Something Like Progress

I recently finished my stab at a Bard class for Swords & Wizardy, one of several languishing projects I’ve hemmed and hawed about for too long. I’ve since dusted off Chance Encounters, a collection of monsters for the aforementioned game. Here’s a sample, including art by Butch Mappa.

Rarely, after a Chaotic Magic-User dies, especially if in life he sowed dissension through deceit and gossip, the mage’s evil takes new form as an undead sibilant corpse. The necromantic forces that animate a sibilant corpse also grant it frightening sorcerous power. Each day, a sibilant corpse may use its arcane whispers to bring into effect up to 14 levels of Magic-User spells, casting one spell this way per round. A sibilant corpse may cast Magic-User spells up to 3rd level with ease. Spells of 4th, 5th, and 6th level may be cast, but each such spell forces the sibilant corpse to make a saving throw. Failure not only means the spell is not successful, but also that the sibilant corpse takes 1 point of damage per level of the spell it attempted.

Hit Dice: 6
Armor Class: 8 [11]
Attack (Damage): Weapon (1d6)
Move: 12
Save: 11
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: 9/1,100
Special: Arcane whisper, undead

I’ve also been tooling about with a few new games, one of which is The Black Hack. If you don’t own The Black Hack, you’re wrong. Isn’t there enough wrongness in the world? Yesterday, I typed up a Monk class for The Black Hack. I think it’s a good example of how the system takes what is arguably the most complicated AD&D character class and strips it down to a few basics that can still capture the flavor and function of the original.

Monk
Starting HP: d8 + 4
HP Per Level/Resting: 1d8
Weapons & Armor: Any and None
Attack Damage: 1d6 / 1d8 Unarmed or Improvising

Special Features
A Monk has a special Usage die: Ki Powers. At 1st level, a Monk has Ki Powers d4. Whenever a Monk makes a save, he may do so with advantage by rolling his Ki Powers die as well. The Ki Powers die resets every day.

As part of his action, a Monk may make a number of additional Unarmed/Improvised attacks equal to half his level (drop fractions).

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

Every odd numbered level, step up the Ki Powers die.

July 24th, 2016  in RPG No Comments »

July X-Mas and Rongykorongs

Before we get to our new monster, please take note of X-mas in July at Spes Magna Games. Clicking the link in the previous sentence reveals the possible presents under the X-mas tree. And now for that new monster.

Rongykorongs cross into the Material World from planes of chaos and madness, realms that exist beyond the Pale, the bizarre barrier that squirms at the limits of the known universes. Rolling, thrashing masses of ropy tentacles roughly the size of a man, rongykorongs have bodies composed of nonterrene materials that almost certainly defy analysis by senses limited to a mere handful of dimensions. Thus, rongykorongs suffer minimum damage from all nonmagical effects. They are immune to cold and poison. Always hungry, rongykorongs attack with a strong bite and up to five flailing tentacles covered with writhing barbs. The barbs exude a powerful paralytic toxin that lasts for 2d6 minutes with a failed saving throw. While paralyzed, the victim experiences horrifying visions of the rongykorong’s native environs. A rongykorong’s senses of hearing, sight, and smell ignore mundane barriers.

Rongykorong
Hit Dice: 3+1
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Attacks: Bite (1d6), 1d6-1 tentacles (1d3 + paralysis)
Saving Throw: 14
Special: 50% magic resistance, nonterrene composition, paralysis
Move: 18
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: 7/600

July 23rd, 2016  in RPG No Comments »

A Not-Haunted House

In theory, this Sunday I’m hosting a dinner and gaming night at my house featuring hillbilly cuisine and an adventure for The Cthulhu Hack entitled The Strange Case of the Bell Witch Bootleggers. The adjacent map is my not-quite-done rendering of the first floor of the bootleggers’ home. If you click on the map, it gets bigger.

I’ve also drafted six characters for the players to choose from. You can take a gander at them by clicking here. Any unchosen characters become NPCs and probably will be among the first to go insane and/or die.

I still have to draw the house’s second floor, a small section of cave, and a map of the terrain around the house. After that, all that’s left is to flesh out some details in the adventure and fix dinner. I’m aiming for stew, maybe rabbit, maybe oxtail, with carrots and potatoes, some moonshine, either some greens or a salad, and dinner rolls. If I get really motivated, I might fix a sweet potato pie for dessert. I’ve not made a sweet potato pie in quite a while.

Of course, life being what it is, it’s starting to look like my gaming plans for the weekend are going to get pre-empted by other stuff. Say, “La vee.”

July 21st, 2016  in RPG No Comments »

Help Kaela Get Better

A friend of mine, Shadow Byrd, has a puppy named Kaela, and Kaela has parvo. For those of you not familiar with this virus, here’s a link. Short version: It’s bad, especially for puppies.

Shadow is trying to raise money through sales or donations to help with the expenses. She has a photo album of items for sale at this link. That’s a link to a Facebook album. I don’t know if you can see it if you’re not on Facebook, et cetera. The first post by Shadow under the pictures includes a list of books she’s got for sale.

I met Shadow several years ago through a local RPG club of sorts. I like Shadow. She laughs at my jokes, which perhaps indicates a lack of wisdom on her part, but no one’s perfect. Close to a decade ago, I had to have my cat Puddy put down. The circumstances were different. Puddy was just old, too old to take care of herself, too old to even eat enough to stay healthy. I didn’t have the money for a vet at the time, so I took Puddy to the SPCA and surrendered her. When I put her on the counter and the SPCA worker picked up and walked away with her, Puddy craned her neck to watch me, meowing the entire time. She was scared and, in my more maudlin moments, I think I could see accusation in her eyes.

Losing a pet can be heart-breaking. If you can help, please help Shadow take care of Kaela. If you’d like to contact Shadow, her e-mail address is at the second link above.

July 20th, 2016  in RPG No Comments »

Lean and Athirst!

More horrors for The Cthulhu Hack.

Flying Polyp

According to these scraps of information, the basis of the fear was a horrible elder race of half-polypous, utterly alien entities which had come through space from immeasurably distant universes and had dominated the earth and three other solar planets about six hundred million years ago. They were only partly material—as we understand matter—and their type of consciousness and media of perception differed wholly from those of terrestrial organisms. For example, their senses did not include that of sight; their mental world being a strange, non-visual pattern of impressions. They were, however, sufficiently material to use implements of normal matter when in cosmic areas containing it; and they required housing—albeit of a peculiar kind. Though their senses could penetrate all material barriers, their substance could not; and certain forms of electrical energy could wholly destroy them. They had the power of aërial motion despite the absence of wings or any other visible means of levitation. … Such was the fixed mood of horror that the very aspect of the creatures was left unmentioned—at no time was I able to gain a clear hint of what they looked like. There were veiled suggestions of a monstrous plasticity, and of temporary lapses of visibility, while other fragmentary whispers referred to their control and military use of great winds. Singular whistling noises, and colossal footprints made up of five circular toe-marks, seemed also to be associated with them. (The Shadow Out of Time by H. P. Lovecraft)

Hit Dice: 8
Notes: Tentacle (1d10). Windblast (1d6+1 Nearby targets must make DEX Saves to avoid 2d8 points of damage). Sucking wind (1d6+1 Distant target must make STR Saves to avoid being pulled one range category closer). Armor 4, plus invisibility. Takes minimum damage from physical weapons. Casts 1d6-1 spells.

Formless Spawn of Tsathogghua

At any rate, when the men of K’n-yan went down into N’kai’s black abyss with their great atom-power searchlights they found living things—living things that oozed along stone channels and worshipped onyx and basalt images of Tsathoggua. But they were not toads like Tsathoggua himself. Far worse—they were amorphous lumps of viscous black slime that took temporary shapes for various purposes. The explorers of K’n-yan did not pause for detailed observations, and those who escaped alive sealed the passage leading from red-litten Yoth down into the gulfs of nether horror. Then all the images of Tsathoggua in the land of K’n-yan were dissolved into the ether by disintegrating rays, and the cult was abolished forever. (The Mound by H. P. Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop)

Hit Dice: 4
Notes: 1d3 whips (2d4), or bite (1d4 plus engulf), or tentacle (1d10). Engulf (STR Save at Disadvantage to claw free; otherwise take points of damage equal to the number of Moments engulfed). Immune physical weapons, including magical weapons. Can be harmed by spells, fire, chemicals, et cetera. Casts 1d4-1 spells.

Ghoul

Rubbery flesh encrusted with earth and mold, hooved, wolf-like features, clawed fingers. Speaks in gibbers and meeps.

Hit Dice: 3
Notes: 2 claws (1d4) and a bite (1d6). Firearms do only half damage.

Hound of Tindalos

“They are lean and athirst!” he shrieked. “The Hounds of Tindalos!”

“Chalmers, shall I phone for a physician”

“A physician cannot help me now They are horrors of the soul, and yet”—he hid his face in his hands and groaned—”they are real, Frank. I saw them for a ghastly moment. For a moment I stood on the other side. I stood on the pale gray shores beyond time and space. In an awful light that was not light, in a silence that shrieked, I saw them.

“All the evil in the universe was concentrated in their lean, hungry bodies. Or had they bodies? I saw them only for a moment; I cannot be certain. But I heard them breathe. Indescribably for a moment I felt their breath upon my face. They turned toward me and I fled screaming. In a single moment I fled screaming through time. I fled down quintillions of years.” (The Hounds of Tindalos by Frank Belknap Long)

Hit Dice: 5
Notes: Paw (2d4 plus CON Save to avoid 2d4 damage from poison), or tongue (WIS Save to avoid losing 1d3 points of WIS). Armor 2, plus regenerates 4 hit points per Moment unless dead. Can fly, travel through time, and materialize through any corner. Cannot be harmed by non-magical weapons. 1d4 spells.

July 19th, 2016  in RPG 1 Comment »