Monthly Archives: December 2011

Santacore Has Cometh!

Don't be a Munson... Go download Santicore!

Jez over at Giblet Blizzard has released the Santicore gifts in a truly awesome PDF!  I cannot stress enough just how truly awesome this project turned out!  It is really cool to see members of the gaming community come together and create some creative shit!

Well done to everyone who participated in this.

I want to give a hearty thank you to Jez for sending some props my way and giving me the opportunity to give some creative output a few times (aside from my Santacore gift) during the project.

 

Go.  Now.  Download.  Give thanks!


Awesome Weird Music Video for Inspiration

I’m not a HUGE fan of Interpol, but every so often I dig one of their songs.

This one in particular is good for mood.  It has an eerie ambiance to it as well as an almost helplessness to it.


The Shackles of Oppression Have Been Cast Off!!- A Wonderful Turn of Events

I ran a one-shot for my NJ group using my Frankengame Old School rules that utilize Castles and Crusades as the base (Rules One, Two, and Three) on Sunday.

This was a treat for all of us because our group disbanded in July and we haven’t had a chance to get together as a game group since (although we hang out frequently).

I had decided that I would run Tower of the Stargazer by James Raggi. It is an excellent module that puts a new spin on an old clichéd adventure of RPG history.  I normally don’t run modules but due to time constraints and finals I just didn’t have time to create the dungeon dive I wanted.  I have no regrets running this module and am really pleased with how everything turned out!

This was my NJ group’s first REAL adventure into pure Old School fun.  When I started playing with them 6 years ago I was running pure 3.5 and then made the lateral jump to Pathfinder when it came out.  As time went on my issues with 3.x grew and my gaming style started to change back to what I grew up with.

We started playing on Sunday and one of my players, a rogue, asked to roll to search for traps (which is more than fair to ask since she was used to Pathfinder).  I told her no, because she didn’t need to  roll.

I explained that in old school and what I was going for, was that you only rolled the dice when it was absolutely necessary.  I describe the room/situation and they, as the players, tell me what they do and then the world reacts.

I gave an example by pointing out my living room, where we were playing, and said that when they entered they notice the small dinky Charlie Brown Christmas tree I have (only because my girlfriend makes me) is leaning sideways.  As players, if this were a dungeon, they would need to tell me what they do/interact with in the room.  If they told me they looked at the tree I would say they noticed that it was on a rod that went into the floor and it moved.  They could choose to interact with it or not..

Here is a perfect example of Old School fiddling with the environment to create awesome situations:

After that we were off and played through the wonderfully weird and horrifying Tower of the Stargazer.

And something wonderful happened….

These players were engaged in a way they have NEVER been so before.  Why?  I think it is because I wouldn’t allow them to just roll for searching, or jumping, or etc (There was only 1 jump check by the rogue when there was a time constraint and an interesting effect for failure- she attempted to climb down an elevator shaft, quickly, that two players were using and failed, crashing on top of all of them causing them all to topple over the side and take some falling damage).

Everyone, even my normally quiet players, were active in describing and moving and exploring because they were excited to FIND what was in the room rather than just rolling a d20 to be told what they see.

Does this take more time?  Absolutely, but it is WAY more fun!

This was an extremely wonderful eye opener for me being able to see a group I’ve played with for 6 years act completely different than the norm by a simple exclusion of a confining system brought by the new era of RPGs.

I am NOT knocking those who enjoy Pathfinder, 4e, etc.  I have enjoyed 3.x for many years, although I’ve never enjoyed 4e, just not my cup of tea.  However now seeing multiple times how players are elated/transported when the constraints of a system allow them to move, imagine, and act…  I’m not sure I can go back…

I guess this brings up the whole “Do you think the RPG industry should stop because the pinnacle has passed and we just stay in the past?” argument..  No I don’t.  Some truly awesome and innovate games have been brought about in recent years.  Savage Worlds, FATE (especially the Dresden Files), Dread, etc.

I’m just speaking about what is making me and mine happy in gaming right now.  It may work for others as well, which is another reason I’m sharing this.  I am now going to go back through my Frankengame and see if there is more fat I can trim from the edges.

On the same note Hack and Slash has been doing a bunch of posts dealing with this exact same issue.  Take a gander:

Why Roll for Skills (First post on subject)

Skill Deconstruction Assessment 

Escape Artist

Disguise

Disable Device

Diplomacy

Craft

Climb

Bluff

Appraise

Acrobatics


Choosing Your Top Ten Blog Posts- Spread the Word

There are so many awesome blogs out there with quite a bit of kick ass content, however it gets lost in the avalanche of normal posts (not saying that those aren’t good).  Also a new comer to a blog might have a hard time finding those particular posts that really shine….

So here’s what I propose: Starting the week of January 3rd, 2012 people plop up a post with links their 10 bests writings, works, drawings etc.  If you don’t have 10 (new blog or whatever) do whatchu got!  If you have more than 10, put  em up!

I just think this will be a great way to see a bunch of awesome content that might have been buried under blankets of text!

If you do put up a post comment here with a link or email me at ihaveangerissues-aught-g-m-a-i-l dot com and at the end of week I will do a post with links to all the blogs!

 

Let me know if you are interested!


Transforming the Earth for your Campaign Setting

The other day I was driving home with my girlfriend after a day of frivolity and was contemplating my current Swords and Sorcery game.  I’ve createda small area for my players to explore as they see fit.  I’ve begun compiling info on cool location, cults, ruins, etc that they can discover or hear about as they play.

The Land of Hubris

But what about the rest of the world?  I’m certainly not going to build that up.  When I first started gaming 17 years ago I made that mistake for my first several campaigns.  I would build a full world and was ready for my players to go anywhere… and 95% of it never got used.  All fruitless effort.

I started pondering about a quick and dirty way to create a world and just kick off a campaign.  You could use Bat in the Attic’s awesome Sandbox creator if you have time to delve into it deeply, or Zak’s quicker version which gives a damned good layer of depth as well, but what if you don’t have the time to really delve deep down into world creating?

There is also the other problem: The players.  I think most people really don’t want to be bogged down by a huge amount of world/history information for a world that they are not yet invested in (or hell even when they are they don’t need that baggage.

When looking at most of the people I’ve played with in my gaming time, MOST are casual players.  They are there to have fun, but they don’t want, or have time, to delve deep into a game world aside from when they are playing.  Which brings me to the next point..  How do you do that then if you are limited to one session a week, month, etc?  Info dumping is boring.  Show your players, don’t tell them.

Zak puts it succinctly:

“When I’m GMing, though, I am trying to make a world that is good at letting people in–that my players can grasp quickly and easily. And my players are often not only new to D&D but to RPGs entirely. “Seen Labyrinth? Good–that’s a goblin, alright” I don’t want to explain the baseline assumptions of the world, I want to play. “

I really try to approach world building in this manner because it doesn’t overload the players with information and allows them to grasp what the hell is going on.  Most of my players are the casual type I mentioned above.

So all this was rattling around in my brain and I started thinking about Jim Raggi’s take on world building (Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Referee Guide, Pages 34-35).  Jim recommends using our Earth as a ground for world building.  There is quite a bit of wisdom here.  I recommend taking a gander at it.

I think that using the Earth is probably the quickest and dirties way you could create a campaign world, not to mention the mass amount of benefits that come with this method.

Power to the People..  er..  players!

Zak has stated numerous times (here, here, and here) that knowledge is power in a Sandbox and I agree with him.  If a player doesn’t have knowledge about the world and situations they are in, then they are just bumbling around in the dark and their decisions really mean nothing.

With using the Earth as your base building block so much of the work is done for you.  You can change the shape of the continents if you’d like, but keep them where they are.  The climates, topography, zoology, etc are already done for you and in this day and age readily available for you on the web!

Next let’s look at information and history.  Rather than coming up with a complicated (and possibly convoluted) history just use Earth’s, but change it for your world.  This build off what Zak said above.

If you keep histories and cultures linked to the Earth’s then you just build and change as you see fit.  Side note: I am not talking about an alternate history of earth where Lee one the Civil War or anything.  I’m talking about using the Earth and changing it for your world).

By staying in line with this it gives your players a type of knowledge that they might not have otherwise (yes it is meta, but it’s about fun and their desire to lead the game, not the GMs).  The players decide that they want to go to the Ah’ Ru Empire (based off of ancient Egyptians) because they like that time period and think it would be interesting to see what is there.  Excellent!

Here’s a quick example of how it could work:

I’ll be basing this off of Ancient Rome.  And I’m stealing some inspiration from Disorientated Ranger, because I like the idea of the Drow. 

 

The proud and ancient Empire of the Elves occupied much of the known world at its height.  The Elves were a proud race that set themselves apart from all others.  Their ability to manipulate magic was second to none as was their bond to the gods, who blessed them with immortality.

The Elven Empire lorded over the world for millennia, taking in thousands as slaves and servants, and assimilating their cultures, technology, and customs into theirs.  Eventually the Elves arrogance reached a peak when they began to see themselves as equal with the gods.  Angered by this outrage, the Gods removed the blessing of immortality from the Elves and retreated from the mortal realm.  The Elves were completely disorientated by the sudden departure of their deities and were left to fend for themselves for the first time in several thousand years.

War broke out across the land as the Empire splintered and fractured.  A sorceress by the name of Lolth claimed that she could restore the Elven immortality; she was branded a heretic and she and her followers were exiled to the depths below.

Eventually the Elven Empire toppled and crumbled under the constant onslaught brought by the barbaric Dwarven tribes of the east and the hundreds of slave revolts within the empire.

The Elves have been dispersed now for several centuries and the area that the Empire once occupied as the capital is a land of untamed wilderness and ruins with forgotten magic, artifacts, and riches.

This can go on and on, but really this is all I need.  You don’t even need to write it out, bulleted points work just fine.

Obviously in actual Earth history after the Roman Empire fell the Dark Ages began andItalypicked itself back up and eventually flourished with the Renaissance.

For this history and for the sake of keeping that fantasy feel of ruins and treasures untold, it never did pick back up.  Maybe the Gods cursed it..  Maybe the big baddies of the area, titans, Cyclopes, medusas, etc, which were held at bay by Elves and their magic overtook the land once the empire fell.

The same can be said with any other area if you are using Earth as your model.  Each area has monsters and myths that can be brought to life easily and all somehow fits into our collective human psyche.

I won’t go into as much detail as the example above but a game that uses the early 16th century as a reference point could deal with the discovery of the new world.  The old world has monsters and ruins and etc, but much has been catalogued or at least has a folk lore about it..  Hell maybe it hasn’t and people fled the old world in the hopes of finding a place that is safer.  They get to the new land and there are new monsters, people, and dangers!

From a historical point, the settlers of the New World were shitting their pants every other day (and not just from dysentery) from seeing new cultures (Native Americans), animals so strange and new it was not to be believed and amazing structures (Inca, Aztec, and Myan)!

I have that small map area and already was basing the territory on England/Scotland…  So I think I’m going to keep that and I’ll use Earth as a model for the rest of the world, if they ever want to branch out.

As I said, it’s easy and honestly most of the work is already done!  What about you?  Thoughts?


Rolang’s Creeping Doom- d20 Table of Necrotic Ailments!

A few days ago Rolang announced he would be doing his own Santicore style treat to anyone who asked.  I asked for a d20 table of Necrotic Ailments and curses!  He popped it up last night and I am not disappointed in the slightest!  Take a ganger..  Make sure you look through all the other stuff he has contributed!  Cool shit!


My Santicore Present- Bandits, Riffraff, and Brigands!!

My Secret Santicore!

Dear Secret Santicore…

I would like a random table (or series thereof) that generates interesting/flavorful brigands/bandits/highwaymen.  I don’t use these guys nearly enough in my game, and that’s got to stop.

I have been a good GM and naughty player this year.

Thanks!

Well here it is Secret Santicore buddy person!  Bandits, Riffraff, and Brigands!

Here it is as a PDF!  Bandits Riffraff and Brigands

Names of Bandit Groups

Roll d20

Name

1

Bloody Claws- 10 members- all fighters, lvl 2-5

2

The Nefarious Seven- 7 members- 6 fighters, 1 cleric, lvl 7

3

Reckless Bunch- 6 members- 1 fighter , 4 rogues, 1 Wizard, lvl 3

4

Feasters of the Flesh- 15 members- 7 fighters, 4 rogues, 2 clerics, 2 wizards, lvl 1-6

5

Anointed Ones- 5 members- all clerics, lvl 2-4

6

The Bloody Eyes- 8 members- 2 fighters, 6 rogues, lvl 1-3

7

Mountain Men- 20 members- 8 fighters, 8 rogues, 3 clerics, 1 wizard, lvl 1-6

8

Servitors of Death- 5 members- 4 fighters, 1 cleric, lvl 8

9

The Rabid Dogs- 6 members- all fighters, lvl 3-5

10

The Crows- 9 members- all rogues, lvl 4-6

11

Deadly Sins- 7 members- 3 fighters, 3 rogues, 1 wizard- lvl 2-5

12

The Wasteland Scavengers- 6 members- 2 fighters, 4 rogues, lvl 4

13

Diseased Mongrels- 10 members- 6 fighters, 4 rogues, lvl 1-5

14

The Brigands of the Wild- 25 members- 12 fighters, 8 rogues, 3 clerics, 2 wizards, lvl 1-8

15

Broken Blades- 4 members- all fighters, lvl 4

16

The Putrid Damsels- 5 members, 4 rogues, 1 wizard, lvl 5

17

The Silent Five of Death- 5 members- all rogues, lvl 10

18

Shadow Clan- 6 members- 2 fighters, 4 wizards, lvl 2-6

19

Gnarled Fangs- 14 members- 9 fighters, 3 rogues, 1 cleric, 1 wizard, lvl 1-6

20

The Trail Blazers- 18 members- 10 fighters, 5 rogues, 1 cleric, 2 wizards, lvl 1-10

Bandit Encounters/Plot Hooks

Roll d20

Name

1

Bandits are engaged in fighting another group.  1) Bandits are winning.  2) Defenders are winning.

2

Bandits emerge from a cave screaming and running.  Some are bloody and frightened.  A roar is heard from inside the cave.  Something terrible has woken up.

3

Completely deranged bandits ambush the characters screaming about taking back what is theirs.

4

Slavers wearing all natural armor and weapons attack the players by setting metal eating creatures at them.

5

A group of mutilated bodies is found along the road.  In the pocket of one of the victims is a note describing what one/all of the PC’s look like and simply, “Stop them from reaching X location at all costs.”

6

A cocky band of brigands try to extort money from the PC’s for their protection in town

7

A group of bandits approach the PC’s and tell them that they have been hired to attack/halt/kill them, but for double the price they will leave them alone and give them the name of the employer.

8

A group of raiders come charging recklessly at the PC’s while they travel a rocky pass.

9

The players emerge from a cave/dungeon to find their horses and supplies gone.  A note is nailed to a tree, “Fools leave things unguarded.  Thanks for the stuff!”- The Reckless Bunch.

10

Bandits have set traps all along the path and attack PC’s when most vulnerable.

11

The leader of a rogue group approaches the players and asks to help free his compatriots from prison.

12

Raiders are attacking the village and setting it to blaze.

13

A famous raiding guild is advertising that it is looking for new recruits.

14

A prophet warns a PC about gold that glitters in the sun.  Later that session the group is attacked by a band of bandits with a leader with a shiny gold tooth.

15

A group of sorcerers is attacking the trade routes and capturing people to use in dangerous and evil rituals.

16

A ragtag group of rogues are being attacked by a troll just off the road.

17

A group of grave robbers attack the PC’s hoping for more profitable loot and fresher parts.

18

Fighting spills out onto the streets as tensions between two rival bandit groups turns to all out war.

19

A group of rival adventurer’s begin to hound the PC’s to beat them to treasure, jobs, etc.

20

The leader of the local town/area/nation has hired several groups of bandits to terrorize the countryside so he can thwart them to look like a hero.

Bandit Leaders

Roll d20

Name

Motivation

1

Old Barty Quints Looking for any treasure that could help extend his already unnaturally long life.

2

Mad Sylvia A truly ugly woman who went mad after the man she loved for years rejected her and ran away after a one night affair.  She mashes any mirror she comes across.

3

Mercer Baltus Cocky and quick witted, Mercer loves to gain the upper hand against his opponents.  Mercer loves information and uses it to blackmail those he can.

4

Kain and Tory These twin siblings are known for their maliciousness and fiery tempers.  Kain and Tory are seeking to resurrect their dead sorceress mother.

5

Fire Gut Martin A drunkard and ruffian, Fire Gut Martin bullies those in the lower districts.

6

Stumpy Stumpy had his arms and legs cut off as a punishment for his crimes in the past.  He rides on the back of his brother and plans attacks.  He enjoys inflicting pain and misery on victims.

7

Vynar the Deathbringer This necromancer rules his group through fear and intimidation.  He seeks any knowledge on the forbidden arts.  He saves the bodies of fallen

8

Bardek “The Sneer” Bardek took a knife to the face which has scarred him with a permanent sneer.  Despite his visage Bardek tends to be a reasonable rogue who lives by a loose code of honor.  Bardek steals and plunders to get by.

9

Lil Bonnie Babbton Lil Bonnie is a cunning and brutal pit fighter.  She leads her group of thugs in the outlying areas and defends those who can’t defend themselves at a very low price.

10

Derek Von Michaels Derek fancies himself a ladies man, but is really a brute and fiend.  Derek enjoys dangers and seeks out conflict to prove he’s the better man.

11

Samuel Gains Samuel has been plundering for years and hopes to do one or two more jobs and get enough to retire.

12

Alice Harding Aliceis a young and brash woman who took to the crime to bring down the government after she was hung for stealing bread for her family.  Thought to be dead she was taken to the cemetery where she woke up screaming.  The caretaker let her go.  Since she was pronounced dead she cannot be tried in court.

13

Percus Debbins Percus fancies himself a gentlemen’s rogue.  He dresses well and practices fine etiquette.  Percus steals simply for the thrill of it.

14

Wonton McReady Wonton is more of an adventurer looking to find the new and undiscovered, however he knows it takes money and supplies to do this.  He attacks the trade lanes and takes from those who can afford it.

15

Nicholas “Beady-eyed” Withers. One of Nicholas’s eyes was shriveled by a necrotic spell in his early years.  He says it lets him see his prey better.  Nicholas has been a slaver for 15 years and makes a pretty good profit.

16

Corbin the Vile Corbin’s bad disposition started long before he contracted leprosy.  Much of his face is disfigured and rotting thanks to the disease.  Corbin’s favorite hobby is to disfigure those he robs in an attempt to make them as ugly as him.

17

Neet theBattleWench The myth of Neets birth is that she was created in the explosion of a volcano.  She is fiery and revels in combat.  If combat breaks out she doesn’t stop till all enemies are dead.

18

 Dirty Puck Dirty Puck frequents pubs and taverns and looks for easy marks.  If he can con them out of a few coin he will.  If not his boys are waiting in the alley to make things extremely unpleasant.

19

Hendricks Hendricks flouts any form of authority and loves to attack and rob those that show their support for any form of government, big or small.

20

Billy theLech Billy loves women and it’s gotten him into a fair amount of debt and trouble.  Billy eventually crossed the wrong man when he slept with his wife and got her pregnant.  Now Billy runs a group of brigands out of the forest and preys on those who happen across his path.  He will not attack women under any circumstance though.  He will try to woo them however.

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