Category Archives: Random Bits

XP as Soul

Another little idea popped into my overcrowded head. Generally, levels/XP are considered “life force” when it come to some undead, mostly like vampires draining levels. So why not take this one step further and make it the equivalent of the value of a soul. Demons and devils are dealing in souls so there needs to be some sort “standard” for their value. And with that thought let’s take one more step further. What if a character wants to sell their soul?
Let’s get the easy part out of the way. If the character dies then there ain’t no coming back. The character’s soul is taken by the demon. Any attempt to raise dead, only creates a mindless, soulless body. The only way to work around this is offer up a soul that demon wants and generally will be worth more. Get it? The other catch. The character will only get XP for actions that advance the demon’s agenda. This is the simple way that the demon can direct and “reward” the character.
What does the character get out of it? Well, that all depends the situation. It’s one of those things that that’s nearly impossible to write anything hard and fast. But as a general rule think of a wish spell gone wrong. No matter why the character sells their soul, it will eventually end up badly.
As all the stories go about fools who sell their souls eventually, they realize they made a bad deal and want to get out of it. Like “what the character gets out of it”, this could be a bunch of role playing, haggling, or a whole adventure. For a quick and dirty solution roll 1d1000 (Yes, 1,000), if the result is less than the character’s Intelligence then the lucky twit found a loop hole.
Once again, a quick little idea that came to mind. Keep those dice a rolling.

Some Random Thoughts on Game Design

I was drinking my coffee this morning and just thinking about games. Since I’ve been throwing my own stuff out into the world, I figure I’d share some of my thoughts.
1. GM’s and players aren’t stupid. I work from the assumption that both have some idea what they are doing. They don’t need the game designer to hold their hands.
2. Simple/Light rules are better. They give both the players and the GM more wiggled room. They allow more thinking outside of the box. They allow GM’s to tweak and house rule more easily and make the game their own to better fit the style and feel of a campaign. That being said, don’t be a rules lawyer.
3. Rules that protect players from bad GM’s are an illusion. I’m probably going to some heat for this one. No rule will ever protect a player from a bad GM. If you have a problem with your GM or group then try discussing it in a rational and mature manner. If that doesn’t work, pick up dice and walk. I’ve done this on more than one occasion. I know that due to geography or work schedules this may gaming nearly impossible. But ask yourself is it worth it? There’s options for virtual table tops online or even start up your own game.
4. Adventure modules shouldn’t be fire and forget. Maybe this is why I really dislike writing adventure modules. A good module is one that you play then the GM keeps it handy for whatever reason. There should be something in it that is reusable or valuable outside of the module.
5. Not everybody likes the same thing. Here’s another that might upset someone. If you don’t like a genre or a set of rules. Fine. Then don’t play it. It’s that simple. Don’t sit around and complain. I’m not saying that there aren’t steaming piles of crap out there. See Item 1. Gamers are smart. Let other gamers be smart and make their own decisions.
So that’s it. Once again, I chant the mantra. Roll dice. Kill monsters. Take their stuff. And have fun.

The Lowly d12

d12
I have a love affair with the d12. It’s a pretty darned cool die that doesn’t get enough love. I mean come on it really should be more than the “Barbarian Die”.
Now, I’ve done my own little bits with it. One of my favorite ways to do skills for an OSR game is X in d12. Basically, mirror the skill system from Lamentations of the Flame Princess but instead of using d6’s, use d12’s for a little more range of possibilities. I also did a couple of little random charts here and there around the old blog. But it you really want to see some awesome sauce check out the Dungeon Dozen by Jason Sholtis. This mighty little book is overflowing with inspirational charts based around the d12. If you don’t believe me then check the Dungeon Dozen blog that started it off.
While this one isn’t OSR it still deserves some love and that would be Pandemonio by Rafael Chandler. He’s written some real kick ass OSR stuff but this was done before that and still kicks some ass. The whole game is based around pools of d12’s. So more love for the d12.
With that I leave you to ponder and come up with some new and interesting uses for those d12’s. They deserve to be rolled more.

Potions & Scrolls & Crafting. Meh.

potionbottle
About to put on my old grognard hat. In later editions of the World’s Most Popular Fantasy Roleplaying Game, characters could make their own potions, scrolls, and other adventuring bits. I always disliked that.
If you want to make stuff then open a shop. If you want to adventure then adventure. Sure, it’ll save some money but when it ends up being more about saving a few gold pieces and not about anything really adventurous then it’s just boring. Maybe that’s why I’ve had so many of what I consider boring times playing Traveler. So often it ended up being a game of interplanetary import/export business. And don’t even get me started on MMO’s. Sit down and play a video game to go off to an assembly line. Sigh. OK, that was today’s rant.
Have Fun. Kill Monsters. Take Their Stuff.

More Resources for White Star

Yes, White Star is awesome and it just came it out. But there’s already some pretty hand stuff that came out before White Star that you can use with it. Now this is based on my own tastes and I may not mention something. Also, this is stuff I already have so your mileage may vary.
For adventures there’s Dungeon from a Distant Star, and for X-Plorers Cleopatra Station. Speaking of X-Plorers grab it up and you could easily get some mileage out of the Alien and Robot Design.
There’s some handy class stuff in Strange Magic. Most are for fantasy campaigns but the Reverend Sisterhood is take on the Bene Gesserit from Dune.
For just charts, miscellaneous inspiration, and what not:
Bandits & Battle Cruisers has a ton of charts and monsters that’d be easy to convert/tweak.
Starship from Hell: A system agnostic book for generating ships, their crews, and plot hooks.
Frontier Explorer and Star Fronitersman while these are both for Star Frontiers there’s plenty of adventure seeds you can grab to get you going.
Galileo Games has some freebie adventures for Bulldogs! (FATE). An easy bit to convert and more adventure ideas.
Machinations of the Space Princess has some more handy charts and some inspiration. There’s a starship critical hit chart that would work well with White Star and some easy planet charts. There’s a few of bits you can mine for inspiration or house rules.
Vornheim Yes, I know it’s designed for fantasy games but there’s just so much inspiration and useful tools in this little book it’s not even funny. Just a adjustment on tone and there you go. Or you can just over to Mike Evan’s blog and grab up his Firefly/Vornheim hack.
And finally and by no means the least. For inspiration for a setting or more alien races. Get Strange Stars. I mean grab it now right now. Chances are you’ve heard good things about this. Well, they’re true. So if you haven’t gotten it already then grab it up.

Hugh Rankin: Oldest School Sword & Sorcery Inspiration

Before Frazetta and Boris, there was Hugh Rankin. I can’t find much out about him other than he was an artist who did many pieces of the original pulp artwork. I think he’s the first person to draw Conan. From what I can tell the works have also passed into the public domain. Pretty cool. The art does have a completely different tone than what us modern folk are used to. But it’s refreshing to see the original works.
I’ll a picture be worth 1,000 words. Enjoy and be inspired.

Queen of the Black Coast
Queen of the Black Coast

valleyoftheworm2

People of the Black Circle
People of the Black Circle

Here’s some more OSR Sword & Sorcery Resources

frazetta
It’s no secret that I’m a fan and backer (of the Kickstarter) of Crypts & Things Remastered and I’m a fan of Sword & Sorcery. Yes, I’m all in for a crazy gonzo game but I also like the gritty weird fantasy of the lower magic settings. If you’ve got Crypts & Things then cool and really back if you want to. But this post about other resources out there for Sword & Sorcery games.
How about some free stuff first?
Head on over to grey-elf.com then just scroll down to the Age of Conan and Secrets of Acheron. This one is an homage to the Little Brown Books and pretty darned cool.
This time Underworld Lore #3 (Hyborian Special). Really all of the stuff on Gorgonmilk rocks but this one is about our subject at hand.
This one is mix of free and for pay stuff. I’ve really good things about Xoth.net and their setting but I haven’t gotten around to picking it up yet and yes some of the material is Pathfinder/3.x but it’s easy to convert. Here’s the main page for the Hyborian Age but the real meat is here with the adventures. And here’s their shop. Order the PDF’s through them or dead tree versions thru Lulu.
Now, Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea is pretty damned cool but their adventures are also darn good fare. But let’s not forget their free resources on their website.
Lastly here’s another couple of adventures that comes with some neat house rules too. I’m talking about Liberation of the Demon Slayer and Revelry in Torth. Yes, there’s some little things that I’d tweak and they’re a bit racy. So you’ve been warned.
No I know there’s lots of other stuff out there and there’s plenty of retor-clones and hacks out there. It’s a big internet and I’m just one little guy with a hyper puppy bouncing around the office. Other resources and stuff go ahead and share.
Did I also mention that there’s only a few days left on the Kickstarter for Crypts & Things Remastered, and I really want that last stretch goal. By Crom, Kill monsters and take their stuff!