Friday, April 29, 2011

Karen Gillan

Amy Pond, Doctor Who

Monday, April 25, 2011

Northaven Bestiary - Armorol

Another of the huge fauna of the valley, the Armorol is a normally peaceful giant that forages the wilder areas, feasting on giant leopard grubs and tubers. Its a voracious eater, and leaves swathes of deep holes in the areas it passes in its search for food. It only has one known predator, the increasingly scarce, sword-toothed cave lions of the upper Fringes. It is well defended against predation, though, due to its thick, armored shell and a mace-like, spiked tail.

Like the Behemoth, it also possesses a rudimentary psychic sensitivity, though whether it has any abnormal level of intelligence is unknown, as the beasts are largely solitary and extremely shy.

Armorol: HD 4-7; AC 2[18]; atk tail; dmg 2d6; Save as: F4-7; Special: psychic sensitivity, AC increased to 0[20] if Armorol takes no offensive action.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Northaven Bestiary - Behemoth

When the fugitives of Apocalypse first landed at Northaven, one of the first native fauna they encountered were the Behemoths, giant land mammals that lived in the marshes of the River delta. The remaining psychically sensitive individuals among the exiles quickly discovered these creatures were mildly sensitive themselves, and possessed an unusually high intelligence level as well a culture of sorts. The exiles being desperate for a reliable food source, and lacking the population size to perform the manual labor required to maintain large crops, the Behemoths quickly became that source of labor (their massive claws being perfect for furrowing and reaping large areas in a short time), overseen by what would become known years later as the Guild of Foremen. This Guild consists of men just psychically sensitive enough to control and direct the beasts.

Despite the protestations of the more environmentally-minded exiles, the fragile, formative culture of the Behemoths was destroyed to accommodate the needs of Northaven's new human population. Some vestiges of that culture remain, however, and the Foremen have learned to stand aside during the annual mating season in late summer, when the largest male Behemoths engage in almost ritual combat for harem privileges.

While these herbivorous creatures are normally docile, when roused to anger they can be frightfully destructive, as when an overzealous Foreman instigated a rampage near a sizable local farming village that ended up being destroyed by just four of the angry creatures before they could be put down. In the four hundred years or so of Northaven's human occupation, there as not been a single recorded instance of a Behemoth dying of what could be termed "old age", which has led to local sayings such as "may you live as long as a Behemoth", or "a memory longer than a Behemoth's".

More still may remain of the Behemoth's primeval culture than most people suspect - last year there were rumors of some sort of religious gathering of Behemoths in the deep marshes.

Behemoth: HD6-10; AC3[17]; atk 2 claws; dmg 1d10 each; Save as: F6-10; Special - mild psychic sensitivity, communications, and resistances.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Random Table: Things you find in an Abandoned Post-Apocalyptic Outpost

Travel the radioactive, horror-filled wastelands of the post-apocalyptic world for very long, and you may stumble across abandoned outposts, shattered cities, mysterious domes, sand-covered military bases, burnt-out homesteads, dusty bunkers, and ominous basements.

What lies within them?

Random Table: Things you find in an Abandoned Post-Apocalyptic Outpost (d100)
1. A charred book of solar water-pumping engine diagrams.
2. A pull-string, talking doll that recites a message of warning.
3. An infra-red flashlight with a little over an hour remaining in its battery.
4. A dubious package of foil-sealed sandwiches.
5. A water-damaged oil painting of a horse. Tear it from the frame to reveal a map.
6. A black metal box with no adornment or apparati save a slowly blinking red light.
7. A metal sign depicting a fat, smiling, white-bearded man in a red snowsuit holding a voluptuous bottle of some dark fluid.
8. A yellow bottle of some elixir labeled "Sunny Days Insta-Tan".
9. A gray carrying-case with metal bars on one end containing a tiny canine skeleton.
10. A tattered metal arm that lashes out at anyone who tries to touch it.
11. A case containing thirty-three bizarre and unsettling carnival masks.
12. A silvery body suit with an attachable fishbowl-shaped glass helmet.
13. The diary of a madman obsessed with exotic, radioactively mutated flowers.
14. A living room with formally dressed mannequins arranged as if at a dinner party.
15. Some sort of control chair surrounded by shattered video screens and hanging wires.
16. A small ceramic jar filled with a powerful numbing agent.
17. A battered, solar-charged walkie-talkie. If activated, someone answers!
18. A small framed picture of three smiling children, smeared with fingerprints and dried tears.
19. A ridiculously ugly stuffed cat, crawling with lice.
20. A locked, faintly buzzing safe, filled with angry bees!
21. A dark room with all the necessary fluids and implements for developing pictures.
22. A case full of maps depicting the underwater topography of a now-dried-up seabed.
23. The scale model of a military base.
24. A small, radio controlled, toy helicopter. Needs some repair.
25. A 9' tall, writhing potted plant with glowing purple fronds.
26. A jar of human eyeballs suspended in some sort of fluid.
27. A sealed locker containing a magnificent wedding dress.
28. A case of fine, single-malt whiskey, the labels bleached away by time.
29. A hideous voo-doo doll.
30. A fortune-telling machine with a sinister robotic assassin in place of the normal turbaned fellow.
31. A row of slot machines that periodically light up and whir before falling ominously silent again.
32. A normal-looking closet door that opens into a tiny elevator leading down to a secret bunker.
33. A carved stone idol of a grinning, six-armed demoness.
34. A velvet-lined case containing six long hypodermic needles containing fluids of various colors.
35. A brass hookah inscribed with fanciful characters.
36. An oil-filled lantern that explodes when lit.
37. A tattered suitcase containing a human skull.
38. A metal beverage-dispensing machine that still works if coins can be found to put inside it.
39. An electric camera high in one corner tracks your every movement.
40. Seven fashion mannequins come to life late at night to kill, kill, kill!
41. Every time a certain door is opened, an angry dog can be heard barking somewhere in the distance.
42. An elaborate candle-lit shrine has been erected around the fading photograph of a silver-eyed woman.
43. A small garage contains a four-wheeler in working condition.
44. A working set of drums.
45. A set of books filled with hateful and racist dogma.
46. Webs hang here and there. In them, strange yellow spiders sing high-pitched wordless songs.
47. A smashed jewelry box still contains one charm bracelet with obscene charms.
48. A locked blue police box contains only dust and a long, tattered macrame scarf.
49. A battered television cuts on loudly and unexpectedly.
50. Giant poisonous sand-lobsters attack from below!
51. A silvery metal book of poetry recites the poems within it as the pages are turned.
52. A curious mummified hand with six fingers.
53. A fresh corpse lies curled, foetally, under a table, covered in tiny cuts and slices.
54. A pot of water boils merrily on a lit stove.
55. A threatening and vaguely horrific sex toy.
56. A set of nine, intricately painted, eggs.
57. A tin of lozenges that impart a temporary resistance to radioactivity.
58. A set of "Life" magazines with moving pictures depicting the apocalypse.
59. An inflatable punching clown.
60. The mold and ooze in a broken-down refrigerator lashes out with paralytic tentacles!
61. A bloodstained barber's chair and shears.
62. A set of reflective disks containing sensitive data if a computer can be found to read them.
63. Pigeon shit, everywhere, ankle-deep.
64. A stack of religious pamphlets warning the end of the world is near.
65. The room is overgrown with weirdly beautiful, pungent smelling fungi.
66. Coffin-sized tanks of water fill the room. Something moves within them.
67. The mildew stains on the walls here forms vaguely humanoid shapes.
68. A set of gleaming razor-sharp scalpels in a small leather case.
69. A toy truck stops and goes unexpectedly.
70. A ghastly white hand punches through the wall near your face as you walk past!
71. Farmer's Almanac 2134.
72. A package of spicy crackers.
73. A snuff box filled with strange white powder.
74. Each room mysteriously lights up as you enter, then darkens as you leave.
75. A ghostly voice from hidden speakers above chants "failure... failure... failure..."
76. A stack of photographs depicting women with bizarre mutations.
77. A pair o f white boots with strong magnetic soles.
78. A flare gun with six cartridges of varying colors.
79. A fancy, pearl-handled umbrella.
80. A swarm of ravenous beetles that emit a nauseating sonic disturbance.
81. A matchbox containing an immortal, intelligent cockroach that recites Plato.
82. A gleaming, fresh-smelling lavatory with a nice assortment of soaps and body fragrances.
83. A 1979 JP Penney toy catalog.
84. A desk calender with a new torture device depicted on each page.
85. A polished glass egg that lights up when held.
86. A small statue of Buddha with fresh flowers and a small bowl of rice laid in front of it.
87. A set of multi-colored permanent markers.
88. A treatise on various fish-drying methods.
89. A package of water purification tablets.
90. Robbie the Robot has gone mad and wants to decorate himself with your entrails!
91. A laminated chart of the local subway system.
92. The owners manual from a 1989 Ford Tempo.
93. An inflatable yellow raft with lightweight plastic oars.
94. A backpack containing dried biscuits, a water bottle, and a human leg.
95. A warm, full-length fur coat.
96. A gleaming bowie knife with a compass in the handle.
97. A scented candle.
98. A 1st edition Dungeon Masters Guide signed by Gary Gygax.
99. A brain with tentacles suspended in a liquid-filled green jar.
00. Radioactive zombies arise!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Torgo Tuesday!

Haven't done one of these in a while. Please allow Torgo to blow your mind. It's all he really has to live for...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tell me about the heroines in your game.

Celebrating Jirel of Joiry after a recent re-reading of "Black God's Kiss" (nice review here).

In the comments section, please tell me about the heroines in your games present or past, PC, NPC, or even player.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

BtBG Reader: James Enge, "This Crooked Way"

Last Summer I picked up a book of Sword & Sorcery short stories, "Swords & Dark Magic", which I reviewed here. Now, I have lots of books full of Sword & Sorcery short stories, but most of them were published in the 70's or earlier. As a literary form, Sword & Sorcery had languished a bit, from what I can tell, while "epic" fantasy took center stage. Something happened as the last millennium ended though, and suddenly all these great writers are appearing on bookshelves. "Swords & Dark Magic" is a great starting point if you want to discover what these guys are up to (in addition to some new works from some older torchbearers that never stopped like Cook, Lee, and Moorcock). One of my favorite "new" writers in that book turned out to be James Enge, whose drunken, morbid, anti-hero Morlock Ambrosious is more than deserving to rub elbows with the likes of Elric, Conan, and Cugel.

I picked up Enge's three published novels and devoured them.

My favorite has been "This Crooked Way" which I've devoured twice now. This is old-school picaresque fantasy in the style of Jack Vance; Morlock basically spends the whole book traveling from one point to another, and has a series of interesting encounters, tests, and trials along the way. To add to the mix, Enge has an interesting way of taking traditional fantasy elements and standing them on their ear, such as one fantastic encounter with a troll and a bridge. Also, Morlock is the son of storied wizard Merlin (though the connection between our earthly world and the world of Morlock is not discussed in any detail), who is not exactly a doting father - he plots to trick, thwart, or even kill his son at every opportunity (and he gets several in this book).

Magic plants, supernatural tricksters, witches, sorcery, thieves, golems, inscrutable alien intelligences, there's a lot to absorb here. With so many stops along Morlock's way, the book almost has to be read twice to take it all in.

Like most good Fantastic fiction, the journey is the highlight of the story, not the ending. If you're a fan of old-school Sword & Sorcery, journey along with Morlock for a while. I doubt you'll be disappointed.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Maren Jensen

Athena, "Battlestar Galactica"

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lazy Blog Post: The Battle of Crecy

Per Wikipedia:

"The Battle of Crécy took place on 26 August 1346 near Crécy in northern France, and was one of the most important battles of the Hundred Years' War. The combination of new weapons and tactics has caused many historians to consider this battle the beginning of the end of classic chivalry."

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A few notes and a quick poll

1. Thanks to everyone for being good sports yesterday, I know it must have been disappointing (but what's a trap without good bait?). I also know (hope?), that someone, somewhere, has been inspired to create the real thing, so we all win! ;)

2. Check out ChigoWiz's RPG Blog, where Michael has turned my own Round Table questions back at me. And yes, despite the timing, those are actually my answers and not Michael's April Fools' Day prank!

3. My favorite April Fools posts this year include Akratic Wizardry and Hill Cantons. BtBG posts from the Fools of Aprils past are here and here.

4. If you haven't been following Frog God Games, now is the time to pay attention - anyone in love with those hex maps and guides Judges Guild put out 30 years ago may be interested in their line of "Hex Crawl Classics" mods - each is basically a big hex map with lots of hex descriptions, and there will be 9 or 10 altogether. These are also by John from the excellent Land of Nod, and the first is due in print this month.

5. No, I won't be participating in the A to Z project sadly, too many other pans in the fire this month. But I will be following everyone else's with interest, especially James' Dwimmermount-focused A to Z, mainly for ideas to shamelessly steal for my own Megadungeon!

6. Quick Poll - Do you prefer MORE or FEWER classes in your old-school RPG, and why? OD&D had 3 classes; B/X had 4 (not including the 3 "race-classes"); 1E had a dozen. Which is best?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Cool new mapping resource (and free!)

Fellow old-school blogger Yul has kindly posted an online version of his "Overlord" mapping utility, which lets you generate your own Judges Guild "Wilderlands of High Fantasy"-style maps. It includes all the original fonts and terrain fills like Hills, Mountains, Forest, Swamp, and so on. It also makes the cool, blocky little town and village indicators.

As an added bonus, there's even a "Name Generator" you can click on which will randomly generate names like "Jigle" and "Foxelfglove" and so on, which I think is pretty cool.
You can generate the maps in either the original 17" x 22" format, or in 4 normal sized sheets that can be joined together to make the whole thing. "Black and White" color setting is easiest on your printer, but "Vintage" setting not only generates the entire map in that warm sepia/brown hue so recognizable to the original maps, but distributes the ink in such as way that it very nicely recreates the "dappled" or "goosebumped" feel of the originals.

There's also a "Full Color" option, which is eye-poppingly amazing, its almost too much!

Anyway, Yul will only have this available for free until the Beta testing is over, so be sure and grab it right away here as soon as you can!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...