Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The implied setting of OD&D LBB + Blackmoor

 Greyhawk may have been a mistake

You may have heard about the OD&D Implied Setting, an interpretation of the implicit setting of the original edition of Dungeons and Dragons based on a close reading of encounter lists et cetera. This post is about what setting is suggested when you only use the Little Brown Books (Men & Magic, Monsters & Treasure, Underworld & Wilderness Adventures) and Blackmoot; It's not in-depth.

Races aren't different: Dwarf, Elf, Halfling, and Human.

Classes are different: Assassins, Clerics, Fighting-Men, Magic-Users, and Monks. While the core trio (Cleric, F-M, and M-U) suggest a European milieu while Assassin (if interpreted as a ninja) and Monk suggest an Asiatic milieu.

Combat uses the Alternative Combat Rules + Hit Locations. An interesting aside but combat is a bit different (and not necessarily better)  with Blackmoor, acting almost like a proto-I.C.E. system.

Monsters are a bit tl;dr but for completeness: Androids, Aquatic Elves, Bandits, Basilisks, Berserkers, Black/Gray Pudding, Brigands, Buccaneers, Cavemen, Centaurs, Chimeras, Cockatrices, Cyclopes, Dervishes, Djinn, Dolphins, Dragons (Black, Blue, Gold, Green, Red, White), Dragon Turtles, Dwarves, Dryads, Efreet, Elasmosauruses, Elementals (Air, Earth, Fire, Water), Elves, Fire Lizards, Floating Eyes, Gargoyles, Gelatinous Cubes, Giants (Cloud, Fire, Frost, Hill, Stone), Giant Beavers, Giant Beetles (Bombadier, Boring, Fire, Giant Stag, Rhinoceros), Giant Crocodiles, Giant Crabs, Giant Eels, Giant Fish, Giant Frogs, Giant Leeches, Giant Octopi, Giant Otters, Giant Sea Spiders, Giant Sharks, Giant Squids, Giant Toads, Giant Wasps, Gnolls, Gnomes, Goblins, Golems, Gorgons, Gray Oozes, Green Slimes, Griffons, Hippogriffs, Hobgoblins, Horses (Draft, Heavy, Light, Medium, Mule), Hydras, Insects or Small Animals, Invisible Stalkers, Ixitxachitl, Juggernauts, Kapoacinths, Koalinth, Kobolds, Lacedons, Lampreys, Large Insects or Animals, Living Statues, Locathah, Lycanthropes (Wearebear, Wereboar, Weretiger, Werewolf), Manta Rays, Manticores, Mashers, Mermen (Blackmoor), Mermen (OD&D), Minotaurs, Minotaur Lizards, Morkoth/Morlock,Mososauruses, Mottled Worms, Mummies, Nixies, Nomads, Nymphs, Ochre Jellies, Orcs, Pegasi, Pirates, Pixies, Plesiosaurus, Poisonous Coral, Portuguese Men-of-war, Pungi Rays, Purple Worms, Robots, Rocs, Ropers (no stats), Sahuagin, Salamanders, Sea Hags, Sea Horses, Sea Monsters, Skeletons, Spectres, Strangle Weed, Titants, Treants, Trolls, Unicorns, Vampires, Weed Eels, Whales, Wights, Wraiths, Wyverns, Yellow Molds, Zombies

The monsters deserve more discussion based on certain trends. Namely, there are a lot of very tough aquatic monsters and very few people (or demi-people) out there. On the flipside, there are very many relatively weak terrestrial creatures. Many monsters are derived from British or Greek legends.

The way I interpret this is that setting of the LBB + Blackmoor is one in which wealthy coastal cities (which are vaguely British, Mediterranean, or Asiatic) flourish while the landlocked interior is home to poor and desperate people fighting for survival and wealth. Almost anything in the interior has been plundered; there are no more tombs to plunder or dungeons to find. But in the seas, oh, in the seas! Every island, reef, and shipwreck hints at treasure and terrors.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Three-Pack of New Free Stuff

Been a minute but I've got some new material for y'all. Affiliate links ahoy although I'm not sure I even know how to link them correctly.

First is Abomination Appendix Volume I which converts several D&D 3e and Pathfinder to OSR stats. I wanted to make a more elaborate Monstrous Compendium-style write-up for each monster but I got writers' block. The appendix features:
  • Burrowers from Bastards & Bloodlines
  • Cave giants from Bestiary 3
  • Kongamoto from Nyambe
  • Merrow from D&D 5e (one of the few "new" ideas the 5e SRD made OGC)
  • Miasma serpent and avesa rakshasa from 101 Variant Monsters
  • Tunnel brutes (lawyer-friendly umber hulks) from The Iconic Bestiary
Volume II will probably tackle Green Ronin's eye kings.

Next is one that needs explaining. A guy called Skerples wrote this thing called the Monster Menu-All with rules on what happens when you eat 1e Monster Manual creatures (unfortunately he uses some homebrew hipster trash for his rules so it's less useful than it could be). We run in similar circles and someone half-jokingly dared him to do something similar for Supplement IV: Gods, Demi-gods, and Heroes. He backed out but I seized upon the idea. Now with Gods, Demigods, & H'orderves Volume I with your PCs can get cool powers from eating the Olympian gods. Incidentally, my opening blurb is an homage to this line that prefaced the RTF download for Legends & Lore on the WOTC Previous Edition Downloads page:
"There comes a desperate moment when every hero looks skyward in search of divine favor, when he raises his arms to the heavens and calls upon the cruel fates to spare his life. Who hears him?"
Last but not least is a Human racial class for B/X and Labyrinth Lord, the fruit of a old post I made a while ago. The art in the PDF is by Luigi Castellani and it's from the Scarlet Heroes Art Pack. I recommend it and all the other Sine Nomine art packs to anyone looking for free art, although there's a lack of "traditional" medieval European subject matter. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Pre-Christmas Gifts

[This post contains RPGnow affiliate links]

I recently purchased (for $0) Hack! Firearms. I found nothing interesting about it so I decided to write up my own rules. Guns is a (barely) one-page ruleset for guns that foregoes boring historical accuracy. Inspired by AD&D 2e gun rules.

Next is something that was inspired by posts at Necropraxis and Maziran's Garden about segueing into strangeness from a traditional OSR setting. So here's Sanctuary, a demi-plane made by an insane wizard to preserve cultures and train adventuer-explorers. If you need help filling in villages Raging Swan's GM's Monthly Miscellany has some free village sketches. Training dungeons can just be plopped down; for example, dungeon 1 could be Golden Eye of the Kobold King (spawns 2d4 kobolds), dungeon 2 could be B4 The Lost City (or just the top four levels; spawns 1d4+1 hobgoblins), dungeon 3 could be The Hyqueous Vaults (spawns 1d6 eel-men), etc. For portals you have to decide if all three lead to the same world/plane or different ones. For example, all three could lead to Athas (the world of Dark Sun) then north/blue could lead to Tyr, yellow/west could lead to Nibenay, and red/south could lead to The Last Sea. Or one could lead to Athas, another could lead to another setting, and the third could lead to a 3rd setting.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Free Adventures for OSR/TSR D&D

It's been a while, huh? I've uploaded some adventure modules I did a while back. If you're an /osrg/ regular then you've probably seen them but for some readers I expect this to be new. There's also other, less great stuff on the "OSR Downloads" link to your right >
People don't seem to look at those pages though. Anyway, I was going to talk a bit about the adventures, what inspired them, etc. RPGnow links contain affliate links but no one who read my blog buys anything so that doesn't matter ;_;

As is so often the case, DUNGEON PLANET is a weird chimera born from bits and bobs. Man-centipedes were inspired by Dark Souls' Man-snakes and they've kicking around in my head for a year(s?). Zhang Zhong was just a random name I came up with while working on a spell document. A planet (moon if we want to get picky) that's also a dungeon was inspired by a random thread I found ages ago asking if Dungeon World was a setting where the world was a  planetary megadungeon (hint 1: it isn't; hint 2; DW was a mistake). It was also inspired by a module called ZH-01 An Overwhelming Sense of Loss which unlike DW I do recommend (and it's free).

Structurally, the DUNGEON PLANET (yeah, the name is in allcaps all the time) is based on traditional nerd dice in a matryoshka-style configuration: Level 1 is a d20, level 2 is d12, level 3 is a d10, etc. As for the innermost level, I haven't really thought about it.

This is another weird frankenstein. As a kinda sorta weeb (Japanese media nerd) I've had a desire to do an anime- or manga-themed OSR thing for a while. The three biggest influences were Mugen Senshi Valis (the Genesis/MD game not what it has sadly become now), an OVA called Dragon Century (1st episode/god chapter only), and last but not least the manga Metro Survive. Although the Control Brain was inspired by Shin Mazinger Shougeki! Z-Hen (which was inspired by Mazinger Z: Relic of Terror). I was also playing a lot of Battle Mania Daginjou/Trouble Shooter Vintage at the time.

Charisma gives a bonus to saves because in the context of Japanese fantasy I imagined it could also represent guts/luck. If I were running it I'd have the outcome be a National Dimensional Overlay.

Yes, this entire module was written just because I thought an old pre-Weatherlight Magic: The Gathering card was really cool. Fuck the Jacetice League btw

So there it is.
tl;dr click on this for free stuff.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Some Superhero Stuff

Yep, I'm back. Not doing much better than the last time I posted though. Anyway, superheroes! Been on a bit of cape kick for the past few days. I have occasional shifts in my hobbies - D&D to comics to Transformers and back again. Oh well.

First, I've got a new DC Adventures/Mutants and Masterminds 3e page. The first write-up is Wolverine statted at Power Level 10 and coming in 150 pp, perfect for a PC pregen. I tried to make him fairly rounded while still trying to reflect his history. His complications on his older self (not Old Man Logan) before he suddenly got ALL of his memories back, with a dash of X-Men (the first movie). You could also use those stats to represent Daken or X-23/All-New Wolverine. If you're using him in a DC setting you could change Department H to Project Cadmus or add Department H as an offshoot/rival of it.

Next, I've got a Marvel Heroic Roleplaying page. Right it's only got two files, web enhancements for the core rulebook that stat Thor and The Hulk. I'm putting them up here because it took me 24ish hours of googling to find the damn things and I figured this would be easier for others. Homebrew stuff will eventually show up too.

That's all for now, happy gaming.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Monster Conversions for AD&D 2e - Golarion and Mirrodin

I did some monster conversions for 2e. I figured I'd announce it in a post and also elaborate on why I decided on certain monsters

First up, the Golarion Appendix, featuring monsters converted from Pathfinder.

Baatezu, Greater, Uniila: There are surprisingly few devils/demons/etc. that really tempt casters with power. Yeah, Succubi and Erinyes can offer sex, but casters can already get that, especially clerics of Bast. Same goes for power promised by Glabrezu. Those fiends are also really, really bad at the whole subtle evil shtick. Enter the Cabal Devil/Uniila. She doesn't say "hey I'll give you a sweet spell if you kill Timmy the blind orphan kid"; she instead tells the wizard that Timmy's heart would function as a substitute for an expensive material component, and that would be true. It's an appeal to player greed.

Frost Firs: These guys fit a niche of low-HD plant monsters to throw against PCs. I also liked how despite being Neutral Evil and outright murderous at some points they do sort of negotiate with humans, etc. It shapes itself into less of a strict "Good v. Evil, a cosmic struggle writ small on the mortal plane" vibe that gets presented when orcs and goblins are presented against humans. It's more pragmatic.

Rakshasa, Amanusya: I read this entry and I had a vision in my head of the PCs sitting in some vaguely Arabic court with minor nobles, watching a dancing girl . . . and then all of a sudden her hands and head turn the wrong way and her foot-long tongue falls out. Definitely horror check material in a Ravenloft campaign. Plus, Succubi/Erinyes are old and busted.

Shabti: My implied setting unintentionally leans toward an Arabic/Egyptian flavor so I like these guys. They also combine the two paradoxical aspects of being special but also mundane, unlike Aasimar or Tieflings.

Sphinx, Cyno-: I just love the image of this huge hound holing up in a necropolis eating and conversing with corpses. It also evokes Anubis in a neat way.

Second, the Mirrodin Appendix featuring monsters from MTG's Mirrodin block. Mirrodin was my first set (although I really didn't play until around RTR) and holds a special place in my heart. I love the lore - or at least the lore my younger self created based on the ~30 cards I had. None of this soul-trapping and interplanar kidnapping silliness, just a world of metal. So I played fast and loose with the lore.

Leonin, Mirrodin: It's a bit odd to realize it but despite appearing in five different colors there are only a handful of humans in the Mirrodin blocks. Leonin dominate white, Vedalken blue, Elves green, Goblins red, Zombies black. Mirrodin Leonin are just really cool aesthetically. I plan on tackling normal leonin at some point too.

Zombie, Mirrodin: Nim are bit non-standard (cf. Nim Abomination). The fact that they're more or less natural works as a reversal of the old "undead have no place in ecology" trope so prevalent in AD&D. Probably depart from canon even more than the Leonin.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Some Random D&D Tables

A few weeks ago I went with some family members to a garage sale. I very quickly concluded that there wasn't anything that interested me, went back to the car, grabbed a napkin and pen, and scribbled out some D&D stuff. I was inspired by Dyson's works, which I have only recently learned of. Keep in mind that these are great. Text is copied straight from the napkin with supplemental info in [brackets]. Not terrible good but they're F R E E so you're getting your money's worth.

[Somewhere] Encounters (Day)

1d4+1 lost Imperial Elves [blond pale elves dressed like Romans who behave like assholes/ Thalmor]
1 vengeful Sabre-tooth Ape [gorilla with a bite that deals 2d4 damage]
5d10 Xilgraz [fly-people; treat as dwarves] on pilgrimage
1 Human bandit, hopelessly lost
1d4+1 Wood Elf [tanned with red hair and woad, vaguely Celtic barbarians] hunter[s]
1 manifestation of the god of [I don’t now because I didn’t write it down but I probably had Hircine]
3d4 aggressive [and possibly rabid?] deer, fight to [the] death
1 singing tree [really pretty but roll to see if attracts another encounter] w/ healing fruit [1d6 red and purple fruits the size of a small melon, restore 1d4+1 hp when eaten]

[Somewhere] Encounters (Night) 
1d6+1 Sabre-tooth Apes [gorilla with a bite that deals 2d4 damage]
2d6 Lemures performing rites [preferably spooky ones]
1 screaming tree [noticeable because it has no leaves no matter the season, roll twice to see if it attracts monsters]
War-party of 3d6 Wood Elves [en route to pillage those perfidious Imperials]
1 Imperial Elf Were-Orc [treat as a 2-HD Elf in elf form and a 4-HD Orc in orc/hybrid form]
4d4 disembodied voices
1 zombie lord & 5d10 zombies
1 tragic apparition [no combat stats, turned as a skeleton]

Golem Maintenance
[for when you need to know if a golem needs a cleaning]
Golem Condition
Pristine [brand new for inorganic, fresh for organic]
Dented/nicked [has taken a few blows]
Falling apart [little bits break/flake off with every movement or hit]

Variant Dragons
[There’s a 30% that dragon you just ran into is actually a variant dragon!]
Dragon variant
Degenerate. Semi-intelligent [Int 2-4], morale 11 [can still cast still cast spells but it does so without any tactics]
Slothful. HP x 1.5 [i.e. has 50% more hp], only 1 atk/round
Albino [great way to fuck over your players]
Crossbreed. Half of body & breath weapon are of another breed [this probably needs an extra table]
Hungry [or Ravenous]. Damage [dice] increase by 1 step [e.g. 1d6 > 1d8], will eat anything organic (inc. spell books) [!]
Cursed. Is actually a human, etc., transformed into a dragon as punishment [note this can be an unjustified punishment]