Monday, February 28, 2011

King of the Sea

For those who haven't heard of Project Rooftop, it's a nifty website where artists post redesigns for superheroes. I'll admit that about 9 times out of 10 I prefer the original design for the hero - hey, there's a reason I play old school rpg's, have a house filled with old furniture and an iPod filled with old radio shows - my tastes usually run toward the retro. Nonetheless, I love seeing artists being creative and having fun with this sort of thing.

The latest contest at PR involves redesigning Aquaman. I figured I'd post the winning redesign along with some MM! stats of the venerable sea king.

Aquaman and the JLA are, of course, the property of DC Comics and these stats are not an attempt by me to challenge their copyright or trademark or in any way infringe on their rights.


Other Business

I'm going to try to post the next step in Megacrawl 3000 later today, and tomorrow the February sales report. I'm embarking on the Mu-Pan hexcrawl that will appear in either NOD 8 or NOD 9 (and beyond), so some more fantasy-related material should be showing up on the blog soon. Right now, I'm waiting on my print copy of Ruins & Ronin to arrive, because the rules for the Mu-Pan hexcrawl will be based on that excellent game.

I'm about 75% finished with my third Hexcrawl Classic for the Frog God - the first HCC should be in print soon and the second about two months later. I'm about 50% finished with the other big project for the Frog God. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to talk about it yet, but I suppose people who check out the Frog God website and put one and one together can probably figure out what I'm doing for them.

With a successful MM! playtest out of the way, I think that project is about 90% complete. I still need to write up the sample setting and adventure (based on the playtest, with a few changes) and maybe finalize some editing, add some monsters, do the layout, etc. I think I can probably have it ready to go by late April. I still need to send out a the promised premium to the sponsors, and plan to put that together sometime this week. Playtester Crystal Franklin game me a great idea for some heroes that need to be statted up, and I've got a few more off-the-wall ideas along those lines as well, so more to come. Maybe I'll stage a few fights as well - Herculoids vs. Fantastic Four could be fun.

Final note - PARS FORTUNA officially became profitable last week, to the tune of $0.98. Since then, I sold another copy, so my profits now run over $1.50. Super value menu, here I come!

Busy busy busy, and I feel blessed for it. Have fun on the internet!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mystery Men! Play Report: OMG vs. The Clown & Brute

Last night, my little gaming group and I took MM! out for a test drive. I thought it went well, and the feedback was positive. I figured we would play about 4 hours, but the game went long without people completely losing interest (though Rygar did make an entrance that stripped away one of our sorcerers for a few minutes – hey, they guy was a Rygar addict from way back).

So, without further ado, I introduce you to the power and majesty of OMG (decided after the fact to stand for Operating Meta-Human Group). Character creation probably took about thirty minutes, some of which was spent explaining the rules. If there had been a need to create some replacement characters, I suspect it would have gone a bit faster.

There was one other hero - Random by Crystal Franklin - whose character sheet went home with Crystal. I can report that he was a drag queen based loosely on Gambit who could fly and shoot energy bolts.

So, the adventure begins ...

5:00 AM, OMG HQ, Imperial State Building: A scan of the internet brings to light a bank robbery in progress (I guess somebody tweeted it). Our brave heroes leap to action.

[Sidebar: When starting your own superhero group, you want to make arrangements for transportation. A new rule (not yet in the Gamma document) replaces money in the game for XP expenditures at character creation and feats of Charisma for later acquisition of goods. It didn't occur to OMG that they should buy a vehicle at character creation.]

The First National Bank of Shore City is about three blocks away from the Imperial State Building, so the group immediately starts trying to figure out how to get there. Two attempts are made to commandeer a van using feats of charisma, with neither one successful. The sorcerers are hesitant to spend XP from their sorcery pool to teleport, but eventually M Knight teleports himself, Emma Entropy and Nightmare to the bank, letting Anti-Spidey and Random web-swing and fly respectively.

Getting to the bank, our three heroes (yeah, they split the party almost immediately) find that the vault has been cracked using dynamite. Rushing in, they encounter three thugs armed with machine guns. The thugs beat OMG on initiative and open up with their machine guns, with Emma taking a little hit point damage. Nightmare rushes forward and takes a gunman out with his zweihander. M Knight decides to raise a wall of fire to burn them severely (yeah, they're those kind of heroes), not discounting the fact that Nightmare is in the line of fire. Emma makes an attempt to put her ally into temporal stasis to stop him, but he makes his feat roll and avoids it (yes, they're fighting each other only 10 minutes into the game - this is par for the course with these guys and I love them for it).

The wall of fire is raised, the thugs take a bit of damage (they make a dexterity feat and take only half damage) and Nightmare does the same. Taken by blood-thirst, Nightmare rushes through the flames and with a single sweep of his sword (made two extra attacks, took a -6 penalty to all three attacks), dispatches two of the remaining robbers and brings the third down to a single hit point. The thug surrenders and, surprisingly, Nightmare doesn't kill him. In the meantime, M Knight raises a wall of ice on top of the wall of fire, squelching it and creating a fog cloud. Nobody is entirely sure why this is a good plan, since it would give the thugs a chance to hide in the fog, but since Nightmare already has the last thug by the nape of his neck, no harm is done. M Knight is going to want those sorcery XP back later, though.

Having foiled the robbery, OMG does exactly what my players did when they were the Tender Blades and Wyld Stallyns – they walk away, questioning nothing. Most of OMG goes back to their HQ, while M Knight, with the help of a spell of super charisma, goes out and hires a helicopter and pilot. While in HQ, the Referee decides to goose things a bit with a skype from the police commissioner, letting them know that the thugs work for Boss Feeney, notorious crime lord.

[Sidebar: All of the Golden Age sponsors of Mystery Men! will show up in the Shore City setting. Since Tom Feeney is an old friend, his name popped into my head first, so he became a mob boss. The rest of his friends were quite enthused about tracking him down and bringing him to justice]

A plan is hatched – M Knight will cast astral projection on Random and she'll go check out the home of Boss Feeney to discover his hideout. She makes the trip, but being unable to touch or move anything makes searching difficult. Boss Feeney isn't home, his butler is sampling the scotch with his wife, and she does check out the contents of his wall safe (ledgers, papers, money, jewels, drugs) and his cellar, with its secret exit. Back home, she reports to the group and they decide to head to police headquarters to look for the location of Boss Feeney's hideout. With some poking around and a charisma feat by Anti-Spidey, they find a cop on Feeney's payroll who is willing to lead them to his hideout, located beneath a pool hall.

Once in the pool hall, OMG manages to convince the assembled toughs that they want to join the gang (another charisma feat by Anti-Spidey). Boss Feeney turns out to be harder to convince, and an energy bolt from Random that was meant to scare him instead brings an attack. This time, OMG faces off against Feeney and five thugs with handguns. Anti-Spidey invokes his black tentacles, M Knight turns to his crossbow, Random throws her energy bolts, Nightmare swings his sword, Emma starts throwing around hideous laughter and in the end the thugs are vanquished and Feeney questioned.

Feeney admits he was hired to hit the bank by a big guy with iron gauntlets to cause a distraction. All he knows is that he visited the guy on a boat (The Flying Duck) docked at the marina. OMG heads for the boat in their helicopter and discovers it has departed. Emma (now played by Jessica) uses locate object to track it, and in a few minutes they arrive to find the Flying Duck committing an act of piracy against a larger yacht.

The Flying Duck has thrown a couple of grappling hooks over to the larger yacht and the big guy – notorious super hit man The Brute – along with three thugs and two men in hi-tech armor and carrying swords – are on board, shaking down the owners. The gunmen open up on the helicopter, which takes heavy damage. OMG jumps out and the chopper flees for the city. Emma invokes a cloudkill and takes out one thug and the two swordsmen, while another gunman is downed by Nightmare and M Knight takes out a grapple with his crossbow (hey, it's a comic book).

The Brute takes a mighty leap back to his boat and Nightmare attempts to follow, but smacks into the boat and drops into the drink. While Anti-Spidey rescues Nightmare with his web power, Random peppers the boat with energy bolts. The Brute cuts the last grapple and, though he takes a energy bolt from Emma using the true strike power, manages to get the Flying Duck underway. OMG checks out the owners of the pirated yacht and find that a large, valuable diamond was stolen. For some reason they don't give chase in their own yacht, and instead head back to HQ.

Thinking it over, they decide that the diamond is probably going to be used to make a death ray of some sort. Since this is a comic book world, this is actually a reasonable suggestion. Anti-Spidey and Random hit Google, and figures out that the swordsmen are the henchmen for notorious international terrorist The Clown. The police report an hour later that the Flying Duck has been found a few miles away from the city in a wooded area. They've canvassed the cabins and found no sign of the Brute or anyone else. Investigating, they find signs that the Brute got into a heavy vehicle and headed for a main highway.

By checking some traffic cameras at the local news station, they determine the Brute was headed back into downtown. A long thinking session follows, and with a little help from the Ref, they ask the police if there have been any crimes lately that might tie into the making of a death ray. Sure enough, a month ago a scientist from some local labs went missing. The administrator of the labs is questioned, and it turns out the scientist was working on harmonic resonances a' la Tesla's earthquake machine – for peaceful uses, of course. He made a prototype machine using a large synthetic crystal, but decided he needed a massive gemstone to make it work and, of course, such items are too valuable to expect anyone to lend it for use in an earthquake machine.

So, OMG now knows what they are up against, but they don't know the target. A visit to the subway control station reveals no sign of the villains on security cameras. The controllers mention that the older, abandoned tunnels don't have security cameras and that, indeed, they can be found under most of the prime targets in downtown. OMG decides to hit those tunnels and look under the Imperial State Building, where their own headquarters is located, and they get lucky. There, almost finished setting up a new machine, is the Clown, Brute, three swordsmen (enhanced armor, energy swords, force shields) and the kidnapped scientist. A battle erupts, and in the end Anti-Spidey's black tentacles finally capture the villains while Emma gets the scientist out of harm's way and M Knight disables the machine. The day is saved and Nightmare and Anti-Spidey come close to death's door but manage to survive.

XP earned - 1,520 total, about 304 per hero.


What did we learn?

1. Crystal wishes heroes had a way to develop a signature move. I'll need to make a more clear reference to using feats to modify powers and develop such moves. Perhaps there can be an optional rule for heroes putting XP toward getting bonuses to make their signature move.

2. We learn that heroes need to put some thought into vehicles and headquarters and maybe henchmen.

3. Sorcerers need to spend XP on powers outside their sorcery pool. Once he was tapped out, M Knight was reduced to shooting a crossbow at things.

4. Likewise, it's a good idea for everyone in the group to have at least one super ability score. Failed intelligence feats to make connections and find clues and failed charisma feats to acquire items and shake down thugs made it obvious that super abilities are highly useful. This was only highlighted when the super villains, built with 40,000 XP each to give them a fighting chance against the more numerous heroes, came in with more levels. Honestly, the Clown build was sub-optimal as well – his swords were pretty pathetic, while the Brute's iron claws almost took out Nightmare.

I can think of a few rules tweaks after the game – I think the fly power needs to have a slightly improved speed and I'm pretty certain I'm going to replace Single-Use / Limited / Permanent with One per Day / Three per Day / At Will – easier to keep track of. I might add some more equipment – a communicator of some sort might be nice.

The game was fun, and I think (if I had the time) we'd make a campaign out of it. I think the proof of concept was a success and the game is just about ready to go live. I need to write up the sample setting (Shore City, Boss Feeney, etc) and put a little more work into the sample adventure, but other than that Mystery Men! is on its way!

Thanks to my players for their input and help, and if anyone else out there has play tested the game, please let me know how it went.


Sketch of M Knight by Danny Roberts. You can see his real artwork HERE.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mystery Men! Playtest Today

I finally arranged a playtest for the the game today - chips and soda is on the table, mini-adventure is written, generally ready to go. Since I had to write up a couple villains for the occasion, I though it might be nice to share.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Deviant Friday - Weiss Fabrice Edition

Weiss Fabrice - fab68 - lives in Strasbourg, which has existed between Germany and France for many years but is currently part of the former. He produces some really nice images. Enjoy.

Long John Silver

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Guides Through the Wilderness

Six guides to see your safely through the wilderness (or not!), listed in order of their “skill level” as a guide.

1. Percivius is a haughty, arrogant escaped slave who would like to believe himself a leader of men. He primarily worked as a clerk for his master. When his master expired one night from a heart attack, the manor slaves rose up, killed the guards and torched the manor, leaving Percivius out of a job (so to speak) and in just as much trouble as the others. He struck out into the greenwood and nearly died on more than one occasion, but finally made it over the mountains to a city-state where he was unknown. He now works as a wilderness guide, lecturing his charges and scoffing at every survival mistake they make along the way (and doing his best to explain away his own errors). Percivius is short and, thanks to his new life, well muscled and fit. He is balding (hiding it under a Phrygian cap), but still has a few platinum blond ringlets. He has beady eyes that suggest a life of reading by lamp light.

2. Ghadra is a sergeant in the local guard who works on the side as a guide through the wilderness. She makes patrols with her company of crossbowmen every two weeks, and tailor’s her journey to suit her employers. Ghadra is no woodsman, but she knows enough to get along. She primarily relies on strength of numbers and a knowledge of the terrain (the trails, the pitfalls, etc) to get from point A to B safely. If she perceives weakness on the part of her employers, she isn’t above a little brigandry and knows the best places to hide the bodies.

3. Northstarr is a barbarian who clings painfully to the image of the half-naked savage popularized in copper-dreadfuls throughout the Motherlands. A city boy, he set out to remake himself as a barbarian hero, dressing in a red kilt and mail shirt and carrying a bastard sword (the love of his life!). On his head he wears an ornate dragon helm that imposes a -1 penalty to hit on him in combat, but is suits him so he doesn’t really care. Northstarr is a competent woodsman, possessed of mighty thews and, though he adopts a Thulian accent and plays the strong, silent type, has an active and imaginative mind.

4. Fiona appears to be the ultimate guide – tall, fit, competent and self-confident, beautiful. Pity she’s actually a succubus who leads a party into the wilderness and then abandons them there, stealing away the most powerful warrior they have and leaving that warrior's withered remains on the trail back to town as a taunt. She never appears in the same town twice – at least not without a couple hundred years in between appearances.

5. Mavewyn in an ex-soldier, a pioneer who fought in three major campaigns before retiring and setting up shop on the newly conquered frontier as a guide. Rugged and quiet, he has a good relationship with the barbarian and humanoid tribes in the area – they may not like the incursion into their homeland, but they know he’s a man of honor and they fear his bow and blade. He balks at taking adventurers into the wilderness who aren’t at least 4th level, for after all, if Gygax had intended 1st to 3rd level characters to explore the wild, wilderness rules would have appears in the Basic Set.

6. St. Eudoxius appears to people as a young man in a woolen tunic and blue cloak and carrying a crooked staff. The patron saint of homesteaders, he often appears to those who are lost or in dire straits in the middle of the night, holding a lantern (illuminates 120-foot diameter area as though it were daylight) in one hand and a brace of conies (or whatever game is most appropriate) in the other. After a quick repast (his water skin never seems to empty), he will head off into the night, beckoning people to follow him. Saint Eudoxius knows the location of all strongholds and freeholds in an area and his presence assures one a night of safety (though if he knows a lord or yeoman to be wicked, he will advise the adventurers to quickly be on their way the next morning). He accepts donations of gold that always appear in the nearest Lawful temple or shrine the next morning.


Image from HERE

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Notion on Alignment

Every good blog / magazine / forum devoted to fantasy gaming needs to address alignment eventually, especially if it can find a way to annoy its readers in doing so. Today is the day for The Land of Nod ...

And before I go any further, this entire blog post is declared Open Game Content.

Law Means Sacrifice
Let's assume, for the moment, that human beings, and therefore characters in an RPG, have free will. They can choose to kill the goblin children or leave them alive, steal the sacred goblet or leave it alone, etc. Adhering to a code - call it Law or Good or Lawful Good or whatever - means choosing to sacrifice your freedom to do things that might seem tactically or strategically wise, or just emotionally satisfying, in deference to a higher authority. In AD&D there was a hint of this in terms of which alignments were allowed to use poison and flaming oil. Clearly, poisoning a weapon (especially when poison usually meant save or die) was tactically a smart thing to do for adventurers. Kill your opponents more quickly, save your hit points for later battles, collect more treasure and thus collect more XP. The paladin, however, chooses not to do such a thing - just isn't cricket you know! So, the notion here is that characters who choose to obtain their XP the hard way receive "compensation" from the higher powers.

Besides the assumption of free will above, an alignment system like this one makes a couple other assumptions that probably make it anathema to many campaign worlds and play styles. Understand - I'm only proposing this as a notion of how an alignment system could be modeled, not how an alignment system should be modeled. Therefore, if you feel the need to comment something like "No, this system is wrong, alignment shouldn't be handled this way at all", save yourself the trouble - I already know.

Assumption #1 - The God/Goddess/Deities of Law created the universe. This isn't too far afield for a fantasy game - many mythologies work on this concept. First their was chaos, then there were titans/giants who gave birth to the gods who destroyed their parents and used them for spare parts while creating the universe and setting up its laws physical and spiritual. If you're working on a more temporal universe or a Lovecraftian universe, this alignment system is almost certainly not for you.

Assumption #2 - The good gods are doing their best to hold back or defeat the bad gods/demons and they reward mortals for toeing the line. This alignment system operates on the idea of XP rewards for good behavior, which means experience points don't just represent training and skill, but also the blessings of higher powers. It also means there is a universal establishment of right and wrong in the campaign, and those who submit themselves to it gain a palpable benefit. If this does not fit with your or your player's sensibilities about life or how things should operate in a campaign, then this system is probably not for you.

Virtue and Vice
Now that we have the assumptions out of the way, we get to the system. Since this is a blog for rules light, old school gaming, the system is simple and draws on an existing system in the game - XP bonuses. You can use this system alongside XP bonuses for high ability scores or have it replace the existing system as you like.

Before we get into the rewards, let's discuss virtue. This article will present virtue on quasi-Abrahamic grounds, since the Abrahamic religions were kind enough to put down things like Commandments and Cardinal Virtues and Seven Deadly Sins in writing. The point here isn't to promote one faith over another. Feel free to rewrite the commandments.

Using the medieval concept of the chain of being, I'm going to put down a few commandments for adventurers in an order based on how difficult these rules would make dungeon delving. Commandment 1 is the most difficult to keep, Commandment 10 the easiest. I am then going to write down three systems of rewarding player characters with XP bonuses based on how they interact with these commandments.

Ten Commandments for Adventurers
1. You shall not murder/kill
2. You shall not steal (even from evil temples, though feel free to destroy their idols)
3. You shall defend the innocent and helpless with your life
4. You shall donate a minimum of 10% of your acquired wealth to the poor / the temple / etc.
5. You shall not use wicked tactics in combat (i.e. poison, flaming oil)
6. You shall not lie
7. You shall share treasure equally with other adventurers
8. You shall obey legal authority anointed with legitimacy by Law
9. You do not have improper relations with tavern wenches / stable grooms / etc.
10. You shall only worship (i.e. tithe, sacrifice to, call on) Law

Note that you can interpret "Law" in the above commandments as The God of Law, Creator of the Universe or The Deities of Law, Creators of the Universe or however it makes sense in your campaign.

Reward System One - Humans are Basically Evil
System one establishes that human beings are basically wicked and incapable of following any of these rules, and therefore rewards adventurers for adhering to any of these commandments. After an adventure, the Referee should award a +3% bonus to earned XP for each commandment an adventurer obeyed, working up from #10. As soon as you come to a broken commandment, the accrual of bonus XP stops.

For example, Sir Rodd of Todd gets back to town after delving in the Caves of Chaos. During that foray, he never called on Neutral or Chaotic gods, had no improper relations with men or women, obeyed the castellan and paid his taxes, shared treasure equally with the other adventurers, but did tell a lie to an orc sentry. So, he managed to obey the first four commandments, and thus earns a +12% bonus to earned experience points on the adventure.

Reward System Two - Setting Saintly Standards
In system two, we divide the commandments into the Greater Commandments (1-5) and Lesser Commandments (6-10). This scheme works much as the first, except one starts with an XP penalty and gradually lessens the penalty before it becomes an XP bonus. So, the commandments now look like this ...

1. You shall not murder/kill [+15%]
2. You shall not steal (even from evil temples, though feel free to destroy their idols) [+12%]
3. You shall defend the innocent and helpless with your life [+9%]
4. You shall donate a minimum of 10% of your acquired wealth to the poor / the temple / etc. [+6%]
5. You shall not use wicked tactics in combat (i.e. poison, flaming oil) [+3%]
6. You shall not lie [-3%]
7. You shall share treasure equally with other adventurers [-6%]
8. You shall obey legal authority anointed with legitimacy by Law [-9%]
9. You do not have improper relations with tavern wenches / stable grooms / etc. [-12%]
10. You shall only worship (i.e. tithe, sacrifice to, call on) Law [-15%]

With this scheme, you again look for the highest level of "goodness" you manage to achieve, and are rewarded accordingly. Using the above example of Sir Rodd, the best he manages to do is share treasure equally, so he suffers a 6% penalty to earned experience points.

Obviously, this represents a much more severe attitude by Law to vice and virtue, and chaotic types had better make sure they score lots of experience points with their evil, because the universe is going to be acting against them at every step of the way.

System Three - Karma
Our last system is a modification of system one. In this case, you receive a +3% bonus for each commandment you obey and a 3% penalty for each commandment you break. All commandments are considered equal in this scheme - there is no chain of commandments from low to high - every one kept is a bonus, every one broken is a penalty.

Let's again look at Sir Rodd. In our first example, we know that he kept the first four commandments and then broke the fifth. Perhaps he also abstained from wicked tactics, gave 10% of his treasure to the poor and defended the innocent with his life. That would give him 7 commandments kept (+21% XP) and 3 broken (-9%), giving him a total XP bonus of +12%.

Obviously, this is not a system for everyone. Take it as nothing more as a notion that struck me one day about how one might design an alignment system based on deeds (i.e. what you do) rather than words (i.e. what alignment you profess). If you find something of value in it, feel free to play with it, modify it and use it. If you think it sucks, feel free to ignore it.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Ripper ...

Just finished watching my first episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker (note, the presence of a colon in the title does not mean its a White Wolf product). I love it - which means thanks to Netflix I've had the chance to become a fan of two great old TV series, Doctor Who being the other.

So, the first episode concerned an immortal or ghostly Jack the Ripper. For fun, here's some stats for the ripper for both Swords and Wizardry and Mystery Men! ...


Hit Dice: 8 (60 hp)
Armor Class: 2 [17]
Attack: 1 weapon (1d8+2)
Save: 3
Special: +1 or better weapon to hit, immunity to cold, fire and poison, double damage from electricity, magic resistance (40%), spells
Move: 15
CL/XP: 12/2000

The Ripper may once have been a man, but long ago he slipped into legend as an immortal spirit of murder. He appears every few years in a different city, murders five women and announces his murders with rhyming letters sent to the authorities and then disappears. The Ripper can use the spells at etherealness, haste, jump and levitate at will. The Ripper consumes the souls of the women he kills (and only women). With each soul consumed, he gains one additional Hit Dice, six additional hit points and improves his Armor Class by one. Once five souls have been consumed, he is able to teleport to another city to continue his murder spree, his statistics being set back to those presented above.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Deviant Friday - Enymy Edition

Enymy does some nice stuff with a wild, somewhat weird, abstract style - not Erol Otus weird, in fact not very old school at all, but definitely high on the fun factor. Enjoy the images - and since they're super hero centric, I'm throwing in some stats as well ...

I kinda like the more alien feel of this Cthulhu

Yeah, Cthulhu's probably better to stat out as a monster, but what the hey ...

I don't really know who these people are, but I do like to promote the punching of national socialists in the face.

You know, I've never read any of the Hellboy universe of comics, even though it pushes many of my geek buttons. One of these days I'll have to delve in.

And be sure to check out his Marvel A to Z bit ...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

NOD 7 - On Sale Now

Well, a couple days late - not too bad for a one man operation. NOD 7 is 80 pages and includes:

* St. Valentinus - The saint and his knightly order in NOD

* Antigoon, City of the Sun - A slice of the theatrical, mercantile city-state of Antigoon

* Dress to Impress - Giving characters a reason to take a bath and put on decent clothes

* Blackpoort, City of Thieves - A wicked little city on the shores of Blackmere

* Pandaemonium - Two demon lords for NOD

* Lyoness, the Gleaming City - A city-state of knights and dames

* Cyclopeans - New race/class for PARS FORTUNA plus a mini-dungeon, the Cyclopean Redoubt

* Phantastes - Three more chapters of this classic work of fantasy

E-Book for $3.50
Print Book for $9.00

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dark Lord of the Sith for Mystery Men!

I'm finally finished editing NOD 7 and should have it up for sale tomorrow. To celebrate, I figured I'd take a crack of statting up the villain that loomed largest in my pre-teen years ...

Darth Vader
Adventurer Lvl 10

STR 10 | DEX 12 | CON 4 | INT 5 | WIL 6 | CHA 3
HP 75 | DC 20 | SPD 2 | XP 15,000 (70,000)

Powers: Catfall [P], Force Hand II [L], Haste [S], Jump [L], Mind Fog [L], Mind Reading [L], Precognition [L], Shield [P], Suggestion I [L], Super Dexterity (+6) [P], Telekinesis [P]

Gear: Lightsaber (sword + energy blade power and potent weapon), light armor (super strength +6), helm with respirator, black cloak

And since he's right there in that image above, I might as well stat out the dark lord of Latveria as well.

Doctor Doom
Scientist Lvl 8, Sorcerer Lvl 8*

STR 14 | DEX 3 | CON 3 | INT 18 | WIL 5 | CHA 5
HP 43 | DC 25 | SPD 2 | XP 22,600 (70,000 XP)

Powers: Super Intelligence (+12) [P]

Armor Powers: Armor [P], Energy Ray (Electricity) [L], Force Missiles [P], Shield [P], Super Strength (+12) [P]

Sorcery Pool: 10,000 XP

Science Pool: 15,000 XP

Gear: Heavy armor (invested with several powers – see above), green hooded cloak

* Multi-classing isn't baked into the MM! rules, but I figured they made sense with Victor. Essentially, I just split the XP remaining after powers between the two classes


Darth Vader versus Doctor Doom by Jim Califiore (TM Marvel Comics & LucasFilm Ltd.)

Read more:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

All Strong!! All Brave!! All Heroes!!

They are the Herculoids!!

After statting out the Arabian Knights, the venemous pao requested the Herculoids. My love of the Herculoids and their bizarre world of Amzot is second to nobody's, so here they are, built with 30,000 XP each ...

One of the best things about the Herculoids is that they don't seem to have ever explained them - at least not in the old days. Here's my take - Zandor was a brilliant scientist who wanted to get "back to nature", doing so on the primitive planet of Amzot. He took along his wife and son and a few creatures (part of Project Herculoid) created in his laboratory. The Herculoids are equal parts nature and science. This is the best explanation I can come up with for a guy who lives in a tree yet clearly understand high technology, and who fights using a sling shot and exploding rocks - rocks which also seem to be produced by Tundro. Moreover, if the Herculoids are just alien animals from Amzot, why don't we ever see any other of their kind roaming about?

Adventurer* Lvl 12
Str 4 | Dex 16 | Con 4 | Int 5 | Wil 4 | Cha 2
HP 64 | AC 16 | Spd 0 | XP 23,400

Powers: Heroism I-L, Super Dexterity (+6)-P
Gear: Shield, sling, 10 stones (treat as grenade)

* Okay, I just got through saying that I think Zandor is a scientist, and then I go and make him an "adventurer" instead of "scientist" - why? The scientist class in MM! is good for modeling characters that use lots of scientific gadgets, and often different gadgets in different adventures. Zandor doesn't, so I'm making him a member of the adventurer class with scientist as his background/occupation.

DORNO (Sidekick of Zandor)

Adventurer Lvl 4
Str 4 | Dex 6 | Con 4 | Int 1 | Wil 2 | Cha 1
HP 32 | AC 11 | Spd 2 | XP 3,000

Powers: None
Gear: Sling, stones (treat as grenade)

IGOO, Rock Ape

Adventurer Lvl 9
Str 11 | Dex 4 | Con 11 | Int 1 | Wil 3 | Cha 3
HP 87 | AC 15 | Spd 2 | XP 12,400

Powers: Armor-P, Enlarge Person-L*, Stoneskin-P, Super Constitution (+6)-P, Super Strength (+6)-P
Gear: None

* Based on the fact that Igoo manages to be about twice the height of Zandor in some scenes and then about two or three times bigger in others. When presented with sloppy editing - make it a power!


Adventurer Lvl 10
Str 12 | Dex 2 | Con 12 | Int 2 | Wil 5 | Cha 2
HP 92 | AC 14 | Spd 2 | XP 17,400

Powers: Armor-P, Elasticity (Legs)-L, Force Missile-P, Shield-P, Super Constitution (+6)-P, Super Strength (+6)-P
Gear: None

ZOK, Space Dragon

Adventurer Lvl 8
Str 9 | Dex 11 | Con 10 | Int 2 | Wil 2 | Cha 1
HP 66 | AC 17 | Spd 3 | XP 10,000

Powers: Armor-P, Energy Ray (4d6)-P, Fly-P, Super Constitution (+6)-P, Super Dexterity (+6)-P, Super Speed (+1)-P, Super Strength (+6)-P
Gear: None


Adventurer Lvl 5
Str 2 | Dex 17 | Con 4 | Int 2 | Wil 4 | Cha 3
HP 49 | AC 15 | Spd 2 | XP 5,400

Powers: Elasticity-P, Jump-L, Resist Energy (Electricity & Fire)-P, Super Dexterity (+6)-P
Gear: None


Adventurer Lvl 5
Str 1 | Dex 12 | Con 6 | Int 1 | Wil 5 | Cha 2
HP 43 | AC 14 | Spd 2 | XP 5,400

Powers: Elasticity-P, Jump-L, Resist Energy (Electricity & Fire)-P, Super Dexterity (+6)-P
Gear: None


Image by Nelson Daniel

Saturday, February 12, 2011

NOD 7 Cover - Reader Choice

Two nice pieces of medieval art to choose from, though to be honest, I don't this one is much of a contest ...

Vote in the comments - Demons vs. Cityscape.

NOD 7 should be out February 14th - and if there's somebody in your life who would actually want it for Valentine's Day, you are probably a lucky gamer.

Contents should include ...

Antigoon, City of the Sun
Blackpoort, City of Thieves
Lyonesse, the Gleaming City
Cyclopeans - new race/class for PARS FORTUNA + a mini-dungeon
Dress for Success - hygiene and costume in fantasy games
Order of the Flowery Skull - a religious order of bardic knights and their patron, St. Valentinus
Pandaemonium - two demon princes for your edification and enjoyment
Phantastes - another chapter or two

I'm thinking it will be in the neighborhood of 80 pages

Friday, February 11, 2011

Deviant Friday - Embley Edition

Embley is another artist who draws in the kind of quirky, weird style I like. Enjoy the mini-gallery, and be sure to check out the full gallery at DeviantArt.

This illustration was the original inspiration for the Countess Ophelia of Bodbertus in NOD 4

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