Chance Encounters…Almost

If you’re not in the same virtual places I’m in on G+ and Facebook, you likely missed the posting of two creatures excerpted from Chance Encounters, my soon-to-be-released collection of fantastic creatures for Swords & Wizardry. You can take a gander at the bloody bones demon here and then find the ioun bug here. Chance Encounters includes these two monsters along with 24 others, each gloriously illustrated by stock art from some pretty talented artists.

What I’d really like is for some gimlet-eyed folks to read through my almost-final draft of Chance Encounters in order to provide me with constructive criticism. The task offers a very small amount of fame as well as a free copy of Chance Encounters when it goes live for sale. If you’re interested, shoot an e-mail to mark at spesmagna dot com. I’m pushing to get Chance Encounters finished by about 25 September or so.

Speaking of finished products, I published for the excellent The Black Hack a collection of character classes entitled Clever Title Using Hack & Class. It’s selling really well for something I’ve written, perhaps because it’s currently on-sale for $0.50.

Indeed, everything I’ve published at DriveThruRPG is on-sale this month as I try to raise enough money to buy dice for a dozen or so students that will soon participate in Ludi Fabularum, the story-game club I’ve facilitated for the past few years at the school whereat I teach.

Last of all, if you’re still playing AD&D, here’s a link for a new monster, the shereriti, a horrid product of ghastly rituals to Lloth. Enjoy!

What’s Happening?

Well, it’s been interesting the past few weeks. Between the start of the 2016-2017 school year and the passing of my mother due to cancer, I’ve had plenty to keep me busy and/or nearly exhausted. Without a doubt, however, life goes on, and little by little, I’m adjusting my schedule, habits, et cetera, to get back into the swing of things.

So, what’s new gaming-wise around here? Glad you asked. In no particular order:

1. Our longish-running Fate Accelerated campaign has run aground. We’re one or two sessions away from the big finale, and I need to get my act together so that we can find out whether the heroes can defeat the Martian invasion of Earth.

2. I’ve dove into both The Black Hack and The Cthulhu Hack. I’ve run pick-up games of the former a couple of times, and it works like a charm, at least for one-shots. I’ve been working on The Strange Case of the Bell Witch Bootleggers for The Cthulhu Hack, and I’d even scheduled a few playtests, but every time something comes up that derails the game. Are the Old Ones opposing me? Perhaps. I did run most of the first chapter of Chaosium’s venerable Masks of Nyarlathotep for four players using The Cthulhu Hack, doing so in about four hours, which included character creation. We encountered a few hold ups at the start, owing mostly to me being tired and having re-read chapter one more than two or so weeks ago, which resulted in more page-flipping than normal. The players all professed to having enjoyed the session, and it’s been requested that we continue the horror. For me, this is a sure indicator that a game is worth owning, that my players express enthusiasm for it.

3. I published Clever Title Using Hack & Class, presents eight new character classes for use with The Black Hack. Sales have been good, but I’ve not received any feedback yet. I’m hoping to get one or two positive reviews.

4. If you’d like to purchase Clever Title Using Hack & Class (or any of my products), now’s the time to do it. I’m running a sale all month long to raise money to purchase dice and dice bags in preparation for restarting Ludi Fabularum, the story game club I facilitate at the school wherein I teach. This will be fourth year I’ve overseen Ludi Fabularum, and it has attracted a small yet loyal group of players.

5. In addition to The Strange Case of the Bell Witch Bootleggers, I’ve also been working on The F/MU/T Hack (rules for multiclassing and nonhuman races for The Black Hack) and Chance Encounters (new monsters for Swords & Wizardry fully illustrated via stock art).

Well, that’s it for now. I’ll try to post some excerpts from The F/MU/T Hack and/or Chance Encounters over the next few days.

September 10th, 2016  in Spes Magna News No Comments »

Slowly, Slowly, Progress

More work has been done on Chance Encounters, a growing collection of new monsters for Swords & Wizardry. Here’s another sample:

At first blush, zymotic ants appear to be a common variety of giant ant, but closer observation shows otherwise. Zymotic ants not only have powerful mandibles, but their abdomens sport sharp stingers. Worker zymotic ants “harvest” living creatures, overwhelming them by sheer numbers and dragging the unconscious and dead back to the hive’s incubation chambers. Therein, the toxic pathogens injected via stinger are cultivated, for these horrible insects feed primarily on the effluvia of illness. The unquestioned ruler of a zymotic ant hive is its huge queen. Bloated and slow, the queen commands the hive via telepathy. Once per day, her telepathic energies act as an Animate Dead spell, summoning 2d6 zombies. One in 20 of these undead monsters cause disease with their attacks.

Hit Dice: 2 (worker), 3 (soldier), or 10 (queen)
Armor Class: 3 [16]
Attack (Damage): Bite (1d6), sting (1d4 + disease)
Move: 18, 15, or 3
Save: 16, 14, or 5
Alignment: Neutrality
Challenge Level/XP: 3/60 (worker), 4/120 (soldier), or 12/2000 (queen)
Special: Cause disease, immune to disease and poison, queen abilities (Animate Dead and telepathy)

As you’ve seen if you’ve been paying attention, I’ve also been tooling about with new character classes for The Black Hack. I’m thinking of compiling them into a PDF, either for sale or for free (or both via DriveThruRPG’s pay-what-you-want option). One of the aspects of The Black Hack approach to character classes is how easy it is to make a class that fills a specific campaign niche. Say, for example, your campaign features downtrodden goblin anarchists who fight the power….

Goblin Bomb-Lobber
Starting HP: d8 + 4
HP Per Level/Resting: 1d8
Weapons & Armor: Any and All
Attack Damage: 1d8 Bombs / 1d4 All Others

Special Features
A Goblin Bomb-Lobber makes his own bombs, producing several each day from available materials. He has a d4 Bomb Usage die. A bomb may be thrown to affect 1d4 Nearby creatures, each one taking damage from the explosion.

A Goblin Bomb-Lobber rolls with Advantage when working with explosives and chemicals, to include avoiding the effects of things that blow up.

Due to his revolutionary beliefs, a Goblin Bomb-Lobber rolls with Advantage when testing CHA during interactions with radicals, chaotic beings, et cetera. He suffers Disadvantage to the same sorts of tests when dealing with law-abiders.

Leveling Up
Roll to see if attributes increase. Roll twice for DEX and CHA.

Every odd numbered level, step up the Bomb die as well as the number of Nearby creatures a bomb may affect.

August 2nd, 2016  in RPG No Comments »

The Jester for The Black Hack

I might be having too much fun with these classes for The Black Hack. Mea culpa.

Jester
Starting HP: d4 + 4
HP Per Level/Resting: 1d4
Weapons & Armor: Any One-Handed Melee and Slings, and Gambeson and Leather
Attack Damage: 1d6 / 1d4 Unarmed or Improvising

Special Features
A Jester rolls with Advantage to determine initiative. He also rolls with Advantage when performing delicate tasks, acrobatics, and jokes.

When making a DEX save to avoid a suitable projectile, a Jester may choose to roll with Disadvantage. If he succeeds, he catches the projectile without harm to himself (assuming this is possible).

Leveling Up
Roll to see if attributes increase. Roll twice for DEX and CHA.

Arcane Spellcasting
A Jester can cast a number of Arcane Spells per day. See the Spellcasting section. A Jester always tests INT with Disadvantage after casting a spell.

Spellbook
A Jester starts with a large spellbook containing 1d3 spells from the Level 1 and 2 Arcane Spell lists. A Jester’s spells never inflict direct damage, involve other planes, or consorting with the undead. Some things just aren’t funny.

July 29th, 2016  in RPG No Comments »

The Singerie for The Black Hack

The art genre called Singerie (“monkey trick” in French) shows monkeys aping human dress and behavior. Often these paintings satirized human fashions, trends, and foibles, as in “Allegory of Tulip Mania” from the first half of the seventeenth century by Jan Brueghel the Younger. Click here to see this painting.

In The Black Hack, a Singerie is a racial character class for those of us who might enjoy playing a talking monkey adventurer. Agile, imitative, and clever, a Singerie ought to be a welcome addition to any adventuring party.

Singerie
Starting HP: d6 + 4
HP Per Level/Resting: 1d6
Weapons & Armor: Any One-Handed Weapon or Thrown Weapon, and Gambeson, Leather, and Small Shields
Attack Damage: 1d6 Thrown Weapons only / 1d4 All Others

Special Features
A Singerie rolls with Advantage when performing delicate tasks, climbing, spotting details, moving silently, and performing acrobatics.

If a Singerie takes a Moment to a Minute and observes someone (or something) perform a task, the Singerie may attempt that task the next within the next Minute, rolling with Advantage so long as the task requires a DEX, INT, or CHA save. Esoteric tasks, such as spellcasting, may be rolled, but not with Advantage. Especially unusual or difficult tasks may be impossible or may be attempted with Disadvantage, at the DM’s discretion. After each imitative act, a Singerie rolls his Monkey See Monkey Do Usage die, which starts at d4.

A Singerie makes Ranged Attacks with Thrown Weapons at Nearby targets with Advantage.

Leveling Up
Roll to see if attributes increase. Roll with Disadvantage for STR. Roll twice for DEX and INT.

Every odd numbered level, step up the Monkey See Monkey Do die.

Nota Bene: The painting at the top of this post is Sebastian Vrancx’s “Singerie with monkey soldiers taking a cat prisoner, backgammon playing monkeys to the right”, from the early 17th century. Your can read a bit more about Singerie paintings over at the Public Domain Review.

July 28th, 2016  in RPG No Comments »