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

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Ever Be Another City-State?


I would sorely like to create a city state for my campaign, but given the blasted troubles I've had creating the mega-dungeon the task appears far more daunting.

Judges Guild was unable to duplicate my favorite, the original version of City State of the Invincible Overlord (City State of the World Emperor was similar, but in many respects incomplete compared to Invincible Overlord).

Mapping: How does one map multiple-story buildings?
State Blocks: What are the minimum stat blocks for inhabitants?
Random Encounters: How different are the quarters of the city?
Dungeons: A large city should have large catacombs, so write them together... or separate a'la Wraith Overlord?

Given that a city is not really an encounter-based dungeon (although Invincible Overlord was for our thief-based campaigns) and most shops will never be entered, perhaps large swaths of a city could be mapped in generalities. Only major encounter-based locations would be drafted in detail while tables could be used for butchers, tailors, and candle-stick makers.

Of course, what sort of game judge would a city be designed for? One who is supposed to "design" on the fly i.e. keeping notes of all the randomized encounters (so they would be there for the party next time), or someone who expects a certain consistency that's what's here is here and what's there is there.

Now, M.A.R. Barker's Jakalla in Empire of the Petal Throne (1975, TSR) has a wonderful map (see below) and then merely designated 77 important locations on the map - no stats for inhabitants or detailed descriptions beyond "40. Harbor of the Imperial Squadron 41. Barracks of the City Guard" etc. That may be the way to go because the focus would be on map design and game judges would just have to make encounters fit their particular group, perhaps with some standard examples for guards, secret police, moat critters, and stuff like that. Hmmmmm.

**** Jakalla in E.P.T. also has an 8-paragraph description directed to foreign characters visiting the city, as well as random encounter and mission tables.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Booty and the Beasts - Galactic Dragon!

Image of Galactic Dragon by Erol Otus.
So, Ms. or Mr. Game Judge, are your gaming PCs getting too big for their britches? That's where Booty and the Beasts comes in, a gaming supplement published in 1979 by Fantasy Art Enterprises (Erol Otus, Mathias Genser, and Paul Reiche III). While there are less powerful creatures, the volume contained many monsters, "... of a more powerful nature than will be found in most fantasy role-playing campaigns ... (to) provide a greater challenge and incentive to those more experienced playes who, since fantasy role-playing has been around for a number of years, must be acquiring higher and higher level characters." Booty and the Beasts contains 87 creatures (including various demons and robots) and 52 items (both magical and technological in nature).

Here an excerpt from the tome showing a type of creature you'll find in this rare book:

"GALACTIC DRAGON: Hit Dice 172. Armor Class 0. Dexterity 12. Movement light speed. Feared even by Gods, this extremely rare and legendary beast can be found roaming through interstellar space, foraging for debris, small asteroids, starships, and other fodder. Using its vast fins to catch the solar winds and its ability to manipulate gravity, the Galactic Dragon is able to sail up to light speed, but remains in space, never landing or entering atmosphere for fear of damaging its frail body. The Galactic Dragon feeds by breathing, up to three times per day, a 20 foot diameter blob of diffuse anti-matter that expands to a one-mile diameter blob at the range of five miles, which then dissipates. Everything caught within the blob must make a save at its base level with no pluses, protects, or resistances. If the saving throw is failed, the object is totally annihilated, needing 1-10 simultaneously cast wishes performed at the place where the object was annihilated to retrieve that which was lost. If the saving throw is made, one of the following will occur, determined randomly:
1. Teleport 1-10 light years away.
2. Move away at light speed.
3. Disintegrate.
4. Become anti-matter.

"The energy released by the matter-anti-matter reaction is collected by the colossal fins that wreath the Galactic Dragon's body. (NOTE: the matter-anti-matter reaction will not destroy the universe or have any other effects than those listed.) In addition, once per melee round, the Dragon may use its fins to focus light into beams, hitting as A.C. 9, and delivering 20-400 points with each of the two large fins and 7-42 points of damage with each of the eight small fins. A save results in half damage for both large and small fin attacks. Finally, the Galactic Dragon is capable of biting antagonists with its massive maw, easily engulfing objects the size of a Lunar Landing Module, doing 15-300 points of damage to those bitten. The Galactic Dragon saves vs. everything on a 6 to no effect regardless of minuses, cuts and resistances, and is immune to energy, heat, cold, disintegration, poison gas, diseases, gravity attacks, and all charms and controls."

Damn.