"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

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Agone - Multisim, Arcane Syphon

Agone is an RPG published by Multisim. They are a French company that published board and RPG games. Agone was originally released in 1999 as a French game. It was translated into English and released again in 2001. It was supported by a few accessories and one module in translation but has many more products available if you can handle French.

I remembered seeing this book at either Barnes & Nobles or now defunct Borders and liking the look of it though I balked at the price. I was eventually able to find it on eBay at a deep discount. The game can still be found online and dirt cheap I might add.

The price that the game goes for is not indicative in any way of the quality of the product. Let me start by saying that this is one of the most eye appealing games I have ever seen. This starts with the cover which for some reason just draws me in. In the interior it is not done with full color glossy pages. There are some pages in color but overall it is done with b&w art that is amazing.

The game itself is a variation on the Unisystem with parts added from others. The GM sets difficulty levels and then the players roll against these. The are open and closed rolls which makes things more complicated at time. The mechanics themselves are secondary to the setting and the storyline here.

The setting is epic level high fantasy. The players are assumed to be established in their lives and have been called upon to fight the evil that threatens the world. They are called the Inspired and the GM is actually a character in the game who leads them.

I think one of the reasons most people will never have heard of this and fewer will ever own or play it is the fact that it is so different from your standard RPG fare. I think it is closer to Nobilis in nature than D&D. There is much that open to the creativity of the player which them must be handled and adapted to by the GM. The game is not one I would use to introduce someone into gaming.

The game world is Harmundia and there is a run down of all the countries that exist in the provided play world. Since this is one continent in size I wonder of some of the non English material explains on this. The nations described are varies in nature which will allow the GM to use a setting they are more familiar and their players might be comfortable in as a starting place.

Since the game can be had for a song as can the published supplemental material I would say pick it up just to see if I know what I am talking about. I think if noting else there is always something that can be "borrowed" for incorporation into existing games as house rules.



Spell:

Arcane Syphon (R)


Level: Fifth
Range: 9"
Duration: None
Ares Effect: One Creature
Components: V,S,M
Casting Time: 5 Segments
Saving Throw: Special

Through use of this spell the magic user is able to syphon away spells from another individual or creature that is able to cast spells or has spell like abilities. The intended victim must have spells that they can cast or abilities that would be in the repertoire of a magic user.

The spells syphoned away are converted to levels. The spells lost will start with the highest level and work down converting as needed so no levels of syphon are lost. If the victim does not have enough spells to complete the syphon then those levels are lost. The caster can then add spells as desired even exceeding the number they could normally cast in a day.

The number of spells that can be syphoned away is a function of the spells level and a combination of level and intelligence difference between the caster and the victim. The caster will be able to syphon five spell levels plus another (2-5 levels). They will also syphon away one additional level for every two experience levels they are higher than the victim. They will also take an additional level for every point of intelligence they have greater than the victim. If the victim is of higher level than the caster then they are entitled to a saving throw. The same will be true if the intelligence of the victim is more than three points higher than the caster.

The reverse of this spell will allow the caster to send spell levels to another caster. In the case of the reverse the recipient must be an actual magic user and not someone or something will spell like abilities. The caster will also be able to specify the number of levels they syphon away.

The material component of this spell is a lodestone that has been prepared for this purpose specifically. The cost of preparation will be no less than 100gp. Each lodestone will be able to serve as the syphon for 201 to 600 spell levels (100 plus 1d4x100 plus 1-100) before it crumbles away.

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, July 30, 2011

Pages from the Mages, Cassandra's Mystical Bonds

Pages from the Mages is an accessory based in the Forgotten Realms. It was written for the second edition so it is easy enough to convert back to first edition if desired. This product and the previously posted about Prayers of the Faithful are both products I like and would seek them out if they were not already in my collection.

The new spells in Pages are not new anymore and even that title was short lived. The Wizard's Spell Compendium books were released very shortly after this and contained most if not all the spells. This was a complaint I heard about this product from others and one of the reasons they did not see the use in it.

Pages in addition to containing new spells contains new monsters that the DM can use as adversaries for their players. The bulk of the book consists of write ups on over forty spells books from across the Realms. As what the books describes as an added bonus it includes Elminster's traveling spell book. I for one was never enamored with the Forgotten realms as a setting and even less so with Elminster and less yet with Drizzt.

The main benefit of this book for me is the write ups on the spell books. The search for magical tomes is such a part of fantasy literature and movies and yest is so lacking in most campaigns I hear about. When a spell book is found it is pillaged for new spells unceremoniously or sold to the same person who buys used arrows and sells you an ox.

I wish I could remember who it was that periodically writes up the magical tomes or books of interest in their campaign. I eat these posts up and have made a note to use even more mundane books as treasure if I were to ever start running a game or writing up dungeons again. This book again can be mined for material but in this case I think the broader strokes it offers as ideas for spell books and how to use them makes it useful in its own right.


Spell:

Cassandra's Mystical Bonds


Level: Second
Range: 6"
Duration: 3 Rounds/Level
Ares Effect: 6" Radius
Components: V,S
Casting Time: 2 Segments
Saving Throw: None

When this spell is cast the magic user will cause all creatures hostile to the magic user to become bound with bonds of mystical energy. These will appear on the victims as glowing shackles. They have no physical form though and can not be affected by anyone save the caster or the victim.

These bond will not be as powerful as a Hold Person but they will affect the victims in one of two ways based on the caster's choice. Each different effect will determine how the victim is affected.

The first possible appearance will bind the victims hands together in magical cuffs. This will make the use of a shield or casting spells impossible. The victim can still fight using a one or two handled weapon but not a bow. Any combat will be done at a -2 though due to the restrictive nature of the bonds.

The second appearance will appear as leg shackles. These will have the effect of reducing the movement rate of the creature to half their normal walking speed. They will also bind the victim to the ground and prevent any sort of aerial movement. For each round of movement the victim tries to move they will need to make a save against their dexterity at +4 or stumble and lose that round of movement getting up.

The caster can at will free any or all victims of their bonds before the spell expires due to duration. The victims can also for each round affected spend the round trying to free themselves. They will do this by rolling against their bend bars percentage. A thief that is affected can use their lock picking ability though the percentage is halved due to the nature of the shackles.

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, July 29, 2011

Lord of the Rings - Decipher, Juxtaposition

I have mentioned before that right after my introduction to D&D I was told I had to read a book called The Fellowship of the Ring. I had been a hard sci-fi person before getting introduced to the D&D so I was skeptical. To reiterate what has been said before...I never really looked back.

I have collected most of the MERP stuff and sold it and have since recollected most of it. I own a few of items for the second version of game from ICE as well. After seeing the movies I had to own the Decipher version of the game as well. I know the movies are not loved by all and there were some liberties taken but over all I still rank all three in my top ten movies of all time.

Having said I had to have them I need to add that having a game in my world and having played it do not always mean the same thing. I buy many games with the intent to play them and it just does not happen. Sadly this is the case with The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game. The book is impressive to look at and someday I hope to play it.

In doing some research I find that the game won the 2003 Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Game 2002. It uses the CODA system which Decipher uses in its Star Trek games so if you have played those this system will be old hat. I have never played the Star Trek games either though (but again do own a number of them).

Most people seem to like the book itself but there are issues apparently with the way the content is laid out and proofreading. Having occasionally caught what I type online I am a little forgiving of errors like that but then again I am not selling the stuff I post. The book is also limited by the license that Decipher was granted. It appears that they could only use whatever was in the movies, the book trilogy and the Hobbit. This would seem to make explaining somethings hard but most things can be addressed.

There has not been anything new from Decipher in this line for some time. I do not think they still hold the license and with the Cubicle 7 release of The One Ring pending this seems like it may be the case. I will of course be spending a lot of money buying a new game system based on something that is so tied to my introduction to D&D, and roleplaying, it would be impossible to separate the two.

The books and other material for the game can be picked up fairly cheap on eBay and through Amazon even. I would say pick it up if you like the books and movies just so you can have it. I can't advise picking it up to play since I have not even done that myself.


Spell:

Juxtaposition


Level: Seventh
Range: 3"
Duration: 5 Rounds + 2 Rounds/Level
Ares Effect: Two Individuals/Creatures
Components: V,S,M
Casting Time: One Round
Saving Throw: Special

Through use of this spell the magic user si able to cause two individuals/creatures to be summoned to a single spot for the duration of the spell. There are three options on how the spell will work and the caster specifies how things will transpire at the start of the spells casting.

The first possible option is that the caster will be pulled to the location of a second individual. The second option is that the specified individual will be pulled to the location of the caster. The last option will be that two individuals will be pulled to the current location of the caster.

For this spell to work the caster must have at least seen the individual entities that will be affected and have been in direct physical contact with them. One other option is that the caster posses a personal item that belonged to the individual. An actual portion of the individual such as lock of hair can also be used.

If the caster has either a part of the individual ora personal item then the intended participant in the spell is not entitled to a save. If the caster has only been in physical contact them the participant will be entitled to a save if desired. If they are willing no save is required but if they are unwilling then they are entitled to a save versus Spells with a -2 modifier.

The material component of this spell will be the a fore mentioned personal items. If these are not available then there is no material component required for 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.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Art of the DragonLance Saga, Cassandra's Temporal Storm

The Art of the DragonLance Saga is another of the art compilation put out based on the art connected with Dungeons & Dragons. This one specializes in the art specific to the DragonLance modules, books and other related material.

To the best of my knowledge this is the only one that deals with a specific setting. There is the AD&D version that I talked about earlier and a version dealing with "Basic" D&D. There is then one that deals with all the Worlds of TSR. There are then two version dedicated to Dragon Magazine with the older one being the better. The is then finally the one dealing with the comic covers from the comic books.

The fact that one could be dedicated to DragonLance makes some sense. DragonLance may be the most marketed product line that TSR/WotC has ever had as far as role playing. The Forgotten Realms could make an argument but I am not sure it beats DragonLance and it was the default setting for almost a whole edition.

The art from DragonLance features some of the greats in the gaming industry. The defining art for me though will always be the covers from the first three books. I know I am biased though having been an Elmore fan for too many years to count. The other art in the book is great but it will be the three covers I remember most followed by Caldwell's cover for Dragons of Dreams.

Anyone else care to share their favorite piece of DargonLance art?


Spell:

Cassandra's Temporal Storm


Level: Seventh
Range: None
Duration: Eight Rounds/Special
Ares Effect: 9 " Radius Sphere
Components: V,M
Casting Time: 3 Segments
Saving Throw: None

With this spell the magic user causes the time of flow to behave in a random manner for all in the area of effect except for the caster. The effect is centered on the caster only for the determination of the area of effect. Once it is created the caster may move but the sphere is stationary. Those leaving the area are still affected and those that might enter it are affected as well.

When the spell is cast all in the area of effect, except for the caster, will need to roll a D10. The roll will determine how they are affected by the storm.

1-2 Frozen Affected as Time Stop for duration
3-4 Slowed Affected as per Slow Spell for duration
5-6 No effect time flows normally
7-8 Accelerated Affected as per Haste Spell for duration
9-0 Removed removed from the timeline for duration

The caster themselves exist in a space between time. They have the ability to see what is going on and can even spend the time to flee to safety though they can not cast any spells while in the between space. They can at anytime enter back into the flow of time. When this occurs the spell is negated and all are returned to the normal flow of time.

The material component for this spell is a large piece of quartz which will cost no less than 100 gp. The quartz is thrown into the air during the casting and will shatter.

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, July 27, 2011

Counter Collection I, Sense Magic

Sometimes I fear that what I write comes across as grandpa telling the grand kids how bad he had it back in his day. You all know the story, how he had to walk five miles both ways uphill in the snow for school. But in some cases the old school was the school of hard knocks.

Most of the early role playing we did was done with just graph paper and the players pointing out where they were when something started. Then miniatures became popular enough that we could find them but that involved lugging around boxes of heavy lead and if they were painted having to treat them with kid gloves.

I mentioned previously how V&V modules mentioned having cardboard characters that could be used and this was a selling point. Back then it was as there were no tokens or paper characters. We ended up using coins and poker chips a lot of the time.

Today not only are there retail packages available like the one above from Swords & Sorcery but there are ones that can be downloaded sometimes for free. The counter collection here provides a fair cross section of counters. It states that there are over 55 distinct counter images. These are spread across 450 counters. These offering also include sample adventures and other have additional material included.

These collections are nice if you do not want to use the prepainted plastic miniatures which to me weer a godsend. The other options are the monster tokens that started as freebies in Dungeon and Dragon magazines and are now retail products. I still like these as they are inexpensive and as I said can be found for free or real cheap online.

I have one other collection from Sword & Sorcery. I will post about it sometime and if I have a chance to pick up any more I will. If anyone has any suggestions on what ones are worth buying please let me know.



Spell:

Sense Magic


Level: Fourth
Range: None
Duration: 1 Turn + 3 Rounds/Level
Ares Effect: 9" Radius
Components: V,S,M
Casting Time: 4 Segments
Saving Throw: None

This spell is an upgrade to the first level Detect Magic spell. This spell allows the caster to sense magic in a larger radius. The also do not need to be facing the direction of the item.

The spell allows them to detect magic in a 360 degree area. In addition they will be able to tell in which direction the strongest emanation is coming from. This will allow them to use the spell similar to how a Locate Object spell would work.

This spell is not blocked by stone walls as Detect Magic is. Items that are in metal containers that are more than two inches thick will be shielded though. Magic items in magical containers will also be shielded but the containers themselves may be detectable.

The material component of this spell is any other magical item. The magic in the item is drained with the caster of the spell. The item used may not be a cursed item though. If such an item is used then the curse becomes part of the caster very nature and only a Wish spell can remove the effect.

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. 


PS ....and Happy Birthday Gary. Hope you know how much you are missed!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wargamer's Digest V2#8, Alignment Flames

I am posting about another magazine but the post will be short. I have never been into wargaming. The extent of my wargaming is with what would be considered public wargames such as Risk, Axis & Allies and so on. I tried Panzer Leader once and didn't get past the setup. So why am I talking about this. well it is because of Wargamer's Digest.

There are two issues of Wargamer's Digest that would strike the fancy of a role player. These are issues V1 #7 and the one above V2 #8. Both of these issues have articles in them written by Gary Gygax. I have both of these issues and am not sure why I picked this one first but I will post the other at some point in the future.

This issue has the story "The Magician's Ring" in it. This article tells the story of another adventure in the dungeons of Greyhawk. There have been other blog posts about this so I won't go into the story or copy it. You can find it transcribed here.

These early accounts of the game in a magazine as Wargamer's Digest had to catch some of the readers by surprise. I can only imagine they felt like I do about the April Fools issues that Dragon magazine used to run. Little did they know that they were reading about the start of a whole new genre of gaming. I wonder if the same will happen too us some day or has it already. How many of use might have scoffed at Ultima Online and then perhaps EverQuest?


Spell:

Alignment Flames


Level: Fifth
Range: 6"
Duration: 1 Round/Level
Ares Effect: 6" Radius
Components: V,S
Casting Time: 5 Segments
Saving Throw: Special

When this spell is cast all creatures in the area of effect are outlined in glowing flames. The appearance of these flames will be similar in appearance to that generated by the Faerie Fire spell. Those in the caster's party will not be affected unless so desired by the caster.

The flames will have the same effect as that of Faerie Fire in regards to making the victims easier to hit. Those attacking the creatures outlined will have a +2 added to their To Hit rolls. The spell will have other effects as well though.

The flames outlining the the creatures will vary based on the alignment of the victim in relationship to the caster. The actual colors will be left up to the DM and it can change from caster to caster if desired. The colors will change based on deviation from the caster alignment on both the law/chaos and good/evil access though.

The effect of the fire will increase the further the victim is from the alignment of the caster. The victim will suffer a -1 to all combat and saving throws they are required to make for each step removed. This results in a maximum penalty of -4. For those suffering a -3 or -4 they will also suffer 1 or 2 points of damage per round respectively. This will also have the effect of requiring a save for caster to perform any spell casting due to the disruption in concentration. Those who save are still outlines in flame and have the effect from that. They will though have the other penalties effect halved.

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, July 25, 2011

Non-Player Character Records, Universal Tongue

Character Sheets as I think I have said before are a very personal thing. In that I mean that one mans favorite is another mans trash. There are character sheets that I see and here people rave about that when I think about having to use them I think I would rather just not play...that might be a slight exaggeration but you get the idea.

The TSR Non-Player Character records are something that I have never used and really have no use for. If a NPC is important enough for me to write down more than a name and a few notes about possessions it is very rare. Most NPCs can be handled as a stat block.

The sheets in this book are actually half sheets. This allowed double the number to provided using the standard size book. They are also side perforated. This allows both half to be placed inside a three ring binder. This is a good idea but all this means is that they get lost in between two full size sheets of paper as I am flipping through the notebook trying to find them.

The best thing about these sheets is the artwork. Erol Otus actually out did himself on this piece. I am not sure if the images he incorporates were done first or he later used them but there are images in the smoke that I am sure I have seen in other works. Not for me but then again character sheets are a matter of taste be they character or NPC so your mileage may vary!


Spell:

Universal Tongue


Level: Third
Range: None
Duration: 1 Turn + 1 Turn/Level
Ares Effect: Caster
Components: V,S
Casting Time: 1 Round
Saving Throw: None

This spell when cast allows the magic user to speak and the words that are said will be understood by anyone that hears them. There is no limit to the number of different creatures or beings that will understand the words that are spoken. The ability to understand the words does not always translate to understanding the meaning though.

The reverse will also be true. The spell will have an enhanced Comprehend Language effect in that the caster will understand any words being spoken by a living being. The words must be understood by creature speaking them though so someone reading a scroll or tome that can not be deciphered otherwise will not be understood.

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, July 24, 2011

Strategic Review #3, Springing Step

Before there was The Dragon (later Dragon Magazine) there was The Strategic Review. There was actually a zine/magazine called The Strategic Preview that existed between the two but I have never seen any copies of that. The issue shown here is the only issue of The Strategic Review that I have.

This would most likely fall closer to the zine/newsletter realm than a magazine. It is a total of eight pages long and 25% of it consists of news about the company and upcoming products. The list of products at the end reads like a who's who of things I would like to get my hands on today.

There are some interesting articles in it though. The first is a list of new monsters for the Dungeons & Dragons game. Creatures that are staples today were first introduced here. We get stats for Shriekers, Shambling Mounds, Piercers and Lurker Aboves as well as five others.

There is also a section that may have been the first attempt at an April Fools article. As an aside i never much cared for the April Fools issues though the one that gave stats for Bugs Bunny was not terrible for that reason. The article here describes the various types of Weregamers. I won't go into detail.

There is then an article on Napoleonics and this may or may not be serious. Never having been much of a wargamer I am not sure if 5mm Napoleonics is a real size or not. There is also an article called Wargamming World which seems to be an update on whats new in war games.

The final two and a half pages are role playing related in some manner. There is a section Gallery of Gunfighters with an article called The Art of Gunfighting. There is then what you start to think is a filk song called The Unicorn Song. It ends up being what might be another joke or April Fools issue entry. The next item is called Mapping the Dungeon. It is D&D news and amazingly a list of Dungeon Masters (called Gamemasters here). It is hard to imagine a time when something like this was needed. The final article is perhaps the best. It is by Jim Ward and deals with Deserted Cities of Mars.

As I have said before I sometimes think I am the Smaug of old magazines. I really do enjoy looking back at old issues and thinking how exciting those times must have been. How great it must have been to open your mail and find a new creature The Wind Walker to throw at your friends for the first time.

Spell:

Springing Step


Level: Second
Range: 6"
Duration: 6 Rounds + 1 Round/Level
Ares Effect: Caster + 1 Creature/3 Levels
Components: V,S,M
Casting Time: 4 Segments
Saving Throw: None

Through use of this spell the caster grants themselves and a number of other creatures based on their level enhanced movement capabilities. The recipients of this spell will be able to spring great distances in place of walking.

The spell does not increase the movement rate of the individuals. It instead allows them to move their entire normal movement rate in a single step. This movement is similar to what is seen in grasshoppers and similar types of insects.

The recipient is not required to move in this manner and can walk or run as normal. If desired though they can leap a distance equal to their normal movement rate instead of walking/running it. Since there is a springing motion the DM will need to take into account any restraints that might occur due to ceiling heights and such.

The material component of this spell is the leg of a grasshopper. Each recipient of the spell must consume one such leg while the spell is being cast.

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, July 23, 2011

Castle Falkenstein, Wizard Speak

Castle Falkenstein is one of the games I have picked up because I loved the idea, had heard great things about it and planned on playing it eventually. There is a line from the movie "The Way of the Gun" that I quote way to often in real life..."I think a plan is just a list of things that don't happen.". Sadly to say that is true with my want to play Castle Falkenstein.

The game to me seems to be one part Shadowrun and one part Space 1889 which are both games I like the idea of. The layout of the game is done as a diary of a real world game designer drawn into a magical realm. The blog name is Quag Keep right so I think that works for me. I can't imagine why I have not played this game other than I just don't have time to play anymore.

Castle Falkenstein won the 1994 Origins Award for Best Gaming Rules. The idea of switching to cards instead of dice at first seems a little bit like a gimmick but in the end you can see it adds to the flavor of the game from what I have heard. Never having played it I can't speak to that. The use of cards could make it easier to play in non standard locales and you also don't have the sound of dice being rolled all the time.

The one thing that is considered a plus in many peoples eyes is that might be a detractor for me is the fact that it is set in Europe and not in England. I have nothing against Europe I am just an anglophile at heart. It is called the Victorian Age for a reason after all isn't it. This could add a flavor to the game that would help give it that just a little off feel that is sometimes helpful. Still the location would not be enough to make me to not want to play the game.

This is the original R. Talsorian Games version. There was a GURPS version of the game that was released in 2000. I have never had a chance to play that either but GURPS is usually pretty good at adapting systems so I am not sure how it would play.

If anyone has played this game I would love to hear about it and get some feedback. Then again it may just add to my want to play the game and that would lead to making plans to do so and I have told you how that seems to end up for me. Maybe I should make plans to not play the game and not win the lottery!


Spell:

Wizard Speak


Level: Second
Range: 6 " + 1"/Level
Duration: 5 Rounds + 1 Round/Level
Ares Effect: One Creature
Components: S
Casting Time: 2 Segments
Saving Throw: Special

By means of this spell the magic user assumes control over what the victim of  the spell is saying. The voice will be that of the victim and will be in the  language that is native to the victim or the common tongue based on the  casters desire.

The caster will be mouthing the words that are said while the victim is  speaking them. The victim must be within the range of the spell while this is occurring though the caster does not have to remain in visual contact.

For the first  round the victim will not realize that what they are saying is  not what they mean to say. The affected individual will not be able to alter  the words they are saying in any way. They are not under any sort of control  so they can try to communicate in other ways but they will not be able to  alter or stop what is being said.

The victim is entitled to a saving throw. If the save is successful then the  spell still takes effect but the words the caster are saying will be  gibberish. 

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, July 22, 2011

SF AC-1 Star Frontiers Character Record Sheets, Dual Casting III

I tend to prefer fantasy settings over hard science fiction settings. Before I discovered D&D way back when this was not the case. I read exclusively science fiction and avoided fantasy like the plague. Then after being introduced to Quasqueton and Tegel Manor I was told I had to read the Lord of the Rings and I have never returned to my hard science fiction roots as far as literature is concerned. It was bye bye Mr. Asimov hello Mr. Brooks.

In gaming that is not the case. I have dabbled in science fiction games in fair numbers. There have been Traveller, Space Opera, Star Trek, Star Wars, Morrow Project and Gamma World. I won't consider Shadowrun in that mix since it has elves and magic and I am not sure if you would call Cyberpunk science fiction or not. Then there is Star Frontiers. Being a TSR fan-boy for years this was the game of choice if I ran science fiction other than Gamma World.

The picture above is for the Star Frontier character sheets. These were utilitarian in nature. There was nothing here that a plain piece of paper could not have accomplished. Still it is nice to have something more than run of the mill paper to store the gaming biography of your character on.

One of the things that made Star Frontiers so much fun was the art that was used for it. This was perhaps one of the things that made TSR more successful than other companies at the time as there were often better games in all the genres. I think art and marketing were what won the day for TSR while there were king. One might point out the bigger they are phrase at this point .

Spell:

Dual Casting II


Level: Ninth
Range: None
Duration: Instantaneous
Ares Effect: None
Components: V
Casting Time: Special
Saving Throw: Special

Note: That except for the level differences this spell is identical to Dual Casting I. Also note that this spell line can have a cascade effect. This is an situation that the DM will need to address and may consider not allowing to happen. Nothing like the player casting eight first to third level spells all in one round. Nothing like 45 magic missiles, a lightning bolt and a fireball all in one round to disrupt the game.

By means of this spell the caster is able to cast two spells at the same time. This spell requires the utterance of but a single magical word and then tow caster begins the casting of the two spells simultaneously.

The two spells that are being cast will have to be seventh level or lower. They must also be spells that the caster have had previously memorized. The spells may or may not have been cast already. If they are still memorized or have already been cast will determine how the saves connected with this spell occur.

If the spells are still memorized they will go off without a problem and no saves are required to see if they are cast (though any saves connected with the spells would still need to be made). The caster must then make a saving through versus magic and if successful they Dual Casting spell is not lost. This type of save can only happen once per day for each specific Dual Casting spell.

If one or both of the spells have previously been cast then the caster will have to roll a save versus magic for each of the spells. This is required for both even if one of them is still memorized. If the saves are made then the spells are cast. It is possible with this situation that both or none of the spells will cast or fail. With this situation the Dual Casting spell is lost for the day as well.

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, July 21, 2011

Different Worlds #7 - Chaosium, Dual Casting II

Magazines are something I can't seem to get enough of. This is not limited to gaming topics either. To me magazines are very much like little time capsules of the world as they exist at that point in time. What this means for me is that there is value in a magazine many years after it is printed and I have stacks of old magazines making me the Smaug of old magazines I guess.

Gaming magazines are especially good at this though. When you open an old gaming magazine in addition to the information still being relevant for at least the version of the game it was published for you get all the other information there as well. There is the fiction which is often hit or miss but some of these stories have stuck with me for years. The other thing that I love are the ads. Here I get to see reminders of items I had, missed buying cheap or reminders of money wasted on things I should have avoided.

The magazine above is the seventh issue of Different Worlds. Different Worlds is a magazine most everyone will be familiar with. It was the house magazine put out by Chaosium. In today's world that would mean it would most likely only feature Chaosium games and articles geared towards that. Back in 1979 when Different Worlds began this was no the case and there was a mix of articles in many cases though the focus was geared towards Chasoium games much of the time.

I have always had a soft spot for Different Worlds. I think it was because my first encounter with the magazine was in 1982 and issue #23. This occurred at the height of my Champions and X-men craze. Different Worlds issues often had themes and they had three great issues if you are a fan of comics. regardless of that there was just something about the magazine itself. It seems to have a little 'zine feel in my mind.

These can be picked up on eBay fairly regularly and there was even a complete run listed a few months back that I will regret not bidding higher on for some time. Below is a listing of the articles in this issue.

    * "Beginner's Brew: The Compleat Adventurer"
    * "Ten Days in the Arena of Khazan: A Tunnels & Trolls Campaign" by Ken St. Andre
    * "Sourcebook Review: Cults of Prax" by Richard L. Snider
    * "RQ/Glorantha: Gloranthan Birthday Tables" by Morgan O. Woodward III
    * "D&D Variant: Vardy Combat System - Part 2" by John T. Sapienza, Jr.
    * "RQ/Glorantha: Foundchild Cult" by Sandy Petersen
    * "Game Review: In The Labyrinth" by Steve Perrin
    * "Better Game Mastering: Power Groups and Player Characters in RPGs" by James M. Ward
    * "Commentary: System Snobbery" by Larry DiTillio
    * "Letter From Gigi: Gossip" by Gigi D'Arn
    * "RuneQuest/Gateway: Oriental Weapons for RuneQuest" by Sean Summers 


Spell:

Dual Casting II


Level: Seventh
Range: None
Duration: Instantaneous
Ares Effect: None
Components: V
Casting Time: Special
Saving Throw: Special

Note: That except for the level differences this spell is identical to Dual  Casting I.

By means of this spell the caster is able to cast two spells at the same  time. This spell requires the utterance of but a single magical word and then  tow caster begins the casting of the two spells simultaneously.

The two spells that are being cast will have to be fifth level or lower. They  must also be spells that the caster have had previously memorized. The spells  may or may not have been cast already. If they are still memorized  or have already been cast will determine how the saves connected with this  spell occur.

If the spells are still memorized they will go off without a problem and no  saves are required to see if they are cast (though any saves connected with  the spells would still need to be made). The caster must then make a saving  through versus magic and if successful they Dual Casting spell is not lost.  This type of save can only happen once per day for each specific Dual Casting  spell.

If one or both of the spells have previously been cast then the caster will  have to roll a save versus magic for each of the spells. This is required for  both even if one of them is still memorized. If the saves are made then the  spells are cast. It is possible with this situation that both or none of the  spells will cast or fail. With this situation the Dual Casting spell is lost  for the day as well.

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, July 20, 2011

Damnation Decade - d20, Dual Casting I

Damnation Decade is a setting for the d20 Modern game. It also has conversion material to make it into a True20 setting as well. It is not what it is made to look like though. It is a story about Americo where when a president was about to resign a natural disaster struck and he stayed on. All that and the world ends when 1980 rolls around.

The setting seems to be part Watchmen, part V for Vendetta and part Rollerball. The setting is a very dystopian future where the vast majority of the public is in a state of denial about how bad things are. They indulge themselves with drugs, wild sex parties and the new Omegaball game to keep from having to realize how bad things are getting.

The disaster that struck was the west coast of the nation falling into the sea because of a massive earthquake. The president on the eve of resignation instead vows to stay on to see the nation through the aftermath. The end of the aftermath never happened though. When the players enter the game it is two years after the event and large portions of the nation have had to be quarantined for some reason. And oh yeah the word is going to end in a few more years.

The setting has a lot of details that the GM could expand upon as far as plot threats. The problem is that none of them are really fleshed out enough to use without further work. This can also be looked at as a plus though as it allows each GM to take the setting in the direction they feel works best for them and their players.

The book also contains a nice section that presents the GM with some questions and answers on how they might run the game and directions that it might go and how best to address these. There is also a section on the movies and books that inspired the game though some of them are rather obvious. The book does not contain a module but you can download one and some other supplemental material here.

I am a huge fan of all the movies I mentioned so this setting appeals to me. The book could have been bigger and I wish there had been follow up material. The setting is dystopian but not so bleak that the players feel defeated and with the premise that the end of the world can be averted it has light at the end of the tunnel for them. I would say buy it as source material even if you are not a d20 Modern or True20 fan.

PS. This has to be one of the most fun covers I have seen in awhile. As I recall I bought it mostly for the cover initially...that and the name.


Spell:

Dual Casting I

Level: Fifth
Range: None
Duration: Instantaneous
Ares Effect: None
Components: V
Casting Time: Special
Saving Throw: Special

By means of this spell the caster is able to cast two spells at the same time. This spell requires the utterance of but a single magical word and then tow caster begins the casting of the two spells simultaneously.

The two spells that are being cast will have to be third level or lower. They must also be spells that the caster have had previously memorized. The spells  may or may not have been cast already. If they are still memorized or have already been cast will determine how the saves connected with this spell occur.

If the spells are still memorized they will go off without a problem and no saves are required to see if they are cast (though any saves connected with the spells would still need to be made). The caster must then make a saving through versus magic and if successful the Dual Casting spell is not lost. This type of save can only happen once per day for each specific Dual Casting spell.

If one or both of the spells have previously been cast then the caster will have to roll a save versus magic for each of the spells. This is required for both even if one of them is still memorized. If the saves are made then the spells are cast. It is possible with this situation that both or none of the spells will cast or fail. With this situation the Dual Casting spell is lost for the day as well.

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, July 19, 2011

Keepers Screen - CoC, Summon Guardian

Friendly Advice - If an item you spend a lot of time writing about seems way to familiar - check your previous posts.

Short post today about the item since I hate to repeat myself (please see above). This is a Keepers Screen for some edition of Call of Cthulhu. I am not sure what edition it is for though and the entries over at yog-sothoth.com do not have any images. It accomplished what a GM screen is expected to though the art work is kind of lacking. If I were a player I would demand something better to look at while gaming :)

I hate making such a short post today. I will make sure and check I have not written about an item more thoroughly in the future.  Much better write up on Different Worlds #1 than I did back in March for the record !


Spell:

Summon Guardian


Level: Fifth
Range: None
Duration: Special
Ares Effect: None
Components: V,S,M
Casting Time: 1 Round
Saving Throw: None

When this spell is cast the magic user summons a mystical guardian to defend them. The creature summons will be similar in nature to an unseen servant though they will perform no other action than defend the caster.

When not defending the caster the guardian will be out of phase with the rest of the world and will be invisible to the naked eye though those who can see extra-planar creature will see the guardian. When activated the guardian will appear as a normal sized creature of the same race as the caster. They will be wearing black plate mail and will be wielding a long sword and shield.

The guardian will attack as a fighter equal to one half the level of the caster, rounded up, plus one. They will have an armor class as appropriate for plate mail and shield. They will also have maximum hit points as if they had an 18 constitution as well.

The guardian will suffer damage as if they were a normal creature and will suffer damage from all normal attacks. If a save is needed they will save as the caster though. The guardian can not be healed through normal or magical means though. They will remain until their hit points reach zero.

The material component of this spell is a gem of no less than 10 gp in value per level of the guardian. The gem will vanish when the spell is cast and the guardian appears.

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, July 18, 2011

CGR1 The Complete Spacefarer's Handbook, Mute

At heart I am a completist. This makes collecting a worse case scenario combination of OCD and money pit. I have stated before that I am not a fan of the splat books and yet I feel compelled to own all of them. There are some that are not as bad as others and some that transcend the "splat" effect.

There are then those that I have and will confess to other than perhaps flipping through when I bought them have never looked at even in the most cursory manner. The Complete Spacefarer's Handbook is one of those. Spelljammer is a game that I was never in love with as an idea and this is a supplement for it.

The lack of interest is fairly odd since I like the idea of Space 1889 and like Steampunk. Even then those are hard science fiction games or genres just set in different periods. There is also the fact that we have literary precedent for them with Wells, Verne and ERB. I think Spelljammer was the first of its kind. In the end I guess I like my sci-fi and my fantasy a little more distinct than this.

As I have said in the past there is usually something good that can be gleaned from almost any module, rulebook or accessory and I am sure this is the case with the Complete Spacefarer's Handbook. At some point I will round up all the Spelljammer stuff and float around the void with Githyanki and Mind Flayers but until then I think I will go find some kobolds to kill in the dungeon.


Spell:

Mute


Level: Third
Range: 6"
Duration: 4 Rounds
Ares Effect: One Creature
Components: S
Casting Time: 3 Segments
Saving Throw: Negates

Through use of this spell the magic user is able to cause the target to loose the ability to produce sound. This spell can be cast on any living creature to different effect.

The spell can be used to silence a single shrieker or even stop for the duration the wail of a Banshee. The real purpose of the spell though is to disrupt the ability of another spell caster. This spell will prevent spells from being cast provided that they have some verbal component.

When this spell is cast the victim is entitled to a saving through. If made they have prevented the spell from taking effect. If they were in the middle of casting a spell though this will have disrupted that spell. The spell is not lost but they will need to begin casting it again.

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, July 17, 2011

The Brandywine Star - Vol.1 No.1, Mage Flame

One of the worst things that can happen when buying from eBay other than  never getting the item is when the item is damaged or incomplete and was not  described as such. I recently got a pile of d20 books (please no that is what you get for buying d20 stuff) that had the edges covered with either soda spray, vomit, mold or something worse.

One of the best though is when there are things included that really did not  need to be there. I have had this happen more times than I can count but  three stand out right now but I am sure there are others I am just forgetting at the moment. One with Call of Cthulhu, one with Marvel Super Heroes and  the one that had this. I saw a copy of the ICE Middle Earth Campaign Guide  with a cheap BIN and bought it for the map as I had at one point hung mine and it had pin holes. When I got it I found the pictured item inside. I had  bought mine new so I know this was not supposed to be included.

The Brandywine Star from what I can tell appears to be a fan newsletter for  "The Fellowship" which was not part of ICE from what I can tell. It appears  to have been a fan club from back in the 1980's and may still be around but  am not sure. This was there initial offering and I have never seen another  copy of it anywhere. Noble Knight has an entry for #2 but it is listed as  sold out so they must have had one at some point. When I got it I thought it  was nice and figured I might be able to find more but never have.

I wish I could tell you more about it must most of the items I post about  have been packed away as I attempt to inventory items. I scan them and then  pack them away until such time as I can dedicate a proper space to all the gaming stuff I have accumulated. If anyone knows anything about this and/or  has copies of other issues I would love to hear about it.

I mentioned having similar experiences with CoC and MSH. With Call of Cthulhu  it was a second or third printing of the original box set. I opened it and  inside other than what should have been there was the book version of Cthulhu  by Gaslight. With Marvel Super Heroes it was a copy of the Basic Set and  inside it was the Ultimate Powers Book and Realms of Magic. I guess the books  I got recently weren't the end of the world after all!


Spell:

Mage Flame


Level: Second
Range: 6"
Duration: 12 Turns + 6 Turns/Level
Ares Effect: One Item/Level
Components: V,M
Casting Time: 4 Segments
Saving Throw: None

This spell enables the magic user to create a magical flame. This flame is  similar in some ways to the light effect of a Faerie Fire spell. When the  spell is cast the items willed to carry the flame by the caster will ignite  with a bright blue fire like flame.

The flame created need to be attached to the end of an item such as a torch  or staff but can also edge an item such as a sword or other weapon. There is  no limit to the size of the item the flame can be attached to and it will  adjust in size and effect accordingly. This flame can not be directly  attached to living creatures other than the caster.

The flame will provide light just as if it were a real flame. It will not use  oxygen though and will not produce smoke or heat. The light will also persist  underwater or in an environment where a normal flame would be extinguished.

Once an item has been imbued with mage flame the control of the mage flame is  granted to the person who is in control of the item. The wielder of the item  can distinguish the flam on command. They can also transfer the flame to  another item if desired simply by touching the two items and willing it. The  item that had the flame initially will lose it when this is done.

The material component for this spell is a small ball that will be made up of  sulfur, bat guano and a small lock of the caster hair. The ball is thrown  into the air and is consumed by the spell when the spell takes effect.

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, July 16, 2011

Cyberworld - DAG, Improved Reincarnation

Sometimes when you are looking at things to buy on eBay you make assumptions  about them. these often pay off and you buy things and they come to be better  than you ever thought they would and in some cases it does not work out so  well. In some cases you find that you were not even in the same ballpark as  to what you thought the item was.

Cyberworld is not a product for the Cyberpunk game system as I had in my mind  when I saw it on eBay and bid on it. . Cyberworld is a rulebook from Dark Age  Games. It deals with the same setting topics as Cyberpunk does but there are  a few differences. Maybe more than a few as Cyberworld is a Live Action Role  Playing system for as many of you may know them a LARP. This is not what I  expected and not anything I would normally have bought.

LARPs have been around for a long time. I know they were doing them in some  fashion before the Minds Eye Theater system from White Wolf brought the  Vampire LARP to the fore. If we are honest "Cowboys and Indians" is perhaps a  LARP though I am not sure what are the absolute defining qualities.

Cyberworld is a LARP of the New Dark Ages. One where society has collapsed in  the 21st Century. I really know nothing more than that about this book that I  have owned for a few years or perhaps more. IN doing a bit of research it  appears it  was released in 1995 and is 222 pages long. There is a review  here that is not very  good.

I have nothing against LARPing or the LARPers themselves. It is just not something I could bring myself to do as I am not sure the real world wants them there and sometimes they can be pushy, loud and attention starved.  Having done a bit of theater in high school and being a role player it is  hard to hate the idea. I even for a brief period of time thought of getting a  job with a RenFair (being a carnie for the artsy crowd) but real life  intervened. When attending conventions seeing the people in costume is great  and many are out of this world in quality and creativity. Steampunk may be my  favorite but it is also the most common now. LARPs are OK if they don't  standout too much and disrupt the flow of the real world. Gamers have a stigma already at times and I am not sure LARPs help.

Spell:

Improved Reincarnation


Level: Seventh
Range: Touch
Duration: Permanent
Ares Effect: Person Touched
Components: V,S,M
Casting Time: 2 Turns
Saving Throw: None

This spell is in most ways similar to the sixth level magic user spell  Reincarnation. By means of this spell the magic user is able to bring a  living being in a new form which will half the time be the same as their  previous incarnation.

When this spell is cast the player for the character being reincarnated rolls  a set of percentile dice. If the roll is fifty or less then they will come  back as the same race. If the rolls is higher than fifty then they will come  back as a different species.

If they come back as a new race they will not roll again as under the normal  spell as this could result in the same species and it must be different. The  DM will now roll a d8 and count up or down on the Reincarnation table. If the  roll is one to four they move up and five to eight they move down. The number  of spaces is the number rolled. The list is below.

Bugbear
Dwarf
Elf
Gnoll
Gnome
Goblin
Half-Elf
Halfling
Half-Orc
Hobgoblin
Human
Kobold
Orc
Ogre
Ogre Mage
Troll

The material component for this spell will be different than the  Reincarnation spell. The component will be any randomization device, such as  dice, suspended in crystal. If the race stayed the same the crystal is assumed  to not have broken and the component may be reused. If not then it is assumed  to have broken or cracked and must be replaced. The cost to have this done  should not be less than 100 gold.

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, July 15, 2011

Booty List - Judges Guild, Mass Reincarnation

With Judges Guild items the easiest way to tell the various printings of  items is too look at the Booty List that is printed in the item. Items  appears to be for the most part numbered sequentially as they were released.  This makes it wast to identify when it was released.

Somewhere along the lines I got stack of Booty Lists that were not printed in  an item and are there own free standing product. I suspect these may have come  with the catalogs that were sent out but this is just a guess. Using the same  deductive principle though this would look to have been released in 1977.  There are two items that support this. The last item on the list is Modron  which was released in 1977. This is less conclusive but it also talks about  Dragons #1 - #5 being out of print. Issue #6 was released in 1977.

I have not been able to find any information on the Booty List being  described as an individual product. I am going to go under the assumption  that they were sent with the catalogs but again this is merely an assumption.  Regardless these are a great peek into the way things progressed with Judges  Guild. It would not be out of line to say that D&D, RuneQuest and Traveller  might not be what they are today and what the were if it had not been for the  products provided through Judges Guild for them.

If anyone knows anything about the free standing Booty List please let me  know.



Spell: 

Mass Reincarnation
Level: Eighth
Range: 6"
Duration: Permanent
Ares Effect: Upto 6 Creatures
Components: V,S,M
Casting Time: 2 Turns
Saving Throw: None

This spell except for ability to affect multiple creatures, the higher spell  level and increased casting times will in all other ways be identicle to the  sixth level Magic User Reincarnation spell. The spell allows the caster to  select up to six creatures that will be affected by the spell. The caster  will not need to specifically touch them but can specify them as 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.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dungeon Geomorphs - TSR, Attribute Enhancement

The combined set of the Dungeon Geomorphs was something I loved as a DM way back when. If I needed to throw a dungeon together on the fly I could use these and make it easy on myself. It never failed that the players wanted to go someplace that I did not have a map made for.

Luckily I discovered them as the combined set. I would have hated to have cut up the individual sets and used them...but then again that is what they were made for weren't they. The original set I so diligently cut up all those years ago are long since lost except for a few stray pieces I still have floating around.

I am not sure of the timing on these compared to the early GW products as to which came first. The first set was released in 1976 so I would think these had to be first but you never know. Regardless these again were a huge time saver back in the day.

This is another example of something we take for common today. With all of the online dungeon mappers that are available it is easy to forget a time when maps were not so easy to produce. I know I have gone to the point of creating a bunch of random maps and saving them as PDFs so I never have a chance of not having one I have not sued before handy.

The only disadvantage to the combined set other than the collectability is the data that is included in the individual sets. Each of the three had small sample dungeons included. I have not had a chance to see them but they are said to include magic, monsters and NPC's that have never been reprinted anywhere. If anyone has any information on these I would love to hear about the.

Spell:

Attribute Enhancement


Level: Fifth
Range: 6"
Duration: 5 Rounds + 1/Round level or 5 Round
Ares Effect: One Creature
Components: V,S,M
Casting Time: 6 Segments
Saving Throw: None

This spell will allow the magic user to increase one or all of the attributes  of the recipient. There are two options for this spell. The effect will turn them into the perfect physical specimen  or grant them unearthly power in one aspect.

The caster will have two options with the casting of this spell. The first  will grant transform the recipient so that they have the maximum human  potentials (18's) in all of their attributes. The other option will grant the  recipient god like power (25) in one attribute.

The first version of the affect described will have the longer duration. The  second will have a much shorter duration (the star that burns twice as bright  and all that). There is a cost to this though. If the former is used then  when the spell expires all attributes will temporarily be reduced by a -2. If  the latter is used the reduction will be a -6. The reduction will remain in  place until the recipient has had twelve hours of continuous rest.

The material component of this spell is a small vial of blood from some  either a titan or some extra-planar creature. The blood is not destroyed or  used up 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.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

DragonLance Saga - Book 1, Life Transference

In speaking with gamers there are few mainstream items that will attract such a wide range of feels as DragonLance does. There are those that love it and those that you often feel will come to blows when you speak positively about it.

I played the first and maybe second module in the series and realized it was not for me. I on the other hand really like the books and thought they were better than the modules.

The DragonLance Saga graphic novels are something that I am middle of the road on. I am a comic fan so graphic novels are something I normally like. Some are better tha most of the schlock that is out there today. Gibe Me V for Vendetta, Watchmen or even something as light as The Killing Joke over any Twilight or even Potter fare.

As an aside and possible jinx to the whole roleplaying community how is it that we don't have a Twilight, Tru Blood or even Vampire Diaries role playing game out there yet? I might be willing to check out a Harry Potter game though.

I like the graphic novels but I would say read the books first if you have not. If you have tried reading the books and for one reason could not get through them this would be a suitable alternative though not a 100% alternative. There are things that can not be conveyed in the graphic novel medium and then there are other things it is easier to portray. The graphic novels still fall short of the books in my opinion.

The art is good and the adaptation is good. There a few minor changes in the graphic novels but nothing that would make me think they were not written by someone who had never read the books. These seem to go for varying values in the secondary market and eBay seems a bit high but there are some fair values on Amazon. If you liked the books and like graphic novels these would be worthwhile. If you have not read the books and do not want to but want to get a feel for the story this is a good option.


Spell:

Life Transference


Level: Ninth
Range: 6"
Duration: Permanent
Ares Effect: Caster
Components: None
Casting Time: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: None

This spell allows the magic user to transfer their life essence with that of another living creature. This change is permanent and can not be reversed except by use of a wish.

This spell allows the caster to swap spirits or souls with any other living entity within a 6" radius. Since this spell is permanent it will most likely be used in the most dire of situations.

This spell allows no saving throw for the other entity that the caster is switching with. The switch will transfer all levels and special abilities though there will be no change in attributes.

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, July 12, 2011

Character Dossier- ICG, Deja Vu

Somewhere along the way I picked up a few packages of the Character Dossier. This is a character record sheet produced by Inner City Games from 1997. These are packed away so I do not even have an idea anymore as to what the back side may look like. The sheet seems a little spartan to me even lacking space for stats and the like. I am wondering if perhaps this is intended for use with a LARP as that could explain the lack of stats. If anyone has any idea on these sheets I would love to hear about them.

Spell:

Deja Vu


Level: Seventh
Range: None
Duration: Special/5 Rounds
Ares Effect: Special
Components: V
Casting Time: 1 Segment
Saving Throw: None

By means of the spell the magic user is able to alter the flow of time. This will enable them to reset time back for a period of five rounds. This will allow events to unfold differently or the same as the case may be.

The magic connected with this is very powerful and somewhat unpredictable. The power of the magic is such that this spell may only be cast once per game month and has a limit of total times it can ever be cast by the caster equal to their intelligence. The use of a Wish spell can reset the number of times this can be cast.

When cast time is reset back to the way the world was five minutes previously. The course of events may be altered and the DM may change anything that happens with the limitation that it could have occurred before. This should be not be limited as much as say a Wish would be but the DM can change things as deemed necessary.

For everyone except the caster the world will be proceeding normally except that they will have a strong sense of Deja Vu. The caster will know that they have cast the spell and will have an inkling of what is too come. In game mechanics this prevent them from telling other characters exactly what will happen.

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, July 11, 2011

HIL Sector Blues - WEG, Cassandra's Mystical Barrier

Paranoia is a game that I like playing as a one up or maybe a few sessions but I have never been a big enough fan to make it a long term game. I think it because when I was playing it I was younger and the level of discord it created amongst characters seem to migrate out of the game and into the real world among the players.

HIL Sector Blues is a campaign pack for Paranoia. I never really had a chance to use it as it was intended but there are still components of it that I found useful. If I were going to play Paranoia today I think I would go this route as it is much more Machiavellian in nature than normal Paranoia. In this you don't shoot your friend in the back every other session. You spend that time framing them so the computer does the dirty work and the player may never know who did it.

The premise of the campaign is that you have served the computer well enough that you have been transferred to be part of the internal security force that does the day to day security work. It is set to to have you create a character from scratch and build them with some back history similar to Traveller. I guess you could promote previous characters if you wanted though.

The bulk of the book is dedicated to the design of HIL Sector adventure design. This lays out for the GM the game mechanics basics that should be present in every adventure for the campaign. Not every aspect needs be in them all but most should be. The Paranoia adventure is very much a series of long running gags or situations that repeat themselves. Many of these ideas could be adapted to other games but I would use sparingly as I think they would disrupt other games too much if they happened all the time.

The module also presents the GM with a number of actual adventure ideas that the players will encounter. These very much mirror what would be considered every day crime in the real world though with a Paranoia bent to them if possible. You get a list of crimes both general and specific to the sector as well as roles and missions. There are then some specific plot hooks provided for the GM to get them started.

The GM is given a number of fold up cardboard miniatures that they can use. There are also specific rules for the use of the miniatures. We forget that these were not always present in games or available online. When this was released in 1986 this was probably a very big deal though the intervening twenty-five years make it had for me to recall. These are present in color and a b&w version as well. These are referred to as Cardstock Commies.

The last portion of the book are a number of mini-adventures that can be inserted into the campaign or perhaps used as starter adventures to get the campaign rolling. These are designed to use the miniatures that are presented in the game as well so the GM can get experience in using them.

I can't say if this is something that the average player or even GM would want to have or need to have. If you are a regular Paranoia player then yes you will want it. There are items that can be mined from it but not so much for regular use. It is rare for me to say this but this is perhaps one you could pass on. Just hope the computer isn't listening on this one.


Spell:

Cassandra's Mystical Barrier


Level: Fifth
Range: Special
Duration: 1 Hour/Level
Ares Effect: One Room
Components: V,S,M
Casting Time: 3 Rounds
Saving Throw: None

This spell allows the caster to create a mystical barrier that will prevent  the passage through entrances to and from a room. The effect is not limited  to man made areas and the room to could be a natural cavern. The room size  can be anything from a broom closet up to a space no bigger than 4" square  per level of the caster. All points of ingress or egress will be covered by  this spell no matter how small or if known by the caster.

The barrier that is created is specific in what it will prevent passage of.  The specification must be made at time of casting and can be general in nature  as any living thing, dwarves or non humanoid creatures. It could also be  something like enchanted items or invisible creatures. There is not a real  limit to what can be specified but the DM needs to make the final decision.

The caster may only have one barrier up at any given time and casting a  second will fail and not bring down the one previously cast. Once the barrier  is created it can not be brought down except through use of a Dispel Magic  spell or stronger magic. Even the caster can not bring the barrier down prior  to the expiration of the duration. This will make use of specifications of  "living things" dangerous as the party could not leave the room.

The material component of this spell is a cube of amber. The size of the cube  is not important nor is the value. The cube of amber is used up in 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, July 10, 2011

Night City - Cyberpunk, Psi-Bond

Night City is an city sourcebook for Cyberpunk released by R. Talsorian Games. It was released in 1991 so there is a little bit of the issue where they could not have predicted the way some things would change or that there would be some things happen. Let me start by saying that regardless this may be the best modern urban offering I have seen.

The book details Night City which is a planned community operated by a conglomeration of corporations. One can not help but think of New Detroit from Robocop when you start thinking about this. The book comes in at 184 pages and every one is useful' The book is a cross between a keyed encounter book and a travel planner like you would get for San Francisco or other major city.

The premise of the opening section of the book layout is that this is a hard copy of information you would get from Dataterms. Dataterms are data terminals that are located through most urban areas. I can not stress how well these are done. There are even cross link pointers on pages telling you where else you could find information. Once you get into the keyed areas this is not present but it is not really needed.

One of the best items in the book are the maps. These are presented in a manner that they are easy to read. In addition they are black and white line drawings. I know that this may seem like a drawback but this makes them easier to read. There are overview maps that are two larger maps and then maps for Urban Controlled Zones which are a small subsection of city blocks.

The book contains material on the city in an amazing level of detail that the GM might never use. It has ways to get to the city via public transportation, parking regulations and, transportation in the city. It also has sections on media in the city, hospitals, personal services and, financial services.

There are maps of all the major means of access into and around the city. These provide information on schedules for the transportation as well as a map of the location itself. The surrounding area of Night City is mapped out for the GM as well. There are then overview maps of the city with locations for services mapped out. These maps are below. Each map is on a single page and includes specific information that the GM can use to make the city seem alive. Each maps key then points the GM to the page where each keyed item is described.

Colleges & Fine Arts
Hotels & Lodging
Clubs & Nightlife
Performing Arts & Sports
Public Services
Restaurants
Shops & Services
Parking and AV Facilities

The next two section give a synopsis of what life is America is like in 2020 and the state of the union as it were. It goes over a number of topics that not germane to the sourcebook will give the GM an idea of how society might be doing as a whole. The section on Night City history is smaller but provides the GM an idea on how things were and perhaps adventure ideas that could be derived from that.

The next three sections cover the people of Night City, threat levels plus threat codes & security in the city and finally the gangs of Night City. The people section breaks most people into certain types and then describes them. There is then information on working, eating, fun and shopping for each type. The security section is much smaller and not so useful it seemed. The gangs section is a gem though. It shows where each gangs territory is. Each gang is then presented with a brief writeup and stats provided for an average member. While looking here all I heard in my head was "Warriors, come out and play."

For the record this is all contained through page 55 of the book.

Pages 56 through 181 contain information on the Urban Controlled Zones. My count may be a little off but there are nineteen distinct zones that are provided. These range in size from four to twelve city blocks. The map showing the zones has a legend telling you what page each starts in. It also has a brief one paragraph description of the area.

The zone description are nothing short of exhaustive. In some cases each building is described. It tells you what the building houses and something about them. For those who have the City State of the World Emperor think of that but with more detail. In addition to the site information each zone is presented with a section on Personalities special to the zone, a encounter table for the zone and then contacts that might reside in the zone. There is often a what might be thought of as a pop up window with local color or other zone specific side information that helps the GM add color and life to the city. I won't describe each of the zones but I think I have painted a picture of what to expect.

The last section of the book is called Dataterm Utilities. This is actually something the the GM may use more than anything else. It presents guidelines on what information the players would be able to get from the dataterm and if the information would be available. For being 1991 they came pretty close to describing what the information we see today on the Internet is like. One has to wonder if perhaps this influenced programmers who design things today.

Get this book if you play any sort of modern game. Not much more needs to be said.

Spell:

Psi-Bond


Level: Fifth
Range: Touch
Duration: Special
Ares Effect: One Creature
Components: V,S,M
Casting Time: 2 Rounds
Saving Throw: None/Special

By means of this spell the magic-user creates a bond between themselves and the willing recipient of the spell. This spell can not be cast on a non-willing recipient. The spell can be broken at anytime by either party but will remain in effect until broken.

The bond is one that will allow both the caster and the recipient to see, hear and even feel what the other is experiencing. There is no connection as far as memories so they will not know what the other knows or even what they are thinking while under the spell though other spells or abilities might allow this.

The level of detail from the connection can be somewhat controlled by either party for themselves. If desired it can be powered down so that the sensory input is next to nothing comparative to what the other is experiencing. So if it is all but off there will be only minor impact through normal situation but if the other party experiences something major it will jar the other as well. It can also be powered to full when the person is all but in two places at once as far as sensory input is concerned.

Even at the lowest level of connection there will be some impact on the participant. While connected all ability checks, combat rolls and saving throws are made at a -1 or the reverse if higher is worse. The highest level requires full concentration and the person maintaining this level can perform nothing more than basic tasks and can not carry on conversation or do anything requiring in depth thought.

As stated earlier the spell can be broken at will by either party. The spell will also be broken if either party dies or goes unconscious. If the bond is broken by either of the latter two occurring the other part must make a saving throw versus Death Magic. If the other party loses consciousness this save is at -2 and if the other party dies it is at -4. Those who save a re merely stunned for one round unable to perform any action. Those who fail must make a second save or pass out from shock for 2-5 turns and if that save is made they will still be stunned for five to eight rounds.

The material component of this spell is a pair of matching necklaces. Each will be half of some whole object. Both parties must wear the necklace while the spell is in effect. Taking it off can occur as long as it is off for no more than two rounds but during this time there will be no contact and if off for more than two rounds then spell is considered willingly broken even if the taking off of the necklace was not.

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. 

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