magic and spells. Gone!"
  • Second Level --
    • On Hobgoblin card: Gnolls 4,4,7,5,8,6
    • On Hobgoblin card: Harpy 3,3,5,6,7,7
    • On Giant Spider card: Owl Bear 4,4,9,4,6,7
  • Third Level --
    • On Ogre card: Fireball Trap! "Roll on PLT,7=8, 11=10. Prizes lost are destroyed!"
    • On Werewolf card: Evil Priest 7,7,8,6,7,8
    • On Mummy card: Wight 10,5,7,6,8,9
  • Fourth Level --
    • On Evil Superhero card: Manticore 6,6,11,9,10,11
    • On Troll card: Wyvern 8,8,9,8,10,10
    • On Mummy card: Wraith 6,6,8,8,9,10
  • Fifth Level --
    • On Green Slime card: Fire Elemental 5,--,12,9,10,12
    • On Troll card: White Dragon 10,5,12,9,11,12
    • On Giant card: Spectre 8,8,9,7,9,11
  • Sixth Level --
    • On Vampire card: Demon 9,--,11,10,12,--
    • On Purple Worm card: Basilisk 10,8,12,10,12,12
    • On Blue Dragon card: Earth Elemental --,6,--,9,11,--
If you do not wish to actually mark up the monster cards, simply put an "X" on a corner of the face and the a code number to indicate which new monster it is. Have fun!

Friday, 28 September 2012

The Solo Dungeon: An Odd Specimin

What on earth is that adventurer doing!?
I found this little obscurity whilst doing some research into early gamebooks, which has now been made freely available by the author, Richard A. Bartle, here.

But why call it odd? Why call it an obscurity?

Well at the date of publication (1978) the only solitaire adventures I am aware of being out there (and I could be wrong) where designed to be run with the Tunnels and Trolls rule set, yet in the introduction the author states that this adventure was written for use with "the most widely used, Fantasy, Character Role-playing rules which most of you will be using". By which I assume he means Dungeons and Dragons.

So it's certainly odd and obscure in the sense that it would appear to be a one of it's kind at the time of publication with another Dungeons and Dragons solo not to follow it for another 5 years but, I also find it odd that it doesn't simply just mention the system by name.

Personally, I smell a licensing issue. He does sight the adventure as using "D&D Type Rules" at the bottom of the page here that links to the Online version now but, it does seem odd that he didn't say as much back in the day.

So, there you have it at any rate, a freely available solitaire adventure for old-school Dungeons and Dragons for your downloading pleasure.

Amazing!

That really is the only word I can use to describe what has just happened!

As some of my regulars may or, may not know, I keep a watchful eye over the analytics for this blog. Partly because I still have my focus set on the 1,000,000 page count mark (which admittedly may take a while) but, also because I want to offer my reads more of what they want.

Looking over the figures, I can see what's popular and, give you more of it!

I certainly wasn't expecting just how popular we have become over the past week though. I won't bore you all with the averages and what not but, I will say that nearly every day this week has seen an increase in the number of pageviews that the blog is receiving.

Yesterday, this number more than doubled!

Which can be looked at as we became twice as popular within 24 hours. Which is frankly amazing and, I am stoked!

Today's statistics are looking more than healthy too, so again and, I can't reiterate this enough, a BIG thank you to everyone who drops by. YOU are what makes it worthwhile.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Dungeon Masters Series #8: Hissssa, Lizar Of Makan

Name: Hissssa, Lizar Of Makan.
Kindred: Makan Abomination.
Type: Monster.
Level:  4.

Strength:  42
Constitution:  28
Dexterity:  30
Speed:  11
Intelligence:  18
Wizardry:  19
Luck:  19
Charisma:  26

Combat Adds:  +55
Missile Adds:  +73

Languages:
Serpentine

Weapon:
None.

Armor:
None.

Other Items:
None.

Talents: 
Brute Strength (STR+6): You may add 6 to your combat total every round due to your immense natural strength.

Dodge (DEX+1): Your reptilian build makes short, swift movements easier for you than it does for other kindreds. As a result, you have 1 point of "natural armor" when dodging blows that you are aware of.

Slither (SPD+1): Stooping down low and almost pressing yourself to the ground you increase your movement SPD by 1.

Venemous (CON+6): When fighting in unarmed combat you may choose to bite your opponent. If you do so, halve the damage you inflict but reduce either their STR or MR by 6. The effects of this venom wear off after a week with a successful L1SR on CON. If the SR is missed, the victim may roll again once every day afterwards until successful.

Dungeon Masters Series: Hisss

Well it's got to a point in the project where it has become necessary to build a new kindred, Something I have really been looking forward to from the outset.

The task at hand is to create a species of snake human hybrids (the original was apparently supposed to be a lizard according to a write up but as I have always seen it as snake, a snake it's going to be).

For inspiration I decided to look up the Yuan-Ti of Dungeons and Dragons fame. I have always thought that they were pretty cool, so the chance to play as one seems like something I should really jump at. Not to mention how well I think they'll compliment my Frogkin (which still need a little tweaking) should I decide to introduce them all into a campaign setting.

That's a post for another day though. Right now, I have my keen reptilian senses set on the here and now. ;0).

Looking over this entry I found in a Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition Wiki, I think the way forward is to introduce Purebloods, Half-Bloods and, Abomonations. I'll be keeping the Makan name from Dungeon Master however, even though I am pretty sure that it has nothing to do with his species and, is probably just an indicator of where he hails from. Still, it sounds cool, so it's staying.

I have chosen Purebloods, Half-Bloods and, Abomonations as it seemed a very Tunnels and Trolls way to go. One is a 50/50 mix of man and snake, whilst the other two lean more towards 80/20 in either direction. This to me is very similar (but not identical) to way that Tunnels and Trolls handles Types. Rogues are the middle ground when it comes to magic / combat balance with Warriors and Wizards leaning more one way or the other.

That's my logic anyhow.

Purebloods: The "perfect" combination of human and snake, often resembling tall and slender humans with strong reptilian features in their faces and scales ordaining their bodies. Some Purebloods also possess a stub or short tail. Like all Makan kindreds, Purebloods have an innate distrust of the "goodly" kindreds who for centuries have hunted them as monsters.

Attribute Modifiers: CHR x 2, DEX x 1.5, INT x 1.5.

Half-Bloods: Similar in appearance to Purebloods, Half-Bloods are often the result of a coupling between a human (or humanoid such as an Elf) and as such possess more humanoid traits than their Pureblood cousins.

Makan DNA is significantly more dominant than human however, so such breeding will still always result in offspring possessing the scales and striking facial features that are the hallmark of all Makan.

Attribute Modifiers: CHR x 1.5, DEX x 1.5, INT x 1.5.

Abominations: Throwbacks that have inherited more than their fair share of reptilian DNA. Not much is known of the process that creates the Abomination as both of the parents are often Purebloods but, being born as such stands you in great stead in Makan society. Often refered to as the "Pure of the Pure" amongst their own kindred they are afforded great luxury by them and often hold positions of power and influence. 

Abominations are almost purely snakelike, with only a human chest and arms to separate them from the giant serpents that inhabit their homeland and, could be the missing link that connects the Pureblood to other races such as the Lamia or the Naga.

Attribute Modifiers: CHR x 2, DEX x 1.5, INT x 1.5, STR x 2.

Alchemy's Workbench #3: Taking Talents Up A Notch

Whilst working on my Dungeon Masters Series project I have come to notice something. Something that I can fully see becoming a project in itself.

In order to flesh out a lot of the characters in the project I have had to get quite creative with the Talents. Now, getting creative with the Talents isn't exactly breaking new ground in Tunnels and Trolls, as the rulebook pretty much suggests that's exactly what you should be doing.

What I have come to realize however is the way that I am using Talents is akin to the way that the other game uses Feats and Skills.

Which set me thinking. How about creating a list of say 20 Talents (one a level) that define a sub-type? Why not do it for loads of sub-types?

Say you want to play as a Barbarian, obviously a Warrior in Tunnels and Trolls terms. But, if you are clear from the outset that this is the path you want to take, you could pick your starting Talent(s) from the Barbarian list. I'd even say that you get to roll 2D6 for it's bonus instead of just the one every time you choose a Talent from your list.

This doesn't mean a Barbarian cant pick something from say a Thieves list or, make something up on the spot of course, just that they'd lose that second dice when rolling up the bonus.

At the moment this is still very much a work in progress and feedback is would be welcome. What do you think?

It's Competition Time Again!

It's that time again and, the good folks over at Tenkar's Tavern have quite the haul up for grabs.

  • Crawl! Fanzine (Printed copy).
  • The Manor Fanzine (Printed copy).
  • DCC #67: Sailors of the Starless Sea (Printed Copy).
  • The Forgotten Fortress (PDF).

You can learn more about the competition as well as entering it yourself here. I have! In fact, I've submitted several entries because every time I found myself posting one up, another one just seemed to jump in, in it's place.

So why not give it a shot yourself? It's free to enter after all!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Dungeon Masters Series #7: Nabi, The Prophet

Name: Nabi, The Prophet.
Kindred: Human.
Type: Wizard.
Level:  2.

Strength:  19
Constitution:  27
Dexterity:  26
Speed:  11
Intelligence:  20
Wizardry:  16 (18)
Luck:  16
Charisma:  13

Combat Adds:  +25
Missile Adds:  +39

Languages:
Common

Weapon:
Magical Quarterstaff (2+0, STR: 2, DEX: 8, WIZ+2 whilst held, 50WU).

Armor:
None.

Other Items:
Cotton Trouser (8WU), Cotton Tunic (15WU), Sandals (1WU).

Spells:
Detect Magic (0 WIZ), Oh There It Is (4 WIZ), Who's There? (5 WIZ), Find Object (4 WIZ), Omnipotent Eye (5 WIZ).

Talents: 
Foresight (WIZ+4): Nabi may add 4 to the total of any one SR once per day.

Third Eye (WIZ+1): The cost of any Cosmic spell cast by Nabi is reduced by 1 (to a minimum of 1 WIZ).

Battlefield In A Box

Whilst I am covering the subject of terrain, it is probably well worth pointing out that if scratch building seems far too much like hard work for you, there are a good number of pre-built options available, with one of the most impressive in my mind being the Battlefield in a Box range from GaleForce9.

You don't even have to raise a paint brush!

Whilst I would have to say that the primary focus of the company is definitely terrain for the popular tabletop skirmish game, Flames of War, Warhammer: 40,000 could benefit greatly from the "Gothic" range of ruins.

True, it may lack a lot of the skulls, chains and imagery that we associate with the game but is that such a bad thing? I don't think so. In fact I find the concept of some less lavish terrain dispersed amongst the official stuff quite appealing.

Not to mention how appealing the price tag of £18 a pop is! Definitely something to consider when outfitting your gaming table.

Scratch Building

One of the many things that I have been wanting to do for some time now is try my hand at scratch building.

I've never really been too sure of where to start though but fortune sure does shine upon the bold and a chance conversation has lead to me having a fairly detailed discussion on the do's and dont's of scratch building with a highly experienced modeler, who has even offered to give me a hand, having outlined what I want to do.

In fact, they have offered to do it for me gratis! But me being me, I want to get stuck in and learn something new the best way. By getting involved.

Initially I am going to keep it simple by producing a few toxic craters on the cheap (the very cheap as I have some scrap material already collecting dust that will be just perfect for the job) and, some factory ruins. The classic for any Warhammer: 40,000 battlefield based upon the excellent papercraft model produced by David Graffam, pictured above.

The main difference between the model depicted above and what I am looking to produce will be material. David has opted for paper, which is all well and good but, wanting a more durable model, I will be using balsa wood. Granted, it is hardly the worlds toughest material but the improved durability combined with the ease of use and pliability seems to fit what I need well.

Plasticard will almost certainly be involved too along with a few plastic girders from my local modeling shop to really carry off the theme in a way you just cant with paper and card alone. All the time keeping in mind my overall objectives for this project:

A functional light-weight piece of terrain and templates that I can work from to produce them again if replacements are ever needed (or if someone else wants one).

In my head I have this all planned out. Now I just need to make it happen! 

Monday, 24 September 2012

DMotivational #28: 1 Part Darkness, 9 Parts Awesome


Alchemy Bytes #17: Solo Dungeoneer

A blog that has recently caught my eye is Solo Dungeoneer, which I came across by chance when looking over one of my regular reads, The Lone Delver.

Whilst the blog still lacks a lot in the way of content at the moment, the pace of posting has picked up recently and what has been written is simply put, great! In particular, the authors work on streamlining the Mythic system is quite impressive and, when compared to the source material, is a vast improvement and far more user friendly.

Also of note has to be the authors work on taking Tunnels and Trolls in new and interesting directions.

Well worth a read if you have a few minutes to spare.

Fantasy Product. Fantasy Prices!

I'll preface this post by saying that it is not really like me to come down hard on small businesses but, by the end of this post, I will be!

Let me start though by inviting you all to take a look at this post over at Alien Dungeon.

Normally I would root for fledgling and independent publishers like these guys but, I really have to draw up an objection to their pricing policy. More so, I also have to question them as to what the hell were they thinking when they came up with it!?

To ask for $100 investment in a new product line when all you're offering is a handful of miniatures and a rulebook essentially is ludicrous! Even Games Workshop, who are the worst of the worst when it comes to price bloat only charge £61.50 for their base product (that frankly gives you a lot more bang for your buck) and, that's a price tag for an established product line.

You know it must be bad if I'm coming down on the side of Games Workshop when talking about value for money! It's probably also worth saying that Games Workshop didn't have the benefit of a kickstarter to produce their product line and they STILL don't charge that much!

I would be interested in hearing what other people have to say on this but, to me it looks like greed, plain and simple.

DMotivational #27: Why Random City Generation Charts Were Invented


First Look: Dungeon! (2012)

One of the releases that I have been most hotly awaiting this year since first learning of it is Dungeon!

Originally a TSR classic I have to admit that I was a little concerned when I heard that Wizards would be re-releasing it. As much as I wanted this game to be passed on to the next generation, I didn't want it to become something it wasn't and, considering the party involved, I had dreaded the possibility that they may just gut the mechanics and try to run everything off of a D20.

So, last night when I finally managed to download the new rulebook you can imagine my relief to find the game virtually untouched from the original, apart from a few cosmetic changes.

Wizards have now done away with the original classes and instead replaced them with their own archetypes. So now instead of playing as an Elf, you play as a Halfling Rogue. Your goal of 10,000 GP is still the same. All they did was change the name.

Apart from changing the names of the heroes, I also notice that the names of a lot of the monsters seem to have changed too. Bringing them more into line with the Dungeons and Dragons universe. Which I think is a bit of a shame but inevitable. I won't judge yet though. Not until I can actually sit down with a copy and see just how deep these changes run.

What I will cast judgment on however is the new art that they've commissioned for this release. It's horrible!

Not in the sense that the artists lack talent, as they obviously exude it but, to depict the "Silver Cup" as being akin to an old tin mug, when the original depicted it as a jewel encrusted chalice really serves to sell the product short in my opinion. It also seems to show a lack of product knowledge.

Dungeon! is a game of delving dark and dangerous depths in a world of high fantasy, so treasure should leave you feeling "Whooooo!" and not "Ah".

For example when Fantasy Flight re-released Dungeonquest, they didn't fill the box with mediocrity. Every treasure in the dragons hoard (well except the lode stones) was a wondrous and vibrant depiction of something that made the journey worthwhile. Not a bland piece of stock loot to toss in the pack with the rest.

So, I may have some misgivings based on what I've seen so far but not enough to put me off picking up a copy, even though I already own an original copy. At the price of $19.99 it's frankly a steal and, there's no way I am going to pass it up.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

DMotivational #26: Necron Nerf Rifles - Still Capable Of Destroying Your Most Powerful Tanks With A Single Round


The Torch Bearers Flame

Found this great play report in my feed this afternoon and just had to share it.

It really takes me back and reminds me of my first interactions with the hobby, when my elder brother patiently sat down with me and guided me through my first session of Warhammer: 40,000. It was also my brother who taught me how to play chess, bought and painted the copy of Warhammer Quest that we all (my niece, my nephew and, I) played with as youngsters and, whose copy of Dungeon! I received one summers holiday and just couldn't put down.

Many, many fond memories there, all still as vivid as the day they were created.

It's really great to see that the torch is being passed on from generation to generation.

Dungeon Masters Series #6: Alex Ander

Name: Alex Ander.
Kindred: Human.
Type: Rogue.
Level:  2.

Strength:  16
Constitution:  23
Dexterity:  23
Speed:  15
Intelligence:  17
Wizardry:  11
Luck:  17
Charisma:  12

Combat Adds:  +23
Missile Adds:  +34

Languages:
Common

Weapon:
Sling (2+0, STR: 5, DEX: 10, 1WU).

Armor:
Full Soft Leather (5 hits, STR: 7, 75WU).

Other Items:
20 Sling Stones in Pouch (25WU).

Spells:
Knock Knock (3 WIZ).

Talents:
Accuracy (DEX+3): When attempting to strike any target with a ranged weapon, Alex Ander may add this bonus to his SR.

Roguery (CHR, INT, LK+2): As per the rulebook.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Alchemy's Workbench #2: Further Thoughts on A.I

I really have to say a big thank you to Jerry for being such a great sounding board on this one and, his comments have really got me mulling over just how I will handle the A.I in my solo player version of Space Hulk.

Whilst I quite like the method that the Dungeons & Dragons Adventure System uses to handle enemy movement and action, it becomes very easy from a player point of view to exploit when you always know exactly what your enemy will do in any given situation.

It's like attracting your enemies in a first person shooter and then camping around a corner. Knowing full well that they will just walk on over blindly, only to have both barrels of a sawed-off shotgun pumped into them at point blank range.

It's just not realistic and, it's certainly nothing like playing against another human being.

Then again, the only real alternative card driven A.I out there, found in Gears of War may be more unpredictable but, it's random and, random A.I is really no kind of A.I at all.

Both of them also really fail in taking into account the mind of a gamer too.

Strategies change based on who you're playing against, how experienced you are and, the situation at hand. All of which should be considered when designing the games A.I. Even if there is an optimal strategy, there is no guarantee it will be used or even spotted by a player or, that it will be relevant to every single game. Maybe not even the next game.

All of this as you can imagine is proving quite interesting food for thought. Can a board game ever truly have a functional and realistic A.I?

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Alchemy's Workbench #1: Space Hulk For The Lone Gamer

I am an avid games designer.

Rarely a week or even a day goes by that I don't conceive of a new idea for something that I think would make for quite a cool game. I have a notebook full of doodles, diagrams, loose paper and, writing that's testament to this.. Not to mention the many text files I have strewn over several hard drives.

Most of these ideas however rarely see the light of day for one reason or another, the most frequent being that I'm not a patient fellow and the idea of me sitting down for the amount of time it takes to complete a project is frankly laughable. Especially when I consider that the next idea is just around the corner!

So instead of sitting down patiently I have decided that the best course of action is actually to get my ideas out there amongst my readership, so that it can be best judged exactly which ideas are worth following, right here, right now.

So for the first time EVER, I welcome you all to come and take a gander at the Alchemy Workbench and take a look over one of my more recent musings, Space Hulk for the lone gamer (the title needs work if nothing else).

Space Hulk is a grand old game which enjoyed a recent, if pricey face-lift and, although 3rd Edition was only a limited run, there are still enough 1st and 2nd Edition copies out there being played to make doing something with the concept worthwhile.

So, what do I have in mind?

What I want to do is completely strip away the mechanics of the game and draft in those from the D&D Adventure Game System.

There can be no doubt that these games, although sold as "cooperative" are far better played solo and, that the ability to manage enemy AI in such a consistent manner is just what you need if you're planning on playing Space Hulk solo. It's like a match made in heaven!

I can see there being a need for a few tweaks and additions but by and large the work is already done for us.

The first and most obvious thing that will need changing will be the Power Cards included in the Adventure System games. What I envisage here is that common actions like firing a Storm Bolter become At Will Powers, whilst heavy weapons are handled by "Utility Powers" and, reloading them becomes something akin to a "Daily Power".

The next change I feel would be to create a decks for the hulk (similar to those included in the Deathwing expansion for Space Hulk but handling smaller sections) and, a deck to handle enemy AI, like those included in the original Adventure System games with a couple of tweaks.

I also think that I might add in an Event Deck similar to the one included in both Space Crusade. Realistically this is a must as the Adventure System wouldn't function as well without one and, it is the Adventure System that we are initially looking to emulate.

Thinking again about AI system though, it is less important that we create enemies that function uniquely and, instead that we create groups of enemies that function well.

What I mean by this is that D&D thrived on throwing a wide range of enemies at you that attacked and moved in a number of different ways but, what we want to recreate for Space Hulk is a hive mind. All of our cards will will be pretty much the same except for the number of Genestealers they bring into play, so we really need to create AI that takes best advantage of this, which in my mind means bringing their weight in numbers to bare.

So I pretty much have the majority of "how this will work" mapped out and, I even have a few ideas beyond this that could have this project written up and ready to play within the space of week or there abouts if given the time.

My question is though, what do you think of the idea?

I Really Appreciate Your Continued Support!

It seems that day by day, even on days where I don't get a chance to post anything, this blog grows and, for that I want to send out a big thank you to all of my readers, followers and, the guys that are sharing my content!

Suffice to say that without you all, this blog would be a lot less worthwhile.

Cheers guys, you're a great bunch!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Someone Already Did It!

Simpsons already did it!
I set my mind to "design mode" this morning, using Tunnels and Trolls as my framework and reached a somewhat startling realization that even with my fandom I had overlooked and, brought to mind some of the exploits of Professor Chaos.

It seemed that every idea that I came up with had already been done by someone, somewhere, some how.

Which ironically has still given me more than enough to write about! It's just not the post I was looking for. ;0).

So what have I found?

Pretty much that no matter what genre you want to set your game in, Tunnels and Trolls has you covered.

Now, that wasn't exactly news to me as I have always considered T&T to be a truly flexible gem but, keeping by and largely to high fantasy role playing I really hadn't given too much thought to just what else was out there on the market.

Each and everyone of these products is more than deserving of it's own post (which it will receive in the fullness of time) but, as a brief overview for those of you that want to jump ahead, here are some items that are well worth looking up.

Science Fiction: Peryton Publishing has really covered the genre well with their release of New Khazan, taking the familiar Tunnels and Trolls tropes to infinity and beyond!

Modern / Pulp: Mercenaries, Spies and, Private Eyes by Michael A. Stackpole, whilst not being true Tunnels and Trolls is so close to the original that adjusting to it's many nuances (all completely necessary I might add for the genre) should be light work for any budding gamer.

Horror: Currently being play tested but already looking amazing, Stay Alive by Jerry Teleha will no doubt become your one stop shop for Tunnels and Trolls Horror. Definitely one to keep a watchful eye on.

In the meantime however, it should be noted that there is an article within Mercenaries, Spies and, Private Eyes (called "Tunnels and Thompsons") for playing Call of Cthulhu style scenarios, which I believe was the original idea behind the re-write.

Supers: Ken St Andre has released a product in this field called Power Trip that has sadly fallen out of production as far as I can tell but, not to worry. The fine mind that is Dan Prentice has written up some great ideas for introducing supers into the existing Tunnels and Trolls rules here, at the Trollbridge.

There is probably, okay, almost certainly many more genres besides but in my opinion these are the biggies and, they're covered!

Someone already did it! ;0)

Monday, 17 September 2012

DMotivational #25: Not All Is Fair In Love And War


Bloggish Hall Of Fame #1: Tenkar's Tavern

There's no two ways about it. This month has been a quiet month of blogging on my part. Especially when you compare it to the somewhat staggering post count that I clocked up in the previous month.

This doesn't mean I've been resting on my laurels though. I still have plenty of projects on the go including the several I have already launched here (The Dungeon Masters Series, Converting Diablo II for fast play, The Seven Gates Elder Sign campaign, Fluxx Ups) and, a few more running in the background besides.

On top of all this prep and planning work however I have also found myself spending a lot more time reading. In particular, some of the wonderful blogs that I have come to find through my own endeavors here that I might otherwise not have known about.

Which is why I have decided to create the Bloggish Hall Of Fame feature. My chance to cast a light on some of the blogs in my feed and, give a little explanation as to why they're there. Sort of my way of saying thanks to all the guys who inspire me and, who's feed I really enjoy following.

First up on my roll of honor has to be Tenkar's Tavern.

If you are looking for a balanced and entertaining view point across a wide range of roleplaying products, I can think of few blogs that do a better job. Also, on top of the quality content there is a very personal touch that I feel pushes this blogger above and beyond many of the other folks out there writing in the same field and, personally I find great appeal in following the works of someone that is so down to earth.

This doesn't mean that the blog doesn't favor certain product groupings over others (Erik sure does love his OSR style games) but, the way I look at it is that if a blogger doesn't have a focus or a preference their writing often comes across as disingenuous.

For example, I like Tunnels and Trolls, i'm not shy about it, it's my focus but, I write about other stuff too. As it is with Erik. He really enjoys playing and writing about a whole range of OSR products but, it's not all he does and, it's not all he writes.

So if you have 5 minutes to spare and are looking for a good new read, why not go and check his blog out, you won't be disappointed.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Before You Croak

Well I've been feeling a bit low over the past couple of days so I figure what better to cheer me up than breaking out a few bones and cracking a few skulls.

Creating new characters is always fun and, today I even went as far as creating a whole new kindred. Quite why I couldn't tell you but, I was possessed of a desire to play as a frogman. Now, ordinarily ideas like this would just be written off with other systems but, as you know I favor Tunnels and Trolls where pretty much anything is possible as long as you can imagine it.

So inspired largely by the Slaan of Blood Bowl I set about creating a set of modifiers for my new kindred, that I will be naming the Frogkin.

Personally I see the Frogkin as having a more impressive physical stature than the average human and their ability for great leaps is certainly a feat routed in Strength, so I've gone for a modifier of 1.5.

Frogkin unlike the Slaan though have webbed hands, being more akin to frogs than men in my estimation, so i have added a 0.5 modifier for Dexterity.

Lastly I have decided that Frogkin can obviously swim a lot faster than they can walk so when traveling using this method they can effectively double their Speed, giving us the following modifiers:

Frogkin
DEX: x0.5, SPD: Doubled when swimming, STR: x1.5.

And here's what my first Frogkin Warrior looks like:

Name: Rwh-Whibb' Et.
Kindred: Frogkin.
Type: Warrior.
Level:  4.

Strength: 44
Constitution: 19
Dexterity: 15
Speed: 20
Intelligence: 12
Wizardry: 12
Luck: 19
Charisma: 16

Combat Adds: +50
Missile Adds:  +53

Languages:
Common, Brawk (Language of the Frogkin)

Weapon:
Short Sword (3+0, 30WU)

Armor:
Leather Jerkin (1 hit (doubled to 2), 15WU)

Other Items:
Napsack (10WU)

Talents:
Acrobatics (DEX+4): Ducking, dodging, bounding and, weaving with swanlike elegance.

Climb (STR+1)
Great Leap (STR+1)
Swim (STR+2)

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

2000 Pageviews!

Wahey! We just hit 2000 page views and we couldn't have done it without you guys!

So I would like to take this opportunity to again extend my thanks to all of the folks that pop by on a regular basis and bump up the counter.

I create the content but you guys make the blog.

DMotivational #24: Not Your Daddies Holy Avenger +5


More Light Strategy: Numerix

After my recent post on Super 3 by MB Games I felt the urge to break out and post up another great light strategy I picked up at the UK Games Expo a couple of years back, Numerix by Tied to a Kite (who are coincidently a great bunch of guys).

No need to write up the rules for this one though as they are freely available from the designers website, along with a printable board.

Definitely worth checking out. It's free at any rate, so what have you got to lose?

Quickstart: Super Simple, Super 3

Can you believe that MB actually released Tic-Tac-Toe as a boxed game?

Okay, not quite Tic-Tac-Toe but, not far off and, it goes by the name of Super 3.

The game does differ slightly from the childhood classic but, only in the respect that you roll dice to place your pegs instead of having pure autonomy over placement and, rather than just trying to claim a single grid, you instead need three to five of them depending upon how the game develops.

It's still super simple though.

The Rules:

Every turn you roll 2D6 and place a peg in either a hole that's marked with that number or, any hole in the "box" marked with that number. The only rule here is that you can't take the center hole (you need a 7 to do that).

If you get three pegs in a row in a box or, 5 pegs anywhere within that box, it's yours! Remove all of your opponents pegs from that box if there are any and, fill them with your own. Also fill any empty holes in that box. No more pegs may now be placed in that box for the remainder of the game and, none may be removed from it by the roll of a 2.

If you roll a number that cannot be played because there is no longer any holes available that correspond to that number, you must roll again, up to a total of three rolls until you roll a playable hole. If you cannot do this within the three rolls, you forfeit your turn. 

Capture three boxes in a row or, any five boxes on the board and you win!

Other than the three special rolls that can mess with play, that's about it.

Special Rolls:

2: Remove any one of your opponents pegs from the board and roll again.
"Lucky" 7: Take any center hole in any box or, any hole in box 7.
12: Place a peg in any hole on the board.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

DMotivational #23: Never Mind The Damn Exit, One Of These Rooms MUST Be The Bathroom!


Dungeon Masters Series #5: Boris, Wizard Of Baldor

Name: Boris, Wizard Of Baldor.
Kindred: Gnome.
Type: Wizard (Specialist in "Fire Magic").
Level:  5.

Strength:  4
Constitution:  7
Dexterity:  35
Speed:  15
Intelligence:  50
Wizardry:  23
Luck:  23 (33)
Charisma:  8

Combat Adds:  +32 (+42)
Missile Adds:  +55 (+65)

Languages:
Common, Dwarvish

Weapon:
None.

Armor:
Leather Trousers (1 hit, 40WU).

Other Items:
Lucky Rabbit's Foot (LK+10 whilst carried, 1WU). Knee-high Soft Leather Boots (20WU), Cotton Tunic (1WU).

Spells:
Call Flame (7 WIZ), Blasting Power (9 WIZ), Fire at Will (10 WIZ).

Talents:
At One With the Earth (INT+4): This talent allows Boris to navigate when underground with great ease.

Fire Specialist (INT): Whenever Boris' attributes reach a point that would allow him to cast a fire spell he doesn't already possess, he gains access to that spell. Boris may only learn fire spells.

In Flames (WIZ+5): Boris takes 5 less damage from any fire based attack.

Inner Flame (WIZ+5): When casting fire spells Boris may attempt a L2SR on WIZ. If he is successful, the spells WIZ cost is halved.

Radiation (WIZ): Boris' body radiates great amounts of heat, allowing him to warm the party as a campfire at night and, protecting him from all but the most extreme colds.

Monday, 10 September 2012

DMotivational #22: No Really. It's Fine. It Means Change.. In This Case A Change Of Character Sheet


Dungeon Masters Series #4: Hawk The Fearless

Black Hawk, inspiration for Hawk The Fearless
Name: Hawk The Fearless.
Kindred: Human.
Type: Ranger.
Level:  3.

Strength:  31
Constitution:  34
Dexterity:  19
Speed:  10
Intelligence:  21
Wizardry:  8
Luck:  24
Charisma:  8

Combat Adds:  +38
Missile Adds:  +45

Languages:
Common

Weapon:
Heavy Bow (5+3, STR: 20, DEX: 16, 70WU).

Armor:
Full Soft Leather (5 hits, STR: 7, 75WU).

Other Items:
Quiver & 24 Arrows (10WU).

Talents:
Foraging (INT+2): Time in the wilderness has made Hawk wise to sources of food in harsh areas as, well as which plants and fungi may be toxic.

Missile Mastery (DEX): All ranged attacks made by this character only ever require a 1st Level SR to hit.

Tracking (INT+5): The ability to follow trails and tracks left by others as well as the ability to hide your own.

DMotivational #21: Ja-What!?


Dungeon Masters Series #3: Chani Sayyadina Sihaya

Chani's inspiration
Name: Chani Sayyadina Sihaya.
Kindred: Human.
Type: Rogue.
Level:  3.

Strength:  10
Constitution:  13
Dexterity:  22
Speed:  11
Intelligence:  34
Wizardry:  14 (17)
Luck:  25
Charisma:  10

Combat Adds:  +23
Missile Adds:  +33

Languages:
Common

Weapon:
None.

Armor:
None.

Other Items:
Silk Shirt (8WU), Gunna (1WU), Sandals (1WU), Moonstone Pendant (+3 WIZ, Reduces the level of SR's involving negotiation by 1, Allows wearer to cast Hard Stuff and Slush-Yuck).

Spells:
Call Water (8 WIZ), Hard Stuff (15 WIZ), Slush-Yuck (WIZ 15).

Talents:
Roguery (CHR, INT, LK+1): As per the rulebook.

Negotiate (CHR+2): Can be used for everything from common barter to in-depth political negotiation.

Wyrding Ways (INT+5): Chani has learned much about the nature of magic despite being able to cast very little. This is an innate talent that can be used when trying to assess the presence or nature of magic.

DMotivational #20: Captain Wolver-Iron Von-Bat-Doom (Wo)man


Alchemy Bytes #16: Judge Dredd

With the recent release of Dredd 3D it seems like a perfect time to share this great little find with you all.

Whilst it is far from being officially licensed, it is a cracking fan effort that for print and play gamers and, carries a disclaimer much to that effect.

If you like what you see, why not check out some of the other excellent games over at Warp Spawn Games? It's all pretty good stuff!

Dungeon Masters Series #2: Zed, Duke Of Banville

Sir John or Duke Zed?
Name: Zed, Duke Of Banville.
Kindred: Human.
Type: Citizen (Duke, Former Merchant).
Level:  2.

Strength:  19
Constitution:  27
Dexterity:  21
Speed:  10
Intelligence:  25
Wizardry: 10
Luck:  25
Charisma: 12

Combat Adds:  +29
Missile Adds:  +38

Languages:
Common, Elven, Dwarvish, Goblin, Gremlin, Hobbit, Orcish, Trollish

Weapon:
Torch (As Club): (3+0, STR: 5, DEX: 3, 50WU).

Armor:
Haubergeon (4 hits, STR: 4, 240WU).
Chausses (4 hits, STR: 3, 140WU).

Other Items:
Blue cotton trousers (8WU).

Talents:
Barter (CHR+6): Zed's former life as a merchant has taught him much of how to get the best out of any deal.

When selling goods Zed can get his level x5% more for items and, when buying goods Zed pays his level x5% less. This cannot reduce or increase the value of items by more than 50%. 

Linguist (INT+5): When attempting to converse in a language that he does not speak, Zed may add this bonus to any SR required.

DMotivational #19: You Shouldn't Have Picked Up That Red Shirt +1


Fighting Fantasy: Luck and Finesse

Fighting Fantasy combat as it stands, suffers from a problem akin to that experienced by many Tunnels and Trolls players before the advent of 7th edition.

The problem was (and still is with Fighting Fantasy in my opinion), that if the two combatants involved in a fight are fairly well balanced in the Skill department then combat itself can become pretty much never ending, with neither participant being able to land a blow and all the excitement that's supposed to come with risking life and limb leaving you feeling rather limp instead.

So what I see as the best solution is to introduce the Spite Damage mechanic from Tunnels and Trolls.

All this means is that every six rolled in combat, inflicts a wound regardless of who wins or loses the round. In addition to this "lucky" damage, when "Testing your Luck" to increase the damage that you have inflicted this round a success doubles the amount, including Spite (rounding up) but, a failed test halves it (rounding down).

Effectively this would mean that you could potentially dish out 8 Stamina damage in one round with a successful Test of Luck and a double six, which I feel is a nice replacement for the Mighty Blow rule that kills an opponent outright on a double six.

Finesse also plays a big part in combat I feel, so I have also added a house rule that inflicts an additional point of damage upon the losing combatant for 3 points of difference there is between the combat totals.

For Example, Dave the Delver (Skill: 10) is locked in combat with Mr Generic Goblin (Skill: 5). From the outset it is clear that the Goblin is outclassed but being slow of wits he chooses to fight for the sake of fighting.

Dave rolls 5,4 for combat whilst the Goblin rolls 6,1.

Dave wins the round 19 to 12, inflicting 2 damage as normal but, also an additional 2 damage for his finesse. So the Goblin is taking a rather nasty 4 damage but, it's not all one-sided.

That 6 rolled by the Goblin inflicts a point of damage upon Dave regardless of the fact that he came out on top in combat.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

DMotivational #18: Neutral Evil?


2 For 1 On Marine And Chaos Forces!

There's no sale though. Just a loophole within the Warhammer: 40,000 rules big enough to park a Baneblade in!

A loophole exacerbated with the reintroduction of alliances in 6th Edition. So, imagine if you will that you could not only effectively collect two armies more or less for the price of one but, that you could field three armies instead of two without breaking the new alliance rules.

How cool is that!? But, how do you pull it off?

The trick here is to pick your paint job. What you are going for is finished models that look something like the Fleshtearer in the upper right of this post, just minus the decals and insignia.

They're black and red, you declare them as Fleshtearers, they're Fleshtearers right? After all decals are an optional extra by and large. An added extra that you really don't want!

The thing is though that the Red Corsairs are also decked out in red and black as you can see in the picture to the right. So those Fleshtearers could easily be Red Corsairs... After all, they've got no insignia to suggest otherwise right? ;0).

There you have it! Two armies for the price of one!

If you want access to the Blood Angels Codex, Wargear and, alliances, field them as Fleshtearers. If you want access to both the Space Marine and Chaos Codex's, Wargear and alliances, to mix and match on a whim, field them as Red Corsairs!

Taking the later option even opens up the possibility of a Necron alliance.

Space Marines laying down oppressive firepower, Chaos Daemons deep striking with impunity and, Necrons withering armor whilst point blank refusing to die... What hope does your opponent have?

Friday, 7 September 2012

It's A Good Thing

 One of the most impressive home grown finds that I have been lucky enough to come across in the past few months is Project Good: The Battle by Project Good, a small UK independent publisher that could well make it big.

I say this because they have managed to break one of the biggest rules of any tabletop skirmish game. The often unwritten rule. The rule that dictates what is acceptable when choosing a force to bring to the table.

Games Workshop go the whole hog with this. Not only do you have to use their miniatures but, they even go as far as telling you pretty much what your army MUST consist off. True, it's not quite that regimented but, it's not far off it is it?

Other games present you with a similar situation by imposing you with a specific setting or genre. In Project Good: The Battle (PG:TB) though that goes straight out of the window. You can use any miniature you have to hand, whether that be toy soldiers, old action figures or, as listed in their very own miniature manual, the dread cucumber!

So there you have it! A game where you can bring any miniature to the table. Now that's a good thing!!

What this game is effectively doing is giving you the green light to collect and paint as many different miniatures as you like and, giving you a game to play them all within. No more laborious army painting as one-on-one combat is the norm. No more limitation on what you can and can't bring to the table. No real limitations at all!

All that and only a light A5 rulebook. Now that's what I call a game!

Why not give it a look?

Arkham Yahtzee: The Seven Gates

Arkham Yahtzee?

Arkham Yahtzee is my pet name for Elder Sign, the dice game from Fantasy Flight Games that shares a setting with the Arkham Horror board game and mechanics, with, well, Yahtzee.

Don't get me wrong though, this isn't a criticism, just an observation.

Having sat down to a game of Arkham Horror once for what became a drawn out and frankly tedious exercise in losing but, not understanding how or why, I was more than happy to trade in my copy of the board game for a copy of Elder Sign.

All-in-all, I probably ended up £10 down on the deal but, I have to say that I have had far more fun with this game than I could ever imagine having with its predecessor.

But what are "The Seven Gates" you may ask?

That's a reference to material contained with the Necronomicon by Simon, where by a person must pass through seven gates in the stars in order to obtain a higher state of being. Not dissimilar to the premise of The Ninth Gate, just more Lovecraftian.

In this instance however, I just thought that it would make for a catchy title for campaign play within this simple dice game and, that's about as deep as it goes in this one.

So, with 16 Investigators and, 8 Elder Gods straight out of the box what I have in mind is a simple serious of two on one matches with, all of the victors going into either a pool to re-drawn or maybe a Slobber Knocker style match up at the end until either all of Elder Gods or, all of the Investigators are defeated (unless of course at any point Azathoth is victorious and the world is devoured, which I think pretty much constitutes an Elder God overall win).

So a quick shuffle and draw later and our match ups look like this:

Michael McGlen, The Gangster & Mandy Thompson, The Researcher
V.S
Hastur


Carolyn Fern, The Psychologist & Kate Winthrop, The Scientist
V.S
Shub-Niggurath


"Ashcan" Pete, The Drifter & Amanda Sharpe, The Student
V.S
Yig


Bob Jenkins, The Salesman & Harvey Walters, The Professor
V.S
Azathoth


Jenny Barnes, The Dilettante & Joe Diamond, The Private Eye
V.S
Nyarlathotep


Monterey Jack, The Archaeologist & Sister Mary, The Nun
V.S
Yog-Sothoth


Vincent Lee, The Doctor & Darrell Simmons, The Photographer
V.S
Ithaqua


Dexter Drake, The Magician & Gloria Goldberg, The Author
V.S
Cthulhu

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Minotaurs & Marauders

Nope, it's not yet another OSR game that plays on alliteration but rather an idea that I have been playing with over the past week or so, brought to the fore front by this post by the Trollgod himself, Ken St Andre over at Trollhalla.

The subject of which is minotaurs.

Whilst minotaurs are pretty much the reserve of the monster manual in most systems, playing Tunnels and Trolls (or Monsters! Monsters!) gives you the opportunity to bring one to the table as a player character.

In my experience, this can be a lot of fun.

What I have been procrastinating over of late though is the lifestyle of the minotaur. What makes them tick and, what causes them to seek adventure?

After much thought I have decided that the minotaurs in my world are representative of the dark age vikings of our world. It just tallies so well. Both are type cast as mighty warriors with short tempers and a warriors pride, with the seemingly inverse hedonistic nature that causes them to revel in mead, feast and the spoils of war.

So the motivation for adventure may be a their natural wanderlust, a desire to have their name sung in epic song by their kinsmen, the pursuit of wine and women or, simply the need to fulfill their urge for glorious battle.

I also see minotaurs that choose to live in clans (or as Ken puts it more accurately, "herds") as being dominated by one individual in particular. An alpha if you will but, I must concede that this may very well not be an alpha male as there is nothing to suggest that the minotaur females could not be every part the equal of the males. In many respects this would cast them as Valkyries rather than simple cattle, which I feel ties in nicely with the Nordic motif.

All the members of one of these such herds will most likely carry a common name as well as their given name that marks them as a member of that herd, which will often be derived from that of the alpha (or one of the alphas forefathers should they wish). This name will also be expected to be carried by any outsider that joins the clan as a sign of respect for the herd.

My final thought on minotaurs is that they have an attitude towards title and treasure unlike many of the other major kindreds in Trollworld, in that it belongs to whoever can defend it.

So if any minotaur believes that they are better suited to the role of alpha they may openly challenge the head of the herd to trial by combat. Such battles rarely involve weapons and are almost certainly never fought to the death. They are more akin to wrestling matches, that are resolved only by one party yielding to the other, with the winner taking title and the loser often slinking off with their honor wounded to seek redemption in combat elsewhere (which often means raiding a settlement and returning to the clan with the spoils as proof of their actions).

This attitude can also make for some interesting encounters when a minotaur enters general society.

For example, can you imagine a delver running into one of these guys in the alehouse laden with treasure and telling tales of his most recent exploits. This would almost certainly be seen as a challenge to any minotaur within earshot, where upon it would calmly walk over and DEMAND that the delver give him his haul.

This could end in a suddenly very poor delver, minotaur wrestling or, if the delver is silly enough to draw a weapon, probable death!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Dungeon Masters Series #1: Iaido Ruyito Chiburi

Name: Iaido Ruyito Chiburi.
Kindred: Human.
Type: Warrior.
Level:  2.

Strength:  25
Constitution:  31
Dexterity:  28
Speed:  16
Intelligence:  20
Wizardry: 10
Luck:  16
Charisma: 20

Combat Adds:  +37
Missile Adds:  +53

Languages:
Common

Weapon:
Samurai Sword (4+4, STR: 12, DEX: 13, 110WU)

Armor:
Kamishimo (as Quilted Silk Armor, 3 hits (doubled to 6), STR: 6, 100WU).
Saya (Sword Scabbard, 2 hits (doubled to 4), 10WU).

Other Items:
None.

Talents:
Nukitsuke (Quick-draw and strike) (DEX+6): Before the first round of combat has begun this character may attempt to make a quick-draw and strike action if they possess a Samurai Sword.

To do so they must make a DEX SR equal to the targets level (or MR/8). If the SR is successful then this character may make one free strike against the target with their Samurai Sword (the target has a CBT of 0).

Damage from this attack may be reduced by armor as per normal.

Kata (INT+5): You instinctively move with your blade as if it were an extension of yourself after many years of training.

Once per combat (not combat round) you may either add the bonus granted by this Talent to your CBT or, reduce hits taken in a single combat round by that amount.

How Do You Roll?

Something that I have been mulling over of late is the myriad of ways that you can knock up some character attributes. In particular, I have been thinking about attributes and Tunnels and Trolls.

Here you have a system who's creator has said much to effect that you really can't have a character that's too powerful! So, what I'm wandering is just how far can you push dice rolling (without actually cheating) to achieve favorable results? How many different ways are there?

3D6 TARO

This is the given standard for Tunnels and Trolls, roll 3D6, triples add and roll over (TARO).

Using this method most of your characters will fall within the average of 11 in each attribute, giving them no distinct advantages beyond those granted by their kindred but, leaving an open ended ceiling that makes it possible but unlikely to roll up exceptional starting characters.

All-in-all though, no great whoop.

4D6, Drop the lowest

An older method from other old-school roleplaying games which offers a slight advantage over 3D6 TARO. True, you're throwing away the opportunity to create an exceptional character but you do improve the odds of creating a better than average character by the virtue of rolling more dice and getting rid of the worst one.

XD6 TARO, Drop a dice

Using four dice as above but giving you an even bigger edge as you can now also TARO, which again opens up the possibility of generating something amazing.

Unlike the above method however, you may not want to drop the lowest dice (if the lowest dice forms a triple for example). A similar method using 5D6 is used to generate characters in Beneath the Arena by W. Scott Grant (featured in the freely available zine, TrollsZine #5) which is probably the upper threshold of this method before it begins to produce ridiculous results.. 6D6, 7D6 or more though are of course possible, it's your game after all and it's up to you.

AD6, TARO chaos!

Last but not least is a crazy little concoction of my own which almost certainly guarantees a handful of TARO's, maybe a TARO in every attribute!

For this method, take ALL of the dice that will be used during character generation, including those to be rolled for your gold and roll them all at once.. Nothing says Tunnels and Trolls like rolling a bucket of dice does it?

Now pick out all of the trebles and assign them to the attributes of your choice, being sure to roll them over when you do. This should produce some pretty awesome attributes, even for humans!

Lastly pick out all of your remaining dice, group them into threes and assign them normally.

In summary

So there we have it, four different methods of rolling and four very different probable outcomes but interestingly only two variables, the number of dice rolled and whether to TARO or not.

That's not really the end of the discussion though as gamers are both a creative and intuitive bunch and, as long as they have time to think there will always be new stuff hitting the tabletop.

There is also the possibility of point buy systems similar to the one I devised here for Fighting Fantasy which I plan to follow up on in another post at a later date.

DMotivational #17: You Hear A Low Mooing


Necrons: The Lazy Man's Force

Imagine this but, more awesome!
When it comes to starting up in the Warhammer: 40,000 hobby the first major choice that you face is which army to field.

It's obviously important to choose a force that appeals to you but, what often gets overlooked by newer players is just how manageable is that force?

For example, the idea of playing as Orks may appeal to you but, are you prepared for just how many models you are going to have to assemble and paint?

Let's face it, it's not uncommon for new players to throw in the towel half way through painting up, what is a small army but a hell of a lot of models. So, to save wasting money if for no other reason, it's important to choose your army wisely based on your abilities and level of patience (and I can be quite impatient!)

The chances are that if you're reading this, you're quite impatient too. So what do i suggest?

Necrons. Necrons all the way! But why?

Well, for a start Necrons have always seemed to have an edge over all of the other armies from the word go, so if winning is important to you, choose Necrons but, that's probably a topic for another post.

What we're interested in here is the fact of just how fast you can get that bulk of a Necron army to the table, and when I say fast, I'm talking in hours, not days, to the point where it is conceivable to have the better part of a Battleforce rendered to a good tabletop standard within a day!

Something that I consider unthinkable with most other armies.

This is made possible by just how little you can get away with and, how many lazy mans tricks you can pull to get you there quickly. You thought Black Templars where a cinch, you haven't seen anything anything yet!

All you have to do is follow these few simple steps and you'll be rising out of the sand with the best of them:

Step 1: Prime your models.. Spray them black.
Step 2: Paint them all with a quick coat of watered down chainmail or boltgun.

This is a personal shortcut of mine. Metallic paints don't mix well with water as you may know, so the end result of applying this mixture will produce much the same effect as if you had painted the model silver and washed it black... Just in one step, saving you time and saving you money!

Step 3: Whilst your models are drying, paint their bases brown.
Step 4: Once your models are dry you may want to wash a little black into the deep recesses but, this is totally optional.
Step 5: Detailing. Pick out the chest emblem and eyes with a touch of green to compliment the Gauss Rifle and, optionally the piece of cabling on the rifle itself.
Step 6: Assemble the model.
Step 7: Base the model with sand and you're done!

All in all, that should take you about an hour and a half for a ten man squad the first time around, which should get quicker as you get into the flow of things. You can also apply similar methods to your other models, switching the green for red with the scarabs for detailing and, possibly line-edging your larger models.

Be warned though, line-edging takes time (lots of time if you want to get it right) so be sure to make it one of the last things you do to bring your models from tabletop - good, to tabletop - awesome. For a lazy mans approach however, this simple guide should see you well on the way to marching across scorching deserts and apocalyptic wastelands.