Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Basic Warforged

Have kit-bashed a quick and dirty Warforged class for Moldvay Basic. Have tried to keep to the spirit of B/X and stay close to the actual class format for Moldvey . . .

Warforged are magical constructs created as guardians, defenders and soldiers in a long forgotten war. They are bulky humanoids made of iron plates and stone held together with a fibrous rope like musculature. Each Warforged is marked with a a unique rune on their forehead, which for most is their only significant sign of individuality. With no war to fight, and no masters to serve, solitary Warforged roam the known world seeking meaning and an understanding of their war-born sentience. 

The prime requisites for a Warforged are Constitution and Strength. If a Warforged has a score of 13 or greater in both Constitution and Strength the character will gain a 5% bonus on earned experience points. If the Warlord has an Strength of 13 or greater and a Constitution of 16 or greater, that character will earn a 10% bonus on earned experience.

RESTRICTIONS: Warforged use a ten-sided dice (d10) to determine their hit points. They may not wear armour, but may use a shield. They may use any weapon. Warforged must have a minimum score of 9 in both Strength and Constitution.

SPECIAL ABILITIES: Although they cannot wear suits of armour Warforged flesh is a form of living armour (AC 3). Warforged do not need to sleep, breathe, eat, or drink they are also immune to Sleep spells, and poisons.

COMPONENTS: Warforged can attach or embed tools and weapon components. Attached components include: backpacks, torches, lanterns, shields, crossbows, and any one-handed weapon. Embedded components include: concealed weapons, pouches, purse, tools, and other useful implements. Components cannot be forcibly removed unless the Warforged has been subdued and restrained. Warforged may remove, swap, and modify their own components.

Level          Title              Exp. Points        Hit Dice
1                Watcher            0 1d10
2                Defender          2000 2d10
3                Sentinel          4000 3d10

Warlord lvl 1-3 Saves

Death Ray: 13  
Magic Wands: 15 
Turn to Stone:13 
Dragon Breath: 14 

Spell: 15  

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

From the Big Box: Mentzer D&D - the ECM Boxes

Previously on From the Big Box of Random Boxed Sets War was Hammered and Cars were Deluxe this week D&D and its companions are expert and masterful . . .

So what's in the Mentzer Expert boxed set . . .

Well wasn't expecting that instead of the rules we have three X Modules, X4, X5, and X6 and a character sheet (Gason of Buckingham a 1st lvl Cavalier).

The copies of X4 Master of the Desert Nomads, X5 Temple of Death (both by David Cook), and X6 Quagmire! (Giggitty) by Merle M Rasmussen all look pristine, apart from some stapler rust and a slight musty smell from 20 odd years in storage. Which seems about right as I don't remember playing or any of these. Other than a quick flip through I haven't read them. I might read the Cook module, but I could never run Quagmire! (Giggitty). Family guy has killed that module. X5 has some nice interior artwork. There's a definite step up in terms of presentation from these 83/84 modules compared to the earlier AD&D and Moldvay modules.

Next up is the Companion set and another surprise. When I opened it up the first thing I see is a battered copy of Moldvay Basic . . .

  . . . as well as Moldvay Basic there are the missing Mentzer Expert rules, and the Companion players and DM's book, oh and one of my maps that isn't Middle Earth, but all the place names are straight out of LotR. 

Not that I'm dissapointed to find a copy of Moldvay Basic (it is after all my favourite version) but was hoping to find a Menzter basic or a Cook expert as it stands I now have 2 copies of Moldvay basic, and 2 copies of Mentzer Expert but no Mentzer basic or Cook/Marsh Expert. Not that I'm bothered I have pdfs, and back in the day we really didn't notice any difference between the two 

Obviously non of us played Thieves much cos if we had we'd have noticed how totally hosed they get in the Mentzer versions.  In the Expert rules their skills from 1-14 look kosher. At 10th level the Thief has an 85% chance to open a lock, 80% to remove a trap, etc. but looking in the Companion set those two skills at 15th lvl are 75% and 67% and hide in shadows is 58%. 58% at 15th level that's a lot of slog to be a not very good thief. It's weird that the Mentzer Expert shows the thieves skills from 1-14th, but the Companion rules only show 15-25th so there's no example of how the skills should be stretched to cover the whole 1-25. Also, hey thief player congrats for getting to 15th level, now all your skills go down.

The companion players book has new weapons, spells, and the like nothing really mind blowing, but the DM's book has Dominion rules, a mass battle system, and planar travel which is a bit more like it. I don't remember paying much attention to the planar travel back in the day. It was the dominions and mass battles that we were really wanting from the companion set.

Next up is the Master Rules . . .

This box is packed full of character sheets and notes which If I'm honest I find more interesting than the rule books they share a box with.

 There are three sections in the players book: Character classes, Weapon Mastery, and a Sieges (a handy complement for the companions Domain rules).

The classes have all the usual stuff covering lvls 26-36. XP tables, Saving Throws, Turn Undead, To Hit, Thief Skills, and Spells. The Fighter's info fit's into one column of a three column page. We also get a table showing the Thief skills from lvl 1-36 we can now compare the Expert Thief to the Companion & Master Thief and see that the latter at 10th level has only a 58% chance to pick a lock compared to 85% for the Thief from Expert. I was aware there was a difference between B/X Moldvay/Cook/Marsh edition thief skills, but didn't realise there was difference between Expert Mentzer and the Companion and Master boxes.

Weapon's mastery looks interesting, though a little fiddly for my liking, but there are two elements that stand out as neat one is a defensive bonus to AC which I think is common sense. If you're a master of whirling steel death you're going to have a good defence even without armour and magic. The other is the Despair effect which triggers extra morale checks when you do full damage, deflect all blows, or disarm foes. Neat. Of course the best thing is that the Basic line finally gets a selection of Pole Arms!

Anyway, as I said the more interesting things, to me at least, to come out of this box are the 20+ year old notes and characters from our games. There are a few artifcact notes, lots of notes, like these badly photographed and out of focus ones, on domain buildings along with some castle, and keep sketches along with very important notes such as : Church pays 40% of cost. 

Then there are the characters. We have what looks like three groups of characters. There's a group of 1st level characters. Which speaks to the idea that despite having the companion and Master boxed sets (and I'm sure I had the Immortal boxed set too) that we still liked to start fresh games with a group of 1st level characters. 

The first level party features: Faspar the MU (N), Tatril the Cleric (L), Conan the Fighter (N), Eamonn the Thief (no alignment recorded) Jopphindle the Elf (N), and Gilli the Dwarf (N). Mostly Neutral which ment for us pre-teen do what ever you want with no sucky consequences (just tell the cleric to shut up).

Then there's a few mid level characters: Barak The Bastard 3rd level Barbarian, Marco the 3rd level Fighter, Helarn a 3rd level Thief, Samoran a 5th lvl Dwarf, Toromarg the 6th level Fighter.

Then we have Kamoran an 8th lvl (Attack Rank B) Halfing, and Torquemada the Black a 27th level Cleric (who was a Dwarf in another life). These two are blinged up to the max. Seriously the magic items they have at their disposal make the gods and deomons of the Ramayana look low powered. They could wade through any number of Pantheons.  Kamoran has five magic swords! And that's just the swords! He has five other magic weapons. On his character sheet there is a slot for each  type of magic item and Kamoran has multiple entries in all categories. 

Torqueamada was my mate's main character from back when we started playing Moldvay basic up until we stopped playing (about 81-86). He'd started life as a Dwarf called Thorin Ravenscrag but died in a PvP fight with another friend's character (that I refereed). He was resurrected but came back as a Cleric. Which doesn't seem to be in the Raise Dead cleric spell so must be some weird house rule of mine, or borrowed from AD&D, White Dwarf, or Judges Guild. He is as equally overburdened with magic items as is his friend Kamoran. 

27th level, lowest stat is 9, magic items up the wing-wang,  I mean . . .

It wasn't all shits in giggles though, after all this is Fantasy Fucking Vietnam - Hmm, maybe I should work up a Fantasy Fucking Vietnam campaign setting called Fight For Victory, hmm -  the last group of characters are our noble fallen designated dead, in true pre-teen bastard GM style with a very definite cross through the character sheet . . .

The list of the fallen includes: Goronto a 4th lvl Fighter, Amaron (aka Fingers) a 5th level thief and Frenodin (sounds like a painkiller) the 4th level Elf. Despite the obvious Monty Haul nature of our immature gaming it's obvious that we put a lot of hours in and played a lot of D&D back in the day. After all getting a B/X Elf to 4th level is a slog no matter how free and easy you are with the loot.

At this stage in my life I can't imagine a situation where I'm ever going to want to run a high level campaign, or have the time to play a campaign that goes from 1st - 36th level. B/Xs 1st -14th levels is all the D&D I'll ever need, in fact 1st - 10th prolly does it for me.

One last thing; the box has the words . . .

"This game requires no gameboard because the action takes place in your imagination."

. . . which is kinda lame and cool all at the same time.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Labyrinth Lord Viking Campaign Blog

Mike D of the +1 Blog (who did layout for the Redwald playtest PDfs) has a new Blog for his excellent Labyrinth Lord Viking hack check out the Hoarfrost Saga campaign blog here

Friday, 10 January 2014

[Tunnels & Trolls] Delverton: Part 1: Welcome to Delverton (Please Delve Carefully).

These Delverton articles were in #Trollszine! Randomly reprinting them here to collect them all together. I might add to them. They're for my favourite flavour of T&T 5th edition.

by Lee Reynoldson

Part 1: Welcome to Delverton (Please Delve Carefully).

Delverton, a delver’s town, a sprawling shanty town built on the delving economy. It started with just the Smithy by the ford, then a humble roadside Inn, and grew business by business. First a general store, a bowyer, an armourer, more Inns and Taverns, a master Sword smith, and then the Wizard’s Guild arrived and the town really started to grow. Now Delverton is a thriving boomtown full of the raucous hustle of delvers, and the traders who make their livelihood supplying the delvers with everything they want in
exchange for hard earned loot.

What is Delverton?

Delverton is a conceit, a convenience for GM’s and players, a town that caters
specifically to delvers and their needs, a home base, a one stop shopping centre, and a place for the odd above ground adventure or two. It is designed with an old school dungeon delve in mind, and works best for these types of games. In an epic, heroic, or cinematic game its slightly Gonzo style and conceit might draw too much attention.

The idea is that the GM plonks Delverton a few hours march from his multi-levelled dungeon (whether that be one of his own design or something like the Dungeon of the Bear). The party can then use Delverton as a home base, and a place to gear up, re-equip, upgrade to better weapons and armour, make preparations before heading back down into the underworld, or just engage in some well earned rest and recuperation.

This article covers Delverton before it becomes a thriving town. This article starts with the birth of Delverton when all there was, was the Smithy. Each future article will add new establishments and expand Delverton providing more options for your party as they explore the local dungeon and level up.

Plot Hooks

Each Delverton establishment has three plot hooks associated with it. The GM may use these as mini-adventures, between dungeon delves. These have been left vague, so that any GM can tailor them to fit his game. They can of course be ignored.


Located where the road fords a stream is a smithy, known simply as the Smithy of the Ford. It is both home and workplace to the blacksmith Sigurd, and his son, Beorn. The smithy itself is a simple, one story, stone building with an open front. The smith’s living quarters, a ramshackle wooden hut, leans against the rear of the smithy.

Like most smiths Sigurd is a large muscular man. His eyes are green, and sparkle with both wisdom and intelligence, and his red hair and beard match his ruddy complexion. He is good natured; if somewhat taciturn communicating mostly with grunts, nods, and one word answers. Despite this he always makes visitors feel welcome and, whether they are customers or not, he offers everyone a simple, but filling, meal of bread, cheese, fruit, and ale.

His son, Beorn is as talkative as his father is quiet. Thin and wiry with a shock of unkempt copper red hair. He is friendly and inquisitive by nature and loves to hear tales of adventure and daring, news from far afield, and answers to his incessant questions.

Sigurd has been at the Smithy for thousands of years and is actually the avatar of a god who originally came to the mundane world to teach mortals the secret of metallurgy. He stayed because of the pleasure he draws from living the simple life of a smith. His son, Beorn is a construct he made from bronze. He used part of his own immortal spark to give life to him. 

Wizards sense powerful magic from both Sigurd and Beorn, but no amount of Omnipotent Eyes reveals the nature of this magic as its divine nature
is alien to the teachings of the Wizards Guild. Sigurd and Beorn are friendly, easy going and patient with mortals, but will defend themselves against robbers, bullies, and troublemakers.

Sigurd fights with his smith’s hammer he has a Fighting MR of 100 giving him 11+50 dice and adds and making him a formidable fighter. However, his avatar body is surprisingly vulnerable and this is represented by his low Constitutional MR of 10.

Beorn is the opposite of his father, he is not a competent warrior and only has a Fighting MR of 10 giving him 2+5 dice and adds in combat. However, the fact that he is living bronze makes him hard to hurt represented by his Constitutional MR of 100.

Both Sigurd and Beorn are immune to any kind of ‘mind control’ spells. If killed Sigurd will be reborn at dawn the next day and will be able to repair Beorn if he was killed.

Sigurd: Fighting MR 100; Constitutional MR 10; Special: Immune to mind control spells, Immortal.

Beorn: Fighting MR 10; Constitutional MR 100; Special: Immune to mind control spells, Bronze construct.

Sigurd’s main trade is shoeing horses, and other more exotic mounts, for travellers. For this service he charges 1 copper piece per shoe. He also makes and repairs everyday ironmongery; such as cooking pots, gate latches, door hinges, and the like for the farmers and peasants that live nearby. A service he provides in exchange for food and other everyday goods.

He has a limited stock of weapons and armour at the moment including: a full suit of dwarf sized mail, a full suit of human mail, a steel cap, two target shields, three broadswords, a short sword, a sax, two great axes, two broad axes, four franciscas, a war hammer, and half a dozen spears. He can make swords to order, but it takes two weeks. These are all normal weapons and armour as listed in 5th Ed.

He also has three enchanted swords . . .

Thorn: Thorn is a tiny Greatsword for Fairy warriors. It is made from Mithril and enchanted by Sigurd’s divine magic. It does 3+30 dice and adds; requires a ST and DEX of 3 or higher to wield, weighs 3 weight units and costs 3,000 gold pieces.

Trollbane: Trollbane is a normal broadsword in all respects but against Trolls it scores double damage. It costs 400 gps.

Vorpal Viper: Vorpal Viper is a normal Short sword but when used by a Rogue (and only a Rogue) it will cast a level 1 Vorpal Blade on itself (at no cost to its owner) at the start of each fight. If its owner is wounded it weeps venom onto its blade that does damage equal to the amount of hits its owner took. This venom is only effective for three combat rounds and this only happens once per fight. It costs 1,585 gps.

Plot Hooks for the Smithy by the Ford

Hook 1: Beorn runs away in search of adventure. His father will reward the party with 300 gps, and a free weapon, or shield, each if they can bring Beorn home, unharmed. If found, Beorn will beg to be allowed at least one adventure before going home.

Hook 2: A meteor was seen streaking across the sky. Sigurd thinks it landed nearby. If the party locate it for him he will award them with 200gps. However, a party of Seven Sinister Dwarves are also intent on locating it.

Hook 3: A Pesky Goblin, by the name of Grimblesticks the Hungersome (MR 16), stole Sigurd’s hammer. He can’t abandon the smithy to chase the pest down, but will pay 100gps for the hammer’s safe return. Grimblesticks is holed up somewhere in the 1st level of a dungeon, but will happily swap the hammer for anything, no matter how gross, edible.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Year's Revolutions

This Blog has been both neglected and dull this past year; with hardly any real content to speak of. This coming year I'll endeavour to otherthrow the tyranny of apathy or die trying. Well this Blog will certainly be put up against the wall and shot if the Revolution fails.

First thing I need to do is finish of the series of posts about The Big Box of Boxed Sets. I'll also add more Moldvayifications of modern classes like the Basic Warlord. Probably: Warforged, Dragonborn, and Thri-Kreen (or maybe a Phraint). Possibly a Forest Elf (archer), Lizardman, and Orc or Half-Orc, maybe a Ranger. DCC is my favourite flavour of D&D at the moment so perhaps some setting stuff for that. Of course; with a name like Old School Random I aught to put more random tables on the Blog. I'm thinking a set of tables for sandboxes and hex crawls might be fun. I know commentary and drama get more hits and comments, than content, but I honestly can't be arsed with either. However, with 5e due out this year I might find a few thing to just jaw about.

Happy New Year OSR types!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Redwald Ready!

The HOW version of Redwald is available now from LULU there's also a Lulu code: LULUEMP2013  for 40%. No idea if this works in all territories, or for how long it is valid. Oh, and remember this is the Heroes & Other Worlds version so you'll need the HOW rules too (if you don't already own a copy.

It's taken ages to get a printed version of Redwald available and it just wouldn't have happened without all the hard work and effort of Chris.  Especially as he's worked extra hard these past few days to ensure that Redwald would be ready before Christmas. Thank's, Chris. Great job it looks brilliant!