Monday, June 20, 2022

d12 You've Found the Last

Ært (my world) is kinda Dying Earth. It's the last æon now. Some things are inspired by Blackmoor. I love the tech being around. I think about that story of the last (musical) organ a lot...

d12things! The last...
1) harmonica
2) unicorn
3) synthetic person
4) waifu pillow
5) starfighter (space-jet)
6) ape doll circa Planet of the Apes æon.
7) idol of Tharzidun 
8) bible
9) vinyl record
10) gobstopper
11) nautilus shell
12) Dominican flag

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Monday, June 6, 2022

My Next Character Steps out of the Shadows: Tyranny of the Archons


There are a couple things I'm a fan of: PC death and quick PC replacement. Anyone that keeps an eye on my folder of free games I make might have noticed I try to make character gen lickitty split fast. But how do these new PCs end up in the dungeon? 

It's the fault of the Archons. These coweled robots are the servertors of Partee, god of high adventure. They roll into a tavern, scan the patrons for likely candidates, and zap them with transport beams. The beams transport hapless souls to dungeons that have a dirth of PCs to challenge them.

It is tradition to try to get along with people who get ported into your midst; to anger the plans of the archons is to risk them transporting you deeper into the underworld. 

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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

DCC & FAGE hit boxes

Typing out loud about trying to make combat even faster in DCC. Lessee... 


Let's count damage as hits by counting it in chunks of five. So 1~5dmg= 1 hit, 6~10= 2 hits, &c. 

Group monsters take one or two hits. Like if there are a few bandits, give them two hits, but if there are ten, give them only one. 

Solo monsters can take HP/10 hits if they have listed HP, or 1 to 3 hits per HD. Give high AC monsters fewer hits, and low AC ones up to three. 

Let's pull a couple monsters out of the book and consider them as solos: 
  • An Elder Brain has 10HD and AC 16. The AC is slightly high, so two hits per HD=20 hits. 
  • A Giant Centipede has 3HD and AC 14. Also, it has a cool poison type, so you want to see it bite at least one PC. Three hits per HD= 9 hits.
Lately I'm running FAGE. Would this work for that? I think so. Lots of Fantasy age monsters take one or two points of damage from a weak hit though, due to the nature of soak armor in that game. Now that I think about it, all HP is divisible by 5 in that game, so each monster can take HP/5 hits. Easy, but better for solos and the like as your standard goblin will take 3 hits, so for true goblin cannon fodder flavor, use the group monsters idea outlined above.
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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

A Calabraxis Curio

I recently ran across this. It was my pitch to Goodman et. al. for a design contest. They went with another fella's work, but I believed I had something special and so published it. It's Platinum on DTRPG, last I checked, so good call, I guess. I coulda pushed the time-reconstruction aspect more. Ah well, goals for the future. 

pitch follows...
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Gentle Judges,


I have put together a map that I feel will be quite fun, and while filled with puzzles and danger, won't be terribly taxing on the players. The basic premise is that this map is of the secret cave-keep of a long-gone wizard who created devious devices to manipulate life and time. In true Appendix N style,things that make appearances include Conan-esque ape-men which have been subtly altered by a machine, ancient and forgotten technology in a mining machine that floods minds with schematics, and even androids.


The basic hook is that ape-men, having been granted cunning and robbed of emotions by an ancient mining machine, have been terrorizing the area lately. Of course, the PCs may ignore that, but they could also find a map to this place somewhere else. In any case, the machine is unrelated to the true secrets of the area, which have been virtually undisturbed for hundreds of years.


One interesting experiment-puzzle that I found myself creating was that of the window with lozenge-shaped panes. If triangle-pieces are arranged and placed within the panes into the shape of an animal, and supernatural illumination (provided by one of the treasures later in the module) shined through the window, then the shadow of the animal shape will transform those whom it falls upon.


The true treasure of this adventure is the pendant guarded by The Observer (the creature illustrated with eyes on its back in the original map fragment you provided). The pendant gives one the ability to travel back in time (in a rather Ebenezer Scrooge-type fashion), but the beast's eyes can see across time, and its bite hurts no matter when you are. Here are its stats:

The Observer: Init+4; Atk charge and gore +2 and a d5 action die melee (1d6+action die; if action die is 3 or more the target is gored  or pinned on a horn for 1d4 more damage); AC 17; HD 5d6+2; MV 40’ (can walk on walls); Act 2d16; SV Fort+3; Ref+3; Will +1; AL N. The observer’s eyes can see across time, and its attacks will hurt even time-traveling shades!


You will find attached a map for these scenes, secret and treacherous passages, as well as a conception of a vault-guarding monster. Because the adventure has a time-travel device, players can explore the dungeon in more than one state. Ancient books, paths, and residents will be restored. For instance, one could conceivably talk to a skull thanks to the magic dais in the room with columns and then travel back in time to actually observe the owner of that skull as a living being. 


To seed the adventure with mystery and paradox, the ancient remains of some of the adventurers could even be found! Imagine the horror of talking to your own skull. Can you avoid your fate? Only the Judge knows!


I’ve actually started stocking the rooms. Each one has basic information on the attached document. If this disqualifies me from the contest, so be it. But I feel it’s worth the risk as a mere elevator pitch can’t convey the simple truth: this is a good dungeon, even in draft form. That’s how I feel, at least. In any case, the map is at the top of the attached document, and I trust that you will at least look that over.


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Friday, May 6, 2022

WIS+15= Starting Age


It can be useful to know a PC's age in elf games. Why, just a couple weeks back a character drank some wine in Shmégel Manor and aged 30 years. Then they shrugged and drank until they turned to dust.

For humans, WIS+15= age at character gen. I'd add an extra year per level for creating at a non-first level murderhobo.

For dwarves, I'd multiply WIS by a d7, because dwarves in my campaigns are born as adults and live until they calcify at some point around age 1d120+100.

For elves, well, I have elves be immortal in both directions (each elf only recalls being around since time immemorial), but would go with WIS²+50 in other fantasy settings. 

I haven't decided about hobbits yet... I think maybe they are a one-off species that is distilled into adult life by fermenting certain tubers or mandrake roots. They start adventuring at WIS+d120 years old and live up to d120 years after that. I can't imagine a hobbit having sentient babies with their tiny hips, unless may be they are a race that gives birth to and starts as ferrets or something.

Lizard men hatch and then mature within a year. Their adventuring age is WIS-2.
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Tuesday, May 3, 2022

C.I.F.A.L. >>Pimp My Monster


Ran a couple of new players through some Gates of Gann. There is a Fiend Folio CIFAL in one of the rooms. No idea why. But as the fight went on, I realized these things are held together by "nuclear energy," and started to describe glowing core bits where bugs had been knocked off by melee blows. The players got really excited and started using video game logic to attack the glowing spots. I adjusted for this cool strategy a bit on the fly, but I realized I could have made this monster cooler and weirder.

So what can we do to spice up a CIFAL? The more good hits you make to it, the more radiation starts to leak out. Make a save vs CON damage each round with a penalty equal to the glowing wounds. 

One of my players was arrowing that spot. I think whenever an arrow hits, it should glow and then explode for some extra damage or radiation. Crits to glowing areas should also be bittersweet experience.

Finally, when the CIFAL dies, have it explode. Everybody save vs cancer and save vs blindness! A nuclear Scooby-doo ghost runs away, looking for new bugs to collect (it'll take a few weeks).
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Sunday, May 1, 2022

Ompallios, a DCC dragon


If I make a few dragons ahead of time, I'll be ready the next time my players run into one. Which happens. So meet Ompallios. The name came from the DCC appendix, but I recognized it from a top tier Clark Ashton Smith story.

Ompallios is a 162 year old azure dragon the size of a house and aligned with the neutral watchers. It prefers to protect its layer with Fey Runes and it has a couple potions (Human control, Super-heroism) for extra defense. Ompallios keeps tabs on its surroundings by asking local fauna what they have seen.

PCs of any level probably don't stand a chance, unless they grovel, throw down sacs of gold, and offer to go on potion-ingredient quests. If anyone rolls a natural 20 on Personality while grovelling, Ompallios will bond them with its patron, Ithha.

  • 10HD.
  • 60HP.
  • +10 init.
  • 25AC (half damage from mundane).
  • 50' spd.
  • 4d20 action dice.
  • +13 to hit (2 claws for d8s, bite for d12, and a tail slap for d20).
  • 2d14 dragon-crits.
  • stone gaze in lieu of an action die (target must save vs DC20 or be stoned).
  • 2 breaths a day of poison gas (save versus death; goes up to 90' covering 10xd3 feet) in lieu of an action die.
  • d30+6 to cast spells.
    • Color spray
    • Mending
    • Invoke patron (Ithha) 
    • Magic mouth
    • Locate object
    • Monster summoning
    • Paralysis (-2 to cast)
    • Make potion
    • Runic alphabet, fey
  • Can speak with animals 1/hour in lieu of an action die.
  • Can cause plants withing 100' to grow to entangling lengths (-2 to attacks and move at half speed for people stuck in the area) 1/hour in lieu of an action die.
  • Can reverse gravity in a 100' radius 1/day (it doesn't fall up, but everything else falls up 100') and cancel the effect to enjoy watching everyone fall in leu of an action die.
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