Friday, December 31, 2010

XRP products of 2010

I thought it would be interesting to see what we've published in 2010.

In Print:
4e: 4e Freeport Companion
Pathfinder: 1 on 1 Adventures # 12, 13, and 14.
1e (OSRIC): Advanced Adventures # 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16.
Sorcery & Super Science!: Sorcery & Super Science! Core Rules.

PDF only:
Sorcery & Super Science!: Creatures 1, 2, and 3; Objects 1 and 2; Characters 1; The House of Blue Men.

So in total we printed 9 different products, favoring 1e over others and in PDF we put out 7 more products, all for Sorcery & Super Science!

Not a bad year. Next year it's looking like we'll have more print products and fewer PDF products, but we'll wait and see.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

ZZZ Quick Guide to North America: Done

Yes it is. Took longer than expected, but it's done. Cover by Cladio Pozas.

Formula Folio

The first of the clerical spells - much simpler inks for more common items.

For the ink required to scribe a clerical bless scroll

1 oz. of giant octopus ink
1 oz. of holy water
1 small emerald, powdered
1 dram of saffron

In a blessed silver vessel, mix all ingredients at midday. Decant into a crystal container and store in complete darkness. Bring out crystal container containing ink every day for 7 days for one hour to absorb the noon-day sun. Makes enough ink for 2 scrolls. Any special quill is suitable.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I'm a bum.

Didn't get out of bed until 11:45 today. Woke up and had lunch. Spent a hour or so reading from The Complete Far Side.

I am a bum and I couldn't be happier. :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Tome of Tomes

Lets take a step back from the game design navel-gazing... :)

Calary: A Study in Politics
Author: Slee Lowrie
Race: Human
Dimensions: 6x5x2
Weight: 2 lbs.
Materials: Leather-bound, woodboard, parchment
Rarity: Uncommon
Fields of Study: Humankind
Special Knowledge Categories: History, politics & genealogy
Value: 25 gp

The long and complicated life of The White Duke William Calary of Willmote is recorded by his adoring biographer, Slee Lowrie in this detailed work. It is heavy with praise and light with criticism, but a secret code lies hidden within the work. Once deciphered, this code portrays an entirely different picture of the Great Duke and his political machinations spanning four centuries. Given the Duke’s renowned ability of code-cracking, Calary: A Study in Politics is viewed by many as a giant slap in the face against the inflated ego of a pompous nobleman.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Final Thoughts on Modules (for now)

One final thought about module design from the publisher perspective. More modules are read than played. It seems pretty obvious, being that not every module purchased is played at the table, but it should inform the author about his or her audience. Or, I should say, two audiences. Modules should read as well, or better, than they play at the table. They need to inspire a GM enough to get the GM to take the player group through the module.

So if you're thinking about publishing a module, remember that your largest audience is the one only reading the module. There's more to it than just how well it plays at the table.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

There are Two Games

Before getting into game design mumbo jumbo - A Merry Christmas to all readers. I hope today's as you would like it to be. We actually got snow during the night, so we're having a white one.

I ended yesterday's post with for a Game Master, there are two games. Meaning, IMO, that there is the game that exists when everyone's over and playing and the dice are a' rolling, but there is also the game that exists when the GM is alone and exploring the world, prepping it for the players to come later and follow in the GMs footsteps.

I think this is so because the nice thing about rpgs is that they're all based upon the idea of wide-open creativity. The game isn't just the rules, isn't just the success or failure of objectives - there's no one way to "win" and more importantly, there's no one way to play. IMO, this wide-open creativity extends to the discovery of the world and if the GM views this process as one of be an explorer of the world, not a creator and not in terms of X is here, Y is here, it is possible to actually play the game alone. Especially if one uses dice to throw in that randomness that makes exploration so much fun.

I think that most of us blogging about the game GM the game. We play also, of course, but I suspect that most of us first consider ourselves GMs and then players. I think GMs have fallen in love with being explorers of worlds that no one has ever seen before. I think this process of exploring our own personal worlds is one of the main reasons why we talk and think and write about the game when we're not at the table. We're actually playing the game in this process.

I believe that it is this love of exploration that separates GMs from players. A GM is forever desiring to be down in the dungeons, lantern in hand, peering into the darkness, excited by what lurks just outside of vision. Forever enjoying the experience of "Wait til the group sees this!"

As a publisher, when I'm reading a manuscript under consideration for publication, one of the things I'm looking for is that "Golly Gee Willikers! This is an awesome exploration!" feel. I want to feel that the author's as excited at his discovery as the players are going to be at theirs. It's an important consideration in my evaluation of a module, and it's something I try like hell to make sure is in the modules I write.

Friday, December 24, 2010

More Thoughts on Module Writing

Yesterday's post can be summed up in one sentence: Be an explorer of the world, not a creator.

It's a simple sentence, but there's a lot of assumptions in it. Firstly, it implies the type of play that I prefer - world-focused. World-focused play (as opposed to character-focused play) is based around the idea that this pretend fantasy world really exists, and the characters are explorers and dwellers within that realm. The player characters are no more special than their abilities and actions make them; they are no more special than any other dweller of the world.

Character-focused play, on the other hand, puts the characters as the center of the universe, and the setting alters to fit them. Character-focused play, IMO, is most-explicitly seen in some character-dynamic crpg worlds, wherein when a character ventures throughout the world, the level of "random monster" challenges they meet scales based upon what level the characters are. The implication here being that the world alters itself based upon the character.

Of course, neither of these two viewpoints are really accurate. The only accurate viewpoint is "This is only a game, not a world that exists independent of character power, nor a world that adapts based upon character power. There is no world, only game." This I call game-focused play. I'm not a big fan of game-focused play. I find accepting it as the primary driver results in an "it doesn't have to make sense" gaming experience that I find unsatisfying. IMO, it's the source of ancient red dragons in 10x10 rooms and monsters that never have to poop or drink or eat. I believe that one should remember that it's only a game at all times, but not take that as your primary design aesthetic.

Be an explorer of the world, not a creator. A simple sentence with a lot of implications. The big one, the one implication that really is an eye opener however is what I'll write about tomorrow. For a Game Master, there are two games.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thoughts on Module Writing

Yesterday, I wrote an encounter area for Down the Shadowvein and I thought I should share some of my thoughts concerning writing modules - or at least how I write modules. :)

IMO, D&D (and most other rpgs for that matter) is primarily a game of exploration. Sure you may kill something and take its stuff, but first you go to a (hopefully) exotic local to do so. You may not even have to kill anything to get some stuff if you're clever. The whole trope of the game is one of entering a fantasy world, where things are different and magic is real. It's exploration first, everything else second. This means that (almost) every module should take the players someplace interesting. How or why its interesting varies greatly: could be that the area itself is intriguing or that the story bringing the players to the location makes the location interesting. That's the main thing for me. Interesting things to see and do - "interesting" combat and loot is secondary.

Since the game is about exploration I believe the best way to write a module is to use that same idea in the creation process. The author needs to be exploring the world right at the moment the figurative pen hits the figurative paper. This authorial exploration of a pretend world is the driving factor behind what I consider good adventure. When I write I'm there, lantern in hand, peering into the darkness, trying to decipher what already exists in that fantasy world and transcribe it to the page.

Yesterday, while writing an area for Down the Shadowvein (area C30 for those who care to know) I went through that old familiar process of discovering what was already there. In the process something entirely unexpected happened and the area is made much more interesting because of it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Down the Shadowvein

Well, it seems like I've done it again. I've went and had a good idea that's proving too long for the space restraints I put upon myself for an Advanced Adventure and bitten off more than I can chew. As anyone who has written for us knows, I place a 12k word limit on an Advanced Adventure as I want them to be short, sweet, and to the point - just like the modules of yore. Being the boss, however, means that I can make exceptions for myself and it seems like the adventures that I'm interested in writing (like #10 The Lost Keys of Solitude & #15 Stonesky Delve) are always over that limit. I can't help but feel a bit hypocritical to my authors, but hey, take the perks where you can in this business, I say.

Anyway, back to the subject. As I'm sure you all know, Matt Finch's excellent adventure #1 The Pod-Caverns of the Sinister Shroom has a river in it called the Shadowvein, and the PCs may approach the location either from the surface down or from the river up. Nice that. So this Shadowvein's inspired me to write an adventure called Down the Shadowvein, detailing what lies surprise, surprise, surprise down river of The Pod Caverns.

I started with a map (the way to go, IMO) and it quickly got out of control. See, my other inspiration for the adventure is the Giants series (The classic, IMO) wherein the PC enter the underdepths and explore (The D series). I made the map in a similar style and voila, I've bitten off more than I can chew. Now it's looking to be the first two-part series of adventures in the Advanced Adventure line, or it's going to be one big horking adventure.


But damn, I love the map. And the idea of a lower-level descent into the underdepths tingles my little geeky heart.

The Valley of the Mage

A nod and a wink, if you know what I mean...

94. The Valley of the Mage
Wizard State: The Mage
GTSL: 4750

The Valley of the Mage is a small kingdom, no more than 15 miles in length, but it plays a very important role to all The North-Central States, for much of the trade that enters the north comes up via the Mississippi River. The Mage forces all ships from the south to unload onto Mage ships which travel up the river to unload to ships waiting along the northern border of The Valley of the Mage. The Mage has transport contracts with the major trading companies doing this trade and he (or she for that matter - we don’t know) takes a small cut from the goods as taxation. Many have tried to bypass The Valley by forming caravans traveling beyond its southern boundary in The Midcoast Madness, but all have failed utterly.

The most unusual thing about The Valley of the Mage is that it is populated entirely by elves. Yes, the pointy-eared 5-foot-tall elves of legend. All other muties are killed for entering The Valley if they go beyond the loading and unloading zones. As such, we know almost nothing about the territory within. If you’re just “passing through” you can pay an escort fee and a group of elves will blindfold you and lead you to your destination.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Formula Folio

The last of the protection scrolls and their more complex inks. I'm working on the 1st level Clerical inks right now. I'm going to try and make higher level scrolls have more complex inks than lower level scrolls. The contrary part of me wanted to reverse that, but the contrary part of me isn't often right so I decided against it. :)

Protection from Undead
For the ink required to scribe a protection from undead scroll

1 oz. giant squid sepia
1 oz. of holy water
1 small piece of amber, powdered
1 small carnelian, powdered
1 small piece of jade, powdered
1 dram of silver shavings from a holy symbol
1 dram of powdered wight’s skull
1 stalk of asparagus
I gallon of purified water

In a silver vessel, bring purified water to a boil and add the asparagus. Lightly boil for 4 hours. Remove from heat and strain. Reduce remaining water to 1 oz and transfer to a golden container. Bring holy water into mix and add all other ingredients except the sepia. Transfer to crystal container and let sit in the sunlight for a month’s time. Decant and add the sepia. Makes enough for 2 scrolls. Any special quill is suitable.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Whispers of The Summoner

A new whisper track...

The Summoner’s Misty Servant (Basic): Activating this whisper calls forth a small misty figure about the size of a young child. The misty servant performs any actions as commanded by the sorcerer in both the spirit and letter of the command, and should be considered to have 1 in all primary abilities. The servant can fly at 5/44 and can carry up to 300lbs. while doing such, but anything over 50lbs. slows the misty servant down to 2/18. The servant lasts for 1 hour. Activating this whisper costs 2 Fortune.

The Summoner’s Smokey Messenger (Intermediate): Activating this whisper summons a smoky, flying form vaguely resembling a vulture. The smokey messenger will take a single message of up to 10 minutes length to any living creature within 1,000 miles in less than 5 minutes. The vulture cannot be harmed in any manner and can pass through all but air-tight barriers. The vulture lasts long enough to perform its task. If it cannot, it dissipates after 1 hour. Activating this whisper cost 4 Fortune and requires a source of smoke, although one as small as a cigarette will suffice.

The Summoner’s Radiant Steed (Advanced): Activating this whisper conjurers a radiant, winged steed. The steed performs any actions as commanded by the sorcerer in spirit and letter, and should be considered to have 2 in all primary abilities, excepting a Strength 8. The steed may carry two people and up to 1,500lbs. while flying at a speed of 30/264. The steed has difficulty hiding and is somewhat conspicuous as it travels. The steed lasts for 4 hours, but the last 20 minutes must be spent brushing down the steed, or the steed will demand twice the amount of Fortune for the next summoning. Activating this whisper costs 6 Fortune and requires the sorcerer have a hair brush.

The Summoner’s Demonic Advisor (Ultra): Activating this whisper summons a demonic advisor who faithfully answers up to 6 questions providing the sorcerer supplies a pound of sulfur or a pound of flesh and two pints of blood from an intelligent humanoid. Activating this whisper costs 10 Fortune. Activating this whisper without the above offerings is not a wise idea

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Brainy Bison

Here's another critter found below the shattered moon. I don't know why I like this one so much, maybe because its a good mix of sublime and silly.

Brainy Bison
Mutated bison (Intermediate)
C4 A1 S7 F4 R4 I1 W1: Ego 20: Health 32: Fortune 22
Movement 20/176

Description & Information: Among the large herds of bison found on the plains lurk intelligent and powerful protectors. Brainy bison appear as normal bison, but their brain case is enlarged, making a noticeable hump just behind their horns. Brainy Bison are telepathic and keep in constant communication with each other. There are typically a dozen or so brainy bison per bison herd. Brainy bison mate with normal bison and the offspring has roughly half a chance to be brainy. It’s speculated that eventually large herds of brainy bison will roam the plains and rolling hills below the shattered moon.

Intrinsic Powers
• Brainy bison can telepathically communicate with any creature it can see. After communicating on a regular basis for months, the bison can “locate” the creature when it is out of sight and communicate up to distances of 10 miles.
• Brainy bison may attack with a powerful charge and trample, dealing +9 bludgeoning damage and a +3/ rank 10 combat condition. They need at least 40 feet of charging to perform this attack.
• When not charging brainy bison may attack with a horn butt, dealing +5 piercing damage and a +4/ rank 6 combat condition.

Limited Use Powers
• Ego Assault (2 per day): A brainy bison can assault the very ego of any creature within its telepathic communication range. Such assaults always hit, dealing 10 Ego damage. Additionally, the victim needs to succeed on a rank 6 Willpower conflict or fall into a coma lasting 1-100 minutes. A target behind a force shield is somewhat protected from this attack, taking only 5 Ego damage and having no chance of a coma.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Church of Parkour Highlights

The Church of Parkour
The largest institution below the shattered moon, at least in North America, is the church of Parkour. The church divides itself into two bodies: the thinkers and the doers. The thinkers are doers who choose to progress beyond doing and they pass along the philosophical aspects of the religion to the young who are too young to do. This results in many of the doers possessing highlights of The Thinkers as they learned them as children and will teach them to more children once they are too old to do. The doers actively practice the 3 holy tenants of the church through movement: Be Strong to be Useful, Think Like Children, Reclaim Humanity.

The Doers
Art of Movement (Basic): You have learned and practiced the basic arts of movement from the church. Your movement increases to 6/53.

Art of Endurance (Intermediate): You have learned how to move for extended periods. You can travel for much longer than others without becoming tired or fatigued. You gain a +3 to any roll concerning endurance.

Art of Overcoming (Intermediate): You have learned to bypass obstacles that would prevent most others from passing as long as you have enough distance to get a running start. You gain a +1 to any roll involving moving or difficult terrain.

Art of Thought (Ultra): You have learned to spin your mind in a constant circle of repetitive though, protecting yourself from mental effects. You gain a +1 to any roll preventing mental control. If you do not roll, your opponents receive a -1 on their rolls.

The Thinkers
Art of Quietness (Basic): You have learned the art of being quiet as you move. You gain a +1 to all rolls concerning moving quietly. If you do not roll, your opponents receive a -1 on their rolls to hear you.

Art of Stillness (Intermediate): You have learned the art of non-movement - the art of remaining still. You gain a +1 to all rolls concerning stillness. If you do not roll, your opponents receive a -1 on their rolls to notice you.

Art of Cleverness (Intermediate): You have learned to almost anticipate what is forthcoming. When spending Fortune related to any Church of Parkour activity (typically a church run) you spend at a 3 to 4 ratio - meaning that for every three points you spend, you receive 4 points in benefit.

Art of Obstacles (Ultra): You have learned to make it harder to follow you as you run. At the cost of 5 Fortune, you can create an obstacle behind you that brings pursuit to a dead stop for 2 turns.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Tome of Tomes

Well, our cable connection seems to be working great now. I have no idea what they did, but it took 3 of them, a ladder, and 30 minutes. They had to open the box on the telephone pole and make adjustments. Now that that drama's done, lets have a tome as a little welcome back to the world of reliable internet service.

Barks of the World and their Medicinal Properties
Author: Akyn Aizle
Race: Human
Dimensions: 12x12x6
Weight: 20 lbs.
Materials: Leather-bound, woodboard, brass plaques
Rarity: Uncommon
Fields of Study: Flora, supernatural & unusual
Special Knowledge Categories: Trees, medicine
Value: 200 gp

The definitive work on the medicinal uses of tree barks throughout the world, Akyn Aizle is found in most libraries and in almost all medical libraries. The work is the “go to” work for the subject and if something isn’t found in this massive tome, it’s surely of an uncommon nature or perhaps something newly discovered. Barks of the World and their Medicinal Properties is well-illustrated, but many of the entries rely solely upon description.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Connection Issues

Sorry for no updates recently, we've been having some connection issues. Not surprising given the snowy/icy stuff we've been getting so early in the year, but things look to be good again and we've got a cable guy coming over this afternoon to give everything a look over. Come back tomorrow for some new stuff!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Formula Folio

This next protection formula always struck me as a bit odd. There's just not that many things that possess in the game, so I'm not really sure how useful it would really be. But, since it's in there, I'm doing it.

Protection from Possession
For the ink required to scribe a protection from possession scroll

1 oz. giant squid sepia
1 oz. of blood from a night hag
1 heart of a cambion
1 miniature tower carved of ivory
1 oz. of acid of four spar
1 oz. of bull bone, powdered
1 oz. of giant bee’s wax

In a glass container lined with giant beeswax, dissolve the ivory tower using the acid of four spar. Add the heart and dissolve. Then add blood and dissolve. Let mixture sit overnight during a full moon. Introduce the powdered bone and then the giant squid sepia. Makes enough for 2 scrolls. Any special quill is suitable.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tome of Tomes

I've got some snow shoveling to do this morning, so no time to chat. :)

Weeds of the Cold Marshes
Author: Cauld Plowterie
Race: Human
Dimensions: 8x10x1.5
Weight: 4lbs.
Materials: Leather-bound, woodboard, parchment
Rarity: Common
Fields of Study: Flora
Special Knowledge Categories: Weeds
Value: 50 gp

An excellent overview of common weeds found in cold marshes, Cauld Plowterie’s Weeds of the Cold Marshes is considered the standard introductory text on the matter.  It is inevitably found in any sound library concerned with temperate and sub-polar flora.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Winter Begins

We've had a weird winter here in Coshocton, Ohio. Technically, it's not winter yet, but we've had snow on all but 2 days of this December so this last 3 weeks or so of fall sure seems like it. Right now, the rain has just turned to snow again and it's coming down with significant speed and we're expecting snow for the next 3 days as well.

Good thing I don't have to go anywhere - my work commute is from upstairs to down.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The ZZZ Society Highlights

Every secret society below the shattered moon grants special trained powers to their devotees. These powers are gained through careful study of the tenants of the society, or through directly doing the bidding of those tenants. Unlike the highlights generated at character creation, most secret societies have a full 4 thresholds of esoteric knowledge, but some of the more primitive have the traditional minor or major.

The ZZZ Society
The “Triple Z” has many members, most of which are not aware of more than a few other members. The ZZZ society runs in a fault-tolerant covert cell structure designed to mitigate leaks and reduce the ability for a hostile party to climb its way back up the chain of command. The ZZZ always seeks to be covert and discrete as they provide the most impartial assessments of all the various governments and leaders as well as the status of settlements and knowledge.

ZZZ Source (Basic): You have been recruited by a ZZZ contact to provide information to ZZZ researchers. For your services, you have free access to all published ZZZ materials and a single yearly request of the society. This request can be of material aid or of information.

ZZZ Researcher (Intermediate): You receive information from sources (usually at dead drops) and do what fact checking you can to determine the quality of the information. For your services, you have 2 yearly requests of material aid or of information.

ZZZ Contact (Advanced): You often travel throughout a geographical region and recruit new sources to the ZZZ society. Optionally, you may be assigned dangerous duties to investigate information researchers have been unable to verify, but which seems important. For your services, you have 4 yearly requests of material aid or information and you draw a salary of 4,000 bv per year.

ZZZ Editor (Ultra): You are in control of editing all the information for the ZZZ society on a particular geographic location. Occasionally, you will be sent on dangerous missions that even Contacts refuse to perform. You have 12 yearly request of material aid or information and you draw a yearly salary of 12,000 bv.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Jelly Salamander

A critter that turns you into a jelly drug? Ah, hells yeah....

Jelly Salamander
Mutated giant salamander (Basic)
C2 A0 S0 F3 R-4 I3 W0: Ego 4: Health 10: Fortune 4
Movement 2/18 (swim at double)

Description & Information: Jelly salamanders are a dull red color, with brown overtones on the underbelly. They grow up to 5 feet long and weigh in at up to 80 lbs. Like their non-mutated cousins, jelly salamanders feed upon insects, fish, amphibians, and crabs and shrimp. The jelly salamander, however, also predates upon large mammals, turning them into a red jelly which is devoured by the salamander over a period of days.

This jelly is quite tasty (kinda like a cherry/raspberry mix) and a powerful, addictive drug when dried and powdered. Consuming more than a gram of red powder adds +1 to Strength, Agility, and Reason. Every consumption has a cumulative 3% chance of addiction. Addiction results in a loss of -1 Strength, Agility, and Reason after not consuming the jelly for more than 3 days. The addiction is broken after a month’s time or after a series of 3 successful rank 12 Fortitude conflicts over a period of 3 days. Red powder is big business below the shattered moon, with syndicates feeding their enemies to the salamanders as a common form of retribution or revenge.

Intrinsic Powers
• Jelly salamanders are tough little buggers, reducing all physical damage by 1 point per hit.
• Jelly salamanders inflict a toxic bite. A successful hit does no damage, but the victim must succeed against a rank 10 Fortitude conflict or be turned into tasty jelly.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Everyone needs some correction below the shattered moon. Well, except for those snooty "pure" sorcerers.

Preservative spirit (Intermediate) 15
C2 A3 S1 F4 R7 I5 W4: Ego 40: Health 20: Fortune 26
Movement 4/35

Description & Information: In its natural form, an architect appears as a spectral C60 molecule. Made flesh, it looks like a normal human, but unusually thin and stark. Architects preserve the order of the universe by making continual corrective changes and become extremely angry when disturbed in their work, focusing their corrective powers upon the errors in their fleshy vicinity. These corrections are inevitably painful for the common mutie.

Intrinsic Powers
• Architects attack by correcting genetic errors in their target. This attack is made using the architect’s Reason, as opposed to Combat. A successful hit deals +8 mental damage and renders the target unconscious unless they succeed at a rank 7 Fortitude conflict. Unconsciousness lasts for as many hours as the target has Intuition. Humans of pure genetics cannot be harmed by architects.

Tome of Tomes

I'm up at an ungodly hour, at least for me. One of the few perks of being your own boss in this industry is that you *don't* have to wake up before sunrise. Alas, it's still dark out and the brain in slow and desirous of caffeine. Ever wonder how to make a pod-man? :)

Upon the Generation of Pod-Men
Author: Pluff Droubly the Younger
Race: Human
Dimensions: 8x10x1.5
Weight: 4 lbs.
Materials: Leather-bound, woodboard, parchment, iron clasp and lock
Rarity: Very Rare
Fields of Study: Flora, supernatural & unusual
Special Knowledge Categories: Fungi, dweomercraft
Value: 500 gp

This foul tome describes the care and maintenance of the pod-man plant as well as the evil ritual used to convert a human into a superior pod-man. The ritual can be performed by any creature of 6HD or more with a 5% chance of success per every point of intelligence of the ritualist. Performing the ritual is very risky however, as there is a cumulative 1% chance per use that the ritualist himself transforms into a superior pod-man with no knowledge of his prior self. However, the reader of the tome will be unaware of the risk, as the author fell victim to the danger before recording it for posterity.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Formula Folio

Here's another formula for you. We've got two more protection scrolls to do before starting on the inks used for spell scrolls. For those I'm planning on making the lower-level spell inks easier to prepare and generally less expensive/less rare than the higher-level spell inks.

Protection from Petrification
For the ink required to scribe a protection from petrification scroll

1 oz. giant octopus ink
1 gargoyle’s horn
1 gorgon’s hoof
1 jellyfish stinging tendril
1 dram of mercury
1 sprig of thyme
1 sprig of parsley
1 gallon of purified water

In a ceramic container, place purified water and bring to boil over an oak fire. Once boiling, add gargoyles horn and gorgon’s hoof. Cover, completely seal in red clay, and place clay-covered container under a fire of pine wood for two days. Let cool and remove, break seal and pour gluey mixture into a cast iron pot. Add all other ingredients and mix. Re-seal with black clay and place under an oak fire for one day. Remove, break seal and dispose of any remaining solids. Makes enough for 3 scrolls. A cockatrice feather quill is required.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tome of Tomes

Here's 41 for the shelves. I'm thinking about doing an index of all the subject matters by title for the books. It would make stocking a sage who specializes in "Humankind" (for example) easier, methinks. I think I'll do it, but it'll be one looonng Excel sheet. :)

The Wide Book
Author: Unknown
Race: Human (presumably)
Dimensions: 16x4x1
Weight: 3 lbs.
Materials: Leather-bound, woodboard, parchment
Rarity: Uncommon
Fields of Study: Humankind, demi-humankind, humanoids & giantkind
Special Knowledge Categories: History, legends & folklore
Value: 25 gp

The Wide Book is a collection of shorter works concerning the Mountains of Xur, the hills called The Skathernes, and areas near these geographical features. The book is broken into segments arraigned in no discernable order; stories, poems, and snippets of history concerning the peoples of the land of their histories.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tome of Tomes

It's been over a week since the last Tome, so lets start Sunday off with a book about the body. I believe it's our 40th book in the series.

The Veines of the Human Bodie
Author: Gurl Barken
Race: Human
Dimensions: 14x12x1.5
Weight: 5 lbs.
Materials: Leather-bound, woodboard, parchment
Rarity: Very Rare
Fields of Study: Humankind
Special Knowledge Categories: Biology
Value: 1,250 gp

A work of truly ancient origins, not much is known concerning Gurl Barken; his heritage and nationality remain shrouded by time. Barken’s work however, is one that stands the test of time, featuring many detailed illustrations concerning the circulatory system of humankind. The book is very difficult to copy and is thusly quite rare.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Formula Folio

Thanks for a the birthday wishes all. Had a fun 39th and hopefully the next will be just as good. Let's continue on with the Formula Folio series.

Protection from Magic
For the ink required to scribe a protection from magic scroll

1 oz. giant octopus ink
2 drams of powdered bone from a disenchanter
2 drams green slime
1 oz. stirge blood harvested directly after feeding upon a magic user
1 large jacinth, powdered
1 dram of cinnamon
1 dram of holy water

In a ceramic container, place the green slime and the powdered jacinth. Put over heat until the slime is destroyed. Add cinnamon and the disenchanter bone dust. Mix thoroughly. Add octopus ink and place within a glass container. Expose to sunlight for 3 days. Decant into a silver container and add the blood of a stirge who has just feasted upon a magic user. Mix and heat until bubbles form. Remove from heat and add holy water. Makes enough for 2 scrolls. Any special quill is suitable.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Today is my 39th birthday

So no real gaming related stuff today. Went into Columbus and got some tasties from Whole Foods that I can't get locally and picked up a book about early-medieval Indian history as well as X2 Castle Amber. I haven't had a chance to read Castle Amber as an adult and even when I had a copy as a kid, my copy was missing the first 2 and the last 2 pages (a single sheet, in other words) so I never really got to read the whole thing anyway.

Now I play some Civ IV and eat red beans and rice. Yum!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Review of Pod-Caverns of the Sinister Shroom

James over at The Underdark Gazette has reviewed Advanced Adventures #1: The Pod-Caverns of the Sinister Shroom. In summation he closes with:

The overall atmosphere of the dungeon is pleasantly eerie, with some welcome touches of horror and that aforementioned weirdness, which Mr. Finch does so well! It evoked the kind of mood that I associate with the creepier sort of fairy-tale.

The Pod-Caverns of the Sinister Shroom hits all the right notes and plays them sweetly, indeed. Buy it! Buy it Now! Then Run It and let us know how it went! 

I'm glad to see he liked it and really liked reading the game-play summation from the gentleman in his comments section. It's a great adventure - one that I've heard several fun play summations about. But, I'm a biased source, no? :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

An Underworld Trio

The above trio (click to embiggen) are found in the upper levels of the underdepths, living the life of itinerant traders. They'd be a good add to any campaign wherein the under ground world is explorable by more than high-level characters. All three can be found in Malevolent & Benign. Art by Claudio Pozas.

SIZE: Small (3-4 ft. tall)
MOVE: 90 ft.
DAMAGE: By weapon
RARITY: Very rare
NO. ENCOUNTERED: 2 or 4-12
TREASURE:  In Lair: 1-6k cp (25%), 1-6k sp (40%), 1-6k ep (40%), 1-10k gp (55%), 100-400 pp (25%), 4-40 gems (60%), 3-30 jewelry (50%), any 3 magic items (30%)
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic neutral
LEVEL/X.P.: 4 / 175 + 3/hp

General information: Renowned as traders in the subterranean realm, noja are a welcom sight in underground cities, carrying fungi, lichens, and other exotic wares. Their carts are pulled by a pair of undals, and they often keep 1-4 wyrdwolfs to help guard their trade goods. Noja females are known for their shrewd intellect, and noja males for their penchant for mischief. They have darkvision to 240 ft., although they prefer to use lights.

Noja shun combat, preferring trickery and magic to actual confrontation, but they can be quite adept at fighting if pressed and have a remarkable hardiness. They typically use daggers (1-4) and small bows (1-3) in physical combat.

Female noja can use the following spells: at will - augury, cure serious wounds, detect magic, feather fall, grease, haste, silence 15 ft. radius; 3 times per day -  message, sleep, tongues; once per day - confusion. Male noja can use the following spells: at will - audible glamour, detect magic, light; 3 times per day - cure light wounds, phantasmal force; once per day - improved phantasmal force, phantasmal killer. All noja spells are considered equivalent to those cast by a 10th level caster.

Languages: Noja speak their own tongue, as well as common and undercommon.

Physical description: Noja are hairy little humanoids standing 3-4 feet tall with dark brown skin covered in thick black hair. In many ways they resemble diminutive bugbears, but they favor wearing home-spun clothing in outrageous colors.

SIZE: Large (10 ft. long)
MOVE: 150 ft.
DAMAGE: 1-8, 1-8, 2-12
LEVEL/X.P.: 3 / 155 + 4/hp

General information: Sometimes called the cattle of the deep, the undal is a large, peaceful, herbivore that grazes on mushrooms, mosses, and lichens. The noja have a long tradition of domesticating undals, using them for draft animals, food, and trade. Wild undals roam the deep and are highly prized for their thin but warm fur and their impressive horns. They are generally agreeable animals once domesticated, but wild undals can be unpredictable and dangerous.

Undals enter combat with a devastating charge dealing 4-24 hit point of damage plus 1-8 points of damage from their vicious thumb spikes as they trample over their target. Once close, they flair about with thumb spikes and horns.

Physical description: The undal is a large quadruped that roams subterranean lands in large herds. The most distinguishing characteristic of the undal is its majestic crown of horns. Unlike antlers, the undal’s horns do not branch but grow from its head like hair. They have a very dense, but thin, coat. Usually white in color, some rare undal are coal black. They have sharp thumb spikes growing out of their ankles just above their long-toed feet.

SIZE: Large (9 ft. long)
MOVE: 180 ft.
DAMAGE: 1-2, 1-2, 2-8
LEVEL/X.P.: 4 / 230 + 6/hp

General information: The wyrdwolf is a fierce pack hunter in the subterranean realm. A wyrdwolf has small claws and a jaw full of sharp fangs, but is most notable for its glowing eyes. Although rarely encountered, wyrdwolves have an unsavory reputation among underground dwellers, as they tend towards belligerent and aggressive behavior. Wyrdwolves possess darkvision to 60 ft.

A wyrdwolf attacks with savage biting and clawing. It will usually begin combat with its strobe gaze attack, hoping to disorient foes to make it easier to rip them to shreds. All creatures within 40 feet of a strobing wyrdwolf must make a save against spells or be blinded for 2-5 rounds.

Physical description: Wyrdwolves are 9-foot-long canine-like predators. They have glossy black coats of warm fur that cover thick, leathery, bone-white skin. They have small claws and glowing yellow eyes.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Frozen Wave Satsuma

Advanced Adventures #17 is called The Frozen Wave Satsuma. It's got Asian overtones and I think it may be the first "oriental adventure" in the whole OSR bunch. Since it seems people liked Peter Mullen's art from yesterday, I'll go ahead and put up his illo of the Satsuma itself as seen from the the back. It's modeled after a Chinese Treasure Ship. These things were huuuuuuugggge. I mean, really, really big. Much bigger than you'd think for medieval wooden ships.

Lulu Sale Extended for Today

Just got word from Lulu that their big sale is continuing until 11:59 PST today, so there's still a chance to pick up some OSR material at a discount. So that's a nice little bit of news this morning.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Time to pick up Malevolent & Benign?

Lulu's having a sale, offering a 25% discount on your entire order for today only, using coupon code CYBER305. It may be the day to pick up Malevolent & Benign. It's a 128 page monster book that, IMO, has some great monsters in it. Also, you could pick up Monsters of Myth as well to round out the 2 major OSR monster books. Hell, pick up a bunch of OSR stuff while your there. Try the OSR storefront and browse - a bunch of us OSR publishers use the storefront.

And thanks to Tenkar's Tavern for cluing me in... :)

The Oracle

I've recently commissioned a work from Peter Mullen, renowned OSR artist. I like it so much that I want to share. It will be on an upcoming Advanced Adventure. Peter does great work and I like the way he captures a scene. Clicky to embiggin...

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I must confess that I have recently dug up my old copy of Civ IV and have been playing the hell out of it. I find it a great game and I love creating customized worlds. Right now I'm in the fight of my life and doing well, but I'm in the middle of a Pangean continent so anything can go bad very quickly. I'm trying to march to the sea to get at least one more-easily-securable front, but we'll have to see how that works out. I've looked only lightly at the latest Civ game and I'll have to pass until I get a better computer. 'Ole worky-horse laptop may be able to do it, but it really slows down in IV, so I imagine V would be much worse.

But I have managed to get some work done. Mostly outlining stuff and an art commission for the ZZZ Guide. Hopefully that should be available soon.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Formula Folio

Another protection scroll recipe. I'm having a blast with these and I hope you all are enjoying them as much as I am. :)

Protection from Lycanthropes
For the ink required to scribe a protection from lycanthropes scroll

1 oz. giant squid sepia
2 drams of soot from burning bear lard
2 drams of soot from burning boar lard
2 drams of soot from burning rat lard
2 drams of soot from burning tiger lard
2 drams of soot from burning wolf lard
2 drams holy water
1 gallon purified water
1 sprig of wolvesbane
1 small topaz, powdered

All the soots should be gathered over a yew fire. Mix all the soots together and add to the squid sepia. Introduce the wolvesbane to the purified water and bring to a boil over a yew fire. When boil is achieved add the soot/sepia mixture and the powdered topaz. Reduce until half the liquid is gone and remove the wolvesbane, disposing in the yew fire. Continue reducing until all the liquid is removed, leaving only a solid paste. Let the paste completely dry for at least 20 days. Under the next full moon, introduce the holy water and integrate thoroughly.  Makes enough for 2 scrolls. Any special quill is suitable.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tome of Tomes

Another tome for the shelves. This one about music.

The Music of the Tribes of the Snawbileft Mountains
Author: Bylar Fundy
Race: Human
Dimensions: 6x5x1
Weight: 1 lbs.
Materials: Leather-bound, woodboard, parchment
Rarity: Very Rare
Fields of Study: Humankind
Special Knowledge Categories: Arts & music
Value: Version A, 650 gp; Version B, 250 gp; Version C, 150 gp

A rare and valuable volume, The Music of the Tribes of the Snawbileft Mountains is perhaps the only written record concerning the music of the many tribes of that mountain range most high. Bylar Fundy, a bard of great prowess spent most of his final years traveling throughout the Snawbileft recording the music of over 30 different tribes. There are three distinct lineages of the work, called versions A, B, and C. The A version is a true copy, version B has many errors in transcription of musical notation, and version C is as B with the addition of more songs of an unknown provenance by an unknown author.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving (for the US readers at least) and that you can spend time with the ones you care about today.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Formula Folio

This one creates an inkstick like those used in some Asian societies, as opposed to a fluid ink. I've used an inkstick before and they're quite cool, although they would really last for a lot longer than I indicate in the recipe. :)

Protection from Elementals
For the ink required to scribe a protection from elementals scroll

1 oz. giant squid sepia
2 drams of soot from burning coal
2 drams of soot from burning cloud giant lard
2 drams of soot from burning kelp
2 drams of soot from burning salamander lard
2 drams of soot from burning ash wood
2 drams of arrowroot powder
1 dram of soot from frankincense smoke
1 dram of soot from burning gall oak
1 oz. of rabbit-skin glue

Upon a marble surface, mix and kneed all of the soots, the arrowroot powder, and the glue for 10 minutes until a dough is made wherein all ingredients are fully integrated. Place the dough in a glass container and pour the squid sepia over it. Close the container and present the container to the first rays of sunlight for 7 days. After that, present the container to the last rays of sunlight for 7 days. Remove dough, which should have absorbed all the squid sepia, kneed for another 10 minutes and press into a columnar mold. Place the mold into a fine fire for 5 minutes and remove. Let dry for one day. The resulting inkstick should be ground against a marble surface and mixed with purified water. Makes enough ink for 3 scrolls. Any special quill is suitable.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More XRP at Fantasy Grounds

Thought I should drop a note that another of our adventures is now available at Fantasy Grounds. 1-on-1 Adventures #6: The Sixth Cavalier is now ready.

Tome of Tomes

Yesterday I just thought of a new feature that I could run here at the blog, but it's going to take me several days to work up a backlog. I like to make sure that I have stuff that I can put up here in case I have an emergency or something happens where I can't be creative for several days. Hopefully, this new feature will arrive in a week or so. Until then, have another tome! :)

The Hynde Etyn
Author: Unknown
Race: Unknown
Dimensions: 6x5x0.5
Weight: 0.5 lbs.
Materials: Leather-bound, woodboard, parchment
Rarity: Very Rare
Fields of Study: Humanoids & giantkind
Special Knowledge Categories: Legends & folklore
Value: 50 gp

Composed of a single poem in trochaic tetrameter, The Hynde Etyn is a tragedy told in over 2,000 lines. It details the story of an earl’s daughter caught in the forest by a terrible ettin.  The ettin marries the noble lady seeking to turn her away from justice, light and goodness, but is instead eventually won over by the sweet, yet unbending, nature of the lass. Eventually the ettin accepts the rule of good and law as right and just. He is then executed for his crimes when he and his lady return to her father.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Nightning Bugs

I've really enjoyed creating the formulas for the inks for protection scrolls recently, but I've also been working on other projects, of course. Creatures Below the Shattered Moon - Volume 3 is now out in pdf and I've made a list of creatures I want in volume 4. Typically,  I come up with an idea and a name and make a long lists. I then cull out the not-so-good ones. I then flesh them out fully - usually in a piecemeal fashion. One critter today, two tomorrow type of stuff. Below is one of the recent ones. I think it does a good job taking the familiar and twisting just enough to make it frightening.

Nightning Bugs
Mutated lightning bug (Basic)
C-4 A-1 S-4 F-4 R-4 I0 W0: Ego 1: Health 1: Fortune 1
Movement 2.5/22

Description & Information: All are familiar with the lightning bug as it flashes in the night looking for a mate, but the nightning bug flashes during the day, absorbing all the light and air within 5 feet, creating a flash of utter darkness and a thunderous clap of lightning. This darkness is intensely cold, for the emptiness of deep space has been summoned to earth. Nightning bug swarms are extremely dangerous and destructive, as they literally remove a sphere of matter about them, replacing it with the vaccum of space. Thankfully, nightning bugs are not aggressive. Some speculate that the nightning bugs will eventually destroy the world, for they are slowing taking bit by tiny bit from it, and The Cult of the Dark Bug has formed around the destruction of what they see as a manifestation of cosmic evil.

Intrinsic Powers
• Immune to cold, sonic, and the attacks of other nightning bugs.
• Ignores all damage resistances or immunities when attacking. Any creature within 5 feet of a flashing nightning bug must succeed on a rank 10 Agility conflict or die. A success indicates a minor permanent injury has occurred to Agility or Strength as a piece of the target is simply no longer there.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Formula Folio

The next recipe. I'm trying to make them have a sort of "magical" reason be that historical, sympathetic or simply obscure. Each recipe should be unique, but also have similar threads of production methods woven throughout.

Protection from Devils
For the ink required to scribe a protection from devils scroll

1 oz. giant octopus ink
2 drams holy water
1 oz. pure alcohol
1 nutmeg with mace
1 large piece of jade, powdered
9 oz. silver
9 oz. nitric acid
1 lb. salt
1 oz. of mane’s blood

In a silver container, place the whole nutmeg (with mace separated) in the holy water, octopus ink, and alcohol and let rest until the nutmeg dissolves, usually a month’s time, making an ink tincture. In a glass container, dissolve the silver with the acid and then pour out half, than half, than half again onto the salt. Retain 1 oz of the salt and consume the rest in a cherry wood fire. Combine the powdered jade and salt and mix them into the ink tincture. Spit upon the mace, grind until a powder and add to the acid and silver solution. Finally combine the acid and the tincture and then introduce the mane’s blood. Makes enough ink for 2 scrolls. An erinyes feather quill is required.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Formula Folio

As a kid, one of the things that inspired me most about gaming was the concept of magic being esoteric. The biggest aspect of that in the game was spell components, but although I loved them, my true love in relation to magic was formulas. The idea that magic resided in items of sometimes a common nature drove my imagination. I've decided to revisit the early wonder and hopefully create something that everyone could use in their game were that time to come. So, for the 200th post here at Sorcery & Super Science!, I present the first recipe from the Formula Folio...

Protection from Demons
For the ink required to scribe a protection from demons scroll

1 oz. giant octopus ink
2 drams holy water
1 oz. copper
1 radish
666 sesame seeds
1 small ruby, powdered
1 oz. of lemure ichor

Harvest the radish at midday and roast with the crushed sesame seeds in a cast iron skillet with three handles. Once the radish begins to burn, add the powered ruby and lemure ichor and remove from heat. Store in a white ceramic container for 6 days. Add copper and let sit for 6 more days. Then add the holy water and octopus ink at midday and let sit for another 6 days. Decant into a clear glass container at midday. Makes enough ink for 2 scrolls. A Vrock feather quill is required.

Friday, November 19, 2010

New Feature Coming Tomorrow

Well, earlier this month I asked what people thought about the blog and several mentioned that they liked the Tome of Tomes feature so I thought I should come up with something like that, but different. Something that's very drag and drop and something that, to the best of my knowledge, hasn't really been focused upon in terms of Old-School gaming. So I thought of something and I've got a few down on digital paper and I'll introduce the idea tomorrow as Sorcery & Super Science's 200th post.

Hopefully, it'll fly like a lead Zeppelin. :)

Tome of Tomes

This tome would make quite the rare find in a treasure trove.

The Great Shedu Grammar
Author: Enkiurmu
Race: Shedu
Dimensions: 24x24x24
Weight: 48lbs. per tablet
Materials: 24 incised stone slabs 1 inch thick
Rarity: Unique
Fields of Study: Supernatural & unusual
Special Knowledge Categories: Metaphysics
Value: 5,000 gp

This unique collection of 24 tablets succinctly explains the grammar of the shedu language. Most interesting is that the grammar of the shedu language is based upon the cyclones and winds of the astral and ethereal planes. Although learning to speak the language without a dictionary is impossible, intense study of The Great Shedu Grammar by one of at least 16 intelligence for a month’s period results in very beneficial effects: the likelihood of random encounters as well as encountering the deadly weather while traveling either plane is reduced by 10%. The student of The Grammar is deeply in touch with both planes.

It is speculated that it is not the language that imparts such ability but something intrinsic in the presentation of The Great Shedu Grammar, for those who know shedu but have never studied The Grammar appear to not possesses the benefits of those who have.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The ScandiaFlex Xtream

Ever feel like you were attacked by a piece of machinery at a fitness club? Well, under the shattered moon it can really happen! :)

ScandiaFlex Xtream
Adaptive Robot (Advanced)
C10 A10 S10 F8 R0 I2 W1: Ego 22: Health 76: Fortune 41
Movement 10/88
Components: (A) 20, 20, 20; (U) 1, 1, 2, 3, 4; solar cell (U) 10

Description & Information: The ScandiaFlex Xtream was the premier high-end home exercise gym offered by ScandiaFlex right before the collapse. To use the Xtreme, one need only enter the room and command it to engage. It would then move to surround its users, strap the users in, and place electrodes upon all of their major muscles before beginning the personalized 20 minute work-out session as advised by each individual user’s physician. The muscle gains made using the ScandiaFlex Xtream were impressive for a home system and they were one of the most popular machines in the semi-sentient home exercise market.

The breaking of time, however, has resulted in a few of these ScandiaFlex Xtremes gaining a bit more than semi-sentience, and they’ve decided that the goal of exercise is to separate the weak from the strong and clean the gene pool - for the healthy resemble their creators. ScandiaFlex Xtremes now engage upon the humanoids they encounter, separating the wheat from the chaff through a brutal 1 hour physical workout of Olympian proportions.

Intrinsic Powers
• ScandiaFlex Xtremes have good senses and possess a +2 to sense conflicts and can make extraordinary sense conflicts.
• Can self-repair at a rate of 1 point of Health damage per day.
• Reduce all damage (except electricity) by 6 points per hit.
• ScandaiFlex Extremes attack by engulfing up to 4 targets within a 10 foot radius. Each target is subject to an independent Combat roll. If successful, the target is strapped into the machine. Breaking the straps requires a success on a rank 20 Strength conflict. Once the electrodes are attached (taking a turn) the 1 hour exercise program commences. During the first 30 minutes a victim must succeed on a rank 10 ability conflict for Agility, Strength, and Fortitude. A failure results in the temporary loss of 2 points in the failed ability. The final 30 minutes are even more dangerous, requiring a successful rank 10 conflict or suffer the loss of 3 points. If any ability drops below -4, the victim passes out, and the ScandiaFlex Xtream rips off the limbs of the weakling, causing death.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sorcery & Super Science Review at Roleplaying Tips

If none of you have heard of (which I would be very surprised at) run right now to the site and get a great big heapin' helping of good general rpg advice. It's a brief little newsletter sent to your e-mail or you can just look at the archives section. Johnn's been doing it for a long time and it's well worth the reading time.

Anyway.... :)

They've recently posted a review about Sorcery & Super Science. My favorite part is the conclusion (emphasis mine of course)...

Despite low production values, a tendency to place a great deal of faith in GM-player interactions, and art that is more often amusing and illustrative than inspiring and evocative, I think Sorcery and Super Science is a triumph of small RPG publishing.  Joseph Browning has done a fantastic job of creating a world totally in the hands of the GM and his players, and of giving the players the tools to create any character they might desire from the halls of pop culture or the depths of their own imagination.

The game system lends itself well to both veterans of gaming and total newbies, with a nicely graded difficulty curve that rewards mastery without punishing inexperience.  The random aspects of character creation might frustrate a hardcore powergamer, but I think many would find the freedom from decisions liberating and the character creation process a joy of die-rolling and discovery.

I’d recommend Sorcery & Super Science to anyone looking to inject a breath of fresh air into their playgroup or start a new one entirely.
Although I'd disagree about the production values (however, I understand that when compared to full-color works one could view it as such)  and the nature of the art (I believe that humor in art is one of those things sadly missing from modern games - think of the "+2 backscratcher" illo of old - these are games after all), I'm glad to see that the aesthetic choices of the system powerfully come through. Sorcery & Super Science puts so much freedom into the hands of the GM and the players that it demands that the GM and the players be experienced gamers who want to make the game run as they want it to run. I'm very pleased to see that design decision picked up in a review. It's one of the reasons why I consider Sorcery & Super Science decidedly old-school.

Tome of Tomes

Because I've always loved maps of all sorts...

The Atlas of the Gulf of Pappant
Author: Marvis Wataynd
Race: Merman
Dimensions: 16x16x1
Weight: 5 lbs.
Materials: Seal skin-bound, woodboard, vellum, brass corners and clasps
Rarity: Very rare
Fields of Study: Physical universe
Special Knowledge Categories: Oceanography
Value: 2,150 gp

The only known atlas of the Gulf of Pappant, Wataynd’s monumental work is the crown jewel for many above-water libraries. The entire gulf is mapped out in exquisite detail, showing area of habitation, disputed areas, and even the dry terrain out to 10 miles from the coast. There’s been at least one war declared to acquire the atlas and its valuable information, and there will surely be more. It is believed that there are only three copies of this rare book.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Giant Tiger Beetle

I don't know how many of you know about the tiger beetle, but this thing is like a little speedy tank with teeth. They're generally not very big, about 1/2 inch, but they can go up to speeds of 5.6 mph. That's incredibly fast. So of course they have mutated in to big scary-as-hell predators under the shattered moon. :)

Giant Tiger Beetle
Mutated tiger beetle (Intermediate)
C6 A6 S8 F5 R-4 I3 W3: Ego 14: Health 50: Fortune 27
Movement 40/352

Description & Information: When the collapse happened, many exotic species (for North America) were released into the wild and the tiger beetle was one of them. Over time, the weird that is the world below the shattered moon has mutated the common tiger beetle into the giant species described here. A full 4 feet in length and weighing up to 150 lbs., the giant tiger beetle is a top-level predator given is prodigious strength and awesome speed.

Intrinsic Powers
• Reduce all physical damage by 4 points per hit.
• Can move over rocky or otherwise sold difficult terrain without slowing. Marshes and such still slow it.
• Giant Tiger Beetles attack with a truly powerful bite, dealing +10 piercing damage per hit and a +2/ rank 8 combat condition.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Creatures Below the Shattered Moon - Volume 3 now available.

The 3rd volume of critters for your S&SS game has just rolled off the digital presses here at XRP headquarters in gloomy, cloudy, cold, Ohio. :) This volume has 19 critters and there as to be at least one in the bunch that should make a seasoned adventurer shiver.

You can buy the $3 PDF at Your Games Now or at It will be shortly available at Paizo and e23 as well.

Dio Day

Today's another Dio Day for me. I periodically pick a day and listen to Dio's work from the Richie Blackmore's Rainbow album to the Sacred Heart album (I need to pick up more of his solo stuff). Dio's voice is truly unique and his fantasy-oriented lyrics always inspire my creativity. So, Long Live Rock N' Roll on this Dio day!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dwindling Aspen

There are some forests below the shattered moon that seem too barren of life...

Dwindling Aspen
Mutated aspen (Basic)
C0 A0 S0 F16 R-4 I-4 W-4: Ego 8: Health 32: Fortune 4
Movement 0

Description & Information: Dwindling aspen are commonly found in the northern areas of North America. Their fire-hardiness and clonal-colony reproduction has led to massive groves of dwindling aspen covering dozens of acres. Dwindling aspen can be very deadly, but for most of the time they appear little different than a normal aspen.

Limited Use Powers
• Dwindle (1 per month): Once per month, a dwindling aspen seems to shiver, and a wave of what can only be called negative energy (as there are, so far, no know methods of protection except for force shields) radiates from the trunk of the tree causing 1 point of Health damage to living thing within 150 feet. There are no protections from this strange radiation, excepting force shields. Once one dwindling aspen triggers, the rest of the entire stand fires off as well, potentially killing even very powerful creatures in their midst, leaving the remains of victims to increase the fertility of the land.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tome of Tomes

Another one for a sage's shelves...

Ranste: Pearl of the Seas
Author: Pirn the Skunie
Race: Human
Dimensions: 8x8x1
Weight: 4lbs.
Materials: Leather-bound, stoneboard, parchment
Rarity: Uncommon
Fields of Study: Humankind, demi-humankind
Special Knowledge Categories: History
Value: 150 gp

Pirn the Skunie’s history of the great port-city of Ranste is the commonly accepted version of the discovery, founding, and subsequent rise to power of that sprawling metropolis. Pirn’s version is the one promoted by the city itself for it makes no mention of the many treacheries the city has performed in its two centuries of existence. Perhaps the most prominent example of such is that it makes no mention of the great sailor Firebeard and his treaty with the city which the city broke when convenient. Most now know of Firebeard as the dread buccaneer Firebeard.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tome of Tomes

On more for the bookshelves...

Poultices Most Pure
Author: Norsda Dwerg
Race: Dwarf
Dimensions: 8x10x1.5
Weight: 6 lbs.
Materials: Leather-bound, stoneboard, parchment, iron clasp and lock
Rarity: Rare
Fields of Study: Supernatural & unusual
Special Knowledge Categories: Medicine
Value: 200 gp

Norsda Dwerg was a female dwarf who forsake her native lands seeking knowledge of medicine. She traveled far and wide for many years, eventually settling down in Ranste and writing her only work. Poultices Most Pure is a wide-ranging volume of indigenous medicines gathered from many geographical areas. Many of the ingredients are very hard to find as they are particular to a single location. That said, however, almost any healer benefits from a thorough study of the book. After a month’s time, a reader can render poultices that double the speed of normal healing provided the subjects engage only in rest.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Angband (the game)

I've been enjoying playing the text-graphical-interface game Angband recently. I played quite a lot of it in college and it's pretty much just as fun now as it was then. I like the decidedly old-school vibe about it. If you die, you're dead. :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cast Roach

Can't have a post-apoc game without mutated roaches, right?

Cast Roach
Mutated cockroach (Advanced)
C1 A6 S4 F8 R-2 I2 W-2: Ego 8: Health 32: Fortune 4
Movement 10/88 (climb at half)

Description & Information: Cast roaches are common to ruins, wherein they build their elaborate nests. Unlike most roaches, cast roaches breed very slowly and in small numbers. This may explain their odd and elaborate nests. A cast roach can eat anything; rock, concrete, wood, duraplast, plascrete, iron, plasteel, barbenite, inertron and even impervium. It then uses its bodily excretions to make tremendously tough nests, typically sealing over caches of ancient items, upon which it finds most delicious. As the members of The Church of Parkour say, “If you see a cast roach, technology lurks nearby. As does death.”

Intrinsic Powers
• Immune to toxic attacks.
• Reduce all physical damage by 4 points per hit.
• Reduce all energy damage by 2 points per hit.
• Cast roaches attack by spitting digestive juices to a range of 5 feet, dealing +40 damage and +1/ rank 20 combat condition. The attack of a cast roach ignores any and all damage reduction excluding acid immunities and force shields.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tome of Tomes

Another tome...

Author: Skyme Dualming
Race: Human
Dimensions: 6x5x1
Weight: 1 lbs.
Materials: Leather-bound, woodboard, parchment
Rarity: Very rare
Fields of Study: Physical universe, supernatural & unusual
Special Knowledge Categories: Meteorology & climatology, dweomercraft
Value: 250 gp; 3,625  gp with prismatic missile spell

A short and dense text concerning light, Prismatica is a mix of science and magic. Skyme Dualming was a renowned illusionist who spent the latter parts of his life in study and contemplation. Prismatica expounds upon the composition of light as well as the role light plays in the magical arts, and is a highly desired text for illusionists, for within the middle of the text lies the only original spell of Dualming, prismatic missile. This 7th-level illusionist spell shoots out 7 colored missiles which unerringly strike their targets made of the prismatic colors corresponding to each of the colored globes in a prismatic sphere spell. Saving throws apply to those colors which call for such.

The inclusion of the spell in the work has resulted in copies existing without it, as the scribe had not the ability to transcribe the magical power of the spell. These, lesser copies are worth significantly less as indicated above.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Great Weekend

Had a great weekend. I managed to play a full game of Axis & Allies 1940 Europe and several others, including the "evil" Ticket to Ride Europe version. All in all, very enjoyable. Now, back to the grindstone. :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Gaming Weekend

I'll be having a gaming weekend this weekend so I probably won't be posting updates here. Hopefully, I'll return on Monday after trying out a bunch of new board games.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Tome of Tomes

Since several followers noted they like the Tome of Tomes series, here's another for the bookshelf.

Author: Yyis Taiver
Race: Titan
Dimensions: 16x16x5
Weight: 25 lbs.
Materials: Red dragonskin-bound, woodboard, vellum, brass corners and clasps
Rarity: Very rare
Fields of Study: Physical universe, supernatural & unusual
Special Knowledge Categories: Mathematics, dweomercraft
Value: 1,850 gp

A tremendous work of pure intelligence composed by the blind titan Yyis Taiver, Mathimatics is beyond the understanding of most creatures in the multi-verse. An intelligence score of 19 is required to comprehend the basic concepts of the work and 21+ is needed to fully grasp the sublime contents of the entirety of the work.  Mathimagics explains the mathematical underpinnings of the multi-verse and shows how they interact with the magical underpinnings.

After a full two years of study the reader learns to cast a single 1st level magic user spell once per week if of intelligence 19. If the reader’s intelligence is 20, two 1st level magic user spells may be cast per week, and if the reader is of 21 or higher intelligence, three 1st level magic user spells may be cast per week. To maintain this ability, the reader must spend at least one week every year refreshing his memory of Mathimagics.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

About that question yesterday...

So I checked on the hit counter for this blog this morning, as I do every day, and found that I had the most visitors ever along with an above average time on site yesterday. *ironic laugh* So posting inquisitive posts seems to interest people. :)

I suspect there are those out there going, "Well, duh." But for me its a process of discovery, for although I've been publishing for 7 years now, I've only really been blogging for something like 3 or 4 months. I imagine that means I need to read some research about blogging and see what I can find out. I tried research reading before I started the blog, but it didn't have a concrete application at the time and was a bit to boring. Now that I've got a blog, I should find out what works best in general and then figure out what works best for rpg blogs in specific.

Thanks to everyone who commented on the last post and thank to those who just stopped by!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Question

Heya all! So we're up to 42 followers after 3 months and I'm having a hard time judging what interests people the most about this blog. I suspect there's a way to do that programatically, but since all my posts are always on a single page it's not easy to determine which ones have the most viewers as what I'm using now just shows hits to the main page.

Currently I'm posting almost exclusively about either Sorcery & Super Science! or about our Old-School Renaissance stuff. Are you guys (and gals) split about your interests or do you favor one over the other? Should I do more short pieces about gaming in general or gaming theory or some other subjects?

So if you'd take a brief moment and let me know what your main interests are concerning this blog, I'd really appreciate it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bursting Death Plant

Been working up some new monsters for Sorcery & Super Science! and here's one that's a bit different than others. It's not as much a monster as a hazard, but I think having information as if it was a monster should be beneficial at the table. I thought about having a separate group of challenges, but I think it's better to present them in a similar matter than to change the presentation. I'll keep thinking about it, of course.

Bursting Death Plant
Mutated stickseed (Basic)
C-4 A-4 S-4 F1 R-4 I10 W10: Ego 26: Health 64: Fortune 33
Movement 0

Description & Information: The bursting death plant is found throughout the world below the shattered moon, from lush jungles to semi-deserts. It is a small, hardy plant usually no bigger than a foot tall. During spring, it flowers in distinctive red and purple colors. It is only after flowering that the plant becomes dangerous, becoming passively empathetic within 50 feet. If anything approaches within that area, the bursting death plant teleports its seed into the creature. These tiny seeds do no damage initially, and may not even been detected (a rank 10 extraordinary Intuition sense check detects the process and locates the seed in the target’s body). The seed remains in the target for the next 7 months, before explosively bursting out of the victim.

Intrinsic Powers
• The bursting seed of a bursting death plant causes 25 points of explosive damage and a rank 15 combat condition. This damage is not reduced via armor, but is reduced through mutation.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Creeping Death

Of course Sorcery & Super Science as some "grey goo" lurking under the shattered moon.

Creeping Death
Nano-robotic Swarm (Advanced)
C6 A8 S6 F12 R-4 I-4 W9: Ego 26: Health 64: Fortune 33
Movement 2.5/22

Description & Information: The terrible creeping death is legendary under the shattered moon. A gray goopy mass roughly the size of a average mutie, the creeping death appears to have no intelligence and be utterly indifferent of its surroundings excepting when it “latches” onto a particular creature or person. When such happens, the creeping death relentlessly peruses its target, mindless of other dangers or opportunities. This creature or person could be thousands of miles away at the moment of latching and the creeping death will spend months traveling to find its target. How or why a creeping death does this is entirely unknown.

Intrinsic Powers
• Reduce all Physical and Ego damage by 6 points per hit.
• Reduce all Energy damage by 8 points per hit.
• Reduce all Toxic damage by 4 points per hit.
• Ignores all damage resistances or immunities when attacking. Deals +6 damage and +4/ rank 10 combat condition.

Limited Use Powers
• Technology Absorption (3 time per day): A creeping death can absorb any object, healing it 5 Health and 5 Ego damage. What is absorbed is completely destroyed.
• Mutable Form (10 per day): The creeping death can change its shape to fit the environment as determined by the GM. For example, it could form a long pseudopodia stretching over a crevasse making a bridge out of itself and thereby pass over the obstacle. If this power is depleted, the creeping death can only maintain its natural “fried egg” shape.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Game is the Play

The game is the play. Not the winning or the losing or achieving a goal or failing. The game is the journey, not the destination. The game is the event, not the outcome of the event.

Fates Warning

I just have to say that I've gotten so much writing out of Fate Warning's The Spectre Within and Awaken the Guardian. If you like fantasy/power metal, I cannot recommend these two albums enough. Listening to them now, and getting ready to be creative yet one more time.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Another state detailed under the shattered moon...

50. Arkdorado
Representative Alliance: President Hames D. Coney
GTSL: 3329

A haven for free-thinkers and independently-minded people, Arkdorado is a very loose alliance of smaller communities that traditionally find leadership from the Coney settlement of New New Edinburg. All inhabitants of New New Edinburg assume the last name of “Coney” in honor of the great man that founded the settlement and carved out a small slice of civilization among barbarity over 100 years ago.

There are many small settlements throughout this area, mostly walled farming settlements focusing on subsistence agriculture and a few trade goods. Although relatively primitive in technology, the people of Arkdorado are canny tacticians through their shared belief in playing the ancient table-top war games of the ancients to sharpen their minds. It is, in fact, almost a religious activity in Arkdorado, so visitors should expect to play games when staying in the territory. We recommend the games are played, as declining can be seen as an insult. Because of this belief, it is not unusual to find muties from Arkdorado leading regiments in the armies of other, more technologically-advanced, states.

There are a few small ruins in Arkdorado, but most have been thoroughly picked through and lack even the smallest cell of The Church of Parkour. That said, we have recently heard rumors that, if the ruins have been thoroughly picked over, whoever did the picking did a poor job.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Old-School Naming Convention

I thought I'd let you all in on a secret that I've been using lately to generate old-school sounding names. If you look at Grodog's extensive recording of the names used way back when, you'll find that some of them hail from the Scottish language. So, using the wonder that is Google Books, one simply looks up theme words using something like An Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language and voila, Old-School Names.

A few examples:

Gousty Aquart  - waste, cross (angry) - A minstrel who's lacking in talent but quick to anger.
Chancy Gipe - lucky, greedy - An ill-mannered thief who's luck seems just slightly more than his greed.
Glaum Gramarye - grasping, magic - A magic user destined to find more than he bargained for.

As you can see, adventure awaits in "dusty" digital tomes over 200 years old!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tome of Tomes

Continuing with my reading today, so lets look at another book from the bookshelf.

Insects of the Eastern Jungles
Author: Spree Waghorn
Race: Halfling
Dimensions: 8x8x1
Weight: 4lbs.
Materials: Leather-bound, stoneboard, parchment
Rarity: Rare
Fields of Study: Fauna, humankind
Special Knowledge Categories: Insects, sociology
Value: 200 gp

This smartly illuminated manuscript is found throughout libraries of the west as one of the few studies of eastern insects. This, coupled with its clever writing concerning the strange people’s encountered in the eastern jungles, makes it a desired tome. Over fifty years ago, Spree Waghorn made the long and perilous journey homeward after failing to disarm a particularly nasty teleport trap. His trip was postponed for two years in the sweltering eastern jungles during which time he created an illustrated account of the insects of the area while incorporating observations concerning the people therein.

Unknown to all but the most erudite, the book is entirely a work of fiction based upon existing scholarship. Waghorn lives up to his name, reaping a significant retirement by organizing reproductions and sales of his work.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


And yet more knowledge learned from my reading. This time of a book entitled Arthashastra. Think The Prince, but from a different age and continent. Interesting indeed.

Gold-Digging Ants

Found out about these in my reading today. Could make an interesting OSRIC critter or even a S&SS critter.

From Herodotus, The Histories 3.102-105
[3.102] Besides these, there are Indians of another tribe, who border on the city of Caspatyrus, and the country of Pactyica; these people dwell northward of all the rest of the Indians, and follow nearly the same mode of life as the Bactrians. They are more warlike than any of the other tribes, and from them the men are sent forth who go to procure the gold. For it is in this part of India that the sandy desert lies. Here, in this desert, there live amid the sand great ants, in size somewhat less than dogs, but bigger than foxes. The Persian king has a number of them, which have been caught by the hunters in the land whereof we are speaking. Those ants make their dwellings under ground, and like the Greek ants, which they very much resemble in shape, throw up sand heaps as they burrow. Now the sand which they throw up is full of gold. The Indians, when they go into the desert to collect this sand, take three camels and harness them together, a female in the middle and a male on either side, in a leading rein. The rider sits on the female, and they are particular to choose for the purpose one that has but just dropped her young; for their female camels can run as fast as horses, while they bear burthens very much better.

[3.104] When the Indians therefore have thus equipped themselves they set off in quest of the gold, calculating the time so that they may be engaged in seizing it during the most sultry part of the day, when the ants hide themselves to escape the heat. The sun in those parts shines fiercest in the morning, not, as elsewhere, at noonday; the greatest heat is from the time when he has reached a certain height, until the hour at which the market closes. During this space he burns much more furiously than at midday in Greece, so that the men there are said at that time to drench themselves with water. At noon his heat is much the same in India as in other countries, after which, as the day declines, the warmth is only equal to that of the morning sun elsewhere. Towards evening the coolness increases, till about sunset it becomes very cold.

[3.105] When the Indians reach the place where the gold is, they fill their bags with the sand, and ride away at their best speed: the ants, however, scenting them, as the Persians say, rush forth in pursuit. Now these animals are, they declare, so swift, that there is nothing in the world like them: if it were not, therefore, that the Indians get a start while the ants are mustering, not a single gold-gatherer could escape. During the flight the male camels, which are not so fleet as the females, grow tired, and begin to drag, first one, and then the other; but the females recollect the young which they have left behind, and never give way or flag. Such, according to the Persians, is the manner in which the Indians get the greater part of their gold; some is dug out of the earth, but of this the supply is more scanty.


Doing more reading about India in India: A History by John Keay today. Ran across an interesting passage about a ritual called Ashvamedha. The link is worth a few minutes of reading. The part in the book I was reading referred to the traveling of the horse-sacrifice to determine where should be attacked next. The other aspects of the ritual were not mentioned in the book I'm reading, but were quite unusual, to say the least.

Oh, and I just noticed we're over 40 followers now. That's cool. :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Learned a new word today when reading India: A History. Chalcolithic is a phase in the development of human culture in which the use of early metal tools appeared alongside the use of stone tools - between the stone and the bronze age is the copper age, the Chalcolithic.

Tome of Tomes

It's been over a week since the last tome was pulled from the bookshelf, so here's another. This one's about that pesky energy drain problem...

Healing Life Energy
Author: Shane the Leeful
Race: Human
Dimensions: 8x8x1
Weight: 2lbs.
Materials: Leather-bound, woodboard, parchment
Rarity: Rare
Fields of Study: Supernatural & unusual
Special Knowledge Categories: Medicine
Value: 450 gp

There is abundant life energy in the heroes of this world, and foul undead creatures can tap into this well of life and reduce it with a touch. Shane the Leeful, a cleric of Parsanos the Healer, discovered a difficult technique allowing those such drained to regain some of their lost life energy by tapping directly into the life of the earth itself. Healing Life Energy describes a long, complicated, and expensive ritual allowing one so drained to regain 1/4th of what they lost.

The ritual requires a good cleric of at least 3rd level (or a Paladin of 11th) to perform and requires at least a week’s contemplation and prayer while reading the book. In addition, 500 gp of rare unguents and herbs need be acquired. Finally the ritual can begin, taking a full day’s time. The chance of success is 70% +15% for every level of the ritualist over the minimum required for his class. A positive result regains 1/4th of all the experience lost by an energy drain while a negative result shows that the lost energy can never be regained but through the most powerful of magics.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Back on the Work Wagon

You know how I said I was going to work yesterday? I didn't. :) Played more games and got semi-hooked on a new facebook game called Braaains. It's pretty silly, but I'm pretty silly, or that is, my nature is very serious and I try to culture the silly parts of myself to achieve a harmonious day-to-day balance. Today however, it's back on the wagon. Done the e-mails, a new SSL cert has been acquired, a vendor issue resolved - all to the charming tunes of Tom Wait's Blood Money.

Now, on to some editing and reading a new Advanced Adventures manuscript.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Back to work

Took yesterday off as well and played more games. It's been a great two days off. I normally don't get two days in a row off without any work because I work from home and it's always easy to do a few hours even on "off" days. But the past two days all I did was check e-mails to make sure nothing went wrong and enjoy the time off.

Today, however, is back to the coal mine. :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Gaming is more fun than working

Suzi and I took most of yesterday off to play games. We probably did five or six games each of San Juan and Jambo. We had a lot of fun with both. I think San Juan is a slightly better game, but I think I prefer Jambo over it because of a greater complexity of play. Today I should work, but there are a few more games calling my name if I can convince Suzi that she doesn't really need to read Microbiology today. :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Scourge of the Mall Rats update

I've just finished the main parts of the adventure and am now doing the touch-up work. Many writers work from start to finish, following a rough outline of the idea. I tend to jump around to whatever is interesting me at the moment and I leave big holes behind that have to be fixed. A good example in Sorcery & Super Science is that I'll write "broadcast power station" as an item to stat up in a room description and then move on. I'm at the stage now where I go back and fill in those holes.

I've also been listening to a boat-load of Tom Waits (mostly his more recent stuff) and I'm wondering if that's going to work it's way into the writing in ways that I won't see until I do the first editing pass. As if having creepy, calliope/burlesque/vaudeville themes are somehow not a benefit to a S&SS adventure! :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Objects Below the Shattered Moon - Volume 2 now available.

This one features 1 new sorcerous artifact, 6 miscellaneous items, 1 new robot, 1 new vehicle, and 66 lesser miscellaneous items suitable for various power levels and certain to bring additional life to the world under the shattered moon. Available at Your Games Now and rpgnow. Available soon from e23 and Paizo.

The Dark Lands of Kalamazoo

More from the upcoming ZZZ Guide.

97. The Dark Lands of Kalamazoo
Wizard State: The Great Kalamazoo
GTSL: 3711

Nestled against the eastern shore of Lake Michigan is the wizard state called The Dark Lands of Kalamazoo. The land here is blasted and barren, filled with rolling hills and dismal swamps. The sun rarely shines and when it does, it shines down upon vast swaths of mushrooms fields, some larger than a dozen square miles. Most of these mushrooms are harmless, but many are not, and the mutated fungi common to these areas have resulted in uncounted horrible deaths. Braving this territory requires careful planning and mostly night travel. There are many ruins here that are generally unscavenged, but getting in and out is very difficult. We recommend hiring a native guide if you choose to enter here.

Of The Great Kalamazoo we know little. He is rumored to dress only in purples and oranges, ride a mecha-magical flying steed and blast at any who offend him with rockets. He appears to find the mere existence of most muties offensive.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shortnose batfish

Saw this critter at the Newport Aquarium last weekend. Whenever in need of a monster for gaming, nature seems ready to provide if one's willing to look into the nooks and crannies of this world - just look at that bone structure... :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tome of Tomes

Sorry for the paucity of posting, I went to Cincinnati last weekend and spent time with an old college friend. Lots of conversation, the best Hefeweisen I've ever had (Hofbrauhaus Newport), a visit to the aquarium (love 'em) and the fact that I didn't travel with my laptop for the first time in a long time resulted in nothing new. Since I've got a lot of catching up to do today, lets do another Tome of Tomes for the library.

Elemental Heraldry & Genealogy
Author: Rolment Farandman
Race: Human
Dimensions: 12x12x6
Weight: 25 lbs.
Materials: Red dragonskin-bound, woodboard, brass plaques
Rarity: Very Rare
Fields of Study: Supernatural & unusual
Special Knowledge Categories: Heraldry, signs & sigils
Value: 1,000 gp

The aristocracy of the elemental planes is an opaque subject, but Elemental Heraldry & Genealogy sheds some light upon the subject. Farandman focuses mostly on the higher nobility, but delves into the lesser nobility upon occasions. A very rare work on a very unusual subject, it is highly valued by those interested in the subject.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tome of Tomes

Another from the series.

Author: William the Wise
Race: Human
Dimensions: 8x8x1
Weight: 4lbs.
Materials: Leather-bound, stoneboard, parchment
Rarity: Rare
Fields of Study: Fauna
Special Knowledge Categories: None
Value: 100 gp

How William the Wise learned so much about the secretive race known as doppelganger in common is unknown, but sages speculate that he may have been a doppelganger himself. One who through random chance, but more plausibly magic, experienced a change of heart concerning the intense secrecy surrounding the race. Within the work, art, culture, politics and religion are discussed, but the most valuable chapter from the view of an adventurer is the one helping identify disguised doppelgangers. William the Wise provides a list of small traits, quirks, and errors to watch for, providing a small advantage when determining if a creature is a doppelganger in disguise. Reading this work takes two weeks.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Magical Medieval Society Castles and Magical Society India

Well, I just finished reading all of the books I've set aside for A Magical Medieval Society Castles and writing will start soon. To be honest, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed right now. A castle book is hard to do as a Magical Society product because what I need is synthesis of the subject, not just a simple elucidation and transference of information to the reader - which is also needed of course. Synthesis is a bitch. I'm kinda stuck now, staring at the blank white page and going... "huh?"

I've also been trucking along with my Magical Society India reading. It's been cool and I've learned some interesting things that I didn't know before. Once I'm done with two or three general books I'll need to focus on more specific books, but I won't know that those are until I get there. Reading is always so much easier than writing. :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

ZZZ Quick Guide to North America - First Draft Finished

Just finished the 1st draft of the ZZZ Quick Guide to North America and am very happy with it. Now on to the first round of editing, then the second draft and then art hunting. It's clocking in at just around 19,000 words.

Blood Naga

A monster from Malevolent & Benign - a good naga for lower-level PCs. Art by Claudio Pozas.

SIZE: Large (12 ft. long)
MOVE: 90 ft.
DAMAGE: 1-4, 1-4
RARITY: Uncommon
TREASURE: In Lair: 1-12k cp (20%), 1-6k sp (30%), 1-4k ep (10%), 1-6 gems (25%), 1-3 jewelry (20%), any 2 magic items (10%)
ALIGNMENT: Neutral evil
LEVEL/X.P.: 6 / 520 + 6/hp

General information: Blood nagas are woodland cavern dwellers, typically found alone or in small groups. They enjoy dark places, possessing darkvision  to 60 ft., and tend to be quite cautious, as they are weaker than their brethren. They are thoroughly evil, however, and their pride and cruel desires often get in the way of their better judgment. Blood nagas can see and attack into the ethereal plane.

At will, blood nagas may spit a spray of blood in a cone (1 ft. wide at the origin, 30 ft. range, 15 ft. wide at the end) that can send opponents to the ethereal plane for 1-4 rounds if they fail a save against poison. Blood nagas can only use their stinger against ethereal opponents, who must save against poison or be paralyzed for 1-4 turns. Spraying blood causes 1 hit point of damage to the naga.

Blood nagas are able to employ druidic magic at the 5th level of ability possessing four 1st, three 2nd, and two 3rd level spells per day. Their bite is fairly weak, doing only 1-4 hit points of damage, and they prefer to feast upon paralyzed prey.

Languages: Blood nagas speak their own language as well as common.

Physical description: Like other nagas, blood nagas are large snakes with human facial features. They have dull scales and tend towards grays in their almost patternless skins. They possess prominent stingers at the end of their tails, resembling a scorpion’s. Blood nagas average 12 feet in length and weigh between 200 and 400 pounds.

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