Doing Evil in the name of Good is still Good Right? Session 5 of my OSE game

This time we had three players, my good friend Stan, Ryan of the THAC0 blog and Todd of Third Kingdom Games.

Characters included the following PC’s and Retainers:

Gimbaya, Hobgoblin warrior woman,

Abbeye Softpaws, level 4 Lawful cleric (Stan)

Lance, Level 2 Neutral Fighter

Drucilla, Level 2 Lawful Magic User

Ruben, Level 3 Lawful Fighter (Ryan)

Annie, Level 3 Lawful Cleric

Sanken Tonni, Level 3 Neutral Fighter (Todd)

Barto the Bold, Level 1 Neutral Magic User

Encountered were the following:

a Merchant in Dunmore, along with his retainers

Farmer Brown, now proud owner of a cart and mule

Barin and Fergus, Level 1 Lawful Dwarves rescued from ogres

Nain, deceased Dwarf

Bill and Bob, two ogres, deceased

an army of skeletons, some slain, some turned, some under command of Barto the Bold

Our group met in the Brass bell, and divided up the loot from their last adventure, retaining the jewelry as a more compact form of currency than coin, except for a sapphire they sold to an insistent and slightly glazed over merchant, who said “She likes Blue” when asked why he so wanted a particular stone. The group had already checked for magic and had found none. There was a discussion about carrying coin, and I had become very used to DFRPG’s 255 coins to a pound as opposed to the 10 coins to a pound model of these older games. In any case, they sold it and reupped their supplies, upgraded Abbeye to plate mail, and passed her chainmail to Gimbaya to wear instead of her leather scale, bought a mule and cart, along with a door for the tower.

After bringing the door to their demesne, and checking to see if anyone could hang it by rolling for background skills, it was determined that both Sanken and her retainer Barto had been shipwrights, and had skill enough to install the door to the tower. The other backgrounds had Annie as a candlestick maker, and Abbeye as a baker, but no butcher was to be found; Ruben was a bowyer/fletcher, and Lance had been apprenticed to a cartographer, which had spurred his interest in adventure, and his skill with a schematic is probably what lead to the right size door being ordered. Drusilla was a Lorimer, which I had to look up, so she made spurs and the metal bits on tack and harness. That Todd’s characters were woodworkers of a sort was hilarious, as Todd is a master carpenter and cabinetmaker, as well as being a prolific game designer.

After a check in, threat session with their goblin tenements, they spent an uneventful night before heading out on the hobgoblins’ pole boat, and headed upriver. I kept rolling shit for encounters, so they got to a safe place to drag the boat onto the shore and make camp. Late that night, they heard noise and everyone got up and discovered some ogres arguing over whether it was better to boil dwarves before roasting them or to tenderize them by beating them into a paste and then grilling them. One bragged about eating “Coshig,” which he describes as a cow stuffed with a sheep and a piglet then stuffed into the sheep, but the other cut him off and told him the only thing he had ever seen him stuff into a sheep was himself… and a fight broke out. The party hailed them, and a simultaneous initiative roll resulted in a grand melee, during which Sanken was struck twice, but minimally by the ogres, Lance was injured, and Barto released the dwarves, who joined the party after the ogres were trounced,, although they mourned their cousin who had been surprised on watch while they slept, and also their prospecting gear that had been left at their camp.

Later that morning, after convincing the water wary dwarves to join them with healing and promises of loot, they headed back upriver, and eventually came to a good spot to tie up the boat. Gimbaya was without a clue as to how to proceed, as she always took the overland route instead of the water route, so they headed into unknown territory. Soon, while scouting with Ruben, she found a large encampment of skeletal warriors practicing in unison with their spears, and ignoring everything else. The party formed a brilliant plan, which involved first missile fire, a wall of flaming oil, then turning by both clerics, but discovered (after wasting oil) that because the skellys had been told to keep practicing until told otherwise, that they were fairly easy pickings, and they were able to eliminate over a dozen, and turned another 9, who regrouped and started practicing again. Searching the remains of the camp, they found the body of a backstabbed officer who had a baton marked with the same 4 horned goat skull as was on the skeleton’s shields.

Barto grabbed the baton, and found that by brandishing it, he could command the remaining 9 skeletons, prompting Abbeye to call out “Doing evil in the name of Good is still Good, Right? This deeply wounded Ryan’s sensibilities, as he is an Ethics professor. Nevertheless, the neutral characters prevailed in the use of the undead troops as they finally came upon the Hobgoblin’s ring fort. This meant an end to the evening, as it was time for Todd to go.

Things learned about playing OSE, included a lot of presumptions about undead from later editions were shared by most of the group. A quick check found that Skeletons, like all undead are chaotic in this edition, unlike 1e’s neutral alignment for mindless undead, and that there were no weapons any better or worse than any other for dealing with them.

A low loot expedition, but the hobgoblins in-lair treasure awaits!

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Eff Around and Find Out- Session 4 of OSE

Last night we had a third round of The Brass Bell of Dunmore.

Players included Stanley, and Ryan of the THAC0rpg blog.

Characters present included Abbyey Softpaws, cleric 3, And Ruben, fighter 3, along with retainers: Lance, fighter 2, Drucilla, magic user 2, and Annie, cleric 2.

The group avoided a TPK because three of their members were wearing plate mail.

After meeting, and deciding to recover the treasure of the coffer corpse, the headed out, having no encounter in the farmland, but two the next day; they met a nameless cursed man with a huge nose and one leg shoter than the other, covered in manure and pursued by bees. This poor unfortunate had shot and killed a sprite and had been repeatedly cursed by a group of its friends.

Later on they met a group of halfings “hunting kobolds” (on a tour of local taverns), and spent the night with them before approaching the brigand’s tower.

After suitable old school saftey measures were taken, they found out that the treasure had been ransacked, cast sleep on some giant rats and dispatched them, and used dead rats and a rope to try and disarm what turned out to be an alarm (tin plates tied behind a barrier of old crates) . The alarm of course notified the goblins living below, who all took defensive positions.

From the storeroom with the rats, they descended into a narrow set of low ceilinged corridors, and found a stairway down, open into a large natural chamber. Unfortunately, they did not check their 6, and once on the stairs, they were in immediate range of goblin archers on the upper tier.

A lone goblin told them, rather Negan like, to drop their weapons and half their shit. When the party opted to “F*ck around and find out” as the alternative, a hail of arrows descended upon them, and they beat a hasty retreat up the stairs, but not before Drucilla and Abbey were each struck.

Plate mail saved the others as they retreated, and ran for cover, only to be flanked by the goblins. Drucila cast protection from evil on Rubin, and Abbey on herself. U fortunately it doesn’t defend against missile weapons, so the cleric was hit again.

There was a lot of whiffing, as the goblins were useless against anything better than AC 3, and Annie sat on a goblin who rolled a 1 and tripped, and beat him to death with his own club. Soon after, enough goblins were killed as to cause those remaining to fail morale and surrender.

They rounded up the prisoners and found them to have been subjected to torture, at the hands of hobgoblins, who also had their families held hostage in order to extort tribute. The hobs were scheduled to arrive the next day, and were ambushed with a pair of sleep spells upon arrival, with the exception of Gimibya, a hobgoblin woman very disappointed with the idea of extortion instead of honest raiding. She defected and will join them next time when they go to raid the hobgoblin lair.

For now, they headed back to the Brass Bell.

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The Beast of Veroigne

Veroigne is a barony to the south of Northport that has a propensity for megafauna. From the stirges preyed upon by a blessed dire dragonfly, to the dire hares hunted by dire wolves, all are large, most are feared, but none as much as the Beast.

Known for burrowing, burning, and devouring, the Beast strikes terror in the peasantry of Veroigne.

In truth, it is a Dire, Terrible, Fire Slorn of tremendous proportions, and immense lifespan.

rough stats:

Terrible, dire fire slorn, has DR 7, ST 40 there is only 2 DR on its eyes. Essentially a firebreathing, 8 legged bulette.
St 40 DX 12 iq 3 HT 12
Hp 40 per 12 will 10 fp 12
Mv 6 tunnel 4, dodge 9, SM+4 (about 30 feet long)
DR7 externally, DR2 eyes and inside its mouth
Bite 15, dam 4d+1 plus 2d follow up,
Breathe 3d of fire for 1 fp
Hard to kill+2, slow regeneration, res to met hazards, injury tolerance 2 to fire (1/4 damage after dr) Lifebane (scorches the earth when it steps
Unkillable 1: (takes 200 days of torpor to recover to 1 hp after being slain, and then another two days to get to full, but usually Sleeps all winter)

Tales of the beast being slain numerous times have led to rumors that there are many, but in truth there is only one…

My party, consisting of Aethul, a spellcasting ranger, Kirpich, and Earth Priest, accompanied by a Walking Wall Earth Elemental, Balir Ironhide, a dwarven warrior, and the NPC’s Dionisius Dispatha, a faun Swashbuckler abandoned early on by his player, Marlena DuBois, a seasoned apprentice, and Snoffi Rosslovich, a seasoned guard who has been in service to Kirpich for some time.

Hired by the usurping Baron Pequenaud to rid the land of the Beast, our party was quickly distracted by a ruined tower, which turned out to be full of vampires, which they apparently thought one of was the Beast, despite signs of a ravaged countryside with big flaming footprints…

Eventually they got the idea, and pursued it to a burning copse of trees where it was napping. The cleric loaded everyone with resist fire, and Marlena successfully cast sleep on the creature, allowing it to be webbed with spidersilk and rope, and then stabbed in both eyes, with an arrow and a saber.

Blinded, it lashed out, blasting with its ineffective fiery breath. Its epic armor was resistant to all but the most forceful of their attacks, and they kept aiming at vitals despite not being able to penetrate its armor, but the size of its scales did allow for attacking chinks in armor and deliberately stabbing between the larger scales. This was done effectively by those with stabby weapons, but the two axe wielders were forced to simply chop and hope. Trying to emulate a Lawrence Wyatt Evans character , Marlena first cast Extinguish fire (this had worked well on a Skull Spirit previously) and later followed up with Ignite Fire, causing some internal damage. Aethul, who had previously ensnared it with spider silk (since burned off) created water inside of it, which caused it some distress. The faun stabbed the roof of its mouth, and got his arm bitten off for his troubles. Balir ended up crippling two of its legs, and as it tried to dig its way out, Kirpich blew the last of his fatigue casting earth to stone, and encased its head in several tons of rock. Burning its own fatigue, it pulled the stony plug out of the ground, and soon collapsed due to suffocation.

Characters will find a way.

A$$holes will try to find a way into any avenue they think they can find, and it is our duty to repel them whenever possible.

This blog stands with the Elf Game Blog in that respect; I like Old School Gaming, but I do not accept that vile racist shits should be allowed to dominate our hobby.

Warlock!

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Fire Ruby Designs just released this beauty on Drivethrurpg.  You can get it as a pdf for about $6, and as a hardback for $25.

This game has the most comprehensive  collection of my stock art so far -54 separate images of mine, making for a very comprehensive look to the product, and a great portfolio piece for me.

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Demons and Patrons in Basic Era Games

I am working on converting both my adventure Beneath the Fallen Tower and the Redoubt of Hades from GURPS (because I don’t have a license) to BFRPG (in particul;ar my publisher’s variant Odysseys and Overlords) and OSE.  BFRPG is very easy to pick up; it was designed as a quick and cheap starter game that anyone could immediately pick up and play. Old School Essentials is an elegant and accurate re-framing of B/X D&D. A circumstance I have discovered is that while my games feature a lot of summonable creatures, infernal, celestial, and elder entities, BX has no such thing.

Literally, in addition to the menagerie a couple of the druids are porting in, the Necromancers accompanied by the spirits of their ancestors, and the earth priest with his pet elemental, there is a character with elder thing power investiture from an otherworldly sorcerer that keeps rolling insanely good reaction rolls, a wildly talented bureaucrat who summoned a celestial demonslayer, and another player who has a hellhound, demonic servant,  and ‘Spirtitual adviser’. It is a lot.

Neither old school game system has any spells for summoning,  which makes things less of a headache for the DM, and generally kept these editions from triggering Satanic Panic responses, but they do have devices for summoning elementals and both djinn and efreet. Therefore, I propose items for summoning other extradimensional entities, perhaps graded for the HD of what they summon, 1d12 HD, with lemures, larvae, or manes at the low end, and a demon lordling at the high end, and an extra chance for getting something higher level.

   Brazier of Extraplanar Summoning

brazier

This iron or bronze brazier, incised with runes and chased with enamels or silver inlay , is inscribed with the name of a being from a nearby dimension. Any item of this type is good for summoning that singular being, for a period of up to one hour, and can be used no more than 6 times per owner.  For any given brazier, roll 1d12, and on a roll of 12, roll an additional d8. The total number rolled is the HD of the creature that can be  summoned by performing a ritual with the brazier as the central feature, involving candles and diagrams on the floor. The creature summoned may be of any alignment, and this can be determined by random die roll.  The summonee must perform a service for the summoner, but may make a save vs spells (minus the summoner’s wisdom bonus, if any) to resist. Braziers are worth 1000 GP per HD summonable.

Now, you can find game stats for any sort of extradimensional being in most advanced rulebooks, and in a variety of blogs ( such as Hereticwerks  where I got the Ymid from), but if you want to keep B/X formatting, I can recommend New Big Dragon’s Fifty Fiends (available on Drivethrurpg for only a buck!)

And for that matter, you can get a bunch of neat pictures of demons from me too!

(Or from Jeremy Hart )

And now that demons are in play, what about patrons? DCC did this excellently, but here I have

20 answers to the question: What does your warlock’s patron want in exchange for power?

1 to spread chaos! Go out there and blow shit up!

2 to be entertained.  They are bored, and find your actions interesting…until they don’t.

3 to be amused. They find the supplicant ridiculous, even pathetic. 

4 to annoy a rival, by showing them up with their own fancy minions.

5 to annoy a rival, by encouraging the destruction of their (equally) nefarious plan.

6 to spread their own influence; use of their powers tags an area with their signature,  the entity with the most tags wins something, as if our world was a boardgame to them.

7 to manifest themselves in our world; the more their power is used, the greater their ability to enter our plane.

8 to void excess energy that is causing them etheric indigestion. 

9 to silence your yapping. You are annoying, but not yet worth the bother of destroying.

10 to alleviate the irritation of the sense of debt; the entity cannot tolerate supplication without response; it itches.

11 to appease their sense of vanity. They desire worship.

12 to appease their curiosity. Whatever will the minion do with a little power.

13 to appease their hunger. Blood and Souls!

14 to appease their hunger. Only creatures empowered by and flavored like them can fulfill their hideous appetites

15 to appease their unnatural lust. Only creatures empowered and flavored like them can fulfill their hideous appetites.

16 to better observe our plane. Buying a pair of eyes is cheaper than actually manifesting.

17 to relieve their aching loneliness. Being immortal makes it hard to keep friends.

18 to pay a gambling debt. The being is making the pact because of an unfortunate forfeiture on a wager.

19 to pay back a favor. The summoning and binding spells are vestiges of an ancient promise made to someone who liberated the being from imprisonment, and then forgot that they were still active.

20 to be left alone. Power is cast out to deflect contact.

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Castle Xyntillan!

20191217_171606 Gabor Lux has just released his hardcover megadungeon Castle Xyntillan

He talks about it here

It features art by Peter Mullen, Stefan Poag, and fourteen pieces by me!

I spent the last few months working on these commissions, although a few of the pieces are from my stock art bundles.

The castle itself is a haunted mansion that blends Tegel Manor with the weirdness and doomed romanticism of Edgar Allen Poe, and the films of Jean Cocteau.

Also released at this time (in Hungarian,  the English language version is yet to be released) is Shadow of the city God, for which I drew the cover and another illustration. More work by Stefan Poag is in this as well.

I had some fun with the second scene, where some adventurers stumble upon a political cult led by a con artist.  Greta is not amused.

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Far Away Land OSR and the Robot Hussein Test

FAL

Dirk Stanley’s OSR adaptation of his wonderous setting Far Away Land is now available for those that missed the kickstarter, and you can grab it here

As I have said before, the art looks like the best of Adventure Time

p12563770_b_v8_aa.jpg  with a healthy dose of Zardoz, Gamma World, Thundar the Barbarian, mixed with a lot of general happy gonzo weirdness, from player characters that are angry, bear riding telepathic nuns who fight axe wielding evil clones of Abraham Lincoln, and their little stabby hockey masked associates called horrors, to multi eyed, square headed,  or even of jack-o’ lantern faced spellcasters, warriors, or thieves.

The ruleset is roughly based on SWCL

And has four classes: Light Mages, Chaos Mages, Fighters, and Thieves.

Light and Chaos mages each have their own spell list, and a common gray magic list they share. Thieves have no backstab ability, making fighters more important in combat. There are twelve playable races, including dwarves and elves, but those are among the least interesting. All of these races, which were more or less the local equivalent of human from their dimension of origin, get bonus abilities from telepathy, limited teleportation,  weather prediction, favored enemies, resistances and immunities, rapid healing, and bonuses to hit or to ability checks. Humans get their choice of a hit bonus (there is a better version for fighters than thieves) or a bonus spell.

The setting is wildly imaginative, and there are conversion notes for adding materials from the regular FAL game to the FAL OSR game.

There is a lot of support for FAL

and I recommend getting as much as you can to complement the OSR game.

How would I convert this to GURPS? I would take my low level (75 point) character templates (available here), add the racial abilities, and I would then build the characters up to 125 points, which is suitable as a starting point for this

As the setting isn’t Dungeon Fantasy per se, I would eliminate the need for the unusual background “Ha ha! I can teleport” for the Blonin, and charge them as follows: Warp [25] (range limited to 20 yards, -45%, and limited use, twice per day, -30%).

Charging out nonhumans for their racial abilities makes human characters slightly better at their class for the same amount of points, but less flashy.

To play using my preferred system, I heartily recommend buying not only the OSR book, but as many FAL supplements as you can get your hands on, the setting is that good.

There are clockwork characters, but as they are limited to thief and fighter, the system fails what I call the “Robot Hussein” test: can I build an android healer? So far, you can build a Warforged Cleric in some editions if D&D, you can do it in GURPS, of course,  Gamma World, and in Solar Blades and Cosmic Spells .

I want to play a damn Heal bot.

 

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Odysseys and Overlords and Ruins and Portals

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My publisher, Travis Legge, has released an Old School game. Odysseys and Overlords is a BFRPG variant with a distinct flavor. The implied setting is somewhat post apocalyptic, and there are three non human peoples; wildfolk, spell scorched, and abyss kissed. Spells Scorched are elves of a very distinct flavor, their flesh is covered with runes. Abyss kissed are the Tieflings of the setting, and Wildfolk make me think of Ookla from Thundar the Barbarian.

Each of the nonhuman races have a homeland, and there is an excellent Bard class. Plus, there is artwork of mine within the Game Master’s Guide, and in his Patreon exclusive starter adventure, Caverns of the Cromags.

You can support his patreon, and get this and other exclusive content here

And you can get the rulebooks for Odysseys and Overlords here

273929also released recently is my latest bundle of stock art, Ruins and Portals!

Currently on sale for the May sale on Drivethrurpg, you can get it here.

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I am currently working on a bundle of faerie art. Unfortunately Necrotic Gnome is not extending a license for Dolmenwood based content, so I cannot sell the Woodgrue or Moss Dwarf for commercial use, but you can use them for your character sheets if you are playing a Dolmenwood game, preferably using Old School Essentials (formerly B/X Essentials). If you get any of Wormskin or BX/E, you can get the Demihumans of Dolmenwood book free.

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Just go back the Old School Essentials Kickstarter  it has just a few days to go!

 

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Divergence and Parallel Thinking

One of the blogs I follow is Bloodof Prokopius, written by a gamer who , like me, started questioning aspects of his spirituality around the same time he started playing D&D. Also like me, he sees that some form of mildly oppressive and ubiquitous religion is essential to the medeival mindset, and therefore to the implied setting of AD&D.

My questioning of spirituality and study of religions led me along the path from a Catholic to a Neopagan spiritual identity. This blogger, on the other hand, went from an agnostic to an Orthodox Christian.

We do agree on many points, particularly in the depth religions bring to games. I personally favor a L. Sprague de Camp style of polytheism in my game, however there are some truly innovative ideas in his exploration of Monotheism vs Demonic cults, one of which, while specifically derived from scripture in this post lead to a description of an oppressive empire ruled by ghasts, the same idea came about independently over here, in a more secular manner, a couple years ago on the RPG Knights blog. The adventure in question, Tomb of the Ghast Queen, is a DCC funnel sort of adventure where the PC’s are competing with a couple dozen rivals to escape imprisonment by beating a dungeon that is part puzzle, part gladiator pit.

I would expect that player death would be handled by playing the other survivors, which I imagine would lead to fairly random characters loaded with the spoils (particularly healing potions) of the defeated. I can see the adventure being run for a number of systems, (it is written for 5e, where survivability is kinda high) with different results based on expected lethality of systems.

On another topic, I am preparing to run another low point DF game at Manhattan Minicon, this time for 125 point “leveled up” versions of the 75 point characters I ran through Beath the Fallen Tower at the last minicon. The builds are similar, but not identical to those of DF15, and the adventure will feature an abandoned mine overrun by hobgoblins, and some hidden treasure, and is called Shame of the DeepGuard. You can find more about the DeepGuard on this blog, although I have made some modifications to the equipment of Nether Flight, based on my perusal of common armor types worn by 14th century mercenaries on Pintrest.

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In addition to various projects I am working on for Gabor Lux, John Stater just released Nod 35, which explores a Greek mythology themed area of his neverending hexcrawl, including art by me and maps by Dyson.

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Additionally, Malrex and Merciless Merchants released Tar Pits of the Bone Toilers, a level 5-8 adventure for Labyrinth Lord and featuring a piece of art from one of my earliest stock art packs, currently on sale for a mere $0.75 , and they used my Xorn!

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My latest podcast

I talk about some in-game goings on about the Juniors group, and a little about the OSR here .

I mention a few products: Varlets and Vermin

And Clatterdelve

And Dreamlands

And The spell of Whimsy

And GURPS Horror 3e

Dungeon synth: Gnoll

And, of course, my pbp game Northport

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