Thursday, February 26, 2015

Non-Vancian Magic In A Vancian World

I have spent a lot of my free time over the past few months running over combat in my head. Looking at rules from various editions and game systems (some of which I didn't even know existed before beginning this project) to see what would work well as combat options for Swords & Wizardry.  The Goldenrod Conventions Guide To Combat has taken it's toll on me. I've looked over these rule sets and gone over my note from how my group plays, and my house rules for what I did back in the day. I've looked at Chainmail to see what it has that it's descendants SHOULD still have. In short, I've had it with combat to the point I don't even want to run combat in a game at the moment. I'd wine more, but then I might give you more of a taste of the booklet than I'm willing at the moment. It's time for something else. 
 
Magic.
 
It should come as no surprise that I am a huge fan of Vancian magic, so if you were worried that this was going to be a post about replacing Vancian magic, don't be.  My love for Vancian magic runs deep, likely because of my love for Jack Vance's "Dying Earth."  I like my magic users to have fire and forget Vancian style magic.  That said, I feel that there is room for casters that have similar, but different casting styles. and having other options available for all casters. 
 
Now the first option is simple and I've already worked it out based on work done by folks before me.  This is, of course, my variant take on an old school version of the 3.X Sorcerer.  You may be aware that I created a version for both Castles & Crusades and Swords & Wizardry Complete.  Some variant of the S&W version will definitely make it's way into Goldenrod.  But there are yet more styles of caster that can be added and a plethora of ideas that can be tossed in there. 
 
What am I doing here?  Well, you see, I want the Goldenrod Conventions to create modular rules (read as "bolt on attachments") that will create an ideal game for both myself and other players.  Some of you know that during the writing of the combat rules I took requests for rules to make this happen.  In the end, that stretched the time that I needed to create the booklet.  Right now, I want to  get ahead of this for the magic supplement.  So, let me know in the comments, what sort of modular magic rules would you like to see presented?  Trust me, if it's something that I'm not interested writing into Goldenrod, or fiddling with in general, I will let you know up front.
 
Here is some of what I'm looking at right now:
 
-Rules for Magicians Duels (these will be quite different from the rules for Spell Duels that DCC RPG uses.)  These rules will make it possible for magicians to have duels similar to the duel featured in Big Trouble in Little China between Egg Shen and Lo Pan (using magical avatars) and force duels like the one held between Saruman and Gandalf in Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings."
 
-Hard rules for Golem creation and the creation of other creatures (such as clones and "vat creatures" inspired by "The Dying Earth.")  I also intend to have a "Frankenstein" style creature creation present.
 
-Rules an roleplaying tips for magic item creation and the forging of magical weapons
 
-New Non-Vancian magic systems for new casting classes (such as the Alchemist, Sigil Mage and Rune Caster.) 
 
-Rules for the "Taint of Chaos" and it's effects on casters
 
-Rules for Ritual Magic (based somewhat on the rules from the 3.5 "Relics & Rituals" book.
 
-Ley Lines and other Magical hot spots
 
-New Spells (and the possibility of a spell compendium featuring all of the spells from both official S&W products by FGG and Goldenrod spells.
 
Let me know if there is anything else that you would like to see presented.  This time we'll get this straight before I start working.
 
 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hump-day Hildebrandt and An Update On My Actual Gaming (gasp, shock, awe!)

So, the one thing that I've given myself time for over the past month, outside of writing and testing Goldenrod, is my Friday night game.  That's right, I'm running again.  After a hiatus from regular OSR style play while, Jon ran us through a Numenera campaign while I dealt with prepping for the U-Con OSR Track, starting Goldenrod and taking care of the holidays for my daughter, we have returned to my game.  Long time readers will remember that I've had a long running Castles & Crusades game using Frog God Games "Lost Lands" setting.  Primarily I've run the Stonerheart Valley mod, with the old Bard's Gate book and some Rappan Athuk thrown in for good measure.  We've seen a lot of players come and go.  Coming back to a campaign that is about to celebrate it's third birthday, which has actually been played most Fridays since it's advent (less the past 6 months off) we have gained another new player.  He's younger than most of us.  Slick Rick found him at work and invited him into the fold.  He has very little experience in gaming and what he has is all 3.5. His second session in saw him drawing two cards from the Deck of Many things, the first of which drained 10,000 XP and the second having his character under an Imprisonment spell deep below the surface of the earth.  In the third session he watch two characters die within several minutes of each other due to a magical poison with a save or die effect.  So yeah, his gotten his taste of a lethal old school play style and wants to come back for more, which is awesome.  

Also, I'd like to plug another thing for some guys.  If you're reading this you might already know that there's a new RPG podcast out there.  I'm talking about +Adam Muszkiewicz and +Donn Stroud's Drink Spin Run.  If you're not listening yet, click that link.  You'll dig what you hear.  It has something for everyone (that games.) Check it out, it's good stuff.

Until next time, this is pretty badass:


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Playing Catch Up and Shouting Out

Hi, Everybody!

You may have noticed a lack of posts, including the regular Hump-day Hildebrandt update. Work was a killer the past couple of weeks, as the person that essentially serves as my assistant was on vacation in Europe, leaving me with two jobs. That said, in that time I had to make sacrifice to keep on keeping on with Goldenrod.  A couple weeks before all of this, I made a mistake and posted to the internet that this thing was about ready to go, but that I was willing to hear people out and take requests if there were specific combat related rules that they might like to see.  I took them ALL on.  Good thing I'm not running a Kickstarter here.  One requested rule seemed very cool to me, rules for dueling.  So, I set about making a set of dueling rules based upon historical fencing and dueling.  I've run through 6 systems to this point, but finally made a set that works well without being too attached to the standard combat system.  That is the last piece of the puzzle.  I'll be editing that and DONE with this particular booklet.  This slim booklet now clocks in several thousand words greater than any of the things +John Reyst asked me for.  I'm glad he's putting up with me and my obsessive niggling of my own work.  What you can expect out of this is some of my own house rules, some things that are rooted in AD&D, but can be made to work well within the confines of OD&D/Swords & Wizardry, some things that are adapted to a D&D play style from other early RPGs and some things that look like they belong in a late 60s/early 70s table top war game.  All options that are completely modular and can be added to your OSR game without having to worry about any of the rest.  Still, there are some that blend well with others and come with suggestions as to how I use them, use them in my earlier D&D days or will be using them with future games at my own table.   I may get a sample rule from the booklet up here to show you what you'll be getting around the time that John get's it up for purchase on the SRD site.

Now for the shout outs.

In other news, a couple of folks that are tied to the Gamers & Grognards family have gotten around to bloggin.  The first of which is +Reece PC with Tales of Aeril.  This is a combination of Reece putting up random tables and talking about his descent from being a 3.X DM to being an OSR Ref.  I ran Reece through his first session of Swords & Wizardry a while back at U-Con, though I didn't know it at the time.  Apparently I made an impact (though I believe he was moving in this direction at the time anyway.)  Check out his blog.  At the time of this posting he already has 2 random tables up (and they're pretty cool.)  They do reference a couple of 3.X manuals, but for the most part there are equivalents on old school sources.  It's well worth a look.

My old friend and gaming buddy +Joe Zanetti has also started a new blog.  His is not related to gaming, but should be of interest to at least half of my audience.  Let me tell you, no one loves Weird Fiction more than Joe.  Joe has started a new blog reviewing Weird Fiction.  If you have any interest in the subject, start following.  I have spent many nights discussing the philosophy put forth in weird fiction (both the old guard Chambers/Lovecraft and the new writers) with Joe.  He knows his stuff, and has a fair hand when it comes to criticizing literary works.  If you like Weird Fiction and Horror in any capacity, give Musing From the Outer Worlds a shot.

erm... uh... The end?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Hump-day Hildebrandt

No time for love Dr. Jones.  Working on Goldenrod.  I know more about historical and early modern fencing schools now than I ever would have believe I would know.  Thanks to all of the folks who recently took me up on my "rules requests for GR" and requested dueling and fencing mechanics.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Marmalade Dog XX


So, I promised +Roy Snyder that I would give the OSR track at Marmalade Dog, Kalamazoo, Michigan's own gaming convention, a shoutout here.  I won't be able to attend myself, but it sounds pretty reasonable.  Marmalade Dog is happening next weekend, February 6-8. This will be the con's 20th anniversary, so it will probably have some cool stuff going on.  I know that Roy will be running old school games along with +Adam Muszkiewicz and U-Con's own +Shane Harsch. For the record, Roy will also be running the Goodman Games booth. So, if you're reading this blog, you probably want to know what this event offers you in the way of old school games.  Well  here it is:




Slot 1 (Friday, 3:00-7:00) 

Event Code: OSR1-01 
Title: Pool of Radiance, Adventures in Phlan 
Players: 6 
System: Swords & Wizardry Base System 
GM: Jared Randall 
Description:
Hail, adventurers! You have just set foot on the dock in Phlan's harbor district, ready to make a name for yourself in a town beset by troubles from within and without. A trip to the tavern or to the council hall gives you any number of possibilities for fame and fortune—should you survive the experience.
A sandboxed adventure for beginning and experienced players alike using a mashup of the Swords & Wizardry version of the "original" D&D game with new-school dice mechanics in an old-school adventure setting. Second-level characters provided.

Event Code: OSR1-02 
Title: S1: The Lure of Delusion 
Players: 6 
System: Castles & Crusades 
GM: Roy Snyder 
Description:
Upon the edge of the world, beneath the eves of the Darkenfold forest, lie the Elkhorn Deeps. Here, where men eek out a living in the shadows of the forest, lays the small berg of Lead Hill. With stone walls and stout towers Lead Hill is a sanctuary or sorts, where travelers may lower their guard and relax. For beyond those walls are the wilds, and the Darkenfold is an unkind place, peopled by dark forces, fey, eldritch powers, and creatures long dead whose still wander the earth. An adventure by Stephen Chenault

Slot 2 (Friday, 7:30-11:30) 

Event Code: OSR2-01 
Title: T1 The Village of Hommlet 
Players: 6 
System: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st Edition) 
GM: Larry Hamilton 
Description:
The Village of Hommlet has grown up around a crossroads in a woodland. Once far from any important activity, it became embroiled in the struggle between gods and demons when the Temple of Elemental Evil arose but a few leagues away. Luckily of its inhabitants, the Temple and its evil hordes were destroyed a decade ago, but Hommlet still suffers from incursions of bandits and strange monsters.

Event Code: OSR2-02 
Title: Castles & Crusades, Presented by Eric Piper 
Players: 8 
System: Castles & Crusades 
GM: Eric Piper 
Description:
Sharpen your swords, and dust off your spellbooks! It's time to take an old-school tour of Aihrde with Troll Lord Games' own RPG module author Eric Piper. Expect each game to be different!

Event Code: OSR2-03 
Title: The Kickassistan Ministry of Tourism Presents: DCC RPG 
Players: 8 
System: Dungeon Crawl Classics 
GM: Adam J Muszkiewicz 
Description:
Kneel before the Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad, as the Kickassistan Ministry of Tourism guides you through the region most perilous! Anything can happen! Expect each game to be different!

Slot 3 (Saturday, 10:00-2:00) 

Event Code: OSR3-01 
Title: Frozen In Time 
Players: 6 
System: Dungeon Crawl Classics 
GM: Mike Carlson 
Description:
Special 0lvl Funnel Version! Eons-old secrets slumber beneath the forbidden Ghost Ice. Since the time of the Elders, the local tribes have shunned the crawling glacier, knowing it as taboo land that slays all who tread its frigid expanse. Now, the Ghost Ice has shattered, revealing hints at deeper mysteries entombed within its icy grasp. Strange machines and wonderful horrors stir beneath the ice...

Event Code: OSR3-02 
Title: The Imperishable Sorceress 
Players: 6 
System: Dungeon Crawl Classics 
GM: Pete Schwab 
Description:
As the adventurers pass through a mundane door, they are startled to find themselves unexpectedly in a frozen landscape. A distant woman s voice whispers a welcome, and the characters are thrust into a tale of spirits and ancient secrets. A level 1 adventure by Daniel Bishop

Slot 4 (Saturday, 2:30-6:30) 

Event Code: OSR4-01 
Title: T1 The Village of Hommlet 
System: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st Edition) 
GM: Larry Hamilton 
Description:
See Slot 2 for a description of this event.

Event Code: OSR4-02 
Title: Dungeon Crawl Classics in Hyperborea 
Players: 6 
System: Dungeon Crawl Classics 
GM: Jared Randall 
Description:
You ve cheated death and Hyperborea s years- long winter by taking refuge in an old fortress on the edge of the Plain of Leng. But you and your companions discover that the fortress is not uninhabited, and you will all pay dearly for this refuge, if the sorcerer who owns the fortress has anything to say about it. You wake with magic collars around your necks and instructions to find a mysterious artifact high up on the Ythaqoa Plateau. And oh yes, it s still winter out there. Welcome to Hyperborea.
An adventure for beginning and experienced DCC players. First-level characters provided.

Event Code: OSR4-03 
Title: Castles & Crusades, Presented by Eric Piper 
System: Castles & Crusades 
GM: Eric Piper 
Description:
See Slot 2 for a description of this event.

Event Code: OSR4-04 
Title: Glipkerio's Gambit 
Players: 6 
System: Dungeon Crawl Classics 
GM: Roy Snyder 
Description:
Atop the highest spire of Mount Tyche, your patron s temple is under attack. A demonic miasma rolls down the frost-blasted peaks leaving a vile stench and foul magics in its wake. Winged black creatures roost along the crumbling solitary road to the temple. The bloodthirsty shrieks of snow apes and the moans of the tortured dead echo from the jagged rocks above. Your patron has saved your skin more times than you can count. Now it is your turn! A level 2 adventure by Jobe Bittman

Slot 5 (Saturday, 7:00-11:00) 

Event Code: OSR5-01 
Title: The Kickassistan Ministry of Tourism Presents: DCC RPG 
Players: 8 
System: Dungeon Crawl Classics 
GM: Adam J Muszkiewicz 
Description:
Kneel before the Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad, as the Kickassistan Ministry of Tourism guides you through the region most perilous! Anything can happen! Expect each game to be different!

Slot 6 (Sunday, 11:00-3:00) 

Event Code: OSR6-01 
Title: T1 The Village of Hommlet 
System: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st Edition) 
GM: Larry Hamilton 
Description:
See Slot 2 for a description of this event.

Event Code: OSR6-02 
Title: The Well of Souls 
Players: 6 
System: Dungeon Crawl Classics 
GM: Pete Schwab 
Description:
From the darkness of the well emanates the haunting moans of the deceased plunderers and defilers who risked everything to learn the secrets below. But you have something they did not: The Tablets of Fate. Through guile and treachery, force and luck, you have jointly acquired these ancient stone tablets, and only with their hieroglyphics dare you hope to circumvent the horrors that lie within the Well of Souls. A Level 0 adventure by Carl Bussler

Event Code: OSR6-03 
Title: Castles & Crusades, Presented by Eric Piper 
System: Castles & Crusades 
GM: Eric Piper 
Description:
See Slot 2 for a description of this event.

Event Code: OSR6-04 
Title: C2 The Ghost Tower of Inverness 
Players: 5 
System: Dungeons & Dragons 
GM: Shane Harsch 
Description:
A shadow from the past, the Ghost Tower of Inverness has loomed ever larger in the mind of the great Seer of Urnst. Now he has convinced the Duke that an expedition should be organized to go to the ancient keep and recover its greatest treasure the fabled Soul Gem. Old school meets new school as we play through this using D&D 5th Edition.

Slot 7 (Sunday, 3:30-8:00) 

Event Code: OSR7-01 
Title: The Cosmic Arena of Death 
Players: 6 
System: Dungeon Crawl Classics 
GM: Roy Snyder 
Description:
Anything can happen in the point of points in the cosmos... Where all edges of every universe illogically meet. Somewhere between Aereth, Aihrde champions collide for the right of impunity! A custom tournament adventure by Roy Snyder

Event Code: OSR7-02 
Title: C2 The Ghost Tower of Inverness 
System: Dungeons & Dragons 
GM: Shane Harsch 
Description:
See Slot 6 for a description of this event.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Hump-day Hildebrandt: A Familiar Scene

Tomorrow I intend to get some info out about an upcoming Con that I promised +Roy Snyder I would get out.  For now, I'm knee deep in Goldenrod and have to get back to work.  The combat booklet continues to grow with options and revisions of old tried and true systems.  That said, as it grows every time that I think it's ready to turn in to +John Reyst, I think that I should take some suggestions for rulings/rules that people would like to see available for Swords & Wizardry, OD&D and any Original Edition clones.  I answered a question about handling mounted combat that +Kevin Searle asked in the Swords & Wizardry community.  I  used a rule that I have already polished up in the manuscript and it got me to thinking that, maybe, I should be asking the OSR community what they would like to see, while I'm adding to the MS at the moment.  This will let me know if I'm on the right track, and get rules that you want to see in print.  Keep rules requests to combat for the time being.  You can ask right here.  

Until next time, enjoy this Hildebrandt painting that seems to be very familiar...


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Wintercon and A Brief Update

Hi, I'm +R.J. Thompson.  You might know me from such things as this blog that I used to update.  Work, parenthood and work on the Goldenrod Conventions books have had me very busy and very exhausted.  Some of you may have noticed the lack of the weekly update.  Truth be told, I've had mostly days that have been 17 - 19 hours long with the exception of Sundays for most of this month.  Half of the day is work, followed by dinner and homework with the girl.  Then it's time to get her ready for bed, occasionally with about 20 minutes to sit down and regain my composure.  After she is in bed, it's off to the computer and research materials to crank away at the Goldenrod Conventions booklets for the Sword & Wizardry SRD. 
 
Personal workload aside, the first Goldenrod book is looking splendiferous.  It's quite different than what I originally set out to have in this one, due to the amount of material that has gone into it.  The Guide to Arms & Combat is now strictly a book of Combat rules, options, strategies and systems.  Each of these is modular in nature and does not require any other rule to make it usable in a Swords & Wizardry or other OSR game.  Anyway, it's nearly done... again.  It keeps growing, but I think it's growth is now complete.  I'll update on these books again soon.
 
In other news Wintercon is happening in Auburn Hills MI this weekend.  Some of the same folks that brought you the OSR Track at U-Con this year will be taking over the cafeteria area on the OCC campus to bring you some great stuff.  I will personally be at the con running "Ghost Tower of Inverness" using my Goldenrod rules.  +Adam Muszkiewicz will be there, possibly running some pick up games and +Andrew Moss  will be in running Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.  If you're in the area and want to come play or run a pick up game, definitely come on down!  It promises to be a fun day.