Episodic Adventures and Then Some

So it’s been a while …

As I mentioned over on G+, my wife and I are expecting our first child this June, and her first trimester wasn’t the easiest going for her. Compound that with my new position at work (started in August) starting to ramp up and the result is a lack of blogging.

Continue reading “Episodic Adventures and Then Some”

Hex Crawl Alphabet: D is for Dwarves

Viking Myke has some wonderful stuff

OK, we know that next hex over has a dwarven settlement of some sort in it. First off, what’s the general purpose of that settlement?

Dwarf Settlement Purpose (d6)
1-3: Mining
4-5: Military
6: Mercantile

Continue reading “Hex Crawl Alphabet: D is for Dwarves”

Hex Crawl Alphabet: C is for Castle

Sand castle by Sue McGrew

The PCs have stumbled across a castle in their travels. Who lives there? What are they up to? Well, I took a slightly different approach with this, and I thought the best ideas for what they are up to might come from the judge just thinking about what certain combinations of results below mean. For example, an overcrowded ruin might be home to a military force in need of a makeshift shelter. Interested to see if anyone finds these helpful or if there should be a bit more to this entry.

Continue reading “Hex Crawl Alphabet: C is for Castle”

Hex Crawl Alphabet: B is for Bandits

deviantART by Robedirobrob

Fantasy wilderlands are downright infested by bandits, brigands, and burglars of all stripes. Here are a couple of tables to help generate bandit camps. I’ve only concerned myself with the hit dice of the bandit’s leader, but bigger camps will surely have a few intermediaries with extra HD as well.

1d20: Bandit Leader HD / # of Bandits

1-8: 2 HD / 10 bandits
9-14: 3 HD / 20 bandits
15-18: 4 HD / 40 bandits
19-20: 5 HD / 80 bandits

Continue reading “Hex Crawl Alphabet: B is for Bandits”

Hex Crawl Alphabet: A is for Animals

I’ve already quoted Eliot’s apocryphal advice about great writers stealing in a previous post, but I’ve got to bring it up again here. Michael Curtis’s Dungeon Alphabet (also in PDF) is one of the most ostentatiously useful and fun system-neutral supplements even published; if you don’t own it, you should. So last night when I got thinking about how I hadn’t done any random tables in a while, I got some inspiration and decided on a project – the Wilderness Hex Crawl Alphabet. Not surprisingly, I found that I wasn’t the first person to have this idea. Jim Pacek published The Wilderness Alphabet in 2010. Based on a couple of reviews I read, I think that the list of subjects I came up should differ significantly enough from his to justify proceeding with the project (especially since I already came up with a few potential table ideas for each letter). So this is the first in a series of alphabetical posts featuring tables to assist with wilderness hex crawls.

deviantART by Sampl3dBeans

Let’s start with Animals. Many a rural region is home to mythic animal that features heavily in the oral tradition of the locals. When your PCs arrive in a new village, roll 1d10 on each column to see what legendary animal dwells in the nearby wilds:

Continue reading “Hex Crawl Alphabet: A is for Animals”

Holy Shit: Let’s Talk About Clerics in DCC RPG, Part 2

As I noted in Part 1, I am writing with two particular assumptions in mind: One, that alignment represents allegiance, and two, that the majority of “nature gods” are Neutral. Also, this topic will now be split across three posts instead of just two, as I previously expected.

Chaos Knight by Ian Miller

In little brown book OD&D, all clerics are Lawful in alignment, and the priests of Chaos are “anti-clerics.” This distinct class lacks any power over undead, not even AD&D’s command variation for evil priests. Also, the anti-cleric spell list lacks any healing spells. Now, DCC comes together from an amalgamation of ideas across all editions of D&D, along with a lot of excellent original material. But I think there’s still a lot of value in looking back at the anti-cleric when considering Chaotic clerics and how they are distinct from Lawful and Neutral clerics, both fictionally and mechanically.

Continue reading “Holy Shit: Let’s Talk About Clerics in DCC RPG, Part 2”

Variety in Demi-humans and Bloggers

I’m still slacking on getting myself set up to take decent pictures of my minis. My Bones rewards are scheduled to arrive Tuesday, so I really need to get on that. The Bones minis are, after all, a big part of my excuse to paint minis and call it blogging.

Speaking of which, the Bones Kickstarter pulled my friend Bry back into the world of gaming, and since she’s been posting notes on Facebook about prep for the game, I asked her if she’d like to become a contributor to this blog. So now I’ve tweaked the posts to show the author profile at the end of each post to make it much clearer who wrote it. She’s going to be running 3.5 with a healthy amount of houseruling, so those posts should be covering a slightly different space than I’ve touched on with my DCC and Savage Worlds content.

Over at the esteemed Dyson’s Dodecahedron blog, Dyson Logos has been posting d12 tables for generating quick sub-classes for old school games. The first one to really catch my eye from the DCC perspective was the dwarf list, though Dyson fairly points out that if you are using these for any class, you should use them for every class. In all fairness, the dwarf is on a pretty similar power level to the other classes (not that balance is a major concern), and some variety in dwarves can already be attained by using Jeffrey Tadlock’s dwarf cleric class or some variant thereof. As far as elves, I honestly can say that I really like that all elf PCs in DCC are the same class and prefer the variety I introduced in this post.

Halfling-ChefThen there are halflings. I also like that halflings are all one class, but it seems to be the consensus that the class is a little bit weaker than the others. So I’m thinking that I may introduce the halfling subclasses into my game first and then consider the others as play unfolds.

Of course, that’s just my game. All of these subclasses make for simple and fun additions to old school games, and you should check out the full series for yourself.

Magical Research and Consequences

Goddamn amazing image is copyright Patrick Meehan and its use is now way intended to challenge that.
Goddamn amazing image is copyright Patrick Meehan and its use is in no way intended to challenge that.

Last week, I posted about some additional gold for xp options I’m going to try out for my DCC game. I’ve put together a document for magical research (which I’ve also added to the downloads section). Most credit should go to Brendan and Jason, as my consequences are mostly hobbled together from things they’ve done previously. Check it out, and let me know what you think!

New Downloads: DCC Carousing and Thief Skill Reference Sheet

I’ve added a couple new documents to the downloads page: Carousing rules for DCC and a Thief skill reference sheet.

The carousing rules are based on the original rules by Jeff Rients, and Jeremy Deram came up with the simple way to make them jive with the DCC RAW experience system. One notable change is that I’ve made the consequences into a d100 chart. The original carousing rules has the PC make a save vs. poison, and if they failed the save they rolled a d20 for consequences. To determine the percent chance that there would be no negative consequence, I averaged the save vs. poison number for a 1st through 10th level fighter in Labyrinth Lord rules. As far as making some negative consequences more likely than others, that was purely personal choice.

All of the examples on the thief reference sheet are drawn from DCC RPG, save for the DC 10 pick pocket example, which I added myself.

The Ace of 3d4 Goblins: Playing Card-Based Random Encounters for Dungeons, Part 2

So you’ve decided to use playing cards instead of dice to determine random encounters in your dungeon. The next step is to create an encounter table that corresponds to your cards, so that a single draw not only tells you that there is an encounter, but it also tells you what is encountered.

Going with six cards corresponding to encounters but assuming that you don’t have an easy way to distinguish between Jokers, you’ve got 5 spots to fill. That’s not as much variety as you see on a typical dungeon encounter chart, so that’s a tradeoff — but maybe not all that much of a tradeoff.

Thanks AnyDice

There are all sorts of dungeon encounter tables out there using all sorts of dice, but I’m going to state with no supporting evidence whatsoever that 2d6 tables are a fairly common option. Looking at the distribution of 2d6, the five most common results (5-9) will come up 66.7% of the time, so you’d end up with one of those five results well more than half the time anyway.

At this point, it’s just a simple matter of filling out the encounters, remembering that the Joker encounter can come up twice. A simple first-level dungeon might look something like this:

  • Joker — 4d4 kobolds
  • Jack/Spades — 1d3 giant spiders
  • Queen/Spades — 2d4 orcs
  • King/Spades — 2d4 skeletons
  • Ace/Spades — 3d4 goblins

Personally I’d add a little “dungeon dressing” to the mix, but I would assign that to a different suit. It increases the overall chance that something is encountered, but  it doesn’t cut into the odds of running into a standard wandering monster. If the PCs keep revisiting the same dungeon level and the same dressing result keeps coming up, it’s clearly an adventure hook waiting to happen.

  • Jack/Clubs — Whispering voices seem to come from the shadows
  • Queen/Clubs — The low rumbling of earth shifting is heard overhead
  • King/Clubs — A wailing spirit appears but ignores the PCs
  • Ace/Clubs — The temperature drops suddenly, forming frost on stone and metal

You can also use this method to incorporate special hazards/effects that can potentially occur after a certain amount of time. To riff on one of my dungeon dressing effects from above, PCs exploring a mine could be risking a cave-in. You could note that for every Diamond face/ace drawn, the PCs hear rumbling and you make a mark in your notes. When the fourth Diamond comes out, a cave-in occurs around the PCs.

Finally, if you want to spice things up with an encounter that’s really tough for that dungeon level, such as an ogre in an otherwise 1st-level dungeon, it’s important to remember that encounter must always correspond to the ace of spades.