Saturday, December 31, 2011

My 1e Players Acquire Unusual Henchmen

I've been running a 1e game now for a while and the group just turned 5th(ish) level and have just acquired some new henchmen. The group was exploring the megadungeon/dimensional portal/mega-sentient creature called the Goremont Grim that they released from eldritch bonds by accident when they found themselves looking back upon their earlier selves when they first discovered the Goremon Grim and back when it was still bound.

Their current selves were watching their old selves from behind a wall of force that rendered them invisible and unable to communicate. Of course, being the great DM that I am I totally forgot about the various magic items the party has, so when the m-u pulled out the rod of absorption* they got earlier and brought down the wall, the party was face to face with each other.

To make a long story shorter, the younger group decided to hench for the older group (all but one of them that is) so the party is in the strange situation of having themselves as henchmen.

*(This campaign I've been rolling absolutely randomly for treasure, so the party has some items that I would considered too powerful for their level, but I'm not going for that kind of game this time. The dice are Fate and we're all exploring what She has in store.)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Tome of Tomes

Dwarven Symbols
Author: Finnock Jetdigger
Race: Gnome
Dimensions: 6x5x1
Weight: 1 lbs.
Materials: Leather-bound, woodboard, parchment
Rarity: Common
Fields of Study: Demi-humankind
Special Knowledge Categories: Languages
Value: 55 gp

A valuable source of information for dungeon delvers, Dwarven Symbols illustrates and explains the 50 most common signs of the symbolic language used by dwarves. Warning signs, directional signs, and informational signs: all of the common ones are in this short large-lettered work. After the publication of this work, the author was outcast by the dwarven communities in which he once had free access.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Formula Folio

Faerie Fire
For the ink required to scribe a druidical faerie fire scroll

1 oz. of giant octopus ink
1 oz. of holly berry juice
1 oz. of phosphor from the end of a firefly

In a ceramic container, mix all ingredients. Seal container with beeswax. Place near a fire for 24 hours.  Makes enough ink for 2 scrolls. Any special quill is suitable.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lulu Sale

Looks like Lulu's having another big sale of 35% off. Seeing as I'm supposed to be running a business here, may I provide you a link towards our stuff on Lulu? Today's code is BLIZZARDS305.

Expeditious Retreat Press Lulu Store

And if our stuff doesn't interest you, or if you've already purchased it, check out the other OSRIC products as well through this Link. More than likely, there will be something of interest for you.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tome of Tomes

Seabirds of the Northern Seas
Author: Drene Colehooding
Race: Human
Dimensions: 16x16x1
Weight: 5 lbs.
Materials: Leather-bound, woodboard, parchment
Rarity: Common
Fields of Study: Fauna
Special Knowledge Categories: Ichthyoids
Value: 225 gp

And exquisitely illustrated book, Seabirds of the Northern Seas contains illustrations and information on over 75 different birds common to coastal areas throughout the northern parts of the known world. Although the author’s name is known, nothing about his life is known; a mystery that confounds scholars given his obvious skills of observation and illustration.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Yeah, About Worlds Apart Being Nearly Done

Turns out I thought I'd done the island creation sub-system and, lo and behold, I have not. So that's going to delay it a little be longer as I work that out and test it repetitively. Sorry 'bout that.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Magic Items in Worlds Apart

I thought for a long time about how I wanted to present magic items in Worlds Apart and finally I went with my gut on the issue: The Magic Items Section is going to be a toolbox as opposed to a shopping cart. There are two main reasons for this decision. Firstly, Traveler has always favored the do-it-yourself game and I want to continue that. Secondly,  I want to non-codify magic in the game to leave it very open to each individual GM's interpretation of how it works in their world. I want magic to be the big unknown. Below's a brief example of what I'm talking about in regards to Worlds Apart magic items.

Magical Equipment
Magic comes in many different shapes and forms: potions, scrolls, wands, arms, armor, and just about every piece of clothing or jewelry imaginable. Most items are common items possessing a single trait, but some powerful items possess several, while the most powerful are truly unique. A character can control as many magic items as he has points of Magical Strength—any items beyond this limit on the character’s body simply do not function. Some items may require more than one point of Magical Strength to control. It takes a day for a PC to attune himself to a new magic item, providing him the benefits of the magic.

All magical items communicate their benefit and how they can be used when held. Some magic items may lie about this and convey false information.

Potions, Scrolls and other Consumables
Any items that are destroyed in their use (such as potions, scrolls, salves, magic foods, etc.) do not require attuning to use. They can be used by anyone at anytime. GMs should exercise their judgment for every item, but the general rule is that a consumable’s magical effects are instantaneous or they last for 1 minute, 1 hour, or 1 day. For example, a GM could rule that drinking a potion with the Healing trait would instantaneously heal 1d6 damage,  applying an oil with the Bleeding magic trait will last for 1 minute, inhaling a magic incense with the Smoky magic trait would last for 1 hour, and eating an apple with the Commanding magic trait would last 1 day. The GM should clearly indicate to his players how he will rule for each magic trait when the item is discovered by the players.

Magic Traits
Magical item may possess one or more of the following traits.

This item resists change. When attuned, the bearer gains a bonus to his armor.

This item hates a particular type of creature or human culture. When attuned to this item, the bearer deals additional 2d6 damage to such creatures.

This item punishes trickery. Whenever the bearer, or one of the bearers allies, is attacked first (ie. does not initiate combat), the first successful hit against the bearer is magically transferred to the opponent who dealt the blow.

This item craves blood. When attuned to this item, the bearer deals and additional point of damage to all melee attacks. The target suffers this additional single point of damage for the following two rounds as well, resulting in a total of 3 points of damage.

This item proves that there are some sights not fit for humankind. The bearer of this item can cause blindness in one target if the target fails to throw 8+ Magical Strength. This ability can be used once per week.

This item has lordship over a particular type of creature. Those attuned to the item can command that type of creature to do as commanded and the creature must obey. Sentient creatures can resist the commands by throwing 8+ Magical Strength. Non-sentient creatures (such as animals) always obey the bearer.

This item resists targeting. An attuned player character can deflect a missile attack as a minor action if he throws 6+ Magical Strength.

This item knows the wishes of the heart. The item shows the direction to that which its bearer most desires at the moment. The bearer may try to deliberately change his desires to change the guide, but doing so is difficult (throw 11+ Magical Strength).

Friday, December 23, 2011

Worlds Apart Update

I've been slowly working on Worlds Apart (our new fantasy game using Traveller OGL rules) and I've only got magic items, the elf race, and a sample sector to finish before it goes into the first round of editing. I'm going to be focusing on that and hopefully get it done within a week. I'm very glad to have the big project come towards and end and hope everyone finds the game as interesting as I do.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Formula Folio

Thought I should put up another of these...

For the ink required to scribe a druidical entangle scroll

1 oz. of giant octopus ink
1 oz. of holly berry juice
An oaken bowl
11 stems of grass knotted together in a circle

In an oaken bowl, add the octopus ink and holly berry juice and mix well by moving the bowl in a circular motion. Coat the stems of grass with the mixture. Pour out the excess liquid and place the bowl containing the stems in a tree hollow for two full moons. On the last day of the second full moon, harvest the ink. The bowl will have changed shape into a wooden vial and within will be a thick black ink. Makes enough ink for 2 scrolls. Any special quill is suitable.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Formula Folio

Detect Snares & Pits
For the ink required to scribe a druidical detect snares & pits scroll

1 oz. of giant octopus ink
1 oz. of holly berry juice
1 oz. of soil
1 piece of twine

In a ceramic container, mix all ingredients. Seal container with beeswax. Place container where an animal was once snared or pitted and let sit for 1 lunar cycle. Makes enough ink for 2 scrolls. Any special quill is suitable.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rush Music in a Japanese Game Show

So I was watching an 1986 episode of Takeshi's Castle last night and in the background they were playing an instrumental version of Territories from 1985's Power Windows album. I had a rather weird moment of conflict of worlds during the recognition process. Rush music and 80's Japanese Game shows previously did not mesh in my world view. Aparantly Takeshi's Castle was known for using popular music... the one I heard is "Home Run: Territories: The theme of The Animal."

Monday, December 19, 2011

The 10%

I just looked at some of S&SS blog statistics and found that about 10% of visitors are classified by Google Analytics as non-Native English Speaking. I was surprised by that and thought I should say "Hi!" to all those who visit the site from around the world. The internet bring us together in ways that were never able before and hopefully when I'm old and near death, I'll look back upon the development of the 'net as one of the great steps of humanity. Here's to hoping!

Tome of Tomes

Finally in workable condition. Lots of catching up to do.

Curses of the Pharaohs
Author: William Wisterson
Race: Human
Dimensions: 14x12x2.5
Weight: 7 lbs.
Materials: Leather-bound, woodboard, parchment
Rarity: Very rare
Fields of Study: Humankind, supernatural & unusual
Special Knowledge Categories: History, dweomercraft
Value: 525 gp

This work is invaluable to those contemplating any form of tomb-robbing, for within are dozens of different common curses as well as how to recognize a cursed area. In addition to the practical knowledge, there is much here about the dwellers of ancient Kemet and their society. Anyone reading this book and studying for at least a month gains a 10% chance to detect or notice any cursed area or cursed object associated with ancient Kemet.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Un-seriousness

I'm still sick. Better than before but sick - not 100%. Sorry for no updates recently.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tome of Tomes

Both Suzi and I are sick and we've been so for several days now. It's a sniffy, sneezey, coughy apartment here at XRP land. I haven't got nearly as much done as needs be done.

Elven Dialects
Author:  Jacinth Infal
Race: Half-elf
Dimensions: 8x10x1.5
Weight: 4lbs.
Materials: Leather-bound, woodboard, parchment
Rarity: Uncommon
Fields of Study: Demi-humankind
Special Knowledge Categories: Languages
Value: 105 gp

Infal expertly details the differences between spoken elven throughout the civilized world, her extensive travels proving vital to the accuracy of her work. Elven Dialects is mainly composed of a series of short dialect dictionaries showing different meaning and usage.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Bane of Big Ideas

So I'm working on World's Apart (a fantasy game based upon Mongoose's OGL Traveller), A Magical Society: India, and an unannounced Pathfinder project. All of these are probably 80-100k word projects. That's three big irons in the fire. The problem with these large projects is that I tend to get serially obsessive: working on one exclusively for a short while before moving on to the next. This leaves me little time to do the small, daily, creatives that I really *need* to be doings: Tome of Tomes, Formula Folio, Creatures & Objects Below the Shattered Moon. These four smaller projects help keep my brain from "focus tiredness" and they make good small posts here at the blog and eventually nice little PDFs.

The Bane of Big Ideas is that they trample all before them. Time to force the old brain into doing *everything* that needs to be done.

On a side note, I've just accepted another Advanced Adventure Manuscript (it'll be #25 or #26) and I'm still looking for more. I"m always looking for more AA material.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011


XRP PDFs 50% off at e23!

We're running a 50% off PDF sale with the good folks at Steve Jackson Game's e23 until the end of the month. We've sold our PDFs with e23 for several years now and I realized that I hadn't ran a big sale with them before, so I thought December would be a good month to do so.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Squirrel Spiders

This would be a cool critter to stat up in Sorcery & Super Science! I should do so, I think. Thanks for all the well wishes on the big 40, all, and hope you enjoyed the presents!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I'm 40! And I have some presents for you!

Today I am 40! Whoda thunk I'd make it this far? Now that I've had by celebratory breakfast of delicious egg and potato tacos, I've put up a single day sale on our our Sorcery & Super Science! products at

They're all $1.

Yeah, that's pretty insane... I've never done a $1 sale, but hell, you only turn 40 once and I might as well spread the cheer. Happy birthday to me!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Worlds Apart Layout Tinkerings

So I've been working on Worlds Apart (our Mongoose Traveller-based fantasy game) for a while now and have been tinkering with the layout. I'm trying to be a bit more graphic-designy on this one. Here's a mock-up of the table of contents spread. I'm pretty pleased with it, but I know I've much more tinkering to do.

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