Direbane is an abode to share artifacts, simulacra, histories, and other items of note related to ongoing years adventuring.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Secrets of Blackmoor Kickstarter

Blackmoor tribute painting by Kevin Mayle.
There is a very important piece of gaming history being finalized that y'all should back in the Kickstarter, The Secrets of Blackmoor. (Fudge, I had a bad link...) Basically detailing how Dave Arneson invented the role-playing structure of what came to be Dungeons & Dragons, the actual mechanic of a player being responsible for a single fantasy hero with the idea of a referee providing the scene and the essential question "What do you do?"

It is funny, because even back in the day (from 1979 or a little later) there was this discussion our group had about Gygax versus Arneson style. This was probably provoked by the common knowledge that AD&D first edition's effect was to pretty much shut out Dave Arneson as an author of D&D (Dave was listed on the OD&D books and the Blackmoor supplement, but excluded from AD&D).

Our group was firmly in the Judges Guild Wilderlands camp of settings even though we also had Greyhawk campaigns, and bought into the bizarre mix of the fantasy and discrete sci-fi influences from City State of the Invincible Overlord and Dave Arneson's First Fantasy Campaign about Blackmoor and published by Judges Guild.

Also, for better or worse, Gygax was often affiliated with the "DM vs Player Character" mode with dungeons designed to kill and ferret out the truly "best" players, rather than cooperative exploration and breathless team combat.

The stripped-down nature of Judges Guild and Dave Arneson's Lands of Blackmoor left open the areas for modification and exploration not only by player characters, but also for the Game Judges who ran the game. Everything was messier which is the way we roll...

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Arctic Cat & Pin-Cushions

(White elf cleric in snow*)
Midnight hour approaches and adventurers' dreams spersed of huge spider grinding sexually against wizardly human - pincers dripping ichor against his head.

As party awakens from troubled visions, Druid at guard indicates a quint of holy warriors moving forward in the snow, accompanied, Lizard-cleric recognizes, with his allies the Half-orc barbarian and elf mage-thief. Lizard-cleric wonders strange what brings together across the multiverse.

Group approaches and board druid's earthen platform, when Lizard-cleric's expansive infravision spies a lone being standing off several yards behind the interplanar arrivals. Apparently a white-haired elf woman, attired in ivory-beaded jewelry and bearing a largish white cat in her arms.

Haughty paladins charge at female through snow, who sets aside feline and unleashes a column of ice upon the devout cavaliers. As a paladin reaches elfin enchantress at her position, she has vanished. Instead, bearing across the snow plain is a ship of elves unleashing volleys of damaging arrows.
(White Elves' snow runner*)
The craft circles at long arrow-distance to avoid direct combat (Lizard-cleric does knock-off crow's nest inhabitant), and our heroes regroup when druid is attacked by the white cat! The lynx-sized creature slashes at druid's throat simultaneously unleashing a spell of debilitating noxious clouds.

While the adventurer's gather themselves against the missile weapons, Lizard-cleric and human Paladin are able to defeat cat from slaying druid. But suddenly the white elves' snow-ship is bearing down again from the opposite side. Running full speed, apparently aware of the region's topography but yet unaware of druid's earthen platform, the snow-runner crashes it's starboard side against the druid's elemental-piled earth and careens off in a spin.

Even disabled the white elves quickly regroup to arrow-attack, when druid confuses having shape-changed into lynxish white cat whom white elves do revere as commander.

White elves are defeated being unable to withstand mage-thief's fireballs, although a half-dozen escape, and the party examines their bone-crafted weapons and accouterments. The craft itself seems to bear some directional indicators - a bone-spur of cut sundial surrounded by cardinal points with interlineated markings and a rotating pointer under glass.

Perhaps indicators to the elves' base, or some other adventures...

(*White Elf slightly mod from Luka Rejek's art. Larry Elmore drew snow runner without elves.)

Friday, October 12, 2018

OSR Guide For The Perplexed Questionnaire

1. One article or blog entry that exemplifies the best of the Old School Renaissance for me: http://ixians.blogspot.com/2010/12/humanspace-empires.html
2. My favorite piece of OSR wisdom/advice/snark: "Thayt Chevski, hye is ane rottah. I liketh him notte ande blayme hyme gretely. Lette hym bee beyten withe stikkes." -- Chaucer
3. Best OSR module/supplement: “Carcosa” by Geoffrey McKinney
4. My favorite house rule (by someone else): Zak S. 5th Ed. OSR Hack “Death & Dismemberment”
5. How I found out about the OSR: Gestalt over time since 2008, I suppose starting with http://grognardia.blogspot.com/
6. My favorite OSR online resource/toy: http://www.thewingless.com/forge/forge.htm
7. Best place to talk to other OSR gamers: Google+
8. Other places I might be found hanging out talking games: Google Blogspot comments
9. My awesome, pithy OSR take nobody appreciates enough: https://www.dropbox.com/s/244p1pe4qmkw6nw/ChasmoftheDrow.pdf?dl=0
10. My favorite non-OSR RPG: I do not presently have one, Call of Cthulhu 7th ed maybe?
11. Why I like OSR stuff: Because there is a tendency to go beyond the rated PG-13.
12. Two other cool OSR things you should know about that I haven’t named yet: “Weird Adventures” by Trey Causey and “Narcosa” by a bunch of folks.
13. If I could read but one other RPG blog but my own it would be: http://dndwithpornstars.blogspot.com/
14. A game thing I made that I like quite a lot is: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/175958/Underport-Abyssal-Descent?src=slider_view
15. I'm currently running/playing: Gently modified 5th ed in future dystopian Wilderlands (loosely… “Frosbitten & Mutilated” for Wild North; ‘Vornheim” for Veridistan, “Narcosa” for Elphand Lands, “World of the Lost” for Valley of the Ancients & Glow Worm Steppes; “Yoon-Suin” for CSIO; “Cinderheim” for The Desert Lands; and “Monolith Beyond Time and Space” for Blackmoor.)
16. I don't care whether you use ascending or descending AC because: Ascend and Descend convert seamlessly.
17. The OSRest picture I could post on short notice:

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Caliban at DunDraCon!


DunDraCon #43 is on it's way, President's Day Weekend in February 2019, and I have my submission in for a mostly-annual Friday evening "official" game. I am updating the high-level Arduin dungeon, "Caliban," by David Hargrave (1979) for use with 5th ed. characters of the World's Most Popular Role-Playing Game.

I am roughly a third of the way through the process, being that the lion's share is going through the original version and annotate it with the stats (all in OD&D-mechanics) from the Arduin Grimoires, then next updating the material into a useable format for 5th ed.

I've just about completed transcribing and annotating the Ground and 1st levels, then need to finish the 2nd and 3rd levels before I start making 5th ed. adjustments.

Mark Schynert, DunDraCon games scheduler and editor of Compleat Arduin, provided these words of encouragement: "Go, Cali, GO... Eat them all!"

Friday, August 24, 2018

The Henderson Monster Creation Table

Steve Henderson, (1944-2006) of Gloriantha, RuneQuest, Chaosium, DunDraCon, and Society for Creative Anachronism fame, crafted a nice little random monster generator for Jeff Pimper's and Steve Perrin's first All the World's Monsters (1977) tome. (You can still purchase a PDF of the book here from Chaosium. 256 critters only $5!)

The tables by themselves will produce some tough nasties. Ha, there is no procedure for mitigating a creature based on the party's capabilities. That's some old school, you gots to know when to beat the expeditious retreat.

There are also percentile chance for "special" movement, attack, and other abilities. Also it seems each beastie gets at least one special detection and immunity.

Interesting bonus, you make up the creature's appearance however you wish. The only visual cue is whether the monster is "Indescribable," "Hideous," "Average," or "Beautiful."