Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Jarlsburg: New Rumors

It's literally been years since I wrote about Jarlsburg, my ode to Sanctuary, Lankhmar, and Ankh-Morpork.

Here are some new rumors circulating around the city-state.
Roll a d20 or pick one:

1) Aegor Prode, Jarl of the city-state, is a mutant that has flippers for feet and can hold his breath for 2 hours.

2) The Crimson Bride haunts the Borough of Elder  For decades those living there have nailed giant slugs to their doors during the last night of the full moon in order to ward off the evil spirit, but they no longer seem to work with seven deaths in the last two months.  

3) Coppertown has a vigilante known as the Manx who has been disrupting the operations of the Fiacho, the halfling crime guild.

4) Four Ironcloaks, the 'Burg's night watch, have disappeared around the Honest Peter Public House. Aunt Mimi, the Augur of Blake Street claims that the area's sewers are overrun with foul monsters. 

5) The Silvercloaks, those who deal with supernatural enemies within the 'Burgs limits, have been disbanded due to a scandal involving Gretta Malifaux.

6) A series of tunnels under the city-state lead to the legenday dwarven city of Hollowforge.

7) A shop on Tanner Street pays 2 silver a pound for human skin, ask for LaFleur.

8) All of the inmates at the Stross Bedlam have started speaking in unison. They keep repeating that the Antiquarian is back home.

9) Denizens of the Borough of Yeti keep claiming to see an angel in the skies above them at night.

10) The pigeons of the city are spies for Lady Jesska Apple, Borough President of Gibbons.

11) Beladonna Malifaux, the previous Jarl who fled for her life after her involvement of the King in Yellow play, has been seen leaving the Violet Chapel.  There is a bounty on her head worth 50,000 silver.

12) Jaren Vienna has intimidated Rena Baum and Otto Krispin from running against him for the Borough President of the Viqar. 

13) It rained frogs two weeks ago in the Borough of Sefton. The rain lasted over an hour.

14) Spies from Orland have dirt on Arlo Perzeen, Borough President of Kite.

15) The best potions and spell ingredients can be found on the west side of Gibbons at the Pearl's Dry Goods on Olaf Street.

16) The hobo on Argyle Street that sits in front of the Flavorhold III screaming at passerbys is a white dragon.

17) The stuffed raven in Jarl Prode's office is the deceased Borough President Karol Sonar of Gwent was turned into one of the birds after losing a bet to Boccob.

18) Borough President of Midas Hill Donal Steuben's son, Logue is the Witchfinder General of the Rurik Empire.

19) There is a copy of the King in Yellow in the ruins of the Essex College of Sorcery

20) Adder Vitriol, the Guildmaster of  Shemmy's Social Club (thieve's guild), is a vampire.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Monstrous Monday: IG-Series Droid for White Star

IG-Series Droid

Armor Class: 6 [13]
Hit Dice: 3
Total Hit Bonus: +3
Attacks: Laser pistol (1d6+1) or laser rifle (2d6)
Saving Throw: 10
Special: See below
Movement: 12
HDE: 4

"The IG-series was a series of droids. The InterGalactic Banking Clan maintained an army of IG lancer droids. One model of IG was a set of five identical assassin droids manufactured by Holowan Laboratoriesduring the final decades of the Galactic Republic. Only moments after their activation, those robots slaughtered their constructors and escaped their laboratories to roam the galaxy.
One of them was IG-88, who functioned as a bounty hunter during the Galactic Civil War."
IG-series droids can detect life forms at a range of up to 60 feet. Because of this they cannot be surprised by living creatures. They are also capable of seeing in total darkness at a range of 60 feet.


Sunday, November 17, 2019

Thinking About an Unpopular "Old School" Opinion

Earlier this week the above tweet was posted to Twitter. I respect her opinion, but here is mine:

Death represents failure and TTRPGs used it before video games co-opted it. If there is not chance of failure or risk or death then why not just read a novel or watch a TV show? 

One of the things I've begun to notice when I run a game is that if there is no chance of failure or loss then what was the point of the encounter? In my opinion newer editions of DnD need encounters to deplete player resources, but not necessarily kill them. I'm not saying DnD 3.5-5 doesn't allow for PC deaths, but I don't think that real danger is as much of a threat than it is in earlier editions. 

For instance, the 5E CR system is broken. First, it borrowed a name from an earlier edition, but doesn't mean the same thing. Second, if you have highly skilled Players then you better not use a solo on those characters, the game expects you to use minions to drain resources so the solo can live more than 2 rounds. Sadly, I learned this in a Tarrasque battle. Mike Mearls has even said he wished they had chosen a different name than "Challenge Rating" for 5E and so do I.

I think DnD 4E is probably the most balanced edition created thus far and partly because of that it failed. Not everyone wants to play a Wizard, but in 4E everyone was some kind of Wizard. Essentials (4.5E) tried to fix it but it was too little too late and a new edition is ALWAYS more profitable.

Every player and every group brings certain expectations to the table, but the internet makes sure that instead of just respecting how we enjoy ourselves, it has to make sure that it points out that we are, in fact, doing it wrong.

Fiona, apparently, finds PC deaths an impediment and not a moment in a game. My groups don't find it an impediment, we joke about it, lament the dead character, and it almost always becomes a permanent fixture of our shared experience.

In the end, the important part of it all is having fun.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

At the Table

With DnD being more popular than ever it seems people are talking about consent, session zero, and gatekeeping quite a bit.  It got me thinking about how things are done at our tables and decided to share those with you.  Keep in mind there is no wrong way to play and what works for us might not work for others.

Without further adieu here is our only rule:

Real life trumps role playing.

That's it. Pretty simple. It's all we need. Y'all have a good evening.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Dungeon Crawl Classics: Lightning Giants

According to Sargoo the Sapient lightning giants were originally storm giants who due to age or illness have their flesh and blood violently and painfully explode around them and only leaving a sentient lighting bolt. Sargoo further postulates that lightning giants only have a matter of hours (2d6) before their form is pulled into the sky, ending their existence.

Giant, Lightning (30' tall, 500 lbs.) for Dungeon Crawl Classics

Init +6; Atk lightning bolt +26 melee (7d8+12, range 300'); AC 20; HD 18d10; MV 60’; Act 4d20; SP immune to electrical damage, spells (+12 spell check: fly, haste, and lightning bolt , crit on 20-24; SV Fort +15, Ref +10, Will +10; AL C.

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Friday, November 8, 2019

Playing vs Game Mastering

I'm pretty lucky in the fact that, at the moment, I'm playin in three very good games, two DnD 5 and one Vampire: the Masquerade 5.

Something occurred to me while playing last night. I'm not used to all the free time at the table as a player.

I've been primarily the Game Master for close to 27 years, and obviously that means that I was 100% involved with someone the whole session.

Depending on my mood, I'll draw while the spotlight is off of me and I've tinkered a bit with my phone, but I find that the former still keeps me focused on what's happening while the latter causes me to miss things.

What's funny is that I've always been a bit annoyed when players who aren't in the spotlight seem disinterested and it's taken me this long to sympathize with them.

I guess an old dog can learn some new tricks.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

BX What If?

Recently, Mark Hunt released BX Gangbusters, a version of Gangbusters using BX DnD's rules. This led me to discover that he did something similar earlier this year with Tall Tales BX Wild West.

While I know we've seen different genres powered by Swords and Wizardry, I don't recall BX being used in different genres.

Additionally, it made me wonder what would our hobby look like if earlier versions of DnD had been available to build games on? Would Call of Cthulhu be a class and levels game? TSR's Marvel Super Heroes? The World of Darkness?

Or would these designers embrace their individuality and keep their own systems?

I don't know for sure.

I do know that TSR tried using ADnD 2E's system with Buck Rogers and Gamma World, but was that too little too late?

And, of course, we had the d20 glut after DnD 3.X and the OGL and maybe that would've occurred 15 to 20 years earlier?

I find it an intriguing game of "What If"?

Regardless of any of that though, I urge you to check Mark Hunt's BX Gangbusters and Tall Tales BX Wild West.

Jarlsburg: New Rumors

It's literally been years since I wrote about Jarlsburg , my ode to Sanctuary, Lankhmar, and Ankh-Morpork. Here are some new rumors...