Posts Tagged ‘ Swords & Wizardry ’

Blessed Relics

See 1 Kings 17:10-16 and Mark 12:41-44.

Stories about a wandering prophet tell us that some time ago in a foreign land during a time of famine there lived a widow with only one son. The prophet arrived at the widow’s home one day, and local customs regarding hospitality required the widow to feed the prophet. When she complained that she had only enough food for her and her son to have one final meal. The prophet told her to prepare a meal for him, and that afterward she would never go hungry. The widow did so, and after that her jar of meal never went empty.

Jar of Zarephath This plain earthenware jar, kept in a grand temple in an important city, serves as the city’s protection against famine. The priests regularly distribute meal from the jar to the city’s poor and abandoned, giving each person a day’s worth of meal. No matter how often this is done, the jar is never empty. In times of famine or siege, the jar helps ensure a modest diet for the city’s inhabitants. Usable By: Lawful only.

Later stories of another wandering prophet speak of an impoverished widow who gave all of her money, amounting to only two of the smallest of the coins of the realm, to the city’s temple as an offering. The rich and haughty who witnessed this felt inclined toward scorn at the widow’s pitiful offering, but the wandering prophet defended her, saying she gave all she had rather than only a portion of what she could spare.

The Widow’s Mites These two coins appear to be nothing more than common copper pieces, but they hold a powerful blessing. Their possessor can call upon this blessing in a time of trouble or danger. After doing so, the possessor will succeed at his next attack roll, saving throw, or other action so long as that action is done for the benefit of another, even if this means the possessor puts himself in harm’s way (such as by leaping in front of a Lightning Bolt, et cetera). After the blessing is called upon, the coins vanish, seeking out the next worthy person to benefit. Usable By: Lawful only.

November 9th, 2015  in RPG No Comments »

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)

* 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.


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 »