Archive for the ‘ RPG ’ Category

Virtuous Education

From August of 2012, now with some minor edits:

The purpose of a classical education is to teach children those things they need to know and to do in order to be both free and responsible. In the classical tradition, this focuses on the virtues of justice, temperance, courage, and, most importantly, prudence. The Christian tradition, when it adopted and baptized the classical tradition, added the virtues of faith, hope, and, most importantly, charity.

Once upon a time, there was an additional component to the education in virtue, namely the education in manners. Children were expected to learn and demonstrate the correct ways to behave in polite society. At Aristoi Classical Academy, we want to recapture this lost component of education. To help students learn how to behave in polite society, I cannot strongly enough recommend Ron Clark’s humorous, thoughtful The Essential 55.

Among the essential fifty-five is this rule:

“When responding to any adult, you must answer by saying, ‘Yes ma’am,’ or ‘No sir’. Just nodding your head or saying any other form of yes or no is not acceptable.”

I try to model this with my students in my interactions with both them and with adults. Often I’ve encountered people who object to me addressing them as “sir” or “ma’am”. I remember one lady in particular who attended the same church I did at the time. She bristled at being addressed as “ma’am”. I tried to explain to her why I did so. I’m not sure she ever bought into my explanation, but I think those reasons bear repeating here.

I try to address people as “sir” or “ma’am” as a sign of respect. This seems rather obvious, I think. Those two words are verbal clues, so to speak, that I view the person I’m speaking to as worthy of being taken seriously, of being appreciated. It doesn’t matter who the person is: a cashier at a fast food joint, a panhandler at an intersection, a door-to-door salesman, et cetera. Everyone deserves at least this modicum of respect.

“But not everyone,” I’ve heard people respond. “People have to earn respect, after all.”

Well, maybe they do, but there’s more to this rule. “Sir” or “ma’am” aren’t just signs of respect for that other person. They’re also signs of self-respect. I ought to value the quality of my character too much to speak to other people in a disrespectful manner, even if (or especially if) they seem to deserve it.

The trick is communicating this distinction to my students. When I answer a 5th grader with “Yes sir”, it’s not just a sign of respect for that student. It’s a message to others and myself that I am trying to be the kind of person who gives others respect as a matter of habit.

And that’s what a virtue is: a habitual tendency to behave in a manner that is aimed at the good.

April 11th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

Three More Monsters

More monsters inspired by Domenico Neziti.

Mamac
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: Bite (1d6)
Special: See below
Move: 6/12 (when swimming)
Save: 17
HDE/XP: 3/60

Mamacs are humanoid creatures that dwell in murky coastal waters. They appear more fish than man, with webbed fingers and toes, a prominent doral fin, an eel-like tail, and a large head split by a wide mouth. Long barbels grown from the upper and lower jaws, and mamacs have large, lidless eyes. A fleshy esca grows from a mamac’s head. This organ glows with a soft, comforting light. A mamac’s barbels pick up vibrations in the air or water, making mamacs difficult to surprise (half normal chance) and enabling the monster to fight in melee even when it cannot see. A creature not already engaged in combat who sees the light of a mamac’s esca must make a saving throw are be lulled into a passive trance that lasts as long as the light is visible or until the victim suffers damage.

Kriti
Armor Class: 7 [12]
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: Beak (1d6)
Special: See below
Move: 6/12 (when flying)
Save: 13
HDE/XP: 7/600

Kritis are magical avian humanoids. They are darkly feathered with heads like those of crows or ravens. Wings grow from their shoulders, as do human-like arms. Their legs resemble those of a great bird. A kriti can don a few items of clothing in order to create about itself the illusion that it is whatever humanoid creature the clothing is common to. They use these disguises to move about villages in order steal shiny objects and abduct particularly beautiful children. Kritis can Speak with Animals, and once per day each they can use Phantasmal Force and Confusion.

Fenjer
Armor Class: 7 [12]
Hit Dice: 3+3
Attacks: Touch (see below)
Special: See below
Move: 12
Save: 16
HDE/XP: 4/120

Fenjers are a type of ghost it seems, perhaps the spirits of those who died while lost. They appear much as they did in life, but are obviously not corporeal. Fenjers pass through most solid objects as if those objects weren’t there. They can only be harmed by magical weapons and by spells, except for those that cause sleep, charm, or inflict damage via cold. A fenjer’s touch is painfully cold. With each successful hit, its touch drains one point of Dexterity. If a victim is brought to 0 Dexterity, he freezes solid and dies. Dexterity points return after an hour, assuming death has not occurred. All fenjers carry a lantern. These lanterns cause night-time darkness in a 20-foot radius.

April 7th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

Ledpauks & Rojîyans

Ledpauks are monstrous spiders that are difficult to immediately distinguish from the more common web-building giant spider. In combat, however, the differences between giant spiders and ledpauks become evident, revealing why the later are the more dangerous monster. Ledpauks are immune to fire, even magical fire such as a fireball. The bite of a ledpauk is poisonous. A victim must save versus poison or be killed. Ledpauks spin their sticky webs horizontally or vertically so as to entrap any creature which touches them. The web is as tough and clinging as a web spell. Any creature with 18 or greater strength con break free in 1 melee round, a 17 strength requires 2 melee rounds, etc. Webs spun by ledpauks are are invulnerable to fire. Worse still, these webs grow instantaneously upon contact with fire. If a torch, flaming oil, or a fireball contacts the webs, they row 2,4, or 8 times their size as they “feed” on the heat.

Ledpauk
Frequency: Rare
No. Appearing: 1-4
Armor Class: 4
Move: 3″*12″
Hit Dice: 4+4
% in Lair: 70%
Treasure Type: C
No. of Attacks: 1
Damage/Attack: 3-9
Special Attacks: See below
Special Defenses: Immune to fire
Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence: Average
Alignment: Any evil
Size: L
Psionic Ability: Nil
Attack/Defense Modes: Nil
Level/X.P. Value: V/320 + 5/hp

The link at the top of the next stat block takes you to another excellent illustration by Domenico Neziti.

Rojîyan
Armor Class: 3 [16]
Hit Dice: 4
Attacks: Claw (1d6)
Special: See below
Move: 15
Save: 15
HDE/XP: 6/400

Rojîyans are embodied spirits sent to punish sinners. Each rojîyan is attuned to a particular sort of sin, such as one of the seven deadly. A rojîyans can always detect such a sinner out to a range of 120 feet. These monsters are immune to all non-magical weapons. Against sinners to which they are attuned to punish, rojîyans drain 1 level per hit, and they take only one-half damage from the sinner’s attacks. Rojîyans are immune to sleep, charm, and hold effects.

April 3rd, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

Learning Leadership

Originally posted elsewhere on 28 August 2012:

Today, I explained to my students the hows and whys of keeping a journal. Since I’m asking them to do it, I figured I should also. After all, it doesn’t seem fair for me to ask people to do things I’m not willing to do.

This principle of leadership was implanted into my brain while I was stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. We had returned from a field exercise, and it was time to clean the equipment. Hawaii has a lot of red dirt which, when wet, turns into red mud that gets into everything. What’s more, it requires serious effort to clean the mud out of cloth and canvas.

We were in the motor pool. It was late, probably after midnight. Several of us had spread a large general purpose tent over the asphalt. It had rained during the field exercise, and the tent had changed color from olive drab to brick red over a large part of its surface. We crawled around the spread-out tent on our hands and knees, stiff scrub brushes in one hand and bottles of Simple Green in the other. The process was simple: spray the tent with Simple Green, scrub like maniacs, and then rinse and repeat until the tent was back to its original color.

While we did this, all the senior noncommissioned officers and commissioned officers stood around, drinking coffee, smoking, and laughing, but at least when they weren’t complaining about how slow we were in getting the tent cleaned.

That is, all except for First Lieutenant Freehill. Freehill was right there with us on his hands and knees, spraying and scrubbing and rinsing.

I remember a major telling Lieutenant Freehill that he didn’t have to scrub the tent. Freehill responded, “Yes, sir, but I’m not going to ask my soldiers to do something I’m not willing to do.”

My term of service at Schofield overlapped Freehill’s by about a year and a half. During that time, I don’t recall ever hearing any lower enlisted folks having anything other than words of praise for that young lieutenant.

March 31st, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

Boldogs & Domenico Neziti

If you’ve never checked out the art of Domenico Neziti, you’re wrong. Stop being wrong. Seriously. He’s worth your time. I’ve mentioned this before in another post that includes more links. I see work like this, and it just screams to be used in a game.

Boldog
Armor Class: 4 [15]
Hit Dice: 5
Attacks: Weapon (1d6+1)
Special: See below
Move: 12
Save: 14
HDE/XP: 6/400

Boldogs are powerful demons who are often deified by orcs. A boldog somewhat resembles an orc, but they are larger, stronger, and obviously more intelligent as evidenced by the cunning malevolence that burns in their eyes. The spells of casters below 3rd level do not affect boldogs, and these demons are 35% immune to spells from more powerful casters. In battle, boldogs fight with swords and wield shields. A boldog’s gaze causes disease, putrefies food, and poisons water.

March 29th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »