Another update on the World of Zoong. Yeah, so I’ve working on redoing the world maps from that hand scrawled thing that I posted a few weeks ago. But then I thought, why not update with all my notes. I made a short mention of this on the podcast. That southern wasteland continent. I had just a single note written down for it. “Post Apocalyptic He-Man/Thundarr” That’s it. So I figured that I’d put a little bit more meat on those bones.
What does the place look like? Pretty much a desert wasteland full of ruins. Sort of a fantasy mix of Ancient Egypt, Mythic Atlantis and so on. Or since a pic is worth a 1,000 words…
Now I haven’t come up with names of any cities yet. I’ll wait till I get further along on drawing the map and fleshing things out more. So why it is the Godless Land? Well, too much hubris. Too much magic. And the gods just abandon the place. This all got me thinking of the best place to start in making this place. And, of course, that’s with Races. So here’s what I thought of. Aeturian (Human Sub-Race): While basically “human”, Aeturians cannot be Clerics, Druids, Paladins, or similar classes. They are generally Fighters, Magic-Users, or Thieves. Aeturian society is basically broken down into two groups or castes. Spell casters and non-spell casters; with the spell casters being the powerful nobility. They are all wary and untrusting of those who deal with the gods. Tough & Hardy: The hardships of living in Aeturia means the survivors are tougher than standard human stock. Aeturians gain an additional HP each level. Non-Spell Casters: Wary of Magic: +2 Save vs Magic Survival Instincts: -1[+1] AC Spell Casters: Powerful Sorcery: Targets are at a -1 penalty to their Saving Throws against the character’s spells. Magic Most Vile: Aeturian wizards routinely commune with demons, devils, and other outer beings which they may call on in time of need (or want). But there is always a price to pay. This depends on the boon asked and the GM’s discretion.
OK, so I may flesh this out more later on. And I know that this seems more powerful than the standard stock human. But I’m also taking into account my House Rules (posted earlier). Aeturians won’t get the stat boost nor the ability to buy up stats.
With that, I’ll get back to brainstorming.
Yes, I’m still working on my next old-school campaign. And the good thing is that I’ve got some time to plot, plan, and make extra stuff up. That’s another way of saying add some more meat to the world. So I had this idea a while ago and it just struck me to add it to Zoong.
So just what is the Church of 1,000 Saints? Since I’ve been really fast and loose with the pantheon of Zoong, I decided that I needed that good old “generic” good temple. (Hey, I just created a new alignment, Generic Good.) You know that place where the PC’s go to buy potions, maybe get a curse removed, or bring back a fallen comrade from the dead.
The Church of 1,000 Saints is sort of its own pantheon. A thousand (at last count) gods, demi-gods, and powerful good beings with generally the same agenda. The Church itself is also made up of just as many monastic orders devoted to each Saint. While there is some internal strife and debate over the particulars of dogma and so on; the Church publicly stands for what most consider the “good” stuff. While each order within the Church has its own hierarchy, the Church overall has no centralized power structure and each individual temple is autonomous. Once again this occasionally leads to more internal strife.
Yeas, this is only an idea seed so far. Yeah, I’ll probably flesh it out with a list of popular Saints. Also, of course, there will be more gods in the world. Once again, those ideas start to fill my head about hacking clerics and maybe just changing the divine powers of the world a little bit. But then that’s another post. Now back to scribbling notes…
Despite all the stuff that’s distracting me. I’m still planning on a White Box game that will be heavily hacked. So let me do this little rant about the basic (or core) four classes along with some random thoughts on each. Cleric: What’s really bugged me the most about cleric’s is their spell casting. It never made sense to me that they would pray for the spells they need later on. I’ve always imaged them as praying as they need them. I’m playing with the idea of the spontaneous prayer for spells. It just take one round/spell level. Which limits their abilities during combat but smart use just prior to encounter can save the party’s bacon. Also, there’s something we did way back when. The DM at the time let cleric’s do “God Calls” basically ask for divine intervention at a cost. I’m still brainstorming exactly how I want to do this. I’m bouncing around some ideas using a pair of d20’s and if they match good things happen. But that’s still in buried in the depths of my brain category. Fighter: Hey, the most common class. And also the pretty much the most boring in the old games. So first, I admit that I never liked the additional attacks based against opponents with less than one HD. Meh. I’m leaning towards the “chop when you drop” sort of thing. Drop an opponent get another attack. I’ve heard rumors on the Internet that it was Dave Arneson’s house rule but that’s just an Internet rumor. I’m also thinking of adding a very simple “fighting style” type thing. Either ranged or melee and giving a +1 to-hit and damage. Not much but enough to keep the plain old fighter the best at fighting. Magic-User: This is probably, the one that I’m going to mess with the most. First, I’m thinking about using and x in d6 mechanic based on INT for chance to learn spells. Also, to use it for spell research and may be more. Also, magic is just too safe and predictable. I don’t want something as gonzo as DCC but I do want some risk. So every time a magic-user casts a spell there’s a spell-level in d20 chance that something could go horribly wrong. I’m thinking of reducing the chance by use of special spell components or even specific types of magic items. Hey, a wizard’s staff that helps with spell casting. Thief: So I’ll be using the Thief from White Box Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game from Seattle Hill Games. However, I think I’ll opt for two Thief Skills. The first Thievery for locks, traps, stealth and climbing. The second Skullduggery; for picking pockets, disguise, and general streetwise. So basically, Thievery is mechanical devices and the environment while Skullduggery is the social side of the underworld.
I’ll probably mess around with some additional classes too. I know I’ve talked about keeping to the basic four. But if they actually do get changed up enough, then they are worth the add. I’m also having a running internal debate on nonhuman races. I’ll probably go all crazy Cantina Scene to give the players some extra options but haven’t decided if I should run with Racial Classes or a limited selection of classes and multiclassing. I still have plenty of time to ponder and play around with that. Heck, if all this stuff turns out pretty decent I may throw it up on RPGNow as a cheap little PDF. We shall see.
Plus I need to clean up my House Rules document and redo and clean up the world stuff. So stay tuned for those posts.
Here’s a pretty lengthy rant about how I’m going about making my D&D/OSR/whatever world.
And here’s the “working” map of Zoong including mistakes and other sloppiness. But it works for a DM’s notebook. Where are the Elves and Halflings from? Hasn’t came so haven’t worried about it yet.
And here’s the zoom in hex map from the 5E Campaign. You may recognize some thinly veiled hints about what modules I had on tap.
And you know the drill. Subscribe to the podcast. I don’t always post every I say over here and vice versa. And if you’ve already subscribed. Thanks.
I talked a bit about this in previous podcasts and it happens to be where my mind is right now. Contrary to my OSR folks, I do like some skills but not too many. I think even 5E has too many skills. So for the upcoming White Box game, I want to do some sort of skill system. This is all still preliminary and will probably change down the road.
First, there’s Attribute Checks. You know roll under the score with a d20. I’m going to use that for some things. Mainly, things that rely on solely on a characters abilities with no sort of training. The prime example is the good old “Bend Bars/Kick in the Door” type roll. I know a lot folks use that for pretty all skills but I still have some memories back in the 2nd Edition days of using it and the Magic-User happened to better at sneaking than the Thief.
The rest of the skills would rely on the x in d6 mechanic inspired by the White Box Omnibus, White Box: Fantastic Medieval Adventures, and Lamentations of the Flame Princess.
Everyman Skills: Let’s face it there are things that all the characters are going to try regardless of their class. Right now, I’m looking at just three or four skills.
1. Sneak: Because everybody wants to move quietly at some time. This starts at 1 in 6 and may be modified by Class or Race.
2. Athletics: Climbing, Jumping, and Acrobatic type maneuvers. This also starts at 1 in 6. If Strength or Dexterity is greater than 15 then add one (2 in 6). If both are above 15 the add two (3 in 6).
3. Sixth Sense: This is used for avoiding surprise, searching, and finding secret doors. This also starts at 1 in 6 and may be modified by Race and Class.
4. I don’t have a name that I like for this one. But I want some sort of social skill. I understand the whole Role Play vs Roll Play. I do want the players to role play out any social encounters but I want something simple that simulates subtle social cues like body language, intonation, and reading the mark. Like the others, this would start at 1 in 6 with a +1 for a Charisma greater than 15.
Improving Everyman Skills: When the character gains a level the player chooses one Everyman Skill and rolls a d6. If the result is higher than the current rating then increase that skill by one.
Everyman Skills Vs Class Skills: If a character has a class skill that would also include an Everyman skill then use the better of the two. Thinking mainly of the Thief here.
Unskilled Attempts: This is going to be judgement call on the GM’s part. But these attempts would fall into three categories:
1. No Way: The character just doesn’t have the training to attempt.
2. Snowball’s Chance: Sure try. Roll 2d6 and only succeed on the roll of double 1’s.
3. Sure give it shot: 1 in 6.
I know there’s a bunch of this will probably change when start really digging into classes. So stay tuned for that and Episode 11 of the podcast should be coming soon!
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 Dungeon Crawl Classics game is steaming ahead and it’s time to meet the band and hear about some of their misadventures. The last session, we were missing two players so more on their characters later but here’s the roll call for the one’s who braved Madazkan’s Court (Sunken City)! Bill The Fighter who probably isn’t going to have a long life considering he has 2 HP and a crappy Luck score. Jade/Jace The Witch (from Tales of the Fallen Empire. First on the whole Jade/Jace thing. For Mercurial Magic for Flaming Hands, Gender Bender was rolled. Look it up. Now I did do a couple of tweaks on the class. First, The Witch gets a Lay On Hands ability very similar to a Cleric’s. But it’s based on the phases of the moon. I’m lazy and really didn’t want to keep track of that. Also, I really enjoy embracing some of the crazy randomness of DCC. So the Lay On Hands table has 5 columns. Good. Roll 1d5 each time it’s attempted. The column may shift based on any powerful ambient magic in the area for good or ill. Also, the class has an ability called Temptress. Add your Personality Modifier to any social checks. Uh, I’d do that any way so it’s not much of a class ability. So what the heck. Add Level. Kinder The Halfling (Don’t blame me. Let the player name their character how ever) and probably one the unluckiest Halflings around. Nelson the Clumsy Elf. The one elf in the world, you don’t want to hand a bow to.
I won’t go into a long blow by blow rant on the session, only the good parts. And yes before you say anything, I ignored some rules here and there. But it was all for the fun of it.
Let’s start with poor Nelson who needs to get some armor so his AC gets up to 10.
“I don’t want to get near the monster. Can I use my 10 foot pole as a weapon sort of like a spear.”
“Sure why not? It’s blunt so it does 1d3.”
“Cool. I crit.” And every encounter after that Nelson crit’ed at least once with his 10 foot pole.
Now on to Kinder the Halfling. The party just made 1st level. They haven’t had a chance to go to town to buy any gear. The only pair of weapons they had were a couple of Long Swords. I don’t care that the swords are as long as the Halfling is tall. Just the visual of the psychotic little Cuisinart made me chuckle. So what the heck. After Bill the Fighter spends most of his time unconscious.
Now for the highlight of the session. And yes SPOILERS AHEAD. STOP READING NOW. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.
It’s the final encounter in Madazkan’s Court. It’s more a trap than a monster. But somehow, the party got it into their heads that it was more of a monster. They kept attacking and throwing spells at the statue for absolutely no effect. Jade The Witch gets desperate and realizes with a good enough roll Charm Person could work on a “monster”. And the DCC Dice Gods said, “Nope! Spell Misfire!” The result. Caster falls in love with the target of the spell. Add into this the player rolled well on Mercurial Magic. First, everyone within 10 feet gets a little healing. It kept Bill alive. Second, all looking at the caster must make a Will Save or be entranced by the caster for 1d3 rounds. The only one to make that save was poor Bill who was being pulled into the maw of the statue. So while the Witch was putting her moves onto Malloc, Nelson the Elf and Kinder the Halfling watched. Yeah, there were a lot of jokes…