Friday, December 31, 2010

I could kill orcs to get to play D&D as player

Well, IF I got to play D&D as player, I could kill orcs.

Problem is, I only have one player available. And she is player. She has gamemastered for me, mainly Vampire though.

And she likes playing the most. She's okay with gamemastering though, but prefers the player's side on the table.

So, if I was cunning enough, I could get her to GM for me, but the problem is, that she is more story oriented than rules lawyer. She often asks me how the rules work or what should I throw in this and that situation, as she is not that aware about the rules.

She has read my rpg books, yes. But she is not interested in rules, numbers and that sort of things. Usually she learns rules by playing and me explaining them during the play, and repeating same rolls over and over again untill I don't have to tell what to roll and why anymore.

So, she learns rules by playing and using them, not reading.

That works with Vampire really well. We have played it so much, she knows the rules, or at least most of them.

But with D&D? Yes, she knows what is DC, what those +/- mean and where to use them. That she rolls D20 when tries to do something etc. Basics. But her to DM for me? Don't know. She might make some plot or adventure for me, but not sure how well she'd handle the rules. I mean, there are a couple of books full of them.

I personally don't use all D&D rules, only the most obvious and the most important. Other's I make up in my mind, if they are needed. Still not sure, could my gf run me D&D just the knowledge how to roll D20 and see did you success or not.

I quess, if she made adventure for me, it would me tailored that way, it doesn't need special rules. And if it did, she would just write down "poison here" and when I get the poison then ask me how it actually works.
That's the way she started doing Vampire adventures. Writed an adventure, and during game asked rules details.

That could work.

Another problem is, that she is not a big fantasy fan. Kind of. She prefers fantasy games on PC over modern or scifi-games, but in roleplaying games she prefers horror and scifi over fantasy.

RPG - Fantasy yuck
PC - Fantasy yeah

Is that the famous woman mind we men cannot understand? Because it feels like it.

So, how to get my girlfriend player, who isn't that much into GM'ing anyways to run me D&D when she isn't interested in rules and doesn't like fantasy except in PC-games?

That, is the question I am puzzled about.

But why would I want to play D&D then? Sure I've enjoyed her Vampire games. They are full of detail with rich plots and interesting NPC's.
But is it wrong for a man to ask to kill some orcs for experience points? Is it?

I could tell her, no Vampire untill I am level 10 fighter! Just started new Vampire chronicle, so that could actually work.

Or she might say back: "No sleeping in bed before you run me Vampire!"

So, no roleplaying, definately no D&D and sleeping on couch.

Women are so difficult.

D&D solo play

Dungeons & Dragons, if we talk about it as rules set, is ment for a party. Crew of adventurers, who all fill some purpose. In older editions this was more clear. One healed, one cleared traps, one fought, one was long range, one cast spells etc. Every character (class) had their function and place in the party.

For your average dungeon you most likely need them all. Lonely rogue cannot heal himself without stock of potions, warrior can easily run into traps and cleric can heal himself, but can he kill all the enemies?

Basically, all the characters in party are "one". Like human head. Ears to hear, nose to smell, mouth to taste, eyes to see. They are individual parts and alone not that effective, but as a "party", head they all function fulfilling eachother.

So, that quick idea about D&D party in mind, how does D&D work for solo play? I haven't played that much AD&D or older editions (I don't count few sessions or adventures) so I focus on D&D 3.X with what I have experience as DM (and DM character).

Party With One Player

You can make NPC's to fill the gaps in the party, or let your player to make several characters, as one as his/her "main" character to interact with. Other are like player controlled henchmen/NPC's. You might leave all or most of the interaction for this main or favourite character of player, or give player one character as others follow him as DM played characters. You might let player only control his own character in battles or let player to "move" all the characters in the party similar to tactical individual person war games (Necromunda for example).

If you as DM will control all NPC's and monsters in a combat encounter and let player only interact with his character, the problem is, that combat encounters might be a bit boring. First it's NPC 1, then NPC 2, then player character, then NPC 3, then NPC 4, then monster 1 and so on.

Depending on how many monsters in the encounter and NPC's there are in the party majority of the time player might just sit there and observe as DM rolls dice against himself. Boring, isn't it.

You can deal these situations like mini battle scenarios. Player vs. DM. Characters (as player) vs. Monsters (as DM). It is more interesting that way even if player doesn't have full control over NPC actions in non-combat encounters.

Similarly if there is a trap doors, locked crests etc. mysteries, do you really want to play against your own dungeon?

For example, player has fighter/warrior character, and this dungeon is full of traps and secret doors. You have rogue/thief NPC what handles those things. So basically you are playing against your own dungeon when player character just hangs around waiting for some skeletons to kill...

Easy way to skip this is just play social aspects of NPC's. Let player say, which NPC does or should do what. This way single player can cast spells, fight monsters, search for traps etc. It might be a big task for one player to handle with, so you might help him out with NPC's own thoughts.
If for some reason player with his fighter/warrior is not good at riddle solving, don't give easy xp. He has chosen to be fighter in your game, so he should do what he wanted to do - fight. If he does do other character classes things (find traps with NPC) reward for that. But if player just wants to kill and you as NPC's do all the brainwork, remember it in party xp.

Don't give xp too easily for single character from things he doesn't do but you as DM.

Multi-Classing Or Higher Level Start

CR... how hard particular monster is for a group of 4. If there truly is a single character, you might want to start him from higher level. It might still be challenging to kill lower level enemies without a party they are designed for. For lvl 4 character low CR skeletons can be tougher than for a party, so experience is well deserved.

If you start game with higher level character or character rises levels, he could concider multi classing. That way his character could become more all-around type with skills outside his original class.

If you don't want to make things a bit easier to single player, start with level 1. There is just this Computer-RPG-syndrome easily formed. Kill rats and other small critters, help lady to find his lost ring etc. That kind of game would be your average story from peasant to hero, but if you both like it, that's great.

You could discuss about what player is expecting from single player game. Does he want to play by rules, or does he want something more epic for his hero?

Good point in 3.X is that basically every character can learn almost any cross class skills, so they can be developed into all-around average adventurers. Only problem is, that if player shares his skills on everything, he's not necessarily good at anything.

More experience for one character is faster level development, sure, but do you make game harder as player levels up? If you keep up game's difficulty based on character level, without a party he might feel, that even though his character does advance in levels the game remains the same. You know new stuff, but so does enemies.


You might want to make it easier for player by giving magical or special items. For example my player has sorcerer character, but he also uses spear. Unfortunately, she wasn't that good in it and there were situations she would have liked to use it rather than magic.
So, did I tell that it's too bad, you wanted to be a magic user then be it and stop whining. If you wanted to be better with spear make a fighter? No.
I know that magic users are good at magic, and not that good in melee weapons as other classes. Still, my player wanted to mainly be a magician, not fighter. Still, when she wanted to hit enemies with her spear, he was quite frustrated as her character didn't handle that very well. Mainly she uses magic, yes, but sometimes when she wants to do something else than just cast spells it did not work.
So, I let her character to find +1 to spear attack ring. She was happy with it. +1 is not that big change actually, but still, it's something. She knows that her character is not a fighter, but even that +1 made her day (and the game).

So, give character special items. Don't give them too easy though, or every time your player is unsatisfied on some stat on his character sheet.
For a special quest you might want to give some items that quest giver wants back after quest, or some what only has temporary or limited effect. For fighter wand of healing with 5 charges after it withers to dust, for sorcerer potion of +5 attack for hard situation etc. Be creative.
Also ready to cast scrolls with one magic what can be used once can be okay to give. For opening locks etc.

But remember, don't stock your player's character with magical or special item for every situation and every stat. And don't give them too often or they are not special anymore. Player should think twice, before he uses his limited items, as they don't grow in the trees.

Adventure Design

In single player game adventures which involve different classes and their individual skills could not work well with one player. If one player has full party to control, why not, but if he is single adventurer, it could be hard. So, design adventures for single player and for that particular character class.
Your player chose to be healing priest, don't make game monster mash.
Your player chose to be fierce barbarian, don't make game puzzle solving.

You can see from your player's character choise pretty well, what he would like to do in the game.

Make an interesting plot. For player party it might be easy just to put this random dungeon there with monsters for xp and random treasures and dragon in the end... that's easy, right? But for single character you might want to develope more plot and story than just character building.

If single player game is just grinding for levels and better items, it gets boring. Be creative, customize the game for the character class, make a real story.

Take some computer games, and see how they are done. Not necessarily computer RPG's but adventure and action games.
For example, if character is rogue, Thief games are great inspiration. Character can steal stuff, sneak, backstab, fight, solve mysteries while this huge plot is developing.

Of course for one shot games this is easier. Oh you are warrior, there are those orcs near the city. Thief, go steal inn keepers secret stash (when you find out where it is) and so on.

You can also make an investigation game. What kills cattle in night time? Why does the dead walk in the cemetary? Villagers are poisoned and sick, where is the source for this? Spy this merchant and find out what he is really up to. Again, with investigation game if player is fighter, you can put fighting in it and so on.


Even though D&D games are ment to played with party of characters from different classes, you can solo play it with one player. You can choose to use NPC's, give player more than one character to control or tailor adventure to be ment for single hero.

My D&D game with one player has contained NPC's to fill the party, but as player was newbie to this kind of roleplaying I controlled them (as explaining what is happening all the time so she learned during NPC actions). Some quests have been only solo tailored for character and I gave her character +1 to spear ring as she felt she sucks in it.

It's been fun. I bet it is more fun with player party and interaction between players in- and off-game, but still, you can have a full play of D&D with single player having fun!

Story of the Demon Boy

It was christmas eve, in 1866 when a christian woman Matilda Herrings got violently attacked. Or so she claims. No evidence was found of violence. No bruises, scratches, wounds. Only her story. When she was laying on her bed and questioned for the details about this attacker, he couldn't tell what he looked like. But she referred her attacker as "it", not he.
People of the town lit their torches and torchlights and armed themselves what ever they could find. Some with guns, other with pitchforks and even with kitchen knives. Search lasted for a month, but nothing out of ordinary could be found what could be this mysterious attacker.
Towns elder started to question, if one member of their community would have done this heinous attack. Maybe drunken after a day, but they did not find any evidence against no one or couldn't accuse anyone for the attack so it was speculated, that maybe some outsider or wandering traveller had did this.

With no evidence, physical harm on woman or anything to make fuss about the hunting for attacker withered and was forgotten.

A month or two later woman was found pregnant. Without previous children and his husband dead for five years for a mill accident woman started again to blame, that the seed she is carrying is from "it", the mysterious unsolved attacker. No one believed, and they thought now that woman tried to cover up her adultery, and she was spitted and outcast for giving her widow body for a stranger in a sinful lust.

Woman had to live alone, without support from his community. He was nearly forgotten for the sin he was committed.

The day came, when woman gave birth alone all by herself in late 1866. She had a baby boy, but soon woman realised, it was not normal boy. She hurried to town crying for a doctor and even though villagers told doctor to leave woman in sin alone, doctor couldn't but do his deed and listen to woman and he decided to look the baby. It was ethical way to do. But even though doctor was a respected member of society, from that night he was looked at suspiciously as he lost his reputation helping this sinned woman.

What doctor Matthew Smiths found, no one clearly knows. He did not write any official document about his inspection, but someone from the village has written:

And the boy was horrible. Not deformed as freaks you see in the circus, but something else. His head was not in right shape, eyes closed and ears a bit pointed. Guess there was little hard spots on his forehead, not bigger than the tips of my finger. Boy was of a strange color, what I don't know better of.
But the worst appearance of this boy was his back. Where his spine ended, there was skin flap like a small tail of a beast. And in his back, I heard him tell me, was wings.

No one knows who this writer is, and is it fictious or documental. It is speculated that "him" that writer referres is the doctor, and the writer would have heard this story from the doctor, maybe after few stiff's in a local pub.

It is also told, that local priest cursed the woman and her deformed bastard child, some rumors tell, that it was local witch, as priest was too afraid to go see a child what was told to be demon spawn.

No question, the village believed now that woman was violently attacked. Not by a man, but a demon or devil himself.

In 1874 the cattle was attacked at a ranch nearby. All of twenty sheeps were brutally killed and gutted. Butcher told, that it was not a knife used, but more likely talons or claws. Wolfhunt begun, but no wolves were found in the area. Killed sheeps remained a mystery. Whispers told, that it was same demon which attacked woman, or it was actually that child himself.
At this point no one had seen the woman or the deformed bastard boy anymore. They were forced to move away from the village, and were known to live nearby at a deserted old hunting hut.

It was 1876 when first human was killed in the streets of the village during night. Again, marks indicated wolf attack, but now people accused demon boy straight away and lit their torches and marched to that old abandoned hunting hut in the dawn. No questions, they just set the hut on fire and watched it burn, as priest chanted his prayers.

Villagers decided to keep their mouths shut about woman, demon baby and the arseny. "Tis' the way it should be," they told eatch other to make it right. "Ye must burn witch, it's the way it's always been."

People avoided the place where hut was burned down and told their children, that their sould would wither and they'd go to Hell if they go near the hut. So the hut's remainings were left alone, and village went back to normal life.

Some might say, that villagers killed innocent woman who did give birth to a child who got his life in violent attack from a male, and all superstition were just religious zealot. But it did not end there. It was just the beginning.

Few years after when village had it's peace during bright daytime they heard horrible scream outside the village. They did not know was it a man or an animal, but it was creepy enough to have attention. Night after the day it was raining hard when men in the pub saw a lady walk to the door. She was all wet, and her skin was ash gray. Her long dark hair looked like partially burned and her clothes were ragged and dirty. One of men told woman to go away, the pub is men's place, not women to set their foot in. Woman just stared them and grinned.
"You, are you proud of yourself? Burning down innocent and defenceless woman's and her baby boy's house? You, god fearing men, who tell yourself you are good christians tried to commit a murder?" Men gasped.
"Did you succeed or not?" Woman asked.

One of the men, Timmy Borgan escaped, and it is accounted that after those words pub's fireplace flamed and set it in fire. All doors and windows suddenly shut and could not be opened. Man did not know how he got out, but everyone inside the pub were burned to death and there was not much left of the building either. Man told, that maybe he was ment to stay alive to tell the story.
It was suspected, that maybe the man who survived was too shocked by the accident and was delusional. But in his death bed he insisted that he tells the truth.

Matilda Herrings was not seen since.

Timmy Borgan was old man and very ill several years later, when nurse downstairs heard him scream:
"It's the demon spawn! He is here to take revenge! Oh God give mercy for my soul and save me!" When nurse hurried upstairs rooms window was open and curtains waving. Man was laying on his bed his throat slit open. The wound was too rough to be from a knife and there was no way a beast could have got into the room what might have done that kind of damage.

But this was just only the beginning. One by one, people started to die. Those of old age in the village. They did not die in natural death, but allways ripped by a beast. Rumors started to roam to say, that Devil Boy was killing everyone who were involved in the arseny. They all died one by one by clawings even in places animals and beast have no access to. Some also claimed to see this "beast not a man nor animal, but a demon" in the village before or after deaths.

Panic started, as people believed that the deformed boy was actually a half demon, half human as they have expected back then. They knew in their heart, that it was a revenge it was after. Everyone was scared and hours before dusk they locked themselves in their houses and waited spooked by every little voice. But it was the elderly who died. At first.

Younger people started to move away at that point. They had borned in that community, lived their lives there and planned to die there, but nightly terror and murders were too much for them. Village started to wither. Elderly people was brutally murdered, younger people moved away and who were left were nerve wrecked. There was nothing left but church for them, but when old priest was murdered in his very own chapel, the villagers knew they were doomed.

Those who were left or stayed in the village died. Not a normal death, but everyone was clawed to death. Village was now deserted. Everyone murdered by this beast or moved away.

You can today find that village, or what's left of it but strangely there are no good documentations of it. Little is known who has lived there, or who has died.

At this point, devil boy was forgotten. He was not even an urban legend, just a story, almost no one knew. And those who left the village, did not talk about it.

But the murders did not stop there. When the village was destroyed, first died brutally in the New York streets. Police claims it to be assault, possibly robbery but still wounds stayed unexplained. Too rough to be knife made. Official explanation is, that it was a large dog robber had with him, but still the wounds didn't match.

When similar murders started to occur across the continent, FBI started to investigate how are those murders related. And they indeed were related, by blood. Seemed that every killed person was connected by relations or blood to this deserted village with next to none of information. Also at the places the murders occured, urban legends of a weird creature started. Half man, half demon with horns, wings, tail and talons. Like a humane devil.

Of course they were not taken seriously by FBI, but as just legends around the murders. But when private investigator, journalist Jimmy Smiths started to dig deeper into this urban legend, he was astouned and shocked. He was sure, that this is just a legend as it had not real documentary in the history, only words and a nameless letter describing a devil boy with no eye-witness account from the writer himself, he found out that he is a distant relative to a doctor named Matthew Smiths.
Then he started to study relationships and families of murdered people, and tracked their family ties back to the village. He then found out, that the monster in urban legend is like deformed baby born in the village, and how he was described in anonymous account. Similarities couldn't be coincidence.

Few years later, Jimmy Smiths was found ripped apart in his office at work the next morning he stayed at work late night. His studies were classified by the FBI.

For Roleplaying Game

Demon boy, sounds like an urban legend, but it might be true. Still, if it was just a story, how would one explain the murders in different parts of the continent and the fact, that all similarly killed people are in the way or another relatives back to the village? History tells, that there is no single natural death for these people. All were killed early by accident or murder, not even by dicease.

That might be the mystery characters might be solving.

Or maybe character/s is/are relative to the villagers, and people from his family start to die. One by one in unnatural ways. And he starts to investigate, what is going on.

Character or characters might even be in FBI or similar branch and take this mystery to solve. They might be in X-Files type of sect, unexplained mysteries type of sect or ordinary crime investigators.

And the Demon Boy? Deaths and villages undocumented history are just too strange. So is Demon Boy in modern world and it is like any other urban legend except this has a pattern. If Demon Boy was real, is he immortal or does he age slower than ordinary human? Is he just deformed human after revenge, or really supernatural monster? Or is it just a creative killer making legend true?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Man eating tree

Not my text, but taken from the Unexplained Mysteries forums. Original poster there is Kar-Zid. Text below is copypaste, but I thought I'd share it as it could be fascinating for roleplaying games.



A tree which not only is capable of killing a full grown man, but uses the corpse to sustain it's own life. The Man Eating Tree is a fabled plant, and is one that dates back a long way. The earliest known report of the specifics of this botanical cryptid was all the way back in 1881. Carl Liche, the German explorer, wrote of what he had witnessed in Madagascar whilst in the presence of the Mkodo tribe:

"The slender delicate palpi, with the fury of starved serpents, quivered a moment over her head, then as if instinct with demoniac intelligence fastened upon her in sudden coils round and round her neck and arms; then while her awful screams and yet more awful laughter rose wildly to be instantly strangled down again into a gurgling moan, the tendrils one after another, like great green serpents, with brutal energy and infernal rapidity, rose, retracted themselves, and wrapped her about in fold after fold, ever tightening with cruel swiftness and savage tenacity of anacondas fastening upon their prey."

What he witnessed was the various parts of a tree attacking, strangling, and pulling in a woman. The account details a brutal crushing motion that the tree went through with it's victim, the member of the Mkodo tribe destroyed. However, there are only dead ends to be found with this account. This particular tree has not been seen again, and there are no reports of any sightings before hand. Another thing to note, the same can be said for the Mkodo tribe.

After a little digging around, I found that the Mkodo tribe only exists in that context, about Carl Liche and the man-eating tree. Nowhere else is this tribe mentioned. I decided to try my luck at a translation, perhaps this supposed tribe's name meant something in Malagasy (the native language of Madagascar). However, it means nothing, and isn't even recognized anywhere that I could find. It seems as if the Mkodo tribe was only ever witnessed by the one man, which is quite a stretch. He also claimed to be the first to discover this tribe, strengthening the skepticism possible against this.

In 1924, a book entitled Madagascar, Land of the Man-eating Tree written by the former governor of Michigan, Chase Osborn, was published. In this book, Osborn claims that both tribes and missionaries that reside in Madagascar know about the tree, and he quotes Liche. Unfortunately, his claim does not hold up either under simple analysis. For a start, if Liche's comments had been falsified (which is nearly certain), then the Mkodo tribe would not exist (also nearly certain), and thus this ritual would not exist with sacrifices to the tree. In turn, without these sacrifices and the Mkodo tribe, either the tree would not have been discovered or focused on, or it simply does not exist. Another strange, and convicting, fact about his book is that it was published at least six years after he came back from traveling the world. Six years is a long time, and he would've been 64 years of age at the time of publication. Memories do not stay solid for that long, especially so when at that age.

The account from Carl Liche is more than likely a fantastical tale with no basis on fact, the Mkodo tribe, the tree and even perhaps the character of Carl Liche were just parts of the story. The tale then grew as a factual account, as it had been advertised as such. The mythical Man-Eating Tree of Madagascar is but an object of imagination. However, even if this particular tree does not exist, that does not mean a tree of the same build cannot exist.

If adapted and evolved to this habit, a plant could theoretically sustain itself upon human blood. However, a plant of the size of a tree would require vast amounts of blood to live and grow, and this amount is unrealistic. Animals could, also theoretically, be another source of the blood but that just leads us to the simple Venus Fly Trap and other such real life small plants which feed off other living creatures. A tree which has the ability to swing it's vines or branches or any part of it, and use those normally fairly weak appendages to pick up and destroy a human being is also very very inaccurate and unrealistic.

To sum the study up, the original accounts of a Man-eating Tree from Carl Liche are pure fabrication. The subsequent comments from Chase Osborn are either fabricated or simply not true. The tribe of Mkodo is, likewise, falsified. A Man-eating Tree would not have the proper resources to grow or flourish into an actual tree, and plants inherently do not have enough power or maneuverability to capture and kill human prey and prevent them from finding a way to escape.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas rpging

Finally finished last adventure. It was ment to be only 1-3 game sessions, but stretched to be over 10. I liked it, but didn't like how it came out.

I have another Call of Cthulhu in more traditional Mythos way what I also would like to do as 1-3 sessions game, and this time I will success! It just needs planning ahead.

Another option is to play Vampire: the Masquerade with the same character we used in last campaign what we finished.

Two options to choose from.

I also got us Nintendo Wii. Our only of these new gaming consoles. I already have old XBox an PS2 though, but this is the new shitz. I know, that graphically PS3 or X360 would have been better choises, and to be frank, I don't find that many great games in Wii collection that I find from those two other consoles.

Still, the reason why I decided to go for a Wii is it's party-gaming function. I think it would be fun to use Wii-mote to actually swing a club etc. Physically involved gaming. It's totally different than PC, PS2 or XBox what I already have.

So, Christmas will be CoC or V:tM and Wii in gaming.

Old World of Darkness - Easy way to create a plot + Few ready made plots for you to use

You might have planned a campaign you are running, but you would like to run some side quest. Or you might have sandbox styled game but for the next session you are out of ideas. What ever the case is, here is simple way to get inspiration in creating a plot.

Take character sheet of the game you and your group are playing. You see, that skills are in three categories and in each category there are 10 skills. And V:tM uses ten sided dice.

Roll D10 for each skill category, and see what skill the die result points at. Write those skills down. They are moods, settings, ideas, actions etc. for your adventure, quest, plot or even campaign.
You just have to fill out the rest, how to tie together those skill based ideas.

You don't necessarily have to be 100% literal about the results. They are just for inspiration. If you get result "linquistics" but are inspired about political plot, do so.

I give few examples next based on Vampire: the Masquerade. It took only few minutes to come along with these plots after rolling the skills for moods.

Leadership - Firearms - Occult

Band of renegade Brujah in Camarilla city have found an old tome about city's Ventrue history what can be harmful for Ventrue leadership. Ventrue want that old tome away from Brujah renegades. Brujah renegades are heavily armed and won't give it up easily and are ready to protect that old tome to harm Ventrue leadership.

Leadership = Ventrue
Firearms = Heavily guarded Brujah renegades
Occult = Old tome containing harmful information about city's Ventrue past

Expression - Animal Ken - Politics

Gangrel are not happy with city's status. They don't like how their clan's ideas have little support in city hierarchy and Gangrel's close relations to Brujah could be dangerous. If Gangrel are not pleased, it would be easy for them to turn clan Brujah head also. Negotiations and politics are needed to keep Gangrel satisfied and loyal to Prince.

Expression - Negotiation
Animal Ken - Clan Gangrel
Politics - Gangrel who don't feel that city has anything common with their interests

Brawl - Survival - Linquistics

Characters' coterie is attacked in remote alley by unknown vampire coterie. Their clan, sect or motives remained unknown. Characters don't yet know was that only a random attack from angry caitiff, vagabond Camarilla members or even Sabbat brutes. It's character coteries responsibility to take action to find out themselves who attackers were or even tell some of the primogens or Prince what happened.

Brawl - Attack in alley
Survival - What is going on?
Linquistics - To find out who the attackers were

Athletics - Firearms - Occult

Atmosphere in the city has been dark for few nights. Everyone knows that something is about to happen. Character(s) while minding their own business in streets see in distance a strange person, who flees after notices characters seeing him. Character's might try to pursuit him. If character's capture this person, they find out he is a caitiff with strange symbol on his forehead. Caitiff refuses to talk and seems to be insane. Behind the curtains of Camarilla, there is Lasombra brainwashing city's unfortunate caitiffs to make his small shock troop army to keep Camarilly busy while Sabbat grows its roots into the city.

Athletics - Pursuit
Firearms - Brainwashed caitiff shock troop
Occult - Lasombra, who brainwashes caitiff to mindless Sabbat drones.

Final Words

Have fun with experimenting. If some result doesn't fit your idea, re-roll. If you suddenly get idea outside your rolls, use it.
This is just for inspiration, if you are out of your own ideas for plot, quest, adventure or even whole campaign.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I must learn to gamemaster short sessions!

There are several games in my shelf I want to play. But I don't want to play full campaign, but one to five sessions adventures. Problem is, that my gamemastering style is slow. By slow I mean, that my games always are long.

I tried to run Call of Cthulhu campaign set in modern world in one, maximum two sessions, but last weekend I ran eleventh session. Why? Well, even though I wanted to make one-shot I got carried away with mood and character relations building.

Mood takes lots of time. If I'd run one-shot, I feel that I had to rip so much off from the role part from roleplaying. It would be like fastforward to only those key scenes relevant to the adventure and leaving everything else out. That is hard for me.

I have another CoC adventure planned, and I must try to make it real one-shot, or two to three sessions total. How would I manage to do that?

I don't plan games. Well, I have idea what I want to happen and how I would like to end it and plan for main plot. I should write it down in a timeline to carry out. That would help alot in time managing when I know what happens and when and propably why.

I have enjoyed this Cthulhu adventure, even though it has been fail as it did not last only few sessions what was my original plan. If I want to play all the games in my collection, I must manage the stories and adventures so, that they don't take weeks or months to play through.

After I have gamemastered this one over, I will make real adventure plan for next CoC adventure. It will be kind of a test for me to make short adventure I can gamemaster in one, two or three sessions.

After this one, I will see how I work it out. I am a storyteller, so restricted and focused adventures are hard to manage. Don't know when my gamemastering took this path, but I'll try to fix it as soon as possible. It doesn't mean I won't gamemaster campaigns anymore, but I want to be able to grab a game, throw an adventure and finish it in few sessions.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

[D&D] Zapper wand Harry Potter style

I saw this trailer at Youtube. Haven't played the game and I don't even know what it is like, but man, it looks so ridiculous. It's like FPS but with zapping wands! But I got an idea to make Zapper Wand for Dungeons & Dragons (3rd ed) based on this trailer of Harry Potter game. So here it is...

Zapper Wand

Zapper wands are weapons in high-magical lands of fantasy. They are weapons that were used in great wizard wars. Even now wizards who are warriors do use these commonly.
Zapper wands come in huge range of sizes. Rule of thumb is, that the bigger Zapper wand is the greater damage it deals. Varieties are the following:

Damage 1D4, Crit 20 x2
Damage 1D6, Crit 20 x2
Damage 1D8, Crit 20 x2
Damage 1D10, Crit 20 x2
Damage 1D12, Crit 20x2

There are also high quality Zapper wands, what are the same as above but with:
Crit 20 x3
Crit 19-20 x3

Zapper wand has basically unlimited ammo. It only stops zappin' if you roll "1" with your ranged attack roll. That's it, and Zapper wand needs to reload and it works again next day (after midnight or what ever).

Ranges vary. Smaller Zapper wands don't shoot as long as bigger.

Final Words

Yes, I know this post is a bit stub. I didn't detail Zapper Wands' range, costs, rarity etc. but you can easily come up with something. But hey, how ridiculous does that trailer look? Seriously?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Random flailure table - When flail fails

Cleric and his party encountered band of orcs what are known to roam the countryside killing and robbing travellers, stealing village's livestock and causing trouble for commoners. The battle begins and initiative roll favours the band of heroes. Cleric with highest initiative declares, that he'll bash some orc skulls as they aren't that hard opponents. Cleric pics up his D20, rolls it... Result is "1"...

Random Flailure table is for all players whose character uses flail. If you botch critically, ask your player to roll 20-sided die and tell his flail fail result!

D20 Roll - Result of flailure
  1. Flail is dropped on character's feet. 1 round (or action) to pick it up.
  2. Same as above.
  3. Flail flyes away 2D6 feet 1D8 direction (1 north, 2 north-east, 3 east etc.).
  4. Same as above, 25% change to hit target at that direction.
  5. Hitting nearest person with low power (½ damage, (PC or NPC).
  6. Hitting nearest person with normal power (½ damage, PC or NPC).
  7. Hitting nearest person with critical damage (PC or NPC).
  8. Hitting yourself with low power (½ damage).
  9. Same as above.
  10. Hitting yourself with normal power (normal damage).
  11. Critical hit on self (critical damage).
  12. Flail is broken, can be repaired.
  13. Flail is broken beyond repair.
  14. Flail chain gets tangled. -5 to attack rolls (D&D). Takes 1D4 turns to clear.
  15. Flail ball detached (check 3, ½ damage). Can be used as chain weapon (or ½ damage) before repair.
  16. Flail flies away and gets lost. Search DC 20 to find it.
  17. Flail gets stuck on bearer's equipment. 1D3 turns to clear it.
  18. Flail's chain around neck. Deal like grabble attack with ½ of bearer's strength.
  19. Flail's chain around neck severely. Deal like grabble attack with bearer's normal strength.
  20. Flail's chain around neck and ball bumps on head. Same as 16 + ½ flail damage.
So, next time your player's character fails with flail, ask him to roll D20!

Wendigo - my version for RPGs

(Wendigo in Wikipedia.)


Spirit of winter and nature, stalker of the night and cold. Beast of the spirit world who consumes human(oid) flesh. No one truly knows where Wendigo origins but it is speculated that when humanity conquered forests for their own interests in Northern and snowy parts of the world Wendigo was awaken. When human abuse forest for their own needs hacking trees for goods and space to live within, Wendigo get's what is rightly for him: Human victims.

A true protector of winter wilderness Wendigo cannot be exile. It was awaken or became carnivorous spirit when human first time disturbed the peace of remote cold locations. It is angry, it is hungry.


Those few who have witnessed Wendigo with their own eyes describe it as white great werewolf standing on two feet with horrible long arms with knife sharp claws. It's size is twice of an ordinary human and it's strength and agility is hard to compare.

Even though it walks with two feet, it is far from humanoid form. It is manifested spirit. Not a human nor a wolf but something horrible.

But Wendigo doesn't only manifest as physical being, but can travel like a wind. Invicible to eye it is described as extremely cold breeze when there is no wind. Some people acclaim that they did even see a shape of Wendigo in snow of the breeze.


Wendigo usually attacks those who travel deep in the snowy and cold winterness. It doesn't try to scare intruders of the forest, but does kill them with it's claws and teeth. Sometimes but rarely it even attacks small villages and communities tormenting them as a breeze or killing every living person over one night.

For reason unknown Wendigo is not always physically aggressive, but can also torment people as in its spirit breeze form. No campfires stay burning, frostbites occur even through warm and thick furs and in the camp someone might have frozen to death before morning.


  • Can travel long distances fast in spirit form as a wind or breeze.
  • Is unharmed by normal weapons.
  • Does regenerate.
  • Can make small area extremely cold.
  • Is extremely strong and agile in physical form.

  • Is vulnerable to magical weapons or special shaman crafted weapons.
  • Is vulnerable for fire (but can blow fires off easily in wind spirit form).
  • Tied into locations of cold and snow. If there is summer, autumn or spring time, Wendigo cannot exsist in that period of the year.
Banishing Wendigo

When Wendigo's healthpoints decrease to its death, Wendigo is banished. However you cannot kill it, as it will return in next full moon. Only way to get rid of Wendigo in the area is not to destroy it as it is impossible to destroy it permanently but leave the place.
Characters who encounter Wendigo in their travel must move along.
Village tormented by Wendigo must be abandoned for good.

Wendigo In Campaigns
Wendigo is truly powerful entity and can cause several problems for the party of adventurers. Defeating it is extremely hard, so Wendigo should be encountered only by strong characters by default. If characters cannot directly defeat Wendigo, best way to survive is to stay alive and trying to get away from that area.

Possible adventure seeds:

  • Village is tormented by Wendigo and characters are asked to banish or destroy it.
  • Characters who travel through wintery wilderness could encounter Wendigo and must do their best to survive.
  • In modern horror setting (CoC, WoD etc.) there might be rumours of Wendigo. Characters might for different reasons encounter it. Maybe they are called to investigate it or are fascinated by the story. They might even be at the wrong place in the wrong time.
Statting Wendigo

It depends on game system what Wendigo's stats would be. You could use werewolf if there is stats presented in rules system but tweak it a bit. It doesn't shapehange from human to werewolf but it can shapechange from wind to physical apparation.
Basically Wendigo in wind spirit form is invulnerable. You cannot harm it by hitting it, but some really powerful magical or shamanic artifacts could keep character(s) safe.
In physical form Wendigo can be attacked, but only magical or enchanced weapons harm it. In modern setting golden bullets harm it (silver is cold, moon, winter - gold is warmth, sun, summer). But even though Wendigo can be damaged via magical or enchanted weapons it has plenty of stamina and hitpoints to make it hard to kill with even proper weaponry.
Remember, that Wendigo has high strength and dexterity (or similar values). It has also good senses (perception or similar and proper skills). It is spirit, so it should be tougher than normal physical monsters and beings.

Benefices Of Defeating Wendigo 

Naturally as Wendigo is tough opponent, it is worth plenty of experience for its defeaters. Unfortunately as Wendigo is spirit being, you cannot obtain for example Wendigo Claws or Wendigo Fur for character's benefices. When Wendigo is destroyed, it simply disappears like a breeze.

If character is skilled in talking or communicating with spirits or is even able to command them, you should allow it as rules in your system in use states. But Wendigo is always angry and agressive for human(oid)s so you cannot bargain with it. It wants to banish you for good. Kill you. Eat you. Destroy you. Keep that in mind if some character with proper qualities tries to communicate or even command Wendigo.
Only deal you possibly could do with success with Wendigo is to assure that you will leave the place as soon as possible.

Lazy on writing combat rules for YDIN project

Someone who has followed this blog might know that I am developing my own rpg system. In the following link to this blog you can find set of rules already written:

But I have been stuck on writing the rules. There is not yet rules for combat and wounding. I know how it works already, but am too lazy to write them down. Rules for combat and wounding are most detailed and long to write down. I am currently quite busy in my life, so those rules have been delayed for some time now.

I am planning to write so called basic combat to just explain how to hit, how armor works etc. to get started fighting with my system. And then write down advanced combat rules with more detail. There are some optional ideas for advanced combat, like armor piercing and piercing damage for bullets and swords (thanks for one blog poster for awesome ideas).

Rules for wounds and death would be so much faster and simplier to write down, but I think that it's useless to write them before actual combat rules.

After I have written those core rules down, I think I am free to develope specific, advanced and optional rules as I will what is the purpose of this system from the beginning. When YDIN basic rules are done I can write what ever I like to write in any order I want to.

I just need some inspiration and time to wrap YDIN basic rules together to move on the next step. I also want to make a PDF from basic rules to download, so they would be easier to access as the rules are currently only available in this blog in different posts (like chapters).

Orbs are dust particles, or are they?

Everyone knows so called ghost photographs with orbs. Orbs are those floating circles and balls what are said to be spirits. But the truth is not that fascinating or paranormal. Orbs are just dust particles or moisture reflecting camera's flash. Or the brightest ones are lens flares.

So, there is nothing paranormal in orbs. They are not proof of orbs or existence and activity of spirits. They are just normal phenomenom. And worst "proof" of ghost activity.

But in your horror campaign, what if orbs are paranormal? How to make these real life dust particles and camera flash reflections paranormal? Here is an idea how to make dust particle orbs paranormal in your game those still remaining dust:

Paranormal Dust Orbs

Orbs are dust. That is true. You get orbs into your photo from flash reflecting on them. In so called haunted cellars and atticks there is dust more obviously. But when this dust is paranormal, there are problems.
Even though there is dozens or even hundreds of dust orbs in photo it doesn't affect you. Maybe the air is just stuffy but that's all.
But if you start to get pictures of orbs at your house. First one or two every now and then. Then more often, then more. More you start to get photographs of these dust particles more hard it is for you to breath. But it only affects you. No one else in the house suffers for hard breathing. And every day there are more orbs present. And every day it is harder you to breath.
If you take photos outside, those dust particle orbs seem to follow you. You might take the picture, are hard to breath but if your friend takes a picture in same place there is no orbs more than normally there would be depending on camera and flash settings.
If you are in picture where there are more people, the orbs seem to be collected around you in the picture.

You are haunted by the eerie ghastly dust particle orbs. And they suffocate you.

Doctors cannot find anything wrong with you, but still they agree that it's hard for you to breath and you are slowly suffocating. But medical science doesn't have answers for your condition.

Campaign contains these elements to solve, before your character dies:

  • What are these haunted dust particle orbs?
  • Where do they come from?
  • What character has done so he has this suffocating haunting on him?
  • What character can do to get rid of these haunted dust particle orbs?
This would be best as a solo adventure, as it is focused on one character and his struggle to find the truth and remedy before he dies. Or one of character party could be haunted by these orbs and the party tries to solve the mystery before their fellow suffocates to death. Or characters could be hired to help someone to get rid of this haunting.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

[D&D] Against many

Main idea for these rules is to take lower level monsters, make them a challenge by adjusting their volume and make truly epic battles, where party of 6 heroes hacks and slash their way through dozens of skeletons. And it doesn't take whole month to deal with that battle.

In computer games you often fight with your character against tons of monsters running in between of them and tapping "attack button" repeatedly and in few second your kill count is many. But in rpg's usually there is not that many enemies present. Not for the reason heroes couldn't deal with them, but for the simple reason that it would take too much time to handle.

So, I have thought about this to find somekind of conclusion to make an epic battle where hero group fights against (for example) several skeletons without taking that much time in bookkeeping (I have heard that 4th edition has conclusion for this, but I haven't read it, so don't know much about it).

How To Make A Horde Of Enemies?

  • Choose monster your players' characters will fight
  • Decide how many of them are in fight
  • Multiply average hitpoints with how many monsters there are in "horde"
  • Add +1 to damage and +1 to hit for every 4th monster
So basically all the monsters in horde share the same hitpoints pool. You don't have to count each hitpoints and damage dealt individually. Characters deal damage for the horde of monsters, not every single individual.

As monsters might be weaker fort the party, calculate Hit Die like this:

  • If an individual monster's CR is high enough for party to gain experience points, give experience points normally depending on CR and how many monsters there are. For example ten CR12 monsters are worth of 15.000 exp for 15th level party.
  • If an individual monster's CR is too low for party to gain experience points from it, take highest possible level to qualify for experience, multiply it with amount of monsters and divide to 1/4. For example if an individual monsters CR is 3, normally it woulnd't give experience for lvl 12 characters, but you use highest possible level's experience points - 10th level character, 250 experience points - multiply it with amount of monsters and divide by four. So 20 CR3 monsters would be worth of 5000 experience points divided by 4 = 1250 experience points total (to share with a party ofcourse).
Area of effect spells don't use attack counters to measure which possible monsters are hit, instead just multiply it's damage by 1D4 per attack. In this system you attack horde of monster's hit points pool, so basically you roll your area of effect damage, then 1D4 and multiply the damage by that result.

Every 4th point damage taken for the horde, decrease 1 from damage and to hit as their volume is decreased. You might want to do a simple chart to cross points where your horde's power stands in, like this:

On upper chart I used skeleton's statistics.

Skeleton, Medium Sized (D&D 3. Monster Manual)
Hit Dice: 6 HP (no idea about CR, but meh, I use this as 1 because skeleton's got 1HD)
Attacks: 2 claws, +0 melee
Damage: claw 1D4

When horde is at it's full power (121 or more HP) it deals 1D4 + 6 damage and it's to hit is +6. When the horde of skeletons get's weaker, it's attack power decreases.

Horde attacks every character in a combat, unless they are in longe range (rangers with bows, casters etc.) as long as other character's keep horde busy. You might want to roll random die to see, if horde can attack long range heroes that turn. Roll 1D6 with results 1-2 long range combatants are also attacked that turn.

Final Thoughts

Many of D&D player's enjoy their combat to be mini-game of strategic action moving figures and thinking about their turns as advanced chess. But these rules could come handy if and when you want fast combat against many monsters. Ofcourse you might see, that this doesn't work as well with high CR monsters, as they are great challenge as an individuals. But with these rules, you can take those low CR skeletons out of the closet and put tens of them against your 10+ level party to deal with. And for their effort, they can have also a small amount of experience.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Making demonic random table

I decided to start work on demonic random table for evil and demonic creatures, characters and NPCs. There are few columns in my table:

  • Roll result what shows what demonic quality or characteristic is possessed
  • Description tells what the result is like
  • System tells how it works or what it does and could be modified to suit the system you are using
Roll is made with D666 (roll similarly to D100 but just use 3D6). So there is lots of options to write down. How many times will one roll D666 in first place is decided by gamemaster or rolled randomly. I give some ideas for that. For NPC's somekind of demonic level could tell how many rolls you do, and for characters random roll (1D6).

This is fun to do, but there is so many things to write down to the table to fill empty spaces. I am currenlty almost half way through, but there is still over 100 to come up with.

So, if you have any ideas for demonic powers, characteristics or qualities for monsters, characters and NPCs feel free to suggest them in comments below. Help and ideas are appreciated highly!

[PS2] Silent Hill 4: The Room - Is it Silent Hill and how to rpg it?

I just finished playing Silent Hill 4: The Room (I refer it as SH4 further). It took almost 8 hours and three evenings, so the game wasn't that long but mediocre in survival horror and adventure games. The cover is cool as artwork and layout in user's manual, but was the game good itself?

Story In Short

You are stuck in your room. There are chains in your door, and you don't have a idea what is going on. But you find a portal in your bathroom what leads you out from your room to different realms. As travelling outside from your room through the portal you investigate what is going on and find out, that if you don't do anything, the 21 sacraments will be fulfilled and world won't be the same.

Is This Silent Hill?

Game looks like Silent Hill in graphics and controls are similar, but it doesn't feel like Silent Hill. In previous SH games you explored the sleeping and damned city of Silent Hill with horrible secrets and from time to time landscapes changed in horrible twisted ways to rust and blood. There is no this mood in SH4.
You basically travel between your room and portal to places what I see as levels. You don't explore continous setting, but travel from your room to the location and back. World doesn't change, it is at it is rendered at the first place.
This level based design does take a great amount of feeling out of the game. When you finish the level by running through it to the end, there is a cut-scene and you are back in your room and next time portal takes you to a new location where you travel as long untill you fulfill all the requirements to finish the level.

Levels are quite short. There are few areas you travel back and forth finding items to get a bit further to the end of the level. There are next to none brain challenging puzzles, main idea is to collect items and use them in the right place. Even though the aren't necessarily keys, their function is like keys to the lock. Find item, place it where it belongs and get further.

Monsters From Hell

In previous Silent Hills you had radio what went crazy when monsters were near. In SH4 this feature no long exists. You can hear monsters near from noices they make, or from music, but that's it. I really, really missed the radio, as in my opinion it is a part of Silent Hill game.
What about monster design? It sucked. There weren't many different kind of monsters in the count, and the design of them was quite dull. They were boring and far from scary. More like annoying. Worst monsters in game were monkey/gorilla type things what made noises like a chimpanzee. Lame.
Worst and most annoying monsters in game were ghosts. You can beat them down, but they never die. Soon they resurrect and continue haunting you again. In whole game there is total of five items you can permanently nail ghosts to the ground so they stop haunting you.
In some levels or rooms ghosts continue to follow you through the walls for some time where ever you go. I quess that the idea of these immortal and undestructable ghosts was that they are scary as you cannot kill them, but must run away from them. I found this more annoying. It is easy to kick ghost down for a small period of time even though they eat your healthpoints when near.

Level Design

Level design was a bit boring. Mostly you run corridors. Even woods was basically corridors with just different texture. And in a level there is lots of running back and forth finding items or unlocking doors or places after you find the right item. And areas are small.
Most of the places look ordinary. A bit deserted maybe, but not that twisted. When you get to the end game the surroundings start to look more like real Silent Hill terror, but that's it. World doesn't change as you walk by. It is twisted or is not when you enter the place.

Your Room Is Your Sanctuary, Or Is It?

You travel back to your room during each level through portals scattered here and there. In your room you basically do these things:
  • Save game
  • Put items in your item chest with unlimited space when your inventory's space is limited
  • Find notes to flesh out the story
  • Regenerate HP during time spent there
But at some point your room starts to be haunted. Windows clatter, TV shows static screen and you cannot turn it off, your slippers have moved with bloody foodprints etc. When the haunting starts, you don't regenerate your HP anymore and when you go near haunted spot (ie. windows or TV) you start to loose HP. But you can collect holy candles what you can lighten up next to haunted spot to prevent the haunting for short period of time.


As I said previously, most of the puzzles are just finding the right item and using it in a right place. There are few exceptions though, what were great and good variation. For example obtaining code to open door at bar and when re-visiting the place obtaining the changed code. Besides of those, there weren't much brainstorming. Basically you just needed to search everyplace to find items to use.


In survival horror games moving a character is a bit slow. They don't attack fast or are agile. It suits well. This is not an action game, so no need to ravageous and fast swinging of a pipe. At some points character's slow movement was a bit annoying though.

So Is It Any Good Then?

For a Silent Hill series? No. Silent Hill 1, 2 and 3 were way much better in all areas. Silent Hill 4 failed in mood, level design, monsters, locations, puzzles etc. It is not a bad game, but for Silent Hill brand it could be better. I think that only title Silent Hill gives a bit more credit for the game. But there was not that much Silent Hill in this, so it could have been called just The Room.

How To Use This As RPG?

I have to say, that SH4 did not give that much inspiration in running horror/mystery rpg adventure. It was too boring, unoriginal and straightforward. I don't reveal the plot, but it could be used as stand alone idea for rpg adventure but that's almost it. Monsters were too boring to convert into any system and locations weren't original or exciting enough.
So sadly, I don't see any rpg value in SH4. You might take an idea from here and there, but in general this game is useless inspiration. If you want to use something, here are what I could rip:

  • 21 sacraments story
  • orphanage story
  • two puzzles for opening bar door involving phone
 As I wouldn't run SH4 as a rpg campaign or adventure, there is no particular system or setting I wanted to use for those three ideas. They work fine with any horror or mystery game. But for Silent Hill series in general (especially awesome 1, 2 and 3) I would most definately use Kult as it has similar system with mental balance and reality twisting.

Should You Play It?

Yes and no. Game wasn't that bad, it was more a disappointment. Luckily it was fast to play through, so you wouldn't be committed to this game too many nights what is a plus for this boring and unoriginal game. I liked to play it though, but even if there are four different endings I won't play it again. One time was enough for this experience.
If this game wasn't Silent Hill, I'd give it 3 stars. Silent Hill in title and nice package gives ½ star extra. So total of 3½ stars from me.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Cannibal hobbit tribe of desert

In the desert, far from civilization there is small tribe of hobbits. They don't live in fancy and cozy holes but in tents made from leather of rare desert oxes. Everyone knows that hobbits love easy life, good food and drink and love parties and festivals. But life for these hobbits is simple and quite rough. Sun is burning in the daytime but nights are cold.

Usually hobbits are round for their love of food but these tribesmen are thinner. They love festivals though, but they are rare as their life is rough.

Food in desert is hard to get, and a great feast is hard to make. They hunt lizards and other small reptiles and if the hunters are lucky, they might get a desert ox. There aren't many of plants, but they are good at making wine from the palmtrees at the oasis they live.

Sometimes, if they are lucky a caravan goes by. Part of the desert where this tribe of hobbits lives is remote from civilization. Week's travel to next roadside inn. When there is a caravan heavily guarded, they are really shy and cautious to show themselves. But if caravan is lightly guarded, hobbits attack it robbing valuables, taking food and human.

What do they do for their captives? Cook them alive. Meat is better, when it is cooked with adrenaline. The leftover meat they dry in the sun.

Old people from the tribe (75% or more of expected living age) are eaten. They are not cooked alive, but their throats are slit. This is not an horror for tribe's members, but mere a honour. They born and live their life in the tribe, and that is their way. When hobbit is old enough, he is more than willing to nourish his tribesmen. Death is a ritual, a festival. Hobbit to be cooked is treated like a king for months. He knows what is coming up to him and how his life will end on his tribesmens plates and is happy to be able to feed this poor tribe. Even those killed in injuries are not buried, but eaten. It's a waste of a life to bury the body in the ground, or burn it, and noone wants it.


When adventrurers are far in the desert, they might find this oasis resident by hobbit tribe of cannibals. They treat their visitors the  best they can, putting up a small festival for the honour of their visitors. They do their best to feed them, and give the best of the wine they have maken from palmtree leaves. One might notice, that even if meat is red, it tastes like chicken. If this is told, they say that lizards taste like it. Aren't it good meat, sir?

They put tranqualizing herbs in wine for their guests to sedate them. When guests go to sleep, the sleep is so deep they hardly wake up in even bigger disturbance. Then the guests are tied up and carried into a huge pot to cook alive. The pain in being cooked alive is so horrible, that even the herbs won't keep their guests asleep anymore. "Screaming meat is better," goes the old saying.

System And Setting

Basically you can use cannibal hobbit tribe in any fantasy game. It doesn't need to be Tolkien as halflings or even gnomes or dwarves can do the trick. Just take some less dangerous race, what is commonly found nice and you are good to go. The race you choose to use should not be concidered as violent or dangerous, or the surprise is ruined.

How Will Characters Survive From Being A Nice Meal?

That is a good question.

Cannibal is when someone eats someone else from his own species. But I describe this outcast desert tribe of hobbits as cannibals, as they eat intelligent humanoids.

Halloween challenge from you to me!

Post in comments before 30th day of this month. (I live in +2 Time zone, if it matters). From those posts I will make a post including your idea done.

So, what I am asking, give me in comments:

  • Name (for example Crow the Nightwalker, Nightpeaks). Something horror and/or Halloween related.
  • What you want it to be (for example place, NPC, monster, item). Something you want your given name to be.
  • Optional: Genre. If you want your name and concept to be for certain genre, name it. Unfortunately I cannot do everything for particular system, as I don't obviously necessarily own every system you would like the "thing" to be in. So just genre. I include it to some system I choose, or leave it system-free.
I will make a topic about all ideas you dear readers have posted in comments to this post. (I hope there are more than one. Or EVEN one). I will mostly do this for my own fun.
This can be great inspiration for me and I am looking for what you guys come up with and what I will come up with those ideas.

AND if you are interested in similar challenge, I give some ideas to YOU! You can post in comments link to your site showing what you have created. So, here is:

  • The One Eyed Horror - Item
  • Ragged Stranger - NPC
  • Foul Maggot - Monster
  • White Blood - Place
I left genres/settings to be decided by YOU. Have fun, and give some fun for me!

Halloween = Call of Cthulhu x2

Here in Finland Halloween is not an official holiday, but it is growing as a phenomenom. There are lots of Halloween themed items in shops and I think that younger generation really enjoys it.

Halloween is this Sunday, but meh, me and my girlfriend will have a Halloween Weekend! So, starting today, continuing tomorrow and recovering on Sunday. We are cooking some Halloween themed snacks like fingers in blood (wieners with garlic slices as nails in a bowl of ketchup), monster faces (small pizzas with stuffings arranged as monsters faces), spider pies (not idea what this would be, I trust on my gf on this) and so on.

But the main fun in Halloween (with boozing) is roleplaying. I decided to run one-shot adventure with horror theme, but had two ideas so I try to go with two. I decided to use Call of Cthulhu with both my games. Actually other set in modern days doesn't necessarily need rules at all, but I decided that it might be easier to make a character with a character sheet.

So, here are my adventures:

Hollow Life

Character is an everyday person. Working in post office. He has normal life. But one day she starts to see people, who doesn't see her and who no one else seems to see either. Outside a store lady dressed in victorian dress walks by. At the old trainstation but today buss station she sees man in old conducteur's uniform.
Then, these people she but no one else saw start to see her and seem to be as surprised or confused as character is seeing them.
After awhile when character sees more these ghost people, normal people start to unsee character...
Basically the idea is, that character has died but she doesn't know it yet. She is slowly slipping to the realms of the dead, thus seeing dead people ending to the point that she is not in the realms of living anymore but faded through the border of living and dead.
In this adventure despite of character's actions it is an oneway spiral to death. Well, character has already died and when she slips more and more through the border of living and death maybe she will recall an accident or something. Point is, how will character handle the situation when she realises that she has died. And what is after death? Will she remain a ghost or accept her death and walk to the light for eternal peace?

Bad Moon Closing

Set in 1920's character is involved in astronomy (not sure yet how). One bright winter night she discovers a new distant planet. What is every night a bit closer and closer. One night she can clearly see the planet blinking a big eye. What is this planet, why is it closing up and what will be the consequences of it?

[A] nineteenth century British cult believed in [a] comet-god who sang to the stars and planets as it passed by them in its orbit. They said it destroyed those worlds it passed, by waking up demons or ancient gods ... who slept on each world.
—Kevin A. Ross, "The Music of the Spheres"
Picture from:
Ghroth (the Harbinger) resembles a small, rust-colored planet or moon with a single, gigantic red eye which it can close to avoid detection. Ghroth drifts throughout the universe singing its siren song, the Music of the Spheres. As it swings by a planet, any Great Old One or Outer God sleeping there is awakened by the song. This usually results in the extinction of all life on the planet or perhaps even the utter destruction of the planet itself.[2]
Ghroth is believed to be responsible for the periodic mass extinctions that wiped out 90% of all life on earth, including the extinction of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous era. It may also have caused the destruction of the planet Shaggai, the homeworld of the intelligent, insect-like Shan.[3] For this reason, Ghroth is also known as Nemesis, or the Death Star, named after the Nemesis Hypothesis, first proposed by American astronomers David Raup and Jack Sepkoski.

Text from here:

Can character do anything to stop this horror from singing it's song of destruction to planet death? Does American goverment know about this and hide their knowledge? Can character find information about Ghroth? What about other astronomists? Is earth doomed?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Made Call of Cthulhu fixed character sheet with alternative starting skill values

I am planning to run CoC one-shot for Halloween in 21th century, so made few minor tweaks to character sheets.
Also I wanted skills to be based more on characteristics than just pre-made %. In my Call of Cthulhu character sheet 2000 edition characters might even be a bit more skillful at the beginning. World is more advanced and information is easier to find and learning is made easier aswell.

I decided to share it for you.

So, here it is:

Also check out my "Downloads Page" for more (well, not that many yet) goods for roleplaying games. There already are:

  • All Flesh Must Be Eaten 2 to 1 one page character sheet
  • Call of Cthulhu 5th edition 1990 character sheet with big mariginal for personal notes
  • Call of Cthulhu 5th edition 2000 character sheet with fixed starting skill rates
  • Ydin N6 Mini beta introduction rules (currently only available in finnish)
Keep updated in my "Downloads page", as I add items there every now and then.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

YDIN - Basic combat phases

Combat is in rounds and turns. Round is time what takes all participants to make their actions, turn is one individual's action. Time of one turn or round can vary greatly. In fast phased gunshooting one turn can take few seconds to fire a gun, but in space combat one turn can take several minutes to manouver the spacecraft.


Initiative determines the order in which participants act. Usually player characters roll individual initiative, but gamemaster can roll single initiative roll for every NPC/monster with same basic initiative value.
Initiative can be re-rolled after every round, or first initiative can be used through whole combat. Highest initiative score gets to act first, second highest gets to act second and lowest gets to act last.
Character can also delay his action from his turn and act in any initiative turn he wants.

Basic Initiative

Basic initiative is character's Dexterity + Perception.

Rolling Initiative

Add result of D6 to basic initiative to determine each combatants phase to act in combat round. If you score result 6 with D6, roll again. Second roll is another action's turn in one combat round.

Character's Dexterity is 3 and Perception 4, so basic initiative is 7. Result of D6 roll is 3, so character's turn in combat round is 7.
Character's Dexterity is 3 and Perception 4, so basic initiative is 7. Result of D6 roll is 6, so player gets to roll D6 again to score 3. Character gets to act in turns 13 and 3. With exploding die he gets to act two times in combat round.
These extra actions don't suffer negative modifiers.

More Than One Action In Turn

Character can take more than one action in a single turn. Every additional action adds one negative modifier to every roll. Three actions is maximum to perform.

Two actions in one turns is 2 negative modifier for both acts.
Three actions in one turn is 3 negative modifier for each acts.
In each extra action from exploding initiative die you can perform more than one action, but each extra turn is dealed individually.
Character takes three actions in his combat turn. He rolls his every act with three negative modifiers.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Magic set editor - Flesh your game

I haven't played Space-Jerusalem / Natural20 (homebrew D20 system), but there is one idea I like alot. That system uses cards as equipment, special skills etc. for characters.

Usually in rpg's you write down what ever equipment, weapons, spells, special skills etc. your character has. It works ok, they all are written down on character sheet. But sometimes there are problems. You might have title for skill or spell your character knows, but there is not enough space to write description how it works and what it does. Before you learn what they do, you might have to refer to rulebook quite often.

That can slow down action in games.

Currently I am Dungeons Mastering D&D 3. and my player's character is a sorceress. So obviously she has spells. She is third level now, but at this point she already has 10 individual spells. Ofcourse they are written down on character sheet, but there isn't that much space for spell descriptions.

One way would be to write down spells statistics on separate paper, but I don't like the idea. I remember when I started to play and run Vampire: the Masquerade, I did write down discipline's name and below it what that discipline can do in different levels what my character knew. Doing that I didn't have to refer to rulebook every now and then figuring out what I have to roll to success, how much blood or willpower it consumed and so on.

When my player's sorceress in D&D 3. started to learn more spells than few, I decided to download Magic Set Editor 2 (thanks for the idea, Space Jerusalem). Now when sorceress character learns new spells, I just check out the statistics needed in the game and write them on blank card template, google a picture to paste on it and save. I have a card for spell you can quickly refer during game without need to open rulebook!

We do use computers in gaming as a tool. So it's easy to shuffle between the cards with image viewer. I could also print them ofcourse.

Now I have a ambitious plan. To make card of every single spell in PHB. That's alot of work, but when it's done, it will be so neat. I have every spell in game made as an easy-to-read card!

I am also planning to make cards of weapons. Googling a picture is quite easy and it is easy to write down weapon's statistcs. And if I print them, player can actually have a deck of items and spells her character knows! No more writing own weapons and spells and rules for them, you just take your card deck and are ready to start gaming. Just put down next to character sheet weapons and items, and when deciding what spell to use, just shuffle the spells deck. Fast and easy, and you have good visual images of stuffs.

Cards are fast to do, so if character obtains something, it takes minute or two to make a card of it. And good part is also, that you can quite easily manage character's equipment list. What items your character is carrying at the moment, you take aside from the deck. No need to remember or mark on character sheet what you are carrying with and what are in your stock or haven.

Currently I am using this system only with D&D 3, as I started to making spell cards after started playing D&D. But I am planning to make cards for other games aswell. Even if I already quite well know how V:tM disciplines work, it would be neat to make discipline cards also! And bloodpool? You can use markers or die showing how much you have them, as the amount of bloodpoints is constantly changing. But I can just make bloodpoint cards (picture of bloody number maybe) what shows how many bloodpoints character currently has. So during game no erasing and marking bloodpool, but shuffling cards how many you got left (needs atleast 10 cards, from bloody numbers from 1 to 10). Advantage of using this system is that you don't accidentally turn your bloodpool die, you don't need extra space for two piles of counters (current bloodpool and extra bloodpoints to add after feeding) and you don't have to constantly erase your character sheet or you don't need extra piece of paper to mark them down.

Also for V:tM it could be cool to make weapon cards. Easy to shuffle cards with weapon statistics, and as V:tM uses real weapons, finding neat pictures is easy.

I know that making cards doesn't necessarily improve gaming at all, but I think it is a neat tool and can make gaming a bit easier. And usually my games are more about story and drama, so these cards could add a bit more "gaming" part into game.

If I recall right, Space-Jerusalem does rely on cards alot. It can be ofcourse be played without cards using traditional character sheet where you write stuff down.

So, I like the card idea. They are fun to make, fast to make and can make gaming a bit faster and easier. But what do you think? Are additional cards to games just too much more things to handle? Or can they even distract playing in some way?

Friday, October 22, 2010

What should I GM for Halloween special rpg?

I am planning to run some fun one-shot for my girlfriend in Halloween. I want it to be fun, kind of old-schoolish horror, like those B-movies or some old scary story.

But I don't know what to run yet! Here are few options and ideas:

All Flesh Must Be Eaten could be one, but well, my girlfirend is not into zombies, so I quess it would be lame surprise for her. And let's face it, even though zombies are awesome it could be pretty lame. Come on. Zombies on halloween? As I might want to have some bloody zombie-action, that's not an option.

Call of Cthulhu. Well, this is real deal. Horror almost at its best. I was concidering 20's theme instead of modern age. There is something more sinister and spooky in 20's than today (today and tomorrow campaigns tend to be more equipment against monsters than "oh shi- I go NUTS over this tentacle 7-dimensional blob of eyes!!!!). So, 20's it would be. I was thinking, that I wouldn't run Mythos with great bad god and cultists (that is cool though), but something different. Here's the idea:
Fading away. So, at first main character sees people noone else sees. Later on, some people don't see the character anymore. So, for some reason (Cthulhu, it's in the title.... um no) main character is slowly slipping into the realms of the dead. Only problem is, is that a bit too slow paced, too moody, too tragic, too artsy?
Another idea is monster found in Yer Booke of Monstres (CoC sourcebook with Mythos monsters from various authors). Cannot remember the details, but there was this elder god (or something) what looks like a moon. So, character is amateur stargazer and finds this new planet/moon... what is (CTHULHU!!! Eh, no) some frikkin' huge monster! And when character finds it out, he goes nutz.

My Life With Master. Haven't played this yet, but it could be (tragic, dark and sinister) beer and pretzel (we don't have those in Finland I quess) game. It could be something in mood like Nightmare Before Christmas. Good quality is, that MLWM rules are quite easy to use. And the game supports 100% the campaign (well, you obey your master and then try to kill him!). That could be a go.

Kult. Well... no. I want to have fun in halloween. Kult has awesome setting, but it is a bit too violent, strange, sinister, dark, pervert, and so on for Halloween when you dress like witch or ghost and drink "blood" and eat "chopped fingers". So no.

CoC or My Life With Master. Which should it be.

If someone has really, really neat Halloween rpg adventure or something, shoot me with it! You can find my games I own here *klick*.

Ammo penetration, sketch for YDIN

Characters have hitpoints. Normal durability to deal with damage, poisoning, cold, exhaust etc. Characters have plenty of those, so they can shrug minor scratches off.
Characters also have wound points, what indicate stamina for major damage.
Characters have wounds related to wound points. This is an attribute what damage needs to exeed to deal wounds.

So in short. Healthpoints represent scratches. Wound points represent major damage. Wound points are stamina to endure major damage.

If damage exeeds character's wounds, wound point is taken. If damage exeeds wounds two times, two wound points are taken and so on. Also in addition for wounds character suffers health point damage always.

Let's take an example character. His wounds value is 6 (from range 2 to 12).
Character suffers 4 damage. Player takes 4 hitpoints away. Just a scratch or a bruise.
Character suffers 7 points of damage. Player takes 7 hitpoints away, and also takes one wound point off.
Character suffers 13 damage. Player takes 13 hitpoints off and also 2 wound points.

With smaller damage (below wounds) character only suffers minor bruises and scratches and can go on way much longer than taking wounds, which represent serious wounds.

Got it? Good. Now let's go to penetration part, shall we?

So, you shoot with a certain weapon capable to penetrate a body (not decided yet what are the requirements for this, working on it). If damage is dealt more than a wounds, bullet goes through it's victims body. If bullet hits someone behind and it has damage left enough more than second victims wounds, it continues through him.
The catch is, that after penetrating the first victim, the first needed wounds for penetration are decreased from the damage.

Easier to explain with an example, so here goes:
ALFA has 6 wounds, BETA 4.
Weapon deals 8 damage.
ALFA takes 8 damage to hitpoints and one wound.
Decrease first victim's wounds from weapon damage (8-6) and you got 2 left.
So bullet goes through ALFA and hits BETA with 2 damage, just a scratch.

Weapon deals 15 damage.
ALFA takes 15 damage to hitpoints and also 2 wounds.
Decrease first wound to penetrate ALFA's body (15 - 6) and you got 9 damage left for bullet.
So bullet goes through ALFA and hits BETA with 9 damage.
As BETA has 4 wounds only, he gets 2 wound points in addition to 9 points of damage.
Decrease BETA's wounds from bullet's damage, (9 - 4) and you got 5 damage left for bullet to hit something behind BETA.
Bullet went through both ALFA and BETA and still kept going.

Let's make one experience more.
ALFA has 6 wounds and behind him is a barrel with flammable gasoline with 3 endurance* (hitpoints, armor).
Weapon deals 8 damage.
Again bullet goes through ALFA dealing 8 damage and one wound.
Bullet goes through ALFA still with 2 points of damage. Luckily the barrel's endurance is 2, so bullet doesn't pierce it and blow the whole place up!

*Endurance is general durability for objects.

Phew, now just have to write that down so, that someone actually understands it besides of me!

Armor decreases damage. If kevlar vest's armor value is 6, is decreases weapons damage by 6. Everyone has seen this before, but let's make an example or two.

Armor 6 and damage 3. No damage dealt.
Armor 6 and damage 7. One point of damage dealt. Propably just a scratch, or bruise through vest.

Simple? Yes. But in my last post Chauncey gave a really great idea, I'd like to use (gotta ask him permission). You concider armor value also in exit wound! <- brilliant!

Two setting ideas

I tried to write YDIN as whole and found, that it is quite hard task to do. I have ideas from here and there, and putting them together in write (program) can be hard. Then I figured out, that I can write separate rules within this blog in any order I feel. Easily.
Ofcourse I could do the same with notepad for example, and just copypaste them together in the end. But still, somehow writing rules in parts to this blog is so much easier and more inspiring work.

Basic rules are almost done. I need to write combat rules, do some weapons lists and write wounding and death rules and that's about it. Anything beyond that will be written in settings. Like for example rules for magic, insanity etc. setting specific.

So, as I am writing the rules down I have come up with two settings. Another is After Destruction I have written here, and also started to write it down otherwise. I found out the same problem as with rules, it's quite hard for me to write whole setting down "at once", so I decided, that after I have written the rules down in whole I can start to write this setting similarly; piece by piece. I could start post titled: Wastelands and write it down, then Equipment, then Wastelands Monsters, then Living in After Destruction, then Mutants, then Character classes etc. etc.
I don't have to worry about ideas, or in what order I try to write them, or about layout. I can write stuff as they come up to me. Piece by piece.

Another setting I want to write is called Grimworld. Dark high-fantasy with humour. Kind of like Discworld. There are so many great and popular fantasy settings, that it would be total waste of time to write yet another tolkien-ish fantasy setting. Who would be interested about it? No one. This will be the one I can put on all the stupid and funny ideas I come up with. It can be ridiculous and crazy, as it's the settings idea. To be dark fantasy with humour.

Why won't I just put this stuff in my homebrew (and growing during game) D&D setting Lankhemaar? Because I want my D&D to be kind of genre-serious swords and wizardry high-fantasy with flavour of D&D corebooks. Even though we are playing in my homebrew setting, I don't want to include Death with hobby to farm bees getting headache about the buzz when one bee gets lost inside his skull (Discworld Eric - Faust book actually has this description!!!). But in my own Grimworld I can do something similar. Flying and laughing stealing batmonkies, Gremlins like goblins (Pathfinder has those I think), cannibal tribe of elves, Grimreapers botching familiar slaves, aircrafts what are powered with magical bananas, talking mountains (ents and treants, you are challenged!), senile dragon etc, upside down dimensions, lollipop forest with evil witches who have bad teeth from sugar etc.

I also want to write this spy-thingie I have talked about earlier. Psychic investigators, commandos and spies. Not sure is there a game about those, but I can make it for my own fun. Not sure will I do it, as After Destruction is my primary setting to write and Grimworld is for laughs and random ideas. Another one I'd like to write would be wild west pulp with monsters, but there are games about it already. Not sure could I write it any better, and would I take the effort to write down something already created. Well, I know there are post-apocalyptic stuff already out there, and many play homebrew or fan-made Fallout, so writing post-apocalypse isn't that new idea. I just want my post-apo to be with hope and re-building the world instead of living in a shithole.

This post makes no sense... Too much energy drink I quess.

Gun penetration

I can't recall playing a roleplaying game where there was weapon penetration modelled. I mean, that when you shoot someone, bullet goes through him and does damage for an object or person behind him.

I am currently thinking about rule for ammo penetration for my roleplaying system YDIN. I have an idea technically how to do it, and without testing it yet, I think it will work fine. Actually, on paper (computer screen) and in my mind it sounds really good!

One thing I am wondering is, what weapons are capable to penetrate object. Is it about speed of bullet or about caliber? This I have to find out. I cannot imagine that .22 pistol can penetrate anything that well, but .50 handgun (cannon amirite?) would more easily. Or a robust rifle.

I have to find out what are the terms gun might penetrate an object or person. After I figure it out, I can write it down as rules.

Also, I have basic rules, character creation and advancement, skills etc. written down but haven't wrote yet combat rules. When I get this penetration thing done, I can start to write combat rules here also.

And that firearms penetration system... it will be the same with melee weapons. With same system you can penetrate your opponent with sword, axe or spear.

One thing in my mind developing my own system is, that you have these basics what are used for whole system. So you can easily write rules, and they will work as anything else. I don't like games, where skill checks, combat checks etc. are handled with different rules. Ofcourse there are some differences in rules in different situations, but I want the core of how things work to be similar with each other. And I want it to be that way, that if you want to mod the game, you can do it quite easily without heavily tearing apart whole system.