Tuesday, May 29, 2018


Back in 1991, I began playing first Battletech and then Champions 4E with a group through my oldest friend Barry. Within months, even though I was a sophomore in college, my weekends were spent entirely with Barry, Mark M., Richard, Todd, Mike, Jonathan, Bob, and Aarron (the lack of girls there was not a conscious choice, we simply couldn't find any ladies willing to join us).

Yesterday, after a long battle witch cancer, Aarron passed. He left behind an amazing wife and son and a lot of memories.

He would have been 47 in November. I'll be 46 in September. He was way too young.

In the last several years, we'd grown apart because of living about an hour away from each other and he raising his family and me raising mine. There was no malice or falling out, just life. I always intended to get our families together and simply thought we had plenty of time. I was wrong, as we always are when we think such thoughts.

I'm not going to let nostalgia color that first gaming group because we all had a fair share of problems and conflicts and we probably spent nearly as much time arguing about rules at the table as playing, but a small part of me would wonder about getting the band back together for a weekend.

Sadly, that can't happen now.

Aaaron was an amazing person. Even at a young age he knew who he was and wasn't afraid to be that person. He was strong of opinion and loved to debate, but did so with logic and not emotion. He was a loyal and true friend. And I will miss him terribly and my heart breaks for his wife and young son.

Some things that I remember about him:

He only got two haircuts a year to save money.

He gave us a pick and a shovel for a house-warming gift.

We my son was a small, he's now 17, and I would say "we are going out to run errands", he would hear that we were going to Aarron's and weep when we did not.

I love and miss you Aarron and will be praying for your family.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Esoteric Enterprises: Sonny

Imagine of all your regular character types, magic items, and monsters in a dungeon, but instead it's the modern world and we're the dirty little underground no one wants to acknowledge or deal with. For me it's a love child between B/X DnD, Unknown Armies, and Buffy.

The rules are based on Lamentations of the Flame Princess.

I'm going to make a 3rd Level Spook, a Sasquatch named Sonny to test things out:

Strength 16 (+2)

Dexterity 10

Constitution 13 (+1)

Intelligence 10

Wisdom 13 (+1)

Charisma 7 (-1)

Grit 7 (think Stamina in D20 games)
Flesh 8 (think Hit Points, when Grit goes to 0, then you take Flesh)

Stunning 13

Poison 12

Hazards 15

Machines 13

Magic 15

Athletics 3 in 6

Perception 2 in 6

Vandalism 3 in 6


Memory Worm

No Reflection

Sunday, May 27, 2018

GameStorming: Disney and Dragons

I spent the last week on vacation at Disney World with all of my family (except my oldest daughter who had to work). When you have a 1,000 mile drive each way, you end up with some time to brainstorm.

It led me to ponder certain Disney characters as Gods in DnD:

Chernobog (CE)
God of undead, necromancy, and secrets 
   Domain Death, Knowledge 

Maleficent (LE)
God of dragons, night, hatred 
   Domain Death

Rafiki (N)
God of nature 
   Domain Life, Nature 

Scar (CE)
God of shadows and lies 
   Domain Trickery 

The Sorcerer (As in Mickey's Boss in the Sorcerer's Apprentice) (CN)
God of magic
   Domain Arcana 

Ursula (NE)
God of the sea 
   Domain Tempest 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Genesys: Natalie Elias

I'd be resisting Fantasy Flight Games' Genesys system because it used "weird dice". I'm not opposed to new tech in RPGs, but I have a lot of dice and I like them. But after seeing some good reviews of the system from some people I trust in the blogosphere, I couldn't help picking it up.

I'm happy I did.

A few years back, I ran a one-shot of Star Wars: Edge of the Empire from the Starter Box and it went well. Very well. I just found the actual rulebook...intimidating. It seemed like more rules than I wanted and the writing, to me, was stiff.

Genesys doesn't feel that way though. The rules are a breeze to read through and the symbols this game uses, again somehow, stick in my brain easier.

I don't honestly know if I'll get much chance to run it, as DnD 5E and to a lesser extent Shadow of the Demon Lord are popular at my tables. But Genesys, thus far, is a bit more my cup of tea than Savage Worlds (it has Hit Points) or FAE and I'd love to run Numenera with the rules (I didn't find the Cypher System very well tooled to action at the table).

So here is character I'm making to test out the process, it ended up taking about 30 minutes.


Archetype: Normal Human
Career: Scoundrel

Brawn 2
Agility 3
Intellect 3
Cunning 2
Willpower 2
Presence 2

Wound Threshold 14
Strain Threshold 12
Ranged Defense 0
Melee Defense 0
Soak Value 2

Ready for Anything

Desire Vengeance against Boss Nash
Fear Commitment
Strength Witty
Flaw Recklessness

SKILLS (Those in italics are Career Skills)
Computers 1
Cool 1
Driving 1
Melee 1
Perception 1
Ranged 2
Stealth 1
Streetwise 2

Clever Retort

Heavy Pistol
Damage 6; Crit 3; Range Medium

Natalie is a PI who has recently gotten out of prison for breaking and entering. While she is no angel, she was set up by Boss Nash, her uncle and the man responsible for her father's murder.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Creature Crucible: Rahu-Men for Labyrinth Lord

"Rahu-men are gigantic, four-armed warriors from another plane. They are merciless marauders who wander the country-side."

Rahu-Men for Labyrinth Lord
AL C, MV 40', AC 4, HD 8, #AT 2 [weapon], THAC0 14, 
DG 3d6, SV 8 fighter, ML 10, there is a 1 in 6 chance that a rah-man in a group casts spells as a 3rd level magic-user, XP 560

Rahu-men are unpredictable and love to fight and plunder.

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Ultra-Warrior: Synthreat for D&D 5th Edition

I used the excellent Ultra-Warrior Creator PDF and DnD Beyond to create an Ultra-Warrior Rogue in the spirit of Masters of the Universe

Synthreat came out as a robot, so I chose to use the warforged from the Unearthed Arcana featuring Eberon. It's features are a tread legs and (+10' movement) and a robotic torso (resistance to cold and fire).

for DnD 5th Edition
3rd Level Warforged Courtier & Scout Rogue
STR 13, DEX 12, CON 12, INT 11, WIS 10, CHA 13, 
AL LN, MV 40', AC 13, HP 16, #AT 1, Melee +3, Ranged +3, DG 1d4+2 (+2d6 Sneak Attack), SV Dex/Int, INIT +1, RESISTANCE cold/ fire, SKILL Athletic, Insight, Investigation (Expertise), Perception, Persuasion, 
Stealth (Expertise)

Synthreat was a warmachine and scout created during the Night Wars. The android was caught in a cave-in during the siege of Nelvana and was discovered by Tinker Thompson during his search for the ruins of the Violet Citadel. When Tinker joined forces with Sunderbolt against Jengo and Fatale, Synthreat chose to become a Peacemaker and has worked with the group ever since.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Ultra-Warrior: Solid Dreamer for D&D 5th Edition

I used the excellent Ultra-Warrior Creator PDF and DnD Beyond to create an Ultra-Warrior Monk. Ultra-Warriors are excellent stand-ins for Masters of the Universe.

She came out as a humanoid with a featureless face (prodigy feat from Xanthar's Guide to Everything that gives double proficiency to a skill and more) and extendable arms (reach of 20' with her fists)

Solid Dreamer 
for DnD 5th Edition
3rd Level Humanoid Urban Bounty Hunter & Shadow Arts Monk
STR 10, DEX 14, CON 10, INT 10, WIS 12, CHA 4, 
AL NG, MV 30', AC 12, HP 15, #AT 1, Melee +4, Ranged +4, 
DG 1d4+2, Reach 20', SV Str & Dex, INIT +7, SKILL Acrobatics/
Athletics/ Deception/Stealth/Survival, FEAT Prodigy (Deception), KI 3

Solid Dreamer is a shaman to her people in the Silhouette River Basin. She joined Sunderbolt and his Peacemakers after the Crystal Skull and the Bronze Cobra Clan attempted to assassinate her Sensei, Ia mo'Klok.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Creature Crucible: Rock Ape for Labyrinth Lord & White Star

"Rock apes are believed to be indestructible and are definitely protective of their families"

Rock Ape 
for Labyrinth Lord
AL N, MV 50', AC 0, HD 4, #AT 1 [fist], THAC0 17, 
DG 1d6+3, SV 4 fighter, ML 10, an alpha (only 1 per family) may cast Cause Fear 1/day with a range of 100 feet and affecting anyone it can see, XP 80

Rock apes prefer intimidation before directly attacking a threat. An alpha's primary goal is to protect their families and give them time to escape.

ROCK APE for White Star
Armor Class: -7 [+7]
Hit Dice: 4
Total Hit Bonus: +5
Attacks: Fist 1d6+3
Saving Throw: 11
Special: --
Movement: 9
HDE/XP: 4/175

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Friday, May 4, 2018

Fiend Folio: Mok for D&D 5th Edition

Moks are primitive relatives of tabaxi.

Reclusive. Moks are very territorial and keep to themselves. It takes a great deal of work to gain their trust.

Quick to anger. Those that have encountered them and managed to survive tell tales of frenzied berserkers in battle.

Medium humanoid, neutral

Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points 22 (4d8 + 4) 
Speed 30 ft.
   Str        Dex         Con           Int         Wis        Cha
17 (+3)    15 (+2)   13 (+1)    11 (+0)    10 (+0)     9 (-1)

Saves Str +5, Con +3
Skills Intimidation +1, Stealth +5, Survival +3
Senses Truesight 120 ft., passive Perception 16
Languages Sylvan
Challenge 1 (200 XP)

Hulking. Moks have advantage Constitution saving throws.



Axe. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., 
one creature. Hit: 8 (1d8 + 3) slashing damage.

Heavy Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 100/400 ft., one creature. Hit: 7 (1d10 + 2) piercing damage.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Creature Crucible: Mummified Wizard

"Mummies are preserved undead corpses animated through the auspices of dark desert gods best forgotten. They haunt old tombs and lost ruins."

Artwork by Odinoir

Mummified Wizard 
for Labyrinth Lord
AL C, MV 60', AC 4, HD 5, #AT 1 [staff or spell], THAC0 18, 
DG 1d6 + mummy rot, SV 5 magic-user, ML 12, Casts spells as a 5th level magic-user, XP 860

These undead are so fearsome that any being seeing one must succeed in a saving throw versus paralyze or become paralyzed with dread for 1 round. When a mummy successfully strikes a victim, the victim suffers 1d6 hit points of damage and contracts mummy rot. Mummy rot is a powerful curse, not a natural disease. When under the effects of the curse, characters are unable to receive the benefits of any form of magical healing. Characters heal naturally at 1/10th the normal rate. This magical disease may be removed with the spell remove curse. Like other undead, mummies are unaffected by charm, sleep, or hold spells. Further, mummies may only be harmed by magical weapons, spells, and fire- based attacks.

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Thundarr the Movie

As a life-long comics fan and a retailer with a quarter century of experience, I was today years old when I discovered that Buzz Dixon and ...