Play updates in Northport

As my play by post Dungeon Fantasy game is closing on 70k posts at this point, I thought an update might not be a bad idea.

Currently I have about 11 threads running. There has been some upset lately, as one player with his fingers in most threads just bounced, and deleted all of his character sheets as he went, So that I don’t even have the ability to run them as NPC’s.

The Black Tower.

This is a continuation of several years of play, where a mixed group of characters (several of whom have changed hands repeatedly) signed on with a caravan heading to a place called Al Menir – (yes, very Ein Arris influenced) as a means of getting close to an area where a forbidden tower was supposed to be, although nearly impossible to get to, thanks to a ring of banes with permanent Avoidance cast on them. The long combat with bandits on the first leg of the journey was a near disaster, because the party had been split and took months of RL time to get back together. Gareth, he party’s fire mage, originally rescued from the People of the Pit, has been, like many of that player’s characters, one inclined to burn everything, and ask questions of the dead after. Gorgath the Ogre quit after this, as did Sorsha the shadow elf sorcerous thief. By the time the group got to Al Menir, we had lost Shroud, our other thief’s player to a deployment, and the party leader (built as a knight with allies) to a family emergency.

The group forfeited any actual time exploring Al Menir and headed back to an area they thought the tower might be, adding on a Druid who dropped off the map, and returning with Gorgath, who then quit the game again after problems with Gareth. Gorgath’s magic resistance had been vital in getting to the tower (and his strength in getting through the front door), and entrance by the others was only possible because the tree holding one of the warding stones had fallen after being struck by lightning. They found the remains of an artificer who had starved to death on the grounds because the warding system kept him from escaping. He had a number of detailed drawings of traps, including one of a room that would fill with water and clockwork fish that would latch on to you until you could no longer float to the top and hit the reset valve.

Once inside, and after pointlessly getting into fights with golems that mostly would not bother you unless you tried to hurt them or destroy property, the met a new player – given the difficulty of someone following them in, they decided to play a flesh golem. We worked out stats based on those in Horror and Magic, with the addition of healing by energy absorption, and independent body parts. This was demonstrated by another flesh golem who had been trying to serve essential water and hand their cloaks in the closet but was butchered, and dragged his pieces down to a room with a combination lock that led to a larger room with a glyph. I had originally published this Trick-Trap in a collaborative dungeon for Blueholme called Return of the Blue Baron . So Safwan, the golem was pressed upon by the party to give them a tour of the tower, despite him having ever been in something like 8 rooms, but off they went, top to bottom. Copping a scene from Dwimmermount, I had them run into a crew of Astral Reavers (Githyanki) which I had statted up six years ago. Surprisingly, only a few of the party failed their saves vs psionics, but they tossed most of the loot into the astral plane, or left it behind.

Fleeing to find the master of the tower’s secret spell library (hidden from Safwan by a pentagram spell) they ran into an area with three choices to pass: a carpeted hallway Safwan has never had an issue walking down, a checkered hallway with poison darts, or the above mentioned drowning pool trap. They fought to go into the water trap, when most are wearing heavy armor and none can swim. I reminded them (play takes months and things get forgotten) that they had diagrams of this deathtrap and that there was no way to bypass it without a thorough soaking. It hurts my head sometimes. They decided to go down the poison dart hall in the end.

Damned if you Do

This group of players consisting of Oly the Thief, Ardenas Barehand the monk with a little spellcasting, Aoife the leprechaun Druid with a penchant for turning people into fish, Benny Morales the dungeon Saint of Hermes, Mancini the Guild fixer and his allies Norman the fighter and Kalima the four armed celestial demonslayer, has been rounding up (Friday the 13th the series style) the people who made purchases from the now destroyed shop of Johan Faustus, or at least those who didn’t pay cash.

So far they have found a little boy who got a red rubber ball in exchange for pulling his sister’s hair every time she prayed, a fountain cleaner who could cast silence on people in return for defiling holy water fonts, a gambler who sold his soul in exchange for never being able to lose a game of cards, and are now about to confront a weak bully who is tired of being pushed around and sold his soul to gain power.

Tavern part 3

This thread is for a group of sub-juniors (originally 75pt characters) who had been accompanied into the undercroft of a plague ridden inn to hunt giant rats… Aine the Leprechaun mage who creates animals, Sparky the fire mage, Throg the spearman, and Adolus Hack the cutpurse are the remaining members of this crew, who have bartered with goblins, killed zombies and rats, and run afoul of an Angry Wight who is trying to raise an army of undead. They had been accompanied by the family who owned the inn, but those slightly overpowered folk are busy repairing the upper works of the place.

In addition to selling bits and pieces of undead flesh to Harbash Vinculo, the guild Rot Worm wrangler, and an active plague zombie to the undead obsessed sage Bertrand, they have gone to seek advice from the guild Necromancers. Selan is the chief of these, tied up in negotiations about whether or not partially resurrected (or critically successful create zombie results) like Cavil the Wayfallen is a person or not, or has Social Stigma:Dead and is guild property. I had one of the siteadmins play through part of that years ago back on Play by Web, and the other Necromancer, Dagon, and his two mummified servants that spoke only in consonants (disturbing voice disad) were characters played in my game then… must have been 2002, so twenty years ago! In any case, the party wants to hire them, because Undead cannot have their energy drained…

The Gardens of Summer

This is a crew of dwarven holy warriors, a vindictive celestial priest of Helios, a bouda demon sniffer, and a now NPC’d pixie martial artist, using the Janus gate on temple hill to explore the demiplanes of the four seasons, in search of an incursion of Demons. After wiping out an eldritch/demon cult, they tracked some of the escaping demons to a room with a pointing statue of the two faced god of portals, and found that if they rotated him to point at an archway, a portal would form. They had already explored Autumn, which was lifted from the parody module Castle Greyhawk, met some witches of the Pumpkin Spice Tradition and confronted several demons, before heading to Spring, where they met Persephone, and dealt with a lion headed rolling Baur Demon and several explosive doomchildren. They entered Summer, which is where the Seelie Court holds sway. Unfortunately, they have taken a lot of advice from faerie creatures, whether from the very good fellow Robin, from talking fish in fountains, or from hares riding toroises and fleeing giant racing snails (taken from the “Quest for the Blank Claveringi” by Patricia Highsmith, and from various medieval marginalia, to a rhyming nymph in the tower of the Erl King.

Again, there is ever the problem of asking the wrong questions, and basing things on a humancentric world view – I am in the summerlands, therefore the residents of a tower inside a garden maze are the people who can help me find demons. Perhaps talking fish are not the ideal sources of direction… or did they give a clue by suggesting what to avoid?

Trading with Trolls

Our merry crew of would be merchants, after descending and delivering vegetables, wood and pork to the Trollfolk of the Eastern Reaches, decided to follow the path through the deep underground that the trolls fleeing the great massacre of the Western Reaches had taken. Christine (known more often as Marie, thanks to an evil-twin disadvantage) the blue haired fire witch left a lasting impression of the trollfolk, and one has taken to scalping blue haired elves and thinks they may have gotten her. In any case, only a few escaped her, including the Trollwife Ulo, Rafik the archer, and a number of children and elderly trolls that made their way to the eastern reaches by following an ancient and hazardous path.

On the way west, the group, led by Rushagorn Brodakin, the orcish merchant, and the Deepguard halberdier Darg Wharten, along with Strong Clair, Grohm ‘Tahl the orcish warrior, a few other trolls like Hrunting, (brother to Sventlana, and brother in law to troll-friend Johan), Syvanus the f/mu/t wood elf, Grimaldi the necromantic warrior, and Jendrich the wild mage/ warrior avoided a Living Pit by vreating earth into its gullet, fought their way across the back of a giant sleeping beast who was covered with pits full of eel like creatures… the more they killed, the more riled up the beast became. Then past a lair of fire slorn, and carefully (and magically, with a lot of move earth) past a hallway full of giant stone statues believed to be golems , where they dealt with a skull spirit projector and undead gargoyles, like were first seen at Flax’s library when the trolls were first encountered… and there they met flax. Inspired by the plated mage from Stonehell and from a Mayfair Games supplement I no longer recall the name of that had a wizard inside an iron golem body (at normal human size) … Flax, the apprentice of Abarax, is a ridiculous opponent, but so far, he hasn’t been opposing anyone. To the best of their knowledge, he is a wizard who knows several colleges and is in the body of an Orichalcum golem, and carries a staff and a sword made of meteoric iron.

They made it past that point, rediscovered the old troll warrens, and proceeded west until they were nearly overcome with the stench of a giant dire rotworm that was attacking the tower of the hobgoblin ropemaker’s guild. This construct extends deep into the depths of the dungeons below Northport, but is kept separate by drawbridges. The team beat the Bhole back (it had been released by from the bone gate and had crushed the Ymid’s skiff ages before) and entered the Hobgoblin tower to trade, as had been their aim. Negotiations were bumpy, as almost none of the characters had any sort of social skill, and the Hobs still had hard feelings about orcs after the jugger related riots a while back.

I smell Silver

The Junior House group, originally all 125 pt henchthings with their own 62 point hirelings, and now somewhere around 150points, are trying to follow Jocelyn the mage’s seek earth (silver) spell. Present are also Jareth the cultist of the Elder Gods, Nodwin the priest of Vejovis, Clarence the torchbearer, Charlene the guard, Brodak the orc warrior, and the archers Mellarill and Mario Crowfoot. They are somewher down on the third level, having recently avoided a gelatinous cube, and dealt with the smugglers in service to the underworld figure known as the Plummer. They used salt pork and blindfolds to get past a puddle full of leaping leeches, and parleyed with a flame lord before deciding against tangling with it, but have been exploring the underworks of the old baths, which they presume to have been a dumping ground for plague dead years ago. So far they have been triangulating around what they feel is a sizeable pile of silver.

Vampires, Vampires!

After defeating the beast of Veroigne, and being paid off by Baron Pequenaud for their efforts, the group consisting of Hannatti the swashbuckler, Aethul the ranger, Kirpich the earth priest, Balir the Dwarf warrior have made a concentrated assault on the vampires dwelling in the abandoned tower not far from where they killed the Beast. A general failure to recognize some of their own lore (hey we need seeds can you give us some that your kid is playing with in the corner of the basement, that same kid that is afraid to go out in the sunlight?) and a bit of over purchasing based on incomplete lore – silvered weapons do what against vamps? – finish decapitations of the staked, that is for sure, but no extra damage…

Against the Baron

My mixed Wuxia group, again suffering losses from that one guy who left and took his toys with him, now consists of Chou-Zen Mou, an elder infused wizard, with Gui Ma, a similarly infused horse, Ales, a Shevnian fighter mage with an enemy, Kichiro, a wandering ranger, Shashi Jin, a priest of the harvest, together with the Merry Men of Veroigne and the knights Ser James and his husband Percival. Long backstory ofn those two, previously played by another lost player; James had been heir to Veroigne, but refused a political marriage instead of a love match, which left his sister Lorraine inheriting and merging their barony with that of Marcel Pequenad because Veroigne was short on serfs due to the predations of the plague and the various megafauna like the Beast, and Pequenaud had people to work the land… or he did until they fled to Northport and joined the temple of Vejovis with Nodwin. This group had previously dealt with a number of yokai that the Sahudese villagers could not properly confront without their genealogies – no names, no ancestral spirits. The Omo, Sakemoko, who had sent these stalwarts on escort duty to retrieve the rice harvest, also dispatched his agent to the homeland to retrieve copies of the ancestral names.

Among the Dragonmen

Christine the Firemage, her Golem Chris, her priestess of Helios, Emma, Jednesa the ogress, and the two whip weilding Frog Sisters, along with Masugatan and his follower Valerie went on an expedition to find the Guardian of the eternal flame, from whom Christine might learn pyromancy, since so many augers and diviners in Northport had been killed by a cult hoping to hide their activity. They had originally travelled with the gnome Alchemist McNealy, who was left to figure out how a rival alchemist had discovered how to turn lead into gold before dying. Much of the formulary was destroyed by Christine, whose puritanical views could not tolerate the marginalia in the book. They had dealt with invisible Trigers and then fell onto a group of Dragonmen, waylaying them before they realized they might be involved with the flame temple.

After a march to find the superior officers of the remaining dragonmen, they joined with them and are currently in battle with an organize force of Gnolls.

After the Battle

Accepting a contract to eliminate a group of mageguild inquisitors enroute to determine who poisoned the local mageguildsman who was investigating the Alchemist-sage Emmet who concocted a cheaper version of Paut that did not need that ingredients sold by the guild, and also involved some that were stolen from the guild back in 2013 when I started this game (Vilgar had a barrel that was holding more than its natural volume for the Alchemist) Reanna Dreaganthe thief, Dne Utare the air infuzed lightning wizard, Alice Abernathy the priestess of Vejovis, Aegis the veteran archer, and Dilandua the shadow elf assassin rode south toward St. Remy to intercept the guild patrol. Along the way they liberated the troll who was chained to the bridge, and released to wreak his revenge. A long battle with the guild troops ensued, with a duststorm from Dne being pivotal after Dilandua nearly got fried with a fireball, and they rescued Virgilio Holfeld, a mana enhancing mage who was shackled and bridled with meteoric iron to prevent him from casting, while allowing the guildfolk to use his power.

A great deal of loot was acquired, including spellbooks and documents, but principally armor and weapons (a run of the mill spellbook goes for about $400, but a suit of brigandine costs $5000 more), all in need of some counter engraving of searchable seals.

Dilandua brought the documents, including an ivory document case to Twilight house, where Sorsha the Thief and her cousin Mischa the cabinet maker broke the seals and opened the books. The books are written in Latin, a language used by both the guild and the Triunist Church.

That is our current update on all 10 threads!

The OSE Characters, GURPSified

As is my perennial obsession, I converted the OSE characters mentioned here into GURPS DF , using both this conversion of mine for low level characters, and Peter Dell’Orto’s DF 15: Henchmen.

Lance:

100 points for a level 2 fighter

ST13/17 [50] DX 11 [20] IQ 10 [0] HT 12 [20]

HP 13 per 10 will 10 fp 12

T/s 1d+2/3d-1 Basic Lift 34lbs

BS 7.0 [5] Basic Move 6.0 Dodge 10

Parry: 10 Block: 10  DR 6 plate and chain

Damage with light club (1d+3 crush/3d crush)

               With polearm 1d+6 imp/3d+4 cut, becomes unready

[15] combat reflexes +1 to active defenses and recovery from stunning

[-] Striking ST+4 (accounted for)

[-4] unattractive 

[-5] sense of duty:Adventuring companions

[-10]code of honor:soldier’s 

[-5] overconfidence 

[-5] hamfisted 1

[-5] callousness 

[-5] stubborn

[-1]obnoxiously loud drunk

Q: grunts loudly when lifting things, prefers head shots, always wants an armor upgrade,

     Spiderweb tattoo, greedy

Leveling up (25)would be high pain tolerance [10], hp +2 [4] primary weapons +8 pts, 3 more points to other weapons)

Skills:

Brawling [2] 12

Wrestling [1] 10

Knife [2] 12

broadsword [8] 13

Shield [2] 12

Polearm [4] 12

Axe/mace [4] 12

Armory, melee weapons [1] 9

Sling[2] 10

Carousing [1] 10*

Forced entry [1] 11

Intimidation  [1] 11*

Abbyee

125 pt initiate

ST 10 [0]; DX 11 [20]; IQ 13 [60]; HT 11 [10].

Damage 1d-2/1d; BL 20 lbs.;

 HP: 10 [0]; Will 13 [0]; Per 13 [0]; FP 11 [0]; 

Basic Speed 5.00 [-10]; Basic Move 5 [0].

Dodge 8 Block 9 Damage Resistance: 3 light mail

Damage with light mace  (1d+2)

Advantages:

[20] Power Investiture 2

[24] Turning undead

[5] resistant to Evil supernatural powers +3

[1] Good with spiders

Disadvantages:

[-10] Honesty

[-5] Sense of duty, adventuring companions

[-10] Sense of duty co-religionists

[-15] greed

Quirks:tbd

Skills:

Theology [2] 12

Religious Ritual [2] 13

Esoteric Healing [2] 12

Hidden Lore: Undead [2] 13

Axe/Mace [8] 13

Shield [2] 12

First Aid [1] 13

Interrogation [1] 12

Detect lies [1] 11

Diagnosis [1] 11

Exorcism [12 12

Scrounging [1] 12

Search [1] 12

Stealth [1] 10

Climbing [1] 10

Spells:

Purify food [1] 13

Protection from evil [2] 14

Minor healing [2] 14

Aria Silverwind

125 points

ST: 10 ​[10] DX: 12​ [20] IQ: 12​ [40] HT: 10​ [0]

Thrust/Swing Damage: 1d-2/1d Basic Lift: 24 lbs.

HP: 10 [0] Will: 11 [0] Per: 12 [5] FP: 10 [0]

Basic Speed: 5.50 [0] Basic Move: 6 [0] Dodge: 9 [0] Block 9 Parry 9

Advantages:

[20] Wood Elf (ST-1, DX+1, Basic Move+1, Attractive appearance, Forest Guardian 2 (+2 to Bow, Camouflage, FastDraw (Arrow), Stealth, Survival Woodlands) Magery 0, Sense of Duty to Nature, elven gear is 10% cheaper)

[10] magery 1

[5] Magic Bolt (does 1d-3, ignores armor)

[5] Night Vision 5

Disadvantages:

[-5] Sense of duty: Adventuring Companions

[-5] Overconfident

[-10] Honesty

[-10] impulsive

Quirks:

 Curious,Wary, Truthful

Skills

Bow at DX+3 [4]15^,

Camouflage (E) IQ+2 [1]13^,

Fast Draw (Arrow) (E) DX+2 [1]14^,

Stealth at DX+1 [1]13^ 

Survival (woodlands) (A) Per+1 [1]12^

Shield [1] 12

Shortsword [4] 13

Tracking [1] 12

Meditation [2] 10

Search [2] 12

spells:

Foolishness [1] 11, Daze [1] 11, Sleep [1] 11, Mass Sleep [1] 11

Drucila

ST: 9​ [-10]; DX: 11 ​ [20]; IQ: 12​ [40]; HT: 10​ [0].

Thrust/Swing: 1d-2/1d-1; Basic Lift 16 lbs.

HP 9 [0]; Will 12 [0]; Per 10 [10]; FP 13 [9]

Basic Speed 5.25 [0]; Basic Move 5 [0] Dodge 8 Parry 9

Damage with dagger is 1d-3 impale

Advantages:

[35] Magery 3

Disadvantages:

[-5] sense of duty: Adventuring companions

[-15]Weirdness magnet

[-10] Low Pain Threshold

Quirks:

Skills:

Thaumatology [4] 14

Occultism [4] 13

Hazardous materials, Magical [4] 13

Hidden Lore: Magic Items [1] 11

                      Undead [1] 11

                      Magical Writing [1] 11

Natural Philosophy [1] 10

Meditation [1] 10

Knife [4] 13

Throw Knife [1] 11

First Aid [1] 12

Throwing [1] 9

Spells:

Sense Evil [1] 11

Protection from Evil [4] 14

Lend Energy [1] 11

Recover Energy [8] 15

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.

Starica Babicka and more Warlockery

hag ss

My crew of feybloods who are busy fighting a group of armband wearing racial supremacists (because I am far from apolitical) recently had made a side trip into a swamp to meet a hag. They did so because of a critical failure on Faerie Lore, but got a little information about the workings of the Winter Court.

Surprise, the Summer Court is deeply into the lives of mortals (Most Feybloods exist for a reason) but the Winter Court is only disinterested in them. Mortals scarcely matter to most of those fey. However, a faction that is offended by the “Dilution of pure fey bloodlines” is involved in glamouring small minded humans to act antagonistically against those different from themselves.  If it were true in our world, a circle of iron could put an end to racism, but here we are, in a world where we cannot blame otherworldly creatures for our own expressions of hatred.

Here is the local ruler of the swamps east of Northport, Starica (Strega) Babicka, assorted Folk tales of Baba Yaga, and a bit of Dolmenwood, as filtered through GURPS: Fairie, Lloyd Alexander and Charle De Lint.

 

Starica Babicka

Hag fairie, strong 

ST:16 [60] DX: 13 [60] IQ: 14 [80] HT:13 [30]

HP: 16 [0] Per: 14/16 [0] Will [14] FP:13*25

Bs: 7.5 MV: 7 Dodge:11 Oar Parry:12

DR: 2 SM +1 (0)

Oar (16) 2d+4 cutting or crushing.

Claw (15) 1d+2 crushing

Bite (15) 1d-1 cutting;can unhinge jaw and swallow SM-2 or smaller on a critical success.

 

Advantages:

Winter court rank 2 [10] Differential smell [15]

Acute sense of smell+2 [4],  Enhanced magic resistance +4 [20]

Magery 4 [45] Energy reserve +12 [36] Terror(switcheable) [33]

Injury Tolerance (except to meteoric iron, magical weapons and fire) [30]

Hard to kill +2 [4] Hard to Subdue +2 [4] DR 2 [6]

 

Disadvantages:

Code of honor, fae [-10] cannot harm innocents [-10] Jealous [-10]

Stubborn [-5] Odious Personal Habit: eats sentients (only bad children) [-15]

Vulnerable to meteoric iron (1d) [-10]

 Quirks:

easily offended, suspicious, Likes riddles,Avoids full sunlight,

fond of frogs as food (they test their bravery by seeing how long they can stay in reach of her), 

SKILLS:

Staff 16 [12]

Polearm 16 [12]

Brawling 15 [4]

Wrestling 15 [8]

Area knowledge, swamp 15 [4]

Current events, faerie court 14 [1]

Savoir faire, faerie court 14* [1]

Hidden Lore, Faeries 17 [12]

Naturalist 18 [20]

Survival, wetlands -15 [2]

Natural Philosophy 18 [20]

Thaumatology 18 [8]

Alchemy 16 [16]

Herb lore 16 [12]]

Occultism 16 [8]

Dungeon butcher 16 [8]

Fishing 14 [1]

Boating 15 [8]

Cooking 16 [8]

 

Spells:

All at 16:  Alarm, nightingale, mystic mist, the entire plant college; much of the Animal college (communication spells),seek, shape, create +3 more in all four elements, most food and illusion spells, 

All at 20:  Curse, perfect illusion, illusion disguise, dispell magic, missile shield, magelock, create object, mystic mark, recover energy, Sense life, sense foes, resist fire.

 

She travels in a leather corracle that she can sling over her shoulder(it changes size from a yard to three yards wide, is waterproof,  fireproof, has DR 10 and self repairs),

and uses a carved oar (dragonbone staff/poleaxe) With which she has 16 skill and gives her 10 fp as a power item.

 

Now the cluster of 125 point characters would have been no match for her if she had been angry, but they placated her with honeycomb found with a Survival roll and a meat pie purchased in the market, even with the handful of hazelnuts that granted beast speech…

warlockery

Meanwhile, Ruby Fire Games has put out  a bunch of supplements for Warlock! that are all full of my artwork, and have some wicked good ideas on handling corruption from spellcasting (all magic in Warlock comes from pacts with demons) and has rules for elves, dwarves, and halflings and cool things like a Hand of Glory.

You can get a look at the main book for warlock here.

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Buy my stuff!

Do some good and donate to end racism in our world

 

 

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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Marginalia and a few products I like

Following a Black Friday sale of 80% of all of my gear on Drivethru that netted me my largest payday from OBS (just imagine if that stuff was full price!) I released a bundle of small filler art. I enjoyed the process so much, I may do more of these.

marginalia cover

The inspiration comes from a couple of places; Sergio Argonne’s border cartoons in Mad Magazine, medieval manuscript illuminated filler, and these panels of adventurers by David C. Sutherland  III from the DMG

sergioilluminated marginaliadmg delver artTo that end, I have included some of my staple characters, the thief from my first Character stock art is here climbing a rope, and the elf and knight stumbling upon the secret door in Dungeon Scenes 1 are now climbing a mountain.  I will definitely be building more of these scenes.

fathoms below pic

A friend of mine released a water based setting for 5e on DM’s Guild called Fathoms Below that I thought was pretty good. It has a nice backstory (Tritons took over a Sahugin fort, and built it into a starfish shaped major trading city, full of intrigue, with an anchored flotilla of rafts directly above, where your air breathers can live, if they are not in some of the domes below. There are some tongue in cheek character backgrounds that pay homage to the Little Mermaid without getting too campy. All too often water based adventures are shunted into auxiliary rules dependent on magic items, and in this case, while there are limits on what surface characters can do, there are a plethora of underwater races (the ones that aren’t new have to be found in other rulebooks, WoTC doesn’t let you quote whole slabs of character abilities), including the usual suspects like sea elves and mermen, along with jellyfish and octopus folk. The variety was surprising, and I recomend the book, along with its  supplement .

As usual, when contemplating GURPSifying races from other games, the huge cost of things like Amphibious, Extra Limbs and Flexible make things like half octopus characters dreadfully expensive, but that is one of the things I like about point buy systems; it costs more to be exotic and powerful up front, rather than using level limits or added XP cost – neither of those methods address starting level character balance, and adding a racial template of assorted boni to a fully fleshed out class template results in a more costly one; building the racial template into the class template (by 86ing other advantage options) results in a character who might be less than starting equivalent for others of their template -DF’s 250 point base builds characters with a rough equivalence to 5th-8th level AD&D characters, and dropping in a 25 point racial template makes you almost a level lower. Most of the PC races are in the 20 point range, but some (mostly those infused with the supernatural) cost 75 points, making them relatively weaker when compared to characters built as human.

 

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Meowls and Headless Screamers

When I was creating artwork for my Undead Stock Art Bundle, I illustrated the above nasty, which I was sure John Stater had included in an issue of his excellent zine Nod..,and it turns out it was from the very first issue, currently available from Lulu.com (use the codes ONEFIVE for 15% off and ONESHIP for free shipping).

With his permission, the creatures (one of many listings in that book):

 

Headless Screamer

Headless screamers arise from the corpses of the beheaded. They are cruel and chaotic beings who delight in tormenting the living. Headless screamers look something like zombies with a noticeable red slash across its neck. They can throw their heads with alarming accuracy, and in fact do not need to throw their own head, for the headless screamer’s intelligence and animating force are in the body. Many of these creatures keep four or five heads handy. Thrown heads have a range increment of 20’. The thrown head will snap its jaws, dealing 1d8 points of damage to anyone hit and then latching on if the target fails a saving throw. A latched head inflicts 1d4 points of bite damage each round until removed. Headless screamers can telekinetically retrieve these heads and still move or attack each round. Headless screamers can also emit a shrill shriek from the air hole in their necks. Anyone hearing this must succeed at a saving throw or suffer a ‐1 penalty to hit, damage and save for 1 hour.

  • Headless Screamer: HD 4; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 claw (1d6) or 1 thrown

head (1d8); Move 15; Save 13; CL/XP 7/600; Special: Throw and

retrieve head, scream, immune to cold.

I GURPSified this as follows:

Headless Screamers (DF)

ST: 14  HP: 18 Speed: 5.00

DX: 9  Will: 8 Move: 4

IQ: 8   PER: 9

HT: 12  FP: 12   SM: 0

Dodge: 8 Parry: 9 (Unarmed) DR: 0

Throw Head (14): 1d crushing plus follow-up bite for 1d crushing

Bite/Punch (12): 1d crushing.

Scream: affects all hearing as Fear spell

Traits: Bad Smell; Bloodlust, Cannot Learn; Darkvision, Doesn’t Breathe;Doesn’t Sleep; Fragile (Unnatural); High Pain Threshold; Immunity(All mind control); Immunity to Metabolic Hazards; Intolerance: Living; Indomitable; Injury Resistance 1(cold); Injury Tolerance (No Blood, No Head, Unliving); Returning weapon (head: costs 1 FP); Sadism, Temperature Tolerance 10 (-115° to 60°); Unfazeable; Unhealing (Total). Affected by pentagram, True Faith, and spells that affect evil

Skills: Brawling-12; Wrestling-12 (+2 ST when grappling) Throwing-14.

Class: Undead.

Notes: Headless Screamers are  truly evil, and cannot be negotiated with. They appear as normal zombies with obvious throat wounds. They can see  even without heads, and usually keep 4-5 heads handy for throwing or wearing; Heads have range 7/14, and can return telekinetically to their hand.

 

Another creature I recently illustrated, as seen above, is the Meowl. Stats for Basic era games can be found in Timothy Brannon‘s new tongue-in-cheek book on witches.

GURPS DF stats are as follows (a blend of the Owl and Cat familiars from DF 5-Allies):

MEOWL [39]

ST: 3 [-70] HP: 9 [12] Speed: 6.00 [0]

DX: 12 [24]* Will: 12 [10] Move (Air): 12/24 [0]

IQ: 10 [0] Per: 12 [10] Move (Ground): 2 [-20]

HT: 12 [20] FP: 12 [0] SM: -3

Dodge: 9 Parry: n/a DR: 0

Bite or Claw (16): 1d-5 cutting.

Advantages:

Combat Reflexes [15]; Enhanced Move 1 (Air) [20]; Flight (Winged, -25%) [30];  Night Vision 8 [8]; Silence 2 [10];Teeth (Sharp) [1]; Vibration Sense (Air) [10].

Disadvantages: Familiar [-22]; Laziness [-10]; No Fine Manipulators [-30] Curious [-1].

Skills: Aerobatics (H) DX-1 [2]-11; Brawling (E) DX+2 [4]-14; Flight (A) HT+1 [4]-13; Observation (A) Per+1 [4]-13; Stealth (a) DX+2 [2] 14† Survival(Woodlands) (A) Per+1 [4]-13.

Class: Animal.

* Cost reduced for No Fine Manipulators (-40%).

† Includes +2 for Silence

 

Further Traits

Masters of an Meowl familiar can buy Common Sense (GBF,

-40%) [6]; Combat Reflexes (GBF,-40%) [9];

Flight (Controlled Gliding, -45%, GBF, -40%) [8]; ];

Luck (GBF, -40%)[9]Night Vision 3 (GBF, -40%) [2], 5 [3], or 8 [5], or Dark Vision

(GBF, -40%) [15] and Silence 1 (GBF, -40%) [3] or 2 [6].

Those who buy Flight can also add Enhanced Move (Air; GBF,

-40%) [12/level], but only to reduce deceleration.

 

At some point I have to write up my view of witches for DF. In the meantime, I have finished up some illustrations for Gabor Lux, hopefully Castle Xyntillan will be on sale in time for the Holidays; at the moment it is in the proof stage.

 

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Pumpkin Spice!

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I am drinking a PSL with a pumpkin donut, and have a pumpkin spice candle burning as I, a wiccan, celebrate Samhain.Two weeks ago I went to Maine to look at the turning of the leaves. I am pretty basic.

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This makes me the perfect target audience for this excellent addition to Timothy Brannon’s collection of witchcraft related gaming supplements. In addition to a collection of tongue in cheek references to the trope of those who enjoy the seasonal beverage (his sample characters embodying Maiden, Matron, and Crone are Becky, Karen, and Carol) with spells and powers like OMG Becky, I Want To Talk To Your Manager, and Resting Witch Face, it actually has a lot of content I want to be playing with. The rest of the magical abilities include the sort of Fairytale abilities that would let you emulate the abilities of both Cinderella’s fairy godmother and the Wicked Witch of the West.  The rituals that emphasize the ssense of community of a coven warm my heart, but then I have always been a fan of witches.

Illustrations below copyright by the Beistle Co, and Adrienne Adams

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I did some illustrations for this one:

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Now, there is one spell in the book called Eerie Forest, which makes people caught in the affected woods uncomfortable and frightened. Given the Pumpkin Spice Tradition’s love of All Things Autumn, I propose the following spell:

Enchanting Forest:

Level: Druid 3, Magic User 3, Witch 3

Duration: 10 min/level

Range: a 60′ radius of forest

With this spell, the caster intensifies the experience of being in a beautiful autumnal forest, with glorious fall folliage, crunchy leaves, and just enough of a briskness in the air to appreciate a light scarf and a favorite sweater. The caster can designate one creature per level to recieve the benefits of this experience, +2 to saves, and the effects of a remove fear spell.

Material components: a lovely crispy fallen leaf

Note: This spell may be cast in conjunction with Eerie Forest, creating an area that is both delightful to some, and disturbing to others.

 

When I have included witches in my GURPS  games, it was easy to build them in Fantasy, as magery is the source of all spells, and the witches could just pick up spells from, animal, body, plant, elemental, communication and empathy, and mind control without issue. With DF, it is a little more complicated. IFor a 250 point witch,would require a familiar, from DF 5, magery 0, and 60 points from any of the other spellcasting classes: druidic power investiture, magery, shamanic, and elemental attunement, with any of their powers (autotrance, faerie or spirit affinity, green thumb, plant empathy, empathy…it goes on) At some point I have to lay out the class complete, and also detail the funky familiar called the Meowl!

 

Undead Stock art and reviews

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Just released this week ( and in time for Halloween) is my latest bundle of stock art : Undead available from DrivethruRPG for $4.99.

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I have been doing a lot of work these past months for Gabor Lux’ Echoes from Fomalhaut, and in particular for his upcoming Tegel Manor inspired megadungeon, Castle Xyntillan, and the still-in-development In the Shadow of the City God

in the shadow

 

Two of his most recent items, The Nocturnal Table currently available as a pdf from Drivethrurpg and featuring work by Mathew Ray, Stefan Poag, and Peter Mullen as well as myself, along with EFF#6: The Rising Tombs which has art by myself and Stefan Poag also, both are suited for describing convoluted weird cities at night. As my own game takes place in such a place, I found this rather interesting. The random encounters in the Nocturnal Table go way beyond the old DMG city encounter tables, and into some very strange places. Otherwise boring encounters with nameless NPc’s are richly described run ins with peculiar named personages, each with a distince flavor. There has been a lot said about demonstrating an implied setting by examining the encounter tables instead of dropping in extensive exposition, for example, regarding OD&D. The Rising Tombs does this with minimal descriptions and small notes, and leaves the reader to connect the dots.  In one part of the city, in a sealed community where the swells reside, it is always night with a perpetual full moon. This is atmospheric, but there are some supporting features; The city is ruled by a powerful illusionist, and also the rich folks are near immortal and addicted to potions of longevity… or they may be vampires.  The under layers of the city evoke a bit of the depths of  Dwimmermount, without dumping pages of history up front.  There are, by way of anticipating adventurers who want to burn down the tavern, mentions of an enormous machine that extends into the depths, that might explode like a megaton warhead if tampered with, and the side note that one must wear “sacred vestments” (radiation suits) to safely enter the lower levels of a dungeon. Not only are the routes to this area from a  cheap hotel that H.H.Holmes might have built, or through the green room of a collapsing Theater haunted by a phantom… or through a temple of a rat/plague god. These are not your typical entry by sewer dungeons, and definitely not like either  my  or Hasbro’s  taverns with conduits to the underworld.  Gabor Lux, (known on forae as Melan), for all his resentment against the Sworddream style of OSR derived play, is firmly in touch with the parts of our hobby that are gonzo and rooted in Weird fiction.  It is no secret that I like that style of gaming, as I grew up reading my dad’s virtually complete Appendix N library (assembled as it was printed, in crumbling 35 cent paperbacks, most of which I have been reacquiring from used booksellers), and while a good amount of both Gabor’s and John Stater‘s products are procedurally generated, they go into some far out places that I am happy to illustrate.  That headless undead in my stock art bundle is based on one of the encounters in Nod zine, although I forget what issue.  I own copies of about eight issues I did illustrations for, but there are 26 other issues of the same grade of super detailed and strange hexcrawls.

Meanwhile, in my game, there have been some odd developments.

The group travelling with the  demon hunting celestial Kalima  have decided to try and summon her back to the world after a demonologist they were fighting banished her with a hurled Spellstone. I was thoroughly expecting that they would be glad to be rid of such a DM PC, but no plan escapes an encounter with players unscathed. They are enlisting the leader of a Kali cult named Molaram to help in the summoning…

My Wuxia group has traveled into the megafauna rich land of Veroigne, nominally to collect a rice harvest for the Sahudese population back in Northport, and have encountered the odd ecosystem of the rice grower’s village.  Swarms of stirges rise out of the rice paddies, but are chased away from the workers by a sacred giant dragonfly, from whom the party received a blessing, much the way the other group in the area had their ranger blessed by the Stag of Veroigne, who was somewhere between the Forrest Spirit of Princess Mononoke, and Bambi’s father. Both groups have seen tracks of giant rabits being stalked by dire wolves.

The group that were hired to hunt a rampaging beast have instead decided to try and take over an abandoned castle, which brings me around to an issue developing around my Juniors group. They have been trying to establish themselves with real property (excepting those among them who have Social Stigma:Criminal, who cannot directly own real property in Northport) and I have been using the Base Perk as a leveled one.  Base normally gives you a place that you don’t have to pay rent that is about as good as what you might have, but with a status level of 2 levels lower than your own.  At status 0, that is not much to talk about, in this case, a peasant’s hovel or tenement row house in disrepair. I suppose in other settings it would be a back booth in a diner or a leaky basement apartment.  Making it a leveled perk lets you raise it by one status level per point invested, which means that at 3 points, it is a clean, functional status 0 home.  This group of PC’s are trying to control the housing above an entrance to the dungeon and in particular, to a magical gate.  I had originally had them invest in independent income, but that was only netting half a silver a month per point at average wealth, so I converted those points to base. The Initiate in the group has been attracting followers (not yet bought as allies) who have been doing things like basic carpentry, weeding, whitewashing…etc, that have resulted in the area being upgraded.  A lot of the things I have been thinking of here were sort of echoed in Necropraxis’ blog about Stronghold Achievements for low level characters.

I miss things like the Mansion advantage from GURPS VtM, and the leveled advantage Sanctuary, from the defunct Advanced Goblins & Grottoes setting from Otherwhere dot org, (sadly even beyond the reach of the internet wayback machine). That one let you build anything from the Batcave (large, secret, secure) to something like the airships of Girl Genius.