Wednesday, April 16, 2014

30-minute map doodle

One thing I do is draw test maps. I have a concept in my head of how I want a particular area or region to connect and lay out, and I'll draw test maps until I can get how I want them. Usually those are doodles with circles and triangles, even more basic than the 15-minute from a few posts ago, but in this case I didn't think the details that I wanted to emphasize would show well in that style. I also wanted to test different ways of representing mountain ranges and forests; I haven't done most of this in years, so I'm a bit rusty.

The first image is the raw scan.

 The second image is after a few passes through Picasa to take the yellow out and tone down the grid.

If I were I "really" working on a map, I would've scanned this several times by now.  Somewhere in here I'd scan it, tweak it, and print it onto vellum for coloring.  Someday I'll learn photoshop coloring, but it's fast and easy to do it by hand.

This one isn't quite where I want it to be. The placement of almost everything is good, but I'm not sure about the mountain technique. I like the connected ridgeline, but I'm not sure it's quite conveying what I want. Time to browse the cartographers guild.  :)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Zine - Secrets #1

OK, so here's what's up.  The races zine isn't done, but it's in good shape. I wanted to do _something_, though, so I pulled together the spells and magic items I've posted here in the past year or so, and made a zine out of them (this has been on my list too, just not very high up).

I added a few new magic items to get rid of white space, and my magic items from the OSR contest, and two creatures, including my submission for round #2 of the OSR Superstar.  With the OGL, it's a nicely stuffed 20 pages.

I'm going to put the pdf up for a small fee.

You can also get a physical, brought-to-you-by-a-mail-carrier, version.
Why? Because the physical zine will have MORE STUFF.
Why? Because it'll have a proper cover. Which gives me 4 extra pages: 1 for the cover, and 3 for more stuff. NEW STUFF.

I'm going to take a bunch (probably twenty) of new spells, or items, or somethings, and put them stickers. And then I'm going to put one of those stickers on a special blank space inside the zine. Because I think it'll be hilarious to have twenty different versions, and everyone can argue about whose is the best.

I need to figure out a few costs (postage, probably photocopying prices at Staples for the cover at least), and I might wait a little to see how long this round of the Superstar contest takes (since my entry is in the zine), but otherwise it's good to go. The pdf is done; I just need to finalize the bonus pages.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Table: Sons of Kaw

Presenting the Sons of Kaw. Because nothing says random NPC like the list of names in Culhwch and Olwen.

You arrive at the Court of Arthur seeking aid. Alas, everyone is out except for the sons of Kaw.  Which one(s) agrees to assist you?

Roll 1d4 to determine how many Sons of Kaw want to come. If a 4 is rolled, roll 1d4 again, subtract one, and add that to the initial result (4+ (0-3)). If a second 4 is rolled, roll a 3rd time (8+ (0-3)), and so forth.

  1. Dirmyg the son of Kaw
  2. Justic the son of Kaw
  3. Etmic the son of Kaw
  4. Anghawd the son of Kaw
  5. Ovan the son of Kaw
  6. Kelin the son of Kaw
  7. Connyn the son of Kaw
  8. Mabsant the son of Kaw
  9. Gwyngad the son of Kaw
  10. Llwybyr the son of Kaw
  11. Coth the son of Kaw
  12. Meilic the son of Kaw
  13. Kynwas the son of Kaw
  14. Ardwyad the son of Kaw
  15. Ergyryad the son of Kaw
  16. Neb the son of Kaw
  17. Gilda the son of Kaw
  18. Calcas the son of Kaw
  19. Hueil the son of Kaw
  20. Gwydre, the son of Llwyddeu & Gwenabwy (daughter of Kaw). 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Fifteen-minute unfinished map.

Somewhere between a pictorial note to myself and a work-in-progress. Used to do a ton of these doodles, but haven't actually done one like this in years.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Best. Adventure. Ever.

A Fine Flerd Indeed

The small village of Fuly is renowned for its eels. Pies, stews, sausages – it seems like there’s no dish you can’t improve with a Fuly eel. In recent days, however, the flow of eels from Fuly has stopped, and the chefs of Amin are beside themselves. The Feast of St. Tondius is in a week, and without eels for the traditional dish, it’s just not worth the bother. Clearly something needs to be done.

The wizard Zurminus was a recent addition to Fuly. A plain and simple town, the people were duly impressed by the black-robed wizard and his hatchet-faced manservant as they strode around town acting mystical. Zurminus’s stone tower, a full three stories high, was erected over the course of a single month, with the assistance of a large band of ipotane laborers – clearly magically transformed giants, ogres, or dwarves. The tower stood for nearly six months until it was felled by a wizardly duel…or shoddy construction on a foundation of mud. In any event, the tower fell into the large moat-like ditch around the village, that separated Fuly from the fens, so no real harm was done...until the frogs appeared.

Zurminus, of course, was a hack. A low-grade mage with almost no ambition, his only talent and primary obsession was breeding frogs. He’d moved to Fuly to take advantage of the moderate climate and abundant insect life, and to raise frogs. The collapse of his cut-rate tower put an end to those dreams and his life (concerned characters may unearth Zurminus’s body from the bottom of the ditch, beneath the remains of his tower), but spelled trouble for Fuly as well. His frogs, a rare and mildly poisonous breed, were exposed to a combination of magical reagents and escaped into the wild. The reagents multiplied the quantity of frogs into the thousands before it became inert. As a result, Fuly is now isolated by a horde of tiny yellow and pink frogs that cause intoxication, hallucinations, and temporary skin discoloration (swirls of blue, yellow, and green). Eel fishing has ground to a halt.

The best and fastest solution is for someone to quickly bring in a flerd of ass-bitterns from the nearby village of Gibbil. The ass-bitterns are natural frog-eaters, hardy enough to resist the intoxication effects, and – as literal bird brains – don’t care about the odd and ephemeral skin markings. A flerd of 20-30 ass-bitterns can remove 90% of the delicious thumb-sized batrachians besiegers in a day, allowing eel-fishing to resume and salvaging the Feast of St. Tondius. But the Gibilians are hard bargainers, and they have want something in exchange for lending their flerd….

Asbittern: HD 2+1; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 bite (1d6), 2 hooves (1d3); Move 15; Save 16; AL N; CL/XP 2/30; Special: None.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Item: Rod of Leng

Rod of Leng
These slender, chalky rods likely originate with the alien denizens of Leng, but to what purpose is not clear. Rods of Leng are typically found with 2d20+10 charges and can be recharged, but only on Leng.

First, the rod functions as a +1 club when used as a weapon. A creature struck with the rod must make a successful saving throw or be drained of energy, taking a -2 penalty to saves, attacks, and damage until they have slept for 12 hours. If a victim is struck a second time, they fall into a deep sleep and cannot be awakened for 12 hours. The first strike expends one charge; the second does not.

Second, the holder of a rod of Leng can converse with denizens of Leng in their native, alien tongue.

Third, once per day the rod-wielder can cast ESP and mirror image; each takes one charge to function.

Expending two charges discharges a beacon that attracts the attention of the denizens of Leng; there is a 25% chance per hour that a denizen will come to investigate after the beacon is discharged, using dimensional pathways known only to the denizens. The denizens’ reactions vary depending on the reception and previous encounters with the rod-bearer; they are not automatically hostile.

Finally, a rod-bearer can be attuned to the essence of Leng by expending three charges. This grants the bearer immunity to poison and the ability to regenerate 3 hit points per round against any kind of damage, for twelve hours. However, if the bearer regenerates more hit points than their full hit point total, their corporeal body dissolves into inert slime and they re-form, naked and alone, in the otherworldly realm of Leng.

Denizen of Leng HD 8; AC 5[14]; Atk 1 bite (1d3+lassitude), 2 claws (1d4+1); Move 12; Save 8; AL C; CL/XP 13/2300; Special: None. The complete entry for Denizens of Leng can be found in Monstrosities.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Item: Athach Rod

Second of my submitted items, and the one I thought/think least likely to get any votes.
(Addendum: It's been pointed out that Tenkar hasn't posted the list of "1-vote" winners yet, so in theory this could be on that list, but a) the Codex of Dungeons already advances me; b) Erik is apparently weeding out duplicate winners; and c) I think this is the weakest of my 3 I don't currently see a big issue with posting it.)

Athach Rod

This stout wooden rod is engraved with coarse runes, and a lump of crude iron is fastened to one end, like a primitive mace. Three eye-like symbols are etched into the iron. An athach rod has a maximum of 3d10+3 charges.

The athach rod can be used as a +3 mace, and once per day, for one turn, the rod can secret a poison that causes creatures struck by it to make a successful save at a -2 penalty or be nauseated for 1d3 turns.

The athach rod has a number of other effects, three of which use a single charge each, and each of which last an hour. First, the wielder can cause a third arm to grow from their torso. This arm wields the athach rod; the user’s other arms can be used to wield weapons or shields without penalty. The third arm gets one attack a round in addition to the character’s normal actions, but is only partially under the wielder’s control and attacks anyone who comes within reach.

Second, the user can expend a charge to grow a third eye. This grants the wielder darkvision out to 60 feet (or 30 additional feet if the wielder has darkvision naturally), and the ability to cast darkness (5 ft radius), levitate, and phantasmal force. Each of these can be cast once during the duration of the third eye.

Third, the rod-holder can grow a third leg. Their movement increases by 3 [5 feet], they do +1 damage on their attacks, and they subtract one point of damage per die from cold, fire, gas, and lightning attacks against them.

Finally, the wielder of an athach rod can summon an athach. The first two athach remain each for three turns before disappearing, and attack as directed by the summoner. Each summoning causes one of the eye symbols on the head of the club to become blackened and singed, as though burned out by fire. After the third summoning (when the athach appears, not after three turns), the rod loses all magical properties. The third (and final) athach summoned only obeys the rod-wielder for three rounds, and does not disappear.

Athatch: HD 11; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 or 2 weapons (3d6 or 2d6/2d6)/1 bite (1d6+1); Move 15; Save 4; AL C; CL/XP 15/2,900; Special: Poison (nausea) spit, darkness, levitate, phantasmal force, reduced damage from cold, fire, gas, electricity, polymorph into other giant type. The complete entry for the athach can be found in Monstrosities.