Saturday, April 30, 2016

How To Resolve Anything That Comes Up...

I'm sure you all have your own version of this. Here's mine...

AKA, what are those Damn Ability Scores for anyway?

NPCs and monsters can be bargained with, not just slain. They have bills and ex-wives too. Hired guards sometimes flee suddenly when smacked upside the head with a real flail that actually hurts. Go figure. Your enemies may pay your torch-bearer to stick his torch up your ass. When the Hell did Oddwick accidentally sell your spare chest with Blackrazor and The Necronomicon in it? Why is that weird jade monkey statue looking only at you? Did that tavern owner's potboy leave you fidgeting with an itch? Scratch scratch.

When situations like these happen or, more accurately, when they are about to happen, either you roll or the referee rolls (guess whose choice?) 2d6 and adjust the result by one of your PC's ability score modifiers, whichever one seems right for the situation.

This table is meant to quickly resolve any minor issues and avoid messing about with obscure situational rules you never recall and probably have to look up during play. It's not meant to be taken seriously, rather used as inspiration. This is just a game. If you decide that a ruling is noteworthy or valuable to your game play, try to stick with it again in the future to be consistent. No doubt because you're an old hat at it you already do this. Good, we're all on the same page, then? Keep calm and carry on with the slaughter ... er, fun.

Roll 2d6 +/- Ability Score Modifier
2 or less
Catastrophically bad. It attacks, hurts, steals, hates, maims, attempts to eat, uses its worst, or otherwise fucks you up. Seriously. No chance of negotiating or fixing. Hope you got a sharp sword.
Hostile or very bad. You're attacked or otherwise thwarted or hindered or harmed or cleverly made to look like a chump. Too bad for you. If you want to recover, get creative or make some really good rolls. Maybe get the ref a beer.
Cautious or uncertain. Make another offer cheapskate, negotiate more enthusiastically, ponder the situation some more, have a good dump, etc. Roll again if the referee feels generous. Ref, you had a beer lately?
Friendly or good. Things go your way, your offer is accepted, or the NPC dude is willing to comply/discuss/help you out. Otherwise, it (or he or she or whatever) thinks you rock on toast and likes your sexy smell and smarts.
12 or more
Enthusiastic or extremely good. Monster or NPC dude goes above and beyond to provide assistance or information you weren't expecting. You glean arcane or (virtually?) divine insight about something, whether real or imagined. Can you translate hieroglyphs into three languages without a Rosetta Stone? Easy peasy!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

White Box 1-page Ref Sheet

Just a pic, pdf link in post!
Hey folks! Long time no write ... far too long. Boo to me!

Today I've got a little Swords & Wizardry White Box treat in the form of a 1-page "referee screen." It's got pretty much all the tables you'd need to quickly reference during a game--except I could not fit the spell lists on the single-page format and keep the font a reasonable, no-microscope-required size. :-)

You can get the PDF right here.

Also ... I've finally got Hogtown Games (my vanity RPG publishing imprint) supplements I'm ready to announce...

The first freebie PDF-only adventure, Golden Eye of the Kobold King, will be released in late May. This will be about 32 pages, digest/booklet format, appropriate for 1st or 2nd level characters, and usable with any old-school rules set (has Swords & Wizardry stats). This one will be artless.

The second module, The Purple Mushroom Inn, will be released in late August. This will be at least 32 pages, digest/booklet format, print-on-demand and PDF, appropriate for 2nd or 3rd level characters, and usable with any old-school rules set (has Swords & Wizardry stats). This one will feature art by Del Teigeler, Stefan Poag, Brian "Glad" Thomas, and Fred Dailey. Pricing TBD on this one, but it certainly won't be an arm and a leg. :-)

Until later, cheers!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Wastelands Map Handout on Leather

Here is another map I've drawn .. this one done with an ultra fine point sharpie on a piece of leather.

Like many folks, I've always been a fan of cool handouts for RPGs. Items that are evocative of the setting and/or genre of the game. In this case, I thought it would be a nice tactile handout for the game. A bit more interesting for the players than giving them a piece of paper.

The PCs in my Wastelands of Kreth campaign do not possess a map of the Wastelands. They will soon. At least a photo anyway...

Unfortunately, in terms of using the leather map handout, our current campaign is played via Hangouts. So the players will have to wait a while until we all get together to actually get the tactile experience! lol :-)

Friday, June 5, 2015

Map: Golden Eye of the Kobold King

This is my first attempt at an "inked" map. It is from an adventure I ran many years ago called the Golden Eye of the Kobold King. I dug out my old pencil sketch map and decided to give a go with pens. I must admit, I cheated a bit, and sketched the cavern and chamber outlines in pencil first. The thought of putting a pen to a blank page was too terrifying!

I'll be posting more maps in the future as I work to try and develop a more unique style. I'm thinking some maps will be "colorized" (likely using pencils) and others black and white, but I'll work that out as I go. Hope you enjoy!

The Golden Eye is a cursed magic item possessed by the Greebok the Kobold King. The PC who slays Greebok must make a save vs Spells or become enamored by it. So much so that the PC removes it from Greebok's head, then plucks out one of his own eyes and replaces it with the magic Golden Eye. Any beneficial effects are left to the referee's discretion. :-)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Special Talents for White Star

I have been reading through James Spahn's excellent space opera RPG White Star this week and the notion of special talents struck me. Characters in the space opera genre (and many other genres, really) often seem to have special abilities, talents or unique things about them that set them apart.

I have used these types of "special talents" before in B/X games, so I looked up some old files and re-tooled them with a hydrospanner for use with White Star.

Presenting below, a quick list of special talents for PCs...

Special talents are unique traits possessed by PCs or notable NPCs. Special talents may be inherent or genetic traits, mystical powers, mutations from being exposed to weird radiation, benefits or knowledge gained from a background or upbringing, or simply well-practiced skills—whatever explanation works for the referee. Numerous special talents are presented below, some provide minor statistical benefits and others are general or knowledge-based traits.


PCs gain one special talent roll at 1st level.


Roll d8   Special Talent
1             Dirty Fighter
2             Gizmo Sense
3             Linguist
4             Lucky
5             Mentalist
6             Quick Healer
7             Servant
8             Starbrat

Dirty Fighter: You know how to piss off your foes. Each combat round you may designate one opponent that you have already damaged. If that opponent attacks anyone other than you, he suffers a -1 penalty to his attack roll.

Gizmo Sense: You have a 10% chance per level (max 90% at 9th level) to identify the general purpose and function of any “magical,” ancient, pan-dimensional, or otherwise bizarre technological device. You can try this once per day.

Linguist: You possess a natural gift with languages. Regardless of your Intelligence score, you know two additional languages.

Lucky: You have the favor of the cosmos, are fated to do great deeds, or are just plain lucky. Once per day you can invoke your luck and roll two dice for any single die roll and take the better of the two results. You can decide before or after you’ve made the first die roll.

Mentalist: You are a mentalist. You possess a mysterious gift, as hard to command as a dream, which enables you to sense echoes of the past. Once per day, you can invoke a vision tied to the immediate area in which you are standing. A vision augments your rational senses, providing you with information about events and people at that location during the past. The vision lasts for one minute or until you leave the immediate area.

Quick Healer: You heal quickly from injury. You naturally heal 1d4 plus your Constitution modifier in hit points for a complete day of rest.

Servant: You have a butler, handmaiden, apprentice, servant android or some other assistant appropriate to your class and social standing. You may call upon your servant to perform any tasks or duties he is trained for. Your servant is not an adventurer (i.e. doesn’t possess a class) and will not fight for you, but he does know some useful skills appropriate to his training. You are required to provide and pay for your servant. At the referee’s discretion, your servant is not replaceable. If he is killed, you cannot call upon another servant until you perform a particular task or make an appropriate payment.

Starbrat: You grew up in starports and aboard starships. You know your way around them (including the service corridors and crawlspaces) and won’t get lost, no matter their size. You also know where to find interesting or black market items and people who don’t usually want to be found.