Category Archives: Uncategorized

” R ” is for Religion [[ OSR ]]

I recently posted about what I think is common to, and so is, the OSR (link), and why your ‘faction’ of the OSR is a self-fulfilling prophesy. That is, your OSR is THE OSR because you liked that faction of the OSR, and that is the reason why you subscribed to it.

Recently I’ve been thinking more about this factionalism in the OSR. [[Edit: Reddit has pointed out that ‘Faction’ is perhaps a bit too strong – so, when I say ‘faction’ please read this to mean ‘hot spot’, ‘gravitational well’, ‘leaning’ or ‘wing’ etc.]]

I think this factionalism in the OSR is a bit like Religion.

Whatever faction of the OSR you first encountered (and the people in that faction) will heavily influence what you think the OSR is, and importantly if this was an attractive or repulsive experience.

If your first experience of the OSR was rules-as-written-TSR-era D&D – then that will probably be your (OS)R, especially if you liked it or hated it. If your first experience of religion was hyper austere Calvinism, then that will shape what you think “R” religion is. Again, this might be what you are after or you might hate it. Later discovered “R”s are clearly deluded/imposteRs. Or, of course, you might drift from one “R” to another overtime as you become more enlightened. Some “R”s may be tolerant of other “R”s, but others may be very intolerant of other the “R”s.

Anyway, if you want to hear a more expanded view on this (I was going to write the whole thing out, but I need to recover some time in my life) – please see my podcast:
https://anchor.fm/ghench/episodes/139—-R–is-for-Religion–OSR-e1rjg1u/a-a8vedcu

(yes, I have a podcast)

:O\.

– – –

Me on DriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural:
:: High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea,
:: Wilderness Hex Crawl – In the Heart of the Unknown,
:: Dungeon/network generator – In the Heart of the Delve & Dangerous

Onion-, Zone-, Layer-, Shell-, Down-, Pancake, Gobstopper … Crawl

I’m not very fast at bringing stuff together …

Sometimes I wonder how long things take me. For example, I recently began to think how long ago I came up with the idea of an Onion-, Zone-, Layer-, Shell-, Down-, Pancake-, Gobstopper- Crawl for use in my adventure Carapace .

Aside – Onion/Zone-crawl what?

I’m sure we are familiar with Hex-Crawls and Point-Crawls. But what is an Onion/Zone-crawl anyway?

The idea is that, like layers of an onion, you can press through the various layers/zones of the adventure, or you can backtrack out again, or stay in the same zone. The onion could have a infinite number of layers!

So, basically, there is no map. Each layer can have its own theme, or could be more dangerous, or chaotic than the last. So in practical terms what’s happening in each zone is procedurally defined. For example you could be working your way through the planes of the 9 Hells etc.

My Zone-Crawl adventure >> Carapace << (about procedurally exploring a maze like giant insect colony) was published 11 December 2018.

Hrrmmmm … I wonder how long the idea of a Onion-Crawl has been out there? For example DriveThruRPG shows that adamantane bestseller Gardens Of Ynn (the best selling example of a Zone-Crawl) was published on the 20 March 2018. So it seems this idea was circulating around 2017/2018 – was there an Onion-Crawl Zeitgeist circulating back then? Quite possibly as this was arguably at the high-tide of the G+ era.

Aside over – back to my delays

Anyway, but looking back, I noticed lurking in my email account was part of a discussion I was having about Zone-Crawls & Carapace back in the 9 December 2017 on G+ (then with a working title of ‘The Hive’ or some such):


So, I suspect I had been working on Zone-Crawls for Carapace for some months before that. My best guess was that I was toying with this idea in about September 2017. Maybe.

Shamefully, I even now have new art for Carapace from Marcin s (probably for more than 2 years now).

This, or more probably next year, I want to buff this all up and finally put this out as a hard copy adventure.

Soooooo, if we say this idea has taken from ~ September 2017 to (hopefully) ~ September 2023 – that’s only 7 or so years !!!!!!

Summary of Carapace Timeline todate:

  • First idea of using a Zone/Onion-Crawl, probably ~ Sept 2017
  • First (found) shared draft of this idea ~ Dec 2017
  • First PDF on DriveThruRPG ~ Dec 2018 (so, only about year later)
  • –> HOPEFULLY an updated print version with new art ~ 2023 !!!!

This is probably my most delayed project, my note to self, must do better.

> WHAT’S your longest yet unpublished work that you (still) hope to get out? <

– – –

Me on DriveThru; some of my things:
:: High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea,
:: Wilderness Hex Crawl – In the Heart of the Unknown,
:: Dungeon/network generator – In the Heart of the Delve & Dangerous

Do you even OSR ? | Response to Oct-OSR

I’ve recently been listening to lots of Oct-OSR podcast and I began to wonder why I find myself more often than not agreeing with what seem to be different/divergent statements about what the OSR is.

So, I had a bit of a think and tried to put a pin in it.

Some say the OSR is playing in a 70’s style (or at least what they think happened back then), others say the OSR must be mechanically compatible with 70s D&D, others think it is an ethos or is the DIY scene etc.

Can these all be OSR, can the OSR really be this broad?

Perhaps yes, if these are all views/movements that represent ‘dials’ in the OSR that people can dial up or down. So, when peoples say OSR is “X”, what they really mean is “X” is what is important to me in the OSR. The other stuff (that is not “X”) is not so important to me, and perhaps negligibly important. When enough people have the dials set at the same-ish position, then you begin to generate a gravitational well that draws in more adherents. This gravitational well may even become sufficiently distinct to gain a new identity like the NSR movement/wing.

So why these gravitational wells in the OSR?

I think what is important to you in the OSR is what drew you into the OSR in the first place. It is likely that what drew you into the OSR was a contact with an “OSR” (be it a person, group or product). If you liked that “first-contact-OSR” you joined the OSR. If you didn’t like that “first-contact-OSR” you left or never joined the OSR, and probably warned others off the OSR. That “first-contact-OSR” will therefore have strongly coloured your understanding of what the OSR is. Of course, the bigger the gravitational well of an OSR wing, the more likely it is to be a person’s “first-contact-OSR”, and so these wings of the OSR grow.  

So, bringing this together – what do I think the OSR is?

I think the OSR can be as broad as the various people say it is. People naturally think the OSR can’t be that broad. But, I’m not so sure. I think the OSR is like a thin membrane capturing all the OSR gravitational wells and movements derived therefrom.

To me, I now lean towards thinking that the OSR is … a non-conformist movement (like the Arts and Crafts movement) where free-thinkers do ‘RPGs’ in the way they want to, and do not simply accept what corporates like WOtC (or other main stream commercial publishers) said RPGs are, e.g. currently 5e D&D.

I think the OSR was kicked off (began to crystalize?) when people read D&D 3/4e and said: nooooooo, I’m not playing D&D that way!

But, what do I know!

:O|

– – –

Me on DriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural:
:: High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea,
:: Wilderness Hex Crawl – In the Heart of the Unknown,
:: Dungeon/network generator – In the Heart of the Delve & Dangerous

Monster Doodles | 1988 Dungeon

Some Monster Doodles

These monsters all appear in my ‘1988 Dungeon’ as encounters: drivethrurpg.com/product/267535

I know these are just doodles, but should I update the PDF to include these pictures (I figure some pictures are better than no images)?

Images updated to remove backgrounds:

Original photos: 

– – –

Me on DriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural:
:: High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea,
:: Wilderness Hex Crawl – In the Heart of the Unknown,
:: Dungeon/network generator – In the Heart of the Delve & Dangerous

100,000 views | I suppose it is a landmark of kinds

Apparently my blog has recently ticked over 100,000 views.

100K

I know this is chump-change compared with the RPG-luminaries, but since that’s not me, I think that is decent enough.

Thanks
I’d just like to thank everyone that has taken the time to read any one of my intermittent posts. If you downloaded and/or bought any of my stuff – also thanks.

So let’s dig just a little into what I’ve done  …

First post
It seems that my first post was 25 October 2018, but I think I only started posting in earnest in response to G+ closing in April 2019:

2018 – 4 posts
2019 – 102 posts
2020 – 35 posts
2021 – 27 posts

Most views
Oddly, it was yesterday. An old post seems to have caught the attention of Reddit. 

What have I done …
I’m probably best known for developing (19 Hex) Hex Flower tools.
But, I have done a few other things, like using Excel as a gaming tool, considering dice mechanics, and some other unusual bits and bobs

Product I wish more people would look at
My procedural adventure Carapace

Most Wacky
Battleships dungeon or my Rubik’s cube dungeon / stat generator

DrivethruRPG
Most of my more refined work is on DriveThruRPG (40K downloads), but you can get an idea of what I’ve done here.

Audio/visual media
Did you know I have a YouTube channel (37K views) and a podcast?
Yes? Again, thanks for watching/listening.
No? Well maybe that is for the best!

Feedback/comments below
Liked something I’ve done, then feel free to comment below …
Didn’t like something – save it for Reddit
;O)

My blog is just one of many, so again thank you for spending some time here.
:O)

Blogging Break

I’ve decided to have a blogging break. Nothing terrible has happened. I’ll probably be back in 2020. I’ll probably be following social media, emails, etc., but may be slow to respond, or I may respond once the break is over with. A few ‘Tuesday Toots’ are scheduled to publish on the blog, and I’ll simply let these come out as intended.

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InHotS the cover imageMe on DriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural:
:: High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea,
:: Wilderness Hex Crawl – In the Heart of the Unknown,
:: Dungeon/network generator – In the Heart of the Delve & Dangerous

G+ | going, going, gon…

time to go

I don’t really write ‘opinion pieces’, but here goes …

I’m going to boil down what I learn from G+ into 2 points:

(1)  Don’t debate with ideologues – they want validation not discussion

(2)  Don’t consume the oxygen – share your ideas, but leave creative room for others

Thanks to all the creative people on G+ good enough to share their time with me.

Here’s the rest of the ‘meme’ (lifted from G+, I’d share the link, but, ya’know, I can’t):

20190207_151259

 

A Spin on Abnormally Large Spiders

Abnormally large spiders are always good foes to throw at PCs; so here are 5 new spiders re-skinned from page 90 of the Monster Manual (i.e. their stats are the same but their abilities and descriptions are different).

Spider table clip

With the exception of the Phase‑Snatching Spider, they have all been inspired by unusual spiders found here on Earth.

Spiders - Assassin1. Assassin Spider is a giant version of the normally sized ‘assassin spider‘. The Assassin Spider is a voracious ground hunter. It has an unusually long neck, which extends upwards about 6 feet and has two massive six foot long mandibles.

On a successful hit, it grabs and lifts its prey 6 feet into the air, holding them at bay. In this predicament, the victim’s AC is reduced by 4 (or by one class criteria, e.g. plate to chain, etc.). Generally, the victim is also unable to hit with hand weapons. The %chance to break from is twice the character’s ‘Bend Bars/Lift Gates’ (BB/LG) score.

The next round, the great mandibles begin their deadly work, pinching together like a pneumatic press. Each time a successful to hit roll is made the victim’s effective AC is reduced by another 4 units (or by one further armour class type), and one extra damage die is added, e.g. 2D4 (1st hit), 4D4 (2nd hit), 6D4 (3rd hit), etc. The next hit after the victim is at 0 HPs, results in the victim being pinched in half (the Assassin Spider’s goal), the mandibles meeting like a pair of giant chitinous secateurs.

Spiders - Casting2. Casting Spider is a huge version of a normal ‘net-casting spider‘. This spider weaves a man‑sized ‘net’ between its elongated front limbs and will try to ‘net’ any appropriately sized prey. It can jump 18’’, but prefers to descend stealthily above its prey on a line of web.

It surprises its victims 1-5 on a D6, gaining +3 to ‘net’ the victim. A netted victim is enveloped head to toe and cannot readily move their arms or legs. Typically, it will wait until its prey is off guard or distracted (e.g. sleeping or perhaps when they are in combat with another foe). On a miss, it will skulk off to weave a new net.

The %chance to break from the net is twice the character’s ‘Bend Bars/Lift Gates’ (BB/LG) score. However, each failure lowers the chance by 5%, as such wriggling tightens the net.

The spider comes feeds when the wriggling has stopped, when the prey is fully incapacitated.

Spiders - Gobbing3. Gobbing Spider is a large version of a normal ‘spitting spider’ and is nearly transparent. It has an unusually large head and when in range it blasts its prey with a mass of webs that are coated in strong poisonous and digestive juices.

The web is not very robust and halves the mobility of creatures with 9 or less strength.

Until the web is cleaned off, the digestive juices burn like acid, doing 1HP of damage per round per coating. A slow acting poison takes effect after 5 rounds of contact – save vs poison or fall unconscious for d6 turns.

These spiders generate enough web for three attacks and regenerate this in 24 hrs. After spraying their victims, these spiders jump on and bite their prey, latching on and draining 1HP per round while they are attached.

Spiders - Phase Snatching4. Phase-Snatching Spider is a relative of the Phase‑Spider (MM, page 90). Usually, the only visible part of this spider is their foot long fangs. The rest of the spider is normally in the ethereal plane. The spider will position its fangs to snare a victim (e.g. spanning a dark tunnel or placed in a position to attract the curious.

When a victim is in range, the spider will try to grasp them. A successful hit (+4 if the victim is unsuspecting) results in the victim being dragged into the ethereal plane, where the spider is then fully visible. The spider cannot attack for 1 round while it ensures its body parts are back in full harmony with the ethereal plane.

Unlike the Phase-Spider, this spider is only mildly poisonous (failed save makes PC hard to understand; e.g. player must talk with tongue between teeth). The spider has two glands, a big one that produces a fluid that acts like oil of etherealness and a smaller one that produces a fluid that counters this. If desperate, it will spray this second fluid (+4 to hit the unsuspecting) that will return the ‘victim’ back to the prime material plane.

5. Web Bolas Spider is a huge semi-intelligent version of a normal ‘bolas spider’. This spider normally hurls up to 4 sticky blobs of web at its prey before attacking. The spider needs a turn to make new web projectiles.

The hit location (D100):

  • 1-10 – head (temporary blinding; -6 to hit; +6 to being hit)
  • 11‑20 – primary arm (can’t use weapon arm; +2 to being hit)
  • 21-30  – secondary arm (can’t use that arm; also +2 to being hit)
  • 31-40 – right leg (+3 to being hit; movement is halved)
  • 41-50 – left leg (+3 to being hit; movement is halved)
  • 51-100 – chest (+1 to being hit; only 50% chance to draw a weapon; and only 25% chance to take an item out of a pack/pouch/pocket etc.)

While semi-intelligent, their natural instincts are to attack the prey hit by its bolas.

It also has a poisonous bite that induces hallucinations in most humanoids (a failed save vs poison results in -2 to hit in combat; and +2 to being hit). Goblinoid races, and by extension half-orcs, are not affected by the poison. Goblins have been known to have these semi-intelligent creatures as companion animals.

– – –

c AntMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony.

The fate of half-baked ideas …

wolf moonI had this half-baked idea inspired by (or at least building on) someone’s half-baked idea. I wanted to post my thoughts on G+, and see what other people thought, and to see where the idea might end up. If anywhere.

Most of the most interesting ideas I’ve seen (and had) have come about this way on G+. I’ve shared silly ideas that I nearly didn’t post, only to see them evolve into really interesting things. At least in my opinion. There have been duds too of course.

But, it seems G+ has now shut off notifications, and so has in essence killed off the engine that facilitates active discussion.

Post it here? I just can’t see any value in making a blog post about the seed of a seed of an idea; and the rate of any discourse is going to be glacial at best.

MeWe it? I’ve found MeWe to be like a busy nightclub. You can try to have a discussion, but it never seems to work. The proprietor seems to want to encourage certain behaviours, but lengthy inter-customer discussion does not appear to be one of them. The nested comments just seem to (and perhaps are intended to) strangle off any meaningful discussion.

Reddit it? The life span of any discussion is so short (posts even close – Why, What?). And all this voting up and down doesn’t seem to be helpful if you have a niche idea … The ideas I like most are often not the most popular ideas circulating in the OSRZeitgeist . I can only imagine Twitter is even more temporal than Reddit.

Faceb … I can’t even finish it

So what now …

I suppose this post is merely a howl at the moon …. Aruuuuuuugha

Tuesday Toot!! | Ford’s Faeries now in Print

Tuesday TootG+ is closing. When it was alive things happened. Things unexpected. Great things. Whilst my creative output is only modest, I thought I’d hold something up into the living light, something that came about purely because G+ existed … This is a toot to G+.

5E49E4BB-02BB-45C4-832F-36F3D6E06AD0:: Ford’s Faeries: A Bestiary Inspired by Henry Justice Ford ::

Summary
This is an example of when G+ really shone. This is a collaborative work by many G+’ers (including me).

Of all the things I’ve done as a result of G+, this is one of my favourites!

As well as the free PDF, Ford’s Faeries is now available in print (POD) from DriveThruRPG : Link

DriveThruRPG bio page: 

“A bestiary inspired by the masterful work of Henry Justice Ford.

Meet the Moon-Headed Giant, the Leechlich, and the Fencer Familiar, and more than 50 other weird creatures fit for campaigns of every level. The full-page illustrations, often taken from fairytale books, have led our 15 authors to create original monsters that will give a quirky twist to your game. They all come with enough material to become the centerpiece of the session.

Contributors: Dan D., Daniel Lofton, Dat Epic Fish, Emmy Allen, Eric Diaz, Eric Nieudan, Goblin’s Henchman, Guillaume Jentey , HD Atkinson, James V. West, Jean-Marc “Tolkraft” Choserot, Ktrey Parker, Magimax, Roger SG Sorolla, Sébastien d’Abrigeon, and Vance Atkins.”

A review can be found here: http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/2019/02/review-commentary-on-fords-faeries.html

– – –

c AntMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony.


James V West Gexit
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more”
Fight on dear Gexit
(drawing by James V West)

Interesting maps of underwater cave systems

I was thinking about rules for breathing underwater and stumbled on some interesting maps:

caves big.png

The above map was found here: http://web.stanford.edu/~thossler/assets/downloads/HosslerMasterThesis.pdf

caves new

Some more interesting maps like the above can be found here: http://www.igme.es/Boletin/2016/127_1/BG_127-1_Art-12.pdf

 

Not much to add … except a few more drawings:

sys_media_132958

 

the-pit-map

UPDATE: Reddit user GrendelFriend pointed me to this webpage, which looks neat: Caveatlas.com. For example, clicking randomly about , I found this map (so there must be more great stuff on this page):

cavebeaconwoods

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c AntMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony.

LinkedIn of Monsters | Monster Matrix

LinkIn of Monsters ii.png

I’d like to know if there is some sort of online resource (wiki, database, webpage?) that shows which monsters are linked to which other monsters …

Let’s consider the curious case of the Hobgoblin and Carnivorous Ape, both of which are listed in the AD&D (1e) Monster Manual.

If you read the Hobgoblin entry you’ll see this (see highlighted passage):

hobs text

But, the Carnivorous Ape entry in the same book is silent on this interesting connection. Essentially, you could get some inspiration by reading the Hobgoblin monster entry, but not the other way round.

This is not the only example. Bullywugs and Froghemoth have a connection (mentioned in the ‘Expedition to the Barrier peak’), but this connection is missing from the FF and MM2. Ettercaps in the FF are mention to “get along well with all forms of spider”, but of course, the earlier MM1 makes no mention of this in the Giant Spider section.

Some of this can be explained by the difference in the dates the various books/modules were printed. There may have even be an editorial choice to save on space.

Either way, I would still like to see some resource that joins all these loose ends together, a LinkedIn of Monsters if you will.

If you know of any such resource, please post a link below!!

Goblin’s Henchman wrestling with the pressing issues of the day … 

This post was prompted by listening to the Monster Man podcast.

– – –

c AntMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony.

D&D Cockney Rhyming Slang | let’s build dictionary?

I had this ludicrous thought of building an in-game D&D Cockney Rhyming Slang Dictionary.

ChancerFor example:

  • :: Horse & Wagon = Dragon
  • :: Evil Lord = Sword
  • :: Eye of the Deep = Sleep

So you could have “I stab the horse and wagon with my +2 evil lord”; or possibly more correctly “I stab the horse with my +2 evil” 

It might even make a fun/passable Thieves Cant.

If for what ever strange reason you want to make/contribute to making such a dictionary, see here:  link to Google Sheets 

– – –

c AntMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony.

RPG Stuff

1 Feather Fail (variant spell of Feather Fall)This is just a place where I intend to bring together some of the RPG stuff I’ve done (please see the tabs above).

At the moment this site is a bit of a dumping ground (sorry). At some point I intend to bring some order to it. The WYSIWYG page editor is quite primitive, so I may need to bust out my rudimentary HTML skills …

Thanks for visiting
:O)

– – – – – – –

At the moment, I’m mainly pimping this:

:: The Master’s Hoard

TMHA System Neutral Collection of (quirky) Magic items.

Hopefully most of the items in this (free) download are fairly original.

 

:: Maze & Pursuit

Maze &amp; Persuit v2A simple game where a player tries to escape a Maze and to evade a Hunter.

It also might work as a simple mechanic for chase rules in RPGs.

Downloadimage_preview