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

Crypts & Things Magicians: Twisted & Tweaked

I said I’m mess around with Magicians for Crypts & Things and here it is kids. Yeah, I fully admit that this one full of my own biases. First, I’ve got a soft spot for spontaneous casters from later editions. Go ahead and call me a Sorcerer fanboy. Second, I’m continuing on with the specializations because like I said before why should the fighter have all the fun. The Magician remains basically the same as HD, Saves and so forth. And as I have said before there’s nothing that says you can’t tweak this to what you are using for your own home game.

Spell Casting: Magicians do not have to memorize multiple castings of the same spell per day. They may memorize the number of spells indicated by the spells per day chart. He may cast a number of spells of the appropriate level per day as indicated on the same chart. (You just have to actually read the book to see the chart). The number of spells memorized and castable per day is the same number. For example, if a Magician can memorized two first level spells. He can memorized Magic Missile and Detect Magic. During the day, he may cast whichever he happens to need. Magic Missile twice or Detect Magic twice or each spell once.

Sense Magic: With an modified Saving Throw a Magician can sense the presence of magical energy. He knows nothing other than fact that there is magic afoot. NOTE: This works best if you alter the Detect Magic spell to”Analyze Magic” and the spell become whatever type of magic that is being analyzed (White, Gray or Black).

The Magician gains specializations at 4th, 8th and 12th.
Alchemist: The magician gains a recipe book for potions containing two first level recipes and one second level. These recipes should be similar to the spells available. Check with your GM for costs and brewing times.
Extra Knowledge: The Magician gains an additional spell in his spell book. He must be high enough level to able to cast the spell. He may take this Specialization more than once.
Extra Magic: The Magician may cast an additional spell per day. When selecting this specialization, he must select a spell level that he is capable of casting. He cannot change this once it is selected but he may select this specialization more than once.
Necromancer: If the Magician does not already have Animate Dead in his spell book, he gains that spell. He also gains the Charm Undead spell (which is identical to Charm Monster but only works on Undead). Unfortunately, his connection to the Undead is so strong that if attempts to cast White Magic, it effects him as if he cast Gray Magic.
Powerful Magic: The Magician’s spells are extremely powerful. Targets take a -1 penalty to Saving Throws. This Specialization may be taken more than once.
Summoner: The Magician gains a +1 bonus on summoning and controlling extraplanar creatures. A magician may take this Specialization more than once. NOTE: This Specialization is intended to be used with the Summon spell from Lamentations of the Flame Princess and not the normal Summon Monster spells. Don’t worry. kids. I’ll be posting a tweaked version of Summon later this week.

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

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