“When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth.”

-George A. Romero, Dawn of the Dead

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Magic vs. Science

I had an idea to mix science and fantasy together for my open table of Keep on the Borderlands. The following is a basic concept. It still needs some work and may be too far out there for traditionalist, but it does excite me with the possibilities.
Imagine your typical fantasy medieval world in which the typical Dungeons & Dragons campaign takes place. In a fertile region of the world a massive city populated by the “civilized” races, humans, dwarves, elves and so forth go about their business under the watchful eye of powerful noble families. The city is locked in a horrible war with a vile Necromancer King in the Wastelands to the North. The Forces of “Light” are beginning to despair as the tide of the war has taken a drastic turn in the favor of “Dark”.
 Then without warning from the heavens above a massive celestial object smashes into the city. In the aftermath of the destruction it’s learned that a similar fate occurred to the Necromancer’s vile city of Evil. A new threat has emerged. A plethora of “Demons” from the sky, some who look remarkably human and others that could just be considered to be another kind of monster in this world’s ecology begin to subjugate and enslave all people of the surrounding lands regardless of their allegiance to the Light or Dark. They bring new weapons of star metal and a magical power they call “Science”. They fear and don’t understand the “Magic” that perfuses the planet and begin a pogrom against magic users and their ilk.
 Today, enclaves of the “Good” Races band together and continue to fight against the Necromancer and the new Demonic threat that besieges the planet. Daring raids are made into the destroyed city to recover lost magical treasures as well as attacks on the outposts of the Invaders who continue to study and enslave the native population.  



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Baran One-Hand, Captain of the Watch

 By lundqvist from DeviantArt

I've had this idea for a while of running an open table at my local gaming store. The idea is that the players start at the Keep on the Borderlands, find a rumour they want to follow up on, explore the land, raid a dungeon and end the session back at the Keep. With that in mind I've been looking up some ideas. Mainly I've been reading the Frog God/Necromancer Games stuff since it fits the feel I'm looking for. Less story, more adventure. Part of the plan is to transform Fairhill from the Crucible of Freya into the Keep. I decided that every NPC needs a secret, something that will lead into an adventure and this is what I came up with for the Captain of the Watch.

Baran One-Hand, Captain of the Watch
The Watch Captain of Fairhill Keep is gruff man, particularly with those claiming to be “adventurers”. He arrived at the Keep a little over ten years ago as a caravan guard. Then the mercenary hired on as part of the watch. Not long after the Keep was attacked by a contingent of orc marauders. During the battle he proved himself to be a great warrior and was promoted to Watch Captain by Duke Arlen himself replacing the previous Captain who had fallen during the battle. Since that time Baran has shown great skill as the leader of the Watch and has garnered the trust and respect of those that live in the Keep including the its temporal leader Duke Arlen and its Spiritual leader Shandril. Despite his honorable and brave exterior Baran hides a dark secret. Baran claims that he lost his hand fighting swamp trolls long ago. While this is partially true, the reality is that those trolls were in the service of Koraashag, then a lowly but ambitious priest of Orcus. Using a vile and obscure necromantic ritual Koraashag hacked off Baran’s right hand with a ceremonial dagger. The ritual cursed Baran and bonded him into the service of the priest. Baran is forever compelled to do Koraashag’s bidding as if he had a geas spell cast on him. The priest tasked him to infiltrate the Keep as his personal spy. The cult knows that Keep holds a strategic location along the trade way and as a defense against further expansion into the area. Baran has allowed the Koraashag’s agent, Tavik and his orc minions to move into Eralion’s abandoned Keep. He is sick with grief at his part in letting evil take hold in the area and his betrayal of Duke Arlen and the priestess Shandril’s trust. He has tried on many occasions to rid himself of the curse but the magic prevents himself from speaking of it or from even killing himself. Baran is able to communicate with Koraashag who is now a high priest in the cult of Orcus and is based out of the Stoneheart Dungeon via his stump. Whenever Koraashag or Baran wishes to communicate the stump transforms into a grotesque and monstrous mouth. This stump-monster speaks with a demonic voice and can make a bite attack with vicious shark-like teeth that ring the mouth. Likewise, Koraashag is able to listen and speak through Baran’s necromantically preserved right hand. Baran is not a bad man. He regrets that he didn’t die in that battle with the trolls all those years ago. The only way to lift the curse is to find Koraashag and destroy the hand on the alter of the new Temple of Orcus (Level 4, room 15) of the Stoneheart Dungeon (See Tomb of Abysthor).

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Campaign Idea: The Knights Of Cydonia





Dream Pod 9's Heavy Gear RPG panted the idea in my head that every campaign should have an opening theme song that you play at the beginning of each session to set the one. It's something that has never really left my mind. After watching this video of Muse's Knights of Cydonia I'm inspired to run a retro western campaign in wasteland land known as Cydonia. Full of  adventure involving laser gun totting villians, kung-fu masters and strange evil cultists. Don't forget the unicorn riding valkaries and the wandering robots!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Escalation of Power

Wow, Look at all the cobwebs up in this joint! It’s been more than a while since I last posted. I make no apologies for that. Gaming is low on my list of priorities lately. I miss it and I have had ideas in the pipe for things I would love to do but unfortunate time is at a premium these days.
I have been playing my fair share of Magic: The Gathering though. I won a tournament this past summer and the new Battle for Zendikar set is pretty rad. Which leads me into an idea about how magic is handled in RPG’s.

What we tend to see in Rpgs are Vancian/spell slots, spell points or a skill check system. I seem to recall Shadowrun having a system that let you set how powerful you wanted the spell to be and then see if you were able to control that much power without hurting yourself. I always thought that was pretty slick, but overly complicated in execution.

The idea I had this morning was this; in a game of magic you are limited by how many spells you can cast based on how much mana you have at anyone time. Typical Magic decks try to maximize each turn by casting your highest cost card as soon as the mana is available each turn. For example, on turn one you play a land and cast a one mana cost spell. Turn two, you play a land and cast a two mana cost spell. And so on until the game is over. This is an ideal situation but the point is that you are restricted each turn by being able to play only one land. On turn one you are relatively weak but as the game progresses you can cast massive spells as your resources to power grow.

This got me thinking about the Escalation Die from the 13th Age RPG. What if every round a magic
users power grew in accordance with how long he is channeling mana? Every round of combat would allow the caster an additional spell point. So on turn one he could cast a spell worth one spell point, and on turn two a spell that cost two points, and so on.

This could be applied to combat in general. Special combat moves could be given a point cost and more powerful combat tricks open up as the battle progresses. Thus the combat can escalate quickly. In fact, this might be a great way to fix the combat token system that was introduced with Mike Mearls’s Iron Heroes RRG.

Anyway, just a thought I had. Until the next time we meet, happy gaming people!