Tag Archives: OSR

Weird Alchemical Ingredients

So a player in my Dungeon Crawl Classics game wants potions and other cool stuff but he knows that his character is as dumb as a rock. So he found a marginally sane and reputable alchemist, “Dr Omnibus” (Thank you Matt Finch!). Said character has volunteered to gather whatever crazy ingredients that the alchemist wants. So I made a random system-neutral table.
Weird Alchemical Ingredients
Oh and the poor fool volunteered to be guinea pig too. Mwah! Ha! HA!

The OSR and 5 E

So maybe this turning into a dead horse but a few things have gotten me thinking again. There’s plenty about both that should be cross pollinating. Let’s get the great big game mechanics elephant out of the way. They are two different game styles and rules but still close enough that many concepts and adventures can cross over. Heck, I ran Death Frost Doom for 5E and converted it on the fly. And the Advantage/Disadvantage mechanic, I think most folks think it’s a pretty good idea. So there’s that.
5 E has put D&D back into the mainstream spotlight again and not in a Satanic Panic sort of way. So that’s good for everybody. More fans means more folks who might wander from 5e over to other games. Be they OSR or even other things like Savage Worlds, d6 or whatever. But there’s a good chance if they’re D&D fan the OSR stuff just might have some allure.
On the flip side, I’ve way too many youtube videos (too many to mention here just google in on your own) about how DM, how to make adventures and so on. You know things that the old hats have been talking about literally for decades. More often than not I say to myself, “Isn’t that just like an article or blog post that I read years ago?” What a lot us old grognards have is experience. And you should know better than to be a jerk about it. (Since this on the Internet I need to throw in silly disclaimers like that now and then.) Crap. The whole OSR thing grew because of sharing ideas.
Oh yeah. And one final thought about RPG Communities. The most important RPG Community is the people around your table.

What The Heck is Thieves’ Cant?

This is one of the things I love about new players. They ask questions like that. Sure there have probably been dozen of articles already written about the subject I mean since there’s been a Thief Class, there’s been Thieves’ Cant. All that stuff that I had read years ago just didn’t pop into my head when I was asked. So I let a little instinct and logic step in and come up with sort of good explanation.
First (according to Wikipedia anyway), the concept is based on reality. As spoken language, I imagine it to use “Common” but with meanings of some words changed as well as disguised much like rhyming slang. So the individual words may recognized by the uninitiated but their true meaning or their context won’t make any sense.More detailed meaning is gleaned from context and the use of hand gestures or sign language.
So yes a language with somatic components. It can be used to communicate covertly while others are listening to better disguise what exactly is being communicated. Plus it’s really handy when you’re sneaking around and trying to be quiet. You know like in every movie you’ve ever seen with commandos in it.
And what about a written form? Why, yes of course. Once again let’s dig into the world and there it is Hobo Signs. Thieves don’t want to leave behind incriminating evidence but it is a matter of professional courtesy to leave little bits of information behind to warn or aid the next thief who comes along.
So there you go. A little about Thieves Cant. Now go out and kill a monster and take its stuff.

The First Wednesday Rant: Give them your lunch money

When I originally started this blog, the idea was to do just content and put all the rants and every else on the other (now dead) blog. But since I’ve moved domains and consolidated, I figure what the heck. So the plan it to add in a weekly rant about whatever I happen to feel like ranting about. Don’t worry folks, I won’t completely loose my mind. So up first, there’s some folks that deserve your lunch money (in no particular order).

Maximum Mayhem Dungeons: Palace of the Dragon Princess: I’ve backed Dark Wizard’s other Kickstarters before. Yeah, I know I did miss a couple but each one has been cool and just right amount of crazy (sometimes bordering on gonzo). Now, $10 for a PDF may seem a little steep but their adventures have had a cool OSR vibe and their monster book, Monsters of Mayhem, is pretty darned awesome. Note to self, get a hard copy of this sometime.

Next up: There’s Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells. So if you’ve been to this old blog in the past, you know I like crazy stuff, I fell in love with this game’s predecessor, Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells. This going to be a fun and simple game. I’m so ready to go all crazy on it. For $15, you get the PDF and an “at cost” coupon for the soft cover.

And finally there’s Uncle Matt’s D&D Studio’s Patreon. Once again this is something that quickly ranted about before and it’s well worth ranting about again. First, Matt Finch is pretty darned cool guy. While I’ve only a few interactions with him online, each has been calm, cool, professional, entertaining, and educational. Yes, that sounds like I’m a gushing fanboy but there’s a couple things I may disagree on but that’s neither here nor there and not really worth going into or even worrying about. It’s nothing he did so don’t try to dig up dirt. It’s all me. Plus I would if there was one book that started my path to the OSR, I’d have to say that it’s Swords & Wizardry Core. After watching a few of the interviews and actual play episodes (Hey there’s OSR and 5E in the same world), I was hooked. It was enough for finally make a Patreon account.
Here’s the link to the Youtube Channel in case you want to see for yourself.
There go. Three folks who deserve your lunch money.

The Sword of Champions

I was thinking about my first/original D&D campaign the other day and then remember this magic item that I did way back when. So I figured what they heck share it. And I realized that this fun (for me any way) little can be easily used no matter what flavor D&D you like.
So here you go.
The Sword of Champions appears and basically functions as a normal +2 Dancing Long Sword. But like any cool magic item, there’s a catch. If an opponent incapacitates the wielder then the Sword of Champions switches sides. Because if somebody beats you then you ain’t the Champion. If the wielder is killed then that character cannot be raised because the Sword of Champions consumes his life force. The Sword creates a pool of Hit Points equal to the dead wielder’s maximum HP which can be used to heal the new wielder. When found the Sword of Champions will have a pool of 3d6 HP.
So short and sweet and a little nostalgic memory from my high school days.
Remember kids. Roll dice. Kill Monsters. Take their stuff. And have fun!

Some More Random Thoughts On O5R

Yeah, O5R or making Fifth Edition D&D a little more old School. The last post I did on this was all about mechanics and some are my DM is going to use in his next campaign. This post is more of rant about mind set and fluff.
So much of the OSR style of play centers around the players not being limited by the rules. That may sound crazy. Old School games don’t have every little thing spelled out on how to handle a character trying something. So the players tend to try crazier and more outlandish tactics. They will try to find new uses for anything including spells. This is where that whole rulings not rules thing comes in. Don’t let the rules stop you from trying something. Doesn’t mean you will succeed but try any way. The DM needs to learn how to wing it and when to yes or yes but.. And as a DM, keep your job simple. Don’t worry about every little bit of rules minutia (unless you have someone who just loves being a rules lawyer and that’s a whole other problem). Let the players have fun and try those crazy plans.
Now the other thing is fluff. Reading thru the Players Handbook, Monster Manual and the splat books, you’ll notice that everything is tied to Forgotten Realms. As DM, let the players color outside of the lines. If they want to have their character be something and there isn’t exactly that class. Find the closest mechanically and change the fluff. The same goes for things like spells. Don’t have change the mechanics just fluff. I had an idea for Yuan Ti Druid. For Good Berry, instead of conjuring berries; how about a handful of lethargic mice.
I don’t mean to say to anyone, “You’re playing it wrong.” And I know that YMMV depending on the group and its dynamic and the experience of the DM and players. But I do have these bits of wisdom. Roll dice. Have fun. And don’t be afraid to color outside the lines now and then.

The Lair of Lennok the Wanderer Part I

So I’m running my Dungeon Crawl Classics thru a little home brew dungeon. I figured the fun way to post about is in a simple serialized form. So as the party gets thru various parts, I’ll rant about it. It’s part session summary, part adventure write up. And sure I’m running with DCC but I know you’re smart and easily changed it over to whatever system happens to be your flavor of the day. And when this is all done, I’ll scan the map including my hand scribbled notes.
The Quest/Hook: One of the PC’s decided they wanted to get Patron Bond for a specific patron (Hecate from Angels, Demons & Beings in Between) Well. Sounds like a quest to me. The character goes on a week long vision quest and learns that they need to go to The Big City and find the person to teach the character the spell (which they do). The NPC agrees but there’s a catch. A child with the gift of Second Sight was born in remote village and someone has kidnapped the child. The party’s quest. Find the child and return her to the mentor (not the child’s parents). They agree and it’s off to the village and a little detective work. They finally track down where they need to go. A mysterious ring of stones deep in the swamp.
Getting into the Damned Place: Never said this was going to be easy. The only things within the ring of stones are two statues which animate into living beings as soon as the characters enter the ring. One is a dark robed figure. And the other a lithe elfin maid. The robed figure is the Guardian of Fate. The maid, the Guardian of Free Will. This turns in a roleplaying puzzle.
First, the guardians do not acknowledge the other’s existence. Such as Free Will saying, “Fate doesn’t exist.” Or Fate saying, “Free Will is an illusion.” Let the banter begin. Finally, the player characters will ask a question that will put them on the path to the solution. More than likely, “How do we find the girl?” or “How do we get into the dungeon?” or something like that. Free Will will answer with something like “You have to choose to find the gir.” Fate would say, “You have to accept your Fate.” Get it? To open the portal to the dungeon, each character must choose Fate or Free Will. For DCC here’s the side effects for making the choice. For Fate, the character’s Luck is increased by one and one random ability score is reduced by one. For Free Will, the character permanently loses one point of Luck but gains a point in any other ability score of their choosing.
Into the Hallway of Death: For most old school players, this shouldn’t be too much. But some of my players aren’t used to it so things got pretty tough for them.
Trap 1: Your standard pressure plate triggered flame jets. (DC: 12 REF Save or take 1d6 and be on fire!)
Trap 2: Pit Trap with illusionary floor: This was immediately after the Flame Jets. (Falling in causes 1d6 spikes to pierce that character each doing 1d4 damage) Plus any fools who are fire who happen to run forward….
Trap 3: At the end of the hall, standard poisoned arrow trap. (+3 To hit, Damage: 1d6+ DC: 10 Fort Save or be at -1 to all rolls for 2d6 hours.
The First Room: Or I should say guard room. Guardian Golem: Init: +1; Attack: +3 for d8 Damage; AC: 15; HP: 24; +2 All Saves; Special: Immune to Charm, 1/2 damage from non-magical attacks. Laser Idols (guarding the only other exit): +0 To Hit and does 2d3 damage when any one approaches within 5 feet of them. The only way to disarm them, it take out their ruby eyes (each worth 50 GP).
The Necromancy Lab: Wander further into the dungeon and they what is obviously a Necromancy Lab. Important Safety Tip: When you find three sealed coffins. Open no more than one at a time. Opening more could cause a TPK which nearly happened.
Coffin 1: The Elf Wight: Init +2, Attack: +3 doing d8+1 Damage; AC: 15; HP 18; Saves: R +4, F+3, W +4; Special: Undead Traits. Loot: Shield, Suit of Elvin Chainmail, The Necro Blade: When the wielder kills a living being with the sword roll 2d6 and heal that much unless doubles are rolled then the aforementioned living being is turned into zombie (not under anybody’s control). When the wielder successfully attacks an opponent, he may opt to turn a normal hit into a Critical Hit. The only cost is to permanently lose 1d3 HP and one point of Personality as the sword consumes the life force and soul of the wielder.
Coffin 2: Banshee: Init +3, Atk: +2 1d3 Stamina Drain; AC: 12, HP: 14, Saves: W +6, F +3, R +4, Special: Fly at 40′, Undead Traits, Cause Fear: DC: 12 Will Save or flee in terror for 1d6 rounds and make another DC: 10 Will save to keep from dropping whatever the character has in hand. On a roll of a Natural 1 on the first save make a DC: 10 Fort Save or die from fear. If successful then character still has some sort physical effect. Yes, this did happen and we know have an elf with white hair. Loot: Necklace (150 GP), Cursed Ring (I haven’t quite decided on the curse yet..)
Coffin 3: Bag of Skulls: 12 Skulls each with the following stats: Init: +2, Attack: +1 for 1d3 damage, AC 11, HP: 3, Saves: R +2, F +1, W +1; Special: Undead Traits, Fly at 30′. Sorry no loot here unless you count a large sack.
Note: The PC’s opened coffins 1 and 2 at the same time after having an easy time dealing with the Bag of Skulls.
And that’s as far as they got.
Till Next Time. Kill Monsters, Take their stuff, and HAVE FUN!