Thursday, September 29, 2011

The horrors...the horrors...

Well I finally got my "giant book" in the mail yesterday. After months of waiting and watching the mailbox, the Tome of Horrors has arrived. I got the Pathfinder version because I've been collecting the main books for that particular game. I've never played Swords & Wizardry. I'm sure it's cool and all, but I already have the original Monster Manual 1 and 2 and Fiend Folio. Besides that, I can always back fit any Pathfinder stats into an older school game if I need to.

Pepper is not impressed by the Tome of Horrors.

This book is huge. There are 799 pages including the open game content legal document in the back. And then there's about ten pages of ads in the back for both Pathfinder and Swords & Wizardry products. I really don't mind the ads given the size of the rest of the book and the fact that about half of them feature art by Wayne Reynolds.
The first monster in the Pathfinder version of The Tome of Horrors is..The Tome of Horrors!
It is a chaotic evil construct worth 307,200 XP. An intelligent animated book that can fly, swallow victims whole and summon any monster within it's pages. It sounds kind of silly, but maybe just possible to use as a powerful arch enemy.
Bronson understands the scope and majesty of such a tome and is as enamoured with it as I.
With over 750 monsters there's enough to fill a solar system. Some of them are silly or redundant, but I like seeing the classics like the Forlarren and the Froghemoth. Plus there are several options for PC races.

I also bought the book as a collectible. I use to collect comic books, but in recent years I have tried to pick up various limited editions of games, especially Call of Cthulhu or older D&D stuff. Some for nostalgia some as investments.
Anybody else just buy stuff to collect? Sounds like an idea for future posts.

The horrors...the horrors...
 Over all I am very pleased and think it was worth the wait. This could make a lot of wandering monster tables!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Random Pulp Character Trait Tables

These tables are copied right out of the Danger Quest RPG, without the rules. I am just presenting the ideas to use as inspiration for a pulp game, or other genre with a little adaption. I personally would like to use these tables with either Spirit of the Century or the Mystery Men RPG. See the Land Of NOD blog for more information on the latter game.
The DM may allow the traits to give a bonus, a penalty or affect specific situations. They could be used as story hooks, plot ideas or even whole campaign themes in some cases.
Role two or three times on each table, writing the traits on scratch paper. Then choose one of the traits you rolled from each table. Use this combination of traits to inspire your character's background and description. This method allows for both randomisation and player choice.
Or just do whatever you want.
01-04  Wild Child
05-09  Trained From Birth
10-14  End of Innocence
15-19  Life in the Circus
20-23  Book Worm
24-28  Wonder Kid
29-31  Animal Friend
32-34  Gadget Guy
35-37  Life at Sea
38-42  Kidnapped
43-45  Military Brat
46-49  World Traveler
50-53  Nose for Trouble
54-57  Golden Gloves
58-61  Drank a Lot of Milk
62-65  Wrong Side of the Tracks
66-69  Young Detective
70-73  Fish Out of Water
74-77  To The Manor Born
78-81  Daredevil
82-85  Cloistered Life
86-89  Eternal Oath
90-93  Mystical Child
94-97  Lost Love
98-00  Create Your Own

01-09  Avenger
10-15  Thrillseeker
16-23  Protector
24-32  On a Mission
33-36  Casanova
37-44  Hunter
45-49  Diplomat
50-53  Fame
54-60  Honor
61-64  Pacifist
65-70  Patriot
71-75  Good Thief
76-82  Mercenary
83-88  Explorer
89-95  Crimefighter
96-00  Something to Prove

01-05  Alter Ego
06-10  Secret Quest
11-15  Adopted
16-20  Evil Twin
21-25  Criminal Record
26-30  Addiction
31-35  Hunted
36-40  Life Debt
41-45  Deal With the Devil
46-50  Blood Oath
51-55  Secret Love
56-60  Deadly Disease
61-65  Foreign/Alien Parents
66-70  Tormented
71-75  Shameful Memory
76-80  Flashbacks
81-85  Skeleton in the Closet
86-90  Exiled
91-95  Prophetic Birthmark
96-00  Create Your Own

01-02  Greed
03-04  Sap
05-06  Desperately In Love
07-08  Lecherous
09-10  Chip On Your Shoulder
11-16  Phobia
17-18  Scorned By Lover
19-22  Hatred
23-24  Physical Handicap
25-26  Curious
27-28  Cursed
29-30  Ball and Chain
31-32  Criminal Background
33-34  Uncouth
35-36  Practical Joker
37-38  Illiterate
39-40  Compulsive
41-43  Glory Hound
44-46  Honorable
47-48  Unusual Appearance
49-50  Berserk
51-53  Foolhardy
54-56  Shamed
57-59  By the Book
60-61  Wiseacre
62-64  Hot Headed
65-67  Blowhard
68-70  Goody-Goody
71-73  Rescuer
74-76  Arch Enemy
77-78  Prejudiced
79-80  Superstitious
81-82  Gullible
83-86  Hunted
87-88  High Profile
89-90  Family Reputation
91-92  Faint Hearted
93-94  Rum Head
95-96  Watched
97-98  Gambler
99-00  Stubborn

01-03  Star Athlete
04-06  Private Eye
07-09  Wealthy Dilettante
10-12  Ingenious Sleuth
13-15  Masked Vigilante
16-18  Romantic Swashbuckler
19-21  Ace Reporter
22-24  Honorable Martial Artist
25-26  Salty Sea Dog
27-30  Soldier of Fortune
31-33  Mysterious Spy
34-35  Exuberant Entertainer
36-38  Bold Explorer
39-40  Reformed Criminal
41-43  Wandering Gypsy
44-46  Modern Cowboy
47-49  Savvy Cabbie
50-53  Nutty Professor
54-56  Devastating Dame/Handsome Hunk
57-59  Two Fisted Scientist
60-62  Brilliant Inventor
63-65  Feisty Heroine/Gutsy Hero
66-68  Daredevil Flying Ace
69-71  Crusading G-Man
72-74  Honest Politician
75-77  Intrepid Attorney
78-80  Mystical Magician
81-83  Upstanding Citizen
84-85  Inspired Holy Man
86-88  Psychic Detective
89-91  Hopeless Playboy
92-93  Meddlesome Kid
94-96  Mental Master
97-98  Savage Wildman
99-00  Handy Mechanic

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Weird West Review!

First of all, I've been working twelve hour days and thus have fallen way behind on the September of Short Adventures challenge. I honestly don't know if I will be able to find the time to get back to it.
I don't want to just dump out crappy stuff. (Hopefully that hasn't been the case so far.)

Now to the good stuff.

Weird West is a small game with big potential. It is simple yet innovative and written straight to the point. It has to be. The rules are six pages long plus one page for the fighting chart.

Character creation is very easy. Assign four points between four attributes and choose a path. A path is basically a class and determines how the character's attributes will improve as they gain levels.
The paths are Adventurer, Gifted, Fighter and Magician.

The cool part is any of the character paths are also able to choose magic and weird abilities. The origin of these abilities are not defined in the rules themselves, so you could describe them as magic, psychic, weird science, exotic martial arts or whatever else you could imagine.

Fighting in the weird West is detailed in two pages. And that is just enough to explain initiative, typical combat options, defences, weapons and non-lethal combat.

The character's path determines how much maximum damage they could do with any weapon. For example, while an Adventurer could do 1D8 with a sword, a Magician could only do 1D4 with it.
I suppose this simulates combat training and it makes sense. It's balanced by the fact that the Magician gets a point for their Magic attribute and so can get those weird and magic abilities I mentioned earlier.
Pretty cool.

Dying! Your character may not be dying when they reach zero Stamina points. At that point you would roll a D6 and check a table to see whether they may be stunned, wounded to some degree or really kick the bucket.

Resolving non-combat actions is really easy. Notice a theme here?

Overall this game is very quick and fun to play. It would also be easy to add in stuff from other games or even adapt the genre to your own tastes.

For more information, please check out the Strange Magic blog.

Monday, September 5, 2011

[OSR Challenge Adventure #3] Desperate Measurements

Desperate Measurements
An adventure idea for the Weird West Roleplaying Game. See the Strange Magic blog for more information on this great game.
This is my attempt to write a mystery scenario. I apologize for not setting up a bunch of red herrings and plot twists, but hopefully it's enough to get started.

Get Ready: Things have settled down in Silver Gulch in the past year or so. But for a struggling undertaker, the good life can be bad for the death business.

Get Set: About a year ago people got so peaceable that the local undertaker was losing a lot of business. Deciding to take matters into his own hands he started setting up accidents, secretly goading men into duels with ugly rumors and occasionally poisoning folks. The undertaker is getting greedy. People start dropping like flies and the Sheriff is starting to smell low down dirty skunk, or some such wild west term.

Go!: Okay, this is where my idea gets sketchy. Sorry. Some clues:
1. The deceased mainly come from rich families who would spend the most on a fancy casket and funeral.
2. Physical evidence at the scene of the crime such as pinewood saw dust, a handkerchief reeking of formaldehyde or a particular brand of cigar butt stamped out.
3. The undertaker is known to be a high stakes gambler. It's rumored he owes some mighty dangerous people a heap of money.
4. The local doctor gets suspicious when he finds out the undertaker is ordering poisonous chemicals through the general store.
5. In his final act before trying to escape town, the undertaker is starting to kill anyone whom he thinks is romantic competition for the attentions of a local schoolmarm. If he realizes his crimes are close to being solved he will kidnap her and hit the trail. While twisting his pencil-thin black mustache.

Notable NPCs: Undertaker, sheriff, doctor, schoolmarm, townsfolk.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

[OSR Challenge Adventure #2] The Sheriff of Naught in Ham

The Sheriff of Naught in Ham
A short low level adventure idea for AD&D or other fantasy game.

Get Ready:  Times are tough and the characters take a job in the vermin extermination industry. Little do the suspect they may be hunting someone's pets.

Get Set:What's an adventurer got to do to get a bowel of gruel around here? The adventurers are stopped on the road to the Hamlet of Ham by a man claiming to be the local sheriff. He tells them they must help them hunt down two bears before they will be allowed to enter the hamlet. The man is actually a poacher who wants the adventurers to do the dangerous work of killing someone's pets for their valuable skins. The two bears are actually pets of a local magic user.

Go!: Little clues may tip off the players about the poacher's scheme. He doesn't know anything about law. He seems a bit too adamant about not letting them go into the hamlet before the job is done. He will avoid other people on the road. When they get to the cave where the bears live, the bears are collared and chained to stakes in the rock. The poacher will make up some far out story about subduing them earlier that day. The bears are actually quite docile. The poacher will brag that they are cowed by his presence.
The bears are actually pets of a local magic user. Their collars give them an AC bonus making them hard to hit. If the PCs don't figure out the poacher is a fake and start attacking the bears, the magic user will arrive with a couple hirelings to feed the bears. (No, he's not feeding the hirelings to the bears.)
He will of course try to put a stop to the situation. The poacher will attempt to flee. If the characters stick around and don't put up a fight, the magic user will cast detect lies to figure out what's really going on. The magic user, in his wizardly wisdom, will forgive the characters but won't be very friendly with them in future encounters.

Notable NPCs: Fake sheriff/shady poacher, two semi-tame bears, a local magic user, two hirelings.

Friday, September 2, 2011

[OSR Challenge Adventure #1] Alice Down the Rat Hole

A September of Short Adventures at Asshat Paladins
Alice Down the Rat Hole
A short adventure idea for AD&D or other fantasy game.

Get Ready: Times are tough and the characters take a job in the food preparation industry. Little do they suspect they may be on someone else's menu.

Get Set: Debts need paid and stomachs need filled. Unfortunately there seems to be no oppurtunities at the moment for brave adventurers. So they take a job in a large kitchen that caters to the king/mayor/warlord/someone important.
A pack of wererats and their pet giant rats have been stealing food and local livestock.
The princess (or daughter of the important NPC), Alice, has fallen in love with one of the wererats in his human form. She doesn't know he's a wererat or that he's also courting other women in the city. Many other women.

Go!: The characters must find a way to warn the princess or her father of the danger and prevent the princess from being turned into a wererat. They must be delicate about this or they may be accused of actually helping the wererats. Or the princess could say that the characters are actually making it up to further some scheme. And of course if the characters cause too much of a stir they could lose their jobs and desperately needed income.

Notable NPCs: A King or Mayor, his daughter, a cook or two, some wererats, a wererat Don Juan, jealous women, giant rats.

PS: A very special thank you to Blogger for constantly screwing up the spacing on my posts. Thanks!