Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Praise the Fallen: Preview

"There were those demented powers that wanted to return all to naught, to become one with the Ever Slumbering Void.  Pantheons collided and the heavens shattered with war...."  

Up until now, the adventures that I've posted here have consisted of experimental methods for running games, but thanks to the cool dungeon map drawings of one, Samwise Seven, (and others) over on MeWe, I decided to do a straight up dungeon crawl.  I've been working on Praise the Fallen for a couple of weeks and should be ready to post it in the next few weeks (there's more to it than I first intended; this always happens.)  I've thought about putting it up for sale on DriveThruRPG, but how much can you really make doing that?  Maybe next time.  I think I'll just post the PDF here for whoever might be interested.  It is about the cult of a fallen angel.

Here are some map studies I've done.  I sampled various hatching styles, water color, dots, solid black; I think I like the semi-solid black in the bottom sample.  Also, my plan is to put all of the relevant information directly on the map for ease of use.

Here is some of the art...

Back to work...

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

New OSR Logo

I did not want to touch this topic with a 10' pole, but new OSR logos are all the rage these days.

This one came to me while driving around.  I don't know where it came from, maybe I was stuck in traffic just long enough for my mind to wander in that direction.  With I-75 and I-696 both under reconstruction, driving around Metro-Detroit has become a serious pain.  Anyhow, when I thought of this configuration I knew it was a winner and couldn't wait to work on it.

The OSR seems to be experiencing a schism right now.  I am not a major player in the OSR and I speak for no one.  RPGs for me are like Holy Ground, and thus, Neutral Ground.  I don't care who you are, what you believe, who you love or hate or vote for, you're welcome at my table.  I follow blogs by people who I know see the world differently than I do.  I buy products designed by people who's lifestyles are on the other side of the universe than mine.  Some of these products are mindbogglingly good, and I don't want their creators to change one bit, even if that means we are worlds apart.

D&D unites us.

So I'm making this logo available for anyone to use, unconditionally.

This logo is Neutral Ground.

Even the Kurgan behaved himself in church.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Quick Rules For Incarceration

So, your character was arrested and thrown in the dungeon.  Now what?

Being locked up in a dungeon is a common trope of fantasy fiction that usually leads to some clever escape followed by suitable revenge.  Entire stories can be built around the concept of incarceration.

But not many D&D stories.

When characters get captured they're expected to escape pretty quickly and rolls are often fudged to make that happen.  OK...no fudging.  But those rolls can fail.  Then it's time for the Deus Ex Machina and here comes that faithful NPC to save the day....

D&D really isn't set up for PCs to be prisoners.  But if you want that kind of grit somewhere in your campaign, my suggestion is to handle it...between...adventures.  How exactly the PC's find themselves imprisoned is largely up to your campaign.  It's also a great way to start a campaign...

The tables below assume that the PC was in a captive state and recently gained freedom.  Follow the tables as needed and as makes sense to your campaign.  Some results may be contradictory, so use common sense.


Reason for capture/arrest: (roll 1d12)  All include a sentencing modifier to be used a few steps below (modify these as you see fit.)
  1. Theft:  You were caught stealing. (-3)
  2. Murder:  You killed someone(s). (+3)
  3. Heresy/Witchcraft:  You were spreading heretical views, worshiping the wrong deity, or blaspheming. (+1)
  4. Debt:  You owe large sums and time is up. (-3)
  5. Prisoner of War:  Doesn't necessarily have to happen during a war, but enemy combatants captured you. (+2)
  6. Arson:  This has always been frowned upon. (+1)
  7. High Treason:  You betrayed your King. (+4)
  8. Disorderly Conduct:  Covers anything from drunken behavior to brawling to vandalism.  (-3)
  9. Vagrancy:  Apparently homeless, unproductive people weren't treated so well in the Middle Ages. (-3)
  10. Assault:  This includes attempted murder / rape. (+2)
  11. Espionage:  You were captured in enemy territory and are considered a spy.  (+4)
  12. Debauchery:  Strict times; use your imagination. (+0)
Were you innocent or guilty?  You could simply roll 1d6 (1-3 guilty, 4-6 innocent) or you could roll 1d6 with the listed adjustments for alignment.  If you a roll a 6 or higher, you were innocent.
  • Lawful (good): +3
  • Neutral: +2
  • Chaotic (evil): +0

Were you captured near civilization or in the wild?  Roll 1d6 (1-4 civilization, 5-6 wilderness)

Did you have a trial? Roll 1d6 (+2 if captured near civilization) 1-3 no trial, 4-6 yes you had a trial.

What type of trial?  Roll 1d4.
  1. Trial by Manorial Court or Inquisition.  (some sort of jury or counsel)
  2. Trial by King's Court.  (I am the law!)
  3. Trial by Combat.  (in this case the PC loses the fight)
  4. Trial by Ordeal.  (usually some form of torture searching for a confession and for the sake of this exercise the PC survived)

Whether they were innocent or not, the PC was found guilty.

What was the sentence? Roll 1d8.
  1. Comfortable Confinement. (access to friends and family)
  2. Public Humiliation. (such as the Pillory, often you would sleep in a cell at night)
  3. Hard Labor. (crushing rocks, digging, etc.)
  4. Confinement. (a dungeon full of prisoners)
  5. Slavery. (roll 1d6, if you roll a 5-6 you were sold to a gladiatorial arena)
  6. Solitary Confinement. (your own dark dungeon cell)
  7. Mutilation. (such as losing a hand)
  8. Death. (hanging, beheading, etc.)
Other than Death and maybe Mutilation, how long was your sentence to be? (roll 1d8)  Add the sentencing modifier from above, no result can be less than 1.
  1. 1d4 weeks.
  2. 1d4 months.
  3. 2d6 months.
  4. 1 year.
  5. 1d4 years.
  6. 2d6 years.
  7. 2d6+6 years.
  8. Life.

How did you gain your freedom? Roll 1d6.
  1. Served your full sentence.  (Obviously serving 10 years (or death) could upend your campaign, so feel free to re-roll this result.)  Also, if your sentence was death and you want to be radical, you could make the character come back as undead. 
  2. You were granted mercy.
  3. Someone paid a ransom for your freedom.  (Perhaps an organization, church, or kingdom you are loyal too and they expect devotion for this...)
  4. You escaped.  (Once per session from now on, there is a 35% chance that hunters will track you down and try to recapture you.  This drops by 5% every session as they will eventually forget about you.)
  5. You were offered a shady deal in exchange for freedom.  (You are now tasked with something nefarious such as assassination.  If you don't complete this task, they will know...)
  6. Divine Intervention.   (Something crazy happened, earthquake, flood, your cell door just opened, or you simply woke up one day somewhere else and perhaps later received a divine mission.) 
Price paid for incarceration.  (Whatever ill effects you suffered will remain in affect until you gain a level, at which point you will be back to your regular self.) Roll 1d6.
  1. You contracted a Disease that has so weakened you that your maximum Hit Points are lowered by 15%.
  2. Malnourished.  You have lost 1d2 points of Strength and 1d2 points of Dexterity.
  3. Broken mind.  You lose 1d4 points of Intelligence.
  4. Physically scarred, lose 1d4 points of Charisma.  When you gain a level the scars remain, but you have learned to use them to your benefit.
  5. Infected.  You are plagued by a chronic cough.  Lose 1d4 points of Constitution.
  6. Defeated.  Lose 1d4 points of Wisdom.
Due to fines, legal fees, confiscation, bribery, or just plain old corruption, whatever wealth the PC had accumulated up until their incarceration is reduced by a % roll (eg., if you roll 27, you have lost 27% of all your wealth.)

Unexpected benefits from incarceration. Roll 1d6.
  1. After multiple escape attempts, you learned a little something about lock-picking.  Gain lock-picking abilities equivalent to a 1st level thief, or 1 level higher if you are a thief.
  2. You found faith.  Gain the ability to cast a 1st level cleric spell as a 1st level caster 1/day.
  3. You thought that you'd entered a state of insanity, but in fact, you have been communing with an outer intelligence.  Gain one randomly determined 1st level wizard spell that you can cast 1/day.
  4. You became used to grimy living conditions and now have a +2 bonus vs. poison/disease.
  5. After regular scraps with other inmates/guards your fighting prowess has improved by +1.
  6. Pain fazes you no more.  Gain 1d4 permanent Hit Points. 

Castles & Crusades: Saving Throws... Focusing On Death

In the earliest editions of D&D, death , along with poison was your best save. In Castles & Crusades, the  death  save is a charism...