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The island: (adventure seed)

From the prow of your ship you see the island come into view. At first it is nothing but a glint on the horizon, then a shining sphere.. a ...

Sunday, August 31, 2014

I went to a Con.. a small con .. but it counts.

Chillin at a table playing games/
Neal and I  drove down to WGGCon 2014 at Croton Point Park, it only took about an hour and a half to get there and we stayed for about five hours or so, I'm the wrong guy to ask about time and distance.
The con was very laid back, and run by very nice people. I have no complaints about the experience.
I'm not Normally a con goer, I don't have years of Gen-Con under my belt and  I don't make a huge habit of  seeking out gaming conferences.
Here are my thoughts:
  • Board games are cool , but I like RPGS more.
  • If I was going to run an RPG, which I could have at WGGCon there was no reason not to , I would want to stat early or plan on staying the night. 
  • Prepping for a con game would need to be more extensive than my normal prep, but I think that's kind of given.
  • As a GM I don't know if I could deal with the noise. I'm not used to it, and back ground noise just kills me.
I got to game with some cool people.
I played a beta from Dr. Finns games with  Steve Finn the  writer and designer. 
His current kickstarter which only has 20 or so hours left (GO QUICK!) is called   "The Institute for Magical Arts."
It's a fast playing two player card and dice game with a nice balance of luck mitigated by strategy. Cleverly written and easy to pick up. It was great to play it with Mr. Finn watching and giving pointers.

We also played "Let them Eat Shrimp" by the same designer / company. It's an area control and management game done by shape with a undersea theme. Let Them Eat Shrimp is also a clever quick playing game suitable for kids or adults.
Steve Finn and I also had a brief but interesting conversation on the nature and risks involved with kick starter. He has had a good deal of success on Kickstarter and has had several successfully funded projects. Kick starter still scares the hell out of me.
Even just in our quick conversations Steve Finn really impressed me, good guy.

We also Played Ascending Empires
A game which I fell like I should be saying I was lucky to play.
 The owner who's name was I believe Orin.  I admit I was having trouble hearing him. so if I just got his name wrong I apologize. He was an nice guy and very gracious to teach us the rules.
Then he kicked our butts.

I had never heard of the game but apparently it's popular and currently hard to find.
The hard to find  part might explain the several people who stopped to watch us play and also this entry on Amazon.
Ascending Empires involves galactic exploration, civilization building,  researching  technology trees, claiming victory points, and flicking small ships around a board making them crash into things.

Mostly I crashed into things. Mostly I crashed my ships into my own ships. I was pretty horrible, I had fun with it regardless. 

The  fourth Player in our Ascending Empires game was this gentleman.
Some call him Chris but he also goes by Whack Steven on You tube and on Twitch TV where he live streams Pathfinder. With something like 22 multiple part episodes on You tube you can get lost in the content but it's worth it.
His You-tube Vids are well produced, and look and sound awesome . A viewer can tell he takes making them seriously, and puts the time in. (the opposite of my you-tube vids)
In a broad sense the videos make an excellent learning tool for GMs then specifically for using Roll-20 to play Pathfinder, go watch them.

A genuinely cool guy we chatted about general games, D&D 5th edition, and then got our heads kicked in at ascending empires. 
To be fair he came in second by being sneaky with his cities.

So that was my con experience. 
If all conferences were that laid back and  all the  people you meet that interesting engaging and cool, hell Neal might be able to talk me into a few more. 
Metatopia anyone?

Finally  WHEW~!~
Its a great book.
Frog god games is a cool company.
I'm a happy  Blood sucking-panda-drake

As always thanks for reading 
questions and comments can be left in the  wreckage of two crashed star-ships floating below.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

On 5th edition Feats

This is a very short post on the  subject of feats in D&D 5th edition.


  • What I like. 
    • We NEVER have to use them.
    • There are only a hand full of them.
  • What I don't like
    • I read them  there's noting special going on there. I might do a breakdown of them sometime, but as a player they don't really grab me. 
Any way when My fighter hit level four, I  added two attribute points to Constitution to get me to a score of  twenty which makes my character feel like a total bad ass. *

My thought is this could all of those feats be rolled in as options as part of the  various Class "kits?" such as fighter martial types? 

The whole 5th ed "feat" dynamic just feels very tacked on to me.
I might just need to read the PHB more closely.

Any thoughts?

* I rolled 4d6 drop the lowest in order, which  resulted in a better character than I usually get. My scores as rolled ranged from 11 at the lowest to 17 at the best. Also being human give me a +1 to every thing which I also feel is  kind of Hackneyed.





Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Deep Hurting ......Deeeep Hurting...

In the vast inky black of the under dark the sound can be heard for miles. 
Clink...Klink...
Hammer and spike biting stone.

To our people it is music, for our people it is poetry, a story, 
battle-cry. 
Klank...Clink...klink..
Never rest these halls from us, we are these halls.

Clink...Clink.. Klack...Klick...
In the unknowable black of the under dark the sounds can be heard for miles. 



The Duergar are coming to Dyverscampaighnblog's Under Dark Wars.
Pull up a seat and enjoy.

Thanks for reading 
-Mark.





Friday, August 22, 2014

Die mechanics that say !~POW~!


When I start working on a game one I think about very early on is, "How will the dice marry with the desired flavor of the game?"
It's an important question.
Personally I filter every decision I make

If the game is a game with  lots of fighting and strategy it's OK to have good number of modifiers and several roles to  complete a round of combat. If the game is more in the realm of descriptive action then a tighter faster die mechanic might be a better choice.

By way of example look at D&D 4th ed. In a typical round of combat there is allot to know about your character, what the character can do, what skill are available how they modify the hit roll, and how their position in the fight  might  modify any of that. It all effects the result of that humble twenty sided die. Am I bloodied? Is this attack an area of effect?Does it do something even if I miss? Does it trigger an attack of opportunity, or a shift? These are all valid questions round to round during combat in a game of 4th edition. It slows combat down. This is not a bad thing, this is what players who love 4th edition love. High fives all round when you force an opponent to move and trigger a bunch of opportunity attacks. It's a deep game which can be super satisfying for those who want to plunge those depths. The die mechanic and all that gets added to it supports the desired play style.
Heck my "Block game" falls solidly into this vein, it's a table top slug fest with more in common with Diablo or Gauntlet than D&D.
this  was so long ago....that game go so big...so  damn big..

On the other side is a game like Dungeon World. The dice are very minimal, roll 2d6 add your attribute mods over 10 is great, 7 to 9 success with some cost, under 6 not so good at all. As a die mechanic it's very fast, there is little to actually think about. Sure some players will go one level deeper and think about what combat moves they might be triggering when ever they start to talk, but that's actually not in the spirit of the game. The game is built to create  fast moving, non-strategic, descriptive melees. This more narrative dungeon crawl style is well served by a light die mechanic. This is not a bad thing, players looking for  action filled adventures without allot of system overhead eat this up.

So I have a confession a deep dark confession.
Ready.
If you have a hat, hold on to it.
I'm more of a narrative story gamer than any thing else.
A hush falls over the  two people who are reading...

I know......
The games I write, excluding AAIE which was more of an anomaly, would fall squarely in the story game genre, with an eye towards old school games. (I love random weirdness and always will.)
Sure I will profess D&D basic Compendium rules is my favorite fantasy system ever. Yes, I run AD&D second edition by choice. If I were to run sci-fi right now  it woudl be Star frontiers and not Numenera.

The truth is in my long running campaigns many times it really doesn't matter what system I am using moment to moment, because we go whole sessions without ever tossing dice. I don't make players toss dice to negotiate with the Jarl of Krom over the  fate of some displaced Orc refugees *. The players talk it out in character. It's about as narrative as you can get. Only roll when we have to is my motto.


How does this relate to Dice that go POW!
As I am  scribbling away  on my current project "Nova 74" I am searching for a mechanic that both supports common actions and sudden violent decisive combat.
the  majority of the game will be narrative, it has to be. The game is set in the middle of  1970's action movies, which are all about talking game and then backing it up when you have to.
When a roll needs to be made I want to glance at the dice and know what it means, narrate then move on.
"Because everything happens fast.."

I started working with a die pool built from  attributes and what the character knows. It was nice, but I did not want the players having to fiddle with a die pool  in  combat.
"I get three dice for my attribute, one for the pipe I'm about to  lodge in his face, and one die because I hate this guy, five dice"

Sounds fine but I think that would grind if the players had to do it every time they wanted to roll on something. To much fiddling -- not enough POW.



So I ripped the whole die mechanic out of  the game I was writing, just straight up deleted it, and that's how it goes. That's why I do this.

Could I take Apocalypse world and run that system? Sure, I could also use Fate, either would work well enough. Unfortunately using someone else's work as a base would deny me the pleasure of seeking a die mechanic that works the way I want it to.

Until I figure it out I will stretching my  brain muscle chasing a randomization method that will satisfactorily allow me to narrate a guy named Sugar-Bear kicking down a hotel room door, then whooping ass on a pimp named Tailpipe who may or may not know who killed Sugar-Bear's sister.

Do you game enthusiasts have any interesting ways that you look at die mechanics while you're writing them?

Until Next time.
Thank you for reading
leave your comments and  beer bottle caps in the  dusty dice bag below.
-Mark

*(For the record: The Jarl blindly hates Orcs, the party druid was left non-plussed by the Jarl's leadership qualities.)


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Doodled this while I was downloading a large game file.

I should work on it more and use it for something, sometime.
Here's a link to the game page.
you to could end up as a fighter with a fish .

Looks better this way ....
still have to finish the  damn thing.

Monday, August 18, 2014

what did I think about in Maine? GNOMES!

GNOMES!
Yes those guys.
Allot of people are all like "gnomes ? who gives a shit?"
I do.

Gnomes are the only AD&D somewhat :old school: player demihuman race that exists out side of Mr. Tolkien's august and looming shadow. Dwarfs and elfs have been forever altered by his portrayals of them. Orcs and by proxy half Orcs come with similar baggage.

Gnomes however a free to let their freak flags fly, to be what ever the hell the player wants.
You want a jolly little bastard who hangs out in gardens an feeds berries to the birds? Gnome. You want a little fellow who has a tattooed face and collects dire badger scalps to wear over his own shaved dead? Gnome.

Gnomes hold a very important place in the events of my home campaign. A lynch pin race really, not that any one knows how or why. (I'm not spilling the beans.)

Join me in  giving up a few ways that Gnomes are Metal.

  • Gnomes lovingly care for and breed war goats. These goats can only be tended by gnomes, and may only be ridden by the gnome who raised it. Should a gnome fall in battle his or her war goat will stubbornly defend its riders body until it is killed and buried along with it's master. The war goats are often  rubbed with charcoal to give them a more menacing appearance, and are outfitted with sharpened iron horn tips.

  • Ogres sometimes where the skeletons of gnomes around their necks as good luck charms. Occasionally a particularly well off ogre will catch a live gnome, roll him in warm pine tar, then dip it in gold coins and jewels. This gnome is then want around the neck of the ogre as a status symbol. Needless to say the gnomes hate this tradition and will spend their time as a trinket whispering miss truths and lies to their host ogre. Much discord and strife has been caused among ogre tribes by spiteful "Gnomeulett." If a gnome in this predicament is freed they will gladly give their rescuer what ever is stuck to them.

  • Gnomes are often used for ballast in ships. At port captains will often trade ballast between  their vessels as they take on and off load  cargo. These ballast trades are known as Gnomenschwappen and  are a  raucous affairs among the gnomes, who  party long into the night and  trade scrimshaw pieces they  carved during their long journeys.

  • At one point  the  Grim Jaw orcs were using a captured community of Gnomes as ballistic projectiles. The effect was supposed to terrify the  humans who's town  the orcs had under siege, which it did. An unsuspected side effect however is that some of the gnomes survived. The gnomes who did survive  banded together after they recuperated and formed the  spear point of a nighttime counter attack against the orcs. The Orcs were routed the humans saved and a new culture of Bezerker gnomes was formed . A group of gnomes known as the Brigitzen are all decedents of these hardy  warriors and they live by a set of simple laws, Fight when one must, never back down, die in battle They can be  identified by their tight leather helmets, their orange, red, and, green tartans and their exclusive use of  short sword and short spear. 


  •  Deep in the southern jungles  lives a tribe of  feral gnomes. They live high among the trees, in nests that are not that different form any  large birds nest. They are masters of the jungle foliage, capable of moving silently and remaining hidden even from the most stubborn pursuer. These Gnomes who call themselves the Kutak and are experts at extracting and blending poisons found in the environment around them. The Kutak can drop a full grown human with a well placed sling dart, (Sling darts are another  special skill of the Kutak gnomes.) ONe chemical that the  Kutak treasure is a a blend of  a rare mushroom spore, with the dermal ooze of  an equally rare tree frog. This sticky  substance known as "Ruld" among the  gnomes when exposed to air changes from  clear to bright  yellow to red. While it is yellow it is highly hallucinogenic , and the gnomes will use this substance to go on  long spirit journeys and  answer the  deepest questions in their world. The  closer the substance is to it's final red color the  ore powerful effect, however once it turns fully red the  user risks mind bending  insanity and even death. Many a Kutak have pushed the  limits by using the red Ruld only to wander off into the jungle never to be see again. Powerful wizards will seek the  Kutak and look to used the ruld as a way to expand their minds, but they do so at great risk to their sanity**

  • The  high  Gnome priest  Latoon who dreamed of building a gnome cathedral dedicated to his god Glitergol. Towards this goal he created for himself several stone gnomes carved in his own image. Latoon made five gnomes and  painted each one's clothing a different  color Red , Blue , Green, Yellow, and,  Purple. He then began the long arduous task of breathing life into the statues so that they may be employed as tireless physical labor. All went as planned until an exhausted Latoon suddenly died while hard at work drafting  a new wing form his grand cathedral. As Latoons heard clenched in his chest, his last words were spoken to the  Red Gnome , it was a command, "get help!" The Red Gnome being a automaton , has no way to get help except to being making  help, so the  stone gnomes of Latoon began carving  more stone gnomes in their own likenesses. In a year they had made hundred or so lifeless stone gnomes. The community  was shocked by the loss of Latoon, and  could not stop the stone gnomes from  going about their business, what was worse some of the  newly minted gnomes would  move on their own and block entrance to the cathedral site. In time the great Gnome cathedral was dismantled leaving only the desiccated skeleton of Latoon  sitting among thousands of  Colorful gnome statues like an undead lord with a comical army sitting among the ruins of his hubris. It was only when Latoons remains fell way and his scull rolled among the  litter of stone dust on the  old cathedral floor that his  gnomish golems stopped working. The gnomes in the community approached carefully and found all of the statues inert.  They  treated the statues with  great reverence for a while, but eventually as the community that and built up around the teachings and the dream of Latoon  fell apart and dispersed, they took statues with them. Gnome homes throughout the lands soon had the statues near their doors as symbols that they were descendants of the followers of  Latoon. The statues were said to come alive and  fend off intruders, though this may or may not be true. Gnomes who own one of the stated refer to them as Statues of Guarding, or guarding gnomes, humans some times call them Garden Gnomes, a real gnome descended from the  tribe of Laroon would find that highly insulting.
Check out: "Gnomes" by Will Hutton   Which is a great book for kids and has some simply amazing illustrations by an awesome artist Rien Poortvliet.


**Ruld in add 2d ed: Any one how takes yellow ruld will have one hell of a trip, save vs poison or your companions will have to hold you down for 12 hours give you plenty of fluids and wait for it to wear off. With Yellow Ruld there is a 1 in 10 chance that the visions the  player character receives are of value and  actually  provide real insight in to their present quest. 
Taking Red Ruld for any character other than a wizard save vs poison or  permanently loose 1d4 points of wisdom and pick up a random insanity  determined by the GM. Even if the character passes the  save they are in for one hell of a day  having the most extreme  violent and horrific mind bending hallucinations that the GM can think up. The character will also be so dehydrated and exhausted that they will be operating at 1/2 hit points until they can get at least a day of pure bed rest. 
If a wizard takes red Ruld things get strange. If they fail their saving throw they take all of the effects listed. If the wizard passes the  poison save they  go on a spirit journey. During this  hallucinogenic trip the wizard will fight a battle against some symbolic hallucination that has the exact stats as the wizard right down to the selection of spells and  weapons. This mirror match will determine what the wizard gets out of his risky journey into the mind. If the wizard wins the fight, he or she is granted a glimpse of the  universe in all of it's endless beauty and horror, and  receives access to one extra spell slot of 1d8 level up to his or her maximum. For example if the  character can only cast 4th level spells he or she woudl only be able to gain a spell slot of  level one to four. 
If the Wizard looses the battle the wizard is granted a long look at the  universe beyond his or her mind, it's to much. The wizard looses 1d4+2 intelligence and any bonuses that may have gone with having high intelligence. A wizard may only take this trip once , if they ever try it again  they simply have a reaction liek any other character. Any Character who takes the Ruld earns the instant respect of the Gnome tribe.

Question Comments and all that good stuff  can be placed in the  hollowed out gnome skull below.
As always thank you for reading.
_Mark
This post is dedicated  to Joohan Tyree, Have you heard of him?  Well regardless, he is a bad ass Gnome.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

5th ed, inclusiveness, and things i'm doing.

This my friends is going to be one of those long rambling posts that I love so dearly. It will cover more than one subject and probably not do any subject any justice. Again I prove I am a fantastic self promoter.

First off, Rest in Peace Robin Williams. He was a fellow R.P.G. gamer, and possessed an amazing mind, for acting , comedy, and improvisation. As a Gm I can only imagine what it would have been like to have his sitting on the other side of the table riffing off of whatever was going on in character. I think that if anything his death serves to remind us that clinical depression is a real and debilitating issue that many people spend their whole lives struggling with, it needs to be taken seriously.

Enough.

The group I play RPG's with is now waist deep in the 5th ed pool. 

Like many people I'm still waiting for my Amazon pre-order, PHB. However one of my friends traded in some old video games at a local store and picked up the PHB, so I have had some second hand exposure to the book. I know enough now that I am definitely looking forward to mine showing up at the door. Having  played and Run the 5th ed now a couple of times, I think the best change in the game is that I really don't have to change how I run my games. The change from 2nd to third edition was pretty dramatic. The change from Third to 4th edition was paradigm shifting. Playing 5th edition has felt like  putting on an old pair of shoes. That is a victory for the Wizards of the coast crew. It seems they have embraced the idea of directing the product at role playing game players, rather than trying to capture a different audience, which is what they did with the fourth edition. I think D&D and because of a strong D&D the hobby in general, can only benefit from Wizards choice in direction.

Do I love everything about the new edition? No. However if this is the game Wizards is going with then I finally have a D&D that's current and products I can get behind. Good show.

A quick sketch of my 5th ed warrior Orin,
 Sumi , 0.2 tech pen , woefully inadequate paper.

The Hobby, It's inclusive, you have a in choice who you game with.
I am not  going to wade into any of the current arguments going on surrounding who is credited in the  new 5th ed books, what they stand for and all that. This _is not_ about that. 

What I do understand is that at least some of those arguments swirl around the idea of inclusiveness in Role playing games. I can talk about that. I have thoughts about that subject.
It's a projection. A flickering image cast into a void of echos. *

 I'm deeply sorry this issue so obviously stirs up hard feelings and angst. My table is inclusive, If you want to game you can sit at my table and game, male female, LGBQT, black, white, Putrescent Purple, what ever. I am going to hazard a bet that allot of other players and GM's feel the same way.

Many of these issues seem to be projections stemming from bad experience, which is a damn shame because this hobby has allot more to offer than just arguing over if or not a chain bikini is to revealing. **
If you have felt marginalized or somehow otherwise put upon during your experiences gaming, you were playing with dicks. Trust me the hobby is awesome, the hobby did not ruin your experience the ass-holes did.

My  thought? Kill the bad experiences before they happen
Choose the games and the media you use carefully with an eye towards what you feel is a inclusive aesthetic. Play what you are comfortable with. In turn keep in mind that being "inclusive" includes the  concept that just because you don't like a particular image or thing does not mean a person should be  hounded or attacked over it. Some authors use a certain look and feel in their RPG products as a matter of artistic choice, in the pursuit of certain feel or vibe.THAT IS OK.  Being inclusive is not meen  "Include exclusively things I agree with," It is "Make room for everyone." Once everyone has a spot at the larger table, then we're free to choose the type of gaming we want to enjoy.

Then:
Be Inclusive at your tables, play your games your way, improve the hobby by being part of it. Share what you make and enjoy, images you love, game ideas you have. Be proactively creative, don't just shout anger into the void of other peoples echo chambers. Shout awesome things into the much greater pool of awesome people who are already part of this hobby, the awesome will resoundingly drowned out the negative.

Before I am told I am being dismissive. I am not. Sexism, racism, gender bias, discrimination based on sexual preference or any other "ism" are a sociological and societal black eye.

My  point is: We are  a niche hobby we are a small enough group that we have a choice. People who are genuinely toxic deserve to be relegated to the dark corners of a hobby, devoid of sunlight, devoid of an audience beyond their own echo chamber.

(* The void of echos.. I like that ...game-able)

(** All the energy and angst would be better served by being  focused on the more all encompassing  media // that projects a horrible image to young people every second of every day. Remember every time a Kardasian speaks an angel looses it's wings, then dies.)


Things I'm doing:

That's all out of the way let me talk about what I'm doing. I'm going to  be taking a week off, My wife has a family reunion to attend and I'll be more or less out of the loop for a few days. I may or may not post between the 13th and the 20th if I do they will be quick hitters. 

While I am gone I am going to start system work on  "Nova 74" a story game I am writing. The game based around pulp films of the  70's. Pretty much any film with the term -Sploitation in the title is fair game, as well as sci-fy, horror, and cop drama. It's set in 1970's America, only an America where every thing is cranked up to 11, as if it were viewed through the lenses of Gordon Parks Jr or Luiji Cozzi. Legendary America, America with a pounding Funk sound track provided by Quazar, and a bad ass space station behind the moon.


Also,
For our 5th edition players. I'm running WG7 Castle Greyhawk. So that's a thing, and it's just about unplayable, even in  it's native edition. On top of that I have to convert all the stat blocks into 5th ed stat blocks, (Thank goodness for the online conversion tools out there.)
Level 1 has gone alright so far, level two is a bit more of a role-playing experience, so it should go fine. After that who knows.

I wish I still had my dead tree copy of WG7. (I regret trading it in to a recycled book shop many years ago.) Using the PDF while we play online is proving to be a pain, especially considering I have almost zero experience running modules. On the flip side, I am enjoying playing all of the over the top NPC's however, and look forward to moving this along.

This is Fergus
He is not related to this conversation
but he is in my picasa image stream.
As always:
Thank you For reading,
Leave questions and Comments in the peanut barrel below.





Sunday, August 10, 2014

An alternative chart of D100 Mutations.

A quick Sunday post.
Because I mentioned it on a G+ post, here is the Mutation Chart from my game AAIE.

All the effect and stats are written for a different game, an intrepid GM will be able to figure how to make it work regardless.
In my game the chart is sometimes used in character gen and when the characters go overboard casting spells.
The rest of AAIE can be found here: Dust Pan Games

Thanks for reading!
use as you wish, just lt me know because I would love to hear about it.
enjoy.

Chart 8 Mutations

Roll d100 once for each mutation.
Roll Mutation Details
1 Tail 1 You have a long non-prehensile tail. You can use it to balance, but not much else, you tend to freak others out, because you look like a demon ..except Furries, those guys think you're the bomb.
2 Extra eye A functional eye has popped out of your 1.hand 2.back 3.forehead 4.elbow 5.Tongue 6.knee 7.shoulder 8.cheek 9.Adams apple / neck 10.shoulder
Aren’t you lucky
3 Shell You have growing hard shell over at least part of your body +3 armor score -1 athleticism.
4 Mucus You body covered in a thin coat of sticky mucus. Things stick to you, like a wacky wall walker.
5 Spines You have 1d100 random spines growing from your body, they help you wrestle your enemies and impede you doing every thing else.
6 Odor You smell strongly of 1.mustard 2.ammonia 3.garlic 4.death 5.fresh air 6.moist earth
7 Skin Color Your skin is 1.blue 2.red 3.orange 4.coal black 5.snow white 6.green
8 Extra arm You have grown another appendage your focus pool is cut in half, but you can wield another light weapon and make 2 attacks per round.
9 Feathers You have grown a coat of feathers, you do not get cold in bad weather, water runs off your back. 1.eagle 2.hawk 3.duck 4.partridge 5.owl 6.chicken
10 Boils You have broken out in massive boils they heal then come back leaving small scars all over you body. Your attractiveness is now a 1
11 Heat You give off heat, quite a bit, enough that any one with in 2 feat of you can feel it.
12 Tentacles You have sprouted 1d4 tentacles from your (roll for each) 1.shoulder 2.Back 3.Chest 4.hand you may make an attack with each one each turn for 1d4 damage. You freak others out, they have suckers and move a lot.
13 The stranger You have sprouted a limp useless arm from your 1.Chest 2.Back 3.shoulder 4.hip This arm is utterly useless and generally gets in the way and /or freaks people out. You can wear one extra magic ring on it, so there's that.
14 Crab claw One of your hands is a crab claw, it can attack for 1d6 Damage using Brawn. It also gives you +4 difficulty to all reaction checks.
15 Hairy Beast Your body is covered in a coat of thick wiry hair, you could be mistake for a Wolfhound. +4 difficulty to all reaction checks the fur is 1.red 2.black 3.white 4.spotted (roll twice, ignore 4) 5.brown 6.calico
16 What up Goat Your feat have reformed into cloven hooves. You look a bit demonic, +6 difficulty to all reaction checks. You also grow a beard, a goat beard.
17 Plant like You are now part plant, after one day in darkness every hour you are with out sun light you loose 1d6 resolve. Every hour you are in sunlight you regenerate 1d4 resolve.
24 Duck bill You grow an obvious duck bill, if you are into old school RPG's fan this does not bother you one bit. Other wise you are set up for being ridiculed in every inn you travel to.
19 Digits You grow 1d6 extra fingers, no modifiers but your piano skills go from good to amazing.
20 Jelly Patches of your skin turn to jelly, then heal, this happens daily and makes you very hard to look at. Attractiveness -1d6
21 Daily growth Each day the character grows 1d4 feet taller then reverts to normal size at the end of the day
22 Fused Any thin the character is carrying when they receive this mutation is fused to their body in a mess of melted and reformed flesh.
23 Sudden age The character ages to 60 +2d20 years.
Subtract d6 resolve, brawn, and agility.
24 Supra brain The characters cranium inflates like a giant veined mushroom, the gain 1d6 academics reduce brawn by 1d4
25 Peck Zillia The characters muscular development explodes out of control giving them 1d6 bonus brawn but -1d4 athleticism.
26 Lumpy The character develops foot ball sized lumps all over their body.
27 Brillo The characters hair all turns to thin metal wires.
28 Wooden bones The character now floats, small twigs and leaves pierce the character’s flesh in spots where the bones are close to the surface.
29 Mental block May not use 1 swords 2.bows 3.hammers 4.ax's
30 Droop The character's left side droops horribly as if it was made of melted wax.
31 Proboscus The character grows a 1d4 foot long prehensile trunk
32 Evil touch This character's touch spoils 1.food 2.alcohol 3.holly water 4.healing potions
33 aura This characters aura repels 1. wild life 2. domestic animals 3. humans 4.elfs 5.dwarfs 6.plants within 1d4 feet.
34 Etching This character may etch stone with his or her index finger.
35 Porcine This character takes on the appearance of a human sized pig or boar. This mutation has no other effect on the characters stats.
36 language This character suddenly knows, 1.dwarven 2.elfish, 3.draconic 4.goblinoid 5.demonic 6. angelic
language. The character can speak it but not understand it.
37 Wild magic aura An time this character has a spell cast with in 1d4 feet of him or her self, roll 1d6 if the roll is 4 or lower one key word in the spell will be randomly changed to 1.fire 2.ice 3. syrup 4. wind 5.death 6.healing
38 Sunken This character looses a great deal of weight and takes on the appearance of a cadaver.
39 dirt Mysteriously dirt constantly falls out of this characters shirt cuffs, pant cuts, pockets and armor joints.
40 Internal twin A twin chews it's way out of the characters body in some exposed part, Just its face part of it's head and one had is visible, The twin has a class of it's own and is played by the gm.
41 homunculus The character gains a 1.horse 2.rhino 3.lion 4.dog 5.bird 6.goat 7.sheep 8.snake head.
42 Solar sensitive In the sunlight this characters skin turns 1.blue 2.red 3.green 4.spotted then returns to normal when in the dark.
43 skunk When threatened, dropped below 5 resolve this character sprays a horridly smelly cloud of musk from two anal glands.
44 Voice over Every time this character speaks others also hear 1. angelic music 2.laughter 3.weeping 4.screams 5.discordant music 6.animal noises in the back ground.
45 Bark skin This characters skin takes on the appearance of tree bark,and complete with moss
46 Lobster claw One of this character's hands becomes a claw like appendage
47 Bat nose This character has a nose that looks like a bats, they also gain limited sonar that eliminates any penalties for operating in the dark, but they take double damage from sonic attacks
48 Rubber face This characters skin can be pulled stretched and molded into dropping , swirling and folded shapes -4 to attractiveness
49 insatiable The character is always ravenously hungry, and will eat all the time. Eventually becoming obese
50 Ear wax The character produces a great deal of ear wax up to 1d4 pints a day. It makes the deaf, and literally leaks out of their ears.
Roll Mutation Details
51 Spider legs You sprout 4 long spider legs from your abdomen, they can carry the character , climb walls and hold small items, but they are not strong enough to cause damage.
52 Sword arm, The bones in one of your arms fuse together into a sword like appendage that can do 1d6 damage with a strike.
53 Thin skinned Your skin becomes thin and translucent, the character will now take double damage from any slashing attack.
54 Tail 2 You grow a long alligator tail doubling your sped in the water eliminating your chance of getting dates
55 Beardsman You suddenly grow a 1d4 foot long beard that is 1.brown 2.black 3.copper red 4.white 5.blue 6.green
56 The dragon Your breath now smells of
1.garbage 2.rot 3.brimstone 4.roses 5.sewage 5.lavender
You may use this like a breath effect in combat stunning targets on a MD20 of 15 or higher.
57 Really long fingers Your fingers grow 1d6 inches. It looks creepy and all weapon based attacks are +2 ore difficulty
58 Acne You develop horrible acne, painful and disfiguring.
Your attractiveness drops by 1d6


59 Insect reproduction The character grows 1 egg sack on his back per week, the the egg sack will hatch painfully any time all three dice rolled are under 5, releasing a “man fly” a flying level 1 larval semi-humanoid that bites.
60 Weakness The character is now weak to 1.iron 2.gold 3.silver 4.stone 5.wood 6.Sunlight.
Exposure to this substance will cause them great pain and cause 1d6 damage per turn.
61 Gills Strange gills rip open in the characters neck, and will allow the character to breath underwater. The character will have normal athleticism under water but their athleticism on land drops by 1d6 the character must keep the gills damp
62 Melter You simply can not hold onto body fat, it melts off your character, literally, you sweat fat.
63 Compound eyes You have giant compound bug eyes. You can see thousands of images of what every one else can see clearly. +2 difficulty on all attack rolls.
64 Giraffe neck you can use you flexible 1d6 foot neck to look around corners.
65 Your sweat Is now 1D6 1.squid ink 2.wine 3.maple syrup 4.acidic 5.oil 6.extremely smelly
66 Limited psionics You gain the ability to mentally communicate with 1d8 1.dogs 2.chickens 3.snakes 4.ants 5.turtles 6. song birds 7.fish 8.squirrels
67 Gollemic The characters skin is replaced with chunks of stone they may no longer wear clothing , their armor score is 9. they gain 1 might and loose 1d6 attractiveness, they may clobber.
68 Second Brain The character grows a small external brain on their back. If they are killed by a head destroying critical, they may continue to exist as a zombie like blind and very disturbing shell of themselves. This husk would be the equivalent of a porter retainer.
69 Squid like The characters legs painfully split into 10 four foot long tentacles that the character may use for mobility. Each tentacle has suckers so you may now climb walls on a 9+
70 membranes The character has flying squirrel like membranes under their arms and they can glide with them.
71 Ever growing Teeth You have teeth like a beaver the character has to gnaw on wood constantly or the teeth will grow through the roof of their mouth into their brain and kill them with in 1d4 days.
72 Horse fiend Horses go nuts when the character is around, and whinny whenever the character's name is mentioned.
73 Angelic This character looks like an angel, porcelain skin, big white non functioning downy soft wings, and glowing golden eyes.
74 Demonic This character looks like a demon, Dark Red skin small horns, cloven hoofs, pointed teeth.
75 Roving eyes The charter may painfully remove his eyes and still see through them.
76 Cold blooded The character is cold blooded ad suffers a +5 difficulty to all actions until they bask for at least 1 hour near a fire or in the sun. They are invisible to infra vision.
77 Floppy Jowls The character develops huge floppy bull dog jowls.
78 Tusks The character grows 1d4 foot long tusks. The can be usesd as weapons as determined by the GM.
79 Smoke Every time the character exhales they breath out a smoky cloud
80 Locked spine, the character is hunched over and their spin is locked that way.
81 lippless Your lips fall off, no more saying b's. Your former lips remain  animated and  motion when you talk, any person observing them has a chance of reading your lips. This happens no matter how distant they are form you.
82 Vocal cords are rearranged Your voice is now subsonic low, 3-4 extremely high or 5-6 multi tonal
83 Fangs You grow obvious fangs that are 1-2. harmless 3-4 bite causes 1d4 damage 4-6 bite is venomous causing 1d4 damage for 1d4 rounds.
84 Cracked flesh Your skin is covered with deep cracks lowering your attractiveness by 3.
85 Huge You have grown huge 8 foot tall and much heavier. Your characters brawn goes up by 3 your athleticism drops to 1.
Armor score drops by 2 because you are that much more of target.
Armour will cost twice as much to buy.
86 Small wings Your character grows four small wings two on each shoulder. The wings are 1-3 bird ike 4-6 bat like. IF you flap like hell when falling you can avoid 1d6 damage.
87 Glass bones You bones have become brittle, you will now take double damage from blunt attacks, however an upside is you float.
88 Glow Your sign glows brightly giving off as much light as a lantern , if you open your mouth a beam of light extends 30 feat into the darkness like a flash light, you can no loner hide in shadows.
89 Dorsal fin You have grown a large dorsal fin much like that of the sharktapuss, you gain +2 athleticism while in the water.
90 Red skin You skin has become bright shimmering red
91 Albino You have lost all skin coloration
92 Closed system You no longer eat or excrete.
93 Spider eyes You have 6 small dark eyes a crossed your face rather than two normal ones. GM may give bonuses or penalties.
94 You are very dry You take double damage from flames, you absorb moisture at an astounding rate, you constantly flake a thin  cloud of dander.
95 Double jointed Your 1-3 elbows or 4-6 knees are double jointed and can hinge in both directions
96 scales Your skin is made of 1.gray 2.green 3. red 4. white 5.blue 6.multicolored shimmering scales
97 Super hard finger nails You can scrape wood and soft metal with your nails, they add 1d4 to your hand to hand combat a attacks
98 Two faces, Two faces, You have grown a face on the side of your face, you can speak with two voices.
99 Glue Skin Your skin constantly secretes a sticky glue that dries in five minutes, you can climb with -4 difficulty
100 Pudding The character is a boneless pudding. Can go under most doors, through bars takes 1/2 damage from blunt weapons.
Armor score is 8

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A one click character generator to make playing AAIE even more random-er

This goes out with Many Thanks to Neal T. who had the  crazy idea a few months ago to  convert the random character gen from my Amazing Adventurers and Incredible Exploits game and turn it into a one button player character generator.

It was a game changer in allot of ways. Now if a character dies a player could be back up and ready to roll on a matter of seconds rather than minutes.

He hung with the idea through all of my changes(and having one of his characters head crushed by a falling  block trap) and  waffling over certain points. I give him allot of credit, I constantly change stuff.
As he steels himself  for Gen Con he as taken the  time to  graciously ported his work to my site and  could not be happier.

Again Big Thanks to Neal for all the work

Find the generator: Here (Tip: use the "character sheet option")
The game AAIE can be down loaded in PDF form (for free) HERE
Find it all at The Home of Dust Pan Games

Thank you for reading,
Go click that button a few times.




Thursday, August 7, 2014

Images providing inspiration for my latest project.


Keeping them here so they are all up in my face for a day or so.








Thanks for reading!


Attributes and skills Dancing the forbidden dance.

Yes the attribute and skill Lambada will be performed to Frank Zappa's "Bee-bop Tango."

I have a thing about skills and attributes as a designer I love to link them solidly together in nice little covalent bonds of  character capability. Working on my  most recent project I have run into a bit of a problem.

I have decided to make attributes much less static crossed characters.
Whereas in the "best known RPG of all and ever," All characters are measured by Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Wisdom, Intelligence and Charisma. I am taking a different approach with players being able to define three unique attributes in three categories Physical, Mental, and, Social.

My current challenge is tying skills to the attributes while still being able to give each attribute some mechanical weight. I am currently toying with  tying skills to the  broader category then having different possible roll outcomes based on what attribute is invoked. I like the effect, but it does not smack of a system that "gets out of the way." It feels to me like a way of rewording invoking aspects from FATE which in my view is not a system that gets out of the way, at all.

So while I want my skills and attributes to get dirty and make  babies I am now rethinking the approach. While I like the  5th-ed approach of Roll + attribute mod + Skill mod if applicable vs difficulty. It's sleek easy to understanding and implement. While it does not fit what I am working on that kind of simplicity is  what I'm scratching around for. I think I'm on the edge of finding it.
   
Think for a moment if having a skill did not create a mathematical addition of + this or that to the roll but gave the character advantage in the action. I know that's equivalent to something like + 5 on the roll and I am not seriously suggesting  ripping the new D&D apart yet, but what I am saying is pulling the skill bonus out of the  roll equation makes the whole thing "feel" different.

Skills are the difference between knowing  how to do some thing and  simply knowing about something. I know about  the pistons in my car I know what they do. I know there are valves and rocker arms, the pistons move due to combustion caused by the ignition of gas and air injected into the combustion chamber chamber. I know these things don't allow me to change a piston in your car! I don't know how.

I'm not dumb I might be able to boggle it out if I had decent instructions, but chances are I would mess the car up quickly and badly.  My general Intelligence is not enough of a bonus to make that action of replacing a piston a good idea. It's about training. A normal person can be trained to do things like replace pistons.

The game I am working on is not about way above average people. It's about colorful personalities who are in  crazy situations. The  levels of intelligence are not going to be all that out side of day to day average, no super smart wizards or extra beefy barbarians running around. I think for this game I can abandon my  normal preconceptions concerning stats and skills and focus more on  how trained a character is in a given area.

Or even go in a even more minimalist approach and  nix the idea of skills at all. Just tell me what your going to do and what attribute you are going to use to do it...now roll.

Thank you for reading,
Leave any comments or questions in the trunk of  Dodge swinger below.
-Mark.

*Edit 2 hours latter and I don't think I'm really going to do it this way .. such is gamer brain.. I took out the dice parts of this post as they were no longer relevant.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

For the record (RPG questions)

This is this

From Here:

I'm not going to follow the rules and do one a day I will forget to do it like nine days in a row then never go back to it.

For the record:
  • First game I ever GM-ed: D&D Red box.
  • First Gm'd: basic D&D
  • First Purchased RPG: Red Box D&D
  • Most recent RPG purchase: D&D 5th edition PHB pre-order.My most recent Bird in hand  purchase, "Lords of Gossamer and Shadow."
  • First game I ever played: Dr. Who RPG? Or Star Trek? Something from FASA that Mike ran.(Unless you count Aerotech or star fleet battles?)
  • Most Olds school Game? I  still have my  basic rules cyclopedia , up until recently I had Paranoia second ed, some old splat books.
  • Favorite RPG I never got to play: Amber
  • Most intellectual rpg owned: Microscope? I'm not sure how to take the question honestly.
  • Favorite character: Of Mine? Muhadin, A large ex-slave desert nomad brawler, hands down.
  • Favorite die / dice set: I have a blue and red speckled D20 from the Torg boxed set that I think is cool.
  • Favorite game fiction: Not much for game fiction so I plead ignorance.
  • Weirdest RPG owned: HoL?
  • Old RPG you still play / read: Ad&d I have allot of stuff so I'm always going back to it.
  • Most memorable character death: My Psionisist Minril Grans got turned to stone by a retriever.
  • Best convention purchase: None
  • Favorite convention game: None, I'm not a con guy
  • Game you wish you owned: I would love to have My old Palladium Robotech books again.
  • Funniest game you've played: AAIE is good for laughs at the table, also Paranoia.
  • Favorite game system: Mayfair Exponential system (DC hero's)
  • Favorite Published adventure: I don't use many modules, But I love what I have heard about Deep Carbon Observatory, and I love what I remember From Castle Greyhawk (the comedy one.)
  • RPG I will still play 20 years from now. Our home brew game Phase abandon and Ad&D 2nd ed.
  • Favorite Licensed RPG:  DC heroes 3rd ed. also Amber
  • Best second hand RPG purchase: I think my copy of Mekton-Zeta was second hand.
  • Coolest looking RPG book: Dungeon Crawl Classics
  • Most complicated RPG: Champions. (some old edition, I think it's second)
  • Favorite RPG no one else wants to play: Mekton Zeata
  • Coolest character sheet? Note book paper.
  • Game I woudl like to see a new edition of? Mech-warrior.
  • Scariest game I've played: I have never played a horror rpg.
  • Most memorable encounter. Fighting a stone guardian with  my Dwarf Helmar, 1 HP Fuck that let me at him.
  • Rarest RPG owned? I have no idea Hell For leather perhaps?
  • Favorite RPG of all time, The next one I write. likely basic D&D Redbox and cyclopedia

    I might legit blog some of these but at least now the truth is out there.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Tower on Dark Bog (Map?)

The ruined tower on the edge of Dark Bog had  frightened locals for years. No one has taken it  upon themselves to explore the ancient place as it has always been known to be a cursed, a forbidden temple to evil. Now there is no choice something has been  stealing  the young from local towns. The tracks lead back to the bog, back to the tower.
Done with sumi ink on  cheap paper with tech pen .2


A very quick and sketchy map which started with me cleaning my Sumi brush.

If you use it please let me know how!

Thank you for reading, 
Questions and comments below!




Monday, August 4, 2014

On Armor (some AD&D musings)

Speaking of well traveled ground...
Here is a  quick blog that musts out THAC0

AD&D armor has always been a bone of contention for me.
The way I look at armor and by extension armor class is that AC does not measure how hard your character is to hit but how hard your character is to hurt. Where I think the traditional  AD&D armor starts to loose me is when I have to translate the act of donning plate mail and stomping into battle with the  narrative at the table. Fighters just can't wear the stuff all the time, and sometimes fights happen when a fighter woudl least expect it.
Plate, half Plate, chain-mail, these are not things a fighter even a heroic fighter is going to wear to the bar. They are heavy, hot, tiring and really hard to pee from.

Section "v." Not a pee hatch.
Other folks have pulled apart heavy armor in AD&D and come up with fancy fatigue rules, maintenance rules and the like. 

Where I am more interested is someone I want to call "The casual warrior." When the casual warrior goes to the Inn and tries to source rumors and pick up on the bar maids, I doubt he is dressed in his field plate.   

An add&d second ed GM might look at me and say,  "You dummy that's AC 9 (or 10 depending on who you ask) - dexterity bonus, every one knows that!" Then they would quote some page out of the DMG, and likely reference a specific chart and by that time I would be pouring a second beer.
What this fails to take into account is that Fifth level fighter who's in the bar with nothing on but his  long sword and bad intentions is still a bonafied killing machine, he or she has wadded into battle against all forms of baddies and come out with some scars, some gold, and, goblin blood under his finger nails.

Here is my proposal, and it might even be out there in some splat book that I have either not read or have long forgotten. (I have nothing in front of me right now.)

Create a weapon proficiency called "Unarmored combat."
"As long as the character has at least expertise or specialization in a weapon and has that weapon in hand while wearing no armor they receive a - 2 armor class bonus*. This weapon proficiency may be taken up to three times. The Character uses their skill with their weapon and their combat experience to avoid being  hurt."

I hear some one saying, "ZOMYGOD If I did that I can't send my fifth weapon proficiency at level 12 to gain super secret grand weapon mastery with my great sword!"

Fine I get it, It's not for everyone.
I guess a GM could wrap the bonus into the higher level of weapon specialization, that would work as well, however I feel this is more specific to characters looking to not wear armor and still have better than an 9 AC.

Hey wait though .."A Low Ac comes with hindrances like weight, and noise this  FUBARS all that!"

I agree, but looking more closely  a character  would have to give up a whopping three weapon  proficiency slots to gain a paltry -6 to their unarmored AC. I'm not sure I would do that lightly, those slots don't come often. In most situations the character is still going to want that clunky plate mail and this would make falling back on just a shirt and jerkin only a bit less threatening. It really would be something that a player would take to round out the character, not to min max the character.


Besides At high level magic items of protection and the like will dwarf any bonus granted by this  proficiency. If you really want to mess around with the  balance of armor in a game throw a few +5 rings of protection into the  mix.

Who would this benefit:
  • Fighters who may need to take their full plate armor off to swim, run, or poop.
  • Wizards even though they get too few weapon proficiency slots to ever make this better than the humble mage armor spell.
  • Swash buckler types who really prefer puffy shirts to chain mail shirts. In that flavor game it works.
  • Anyone who has ever seen a rust monster fired from a giant sling-shot by kobolds....
Who would hate this:
  • Players who did the idea but have never taken their armor off so why spend a slot on this.
  • Thieves, who could benefit but will likely be better served by a high DEX and studded leather, they could be left saying, "Hey what about me? I'm the unarmored quiet one!"
  • Players who want to max out weapon mastery.
  • Computer hating commies.
  • Kobolds who shoot rust monsters out of large sling shots.
Things that do similar things:
  • Tumbling gives a character a 4 AC onus assuming they don't feel like attacking.
  • Ferlalan and  Green wood rangers get pretty hefty natural AC bonuses, not that anyone was looking.
  • The "Skills and Powers" book give a fighter or a rouge a one time option to purchase a -2 unarmored AC bonus.
  • Armor proficiency  fools around with encumbrance but not AC.
  • And  "Parry" from " the Combat and Tactics" book. Give up your attack, movement, or spell casting and parry gives a character a bonus to AC = to their level divide by 2 unless you are a fighter in which case the bonus is equal to (level / 2) +1. IN other words you get to put off your death one more round, and hope help arrives.


Far be it from me to preach realism in a game, heck I just offered up a free game where there is a good chance your character will grow a second face from their first face. I am not a paragon of  realistic fantasy. 

I do enjoy a good discussions about options that let player build characters in non traditional ways. Could you build a fighter around this proficiency? Yes I think you could. Get specialization in a weapon then buy "unarmored fighting" a few times along with some interesting skill choices (tumbling) a player could end up with a playable shirtless barbarian named "Hank."

Alright thanks for reading.
hope you enjoyed.
Please leave questions and comments under the stairs at the Adam's family house.




*my original thought was to  propose a flat bonus of 1/2 the characters level while unarmored and holding a weapon with which the character has at least expertise. Then I thought about Monks and what that would create for them, I  started to weep.