Dinner & Gaming & Playtesting

I decided to start hosting Dinner & Gaming nights again, doing so once a month. I like to game. I like to cook. (I even considered going to a culinary arts school until I figured out I have anosmia.) So, I fixed taco salad, got a couple bottles of sangria, and broke out the Swords & Wizardry, In Search of the Unknown, and a couple copies of my WIP Optional Skill Resolution Rules.

With only two players in attendance, I was flexible with class and race combinations. Alex made up Brother Zaphod, an Elf Cleric/Magic-User who had been raised by weasels in the woods. I imagine them to have been giant weasels. Christopher made up Weeble Kneecracker, a Halfling Fighter/Thief who is also a skilled chef and a pariah from polite Halfling society. This stalwart pair of rookie heroes hired two men-at-arms and a torchbearer: Maximilio, Baldrick, and Leofrick.

The party traveled north into the hilly woodlands between the frontier village and the realm of the hated barbarians. After some traveling and searching, they found the entrance to Quasqueton. Weeble picked the lock on the door, and the group moved into the hallway beyond. They were startled by magical mouths that pronounced a grim warning.

Weeble crept forward, searching for traps. He determined there were none, but his intense concentration led to him being surprised by a pair of ghouls. Weeble was clawed and paralyzed.

The hirelings and Brother Zaphod battled the ghouls, killing them. Brother Zaphod suffered a moderate injury in the process.

Skill checks using my OSR2 system were made to convince the hirelings to work for free in exchange for spiritual betterment, to open the locked door, to search for traps, and to determine the weaknesses of ghouls. Based on this brief session of actual gaming, I think the system works pretty well, although I did leave out one detail regarding the characters’ starting skills, which I’ll have to amend next time we play S&W.

July 24th, 2014  in Product Development, RPG 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.

The Six-Sword Box

If you’ve not supported Matt Jackson’s Wounded Warrior Project fundraiser, please do so. As previously posted, sales from my OSR PDFs go to support this worthwhile project. Item descriptions and discounts for those PDFs are in this PDF. Wheels within wheels!

If you’ve not watched Steven Chow’s Journey to the West, you should. It’s a hoot. Certainly right up there with Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle. Journey currently streams on Netflix.

Today’s magic item was entirely inspired by Show Luo’s performance as Prince Important in Journey.

Six-Sword Box

The fabled Six-Sword Box appears to be a finely crafted, lovingly lacquered box of the sort often used by ladies to hold jewelry. Instead of such baubles, the box holds six miniature swords, each carved from hardwood. With a flick of the wrist and a sung command, the box’s holder can set the miniature swords to flying, at which time they transform into full-sized weapons forged from the finest steel. The swords race through the air, turning and flying as directed by the box’s holder, who must maintain line of sight on the swords for them to continue functioning. When a sword draws blood, it returns to the box and reverts to its original wooden form. The Six-Sword Box functions once per day.

Barbarians of Lemuria

Each round, the box’s holder directs the swords and makes 1d6 attacks against visible targets. These attacks are modified by the holder’s Mind. A flying sword does 1d6+2 points of damage with a successful attack. Once the box’s holder has made six successful attacks, the Six-Sword Box ceases to function until the next day.

Dungeon World

Whenever you unleash the Six-Sword Box’s swords, roll+WIS. *On a 10+, you succeed with 1d6 attacks against visible targets with each attack inflicting 1d8 points of damage. *On a 7-9, you succeed with one successful attack against a visible target, inflicting 1d8 points of damage. The Six-Sword Box can make six successful attacks in a single day.

Swords & Wizardry

Each round, the box’s holder directs the swords and makes 1d6 attacks against visible targets. The swords fly with a speed of 36, and they attack as monsters with 6 Hit Dice, inflicting 1d8 points of damage with a successful attack roll. When a sword succeeds with an attack, it flies back to the box, reverting to its original wooden form.

July 21st, 2014  in RPG No Comments »

The Wounded Warrior Project

As I’ve blogged about a couple of times, Matt Jackson, career enlisted man and gamer and mapper extraordinaire, has been raising funds for the Wounded Warrior Project. His efforts under the title Maps for Heroes reflect both the best of both military tradition and of our disparate, often cantankerous community of gamers.

I served eight years in the U.S. Army. But for the grace of God, I could’ve ended up a wounded warrior, especially if I’d decided to make the military a career, which was a serious consideration until I decided on taking my honorable discharge and getting into teaching. However much I do to help others, I can always do more.

So, here’s some more. From now until the time Matt reaches his $1000 goal, 100% of the sales from these four OSR PDFs goes to Maps for Heroes: The Quid Novi? Collection, That’s a Goblin!?, Rantz’s Fair Multitude, and Rewarding Roleplaying. At this link is a PDF with more information about these titles as well as links to discounts for each of them. The codes never expire. Use them. Share them with your friends.


July 19th, 2014  in RPG 1 Comment »

Friday Fun with Matt Jackson

Over on G+ today, Matt Jackson posted a pic of a little map with these words: “Let’s have some fun today. I made a map, let’s stock it! Write a short adventure for whatever system you prefer.”

I figured, Why not?

While you check out my small contribution to the fun, consider making a contribution of your own to Matt Jackson’s Wounded Warrior Project fundraiser. Speaking as both a gamer and a veteran, Matt’s fundraiser is double good.

Huah!, and welcome to Ean Illiam’s Cavern Stores!

Ean Illiam, ancient but spry merchant, set up shop more than a decade ago in a group of caves about a day’s ride outside the village. Rumor says Ean served the former king as a soldier. Or as an assassin, or maybe a warpriest. Such is the way of rumors. Ean himself denies these rumors with a wink and a toothless grin.

Whatever the truth, Ean offers quality goods for a reasonable price. He regularly receives shipments of common weapons, armor, and dungeon gear. Shoppers can almost always find whatever they need from these categories. If a trusted customer knows how to ask, Ean also supplies poisons. Services offered by Ean and his staff are more limited. Herman Aleš, a talented blacksmith, works for Ean, as does Mojca Marica, a chirugeon. A hot meal and ale can almost always be had, although Ean isn’t running a tavern, so don’t expect anything too fancy. Surely, stories about Ean arranging murders for hire cannot be true. Can they?

1. Entrance: Carved stairs lead up into the stony hillside. Ean almost always has a few guards on duty in or around this area. These guards often have well-trained mastiffs on hand to help emphasize the importance of behaving. Lanterns hung from hooks twisted into the ceiling provide light throughout Ean’s caves. Those who look before heading in may notice smoke billowing out from natural chimneys higher up the hillside.

2. Front Stores: Ean greets customers here. Shelves built along the walls display Ean’s more common goods. Clerks assist with the sales, and one doesn’t need to be alert to spot a guard or two keeping keen eyes on visitors. Sturdy tables and chairs are set up down the center of the cave, and a hollowed out section of wall serves as a cooking pit. A simple stew is almost always kept bubbling above the fire.

Ean Illiam
Devious, Hoarder, Intelligent, Organized, Solitary
Cudgel (b[2d8] damage)
12 HP
0 Armor
Instinct: To strike a deal

* Call for help
* Deal like a devil
* Move with remarkable speed

3. Rear Stores: Lesson common and more expensive goods occupy the shelves. A heavy curtain is drawn across the exits to the north up the stairs and to the south into the private stores. There might be guards behind those curtains.

4. Stairs Up: If asked, Ean or his staff say that the stairs up lead to private rooms off-limits to visitors.

5. Private Stores: Ean’s most exotic and expensive goods are kept in this cave, and access is granted to only his most valued customers. Mojca has a small clinic area set up in this cave.

Mojca Marica
Intelligent, Magical, Organized, Solitary, Stealthy
Scalpel (w[2d8] damage)
12 HP
0 Armor
Instinct: To heal

* Alert the guards
* Apply the healing arts
* Deceive the senses

6. The Forge: The heat and noise from this area spread through Ean’s caves. Herman Aleš labors here with hammer and tongs, assisted by surly apprentices.

Herman Aleš
Intelligent, Solitary
Hammer (1d10+2 damage)
12 HP
2 Armor
Close, Forceful
Instinct: To forge

* Grip like steel
* Look for imperfections
* Work metal

7. Rippling Waters: Is this is a spring? To where do the cool, clear waters flow?

July 18th, 2014  in RPG 1 Comment »