Thousand Lands S01E04

Onwards to the Castle

In the fourth episode of our Thousand Lands, B/X Essentials game our heroes press onwards from the ruined village of the Skylord towards Hoon Castle, eager to settle their score with the thieves cult known as the Dark Eye, but are they willing to pay the price?

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Whither Westhaven

It seems like today is my day for posting about things faded or disappearing (see my previous post on deleting my Google+ account). If you’ve been keeping up with the various games and actual-plays that I run you may have noticed that there was no session video for my Rose of Westhaven game last week.

This is unfortunately because the game has currently gone on hiatus due to some unexpected scheduling issues with the group, rather than continue the game and try to re-cast I have made the decision to put the game on pause for the moment (although I may revisit it in the future at some point, who knows?)

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The Thousand Lands S01E01

Leaving the City

The first session of our B/X Essentials campaign (rules published by Necrotic Gnome), in which a group of heroes venture beyond the sanctuary of the Last City to explore a land blasted by a sorcerous war, is now available on Youtube:

An uncut version is available on Twitch (this also includes the character generation session 0):

Watch The Thousand Lands : S01E00 & S01E01 – Character Generation & Leaving the City – UNCUT from RedDiceDiaries on www.twitch.tv

An edited, audio only version of the first session is available on my anchor Podcast:

A written description of the first session can be found here on the World Anvil site:

https://www.worldanvil.com/w/thousand-lands-red-dice-diaries/a/session-1-leaving-the-city-article

The Thousand Lands S01E00

Character Gen/Setting Discussion

For those of you who aren’t aware, I’ve recently started running a campaign using the excellent B/X Essentials by Necrotic Gnome.  The game takes place as people slowly begin to emerge from the safety of the magically protected Last City to explore a world ravaged by a sorcerous war.

If you want more details about the campaign you can check out the Obsidian portal site here:

https://thousandlands.obsidianportal.com/

Session 0 is where we take a leisurely stroll through character gen and also discuss some of the setting issues, it’s available on Twitch, Youtube and in audio format on my podcast:

An uncut version of the character generation session (also including the first adventure) is available on Twitch:

Watch The Thousand Lands : S01E00 & S01E01 – Character Generation & Leaving the City – UNCUT from RedDiceDiaries on www.twitch.tv

The audio only version is available on my anchor Podcast.

Rose of Westhaven

Season 1

We’ve recently wrapped up season one of our Lamentations of the Flame Princess Midderlands Campaign, as of the time of writing we’ve already started season two, which has seen the timeline move forward by ten years and a switch to the For Coin & Blood rule set.

Season One charts the rise and fall of the Locke Adventuring Company,

During their adventures they made allies among the people of Porthcrawl, enemies of many fierce creatures, many friends were lost along the way, but they never stopped striving to push forward against adversity in the spirit of their deceased namesake Edwin Locke.

Over twenty sessions chart the rise and fall of the Locke Adventuring Company, these are all available to watch on Youtube or Twitch.

Youtube Playlist

Twitch Playlist

Watch Rose of Westhaven – Season 1 from RedDiceDiaries on www.twitch.tv

Podcast Episode 39 – Running a City Like a Dungeon

In the latest episode of the podcast I answer some voicemail messages about previous installments and muse on an idea I’ve been considering for my Rose of Westhaven campaign:

Music on Podcast Title

Shinigami by XTaKeRuX:
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/XTaKeRuX/Empty_Grave/Shinigami

Used under creative commons licence:
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Black Market Blymouth

Rules for dealing with black market trading in LOTFP and other OSR games.

Trading and buying equipment is often something that gets glossed over in RPGs, and quite rightly so in my opinion since doing a bit of shopping doesn’t really compare to the heroic (and not so heroic) deeds that PCs engage in during the rest of their adventuring career. I’ve done it myself recently in my own campaign game, the players rocked up to the City of Blymouth to buy some gear and–wanting to get on with the rest of the adventure–I pretty much said “Yeah, if you can see it on the equipment list then you can buy it at city prices.”

It did get me thinking though, one of the things I’d half had in mind for Blymouth (since the high taxes that Duke Salt imposes on the citizens was mentioned in the Midderlands Expanded book) was that there would be a thriving black market economy. But how best to represent this without every shopping trip turning into a mission on it’s own?

I also wanted the black market expedition to have an element of both randomness and player-choice in it. With that in mind I’ve put together the following set of rules for Black-marketeering:

Stages of Black-Marketeering

In order to gain access and trade on the black market the PCs must go through the following stages (each of which is covered in more detail later in the article):

  • Locating a black-market vendor.

  • Purchasing the item/assessing it’s quality.

Locating a Black Market Vendor

In order to use the black market, the PCs must first make contact with it; if they have already had dealings with a named contact in the current settlement and are on good terms with them then they can do this automatically.

If the PCs do not have a named contact they are on good-terms with then they must make a Charisma check to locate an appropriate vendor, the player-character’s Sleight of Hand score is added to their Charisma for the purposes of this check (to represent familiarity with the underworld).

For example: Michael Childs is a suave thief with a Charisma of 15 and a Sleight of Hand score of 3-in-6; when making his roll to contact the black market he counts as having a Charisma score of 18.

If the player succeeds on the roll then they locate a black market vendor without any problems, if they fail then something has gone wrong; roll 1D6 on the following table to find out what.

1D6 Roll Result
1-2 The PCs are spotted by the watch and are approached by a group of town-guard, if they can't talk their way out of it then the PCs will be fined 1D6x50SP. If they cannot–or refuse–to pay the fine then the guards will attempt to apprehend them and throw them in debtors prison.
3-4 The PCs locate a vendor, but he is actually a thug with some of his fellows lurking nearby, as they are discussing purchases a group of footpads attempt to disable and rob the PCs.
5-6 The PCs fail to find a black market vendor because they are distracted by another event (roll on the random encounter chart for this area).

Purchasing the Item/Assessing It’s Quality

If the PCs manage to track down a black-market vendor then they are able to locate the item/s they are seeking to purchase, however such vendors are not like more reputable tradesmen, their wares are a jumble of broken, salvaged and cobbled together items.

When purchasing from a black-market vendor the player may choose to take a discount of 10, 20 or 30 percent from the cost of their purchase. Once they have decided on their discount, roll a 1D6 to determine whether or not the item is 100% functional, the chance of this being the case is listed below.

Discount Taken Chance of Something wrong with Item
10% 1-in-6
20% 2-in-6
30% 3-in-6

Please note: This roll must be made for each item purchased.

If there is something wrong with the item that has been purchased, roll on the table below to determine what exactly is amiss with it and consult the table below:

1D6 Roll Weapon Armour Magical Misc
1 The first time the item is used it falls to pieces immediately afterwards. The first time the item is used it falls to pieces immediately afterwards. The first time the item is used it falls to pieces immediately afterwards. The first time the item is used it falls to pieces immediately afterwards.
2-3 The weapon does only half damage. The armour provides 1 less AC bonus than it should. The magic item has only half charges or provides 1 less bonus. The item is evidence in a crime and is being sought by the authorities.
4-5 The weapon does only a quarter damage. The armour provides 2 less AC bonus than it should. The magic item has only a quarter the charges or provides 2 less bonus. The item is sought by a powerful villain who will stop at nothing to recover it.
6 The item is cursed (as determined by the GM). The item is cursed (as determined by the GM). The item is cursed (as determined by the GM). The item is cursed (as determined by the GM).

Are you brave enough to explore the Undying Lands?

To me D&D and other roleplaying games have always been about exploration, the thrill of discovery and the thrilling tales of daring-do that arise from them, but it can be difficult–given hectic real-life schedules and the like–to organise a regular campaign. So what’s the solution? I don’t think people with busy schedules and hectic lives should be excluded from the joys of tabletop roleplaying, so I want to create a game that doesn’t have a regular single group of heroes, a game where people can gather together a band of like-minded heroes, schedule a date and time that suits them and then strike boldly outwards towards adventure and danger.

The Premise

The Undying Lands is going to be a large-scale hex-crawl game using the Whitebox Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game rules, these are extremely simple rules based on a game that pretty much every roleplayer is familiar with, D&D.

You can get hold of a PDF of the rules for free (although I recommend chucking some money the author’s way for this excellent book) by clicking on the link, but if you’ve tried any of the more recent editions of D&D you’ll find this a lot simpler to master.

What is a hexcrawl?

A hex-crawl is a game (usually fantasy based) where the world is displayed as an unexplored map using hexagonal measurements of distance, this makes it easier to navigate and stock with all manner of hazards. The heroes explore the map on foot, on horse or by whatever means they deem necessary, discovering ancient ruins, treasure and evil monsters along the way.

Defeating these creatures leads to fame fortune and the heroes becoming more powerful, allowing for further journeys.

The Undying Lands

The world is made of two continents, the known world (or the Barren Lands) and the unknown world (also known as the Undying Lands), once the two were joined by a great land-bridge, but long ago ice and snow swept down from the north, making it impassable, whilst evil storms made it hazardous for boats to travel between the two. Eventually the people of the Known World ceased to wonder about the land across the sea, but now the ice has retreated allowing those brave enough to venture into the heart of the Unknown World and seek the riches and legends that lie there.

Fort Endeavour

The first pioneers to cross the land bridge into the Undying Lands have built a great stone fortress known as Fort Endeavour to act as a staging point for further explorations into the continents dark interior. For many this is as far as they go, remaining in the sturdy walls of the fortress, selling wares and maps to those who have the courage to press further into the forbidding terrain of the spider-infested jungles and orc-held mountain ranges. But there are those amongst the rabble who count themselves heroes, unafraid of the rumoured dangers they quest into the deepest heart of the Undying Lands; those who return emerge laden with precious treasures and with look of those who have dared dangers and gained much.

So if you’re interested in getting involved with the Undying Lands feel free to join the Facebook group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheUndyingLands/

Or if you can’t do that for some reason please shoot me a message at reddicediaries@gmail.com including the words Undying Lands in your email header. There’s a whole world of mystery and dangers out there just waiting for brave heroes to explore, we hope you’ll join us 🙂

The graphics in this post are from http://game-icons.net/ and are used under the creative commons licence.

Adapted White Box Classes

Whilst preparing for my sandbox/hexcrawl campaign the Undying Lands I decided to use the race as class option, I’m going with Whitebox: FMAG as the rules system but I’ve always been a big fan of having demi-humans and the like be classes in OSR style games. I’m not entirely sure why but it seems to reinforce the strangeness of non-humans for me and also gives people a reason to play humans, rather than the slightly limp ‘humans are very versatile’ rationale or free feats that some games try to use to tempt people into playing humans.

I purchased some Labyrinth Lord class books by the awesome James Spahn who is responsible for White Star, Heroes Journey and more OSR stuff than you can shake a +1 stick of awesome at, these were great but seemed to focus a lot on giving the various classes spell-like abilities. I’m not sure whether this is how LL does things because I’ve not played it, but it wasn’t the approach that I was going for. So I decided to roll up my sleeves and have a go and adapting some of the concepts to work with my own ideas.

Please note: These adapted classes are entirely non-profit, no challenge is intended to any copyrights James may hold, in-fact I urge you to go out now and check out his excellent OSR stuff and then come back here, I’ll wait 🙂

Barbarian

My first attempt wasn’t actually a race but was the barbarian class, my wife is a mad fan of this class but I’ve always found it a bit of a pain in the arse, especially in D&D as you get to higher levels and the list of rage-fuelled abilities start to grow. In this version of the class, Barbarians receive a bonus to initiative, to hit and damage as they level up, gaining the ability to gather their own horde when they reach level 9, I also included a Wilderness Survival ability allowing them to forage and hunt since it seemed appropriate.

Half Elf

The next class I worked on was a staple of D&D style games, the Half-Elf. Given that the Elves pretty much have the whole combi-warrior/mage sewn up I didn’t want to go down that route so I went for giving them a lesser version of the ability to spot secret doors and also giving them some thievery abilities.

Half-Orc

Another race that has become commonplace in D&D games, the strong and often brutish Half-Orc. In this version of the class they have a Savage Strike ability similar to the Barbarian, but they have none of the Barbarian’s other abilitys, they can wear all armour (unlike Barbarians), have Darkvision and also level up a little quicker.

So those are the three classes that I created for my game, it’s my first go at adapting/creating stuff for Whitebox and OSR games so I’m not expecting them to be perfect (in-fact I’m pretty sure they won’t be), but I’d love to hear what people make of my first attempts.

The classes featured in this article were adapted from James Spahn’s excellent Labyrinth Lord classes, whilst the icons used were from http://game-icons.net/ and were used under creative commons license.

Engage Smug Mode

Or “why are so many people unwilling to play anything but D&D”?

 

I’ve just been reading a post on one of the online Facebook roleplaying groups that I’m a part of, where someone asked what seems like a fairly simple question: “What are the reasons that so many people are unwilling to play anything but D&D?”

Now, I’m not the worlds biggest fan of D&D–although I’ve played all but the earliest editions and have been looking with interest at some OSR stuff recently–but even as I was preparing a reply along the lines of “well there could be numerous reasons, visibility of the game line, it’s what their friends play, etc etc” a number of responses popped up that gave me serious pause for thought. I’m not saying that all of the responses were in this vein, but there were certainly a number of posts that suggested people who stuck with D&D were afraid to play other stuff, or were too self-conscious or were subterranean Morlocks crouching in basements fearing to step into the warming light of the cool new systems in town. Okay, I’m exaggerating on that last one, but you get the idea?

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