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Friday, August 28, 2020

You Got a Job on the Garbage Barge! OSR Adventure

You Got a job on the Garbage Barge looks like OSR gold. I'll have to add it to my wishlist. I hope it is a bit like Metamorphosis Alpha but with more of a fantasy theme of course.

The idea of a massive slowly sinking barge / dungeon / thing is very evocative to me. I've been wanting to run a sci-fantasy X-Com style game for awhile with the main theme being Landlubbers vs. Aquatic Creatures.

So if you got some change jangling in your pocket check it out.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Skeleton Parasite / Possessed Flesh LotFP Class

WEAK-WILLED HOSTS ARE AN OPEN INVITATION TO US. Parasitic skeletons are said to have been created by a necromantic ritual gone awry. A small group of necromancers fell prey to their own devious machinations and their minds were trapped within spell-wrought bones. These bones thirsted for living hosts, and the trail of withered corpses from that need are littered through history in a meandering path of destruction.

The unfortunate hosts of these malign bones only last a short while (1D12 days) before their life energy is completely devoured and the enslaved flesh dies. The pale cracked parasite can only survive for 6 turns without a host before their lingering magical energy ceases to be and their bones crumble into a pile of dust; utterly destroyed.

If the unwitting host is in close range and fails a saving throw vs. paralyze the arcane-infested parasitic organism sinks in its bony fingers, grasps the spine, and then rips out the host's entire skeletal structure through the bleeding wound. The parasite then crawls in the bloody exit wound like it's a new set of clothes, before sealing up the injury. The whole process of "melding" with a host takes a full turn as the nervous system and other bodily connections join with the new skeleton. The horrendously scarred back of a host in the shape of shredded skin flaps are a tell-tell sign of bodily possession.

Parasitic bone structure can tear free of a used up host in one full round, but they can only do this if they have one hit point or more. If they are reduced to negative hit points they are trapped within the host and are destroyed along with the flesh if they are not healed before they get to -3 hit points. Those that witness a skeleton emerging this way are often traumatized.

Intelligent creatures can tell that they are "not quite right" with a roll of 2-in-6. Parasitic skeletons also have a -2 penalty to reaction rolls when they are in a host because of how unnatural they are.

In regards to healing, if your parasitic character is in a host they will heal normally but if the naked skeleton is out of a body then only the reverse of healing spells work on the bony creature. With a GM's permission damaged or broken bones can be replaced or repaired with new bones from victims the character has slain. Holy water hurts them because they are undead (even if they are wearing a living meat suit).

They can use all forms of armor, but weapons that they wield deal one dice-step less of damage. For example, a longsword would only deal 1D6 of damage instead of 1D8. The parasite has a difficult time manipulating the flesh puppet with it's spliced nerve connections. Their fists can be used as if they were a medium sized melee weapon and they deal 1D4 damage. 

Bludgeoning weapons deal full damage to them, but edged and sharp weapons deal only half damage. They are immune to sleep effects. Turn Undead affects the character as if they were an Undead of the same HD as their character level.

13+ 180000

*Constitution modifiers do not affect a parasitic skeleton's hit point total.

Thanks go to: Jeff Cape, Ignacio Bergkamp, and Shawn Urban for their feedback and suggestions on how to improve this class.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Thousand Suns: My First Impressions (Grognardia, James Maliszewski)

Thousand Suns is a game about an immense galactic empire (or federation or republic) which is starting to possibly stagnate and crumble due to inner pressure and exterior threats. That's left up to the GM of course, but there is a tone of optimism throughout the text which is refreshing. The future can ideed be bright and ripe for the picking for those willing to risk it all by hurling themselves out into the void. 

Thousand Suns... it's 100% of your daily allowance of awesome sci-fi RPG goodness! It'sssss great. :D

You can pick up a PDF or physical copy here:

The influence of Traveller is strongly felt, because it cites many of the same retro sci-fi space opera novels as its source material. As I read through it I was reminded of the Foundation books by Isaac Asimov as an example. Some of the early adventurous spacefaring episodes from The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits also came to mind as I flipped through. 

The game makes the reader dream of campaigns in which to use the resources that are provided in its inspiring pages. I want to start tinkering on GM prep for a campaign using it right away. It's nice when a game/setting can inspire that sort of excitement.

Aliens, humans, and genetically modified "clades" populate the known universe of thousands of possible worlds. The clades remind me of some of the oddly designed species in The Skyrealms of Jorune. Come to think of it... many of those species could be cut and pasted right into this game... *Tim scribbles notes* 

It seems fairly simple to design your own homebrewed species too. As I read along I really just want to make my own species and jump right into playing. I love the hooks for each of the listed species too. They are pure imagination fuel. The hooks as a mechanic is something that I suspect will grow on me even more with play.

The exact nature of the enourmous space setting however is implied rather than dictated by the text. I rather like its laissez faire old school attitude. It's modular like the rules that are provided, and it acts more like a GM's toolbox of ideas to use as you see fit. It acts more like a setting outline than a typical published setting. Take what you like and ignore the rest. In some ways it all reminds me of the GURPS: Space book which is an awesome sci-fi tome of goodness.

The main dice mechanic is roll 2D12 where rolling lower is better. Your target number is your skill rank plus your stat and you need to roll that or under to be successful. That's the meat and potatoes of it all. Nice and simple. Snake eyes (2) are a dramatic success (crit) and a 24 is a dramatic failure (fumble).

Degrees of success are counted when you roll beneath (success) or above (failure) a target number. For instance if your TN is 8 and you rolled a 5 you have 3 degrees of success. This matters for contested dice rolls and for doing extra damage in combat. The roll with more degrees of success wins.

Character creation is via point buy but there is a random method of rolling 1D12 for each stat. When in doubt I tend to opt for the random option so I'm glad that it's there.

The stats are Body, Dexterity, Perception (a bit like Intelligence too), Presence, and Will. Resolve (Social Hit Points) and Vitality (Hit Points) are derived from your stats. Initiative is rolled via 1D12 plus an average of Dexterity and Perception.

You pick a generic type of homeworld package (or roll for a random one which I prefer). Core, civilized, the marches, spacer, and wildspace are your options. This gives you some skills. If the GM has some worlds pregenerated then they will have some named planets for you to choose from that fit the type of planet you have. There are some tables to generate them later in the book which look like a lot of fun for players and GMs to use.

You can pick up to three careers or stick with one to be more of a focused character, and they give you a good many skill ranks. There are detailed guidelines on making your own careers (awesome) but the provided ones are: academic, aristocrat, army, barbarian, belter, bounty hunter, civil servant, colonist, criminal, diplomat, doctor, entertainer, journalist, law enforcer, marine, missionary, navy, pirate, rebel, scientist, scout, spy, starship crew member, survivalist and trader. Phew. That's a lot of fun options! Plus there are two psi-classes: esper and espo.

The longer you stick with one career the more Benefits you get (Assets, Membership, Retainer, and Starship Mortgage are your choices).

In regards to the skill list, there seems to be a nice medium number of them. In sci-fi games I tend to like a lot of skills and I'm happy with the ones I see in this game. It also wouldn't be hard to add in a few more as a GM. ;D You would just have to designate one stat to associate it with.

You get to make up 5 hooks that are a bit like Fate's Aspects or short phrases that help describe your character and their quirks, but the mechanical use of them is that they let you use Action Points which are a bit like Hero or Fate Points in other games. When a hook can be used in a session you get to use an Action Point. Simple enough. New characters start with 5 Action Points to burn up. You can get extra points when your negative hooks come into play during a session too. I like the versatility of the Hooks, especially as a means of bringing into play a character's background. It also seems like a nice way to differentiate one character from another.

The example aliens are standard and also retro-cool and some are quite odd like the space ents (Czanik). Groot has made that type of alien more popular though. ;D My personal favorite is the Kriilkna! They remind me of a creature formulated from the dreams of H.R. Giger and David Lynch.

There are a good variety of psi-powers but for this game I really want to hone in on a more hard sci-fi feel without them. They are there though to bring in The Force or psychic powers if that's what you like in your space knight shenanigans. 

The ships section has a good many examples for your characters to zoom around in with their FTL "D-Drives." I think there is another supplement about ships too for the Thousand Suns line.

There is so much info crammed into this book that I'll have to chat about it later.

P.S. Sorry for the amateur phone pictures but I'm a low-tech RPG caveman... "Ugh, ooh, grunt."

LotFP Style Maps Part 2

Here's another map in the same style as the last post I made. I feel like I'm finding my own style or rather my own twist to this style I saw in a Lamentations of the Flame Princess book. This next one still needs some work...

These are so fun to tinker on, and I find that I don't even mind the "mistakes." It's freeing in a way to doodle these up. :D

Sunday, August 9, 2020

LotFP Style Maps Part 1

I've been having a blast doodling up these garish blocky letter style maps. I saw this map style in a Lamentations of the Flame Princess book and wanted to put my own spin on it.

I've never enjoyed making continent maps, but this was a totally different experience! It was fun! I just improvised away. Why not give it a shot?  I like using Sharpie markers and highlighters.

Friday, August 7, 2020

#RPGaDay2020 #RPGaDay Videos


Here are some videos that I filmed for #RPGaDay2020.  I hope that I can find time to film the rest of them for the month.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Myrkálfr / Murk Elves Class for Lamentations of the Flame Princess (LotFP)

Myrkálfr (or murk elves) are the masters of stone and they dwell far beneath the surface of the world in places long forgotten or otherwise unexplored by humankind. They are also known as the Mörkalver. It is thought that they are an elf/gnome hybrid conjured by some ancient wizard but they refute that claim. Perhaps they have always been here... and wished they had never been found. Their myths talk of emerging from a hallowed deep sping at the dawn of time.

They prefer to be left alone and rarely interact with other beings, often greeting strangers with violence. Those however that choose a life of adventuring are different as they did not quite fit in with their reclusive kind. Those that flee their sheltered subterranean homelands are often ornery, mischievous, and reckless.

Myrkálfr settlements tend to be near to underground lakes and rivers. They revere water (elevating it as a deity) and love to immerse themselves in it. They use it in all manner of cultural rituals. They are known to drown those who are seriously ill or who are close to death as a form of mercy killing. At times they need to be thwarted from giving "The Kiss of Water" as they will try to kill those who will recover.

Murk elf limbs are long, thin, and spindly but they are as tough as ancient roots covered in a naturally tough skin (granting a +1 armor class bonus). Their feet and hands are broad and strong which gives them a 2-in-6 climbing ability which improves at higher levels. Their hair is often auburn, black, or red. Their mucus dripping eyes are oddly large without any pupil, and they rarely blink. They also gain skills at a reduced rate, and have the sneak attack ability like a specialist does.

Myrkálfr have an innate ability to destroy stone in all of its many shapes and varieties. While Dwarves craft exquisite tunnels murk elves dig crude utilitatian ones but at a brisk pace (they can excavate 6 plus strength modifier cubic feet of earth per hour with proper equipment). They have a +2 attack bonus to hit stone creatures in combat. Also, statues and stone creatures always take maximum damage when hit by a Myrkálfr.

Murk Elves have their own unique spell list of arcane and divine spells but they can only cast up to 4th level spells.

*Note that Myrkálfr do not get the combat maneuvers that a regular Elf has.

MU SpellsPerLvl
LvlXPHPParPoisBrthDevMagSkills1 234Climb
0-1D61014151414-- ----
101D681213141421 ---2-in-6
23200+1D6612101414+11 ---2-in-6
36400+1D6612101414+12 1--2-in-6
412800+1D641071414+12 1--3-in-6
525600+1D641071314+13 21-3-in-6
656200+1D621041212+13 21-3-in-6
7112400+1D62841212+13 3214-in-6
8224800+1D62821212+14 3214-in-6
9449600+1D62821112+14 3324-in-6
10674400+1262118+14 4325-in-6
11876720+126278+15 4335-in-6
12986310+124278+15 4435-in-6
131152000+124278+15 5435-in-6
/ lvl
+122256+16 5446-in-6

Myrkálfr Spell List

First Level
1. Bestow Elf Curse
2. Comprehend Languages
3. Cure Light Wounds
4. Detect Magic
5. Featherfall
6. Hold Portal
7. Identify
8. Light
9. Purify Food & Drink
10. Spiderclimb
11. Stone Shape (Lesser)
12. Transmute Rock to Mud

Second Level
1. Audible Glamour
2. Barrier
3. Change Self
4. Delay Poison
5. Force of Forbidment
6. Forget
7. Knock
8. Levitate
9. Phantasmal Force
10. Silence 15' Radius
11. Stone to Flesh (Lesser)
12. Transmute Rock to Bleeding Flesh

Third Level
1. Army of One
2. Dispel Magic
3. Gaseous Form
4. Hold Person
5. Magic Vestment
6. Protection from Normal Missiles
7. Remove Curse
8. Speak with Dead
9. Strange Waters II
10. Telekinesis (Lesser)
11. Water Walk
12. Water Breathing

Fourth Level
1. Airy Water (Lesser)
2. Charm Monster
3. Confusion
4. Creation, Minor
5. Cure Serious Wounds
6. Dig
7. Move Earth (Lesser)
8. Neutralize Poison
9. Protection from Normal Weapons
10. Spell Immunity
11. Wall of Ice
12. Wall of Rock

Beginning Spells

A murk elf begins play with Read Magic and 2 of the new spells found below in their spellbook.

New Myrkálfr Spells

Myrkálfr Level 4
Duration: 1 Turn/level
Range: 0
The caster of this spell creates a bubble of altered water in a body of water (or water-based medium). Within this bubble there is a breathable atmosphere. The bubble sinks in water; the center of the bubble is on the caster and moves with him. The area of effect is either a 15' radius globe, or a 30' radius hemisphere, caster’s choice. Aquatic creatures cannot swim while in this bubble, as it is only slightly denser than air. Likewise, water breathing
creatures cannot breathe within the area of affect. Intelligent aquatic creatures will not enter the area of effect by mistake.

Myrkálfr Level 1
Duration: Instantaneous
Range: Touch
This spell can bring about any number of unfortunate effects upon a being, determined by the caster and Referee. Some limits of effect must be enforced. Typical possibilities are limited to no more than a –1 penalty to saving throws or –2 to hit. These effects can have any number of creative symptoms. The victim can avoid being affected by this spell with a successful saving throw versus Magic. Non-mechanical curses might be something like: bleeding from the eyes and ears, excessive hair growth, passing gas every minute, swelling or pain in a part of the body, vomiting blood or other substances, and urinating black liquid.

Myrkálfr Level 4
Duration: Instantaneous
Range: 100'
A 20' cube of loose soil can be moved per Turn within the spell’s range. Solid stone cannot be moved.

Myrkálfr Level 1
Duration: Instantaneous
Range: Touch
This spell can form an existing piece of stone into any shape that suits the caster’s purpose, to a total volume of 2" cubed per level. While it is possible to make small crude amulets, cups, dice, holy symbols and so forth with stone shape, fine detail is not possible.

Myrkálfr Level 2
Duration: Instantaneous
Range: Touch
This spell returns a petrified creature to its normal state, restoring both life and goods. Only petrified creatures of human size or smaller, can be restored.

Myrkálfr Level 3
Duration: 1 Round/level
Range: 60'
By concentrating on nothing else and taking no other actions, the caster can move objects or creatures by concentrating on them. A total of 10 pounds per caster level can be moved 10' per Round. Living beings can also be moved, but they are allowed a saving throw versus Magic to resist being moved by the spell.

Myrkálfr Level 2
Duration: Permanent
Range: 60'
This spell turns 15 square feet of rock 10' deep into edible blood-soaked flesh for 1 day. To pass through this flesh it will need to be cut or hacked by weapons, which will reduce movement by 50%. This flesh vaporizes 1 day after it is created, and all those who ate the transmuted flesh will be nauseated for 1D4 days (-2 penalty to all rolls).

Myrkálfr Level 1
Duration: Permanent
Range: 60'
This spell turns 30 square feet of rock 10' deep into mud for 1 day. Any beings passing through the mud have their movement reduced by 90%. This mud can easily be removed and is often used by Myrkálfr to aid them in tunneling through solid stone.

Myrkálfr Level 4
Duration: Permanent
Range: 60'
The caster brings a rock wall into being that can be any form that the caster desires, to a maximum of 800 cubic feet. This wall is permanent unless otherwise destroyed or a Dispel Magic spell is cast upon it. The wall cannot be evoked so that it occupies the
same space as a creature or another object, and it must rest on a solid surface.

Thanks go to the following people who helped me make this class better: Andrew Knapp, Ian Christiansen, Jeff Cape, and Jeff Rients.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Sin-eater / Corpsegrinder Class for Lamentations of the Flame Princess (LotFP)

THE DEAD ARE CORRUPT AND THE STOMACHS OF SIN-EATERS PURIFY THEIR ROTTING FLESH. The ghastly life of the poor sods who end up devouring the dead is never chosen, rather it is often a form of punishment handed down by fate.

Theologians have debated about the qualities of these unfortunate souls who seem to be holiness garbed in disgusting wretchedness. Are they malign beings warped by arcane chaos, do they belong to a cursed bloodline, or are they touched by some cruel god? Are they even human or are they some hybrid form of life? Many believe that their souls are eternally damned as the cost for forgiving those they eat. When a sin-eater dies their bodies are salted and burned and their remains are not allowed to be buried in the hallowed ground of most cemeteries.

If society has a caste system, sin-eaters are always considered to be the lowest of the low, but they are believed to be a spiritual necessity to cleanse those who's evil deeds weigh on them. From the lowliest peasant, to the grandest King, many call for their skills ere the final end so that they might peace in the hereafter.

Some cults and churches in backwoods areas elevate their dead upon lofty external biers to let the carrion birds eat the holy meat and take it to paradise. The parts that are refused by them are considered to be sinful, and it is the grisly task of these "corpsegrinders" to finish the rest of the remains (including gristle, joints, and bones). It is believed that those who die with the taint of dark sin will rise eventually as the Undead.

Their skin is greasy, pockmarked, and sickly looking and their thick warped limbs are malformed. They require armor to be specially made or modified (150-200% of normal cost) to fit their unusual bodies. Due to their horrid appearance they have a -2 penalty for all interactions that use the Reaction Roll table.
Sometimes sin-eaters acquire memories and temporary abilities from those they devour (1-in-6 chance to start; results are left up to the referee). They often file and sharpen their ever-growing teeth which grant them a savage bite attack which increases in effectiveness at higher levels. Their bite is an extra attack that can be used in addition to other normal attacks, so for example a sin-eater could swing with a weapon and attempt to bite a foe in close range in the same round.

Sin-eaters gain half as many skills as a specialist. Once per level per day they can appear to be a rancid corpse for as long as they remain completely motionless and prone. When they play dead they can surprise foes with a 3-in-6 chance. Unless they are attacked by the sin-eater Undead will attack other targets and completely ignore them.

Alchemists have bottled their highly caustic stomach acid and it seems to be quite efficacious against Undead. This typically costs 50 silver pieces and deals 1D8 damage but with a duration of 1D4 rounds.

*Optional Ability* Referees who want this class to be a bit more over-the-top could grant a ranged vomit attack that damages Undead within a 10' range (1D8 dmg for 1D4 rounds). This ability could also replace the bite attack and damage.

XPHit PointsParalyzePoisonBreathDeviceMagicSkillsAbilities

Thanks to the following people who helped me tweak this class: Andrew Knapp, Gregorious21778, Ian Christiansen, Ignacio Bergkamp, Jeff Cape, Jeff Rients, John Scheib, and Ronnie Ortiz.

This was submitted for use in an upcoming issue of the Flame Princess Cult 'zine from Jeff Rients. It is an unofficial 'zine for Lamentations of the Flame Princess.