All posts by Chuck

I've been a gamer, a geek and nerd for about 30 years. Any questions?

NPC’s: Daphne & Silka

Last week I talked about this pair’s parents. This week meet the daughters of Ramona and Mycroft.

Daphne is the younger and much more impulsive of the pair. She’s highly intelligent but a bit naive and she’s not about acting more naive than she actually is. Her father has spoiler her a bit but this was mainly to only annoy her mother. She’s been know to cause significant property damage if she gets angered and feels she doesn’t get what she deserves. Daphne occasionally rebels against her parents but at most this lasts only a few weeks after which she goes back to live with her mother.
Daphne excels at and prefers direct damage spells and uses overkill as go-to tactic. She seems to care little about any collateral damage her spells cause.
Game Notes:
Race: Human
Class: mid-level Magic-User focusing on any spell that causes destruction.

Silka was always a great disappoint to her parents. From a young age, she was strong willed, independent, and showed little interest or aptitude for the arcane. She quickly fell into the “wrong” crowd and learned not only did she have an aptitude with a blade, she preferred the much more hands-on approach to dealing with problems. She quickly rose through the ranks of Garnax’s underworld and is the only non-Halfling to hold any position of power. She leads the Assassins’ Guild of Garnax.
Silka is as cold blooded as she is cunning. She’s rewards loyalty and competence and may dish out punish personally or send some poor sot on a “one way mission”. She does keep an eye on her little sister and occasionally intercedes when Daphne gets into trouble that’s over her head. Silka has no patience for her parents’ antics and has as little contact with them as possible.
Game Notes:
Race: Human
Class: Assassin with above average arcane knowledge. She can use Magic-User scrolls.

Cha’alt: Fuchsia Malaise

This is a continuation/supplement/add-on for the previously published Cha’alt by Venger Satanis. While it is available on Drivethrurpg, it’s still in the “soft opening” stage. That means there’s still a typo or two in there and that there are couple bells and whistles to be added to the PDF. But don’t let that get you down, it’s a steal at around $5 (as of this writing) for over 200 pages of content.
In case you missed it, Cha’alt is a gonzo, eldritch, science-fantasy setting. It’s got just about every weird thing you can think of thrown together in blender and poured out on the page but it still has its own internal logic so all of that makes sense. Fuchsia Malaise continues the work of the original Cha’alt. It take a few areas and details them more and offers up a nice set of adventures to throw into your campaign. So if you’re a fan of the original Cha’alt then grab this up if you haven’t already.
OK. So what if you aren’t a fan of Cha’alt. Well, there’s still plenty for you to use. The book has a great section of random tables that can be used in a wide variety of campaigns. Plus there’s even more weird alien monsters to challenge the player characters. So it’s still can be a valuable tool if you aren’t running Cha’alt or something similar. Sure it’s still got all that weirdness that may not fit into a vanilla fantasy campaign but that’s OK. Throwing in the occasional really weird makes that weird even weirder.
It’s a good addition to my collection and pairing it with other weirdness has great potential to make a campaign that’s not so cookie cutter. And that’s the kind of thing that I think we need more of. Plus there’s a third book on the way; Chartreuse Shadows.
You can grab it up on Drivethrurpg

OSR Retrospective: Basic Fantasy

As I said before I’m not doing these in any particular order. I’m just looking at my bookshelf and grabbing the one that catches my interest at the time. So this week, I’m going to talk about Basic Fantasy.
Basic fantasy doesn’t try to emulate and specific older edition of D&D but the foundations of the game mechanics are strongly rooted in those older editions. The game does use Ascending AC and race is separate from class. The main book has the four basic classes (Fighter, Magic-User, Cleric and Thief) along with the four basic races (Human, Elf, Dwarf, and Halfling). It uses the 5 Saving Throws for the older editions and Thieves use the old percentile skill system. The core book (3rd Edition) clocks in at 166 pages and has all the material you need to run a game as well as some very good optional rules and guidance for DM’s and players. All in all, it’s great game for beginners and experienced players alike.
Yes, I know that first paragraph sounded really boring but here’s what’s really cool about Basic Fantasy, the price. Many old-school games have their core books as PDF’s for free. The entire Basic Fantasy line is available for free in PDF. That’s right the adventures and supplements are free. Plus there is an active community putting together even more material. But wait. There’s more. The hard copies of all that are for sale at cost. That’s right at cost. So on Amazon the core Basic Fantasy book is only $5. There are PDF’s out there of core books that cost way more than that. And since most of the old-school games are largely cross compatible with little or no work, all those supplements and adventures are useful no matter what game you happen to be running. Basic Fantasy is a solid game and a great choice if you want to dip your toe into the old school style without investing a lot of cash.
Check out the Basic Fantasy website for all those PDF’s. And here’s the link to the core book on Amazon and Lulu.

NPC’s: Mycroft & Ramona

Mycroft and Ramona are two of the most powerful magic-users in Garnax and they’re married but not happily. It all began as a romantic youthful fling. In the beginning, it was nearly a fairy tale marriage. The pair had two daughters, Daphne and Silka (more on them later). But quickly they became professional rivals which escalated into personal animosity. Mycroft’s indiscretions didn’t help either. Both are willing to use their own children or the random adventurer to annoy the other.
If Mycroft hadn’t taken up the arcane arts, he would have probably made a living as a con man. He’s not above using his magic to get what he wants but he finds it much more “sporting” to use his own charm and wit. Mycroft is living the life of a man half his age; wandering from one city to another when he gets bored. He spends as much as time as possible away from Garnax and Ramona.
Ramona is very studious and disciplined. She’s reputed to be one of the top experts on arcane lore and magical artifacts. Not all of her knowledge has come in the form of ancient tomes. She is quite adept at summoning and much of her knowledge she gained from extraplanar beings. There are many much darker rumors about what she has summoned and what she has traded for forbidden knowledge.

Game Notes:
Race: Human
Class: Magic-User: Specializing in Summoning and Divination spells. She also extensive knowledge of magical artifacts.

Race: Human
Class: Magic-User: Specializes in Manipulation and Illusion spells.

How about some inspiration?

NPC Portraits created with ePic Character Generator.

OSR Retrospective Part 3: Lamentations of the Flame Princess

Ok, I was going to post this one much later but word has gone out that Lamentations is having some financial troubles. They may be on their way to making their goal to stay afloat but we’ll see for how long.
There’s a lot that can be said about Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Way more than I’m going to rant about here. But there are still some good points and bad points that I’m going to mention. For the TLDR version: A solid core game that’s been outweighed by its own controversies and shock just for shock value.
First off, the game itself is solid. Basically, your standard classes and races with a few tweaks here and there like the Fighter is the only class whose Attack Bonus improves and the Specialist (Thief replacement) is the only one who gets better at skills. And speaking of skills it uses a simple x in d6 system. There’s even a pretty easy encumbrance system. Plus some new spells and variations of ideas on existing spells. So that’s the good part. The core game is fully usable and takes a few of the tropes into new and interesting directions.
A lot of people are put off by the graphic art. I mean really graphic. I’m not but I can understand the “Ew!” reaction that many folks have. But there are some free art-free PDF’s legally available over on Drivethru here and here.
I thought some of the early adventures; A Single Small Cut, Scenic Dunnsmouth, and Weird New World; were pretty good. But as time wore on the adventures became more and more one-way death traps or shock just for shock value. You know sort of like Spinal Tap, “The shock goes to 11.”
Now, you can’t think about Lamentations of the Flame Princess without bringing up controversy. In hindsight, it seems that controversy and shock value were the marketing plan. There’s always been some sort drama surrounding the game. It was the art. It was personalities. Or something. Back in the days of G+, it seems like there was one every month or so. IMHO, all the drama and the “Shock Factor 11” adventures just wore out a lot of the fan base. I know it did me. So I pretty much stopped paying attention to it.
And there’s one more 800 pound gorilla out there. The now infamous Ref Book Indiegogo Campaign. Yes, I backed it. That was like 7 years ago. The last update on the campaign was in February and with the recent financial problems, it might be another 7 years if at all. Of course, a lot of folks are a bit pissed considering all the other stuff that’s been published. Crap, he had the money to make promotional buckets. Yes, buckets… You might be able still get one. No Ref Book but you can have bucket.