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The Wreck At The Edge Of The Empire - Using Jeremy Reaban's 'Found Folio' 'A Pay What You Want' Monster Folio For OSR Adventure Design

Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 10/30/2021 - 17:08
In last night's game the Terran empire seemed to generate the most curiosity among the players especially the way they act as a Swiss bank to the interstellar empire of our former high level paladin. But what are the Terrans fleeing from?! So I went back into our high level paladin's past and grabbed a copy of Jeremy Reaban's 'Found Folio' 'A Pay What You Want' Monster Folio. I kept thinking Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Tomb of the Alchemist

Ten Foot Pole - Sat, 10/30/2021 - 11:11
By Michael H. Stone Self Published OSE Levels 2-4

After long years lying undisturbed and forgotten, the tomb of Hashur, master alchemist of sargon, has recently been opened when an earthquake ripped apart a rock formation in the Montem Downs. When the adventuring party “The Bold Blades” went to investigate, they were wholly unprepared to face an ancient mummy infused with immense power by magical potions and poisons. Murdering the bold blades in a confused rage, Hashur awakens to find the ancient kingdom sacked and its once great cities ruined. Realizing the awakening might not come to pass for him and his wife and followers if local authorities learn of his unearthed crypt, he hatches a plan. Slaving away in his laboratory, he brews a terrible plague of undeath which he plans to unleash on the borderlands.  In mere weeks, a tide of decay and infection will sweep the borderlands clean of the contemptible servants of Law…

This twenty page adventure uses nine pages to describe an eleven room tomb with a mummy dude and his undead friends running around in it. I fucking hate it? I don’t know why though. It’s trying to do the right things? I find the text confusing, and I find the mmap confusing, and I find the text … verbose? No, not verbose. Not the way I usually use that word. It’s like one of those old B series “learning adventure”, maybe? Like, any idea has to have a paragraph on how to run it. Maybe that’s it.

Ok, so, I’m in hour two of a thirteen hour conference and I’m drinking a $45 bottle of gin that’s only 375ml. And I fucking hate gin. I don’t know. Whatever. I just know that I HATE this adventure. Unreasonably so. And, in my own defense, I hated it before I started drinking today. 

And, now, I’m pissed off from work. Grrrrrr… sorry dude. Fucking piece of shit small minded mindsets. No, I’m NOT checking with others before I work with their staff on personal growth projects. I can go to lunch with anyone I want to any time I want to. Fuck it. That’s my staff are better. 

So, you’ve got this undead mummy dude. Long dead sorcerer priest mummy alchemist guy, woken up by some recent tomb raiders and some kind of earthquake thing. Whatever. My takeaway is that alchemists are the new go to for evil bad guys. I chalk this up to an anti-science attitude prevalent in society today. Alchemists seem to be the go to baddie. Whatever. Existence precedes essence, stab whoever you want. Shit. Except there actually are gods. And there’s an god of evil. Fuck. What the fuck does THAT mean? Oh, yeah, so, there are some skeletons with mutations. Mostly save or die shit. Anytime you meet them you roll on a table to see what Save or Die abilities they have

Speaking of save or die … How about an animated statue with AC3 with a save or die ability? The various baddie mutations that amount to save or die? The save or die abilities of, seemingly, over half the creatures in the adventure? This seems a bit much for levels 2-4. In a mostly linear map. 

Let me, now, explain how D&D works. 

Blah blah blah blah Combat As Sport blah blah blah blah Combat As War. So, look, levels 2-4. That’s what the fucking cover says. How many Save or Die effects and/or creatures are ok in that environment? How many are ok in a LINEAR environment? Traditional exploratory dungeons allow for other areas to explore. You can go around shit, or go to other places. Linear/modern/lair/shit dungeons, though, rely on balancing. It’s ok to be linear because the designer has carefully crafted the place to make sure y ou don’t get fucked up. Unless they don’t. Unless you are a B/X level 2 character in a world of fucking Save or Die. 

The read-aloud overexplains. The sectary (desk) has an open written journal on it. *sigh* What about people LOOKING at the fucking desk to determine what is on it? Whatever. The entrance to the dungeon has a living statue, AC3, save or die effect. Linear entrance. Also, you need to pull its tail to make the secret door open. How the fuck does that work? I smash it to pieces and THEN I pull it tail to open the door to the dungeon?

Whatever. 

Room seven is the main entrance. I think. I’m not actually sure if you can go in that way. It looks like room one is the entrance. Except seven says it is. The map is unclear. Is the tunnel blocked? Who knows. Who cares? The Death pit and a trapdoor in to it? I don’t even know how that works. This points to a basic, basic aspect of adventure design: you have to be able to understand what the fuck is going on. 

Again, I apologize that half my gin bottle is now gone. You don’t deserve this. But … I do …

The main bad guy appears in room 2. Probably. There’s probably a let down there as you explore the rest of the tomb. Pretty Boy Lareth was, at least, in the last room. I guess I don’t know what you do after this. I mean, you stabbed the bad guy. What do you do now? I guess you wander around and stab more shit? Whatever. How about the room full of ghouls? 13 ghouls? Sure. Whatever. That will work out ok. 

Wait when was I bitching about the read-aloud over-explaining? About the urns being empty? I shall elucidate. Or go in to more detail. Or whatever. When you over explain you break one of the core mechanics of D&D, exploratory or plot based. The back and forth between player and DM is at the heart of these types of games. The DM describes something, the players investigate with actions and follow up question, the DM provides further info, and thus the circle of life continues. By over-explaining in the read-aloud you are removing the back and forth. WHy do this? Why remove what is a core foundation of all RPG’s? 

Oh, what the fuck else. Did I complain about the map? Did I complain that the room descriptions are obtuse? Did I complain that one room was 1.5 pages long? Did I complain that the rooms are OVERLY formatted (that’s twice now that I recall this problem popping up in adventures.) Everything is explained. It takes a paragraph to say what the zombie is wearing. And one to tell us about the easily spotted secret door. And one to tell us that a zombie used to be the leader of a band of adventurers. And one to tell us that the room has ten zombies in it. And then a read-aloud paragraph. And then a stat block paragraph. I don’t want to be an ass here, but, this is too much for what the room is. It’s not that the room has too many elements, but that the individual elements tend to get way too much attention. 

Ok, this is a shitty review. I apologize. I’m going to sleep it off now.

This is $4 at DriveThru. Preview is five pages. The last page gives yo ua brief sample of what to expect. 

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/370631/Tomb-of-the-Alchemist-OSE-version?1892600

I actually had to go back and edit this review. Fucking gin.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Terran Gambit - ACK's Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu & Colonial Troopers Knight Hawks rpg - Session report

Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 10/30/2021 - 06:21
 All is not as it seems with ACK's Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu! I'm speaking of the Terran Empire here who are not at all what they seem to be. Fleets of the Terran empire have ended up around the space of Kanahu & their trapped  there. The party in tonight's game ended up learning that the Terran empire isn't a Human Space Empire remanent. They are from an entirely different space time Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

A Little Infestation Among Friends - Using Colonial Troopers Night Hawks RPG To Bug Our High Level PC's!

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 10/29/2021 - 19:54
 Recently I've taken over a friend's OSR interstellar campaign while his wife has just had their baby. Congrats to DM Steve & Christine! Another little member of the tribe has come into the world! So what happens when a PC gets to be to high of a level in an old school game?! Do they, A. 'kill gods' or B. found a galactic dynasty empire?! If you answered 'B' then your right. And this brings up Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Talislanta in the Dying Earth RPG

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 10/29/2021 - 12:02
Still cogitating on Talislanta in Pelgrane Press' Dying Earth rpg, I tried out character creation of a character from the Chronicles of Talislanta: Crystabal, the Cymrillian/Saristan self-styled "rogue magician." Here's what I came up with:
Abilities:Persuade (Charming) 10Rebuff (Wary) 8Attack (Finesse) 9Defense (Parry) 9Health 8Magic (Curious) 9
Appraisal 2, Athletics 3, Etiquette 2, Gambling 3, Perception 4, Pedantry 2, Riding 2, Seduction 2, Stealth 3, Wherewithal 2 Wealth 2Resistances: Avarice 2, Indolence 5, Gourmandism 4, Pettifoggery *[infinite]
Possessions: High-collared cloak, breeches and tunic; dyed leather boots; leather-bound spell book; rapier; pouch; shoulder bag; 2 magical trinkets; equs steed; 50 gold lumens worth in assorted coinage.
I had had the thought of just using the archetypes from 4e as the scale of abilities is pretty close to that of Dying Earth. Unfortunately, it isn't close enough--and Dying Earth's scale doesn't seem to be consistent across abilities, at least as far as I can determine looking at NPCs. This means a lot more just re-creating the archetypes, which isn't hard given the relative simplicity of the systems, but more work than I was hoping for. Of course, one could just ditch adaptation and interpret the Talislanta setting alone in the Dying Earth game, but I worry that would lose much of the flavor the archetypes provide (and make chargen take longer).
Another issue is spells. In Talislanta 1st-3rd editions, basic spells are rare broad and generically named, but advanced spells are more specific and have Vancian names. In DE, all spells are specific and have Vancian names. I'm inclined to just use DE spells, renaming some of them eponyms with the names of famous Talislantan mages, using the Tal advanced spells as a model.

On Erecting a New Campaign

Hack & Slash - Fri, 10/29/2021 - 12:00
Do you smell that?
It's the smell of a new campaign. New players, new dynamics, new adventures! 
Here's how this goes:
Suggest a couple of games to players a month ahead of time. Finalize the game date.Realize no one has picked a game.Players select the game they want 48 hours before the game. Hurriedly design an entire campaign from scratch.Frantically try to print off everything you need before the game. Forget to print off a bunch of things.Realize only after the game starts that all the .pdfs you need to reference are on the tablet your daughter is using to watch kid's shows.Bargain with your daughter for the tablet.Decide to use your phone instead.Give up on using your phone. Refer to things as "That country I made up a name for that I can't find."Spend 20 minutes looking for that one piece of paper that has the entire campaign on it. Find it in the folder you made for the players.Watch a 5e player's eyes go wide as a critical chart takes off the clerics arm.Have her leave to go smoke.Convince your daughter that the phone is better then the tablet. Hurriedly try to find the name of that rebel group in the .pdf. End the session rolling up new characters.
Beginning a campaign from scratch
I joke, but this touches on a real issue. Even using an system with no house rules and an adventure path, there's still a tremendous amount of work that needs to happen to get a campaign off the ground.
Let's take a look at what needs to be done, just to start:
  • You have to create an area for the players to adventure. You need to populate this area. If you're being a good dungeon master, this area should be able to handle both expansion, foreshadow the course of the campaign, and be thematically interesting.
  • You need to decide what races and classes you are going to allow.
  • Generally, you have to provide a selection of deities for clerics.
  • You have to either select or design a calendar to keep track of time. (YOU CAN NOT HAVE A MEANINGFUL CAMPAIGN IF STRICT TIME RECORDS ARE NOT KEPT.)
  • You have to decide what languages are available for the players to learn.
  • You need to create a facebook/G+ page and an obsidian portal/wiki as a reference for the campaign as it develops.


How much work is that already?
Then you have character creation, which even in the best games, feels like needing to do taxes so you can get your refund.
There's some person out there, full of more vigor then sense, who will likely point out that you don't have to do these things. Sure, you don't have to. You don't have to brush your teeth in the morning, but who wants to be a damn savage?
The tools have been getting better for this process over the years. I find starting a campaign from scratch much easier now–not only because I've written my own tools, but because there are more useful tools out there.
The process
Because this is something that's really opaque, I'm going to outline my process below. 
The very first thing is you get some players interested. I find, these days, it's as easy as "I'm running a game at date/time, anyone interested?" I then create a venue on a social network where these players can all interact.
System
My next step was to discuss what system we are going to use. No matter what is picked, there's always issues. I don't like clerics and find % thief skills obnoxious. 3.5/Pathfinder games you need to decide what books you are allowing. In this case, the players and I voted for 1st edition AD&D.
Right away, my long experience gives me some insight into how this plays out. Demi-humans are far superior to humans in almost all respects, and most players end up playing Demi-humans as humans in funny hats. I make humans mechanically superior (4d6DL & assign, versus 3d6 in order, switch 2) and add drawbacks to each race. I used Andrew Shields Death Dwarves and their meatsmithing, took a bit of the chaos elves and have them all start with at least one madness, and have half-men (Halflings) have rows and rows of teeth, who prey on the failing morals of men.
I also replace the thief with the expert class and change all the thief skills and secondary skills to use Skills: the Middle Road. I also inform the players that I will be using my Death & Dismembermenttable, along with Hackmaster Critical hits.
World
I give a moment's thought to theme. I decide on a frontier style game. Instead of having a foreign land , where all the cultures are bizarre, I'd prefer a more traditionally medieval setting. My inspirations include Berserk, the 100 years war, Artesia, Bladestorm, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and all the drama inherent in war.
With the idea that the characters are at a forward outpost of a despotic country, with conflict brewing with the nearest city, surrounded by unknown militaristic forces, I head over to Wizardawn and generate maps until I find one that I like. Mountains to the north, a few lakes. I generate it sans any generated sites. I save this map to my Dropbox, print out a color copy and a very light almost faded black and white copy. On the light copy, I create a few cities, about half a dozen towns, and place resources and obstacles over the map. I don't generate the content for any of these. Partially because some answers will be obvious (one city and town on the west side of the map will reflect the outpost and the nearest settlement) and partially because they will develop in play. 
This map is at a scale of 6 mile hexes, making it about the size of my home state of Arkansas. The distances are substantial, but not unmanageable. There's endless adventure inside a single six mile hex, so it provides plenty of room for play and expansion. I can have a whole ancient empire in just a few hexes or introduce a new castle or force late in the campaign.
Then I generate some monster threats. One worldshaker, two that are formidable opponents for Lord or name level characters, and then four that are challenges for superhero level characters. Most of the hero level challenges don't influence the campaign enough to design now.
Now that all that is written, I rationalize clerics and select a calendar. I have a few default options, one from a campaign my father was in way back in the early 80's, another that I designed to be a unique calendar that I use from time to time. Not having to do this from scratch is a big time saver.
Preparation
The next thing is what we will need to start play. I'm playing 1st edition with hackmaster criticals so armor placement is important, along with character sheets. I print off a 1st edition Player's Handbook gear list, and consider printing off some gear packages, but I've been burned with having differing prices before. This later turns out to be a mistake, considering exactly how much gear the players were missing. They had a bullseye lantern no one could light, and no rope. I print out blank spell lists for spellcasters, and then I turn to my Binder.
I find some suitably gory and bizarre images to insert into the covers of the binder, and begin collecting what I need from online and my older folders. I need a copy of my "Table for Avoiding Death", some blank paper, a table for random monster behavior, combat commentary styles, Non-Player Character features, A table for random hireling traits, random backgrounds for henchmen (which will partially decide their class when they acquire enough experience to level), and a list of completely random rumors, which is often useful for inspiration.
The next section contains a cheat sheet for 1e morale, evasion, and encounter detection and a table of 100 reasons the characters are together along with a list of totally bullshit taxes that can be levied on players. The 100 reasons sheet is extremely useful for creating emergent play.
Finally, I have a section devoted to overland travel. The first page is a way to determine with one die roll when the next encounter is based on encounter frequency, instead of having to roll three, four, or even six or more times per day of travel. Then I have several lists of non-standard wilderness events, some creative tables for merchants, war travel, short encounters, unique treasure, holidays, strange inns, etc. Then I have a page devoted to an article from a hackjournal that contains a random system for naming small villages and hamlets. Finally I have a copy of the d30 random wilderness book.
Adventure
Well, what now?
There's still a lot left to do. Like what are the players actually going to do when they get to the game? I generate three key Non-Player Characters, and an opening setting for their arrival in town. I also go through the various books and monster manuals (The Creature Compendium, Fire on theVelvet Horizon, etc.) and pick a small (2-6) selection of monsters per terrain type near the starting area. These will be the primary antagonists and animals the players will meet.
Due to time constraints, I forgo creating an actual wandering monster table. In order to create an actual experience of discovery and realism, I follow the method for monster tables outlined on the retired adventurer blog, each containing spoors, lairs, and other monster sign.
I then flip through some resources, looking for a few activities for new adventurers, along with ideas for other local factions and groups. I select a few from here and there, and write them down on my campaign sheet, which at this point is still a single piece of paper with a lot of writing on it. I grab a copy of a few interesting files, and dump them on my tablet.
Then I gather the books I need. My "On the Non-Player Character", Delta's "Book of War", Crawford's "An Echo, Resounding", My 1e Dungeon Master Screen, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Player's Handbook, A copy of "Dyson's Delves" for treasure maps. I also keep a copy of my Critical Hit/Wild Magic Resource, and Kellri's CCD:4 for wilderness travel nearby.
I gather dice, pencils, dice trays, my tact-tiles, dry erase markers, buy a fruit tray, and just hope for the best at this point.
The Beginning
Well, after you had the first game session, that's it eh?
Not hardly. Then comes setting up the Obsidian Portal, drawing pictures of the non-player characters, creating new non-player characters, writing the random tables, creating interesting and connected rumors, and more.
In 2017, I was able to handle all the above in about 48 hours, whereas as short as a decade ago it could take weeks, or more. Are we there yet? We are getting better. Newer rulesets like ACKS, DCC, and Perdition require a lot less house-ruling of core systems it seems; adventurers, tools, and resources seem to be getting more useful as time goes on. Even the quality of official material seems to be of a higher caliber (but often fails from trying to be too many things to too many people).
What about your campaigns? Is every single one a task of pulling the entire world up by its bootstraps while you are astride it?

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Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

OSR Science Fantasy Domains - OSR rpg Retroclones & the Drums of War

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 10/29/2021 - 04:29
 Going over older campaign notes today & thinking about pulling up older campaign adventure elements. One thing that comes to mind with the supply chain issues hitting Kickstarter & Hasbro. I've been speaking with co DM's about the idea of pulling forward several older campaign elements. And this brings up ACK's Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu & Night Owl Workshop's Warriors of the Red Planet.  Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

OSR Write Up For the Roboskull Mark II For Stars Without Numbers Revised rpg

Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 10/28/2021 - 22:22
 From beyond the furthest reaches of the moons of Saturn on a planetlet base comes the Roboskull mark II marking the return of the Red Shadows terrorists! They have languished since the early Eighties out beyond the frozen rings of Saturn! But now the Red Shadows are back marauding colony after colony within the Sol system. Roboskull Mark II Packaging Art by the Legendary Ian KennedyHP: 9 Power: Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The original release of Dungeons and Dragons was a supplement.

Bat in the Attic - Thu, 10/28/2021 - 19:20

It occurred to me recently that the original release of Dungeons and Dragon is best viewed as a supplement. Not to the Chainmail Miniature wargame but to the unwritten rules, systems, and methods the miniature wargaming community of the early 70s were using.

After reading Playing at the World, Hawk and Moor, and other accounts of early miniature wargaming I had a better understanding of why the 3 LBBs of ODnD were organized the way they were. It makes  sense to me to view it as a supplement to what folks were doing at the time. And why everybody else who got a hold of it was scratching their heads over the missing parts.

What got me thinking about this was thinking about my Majestic Wilderlands Supplement. This was written for Swords and Wizardry. I didn't bother explaining what hit points, armor class, and levels were. My target audience was hobbyists playing Swords and Wizardry and other classic editions. I assumed that they would "get" the stuff I left undefined. I did receive a few criticisms and comments early on about where was rest of the system was. I explained that it was a supplement to another game. Luckily for me it was free to download.

With all the interest generated in the history of our hobby with the Game Wizards, I figure this would a interesting insight when weighing the original release against later editions of Dungeons and Dragons.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Legacies of Dread - X1 Isle of Dread by David Cook , & Tom Moldvay Campaign Commentary & Update

Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 10/28/2021 - 17:52
 When it comes to fall out from one module within my campaigns its got to be X1 Isle of Dread by David Cook , & Tom Moldvay , not only is this a great module for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. But its one of the modules that has the greatest impact by its connections deep into the Sea of Dread. Not only do you have deep connotations into a dinosaur filled realm but the Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

In Defense of Randomized Content in RPGs (with bonus 1d20 Random Table for megadungeons)

The Disoriented Ranger - Thu, 10/28/2021 - 12:41
Just tropping by to leave a little something here on the blog. It's been a busy month, and November will be just as busy (for relevant reasons yet to be disclosed to you, gentle reader). So here's a little something I did for a project that didn't make the cut ... Incidentally it also connects nicely with the last post and further explores my thinking in that regard. The Random Table in the end is just icing.

True randomness, you say?

Many gamers believe that the use of random tables in role-playing games is an old school staple and has no place in newer designs. Let me try and change your mind on this.

First of all: the use of random tables, for instance, to create some encounters or an encounter reaction, is not necessarily as ‘random’ as one would define the word. Let’s see a definition. ‘Randomness’ is, according to the main definition offered by the Oxford Language Dictionary:

‘The quality or state of lacking a pattern or principle of organization; unpredictability.’

Most rpg random tables are a collection of terms (or mechanics) that are considered compatible with the purpose of the random table and therefore will produce results that are within an expected spectrum or range. It’s when random tables start to work in conjunction and use more abstract terms that you’ll get results that are a bit more unpredictable.

So what I’m saying is that a one column table with 20 or even 100 entries doesn’t really qualify as something that produces random results. It’s a start, but not where the true potential lies. Or its reason …

Gimme Danger (the narrative whispered)

Gamemasters have to describe versatile environments and how all of that interacts with the players and the game. Improvising all of that is never advised. A good game will do some of the heavy lifting and some notes and maps along with some moderate documentation will be enough to keep a campaign running, if the improvisation it needs to bring the game to life and connect all the dots is actually up to the task.

Just make it work, right? [source]
So improvisation is where it’s at. The flow of the game, the interface between players, rules and narrative across time. It’s a crucial junction and delivering or not decides between everyone having a good time and destroying the Suspension of Disbelief. It takes tact and rhythm, an idea how the narrative’s past and its future could connect and everything in between. If you are a gifted (or experienced) storyteller, you can get away with a lot before there is any danger of being repetitive or running the narrative into the ground. If not, this is where you’ll struggle, even if the rest works.

Ultimately, we all have our ways and tastes and styles. We are subjective individuals and it’s only human to prefer certain outcomes or stories. However, it makes us lose sight of the possibilities. This is where Random Tables figure into the equation. This is where they shine, because random tables are in that weird space between rules and improvisation.

The best results make no sense on their own

It’s about unpredictability, just like they say in the definition above. Checking if an encounter is friendly by any chance instead of just assuming that they’ll always look for combat will open up every game. And context will always give you some opportunity to make it part of the story. Why is that slime the group just encountered so shyly engaging and not at all aggressive? That’s a story worth some curiosity.

And you can’t plan for it in a meaningful way. Not without cheating (as in: forcing it on the players). However, if you allow it as an option, the best way to give something unexpected a way of occurring is by making it ‘random’ in a way that contradicts what you are going for just enough to expand the narrative by elements you wouldn’t have thought of on the fly without leaving the realm of possible and expected occurrences.

Now, that's a mouthful. Since I had this next part laying around, doing nothing (as I mentioned in the beginning), I'll end this one with an example, for a change. The premisse with this one is that the characters hang out in a city that is on top (or near) a megadungeon of some sort. The idea is to have a number of incidents that will occur on a regular basis, but vary by circumtsances enough to have them recognized as a general theme. It's abstract enough to be that and should easily adapt to every fantasy setting.

Behold (and check out the conclusion at the end):

You have a megadungeon under the city, so once a week you will experience (roll 1d20):
  1. … ghosts of adventurers, talking about their past failings.
  2. … strange gasses emanating on random locations.
  3. … underground detonations.
  4. … currency lost all value for now as treasure floods the city.
  5. … weird visitors from another dimension (planescape tourists).
  6. … humanoid tribe occupying a district, seeking asylum and protection from a bigger threat.
  7. … fissures appear, roll additional 1d20 (1 meaning a minor fissure, a 20 toppling houses).
  8. … mobilisation of an adventurer guild for a (1d3) rescue/retaliation/reinforcement mission.
  9. … parade of high level heroes coming back from a dungeon deep-dive.
  10. … a water body (toss coin) in or close to the city drops significantly with lots of gurgling.
  11. … random magic wildfire (1d3: no magic possible/weird side effects/triple effects).
  12. … monster meat is back on the menu! Butchers sell cuts of rare beasts.
  13. … city watch enforces an immediate evacuation of a district, no reasons given.
  14. … magic items show weird but harmless glitches (1d3: sparks/talks nonsense/vibrates).
  15. … underground fight with (random encounter) is carried out to the surface (1d3: neighbourhood joins in/turns into a wild chase/ends up being a slaughter).
  16. … rich and drunk adventurers partying too hard, being annoying.
  17. … exotic funeral, financed by an adventure guild, paid bards constantly sing praise of a dead adventurer all over the place.
  18. … drama between two famous adventurers is the buzz of the town. Bets are taken.
  19. … city prepares for an invasion from below (1 in 6 chance small army (1d100% of the population) of 1d6 combined Random Encounters will make the attempt).
  20. … that the psychosphere in your corner of town shifts to an extreme for a short time (1d3: ecstatic/aggressive/depressed).

Conclusion

Our understanding of what 'random' means in role-playing games, is pretty basic at best, so it should be safe to say that games in general benefit from what they add to a game. Since they mostly stay within the narrative scope of what a given game might allow (and considering misfires are easily navigated, I might add), there are actually no good arguments against using random tables. Not that I can see, anyway (and I've thought a bit about it, too).

As a matter of fact, random tables help game designers in helping gamemasters in bringing their vision to life, and that's just as important. Role-playing games are about telling stories, and in the end it is all about the impulses a game offers to make it what it intents to be. Specific words, ideas or inspirations are all easily enough transported into the game through random tables, and easily enough implemented, since they are part of playing the game and not just an info dump somewhere in the rule book.

What do you guys think? Do you see any reasons to not have random tables as a standard tool in every game? 

 

Good boy ... [source]

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If you are interested in a completely realized game heavily utilizing random tables of all sorts, you can check out a free preview of Ø2\\'3|| (that rpg I published) right here (or go and check out the first reviews here). We will definitely do a sale in November. Stay tuned for that ...

If you already checked it out, please know that I appreciate you :) It'll certainly help to keep the lights on here!

Just look at that beauty ...

 

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

On the Thursday Trick, Doors & Chests

Hack & Slash - Thu, 10/28/2021 - 12:00
Doors & Chests 
I talk a lot about agency in traps, about having signs of the traps be obvious but subtle, about distracting from what the real clues are and about how to make them interesting.

All this gets tossed out the window for doors and chests. Why?  Because they are common and commonly trapped. In most cases the trapping mechanism is subtle and hard to detect. And the procedure for checking them using player skill would rapidly reach the point where it was comprehensive and going through that process would be boring and repetitive.

It is an actual example where character skill trumps player skill. I can explain how to crack a safe or pick a lock, but it is practice and exposure to different safes and locks that really determines your ability.

So, for traditional, classic, door and chest traps, I don't bother describing the mechanism of the trap. 
This is reliant upon the relevant thief skill.  It is the thief's equivalent to fighting or casting spells. I do certainly think it is reasonable to create a unique game or subsystem for opening locks or detecting traps (Such as pulling Jenga blocks, winning hands of war, etc.)

Detection/Disarming: Here are some lists of common door and chest traps!

  • Poison
    • Contact poison on treasure
    • Contact poison on container
    • Poison needle in lock or handle
    • Poison darts in front, top, inside lid, or bottom.
    • Poison Gas (in chest, in door handle)
  • Scything blade, cutting, up, down, etc.
  • Contains deadly vermin
  • Triggers another nearby trap, trap door, crushing stone block, etc. (Note that this trap can have plenty of agency)
  • Triggers a Magic Spell
  • Mimic
  • Acid spray
  • Explosive
How to deal with overactive door kickers?
  • Dropping blades
  • Weighted line that releases a metal spear shaft from the ceiling behind the kicker
  • Weakened doors that break eaisly to allow blades to amputate the limbs
  • Snares in the door
  • Spring loaded blades in doors
  • Shooting blades that fling out
  • Portcullises that drop when the door is opened (to prevent the peek and flee)
  • Spiked clamps triggered around the surrounding ceiling, floor, or walls
  • Door contains deadly substance
  • Doors that spring out, slamming targets into the walls, floor or ceiling
  • Things perched on the tops of doors
  • Doors covered in sticky, toxic, or dangerous substances


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Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Encounter with the Cyan Sorceress

Sorcerer's Skull - Thu, 10/28/2021 - 11:00

Our Land of Azurth 5e game continued on September 16 and again last Sunday. The party passed through the door opened by the sleep walkers and into an older structure. Just beyond the door, they encountered an animal like a great cat with a ball of energy for a head. The party fought with it, and though it had some unusual powers, put it down reasonably quickly.
They moved into a larger passage where a humming sound presaged the passing of something at high speed. During the rest of the time in this central tunnel the thing periodically passed at unpredictable intervals. They had to be careful and stay out of its way.
Crossing the dangerous "highway" they came into a room full of strange, junk machinery--and another (or perhaps the same) energy-headed cat. They fought it again, and realized finally it would stay did until they shocked it with lightning. 
More weird rooms followed that one. There were several with sarcophagi where beings seemed to be in various states of growth around old bones. Dagmar touched the semi-solid green stuff in a vat and got sucked in and would have drowned, had they not pulled themselves out. A strange, cybernetic undead attacked them, but they stopped it with the first of the trinkets they had managed to figure out how to use.


Eventually they came to a room where some of the hapless, captured townsfolk were being turned into more such creatures. When they moved to free them, the Cyan Sorceress appeared. She revealed that she was one of the Chromic Witches, in the same coven as the Magenta Mage they met back on the Candy Isle. The Sorceress's speech seemed halting, and occasionally she was confused, suggesting to the party she was being controlled by someone. She also mentioned a book as being important which Waylon guessed (rightly) was the Wondrous Wizard of Azurth. The group tried to apprehend her, but she teleported away.

Campaign Session Commentary - Bloody,Bloody Arduin rpg & In Praise of the Deodanths

Swords & Stitchery - Wed, 10/27/2021 - 17:41
 We're gonna start temporal adventuring once again & I wanted to take a moment to talk about my running family obsession with the Deodanths from Arduin. When it comes to Bloody, Bloody, Arduin there's one race that I've used since I was a kid & that's the Deodanths. The evil, nasty, undead semi Elven race whose origins stretch back into the realms of their dealings with fell powers. Forget Drow, Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

How Playing on Streams and at Conventions Sharpens D&D’s Designers

DM David - Wed, 10/27/2021 - 12:12

In the 80s into the 90s, I would see convention panels or magazine interviews where game professionals said that their game writing left them no time for game playing. Those writers might admit to an occasional session of Call of Cthulhu—that was the role-playing game the pros played once they felt too mature for bashing monsters in dungeons. But writers of the era’s countless Dungeons & Dragons setting books rarely seemed to play the game much anymore.

Prolific adventure author Teos “Alphastream” Abadia writes, “Especially in the third-edition era, some Wizards staff seemed not to play their own game and seldom saw it played. In the Living Greyhawk community (a 3E organized play campaign) there was the sense that a large portion of new rules needed errata solely because the designers weren’t familiar enough with the game to see (obvious) exploits and problems.”

For many of the game products of the time, play experience mattered less. People bought game books to read. RPG writers could succeed by satisfying game readers more than players. See “How the end of lonely fun leads to today’s trickle of D&D books.”

Speaking in an episode of the Misdirected Mark podcast, veteran RPG freelancer Shawn Merwin said, “One of the criticisms I’ve had in the past of [D&D] staff, especially through third and fourth edition, was that they would sit in Renton, Washington and create this game, but they never really got out and saw how the game was played by the different kinds of fans, or the fans that may play a little bit differently than the designers’ own home games or their games within their company.”

The designers of fifth edition play more with the D&D community, and the edition benefits. “We know that D&D is a big tent,” explains lead rules designer Jeremy Crawford. “Not only do people of many sorts play in the D&D, but also people of many tastes play D&D. We know some people really love heavy improvisational role-playing and other D&D players, for them, that’s all about the tactical nuances of D&D combat, and everything in between.”

Over the past few years, I‘ve seen D&D designers at conventions run games for random tables of Adventurers League players lucky enough to draw the celebrity DM. Speaking in the podcast, Teos Abadia said, “This is a really important thing for Wizards to do. To meet with players and see how players play [the designer’s] game in this kind of environment.”

In a convention game, you will join players who may play differently. “You’re just randomly dipping into the pond to see who ends up at your table and to see how they play the game that you create. And I think that’s very important,” Teos said. “For me as a fan, I want to see Wizards involved with fans in this kind of way as much as possible.”

The D&D designers play with non-designers even more on liveplay streams. “One of my favorite parts of the rise of RPG celebrities running liveplay games is that they have to then play their games with other people,“ Teos writes. “I really think it is fantastic that so many at WotC have run and played in the games.” Of course, streamed play intends to entertain an audience, making these performances different from most D&D sessions—the ones at basements, kitchen tables, or game stores‘ back rooms.

People who think about D&D’s future wonder how livestreams will influence designers to change the rules, and whether streaming should shape the rules. Jeremey Crawford says, “We’re concerned about supporting traditional tabletop play well, but also the types of D&D experiences people have in streams.”

Streaming certainly affects the interests of new players discovering D&D. Traditionally, new D&D players tended to focus on the joy of bashing monsters and developing more powerful characters. Those same new players found acting in character off putting. Before steaming, virtually nobody new to D&D spoke in character. The prospect of adopting a funny voice seemed odd and potentially embarrassing. Now, new players typically want to play the sort of personalities and scenes they see in streams. (In my experience, new players act in character, but they still hesitate to use a funny voices. Perhaps the vocal talents of actors seem unreachable.)

Based on experience running games at conventions, the people guiding D&D’s Adventurers League organized play campaign work harder than ever to accommodate different play styles. The recent League seasons have encouraged authors to welcome the three D&D pillars of exploration, roleplaying interaction, and combat when designing adventures, and to especially consider non-combat answers to encounters. The league’s Ravenloft: Mist Hunters campaign aims to “focus on story, atmosphere, and immersive interaction.”

If you want to write games and adventures for strangers to play, then you benefit from playing with strangers. Every regular group settles into a play style. Do they play recklessly or cautiously? Heroically or ruthlessly? How do they settle conflict between PCs that pull in opposite directions? Regular groups seek activities they all enjoy. A group’s style makes them predictable. When we play long enough in one style, we tend to forget other ways.

DMs who operate in public eventually see groups that defy even the most common customs of D&D. New players love to split the party. Authors with experience as dungeon masters for strangers become better at anticipating what random players might do, and do better at writing scenarios that account for players who veer off the path.

Organized play authors understand the challenges of running an adventure from a text. Their adventures sometimes even include troubleshooting sidebars that help DMs account for actions that threaten to break an adventure.

Every group is different. You can’t play with everyone, but if you want to write games for everyone, you benefit from reaching out to game with random strangers.

This post revists a topic from 2016.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

On the Expert

Hack & Slash - Wed, 10/27/2021 - 12:00
There's been some talk about the thief lately.

I have a very elegant solution and wish to share.

This system works no matter which version you run.

I have eliminated the thief class and replaced it with a class called Expert. Expert works exactly like a thief regarding saves, hit points, and all other relevant aspects of the thief class except for the following differences.

Experts can re-roll any one roll they make, once per session per level. This is to support their playstyle niche which is risk-taker.

Experts select 5 skills from the following list. They do this instead of gaining their default skills. I use Skills: the Middle Road* as the system in my game because it doesn't tie skills into level, but X in d6 or % both work. Each level the thief selects a new skill, or raises a skill from skilled to expert to master.

The key to this following list is each of these skills resolves a specific in game 'lock'. It is a literal toolset as the magic users bag of spells, or the fighters bag of murder.


Agility/Athletics: For resolving feats of derring do.
Alchemy: For the creation and identification of alchemical items.
Appraisal: For determining the value of objects in the dungeon.
Arcana: For the identification and use of out of class magic items (wands/scrolls, etc.)
Backstab: For doing additional damage in combat.
Healing: For restoring hp to comrades after a battle.
Listening: For gathering information behind closed doors.
Nature Affinity: For calming and working with animals. This also allows you to use your charisma to have animal companions in addition to henchmen.
Poison Use: Use, identify and treat poison.
Campaign Specific Lore skills: Specifically useful skills that provide additional info in your campaign.
Sleight of Hand: Picking pockets, palming, and other feats of prestidigitation.
Stealth: Hiding, Movement to surprise monsters, and taking a round to set up a backstab in combat.
Stonelore: Identification of slopes, new construction, sliding walls, pit traps depth underground and stonework.
Tinkering/Devices: Disarming traps on chests and doors. and working with machinery.

Note that searching and parley are not on the list by design. The X in 6 chances to locate secret doors once players have given up looking and reaction rolls are not systems that are improved by allowing people to become 'skilled' in them. It is highly likely those will become 'skill taxes'.

The difference between these skills and the usual assortment, is that each of these provides a specific in game mechanical use. There aren't skills for flavor or background (those should be non-mechanical in nature). The system is expandable for subsystems you might use in your campaign

*All non-supernatural tasks have a target number of two to seven. Those unskilled may attempt a task by rolling a d6. Those skilled at a task roll a d8. Those that are experts at a task roll a d10. Those that are masters roll a d12. Target numbers may be modified situationally.

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Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Barrow of the Elf King

Ten Foot Pole - Wed, 10/27/2021 - 11:12
Nate Treme Highland Paranormal Society The Vanilla Game Level 1

And if joy were not on the earth,
There were an end of change birth,
And Earth and Heaven and Hell would die,
And in some gloomy barrow lie
Folded like a frozen fly
-WB Yeats, The Wanderings of Oisin

This sixteen page digest adventure features a ten room barrow. Of an elf king. I know, surprising, given the title, right?  It knows how to create an atmosphere and brings a certain OD&D charm to the table with its encounters. I will never complaining about small level one adventures, but, the challenge for a designer like this is moving away from the ten room level one dungeon in to something with room to breathe and the context to bring the larger area to life.

There are, I think, two major hurdles for most designers to overcome. In the Brycian model of adventure design we have Ease of Use, Evocative Writing and Interactivity … with hidden pillar four being “Design.” Ease of Use is not particularly difficult, once you know you need to do it. It’s mostly just following some guidelines. Interactivity that is formulaic can provide least middling results, enough that the adventure is not just one note anyway. The ability to throw away all of the tropes of all of the adventures ever seen and bring new life to things is an important skill. The imagining of a scene, and what it would really be like, getting past all of the imagination having been beaten out of you by life. The Evocative Writing then communicates this to the DM and the DM to players, painting a picture in their head, creating a mood and atmosphere. It allows the DMs imagination, and the players, to be leveraged in to something much greater than what was on the page, the negative space in the imagination being filled in by the players/DM’s own brains. This adventure hits on all three notes, successfully in all cases with some occasional bits that verge on brilliance. 

The dungeon is small. Ten rooms, which includes the exit which is not an actual room, at least not in my taxonomy. So, nine spaces to adventure in. It keeps the text to one room per page, one digest page, with relatively large margins a decent sized font, and generally some room left over at the bottom. (At least enough for my most petty of enemies t o make an appearance: the explicit mention of where each exit is in the room.) This allows the DM to scan the room quickly, picking up what the important features are. It’s generally written with the most important features appearing first/high up in the description, allowing the DM to narrate as they go through the room. It’s very tightly edited. There’s none of the usual if/then shit, or room backgrounds, or conversational styling to get in the way of the DM actually using the text to run the room. At most we get an occasional aside in the room that provides context within the bounds of ACTUAL PLAY. A room with three skeletons at a table playing dice tells us, in the middle of the description, “An ancient enchantment bound them here to protect the tomb but the magic has eroded with time and they are terribly bored.” The terribly bored part enhances the rooms play especially roleplay, which this room is bound to have. The “ancient enchantment” stuff can even fit in to that. It fits in perfectly with the next sentence “They’ll halfheartedly ask intruders to leave and end every conversation with “Ok, time for you to go” or “It’s getting late” while gesturing towards the entrance.” It builds. (and, good use of italics to offset while maintaining readability). Importantly, this is one aside in what is otherwise ¾ of a page of text, maybe, seven sentences total. The ratio of directly actionable data to tertiary aside is absolutely spot on … AND The tertiary background is relevant to the actual play of the room rather than just useless trivia. Good job. There’s an OD&D vibe here, not just in type of encounter but in mechanics as well. The text focuses on the play rather than the mechanics of play, with a sparseness of attention to it, letting the focus remain in the FANTASTIC rather than the mundanity of getting there. Oh, for a world in which the monster ref sheet page of the Ready Ref sheets were the norm!

Interactivity is … subtle. While there’s an obvious role play element to the skeletons, there are at least two other role play opportunities as well within the tomb. In the tomb! Tomb dungeons can be boring, but here we have something other than undead combat and traps. You can talk to a goblin, or with The Oldest Spider in the Forest … and perhaps strike a bargain with her. Want to see in the dark and walk on walls? The spider has a deal for you … and that deal is delicious! Literally, of course, but figuratively as well, causing the player to ask themselves what they will do for power. And, the ability of a minor entity, the oldest giant spider in the forest, to do that? Great! (More The Oldest later.) 

This sort of thing extends to the magic items.  Canopic jars full of brains and heart … who’s up for a light snack? Or, the living wooden sword of the elf lord … planted to grow in to a tree. Rewards for returning said gobo to her boggy home? The gift of a toad steed. Or skulls attached to the wall with thin silver wires. There are things to do!

The writing here is generally strong, and it supports itself by leveraging a kind of older folklore element, something pre-Tolkein and before the advent of every description becoming meaninglessly abstracted and generic. This is bleeding in to the general vibe of the dungeon and the atmosphere it creates even from the very first encounter. There’s a mound of dirt in the forest. There are three stone slabs on top, all the same shape, one that a single man can lift, one that three men together could lift, and one that it takes two men to lift. Stacking them, in order, creates the portal in to the barrow. Note this doing three separate things. FIrst, there’s interactivity. Second, there’s the appeal to the entrance to the mythic underworld … you have to do SOMETHING to gain entrance to it. Finally, the appeal to The Old Ways. This feels different. It feels like you’re in some older tale, a peddler or soldier matching wits with the supernatural. And it does this over and over and over again. The talk spider. The dicing skeletons. A dead elf lord on a dias, arms crossed, holding a black iron arrow in each one. Wearing white wooden armor and a crown of twisted branches growing green leaves. Note the evocation of the fey elf, closet to the wood elf king from the Hobbit. Fey. Iron. Bramble Crown. This all FEELS right, down in your bones. 

We get “A narrow stone brick tunnel is lined with small alcoves, two on each side. Each contains a skull, covered in ornamental markings in blue ink, with green gemstones “ A brick tunnel, with all the imagery that holds. Niches, and not just skull but inked skulls. And not just inked skulls but blue-inked skulls. These are simple, decently described, not overly verbose, evocative. And leveraging ideas to bring more than the simple words would indicate. Maybe could use some work in this area to get to super stardom description levels, but the trend is absolutely SOLIDLY on the correct side of the spectrum. 

A small lair dungeon for level one adventurers completed successfully. Good Job! You’ve done the most basic thing a designer can do. There’s a weaker room here or there (the exit room, the canopic jar room) and perhaps the writing could be even better. But, solid solid effort. For what it is. A basic level one lair dungeon. Yeah, that’s right fuckers, I’m complaining about that. Look, I like level one adventures. There are a decent number of them. Maybe fewer lair dungeons, since those tend to come from a genre not known for producing strong efforts. But, I assert, the level one lair dungeon is nothing but training wheels. There is no larger context of the world around the location. There are only ten rooms. The challenge is to continue this effort. To include the larger context. To have a dungeon  that larger design elements come in to play. One in which the players can stretch their legs, with all of the design challenges that come with that. The lair dungeon, that is but a single bite of a single donut. I want to see something more fully realized, with context and size. That’s where the designer needs to go next to stretch themself, both creatively and logistically. That is what will put Nate down in the annals of RPGdom. 

This is Pay What You Want at itch.io, with a suggested price of $7.

https://natetreme.itch.io/botek

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Wednesday Comics: DC, January 1981 (wk 2, pt 2)

Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 10/27/2021 - 11:00
My goal: read DC Comics' output from January 1980 (cover date) to Crisis! This week, I'm looking at the comics at newsstands around October 23, 1980. 

Legion of Super-Heroes #271: continues the story of the last two issues. Light Lass learns the secret of the Dark Man, who is clone made from part of Tharok's irradiated brain (and apparently all evil). The various Legionnaires manage to escape from their confinement and make common cause with the Fatal Five who have decided the Dark Man doesn't have their best interests at heart. Blok (late of the Super-Assassins) gets to prove his worth to the Legion, but it all comes down to Tharok versus the Dark Man, which appears to lead to mutual annihilation.  Conway's and Janes' story is inferior in craft to the sort of stuff going on over in the X-Men at this time (and probably Teen Titans) but it's a solid story that only suffers for perhaps being a little drawn out.

Mystery in Space #115: None of these stories are particularly interesting except for some of the artists brought to bear. "Certified Safe" has got Bolland drawing Drake's story of a hotshot, space opera general whose overconfidence is his undoing when he's killed by a weird organism on a routine scout mission. Still, his political opponents meet the same fate. Denys Cowan is artist for a humorous tale by Allikas which has contestants vying to be delegates to a convention on Planet Rxaxx, only to discover it's our viruses they consider kindred intellects, not humans. La Rocque and Sech collaborate on a space opera yarn where a couple both sacrifice themselves thinking the other can then get to earth and warn of an alien invasion. This causes the aliens to change their plans of conquest because of the human power of love. 
The other two stories have artists from an older generation. Barr and Tuska give us a story of a spacefaring Noah contending with a AI gone mad. In "The Planet of Loathing" by Utley and Ditko, aliens contact one human to offer to help earth enter a new Golden Age only to be rebuffed. They unknowingly contacted a hardened criminal on deathrow.


New Adventures of Superboy #13: This is not usually one of my favorite titles in the DC catalog and this story isn't anything special--but the ending had a twist I wasn't expecting. This sort of continues from last issues story, with Clark acting extra cowardly to convince everyone he isn't a hero, which makes Clark seem really masochistic, but okay. On a plane ride to Coast City, he meets a young man named Harold who impresses Clark by seeming without fear no matter what happens. He and Clark become friends and later on the beach, he helps Clark out against some bullies. Clark as Superboy soon  soon returns the favor when Harold gets in over his head with some criminals. At the end of the story, we find out Harold's (or Hal's) last name is Jordan, and he will one day become Green Lantern. Well played, Bates and Schaffenberger! Other interesting continuity tidbits: comments regarding the distance from Smallville to Coast City puts Smallville in the Eastern Time zone and suggests it must not be too far from the coast, so it isn't in Kansas at this point. The story also mentions the Beach Boys as if they are new, so it must be set in the early to mid-60s.

Sgt. Rock #348: The lead story by Kanigher, Ayers and Randall has Zack, former bazooka man for Easy, preparing to head home because he lost his left arm. Zack doesn't go home though, instead following Easy into battle, and helping Rock out one last time before leaving him in the hands of his replacements, Short and Long Round. Jan Duursema pencils the next story about the depravity of the Roman gladiatorial games under Nero. Kanigher seems to like these historical asides. "Runaway" has really amateurish looking, apparently early, art by Ron Randall. It's a nasty tale of deserting British soldiers in World War I who disguise themselves with cowhides and escape the Germans only to die in a grisly mishap in an abattoir. The last story is a "Men of Easy" feature focusing on 4-Eyes and what happens the day he breaks his glasses. Spoilers: he still makes the shot.

Super Friends #40: Bridwell and Fradon introduce the Monocle, who has the power to fool any sense, and pretty much makes fools of the Super Friends until they lure him into a trap by pretending Wonder Woman is getting arrested for one of his crimes. Then the Wonder Twins take him down. The backup story is about Jack O' Lantern of the Global Guardians and features a leprechaun and a piece of the Blarney Stone for really concentrated Irishness.

Unexpected #206: The cover story is a Johnny Peril tale by Barr with appealing, sort of cartoony art by Sparling and Patterson. A robot appears to acting as a brutal vigilante. Johnny traces the robots to a factory and discovers the killer robot is the prototype for an assassin (and really more a vehicle or powered armor, but whatever). The creator, Dr. Haskell, powers the robot with a star-shaped talisman given him by a mysterious benefactors--who then apparently kill him for revealing their secret. More on this mysterious group is promised next issue.
Drake, Nicholas, and Demulder open the issue with a businessman wanting to wise up the liberal, vegetarian, animal-loving son of his old mentor. He drops him on an island with a gun where he believes he'll be forced to kill a rabid wolf and give up his beliefs. He returns to find the young man does now have a taste for meat--human meat! He's become a werewolf. "The Iron Beast" by Utley and Garcia is a bit like Bradbury's "There Will Come Soft Rains" except the machine looking for commands from humanity is a futuristic tank. 

Warlord #41: Read more about it here.  We also get more of a "Tale of Wizard World."

An OSR Sword & Sorcery Twist or Two On The Free 'The Praise The Fallen' One Shot Dungeon

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 10/26/2021 - 21:42
 There have been huge delays in delivery of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea third edition because of issues with the global supply chain. And its effecting a ton of Kickstarters at the moment & that's fine. I wasn't expecting AS&SH 3rd till next year anyhow. Now that doesn't stop me from rooting around the AS&SH forums & I came across a few gems. And Handy Haversack delivers the Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
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