Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lockpicks and Locks

Brunomac did a blog Thieves Tools Hard to Get?  back in September and for some reason I've been going back to that question and others concerning thieves tools.  This is me rifting off some ideas that have been bouncing around in my head and some I've implemented in my game.

I've mentioned before I stole/borrowed how lockpicks are used in my game, from video games (ie Fallout, Oblivion..).  I like that they are a finite resource and needs to be managed.  I'll include some of the stats I use in play.

Is it illegal to possess lockpicks?  Yes, because there is only one thing to do with them.  But its a secondary consideration.  No guard is going to pull you over at the gate, frisk you and throw you into the pit because you have a set.  If your caught doing something else and then the authorities find them on you then another charge will be added.

Availability (and Crunch for Play)
Lockpicks are easy for a thief to get.  The guild has specialty craftsmen who create them.  The most common is a simple five pick set.  They sell for listed price to thieves.  They can be found at shops fairly often at 20% above cost, although shopkeepers will mark them at 50% above cost claiming they could be thrown into the dungeon for years as their children shrivel and die from hunger.  These picks will snap if the player fails his lockpick roll by 20% or more. 

There are higher quality lockpicks, but these are much more difficult to find.  These are specially sets made for master thieves.  Having a set of these means you've earned your spot in the guild or had a hammer harder than the thief's head.  On occasion these can be found in black markets for 10x the normal asking price.  These picks rarely break, but can if the player fails his roll by 40% or more.

Then there are the legendary picks.  These are picks are made from adamantite or mithril.  They do not break and add a 20% of picking a lock.  It is rumored they can even dispel magic locks.  These picks are not for sale.  They are often possessed by legendary thieves of the time.   Only two sets are known to exist.

Having the picks become a resource that needs to managed adds an element to the adventure.  If a thief fails to pick the lock what is keeping him from doing it repeatedly until he unlocks it.  Sure there will be wandering monsters, but I think if there is a risk that if the player continues to fail his roll he may use up all his picks.  I think it adds an element of tension.  Some may find it an unnecessary element, but I like it.  And so far the players seem to think its okay.

You need locks to make those picks useful.  Like the picks there can be various levels.  For locks I like to use a five level of difficulty system.  To add a challenge to the upper level thieves who can unlock a chest with a look.  Here is the simple break down.
Crappy Lock  +10% to Pick
Simple Lock  0% to Pick
Difficult Lock  -10% to Pick
Complex Lock  -20% to Pick
Master Lock  -40% to Pick
I like the 'mini game' feel of picking locks.  But I've also found this very handy when players start establishing their base of operations.  They don't want to get broken into.  So they need locks.  Good locks.  Here's a simple guide to it.  Find your base price for a lock.  In my world a standard (simple) lock is 5sp.  A crappy lock would be less.  A Difficult lock would start at 25sp, a complex lock would start at 100sp and a Master lock at 500sp. 

While I don't do this often, if there is a particular lock maker, say Frower of Ellon, has made locks for years the player may be familiar with the locks he builds and therefore gain an advantage.  If I decide the player knows the lock I give a flat bonus of 10%.  I only use this element occasionally because too much of a good thing can bog down play, but if done correctly can add another nice touch to your world.  

Magic Locks
A mage casts Wizard Lock on a chest the thief is screwed.  But if he doesn't know that its magic locked then let him waste his pick trying to open it.  However, once a thief has been around a while (say over 5th level) he will know the difference.  If the player succeeds on his pick roll he will then know it is magically locked.  Thieves are trained to evaluate, adapt and overcome obstacles.  A thief knows he's going to run into these situations.  At 9th level a thief will carry scrolls of Knock to get past such annoyances. And of course mages counter with a big fat magic trap. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Knowledge Illuminates in Print

A shot of the cover.

Back cover.

I thought it would be cool to have a print addition of Knowledge Illuminates and finally got around doing it.  It is set up like my zine.  Page fold in the center.  Booklet is stapled, the cover is not because it has the maps on the back for easy reference.  The booklet is 20 pages long.  I think it looks cool, but I am bias.  If your interested I'm charging the same as I would the zine.  You can buy a copy over at GM Games.

PS  Boric you are not allowed to buy one.  One is already on the way.  

Monsterous Mondays: The ANGRY Stick Mob

Here is the final  entry into Tim Brannan's Monstrous Mondays.  I have received several secrets messages that these monsters I have revealed are too terrifying and must stop.  How could I be so cold and heartless to disturb the sleep of the sheep that go through life happy and ignorant?  Now they tremble in the dark listening for the plunging stubs vibrating the ground of the GIANT Stickman.  Or the arrangements of the SAVAGE 2-Headed Stick Monster.  Or the slight click and run of the HORRIBLE Mr. Sticks who comes to eat your feet as the sheep dream of vanilla ice cream, puppies and all the nice things they will say tomorrow.

Wake up sheep.  It's time to take control.  It's time to get ANGRY!

The ANRGY Stick Mob is one of the most powerful forces known.  Where the tyranny and fear become too much the Stickmen snap and those once expressionless faces take on a furrowed brow, those little empty hands now grasp torches and weapons and their bodies expand and become stronger as the stickman rage overtakes them.

The ANGRY Stick Mob has only been seen a few times throughout history making it impossible to stat.  When an ANGRY Stick Mob has appeared governments have crumbled, monsters of legend have fled and the terrain on which they walk is burned and cut down.  Forest have disappeared.  Seas have been drained and mountains fell before the tromping feet of the ANGRY mob.

So those sleeping sheep who are afraid of the things that I have revealed.  Fear not, for you are the most monstrous of them all.  You are the one to be feared.  All these things that have come before this Monday fear the day when you and the others like you become ANGRY.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Game Day Summary

Game Day was a success.  A small success.  There were only enough RPGers to run a single game at a time, but we made the very best of it.  Rob ran a S&W game and we adventured through a homemade adventure, The Elf Temple and then a Traveller adventure where we explored an outpost that had been mysteriously attacked.  The best part was being able to have a sit down game.  I mainly play on-line so being able to sit down around a table with Jason Sholtis and John Larrey was a great time.  There is not substitute for throwing real dice.

In the S&W I played a Cleric of Thor, Ivar the Ugo.  Three of his six attributes were 6.  We went forth to loot the ancient temple of the elves.  They had long abandon it and the medieval law of, Finders Keepers, applied. 

Five minutes in the game my cleric was already drained of a level.  We encountered a wight that once was a noble elf.  We had two thieves in our party that stuck to the buddy system and worked out well and burned the wight down.  My 4th level, 2nd level spell and 6 hit points were gone, 75% of Ivar is still lot more than a 100% of most men.

We systematically cleared the area and the party worked very well together.  Although my cleric was making the other nervous since I was the only healer and I was always in the front line.  But in the end I was pretty much the only one of the party that ever needed healed.

During the Traveller game the first guy I created had four attributes at 4.  My amazing rolls for character generation continued.  Then he promptly died on my first survival roll.  Probably for the best.  Rerolled and created a gambling gentlemen.  Which it turned out had no useful skill for the adventure he was on.  I'd forgotten how brutal the Traveller character generation was.  I think it was the early 80s since the last I played. 

Rob did a fantastic job with props and handling a good size party.  All the people playing the various board games seemed to be having a good time.  I hope next time they decide to hold another game day they select a better weekend so more folks can come.  The Halloween party weekend is tough to compete with. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Off to Game Day

I think I'm all packed and ready to go now.  I'm sure I'll forget something.  If you happen to be in Erie stop on by here...Erie Days of Gaming.  We'll be trying to convince some of those bard gamers to try some old school gaming.  Stop by and sling some dice or say hello. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Question

Since Halloween is upon us and most of us will be going to parties this weekend I thought my question would focus on Halloween. 

What is the best costume you ever wore?

Personally I'm not a costume guy.  Not a LARP guy.  Dressing up is not fun for me.  I think my favorite costume when I was a kid was a mummy.  My mom had ripped an old bed sheet (was tan in color so it made me look like an old mummy sorta) into strips and wrapped me up in them.  Then squirted ketchup on me.  I had known better I would have reminded her that mummies don't bleed.  But off I went as the bloody mummy with a creepy death mask, mask.  I got about two yard before I started to unravel and by the time I hit the forth house my wrappings documented my travels through the neighborhood.  One lady even refused to give me candy that night because all I was wearing was a mask.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Adventure Playtest

Tonight I'll be working on an adventure I created for The Manor #4.  I want to get it finished and polished as much as I can.  If there is interest I plan on playtesting it at the Game Day this weekend.  If I don't get the chance there or maybe in conjunction I'll do a playtest on Google+.  Where I've played on G+, I've yet to GM on there.  Have to learn the applications.  I got into the Tabletop Forge fundraiser, but not sure how that's going.  Seems like they are having problems working out the kinks. 

Either way, I'm throwing it out on my blog to see if there would be any interest in joining.  It will probably be in two weeks.  I live in the eastern time zone so I am looking to start around 6pm or 7pm.  Drop me a line if you would like to give it a go, either here or on Google+. 

I just got a fresh supply of blue bolts from Sacramento CA and I'm dying to try them out. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hey OSRers in Western PA, Eastern Ohio and Southest New York

There is a game day going on in Erie this weekend.  Rob Conley is running two adventures, the first one is S&W home brewed adventure.  The second event he's planned will be using Traveller.  I'll be getting in on this one.  It's been thirty years when I had my original black box that I played Traveller.  I remember rolling up a character back then and thinking that I was starting a 40+ year old character was too old.  Hehe.  Starting at 40 is looking pretty good right now. 

I plan on attending Saturday.  Get into a game or two.  Jason Sholtis is also planning on attending.  We're going to get some grub before the game starts, to build up our gaming muscles.  Not sure who else will attend.  Sometimes Al from Beyond the Black Gate strolls in for the day, but I'm not sure if he's coming or not. 

I plan on bringing issues of The Manor in case anyone is interested.  If we get enough people interested maybe I'll run an adventure. 

So if you got sometime this weekend, come on over to Erie and play some games, meet some fellow bloggers and have a good time. 

Here's the link should you be so inclined....EDOG

I think this was from a couple of years ago when Rob was playtesting DCC.  We each had two or three guys.  Jason's mage didn't even make into the dungeon.  The door was locked and he came up with a cool idea to enlarge and break it off its hinges.  Worked fantasticly, but it exploded out hitting his mage in the head.  You poor sorry bastard of a mage, we hardly knew you.  It was a ton of fun.

Beware of this Post, It Will Eat Your Wallet

Rob Conley from Bat in the Attic Blog and Bat in the Attic Games has unleashed his adventure set in the Majestic Wilderlands, Scourge of the Demon Wolf.  This book is jam packed.  Don't be fooled that this is just and adventure, it is also a companion to his The Majestic Wilderlands

Scourge of the Demon Wolf is a non-linear adventure.  It is a true sandbox adventure.  The players could solve the mystery in several ways.  Rob has playtested this adventure several times and has included some of his own experiences of the playtests within the adventure.  I liked his inclusion of his own notes.  The other great thing about Scourge is it a mystery adventure.  There are clues, suspects, agendas and an exciting conclusion.  I've run it myself a couple of times and it was a lot of fun running it and watching the players sift through everything they learn.

As I said, the adventure takes up the first half of the book, but this puppy is 72 pages long.  The second half of the book is crammed packed full of goodness for the Majestic Wilderlands.  If you bought the original I think you'll be very pleased with the companion pieces.

And if all this goodness wasn't enough, if you know Rob, you know he does the best maps in the business.  His maps are pieces of art on their own.  Speaking of art, Jason Sholtis and John Larrey did the art.  All of it.  Look at the color pieces for the cover.  I know those two worked hard as hell helping Rob bring his adventure to life.

But wait...there's even more.  Right now Lulu is running a 20% off sale.  Just put in the word JEKYLL.

The book is $15 and available at Lulu (it will also be available at RPGNow in a couple of weeks).  And the PDF is $10 and available at Lulu and RPGNow

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monstrous Mondays: The HORRIBLE Mr. Sticks

Last week I admitted to some of my gaming friends that I had in fact, not drawn the stickmen in my Monstrous Monday posts.  I had Google ganked them.  The one most recently from a six-year old whose name I never found.  This new admission made Rusty Battle Axe, and I quote,

"Made me throw up in my mouth a little."
I have learned my lesson.  The following HORRIBLE creature is not something I wanted to expose because calling him out gives him more power. This...this thing that haunts my thoughts and escapes my look when I see something moving at the corner of my eye.  Go no further if you wish to keep your feet and nose.  I have warned you and can do nothing more to sway your damn curiosity.  I present to you The HORRIBLE Mr. Sticks....

drawn by your own host's hands...well, the right hand

The HORRIBLE Mr. Sticks is a unique creature made up of scrap lumber, tools for hands and he wears a pumpkin for his head.  A pumpkin carved with jagged teeth for gnashing and tearing.  Some have argued the Mr. Sticks is a golem aberration, some say it may be a demon sprung from an evil child's dream and others believe it is a malevolent spirit manifested.  No one is certain. 

Mr. Sticks stalks its prey, waiting til it falls asleep.  When the target is deep in slumber Mr. Sticks does one of two things, it eats the person's feet off (75%) or or snips off the nose (25%).  Once this is done Mr. Sticks disappears into the darkness.

There have been a few occasions when Mr. Sticks has been captured.  In these cases once the morning comes Mr. Sticks falls into a pile of wood with a pumpkin on top.  In other cases where Mr. Sticks has been defeated in battle with his sticks broken and his gourd smashed, but within a week's time Mr. Sticks begins his reign of terror at night.

Mr. Sticks inhabits the outlaying rural areas where there are few people and lots of woods.  Only once has he ever been encountered in a city and that is another story in itself.  He will prey on a village, terrorize it for a cycle then move on.  Sometimes his attacks restart a few miles away or it could be a hundred miles away.

The HORRIBLE Mr. Sticks is worshiped by other stickmen.  They call upon him when they are in need of help.  This help always comes at a price.  Mr Sticks holy symbol is two boards nailed together in the center.

I would give you stats, but that would only encourage you to call up The HORRIBLE Mr. Sticks and do battle.  I will not be that irresponsible.  I will tell you check beneath your bed at night because that is where he likes to lurk.  Tuck your feet in tight in your blankets.  And don't snore.  A snore is a dinner chime to The HORRIBLE Mr. Sticks .

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sleaze Staxxx Sunday

I found this beauty on the belligerent monkey blog.  He's also got an Etsy site with lots paintings with zombies, PBR and attitude.  But I think this picture requires music.  As soon as I saw this picture this song immediately started playing in my head...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Question

It's a simple question, but one where the answer can be complicated.  Have you ever posted something you regretted?  Maybe you regretted it because people took it the wrong way.  Maybe you got pissed at someone and posted something overly negative.  Or maybe you shared something that was too personal.  Who knows, could be all or none or a combo and more.  If you have, you don't have to set a link to it, but maybe explain why you wished you hadn't of posted it.

Ivy is my filter.  I can think of a few times when I considered putting something out there that might cause trouble, but I always ask Ivy to give it a read.  And a few times she told me I shouldn't.  I know one time was when I was dancing very close about ranting about work and some the stupid that was going on in the gaming world.  I try to keep those two worlds separate as possible.

Oh, and have a very good Friday. 

This is not an entry into my Monstrous Mondays...hmm, maybe it should be.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

10 Things You Might Hear in a Brothel

I make no apologizes for the following.  It will be puerile, but I hope at least entertaining.  If your the kinda person who likes farts or at least the jokes about them, continue.  If you think they are disgusting than move along.  Nothing to smell here.

1.  Did you memorize Cure Disease today?

2.  I got your rod of might right here. 

3.  Hmm, I'll take the ugo.  I only have a few copper.

4.  My boot is stuck to the floor!

5.  It's okay.  It happens to most adventurers after a level drain.

6.  I'd rather stick it into the green faced devil.

7.  Ohh yeah, I'd treat the right. *inside joke*

8.  I'm going to need something longer than a 50' rope if I go in there.

9.  Once you go half-orc you'll never go back.

10.  Hey Sir Humpsalot, you're on my hair. 

Please add any lewd comments if you so desire. 

On Not Being the Main Character

Last night we had our usually Monday night game session.  Rob Conley at the helm directing our fate through a home made adventure.  While we were playing one of the other players IMed me,

Tim do you find it hard sometimes to play a character that isn't solving the problems, interested in figuring out stuff like the demon etc?
Yeah it is.  Its fun to get into those things, but I like to play different kind of characters and the one I am playing now is named Durgo, a young villager who grew up working as a forester with his father.  But because of a choice he made was kicked out of the village.  The party is made of ex-knights, wizards and scholars so he feels most of the time he should be seen not heard.  His only real expertise is tracking and to a lesser extent is combat.  So when the adventure turns to demons and mystical elements he pretty much stands watch. 

When there are six players there are times when each is going to have their moment.  Some more than others depending on their build and/or personality type they play.  Durgo is quiet and doesn't say too much, but when he's right he's right.  He doesn't back down from that.  But as the party stands, Durgo would be considered a secondary character.  Things don't revolve around him or impact him directly.  He is just learning the ways of the wider world.

Would I like being the guy who solves puzzles all the time?  Yeah, but I've played that guy a bunch of times.  Right now I am playing a guy who knows the forest, can track things down and has a big dog named Red.  So if I don't say much during the session its because I'm making sure nothing jumps out of the walls or floors or trees without one of my arrows or axe blows to greet it.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monsteorus Monday: The Savage Two-Headed Stickman Monster

It's Monday again and that means the work week is reset.  That sucks.  But it also means its Monstrous Monday and that does not suck.  So here is another entry into the Monday that has turned into four Mondays, sponsored by Tim Brannan from The Other Side blog.

My newest entry in  Monstrous Mondays is the rare and lethal SAVAGE Two-Headed Stickman Monster.  The picture drawn was found in the bloody hand of an artist who encountered one.  He had fed it three consecutive days and thought he was forming a bond with the creature.  When I say they found the picture in the artist's bloody hand I mean that was all they found.  Like the rest of his body was gone.  Probably eaten.  By the SAVAGE Two-Headed Stickman Monster.  Although I am unsure which head ate him or if they shared.

The first startling feature about the SAVAGE Two-Headed Stickman Monster is its girth.  It is thick with corded muscle.  Arms that end in SAVAGE bladed like hands.  Another feature the the foolish artist captured was its three dark bellybuttons.  There is much debate whether it is one bellybutton and two vertical nipples or two bellybuttons and one nipple or small gateways into the third circle of hell.  No one is sure.  Another feature that makes this a SAVAGE Two-Headed Stickman Monster is the jagged mouth.  While it does no have teeth, it jawbone forms a jagged edge to tear meat from bone.  And of course it has two-heads.  There is usually one dominate head that does most of the talking and decision making.

The other feature that has been captured, to much of the scholars amazement is the head wear.  It is rumored that the SAVAGE Two-Headed Stickman Monster are always bald and their heads get cold very easily.  Most pictures captured have shown the monster wearing a hat of some sort.  They are often decorated with souvenirs such as body parts and weapons.  This is where an adventure will find the loot.

HD: 12
AC: 4 (15) or 2 (17) head
DAM: 2d6/2d6 (slicer hands) or 1d10 bite
MV: 120
Save: 10
Special: Unlike most stickman creatures because of its girth it gains no AC bonus.  However it does get a bonus for AC when it wears headgear.  If an adventure does gaze into the navel of a SAVAGE Two-Headed Stickman Monster he will indeed be transported into the gluttonous third circle of hell.  Get in my belly.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sleestak Sunday in Black Velvet

You know you've made it when they start painting your image on black velvet.  This hunk a hunk of black velvet love was auctioned off on eBay for $75.

There were some other interesting pieces.  Like the devil taking a crap while smoking a cigarette was interesting.

This next one is an excellent likeness of Admiral Ackbar.  I had no idea he ranked black velvet status.

And last, but not least.  The king.  The man who made black velvet the medium of the ages.

You can click on any of the pictures to be transported to the wonderful world of Rainbow Handicraft where you will find all these pictures and a ton more. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Monstrous Mondays Continue

Here is my second entry for Tim Brannon's Monstrous Mondays for October, GIANT Stickmen.

GIANT Stickmen are GIANT.  That means big.  Actually it means bigger than big and a little bigger than huge.  The picture above shows an actually size comparison.  A GIANT stickman is nearly three times the height of a normal stickman and weights ten times as much, most of the weight comes from their GIANT head.

The GIANT stickman attacks with its two poundy fists.  It likes its meat tender and will continue to pound its dead prey for some times a few days to get the right squishiness.  It will also attack with its GIANT mouth.  The jaw goes back so far in its head it nearly splits in two.  When a GIANT stickman attacks with a bite on 19-20 it automatically eats off a limb. 

There are some serious flaws in the GIANT stickman's genetics.  One being their GIANT size is often accompanied by normal legs.  As you can see in the actually photo taken of a GIANT stickamn attack it has worn off its feet.  This is not uncommon.  Those GIANT stickmen who live long enough wear off their entire legs and have to roll to get where they want to.

HD: 8+2 if they have no legs 8-2
AC:  5 (14)
DAM: 2d6/2d6 (poundy fists) or 3d30 (bite)
MV: 60 with legs, 20 no legs, 0 if caught in a GIANT ditch with no legs
Save: 13
Special: Bite attack automatically eats a limb or head on a roll of a 19 or 20.  Unlike normal stickman it gains no AC bonus for standing sideways because it is GIANT. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Review over at Tales from the Tin Table

Steve over at his blog Tales from the Tin Table had a some kind words to say about the Manor.  After the week I've had the words were very much appreciated.  In a private email he wrote how he shared them with his 11 year-old son and that his son included them in his school 'Reading Log'.  That's the coolest thing I've heard all week.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

GM Games Numbers

Last night I was f'n around.  Avoiding work at home because my brain was completely f'n fried from work.  My tolerance must be getting lower as I age.  I never remember being this tired when I was younger.  Work was over and I wanted to go do something.  These days I get home and fall into a f'n catatonic state.

Its been a while since I did a update for sales at GM Games.  Its the total sales I have so far.  I swear if I make hundred bucks I spend hundred and a half in gaming books.  Looks like some of those Kickstaters are rolling in.  Looking forward to getting those.

Back to the numbers.  As of today I have sold (these numbers do not include comp copies), print & PDF, this many units of the following.

Knowledge Illuminates - 151
The Manor #1 - 129
The Manor #2 - 77

Cave of Seilju - 143

Land of Ara did a very generous blog about Knowledge Illuminates recently and I got a little spike of sales that put it over the 150 mark.  Thanks Carter.  I've been thinking of doing a redux version, with art drawn specifically for it.  And then go through the text again and clean it up.  If there are any artists out there willing to help me out with this little project shoot me a private email.  It'll put a little more scratch in your pocket.

The zine has done well.  Response has been very good.  Only my lack of production has slowed down the momentum.  I'm plodding away one the next two issues.  I've changed the point of view of my approach and now things are going more smoothly.  So I hope to have something to share soon.

Cave of Seilju was a fun one-page dungeon I did for William Dowie's one-page viking adventure contest.  Look at this freaking awesome envelope I got with my fridge magnet that I did not stick on my computer because someone made me paranoid I would erase my entire harddrive.

I removed William's address to protect him from the stalkers I know he would soon get because of the awesomeness of this envelope art.  
The fridge magnet.  I put it on my magnetic white board.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Blogger Question

For the past week or two I have been unable to see my follower section.  When I go to other blogs I cannot see the follower section there either.

Does anyone know why?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monster Monday : Vicious Stickmen

In honor of Tim Brannan's Monstrous Monday I bring you the VICIOUS Stickman!

While this stickman does not look dangerous he in fact is VICIOUS!  He'll stab you in the eye.  Stab you in the genitals.  Stab you in your neck.  Then walk away whistling. He is indistinguishable from any other stickman except just before he is about to do a VICIOUS thing he begins to whistle.

HD: 1+2
AC: Body 5 (14), Head 8 (11), Stands Sideways 0 (19)
Dam:  1d2 (any pokey things)
MV: 60 
Save: 13 
Special: Like all stickmen when they stand sideways there are nearly invisible.