Friday, October 3, 2014

Bigger Even More Honking Random Monster Table [Wastelands]

Just a quick update to share today. I've expanded my Wastelands random creature encounter table to include more monsters (mostly from the Fiend Folio) and I folded the sublists (humanoids, giantkin, oozes, undead, and the like) into the main table.

I've also added in my other wilderness random encounter tables up front, which use some house rules like "scatter" dice as well as the excellent d30 Sandbox Companion (by Richard J. LeBlanc Jr. of New Big Dragon Games) for wilderness travel.

As with the previous version, the tables can be downloaded here (.pdf) should you good readers wish to use it as-is, or here (.docx) if you'd like to tinker and customize it.

Next up for the Wastelands is a (probably) long series of posts detailing the City-State of Kreth. The city will be the starting point and home-base for my future campaign so I'll need to sketch out a fairly healthy chunk of it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wastelands Big Honkin Random Monster Table

The Wastelands is a sandboxy hex-crawl style setting. As such, I needed to create a series of random encounter tables for the numerous geographical regions. I had originally drafted a d20-based table for each major region (Bandlands of Paj, Kreth Verdant, Steaming Jungles of Su'Janga, etc.), but soon realized that a d20 randomizer did not produce enough variation within each region to satisfy my personal Creature Feature Quotient--meaning I needed more monsters!

Really cool Artisan Dice from
So as I often do when pondering dungeon mastery-type things, I consulted the definitive work of Grand Master Gygax, the 1st edition DMG. Therein, as usual, I found my solution: d100-based random tables delineated by predominant terrain type. I have moved away from d100-based tables in recent years, mostly because they require a lot more fiddly maths and sometimes produce too many options for my personal tastes. However, for this purpose, and to satiate my CFQ--I wanted roughly between 20 and 40 possible random creatures for most regions--the good old d100 tables worked perfectly.

Thus, I reorganized my separate regional d20 tables into one big honking d100 table broken out into predominant terrain types (arctic, badlands, forest, desert, and so on) similar to what was done in the DMG. The table can be downloaded here (.pdf) should you good readers wish to use it as-is, or here (.docx) if you'd like to tinker and customize it.

The creatures on the table include a few of the regular suspects from the Monster Manual (it goes without saying that I mean the AD&D version--but I guess I just said, or wrote, it anyway!) But with this campaign setting I wanted to mine the other monster manuals for lesser-known and/or infrequently-used critters. For example, monsters such as the crysmal, kampfult, solifugid and xag-ya from Monster Manual II, and the caterwaul and skulk (and the humanoid aarakocra, grimlocks and quaggoths) from the Fiend Folio will turn up randomly in some areas of the Wastelands.

I also included the thanoi, or walrus men, from the Dragonlance Adventures book (and DL6 Dragons of Ice). Mostly because I like the idea of warrior walrus men. I never liked much from Dragonlance, but I always thought the thanoi were cool. Coo coo ca choo! Bad puns intended. ;-)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Wastelands Inspirational Art - Alex Ruiz

As I had mentioned previously, my Wastelands setting is inspired by pulp adventure, fantasy and science-fiction stories, as well as films and music influenced by those stories.

There are also a number of visual artists whose work I admire (I mentioned Frank Frazetta here recently), so I thought I would offer up some artwork samples from time to time here on the blog for others to enjoy.

Some of these art pieces may not have directly influenced any specific aspect of the Wastelands (there are a few that have however), but certainly the pieces have influenced or in some way resemble what I envision in my head as the "look" of the Wastelands.

Today I present several pieces by Alex Ruiz, a very talented visual artist ... and obviously twisted. I mean that in a good way! :-)

I'll let Alex's own bio sum up his artistic vision: "The visions of Alex Ruiz range from dark and disturbing, fantastical to sci-fi, and all the way to vomit inducing cuteness and hilarity. In his paintings, the creatures of his thoughts crawl off the page and transplant themselves into your unsuspecting brain, hopefully taking residence there as well."


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Montreal Gaming & Food

Montreal is an amazing city. It's a place where old world charm and ambiance meets modern style and joie de vivre. I have the pleasure of visiting Montreal several times a year as my wife was raised there and her parents still reside there. Whenever we visit the family there are two places in town I absolutely MUST patron, even if it's only a quick drop in.

One is Le Valet d'Coeur. Le Valet is an incredibly diverse gaming store on rue Saint-Denis. It has all the stuff you expect from a store where you buy tabletop RPGs, and a huge selection of traditional board, strategy and card games, as well as puzzles and toys. There is always a gaggle of gamers there hanging out at the tables in the back playing Magic or D&D or some other game. The staff are very knowledgeable and friendly.

The second is Schwartz's Deli. This palace (hole in the wall, really--but all the best places are dives!) of smoked meat on boulevard Saint-Laurent is pure awesome and a Montreal institution. Get there with time to spare because you'll be waiting in line for at least 15 minutes. If you go to the take-out side of the deli, the wait time is less and the food is just as delicious. It's getting to be pretty expensive for a Schwartz's sandwich these days (almost $9 each) but the smoked meat is so good I didn't even blink at the price when I ordered two for lunch this past weekend. :-)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Heroic Dice! [LL Option]


Heroic Dice in action! lol
Heroic dice are extra dice you may use in place of poor or undesirable dice rolls. They represent a well of inner resolve, an unrelenting drive, a will to succeed, or simply sheer blind luck that distinguishes adventurers from everyone else.

When you make a bad roll, you may declare to the referee you are spending a Heroic Die to re-roll a single die. A Heroic Die may be any die type and may be spent in any situation—attack roll, damage roll, saving throw, proficiency (or skill) check, and so forth.

You may only spend one Heroic Die on any single bad die roll—you cannot keep spending Heroic Dice to re-roll until you get a favorable result. If a Heroic Die roll is equal to or worse than your original roll, use the original roll. However, that Heroic Die is still spent.

You gain more Heroic Dice to spend as you gain levels. Heroic Dice refresh at the start of each day.

Character Level
Heroic Dice per Day

This is a pretty straightforward house rule I've encountered in many variations over the years. Some referees divvy them up into specific pools for spellcasting or combat, and others call them luck dice, drama dice, fate points and such.