Hedge-trimming, and other exciting events in my life.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 23, 2012 by reignofjotuns

I may finally have some money soon. I’m being paid $200 to trim the hedges around my grandparents’ house. I’ve already worked out most of my shopping list; Carcosa, Vornheim, Classic Traveller books 1-3 reprint, Classic Traveller supplements 1-13 reprint. That leaves me about 70 dollars, which I may or may not spend on OSRIC. I really want Carcosa and Vornheim, but I don’t want to pay the shipping rates from Finland, and seeing a price tag in euros really puts me off for some reason (patriotism?). I’m bypassing these problems by ordering from Amazon and Indie Press Revolution, respectively. I considered buying Traveller books 0-8 instead, but decided against it. I have little interest in the advanced character creation rules, limited funds, and a good deal of doubt about that long paperback format. If I had to choose between Book 4: Mercenary and Supplement 4: Citizens of the Imperium, it wouldn’t take me long.

In less rampantly consumerist news, my first try at running Mutant Future may or may not happen tomorrow. I’m going to go with the tried-and-true flyers in the bookstore method if necessary, but I decided to first try digging through all our old Memphis-area homeschooler contacts and see if anyone wants to play. If I don’t get a good group tomorrow, I’ll go ahead and try to meet new people (not that I know the people I’m inviting first that well anyway).



Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on June 22, 2012 by reignofjotuns

I have made a habit of naming all of my PCs after apples. It’s surprisingly easy- you can start with the simple ones, like Macintosh, Braeburn, Jonagold, and then you really get into the world of apples and find out that a character can be named anything from “Aerlie Red-flesh” to “Zestar!”. While trying to think of a god for the cleric PC I made for last night’s New Feierland game (the cleric’s name was Reverend Morgan) I came up with a justification for this:

The church of Malus is inconspicuous, small, and nearly omnipresent. It may only be represented by one clergyman living in a rented room, but it is represented in nearly all cities worth going to. There is no official hierarchy within the clergy, no official prayers, and churches to Malus are rare. Men are appointed to the clergy by existing members, with little ceremony at all, save an oath never to eat worms (very few worshippers, in fact, are not clergymen). If the god has an alignment, it is probably neutral- according to his clergy, he supports clean living, heavy drinking, fresh fruit, dessert, plenty of exercise, relaxation, and free love. Malus’ gift to earth is the apple tree, and in his honor all worshippers of Malus are given one of his many names by a local clergy (or by themselves, nobody cares).

The church is in the curious position, relative to other churches, of posing no credible threat while still teaching everything directly contrary to any other church at all. If you ask a cleric of Malus what he teaches, he’ll tell you that sermons are boring, dancing is for fools, clothing is stuffy, nudity is pointless, murder can be necessary, love everybody that you don’t already like or hate, racism should be applied to all races to be fair, fairness is naive, and anthropophagy is optional. All other churches hate Malus, and will persecute his worshippers if it’s convenient, but rarely speak out against him, for fear that other clergy will think they take him too seriously and peasants will sign up in droves.

What happens at 0 hit points

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 22, 2012 by reignofjotuns

Normally I rule that at 0, you’re dead. I find ‘rolling to stabilize’ or whatever somewhat tedious, to say the least. However, seeing this while I was browsing for random tables really made my day. So, I decided to make my own, more-or-less original 0-hit-point table.

Roll 2d8 (For drama’s sake, you may modify the roll towards the nearest extreme by one point for every three character levels):

2 You died of natural causes (brain hemorrhaging, heart failure, popped lung) just before your hero’s death. You will take the form of a unique undead creature (Hit Dice equal to your previous level +1d8) and seek out and kill, one by one, every being present at that battle in a futile attempt at closure. In 1d4 weeks, your next targets will be your previous companions.

3-4 You have impressed a demon with your deeds, so much so that it has decided to take you for its own- right before you could die and journey to your rightful destination, it snatched you from the battlefield. A raid on hell will be necessary to get you back. When you return, you will have lost one point each of Charisma, Constitution, and Strength.

5 Crippled for life, Permanently lose a Hit Die.

6-7 Blow to the head left lasting brain damage. Lose 2 points each of Dexterity, Intelligence, and Wisdom/develop a strong phobia relative to the incident.

8-10 You bleed to death unless you get medical attention within seven rounds. You are completely bed-ridden for the next 2d4 days.

11-12 Welp, he’s a goner.

13 Lose your: 1- right hand, 2- right leg, 3- left hand, 4- left leg, 5- left eye, 6- right eye, 7- nose, 8- head.

14-15 A Valkyrie appears, and carries you away to Valhalla. A raid on Valhalla will be necessary to get you back. When you return, you will have gained a point each of Charisma, Constitution, and Strength.

16 Your deeds have earned you one wish which you may use to affect the lot of those who you knew in the mortal plane. You need not use the wish right away, of course.

100 Post-Apocalyptic/Kitchen Sink Treasures

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on May 22, 2012 by reignofjotuns

For use in Mutant Future, Gamma World, Encounter Critical, Metamorphosis Alpha, et all.

You have found…

  1. An atomic Zippo.
  2. A Susan B. Anthony dollar.
  3. Groucho glasses with actual lenses.
  4. A golden dreamcatcher with silver wire.
  5. A heavily graffitied scout handbook. You can’t tell whether for boy scouts or girl scouts.
  6. A Swiss army knife, every tool broken or missing except the toothpick.
  7. A wax apple with a bite in it.
  8. A copy of Life, the Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams, page 42 torn out.
  9. A three-eyed teddy bear.
  10. A broken Coffee mug saying “Kiss Me, I’m I—“.
  11. An old dog collar. It looks exactly like the one you had for your dog when you were 12, but the name tag says “Seymour Butts”.
  12. A broken jar with various bottle caps spilling out of it.
  13. A cassette tape in a case labeled Blonde on Blonde. 1-3 too messed up to listen to, 4-5 seems okay then cuts out 1:24 in, 6 it sounds more excellent then you thought possible, but spontaneously catches fire in the middle of the last track, 7-10 actually a Best of Queen tape with “Fat-Bottomed Girls” the only listenable track.
  14. A shark-tooth necklace with no shark teeth on it.
  15. A scrap of paper from a dictionary showing the definition of the word “pusillanimity”.
  16. A corked baseball bat, signed by Ken Kesey.
  17. A chess-board with golden pieces. One pawn has been lost and replaced with a plastic checker.
  18. A box containing 1d6 webcams with broken microphones.
  19. A banjo with 1d8-3 broken strings.
  20. 1d4 cans of spam. The expiration dates are illegible.
  21. 50-110 feet of cobweb-filled rubber garden hose (untangling takes 1d4 hours).
  22. A condom, stretched out beyond the point of human usefulness.
  23. A shopping cart with a squeaky wheel and burnt cheese stuck to the bottom.
  24. An iron coin with a sharpened edge.
  25. 1d4 monster truck tires.
  26. A foot-long staple monster on a four-foot pole.
  27. A Calvin and Hobbes collection with moustaches and pig-snouts drawn on all the characters.
  28. A third edition copy of The Oligarchist’s Cookbook. The third edition, wisely, was designed to be more or less fire-proof.
  29. An extremely collectible plastic figurine, from the short-lived She-Man line.
  30. A collection of 20th century tax forms, tastefully formed into a variety of origami birds.
  31. A carbon steel carving knife, embedded in a voodoo doll made out of a baked potato.
  32. A 1’x1’x1′ cube of redwood with sides numbered 1 through six.
  33. A perfectly functional cell phone, with Pac-Man downloaded and 1d12 hours of battery life remaining.
  34. An envelope labeled “Warning! Contains Anthrax!” (1-2 anthrax, 3-4 baking soda, 5-6 a cassette tape labeled Fistful of Metal (1984), see #13).
  35. A rough-cut, chiseled 4’x1′ oak sign that simply says: “REMEMBER”.
  36. A dead ferret.
  37. A cat skull with the jaw missing.
  38. A Rubik’s Cube with one side solved (unsolvable; one of the white squares is green instead. Nobody will notice this unless they are specifically counting the squares).
  39. A plastic baggy full of white powder (1-2 cocaine 3-4 asbestos 5-6 Ajax).
  40. 2d20 pogs.
  41. An oil painting of various racially charged epithets, symbols, and scenes.
  42. 2d6 cans of Monstruo Loco de Gila meat-flavored energy drink- made with real meat!
  43. A rare #1 pencil.
  44. This.
  45. The taxidermied head of a baby mammoth with an eye-patch.
  46. One rabbit’s foot necklace of twice normal size.
  47. A bag of really crappy “green apple” flavored gummy army men.
  48. A folding pocket-knife large enough to be a broadsword.
  49. A car stereo (1-2 works well, 3-4 doesn’t work, 5-6 has an old grilled cheese sandwich wedged in the slot).
  50. One “Cherry 2000” model android (4 in 6 broken, 2 in 6 repairable).
  51. A very mildly broken TV set.
  52. A dead ogre with moss growing on him.
  53. A gladius sword.
  54. 4d100 plastic army men, in these ratios: 40% minesweepers, 20% guys with binoculars, 30% that one guy holding a sub-machine gun over his head who’s always falling over, 10% scared-looking guys with pistols, exactly 1 guy who looks cool.
  55. A box of 1d100 x 2 cable ties.
  56. Fake Karl Marx beard.
  57. 1d3 cans of silly string.
  58. A wizened and hunched old owl, usually appears to be stuffed rather wrong.
  59. Cell-phone capable of calling into the past and future. Conversation is one-way, it gives dizziness and headaches, and each time you use it there is a 1 in 12 chance that you get horrible, throbbing brain tumors.
  60. A Nintendo 64 with 1d6 cartridges, 1d4-2 of which are broken.
  61. 1d8 carbonite dice with different numbers of sides. Each one has a poisonous spider frozen inside.
  62. A bike chain whip.
  63. A biker helmet with a torch-holder on top.
  64. A shield with a motto emblazoned on it (1-2 Elvis Lives! 3-4 Ain’t Nobody’s Bitch 5-6 Oakland Raiders).
  65. 2 doglock blunderbuss pistols, with horns of powder and shot (2 in 6 chance each of being full). On each pistol is inscribed: “Highland Dragon”.
  66. A “magic 8 ball”. 4 times in 6 it comes up edge.
  67. A 7-11 corn dog. If anybody cares to eat it, they will find that the preservatives have kept it ‘fresh’ over the years and get no sicker than they would have if it were new.
  68. 1d3 pounds of baking chocolate.
  69. A vial of troll semen (3 in 6 chance of venereal disease).
  70. A stagnant lava lamp.
  71. 1d4 gold teeth.
  72. An adamantium saxophone.
  73. A cedar pipe carved in the shape of a woman’s buttocks.
  74. A bronze robotic prosthetic hand.
  75. A prank lotto scratcher, unscratched.
  76. 1d6 throwing stars made out of old CDs.
  77. An artistic license. The name on it is Ellison Orange. In place of a photo it has a Picasso-style portrait of the owner.
  78. The missing pages of the Voynich Manuscript.
  79. A curly blonde wig.
  80. A rubber glove with suction cups on the fingertips, purpose unknown.
  81. A leather belt with a silver buckle shaped like a lion’s head with horns and a forked tongue.
  82. A cracked Rolex.
  83. A stuffed Linux penguin.
  84. A jar with air holes in it containing 1d8 creatures and appropriate food (1-2 centipedes 3-4 rot grubs 5-6 scorpions).
  85. 1d4 scalps.
  86. A Scottish broadsword.
  87. A laser carbine, unfortunately leaking battery acid from the handle.
  88. Several photographs of concrete parking stops wearing lingerie.
  89. A gold pocket-watch.
  90. A silver knife, inscribed: “For Baldwin, who lost his arm to a rot grub, an elf with a large axe, and his own hubris.”
  91. 1d4 jam jars full of naturally produced methane.
  92. A tiny bottle labeled “Red Flavoring”. It is actually full of blue flavoring.
  93. A lantern full of common sunstones.
  94. An alligator-skin coat.
  95. A pair of dark green scissors-glasses with bronze rims.
  96. A partially melted plastic lightsaber.
  97. 1d6 bottles of Jack Danielson.
  98. An absorbent space-rag.
  99. A pair of black woolen mittens.
  100. A monogrammed hip flask with a leak in the bottom.

Any time you use this table, there is a 1 in 10 chance that it smells of urine. Choose what kind or roll on the handy What Made a Mess? table below.

What Made a Mess?

  1. Goblin
  2. Woolly Mammoth
  3. Tasmanian Tiger
  4. Lone Velociraptor
  5. Gorilla
  6. Troll
  7. Wino
  8. Eagle
  9. Leprechaun or Faerie
  10. Orca Whale
  11. Tortoise
  12. Yorkie

Captain Bear’s Random Magic Weapon Tables

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 8, 2012 by reignofjotuns

A page of very ‘kitchen sink’ tables which enable you, with only a d20 and a d12, to generate a

  • Cutlass
  • Made of Elder God’s Blood
  • Tempered in Nun’s Tears
  • with a Secret Compartment Full of Weed
  •  that Vibrates When Warm,
  • Enables you to Wear an Eyepatch Without Hampering Your Depth Perception,
  • and summons your very own Giant Bald Eagle for all your travel needs!

Why yes, I DID join the Encounter Critical mailing list recently, why do you ask?

Northern Shore Update

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 7, 2012 by reignofjotuns

So, obviously, it’s past the 1st. There doesn’t really seem to be an excess of interest in a play-by-post. It will probably just be postponed until somebody responds- bummer.

20 Questions

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 25, 2012 by reignofjotuns

Twenty questions to sum up the Northern Shore rules

1) Ability scores generation method? I’d love to be an incredible stickler for 3d6 in order- but alas, the folly of youth- when it gets right down to it, I’m a big softy. Don’t count on it though- I’d rather soften the blow of a 3-6-5-4-8-13 by doing away with stat bonuses entirely than by letting you re-roll.

2) How are death and dying handled? Ha ha! Deadface McDeaderpants!

3) What about raising the dead? It is possible… …But the casting ritual is incredibly esoteric, not just something you get at a certain level. Esoteric rituals like that can be cast by anybody, regardless of level or even class… …if you can find anyone who’ll teach them to you.

There are a couple of Miracle Maxes around who might cast them for you… …if you can find one. It is possible to find them… …but the rituals require incredibly hard-to-get ingredients that can only be got by extensive questing.

However, you are adventurers… …more of whom are likely to be killed on the way. You get a free frogurt… …which also requires questing to retrieve.

You do get your choice of toppings… …but the toppings are on the other side of a magical river. Magical river doesn’t sound too hard to get past…

…except that the current is strong enough to turn your butt inside out, the water’s so acidic it’ll dissolve any boat you put in it, the only bridge is a trap, and the water’s brimming with electric eeeels! So, you can raise the dead, but you won’t get toppings on your frogurt.

4) How are replacement PCs handled? Back at town… “Oh look, it’s a new guy.” “Hey new guy!”

5) Initiative: individual, group, or something else? Roll d6 for each side, high roll goes first, each side goes in whatever order it wants. Re-roll every turn.

6) Are there critical hits and fumbles? How do they work? Roll a 1, automatic miss. Roll a 20, automatic hit. I won’t penalize you for the 1 unless you’re trying to do something ridiculous, like attack with flaming nunchucks, or jump kick on a log bridge.

7) Do I get any benefits for wearing a helmet? Usually the situation is that you get penalties for NOT wearing a helmet. Example: rocks fall, you save or fall unconscious.

8) Can I hurt my friends if I fire into melee or do something similarly silly? Firing into melee, not so much unless you’re in really cramped conditions. I assume that your character is competent enough for me to say, “hey, these conditions are really cramped”, and let you rethink your action before you point-blank headshot your cleric.

As for silly things, it depends how silly- If you try to get a minotaur to calm down by playing the flute (my sister actually did this, before my change to ‘tough-love’ DMing had really sunk in. Lucky she was first level), that will usually get YOU killed. Hum the ‘Mission: Impossible’ theme song while the rest of the party is trying to sneak, get everyone killed.

9) Will we need to run from some encounters, or will we be able to kill everything? Flee, weaklings! Flee, and know that you are mere mortals opposed to the Dungeon Master!

10) Level-draining monsters: yes or no? Yes. Fuck yes.

11) Are there going to be cases where a failed save results in PC death? I have something called the “Basilisks, Charm Person spells, Snakes, Spiders, Poisoned Weapons, Tainted Water, Smallpox, Death Rays, Dragon Breath, Gorgons, Catoblepas/Nekrozons, Traps, and Hypothermia Clause” (BCPSSSPWTWSDRDBGC/NTaHC), which basically says “Probably not. Let your guard down.”

12) How strictly are encumbrance & resources tracked? I’ll audit you once in a while. If your backpack doesn’t add up, I apply the appropriate penalty until the next audit, regardless of how much gear you drop before then.

13) What’s required when my PC gains a level? Training? Do I get new spells automatically? Can it happen in the middle of an adventure, or do I have to wait for down time? I give experience for treasure, mostly, which has to be retrieved to a relatively secure location before I add it to your total. Then you just level up, no fuss.

14) What do I get experience for? Treasure, spending said treasure. Don’t complain about not getting any from monsters- I don’t like the paperwork that brings.

15) How are traps located? Description, dice rolling, or some combination? Description.

16) Are retainers encouraged and how does morale work? I roll morale when the first PC dies, when the party is reduced to half of the size it had when it first set out, and whenever anything else incredibly terrifying happens. You can get retainers, and I think they’re awesome, but in all fairness- it will be hard to find someone willing to go into dungeons with you. The most likely source is making alliances with the rare ‘friendly’ ‘monsters’.

17) How do I identify magic items? Consult a sage, oracle, demon, etc. A good weaponsmith will have a few tests that can reveal the general quality of a weapon. ‘Detect Magic’ will reveal whether rings, wands, rods, staves, necklaces, and the like are magical, but it won’t reveal what they do. Most magic weapons and armor won’t even be revealed by ‘Detect Magic’, simply being

A~ extremely well made (+1 – +3),

B~ made out of some unusual material like demon’s blood, dragon scales, or tungsten carbide (+2 – +4), or

C~in some other way unique, such as having been cooled in the blood of priests/murderers/children, or ‘an old-sword of giants, with edge impenetrable’ (+2 – +5). Some of them get their powers from simple spellwork, but really, how lame would that be?

18) Can I buy magic items? Oh, come on: how about just potions? You can trade them, buy them off of giants or demons, or make your own. Sorry, even potions.

19) Can I create magic items? When and how? You want to make magic weapons? Oh, you’re a feisty one aren’t you? A real awesome force in the campaign? First you’ll need to learn how. This is the hard bit- weaponsmiths guard their secrets jealously, and you’d be lucky to forge a +1 sword even if you were trained by the greatest. Besides, if you want a great sword, you’ll need a better material than mere steel. And who’s going to teach you how to work with obsidian, diamonds, or demon’s blood? No one you can look up in the phone book. It will take a lot of work, but you can learn the skill necessary. You can just come up with the concept and get somebody else to make it, but you’ll still need at least basic weaponsmithing skill, and knowledge of theory.

Now, come up with a concept. This bit is simpler. Maybe you study ancient tomes and examine ancient weapons- in other words, the boring way. Maybe you find a master in the art beat his secrets out of him (it would be a lot nicer to pay him, you thug!)- in other words, the cheaty way. Maybe you spend a lot of time thinking about swords, doing katas with regular swords, and then smoking/snorting exotic substances (flowers, lycanthrope pelt, weeds) while meditating on the subject- in other words, the unreliable way.

Maybe the idea just falls into your lap- you break your sword on a rock, suddenly the rock gets struck by lightning, splits, and gems fall out, and you think, “I’ll just make a new sword out of these”- in other words, the lazy way. It would probably be best to combine the methods. Remember not to waste too much on-screen time on it, and remember that I won’t make ideas fall into your lap if it doesn’t look like you’re trying.

Wands, staves, rings, rods, scrolls, potions, and miscellaneous items? Boring. Just make those pretty much according to standard rules, but if you want to go the effort you can probably invent some kind of ‘anything goes’ thing.

20) What about splitting the party? Sure. I can handle it. And in a play-by-post? Anyone can handle it.