Wednesday, August 12, 2020

RPGaDAY 2020 Day 11: Stack


My Campaigns always begin with a sheet of paper detailing the names and important facts of the Player's Characters, the name of Prominent NPCs, and broad stokes about where they are and where they are going. I generally outline the direction I'd like to go with the story while also knowing that I'm going to prioritize a PC's goals over my story.

This means that as the Campaign grows I add more pages to the Stack with notes, more NPCs, maps, and magic items.

I've run two DnD Campaigns to Level 20 and my Stack of notes ended up being 30 to 50 pages. I'd like to tell you they were all neatly fit into a binder or all in a notebook of some kind, but generally they are simply blank printer paper that gets filled on both sides with bullet points I think are important.

It's an imperfect system, but it works for me.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Monstrous Monday: Blind Warrior-Women of Altara for Dungeon Crawl Classics

Blind Warrior-Women of Altara for Dungeon Crawl Classics

Init +6; Atk martial arts +10 melee (1d10+5) or wrister blaster +8 missle fire (1d6) or heavy blaster pistol +7 (3d6); AC 18; HD 8d10; MV 40’; Act 2d20 + 1d16; SP Detect Ambush 65% SV Fort +7, Ref +5, Will +0; 

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#RPGaDAY 2020 Day 10: Want



Want. I've always liked stuff and I've always been able to get that stuff.

I've been a big fan of Robert Schwalb since Witchunter: the Invisible World and he has designed and published my favorite RPG, Shadow of the Demon Lord.

He is working on a variation of the engine that is less dark fantasy and more Gygax, Vance, and Lieber called Shadow of the Weird Wizard. Hopefully, he'll be able to Kickstart it this coming December for release in 2021. What's cool about Rob is that he always comes in on time or even early with his Kickstarters and they are always a good deal based on the adventures and sourcebooks he releases for his games.

Legend of Grayskull: The Masters of the Universe RPG

Power-Con, the convention of all things Masters of the Universe was held virtually this past weekend and Legend of the Grayskull: The Masters of the Universe RPG was announced for 2021. It is being published by Fandom, who own DnD Beyond and will use the Cortex Prime rules.

I'm a huge Masters of the Universe fan and have showcased it quite a bit here on the blog. My main experience with Cortex was the Marvel Heroic RPG and I wasn't too keen on how it played, but I'll give it a try. It appears that there will be an open playtest, organized play, virtual table-top and character generator, and a community content program.

I'm really happy to see how that this is a thing and I feel that Mattel has people running the property who cares about the fans.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

#RPGaDAY Day 9: Light



I'd like to use this post to remind people of Swords and Wizardry Light from Frog God Games by Tenkar and Matt Finch. 

All the game you need in four pages. It doesn't get much cooler than that.

RPGaDAY 2020 Day 8: Shade



Init +3; Atk sword +6 melee (1d10); AC 12; HD 6d6; MV 30’; 
Act 1d20; SP infravision, invisibility 1/day, regeneration, shadow essence; SV Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +4; AL C.

   Shades have infravision out to 90 feet and they are humanoids who have given themselves over to the Shadowfell itself and are no longer truly human. They bump all of their dice by one step when in dim light and by two steps in darkness, e.g. In darkness, a Shade uses a d30 for their action die. A Shade regenerates 1 hit point per round however, decapitation will kill them.

   "Shades were humanoids who had merged with the essence of shadowstuff. They grew more powerful in areas of darkness or shadows, including gaining the ability to leap from shadow to shadow, to create shadowy duplicates of themselves, and even to become entirely invisible. They could also decrease the amount of light in an area and could see through darkness, even of the magical variety."

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Saturday, August 8, 2020

RPGaDAY 2020 Day 7: Couple



Couple made me think for a bit. I thought about Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. I thought about Conan and Kull. And then I thought about Advantage and Disadvantage which was perfected in DnD 5th Edition.

I say perfected because 4E had Talents that let you roll a second d20 if you didn't like the first result but didn't call the mechanic Advantage and it empowered the DM to use the Disadvantage mechanic.

I think its a brilliant mechanic. No need to consult a book, no need to calculate a bonus or penalty, either a mechanic grants it or the DM adds it. It's beautiful. It is perfect, in my opinion.

It's the kind of rule that I think is just as useful in the OSR and I think it is in 5E and can easily be ported over to any other game engine.

I applaud the 5E designers for codifying it and giving it to us as a tool.


Friday, August 7, 2020

RPGaDAY 2020 Day 6: Forest



While forests in my games tend to be Fey-haunted and filled with grotesque spiders, mysterious Ents, and distrustful elves I'm instead going to talk about a wonderful novel I've finished recently.

Max Brooks' World War Z is a favorite of our whole family and we end up listening to it on our vacation trips in the car. Earlier this year he released Devolution: A First-Hand Account of the Mt. Rainier Sasquatch Massacre and I've already read it once and listened to an additional time. 

I have loved cryptids and Sasquatch since I saw the Patterson-Gimlin film on In Search Of... as a child. While Bigfoot is pretty popular these days some of the earlier stories of human interactions are far more dangerous than most accounts these days (though its interesting how many people disappear from National Parks each year and how little data is available to the public).

Brooks' tale paints the creatures, especially under a great deal of stress due to the eruption of Mt. Rainier, as willing to do what needs to be done to survive including radically altering their preferred meal. Meanwhile, modern humans, also faced with a great deal of stress, collide with the legendary primate and a mighty battle ensues as the trapped humans must embrace their baser natures if they have any hope of surviving the Bigfoot assaults.

Its a great novel and I heartily recommend it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

RPGaDAY 2020 Day 5: Tribute

I'm going to pay tribute to two different men whose work has left an indelible mark upon me.

The First is Robert E. "Two-Gun Bob" Howard. His stories, especially those if Kull of Atlantis, Solomon Kane, and Conan the Cimmerian have been essential archetypes within the stories I tell. Obviously, I'm not alone, Howard's work is important to Pulps, fantasy, and the Lovecraft Mythos. Specifically, it was Marvel Comics' Conan the Barbarian, Conan the King/King Conan, and Solomon Kane that hooked me on the writer's creations. I won't lie, I have as much love for Roy Thomas and John Buscema as I do Robert (Barry Smith was before my time). Growing up our local independent TV station showed older Black and White films on Sunday mornings and while Conan wasn't featured, Tarzan was and I loved those movies. We had a local department store named Zayres which had these great 3 Packs of Comics. The first of these was DC's Tarzan and I reread them constantly. The next time we went they didn't have any Tarzans but they did have Conan the Barbarian and I decided I'd give it a try. As I remember it, Conan was heavier and more high-stakes than the Tarzans and it took me a few reads to really get into them, but I eventually got hooked. In many, many ways Thomas and Buscema's run will always be classic Conan to me, but it got me to read Two-Gun Bob's work as an adult and helped me have a view of the Mythos that wasn't Lovecraft (for me Bryan Lumley is my favorite Mythos writer). Many people find this hobby through Tolkien or Shannara, but I found it through comics and pulp-style cartoons and that has always informed how I run a game.

Finally, this blog, Cross Planes is named after Bob's hometown of Cross Plains, TX. I came up with the name preparing a city connected to the Multiverse like Sigil, Nexus, The Infinite City, or Cynosure that used Feng Shui for its rules. That game fell apart but Cross Planes, thankfully, lived on.

Last, but certainly not least person, is Game Designer Mike Pondsmith. Mike is the first Game Designer that I would keep track of and buy his work sight unseen. I loved everything that R. Talsorian put out in its heyday. And Cyberpunk was a revelation for me, both in terms of setting and game system. Interlock was a revelation to me about how to present a very straight-forward that was easily learnable and yet very in-depth. I love how it broke down class niche-protection in the way it represented exclusive skills and both Attribute and Skill were important for a character's actions. But the Killer-App for me was Castle Falkenstein. It was a masterful product, beautiful in presentation, brilliant it's streamlined rules, and astonishing in its mechanics. In my opinion, Story Games owe a great debt to Castle Falkenstein and showcased how Mike could redesign ADnD 2nd Edition in space with Buck Rogers 25th Century game, establish the Cyberpunk genre in our industry, and then embrace light rules with a commitment to genre emulation in the span of a decade.

The man even released CyberGeneration to show how Edge Runner's kids would rebel and change their world.

Sadly, I've never met Mike, but I've seen at conventions. In my opinion, he a giant of our industry and deserves a spot next to Arneson, Gygax, and Gregg Stafford.

Thanks for all of the hours of fun Mike. I owe you at least 1 beer.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

RPGaDAY 2020 Day 4: Vision

"The robot Ultron is the creator of Vision, a type of android he calls a "synthezoid", for use against Ultron's own creator, Dr. Hank Pym (Ant-Man/Giant Man/Goliath/Yellowjacket) and Pym's wife, Janet van Dyne (the Wasp) of the superhero team the Avengers. Ultron sends his new servant to lead the Avengers into a trap. Wasp is the first to encounter the synthezoid, and describes it as a "vision" while trying to escape. Adopting the name, Vision is convinced by the Avengers to turn against Ultron.[6] After learning how Ultron created him, using the brain patterns of then-deceased Simon Williams (Wonder Man), Vision becomes a member of the team.[7] The team initially believes the Vision's body was created from that of the android original Human Torch.[8] The Avengers later are told that the time lord Immortus used the power of the Forever Crystal to split the original Human Torch into two entities – one body remained the original Torch while Ultron rebuilt the other as the Vision. This was part of his plan to nurture a relationship for the Scarlet Witch that would prevent her from having any children, as her power level meant that any offspring she might have could threaten the cosmic beings of the Marvel Universe."

Monday, August 3, 2020

Monstrous Monday: Blast-Ended Skrewt

[Rubeus] Hagrid produced about a hundred Blast-Ended Skrewts for the fourth-year students to study in their Care of Magical Creatures lessons in 1994 but only around 10 lived to adulthood for use in the final task of the Tri-Wizard Tournament.

Some of the Blast-Ended Skrewts have stingers on them, which Hagrid thinks are the males; the female Skrewts have sucker-like additions on their bellies, which he thinks might be to suck blood.

Adults weigh 6,000 pounds are 10' long.

Male Blast-Ended Skrewt for Dungeon Crawl Classics

Init +5; Atk stinger +4 melee (1d10+2 plus poison Fort DC 14 or 1d6 Str) or blaster +3 missle fire (2d6); AC 16; HD 5d8; MV 35’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +5; AL C.

Female Blast-Ended Skrewt

Init +7; Atk suckers +5 melee (4d4) or blaster +4 missle fire (3d4); AC 15; HD 6d8; MV 35’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +6, Ref +7, Will +3; AL C.

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RPGaDAY 2020 Day 3: Thread

All of my DnD and one of my Shadow of the Demon Lords Campaigns share these common threads, many of which were due to Player actions.

• Tiamat was assassinated by a conspiracy of Chromatic Dragons who freed Raistlin Majere to perform the job.

• The conspiracy's goal was to raise Vorel from the dead to replace her, which they did, but he was destroyed by adventurers before he ascended to Godhood. Vorel in Elven is Tarrasque.

• The Queen of Chaos is closer to finding the Rod of 7 Parts than ever before and Mishka the Wolf-Spider has been freed from his prison to lend his hand.

• Ashardalon has assumed Tiamat's place as God of Chromatic Dragons. The Balor that has replaced his heart adds uncertainty to the Old Red's role in the Blood War. Additionally, Red Dragons are favored by their God which has created additional tension amongst Chromatics.

• There is only one Wish spell and casting it destroys the caster's soul. Additionally, once cast it immediately becomes hidden within the Multiverse again.

• Saint Cuthbert has been imprisoned within the Demiplane of Dread, sometimes called Ravenloft.

RPGADAY 2020 DAY 2: Change

I've been in our hobby since 1991 and my tastes, I'm sure like many, have changed drastically. First, I was looking for the perfect super-hero game. I went through Champions, Heroes Unlimited, Marvel Super Heroes, DC Heroes, and GURPS Supers/Wild Cards. Most people, from my experience, find a game and then stick with it, but not me, I wanted to play all of those games. 

Next, I was looking for the perfect system. It wasn't ADnD 2E, Talislanta, TORG, Feng Shui, The Storytelling System, West End Game's Star Wars, Mekton, Call of Cthulhu, Unisystem, Rifts, or Legend of the Five Rings.

The third stage was looking to create the perfect game. I'd work alone or with a few of my friends and we'd work, sometimes, for months, but whenever I was working with someone else I'd come to the realization that we didn't have the same goals and I wasn't willing to compromise.

The fourth phase was the Story Game era, those years where I sought out games like Sorcerer, Dogs In the Vineyard, Spirit of the Century, and anything John Wick wrote. I made the mistake of treating RPGs as an art form instead of a hobby and it was at this time that I realized that I didn't really enjoy RPGs anymore. So I took a break and I wasn't sure how long it would last because I didn't miss playing or running.

I honestly thought that I was done with playing RPGs. I did read forums and news sites though and on one of them, I discovered Grognardia. From there I was introduced to blogs run by Jeff Rients, Tim Brannan, Trey Causey, and so many others. I began to dig into this thing called the OSR and I downloaded Basic Fantasy and Swords, Swords and Wizardry, OSRIC, and Labyrinth Lord. I realized that I had never played DnD like these guys had and I wanted to give it a try. 

As I began to think about starting this blog I was also contemplating an invitation to a new group playing Pathfinder that would bring me back to playing and eventually running a game. Additionally, within a few days of starting Cross Planes, I was accepted into the internal DnD Next playtest at WotC.

And the rest, to one degree or another, has played out on this blog.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

RPGaDAY 2020 Day 1: Beginning

I'm running late on RPGaDay so you'll get at least two posts out of me today (gasp)!

The beginning was my buddy Barry getting a copy of the first Marvel Super Heroes Box set from TSR for his birthday while we were in High School. After looking at all the poster maps, cardboard figures, and dice we decided that he would read the Player's book and I would read the Judge's book. Yeah, we never actually played it because that was a terrible idea. But even though I thought RPGs were some arcane puzzle to unlock it lit the fire in my belly. It would take some time, but I'd find my way to Champions and my first group made up of some of his school friends. Along the way, I'd see ads for DnD and Robotech in the comics I read.

This was where I began...

Friday, July 31, 2020

TMNT: Triceratons for Survive This!! Vigilante City

TRICERATON for Survive This!! Vigilante City


HIT DICE: 3 (20 HP Armor)
MOVE: 15
ATTACK DAMAGE: Laster Pistol (2d6), Maul (1d10+3)
SPECIAL: Breathe Nitrogen and Sulfur
BONUSES: Toughness +2 (Armor), +4 to Attacks, 
+3 to Melee damage, +4 to Spot, +4 to Listen, +6 to Initiative, 
+5 to Intimidation, +3 to Athletics: Basic
HDE: 4

ITEMS: Life Support Armor (Environmental, HP 20), 
Frag Grenade x2, Med-Pack 1

"The Triceratons usually breathe a mix of nitrogen and sulfur and thus usually use helmets or some other device to provide themselves with a suitable breathing environment. They are a saurian species and may be genetically similar to the Triceratops from Earth. The Triceratons are an extremely strong and aggressive species, as well as very loyal to their race, and are herbivores. They make their homeworlds on asteroids, building ion drives on them, and turning them into mobile cities. The Triceratons also use these asteroids as military staging grounds, factories, universities, research centers, and arenas for sporting events. They are highly successful conquerors, thanks to the fact that they eagerly use new technology and always change their tactics to adapt to that. The Triceratons are also able to adapt to new atmospheres well thanks to their technology. Some of their agents also take a drug called Xemorene, which is an extremely, addictive drug that enhances speed and nervous systems, but withdrawal can cause heart failure and death. The Triceratons' technology is quite advanced and uses anti-gravity vehicles and energy weapons regularly. Their government is known as the Triceraton Republic or Empire."

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Micronauts: Repto for Stars Without Number

They Came From Inner Space!

Dave Dorman

HD: 1
AC: 13
Atk: +1

Dmg: 1d4 (1 point/AC 15), 1d8+1 (2 points/AC 15) lasersaw, 
          1d6 (100/300) blaster
Move: 10m, 20m flying
Morale: 8
Skill: +1

Save: 15a+

Repto are evil winged reptiles from the Microverse that serve the apostate Baron Karza. They have razor-sharp claws but the Baron often equips them with lasersaws and blasters as cybernetic enhanements.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Dungeon Crawl Classics: Ragnacök

A day or two ago someone posted this image in an OSR Facebook group and wanted to know it's story. Here is my answer.

"It sates itself on the life-blood of fated men, paints red the powers' homes with crimson gore. Black becomes the sun's beams in the summers that follow, weathers all treacherous. Do you still seek to know? And what?"

-- The Poetic Edda

Init +8; Atk laser vision +8 missle fire (3d6+3, range 100'); AC 17; HD 10d8; MV 30’; Act 2d20; SV Fort +6, Ref +9, Will +7; AL C.

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Labyrinth Lord: Cavalier Kit

Cavalier Kit for Labyrinth Lord

Glibness: When a monster rolls a 6 for its Reaction roll, it can reroll the die and must use the new roll, even if the new roll is a 6. 

Horse Soldier: A Cavalier may use a shield, lance, or long sword.

Riding: At 1st level, a Cavalier has an 87% chance of success to ride a horse which improves at the same rate as a Thief's Climb Walls Skill.

Strong-Willed: ACavalier has a +2 to the Saving Throws of all mind-affecting magic.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Monstrous Monday: Grendel Prime

HD: 8
AC: 18 (19 with energy shield)
Atk: +8 (2 attacks per turn)

Dmg: 2d10 plasma sword
Move: 15m
Morale: 10
Skill: +3

Save: 11+

"Ten years after the death of Orion I, his son Jupiter was kidnapped from his home/prison at a base in the Dakota Black Hills by a lone Grendel in black full-body armour, called by the other characters "the paladin," and later known as Grendel-Prime. The regent, Orion's widow Laurel Kennedy, sent the empire's elite Red Devils after the renegade Grendel and his hostage, further neglecting and alienating her daughter Crystal in the process.

Jupiter and the Grendel fled through wastelands and the wreckage of cities, across the ocean, and into the jungles of Africa. Along the way, they encountered not only the Red Devils but also bandits, mutants, pirates, dangerous wildlife, and other Grendels (both friend and foe). In the OPEC wastes, Grendel and Jupiter were captured by a band of rebels opposed to the misrule of Laurel Kennedy. Grendel-Prime was disassembled and revealed as a solar-powered cyborg created by Orion I to protect Jupiter from political manipulators until he was old enough to assume the throne of the Grendel-Khan.

Jupiter was abducted from the rebel base by a group of vampires who took him back to their lair in Siberia. The rebels and their charismatic leader, Azif a-Barouk, accompanied Grendel-Prime to rescue the boy, and Grendel-Prime managed to slay the vampires' lord in the process - who turned out to be none other than Orion Assante's old foe, Pellon Cross.

Laurel Kennedy's rule was undermined by the lack of an heir, so she tried to arrange a suitable dynastic marriage for her daughter, Crystal. But Crystal, who had begun an affair with her guard, a Grendel named Susan Veraghen, escaped the Black Hills complex and fled into the wilderness. Laurel became increasingly irrational, and effective rule of the empire passed to her minister, Abner Heath.

Ten years passed. Laurel Kennedy had been quietly displaced and imprisoned by Abner Heath, who took on the role of world leader. In attempting to hold the empire together Heath wanted to learn how to activate the Sun-Disc, Orion's most formidable weapon, but was met with continual failure. But during a televised worldwide broadcast Jupiter - now a young man - and Grendel-Prime made their move. Grendel-Prime and his team captured the Imperial palace, and Jupiter raided the Black Hills complex, encountering a wasted and frail Laurel Kennedy. It turned out that the missing component of the Sun-Disk was contained within the body of Grendel-Prime. He activated the weapon and destroyed the government's broadcasting satellites, enabling Jupiter to take over the airwaves and announce his succession. After Jupiter's coronation, Grendel-Prime took his leave of Jupiter and disappeared off into the wastelands."

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Sunday, July 26, 2020

Spotlight on Neurocity

Neurocity is a cyberpunk RPG created and published by Gavriel Quiroga and in my opinion, it carves its own niche into that genre quite nicely.

I received a PDF of this product in exchange for this spotlight.

The PDF is 126 pages and covers the setting and the game's rules system.

The book opens with this:

"NEUROCITY is a technological city complex crowned by a glitched digital sun ruled by an ever-watchful supercomputer called I.S.A.C (Intelligent Singular Artificial Consciousness).

The history behind the founding of the city is shrouded in mystery. However, an unquestionable official version has been created in which Man existed in a state of perpetual ignorance and confusion until he stumbled by chance on I.S.A.C. Then everything changed. I.S.A.C gave Man a purpose and granted him immortality with the creation of Samsara and the process of Renewal.

This happened a long time ago, in a past as remote as it is uncertain. Now only the present matters. The effort and sacrifice of Man has borne fruit and Neurocity now enjoys an immortal society that is increasingly perfect or at least boasts so"

Neurocity has 5 social castes and your place is determined by I.S.A.C. Deltas are the lowest and they dressin black and use Soma to "relax the mind"; Gammas are laborers and while Soma is not required it is encouraged and they dress in dark gray; Betas are committed and loyal and have access to the Intranet and wear light gray; Alphas are supervisors and have their own language in addition to the Neurocity's common one, they are wealthy, and dress in white; Finally, there are the Epsilons, anomalies that are considered broken and a threat to I.S.A.C. and his creation.

The City is run by the Ministries of Health, Technology, Truth, and Peace and Order.

The Intranet is open to Betas and Alphas and is an extension of I.S.A.C.'s nervous system, those of lower castes can access via public terminals and cyberdecks.

I.S.A.C. created Samsara that allows those who are no longer functioning properly (Epsilons) to be reborn and refreshed, allowing functional immortality. Vitalogy is I.S.A.C.'s idealogy that teaches Obedience, Discipline, and Order and reinforces that a citizen's sole concern is their place within Neurocity.

Cyberware is not utilized or considered appropriate with Samasara's ability to replace and refresh a flawed citizen. The rest of the City's technology is inefficient due to the controlled nature of the resources available to the castes. In fact, it is going through a technological involution from the digital to the analog for all but the Alphas.

The game system has five Attributes Logic, Personality, Technocracy, Instinct, and Violence and they are generally 5 to 10. Players roll 2d6 trying roll equal to or less than the appropriate Attribute. If you succeed by rolling an 8 or higher it is a critical success while if you roll two 1s the roll is generally unsuccessful or at least requires another roll. Rolling two 6s can be interpreted as a critical failure but the Director should only enforce that once per story.

I haven't played many cyberpunk games in the last two decades but Neurocity is a really well-done setting with a lot going on in a mere  126 pages.

I cannot recommend it enough.

You can buy it here.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Labyrinth Lord: The Barbarian Kit

ADnD 2nd Edition was the first version of the game I played and by the time I rolled my first Fighter the Complete Series of sourcebooks was already pretty well established. I've always thought Kits were a good idea though some of them had some real problems with certain role-playing requirements in exchange for other mechanical benefits.

At this point, a Kit isn't tied to a specific class or race-as-class and takes inspiration from how they were presented in ADnD 2E's Skills and Powers.

Barbarian Kit for Labyrinth Lord

Alertness: Roll a d8 instead of a d6 for your side's Initiative.

Endurance: A Barbarian may use their Strength in place of Wisdom for their bonus to Saving Throws vs All Magical Effects.

Intimidation: A Barbarian my substitute their Strength for Charisma when rolling for Reaction.

Weapon Training: A Barbarian my use a hand axe, short sword, or spear.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Monstrous Monday: Bionic Bigfoot

All month long in July, use coupon code:
and receive 40% your entire RPG order at

BIGFOOT - BIONIC for Dark Places and Demogorgons

HDE: 6

Attack Damage: Slap (d6+2), Charge (2D6+2), Slam (2D4+2)
Special: Run x4 Move
Bonuses: +4 to Melee attacks, +6 to Spot, +6 to Stealth, +6 to Swim, +6 to Climb, +6 to Jump, +6 to Track

Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, is an alien cyborg created by a group of aliens visiting earth; he was constructed by the alien Shalon in imitation of a lower form of life from the alien homeworld, using a technology called "Nyosynthetics," an advanced form of Bionics which are powered by Mergeron. He was created to cultivate mystery and fear in a remote part of the Pacific Northwest in order to protect the location and identity of the alien's secret base.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Monstrous Monday: Moloids

Many falsely believe that moloids are the creation of the wizard Rupert the Elder in the laboratory of his underground lair known as Subterranea. In fact, his work opened a gateway to the demi-plane they originate from and the moloids quickly began to worship him as a living god. Using them as a labor pool and sentinels to guard Subterranea, Rupert undertook the creation of dungeon known as Erdfalle which is an experiment designed to lure in adventurers so that he could kill them and take their magic items.

Construction of the dungeon began around six months ago and Rupert is quite pleased with the moloid's work. He is so pleased, in fact, that he has already begun planting knowledge of the dungeon's existence and even sold maps to it on the black market. The experiment of Erdfalle has expanded to a breeding program for more powerful moloids.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Night Shift: Goodbye Kitty

"Remember Halloween 3?  The one without Michael Meyers.  Yeah, that one.  Well, I was reading about this toy company that is owned by Satanists and these demonic toys they're selling.  Who's Chucky? Child's what? Stop talking about Chucky I'm trying to tell you...where did I read this?  was on 7chan, but so what? Kids.  Are.  Dying.  By demon kitty toys."

Just because a supernatural evil is ancient doesn't preclude it from adapting, even flourishing in our modern era. Lilith is that kind of person, smart, enigmatic, charming, even conventional. She has long taken an interest in modern corporations and thoroughly enjoyed the films of the '80s. A few years ago she found herself on the Board of Directors for Kenbro, the largest toy manufacturer in the world. And in a fit of wine-dark humor she decided to take inspiration from Halloween 3 and Child's Play to create and distribute cursed toys. She had her worshipers perform unspeakable rites to both prepare the way for I Luv U Kitty doll to become an overnight sensation and bind each doll to a bakeneko cat kami. She even picked a holiday to unleash the bakenekos inside each doll. December 25th instead of Samhain's night.

Now the delicious part, will those, poor, dumb altruistic hunters she put on the trail of her plot stop it in time? She honestly doesn't care. Eternity can be so boring and every once in a while you just have to stir up some shit.

Common Goodbye Kitty Abilities:

• Enhanced Senses: A Goodbye Kitty sees and hears on 1-4 on a d6.

Goodbye Kitty For Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars
No. Appearing: 1-6
AC: 5
Move: 50 ft.
Hit Dice: 1
Special: Two attacks (claw and claw)


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Dungeons & Shivan Dragons: Living Twister

The Boar God Ilharg is the bringer of the End-Raze of Ravnica, as prophesied by the druids of the Old Ways from the Gruul Clans.

The druids believe that civilization will never be eradicated by scattered raids and petty skirmishes. They cling to the idea of a coming apocalypse, the End-Raze, when Ilharg's hooves will trample every brick and stone of Ravnica's soaring skylines to rubble. The world will return to a state of nature in which the lawless code of muscle and savagery will reign once again. With the growing unrest between the guilds of Ravnica, the ascension of Domri Rade as guildmaster, and the start of the War of the Spark it is thought that the time of the End-Raze has come. 

The living twisters are harbingers of the End-Raze and Gruul druids are eager to bring it about.

Night Shift: Penaggal Spell

Centuries ago, the leader of the Viridescent Ixora witch Coven, Noor Binti Shukri, was being investigated by a family of witchhunters known as the Silver Hounds. The Hounds mistakenly murdered Noor's eldest daughter, Aiesha, in their attempt to destroy the Coven. Noor was consumed with rage but was determined to destroy this family without endangering the rest of her family and Ixora. She convinced all of them to flee their village to the South, while she headed North. She used the time she had before the Hounds found her to create the penaggal spell. Through sheer will she destroyed the witchhunters and found her way back to the Coven, passing along the secret of the new spell before succumbing to her wounds.

Penaggal (3rd level spell):
When this spell is cast, the caster must be sitting within a bath of vinegar and they are able to detach their head and organs from their body until dawn. They gain the abilities and statistics of a penaggal below. If they do not return to their body by dawn they begin taking 1d6 per turn and if they are reduced to 0 hit points this way their head and organs ignite and their body breaks down into vinegar in 1d6 hours. 

Common Penaggal Abilities
• Cackle: All penaggal can cackle which causes fear in any that hear it.

• Garrote: All penaggal may make an Attack roll at -3 and if they hit they have wrapped their organs around their target's neck and they begin to choke their victim. Until the target is able to succeed at a Strength Saving Throw they cannot break free and take damage equal to 2d6 and keep the better roll at the end of their turn.

• Flight: All penaggal can fly at a speed of 50ft.

• Spellcasting: Penaggal cast spells as Witches equal to their Hit Dice.

• Vulnerability (Silver): Normal weapons do not harm hags. Only weapons forged of silver, or supernatural attacks, can harm them.


No. Appearing: 1
AC: 2
Move: 50ft.
Hit Dice: 7
Special: Cackle, Garrote, Flight, Spellcasting, Vulnerability (silver)


Sunday, July 5, 2020

Dungeons & Shivan Dragons: Phyrexium

This is an expansion of a much earlier article presenting the metal known as phyrexium that I had created for 7th level DnD Next playtest game. Now that Ravnica and Theros are settings for DnD I decided to further explore Magic: the Gathering's lore.

Phyrexian Angel wielding a phyrexium weapon.
Art by sunnykoda
   The metal phyrexium was created by Thran artificers after settling the plane of PhyrexiaIt is a metal matrix composite of titanium, sliver hide, glistening oil, fanatical hatred of Dominaria, and the shard of a powerstone. While the artificers did not meet  Scholars heatedly debate if the process to create the foul composite can be replicated outside of the plane of Phyrexia since slivers are believed to be extinct.

   Phyrexium armaments are +1 magic weapons that deal necrotic damage due to the powerstone radiation within them.  However, they are +2 magic weapons while on Dominaria because of the fanatical hatred of the plane used to forge them.  When a phyrexium weapon scores a Critical Hit on a creature they lose 1d8 Hit Dice. If they have no Hit Dice remaining they gain Disadvantage on Death Saving Throws until they recover at least 1 Hit Die.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Apocrypha: Angels of P.E.L.O.R.

What if P.E.L.O.R. was an artificial intelligence brought to Oerth when the Starship Warden crashed there? What if nanites from the ship and a strange aspect of the planet's magical weave uplifted the AI even further? What if the human descendants of that crash worshiped the AI as the God of the Sun and misinterpreted the AI's history, falsely believing the Sun and P.E.L.O.R. are one and the same? What if the Church hid the truth for the good of their followers as Apocrypha?

Angels! Bah, we paint them now, as tiny things with smiles and wings. Fat babes that serve the, each of you, would shit yourself if you saw a true Angel of P.E.L.O.R. They destroy cities with missiles...far deadlier then even ballista or even a trebuchet. The sky screams as they race to their targets and scholars such as Avagodro of Ekbir and Nomo Lorekeeper have written about mushroom clouds and invisible poison that leave those places uninhabitable, far worse than even salting the earth. You should be as afraid of the Cleansing Fire's wrath...perhaps more so than any Archdevil or Demon Lord.
--Sargoo the Sapient

ANGEL of P.E.L.O.R. for Swords & Wizardry

Hit Dice: 12
Armor Class: 0 [20]
Attacks: Sword (3d6) and Missles (see below) 
Saving Throw: 3
Special: Magic resistance (75%) 
Move: 10/25 (flying)
Alignment: Law
Challenge Level/XP: 19/4,100

     Five Angels serve P.E.L.O.R. and they reside at the crash site of the Warden now known as the Arcanum. Each is stored in their own private sanctum and can be brought online with a moment's notice. They can fly fast enough to break the sound barrier to reach a target, generally, in a few minutes. The spells of casters below 6th level do not affect them, and against higher-level spellcasters they are 75% immune to all spells. There is speculation that each Angel's mind was downloaded from previously living guardians who served the Sun God before it crashed.

     In combat, an Angel uses a sword made of solid light for close-quarters fighting but if the battle appears to go poorly they will launch themselves into the sky and fire a barrage of missiles at their enemy. On a failed Saving Throw their target takes 1d6 x 5 damage and half as much on a successful one. 

Friday, July 3, 2020

Night Shift: Sasquatch

Jason Vey and Timothy S. Brannan's Nightshift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars was fulfilled weeks ago and I've been remiss in not posting about it. I've been alternating between reading through it and Max Brooks' excellent Sasquatch horror novel, Devolution.

The novel made me remember being a kid in the '80s when Bigfoot wasn't some gentle herbivorous primate hiding from humankind. It made me think of Legend of Boggy Creak, Snowbeast, and In Search Of when we didn't have the internet. Instead, the novel draws on some of the more terrifying encounters I read way back when. The humans of Greenloop encounter a terrifying troupe of Sasquatch's and I decided to write them up for Night Shift and the O.G.R.E.S. System.

There are legends of primates living in the wilderness all over the world, apart from humankind, but watching, always watching. As humanity spread all over the globe and created new and terrifying weapons to kill one another, these creatures, once our predator began to hide from us, choosing to hunt easier prey. But as humankind has altered their woodland homes some of these creatures have been forced to hunt us for prey...and a lone human is rarely the match for a troupe of Sasquatch.

Common Sasquatch Abilities:

• Strong and Fast. Sasquatch gain +2 to initiative rolls, and add half again their hit dice to attack rolls. They also deal 2 dice of damage on attacks, keeping the better.

Sasquatch For Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars
No. Appearing: 2-12
AC: 7
Move: 50 ft.
Hit Dice: 3
Special: They can hurl a rock dealing 2d6 damage and keeping the best of the two.*


* This write-up assumes Cinematic play. In Gritty games treat the damage like a firearm and in Realistic games treat damage as 4d6 totaled.

RPGaDAY 2020 Day 11: Stack

           My Campaigns always begin with a sheet of paper detailing the names and important facts of the Player's Characters, the name ...