Druids: No Hippies Here

So I’ve twisted other classes and races and decided that Druids really need to be put through the grinder.
Now, I’m not going to go back to historical origins of the Druid and I’m especially not going with the tree hugging hippies either. I wanted something a little different. So I thought about magic and flipped through the pages of Lamentations of the Flame Princess and Crypts & Things then a little light bulb went off. Magic Users reach beyond reality and harness the power of Things Man Was Not Meant To Know. Clerics channel the gifts of the divine. So where would that leave Druids? Harnessing the power of Nature.
Let’s just make that a little more interesting. Not hug the tree (because in D&D a tree can come to life and kick your ass). Druids harness the power of Nature’s wrath. We’re talking hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, plague and so on. They strike down their foes with the power of the elements; Air, Earth, Fire and Water. They don’t live along side of nature, they try to master it. But I wanted some source or personification of that power. So I though creature most represents the power and fury of the elements that isn’t an elemental. Then it hit me. Dragons. They have elemental breath weapons. They are tough monsters with incredible magical power. Perfect. Druids are now Dragon cultists.
As far as crunch goes, here’s my ideas so far. No more Druid “secret language”. Druids speak Draconic. Druids don’t change into animals any more but high level Druids could change into a dragon. Most importantly, totally gut the spell list. Drop all the Cleric type spells. Let the clerics cast them. Add any elemental type spells. Fireball, lightning bolts and so on. Yes, I know that usually that’s the purview of Magic-Users but with this rework I think it applies. Druids don’t have animal companions or can summon furry woodland creatures. But they can summon elementals and this case I wouldn’t let Magic Users be able to do this.
Yeah, I know this isn’t quite a fully fleshed out idea. But hell, go play with and roll some dice.

Just Some Random Thoughts on The OSR

So I’m bouncing around the house with a ton little projects nipping at my heels and didn’t have the time transition some wonderful thoughts into coherent posts. But I did have the time wander around and catch up reading some nifty blog posts and something struck me.
The OSR isn’t afraid to be weird. I’ve noticed a lot of folks aren’t afraid to color outside the lines. It may be a little bit of the old timers doing the “been there done that” mantra. But much of it I think that so many OSR projects aren’t burdened by having to market to the masses. You can just to whatever crazy place your little imagination takes you. And that’s really cool. That’s not saying that other folks aren’t creative or imaginative. It’s just that quirky oddness. Maybe, it’s the same reason I like low budget independent movies.
I promise to hold your attention a little better later on.

Memories of The Empire of the Petal Throne

If you’ve kept an eye on the RPG world, you should know by now that M.A.R. Barker, creator of Tekumel has passed away.
I have to admit that back in the day I never actually played the game but it’s concepts and ideas greatly influenced my formative years of gaming. This was the first game game that slapped me upside the head and said, “Everything doesn’t have to be Tolkien.” It taught don’t be afraid to let your own imagination and creativity take over when creating worlds and settings. Go ahead make things memorable and interesting.
Thank you, Professor Barker. Rest In Peace.

Orcs: Not Evil Just Pragmatic

First things first. Long ago, I grew weary of half-races. Basically, half-elves were just sort of human but elf and vice versa. Half-orcs just became a way for players to play orcs without being orcs. So what the hell just play play orcs. Yeah, there has been some move to do this but the usual method is go with the noble savage stereotype. Once again, I say blah.
Orc weapons aren’t pretty. They’re effective. Orc leaders lead or they are replaced. Fallen foes are assets that can still be used some how. Mercy for the weak, only weakens the entire tribe. Orcs will do whatever it takes to survive and not feel guilty about it. They don’t consider themselves evil but they do consider the other races weak. By the standards of the “civilized” races, this makes the orcs savages. Something to be feared and purged. The orc response is simple, “Bring it on, bitches!”
Great orc leaders are a combination of Nietzsche, Sun Tzu, Machiavelli and Beowulf.

Dwarves: Squeal Like An Orc, Boy!

Dwarves. They’re beer drinking fight-loving master smiths. They like killing giants and goblins. They’re tough. Blah. We’ve heard it all before. Let’s twist these little suckers. This isn’t so much about game mechanics but just looking at them a little bit differently. Let’s take your common every day boring dwarf and make them a just a little bit more interesting.

So let’s take this as a bit of lore. In ancient times, they were master smiths and brewers. They had massive cities under the earth filled with wondrous stone work. They kept to themselves and got just a bit inbred. They sold their weapons and beer to the surface races and demand quickly exceeded supply. Quality suffered. Dwarven society spiraled downward over a few generations.
Their underground cities were quickly overrun by orcs, goblins or worse. They moved above ground into small isolated villages. Their beer got you drunk if it didn’t make you go blind. Their weapons looked good until they broke. They remained proud, xenophobic and violent. Basically, they became a bunch of hill billy bikers.
Yeah, something different. I just thinks it’s something we could all do to our campaigns. It’s nice to have the good old standard stuff. But after a while it’s a bit boring. It’s OK to shake up things, every now and then.

Dungeonslayers: In English and In Print

Oh yeah, the English version of 4th Edition Dungeonslayers is going to hit the virtual streets soon. Now don’t confuse with it the 4th Edition of that other popular game. (That’s just a joke. Don’t start sharpening your pitchforks.)
I have to admit that is is one of my favorite rules lite games and it should get a lot more notice than it does. Personally, it’s my go to game when a someone who is a complete newbie to gaming asks, “What’s a good game to start with?” Simple rules. Simple math and not a lot of heavy math. A butt load of support and free adventures. And the best is that the PDF is free.
But this is also about how they finally struck a deal to have a dead tree version released. I’m not sure how easily it will be to get your hands on it if you happen to live this pond. It’s good news all around.

A Quick & Dirty Method for Generating a Continent

Anything that can make your life as DM easier is good. Sometimes you need to pull a last minute thing out of your ass and this little idea popped into my head a few days. Maybe you need a map of lost continent or you just need a quick map for that campaign you promised to run and forgot that it starts tomorrow. And I’ll go ahead and admit that yeah Zak S’s work with drop charts is an inspiration. This little system doesn’t do everything for you. You’ll need to use a bit of your own creativity but it can give a springboard to start.
Step One: Take a blank piece of paper. Roll 5d12. Trace around the dice like you are connecting the dots. This is the coastline of your main land mass.
Step Two: Pick up your 5d12 and roll them again. This is for your major terrain types. The dice that have the highest number are mountains. The lowest; swamps and moors. The dice with numbers in between are filled out from lowest to highest numbers with deserts, plains, forests/jungles and hills. Just use your judgment and imagination. If any dice land off of your main land mass, these are islands with the appropriate terrain type.
Step Three: Re-roll those 5d12 again. These are cities. The dice with highest number(s) are the major metropolises, lowest ruins or legendary places. The numbers in between are other major cities. If any dice land off your major land mass, these are more islands off the coast. It’s just that they have a city or something on them. If any dice roll 1 or 12, re-roll them and the appropriate sized city/ruin. Repeat this last step if any of those dice roll a 1 or 12.
Step Four: Roll those 5d12 again. This is for conspicuous features. These are locations that are legendary or important. Something that should stand out on the map. What the die rolls determines what is there.
1-Natural Feature: lake, crater, Valley, volcano, odd mountain
2-Man Made Feature: mysterious structures or monuments, altars, deserted mines, burial mounds
3-Magical Places: haunted places, evil places, corrupted places, you get the idea.
4-11 Nothing
12-Roll all five dice again for more features

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

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