Sunday, November 28, 2010

Deviant Sunday - C Walton Edition

[I just noticed that this didn't post on Friday - sorry!]

CWalton does a lot of work, conceptual and otherwise, for the good folks at Privateer Press, publishers of the Iron Kingdoms setting that mashes fantasy with steampunk and giant robots. I never played or owned anything from the Iron Kingdoms, but I did have a soft spot for the art, which, though a bit outside my wheelhouse, was always infused with a sense of fun and passion. Oh, also, the Satyxis are just plain cool. Enjoy.

Not a brand of vacuum cleaner built by an ancient Germanic tribe ...

The reference in the title is completely lost on me. Image makes me think of a steampunk drider (a reference that is lost on probably 99% of the population of the Earth).

Kinda Gamma-Worldy, this one - or RIFTSy

Sorry, close as I could get to Red Sonja this time around

'Twas the Night Before Cyber Monday ...

Okay, I'm not going to be clever with a parody of that well known poem, so I'll just get down to it. I just marked all my NOD and PARS FORTUNA books 10% off for the holidays. In addition, the good folks at Lulu are giving some discounts of their own. Enjoy!

And don't forget to check out the Old School Renaissance storefront at Lulu for all sorts of awesome. Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

On Western Venatia - Part Sixteen

About 3 weeks out from publishing NOD #6 (I hope). I have about 80 more encounters to write and a few other things to polish off, including level 3 of Izrigul's Pleasure Palace. Busy busy.


2109. A horde of 50 lepers are on the march through this hex, pilgrims from Lyonesse making their way to the medicinal springs in [2013] that are now menaced by giant rock weasels. The pilgrims are led by the paladin Sir Juste, and his companions, Friar Owelle, Sir Tadith and ten fighting-men. All are mounted on warhorses and armed with platemail and shield. They are currently making camp, the named characters and men-ar-arms in pavilions, the lepers under the stars. Friar Owelle owns a magic rope, the silk entwined with silver thread. When laid on the ground in a roughly circular shape, it acts as a Protection from Evil spell for those located inside the circle.

| Sir Juste, Knight of the Jaguar, Paladin Lvl 6: HP 41; AC 2 [17]; Save 11; CL/XP 7/600; Special: Detect evil, protection from evil, immune to disease, cure disease 2/week, lay on hands (12 hp), turn undead as 4th level cleric, immune to fear, allies are +2 to save vs. fear. Platemail, shield, lance, long sword, holy symbol, jaguar skin worth 25 gp worn as a cape, 20 pp.

| Friar Owelle, Cleric Lvl 4: HP 16; AC 2 [17]; Save 12 (10 vs. paralysis & poison); CL/XP 5/240; Special: Spells (2nd), turn undead. Platemail, shield, mace, holy symbol, magic rope (see above), 17 pp.

| Sir Tadith, Fighting-Man Lvl 4: HP 24; AC 2 [17]; Save 11; CL/XP 4/120. Platemail, shield, horseman’s axe, lance, dagger, 16 pp.

2115. The most poweful clan of orcs in the Gaestly Hills are the Bloody Fangs. The Fangs are the most barbaric and superstitious of the orc clans, as their territory borders the land of the Barrow Fiends. The Bloody Fangs consist of 250 black orc warriors. Black orcs have blue-black skin and red-rimmed eyes. They are devotees of the demon prince Orcus, and many show signs of demonic heritage. Black orcs wear armor of iron scales, iron shields painted with bloody fangs, light crossbows and battle axes. The Bloody Fangs dwell in a cavern lair. The entrance is about ten feet above a boulder-strewn field.

The Bloody Fangs are led by Thangblad. Thangblad maintains a bodyguard of six zombies. He is assisted by 20 sergeants.

Treasure: Kept in a locked chest. Consists of 150 gp, 800 sp and 1,700 cp.

| Thangblad, Orc Adept Lvl 6: HP 28; AC 5 [14]; Save 10 (6 vs. undead); CL/XP 7/600; Special: Rebuke undead as 3rd level cleric, spells (2nd), berserker. Leather, shield, rusty spear caked with dried blood.

| Black Orc: HD 2+2; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 weapon (1d8+1); Move 9; Save 16 (12 vs. undead); CL/XP 2/30.

| Black Orc Sergeant: HD 4+4; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 weapon (1d8+1); Move 9; Save 13 (9 vs. undead); CL/XP 4/120.

| Zombie: HD 2; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d8); Move 6; Save 16; CL/XP 2/30; Special: Immune to sleep and charm.

2128. This area of the Grete Myre, nicknamed the Pismyre, receives most of the run-off from Antigoon’s open sewers. It is inhabited by several gangs of gulguths and at least thirty otyughs. Encounters with one or both occur whenever one travels through the area (1-3 = 1d8 gulguths, 4-5 = 1 otyugh, 6 = both), so the locals avoid it at all costs.

2138. Sailor’s Rest is an interdimensional rest home for sailors. One will spot Vikings, New England whalers, Chinese merchants and Napoleonic sailors in this place, all living in a large manse that appears to have been built from ship wrecks. The men are stereotypical old salts. They live off of fishing and crates of foodstuffs and spirits salvaged by mermaids from lost ships. Visitors are welcome, and can expect a supper of hard tack, salt pork, fish stew, turtle soup, grog and plenty of tall tales.

The sailors never leave their home (except by death, when they are given a Viking funeral), so they know little of the surrounding area. Since most do not come from Nod, only a few are knowledgeable about the Tepid Sea or Mother Ocean. All of them know of the Meistersinger [1229], for he visits every few months to swap stories and sing shanties.

The old men have no real treasure, for they’ve little need of it. One might find a silver pocket watch or some scrimshaw. They arm themselves with broad swords and hafted hooks.

| Old Salt (25): HD 4; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d8); Move 12; Save 13; CL/XP 4/120; Special: None.

2207. Wulum the Bald, a hefty barbarian prince has built a small motte-and-bailey fort in this hex in a wide valley of soft, green meadows watered by a sparkling stream. The southern half of the valley is hemmed in by chalk cliffs (worked by a few stout halfling miners in Wulum’s employ), while the northern walls of the valley are old, weathered basalt and studded with small caves.

The castle is constructed of creamy, white stone and pine and inhabited by a small court of servants and laborers, 12 tawny-headed berserkers and 15 men-at-arms equipped with ring armor, shields, spears and short bows. Wulum is tall and quite fat, and despite his wild, ice-blue eyes and unkempt black beard, very logical and intelligent, traits not normally associated with barbarians. He hails from the Chimeria (located north and west of this region). He is happily wed to his court magician, Orandjia the Grey, a high-born exile from Blackpoort with grey eyes, long, black hair worn in braids and a delicate face that belies the woman’s powerful ambition and hatred for her city of birth.

The castle is surrounded by several hovels inhabited by a mix of human, halfling and dwarf yeomen – mostly herders of sheep and cultivators of flax and rye. They are currently constructing a dye house.

Wulum is a tremendous host, sharing all he has with visitors provided they show he, his wife and his people respect and provide good company.

Treasure: 2,790 gp, 5 lb of cocoa (100 gp/lb), 2 lb of tobacco (100 gp/lb), 12 barrels of ale (30 gal., 250 lb, 6 gp each).

| Wulum the Bald, Barbarian Lvl 12: HP 84; AC 6 [13]; Save 4; CL/XP 12/2000; Special: Immune to backstab and flank bonuses, berserker (+2 to hit and damage, -2 to AC for 12 rounds, fights beyond 0 hit points while berserk).

| Orandjia, Magic-User Lvl 8: HP 18; AC 9 [10]; Save 8 (6 vs. spells); CL/XP 10/1400; Special: Spells (4th). Robes of dark blue velvet over comfortable clothing, a slim crystal wand and silver dagger.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

New Class for Thanksgiving: The Puritan

A while back, I got it into my head to design classes based on characters from fiction, since there are indications that AD&D rangers are really just Aragorns (why else can a woodsman specifically use crystal balls?) and the barbarian class owed a bit to everybody's favorite Cimmerian. Thus were born the Beastmaster (to be published one day), the She Devil (again, you'll have to wait) and today's blog post, the Puritan. The Puritan can be regarded as a darker alternative to the Paladin (the turkey leg to the paladin's turkey breast, so to speak). Enjoy - and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


Historically, the puritans were an English religious sect that operated in the 16th and 17th centuries. The terms “puritan” and “preciseman” were coined as insults; the people called themselves “the godly”. The puritans, by and large, were interested in returning Christian worship to what they believed was a purer form. In general, this involved problems they had with the trappings and rituals of the Catholic Church and its progeny, the Anglican Church. In England and the United States, puritans are often associated with strict moral guidelines, religious zealotry and witch hunts.

Religious reformers offer little grist for the mill when creating a new character class, unless Robert E. Howard enters the picture. In 1928, Howard introduced Solomon Kane in a story entitled “Red Shadows”.

Solomon Kane is an English puritan who leaves his country to adventure. As with many adventure-oriented characters of the time period, very little time is dedicated to Solomon Kane’s history, although the poem “Solomon Kane’s Homecoming”, we learn that he lost his love, Bess, at some point before he became an adventurer. During the course of his adventures, Kane battled brigands, sorcerers, pirates, vampires and slave-traders. Most of his adventures take place in Europe and Africa.

Prime Attribute: Wisdom (13+ for 5% XP bonus)

Hit Dice: 1d6+2/level (Gains 2 hp/level after 10th)

Armor Permitted: Leather, ring armor, buckler.

Weapons Permitted: Any.

Puritan Class Abilities
Puritans have a +2 bonus on saving throws made against fear and its effects. In addition, they have a +2 bonus on saving throws made against the spells and magical effects of creatures of chaos or evil.

Puritans enjoy a +1 bonus to hit and damage creatures of chaos or evil. Moreover, their weapons are capable of damaging creatures normally only damaged by magical or silver weapons.

When a puritan turns his gaze on a creature for at least one minute, he can determine that creature’s alignment. This cold stare is unnerving to those of a chaotic or evil disposition, forcing them to succeed at a saving throw or hurry away.

A puritan’s devotion to the gods of law grants him the ability to turn undead, as a cleric, but at a -2 penalty. In addition, he can call down one minor miracle (i.e. level one cleric spell) each day simply by grasping a holy symbol or book and invoking the name of his Creator. The puritan does not have to memorize or prepare this spell in advance. At every odd level, the puritan gains the ability to call down one additional level one cleric spell, thus two at third level, three at fifth, four at seventh, and so on.

Hit Dice

Image: Puritan Jemuel Landes regards traveler "Steel" Sullivan with some suspicion - he claims to be a "football" star from the land of Cleve, but he's probably a witch. Art by J. C. Leyendecker via Golden Age Comic Book Stories.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Random Musings of the Day

Item One
This ...

... is cool. Eric Canete - check him out, won't you. He'll show up on Deviant Friday sooner or later. Never watched much of the old Gargoyles cartoon, but I can certainly get behind Demona.

Item Two
Are pen and paper games ahead of the curve? Consider - in the case of rules-lite games, you have a slim set of rules to which you can add modules/house rules (i.e. apps) to build the experience you want, as opposed to something like Warcraft, which offers some pretty cool features, but forces everyone into the same experience. Want the ability to fly around on dragons and joust - no problem in Rules-Lite Pen and Paper - heck, somebody probably already wrote some rules for that. Want to do it in Warcraft (and honestly, maybe you already can - I have no idea) - you'll need to ask and they'll need to put it in a list of things to do and then debate on whether this is an idea that will be popular with everyone - oh, and you'll need to have a subscription of some sort. Most rules-lite and rules-lite supplements are either free or very cheap. Maybe pen and paper has a brighter future than we all thought in a world of program-it-yourself entertainment?

Item Three

Random Thoughts Table (Roll D4)

1. Did I remember to extinguish the hearth before I left on this quest?
2. You know, I really like pretzels.
3. Is that idiot seriously going to tap that damn 10-ft pole on every floor tile in this hallway?
4. I should totally stab the thief in the back - he'd never see it coming.

My best friend drew up a random table for one of his characters (Rygar the Last), which included things like accidentally discharging his crossbow. Good times.

Item Four
Anyone want to trade a black and white illo for NOD #6 for a full page ad of their choice in the magazine. I'm writing up the next level of Izrigul's Pleasure Palace (the best - and only - multi-level dungeon ever published in NOD). The whole level was designed as a theater by the demon Izrigul and features two factions at eternal (and pointless) war with one another. The troops on one side are tieflings in the style of Spanish soldiers from the 17th century armed with staffs that shoot rockets/sparks and sabers. The other side is composed of bugbears with snow white hair in the style of the powdered wigs of the time, wielding halberds and hand axes and dressed like 18th century French soldiers. I'd love a pic of one facing off against the other. Think opera/ballet meets D&D. Email me if you're willing and able.

That's all for today - much writing to do ...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

On Western Venatia - Part Fifteen

Fifteen parts, and probably fifteen to go before I publish NOD #6.

0816. Fifty industrious gnomes have established an iron mining operation here. They are led by Morgenstern, a gnome veteran of countless campaigns against the kobolds. The gnomes live in their mine and have smelting ovens near the river. They are on good terms with the surrounding wildlife, and thus are rarely surprised by intruders.

The gnomes have an illusory trap of a flood filling the canyon. Those who fail their intelligence save will pantomime being carried away by the waters, rolling around on the ground and eventually coming to rest a mile away having suffered 3d6 points of nonlethal damage.

Treasure: Silver nuggets (10, worth 100 gp), 20 gp and three casks of brandy.

| Gnome: HD 1d6; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d6); Move 12; Save 18 (16 vs. illusions); CL/XP 1/15; Special: Cast phantasmal force once per day. Leather armor, pick, throwing axe.

| Morgenstern, Fighting-Gnome Lvl 5: HP 32; AC 3 [16]; Save 10 (8 vs. illusions); Special: Cast phantasmal force once per day. Military pick +1 (hums in the presence of silver), throwing axe, chainmail hauberk, shield.

0831. This portion of the woodland is dominated by a great hemisphere of granite pocked with caves and covered by ancient, twisted pine trees. The mound, referred to as Bear Mountain, is surrounded by lush fields of clover and wild flowers. Black bears and a clan of werebears dwell in the vicinity. The black bears, numbering 30, live in the mountain caves, coming down to the meadow and woods to hunt and frolic.

The werebears live in hive-shaped stone huts on the meadow. They keep bees and are noted for their skill in sorcery, a pursuit not usually associated with their kind. The clan consists of seven werebears led by an old male called Troff and his mate, Lir. The other clan members are all evocators (i.e. 3rd level magic-users). The werebears are presently quite pleased with themselves, as they have just created the world’s first honey golem, which they plan to use as a guardian for their domain.

Treasure: The werebear’s treasure is kept in a hollow place beneath the floor of their huts. It consists of 3,950 sp, 770 gp. They also have 8 barrels of mead (30 gal. each, 250 lb), worth 8 gp each.

| Werebear Evocator (4): HD 7+3; AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claws (1d3), bite (2d4); Move 9; Save 9 (7 vs. spells); CL/XP 9/1100; Special: Lycanthropy, spells (2nd).

| Lyr, Werebear Magic-User Lvl 7: HP 37; AC 2 [17]; Save 9 (7 vs. spells); CL/XP 10/1300; Special: Lycanthropy, spells (4th).

| Troff, Werebear Magic-User Lvl 9: HP 38; AC 2 [17]; Save 7 (5 vs. spells); CL/XP 12/2000; Special: Lycanthropy, spells (5th).

| Honey Golem: HD 5 (18 hp); AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 slam (2d6); Move 9; Save 12; Special: Immune to magic, half damage from piercing and slashing weapons, sticky, summon swarm. Grappled victims must pass a strength save or be engulfed and suffocate. Cold effects deal no damage to honey golems, but acts as a slow spell.

0909. Two strongholds overlook this river canyon that approaches Pfeife. One is commanded by the chaotic Lord Dross, the other the lawful Lord Pinkel. Dross and Pinkel are brothers with an unceasing hatred of one another. They inherited their strongholds from their father, the elder Lord Dross, a powerful and respected Knight of the March. The brothers routinely fire volleys of stones and arrows at one another’s castle, and are likely to consider any intruders in their valley to be on the other side’s payroll. Neither brother allows his henchmen to cross the river. Each noble commands 20 men-at-arms in chainmail, shield, short sword and light crossbow.

1733. Simonya of the Seven Symbols, a grand dame among elves and a well practiced sorcerer, occupies a tall tower on the banks of the river here. The tower rises five stories, with domestics and guardsmen quartered on the ground floor, a great hall of learning and a great hall of celebration on the second story, an armory and balconies on which rest ballistas on the third story, living quarters for Simonya and her court on the fourth story, and the sorceress’ laboratory and library on the fifth story. All in all, it is a cozy and well defended position, and the ballistas give her sway over all shipping traveling to and from the city-state of Amvianda. In fact, the great bolts fired from the ballistas are connected to large winches via thick, iron chains, allowing ships hit by the bolts to be reeled in and generally torn apart.

The tower is guarded by a deployment of elves from Amvianda, for Simonya is a close cousin of that city-state’s Steward. The elf guardsmen wear uniforms of red leather studded with bronze and carry long swords and longbows. Their sergeant, Cearas, is a handsome elf of the old blood with the eyes of an eagle and the tongue of an adder.

The Great Hall of Celebrations is notable primarily for its model of the great hippodrome of Nomo done in precise miniature. In this model, Simonya keeps several teams of horses and charioteers, all shrunk by magic. She and her court often gather around the hippodrome, miniaturizing visitors and challenging them to race or be fed to her oft invisible cat.

Simonya got her nomenclature from her centuries long search for the seven symbols that, together, form a glyph of the true name of the demon prince Uvall. She now seeks the fabled Crown of Cykranosh, which is said to hold clues on how the symbols might be assembled and Uvall summoned. She believes the crown to be hidden within the so-called “World Below”, a vast dungeon extending under much of the Klarkash Mountains.

Treasure: 1,320 sp, 4,270 ep, 750 gp, 240 pp, sapphire worth 7,200 gp, electrum toe ring worth 80 gp (taken from a lich, turns the toe black) and a brass arm band worth 115 gp in the shape of nymphs and satyrs.

| Simonya, Elf Magic-User Lvl 14: HP 29; AC 9 [10]; Save 4 (2 vs. spells); CL/XP 16/3200; Special: Spells (7th), elf abilities. Dusky-skinned and painfully thin. She is scheming and casually cruel, but does honor contracts and show hospitality to guests.

2013. The mineral springs here once boasted a small shrine often visited by pilgrims in search of relief for their ills. In recent years it has been taken over by a boogle of five giant weasels. The shrine consists of a rose-blush marble cuppola containing a limestone effigy of Saint Osgiua the Sublime, a priestess of Angita, a demi-goddess of healing and witchcraft.

| Giant Weasel: HD 3+3 (24, 19, 16, 11,10 hp); AC 6 [13]; Atk 1 bite (2d6 + blood drain); Move 15; Save 14; CL/XP 5/240; Special: Drain blood (automatic 2d6 damage).


Art by Todd Lockwood - one of the many fine pieces he did for 3rd edition D&D.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Deviant Friday - Yildiray Cinar Edition

Cinar does some really nice comic work. I especially like that he is able to breathe life into these characters - make them vital and current - without needing to modernize or gimick-up their costumes.

My favorite X-Man - at least in the era I read comic books.

If the New Gods were public domain, I'm fairly sure a cult of Darkseid would show up somewhere in NOD.

If you're a fan of ROM, check out my stats for the Astral Knight.

I like Captain Marvel almost as much as Popeye (which, if you know me, is quite a lot).

I love the joy in this picture - the love of beauty, strength and doing good.

Somebody needs to put a "robot fighter" class into something, somewhere if they haven't already.

Few villains have gone through more costumes than Catwoman. I might like this one best.

And three of Howard's creations (well, Red Sonja isn't really, but close enough for government work)

I made a puritan class based on this guy - I'll get to posting it one of these days.

Something to write a paper on - the modern fascination men have with women who could kill them. Is it a new ideal of feminine beauty - respect for feminine power, or an expression of geeky men trying to master our Fear of Girls?

PARS FORTUNA Complete Rules Are Go!

I've doggone gone and done it - PARS FORTUNA is up for sale. I'm nervous as hell about this one - so many more "moving parts" than the NOD magazines. If any errata come up, I'll post it on the site as a free download, of course. Fortunately, Lulu is running a sale right now - 20% off anything with the coupon code DONE305 at checkout.

And don't forget to pick up a PARS FORTUNA t-shirt - 'cause, you know, metal apes on t-shirts are all the rage these days.


A review has appeared at Geordie Goes Gaming!

The basic rules were given a thorough review at Aeons & Augauries by JD Jarvis.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Legend of NOD!

Or rather, the legend for the maps of NOD. Long delayed, but here it is ...

I think that covers the bases.


In other news ...

The descriptions of the Hexcrawl Classics I'm writing for Frog God Games are up on their site. The first one is actually Valley of the Hawks. I just saw a sketch of the cover and it looked pretty sweet - I'll share it here when it's finished (and I get permission).

Speaking of sweet art, the illustration of the goddess I submitted to James Maliszewski's Petty Gods project was just posted on his site (and to the right). If it's any indication, the art for this project should be quite nice indeed!

I received the final piece of art for PARS FORTUNA today - I should get the complete rules up on Lulu today or tomorrow. Very excited about that! I'll also be starting a series of blog posts on "The Making of ..." to give you an idea for my process if you want to make a PARS of your own. In fact - maybe I can compile some fan made material for a free companion PDF to PARS FORTUNA.

With PARS out of the way and work proceeding nicely on Hexcrawl and NOD, I'll be able to devote more time to the Mystery Men! rules. Joel should begin working on the illustrations soon, so hopefully I'll have some sketches to show off in the near future.

Got a few ideas for blog posts bopping around in my brain. I'll announce one tomorrow - think dungeon crawl.

Stay tuned!

Monday, November 15, 2010

On Western Venatia - Part Fourteen

Still moving ahead with Western Venatia and NOD #6.


0518. A large village occupies the southern shore of Lake Krusk. The village is collection of longhouses constructed of stone taken from the surrounding cliffs, which happen to be made of travertine. Despite the simplicity of the occupants, each house is worth a good sum if one were able to carry the stone away through the winding, evil valleys of the Klarkash Mts to a lowland market.

The people of the village, Zamat-on-Krusk, are humans, but with more than a little hobgoblin blood flowing through their veins. They have orange-red skin, protruding jaws and stiff, black hair with the consistency of straw. Born mostly of slave-stock, they are fiercely independent folk and prone to react violently to provocation.

While the main industry of Zamat-on-Krusk is fishing and the production of fish oil (the Zamati know a process of distilling the fish oil to produce a pungent sort of naphtha), it is also a trading town, receiving goods from amoral merchants that with to trade with the goblin-folk of the mountains and serving armies of orcs, goblins and human bandits on the march.

Zamat-on-Krusk has a 30-ft tall wall and a standing army of 50 men-at-arms, half armed with crossbows and axes and the other half with pole arms. The villagers do most of their fishing with a legendary breed of giant fishing eagles. Some of these eagles are trained as war beasts – they do not carry warriors, but instead harry besiegers from the air. The village supports three large road houses located outside the village walls. These roadhouses cater to travelers – mostly bandits, hobgoblins, goblins and orcs.

Zamat-on-Krusk is governed by a council of chiefs, the population being divided into multiple close-knit clans headed by hereditary chieftains. The chieftains rarely convene – usually only in times of war or other severe crises, and when they do their first order of business is usually a series of violent challenges to determine who shall serve as head of the council and de facto ruler.

0609. Atop a hillock there is a lone pine tree that sings melancholy dirges heard up to 9 miles away. Anyone foolish enough to harm the tree is immediately set upon by a pack of four hounds of Yith.

| Hound of Yith: HD 3; AC 1 [18]; Atl 1 bite (1d6+1); Move 18 (F25); Save 14; CL/XP 7/600; Special: Baying (cause fear 100-ft), harmed only by magic/silver weapons, fly, magic resistance 10%,

If the vandals survive, they are attacked for twelve more nights by more hounds, with the pack expanding by one hound each night. On the thirteenth night, they will face Arawn, a death god.

| Arawn: HD 20 (137 hp); AC -5 [24]; Atk 2 club strokes (1d6+5); Move 15 (F15); Save 2; CL/XP 28/6800; Special: Cast spells as 20th level druid, death spell 1/rd (as black ray from eyes), immune to damage dealing spells and magic weapons, magic resistance 50%. Looks like a pale man in a black cloak and sable tunic wielding a large +3 club.

The ground around the tree is littered with copper coins, some several centuries old. Adventurers can take the coins without fear of reprisal, finding 20-80 with each hour of searching until a total of 4,000 have been recovered.

[Because hey - what kind of jerk beats up a tree suffering from depression?]

0613. The White Wolves are a small hobgoblin tribe that dwells in a cave lair. They keep six carnivorous apes and 50 goblin slaves. The White Wolf clan consists of 200 warriors. The warriors wear chainmail and wield short swords and throwing axes, with half of the tribe also carrying pole arms and the other half short bows. The goblin slaves can be equipped with spears and clubs in a pinch.

Each platoon of ten hobgoblins is commanded by a sergeant-at-arms (2 HD) with chainmail, polearm and longsword. The White Wolves are led by Grishna the Flayer. He is an old, large, gnarled hobgoblin covered in decades of scar tissue. Grishna is a canny tactician who has held his own in many campaigns against the knights of Pfeife, Blackpoort and Guelph.

Grishna is assisted by a wizened old female hobgoblin shaman called Fruze. Fruze has been around even longer than Grishnak and bears a special hatred for the Pfeifers that wiped out her old clan, the Dragon’s Tongue hobgoblins.

Treasure: 270 cp, 270 sp and 250 gp locked in an iron chest that is kept beneath a boulder in Grishna’s chamber.

| Grishna, Hobgoblin Fighter Lvl 6: HP 27; AC 0 [19]; Save 9 (7 vs. disease); CL/XP 6/400. Heavy flail, dagger, +1 platemail.

| Fruze, Hobgoblin Adept Lvl 2: HP 7; AC 8 [11]; Save 14; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Adept spells (1st), guide. Staff, fetishes.

0711. The Goblin Tower abuts the Klarkash Mountains. Built ages ago by a dwarf lord, it has since fallen to a strange cult of goblins that worship the Gnawer at the Root. The cultists’ leader is Grinkle, an exceptional goblin shaman who uses his powers to snatch away children from all over the world, putting them to work mining beneath the tower to eventually open the tomb of the Gnawer, a creature said to combine the powers of an ancient black dragon and type IV demon.

| Grinkle, Goblin Adept Lvl 10: HP 38; AC 8 [11]; Save 6; CL/XP 11/1700; Special: Adept spells (3rd), sage. Owns a crystal ball through which he snatches disobedient children.

0804. This wide plateau is littered with the remains of a terrible battle. One can pick out dozens of skulls and skeletons of humans and hobgoblins and rusty weapons and armor that look to be a hundred years old. One side of the field contains a ruined catapult, its arm splintered. At the other there is a massive boulder from under which stick to legs still encased in armor.

The armor is +2 platemail that remains in perfect condition (if it can extracted from the boulder). The old inhabitant of the armor, a Sir Goresby, now possesses the armor. Those who wear the armor must succeed at a saving throw to avoid charging goblins and hobgoblins on sight and to avoid feeling animosity towards elves and half-elves.

At night, the skeletal warriors rise and engage in mock battle. Intruders find themselves attacked by twenty skeletons for every adventurer present. Unlike normal skeletons, they age those they hit by 1 year.


Art from Otherworld Miniatures hobgoblins boxed set.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


So, I'm still waiting for one piece of art before I can publish the complete rules to PARS FORTUNA - hopefully it won't be much longer, but I've seen a preliminary of the art and it is worth waiting for. Anyhow - missing that art doesn't keep me from posting the free download of the basic rules, a link to which can be found HERE, or on the free downloads page (see above and to the right).

I've had a blast writing these rules, trying to take a randomly generated bunch of races, monsters and treasures and making them (sorta) make sense. There are some alternate rules to try out and hopefully people who play old school rules (or new school) can find something worthwhile for their game.

If all goes well, the Complete Rules will soon be available on The print book should go for $15, the PDF for $7. The Complete Rules will contain 12 race-classes, over 120 spells new to the old school, 120 new magic items, 140 new monsters, new magic rules, alternate rules for combat, equipment and encumbrance, rules for skills and knacks (i.e. a very simple skill system), a sample sandbox setting, a sample 1st level dungeon and general conversion notes for other old school rules - including adventurer, magician and warrior classes for folks who prefer to separate race from class. All packed into about 120 pages.

For now, check out PARS FORTUNA: Basic and let me know what you think.


UPDATE: I've incorporated some corrections suggested by JD Jarvis of Aeons & Auguries (and he wrote a review of the basic rules) and Gonster of Attack Plan R, one of the erstwhile followers and friends of the blog. All the links now point to the updated document.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Deviant Friday - Christopher Burdett Edition

Christopher Burdett is a monster man - not some kind of terrible mutant who threatens all mankind, but an illustrator of monsters. Enjoy the beasties and excuse the lack of Dejah and Red. I think you Gamma Worlders out there might find some of his creations especially inspirational.

(Essentially Tiamat for a primitive planet campaign)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On Western Venatia - Part Thirteen

Ah - the unlucky post. Five more encounters for Western Venatia. If all goes well, I'll publish PARS FORTUNA this weekend. I'm still waiting for one last piece of art - if it comes through I'll publish the complete rules on - should go for $15 in book form, $7 in e-book format - and the basic rules in the free download section on this blog. If the picture doesn't come through, I'll still probably publish the free version. Cross your fingers.


1636. All that remains of an ancient elf hunting lodge is a support column carved to look like three thin beeches braided together. A stone foundation traces a large footprint – the lodge must have been quite a sight in its day. There is little rubble left from the thing, and the forest is slowly but surely reclaiming the site. Should one rap three times on the surviving column, a trapdoor will open nearby to reveal a set of stone stairs descending into a cellar. The cellar is divided into two sections. The first is a fairly common root cellar loaded with urns, amphorae and barrels of spoiled or dried foodstuffs and sour wine. In one wall of the root cellar there is a sturdy, steel door that is quite cold to the touch – cold enough that prolonged contact begins causing frostbite (1d4 damage).

Behind the frozen door there is a small chamber with steel walls that was magicked long ago into a sort of freezer. Freezer-burned sides of venison and fowls hang from hooks in the ceiling, and in one corner there is the preserved remains of two elves, a woman and man. The woman was quite old (young looking, but with long ears) and is sitting in the corner cradling the man, who was much younger than her and died of terrible wounds taken in battle. The woman wears a gown of woolen scarlet, embroidered velvet slippers worth 50 gp and a silver tiara worth 100 gp. The man wears the costume of a wealthy forester and holds in his right hand a broken long sword (once a magical +2 weapon). Upon entering the freezer, a groaning spirit will emerge from the walls of the root cellar and attempt to destroy the intruders.

| Groaning Spirit: HD 7; AC 2 [17]; Atk 1 touch (1d8 + Str); Move 12; Save 9; CL/XP 9/1100; Special: Chilling touch, keening, only harmed by magic weapons and spells.

1705. Amidst the overarching oaks and fecund ferns of the forest, a small mound of earth has been raised and topped by a small wooden idol. The idol looks very old and weathered, the wood cracked and only a few particles of paint still adhering. The idol depicts a woman of earthy beauty, its breasts swollen, belly full, hips round and face regal. Druids, even neophyte druids, will recognize this as a depiction of the one true Goddess behind all mortal conceptions of feminine divinity, and their prayers and offerings (and those of their comrades) will result in each receiving the effects of the Bless spell for one week. Offensive actions directed at the simple idol curse the druid and her friends increase the chance of wandering monster encounters by +2 (i.e. usually to 1-4 on 1d6).

1726. The banks of the river here are coated with run-off from the surrounding farms and villas. Encounters with effluvial grubs, nasty worm-like creatures who burrow and feed on human and animal waste, occur here on a roll of 1-3 on 1d6.

| Effluvial Grub: HD 2; AC 5 [14]; Atk 1 bite (1d4 + infection); Move 9 (B6); Save 16; CL/XP 11/1700; Special: Infection, effluvial gases.

1808. The remnants of a Nomoan road can be spied here, forming a small ridge among the trees and underbrush. The road is mostly overgrown, but still allows fast passage through the woods. It once extended all the way to the mineral springs in [1816]. A particularly large oak alongside the road is home to a flirtatious hamadryad who will appear to benevolent looking adventurers and invite them to dine with her. They will find that a wide stump behind the oak has been set with a fresh linen cloth, plates of silver and a meal of venison steaks and berry wine. The dryad, Salena by name, will quiz the adventurers on the goings on of the wider world, and is a fine hostess. Should the adventurers return her kindness, she will send them on thair way with a sack of goodies (treat as one week of iron rations). Should they prove violent, they will be set upon by a gang of buckawn robbers hidden nearby and poised to strike.

| Buckawn: HD 1d6; AC 2 [17]; Atk 1 dart or dagger (1d3); Move 15; Save 18; CL/XP 1/15; Special: Spells, magic resistance 10%.

| Salena: HD 2 (13 hp); AC 9 [10]; Atk 1 wooden dagger (1d4); Move 12; Save 16; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Charm person (-2 save).

1821. A tribe of skunk goblins has built a large stilt village here. The tribe numbers 125 warriors, 150 females and 200 children. The skunk goblin king is Glickwick, who is advised by Wullug the vizier. The tribe’s warriors go into battle mounted on giant killer frogs, making them a force to be reckoned with.

| Skunk Goblin: HD 1d6; AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 weapon (1d6); Move 12; Save 18; CL/XP 1/15; Special: Pungent.

| Glickwick: HD 4 (22 hp); AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 weapon (1d6); Move 12; Save 13; CL/XP 5/240; Special: Pungent. Chainmail, flail.

| Wullug, Goblin Adept Lvl 3: HP 12; AC 6 [13]; Save 13; CL/XP 4/120; Special: Pungent, spells (1st), guide. Warhammer.


Art by Dragos Stanculescu from his gallery at Elfwood.

Happy Veteran's Day

Just taking a moment to say thank you to the troops, past and present!

If you would like to do more than just say thanks - consider giving to these organizations ...

Air Force Aid Society
Army Emergency Relief
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
Wounded Warrior

We'll return to our previously scheduled gaming nonsense later tonight.


Image above is my grandfather, Dr. John H. Stewart (or Pa, as I always called him). He served in a M*A*S*H unit in Japan after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. My father served in the Air Force in the closing days of the Vietnam War. God bless them both.
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