It’s been a busy weekend and it’s going to be a busy week but here’s this week’s episode.
I actually get to play Dungeon Crawl Classics and had two characters survive the funnel. Lord Bob and Mysterio. This week the Blight game is coming but I’m already thinking about the next campaign. It may sound silly but Cthulhu Vs either Pirates or Cowboys. I know strange and I’ve talked about it before. Oddly enough, I’m thinking about hacking Mini 6 for this or maybe Savage Worlds. Or heck maybe even stick with good old D% system with some hacks. Thanks to Steve C for the call in!
Go ahead and give this episode listen. Just stream it here or subscribe on your favorite podcast platform.
So what do you think? Savage Worlds, Mini 6, or don’t mess with it and make it Standard Call of Cthulhu.
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I backed the Indiegogo campaign and I’m glad I did. The Indiegogo had the option for all three decks and right now I can only find what I believe is Volume 1 on the Frog God site. But as you can see, there were three decks. A generic one. One geared for dungeons. And one for wilderness.
So what exactly are these decks? Well, each card has a little bonus or perk for a character. Bonuses, do-overs, confusing an opponent and so on. If you’re familiar with the Savage Worlds Adventure Deck or the Pathfinder Plot Twist Deck then the Dirty Tricks deck is basically the same thing. And yes I have both of those.
The Savage Worlds Deck is perfect for Savage Worlds. And the Pathfinder Deck is great for Pathfinder and 3.x. So if you playing Fifth Edition, or any retroclone then well those decks don’t exactly work. Savage Worlds is a completely different game system (duh). And well Pathfinder is Pathfinder. There’s enough similarity between most retroclones and 5E that the decks will work. So they are pretty edition neutral. Oh and there’s some pretty funny quotes on them too.
Now let’s look at a couple of cards:
Jump Back Kiss Myself: Re-roll a failed Saving Throw
It’s Only A Flesh Wound: Take only half damage
I Know Something You Don’t Know..I Am Left Handed: +2 To-Hit and Damage for 3 Rounds
You’re Going To Shoot Your Eye Out: Missile attack blinds opponent for 2 Rounds.
You get the idea. And what are the rules for using these cards? There are none. It’s up to the GM to decide how they are used at the table. Maybe every player gets a card. Or they only get a card if they do something cool. Or roll a Nat 20. Do NPC get cards? That’s up to the GM too. And that’s when they become real Decks of Dirty Tricks. Personally, I’m still bouncing around ideas how exactly I want to use them. Maybe like I mentioned before. A card for every player at the beginning of a session and then an extra card if they do something cool. And I’ll probably think pull a few for NPC use. Insert evil snicker.
These cards add other layer of randomness that can happen during an adventure. While it put strain on the GM’s well thought plot, it will drive stories into completely different directions. And I think it’s good think. I kind of like when the game reaches out to both the players and GM and throws some crazy out there. You know sort of some of the craziness of Dungeon Crawl Classics.
Heck match these up with the Hireling, Encounter, and Treasure Cards, you can have a crazy session with little prep (but a whole lot of improvisation).
It’s that time of year. Most everybody does it and take it as time to get back on track and set some goals and make some plans for next year. So I go into a whole long rant in this week’s episode. You can subscribe on most platforms or just stream it here.
But here’s the highlights:
Cool stuff this year goes to Old Skull Publishing (and his great games Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells, Dark Streets & Darker Secrets, Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells). Also Old Essentials from Necrotic Gnome wonderfully organized and easy to use take on BX D&D. Then there’s Goodman Games. DCC Lankhmar. Hell yeah! And Frog God Games. Great Kickstarters like Tegel Manor and small print run Indiegogo campaigns for some neat adventures. And then there’s Skeeter Green and his new entry into publishing.
And then the misses of the year. Oh Ref Book where art thou? I’m not going to spend a lot of complaining. I just don’t care about it any more.
So now on to what I’m planning. First, expect more of the same here at the old blog but probably with more Swords & Wizardry. For Playing It Wrong, also expect more of the same but with more food and humor because blackjack and Hookers are just too expensive.
I’ve got some minor tweaks to do on the Patreon. That should be done before the end of the year.
I plan on doing about one video a month on the Youtube channel. Some reviews/unboxings and maybe a few little crafty/DIY type things.
Discord. Well. I keeping forgetting about that. I’ve tried to set aside a time for that. So instead, I’ll just be a random encounter there. I’ll show up and see what’s going on.
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What a busy week! The mail gods have been good to me. Got a hard copy of The Blight and the Lankhmar Boxed set. Plus the Tegel Manor PDF is out to the backers. I understand that there have been some server issues but that’s all worked out.
Please consider subscribing to the channel. It takes 100 subscribers to get that custom URL and other features that actually makes Youtube more usuable. And it’s a good number to start to show that it’s really worth the time to keep it going. Hit that 100 Subscriber mark then will add doing regular videos to the list.
So I’m doing a little challenge on Facebook too. Like the Facebook Page. Hit 100 Likes and well. It means I just might start doing that bonus Episode of the podcast.
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Yes, I know I didn’t get any blog posts done last week and I was hardly around on social media. Things were busy but I wasn’t idle on the gaming front. I almost have Back Alleys done for Dark Streets and Darker Secrets, I did some more brainstorming on YARC, and the whole reason for this post more mulling on The Blight.
Right now, I mostly messing around with the gods and Gods of Castorhage and thinking of how to make the various game systems. So I figured what the heck, throw out to masses and see what happens. Of all the games I have at my disposal I’ve narrowed it down to these (in no particular order). 1. Swords & Wizardry: It’s easy to do NPC’s. It’s flexible. It’s readily available in PDF form and the players can buy the book if they want. And there’s already a ready made version of it by Frog God Games. 2. Fifth Edition: It’s the elephant in the room. The players are already familiar with it and they already have their own books. It’d be a little tougher to run improved NPC’s off the cuff. The PC’s do have a lot more umph than in the other systems so make it a little grittier will take some house ruling. 3. Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar: Why? Well, DCC is cool and I should have my physical copies from the Kickstarter soon. The players are already familiar with it. The Blight is a city-based campaign so in my mind’s eye, it would make a good fit using the DCC: Lankhmar rules. Yes, I know no clerics and I would have house rule the partrons. So more prep type work on the DM’s part. I’m also aware of how crazy the magic can get. The players are already familiar with DCC and some have the books already. 4. Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Well, you can go weird and gritty without thinking about LOTFP. The players should be able to pick it up quickly. The art-free version is still available. It won’t take much to convert the Swords & Wizardry version over to LOTFP. 5. Something else? Oh. There’s plenty of other games out there. But the above are really my main choices.
So here’s a poll. Leave a comment. Let me know what you think.
Last month Frog God Games ran a contest for fan reviews. I did a couple and did garner some Frog Bucks to spend. I’m still shopping. The Blight was on my list of things review and I just didn’t have the time fully delve into it. But as luck would have it, I just did have some time and dove right in and wish I had done so earlier. Now, if you’ve follow me around social media I’ve mentioned the idea of mixing The Midderlands, Tegel Manor (which I backed), and The Blight. That idea still stands. One more disclosure for this rant. This is based on the 5E version of The Blight and I’ll only be talking about the Campaign Guide. I had grabbed it and a bunch of other really cool stuff from a 5E Humble Bundle.
Let’s start of with a general overview. So what is The Blight. It’s grim/dark, horror, gritty urban campaign location, namely the City-State of Castorhage. It’s mean and cruel place and it’s big. The campaign guide places the population at about 3.8 million. That’s roughly the size of Los Angeles. Not only is the city big so is the book. It clocks in at 890 pages or so. No easy feat reading this thing in PDF form. Castorhage is physically and morally corrupt. Countless alchemical experiments and a lot of sewage have polluted the the main river. The royal family is decadent and insane. To add to this already warped setting, there’s the Between. A nightmarish dimension that can sometimes be accessed through mirrors or other reflective surfaces. And to keep with horror theme sometimes the Between just pops up in those places.
Let’s do a little run down of the book itself. Like I said, it’s huge. It starts off with the usual overview. This can be most easily summed up with the Seven Prayers of Castorhage and the Seven Unspoken Prayers of Castorhage. Basically, the rules and philosophy of the city. One for the low born and one for the powerful. For Example: Only the wise know how to use the dangerous curse of magic, and only a fool would tamper with it./M agic is power, and power in the wrong hands is folly. Only those of high caste know how to use it wisely; the lowborn who dabble with it must be taught a lesson and cleansed as an example to others.
Next up are people. Some of the more important NPC’s as well as options for player characters plus quirks, and new equipment. Then we have a GM’s section with advice and suggestions on how to run the Blight. And there’s even more material about places and people. One of the interesting things about Castorhage is that there gods and Gods. Let me explain. The gods aren’t really gods. They walk around and inhabit the city. They don’t have real religions but they do have cults. They way the are presented in the book I’d call them urban legends to place blame or find cause for any mysterious or horrible thing that might happen. For the 5E version, they really missed the boat on this one. I feel that the gods would make great warlock patrons but alas nothing was written up so GM’s would be on their own.
Then there’s a whole section on the Between. Like I mentioned a nightmare dimension that personally reminds me a bit of Lovecraft’s Dreamlands. But that just maybe me. I don’t want to say too much on this part since I feel it’s a good venue for GM’s to throw in some mystery and exploration in an otherwise urban based campaign. But it is detailed as basically it’s own world. Oh yeah and the Between can corrupt characters and so on. Nasty stuff.
Then come a huge bestiary. I’m seeing why this book is so long. All sorts of new and interesting monsters as well as some of the major NPC’s. Oddly enough, enterprising GM’s will find a few other player character options like the Undying. You’re only sort of undead.
Then there’s a very small section of inspirational random tables and then the books goes into another more detail breakdown of each of the districts of the city. There’s a ton of information and detail about these districts. It’s not as crazy as City-State of the Invincible Overlord but still there’s a lot. Almost too much for your average GM to digest and remember.
Finally, there’s an adventure path, The Levee. I don’t want to put any spoilers but looks pretty good and if you want a sneak peak of what it’s like then stop by and listen to Swords & Misery, an actual play podcast.
So what do I think? Overall, pretty god but it doesn’t mean there a few problems. First there’s a few editing errors that make the 5E conversion seem almost like an after thought. There’s a few places where the explanation of crunchy is worded more akin to the Pathfinder rules rather than 5E. Like I said before, there’s lots of information and I fell it wasn’t always presented in the most efficient fashion leading to page flipping and head scratching till find another bit of information to tie it all together. Also, some of the NPC’s have powers or abilities that are mentioned in the fluff text but not even mentioned in the stat blocks. For example, one powerful NPC “borrows” the skin of an underling when needed. Yeah. Nasty stuff. And I suppose I should mention that if you aren’t ready for a decadent, horror-filled setting then just walk away. Also, going through the setting if you are the type to doesn’t like the Cantina Scene type set up then you may just house rule the extra races and racial options out. However, I would say this, it all seems to fit without seeming forced or “let’s just make sure that any player can play whatever they want”. There may be prices and/or consequences based on the character’s race or class.
Do I still want to run it. Hell yeah. But I’ve got some thoughts on that. 5E: While the version I have of the Blight is for 5E. I just don’t feel the game as written doesn’t play well as for a horror/grim dark setting. There would have to be some house rules. Sure all the races are ready made but there’s nothing about Tieflings which fit well and would have their unique problems in the city IMHO. Swords & Wizardry/White Box/Old School Essentials/OSR: This could be done with little or no conversion and only some minor tweaking. I know there’s a Swords & Wizardry version available but it’s so easy to convert into Swords & Wizardry. There’d me minimal house rules plus there’s is much good old school stuff out there it would be easy to find other tools that would fit. Now, I can’t mention the old school games without thinking about Lamentations of the Flame Princess. The vibe fits almost perfectly but there’d still be some tweaking. The real gem in LOTFP is the spell list which could be easily substituted for the original or vanilla lists. Dungeon Crawl Classics: Lankhmar This already give a set up for running urban adventures with a more Sword and Sorcery flair. Conversion would be a little more difficult and then there’s the fact the magic can get really swingy. So that would be a consideration. Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells: It’s no secret that I love this game. It’s rules light and very easy to convert into. It would work great. If you want to add non-human races then that might take a little work. Zweihander: I admit that I haven’t played this yet but I do have the PDF. And it would work danged perfectly. It’s fits great with the tone and atmosphere of the setting. There are a couple of problems. First, it would be a pain in the butt to convert all the monsters and NPC’s. I’d also be faced with teaching the group a whole new game system.
I’ve rambled long enough on this. I haven’t brought it up the gaming group yet so we’ll see what they say. We’ll see what happens.
Lankhmar for Dungeon Crawl Classics will be hitting the shelves some time soonish. The PDF’s have gone out to Kickstarter backers (Yep, I’m one) and the physical copies should be in my grubby hands in a couple months or so. One of the new mechanics added was Fleeting Luck which has been around a while for public consumption and comment for a while. I’ve used in Dungeon Crawl Classics and Mutant Crawl Classics and the players loved it. Then I got to thinking why not use it other games.
So here’s a real brief outline how Fleeting Luck works. The PC’s each get a Fleeting Luck Point at the beginning of the session. If player rolls a Natural 20 or does something cool then they get another point. If any of the players roll a Natural 1 then ALL of the players lose all of their Fleeting Luck.
Since other games don’t have a Luck Score like DCC, I looked around and thought what could I use? Oh yeah. Hello, Fifth Edition. Inspiration Points. So if you don’t Inspiration Points let the player roll two d20’s and take the better for checks. And there you go. Use Inspiration Points with the Fleeting Luck mechanic.
There is one change that I would make for Fifth Edition, I wouldn’t let characters use Fleeting Luck to heal. There’s plenty (almost too much) healing in 5E.