Thursday, May 23, 2013

Landfall - Part 1

Time to break into the notebook with the richest vein - the one I wrote in while doing customer support for AT&T. Lots of neat stuff in here. Also lots of horrible and semi-suicidal poetry as my depression deepened on the path to my eventual nervous breakdown. Anyway, TMI aside here is one of the cooler ideas I had forgotten about! Looks like I was assuming a d20 hack. And stealing ideas like a bandit on meth.

Fantasy World - originally
Very Tolkienesque. Elves are the guardians of the world. Immortal and god-like. (Use rules for racial classes.) Hobbits are more adaptable and human-like. Dwarves are even more reclusive and taciturn. Has Tolkien-style religion. Elves were first-born, come from the Isle of the Angels where God's servants live. There are also the goblinoid races though they were recently defeated in a great war where the Dark One fell. Super generic stuff.

Then Came...
The world is within the borders of a Star Trek Federation style inter-stellar government. Was left alone due to Prime Directive type rules (and a secret, unmentioned reason - this world has a "Q"-like being protecting it). The Federation recently lost a war and this territory to a hostile Confederation. These newcomers found a unique source of energy on the planet and meant to exploit it.

The war between the Federation and Confederation awoke the Protector (the elves' god) and it shielded the planet, cutting it off from the outside. Now both sides have people trapped with the natives. Time passes... (I'm guessing at least a generation or three.)

Federation consists of the Dogon, Oans, Cestorians (elder things)
Confederation consists of the Kzinti and the Mi-Go.

The Elves - The elders are now shamed by their inability to stop the intruders. They have retreated farther into their forests and caves since the Shielding. All those seen now are youngsters with wanderlust or older elves sent out on a mission.

The Dwarves - Fascinated by technology the dwarves have come farther out of their caves and vaults. Still a suspicious lot, but they are learning to change. The race has almost split in two over the neophiles and the traditionalists.

The Hobbits - Still the most plentiful, still the most adaptable. They have rolled with the changes better than anyone. Equally likely to be farming as a scientist in a city.

The Goblins - Confederation hard-liners have been using them for cannon fodder and guinea pigs. Some have rebelled and are attempting "civilization", even if they aren't very good at it. The rest are being changed in other ways...

Oans - Delicate and highly intelligent. The Oans are the glue that holds the Federation together. While not as naturally technical as others, they are master diplomats and lovers of peace.

Cestorians - Hybrid flora/fauna, the Cestorians are master scientists and have driven the Federation forward. Their lack of understandable emotions is worrisome at times but they rarely cause problems as long as they are allowed to do research.

Kzinti - Furry Klingons. Niven's boys, or Wing Commander. Space cat warriors.

Mi-Go - Intelligent fungi every bit as alien and technical as the Cestorians. However, their alien thoughts seem to come across as almost sadistic.

Dogon - An ancient lizard-race that is past its prime. Colonies still exist throughout the galaxy so they are everywhere. They are strong and good pilots but seem a little slow.

Magic and Tech

Magic Technology
Basic Can read a simple spell, use a simple magic item. Can work tech on a basic level (if shown how to pull a trigger, for example).
Average Can learn basic spells, understands how magical energy works. Functional spell casting is possible. Was raised in tech environment. Knows basics of why it works if not how (like most 21st century people with their tech).
Expert Knows magical secrets and how best to use them. Wizards and sorcerers. Understands scientific theories and works with them. Scientists and engineers.

Magic comes from the Protector - it was taught by him so his children could manipulate the world more effectively. Because of this, in a magic vs. tech standpoint, magic wins since it alters the rules that tech plays by. However it comes with a personal cost and is rarely useful to the common man.

Magic uses personal-cost rules similar to how d20 Call of Cthulhu works. Casting a spell does ability score damage and possibly Sanity if implemented.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Rules Snippet - Tactical Swordplay in the oWoD

Back in the day my buddies and I were big into Highlander. Aside from the movies and TV series there was a collectible card game that, well, had its flaws. However the base of the game was called the Swordmaster system and was used for a few other CCGs that disappeared even faster than Highlander. It was actually a neat system and when we decided to run a Highlander RPG using the Storyteller system I grafted the two together. The result was a good tactical sword fight simulator that had a nice flow to it.

The Swordmaster System in Brief

There were several different types of cards in the game. Most importantly there were Basic Attacks and Basic Blocks. A Basic Attack had a 3x3 grid in the upper corner with one square filled in. That indicated where the attack was going. There were nine Basic Attacks, one to each square. Similarly a Basic Block had a 3x3 grid that had some squares filled in, usually a set of 4 or a row of 3, that indicated the area that was being blocked. There were six basic blocks (1 for each corner group of 4 and 2 rows of 3 along the top and bottom).

The basic mechanic was that the attacker played an attack and if the defender had a block that covered that area they could play it and block the attack. Each player would take turns being the attacker. You could not attack to an area you had just blocked.

There were additional card types. For example Dodges were like blocks except you could attack through the area covered by the Dodge and avoid damage from special attacks that had an effect when blocked. There were many, many other cards, too, but they could all be grouped under "special effects". You generally could only play one of those per turn. Only the ones that also could be considered combat maneuvers of some sort were used (such as "Combination" which allowed you to make two attacks).

The other important aspect of the game was that your life score, called Endurance, was your hand size. So if you had ten endurance left then you could only have ten cards in your hand. This meant that as you took damage you had fewer options available to you for attack and defense.

The Rules

Each player had a "deck" that represented what they were capable of. At minimum it consisted of the fifteen basic attacks and blocks and a Head Shot event card - this was a "set". For each point of Dodge the character had (as in the Storyteller Talent) they could include one Dodge card per set. For each point of Melee they could include one special attack or Event card that acted as a combat maneuver per set. Other skills could be used to add other cards if everyone approved (possessing enough ranks in Subterfuge allowed one of the sneaky Event cards to be added, for example.) Enough sets needed to be combined to create a minimum 40 card deck.

A character had a hand size equal to twice their combined Physical attributes (Strength + Agility + Stamina). A sword fight then followed regular Swordmaster rules. A basic hit did 2 damage (and hence reduced their hand size by 2). A basic attack could be declared a Power Attack that did 4 damage and 2 if blocked but the defender could respond with a hidden attack (hidden attacks were made with the card face down so you had to guess where to block). A successful attack to the upper row that was combined with the Head Shot event card ended the fight immediately.


We only got to use this system a few times but the fights it generated had a nice flow to them, certainly better than the crappy combat mechanics from the old Storyteller system. Since a lot of the defensive maneuvers resulted in limiting attack opportunities there would be a lot of back and forth as one player was forced to sit on the defensive until they got the right opportunity and then they could unleash all the attacks that had been building up in their hands. Wounds mattered - as hand sizes shrank it was easy to envision the opponent limping and stumbling as they tried to defend themselves.

This system had some pretty severe limitations - to begin with it wasn't really suited for more than one on one battles. The nature of the Rules of the Game for Highlander helped with this though ("no interfering with someone else's fight"). 

A deck had to be built for each bad guy which could be a chore, but since the actual duel didn't happen until the end of a story it wasn't like hordes of complicated monsters had to be statted out.

Otherwise I was proud of this little creation. It isn't much use outside of melee weapon duels but in a game where those were dramatic points of interest it was worth the investment.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Great School of Magic - Part 2

This is all about 2nd edition rules, here. I think I was using the standard 2nd edition skill rules. Maybe. I'm not sure. The new philosophies and methodologies were developed on behalf of players who wanted them.


Arcana covers supplemental knowledge that every wizard should have. By 1st level every wizard knows Spellcraft, Thaumaturgy, Literacy and Arcanology. After that a course may be taken in a single quarter. Classes may be taken multiple times to increase proficiency. A level need not be gained to take a new course. Courses marked with a * are required to graduate.

Agility Training, Ancient History*, Alchemy, Anatomy, Astrology, Astronomy, Blacksmithing, Book Binding, Brewing, Concentration*, Conjure Companion*, Dowsing, Engineering, Gen Cutting, Glass Blowing, Healing, Herbalism, Hypnotism, Language (any), Meditation*, Mental Resistance, Necrology, Omen Reading, Paper Making, Prestidigitation, Quick Casting, Research*, Sage Knowledge (any), Scribe, Spellcraft*, Tactics of Magic, Thaumaturgy, Planar Geography.

New Philosophy - Dracology

Dracology is the study and emulation of the magic of dragons. This philosophy is extremely difficult since almost all the spells are unique or learned from a dragon. Often spells will resemble other common spells but with a draconic touch. There is no set list of spells and there are no banned schools.

While it is not required for a Dracologist to choose a specific type of dragon often circumstances will cause this to happen. If the Dracologist does declare a dragon type specialty then specialist bonuses and penalties are increased by 1/5% for an alignment type and +3/15% for a specific color. The bonuses/penalties apply to Dracologist matters only.

A 1st level the Dracologist gains a +1 to reaction rolls with dragons. At 5th level the Dracologist is capable of learning actual Dragon spells, even if they may not apply to the Dracologist themselves (like natural attack enhancement spells). At 8th level a Dracologist can recognize any dragon in any form.

New Philosophy - Life

In many ways Life is similar to Transmutation with one important difference; it only affects living things. Life forms are warped and changed into something new. Banned schools are Necromancy and Illusion.

The spells in the school of Life are essentially Alteration spells which affect living things. There are also some enchantment spells that qualify. A Life specialist could get on easily without any newly created spells.

At 5th level the Life specialist can cast clerical healing spells as if they were known wizard spells. At 8th level the specialist gains 50% HP back with healing magics. At 11th level they never will lose their mind when polymorphed.

New Methodology - Alchemy

Alchemists specialize in the channeling of magical energies through combinations of components. In game terms this means that an Alchemist must have a prepared mixture ready in order to cast a spell. So not only is the wizard limited by spells per day as normal they are also limited to casting a spell as many times as they have mixtures prepared.

The basic elements for a spell can be found at an apocrathy and cost 10gp per level of the spell. If a spell is researched a second time the cost drops to 5gp per level and the components can be found in the smallest village (mostly through cooking needs). Researching a spell a third time allows the caster to scrounge up necessary components in the wilderness at no charge. Preparation of a mixture takes 1 turn. A mixture weighs 0.1 lbs.

At 1st level the Alchemist gains the Alchemy skill for free. In addition to standard brews an Alchemist with the Healing proficiency can prepare treatments for 20gp. Additionally, minor substances (glue, Greek fire, etc) can be researched as if they were 0 level spells. Finally an Alchemist has a base 20% chance of recognizing any potion. This increases 5% per level.
At 3rd level the Alchemist may create clerical healing spells if they have the Healing Proficiency.
At 6th level the Alchemist may create magical potions. 

New Methodology - Artifice

Artificers are wizards who create magical effects by enchanting items with the desired magics. The actual spell is a combination of the caster's will and energy and the construction of the device. In game terms this means that an Artificer must have a talisman for each spell and it must be "charged" beforehand in order to work. Charging a talisman takes about as much time as it takes to memorize a spell. Casting the spell from a talisman is instantaneous.

A basic talisman costs a minimum of 100gp per level of the spell to be stored in it. By using more valuable materials a spell may be cast as if the wizard were X levels higher (X is a max of 4). The cost is the base cost times 2^X. (So a magic missile to be cast as if it were 3 levels higher would cost 100*2^3 = 800gp.)

A talisman may be constructed to hold several spells (they must all be of the same school). To determine the cost, find the individual cost of each talisman as if it were separate and then total them. Then add 100gp per spell embedded beyond the first. The talisman must have a separate part of it for each spell (often these are gems of different types).

An Artificer may attempt to create a talisman ad hoc in emergencies. Every attempt to use it has a 50% chance of success with the following modifiers: +1%/level of the caster, +1% per 10gp worth of the talisman, -10% if made from common items, -25% if made from bits of stick tied together, etc.

At 1st level the Artificer has a base 20% to ID a magic item. This increases 5% per level.
At 3rd level the Artificer may create one shot magic items ala Spells and Magic.
At 5th level the Artificer may create temporary magic items.
At 7th level the Artificer may make any magic item.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Great School of Magic - Part 1

Here's the 2nd edition D&D version of the Great School game. This is probably how I should have handled the most recent campaign.


The Great School of Magic in Glantri City is a place of learning and the heart of Glantrian society. While many wizards have been privately tutored the best and brightest come from the Great School. The range and variety of wizards that the school produces is breath taking.

The course of study at the School is divided into three parts: Philosophy, Methodology and Arcana. Philosophy covers the wizard's approach to the nature of magic and includes the eight major "schools" of magic such as transmutation along some more esoteric approaches such as Shadow and Life. Methodology is the manner in which a wizard actually casts a spell. While traditional book magic is the most common alternatives such as Artifice and Alchemy are also taught. Finally, Arcana refers to learning that is tangentially related to spell casting, such as History or Necrology.

There are four two month quarters at the School separated by month long breaks. One on one mentoring continues until the wizard is 5th level at which point he is released to independent study. Routine testing is still administered until 9th level at which time the wizard graduates and is formally declared a Wizard. After that time he may stay at the school in order to use the facilities and take Arcana courses but this is usually frowned upon.

Costs and Expenses

The tuition for the Great School is 5gp a day. This covers access to the facilities, mentor, classes and common needs such as ink and paper. Thrown in for free is a small room and three (poor) meals a day for those who want it. Most wizards move out as soon as they can afford it and almost all are out by 5th level since that is usually when they begin building their library.

What the tuition doesn't cover is reagents. So all components necessary for the creation of spells or magic items are for the student to find and pay for. This also goes for alchemical needs. A student should expect to pay a minimum of 1,000 to 3,000 gp a quarter along with the 5gp/day tuition.

Leveling and Advancement

In order for a wizard to gain the benefits of his new level, he must spend at least 3 weeks plus one per level attained at the school with his mentor. After 5th level the personal training is no longer required but his new level won't be recognized by the School unless he continues testing.

Testing consists of the wizard creating a spell from scratch, either a known spell or one from his imagination, and demonstrating it to a panel of instructors. The wizard must be able to show his work and answer questions.

In order to graduate a special test must be taken. The nature of this test is shrouded in mystery.


A wizard's philosophy reflects how he believes magic to work. While he is capable of creating other effects it will always be less desirable. In game terms, a wizard's philosophy reflects his Specialty, if any. A non-specialist wizard is considered to have the philosophy of Thaumaturgy. The eight main philosophies are Abjuration, Conjuration/Summoning, Divination, Enchantment/Charm, Illusion, Invocation/Evocation, Necromancy and Transmutation. There are also other minor philosophies that are recorded and are there for a student to follow. Those are Shadow, Elemental, Geomancy, Dimensionalism, Wild Magic and Force. (Apparently all these are in Player's Option: Spells and Magic).

It is possible for a wizard to develop a new philosophy. While silly ideas are frowned upon (the Food philosophy), ones that can make a lasting contribution are encouraged (such as Life and Dracology). If a wizard achieves Wizard status with a new philosophy he is asked to contribute his learning to the school in exchange for a generous payment or a teaching position.


Methodology reflects the manner in which a wizard casts his spells. In some cases a wizard's methodology eclipses their philosophy. The most popular methodology is standard book-bound spell casting. However the methods of Alchemy, Artifice, Channeling, Song and War are supported. (Note standard book magic and Channeling are covered in the rule books. The others are new.)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Beyond the Gates - Part 1

This actually got a few sessions but life got in the way before it really went anywhere. It was a d20 Modern game with Lovecraftian influences. It also shamelessly stole the concept of Delta Green and probably misused it in a way that was nowhere close to the original. Very Twilight 2000 in some ways, including improbable political events.

December 21, 2012 – The Gates Open
All over the world large objects called “gates”, for a lack of a better word, appear just before dawn. While the materials and specific architecture all vary wildly, from bone arches to girders of alien metal, they all share some characteristics. They all form large portals of some form or another, the smallest being 12' high and the largest towering over 100'. Within these portals are shimmering walls of opaque light that vary from gate to gate – not all gates are one color, some are striped, speckled or swirling. The gates are placed at irregular intervals – some are within a few miles of another while other places can go hundreds of miles without a gate. A full inventory of all the gates has not yet been established, and a few have disappeared in the ensuing time while others have opened. No special qualities can be detected around the gates, at least by scientific means. No one comes out when they go in, and no communication is possible when devices are sent through a gate.

December 21-23, 2012 – The Initial Mystery
For the first few days, the initial investigation into the gates occurs. The media is in full 24 hour coverage of the event and doesn't pay attention to anything else at first. People are afraid, very afraid – the building sense of apocalyptic paranoia and delayed millennialism is fully unleashed. There are suicides, people rioting to get into the gates while the authorities guard them and calls for this to be the end of the world. In the U.S., it is a combination of millennial terror and religious eschatology.

December 24 - March, the Nightmare is Realized and Days of Chaos and Death
It is finally noticed by the media that people are changing into... things. There seems to be no rhyme nor reason as to who changes, what they change into or where they are located. Its during this time that civilization nearly collapses completely as monsters freely roam the streets and everyone becomes afraid of their neighbor, unsure if they have changed or not. In the U.S., people are frozen between the terror of leaving their homes and facing the monsters and going out to get the things they need. The chaos in unimaginable as some places break into rioting and looting, some into massive massacres of or by monsters and others completely lock themselves down in terror. The economy completely shuts down and everything grids to a halt. In many places services shut down completely and the long, cold winter takes tens of thousands of lives in the north. International trade has completely shut off and starvation is everywhere. It very well looks like this could be the end of everything. However, also during this time people in power have not been complacent.

Perseverance of Heroes
In the U.S., the government did its best to continue on but there was just too much damage. To begin with, about half of congress turned into some form of monster (not that anyone could tell, lol) as did all the other members of government. The constitutionally structured government collapsed. There were some military attempts to take control, but there was so much effort being focused on damage control that power grabs weren't really possible. However, it became clear that someone was still pulling the strings of what was left, someone with a fully functioning chain of command within various government agencies.

This was Delta Green. After having been officially eliminated in the late 60's, the organization had gone covert and operated as a shadow agency within almost every branch of government, military and law enforcement in the U.S. When the Gates opened, their people were unaffected. Using this continuity, Delta Green used their positions and chain of command to take action. They have managed to keep the military and law enforcement focused on protecting civilians and keeping order whenever possible. They have used the intelligence agencies and scientific agencies to find out as much information about what is going on as possible. They have used the political offices to issue orders and maintain a semblance of authority even when they had none.

As people began seeing the man behind the curtain and asking questions, there was some infighting and revolt, but in the end Delta Green became the de facto leaders of North America, such as it was. In truth, North America has broken down into smaller communities with political control becoming completely localized. Delta Green really only serves as a government in the most basic sense – it offers protection of private property, defense from invaders and a framework for maintaining order. In return, for those who choose to recognize it, it receives manpower and what supplies people are willing to share. Not that there isn't abuse by local Delta Green operatives, but the organization's overall position is that it doesn't care how things are done, only that people are kept safe.

The Current Situation
All across North America (and the world, for that matter) the situation is completely random from place to place. In some areas, the monsters have taken over. Other places have become ghost towns. Still others chug along and do their best to pretend nothing is wrong. Generally, the strongest locations tend to be in the Midwest where food is much more readily available. The coasts and large cities have become veritable charnel houses.

Delta Green does its best to keep order. Cells are continually being recruited to find survivors, free up production resources, fight the monsters and generally investigate the situation in various ways. Bases have been established all over the country in whatever building most suits them, usually police stations or armories. There is often tension between Delta Green and the local government (whatever form it takes), but in the end Delta Green can muster more guns if it needs to.

Character Creation Notes
We are assuming you are members of a Delta Green cell. If you come up with any other ideas, feel free to run with it as long as it isn't likely to cause conflict with the players or GM.

Ability Scores
Everyone has to use the same method. Consult pg.14 & 15 in the Player's Handbook.

You start at 5th level.

All the basic & advanced classes from the PHB are allowed.
In the Urban Arcana book, the following Advanced classes are allowed: Speed Demon, Street Warrior and the Thrasher.
In the Even More Modern supplement, the following prestige classes are allowed: Mastermind, Sniper and Specop.

Occupations and Wealth
Wealth still exists, albeit not necessarily in cash any more, but there is a good deal of scrip and precious metal coinage floating around. We will be using the abstract wealth system as described in the book, only instead of loans/savings/etc, it will include favors/contacts/etc.

Your starting occupation should represent what you did before the gates opened.

Be sure to read the beginning of the Equipment chapter on how Wealth works.

The starting equipment that you purchase represents what you bring with you to Delta Green. Due to society's breakdown, there are no restrictions on what you may have gotten your hands on. However, consider that you can requisition equipment through Delta Green for temporary use (See Requisitioning Equipment on p.93).

Monday, May 13, 2013

Illen Shore

Found an old notebook from the late 90's. It has a few early notes on what would be Abanar, a treatment of the Great School of Magic game that actually got played for two sessions and not much else. There is a couple of pages about the town of Illen Shore, though. It looks like I was trying to create a small, Thunder Rift style setting. I can see ideas that eventually made their way to Stanfolde and others that, well, I was playing too much Magic at the time. Pretty straightforward stuff but it actually has a lot of hooks to hang some real meat on. Please forgive the prose.

The Fall of Nazerull
Ages ago there was a great battle in heaven. Lightning and thunder filled the sky even though the clouds were not dark. When the battle was over the rebellious angel Nazerull was cast to earth. His massive body smashed into the side of Darkstone Mountain and sent a hail of stone and debris for miles around. The people prayed to the heavens that Nazerull would not come for them and he never has. It is said that he waits inside Darkstone Mountain plotting his revenge on those that wronged him.

The Faithful of Al-Nazul
There were some who saw Nazerull as a true living god on earth and dedicated themselves to him in hopes of gaining power on his re-ascent. Led by the high priest Al-Nazul they built a temple at the base of Darkstone Mountain, hidden in the Shroudwood. Nazerull did indeed make them powerful and for many years their Avengers were a constant raiding threat. Eventually a band of heroes went and crushed the cult. The Shroudwood remains tainted with evil, though. It is said the souls of the faithful live on in the spiders that dwell there.

Lim-dul the Necromancer (I know, I know...)
As if drawn by these evil events a necromancer by the name of Lim-dul moved into Varness Marsh. His tower was well Hidden and from this secret base he began sending raiding parties of undead servants to collect more corpses. Worshiping Nazerull as a god of death a priesthood of unliving horrors arose around him. Fearing his growing power the Brotherhood of Cloud raided the Marsh, scattering his minions and ending Lim-dul's life. It is said his last words were, "Death is but a door. Time is but a window. I'll be back." "Fools! Nazerull has seen to it I will live forever!".

The Fallen Cloister
The Brotherhood of Cloud was not the only order committed to good in the region. Once there were the Followers of Wind, a meditative order that specialized in harnessing the body's power. One night there was a fire at the cloister and the surviving Followers arrived in town, minus the abbot, saying that the cloister was now off limits. From that point on they took on a mentor-pupil organization while always watching the hill where the cloister had been.

The Fall of Valen Thundercall
One of the heroes who defeated Al-Nazul, Tarren Thundercall, had  sword named for him. It was created by the While Mage Belegast specifically for that purpose. Tarren never returned from that raid. He was survived by a son named Valen. When he was old enough, Valen sought his father's resting place. It's not known what happened there but Valen returned with his father's sword. Slowly, though, he sank into a depression and then madness. After a horrible killing spree he fled into the countryside. There are still reports of him here and there committing atrocities. The Knights of the Cloud are actively chasing him.

Illen Shore

Situated in the northeast corner of the Empire of Ranke, many consider Illen Shore to be a cursed, backward place that no one wants anything to do with. This is far from true. Illen Shore is located in the middle of a wealth of natural resources that Ranke needs badly. Additionally, what many consider to innumerable curses are actually seen as prime training ground by others. While the War Priests of Ranke don't approve of Illen Shore's odd religious traditions the Emperor has deemed the stability of the area to be more important than his priest's pride. None the less the War Priests keep a temple garrison in town to keep an eye on things.

Illen Shore is located in a fertile river valley that is perfect for farming. The Cruth river flows southwest from the Cloudview Mountains, through the Shroudwood, into the open plains where it eventually empties into Lake Gostel. The nearest city, Ul, is located along the lake. North and northeast of Illen Shore are rocky hills that build into the Seamist Cliffs, an outcropping of the Cloudviews. The Cloudviews and adjacent Shroudwood block passage northwest and west.

Illen Shore has a population of about X, not counting the farmers in the outlying areas. There is some industry centered around mining and smelting, though not much since most people go to the dwarves for that. There is quite a bit of logging from the Shroudwood and Illen Shore is famous for its carpenters. Additionally Illen Shore is a religious and cultural center as it is home to several "enlightened" religions that are found nowhere else in the Empire. A good number of mages have settled here far from the Guild's eyes as have many other people not wanting to be found.

Services in the town cater to almost every need. Aside from the common general stores and other tradesmen, businesses have arisen to take advantage of some of Illen Shore's unique attributes. For example a good sized weapon and armor trade has opened up on account of all the Knights and armed guards. Esoteric herbalists, alchemists and charlatans have formed in the wizards' shadows (and away from the Guild). All sorts of religious knick knaks are sold everywhere, too. This is a prime spot for adventurers who want to avoid getting involved in the Empire's wars.

The town is governed by a council and a mayor. The council is composed of representatives from the following factions: Brotherhood of the Cloud, the War Priests, the White Mage, the farmers, the miners, the loggers, the merchants and the "voice of the voiceless" represents the poor (usually a Follower of Wind).


A lot of names are stolen from other places, here. It looks like I was trying to fix that as the next page has the following listed: Empire of Zîr, City of Arant, town of Rânas, Haba River, Khadûl Mountains, Carraine Woods, Lake Tûca, Kerador Cliffs, Pharûs the Fallen, Mergãnan Mountain, High Priest Molalan. Looking back, I understand the first set of names I used were a bit more generic fantasy but they certainly were more evocative.

The next page lists - Taco sub, turkey bacon club, 2 orders of round bread, 2 steak sub w/A-1, 13" pizza - bacon and sausage. Apparently it was game night.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Avinar Snippet

Have some plate tectonics and some initial ideas I found jotted down about the Avinar (eventually Abinar) setting while I proof read the next entry.

Alphas are "pure forms" from which humanity was patterned off of.
Humans worship the True Form of man.

Church of the True Form
Teaches that your descendants progress towards or away from Alpha according to their "karma".
Near Alpha language in services.
Various heresies.
Landowner religion.
Two factions - True Form must not be views (iconoclasts) and True Form must be sought out.

Alphas do not grow in number - limited to only so much "spirit stuff". Births only occur after a death.
Alphas divest energy to create servant races.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Slith Script

One of the games that is more of a gestating idea than anything is an exploration/hexcrawl using the Radiance RPG. It would have involved Enlightenment era explorers landing on an undiscovered land of ruined steam and electro-tech civilizations. I didn't get too far but I figured the dwarves would be the steam-powered civilization and the Slith would be the alien electro-tech. Very Elder Scroll/Dwemer inspired.

For some reason I got completely distracted by creating an alphabet for the Slith. Probably because I had discovered the Elian Script and turned the Language Construction Kit on it. I didn't go full Abinar... I'll tell you about Abinar later. What I came up with is below. It uses the Elian script with a custom set of sounds and a probably not well thought out script for numbers.

They had four fingers on each hand and their numbering system was octal. The 0 in the alphabet above was used only when referring to the empty set.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Mysteries of the Left Handed King - Part 2

And in another notebook I have most of the first scenario. I'll throw in a bit just to show what it was like. Damn I used to write a lot to prep for these types of games. This would make a great Gumshoe game...

Scene 1 - Celestial Books, downtown Boston, 6:30 AM, Tuesday

Celestial Books is a small collector's shop in the downtown of Boston. The sign out front features an open book full of astrological writing (Sirius features prominently with the label, "Stella Canis"). Nearby, possibly in an upstairs apartment, an eerie melody can be heard being played on a flute in repitition, perhaps part of a warm-up. (I had envisioned using a theme from Andrew Lloyd Weber's Requiem.) Breifly, through the early morning commuter traffic, the one investigator's lost pet can be glimpsed as they are being let into the crime scene. (How much will they risk to try and grab their pet?) The officer on duty is Reg Maloney, a no nonsense PD vet. He'll fill the investigators in on the details of the case with some annoyance - he doesn't know why they've been called in.

Known Details

  • Store owner - Celeste Levett, owner of Celestial Books.
  • Standard break and entry. The front door was jimmied as was the inside gate; someone knew what they were doing. The glass case inside is smashed with what looks like a blanket used to muffle the sound.
  • Celeste left the shop around 7pm yesterday. Locals within earshot heard nothing all night but no one was awake from 2:30am to 4:30am which is when the crime is suspected of occurring.
  • Only one book was stolen, the Regum Sinester Mysterium.
Inside, the scene is as described. A very tidy and neat bookstore - few shelves but very old books. There are quite a few glass cases, also. One of the shelves holds the lost cherished book for one of the investigators. CSI is here taking prints and Celeste is waiting for questioning.

Celeste Levett is a taller woman in her mid 30's with long, curly dyed blonde hair and glasses. Thin and dressed in a grey skirt suit. She seems very much to be a business woman.
  • She arrived at the shop around 6am to prepare for opening when she saw the damage and called the police.
  • The stolen book is worth about $5,000 or so to the right buyer. She isn't aware of any other significance nor has she read it. Has to do with an old cut or something.
  • She will admit that the book itself was being returned to the Miskatonic Library today as she had just discovered that it was their stolen property. She is receiving a reward for returning it. She knows little about the original theft and refers them to the original case file.
  • About the investigator's cherished book; she will simply say that she purchased it from one of her usual contacts and unless a charge was being filed she'd prefer to leave it at that.

Interlude 1

Initial searches for information will yield the following results:
  • Fingerprints - belong to Darron Crawford. Has a rap sheet a mile long for petty theft and drug possession. Has been clean for the past two years. Current residence is 1650 Shrewsbury Rd in Arkham - the Power of Self Society hall. DOB 8/12/1973, Arkham. 
  • Celeste Lovett - Also has a rap sheet for fraud and receiving stolen property. Apparently she has a history of knowingly buying stolen books.
  • The Book - was stolen from MU six months ago. Celeste was in the process of selling it when notified of this. She has provided the name of the seller, Bryant Walker, and agreed to return the book for a $1,000 reward. She paid $2,500. Office Dan Feely oversaw the case.
  • Bryant Walker - A graduate student at MU in anthropology. Was reported missing a year ago by his family. Missing persons case filled with strange stories of him popping up here and there, namely in graveyards, a mugging in Boston where he stole a woman's tampon and an incident at a Wal-Mart where he was screaming incoherently. Not sure how he got his hands on the book - it was checked out under the name "Charles Ward" but no one remembers doing that.
  • No info on the Power of Self Society besides the leaflets.
Charges can be filed at this point or hereafter about the cherished book but it will take time. It will also affect Celeste's disposition.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Mysteries of the Left Handed King - Part 1

This is basically a straight up Call of Cthulhu scenario. It is probably more likely to be played at some point than many other choices but I've discovered some notebooks are missing. Most notably the ones with the Kung Fu Star Wars and Dwarven legends. I'll call them up from memory if I have to.

I believe this was created around the time I got my hands on d20 Call of Cthulhu. I know the original campaign structure this sprang from, the Gilchrist Trust, came from that book. I had also picked up some Hogshead Games FBI books, too, so I'm guessing this was supposed to be a sort of X-Files setup with the players being federal agents. Specifically they were replacing a team that had previously been wiped out...

Robert Bissel's Case

The initial investigative team:
  • Robert Bissel, the team leader
  • Jared Lane, the forensic MD
  • Wendi Harrow, investigator
  • Johnathan Willcox, cult specialist
They began with an investigation into the kidnapping of flutist Cheryl Billimek. No ransom or other typical motivations seemed to be involved. They traced her kidnapping back to a cult called the Invisible Mask. Cheryl was killed during the attempted rescue but whatever the cult was trying to do was halted. They also gained possession of the cult's holy book, the Regum Sinester Mysterium, which Johnathan began to study since there was evidence that more of these cultists were on the loose.

Shortly afterwards Robert's daughter, Angela, was kidnapped and his wife Felicia was murdered. A note was left indicating that it was retribution for his actions against the Invisible Mask and his daughter would act as Cheryl's replacement in their ritual. Robert was officially taken off the case but was covertly included by his teammates.

Agent Willcox, who's reading of the Regum Sinester Mysterium was slowing warping his mind, managed to decipher when the cult's ritual would be and where. The agents, including Robert, assaulted the cultists. Accounts are confused, but only Robert and Johnathan survived and Johnathan was gibbering mad. Angela was missing, taken away by "a tall, dark man" according to Robert. The team was retired and a new one hired.

What Happened
According to the Regum Sinester Mysterium, the Left Handed King has three aspects: an Invisible Mask, a Bloody Hand and a Wounded Foot. Each is a path to the King's secrets. The Mask follows a path of appeasement, the Hand of sacrifice and the Foot of travel.

The Mask members Robert faced intended to offer a flute player for Azathoth's entertainment. Angela was been taken by Nyarlathotep to join Azathoth's entourage. Robert, driven mad with grief, thinks he can get her back.

What Robert is Doing
In order to get his daughter back via the Bloody Hand, Robert needs to acquire a copy of the Regum Sinester Mysterium, collect the liver and pineal glands of five victims and hold a ritual at the appointed time. His fellow cultists do the work for him and one has established himself in the leadership of the Power of Self Society.

Things to learn about Robert On the Way
  • Initial reading of the book
  • Official account of Robert's case
  • Info on Azathoth and his attendants
  • Info on Nyarlathotep and the Left Handed King
  • Info about Angela (she's a flute player)
  • Info on summoning Nyarlathotep in King form, his duties
Who Lost Something?
The theme of this campaign is the lengths one would go to get back something they lost. Each character must have lost one of the following:
  • a family heirloom
  • a loved one (dead)
  • a pet has gone missing
  • a cherished book
  • a body part (hair, finger, hearing, leg - minor or major doesn't matter)