Frog God Games is doing a series of Indiegogo campaigns for short print run adventures. Now I haven’t backed all of them but I did back this one and it’s pretty cool.
Like I’ve said before it’s tough to rant about an adventure without spoilers but I shall attempt to do my best and note I’m going off the Swords & Wizardry version.
Encephalon Gorgers on the Moon is for 7th to 8th Level characters. There’s a good mix of things for the characters to do. It’s not really big enough to really call it a hex crawl more of an exploration of a couple of areas. The basic hook is that strange things are happening deep in the forest and the characters are supposed to find out why. There’s a few suggestions for getting them involved. It’s one of those things that shouldn’t be too hard to get the characters interested. So yep there’s some investigations for the PC’s to do too which also means some interaction some NPC’s. So the investigation and exploration aren’t too hard. They’d just have to follow bread crumbs. It’s not really that challenging but could be fun. That’s the very basics of it.
The tone of the adventure is where it gets interesting. It’s weird in that old pulp fantasy way without relying on the shock and ewe factor to make interesting. Heck, one of the mysteries is “What’s up with all the cats?” Let’s face it if there’s a Druid in the party, animal based mysteries aren’t that hard to solve. It does also have it’s share of eldritch alien monsters and their kin. This is where the characters run into the bad things. Like I said no spoilers but, just read the title again. There’s some major travel in store for the party. And that’s where things get interesting and alien. This part of the adventure has the real homage to the weird fantasy genre. Alien monsters and environments make it interesting. Now, I will admit there’s a lot of reskinning of things with tentacles that eat brains. But that’s OK. They are presented in their own way.
One of the other good things is that there’s lots of ways you can end the module. Not just beat the bad guy. Maybe you don’t. Or maybe you the party goes around exploring an alien landscape.
So yes. Overall. I’m pleased with it and am glad I back it.
You can find Encephalon Gorgers on the Moon on DrivethrRPG or on Frog God Games own site.
It’s been so long since I’ve done anything with Swords & Wizardry. While it’s been my favorite of the clones, I just haven’t had a chance to back to it. Sure I’m Labyrinth Lord now but I still miss Swords & Wizardry.
It probably has to do with the thing I have about tweaking rules and Swords & Wizardy is prefect for it. Enough crunch to cover the bases but still really flexible. And the rules aren’t built like a Jenga Tower. You know what I mean. Change one little thing and the whole game system collapses. Plus it’s easy as hell to convert all sorts of modules and resources into. Yeah, I know I’ve said all that stuff before.
But I’ve also go a hankering to do another setting. I know it’s weird. I’m already working on The City here at the blog. Don’t worry more to come on that. It’s one of those crazy things. But I want to do something more. As both an experiment and exercise. So we shall see.
It’s not I don’t have enough projects. But then I’m just whining. Oh, well. Food for thought, folks. Cross your fingers.
I have to thank Time “Gothridge Manor” Shorts for this one. He did a little review of Dice Roll Zine No and I was hooked. There’s some nice cool Old-School Stuff there. So you can check out the stuff on Drive Thru RPG. If that’s not enough, you can check out Steve C’s blog at The Boderlands. But wait there’s more. He does a podcast too. Check it all out folks.
And this week’s video.
Fun Random Stuff from DrivethruRPG
AD&D Character Sheet for Unearthed Arcana
Temple of the Harpies
I just can’t leave things alone. A couple of weeks ago, I did some tweaks to the White Box Fighter and those tweaks could be used in other Old School Type games. This time I’m going after the Thief.
White Box Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game did a great job with the Thieves and their skills. They made it one skill Thievery. But in my own little mind, I want to expand it a little more and add just a whee bit of customization.
For my variant, I decided on two skills rather than one. Thievery and Skullduggery. So what does what?
Skullduggery: Disguise, Picking Pockets, Deception, Forgery, Sleight of Hand, Streetwise. When in doubt use Skullduggery when it some to knowledge and interacting with people.
Thievery: Disable and Find Traps, Climb, Pick Locks, Stealth. Thievery is for interacting with devices and the environment.
The skills still work off the x in d6 mechanic and here’s the break down.
Level 1: 1 in 6
Levels 2 to 4: 2 in 6
Levels 5 to 7: 3 in 6
Levels 8 to 10: 4 in 6
At first level, the character chooses which one they are better at and gets a +1 to the skill. And there you go. The rest of the Thief is the same.
Well, it’s Free RPG Day this weekend. So yes this What’s Cool Wednesday is all about your FLGS. Support it. Even if they aren’t partaking in Free RPG Day. Your FLGS has a lot stacked against them. Online retailers, raising wholesale prices, and local taxes and rent. Remember that swag costs them dollars too. If you’re heading out to loot the swag, then spend a little cash while you are at it. That’s the $5 Pledge. Just spend some of your cash. Support your local, small businesses.
As a side note, I’ve noticed that there’s offering this year from Lamentations of the Flame Princess.
Just play D&D, kids.
Random Stuff at DrivethruRPG
The Withered Crag
Random Encounters Map Pack
Old School Essentials Character Sheets are released along with other goodies
Quick Start Character Race & Class Sheets: BtB
Advanced Labyrinth Lord Adventure Record Sheets
Dark Fantasy Characters
Shrine of the Wolf Maidens
First Five Fantasy Roleplaying
Last month Frog God Games ran a contest for fan reviews. I did a couple and did garner some Frog Bucks to spend. I’m still shopping. The Blight was on my list of things review and I just didn’t have the time fully delve into it. But as luck would have it, I just did have some time and dove right in and wish I had done so earlier. Now, if you’ve follow me around social media I’ve mentioned the idea of mixing The Midderlands, Tegel Manor (which I backed), and The Blight. That idea still stands. One more disclosure for this rant. This is based on the 5E version of The Blight and I’ll only be talking about the Campaign Guide. I had grabbed it and a bunch of other really cool stuff from a 5E Humble Bundle.
Let’s start of with a general overview. So what is The Blight. It’s grim/dark, horror, gritty urban campaign location, namely the City-State of Castorhage. It’s mean and cruel place and it’s big. The campaign guide places the population at about 3.8 million. That’s roughly the size of Los Angeles. Not only is the city big so is the book. It clocks in at 890 pages or so. No easy feat reading this thing in PDF form. Castorhage is physically and morally corrupt. Countless alchemical experiments and a lot of sewage have polluted the the main river. The royal family is decadent and insane. To add to this already warped setting, there’s the Between. A nightmarish dimension that can sometimes be accessed through mirrors or other reflective surfaces. And to keep with horror theme sometimes the Between just pops up in those places.
Let’s do a little run down of the book itself. Like I said, it’s huge. It starts off with the usual overview. This can be most easily summed up with the Seven Prayers of Castorhage and the Seven Unspoken Prayers of Castorhage. Basically, the rules and philosophy of the city. One for the low born and one for the powerful. For Example: Only the wise know how to use the dangerous curse of magic, and only a fool would tamper with it./M agic is power, and power in the wrong hands is folly. Only those of high caste know how to use it wisely; the lowborn who dabble with it must be taught a lesson and cleansed as an example to others.
Next up are people. Some of the more important NPC’s as well as options for player characters plus quirks, and new equipment. Then we have a GM’s section with advice and suggestions on how to run the Blight. And there’s even more material about places and people. One of the interesting things about Castorhage is that there gods and Gods. Let me explain. The gods aren’t really gods. They walk around and inhabit the city. They don’t have real religions but they do have cults. They way the are presented in the book I’d call them urban legends to place blame or find cause for any mysterious or horrible thing that might happen. For the 5E version, they really missed the boat on this one. I feel that the gods would make great warlock patrons but alas nothing was written up so GM’s would be on their own.
Then there’s a whole section on the Between. Like I mentioned a nightmare dimension that personally reminds me a bit of Lovecraft’s Dreamlands. But that just maybe me. I don’t want to say too much on this part since I feel it’s a good venue for GM’s to throw in some mystery and exploration in an otherwise urban based campaign. But it is detailed as basically it’s own world. Oh yeah and the Between can corrupt characters and so on. Nasty stuff.
Then come a huge bestiary. I’m seeing why this book is so long. All sorts of new and interesting monsters as well as some of the major NPC’s. Oddly enough, enterprising GM’s will find a few other player character options like the Undying. You’re only sort of undead.
Then there’s a very small section of inspirational random tables and then the books goes into another more detail breakdown of each of the districts of the city. There’s a ton of information and detail about these districts. It’s not as crazy as City-State of the Invincible Overlord but still there’s a lot. Almost too much for your average GM to digest and remember.
Finally, there’s an adventure path, The Levee. I don’t want to put any spoilers but looks pretty good and if you want a sneak peak of what it’s like then stop by and listen to Swords & Misery, an actual play podcast.
So what do I think? Overall, pretty god but it doesn’t mean there a few problems. First there’s a few editing errors that make the 5E conversion seem almost like an after thought. There’s a few places where the explanation of crunchy is worded more akin to the Pathfinder rules rather than 5E. Like I said before, there’s lots of information and I fell it wasn’t always presented in the most efficient fashion leading to page flipping and head scratching till find another bit of information to tie it all together. Also, some of the NPC’s have powers or abilities that are mentioned in the fluff text but not even mentioned in the stat blocks. For example, one powerful NPC “borrows” the skin of an underling when needed. Yeah. Nasty stuff. And I suppose I should mention that if you aren’t ready for a decadent, horror-filled setting then just walk away. Also, going through the setting if you are the type to doesn’t like the Cantina Scene type set up then you may just house rule the extra races and racial options out. However, I would say this, it all seems to fit without seeming forced or “let’s just make sure that any player can play whatever they want”. There may be prices and/or consequences based on the character’s race or class.
Do I still want to run it. Hell yeah. But I’ve got some thoughts on that.
5E: While the version I have of the Blight is for 5E. I just don’t feel the game as written doesn’t play well as for a horror/grim dark setting. There would have to be some house rules. Sure all the races are ready made but there’s nothing about Tieflings which fit well and would have their unique problems in the city IMHO.
Swords & Wizardry/White Box/Old School Essentials/OSR: This could be done with little or no conversion and only some minor tweaking. I know there’s a Swords & Wizardry version available but it’s so easy to convert into Swords & Wizardry. There’d me minimal house rules plus there’s is much good old school stuff out there it would be easy to find other tools that would fit. Now, I can’t mention the old school games without thinking about Lamentations of the Flame Princess. The vibe fits almost perfectly but there’d still be some tweaking. The real gem in LOTFP is the spell list which could be easily substituted for the original or vanilla lists.
Dungeon Crawl Classics: Lankhmar This already give a set up for running urban adventures with a more Sword and Sorcery flair. Conversion would be a little more difficult and then there’s the fact the magic can get really swingy. So that would be a consideration.
Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells: It’s no secret that I love this game. It’s rules light and very easy to convert into. It would work great. If you want to add non-human races then that might take a little work.
Zweihander: I admit that I haven’t played this yet but I do have the PDF. And it would work danged perfectly. It’s fits great with the tone and atmosphere of the setting. There are a couple of problems. First, it would be a pain in the butt to convert all the monsters and NPC’s. I’d also be faced with teaching the group a whole new game system.
I’ve rambled long enough on this. I haven’t brought it up the gaming group yet so we’ll see what they say. We’ll see what happens.
It’s time to start throwing around ideas for specific areas of the City and the best place to start is the Core. I like doing things with bullet points. It’s easier to reference and gets right to the point without lots of other flowery text getting in the way. Probably on the first pass, I’ll stick the main points and move onto even further detail as time goes on.
*The Spire: Lone tower that pierces the clouds. No one goes in or comes out.
*Temple of Justice: HQ of the Judges.
*Heavily Patrolled: Judges routinely watch the streets for any type of trouble.
*”Good” Temples abound.
*Monstrous races are rare and watched very closely.
*Law and Order are facade. There’s still a seedy underbelly.
I know not a long post but I’ll make up for it.