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Showing posts from June, 2009

Gazetteer of the Wasted Lands 4: Ashurii

Ashurii is a country that really consists of two smaller city-states and a number of towns and villages between. These two city-states are Babyl in the south, and Qandar in the north. Both share a common racial culture and ancestry, and have similar pantheons of deities. With the preponderance of barbarian activities in the north, and the mad kingdom of Hastur to the east, it made sense for Babyl and Qandar to link together in a common legal and defense system. Thus it was decided that Babyl, the larger of the two cities, would be the capitol, with its Caliph ruling with equal pull as the Caliph of Qandar, and three additional Caliphs being chosen from amongst the smaller towns and villages in the land to give voice to these lesser communities.

Decadence and corruption are rampant in Ashurii, but rather than being a quiet rot that takes the country from within, these aspects of Ashurii society are accepted as part of the culture and in the open. This acceptance of open decadence a…

Saving Throws in Chainmail OD&D: a Combat Snag (Sort of)

So I was just thinking about my Chainmail combat, and I hit a minor snag...sort of.

The combat system works just fine, no worries there. Where I run into problems is saving throws.

Part of the reason for this little exercise was to remove the use of any dice but d6's from the purview of the players--only the DM will roll % dice, d4, d8, d12, etc., and then only for checking charts and probabilities (surprise, etc.)

This leaves us with the problem of the Saving Throw. Saving throws, as laid out in Men and Magic, are made with a d20, with no alternate system referenced.

...at least, not explicitly. But there is, in fact, a saving throw system in Chainmail. On page 31 of Chainmail we see the necessary rolls on 2d6 to "Save" a figure from a Wizard's missiles. Can we, then, extrapolate from this to work out a 2d6 Save system for OD&D?

I believe we can.

Chainmail has Heroes and Super Heroes being saved on a roll of 9 and 6 or better, respectively. if Heroes are 4th le…

Gods of Thule, Mu, Lemuria, Ashurii, and Atlantis

Just a note to self: Dragon Magazine #19 (Thule) #16 (Mu/Atlantis), #13 (Lemuria), #12 (Ashurii).

Dragon #27 has the African Mythos...perhaps adapt for the southern jungles of the Khemite continent?

Some of these may be represented in different forms in Supplement IV or D&DG. Will have to check.

Another new class: The Border Fighter (Ranger)

Looks like I'll be adding the Ranger as well, with a couple modifications.

First, the class will be re-named "Border Fighter," and being Good (remember, I'm swapping out Lawful and Chaotic) is no longer a requirement. There's nothing inherently "Good" or "Evil" about the skill set of this class, so it seems to me that since I'm not reproducing Tolkien there's no reason to require it.

Tracking is not done with percentile dice, but with the roll of a d6:

Outdoors the ranger has a 5-in-6 chance of tracking, this chance being reduced by one for every two days old the signs are.

Indoors the ranger tracks as follows:
Monster's ActionRanger needs to track
Goes down a normal passage1-4
Goes through a door (normal or trap)1-3
Goes up/down a chimney or shaft1-2
Goes through a secret door1

In a city, treat empty streets as normal passages, moderately populated areas as "going through a door," and heavily populated/bustling areas as secret do…

Character class addition: Bards

Now that I have acquired copies of all 6 issues of The Strategic Review, I will be allowing the Bard class from therein, albeit with some modifications.

Since I am removing %-based thief skills per Philotomy's alternate Thief class, I'm doing the same with the Bard.

Thus, instead of a percentage chance to charm people with his song, the Bard's opponents gain a saving throw, as though against spells. This saving throw gains a bonus of +1 for every two levels or hit dice above three the listener is. Likewise, for every 10% of "special" bonus a creature would have in the rules (such as the undead's 10% bonus), the creature gains +1.

Likewise, the bard's Lore ability counts as a bonus to a roll of 2d6 (my OD&D is striving to allow players to only use d6's), with a target number of 12. This bonus is equal to +1 per 20% of Lore ability.

While jack-of-all-trades entertainers can be found the world over, Bards are common in two areas of the world. Fennoka…

Wasted Lands World Map

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Click the map to view a larger version

Gazeteer of the Wasted Lands 3: Fennokarelia

Situated to the northeast of Hyperboria lies the rocky, desolate, gray region of Fennokarelia. The people of Fennokarelia are a hunter-gatherer culture, similar to the Hyperborians, if only slightly less warlike. Where the Hyperborians tend to be stocky and muscular, the Fens tend towards a lankier build, though most still sport well-corded muscles and well-toned bodies.

The primary diet of the Fens is meat from mountain goats, elk, and oxen, fish (particularly in the coastal regions) and hardy grains, some of the few edible plants that can be cultivated in the rocky soil of the land. Seal meat is also a delicacy to Fens, as the animals are found in wide varieties along the Northern Coasts. Like the Hyperborians, they trade with hobbit communities to the south, where farmland is richer and night and day are more likely to be stable cycles.

While the Fens are slightly less warlike than their Hyperborian neighbors, they do field a fierce warrior culture, and do not hesitate to defen…

Chainmail with OD&D

Bear with me: this post is going to of necessity assume familiarity with Chainmail and OD&D...and it will rehash and act as further defense for a position I've already defended.

There's been a HUGE amount of discussion recently--some of it initiated by yours truly--about the use of Chainmail with OD&D, "as intended."

Now, luminaries of those early days (Mike Mornard in particular) have come out to say that the original campaigns never used Chainmail, that the "Alternate System," which became the standard d20-based combat of later editions, was always the system of choice. Still, grognards are grognards, and we are scholars of the games we love. This leads to a lot of debate about just how to use Chainmail with OD&D, as it's not 100% clear in the rule books.

Personally, I've noted a lot of these discussions try to shoehorn the whole thing into one of the three combat systems in Chainmail (the "Troop Type," as I call it, the Man-t…

Tell Me All Your Thoughts on God(s)...

A number of people, on hearing that I plan to use the original AD&D Deities and Demigods in my OD&D Wasted Lands game have given me guff. "If you're bringing AD&D stuff in, it ain't OD&D anymore!" they cry.

Well, folks, I humbly disagree, at least in this case. Using supplemental material from AD&D--D&DG or even Manual of the Planes doesn't alter the essence of the game. The writeups for the gods in D&DG are quite similar to those in Supplement IV, and in many cases simply better and more detailed.

This is all ignoring the fact that once you use all four supplements, OD&D looks a lot like AD&D.

In any case, my use of D&DG is for reference and informational purposes. See, it comes down to how exactly you look at gods in D&D. Some people think they're there to be killed; that's why they have stats. Some people think that's ludicrous, you can't kill a god. I'm somewhere in the middle, I guess.

Ye…

Gazeteer of the Wasted Lands 2: Khem

Khem is a proto-Egyptian society. Its deities should have equivalents in Supplement IV.

(Also, apologies to Geoff McKinney, and a disclaimer: I've had Carcosa in here for a long time, and it's in no way the same as his world of Carcosa--Mine is simply a city in the Kingdom of Hastur. Simply assume the same source material--the writings of Robert W. Chambers--and nothing else.)

Khem

Separated from the northern Yellow Kingdom of Hastur and the Ashurii Empire by a sea and situated around the north-flowing River Khemyx, the Empire of Khem nominally occupies an entire continent, though the southern tip, approximately 1/3 of the southern portion of the continent, is still controlled by savage barbarian tribes, and the Empty Space to the west is largely overrun with the Race of Yig. It is a powerful and mysterious region whose people are obsessed with the rites, rituals, and practices of death and funerals, and of what happens to the soul after one dies. Their society is a complex…

Gazeteer of The Wasted Lands: Hyperborea

I hope to get a world map together soon to present, but for now, let's just work out the realms of the Wasted Lands.

Hyperborea
Situated to the northwest of the Great Continent lies the vast realm of Hyperborea. Hyperborea is a cold, gray, unforgiving land where it is dark for six months out of the year, and dimly daylight the other six months. The clouds rarely lift in Hyperborea, and the cold wind that sweeps through the rocky hills and mountains strikes all who journey there like a thousand daggers. This land is home to a race of men as hard and unforgiving as the land over which they stride.

It should be noted that dwarves and humans share the realm of Hyperborea, the men striding the surface lands and the dwarves roaming the underworld, but the two species intermingle freely, and all refer to themselves as a single race: Hyperboreans. The inhabitants of this realm place cultural pride above matters of simple biology.

The Hyperboreans are a hardy, warrior race. They measur…

Orcball!

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Orcball is a wildly popular sport in the border towns and less civilized areas of the Wasted Lands. A sport originally enjoyed only by the brutal humanoid races, Orcball has been catching on amongst seedier human, elf, and dwarf communities and is quickly becoming a wildly popular spectator sport. This is of great concern to those of a goodlier bent, as broken limbs, permanent disfiguration and death are often part and parcel of the game.

In Orcball, the idea is to put a skull into a hole at the far end of the field (though in an effort to "clean up" the game, human, elf, and dwarf leagues often use oblong balls that are vaguely shaped like animal skulls). This hole is exactly large enough to stuff the skull into--with some force applied--and thus the skull cannot be hurled, but must be physically jammed into the hole at the source.

The Orcball Team
Only one person on the team--the Runner--is allowed to touch the skull with his hands, and only the Runner may place the skull …

Monsters of the Wasted Lands

When dealing with a world in which you've established a creation myth--no matter how loose said myth is--you have to justify everything.

I've given rationale for humans, elves, dwarves, and hobbits. Hobbits are the eldest race, a failed attempt at creating an all-purpose slave and pleasure race, but their penchant for cultivation made them useful. Humans were an improvement on hobbits, but while they were jacks of all trades, they were masters of none, and the Ancient Ones needed (or wanted) grand structures and crafts dedicated to them. So they fashioned the dwarves out of stone, to mine and create, and like the underworld in which they live, dwarves are as cold and hard as stone on the outside, but burn with the angry fires of the earth within. Eventually, the humans staged an uprising against the Ancient Ones, and their malcontent threatened the largely defenseless hobbits. To ferret out the leaders of the human rebels, the Ancient Ones created the elves, dark, mysteri…