Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Dark Country


It should be obvious by now that my campaign owes quite a bit to old Horror movies, particularly those by Hammer Films, Universal Studios, and Roger Corman (well, his Poe ones at least).  I believe it was a commentary on the Wolf-Man that noted that the Universal films, and I would argue the Poe and Hammer movies, take place in a kind of timeless Horror-movie-land.  TV Tropes, by way of Terry Pratchett, calls this place Uberwald, and in some sense my campaign takes place there.  In other senses it doesn't :p

In thinking about the larger campaign area outside of the few hexes I detailed earlier, I'm considering using Romania, and particularly the Transylvania region as a rough model for the map.  The background itself has much more to do with the Norther Crusades and the Baltic, but the Baltic doesn't have enough mountains for my liking.  If you look at the South Western edge of what would qualify as "Transylvania," you'll see a little mountain valley with a river running through it that already looks pretty damn close to the initial campaign area.

I might not end up using this, and it will be awhile before I have a group at all, much less one whose venturing into the wider world.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Changelings

One cannot accurately call the people of the World superstitious.  They are mistaken about a great many things, but one cannot truly be superstitious in a world where ghosts arise to torment their murders, strange creatures -- half-beast and half-man -- make their home in the darkest woods, and magicians weave spells to prolong their sinful existence.  Peasants have good reason to leave sprigs of wolfsbane above their door and to cross themselves when passing over certain bridges.  This is not to say that the folk of the World know exactly how, why, or if these practices are effective, but they provide a modicum of hope in a land filled with horrible creatures and diabolic cults.

Not all things can be stopped by such ritual.  Woe be unto the woman who gives birth on a pagan festival day, for they are doomed to raise a Changeling.  Pagans say that the Old Gods punish the spirit of the child for having the audacity to distract from the rites which are owed to the gods.  Followers of Law say that the sinful acts of the pagans on such feast days allow demons or fairies to enter the Material Plane and steal the child in order that they might replace it with the Changeling.  Countless other explanations exist.  Perhaps it has nothing to do with the feast days.  Many a bard's tale tells of ghostly lovers or strange dreams causing the creation of such beings.  Hunters sometimes return from the woods "changed" as well.

Changelings are strange beings.  They seem to grow more quickly than normal children, but they retain their youthful appearance well into their ninetieth year.  Those who changed when they were adults are often experts at skills they showed no affinity for in their previous lives.  All a masters of magic, and the arcane arts seem to come naturally to them.  They are equally skilled with swords, bows, and other weapons of war.  According to the stories women tell to each other while they prepare their husbands' freshly killed game, Changelings often use these powers to bewitch their parents or lovers.  The endings vary, but all are too horrible to relate to those of us who live comfortable lives outside the toil of Premodern life.

Like the other creatures of the World, Changelings exist outside of the tales of hunters and old women.  All bear some strange feature or mark of their nature. The nature of their mark varies wildly.  Some bear strangely curved horns, others unnaturally colored eyes, and still others seem perpetually covered in soot and grime.  These sorrowful beings wonder the World, for no sane person would ever let such a creature into their home.  However, despite their appearance, Changelings have very human minds.  They feel sorrow and pride and mirth as much as any other human.  Perhaps woe is not visited upon the mother, but upon the Changeling itself.

Despite the seemingly innumerable ways Changelings can occur, they are extremely rare.  Most will go there entire lives without seeing one, or indeed without hearing a story about one that had any basis in truth.  Perhaps this is the reason they are shunned.

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I strongly considered removing the Elf entirely from the Nightwick Campaign world -- well, as a player option anyway.  Some suggestions here led me to consider this option.  I must say that I'm rather happy that I found a way to contextualize Elves.  I'm not always a big fan of their psuedo-Tolkien flavor, but I rather like the idea of a Fighter/Magic-User hybrid.  This model should allow me to keep that as a player option while still making Elves mysterious and frightening.

I'm not entirely sold on this option yet.  I'm worried it might be a bit too "emo," but such is life.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Under the Weather

I seem to have come down with a stomach bug, so very little posting until I recover.  Hopefully I'll be able to get some Halloween related material up before Sunday.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Varkolak

Here is a monster for your Swords & Wizardry White Box campaigns.  It is largely meant to take the ecological niche of both Wight and the Vampire (though I will be including an altered form of Vampires in my campaign).  If you see any glaring issues, please comment.

Varkolak
AC : 13
HD: 3-5
Attacks: Claw or Bite (See Below)
Saving Throw:  13
Special: See below
Move: 6/60 (When Flying)
HDE/XP: 6/400; 7/600; 8/800

Varkolaks are the undead creatures created when a wicked person’s soul is prevented from entering Heaven.  These creatures are often associated with those who die in the wilderness, though they are equally likely to appear in graveyards and barrows.  When Varkolak does appear in such a place, it is usually blamed on improper burial practices or the sinful matter in which the Varkolak died.

The natural form of a Varkolak is horrible to behold.  They appear as a ruddy and bloated corpse with a singular, cyclopean eye in the middle of its forehead.  They are able to transform into various woodland creatures, the specificities of which vary from Varkolak to Varkolak.  Even when not in animal form, Varkolaks can fly at a speed roughly equal to a hawk or other large bird of prey.

Varkolaks take no damage from non-magical weapons, but take normal damage from silver or magical weapons.  A Varkolak will appear to “die” after being struck by a normal weapon for an amount of damage equal to or greater than its hit points, but it will reform the next night and continue its reign of terror.

Varkolaks sustain themselves on human blood.  The round after making a successful Bite attack, the Varkolak may choose to do automatic damage to its opponent.  The Varkolak must do nothing else this round, but regenerates half the damage done.  Victims killed by a Varkolak must make a Saving Throw vs. Death or become a Varkolak themselves.  When this happens, the new Varkolak will usually fly miles away to terrorize another community, and it is rare – though not unheard of – to see more than one Varkolak active in the same place.

Nightwick Abbey Campaign Map


I used the Welsh Piper's Hex-based Campaign Design system for this preliminary map.  It's pretty rough at this point, and only shows the locations the players would be aware of.

01.06 Lichgate -- Largest city on the frontier and seat of the local bishop.
05.04 Nightwick Village -- The remnants of the town which sprung up to cater to the knights at Nightwick Abbey.  Now just a small farming and logging village.
07.05 Nightwick Abbey -- I'm going to assume you know about this one by now.
08.02 Trading post -- A small trading post where merchants from the West meet to trade with the Barbarians.

That's about it.  I'm going to sprinkle, and have already sprinkled, various lairs and minor adventure sites across this little map.  If I need more map, I'll make more with the campaign design system mentioned above.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Miniature Suggestions

I'm planning on expanding my miniatures collection to include more Nightwick specific figures (possibly the Underworld too, but it's a secondary concern).  I'm looking for some cheap but good looking figures, and I need some advice on where to find them.  I'm looking for either 10mm figs for wargaming purposes.  I'm planning on making a few scenarios from Nightwick's history and also -- at least one day -- to do my own Blackmoor.  I'm also looking for 24mm to 28mm sized suckers for the gaming table.  I'm kinda cheap so I don't mind plastic if they look good.  Hell I prefer them.  In my experience paint sticks to them better.

Heres the kinds I'm looking for.

The West -- High to Late Medieval French and German minis.
The Barbarians -- Early Anglo-Saxons, and Baltic Pagans if you can find them.  Rus' are also good.
Chaos -- Beastmen/Pig Faced orcs, skeletons who are actually armored in Medieval gear, nasty looking goblins (10mm is the hard part here I think).
The Sword Brothers -- I need some Teutonic Knight minis to represent the builders of Nightwick Abbey.  I'll possibly modify some to be all zombied-out for campaign purposes.
I have a shocking lack of demons, and no Medusas

That's about it for now.  I'll post again if I think of more.

Creature Feature: Werewolves


Villagers across the world tremble at the thought that a werewolf might be in their midst.  They walk unseen during the day appearing as a normal man, but at night they skulk in the woods awaiting a slow passerby to devour.  They are among the most cunning of the demons' servants.  They are both monster and man.  Their sinister pact with creatures of the Pit has afforded them their terrible ability to transform into a half-human beast.

But perhaps it is not their fault.  Many have speculated that perhaps lycanthropy is a disease, and not a gift of the Devil.  Many farmers have screamed their innocence and refused to deny the crimes they so obviously committed until the stake that was to be their funeral pyre was tied to their backs.  Clearly these deluded souls are unaware they have given in to such turpitudes due to some moon caused madness.  This lunacy makes them forget their real nature and fervently deny that they are a monster.  The community has found them guilty of these crimes, and what other explanation could there be?

The Church says these souls are not to be pitied, however.  If they were truly righteous men God would not have stricken them with such a terrible illness.  If it is indeed a disease, then it is one God visits upon those who already have wicked hearts in order that they might reveal their true nature.  More likely though, they or their ancestors made some hideous pact with the Adversaries.  In exchange for a promise to help unmake man and his works, the demons offered the werewolf terrible powers.  Their acceptance of this bargain damns them to Hell, even if they cannot remember their crimes.

If loggers are to be believed, the Witchwood is swarming with these creatures.  They pick off lone hunters and lumberjacks at night when they are their most vulnerable.  As such, woodsmen are loathe to leave their camps after dusk, and never do so without a cross and sprig of Wolf's Bane.  The woodsmen who stay behind often speak of how they doubt the efficacy of such items, but none would deny them before they had to venture out into the dark alone.  

According to their campfire tales, werewolves are so thick in the Witchwood that they have formed whole villages.  Here they live in a mockery of mortal life.  They have houses where they sleep during the day before hunting at night.  They have shops where they sell not but tools made from hunter's bones.  They have anti-churches where they preform devilish orgies in half-animal states.  Some say they live in these villages alongside orcs and goblins.  Others say that orcs are simply werewolves who transformed to long and got stuck that way.  These people are usually looked at oddly, then dismissed.  It is common to tell such tales when a new logger arrives, especially if he has some reason to go out into the woods at night.

For some reason, werewolves are associated with the moon.  No one knows why particularly, they just are.  According to poems often recited by wandering troubadours, werewolves only hunt in autumn, and only if the moon is bright enough for a man to read by.  Those whose loved ones have gone missing in the winter or under the new moon have obvious reason to dispute this "fact."  Some say that their bloodlust waxes and wains with the moon, though their seems to be little evidence of this.  Still, the werewolf's association with the moon persists.

There are accounts of men who can turn into other beasts.  Western men and settlers claim that there are certain pagan warriors who can turn into a bear.  There is a legend in Lichgate of a thief so bold that he stole the bones of St. Gax right from the high altar.  To punish him, God turned him into a half-rat creature.  He and his gang of rat-thieves still live in the sewers of that city, or so inn keepers tell patrons.  Wereboars have been reported lairing alone in the woods to the West.  Supposedly they grow to enormous size, and only return to human form when slain.  However, these creatures are not nearly as well attested as Werewolves.

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I hope to do more creature features this week, instead of just my usual Monday morning one.  Expect them, like this one, to be vaguely Halloween themed.  It is my favorite holiday after all.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Why "Medieval" Fantasy


It should be apparent that Nightwick's world is modeled on that of Medieval Earth, or rather a fantastic version thereof.  It contains a unified Church, monks, knights, kings, barons, castles, and a whole slew of other trappings one normally associates with the Middle Ages.  As I'm sure everyone reading this blog knows,  this is nothing new for D&D.  It has largely been the "default setting" since the game's inception, though this varies wildly as does most things about D&D.

It is so prevalent that many participants in the OSR have had a strong reaction against it.  This is not to say all Old Schoolers revile the Medieval Fantasy idea or even that those who intentionally avoid using a Medieval setting hate Medieval Fantasy.  Rather, many Old Schoolers look at the works in Appendix N that do not have a strong connection with the Middle Ages or damsels in distress and wonder "why the hell can't D&D look like that?"  I don't blame them.  I'm typically more stimulated by the Ancient World than the Medieval one.*  Greece in particular fascinates me, though usually in a very anachronistic form.  I'm often known to mix Hellenistic and Archaic Greek cultures into a great stew that looks like what Ray Harryhausen would see if he dropped acid (and was a derivative hack instead of a brilliant special effects artist).  I tend to mix some Semitic cultures in too, as well as Roman things, but the point about Harryhausen remains accurate.  Science Fantasy also pushes certain buttons for me.  I watched Thundarr as a kid, and my favorite thing about the Necromancer Games version of the Wilderlands was the liberal placement of laser guns throughout the setting.

So why then would I make a Medieval Fantasy project my main setting?  Well, there are several reasons.  The most immediate is practicality.  D&D, as I've already mentioned, is designed with a Medieval setting in mind, and while I can struggle against that it's really fucking hard to explain what goblins and orcs are doing running around in Troy.  If I want to be able to use utilities such as the encounter tables I have to have a setting where they make some semblance of sense.  Clerics too are an issue.  Since their powers only truly vary based on whether or not they are good or evil.  This poorly represents the polytheistic model found in most D&D settings, but works rather well if one assumes a monotheistic Church and a great Adversary.

Also, I have other influences which do favor the Middle Ages.  Gothic horror -- both in its literary form and its more distorted presentations in film -- has had a major influence on how I imagine Nightwick Abbey.  To some degree the abbey is my attempt to challenge James Maliszewski's assertion that a megadungeon would not fit in the Ravenloft setting.  While my affection for that setting has waned since I originally ran games in it, it draws on sources which ignite my imagination in ways that few other fantasies can.  It could be said that I was less of a Fantasy fan than a horror one, and I would not dispute this claim.  I should note that the films of Roger Corman and Terence Fisher have much more influence on Nightwick Abbey than has The Castle of Otranto.  The reason this is important can be found in the genre's own name.  Gothic is meant to evoke those odd, pointed arches one can find in High and Late Medieval Architecture.  If I want to evoke the imagery present in these sorts of stories, I need to have an explanation for why there is Gothic architecture.  Placing my setting in a pseudo-medieval context is the easiest way to accomplish this.  Also, one seldom finds vampires and werewolves -- monsters I very much enjoy due to spending my childhood watching Universal Horror movies -- in the adventures of Conan and Odysseus.

On that note, the werewolf-haunted woods of Averoigne also played a large role in my decision to make my main project be a Medieval one.  I've mentioned several times that this particular Clark Ashton Smith cycle has influenced my work on Nightwick Abbey, and it is perhaps my favorite one.  Zothique would be its only contender; however Zothique's strangeness often makes me unable to incorporate bits of it into my campaign ideas.  Its exotic nature is both its greatest strength and weakness, at least for my purposes.  That dark province of France, however, sets my mind aflame with imagination.  It is a constant destination for my daydream-addled mind.

Metal (the genre not the substance) also had some influence over my decision.  Black Sabbath's song Black Sabbath instantly sends my mind to a place.  A horrifying place, but to some degree that is the emotion I wish to coax out of the players.  I often seek to evoke wonder as well, lest some of you think I'm a sadist.  The video to Holy Diver also gets me in a D&D mood, even if it is extremely silly.  It is hard to find music that puts one in mind of the Argos sailing around tropical islands fighting dinosaurs, which is my standard modus operandi.

Finally I should note that my background is probably the largest factor in my decision.  I'm a Medievalist (in training), so I obviously have a tremendous love of the Middle Ages.  I very much believe part of why I don't like typical Medieval Fantasy is that it has very little to do with the Middle Ages.  I'm not saying every setting should be like Harn, but I wouldn't mind a few more looking like Warhammer.  One of the main reasons I like the Ancient World is that I know less about it, and therefore I can make shit up.  That's not to say I don't know considerably more about it than the average person, just that my mind is less chained down by the realities of life in this instance.  I've largely tried to turn my brain off when considering demographics, but turn it back on when considering people's reactions to things like monsters and magic.  Hopefully this has worked.

Thus far, Nightwick Abbey has avoided being too much like the actual Middle Ages to stop being D&D, as well as being too different from them to stop being Medieval.  I think this is a nice balance.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Your Own Blackmoor

This is a campaign concept I've been bating around for awhile.  It occurred to me in a flash while reading the product description for Columbia Games' Wizard Kings.  It's not particularly original; in fact, it's designed to emulate the very earliest campaigns in table top RPGs (thus the title of this post).

First, pick your favorite Old School D&D system.  I think OD&D works best for this, but any with some guidelines for stronghold building at Name Level will do.  Then, get a hex based wargame such as the aforementioned Wizard Kings.  Take the map (or maps) out of this sucker.  That is now your campaign world.  Populate it very roughly with the cultures present in the wargame.  To use my example put an Amazon, Feudal, Elven, etc. kingdom somewhere on the map.  Then put down your dungeons/adventure sites.  A campaign dungeon would work nice here, but it is definitely not required.  Then get a set of miniature wargame rules.  Scott over at Huge Ruined Pile has been using Hordes of the Things, so lets go with that for now.  Set up army lists for the different cultures you placed on your map based on the hex wargame you chose.

Now, we start playing.  Players start their characters as level 1 D&D guys.  They play a campaign on your hex map and in your dungeons up to name level.  Then those who have reached name level build their fortress/tower/church/whatever out in the wilderness.  They then largely move to miniature wargame play, attacking their neighbors and clearing out monsters in order to expand their newly formed barony or bishopric.  Eventually they'll have enough land that it's better to represent it using the whole campaign map as the hex wargame it was originally intended for.  Battles are not resolved via the hex wargame's rules, but rather with the miniature rules, but otherwise it should function the same.

Players who have become kings can obviously still play the minis wargame, but they can also still play D&D.  This can be done either by having the player play a wholly new character, playing an employee of his king, or pulling his character out of retirement in order to face some huge threat caused by sandbox events.  Players who are still in the D&D portion can move up to the minis wargame portion.  They'd do this by playing the orcs/barbarians/other evil things that the King/Baron must "evict" from the wilderness.  They could possibly do the same for the hex wargame.

This method works best, I think, with a metric shit-ton of players; however, I'd imagine you could do this with your home group as long as you have enough to play D&D.  The main thing you need is time.  This campaign only truly works if you can play in campaigns that last for years.  It has a strongly generational aspect to it, and I think one of the pleasures of this type of game would be looting the ruins of the Dwarf hold built by Bob's Dwarf more than a year ago in real time.  The best way for this game to work is to essentially play no other game, except for occasional breaks so that the players and referee don't get burned out.

To give an example of how this would all play out, lets use Jim Raggi's Death Frost Doom.  If you plan on playing this adventure, but haven't yet, skip this paragraph as it contains spoilers.  The referee places DFD somewhere on his campaign map that makes sense for the scenario.  The first set of characters who reached Name Level didn't come across the cabin, but some others do.  They unleash the undead hordes upon both themselves and the campaign map.  Now, those characters who have reached name level have to figure out how to quell the undead threat.  As they do so, the D&D players can aid with special missions, or continue exploring the places not overrun by the damned.

I doubt that I'll be using it for Nightwick in the immediate future because I'll have to switch schools in two years or so to get my doctorate.  However, once I settle down somewhere I'll probably at least give it a go.  Of course I also need to figure out how to get money for the minis it would require.

So that is my proposal.  Take it.  Leave it.  I just thought it was a neat idea.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Nightwick Abbey: Chat Session 1

Last night our chat game began in earnest.  I had four players show up overall, but only three played at any one time.  Two of the players hadn't made characters beforehand, so much of this session was spent creating those characters and establishing in the village of Nightwick, about five miles North West of the infamous abbey.

Unfortunately, I was feeling a bit tired and hadn't quite finished stocking the dungeon yet, so I wasn't totally on my A Game.  However, I decided, after taking some advice, that it was more important to start playing and to play regularly than it was to get everything completely right.  In hindsight, I think this is entirely accurate.  Now that I've seen what went strangely, I can correct for this in future sessions.  I had a bit of trouble getting the tone across, but I think this was largely due to my being tired from a full day of classes and seeing students.

Such is life.

That being said, the players all said that they had a wonderful time and they would very much like to continue. It could be that the inadequacies of the session were entirely in my head or, at least, invisible to the players.

The characters were:

Jahnnoc, a Cleric dedicated to the Church of Law
Ota, a Fighter whose with a penchant for stealth
Dr. Adrock, a Magic-User of some skill
and Archibold, another Magic-User

The first three characters arrived in the sleepy village of Nightwick at midday some time in late summer.  The sky was overcast and heavy with rainclouds, so the party elected to spend their time in town recruiting torchbearers and men at arms to serve them in their explorations.  Nightwick as a village seemed more or less desolate.  It looked as though at one time it was a prosperous trading town, and indeed it was, but now few of the houses were inhabited and it is only by some miracle that the village is able to maintain an inn and a stable market.  As such, the party was not able to hire as many mercenaries as they wished, finding only two men from the tribes to the East -- Ulric and Clodivec by name.  Jahnnoc chose to overlook their clearly pagan background in the interest of pragmatism.  At the Medusa's Head (the local Inn) Dr. Adrock and Ota were able to recruit two farmers, who were clearly followers of the Church, into their service.  Their names were Guibert and Adhemar.

Jahnnoc sought aid from the local priest, who tended to his flock out of a peasant's hut which had been converted into a Church.  Jahnnoc explained that he had come to cleanse the abbey and report on its condition to the Bishop in Lichgate.  The rather strange priest warned him to turn back, and that only darkness lay within that abbey.  Due to Jahnnoc's persistence, the priest gave him three bottles of holy water for protection.

After arranging for the distribution of treasure, the party slept through a stormy night and awoke early the next morning to find the clouds still heavy even though the rain had stopped.  They elected to journey through the woods to the abbey despite the threat of a storm.  They found that as they got closer to the abbey, the woods took on an unseasonal decay, as though it was fall or midwinter.  Upon arriving at their destination they found that the multi-building complex that once was they abbey now lies mostly in ruins.  It was overgrown with some strange vine of unnatural color they were not able to identify.  They also found a large group of goblins waiting in ambush.  (It was for the description of these creatures that I received the best compliment of the night: "thanks for the nightmare fuel").  They were hiding among the ruins of a small building, but the party was able to counter their ambush, dispatched half of them in the first round.  Unfortunately, a few disengaged goblins managed to hurl spears at the torchbearers, striking Adhemar dead and putting Guibert to flight.  Dr. Adrock's sleep spell quelled further resistance, and Ota took off after Guibert.

After calming the torchbearer, they began searching one of the buildings which was somewhat intact.  They were able to determine that at one time it had been a dormitory.  Clearing away some of the strange growth which riddled the floor revealed a large trap door, which they opened.  The sound of the rusty hinges attracted another explorer (Archibold) whose player had just gotten home from work.  At this point, due to internet connections, we lost Dr. Adrock, but it was agreed upon by all that he could be the one mapping this first delve.  They lined up and descended down the trap door.

The entry chamber was a large room filled with heavily worn statues, despite the fact that the Abbey has been unoccupied for under a century.  Jahnnoc attempted to reconsecrate these using his holy water, but this only prompted a strange, pale-green mist to surround the statues.   For a brief moment, Jahnnoc heard a terrible moaning, and then it was silenced.  The entry chamber also contained for doors, and the party was only able to see what lies beyond one of them before time dictated that we end the session.

They found a long hall which ended in a small chamber  covered in worn frescoes.  These frescoes seemed to depict knights in combat, but they were too worn to tell for sure.  Behind a door leading out of this chamber, the party heard a loud breathing noise, and anticipating a horrendous creature, they readied to attack it.  As they did, the door seemed to swing open by its own power, and two large creatures who horribly combined the features of men and pigs, burst forth.  Unfortunately for the party, a segment of the swiveled, revealing a secret door and three more creatures of similar type.  The party chose to engage the ones which came from the door, and sent the mercenaries after those exiting from the secret entrance.  Unfortunately, Clodivec triggered a pit trap and was taken out of the fight.   Guibert in the meantime pressed his body against the wall in an attempt to not become involved in the fight, and cried loudly.  The fight itself ended with no casualties on the party's side, but they were injured enough, and the time was late enough, that they retreated to town to rest and heal.

The Swords & Wizardry White Box proved a good rules set, and I'm currently only allowing the three core classes.  I have to meditate on how to incorporate the thief without denying other characters the ability to sneak and bypass traps, but once I do I'll begin to incorporate more class options.  The Monster and Treasure Assortment also proved useful, though I was miffed to discover that I'd have to reroll all of the monsters' HD, due to the fact that the White Box uses a d6 for HD and the Assortment uses a d8.

All in all I think it went pretty well, though hopefully some things will improve over the next few sessions.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Few Minor Updates

If all goes according to plan, tonight will be the first of many chat games to take place in Nightwick Abbey and its environs.  So far I have only three regularly committed players, and two who have agreed to come in and out. I'll only have the three tonight.

For now, due largely to the Elf issue, I will not be allowing the players to be Demihumans.  This may change as the campaign progresses and new characters need to be introduced, but for now it's a Human only party.

Somewhat sparked by the imminent game, I've decided to hammer out what names are typically like in the Nightwick setting.  I'm not going to dictate the player's names, obviously, but I am going to give them some suggestions.  My general idea is to base the names on names which were common in the Middle ages but have largely fallen out of use.  Odo, Adhemar, Ludivec, that sort of thing.  As a corollary to that, French and English names will represent people from the West, who are allied with the Church, and Frankish and Anglo-Saxon forms of those names will denote pagan peasants.

Finally, I'll have updated my Appendix N.  One of the additions will undoubtedly be contentious, but I don't really care.  It influences me, so it's on there.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chances of Survival

While doing research on Caverns of Thracia, I ran across this play report (warning: contains spoilers), and in it I was reminded of this chart:

Constitution 15 or more:Add +1 to each hit die
Constitution 13 or more:Will withstand adversity
Constitution 9 - 12:60% to 90% chance of surviving
Constitution 8 or 7:40% to 50% chance of survival

Minus 1 from each hit die
I was wondering if anyone knew what the italicized portions meant.  I'm rather perplexed by them.

Note: I've copied the chart from the play report and not from the LBBs, so their may be some errors in phrasing.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

15... You know what this is by now

In particular order.  Cross posted from my comment at Huge Ruined Pile


1. D&D 3.5
2. Call of Cthulhu (6th & d20)
3. Swords & Wizardry
4. Might and Magic VI and VII
5. Heroes of Might and Magic II and III
6. Zork!
7. Final Fantasy I, IV, V, and VI
8. Baldur's Gate I
9. Elder Scrolls II, III, and IV
10. Fallout 1 and 3
11. Star Wars: Saga Edition
12. Mage: the Awakening
13. WFRP (2e)
14. Diablo
15. Mongoose RuneQuest

Honorable mention: Legend of Dragoon (my first console RPG), Star Craft, and AD&D (1st).

I'm definitely leaving some stuff out, just not sure what.

The Witch (Rough Draft)



Here is a new class for your Swords & Wizardry White Box campaigns.  It is in rough draft form and the spell list is not yet complete.  I suggest using a combination of Druid and Illusionist spells if you want to add it before the final draft is completed.  I'll be taking suggestions and reposting it later.

Witch
Witches and Warlocks are individuals who have made some form of pact with an otherworldly entity, often a demon or some sort of fay creature, in order to gain magic powers.
 
                                                Witch Progression Table
Level               Experience                  HD                  BHB                ST                    
1                      0                                  1                      +0                 14                   
2                      2,750                           1+1                  +0                 13                   
3                      5,500                           2                      +0                 12                   
4                      11,000                         2+1                  +0                 11                   
5                      22,000                         3                      +1                 10                   
6                      44,000                         3+1                  +1                 9                     
7                      88,000                         4                      +2                 8                     
8                      176,000                       4+1                  +2                 7                     
9                      352,000                       5                      +3                 6
10                    704,000                       5+1                  +3                 5

Class Abilities
Weapon/Armor Restrictions: Witches may not wear any armor, and they may only use daggers, staffs, darts, and slings as weapons.

Spellcasting: Witches cast spells at the same rate as a Magic-User; however their extra spells per day are dependent on their Charisma bonus instead of their Intelligence bonus.  They also receive their own spell list.

Shapeshift: At character creation, Witches select one type of animal they may transform into.  This may be done any number of times per day.  The animal must be small and not terribly combat effective such as a rat or a raven.

Alchemy: Witches may brew potions in the same manner as Magic-Users, but may not create any other magic items.

Saving Throws: +2 vs Magical Effects, -2 vs Fire.

XP Bonus for Charisma: This bonus is for a high Charisma score.

Making Elves Playable


As I've discussed in earlier posts, my conception of elves is less about Tolkien and much more about the horrible fairies that scared the Medieval mind.  One problem is that I feel like I'm running into is that Elves are becoming too alien to be viable player characters.  While, as my source fiction will quickly attest, I'm not a fine of characters being champions of Truth, Justice, and the Waterdhavian Way,  I'm also not a big fan of letting players play things that should rightfully be monsters.  In the World, monsters aren't just people with Star Trek makeup.  They are terrible creatures with inhuman and inscrutable goals who seek to unmake reality and plunge all creation into darkness. 

Why am I talking about monster PCs in my discussion of Elves?  Because as outlined so far in my thoughts, Elves might as well be monsters.  I've even hinted that one of the spooky beings on my little sandbox map may in all likelihood be an Elf.  If Elves are sinister, capricious, and alien, they not only are dangerous to humans, but also difficult to represent for the player.  At this point handing an Elf to one of my players would be a "you can be an asshat now" licence.  I don't like that.

I see three ways out.  The first, and least palatable to me, is to drastically change my conception of Elves.  I think that what little following and interest I have received -- and thank all of you for that -- has been due to the rather dark take I have on traditional fantasy.  Sanitizing Elves would be both against my natural inclinations and against what makes Nightwick unique in the fist place.  My second option is to say that such accusations are not but peasant superstition.  While an easy answer, I think it has similar problems to the fist.  Finally, I could steal a page from Raggi's book and state that the Elves who are PCs are only those Elves that are exceptional, i.e. don't want to unmake human society for shits and giggles.

I'm still thinking on this, and it may be a long time before I do a quasi-in setting post on Elves.

Help Finding Caverns of Thracia

I'm interested in reading this module, but so far the price has been prohibitively expensive.  I haven't found a copy of the original for less than $100.  Does anyone know if I'm just looking the wrong places, or is the th thing just that rare?

Also, if I'm desperate, how good is the Necromancer Games version?  Will it serve in a pinch, or am I better off making some sort of vile pact with a demon of the pit to gain the original version?

Silly Saint Names

I've decided to take up the time honored tradition of using in jokes in your campaign.  Help me add a few.

I have these so far.

St. Gax -- Church father, and originator of holy orders.  Many have taken his rules and twisted them to form their own religious orders.  Often depicted as a man carrying keys.

St. Boledsaw -- Patron saint of travelers, and those who live in the wilderness.  Sometimes depicted as a knight mounted on a pegasus.

Thats all I got so far.  Lets see what you guys can come up with.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Creature Feature: Medusas


Many legends are told about the snake headed women called the Medusas.  Obviously, few have seen the creature and lived to tell the tale, but peasants say that the crumbling statues found amongst the many ruins which dot the world are a tribute to their existence.  According to the tales which woodsman tell around their campfires, Medusas are women cursed for their vanity or -- depending on the teller of the tale -- their infidelity.

Such creatures, it is said, lair in the deep places of the world where the Sun's light does not reach.  On moonlit nights they come to the surface world to find a mate, but are always disappointed when their prospective lovers are turned to stone by their ghastly visage.  They wonder the World immortal, cursed to never again know the touch of a lover, the smooth skin of a human being.

Some bards claim that this is far from the truth.  Yes the Medusa lives underground and yes it only leaves during the night hours, but it does so under the new moon, when not light shown.  According to these lurid yarns, Medusas attempt to blind unwary travelers on such nights. Once blinded, they are taken back to the Medusa's chthonic abode.  There they serve as slaves to the Medusa for the rest of their miserable days, performing -- at her bidding -- the most horrible of acts.  It is usually said that men are the subject of such attacks, though if the bard feels the crowd is raunchy enough, and is willing to risk burning, they are known to tell other tales as well.

The Church is wary of such stories.  The existence of these terrible monsters is undeniable, for they are attested in the works of the great scholars of the Empire.  However, the Church disagrees with the common people over the nature of the Medusa's curse, as well as a great many other things.  Those who take up God's call and go into the wilderness to do battle with the forces of Chaos claim that Medusas are part of a whole race of creatures who live in a great underground city ruled by a strange serpent god.  Such stories are often dismissed, as few would believe someone who claimed to see a Medusa, and those that do speak of such a city are almost universally mad.

Medusas are quite popular figures.  Art depicting them may be found across the world.  Such art often depicts Medusas in more or less humorous ways.  It is not uncommon to see a lord's hall decorated with statues of Medusas who supposedly saw themselves in a mirror or friezes depicting some of the more bawdy legends.  Medusas are also commonly used as symbols of infidelity, and many a scorned tavern keeper has named his establishment "the Medusa's Head" after his wife ran away with a rich merchant.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Poll Added

I've added a poll to gauge interest in my Hollow Earth idea.  Vote your conscience.

An Adventurer Meets His Fate in Nightwick Abbey


I haven't seen this particular Frazetta piece before and thought it hit the tone I'm going for spot on.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Souls and Resurrection

A recent discussion in the comments of this Grognardia post has gotten me to think about Resurrection in my game.  I don't hate the spell, as some Old Schoolers do, and I find it a welcome alternative to a litany of similar characters.  My old group bordered on "Knuckles IV" syndrome a la Knights of the Dinner Table.

In my recent discussion of LotF-- Raggi's Game, I discussed how I preferred human characters.  I've decided one way to encourage this without "nerfing" (to use the common parlance) Demi-humans is to not allow them to be Resurrected.  For the purposes of my setting Demi-humans do not have souls which can be retrieved from the afterlife using this spell.  The Church takes is to mean they have no souls whatsoever, though this is up for debate.  It could be simply that Dwarves, Elves, Froglings (?), and Halflings (?) have their own afterlife or a litany of other possibilities.

Saturday Night Specials



I think most Old Schoolers are familiar with the term originated by M. A. R. Barker to describe special encounters within the Campaign Dungeon.  I believe later stocking tables refer to them simply as "specials."

I've hit a bit of a snag in designing my current project.  So, I ask you: how do you come up with Saturday Night Specials for your own dungeons?  How many do you think should be on a given level (assume a level is c. 100 rooms)?  How many of them are crazy monsters and how many of them are simply weird illusions or whatnot?  Do you make sure to place them before hand, or keep them in your pocket for when a session starts to wear down?

LotFP Pros and Cons

These are in no particular order, and some entries will show up in both categories for reasons which will be explained in due time.


Pros

The lack of weapon and armor restrictions -- this is by far my favorite innovation, since it allows Gandalf to have a sword.  Of course encumbrance is more important now, but more on that later.

Specialists -- I'm a tremendous fan of Raggi's version of the Thief.  I especially like that the Specialist is able to determine individual things it is good at, such as sneaking or finding food in the forest.  It adds a certain amount of character customization without increasing the time spent making a character.

Common Activities -- These are dead simple and provide a framework for the Referee to use.  This is true of most OSD&D systems, but Raggi has expressed it elegantly while still allowing every character to sneak and search and find traps (though they're not as good at it as Specialists who have focused in it are).

Weapons -- I love the Small/Medium/Large Weapon system.  It reminds me of WFRP, and if D&D is my first love then Warhammer is the cheap floozy I'm cheating on her with.  (2e if anyone cares, and I've always thought someone could make a really cool Lankhmar hack for it)

Encumbrance -- Some of you who read that Weapon/Armor restrictions are replaced by encumbrance probably winced due to the normally fiddly nature of Encumbrance rules.  Raggi's are genius and dead simple, especially with his character sheet.

The Magic Book -- Some people may disagree with me, but I'm a huge fan of the way he has treated magic.  Unlike Labyrinth Lord, it allows for experimentation at low levels and they're very easy to handle (at least from my read through).  His spell descriptions also generally match up with the darker tone of Nightwick Abbey so I can use them almost whole sale.

Firing into melee -- it's mean and it should be.

Language Acquisition -- The rolling to see if you know a language thing appeals to me, even more so because I usually don't have all the languages set up in advance of a campaign, and can now add them on an ad hoc basis without the player's being handicapped by language choice at the beginning.

The good part is free -- Since I'm doing a dungeoneering based campaign, the Referee Book isn't terribly useful to me, and I'd just be using equivalent rules from other editions anyway.  The part I'd use is free though, so if you were worried about price, remember you can still check it out.

Class Roles -- Each class has one thing it does really well, that the other class don't do at all or not as well.  While the most famous example of this seems to be his interpretation of the Fighter, it's true of all the classes.

Edit: Ascending AC -- I know a lot of people don't like this, but I do.  I hadn't included it initially because Swords & Wizardry also had it.  If you don't like it, consider it a Con.

Cons


Demi-Humans -- The Demi-Human races are kinda sucky.  This is most true of the Elf.  I'm of two minds about this.  One the one hand I don't really like people to play demi-humans but understand their inclusion in D&D.  In this case Raggi's method is a stop-gap, but I completely understand someone who thinks that making them suck is not a good way to convince players to play humans.  On the other hand, they suck.  There is very little reason to play anything but a human, and they're basically an afterthought.  Regular readers will know I've given some thought to the place of Demi-Humans in Nightwick, so this doesn't jive well.

Common Abilities -- I told you some would show up more than once.  These are almost too good.  I more or less let player's describe where they are looking and let that determine whether they find secret doors and such, either by modifying the d6 roll or just saying the players found the fucking thing.  I know many Old Schoolers do the same, and it's one of the reasons I was attracted to OSD&D in the first place.  Raggi's system is so good it almost becomes a unified mechanic.  That makes it difficult to justify modifying it based on player input and their is another porblem...

The Specialist -- They can max out their skills, and pretty early if they do it right.  They still have a chance of failing, but it essentially tells that character "you don't have to describe shit because you will find anything secret any time it comes up," which pisses me off.

The Price List -- I just don't like this.  I know some people do, I don't.  I don't mind a steep one, like AD&D's or Labyrinth Lord's, but this is too much.

The tech level -- This is easily remedied, especially if you're importing one another price list, but the assumed tech level of the setting is way to high for me.  I prefer Antique to High Medieval technology in my D&D, not Early Modern.  (Yes, I know the Empire in WFRP is early modern, that's why I specified D&D).

The flavor in general -- I know I can change this, but the feel of a game is very important to me.  As mentioned above in the entry on magic, some of it really jives well with my setting; however, he's a bit too grim and dim even for me.  I also find his write up of Fighters almost offensive, but I won't hold it against the man.

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There is stuff I'm forgetting.  I'm sure of it, but they'll probably come up in the comments.

Writing this has forced me to temper my position a bit.  I'm thinking now that I'll try to figure out a way to integrate some of the aspects I like in S&W WB.  I'm not entirely sure how successful this'll be but I'm willing to try.

For a while now I've been pondering doing a free downloadable supplement for the White Box that would be like Greyhawk or Blackmoor but for Nightwick.  The largest problem I see with this is that I tend to steal from other Old School sources and forget where the hell I got it from in the fist place.  I know I got it from somewhere but I don't really remember where.  If I do create such a document it'll probably have some Raggi-isms in it, even if they are massively warped by my interpretation of them and the fact that they have to work with the white box.

(In case anyone is wondering, it'll be free because I don't have the money to commission any art, as well as a general principle that RPGs should be cheap if not totally free.)

Hope this is helpful.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Raggi's Game

I've recently been looking at the player's rules for the LotFPRPG, and I'm very impressed.  This is not going to be a review, as there are many excellent ones out there if you want to look at them.  Also, the Character and Magic rules are free so just go take a look at them if you haven't already.

Though I think it has its flaws,  its innovations are more than enough to make me consider using it over Swords and Wizardry for Nightwick Abbey.  Almost all of my houserules can carry over from S&W with no trouble.

I see no problem with switching systems at this point as they're both OSD&D in some form, but also because play has not yet begun.  I'll still be using the same resources I was already using for monsters, treasure, and dungeon stocking since I only have the free player rules.  Also, I'm not going to take his advice on monsters.  I like Orcs.  Sue me.

The "Lost Lands" (need a new name)


The following post is about a setting I worked on when I first found the OSR a few years ago.  It was my attempt to do a setting based off of some of my favorite pieces of source material.  This post does not represent any interest in renewing the project, or dropping Nightwick Abbey, this buggar has just been on my mind recently and I need to get it out of my system.  I dropped it for a reason, but here it goes.

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No one knows how Orontes, last son of Troy and father of the Illionians, truly came to the beaches where the pearly white domes of Illion now loom over the surrounding jungle.  Here, along with his crew and their wives, he built the first building in what would become the City of Sails.  He and his sons learned to harvest the strange jungle fruit which all men of the Lands know now make the turquoise wine which may be found in any port.  They learned to hunt the scythe-lizards whose beautiful feathers adorn the helmet of many a hoplite.  They learned to ply the sea for the great dragon fish whose meat now blesses the tables of the nobility.

For awhile they believed they were the only inhabitants of this mist covered isle; however, they soon found the night-black ruins that have lain for time immemorial in that forest which has no name.  There they found the scrolls which told how to summon the creatures from the Demon Moon which circles the Never Setting Sun and bind them into service. This, and other magics, they used to build gleaming edifices of marble and gold.  Then they found the dens of those pallid almost-men with their fanged maws, golden eyes, and beautiful queens.  These they called the Atlanteans, for they knew that these were the degenerate remnants of that great people.  Ever since have the Atlanteans led their raids, only to be stopped by the skilled archers of Illion who are blessed by the god Apollo.

They traded with the swarthy men of the desert who call themselves the Aram.  From these sorcerer's whose onion-domed cities lie amongst the ruined pyramids of the Black Pharaoh did they gain knowledge of this land of the Never Setting Sun.  They claimed to have learned these secrets by sacrificing captives to their terrible fire god, Moloch, in great pits beneath their temples.  Aside from sorcery, they are men skilled in the assassin's arts, and are known to cut many a throat and purse when the sun dims and winks out for the hours the people of the Lands call night.

From a northern land of giant trees and monsters came the Thulians.  Men of red and blonde hair of strong will and body whose longboats prowl the wine-dark sea, looking for unwary merchant vessels to pirate and prosperous villages to plunder.  Their one eyed battle god is said to bring fearsome storms and doom to men.  Some say that they fled their forested home to escape the giants which haunt that place.  Though they often bring slaughter, they also have brought trade to Illion on many occasions.  Illionians love nothing more than coin.

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To explain what you just read, the Lost Lands is a Hollow Earth setting.  I've often described it as the land of "things that were but are no longer."  This is a pretentious way of saying that it's where Jason and the Argonauts and Sinbad fight Cthulhu on Skull Island. 

I was only going to allow humans as PCs.  All animals which currently live on Earth are not in the Lost Lands. Instead they are replaced by extinct animals and weird fauna of my own design.  Excluding exceedingly powerful beings, creatures "of the Demon Moon" would be built using James Raggi's Creature Generator.  Everything else is either from Lovecraft, Howard, Smith, Leiber or Burroughs.

I planned to make the thing be a hexcrawl along the lines of the Wilderlands, but gave up on the project because I had problems focusing its direction.

There is already an RPG called Adventures in the Lost Lands.  I don't know if it's any good, but it means I need a new name.

If there is any interest I'll occasionally do articles about this setting, but for the foreseeable future I'll be focusing on Nightwick Abbey.  I have a much better idea of what it is and it pushes more of my buttons than the Lost Lands did.

Neat news item

http://www.nature.com/news/2006/061113/full/news061113-11.html

I'll have a more substantive post later (hopefully).

Question Regarding Source Material

Would anyone be interested in seeing my reasoning behind the choices in my Appendix N?  I could add descriptions whenever I update them, but if you think they're self explanatory I won't bother.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

For Those Who Haven't Seen It

Magic-Users


Sorcerers, wizards, magicians, and other practitioners of the magical arts may be found (in small numbers) across the World, if one knows where to look.  They congregate in secret cabals where they work their wonders far away from the prying eyes of the Church and the superstitions of the common people.  This is not to say that the art (or, if one prefers, science) of magic is proscribed, but the Church meddles too much and the peasantry have a difficult time distinguishing rightful practitioners from Witches.

Magic-Users claim to seek knowledge about the World and, if they're being watched by the Church, God's Creation.  Despite this lofty goal, most practitioners spend their time in the pursuit of earthly pleasures.  What use is knowledge if one gains nothing from it?  Many a magician has been tempted by the loathsome devils which inhabit the netherworld.  These creatures promise magical power that may fulfill even the most wicked desire and the most perverse of turpitudes.  It is for this reason that the Church believes Magic-Users, when found, must at least be monitored if not burned immediately to prevent a scandal.

Those few who do actually use their powers to further their understanding of the world and its logos become rapped in bitter rivalries with other such scholars.  Usually this has little to do with actual differing opinions, but rather the sorcerers fight over the limited magical resources of the World's kingdoms and the patronages of lords and kings and emperors.  Because of this fact, Magic-Users are loathe to share their secrets with one another.  Sadly, such rivalries slow the rate at which useful knowledge can be obtained, and few new spells or magic items have been created since the time of the Empire.

The Church also hinders progress.  To take but one example, recently in the city of Lichgate four mages were burned at the stake simply because they wished to understand the process of decay and hired a few ne're do wells to exhume a number of corpses from the cathedral graveyard.  The duke's soldiers who were tasked with the arrest of these men told terrible stories of undead servants and demonic guardians, but who is to believe such slander?  The rabble will say anything to justify their ignorance!

Magic-Users have few friends in this world.  The Church is ever wary of their propensity for temptation, the peasantry views them as simply conduits that demons use to steal their cattle and kill their children, and others of their own kind are just as likely to murder them as give them a handshake. Still, all of this power has to be good for something, and indeed many Magic-Users have ingrained themselves into the courts of the World.  With this comes power, influence, and laboratory space.

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A rough account of my house rules for Magic-Users may be found in this post. The only one not listed is the way I handle spell acquisition.  Magic-Users will gain no spells automatically when they level.  All spells must either be gained from earthly or unearthly tutors, spell scrolls, or magical research.  Magic-Users can have any number of spells in their spell books, but -- obviously -- may only memorize a number dependent on their level as per S&W.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Few Questions on Party Size

I read somewhere that the typical party size expected in OSD&D is six or above.  There is evidence for this at least in B2 and in the AD&D PHB.  I was wondering how Old Schoolers dealt with party size now that group sizes, at least in my experience, tend to be much smaller.

How do you handle this in published modules?  How big of an issue do you think that it is?  How does it affect the stocking of your homemade dungeons?

Campaign Dungeons in 1980

I've often heard that Campaign Dungeons were on the way out by the time EGG was working on AD&D.  Recently, two things have made me come to question this idea.  One, which I will post on later, is the advice for dungeoneering on page 107-109 of the PHB.  The other is this line in the Monster & Treasure Assortment Sets 1-3. Emphasis mine.

"... these assorted monsters and treasures are aimed at making the DM's task a lighter one when it comes to readying the major dungeon in which most of his players' Underworld Adventures will take place."

Based on the copyright date on my copy, and a quick Google search, I believe this was published in 1980, making it one year after AD&D.  Someone will no doubt correct me if this date is erroneous.  It is interesting to me to see that this idea was still present, and indeed assumed, during this time even though some internet commentators have said otherwise.

Not really that revolutionary of a post, but it sort of stuck out at me tonight.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Creature Feature: Goblins


Goblins were Dwarves once, or at least that is what Human scholars say.  According to this narrative, the Dwarves -- who are known for worshiping little else than gold -- uncovered a demon whilst dinging one of their halls.  This demon demanded worship, as many such demons do.  The Dwarves who refused to submit their wills to a chaotic entity were devoured, and those that accepted the demon's price became Goblins.

Goblins vary wildly in appearance due to their chaotic natures but they are universally squat and hideous.  Some Goblins can grow to be just under the average height of a man.  These creatures Humans call Hobgoblins and Goblin Kings are almost always taken from among their number.  Besides size, there is little that distinguishes Hobgoblins from their smaller cousins, and all Goblins are invariably cruel and malicious.

Goblins are known to love precious metals and beautiful things.  Their small statue prevents them from having the muscle needed to establish a large hoard, but they do pick up golden trinkets whenever they can.  Treasure seekers who decide to plunder known Goblin lairs are often disappointed to find that Goblins tend to deface these beautiful objects.  Statues of saints are often found with makeshift horns attached, or simply decapitated.  Gold coins with old imperial rulers on them are slashed to make the face and name unrecognizable.  It seems that only gems or other items of more or less natural beauty are free from the Goblins' wrath.

While most scholars will say that Goblins only live underground, every peasant whose ever had sheep go missing or a cow mysteriously slaughtered will tell you that they at least range forth at night to carry out their wicked schemes.  Under the cover of darkness, when men shun the woods and the fields, they strike.  They are fond of the taste of livestock, but prefer children if they can get them.  According to the wet nurses of the World, they are especially fond of naughty children, whose flesh they savor above all else.  The veracity of this is obviously suspect.

Some have wrongly asserted that Bugbears and Orcs are subsets of the Goblin race.  While it is true that Goblins, Bugbears, and Orcs often come together in large bands dedicated to pure chaos and that they cohabitate in the more haunted places of the World, they are in fact three separate types of creature.  More astute scholars will note that such hordes and places often contain undead in varying numbers.  While there are a few who would assert that all of these malevolent beings are lost souls escaped from Hell, most scholars point to the Goblins' Dwarven background as evidence against this idea.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Nightwick Campaign Pitch

"Nightwick Abbey has lain in ruins for almost a century.  Built by power hungry Templars and mad Wizards, it now is home to only ghosts and goblins. Peasants refuse to work in the shadow of the ruined church, and at night eerie lights issue forth from its depths.  Many have tried to wrestle gold from the crypts which lie beneath, but few have returned.  Are you brave enough to seek your fortune in a demon-haunted dungeon?

A Classic Dungeons & Dragons Game using the original rules."

This will go on the flyer, along with information about meeting time and my contact info.

Thoughts?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Steal From Me


In one of the comments I received earlier, a reader asked if they could use some of the stuff I've posted up here.

The purpose of this blog is to both collect my ideas and to inspire people.  If you want to use Froglings, use Froglings.  Thats why they're up on this blog and not in some folder on my computer hidden away from the world.  Same goes with anything else I put up here.

I started this blog because the other blogs I was reading helped me formulate a lot of my thoughts about D&D and my campaign.  I thought that I would help others do the same.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Two Quick Notes

1) Thank you for all of those who advised me on how to sell my campaign to potential players.  Reader Cole did this cool  mock-up for a potential campaign poster.  I'll likely be using it as inspiration for my own.


2) I've updated my campaign's appendix N.  Nothing too big, but still

The Dwimmerwraith

Dwimmerwraith
AC : 3 [16]
HD: 4
Attacks: Touch (1d6 + Curse)
Saving Throw: 13
Special: Death Curse, Incorporeal
Move: 9
HDE/XP: 6/400

Dwimmerwraiths are a horrible form of undead almost indistinguishable from normal Wraiths.  They are incorporeal, and as such they are only injured by magical and silver weapons.  Whenever a character is struck by a Dwimmeraith they must save against Death or become the victim of the Dwimmerwraith’s foul curse.  Any character so cursed may not regain Hit Points in any manner until a Remove Curse spell is cast upon him or her.

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This is one of those undead variants I mentioned in my earlier post.  I do not claim that it is terribly original, but I will note it is not the only way I handle level drain in my campaign.  The name Dwimmerwraith was an attempt to avoid copyright violation.  Tolkien fans will likely know what the creature's actual name is in my notes.