Monday, October 19, 2020

Universal Monster Monday: Count Dracula for AD&D 2nd Edition and Ravenloft

Before Dungeons & Dragons, Champions, Art, Comic Books, or even Toys I LOVED the Universal Monsters. As a kid, the only books I'd check out of the elementary school library were these books that dealt with old monster movies. Most of those books deal with Universal Monsters. Here is the silly part, I was an absolute fraidy cat and couldn't even watch those old black and white movies without covering my eyes. It was crazy, but I loved them and here you are.

Count Dracula

Climate/Terrain: Any
Frequency: Very rare
Organization: Pack
Activity Cycle: Night
Diet: Special
Intelligence: Genius (17-18)
Treasure: G
Alignment: Chaotic evil
No. Appearing: 1
Armor Class: -1
Movement: 12, FL 18 (C)
Hit Dice: 12+4
THAC0: 8
No. of Attacks: 2
Damage/Attack: 2d6+4
Special Attacks: Energy drain
Special Defenses: +1 or better magical weapon to hit
Magic Resistance: See below
Size: M (5-1/2'-6-1/2')
Morale: Fanatic (18)
XP Value: 13,000

Combat: When engaging in combat, Count Dracula is a savage and fearsome opponent. He is physically very powerful, with a Strength score of 18/76, receiving a bonus of +2 to hit and +4 to damage. His crushing blows inflict 2d6+4 points of damage.
   His gaze is one of his most powerful and dangerous weapons. Any person who allows the Count to look into his eyes will be affected as if by a charm person spell. Due to the power of this enchantment, a -3 is applied to the victim's saving throw vs. spell. 
   Like all undead creatures, Dracula exists in both the Positive Material and Negative Material planes at the same time. His powerful negative essence allows him to drain two life energy levels from anyone they bite. If the Count is making use of some form of weapon in the attack, He cannot employ this power.
   Weapons of less than +1 enchantment pass through the Count without harming him in any way. Even if attacked with and harmed by magical weapons, Dacula regenerates 3 hit points per round. If reduced to zero hit points, he is not destroyed but is forced to assume gaseous form. Once in this state, he will attempt to flee and return to its coffin where, after eight hours of rest, he regains his corporeal form. If the defeated Dracula is unable to reach his coffin within 12 turns, however, his essence breaks up and he is truly destroyed.   
   Sleep, charm, and hold spells do not affect Dracula. Similarly, he is unharmed by poisons and immune to paralysis. Spells that are based on cold or electricity cause him only half damage.
   At will, the Count is able to disperse his body into clouds of elemental vapor and assume gaseous form. In this state, he is all but immune to attack and can escape from almost any confinement. In addition, Dracula can shape change so as to take on the form of a large bat (hence the flying movement rate given above).
   Count Dracula can summon lesser creatures for aid. In a subterranean environment, he will typically call forth a swarm of 1d10x10 rats or bats. In the case of the latter, these do not physically attack but serve to confuse and obscure the vision of the Count's foes. In the wilderness, he will normally call upon 3d6 wolves for assistance. In all cases, the summoned animals arrive in 2d6 rounds.
   At will, he can use a spider climb ability and scale sheer surfaces. Often, he will employ this power to gain access to rooms on upper floors without alerting those on watch downstairs. This power also permits him to seek refuge in places that are all but beyond the reach of mortals. 
   Despite the great powers which Draculas obviously possess, he is not without weaknesses of his own. The odor of strong garlic repels him and he will not approach it. Further, he will recoil from the face of a mirror or lawful good holy symbol if either of these is presented to him with courage and conviction. It is important to understand, however, that this will not actually harm the Count in any way nor drive him off. Garlic will prevent him from attacking or entering the area, while mirrors and holy symbols force Dracula to find some means of removing the offending object before it can be bypassed. In most cases, he will seek to overcome these hazards with the aid of his minions. For example, a charmed person might be called upon to attack someone who is holding the Count at bay with a holy symbol. Another important point to keep in mind is that a lawful
good holy symbol will affect Dracula regardless of the vampire's original religious background. If the Count is splashed with a vial of holy water or struck with a lawful good holy symbol he will be burned by them, suffering 1d6+1 points of damage.
   Just as Dracula can be kept at bay, so too can he be slain by those who have the knowledge to do so. If the Count is exposed to direct sunlight he is instantly rendered powerless and, after one round, utterly annihilated. If he can be immersed in running water, he loses one-third of his hit points each round, until destroyed on the third round. Lastly, Dracula can be killed by having a wooden stake driven through his heart. In this case, however, he can be restored simply by removing the stake if further measures are not taken to ensure the fate of the vampire. In order for him to be completely destroyed, the Count's head must be cut off and his mouth stuffed with holy wafers (or their equivalent).
   In addition to its aversion to items like garlic and holy symbols, Count Dracula acts under many other limitations. One of the most powerful of these is his inability to enter a home without being first invited to do so by a resident of the dwelling. This does not apply to public buildings and places of business which, by their very nature, extend an “invitation” to all. Once he has been invited to enter a residence, he may come and go freely afterward. A common manner for obtaining permission to enter a home is the use of the Count's gaze to charm a servant or other inhabitant.
   Any human or humanoid creature slain by the life energy drain of the Dracula is doomed to become a vampire themself. Thus, those who would hunt these undead paragons must be very careful lest they find themselves condemned to a fate far worse than death. The transformation takes place one day after the burial of the creature. Those who are not actually buried, however, do not become undead and it is thus traditional that the bodies of a vampire's victims be burned or similarly destroyed. Once they become undead, the new vampire is under the complete control of the Count. If Count Dracula is destroyed, the controlled undead are freed from his power and become self-willed creatures. In most cases, vampires do not lose the abilities and knowledge which they had in life when they become undead. Thus, it is possible for a vampire to have the powers of, for example, a wizard, thief, or even a priest. In all cases, of course, the new vampire becomes chaotic evil.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Star Wars: Storm Trooper Pre-Gens for Colonial Troopers

Our DM will be out on Halloween Weekend so I'm going to resurrect our Star Wars Storm Trooper One-Shots, but I've decided to use Colonial Troopers a DnD 0e SF RPG by Thomas Denmark and his Nite Owl Workshop. I'm pretty darn excited.


Strength -1

Intelligence +0

Wisdom +0

Dexterity +2

Constitution +0

Charisma -1

Hit Points 18

Melee Attack Bonus +1

Ranged Attack Bonus +4

AC 17 (15+2)

Saving Throw 13+

Skill Bonus +3

Sneak Attack: An Agent who successfully sneaks up on, surprises, or distracts an enemy receives a bonus of +4 to-hit, and does double the normal melee or ranged weapon damage. This bonus to damage increases to x3 at 5th level.

Skill: Agents have a knack for achieving unlikely results when it comes to things like picking pockets, picking locks, sneaking past or distracting guards, disarming small or intricate traps, bluffing at gambling, and so on. They have a bonus to their normal Saving Throw to achieve favorable results as indicated in the Agent Skill Bonus column, these are only applied at the Game Master’s discretion.

Sniper Rifle: 3d6+2; Rate of Fire 1


Strength +0

Intelligence +1

Wisdom +0

Dexterity +0

Constitution +0

Charisma +2

Hit Points 14

Melee Attack Bonus +2

Ranged Attack Bonus +2

AC 15

Saving Throw 13+

Persuade 11+

Diplomat Special Abilities: Because Diplomats are frequently called on to use their talents intense situations they have no weapon or armor restrictions.
   Diplomats can persuade using their ST modified by their Charisma Bonus to gain the assistance of a basically neutral crowd that is intelligent and understands the Diplomat. The ST the Diplomat has to make is modified based on the general likelihood of cooperation by the crowd being addressed as determined by the Game Master.
   Diplomats have the ability to talk a hostile group into negotiation. The hostile group must understand the Diplomat and not have obvious overwhelming force. The Diplomat then rolls based on her ST plus Charisma Bonus vs the leader(s) of the opposing force Charisma Bonus +ST (or some higher or lower value depending on the GM’s idea of the degree of hostility). Compare how well each side made the negotiation roll on Table 5 (see pg 17).

Blaster Pistol: 1d8; Rate of Fire 2

Blaster Rifle: 2d8; Rate of Fire 2


Strength +0

Intelligence +0

Wisdom +1

Dexterity +0

Constitution +0

Charisma +0

Hit Points 23

Melee Attack Bonus +2 

Ranged Attack Bonus +2

AC 13

Saving Throw 11+ (9+ on Wisdom Saves)

Healing: +2

Detect Ambush: +2 

Tracking: +1

Blaster Rifle: 2d8; Rate of Fire 2


Strength +0

Intelligence -1

Wisdom +0

Dexterity +1

Constitution +1

Charisma +0

Hit Points 32

Melee Attack Bonus +4 

Ranged Attack Bonus +5 (+6 with Assault Blaster)

AC 15

Saving Throw 12+

Unstoppable: A Mercenary, upon killing an enemy, receives an immediate free attack with the same probability against any other enemy within reach.

Assault Blaster: 2d6+1; Rate of Fire 2; Burst; Full


Strength -1 (+3 in Battle Suit)

Intelligence +1

Wisdom -1

Dexterity +0

Constitution +0

Charisma +0

Hit Points 23

Melee Attack Bonus +2

Ranged Attack Bonus +2 (+3 in Battle Suit)

AC 14; Damage Reduction 6

Saving Throw 9+

Blaster Rifle: 2d8; Rate of Fire 2

Battle Suit Features

Auto Railgun: 2d6; Roll 3d20 to Attack; Usage Die d8; -1 to Hit for each additional Range Bracket

Large Flamer: 4d6; Cone; Usage Die d6

Light: Out to 100'; Usage Die d12

Smoke Bombs: These fire and discard bombs and have a range of 300’. 60’ before the intended end of the shot, smoke issues out, creating a line of dense smoke about 3’ wide. The smoke blocks normal and ultraviolet frequencies and is hot enough to block Infrared. It also contains minuscule chaff that expands to block radar and it distorts sound waves.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Character Building: Edder Brownsmith for Warlock!

I'm going to make a character for the Warlock! RPG from Fire Ruby Designs.

There are no Ability Scores in Warlock! and that is something I've loved since encountering it in Castle Falkenstein.

There are 32 Skills in Warlock! and I'm going to choose 10 of them at to start at Level 6

Bargain 6

Blunt (weapon) 6

Brawling 6

Crossbow 6

Endurance 6 

History 6

Repair 6

Small Blade 6

Survival 6

Thrown 6

Now I choose 10 more at Level 5:

Athletics 5

Dodge 5

Intimidate 5

Language 5

Language 5

Lie 5

Medicine 5

Navigation 5

Spot 5

Stealth 5

All other Skills default to 4.

My Stamina is 2d6+12 for a total of 18.

My Luck is 1d6+7 for a total of 11.

There are four Communities (think race) to choose from which are Human, Elf, Dwarf, and Halfling and there are no mechanical benefits or drawbacks to any of them.

I choose Dwarf.

In Warlock! you choose a Career or randomly roll one and I choose the latter option.

I roll Entertainer.

An Entertainer's Skills and the Max Level they can before I have to switch careers be are Diplomacy 10, History 10, Brawling 12, Disguise 12, Persuasion 12.

I now distribute 10 Skill Levels between them.

Diplomacy 7

Brawling 10

History 6

Disguise 4

Persuasion 7

Repair 6

Additionally, I get an Entertainer Skill equal to the average Level of its Career Skills, in this case, it is 6. If I can persuade the GM that my Entertainer Career would work in a situation I can use it for the Skill test.

I get some Equipment from my Career, including Nice Clothes and a Dagger.

The first random table asks Who Have I Entertained? The Royal Opera House.

The second random table asks What Have I Learned? That Poetry Is Not for Me.

Next, you either come up with three Traits or pick from a list (they do not appear to have a mechanical value). I choose Curious, Picky, and Witty.

And that is it.

Warlock!'s core mechanic is to roll a d20 add your Skill Level and equal or exceed a 20. Armor reduces damage and is generally rated at 1d3, 1d6, or 2d6 but you always take a minimum of 1 point of damage on a hit.

It does have an Equipment list with costs but I didn't see a section on starting Silver. Money is in Pennies, Silver, or Gold.

I think I might work up a spellcaster next, but before that here is

Edder Brownsmith, Dwarf Entertainer

Stamina: 18

Luck: 11


Athletics 5

Bargain 6

Blunt (weapon) 6

Brawling 10

Crossbow 6

Diplomacy 7

Disguise 4

Dodge 5

Endurance 6 

History 6

Intimidate 5

Language 5

Language 5

Lie 5

Medicine 5

Navigation 5

Persuasion 7

Repair 6

Small Blade 6

Spot 5

Stealth 5

Survival 6

Thrown 6


Leather (Light Armour) 1d3

Dagger 1d6+1 Slashing





Thursday, October 15, 2020

Warlock!: Sqig

I've recently been looking over the Warlock! RPG which, for me, captures the best parts of Warhammer Fantasy Role Play, Basic Role Playing, and the OSR.

Type Uncivilized
Actions/round 1
Weapon/skill/damage Teeth/5/1d6
Armour 1d3 Hide
Adventuring skills 3
Stamina 5
Notes Unpredictable

Unpredictable - If a squig moves this turn roll a d8, a 1 is North, a 2 is Northeast, a 3 is East, a 4 is Southeast, a 5 is South, a 6 is Southwest, a 7 is West, and an 8 is Northwest. The result is the direction they move this turn.

Description - The Squigs (short for "Squiggly Beasts") are considered by many to be the simplest form of Greenskin life. Squigs seems to be extremely simple in terms of their motivations. So far, they have only ever been reliably observed exhibiting two behavioral patterns; eat anything edible that is nearby, then move more-or-less randomly until there is something else to eat within range and once more wander about aimlessly. A number of bizarre offshoots of Squigs have been seen in various locations within the Old World, though they inevitably favour lightless areas such as caves and underground tunnels.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Monstrous Monday: Count Draco Knuckleduster for Dungeon & Dragons 5th Edition

 I've become a huge fan of Super7's ReAction figures and they have teamed up with Killer Bootlegs, Inc. who created Count Draco Knuckleduster. 

"Legend has it that during the period of darkness that followed "the Great Fall of 2548", the prison planet of Archea had become a breeding ground for a new form of evil. Thousands of star systems fell and worlds crumbled, dark beings conspired in the shadows to take advantage of the billions of deaths and endless destruction.

Count Draco Knuckleduster, was once a brilliant specialist in the field of cryonics. He was at one time considered the foremost authority on artificial life preservation in the Realm. His research and experiments were always in question by Absolute Rule Thuban and were eventually deemed "unnatural". Using a primeval form of Black Wizardry coupled with the most advanced technology of his time, Draco fashioned himself a Cybernetic Chronautical Exosuit. This device helped him sustain a somewhat cadaverous life for many revolutions. This temporarily prevented the inevitable crossing over of his consciousness. In an effort to sustain himself through unnatural means forever, Count Draco Knuckleduster plans to replace his natural-born heart with the Cryptoscrystalline Stone.

For uncounted centuries, the Stone lay hidden among the cosmos. Draco now must find it as he knows whomever possess it would hold the power to resurrect an army of deathless warriors and once again rule the stars..."

Friday, October 9, 2020

Worlds Without Number: Shokkoth of the Many Stones

I own several of Kevin Crawford's OSR RPGs, but I've never run one. Worlds Without Number is the first time I've ever backed one of his Kickstarters and that gave me access to the Beta Rules.

The company I work for, Comic Book World, was founded by my In-Laws and I've worked for them for the last 20 years and they've basically retired earlier this year. That means that now I do all of the buying of comics that come into our store and I just purchased a sweet run of Marvel's first Conan the Barbarian series.

Issue number 46 features Shokkoth on its cover so I decided I'd stat him up for WWN.

Shokkoth of the Many Stones for Worlds Without Number

HD: 6
AC: 18
Atk: +5 

Dmg: 1d10+1 stony fist
Shock: 2/15
Move: 30
Morale: 12
Instinct: 3
Skill: +1

Save: 9+

The living statue Shokkoth of the Many stones was created by the sorcerer Zoqqanor to protect his sanctum. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Halloween Treat: Mister Jip for Silent Legions

 MISTER JIP for Silent Legions

AC: 4
HD: 9
Atks: Claw x 2 +8 

Dmg: 1d8
Skill: +1
Special: Disguised, Multilimbed, Parasitic 

Move: 30'
Morale: 12
Madness: 1
Save: 6+

The man who would become known as Mister Jip was born centuries ago somewhere in Asia. He roamed the world as a scholar in the pursuit of knowledge and went to Tibet to find the legendary city of Kamar-Taj. Though the city was in ruins, Jip encountered the Ancient One and became his first apprentice. As his student, Jip was instructed in the arts of benevolent magic, but unknown to his master, he sought out books of dark magic and practiced forbidden rituals to increase his own power. When the Ancient One discovered this, he cast Jip out of his service. Jip began extending his lifespan by usurping the bodies of others.[2] These days Jip likes to think that he still did some good, as it was his example that allowed the Ancient One to recognize the signs of Baron Mordo's betrayal centuries later.

Out on his own, Jip wanted to increase his knowledge of the dark arts even further. To do so he started to extend his life at the costs of others, but these dark arts twisted and corrupted his own body into a monstrous shape. Despite his desire to dominate the world, Jip stayed hidden over the centuries and rarely revealed himself to others.

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Monstrous Monday: Foe'Ton for Dungeon Crawl Classics

 I've recently gotten back into collecting toys, actually my 19 year old son got me back in to have a hobby we share. It started with the Masters of the Universe Origins figures, expanded to Masters of the WWE Universe, to a swerve back into Glyos, and has ended up with Super7's ReAction figures.

Heavy Metal's Lord of Light from Super7

Many would be surprised to learn that stars are plasma spheroids held together with gravity and they would be further shocked to discover that stars even die.

But what would turn their blood cold would be the knowledge that they can succumb to Undeath as easily as a common hog farmer. A star's life and death is a powerful event that affects entire astronomical bodies in our night sky. An Undead star, as is often the case, is far more dangerous than it's living counterpart and the truly terrifying question is if an Undead star has a weakness.
Init +10; Atk burning touch +13 melee (2d8 x 10) or 
solar vision missle fire (2d6 x 10); AC 21; HD 13d12; 
MV 60’; Act 1d30+10, 1d30+10, 1d30+10; 
SP flying; SV Fort +8, Ref +10, Will +8; AL N.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Halloween Nights: Man-Thing for Labyrinth Lord


Man-Thing for Labyrinth Lord
No. Enc.: 1
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 120' (30')
Armor Class: 3 (16)
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: 1 (unarmed), see below
Damage: 1d6
Save: F6
Morale: 11
Hoard Class: VII
XP: 300

The Man-Thing is the guardian of the Nexus of All Realities, a swamp where one can travel to any plane of existence. Any sentient creature that sees the Man-Thing must make a saving throw vs Paralyzation, on a failure the creature takes an additional 2d6 damage from Man-Thing's attacks as anyone who knows fear, burns at his touch.

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Saturday, October 3, 2020

Halloween Nights: Jennifer Kale for Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars

Jennifer was born into the Kale family of sorcerers in the Florida Everglades. Attuned to mystical forces since birth, she began studying her family's history of magic. Jennifer became an apprentice of Dakimh the Enchanter and the two of them acted as allies of the Man-Thing, a creature that protected a Nexus of All Realities centered in the Everglades.

She has been advised by her grandfather Joshua (even after his death), who had been a mystical Cult leader when alive. His spirit continued this after she left her training with Dakimh and attempted to live a normal life as a college student. Regardless of her efforts at normalcy for many years she has been drawn into numerous magical conflicts. Examples include her kidnapping by Baron Mordo,[3] discovering a familial connection to the Ghost Rider[4]and other adventures assisting the mutant team known X-Force.[5]

Jennifer Kale

Owner, Witch's Brew

Str 13 (+1/+3)  Dex 14 (+1/+4)  Con 12 (+0/+2) 
Int 14 (+1/+4)  Wis 17 (+2/+7)  Cha 18 (+3/+8) 
HP: 25
AC: 4 (Dexterity and Magic Armor)
Abilities: +2 saving throw; +5 vs. spells and magic, Arcana 100%, 
   Spellcasting 100% (4/4/3/3/2 slots)
Arcane powers: Blaster (Magic Missle); Charm Person or Monster; 
   Shadow Walking; Telepathic Transmission

Tome of Zhered-Na: (1) Detect Magic, Detect Undead, Disrupt 
   Undead, Hold Portal, Protection From Undead, Read Languages,
   Speak With Animals, 
(2) Detect Invisibility, Invisibility, Levitate, Locate Plants, 
   Phantasmal Image
(3) Dispel Magic, Fly, Protection From Normal Missles, 
(4) Hold Undead, Inflict Serious Wounds, Pass Plant, Plant Door, 
   Speak With Plants
(5) Commune, Dispel Evil, Harm, Pass Plant

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Dungeon Crawl Classics: Session 1

Due to our DM's wife getting COVID-19 (thoughts and prayers to both them) I'm running a short DCC series for our group. The Characters are level 2 are going through one of Goodman Games' Halloween Adventures.

I enjoyed the session and I think the players did too. We got off to a bit of a late start as I was running a bit behind and we had to set-up remote play for one of our players, which we do every session, but our regular DM handles it and I had to figure it out with some help.

Part of the reason I haven't run more OSR campaigns is that I like Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition and we are pretty invested in it, in fact we own everything on DnD Beyond. I'm not saying that different editions don't have different strengths and weaknesses but there is, in my opinion, a certain common experience in DnD.

One of the reasons I've been wanting to try DCC with my group is that I appreciate that it deviates a bit from DnD with its Magic system and Mighty Deeds of Arms and it is a game that is in print and I can carry in my stores.

I had two to three players I thought would enjoy the Magic system and I think they did. I didn't explain Might Deeds of Arms very well so I hope to explore them more in our second session.

We were all a bit uncertain about getting so many "Failed and Lost for the Day" spellcasting results and I'm contemplating if I'm going to make a change to that in the next session. At the same time I didn't really emphasize the Luck mechanic and perhaps that would fix some of the disappointment. Yes, you can easily point out that maybe my Players and I are just "spoiled" by the heroic nature of 5E and I'm sure you are right, but we've played together long enough to know what we enjoy and to be honest about it.

I'm looking forward to finishing the module and will report further upon completion.

At this point I dearly enjoy Goodman Games products and the awesome community that sprung up around Dungeon Crawl Classics, but I don't know that the changes are still extreme enough to switch from 5E unless you have grown bored or frustrated of it. To some degree that is the motive behind my exploration of DCC, but I don't know that the rest of my group shares that motive.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Hail to the King, Baby: Robot X for Dungeon Crawl Classics

Jack "The King" Kirby's artwork and ideas are something that I appreciate the older I get. I'm loathed to admit it, but when Jack was doing the art for the Super Powers tie-in series for the Kenner DC toy line I was upset that a "better" artist didn't get the assignment. Thankfully, my tastes in art have improved over the decades. 

I'm working on longer posts but I enjoy making Monsters and I enjoy Dungeon Crawl Classics and my current theme is Jack Kirby's Monsters statted up for DCC. 

Hail the King, baby.

"Are you sure it's just over that ridge, Aana?"

"I feel fairly certain, yes, Diego, but when something large falls from the night sky I feel certain that following the smoke and the glow is the best practice."

"Why do you taunt me so?"

"Because it's easy and its how I show my love."

"Aana...what was that flash of light? Aana?! Where did you go...what IS that pile of dust!?"



Robot X for Dungeon Crawl Classics

Init +5; Atk gauntlet +11 melee (2d12) or optic blast 
missle fire (3d10); AC 17; HD 10d12; MV 45’; 
Act 1d30+1d3-+1d20; SP flying, invisibility 3/day; 
SV Fort +10, Ref +4, Will +6; AL L.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Dungeon Crawl Classics: Mapiguari


"What is that SMELL?! Do you smell that? Is that YOU!?"

"Virgil, I've known you for ten years and you know that I don't fart around people. Even you."

"Don't you smell that Kia? I mean I can taste it now."

"You know I can't smell anything and quit being so jumpy, I hate being out here at night. I can't even see the moons or the sta...wait! Did...did you HEAR that? Was that a branch breaking?" 

"Be quiet, I can smell and hear and there is something above us, have your spear ready Kia."

"Do Nargo trees have red leaves, Virgil? Or eyes?!?"

Mapiguari for Dungeon Crawl Classics

Init -3; Atk claws +2 melee (1d8); AC 13 HD 3d10; MV 15’; 
Act 1d20; SP backstab +5, climb 80%, infravision 60', 
sneak silently 60%SV Fort +2, Ref -1, Will +0; AL N.

In South America, the Mapiguari is a giant nocturnal animal with long arms and claws, the skin of a reptile, and bright red hair. Legend has it, the creature avoids water, which might account for its smell. 

Monday, September 21, 2020

Monstrous Monday: The Mindless for Dungeon Crawl Classics

The Third Wizard War was fought by Arkus Dweom against the clone of Flenss the Creeping Black and both mages unleashed dooms that still haunt places like the Pitch Swamp and No Man's Land. One of the most effective necromantic curses devised by Flenss' clone is contained within the Fifth Volume of Bound Death and it creates a type of un-dead known as the Mindless. The curse is delivered by a powerful storm and any who are caught within its raindrops violently die within three minutes and reborn in a frenzied state where they can smell the living and immediately seek them out to kill them. Any living person bit by the Mindless dies and is reborn within fifteen minutes and thousands of these terrors besieged cities like Arva Tuk and Oleander from the inside.

The Mindless Steel for Dungeon Crawl Classics

Init +0; Atk teeth +3 melee (1d5); AC 12 HD 2d8; MV 30’; 
Act 1d20; SP immune to non-silvered weapons
SV Fort +1, Ref +2, Will -2; AL C.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Dungeon Crawl Classics: The Incredible Dr. Steel


Yeah, Jack "The King" Kirby did the art for the toyline!

I'm blaming Needles and Brutorz Bill for this post.

Is the incredible Dr. Steel friend or foe?

The Incredible Dr. Steel for Dungeon Crawl Classics

Init +4; Atk shining steel hand +d8+2 melee (2d6+d8+2); 
AC 16 HD 6d14; MV 45’; Act 3d20; SP deflect missles 
(Once per round when Dr. Steel is hit with a missile attack rolla a d8 and on a 1-2 he takes no damage); SV Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +4; 

Friday, September 18, 2020

Masters of the Universe: Scareglow for Dungeon Crawl Classics


I love He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and its aesthetic has shaped much of my gaming preferences. Mattel has launched a new line of action figures, Masters of the Universe Origins and a WWE tie-in line called Masters of the WWE Universe (they are from WWEternia) plus there are two animated series in development at Netflix.

In life, Karak Nul was a shifty bounty hunter who spent years attempting to break into Castle Grayskull, obsessed with the countless legends that it contained the power to be Master of the Universe. In death, he was cursed and banished into the dimension of Infinita, forever chained to his past crimes. He was brought back to Eternia by a magical spell cast by Skeletor to locate the most evil warriors in the five dimensions. Provided with a Scythe of Doom, Nul agreed to join forces with Skeletor and quickly became known as Scareglow, thanks to his ability to burst forth and freeze his enemies with fright.

Scareglow for Dungeon Crawl Classics

Init +2; Atk scythe of doom tentacle +6 melee (1d12+1); 
AC 16 HD 6d8; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SP terrify 
(DC 13 Will Save); SV Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +4; AL C.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Dungeon Crawl Classics: Shayd, a Magic Dagger


Dagger: +1 to attack and damage rolls

Alignment: Neutral

Intelligence: 5

• Obscure surroundings with a 20' globe of darkness.

Whirlwind strike. Instead of making his normal attack, the wielder can make two attacks in a single round but rolls 1d10 for each attack instead of 1d20. He applies his normal attack bonus. Critical hits are not possible when attacking in this manner.

• Turn invisible. Up to 1d3 times per day, the wielder can turn invisible for a duration of 1d4 turns. The invisibility vanishes immediately if the wielder attacks.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Dungeon Crawl Classics: Dire Wraith Sorceress


The Dire Wraiths are an evolutionary offshoot of the Skrulls from the Andromeda Galaxy. Like the Skrulls, the Wraiths are shape-shifters, able to take the forms of other creatures. They are, in fact, Skrullian Deviants engineered by the starfaring Celestials. The Wraiths have both reptilian and mammalian like traits and the females lay eggs and lactate.

   At some point in their history, female Dire Wraiths began to study sorcery. This caused a rift with their parent race, the Skrulls, and they were driven out of the Andromeda Galaxy.

   Dire Wraiths are able to take on the forms of those they encounter, including the appearance of equipment and any clothing the victim is wearing. A Dire Wraith can assume any humanoid form between 4 ft to 8 ft tall, but the creature must first see the victim to be copied. In addition to assuming a victim's form, they may choose to consume the victim's brain and gain all of their memories and knowledge (the victim must make a DC 15 Fortitude Save), which will leave the victim a pool of ectoplasm.

Dire Wraith Sorceress for Dungeon Crawl Classics

Init -1; Atk hex +6 (1d7) or tentacle +2 melee (1d4); 
AC 13 HD 3d4; MV 40’; Act 1d20; SP absorb brain 
(DC 15 Fortitude Save), impersonate 90%, prestidigitation,
spellcasting (+6 spell check & know 6 spells); 
SV Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +4; AL N.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Dark Trails: Dances With Ghosts


Soon after Wind In the Trees, her parents were killed by the U.S. Calvary. Her Grandfather, Stalking Cat, was their tribe's Shaman and he raised her in the ways of Medicine but saw the anger in her and always tried to quell it.

Her Medicine was strong but he grew increasingly worried as her thirst for vengeance grew with her powers.

Ke-wo-no-tay, a powerful minion of the Elder Gods took notice of her and subtlely tainted the young Shaman. He was surprised at how deep the waters of hate and revenge lapped at the shores of her soul and he delighted in drinking deeply from it.

Stalking Cat saw the changes she was undergoing and confronted her threatening to stop teaching her Medicine. His granddaughter laughed at him, howling like a terrifying storm she revealed that her real teacher predicted what he would do and promised her that she would only finish her lessons by killing her grandfather.

Hoping to protect even a sliver of her soul Stalking Cat spread his arms wide and allowed Wing in the Trees to slay him and consume his Medicine. As the life left her grandfather's eyes Ke-wo-no-tay told her that Wind in the Trees died with her grandfather and at that moment Dances with Ghosts was born.

Dances With Ghosts for Dark Trails

Init +0; Atk obsidian knife +0 melee (1d6) or 
bow +1 missle fire (1d8); AC 15; HD 4d6; MV 30'; Act 1d20;
SP climb sheer surfaces 40%, disguise self 45%, hide in shadows 40%, sneak silently 45%, fly, spellcaster (spell check +7);
SV Fort +1, Ref +3, Will +3; AL C.

Dances with Ghosts knows 7 Occultist or Revelator spells (as well as Wizard or Cleric spells if you have Dungeon Crawl Classics). She can fly at 30' and has been trained as a hunter.

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Thursday, September 3, 2020

Dark Trails Pregens: Sin-Eater, Gambler, Tommyknocker, & Revelator


Here are four more Pregenerated Characters for Dark Trails based on Dungeon Crawl Classics.

Follow this Link.

Dark Trails Pregens: Luchador & Occultist



I'm going to run a session of Dark Trails via Roll20 tomorrow night and I've worked up a Level 1 Luchador and Occultist thus far. I've included a link to them in Google Docs if you want to check them out.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Cross Planes on Facebook

I've been wanting to set up a FB page for quite awhile and I don't know why I didn't or what motivated me to finally do it.

If you get a chance stop by and Like the page for me.

My intention is to post quick thoughts and information about posts I'm working on. 

I'm currently working up pregens for a Dark Trails game I'm running on Roll20.

I get to take the Dungeon Crawl Classics rules out for a spin with gunslingers and luchador!

Monday, August 31, 2020

RPGaDAY 2020 Day 30 & 31

Portal. RPGs transport me into a world that allows me to take a break from the everyday problems of life and I have found that doing that one or two times per week can be a wonderful treat.

Experience. Wow. I'd only go back to my younger days if I could take my experiences with me. Beyond that, in RPGs, Experience is kind of an odd thing to me. I know its essential to some games but on some level if I could make my perfect game I don't know if I'd include it. Don't get me wrong going from 1 to 20 is exciting but I don't know that I'd have included it if I wrote the First RPG. At the same time I think we sometimes overlook the importance on literature to Dungeons and Dragons found in Appendix N of the ADnD Dungeon Master's Guide.

Monstrous Monday: The Beast of Eloise for Dungeon Crawl Classics

I've set up a Facebook page for Cross Planes and if you get a chance I'd be grateful if you Liked it.

Eloise has been a thriving trading post and village at the crossroads of the Stone Road and the Old Road for close to a century. The Inns, all three of them, are full most nights which are just as busy as the days though the work is often illicit in nature.

However, two months ago, on the three nights of the full moon several heads of cattle and two horses that were put up for the night in their barn were attacked by a vicious wild animal that tore them to pieces while leaving most of the meat. The local Sheriff called in a sage named Barnaby Duncroft from nearby Portent to help investigate but no more attacks occured and Barnaby was uncertain what kind of animal attack it was.

The killings began again one month ago over the three nights of the full moon, but on the third night, something broke into the Faversham farmhouse and slaughtered Ebon, his wife Pearl, all three of their young children, and Pearl's father Emmet Clover. Unfortunately, the bodies weren't discovered until three days later when Clem Nottingham checked in on them. This time Duncroft and several Clerics of Pelor were called in to investigate and people began gossiping about a werewolf which caused was a run on the local blacksmith to melt and shape various silver objects of the villagers into weapons. Unfortunately, Duncroft and the Clerics only found one odd fact about the killings and it was that Ebon had his great-grandfather's long sword set over the hearth and it was now missing. There was some question why the first five attacks were against livestock and the final one was against the Favershams. Ebon, the husband, was a mere farmer and while he was a ruffian in his youth he had settled down to a quiet life with his wife Pearl and their children. Emmet Clover, Pearl's father, was respected and well-liked and had sold his general store to his apprentice Gloria Wulling around a decade ago. 

It's now two nights until the next full moon and the village is terrified and most of its normal business has disappeared. 

The Beast of Eloise for Dungeon Crawl Classics

Init +6; Atk claw +3 melee (1d6) or bite +2 melee (1d6+3); AC 14; 
SP hide in shadows 60%, move silently 70%, regeneration HD 5d6; MV 30’; Act 3d20; SV Fort +4, Ref +6, Will +4; AL C.

The Beast of Eloise is an old man named James Culver who was given a belt that would allow him to transform into a werepanther in exchange for killing the survivors of the Violet Swords for a stranger named Easop. If he succeeds Easop has promised him eternal youth. Thus far, Easop only has one target left Beur Faversham, the great-grandfather of Ebon. Culver has been in town for three months now but no one suspects a man as old as he is of the killings and he has been very careful in his investigations. When he ran into a dead-end, he sought Beur's sword for any clues, but he has gained such a taste for blood he couldn't keep himself from slaughtering all of the Favershams in the farmhouse. Tomorrow night he has a meeting with Easop, in the forest to the East of the Stone Road and he hopes the strange man can point him where to find his final target. However, Culver has grown to like the power the belt gives him and he savors the next time he will taste blood.

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Sunday, August 30, 2020

Putting the I in the OSR

I love the OSR. I discovered it with James Maliszewski's Grognardia and Chris Gonnerman's Basic Fantasy at roughly the same time. It taught me to love Dungeons and Dragons and articulated to my frustration with DnD 3.X and 4E, especially after discovering Castles and Crusades.

Many of the OSR's core features were elements that I had considered bugs do too bad experiences.

I've been playing DnD 5E for over 8 years now. It is a good game and I like it, but I wouldn't mind a change of pace. My group is fairly flexible but they like 5E and we are all heavily invested in DnD Beyond. What I run into when I think of running an OSR game is that if it is not significantly different from 5E is it worth the learning curve to my players? While I prefer rulings and player involvement vs rules and class abilities am I merely creating extra challenges when we all get together to play?

I've been contemplating that for quite a bit and I feel like I found the answer.

It's Dungeon Crawl Classics. It is rooted in Appendix N but has a time-tested system that is fairly familiar, but it has significant permutations with its use of more types of dice and its mechanics for Clerics and Magic-Users. And in my mind, it is the answer to my internal debates. I don't know when I'll run it and I might run it as Mutant Crawl Classics or Dark Trails, but I plan to run it when a slot opens up and I'm pretty excited about it.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

RPGaDAY 2020 Days 28 & 29

Close is an odd one. My Friday Night game is at my store and we are playing DnD 5E. When the game winds down I close things down by cleaning up, taking care of business, and making sure things for the next day are ready and waiting. My buddies tend to stick around where we bullshit and reminisce and laugh. Fridays are my Thursday now but it is a good day to wrap the week up.

Ride. I think each session has its own vibe as a "ride", you might get deep roleplaying, jaw-dropping reveals, life-altering peril, or vibrant set pieces. I guess a campaign, from that POV, is the amusement park and the sessions are it's rides.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

RPGaDAY 2020: Days 25, 26, & 27


Lever: My worldview and my attitude toward Role Playing has changed quite a bit in the last 4 years. I find that the longer I play and the older I get the more I'm trying to just enjoy time with my group and play what we like. For instance, I'd love to run an OSR game but few of them are different enough from DnD 5E, a game we are all fairly invested in, so it makes no sense to switch. This is sea change where I spent decades focusing on the rules.

Strange: I love strange and goofy stuff in my games. Planet of the Apes in Shadow of the Demon Lord? You betcha! Visiting Monster Island and fleeing from Kaiju? Let's add some 13th Age! He-Man and his Masters of the Universe? They make any game better!! In most cases I find more gonzo equals more fun.

Flavour: I like little tidbits in my game--easter eggs really. Things like using Amora the Enchantress as a Goddess of Witches in a 5E game where I swap Gods of the Marvel Universe for traditional DnD Gods. As a player I like having ties to the campaign world through relatives, contacts, and enemies. Those little things go a long way in games.

Universal Monster Monday: Count Dracula for AD&D 2nd Edition and Ravenloft

Before Dungeons & Dragons, Champions, Art, Comic Books, or even Toys I LOVED the Universal Monsters. As a kid, the only books I'd ch...