Thursday, July 21, 2016

Reverse Centaur: Another Dumb Hill Cantons Class

The Revoca Canton party (the junior varsity team of the campaign) have found a solid, if dim-witted group of allies out in the mythic woods in a tribe of Reverse Centaurs. Rescuing the horseheaded humanoids a couple weeks back from the ravages of a two-headed giant (admittedly one that the party themselves released into the world) allowed them in time-honored campaign tradition to “unlock” a new dumb Hill Cantons class. Big thanks to Gus L for co-writing the class. 
On the Making of Horselings
Long ago in the Land of Ostpahr dwelt Kůň and Otokar, brothers two. Fair of head and long in leg the two so loved horses as to eschew the company of their own wives. All morn and to the eve, the brothers mounted and rode their corral of mares. They mounted and rode them in the tall green waves of the steppe grass and mounted and rode them on swelling ridges high. Mounted...why does thou giggle so? In that day they were sedulous and attentive and use to the practice of daily equestrian drill...

One day in the summer high First Pavol, a trader of horseflesh, came to them with a comely named Hrebec. Shining and black the steed stood tall in shoulder and wide in breadth, his eyes were as two flashing rubies and his mane tassels of purest gold. 

Said the humble horse merchant: “Great and mighty lords of the pastures, king of kings Svat the Four-Faced called on me in my slumber and spoke to me saying that I will have his divine favor if I make a free gift of that I hold most dear. This horse I hold most dear, more to me than my own wife, who helpeth me not in the mounting. I give him unto thee.”

The brothers praised Pavol for his piety and each other for their good fortune and made ready to mount Hrebec. But neither could allow the other to be the first to ride the horse. Both Kůň and Otokar drew ire. Hard words came forth from their mouths and the two drew forth their long blades. With mighty twinned swings they were both cleaved in two. 

Their life spilling from them on the rocky soil, great and likable Radhost took pity on the dying brothers and working deftly split Hrebec. With skillful hands the god bound the torso and head of Kůň to the body of the horse and Hrebec's stately head to the body of Otokar and the two were made whole and wholly other.

And so it was that the two ancient races, the centaurs and reverse centaurs, came to live in the world of Zem...

Reverse Centaur
Requirements: STR 13, INT 11 or less
Prime Requisite: STR
Hit Dice: 1d10
Maximum Level: 9

Proudly sporting the heads of horse-kind on their chiseled wide-shouldered otherwise human bodies, stand the proud, strong (though somewhat thick) children of Otokar, the Reverse Centaur.

Reverse Centaurs can carry on their strong backs an abnormally large amount of gear, gaining +3 STR in carrying weight (up to 19) in systems that use STR for encumbrance. Reverse Centaurs move at 120' round unless they are at heavy encumbrances. Reverse centaurs possess an innate “horse sense” allowing them to move vegetation finding trails and hidden paths and will always safely find way home after flight with no memory of escape route.

RCs are sadly also prone to severe panics and must roll 3d6 (or more if circumstance warrant) vs. INT to avoid fleeing if an ally dies, take half hp in damage, or of exposed to lightning to avoid stampeding in sheer terror. They make another check after one turn of flight to return to adventure or will wander to camp/home.

Reverse Centaurs fight and save as fighters of the same level. Their cumbersome tops and proneness to an affliction they call “saddle sore” leads them to only be able to wear leather armor. They can use all weapons other than lassos, a weapon profoundly and irrationally hated by the creatures.

Reverse Centaur Level Progression
Hit Dice (1d10)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

High Summer in the Hill Cantons

And now the News from the Hill Cantons...
Prepare the ebon-black skin dyes and four-cornered hats of mourning dear listeners. For it has come to pass that our dear Overking lies mute and gravely ill in The Great Chamber. Now is the time to put away treasonous borderlands talk that His August Majesty failed to acquire a single level in that arbitrary system of personal power gauging popular in the Cantons and unite to help the Lords Temporal, Spiritual and Arcane in their sacred roles as Electors should Raginmud LVIII be called to the fiery orgasm of the Sun Lord.

High Summer has opened a wave of occurrences large and small in Revoca Canton. Strange lights and whoops have been heard from the great mesa in the southwestern hills. Rogue Vlkodlaks have begun spurning the comforts of the “strategic hamlet” they have been generously provided by cantonal authorities and even taken to raiding outlying farmsteads. Lady Draga "Twitterlight's" recent 18th birthday has dredged up the usual round of greatly begrudged suitors. And visibly shaken reverse centaurs have even been seen at the weekly town fair begging for scraps and mumbling about a “dangerous snake giant ” up in the hills.

Pelgrane trappers in the hills north of Marlinko speak of a bizarre encounter with what appears to be a mutant variation of the sweet-tongued and terrifying deodand. Arrows were fired at a lavender-skinned humanoid in a plain harness who had apparently consumed one of their party members (albeit one not beloved due to his pugilistic and tedious theories about aesthetics). The creature was able to freeze the trappers for a full minute with a cerebral monologue before it made its escape, stating: “I am about a humble creature of thought of the great tribe of Zenodads. Yon arrows that you fired at me. What is the nature of its flight? Surely they failed to strike at me because all objects when they occupy an equal space are at rest. But yet when they are in motion are still occupying such a space at any moment. Therefore those flying arrow are motionless and failed to strike me.”

Mulmak the Unnicknamed, the wildly successful and seemingly unkillable local man-at-arms who has risen to a captaincy in the Feral Shore colony, was in Marlinko last week tersely and briefly speaking at a gala celebrating the opening of his new charity, The Beneficant [sic] Mutual Aid League for the Mild. The new charity house will help aid those afflicted and stigmatized by excessive modesty, a little known yet troublingly tenacious malady in self-aggrandizing Marlinko cultural life.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Pursuit Rules for D&D

Given the frequency (and wisdom) of player-characters deciding in D&D games to run the fuck away, the game's IGO/UGO movement kind of falls down on having a satisfying way to adjudicate a foot chase. With the previous Hill Cantons session on “pause” with a dual snake-headed giant in hot pursuit of the party as it madly ran out of a lush pocket dimension behind a dungeon mural, I found myself scrambling to come up with something that would spice it up.

Fortunately my Hydra partner, Robert Parker had come up with some pretty nifty and suspenseful ones for his Savage World of Krul campaign and with the help of fellow-player Cole we hammered out a set of rules to use for the session. So here's the amended set of Robert's Rules.

Pursuit Rules
Each round of pursuit is considered to be an abstracted partial normal round. All movement is random (see chart below) and simultaneous.

1. Movement during a Pursuit. A character or creature rolls 1d6 for each 30' of normal movement. Each pip thrown is worth five feet of movement (rounding up to the next 10 foot increment if using a 10-foot gridded map). That's the total maximum distance covered in the round.

Normal Movement Number of Dice

A pursuer ending a round five feet away or less may make an attack.

2. Fighting or Other Actions During Pursuit. Making an attack, closing a door or other similarly lengthy action reduces the above movement die roll by two dice (making 60' foot movement impossible, 90' one die only and so on). Spellcasting, mapping and other action taking concentration is not permitted unless the character opts to end fleeing or pursing.

3. Monster Gives Up. A monster chasing must make a morale check for each 60' increment it falls behind after the first round. If the morale check is failed the creature makes a doleful or bored noise and gives up the chase.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Misty Isles Behind the Scenes, Cut Art and a Review

Quick post to highlight a couple mole-like appearances of my new mini-sandbox, Misty Isles of the Eld, around the web.

Yesterday I had the chance to write up a behind the scenes piece as a guest poster at Tenkar's Tavern. I threw in several incredible pieces of Luka Rejec's that sadly didn't make it into the final print product due to text flow issues (two posted here, the top one being Eldmen slaves working the stim-jam Plantation House).

Also here's the first Misty Isles review from the always-interesting Eric F. over at Swords & Stitchery. His ten point has my brain popping about deviant variations in how the isles could be run at the table. Good stuff go check it out.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Misty Isles Out in Print and North Texas RPG Con

[Translation into common: Misty Isles of the Eld is now available in print and I had a blast running it—among much socializing and gaming—with peeps on Friday morning at North Texas RPG Con.]

Preliminary Report to Eld Overmind, Filing Operative: Agent Xoxx, HUMINT Section 112769
Plans to prevent today's release of Misty Isles of the Eld, the incendiary expose of our foothold in the so-called Hill Cantons, have had a sub-optimal effect. Of concern to Marlinko, Erelhei-Cinlu and Dallas based operatives is the 1.5-day full sellout of pre-release copies by subversive elements in the self-styled Hydra Cooperative.

On the positive side of the Great Ledger, Psychonaut torture-aesthetes in the North Texas RPG cadre made great advances with the odnic-psychic implantation process on the captive party of Misty Isles intruders--Son of Ondrj (wereshark), Pan Vorstr (and his devious man-servant, Jevo), "Other" Pavol (and his talking dog, Kahrul), Glamdalf, Termnix ver 3.3 (robodwarf), Lil Medved (warbear), Zereth and Boinger. Indeed by the end of the session the subjects were clearly convinced that they were Earth humans named Jason Sholtis, Zach H, Billy Longino, Brad Ncube, Jason Hobbs, two Jameses and Chris Holmes, son of the Holmes that allowed us access to this dimension.

Though inartful, staged photos below (and especially that of the purported session by “Jason” on G+ yesterday), will help further in providing deep cover for the op in coming months. Further reports to be filed in the coming days. 

High level crawling in the Jakallan underworld with Victor Raymond. Personal high point was putting a ru'un (an exceedingly high hit dice, potent bot like construct of the Ancients) "around the corner" (shoved into a pocket plane). 
Playtesting Merle Rasmussen's new espionage game "Codename Acrid Herald."
We got a chance to co-create the ancient ruins in the op. 
Fixing to play Zulu Apocalypse with Zeb Cook (my commanding officer on the British side), Steve Winter (co-umpire), Bruce Heard (the other junior British officer) and Doug Niles (Zulu commander).
Humza, Kevin Hendryx (co-umpire) 
My platoon (24th Foot) in serious danger. 
Blood bath. My men are about to rout.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Hill Cantons News Roundup

And now the News from the Hill Cantons...
Addled”Aldo, that most insane of caravel captains, is booking “leisure tours” of the so-called Misty Isles of the Eld in the Persimmon Sea. “Hoi'i, the many-tongued, copper-toned, devil-patron of self-promotion and real estate, called to me in a dream most vivid,” Aldo added as way of explanation. “Take ye this link. It explains all, yar.

The sudden sharp shock of the so-called Red Rye Rebellion is rocking Ostrovo Canton. Armed bands of peasants, sporting red rye badges, have been gathering through the villages and “halushkying” (a time-honored traditional humiliation of dipping a public official in white gravy and then spreading curds and dumplings on them) tax collectors of the Overking. Special assessments levied to support the continued presence of the Black Army in the canton have not been worn well by tenant farmers already suffering from the privations of the recent kozak horde sacking of the area. “The peasants are revolting,” stated an anonymous source close to the cantonal council.
Fomo, the rooster-headed skald is again touring the frontier holdings of the Feral Shore. A rather cryptic ballad is proving to be a widely-requested song among rough laborers. Make of it what you will:
No one dares
tooo sip from the sweet naughty hairs
that give air
tooo swimming down theres.

A fabulous artifact prize
a rod piece that lies.
Below the waves of a city drowned
a city drowned.

Perhaps an allusion to the underwater ruins east of Kezmarok? Hard saying, not knowing.