Why do undead always fall into the evil things that just need to get killed. Yeah, I know it’s pretty easy to pigeon hole them into that category but I was staring blankly at the wall the other day a little thought crossed my mind.
Why can’t undead also play the role of harbingers of divine retribution? I’m not a zombie plague or anything like that. I’m talking Odin sitting back and slamming a few brews with a bunch of fallen heroes in Valhalla. He looks down on the mortal world and sees a bunch of “his” people slouching around like a bunch wily nily pansies and he decides to a little fire under their butts and weed out the weaklings. Unleash the souls of the Fallen Heroes.
Now we ain’t talking no hippy gods with this one. We’re talking angry mean warrior gods. You know like that Crom.
Just a little idea that popped in my head to easily twist monsters and just maybe throw something weird at the players.
Step One: Pick a random encounter table, roll on it. Get Monster A
Step Two: Pick another or same random encounter table. Get Monster B.
Step 3: Cross Monster A with Monster B.
It doesn’t have to make sense but just make it interesting and weird.
Let’s face it I think too many of us are kind of getting lazy when it comes to fluff. There really isn’t that much deviation from the standard fantasy world formula.
I know that there are certain built in expectations and that as DM the more time you spend on fluff the greater the chance that your players will ignore it. But after this many decades, it’s ok to bend or break the mold. Take a world, ditch elves and dwarves. Make some of the iconic “baddies” into allies and not villains. Mix and match ideas. Make new and interesting monsters. Make races and places that are new. Not Ancient Evil Lost & Forgotten Temple Number 37. Don’t be afraid to add a little spark and gonzo to a game. Different characters and different campaigns can still start to run together after a while.
And that is my bitchy rant for the day.
OK, that’s really common complaint but when it comes to OSR stuff a lot of quality stuff is good.I don’t think that there ever will be that Holy Grail of the perfect game or One Game To Rules Them All. Now, every game has its own feel and nuances and everyone has their own tastes. And that is why we kit bash.
And this may really silly but kit bashing let’s you sort play more than one game at time. Pull a chunk here, a juicy bit there and mix thoroughly. So let me guide you through the insane maze that is my mind. I happen to like Swords & Wizardry (And Crypts & Things) but also there’s a certain fondness I have for Castle & Crusades and Lamentations of the Flame Princess. The single Save Mechanic from S&W and the basics of C&C make these two pretty much kissing cousins. One of the nifty things about C&C is that there’s a butt load of classes, almost too many for some folks tastes. So take the surgeon’s scalpel to them, trim the fat and slide into S&W core mechanics. What about Lamentations? I really like this game. Lamentations is about the feel of Weird Fantasy. Much of that comes from the totally awesome spells. Tweak them around and make them fit into your world.
And there you go.
Yeah, I’ve had the PDF of Adventurer Conqueror King for a while but I just my book the other day. Sorry, kids but nothing quite replaces the feel of a dead tree version. So I took the time last night to sit down and give it another look.
First, the basic core rules are pretty much your standard OSR game. Nice, simple, tidy. You’ve got the usual four classes (fighter, cleric, wizard and thief). In ACKS, they went with racial classes. I’m not a big fan of that but I do like that they added variation and options from the standard demi-human classes.
Monsters are pretty much your usual fare (But I do suggest looking at the dragons. They got a nice little trick.) and the same goes for spells. It’s just that the higher level spells are considered rituals and as such take longer to cast. Meaning you ain’t going to do it in the middle of a fight.
Now, there are a few things that just made me say, “Wow, that’s pretty cool”. I like the Proficiencies for characters. It’s a nice little tweak. Basically, it’s a little system that combines skills as well as bonuses similar to Feats from 3.X. Some may say that Feats aren’t Old School but I think they did a fine job of making a simple system that still has the feel of older editions. The system works very similar to Castle & Crusades or Saves as Skills in Swords & Wizardry. No keeping track of skill ranks and all that. Just a bonus and roll higher than a target number on a d20. Simple.
The cornerstone to ACKS and what really sets apart is all the other stuff. I’m talking about all those that usually aren’t normally in covered in detail in a core book. We’re talking ships, hirelings, mass combat and most importantly kingdom building. It’s not just you build a keep. It’s a whole system. I just finished playing through Paizo’s Kingmaker so I can’t help but make a comparison. My vote goes to ACKS, it’s much detailed and less abstract. And bonus you don’t have to build a whole mighty kingdom. Clerics can form their church or cult. Thief player characters can start their own guilds.
The real strength of Adventurer Conqueror King is that there’s plenty of awesome tools that you can use for whatever happens to be your rule system of choice. It’s going on the shelf of honor.
Just head on over to Autarch’s site and check it out.
mortal wounds and tampering with mortality
If you haven’t gotten your grubby little hands on a copy of a href=”http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product_reviews.php?products_id=91110″Vornheim/a then what are you waiting for? It’s the best city building supplement out there.
But this isn’t just about Vornheim, it’s also about a href=”http://www.faterpg.com/”FATE/a. Yes, I know FATE is not en OSR game. It’s story based game that places a lot of narrative control in the players’ hands. But I’m one of those folks who enjoy tweaking and twisting game rules and concepts. In this case I’m talking about a href=”http://www.faterpg.com/dl/df/citycreation.html”city creation/a for FATE as seen in the Dresden Files RPG. The basic concept is that players and the GM sit around and build the city in a collaborative brainstorming session. You use the Aspects and Themes Threats from FATE (just short descriptive phrases) to describe sections or districts within a city. You also assign an NPC who is the “Face” of that area. The Face is basically the primary character who represents that area of the city from a narrative standpoint. So when you’re done, you have a nice tidy pile of notes describing your city. These concepts are pretty simple and can easily be used with the tools from Vornheim. You don’t have to populate each and every house in a city. The city map doesn’t need to look like a mega-dungeon. (Unless you’re really into that sort of thing). The GM could quickly scribble a small village on 3 x 5 index card in matter of minutes.
You don’t even have to do it collaboratively. The GM can just sit down create the city on his own. You don’t even need to use the FATE game mechanics. Just use the Aspects as springboards for adventure ideas and descriptions. You don’t even have to limit yourself to a city. Hell, you could design a nice little sandbox type area for the characters to explore.
The thing is that it’s OK to grab up any tool you can get your hands on that’s makes your job as GM easier and the game fun for the players.
Wizards get bored. And when the get bored they start messing around with the natural order things. When they do that creatures like the Wasp Viper are created.
At first glance, this creature appears to be a large viper. On closer inspection, its eyes are those of an insect and a set of wings are folded back along its body. It’s bite and it’s sting are highly poisonous. The creatures normally hunt along but they tend create hives where it possible for there to be hundreds of them. Wasp viper infestations have been known to wipe out entire villages.
Attacks: Bite (1d4), Sting (1d3)
Move 10 (flying)
Challenge Level/XP: 5/240
Special: poison (bite and sting). If a wasp viper hits with either its bite or sting then the poison save is is made at +4. If both attacks hit then it is at -2.