Memories of Connor's Adventures

Orlando the Adventurer pulled a Scimitar from beneath his Robes and smiled...

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Dungeon Mastery: Information Flow in a Setting

Thevin the Priest is loitering in the Broken Tankard Tavern in Luln when he overhears a scandalous rumor that Patriarch Jowlett wore a boot on his head during a recent sermon in the Capital of Specularum. Surely this is the end of the old fellow.

Information Travels
How do we determine the likelyhood that peasants in a small town know anything about the Patriarch in the capital?
Information is related to the population and distance of a source.

Information = 0.24 × (Population^0.87/Distance^0.4)

The Setting: Mystara
Luln which is eighty-eight miles by road from Specularum and its 50,000 population the flow of information comes in at 490.
Specularum on the other hand is getting less information about Luln and its 5,000 population with a flow of information down at 66.
By comparison the village of Marilenev (population 800) takes in information at 824 and Specularum recieves information from Marilinev at 35.

How do we use this?
Every so often Adventurers run into Adventure hooks and Rumors. Some are True and Some false. Now we can say the degree of rumor accuracy in the setting is determinable. Lets suggest every Fact equates to 100%.
Luln (in receipt of a selection of rumors) can be considered to have 490% or 4 facts and one at 90% accuracy.

10 Rumors about Specularum doing the rounds in Luln
1. A Traladaran named Davinos was murdered after meeting Duke Stephan. (True)
2. Veiled Society thugs murdered the Niece of Baron Vorloi in her own home. (True)
3. The Duke surpressed a violent riot in the Great Marketplace in Specularum sending in cavalry. (True)
4. The Black Heart Lilly Tavern in Specularum was burned down by Arsonists targeting Taverns. (False...for now)
5. Several elves in Specularum have been murdered over the last few months. (Lets say its true...)
6. The Duke is planning to expell all Traladarans from the Capital. (False)
7. The King is offering a ten thousand gold piece reward to anyone who can identify the Leader of the Veiled Society. (False...for now)
8. Lady Magda Marilinev was in the Great Marketplace calling for Traladarans to throw off the yolk of the Thyatian Opressors. (False)
9. A Traladaran rebel attempted to kill Queen Olivia. (False)
10. Patriarch Jowlett is going senile. He wore a boot on his head during a Sermon. (Lets call this our 90% accurate: the Patriarch did it to force a merchant to cough up ten thousand gold pieces for the church roof. The Merchant bet against a church cleric that he would cough up a ten thousand gold pieces the day the Patriarch wore a boot for a hat in a Sermon...he also recieved a reminder that gambling away ones monies when you have families going hungry and unclothed is bad)

By comparison the Village of Marilenev is running at 824% meaning it has eight facts and one at 24% accuracy. This means that Magda Marilenev is better informed by her servant sitting in the local tavern in Marilenev village recording all the rumors of the day than an adventurer in a tavern in Luln.

10 Rumors about Specularum doing the rounds in Marilenev
1. She will hear that Patriarch Jowlett wore a boot for a hat to win a bet and pocket ten thousand gold pieces for roof repairs. (True)
2. Baron Vorloi's wretched son was found to be involved in the abduction of the Baron's daughter - selling her out to the Veiled Society. (True)
3. Adventurers returned telling tales of an island a thousand miles south of Specularum. (True)
4. Adventurers have returned from an island in the Sea of Dread a thousand miles south of Specularuam and are inviting folks to look upon a wonder of the Isle of Dread (True...they have a cursed statue of the Kopru).
5. A Traladaran named Davinos was murdered after meeting Duke Stephan. (True)
6. Veiled Society thugs murdered the Niece of Baron Vorloi in her own home. (True)
7. The Duke surpressed a violent riot in the Great Marketplace in Specularum sending in cavalry. (True)
8. Several elves in Specularum have been murdered over the last few months. (True)
9. The Duke is preparing to empty the overcrowded prison by sending several hundred prisoners across the sea of dread to a convict colony he is establishing on the Isle of Dread. (24% true...lets say the Duke rejected the suggestion)
10. Lady Magda was seen leading the Riot in the Great Marketplace (False...and she becomes enraged at the rumor).

So there you go...

Friday, 22 April 2016

The Campaign Setting: The Great Wall of Trump

The real world is filled with inspiration and Presidential candidates are no exception.

Border Length: 1954 miles (10,317,120').
Wall cross section: 80'x80' base with 80' high wall, 20' wide top, 60' wide at ground.
Stone Volume: 99,044,352,000 cubic feet.
Cost: 4,704,606,720gp (76 ounces of gold per thousand cubic feet).

Thats $9,032,844,902,400 in case anyone was curious. ;-)

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Dungeon Mastery: All your human towns are alike

If you are yet to enjoy the Forgotton Realms comic series I suggest you do so now. We can wait....

Okay? Right...lets talk urban planning vs adaptive growth. Cities like New York and Melbourne are basicaly surveyed grid cities where a surveyor came along and slapped down a grid and lots became little suburban farms progressing toward crowded residential clusters and basically huge towers...but in another reality towns progressed from villages. Walls encompassed smaller areas only to see the population boom live beyond them. Wall sections, remnant structures, forgotten dungeons all left behind. Huts either side of a road, taverns at crossroads; rivers separating industry from residential activities. The ancient Castle is in ruins while the gate keep is the new center of authority.

How is there a market place just up the street no more than two blocks? Basically its a maximum distance over which one might porter goods...between harbour and market or home and market...without a wagon.

Previously I suggested rolling a handful of D6's on a piece of paper and the orientation and number on individual dice are position and population of huts.

This location and population concentration method can be used but you might prefer to create based on your narative needs.

If it is a crowded urban ruin of multi levels then the number on the dice might be physical height (levels).

Draw an odd shape on a paper and the dice dropped into the area represent buildings. Those falling outside might be dug into the walls of the narrow pass.

The fact is most fantasy cities violate the rules that govern how and why they exist in the real world. So instead of looking at the dungeon filled with humanoids as a nest, look at it as a village. Without farmland these people are going hungry and cold. They are going to be in conflict with others. Chaotic urban structures with narrow alleys and long distances between residence and market place will be traffic heavy with fights between travellers pushing through one another. Trade might literally occur outside the city walls in an open market if markets dont exist within the city.

I proposed once that pandora's box was originally a doll house made of scraps of valuable goods that drove those who looked to jelousy.

Pandora's Box
Minor artefact of entropy
powers: wish(specific).
Once opened it creates Tight timber dwellings and narrow alleys.
penalties & handicaps:
(A) It eats wealth to create a structure of equal value. It sucks minerals (copper, silver, gold, platinum) from the earth, or from chests, coin purses, or stray to function. It begins to create urban sprawl once opened.
(B) Those who see into the box are driven mad with greed and desire.

Holmes to Mentzer: The Kobold

The Kobold changes significantly from Holmes Dungeons & Dragons to that of Mentzer Dungeons & Dragons.
While Stats remain consistent:

Stats: Holmes; Mentzer
HD: 1/2; 1/2
AC: 7; 7
MV: 120'/turn; 60'(20')
AT: 1 weapon; 1 weapon
DA: 1-4; Weapon -1; 1-4
NA: n/a; 4-16/6-60
SA: n/a; Normal Man
ML: n/a; 6(8 if chieftan lives)
TT: J; P(J)
AL: Lawful Evil; Chaotic

Other than a shift in Alignment...from 'Lawful Evil' to 'Chaotic' the most Significant is the Description.
Holmes entry: '...evil, dwarf-like creatures...'
Mentzer entry: '...small, evil dog-like men...'

The shift is significant in game terms because gnomes are also 'dwarf-like'.

Frankly kobolds are getting a raw deal from Dungeons & Dragons.

BX Expansion: The Kobold

 The Kobolds of the Swamps dwell in a longhouse subsisting on a diet of fish, and Snake. They are ruled by their oddly civilized chief Tharkol Long-horns.
Tharkol Expects to be paid a blue stone for an audience.

Kobolds as Player Characters

Driven from their ancient valley by the other races they have become a displaced people always at the edge of civilization.

Requires Dex16+, Cha 13+; may reduce strength and wisdom to increase dexterity.
weapons: any small weapon
Armour: none
level: HD - title - exp
1: 1d4 - Kobold Marauder - 0
2: 2d4 - Kobold Raider - 1,200
3: 3d4 - Kobold Defender - 2,400
4: 4d4 - Kobold Champion - 4,800
5: 4d4+1hp - Kobold Elder - 10,000
6: 4d4+2hp - Kobold Elder - 20,000
7: 4d4+3hp - Kobold Elder - 40,000
8: 4d4+4hp - Kobold Elder - 80,000
9: 4d4+5hp - Kobold Elder - 160,000
10: 4d4+6hp - Kobold Elder - 320,000
11: 4d4+7hp - Kobold Elder - 640,000
12: 4d4+8hp - Kobold Elder - 1,280,000
13: 4d4+9hp - Kobold Elder - 2,560,000
14: 4d4+10hp - Kobold Elder - 5,000,000

Level: DR/P - MW - P/TtS - DB - RSoS
1: 11 - 12 - 13 - 17 - 14
2-4: 9 - 10 - 11 - 15 - 12
5-7: 7 - 8 - 9 - 13 - 10
8-10: 5 - 6 - 7 - 11 - 8
11-13: 3 - 4 - 5 - 9 - 6
14: 2 - 2 - 3 - 7 - 4

Hit Roll
AC: 9 - 8 - 7 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3
1: 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 15 - 16 - 17
2-4: 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15
5+: +1 to hitroll/level

Kobolds & Gold
Gold has been sacred to Kobolds since the beginning of time. A Kobold Elder will consume a mix of raw meat, gold, and pine needles to 'commune' with their creator Goddess 'the Mother'. They are often in conflict with Dwarves and Gnomes who they consider despoilers of the sacred metal.

Communing with the Mother
There is only one secret that a kobold elder will seek from the Mother: that of immortality.
Level: chance of being granted the secret of immortality
5: 10%
6: 15%
7: 20%
8: 25%
9: 30%
10: 35%
11: 40%
12: 45%
13: 50%
14: 55%

A Commune failure results in the kobold dying. Success results in reincarnation as first level kobold.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Poster Action: The warlord of galaxy ten

Something from the vaults...

Maps Galore: Three maps...

Super awesome: a dm screen...

Short Fiction: The Expendable


“Load the next one.” Gregor the Engineer waved to the crew of the Catapult and they began winding the engine back. The Engine ropes seemed to strain under the pressure until they locked the mechanism.

“Locked Sir,” Jerod the Knight had been promoted sideways by the Baron to Siege Engine Crew so he didn’t really like it here. Gregor let the hostility of being ordered about by a Peasant slide.

“Bring me another Kobold.” He waved to the beast-handler. The Kobold straining at its rope was under no illusions – he didn’t want to be hurled at the side of a Keep either. The last had – for the grace of god and a slight cross wind at the last moment – struck the wall of the Tower keep full on. The Bloody pulp had left a stain on the white wash on the stone wall before falling into the moat. Of course the next would be different. It had to be.

Thog had other plans. As he was loaded in the cupola of the catapult by the Knight who had referred to his now deceased fellow Kobold as a ‘smelly little bugger’, he contemplated his options. The saw blade hung from a twine around his neck. Unfortunately the last to try a runner had been cut down and returned to the Catapult. Thog looked at the Stain on the whitewash.

The Knight was still leaning over the Hook that was attached to the Rope used to draw the catapult back and Thog had heard the Leader of this siege crew speak the word often enough - all he needed to do was get it right.

 “Fire!” The crew let fly before they had realized their error. The Hook hurled the Knight ahead of the kobold who he had been placing in the Cupola. Jerod the Knight screamed. Gregor the Siege engineer could only watch as Jerod bounced off the edge of the tower and descended into the courtyard – the scream of a man in great pain. The Kobold on the other hand had landed short – on the battlements. Alive and well he ran along the stonework evading the soldiers who had turned to look at the Knight who had dropped in on them – the bloody mess still alive and screaming. No one noticed as the Kobold reached the ropes of the drawbridge and began sawing with the tool he had been provided. A guard was alerted to the sound of the saw on rope and turned on him.

“Kobold on the Ropes!”  Thog dropped over the edge in search of a location under the cover of the stonework where he could cut the ropes without being killed. The Saw cut furiously into the ropes as the Soldier above him could do little more than swing his spear blindly in the night attempting to swat Thog with what amounted to a wooden pole.

The Ropes of the Drawbridge gave way and the heavy timber barrier dropped across the watery impasse and Thog was dumped into the foul ditch below.

On the Hillside the Baron screamed:

“The Drawbridge is down!”  His horde of rabid warriors shocked and surprised by what they had just witnessed seemed to have not heard a word.

“Attack!” Baron Holdove pushed his commander forward and descended the hillside toward the now open invitation in a storm of Metal. Men inside seemed to panic. The bridge was down.

Thog didn’t really want to stick around. He had seen Human Battle before – the last one had landed him in his current predicament but he couldn’t just leave the rest of his Kobolds to these humans.

On the Hill a half-dozen Kobolds were being handled by the Beast Handler who seemed more interested in the Siege of the keep than his job. Having settled on a plan Thog pulled himself out of the muck and dodged his way between the legs of the Warriors now colliding on the Drawbridge in conflict.

Malvo the Squire tripped over the Kobold and was almost trampled by the warriors who pushed him aside. He looked around at the diminutive beast he had come to grief on. It was the Kobold who had been catapulted in and cut the ropes on the Bridge.

“Sorry Sir! My fault entirely,” That act of insanity had in Malvo’s mind earned the little fellow a ‘Sir’.

“As you were young Knight...” The Kobold did his best to replicate the voice of the Baron to the open mouthed surprise of the Squire. Thog ran on up the Hill and left the Squire to rejoin the battle.

If there was one thing Thog had proven skilled at in his years in his Kobold Tribe it had been Mimicry.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Super Awesome: Origin of Your Superhero

D20 - Origin
01 - Chemical Spill
02 - Almost Lethal Radiation
03 - Lightning
04 - Insect Bite
05 - Cybernetics
06 - Super Serum
07 - Overcompensation for a Disability
08 - Is an Alien
09 - Cool Supersuit
10 - Genetic Affinity
11 - Dormant Ability
12 - Extreme Training
13 - Is a Focal Point of events
14 - Life is threatened
15 - Puberty
16 - Magic
17 - Green Rocks
18 - Nanomachines
19 - Genetic Engineering
20 - Blood Transfusion

So lets look at an Idea: A Gamma Ray Burst from the Crater Two Galaxy (it orbits our galaxy) triggers powers in a bunch of people. This event can alter chemicals, cause the cave crystals to become glowing green rocks, alter Vaccine PX-1274A into a Super Serum, turn an electrical storm into Yellow Lightning, alter a Torch Battery into a Terrawatt power source, trigger mutations in a Bee sting, or turn preteen thyroids into a source of SuperAdrenalin, rip a hole in spacetime dumping aliens  on earth or mutate bioneural circuits in a Toy Robot causing it to become alive.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Starwars: some prep work...

A hundred years from now starwars will be public domain (yay!). So lets get it down while we can.

The Force Awakens replacement script scenario: The rebellion is imploding as the remnants of the empire fight it out with multiple rebel factions. And from beyond the edge of space comes a new superpower looking to pick up the imperial territories by providing the remnant empire with a new super weapon and some needed leadership. But its a conspiracy to further depleat the imperial and rebel forces leaving them defenseless before the enemy.


John Boyega's stormtrooper behaves like a fanboy fell through a rip in the screen at comicon. His character lacks actual discipline and restraint of a human being and behaves more like the guy in the crowd cheering the rape of my childhood. Raised from birth to be a stormtrooper? No.

Daisy Ridley's scavenger living on Jakku since abandonment in childhood? No. The hardships and damage of a lifetime of environmental exposure in a bad environment where the reactors of the wrecked star destroyers are spilling radiation and toxins into the Anyone with a point of IQ can smell the body soap on her through the screen.

Guy in the stupid not the Naked Jawa running the Bar. That dick who kills Han thats Han and Leia's son? So did Uncle Skywalker touch him in his special place (his brain. With a brick) and turn him stupid?

As a fan film made a hundred years from now in a Publc Domain future where they found some geriatric actors frozen in squandered everything.

So lets change a few things:

Finn is the son of Leia and Lando....and has run off to join the Empire because...

Ridley is Princess of Jakku...and slips out of the nice palace in her personal tie fighter to go hunting.

Han has gone his seperate ways and is Salvaging parts from star Destroyers on Jakku when Pilot/rich girl Daisy crashes her personal tie fighter into the Millenium Falcon during a 'royal hunt' on Jakku.

A bounty hunter (Bosk would have done it) shows up to capture Han Solo. Daisy, finding herself thinking the bounty hunter is here to take her back to her wedding takes Han hostage and retreats into the wreck of a star destroyer. Daisy finds an imperial escape shuttle in a bay concealed near the rear engines and flies off with Han leaving Chewbacca to be captured by Bosk as he pulls himself from a wrecked Millenium Falcon.

Finn rescues chewbacca from the imperial interrogators escaping in a shuttle. Finn leads him to one of the empires dirty little secrets: a star destroyer infested with tentacled horrors and left abandoned in space. Chewbacca. They fly it back to Jakku and entering the atmosphere hover over the Jakku Royal Palace demanding Han's return. They overthrow the pro imperial government by dumping tentacled monsters on them.

Daisy has taken Han Solo into Imperial Territory (The Jakku Sovereignty are allied with the empire - not the rebellion).

Chewbacca and Finn under serious attack by Jakku Imperial Forces jump to hyperspace inside the planet atmosphere. The lightspeed acceleration attracts atmosphere, sand, everything...creating a pillar of frozen sand and atmosphere out into space leaving Jakku to die. The giant Frozen spear that was Jakku's atmo/biosphere flies out into space.
Chewbacca gives the star destroyer to leia who takes it as her base of operations and is happy to see her son Finn. Finn and Chewbacca prepare to rescue Han during Leia's plan to strike at the heart of the Empire with her star destroyer...

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Starwars: Just saw The Force Awakens.

If I had wanted badly scripted fan fiction I would have watched it on Youtube when starwars became Public Domain.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Knock on Wood: liam Neeson voices angry ent...I mean Tree monster

Tree horror
HD 8* (L)
AC 6
MV 20' (60')
AT 2 claws/crushing feet+nutrient feed
DA 2d6/2d6/4d6+special
SA Fighter(L8)
NA 1(unique)
ML 12
INT 18
TT: N/a
XP 2500

Once the sixteen feet tall tree horror has inflicted initial crush damage it feeds on the victim's nutrients through its roots 1d6hp/round regenerating damage to itself. The tree horror can extract 1hp/turn from regular soil.
The victim cannot escape this predicament alone requiring a strength of 23 collectively to topple the tree horror.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Art folio: something is moving through the undergrowth...

Its just a Wild boar.

Short Fiction: A Tale of Ansu - Old Woman Swine

Tale of Ansu:
The Old Woman Swine

The children played on the edge of the village field as they had been told not to. Soka had berated his young companions for their breaking of the rules but followed them none the less beyond the adults and older children as they toiled in the harvest of the grain to the edge of their world to the wall of trees that was the forest.
Ang knew stories because like most rule breakers he listened to the older villagers when they talked about things – things he shouldn’t hear. Tophol – the youngest of the group, struggling to stay on her feet as she walked behind them seemed pleased to have friends she would follow anywhere. And then there was Katare, leader of this band of rules breakers and younger sister of Soka.
The Four, triumphant in their rejection of the constraint of rules which even the adults of the village seemed to respect, found a tree in clear view of many adults toiling in harvest as elder children carried great sheaves of grain back toward the huts.
Katare waited until even Soka seemed at ease with his position. “Ang, tell the story you heard.” Ang nodded.
“A long time ago when my father was young, he and another boy would play at the forest edge but one day they could hear someone in the wood behind them –whistling ‘Su, Su, Su!’” Ang paused to look at the others. They all knew the word – Someone was calling for their pigs.
“Su, Su, Su.” Seemed to echo through the woods and Soka looked before returning to listen to Ang.
“The two friends turned to look into the woods but could not see who was calling for pigs and again they sat and played by the forest and again someone –whistling ‘Su, Su, Su.’”
Soka turned to look toward the woods again. He had an idea where this story was going still that distant echo seemed closer. “Su, Su, Su.” He turned back to face Ang.
“And again the two friends looked to where the sound had come from and there was nothing.” Katare smiled with a gleam of wicked dishonesty in her eyes. Ang looked around the group. Tophol seemed exclusively enthralled by the tale – not certain where it was going to go. Soka seemed almost suspicious of something.
“Settling down once again the two friends returned to their game and again came the whistling call – ‘Su, Su, Su.’”
“Su, Su,”- it seemed to cut short this time, and Soka, focused on the woods, felt unsettled by it.
Katare looked into the woods to discern what had gone wrong with her plan and was confronted by the sight of a piglet grunting with excitement as it emerged from the brush that choked the floor of the woods. Tophol pointed and cried “Su Su!” with glee attempting to catch it before it escaped into the woods again.
Suko had proven unreliable in Katare’s plan to scare the others. Where was he?
Somewhere in the woods a pig screamed in pain as though it had been speared through and was quickly silenced.
Katare moved reluctantly, but Soka sensing some problem entered the woods.
Beyond the wall of brush a huge old sow and her boars and piglets were feeding on something. A broken twig by Soka alerted the sow to look up from the meal it was making of Suko.
“Naughty children calling away my babies.” And now it squealed at Soka and the Boars squealed with hunger.
Soka turned and hurried from the Ansu. The old sow had spoken to him. He burst from the brush knocking Tophol to the ground. Tophol began to cry at the hurt.
“Ansu ate Suko.” He picked up Tophol and ran toward the Villagers, Katare and Ang behind him.
“Ansu ate Suko!” Soka indicated back toward the woods form which he had emerged.
“Ansu!” The cry drew the attention of others and they armed themselves with spears and poles of wood and rushed toward the forest leaving the children in the safety of the open field.
Only after had the last adult had vanished from view did an old woman surrounded by boars and piglets emerge from the woods and cross open field in a distant corner. Soka tightened his grip on the others.
“Su, Su, Su.” came the distant cry vanishing into the woods.
Soka didn’t move for a long time, his young companions sheltering in his shadow – but the Villagers did not return.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Mystaran Adventures: Iron Shield

Iron Shield
Established in AC1020 by Dwarves from Rockhome, Utho Ironshield aproached King Stephan requesting the right to establish a stronghold in the Blackpeaks. Utho selected Mount Thorn which is located near the source of the River Magos. Utho and his band climbed Mt. Thorn and having secured the peak, eliminating a Red Dragon living in a cave there, constructed with the Aid of a wizard in his employ, The Observatory.

The Observatory
The upper level of the Observatory is a stubby tower with a large lens allowing the observation of the Sun. The dwarves also practice their religious beliefs in their private quarters on the lower level.

The Dwarves of Ironshield
What no-one knows is that Urtho and his Dwarves are cultists. Chaotic cleric-dwarves who worship the Sun as a chaotic, tentacled (all be them fiery) horror. They are responsible for the Slaughter of the Village of Reedle during their migration to Karameikos.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Swords on Television: Shannara Travesty

Chronicles of Shannara season one is coming out on DVD in Australia. Find it Here.
Its being Marketed as 'a cross between Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings.'

That was kind of quick on the development...

Sword of Shannara was read Elfstones of Shannara instead.
It was way less interesting than Dragonlance. 'Forgettable' would be the appropriate descriptor.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Story Development: reverse mapping a story

They all like to network map the character interactions of game of thrones...but what if you want to write that next great paper to tv epic? Reverse engineer your novel. Draw some points on a chart. Link the characters. And now work out where those interactions go.
Suddenly we have a baron looking to sieze a farmer's land, so the farmer talks to a labourer who 'knows a guy'. That guy fires an arrow at the baron as he travels to the nearby village. The baron, injured, has his knight teach the farmer a lesson. The knight has a word with an alchemist who provides the knight a potion to seduce the sister of the farmer. The farmer goes to the old hag on his farm for a cure for his sister.
meanwhile the baron is dealing with his personal servant who manages his affairs when dealing various others including a moneylender to whom the baron is in debt.

Star Wars: BB-8 is an Assassin Droid

Its here to kill Leia...just a feeling.

Dungeon Mastery: Beyond why your parents kill you at birth...


Previously I looked at the cataclysmic effect that a bell curve has on a population when everyone rolls 3d6 for abilities. First off lets recap:

Rolling 3D6 to determine Abilities
Let’s look at the odds of your possible ability values. Notice the nice bell-curve of 216 possible dice rolls.
3d6 ability..............spread...................%
Basically you have a bit over 48% chance of getting a 9-12, over 25% for a stat of 13+ and less than ½% of getting an 18.

What this means in a D&D Setting
For the city of Specularuam with fifty thousand people, conformity to a bell curve for intelligence generated by 3d6 where 1/216 people rolled 18 intelligence, 231+ of them are genius level.

According to the rules Alignment in BECMI is generated on a d6 (1-3 lawful, 4-5 neutral, 6 chaotic) so one in six are not so keen on laws.
Of our fifty thousand it means 8,333.3 are chaotic.
When we factor in intelligence it means there are 38.5 criminal geniuses in Specularuam alone (38+ the moriarty at the gate).
At the other end of the spectrum there are 38.5 'smart animals' (3 intelligence) of a chaotic alignment. So hiding in the alleys beneath rubbish and in sewers are vicious predators...and while we might hope most of them are in the prison they dont have one taking more than 1/2% of total population (250). While the good v. Evil alignment axis isnt used we can call this 'intent'. Assuming same spread as law v. Chaos... 1 in 6 will be evil enough to murder. So 6.4 of our chaotic 'smart animals' are evil in intent. They might be encountered in a dark alley gnawing on the bones of the missing. As chaotics they dont hunt in packs but are spread across the city. Also in this city are six genius level Serial killers probably trying to out do one another. Having taken lives they 'earned experience' so are not normal humans (0xp). They are going to be fighters, thieves, clerics (of evil chaos), magic users, elves, dwarves, or halflings. Serial killers who make Bargle look nice.

Adventure Scenarios
Once you can put numbers on how many high intelligence serial killers are roaming the streets, you can begin to build adventure scenarios from the data. Is a 'Tom Green' or 'Jennifer Anniston' npc more likely with average human height to be an 18 intelligence serial killer than an 'Andre the Giant'?

1. An insideous figure known as the Black Patriarch is sacrificing victims to chaos in the cellars of the Black heart lilly tavern.
2. Some 'creatures' raided a house on the street of dreams during the night abducting and killing the occupants.
3. The charismatic Darvos is loitering in the Blue Meadwater Tavern suggesting that government officials elected by the people would be better than the current monarchy.

Creature catalogue: B is for...

Brainhive (l)
HD: 1-100*
AC: 4
MV: 0' (special)
AT: spells (1-4)
DA: as spell
NA: 1
ML: 12
INT: 3d6
TT: nil
XP: varies
Description: A variation on Black wax, this collects dna of any life making physical contact and grows a clone brain of the prey in a white wax like egg sac. Any wizard brains might have spells 'hardwired'.
*10% that any brain hive of 9+HD has teleport spell access allowing a hive to relocate.

Blackwax (l)
HD: 1/1000 cubic feet
AC: 4-0*
MV: 0'
AT: aroma attracts 1-100 rats, 1-10 giant rats, or 1 4+HD predator.
DA: as creature attracted.
SA: F1+
NA: 1
ML: 12
INT: 2
XP: varies
Description: Black wax is a sugary web of black wax-like organisms that give off an Aroma that Attracts wildlife. The attracting aroma will stick to PCs making physical contact.
*+/- 1AC/10 degree temperature variance.

Environment: Caverns, Fungal Forests, Swamps, Plane of Decay
Armour Class: -2
Hit Dice: 20**
Move: 10’ (3’)
Attacks:  Claw
Damage: 1d4 + Poison
No. Appearing:  1 (1)
Save As: Magic-user: L20; Druid: L20
Morale:  12
Alignment:  Chaotic or Neutral
Intelligence: 23
Treasure Type:  A
XP Value:  5,975
Description:  The M’aal Toroc (a 20’ tall shroom with a 10’ diameter cap) are horrors that crawl about on small crab-like legs coated in a poison which will result in
death of any who is scratched by one (and fails to save vs. poison). Having fled the Plane of Decay (or in the case of those that are Druids – having been banished for heresy) these Sentient Fungi are mostly Chaotic Magic-users of 20th level (1% are Neutral Druids who chose to worship Nature).

Environment: Moors
Armour Class: 7
Hit Dice: 1+1
Move: 120’ (40’)
Attacks:  Bite
Damage: 1d6
No. Appearing:  1 (6d6)
Save As: Thief: L2
Morale:  7 (8 in Pack)
Alignment:  Chaotic
Intelligence: 6
Treasure Type:  (R) C
XP Value:  15
Description: Appearing to be no more than a small dog, feral and deformed, with a hairless body other than a lion’s mane of fur around its head the Barghest is the offspring of Goblin and wild Dogs. Though not as intelligent as a goblin it has the ability to speak, and plot, and scheme.  

Environment: Dungeons, Caves, Mushroom Forests
Armour Class: 7
Hit Dice: 4*
Move: 0’ Attacks:  Foul Poisonous Miasma
Damage: See Description
No. Appearing:  1 (1)
Save As: Fighter: L4
Morale:  12
Alignment:  Neutral
Intelligence: 1
Treasure Type:  V
XP Value:  125
Description:  Growing 4’-7’ tall, these fungi grow partly on the Plane of Decay and give off a black smoke which causes any victim unable to save vs. Dragonbreath to change to a chaotic and evil alignment until cured with a wish.

Environment: Dungeons, Caves, Mushroom Forests
Armour Class: 9
Hit Dice: ½*
Move: 0’
Attacks:  Special
Damage: 1d6/round
No. Appearing:  1 (1)
Save As: Normal Human
Morale:  12
Alignment:  Neutral
Intelligence: 1
Treasure Type:  Nil
XP Value:  6
Description:  This Primordial fungi looks more like a flower yet atop its clustered ash-gray stalks a collection of fluorescent white heads illuminate the darkness with their iridescent glow. Bathers Lights can often be found in proximity to a pool of still water of absolute purity as it causes contaminants to settle out. This is the problem with the fungi – it will do the same to water in living organisms within ten feet of a fungi.

Environment: Incursion Site, Anywhere
Armour Class: 7
Hit Dice: 1+1*
Move: 120’ (40’)
Attacks:  1 Blade/round
Damage: 1d6+ Special
No. Appearing:  1-6 (3-30)
Save As: Fighter: L1
Morale:  12
Alignment:  Neutral
Intelligence: 9
Treasure Type:  See Description
XP Value:  19
Description:  Description: It spins its blades around it attacking any one target with a single blade each round. It is a killing Machine with a +2 Bonus to Hit and Damage when it goes into a Berserk Rage having taken half its hit points in damage. The Circular Cap of the bot can be salvaged as a Small Shield +1.

Environment: Caves, Dungeons, Fungi Forests, Swamps
Armour Class: 9
Hit Dice: ½*
Move: 0’
Attacks:  Hallucinatory Pollen
Damage: See Description
No. Appearing:  1-4 Stalks
Save As: Normal Human
Morale:  12
Alignment:  Neutral
Intelligence: 0
Treasure Type:  Nil
XP Value:  6
Description:  Blackwheat is rather poisonous in that it will release hallucinatory Pollen that will cause anyone who approaches within fifty feet and fails to save vs. poison to see terrible things for as long as they continue to fail a daily save vs. poison check. Victims of Blackwheat might become enraged or violent out of fear at what they are seeing.

Environment: living host Armour Class: as host
Hit Dice: as host
Move: as host
Attacks:  as host
Damage: as host
No. Appearing:  1 per host Save As: as host
Morale:  12
Alignment:  Chaotic Intelligence: 17
Treasure Type:  Nil
XP Value:  as host Description:  The Brainspider will grow out of the top of the skull forcing its way to the surface through cracks in the bone. It exerts considerable influence over the host and poses a significant threat to others as it has the ability to take control of the host when it’s survival is concerned. The things that look like legs of the spider are in fact numerous feeding tubes through which the fungi breaths air. Any attempt to damage the brain spider or the host will result in violence. Its removal requires a death spell and cure disease. Fully grown
(a year old) the Brainspider simply lifts itself out of the skull – brain and all – abandoning the host corpse to explode and establish a spore bed over a hundred square feet of area.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Short fiction: The Rape of New Shanghai

Title: The Rape of New Shanghai
Date: 2116AD,16 Febuary
Location: Sol-Proxima Transit, On approach to New Shanghai Colony.

Kate activated the intercom as the distant O'Neil cylinder designated as New Shanghai Colony became visible on radar.
"Colonel?" Kate waited for her passenger to wake.
"Yes?" Colonel Yang cleared her throat.
"New Shanghai Colony in range now Colonel." Kate waited for a moment before opening communications with New Shanghai Traffic Control.

"New Shanghai Traffic Control, this is Colonial-one-eight on approach." The colony grew inordinantly larger for the wait.
"New Shanghai Traffic Control, this is Colonial-one-eight on approach. Are you receiving me?" They were now at two kilometres.
There should be something. Kate looked at the data. Handshake good. No errors.

"New Shanghai Traffic Control, this is Colonial-one-eight on approach. Switching over to remote now." The transport would proceed to autodock. Kate returned to internal comms.
"Colonel. No reply from the nest. Proceeding with Autodock." Colonel Yang appeared at the flightdeck hatch.
"You said no reply?" Kate nodded.

Yang wiped at her eyes and unleashed a yawn.
"And not a comms error?" Kate shook her head.
"No...not a comms error." Yang reached in to a pocket on her flight suit. The Blackberry was old.
"Retract Armour. Lets have a visual." Kate retracted the Armour over the flightdeck to reveal New Shanghai Colony in all her glory.

"What the fuck is that?" The crumpled  Graphene Foam hull had breached along the full length of the Cylinder exposing the Industrial decks to the cold of interstellar space.  Colonel Yang franticaly typed on the Blackberry and sent the message.

"Still closing on autodock. Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six. Five. Four. Three. Two. One." The transport made contact with the O'Neil cylinder. Locks bit down on the dock. Kate looked over her shoulder at the hull damage. The rupture was huge. Kate took a breath.
"We have hard dock." Yang placed a hand on Kate's shoulder.

Both hull layers had breached. How was that even possible? They both had family on New Shanghai. No emergency signal. Nothing. They had been gone six months up the colony trail and back again. What the hell had happened ?
"Begin transmit to New Bejing." Kate spun up the Quantum Relay.

"Comms online." Yang typed at the keys on her Blackberry, attatched an image of the hull breach and pushed send.
"EVA suits." Kate nodded at Yang's instruction and climbed out of her seat.
Kate followed Colonel Yang to the airlock. A locker released a pair of EVA suits.

"Are you okay?" Yang, helmet locked and sealed stared at Kate, her face and heart stricken with pain of what might be. Yang held up a thumb.
"I'm okay to go." Kate regreted the words. Yang turned the key and watched the sensors as the exchange happened.

"Atmosphere in the pipe." The pressure equalized.
"Release hatches." Yang rotated the second key and the Automatics released the hatches. The graphene blocks moved to reveal the access to New Shanghai colony. A great panorama of the original Shanghai city on an increasingly distant Earth ran the length of the access.

At least there were no corpses huddled against the airlock in some panicked evaccuation gone tragically wrong as their indestructible colony failed around them. That most of all filled Yang with a terror she had thought left behind on an ever distant earth orbiting an ever distant star.

Yang's Blackberry buzzed and they were both startled by its technological cry against an otherwise utter void of sound. Kate looked at the device strapped on Yang's forearm.
"Do you want to get that or should I?" Yang fumbled for the device and Kate watched as the graphene device display illuminated her face and the message reflected off the Colonel's visor.

Kate could read it easily.
'WTF?? HTFITEP? WL CHK LOGS. KEEP UPDATED!' Yang typed a new message and pressed send.
"We keep going." Kate nodded.
"Agreed." Yang moved forward. Fifty metres... Kate stared at the panorama. The people in the street...deceased...old.

Yang's mother. Young. Virile. Caught straddling the lap of a young man who may or may not have been Colonel Yang's biological father. They had selected the panorama because it had tied at least one of the colonists to the past. There they were. Two earthlings.

Two earthlings whose descendants were on this colony. Girls came here to look at the lovers and run home giggling. It was something they didnt see any more. A colony of a thousand women and a freezer full of sperm. Colony after colony...filled with women chasing a Sunmaker to Proxima.

"You will have to forgive her one of these days." Kate knew Yang harboured a few irrational hatreds. Her mother's decision to marry according to her parent's expectations was one of them.
"Not going to talk about it." Yang turned the key on the boarding Gate revealing a corpse in military combat armour guarding the transit lounge. Yang looked at the face hoping for some glimmer of recognition. It was a Man.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Character Development: Female characters and the hero's journey

Had a holy crap moment where I realized I knew stuff applicable to Female character Development posting a comment in a monsters and manuals blog post:

The problem isnt portraying women positively. Its portraying them accuratly. Most of my female cousins have been defined by their relationships with men. Moving from one unreliable guy and failed relationship to the next until they reach a maturity where they conclude 'screw men...time to fend for yourself'. Only then did they find they could 'go it alone'. The problem is they are wasting decades on the journey of discovery and not passing that to the next generation as anything but a 'learn it yourself' life lesson. Applying the hero's journey to women characters must ultimately deal with the shedding of their reliance on men as the 'giant penis' central to their universe.

Hope that is helpful in your own development of female characters.

Updated: Apparently it isnt.

The hero's journey is about shedding the current state of life in which you (male or female) are confined to a particular state. Not every individual ventures forth in search of change - some think the status quo to be fine thus never developing further. Of those who do, not everyone arrived at the same outcome.
Not every female PC/NPC rolls the wealthy merchant or Royal family as their weath and background. Most are going to begin at the bottom, dependant on or enslaved by Men, educational and/or economic limits. Shedding the status quo can mean ostracism by society (precisely why the evil sorceress is regarded as evil). If your female PC were subjected to public assault by the village priest and stoning by the mob for your character choices, is that PC going to risk change? Why risk change at all?

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Public Domain: A Sheltering Fire

A Public Domain Scifi Setting: A Sheltering Fire. The O'Neil cylinder colonies have ventured into interstellar space in pursuit of the Sunmaker which collects interstellar hydrogen with its electromagnetic scoop directing this flow of protons into three dee printers which assemble artificial stars that are ejected during its transit to Proxima.
The colonies are able to warm themselves along the colony trail...on their long journey.


A Traveller in Space: Age of Colonization

If you are looking for a low tech simple scifi setting for use with your traveller game might I suggest an age of colonization: O'Neil cylinder colonies travelling between our solar system and the centauri system on a seventy  six thousand year transit. To get there they create a series of artificial stars with a thousand year life span...created by sunmaker ships ahead of the colonies so they can reach a sheltering fire once every year to heat up the colonies and recharge batteries. This means fast moving transports ships can move up and down the trail. Out there in interstellar space million ton colonies are pushing onward to an uncertain destiny. Some are unable to cope with that...maybe some colonies vanish from the trail, some are destroyed, some hit by raider factions who have a new plan, while crazed 'reavers' looking to kill folks and wear their skins begin increased attacks.
And maybe an artefact of alien the sunmaker changes course...leading colonists to a terrifying discovery.

Isometric Maps: The Guild House

Posted a one page adventure for that first level thief previously. So here is an isometric version of the map.

The adventure below:

The Guildhouse
A test Adventure for an Aprentice level thief.

The Pit: THrough the entrance is a concealed pit that drops the PC thief ten feet for 1d6 damage (a detect traps is required to avoid). The floor concealing the pit resets plunging the pit into total darkness. Its possible to climb down into the pit (a climb walls check is required). At the bottom is a set of lockpicks. these can be foind after a turn of feeling about in the dark. There is also a crawl that takes the PC thief to a position below a trapdoor leading to Area 4 (climb walls required unless the thief has acquiredthe rope).

Locked Doors: All the doors are reinforced to prevent anyone smashing them down.

Area 1: The door is locked. Within is a hook (iron spike) on which hangs a belt. The spike can be knocked loose with a hammer (see Area 9).

Area 2: An empty belt pouch is on the floor. A tiny poisonous spider.

Tiny Spider: HD 1-1; AC9; MV 30' (10'); AT 1 bite + Poison; DA: 1hp + Save v. Paralysis (1d6 turns); ML11; NA: 1(1); SA: Normal Man; INT: 2; TT U; XP 6

The Spider was left by a Rival hoping the PC will fail the test.

Area 3: There is a cloak on an Iron spike behind the door.

Area 4: This Room is otherwise empty of anything interesting other than the trap door that provides access to the pit trap at the entrance.

Area 5: There is a fifty foot rope strung across the room between two iron spikes hammered into the floor in the dark room. A detect traps or a ten foot pole might detect it before the PC Trips on it taking a tumble.

Area 6: On the floor is a locked chest trapped with a needle (1hp). A successful open locks, detect and remove traps will provide access to a shortsword within.

Area 7: This room contains a small sack. The sack is connected to a fine twine that closes the door behind the PC locking the thief in the room. it requires an open locks to leave the room.

Area 8: This room has a Parrot in a cage which awakens and skwalks unless a move silently is sucessful in this area. There is a gold piece in the cage that can be removed without disturbing the bird with a disarm traps (oil the cage door) and a pick pockets. there is also a treasure map lining the bottom of the cage.

Area 9: The Secret door to this room can be detected on a 1 in 6. Within is a small hammer, a flask of oil, and the remaining thieves tools.

Apprentice Rating
Every Item found +1pt (19 possible)
Every turn taken -1pt
0pt: Fail
1pt+: Pass
treasure map from bird cage (honors)
bird in cage (high honours)

Friday, 1 April 2016

Fan Theory: Disney's The Black Hole

The hell planet in the black hole at the end of Disney's The Black Hole is earth and the giant spaceship is standing off from the event of its own destruction and earth's.

A quote from wiki:

Nearing the end of a long mission exploring deep space, the spacecraft USS Palomino is returning to Earth.The Palomino crew discover a black hole in space with a spaceship nearby, somehow defying the hole's massive gravitational pull. The ship is identified as the long-lost USS Cygnus...
A WTF moment to wake you up.

Updated: so the heroes destroyed the earth... :facepalm