Showing posts from September, 2012

Any Requests?

I have so many ideas for upcoming posts and only so much time:

Continuing the "Duelists" series for the Pirates of the Spanish Main RPG and/or All For One: Regime DiaboliqueFesthall workers of Waterdeep for D&D NextExample "real world" grimoires for Regency/GothicRandom social events table for Regency/Gothic*Revised NPC archetypes for Regency/Gothic*La Verdadera Destreza and other "real world" fencing schools for Pirates of the Spanish Main and/or All For One: Regime Diabolique (as stolen from Skull & Bones)Fairies for Regency/Gothic*Regency/Gothic bestiary (rakehell, ape leader, etc.)* Archetypal NPCs for D&D Next"The Curse of Capistrano," an alternate setting for Pirates of the Spanish MainAdditional information on the thirteen families for Regency/Gothic*Infamous NPCs for Regency/Gothic (Byron, Shelley, etc.)*
So... Any requests?

*These are the ones I know I should be working on, but I'm easily distracted and seriously in the …

The Corruption of a Young DM

See, I told you the Realms was full of naked chicks!

(from The Drow of the Underdark, Ed Greenwood, 1991)

RPG Blog Carnival: I Heart Alustriel

This month’s RPG Blog Carnival topic is “Why do we play in established settings?”
My answer is “Because I’m as freaky as Ed Greenwood.”
I kid, I kid…I know Ed Greenwood has developed a reputation among certain (presumably younger) gamers as a pervert because of his sexualized depiction of the Seven Sisters, Elminster, and the festhalls of the Forgotten Realms, but I doubt he’s as freaky as me.
I kid, I kid!There’s no way he could be as freaky as me.
The majority of the settings I use are homemade (or might as well be, for as little as I usually use the canon setting of Pirates of the Spanish Main – though I have to admit my recent campaign was an exception).Elsewhere on this site you’ll find the development notes for a project currently called Regency/Gothic and the associated setting of Thornshire as well as the pictorial history of a recent homebrew campaign.The Forgotten Realms are the singular exception of a published setting that I return to again and again.
Forgotten Realms nove…

Grimoires Continued

More thoughts on grimoires, their uses, and examples.  And scrolls.

I've been doing the math on the Power Points provided for the example scrolls in Savage Worlds Fantasy Companion; it looks like instant duration powers get enough Power Points to cause their maximum effect but ongoing powers vary between having enough Power Points to last between five and nine extra rounds.  It would make more sense to me if a single duration had been used -- one minute (10 rounds) seems logical -- but I suppose I'll just go with seven rounds/minutes/whatever total for the powers I will hereafter delineate.  (Seven is a nice magical number.) Cost is very simple: $50 per Power Point.

There's a few powers in the main list that don't have scrolls, and some of these are exactly what I think would be appropriate for the ritual magic use a grimoire evokes.  Since the places I am most likely to use grimoires are in a Pirates of the Spanish Main or a Regency/Gothic campaign, I'll also turn…

I Think I Might Be Doing the Math Wrong

Archie Andrews
Richie Cunningham
Archie Cunningham?
(I finally saw "Rob Roy" last night.  I have no idea why I put off watching it for so long.  I am an idiot.)


Bending Branch Winery's port-style wine is the best Texas-made port I have ever tasted!

Setting Rule - Grimoires

Also some comments about scrolls in Savage Worlds…

Actually, first some comments about scrolls in Savage Worlds.

I’ve mentioned before that Fritz Leiber is one of my favorite fantasy authors.I’ve also read a large chunk of Jack Vance’s Dying Earth stories.It’s no secret that Leiber’s Gray Mouser and Vance’s Cugel were key inspirations in the development of the Dungeons & Dragons thief class and that both of these adventurers were amateur magic users; the Mouser’s use of a literal magic scroll in “The Lords of Quarmall” is probably the inspiration for the D&D thief’s scroll use class feature.This can be replicated with Savage Worlds.

Buried deep in the random treasure generation section of the Savage Worlds Fantasy Companion is a section on scrolls.Scrolls, just as in the grand-daddy game of them all, are one-use magic items that allow characters to cast spells without tapping into their own magical reserves.To quote the relevant section:

The user must have the proper Arcane …

Regency/Gothic: Thornshire -- The Thirteen Families

The Thirteen Families
In 1576, Sir Francis Walsingham approached Dr. John Dee with a proposition: train a select group of men loyal to Walsingham and the queen in the use of magic.Walsingham’s goal was to abet his spy network with individuals learned in Dee’s methods of prognostication and second sight, but Dee saw this as an opportunity to create a new Round Table of magical paladins to fight the encroaching darkness.Dee not only taught Walsingham’s chosen men how to use magic themselves, but also how to teach it to their descendants.So was born a secret cabal of occult protectors who still defend England into the reign of George III…
By tacit agreement between the families, the number of households instructed in Dee’s traditions has always been held to thirteen.The thirteen families are all of old, respectable stock but not nobility in their own rights.(All members of the thirteen families sign a pact to refuse political power in order to avoid corrupting their art with material con…

More Thoughts on D&D Next

I signed up for the D&D Next playtest mainly out of morbid curiosity, but I’m really digging it.
(Yes, I know this makes me a terrible traitor to Savage Worlds, but if Sean Preston can write his own game and “Wiggy” Wade-Williams can get on the Ubiquity wagon, then I figure a schlub like me is fine.)
I got started in gaming with AD&D 2nd Edition and all of its different saving throws, bend bars/lift gates chances, and non-weapon proficiencies.A few years of chafing against the restrictions of class and level (even with kits) drove me screaming into the welcoming arms of d6 Star Wars, and then on to Storyteller, Unisystem, and Savage Worlds.I flirted with D&D 3.5 after becoming a fan of “The Order of the Stick” and bought the 4E Red Box for the counters and maps, but I never thought I’d actually enjoy playing a class and level game again.
D&D Next is a much more carefree system than any version of Dungeons & Dragons I’ve ever played.It is explicit and reiterated in…

Regency/Gothic: Thornshire -- The Fishers

The Fishers of Lampstorth Manse (near Thornton)
The Fishers are the only titled family in Thornshire (though even they are not members of the peerage) and so it falls on them to be leaders in society.This is greatly hindered, however, by reversals in their fortunes over the last decade that have left them one of the poorest of the Thornshire gentry.Sir Carson Fisher, Bart., strains his meager resources to maintain his family’s status, but the strain is beginning to tell.
Sir Carson is a barrel-chested, spirited man; he has always been eager to share his largesse with his neighbors and it pains him that he now has to pinch his pennies.Sir Carson’s wife, Prudence, is a prim and hardy Scot whom Sir Carson married for her dowry; unfortunately, that dowry has been devoured over the years and no more money is forthcoming from her family.His elder son and heir, Cyril, has inherited his mother’s primness and none of his father’s generosity; more than anyone in Thornshire, he stands on ceremony.…

Regency/Gothic: Thornshire -- The Colbrans

The Colbrans of Follyfad Manor (near Evanhollow)
It speaks much of Nicholas Colbran’s amiability that the lecherous adventures of his son Usher haven’t resulted in the Colbrans being ostracized from Thornshire society the way the Lovells have been – or perhaps it is simply a matter of the double standards of Regency life that a rake goes unpunished while a bastard is shunned.
Follyfad Manor is aptly named; the house and lands were renovated during the last century and contain numerous examples of “follies:” artificial grottoes, a hermitage, fake ruins, etc.Usher Colbran often invites his seedy, boot-licking friends from Thornton and Evanhollow to outrageous parties on the manor grounds; it is the wonderment of the shire that Nicholas Colbran allows this.
Nicholas Colbran has a quirky sense of humor; being ambidextrous, he will sign his name with either hand as the whim suits him.He has been known to be rather short with his servants, and this seed of a temper has bloomed in his son, Ushe…

Regency/Gothic: Thornshire -- The Griffiths

The Griffiths of Calewell (near Scardale Forest)
Evan Griffith was another of those members of the Thornshire gentry who died of the recent plague.His son and successor, Barnaby Griffith, is an energetic man who always seems to be juggling multiple projects; clearing the overgrown woods around Calewell House and organizing a village constabulary to deal with the bandits in Scardale Forest are his latest endeavors.
Barnaby’s mother, Maud, is a pious woman who nevertheless is plagued with ill-luck.If she hadn’t such a vigorous constitution, she might well have been felled by a household accident or influenza by now.Stephen, her middle son, returned from Waterloo with medals of valor and a wild gleam in his eye; he spends his days hunting and riding in the company of Dominick Brightmore.Broad-shouldered Michael Griffith, the youngest son, is the vicar of Thornton; like many clergymen of the area, he sees it more as a gentleman’s vocation than a religious man’s calling.Maud’s youngest child…

I Forgot This Was Coming

Seriously, I totally forgot.

Regency/Gothic: Thornshire - The Brightmores

(Spoiler-free for Robin)
The Brightmores of Brinry Manor (near Polborn Bottom)
Within the last few years, a plague struck Thornshire and carried off several members of the older generation of the Thornshire gentry. Sir Peter Brightmore, a dutiful physician who had aided mad King George III through one of his earlier fits, did his best to comfort the families of the ailing, but died himself when his curricle rolled over in the treacherous crossing at Polborn Bottom.
His heir, William Brightmore, is broad-shouldered, handsome, and wicked.He disdains the country life and spends most of his time in London where he is rumored to be a habitué of gambling hells and bordellos.William’s mother, Isabel, seems to live in fear of him though she continues to be a busy member of the Thornshire social scene (and is astonishingly lucky at cards).His younger brother, Dominick, is an affable, sharp-witted hussar lieutenant who is attracted to the gossipy Melissa Griffith.

Regency/Gothic: Thornshire

So I canceled the King Arthur vs. Dracula game because it was just too off-track and randomly generated a new setting.

What?  "Randomly generated?"  Yes, pretty much.

I used the lovely Regency Name Generator and Regency Place Name Generator at the unfortunately-no-longer-updated Stuff and Nonsense to generate a cast of characters, the brilliant You Inherited an Estate, But There's a Problem... and Dark Secret tables (and a little bit more from the What Type of Haunting is Afoot? table to fill in some of the estate results) from Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque to create some complications, and some bits and pieces of the Fantasy Character Generator Toolkit from PEG to flesh out some details.  Mix in some Jane Austen, Bronte sisters, and a crappy hand-drawn map and -- voila! -- a setting  that forces me to be creative but keeps me from wandering off into Knights of Pendragon territory.


The Land

Thornshire is located somewhere in the Peak District of cent…

Speak Out With Your Geek Out: Lupin III


I Concur (About Hot Babes)

Black Vulmea has another brilliant post -- this time about gender and ethinic equality in gaming and loving things that don't quite match your own principles.  I completely agree and must also recommend reading the post at Social Justice League that prompted it.  That said, I have a couple of caveats:
In this day and age of anorexic supermodels, I think loving Frazetta's fat-bottomed girls is practically a mark of feminism in of itself.  (OK, maybe not, but still...)As someone who has been Scott Pilgrim (dating someone too young for him, unconsciously hurting everyone around him), I have to say that Ramona's dismissal of her relationship with Roxy as "just a phase" is devastatingly realistic.  I've dated women like that; they are real.  Honestly, Shane, is the cover for Kyla Kidd really appropriate?  I'm also uncomfortable with the covers of most of the Savage Worlds genre companions.  It's kind of bizarre that the superhero is the best-dressed version…

To Clarify...

I miss this guy:

Not this guy:

Not this guy:

And definitely not this guy:

This guy is the one I miss:

Duelists: Academia de Hierro

As a distraction from the setbacks with Regency/Gothic, here's some duelists for the Pirates of the Spanish Main RPG:

Dario Rico Arena

Skilled Duelist
Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d8, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d8, Guts d6, Intimidation d6, Notice d6, Shooting d6, Taunt d6
Charisma: +0, Pace: 6, Parry: 7 (8 against a single opponent armed with one weapon), Toughness: 5
Fame: +5
Hindrances: Arrogant
Edges: Fencing Academy (Academia de Hierro), Florentine, Riposte, Two-Fisted, Wall of Steel
Booty: 60 pieces of eight
Gear: Rapier (d8+d4; +1 parry), main-gauche (d8+d4)

The reckless son of a Cuban plantation owner, Dario haunts the streets taverns and bordellos of Havana living off his allowance and the money he makes from dueling.  His mastery of the two-handed style of the Academy of Iron means he is equally comfortable fighting single opponents and gangs.  His ability to fight four men at once makes him dangerously arrogant.

Juan and Pedro Martinez

Master Due…

Reach House Rule for Savage Worlds and D&DNext

I don't use miniatures anymore because I feel like they slow down the game, but I'd like to be fair to those smart enough to carry a pike to a swordfight. How about this?

*In Savage Worlds, weapons with reach effectively grant the Quick Edge to their wielder (re-draw any action cards of 5 or less). I hate Edge bloat, but I really think Savage Worlds could use more equipment bonuses.

*In D&D Next, using a reach weapon grants advantage on initiative rolls. (This might actually be in the badly-organized rules, for all I know.)

Nice and simple, right?


* Our little two-person Regency/Gothic playtest is really, really not going right.  I can't say it isn't going well because there's been some fun romance and adventure and I've gotten to tap into my long-disused knowledge of Arthuriana -- but the fact that I just used "fun," "adventure," and "Arthuriana" to describe the game sums up all of the problems right there.  I just haven't mastered the tropes of the Gothic well enough to enact them in a way that provides a satisfying ending to a night's gaming -- a satisfying ending that enables us both to get up for work the next day without nightmares and angst.  That is, admittedly, going to be a challenge.  I acquired a copy of GURPS: Screampunk based on the review at Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque; I think it will be every bit as helpful as the review describes. 

* We played D&D Next with some friends a week ago.  I really liked it.  The advantage/disadvantage mechanic is…