Posts Tagged ‘ Swords & Wizardry ’

Bellicose Sisters of St. Sebastian

The Bellicose Sisters of Saint Sebastian live in well-fortified abbeys wherein they practice the arts of war in addition to devoting their time to prayer and service to the poor and the orphaned.

When the first packs of varulfs invaded the Commonwealth’s northern frontiers, the Papal Legate’s soldiers proved barely adequate to the task of repelling the lycanthropic threat. Saint Sebastian of Narbonne appeared to Abbatissa Elisabet via locution. The martyr pulled an arrow from his body and fired it at a charging varulf, piercing its heart and killing it instantly. He then handed his bow to Elisabet, at which time she awoke from the vision intent on forming a martial order of nuns to protect the Commonwealth’s marches.

At first, the Papal Legate opposed Elisabet, but after several years of prayer and penance, her request was granted by Pope Hadrian IX. The first company of Bellicose Sisters established an abbey at Haguenau. Within a year, the nuns met a varulf company near the banks of La Moder. The bloodshed was horrific. Most of the nuns died, but the varulf company met with total annihilation. The order’s fame spread, and young women rushed to join the Bellicose Sisters.

Today, the Bellicose Sisters command nearly a dozen fortified abbeys, and they number in the hundreds. Varulf packs still hunt the frontiers, but the ravaging packs that once threatened entire communities have been either destroyed or driven back into the savage wilderness beyond the Commonwealth’s reach.

The stats below are for the Bellicose Sisters’ rank-and-file. Senior nuns have more Hit Dice and cast Cleric spells.

Bellicose Sister of St. Sebastian: HD 2+2; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 melee weapon (1d6), or 2 arrows (1d6); Move 12; Save 16; AL L; CL/XP 3/60; Special: +2 saving throws against paralysis and poisoned, blessed arrows

Blessed Arrows: Against the forces of Chaos, a Bellicose Sister’s arrows are especially effective. Treat a Bellicose Sister’s missiles as +1 arrows, modifying attack rolls and damage appropriately. Against Chaotic lycanthropes, a Bellicose Sister’s arrows also inflict double damage.

August 22nd, 2015  in RPG No Comments »

Death Shuffles on Two Feet

One of the great things about Swords & Wizardry (and the original fantasy RPGs that inspire it) is the lack of pages and pages of detailed rules about how monsters function and are built. S&W embraces my favorite paradigm, which is that the rules for the players and their characters are not the same rules for Referees and their characters.

This paradigm facilitates introducing new monsters and variations of old monsters to adventures. The players probably know the stats for, say, a zombie. They’re right there in the book and are available on-line. What the players don’t know, however, is that this time the zombies their characters face should be handled with a little bit more care.

The Walking Dead

Zombies are mindless creatures. Their origins are uncertain. Some blame evil magic commanded by necromancers. Others hold a disease responsible. Another theory posits that Hell is full, and the souls of the damned are being released to make room. Whatever the truth, zombies pose a serious threat to any community.

A zombie attacks by grabbing, twisting, and tearing at flesh. If both hands hit a single victim, the zombie grabs hold and attempts to bite, requiring an attack roll with a +2 bonus and inflicting 1d4+1 points of damage if successful. Anyone bit by a zombie must make a saving throw to avoid suffering 2d4 points of damage per round until dead as flesh begins to corrupt, starting at the wound and spreading out from there. One who dies from a zombie’s bite rises as a new zombie 1d6 rounds later.

Zombies are most often unarmored, but they are typically encountered wearing whatever they wore at the moment of death.

Zombie: HD 2; AC 9 [10]; Atk 2 strikes (1d4); Move 6; Save 16; AL N; CL/XP 3/60; Special: deadly bite, grab (open doors check to break grapple), undead.

August 15th, 2015  in RPG No Comments »

The Barabashka

Meet the barabashka, a horrible poltergeist, just one of the monsters you might have the misfortune to meet while exploring a ghost-haunted ruin in the world of Buyan.

Anger, remorse, guilt. Some emotions live on after death, coalescing into an invisible, malevolent entity. It lashes out, hurling objects and creatures with destructive force. Invisible, incorporeal, and vicious, a barabashka seeks to harm those who trespass on its haunt.

For Dungeon World

Solitary, Terrifying
Telekinetic force (d8 damage)
20 HP, 0 Armor; Close, Near, Reach
Special Qualities: Incorporeal, Invisible to Normal Sight

Instinct: To drive away

* Fool the senses
* Throw something
* Unleash a whirlwind of destruction

For Fate Accelerated Edition

High Concept: Incorporeal, Invisible Malevolent Entity of Telekinetic Force
Trouble: Driven by Powerful Emotions
Other Aspects: My Illusions Terrify, No One Trespasses on My Haunt

Approaches: Careful – Mediocre (+0), Clever – Average (+1), Flashy – Average (+1), Forceful – Good (+3), Quick – Fair (+2), Stealthy – Fair (+2)

Stunts:
* Boo!: Because I create terrifying illusions, I gain a +2 to Cleverly create advantages related to fear.

* Unleash My Fury: Because I can hurl objects and creatures, I gain a +2 to Forcefully attack by throwing something or someone.

For Mini Six Bare Bones Edition

Scale: 0

Might: 0D
Agility: 3D+2
Wit: 4D
Charm: 2D+2

Skills: Brawling 5D+2, Dodge 4D+1, Illusions 8D, Stealth 5D, Throwing 4D+1
Perks: Illusions (as the spell), Incorporeal (cannot be harmed by normal weapons, uses Wit in place of Might); Invisible to Normal Sight
Static: Block 17, Dodge 13, Soak 12

For Swords & Wizardry

HD 6+6; AC 1 [18]; Atks 0; SV 11; Special incorporeal (immune to non-magic weapons), invisible, telekinesis, undead; MV 15 (flying); AL C; CL/XP 10/1,400

Telekinesis: Once per round, a barabashka can lift and throw up to 360 pounds of objects or creatures with a range of 120 feet. It can hurl a single 360 pound object or creature up to 10 feet. Damage inflicted by such throwing is up to the Referee, but about 1d6 per 10 feet thrown or about 1d6 per 30 pounds seems fair. Saving throws may apply, which could negate or reduce effects.

August 3rd, 2015  in Product Development No Comments »

A Ghost-Haunted Ruin Test Drive

I take my rough-draft drop table for a ghost-haunted ruin out for a test drive. The red die’s location determines the creature(s) encountered.

First Drop: A barabashka, which is a type of poltergeist. This ghost is lost in grief when encountered.

Second Drop: Two ghouls out hunting for a meal.

Third Drop: A wight, which is communing with evil.

Fourth Drop: A lunatic, drive mad by voices from beyond, who is motivated by an urge to share some mad insight.

Fifth Drop: Six skeletons and two zombies.

During the test drive, I noticed a typo. Have to fix that. I also want the skeletons and zombies space to be bigger. That should be easy enough with some creative formatting. All in all, I think I like this table.

The next challenge is adapting it for use with Fate Dice. Since Fate Dice yield only -1, 0, or +1, that’s going to take some tweaking, but it should be doable. Then, of course, I need to come up with stats for the monsters for game systems where those stats don’t already exist. That mainly applies to Fate Accelerated Edition.

For other systems, such as Swords & Wizardry, I’d like to come up with some “Referee’s Options” for monsters, such as ghouls that can change shape like doppelgangers, an example of which appears at the end of this post.

Long story short: The next free Buyan-oriented PDF I release requires a bit more work. Busy, busy, but at least I’m staying out of trouble.

Dvyonik

Dvyoniks are pack-hunting undead corpse eaters. They are immune, like most undead, to charms and sleep spells. Perhaps the most dangerous feature of these horrid, cunning creatures is their paralyzing touch. Any hit from a dvyonik requires a saving throw or the victim becomes paralyzed for 3d6 turns.

What’s more, a dvyonik can change its form to resemble the physical appearance (including clothing and gear) of any person. Dvyoniks are considered magic resistant for purposes such as breaking through wizard locks and similar spells. They have a very good saving throw against magic of all kinds.

HD 3; AC 6 [13]; Atk 2 claws (1d6), 1 bite (1d4); Move 9; Save 14 (5 vs. magic); AL C; CL/XP 5/240; Special: immunities, mimics shape, paralyzing touch, undead

July 31st, 2015  in Product Development No Comments »

Koschei the Deathless

In my last post, I introduced Buyan, a magical island found in Slavic and Russian folktales and myths. Today, we meet Koschei the Deathless. If you’d like to read a tale featuring this villain, here’s a link to a PDF of “The Death of Koschei the Deathless” taken from The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang.

So tall he towers over the tallest men, emaciated yet vigorous, unkempt hair and beard grown into ragged and long strands, completely naked. Koschei the Deathless, sorceror and kidnapper, lives in a decaying fortress lost within a rugged highland forest. From this lair, Koschei rides out mounted on his remarkable steed, one of Baba Yaga’s magical horses given to Koschei by that monstrous witch. Koschei abducts women, especially the wives of aristocrats. He locks them up in his fortress’s dungeons, guarded by frost giants and winter wolves, often for no reason other than to enjoy slaughtering those who come to rescue the ladies.

Only Koschei’s deathlessness overshadows his legendary wrath and cruelty. In ages past, Koschei took his soul and hid it within a needle. He put the needle inside an egg. A duck carries this egg in its body, and, in turn, a white-furred hare holds within its body the duck. Koschei locked the hare inside a sturdy chest constructed from iron, crystal, and gold. He buried the chest beneath the roots of an oak tree that grows in Buyan’s forested wilderness. As long as Koschei’s soul remains protected, Koschei cannot die. No force mundane or magical can kill him.

Anyone fortunate enough to locate the oak tree, dig up the chest, and open the container must still contend with the hare, which then races away, seeking to evade capture. If pursuers catch and kill the hare, the duck bursts forth and flies away. Should the duck be caught and killed, the hunter can extract the egg and use it to control Koschei, who sickens and loses his great strength and his sorcerous powers. Cracking the egg open to get the needle breaks this control and restores Koschei’s might, but breaking the needle instantly slays the villain.

Koschei’s steed, which he addresses only with various insults such as “jade” and “nag”, has magical powers. It gallops faster than any mortal horse, and it speaks several languages. It tracks victims for Koschei with its remarkable sense of smell, and no one has ever thrown the horse off their trail. Koschei also possesses at least one amazing magic item, a normal-seeming handkerchief which, when waved three times, transforms into a strong bridge long enough to span any river or chasm. Once Koschei crosses the bridge, it reverts to a handkerchief.

This link takes you to a PDF containing game stats for Koschei the Deathless, making this miscreant usable for Dungeon World, Fate Accelerated Edition, Mini Six Bare Bones Edition, and Swords & Wizardy. Koschei’s stats for Barbarians of Lemuria appear below. Huzzah.

Koschei the Deathless
Attributes: Strength 4, Agility 0, Mind 3, Appeal 0; Brawl 2, Melee 3, Missile 2, Defence 0
Careers: Gaoler 2, Hunter 1, Scholar 1, Sorcerer 3
Lifeblood: 12
Protection: 0 (no armor)
Weapons: Scimitar d6+6
Special: Koschei is deathless as long as his needle is intact. He ignores all damage to Lifeblood.

Koschei’s Horse
Attributes: Strength 3, Agility 1, Mind 2
Offence: Attack with hooves +2; d6 damage
Defence: 2
Protection: d3-1 (tough hide)
Lifeblood: 20
Special: Koschei’s horse speaks several languages. Its swiftness is legendary. It can accurately track a target via scent.

July 26th, 2015  in Product Development, RPG 2 Comments »