Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Dave Arneson Memorial Dungeon

So the last time I posted a shelfie picture on here was... ye gods, nearly five years ago.  Well, it took some doing, but the whole collection is currently on shelves.  I'll no doubt move a couple of things around, and I still need to figure out where I'm putting all the accessories and things, but here's some crappy cell phone pictures of the whole shebang.  Apologies about the mess; I took these pictures shortly after finishing the lion's share of the work.

But where are the D&D books, you ask?  Right here:

I just have to figure out a couple of storage options, clean the table, and we should be good to go.

Oh, lest I forget: there's a shelf of board games, but who cares about those?  (And astute observers will note a disturbingly-high amount of RPG paraphernalia creeping onto the board game shelves.)

Monday, October 15, 2018

OSR Guide For The Perplexed Questionnaire

It's the latest thing in the wake of the G+ exodus, all the cool kids are doing it.

1. One article or blog entry that exemplifies the best of the Old School Renaissance for me:

How to Awesome-Up Your Players

2. My favorite piece of OSR wisdom/advice/snark:

The player characters aren't special in the world, but they are the stars of the show.  Let them do what they want, but show them no unearned mercy.

3. Best OSR module/supplement:

Veins of the Earth, probably.

4. My favorite house rule (by someone else):

As much as I want to say carousing, it might actually be Penny, Nickel, Dime, Quarter, Dollar.

5. How I found out about the OSR:

It was a perfect storm of factors.  Seven-ish years ago, I used to run mostly modern horror (largely Call of Cthulhu and World of Darkness), and hadn't really ever tried D&D.  (I'd read the rules, though.)  A friend on Facebook told me the Escapist had some show about porn stars playing D&D.  I don't know what I expected, but I figured that might be amusing once.  It turned out that it was just a group of people playing D&D, and their gaming experience looked a lot like mine.  From there I found D&D With Porn Stars, then Vornheim, and then the cool stuff coming out of Lamentations of the Flame Princess.  Coincidentally, this happened to be at just the same time some friends asked me to run D&D for the first time.

The OSR was the first time I really "got" D&D.

6. My favorite OSR online resource/toy:

I tend to use the fantasy book generator at Abulafia a fair amount.  (It's not explicitly OSR, but Donjon is my most frequent reference when fantasy gaming.)

7. Best place to talk to other OSR gamers:

I tend to lurk more than talk, but you get some neat discussions over in the DCC G+ and the LotFP G+ groups.  (And now they're in one place!)

8. Other places I might be found hanging out talking games:

The Tabletop Dungeon and Unknown Armies Fan Club (both on Facebook) are where you'll find me talking in communities.  (I'm also at Tabletop & LARP RPGs Advice & Inspiration, but it's not as active.  More's the shame.)  If you just want to corner me in a digital back alley and have an old-fashioned cyber-knife fight, I'm on Instagram, MeWe, Tumblr, Twitter, and probably some other platforms I'm forgetting.  I'm PsychicMayhem#4596 over on Discord.

9. My awesome, pithy OSR take nobody appreciates enough:

I don't understand why we're still arguing about whether or not we should like Zak S. when we should all be able to agree RPGPundit is pretty insufferable.

10. My favorite non-OSR RPG:

Unknown Armies.

11. Why I like OSR stuff:

The rules are simple enough to stay out of the way, and the ideas are innovative enough to keep my attention.

12. Two other cool OSR things you should know about that I haven’t named yet:

Last Gasp Generators should be in your Bookmarks.  You should be reading Goblin Punch — if you play a druid in my campaigns, I will invariably force you to read 7 Myths Everyone Believes About Druids.

13. If I could read but one other RPG blog but my own it would be:

That's some Sophie's Choice bullshit, but the correct answer is always Jeff's Gameblog.

14. A game thing I made that I like quite a lot is:

My name generator based on U.S. Census data is the thing I wish I had when I was fourteen.  The Hundred [mass]Acre Deathcrawl is more explicitly OSR retrostupid.

15. I'm currently running/playing:

D&D 5e, LotFP, and Unknown Armies.

16. I don't care whether you use ascending or descending AC because:

I'm not a fucking coward.  Also, I usually keep this printed on an index card:

Click to enlarge!
17. The OSRest picture I could post on short notice:

Friday, September 28, 2018

Into This House We're Born

Hey, over at the Unknown Armies Fan Club, we ran a one shot game on Discord and recorded it!  It's been described as being, "Like Noises Off, but with significantly more cannibalism."  If you still want to listen to it, you'll find it after the jump:

Monday, September 17, 2018

Just an Occupational Hazard of the Speed Business

Don't forget: you have a week left to sign up for Just an Occupational Hazard of the Speed Business, another thrilling play-by-post race at the Unknown Armies Fan Club.  The top three winners get access to fabulous prizes, so get hype!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Just an Occupational Hazard of the Speed Business

So over on the Unknown Armies Fan Club on Facebook, I'm running a play-by-post illegal street race in Los Angeles — think The Fast and the Furious meets Tim Powers.  In addition to bragging rights and in-character glory, the top three winners get fabulous prizes, potentially including a copy of Maria in Three Parts!

If you're interested, come join us:

Just an Occupational Hazard of the Speed Business

If you want to join, you have until September 25, 2018 to submit a character.  Join us!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Tales of a Guerrilla Roleplayer: Koan

Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water.

It sneaks up on him, the way it always does.  Nostalgia.  And it never hits in D.C. or New York.  Hell, it never even hits in Manassas even when he passes by the spot where this all began for him — that’s always where the Gemini used to live, a couple of universes ago.  He still searches for him, from time to time, but knows it’s a fruitless errand — how would you ever hope to find someone devoured whole by the cosmos?

No.  It’s always Fredericksburg.  Fredericksburg is where Aris died, it’s where Rutters happened, it’s where a lot of things happened.

He drifted away from the others, like you do when you reach the mountaintop and have nowhere else to go.  They all drifted apart to various degrees, really.  Sure, they maintain contact, swap stories and Christmas cards, but they’re not close the way they once were.  Accomplices, fighters, lovers.  All gone, all ground into dust the way the universe does.

He likes that.  (Then again, he always liked entropy, liked endings.  Things begin, but they’re meaningless if they don’t end.)  He remembers the old days, but he doesn’t necessarily miss them.  He hated living under the threat of constant war, that this cold war of theirs might suddenly turn hot.

More recently, he hated that they became the Watchers themselves, shepherding reality to their own ends.  He knew it was necessary, but it still didn’t rinse the foul taste out of his mouth.  He’s forgotten more than most mortals ever know, but he still recalls his own quiet resentment.  Some of the others felt similarly, but it had to be done.

So he left.  He heard that the others were undergoing some manner of divine trial, and he heard about that business in Colorado, but he still walked away.  Went to find his own path, finally free for the first time in forever.

He went to Tibet for a little while.  War found him there, this time in the form of the Red Army and their hierarchical sorcerers — having no mundane history has its perks, and espionage came naturally, but he still hated it.  He enjoyed the monastic life, but he didn’t like checking over his shoulder.  He didn’t like how they treated him, like he knew some grand secret.

Gravity pulls downward, and downward for him always means back, back to the origins.  Back to 0,0. 

Back home.

He avoided the supernatural community, instead turning to the quiet life.  Once you’ve seen the strange, Awakened to its possibilities, you can never leave, of course, but you can reduce your footprint, make yourself small.  Make yourself unobtrusive.  Make yourself so strange and so mysterious that nobody comes for you, lest you decide to flex.

Be secret, and if you cannot be secret, be the dragon no one wishes to wake.  War taught him that, at least.

He made friends, friends from old splinters, friends from shards and universes long ago — he knew how to talk to them, what they liked.  He fell into old patterns, returned to an old life in a reality that had forgotten.

But still, nostalgia burns.  His wife knew, of course — he made sure to initiate her into the secret, projected into her consciousness so that she recalled a life she never lived.  Manipulative?  Likely so — but we can’t help who we are.

So, nostalgia burns.  He happened to pass by the Creepy Church a little while ago, but it’s different now, changed as the turning of ages tends to do.  They have more money, became larger, exchanged the sickly, wan, pale yellow light for a bright, white one.  The turning of two universes made it prosper, and it no longer carries the resonance it once did.

But it was in Fredericksburg proper that nostalgia gripped him.  The conditions were perfect — the rain on the windows, riding in the backseat of cars as he did ages upon ages ago.  They could have been traveling to the streets with secret names, they could have had weapons and sigils in the trunk, they could have been hunting vampires or preparing for the Watchers, but these people didn’t know, didn’t interact with the shadowed world.  Even with the secret open, they still kept to their side.

It was the alley that caught his attention.  Memory came flooding back, go down, turn left, knock on the back door, but he looked.  There was no back door, swallowed by the turning of universes, forgotten.  A dim memory.

His companions queried, and he shook his head.  “Must’ve gotten turned around,” he said.  “Let’s go.”

Back into the night.  Back into a mundane life with secret eyes.

After Enlightenment, chop wood carry water.

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Forgetting Shield

This is a relic of the Ulvenbrigad in my Frostbitten & Mutilated game.  A rival adventuring party stole it, but the PCs managed to steal it back, although the cleric died in the process.  Anyway, enjoy!

This large shield of black metal bears a strange, twisting symbol on its face, done in some manner of relief.  Anyone within 60’ viewing the front of the shield must make a save versus Magical Device or be affected by the symbol’s effect.  (During combat, attackers get a +2 to the save because they aren’t concentrating on the shield as much as their opponent’s movements.)

Anyone failing the above save is lulled into a state of unconsciousness that lasts for 1d4 hours.  Upon awakening, he or she has completely forgotten the events of the previous day.  In cases where the subject has experienced severe mental trauma, this amnesia will cure them of any insanity or mental disorders caused by those experiences.

However, the shield also has a massive side effect: it emits microwave radiation in a 60’ radius.  Water within 60’ of the shield begins to boil, and living things are wracked with pain as if they are on fire.  The pain is so intense that everyone within 60’ of the shield, including the wielder, must make a saving throw versus Paralyzation in order to act normally.  Those afflicted will usually either collapse or attempt to move as quickly as possible out of the radius.  Creatures that roll a 1 on the saving throw against Paralyzation take 1 point of damage from blisters and surface burns.

Because both of these effects are permanent, the Forgetting Shield is usually stored in a strange basket of woven metal, and only removed by the strongest warriors.  (This basket acts as a Faraday cage, in case any of your PCs get any brilliant ideas of what to do with that.)

This artifact works roughly the same way in any old school class-and-level RPG variant, but if you're using 5e, I'd check out the Symbol spell to help adjudicate the effects — Con save for pain, Wis save for amnesia/sleep.  I'd set the save DC at 20, although you can set it at 15 if you're a generous soul.  If you see the shield in combat, gain advantage on the Wisdom saving throw.

Print Friendly