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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Systemless RPG Dungeon Adventure Coming "Soon"

I have been working on a single level of a megadungeon for about a year or so now.  It took me quite some time to write up all of the room descriptions and then rewrite them... and rewrite them...  I give writers a lot of credit as it was a lot of work.  The adventure is under 40 pages long and this thing has been tough for me to finish.  Thankfully I have a lot of contacts from people that hang out on YouTube that have helped me in the final stages to complete it.

There are plans to put the adventure up on DriveThruRPG when it is all said and done though I have to figure all of that stuff out once the adventure is finished.  Currently my drawings are being colorized and a few of them were inspired from monsters in the AD&D 1st Edition Monster Manual.

The adventure has a bit of a dark tone and I think that is most likely because I have been reading a lot of Lamentations of the Flame Princess adventures over the last year or so.  Well, that and I have a sort of demented sense of humor and a knack for coming up with some bizarre and horrible ideas to include in my RPG sessions. 

Even though the adventure is systemless I refer to some common D&D mechanics like saving throws and ability scores.  It shouldn't be hard at all to run the adventure as is with an OSR retro-clone with some work by the GM. 

The adventure is going to be called The Lair of Murcanto Salmanocko: A Megadungeon Level.  Sure, it is a fairly long name but I like it.  I currently don't have any plans to write another adventure as this one took forever to draw the art for it, but who knows, maybe I will some day. 

A friend of mine is colorizing the images right now since I tend to be a black and white only sort of artist.  Phil's (Felipe1Gojira) YouTube channel is here:

Here is a sample of the work that he is currently doing with my images.  This is Murcanto's flesh golem. 

Andre Martinez is working on the layout, and he is the main reason that I have continued on with this project.  I really don't have a high enough Ambition Stat.  Thanks Andre for being my RPG cheerleader to get this finished.  Andre has worked on Within the Ring of Fire RPG and he used to be rather active on YouTube as well. Here is a link to the YouTube channel of the author of WtRoF and to where you can pick up a PDF of it.

Matt over at AFistfulofDice edited the document and his YouTube channel can be found here:

I'll let you all know where to get the adventure when it gets completed.  Thanks.  -Tim

Monday, December 1, 2014

Keeping a Current House Rules / Rulings List

As a DM/GM in old school games, you have to come up with answers to questions from the players that aren't covered by the rules.  I think this is one of the strengths of using a rules-lite game such as Labyrinth Lord because you can craft the game to your liking very easily by adding on small layers of complexity as time goes on.  It just feels organic somehow to do this as a campaign progresses, like the game is slowly growing under your loving care.  It is like you are a gardener as you prune away rules and plant new ones.  

As a DM/GM I always want to be fair and consistent with the players.  So to make sure that happens, I always jot down the rulings I make as we play.  This way I can keep my own past rulings straight, and the players feel like they have a consistent and fair interaction with the rules and past precedents.  These rulings can also be called house rules if you like, and I think it is always important that your players know what house rules you have come up with for your games.  I always try to give my players a list of house rules before we even start playing, but some of them creep up after you start. 

So, if you are running a game out there, make sure to keep a list of what makes your game different when it concerns the rules, and your players will greatly appreciate you being organized and fair.  Also remember that the players should have some say on your house rules as well and a discussion with them at the start of a campaign about house rules can make sure that everyone is alright with them. 

Domain Spell Rituals with Many Casters

So for the Hill Canton's Domain PBEM Campaign that I played in, we were talking about the possibility of including powerful spells in the form of "Domain Rituals" that would affect an entire hex or hexes of a world map.  These would be similar in affect as the Domain/Realm spells of Birthright.  We were talking about how each Ritual would have various requirements of the number and level of the casters needed to cast the spell in question.  The world map we are currently using has 5 mile hexes.

I suggested that there would need to be a magic-user that would be the Focus Caster of the Ritual, and they would need to be of a higher level than the rest of those helping with it.  So the requirement for a certain Ritual might be that the Focus Caster must be of 5th level or higher.  In addition to the Focus Caster, there would need to be a required number of levels of helping casters, or Secondary Casters.  So perhaps a Ritual needing a 5th level magic-user might need a total of 10 levels of Secondary Casters.  So if you had four 2nd level magic-users, and two 1st level magic-users, then you would have a total of 10 levels of Secondary Casters.

We also thought about the possibility of a Ritual affecting additional adjacent hexes of the world map if there were enough Secondary Casters, or perhaps if the Focus Caster was of a level much higher than the required level for the Ritual.  The question comes down to the required extra levels that would be needed.  It also depends on how powerful you think that a bunch of clerics or magic-users should be in a setting.

If the setting is high magic, maybe the requirements would be less to affect adjacent hexes, and if the setting is low magic, maybe Rituals that affect adjacent hexes would not even be possible.  I think it comes down to the GM and what they would like out of the rules.  I'm guessing that the goal should be to come up with rules for those mid fantasy settings, and GMs can modify the requirements as they see fit.

I was trying to think of a quick formula to figure out the costs to affect those adjacent hexes from where the Ritual actually took place.  I wanted something simple, so here is my first stab at it.  I also wanted to either have a powerful Focus Caster be able to do this, and/or to have a bunch of Secondary Casters in addition to the normal requirements to affect those adjacent hexes.  So here goes:

1) If the Focus Caster needs to be of X level to cast the Ritual, then for every +1/2 X additional levels the magic-user has (rounded down) the Ritual can affect an additional adjacent hex.

2) If the Secondary Casters need to have a total of Y levels to cast the Ritual, then for every +1/2 Y additional levels of Secondary Casters the Ritual can affect an additional adjacent hex.

So using the above suggestion let's make up an example Ritual to show how I think this could work.

Ritual: Harvest Boon

Focus Caster Requirement: 5th Level
Secondary Casters Requirement: 10 Levels of Secondary Casters

"This Ritual decreases the growing time of planted vegetables in your hex by half.  This would allow a hex to have two harvests in one growing period, thereby doubling the work, and doubling the yield."

Let's say that your Focus Caster is of 7th Level, and that you have 10 total levels of Secondary Casters.  Using the above formula, you could affect the hex where the Ritual took place, and one extra hex (because you have a Focus Caster with 2 extra levels than are needed (5 divided by 2 rounded down).

Let's say that your Focus Caster is of 5th Level, and that you have 15 total levels of Secondary Casters.  Using the above formula, you could affect the hex where the Ritual took place, and one extra hex (because you have 1 1/2 the needed total levels of Secondary Casters).

The nice thing about that, is that you can have both a high level Focus Caster, and extra Secondary Casters and use both to affect more and more adjacent hexes.  Once all of the adjacent hexes have been affected by a spell, then you can go out to the next ring of adjacent hexes.  This probably would only happen for very large conclaves of magic-users or clerics however.

I think this format could be used for Divine Rituals, as well as Arcane Rituals, as I can see both working out well.  I'm not sure what the differences would be between the Divine and Arcane Rituals and their effects, but I'm sure there would be some overlap in areas.

In addition to the above, I was also thinking that other things could help out these types of far reaching Rituals.  Perhaps the following could be boons to casting bigger and badder rituals:

1) The stars are right.
2) Sacrifices (animal or humanoid)
3) Burning Spell Slots of the magic-users or clerics involved in the spell.  So they would essentially exhaust themselves of every spell slot they had for the day.  I'm guessing there would be some formula to give extra levels to either the Focus Caster, or Secondary Casters.  This might be a bad idea though.
4) Lay worshipers and lay cultists could help out, but there would need to be many of them to do so.  These worshipers/cultists would be chanting, singing hymns, dancing, smoking things, etc.
5) Alignment of the moon(s) in the night sky, or the position of the sun(s).
6) Using magically oriented crystals, or minerals that are particular to your setting.  Magic rocks can help in the casting perhaps by multiplying, or adding to the total number of casters, or the level of the Focus Caster.
7) Sacrificing powerful magic-users or clerics themselves might have a powerful effect, but with a heavy price...  The Terry Goodkind Sword of Truth series had a lot of magic items and powerful spell effects created by the loss of life of powerful magic-users, so why not here?  Perhaps every level that the sacrificed caster had would translate into twice the amount?  This might be too dark for some campaigns.
8) Summoned extra planar creatures could perhaps be conjured forth to aid in the spell casting, but with a lot of risks to those performing the ritual.  Perhaps there would be a % chance of the Ritual going awry, and perhaps performing a curse instead of a boost to what they were attempting to accomplish.

That's all I can think of right now.

The Hill Canton blog can be found here:

Elf & Magic-User Sumerian Spell Names / Command Words for Labyrinth Lord

I posted this over on the LL forum, but I figured it would be good to post the full list here.  Some of the translations of words are pretty weak, but I did the best I could with the available Sumerian words.  I think the worst translation was Reverse Gravity (because Sumerians didn't have a word for gravity).  If I couldn't find the word, I tried to boil down what the effects of the spell were, and go from there typing in words till something popped up.  I used the link to find all of these words:

1st Level LL Sumerian Elf & Magic-User Spell Names/Command Words
Charm Person "Namhili Umia"
Detect Magic "Hulu Emegar"
Floating Disk "Dirig Gur"
Hold Portal "Du Daggan"
Light "Geshnu"
Magic Missile "Emegar Gagsisa"
Protection From Evil "Shudul Hulgal"
Read Languages "Gu De Eme"
Read Magic "Gu De Emegar"
Shield "Duksium"
Sleep "Usag"
Ventriloquism "Zulun"

2nd Level LL Sumerian Elf & Magic-User Spell Names/Command Words
Arcane Lock "Emegar Za"
Continual Light "Duri Geshnu"
Detect Evil "Hulu Tuku"
Detect Invisibile "Hulu Nu Igi Duh"
ESP "Ningdirig Shu Gid"
Invisibility "Nu Igi Duh"
Knock "Gal Taka"
Levitate "Dirig"
Locate Object "Hulu Barutum"
Mirror Image "Zarbarshu Mete"
Phantasmal Force "Gidim Gu"
Web "Ash Ningdu"

3rd Level LL Sumerian Elf & Magic-User Spell Names/Command Words
Clairvoyance "Mushma Igi Bar"
Dispel Magic "Hash Emegar"
Fireball "Izi Ellag"
Fly "Barash"
Haste "Kusham Tag"
Hold Person "Du Umia"
Infravision "Mashgik"
Invisibility 10' Radius "Nu Igi Duh Eshe"
Lightning Bolt "Saggul"
Protection From Evil 10' Radius "Shudul Hulgal Eshe"
Protection From Normal Missles "Shudul Gagsisa"
Water Breathing "Asura Pag"

4th Level LL Sumerian Elf & Magic-User Spell Names/Command Words
Magic Eye "Emegar Igi"
Charm Monster "Namhili Mushhush"
Confusion "Suh"
Dimension Door "Anshag Daggan"
Hallucinatory Terrain "Kur Kalam"
Massmorph "Mah Giri Kur"
Plant Growth "Abushu Dubul"
Polymorph Others "Giri Kur Balare"
Polymorph Self "Giri Kur Ni"
Remove Curse "Hash Ash"
Wall of Fire "Egar Izi"
Wall of Ice "Egar Halba"

5th Level LL Sumerian Elf & Magic-User Spell Names/Command Words
Animate Dead "Zi Shag Gal Dugdugurhi"
Cloudkill "Dungu Gaz"
Conjure Elemental "Dim Lahama"
Contact Other Plane "Di Anshag"
Feeblemind "Huba Sag"
Hold Monster "Du Mushhush"
Magic Jar "Emegar Tigul"
Passwall "Dib Egar"
Telekinesis "Sa Sag"
Teleport "Emegar Zid"
Transmute Rock to Mud "Shu Bala Na Luhum"
Wall of Stone "Egar Na"

6th Level LL Sumerian Elf & Magic-User Spell Names/Command Words
Anti-Magic Shell "Nu Emegar Murguba"
Control Weather "Ku Gal An"
Death Spell "Dugdugurhi En"
Disintergrate "Sugzag Gu"
Geas "Gasham Duga"
Invisible Stalker "Nu Igi Duh Gissu"
Lower Water "Kita Asura"
Move Earth "Sa Lag"
Part Water "Na Deg Asura"
Project Image "Sig Mete"
Reincarnation "Kunu Sug"
Stone to Flesh "Na Ushmeda"

7th Level LL Sumerian Elf & Magic-User Spell Names/Command Words
Grasping Hand "Tab Silig"
Delayed Blast Fireball "Giri Gub Tab Izi Ellag"
Instant Summons "Inesh Dim"
Duo-Dimension "Min Anshag"
Limited Wish "Kisher Kurku"
Mass Invisibility "Mah Nu Igi Duh"
Magic Sword "Emegar Ugur"
Phase Door "Alad Daggan"
Power Word Stun "A Shum En Udi"
Reverse Gravity "Balare Shu Dub"
Simulacrum "De Uludin"
Statue "Alan"

8th Level LL Sumerian Elf & Magic-User Spell Names/Command Words
Antipathy/Sympathy "Umul Kunu" / "Umul Kar"
Clenched Fist "Mir Geshba"
Clone "Gabari"
Glass Like Steel "Anzah Kugan"
Incendiary Cloud "Manu Dungu"
Irresistible Dance "Gu Gud"
Mass Charm "Mah Namhili"
Maze "Dih Dus"
Mind Blank "Sag Nunignam"
Polymorph Any Object "Giri Kur Ningnam"
Symbol "Zib"
Trap The Soul "Ellagdu Shedu"

9th Level LL Sumerian Elf & Magic-User Spell Names/Command Words
Crushing Hand "Gum Silig"
Imprisonment "Egal"
Meteor Storm "An Amargu Ud"
Power Word Kill "A Shum En Gaz"
Prismatic Sphere "Bara Ni Karkar"
Shape Change "Egar Shu Bala"
Temporal Stasis "A'udtegiba Nu Sa"
Time Stop "A'udtegiba Gala Dag"
Wish "Kurku"