Saturday, April 19, 2014

Time

Image Source
Just so we are all on the same page, please know there is more Heroes & Other Worlds stuff coming!  I still plan on a Monster book, more issues of Cauldron, Blades & Black Magic, the programmed Grim Venture adventure, and some other stuff I have not talked about yet.  Yes I have ambition!

All of that to simply say, please do not let my lack of serious blog posting give you the impression that Heroes is somehow in stasis. It is not!

With that being said, my actual availble time to write currently is very limited currently due to a lot of travel and a  lot of pressure to hit some exceptional goals and targets at work this year.  Tack on time with family and friends and its not a recipe for successful writing! 

I apologize to you that I am not able to create new material and publish it as quickly as others seem to. I very much appreciate greatly your continued support and patience.  I hope your enjoyment of my little game will be worth your time to read it and most importantly PLAY IT!
 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Cannibal Monks of Briarmoor

Image Source: thatdman
The Cannibal Monks of Briarmoor
There are a number of strange cults scattered and rumored to be fighting one another across the dark lands of Briarmoor. One of the most feared are the Cannibal Monks of Briarmoor. They believe the secret the Titan Surma used to sustain his power and the source of his disciple wizard, The Betrayer's magical knowledge and strength was the eating of those with mystical knowledge or great strength.

The Cannibal Monks lure their prey to them with rumors of treasure, magical tomes, ancient artifacts, and anything else which might entice those with great strength or magical power to come into the Briarmoors. They hire bards and criers, paying them with coins found amongst the ruins in Briarmoor. Then sending them into the towns, villages and cities of the world, spinning tales of wealth and ancient, legendary, or mysterious artifacts to be found in the wilds of Briarmoor. Those with the boldness, greed, or just curious enough to investigate always come like moths to a flame.

The cannibal monks wait, like a spider at the center of a web, patiently they wait, as those with the power and magic and warm flesh they crave come right to them. Eager for riches and glory the curious meet their end as a gory meal for the ravenous monks.

Cannibal Monk (warrior)
ST8-12 DX8-10 IQ8-9 MV4-5; AR-1, DM1d6 (hatchet or bow)
SKILLS: Axe+1, Bow+1, Stealth+2, Lore+1, Track+1
Wears rags and bones as armor, armed with hatchets and bow

Cannibal Monk (cultist)
ST8-10 DX8-9 IQ8-13 MV4; AR-1; DM1d6 (dagger)
SKILL:Dagger+1
SPELLS: Death Orders+1, Haunting +1, Grave Touch +1
Wears rags and bones as armor, carries daggers

For the Referee to Consider
Does eating the dead grant these cultist new strange powers? Does it give them secret insights beyond the mortal realms? Does it grant them more spells, give them EN or allow them to commune with dead Titan Surma? Perhaps their ingestion of the living are blood rites meant to bring Surma or The Betrayer back to life and thus back? Perhaps the dead whisper their secrets to the eater or maybe it is The Betrayer, goading them and directing them through their eating of the dead so he can make his way back to the mortal realm.

Spells of the Cannibal Monks

Death Orders (T) IQ8 EN2 R:IQ
This spell allows the caster to control up to caster's IQ worth of recently deceased creatures, reanimating them as undead for a short time. The reanimated dead are mindless and are fully under the caster's control. They have ST3, fight as DX8 creatures with the same basic functions and resistances as zombies. The caster cannot command the reanimated creatures to use any special abilities (poison, breath weapons, magical abilities, etc.) or to make more than one attack per turn. When the spell expires, the collapse back into death.

Haunting (P) IQ8 EN1 R:IQ
This spell places an enchantment on an object touched or an area with a radius equal to the caster's IQ where cast, causing it to exhibit signs of being haunted. At the caster's choice, objects may rattle or fall of their own accord, phantasmal noises may be heard, or a ghostly or shadowy forms can manifest. A haunting may be dispelled by a Bless spell.

Grave Grasp (I) IQ9 EN1 R:Touch
The caster's hands begin to glow a gauzy ice blue color . The Grave Grasp can be used to damage or drain the ST of a living creatures. A touched creature suffers 1d6 damage (no AR protection) or the caster drains 2 ST from the touched and immediately adds them to his own ST. Creatures who do not have a rated STR score instead suffer a -1 penalty to attacks each time they are touched. ST gained by use of this spell above the caster's original ST are lost at a rate of one per hour.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

SALE!!

Lulu is running a 20% off sale!!

NOW is your chance to get those Heroes & Other Worlds books  you wanted or get your friends to join you!!  Use the promo code WAFFLESSAY20 to get 20% off for a limited time!!!  Make out like a bandit today!

Sorry I do not know if this works in all countries or regions!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

What's in the bag? A d66 table

Back in January I shared a d66 table for what you might find in the woods.  It's the kind of thing I use when hexcrawling or just as a random table when the party does not head right to a location entrance but instead choose to "look around first."

In that same spirit below is another d66 table for "What's in the bag?"  I am not sure about your games, but I am not shy about having bodies pop up here and there to reinforce the idea of the world being a very dangerous and uncertain place.  Occasionally with the body, a bag with something odd, unusual or creepy in it will be found to push the "oddity" meter another notch up.  Sometimes, just a stray bag left behind in a dungeon, found along a river bank, filched off a cart from a merchant or stolen from a person in town should contain something unexpected.

If you are the kind of Referee who likes to have an arsenal of little interesting oddities to toss at players then this kind of table is great to have on a 3x5 card ready for work.  I like the strange and unusual to pop up and add a little unsettling feeling to the game. Consider it an added mystery for the players, "Well what the hell is it and what can we do with do with this?"

Some folks can go over board with the blood and gore and dark cults of the elder gods blinding horror stuff in an attempt to say "THIS IS HORRIBLE MIND BENDING EVIL!" but player reaction can be less than impressed.

I've never had that kind of stuff "wow" or intrigue a group as much as hitting them with something small, odd, and unsettling like, "You find a bag with a greasy hand shaped object in it. Each finger is a partially burned candle and a pulsing black mass seems to shimmer and writhe in the palm of the hand."  Step back and watch the player sit and debate all the odd stuff it could be and as the Referee hearing the players debate and talk about it, THEY will toss out a better idea of what it could be then I could possibly write!

Anyway, here is the table.  Grab 2d6 and put it to work for you!
d66 10 20 30
1 Candles shaped like fingers 6 colored threads, each is 6 inches long A collection of 100 feathers
2 Used bandages 6 wet pairs of long-johns 24 stones in different colors
3 A Jar of Eyes Carved bone flute Pine tar and 3 brushes
4 Tub of lard and 6 pieces burnt bread 6 metal bars wrapped in purple leaves 6 metal vials and 3 bamboo vials
5 Glasses with 4 color lenses A book with all black pages Floor plan of a tower
6 44 folded cloth napkins Climbing spikes and a hatchet a 1' angry squirrel
d66 40 50 60
1 Small pot of ink and brushes Dehydrated fruit, maybe its fruit A stoneware jug covered in hair
2 Partial eaten foot, humanoid Onyx box with gold sigil Broken pottery and hair
3 3 orange keys on a ring 3 Birds in wood cages Dried fish and rotting cabbage
4 Bottle of Old Ogre whisky Four undead rats on leashes A rattle made of finger bones
5 20' of chain and 2 locks 60' silk rope 2 fry pans, and 6 snakes in a box
6 Idol made of stitched skins Strange tin of tobacco and odd pipe Gem shaped like a clawed hand

...AND if that is not enough in one post, hot on my tip to check out Tad's Ars Phantasia site, I'd like to point you to a site of One Page dungeon wonders at I'll See it When I Believe it! Incredible art & unique one page dungeon adventures!  I supported it on Patreon and I think its well worth the coin! Click on over and see the greatness! If you like what you see and if you have a stray ducat to commit to their project, I think its one very well spent!  Game on!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Internet = hexcrawl

It is interesting to me how one can sort of stumble upon hidden treasure using your Google machines to wander Al Gore's World Wide Internets.  It's kind of like having your own digital hexcrawl complete with trolls!

Taking my morning constitutional around the interwebs  I stumbled upon quite a little treasure trove of fantastic material and resources.  I stumbled upon a wonderful island based hexcrawl!  Not too big, and not too small...kind of the perfect starting point for adventures really, welcome to The Isles of Mist.

Wait...there is even more goodness to be discovered! You see Tad has compiled a Hexcrawl resource page that provides a wonderful collection of links to develop and understand the idea and creation of hexcrawls!  Check it out on his Ars Phantasia site. Lots of great material and thoughts on gaming as well as outstanding cartography!  Enjoy it!

Friday, March 21, 2014

The hard part is knowing when to flinch...

So I am going to diverge from talking HOW for a bit to discuss something completely different. You can blame a long trip spent reading the last two Clancy novels published on the airplane combined with recent world events. Skip this post if you like, no harm/no foul my friend.

In the 80's and 90's I voraciously devoured a lot of techno-thrillers. I had started real gaming (advancing beyond Risk and Yahtzee) with old AH stuff like Panzer Blitz and Squad Leader.  I attribute my dad's collection of the Time/Life WW2 hardback series on our bookshelves as my kickstart for buying these games.

So in college I was studying History/PoliSci and German and my girlfriend (at the time) and her friends dragged from the library on a Friday to go see The Hunt for Red October.  They disliked it and I was so entranced I stayed and watched it again. Yup, thanks to Tom Clancy's "The Hunt for Red October"  I obsessed and threw my self headlong into the techno-thriller genre. In fact in college it influenced me enough to look at applying to the CIA and I had applied to join Naval Intelligence but a childhood accident precluded my being accepted.  What could have been...no regrets at all for the path chosen, just a "what if..." in the life...

Anyway,  I read Harold Coyle's "Team Yankee", Col. Ralph Peters "Red Army" and every Clancy book I could get my poor college hands on.  This all happened in college so it was damn hard to find time between classes and working 30 hours a week to sneak these into my schedule, but damn if I did not devour them any chance I got.

So my love of techno thrillers lead to my leaving RPG's for a few years and instead gravitating to games like Harpoon, Third World War, and even TSR versions of Red Storm Rising and The Hunt for Red October.  I bring this all up as Tom Clancy recently passed away and a great article on the Escpaist discusses Clancy's view/use/value of war gaming.

Yup he had his own RedStorm video game company, the Rainbow Six video games and such, but for me his gaming  influence will always be in the realm/ importance of war games.

Given current real world situations: events unfolding in the Ukraine, what if Russia secures natural gas sales with China and they abandon the US dollar for trade? Iran is building a replica of a US carrier right now...and one has to wonder why? Israel is growing impatient with Iran and Russia's no longer going to support  sanctions against Iran.  I really miss a good techno-thriller writer who can capture the current world complexities that seem to be popping up all over, but I can't think of one that does it as well as Clancy did. 

Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks to Tom Clancy for some great stories, for inspiring a lot of great gaming back in the day.