Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Drew Morrison

I went to the Elmwood Art Festival last weekend, and had a great time browsing through the various vendors and artists there. Naturally, there was the usual array of overpriced wooden spatulas and badly painted landscapes and poodles, but there were also several very talented and visionary artists displaying their wares as well.

The work of one of these, Drew Morrison, particularly struck me, so I picked up a print (the first one below, titled "Aquaduct") for my home studio.

You can see more of his great stuff on, and buy prints from, his website online, and yes (if you're curious) he does take commissions. Nice guy, too.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Alternate B/X, S&W Wandering Monster Tables

This is the Wandering Monster table I use for my Omegea setting and the occasional Wilderlands pick-up game. The tables are based on the B/X Wandering Monster tables, which I gradually adjusted over time to better suit my Weird Sorcery & Science style.

Obviously, there are not a lot of specific details available on a Wandering Monster table, such as physical description or how exactly certain special abilities work. I tend to work mainly off a combination of evocative names (such as "Fly, Giant Talking", or "Spiderbear") and whatever suits the situation and character abilities best.

Incidentally, you will notice there are no Clerics on these tables - in the Omegea campaign, all spell casters are considered to be "Sorcerers", with d6 HD, no armor use, may use all weapons, and may choose spells from Cleric or Magic User tables alike, using these according to the Magic User Spell progression. So, if you use Clerics in your campaign, simply give it a 50/50 chance whether a table result of "MU" is a Wizard or a Cleric.

Armor Class is Ascending, so if you use Descending AC, simply subtract the AC's listed below from 20 to get what you need (for example, AC14 below is AC6 for a descending AC game).

(Monsters typically attack and save as Fighters of level equivalent to their HD. Monsters typically have 1d6 hit points per hit die. Some stronger monsters may have d8 or d10 per Hit Die at the Referees discretion)

Level One
1. Acolytes(1d8) – AC14; HD1; dmg1d6
2. Bandits(1d8) – AC13; HD1; dmg1d6
3. Beetle, Nuclear(1d8) – AC16; HD1; dmg1d6; bladder glows 20’ for 1 hour.
4. Wretches(1d6) – AC16; HD1; dmg1d6
5. Thieves(1d6) – AC15; HD1; dmg1d6
6. Marauders(2d4) – AC14; HD1-1; dmg1d6
7. Green Glowing Slime(1d4) – AC1; HD2; dmg dissolves person in 1d10 rounds unless burned off (1/2 dmg to both slime and victim).
8. Murderous Lepers(3d6) – AC13; HD1-1; dmg1d6
9. Giant Black Bees(1d10) – AC13; HD1d4; dmg1d3+poison(2d6).
10. Corn Children(4d4) – AC13; HD1d4; dmg1d4
11. Lizard, Giant Purple(1d3) – AC15; HD3; dmg1d8
12. Thugs(2d4) – AC13; HD1; dmg1d6
13. Giant Albino Mole(1d10) - ; AC16; HD2; dmg1d6
14. Mildew Skeletons(3d4) - ; AC13; HD1; dmg1d6
15. Snakes, two-headed(1d6) – AC13; HD1; dmg1d3x2+poison(1d6).
16. Spiders, baby-faced(1d4) – AC13; HD2; dmg1d8+poison(paralysis).
17. Mocking Faeries(3d6) – AC15; HD1d3; dmg1+poison(2d3).
18. Vampire Bats(1d10) – AC13; HD1; dmg1d3+1d6/rnd blood drain.
19. Sly Looters(1d8) – AC13; HD1; dmg1d6
20. Oozing Curs(2d6) – AC13; HD2; dmg1d6+5% chance oozing disease.

Level Two
1. Beetle, exploding(1d8) – AC16; HD2; dmg1d6; explodes when killed 2d6 5’r.
2. One-armed Berserkers(1d6) – AC13; HD1+1; dmg1d6 (+1 to-hit and dmg).
3. Cat, Giant Green(1d4) – AC14; HD3+3; dmg1d3/1d3/1d4; camo.
4. Elfs, Sadist(1d4) – AC15; HD2; dmg1d6; spells as MU2.
5. Fungus Ghouls(1d6) – AC14; HD2; dmg1d3/1d3+fungus paralysis.
6. Amazons, Jackal-headed(1d6) – AC15; HD2; dmg2d4.
7. Oooze, Stop-motion(1) – AC12; HD3; dmg2d8; acid dmg.
8. Slavers(1d6) – AC14; HD2; dmg1d6.
9. Lizard, Giant Frilled(1d4) – AC15; HD4; dmg1d10, hypnotic frill.
10. Lizard Men, Red(2d4); AC15; HD2; dmg1d6+2
11. Morlocks(1d10) – AC12; HD2; dmg1d6
12. Fops, drunken(2d6) – AC18; HD1d3; dmg1d6.
13. Imps(2d4) – AC17; HD2; dmg1d4+poison(2d6).
14. Fly, Giant Talking(1d6) – AC14; HD1; dmg1d6+1d4digestive bile.
15. Monkeys, Undead(2d6) – AC14; HD1; dmg1d6 or 1d3 ranged.
16. Snake, fire-breathing(1d8) – AC14; HD2; dmg1d4 15’ cone.
17. Spider, human-handed(1d3) – AC14; HD3; dmg1d6+poison(death).
18. Lizard Men, black horned(1d8) – AC15; HD2; dmg1d6+2.
19. Mercenaries(2d4) – AC18; HD2; dmg1d3.
20. Hazmat Zombies(2d4) – AC12; HD2; dmg1d4/1d4

Level Three
1. Ape, Four-armed albino(1d6) – AC6; HD4; dmg1d6/1d6/1d6/1d6.
2. Beetle, Halbard(1d6) – AC17; HD3; dmg1d10
3. Hulking Brutes(2d4) – AC15; HD3; dmg1d6+3
4. Silverfish, Giant Poisonous(1d3) – AC13; HD3; dmg1d2+poison(paralysis)x4
5. Shapeshifters(1d6) – AC15; HD4; dmg1d6; change appearance at will
6. Ice Ants(2d4) – AC17; HD4; dmg1d6; cold aura 30’ dmg1/rnd.
7. Doll, murderous(1d6) – AC15; HD4; dmg1d3/1d3/1d6
8. Compost Heap, Living and Hungry(1) – AC12; HD4; dmg1d6+paralyze and envelope
9. Houri(1d6) – AC13; HD3; dmg1d6; charm person at will.
10. Suit of Armor, animate(1d6) – AC4; HD3; dmg1d6
11. Wereworm(1d8) – AC13; HD3; dmg1d6+poison(2d6)+5% infection.
12. Witches(1d4) – AC11; HD2; dmg1d6; spells as MU2.
13. Obsidian Judge(1d3) – AC12; HD1; dmg1d6; gaze petrifies.
14. Pulsing Jelly(1) – AC12; HD5; dmg2d6; vampiric aura 30’ drains blood 1pt/rnd
15. Vicious Warriors(1d6) – AC14; HD4; dmg1d6+3.
16. Shadows(1d8) – AC13; HD2; dmg1d6+1pt Strength.
17. NPC Party(3d3) – 80% Fighting Men, 10% MU’s, 10% Thieves, Levels 1d3 each.
18. Spider, Howling(1d3) – AC15; HD4; dmg1d6+poison(2d6); paralyzing howl.
19. Ghoul Sorcerers(1d6) – AC14; HD3; dmg1d3/1d3+paralysis; spells as MU2.
20. Lecherous Spirit(1d6) – AC15; HD3; paralysis touch + cold 1d6/rnd.

Level Four through Five
1. NPC Party (3d4) – 70% Fighting Men, 10% MUs, 20% Thieves, Levels 1d3+1.
2. Bear, Stuffed Undead(1d2) – AC15; HD7; dmg 1d6/1d6/1d10
3. Jackals, Vampire(1d6) – AC15; HD4; dmg1d6+3d4 blood drain.
4. Giant Hookworm(1d3) – AC14; HD6; dmg1d8.
5. Heron, Evil Black(1d4) – AC14; HD5; dmg1d6+petrify
6. Shapeshifters(1d6) – AC15; HD4; dmg1d6; change appearance at will.
7. Ooze, Electric(1) – AC12; HD3; Dmg2d8 20’ radius.
8. Plague Men(2d4) – AC16; HD4; dmg1d6 or 3d6 acid 30’ cone.
9. Lizard, Black Centipede-headed(1d2) – AC16; HD6; dmg3d6.
10. Wereslugs(1d4) – AC16; HD4; dmg2d6
11. Werecentipedes(1d6) – AC20; HD4; dmg2d8
12. Brute, croc-headed(1d6) – AC14; HD6; dmg2d6
13. Jelly, Hypnotic(1) – AC15; HD5; dmg1d6/rnd; hold person 3/day.
14. Roachbear(1d4) – AC15; HD5; dmg1d6/1d6/2d6
15. Giant Mantis(1d4) – AC15; HD4+4; dmg2d6/2d6
16. Disintegrating Cloud(1d4) – AC18; HD5; dmg save or disintegrate one item or limb.
17. Blood Phantom(1d4) – AC18; HD6; dmg save or 3d6 blood loss dmg
18. Iron Giant(1d8) – AC16; HD6; dmg1d6/1d6; regen 2d6/rnd
19. Crab, Giant Land(1d4) – AC17; HD4+4; dmg2d4/2d4
20. Assassin, Shadow(1d4) – AC17; HD6; dmg 1d6+3/1d6+3; invisible

Level Six through Seven
1. NPCs(3d4) – 70% Fighting Men, 10% MU’s, 20% Thieves; Level 1d4+3
2. Razorworm, segemented(1d6) – AC16; HD7; dmg1d10+bleed 1/rnd
3. Mantisbear(1d2) – AC15; HD7; dmg1d8/1d8/1d10
4. Obsidian Orb(1) – AC14; HD10; dmg1d10+paralyzing tendril.
5. Stone Maw(1d3) – AC14; HD6; dmg1d8, walk through stone
6. Vampire Batman(1d4) – AC14; HD7; dmg1d4+4d6blood drain; teleport 120’
7. Dragon, Small, Stupid(1d4) – AC17; HD6; dmg1d3/1d3/2d6 or fire 60’ cone for 6d6dmg 3/day.
8. Brass Bull(1d2) – AC20; HD8; dmg2d6 or petrifying gas 60’ cone
9. Faeries, undead(2d4) – AC18; HD1; dmg1d6; spells as MU5
10. Snake, Giant 7-headed(1) – AC15; HD7; dmg1d10x7; regen5/rnd
11. Werebeetle(1d4) – AC22; HD8; dmg1d12
12. Brute, Elephant-headed(1d6) – AC16; HD8; dmg2d6
13. Bleeding Mummy(1d4) – AC5; HD5; dmg1d6/1d6 + 20% bleeding disease (1/rnd until cured).
14. Brain Jelly(1) – AC12; HD8; dmg1d10/rnd digest; hold person at will.
15. Spiderbear(1d4) – AC5; HD5; dmg1d6x8.
16. Ice Men(3d6) – AC18; HD2; dmg1d6; freezing aura 1/rnd 30’
17. Fire Men(3d6) – AC20; HD3; dmg1d6; burning aura 1/rnd 30’
18. Scorpion-bat, Giant(1d6) – AC18; HD4; dmg1d10+poison(4d6).
19. Ripping Spectre(1d4) – AC20; HD6; dmg1d6x6;
20. Clay Guardian(1d8) – AC18; HD6; dmg1d8/1d8; regen5/rnd

Level Eight +
1. NPC Party(3d6) – 60% Fighting Men, 20% MU, 20% Thieves. levels 1d4+4
2. Floating Green Cube(1) – AC20; HD12; dmg2d6 per 6 rays: cold, fire, electric, negative, nuclear, disintegrate.
3. Dog, Giant 3-headed(1d2) – AC18; HD8; dmg3d6x3
4. Giant, helmeted(1d3) – AC20; HD10; dmg1d12+3
5. Dragon, Fast, Smart(1d4) – AC22; HD12; dmg1d6/1d6/3d6 or 12d6 fire 60’ cone.
6. Demon(1d4) – AC20; HD9; dmg1d6/1d6/2d6 or weapon 4d6
7. Giant, Hawk-headed(1d6) – AC16; HD8; dmg3d6; flies.
8. Statue, Giant Guardian(2d3) – AC24; HD10; dmg2d10
9. Toad of the Abyss(1d4) – AC20; HD9; dmg1d20; adhesive/corrosive tongue.
10. Vampire Sorcerer(1d3) – AC15; HD9; dmg1d6 or 3d6 blood drain; spells as MU9.
11. Black Knights(2d4) – AC22; HD9; dmg1d6+5.
12. Master Assassins(1d6) – AC20; HD7; dmg1d6+poison(death); surprise.
13. Living Idol(1) – AC24; HD20; dmg5d6/5d6, poison breath 60’ cone.
14. Great Worm(1d3) – AC14; HD15; dmg2d8; swallow 15 or better.
15. Burning Bones(1) – AC19; HD9; dmg fireball (6d6) at will; flies.
16. Platinum Eidolon(1) – AC21; HD8; dmg2d6/2d6; immune to magic.
17. Spider, massive(1d4) – AC18; HD9; dmg2d8 + poison(death)
18. Mantis, Great Purple(1d3) – AC22; HD10; dmg3d6/3d6; spells as MU5.
19. Cold Shoggoid(1) – AC24; HD15; dmg1d8/1d8/1d8/1d8; cold aura 6
20. Mindlord(1) – AC20; HD12; dmg1d8+4; spells as MU10.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Gangnam Style!

Occasionally, the odd contemporary pop-culture phenomenon manages to bypass all the traps I've laid and reach my luddite inner sanctum of pulp novels, 80's music, and vintage rpg supplements.

So, allow me to share with you, Gangnam Style!, from the Korean performer called "Psy".

What's remarkable to me about this chubby older guy's gaudy, bizarre, outlandish, and hypnotizing visual assault is that, as of this posting, it has garnered more than 52 million views since it was first posted on July 15th 2012.

Yes, 52 million views.  In 5 weeks.

To put that into perspective, the video for Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody", arguably one of the most famous songs ever, has had 47 million views since it was posted on Aug 1st of 2008.

As to the "Oppen Gangnam Style" phrase Mr. Psy keeps repeating: "Oppen" is apparently a Korean term akin to "dirty uncle", or an older man who dates younger women, and "Gangnam" is a wealthy and pretentious Seoul neighborhood (a sort of Korean Beverly Hills, I guess) that Mr. Psy is poking fun at. So there you go.

If you're wondering what this has to do with classic games, well, I'm at a loss, except to say it never fails to amuse me how unpredictable and unexpected sudden pop-culture phenomenons can be, not unlike a certain little brown box was 4 decades ago.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Blake's 7 remake in the works?

The online rumor mill has it that there is the possibility of a remake of Blake's 7 on the horizon.

I really enjoyed this show when I watched it, years and years ago. For me, it combined elements of Star Wars-like space opera, with the peculiar English Science Fiction sensibilities I enjoyed so much in Doctor Who. And those crazy outfits! The fact that the series was sequential, telling  a complete story, was a draw as well, as most series tell largely independent stories in each episode.

And the series finale? Blew my mind.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Warriors of the Red Planet update!

If you haven't been by the WotRP site late lately, swing by for a couple of new previews!

Thomas and I are happy for, and extremely flattered by, the continued interest in our old-school Sword & Planet RPG book. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Some TSR History

A little bit of cool TSR history, generously shared by EGG, Jr recently on the FB.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pathfinder Comic Book

Paizo (the preternaturally prolific company that puts out the Pathfinder RPG, or "D&D 3.75" as it's sometimes known) is putting out a new monthly comic book called, simply, "Pathfinder".

I've loved gaming-related comics, both serious and humorous, for about as long as I've loved gaming. The "serious" end of gaming related comics has had a rocky past, though, with few titles lasting longer than a few months, due, usually, to either lack of interest or lack of quality. I think the last really enjoyable one I read was a 4-5 page monthly supplement to the Knights of the Dinner Table, based in their Kingdoms of Kalamar setting. And that was a long time ago.

I'm interested to see how the Pathfinder Comic turns out, so I subscribed. I'm hoping for some good writing, obviously, and some good art, but it'll also be pretty cool to have a comic book show up in my mailbox once a month - something that hasn't happened in a very long time!

As an aside, Pulp fans should really check out the fire sale Paizo is running on their sadly defunct Planet Stories line. Three bucks each for these very nice editions of long-out-of-print pulp classics is a great deal. I just a got a big box full for myself.


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