While dwarves remain my favorite fantasy race, the Blood Moon campaign setting is without them. The close runner up to dwarves are the often maligned and constantly condescended to gnomes. It seems that only orcs or halflings are be treated with more contempt. In the Blood Moon setting there are races with more inherit attributes that are more awesome and fearsome than three feet of ingenuity. Gith, Dragon Blooded and Changlings are without a doubt more awesome and mysterious than gnomes. However, gnomes are the originators of elemental-tech and armed with such power and maniacal devotion they are the driving force of freedom in the world. A few thousand years of isolation and paranoia have made them more than ready to sacrifice their sanity to accomplish their goals.
Professions such as the contraptionists and tinker are all the result of gnomish innovation. Much of my source material for Blood Moon tech is taken from Steamworks by Korey MacVittie. I have poured over a number of steampunk related PDFs and keep looking for ideas to borrow and incorporate into the setting.
Tonight's artwork is courtesy of Pandora. She is a very gifted young player and artist. She was kind enough to draw and color one of the races in Dragonquest that was carried over to the Blood Moon setting. Pickers are a gecko like race of lizard men that live nomadic lives as merchants, scouts and explorers. While not all that powerful they are a gifted race with many abilities that have ensured their survival in a fallen world.
Hounds of Vengeance accompany Soul Snifters as both bodyguards and as a source of fresh souls. They are capable to turning corporeal undead and the living into spirits that are then collected by the Snifters. While only possessing animal intelligence, they are very responsive to their keepers. Stunned or unconscious opponents are particularly vulnerable to their decapitation attacks.
Soul Snifters prefer to avoid interacting with the living or corporal undead. Their singular mission is to collect souls and spirits for their masters. They are greatly fear by the undead. Often commanding a team of hounds, they scour the lands looking for ghosts and incorporeal undead to harvest. Because of their abilities, even great undead such as spectres and wraiths prefer to avoid them.
*Both of these monsters have been taken from the Book of Fiends and recommissioned for Dragonquest. The artwork in the book varies. Some pieces are well done, and others look pretty lame. These two work into the cosmology of Blood Moon as a world that is overrun by demons, undead and other planar creatures.
As I prep for game play with the new characters I am slowly fleshing out the various undead that inhabit the world. Thankfully WOC have ample undead to incorporate into the campaign. My own home grown group of undead called the Graven come in a number of different flavors.
Graven are available as a playable race in Blood Moon and for the most part resemble the race they were prior to their crossing into the world of undeath. Those that cross over but do not remember their past or long to continue it often roam out into the wilderness where they gather in enormous hordes for protection. These grey walkers are often harmless, but in a panic they can stampede and crush things underfoot. Some become undead wailers and summon other undead in their wake. Thankfully grey walkers do not often roam into towns.
Blood Moon Ghouls or Red Runners are voracious versions of graven that devour any of thing alive. They posses amazing speed and strength and can empty out an entire town in a matter of minutes. They are able to infect others with their disease. Any of the living that die from this disease return to life as a Blood Moon Ghoul.
Over the last few week a number of people have rolled up some characters. I have the prospects of two groups forming for future gaming.
The Adult Group (Two guys from my former days of gaming, looking for one to two more) Unnamed Githyanki Fighter. One of the uber-races of the setting. They are fearsome fighters and always have some magical abilities or are often equally competent spell-casters. The one balancing act for the mighty Gith is the potential to backfire while using spells. Their presence in a group also draws the attention of Mindflayers and other enemies they have made through the ages. While no longer an evil race, the Gith are far from friendly and suffer from extreme issues of anger and paranoia. They still maintain an undying hatred of Mindlfayers and care little for the undead or demons that populate the lands of the Blood Moon. Most of the other races that one might find adventuring they view with contempt or suspicion. The emergence of the god of Vengeance has become a point of unity for them.
Unnamed Graven Fighter. One of the stock races of the setting. They are among the recent dead and still remember their former lives enough to have ties to how they once lived. This particular graven has been strengthen by an influx of necrotic energies and possess above average stats and abilities.
The Teen Group (My most recent recruits to Dragonquest) Persephone - The Dragon Blooded One of the uber-races for the setting. They are descendants of the long extinct dragons of the land. Some say the the Sire of All Dragons is their ultimate father and still exists in spite of not being seen for thousands of years. Sil - The Lomandrin One of the races created for the setting that bears a resemblance to the Owls from the Guardian movie. She resembles a Grey Grey owl. Both her and Persephone are armed with two-handed swords, one has a flamberge and the other a katana. Troxie - The Gnome Armed with a double-barrel saw off shotgun and a morning-star, she is more lethal than many realize. Gnomes are the only race to start with a gun of some type. Other races can acquire them during the game much like a magic item. Hadil - The Hellcat A race of intelligent felines that once formed part of the conquering hordes of demons that dominate the land. Over time they realigned themselves with others in the land and no longer serve or associate with their former masters. Pipa-Aramodor - The Haunt A haunt (Pipa) using the body of a lowly mongrel (Aramodor) to make her way through the land. Pipa is a rather hesitant haunt and is careful about the use of her contact with the world, her host body/friend/ride Aramodor.
For the less than .01% of Dragonquest players out there I have some thoughts and gaming ideas to share. Most of these are being incorporated into my test campaign of Blood Moon, but if viable will be used in the main game should I return to a traditional fantasy setting. Here are a few ideas that I am kicking around.
EXPERIENCE POINT SYSTEM Typically in the game I been following a rule of experience based on kills, appropriate use of skills and completion of adventures. In Dragonquest the completion of adventures was the big boost in exp for character development. The game only had two levels of advancement. One started life as a mercenary, became an adventurer and finished up as a hero. Not a bad system, been following it for 30+ years. In order for one to advance from one level to the next it was necessary to complete ranks in various skills. 8 ranks 4 was needed to become an adventurer. For most players this was an easy enough feat. The real challenge was becoming a hero. 8 rank 8's was not an easy accomplishment. Mages had a distinct advantage in gaining ranks in spells which as a whole require less experience than skills and weapons. I have also had occasional players over the years try to take a cheap route and learn things like languages or other skills that rarely contributed to character development.
My suggestion is to borrow from D & D a system of advancement based on accumulation of experience points. Here is the rough draft so far.
Mercenary 0 - 7,200 (Roughly 6 adventures)
Adventurer 7,201 - 21,600 (Roughly 6 adventures at 2400 a pop)
Hero 21,601 - 51,600 (Roughly 10 adventures at 3000)
Champion 51,601 4500 exp per adventure
Experience points will only be award at the end of an adventurer or a playing session. Points would not longer be awarded for kills, skills or other rolls in the game. I am also hoping that this change would encourage development of characters that is not centered around the quickest advancement to the next stage. While that is not often a problem, over the years some player seem to have more of a video gaming attitude that the game is often about "leveling." While character advancement is important, the game is really not about that.
STREAMLINING THE SKILLS
One of the unique things about Dragonquest was various skills that characters developed. It was one of the things that set it in contrast to D & D and the classes that one had to take. One of the frustrating issues with the skills was weapons. A character had to get rank in each weapon they planned on using. So even with weapons that were very similar, one had to get rank in that weapons in order to use it with any proficiency. Classifying the weapons has been one of the issues I hope to resolve for Blood Moon and further editions of Dragonquest.
ELIMINATION OF MAGIC COLLEGES One of the things I want to test with Blood Moon is the elimination of Magic Colleges into larger grouping of spells. Right now I am thinking of 5 magical specialist. The 5 specialist would be Thaumaturgist, Psionicist, Elementalist, Necromancer and Diabolist. Characters are still limited in the number of spells they can learn as determined by their magical aptitude. I am not certain what I want to do with the College of Naming Incantations. As a College in the base game it has the potential to be the most powerful or the lamest college depending on its placement in a campaign. I may add it if I end up playing with Blood Moon enough.
NEITHER OSR OR d20
While Dragonquest caught the tail end of the Golden age of RPG's, most of my additions to the game came during the late 80's from the 2nd Edition of the AD & D. What really changed the game for me was the advent of AD & D 3.X. I have borrowed from many of the volumes of books that came out in support of that incarnation of the D & D. I often find myself stuck between the simplicity of the OSR games and the more detailed mechanics of the 3.X system. I doubt I will ever resolve that tug, but it doesn't concern me too much. The bottom line for any game and group is the enjoyment of the game. Wasting words or brain wattage on "better systems" and "role playing vs roll playing" isn't worth my time much anymore. Perhaps its the old fart taking over my soul, but arguing about hobbies like I would when I was younger doesn't interest me.
As you may or may not know, Dragonquest characters do not fit into a class. One is not a fighter, thief or cleric. You build your character into the various skills or professions you desire. One could be a ranger and an assassin in Dragonquest if they wanted to choose those skills.
As I work on the Blood Moon setting one of the skills that will need creating is prospector. The new elemental industry is fueled by those who venture out to discover elemental claims. Does anyone know of prospector skill that I might adapt for Dragonquest?
I mentioned this game back in the days of Grievous Injury (the old blog) as my favorite game. Last year it came on-line in an excellent format and for free. The site includes a tutorial, After playing through a few tutorials you can either play through a series of missions that tell a story line slapped on top of the game mechanics or play the regular game against on-line opponents. If by chance anyone is ever interested in playing a game on-line I am up for it if available. My schedule is incredibly inconsistent, some days are swamped with pastoral demands and other days have a move even pace. Evenings work out best for my main playing time.
There is really only one girl in my fantasy gaming life and that is Dragonquest. In all of her clunkiness I love my old girl and will never abandon her. HOWEVER, thanks to Tenkar and his constant mentioning of various kickstarters I have bitten the hook and set my sights on Adventures Dark and Deep. I downloaded the player manual and was amazed at how much it felt like the the DM Guide from AD & D. The look, the reading and feel of the book made my think back on the original guide. I don't think there was ever a more bizarre book that I read.
While the book made sense as a whole, it was an amazing hodgepodge of random gaming goodness. With more logic and discernment the Player Manual to Adventures Dark & Dangerous is one of the heirs apparent, I could not help but think of the classic DM Guide when looking over the pdf.
So you die, then what? Is most settings your buddies would be responsible for taking your body to some sort of cleric to resurrect you. In Dragonquest they would look for a Healer and hope to have enough money to pay for the attempt. My plans for Blood Moon rule our any clerics or healers. There is not an abundance of good healing magic to be found. The corruption wrought by the failed eldritch magic has opened the door necromantic energies permeating the lands. One might die today and return shortly there after as a somewhat intact person tainted by undeath yet still in possession of their person.
In terms of game mechanics Willpower (WP) will be the determining characteristics of one's fate after death. If one is lucky enough they have the ability to return to life after the grave as their old selves. They may need some sort of healing, limb grafting, or elemental prosthesis to return to a more mobile state, but they are still listed among the living. Rolling under 3 X WP will bring about a return to life as it was before. If your average WP is 15 you have a 45% chance to remain in the ranks of the living. For those less fortunate, they return to life as a grave version of themselves and may need similar mending to become mobile and active. A roll between 3 & 4 X WP will result in graven transformation. A roll higher then that causes one to pass into unlife and return as an undead under the control of the GM. How soon this transformation occurs is left up the the discretion of the GM. It is rumored that Grave Wardens can prevent such a transformation.
Samurai sword-wielding Mormon bishop comes to aid of woman
Published April 23, 2013
advertisemenA Samurai sword-wielding Mormon bishop helped a neighbor woman escape a Tuesday morning attack by a man who had been stalking her.
Kent Hendrix woke up Tuesday to his teenage son pounding on his bedroom door and telling him somebody was being mugged in front of their house. The 47-year-old father of six rushed out the door and grabbed the weapon closest to him -- a 29-inch high carbon steel Samurai
My post is a simple one. I converted the race that made me look into gaming as a hobby. That fateful September day back in 1981 opened the door to a world of imagination and community that I have enjoyed ever since. Those two things have often fueled my joy of living and certainly impacted my decisions in life. While I cannot credit RPG's with the being to source or origin of my vocation, the world I came to know in gaming has certainly shaped my understanding of life and my appreciation of it.
Here are just a few of things I have learned from RPG's.
Life really is a story, what story do I find myself to be in?
It takes friends to fulfill the mission.
The best laid plans can be hampered by bad luck.
Half-assed plans can come together with a bit of daring and good fortune.
There is a real communion that comes about by laughter, cooperation and shared enjoyment.
I am sure I could write more along those line, but my parishioners already know I am too wordy. No need to inflict such pains upon any of the readers here. Have a great Appreciation Day, may your adventures be meaningful and your friends plentiful! The link is at the bottom of this post is a PDF of the arctle and race of Winged Folk adapted for Swords & Wizardry.
I recently rediscovered my CD collection of Dragon Magazines. Here are some timeless comments from Gary Gygax.
"While adventurers in a D & D campaign must grade their
play to their referee, it is also incumbent upon the Dungeonmaster to suit
his campaign to the participants. This interaction is absolutely necessary if
the campaign is to continue to be of interest to all parties. It is often a
temptation to the referee to turn his dungeons into a veritable gift shoppe of magical
goodies, ripe for plucking by his players. Similarly, by a bit of fudging, outdoor
expeditions become trips to the welfare department for heaps of loot.
Monsters exist for the
slaying of the adventurers — whether of the sort who “guard” treasure, or of
the wandering variety. Experience points are heaped upon the undeserving
heads of players, levels accumulate like dead leaves in autumn, and if players
with standings in the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s of levels do not become bored, they
typically become filled with an entirely false sense of accomplishment, they are puffed
up with hubris. As they have not really earned their standings, and their actual
ability has no reflection on their campaign level, they are easily deflated (killed) in a
game which demands competence in proportionate measure to players’ levels.
It is reasonable to calculate that if a fair player takes
part in 50 to 75 games in the course of a year he should acquire sufficient
experience points to make him about 9th to 11th level, assuming that he manages
to survive all that play."
Does anyone really have the time to play that many sessions as an adult? Again, I am an outsider looking in on a system I never played. Does it really take that long to advance to that level? When I was in High School I may have had that kind of time to waste, but not now. 400 to 600 hours of game play in the course of a year seems like a lot. I did chuckle at his comments about trips to the welfare department.
This image in Dragon magazine was enough to entice my imagination into buying it. The entire magazine was fascinating and I knew next to nothing about D & D, but this guy looked awesome. I think it must have been sometime in 1981. It was Christmas of that year that I got Dragonquest instead of D &D and the rest is history. This race of "birdmen" was one of the first things I added to the game after I was comfortable as a GM.
Seeing all the excitement over at Tenkar's has made me hop on the bandwagon. While I have never played Swords & Wizardry I thought I might be able to translate something from Dragonquest over to that system. I've read through the book and think the game is cool, but my fantasy gaming is limited to a monogamous relationship with an obscure system.
Back in the early days of the 3.X explosion of D & D I was into buying many books for resource material. Mythic races by Fantasy Flight provide me with seeds ideas for incorporating a number of new races into Dragonquest. The Sendashi (originally Sendasti) were a race that were interesting enough to merit my consideration. The picture fed enough of my imagination to make up the various stats and history of the race. Considering that they were a marginal rave to being with in my home setting, they seemed like a good carry over for the new Blood Moon setting.
Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He grew before Him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; He had not form or comeliness that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surly he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken by God, and afflicted. Bu He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised four our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with His stripes we are healed.
More background videos from the wonderful world of Manga. What happens when you mix the old Speed Buggy cartoon with Bruce Lee martial arts: Fists of the North Star! While not as polished as Bleach or other more recent Manga, it is still fun to watch as I work at the computer. Kenshiro is every bit a Bruce Lee knock-off with amazing kung-fu powers.
Crazy ass moves: X
Astounding beat-downs on mobs of goons: X
Enemies exploding in agony: X
Cornball 80's dialogue: X
"You are already dead!"
A bit too bloody for preteens, but it sure makes me want to see someone play a monk in a future campaign.
Tenkar's post about various kickstarts had me exploring the wonderful world of the internet. It amazes me how much money goes into kickstarts which is cool, but the lack of prompt delivery and development of products makes me leery of ever funding one. Really a shame for those honest developers out there.
Piddling away on the setting for Blood Moon and the quote from Young Frankenstein came to mind. I have been slogging my way through the character generation for the game. 25 races are in the complete version, 11 in the basic. While I thought about slimming it down some, I figure I am the only one who is ever going to seriously play or even consider it. The problem with 32 years of gaming is the exposure to so much cool stuff that you never get to utilize in a game. This game is shaping up to be a fusion of regular D & D, the Oathbound setting, and the Iron Kingdoms all slapped on top of the Dragonquest system. Sometimes a setting wins me over with the artwork, Iron Kingdoms definitely did that.
Trollkins and Ogrun are plucked from this setting and I like its take on goblins. Anyway, enough rambling. Back to the salt mines.
I was chuckling about some comments that Tenkar put over on his blog about 4e giving gnomes the shaft. For the most part gnomes are treated as dwarves-lite and overlooked by many gamers. It seems to be an all or nothing type of relationship, people either like the way gnomes are presented in a game or they hate them.
Some of my original thoughts forming the Blood Moon setting had to deal with gnomes surviving their near genocide and living in isolation for a few thousand years. That time apart turned them from a fun frolicking race into a bunch of vengeance driven vigilantes. With nature still against them (too small, too weak, too frail) gnomes have developed technology to balance the playing field. Nothing like a gun to ruin someone's day.
A while ago I started reading the 1st Book in the Iron Druid Chronicles. I set it aside back then but recently picked it up and found it very enjoyable. While the Dresden Files still remain my favorite read in urban fantasy, this one is becoming a close second. I am in the middle of the third book now and looking forward to the next ones.
No it's not alcohol, but rather the attempt to incorporate too many things into a game. While "frankensteining" may not be unique to those of Celtic heritage, I think there is a genetic predisposition to think that more some how equates with better. Variety is the spice of life, but too much can be overwhelming I often think of my mother's kitchen. When hot-glue guns made their advent in the late 70's wall space disappeared in the kitchen. Every blank space had something glued to it. Cool, but WTH!?!
As I look at my habits of GMing I tend to fall into that habit of adding more and more to the game. Any of my players can tell you that D & D 3.X provided me with an overabundance of professions, weapons and subskills for Dragonquest. I did a little raiding from the 2nd edition, but really only the psionics and a few professions were looted during that time. I wasn't actively playing, so there was no urgency.
As I assemble the pieces of Blood Moon I am already looking at 25 playable races for the game, 10 for the "basic" edition. I have 20 different firearms in the works, and will try to thin it down to a dozen or so for the basic game. New skills need to be added to the game such as prospector, tinkerer, mechanik, fleshweaver and some others. I find all of this exciting and think of the gaming experience, but I certainly don't see it as a OSR endeavor, but more like an D & D 3.X infection gone crazy. Be that as it may, if anyone should want a copy of my handiwork, it is there for taking once I it get completed.
As I kick around ideas for Blood Moon I am working on a list of various locations to include on the map or to make know to the players as they adventure. For now, here are some generic names of potential locations in the world.
Demonholds - Castles or fortress of demonic lords
Maggot Pits - Where the dead go to wiggle
The Dead Lands - Lands ruled by the undead
Flayer Stockyards - Mind Flayer feeding pits
Aboleth Bogs - Sunken citieis ruled by Aboleths
The Dragon Marches - The rumored last hold out of dragons in the land
Elemental Quagmires - Areas of extreme and dangerous elemental powers
Jinn Citadels - Fortresses ruled by various jinn's
Desecration Tundras - Blighted areas where the gods & titans fell
Neogi Spires - Trading towers of Neogi
Mongrel Gatetowns - Starting cities for the campaign
Fleshports - Slaver cities
Those are some preliminary ideas that I think will help color and flavor the setting.
It's a rather tedious endeavor, but I wanted to try and create a basic version of Blood Moon before rolling out the more complete version. While many elements of the setting are complete, there are a number that need to be fine tuned. Here is a short list of various features for the setting:
11 player races
Mongrels - A mix a various races - the stock race for the setting
Graven - A recent member of the undead that still retains a resemblance to the living
Goblins - Every bodies favorite fodder modified and adapted for play
Gnolls - Another fodder race revamped for play
Frey - Anthropomorphized race of house cats taken from the Oathbound setting
Haunts - A ghost that seeks to remain attached to the world of the living
Lomandrins - A race of antropomorphized owls
Minotaurs - The old classic with a change in attitude and diet
Blickish - Teleporting halflings taken from the Mythic Races book
Drow - The only elves left in the world
Gnomes - The creators of elemental-tech
Think steam-punk that has been adapted to elemental sources of energy
4 primary elements and other minor ones as sources of energy
A different take on death - Dying does not necessary mean the end of a character. By force of will one can remain in play after the "death" of their character.
There is a short list of some the ideas that have been percolating around in my head over the last couple of years. Bringing them to fruition will be the challenge.
Since beginning my new assignment game time has reached an all time low. However, it looks like my life is beginning to reach a manageable pace so the potential gaming bug is biting at me. While I don't foresee gaming before the summertime, I do hope to take some time to line up things for a new campaign. My real hope is to do some serious work on my Blood Moon campaign idea and see if I can work it into a real setting. What I may end up doing is posting some of my handiwork here for feedback and any suggestions.