5/29/14

Village Map: Bergerhof

Bergerhof
My first serious attempt at making a map over a Village. I think this is the final version. I won't bother shading this one. I'll try that next time. Moleskine sketchbook and Sakura Micron pens.

The village pictured is Bergerhof in northwestern Faceny in the campaign world Lichstorm. Bergerhof is a small village with a church and free standing bell tower, a manor with a hop garden. More farms are found to the south, but to the north there isn't much else than swamps before you reach the northern mountains and the lands of forever winter.

People of interest:

  • Reinhold Meyer - Alderman and owner of the Manor. Takes pride in the fact that his family is from Rees, a much more civilized place than this Zarforgotten village. Have never actually been in Rees but has heard plenty of stories from parents (who never left Bergerhof) 
  • Wilhelm Hasselmann - Brewer and owner of Bergerhof Inn. His family has been brewing Meyers Altbier for generations. 
  • Helga Heider - Priestess of Zar. She do believe that Zar is the one true God, and that Order and Growth is what life is about. She's just so bored of all these traditions and rules...
  • Heine Seck - Local eccentric. May be a wizard. Definitely an alcoholic.
  • Magdalena Beitz - Smith. Magdalena is from Hinteralden but is said to have travelled all over Faceny. She came to Bergerhof 7 years ago, and managed to fall in love, get married, get pregnant and become a widow in less than 3 months. She took over her husbands smithy when he suddenly died and she's rumored to have an actual sword hidden somewhere in her house. 

5/26/14

Map of Faceny


Finished another player map, this one zoomed in on the nation of Faceny. Not as happy with this one as the other one, but I think it's good enough for my players to work from.

Messed up the paper a bit and the photo didn't turn out great. Hopefully I can get a better scan of it later.

5/22/14

Spells from the Metal Archive I

Here's the first four spells I've created with the Raggi/Metal Archives method. The have all been added to the spell sheet.

Mantle (Burden)
Black Magic/Magic-User Level 2
Duration: Level+1d4 Rounds
Range: 0
The casters clothes animates and grows, wrapping itself around the him and becomes solid, both protecting and slowly suffocating him. Meanwhile the earth boil and the air dissipate in a 30' radius around the caster. Creatures in this area takes 1d6 damage from the boiling earth every round and must succeed at a Save vs Paralyze or risk tripping, limiting their movement to half their speed every round.

The caster clothes protects him against most of this, he takes 1 point of damage every round and has to Save vs Poison every round after the 3rd or risk falling unconscious. This does not end the spell. The casters clothes also turns rock solid, giving the caster a AC of 20 for the duration of the spell.


Fall as August (Switchblade)
Black Magic/Magic-User Level 2
Duration: Instantaneous
Range: Touch
The witch can cause organic matter to start to rot with a simple touch. For non-living matter (food, a wooden door etc) half a pound can be affected per level of the caster. For living, but not sentient matter (a tree, a field of growing grass) a quarter of a pound can be affected.

If the spell is cast on a living creature the targets suffer 1d6 damage and get to Save vs Poison or also take 1d6 Temporary Constitution (Exhaustion) damage as the flesh starts to rot.

Living Fire (Imagine Iris)
Black Magic/Magic User Level 3
Duration: 1 Round/Level
Range: 60'
The warlock can take parts of a flame and give it life temporarily. The Living Fire separates itself from it's source and grows to an orb of 1' across. The caster can then control it for the spells duration as long as he concentrates (only movement possible, no attacks or parrying etc.). If something happens that cause the warlock to lose his concentration (he attacks, takes more points of damage than his level, etc) the Living Fire will start to randomly attack people within it's movement range.

The Living Fire has HD equal to the casters level, attacks twice per round for 1d6 damage each against the targets unarmored AC and has a movement equal to that of an unencumbered human. It's immune to fire and takes double damage from Cold or Water sources.


In My Darkest Glory (Hellimunan)
Black Magic/Magic-User Level 3
Duration: 1 Round/Level
Range: Touch
The target of the spell and all her belongings become darker until it looks like a creature of a cloudless nightsky. For the duration of the spell the targets base AC is 17 and she can attack twice per round for 1d6 damage against opponents unarmored AC or, if holding a weapon for one die larger than the held weapon against the opponents normal AC. At the end of the spell duration the target suffers 1d4+Level Temporary Constitution (Exhaustion) damage.

An unwilling target of the spell may gain a Save vs Magic to resist the spell.

5/19/14

W&W House rules: Death & Dismemberment

Hector Barbossa's peg leg from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
An experience adventurer should have scars to show for the stories he has to tell. Some of them will have peg legs, hooks and eyepatches to show that when it really matters, a lost leg is a small price to pay to survive. Especially if you get to survive and keep the treasure.
A lost hand or eye is also a perfect chance to throw in some weird magic items. Hell, even Adventure Time does it.

Adventure Time, Finn lost his arm, gets weird flower growing out of it. 
So instead of having the characters die at -4 HP (as is the rules in LotFP) I do this:

Once you reach 0 or less HP you roll against Constitution, adding up any negative hit points and current Exhaustion as a negative modifier to the roll. If you succeed you are knocked out (0 - -4HP), bleeding to death in 1d10 minutes (-5 - -Constitution HP). If you fail the roll you need to roll on the table below and add your current negative HP to the roll. If you drop below negative Constitution HP you are dead, no roll necessary. For more info on Exhaustion, see this post.

Death & Dismemberment

2d8+Negative HP
2-3 Last Stand: Gain d4 hp per every other level in a rush of adrenaline. The extra hp are drained after combat ends and the character falls unconscious for 2d6 turns.
4 Impressive Facial Scar +1 Charisma
5-6 Ugly scar.
7-8 Bad bruising 1d6 Exhaustion.
9-10 Broken ribs 1d6 Exhaustion and +1 encumbrance until fully recovered.
11-12 Bruised joint (knee, elbow, shoulder) 1d6 Exhaustion and +2 encumbrance until fully recovered.
13-14 Hand or Feet damaged. A finger or toe is cut/ripped off from d4: 1 right hand, 2 left hand, 3 right foot, 4 left foot. 2d6 Exhaustion.
15-16 Broken/crushed bone. 2d6 Exhaustion. Limb useless and +3 encumbrance until fully recovered +2d4 weeks.
17-18 Facial damage. 2d6 Exhaustion and d8: 1-2 Nose (-1 Charisma), 3-6 Ear (+1 in 6 chance of being surprised.) 7-8 Eye (-2 Ranged attacks)
19-20 Severed Limb. 2d6 Exhaustion and d4: 1 right or 2 left hand (-1d4 Strength, unable to use 2 handed weapons unless specifically made. Unable to use skills such as Climbing, First Aid, Tinkering, Sleight of hand. (-1 in the skills with a hook/prosthetic hand specifically made for this, a well made prosthetic can also give back all but one lost point in Strength)), 3 right or 4 left foot (-1d4 Dexterity +4 encumberance points, unable to use stealth or climbing (+3 encumbrance with crutch, +1 encumbrance with peg leg and -1 in the skills, a well made prosthetic can also give back all but one lost point in Dexterity)).
21 Mortally wounded, only magical healing to push you up into positive hp within 1d4 rounds can save you. 3d6 Exhaustion.
22+ Dead.

Obviously there will be other issues for someone who loses a hand than just the -1d4 in Strength, but there is no point in listing everything the character may have troubles with. When I talked to my players about this one of them seemed to look forward to getting a chance to play a character called "Two-Hooks" in the future. He even had an answer to the question of how Two-Hooks wipes.

"Henchmen"

5/18/14

W&W House rules: Sorcery and Witchcraft


Magic is about breaking or controlling the laws of nature and channeling powers not from this world and it should be filled with Wonder and Danger. Since all Magicians are Magicians and are not limited to any one type/school of spells I took inspiration from Crypts & Things and the rules about White, Grey and Black magic from there.
  • White Magic are spells that are about healing, protection and spells "in tune" with nature or the laws of nature. Most spells that Cure or Detect are examples of White Magic. Memorizing and casting White Magic spells is safe. 
  • Black Magic are spells that cause destruction, controls minds, summons demons and make fun of the laws of nature. Obvious spells are Summon, Animate Dead and Cloudkill but spells like Invisibility and Teleport are also Black Magic. Memorizing these spells are exhausting and casting one of them is corrupting. 
  • Grey Magic are the spells in between. Spells that reads but don't control minds and spells that heighten senses are typical Grey Magic spells. ESP and Heat Metal are both Grey Magic. Memorizing these spells are exhausting. 

Exhaustion

Magic is power, and power should not be free. When a Magician memorizes a Grey or Black Magic spell he takes 1d4 Exhaustion plus one point for every Grey or Black Magic spell memorized.

Exhaustion is damage to the Constitution score and is recovered by 1 point per night's rest or 1d3+1 point per full days rest in a comfortable environment. If Exhaustion from magical sources causes a characters Constitution to drop below 0 that character will go into coma, gain a mutation and lose one point of Constitution permanently. Awaking the magician from coma sounds like an excellent "journey into a weird mind"-adventure.

If the source of Exhaustion is physical, skip the mutation and roll 2d4 for the amount of weeks in a comfortable bed it will take for the character to wake up.

Corruption

Casting a Black Magic spell is about letting forces no human should know about rush through your body in an attempt to control them. Sometimes this ends up corrupting the caster. Whenever a Black Magic spell is cast, the magician need to roll Save vs Magic modified by her Corruption Level. A failed save increases the casters Corruption Level with 1. When this means that the corruption is equal to the casters Wisdom score the caster gains a Mutation. Roll a d500 and consult The Metamorphica. The corruption level then resets but will never go below the amount of mutations the caster has.

No Levels and a Thousand spells

Vladimir Rikowski
Magic is weird and powerful and don't follow rules and especially not rules about how powerful one must be before being able to cast a certain spells. Spell levels are gone. Magicians simply have a number of spell slots and can put any spell in a slot. If a rule mentions spell levels it's probably not needed or a dice can be used to randomize the spell level (like for research/scribing scrolls etc).

There is also 1000 spells. Every Magician starts with three spells, Read Magic being one of them and the other two can be decided however you want. I suggest rolling 1d1000 on a table like this for at least one of them. If a number with an empty line shows up use the Raggi method:
  1. Go to Metal Archives Random Band.
  2. Randomly select a release from the Discography
  3. Randomly select a track from that release
  4. Create a spell with the same name as that track. Bonus points for finding the song on Youtube/Spotify and listening to the song on repeat until you have figured out what the spell is about.

Footnote: The Spell List may cause you go "what the hell makes spell X White/Grey/Black?" and the answer to that may be "because it was put together in an hour" or it may be "because Lamentations of the Flame Princess". LotFP takes some spells and makes them weird, take Mirror Image as an example: 
Several illusory duplicates of the caster pop into being, making it difficult for enemies to know which target to attack.
That's from Labyrinth Lord, here's the LotFP version: 
This spell grabs 1d4 duplicates of the caster from near-identical timelines to confuse foes and make it more difficult for the original caster to come to harm. ... When an opponent makes a successful attack against one of the duplicates, it instantly dies and dissipates into nothingness (the others remain). 
So basically, Mirror Image makes you a serial killer targeting yourself in other timelines. 

Lichstorm Player map

I tried following the guidelines +Michael Wenman posted in October when drawing this. It's my first serious attempt at drawing a overland map for a game in probably 15 years.

I'm actually happy with the outcome.

5/17/14

W&W House rules: A Question of Class

Art by Larry Elmore
My home gaming group is a intimate group with me and three people I've known for at least 17 years. We are happy with the small size, but not really happy with how most D&D/OSR adventure modules are built with the assumption that the group will have access to two kinds of magic, at least one thief and then X amount of fighting abilities. The fact that we are using Lamentations of the Flame Princess helps a bit since there aren't any limits to what weapons the classes can use and when you include flintlock weapons even the Magic-User have a chance to hit a heavily armored opponent for some decent damage once every fight without spending a much needed spell slot on a magic missile. But it's not enough, especially if I want the players to have some choices to what they want to play.

My so far untested solution to this is to reduce the amount of available classes. I currently run a campaign set in 17th century England and will most likely move on to another setting where there are no playable elves, halflings or dwarves. So the demi-human classes are gone. I don't want a class to be a skill monkey and I much rather give everyone access to some skill points. Specialist is gone. Magic is magic, no matter the source. Add Clerical spells to the Magic-Users list and we have a Fighter and Magician left. Perfect.

Too make each character a bit unique I decided to add the option to specialize, or randomize, character progression with the ideas presented in Green Devil Face #5:

All characters start with the following stats:
  • 1d6 HP 
  • +1 Attack Bonus
  • 15 in all Saves 
  • 2 skill points.
  • They also have access to the combat options Parry (+2 Armor Class), Press Attack (+1 Attack Bonus, -4 Armor Class) and Defensive Attack (-4 Attack Bonus, +1 Armor Class).
  • They also get 1 point in the skills Architecture, Bushcraft, Climbing, Languages, Open Doors, Search, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Tinkering and the new skill First Aid (stolen from this post by James Young over at Ten foot Polemic).
At first level and every level thereafter the player either roll a d10 twice and modify one of the dice with +1 and the other dice with -1 (or use the rolls as is) or roll a d10 and use the roll and freely pick one result. Either way the same result cannot be used twice the same level.

Fighter
  1. +3 HP
  2. +d8 Hit Points
  3. +2 One Saving Throw Category 
  4. +2 Parry AC bonus
  5. +1 Attack Bonus
  6. +1 Skill Point
  7. +2 Defensive Attack AC bonus
  8. +1 Attack Bonus
  9. +d8 Hit Points
  10. +2 Press Attack Bonus
Mike Mignola

Magician
  1. +1 Attack Bonus
  2. +1 Skill Point
  3. +1 Spell Slot
  4. +d6 Hit Points
  5. +1 Spell Slot
  6. +1 Skill Point 
  7. +1 All Saving Throws
  8. +1 Spell Slot
  9. +3 One Saving Throw Category 
  10. +1 Parry AC Bonus
This way the players will not be forced into picking a certain class because "we really need someone that can pick a lock" and also some freedom on how their character turns out. Two fighters will not look the same and one magician may be more than half decent with that sword she's carrying. 

I have also removed the concept of spell levels and added a chance for loss of limbs instead of death. But more on that later. 

5/14/14

The First and Second Weapon

A post over at Goblin Punch included a great idea: The First and Second Weapon. So I decided to do my own versions.

Before language, before fire there was conflict. The first conflict between men were fought over a piece of fist sized meteorite rock that a man and his friend found in a still smoking crater. Man and Friend thought the rock to be alluring and when Man would not let Friend touch the meteorite Friend grabbed a piece of Black Oak and used it as a club to strike down Man in envy. Friend kept on beating Man until Man made no sounds and reached for the smooth black rock when Man suddenly stroke back. Man hit Friend until Friend made no sounds and bled no more.
With the Second Weapon in hand Man had become the first Murdered. Man picked up Friends club and became the first Conqueror.
(Image from the first Doctor Who serial "An Unearthly Child", probably from the episode "The Cave of Skulls")
The First Weapon is a two foot long slightly bent wooden club of black oak with a small head. It's magical nature means that it should be treated as a small weapon instead of a minor one. For every successful strike against a specific opponent the wielder also get a +1 (cumulative) bonus to the roll to hit that opponent.

The Second Weapon is a smooth piece of black meteorite about the size of a fist. It should be treated as a small weapon with a +1 bonus to hit. When the wielder is hurt and has 4 or less hit points left the damage done by the second weapon is increased by one type of dice for every hit until the wielder is healed or the battle is over.