"Bruno takes 2 points of damage. Not enough to kill him, but the spider's bite is poison. Bruno rolls his saving throw against poison, fails to make it, and dies a horrible death." -Dr. Eric Holmes, "The Blue Book" (D&D 1978)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

[Comic book] Captain Marvel and CC Beck

This is the second in an irregular series of posts about stuff, possibly a bit outside the rpg norm, that has sidled into my subconscious, crept into my conscious, cuddled up next to the kobolds and magic missiles and, one way or another, in some measure, in some manner, mostly mutated, crawled out into my gaming.  (Here’s the first post of the series, on the Hammer flick Seven Golden Vampires).

CC Beck is in my list of the top five all-time greatest comic creators, and his brainchild, Captain Marvel -- best-selling superhero of the 40s, created by Beck and writer Bill Parker -- is one of my favorites.  Many of Caps adventures were scripted by Otto Binder.  Occasionally dismissed as naught but a Superman knockoff, he’s more than that, including a healthy dose of fantasy.  Superman’s origin is science fiction, Batman’s is testament to human will, but Captain Marvel’s is pure magic and myth.

An ancient wizard:

Super-science, weird humanoid races:

Captured by the dragon-folk:

Beautia and Billy face the germ people:
(Beautia -- who grew up on Venus as the ruler of a race of giant frogs -- is Cap’s love interest and she also happens to be the daughter of Cap’s arch-nemesis Sivana.)

Strange palaces:

Creatures out of classical myth:

Legendary ruins, a mystical statue:

Of course there’s a lot of stuff in Cap – a throw-in-anything approach, humor and goofiness, madcap-ness, off-the-wall characters, great villains, sf, fighting the Nazis, Billy’s everyday life, the Lieutenants, the Marvel family, and I like it all – but magic and the fantasy elements are usually not too far away.

CC Beck is a remarkable storytelling artist for the medium.  Extremely clean.  Minimalist.  Cartoony.  Fast moving.  Classic simplicity.  Tremendous layouts and design. 

Cap’s weaknesses proved to be changing times and a vigorous lawsuit from National, claiming infringement of their Superman copyright.  Publisher Fawcett voluntarily ceased publication of Cap in 1954.

Among the first comic books I ever got, after some Disney Digests and Caspers, was DC Treasury Edition no. 4, which reprinted Whiz Comics no. 1 from 1940, including the origin of Captain Marvel.  I feel lucky that I got that Treasury early; it made an impression and started an interest and appreciation for Captain Marvel and for golden age material generally. 

DC is now in the process of re-imagining The Big Red Cheese.  “Shazam” currently appears as a back-up in the most recent incarnation of the Justice League.  Billy’s a total delinquent.  At first that put me off, but I can accept it, depending on where they go.  Too early to tell.  It could end up terrible, could be ok, maybe better than ok.  I’m reserving judgment, hoping for the best.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

[Monster] Forest Troll

For LL…

Forest Troll
No. Enc.: 1-5
Alignment:  Chaotic
Movement:  90’ (30’)
Armor Class:  5
Hit Dice:  3+1
Attacks:  3 (claw/claw/bite)
Damage:  1-3/1-3/1-4
Save:   F3, +1 to saves vs. spells or spell-like devices
Morale:  8
Hoard Class:  XX
XP:   130 + 35 per spell-like ability

These vile magical creatures are about the size of gnomes.  They most often live alone or in small groups of two to five, usually in caves or huge hollow trees, almost always in forests (especially magical forests or areas).  Because forest trolls are masters of camouflage, their homes are 90% undetectable; they also have the same ability as halflings to conceal themselves in a forest environment (90% undetectable).

A forest troll possesses from 2-4 of the following spell-like abilities. Determine randomly how many and which ones (or select). Each is useable once per day unless rolled, or selected, more than once.  In that case, the number of times per day the ability may be used is equal to how many times that ability is rolled or selected.

1. Animal companion*
2. Animal Growth
3. Barkskin
4. Charm mammal
5. Curse (reverse of bless)
6. Entangle
7. Faerie fire
8. Hallucinatory terrain
9. Hold person
10. Invisibility
11. Obscuring mist
12. Pass without trace
13. Putrefy food and drink (reverse of purify food and drink)
14. Silence 15’ radius
15. Snake charm
16. Snare
17. Speak with animals
18. Stumble
19. Tree shape
20. Warp wood

*Not usable once per day; this ability is reusable once companion(s) has/have been killed. If it is rolled or selected more than once, then a more powerful companion or more numerous companions may be obtained.

Typically, forest trolls guard an area or landmark in the forest, such as a bridge, a clearing, a tunnel, a cottage, etc., close to their homes.  They harass -- verbally, by traps, magic, or violence -- most anyone passing by.   Forest trolls will parley and negotiate (not necessarily honestly) and sometimes a payment of some sort will be enough to secure clear passage. They are adept at setting traps, some of which will be of the sort to alert the trolls to the presence of intruders or startle or embarrass the victim(s).  Other traps will be more lethal.  They often attempt to use their spell-like abilities from positions of concealment.  Even though they are quick, vicious fighters, forest trolls usually only engage in open combat as a last resort, preferring traps, magic, deceit, trickery, and intimidation. 

Forest trolls are extremely chaotic and serve no masters, but they have been known to form alliances with other evil beings out of mutual interest or for pay. For instance, the trolls often act as intelligence operatives, providing information about those travelling through the forest. Their treasure is almost always scattered about in many different small containers, most trapped, and buried in separate locations in the vicinity of their homes. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

[My art] F & MU vs. Dragon

My illustration of a fighter and magic user facing a dragon:

My inspiration for the fighter, especially his shield, comes from this illustration, by my favorite rpg artist, Dave Sutherland:
This drawing appears in G2, The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Couple-o-purchases and evil halflings

I have been perusing my two most recent purchases (pdfs):

"The Manor #1" is good stuff.

What I like best is the extreme usability factor. Things you can read and then drop in that very night to just about any "standard," "traditional" campaign (whatever that means, yet I think we know). In this first ish, my favs are the forest encounters -- great for riffing off -- and the Salt Pit adventure. I personally like the pdf rather than print (I will print off what I'll use and put in binders), going against the os grain I guess, maybe because I just spent a few years trading and selling thousands of comic books and magazines, down to about 600 now, which I'll keep.

I’m going to supplement the Salt Pit adventure with this pair of evil halflings.  Either they will try to insinuate themselves into the party or follow them into the pit, wait for an opportune moment, and attempt to steal from or ambush the party:

Cnut (aka Rollicko Goodfriend), Halfling, Chaotic, Level 2, S-11, I-12, W-8, D-15, C-9, Ch-14, AC 5, hp 8, leather armor, shield, short sword (1-6), sling (1-4), a +1 magical sling stone (only usable by halflings, flies back to user at utterance of command word “voltar,” ignores any to hit penalties due to cover).

Hugo (aka William Masonson), Halfling, Chaotic, Level 2, S-12, I-14, W-8, D-14, C-10, Ch-8, AC 5, hp 8, leather armor, shield, short sword (1-6), short bow (1-6).

These two are thoroughly evil, cruel, deceitful, and duplicitous. Former servants of the evil Queen Lar, Cnut and Hugo narrowly escaped the renowned collapse of her fortress, in which she was buried beneath a huge pile of rubble, and presumed to be killed, along with her paramour Ijub-Niron, a High Priest of Malcor, and most of their followers. Since then, Cnut and Hugo have been travelling the land under the assumed names of Rollicko Goodfriend and William Masonson, making use of their considerable juggling and tumbling skills to pass themselves off as wandering entertainers.

Both Cnut and Hugo wear amulets that will magically enable them to teleport back to the site of the fortress at will.  The amulets function this way only for those who have been branded by Queen Lar.  Cnut and Hugo will only use this in desperation, at the last minute, to save their skins.  They fear returning to the rubble where they might encounter any surviving minions of Queen Lar who might hold their desertion just before the collapse against them.

My other purchase:

I haven't had too much time to delve into this.  I'm looking forward to reading it in detail when I get the chance. I feel like it might reawaken a dormant case of gamer add in me (these days I stick to D&D) -- might get the temptation to try to start something with it (maybe a fun summer activity).  At any rate I'll most likely steal stuff from it.

Both good purchases, at good prices!

Meanwhile over at The Breach appears this post sort of about the death of the blog. Just when I start.  Figures.  The only times I've ever been on the “cutting edge” were with the Vic-20 and Holmes Basic. Ever since I've been comfortably falling further and further behind.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

[Kids] Pics from a wild campaign

Pics from a free-for-all ongoing campaign, played mostly by my 5 year old and myself...

Take my word for it, that party (my PCs and hirelings) in the middle of town may be large, but they're in for a world of trouble.  If you don't think that giant is scary, you have no idea what you're talking about :).  Tough DM -- she is DM, I am GM and player.  She runs the monsters and has final say in the collectively developed narrative flow.  I take care of mechanical things.

The ultra-lite combat system:
Each side rolls 1d6 for initiative.  The side rolling the higher number goes first.  Tied rolls mean simultaneous actions.  A roll to hit is made with a d20.  The GM determines the number needed to hit (most often between 10 and 15), based on capability of the attacker and armor/capabilities of defender.  Rolling this number or higher results in a hit.  When a successful hit is made, the target is entitled to a saving throw to escape defeat (no hp used).  The GM determines a number between 1 and 5 based on the toughness of the defender.  This number or less must be rolled on a d6 by the defender in order to avoid defeat.  A defeated combatant is not killed.   Usually they are captured and teleported to a jail somewhere in a dungeon, from which they may be recovered later.  No using any books or writing anything down (disrupts immersion).

Waaaayyy more role playing than roll playing, believe me. And it's mostly not about combat, but parleying, planning, plotting, sneaking, magic, discussing, story-telling, interacting, acting, and so forth.

Unburdened by thoughts of rules systems and this and that, some of the things she comes up with are just great.  Pure imagination.  Reminders to me of some the best things about rpging, especially the boundlessness.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Turning probabilities

Just for fun, what is the chance of a 1st level cleric turning 4 zombies over the course of 2 rounds? 

Looking at a few different D&Ds:

Holmes: 25.4% 
1e: 30%
Moldvay/LL: 24.1%
"Black Book:" 20.2%

I'm throwing in the book from the 1991 boxed set (black box), the 15th version of basic (as per Acaeum).  At boardgamegeek the reviewer says it, "walks the line between rpg and board game but I think it really does fall on the board game side of the fence."  I disagree.  Acaeum states, "it is meant to be a primer for the D&D Rules Cyclopedia."  I do not own the Rules Cyclopedia and I don't know off hand if the turning rules there agree with the "black book."

In Holmes and AD&D multiple attempts are not allowed and so the "2 rounds" part doesn't matter, and the above is just the chance of turning 4 zombies in these versions.  Moldvay, as mentioned in this post -- and this jibes with my experience -- is typically interpreted as putting no restrictions on the number of attempts.  In the black book (1991), however, “once a cleric fails an attempt to turn undead, all his other attempts during the same battle also fail.”

Since the turning is "spread out" over 2 rounds in Moldvay and the "black book," here are the probabilities of turning all four zombies on the 1st try (1st round) in these versions:

Moldvay chance of turning all in 1st round: 11.6%
"Black book" chance of turning all in 1st round: 16.2%

The reason this is such a big difference is because of rounding the number of hit dice turned.  In Moldvay, round down: "he rolls agains to see how many monsters he turns.  The result of 9 means that 4 ghouls (a total of 8 hit dice worth) are turned away (extra hit dice have no effect)."  In the "black book" on the other hand, round up: the DM "divides the number rolled by the number of Hit Dice each monster has (round leftovers up).  The result is how many undead monsters the cleric turned."  In Holmes and 1e, the roll is not for the number of hit dice turned but the number of undead and so rounding is not an issue.

Some more clerical comparisons (some of the same ground covered in this post - most everything discussed in D&D has been discussed before):

A spell at first level? No
Number of undead turned: 2d6 (number of undead, not the number of hit dice)
Number of attempts: “When a cleric confronts one or more of the undead, consult the following table.”  Once per confrontation, no further attempts. 

A spell at first level? Yes. In fact, they’ll usually start with more than one, based on wisdom bonus. For example, with a wisdom score of 14, a 1st level cleric starts with the ability to memorize 3 spells. With higher wisdom, they’ll have more.
Number of undead turned: 1-12 usually (or 7-12 or 1-2, depending on type; this is the number of undead, not the number of HD)
Number of attempts: Basically one. “Failure to score the number shown, or greater, means the turning was unsuccessful. No further attempt by the cleric can be made with respect to the particular undead, and they may proceed to attack or otherwise operate unconstrained” and “this function may be attempted only once by each cleric.” There is an exceptional case, when “multiple forms of creatures subject to turning are involved.” Part of the beautifully baroque 1e AD&D.

A spell at first level? No
Number of undead turned: 2d6 hit dice
Number of attempts: Interpret as unrestricted 

“The Black Book” of the 1991 boxed set (and “The Classic Dungeons & Dragons” of the 1994 boxed set):
A spell at first level? No.
Number of undead turned: 2d6 hit dice
Number of attempts: One each round until failed.

Labyrinth Lord:
A spell at first level? Yes.
Number of undead turned: As Moldvay.
Number of attempts: As Moldvay.

I'm personally happy with any of them.  My favorite is Holmes (probably 'cause that's what I started with), but with a spell at first level a la AD&D/LL.

It's not really possible to directly compare with the others but…

Pathfinder Beginner Box:
1st level cleric…
  • Either heal the living OR damage undead: 3 + charisma modifier times per day (so 4 or more likely)
  • Cast detect magic, read magic, light, and stabilize “over and over again as much as you want, up to once per round.”
  • One more spell (or two more if wisdom is 13 or more – most likely it is because ability score generation is 4d6 drop lowest, arrange to taste).
Trying to relate it to the others...

A spell at first level? Yes.  Basically about 10, 4 of which can be cast ad infinitum.
Number of undead “turned” (actually damaged): all in 30 foot radius
Number of attempts: About 4 or 5 per day depending on charisma

Monday, April 23, 2012

Centipede taxonomy

In Holmes, the poison of giant centipedes is “in many cases … weak and not fatal.”  Mechanically this is a +4 bonus to saving throws. It’s still save-or-die.  In Moldvay, failing the saving throw causes an illness lasting for 10 days, reducing movement to ½ rate, and prohibiting other physical activity.  Thus the poison of the Holmes centipede is less likely to take effect (+4 to saving throw) but has much more dire consequences (death).  Also according to Holmes, giant centipedes “come in many colors (gray, black, red-brown, etc.)."  Perhaps each has a different type of poison.

For example:

Black giant centipedes: +4 bonus to saving throw, failed saved causes sickness as per Moldvay
Grey: Moldvay type
Red-brown: Holmes type
Red-orange: save-or-die, as Holmes, no bonus to the saving throw

To the typical dungeon denizens, and experienced adventurers, these differences would be well-known, but neophyte adventurers might be unaware of them.

Type appearing:
1-33: Black
34-67: Grey
68-97: Red-brown
98-00: Red-orange

MINI-MODULE. Caverns of the Crawlers

Here is a pdf of this.

Wandering Monsters. Check once per 10 minutes. 1 in 12 chance.
1. 2-5 orcs
2. 1-4 orcs and Leutenant Oriker from H
3. 1-4 orcs and Shaman Grak from H
4. 1 giant fly
5. 1 giant ant
6. 1-4 giant centipedes


A. Ladder up to 10’ wide ledge where the cave entrance is located. The entrance is only 3’ high (once 50’ into the cave, the height rises to about 10 feet) and so entry and exit is not too easy. Roll 1d6 and subtract 2 for the number of orc guards present here at any given time. Allow the possibility of zero guards. There always should be guards here, but discipline is lax. Wisps of smoke waft from the cave mouth, noxious and very weird smelling, this smoke is present near the ceilings throughout the caverns (comes from Grak's poison making operation at H).

B. Well concealed wire (2 in 6 chance of detection) triggering falling rocks (dexterity check to avoid 1-12 damage).

C. On northern wall, an ancient skeleton in shiny chain mail (cursed -1). The pit is 20’ deep but full of water 2-5’ deep, resulting in less damage from the fall, but there is a pit viper in the water.

D. 2’ wide, 40’ deep pit. Orcs put refuse, etc. down these, that is all.

E. Water, 2-5’ deep. 1 in 6 chance of slipping if moving through here without caution.

F. Water, 4-11’ deep. A shiny statue at the bottom of pool. It is a worthless painted statue the orcs tossed into the water. There is a giant leech in the pool.

G. 2-8 orcs

H. Grak’s workshop. Here the orc shaman Grak (crafty, eccentric, brooding, forgetful, cruel, 3 HD, cure light wounds (x2), dispel magic) is attempting to create a poison usable on weapons from the deadly venom of the red-orange giant centipedes. Also present is orc lieutenant Oriker (hot-headed, a drunk, weak leader, 2 HD) who has no faith in Grak’s scheme. In addition, another 2-7 orcs are here, and their gear (sleeping pallets, weapons, the usual equipment, etc). Pots full of vile smelling liquids simmer over a small fire in south-east corner (Grak's operation, this is where the strange smelling smoke comes from), crude alchemical equipment around the fire. There is a giant centipede cage for on the east wall, with 1-4 of the red-orange variety in it. (Grak and the orcs might have treasure as you deem fitting oh DM).

I. Slave pen. 3-18 human/demi-human slaves locked in fenced in southern portion. Sick and weak. They are forced by the orcs to plumb the depths of the giant centipede infested tunnels at K, in search of the red-orange variety. Obviously this is dangerous work. Grak promises freedom to any slave who can bring him two of the rare red-orange giant centipedes. No one individual has yet captured two and so no one knows if Grak will keep his word.

J. Top of the Cliff. 3 orcs with crossbows and flasks of oil, torches on walls.   Ladder down to K. The guards are here to both to keep centipedes from climbing up the cliff and to force the slaves go into the centipede infested tunnels (K), instead of cowering at the base of the cliff.

K. Giant centipede infested tunnels. Ladder up the cliff to J. Narrow maze-like tunnels penetrate far into the mountain and are teeming with the critters. If PCs venture into these tunnels, or are forced to, there is a 1 in 10 chance each minute of encountering 1-4 giant centipedes (determine type randomly).

L. Tomb. The orcs shun this place. The entire cave radiates magic; using detect magic will not register anything particular, other than this general presence of magic.  There is a sarcophagus on the northern wall, a table with a dagger on it in the center of the cavern, and a scroll on a small stand near the west wall. There is a loose stone (1 in 6 chance of detecting per 10 minutes searching) in north-west corner, and under the stone is an iron box with a bottle of red ink and a brush. If any chaotic being touches the scroll case, then all chaotics in the cave take 1-8 damage, save vs. magic for half. If any chaotic touches the iron box, then all chaotics in the cave suffer 3-18 damage, save vs. magic for half.  The scroll depicts a dagger in a circle. If the party uses the brush and ink to paint a circle around the dagger on the table, then the sarcophagus may be safely opened with no ill effects. There is a 2000 gp crown in the sarcophagus. If the circle has not been drawn when the sarcophagus is opened, then poison gas is triggered from the sarcophagus and the dagger animates and attacks as a 4th level fighter (AC 3, hp n/a). It is not possible to “kill” the dagger, a successful hit will knock the dagger away for a moment, prohibiting the dagger's attacking during the next round.  If the party leaves the cave then after 1-6 hours, the dagger will resume its position on the table. Any lawful being that spends more than 10 minutes in this cave will heal 1-6 points damage (don’t tell them, they’ll be pleasantly surprised later), once per day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

[Movie] Hammer's 7 Golden Vampires

On the surface a vampire-zombie-kung fu flick may not seem to have a lot to do with D&D, but hear me out... An adventuring party.  A legend. A journey-quest. A mind-controlled mad monk. Weird monsters. An out of the way village plagued by undead...

Some of those Hammer films are very D&D, imo.  (Now that's a subjective statement, I realize,  Not everyone's concept of "what is D&D" is the same).  For me, anyway, some of those flicks just have the atmosphere, the attitude, the style, the flavor.

A fine example: 1974's

Watch the original uncut version.  The edited North American version was released as "The Seven Brothers Meet Dracula" and also with the exceedingly verbose title "The Seven Brothers and Their One Sister Meet Dracula" (!).

Most critics boil it down to something like "flawed but enjoyable pastiche."  Cornball cheese (saying that respectfully), yeah, but awesome imo.

Here is a link to a pretty good synopsis and review.

Battling a vampire...
Zombie hoard...
Mr. Battle Axe...
The incomparable Julie Ege...

(This is that this is the first in an occasional, irregular series of posts about movies, TV, and comic books that might not ordinarily be thought of as D&D, but one way or the other influence my D&D...)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Only in it for the gold

Setting out. 

Imo the best motivation at the first is that they're only in it for the gold.

There's some disdain for the D&D cliche: meetup in a tavern, rumors of haunted ruins, great treasure, strap on yer boots and swords and set off to drag out the gold. 

To me, this is the best way (it doesn't have to be a tavern or exactly this way, but basically).  Why? Setting out on such a path - no patron hiring, no captive to rescue, no message from distant relatives, no master commanding, no mentor guiding, no specific mysteries to solve - demonstrates the trait that all these adventurers must share, appetite for risk.  They'd rather trudge off into the depths than follow tamer paths.

Now this is not to say that story and other motivations cannot develop.  They can.  In play. Possibly very soon after the start.  Including patrons, prisoners, masters, mentors, mysteries.  All that.  The second encounter in the dungeon might be with a group of warriors - men of a local noble - seeking their lord, the Duke, who is somewhere in the dungeon plumbing its depths for treasure (of course), and also looking for a rare plant apparently needed by a crazed holy man treating the Duchess who has contracted an unusual and mysterious contagion.  The holy man seems to have a strange powerful sway over the Duke.  The Duke's warriors don't trust the holy man.  They need to deliver a message to the Duke: his daughter has been kidnapped and hauled off somewhere within the dungeon. 

A prisoner, opportunity for a patron, mysteries - many possibilities are open to the PCs here. Will they involve themselves? What will they try to gain?  How? They could seek out the duke, offer their services, or hunt for the kidnappers, attempt to rescue the duke’s daughter, or try to steal her away and offer her for ransom themselves.  They could visit the holy man and the duchess, to learn about the disease and the plant, or try to discover what sway the holy man seems to have over the duke. Or ignore the whole thing.  Or something else I haven’t thought of.  They will devise schemes of their own in play.

The difference in my mind, between more extensive motivating backstories and my preference -  the tavern meetup/go get the gold scenario - is player choice.  There is one choice forced on the players at the outset in "my" way: their characters are not ultra-cautious types, they are willing to sign on for adventure.  Otherwise why not take up safer pursuits?  Follow mom or dad into a life of bartending, horsetraining, storekeeping, farming, whatever.  Possibly smarter paths.  But Game Over.  So their first choice is a forced one – the requirement that they are willing risk life and limb for the thrill and rewards of adventure, instead of heading for tamer pastures.  That is the only forced choice.  There’s no requirement at the start to hire on as bodyguards, save a village, rescue anybody, serve in a wizard’s employ, investigate mysterious disappearances, etc.  The choices whether to do these things come later in play.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tegel Manor IRL

This is Humboldt Palace in Germany, a Renaissance manor.  According to this source, it later housed a sanatorium, then a manufacturing facility, and a broadcasting station.  In the park is a tomb, where Humboldt family members are buried. 

Humboldt Palace is the Tegel district, and is also known as Tegel Palace... Tegel Manor in real life.

This is very old news: the following letter and response appeared in the Aug/Sep '79 issue of The Judges Guild Journal, #16:

"Dear Sirs, I have been playing your game Tegel Manor for about 9 months now, and I am a HAM radio operator.  I was wondering if Tegel Manor does exist in real life?  So, I happen to be looking at a map of Berlin, West Germany, and found the town of Tegel in North West Berlin.  So I started to get as many West German radio stations hoping to get Berlin and I did several and asked if they knew of Tegel manor and they did.  I wrote to him and got a picture of Tegel Manor by Tegeler See.  I was wondering if you at Judges Guild knew there was a real Tegel Manor?"

And the response:

"We at the Guild were unaware of the 'The' Tegel Manor.  Ours was set up based on the Bob Bledsaw's, illustrious founder and DM, own campaign, wherein he used a general manor-house architecture for Tegel.  Thanks for the picture.  Is truth stranger than fiction?  I wonder if anybody has visited the manor lately."

There is an grainy pic in the Journal.

Here is Tegeler See (Lake Tegel):

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

[Monster] Vile rat

For LL: A nastier giant rat, infesting accursed, haunted sites …

Vile Rat
No. Enc.:           1d10
Alignment:        Chaotic
Movement:       120’ (40’) Swim 60’ (20’)
Armor Class:    6
Hit Dice:            1
Attacks:              1
Damage:            1-4 + disease (see below)
Save:                   F1
Morale:              10
Hoard Class:    None
XP:                     19

The vile rat is similar in appearance to the giant rat, slightly larger, and emitting an even fouler stench.  Any character within 30’ of a vile rat must save vs. poison or suffer -1 to hit (until save made, check each round) because of the stench.  The vile rat is not an undead being, but it is often associated with such because it is strengthened by the energy animating the undead.  Whenever a vile rat is within 60’ of any undead being, it receives a bonus of +1 to hit and to saving throws.  The bite of a vile rat has the same potential to cause disease and death as the bite of an ordinary giant rat, but in order to cure the disease caused by the vile rat, either a Remove Curse or Dispel Evil spell must be cast, in addition to a Cure Disease.  Any character that dies from the disease caused by the bite of a vile rat is destined to become a zombie.

Monday, April 9, 2012

[My Art] Header

So as you can see I drew up a header, depicting Bruno's unfortunate expiration.

The entire illustration:

Call it, "Bruno's Demise, or A Failed Save."

As you might well recognize, the spider is something of an attempt to pay tribute to one of the greats, Dave Trampier's classic illustration in the 1e MM:
Mine is so unworthy next to that!  Wow.  Oh well.  Tramp is so evocative, compelling, unique.  Just Awesome.

('Though Sutherland is my personal favorite!).

Thank You! to you who've joined as followers. Greatly appreciated!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

[Artist] Judy King Rieniets

Judy King Rieniets is THE LOTR artist, imo.  Totally formed my visual conception of Tolkien's world.

What's this blog about?

FRP Stuff.  Monsters.  Tables.   Classes.  Traps.  Characters.  Encounters.  Rooms.  Dungeons.  Maps.  Modules.  Art.  Artists.  Rules.  Musings.  Etc.  With an old school vibe.

Also comic books.  (Especially to argue who’s the greatest, Kirby or Ditko :) ).  Adventure fiction.  70s/80s TV/movies too.  Other stuff (?). 

btw, it’s ditko, Ditko, DITKO!!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

[My art] Manticore drawing I

Preliminary sketchs for a drawing a manticore.  Rough and amateurish.  To set the tone for the blog :)

I figured I would sketch the elements – lion’s body, bat-wings, hag’s head – separately first.  Next I’ll work on pencil sketches putting ‘em all together, then a pen & ink drawing.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hello World

"Bruno takes 2 points of damage.  Not enough to kill him, but the spider's bite is poison.  Bruno rolls his saving throw against poison, fails to make it, and dies a horrible death." -Dr. Eric Holmes, "The Blue Book" (D&D 1978)