Monday, August 31, 2015

Crunching Numbers, Charting the Course

Even though I don't write gaming stuff for a living (thank God), I do keep track of sales. I didn't enter publishing thinking I would make a fortune, but I do like to stay profitable - as long as I'm not losing money, I'm generally okay since I enjoy writing.

Today I crunched some numbers, and thought people might find them interesting.

I started publishing in June 2011, with NOD #1. Overall, sales peaked in in 2012/2013, and may be increasing again in the last few months ... maybe. Just for the sake of reference, I've sold a total of 4,743 units of everything I've ever published (not including free downloads of a couple issues of NOD) on

Boy, Christmas 2013 was good!

Breaking things down a bit, we see that sales have generally fallen off for most products over time. This doesn't bother me too much - I would expect sales when a product is brand new to be stronger than months or years later ... though of course, I would be very happy if they were stronger.

Blood & Treasure will get a new "edition" next year - mostly a redesign and correction of mistakes, nothing drastic (though I will be ditching the half-orc and all the demons and devils ... just kidding). NOD Companion did reasonably well, but not great. Monster Tome sales have been weak, and it was an expensive book to do due to the art costs involved. Oh well - I still think a proper fantasy RPG should have at least one monster book.

I was going to do a Pars Fortuna B&T edition, and bring Space Princess into the Grit & Vigor fold when I publish that later this year, but now I might not. Their sales are steady, and there may be no reason to mess with them other than to improve the quality and correct mistakes. I might also go for a 6x9 format on them. I didn't include a Mystery Men! chart above since I haven't been able to sell it for the last couple years (dangit). Not a canny business move on my part, but hey - live and learn!

Bloody Basic seems to be on the upswing, and I enjoy making them, so I guess I'll continue. I think the inexpensive mini-games I'm working on might also do well.

And then there's NOD.

The flagship product ain't getting it done these days. Alas. When we look at sale issue by issue ...

It's even more pronounced. NOD 1 and NOD 6 are free PDF's, so those sales can be ignored. What can't be ignored is the overall trend. NOD 25 and NOD 26 are still pretty new, but they have not reversed the trend. Worse yet, with the last 2 or 3 issues, I'm losing money on the magazine when art costs are tallied in.

So, what to do?

1) Stop making NOD. I could do the hex crawls as stand alone products and just blog the rest of it. Not a bad way to go, and in fact I've really thought about doing this. I would also revise the older hex crawls. I might even go for a "vague OSR" rule set for them, rather than B&T.

2) Improve the product. God knows there's room for improvement, both in terms of design and content.

3) Stop publishing. Magazines don't last forever, and 26+ issues of a self-published magazine ain't too bad.

My choice - Option 2, with Option 1 as a back-up plan.

Not the final art - just used for the template
I've already played with a new look for the covers, and I'm committed to getting NOD onto DriveThru/RPGNow so it gets more exposure.

I also want to bring more contributors into NOD. It's been me by myself for way too long. I want it to be more of a community magazine than just a solo project moving forward.

The problem: If I'm selling hundreds of copies, paying folks for submissions is not a problem. If I'm doing a fanzine that isn't designed to make a profit, asking for free community cooperation is not a problem (getting it might be, but asking is okay). I'm somewhere in the middle. It is a for-profit enterprise, but it ain't that profitable. What to do?

If you would like to contribute something to NOD (system-neutral, or any system which I can cover with the OGL) - and I would love to have you do so - I can pay a flat $10 per page (after layout), plus a free PDF of the magazine, plus a free advertisement in that issue (or, if you have nothing to advertise, a free PDF of anything else I've ever published). I've been asked if I would accept maps as a submission, and my answer is yes. 

New adventures (dungeons and wilderness), new spells, new monsters, new rules hacks or ideas, NPC's, mini-games, war games, comic strips, art, etc.

Any genre is cool with me - fantasy, historical, science fiction, pulp fiction, modern, etc.

I'm going to try this scheme starting now, with NOD 27 (which I hope to publish in late-September, early-October). If this seems to turn around sales and gets me back to where I'm not losing money on the deal, then NOD lives!

If not, then NOD dies and I focus on doing hex crawl adventures with more dungeons included, new monsters, maybe a new class or race (if it makes sense for the setting), etc. Basically hex crawl modules for OSR games, that also happen to fit into the LAND OF NOD setting.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Dragon by Dragon - December 1979

Depending where you are when you read this, good morning, good afternoon, good evening or good night. It's Sunday, which means it's time to crack open the vault and review another issue of The Dragon. Technically not the last of the 1970's (that would be December 1980), but for most folks, the end of the decade.

Let's take a look at the Top 10 Cool Things in The Dragon #32

Side note - cover by Phil Foglio, which means his contributions to the magazine's comics section shouldn't be too far away. Always a highlight for me back in the day.

Yes, because of Dixie. I'm a red-blooded American male, and I make no apologies for it.


When question about super high level characters (as in, "no freaking way they got there fairly), ED gives the following sage advice ...

"Cheating, yes, but who? If you refuse to play with these sorry individuals, they are only cheating
themselves of the feeling of accomplishment that comes from having honestly earned a level advancement. To each his own . . ."

Good advice then, and good now. Learn to enjoy losing spectacularly at games, and you will find them twice as enjoyable as you used to.


Charles Sagui has an article on "Poisons from AA to XX" that I enjoyed. I always like articles written from a position of authority concerning make-believe stuff, and this one has several firm rules for poisons that you might not have known:

1) Poison is restricted to Neutral and Evil characters when used against human or humanoid types ... against dungeon monsters, anyone can use poison.

2) Alchemists alone distill and manufacture poisons - magic-users, thieves and assassins who are caught making poisons are told immediately to "cease and desist" - imagine, slapping a cease and desist order from the Alchemist's Guild on a PC! Apparently, if the order is ignore, the PC "will receive a visitor who will see to it that he stops permanently." - Sounds like a fun encounter to run.

3) Alchemists learn to make poison at one strength per level of experience up to the 5th, beginning with level 0, strength "AA". At 6th, the alchemist can make strength "S" sleep poison. After 6th, he learns to make one strength per two levels, through strength "J" at 16th level. Type "X" can be made by 20th level alchemists, type "XX" by 25th level alchemists. Alchemists through 4th level make only ingested poisons. From 5th to 8th level, they make ingested plus water-soluble poisons. From 9th to 16th they learn to make contact and gaseous poisons.

4) Assassins are the main customers, and they dictate to the alchemists who can buy poison. Locksmiths are granted permission by the assassins to put poison needles and gases in locks and chests so the rich can keep their possessions safe. - This suggests that the thieves and assassins are not on the best of terms.

5) Any character is permitted to buy strength "S" sleep poison. Thieves, by paying the assassins 500 gp per level, are permitted to buy strengths "AA", "A" and "B" poison. They may buy up to 60 vials of "AA" per year, up to 30 vials of "A" and up to 15 vials of "B". Magic-users can pay 1,000 gp per level to get the right to coat darts and daggers with "AA" and "A" poison. The same buying restrictions for thieves apply.

6) A small vial of poison is enough to coat 6 arrowheads, 8 darts, 12 needles or 1 dagger or spear point. Two vials will coat a short sword. Three will coat a long or broadsword, four a bastard sword and five a two-handed sword. Each coating lasts for 2 successful hits, and up to 5 coats can be applied to a blade at a time. One vial is equal to one dose when swallowed.

7) Evil humanoids should never use more than "AA" poison. If they are employed by a powerful evil NPC, they may use up to "D".

8) Poisons found in dungeons are:

0-50% - ingested
51-80% - water-soluble
81-90% - contact
91-100% - poison gas

9) Damage from poison is taken at a rate of the minimum hit point damage for the poison per melee round (which would have been a minute, back in the old days) until max damage rolled is met. So, a poison that deals 1-10 damage would do 1 point of damage per round. If you rolled "6" damage, it would deal 1 point of damage per round for 6 rounds. A poison that did 5-100 damage would deal 5 points of damage per round.

10) When you save vs. sleep poison, you act as though slowed for 3 rounds.

11) When using poison-coated weapons, each time you draw the weapon or return it to its scabbard, you have to save by rolling your Dex or less (on 1d20, I assume), minus 1 for water-soluble and -3 for contact, or you suffer max poison damage. You also have to make a Dex save every other round for water soluble and every round for contact poison that the weapon is used in combat to avoid poisoning yourself. This applies until the weapon is washed, even if the weapon does not have enough poison left to poison opponents in combat.

12) Silver weapons will not hold poison, not will magic weapons. Normal weapons that are poison-coated gives them a dark discoloration, so everyone will know the weapon is poisoned.

Lots of rules, but actually pretty useful ones. The article then goes on to detail the different poison strengths - I won't reproduce those here.


This is a companion article to the armor article from last issue, also by Michael Kluever. Here's a bit on the Chu-ko-nu, or repeating crossbow.

"An interesting variation was the repeating crossbow (Chu-ko-nu). It propelled two bolts simultaneously from its wooden magazine, which held a total of 24 featherless quarrels, each approximately 8.25 inches long. The bolts were contained in a box sliding on top of the stock and moved into firing position by a lever pivoted to both. The throwing of the lever forward and back drew the bowstring, placed the bolt in position and fired the weapon. Chinese annals relate that 100 crossbowmen could project 2,000 quarrels in fifteen seconds. The repeater crossbow was used as late as the Chinese Japanese War of 1894-95."

Apparently I need to include it in Grit & Vigor.


You got some interesting articles back in the day. This one, by George Laking, is about aquatic megaflora, and its danger to adventurers. The info in the article was designed by the Mid-Columbia Wargaming Society of Richland, Washington. With a little searching, I found a picture of Mr. Laking and some society members from a 1978 newspaper. The internet!

So, you're first thought it - screw seaweed, bring me dragons!

You fool!

Apparently, megaflora stands capture oxygen in vast bubble domes within their branches. Within this bubble dome, there is a bunch of dry limbs and twigs from this megaflora. The interior of the dome resembles a quiet, dry forest surrounded by thick trunks. Bubble dome heights range from 4 to 40 feet, depending on the size of the stand.

Where's the danger. Well, the stands can capture ships for 1-12 hours, making them vulnerable to aquatic monster attacks.

The bigger danger is bubble dome "blows"! The domes are temporary structures. In some cases, the gas cannot escape and pressure builds up until it explodes, throwing dry branches and limbs 2d10 x 10 feet into the air in a huge fountain of water and foam! Ships will fall into the void left, and then be slammed by the walls of water rushing back in, possibly destroying the ship. A blown stand looks like a peaceful lagoon with walls of megaflora around it, quickly growing in to fill the clearing. This will be the lair of aquatic monsters, guarding the treasure left by ships destroyed in past blows.

A third danger is that pure oxygen is poisonous to people. Divide the height of the dome by 10 and take this as a percentage chance per hour that a character absorbs too much oxygen into her bloodstream. A character who reaches this threshold, upon leaving the dome, must make a save vs. poison or immediately die.

Also - pure oxygen is extremely flammable. Let's say you light a torch inside the dome ...

"(1) The initial explosion of gas would create a 6-20 die fireball of incandescent oxygen, depending on the size and depth of the bubble dome (depth of dome divided by ten equals hit dice). The size of the fireball would be half as large as the initial dome after the explosion of the gas. Saving throws would be applicable.

(2) Following the initial explosion, the fireball would immediately rise to the surface with a subsequent catastrophic inrush of ocean water onto the previously dry dome interior. Each character would have to undergo a check for system shock as the walls of water met with implosive fury. A character saving vs. system shock would only take 3-10 (d6) of damage. Failing to save means immediate death!

(3) Finally—should the character survive—an immediate check vs. oxygen poisoning would be necessary to determine if he/she had exceeded the critical threshold at that point. If so, that character would have to make an additional save vs. poison per oxygen poisoning (above)."

Frankly, a weird bubble dome dungeon would be awesome, and a great challenge. A ship gets stuck and attacked by aquatic ogres. Adventurers follow them down to retrieve something important, find a massive bubble dome with a dead, maze-like forest within it. They have to work fast to avoid being killed by too much oxygen, and there is a chance that it explodes and the ship is drawn down into sea and crushed.


From Gygax's "Sorcerer's Scroll":

"In a previous column I mentioned that I would set up an adventure where the players would end up in the city streets of the 20th century. Well, I knocked together some rules, put the scenario together, stocked the place with “treasures” of a technological sort, and sprinkled some monsters (thugs, gangs, police, etc.) around.

Much to my chagrin, Ernie the Barbarian was leading the expedition. When his party emerged from the subway—and despite the general blackout in the city due to the power failure caused by their entry into this alternate world—he stopped, looked, listened and then headed back for the “safety” of the “real world!” Some people really know how to spoil a DM’s fun ..."

Damn players.


From Jean Wells in "Sage Advice":

"The subject is dwarven women and whether or not they have beards. Last spring when we were working on the final editing of the Dungeon Masters Guide, I tried to get Gary Gygax to change the section on dwarves so that dwarven women would not have beards. Needless to say, I was not very successful.

What I didn’t realize was that for some strange reason (completely unknown to me), I had started something. I did not understand the full impact of what I had done until I went to GenCon this year. Many people stopped me in the hall to either agree with me wholeheartedly, or disagree with me and then tell me that I was crazy. Everyone knows that dwarven women have beards, they said. It did not stop there. Oh, no! We have even been getting mail on this issue. It is not too bad, but I don’t like being accused of making an issue out of the subject.

One thing that everyone who has taken sides in this issue fails to remember is that Gary Gygax wrote the Dungeon Masters Guide and it is his book. He can say whatever he wants to. You can agree with him or side with me, but either way, the person who has final say in his or her campaign is the DM. So, for all the people who have written in to agree with me or to agree with Gary, and for those who haven’t yet but were planning to, please save your breath. Gnome women don’t have beards (this is true and I am glad). Dwarven women may indeed have beards, Gary, but not in my world."

Yeah, there have always been gamers who A) didn't get that it was make-believe, and there was therefore no right or wrong, and B) didn't get that their own opinion isn't law.

Also this question:

"Question: We are having an argument over an issue that has us divided. My friends say that with a ring of telekinesis they can make an arrow spin at the speed of light and then release it, having it do between 100 and 600 points of damage to their target. I say this is impossible! What do you think?"

God - I remember these fools.


"Question: I am having a romance with a god, but he won’t have anything to do with me until I divorce my present husband. How do I go about divorcing my husband?"

Ye Gods!


For sale - crappy t-shirts.

Actually, I would wear one of these with a ridiculous amount of pride. I'm super tempted to lift the graphic and make one online for myself.

Looks like the Barbarian Shop was in a private residence:


Len Lakofka presents in this issue his insectoids, which are just the humanoid races with insect characteristics grafted on. For example: Scorpiorcs. For Blood & Treasure, they would look like:

Scorpiorc, Medium Monstrous Humanoid: HD 2; AC 16; ATK 2 pincers (1d6) and weapon; MV 40; SV F15 R12 W13; XP 300 (CL 4); Special-Surprised on d8 (due to eye stalks), move silently (70%), back stab x2.

Scorpiorcs never use flaming swords or carry any sort of flame. They also never use armor, but may carry a shield. They speak Scorkish and broken Orcish. They can advance as fighters from a beginning "level" of 2 to a top rank of 4.

I also have to mention the "skags", which are a blend of scorpion, kobold, ant and goblin. This is actually a sort of "monster class" - dig it:


Great title. Found HERE at Boardgame Geek. Stephen Fabian did the art, so it has be worth a few bucks based on that alone.


I've never played Traveler, so I can't comment on the utility of this article about diplomats in the Traveler Universe. I can, however, draw attention to this table, which may prove useful to people:

I'm sure somebody can adapt this to their game, when trying to figure out an NPC's s power base in some fantasy or sci-fi city.


William Fawcett has a long article on "The Druid in Fact and Fantasy". A tough subject, because so little is known, or at this point, can be known. I'm not going to dwell on the historical bits in the article, but I did like this:

A new Druidic ability

Although the Druid, due to his involvement with life, is unable to turn undead, his role of the peacemaker gives him a similar ability with most humanoids. Before or during any armed combat if he has not struck any blow, a Druid has the ability to make a Declaration of Peace. This declaration has a 10% plus 5% per level (15% 1st level, 20% 2nd, etc.) chance of causing all armed combat to cease for two rounds per level of the Druid. This does not affect magical combat in any way, nor will it stop a humanoid who is in combat with any non-humanoid opponent. Once the combat is stopped, any non-combat activities may take place such as cures, running away (and chasing), blesses, magic of any form, or even trying to talk out the dispute.

After peace has been successfully Declared, combat will resume when the effect wears off (roll initiatives), or at any time earlier if anyone who is under the restraint of the Declaration is physically harmed in any way. This could be caused by an outside party or even by magic, which is not restrained by the Declaration. A fireball going off tends to destroy even a temporary mood of reconciliation. Once a Druid strikes a blow or causes direct harm in any way to a member of a party of humanoids, he permanently loses his ability to include any member of that party in a Declaration of Peace. The Declaration of Peace affects all those within the sound of the Druid’s voice, a 50’ radius which may be modified by circumstances."
He also has quite a few magic cauldrons and some thoughts on herbs. Good read overall.


Well, it's funny to DM's


An adventure in this issue - "The Fell Pass" by Karl Merris!

Check out the map:

That hatching seems reminiscent! A also hereby challenge Dyson Logos to include more giant, disembodied hands on his very excellent maps.

The adventure takes place in geothermally heated caverns, and includes cave bears, ogres, a spidersilk snare, gray ooze, manticores, griffons, shadows, trolls, pit vipers, Vlog the Ogre ...

... and Xorddanx the Beholder:

I love the heck out of that art, which is by Merris himself!

I did some searching, and I'm pretty sure I've found him online. He appears to be a Brony now, and might have no interest left in D&D, but if I can commission a piece of fantasy art from him, I'll let you know ...


Friday, August 28, 2015

Dimensional String Theory

Via Wikipedia
Long-time fantasy gamers get the idea of "planes". Each plane is its own reality, and it connects in some fashion with other planes, and they're mostly just where high level characters go to kill things and steal their stuff. Simple enough.

How about we swap out planes for strings.

[Disclaimer - I don't know anything about actual string theory. I'm just stealing a term because it sounds cool and kind of fits this conception of planes and dimensions in fantasy games]

No, the elemental plane of fire won't look like a tightrope - it will still be an endless reality of fire and efreet. But it will functionally be a string, as will all the other planes. Dozens of planes, as strings, crisscrossing the multiverse and, at certain points, touching.

At a planar nexus, the reality of two planes (or more) are combined, forming a little pocket dimension (perhaps a planet) that combines the aspects of the planes that are connected. So you might have a plane that combines Elemental Fire with Chaotic Good, or a plane that combines Shadow with Water. Maybe the Astral Plane is where all these strings are located - and maybe when traversing that plane you can accidentally hit a string and find yourself in another plane. The Ethereal is just the blurry edges of the vibrating Material Plane, and can be a passage to these "nexus points" that interact with the Material Plane.

Maybe the Material Plane is just a nexus point between all the different planes of reality?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Blowhard [New Monster]

What happens when you mix one of these ...

With one of these ...

Large Aberration; Chaotic (CE); Super Intelligence; Solitary

Hit Dice: 9
Armor Class: 18
Attacks: Bite (2d6) and one blow tube (see below)
Movement: Fly 30
Saves: F10 R11 W6
XP: 900 (CL 10)

Pipers look like great bloated sacks of flesh, bristling with eight blow tubes and possessed of three sinister eyes circling a gaping maw filled with sharp teeth. The monster is little more than a stomach and brain (and an evil brain at that). It haunts deep caverns and shadowy dimensions, preying on adventurers and other monsters. Pipers levitate naturally, and move by flight. They can speak (some might detect a Scottish brogue), and can communicate telepathically with other aberrations within 1 mile.

The piper has eight blow tubes sticking from its body that it uses to emit sounds. Some of these sounds are shrill and piercing, others are deep and resounding. All of them have magical effects when they are used, as follows:

1) Sound Burst - As the spell. Sounds like the blaring of a fog horn.

2) Sonic Ray - As the energy ray spell, using sonic energy. Sounds like a high pitched shriek.

3) Dancing - As irresistible dance spell. Sounds like an Irish jig.

4) Shatter - As the spell, except that it affects a 30' radius area around the monster. Sounds like an opera singer hitting a super high note.

5) Silence - As the spell, except it affects a 30' radius area around the monster. Sounds like ... silence.

6) Confusion - As the spell, except it affects a 10' radius area around the monster. Sounds like the screaming of a madman.

7) Blasphemy - As the spell. Sounds like the cackle of demons.

8) Discord - As the spell song of discord. Sounds like a cacophony of voices and instruments.

9) Hold - As the spell hold monster. Sounds like a quick blast of trumpets, followed by the trill of flutes while the affected creature remains held.

Special Qualities: Magic resistance 5%, immune to poison

Of course, you could also present the monster as something like this handsome fellow:

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Dragon by Dragon - November 1979

November 1979

The Iran Hostage Crisis

Morning Edition premiers on NPR

The last cargo of phosphate shipped from Banaba Island

Obviously, they were troubled times for the world.

But take heart, gentle reader, for the game wizards blessed our eyeballs and brains with The Dragon #31.

I'm going to start doing these reviews a little different (since they take about 3 or 4 hours otherwise), and focus on the Top 10 Cool Things in each issue. They might be articles, they might be ads.


Click for the larger version. Those are some pretty slick landsknechts (and such). I love the idea of the Thirty Years War as a campaign setting (even wrote about it), and these would make great miniatures for it.

Side note - when I looked up those colorful plastic robots on Amazon that I showed in my Manbot Warriors post, I found a few other great sets that I remember from my childhood. Now I want to write a little mini-game for all of them - cowboys and indians, plastic army men, Romans, plastic knights, firemen, etc. Just need to get the rules for Manbots right, and then I can expand.


If you love the old game, you probably love (or at least like) Mr. Holmes. This issue has an excerpt from a novel he was writing called Trollshead. Here's the first paragraph:

"The campfire cast flickering shadows into the surrounding trees and across the face of the lean man squatting opposite. He wore an iron cap with a leather lining which cast a shadow over his thick brows. A ragged scar ran from the comer of his left eye down the cheek to vanish in the folds of a woolen tunic at his neck. A tough customer, Boinger thought to himself."
Boinger? Well, I don't know if the novel was ever finished - couldn't find it on Here's another taste:

“'I think we can take them,' said the halfling confidently. 'Four half-orcs, old scar face, and that damned troll.'"

I like that halfling's moxie. He doesn't look so confident in the accompanying art by Chris Holmes.

Bonus - Later in the issue they cover the 5th annual Strategists Club Banquet and Awards, which features a picture of Tim Kask talking with the Holmes family, son Chris, wife Sig-Linda and John-Eric himself.

Sometimes, I miss the 1970's. But only sometimes, and only a little.


In his article on using jungles in D&D, Tim Kask says it like it is:

"Traditional accounts of the jungle, from Bomba the Jungle Boy to Jungle Jim to Tarzan, have always depicted the jungle as a place of peril—but there has always been justification for jungle adventures. We’ll leave aside the philanthropic wanderings of Livingstone and Schweitzer and look at jungles from a more typical D&D viewpoint: greed."

The article is pretty long, and covers jungles in Asia, Africa and South America. A few takeaways:

1 - He notes that any rules for wilderness exploration will do, but he likes Source of the Nile. This reminds me of the use of Outdoor Survival in old D&D games. Does this happen much anymore? Using another game to fill in the gaps. I've read so much about Source of the Nile in these old Dragons that I kinda want to buy the game. Doesn't appear to be in print anymore, so I guess I need to look around.

2 - Rain forest plant growth is so quick that a trail blazed through it disappears in a few days (I'd go 1d4+1 days, personally).

3 - "With the restrictions placed on poison within D&D and AD&D, the DM may wish to eliminate some or all of the natural poisons found in the jungle."Sorry jungle, but you're just to poisonous for the rules as written. We're going to have to make some changes.

4 - "The Jivaro, known for their practice of shrinking heads, are so surrounded by myth and misinformation that it is hard to distinguish fact from fancy without serious study. It can be safely stated that they were fierce and deadly foes."

5 - "In the tropical rain forest jungles, the humidity never falls below 85 or 90 percent. This high moisture rots and mildews cloth and leather, unless they are assiduously treated to prevent it All metals will oxidize; armor will rust and swords and daggers will lose their edges. The humidity affects people by lowering resistance as a result of overworking the sweat glands, thereby causing wounds to heal at a greatly retarded rate, if at all." So, rules wise - maybe force item saving throws once a week if things are not cared for, and reduce non-magical healing to 2 hit points (or hit points per level) every three days.

6 - Typical weapons of jungle cultures are blowguns (with poison darts), spear, club, throwing knives (treat as hand axes, maybe), assegai (treat as short swords).

7 - Kask writes a whole bit on how the presence of a 25th level magic-user might affect a local jungle. It includes using stone shape to make a hill into a fortified abode, permanently charming a panther and permanently enlarging it to use as a guard beast, attracting a spider monkey with find familiar, and then impressing the locals with his magic and being worshiped by them as a jungle god. The tribe that follows him flourishes, he starts experimenting with the local flora and fauna, and then the last experiment goes to far - instant ruined jungle city for adventurers to loot. I like the ways this guy thinks!


Lou Zocchi had a ventriloquist act. 'Nuff said.


The rules aren't in this issue, just an add, but this sounds cool:

Also makes we want to write a game for these guys:

And, surprise surprise - it's on

Check it out

From Kenneth W. Burke's article "Will Jason Destroy The Dragonship? Stay Tuned ..."

"The following Alpha Omega variant has been derived from the “Victory of Star Command’ episode of the Jason of Star Command television mini-series. To play it, you need one or two Alpha Omega games."

You might be asking yourself, "What is Jason of Star Command?"

Now you're asking yourself, "Why, God? Why?"

James Doohan was a regular in other episodes - God bless him.


Here's a new table for STELLAR CONQUEST that just has to be useful to somebody:

I don't know what MA stands for, but I think it has something to do with movement.


In the Fantasysmith article they ask "How tall is a giant?" What I liked in the article was the two drawings comparing fantasy folk:

Elves dressed up as Peter Pan is so outside the mainstream now, that I think it rocks on toast.

Check out the giants:

You'll perhaps note that it looks as though the storm giant has just finished beating the crap out of the rest of them.


Michael Kluever comes across with an article about the armor of the Far East. The article covers the armor of China, Tibet, Korea, Mongolia, and Japan. All text, but it does a nice job of covering the basics. Here are the basics:

China: Padded, ring, scale and brigandine (studded leather); mail and plate rarely utilized; paper armor was used in the Tang Period, especially in Southern China - 10 to 15 thicknesses was adequate to stop an arrow or musket ball. Shields were often the only form of protection for foot soldiers; rhino hide was prized for making shields.

Mongolia: Horse armor (barding) of leather scales

Korea: Like the Chinese, but lower quality materials and the helms were black laquered

Tibet: Lacquered hide armor in red and black, with engravings, in the form of a long coat - awesome. Barding was leather.

Japan: Lamellar armor (banded mail in AD&D, more or less), with small hand shields (Te-date)


From Jean Wells' "Sage Advice" column:

"Question: We have a group of players here who insist that they can ride on a mule in a 10-foot-wide and 10-foot-high corridor and shoot arrows from longbows. Now, there are two characters who say they ride side by side and do this over the objections of the rest of the party members. I think this is wrong. Am I right?"

Right or wrong, I like the cut of those players' collective jibs. I solemnly swear that I am going to commission this as a piece of art this weekend.

Also - Jean Wells was trying to write an article about female gamers and they put in this ad:


You have to love this monster from an unknown author - not a hydra in the "guarding the Golden Fleece" since, but more in the giant version of the microscopic hydra sense. It's called the Ukuyatangi, and it looks like a blob with tentacles. It sits on a stump in the jungle and spreads the tentacles into the rank undergrowth to blend in. Due to the camouflage, there is a 90% chance for adventurers walking through the area to touch a tentacle, which then makes a free grapple attack. The monster consumes one man-sized creature a day, and regurgitates indigestible bits, which litter its clearing. After it's full, it just constricts people to death and leaves them to rot. Reptilian in nature, the monster is susceptible to cold, going dormant when under 50-degrees F (or 10-degrees C).

Ukuyatangi: HD 7 to 9; AC 5; MV 1/4", ATK 2 tentacles per target, up to 4 per round (2d4 + constrict); Special - swallow whole; SZ Large (6-10' tall, tentacles 20-40' long)


Saturday, August 22, 2015


Sometimes, a stupid idea pops into my head, and I think it over - how can I do this? Yesterday, an RPG based on Mystery Science Theater 3000 popped into my head. How could you do that? And then it hit me ...

... every game of D&D I ever played was MST3K the RPG.

After all, what is MST3K but three guys making fun of a movie. Every game I've ever played in is a group of people both playing the game and making a running funny (well, sometimes funny) commentary on the game we were playing. How do we turn "making fun of each other" into a game? Rules!

Rule #1 - The DM is the audience

Rule #2 - When the DM laughs, the player who made it happen earns XP

Smirk ... 10 XP

Snicker ... 100 XP

Guffaw ... 250 XP

Belly Laugh ... 500 XP

ROFL ... 750 XP

Releases a beverage from mouth or nose ... 2,500 XP

Players can also earn 1,000 XP for singing an impromptu song about something in the game and getting applause from at least 60% of the people at the table

Players use the fighter's XP level advancement table. Players get the following special abilities:

Level 1 ... nothing

Level 2 ... gets most comfortable seat at the table, if highest level player

Level 3 ... can make the lowest level player fetch them a snack or drink, once per session

Level 4 ... can add a bit of narrative that benefits his or her character in a small way (once per character life)

Level 5 ... can re-roll a failed dice roll (once per character life)

Level 6 ... can make the DM re-roll a successful dice roll (once per session)

Level 7 ... player is immune to fire (trust me)

Level 8 ... can add a bit of narrative that benefits his or her character in a big way (once per character life)

Level 9 ... player gets the right to build a stronghold out of couch cushions and pillows and must be referred to as Lord or Lady by the other players

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Manbot Warriors!

These guys would be great for a game of Manbot Warriors. Buy them HERE.
There was no Dragon by Dragon on Sunday because I was visiting relatives in the great state of Iowa over the weekend. While I was doing that, I was formulating this, which I now present to you ...

A Mini-Game by John M Stater

For 3 to 5 players, aged 13-1/2 and up (sorry 13 year olds, but you'll understand why you're not allowed to play this intense sci-fi RPG when you get older)

When evil threatens from the Galactic Core, the planets of the outer rim call out for ... the Manbot Warriors!

Manbot Warriors was a Saturday morning cartoon that never existed, but could have in the late 1970's or early 1980's. It would concern a band of warriors, human minds encased in robot bodies, defending the outer rim of peaceful planets from the evils of the Galactic Core. Each episode might entail some crisis that the Manbot Brigade would respond to, from hijackings of pleasure spaceships, to the heist of the First Cosmic Bank, to a threat of planetary invasion.

The game is played by up to 5 people. One is the Game Master, who concocts an evil plot and assembles various monsters to see the plot through. The Game Master must draw up any necessary maps or plans of spaceships or secret hideouts, and must also adjudicate the game fairly on behalf of the players. He is not their opponent, per se, but rather the referee of the game.

The players must roll up their manbot characters, and then counter whatever evil machinations the Game Master has invented for them.

Rolling up a character involves rolling ability scores, choosing a class of manbot to play, choosing and rolling up skills, and finally equipping your manbot with kits.

Manbots are a collection of abilities and skills. All manbots have the same seven ability scores. Ability scores range from 1 to 6 (though some monsters might have higher scores).

Power (POW): Power measures physical strength.

Reflexes (REF): Reflexes measures how quick and accurate a character is.

Fortitude (FOR): Fortitude measures how well a manbot stands up to punishment.

Intellect (INT): Intellect measures a character’s smarts and mental quickness.

Willpower (WIL): Will measures a manbot’s mental toughness.

Awareness (AWR): Awareness measures a manbot’s perception and situational awareness.

Charm (CHR): A manbot’s charm is their ability to manipulate people.

For each of these abilities roll two dice and write the value of the higher dice roll next to the ability score.

Manbots are manufactured to one of five series, called classes. These classes are named after colors, and each class carries with it a bonus and a penalty to ability scores, and determines which skills are prime and secondary for the manbot.

Manbot Black
A manbot black is designed for stealth missions, like the ninjas of ancient Earth. They reduce their POW and FOR scores by one point each (to minimum of one), and increase their REF and AWR scores by one point.

Primary Skills: Stealth
Secondary Skills: Dodge, Fighting, Thievery
Tertiary: Choose any three

Manbot Blue
The manbot blue series is designed for science. They reduce their POW and FOR scores by one point each (to a minimum of one), and increase their INT and WIL scores by one point.

Primary: Science
Secondary: Detection, Engineering, Fighting
Tertiary: Choose any three

Manbot Gold
The gold series of manbots is designed for command and control. They reduce their POW and FOR by one point each (to a minimum of one), and increase their WIL and CHR scores by one.

Primary: Psionics
Secondary: Detection, Fighting, Psychology
Tertiary: Choose any three

Manbot Green
Green manbots are designed for commando operations in the wilderness. They reduce their WIL and CHR by one point each (to a minimum of one), and increase their REF and AWR by one.

Primary: Fighting
Secondary: Detection, Stealth, Survival
Tertiary: Choose any three

Manbot Red
The red series of manbots is designed for military operations – they are warriors par excellence. They reduce their INT and CHR by one point each (to a minimum of one), and increase their POW and FOR by one.

Primary: Fighting
Secondary: Dodge, Drive, Endurance
Tertiary: Choose any three

Each manbot has seven skills (see above). One skill is prime, three are secondary, and three are tertiary. Skill scores range from 0 to 12. Each skill (see below) is associated with an ability score. For the prime skill, roll 3 dice and use the two highest values. For secondary skills, roll 2 dice and used their combined value. For tertiary skills, roll 1 dice and use that value.

The following are considered skills in Manbot Warriors:

Acrobatics (REF): Governs a manbot’s ability to leap, tumble, survive falls and flip over opponents.

Astronavigation (INT): Governs a manbot’s ability to navigate the stars.

Climbing (POW): Governs a manbot’s ability to climb sheer surfaces.

Detection (AWR): Governs a manbot’s ability to find clues and avoid ambushes.

Dodge (REF): Governs a manbot’s ability to dodge traps or other attacks that cover a large area.

Drive (REF): Governs a manbot’s ability to drive tanks, cars and hovercraft.

Endurance (FOR): Governs a manbot’s ability to endure pain and maintain focus despite confusion.

Engineering (INT): Governs a manbot’s knowledge of engineering and mechanics.

Fighting (POW/REF): Governs the manbot’s ability to inflict damage in combat. Melee fighting (i.e. hand-to-hand combat or combat with hand held weapons) is associated with Power, while missile fighting (i.e. shooting guns and laser beams) is associated with Reflexes.

Flight (REF): Governs a manbot’s ability to control himself in flight, or to pilot spaceships and aircraft.

Medicine (INT): Governs a manbot’s ability to provide first aid and surgery to biological creatures.

Psionics (WIL): Governs a manbot’s ability to manipulate or damage another creature’s mind, or to detect the psychic emanations of others.

Psychology (CHM): Governs a manbot’s ability to figure out a creature’s motivations and to “use psychology” to fool or manipulate and deceive people.

Science (INT): Governs a manbot’s knowledge of the sciences, including physics, biology, and astronomy.

Stealth (REF): Governs a manbot’s ability to move silently and hide.

Survival (INT): Governs a manbot’s ability to survive in the wilderness.

Thieving (REF): Governs a manbot’s ability to pick pockets, palm small objects and get past security systems, either mechanical or electronic.

Obviously, you should feel free to add additional skills as you deem necessary.

Once a manbot has his ability scores and skill scores, he can pick out the kits to equip himself. Each manbot can be fitted out with five kits. The kits are as follows:

Avionics: Avionics improve a manbot’s Flight skill by +1.

Communications: A communications kit can either be used to radio up to 5 miles away (on planet, or to an orbiting spaceship), or to jam all communications (including from other manbots) within 1 mile.

Countermeasures: Countermeasures force smart missile attacks against the manbot to add +1 to the dice roll.

Energy Shields: Energy shields force missile attacks against the manbot to add +1 to the dice roll.

Energy Sword: Energy swords deal one extra point of damage.
Fire Suppression: A fire suppression kit permits the manbot to put out fires. Putting out a fire takes 1-6 combat rounds (roll one dice).

Flame Thrower: A flamethrower forces all creatures within a cone measuring 20 feet long and 10 feet wide to succeed at a Dodge check or suffer a point of damage to Fortitude.

Grapple Fist: A grapple fist can be fired up to 100 feet, and always latches on to a surface with hand holds. It can pull up to two manbots (or the equivalent to 400 pounds) up to the grapple fist.

Jackhammer Fist: A jackhammer fist can be used in melee combat, scoring one extra point of damage against Fortitude, or to break through one foot of concrete per minute and one inch of metal per minute.

Laser Blaster: Laser blasters deal one extra point of damage to Forti-tude on a successful missile attack.

Machine Gun: A machine gun allows a manbot to make three missile attacks per round, but for each additional attack, they must roll one extra dice for their Fighting check (i.e. 3D if attacking two targets, and 4D if attacking three targets).

Mind Gem: A mind gem allows a manbot to project his mental power as a beam of piercing light. The manbot makes an attack using his Psionics score, but deals damage to FOR instead of WIL.

Psi-Helm: A psi-helm deals 2 points of damage to Willpower on a suc-cessful Psionic attack.

Repair Kit: Can be used to effect repairs on other manbots. The repair kit is no good without the Engineering skill.

Rocket Boots: Rocket boots allow a manbot to fly at a speed of 1 mile per minute.

Science Scanners: Can be used to detect radiation, life forms, and the like. The data must be interpreted using the Science skill.

Smart Missiles: A smart missile hits unerringly, unless its target can de-ploy countermeasures or makes a 3D Dodge check.

Sonic Disrupter: A sonic disrupter allows a manbot to make a missile attack using his Fighting skill that deals one point of WIL damage.

Tritanium Armor: Tritanium armor forces attacks against the manbot to add +1 to the attack roll.

To resolve conflicts, add a character’s skill score and relevant ability score. This number is called the target. Roll 3 dice. If the roll is equal to or lower than the tar-get number, you succeed. If the roll is higher than the target, you fail.

If you are rolling against an opponent with a higher skill or ability score, add +1 to the roll. If you are rolling against an opponent with a higher skill and ability score, add +3 to the roll.

If you are rolling against an opponent with a lower skill or ability score, add +1 to the target. If you are rolling against an opponent with a lower skill and ability score, add +3 to the target.

The Game Master can also rule that there is a modifier to the roll or target based on other conditions, such as working under pressure or attacking from behind. For an advantage, add +1, +2 or +3 to the target. For disadvantages, add +1, +2 or +3 to the roll.

Psionic acts that are passive (mind reading, for example) are rolled on only 2 dice (2D).  Psionic acts that actively impact the real world or a creature's mind (such as telekinesis or controlling a person's actions) are rolled on 3 dice (3D). Psionic attacks that deal damage are rolled on 4 dice (4D).

Combat is handled in combat rounds, with each round taking 10 seconds of time. To determine who goes first in a round, each player should roll 1 dice and add their REF score. Highest roll goes first, followed by the next highest, and so on. Ties go to the combatant with the highest REF score. If there is still a tie, flip a coin.

Combat uses the conflict resolution method detailed above, using a character’s Fighting skill, and either their POW ability for melee (hand-to-hand) attacks, or their REF ability for missile (ranged) attacks.

A successful physical attack roll deals one point of damage to the opponent’s FOR score. Psionics attacks deal one point of damage to the opponent’s WIL score. If the attack roll succeeds by 3 or more points, the attacker can also impose a special condition on his opponent, such as putting him in a grapple hold, tripping him or erasing a memory from his mind.

A creature reduced to 0 points of FOR or WIL is knocked unconscious and critically wounded, and they can be killed by one more attack.

Characters can be healed with the Engineering skill (for manbots and other mechanical creatures) or Medicine skill. Light healing requires a 2 dice task check, and restores one point of FOR. Serious healing requires a 3 dice task check and restores two points of FOR. Critical healing requires a 4 dice task check and restores three points of FOR. Other ability scores regenerate at a rate of 1 point per day.

Characters walk at a speed of 260 feet per minute (or 40 feet per combat round), and can sprint at a speed of 2300 feet per minute (or 390 feet per second). A sprint can last up to one minute. Running at half sprinting speed can last up to 10 minutes. An Endurance check can double the time a character can sprint or run.

Each character begins a game session with a Luck score of 6. A luck score can be substituted for an ability score or skill score when making checks. Each time this is done, the character’s Luck score is reduced by 1 point. Points of Luck can also be spent in place of damage to ability scores.

Most Manbot Warriors games involve an initial criminal or in some way hostile act by the bad guys, followed by the reaction, investigation and apprehension or destruction of the bad guys by the manbots.

For example: There is an explosion on an asteroid used as a radar station by some planetary authority, to alert them to incursions into their star system by potentially hostile aliens. The planet has two other radar stations – if they are both destroyed, they will have no warning of an invasion.

The manbots are dispatched to discover who bombed the radar station, and stop them from bombing the other two stations. This will involve investigation, follow-up on clues and confrontation.

The Game Master’s job would be to figure out who the bad guys are, and how their plot is meant to proceed. If the players are slow on the uptake, there will be a second explosion. If they fail to stop the third explosion, they will have failed their mission.

Manbot Warriors can be played as a stand-alone game, or characters can be used in multiple sessions and advanced in their abilities.

Whenever a manbot warrior survives a mission and completes it successfully, he may attempt to make two advancements, one of an ability score or primary skill, and one of a secondary or tertiary skill.

To improve an ability score, roll 1d6. If the number rolled is higher than the existing ability score, advance the ability score by one point. A manbot warrior can never have more than three ability scores at 6, and never more than five ability scores at 5 or higher.

To improve a skill, roll 2d6. If the number rolled is higher than the existing skill score, advance the skill score by one point. Primary skills can be advanced to a maximum of 12. Secondary skills can be advanced to a maximum of 9. Tertiary skills can be advanced to a maximum of 6.

Alternatively, the manbot warrior can add a new tertiary skill to his sheet, with a value of 1. A manbot warrior cannot have more than five tertiary skills.

A manbot warrior can swap out one kit at the beginning of each adventure.

A monster's threat level is calculated using the following formula: Add FOR + Fighting or Psionics (whichever is higher) + 1 per offensive or defensive kit and special ability. A value of 0 to 9 being a Level I monster, 10 to 13 a Level II monster, 14 to 17 a Level III monster, 18 to 20 a Level IV monster and 21 or higher a Level V monster.

Amazon of Ouroboros
The amazons of Ouroboros are reptilian ladies with narrow faces. They are fearless and without emotion.
LVL IV, POW 5, REF 4, FOR 5, INT 3, AWR 3, WIL 3, CHM 2; Fighting 8, Endurance 8; Energy Sword, Laser Blaster, Tritanium Armor

Androids are robots that look like human beings, or nearly so. They are stronger and more logical than humans, but lack imagination. Most androids work in boring jobs, but some develop a wild circuit and head out to explore the galaxy as a robotic hobo. They attack with their fists.
LVL I, POW 3, REF 4, FOR 4, INT 6, AWR 3, WIL 3, CHM 2; Fighting 4, Engineering 8, Science 4; Communications Kit, Science Scanner, Repair Kit

Android Prime
Android Prime is a massive artificial intelligence that forms the nexus of all androids, and most computers. It moves on tank treads, and can trample (2 points of damage) and strike with sonic blasts.
LVL IV, POW 6, REF 1, FOR 10, INT 8, AWR 4, WIL 4, CHM 2; Fighting 4, Psychology 6, Science 10; Communications, Energy Shields, Science Scanner, Sonic Disrupters (2), Tritanium Armor

Celestial Siren
These beauteous star maidens actually look something like long, green worms with indistinct faces. They are capable of creating the illusion that they are beautiful women, and use their psionic powers to lure spacemen to their dooms on asteroids or drifting space hulks.
LVL III, POW 1, REF 3, FOR 4, INT 3, AWR 4, WIL 4, CHM 1; Fighting 2, Endurance 6, Psionic 10, Stealth 8

Comet King
The Comet King is a squat, unattractive man with the ability to control the paths of comets, but also to levitate and move bits of metal and earth. With his magnetic powers, he can hurl up to three bits of metal per round as a missile attack, and he can form the spinning metal into a magnetic shield (treat as tritanium armor and energy shield).
LVL III, POW 4, REF 5, FOR 6, INT 5, AWR 3, WIL 8, CHM 1; Fighting 6, Science 10; Communications, Energy Shields, Science Scanner

Crystal Killer
These monsters look like crystal statues, with glowing lights in their hands and heads. Their thick skin reflects lasers and psionic beams, so add +1 to rolls made to attack them with these means. Sonic attacks deal +1 point of damage to the crystal killer’s FOR. Crystal killers attack twice per round with their razor sharp fingers, or once per round with the equivalent of a mind gem.
LVL III, POW 3, REF 7, FOR 4, INT 3, AWR 4, WIL 7, CHM 2; Fighting 8, Psionics 8

Death Howler
Death howlers are quadrupedal monsters about the size of grizzly bears, with smooth skin of scarlet and black, fierce white claws and gnashing teeth. Each round, they can attack twice, once with claws and once with teeth. In place of an attack, they can howl, causing those who fail a WIL check (roll 2d6) to lose one point of POW and one point of FOR for one minute.
LVL II, POW 6, REF 3, FOR 4, INT 1, AWR 6, WIL 1, CHM 1; Fighting 6, Survive 10

Espers are powerful psychics with a desire to dominate other creatures. They have throbbing temples, bald heads and wear robes in weird, brilliant patterns.
LVL III, POW 2, REF 3, FOR 3, INT 5, AWR 4, WIL 7, CHM 3; Fighting 2, Psionics 9; Mind Gem, Psi-Helm

The ruffians and ne’er-do-wells of the galaxy, froglodytes look like big, bulky, humanoid frogs. They wear bits of scrap armor sometimes, and fight with normal hand weapons and firearms.
LVL II, POW 5, REF 3, FOR 4, INT 2, AWR 3, WIL 2, CHM 2; Fighting 8, Endurance 6; Machine Gun

Gaseous Ghoul
Gaseous ghouls are cannibal humanoids that, when destroyed, turn into a puff of sulfuric smoke. They can reform in one minute. They attack with their claws.
LVL I, POW 4, REF 3, FOR 3, INT 1, AWR 3, WIL 3, CHM 1; Fighting 6, Psionics 2; Stealth 10

Grimdark Commando
The grimdark commandos are fierce humanoids with noseless faces and grey skin. They hire themselves out as mercenaries, and are much feared in the cosmos.
LVL III, POW 5, REF 6, FOR 4, INT 3, AWR 5, WIL 3, CHM 2; Fighting 9, Stealth 8, Survive 6; Energy Sword, Laser Blaster, Tritanium Armor

Junk Ape
Junk apes are primates that live on vast junk worlds. They are expert tinkers, and have a passion for taking mechanical things apart and turning them into other things. They look something like orangutans with blue-tinged fur and pale green skin. They make two attacks each round with their fists.
LVL II, POW 5, REF 4, FOR 3, INT 3, AWR 3, WIL 2, CHM 2; Fighting 6, Engineering 10, Stealth 3; Machine Gun, Repair Kit

Killbots are robots designed for combat. Their forms vary, but most are bipedal and bristling with weapons. They attack twice per round.
LVL IV, POW 5, REF 5, FOR 5, INT 1, AWR 3, WIL 1, CHM 1; Fighting 10; Energy Shields, Laster Blaster, Sonic Disrupter, Tritanium Armor

Moondragon Warrior
The Moondragon Warriors are a shadowy cabal of psychic warriors who sometimes appear to oppose the Galactic Core, and other times to be aiding it. They are humanoids, and dress in long, grey robes and grey pleather clothes.
LVL III, POW 4, REF 6, FOR 5, INT 4, AWR 6, WIL 5, CHM 3; Fighting 10, Psionics 6, Psychology 6; Energy Sword, Mind Gem

Nebula the Space Witch
Nebula is the self-proclaimed Queen of Space Witches, and a major power of the Galactic Core. She is a tall, gaunt woman, graceful and elegant, in luxurious silks and a tall collar. She is usually guarded by four gaseous ghouls (q.v.).
LVL V, POW 2, REF 4, FOR 6, INT 6, AWR 5, WIL 6, CHM 4; Fighting 6, Psionics 12, Psychology 9, Science 8; Energy Sword, Mind Gem, Psi-Helm

Psiborgs are robots with the minds of psychics. They are dangerous physically and mentally, but their wild emotional states sometimes prove their undoing.
LVL III, POW 6, REF 5, FOR 5, INT 4, AWR 5, WIL 5, CHM 2; Fighting 8, Endurance 6, Psionics 8, Science 3 [7]; Engineering Kit, Psi-Helm, Tritanium Armor

Radiation Dragon
These massive reptiles dwell in space, soaking up the rays of stars and of radioactive materials in abandoned spaceships (usually abandoned because of the dragon) or asteroids. They can fly through space and in atmospheres, and attack three times per round, with a bite, claws and tail slap. All of these attacks deal 2 points of damage. In place of these attacks, they can spit radioactive fire in a 30-ft long cone, 15-ft wide at the base, that deals 2 points of damage to the FOR and POW scores of everything caught in its path.
LVL V, POW 8, REF 6, FOR 9, INT 3, AWR 5, WIL 5, CHM 2; Fighting 10, Astronavigation 6, Endurance 8, Flight 7, Psionics 5

Rust Viper
Rust vipers are large serpents with metal scales (treat as tritanium armor) and fangs that can pierce metal. When they do, they inject a venom that quickly corrodes and dissolves the metal, ruining tritanium armor and inflicting one point of FOR damage to mechanical creatures (including manbots) per round until repaired. Injected into a biological creature (which also includes manbots), the venom causes mild nausea and hallucinations.
LVL II, POW 3, REF 6, FOR 3, INT 1, AWR 3, WIL 1, CHM 1; Fighting 6, Dodge 6, Stealth 10

Salt Mummy of Kor
The infamous salt mummies of Kor are long-dead aliens preserved in pleather bandages and animated through dark space magic and an undying hatred for living things. They are found in ruins and sometimes on abandoned spaceships, often with a small cult of spacers or space bandits serving them, with an esper as the high priest.
LVL IV, POW 6, REF 2, FOR 8, INT 4, AWR 2, WIL 6, CHM 1; Fighting 8, Endurance 12, Psionics 9; Mind Gem

Saucer Man
Saucer men look like small, grey men with large, black, almond-shaped eyes and oversized heads. They are tremendously annoying, wanting to touch and probe everything they meet, and they have no respect for other forms of life.
LVL I, POW 2, REF 3, FOR 2, INT 6, AWR 4, WIL 4, CHM 2; Fighting 3, Psionics 4, Science 11; Repair Kit, Science Scanner, Sonic Disrupter

Shimmering Death
A shimmering death appears as a cloud of glowing, shifting motes of light. They drain the psyches of creatures, and are notoriously hard to kill. A shimmering death can only be harmed by psionics, sonic disrupters, and energy swords. They attack by enveloping a creature, who must make and Endurance check each round to avoid being stunned with fright while his mind is probed and his psyche gnawed on. Each round spent in a shimmering death drains one point of WIL.
LVL III, POW 1, REF 6, FOR 4, INT 1, AWR 6, WIL 6, CHM 1; Fighting 6, Flight 11, Psionics 8, Stealth 4

The boisterous Vikings of the space lanes are raiders, pillagers, warriors, poets and spacemen extraordinaire. They wield energy axes (treat as energy swords) and go berserk in combat, attacking twice per round and ignoring wounds on a successful Endurance task check.
LVL III, POW 5, REF 4, FOR 5, INT 3, AWR 3, WIL 3, CHM 3; Fighting 8, Astronavigation 7, Dodge 8, Endurance 8, Engineering 4; Energy Axe, Machine Gun

The Slime God
The Slime God is a horrible creature, a blob of cyan slime covered with blinking black eyes. A major power of the Galactic Core, he is bent on consuming everything in his path. The Slime God can strike up to six creatures per round with its pseudopods, or try to overrun creatures and smother them (Endurance check each round or lose one point of Fortitude).
LVL V, POW 8, REF 4, FOR 10, INT 3, AWR 3, WIL 6, CHM 1; Fighting 10, Endurance 9, Stealth 12

Space Whale
These magnificent creatures look like humpback whales with shimmering black hides and brilliant eyes of star shine. They attack with their flukes and fins, striking two creatures per round and dealing 2 points of damage when they hit.
LVL III, POW 9, REF 4, FOR 8, INT 2, AWR 1, WIL 4, CHM 1; Fighting 6, Astronavigation 12, Flight 8, Psionics 5

Spacers are traders who drive cruisers across the galaxy, trading exotic goods. They attack with handguns and daggers, one attack per round.
LVL I, POW 3, REF 3, FOR 3, INT 3, AWR 3, WIL 3, CHM 4; Fighting 4, Astronavigation 6, Engineering 5, Psychology 7

Star Bandits
Star bandits are pirates. Some operate from space cruisers, others in starfighters that launch from asteroids and planetoids.
LVL II, POW 3, REF 4, FOR 3, INT 3, AWR 4, WIL 2, CHM 2; Fighting 7, Stealth 6; Energy Shield, Machine Gun

Stone Man
Stone men look like humanoids formed of stones. They stand about 10 feet tall, and have deep, raspy voices with which they speak very slowly. Their skin is as tough as tritanium armor, and their hands can strike like jackhammers. They attack twice per round.
LVL III, POW 8, REF 2, FOR 5, INT 2, AWR 2, WIL 2, CHM 2; Fighting 6, Endurance 12

Sun Tiger of Yaoloo
The sun tigers look like cats formed of flame and light. They radiate intense heat, forcing creatures within 10 feet to pass an Endurance check each round or suffer a -1 penalty to all physical ability scores (POW, REF, FOR). They attack twice per round, once with eye beams (up to 30 feet) and once with claws.
LVL III, POW 5, REF 5, FOR 8, INT 1, AWR 6, WIL 2, CHM 1; Fighting 6, Endurance 6, Flight 6, Stealth 5

Vampiric Plant Man
A vampiric plant man looks like a thin creature with indistinct features, pale green skin and long, thorned fingers that can tear into flesh and drink blood. They attack twice per round with their fingers. Each successful attack forces a person to pass an Endurance task check or lose one point of POW to blood drain each round until receiving first aid. Lost POW returns at the rate of one point per hour.
LVL III, POW 4, REF 4, FOR 5, INT 2, AWR 5, WIL 4, CHM 2; Fighting 8, Psionics 5, Stealth 9

Voltons are large avians with leathery skin, long, jagged beaks, and 20-ft long, whip-like tails that carry a powerful electric charge. Creatures struck by the tail must pass a 3 dice Endurance check or be stunned for one combat round and unable to move or attack, in addition to suffering 2 points of FOR damage. Their tiny minds make them immune to psionic attack.
LVL II, POW 7, REF 4, FOR 4, INT 1, AWR 4, WIL 1, CHM 1; Fighting 6, Flight 8

Xodiac, Lord of Space Magic
Xodiac is an ancient wizard steeped in cosmic magic. He is a major power in the Galactic Core, commanding many froglodytes and space bandits. He travels on a boomer, seated on a golden throne before a giant crystal ball, through which he spies on the galaxy. His awareness of the future allows him to force opponents to re-roll an attack or task check once per combat.
LVL V, POW 2, REF 5, FOR 6, INT 5, AWR 5, WIL 8, CHM 4; Fighting 6, Psionics 12; Mind Gem, Psi-Helm

These would be pretty awesome as well. Buy HERE.
A boomer is a cruiser-sized spaceship that carries cargo, passengers or perhaps two or three starfighters. They carry three laser blasters, energy shields and tritanium armor. They move at a speed of 2 miles per minute (or 1400 feet per round), and can hyperspace one parsec away, once per day.

These ships are operated by the saucer men. They are quick and maneuverable, and are capable of teleporting up to one parsec away once per day. They are unarmed, but carry science scanners.

These small, one or two-man spaceships carry a laser blaster and six smart missiles. They can operate in space or in an atmosphere. They move at a speed of 35 miles per minute (or 6 miles per round).

A zipper is a small cargo ship designed to be a blockade runner. It is equipped with two laser blasters and energy shields. A zipper moves at a speed of 3 miles per minute (or 2600 feet per round), and can hyperspace one parsec away, once per day.
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