Monday, June 29, 2015

Beastmen and Yucky Frogs

I run a once a month Swords and Wizardry game for some friends. They are about to enter the first dungeon level of the Temple of Elemental Evil. There are a lot of repeated monsters on that level, Gnolls and Ghouls mostly. I wanted it to be more interesting so I  grabbed my brand new PDF of the Monster Alphabet and changed all the gnolls to beast men. I also used a few things from the beast men table in Sailors on the Starless Sea. Here's what I came up with. Feel free to use them in one of your games. 

1 - Human with over sized hanging jowls that drip ichor, tiny pinholes for eyes
2- Man-bear
3- Rhino-man
4- Dwarf with a hunched back with a Ram's head growing out of the hunch. 
5- Human with a flapping wet mess instead of a mouth
6- Octopus head
7-  Head of a fly
8 - Ram's head
9-  Elf with a Horned viper head sprouts from the middle of its back 
10 - Leopard spots with a Komodo Dragon Head
11 - Black Mamba head, can teleport
12 - Jackal head
13 - Razor sharp alabaster swan wings and a caribou head
14 - Water Buffalo Head ; breath weapon of angry bees
15- Halfling with a drooping vulture neck
16 - Hyena head with a psy blast that does 1d8 damage
17 - Ant head with rhino horns
18 - Human head/body with ostrich legs 
19 - Frilled lizard head
20 - Gecko head
21 - Scarab beetle head - can speak a power word that ends a single spell or spell effect
22 - Stag beetle head
23 - Wolf head with a tentacled tail that ends in a clawed hand. 
24 - Moose head with 2 sets of wings. One is brightly plumed exotic bird wings, the other is expansive pterodactyl wings. 
I also took about half the Ghouls/Ghasts on that level and replaced them with Tsathar (frog-men.) That wasn't weird enough though, so I used Y is for Yuck and S is for Sorcery to spice them up. 

Regular Sathar modified by Y is for Yuck
1- pukes up stomach to attack
2- conjoined with the dessicated husk of a twin
3- covered in blisters and boils save vs disease
4- smeared in excrement
5- filled with festering wounds and chunks of rotting meat sv vs disease
6- covered in thick mucus
7 - attempts to implant an egg in victims eye
8 -  projectile acid vomit
9 - camouflaged with dead bodies
10 - carry bags of offal and trash
11 - covered in mucas
12 - vomits up its own stomach

Tsather Scrouge modified with S is for Sorcery
1- moves with blinding speed, extra attack per round
2- turns invisible 1d3 rounds
3- shapeshifts into giant spider
4- turns in to type 1 demon (Vrock)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

One year tuned to Channel Zero

One year ago today, I launched this blog with an inauspicious entry, followed up by my first real entry two days later. Since then I've made 66 posts and racked up roughly 51,000 unique page views.  Not bad for a little blog about RPGs. My goal was to post at least once a week. I didn't quite make that even though I had more than 52 posts in a year. Here's to another year! Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Campaign Update

I'm currently running four different campaigns. A few folks I spoke to at NTRPG con seemed surprised that I ran so many. I don't think so. The four campaigns work about to be about 4-6 sessions a month. Personally, I'd like to fit in a few more, but those pesky things like "work" and "kids" come up. 

I run two games of Swords and Wizardry, both set in Greyhawk. One is with my regular group that has been together for over ten years. The characters are level 4-5. They recently completed the Lost City of Barakus, and have hooks leading to The Ghost Tower of Inverness, White Plume Mountain, and Lost Caverns of Tsjocanth. Where will they go? (FYI, you can't get those last two in PDF as far as I know. WOTC reprinted them in a hardback not long ago.)

The second group, which has some overlap with the first, started when some friends asked if I would run a monthly D&D game for them. Of course, I agreed. They started out in the Village of Hommlet. Now they are all about level 3 now and poking around outside the Temple of Elemental Evil.

I also run two online games. I started a Dark Heresy game almost 2 years ago with a group of friends who I play 40k with. There were 7 people in the game, and scheduling started becoming difficult. The Dark Heresy system was also becoming a problem with that many players. We had a 3 hour combat that lasted over 30 rounds. Some of the characters ran out of ammo. I deicded to split the group in two. One group continued with Dark Heresy, the other group decided to go with DCC.

The Dark Heresy campaign is nearing it's climatic end. The characters are in the middle of Dead Stars, the last Haarlok trilogy adventure, and approaching Ascension level. Playing once a month, we  will probably take the rest of this year to finish. I suggested that we start a Rogue Trader game next and everyone seemed excited about that idea.

In the DCC game, the characters are all level 2. They recently raided the home of the Emerald Enchanter and are about to come face to face with him again, in the Emerald Enchanter Strike Back. I'm not sure where they will go next. There are so many good DCC adventures. I run the game as an episodic semi-sandbox. I give them leads to a few different adventures and let them choose where to go. I think The God Seed Awakens may play a part.  +Paul Wolfe writes weird stuff.
I like weird.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

North Texas RPG con 2015 Wrap Up

NTRPG con 2015 was a blast! The daily blogging of the con didn't really work out though. Besides Wednesday, I stayed well past midnight every night. Then I was back again each morning by at least 10 am. It was awesome.

Thursday, I spent the day browsing the vendors and talking to folks. I spent a few minutes talking to +Doug Kovacs and bought some of his sweet prints. I may have a science fantasy problem. That evening, I played in  +Michael Curtis's DCC Lankhmar game. I can't wait for this to be released. I really like what Mike and the DCC crew are doing with Lankhmar. My two favorite adaptations are the carousing charts and the player background abilities. The carousing charts allow characters to regain luck by blowing their loot. Sometimes, bad things happen. +Paul Wolfe ended up naked and nearly toothless after his bout of carousing. The background abilities allows some limited "multi-class" skills. Our band had a thief who could cast a spell, a wizard who was highly skilled with short swords, and a very sneaky warrior. After the game, the whole group hit the Black Blade booth and snapped up lots of cool new DCC stuff.

Friday started off with a second pass through the Black Blade booth. I was so tired when I went through the night before I was sure I had missed some cool stuff. I was right. I picked up the Judge's Guid reprints of Tengel Manor and Citadel of Fire. Next, I played in the new DCC adventure Against the Atomic Overlords run by the man himself, +Edgar Johnson. Post-Apocalyptic science fantasy fires all my brain cells. I think my cleric may have interrogated the AI a little more than was needed. I needed more details! It was so cool I bought two copies of the adventure. (Update: Another copy arrived in the mail today. I  pre-ordered it, so now I have 3 copies. Look for a future giveaway!)

That night, I sat down for some true old school AD&D with +Allan Grohe. The party was exploring his version of the Lost Caverns of Tsjocanth. Allan is a great DM. Not only did he have a Gygaxian-like knowledge of AD&D, he handled 8 players without breaking a sweat. Somehow, I ended up mapping and managed to not get us lost. The group was so into exploring the dungeon I think we forgot what we were looking for. That's okay, there was an epic battle against a group of fomorian giants that was better than any loot.

Saturday morning, I was up at the con bright and early to run my DCC Thundarr game. This was the my first convention game in about 20 years. I normally only run games for people I know, so I was a little anxious. I shouldn't have been. It was a blast! The players were an awesome bunch. I even got a round of applause afterwards. DCC Thundarr will be back in 2016!

That night, I played a second game of AD&D this time with +Jon Hershberger. Another Master of the Dungeon who handled our large and rowdy bunch with much aplomb. Jon was running an AD&D conversion of Rob Kuntz's Maure Castle, specifically the "Chambers of Antiquities" level. The highlight of this game was an epic battle against a hydra-headed juggernaut. After we finally downed the beast, Jon said something along the lines of "Most groups bypass the Juggernaut, rather than fight it..." I set it on fire. Just to be sure.

While I was playing, BadMike walked by and told me I had won something in the raffle and I should stop by the booth later. Turns out I had won EVERY pacesetter games adventure in PDF! Too cool.

Sunday, sadly I did not make it back up to the con. I was really wiped out and I had to travel for work early the next day, so I decided to stay home. I know I missed out on lots of cool stuff though.

Besides the folks I mentioned above I also met lots of great people for the first time. In no particular order: +Brenda Wolfe +David Baity +Jeremy Whalen +Josh Mcqueen +Alex Perucchini +Jim Wampler +Marc Bruner +Richard LeBlanc +Nick J  Apologies to anyone I missed!  See everyone in 2016!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

North Texas RPG con Wenesday Night

I don't know if I'll be able to keep up with blogging everyday, but I'm going to try. I'd heard that there might be a few things going on Wednesday night. I went up to the hotel last night to check it out. A few things indeed! There were tons of games being run and some of the vendor booths were even open. I may have spent some money. I also got to meet Mike Curtis, Steve Perrin, and Jim Wampler!

I played in +Richard LeBlanc's play test of his new mini game based on his Valley of the Five Fires adventure. It's a great little game.  Reminds me of those games that used to come folded up in Dragon magazine.  Rich also smoothly talked me into play testing some new OSR rules for him, like that was hard. Psionics anyone? I only snapped two photos last night. I'll try and get some more today.