Friday, September 30, 2011


Another unfriendly below the shattered moon...

Mutated scorpion (Intermediate)
C6 A4 S6 F7 R-4 I3 W4: Ego 20: Health 46: Fortune 26
Movement 5/44 (fly at 50/440)

Description & Information: A horrible combination of wasp and scorpion, waspions are to be avoided. Their predatory nature and love of fresh meat coupled with their hive structure often creates wastelands of territory they claim as theirs.

Intrinsic Powers
• The waspion’s tough chitinous body reduces all physical damage by 4 points per hit.
• A waspion may attack with its front claws, dealing +8 piercing damage and a +4/rank 4 combat condition. It can do this in addition to a tail sing attack.
• A waspion may stings with its tail, dealing +6 poison damage and a +4/rank 4 combat condition. It can do this in addition to its claw attack. This is a toxic attack.
• A waspion can use its front claws to deflect a single melee attack every turn. It if does such, it cannot make a claw attack in the same turn, but it can make a tail sting attack.

Limited Use Powers
• Paralysis Poison (2 per day): Those struck by a waspion’s stinger may instead be stung with a paralysis poison, rather than the typical waspion poison. Those hit must succeed on a rank 10 Fortitude conflict or be paralyzed and unable to move for 1-6 hours.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Alien Was Even Scarier Than I Thought

Here's a pic of how the alien looked underneath that head carapace... *shudder*

The Granger Tripod

Perhaps the most dangerous thing below the shattered moon...

Granger Tripod
Adaptive Robot (Ultra)
C40 A10 S25 F30 R16 I6 W10: Ego 124: Health 210: Fortune 137
Movement 50/440
Components: (A) 10, 15, 20 (x10); (U) 2, 4, 5, 10 (x4); solar cell (U) 10, bio-mass cell (U) 10.

Description & Information: A greater warbot, common in the wars at the end of the 21st century, the Granger Tripod stands 50 feet tall upon three massive and flexible legs. It has full manipulative ability, possessing human-like hands upon the ends of three retractable, flexible arms. The Tripod is designed for tank-like duty.
    Tripods have three .50 caliber machine guns, each mounted on retractable tentacles exiting from the central body core high upon the three legs. In the center of the robot is an armored ammo storage area containing 12,750 specially-designed armor piercing rounds. Unlike normal .50 caliber ammo, the granger tripod .50 caliber ammo ignores 25 points of armor instead of the normal 20.
    Atop the core body, a large solar cell array provides the majority of needed energy. The array is retracted when facing potential enemies. The tripod additionally features a developed bio-mass cell power source, allowing it to feed when sunlight is rare and to regenerate damage.
    The main weapon of the warbot is a bright-red disintegration ray. This ray seems to cut through armor as if was not there and utterly destroys unarmored targets.

Intrinsic Powers
• Tripods have the best senses possible, possesses a +15 to sense conflicts. In addition, they have a +6 to extraordinary sense conflicts. They can see 10x as well as a human in the day as well as at night, effectively possessing full night-vision.
• Regenerate 20 additional Health per day. They also regenerate from any permanent injuries in a week’s time. Both require access to suitable food : grasses or wood.
• Reduce all damage (except ego) by 50 points per hit. Additionally, tripods are coated with a sheen of reddish ablative material, reducing damage from laser or disintegration rays by 75 points per hit. This coating can be removed and it retains it’s properties for two months if stored in (relatively) air-tight containers.
• Powerful hand-to-hand combatants, tripod punches deal +20 bludgeoning damage per hit and +4/ rank 12 combat condition.
• A tripod can make two .50 caliber attacks on two separate targets per turn, dealing +16 to damage, +4/ rank 10 piercing in single-shot mode. At normal firing speed of 30 rounds per turn an tripod deals +28 to damage and a +4/ rank 12 piercing combat condition. At burst speed (100 rounds per turn) it deals +40 to damage and a +4/ rank 16 piercing combat condition. Damage from the tripod’s .50 caliber machine gun ignores the first 25 points of damage resistance or armor of the target, or the first 20 points of damage resistance if normal .50 caliber ammunition is used.
• A tripod can use its bio-mass cell to replenish depleted .50 caliber ammunition at the rate of up to 1,000 cartridges a day. This requires consuming at least 10 tons of bio mass.

Limited Use Powers
• Disintegration Ray (20 per day): A tripod can blast one target with its disintegration ray per turn (to a range of 10 miles), dealing +100 damage and ignoring the first 25 points of damage resistance or armor of the target.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Best of The Dragon IV article years

Looking over my Best of collections of The Dragon, I noticed something I thought rather odd about #IV. The copyright on IV was 1986, but the most recent articles were from 83. Additionally, only 4 of the 20 articles were from '83, with 6 being from '82 and '81. I wonder why this is so? Why no articles from '84 or '85?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Large Map

Well, here's the big map I've been working on. I've got the geographical features down (mostly, I have quite a bit of fine-tuning to do) and I haven't even thought about political or cultural aspects yet. All in all, I think it's a good map and I'm pleased with it. Each hex is 30 miles. (Terrain is dictated by at least half of the area being composed of that particular terrain. For example, a forest means that it's more forest than plain, but it could be 55% forest or 100% forest.)


Much of what I read on the OSR blogs is about making things different. This is, of course, one of the main points of the game - the creation of unique objects that can be shared among friends. This divergence from canon is tremendously important when dealing with experienced players steeped in lore, but there is little need for divergence from canon if the players are not very aware of the canon to begin with. As I contemplate the chance of running a 1e campaign for the first time in a long time, the canon beckons and I think I shall take the road more traveled. It obviously goes somewhere that a lot of other people have enjoyed...

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Map I've Been Plunking Away At

I've been working on a large map recently. Below is an excerpt. So far, I'm pleased with it. (the dotted areas are hills - the map is done in a somewhat Harn-like style).

Tome of Tomes

Cheeses of the Upperdales
Author: Leda Pertbottom
Race: Halfling
Dimensions: 4x5x0.5
Weight: 1 lbs.
Materials: Leather-bound, woodboard, parchment
Rarity: Common
Fields of Study: Demi-humankind
Special Knowledge Categories: Law & customs, sociology
Value: 35 gp

Not just a work about cheeses, but a work about the different peoples making them, Cheeses of the Upperdales is a comprehensive look at the many different demi-human populations in the Upperdales. Over 45 different types of cheese are discussed, along with the expected methods of service and consumption.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Search Engine Optimization

Although over at Teleleli may think it's a load of Britney Spears naked, it's actually a load of Jessica Alba naked.

Formula Folio

Detect Magic
For the ink required to scribe a druidical detect magic scroll

1 oz. of giant squid sepia
1 oz. of giant octopus ink
1 oz. of holly berry juice
1 mugwort

In a pine container upon a sacred stone, mix the sepia with holly berry juice and coat the mugwort. Seal container with beeswax and let sit for 1 year. Open at midnight and remove liquid and mix with 1 oz. of octopus ink. Makes enough ink for 2 scrolls. Any special quill is suitable.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Heartening News for Old-Schoolers

Just posted by a friend of mine... "6th grade daughter just told me she scored an invite to play AD&D with other girls after school. Heart is too big for chest."

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Monte Cook back at WotC

News out of WotC is that Monte Cook has been brought back to the fold. I'm sure as time progresses we'll get a better idea of in just how much and in what capacity. Interesting times...

It's funny to look back and realize that I've written this column once a week for over eight months. Alas, as with all things, it's time for my involvement with this column to end. However, that does not mean that Legends & Lore is going away. We've been very happy with the response to the series, the interest it has created, and the feedback we've received.

Starting next week, I'm turning this column over to acclaimed game designer Monte Cook. Monte should be familiar to D&D fans for his work on the Planescape campaign setting, Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, Arcana Unearthed, the mammoth Ptolus city sourcebook, and, of course, Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition.

I've spent the past several months talking about D&D's past and how that relates to its future. It's now time to focus much more on the future of the game. Monte has an unmatched design pedigree in the RPG field, and for that reason we've brought him on board to work with R&D in making D&D the greatest RPG the world has seen. Over the next few weeks, Monte will use this column to share his thoughts about the game. As we look to chart D&D's future course, this column will continue to be a place where we share our ideas and listen to yours, and we hope you'll keep reading, discussing the contents, and sharing your feedback and thoughts with us and the larger D&D community. That's what makes Legends & Lore a conversation that we can all participate in.

Oh, and [Mr. T] Answer my poll, Fool![/Mr. T] :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Where in the World is Middle-Earth?

Hrm... here perhaps? Cool map with an interesting article. Oh, and answer my poll! The power of Morgoth compels you... :)

My First Poll

So I'm contemplating a campaign setting for the Advanced Adventures line of 1e modules and wondered what type of presentation people preferred: the original Greyhawk folio, the Greyhawk gold box that came later, or the 1st Forgotten Realms box (the gray box, not the black box).

Personally, I'm a Folio guy, although I have a soft spot for the gold box as well. What do you all think? I'm leaving the poll up top of the blog until it expires.

Miss Adelaide's Soiled Doves

I'm editing our first One Shot adventure, Miss Adelaide's Soiled Doves. Suzi's doing a bang-up job on it so far. Very pleased.

Hike up your skirts... and get ready to ride!

Join Miss Adelaide’s traveling band as it blazes through the wild west! The players are elite members of Miss Adelaide’s Soiled Doves, an all-encompassing entertainment experience that travels from town to town throughout the west. The band does more than sing songs and break hearts; Miss Adelaide is known to listen to those that are often ignored and solves problems that no one seems to acknowledge as such. Beset with adventure, danger, entertainment, and (for those that are interested) romance, get ready to ride!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Worlds Apart Cover!

Here's the cover for Worlds Apart. I think its respectful of its inspiration (Traveller) and nods a bit towards the great colors in Apocalypse Now. I like the waves on both sides of the "horizon line" and the two different fonts indicating the apartness of the worlds. This is one of my more symbolic covers.

Pac Man Fever

Poor ol' Pac Man. Things were never quite what everyone imagined.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Player's Map - The Shadowvein Trilogy

Thought I should put up the player's map that's in Down the Shadowvein and The Mouth of the Shadowvein. I think it shows exactly what kind of adventures the two modules are aimed for.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Shadowvein Trilogy Covers

So I've gotten the covers ready for Down the Shadowvein and The Mouth of the Shadowvein and I thought it would be cool to see all three of the covers in the Shadowvein Trilogy next to each other. Beginning in The Pod-Caverns of the Sinister Shroom, the modules detail some of the subterranean areas found along the underground river call The Shadowvein. The series is for levels 2-5 and I think a great way to get players into the depths without having to wait for the high-level D series. So, below are the three covers! Art by Stefan Poag.

The Pod-Caverns of the Sinister Shroom

Down the Shadowvein

The Mouth of the Shadowvein

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Stonepick Crossing

Just finished the layout for Advanced Adventures #22: Stonepick Crossing and have gotten the art direction together. This one's our first 1st-3rd level adventure. You'd think that having 20+ adventures would mean that there would be several 1-3'ers, but I tend to avoid them unless I think they have a unique feel about them. There are a lot of 1-3 level adventures out there and those levels are the easiest for a GM to create, so I haven't much felt the need to do introductory adventures. Below's a bit about the unique little town built atop an old damn.

The tiny thorp of Stonepick Crossing sits on top of an old dwarven dam holding. The dam was built some 500 years ago, ending a long war between a clan of dwarves and a clan of goblins that infested a highly-defensible cave complex. Recognizing the futility of direct assault, the dwarves built the dam to flood the goblin caves, flushing the foul creatures out of their caves and into the slaughter of honest combat. Now 500 years later, the dwarves have moved on and a small thorp has sprung up. The town is named for the dwarven clan leader who waged war against the goblins, Eltoren Stonepick. Near the protected town atop its dam, farmers till the soil around the lake created by the construction.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Heroes of Neverwinter

Well, they went and put a cool-down timer on the game so now you have to wait between "adventures" for your friends' characters to become available so I've stopped playing. Alas, I cannot recommend the game in this newest form. I'll keep my eye on it and hope they change their mind about the cool-down period.

And now my grumbley ass has to go back to work. It was nice playing a game for a while. *sigh*

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I Should Be Working, But...

I"m playing the D&D facebook game Heroes of Neverwinter. I'm enjoying it. :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tome of Tomes

Mustard Pots of the Kalabryrians
Author: Coudie Bauld
Race: Human
Dimensions: 14x12x2.5
Weight: 7 lbs.
Materials: Leather-bound, woodboard, parchment
Rarity: Uncommon
Fields of Study: Humankind, flora
Special Knowledge Categories: Law & customs, herbs
Value: 45 gp

The only known work concerning the many different types of mustard pots used by the Kalabryrians, Coudie Bauld’s volume details over 30 different common varieties within the kingdom and several hundred unique examples. The Kalabryriran love of mustard is legendary and the lavish attention provided to their mustard pots aptly demonstrates such. The work contains a small section concerning horticulture of the plant, the customs associated in its use, as well as the Kalabryrian purity laws in its use and sale.

Monday, September 5, 2011

On the Plate at Expeditious Retreat Press

Things are heating up here at XRP. We've got a lot on our plate at the moment so I thought I should do a quick run down of the up-and-coming stuff.

1. A Magical Medieval Society: India (doing to India what I did to Western Europe). I have just began seriously reading/researching for this title. Expected release date of late Spring 2012.

2. One Shot (A genre-less game designed for quick-playing single-session gaming). Finished and in playtesting. Expected release date of Winter 2011.

3. Miss Adelaide's Soiled Doves (An adventure for One Shot in which the playaer's play soiled doves righting wrongs in the 1870's old west). Finished manuscript. Not yet edited. Expected release date of Winter of 2011.

4. The Bean Lords of Bad Axe (A gazetteer for Sorcery & Super Science!). I've just began this one as well, only a few hundred words into it. Expected release date of Summer 2012.

5. Honeydew (An adventure for Sorcery & Super Science!). Another I've just began, this one should come out in Winter 2011.

6. Worlds Apart (a fantasy game of trade and exploration based upon Mongoose's version of Traveller). I'm about 80% done with this one. Expected release of Spring 2012.

7. Advanced Adventures #22: Stonepick Crossing (an OSRIC/1e adventure). Manuscript's done and edited. Need to commission art. Expected release date of Winter 2011.

8. Advanced Adventures #23: Down the Shadowvein (an OSRIC/1e adventure picking up where Pod-Caverns of the Sinister Shroom left off). Manuscript is done and edited. Need art. Expected release date of Winter 2011.

9. Advanced Adventures #24: The Mouth of the Shadovein (an OSRIC/1e adventure continuing from Down the Shadowvein). Manuscript is done and edited. Need art. Expected release date of Winter 2011.

Think that's enough? It's not. I'm still looking for manuscripts for Advanced Adventures....

Sunday, September 4, 2011

You Love Me, You Really Love Me!

Ok, not really, but do you "Like" me? I've started an Expeditious Retreat Press business page at Facebook. If you would be so kind as to Like us, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Watched two great spy comidies last night, both OSS117 movies. The care taken for the sets, shot framing, and fighting style are dead-on ringers for 1960's Bond/Eurospy movies. I hope you enjoy the trailer and check it out. Dry humor intermixed with some down-right silliness. There's also some additional clips after the trailer.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Living Daylights vs. Spy Hard

I watched The Living Daylights last night for the first time since it came out. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. I think I'm a lot less prejudiced about Bond actors than I was when I first watched it. I then, of course, watched Spy Hard. Any movie with a theme song by Weird Al can't be *all* bad in my book... :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Windmills from Space!

Unsurprisingly, it's not very easy to find windmills from space. But hey, the fact that I can even look is simply amazing. How I love the internets!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Great Illustration by N.C. Wyeth.

Being Creative is Tiring!

Normally I spread out my work day into various different areas, such as accounting, lay out, editing, post office, web site stuff, etc. There's a lot of non-creative things to do when running a business and I welcome these things because they give my brain the opportunity to shift gears and relax a bit before having to be creative again. I've been doing this task switching for so long that I'd kinda forgotten why I started doing it to begin with - being creative is tiring.

It's an obvious thing to say. How many of us have sat down and been creative hour after hour after hour? The fact that even we (who are generally all quite a creative bunch) don't do hour after hour of creative work lets us know just how tiring it is. Working on One Shot has been very tiring. It's that weird kind of exhaustion/excitement where you just keep going because you've got to much to say and do that you really want to say and do.

Today is more back to normal for me (thankfully!) and I've several tasks to catch up on. I have to start making the editing suggestion on Advanced Adventures #24: The Mouth of the Shadowvein, I have to help Suzi with Mrs. Adelaide's Soiled Doves, got to make some maps, do some accounting, and generally get the XRP house back in order have the last 4 days of craziness.

4 days. That's how long it took me to do One Shot. Almost 12k words. That's just crazy fast.

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