Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Started a new notenook

Along time ago, I was complaining to Matt that I never complete anything. He made me a nice 6x9 booklet with graph and hex paper and lines.  It's basically 30 pages, which I'm going to attempt to complete.  Got pretty last tonight. What is fun, is I can jump from place to place.  Go from one idea to another.  It's a bit cramped with 6x9 but I'm having fun.

I may add the gygax challenge into this.  I grabbed a copy of Whitebox FMAG for some inspiration and the 1e DMG. 

This will be in my work backpack for those moments when I have some inpsiration.

Here's some silly photos.  It's nice to make mistakes and just move on. 

Friday, March 26, 2021

Return to the isle

 I'm running isle of dread again.  I'm not thinking of other campaign ideas! I've done too much of that over the years (and lately).  We decided to ditch the 5e game as honestly it was making me anxious.  I was trying to write too much backstory and weave the plot.

I'd like to return to the nightwell barony, but old school.  That is another day though.

Things I've learned from attempting a 5e homebrew game and world.

1.  Don't

Okay that was harsh.  I'm obviously more comfy with an older game.

1.  Know all the rules backwards and forwards.

2.  Run a wotc campaign first before attempting a homebrew.  There's lot of tidbits that come up, lore,  game mechanics etc that are easier to deal with.  See 1.

Creating a less magical, only basic rules 5e game is extremely difficult. 

Even if you run a longer one shot, you will understand the play style a bit better.

Okay isle stuff....

I'm running basic fantasy and enjoying it.  Next game I may use ose or shanes home brew osr rules (you can backstab a shark with a bow in it).  I should write them down.

I have the basic intro sorta scripted,  in such that there are no events but * "If thens "  for some situations. Once they are settled on the island ,it's about exploration.

Mostly things like npcs rumours, some faction oppositions, threads. Enough to get them excited.

Another thing I did that I learned from another awesome gm, was pre rolling encounters. This allows me to add some detail, map out possible treasure or lairs, and stats.  Now what I'll do is roll if an encounter is present, if so move to one of them.

Here's an example. I rolled a giant elk, wolves, humans, and a giant snake.

First thing I thought was to combine the wolves and the elk.  Maybe the wolves are hunting it? Or eating it?

The humans could be other settlers, another tribe of islanders, pirates, maybe pirates who have been marooned? Oooh.

See the wheels turning.

The above humans could be cooking a giant snake over the fire, hunting the elk, getting eaten by the snake.

Another thing I wrote was some basic weather, and hazards like quicksand, rock slides, annoying insects, old skeletons,etc.

I am going to play up the ancient civilization on the mountain, as well I am going to pop the forbidden city into the southern part of the island.  Also possibly b4 lost pyramid somewhere. Another thing I considered was kotb, however it's abandoned and filled with monsters.

Of course someone is going to be hunting a giant ape.

This island is filled with possibilities. 

*If then, for anyone whose programmed basic.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

I need a ruling!

Dear Dragon Magazine: 

One of my players was in a boat and wanted to attempt to backstab a shark that was attacking the boat. 

I posed this question to the google hangout old school grognard chat that I'm a part of.  For the sake of argument I was playing basic fantasy.  Here my friends are the wonderful answer's that I received.  To keep with the anonymity of the chat group, I've just labelled everyone who took part in the conversation with numbers. 

1:  Does the shark have a backside? 

Technically the sneak attack is because the target is unaware of the attack about to hit.  I don't see why the thief would not be allowed to sneak attack target who was not aware.  

2:  Backstab is only with discernible "back" so shark is eliminated altogether. 

Grognard's quoting different editions....

2:  old school technically "unnoticed"  but considering a sharks eyes depending on species are positioned in such a way as to see above their back, the point is moot.  It's called  BACK stab, so it is clearly meant for humanoids only! 

1:  sharks have a spine, and therefore a back. 

3:  and you have to account for the fish's lateral line being able to detect living creatures in the vicinity.

2:  a spine not a back so WRONG! take a biology class again.

3:  the shark is always hunting, always hungry killing machine.  your pathetic sneaky monkey skills have no power over 400 million years of predation perfection! 

1:  I was going to say that a shark's eyeball positioning actually allow it to see nearly 360 degrees around its body and would therefore almost be impossible to attack it unawares. 


1: So while the rules would probably allow the attack a common sense approach to biology would probably prevent the attack  However any good DM worth his salt would probably make a judgement call in this situation and allow the sneak attack to happen for the sake of the story and fun of the game. 

Here's the official rule from Basic Fantasy SRD.

Finally, Thieves can perform a Sneak Attack any time they are behind an opponent in melee and it is reasonably likely the opponent doesn't know the Thief is there. The GM may require a Move Silently or Hide roll to determine this. The Sneak Attack is made with a +4 attack bonus and does double damage if it is successful. A Thief usually can't make a Sneak Attack on the same opponent twice in any given combat.

The Sneak Attack can be performed with any melee (but not missile) weapon, or may be performed bare-handed (in which case subduing damage is done; see the Encounter section for details). Also, the Sneak Attack can be performed with the “flat of the blade;” the bonuses and penalties cancel out, so the attack has a +0 attack bonus and does normal damage; the damage done in this case is subduing damage.

The one thing that I didn't realize was that a sneak attack only applies to Melee weapons.  In the case of the shark the player was attempting to use his bow.  I've decided that I'm fine with missile weapons as well.  In my game I will allow a sneak attack as long as the player can remain unseen, or the monster is unaware.  the only weapons not useable for a sneak attack would be two handed weapons. 

What I ended up doing was allowing the attack because when I described it the sharks were only aware of the boat and were running into it trying to flip it over.  I allowed it for one round.  There were 2 sharks and after 1 died I made the other shark make a morale check (which it lost).  It decided to swim away.  I mentioned it to the Grognard chat, which brought up a whole lotta "sharks shouldn't make morale checks! they are sharks, they are hungry, they should have a morale of 12!". 

In BF the bull shark has a morale of 7. 

What would you have done?