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.
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.
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.
Yes, I’m still working/prepping for a White Box (Swords & Wizardry/Fantastic Medieval Adventures) campaign. But if you’ve been around this blog more than one then you know that I just love house rules. So I put together my Version 1 of them. Because I know I’m going to change up some the stuff in there before I start. Ideas will come up and some feedback (Hopefully) will happen. So this is very much a living document.
I’m also hacking the basic classes and putting together my own versions of the “Advanced” classes plus some others that I just think are cool. And since I’m messing with classes I’ll probably do some other races too. And do some versions of the classic spells that are from Supplement 1: Greyhawk. Chances are that will end up as a cheap PDF on RPGNow. It’s been way too long since I’ve published anything but then I’ve said that before. Sigh.
White Box House Rules Ver 1
Like I said. Changes will happen to it. And remember folks. Roll Dice. Have Fun. That’s always a house rule.
Despite all the stuff that’s distracting me. I’m still planning on a White Box game that will be heavily hacked. So let me do this little rant about the basic (or core) four classes along with some random thoughts on each.
Cleric: What’s really bugged me the most about cleric’s is their spell casting. It never made sense to me that they would pray for the spells they need later on. I’ve always imaged them as praying as they need them. I’m playing with the idea of the spontaneous prayer for spells. It just take one round/spell level. Which limits their abilities during combat but smart use just prior to encounter can save the party’s bacon. Also, there’s something we did way back when. The DM at the time let cleric’s do “God Calls” basically ask for divine intervention at a cost. I’m still brainstorming exactly how I want to do this. I’m bouncing around some ideas using a pair of d20’s and if they match good things happen. But that’s still in buried in the depths of my brain category.
Fighter: Hey, the most common class. And also the pretty much the most boring in the old games. So first, I admit that I never liked the additional attacks based against opponents with less than one HD. Meh. I’m leaning towards the “chop when you drop” sort of thing. Drop an opponent get another attack. I’ve heard rumors on the Internet that it was Dave Arneson’s house rule but that’s just an Internet rumor. I’m also thinking of adding a very simple “fighting style” type thing. Either ranged or melee and giving a +1 to-hit and damage. Not much but enough to keep the plain old fighter the best at fighting.
Magic-User: This is probably, the one that I’m going to mess with the most. First, I’m thinking about using and x in d6 mechanic based on INT for chance to learn spells. Also, to use it for spell research and may be more. Also, magic is just too safe and predictable. I don’t want something as gonzo as DCC but I do want some risk. So every time a magic-user casts a spell there’s a spell-level in d20 chance that something could go horribly wrong. I’m thinking of reducing the chance by use of special spell components or even specific types of magic items. Hey, a wizard’s staff that helps with spell casting.
Thief: So I’ll be using the Thief from White Box Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game from Seattle Hill Games. However, I think I’ll opt for two Thief Skills. The first Thievery for locks, traps, stealth and climbing. The second Skullduggery; for picking pockets, disguise, and general streetwise. So basically, Thievery is mechanical devices and the environment while Skullduggery is the social side of the underworld.
I’ll probably mess around with some additional classes too. I know I’ve talked about keeping to the basic four. But if they actually do get changed up enough, then they are worth the add. I’m also having a running internal debate on nonhuman races. I’ll probably go all crazy Cantina Scene to give the players some extra options but haven’t decided if I should run with Racial Classes or a limited selection of classes and multiclassing. I still have plenty of time to ponder and play around with that. Heck, if all this stuff turns out pretty decent I may throw it up on RPGNow as a cheap little PDF. We shall see.
Plus I need to clean up my House Rules document and redo and clean up the world stuff. So stay tuned for those posts.
That’s right Episode 22 is Live! Go ahead and give it a listen on Anchor. Of course, you can also subscribe lots of places.
In this episode, I remember that I forgot about making names in World Building series, got some call in’s, and of course The Tale of the Goblin War Cow. This is what happens when you let a crazy grognard play a goblin in 5e and let him be the brains of the operation.
Thanks for stopping by. Thanks for listening. And roll dice. Kill monsters. Take their stuff. And have fun.
Tonight is the second session of my Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells game! I didn’t write anything on the first session because it was mostly character generation and getting the player’s used to the rules. And a little bit of getting the GM used to the rules too.
Overall, a good time was had. Still kicking the tires on few house rules and new classes. The game did play a lot quicker than I thought. The deadliness was right on track. The PC’s felt threatened by even the weakest of opponents. We did notice that spell casters with crappy stats are really crappy. But such it the price of arcane power. As I’ve mentioned, this is play test and there already have been a few tweaks to the new classes and races. The spells and monsters have been good so far.
So far the PC’s were hired as caravan guards and have fought off some bandits and degenerate Trogs (a new monster coming soon!) And one PC had a midnight fling with the merchant’s wife. Now they’ve “volunteered” to go into a dungeon during a suspicious stop on the caravan’s route. Things are going to interesting.
Yeah, I know this is short post and not much on substance. I got to get back to work and do a little more prep for tonight. Don’t worry, more details will follow.
Keep those dice rolling, folks!