I had great time this last Saturday. I stopped by the FLGS to sit in on a little demo game of Pyramid of the Lost King with its creator Johua De Santo. So what the heck is Pyramid of the Lost King? It’s a cool sandbox for OSR games. It’s specifically written for Swords & Wizardry (Man, it has been too long since I’ve done anything with S&W.) but if you been around the OSR scene for even a little bit it’s easy to convert to the system of your choice. It’s also part of the Lands of Usarm series of adventures.
So what do you get in this 100 page book? Well, quite literally a desert sandbox. You’ve got an overview of the area. A city (Basq). Adventure hooks galore. Random encounters. Some really cool monsters. Three dungeons (The Charnel Keep, Temple of the Fallen Good, and (of course) Pyramid of the Lost King) plus some mini adventures just in case the DM needs something quick.
I like to keep my rants spoiler free. But here’s what I plan doing with it. It’d be a great start in creating the yet-to-be-named southern continent on the World of Zoong (which is my go to DCC/OSR/D&D world). In my little mind, this would be prefect addition for Crypts & Things. Pyramid of the Lost King has a really good Weird Fantasy/Sword & Sorcery vibe going for it without getting so weird that it’s totally alien. Greedy scheming merchants. Caravans. Lost ruins in the desert. Raiders. Mysterious ancient relics and monuments. Cults. You’re smart. You get the idea.
Like I said, I like to keep my rants about adventures as spoiler free as possible. So I won’t go into the details of the adventures. But this does got a thumbs and place in the queue to throw some unwary adventurers.
Go ahead and check out Pyramid of the Lost King over at RPGNow.
I ranted about elves before way back when but I still wanted a little extra something to make them more alien and just a bit different. Nor your tree hugging wild elf or that mysterious high/gray elf or whatever you want to call them. Somewhere in the bowels of the internet someone made the comparison of old D&D elves to Elric. I like that. Then this little idea popped into my brain that focuses on the standard fighter/magic-user type elf.
In ancient times, the elves make a pact with an ancient being whose name has been long lost. They wanted the power magic and immortality. The elves were granted both but not at the same time. The elves learned the power of magic and would each live for 1,000 years. They had magic but using would cost them years off their lives. The elves created an empire and rules the world for millennia but due to their arrogance and decadence their empire has crumbled. Many elves venture out into the mortal world out of boredom.
The Game Mechanics:
When the elf casts an arcane spell, roll 1d20. If the result is less than or equal to the spell’s level then elf permanently losses HP equal to the spell’s level.
And since I’m on a Dungeon Crawl Classics kick, there’s a little variation for those rules. Elves do not suffer from Corruption. Instead, any time a Corruption effect occurs, the elf loses permanently HP as above plus suffers the effects as if the character had Spellburned a number of points equal to the spell’s level (but doesn’t gain any bonus to the spell check). Additionally, Elves may voluntarily “Spellburn” HP at rate of 2/1 (1 HP=+2 bonus to the spell check). These HP are permanently lost.
Like many grognards I took advantage of that OSR sale going on and I grabbed only a few things since most of the stuff that I wanted I had already bought. I even splurged and grabbed some hard copies. And yes. I am on a Dungeon Crawl Classics kick.
Purple Sorcerer Games is really noted for the Crawlers Companion. It’s tool that everybody who runs or plays DCC needs to download and use. I’ve heard awesome stuff about their adventures so I figured it’s about time that I grabbed a couple of their classics up and I’m not disappointed.
Escape from the Shrouded Fen is a 0-Level Funnel/1st Level Hex Crawl. Like so many great adventures, there aren’t any stock monsters in it. Everything the PC’s are going to face is going to just different enough that there will be surprises. Also, this is a really tough adventure even by DCC standards. That’s not a bad thing. While there is some very strong and obvious “Go this or else” signs, the PC’s still have the freedom to make those decisions and will probably suffer a horrible death. Some might consider that railroady but this is a DCC funnel. You rolled up those 0-Level’s to go out and try to make it the deadly business of Dungeon Crawling not go back to gong farming. With all that being said, if the PC’s chose the wrong path, ignore some obvious clues, and miss the subtle ones, then there’s probably going to be at least one TPK. But wait there’s more…
I also picked up the Sunken City Omnibus. I’ll admit that I haven’t had time to sit down and read Sunken City yet (I’m busy gathering my resources for impending Mutant Crawl Classics release) but I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. Here’s what’s cool about both of these. The mighty Purple Sorcerer throws in some cool and useful extras into the PDF’s. Handout’s. Extra notes. Write ups for extra things list Patrons. And paper mini’s. So what can I say other than “Way cool”.
I’m very pleased with these adventures. And yes I’ll be buying more. Til next time. Roll Dice. Have Fun. Kill Monsters. Take Their Stuff.
I has the wild urge to make a very small character sheet for Swords & Wizardry. My main inspiration was the 0 level sheets from DCC. So roughly index card sized, four sheets per page, and as flexible as possible (Just put in whatever is right for the character under the “Notes” part). I also designed around may own personal tastes. I’m one of those weirdos who likes ascending AC so no little To-Hit Chart. May you find it useful.
Swords and WizardY Index Card Sheet
I’ve meant to start up a little E-zine for quite some time and Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day seemed like a perfect time to start the old ball rolling. The Gazebo Gazette features mostly content from old blog posts. Yes, they’ve been tweaked and edited a little but it’s stuff you’ve already seen. But it also has new content as well. This first issue has a new mini-dungeon, “The Lost Crypt of Valcerak”.
My plan is simple. Do one of these on an irregular basis. When I have enough content then I’ll publish an issue. That’s my time table for it. Another thing, the PDF versions will always be PWYW. I’m thinking of this as sort of a reverse Patreon. You have a chance to pitch in after you’ve seen most of the stuff and then it’s however much you want. It’s just that simple.
I hope you enjoy this issue and future issues.
You can pick the premier issue over at RPGNow.
And thank you all again.
Weird dreams make pretty good inspiration. I had this dream the other night. There’s was this tribe of primitive Cthulhu-like beings and they were worshiping me as their elder god. Then of course they turned on me ala The Sandkings. They ended up attacking with spears made out of snakes.
So here you go the Spear Snake.
Hit Dice: 1+1
Armor Class: 8
Attacks: Puncture (1d4) or Bite (1d4+Poison)
Saving Throw: 17
Special: Poison (Save at +2 or die.)
Spear Snakes are aggressive and deadly. They have a bony head with a sharp snout. Spear Snakes can pierce armor like a spear or arrow when they strike.
There are primitive jungle tribes who capture the snakes and put them into a hollow tube with only the snake’s head exposed. They use these weapons for hunting and war.
Spear Snake Spear: Damage 1d6 + Poison as above. On a roll of a natural one, the attack kills the snake.
The odd thing is nature sort of had a similar idea.
It’s May the Fourth and the big OSR darling is White Star by Barrel Rider Games. Here is in a nutshell, based around Swords & Wizardry White Box which is based on the original three little brown books of the original edition of the world’s most popular RPG. White Star is a pulp scifi take on those rules.
If you’ve followed my blogging over the years, you’d know that I’ve had a very long love-hate relationship with science fiction RPG’s. Some get too tied to a setting. Some are over complicated, especially when it comes to starship combat. And some just it was just a combination of things that just didn’t do it for me. White Star seems to be hitting all the notes in my little grognard mind.
As far as setting goes, there isn’t really an official one yet. Let’s face it D&D was massively influenced by Tolkien but you could take your game to whatever weird direction you wanted. White Star is massively influenced by Star Wars but (like some games out there) it’s not Star Wars with serial numbers filed off. Star Wars would fall into White Star’s Appendix N (if it had one). But I can see the inspirations from lots of other sources. It comes together as both a tool kit and a blank canvas to play with. That’s a big plus. That’s what I want in scifi game.
The rules are dead simple. Heck, just follow that link above to the Swords & Wizardry White Box rules. Read them thru. It’s simple. It’s old school. There’s not a lot there as far as moving mechanical crunch. There’s just simple, easy, and tweakable rules. That’s another great thing about this game and the OSR in general. There’s so much great stuff out there and it’s all mostly compatible and convertible. Start with the basics and gather in what you like to make the exact game you want.
Starship combat is usually the big fail in so many SciFi RPG’s. It’s either so abstract that it practically doesn’t matter or so detailed that it’s like a whole new game and usually that game is a war game. I think the starship combat hits that sweet spot of detail and abstractness. And it plays pretty much exactly like character combat.
Let me talk about classes a little here. Simple and to the point. You’ve got Aristocrat, Mercenary, Pilot, and Star Knight. Then there’s the sort of racial classes, Alien Brute, Alien Mystic, and Robot. There isn’t an alien generation system as some games. But heck. Import one. Or just takes some the foes from the back of the book and let them be characters. It’s not that difficult. Plus heck kids, it’s only been out a day. More stuff will be on the way.
So over all. This is OSR SciFi sweetheart. It’s got the basics covered and whatever else I want I can just bring in or make. And if you want to know more. Check out the Google Plus Community.