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

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Emperors Choice Games and Arduin are Back In Business!

 

Great and Fantastic News for Arduin Fans!

Dave Bukata and George De Rosa from Emperors Choice Games and Miniatures Corporation announced yesterday (Wednesday, October 27th) that the company is re-opening after a years-long hiatus and Arduin gaming materials will again be distributed back into the TTRPG wild!!! (Very exciting for folks like myself.)

I reproduced their complete announcement below, but key is that through the end of the year December 31, 2021 you will be able to order from the Arduin catalogue items at their prices from 2015!

Shipments understandably will be somewhat delayed, essentially these will be pre-orders to be shipped between now and end of January 2022 as existing stock is inventoried and new production ramped up. But for an opportunity to get print editions of long-out of print Arduin products at regular retail prices this is GOLDEN!

My personal recommendations:

  1. The Arduin Trilogy hardbound - $ for $ this is the most iconic Arduin product, completely in the original words and writings of David Hargrave, and virtually ready to drop into your old-school OSR D&D, AD&D, OSRIC, Swords & Wizadry, Labyrinth Lord, Lamentations and other OSR rules based around the classic versions D&D.
  2. World Book of Khaas - This tome has been "unobtanium" for almost a decade, not out there for any price. The World Book was written long after Dave Hargrave passed in 1988, but it is based on Dave's extensive archives and others who gamed with Dave and carried on the setting long afterwards. It is bar-none the most complete description of the Arduin setting in a system-neutral, stat-free, encyclopedia. 
  3. Map of Arduin - Emperors Choice map for the Country of Arduin is a spot-on reproduction of the map from Dave's home game. The map is printed on durable parchment-style paper and includes the locations of 3 of the 4 Arduin dungeons Dave published during his life, plus Talismonde and other major cities, significant sites such as the Plateau of Forever, and more.

This is a HUGE development for RPG fans who want to broaden their gaming vistas with additional gameable races and classes, monsters galore, new spells and magic items, fabulous adventure locations, and more. Fans of Arduin should get their orders in once they can to support the universe one of the giants from RPG history, David Hargrave! You will not regret it. 😁

The "Complete" Arduin Announcement:

Hello Fans,

Emperors Choice Games & Miniatures Corp. (EmpCho) has updates to share:

The new online store will be located at www.empcho.com  

The new website/store is scheduled to be fully operational on November 7, 2021, for taking pre-orders.

Emperors Choice Games & Miniatures Corp. is an independent company, which produces its own products; we do not have large quantities of stock on hand in between manufacturing runs.  Miniatures are often manufactured on demand in house, and printed products need time to be ordered, produced, and delivered to EmpCho. Books and miniatures are then, packed and shipped by EmpCho.  Pre-Orders will allow us to determine how much product we need to manufacture and order. We apologize for pre-orders, but we are anticipating a lot of orders. All of Emperors Choice Games & Miniatures Corp. products are proudly made in the USA.

An email will be sent by November 1, 2021, to everyone with past unfilled orders to place their order into the new store. We cannot import the past orders into the new store. Therefore, if you wish to keep your past unfilled order, please place a new order into the store.

All orders received will be shipped by the end of January 2022. This is due to the large quantity of past orders, time to produce the books, manufacturing of the miniatures, and shipping during the holiday season. If overall production escalates more rapidly, then the timetable will be moved up. Emperors Choice Games and Miniatures Corp. (EmpCho) will work extremely hard to complete all orders as quickly as possible!

As a Thank You to all our fans, our prices that are 7+ years old will remain in effect for all orders, with only very minor change for very few items. These prices will remain in place until 1/1/2022, at which time an increase will take effect due to increased raw material and/or printing costs.  In addition, our 10% discount for all Veterans will remain in effect indefinitely and all customers with a past order will receive an additional 10% off their entire order! This can be combined with the Veteran discount, for a total of 20% off for a Veteran, with a past unfilled order.

We also wanted to take the opportunity to clarify a bullet from the last post on which was: “There are things in the works besides the new website and storefront. I will be posting news on Arduin as it becomes a reality.” This statement simply means Emperors Choice Games & miniatures Corp. is working on NEW Arduin products for the future, and as things are developed for release, then we will inform everyone.

Emperors Choice Games & Miniatures Corp. looks forward to continuing to bring Arduin to the world. This cannot be done without all your help and support through the years, now and in the future!

In the words of David A. Hargrave:

“To you and yours, I lift a tankard of Rumble Tummy’s ale in respectful salute!” 

Dave Bukata
President
Emperors Choice Games & Miniatures Corp.

George De Rosa
Vice-President
Emperors Choice Games & Miniatures Corp.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Game Coming Up

 

(Original art by Robert Altbauer)

Our next in-person & remote hybrid game is upcoming. Sasch runs a Pulp Cthulhu game with some of the same players from our D&D game so we are expecting aberrant encounters.

Ruh-roh, atmospheric river approacheth...



Sunday, September 5, 2021

Bonus In-Person Game!

(From left: Dr. John PhD, Matrox, J.A.S., Blue Gorilla, Sasch)

 We are on a roll! (Well some of us, anyways...)

We were able to hurriedly (one week!) assemble a jam/D&D event for Saturday at Blue Gorilla's posh, 19th floor condo on San Francisco's Nob Hill. Ha, although BBQing on the balcony was somewhat acrophobic-ish, and we had to keep jam instrument noises somewhat atypically softer, it was a fine night out for a game. Ha, too bad Blue Gorilla is moving to Portland to study for his PhD. (Another fricken DR.!)

Once Shade Structure's mage blipped out with the decanter, leaving the party free from the evil interplanar taint that intruded into the decanter room, our adventurers were able to escape weird Sigil to a gently wooded area near a funky, three-tiered tower.

J.A.S. ran us through "Lara's Tower" (1981) by Kevin Nunn, which was actually a tournament dungeon Kevin ran at PacificCon in 1980 (which convention coincidentally was also running at the same time this weekend at the Dunfey Hotel). The scenario was some straightforward hack 'n slash with some interesting map features for strategically taking on the baddies who inhabit this tower.

Now what the fuck are we going to do with a 12th level conference table?

Friday, August 20, 2021

"Death Dealer"

 

("Death Dealer" by Frank Frazetta, 1973)

Ok, fuuuuuuuuuck... I have so much shit I need to get done. Let's make a list!

Seriously, I was getting a bit overwhelmed a year ago when my work began opening up again that sorting things, listing, setting priorities really helped. Ha, I would prefer not to exit life with a bunch of half-finished contributions to the hobby I love.

First, say it, I waste way too much time reading posts in Twitter and arguing with right-wingers on Facebook. STOP IT! Pick one day per week, like Thursday night, take 4 hours to riff through the thoughts of others. (This worked for me in law school.)

Second, gotta allocate time for work, non-profit orgs, and family. 4 hours each day during the week is the minimum I need to plan for my practice, I spends something like 6 hours each week hoping to contribute to the greater good, 14 hours per week spending time with my son and special needs grandson and maybe another 6 hours every other week visiting with other fam.

Thirdsies, Sleeeeeep... Dude, you need at least 6 hours every day (my psydoc back in the day had me set an alarm for midnight each day so I would get to bed by 1am).

Fourth, meals and grooooomong. What, an hour a day unless I'm going out to eat.

Fifth, music. I orta practice an hour each day if'n I wants to get better on the drums. (Just kidding, still bassey.)

Ok so how many hours per week is that??? 4+20+6+14+3+42+7+7=103 out of 168 hours per week. 103-168=65 hours left over, say 9 hours each day. Obviously me and me spouse need our time, and there's gonna be time shopping for groceries, doing bills, cleaning, laundry, minor car repairs, etc. Given all that I should be able to set aside 2 hours five days a week to work on gaming stuff contributin' to our craft.

So what is in the pipeline for the past many months (years)...

  1. Video on City State of the Invincible Overlord (Several folks have done overviews, but I don't think by anyone who gamed the City State. And we gamed it hard.)
  2. Advanced Labyrinth Lord version of Underport (Just that new level nine needs some imaginatory time.)
  3. Video on the underworld of Arduin (Continuations of my series of "brief" Arduin setting videos.)
  4. Hard to be an Aorit-Q (My Qanon and last scenario for Troika!)
  5. Metropolis of Chaos (The abyss under Underport, a lot of ideas on this.)
  6. A weekly 2-hour online game (Hmmm, I am leaning toward LotFP. Our regular group runs every other month and I only Ref as part of a rotation. I get some satisfaction refing an ongoing campaign solo.)
So the bottom line breakdown is really this --- Exchange fucking social media hours for productive hours. Seems an easy task though will take patience and fortitude.


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Live D&D again!

Clockwise from left: Linksman, Shade Structure, Dr. John PhD, Matrox, J.A.S., Sick Rick, and Blue Gorilla.

Finally most of the crew, young & old, got together for the first time in more than a year on the new Juneteenth holiday for a day of music, BBQ, and gaming. J.A.S. had set up for a hybrid system for in-person/remote, but everyone who wanted in on the game showed up. Cheers!

The party missed an number of pre-pandemic hands which hopefully we'll start to see joining back in over the next few sessions.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

The Combat Discharger


I can't find out too much about Matan Thunder (except maybe he's this guy), the author of the probably the most gonzo magic item for the most infamously gonzo setting.

A little background...

There really were some evil Time Lords that attacked the World of Khaas. According to the Arduin Grimoire II, "Runes of Doom," it was all the Rune Weavers could do (after being much weakened from defending the world from Titans and Star Powered Mages 20,000 years earlier!!!) to seal the Time Lords in the Cavern of the Ancients located in the Great Rift.

The Nexis Points within the Kingdom of Arduin would not be discovered for another 8,000 years, and it was not until after 10,000 years of fighting the Wars of When (aka The Nexis Wars) that the Accords of Arduin came about. The time of the Arduin Grimoires is 1,211 years following the Accords.

So keep in mind that when Thunder refers to "The Arduin Consortium" and "Time Lords' Battle Sphere" these events must take place after the time of the Arduin Grimoires, likely a home brew and not Hargrave canon. BUT WHAT A FUCKING GAME!!!

(Also, crunchy note that Thundar seems to be using Arduin Trilogy/OD&D-style rules or maybe AD&D 1e.)

Anyhew, without further adieu, THE COMBAT DISCHARGER!

-----------------------------------------

"Combat Discharger" (by  Matan Thunder)

These devices were originally created by the Arduin Consortium as a means of conveying attack routines outside the Time Lords' Battle Sphere, while limiting the party’s potential to be injured in combat. These devices were much sought after inside the Consortium after their creation as they could serve as a very effective attack platform when present on any device with enough room for their user to project a specific attack sequence from. 

This 8’ diameter pad is 3” thick, and is made of a living symbiotic lifeform with the appearance of a brown leathery bouncy material backed that possesses a resiliency of steel. The primary function of this device is to provide for a distance attack system for melee weapons as well as any other type of attack. It can also serve as a mobile attack platform, as it can even fly and reach spelljamming speeds. 

The pad is activated whenever some creature places their feet on top of the device. This activates a 360 degree vision sensory field that can represent any place within 1 mile of the pad. The perspective presented is as if the user of the device were on the ground in the location currently occupied by an illusion (projected image) of the occupant of this device. The creature on the pad then may initiate any attack routine they have access to, which is then transmitted via a Remote Access spell affect. This conveys the attack to the site of the user’s wishes in precise synchronization with the user’s movements. 

The Combat Discharger will read/sense all movements of a creature on top of it, and it is then able to translate their attack routines with perfect precision to the target location through the remote access affect, as if the user were actually there. The only difference is that the damaging end of the attack materializes at the location within range Combat Discharger’s affect at the moment of the attack. This attack can be accompanied by an illusion of the attacker that the victim may key on to initiate counter moves, but there is no substance to this affect, except at the moment the Remote Access projects the attack to the victim. 

Device Sighting System The viewing sensors of the Combat Discharger come from 3 small black sapphire nodes spaced equally around the discharger pad (flawless stones worth 10,000 gold pieces each). These sensors have a combined projected image & programmed illusion working in tandem to project a point in the surrounding terrain within a range of 1 mile. These provide a view of the location present near the location of the viewing powers of the device. They are the source of all the use of the Remote Access Powers of the discharger, but the sensors are intangible, and they can move about at the will of the Combat Discharger to move about freely at the users wishes. 

The sensors of the device are 3 invisible illusionary phantasmal sensors about 1” in diameter that can move anywhere within 1 mile of the platform discharger. The range of these devices when not aboard the Time Lords Sphere is 1 mile from their set up location.

In situations where they are in the Time Lords Sphere device, all range factor are related to the position of the Time Lord’s Battle Sphere’s outer hull (or 1 mile from the discharger if outside the sphere. They move about at quickling speeds throughout the area of affect. 
The primary sighting system provides a 360 degree panoramic view of any position within the 1 mile sensor range, with an illusion (like a projected image) of the creature occupying the Combat Discharger occupying a location that is directly in the sync with the illusion’s viewpoint. The view shows up as a light transparent blue bubble 10’ around the device’s user, that presents the view as he would see it if he were the illusion.

The user is allowed to emit his remote access power anywhere within 10’ of the illusion regardless of the illusion’s view, even behind a target. This primary sighting feature can zoom in/out with 1 segment of thought by the devices user. 

The viewing surface can also be oriented by the mental will of the user to make a secondary transparent target tracking option anywhere on its surface with 1 segment of thought. There is a slightly darker blue illuminated field 2’ x 2’ that will track targets within the 1 mile range. This second targeting viewpoint can zoom in/out anywhere within the 1 mile radius. The targets will be viewed as if from above, but the user can alter the viewpoint of this second view to any axis they wish. The sight surface can appear anywhere the user wishes in the 360 degree field, and the images on the surface will be red with the image of the target creature, (which is viewed by the sensors) appear on the surface. The system can track any creature moving throughout the 1 mile radius, regardless of size, even if invisible or out of phase. 

The viewing nodes of the discharger have each been also been True Adamantine & True Tin dipped for additional magic powers in visual and other spells for the discharger’s use. 

Node 1 The sensor node also has been subjected to an Alchemical process called True Admantite Dipping which allows them to store, regenerate, and use a number of spells during a day. There are 11-20 spells that can be stored in this manner (roll randomly), and they regenerate each turn. Part of this same process requires the application of the substance known as True Tin that will provide the following powers:

Immunity to control spells such as charm, hold,, slow, etc…

The substance also conveys Rulership powers (as the Rod of Rulership) to up to 100 level/hit dice of creatures that are forced to obey the device wielder. Only those creatures with a 15> INT or 4+ hit dice are allowed a save vs spell to avoid being compelled to obey. 

True Adamantine Powers (Regenerate every 10 minutes) 
1. Lv 3 Infravision (Sight Augmentation)
2. Lv 4 Ultravision (Sight Augmentation)
3. Lv 3 Wizard Sight (Sight Augmentation)
4. Lv 6 True Sight (Sight Augmentation)
5. Lv 7 Vision (Supernatural Guidance/Research)
6. Lv 9 Foresight (Powerful 6th Sense Between Self & Another)
7. Lv 6 Balch’s Double Blow (3x) (Attack Augmentation)
8. Lv 3 Tenser’s Deadly Strike (Attack Augmentation)
9. Lv 8 Spell Holding (For the Above Spells)
10. Lv 2 Shadowstrike (Strobe-like Strike Attack Augmentation)
11. Lv 3 Quevven’s Draining Blades (Vampiric Drain Attack Augmentation)
12. Lv 5 Master of Arms (Weapon Proficiency Boost of 2 Slots In Specialization)
13. Lv 9 Envorpal Weapon (Confer Vorpal Strike to Bladed Weapons)
14. Lv 5 Quickblade (Weapon Bonus of +3 To Hit/Damage and -1 Weapon Speed Factor)
15. Lv 2 Amplify Damage (Bonus 2d6 Damage to Weapon)
16. Lv 6 Critical Hit ({Attack as ½ Lvl Fighter For Mages} & Double Damage)
17. Lv 4 Sakratara’s Triple Stirke (Two Arcane Weapon Duplicates (Normal Damage By Weapon)
18. Lv 2 Blinding Strike (-1 Initiative Bonus & Once Double # Attacks)

Node 2 The sensor node also has been subjected to an Alchemical process called True Admantite Dipping which allows them to store, regenerate, and use a number of spells during a day. There are 11-20 spells that can be stored in this manner (roll randomly), and they regenerate each turn. Part of this same process requires the application of the substance known as True Tin that will provide the following powers: 

Immunity to control spells such as charm, hold,, slow, etc… 

The substance also conveys Rulership powers (as the Rod of Rulership) to up to 100 level/hit dice of creatures that are forced to obey the device wielder. Only those creatures with a 15> INT or 4+ hit dice are allowed a save vs spell to avoid being compelled to obey. 

True Adamantine Powers (Regenerate every 10 minutes) 
1. Lv 3 Infravision (Sight Augmentation)
2. Lv 4 Ultravision (Sight Augmentation)
3. Lv 3 Wizard Sight (Sight Augmentation)
4. Lv 6 True Sight (Sight Augmentation)
5. Lv 7 Vision (Supernatural Guidance/Research)
6. Lv 9 Foresight (Powerful 6th Sense Between Self & Another)
7. Lv 8 Thrice Supreme (4x) (3 Rolls Keep Best For 4 rounds)
8. Lv 8 Spell Holding (2x) (Holds Spells On)
9. Lv 9 Life Field (Damage Augmentation to Attacks)
10. Lv 9 Return (Keeps 5 HP In Contingency of Death)
11. Lv 5 Conduit (Spells Into Multiple Arrows/Bolts)
12. Lv 2 First Strike (Auto Initiative For Multi Creatures)
13. Lv 7 Alter Occurrence (Alters a Recent Past Event Only 1 Chance)
14. Lv 5 Missile Multiplication II (Creates 3d6 Missiles From 1)
15. Lv 2 Whirling Blade (Around the Casters Wrist)
16. Lv 4 Darkray’s Anti Magic Ray (Dispel Magic Strike With Weapon For Dur)

Node 3 The sensor node also has been subjected to an Alchemical process called True Admantite Dipping which allows them to store, regenerate, and use a number of spells during a day. There are 11-20 spells that can be stored in this manner (roll randomly), and they regenerate each turn. Part of this same process requires the application of the substance known as True Tin that will provide the following powers: 

Immunity to control spells such as charm, hold,, slow, etc… 

The substance also conveys Rulership powers (as the Rod of Rulership) to up to 100 level/hit dice of creatures that are forced to obey the device wielder. Only those creatures with a 15> INT or 4+ hit dice are allowed a save vs spell to avoid being compelled to obey. 

True Adamantine Powers (Regenerate every 10 minutes) 
1. Lv 3 Infravision (Sight Augmentation)
2. Lv 4 Ultravision (Sight Augmentation)
3. Lv 3 Wizard Sight (Sight Augmentation)
4. Lv 6 True Sight (Sight Augmentation)
5. Lv 7 Vision (Supernatural Guidance/Research)
6. Lv 9 Foresight (Powerful 6th Sense Between Self & Another)
7. Lv 9 Nrok’s Lethal Weapon IV (Weapon Forces saving throw vs Spells -2; 70% Death/30% 6xDmg)
8. Lv 9 Nondeath (Prevents Instant Death Magics/Damage Death For the Duration)
9. Lv 7 Fiction (Allows For a Tailored Outcome)
10. Lv 7 Eldron’s Second Chance (Time Alteration Spell To Repair Past Event)
11. Lv 6 Diamondblade (Vorpal Like Affect)
12. Lv 7 Luck (+1 Bonus to Rolls)
13. Lv 1 Kitric’s Dweomer Strike (+2 Weapon Damage Bonus For Duration)
14. Lv 1 Thellum’s Edge of Blasting (Damage Bonus to Weapon 1 pt Per Caster Level minus 1
15. Lv 3 Zorn’s Aerial Accuracy (Never Miss Thrown Missiles For 5 Missiles)
16. Lv 7 Anticipation (Know Attacks/Actions of Those within 60’ For 1 Round)
17. Lv 7 Dancing Weapon (Animate a Weapon Move 28” MC:A)
18. Lv 3 Lesion (Weapon Augmentation Treats All As AC 10)
19. Lv 7 Dimensional Blade (Blade Becomes 2 Dimensional Damage Augmentation)
20. Lv 9 Matan’s Magic Self (Create Mobile Magic Field Emanating From Self)

***************************************************

The substance of the Combat Discharger is made of specially created homunculus fashioned from tissue samples of: Living Scroll/ Tween/ Quickling/ Phaerimm/ Retriever/ Astral Dragon/ Star Selkie/ Carbuncle/ Living Steel/ Overseer Beholder. These creatures were melded together via successive Monimerge spells and the resultant creature was turned into a homunculus form through alchemical processes that allow it to gain further powers during this creation process. 

1) Living Scroll: This created lifeform creates a living scroll that can cast the spells on it. This device possesses a 17 intelligence with magical powers similar to those granted on the intelligence sword tables of the Dungeon Masters Guide. Furthermore, if the mage possesses a spell book the scroll can memorize 1 spell per intelligent point above an 8 intelligence. The 9 spells at this time are:

1. Lv 9 Absorption (Magic Absorbing Affect)
2. Lv 9 Meteor Swarm (Attack Spell)
3. Lv 7 Teleport Without Error (Evasion Spell)
4. Lv 7 Duo Dimension (Evasion/Concealment Spell)
5. Lv 6 Chain Lightning (Attack Spell)
6. Lv 9 Shape Change (Alters Device to Evade Capture)
7. Lv 7 Devastate (Spell Power Increases)
8. Lv 9 Time Stop (Attack & Evasion Spell)
9. Lv 7 Volley (Spell Protection Reverser)

Whenever a spell is used by the living scroll it disappears from their memory and must be replenished with the new spell as if the spell caster were relearning the spell on a daily basis. This device can use any level of spell out to ninth level. 

2) Tween: This symbiotic denizens of the ethereal plane are smoky outlines of their host for those viewing them on the prime. The tweens have the ability to see seconds into the future which allows their host to make two dice rolls and take the best of the two rolls. Unfortunately others within 50’ are forced to make two rolls and will always take the worst. (These devices are immune to the affect, so if two dischargers are within the 50’ range they are not affected).

3) Quickling: These creatures offer the Combat Discharger user great speed and tremendous agility for the device, and to gain the following powers when using it: Move 96”; 3/1 Number of Attacks; 100% Invisible when not moving; 90% Invisible when moving (during attacks); Spells each one use and simple will activation: ventriloquism, forget, levitate, shatter, dig, and fire charm.

4) Phaerimm: This cone shaped creature serves as a great deal of the power for these devices. They offer vast mage spellcasting powers that are activated by silent act of will. This creature conveys the device the following powers: 44% Magic Resistance to all but petrification/polymorph attacks witch are 77% Magic Resistance; Those spells overcome by the Magic Resistance% that cause damage become part of a defensive reflex that will confer healing to the creature or have the spell affect 100% reflected back to the source (Healing is at the rate of 1 hit point per spell level & otherwise a reflected spell affects the rebound victim normally); Supra Genius; Operate as a 22nd level spellcaster (5,5,5,-5,5,5,-4,4,2); The device also has adopted one spell per level as a spell caster that they can cast at will one time per day: They are: Innate: 1st Chromatic Orb & Magic Missile; 2nd Detect Invisibility & Mirror Image; 3rd Non Detection & Wraithform; 4th Firecharm (Fire) & Rock to Mud; 5th Cloudkill & Demi Shadow Monsters; 6th Mass Suggestion & Permanent Illusion; 7th Limited Wish & Duo Dimension; 8th Polymorph Any Object & Trap the Soul; 9th Foresight & Time Stop. Spells by casters lvl: 1st Magic Mssl x3; Enlarge, Mount; 2nd Knock, Improved Phantom Forces x2, Web, Flaming Sphere; 3rd Blink, Water Breathing, Hold Person, Hold Undead, Explosive Runes; 4th Improved Invisibility, Evard’s Black Tentacles, Phantasmal Killer, Ice Storm; 5th Magic Jar x2, Wall of Force, Passwall, Cone of Cold; 6th Chain Lightning, Disintegrate, Globe of Invulnerability, Mislead, Projected Image; 7th Mass Invisibility, Phase Door, Delay Blast Fireball, Control Undead; 8th Glassteel, Incendiary Cloud, Symbol; 9th Time Stop, Foresight.

5) Retriever: Multiple eye attacks from this part of the homunculi are part of this creature’s legacy to the Combat Discharger. These can be projected through the Combat Discharger by the mental command of their user. Each of these rays has a 60’ range & can be used per round (but must recharge 6 rounds after use): fire blast, cold blast, lightning blast, & transmutation (mud, stone, gold, or lead st vs. petrifaction). The eye powers offer damage equal to the device’s current hit points, which are related to the creature’s 10 hit dice (roll randomly for each discharger).

6) Astral Dragon Age 10: This creature offers the homunculi and Combat Discharger a number of powers. They are granted to the user of the discharger by silent act of will. They can: Sense psionic use/creatures within 240’ of users remote access location; +6 psionic blast; Breath weapon 6x day magical force blast 10’ wide x 160’ long which causes damage (per dragons current HP) & saving throw vs dragon breath or be feebleminded for 1 turn per age level; Spellcaster’s at age 10 = 9th level spell caster (higher level casters have been alluded to in githyanki lore). Its spells are: ?? (7th Lvl 4,3, 2, -1) = 1st Mount, Alarm, Gaze Unseen Servant, Sleep; 2nd Mirror Image, Magic Mouth, Detect Evil; 3rd Fireball, Tongues; 4th Confusion

7) Star Selkie: This creature is an ethereal shapechanging race that provide a Combat Discharger (and its user) motive powers that can allow for travel while riding the device and still using its powers. The creature conveys to the rider: In space an SR of 5; Encapsulation of the rider/user in their bullet-like shaped bodies for a ram attack that does 11-20 damage (or 1-2 hull points damage); the final power of the homunculi device is to allow it to shape change to a human like form for transport with the user.

8) Carbuncle: This luck generating doglike creature conveys additional powers to the device. They are: Fly 32” MC:A; Immune to psionic attacks; Double strength LUCKSTONE powers (10d4% to luck/5d2 on saving throws, etc..)

9) Living Steel: This creature offers some very useful components to the homunculi component of the device. The creatures grants: A solid texture to the skin-like material that makes up the surface of the discharger; Immunity to all weapons of up to +2 to the discharger itself; It can alter its from to anything, which included a number of forms that create armor for the user, while still retaining its Combat Discharger powers (i.e. the mat can become an armor that still allows for the use of the devices powers); It takes 1 round to change forms; It grants immunity to electricity/fire based attacks of less than 55 hp in strength (if exceed the discharger will take full damage, but will reform in the following round); Cold attacks that make it through Magic Resistance can slow the discharger by 50%.

10) Beholder (Overseer): As you can imagine the device gains the full gamut of eye powers for the overseer: These powers include: cone of cold; paralysis; telekinesis; mass charm, mass suggestion; spell turning; temporal stasis; dispel magic; chain lightning; emotion; domination; major creation; Serten’s spell immunity. Each are useable in a single round as these eye affects have access to remote access spells to shoot their eye rays through.

*********************************************************** 

The nature of the homunculi creation has further augmented the powers above. This creation was granted (as part of being a new lifeform) a great increase in speed that effectively doubles all speeds that the tissue supplying creatures above. This means that the user of the discharger is granted the following adjusted speed augmentations: Speed of movements 192” move/ 64” Fly MC:A; SR 10; 6/1 attacks per round; 2 spells cast for each round (or 2 times the number of powers used i.e. eye rays, etc…). 

Each Combat Discharger has also had the True Adamantine Treatment applied to its surface. This coating will has been subjected to an Alchemical process called True Admantite Dipping which allows them to store, regenerate, and use a number of spells during a day. There are 11-20 spells that can be stored in this manner (roll randomly), and they regenerate each turn. Part of this same process requires the application of the substance known as True Tin that will provide the following powers:

Immunity to control spells such as charm, hold,, slow, etc… 

The substance also conveys Rulership powers (as the Rod of Rulership) to up to 100 level/hit dice of creatures that are forced to obey the device wielder. Only those creatures with a 15> INT or 4+ hit dice are allowed a save vs spell to avoid being compelled to obey. 

There are 1-20 spell affects that are capable of activating over the entire surface. The following spells are applied via this procedure. The spells are all cast as if by a 26th level spell caster in duration, range, etc. The spells are the following: 

1) Lv 5 Tempus Fugit (Time Alteration)
2) Lv 4 Remote Access (x5) (Distance Attack Facilitator)
3) Lv 5 Awaken From Afar (Activates Magic Items From Distance)
4) Lv 5 Telekinesis (Grasp/Grab/Attack Force)
5) Lv 7 Silent Accord (x2) (Mind Attack Spell Even a Miss is a Failed Save Later)
6) Lv 6 Projected Image (x2) (Distance Illusion of Combat User)
7) Lv 9 Matan’s Hydra Head (Multiple Head & Actions)
8) Lv 9 Morg’s Contemplate Fate (Future Decision Help)
9) Lv 9 Morg’s Duality of Mind (2 Minds In One Body)
10) Lv 8 Continuous Spell Holding (Locks Another Spell On)
11) Lv 5 Dart’s Multiple Arms (4 Arms For User)
12) Lv 5 Visions of Future Clarity (See 1 Turn Into Future)
13) Lv 9 Ageless’s Force of Will Spellcasting (Instant Spell Casting)
14) Lv 9 Matan’s Magic Self (Create Mobile Magic Field Emanating From Self)

You should note that all spells could be changed out for others allowed in your campaign, and by the same extension you could go for a wider range of monstrous homunculus components in the creation of your own customized versions. Of course you might be careful with the flight components, as their loss makes the mat somewhat difficult to move.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Pandemic Is Dead, Long Live the Pandemic

 

(In-person/remote gaming accouterments circa 2006)

Our home gaming group has been running exclusively online since April 2020. That has been a boon to eliminate traveling for our friends who live long distances from a game's location (we rotate around) or have moved out of the SF Bay Area.

Now that everyone is getting or anticipates being vaxxed vs Covid we're planning to resume in-person D&D for our June game. 

That presents a question: How do we best accommodate during an in-person game the online presence of our gamer friends residing in distant lands?

We last tackled this issue in 2006 about 15 years ago when my pal Kevin from Seattle ran the half drow, half Markab sorcerer "Artaban" in our v3.5 Wilderlands of High Fantasy game. I used a Logitech web cam maybe over I think some Yahoo! application(?) for Kevin to view the game table. Unfortunately the digital voice over the interweb would get garbled if more than one person spoke at a time, so we cannibalized a Motorola speaker phone system connected to a land-line. (Remember when nights and weekends long-distance was free?) 

Our old setup is in the photo above. (The web cam is missing. Along the subsequent way Logitech stopped making drivers for it on whatever version of windows I upgraded later.)(Oh snap! That cam is probably still in my XP laptop bag.) Our system worked sporadically for a year or so, I was in the midst of was in the midst of hacking the Panasonic speakerphone to plug into an amplified sound system, when Kevin dropped out of the main game. (While he and I still ran Artaban as side adventures from the main campaign, Kevin could not quite get over his resentment of when Shade Structure's gnome druid assassinated the evil sorcerer. Intra-party violence is never pretty...)

So here we are in 2021 facing similar issue of striving for a workable hybrid in-person/remote game. Except we'll likely have at least 3 PC's remote and about a half-dozen in-person players plus the game ref.

Good news: The tech is way better and the interweb/computers way faster. Also J.A.S. hosts our June "Father's Day" game every year, and he is a LAN tech by trade.

Bad news: Well dang, everyone still talks all at once upon occasion (and typically during really critical game situations).

Plan thus far: J.A.S. is running an online feed through his smart TV and a room mic (using Discord I guess?) and says everyone should be heard. Dr. John PhD suggested having at least one member of the party in-person on a laptop also connected to the remote partiers just to make sure our friends online don't get drowned out.

To be determined: Are we going to web cam the table or is J.A.S. going to run "Theatre of the Mind"-style? Multiple cameras???

We'll see how it goes, at least we know the game will be Saturday June 19th (hey Juneteenth) because that is the Saturday before Father's Day. Probably many more tabletop RPG groups are going to face this type of issue. I will update this post with any dastardly technical plans we come up with and, of course, post a post-mortem after the game itself.