Friday, August 11, 2017

Report on the so-called "sick rock" mineral

Let me start with a little background about my weekly campaign.  As I've mentioned before, I'm running my adaptation of Anomalous Subsurface Environment, the great OSR megadungeon affectionately known as "ASE."  The best part of it is that my players haven't set foot in so much as the gatehouse, as they are continually deflected from their quest by their own misadventures.

Just another day in ASE

That quest is to retrieve a certain quantity of raw protonium ore for their patron, an old and clever dragon.  They know that they can find this in a place called Mount Rendon, and to gain entrance to this mountain they must obtain a small quantity of what is known as "sick rock" i.e. uranium.

Towards the end of a fun little picaresque journey from their portal to Denethix, the party got its hands on this very material in the traditional way (i.e. they beat-up some lion men).  ASE provides a nice little lair dungeon to make this happen, so I ran that and the PCs won the prize.

But then they lost it.  It wasn't really their fault.  Well, actually, they sort of panicked and let it be known that they had found the wizard's lost sick rock. After being thanked and rewarded, the authorities took custody of the stuff and sent the PCs on their way.  So now what?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Empress rules

Here's the ever-evolving document that represents the Empress rules:

Empress rules!

It's about time, right?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Empress - magic rules, revised

Hey gang!  One of the things I've been doing lately has been tweaking the Empress rules for spell casting.  I didn't change that much, but here's a list of what was added:

  • There are now only five spell levels.
  • Casting spells now have a price, which is equal to four times the spell level minus the caster level, with a minimum value of twice the spell level.
  • The price of a spell is proportional to the cost paid by the magician.  As before, the exact nature of the cost depends on the type of magician - time for sorcerers, physical energy for mystics.
  • The precise costs of spells has been tightened up.
  • Any spell parameters that scale, like duration, damage or range, scale based on the caster's level plus the appropriate ability modifier (Spirit for mystics, Mind for sorcerers).
  • There's a spell list!  This is the biggest change; rather than leaning on the SRD or the Lamentations list, I decided to write my own from scratch.  It really wasn't too hard, since I resolved to keep the descriptions short and sweet.

One thing you may notice about my spell list is that few of them have combat applications.  My conception of magicians is that they are not medieval superheroes, firing beams out of their fingers and flying around like a robed Captain Marvel.  Using magic in combat should be quite possible, but it should be indirect and require some creativity.  When it comes to giving and taking damage, fighters should be kings of the battlefield at all levels.

Summon Answer!

Magicians occupy a strange position in many parties.  It's clear that fighters should have a front line combat role.  Thieves are well-suited to all those non-combat adventuring activities.  But magic-users, in the traditional model, are basically able to do pretty much anything, but only a limited number of times. With a traditional magic-user, you can become a combat powerhouse (with your Fireballs and your Cloudkills), or the perfect burglar (with Invisibility and Knock).  It just doesn't seem fair to the other classes to have magic-users occasionally outshining them in their own specialties. 

So I try to find other things for magicians to do.  And I partly succeed.  But you're never going to have a magic system without an Invisibility spell.

Without further ado...

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Curse of Stupidity

I've seen a number of OSR blogs (rightly) complain of the utterly boring nature of D&D magic weapons.  Plenty of posts have been made offering (welcome) replacements for the tired-as-fuck sword +1.  Doot-dee-doo, OSR to the rescue!

So tired of these

But you know what's dumber than a +1 sword?  A fucking -1 sword.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Pre-review: The Dark of Hot Springs Island

Yes, there has been a drought of posts from yours truly.  A long dry season for posts on Artifacts and Relics, as it were.  Listen, when it comes to writing about games, my big priority is making headway on Blackrock.  And it's (surprise!) slow going.  I have to say, writing certain bits is a real drag.  But like some kind of mighty-thewed yawper, I heroically trudge forward.

This is like game writing

But life is not all OSR fantasy adventure setting authoring.  No!  I also read OSR fantasy adventure settings.  You see, I have many interests.

And so this post.  I recently picked up The Dark of Hot Springs Island, and have sort-of read it.  I've basically flipped through it a bunch.  I can't say I've read enough to write a review, but I am comfortable saying I've read enough to write a pre-review, or as some might say, "premature half-ass musings."  So please join me, if you will...

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Empress session report - The Murderhobros meet hard-punching lion-men

It's been a while since we had one of these.  Well, life gets in the way, which means that we missed a few sessions and I'm behind on reporting the ones that we had.  So let's catch up a bit.

We're at least three sessions behind, so I'm going to compress a bit of the older events.  Anyway, we left our lovable scoundrels having more or less disrupted the plan of Lord Python (an evil wrassler) to have some thugs drug the ales of the beloved Wolf Brothers (the good guys!) so as to impair them for the upcoming match.  

For all I know these guys really were called the Wolf Brothers

Things went well from there; the Wolf Brothers met and beat Lord Python the very next day, although he escaped the justice of the militia.  The PCs were celebrated for safekeeping the honor of Lugosi and the Wolf Brothers.  Radj was able to order dog barding at a bargain price.  Yay team!

Of course, things got messy again.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Micro-reviews: Golden Eye of the Kobold King, King For a Day, Wonder & Wickedness

I was recently reflecting on the phrase "content is king" in conjunction with tabletop role-playing.  Perhaps you've heard it?  It was uttered by Bill Gates back in '96 to summarize his expectation that media content and its consumption would drive the expansion of the web.  It's one of those things that seems stupidly obvious to us now, but was somehow revelatory at the time.