Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Gygax 75 Challenge Week 2? Sorta

I'm a little bit ahead, but that's fine.  What I've been fighting is the endless tweaking that my head wants to do.  I was telling Ray Otus the cool thing about this challenge is for the most part it makes me stay on task, and helps with my a.d.d.  Week 1 do this, don't do anything else etc. 

Anyways, here's a picture of the hex map for the world.  I've been considering the following:

1.)  Keeping this as a test and trying again.
2.)  Colouring it with crayons
3.)  Scanning it first then possibly colouring in gimp.

What I've really been trying to do is go with my gut on this challenge and complete it!

Here's a semi started encounter table:
1.  Chimera flying
2.  Giant lazily napping, likes to play cards.
5.  White rabbit (actual demon
6.  Woman who claims to be a noble (bandit)
7.  Acolyte who spreads "false doom"
8.  a group of farmers bragging about a fresh monster kill
9.  Hazer (human who blinks in and out of existence/plane hopping).  Scared, attacks?
10  Travelling merchanit, exotic wares, must answer questions truthfully
11.  The trickster (leprechaun sorta).
14.  Stampeding magra (cross between rhino/mammoth)
15.  Doppelgänger that is on the fritz, keeps changing shape.
20.  Gold Dragon.

Last night I started thinking about character classes (which maybe a whole in depth blog post).  Even though in the original challenge it stats that you should really have the system in mind before starting the challenge.

What I've slightly come up with is the following:

Instead of race as a class, each race will get some benefits (+ on ability scores, see in the dark).   The actual classes will be Ranger (with access to magic), druid (with access to cleric spells), Warlocks/Witches (magic), Knights (Cleric spells),  Rangers will get the thief skills, and druids and knights will be able to turn undead.  This of course is just a thought at this point.  The other thing I'd like to do is to have a basic table that everyone rolls on when they create their character.  They get one magical ability that they can use once a day for 1d6 rounds.  examples include:  Levitation, Force Push/Pull, Camouflage, Shield +2 AC.  I may borrow a few ideas from https://zenopusarchives.blogspot.com/2020/04/holmes-ref-rolling-up-adventurer.html Specifically the swanson abilities.

I've yet to decide if I'm going to run b/x or whitebox FMAG.  I will probably mine the crap out of this post:  https://smolderingwizard.com/2019/10/04/forgotten-gems-of-the-osr-white-box-heroes/

That's what I got so far.  Probably do a bit of re-writing on the encounter tables this evening.  Tomorrow I'll scan the map and tinker.

damn this is fun!

Saturday, April 25, 2020

The Gygax 75 Challenge Week 1

To participate go here: https://rayotus.itch.io/gygax75

Alright week 1, I needed to come up with a pitch and the inspirations behind the pitch.


*  Every corner of the land is filled with magik whether good or evil.  The countryside is cut off from the outside world, it is protected by magical barriers created by the Mage King.  All forms of life have some kind of inheritant magik. (1)

*  Monster's are unique and not always evil.  They have their own motivations.  Ancient  monsters inhabited the land prior to the magical barriers being raised. (2)

*  The citizens of the land are all humanoid woodland creatures (Mice, Foxes, Bears, etc).  They have a basic understanding of medieval technology (Leather, Iron) and commerce.  Most citizens rarely have a use for weapons, other than for hunting fowl.  The creatures mingle together in small towns & villages. (3)

*  Since the disappearance of the Mage king the magical barrier is failing.  Evil slowly spreads, turning ordinary plants & animals into their darker cousins.  These evil creatures occupy ancient ruins, regaining their strength before they plunge the world into darkness.  The general population is only slightly aware of this, as the decay has been slow.  (1)

*  The setting is very high fantasy, with all the usual troupes you would expect (Princess's locked in towers, Knights, Old wizened wizards).  However with a twist. 


Here is my inspiration board: https://www.pinterest.ca/obdgil/gygax-75/


(1) Xanth Books https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xanth Written By Piers Anthony. 
Darksword Trilogy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darksword Written By Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
Magic Kingdom For Sale
Written By Terry Brooks
Shannara Series https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shannara written by Terry Brooks

In all of the above books there are magical barriers in place (or fairy mists), a wizard or king who rules the world, creatures that are magical by nature, people being shunned if they have no magic. 

(2) Greek & Roman Mythology
A lot of the monsters in Greek mythology are unique, there are not hoards of Minotaurs.  The idea behind this is a bit lotfp in that when encountered the monsters will be terrifying.

(3) Robin Hood (Disney Animated Film) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_Hood_(1973_film)
Rabbits & Rangers https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/191133/Rabbits--Rangers--LL Written By James V. West

I'm working thru the concept mechanically that every PC and NPC will have some form of magic, likely a d20 table.  Something similar to a cantrip, but only once a day.  As well I will probably add in some Race as a class for each woodland creatures.  I intend to pull inspiration from Rabbits & Rangers (Which is currently FREE!).  I've always loved Robin Hood by disney, and I really like the idea of having a mix of different woodland creatures, that should hopefully not have any racial bias towards each other, just live their life.  (ie the old Elves & Dwarves not getting along thing).

Hopefully this is a good starting point? I'm onto week 2 now, going to start working on a hex map.  I haven't quite decided on scale just yet.  I'm thinking 1" hexes, scale might be 3 miles per hex possibly (I know its weird!) here's the link http://www.printfreegraphpaper.com/gp/h-i-1.pdf


Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The Gygax 75 Challenge

Matt Jackson sent me this link today.  https://rayotus.itch.io/gygax75

Which is basically a guide book based on something Gary wrote about creating your own setting.  Broken down into different tasks every week.  The guide book is written by the wonderful Ray Otus (check out his podcast here https://anchor.fm/plundergrounds )

This workbook is based on an article written by Gary Gygax in 1975, less than 12 months after D&D was released. It encapsulates his thinking at the time about how to get your own D&D campaign world started. I have taken his general advice and parsed it out into achievable, bite-sized prompts & goals for a week-by-week program. 

To print the booklet file, make sure your printer is set to no-scaling (or 100% scaling to the paper, which is intended to be US Letter), 2-sided, binding on short edge. If you don't have a long-arm or booklet stapler, square up the pages and fold them in half to get your crease. Open the booklet back up and place it face down on a few sheets of cardboard. (Anything flat and firm, but not impenetrable, will work. Like an ironing board.) Place two staples along the crease, then pull the booklet away from your surface and bend the prongs of the staples in carefully with your thumb (or use a pencil eraser). Voila!

Coincidentally I've been sorta working on a setting for awhile now.  A little while back Matt and I were discussing settings and he sent me a Shane version of what would become "The Dungeon Masters Book Of Cartography".

You can grab it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0858VPC1V

One of the first suggestions in the guide book by Ray is to create a town and 1-3 level dungeon.  Another interesting turn of events! Matt just posted up another awesome map over here: http://www.msjx.org/2020/04/qa03-you-write-adventure.html

So I'm going to spend the rest of the evening reading over Ray's guide book, order myself a copy of the Cartography book and go to town.... err create a town!

Actually here's some proof of concept.

The first section of the book talks about coming up with a theme, and what has been rattling around my head is Xanth and Magic Kingdom For Sale by Terry Brooks.  Specifically a more fairy type world, rather than the typical D&D type world.  Don't get me wrong I really like bandits and old musty tombs.  But I've been thinking about a different sort of world lately.  In the Spell For A Chameleon series there is a lot of wonderful and scary vegetation out in the wilds of Xanth.  The plants can do wondrous and scary things! Which has started me down a rabbit hole of thought.  What kinda of interesting plants can I create that will have magical effects similar to BX D&D spells?  Hmm!

(Interestingly enough there was an RPG choose your own adventure book about Xanth.  Find it here https://www.amazon.com/Encyclopedia-Xanth-Crossroads-Adventure-Anthonys/dp/0812564170 )

Another thing I'd like to incorporate into my next game is different races other than the typical ones.  Once again I have nothing against Elves, Halflings and Dwarves (Not entirely a fan of Gnomes....)  I have however "been there and done that".  I've also been playing a lot of Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim latetly.  Which has given rise to the idea of creating some race as a class characters like Argonians & Kahjits.  Although with my own spin on em.  *Note that the Kahjits probably came from the Rakasta in the first place!

Here's some inspiration for the Rakasta/Kahjit idea (I found it on instagram check out more here: https://www.instagram.com/mythic_legions_cabal/)

So a world that isn't quite medieval (but maybe it has guns?), has different races that the usual suspects, I"m still not quite sure about the religion, No real organized government (or maybe not...maybe it'll be like Xanth? I dunno yet), Fairy mists where the world beyond is shunned and scary, and of course the world wasn't always like this was it?

Well I think I got the first part done!

Are you going to join me in the challenge?

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Iron Falcon RPG - Handbook Of Monsters

The wonderful Chris Gonnerman has been working on the "Handbook Of Monsters" for the Iron Falcon RPG.

Get the RPG:


Rather that do a kickstarter for art, what Chris has been doing is selling T shirts and using the proceeds to help come up with the funds to pay the artists.

Here's the link to purchase T's

And here: https://www.cafepress.com/ironfalcon?fbclid=IwAR2Nx_98G4U3ng37hPy8RYrTT5Q29BW027W7i_irY-V54kOpIQzJnL6CbZM

And here's a little video explaining the plan

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

A New PWYW adventure - A Fool's Errand

A local jester (Gat) is looking for an ancient tome detailing long forgotten dances, it is called the “Grimoire Of Collected Dance” written by Halin Dwarivsh. He hopes to take his stage show to the next level. He hires the PCs to track it down after finding the possible location of the tome. In return for the tome, the PCs will receive a treasure map and some gold. The jester is part of a local troupe, (him and his brother). The brother (Lath) is very cynical and believes this book to be cursed. He has overheard the conversations his brother has been having, and is quite worried about the outcome. He has hired a local sorceress to make sure that the book remains hidden. Unbeknownst to either party, a demon has been on the trail of the cynical brother and is using this tome for his own means.

Map by Matt Jackson. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Here's another post that rambles

I am probably like a lot of games masters, in that I want to infinitely tweak things.  I find that I can never decide on a system, an adventure, or a world to use.  When I do make a decision, it only lasts for a little while and then I either get A.  Bored with it, or B. Annoyed with it.

Last night while I was trying to fall asleep I had a thought about creating a random table for myself and then just going with the results.  Here's the example

The system that shane will run (Roll a d8)

1.  B/X with descending AC
2.  Whitebox FMAG
3.  Basic 5e
4.  Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2.0
5.  2nd Edition AD&D
7.  Blueholme

There is literally nothing wrong with any of these games, they all run pretty decent.  The problem I have is that I blur the lines between them more often than not.   Which gives rise to "Hey I'll just write my own system".  Example I really like FMAG, but I'd like it to be more swingey and use +/- 3 for attributes.  I really like 2e but feel I'd get bogged down with all the extras that's in the book, and run it more like basic D&D with thaco and NWPs.  Basic 5e is alright, but I haven't run 5e in awhile and would likely run it a lot more like an OSR game (which is fine).  BFRPG is probably the one that is as close to what I'd like, BUT I really dig the single saving throw from FMAG. 

Not to mention the infinite amount of hacks out there.

Like this one: https://www.reddit.com/r/rpg/comments/b11syu/here_is_some_fucking_dd_a_micro_rpg_in_four_pages/

You see my problem.

Here's another good one....


1.  Greyhawk
2.  Mystara
3.  Black Marsh
4.  FR

This list could be longer....

I like all of them, but canon gets in the way sometimes (in my head).  Creating a home brew is the best option, but of course I'd steal bits from all of the above. 

The problem with using a world/adventure/game is that there's always going to be something that you really like and things that you don't quite like.

What I have learned using roll20 is the easier the system the better for playing online.  You get less bogged down with the minutiae.  Which throws out a few of the systems above.  It's too bad there isn't a FMAG character sheet (Not that anyone has used a character sheet in my games yet). 

What is probably the absolutely best bet is to create a straight up dungeon crawl and use BFRPG, and just roll with it....

Those are my ramblings for the day.

Note: Thus far I have not been laid off, it appears to be biz as usual until we are told otherwise.