Category Archives: Magic Pig Media

Happy New Year! 2020 in Review and Plans for 2021

I don’t have to tell you that 2020 sucked but for this post I want to stick to a few more positive things.

Let’s talk about the money side first and get it over with. I admit that I’m not in this for the money. But actually made a little this year. After web hosting and other minor expenses, I made enough for pizza. I know not much and nothing to brag about but at least it’s positive. Digging down into the numbers a little bit more, my three main sources for income were (in order) DriveThruRPG sales, Lulu Sales, and Patreon/Buy Me a Coffee. Amazon was hardly anything and, for me any way, hardly seemed worth the effort.

The blog did really well this year. Better than I had hoped for. Blog traffic increased 37% over 2019. I hadn’t expect that. Oddly enough, it seems that more traffic is coming from MeWe rather than Facebook.

The Youtube Channel and Anchor Podcast. Oh this part is a little depressing. I admit I hadn’t posted a video in months. I had plans but everything in the world seemed to go to hell and I just didn’t bother. Then Google changed the terms of service. Basically, if I wasn’t monetizing the videos with their ads then they would, just not giving me a cut. Sigh. We see enough ads online. I don’t want that extra annoyance on folks. And on the podcasting side, the audience size just isn’t really big enough to warrant the time put into it. This doesn’t mean that I’d done with these. I’m just planning on taking a slightly different approach. I can post and host videos and podcast audio right here on the blog plus I can post some of these things directly on MeWe and Locals. It might be worth the effort just to see what happens. I haven’t solidified a plan yet but it’s mulling around in my brain and just might work.

Patreon/Buy Me A Coffee/Tip Jars. All was going well on Patreon until they decided they needed to start charging sales tax. Sure fine it works great for material goods but they got really vague about things like early access and PDF’s. I personally felt that the way they were going about it wasn’t in the best interest of Patrons. I’m still going to use Patreon as a sort of continuing “tip jar” and I’ll post some exclusive content, free stuff, and special deals or something. I’m also considering adding a PayPal Tip Jar on the blog. I know it sounds like I’m begging but I’d rather do that than have a bunch of ads. As I’ve said before, I ain’t out to make a bunch of money. But I do want to at least break even.

Locals/Discord/Social Media. So Locals is a little bit like Patreon but more focused on building a community. So I could put my Locals behind a pay wall but haven’t done that. I’m not sure if I will. That will depend on how many folks head over there and how far it goes. I do plan on putting some exclusive content up there too. Like some of the other things in this post it’s a plan in the making. As far as Discord goes. Well, I belong to a bunch of servers but I don’t spend much time over there. I really should and don’t have any one to blame on that but myself. So in 2021, it’s time to have some fun on Discord. I doubt I’ll do my own server but may hang out regularly on a few. Social media is really becoming a cesspool. Twitter is where brain cells go to die. The last couple of times I stopped by there it was a total and complete dumpster fire. Facebook is getting just down right annoying. I really like MeWe but sometimes it seems like there isn’t a lot going on . Like a lot of things, I don’t have a solid plan. Part of me wants to ignore Facebook for a month just to see what happens. Another part of me is thinking about posting more gaming stuff to direct Facebook feed. On MeWe, I plan to be more out going. Comment more and interact with folks more.

Projects and Gaming. Forgotten Tales of Sword & Sorcery is my main project. I’m working on it now and it’s going well. I’m already putting some notes down for two supplements for it. So I’d say that’s going to be my main project for 2021. And gaming. Hell, I really need to get some more gaming done in 2021 but about that in another post.

Thanks for sticking around till the end of this and thanks to all who have supported me one way or the other over the crap fest that was 2020. Let’s get some stuff done in 2021 and make it great year.

Forgotten Tales of Sword & Sorcery: Spells

This week I decided to preview a couple of spells. One that’s an old standard to see how I’ve changed it and a couple of new ones. Not only did I change the way magic worked, I changed some of the spells as well.

First, I kicked out the “artillery” spells. You know Fireball and Lightning Bolt. These just didn’t seem to fit my view of a low magic setting. You want to do some massive damage? Summon something weird. I also dropped spells that seemed to emulate more mundane effects like Light (Just light a damned torch) and Knock. And finally I combined a few spells that had similar effects. Remove Curse is an effect added to Dispel Magic. Commune, Augury, and Contact Other Plane are mixed together into a single spell.

And here’s the spells:

Magic Missile

Spell Level: 1

Range: 150 Feet

Casting Time: 1 Round

Duration: Instant

The spell caster conjures arcane power to destroy his foes. The character launches a missile that does 1d6+the caster’s Arcanum score in damage. Each +4 of damage becomes an extra d6 of damage as with weapons. The caster must succeed on a Ranged Attack roll.

So the first thing you might notice is that it takes an attack roll to hit. This may seem a bit extreme of a take but I really wanted to direct damage spells to be the least efficient way of causing damage to opponents. So one of other things I did was toss out the area affect damage spells (Lightning Bolt and Fire Ball). There plenty of other ways that a spell caster can damage an opponent but there’s some risk or something else they have to do like an attack roll. You might also notice that I interjected another rule into the spell’s description. The +4 Damage rule. You many have noticed it if you started doing the math on the preview NPC’s. In a nutshell, each +4 modifier on damage becomes an extra d6. So, 1d6+5 would become 2d6+1.

Spirit Fog

Spell Level: 3

Range: 30 foot radius centered on Caster

Duration: 1 round/Point of Arcanum

The caster surrounds themselves with an eerie green fog. Any ghost, spirit or immaterial creature that enters the area becomes susceptible to mundane attacks. Additionally, any invisible creatures are outlined with an unearthly green glow.

Spirit Fog is a new spell. As you may have noticed, there’s no Clerics. So many of their magical tasks would fall to the Sorcerers. But I didn’t want to just copy and paste Cleric Class abilities into the Sorcerer class. Additionally, Sword & Sorcery is low magic. The chance that characters have magic weapons is slim. But they still should have a way to encounter and possibly overcome such opponents.

Control Undead

Spell Level: 2

Range: 60 Feet Radius centered on caster

Duration: 10 minutes per Point of Arcanum of the Caster.

This spell affects only mindless undead. Each creature within the area of effect of the spell are allowed to resist with a Saving Throw. Those who fail come under the caster’s control for the duration. Since these are mindless undead any complex commands will likely be misunderstood by them.

Since I mentioned Clerics, their Turn Undead is their key ability. Something like that was needed but it needed to be different. And that leads us to Control Undead. Of course, it only affects mindless undead. Free willed undead should be scary. Having no way of controlling or turning them makes them even scarier.

Don’t worry there’s also various tweaks to monsters to follow along with over all concepts that I talked about. That preview is coming up.

Forgotten Tales of Sword & Sorcery: Character Sheet

It’s a short week and every one is busy doing all sorts of preparation for the holidays. So here’s a very quick little thing for Forgotten Tales. A prototype character sheet.

It’s not as pretty as many of them out there but personally I prefer clean and simple sheets for easy access to info . Don’t worry. There will be a more previews coming up next week.

Forgotten Tales of Sword & Sorcery: Magic Part 1

I meant to post this last week but there were some last minute hiccups.
Magic was the most difficult thing to adjust. I wanted something simple that still made sense with normal Vancian Magic but still had a totally different feel. What I came up with is Arcanum.
This is a the magical power stat for Sorcerers. It starts off as 1 at first level and slowly increases after that. Arcanum determines three things:
 
Spells per Day: A Sorcerer may cast a number of spells per day equal to Arcanum Score. The individual spell’s level does not matter. If a Sorcerer knows a spell they may cast it. The Sorcerer may exceed their daily allotment of spells but this is considered “Casting Dangerously”.
 
Effect of Spells: A Sorcerer’s Arcanum score may determine the effect or duration of a spell. For the quick easy description of this: Spells that previously had duration or effect based on the level of the caster instead are determined by the caster’s Arcanum.
 
Maximum Spell Level: A Sorcerer may safely cast spells with a level equal to or less than their Arcanum score. They may cast higher level spells but this “Casting Dangerously”. A character can know a spell of higher level than they can safely cast.
 
Casting Dangerously is were things get interesting. This temporarily reduces their Arcanum by the Spell Level of the spell that they dangerously cast. And thus reduces their number of spells per day and the power of those spells. So yes. a 1st character could cast a 6th level spell but it will cost them. It might even kill them. Usually, they might not be able to cast any spells for a few days.
 
I’m sure there will be questions.  No problem. Ask away.
And here’s a couple of Sorcerers along with the rest of the example characters.

NPC Portraits created with ePic Character Generator.

Forgotten Tales of Sword & sorcery: Wanderers

Last time it was the Warriors and combat. This time, I talk about Wanderers and skills.
The Wanderer replaces the Thief class in many aspects. It’s the so-called Skill Monkey class. As I look at so many Sword and Sorcery characters, they often have a wide range of abilities and skills. There’s not such an implied niche for what a character can do. So many of those things that were considered things that just the Thief did, are things that any character can try. Anybody can back stab with bonuses, anybody can check for traps or try to open locks.
The system for this is pretty simple. You’ve probably noticed that each of the pre-gens has a check next to each Attribute (x in d6). The GM picks the appropriate Ability for the task and the player rolls for success. Pretty easy. You may have also noticed that the Checks don’t seem consistent. That’s because a character’s Checks improve based on their level and class.
But some characters are better at certain things than other characters. That’s where the Specializations come in. Specializations, as you can see on the examples, aren’t specific skills but much broader categories of knowledge and abilities. You might think of them as careers or professions.
Specializations work very simply. When a character attempts a task and fails their initial roll, if they have an appropriate Specialization then they can re-roll the Check but with a 2 in d6 chance for success. This gives them an edge over other characters but still keeps the probabilities on a more heroic rather than super heroic scale. It’s simple and flexible.
So how are Wanderers the Skill Monkeys? First, each character gains one Specialization plus more based on their Intelligence score. Wanderers gain an additional Specialization at 1st level and are the only class that gains more Specializations as they advance in level. Forgotten Tales doesn’t take an approach where characters achieve “mythic” or “epic” skill levels. Instead, a character can have a broad range of abilities which when used imaginatively create that heroic feel.

NPC Portraits created with ePic Character Generator.