[Wanderer] The Coiners' League

The Coiners' League

At the foundation of empire, three powerful guilds were fighting for dominance of the new political landscape. The Tal Oligarchy's sacred beggars, the Rumasquari Burgler Academy, and the Orim settled into an agreement where each formal member of an organization could seek protection (if not commiseration) with the others. This arrangement has become known as the Coiners' Pact.


[Wanderer] Career - Nobles

Nobles are the social backbone of the Empire. They are the elite, charged by their Sovereigns and the Emperor himself with responsibility for the peoples and settlements of the bonded Kingdoms. Each kingdom might have different titles based on their traditions, but the Emperor has clearly outlined expected behavior for those claiming noble status.

This may seem a little different from the Classic Traveller version of the noble, but it is the one career that knits Wanderer's default setting together.


[WWIR] DnD4e - Good Bugs Hunting

What Would I Run? - Dark Sun
I just got my hands on the Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition Dark Sun setting. As a fan of the previous versions of this world, I have to say I'm impressed with the current iteration. Keeping true to the feel of the original and incorporating 4e-specifics like the Dragonborn and Eladrin was done elegantly. The art is really nice. Write-ups for some of the major powers in the world in the back of the bestiary brought a ton of memories flooding back.

So, of course, I'm riding high on the wave of creativity evoked by these reading-marathons.

Ergo this post: What would I run using the new Dark Sun?

Short answer: The PCs would be part of an all thri-kreen group representing a wild clutch in the wastes. For further details, read more after the break...


[WFRP3] The Gem of Aquos - Advanced Actions

By Kevin Morrell (aka KK the Splash)

This is the second part of the Gem of Aquos series. In the previous article I listed the Basic Actions that come with being the Master of Aquos. In this part I discuss the Advanced Actions that can be learned to control Aquos. These Actions increase the power and flexibility of Aquos as a damage-dealer and healer.

Each Action listed below must be purchased normally through the advancement process of your current career. Some of these Actions are used by Aquos and some are used by his master, but all must be purchased by the owner of the Gem in order to be available for use.

Here is a pdf with all the cards in this article suitable for printing.


[IMCotD] Dralasites and Shoggoths

(2:12:09 PM) Kevin: wait, Dralasites don't have ribs...
(2:12:24 PM) Gerall: them and Shoggoths...
(2:12:41 PM) Kevin: which are you, then?
(2:13:26 PM) Gerall: you know that Dralasites are just the larval form, right?
(2:13:42 PM) Kevin: OMG. that explains a lot.
(2:13:48 PM) Gerall: dunnit?
(2:14:13 PM) Kevin: I just lost 10 SAN.
(2:14:23 PM) Kevin: but gained 5% in Mythos.


[Wanderer] Career - Mystics

Classic Traveller's Book 2 was entitled simply Starships. This part of the core rules pervaded the rest of the setting and was instrumental in contributing to the "feel". When the Wanderer books were faked up, the artist made the second book of the trilogy hold the secrets for magic. Following the meta-pattern as much as possible, this bends our design of Wanderer to talk about magic or magical effects when Traveller speaks of starships and, well, travelling...

Low Passages in mustering out tables become one-shot magic items. Starships become Enchanted Artifacts tied to the setting. "Major races" and "minor races" are defined by their metaphysics; who codified their magics and teach them and who uses the magics taught by others.

With this concept in mind, let's talk about the Mystic career for our Wanderer.


[WFRP3] The Gem of Aquos

By Kevin Morrell (aka KK the Splash)

I'm a fan of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd edition. I've gamemastered a few sessions and love the dice mechanics combined with the action of the cards. My current adventure is based in Athel Loren, the great forest of the Asrai, the wood Elves. The party of four characters is made up of two Wood Elves, a Way Watcher and a Wardancer, and two High Elves, a Bright Wizard and a Sword Master. They have been inextricably embroiled in the return of Morghur the Master of Skulls, also called Cyanathair the Corruptor in the tongue of the Asrai.

They have recently found an ancient artifact dating back to the last appearance of the Chaos Lord in Athel Loren nearly 1000 years ago. Called the Gem of Aquos, it was an item created by Morghur to capture the immense power of an elven Water Master known as Aquos. His spirit bound in the Gem, Aquos served his new master, becoming spiteful, but still occasionally showing his famous compassion and calm.

Anyone who touches the Gem can become Aquos' new master. They must be trained in Channeling with Magical Sight allowing the new master to commune with Aquos' spirit to gain his insights into the magic of Water.

[Pathfinder] New Poison - Pliancy

The Ebon Six enjoy a broad range of resources; including their own mad alchemist. Rhi is creative, brilliant, and exceptionally cruel. Raised in the nobility of the Yeomanry, Rhi's reputation was shattered when his cannibalistic appetites were revealed.

Type poison, ingested; Save Fortitude DC 22
Onset 1 minute; Frequency 1/minute for 3 minutes
Effect +1 point of Pliancy (see below); Cure 2 consecutive saves negates 1 point of Pliancy

For each point of Pliancy the character accumulates, the subject suffers a -1 to their saves on mind-affecting Enchantments (charm, compulsion), and Illusions (figment, glamer, pattern, phantasm). If the specifics of the Enchantment or Illusion does not expose the subject to immediate, noticeable danger the penalty is increased to -2 per point of Pliancy.

Rhi's Insanity
Born the sixth son of a low-caste Suel family, Rhi's fantastic mind became his family's hope for advancement in the hierarchical society of the Yeomanry. Trained extensively at the expense of his siblings, Rhi became an accomplished wizard and a creative alchemist. His fascination with drinking the blood of commoners was only discovered when one of his victims managed to escape from confinement while Rhi was entertaining leaders of state.

Pliancy is one of the concoctions Rhi distills to help woo potential victims; Ursht has discovered that the colorless, odorless fluid dramatically helps his meddling with the Yeomanry's nobles. In exchange for regular additions to his collection of commoners, Rhi keeps the Ebon Six supplied with enough Pliancy to host parties where the drinks and foods are powerfully tainted.


[Wanderer] Career - Rogues

Among the peoples of the Empire, there is plenty of opportunity for illegal profit. There are innumerable practitioners of crime across the Kingdoms of the Empire, but the first and strongest organization to rise across multiple Kingdoms is known as the Coiners' League. Highly organized and focused, the Coiners keep their members ahead of each Sovereign's authorities.


[Community] Stack Overflow for RPGs

For those who may not know (read: people who aren't software developers), there's a site online called Stack Overflow. It's designed to allow social interaction between community members. You ask questions, your community answers them. You have an answer, you can contribute to someone else's questions...

Quite an effective way of hearing from your peers about tools and processes in the industry.

Now, someone's taken the Stack Overflow software and created a site for paper-and-pencil / tabletop RPGs! I'm excited about its bright future, and will be signing up for membership as soon as this is posted. This site is still in beta as of this writing, meaning that the administrators are looking for a certain magic number of people to sign up for accounts before moving the site out of beta...

So PLEASE! If you're interested in seeing a community of gamers grow an archived collection of gaming lore, join and participate. Communities are only as interesting as their members.

Game design, rules questions, player strategies, shared NPCs... Mmmmm!


[IMCotD] Traveller, or sick, sick ADnD

(2:04:27 PM) Gerall: is Grandfather a psionic Droyne lich, like an alhoon (illithid lich)?
(2:04:55 PM) Kevin: no, no, no, NO.
(2:05:03 PM) Gerall: you sure?
(2:05:09 PM) Kevin: no.


[Pathfinder] Vidiin - After the Scourge (level 1)

Vidiin was just another gnome raised within the Percept Orphanage of the King's Kaer. Early on, his rebellious tendencies were aimed at simple attention-getting ploys. They became more and more elaborate as he grew up and his tastes changed. His first robbery provided all the children of Percept with new shoes. Unfortunately, it also got him on the wrong side of the Kaer's Thieves' Guild. To protect himself and provide the rush of recognition he's deeply addicted to, he has created a pseudonym; The Unseen Poet. The Poet's heists always involve difficult to trace goods, a robbery in silence, and a verse left at the crime scene.


[Wanderer] Muses - Optional Experience

The Problem
In modelling Wanderer on the Classic Traveller LBBs, we come to the inescapable conclusion that the original design did not provide for development of a character's skills after character generation. For the era, there was no precedent that advancement mechanics would be viable (or even popular). Modern RPGs are now an ecosystem of the descendants of games where character advancement was a means of making your character unique and fitting for the setting she was a part of.


[Pathfinder] New Weapon Enchantment - Ruin

Ruin: When a ruin weapon does any damage to an opponent of its keyed type, the target must make a Fortitude save with a DC of 17. If the victim fails the save, he is Stunned for a number of rounds equal to the wielder's Charisma modifier (minimum of 1 round) as crippling pain wracks his body. Against the designated type of enemy, the weapon's enhancement bonus is +1 better than its actual bonus as well as doing an additional 1d6 damage.


[Pathfinder] Ursht - 2nd Level


The Ebon Six have been busy. Guided by visions from his sire, Ursht has helped them secure positions within the political landscape of the Yeomanry. After careful vetting of candidates to find those of weak will and corruptable mein, Ursht would be brought in (cloaked and masked) to mesmerize by leading special séances to speak with the ancestors of the attendees. These rituals were devised to give victims visions of political success, and the cult more information about what motivates their targets.


[VNS] Day 1 - The Science within Dagon

Vacation Necronomicon School - Assignment #1

Our initial assignment concerns ruminations on the scientific aspects of Lovecraft's fiction, specifically within the story Dagon. Here are mine...

[Wanderer] Career - Warriors

Here are working notes on Wanderer's Warriors career path. Feel free to add feedback (constructive criticism is appreciated; flaming will getcha baned!).

Characters are created using the same outline as in Traveller Book 1, Characters and Combat. There are a number of cascade skills (which are documented), as well as the basics for skill accumulation and mustering out. As previously stated, the "default setting" described by these careers will be documented in a different post. Trust me; this initial Kingdom will have many similarities to those who have read the world's most popular roleplaying game.


Vacation Necronomicon School

Well, smack my butt and call me Shirley...
Turns out there's a summer correspondence course to study the works of H. P. Lovecraft!

I believe I'll be participating in Vacation Necronomicon School.

Fun stuff.


[Pathfinder] Ursht - New Character

A vile demon-worshiping cult has wormed its way into the noble Houses of the Yeomanry of the Flanaess. What began as a fashionable séance-enacting occult society evolved into The Ebon Six, a coven which venerates Graz'zt and holds ties to the warlord Iuz. To cement the cult's power and prove their faith to the Dark Prince, the cabal's leader Heneras gave Graz'zt his eldest unmarried daughter. Surulla disappeared in a flash during the ritual but was found several days later walking back towards the capital, babblingly insane.


[Traveller] Ship Design - Kha Class Strike Carrier

To help in writing Wanderer, I wanted to run some Classic Traveller and get my "combat legs" back for the system. Talking with my group, I found several were wanting to run a military game and tear things up with Gray Ops, Battle Dress-equipped Imperial Marines. Given the scenario-based game, I thought I'd indulge in some custom ship design and make the ship the center of the stories.


[IMCotD] - Steampunk Edition

IM Conversations of the Damned

(9:10:45 AM) Kevin: Next on a special episode of Steampunky Brewster -- she crashes her Zeppelin into the Royal Naval Base.
(9:11:20 AM) Gerall: Oh Punky!
(9:11:52 AM) Kevin: I want to watch this show!
(9:12:33 AM) Gerall: It was obviously the Rocket Nazis which caused the Zeppelin issue...
(9:12:49 AM) Kevin: Or the Gorillas.
(9:13:24 AM) GK: Oooh - Gorilla Scientists from the Darkest Congo!!
(9:13:30 AM) Kevin: Yes!
(9:15:16 AM) Gerall: They're actually here to help Steampunky fight the Rocket Nazis, but noone speaks their language...
(9:15:50 AM) Gerall: Good thing the royal naval base has a world-class translator!!
(9:16:13 AM) Gerall: Then we discover that the Gorillas aren't native to Earth; but Venus!
(9:16:36 AM) Kevin: Oh, man. get your mind back to Wanderer. :)


[Wanderer] beginning Careers section

It is good to be done with the Introduction for Wanderer. Now, on to the hard work.

Careers are the meat-and-potatoes of setting definition for Classic Traveller. The first three LBBs defined the Vilani Imperium as the default setting. More interestingly, they accomplished this without broadcasting the fact. This allowed Referees to customize their setting if they wanted, stretching and warping the Vilani into their own interesting culture. Capturing the initial flash and impression of a specific culture without over-investing in a specific setting is going to be an interesting challenge.

My initial inspiration was to create a slightly modified system which used a "zero term" to define an initial culture. Leads to alternate careers could be embedded in a kingdom, allowing writers to proscribe some choices and make others more common by tweaking the enlistment requirement down or similar. Taking this "zero term" into account would, of course, push back the starting age of characters. Unless we tweak the number of skills which are common to characters...

...and so the inevitable mutation of my initial charge progressed. At least until Kevin reminded me of our purpose and drive: To use the stock system from Classic Traveller to implement a Fantasy Roleplaying Game.

Needless to say, I'm back on track now with the core rules as a reference. Our Wanderer is not a line-by-line transformation of Traveller. It is a game unto itself, that follows as closely as possible the design of its ancestor to give gamers the same quality tool kit they got when they picked up the original.

Good thing I'm not writing in a vaccuum. Thanks, Kevin!


[Pathfinder] New Weapon Enchantment - Wrack

Wrack: When a wrack weapon inflicts any damage against the specified type of foe, the target must make a Fortitude save DC 15. If the victim fails the save, he is Staggered for 1d3 rounds as waves of pain course through him. Against the designated enemy type, the weapon's enhancement bonus is +1 better than its actual bonus.


[Pathfinder] New Poison - Splinter

There are times when you just want to slow someone down, or get another chance to make your Stealth roll and hide from them. In this instance, Splinter is ideal.


[IMCotD] Do Robots Count as "Bugs"?

IM Conversations of the Damned

(1:10:46 PM) Gerall: it's a TL8 colony
(1:10:56 PM) Gerall: they have machineguns and mortars
(1:11:01 PM) Jeff: Oh
(1:11:03 PM) Gerall: mines
(1:11:19 PM) Gerall: one or two vehicles to shoot at you from
(1:11:22 PM) Jeff: So this'll be a stand up fight
(1:11:33 PM) Jeff: not a bug hunt
(1:11:41 PM) Gerall: until the Zhodani battle robots show up, anyway
(1:11:53 PM) Jeff: Go Zho!!


[Wanderer] Introduction begun

Got a little writing done last night for Wanderer. Using the original LBBs as a template, I'm writing the Introduction and "What is role playing" sections.

To be honest, strict discipline is the only thing keeping me to this old-school standard. I was one of those people whose first exposure to role playing was sitting at a table and watching a group work their way through the end of Slave Pits of the Undercity. Getting to actually see the ebb and flow of the game brought the experience home much more solidly than any "what is roleplaying" section I've ever read. My gaming group includes people who had to rely on these chapters during their formative gaming years, and I cannot imagine having to climb that hill on my own...

So, writing is beginning on the Wanderer project. Huzzah! I'm really enjoying it.

In other news, the default setting for Wanderer will be vague and allow for Referees to build what they want of their world. The initial premise is that progenitor civilizations blasted each other to bits hundreds of years ago, and currently heroes are beginning to protect their tribes and build new kingdoms. This will allow for the "randomly generated" aspects of the Traveller rules to be implemented in Wanderer without too much handwavium. Randomly generated entities will include; kingdoms, ruins (of the progenitor kingdoms), and beasts / monsters.

Generating random monsters to wander through the PCs' settlements ties into the previous collapse of civilization; magical experimentation led to their downfall. Generating random ruins and kingdoms provides the opportunity for solitary play. I don't want to use the term "dungeon", but it's a hard habit to break when it fits so well.

Modern role playing games have the concept of a Referee as default; original Traveller was brilliant in that it allowed for solitary play through the use of the randomly-generated creatures, star systems, planets, and cargoes. Ergo, Wanderer shall fit this paradigm as well. It's going to be an interesting experiment.

Can't wait until the end of the month! Work is keeping me hopping until the end of June. Wanderer development should rocket along swiftly after the first week of July.


[IMCotD] Gloranthan Grammar

IM Conversations of the Damned

(3:08:45 PM) Gerall: I'm thinking Lineage - it's growing on me
(3:08:51 PM) Gerall: like a vine
(3:08:55 PM) Gerall: damn elfs
(3:09:20 PM) Kevin: Elves, man, not Elfs. That's Glorantha.
(3:09:27 PM) Gerall: LOL
(3:09:30 PM) Gerall: did that on purpose
(3:09:47 PM) Gerall: to evoke a reaction - thanks!
(3:10:02 PM) Kevin: ::shakes fist::

[Wanderer] Skills collected and organized

Kevin, being the productive guy he is, has finished collecting together skills for the fantasy version of Traveller. Basic and Cascade skills are included. I'll be going over this list, adding descriptions and further game-science goodness as time permits.

Lots less Computer - lots more Archery!

Once this is hammered out, we'll begin the task of organizing the Careers. First step will be to detail the core Careers (Basic LBB careers, plus the interesting bits from Citizens of the Imperium), and make them human-o-centric. Basic Traveller being the target to emulate, we're envisioning longer books to do detail work within things like Mercenary, Sea Guard, Scouts, and Merchant Prince.

Which brings up the concept of species / ethnicity / culture / and race...

How does Race Module 1 - Elves grab you? We want to keep the original flavor of the Traveller implementation as much as possible. Anything presented in its own Module is a sapient entity capable of being played (however horrendously) by the PCs.

Anyone have a recommendation for a word other than "Race" for the title of the Modules? Feels strange to use that word in that context. Something archaic and meaningful? Let me know!


[Wanderer] Old-school Traveller hack

Thanks to PSMangus, I've gotten bitten by the Wanderer bug... Kevin and I have begun writing, and it feels very good to apply some love to this venerable game system.

The Traveller boxed set was the first gaming item I ever bought for myself. It was amazing. The text was laid out differently than the Dungeons and Dragons material my friends were caught up in, and with a minimum amount of art the whole artifact evoked the image of the far future really well. It will be a real challenge to describe a Fantasy RPG with well-written text. One I'm looking forward to.

I can already feel a different "mood" take over when I think about PSMangus' Dreamer concept. H. P. Lovecraft's Dreamlands works have kept me entertained for years. The names, places, and exotics of that realm just beg for a gaming implementation too. I'm a fan of Chaosium's efforts in this direction, but feel that the BRP version of the game calls up shades of it's Elder sibling and taints what could be a tremendously unique setting. Using the tricks of presentation the original Traveller material taught us would be ideal for this setting!

Something just a little different from the sanity-smashing juggernaught that is Call of Cthulhu.

Who knew, all these years on, those little black books would be causing such a ruckus?