Category Archives: Adventures in Gaming

Sometimes we get together and play an RPG.

The World of Skarynth is released

This is how bad I am at self promotion. I forgot to post here. Well, it’s been a couple of years since I released anything and here it is.

That’s right. It’s finally released after years of messing around and months of editing and hesitating I finally pulled the trigger. Check it out on DrivethruRPG. You’ll need the core book and the addendum to Sharp Swords and Sinister Spells. Depending on the reception, I may do a hardcopy via Lulu. And oh yeah. Did I mention? It’s PWYW.
Enjoy!

Return to New Bay City Part 1

So I’m slowing digging through my old notes and I’m relying on memory and what few I’ve found. I know the complete is somewhere on one of the old hard drives.
So to catch up every one up in case they aren’t usual readers of the old blog. First Old Skull Publishing just finished up a successful Kickstarter for Dark Streets & Darker Secrets. This would be Diogo Nogueira’s own little game of monster hunting using his game hack that used for Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells and Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells. This of course got me thinking again about New Bay City.
So New Bay City is my own little urban fantasy setting. It’s located somewhere in east Texas. It’s sort of like the odd love child of Houston and New Orleans with some other inspiration thrown in there. I’ve ran games in this city twice before. The first time was with World of Darkness. And then again with the Dresden Files RPG. To be honest, each game had it’s good points but neither just quite did it for me. So along comes Dark Streets & Darker Secrets. Now, I’ve ran Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells and loved it. And as a quick update. Yes, the setting I’m working on for that will be published soon. I know I’m working really slowly on it. Real life can suck sometimes. But enough about that. More about the game.
So I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on the rules and the directions I want to go with it and like I said before the system is easy and a blast to play. So here I am beginning to convert all that old stuff and this is your first installment. Now, remember this is still very much a work in progress and I’m gathering old notes from the Dresden Files version. So you may see some familiar aspects. (Get it?) My plan is to alternate between doing campaign fluff pieces like this and crunchy house rules stuff.
So here you the first batch of notes on Return To New Bay City

Dark Streets & Darker Secrets: Returning to New Bay City

Well, it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Old Skull Publishing’s games. I’m working on a couple of things for Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells and Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells. Well, the newest game Dark Streets & Darker Secrets is running on Kickstarter with three days left. It’s a quick Kickstarter with a planned quick fulfillment. That’s because the text is already done. So check it out and back it if you want.

I ranted during the most recent episode about “The Next Campaign”. Well, this week I’ve some more time to think and go down a couple of Internet wormholes and digging through depths of the hard drive and then dark places of “The Closet” to find all my own notes for New Bay City. New Bay City is my own urban fantasy setting. It’s a fictional city on the Texas Gulf Coast that’s sort of a combination of Houston, New Orleans and Sunnydale. I’ve done two full blown campaigns there. One with World of Darkness and then with the Dresden Files RPG. I also did a couple of one shots. A rather ill fated attempt to use the Hero System and another Savage Worlds using some reskinned East Texas University stuff. So yeah. I know the place and it evolves to match whatever game system that I happen to use.
So it’s time to start reskinning and doing some little rules tweaks. So stay tuned for that. Possibly some new Archetypes. Maybe? A few other little things. Right now they’re bouncing around inside my head. Those posts are coming as the ideas come together. But right now. Check out the Kickstarter. I mean damn you even to read the rules before you back it. How cool is that?

Some Inspiration for Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells


I’ve my hard copy for over a week and well the inspirational thoughts are bouncing around inside my head again. Some of you may remember my earlier rants on doing a gonzo space opera game and I did run it for a while with Savage Worlds. But now I’m thinking about how cool it would be to revisit that universe using Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells. More about that much later. There’s way too many things bouncing around inside my head. Instead the bulk of this post is throwing out there a couple of things that really inspired my for the campaign and hopefully might inspire you too.

First and foremost, a favorite of mine is Farscape. Lets’ see you’ve got humor. Crazy weird aliens like crazy. A big wild universe. I won’t go through the whole background, setting and so forth. If you’re reading this then you’ve got Internet access. How ever if you’ve never seen Farscape, give it watch. If you’re short on time, may I suggest watching the pilot episode to get the general idea then follow up (and skip a lot) and watch the three parter, Liars, Guns and Money. They rob a bank. And you’ll probably go down a Farscape wormhole. No pun intended.

The second also aired on the SciFi Channel (when it was called that). And that’s The Lexx. Now The Lexx was much weirder. Heck one of the main characters was an undead poet assassin. NO really. It had a real Heavy Metal mag vibe. Heck, you’ve got villains named the Divine Shadow, a Bio-Vizer, and Gigashadow. Once again it’s a crew of misfits on a really big ship. While it is inspirational, the overall plot can be a bit difficult to follow. Like I said before, I won’t go into the whole universe here.
And to wrap thus up I’ll pull up a couple of old collages. May this inspire you!

and

Return to Zoong. At faster than I thought.

So I thought I had about six to prep for my upcoming Labyrinth Lord campaign (starting off with Keep on the Borderlands). Now it looks like I may be starting as early as this Thursday. So it’s time to into overdrive and get the necessities done.

First up. The campaign area/”world” map. For this whole campaign, I want everything to feel as much as possible like back in the day. So it was time break out the colored pencils. I grabbed the hex paper from incompetech. I don’t remember where I found those icons so many years ago and started filing stuff in.
I had also planned on typing out all my old notes and making the all pretty. That plan is down the drain. So we’re going really old school. Scribbled a bunch down in a composition notebook and will fill in as need be and as inspiration hits.
I was going to do a custom character sheet. And I still might. But in the mean time, I’ve made this very simple and handy spell cheat sheet so players don’t have to refer back to a book every time they cast a spell. Spell Cheat Sheet
And I was going to be do more thinking about some old house rules but I’ll throw them out here:
God Call: Characters can call on their god for aid whenever they want (even after death). The chance that the god intervenes starts a t 5%. Every time the character levels up this increases by 1%. Every time a god call is attempted the chance decreases by 1%. But there’s a downside and that Wrath. This starts at 100%. Every time a God Call is attempted this increases 1%. So first time. 100; second, 99-100; third, 97-100 and so on. Wrath is when the god is had their fill of the character’s pleas and will kill them outright or if they’re already dead; it’s no happy after life and there’s a good chance a divine heavy is going to claim all of that charcter’s gear. To be clear, it’s one percentile roll. Low good things happen. High, bad things happen.
I’m still playing around with some ideas on dealing with undead level drain but I’ll get to that later.
Enjoy!

And The Players Have Spoken. Labyrinth Lord It Is


I talked last week with the players in our little group and they decided they wanted to totally old school and go with Labyrinth Lord! So here’s a bit of a rambling post about what I need to do, some thoughts on the new Advanced Labyrinth Lord book, and other stuff! Yeah I got the Orcus cover because Orcus.
First up some thoughts on the book itself. Glen “Old Man Grognard” Halstrom reviewed on his Youtube channel and it’s pretty spot on. Now there is one thing about it that kind of bugs me. And that’s the spell section. The most minor beef that I have is that the spell list is at the end of the spell chapter. I know that’s minor but hey it just makes a little more sense to me to have at the beginning. Another and more annoying thing is the layout of it. OK, spells are alphabetical by class. No problem. But if you open up the book in the middle of the spell chapter, it’s hard to figure out where you are in the spell lists. Am I looking at Illusionist or Magic-User spells? There is a header at the beginning of each section but I don’t think that it stands out enough if you’re quickly flipping through the book looking for a spell. Which is one of the many reasons that I grabbed up a hard copy of Necrotic Gnome’s B/X Essentials Magic-User and Cleric Spells. BTW, I got the monster book too.
So what else do have to do? Well, I need to tweak my White Box House rules and make them more in line with Labyrinth Lord plus pull a couple of other things from other games like Swords & Wizardry. I happen to like the Swords & Wizardry two-weapon fighting rules better along with a little tweak to those. Don’t worry you’ll see these posted here when I get them done. I’m going to pull some of the classes from James Spahn’s Class Compendium. I’m not planning on doing race as class but there may be a exceptions for really odd races or unique racial classes. Still working on that list too. And James West’s Black Pudding is just awesome for so many things.
And speaking of classes, I want to home brew a couple. I’ve got soft spot for bards and an odd fascination with barbarians. I’ve got various versions of each and none quite did it for me. Doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them or that they didn’t emulate former versions of the classes. I just have a different idea in my head. So there’s another thing you have to look forward to.
I’m starting them off with Keep on the Borderlands but I want to spruce it up a bit and throw in some extra encounter areas from other small adventures that I’ve collected over the years. Additionally, I need to get off my butt and flesh out my world of Zoong out more. The good news is that I found my ancient notes form many years ago at the bottom of box. So there’s a bunch of nearly forgotten old stuff that I’m going to mix in with the new. Once more blog fodder, folks. Stay tuned for that.
And there’s a host of other little things that I want dust off and/or improve. Like finally getting around to clearing out and organizing my gaming bag.

Along with that I just have to bring my little box of index card wonders. I just love this box.

Of course, I still have to put together my GM Screen and Notebook. So yeah. Dozens of little projects to get done. And before any one asks, we haven’t really decided on when we are starting so I need to get to work on this along with all other projects on my plate.

Skarynth For Sharps Swords & Sinister Spells Part 2: Races

It’s been a while since I did an update and the play test goes on. I’ve got my scribbled notes on the print outs and things keep changing. And that’s why I haven’t put too many crunchy bits in these posts. But this post I want to talk to talk about races. This isn’t to be confused with cultures that I posted about last time.
By races, I mean in the traditional fantasy RPG sense. But since this more Sword & Sorcery, I didn’t go with any of the standard one(elf, dwarf, or halfling). These races are specific to the world but as always, the GM can do what they want. Another different twist that I took, was that all of the “non-human” races were one human. Some turn of events changed them forever.
Another thing I wanted to do is keep them in line with the philosophy of Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells. So it will be up to the game master to decided if they want to do the races as a Vocation or an Archetype or even use the multi-Archetype rules from the Addendum (which one of the play testers is having a blast with).
So onto the Races:
Beast Kin: In ancient times, a primitive tribe dare defy the will of the gods. The gods cursed the tribe to be half-man and half-beast. Beast Kin have a feral beast-like appearance. Some many even have feline, canine, ursine, or simian features. They are still defiant and strong-willed mixed with the cunning natural instincts and senses.
Lemurians: There is a legend that an alien eldritch race were stranded on the world. This race interbreed with a local tribe and gave rise to the Lemurians. The chaos and corruption of magic flows through their blood. They can attempt to manipulate and bend to their will magic that is cast against them. They can easily sense the presence of magic and can occasionally see through illusions or invisibility. Lemurians are humanoids with oddly colored skin, hair, and/or eyes. They often have other worldly features. Most have two to four tentacles. (Yep. Tentacles.)
Tuatarans: When mankind still lived in caves and barely understood fire, the Serpent Folk ruled the world. The Serpent Folk used the primitive humans as slaves and their Lizard Man army to enforce their rule. Then a plague struck the Serpentine Empire. It killed many of the Serpent Folk and worse yet it drove the disciplined Lizard Man legions into primitive savages hell-bent on destruction. In a desperate attempt to save their empire, Serpent Folk sorcerers performed vile arcane experiments on humans in order to create a better and plague resistant army. Unfortunately, it made things worse. While the resulting hybrids were resistant to disease, they also had independent spirit of the humans. Tuatrans have human features (and usually dark or black hair) with reptilian skin and eyes. A few even have forked tongues and/or tails. Tuatrans heal quickly and are resistant to poison and disease. As a side effect of their arcane origin, many can consume the life force of the dying to heal themselves.
So there you go. An overview of the nonhuman races. Next up will be a little rant about some new Archetypes. Man. I so want to call them classes. And like I said, everything is still in play test to the actual crunchy bits are in still in flux and changing every couple of weeks.