The Best In Old School Roleplaying

The Best In Old School Roleplaying
Purchases support Gamers & Grognards

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

We've Had One, Yes. But What About Second Breakfast?

I'm likely not your first source on this, and you may well know it already, but Denny's is rolling out a Middle-Earth themed menu for the release of "The Hobbit."  The menu will begin November 6th and run through the beginning of the new year.  

Yes, that is for real.  Does it lessen Tolkien's creation in some way?  Sure does.  Is it just capitalizing on the movie adaptation?  Yep.  Will I try anything on the menu?  Probably.  I'm a bastard that way.  The menu will feature such oddly named items as "Radagast's Red Velvet Pancake Puppies, Bilbo's Berry Smoothie, Gandalf's Gobble Melt, "The Ring" Burger, Lone Lands Campfire Cookie Milk Shake, Seed Cake French Toast and Frodo's Pot Roast Skillet." 

This isn't nearly as cool as the Middle-Earth themed pizza parlor that used to be in Lansing, MI,  "Bilbo's" in fact it isn't really very cool at all.  Bilbo's, for those not in Michigan, was a LOTR themed pizza place complete with fantasy wood carvings and an all fantasy/D&D arcade.  Somewhat dirty, decent pizza, dorky atmosphere.  It was pretty cool.  Denny's?  It's still just Denny's.  But will I bee eating some Seed Cake French Toast, quite possibly.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Countdown to U-Con: The Tekumel Factor

If you are reading this, it will be presumed that you have some interest in gaming.  I suppose that if you read this blog specifically you have an interest in old school gaming.  That being the case, if you live remotely close to Detroit, you should be coming to U-Con.  As if there wasn't enough old school gaming goodness with the Labyrinth Lord, Mutant Future, Castles & Crusades, Swords & Wizardry White Box and Stars Without Number, we also have a massive Tekumel track.  The track is featuring games, a meet & greet and a presentation on M.A.R. Barker.  If you happen to be a Tekumel fan, this should not be missed!

Tekumel Track:

EV-FR18-02 Tekumel: Joyful Sitting Among Friends, GM: George Hammond, 30 players, 1-A, Friday 6p-7p. This is the annual welcome gathering of for the Tékumel Track. Join us to meet fans of the Tékumel setting and find out more about the world of the Empire of the Petal Throne, and the Tekumel events happening at U-Con. Board Room. Free!
EV-FR19-01 Tekumel: Barker Memorial Presentation, GM: Victor Raymond, 40 players, 1-A, Friday 7p-8p. An audio-visual presentation about the life and work of Prof. M.A.R. Barker, the creator of the world of Tekumel. This is an open event for everyone interested in Prof. Barker's creative endeavors, including the World of Tekumel, languages, and religion. Conference A. Free!
 RP-FR20-03 Tekumel: Shipwrecked!, GM: Patrick Brady, 7 players, 3-B, Friday 8p-12a. This is both a standalone game and a campaign start demo for Tekumel. A mixed group of Tsolyani are thrown together when their ship sinks and they are castaway onto a mysterious shore. Pregen characters provided. Board Room. $3.00
EV-SA09-01 Tekumel: Tekumel Foundation Update, GM: Victor Raymond, 40 players, 1-A, Saturday 9a-10a. This event is an opportunity for members of the Tekumel gaming community. The Foundation's volunteers have been diligently working on a treasure trove of Tekumel material, and want to share some of their findings with you! The Foundation Board of Directors also wants to hear from you about your interests and wants regarding the World of Tekumel. Conference A. Free!
RP-SA10-01 Tekumel: Empire of the Petal Throne: All in the Family, GM: Krista Donnelly, 6 players, 1-A, Saturday 10a-2p. It's all for one and one for all when it comes to the clan. But even so, some families are more equal than others. Yours has always done well, but lately the younger generation seems to have lost its moorings. Can you get them back on track before the honor of the family really starts to suffer? Board Room. $3.00
 RP-SA15-01 Tekumel: Shedra Dawn, GM: Patrick Brady, 6 players, 2-B, Saturday 3p-7p. Ever woken up feeling almost like you were dead? Board Room. $3.00
RP-SA20-06 Empire of the Petal Throne: The Jakallan Underworld: Last Venture, GM: Victor Raymond, 8 players, 2-A, Saturday 8p-12a. If you have never ventured across the River of Silence, or heard the sweet, high chiming of Ssu as they search for their victims, or faced the ghastly sight of ranks of undead defending a darkened shrine, this may be your last chance. Using classic Empire of the Petal Throne rules with pregenerated characters. Part of the Tekumel Track. Board Room. $3.00
RP-SU10-04 Tekumel: Empire of the Petal Throne: Strictly Business, GM: Krista Donnelly, 6 players, 1-A, Sunday 10a-2p. Green Malachite is a prosperous clan, and now that you've come of age, it's your responsibility to start contributing. Entrusted with clan property, you are flush with your new status. But sometimes all is not as it seems. Do you have what it takes to be successful? Board Room. $3.00

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Countdown to U-Con and An Extra OSR Surprise

U-Con is just one week away!  If you are in the area and want to attend you can find everything that you need to right here:  U-Con 2012

We now have maps of the center as well, complete with play areas listed:

Based upon what I see in my schedule, it's looking as if I will be running two of my games in conference room F and the first in B, right across thee hall.  I hope to get some time during the weekend to get in on the Tekumel Track, as the events look pretty awesome. 

You've probably already read here about the Frog God giveaways the John Reyst of the Swords & Wizardry SRD will be bringing up.  In additions to this little surprise, I have decided that my OSR VIP game will be a special Halloween treat!  I will be running Death Love Doom using Swords & Wizardry White Box rules.  My VIPs will all have to be over the age of 18 and not faint of heart, as I'm certain that you have already heard about James Raggi's grotesque masterpiece fantasy/horror module.  As I am running games all day and night Friday, and again on Sunday, I will be offering this sometime on Saturday.  This will be determined by the schedules of those who are invited/desiring to play in it.  If you want in on my un-official OSR VIP event message me here, Google + or on Facebook and let me know.

Also, if you have missed it, here is the event page.

 Go ahead and check out the page.  Even if you're not in the Detroit region, you might see a reason to come out.  I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

OSR/Castles & Crusades Sorcerer Spell List

I now give you the spell list that accompanies the sorcerer class for Castles & Crusades that I presented earlier this week.  For those who missed this the preceding articles that accompany this one are here:

I have decided to make the sorcerer closer to what I envision the intent of the class originally was, that being primarily a direct damage dealer.  Therefore I have stripped it of several spells that the wizard class gets (also balancing it's Armored Caster ability)  though not enough to make it entirely useless outside of combat.  Without further ado, here is the sorcerer spell list:

O Level Sorcerer Spells
Arcane Mark
Dancing Lights
Detect Magic
Detect Poison
Endure Elements
Ghost Sound
Mage Hand

1st Level Sorcerer Spells
Burning Hands
Charm Person
Feather Fall
Floating Disc 
Hold Portal
Magic Missile
Protection From Chaos, Evil, Good or Law
Read Magic
Shocking Grasp
Spider Climb
Summon Familiar
Unseen Servant

2nd Level Sorcerer Spells
Acid Arrow
Detect Thoughts
Fog Cloud
Magic Mouth
Protection From Arrows
Ray of Enfeeblement
Rope Trick
See Invisibility

3rd Level Sorcerer Spells
Dispel Magic
Explosive Runes
Gaseous Form
Gust of Wind
Hold Person
Invisibility Sphere
Lightning Bolt
Magic Circle (against Chaos, Evil, Good or Law)
Stinking Cloud
Summon Lesser Monster
Tiny Hut
Water Breathing

4th Level Sorcerer Spells
Charm Monster
Detect Scrying
Fire Shield
Fire Trap
Ice Storm
Minor Globe Of Invulnerability
Remove Curse
Resilient Sphere
Wall of Fire
Wall of Ice

5th Level Sorcerer Spells
Animate Dead
Bind Elemental
Cone of Cold
Hold Monster
Secret Chest
Summon Monster
Telepathic Bond
Transmute Mud and Rock
Wall of Force
Wall of Iron
Wall of Stone

6th Level Sorcerer Spells
Anti-Magic Shell
Chain Lightning
Control Weather 
Globe of Invulnerability
Guards and Wards
Mass Suggestion
Move Earth
Transmute Flesh and Stone

7th Level Sorcerer Spells
Delayed Blast Fireball
Finger of Death
Greater Scrying
Instant Summons
Mass Invisibility
Phase Door
Power Word Stun
Summon Greater Monster

8th Level Sorcerer Spells
Incendiary Cloud
Mass Charm
Mind Blank
Power Word Blind
Trap the Soul

9th Level Sorcerer Spells
Meteor Swarm
Power Word Kill
Prismatic Sphere
Temporal Stasis
Time Stop

Monday, October 15, 2012

Musings On An Old School Sorcerer Class 3: The Castles & Crusades Prototype

Most of you have probably already read my Musings on an Old School Sorcerer Class.  This is part 3, wherein I present a prototype of my musings for use in Castles & Crusades.  It should also adapt to 1E and 2E and their clones with minimal work.  Now, let me start out by stating that in 3.X/D20 I am well aware that the sorcerer gets more spells per day than the wizard by sacrifices the amount of spells they can know. I never thought that this was fair or balanced.  It always seemed to me that a class that had access to more weapons than the wizard and can cast there spells without preparation should also be sacrificing a few spells per day to get that sweet deal, not getting more.  It just seems that in a Vancian world where every other caster in the "Core Rules" has to memorize their spells and could be in trouble if they don't memorize a necessary spell that a caster that can cast any of it's known spells at any time already has a huge advantage.  Perhaps I'm wrong, but I really don't think so.  Therefore, I have taken the spells per day down below those of the wizard's.  Without further ado, here is my C&C/OSR sorcerer.  Keep in mind that spells should be adjusted according to the magic user spells if using this class in games outside of C&C.  If you are behind on this project you can find the first two portions here:

Part 1

Part 2

Following this post will be a comprehensive sorcerer spell list.


Among the varied races of the world exist tales of people who have an affinity for magic.  Many of these tales include strange stories of youngsters gaining abilities or causing poltergeist activity upon reaching adolescence.  These individuals are treated very differently from culture to culture.  Some fear them from the start, and the adolescent is often killed or exiled out of this ignorant fear.  Other primitive cultures revere these children, thinking them to be demi-gods or the like.  Others still ignore them or send them off to wizards academies (where they often fail, for lack of discipline.)  These individuals, with proper training or practice may hone their innate skills and become sorcerers.  

The sorcerer is an arcane spellcaster, much like a wizard or illusionist.  All of these draw upon arcane and eldritch forces to accomplish their art.  However, the sorcerer is different from these in one major way.  While wizards and illusionists are learned in their arts, the sorcerer possesses a natural bond with arcane forces.  They have not need of spell books nor memorization.  This bond may differ from sorcerer to sorcerer, but it is the one constant between them.  One sorcerer may have some arcane otherworldly blood in their ancestry, linking them to the power of another plane.  Another may have a sort of "guardian" be it celestial, fey, etc. who grants a bit of it's own power to the individual as they grow from child to adult.  Still another might have an innate connection that allows him to "see" the inner secrets of other planes and draw raw untapped power directly from them.  

Sorcerers are a varied lot, yet all gain the same abilities based upon this.  All have the power to cast spells, never having learned these by academic means, nor with a need to memorize these.  Rather they have a sort of reservoir of arcane power within themselves that allows the sorcerer to weave spells pulled straight from the ethereal, the astral, the elemental and so on.  Since the sorcerer need not research spells for lengthy periods of time as the wizard does, the adventuring sorcerer has a bit more time to devote to martial training, and thus are better at non-magical combat than their learned counterparts.  In addition to this, as they learn to wear some very light armors, the sorcerer can also cast spells while wearing those that he is proficient with.  His range of weaponry, while not extensive by any means, is also far greater than that of the wizard or illusionist.

Due to all of these traits, while wizards are employed by courts for their knowledge, the sorcerer is more likely to serve on the battlefield as a "special unit."  Adventuring sorcerers most often do so out of a desire to hone their natural skills or else find solace in a world that has rejected them.


Spells: A sorcerer casts arcane spells, similar to the wizard or illusionist.  Sorcerers can only cast a limited amount of spells, from each spell level per day.  Unlike the wizard or illusionist a sorcerer, casting using an innate ability rather memorization using a book of spells, is limited to the spells that are known to him as well.  This limitation, however, is made up for by the fact that a sorcerer need not memorize the spells he wishes to cast, but pull magical energies straight from the aether and thus may cast any spell they know of a level that they have spell slots in.  The tables below list the sorcerers spells known and spells per day.

Bonus Spells:  High charisma dictates a sense of worth and the ability to impart ones will in the world.  Thus the sorcerer gains bonus spells for having high charisma.  A sorcerer with a charisma of  13 - 15 gains may case one extra 1st level spell per day.  If the score is 16 - 17 an extra 2nd level spell may be memorized as well.  The most charismatic of sorcerers, those with score of 18 -19 may also cast one extra 3rd level spell.  Note that this bonus does not apply to the sorcerer's spells known.

Armored Caster:  As the sorcerers spells are commanded as much as they are cast, fewer somatic components are needed in the process.  In addition to this the sorcerer does not devout the time that a wizard does to the study of the arcane arts, giving him more time to practice with more mundane forms of combat.  Thus the sorcerer may wear armor, albeit a limited amount.  In addition to this the sorcerer suffers nor penalties while wearing padded armor, a leather coat or leather armor.

Prime Attribute: Charisma
Alignment: Any
Hit Dice: d4
Weapons: club, dagger, dirk, knife, light or heavy mace, spear, wolf spear, staff, trident, light crossbow, sling
Armor: padded armor, leather coat, leather armor
Abilities: Spells, Armored Caster

+1 HP
+1 HP
13 and up + 250,000 per level

Sorcerer Spells Known
Level 0 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1 4 2

2 5 2

3 5 3

4 5 3 1

5 5 4 2

6 6 4 2 1

7 6 5 3 2

8 6 5 3 2 1

9 6 5 4 3 2

10 6 5 4 3 2 1

11 7 5 5 4 3 2

12 7 5 5 4 3 2 1

13 7 5 5 4 4 2 2

14 7 5 5 4 4 3 2 1

15 7 5 5 4 4 3 2 2

16 7 5 5 4 4 3 3 2 1
17 8 5 5 4 4 4 3 2 2
18 8 5 5 4 4 4 3 3 2 1
19 8 5 5 4 4 4 3 3 3 2
20 8 5 5 4 4 4 3 3 3 3

Sorcerer Spells Per Day
Level 0 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1 3 1

2 4 2

3 4 2

4 4 3 1

5 4 3 2

6 5 3 2 1

7 5 4 3 2

8 5 4 3 2 1

9 5 4 3 3 2

10 5 4 4 3 2 1

11 6 5 4 3 3 2

12 6 5 4 4 3 2 1

13 6 5 4 4 3 3 2

14 6 5 5 4 4 3 2 1

15 6 5 5 4 4 3 3 2

16 6 6 5 5 4 4 3 2 1
17 7 6 5 5 4 4 3 3 2
18 7 6 6 5 5 4 4 3 2 1
19 7 6 6 5 5 4 4 3 3 2
20 7 6 6 5 5 5 4 4 3 2

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Cumbersome Project Awaits

As if I didn't have enough projects (going nowhere at the moment) on my plate, A new one is rearing it's head.  After a short session of the "Rappan Athuk Castles & Crusades Campaign" on Friday night.  My old friend (and first gamer) Rick and I began to discuss encumbrance and the rules that have governed it.  This was largely to do with the clarification on the C&C encumbrance rules clarifications done in the 5th print of the fifth print of the C&C Players Handbook.  Rick, being a strategic and rules guy, came up with some really good ideas.  I won't be spoiling them here, as we intend to write them up and publish a book.  

That's right folks.  We're going to write a series of rules for encumbrance.  You may be thinking, "Most rules book, ever."  Hear me out.  Encumbrance and carrying capacity/space  is one of the most neglected aspects of games in the D&D family.  It takes a bit of doing and house ruling to really get down what the players really can hold and carry around with them.  This seems to often lead to encumbrance being neglected all together, and parties having everything they could possibly need at the ready and carrying every single bit of treasure out of the latest dungeon (even without hirelings!)  Worse, it also leads to judges who arbitrarily hand out powerful magical items like Bags of Holding, just to make game play easier! Tell me you haven't seen this.  So we are setting out to write a book with great encumbrance rules that will be modular enough to fill all editions, clones etc as well as provide a very comprehensive equipment list (along with descriptions and uses for equipment.)  There will also be carrying capacity sections for backpacks, sacks, pouches etc.  I'll be posting tidbits here and there as we make progress in this project, so keep an eye on the blog for the next month or so.  Hit me up here, on Google + or Facebook if you have any comments or ideas you would like to see pushed in the book.