"Go to the sign of Harvel's Axe, a dubious inn on the edge of the Thieves Quarter, in the City of Greyhawk, and look to your own wrist. If you perceive a bracelet and dangling dice, watch for the next throw in the war between Law and Chaos and be prepared to follow the compelling geas." -Signal

Thursday, June 30, 2011

AC1 The Shady Dragon Inn, Soul Switch

The Shady Dragon Inn is the basic D&D equivalent to the Rogues Gallery. It  varies in a few ways but it is essentially the same type of product. This  offers the DM over 100 pregenerated characters that they can use as needed in  their campaign.

Shady Dragon Inn was released in 1983 and is thirty-two pages in length. It  is written for use under both the Basic and Expert rule systems. The  accessory is broken down into sections by classes and race. The product  begins with an introduction to the product and instructions on how to use it.  It then offers a section for special characters. This is actually a section  that contains game data for the characters and NPCs in the D&D/AD&D toy line.  The final section provides the DM a list of adventuring parties that can be  located in the Shady Dragon Inn. These are comprised of characters from the  earlier sections and are grouped in a number of different ways. Finally a map  of the Inn is provided for the DM.

The sections each offer a number of different non-player characters in them.  Each of the NPCs is given its own small section with their name, a stat  block, the equipment they carry, spells if any and finally a brief bio and  motivation paragraph. The breakdown of the sections are below along with the  number of NPCs in that section.

Fighters - 23
Magic-Users - 19
Clerics - 17
Thieves - 14
Dwarves - 10
Elves - 12
Halflings - 10
Special Characters - 13

The Parties section is broken down so that there is a high and low level  party for each of the characters classes and races. The sole exception here  is Halflings who only get one party list. There is than a section for low  level and high level mixed. These section have a list of NPCs from each race  and class that can be selected from. One note on this section is that it  starts with the section title "The Shady Dragon Tavern" but then goes back to  calling it an inn.

This accessory in many ways is better than the Rogues Gallery in my mind.  Rather than just table after table of stat blocks the DM is given actual NPCs  with a name, equipment and some background in addition to a stat block. An  example of one is below. I present Faradore Fairwind - Halfling.

S 12; I 9; W 9; C 11; D 9; CH 11; AL N;
LV 5; AC 3; hp 27; P/D 5; MW 6; S/P 7;
DB 9; SP/MS 8; THACO 17 [16 using
short sword +1]

Wears plate mail; carries short sword, 1
dagger, short bow and 10 arrows.

Faradore stands 3'1" and weighs 49 lbs. He
was once a seafarer: his light brown hair is
bleached by the sun, he walks like a sailor,
wears a scraggly moustache, and has a
parrot that perches on his shoulder. In
some foreign land, he gained a beautiful
silver-bladed shortsword. Many like to have
him along on expeditions because he can
watch the skies and tell them what to
expect from the weather. Though he will
venture underground, he does not like to
do so: he likes to feel the wind on his face.

If you like this sort of thing I suggest you pick it up. I find the character  writes up interesting to read and am glad to have a copy.

Spell:

Soul Switch


Level: Ninth
Range: Touch
Duration: Special
Ares Effect: One Creature
Components: V,S
Casting Time: One Segment
Saving Throw: Negates

By means of this spell the caster is able to switch souls with another living being. For this to work the victim or willing recipient must have a soul so creatures with a spirit may not be victims/recipients of this spell.

To have this spell affect them the victim must be touched by the caster. If the recipient is willing there is nothing that needs done. If the person being affected is not willing the caster needs to make a successful To Hit roll. If not willing the victim is allowed a save and if successful the spell does not take affect. It is important to note that there is no knowledge exchanged so the caster knows nothing more tan they already did about the recipient.

Once the spell takes affect the souls of the two parties will switch places. This will mean that the two parties will inhabit the others body. They will carry with them all of their levels, abilities and skills. Mental attributes will transfer (including Charisma) but not physical attributes.

The duration of the spell will be an affect of the difference in the intelligence of the two victims modified by the difference in Wisdom. The spell will last  for at least one day. The effect will be added to by one day cumulative per point of intelligence difference. So if there is one point it adds one day but two points will add three and three will add six. The maximum duration will be 121 days unless the casters intelligence is higher than eighteen. The effect will be lessened by difference in Wisdom in a like manner.

While in the others body the caster will suffer whatever fate befalls the victim and vice versa. There is no lag in the effect so they caster will need to be aware that the victim can act as soon as the switch occurs. If the victim or caster dies while in the others body they suffer the fate of the body and the change is permanent.

Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the write ups last, were all written up or conceived of back in the 80's so the terminology may not appropriate for anything other than 1e and depending on how well I did back then it may be slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication of spells that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :) Please feel free to comment on them but try not to be too hard on me. If anyone wishes to use these in anything they print please let me know in advance and all I ask is proper credit.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

MH-2 Time Trap - MSH, Animal Sleep

When it comes to comic books I have always collected a cross section of the  comic industry but when you look at the collection I will be mostly Marvel. I  remember when Marvel Super Heroes cam out I just had to have the game. Sadly  it never measured up to the other super heroes games. It was a good game and  there is a huge fan base for it I just found other games either easier to  create a balanced session in (Champions) or just more appealing (V&V).

After beating it up let me say again though that MSH is a fun game and the Time Trap module is a good example of why this is so. This was published in  1984. As is often the case in some earlier modules it is not all that big.  The adventure itself is only sixteen pages long. For the size it packs a lot  in though.

The module features Earth Mightiest Super Heroes in a battle across time and  dimensions. The module has six different sections with an optional seventh  that may or may not be used but is not really needed. Each involves a  different villain from the Marvel universe that may or may not normally be associated with the Avengers.

The module features statistics for six different Avengers though this is not  a line up that I think I ever saw in any run of any length. It will allow the  players to use some characters that might not get played too often. It also  features statistics for the same number of villains. There is also a double  sided map that will be used in play. One side of which is the Avengers  Mansion.

All in all it will be a fun little romp for the players. It will give a them  enough opportunity for action while in the end giving them cause to think. It  is worth picking up as most of the MSH modules are. It can be found cheap  enough in the usual places and can sometimes be found brand new like this  copy I found.

Spell:

Animal Sleep


Level: Second
Range: 3" + 1"/Level
Duration: 5 Rounds/level
Ares Effect: Special
Components: V,S,M
Casting Time: 3 Segments
Saving Throw: None

This spell where not specifically different will resemble the first level Sleep spell. The major difference will be that this will only affect non-humanoid creatures. It will affect any thing that would be considered an animal. For this affect monsters of a non-humanoid nature will be treated as animals. It will also affect double the number of hit dice that a Sleep spell would affect.

Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the write ups last, were all written up or conceived of back in the 80's so the terminology may not appropriate for anything other than 1e and depending on how well I did back then it may be slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication of spells that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :) Please feel free to comment on them but try not to be too hard on me. If anyone wishes to use these in anything they print please let me know in advance and all I ask is proper credit.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Iron Crypt of the Heretics - GenCon Edition, Dream Curse

I have never been to GenCon. There was someone online who posted a message about going to GenCon and they offered to grab people a copy of this module. I for the life of me can't recall who that was. Thank you in absentia and I feel terrible I can't recall who it was!

This is the 1e version of the D20 DCC module 12.5. It is a followup to DCC #12 The Blackguards Revenge. It was released in two different version and the 1e version was only available ag GenCon where it sold out. Other than the rule set the modules are identical at least that is what I was told.

This module like most of the other Dungeon Crawl Classics is a well written product. It is designed for a higher level party. They suggest that the characters be levels 11-13 and a party size of of four to six. They suggest a good cross mix of characters though they suggest that skilled thieves and good aligned clerics or paladins will greatly aid in the party's chance of success. The module presents some ideas for scaling if the party is too weak or are too strong. The module also has a some traps that may very well prove deadly so it is possible to have a TPK.

Since this is a continuation of DCC#12 it is best that it be played as part of that though this is not required. The information needed from the earlier module is presented in this one. The module also suggests some plot hooks to pull parties in that did not play the first module.

The module itself is twenty-four pages long with ten of that either being the introduction portion at the beginning or player handouts etc at the end of the module. The module has nineteen keyed encounter areas. These will challenge a well played and well equipped party. Again it is important to suggest that the taps in this are deadlier than in many other modules so caution is advised.

I won't point them out but I am certain there are some Easter eggs to older products in this module. If you have a chance to pick it up I would suggest doing so. I am eventually going to pick up a copy of the standard version so I can compare them.

Spell:

Dream Curse


Level: Eighth
Range: Special
Duration: Permanent
Ares Effect: One Creature
Components: V,S,M
Casting Time: Special
Saving Throw: Negates

Dream Curse allows the caster to visit the intended target in their dreams. Once in the dream of the victim the caster will be able to interact with the victim and bestow a curse upon them.

The curse effect will enable the caster to use a Limited Wish type of effect to negatively impact the victim. The effect of the curse will be specified by the player but it is limited to a spell effect or item effect that would be negative to the recipient. The effect of the curse unlike a Limited Wish effect will be permanent until it is removed via some magical means including a Wish spell or Remove Curse.

The DM will need to interpret the curse an may take the effect as literal as needed. This means that the effect may or may not happen exactly as the caster sees it but if the save is not made then the effect will occur. The save will be made normally with some modifications. If the victim is of a higher level than the caster it is made at +2 plus an additional +2 for each difference in level. The victim may also apply any bonus for Wisdom they may have.

When the victim awakes they will know that they have been affected in some way. Depending on the curse it may take some time to manifest but it should happen within twenty-four to forty-eight hours unless specified longer in the dream or it has a trigger event. The victim will also know who they encountered in the dream and will be able to remember it without error.

The material component of this spell will be a personal possession of the victim. If the caster does not have an item then they must have been in direct personal contact with the victim within twenty-four hours of the casting. If there is not a personal possession the victim receives and additional +4 to their save. The caster will also have the effect of aging no less than three years with the casting of this spell.

Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the write ups last, were all written up or conceived of back in the 80's so the terminology may not appropriate for anything other than 1e and depending on how well I did back then it may be slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication of spells that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :) Please feel free to comment on them but try not to be too hard on me. If anyone wishes to use these in anything they print please let me know in advance and all I ask is proper credit. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

MA1 Children of the Atom - MSH, Dream Vision

MA1 Children of the Atom was released for the advanced edition of Marvel  Super Heroes in 1986. The book is 96 pages long and was a fairly exhaustive  look at the mutants from Marvel Comics at the time. Today it is a look back  at a simpler time for the poor misunderstood mutant.

The game begins with an explanation of what it is and what mutants are. It  then goes into the reasoning behind why mutants are frowned upon and other  super heroes are not subject to the same prejudice. It then gives an example  layout. This is as follows.

Character's public name
Character's real name (if known)
Genetic and outlook type
Abilities
Variable abilities
Known powers and items
Special tricks and power stunts
Talents
Contacts
Running the character

Next we are presented with an index of the mutants and other significant  characters, villains or NPCs that are contained within. The sole exception to  this is an entry for the Danger Room. This gives a rough estimate of 182  entries for heroes, villains and others. The break down begins with Mutant  Teams. As stated earlier this in circa 1986 so there is no entry for  Excalibur and many of the teams listed are no around any more. The list is  below.

X-Men
X-Factor
New Mutants
Hellfire Club
Hellions
Brotherhood of Evil Mutants
Freedom Force
Fallen Angels
Morlocks
Soviet Super-Soldiers
Gladiators
Alliance of Evil
Mutant Force

Next the book presents us with a section labeled Miscellaneous Mutants. This  section contains some mutants that will later not really qualify to fall  under this section. There are some that still do but are noteworthy anyway.  This section includes among others Black Tom, Dazzler, Legion, Northstar,  Mutant X, Quicksilver, Sabertooth and Scarlet Witch.

The next section labeled Very Important People (VIP) gives information on a  mixed bag of people. These include villains, Supporting Characters and  Aliens. A few of the villains provided are Juggernaut, Arcade, Lady  Deathstrike and Magus. The Supporting Characters section contains information  on noteables such as Cameron Hodge and Moria Mactaggert. The Aliens section  gives us stats for Gladiator and Lilandra as well as a list of many of the  Shi'ar as well as a section on the Starjammers.

The next section labeled The Mutant Menace deals with the fear and hysteria  that surrounds mutants in the Marvel Universe. The section describes Project  Wideawake. It provides statistics for all the Mark I-VI Sentinels as well as  for Nimrod and a few other special Sentinels. There is also information on  the the future time-line from Days of Future Past.

The next section that covers three or four pages goes over Items and  Locations. This section includes items such as the Blackbird and Cerebro. The  Locations section gives brief information on the Mansion and the Danger Room.

The final section is a mini-adventure called  Dreamchild. It is comprised of  seven set encounters and then one floating encounter that can be mixed in  where desired. It is a fair scenario and provides an mix of location and  encounter levels.

This is one of what I would consider the core books one should own if they  play or run MSH. The book is woefully out of date given the Marvel Universe  today but it still provide enough information from the heyday of mutants to  be useful. Plus you get to see Sabertooth listed as a miscellaneous mutant!

Spell:

Dream Vision


Level: Fifth
Range: None
Duration: Special
Ares Effect: Caster
Components: V,S,M
Casting Time: One Hour
Saving Throw: Special

Through use of the Dream Vision spell the magic user is able to see a vision of their future. The caster will see the vision while they are casting the spell. The vision is very limited and may or may not be accurate and it is possible to be partially accurate. The caster can see no more than one turn of events. The vision may involve any number of other people but the caster must be present in the dream.

This spell may be cast any time prior to the event the caster wishes to see but it the caster may not want to cast it too far before the event. Once the spell is cast the magic user will lose one of the slots for fifth level spells they can cast until such time the event occurs. The caster may memorize a spell to fill the slot once it becomes available and it will immediately be usable.

The event the caster wants to see must be specifically stated in the casting of the spell. It needs to also be fairly specific in its request. The request could be to see a specific room in a dungeon or castle or perhaps see the location of a specific person at a specific point in time.

The point in time that the request is for and the vagueness of the request will alter the validity of the vision. For every hour into the future the request would occur there is a 1% chance that something will be wrong with the vision. Requesting to see more than either one person or one location will also alter the vision. If the request is for a person or a location there is no chance of failure. If a person and location is requested then there is a 25% chance of the vision being altered. Finally distance will play a factor in this. For every mile past one that the request is made for there is a 1% chance of having an altered vision.

The material component of this spell will be a piece of some living creature that is native to the Astral Plane. The material will be consumed with the casting of the spell.

Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the write ups last, were all written up or conceived of back in the 80's so the terminology may not appropriate for anything other than 1e and depending on how well I did back then it may be slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication of spells that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :) Please feel free to comment on them but try not to be too hard on me. If anyone wishes to use these in anything they print please let me know in advance and all I ask is proper credit.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

DLR1 Otherlands - DragonLance, Death's Tale

There are few people who play D&D who have not at least heard of Dragonlance  and many have played the series of modules released in the late 1980's. After  the initial release there were many more modules released for the setting.  Most of these occurred in Ansalon or in the area to the northeast where the  minotaurs dwell called Taladas. This module takes you beyond the more  published areas to where the DM might have a little less canon to deal with.

Otherlands was released by TSR in 1990 and was written under the 2e rules. It  has the designation code of DLR1. It was followed by two other modules  Taladas and Unsung Heroes. I understand the second which deals with the land  of the Minotaurs but not the third being in the series but I digress.

Otherlands comes in at ninety-six pages which is good since it deals with  three separate locations on Krynn. Each is separated from the majority of the  other locations that have been described in other modules by either distance  or ease of access or both. The module seems to be evenly divided amongst the  three.

Chorane

The first area the module covers is Chorane. This location is separated by  not only distance and the effort it would take to access it. This is the one  that I might use if I wanted to have a stand alone Krynn campaign not set in  the established world. This could be used very much as a Krynn Underdark campaign.

The setting is a series of deep underground caverns located under the south  pole of Krynn. The bulk of this setting deals with three distinct groups of  humans who all come from an initial group that fragmented over beliefs. They  are now involved in a constant state of war.

The location also features societies of variant races that exist on the main  areas of the world as well. There are the dwarves (Theiwar) and Kenders  (Kendars). It also gives the DM three new monsters of which one (Ursoi) could  be adapted into a new race for them to use.

Selasia

The second area that is described in Otherlands is a large island chain on  the Spine of Taladas. This location is named after the largest island in the  chain, Selasia, which is often the case. In addition to Selasia there are six  other islands that have some level of description in the module. Each of  these other islands provide possible adventure ideas for the DM.

The chain is occupied by two primary races. Both of these race came from Ogre  stock but one was modified in the ancient past and were forced to the island  by other races. These are not your typical Ogres but a more peaceful non- deformed race. The primary race are the Mischta of which the bulk are good  but there is an evil sub-species. The other primary race are the Bolandi  which were modified to be smaller and given a malicious, though I would call  it more mischievous, nature. There were forced to the islands one thousand  years before the Great Cataclysm.

Statistics are given for the two lines of Mischta so that the DM could use  them as player character races if desired. This was not done for the Bolandi  except that some can become illusionists. This was sort of disappointing  since they could provide a whole new type of Kender to play.

Watermere

The third location described is Watermere. This is the underwater realm of  the Dargonesti or as they are more commonly called the sea-elves. This more  so than either of the other two is more of a write up on the race than the  location. The location is described but it is done in reference to how it  affects the sea-elves. There are moderately in depth descriptions of their  history and then their society.

We are then given a description of Watermere and the various location that  comprise it. There are six distinct area that are described. These range from  Takaluras, the capital of the sea-elves, to The Ruins of Watermere, which is  an island that sank during the Great Cataclysm. The latter is occupied by both  the Dargonesti and the a collection of evil underwater races headed up by  Koalinths. There is next a section on the flora and fauna that exist in  Watermere.

The next section begins the bulk of the Watermere potion of the module. It starts with a section named Dargonesti from Cradle to Grave. It is the first of eight sections  that talk specifically about the sea-elves and not Watermere. These section  are listed below. The Relations section and Mahkwahb area a little broader in  scope that just the elves though still focus on them.

Dargonesti from Cradle to Grave
Religion
The Dargonesti Army
Magic
Relations with Undersea Folk
Relations with Surface Folk
The Mahkwahb (Evil Sea-Elves)
Dargonesti Elves as PCs.

The Watermere section is great but walks the line between too much  information and too little information. As part of the idea of different  realms it offers a lot of information and can give the DM a strong headstart  if they want to use this as a setting. It is not enough information though to  use it as race guide. Still the module overall is a good product plus it is  not set in the more common area of Krynn. Good on its own and great to mine  from.

Spell:

Death's Tale


Level: Three
Range: Touch
Duration: Instantaneous
Ares Effect: One Item
Components: V
Casting Time: 1 Round
Saving Throw: None

By use of Death's Tale a magic user can touch an item and see the death event of the person that the item belonged to. This spell can be used on an item or part of a person or beings remains.

The spell will give the caster a clear vision of who the person was though no more than name and place of origin or lair if a beast. They will also see the last few minutes of the person or creatures life. This will allow them to see where the person/beast died and how. The vision is as if the caster were seeing it through the eyes of the victim.

The period of time that the vision can go back is limited by the level of the caster and their intelligence. The vision can only occur if the victim died within 10 years/level of the caster plus an additional 10 years/point of intelligence. There is a 5% chance that when this spell is used it will attract the spirit of the victim. The spirit may respond as the DM sees fit and may request aid, ignore or haunt the caster of the spell.

Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the write ups last, were all written up or conceived of back in the 80's so the terminology may not appropriate for anything other than 1e and depending on how well I did back then it may be slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication of spells that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :) Please feel free to comment on them but try not to be too hard on me. If anyone wishes to use these in anything they print please let me know in advance and all I ask is proper credit. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Caves of Shadow - WotC, Awaken

Caves of Shadow is one of the fast play free games that were released by  Wizards of the Coast to introduce gamers to the various offerings they had.  This one was written by Monte Cook and was released in 2000. This one comes  in at sixteen pages. The module is sometimes listed as a 3e fast play or a d20 fast play. I am not sure myself which it was so if anyone knows please feel free to chime in!

The system detailed in this product is a very simple one and would in no way  mimic anything used in a retail product. It seems to be more of an  introduction to role playing more than an introduction to a system. This  would be a nice product to use for children regardless of the system they  would eventually be playing.

The book has a simple seven encounter scenario involving amazingly enough a  cave system. The product is about as DM friendly as it can be covering almost  any action the DM might reasonably expect the players to take. It even  discusses how to handle an rather dastardly action the players might chose  to take early on. I really hope it does not happen often since this seems to  be geared towards children.

The book also has some premade characters that the players can use. This will  limit the number of players to four unless the DM copies the players and  renames them. Each of the four core classes are represented as are three  races (not sure why the doubled up on humans).

The four characters used will be familiar to any who have used any fairly  recent WotC game. There is Redgar who is a human fighter. The next character  is Mialee who is an elf wizard. The third character is our second human. They are Jozan who is a human cleric and finally there is Lidda the halfling  rogue.

Each of the half page characters sheets begins with a large picture of the  character. Next it describes first who the characters is and a little on  their motivations or expected behavior. The sheet then describes the role  they will most likely need to perform in an adventuring party. The sheet then  describes actions they might perform in the course of the adventure. One the  back is information on damage they do, their armor class, the hit points they  have (nice mark off bubbles make it easy for kids to use), then spell if  appropriate and finally strategy. Lidda has a special section on Sneak Attack  since she is a rogue.

The module is one that I would use if I were to introduce a younger person  (child) into role playing. It is generic enough to make it simple to use and  not teach them a mechanic that they would never use again. The module is also still available for download from the WotC site so it can be downloaded and printed as  needed. 

 Spell:

Awaken

Level: 0
Range: 6"
Duration: 24 Hours
Ares Effect: Special
Components: V,S
Casting Time: 1 Segment
Saving Throw: Special

This cantrip will allow the magic user to specify a time when the recipient will be awakened if asleep. The spell will have no effect on individuals if they are awake when cast.

The spell will by default affect one person which the caster may select. The spell can then affect one additional person for every level the caster has over one. The time specified must be within 24 hours from the time cast. The time specified for each individual may differ.

The saving throw for this spell is required by all recipients even if they are willing recipients. The saving throw actually is made at the specified time the recipient is to awaken. They are required to make a saving throw versus spells as +4 with an additional +1 per point of wisdom over 14. Those who fail have decided to sleep in. A DM may add other bonuses or minuses to the save based on the situation and condition of the recipient.

Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the write ups last, were all written up or conceived of back in the 80's so the terminology may not appropriate for anything other than 1e and depending on how well I did back then it may be slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication of spells that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :) Please feel free to comment on them but try not to be too hard on me. If anyone wishes to use these in anything they print please let me know in advance and all I ask is proper credit.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Village Book One - Judges Guild, Cassandra's Waiting Light

In an earlier post I had written about the Island Book which was released by Judges Guild and how it was probably still the most useful of the premade mapping products. I had said it beat out the Village book but perhaps not by much. I still hold with that but the margin may be even closer than I recalled.

The Village book was released in 1978 and then again in 1979 with this same exact cover. The only difference between the two are the Booty List that is in the back of the book. Other than the other products listed in the end they are identical. There is a third printing that has a different cover and marketed as a Universal Fantasy Supplement.

The Village book consists of forty-eight different maps of villages. The villages range in size from a few building to ones that are on the upper end of what might be called a village. In addition to the maps there are nine pages of tables that will help the DM randomly determine the contents of the villages and their makeup. The tables are what I had forgotten about and help inch this closer to being the equal of the Island Book.

In the end this is still a product that is worth having. I was recently made aware that most of the earlier Judges Guild products are available online as PDF files. I prefer a hard copy to an electronic copy so I would look on the secondary market first but that is a matter of taste. Regardless of how you get it I think this is something worth having.

Spell:

Cassandra's Waiting Light


Level: Second
Range: 12"
Duration: 1 Month/Level
Ares Effect: 3" Radius
Components: V,S,M
Casting Time: 1 Round
Saving Throw: None

When this spell is cast it creates a specialized Light Spell. The light affect created by this spell will have a trigger effect and phrase.

The use of this phrase will cause the light effect to either come on or go off as is appropriate. The trigger effect is more specific and will only cause the light to either come on or go off.

This spell will remain until such time as it is dispelled or the duration expires. The caster of the spell may also cancel the effect at will.

The material component of this spell is a living firefly or similar such creature. The creature is released when the spell is cast and will vanish until the spell duration expires.

Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the write ups last, were all written up or conceived of back in the 80's so the terminology may not appropriate for anything other than 1e and depending on how well I did back then it may be slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication of spells that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :) Please feel free to comment on them but try not to be too hard on me. If anyone wishes to use these in anything they print please let me know in advance and all I ask is proper credit.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cults of Prax - RuneQuest, Transfer Spell Potential

Cults of Prax is a sourcebook released by Chaosium in 1979. It was written by Steve Perrin and Greg Stafford. The book describes fifteen cults that exist in the RuneQuest world and gives the GM enough information so that they  could create their own as needed.

The book begins with an explanation of the Gloranthan calendar which mirrors ours being based on seasons. There are something about it that make it  different and some that I am not sure make sense in a real world comparison.  The calendar breaks down as 1 year = 5 Season (plus sacred time) = 42 weeks =  294 days. Each season is exactly the same length and the sacred time is  fourteen days. At the end of the book is a list of the various Cult holy  days.

The next section describes the format that will be used to describe each cult.  It gives the same format as the general write ups but with a specific  explanation of what each area is for. There is then a summary cult outline. A  copy of this outline follows.

I. Mythos and History
    A. Before Time
    B. Since Time Began
    C. Life and Death
    D. Runic Associations

II. Nature of the Cult
    A. Reason for Continued Existence
    B. Social/Political Position and Power
    C. Particular Like and Dislikes

III. Organization
    A. Inter-Cult Organization
    B. Intra-Temple Organization
    C. Center of Power, Holy Places
    D. Holy Days and High Holy Days

IV. Lay Membership
    A. Requirements to Join
    B. Requirements to Belong
    C. Mundane Benefits
    D. Skills
    E. Battle Magic

V. Initiate Membership
    A. Requirements for Initiation
    B. Requirements to Remain Initiated
    C. Mundane Benefits
    D. Skills
    E. Spells

VI. Rune Lord Membership
    A. General Statement
    B. Requirements for Acceptance
    C. Restrictions
    D. Benefits

VII. Rune Priesthood
    A. General Statement
    B. Requirements for Acceptance
    C. Restrictions
    D. Benefits
    E. Rune Spell Compatibility
    F. Cult Special Rune Spells

VIII. Subservient Cults
    A. Spirit of Reprisal
    B. Other

IX. Associated Cults
    A. Listed Singularly

X. Miscellaneous Notes


From this point we head into the descriptions of the various cults. The book  adds a set of side notes that take the form of a travel journal of Biturian Varosh. The notes tell of his experience amongst each of the cults.There is  even a map of his travels and the dates he was at the location for each cult.  This adds something to the book and this was used by other companies in other  products after this was used here.

The Cults themselves are broken down into one of four different groups. These  groups are The Barbarian Gods, Invader Deities, Lightbringers and Non-Human  Gods. The breakdown of these are as follows.

The Barbarian Gods:
Daka Fal  (ancestor worship)
Storm Bull (berserker god)
Waha (nomad chieftan deity)
Eiritha (herd mother)

Invader Deities:
Humakt (war god)
The Seven Mothers (the lunar cult)
Pavis (city god)
Yelmailo (mercenary god of light)

Lightbringers:
Issaries (trader god)
Chalana Arroy (healer)
Lhankor Mhy (knowledge lord)
Orlanth (god of adventures)

Non-Human Gods:

Kyger Litor (troll ancestress)
Zorak Zoran (troll war god)
Aldyra (elf goddess)

The final section of the book is composed of all the appendices. These cover different topics such as the relationship between the different cults, the various holy days, new rune magics and a chronology of Glorantha. The full list of appendices is:

Cult Compatibility
Nomad Weapons and Magic
Cult Membership by Tribe
New Weapons Data
Calendar of Holy Days
New Skills
New Battle Magics
Truestones
New Rune Magics
Slave Bracelets
Weapons Use
Other Glorantha Material
Biturian Departs Prax


This book should have served as and still should as how the various religions in a role playing game should be described. After reading this you almost feel as if you read over a 101 level class text on comparative religions in Glorantha. There is more than one version of this and the one I have described is the first printing. The second I think may have some additional information but I do not have a copy to confirm that. If you want to create a  pantheon and describe it this would be a great format to use.

Spell:

Transfer Spell Potential


Level: Fourth
Range: Touch
Duration: Special
Ares Effect: One Creature
Components: V,S,M
Casting Time: 1 Round
Saving Throw: None

When this spell is cast the magic user imbues the target with the ability to cast a specific spell from their currently available spells. The recipient will then be able to cast that one spell and only that spell. They can transfer a spell of no higher than third level.

The recipient will be able to cast that specific spell just as if they were the caster who granted them the ability. This ability will remain with the individual until such time as the caster dispels the ability.

The recipient can there for cast the spell once per day. Until such time as the caster dispels the ability they will have lost the ability to cast one spell of the level of the one given. This means that if a caster could normally cast three third level spells per day and they have used this spell for one of them until they cancel it they can now only cast two per day. The caster can have this spell on no more than one individual per level they have over seventh.

The caster can revoke this ability at any time regardless of range. When the spell is revoked the spell is lost to the caster until such time as the caster memorizes spells again regardless of if it had been cast or not. If the recipient of the spell should die while the transfer is in effect then the caster will lose 1d4 points of intelligence and the ability to cast that spell for two to seven days. 

The material component of this spell is a copy of the spell just as if it were one written in the caster spell book. The copy is given to the recipient and then spell then vanishes from the page. The page remains intact and can be used again if desired.

Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the write ups last, were all written up or conceived of back in the 80's so the terminology may not appropriate for anything other than 1e and depending on how well I did back then it may be slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication of spells that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :) Please feel free to comment on them but try not to be too hard on me. If anyone wishes to use these in anything they print please let me know in advance and all I ask is proper credit. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

D&D Conversion Manual, Ability Transfer


The Wizards of the Coast Dungeons & Dragons Conversion Manual is intended to  help layers convert their older characters and gaming material to the then  new D&D 3rd Edition. The conversion manual is either A4 size or perhaps even  smaller since I am not sure of the exact dimension of A4. The manual was  released sometime in 2000 prior to August. I think it was included with Dragon  Magazine though I can not recall exactly where I got mine.

The manual goes through all the major aspects of the game and advises players  and DM's on how they can convert to the new system. The book is broken down  into four major sections. The first is Characters from Earlier Editions. The  second area is Character Troubleshooting. The third section covers Magic and  the last goes over Monsters.

The section of Characters goes over all aspects that would be integral to character generation and game rules. The items covered are:

Level and Experience
Ability Scores
Character Race
Character Class
AC and Movement Rate
Initiative
Feats
Skills
Equipment

The Character Troubleshooting section covers some possible issues that may be  encountered in the conversion process. Some examples are where a spell or  magic item is not included in the new system or characters that were creating  using a kit from one of the old class books. The material here is not  exhaustive but there are some major issues covered in mechanics and also in  what the players may feel is ot working right.

The next section is the Magic section. This covers not only spell conversion  and the new magic system but also magical items. There are a number of  different portions in this section. They are as follow:

Renamed Spells
Wizard Spells with New Schools
Converting Old Spells
Spells You Shouldn't Convert
Renamed Magic Items
Converting Old Magic Items

The final section in the Conversion Manual is the one covering monsters. The  new edition changed to a great extent how monsters were handled and really  made them a little more thre dimensional (though also silly in many cases  IMHO). They were given the built in ability to exist at many levels and  mechanics were given to do this. The sections in the Monster portion are:

Converting Old Monsters
Skills and Feats
Description
Creatures that Affect Surprise
Climate/Terrain
Organization, Challenge Level, and Treasure
Alignment
Advancement Range

Throughout the books there are a number of sidebars. These are i found in  many cases just as useful as some of the other text. Some explain new  mechanics and other game functionality. Others are simple conversion tables  for terminology which is really useful. The sidebars are:

New Names for Some Old Terms
What's New about Ability Scores?
What's New about Character Races?
What's New about Proficiencies?
What's New about Dual and Multiclassed Characters?
What's New about THAC0 and Armor Class?
What's New about Saving Throws?
What's New about Spells?
What's New about Character Classes?

The Conversion Manual is an essential tool (o was) is you were going to  convert older characters or game material to the new system. I am not sure  how it translates to D&D 3.5 and am sure it is woefully out of date for D&D  4.0. I am not sure if they did a conversion manual to the latest edition.

In the end I know many who might read this won't ever play the new edition so  it may be easy to shrug this off. I for one think it's real value may be  using it in reverse. There are some good products out there that were made  for the newer editions that would be fun to play. This could serve as a road  map to convert the material the other way.

Spell:

Ability Transfer


Level: Third
Range: Touch
Duration: 1 Turn/Level
Ares Effect: Target Touched
Components: V,S
Casting Time: 1 Round
Saving Throw: Special

The casting of this spell by the magic user will enable the transfer of basic physical or mental abilities (attributes) between two individuals. The transfer can be one or two ways and can affect up to two attributes though if two are done then they transfer must go both ways. If either originator is unwilling the cater must make a successful To Hit roll. Then they are entitled to a saving throw which if successful renders the spell useless.

When the spell is cast the attribute to be transferred are are compared. The difference between the two are calculated and then the difference is taken from the individual giving the attribute and given to the recipient. Using this in a situation where the originator has a higher ability results in the spell failing.

It is possible that this spell will take an individual's ability score lower than three. If this occurs then the individual falls becomes incapacitated for the duration of the spell. If it is a mental attribute they are still ambulatory though they will require constant guidance. In no case can an attribute be brought to zero and the amount transferred will be limited by that. Once the duration expires the attributes will automatically transfer back.

Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the write ups last, were all written or conceived of back in the 80's so the terminology may not appropriate for anything other than 1e and depending on how well I did back then it may be slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication of spells that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :) Please feel free to comment on them but try not to be too hard on me. If anyone wishes to use these in anything they print please let me know in advance and all I ask is proper credit.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Greyhawk - The Adventure Begins, Cassandra's Mystical Extension & Great News

The Adventure Begins is as it describes itself as part of the fourth wave of  Greyhawk material which I guess is fairly accurate. It is either the fourth  of the fifth depending on how you handle Greyhawk Adventure and the original  folio edition versus the box set. Either way it was good to see Greyhawk  material again with the Return of the Eight and when this was released in  1998.

This module explains the City of Greyhawk and its environs as they exist in  591 CY. It also in part explains all of the changes that have occurred since  585 CY which is when the last "wave" of Greyhawk material was supposed to  have taken place.

The first section of the book after the explanation of what it is will be a  summary or earlier Greyhawk content it will make reference to. This is a nice  list though perhaps not exhaustive. There is also a section explaining the  abbreviations that will be used in the book.

Next we are given what pass for a travel brochure for the City of Greyhawk.  It goes into great detail on explaining how "The Gem of the Flanaess" as  Greyhawk is often called offers the best that can be found on Oerik. There  are a quarter page or so explaining how Greyhawk is the center of Trade,  Diplomacy, Finance, Defense, Learning, Magic, Religion and Adventure. I  almost booked my ticket there after reading these for the first time!

Next we are presented with a brief five page section describing the world of  Oerth. This was best brief as I am not sure how much campaign use there was.  The next twenty-five or so pages are better spent. They go over the people  and cultures of the Humans, demi-humans and humanoids of Oerth. It then  proceeds to explain the recent history of if not all then the vast majority  of the nations that make up Oerth.

The next section of the book describes the calendar of Greyhawk. It goes over  the days of the week, the months and what season occurs in that month. It  also goes over the monthly cycles for Luna and Celene the two moons of Oerik  which are always the same due to the orbit and calendar coinciding perfectly.  There is then seven or so pages describing the important annual events. The  last section before getting to the city and surrounding areas is one that the  DM will find useful. It goes over the climate of Greyhawk and provides random  tables to determine weather. This is done for all four seasons. It also gives  monthly average sunrise and sunset times as well as total daylight hours.

Getting into the larger portion of the book dealing with the city and her  surroundings. The first portion is an exhaustive history on the city which  includes information on a famous castle of some note. Next we are presented  with an explanation of the Oligarchy that makes up the government of Greyhawk.  We are also given the names of the members of the ruling council with their  stat block and a bio piece for each. There is also a note if they are members  of the inner circle of the Oligarchy. There is also a period describing the  internal issues the city faces.

We are next given a nice description of the law and military aspects of the  city. This goes into some detail describing the various watches, guilds and  constables that make up the protective forces in the city. We are then given  some information on the Criminal Code of Greyhawk, a list of the Major Crimes  with suggested sentence terms and then a list of the actual sentences that  could be assigned.  This is followed by a short section on petty crimes.

This is followed with a healthy section describing the population of the  city. It provides the DM with a a rough estimate on what the population of  the city has been over the last few years. It then goes into a breakdown on  the demographics followed  by social statuses, dress and finally languages.

The final fifty or so pages of the book are the city and the surrounding area.   It goes over the surrounding lands and then the city defenses in ten or so  pages. It then begins on the city quarters. Each of these are described in  some detail with important places to be found in each made note of. There DM  notes for each of these locations. Each quarter is provided a nice overview  of what can be found within and its importance in the city and what the  players might expect to occur there. The Quarters and areas provided are the  High Quarter, the Garden Quarter, Clerkburg, the Foreign Quarter, the River  Quarter, the Artisans Quarter, the Thieves Quarter and finally the Slum  Quarter.

If you like Greyhawk you need to own this. It may not be a nice as the box  set but it is easier to carry around and provides more than enough detail to  get the DM and players started in what I feel is the best campaign setting  out there.


Spell:

Cassandra's Mystical Extension


Level: Fifth
Range: Special
Duration: Instantaneous
Ares Effect: One Spell
Components: V,S
Casting Time: 1 Segment
Saving Throw: None


With this spell the magic user greatly extends the duration of a spell. This spell will only affect spells with a duration and attempting to extend spells without one will fail. Spells of no greater than fourth level can be targets of this spell.

Immediately after casting the target spell the caster must follow with this spell. If more than two rounds pass after the casting of the target spell this spell will fail. The effect of this spell will be increase the duration of the spell by a factor of ten. Spells lasting a round will now last a turn and so forth.

If this spell is extending the duration of something that has already affected an target the victim is entitled to a second saving throw is desired. If that save is made then the original spell and the extension are both dispelled.

Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the write ups last, were all written or conceived of back in the 80's so the terminology may not appropriate for anything other than 1e and depending on how well I did back then it may be slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication of spells that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :) Please feel free to comment on them but try not to be too hard on me. If anyone wishes to use these in anything they print please let me know in advance and all I ask is proper credit. 

PS...Great news here

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Fungi from Yuggoth, Acquire Greater Familiar

The Fungi from Yuggoth is a Call of Cthulhu campaign published by Chaosium in 1984. This is for the classical era setting of Call of Cthulhu in the 1920's. The working title for the product was Voices Out of Time and it was later reissued in 1998 as Day of the Beast.

Fungi is one of those world spanning epics that make Call of Cthulhu so much fun. This one takes it a step further than some but I will mention that later. The module comes in at seventy-six pages so it will be one that will take a good period of time to work through. There are eight Chapters and each builds of the others but could be considered an individual adventure in its own right.

The adventure deals with a group called the Brotherhood of the Beast and their insane desire to bring about they call the Day of the Beast. The history of  adventure begins in 1733 BC and goes forward to 1136 AD when the Brotherhood is formed. The real action in the adventure takes place in the 1920's though a more modern setting could be used just as easily as the adventure centers around a worldwide corporation as the front for the Brotherhood.

The adventure spans the globe which is why a worldwide corporation is needed as the cover. The adventure starts in New York and then takes the stalwart investigators to Boston, Transylvania, Egypt, Peru, San Francisco, Oakland and finally ending up in Giza. There are two optional portions though one should not be so optional. One of these takes the characters on a twelve trillion mile round trip.

As with other Chaosium products the product makes a point of making things easy for the GM. This starts with a plot synopsis for each of the chapters/adventures. It then has seven different appendices that deal with a number of the important players as well as adding a time-line of events for the GM. Finally as usual there are a number of player handouts that add color to the game.

I won't give away any more than I already have, which is too much. This is an early Cthulhu campaign setting so it has much of the early flavor that was present in the early Cthulhu products. It can be used as written or the different chapters of the campaign cold each be used as a stand alone adventure in the GM's own campaign. It is not as essential as some of the earlier products but still deserves a place in the Cthulhu section of any gamer's shelves.

Spell:

Acquire Greater Familiar


Level: Sixth
Range: Special
Duration: Special
Ares Effect: Special
Components: V,S,M
Casting Time: 24 Hours
Saving Throw: None

With the casting of this spell the magic user begins a special process which will allow them to either obtain a greater familiar or replace the one that they currently have with one. Unlike the first level Find Familiar spell this one will guarantee the caster that the familiar they can acquire is a special one.

The spell will require that the caster perform a special ritual for a period of no less than 24 hours. The ritual requires the unbroken concentration of the caster. If anything should break the concentration or disrupt the ritual then the caster will fall into a coma like state for one day per hour left in the ritual.

Once the ritual is complete the caster will be granted a vision of the familiar and intimate knowledge on where their new familiar is. They will also know if the familiar is moved or something were to happen to them. The exact location of the familiar is up to the DM. The location will be on the plane the caster is currently on and no more than seven days travel. The quest to get them should be memorable but not life threatening.

Once the caster locates the familiar the process of binding the two together will be the same as the first level spell. If the caster already has a familiar at the time the binding occurs the current familiar is released from servitude. As a result of the bond breaking though the magic user will permanently lose hit points equal to the old familiars hit points. It should also be noted that if anything were to happen to the new familiar they can not be ever be replaced short of use of a Wish or similar such magics.

The materials in the ritual will be rare and exotic herbs, gems and animal parts. If the caster does not procure them directly the cost of the ritual will be between 2000 and 5000 gp.

Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the write ups last, were all written up or conceived of back in the 80's so the terminology may not appropriate for anything other than 1e and depending on how well I did back then it may be slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication of spells that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :) Please feel free to comment on them but try not to be too hard on me. If anyone wishes to use these in anything they print please let me know in advance and all I ask is proper credit.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Star Wars - West End Games, Spell Summary & Black Death

There are probably a few contenders for product licenses based on movies or TV shows that could be bigger than Star Wares. The only one that might give it a run is Star Trek. West End Games had the rights to publish Star Wars gaming material back in the 1980's. This had to be a huge score in the history of the company. They went on to release maybe 200+ products in the Star Wars line. They released the first edition shown here in 1987.

The book starts with a simply amazing cover based off the movie poster used for "A New Hope". The game was published four years after Return of the Jedi was released and it does not feature Ewoks so that is a good sign. Inside the book are numerous pages of full color art from the movies. The whole book is filled with B&W stills from all three movies. For this factor alone it would be appreciated by most any gamer that is a Star Wars fan.

The game itself is based on the D6 system which first designed for Ghostbusters but was used later by WEG in other game systems. To create a character the player chooses from one of twenty-four Character Templates. These range the gambit from Alien Student of the Force to Young Senatorial. It includes all the templates you would also expect such as Smuggler, Arrogant Noble, Bounty Hunter to Minor Jedi. Character Templates determine the Dice assigned to each ability. Each player had 7D that can be added as desired with no more than 2D added to any skill. Players with Force ability get 7D that can be added to that as well.

The book has an Introduction at the very beginning. This is very short consisting of only one page which is nice. The bulk of the book consists of three major sections. These are the Player Section, the Gamemaster Section and the Adventure Section. Finally there are the Character Templates and a Charts and Tables area at the end of the book.

The Player Section features three chapters. The first chapter is Creating a Character. The second is The Bare Bones which goes over the basic of the game rules which are described in more detail in the Gamemaster section. The final chapter is An Introduction to Roleplaying.

The Gamemaster Section has seven chapters. The first is an Introduction to Gamemastering. The next chapter is Attributes and Skills. The third chapter is Combat. The fourth chapter is Wounds and Healing and then next is Starships. The sixth chapter is Force that deals with amazingly enough the Force. The final chapter in this section is Other Characters which deals with creating your own Character Templates. It also features the stats for R2-D2 and C3PO.

The Adventure Section has four chapters in it. The first is Running Adventures and the second is Designing Adventures. The third chapter is a premade adventure the GM can used called "Rebel Breakout". The fourth and final chapter is Adventure Ideas which has more than enough plot hooks to get the GM started.

Star Wars fans should have a copy of this though there were later editions which added to the game and clarified the rules. Still there is something to be said for the first edition of the game. If you are not a Star Wars fan I would still say find a copy and see if you can incorporate ideas from it into whatever Sci-Fi game you are playing. Who knows how a Vulcan Jedi in the Spinward Marches aboard a Minbari Sharlin War Cruiser searching for the Battlestar Galactica which is carrying Fifth Element would play out.


Spell Summary - To Date

Below is a list of the spells that have been posted so far. These complete the ones that were fully written before I started the posting. I will now begin posting those that were given a name and an idea but not a full treatment. I am going to keep them in the same format for consistency. If anyone has any ideas, suggestions or requests please let me know.


Cassandra's Acid Cloud
Armor of Oxidation
Cassandra's Beads of Irresistible Force
Cassandra's Birthday Present
Conjure Undead
Control Weapon
Dispel Invisibility
Elemental Immunity (R)
Ghoul Touch
Cassandra's Globe of Intoxication
Cassandra's Growing Snowball
Cassandra's Mark of Friendship (R)
Mass Polymorph
Mass Suggestion
Mass Teleport
Maximization (R)
Minor Petrification
Cassandra's Minor Replicas
Mystical Healing (R)
Cassandra's Mystical Mirror
Cassandra's Mystical Porters
Protection from Normal Weapons
Pyrokenetic Force
Replication
Resiliency
Cassandra's Ring of Teleportation
Shadow Assassin
Cassandra's Shadowy Hound
Solidification
Cassandra's Sonic Shock Wave
Cassandra's Spell Amplification
Cassandra's Spell Recollection
Cassandra's Spell Reflection
Spell Resistance (R)
Summon Lesser Elemental
Cassandra's Veil of Friendship
Cassandra's Vortex of Doom
Cassandra's Wave of Exhaustion
Weight Amplification (R)
Cassandra's Wild Goose Chase
Cassandra's Carpet Trap I
Cassandra's Carpet Trap II
Cassandra's Carpet Trap III
Cassandra's Carpet Trap IV
Cassandra's Carpet Trap V
Cassandra's Carpet Trap VI
Cassandra's Carpet Trap VII

Black Death - Movie Suggestion

If you have not seen the movie Black Death pass on going to the movie cinema and fire up a Netflix account and watch Black Death. The movie stars Sean Bean of Boromir  fame and Ned Stark from Game of Thrones. This is a great period piece. There are good reviews at Aldeboran and Warlocks Home Brew so I won't try to recreate their work. There was another blog that had a great review that I actually commented on but I for the life of me can't find it. regardless of my failure see this movie!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fantastic Treasures - Role Aids, Cassandra's Carpet Trap VII

Fantastic Treasure is the first of two books released by Role Aids describing magical items from myths, legends and religions around the world. The books covers items with names that begin with A to L. It was released in 1984 and says it is suitable with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. I am not sure of the relationship at that time and if this approved. It also features a striking piece of cover art by Boris.

The book as stated earlier includes magic items from all over the world. It has items from North America to Australia to Africa to Europe and Russia. All of these items are items that have been mentioned in myths, legends or literature. There are no new items but the items are varied enough to allow introduction into almost any campaign though many are deity specific.

There are over 375 items described in the book. I counted them all and came up with 383 but I was not going to recount and feel safe saying the first number. They range in power from fairly simple items such as herbs and scrolls to powerful magic items that might unbalance a campaign. There are also some items that are too steeped in history to be used in all but the most specific instances such as the Ark of the Covenant, Excalibur and Gabriel's Trumpet. The art in the books is not up to the cover in most most cases passable and in some cases charming.

As with many of the early Role Aids items Fantastic Treasures at the time of release was a product that was worth a spot in many DM's collections as a play aid. Today the level of quality and content is not what most would come to expect. Still it can still be found cheap enough that most any DM should pick it up and mine it for ideas.

Spell:

Cassandra's Carpet Trap VII


Level: Ninth
Range: 6"
Duration: Special
Ares Effect: Special
Components: V,S,M
Casting Time: Two Turns
Saving Throw: Special

When this spell is cast the magic user brings into being a carpet that is  magical in nature. The nature of the carpet can very based on the caster's  desire and the level of the spell.

By default the carpet will be of ornate and of exceptional quality. The  caster can specify a different appearance if desired though it will always  appear to have been a carpet of some quality at one time.

The carpet created will have a maximum size equal to ten square feet per  level of the caster. It will by default fill the space it is cast in though  the caster can specify any shape and size.

The carpet will remain until such time as the effect it is intended to have  is triggered. The triggering effect can be anything that the caster desires.  It can be a timed effect such as one day from now or a specialized event such  as the first thief to walk on it or if a spell is cast by someone while  standing on it. Until such time as the trigger effect occurs the carpet is  nothing more than a carpet. The carpet can be moved with no impact to the  trigger effect unless moving was part of it.

With this level of the spell there is only one type of carpet that can be  created. It is important to note that higher level of the spell can also  create all versions of carpets that previous version could create.

Carpet of the Planes

All who are caught on this carpet when the trigger event occurs will need to  make a saving throw versus Spells. Those who save will be affected as if they  had been standing on a Carpet of Teleportation.

Those who are on the carpet and fail their saving throw will be sent to a  randomly determined plane other than the Prime Material. They will not be  sent to a plane that they could not survive on normally. It is possible that  the character may be sent to an alternate Prime Material Plane that mirrors  our very closely.

The material component of this spell is a small woven rug of exceptional  quality. This carpet will cost no less than 100 gp per level of the Carpet  Trap. The rug transforms into the carpet with the casting and is used up. The  appearance of the actual carpet will be whatever the caster desires though it  will always appear to have been so high quality at some point.

Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the write ups  last, were all written up back in the 80's so the terminology may not  appropriate for anything other than 1e and depending on how well I did back  then it may be slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication of  spells that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :) Please feel  free to comment on them but try not to be too hard on me. If anyone wishes to  use these in anything they print please let me know in advance and all I ask  is proper credit.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Plunder - RuneQuest, Cassandra's Carpet Trap VI

Plunder for those not familiar with it is best compared to the treasure portion of the TSR's Monster & Treasure Assortment. The product was intended to provide random treasure tables for the RuneQuest game. This is a nice product even for those not using it with RuneQuest and the breakdown of the coinage is easy enough to adapt to any gaming system.

Plunder was released in 1980 by Chaosium. The book was written by Rudy Kraft and is forty-eight pages long. The book consists of two sections. The first is the actual charts for the determination of treasure. The second is a list of forty-three magical items.

The first occupies the bulk of the book. It is a set of random treasure tables. These are called Treasure Factors in the book. The Treasure Factors will have numbers of coins and then if there are any gems or jewelry and then if there are any special items. The table break down is a little different through. It consists of ten eight by eights sets of tables. The GM will rolls percentile dice (or a D10) and then two eight sided dice. The first set determines the table and then the others specify which cell on the grid is used. The cell will consist of any or all of the list below this. There will then be lists to randomly determine the gems/jewelry and then for the special items. 

Clacks (Copper)
Lunars (Silver)
Wheels (Gold)
Gems/Jewelry
Special Items

The second section is for the description of of exotic magic items from the world of Glorantha. There are a total of forty-three items described. Each item description will contain some or all of the following areas:

Description - An actual description of the item
Cults - Factions in RuneQuest the item is associated with
Knowledge - How well known the item is - chance a character would know about it
History - History of the item. Mostly origin though more in some cases.
Process - If the item can be recreated how to do so.
Powers - The special abilities or effects the item imparts.
Value - Estimated value on the open market if item were to be sold

For a RuneQuest GM or fan this is a nice book to have. There are probably random generators out on the Internet that will do the treasure portion. The section on the exotic magical items was nice and could be adapted to other games. Plunder is again more than just the book it was originally made to be. It is a look back at the early days of the role playing industry and a reminder that back in the day GMs really did have to walk ten miles to school uphill both ways (create everything by hand) so things like this were huge time savers.

Spell:

Cassandra's Carpet Trap VI


Level: Eighth
Range: 6"
Duration: Special
Ares Effect: Special
Components: V,S,M
Casting Time: One Turn
Saving Throw: Special

When this spell is cast the magic user brings into being a carpet that is  magical in nature. The nature of the carpet can very based on the caster's  desire and the level of the spell.

By default the carpet will be of ornate and of exceptional quality. The  caster can specify a different appearance if desired though it will always  appear to have been a carpet of some quality at one time.

The carpet created will have a maximum size equal to ten square feet per  level of the caster. It will by default fill the space it is cast in though  the caster can specify any shape and size.

The carpet will remain until such time as the effect it is intended to have  is triggered. The triggering effect can be anything that the caster desires.  It can be a timed effect such as one day from now or a specialized event such  as the first thief to walk on it or if a spell is cast by someone while  standing on it. Until such time as the trigger effect occurs the carpet is  nothing more than a carpet. The carpet can be moved with no impact to the  trigger effect unless moving was part of it.

With this level of the spell there are two types of carpets that can be  created. It is important to note that higher level of the spell can also  create all versions of carpets that previous version could create.

Carpet of Death

When the trigger event for this carpet occurs all on it at that time must  make a saving throw versus Death Magic. When the trigger occurs a double  Death Spell effect will occur within the space of the carpet. This can affect  a maximum of sixty-four experience levels.

Those on the carpet who make their save will be unaffected. Those who fail  will be affected on an ascending level until the sixty-four levels are reach.  If there are not enough levels to affect the next character then there is no  effect. This spell will only affect beings that would normally be affected by  a Death spell.

Carpet of Disintegration

When the trigger event for this carpet occurs all on it must make a saving  throw versus Spells. Those who fail will be affected as if they were the  victim of a Disintegration spell.

This will also affected non-living matter as well. Every non-living item on  the area of the carpet will need to make a saving throw or be affected. This  includes items in the possession of characters who made their save.

The material component of this spell is a small woven rug of exceptional  quality. This carpet will cost no less than 100 gp per level of the Carpet  Trap. The rug transforms into the carpet with the casting and is used up. The  appearance of the actual carpet will be whatever the caster desires though it  will always appear to have been so high quality at some point.

Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the write ups  last, were all written up back in the 80's so the terminology may not  appropriate for anything other than 1e and depending on how well I did back  then it may be slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication of  spells that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :) Please feel  free to comment on them but try not to be too hard on me. If anyone wishes to  use these in anything they print please let me know in advance and all I ask  is proper credit.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dragon Magazine #140, Cassandra's Carpet Trap V

Some time ago I wrote about Dragons #50 and #54. The post on #50 was my first and not very long. The one on #54 I described why it was one of if not my favorite issues. I also spoke about #158 I think it was though that was only in passing as I was really talking about the Deck of Many Things.

Issue #140 is only of note for the cover art. This is my favorite piece of art from Larry Elmore. It may very well be my favorite piece of fantasy art though there are strong contenders for that. There is just something about this that brings to life the story behind what happened. I even have the miniature that was done for this but it does not do it justice.

I will now talk a little about the issue itself. The topic on this issues is Clerics. I can't recall when but they went to theme issues at some point. Not sure the idea is all that great because if I don't care about the theme then I don't care about the issue. At some point between issue #54 and this one things went bad in my mind. I still have almost all of them from till the end of publication but this was in a period where the issues just weren't that strong.

The cleric portions in this issue were not all that good. They offer a new NPC that is at best so-so. They then revisit pantheons (done great in I think #54 as I recall). They then discuss fallacies of clerical healing (huh?) and finally redo the Turning Table which was not really worth the work that was done on it.

In the other portions of the magazine the revamp Weapon Specialization. This was OK but the entire idea of specialization was too munchkin for me and it needed to just be killed. Next of note is the article on expanding the Unearthed Arcana idea of stat rolling. So they take away crap and they expand on crap next? Next is some fiction that was not terrible but no where near other I had read in the pages of earlier issues. Next is a two page write up on Navel Lint...err...I mean knives. Didn't they make fun of  the fixation on Pole-arms somewhere?

Next is the Dragon's Bestiary which finally gives us something that is worthwhile but not all that great. The last area of note is the Reviews area. The Looking Glass (Miniatures) and Role Of Computers (Computer Games) both drag on for way too long but then again maybe I just didn't care and got bored....no it was boring. Then they review some role playing games. I recall the old reviews that had Traveller, DragonQuest, Call of Cthulhu, Paranoia, and all other types of games....this was basically five pages of Forgotten realms ads. They did spend a column and half called "Short and Sweet" where they talked about items for GURPS, Twilight 2000 and DragonQuest but none of them were the academic dissertations on the TSR products.

In the end I guess I just wanted to say that at some point in time between October of 1981 and December of 1988 the magazine switched over from being a classic gaming magazine to whatever it was by #140. Except for the cover and me being a the guy who wants the complete run I should not ever have bothered with this.

Spell:

Cassandra's Carpet Trap V


Level: Seventh
Range: 6"
Duration: Special
Ares Effect: Special
Components: V,S,M
Casting Time: Nine Rounds
Saving Throw: Special

When this spell is cast the magic user brings into being a carpet that is  magical in nature. The nature of the carpet can very based on the caster's  desire and the level of the spell.

By default the carpet will be of ornate and of exceptional quality. The  caster can specify a different appearance if desired though it will always  appear to have been a carpet of some quality at one time.

The carpet created will have a maximum size equal to ten square feet per  level of the caster. It will by default fill the space it is cast in though  the caster can specify any shape and size.

The carpet will remain until such time as the effect it is intended to have  is triggered. The triggering effect can be anything that the caster desires.  It can be a timed effect such as one day from now or a specialized event such  as the first thief to walk on it or if a spell is cast by someone while  standing on it. Until such time as the trigger effect occurs the carpet is  nothing more than a carpet. The carpet can be moved with no impact to the  trigger effect unless moving was part of it.

With this level of the spell there are two types of carpets that can be  created. It is important to note that higher level of the spell can also  create all versions of carpets that previous version could create.

Carpet of Petrification

Any individuals on this carpet when the trigger effect occurs will need to  make a saving throw versus Petrification. Those who make their save will not  be affected in any way. Those who fail their save will be turned to stone  just as if they had met the gaze of a Medusa. The effect is not permanent  though. Those affected will remain in the statue like state for seven to  sixteen days. Those affected are completely aware of what happened around  them during their entrapment.

Carpet of Horrors


When this carpet is triggered all on it must make a saving throw versus spell.  Those who fail are immobilized but will not perceive themselves in this  state. They instead see themselves as being attacked by what would be the  most logical creature the DM feels would fit from the Random Monster  Encounter tables level VII or up in Appendix C of the DMG.

The players affected will each be attacked by one of these though this is  merely an illusion. Players will see all the other players as being attacked  as well even if a save their save was made. The fight will play out as normal  but if the players lose they fall unconscious with one hit point and can only  be healed by means of magical healing. Disbelieving the attacks entitles them  to another save at +4 but if this save fails the fight becomes one they can  not win.

The material component of this spell is a small woven rug of exceptional  quality. This carpet will cost no less than 100 gp per level of the Carpet  Trap. The rug transforms into the carpet with the casting and is used up. The  appearance of the actual carpet will be whatever the caster desires though it  will always appear to have been so high quality at some point.

Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the write ups  last, were all written up back in the 80's so the terminology may not  appropriate for anything other than 1e and depending on how well I did back  then it may be slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication of  spells that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :) Please feel  free to comment on them but try not to be too hard on me. If anyone wishes to  use these in anything they print please let me know in advance and all I ask  is proper credit.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

D3 Vault of the Drow, Cassandra's Carpet Trap IV

Vault of the Drow is the third and final module in the Drow series. It like  the two previous modules in the series were written by Gary Gygax and  published in 1978. This module is larger than the other two coming in at  thirty-two pages.

This module is again part of what would eventually be combined into the GDQ  series and rated the best module of all time. By itself though the judges  said it would have made the top five on its own. It was rated in White Dwarf  #11 and given a rating of 10/10 in the review. In doing some research for this  I cam across two blurbs that I found pretty amazing. The second listed below  may not have been for D3 but it applied so I am including it it is also my  favorite.

"They felt the Drow city detailed in the module offered "more intrigue" than  any module previously. Judge Clark Peterson compared it favorably to City  State of the Invincible Overlord, which also had a complicated city  environment, saying "this was an underground city of evil monsters—the Drow,  who, then, were new and mysterious as opposed to tired and overused as they  are today"

"Drow in this series are not misunderstood, angst-laden Goths They are evil,  callous, treacherous, irredeemably vile creatures who have a conviction that  they are the master race. This is why it is so satisfying to smash them down.  They just cannot understand defeat, much less accept it."

The modules name tells you exactly where the location of the final module is.  There are a few encounters before the players will make their way to the  Vault. The Vault is dominated by the Drow city of Erelhei-Cinlu but consists  of four other areas that are described in some detail but again much is left  to the DM. The city and its environs are not meant to be keyed encounters but  a living breathing city that provides the DM an open ended location for the  players to adventure in.

The description of the city and the vault may be some of the best writing  that Gary Gygax ever did for a module. Below is the description of the vault.

"The true splendor of the Vault can be appreciated only by those with  infravision, or by use of the roseate lenses or a gem of seeing. The Vault is  a strange anomaly, a hemispherical cyst in the crust of the earth, an  incredibly huge domed fault over 6 miles long and nearly as broad. The dome  overhead is a hundred feet high at the walls, arching to several thousand  feet height in the center. When properly viewed, the radiation from certain  unique minerals give the visual effect of a starry heaven, while near the  zenith of this black stone bowl is a huge mass of tumkeoite -- which in its  slow decay and transformation to lacofcite sheds a lurid gleam, a ghostly  plum-colored light to human eyes, but with ultravision a wholly different  sight.

'The small "star" nodes glow in radiant hues of mauve, lake, violet, puce,  lilac, and deep blue. The large "moon" of tumkeoite casts beams of shimmering  amethyst which touch the crystalline formations with colors unknown to any  other visual experience. The lichens seem to glow in rose madder and pale  damson, the fungi growths in golden and red ochres, vermillions, russets,  citron, and aquamarine shades. (Elsewhere the river and other water courses  sheen a deep velvety purple with reflected highlights from the radiant gleams  overhead vying with streaks and whorls of old silver where the liquid laps  the stony banks or surges against the ebon piles of the jetties and bridge of  the elfin city for the viewers' attention.) The rock walls of the Vault  appear hazy and insubstantial in the wine-colored light, more like mist than  solid walls. The place is indeed a dark fairyland.
"

The module gives an overview of the city and what the players can expect to  find within. Besides the Drow, Kuo-Tao and Mind Flayers there will be all  levels of undead and a varied assortment of denizens from the Abyss. This is  a location where stealth and subtlety will win the day more so than brawn. This  is a city of perhaps 30,000 so an all out assault would be a short lived  endeavor. I found this description at Grognardia and think it is verbatim  from the module...

"The tiers and dungeons of Erelhei-Cinlu reek of debauchery and decadence,  and the city‘s inhabitants are degenerate and effete. (Those with any promise  and ability are brought out of the place to serve the fighting societies,  merchant clans or noble houses. The rest are left to wallow in the sinkhole  of absolute depravity which is Erelhei-Cinlu.) The most popular places in the  city are the gambling dens, bordellos, taverns, drug saloons, and even less  savory shops along the two main streets. The back streets and alleyways too  boast of brothels, poison shops, bars, and torture parlors. Unspeakable  things transpire where the evil and jaded creatures seek pleasure, pain,  excitement, or arcane knowledge, and sometimes these seekers find they are  victims. All visitors are warned that they enter the back streets of the city  at their peril"

There are also more detailed descriptions of specific locations and  information on the area where the Drow nobles live. The most detailed  location with that for the Fane of Lolth where  the players will either have  the opportunity to defeat the spider goddess (or die trying) or inadvertently  wander off into the Abyss leading to Q1 - Queen of the Demonweb Pits.

This again is a must own. If you can play it before running it do so. Of all  the modules I might ever have been given a chance to be run thru by Gary  Gygax this would be it....

Spell:

Cassandra's Carpet Trap IV


Level: Sixth
Range: 6"
Duration: Special
Ares Effect: Special
Components: V,S,M
Casting Time: Eight Rounds
Saving Throw: Special

When this spell is cast the magic user brings into being a carpet that is  magical in nature. The nature of the carpet can very based on the caster's  desire and the level of the spell.

By default the carpet will be of ornate and of exceptional quality. The  caster can specify a different appearance if desired though it will always  appear to have been a carpet of some quality at one time.

The carpet created will have a maximum size equal to ten square feet per  level of the caster. It will by default fill the space it is cast in though  the caster can specify any shape and size.

The carpet will remain until such time as the effect it is intended to have  is triggered. The triggering effect can be anything that the caster desires.  It can be a timed effect such as one day from now or a specialized event such  as the first thief to walk on it or if a spell is cast by someone while  standing on it. Until such time as the trigger effect occurs the carpet is  nothing more than a carpet. The carpet can be moved with no impact to the  trigger effect unless moving was part of it.

With this level of the spell there are two types of carpets that can be  created. It is important to note that higher level of the spell can also  create all versions of carpets that previous version could create.

Carpet of Flying

Those on this carpet who fail their save when the trigger event occurs will  be sent flying in a random direction. The flight will be uncontrolled and at  high velocity. The victims will continue until such time that they meet an  intervening obstacle. When they meet something that interrupts their flight  they will suffer 1d6 of damage for every 10' traveled plus one point per  level of the caster though they can save for half damage. Those who make  their initial save are unaffected.

Carpet of Teleportation

This carpet when triggered will require all on it to make two saving throws  versus magic. Those who fail the first save will be teleported in a random  direction two to five miles away. There will no chance of error in the  teleportation and they will arrive safe but perhaps not to safety. Those who  save are not teleported.

The second save is made by any items the victims may have been holding in  their hands. The save is made by the character but the items are affected. If  they save nothing happens. If they fail and the character was teleported they  stay on the carpet. If the character saved and they fail then the items are  teleported as the characters would have been. 

The material component of this spell is a small woven rug of exceptional  quality. This carpet will cost no less than 100 gp per level of the Carpet  Trap. The rug transforms into the carpet with the casting and is used up. The  appearance of the actual carpet will be whatever the caster desires though it  will always appear to have been so high quality at some point.

Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the write ups  last, were all written up back in the 80's so the terminology may not  appropriate for anything other than 1e and depending on how well I did back  then it may be slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication of  spells that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :) Please feel  free to comment on them but try not to be too hard on me. If anyone wishes to  use these in anything they print please let me know in advance and all I ask  is proper credit.

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