Classic Dungeons and Dragons and Old School Gaming

D&D etc.


"Heir to a crumbling summit: to a sea of nettles: to an empire of rust: to rituals' footprints ankle-deep in stone."

-Mervyn Peake

"...and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped."

-Sir Bedevere in Monty Python and the Holy Grail



Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Monsters Remixed: Humans

Here is the last of the monsters remixed! This series started in October 2011 with Slimes, Molds and Jellies. So it's about time I finished it. The goal behind this series was to mix things up for the benefit of both the players and the DM while using the basic building blocks of the original dungeon monsters to arrive at creatures that may be a little weird and different but still feel like archetypes.
Magic items and Treasure for all of these creatures can be generated with another quick roll of a handful of dice with this: Treasure Hoards and Magic Items The other Monster Remixes are in the links to the right.

The way this works is you roll 1D4, 1D6, 1D8, 1D10, 1D12 and 1D20 all at the same time and write down the results: Cavemen who are also religious wackos and who are lead by a thief! or a group of heavy cavalry lead by a Magic-User who are hiding for some reason, or unarmed berzerkers with a bunch of followers! Who are these people? why are they following around berzerkers? why don't the berzerkers have any weapons? Maybe the berzerkers are just regular guys from one clan who were fed psychotropic fruit by a bunch of guys from another clan (the followers) who are daring them to do stupid stuff and laughing about it, or maybe there in the middle of some kind of weird berserker annual ritual or coming of age ceremony, or maybe the berzerkers are ladies with some kind of low grade lycanthropy that only effects ladies (a curse!) and the followers are their families, or...



Friday, November 6, 2015

Pangolin Class

To celebrate the passage of I 1401, here is a character race/class for your fantasy adventure games:

Pangolin
Pangolins are about half the size of humans with long snouts and even longer tongues. They are covered in scales, a form of natural armor. Pangolin Player Characters can of course walks and talk essentially just like humans.

Pangolins can't use large weapons and they can't see well enough to use ranged weapons, however they can attack with their claws and tail for D4 damage.

XP as Halfling
HD as Halfling
Save as Halfling
Combat as Halfling/Fighter
Special Abilities: Pangolins can Climb (96%) and Hear Noise (1/4) as a 10th level Thief. They have natural armor that functions as Scale Mail (AC 16/4) They can also curl into a ball and when doing so may add their level to their AC. Upon reaching Level 2 Pangolins may roll their normal movement rate when curled in a ball like Samus from Metroid.


Pangolins may advance to 8th Level when they may build a sweet tree fort or dig a secret lair. At that time 3d6 Level 1 Pangolins will come hang out and eat bugs with the PC.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Devil's Sword


I recently watched The Devil's Sword. I picked it up because the back of the box called it "One of the triumphs of Indonesian fantasy cinema." I recommend this flick for it is a mighty bounty of D&D-able moments. 

It starts of with a comet falling and an old guy with a (wolf?) head staff makes a sword out of glowing ore from the comet. He puts a wolf head pommel on the sword. Banyunjaga (below) has a pair of swords with croc head pommels. I think all of the swords used by the main characters have animal head pommels. Who needs detect magic or identify when all you need to do is look to see if it's got an animal on the pommel?

THE CROCODILE QUEEN:
She emerges from water with her servants after a red cloth flies out of water. Her servants wrap her in the red cloth and when they unwrap her she’s magically wearing fancy clothes. Do your NPCs do things like that? They should.

There’s a cage of cannibals just kind of randomly placed in a corner of the Crocodile Queen’s Chamber. What could go wrong there?

The Crocodile Queen has a white leather couch and the back of it looks like a white leather crocodile. This couch is really a marvel to behold. Look, this is a silly movie. but if your open to the kind of aesthetic experience exemplified by this couch then you'll get a lot out of it.

Really you will.

BANYUNJAGA:
He's a warrior who serves the Crocodile Queen. He emerges from exploding rocks laughing maniacally, then kicks a boulder, jumps on it and flies to where he wants to go, laughing maniacally the whole time. This is how you do NPCs.

There he goes. Hahahaha!

Other times he just pops up out of the earth. Is that a thing in martial arts movies or Indonesian mythology? Other characters do that to, including the crocodile men.

 Crocodile men are always lookin' for a tussle.

THE BRIDE AND THE OLD WOMAN:
Banyunjaga breaks up a wedding party and it’s the bride who has a big fight with him while the groom waits on the sidelines/hides. In this movie the female characters duke it out along with the guys, they are generally interesting and have agency though things don't end well for most of them.

This lady is a bad-ass.

There’s a lot of really truly crazy martial arts action. The bride makes this whirlwind/wind gust attack by spinning a parasol. One guy's weapon is a hat on a string. Banyunjaga does this decapitating scissor attack with his two swords that's pretty great, and I'm not even going to tell you what the old lady does.

There's a fight outside of the cave where the Devil Sword is just to see who gets to into the cave. That is definitely something I'm going to use. Before the fight one guy magically creates graves for the others just to show how hardcore he is, which should be a thing you can do in D&D. It's easy enough for the DM to throw in little magical or quasi-magical flourishes like this for the NPCs but I think the PCs should have a way to do it to. Depending on the flavor of your game everyone could do it, only characters of a certain level, or only M-Us and again depending on the desired flavor this could be a "signature move" or something like the above example that is clearly magical.

The evil warriors refer to themselves as "The Evil Warriors"

There are a LOT of headbands. Seriously. All of the main characters have headbands. Most of the extras have headbands too. I think the Director sent out a memo that said if you showed up to the set with a headband you got to say a line in the movie. All kinds of headbands. Skinny headbands. Thick headbands. Bejeweled headbands. Spangled metallic headbands. Clean headbands. Dirty headbands. Multi-colored headbands. A headband that hides an obviously false bald head. There's different headbands for different occasions. You've got your general purpose headband for fighting and such. You've got a headband for gettin' it on. Then maybe another headband for gettin' it on underwater. Devil Sword the RPG would definitely need a random headband table.

"Old woman, there is room for only one tiger in this jungle." (actual quote)

"I brought my jeweled headband, did you bring yours?" (not an actual quote)

Monday, October 26, 2015

BARBARIAN FIRE WIZARD

Wait, was that Conan shooting a fireball in that ridiculous picture in that last post a while back?

Why yes it was.
Here's a new class for Swords and Shenanigans or Lamentations of the Flame Barbarian or Labyrinths and Lizards that uses those Magic Words we were talking about:

BARBARIAN FIRE WIZARD

Prime Requisite: Strength and Charisma
Save as: Fighter
Hit Dice: as Fighter
Weapons: as Fighter
Armor: Leather, wool or none
Spell Progression: as Cleric, but can only cast spells that have FIRE in the name. No spells at first level means your BARBARIAN FIRE WIZARD just has to set fires the old fashioned way.
XP Progression: as Dwarf.
Special: Barbarian reflexes. +1 to AC per level up to double Charisma modifier.

Spells particularly suited to this class:

1
Charm
Fire
Allows the caster to control existing fires.
2
Hold
Fire
Allows the caster to grasp smoke as if it were solid.
3
Fire
Force
creates a disc of fire that does d6 damage per level and lasts as long as the caster charges forward.
4
Protection (from)
Fire
The caster is unharmed by fire for one day per level.
5
Read
Fire
burning a person's belonging allows the caster to divine one fact about them.
6
Fire
Portal
The caster can thrust or throw something into one fire and it will come out another.
7
Fire
Missile
The caster may fire one missile per level. Roll to hit. Damage is 1d6(+1 per level) plus ongoing flame damage. The spell starts a fire if it misses.
8
Ride
Fire
The caster may disappear into a fire and remain in it for up to 1 hour per level.


There are some more great fire related spells in this.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

4 YEARS

Happy 4 year Anniversary to me/this place/thing!


Built By Gods Long Forgotten: another place for stupid shit on the internet since 2011.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Back to the Ol' Magic Word Rodeo

I've been thinking some more about magic words.

Over at d4 Caltrops there are a couple of lists of words - one from standard spell lists and one list of "weird" words.  Adding the weird word list is a really nice touch.  I like how one word like "Fungal" can tilt a Magic-Users spellbook in a whole new direction.

LS's idea to incorporate these magic word combinations by allowing a M-U PC to propose one new spell at the end of each session is pretty much perfect as is.  At character generation you can choose or roll up spells however you normally would so as to not slow down the char-gen process. The DM can then use the magic words from the d4 Caltrop lists as treasure to add to a wizards repertoire after the game is kicked off.  

The level One spells listed as magic words could look like this:

1
Charm
Person
2
Detect
Magic
3
Floating
Force
4
Hold
Portal
5
Magic
Light
6
Magic
Missile
7
Protect (ion from)
Evil
8
Read
Language
9
Read
Magic
10
Person (al)
Force
11
Magic
Sleep
12
Unseen
Voice

I took Parker's suggestion to make "Ventriloquism" "Unseen Voice" instead, and changed "Disc" to the more generic "Force". The Shield spell is now "Personal Force" (I like this because it draws a connection between those two spells which really seem like the same spell just cast vertically or horizontally and also kinda explains why they are two different spells)

If you did want to give beginning M-U characters the option to use Magic Words in a more free form style but still be limited to the first level spell list you could do it like this:

1
Charm
2
Detect
3
Floating
4
Hold
5
Magic
6
Force
7
Protect (from)
8
Read
9
Portal
10
Person
11
Light
12
Unseen
13
Missile
14
Evil
15
Language
16
Sleep
17
Voice
18
Phantasm
19
Fire
20
Ride

The Moldvay Basic level one spell list has 17 words in it.  I added the last three words based on what I thought looked good from the AD&D and 3e spell lists.  "Ride Phantasm" is what I've renamed the Mount spell. I never really liked the Mount spell, but Ride Phantasm sounds awesome: 


Alternately you could break the words down by the part of speech:

VERB
1
Charm
2
Detect
3
Hold
4
Protection from
5
Read
6
Ride

ADJECTIVE
1
Floating
2
Magic
3
Unseen
4
Phantasmal

NOUN
1
Magic
2
Force
3
Portal
4
Person
5
Light
6
Missile
7
Evil
8
Language
9
Sleep
10
Voice
11
Phantasm
12
Fire







Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Are magic words hiding in your crappy spell lists?


"Irrational thoughts should be followed absolutely and logically"
-Sol Lewitt

LS had a cool idea. I liked it enough that I took the spell list for first level Magic-Users from Moldvay and started rearranging. Then today he said magic words are hiding in the dictionary. Of course they are!

But back to Moldvay:

These are color coded:

green = The ones that I think are the most promising, or in other words, that I could actually think of a spell for.

grey = In the book!

Are there great spells in here that I'm missing?

charm
person
In the book!
charm
magic
Counterspell – cast as a quick reaction against an attack spell.  Time slows for the Caster and the spell only. The Caster has 5 seconds to convince the spell to do what he wants, then the DM makes a reaction roll to see what it does.
charm
disc

charm
portal
A door that this spell is cast on will open,shut,lock, or unlock anytime in the future in the presence of the caster or one other person. Permanent.
charm
light

charm
missile

charm
evil

charm
languages
I want this to do something cool but I’m not sure what yet.
charm
shield

charm
sleep
When cast on a person as they go to sleep they will sleep incredibly soundly and either: not wake up until forcibly shaken no matter how long they lay there, or in the morning they’ll gain 1d6 HP.
charm
ventriloquism

detect
person
Caster knows the direction of the target for the duration of the spell.  Must have a personal item of the target.
detect
magic
In the book!
detect
disc
Those wily discs can be hard to find.
Maybe this could be used to find coins?
detect
portal
Find secret doors.
detect
light
If cast while lost in a cave this spell will whisper the direction of the above ground world until the caster finds it.
detect
missile
Caster cannot be surprised attacked with missile weapons. Is dispelled after the first time anyone does try to ambush them.
detect
evil
Caster knows who the bad guys are.
detect
languages

detect
shield

detect
sleep

detect
ventriloquism

floating
person
Kind of a lame levitate spell?
floating
magic
This spell needs a random table to see what it does. 
floating
disc
In the book!
floating
portal
This is where the floating magic comes from.
floating
light

floating
missile
The summoned “missile” hovers at the Magic-User’s shoulder and will strike back at any creature that attacks and hits the magic-user with an equivalent attack. (both roll and damage)
floating
evil
Summons a bad feeling that hangs in the air. A dark cloud. Demon whispers. 120’ range. 30’ diameter area of effect. Everyone effected must make a reaction roll -1 and will be at best grouchy and at worst argumentative or outright physically combative.
floating
languages

floating
shield

floating
sleep

floating
ventriloquism
Like regular ventriloquism, but better because it can move around?
hold
person
In a book, but not the one I used to make this list.
hold
magic
Counterspell - cast as a quick reaction against an attack spell. Both casters are locked in concentration. Neither the attacker nor the caster can move or take any other action until the attacker concedes and cancels the original spell.  Each round both casters can attempt to throw another spell by successfully saving vs. magic - the opponents level.
hold
disc

hold
portal
In the book!
hold
light

hold
missile
Freeze an arrow, spear, etc. in mid-air.
hold
evil

hold
languages

hold
shield

hold
sleep
Target of the spell does not require sleep for a number of days equal to the Caster’s current Hit Points.
hold
ventriloquism

magic
person
Target of spell can punch or otherwise physically interact with creatures that can only be hit by magic weapons, incorporeal creatures, etc.
magic
magic
Yes.
magic
disc

magic
portal

magic
light

magic
missile
In the book!
magic
evil

magic
languages

magic
shield
Ensorcels a mundane shield. +1 per caster level for 1 turn or +1 for number of turns equal to caster level.
It’s a tough call for the Level 1 Magic-User.
magic
sleep

magic
ventriloquism

protection from
person
Creates a magic barrier that prevents any one person from touching or attacking the Caster.
protection from
magic
Sounds handy.
protection from
disc

protection from
portal

protection from
light
The target of this spell may Hide in Shadows as a 9th level Thief (4/6 chance of success) until the next sunset or sunrise.
protection from
missile

protection from
evil
In the book!
protection from
languages
Renders any one intelligent creature dumb as an animal. Make a reaction roll to see if they are helpful, peaceful, skittish, defensive, or aggressive.
protection from
shield

protection from
sleep

protection from
ventriloquism
This spell shouldn’t be allowed because it will encourage power gaming.
read
person

read
disc

read
portal
This spell will provide the Caster with a detailed description of what is on the other side of a magic portal.
read
light

read
missile

read
evil

read
languages
In the book!
read
magic
In the book!
read
shield

read
sleep
Allows you to see what someone is dreaming?
read
ventriloquism


"Ventriloquism" and "Disc" are reeeeally hard to combine with other words to make cool spells. No disrespect to Floating Disc at all, I love that spell, but I just can't fathom how or why you would charm, detect, read or really do any thing to or with a disc.

"Charm", "Magic", "Person", "Protection from", those are way easy to combine with other words and come up with good spells.

This was a fun experiment and in my mind worth it for the counterspells Charm Magic and Hold Magic alone. I would not have thought of those with out this kind of process.