Archive for April, 2013

Dwarven Forge Game Tiles Kickstarter – Last Call

April 28, 2013


The Dwarven Forge Kickstarter project is down to about the last 50 hours or so, so if you were planning to kick in you’d better hurry.

Here’s the link: Dwarven Forge Game Tiles


The Great Flumph Empire

April 22, 2013

Titus of Discord records the first Flumph incursion into Imperial Space some 300 years prior.  The Empire enacted its ‘first contact’ protocols by sending elements of the 117th Frontier Fleet to wipe them out.  While the fleet action was ultimately successful, the first incursion was soon followed by a second, larger group.  Again, the Flumphs were wiped out, and again shortly thereafter a third incursion occurred, larger yet than the first two.



Deciding enough was enough, the Empire assembled an expedition, sending it into Unknown Space, to the alien’s presumed origination point.  Their aim was to find the alien’s homeworld and ‘deal with it,’ permanently.  Of course, as everyone knows, the expedition was never heard from again.  Nor was the relief flotilla sent a decade later to discover the initial expedition’s fate.

By this time someone in the Empire finally noticed that the strange aliens almost always inhabited gas giants.  If it weren’t for the valuable aetheric crystals growing deep within the gas giant’s core, the Empire wouldn’t pay any mind to such useless and desolate planets.

So, a kind of unspoken quid pro quo was reached.  While Flumphs are still officially classified as a hostile invasive species, all military operations against them were halted.  At the same time, private merchants were encouraged to approach the aliens to trade for the crystals, a far more efficient arrangement than the hazardous mining operations previously mounted by the Empire.  Technically, trading with aliens is a crime punishable by slow disintegration, but the Empire looks the other way where Flumphs are concerned, so long as the Empire gets its cut of the crystal trade.

For their part, the Flumphs go about their alien business as if the Empire doesn’t even exist, interacting only with the crystal-traders that come calling.  While they aggressively defend themselves against attackers (Imperial battle losses during the Flumph Incursions are still a closely guarded state secret), they otherwise ignore the Empire.  They don’t even seem to bear any grudge for the many millions of Flumphs wiped out during the Incursions.

And so the Flumphs have achieved what no other advanced alien species has achieved before: a status of (near) equality with that of the Empire.  It is estimated that Flumphs now inhabit hundreds, possibly thousands, of gas giants within the borders of Imperial Space, a veritable ’empire’ within the Empire.  They are sometimes referred to as the ‘Great Flumph Empire,’ though you wouldn’t want to say something like that within earshot of an Imperial agent.


April 20, 2013

oblivionmovieOblivion is one of those movies with a twist.  It’s one of those movies that revolves around the twist.  The movie is the twist.  So in that respect, Oblivion does a decent job of delivering.  It doesn’t come completely out of left field (like Sixth Sense or the Usual Suspects), but there was still enough there to surprise me a bit.  That said, now that I know what the twist is, I’ll probably never watch Oblivion again, as I already know what the movie is about.

The visuals, on the other hand, will blow you away.  They did a really good job portraying man-made ruins amidst a devastated Earth.  Skyscrapers turned into canyons, the Empire State Building buried up to the observation deck, rusting ships and submarines laying on a dried up sea-floor.  Great imagery for a post-apocalypse role-playing game.

Just don’t think about the plot too much, because it has enough holes to sink a ship.  I don’t want to get into too much detail for fear of giving away the twist, but the more I think about it the more little things I find that don’t really stack up.

If you’re a big fan of sci-fi movies, Oblivion is probably worth the price of a matinee.  Otherwise, wait for Netflix.  Cheers.

Dwarven Forge Map Maker

April 19, 2013

Just wanted to point out a new online tool Dwarven Forge has released as part of their Game Tiles Kickstarter project.  It’s a mapping tool using the various pieces that come from the Kickstarter.  But there’s no reason you couldn’t use it as a quick-and-dirty map-maker for any game, even if you have no plans to use their game tiles.  It’s fairly versatile considering its simplicity, allowing for even diagonal corridors.  Unfortunately, it’s limited to just 2-sets worth of tiles, but hopefully that shortcoming will be addressed in future updates.

A quick sample map.

A quick sample map.

Here’s the link if you’d like to try it out:  Dwarven Forge Map Maker

S&WAD: RAYGUNS & Wizardry

April 17, 2013

SW-Appr-Day-LogoContinuing my trend of science-fantasy related material for Swords & Wizardry, I give you RAYGUNS!  These were designed with S&W Whitebox in mind, but should work well enough with standard S&W (or any other version of The Game you prefer).

RAYGUNS & Wizardry

Rayguns may be used by any class, and by any intelligent humanoid physically capable of wielding such weapons (and possibly other intelligent creatures, left to individual GM’s judgement).

When found a raygun possesses 0 to 10 charges (2d6-2 shots).  At the GM’s discretion it may be possible to recharge discharged rayguns (replacement batteries, power crystals or perhaps a power generator of some sort).  Note, however, that rayguns cannot hold more than 10 charges.

Unless otherwise specified, the range of all rayguns is 120 feet, affecting a single target.  Most rayguns allow a saving throw to mitigate or negate their effects.

About 5% of rayguns possess multiple barrels.  Multi-barrel ray guns allow the user to switch between barrels, or to discharge all barrels at once (and at the same target; make a separate saving throw for each barrel’s effects).  Each time you roll another barrel for the raygun, roll again to determine if the weapon has yet another barrel.  One charge is consumed for each barrel discharged.  Roll randomly to determine each barrel’s effect (duplicate effects are okay).

(01-04) Atrophic Ray – On a failed saving throw, some portion of the target (randomly determined by the GM) withers and shrinks.  Atrophied limbs are nearly useless; should the torso or head be struck by the ray, the victim will have severe health complications, possibly resulting in death.  Much here is left to the GM’s discretion, but getting hit by this raygun is a really bad thing.

(05-08) Daze Ray – If the target fails their saving throw, they are put into a state of confusion, per the Magic-user spell.  No effect on robots, machines, constructs or the mindless.

(09-12) Death Ray – Death rays have a maximum range of 60 feet.  On a failed saving throw a living target falls dead, instantly slain.  Plants receive a +2 to their saving throws.  Robots, machines and constructs are unaffected by death rays.  The undead are healed for 2d6 points of damage.

(13-16) Desiccation Ray – This dreaded ray sucks the vital juices out of living targets.  A failed saving throw results in 3d6 points of damage.  Victims reduced to 0 or fewer hit points are reduced to a dusty pile of their constituent elements.  As such, desiccating rays are favored by certain spell casters who rely upon these elements as magical components.  Desiccating rays have a maximum range of 30 feet.

(17-20) Disintegration Ray – Any target hit by a disintegration ray that fails a saving throw falls to dust (including any possessions, though the GM may allow a saving throw for magic items to survive).  Inanimate objects (such as a door or section of wall) are not normally permitted saving throws.  Anyone protected by some form of force field is completely immune to disintegration rays.

(21-24) Entropic Ray – Complex machines (such as robots, computers, etc.) hit by an entropic ray immediately break down on a failed saving throw.  Constructs (i.e. golems), simple machines and solitary objects (such as a rock) are unaffected by entropic rays.  Against the undead entropic rays act as the Turn Undead ability, as a 3rd level cleric.

(25-28) Freeze Ray – Inflicts 2d6 points of cold damage (save for ½).  If the target fails their save, they are also slowed, moving at half rate for the duration of the combat.

(29-32) Gate Ray – Any object struck by a gate way that fails a saving throw is instantly transported to another dimension or plane of existence.  Each gate ray is calibrated to send its victims to a different dimension/plane, but it will consistently send all of its victims to the same dimension/plane (so such a weapon could be an effective tool for transporting a large number of people to another dimension; getting back is another matter).  The maximum range is 30 feet.

(33-36) Heat Ray – Inflicts 2d6 points of heat damage (save for ½).  If the target fails their save, one or more combustible items on their person burst into flames (GM’s discretion), inflicting additional fire damage.

(37-40) Mez Ray – On a failed saving throw, an intelligent being is rendered into a suggestible state by the mez ray.  They will compulsively follow the first instruction given to them by anyone.  They will not do anything obviously contrary to their nature, like commit suicide or kill a loved one, but may be tricked into self-destruction.  Mez rays have no effect on machines, constructs, the undead or the mindless.

(41-44) Morphic Ray – Man-sized targets failing a saving throw morph into a chalky, 1-inch cube.  A second application of a morphic ray upon the cube will return the subject to its original state.  Larger than man-sized targets take 2d6 points of damage as the ray only affects a portion of their bodies.

(45-48) Mutagenic Ray – Living creatures that fail their saving throws immediately develop a random mutation (such as one of these).  Mutagenic rays have no effect on machines and constructs or the incorporeal undead.  However, undead of a (former) biological nature (such as zombies or ghouls) will mutate on a failed saving throw.

(49-52) Paralysis Ray – Living creatures failing a saving throw are paralyzed for 3d6 rounds.  Losing control of all motor action, they slump to the ground in a heap, fully aware but incapable of doing anything more than breathing.  However, psionic abilities may still be used by paralyzed victims.

(53-56) Petrification Ray – These are terrifying rayguns that impose a calcification effect on biological targets.  Man-sized and smaller subjects are turned into calcified ‘statues’ on a failed saving throw.  Larger targets take 2d6 points of damage as portions of their body are calcified.  A large creature reduced to 0 or fewer hit points by a petrification ray will become a calcified ‘statue’ as well.

(57-60) Regenerative Ray – Living subjects hit by a regenerative ray are instantly healed for 2d6 points of damage.  The undead take 2d6 points of damage on a failed saving throw.  Machines and constructs are unaffected.

(61-64) Rez Ray – Rez rays have a maximum range of 30 feet.  Dead creatures are brought back to life with a successful saving throw, provided the corpse is intact and the subject not more than 24 hours deceased.  Undead are instantly destroyed on a failed saving throw.

(65-68) Singularity Ray – Singularity rays generate a micro-black hole lasting just a fraction of a second.  However, this is still sufficient to suck in all matter within a 30 foot radius of the point of origin.  Anything sucked into the black hole is destroyed (alternatively, they’re transported to an alternate dimension; GM’s choice).  A saving throw is allowed to avoid such a fate.

(69-72) Stasis Ray – On a failed saving throw the target is cocooned in a static energy field which divorces them from contemporary space-time (i.e. time does not pass for the subject).  They may not move (in fact, they appear to be frozen solid, in mid-action) or even use psionics and they may not be affected by any force external to the stasis field.

(73-76) Stealth Ray – Stealth rays have a maximum range of 30 feet.  The subject is cloaked by a light deflecting field that renders them invisible; involuntary targets are permitted a saving throw to negate the effect.  The invisibility persists for 1 hour.

(77-80) Stun Ray – Living creatures failing a saving throw are stunned for 1d6 rounds.  While stunned they may not take any actions.  Maximum range is 60 feet.

(81-84) Telekinetic Ray – TK rayguns emit a steady, mass-neutralizing beam that allows heavy objects to be more easily moved or manipulated by motioning the gun about.  The ray will counter 100 kg at a range of 15 feet.  Each round the ray is active consumes one charge.

(85-88) Tractor Ray – On a successful saving throw the ray ‘locks’ onto an object or surface and pulls that object towards the wielder (if trying to grab an object in another’s possession, the target gets a saving throw to negate).  When locked onto a solid surface (such as a wall or ceiling), the ray pulls the wielder towards that surface instead, covering the distance in a single round.

(89-92) X Ray – X Rayguns emit a form of radiation that allows one to see through solid matter.  When used on people, skin becomes translucent, exposing internal organs and bones (and revealing metallic objects, such as concealed weapons).  When used on an object, it will pierce about a foot of wood and approximately six inches of stone or dirt.  Even the thinnest layer of metal will inhibit the ray.  Maximum range is 10 feet.

(93-96) Defective – The raygun appears normal (roll again to determine type), but explodes in the user’s hand the first time it is discharged, inflicting 1d6 points of damage per charge (save for half).  Alternate optional rule:  Instead of damage, the raygun explodes, affecting everyone within 10′ per charge radius.  For example, a defective Petrification ray with 3 charges would explode and calcify everything within a 30′ radius.  Fun times for all!

(97-00) Booby-trapped – For unfathomable reasons, the raygun has been booby-trapped such that it affects the wielder instead of the intended target.  Roll again to determine the type of raygun.

Note:  Optionally, any of these rayguns may be treated as magical wands, if you don’t want to introduce a science-fiction element to your game.

Here’s a PDF version for download:  Rayguns & Wizardry

Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day Discounts

April 17, 2013

SW-Appr-Day-LogoS&W Appreciation Day is upon us.  I’ll be posting my submission in a few minutes, but as a quick community service I wanted to remind you that a couple of sites are offering 25% discounts (today only) for Swords & Wizardry related products, in case you’re interested.

Frog God Games – Enter code SWApprDay on checkout

d20pfsrd – Enter code SWAD252013

I picked up PDFs of S&W Monstrosities and the S&W version of the Tome of Horrors Complete (which I’ve been waiting to go on sale for a while now).


Pre-Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day Post

April 15, 2013

SW-Appr-Day-LogoSo, the Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day will be upon us in just a couple of days.  As a kind of lead-in I thought I’d post links for previous Swords & Wizardry material I’ve written.  Most of it is written with the Whitebox version in mind, but should be easy enough to convert to standard S&W (or any retro-clone for that matter).

Atomic Men & Mad Scientists

Crypts & Things Feats

Mutant Character Class

S&W Mutation Cards

S&W Whitebox Feats

The Blasted Lands

Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day is April 17th.  Check out Tenkar’s Tavern for more information (you may have to scroll down a bit).  Frog God Games is offering 25% discount for S&W related products, in case you’re interested in picking up a copy of the game.  Cheers!

Sword of the Stars – The Pit

April 13, 2013


Some of you may be familiar with the Sword of the Stars franchise.  Sots I & II were 4X style strategy games.  I never really got into them, so I don’t know much about the background of the Sots-verse.

SOTS – The Pit, on the other hand, is an old school turn-based, rogue-style dungeon crawler.  Yes, it’s kind of a strange progression for the series, but it works.  The graphics aren’t much to look at, but the gameplay is very addictive.  Well, it is as long as you like rogue-type games.

The game is tough and you’ll die frequently, so the goal isn’t so much to get to the end (sub-level 30 of The Pit) in the first play through.  Rather, the goal is to see how far you can get before you die, hopefully going a little further each time.

Along the way there will be containers to search (for vital supplies), locks to pick, traps to disarm, equipment to repair and crafting stations to make stuff.  Oh, and monsters to fight.  Lots and lots of monsters.  You get experience and level up for doing all that stuff (which is part of the addictive nature of the gameplay).

Along with a health tracker, you also have food.  Food is sort of a timing mechanism, so you don’t sit around resting after every battle.  And while it can be frustrating to die just because you can’t find any food, it also forces you to make some strategic decisions, too.

Some of the loot you find are components which may be combined at crafting stations (either cookers, for food, or lab stations, for most other stuff).  You can make weapons, armor, better food, medicines, all kinds of things.  Unfortunately, you start off only knowing the recipe for a Sotswich, so you’ll have to experiment to discover valid recipes.  There are also data stations where you can decrypt messages for recipes, as well (or you can cheat, like me, and go to the forums to get them).  Fortunately, when you discover a recipe it stays in your database, so you can access it in future games.

Another nice thing about the game, it’s dirt cheap; $9.99 on Steam, a bargain compared to the $50-60 most games charge these days (and a steal considering all the time I’ve put into it).  You can click the link above to their website for more details.

Dwarven Forge Update

April 10, 2013

dfgametilesThe Dwarven Forge Game Tiles Kickstarter project has surpassed the $550,000 mark, unlocking ‘add-on’ packs.  In turn, this should ramp up the pledges so they hit more stretch goals.  Damn, a well-managed Kickstarter project is like electronic crack.

Anyways, if you’re interested but have been holding back, now may be a good time to jump in.  Plenty of stretch goals have been unlocked, turning a good deal into a great deal.

Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day

April 6, 2013

SW-Appr-Day-LogoSo, Tenkar’s Tavern is organizing a Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day.  S&W is my favorite clone so I’ve gone ahead and signed up.  I’ve already written one post for the event, and time permitting I may write more.  However, you’ll have to wait until April 17th to see them.

If you want to learn more, or sign up and join more than 100 other old school blogs in posting something Swords & Wizardry related on the 17th, head over to Tenkar’s Tavern.

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