Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I have a new webcam, so time permitting, I can now join in the ConstantCon shenanigans. Carry on.

Monday, November 28, 2011

By This Axe I Rule!

Rosey (of Drama, Dice and Damsons) and I are in discussion about play-testing ChrisK (Hill Cantons) wargames rules By This Axe I Rule. And what better way to playtest it than with an elf wielding an axe and a severed orc head?

The last time this chap and his posse of archers saw battle was at Salute '07 in London in a game of Fantasy Warriors. They were slaughtered by barbarians in a corner of the battlefield and saw very little action. It was, however tremendous fun. Winning didn't matter (I was on the 'goodies' team), and the unfolding story was heroic and hilarious.

We who are about to die...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Artist Focus - Earl Geier

I shall try to format this one better, as the Dykstra post has gone all skewif. So, Earl Geier. Who he? Only one of the busiest artists in RPGs at one point. Well, I made that up, but he very probably was. I first encountered his art in the Elric! rulebook and was really struck by his ability to make creepy creatures with an economy of line and deft penmanship.

Both of these come from the Savage Coast Monstrous Compendium (used to be a free download from WotC - you'll need to look on Google to find it). That Geier is also a comics artist comes to the fore here - there's a sense of action (either present or imminent) that is missing from most monster illustrations.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Miniatures for Oriental Adventuring 4

Here we go again with more minis for your delectation!

First up, Dixon Miniatures:

The latter pic is wonderfully titled "Dai Oni in savage mood brandishing mallets". They have an enormous range of figures, both military and civilian, as well as fantasy. The only con is that they are quite squat and stocky compared to more "modern" ranges. Otherwise, this is a real treasure trove of variety.

Samurai Catalogue

Now The Assault Group:

Another large range, with a great mix of nationalities (including different Chinese dynasties - perhaps a way for you Kara Tur fans to distinguish Shou Lung and T'u Lung?). TAG have free worldwide postage as well, I think.

Medieval Asia range

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

5 Badass Pieces of Classical Music

Oh Fortuna - Carmina Burana (Carl Orff)

Mars, the Bringer of War - The Planets Suite (Gustav Holst)

The Rite of Spring - Igor Stravinsky

Montagues & Capulets - Sergei Prokofiev

Night on Bald Mountain - Modest Mussorgsky

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ninja - Kitsune & Kensei

Here she is, that most maligned of Asian archetypes/stereotypes, the ninja. She mixes bits of thief and assassin with acrobat, and was incredibly powerful, by Zeb's own admission, in the original OA. I've cut some abilities, as I still want thieves and assassins to be viable 'ninja'. The ninja character class represents one who has taken a mystical approach to the art of stealth.

At the moment I only have notes, so I will present these rather than a full write-up like the other classes (especially as I am working on compiling them).


Reqs: 14 Dex, 15 Int, 14 Cha

1d4 hp
No Prime Requisite
Use any armour and weapon. Penalties to thief skills for wearing metal armour.
Combat and saves as Thief
Thief Skills
Move Silently

Hide in Shadows
Climb Walls
Assassin Skills
Unique Skills
Pole Vault
Level based abilities
1st Level - Hold Breath
5th Level - Walk on Water
12th Level - Walk through Walls

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Barbarians at the Gate

Watching Mulan has made me more determined to have a go at adapting the barbarian. Shan Yu is a great villain.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Whaddya know?

I Am A: Lawful Neutral Human Wizard (4th Level)

Ability Scores:







Lawful Neutral A lawful neutral character acts as law, tradition, or a personal code directs him. Order and organization are paramount to him. He may believe in personal order and live by a code or standard, or he may believe in order for all and favor a strong, organized government. Lawful neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you are reliable and honorable without being a zealot. However, lawful neutral can be a dangerous alignment when it seeks to eliminate all freedom, choice, and diversity in society.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Wizards are arcane spellcasters who depend on intensive study to create their magic. To wizards, magic is not a talent but a difficult, rewarding art. When they are prepared for battle, wizards can use their spells to devastating effect. When caught by surprise, they are vulnerable. The wizard's strength is her spells, everything else is secondary. She learns new spells as she experiments and grows in experience, and she can also learn them from other wizards. In addition, over time a wizard learns to manipulate her spells so they go farther, work better, or are improved in some other way. A wizard can call a familiar- a small, magical, animal companion that serves her. With a high Intelligence, wizards are capable of casting very high levels of spells.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Reversion Recursion

Zeb, you mad genius. What have you wrought? On re-examination of the xp tables for the various classes, I find I like them much more than my prior suggestions of "samurai use the paladin table". The dynamics of how the different classes progress is interesting and a subtle part of how he game works. Ninja, as an example need an incredible amount of xp to progress (more than twice as much as some classes). I think in that one case I may re-examine the xp cost. Likewise the bushi has a weird progression whereby they progress faster than fighters until 8th level but then slow down greatly until they fall a level behind. Odd. Not sure what to do with that one given the bushi "freak out" power. Something to ponder. So, sorry for lack of updates, but I have been reading and thinking lots!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Artist Focus - Terry Dykstra

Watch it, Frodo...
Get out of my shared imaginative space, get into my chariot

A proud banner-waver of the facial hair tradition of D&D.

Now, Dykstra seems to get a fair bit of stick from some people online. I must confess that I don't like some of his work, but I can say that about luminaries like Brom and DiTerlizzi as well.

Terry Dykstra's art provided my first exposure to the D&D game. The elf opposite manages to be beautiful and bad-ass (even if she is the super-short D&D elf). The halfling conveys that although he's not a fat hobbit, he's still not the greatest warrior.

Dykstra (or the art director for the Rules Cyclopedia) is to be applauded for the racial variety therein. That and super-hot thief chicks.

It ain't D&D without face fungus

Yes, your player is 14 years old

Now, the more po-faced grognards despise this picture, and yet I see laments day after day for more humour in the D&D game "like the old days". Seems you can't win. Well, anyway, it made me chuckle.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

A brief word

Now I have your attention...
Just an info bulletin that the OA to Labyrinth Lord conversion has a name now, after extensive (cough, cough) market research. Henceforth, my vanity project will be known as Kitsune & Kensei. That is all, citizen.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Rise up, you Dead, Slain of the Hydra!

Rise from your graves and avenge us!

Evil High Priest Kutalik calls forth the Children of the Hydra

Hail the Hydra Creative Co-op!

The restless creatives arise...

Friday, November 04, 2011

Unearthed Hexmap

I recently (well, 6 months ago) brought up about half of my RPG stash from my parents to our house. Amongst the haul was the World Builder's Guidebook by Richard Baker (TSR 1996), which as the name suggests takes one through the process of creating a campaign mileu (as Gygax might say). The book comes with a thick pad of blank hex maps and grids: in this I discovered a map I drew up for part of a forest world setting (I seem to recall the basic set up was elves vs forest linnorms or something). I noted that each hex was 1 mile, and I have no idea if any of this is geographically feasible. I enjoyed drawing it all the same. Does this seem as though it could work?

November 4, 2011
(Click to embiggen, hmm ok, not by much)

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Nine Men of Muriz

There are places where the Church does not hold sway, places where the missionaries never got the faith of Cooshboth to take root, or where the ancient powers have reclaimed the hearts of men. Such a place is the ring of standing stones known as the Nine Men of Muriz.

Who or what 'Muriz' is or was is unknown, despite various enquiries and folk etymologies. Suffice it to say it is a site of clear antiquity; references to it can be found as early as the first settlement by the Cristarubrae (who attributed the stones to the work of giants). Even then the stones were rightly reckoned to be ancient. In the words of Implicitus, "the great circle of stones is a mystery, even to the tribesmen here, who hold them to be a sacred place."

The nine megaliths are each 10 feet high and 4 feet wide; they are irregularly shaped pillars arranged in a circle, but (unlike some similar configurations) not aligned to any discernible celestial phenomena. Although they bear no resemblance to humans (or indeed any living form), most observers agree that the stones seem to possess a palpable aura, that is to say a feeling of malign intelligence. Residents of the nearby village of Muriz (named after the stones, not the other way around) will politely dissuade any visitors of such notions, "Tha's nobbut a numpty" they'll say with a convivial laugh, displaying the Mikelmercken forthrightness, "Merry meetings."

No matter who one converses with in the village, all will provide the same greeting and farewell - "Merry meetings".

This is not a normal thing to say.

For your D&D (and similar) game

In game terms, the entire megalith site will radiate as "evil" with Detect Evil, but the villagers themselves will not. The megalith site is also highly magical, being of great intensity; any caster using Detect Magic on the site will be dazzled by the brightness of the stones and the area encompassed by the circle, as well as being subject to a random insanity (although if you want to be less gonzo and more moody, inform the player that their ultimate loyalty is now to the stones and the village).

The stones are a focal point for the power of the earth, and allow the "grand receptor", the leader of the community's devotion to the stone circle, (currently a 6' 4" man of middle years and a gravelly voice called Yan Cooshbothsen [Cleric 10], who can cast Stone Tell at will) to use the following powers within the circle: Earthquake (1/day - the next day no damage will have been caused to the area and all is as if the spell had never been cast), Mass Charm (2/day), Conjure Earth Elemental (1/month)

The arrival of a group of strangers (like your PCs) will prompt the village to adopt a visage of utter normality, despite the fact that over time a few of them (5% chance) have been transformed into a stony form that radiates the same unease as the Nine Men themselves (treat as Stone Golems). Their guise of normality can be adopted or discarded at will, but at times of stress the facade may drop. Over the next few days, Yan will invite them to dine at his grand home, which offers hints as to the antiquity of the community's worship of the megaliths via tapestries, paintings and journal entries. Most of these clues will be hidden in some way in the form of symbolism in the work (spiral designs, images of robed figures processing etc). The Nine Men will begin to figure in the dreams of the PCs, silent and ominous. If the PCs do nothing over the course of this, they will eventually begin to feel drawn to the circle, where the village are gathered. Yan will greet them, welcoming them to their new family: