OSE play session with the gang 10/17

Dramatis Personae:

Abbyee Softpaws, cleric 3;

Lance, fighter 2;

Aria Silverwind, elf 2;

Drucila, magic user 1

Hildegard of the Rolling Downs, halfling?

Janosh, cleric? Deceased

Calvin, thief? Deceased

Ludwig, magic user? Deceased

Derek the Axe, dwarf? Deceased

Owlbear Deceased 

Skeletons, 2 Deceased, 2 turned

Coffer Corpse, deceased

Giant rats, eaten or cowardly

continuing from last week

While in town, there was discussion about manufacturing spell scrolls, which I like to use the Holmes Basic suggestion of allowing Magic users of any level to create them, at a cost in materials of 1d6x100 gp per spell level, but they decided to hold off on both that and the more expensive spell research option.

After resting in town, and requipping their disposables, and upgrading Lance the fighter’s armor to plate, they headed back to the brigands’ tower.

The night before they arrived, there was a screeching  sound while Aria was on watch. Naturally, she woke the others and went out ascouting. Eventually she came upon a football  sized owl pellet. She returned and told the others, who agreed that whatever it was should be hunted down.

I used the secret doors mechanic for tracking, and after getting a little lost, they were able to track it to… the brigands tower.

They geared up, and for some reason, decided against having the fighter use the high damage polearm and had him charge in with a light club and shield. Aria, not knowing its HD, cast sleep at it. Lance pasted it, but was struck badly. Abbyee immediately cured a few points of his damage. Lance attacked it again, the owlbear whiffed, and Aria grabbed her sword while Drucila prepped a molotov cocktail.

Lance, Abbyee, and Aria all hit, and Drucila set it on fire,finishing it.

After surveying the area, and finding two bodies, a crushed dwarf (Derek of the Axe) and a gutted cleric (Janosh), from whose remains they recovered 16 gp, 8 sp and 8 cp, all evenly divided, along with a mace (given to Lance as an upgrade to his club) and a fine looking dwarven axe, engraved with an interlace pattern (snatched up by Aria). Suspecting more missing adventurers, they gutted the owlbear, and happily found only the remains of giant rats.

Keeping with their standard anti-undead procedures of performing proper burials, they buried the hapless dwarf and cleric, and looked for a place to dump the body of the owlbear so as not to attract scavengers. 

When they had last approached this area, it had been raining and dark, on the return they were occupied  with prisoners, so this was their first opportunity to really get the lay of the land.

The former brigands’ lair was situated on a hill with a sheer cliff like drop down to a rocky beach beside a river that flowed south back to town. Aria used her rope and grapple to descend, and spotted two cave-like openings, one about 15 feet up, the other at ground level. Once on the shore, she became interested in a log sunk into the water a few feet from the shore that she soon surmised was a mooring post.

Carefully, without entering the caves, she ascended and reported the area as safe to dump the body without poisoning the river.

They did, and could smell roasting meat all night while they stayed on the upper floor of the tower, sleeping to refresh spells, with the usual guards posted.

For their location (and precautions) there were no random encounters that night, but some of Abbyee’s spells went to heal Lance, who had been hurting. They descended to the ground level and then through the trap door, with the elf leading.

At the foot of those stairs, she was surprised bya skeleton, and stabbed for a small amount of damage, and was able to fire an arrow at it. 

Much planning vs weapon types vs undead gad been going on, but my players have played so many systems that they didn’t know what applied here.

From immediately behind Aria, Abbyee turned the skeleton, which ran off.

They proceeded to the dungeon, where they found another skeleton attempting to stab someone in a cell.

Aria blasted it to smithereens with a magic missile, and they discovered  the famished halfling Hildegard  barricaded within, having spiked the cell door shut.  After giving her a ration, and hearing that there had been 5 in her party, of which three were now accounted for, and that everything had gone south when Calvin had opened the box (a sarcophagus with an effigy on it) and four of the other coffhad opened as well. They asked what she wanted to do,which was to return home to the Rolling Downs, but balked at giving her arrows… and cast sleep on her to make sure that she didn’t do them any harm from behind.  Again, they did not investigate the jail cell with the hanging skeleton, except to notice that it was wired together. 

They descended to the level of the crypts, and posted a guard while Aria investigated a nearby wine cellar/storeroom. Therein she was attacked by the same skeleton that had met previously, and after another light injury, she cut it down with the axe, releasing a little black smoke when she did so. This attracted the attention of 6 giant rats that were nibbling on the stripped corpse of Hildegard’s companion Ludwig. The rats advanced, but failed a morale check upon seeing the party, and retreated.

At this point, a coffer corpse,the nominal boss monster, stepped out of the room, and resisted Abbyee’s attempt to turn it,and proceeded to choke her. Drucila molotov’ed it, scoring low enough damage  as to not invoke its special feature, and then Lance smashed it with his mace. Abbyee, freed from the downed creature, then advanced into the room, stepping over it,and she then turned two skeletons that were advancing from within.… The coffer corpse then arose again like the antagonist of a slasher movie, causing Lance to flee the burning, walking corpse. (The others made their saves) It snatched up Aria by the throat,who chopped at it for real damage, accompanied by the hissing and whispers of black vapor as it was struck, but not enough to put it down for good. Next round she cut it down , but they decided to retreat at this point

Minimal treasure was acquired, due to the strategic withdrawal, but they only returned upstairs and haven’t left yet.

Xp so far was 175 for the owlbear, 30 for the CC, 20 for the skeletons with the ‘rescue’ of Hildegard TBD. So far not enough for Drucila  to advance.

The entirely of their encounters dealt with a restock of the area, using a selection of wandering monsters from the outside area (the owlbear) and a standard table result for a party of adventurers, and added in what the results would be of a few interactions; the thief opened the coffer corpse’s tomb, which released it to choke out the thief, and activated the skeletons, some of which were turned, once the coffer corpse rose again they failed their saves and fled. Two of them ran to the main floor, and died at the hands of the owlbear. The halfling barricaded herself, and the magic user fled to the storeroom to be eaten by rats. (Who stripped him is a question for another time).

  I frequently use captured or otherwise imprisoned npcs as a means of providing in-story means of providing backup characters in case of near tpk.

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owlbear fight by Jim Roslof
coffer corpse by Russ Nicholson

Actual play with old friends using OSE

Players:

OSE Play recap with the old group we used google meet, and haven’t seen eachother in over 15 years!

Stanley, playing Abbyee Southpaw, a Lawful cleric 3 of the spider goddess from Petty Gods, and Lance, a fighter 2

James, playing Aria Silverwind, an elf 2 with sleep and magic missile

            And Drucila , a human magic user1 with protection from evil.

We started the main party with 4200xp and retainers at 2100. Characters were rolled with 4d6, dropping lowest, and arranging stats by preference, max hp for first level. Only one character, Lance, bought up a stat by reducing another.

Starting money was the base rolls only.

Two days from town and during a rainstorm, they came upon a brigands lair while the brigands were hunting, and sought shelter within.

After a quick survey of the area to rule out hostiles, they set a fire in the fireplace and began to search, enough to realize that the ruined tower with its collapsed roof and leaky upper story had been very recently inhabited.

One such sign was a bit of graffiti that matched a heraldric shield device of a group that had beenpart of an army that had laid siege to their town a few months before.

 Checking through the arrow slits on the damp upper level, they determined that the glow of the fireplace could be seen from the entrance due to the front doors and most of the furnishings having been used as firewood.

They also saw several lanterns approaching…

The elf was also able to spot a secret trapdoor due to rain water draining around its edges.

Lance, brute that he is, was able to rip it clean from its hinges, which left it obvious where they went, as if the barricade of the empty doorway and roaring fire weren’t enough of an indication that they had been playing goldilocks, which factored in their decision not to parley with the larged armed party approaching. 

Down they went, Aria scouting ahead and finding a door below that led to two more doors.

A quick check of the left showed a row of cells,and to the right a staircase further down.

They decided to head deeper in, and kicked in the next door into… a crypt. They all froze, and decided immediately not to mess with any of the 4 plain sarcophagi or the two with carved effigies, and prepared defensive spells to deal with the brigands they could hear approaching. 

Lance’s primary weapon was a polearm, due to poor starting cash rolls, and he carried a sword and club as backup… with 18 ST it was quite effective. 

Dulcinea cast pro vs evil on herself, and Abbyee cast it on Lance.

First order of business when the door was yanked open by ten spearmen in leather and shield was to cast sleep. 13 HD affected, and only three saved. Lance charged out and brained one, followed by Abbyee with her mace, and Aria with her bow and a natural 20. They quickly stripped and bound the captives, and prepared to politely interrogate them. This was facilitated by Lance bashing another who tried to pull a knife on them.

After a fistful of super low reaction rolls, I got a 12 and the beans, such as they were, were spilled, after a Samuel L. Jackson monologue from the others.

They moved their encampment upstairs after gagging the prisoners and deciding wisely not to sleep in the crypt (Abbyee has an 18 wisdom).

While they got a fistful of copper from each, along with weapons and armor, a better search in the morning revealed 200gp and 160gp worth of furs from a trader the brigands had robbed, along with a freshly killed deer. They paused to properly bury the dead to avoid creating some species of revenant, and frogmarched them in to town with their gear slung behind them.

I used 25% as the base rate of sale on used cheap goods, so they made an additional 133gp and received xp for defeating the foes as well.

A great deal of listening, great open doors rolls, and a lack of interest in stretching themselves too thin. Real ease of use of THAC0; Stan was my first DM back in 1982.

Lets see how this tower restocks itself next week!

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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!

 

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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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

And my Society6

If you like my work, support it at my Patreon

Magic Items for both Old School Role-playing Games and GURPS Dungeon Fantasy

HAT OF THE RAKEHELL

 

OSR

This item is a wide brimmed hat with an enormous plume. The wearer, provided they are wearing no other headgear, is presumed to have +2 charisma when wearing it, and may cast Charm Person once per day. Additionally, if holding on to the hat with both hands while wearing it, the wearer will receive the benefits of a Feather Fall Spell if falling more than ten feet.( The wearer will fall at about ten feet per round), ostensibly to escape angry spouses via second floor window.

GURPS DF

This item is a fine, ornate wide brimmed hat (+2 reaction) set with garnets, that enhances the appearance of the wearer by one level (average to attractive, ugly to unattractive, handsome to very handsome) and grants one level of the talent Smooth Operator,. Additionally  it allows the wearer to cast Persuasion and Loyalty at 15, for the usual fatigue costs, and if holding on to the hat with both hands, Slow Fall at 15 as well. This item may be used by bards and wizards.

 

GOODIE BASKET

 

OSR
This covered basket ( 4lbs)can create food (one ration worth) three times per day, provided it is covered and closed for at least an hour between meals. A picnic goodie basket (8lbs) can create enough food and drink once per day for up to six persons, including tablecloth, plates, flatware and cups, but all of the tableware must be returned to it or it will only produce half eaten food that may be spoiled (save vs poison)

GURPS DF
This fragile covered basket (4lbs) can create food at 15 for 1 fp cost. A critical success will create essential food. Picnic basket (8lbs): this fragile picnicking set comes complete with service for 6, and for 6 FP can produce a feast for that many people. If any parts are missing, the quality  deteriorates, although it does not appear to, and those eating from it must make a HT roll or become sickened as per Sickness. Spells involved:create food, fools banquet. This Item may be used by any character.

 

 

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Guide to the OSR for the Perplexed

Currently making the rounds is a questionnaire from Zak S. Not someone I follow personally, but someone known to make a good random table. Edit: he is a horrible person to be avoided at all costs. Don’t buy his stuff.

1. One article or blog entry that exemplifies the best of the Old School Renaissance for me:

Pricipia Apocrypha
2. My favorite piece of OSR wisdom/advice/snark:

Not every encounter is going to be your level
3. Best OSR module/supplement:

Kabuki Kaiser’s Ruins of the Undercity The very first OSR item I purchased.
4. My favorite house rule (by someone else):

I cannot remember who wrote it, but there was a great ruling for choosing to let shields  break to absorb the damage of a hit that would otherwise  bypass the armor class. It Jives well with The Thirteenth Warrior.
5. How I found out about the OSR:

W.J.Walton’s RPG Advocate @the Escapist.com where I encountered links to my first retroclone: Dark Dungeons
6. My favorite OSR online resource/toy:

OBS
7. Best place to talk to other OSR gamers:

G+ for the longest
8. Other places I might be found hanging out talking games:

MeWe, This blog, Facebook, Discord, anywhere you find me in meatspace.
9. My awesome, pithy OSR take nobody appreciates enough: 

Henchmen make awesome backup characters
10. My favorite non-OSR RPG:

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy. OSR sensibilities, built on an engine I like better.
11. Why I like OSR stuff:

I get work from it. I love the feel of games that remind me of the early eighties, when I had the magenta box and the phb, and I have always wanted to draw like Tramp, Sutherland and Russ. Now I do, and my work is featured in quite a few product lines, B&T, Blueholme, S&WCL and a number of zines.
12. Two other cool OSR things you should know about that I haven’t named yet:

James Garrison’s truly weird gaming blog, Hereticwerks and John Stater. He is insanely prolific, writing for Swords & Wizardry, and Blood & Treasure and dozens of Bloody Basic Variants, including Grit & Vigor. I love his stuff, and that is not just because he is my primary art patron. Buy his stuff, I am all over it.
13. If I could read but one other RPG blog but my own it would be:

Peter Dell’Orto’s Dungeon Fantastic. It is what got me gaming again.
14. A game thing I made that I like quite a lot is: 

Beneath the Fallen Tower. It is published for S&WCL, and I blog a bunch about it, including actual play and conversion notes to my prefered system.
15. I’m currently running/playing:

I run a GURPS Dungeon Fantasy game play by post here, and have since 2013. I am always taking on new players.
16. I don’t care whether you use ascending or descending AC because:

I grew up on THAC0. I prefered to use Len Lokafka’s 5% tables, because  THAC10 was better at describing how low HD critters were; most of them hit AC3 on a 20. I can do the math, it goes either way.
17. The OSRest picture I could post on short notice: 

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This one is exclusively to be found here, I got paid double for exclusivity, but I can draw you one a lot like this one if you want.

I can be reached for commissions at Gwythaint.ny@gmail.com

you can support my patreon here

and get a quick prospectus of my work here

Blood & Treasure Monster Book II is now available!

I have been contributing illustrations to John Starter Stater’s Zine Nod and to the second edition of his excellent Swords & Wizardry variant, Blood & Treasure.

After two years of work, he has finally released the Blood & Treasure Monster Book II.

I have 16 illustrations in the volume, 14 of which were commissioned specially for it, but there is so much more than my work to recommend it. Over a dozen artists have their work here, and as good as their work is, it is the text they are illustrating that is the star.

The volume of mythological resources mined for this are staggering, and the content ranges the gamuunt from oozes, to extraplanar creatures, undead, dragons, mutant dinosaurs and fey creatures.

The pdf can be got at OBS for $9.99.

The rest of B&T can be found here digitally, and here in print.

You can get the art seen above here.

As always, you can support my work on patreon!

A New Year and a Round Number

One BookShelf isn’t showing it right now, but I have 50 titles that contain my work.

The problem has to do with the most recent product featuring my stock art, the RPG Pundit’s Lion & Dragon

Despite not currently having an artist’s listing due to OBS `accidentally ` deleting the listing for this entry and then reinstating it incompletely, you can see that the book has quite a bit of my art.

There is some other lovely stock art as well, some by Jack Badashi, and several nice pieces by Henry Justice Ford. Production quality is as good as found in Dark Albion and Chaos Cults.

The system itself is very OSR, although the magic system is supposed to conform to magical traditions of the fourteenth century. There is a serious nod to DCC in the startup at 0 level with extra characters.

I was approached last year to do some work on this project, but either my rates were too high or my politics too far to the left for the Pundit’s taste, and he settled on buying a few stock bundles instead.

My family set me up with some excellent gaming and drawing things for Yule, from a light board and steel ruler, and a microphone for Discord, to a stack of gaming books for 5E, GURPS and SWCL. I love my Family!

I am looking to run a tabletop game at a minicon this month, using SWCL and Beneath the Fallen Tower. I have to get writing it…

And I have some commissions for John Stater’s monster book 2 for Blood & Treasure.