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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Building a Better Bard - Final Tuning - Part VI (Swords & Wizardry)



I'm trying to put the finishing touches on my S&W Bard - dropping some ideas for now (like using the Cleric Turning Table for charming) but I may add options later.  Simpler is better, and I need to get this done this weekend and get it sent off to Matt.

Wish me luck ;)

Is it Just Me...

or is Blogger still acting a bit flakey?

Ah well, in any case, I have dirt under my nails from gardening, paint all over my hands from - you guessed it - painting and I'm trying to post with my feline daughter sitting on my mouse and purring incessantly.  I guess I'll give Blogger a few more hours before I post anything worthwhile.

Still, I feel a bit like Christian today - gardening AND home improvements and it's not even 4:30.  I just need to squeeze in some gaming and it's a trifecta ;)

Friday, May 13, 2011

And Then There Were...

Well, I'm really hesitant to post the next part of my Building a Better Bard, as it is written down in random notes that I collect, prune and purge as I post them to the blog.  With Blogger having some "issues" recently, I'd hate to post something and then have it disappear (like yesterday's post did for a bit ... but now, its back).

So I'm gonna round out the Bard in Pages, then copy it over to Blogger.  Crap, I  really should use that nice Print to PDF Button on these posts to save everything.  That would make way too much sense ;)

I'm kinda happy I was too busy to post much the last few days... I think some of my fellow bloggers can relate to this man:


I feel his pain.  Its been that kind of a week...

Damn You Blogger!

EDIT - Blogger is obviously up!

Blogging my Blog via Blogger
Seemed wise at the time.
Now it's down and
All I can do is whine ;)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

All Dressed Up With Nowhere to Go...

I was all set for the first session of a new Tunnels & Trolls Campaign (via Google chat) that a couple of fellow bloggers are involved in when the GM had to cancel for real life issues. Alright, I wasn't all set as I hadn't even bought weapons for my Wizard and I barely made it home in time, but I was close to being set ;)

It was all for the best. I need to flesh out my Wizzie and allergies have been kicking my ass this week. I doubt I would have made it to the planned end of the session at midnite. I was lights out last nite at 1015, which was probably for the best.

Still, I am psyched. I miss the C&C via FG2 campaign that is currently on indefinite hiatus. This should be a blast when it gets up and running.

Building a Better Bard - A Bard Gotta Have Skills - Part V (Swords & Wizardry)


Yes, our bard needs some skills to go along with his non-offensive song list.  Originally, I wanted to use the Charisma Score's determination of the number of henchmen / followers to directly correspond to the number of uses of his various skills / powers, but that strays a bit far from S&W's way of doing things.

Lets see:  From the thief, we will give him Hear Noise, Read Languages and Delicate Tasks (Pick Pocket Only) as a thief of equal level.

From the Fighter: Bard Sub-Class in NOD Issue #1 (it's an awesome publication and the first issue is free, so grab a copy for yourself) we are going to borrow Inspiration, Legend Lore, Fascinate and Heroism.  Really, why reinvent the wheel when the wheel is pretty damn good?

Weapons:  All but two-handed melee
Armor:  Chain Mail, Ring Mail, Leather (no shield)
Attack: As Cleric
Save: As Thief

Next up - the experience table

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mini Review - CC1 Curse of Crosskey (Labyrinth Lord w/ AEC)

Curse of Crosskey is a Labyrinth Lord (with the AEC) adventure for character levels 3-4.  As with most of the adventures that fall under the general banner of the OSR, you should be able to use this with S&W, C&C, OSRIC or any of the other D&D / OGL based rulesets.  Good, that's out of the way.

Take off the cover, OGL and title / contents page and it comes in at 11 pages for $1.99.  Not a bad return on your investment, but if you want to get a real return on your cash you will need to invest time and effort.  This is a sandbox style adventure that starts with the ::SPOILER ALERT!!!:: players getting shipwrecked on a mysterious and magically infused island.  So yes, the plot hook is very specific: your party is forced into survivor / explorer mode.  As you need to put them in that situation, how you set things up is very important, thus your investment of time and effort.

There is a lot that is hinted at in this adventure that can be fleshed out by the GM... heck, it probably needs to be fleshed out.  Especially the ideas to conclude / continue the adventure.  In many ways, I feel this is less a sandbox adventure as it is a sandbox micro-setting.

Three new magic items and two new monsters round things out.

From the blurb:

The Western Star, sailing on a clear sea, is suddenly caught in a mysterious storm appearing out of the blue. Skies darken as fierce wind and driving rain lash at the ship, sending it crashing upon the shore of Crosskey Island. Those fortunate souls that survive must find rescue before their supply of food and water run out. Some of the passengers seem to have plans of their own. Will the "Curse of Crosskey" finally be revealed?

Apparently I Work Better With a Short Time Limit

I'm working fast and furiously on the Bard for S&W with the hopes of getting something complete enough to submit to the next Knock Spell. The cutoff is May 15th, so I've got 5 days to go. Knowing me, that is better then having 15 days to go, as I'd probably let that clock run down to 5 days before getting myself moving.

Need to work on class abilities and the expo charts next, then tie it all into one neat package.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Building a Better Bard - Singing Spells - Part IV (Swords & Wizardry)


Part of my love of Bards probably goes back to the Spellsinger series of books by Alan Dean Foster.  It wasn't the best fantasy series, but for me, it defined that "Bardic Moment".  Bards are cool.  Bards also need spells.

So, here's my proposed spell progression:

Level Spell   1     2     3     4

Bard    1       1
Level   2       2
            3       3
            4       3     1
            5       4     2
            6       4     3
            7       4     3     1
            8       4     3     2
            9       4     3     3
          10       4     4     3     1
          11       5     4     3     2
          12       5     4     4     3
          13       5     5     4     4
          14       5     5     5     4
          15       5     5     5     5

And the proposed spell lists:
(M = M/U Spell, C=Cleric Spell, D=Druid Spell)

1st Level Spells / Songs
1 - Charm Person (M1)
2 - Detect Magic (M1)
3 - Hold Portal (M1)
4 - Light (M1)
5 - Read Language (M1)
6 - Sleep (M1)

2nd Level Spells / Songs
1 - Cure Light Wounds (C1)
2 - Mirror Image (M2)
3 - Phantasmal Force (M2)
4 - Hold Person (C2)
5 - Detect Evil (C1)
6 - Pyrotechnics (M2)

3rd Level Spells / Songs
1 - Suggestion (M3)
2 - Protection From Normal Missiles (M3)
3 - Silence 15'R (C2)
4 - Protection Against Fire (C3)
5 - Slow (M3)
6 - Obscuring Mist (D2)

4th Level Spells / Songs
1 - Charm Monster (M4)
2 - Confusion (M4)
3 - Hold Monster (M5)
4 - Neutralize Poison (C4)
5 - Clairaudience (M3)

To Be Eighteen Again

My son turns 18 at the end of the month. Amazing how time flies. I remember sitting down and helping him with math homework in elementary school. Now he wants an Emergency Medical Technician Course for his birthday. Basic math to EMT... overnite it seems.

When I was 18 I lived to game. If we were off for a week from school, we probably gamed each and every day. Dungeon Magazine was gold when it first came out, as I devoured adventures as a GM like they were going out of style.

Work? As little as possible. School? Grades came easy for me. College was a vehicle for more gaming, work was there to buy more gaming books.

I had little focus, no idea what I wanted to make of my life.

My son has found his focus. Grades may not come as easy for him as they did for me, but he's about 10 years ahead of me at that age. I didn't find my focus until my late 20's.

Can ya tell I'm proud? Of course, I still need to turn him into a gamer like his old man ;)

Building a Better Bard - Part III (Swords & Wizardry)

Looking at the Bard, I see him with weapon training a bit better then the thief, so we will give him the Cleric / Druid / Monk combat chart.

As for Saving Throw, he will save as per the Thief / M-U table.

His Prime Attribute will be Charisma. To make it more relevant, we will give him an extra 1st level spell / song for a Charisma of 15 or better.

As for spells / songs, we will raid the spell lists of the M-U, Cleric and Druid. He will gain spells / songs at a slower rate then the main casting classes: at Bard - 1 : 1st level spells, Bard - 4: 2nd level spells, Bard - 7: 3rd level spells and finally at Bard - 10: 4th level spells. Spell progression table and spell lists are being tweaked (and probably hard to format on my iPad, so they will need to wait at least until tonight).

I want to make using an instrument beneficial to the Bard, so I am thinking using a two handed instrument while casting a spell / song adds 2 levels to the caster's effective level (but it also means no weapon in hand while casting).

I still need to work on other class abilities...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Draconic Archeologist: Bringing You The Death Angel - The Dragon #6


Ah, the cover to The Dragon #6 - again, a little fan-artish, but still better then the hippy dragon from the first issue.

Reading the early Dragon issues, you would think that games like Metamorphosis Alpha or The Petal Throne were going to be the long term keepers.  They seem to have just as many articles, and with less crunch, more fluff - in many ways giving more value then the D&D articles.  As I'm focused on the D&D articles, that means I'm skipping on some major parts, like the in-depth Legions of the Petal Throne Painting Guide by M.A.R. Barker himself.  I didn't know anyone really cared that much about painting the military figures for an RPG.

There were ads for both OGRE and Monters! Monsters! (a T&T variant).  Kinda warms my heart.

Then we have an article on Determination of Psionic Abilities that were introduced Eldritch Wizardry.  I didn't realize that there weren't any rules to determine such in EW.  I may need to reread that.

Hmmm, an article on morale in D&D.  Way too chart-ish for me use, but the hobby was in love of huge charts back in the day, so it is a sign of the times.

The Featured Creature was the Death Angel.  Nearly impossible to permanently defeat, I don't recall these creatures making any of the MMs in AD&D.
The ad for the D&D Geomorphic Dungeons is interesting - no wonder I never liked to leave empty space on the graph paper when I mapped dungeons out in high school - TSR didn't like empty space either!