Monday, February 8, 2016

World of Shadows Revised

This time, I'm using Skyscrapers & Sorcery as the chassis, rather than Swords & Wizardry. (And yes, I know S&S is built off S&W)

-Add player character races: cambion, human, vampire, weirdling, werewolf. Generally any race can advance as any class, unless the GM rules otherwise.

Cambion (aka fiendbloods or fiendblooded)
The term cambion once referred to beings who had a human and a demon parent. Such couplings are almost unheard of in the modern era, but some families still carry the bloodline of fiendish ancestry.  Cambions are indistinguishable from humans, though they often have sharp, harsh features and an unsettling demeanor. At the GM's option, cambions cannot advance as Blessed.

-Cambions receive +1 to any action check to intimidate or frighten someone, due to the unsettling aura that surrounds them.
-Cambions receive +1 to any saving throw against fire damage, and they receive one less point per die from fire damage. (Minimum 1 point per die)
-Cambions can induce strong emotions in others: anger, fear, hatred, lust, etc. To do this, they must make eye contact and generally cannot be done in combat. The target gets a saving throw modified by wisdom to resist. A target who saves successfully is immune to this cambion's ability for 24 hours.

-Cambions take +2 damage from holy/blessed weapons, silver weapons, and weapons of cold or meteoric iron.
-Cambions have -1 to any action check to befriend or persuade a person or animal, due to the unsettling aura that surrounds them.

Most humans who become involved in the supernatural world are Occultists or Blessed, though plenty of others serve as minions, muscle, messengers, and wannabes.

Abilities: None. At the GM's option, humans gain 5% extra experience due to the fact that they don't have to spend any extra time working to master their powers or monstrous natures.

Weaknesses: None.

Vampires are undead beings who thirst for the blood of the living. PCs are assumed to be fledgling vampires who have not yet unlocked the full potential of their powers. The flip side of this is that they retain some semblance of their personalities and some control over their bloodthirst. At the GM's option, vampires cannot advance as Blessed. 

-Vampires have +2 to all action checks involving sight or hearing and are not hindered by darkness.
-Vampires can change into a bat or wolf. They can do this for a total of 1 hour per night per 2 points of Constitution. The change takes two full combat rounds.
-Vampires cannot be reduced to negative hit points or lose consciousness from hit point loss. However, a vampire who takes damage from sunlight or fire while at 0 hit points is destroyed.
-Vampires  who make eye contact with another may place them under the effects of a Control Sentient spell. Vampires may only have one such thrall at a time.

-Vampires take 1d6 damage per round exposed to direct sunlight.
-Vampires do not  heal naturally and cannot benefit from healing magic. Vampires must drain Hit Dice from helpless humans. Each Hit Die drained restores 1d6 hp to the vampire. Vampires can feed on animals, but must drain 2 HD to to restore 1d6 hp.
-Vampires that are impaled through the heart by a wooden object are paralyzed until it is removed. In combat, this requires an attack vs. AC -1 [AAC +10] The vampire is paralyzed until the object is removed.

Weirdlings are humans who have some fey ancestry. The blood of fey is fickle and may skip any number of generations. Many go through life unaware of what they are. They are indistinguishable from humans, though they may have some spritely features, eyes the color of leaves, etc.

-Weirdlings receive +2 to any action roll meant to seduce or deceive someone.
-Weirdlings can reroll one saving throw per game session. They must accept the result of the reroll.
-Once per day, a weirdling can put a glamour on themselves. This allows them to appear however they wish: a different gender, race, age, even alterations to height and weight. The change is illusory; the weirdling does not physically change. 

-Weirdlings take +2 damage from weapons made of cold or meteoric iron.
-Weirdlings who make a promise or deal are magically bound to it as a Geas/Quest spell.

Werewolves are humans who bear the curse of lycanthropy. Most of them were bitten or mauled by a werewolf and somehow survived. On rare occasions, the child of a werewolf will inherit the curse, manifesting during puberty. PCs are assumed to be fledgling werewolves who are not yet in full control of their transformation.

Werewolves can assume werewolf form with an action check modified by constitution. Failure consumes the combat round, success begins the two round transformation. See the S&S rules for the stats. The character rolls a new hit point total using the werewolf's hit dice. If  the PC has surpassed 3 HD, they gain an extra Hit Die during the change.

-Werewolves take double damage from silver weapons
-During the full moon, werewolves have to make a saving throw (modified by wisdom)  every hour or involuntarily change. While changed, the werewolf is berserk, attacking the nearest being with claws or bite. This rage lasts 1d6 combat rounds. The werewolf regains his senses after the rage has passed, but must remain shifted the rest of the night.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Campaign Idea 4: The World of Shadows

(This is a reduced version of my mostly-complete B/XWoD) 

Monsters have always existed in the shadows of our world. As humankind has pushed back the darkness at the edge of the frontier, monsters have learned to blend in within our city walls. In the modern day, supernaturals have a hidden society that fights over sites of power: ley lines, sacred groves, emotional monuments. For the most part, this is a cold war..or was. Unknown forces are causing the wall between this world and the next to thin. Strange creatures are slipping through. The supernatural community is in an uproar. Factions move to capture sites of power. Are the PCs fighting for a faction? Are they mercenaries? Are they simple opportunists? Time will tell.

Available Classes:
Cambion - Humans who have partially demonic ancestry.
Vampire- Undead who thirst for blood.
Weirdling- Humans who have partially fey ancestry.
Werewolf- Humans who become wolflike beasts
Witch - Humans who have learned magic.

*Swords & Wizardry White Box 
*Grab Amityville Mike's S&W gun rules to supply the modern hardware.
*Quick new rules (posted below)
*My class writeups (below)  

Quick new rules:

*There are two types of humans, ordinary and heroic. Ordinary humans are 0-level and generally don't have much more than 1d6 hp and a job they might be decent at. They receive no saving throws against spells or supernatural abilities. Heroic humans are those who are made of sterner stuff: templars, monster slayers, special forces, especially driven or insane humans. Heroic humans can have up to 8 HD and have combat and saving throw numbers similar to monsters of those HD. They receive saving throws.

*Some spells have been renamed to detect or protect the Supernatural. This includes all player classes and all monsters. Normal humans, even those enthralled or in service to a supernatural, are unaffected by these spells.

*The Alignment system is replaced with the following:  Protective (supernaturals should guard and guide humanity), Neutral, Darwinian (supernaturals should rule humanity). Note that humans don't necessarily have to be Neutral! The DM is also free to ignore alignment altogether.

*A vampire who drains a person to 0 Con turns them into a vampire. Normal humans start at 1st level, heroic mortals and characters of other classes lose 1 HD/level and switch to the vampire class.  (They retain none of their old abilities) A werewolf who does more than 50% of an individual's hit points with its natural weapons risks turning them into a werewolf. The victim may make an ST against disease. Failing means they switch to a 1st level werewolf if normal, or lose a level/HD and switch to the werewolf class. Note that vampires cannot become werewolves and vice versa!

*Professions (optional)- A character may select a profession. The character receives +2 on all rolls related to Saving Throws or ability checks related to that profession. Combat ability is unaffected by choice of profession.


1       1        +0      +1    15           
2       2        +0      +1    14           
3      2+1     +1      +2    13           
4       3        +1      +2    12           
5       4        +2      +3    11           
6       4+1    +2      +3    10          
7       5        +3      +4     9          
8       6        +3      +4     8         
9       6+1    +4      +5     7          
10     7        +4      +5     6           

Prime Requisite: Dexterity


Vampires receive +2 on any ST against disease or poison. 

Climbing: A vampire may scale sheer surfaces with an eerie, spider-like climb. The chance of doing so is 1-5 on a d6. 

Senses: Vampires can hear even the faintest noises and notice minute details. The chance of doing so is 1-2 on a d6 and improves 1 point every two full levels. (1-3 at level 2, 1-4 at level 4, etc) 

Shapeshift: The vampire may assume the form of a bat. He retains his normal hit points but otherwise uses the statistics of an ordinary bat. As the vampire grows in power, so to does his shapeshifting ability: at 3rd level a vampire can shift into an ordinary wolf. At 6th level, the vampire can assume the form of a swarm of bats. At 9th level, the vampire can assume gaseous form. It requires a round to switch between forms, during which time the vampire can take no other action. The vampire can remain shifted for a total number of hours per night equal to experience level. 

Stealth: A vampire can move with utter silence or vanish entirely into the shadows, such that he cannot be detected by mundane means. Chance to use stealth is 1-3 on a 1d6, improving by 1 point every three full levels. 

Hypnotic Gaze: A vampire making unobstructed eye contact with a human can choose to place them under the effect of a sleep spell. Normal mortals do not receive a saving throw, but heroic mortals and supernatural creatures do. Someone saving against a vampire's gaze is immune to said gaze for 24 hours. The vampire can use this ability once per night for every experience level. 

Strength: The vampire is capable of powerful bursts of strength. Once per night per level, a vampire may inflict double damage with a melee or muscle-powered attack. The vampire may instead choose to perform a feat of strength (forcing a door, lifting something, etc) as if it had a strength score of 18. 
Optional rule: The vampire can use one instance of this ability to automatically pass a ST involving strength. 

Alacrity: The vampire is capable of amazing bursts of speed. Once per level per night, vampire may dodge incoming projectiles with a ST, modified by Dexterity. The vampire may instead choose to double movement speed for 1 round (in or out of combat) 
Optional rule: The vampire can spend one use of this power to pass a saving throw that involves dexterity or agility. 


Dark Dweller: A vampire takes 1d6 damage every round he is in daylight. 
**Less harsh variant: The vampire has -2 to all attack rolls and saving throws while exposed to sunlight, and must make a ST modified by Constitution to activate any vampiric ability. 

Soulless: A vampire unsettles animals and appears distorted in mirrors and on recording devices. 

Unholy: Vampires take 1d4 damage from contact with holy water. Vampires can also be turned or banished by spells that affect undead or evil beings. (Regardless of actual alignment or morality) 

Unliving: Vampires can only restore hit points from drinking human (or sometimes animal) blood. They may never benefit from medical attention or healing magic. The vampire must feed on a hypnotized or helpless victim, draining up to 3 points each round. Each point drained lowers the Constitution of the victim by 1 point. Victims dropping below 50% of their Constitution must save vs. death or die. Victims reduced to 0 Con die regardless. Most humans have 10 Constitution. Animals count for only half; a GM can rule that your average horse has 15 Con, but only about 7 points of such sustenance counts. In addition, vampires must feed on humans at least once a week or they suffer -2 to attacks and saves.

Destroying a vampire: Vampires who reach 0 hit points are not killed. Vampires can only be permanently destroyed if their hit points are 0 and they: 
-Are exposed to sunlight
-Are damaged by fire, either normal or magical 
-Are pierced by a wooden weapon such as a stake, spear, or crossbow bolt 
-Are decapitated 


1       1+1    +1     +0    16           
2       2        +2     +0    15           
3      3+1     +2     +1    14           
4       4        +3      +2   13           
5       5+1    +3      +2   12           
6       6        +4      +3   11          
7       7+1    +4      +4    10          
8       8        +5      +4     9         
9       9+1    +5      +5     8          
10     10      +6      +5     7  

Prime Requisite: Strength 

Saving Throws- The werewolf receives a +2 on all saves vs. death 

Death Machine: Against opponents of 1HD or less, a werewolf receives 1 extra attack per round per level. A 4th level werewolf fighting  a 1 HD police officer will get four attacks per round. 

Forms: Werewolves have three forms: their ordinary human form, a wolf form, and a hybrid form. It takes 1 full round to switch between forms. The character's hit points stay the same in all three forms. The powers below assume the werewolf is in hybrid form. Note that shifting can destroy clothing, armor, and worn possessions. 

Natural Weaponry: Werewolves have claws and fangs. They may attack twice per round, inflicting 1d6+1 with each attack. 

Regeneration: Werewolves regain 1 hit point every hour.They can regrow lost limbs and organs. Werewolves regenerate in any form. 

Scent Tracking: Werewolves can track prey by scent. The chances of this are a base 1-3, improving 1 point for every three full levels. 

Senses: Werewolves can hear even the faintest noises and notice minute details. The chance of doing so is 1-2 on a d6 and improves 1 point every two full levels. (1-3 at level 2, 1-4 at level 4, etc) 

**Note that all weaknesses apply to both human and werewolf form. 

Alpha: Animals are unsettled by Werewolves. 

Lunacy: During the full moon, and the nights immediately before and following, Werewolves who are damaged for more than 50% of their hit points must make an ST, modified by the lower of Wisdom or Intelligence, or fly into a berserk rage lasting 1d6 rounds. 

Fire: Werewolves cannot regenerate damage from fire, such damage must be healed using natural healing rates or magic. 

Form limitations
Human: Cannot use death machine or natural weapons. Senses are dulled and roll at -1 chance. (So a 1-3 becomes 1-2, for instance) Regeneration works normally. 

Wolf: Cannot use death machine. Natural weapons functions as bite only, one attack per round. Movement speed is doubled. 

Silver: Werewolves receive double damage from silver weapons.  

Destroying a Werewolf: Werewolves reduced to 0 hit points must make a save vs. death. On a success, they regenerate with 1 hit point. On a failure, they go into a coma lasting 1d6 hours, reviving with 1 hit point. A werewolf can only be killed in the following situations: 

-Reduced to 0 hit points by a silver weapon, or hit by a silver weapon while comatose. 
-Reduced to 0 hit points by fire, or damaged by fire while comatose. 
-Destroyed by massive damage while comatose 


1       1    +0         +0    16                            
2       2     +0        +0    15                                      
3      3      +0        +1    14                                
4       3+1  +1        +1   13           
5       4      +1       +2   12           
6       5      +2       +2   11          
7       6      +2       +3    10          
8       6+1  +3       +3     9         
9       7     +4        +4     8          
10     8     +5        +4     7  

Prime Requisite: Charisma 

Saving Throws- The Cambion receives +2 on saves vs. mental or social effects 


Demon Form-Cambions retain some vestige of their demonic ancestry. Cambions can shift into a partial demon form that sports claws, a barbed tail, horns, or any number of vicious natural weapons. By spending a round, the cambion can shift into this form or back. While in the demon form, Cambions have natural weapons that inflict 1d6+1 damage.

Fell Lore- Cambions are sometimes visited in their dreams by the whispers of the Demon Princes from whom they are descended. Cambions have a 5% chance per level of knowing a piece of supernatural lore: the history or purpose of a magic item, the name or location of a demon or monster, etc.

Maledictions- Cambions can draw upon the dark forces of Hell by speaking words in the demonic tongue, which they naturally understand snippets of. Cambions use Maledictions as Clerics do spells in S&W. The available list of Maledictions is below:
1st level: Cause Wounds I, Charm Person, Detect Magic, Detect Supernatural, Dark I, Putrefy Food & Drink
2nd level: Bless, Curse, Hold Person
3rd level: Cause Disease, Dark II, Fireball
4th level: Cause Wounds II, Charm Monster, Dimension Portal Sticks to Snakes, Wizard Eye
5th level: Animate Dead, Cloudkill, Commune, Contact Other Plane, Insect Plague, Quest, Teleport

Thralls - Cambions exude leadership. Weak-willed and power hungry humans flock to them, ready to become followers in exchange for power. At 3rd level, a cambion gains a human thrall. At 6th level, his first thrall gains a hit die and he gains a second thrall. At 9th level, the first two thralls gain a hit die, and he gains a third. The thralls should make sense for the character (biker thugs for a biker type, corporate yesmen for an executive, etc) Thralls are treated as heroic humans. Tralls gain +1 to all attack roll, saving throws, and any die roll not related to combat.

Demonblooded:  take 1d3 damage from holy water, and also take 1 point of damage every hour spent on hallowed ground.

Sadistic: Cambions must make a successful ST modified by Wisdom to pass up the opportunity to take advantage of some one.

Destroying a Cambion: Cambions are mortal, and can be killed any way that mortals can.


1       1        +0    +2    14           
2       1+1    +0     +2    13           
3      2         +1     +3    12           
4       2+1    +1     +3    11           
5       3        +2     +4   10           
6       3+1    +2    +4    9         
7       4         +3   +5    8          
8       4+1    +3   +5     7         
9        5        +4     +6   6          
10     5+1     +4    +6   5  

Prime Requisite: Charisma


Saving Throws: Weirdlings get +2 on saving throws vs. deceit, illusion, or charm 

Fey Luck: For every three levels, a weirdling gets one reroll per session. This can be any attack roll or saving throw. The weirdling must accept the second result. 

Glamours:  Weirdlings inherit some innate magical ability of the fey. They begin knowing a single glamour, and learn one every time they gain a level. Extra glamours must be learned from fey or from other Weirdlings. Spell slot progression as a Cleric.  

1st level- Detect Magic, Light, Dark Charm Person, Hold Portal, Sleep 
2nd level- Bless, Curse, Find Traps, Hold Person, Speak With Animals, Detect Invisibility, Detect Thoughts, Invisibility I, Knock, Light II, Phantasmal Force 
3rd level-Locate Object, Alter Time, Dispel Magic, Invisibility II 
4th level- Speak to Plants, Charm Monster, Confusion, Hallucinatory Terrain, Massmorph, Polymorph
5th level- Commune, Create Food and Drink, Animal Growth, Contact Other Plane, Feeblemind, Hold Monster, Telekinesis, Teleport 

Seeming: Weirdlings are masters of deception. Once per day per level, a weirdling can assume the appearance of another person. They may appear to be any age, gender, and can even alter height and weight. These are illusions; the weirdling does not physically change. The illusion is dispelled if the Weirdling attacks, though it maintains if the weirdling uses magic. The disguise is 90% fool-proof, even to magical detection. If impersonating a specific individual, the rate of success is only 20% to those who personally know the subject well. 


Deal is a Deal: A Weirdling cannot break their word once given. The urge to uphold their end of the bargain becomes increasingly irresistible. 

Fey Blood: Weirdlings receive double damage from cold iron weapons. 

Destorying a Weirdling: Weirdlings are mortal, and can be killed by ordinary weapons or hazards. 


1       1        +0     +0    16           
2       1+1    +0     +0    15           
3      2         +1     +1    14           
4       2+1   +1      +1    13           
5       3        +2     +2   12           
6       3+1     +2    +2    11        
7       4         +3    +3    10         
8       4+1    +3     +3     9        
9        5       +4     +4     8          
10     5+1     +4    +4     7

Prime Requisite: Wisdom


Saving Throws: Witches receive +2 on all saving throws against magical effects.

Familiar:A Witch may have a familiar, subject to the free rules found here. (There is a PWYW option to support the author.)

Magic: Witches keep a Book of Shadows, a list of magical spells the witch can perform. The witch begins the game with three spells chosen by the DM, plus Read Magic. The witch can learn spells from other witches and from spirits. witches also gain one spell in their Book of Shadows every time she gains a level. Witches gain spell slots at the same rate as the Magic-User class in Swords & Wizardry. The witch spell list is as follows:

1st level: Cure/Cause Wounds I, Detect Supernatural, Detect Magic, Protection from Supernatural, Purify/Putrefy Food and Drink, Hold Portal, Read Languages, Read Magic, Sleep
2nd level: Bless, Curse, Find Traps, Hold Person, Speak with Animals, Detect Invisibility, Knock, Levitate, Locate Object, Web, Wizard Lock
3rd level: Cure Disease, Cause Disease, Remove Curse, Crystal Ball, Dispel Magic, Fly, Lightning Bolt, Protection from Supernatural II, Protection from Normal Missiles
4th level: Cure/Cause Wounds II, Neutralize Poison, Speak with Plants, Charm Monster, Polymorph, Wall of Defense I, Wizard Eye
5th level: Commune, Create Food and Drink, Dispel Supernatural, Insect Plague, Quest, Raise/Cause Dead, Animal Growth, Animate Dead, Conjure Elemental, Contact Other Plane, Hold Monster, Magic Jar, Passwall, Telekinesis, Teleport, Transform I, Wall of Defense II

Talismans: Witches can create magical items using the rules from the Swords & Wizardry SRD
For a modern game, scrolls are often eschewed in place of charms. 

Witches are entirely mortal, and have no specific supernatural weaknesses.

Destroying a Witch: Witches, being mortal, can be slain simply be reducing their hit points below 0 in the usual fashion.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Alas, Das Schwarze Auge

Today I received an email from a mostly-defunct DSA community I belonged to some time ago during my weird (and short-lived) DSA obsession. It seems that Das Schwarze Auge 5th edition will be released in the US in English. At first I was pretty amped... until I read that the rulebook is 400 pages. To this, I say "nein."

I've read a fan translation of DSA1, and it bears almost no resemblance to The Dark Eye (the official and aborted English translation of DSA4.) Whereas DSA1 resembles B/X D&D in its simplicity, DSA4 seems like a horrific alchemical combination of GURPS and d20. (Not an exact analogy, but the best I could come up with) I think that my DSA ship has sadly sailed.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Mythic West Races

I like non-human races. I understand that isn't a common opinion in the OSR; I read lots of blogs and campaign settings that are human-only or at the least human-centric. One could argue that OD&D was human-centric since it placed harsh limits on demihuman characters. (Halflings could advance only to 4th level and only as fighters, essentially) I present a few optional races for the Mythic West.

CACTOID (Inspired by RIFTS, and I'm not even sorry)
Cactoids appeared shortly after the the flood of magic from the West. Some cacti in the Southwest animated, having gained sentience. Cactoids have since spread out across the country.

A Cactoid is humanoid, but with a hard, plant-like skin covered in thorns. They have pitch black eyes and speak in warbling, distorted voices through a mouth cavity. Cactoids stand 6-7 feet tall. They are genderless, producing by flowering and depositing seeds. They tend to live in small, village-like communities, though some have attempted to integrate into human society.

Cactoids may advance as Trailblazers or Magicians. They are limited to 6th and 4th level, respectively.


Hardy: Cactoids have +2 to saves against disease or poison. This is cumulative with any bonuses granted by character class.

Plant: Cactoids have no need for human food. Daily exposure to sunlight (even overcast) is enough to nourish them. Cactoids who spend too much time underground are subject to starvation. Magical light, such as that from a spell, will nourish them. Artificial light will nourish them, but they are at -1 to attack and save until they get some natural or magical light.

Thick Skin: Cactoids receive a permanent +1 bonus to Defense due to their thick hides. 

Thorns: A Cactoid's unarmed attacks inflict +1 damage. In addition, anyone making an unarmed attack against a Cactoid automatically takes a point of damage.

DEVIL-KIN (Inspired by some monster from Dark*Matter that I only half-remember)

Devil-Kin are a race of mortal humanoids who come from a hellish dimension parallel to ours. (Or perhaps they're actually from Hell) They stand between 6 and 6 1/2 feet tall, with narrow limbs and slight frames. They have thin, bony features, usually a prominent chin and nose. They have pointed ears and tiny horns growing out of their foreheads and pointed, vestigial tails. Their skin coloration may be shades of red, violet, or blue. The hair of a Devil-Kin will be jet black, firetruck red, or a blue-black. Males favor goatees.

Devil-Kin are often mistrusted or outright shunned by polite society, so many end up on the wrong side of the law.

Devil-Kin may advance as Shootists (to a maximum of 4th level), Gamblers, or Magicians. (They may progress to the 6th level in the latter two classes) They may also choose to advance in a dual-class nature as a Shootist/Magician or a Gambler/Magician. If this is the case, the Devil-Kin chooses which class to play at the beginning of each adventure. Dual-classed Devil-Kin keep experience totaled separately, and only earn half-experience points from adventures.


Evil Heritage: Devil-Kin can be banished by Preachers. They are compelled to flee as undead. The HD of the Devil-Kin is equal to his experience level. If dual-classed, use the level of the class that the Devil-Kin is currently operating as. In addition, holy water inflicts 1d4 damage if splashed on a Devil-Kin.

Magic Resistance: Magical energy directed at Devil-Kin seems to bend and twist around them. They receive +2 to all saving throws vs. magic. This is accumulative with any bonus from character class or other sources.

Silver-Tongue: Although mistrusted, Devil-Kin have a semi-magical ability to win people over. Once per day, they can cast a charm person spell, disguised as a suggestion, flurry of flattery, or some similar exchange.


These are small, dwarf-like beings, ranging from knee-high to waist-high on a human. Different Native tribes have different names for them, but all refer to the same species of being. (White Americans probably think of these creatures as dwarfs, fairies, pixies, etc.) Different families/clans of these creatures often have a particular feature unique to that region: one eye, flat faces, impressive beards, etc. Even the name is something of a misnomer; many families live in forests, but some dwell in hills or caves or near rivers.

Forest Folk are permitted to advance as Gamblers, Magicians, or Trailblazers. They may advance as high as 4th level in those classes. A Forest Folk may switch classes at 4th level, starting over at 1st level. They retain their hit point totals and abilities, but only gain half experience.  A character must have a Constitution of at least 9 to be a Forest Folk.


Nearly Invisible: Forest Folk can hide in the woods on a 1-5 on a d6, and a 1-3 in other natural surroundings. They have the same chance to move with near-absolute silence. These abilities can only be used if they are alone, unobserved, or only in the company of other Forest Folk.

Small Stature: Humans and human-sized creatures suffer a -2 penalty to hit Forest Folk due to their tiny size and tricky nature.

Throwers: Forest Folk have an uncanny knack for attacking with thrown weapons, receiving +2 to their attack rolls made with such. In addition, even a small rock will inflict 1d4 damage when thrown by a Forest Folk.

Variant: If you like, and have access to a S&W version of the Druid class, Magician Forest Folk use the Druid spell list instead of the Magic-User spell list.

(This class was built off the White Box Halfling, flavored by entries from various Native American myth websites.)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Campaign Idea 3: Mythic Old West (B/X or S&W)

Inspired by Deadlands, Stuart Robinson's Weird West, and the old Bruce Campbell TV show "The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr."

Unlike my previous two campaign ideas, which assume you've purchased an OSR-authored book (JB's Complete B/X Adventurer). this campaign idea uses resources that you can get online for free. (Though a few have paid options if you feel like helping out the authors)

Disclaimer: I didn't write any of these resources, I have nothing vested in any of these resources, and I've never even had more than blog comment contact with any of the authors.

The backstory: Magic has returned to the world. In the American Old West, the San Andreas fault turns out to be a ley line of incredible power. A massive earthquake unleashes a wave of magical chaos. The Frontier begins reclaiming the land, monsters and strangeness pushing mankind back toward the East. Will the heroes take part in standing against the Frontier as it advances, or are they simply thieves and ne'er-do-wells taking advantage of the lawlessness that grips the edge of civilization?

Visual Reference: See the top of this post. The setting is meant to be more fantasy than horror, but y'all can flavor to taste. (I just figure that Deadlands already has that angle cornered)

Available Classes:   Doctor, Gambler, Inventor, Magician, Preacher, Pugilist, Shootist, Trailblazer


*The Blood & Bullets rules by Simon Washbourne. You can get them for free here, or you can get a Kindle version or a hard copy if you want to kick a few dollars at the author.

*The Medic class from Amityville Mike's 'Resistance' White Box post-apocalypse treatment. You can grab those classes here.
 Medic class gets the following adjustments:
-Renamed Doctor
-Add Defense Bonus (use the same progression as the Gambler class from B&B)
-Doctors can use any weapons, though most Doctors are loathe to take lives.
-Doctors receive a +2 to any Saving Throw vs. poison, disease, or death.

*The Scientist class by P. Armstrong from the (seemingly defunct?) Ode to Black Dougal Blog.
Scientist receives the following adjustments:
-Renamed Inventor
-Hit Die progression is changed to that of the Gambler.
-To Hit and Defense bonuses equal to the Shootist.
-Inventors can use any weapons
-Inventors get +2 to saving throws versus explosions and electricity, and their normal ST number is 15.
-Inventors get a Gadget slot at 1st level. Their slots do not improve until 3rd level.

*Add the Magic-User class from Swords & Wizardry Whitebox, which you can download free from Lulu or DriveThru. (Or, y'know, you can add it from White Box B/X D&D)
Magic-User gets the following adjustments:
-Renamed Magician
-Add Defense bonus of the Trailblazer.
-The Magician can use any weapon, though most Magicians prefer one-handed weapons to make spellcasting easier. Magicians often carry daggers.
-The Magician gets +2 to Saving Throws vs. deceit and vs. any magic spell or attack.
-Magician spells are drawn from Swords & Wizardry White Box.

*Two classes I am throwing into the mix: Pugilist and Preacher.


Level ... XP....... HD.....To-Hit....Def....ST
1            0          1+2        +0      +0     15
2         1750          2          +1     +1     14
3        3500         3+1        +2     +2     13
4        7000          4          +2     +2      12
5      14000           5         +3     +3      11
6       28000         6+1      +3    +4       10
7       56000         7          +4    +4        9
8        112000      8          +4    +5        8
9        224000      9+1      +5    +6        7
10      448000      10         +5    +6       6

Prime Requisite: Strength. A Pugilist receives an experience bonus for having a high Strength score.
Saving Throws: A Pugilist receives +2 to saves vs. alcohol or being stunned.
Weapons: Pugilists can use any weapon, but they typically prefer to fight unarmed.

Dodge: Once per round, the Pugilist can dodge a missile attack that hits him by making a ST (Dex)

Fists of Fury: Against opponents of 1 HD or fewer, the Pugilist can make a number of unarmed attacks per round equal to his level. For instance, a 5th level Pugilist surrounded by 1 HD townies can deliver five attacks per round.

Fisticuffs: A Pugilist inflicts 1d6 damage with unarmed attacks, rather than 1d3. In addition, he can choose to make damage from his unarmed attacks normal damage rather than temporary.

Haymaker: If a Pugilist rolls maximum damage on an unarmed attack, he can choose to forego the damage in order to stun the opponent for 1d12 rounds. The opponent may make a ST (Con) to only be knocked out for 1d6 rounds instead.

Second Wind: Once per day, a Pugilist can spend a round catching his breath to restore a number of Hit Points to himself equal to 1d6+ experience level. If the Pugilist makes a Saving Throw (Con), he can restore the Hit Points immediately without taking a round to do so. (In other words, the Pugilist could still attack or take any other action)

Thanks to JB's Holmes-style Monk and the Swords & Wizardry Companion White Box Monk for the inspiration.


Level ... XP....... HD.....To-Hit....Def....ST
1            0           1        +0          +0     14
2         1500         2         +0         +1     13
3        3000         2+1      +1         +1     12
4        6000          3         +1         +2     11
5      12000           4        +2         +2     10
6       24000         4+1      +2        +3      9
7       48000         5         +3         +3      8
8        96000        6          +3        +4      7
9       192000       6+1      +4        +4      6
10      384000      7          +4         +5     5

Prime Requisite: Charisma. A Preacher receives an experience bonus for having a high Charisma score.
Saving Throws: A Preacher receives +2 to saving throws vs. deceit and fear
Weapons: Preachers can use any weapon, though most of them prefer not to harm innocents or living humans.
Alignment: If you use the alignment system in Blood & Bullets, Preachers may not be Evil. A Preacher who starts down the path of Evil will lose the Banish Evil ability and cannot advance any further in this class.

Banish Evil: Preachers can present their holy symbol to drive away undead, demons, and devils. They use the rules and procedures from Swords & Wizardry White Box. Demons and Devils aren't destroyed, but rather send back to Hell.

Flock: Starting at 3rd level, again at 6th and 9th level, a Preacher attracts a follower. The followers needn't be paid, but they gain 1/2 experience and they are not replaced if killed. Followers are the same alignment and religious tradition as the Preacher they have chosen to follow.

Preacher Level.....Follower Level....
3                             1st
6                             2nd
9                             3rd

Roll randomly to determine the class of each follower.

Roll (d20) ......Class
1-5                  Preacher
6-10                Shootist
11-14              Trailblazer
15-17              Pugilist
18-19              Gambler  (reformed)
 20                  Inventor

Inspire: A Preacher can use his presence to rouse his allies to action, giving them +1 to hit and damage and all Saving Throws for 1d4+1 rounds. A Preacher may do this once per day for every experience level. The Preacher's confers a +2 bonus on NPCs who are part of his Flock. (See above)

Minister (Cha): A Preacher who spends 1 round tending to someone who isn't involved in combat may do one of the following: stabilize a dying comrade, allow a comrade a second Saving Throw vs. disease, poison, or curses. A single person may only be ministered to once per day, and the Preacher can only minister to a total number of individuals equal to his experience level.

Sway Crowd (Cha): A Preacher may appease (or agitate) a mob by giving a rousing speech or other encouragement. A Preacher may affect a crowd of up to 5 x level. (A 4th level Preacher can affect a crowd of up to 20.) This only works on ordinary folks, and cannot be used in combat.

Variation: For a non-Mythic/Weird game, you can remove the Banish Evil ability and add:

Upstanding: Most communities welcome Preachers. A Preacher who wears the vestments of his trade can expect reasonable hospitality from most towns and cities for free. Whether this extends to his companions or not depends entirely on their conduct.

You may also reflavor Minster as simply the psychosomatic power of prayer.

Thanks to the Swords & Wizardry Companion White Box Bard for inspiration.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Another Take on the Same Campaign

Take the previous campaign and drop the PCs in a few years later...

The backstory: On long boats, the Order of Iron came to the Isles. They killed the Fell Queen, Eil, and pulled her tower to the ground. They slew the monsters and sealed the Underworld. The people embraced the Order of Iron and forgot the Old Ways. 

Five years have passed. On the rubble of Eil's tower, the Iron Citadel now stands. People pray to the Ironite's god. Magic is outlawed, as it caused the Bleak Times. 

Rumors abound that the monsters weren't all slain... and the ones that remain hide in the wilderness or behind the faces of your neighbors. Are the players agents of Order, rooting out monsters and witches? Are they heretics, seeking to bring back the Old Ways? Are they simply feckless sellswords who seek to claim whatever treasures haven't ended up in the Order's vaults? 

Rules : B/X D&D + JB's "Complete B/X Adventurer" 

Classes Permitted:   B/X Rules: Cleric, Fighter, Thief
                                     Complete B/X Adventurer: Witch-Hunter  (Also Barbarian, Bard, Gnome, Mystic, and Ogre-Kin if running a game outside the Order) 

Flavor/Visual Reference: Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (90's video game), Dark Souls (video game), The Crucible  (either the original play or the film), Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st Edition

"But Wait, I Don't Own CB/XA" 

Apply the class fixes in my previous post. You can fold Witch-Hunters into clerics, or just let clerics use any weapon, or just have a class that fights and saves as a fighter and can use all the Detect/Protect type spells, but requires % more xp to level. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Campaign Idea: Just Add Water

...well... and maybe a map, if you're into that kind of thing. 

The backstory: Eil, the Mad Queen, has cast the Green Isles into ruin. She killed her husband with black magic, seized control of the castle, and opened the gates to the Underworld. The Isles are now crawling with monsters, both those who roam free and those who enforce the Queen's fell will. 

There are some who fight back against the Queen's forces, hoping to find a way to destroy her and seal the Underworld once more, but there are also those who want to exploit this lawless age to serve their own interests. 

Rules : B/X D&D + JB's "Complete B/X Adventurer" 

Classes Permitted:   B/X rulebooks: Fighter, Thief
                             Complete B/X Adventurer: Barbarian, Bard, Gnome,  Mystic, Ogre-Kin, Witch

Flavor/Visual Reference: Fable (video game- the first one only), Roar (90's TV show with a young Heath Ledger) Willow (80's classic fantasy film) 

"But wait! I don't have the Complete B/X Adventurer!" 

Slap these class fixes together: 

Barbarian- As fighter, but can only wear light armor, can Hear Noise as a thief, can read tracks on 1-3 on a d6 (improve one pip every three levels) +1 to hit in melee combat. 

Bard- As thief, but can use Charm or Sleep once per day for every three full levels. 

Gnome- As Elf. Make them small like halflings and give them the Druid spell list instead. If you don't have any old school Druid class to reference, just give them all the nature-y spells. 

Mystic- As cleric. Can't use armor. Let them use mystic-y magic spells as well. 

Ogre-Kin- Fighters. They use two handed weapons in one hand and get an additional +1 hit/damage. Encumbrance is treated as one category lighter. 

Witch- As magic-user, re-flavor spell list as needed.