Lankhmar, Tegel Manor and The Blight Oh My!

What a busy week! The mail gods have been good to me. Got a hard copy of The Blight and the Lankhmar Boxed set. Plus the Tegel Manor PDF is out to the backers. I understand that there have been some server issues but that’s all worked out.

You can listen to the long rant, and call ins in this week’s episode.

You can check out the unboxing on Youtube.

Please consider subscribing to the channel. It takes 100 subscribers to get that custom URL and other features that actually makes Youtube more usuable. And it’s a good number to start to show that it’s really worth the time to keep it going. Hit that 100 Subscriber mark then will add doing regular videos to the list.

So I’m doing a little challenge on Facebook too. Like the Facebook Page. Hit 100 Likes and well. It means I just might start doing that bonus Episode of the podcast.

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YARC: Clerics for The Blight

Agh.  The Cleric is a thorn in my side.  It’s not that it’s unbalanced or bad class. I just have some weird ideas when it comes to the class. There’s just a lot of little things that bug me.

Let’s start with a couple of the simple and basic things. I always thought the idea of “blunt” weapons that don’t draw blood was silly. Hey, I smashed your skull but didn’t “draw blood”.  Huh?  I understand that in the old game that Fighters needed something to make them special but this little rule bugged me and is already taken care with the little “everybody can use any weapon” rules. Another little thing that is later addition to they way clerics are viewed is making Turn Undead a 1st level spell.  I’m all for that.  I know that in the old days our clerics as healbots was a secondary thing.  The reason they were there was for the party to push them out front as soon as undead showed. Especially, those nasty level drainers.

There’s a couple more things that really bug me and this where things do all crazy in my head.  First, I was never that fond of cleric’s praying to their god for a list of the spells each day. Part of me wants them to almost like a Televangelist and just call down those powers as needed.  I thought about using that option for a while and well. Threw it aside.  Mainly, it’ll really slow down play while the cleric player flips through the rule book for just the right spell. With that being said, there should be an option for cleric’s to call down or switch a spell in an emergency but there has to be some risk and a cost. There’s another great option out there and that’s the Cultist class from Low Fantasy Gaming.  Instead of “spells”, the class gets the standard array of cleric powers as class abilities.

Those are the little things.  Here’s the big one.  Out of all the classes, the cleric is most tied to the campaign setting.  The cleric gets their power for their god and that god should be a part of the setting and despite different worlds and gods, the clerics were the same. The only effect the god was as a RP element. Later editions gave us Specialty Clerics and Domains.  Those took care of some of the blandness of clerics. But in essence they were still the same.  If you want to go all crazy, and maybe some one has but I suppose you could make a cleric class for each god.  But I think that’s a bit of overkill. Now I’ve thought of two ways to approach this.  One is the sort of “generic” cleric.  The cleric acts as a conduit of the power of the gods.  Need healing then cleric prays to the God of Healing. Need protection in battle then go to the God of War.  I like the idea but I feel it’s a good option depending on the setting.

Since I’m using Swords & Wizardry as my base there’s no specialty clerics so I’m going to go off on my own little tangent here sort of make them.  Basically, the cleric gets some extra ability or bonus based on their god.  However to qualify, the cleric will need a WIS of greater than 15.  Along with the other little changes at the beginning of this post, I think that’s about all I need to mess with on the cleric.  What’s makes them special is the gift that they get from their god.  So like I said earlier, I’m getting ready to run The Blight.  So, here’s my ideas for clerics for some of the Gods of The Blight.

Mother Grace: The Holy Mother, Mother of All, Goddess of Family, Order, and Tradition: Extra 1st Level Spell.

Brine: Ocean’s Anger, Fish-Brother, God of the Sea and Unsea: Can breathe under water for WIS Bonus Turns per day.

Father Canker: Brother Choke, The Silent Assassin, God of Poison, Silence and Smog:  Gain bonus to Save versus Poison equal to WIS Bonus.

Lord Shingles: The Shadow on the Rooftop, Sovereign of the Heights, God of Builders, Gables, Rooftops and the Sky: Add WIS Bonus to skill checks involving buildings or architecture.

Mithras: Lord Storm, The Battle, The Soldier God, Mithrae Invicto, God of War, Battles, and Soldiers: May use WIS Bonus in place of STR (Melee) or DEX (Ranged) bonuses on Attack Rolls.

Papyri: The Archivist, The Quiet One, The Lost Apprentice, The Thoughtful Silence, Goddess of the Written Word: Add WIS Bonus to Wits. Gain additional languages based on WIS Score.

Sister Shadows: The Unseen, Goddess of Alleys, Streets, Piers and Pathways: Add WIS Bonus to Stealth and to any skill checks involving navigating within a large city.

The Ash Queen: Queen of Whores, The Hunger, Goddess of Lust, Nature, and Witchcraft: Add WIS Bonus to Appeal and Survival skill checks.

I know these aren’t all the Gods of the Blight but it’s a start. And, of course, to make complete sense of this you’ll just have read your way through the Blight. And it’s still very much a work in progress.



Appendix (M)onty Python

So at last week’s game I mentioned Erik the Viking and no one at the table have ever seen the movie.  Then I did a little post on MeWe and there was a little a discussion and then I started thinking even more. And like always that’s where I get into trouble.

Heck, there’s the famous Appendix N that lists all of the literary inspiration for D&D. But let’s face it. The Pythons entered into the crazy banter that went into the actual playing of the game. So much so that it could be considered a Trope and a meme.

I know some folks absolutely hate that. That’s OK. But then I’m always the sort of person that interjects humor into every game whether I’m running or playing.  Yeah, I’m the joke guy.

Oddly enough, there just might be a reason for this.  Let’s see original D&D was released in 1974.  Guess what year Monty Python’s Flying Circus hit PBS?  That’s right same year. Around the same time (1978), Dr Who hit PBS.  I remember the old PBS stations of my youth blocked all the British shows together so Flying Circus and Dr Who were back to back.  So I’ll put forth the nerd party just carried over.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t do some trailers with a few little bits of commentary. So here go!

Holy Grail is the movie. It’s got everything. Wizards. Witches. Knights. Bards.  Vicious Monsters.  Crazy Plans.  You know the average D&D Session.

While not an official Python movie,  it’s part of the greater creative team’s efforts.  And it’s got the style of humor and commentary on the absurdity of humanity. And invisibility cloaks.

Time Bandits for those weird and gonzo games.  But still as crazy as before. And while running a character funnel for Dungeon Crawl Classics I’ve been know to start singing:

The Pythons reach and influence is all over culture. Whether it Graham Chapman discovering a little know writer, Douglas Adams or inspiration to folks from Alton Brown to Eddie Izzard.  Like it or not, Monty Python does deserve a little seat at the game table.

Playing It Wrong: Why Fantasy?

In this episode, I go deep into opinionsville.  So why is fantasy the most popular genre for RPG’s?  And there’s the usual segments, a remarkably calm Labyrinth Lord game,  D&D Boot Camp, and reading from the Little Brown Books.
Also, mentioned in this Episode, Bill Webb’s Deck of Trick Tricks. Check it out on Indiegogo.
So go ahead and check out this episode on or where you happen to listen to podcasts. Chances are we’re thre.
Like this post or others? Then please consider the They Might Be Gazebos Patreon.

YARC: The Ranger

I’m continuing on my quest to tweak pretty much all of the classes for my little homebrewed rules hack, YARC aka Yet Another RetroClone. This week it’s the Ranger. This class has a pretty long history in D&D and it’s gone through lots of various little tweaks. Like the rest of changes I’ve made to other classes, this one is based on my own preferences.
I think we can all pretty much agree that the origin of the Ranger starts with Aragorn. Let’s face it. He’s a badass. I’m not even going to try to emulate the character. I’m running with the badass theme.

Another thing about me. I’m an Army Vet. So when I hear Ranger. That brings up the whole Army Ranger thing. And if you dig deep into Army history, there’s the Alamo Scouts. While not technically “Army Rangers” Still badasses.
And let’s face it. I would be remiss if I’m talking about badass rangers with mentioning….

So let’s start making this class. There was a discussion on MeWe a while ago about Assassins in essence being played as Urban Rangers. Hmm. Good point. So let’s start there. Ranger Vs Assassin. There is some skill overlap in things like Stealth and perhaps general athletic ability. The Ranger is going to have the trickery/skullduggery type abilities. Rangers are might Fighter than Thief/Assassin. So, The Ranger should be better at fighting. So Fighter attack progression. A Ranger should be tougher than Assassins as well. But not quite as tough as Fighter. I mean the Fighter does have to have something special. For that, I’m looking at the original Ranger. SO 2HD at First Level but I’m down grading it a D6. Now what about damage? Old Rangers got a huge bonus against orcs, goblins, giants, and so on. Later editions gave Rangers “favored enemies”. Both of these gave bonuses that depended heavily on the campaign. So I’ll opt for something that’s a bit usable all the time but not too overpowered (I hope).
The original Ranger also had access to spells. This would good but didn’t kick in till much higher levels. In later editions, the Ranger had their own spell list. Which is kind of cool for those editions but not this. I’m trying to stick to old-school feel so no extra spell list. But I want something that’s a little bit less than casting spells at high level and I want it be useful.
The Ranger
Hit Dice: D6 (2 HD at 1st Level)
Attack Progression and Saving Throw: Per the Normal Swords & Wizardry Rules.
Class Abilities:
Hit ’em Hard: When a Ranger hits with an attack, the target attempts a Saving Throw. If the rolled failed then the Ranger does an extra d4 damage.
A Little Magic: Rangers may use cleric and magic-user spell scrolls of 2nd level and lower.
Skills: +2 in Instinct or Survival, gain +1 in the other. Also, +1 to Athletics and Stealth.

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New Episode, Patreon Intro Video and More!

This episode I channel my inner Glen Halstrom and talk about Mysteries and running them. And from the Little Brown Books guess what spell you need snow for? Oh yeah. Not everybody likes the same kind of pizza.
Check out the Episode on Anchor or wherever you happen to listen to podcasts.

And I uploaded an Intro video for the Patreon. Well, guess that starting a Youtube channel got moved up. No worries. I gots ideas.

And because you stopped by the blog. Here’s the Prototype Character Sheet for my Swords & Wizardry Hack (Yarc)

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YARC: Assassins and Thieves

I’m still working on the extra stuff for Magic_Users. So I’m moving ahead on classes. This time up Assassins and Thieves. Let’s face it. These classes are joined at the hip and in many cases quite similar. And, of course, the Thief was part of my inspiration for making a whole skill system. And for those super fans out there, they’ll might remember an old episode of Playing It Wrong where I talked about Job Vs. Class. Assassin is prime example. Any character can take money to off somebody. But there’s got to be something special about an Assassin (vs. assassin). So here you go.

Base Attack Bonuses and Saving Throws: No change from Swords & Wizardry
HD: d6 (Yes, for both the Assassin and Thief. I like my Thieves a little tougher than the d4 HD of the old games.)

Class Abilities (Thief):
Backstab: No change from Swords & Wizardry.
Skills: +2 to three of the following: Athletics, Banter, Skullduggery, Stealth, Tinker. +1 to any two other skills.
Saving Throws: +2 versus Traps and other devices.

Class Abilities (Assassin):
Backstab: No change from Swords & Wizardry.
Poison: +2 to Skill Checks that involve Poisons.
Know Where To Hit Them: An Assassin may apply their Intelligence modifier to damage rolls.
Skills: +1 to 3 of the following Allure, Athletics, Banter, Instinct, Skullduggery, Stealth, Tinker
Saving Throws: +2 vs Poison

Hey but what about Thief Skills and armor? Yep, anything heavier than Leather provides a -4 penalty to Athletics and Stealth. Other modifiers based on the GM’s discretion and the situation.

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Roll Dice. Kill Monsters. Take Their Stuff. And Have Fun!

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