Archive for the ‘ Spes Magna News ’ Category

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 »

The Gumberoo

I’ve started a new project based on William T. Cox’s whimsically delightful Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods, originally published in 1910.

Here’s an excerpt:

The gumberoo (Megalogaster repercussus) lives in foggy regions, especially near wooded ocean coasts in northern climes. Fortunately, gumberoos seem to be rare, but this might because this beast prefers “to remain in hiding most of the time in the base of enormous, burned-out cedar trees, from where it sallies forth occasionally on frightful marauding expeditions.” A gumberoo is always hungry and attempts to devour anything that appears to be food. “A whole horse may be eaten at one sitting, distending the gumberoo out of all proportions, but failing to appease its hunger or cause it the slightest discomfort.” A gumberoo resembles a coal-black, almost hairless bear. Its skin is “smooth, tough, and shiny and bears not even a wrinkle.” In fact, a gumberoo’s hide has amazing elastic properties. “Its elastic hide hurls back with equal ease the charging elk and the wrathy hornet.” Fire, however, proves to be a particular effective weapon against a gumberoo, but care must be taken, for these beasts tend to explode when burned.

HD 4+1; AC 2 (17); Atks 2 claws (1d4), bite (1d6+1); SV 13; Special elastic hide, fire vulnerability; MV 9; AL C; CL/XP 5/240

Elastic Hide: Any attack from a physical source, such as a sword or an arrow or a claw, may bounce off the gumberoo’s elastic hide without inflicting any damage. A gumberoo is permitted a saving throw against these attacks. Success means it takes no damage. If the gumberoo’s saving throw die roll equals 18-20, the attack rebounds to inflict normal damage to the attacker.

Fire Vulnerability: Any time a gumberoo is attacked with fire from any source, it must make a saving throw. Failure means the gumberoo explodes, inflicting 4d6 points of damage to creatures in a 10-foot radius. On the plus side, the gumberoo dies.

August 16th, 2014  in Spes Magna News No Comments »

Gettin’ Stuff Done

As my summer vacation winds down, I’m finally getting some new products on the Interwebz for you to purchase. This week, I’ve finished Ean Illiam’s Cavern Stores for Dungeon World and Aquatic Depths & Denizens for Swords & Wizardry. The links in that last sentence take you to DriveThruRPG where you can read the product descriptions. The rest of this post includes content excerpts from both PDFs.

From Ean Illiam’s Cavern Stores

Groitzarr’s Vile Menagerie (1 weight)
This common bamboo bird cage holds five scabrous, repulsive birds, each about the size of a parakeet. They perch silently, their rheumy eyes watching their surroundings with disturbing intensity. When you feed one of these foul birds a drop of your blood, roll+CHA. *On a 10+, the bird squawks out a clear, useful prediction of the near future. *On a 7-9, the bird’s prophecy is puzzling and riddlesome. Take a cumulative -1 forward each time to you use the birds more than once per day.

Custom Move: Dangerous Woods
When you act as scout while traveling through the woods near the village, roll+WIS. *On a 10+, choose 2. *On a 7-9, choose 1. If you’re known to have harmed local fey creatures, take -1 ongoing.

* No unwelcome attention is attracted.
* No equipment turns up missing.
* No clues to the true nature of the trouble are discovered.

Thick necked, solid skulled. Blunt muzzles. Crushing jaws and sharp teeth. Ean’s mastiffs are every bit as well-trained as his guards.

Bite (d8 damage) | 6 HP | 1 Armor | Close
Instinct: To obey the master

* Drag down a foe
* Go for the throat

From Aquatic Depths & Denizens

Combat in Three Dimensions
Combatants who fight while swimming may jockey for advantageous position. Whenever an attacker wants to attack with a positional advantage, the attacker and the defender both make saving throws.

* Attacker Succeeds, Defender Fails: The attacker gains a +2 attack roll bonus.
* Defender Succeeds, Attacker Fails: The attack suffers a -2 attack roll penalty.
* Both Fail or Both Succeed: The attacker gains no advantage or penalty.

The Referee should describe the aquatic ballet of violence as attacker and defender push and twist against each other and the water as the attacker attempts to gain a momentary advantage.

Squat, thick-skinned, hairless, spotted by barnacle-like growths, Bahari enjoy a +4 bonus on saving throws against poison and a +1 bonus to Armor Class due to their tough hides. They can see in the dark (darkvision) to a limit of 60 feet and have a natural swim speed of 6 and an out-of-water movement rate of 6. Bahari who are player characters may be Fighters, Thieves, or multi-classed Druid/Fighters or Fighter/Thieves.

Those Bahari who are not player characters might have abilities and limitations wildly different from those of an adventuring Bahar. The nature of the Bahar race as a whole is entirely the province of the Referee, and might include non-player characters of any class.

Spell Level Magic-User, 3rd-level; Range touch; Duration 1 turn/level + 1d6 turns

This spell triples the recipient’s swim speed for its duration. The Referee secretly rolls 1d6 additional turns; the recipient does not know exactly how long Jet will last.

Lycanthrope, Wereshark
HD 7; AC 1 (18); Atks bite (2d8), weapon (1d8); SV 9; Special breathe water, lycanthropy, hit only by magic or silver weapons; MV 0//18; AL C; CL/XP 8/800

Weresharks appear have humanoid torsos and powerful arms topped by the head of a shark. The shark’s distinctive dorsal fin grows from a wereshark’s back. Instead of legs, weresharks have a shark’s powerful tail. These monsters prowl shallow waters for prey. Weresharks can control normal sharks.

August 7th, 2014  in RPG, Spes Magna News No Comments »

Aquatic Depths & Denizens Gets Some Art

As I’ve mentioned, I’m taking advantage of my summer vacation to get some much-delayed writing done. One of those project is Aquatic Depths & Denizens, which focuses on adventuring underwater for Swords & Wizardry. You can download the playtest version of the PDF at the link in the previous sentence.

As I was working on the PDF, I just knew I had to have a group picture showing the five new races standing next to each other, just like the 1E Player’s Handbook had (and which I’ve displayed to the right). Unfortunately, a picture that included a Merman, a Naiad, a Triton, a Bahar, and an Aquatic Elf wasn’t the sort of the thing I’d be able to find laying around in the public domain. This meant hiring an artist, which is something that my tiny budget doesn’t let me do a lot of. So, I mulled.

While mulling, I read through MurderHobos from Brent P. Newhall’s Musaeum. (Mini-review: MurderHobos is exactly what it says it is, namely “a simple OSR game that hews closely to d20 mechanics. The stats are silly, but they do make a playable game.”) I noticed the interior art had a certain, rugged Old School fantasy gaming vibe to it, so I checked the artist.

Turns out the artist is a fellow named Peter Seckler, who just happens to be one of the many people I’ve never met with whom I am friends on Facebook. A few messages later a deal was made, and a few days later I had the picture I needed:

From left to right: Aquatic Elf, Triton, Bahar, Merman, Naiad.