Sunday, December 30, 2012

Pathfinder Barrowmaze Game 4

Last night we had our 4th session of our Pathfinder game delving once again into the damp, quiet crypts of Barrowmaze.  We were supposed to play last week-end, but last minute cancellations from 2 of the 3 players was a bit disappointing, but understandable considering how close that week-end was to Christmas.

I still haven't had any luck finding a fourth player, but for now we are getting by with the 3 players.  The players have been quite capable at dealing large amounts of damage in combat, even at 2nd level, between the Boyd the Barbarian and Vermithrax the Cleric, they on average deal around 10 to 16 points of damage.  If the Barbarian rages, that damage goes up to 20.  This has made most combats short and brutal for the monsters.  So to make it a little more challenging, I decided not to use the average hit points for monsters as shown in the Bestiary and go with maximum hit points for all monsters.

At the end of the last session, the party returned to the City of Magnimar to rest up as Boyd and Zaid were bitten by the Giant Rattler Snake and lost CON points.  With good Heal Skill checks from Vermithrax, he managed to concoct a salve and managed to counter the effects of the poison, though his companions would still need a full day of bed rest.

Before setting out once more for another sortie into Barrowmaze, Boyd was concerned that the other groups of men they had encountered plundering the crypts might make off with their rope that they use to descend into Barrowmaze, thus trapping them inside.  They pooled their hard-won gold and decided to purchase a Rope of Climbing.  I rolled to determine if such an item could be found, and luckily they did.  Magnimar is a large city and there was a very good chance of this, based on it's stat block.  The rope would also make it easier to cross any pits they might encounter by climbing to the bottom and then up the other side (as long as it is not more than 60 feet deep).

The map below shows the new areas explored this session colored in Orange.  Room 18 was an empty room they previously searched and mapped in Game 2, but was restocked by 2 Ghouls, that hid in the darkness and leaped out to attack the party.  Zaid the Monk was Paralyzed for a few rounds, but Boyd and Vermithrax were able to dispatch the 2 Ghouls in short order.

The biggest battle of the night was in room 58.  The room was empty of monsters but did contain the head of a statue and around 150 burial niches that Boyd and Zaid decided to search.  This would take an hour to do so, while Vermithrax stood guard since he has darkvision.  After 20 minutes of searching, I rolled a wandering monster: 2 Skeletons.  That wasn't the tough battle, and they easily took out the skeletons.  But the next wandering monster check was after they had finished searching.  This turned out to be 6 Sapphire Skeletons.  The look of horror on the 2 players who had encountered only 1 of these during the first game session was priceless.  Sapphire Skeletons have green gems embedded in their skulls, which glow during combat.  The fact that these skeletons fully reassemble with full hit points after 2 rounds of being defeated put the pressure on the party.  In their previous encounter, the players never tried to destroy the gem in the skull (which is the source of its regenerating properties), they pried to loose from the skull, fearing that smashing the gem would make it valueless.  Their greed over-rode reason in this case.

The party couldn't escape as the Sapphire Skeletons blocked the way out of the room.  Boyd and Zaid knew from previous experience that the bones reform and try to reconnect to the skull, and following whoever is holding the skull.  Vermithrax decided to grab two skulls and run down the corridors to pit near room 18 and throw the skulls to the bottom, he had a 2 round head start and so he managed to out-run the skeletal bodies that chased after him.  They ran passed him to rejoin with their skulls by jumping into the pit.  This will make it interesting when they decide to leave Barrowmaze, as they will need to cross this pit to exit.

Meanwhile, Boyd came up with an idea that I thought was very clever.  They found a Bag of Holding during a previous game and decided to toss the four skulls into it.  Since it is an extra-dimensional space, the magic would be cut-off from the Prime Material plane, so the bones stopped moving and did not reassemble.  Boyd later removed one skull from the Bag of Holding after the battle to smash it with his great axe, thus destroying the gem and witnessing that the bones then stopped reassembling.

The party encountered the Crystal Statues outside Room 63.  The statues turned their heads to watch the party as they approached.  The party, being cautious, tried asking the statues questions, but received only stony silence.  Zaid threw his bedroll over the head of one of the statues, it promptly removed it and resumed it's position.  Fearing they would attack if provoked, they decided to move further up the passage and explore the crypts there, which appear to have been previously searched and looted, so they found nothing of value or of any interest.  Since the party did not search the area immediately near the statues, they did not attack, otherwise they would have.

They party was attacked by 3 Stirges which had recently made a nest behind the broken statue in Room 52.  This room had been previously occupied by Giant Carnivorous Flies which the party had killed in Game 2, but which was restocked and settled by the Striges.  Boyd was drained of 4 CON points of blood by the Striges.

The party made their first encounter with 3 Mongrelmen in Room 57 which had heard them searching room 56 and tried to spring an ambush on them, but Boyd saw them and so they party was not surprised.  The party killed them easily, and found quite a large sum of treasure.

Overall, it was a fun game this session and the party found quite a bit of treasure in coins, gems and jewelry.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Pathfinder Barrowmaze Game 3

We played our 3rd session of Pathfinder Barrowmaze yesterday afternoon.  The party spent some of their treasure from the first two game sessions on masterwork armor and weapons and some more potions of Cure Light Wounds.  The party decided to go in a different direction covering the areas marked in green on the map below.  There weren't many combat encounters this session, and the few that they did have were relatively easy.

The players finally gave me the names of their characters.  We have Boyd, the half-elf Barbarian, Vermithrax the half-orc Cleric of Gorum and Zaid (pronounced Zai-eed) the human Monk.

Highlights of the game include:
They were unable to lift the portcullis at Room 9

Boyd the Barbarian ran away like a sissy girl from a Phantom after failing his Will save from it's fear attack.

Zaid making note of dungeon graffiti of someone named Lucius who claimed to have screwed a barmaid at the Brazen Strumpet.

Vermithrax almost going amnesiac from a Runic Tablet, but he made his Will save.  Lucky bastard.

Boyd triggered a crossbow arrow trap and was nicely rewarded with a bolt to the chest.

The party heard a tapping noise somewhere in the dungeon and thinking it was the Halfling they were sent to go find, decided not to go listening at doors and just brazenly open them, despite that this happened after Boyd triggered the crossbow trap.

Big battle with a Giant Rattlesnake that managed to drop the Zaid to unconciousness and losing 2 CON point from poison damage.  Boyd also lost 1 CON point from poison.  This was perhaps the biggest battle of the session.

They found a temple to Urgathoa with a statue of one of the deity's servants in a seemingly beckoning stance.  Vermithrax detected magic and felt overwhelmingly powerful aura of transformation magic and divination magic.  With that they decided that the statue would animate if they entered the room and so they left.  They never entered the room, so they missed finding the injured dwarf at the bottom of a pit in front of the statue.

They found a large chamber with 8 tomb-robbers who were resting and didn't like the intrusion, they told the party that this was their "territory" and that the party should look elsewhere for treasure.  The party left the room.

Boyd and Vermithrax were searching a room with burial alcoves, leaving Zaid to stand watch.  A wandering group of 11 Tomb Robbers came upon the room and decided to attack the party.  This was an easy fight and one of the tomb robbers tried to run away, but Boyd ran him down and slayed him with his great axe.

The party managed to find gold and gemstones and decided to head back to the city of Magnimar to rest up and recuperate from their lost CON points.  This will now allow me to roll for dungeoon restocking.  I was able to roll restocking in some of the rooms they explored in Game 2, but since they went in a different direction, they missed those areas.

It looks like our next game session will be on December 22nd.  Good times.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pathfinder Barrowmaze Game 2

We had our second game this afternoon.  We were joined by our 3rd player who had to leave early last game during character creation due to a real-life commitment.

The party is as follows:

2nd Level Half-Elf Barbarian
2nd Level Human Monk
2nd Level Half-Orc Cleric of Gorum

We came up with a reason why the Cleric wasn't in the first game session, as he was being briefed at the temple of his god, Gorum of the presence of  Urgathoa worshippers somewhere within the Barrowmaze.  He has been charged to investigate and see if they pose a threat to the city of Magnimar.  The Cleric was aware of the quest they took at the Pathfinder Society Lodge to find a missing member who went into Barrowmaze.

They party backtracked through some areas they went past (marked in yellow) and I told them that several of the doors they went through were closed.  This got them a bit worried, but little did they know that I am using the old school rule that all doors close after about a minute.  I have also determined that all the doors in Barrowmaze open outward into the halls, so as to discourage camping in the dungeon (as they can't spike doors shut).  This will allow me to roll for dungeon restocking.

The areas marked in Purple are the areas they explored or could see from their darkvision/light-source range during today's game.

They managed to kill a Gray Ooze (which was the longest fight in the game due to it having 50 HP), 7 Giant Carnivorous Flies, 2 Huecuva (the room said there was 6, but I toned it down since they had Damage Reduction of 5), and 4 Ghouls.

The party did search the burial alcoves in several rooms, which they had skipped doing in the first game and found much more treasure.  But with the extended amount of time doing so I made several wandering monster checks, but none showed up.  The magic items they found were a Potion of Hold Portal, a Bag of Holding and Gloves of Swimming and Climbing.  The coins and gems they found will put them on target for the amount of wealth they should have at 2nd Level, according to Pathfinder.

At the end of the evening, the party debated as to whether or not to camp and rest in Barrowmaze.  When they found out all doors swung outwards and there was no way to secure themselves, they decided to head back to Magnimar and rest and divide up their treasure.

It will be fun to see if any of the rooms get new occupants.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a great Thanksgiving holiday.  And may the Force be with you.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Tonight's Barrowmaze Game using Pathfinder

I DM'd my first Pathfinder game tonight with some friends.  They made characters and one of my friends had to bail early because of a prior commitment, so that left me with two PC's.  I ran them through Barrowmaze.  The premise was that they are looking for a missing Pathfinder Society explorer who went to the barrow mounds and hadn't returned in 2 weeks.  They were hired to find him.

I'm using stats in Barrowmaze as is.  I'm not going to bother doing any conversions.  For Armor Class I just take 20 and subtract the number in the book.  The monster's Hit Dice I use as their To hit bonus.  I use the damage as presented in the book.

They encountered one Sapphire Skeleton as a wandering monster.  They "killed" it, but noticed the bones were assembling back together, so they grabbed the skull with the gem in it and kept it from fully assembling.  They managed to pry the gem loose, but since they did not destroy it, the bones of the skeleton's body kept knitting back and following them.  They decided to move away from the bones and went into a room and closed the door.  That was when a stone wall dropped from the ceiling and sealed them in.  A door on the opposite side of the room opened and 7 skeletons emerged.

I thought they were doomed being outnumbered 3 to 1.  But some really bad to hit rolls on my part worked in their favor.  The player playing the Monk was kicking some ass and was more effective in combat than the Barbarian.  After they defeated the skeletons, I ruled that the stone wall eventually reset itself.  When they opened the door to exit, the Sapphire Skeleton's body was assembled sans skull and attacked them as it waited for them outside.  They managed to "kill" it again and tossed the bones into the room they left and closed the door.  They still have the intact gem.

They encountered a room with 11 Giant Rats and promptly closed the door, deciding not fight them.

They explored some other rooms, which were empty.  One of them fell into a covered pit trap and they decided to go back, thinking they person they were looking for hadn't gone the way they were headed.
They found two rooms with burial niches, but didn't want to waste time looking through them.  They narrowly avoided a Poltergeist encounter by not entering the room.

They found a room with two dead adventurers and took their backpack that had their loot in it.  Later they found a room with gems in the ceiling (Room 26).  We ended the game there as it was getting late.

Below is the map area they travelled and explored (marked in yellow).  I kept a rough track of time, but wasn't successful  at rolling any further Wandering Monsters.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pathfinder Game Prep

I want to thank the commentors on my last post for their suggestions on what rules changes would be necessary to make Pathfinder more Old School.  The game will have 3 players to start, so I have to be mindful of encounter creation which assumes the standard of 4-5 players.

The House Rules draft I have come up with is as follows:

1) Attacks of Opportunity will remain.  With 3 players I don't see it slowing the game down.  A map grid will be used for combat.

2)  Slow XP Advancement table will be used.

3) Ability scores are determined by 3d6 rolled and assigned to how the players want.  I'm already getting flak on this from the players.  Damn you Point-Buy method!!!

4) PC's will start at 2nd Level, with max HP for Level 1 and they will roll for their Level 2 hit die.  This will help compensate for the missing 4th player.

5)  Level cap is 10th level. I doubt that this will mean much, since I haven't ever had a campaign that lasted long enough to reach such a lofty level.  This is mostly due to scheduling conflicts of the players and hence the game loses momentum.

6)  Critical Hits.  No confirmation roll is required.

7)  Standard races and classes from the Pathfinder Core Rulebook only.

8)  No Prestige classes.

9) Skills will be used, but player actions will trump a skill roll (this mostly applies to the role-playing skills such as Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate).

The players are coming over on Saturday to make their characters, so lets see how everything goes.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pathfinder: Old School Style?

As I mentioned in my last post, I was contacted by some of the old group of players and we have been kicking around what we would like to play/DM.

After some thought, I am considering running Pathfinder, but in an Old School style of play.  I really dislike the crunchiness and the sheer amount of rules in the Core Rulebook.  I really want to strip it down.

One of the things I have noticed as a player in a Pathfinder game, is the effects of Attacks of Oppurtunity and how that can slow down the game as players mull over the best way to move their miniature on the grid to avoid such attacks.  I am considering removing that aspect of the game altogether.  Though I am concerned what impact that will have on other rules.

Anyone have any ideas on this particular mechanic?  And any ideas of Old-Schooling Pathfinder in general?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Getting the Band back Together.....Maybe.

So, out of the blue last week I get an email from one of the players in the old 4E game I was DMing.  The email had the names of the other players attached so they would be receiving a copy as well.  The email was expressing interest to get a game going again.  I think it's been over a year since we last played as a group.  Many of the players had scheduling issues with family and work commitments which contributed to not being able to sustain a continuing campaign.  Alas, things fell apart.

Since then, I was able to join a group of different players and play in a monthly Pathfinder game with 5 other players that has been fairly steady.  I hadn't heard anything from the old crew of players since that time until now.

Well, I am not sure a game is going to happen with this group.  We are all pulling in different directions as to what game and/or system we want to play/DM.  I expressed my desire to run an old-school version of D&D using Castles & Crusades.  I also expressed that I would not DM any new-school system such as 3E, 4E or Pathfinder as there is just too many damn rules and game prep is a bitch.  One of the players is willing to play anything and one of the others is learning more to AD&D.  But my friend Matt is a notorious power-gamer and of course he is leaning to 4E or Pathfinder.  Figures.

I'm not sure all this will lead to a game.  I am happy with playing my monthly Pathfinder game and my host of computer games to fill the gap.

I really want to run an old-school campaign using the Barrowmaze as a tent-pole megadungeon.  I just got word from RPGNow that my hard-copy of Barrowmaze II just shipped, so I am eagerly waiting for it to arrive.  I did get the PDF of the book as part of my contribution to the Indigogo campaign, but I do like having a physical book.  But it doesn't seem I'll find a group to run it for.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

"Wore a Crown on a Troubled Brow"


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

C'mon Do It! Kill Me! Kill Me Now!

In the monthly Pathfinder game I'm playing in, my Elf Ranger was killed in the August game by a critcal hit by a Duergar warrior.  Or, would have been killed, but for the fact that our DM uses Hero Points.  I had two Hero Points which was enough to put my character at unconsciousness and stabilized.

I don't get too attached to characters these days.  I always see it as an opportunity to make a new character.  Playing on-line MMO's such as City of Heroes, I have a penchant for making many characters to play, the term is called "alt-itis", so it's not really a big deal for me.  However, my Ranger character "cheated" Death on this occasion.

Flash forward to this past week-end's game.  Our party was tasked by a spirit of a long-dead dwarf warrior with finding the physical remains of a long-dead cleric of  Torag, and perform a ritual to lay it permanently to rest.  The enraged spirit of the cleric had taken the form of a Wraith that haunted the halls.  Unless we could find the remains and perform the ritual, the Wraith would quickly reform.  Fortunately, we have a dwarf cleric of Torag in our party, so he easily knew the ceremony.

Well, we encountered the Wraith before finding the remains and the ensuing battle had the thing kicking our ass with CON drain and negative levels.  The only thing my Ranger could do against it was draw my Wand of Cure Light Wounds and attack it in melee (since it is a Touch spell).  Due to an oversight on behalf of the DM, he ruled that each time I attempted to attack, the Wraith got an Attack-of-Opportunity.  Within 2 rounds I was down to a CON of 1 and had 2 negative levels.  And I continued to press the attack regardless.  And it was at this point I intuited that the DM had fudged the die roll on the Wraith's attack.  Everyone at the table was like "Dude, get out of there!".  I just looked up and said "I'm doing the heroic thing and trying to take this thing out."  There was no way I should have survived unless the DM rolled really poorly, it's possible he rolled less than a 5 on the attack roll, but I think he fudged it.  I had no Hero Points left, having used them up last game to prevent being killed.  I had 1 CON point left, so one more hit would have perma-killed me, possibly to rise as a wraith as well.

It was later after the game that I found that using a wand in melee uses "spell trigger" activation which DOES NOT provoke attacks of opportunity.  I pointed this out to the DM, and he apologized for the error, saying that he was going by a rule in 3.5E that using a touch attack in melee provoked AoO's.

Ah, this is why I like the simplicity of the earlier systems of D&D.  Deadly, but still simple.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Loving "The Secret World"

I picked up a new computer game, a MMO named The Secret World.  You make a character that is gifted with mystic powers and becomes a member of one of three factions (The Templars, Illuminati or The Dragon) and you go and fight monsters and do investigations of strange events.

After you finish the tutorial, your first mission site is Solomon Island and the small town of Kingsmouth.  There is a zombie apocalypse happening but you eventually discover there is more to this than meets the eye.  Lots of H.P. Lovecraft influences throughout which are not subtle (street names such as Arkham Ave. and Lovecraft Street etc.)  I even suppose the name of the town is a cross between Kingsport and Innsmouth.  I must have played for 8 hours yesterday and there is still plenty of missions and side missions to do.  I'm also trying to find all the lore icons to get a sense of the in-game back-story.

It's a very adult game (rated M for Mature) with themes not appropriate for younger players.  Some of the Cut-scene dialog have swear words and sexual innuendo.  Some of the missions have puzzles you need to figure out and there was one last night that I could just not figure out and I had to stoop to look for an answer online.  The game comes with a built-in web browser to help in investigation missions.

Looking forward to playing some more of this game.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Krater: Post-Apocalyptic Inspiration from A Computer Game

Table-top role-playing is a shrinking hobby year-after-year. The competition from online computer games, such as World of Warcraft and others is what today's generation of gamers think of as "role-playing" and is vying for their time and money. And you can't really blame them. It's much easier to sit in the comfort of your own home and log-in to a shared world through your home computer which is colorfully laid out before your eyes and connect with other players. No dice, no battle-mats, no waiting for the always-late players. And today's games are rich in their graphical detail and can tell a compelling or interesting story. Such games can serve as an inspiration for your table-top games.

One recent find I stumbled upon a couple of days ago through Steam is a game called Krater. It is set in a post-apocalyptic Sweden where the setting is a large crater-like geologic depression where factions vie for control of subterranean tunnels and complexes with technological treasures and things best left undisturbed. Sound a little bit like Gamma World?

The trailers for the game are interesting and show what this world is like. It looks like there is definitely something in the air that is still harmful, as many of the people wear gas-masks and other similar protective gear. Is it harmful bacteria or poisonous gases? Unknown. It would be interesting to get a hold of the in-game world lore for an explanation.

Another interesting story regards the soundtrack for the game. I've listened to a couple of pieces online and it is very good. There is also some cool concept art. Check it out.

Friday, August 31, 2012

City of Heroes No More.

I learned today that the Superhero MMO 'City of Heroes' will be shut down by November 30, 2012. This is a really sad day, since I have been playing this online game since 2004. I have made many characters and invested a lot of time playing over the years. I have also met many friends while playing this game as well. This news comes out of left field as it seemed that the game was doing well financially since it went Free-to-Play last year. The developers were releasing new content for the game. I suppose if things were not going so well, that there would have been big scaling back of new content. I hope some of the efforts to try and save the game by releasing the IP and game code to the game community will bear some fruit.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dem Bones, dem bones...

I kicked into the Reaper Miniatures' Bones Kickstarter tonight.  Looks like a great deal for the Vampire level of contribution now that many of the stretch goals have been met.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

[Xhuul Bestiary]: Camotzi (Xhuulian Goblin)

CAMOTZI (Xhuulian 'Goblin')

HD:1 (1d8-1 hp)
ATTACKS:1 (bite 1d4, or by weapon)
INT:Average (low)
ALIGN:Lawful evil

Camotzi dwell in underground lairs.  They appear to be covered in a light brown fur and their heads are bat-like in appearance.  Their small mouths have small sharp teeth with which they can bite for 1d4 damage, however they tend to wear armor and carry weapons.

The camotzi hate full daylight and attack at -1 when in sunlight.  They have large bat-like ears and navigate their underground lairs by use of sonar, by emitting high frequency sound.  The camotzi can see, but it is poorly developed and they prefer using their sonar.  Thus they are able to attack in total darkness.  If a silence spell is used on them, they will be 'blinded' and suffer all the effects of that condition.  They take double-damage from sonic-based attacks.

For every 40 camotzi encountered there will be a leader and four assistants, each having 7HP.  If 200 or more are encountered, there will be the following additional figures: a sub-chief and 2-8 guards, each fighting as 2HD and having 8HP, AC:15.  There is a 25% chance that any force encountered will have 10% of their numbers mounted on giant bats, and if this is the case, there will also be from 10-40 of these creatures without riders.  In their lair there will be the following: a camotzi chief and 2-8 bodyguards (9-14HP, AC:16 that fight as gnolls).  Females and young make up 60% and 100% of the number of male camotzi encountered.  Females do not fight.  

  Camotziare typically armed with:

shortsword and dagger   10%
shortsword and javelin  10%
shortsword and spear    10%
javelins                10%
morning star            20%
pick-axe                10%
spear                   30%

 Camotzi are fair miners and they are able to detect new or unusual construction 25% of the time.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Random Dungeons vs. Planned Dungeons

I suck at drawing maps and dungeons.  Fortunately, there are plenty of resources out there for random dungeons.  My current project is using the geomorphs from Dave's Mapper to generate the dungeon levels which are 300' x 300'.  I then tweak the maps, key them and add any symbols such as stairs and traps using Photoshop.  I then use the random stocking tables from the AD&D DMG, then import the map to a One Page Dungeon template and then type in the room details such monsters, treasures etc.,

I like the random method, because if I can suffer from mental paralysis trying to plan out a dungeon to make it "make sense".  The random method can create it's own little stories.  For example I have one room where there are 8 Volts (Fiend Folio) and an adjacent room of 6 Troglodytes with a treasure in a small 10' x20' room.  What I have determined here is that the Trogs are a scoting party that got suprised by the Volts who killed several of their party and have them trapped in that room.  I have added to the room description the bodies of several dead troglodytes.  The Volts are trying to get into the room to eat the them and so will be automatically suprised if the PC's enter them room.  If the PCs deal with the Volts, the Trogs will negotiate with the PCs a peaceful exit in exchange for the treasure they found while trapped.

There is one Level where I rolled way above average for the amount of empty rooms.  I later rolled a Gelatinous Cube on that level.  So, now there is a logical reason for the emptiness of the level.  The Cube ate mostly everyone there!.  I'll have to make note of clear slime trails throughout the level as a clue.

The one thing I did plan though was the placement of several privys throughout all the levels.  Whoever built and lived in the dungeon way back when needed to relieve themselves somewhere, so I made most of all the 10' x 10' rooms the latrines.  I'll have to make sure to place an Otyugh in one of them.

Further Dungeon Stocking Tips

I found this blog with an interesting post on Dungeon Stocking.  For some reason Blogger won't let me add the blog to my bloglist.  The blog has some nice maps too.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Dungeon Stocking Questions

I've been busy stocking levels of a dungeon.  Now that I have my reprint of the AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide, I've been using it to fill in my levels.  Going through the process has been fun and interesting and has brought a few questions to mind.

When using Table V. F: Chamber or Room Contents on page 171 of the DMG, the result of 15-17 says "Monster & Treasure (see Table V.G. below)".

Does this result mean that the monster is in it's lair?  And if so, shouldn't I be determining treasure using the monster's Treasure Type (instead of Table V. G.)?  And what if the monster in question has a Treasure Type of "nil"??  Why is there treasure?  Did the monster just happen to wander into the room shortly before the PC's showed up?

Does the definition of Lair and the associated Treasure Type equate to the minimum number of monster encountered according to the Monster Manual?

For example, Goblins have Treasure Type K for individuals, and C for lair.  If a room on the 1st Level of a dungeon has 6-15 goblins (according to the Random Monster Table in the Fiend Folio), is this room considered their lair?  And should I refer to the Treasure Type for the potential (however small) of this band having the maximum of 12,000cp, 6,000sp, 4,000ep, 6 gems, 3 pieces of jewelry and 2 magic items?  Or should there be at least 40 goblins to classify the room as a lair with this much treasure?  And if that is the case, why bother with % in Lair??

Friday, July 6, 2012

[Monster] Mire Turtle


HD: 5 (d8)
MOVE: 60 ft (ground), 30' Swim
AC: 13
ATTACKS: 1 bite (1d8), 2 arm barbs (1d6), 1 tail whip (1d6)
ALIGN: Neutral
XP:120 +5/hp

Mire Turtles are a predatory reptile that dwells in swamps and marshes.  It is the size of a large grizzly bear in bulk.  It has a turtle-like armored shell that is a deep mottled green color.  The skin of the Mire Turtle is a yellow color.  It's eyes are atop long stalks that it can rotate around to give it 360 degree field of vision.  The front legs have two sharp bony barbs that it can use to slash prey.  It has a large turtle-like mouth that if uses to bite prey.  It's powerful whip-like tail can also be used as a weapon.
The Mire Turtle usually lies beneath the murky waters of a swamp, among reeds or surface algae to help conceal itself.  It's eyes are extended just above the surface looking for prey.  The main motivation of this creature is not solely for food however, for it also attacks prey in order to subdue it in order to implant an egg as a means of procreating.  When a target is helpless and/or  unconscious, the Mire Turtle will disgorge an gelatin-like egg from it's mouth through a tube-like appendage that penetrates deep into any orifice that will suffice as an incubation chamber.

The egg will hatch in 2-4 weeks, instantly killing the victim.  A Remove Disease spell will successfully neutralize the egg if cast within 1 week of implantation, otherwise it will have no effect.

Encounters with Mire Turtles will usually be in or very near their lair.  It will be littered with the corpses of their prey that they have killed for food and as such their possessions will be still on them or nearby.  The victims of their attacks that they use for "mating" are left alone and alive so that they may become the living hosts for their young.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

[NSFW] The Art of Gojin Ishihara

I stumbled across these images from a Japanese artist named Gojin Ishihara.  He has illustrated several books (some from children's books!!!) which some of these images are from.  They are very macabre and would be right at home in the LotFP Grindhouse Edition rulebook.

The Hell of Repetition

Seems like the Hell of Cannibalism to me.

The Cat Monster

The Burning Hell.
Yep, the proverbial Hell of Being Skinned Alive! I say the next time you run Tomb of Horrors for newbs, have the Green Devil Face spit them out like those poor new arrivals in the background.

The Whore Spider.
Inspiration for Lolth perhaps?


Ceiling Dweller

This is awesome.  Neanderthals fighting Masked Luchadors!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

[Monster] Nagon


HD: 6 (d8)
MOVE: 40 ft
AC: 14
ATTACKS: 2 hoofs (1d8), 1 bite (1d8)
SPECIAL: Poison bite, Darkvision, +1 or better weapon to hit, Spell Immunity
INT: Low
ALIGN:Chaotic Evil
TYPE:Magical Beast
XP:480 +6/hp
The Nagon appears to have the body of a horse, but the neck and head is scaly and reptilian in nature of a humanoid with one large eye.  It has two large pointed ears and a small horn on it's forehead.  It has a tail with is similar to a cow's.
It attacks by rearing up on it's hind legs kicking with it's two front legs.  It also attacks with a bite from its mouth of sharp venomous teeth.  The sharp teeth do 1d8 damage on a successful attack and the victim will then need to make a successful Save vs CON or take poison damage.
The Nagon is not affected by attacks from non-magical weapons and requires a +1 or better magical weapon to do damage to it. 
It is believed by some scholars that this monster is some creation between a Naga and a Gorgon, hence it's name.
Poison Bite:  Make a save vs CON or be subject to Type 3 poison attack (per C&C rules for Venomous snakes).
Darkvision:  The Nagon can see perfectly in complete darkness up to 60'

Spell Immunity: This monster is immune to all spells, except for the 6th Level Cleric spell Blade Barrier and the 2nd Level Magic-User spell Web.

Quick Sketch of the Anttin

I used to draw quite a bit in my younger days but it was still amateurish stuff.  Nonetheless, I took time to make a sketch of the Anttin monster that I posted a couple days back, as I like to put pictures to the stats.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Epic Level Combat

Jump ahead to the 5:00 mark to skip the boring melodrama.

When I think of Epic Level D&D characters fighting it out, this movie captures the over-the-top image in my mind. Those wacky Japanese...

I remember watching old Kamen Rider and Kikaider TV shows on a local japanese station in Hawaii when I lived there. I've been thinking about those old shows recently and did a little bit of research. It seems that Kamen Rider has been going strong for many years now, but through an expanded universe of Kamen Rider characters from many different series.

Apparently this movie is a mega assembly of all the Kamen Rider character vs. the might of the terrorist group called Shocker.

This is true inspirational gold right here!! And ripe to be used in gaming in some manner.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

[Monster] Anttin


HD: 2 (d8)
MOVE: 30 ft (ground & wall-crawling)
AC: 15
ATTACKS: 2 bites (1d8)
SPECIAL: Rubbery Body, Reduced surprise chance, elongated neck
INT: Low
ALIGN: Neutral
TYPE: Abberation
XP: 25+2/hp

Anttins are man-sized bipedal insect-like creatures that have two ant-like heads atop an extremely long necks.  They have two other pairs of legs about mid-way up their body that they use only when scaling vertical surfaces, otherwise they walk upright on their two main legs.

They dwell underground and in deserts that have been irradiated by strange energies (whether magical or radiation).  They seem to be a product of mutation.

Their exoskeleton has a shimmering surface that relects light in a kaleidoscope of colors.

The Anttin are always hungry and that is their main motivation for attacking other creature in order to eat them.  They always attack the weakest target first (those that have the fewest hit points at the end of the round).

Rubbery Body: The structure of their exoskeleton is rubbery allowing them to twist and bend.  Weapons that strike the Anttin that do less than half of the weapon's natural maximum (i.e. 1-3 on d6), simply bounce off without doing any damage.  Missle weapons that bounce off have a 1 in 10 chance of striking a nearby random target.  The original attacker should make new to-hit and damage rolls against the new target.

Reduced Suprise:  As it has two heads, the Anttin has a reduced 1 in 6 chance of being suprised.

Elongated Neck:  The rubbery long necks of the Anttin allow it to strike at targets past the front rank of foes much like a spear can.

Monday, June 25, 2012

[Monster] Clockwork Mantis


HD: 3 (d12)
MOVE: 15 ft (ground & wall-crawling)
AC: 18
ATTACKS: 2 claws (1d6), bite (1d6)
SPECIAL: Immune to Lightning, Spells
INT: Average
ALIGN: Neutral
TYPE: Construct
XP: 50+3/hp

The clockwork mantis is an intelligent magical construct made of iron and mechanical gears.  It is a somewhat slow moving monster due to it's construction.

If engaged in melee combat, it will attack with it's two claws and bite with it's sharp bladed mandibles.

The Clockwork Mantis is able to cast each of the following spells once per day as if cast by a 3rd Level Wizard: Shield, Magic Missle, Sleep.

They will attack spellcasters before non-spell-casters.

When encountered, they will cast Shield first, followed by Magic Missle, then Sleep (these last two spells are used especially against spell-casters)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dungeon Entrance?

I found this cool picture on the internet.  It would make a great entrance to a dungeon.  Or maybe it is false entrance, and that gaping mouth is actually a fixed Sphere of Annihilation (like the trap in the Tomb of Horrors module).

It sort of has a Temple of the Asian Monkey God vibe to it, and I wouldn't be surprised if a crazed troop of murderous baboons emerged from the eyes and mouth of this simian-shaped portal to rain down woe on a party of adventurers.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Bravest Man in the World

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This guy is so non-chalant about how he goes about cleaning a cobtra pit.  Just look at all those pissed-off cobras with hoods flared open behind him and he doesn't even seem concerned.  That's one brave mutha-fooker right there.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


I went to see the movie Prometheus today.  I liked it and it answered a few questions in regards to the first film 'Alien', but it also produced new questions stemming from the events of this movie.  I won't give out spoilers in case you haven't seen the movie.  But definitely go out and see it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Traveller 5 Kickstarter

I just discovered that a new edition of Traveller is being funded through a Kickstarter campaign here.
This looks like its going to be one monster of a book (600 pages!) in hard-cover if you pledge $100+. But $50.00 gets you a CD-ROM of the book. Hmmmm.
My only question is: Will making starship plans be easier in this new edition? I have always been confused by the tonnage calculations and general math and wished for a more simplified, right-brained way of making ship plans.
I've been getting a Traveller itch reading Jeff Reint's blog posts on his Traveller campaign.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Wizard

I wonder if Uriah Heep played OD&D?
I remember visiting some relatives back east one summer and my cousin had this album in his room. I just stared at that cover. Mind you, this was before I discovered D&D by about 2 years.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

My First G+ D&D Game

I played in a G+ game hosted by Greg Gillespie of Barrowmaze fame on Friday night. It was just Brendan and I and a few men-at-arms and a war-dog. There is a video of the session here.
I had a bit of trouble finding the Hangout but we finally managed it. It was my first ever G+ game so it comes as no surprise that I ran into technical difficulties, such as my webcam wasn't working, so all that could be seen of my is my G+ profile pic.
Brendan played a human magic-user and I played a human fighter. My character's name is Vargus. His stats didn't qualify him for any other class than fighter, according to Labyrinth Lord rules. STR:16 INT:7 WIS:9 DEX:5 CON:9 CHA:12. AC:6 HP:8. He wears splint-mail armor, but with his plodding clumsiness of DEX, his AC is 6 instead of 4.
I think we played for about 2-3 hours. It was fun and we managed to get some loot, kill some skeletons and zombies and left with our lives and that of our hirelings. I'd definitely would play again.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Lost Trove of Dave Arnesan's D&D Collection Up for Auction

Please read the article here There are some people trying to organize a fundraiser to buy up the collection so that Dave's notes and papers can be scanned and shared via internet before the collection is purchased by individual collectors and scattered to the winds and most likely that material will never be seen.

Friday, April 13, 2012

12 Hours of D&D this Week-end!

Barring a giant meteor strike on Earth, I will be playing in two different D&D games at the monthly Hobby Day in Anaheim tomorrow. From 9am - 3pm I am playing my Elf Ranger in an ongoing Pathfinder game. Then from 3pm - 9pm, I will playing in a 2nd Edition D&D game with pre-gen characters. The DM running the 2nd Edition game emailed us a list of pre-gen characters which are playable on a first come basis. Hopefully, I'll be able to snag the Dwarf Fighter/Thief.

After over a month of no gaming, this 12 hour marathon should satiate my thirst for blood and treasure!

Hope you all have a good week-end of gaming too.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Judge's Guild Hex Maps

I was looking though my copy of Ravenscrag from Judges Guild, specifically the fold-out 17" x 22" maps of the Castle floor plans and the dungeon levels beneath. Strangely, the maps of the castle and dungeons are drawn on a hex grid, but there is no scale listed on the maps. When reading the descriptions of the rooms and the measurements given, they do not correspond to the size of the hexes at all. To accurately gauge the scale of the rooms, one needs a "tenths to the inch" ruler. I have one of these, with a grid marked on it, so in fact each square in the grid corresponds to 4 feet.

Now why did Judges Guild print the maps on their infamous hex map paper? No idea. The hexes are useless for game purposes. But that's okay though, as the real treasure is that one of the sides of those hex maps is a blank numbered hex map!! It's not in the sepia/brown tone, but it's good enough. I'm going to investigate how much it would cost to print a few of these out at the local Fed Ex/Kinkos.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Side Project: Caves of Chaos + Fiend Folio

I had this thought the other day of switching out the monsters from Module B2: Keep on the Borderlands, namely the Caves of Chaos and replacing them with monsters only from the Fiend Folio.

Those of you in the audience can play along at home if you wish.

What areas would you replace with Fiend Folio monsters?

[NSFW] Wenchday!

I haven't posted a Wenchday pic in a while, so I figured I would make up for it.

May all your Kitchen Wenches be like this!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Color Map of Corvis region from Iron Kingdoms

I found a hi-rez map of the Iron Kingdoms a while back. I cropped out a region centered near the city of Corvis in the kingdom of Cygnar, and threw some color on it. This area is central to the Witchfire Trilogy of modules from Privateer Press.

I picked up the Witchfire Trilogy from eBay not too long ago and have been reading through it in the hopes of running this mini campaign.

One nice thing though, is that Greg Gillespie's Barrowmaze will fit in nicely on the map. In the first Witchfire module, 'The Long Night', there is a tomb where several witches were executed and entombed in a hill amidst a swamp-like area. So a side-trek adventure into Barrowmaze can easily be slid in.

And here is the Corvis regional map:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Blogger Upgrade

I noticed that there is a message at the top of my Blogger Dashboard when I signed on today that the Blogger interface is changing in April. Has anyone done this yet?

Is this anything like the updated interface that I found so horrible last year that I reverted back to the old interface?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Barrowmaze Review

My hardcover copy of Barrowmaze arrived on Saturday. I skimmed through it Saturday evening and a more detailed read on Sunday. My decision to get the hardcover was probably over-kill for a 84-page book, but I like things to last and the glossy finish should repel spilled liquids better than a soft-cover book. The layout and typesetting reminded me of the module Keep on the Borderlands. Monster names are listed in bold, making it stand out better, and the names of magic items are italicized.

The book is written by Greg Gillespie of the Discourse and Dragons blog. It details a sprawling megadungeon of burial crypts and tombs beneath a series of burial mounds in a swampy region. There are 188 keyed areas on the maps, but many rooms are subdivided into numerous crypts, thus there are way more than 188 rooms.

The book contains several new magic items, two new spells, several new monsters which have artwork and stats at the back of the book, random tables to flesh out details of the dungeon, some pregen henchmen and hirelings and PCs as well.

The artwork throughout the book is done in the old school style, and it compliments the setting of the book very well.

Being that the dungeon is set in burial crypts, there are A LOT of undead here. Players running Cleric characters should shine brightly here, but they will find their Turn Undead abilities slightly hampered due to the influence of several cults of evil death dieties. There are several new undead monsters that will throw a few curve-balls at experienced players. That is not to say that all the monsters in the dungeon are undead, however.

One aspect of the exploration and plundering of the burial crypts is that many rooms have burial alcoves and niches set into the walls. It takes time to search them, and well you should, for there can be treasure to be found. The risk is that you may have a random encounter with a wandering monster the longer it takes to search. There is a simple system presented on how many of these alcoves can be searched before a encounter check is made. If there is treasure, it is listed, but as a sum total. This gave me the impression that everything must be searched to get all the treasure listed, but nowhere is it explained how much of that treasure you get if say you only searched half or a quarter of the alcoves.

Besides this minor quibble, I liked the adventure and hope to run it soon.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Map of Nerath: The setting D&D 5E should focus on.

When 4E came out, there was a "Points of Light" style world in the back of the DM's Guide which was set in a place called the Nentir Vale. This location was the focus of many of 4E's early adventure modules (i.e. Keep on the Shadowfell, Thunderspire Labyrinth, Hammerfast, Trollhaunt Warrens etc.,). The Nentir Vale was detailed just enough to give you a sense of the place and there was room for any DM to develop it further.

I liked the setting and ran a short-lived campaign there using 4th edition before I just got sick of all the rules errata horse-shit and the switch by WoTC to their On-line Character Builder. I cancelled my DDI account and abandoned 4E shortly after in favor of Castles and Crusades.

With the release of the "Dungeon Master's Kit" by WoTC, there were more details included about the small Barony of Harkenwold in the southeast corner of the Nentir Vale. A few adventures were included in the Kit set in the Barony, focused on an invasion by an evil group of marauders known as the Iron Circle. The PCs were to help organize a resistance group and seek out allies and resources to fight against the invaders.

With the release of the board-game "Conquest of Nerath" by WoTC, it shows what the rest of the world looks like. And it's a pretty sweet map. Now that we have a better picture of what that world looks like, this should be the setting that D&D 5E (or D&D Next) should set the game on. I got the impression that WoTC was going to support the Forgotten Realms with this new edition.

I say that's a mistake. Why? Because they nuked the Forgotten Realms the last time they released a new edition of the game in order to shoe-horn an explanation of why the game mechanics were different from the previous edition. That was just dumb and it left a lot of FR fans angry.

You can't disappoint fans of a beloved existing setting if you launch a new one with the release of a new edition of the game. Just think of all the setting splat-books you can publish for the new world....

Below is a map of the board-game "Conquest of Nerath"

I've added a shaded square to the map in the upper left portion of the map which represents a 110 square mile area. This was figured by eye-balling the map and comparing the scale shown of the Nentir Vale in the 4E DM's Guide. So, this should give you a sense of scale.

I'm not really interested in the new edition of D&D. I did like the Nentir Vale setting and I'm just thinking out loud that they should develop it more for the new game. But going back to the well which is Forgotten Realms? The well that WoTC poisoned? That's just dumb.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The OSR is not represented in Orange County

I'm a member of a local D&D Meetup which is not very active, unfortunately. There was a poll posted on February 12th, asking "If you are a DM, What Edition of D&D do you DM?"

Out of 56 members, only 12 have responded.

3 members would prefer to play
9 members prefer to DM.

Out of the 9 DMs, 4 of them DM 3.0/3.5.D&D/Pathfinder, 4 DM 4th Edition and 1 DM's (which is me!)a Retro-clone.

How sad is that?

It would be interesting if the re-release of the AD&D books in April will have an impact on getting new people to play the older versions of the game.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Arrived! The Fiend Folio

I got my Fiend Folio today from Ebay. It's in good condition although the pages have a funky earthy smell, like as if it was buried in dirt. I wonder if rubbing a Bounce sheet on the pages will get rid of the smell? I'll have to try it later.

I used to own this book back in the day, but it was tossed for some reason or another. Stupid me.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

[Gaming Aid] City Maps

I found this site today while looking for maps of archipelagos. The artist, Emily Garfield makes hand-drawn maps of cities and it might be useful as a gaming aid if you are stuck with making a city map of your own. Enjoy!

It's Hot

It just turned Summer all of a sudden here in California. Temps are in the 80's!! What happened to Spring? My sweet cool Spring? I hope this is just an anomaly.

I have the air conditioning going and a room fan on and it's 82 degrees in the house. WTF? Ugh.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Distracted by Iron Kingdoms

I've been reading up on the Iron Kingdoms setting from Privateer Press. A long while back when 3.0 D&D was in it's heyday, I picked up the module The Witchfire Trilogy: The Longest Night. This was the first of three modules that were to introduce the Iron Kingdoms setting. Privateer Press was even working on an Iron Kingdoms character guidebook to use with the D&D rules for their setting. Then 3.5 was released and that set Privateer Press back some. At some point afterwards, I picked up the book Lock & Load: Iron Kingdoms Character Primer. I flipped through the book and then shelved it in my collection.

Until now.

I pulled these books back out and have been giving them a more detailed read. In my researches online at Privateer Press' website, I discovered that they did publish several books for D&D 3.5, which of course are now out-of-print. I purchased the other two modules in the Witchfire series on Ebay over the weekend and I am awaiting their arrival. In the meantime I purchased the Iron Kingdoms Character Guide, Monsternomicon 1 & 2 and Liber Mechanika PDFs on RPGNow.

It's been an enjoyable read of the background for this setting. I want to use some of this material, but of course with Castles & Crusades. I'm unsure if I would run a game using the Iron Kingdoms straight up or just take what I like and use that in a homebrew setting. The flavor of the Iron Kingdoms wouldn't fit in the world of Xhuul, so I doubt I will mix them together.

So Gamer ADD is striking again. I found a nice vector map of the Iron Kingdoms done in PDF format which I have been playing around with. I might like to get a Iron Kingdoms game going soon on Google+. I just need to figure out the logistics of getting a game up and running using Hangouts.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Abe Lincoln Kicking Ass

Ok, this is interesting. But I'm wondering why Abe has such incredible strength and agility.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

New Map and Campaign Thoughts

I found a cool map at Rule of the Dice blog. The creator of the map, John Williams, has given his permission to anyone to use his map for their games. I've been busy doing a lot of thinking about the map and how I want to use it in a future Google+ or face-to-face table game. I don't think I would use the whole map and just crop out an area to set a campaign in. It looks like Gorgonmilk also found the same map and is using it to run an AD&D game.

World-building and setting creation seems like a real chore these days. And especially map-making, which I have never been good at. It seems the older I get, I have this need to have things "make sense". I don't recall spending so much time in the my younger days of this hobby fretting over details. My style was to flesh things out as the game went along. It made no sense to put a lot of energy writing down pages of stuff, as there was a very good chance the players would go off in a different direction and it would never be used.

So anyway, with this new map, I'm scrapping some material and ideas I wrote about Xhuul on this blog. There are some ideas I'll keep, but much of the material I'm just going to forget about and start over with a new slate.

I'm not planning to detail the entire world of Xhuul. I'm only interested in this small map. What lies outside of it, will have to be addressed if it becomes necessary to do so. It is a fantasy world with some strange elements (i.e. Lovecraftian beings, technological artifacts). For this, I will be using some parts of Carcosa, namely the the random tables for monsters, robots and ray guns. I won't be using the standard allotment of humanoid monsters as low-level fodder (i.e. Orcs, Kobolds, Goblins). Instead I will use monsters such as Firenewts, Bullywugs or just your run-of-the-mill Human Cannibals.

The system used will still be Castles & Crusades. Classes will be Fighter, Wizard, Thief. Since there aren't any 'real' gods, there will be no need for Clerics. The fact is, I have yet to play in any game where the Cleric character was played properly. It seems, in my opinion, that players who run Clerics just pay lip-service to their god in exchange for spells. They never really follow or execute their god's doctrine. So, why have a class whose only purpose is to provide healing, when it can be replaced with healing potions or Biomedic Leeches made readily available? I'm going to drop the Mutant Class as it feels very much like "Race-as-Class" from Basic D&D, which I have never cared for. In terms of the game setting, anyone who is exposed to effects that cause mutation can be classified as a mutant, whether that is your 1st Level Human Fighter or 5th Level Human Thief etc.,

As for Player races, I'm still mulling that over. It's definitely a Human-centric campaign world. If I decide to have Demi-human PC races, they will be a watered-down version from standard D&D in terms of flavor and game mechanics.

I'm still keeping/using my Mutation Tables, Sorcery Affliction Tables, and Poison Intensity Tables.

I've been making a list of the Monsters I plan to use. Looking it over, I have no Dragons, Devils or Demons. Weird, huh? If I feel like making something new, I'll open up James Raggi's The Random Esoteric Creature Generator and Their Modern Simulacra PDF and roll one up.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Preview of Pathfinder Battles: Rise of the Runelords Minis

Check out Paizo's Blog for the latest preview of the upcoming Pathfinder Battles minis set. There is no official release date yet.

Also mentioned in the same article is a pre-packaged non-random set of 6 minis called Champions of Evil. This is similar to the Pathfinder Beginners Box Heroes set that came out earlier which had 4 of the Iconic characters for Pathfinder. This new set has an Evil Cleric, A Succubus, Scarlet Gargoyle and 3 Zombies.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I'm now on Google+. I've been thinking about either playing in or running a game using the G+ Hangouts. I'm still reading up on what I need to do to get up and running.

My name there is Greg Johnston (pic of me sitting somewhere outside wearing a cap & sunglasses, goatee, black backpack on with a water bottle in hand.). This was on a hiking trip I took years ago in Sequoia National Park.

Also can email me at brothershinrin at GEE MAYLE dot com. Brother Shinrin was the name of a monk character I played in a 3.5 edition game years ago. He was pretty awesome and was the first monk character I ever played and had fun with. I got him up to 12th Level before the mini-campaign ended.

Feel free to add me to your circles, hopefully I will be playing in a game or hosting one soon.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

[Video] Archery Rate of Fire

This rocks! Certainly makes that the elf archer in Hawk the Slayer look lame.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cthulhu Through the Editions

I was reading Realms of Crawling Chaos last night and thought the stats for Cthulhu were somewhat weak. That prompted me to go dig out my Dieties & Demigods book (yes, the one with the Cthulhu and Melnibonean Mythos inside) and compare the stats.

Note: I haven't replicated the stat blocks in their entirety. I wanted to focus on comparing overall power)

AD&D Cthulhu (from Dieties & Demigods)

AC: 2
MOVE: 18"/36"
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1-10 (x30)
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Immune to Magical Control, +2 or better weapon to hit, regeneration.
FIGHTER: As 16+ HD monster
MAGIC-USER: 20th level magic-user
STR: 25, INT: 20, WIS: 23, DEX: 20, CON: 25, CHA: -7

Cthulhu usually attacks both physically and psionically. He can regenerate 10hp/round. He teleports up to one-half mile at will and is totally immune to the effects of water, cold and vacuum. He can call up from the sea 10-100 Deep Ones. He will retreat into his lair id confronted by an intact Elder Sign, another of the Old Ones (suchas Hastur) or some natural catastrophe, such as the re-sinking of the city of R'lyeh into the sea.

D&D 3.0 Edition Cthulhu (from d20 Call of Cthulhu)

Hit Dice: 42d12+378 (882hp)
Initiative: +5
Speed: 140ft, swim 140ft, fly 360ft (poor)
AC: 47
Attacks: 6 tentacles +56 melee, 2 claws +50 melee, stamp +50 melee
Damage: Tentacle 4d6+16, claw 2d8+8, stamp 4d6+8
Special Attacks: Improved grab, horrid constriction 4d6+12, spells
Special Qualities: Divine qualities, damage reduction 40/+4, divine fast healing 50/round, Spell Resistance 37, darkvision 60ft, fire resistance 25, sonic resistance 25, alter size, alter form.
Saves: Fort +39, Ref +31, Will +37
Abilities: STR: 42, DEX: 12, CON: 29, INT: 33, WIS: 27, CHA: 29
Feats: Alertness, Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Great Fortitude, Improved Critical (tentacle), Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Sunder, Weapon Focus (tentacle)
4th Edition Cthulhu (from Goodman Games' Critter Cache Lovecraftian Bestiary)

Initiative +29

Nightmarish Presence (Fear, Psychic) aura 10; enemies with
fewer levels than Cthulhu in the aura take a -5 penalty to attack
rolls and saving throws. Enemies that enter or start their turns in
the aura take 25 psychic damage.

HP 1,288; Bloodied 644
AC 51; Fortitude 49, Reflex 48, Will 49
Immune to attacks from creatures under level 25, poison, sleep;
Resist 15 all
Saving Throws +5
Speed 10, swim 10, fly 12 (hover), overland flight 15
Action Points 2

m Flabby Claws (standard; at-will)
Reach 4; +42 vs. AC; 4d10+13 damage, and the target is
grabbed (until escape).

M Wing Slam (standard; at-will)
Reach 4; +42 vs. AC; 4d8+13 damage, and the target is
pushed 2 squares and knocked prone.

M Horrific Tentacles (minor; at-will) ✦ Healing, Necrotic
Grabbed target only; +40 vs. Fortitude; 3d10 + 13 necrotic
damage, and the target loses 3 healing surges. If the target
is reduced to 0 healing surges with this power, it is slain,
and Cthulhu regains 322 hit points. The target cannot be
raised from the dead until Cthulhu is destroyed or it chooses
to release the target’s soul.

R Soul-Shattering Gaze (minor 1/round; at-will) ✦ Gaze,
Ranged 10; +40 vs. Will, 3d6 + 13 psychic damage, and
the target is dazed, slowed, and weakened (save ends all).

c A Mountain Walked (when Cthulhu ends its move action on
the ground; at-will)
Close burst 4; +38 vs. Reflex; 2d6 + 13 damage, and Large
or smaller targets are knocked prone.

c Ensnaring Madness (standard; recharge 56) ✦ Charm,
Fear, Psychic
Close burst 10; +38 vs. Will; 4d10 + 13 psychic damage,
and the target is pulled 5 squares and stunned (save ends).
If the target is pulled within 4 squares of Cthulhu, Cthulhu
can make a melee basic attack against the target as a free
action. Aftereffect: The target is dominated (save ends).

Whisperer in Darkness (whenever a sentient creature takes an
extended rest within 1 mile of Cthulhu; at-will) ✦ Psychic
+40 vs. Will; 3d10 + 13 psychic damage, the target
regains no healing surges and suffers a -2 penalty to attack
rolls and saving throws until it can take an uninterrupted
extended rest.

Threatening Reach
Cthulhu can make opportunity attack against enemies within
4 squares of it.
Alignment Chaotic evil

Str 36 (+30) Dex 30 (+27) Wis 36 (+30)
Con 34 (+29) Int 32 (+28) Cha 34 (+29)

Labyrinth Lord D&D Cthulhu (from Realms of Crawling Chaos)

Movement: 180’/360’
Armor Class: 0
Hit Dice: 350 hp (50)
Attacks: 2 (claws) or 10 (tentacles)
Damage: 1d10+15 or 1d6+special
Save: F20
Morale: 9
Psionic Strength: 22

Cthulhu prefers to attack psionically, however, if he must attack physically, he will do so with his two claws. If his head is close to his opponents, he will attack with his 10 tentacles. Each tentacle is 10ft long and may attack separately each round. They flail about doing 1d6 damage and an opponent struck must Save vs. Death or lose 1pt of INT. Each 1pt of INT lost restores 10hp to Cthulhu.

Cthulhu has the abilities of a 20th level magic-user. He also has the following psionic powers clairaudience, clairvoyance, dimension projection, dimension travel, ego whip, ESP, Id Insinuation, intellect fortress, mental barrier, mind thrust, neural telepathy, psionic blast, psychic crush and suspend life

The AD&D and Labyrinth Lord Hit Points are within 50 HP of each other. In 3rd edition and 4th edition, the Hit Points are inflated to double and four-times as much.

Armor Class for AD&D and Labyrinth Lord are equivalent to plate armor or plate and shield, and it is plausible that even a low level fighter could hit Cthulhu, whereas the 3rd and 4th Edition versions requires an Epic-level character to hit him.

Damage varies between all versions, some more than others.

All versions except 3rd edition have Psionic powers.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Any Clue?

It seems recently when I go to read a blog post, Blogger immediately sends me to the bottom of the blog page where the comments are. I have to scroll up to the top of the page to read the blog post. Anyone know if this is a fixable thing or is Blogger up to it's usual buggy self?

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Looking over my Xhuul notes, I found that I never made a system for poison. I don't like the C&C poison rules in the Monster & Treasure book and I want something that scales on a 1 to 10 like the Cyggugothic Emanations Intensity Table.

So here goes:

When determining the Intensity of a poison from a venomous creature's bite, poisonous gas, toxic plants, or from alchemical poison, roll 1d100 an consult the table below. Poison can be purchased from unscrupulous sources and the cost can vary.

When exposed to poison, the victim must make a CON Save. The CL is the Intensity of the poison. As per normal C&C rules, if CON is Primary, the base save is 12. If secondary, it is 18. Add the Poison Intensity to this base to arrive at the number to roll. Add character level and Attribute bonuses to the roll.

Poison Intensity Table

1d100    INT     Successful Save     Failed Save
--------     -----     -----------------------     ------------------
01-15      1       None                      1d4 damage
16-30      2       None                      1d6 damage
31-40      3       None                      1d8 damage
41-50      4       None                      1d10 damage
51-65      5      1d4 damage              2d6 damage
66-75      6      2d4 damage              3d6 damage
76-84      7      3d4 damage              4d6 damage
85-90      8      4d6 damage              Death
91-96      9      5d6 damage              Death
97-00      10    6d6 damage              Death