Explosive Runes

Kilgore on April 16th, 2010

First, a few links regarding the Magic Blast and Low Level Magic-Users I’ve been posting about lately:

M-U “Zap” Powers in OD&D
Tower of the Archmage has a whole series of blast-like powers for mages. Good ideas.

Magic Users’ Minor Abilities
Lawful Indifferent has some thoughts about coloring magic up a bit more based on memorized spells.

1st Level Magic-Users
B/X Blackrazor points out that low-level mages can be dangerous. I think he works a little too hard to show how much of a badass a first-level magic-user is, but he does make some good points.

Finally, this comment wonders if maybe “powering up” wands for magical blasts similar to creating scrolls might be the way to go. I had not considered that but am thinking it could make a lot of sense.

And a few other good links for a Friday:

Knockspell #4 is out, available from Black Blade Publishing in print or PDF.
I’m not sure why they went with perfect bound for a 64-page magazine. I’ll probably just buy the PDF for printing.

Belt of Shadows
Very nice item. I think I’ll steal it and add something to make it a bit risky to use.

Friction and Wandering Monsters
I really like the friction point idea and will be trying it out soon.

Dwimmermount goes Advanced Labyrinth Lord
James Maliszewski comments on why he made the switch to LL. Though there is a lot to like in other clone-ish games, I think that core LL’s close adherence to its source material is a very strong point in its favor. The fact that the Advanced Edition Companion allows people to play the way most of them played 1e AD&D is also very significant. Personally, though, I have no problem with single saving throw.

Have a good weekend. I’ll be traveling through next weekend and posting will probably be a little lighter than normal. But I will be bringing along an alpha printing of our homebrew game and we’re going to give it a try for the first time on its own rather than as a collection of house rules, hacks, and mods.

Kilgore on April 9th, 2010

Huntsmen of Annuvin & Cauldron Born
I’m a big fan of Prydain. Here are some write-ups from old White Dwarf and Dragon magazines.

Spell Point Systems
I’ve considered trying to run a magic-users themed campaign and using something along the lines of this customized casting scheme. Seems like it would be fun.

d6 Based Thief.. er, Specialist Skills
Raggi is looking at d6 thievery for his upcoming Weird Fantasy RPG. It looks similar to my own White Box Thievery except that he’s allowing players to choose which skills to increase when leveling up rather than specifying. That’s a great idea.

Dice Mechanics
Multi-part rundown and comparison of various methods of dicing in RPGs. Very informative.

James Games
Adventures in Gaming has closed its doors, but James Mishler has started a new game blog.

Village in Ukraine
Real place. Real creepy place.

Kilgore on March 26th, 2010

THE OCD Dungeon Doors Legend
More info on dungeon doors than you should rightfully be able to expect on a map.

After school, students morph into druids and dwarfs
A Washington Post article on D&D after school.

Harry Potter Redesign
If HP books with these covers were published, I would buy the entire series again.

Holmes YX
Sickly Purple Death Ray cooked up a Holmes expansion with lots of “plus.” Weird gods, spaceships, and radiation. Unfortunately, he’s not going to release this “walking copyright violation.”

D&D: A Cautionary Tale
A great thread over at RPG.net about the anti-D&D hysteria back in the day. I had my own tussles with this, as (I’m sure) did many readers.

Parity in Demihuman Races
I’ve never been much of a fan of the OD&D elf who is a fighting-man one day and a magic-user the next, but if you’re going to do it, don’t limit it to elves. Let dwarves and hobbits in on the fun.

Kilgore on March 5th, 2010

Parlez-vous Glantrian?: Dialects and Alignment Languages
Just Say No to alignment languages. Though I have tried using various human/regional languages before, we usually just revert to “everyone understands each other” except for some monsters. Even humanoids and tribesmen usually seem to have at least one available who can act as translator. Not realistic, I know.

Regions Sizes in a setting
Great summary of guidelines about sizing various realms on a fantasy map.

Touch of Pain
Another Bat creation. Nice alternative to shocking grasp. I’d make it 1st-level, personally.

Random Ruins
“No proper ocher wasteland or purple fungus forest would be complete without a smattering of bizarre monuments, relics, and ruins.” Developed for sword & planet but very usable just about anywhere.

OD&D+ Damage & Theory
I love the d6 and simplified monster attack/damage in the original. I will be adapting my LL game to something similar if I can work out a system that I like.

Fudge You
Either roll the dice or don’t roll the dice. But don’t pretend to roll the dice.

Fiend Folio
The FF seems to attract a lot of hate and I can’t really understand why. Plus, I had totally forgotten about a couple of those totally awesome full-page art pieces.

What Killed the Dinosaurs
No, it wasn’t Chuck Norris.

Kilgore on February 19th, 2010

An essay on “Old School Gaming”
A good write-up.

Form-Fillable LL/AEC Character Sheet
The Venomous Pao cooked up a goodie.

Frail boy-king Tut died from malaria, broken leg
Egypt’s famed King Tutankhamun suffered from a cleft palate and club foot, likely forcing him to walk with a cane, and died from complications from a broken leg exacerbated by malaria, according to the most extensive study ever of his more than 3,300-year-old mummy.

Minotaur Quarterly
I have only a passing familiarity with Mazes & Minotaurs at best, but looking more closely at the PDFs of the game and the Minotaur Quarterly webzine, I’ve got to say I’m more than a little impressed. Much more.

The GM Feedback Questionnaire…
I’ve not gamed with a large enough group of people other than close friends to really make something like this necessary, but I can see the potential value in getting concrete feedback from players.

Watchmen HeroClix
I don’t do the HeroClix thing but this Watchmen line looks sorta cool.

Kilgore on February 12th, 2010

Straight from the 1930s – Lizard Men city under LA
Mining engineer G. Warren Shufelt believed he had found the ruins of an ancient lizard man civilization under LA. Here’s a 1934 LA times headline: Lizard People’s Catacomb City Hunted. A lot more info on the story here.

Die-roll Dungeons
A discussion of randomly stocked dungeons, something I’ve always been a fan of. Specifically, the post deals with the Moldvay rules. I think this adventure creation system is based on the Moldvay tables, though I’m not 100% sure.

UPDATE: Repeated runnings of that random program appear to show a few oddities. Most results appear to be in line with expectations then you get something totally outlandish. Like:

3 Halflings (Lawful, AC 7, Damage weapon, Morale 7) HP: 7 3 1 XP: 15
70,000 platinum pieces


Traveller Tuesday: 1977 Edition Experience
The excellent Traveller series at The Sandbox of Doom continues with a discussion of experience and improving skills. I’ll admit that I never really envisioned it correctly, and we mostly ignored it. This thread at Citizens of the Imperium is a real eye-opener for me.

Legend (Editorial by Roger E. Moore, Dragon #144)
I had never read this. Great stuff. I’d like to note that I don’t think it would have been any lesser of a legendary incident had the paladin been defeated in the end. It might have been an even greater story, to tell the truth.

PC Events: Illusionist
I really like this series of tables for unusual events. From this list I particularly like 6. A new door has appeared in your room, invisible to all save you. Dare you enter it?

Random Chart: Quick NPC Concepts…
Three d66 for a basic visual hook to add a little flesh to NPCs.

Bow Ballistics and Scale
Analysis of longbow ranges at Delta’s D&D Hotspot. Very much worth looking at.

Kilgore on February 5th, 2010

Deities & Demigods: A Christian Perspective
A good quick post on this topic, and I’ve thought the same thing for a long time. A lot of people complain that D&DG is just a “super monster manual” and I’ve always thought that was what should be expected.

“O” is For Old School: Review of The Dungeon Alphabet
A good review of The Dungeon Alphabet on Gnome Stew. It’s particularly interesting because Gnome Stew focuses almost entirely on New School games, so their take on something with roots so solidly in the Old School, and their effort to describe such things to their readership, is enlightening.

Give and take combat
Using one “to-hit” roll for both sides of a battle.

Dragon Age RPG: Dark Fantasy Roleplaying
A series of level-based boxed sets from Green Ronin Games. It’s an “all-new game system that’s both easy to learn and exciting to play,” at least according to the web site. Looks like a paper-and-pencil adaptation of a computer game, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The Essential Dungeons & Dragons Starter
Speaking of level-based boxed sets, WOTC is putting out an “introductory” version of 4th Edition in a red box. It appears to be a severely cut-down version of the game, and not just a level-limited set like the Red Box of yore. I understand it’s only levels one and two, which takes only a pitifully small number of encounters to max out compared to the amount of playing that could be fit into levels 1-3 in B/X, for instance. This strikes me as a sort of “psst, kid…first one’s free” except that it’s not even free. I realize you can’t give away boxed sets for free, but I’m having trouble seeing how this is anything but a cut-down freebie intro in a box that costs $20.Still, it’s tough not to see OSR-type influence on some of the things going on in the industry.

New Middle-Earth Roleplaying Game Coming Soon!
Interesting, though I must admit I certainly see no need for such a thing.

Narn i Hîn Húrin and D&D vs Tolkien
Speaking of Middle-Earth, Monsters & Manuals has a great post on the incomplete version of the Tale of the Children of Hurin from Unfinished Tales and how the concept and setting are more akin to D&D than the Third Age Middle-Earth of LOTR. I have long been a fan of Narn i Hîn Húrin, enjoying it more than other versions of the story, but had never really made that connection. I think it’s spot on. Go read.

The Hobbit Might Be Delayed Until Late 2012
Final Middle-Earth link.

Kilgore on September 18th, 2009

Old School Emphasis: Character vs. Adventure
A “Rosetta Dungeon”?

One time at D&D camp…
Are you kidding me? There was a Dungeons & Dragons summer camp?

Giant statues reveal red hat secrets
Archaeologists think they’ve discovered the source of the red hats on the Easter Island statues.

Interview: Ed Greenwood (Part I)
Retrospective: Forgotten Realms Campaign Set
The 1e Forgotten Realms and the first few supplements were, overall, quite good and very intriguing. I bought the boxed set and a few of the supplements, though I never actually played them. I still have them, and briefly considered using them as the setting for my Labyrinth Lord campaign. I think a lot of baggage comes with FR, though, and I passed.

Relzar’s Animated Rope
Manipulate rope. Cool.

Blank Wilderlands Map
Another setting which I considered for LL but decided against. Nice map, though.

Old School Armor Class Systems Comparison (Tables)
A look at things across various systems. A result of the Labyrinth Lord change of leather armor to AC8 from AC7.