Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The Red Knight: A Less Tiresome Keep on the Borderlands?

 So I don't really do book or media reviews on this blog, and I'm not about to start now, but I am reading a book that I think fits very well into D&D in my head. It's called The Red Knight, my Miles Cameron. 

So the basics: a nun hires a group of mercenaries to defend them from the encroachments of the Wild, yes Wild with a capital W. There are a million subplots and various intrigues, but that's the long and short of it. 

Some interesting features: 

This is basically Keep on the Borderlands. The Wild encroaches on the domain of humankind and is full of various monstrous humanoids like "boglins" and "irks." There's a vaguely referenced "Wall" somewhere that is supposed to keep the Wild at bay, but in some places it bleeds into the realms. 

Magic is labelled as either Gold (power comes from the sun, sanctioned by the Church, draws on the will of God, basically cleric magic but see below) and Green (Magic of the Wild, powers of Satan, used by eeeeeevil wizards and godless witches and such) 

Both types of magic can be used to do the same things, but one comes from a source deemed societally acceptable, and the other from an unacceptable source. Magic seems to be generally feared and most casters don't advertise their abilities. There are some sanctioned "Hermetic" magi, and normal people are terrified of them. 

The Church is actually Christianity, like with God and Jesus and saints and all that, rather than just Great Value Brand Christianity where they rename God. 

The setting references "Archaics," which seems to be a Greeky, Romany style ancient culture that uses real world names- Aristotle is mentioned. 

This book is not set on Earth, however. All of the kingdom names seem real-world-adjacent, but not quite the real thing. The geography thus far has been extremely vague. The "East" is mentioned, and knights from it follow different customs (and are dickfaces, generally.) The Continent is mentioned, capital C. For once, the East isn't Basically-Real-Life-Asia as fantasy settings are wont to do...it seems to be Sort-Of-France-But-Not-Really. Names go from mundane fare like Tom and Hugo to Desiderata. 

Anyway, it's given me some ideas, considering that my last outing with Keep was total misery. In fact, the only time I halfway-enjoyed Keep was when I ran it using 5e back in like...2015? 2016? (Before I knew about that Goodman Games translation.) 

I probably won't post about it again unless the book does something surprising or takes a turn, since like I said, I'm not really in the business of doing book/media reviews. 

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Classes of Gath #2: The Firefucker

Inspired by Christian's latest Gath post , I submit my second class for his Legends of Gath setting. 

At the end of it all, some people chose to watch the world burn. Some of those who survived carried this mentality with them into the post-apocalyptic world that arose. Over the years and generations, the idea of watching the world burn percolated and mutated, and now we've got a fire-worshipper religion. 

They aren't many in number, as self-immolation is quite common among them. They once had a name- perhaps the Watchers of the Great Immolation or something like that - but most Gath folks just call them firefuckers. It doesn't seem to make much of a difference to them. 


Requirements: Con 9+ 
Prime requisite: CON 
Hit Dice: 1d6
Maximum level: 14 (use cleric experience tables) 
Armor: Any, including shields- they may not wear any fire-retardant substance as armor, however. 
Weapons: Any
Languages: Common. They claim to speak the secret language of fire, but they could also just be insane. 

Combat: Firefuckers attack as clerics. 

Feel the Burn: Firefuckers have a -2 penalty on saving throws against damage from fire, because they want to feel it. However, being burned doesn't seem to bother them much, and they take half damage from flames of any sort. If a saving throw would normally allow half damage, they instead take just a quarter of the damage rolled. 

Everlasting Fire: Any torch, lantern, or other fire-based light source wielded by a firefucker burns half again as long as normal, so long as the firefucker is the one who lit it and carries it. Passing it to someone else removes the long-burning benefit. At 5th level, these light sources burn twice as long. At 9th level, they burn indefinitely, though may still be extinguished in the normal fashion. Additionally, starting at 1st level, a firefucker using a lit torch as a melee weapon never has to check to see if it is extinguished by being used thus. 

Spells: Firefuckers can cast spells in a manner similar to clerics, using the same table for spell slot advancement. Firefuckers must be within  60 feet of a source of fire at least equivalent to a lit torch to be able to cast spells, however. The spell list is below. Note that any spell not normally available to a cleric still functions as a cleric spell when cast by a firefucker. 

1st level: Cure Light Wounds/Cause Light Wounds, Light (cannot reverse), Resist Cold 

2nd level: Continual Light (cannot reverse) 

3rd level: Fireball, Striking 

4th level: Cure Serious Wounds (Cause Serious Wounds), Wall of Fire 

5th level: Commune (requires at least a car-sized source of fire), Conjure Elemental (Fire only, duh), Finger of Death (must cast reverse) 

Cleansing Flames: Starting at 9th level, a firefucker who is hit by damage from flames may elect to absorb them and be cleansed by them. Instead of taking damage, the firefucker is instead healed, up to their maximum hit points. Doing this, however, gives them a spectacular burn scar that gives them a cumulative -1 reaction penatlty to all non-firefuckers (or like-minded individuals.) They may only be cleansed once per day. 

Temple: At 9th level, a firefucker may establish a temple of fire, usually an absolute shithole of a structure that has lots of braziers burning all the time. The firefucker will attract 3d6 cultists, 0 level fanatics who will follow them, similar to a cleric's followers. They are not replaced if slain, but are generally loyal to the point of death. 

Saving Throws: As clerics, but as noted above, they have -2 to all saving throws vs. fire. 

Experience: Firefuckers gain experience as a cleric. 

Magic Items: Firefuckers can use any magic item not restricted to clerics. In addition, they can use any magic item that casts a fire-based spell, even if such an item is normally forbidden to clerics. (e.g a wand of fireball.)  They may not, however, use any magic item that specifically confers protection against fire, such a ring of fire resistance. 

Friday, September 3, 2021

School Campaign Continues

 Wednesday I showed up for BGC to discover that I had not only the two players from last week, but an additional four players. Only one of them had any prior experience with the game. He wanted to play a blood hunter, but I  a.) literally have no idea what the hell that is  and 2.) I asked him to stick with basic stuff as the other newbs learned the game. I met him halfway: since we were out of pregens for Phandelver, I printed off a quick 1st level half-orc barbarian from WotC's pregen library. I think it uses the playtest rules, but we rolled with it. I also let him switch his maul to a great axe. 

Combat was      s l o o o o w, because we had six players, and because five of them had no idea what they were doing. The wizard's player felt like a superstar when he got a goblin triple-kill with a well-placed application of burning hands and then dropped another goblin the following round with magic missile. Of course, he's spent all his 1st level spells, so now he knows he has to be a little more judicious. 

We used miniatures (from my vast pile of unpainted Kickstarter Bones minis from like...forever ago) and a Melee Mat, which is one of the dopest gaming accessories I've ever owned. 

There are now pictures of me on the school's social media, DMing for the kiddos. 

Right now I'm focusing on just getting them to learn the basic mechanics of things.  We haven't done a tone of rp or lore building...that'll come later. The idea is to get them through the Beginner's Box, move up to the Essentials and making our own characters, then finally graduating to the full game. Maybe I'll do something fun and basic like Tyranny of Dragons, or perhaps I'll create a game world for them. I don't know. What I do know is that these kids have saved me from selling off my collection and quitting entirely, and that's no exaggeration. 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Dispel Cynicism

 A few days ago, I realized it had been 6 months, I think, since I participated in roleplaying games in any fashion. I shrugged. Would probably be another six months, or a year, or maybe never. 

At the school I just returned to, I was conscripted into co-sponsoring the board game club. Among the hoard of games we have, there is a 5e Beginner Box or whatever it's called... you know, the one with the Lost Mines of Phandelver in it. At the activity fair, this box drew a lot of attention.  A number of kids were asking about D&D, and even a staff member. 

We had our first meeting last night. Only two of the D&D kids showed up. They'd played things like Elder Scrolls and other CRPGs, but had no idea what D&D was about. Two was hardly enough to start a game, but something made me not want to leave them disappointed. 

I ran the start of Phandelver for them. One picked the human fighter in the box's pre-made posse, one picked the high elf wizard. 

I have no great love for 5e. I think it's "fine," which is not a compliment. You know what was great, though? DMing for two young people who were absolutely fascinated by the game. 

They tried weird shit. One of them wanted to scrape the pitch off of his torches and smear it on a scimitar to make a flaming sword. One wanted to lasso some goblins, mid-combat, with a rope. They searched a slain goblin and compared his arrows to the arrows found in the dead horses in the first encounter, before sagely proclaiming "They must be from the same tribe!" They used stealth and tactics to put a group of goblins to sleep. They threw torches ahead into dark hallways. 

The kid playing the wizard was super into learning about his spells. The kid playing the fighter bravely put himself between goblins, the wizard, and the NPC bumpkin wagon driver. 

It was fucking pure. There was no kvetching about editions and how things used to be. There was no talk about class balance. There were no hobby politics. One kid rolled a critical hit and it was like a miracle to him. 

After we finish Phandelver, we're going to move on to the Essentials box, still wrapped in plastic and rotting away on my shelf along with the rest of my collection of rpg stuff. Then...who knows? Maybe I'll roll out a new campaign for them. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021


 I have not resumed my OSE game, despite our hiatus being "just for April." I haven't DM'ed anything in three months. 

I pulled out of KantCon, with only three days notice. 

I find I have zero desire to be involved in this hobby at present. 

If anybody needs me, I'll be replaying Final Fantasy Tactics for the millionth time. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Ravenloft Day

Today is Ravenloft day. 

I plan on picking up the alternate cover on the way to my martial arts training tonight. The vibe I get is "mid-90's Castlevania box art," which is an aesthetic I am quite down with. 

Will I run it? Probably not...but that applies to my growing collection of gaming stuff over the last year. I'll probably read it. I have a soft spot for Ravenloft, and I have since I first read this pretty terrible choose your own adventure Ravenloft novel back in junior high. I think there was a vampire in it named Erik Blacksteed. (Oh, 2nd ed...) One of my best friends in high school also bought all of the Ravenloft novels and passed them to me as he finished them. 

Oddly, I haven't done much DMing of Ravenloft, overall. I ran a brief thing in high school and a not-as-brief Masque of the Red Death thing that I blogged about a few years back. I stole a couple of monsters from the Ravenloft Monstrous Compendium index for use in a Deadlands game in college. 

Anyway, I'm still picking it up today from my FLGS. 

Friday, May 7, 2021

KantCon '21 Docket

 So KantCon is happening, with social distancing and masks. 

I'm vaccinated. Everyone under my roof is vaccinated. Fuck it. I'm going. 

What I'm running: 


-Starships & Spacemen 2nd edition- Another mission with the same crew and ship I use ever year. 

-Mutant Crawl Classics- Double feature! Running the two modules Incursion of the Ultra-Dimension and Warlords of Atoz. 

-Zweihander- The scenario I was going to run for the cancelled con last year. 


-Cartoon Action Hour- Pulling the same gimmicky bullshit I did in 2019. 

-GURPS- Yes, you read that right. Really I'm doing GURPS Lite 3rd edition, and I'm doing the Titanic adventure from GURPS Time Travel Adventures. 

-Vampire the Requiem 2nd edition- because I've lost my goddamn mind. 


DUNGEON! While not a roleplaying game, I'm still hosting it. I'm using a battered but serviceable copy of the original rules. 

Is it fucking July yet?