Getting back into the whole blogging thing. And one of the things I like to do is go back and find really cool stuff that isn’t exactly that new or the flavor of the day. So enter Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells (and it’s Addendum).
So what is it? First it’s a low magic game that leans more towards dark sword & sorcery than your usual high fantasy. There’s no non-humans or clerics and magic is dangerous and not a sure thing. So that’s the vibe. But if really wanted to you could add those.
Mechanically, it takes a lot from Black Hack (and its Hacks) as well as 5E D&D, DCC, and Fate. So it’s a simple light game that focuses on ruling not rules and “if you don’t like then don’t use it”. Those are two things that I just love.
There’s four Abilities: Physique, Agility, Intellect, and Willpower and three classes: Warrior, Specialist, and Magic-User. It uses the basic roll under an Ability score mechanic. Vocations are akin to “High Concept” in Fate and uses Positive and Negative Dice which is similar to 5E’s Advantage/Disadvantage mechanic. And the magic system becomes a push your luck type situation with player determining how powerful the spell will be and hoping to roll enough to pull it off. So yeah. That’s the basic stuff why I like this game and think it’s cool.
Now here’s the bonus content. Or at least that’s what I’m calling it. Because even if you don’t play the game, there’s some handy resources no matter what game you’re running a GM could use. From the core book, I plan using Complications for the upcoming resurrection of my DCC game. Plus there’s a pretty cool, Adventure Idea Generator in there. The Addendum is just filled with various charts and tables handy for a GM no matter the rule set they happen to be using.
All this goodness is crammed into a couple of tiny books. the Core Book is under 46 pages (plus character sheet and OGL) and the Addendum is 87 pages. But wait there’s more. The PDF’s are PWYW. The Core Book. and for The Addendum.
I don’t often do this but shortly after I grabbed the PDF’s, I just had to have some hard copies from Lulu. After lugging around various other tomes to play other games, it nice to have such robust but light and efficient game. It’s get a big thumbs up from me.
This is part adventure and part session notes from my Mutant Crawl Classics game. I ran this a while ago while we (Kickstarter backers) were waiting on the PDF’s of the adventures to be released. So take it as you will.
King Roma is crazed plantient set on revenge against the murderous meatbags of the world. He had discovered a data cube of the Ancients and learned (misinterpreted) the dark secrets of the Ancients. They had kept plantients as food; raising them in things called farms or gardens. There were some Ancients who were so vile that they ate only plantients. These atrocities must be avenged.
The Set Up:
I ran this after the PC’s were returning to their village after going through their 0-level funnel. They found the village had been attacked and ransacked and that all of the villagers were missing. It was pretty easy for them to find the trail and start tracking the raiders.
The Monsters: Here’s the stat’s for the main monsters for this whole thing.
- King Roma: Init: +1; AC: 16; Atk: +2; DMG: 1d6+1 Action Die: 2d20; HP: 35; Saves: Fort: +4, Ref: +4, Will: +2; Special: None
- Cherry Tomato Concubines: Init: +1; AC: 11; Atk: None (See Special); DMG: None Action Die: 1d20; HP: 6; Saves: Fort: +1, Ref: +2, Will: +1; Special: Aura of Misfortune: When a character attacks or uses a Mutant Power against a Concubine or King Roma, the character must roll under their current Luck score on a d20. If successful then the action proceeds as normal. If the character fails the Luck check then it is assumed that the character rolled a Natural 1 on their attack/Mutation Check. Run with it.
- Garden Variety Goons: Init: +1; AC: 12; Atk: +1; DMG: 1d4 Action Die: 1d20; HP: 6; Saves: Fort: +0, Ref: +0, Will: +0; Special: Pack Tactics like Manimal Class.
- Beef Steak Brutes: Init: +1; AC: 12; Atk: +3; DMG: 1d8 Action Die: 1d20 or 2d16; HP: 18; Saves: Fort: +2, Ref: +2, Will: +1; Special: None
- Heirloom Shaman: Init: +1; AC: 14; Atk: +0; DMG: 1d4 Action Die: 1d20; HP: 6; Saves: Fort: +0, Ref: +2, Will: +2; Special: “Spells”: Poison Dart, 2d4 damage, DC:14 Fort Save for half damage; Ketchup Slick: DC:12 Ref Save or fall prone and needed to move; Tangle Vines: DC: 10 Ref Save to avoid, DC: 12 STR check to break free.
The Village: I just drew the map as I needed during play. There are four building in the village. I also kind of just made up the numbers of opponents based on the party.
- The Green House: Divided into two sections. One is the common room. Here are Goons, Brutes and at least one Shaman. The Nursery section contains a Nursery Bot: Init: +2; AC: 14; Atk: +0; DMG: 1d5 Action Die: 1d20; HP: 36; Saves: Fort: +4, Ref: +0, Will: +2; Special: AI Recog: 19. and a Control Panel. If the PC’s mess with the Control Panel, they release the super fertilizer toxic goo. The goo has the following effects: Any Plantients roll as if they had suffered Radburn. All others must make a DC: 14 Fort Save or suffer 1d5 damage. The toxic goo acts as Cortexin (See Museum at the End of Time) but only on plants. This animates the Baby Tomato Swarms: Each Swarm has: AC: 11; HP: 8; Saves: Fort: +0, Ref: +0, Will: +0; Special: Non Area Effect Weapons do 1 HP of damage. When a character is “attacked” by a swarm, attempt DC: 11 Ref save or take 1d3 damage.
- The Garden Shed: Here be artifacts. Vibro-Plasma Chainsaw: does 2d8 damage; uses 1d16 for initiative; increase wielder’s Fumble Die by one die step. Wonder-Gro Fertilizer: Heals Plantients of 2d4 damage; all others DC:14 Fort Save or take 2d5 damage. Golpher Grenades (crude plastic figurines of a common burrowing rodent): 3d6 damage in 20 foot radius; DC: 12 Ref Save for half damage. 3 C-Cells.
- The Smoke House: Filled with hanging smoked meat. Player A: Nope the villagers aren’t here. Player B: Uh, I think we just found the villagers. Player C: Oooh BACON! Rest of the Party: Ewww. Manimals…
- King Roma’s Hot House: This is the boss fight. King Roma, Concubines, Shaman and some Brute Bodyguards.
It’s Halloween time and that means all sorts of cheap finds. There’s the Skeleton Army that’s going around and these’ have been doing around too. I don’t remember where I saw them first. Not sure if it was Facebook or G+ but I finally found some at the local Dollar Tree. Now, interesting things. They weren’t with the rest of the Halloween stuff but with the toys. So you might need to check depending.
As you can see below, they are bigger than your standard 25mm mini’s. But then for just $1, you get 10 zombies (some appear in modern attire). two tombstones, and two zombie dogs. Not a bad. I’m starting to get a good collection of these oversized mini’s at dirt cheap prices.
Here they are pictured with some of the skeletons, some standard scale mini’s and one of the Mythic Bucket mini’s.
If you aren’t listening to the Glowburn Podcast, you should. Any last episode had mention of doing a random Wasteland Weather table. I left things like duration and some of the specific effects up to the individual judges. I know you’re smart and you can deal with it. Oh and it uses one of those funky d30’s.
A little slow on getting this one posted but here’s what I gave the player characters for mounts. They had to earn them thought.
Psychic Riding Cockroaches These large beast scurry about the wastelands in small herds of 3d6 creatures. They are generally non-aggressive and tend to flee at the first sign of any danger. Legends say that the strong willed can tame the beasts and use them as mounts.
Init: +2; AC: 11; Atk: +1; DMG: 1d3 Action Die: 1d20; HP: 20; Saves: Fort: +4, Ref: +2, Will: +2
Special: For their action, a character may attempt to form a psychic bond with a cockroach and turn it into a loyal (as loyal as a cockroach can get) mount. The character must be within 3 feet of the roach and succeed on a DC: 14 Will Save. On a failure, the roach gets a free attack on the player. If the player rolls a Natural 1 then interesting things happen then a psychic resonance effect occurs. The cockroach squeals and it’s head explodes causing 1d6 damage to the character (DC 10 Reflex Save for Half Damage) Also, the character must make a DC 10 Fort Save. If the successful then the character has a splitting headache (-2 to all rolls) for the next 2d6 hours. If the Fort Save fails the following happens. If the character is a Mutant, Plantient, or Manimal then they immediately gain the Taller and Carapace mutations. If the character is a Pure Strain Human then the character is transformed into a Manimal, Subtype Cockroach.
So here’s another deal that I grabbed up last week over on Amazon as an “Add-On Item, Arena of the Planeswalkers Shadows Over Innistrad Game for only about $7. I admit I have zero interest in the game itself. But after a little Google Fu, there’s about twenty mini’s in there and for $7 I couldn’t pass it up. Sure only five of them are prepainted and they do have the larger Heroscape bases but they are still 25/28 mm scale.
You can see the larger bases above. Plus I mentioned Heroscape. Well you get a few more compatible plastic tiles, a cardboard hex map, a shiny new d20, those odd Heroscape dice, various game pieces, and three of these neat stands that would make cool flying bases.
All in all. I consider it a pretty good steal. And other games in the series are currently at massive discounts on Amazon.
I had great time this last Saturday. I stopped by the FLGS to sit in on a little demo game of Pyramid of the Lost King with its creator Johua De Santo. So what the heck is Pyramid of the Lost King? It’s a cool sandbox for OSR games. It’s specifically written for Swords & Wizardry (Man, it has been too long since I’ve done anything with S&W.) but if you been around the OSR scene for even a little bit it’s easy to convert to the system of your choice. It’s also part of the Lands of Usarm series of adventures.
So what do you get in this 100 page book? Well, quite literally a desert sandbox. You’ve got an overview of the area. A city (Basq). Adventure hooks galore. Random encounters. Some really cool monsters. Three dungeons (The Charnel Keep, Temple of the Fallen Good, and (of course) Pyramid of the Lost King) plus some mini adventures just in case the DM needs something quick.
I like to keep my rants spoiler free. But here’s what I plan doing with it. It’d be a great start in creating the yet-to-be-named southern continent on the World of Zoong (which is my go to DCC/OSR/D&D world). In my little mind, this would be prefect addition for Crypts & Things. Pyramid of the Lost King has a really good Weird Fantasy/Sword & Sorcery vibe going for it without getting so weird that it’s totally alien. Greedy scheming merchants. Caravans. Lost ruins in the desert. Raiders. Mysterious ancient relics and monuments. Cults. You’re smart. You get the idea.
Like I said, I like to keep my rants about adventures as spoiler free as possible. So I won’t go into the details of the adventures. But this does got a thumbs and place in the queue to throw some unwary adventurers.
Go ahead and check out Pyramid of the Lost King over at RPGNow.