Saturday, June 27, 2020

New Knights of the All Mind




This supplement is kind of ironic because the original Knights of the All Mind supplement I prepared for our home group back in 2012 was to introduce old school attributes to d20. Now this "New" supplement is helping refine our foray back into the "old" ways, since about a year ago we had crossed over to Advanced Labyrinth Lord.

So what is in this new-old supplement? Merely a few somewhat minor aspects we used in our old 1st edition game that I thought would be interesting to bring back in some fashion.
  • Strength Above 19 - The Advanced Labyrinth Lord uses increased hit dice for belts of giant strength and the like, which on a certain level makes sense, but really only works for to hit and damage and not feats of strength like breaking down doors and bending bars. We went through a doozy of a discussion over how to stratify strength where the Gygaxian special "fighter type" strength from 1-100 is eliminated. (There was sooo much needless Gygaz complexity that our era beginning in the late 70s had to live with...)
  • Divine Intervention - An old table I had from the original Knights, not always an impact, but when divine intervention is your character's last hope, well...
  • Godly Grants - This came up because we were going to run a group through Geoffrey Dales Inferno, and J.A.S. has a fighter, Halberton, with a mace that grants a Godly Grant every day (He gained the mace at Grimcon III). Mark Scheinert was kind enough to describe this Arduin magical grant.
  • Death and Dismember Table - I derived a much simplified 1d20 table adapted from Zak Smith's d100 DADT from the 5th edition Zak Hak. The mechanics are awesome because rather than having 0 hit points become this demarcation point between fighting as normal and unconsciousness/death, moving below 0 is a sort of dance between barely hanging on to consciousness, risking death, while often suffering injuries.
  • Weapon Speed - Our group came about during the glorious period of J. Eric Holmes Dungeons and Dragons Basic Set. It had very simplified weapon speed: Light weapons take a half round to use, heavy weapons 2 rounds, and regular weapons 1 round. So when Players Handbook came out in late 1978, PRE Dungeon Masters Guide,  we took all the weapon speed factors as number of segments to use and ran SEGMENT BY SEGMENT combat for nearly 30 years! It was insane, not what Gygaz intended, and FUN AS HELL!!! Anyhow, it doesn't work quite right with B/X 10-secomd melee rounds, but you know what? HOLMES BASIC USED 10-SECOND ROUNDS! So there we go, I just threw in the Holmes rules.
  • Weapon Adjustments To Hit Versus Armor Type - This is really something that just about everyone ditched: Giving different weapons bonuses or penalty based on whether they were striking against someone wearing anything from no armor to plate mail. Most folks I supposed thought it was a needless wargaming complexity, I always thought it was kind of cool and made weapon selections a little more meaningful - and occasionally a PC super-needed that bonus! So I included armor type adjustments for all the weapons listed in Advanced Labyrinth Lord.
  • Variety of Other Stuff - Most of these are from my earlier book that I though were useful, but there is just kind of a salad of other things: Mutation Table, Whimsey Table, Psionic Rules adopted to Labyrinth Lord as simplified by Silverblade the Enchanter, and my very own Appendix N.
Any how, it's free, so what do you have to lose? Ha, where I come from they say "Take what you need and leave the rest."

Namaste.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Color Maps!


I added the color maps that are completed for the new Advanced Labyrinth Lord/OSR compatible Underport: Abyssal Descent - Revisionist Edition to the current DriveThruRPG download of Underport: Abyssal Descent. The old black and white maps are still included, however, the color maps are much more legible.

The two differences between the original maps are an underground fungoid jungle section with an Aboleth on level 1 and a new level 9 which essentially incorporates a cross dimension connection with an alien spaceship. (The rough v.3.5 SRD version alien spaceship is free on Knights of the All Mind blogspot "Free Encounters" page. The new LL/OSR version will be encounter driven rather than these general notes.)

Once the new version of the dungeon is complete I will replace the old files with the new ones so anyone who purchased the v.3.5 SRD version will receive the new version for free.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Half Way There ...


Whew, this is taking me much longer than I expected...

Last June I had decided to convert my vintage (circa 1978-81) megadungeon "Underport: Abyssal Descent" from our home-ruled v.3.5 to 5e and also improve some of the shortcomings of the original presentation, specifically the long stat blocks and often illegible scanned maps.

The first part of the project was to add color to the maps, which in addition to making them more legible also came out purdy:


Shortly thereupon, however, I participated in an online B/X game with Jeff Rients and had a blast. So much so that I prevailed upon my home gaming group to switch from 5e to Advanced Labyrinth Lord, a B/X & AD&D retro-clone. At the same time I gathered myself to move the revision of Underport from 5e to the more original Advanced Labyrinth Lord.

A problem developed in that the original-original Underport (pictured below) was not a complete dungeon. It was bits and pieces formed over time as adventuring parties delved there. With the home-ruled v.3.5 version I used Tome of Horrors from Necromancer Games (one of my favorite publishers from the 3rd edition days) to fill in critters and encounters. Now with deciding to go back to my roots, I was faced with converting 3rd edition stats to 1st edition. Bleh!

(The "original" original Underport.)
So I am looking through the different iterations for Tome of Horrors Complete that Frog God Games has put out since Necromancer merged with them. Lo and behold, there is a Swords & Wizardry version of the tome!!!

Swords & Wizardry is an OD&D retro-clone harkening back to the "White Box" set of little brown books that started the game way back in 1974. I had considered S&W as one of the option to propose to my home group when I wanted to pitch them going back to an earlier version. The reason I ultimately went with Advanced Labyrinth Lord is that we gamed 1st ed. AD&D from 1978 until 2005 and Advanced Labyrinth Lord adhered close to those rules while cleaning up some unnecessary Gygaxian complexities.

The bottom line is that the conversion is going soooo much smoother with the S&W Tome! Maybe even get this done by next June...

PS My plan is to replace the existing v.3.5 Underport on DriveThruRPG with the new retro-clone version. That means everyone who purchased the first version will get the new version for free, but if for some reason needs to re-download the first version will need to contact me to do that.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

The Silver Road

(The Silver Road available at DriveThruRPG!)

A little Troika! scenario myself and Random Addison ran at DunDraCon #44 last weekend (February 14th) is now available free on DriveThruRPG and itch.io. Probably the only Troika! scenario I'll do for a bit because I have a couple things to complete for Advanced Labyrinth Lord.

This is a simple and basic elemental planar romp for up to 6 players. Old Addison was super helpful in getting me out of some standard tropes and also inventing ideas for breaking the fourth wall.

Our game at DunDraCon was just about the full 8 hours, but we left off before the end and had an intriguing philosophical tension during the climactic scene.

Please give it a whirl and let us know what you think.

PS: An early release of this scenario used material from Axes & Orcs Compendium: Volume Two: Science-Fantasy Potpourri Backgrounds for Troika! by Ian Woolley ​at https://axesnorcs.blogspot.com/​. Ian does great work for the game and you should check him out.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year - Shadow Drow

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

In keeping with winding down my efforts toward home-style rules, here is a new baddie that is playable with Advanced Labyrinth Lord™ and Other OSR Rule Sets.

The Shadow Drow is a regular elven drow integrated with the Plane of Shadow, from which the shadow drow may plot and launch attacks. Compared to normal drow, the shadow drow are faster, more difficult to detect, have additional resistances to cold, and once per day can shift to or from the Plane of Shadow.

Shadow Drow
No. Enc.: 2d4 (6d6)
Alignment: Chaotic (evil)
Movement: 180'
Armor Class: 2
Hit Dice: 2 + 2
Attacks: 1 or 2 (weapon)
Damage: As weapon
Save: F2
Morale: 11
Hoard Class: V x 5, XI x 2
XP: 67

Shadow drow are depraved and evil demon-worshipping subterranean creatures merged with non-corporeal darkness. Shadow drow hate the life energy of living things from above-ground.

Like regular drow, they tend to be 5’ tall and slight of build, but their skin, hair, and eyes are of dark, swirling shadow. Although shadow drow seem somewhat ghost-like, they are not truly undead creatures. As a consequence, shadow drow are not susceptible to the cleric ability to turn undead. However, like undead, shadow drow are unaffected by charm or sleep spells.

Shadow drow also have cold resistance and are impervious to all forms of ordinary cold. Further, damage from other kinds of cold is reduced by –2 per die of damage. These kinds of cold include cone of cold, wall of ice, and the intense cold of frozen sea. If exposure to such cold requires a saving throw, it is made at +2 to the dice roll.

Shadow drow have 120’ infravision and are completely silent and difficult to observe in any conditions other than full daylight granting them a +2 to armor class. When in bright light including sunlight they suffer -2 to hit and -2 to DEX, and if abruptly exposed to light are blinded for 1 round. They will surprise on a surprise check roll of 1-5 on 1d6 and are themselves surprised only on 1 on 1d8. Shadow drow can also Plane shift self to or from the Plane of Shadow once per day.

Shadow drow typically attack with short swords or darts which are coated with poison. Victims must save versus poison at -4 or fall unconscious for 1d4 turns. Shadow drow can use the following spell-like abilities once per day: dancing lights, darkness, and faerie fire. All shadow drow save versus magical effects with a +2. In addition, shadow drow of 4th level or higher have the following spelllike abilities once per day: detect magic, know alignment, levitate, and fear. Finally, female shadow drow are more powerful than males, and once per day have the abilities of clairvoyance, detect lie, dispel magic, suggestion, mirror image, and regenerate 2 hit points per round (slain if brought to 0 hit points).

In a group of 10 or more, a male 3rd level fighter will be present. In a group of 20 or more, a female cleric/fighter of 6th level will be present. If more than 30 are encountered, a female cleric/fighter of 7th or 8th level will be present, and a male fighter/magic-user of 4th or 5th level will be present.

There is a 5% chance per level that a shadow drow has a magic item.

Labyrinth Lord™ is copyright 2007-2018, Daniel Proctor. Labyrinth Lord™ and Advanced Labyrinth Lord™ are trademarks of Daniel Proctor. These trademarks are used under the Labyrinth Lord™ Trademark License 1.2, available at www.goblinoidgames.com.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

City Running Troika!

(City Running Troika! available at DriveThruRPG)

So, I'm leaning away from being in the rules business and Troika! popped up for me.

The system is ultra simple. Each character has three attributes:
  • Skill, which is the number added whenever a character tries to do something;
  • Stamina, which score defines altogether general health, sturdiness, and hit points; and 
  • Luck, which is kind of a catch-all saving throw that decreases the more you use it.
Then, actions are further bumped with advanced skills and spells. Each advanced skill and spell has a numerical value to it, typically 1 or 2 or, more rarely at the beginning, 3. This numerical value gets added to the skill attribute whenever the character takes some action.

Up to three skills or spells used since the last rest can be improved +1 when the character has completed a rest and has an opportunity for reflection. This is done by attempting to roll greater than the total skill points for the advanced skill or spell. (A character can also learn new advanced skills or spells if there is someone more experienced to train her.)

Characters get their beginning advanced skills, spells, and an often bizarre backstory by rolling for a random background. 36 backgrounds are included in the rulebook, but there are many, many, many sources for Troika! backgrounds. Ich.io is a good resource for backgrounds, both free and to purchase.

The rulebook comes with an introductory adventure that takes place in a fancy hotel within the City of Troika. The author of Troika!, Daniel Sell, has published several discrete details of city locations, but, perhaps intentionally or perhaps because Troika! is a young game and more will be forthcoming, there is not a comprehensive overview of the city itself. 

I read that Daniel Sell got some inspiration for Troika! from a series of stories by M. John Harrison published between 1971 and 1984 about Viriconuim, a shifting, dystopian, post-apocalyptic future Earth.

Looking for role-playing material on Viriconium lead me to Logan Knight.

Logan Knight, under the Creative Commons non-commercial license, publishes a large number of random city tables for his own setting that are based on Harrison's Viriconium city.

Originally for my personal Troika! game I am running, I assembled a good number of the setting tables and adopted them to Troika! After running the random scenarios for a few sessions, I came to believe that Troika! players in general would enjoy the resource.

I edited a nice edition and tried to get through to Logan Knight to see if he had any concerns about my publishing and could not get a reply (there was a comment on his website about getting a new job). Anyhow, with his work being under Creative Commons non-commercial, I went ahead and released City Running Troika! for free on both DriveThruRPG and ich.io.

Hopefully Troika! players will discover and enjoy the product, and also hopefully Logan Knight won't be pissed off.