Sunday, December 31

USR Sword & Sorcery Deluxe has an Editor!

Taking the recommendation of successful DIY producers I have engaged the services of an editor for my next POD publication. It makes eminent sense to provide a clean text document competently polished by an experienced hand before evocative art is committed to a final product.

+Jens D. the creator of Monkey Business, a procedural junglecrawl, and The Disorientated Ranger blog has agreed to throw his prodigious talent behind USR Sword & Sorcery Deluxe for a princely sum therefore guaranteeing a usable, coherent, free-wheeling rules set for fantastic pulp-fantasy adventure!

Consider this an art-free version of a USR Sword & Sorcery game complete with new adventures, genre-specific magic system, bestiary, seafaring and mass combat rules. Everything a Crypt Keeper will need to start their own USR Sword & Sorcery campaign world.

Essentially USR Sword & Sorcery Deluxe will be the core rules and Horrors Material & Magic Malignant put together along with new adventure content and mass combat rules suitable for role playing pulp fantasy engagements; whether on land or sea.

Release date is set for August 2018 and if there is enough interest in the book I will commission original black and white line art appropriate for the genre.

So 2018 is a year to improve the presentation of USR Sword & Sorcery along with including more grisly adventures. More like it, get a core book I can be really happy about so I can stop fussing and move on to more adventure writing!

Sunday, December 24

2017 Lamentations of the Flame Princess Clockwork & Cthulhu Campaign in Review

The shared campaign notes document is four pages long now. Player generated session reports are over 64,000 words. The campaign since it started covers five weeks of activity. This has taken 22 months of gaming with a live session every other week. Sometimes a month can go by without a game happening because of life. Either way the players have covered much ground and there has never been a let up on the action. The group of four core players is down to three with a fourth able to play infrequently. Sometimes we have five. There has been a total of three PC deaths, countless of NPC's of course.

The second year of BRP Cthulhu & Chivalry opened with the PC's trying to unlock the secrets of Constine Mallebench and ended with plans to storm a tavern to apprehend an alien god.

Here are the top five highlights of this year's action from your Keeper's perspective:

#5. Taking Advantage of Norton Manor: With the Senior Norton chasing his fancy back to Keswick and the Dr.'s bedridden mother laying close to catatonic the rest of the PC's did not let the Norton's crumbling fortunes deter them from enjoying the upscale digs. After the trail of gore and horror just endured, and more danger sure to be faced, the PC's counted a quiet evening at home a win. While typical wisecracks of using the “#1 Son” coffee mug, scraping blood and brains off their boots, using the monogrammed robes carried round the table made for memorable levity it was the indicated small release of tension among the Players which was most gratifying. This meant the game wasn't stale and there were still many more good adventures left in the campaign.

#4: To Kill A Mime: I love collateral damage. I like supers roleplaying for the implications of collateral damage at scale. Our Cthulhu & Chivalry world is but a background of literal collateral damage. War, famine, plague terrorize civilians country wide. Chaos and confusion are the order of the day. So it takes something exceptional to happen to make me notice any one death among many. Or just mimes. Are they the gnomes of seventeenth century alt-history gaming? When the PC's survived a street ambush and the smoke cleared we had mimes bleeding out and dying. The PC's promptly ignored their suffering and looked to the well being of other wounded bystanders forever establishing if “Street Entertainers” are rolled up for an encounter and they end up getting shot make them mimes if you want to hurry things along. My point is, what I find important about this bit of gaming goodness was that it was a procedurelly generated event. I enjoy being a game master because I get to world build and constantly pose the question of “What if… ?” to myself in fantastical context. But much of my enjoyment also comes from letting the PC's actions dictate what will be. Taking the great information being shared here in the Google+ OSR I've learned to use random tables for oh just about everything now. Name generators, encounter tables, reaction results. Published and homemade. Injecting random stuff and trusting the PC's will make something of it has been a real big learn for me. It gives me enthusiasm to muster more “stuff” for the PC's to do because I know each session is going to have as much surprise for myself as the players.

#3: Dr. Norton's Yarmouth Chronicles: I know it isn't great literature but the continued writings of the PC's of their trials not only is a fun read, but preserves vital world info I would otherwise forget. The in-game time has only been a month and a half. The voluminous testimony of events as they occurred reveals how chock full of “stuff” we cluttered the campaign with. Items or incidents which were thought of as bits of color now may be the source of entire adventure arcs. I'm sure our group has a better game as a result of these records.

#2: Inky Pete at the Asylum: Another randomly generated encounter which provided much more game than expected. Taking a cue once again from information and tips shared online I have a much better approach to making my own encounter tables. It basically boils down to a simple question; “If I roll it do I want to run it?” There goes all sorts of “normal” encounters I might reflexively generate for a game, or use from a published supplement. When I create a random encounter table for a session I now trust whatever comes up is going to be fun for myself as well as the players. If I don't want the PC's to encounter wolves in the woods don't put them on the random encounter table! And I don't mean every random encounter is pregnant with meaning or significance, but the idea is it is worth talking about and gives players “stuff” to do. This is a good place to point out how often I use Vornheim: The Complete City Kit. I did not know how to run urban adventures, at least to my liking. This book not only has content I find interesting and useful, the whole structure of the book is instructive on how I can make the same. This means Vornheim is probably the first truly “universal” game supplement I've used fulfilling on the promise.

#1: The Badger's Drift Bear Trap: Simple, effective and truly inspired from the roots of my early OSR upbringing. What I enjoyed most about this encounter was how ordinary items produced a harrowing, memorable danger. As any good accident points out it isn't just one thing that gets you. It is the layering of consequences from seemingly minor threats which begin to spell d-o-o-m in player's mind. When you can pull it off it is justly earned referee glory. Fantasy games accent the fantastical. So much so actually frightening your players can seem nigh impossible. The feeling of discomfort and disfunction sometimes has to be mechanically enforced on players because of the distance created by the game's fictional devices. Call of Cthulhu being an obvious, and successful, use of mechanically enforced fear. Therefore with the PC's unbalanced by a simple trap hidden in the snow and simple woodland animals (Yes, now wolves are interesting!) an ordinary skirmish quickly rose to deadly stakes at the same time confounding expectations.

There are many more, but I want to limit myself to just a few events which were a direct result of all the tips learned here on Google+ and the OSR online community. As the group closes out another year of entertainment I promise there is much more to come because there is so much more to come from the DIY OSR creators!

Sunday, December 3

Sword & Sorcery Random Background Generator

Rolling for your starting character's background in USR Sword & Sorcery is really easy. Done in two rolls. The work comes from the Player and the Crypt Keeper agreeing on what the background details mean. 

Still, Logan Knight's Random Table Generator is so simple to use I can't but help automate this process with the - 

Saturday, December 2

Additional OSR Spells for Clerics of Odxit

On page 129 of Petty Gods Revised & Expanded Edition is the god Odxit. I'm currently writing up an old school dungeon crawl through a forgotten shrine to this forgotten god. This has prompted me to wonder what abilities would be unique to the god of unexplained smells, and how would this translate into unique spells for this type of cleric to cast?

The Eldolon of Inexplicable Odor provides its Clerics with the following additional spells. They become available to the cleric per the usual spell acquisition rules particular to your campaign.

Level 1

Produce Aroma; Range 120', Duration 2 turns/per level. The cleric is able to produce any smell they have experienced directly, pleasant or foul. It will occupy a volume of space up to 30' in diameter.

Seduce; Range 30', Duration 12 turns. Only affects members of the same species as the caster. The cleric is able to produce pheromones which will make the target of the spell have positive feelings towards the caster. Any reaction roll will be at a +2, +4 if making sexual advances.

Befriend Animal; Range Self, Duration 12 turns. The cleric is able to produce pheromones which will make all animals of a similar type to be friendly, or at least not hostile, towards the caster. The effect moves with the caster and extends 30' feet in all directions.

Level 2

Predict Weather; Range Self, Duration 12 turns. The cleric knows what weather can be expected in the immediate area (10 square miles) for the next two hours.

Level 3

Conjure Wind; Range 60', Duration 1 round. The cleric casts a gust of wind approximately 50 mph.  This gust will do anything a sudden blast of air would cause; candle and torches to blow out, fan a fire, heel over a sailboat, etc.

Level 4

Wall of Smell; Range 120', Duration 1 round/level. The cleric creates an opaque wall of smell up to 60' long, 20' high and 1' thick. How the wall smells is up to the caster. If the smell is noxious or otherwise intolerable a Save vs. Spells is required for anyone to pass through the magical barrier. If the smell be pleasing those who can smell it must Save vs. Spells or approach the barrier and sniff it for 1d6 rounds. The summoning cleric may choose any person within his range of smell to remain unaffected by this magic.

Kellen Vapor; Range 120', Duration 1 turn/level. This discreet vapor is breathed outwards by the cleric and invisibly charms the target with any chosen emotional state. The cleric is using smell to trigger overpowering or important experiences and past memories which would trigger the chosen emotional state. This doesn't convey any knowledge of the personal experience. It isn't a form of mind reading. Failing a Saving Roll and the degree felt is up to the caster. Pass the Saving Roll and the caster may only add or subtract one (+1/-1) to the next reaction roll against the target.

Level 5

Gognogulla Bile; Range Self, Duration 1 round. The cleric is in direct commune with Odxit. The resulting experience prompts the cleric to vomit violently for the round after casting. The paroxysm of the cleric's senses  provides an omen about the results of a specific course of action within the next 3 turns.

Friday, December 1

Ye Olde English Random Name Generator Text File

Yesterday I was unable to post both random name generator links in the same blog post. I ended up with posting one functional Male Name Generator in the post while the link for Female Names took you to a separate page on this blog.

The most elegant solution is for those interested to have their very own bookmarked link generated from the Last Gasp Random Table Generator on their own browser. Therefore I'm posting up the text files you need to just copy and past into the table making java tool to accomplish this.

Ye Olde English Random Name Generator

While Forgive Us has a nifty table for generating random names for your Norwich adventures, with only twenty surnames and first names I started getting some repetitive results as the campaign marches on.  I needed something which would give me many more names. Like thousands!

Fortunately sites like Last Gasp provide the answer with the ability to make your own home-grown random generator of whatever you like!

While this way cool tool does have some built in limitations, Zak S. recommends Text Mechanic web site. It allows you to generate text files of every combination of table entries so you can import this back into your random table generator and avoid its individual table entry limits.

I then googled seventeenth century names to compile a large list of names. This has given me over 22,000 possible male names and just over 10,000 female names.

I'm trying to get the links to work right here in blogger and having some difficulty so bear with me.