Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Incremental Progress Reported!

An editor friend of mine proofread the adventure draft for me and sent it back with comments. Once I've looked over the changes, all that really remains is drawing one map and doing a bit of layout. I'll post a free link to the pdf once that's all finished.

I don't mean to build up expectations for the adventure. It's not really any great shakes, but I've been in a serious creative dry spell for a while, so getting any project finished is a real milestone to me. Hopefully, someone will find it useful and/or amusing.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Teaser from C&T adventure

I originally posted this on the G+ community



Kaosaur

AC: 18
HD: 10
Attacks: 1 Bite (2d6), tentacles (ensnare)
Special: see below
Move: 18
CL: 12

Facing a terror lizard is bad enough, but this one has been touched by foul kaos-energy. In addition to be an unnaturally large and strong example of the breed, instead of short forelimbs, it possesses a pair of ropy tentacles. These pseudo-pods lash out at a distance of up to 20' and - upon a successful hit - ensnare the target, pinning his limbs and drawing him to the beast, which bites at a +4 to hit. The victim can break free by rolling under his Strength on a d20-2. The tentacles can be severed with a successful attack roll at -2 and 10 points of damage in a single blow.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Two C&T related projects

So I'm pretty close to finishing a simple adventure for C&T. When it's done I'll put up a PDF for anyone interested to look at. It's sort of a rules shakedown for me and intended to be a fun one-shot, not so much a kickoff to a whole campaign arc. That's project one.

The second project is a little more complex. I've been looking for a while at various setting and campaign ideas for games like C&T, Labyrinth Lord, Green Ronin's Fantasy AGE, etc. I think I've hit upon something that sounds like fun to me, but it's going to require mashing a few things together. Specifically, I'm going for a potential cross-genre thing.


Lords of Light!

Instead of a post-apocalyptic earth with the ancient ruins of a technologically superior civilization, this setting would be a dark fantasy world more like Zarth where alien/futuristic technology (and possibly aliens) appear. Imagine a D&D world where the ship from Expedition to the Barrier Peaks just crashed. 

I still need to iron out some of the specifics, but here's some of what I'm planning:

  • C&T-style mechanics, including Sanity and similar damage/injury rules.
  • Mutants, but Chaos-based instead of radiation,
  • Androids and psychics. Possibly even as exotic PC classes.
  • Technological artifacts (ray guns) that might be found as treasure.
  • Aliens
  • Evil Gods
  • Barbarians, Sorcerers, and all that jazz.


Friday, January 27, 2017

USR in the OSR

Jason Hobbs has begun a new-OSR themed podcast. In his first episode, they discuss the USR Swords & Sorcery system that was mentioned previously on this blog. It's well worth a listen. Check it out!

Friday, November 25, 2016

The gloaming vs the night


gloaming (noun) twilight; dusk


I've mentioned before where I am unsure about running my own Crypts & Things setting vs. using Zarth itself. Both have an appeal for me. Zarth is chock full of fun little adventure hooks, cool flavorful weirdness, and a great "Dying of the Light" vibe that seems one part Gamma World, one part Stormbringer, and a dash of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay.

Part of me just an't help tinkering though. One possibility that occurred to me was to use the Crypts & Things rule set to bring a fresh take on an existing setting.


For those of you not familiar with Karameikos, it was the initial offering of TSR's "Known World" (later "Mystara") Gazetteers. It outlined one of the nations within that setting: the Grand Duchy of Karameikos. 

For some, it is a classic example of a "vanilla" fantasy setting. You have a populations of elves, goblins, and dwarfs. You have villains and heroes and ancient ruins. It's ticks all the regular D&D boxes. 

Yawn! Sounds terrible for C&T's brand of weirdness!

Now hear me out. Yes, running a "straight" Karameikos campaign under the C&T rules would be, well, odd. But imagine this: what if some of the events that led to the incursions of the others into Zarth –or events very much like them– happened to a "normal" fantasy world where the PCs lived? In other words, what if the campaign picked up right when stuff went sideways instead of after the weirdness had been going on for generations?

[Minor spoilers: There is even an ancient "slaver" race in Karameikos that mirrors some of the serpent men's role in the setting.]

The nature of the adventures would certainly have a different flavor if the PCs initially saw the incursion of these terrors as an aberration instead of the new norm. Perhaps they could help stem the tide. Or perhaps they'd be the founders of the new cults, given the promises of power that might be offered by the Others.

I think it might be an interesting twist to play out the introduction of the corruption to the world. It might be a bit bleak to some, if it starts to look like "victory" is not likely in the face of cosmic horror, but that could lend a fun "Call of Cthuhlu" tone to things as well.


Just a thought, anyway.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Minis/Terrain vs. ToM

I used to paint miniatures all the time. Lately I've fallen out of the habit. Which is a shame because I have so many still unpainted and I have really enjoyed doing it in the past. I got started painting when our group started playing D&D 3rd edition. The rules really emphasize that kind of tactical layout (Attacks of Opportunity, etc.). Over the years, I've drifted away from d20, but still liked slapping paint on pewter.

I'm a big fan of the OSR, but those rules are not generally focused on the tactical layout of combat. Rather, they lend themselves better to an abstract "Theater of the Mind" style of play.

Minis have their pros and cons. On the one hand, having minis for the party and the monsters can be fun eye candy. On the other hand, it can be a distraction when you don't have the perfect mini for everyone and everything on the board ("I know I said they're bugbears, but I only have orc minis, okay?"). Not to mention the time and expense of buying/painting the things!

Groups vary, so I don't know that there is one best way to handle it. Personally, I think Crypts & Things is a great example of a game that benefits from ToM play. So many of the creatures are so bizarre that having minis for them would be quite difficult. Not to mention that a concrete representation can limit a player's imagination when picturing some of these monsters' horrific natures.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh Yeah!


As I mentioned previously, The Crypts & Things monster section is quite evocative, but is not comprehensive when it comes to ordinary creatures and the like. A terrific resource for such things is the Swords & Wizardry Monster Book by Matthew Finch. It includes hundreds of monsters - both fantastic and mundane- some may not be a good fit for Zarth, but I could see using many of them in a C&T/S&S game. What it does have that I really appreciate are listings for things like wild animals (both giant and normal) as well as mounts (horses).The stats jibe nicely with C&T monsters (just remove the Save stat) and the book is available on Lulu in pdf or print on demand. 

I highly recommend taking a look.